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There is an interesting transformation that takes place when one marches out of the world of ideas and into the world of facts. Whereas, in the world of ideas it is quite easy to organize intelligent and sincere individuals into groups of broad agreement, when the transition is made to the world of facts the factions multiply and the disagreement begins.

There are obvious reasons for this. Those details harbor devils. What in theory goes almost without saying, can hardly be said in fact at all without eliciting outrage. This is the nature of things. We have a right to be puzzled by it.

The way that the mind understands things is by first identifying them as separate from everything that isn't them. When we gaze upon the world, when we touch the world, when we smell and taste the world, it appears to us in a relationship. It is first and foremost seen by us to be not us. It is next seen by us as not everything else. At this point it is safe to say that it is in fact something. What we can say for sure about it we say by describing its relationship to other things, the nuances of its not being like other things. This is primitive thinking.

At the foundation of our being is a desire to demonstrate our uniqueness. It is how we will find our way in the world, and how we will attract a mate in order to survive our own end. This has been an extremely effective strategy in nature, and as a consequence of its flourishing we are gifted today with the miraculous variety of life on the planet we inhabit. However, there is a deeply embedded trigger in humans that leads them to disagree before they understand. This trigger is likely nestled somewhere very near the faculty for differentiating ourselves from others.

These mechanisms, incubated in the arms of evolution, must be overcome in order for us to solve the problems we face. Overcome should not be misinterpreted to mean that they must cease to function at all. In that case we would all soon perish. No, in order for us to overcome them, they must in fact be perfected. In order for them to be perfected, we must become the master of them, the conductor of them, and the executor of them.

Above I implied that in observing the world we act on the world. It is just the opposite. When we observe the world we are in fact being bombarded by it. We are under assault from it. In this sense we are reactionary from our conception. We act on the world not by observing, but by reacting or by creating.

Creation is partly defined by its not being reactionary, but it too is born of observation. Creativity is an initial movement; it is not a reaction to something in the world. Creativity is a unique gift given to us as human beings. All beasts react, but only humans create. Creativity follows understanding. If we act after we observe, but before we understand, we react. If we act after we observe, and after we understand, then we create. Understanding cleanses us as if a baptism.

When we attempt to create, the world resists us. Creation is not the idea that we have; it is that idea after it has been resisted by the world into being. The stone carver does not create solely by having an idea or an impulse. That idea or impulse must meet the world and the world's resistance. It is the consequence in stone that is the creation of the stone's carver. The sculpture is an artifact of the sculptor's will having met resistance. It might also be said that all of creation is the will of god meeting resistance.

The danger today lies in the fact that those who have learned to resign themselves with great effect would commit a terrible sin if they did so now. Those who are too primitive to understand the simplest line of reasoning, are in no way prepared to compromise. Quite frankly, it is time for the wise among us to stand and fight. This is somewhat antithetical to our nature, and so it is unusual and often ill-advised.

The forces arrayed against us are not interested in reason, and they are not interested in reaching an agreement. They would prefer to sabotage the enterprise, and applaud its tormented demise, as opposed to seeing anything that resembles the success of their adversaries. This is the nature of this particular opposition.

Originally posted to epjmcginley on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:50 AM PDT.

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