re [2]: What is "New Age"?

Mark Crosby (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 12:51:12 -0700 (PDT)

Mark Grant wrote:
<I'm not so sure that this [renouncing the illusion of separateness]
is incorrect. If we're right that the human brain can be uploaded to a
computer, then what we see as consciousness is merely a state in the
machine; an emergent property of the network. If we don't have souls
then in some sense all consciousness *is* linked because it's all the
same process.>

"In some sense", yes. But I think, like you say, itís an emergent
process; IOW: "Out of many, One".

Michael Butler wrote:
< What we have here is burgeoning awareness that "self and other"
*may* be as big a fantasy as "soul and meat". Dualisms are funny

Like I quoted from Peat in the first post: "the animating power of the
world arises within movement of dualities." And I think it was
Gregory Bateson who said: "it takes two somethings to make a
difference." So, I prefer trinities (the Hegelian type, not the
Christian type ;-) to simple dualisms (see Ruckerís _Mind Tools_), as
in there being three levels to reality: content, context and contest,
each of which is distinct from, but relies on, the others. Put
another way, we have agents, environments and interactions (contests
between them); and, you canít have any one of these pieces without the
other. So, everything is certainly linked as Mark says; but, that
doesnít mean itís not necessary to distinguish between them.

Funny, I was just reading Mark Miller & Eric Drexlerís (1988) "Markets
and Computation: Agoric Open Systems"
( this
morning, and what they say about objects seems relevant to the point
Iím trying to make:

<Encapsulation of information ensures that one object cannot directly
read or tamper with the contents of another; communication enables
objects to exchange information by mutual consent. The encapsulation
and communication of access ensures that communication rights are
similarly controlled and transferable only by mutual consent. [SNIP]

The command model has frequently been considered more "rational",
since it involves the visible application of reason to the economic
problem as a whole. Alternatives have frequently been considered
irrational and an invitation to chaos. This viewpoint, however, smacks
of the creationist fallacy - it assumes that a coherent result
requires a guiding plan. In actuality, decentralized planning is
potentially more rational, since it involves more minds taking into
account more total information. [SNIP]

To combat this problem, modern object-oriented programming (to
paraphrase [Hayek]) "secures to each object a known space within which
it can decide on its actions, enabling the programmer to make the
fullest use of his knowledge. Encapsulation tells him what facts he
may count on and thereby extends the range within which he can predict
the consequences of his actions". In short, motivated by the need for
decentralized planning and division of labor, computer science has
reinvented the notion of property rights.>

This is why I think we need many individuals and selves, rather than
some Great Borganism, in order to create an extropian multiverse
rather than an entropian universe headed for collapse.

I said: This [LILA model] sounds no different to me from the Christian
Apocalypse & Resurrection.

And Michael noted:
<As G. Spencer Brown said, the symbol = may be taken to mean "is
confused with".>

I mistakenly posted an earlier version of what I wrote (working on
multiple systems can be confusing ;-). My final version of that
statement said: This sounds to me too much like the Christian Original
Sin, Apocalypse and Resurrection.

My point about these "New Age" notions of unity (particularly LILA) is
that, instead of "Out of Many, One", they want to say, "Out of One,
Many; SO, back to One". This is a Big Bang to Big Crunch scenario
and, IMHO, it is Creationist; and, this yearning to "return to the
One" is a desire to dissolve into the primal soup, an abdication of
individual responsibility for carrying on the creation.

I havenít read G. Spenser-Brown, but I did take these notes from F.
David Peatís discussion of him in _Synchronicity_:

< Next, Peat's explores "the work of the logician and mathematician
G.Spenser-Brown ... a rather enigmatic figure who first came to the
attention of the aging Bertrand Russell in 1965.... 'Laws of Form'
takes as its origin a basic act of distinction ... once an active
observer or a creative act of perception, is admitted into this void,
then it becomes possible to draw the first distinction ... [which]
allows a movement to begin ... A particularly interesting feature of
this logic is that it is capable of generating expressions that begin
to refer to themselves ... Spenser-Brown's re-entrant forms are in
fact self-generating expressions that are capable of perpetuating
themselves indefinitely." Peat goes on to explain the importance of
context to this Hegelian dialectic; but, he imparts too much
significance to the initial creative 'big bang' and not enough to the
ongoing adaptive process that is thus generated.

02/11/96. And so, as "Synchronicity" wraps up, Peat curls himself into
a sort of fetal position, seeking to return to the womb in a sense, by
emphasizing the origin, "the pure, unconditioned perception," what he
and the mystics call "the stillness", rather than the 'noisy', ongoing
"creative unfolding ... able to respond to an ever-changing context." >

Mark Crosby

P.S. re Rick Knight's latest response (read after writing the above):

<Frankly, thinking too much and too often makes me rather tired and
despondent. That's why I perceive it important to keep balance,
breathe in and exhale out. Quest then rest.>

Nothing wrong with that! That's just balance between Being and
Becoming. (I don't mean to be a "rigid fundie" about any of this ;-)

I can't resist one more excerpt from my notes that addresses this:

<[Peat] confuses Being and Becoming: "The major barriers to a creative
transformation of consciousness are the attachments of the self, which
give rise to the mechanical order of becoming in which the more subtle
and faster movements of nature are lost." This is backwards! Being is
mechanical and static [or, at least, restful and neutral ;-] .
Becoming is creative and dynamic. [snip] In lamenting the
fragmentation of science, the alienation of the individual and the
decay of civility, he sets up myths that are only true from a limited
perspective that is preoccupied with the present. His "better notion
of an intense and vibrant stillness" is little different from the
fashionable notion of "holism" he decries which "suggests a self that
becomes immersed in a warm bath of mindless gravy."

In the end though, it is merely a matter of semantics and taste that
distinguishes my view from Peat's because he concludes: "Eternity does
not exist outside the self ... to die to the self does not mean to
sacrifice all identity or freedom of action in the explicate world.
Rather it suggests a dying of attachments to rigid, fixed forms and an
unfolding of sequential time into its wider [fractal] order.... So the
dissolution of fragmentation does not imply the abandonment of all
distinctions and categories; rather, it suggests that distinctions are
constantly being created, modified and ended in harmony with the
general movement of reality." If that is not a description of eternal
Becoming rather than the static Being of the mystic then I must have
my meanings plugged in wrong!>

Sent by RocketMail. Get your free e-mail at