Monday, December 7, 2015

Common Christian Error: Low-Status Simulacra & Evidence Appreciation

There's a philosophy-adjacent part of Christianity, where they identify god as Logos, meaning the true word or true speaking. Philosophy can hardly disagree with putting the true word in the highest possible place.

The problem is that simulacra are part of Logos.
"The closed media environments of the Mystical Body of anti-Christ, on the other hand, simulate the world, replacing the sacred with the simulacral and the incorporeal with the merely virtual."
While there's indeed an error very close to here, rightscholarship is only repeating it. This error is fatal - it makes it impossible to grasp Logos as it truly is. In the short term there are no symptoms, but the deeper the thinker tries to push their understanding, the more the cancer will spread.

Virtual per se don't real. Electronic images are themselves real things. 'Virtual' things are incorporated by normal physical processes. Simulacra are aspects of cosmos, of order, of truth. Even outright lies are, in and of themselves, sacred. (Though admittedly I'm not fully comfortable with calling a non-deception a 'lie,' I'm not sure what else to call it. Novels are a more fitting example but introduce complications.)

A doll is itself a real, physical object. It is true that it appears similar to a human. It is also true that it is made of clay. A 'virtual' world is a real image that really appears similar to a physical landscape, that reminds us so strongly of real or possible events that it can communicate a story.

"I flew to the mall today." It is true that I've stated such. There are further truths in the details - the portrayal has aerial aspects. To transmit it to you I must submit to the laws of physics.

The error in virtual-ness only appears in a relative, inside sense - inside the mind. The lie can only be harmful if you believe it. If you take the appearance relation as an identity relation.

Which is exactly what Christians do when they take the appearance of virtuality as actual virtuality. It is only in the lost Christian's mind that a world is 'simulated.' In reality, there are only images, only patterns of light or sound, the similar appearance of a world, fully embedded in, fully consistent with, and fully dependent on physics, on cosmos.

More specifically, the error is taking evidence as being more convincing than is warranted. The primary sinner when a lie is believed is the gullible 'victim.' If I told you about my mall flight absent a disclaimer, you still shouldn't believe me, because you could and should have known ahead of time that this class of utterances is unreliable. By demonstration, the mark's epistemology is flawed. The liar merely exploits the pre-existing sin. The difference between "I have seen a virtual world," and "I have seen an image which appeared to be a world," is the difference between sin and virtue.

Hopefully one of the ways I've said it has made it clear. I will not assume so, here's another: appreciate the difference between, "Alrenous flew to the mall today," and "I heard Alrenous say they flew to the mall today."

Using the latter, not the former, is critical to appreciating the world as it actually is.

That said it is possible to use 'virtual' to mean 'the appearance of, exactly as above. However, when you do, you realize 'virtual' and 'incorporeal' are not opposites, and this realization is obvious in the use of prose.

Instead of saying nothing is virtual, one can also say everything is virtual. I do not see a rock. I see the appearance of a rock, and infer the existence of the rock. I do not know that I did not fly today - I know I cannot remember being airborne at any point. Splitting evidence and inference is vital. With this split, it becomes automatic to make one's beliefs about the external world provisional. I believe a rock is there not 'because it's true' but because of that inference. Or rather, what I believe is now that I inferred a rock is there, not that a rock truly is there. Due to this shift, I cannot be mistaken.

Let me repeat those key words: cannot be mistaken. I have stopped holding beliefs that are falliable. Nonetheless, I am able to function normally. Though certainly I change my inferences from time to time.

I cannot be mistaken about what I think I've seen, by law of identity. I cannot be mistaken about what I think I've inferred, by same. I cannot be mistaken about what I think the outcome of my reaction was. And that's good enough.

I do drop all the qualifiers normally. They're cumbersome. However, it is vital to remember all the qualifiers in thought at all times. I can live as normal - make and drink delicious tea. Or rather, I can create the appearance of making tea, and I predict you would agree you have also witnessed this appearance. You might even enjoy a cup yourself, or rather, I might witness the appearance of you enjoying a cup.

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