Finding New Meaning

In a series of four talks titled "Finding New Meaning in a World Transformed by Magic" I come up with a new magic involving evolution to counter today's dominant magic, physical determinism. Please click the download button below, read, and give me your opinion. Be prepared, it will seem crackpot. But is it? 

Western mysticism? I give it a try

Discoveries in physical and biological sciences have advanced human knowledge far beyond that available to ancient mystics. But where's the wisdom? It's there, you just have to approach that knowledge differently. The key is to limit one's view to ways reason and science can enrich consciousness in the course of a contemporary human lifetime. I've composed a series of four class scripts for a course in which I identify wisdom already implicit in science and reason, and use it to plot a new meaning in life. The course culminates in the development of practices by which that wisdom can be applied to continually enrich consciousness.

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There's matter. And there's genomes.

There's this site, for coming up with new theories of evolution. And there's my own pet theory. Please distinguish between the two.

My own pet theory is reducing to this: in the context of a contemporary human lifetime, there are two kinds of stuff. There's non-living matter. And there are genomes and the creatures they make and manage. Matter is as science reports it: describable in mathmatical terms, inert and predictable. Genomes are matter that's evolved to be conscious and intelligent. Living creatures they can make conscious and intelligent too. Consciousness and intelligence defy analysis in terms of science and maths. They can be studied only through intuition--a combination of consciousness and intelligence (see my review of Bergson).

Where do angels and demons lie? In the genome. Where do good and evil lie? In the genome. Where is the experience of orgasm specified? In the genome. Where do religions originate? In the genome. Where can we look for meaning? In the genome.

In the context of a contemporary human lifetime matter is well enough understood. What we most need to learn about is how consciousness and intelligence evolved. That is where almost all mystery and romance lie. That is what we most need to approach through new institutions of study and appreciation. 

My own "Re-thinking..." a classic text!

How can I have the nerve to put my own book atop this site's list of classic texts? Because it demonstrates how the meaning of us having evolved may be probed through what Henri Bergson called "intuition." Bergson sensed intuition to be a source of profound wisdom about self and life that we had evolved in us, that he experienced occasionally breaking through into consciousness. "Re-thinking..." attempts to harness intuition through an alternation of essays and stories, each essay raising a question that the following story explores. More...

Origins of our ideas about evolution

To identify in the Ancient World the traditions leading up to the classic texts reviewed on this site I've come up with my own lay-person’s top-of-head gloss on the subject. I trace those traditions back to our evolved capabilities. This should be an integral part of our study of evolution, how these capacities evolved in us perhaps only a dozen or so centuries ago. More...

Bergson's "Creative Evolution"

Sampling Bergson many years ago I found his writing impossibly flowery and obscure. Reading him now I realize I have since then become a Bergsonist. He now strikes me as the thinker most relevant to the mission of this site: coming up with alternatives to science as windows onto the meaning of evolution. His primary concern is how best to think about evolution. Of the ways available to us he settles on two: our rational intelligence, and intuition. He devotes the book almost entirely to telling us why, if we limit ourselves to rational intelligence, we’re bound to fail, and why intuition is the better choice. More...