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6105RE: Re: [neoplatonism] RE: Re: Relativity and Neoplatonism (Mether vs. Chase, III)

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  • robert_tkoch
    Nov 1 7:04 PM
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      Hello Michael,

      When you said --- "Seriously, though: I have never understood the argument 'God doesn't know
       what time it is now'," --- I saw that I didn't understand it either. Nor do I understand the many multiplicities stated on this thread so far. 

      As this is a forum about Neoplatonic thought, it seems to me that we should try to follow Plotinus in his soulful and soul-ward direction, as he simplifies and clarifies in unraveling everything back to the One.

      Since the most one-like thing that I know is the I of myself, I ought to begin with keeping to that I, and not getting lost in projected concepts outside of that I.

      If God is the One who is the first and only I, then all of these lesser I-s --- ourselves --- must be and do as he does, relative to our understanding of this innate identity. And since God must not says things like, "Well, I really do not know; maybe the truth is here, or there, or unreachable, or perhaps to be found in a minute analysis of the relativistic multiplicities of previously-created but presently-unknowable points of view, or perhaps some authority whom I do not understand has stated something that might be relevant if I only do some more research on it," then it must be so that God simply states, and it is, and it is true insofar as God is nothing but true. And the same, on a small level, must be for ourselves.

      So I think that God does know what time it is, and he knows it through my knowing, just as it is, a minor, limited thing. And then again, he knows more, but this can never impute a non-knowing of what I know, for he includes me and all others too.



      ---In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      Well, looks like I'm really up against it now. I have against me not only
      a member of the august CNRS, but also a thickly-accented physicist from
      Atlanta! Perhaps I should just give up now...

      Seriously, though: I have never understood the argument "God doesn't know
      what time it is now", although it has been advanced by people as brilliant
      and knowledgable as Richard Sorabji. My answer to the question "does God
      know what time it is now" is that the question is badly framed, because
      the "now" in question is the now of human temporal perspective, which,
      from the perspective of God - that is, of objective truth - presupposes
      the division into past, present and future. From the viewpoint of the
      Neoplatonists and -
      -of Special Relativity as well - this division is an *illusion*, and so,
      therefore, is the 'now" of human temporal perspective. If the real state
      of affairs is that all spacetime events are stretched out along a line and
      exist simultaneously, then there's no place for the "now", except insofar
      as it corresponds, as it does in God's/the One's perspective, precisely to
      the simultaneous co-existence of all these events.

      If the division into past, present and future is in fact an illusion, then
      God has no business knowing it, anymore than he "knows" that a stick
      immersed in water is bent. What He *does* know, by contrast, is that the
      stick *looks bent to me*. Likewise, although the division into past,
      present and future is illusory and therefore so is the notion of some
      punctiform 'now" corresponding to each person's (illusory) itinerary from
      the past, through the present and into the future, there's nothing to
      prevent God knowing *what looks/seems to be happening now to me*.
      Similarly, there can be no one individual now in relativity, since what
      events are contemporary between me and a distant observer depends on
      whether we are in motion relative to one another. Yet it is easily for a
      relativist to calculate what *will seem to me to be happening* at the same
      instant as *what seems to be happening to Thomas*, given the specification
      of our locations and sates of motion.

      I'm sure this idea is faulty/deficient/incorrect is some way, but I'm
      still waiting for someone to tell me why, utilizing something other than
      anecdotes and arguments from (sometimes dubious) authorities.

      Cheers, MC

      > PS, I should have added the myt

      hic typology of time is another layer. That
      > religions fundamental orientation to existence (their tacit metaphysics)
      > is defined by their "imagining of the shape of time" (Corbin) such as
      > "eternal return" where the past is normative (Eliade) or "apocalyptic"
      > where future undermines, questions, challenges the 'eternal return' (Cohn)
      > -- also see Paul Ricoeur's Symbolism of Evil, Merold Westphal's God,
      > Guilt, and Death: An Existentialist Phenomenological Philosophy of
      > Religion.
      > Interestingly, the mythic typologies are leaking into the other
      > discussions apart from me. I just assumed people here were aware of the
      > facets of the issue. So three layers of issues,
      > 1. divine omniscience, eternity, time, and what time is it *now*?
      > 2. relativity theory (the literature of contemporary physicalist
      > philosophers and philosophers of time is fairly extensive and easy to
      > find for those researching it on how this makes omniscience impossible
      > since there is no universal simultaneous point of view of the all on this
      > view).
      > 3. Mythic views of the shape of time.
      > How 2 got into this is due to a paper Mike gave (comparing modern views
      > of cosmogenesis in time and Neoplatonist views) with a physicist shaking
      > his head and saying over beer in Atlanta it was "garbage". Mike had just
      > bought me a beer but I was drawn into why a physicist was attending a
      > Neoplatonist conference while scoffing in disapproval at a paper. He
      > said, "this person (Mike) counts time periods of cosmogensis as if these
      > time periods exist at once, everywhere, at the same time. There is no
      > such thing according to relativity. He takes false descriptions for
      > layman as verbatim. This is extremely naive. At once and at the same time
      > is only within a single and relative frame of reference that is not
      > universal." I asked him, "so are you saying there is no universal *now*
      > that is the *now* of the Big Bang?" He said, "no." He had a thick Polish
      > or Ukrainian accent and left when some woman came up to draw him out to a
      > meal. This was at the ISNS Conference in Atlanta. Thomas
      > ---In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
      > Jonathon,
      > I admit that maybe too many issues have been combined. For me, relativity
      > is really a secondary issue dependent on how the first issue -- divine
      > knowledge of what time is it *now* -- is answered. It may also depend on
      > whether what special relativity means by time is time and what general
      > relativity means by gravity is gravity. In SPR, Einstein defines time as
      > clocks. In General Relativity, he defines gravity not as a force but as a
      > geometric property of space-time. Yet, quantum theorists claim they have
      > to treat that as an instrumental metaphor and not as reality.
      > But the discussion might be clearer, contrary to my earlier attempt to
      > deal with too many issues at one, with just the first one. If some /any
      > kind of divine omniscience does not know what time it is *now* (which
      > requires incorporating some sense of temporal location, finitude), it is
      > not omniscient and less intelligent than an ordinary human being. But if
      > we say divine omniscience DOES know what time it is *now*, the argument
      > is it must possess properties that pagan and Christian Neoplatonism fails
      > to account for. And if I must confess my first encounter with the
      > problem, it is Duns Scotus' and his intellectual heirs raising the
      > problem with Aquinas' treatment of divine omniscience, eternity, and
      > time. I provided in an earlier and recent post the citation to the text
      > that starts it all. Thomas

      Michael Chase
      CNRS UPR 76
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