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The spontaneous generation argumentation and George Bernard Shaw's arguments against the existence of these 'ridiculous' germs are two simple examples at the lay and scientific levels. In ordinary life, again and again we cannot - for the time - discern the reason, ground and cause of this or that. Experience over the years and in the world, over the millenia shows the advance of results in the pursuit of reasons. This is standard and as Planck in his Philosophy of Physics points out, the endlessly productive procedure of science over history.
The allegation of some 'exception' (*9) is therefore as relevant to our case as would be the claim of some doctor that he had not as yet diagnosed the cause of cancer. We would scarcely gasp, rather saying: That is the way advance proceeds.
Suppose however, it be said, 'Well, I want to believe in fairies and I want to believe that somehow there is a place or procedure free of reason, empty of any sort of cause. Stop me!' Not at all, believe in fairies too, it is all one. Your subjective liberty is not relevant. Yet if you say, 'But I wish to refuse belief in the testimony of reason, and to suspend all thought of relating to cause and consequence, for why may not this be so somewhere, somehow ?' Then, however, you are giving reason, and prescribing cause for your view. Throwing it out the window, you have the garbage man standing there, to throw it back in. But we saw you. The deception is unavailing... so long as you do not deceive yourself.
Again, you say, 'There is no reason, I just want to disbelieve in this matter, in the heart of science and life though it be. I give you no reason.'
But you did! You said you wanted it. Indeed, you wanted it with a a certain singularity of desire, an essentialising of mentality.
That was the cause, that was the occasion, and this, your view is the result of the due operation of causality. Again, you bring back what you throw out; but none is tricked. Even in your cognition of this imaginary area, reason and causality goes with your every move, and as we have seen (pp. 111-113 supra), the very definition of the case renders you derelict.
Further, if reason were merely a convention, not a necessity, you could see the consequences as Professor Gordon Clark aptly notes them (Religion, Reason and Revelation pp. 149-150). Remove the due logical/lexical inter-relationship of elements and you have repetitious vacuity, nothing at all of meaning as a device for expression; or as Schaeffer notes - in subjectivity land, you do not have data with all its 'dignity'; merely 'blip', the amorphous exhibition of the unknowable. You are in that case, intellectually dead; and your thoughts and plans and protests and insistences are but the stirring of wind, except that that concept is too coherent for such a case!
Indeed, if you would invalidate reason as objectively true, then all your reasonings and in fact the sub-structure of your language which is related on causal inter-connective grounds of divergencies and distinctions, and means for the same enshrined in duly accepted symbols, this too must go.
'Why do you use this word ?...' 'Because...' comes the reply. Remove causality therefore, and at once the coherence of language and the inter-connection of thought is gone and so is your argument and so are you from the arena of rational context.
You have then suicided from the contest (unusual in some sports but not in this domain). You thus remain, metaphysically corpse-like, an anti-created, disused fragment of abandoned irrationality. So be it; but this is the price of seeking to avoid the Creator via the route of refusing reason: language is aborted. You, mute and defeated, can give no reason and are an irrationalism on legs... or associated with them!; with this difference, that rationality in cause and consequence continues to work in the rebellious residue... perhaps with just and due remorselessness. It is easier for God to create, than for you to 'uncreate' yourself, doing violence to what you are.
If you even chose to say nothing, the causal inter-relationship of your thoughts, in language or otherwise, continues unchanged, the 'screen' switched, as it were, on or off; the essence is unaltered, though limiting. You would have to think nothing. But that is the exact anti-creation we met before. It is not changed. The case is the same. Again, you may want to remove reason from the 'external world', but could give reason for this only if reason were valid; and if it is, how remove it!
Or again, should you wish to argue for our subjective institution of causality... we have it within us because... and so account for it, then first you are assuming that causality is operative outside and beyond us... so that reasons and causes could duly operate outside as a basis from which, for reasons to be supplied, to institute it within. That is to beg the question, and presents a mere trifle of smuggling in with deeds what you would exclude with words (cf. Chapter 5, 1 infra).
Further, quite generally, if you give grounds, these imply causes, indeed causes to be assignable also as to why or how causality was produced in man, accounting for the idea of it, rather than allowing the objective reality of it; so that to show why, or in what way or on what grounds it came, or has come to be accepted as actual, you invoke causality to do this. Hence it would need to be operative before what you are describing, for the action of instituting it to be able to work. To account for accounting after removing its validity in any time or depth or dimension, is to restore it in order to account. It is therefore a contradiction in terms; and if you contradict yourself, there is then no need for anyone else to do so.
Even if you admit you are being irrational and have no reason and that your idea could not cohere with reason, then you are reduced by the invalidation of reason implicit to the same irrational blimp; with this addition for the grounds for it, your own confession.
No really, we shall have to stay with reason, for whatever reason, or abdicate from all rational thought and be de-created in principle, a kind of intellectual suicide, and strenuously extreme case of being so determined to avoid God, that we avoid even ourselves ... becoming voluntarily defunct. Thus man may void even the final shimmer of meaning in the 'meaningless product'- so a caused entity! So valiant, that this product, man, should argue about what is the meaning, making baseless allegations from no base.
We ? In this desperate auto-dismantling, I could not join. One is reminded of Lady Macbeth's words to the audacious but momentarily timid tyrant, "What, quite unmanned!" Here however the tyranny is against oneself, because in the interstices of one's being is written the ineradicable formulation of the Creator... it is by will, and against reason.
Once causation is granted, we see the reality before us. It is not a question that no cause and effect laws exist; that all scientific theory is invalid. Rather the case is that some laws are inadequately formulated, some require refinement of expression, some are true under certain conditions and so knowledge increases as it has done. Once you see something happens for a cause, it is just a matter of identifying it and inter-connecting all known aspects, and proceeding meticulously forward to what that requires.
If moreover you are going to exempt or except the human beings from the rule about series and sequence, deify them and make their thoughts susceptible to truth, then the whole case fails. Outside statistics and meaningless fragments is this man who knows with meaningful integration. It may be that he asserts that all is meaningless; but to make this assertion itself meaningful, man must not merely be meaningful himself, but have access to truth beyond himself; and be past not only the concept of a 'series' but that of a reagent, reactor, of a piece chained within the very fabric of meaningless motion also; and that equally.
Articulate (that is not meaningless), with coherent words and concepts (these are not meaningless), man makes overall statements about the true nature of reality (this function is not to be meaningless), exempting himself from the whole argument in the very act of performing it, and declaring it with universality to boot! (*11) Since we are dealing with speech, it is some omission... to omit the speaker!
Either man is beyond statistics or series or the meaningless, or his utterance is condemned in advance by his own statements about himself. If he wants it the hard way, then his theory destroys itself first. If it does that, it is not available to attack others. It has blown up on the very launching pad.
So much for that. It is fascinating how men will continually give themselves the advantages of being God or of knowing God while saying He does not exist. Smuggling in His divine attributes - such as being the Truth - they assume them whilst denying them. It is neither nice nor logical; though in its own way, it certainly is comic. What did Christ say: "For this people's heart has grown gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes the have closed lest at any time they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and I should heal them" (Matthew 13:15).
With shut eyes, man curses, denies or assaults the whole reality of God, whilst using assumptions truly meaningless if God were absent.
When however you become logically consistent (and what is the use of arguing if you abandon logic ? it is pure waste of time, mythical activity ... a game), then you see God as the necessary cause of laws, mind and spirit with its powers of choice; of the fixed thought which adorns matter, the frozen thought that operates instinct, the inventive thought that both adorns man and enables wayward thought, which shows man as in some measure free - as indeed do his mistakes; for matter makes none!
In fact, 'mistakes' are both anomalous and meaningless if conceived without freedom in purpose, itself a prerogative of man, to whom matter's persistence and consistency may preach ... though man in form excels its powers.
A substantive cause of serial cause, an adequate activator for the system of inter-connected, time-related causality - like a poet who creates the inter-connected, paper-space related words to express what may be immediately viewable thought: this meets and this alone our logical need.
God the architect, designer, law maker, mind machinator, spirit creator is necessary always if ever, and to be, if man is to be; and since man is (being so nobly rebellious as the above material merely illustrates): either man is for destruction as anti-truth and anti-God, as anti-justice and an anti-reality fragment of folly in collision with God: or he is for deliverance. And that ? it will be at God's discretion, standards and provision. Since then, man is not destroyed, where is this remedy ?
The religion which asserts remedy and return to God is Christianity, where Christ blots out the sins of those who receive Him (and not of others who prefer to die in their sin - "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins...", said Christ - John 8:24). Replacing fantasy with faith, man finds his mind met by the Almighty.
Returned to their Creator by the Redeemer Christ, individual men and women, youth and children can then know what they are built for: God as source of truth, life and usefulness.
And that is something Macbeth did not build on.
How helpful to Macbeth, at an early age, might these three scriptures have been - given the heart: "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near..." Isaiah 55:6... and this:
"The Son of Man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister and to give His life as a ransom for many" - Matthew 20:28.
FROM I JOHN 1:12 (God's Children) AND EPHESIANS 1:5-14 (Their Place by Adoption), MACBETH MIGHT HAVE FOUND A NATURALNESS IN HIS RELATION TO THE SUPERNATURAL, HAD HE MOVED FROM FICTION TO REALITY, AND FROM THERE TO GOD.
It is for a moment our topic, a little later, this symbol of resistance, this articulator of meaninglessness, Macbeth.
Again, if they may exist, the possibility involves thought about actual possibilities, and to the extent this is valid, reason must be valid, so producing a contradiction, for the imaginary premises' existence.
To the extent, on the other hand, that the reasoning is invalid, the submission about imaginary premises is false, so removing it. To argue for the case, reason must be valid. If it cannot argue, being invalid, no case can be made; nor, as we have shown, can language be assembled with significance, nor thought; and thus the submission is either a self-contradiction or unthinkable. To think it, then, becomes self-contradiction. In any case, it goes. You can't get around reason with reason, and when you allow yourself irrationality, no one else need show it.
Thus the degree of possibility above zero depends on the inapplicability of reason as such. In such a case, reason, to allow the imagined site, must in fact be incompetent at this external level, and hence neither its formal assertions nor its provisional hypotheses are at all to the point, or are indeed even the creations of relevant competence (cf. pp. 16 ff., 37 ff., and Chapter 1, pp. 3-12 supra). It is in this case by definition outclassed - outdistanced - in its field.
Further, reason used in this construction, if invalid, cannot validate: another aspect of the contradiction. Like shorn sheep, ex-wool, the contenders ex-reason are uncovered.
Again, as shown (cf. pp. 424 ff. infra), it is systematically impossible consistently to subjectivise, to ascribe causes for causality (without God first as author of such a system of causation); and causality, as shown earlier in Chapter One, requires God, in turn embracive of all, basic to all, the cause of all, and over all; so that nothing can escape either His origination or His maintenance, being constantly reliant on Him causally, all creation hence at all times causally oriented.
Man's spirit, being in God's image, is an instituted derivative cause, and because of its construction and possible correlation in company with God, it is apt to seek such sallies into fantasy instead of freely moving in its vast, personal and spiritual fields with exuberant joy. Failure to do this can readily lead to such fallacies about fields which have no such scope.... readily becoming a sort of intellectual deficiency disease, occasioned by spiritual self-deprivation.
God of course may devise any form of causation He wishes; of spirits, of matter; but nothing can be consistently worked out here without Him. Quite simply, to account for something is first to assume the system on which causation operates; and to account for causality becomes an exercise in simply begging the question. The avoidance of God is possible in volition, because of our wills; it is not an available possibility in logic because our wills, though important, do not create our universe and are baulked by fact. It is indeed best when confronted by facts staring you in the face, to stare right back and take it in, rather than hiding in logical antinomies, contradictions and destructive convulsions of validity!
Only by the defiance of the facts, by self-contradiction or the use of self-contradictory ideas, can man escape God ... for a season.
Back of all this, if we be set in a materialist premiss, if we to pretend to act on such a basis as that, then the theory (of materialism) being a product of mind, cannot be valid if a priori the mind is not valid; the mind must first in principle be valid for the theory to be possible. But that is a denial of materialism, which would 'derive' mind, a contradiction of priorities and bases; so that this theory must involve itself in still further contradiction.
Not only, then, does the frank rational inability even to define or relate such an imaginary area appear (cf. pp. 105 ff. supra, 424 ff. infra), but the very illusory character of the quest rebuts it; while giving it grounds for high marks for fantasy. This is so even if we ignore the fact that l) such a field shows no exhibits; 2) the contrary conviction, that of reason's applicability (under God) as Morris and Schaeffer show so well - Morris, Men of Science, Men of God, Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live ? - historically has effectively stimulated discovery in science, fostering its rapid growth; and 3) the pursuit of reason in science is perennially a stimulus of relevant and rewarding methodology.
The idea of a non-causal area does then involve various self-contradictions and absurdities, in its envisaged realm. Yet there is more to review: the very envisagement of an area where causality does not operate pre-supposes the validity of causality for its mental construction and, as shown, even language pre-supposes the operation of causation, to whatever area it may be applied. Even 'magic' envisages laws or powers, or persons who possess them (of whatever ethics... aspiration, scope), and a jumble is so constructed. Hence an unobserved, pre-supposed, undefinable, self-contradictory pocket of non-causality in the material universe is after all a mere oddity of thought, showing our freedom as notational novelists.
This freedom in turn, and itself, also requires God (cf. pp. 262 ff. supra, and Chapter 5, 1 - esp. *2, p. 452 and EXTENSION 1 for that Chapter, pp. 440 ff. infra).
As it is necessary to note again and again, the only way man can avoid God (for a time) is by first dismantling himself; and that of course is the end of all reason. It is never possible to argue reasonably against God.
10 Professor Gordon H. Clark in his Religion, Reason and Revelation, p. 11, notes on logical positivism with its selective interest in 'reality', this reality: The logical positivists go beyond their own principles when they want to limit explanation to description, for the limitation itself is not a description of anything observable.
Thus if the only thing which is valid is description, and if we should not really consider the idea of explanation per se, why then this theory itself is not a description and so, on its own ground is not valid. Why bother to criticise what criticises itself, to destroy what first destroys itself, to guillotine a suicide. It is a waste of resources...
Second, it may be put directly that the theory itself IS an interpretation. It is telling us: 'The real situation is not what you might think (or do think, if that is the case). Actually it is what we say.' All physical derivationists fail here.
If then explanation is debarred so is the theory; it explains with the perhaps tedious patience of a primary school teacher, the things we may and may not do, and the limitations which actuality imposes on us... correctly understood, and rightly explained, through the correct interpretation! Such illicit dealing is common in philosophy, one reason why philosophers like Wittgenstein change their views in their own lifetime and others are jettisoned from their fashionable heights (as was the case with Hegel), with small grace in small time.
Third, the positivistic theory is telling us what we ought to do... in limiting ourselves to description. However, if a nice, tough-minded - 'this is like it is' (excusing the nice tough-minded 'grammar') approach that simply sees 'what is there' is in view, then you cannot tell us what we ought to do at all! After all, what is being prescribed is supposedly the ideal method of procedure, the ideal limitation on the roving human spirit... if ... if we are to be what our mentors would like us to be in a world of their image, seen as they see it. What IS cannot, by nature, generate what ought to be in any mere observation setting of things. Everything is too busy simply being ... what it is!
Thus this form of philosophy would appear a form of escapism rather than realism. To be realistic, you should cover all the facts, not least those you use in stating your theory! Before obligation, comes interpretation... by a person. Obligations cannot consistently be set by those who by definition would limit themselves (and us with them!) to description!
In a more general way, error is meaningless in a purely deterministic system, or in any merely occurring impersonal one, as has been noted. The personal and the material have basically divergent qualities in part; and purpose with its implication of possible error is one of these divergencies between man and matter. Indeed, it applies whether something is realised to be wrong or not. The principle of proposing a purpose, and failing to fulfil it, is error and it is personal; and it is a definitive element of purpose and a contradistinct element of man relative to matter.
What, to repeat in this slightly different setting, what could be wrong when everything merely is! Yet right and wrong are fundamental in any study, including that before us. As soon as a critic advises us we are wrong in our interpretation, are erring in our approach, diverge from... what we ought to be saying and from reality rightly interpreted, he uses us in such a way as to establish the point just made.
Critical readers - if there are such things... are invited to criticise the above in order to demonstrate its truth; for in doing this, in criticising, that is what they will do! Thus will they demonstrate it again!
11 In the merely
processive area, however, we need leap to no thoughts of self-contradiction
or indeed total inadequacy in the due exercise of this gift. Certainly,
we depend on revelation for the redemption of reason from the status of
mere verbal pomposity relative to truth; and equally certainly, reason
remorselessly points to and identifies where that revelation is; but without
mistreatment, reason is not per se unsound.
Thus Clark deals with Zeno's famous conundrum in his Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (pp. 13, 27) as if this were insoluble. This would do more than humble autonomous reason; it would limit the rationality of conception, even if a man proceeds on the prior basis of revelation. The Greek Zeno's conundrum or 'paradox' is not in fact insoluble at all.
The point was the idea of a man trying to overtake a tortoise and mathematically being preventing from doing so, in that if the man were conceived of as proceeding so as to reach point A (say, ¼ of the track), to which the tortoise had just moved, the tortoise would in this time move on B, to which the man must proceed while the tortoise goes to C, while the man is reaching B; and so on ad infinitum, an endless succession of more and more diminutive distances, always leaving the man (Achilles) ... behind.
The error here is simply the use of the mental concept of infinitely divisible distance on the one hand, and that of actual physical distance in relation to physical time, on the other, without noting the transition in definition of terms.
In real time, real distance is covered so that the interesting fact that an infinite number of sub-stages of a relative movement of two objects could be considered, is not really relevant. Real time passes so that this potential infinitude does not rear its dogged head over the scene.
Infinity must always take a time ... quite a time ... all time and then more; for it must by definition know no limit. If, however, one particular stage of an event knows no limit, then clearly and also by definition, a second stage cannot ever be contemplated. You would and could never reach it.
In fact, however, the divisibility is not the same as the actuality of the race; and it is not necessary to cover an infinitude of points of real space in order to pass the tortoise; only a finite number of real points in a real situation. Mathematical points are definitionally interesting, occupying no space; but not actually obtainable in a race, where every point is not in the mind, but external and substantial and non-infinite.
What Zeno does show is this: if points (by theoretical definition, for convenience) have no magnitude, an infinitude of them can be compressed into a finite space. The objection is simply this: such a phase of thought cannot be transferred to 'practical reality' with its specific magnitudes without logical solecism and abuse of terms. It is merely the confusion between the two types of 'point' which has suffered the confusion to proceed as it appears. The word 'point' has a double usage and, as is universally the case in logic, the transition from one usage to the other within the process of argument, falsifies the result. It is a ... slide.
In reality, the problem does not strictly require for the tortoise that presuppositional procedural priority, which here stimulates the intellectual division of distance into a stalling tactic, which many a competitor might gratefully use. He might do this, if only real conditions outside the imaginative creativity of the mind, could be harnessed to pragmatic concepts useful for analytical skills in that world of thought. The latter does not baulk at the limitless, even though it is not itself of this order.
It is, indeed, this tendency for thought to stop at nothing and let nothing stop it, which Zeno illustrates in his ancient effort towards the humbling of reason.
Reason however, secure in its only resting place of God-in-revelation, suffices readily to dispense with such trifles; and yet, in the very act of doing so, illustrates anew its own non-universality. It cannot, in itself, contain all creation; and in its own modes, is distinct from physical creation; both having their source and meeting place in the creator whose thought is not limited to abstraction, whose universe is not limited to thought. Thought as a useful investigatory tool must never be confused with the field it examines. One of the conditions of its rationality is this: that it does not alter the definition of its terms of procedure, during a logical exercise. This way leads merely to confusion through a lack of discipline in thinking. It does not show anything wrong about thought; merely with the self-discipline of the thinker in the case in view. As in other disciplines, in such a case, he must learn to do better. The means are at hand, and they are called logic.
If it is really to be determined as meaningless, then there must be a place, logically, a perspective and a potential in man to find it, which is right. Man then must be quite able to see things that are meaningful, and to relate this aspect or thing to them, and to find by omission of needful criteria, that this thing lacks these necessities, and so define the thing event or whatever, as meaningless.
It is neither a conditioned nor a limited, but it is an unconditioned and unlimited perspective which holds no systematic or accidental error. From such may man declare, decree or define the meaningless as certainly here or there.
That would mean that the universe was structured so that a logical and psychological plateau place and posting existed, where such a correct view could be obtained. This in turn would mean that outside the relative and the conditioned was the non- relative and the non-conditioned. This is turn would mean that outside the space-time continuum was a non-space-time continuum, or place or posting. This would mean that outside the natural was the supernatural. That is far from meaningless; it is needed to enable any valid declaration of meaninglessness; and it has results which are far from meaningless.
Further, the very existence of the knowledge of what is right, either in potential or actuality, must mean a structure and a correctness and a soundness (and a corresponding non-soundness if the knowledge is only potential), and a facility to reach it on the part of man. That is very meaningful, for it needs to be provided beyond the limits of mere reaction and interaction, and outside the limits of partial perspective or subjectivity.
For this, you need objectivity, which implies a way out of being a subject in the arena of circumstances. Such knowledge implies another subject, one which is not merely subjective - that is, an absolute subject (normally called God, but any other name would do to cover the case at this stage); and for any other than He, the provision of reachable equipment in correlation with Himself, by such a Person.
If then it might truly be said that the universe is in fact meaningless, this makes it impossible for it to be meaningless! That is one of the many contradictions which disbelief must end in, and like all the rest, it merely shows that God is obvious, as Paul states in Romans 1:18 ff..
If however someone says that he does not know anything, that he cannot affirm anything, then at least he is using some logic. (In fact, he is also affirming that he knows that he cannot know anything! so contradicting his assertion.) Then he is using structure and form and inter-relation, including causal inter-relation in his very speech of surrender. These concepts easily lead to the eternal and almighty God, as shown in "Considerations Compelling To God" - Ch. 1, and elsewhere in more detail. Thus our hypothetical escapee has God, even if he decides it is 'safer' to affirm nothing.
God is inescapable, and the very power to affirm anything true, logically requires that you believe in Him, and that you are in a relationship with Him that is sound and workable - for to know truth you need to have the right, the functionally correct relationship to its source. But to have such a right relationship with someone you do not even know, is a farce.
It is not only that you could not know this (say, about not knowing anything), without such a person (see the "Considerations..." on the Person, and elsewhere); but that without knowing that person, you lack the perspective which He, as the functionary, must provide if truth is to be known. If, however, you did know the Person, then it would be at once untrue that you did not know anything, for you would know Him, which is not nothing.
He, being personal, when not known, leaves a gap in your knowledge, which renders it not only inadequate but inaccurate. (God has put the code not only in our selves, our cells, but on our shelves in a written, tested and testable form, the Christian Scriptures with their intense internal consistency, showing Christ as sole Saviour from sin.)
Of course, your personal equipment may well indicate something adequate in the way of a first impression- and it does so, if persistently corrected as Christians may seek to do, using the divine aid and source - but in itself, it could not go right without the source logically necessary for the purpose.
In practice, the Bible indicates that the heart of man is astray and that he is "dead" in trespasses and sins, that he distorts the obvious and will not follow the truth by the very perverseness spiritually of his nature, corroded or corrupted through misuse (Ephesians: 4:18 ff., 2:8, 1:1 ff.). It indicates a need to repent and to believe a Saviour from sin, and to accept as a gift the life which once distorted, is then renewed; and to return to God.
Refusal in the end is the most solemn act for a man (John 3:9). Acceptance is simply a return to normalcy for what man is. (With the anti-distortion or 'regeneration' comes the need for forgiveness in which Christ is the specialist - Matthew 26:28).
Such holy and merciful help is the purpose of the gospel (John 3:17). God, after all, did not make man and lose the key; where lose it ? Man has made excuses- where he bothers to do even that, and 'tells' the key to 'get lost'. That is why the lock of his life has become so bothersome. The lock God made can be opened by no one else; and God has made it all with His customary precision.
Should you say: It is meaningless, this universe and all in it, let us see what follows.
First, it means either that you are lying, knowingly misrepresenting the situation; or that you are imperceptive, incapable by disease or injury or deficiency of dealing with this area, insensitive to it, like a meter that won't work, or just isn't fixed or plugged in yet; or that you have access to actual basis for measurement and assessment of such an area, and hence can advise us because you are in position to know.
If you are lying, then the universe is to that degree, in fact meaningful. If you are insensitive, your testimony is worthless. Incapacity is no guide to facts. If you have access to an assured or competent basis for such an assertion, then you have found or achieved the perspective, the base, the ground and the insight necessary for objective revelation.
If on the other hand, you have found this, then you are no longer a subject limited by your powers, to the series of relationships with yourself and others which renders you an interesting producer of experiences but not an adducer of realities. You, to be objective, must step right outside the (imagined) conditions of your experience which render you a functional participant in the universe, a correlate of its constraints, engendered and engendering in the laboratory of life, where what it does is what it is, but what it is, is meaningless. If you were in such a case, by definition your efforts to plumb its depths would themselves have to fail, for you do not possess the depths by which to determine this. If the universe were before you, free from its controls, limits and constraints, and if you sought to see it as it is, then on the basis of your claim of meaninglessness, you would have no perspective available to you, by which to determine this. If you let out a bantam, it loses the fence, but does not become a greyhound.
Margaret : Bill, whatever are you doing to your hair ?
Bill : Removing it in tufts.
Margaret : But why ? It was not so bad as all that. It helps keep the sun off, doesn't it ?
Bill : Nothing means anything.
Margaret : Then 'you' yourself mean nothing, for you are something.
Bill : How deliciously feminine.
Margaret : It just happens to be true.
Bill : Well that... what has it to do with anything ?
Margaret : Just this. If you can't
make sense of yourself, how could you know what
sense to make of anything else... with what does not itself make sense ?
Bill : I can make sense of that.
Margaret : You see. It doesn't all
not make sense. It's like a maths sum. Just because
you can't make sense of it, this does little to alter its validity or openness
Bill : It couldn't make sense.
Margaret : You see, you really make
a lot of sense of it, if you can tell me what does
and does not fit with these necessary principles of yours.
Bill : What necessary principles ?
Margaret : These: that you know how
to judge its sense or lack of it. To do that, you
must make a lot of sense of sense, so that you are the very height of sense,
its depth, its stay, its support, its strength. And then... it does not all not
make sense. You are its sense... Now that is senseless! Why not just follow
the evidence ?
A 'universe' which lacks what you need, to say what you do, is by definition out of bounds for anyone so saying; for there is no way for you to determine it. If moreover you could lose all limits and constraints in order to be free, you would need to become God; which the statement about meaninglessness denies in this, that it rejects purpose; but if you were God, your purposes (and you do have them) would be it! It would be most purposeful!
Let us be direct. Either you are a god who can remove your person from the (alleged) environment of meaningless terms of your meaningless mind, and see from the point of view of actual meaning that this is so, that this poor, weak, lame and limping universe just does not have this quality with which you are experienced and in terms of which you are expert, and the measurement of which is a function with which you are endowed; or you cannot.
If you cannot, then you are by definition incompetent to assume this role; you cannot determine what you exclude yourself from, as part of a universe exclusive of such necessary operational features.
If however you can, why then, the universe does, after all, have a platform, a place, a perspective, a tower beyond the waves, an eyrie beyond the mists, a ground of objective knowledge, and that is intensely meaningful. Now you can go to this meaning-establishment, this metaphysical masthead and see the ocean's curves. You are so meaningful that you know what meaning is, can see its presence or absence and constitute in your own self and person, a measurer. You have absolute validity, absolute competence, absolute perception of what absolutely is from an absolute perspective.
Then you have the prerequisites, as we have noted, of being God. Beyond it all, you see it all as it is without the defect of lacking enough meaning to take the temperature of meaning and seeing how it does, for good or evil.
Alas for you, however, in such a case you exclude yourself from the condemnation you impose on all things, in order to make that condemnation. It is immensely and intensely meaningful to have reality at your disposal, truth at your lips, objectivity in your heart with all its unharassed, unconditioned and unmolested dimensions intact, infinitely aware of all things that are and could be, so that the decision can be rendered to an admiring world; whose admiration would of course also be meaningless, as you would realise.
This meaningful, measuring omniscience which you have, in that case accorded yourself is of course the violation of your 'code' of meaninglessness. You have evacuated all gods in order to become god; you have invented meaning in order to dispense with it... and it will not really do.
Even to say, 'It may be meaningless', this would mean that you consider yourself to have the essential competence to contribute in this field; but as we have just seen, this you do not, on a basis exclusive of your being God. Thus your statement literally is meaningless. You are wholly incompetent to make any competent statement, logically on your background in this case, on the topic. You are just not equipped to deal here; you're, as it were, a piece of bacon acting as an ammeter. Your 'reading' is a wholly impertinent activity, a logical misadventure, inconsequential verbiage. (Cf. pp. 581, 894-896, 999-1002C infra.)
HAD I BUT DIED AN HOUR BEFORE THIS CHANCE, I HAD LIVED A BLESSED TIME; FOR FROM THIS INSTANT THERE'S NOTHING SERIOUS IN MORTALITY: ALL IS BUT TOYS. RENOWN AND GRACE IS DEAD, THE WINE OF LIFE IS DRAWN, AND THE MERE LEES IS LEFT THIS VAULT TO BRAG OF.Now here it is crucially important that he says first: 'from this time'. He has just performed a particularly horrid murder in which he found it hard to place his heart, even apart from its horror, but into which he was thrust by a domineering wife who picked and manipulated his weaknesses like a coach in reverse.
Overcome with repugnance, consternation and a sort of self-defamatory process of execration, he moves from the impossible seeming realms of psychology and thwarted emotion, the cracking of nobility, the souring of sweetness, the energy and vigour of strong young manhood, serving his king, into a piece of seeming philosophy. Why ?
'All is but toys...' No doubt he would prefer to wish it so. In fact it is quite the contrary for him! It is because he has violated intensely valued morals and meanings that he can face meaning no more: but the meaning stays. Very well, it would seem that unconsciously he tries to exorcise guilt by visiting on a hitherto most meaningful and even enthralling world, a sense of his own detachment, by detaching it from him. There must be no eyes to see what he himself prefers not to look at. The universe had better be dead; he from this time feels himself so, and unwilling to be the underdog, seeks to dispel from it the nobility and potential, the wonder and the meaning which just before had thrilled in his heart.
But we cannot let the poor fellow do this. Let's look at his gasping. How can there be meanings found by any man, interpretations of any truth of all things, if man himself were meaningless ? Yet some like to assume this and then with a straight face declare what the meaning of things is - positively or negatively. Clever cogs to assess the plan.
Such idiotic action is able to be explained rather easily when, like Macbeth, people are in full flight from reality, sad as their plight is; and rather than feel condemned by it, would declare there is nothing there. Such words however reveal nothing, neither law nor logic, and give nothing, not even a basis for truth. Indeed, they remove any basis even for themselves
Thus Macbeth emptily faces what destroys him whilst his wife, Lady Macbeth finds insanity her refuge, followed by the biological suicide which Macbeth preceded with his own logical suicide, as seen in these lines. Poor Macbeth, if all were toys, all were relative, then there could be no absolute truth. If however this were so, nor could it be absolutely true that everything is relative. It destroys itself.
It bears repetition, because the ignoring of it is so repetitious in the spirit of this Age. This also makes it apposite to repeat something else that bears on the point with dramatic practicality here.
No view that begins with less than an absolute truth which is absolutely knowable, because absolutely personal and able to communicate, (you cannot bully God) ever manages to stand. It removes its own foundations even whilst a-building. Whilst this ensures there is plenty to do (philosophers keep up their works), it does not really get much done!
The Biblical perspective and pronouncements provide so keen an interpretive device as to render relatively easy, coherent, consistent constructions of the phenomena of life. And is this not one of the vital pre-requisites of any acceptable theory in science ? This element is of wider application; and as so often noted, where scientific method is applicable, Christian teaching excels absolutely in meeting its criteria.
If, then, people who construct an alien metaphysics, quite naturally tend to see themselves as forged by a matrix of meaninglessness and hence to feel, protest or assert that "all is meaningless", there is in their rebellious spirits something equally natural. It is that they as products of God, made able to relate to Him, should tend to feel that truth is somehow relevant to them, or in confusion assume they can or do in fact utter it - like a drunk far from home, who lies down in a gutter and thinks it is a bed!
'Here,' they say, 'is the meaning!'... and how often they seem to want to formulate such general themes at such times, as if nature demanded of them some explanation of their conduct, and they- they are blaming the world... Here, then, say they, is the meaning! But alas, in the morning, it is not there. (Cf. Proverbs 23:34.)
It is altogether too meaningful, for what is meaningless to grasp an absolutely right viewpoint that is 'not there' with a perspective that absolutely covers all contingencies and possibilities with a mind over all that is 'not there' and escaping the relativities that are there (on this basis), to tell them to their face where they fit and what they are. Any universe which so much as has an absolutely right viewpoint is already oriented, subordinated to systematic interrogation or absolute knowledge. Able to be viewed as one whole, correlative therefore to such visionary viewpoint, it is meaningfully inspectable. It is organised for inspection, hence subdued by mind, made meaningful in order.
Mentally pre-owned, it is subject to assessment. The prior category of meaning confers assessability, and actuality-assessability correlation.
To know this is either to be self-existently all-knowing, past interaction and limitation, to be God, or ... to know God who divulges it. If however God divulges it, He is both there and fulfilling a purpose in so doing. On the other hand, for a man to deny this, to think he is God, just knowing it of himself, when he is not- this too is most meaningful.
Its meaning then however is unspeakably sad. The finite has so lusted for the infinite, the derivative has so drooled for the eternal, the limited for the illimitable, the dependent for the independent, the subjective for the objective, the conformed for the unconformed, the unit for the counter and the relative for the absolute that it has turned itself in a relative system to the absolute that...'isn't there'. Founded on a 'non-existent' basis, it defines the basis. It has certainly more in the area of virtuosity than in virtue or rationality! Erected on a foundation, it kicks that out, and loftily lives in clouds, baseless while falling.
If God were not there, 'removed'- as indeed tried with Jesus Christ - none could grasp His function; and if He were there but unknown, His 'data' could not be known (*12) by telepsychoanalysis! It is hard to steal from your Maker, since you do not have either the capacity to do so, or to perform...
Let us put it otherwise. As to the very existence in a meaningless universe, of the objective category of meaning which of itself includes what meaning is, so that assessment in terms of it may be adequately carried out: it is a simple and flat contradiction in terms.
It has however been a very useful contradiction in terms, for it forces us to realise the preciousness of the knowledge of God. It is indispensable, and unattainable, non-duplicable beyond Himself, whilst yet utterable for apprehension... by those so placed... that they hear that without which, they cannot know Him. No man is known without some measure of self-revelation. Much more so is this so with the infinite God. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13.)
Lacking this, no wonder Macbeth languished; and there are many whose sufferings are not far from his.
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