Welcome to the Updated Alpheus

It is time for this web site to get upgraded, both in form and in content. The form of the new site is based on the WordPress blog template and content-wise the shift is from an esoteric-occult Theosophical view towards a more philosophical, skeptical and scientific view.

The opening blogs will be the article titled “The Jaynesian Paradigm and Beyond“, which presents the very fruitful definition of consciousness by psychologist Julian Jaynes, and the review of a little anti-conspiracy video, “The Perks of Paranoia“, in which critical review the evolutionary logic of conspiracy theorizing is laid out. Later I will share the idea, which can only be termed the mother of all reductions, of how the second law of thermodynamics might be the ultimate driver of all physical order, organic life and maybe even consciousness in the universe. For the rationale of these changes, please read further below.

Theosophy

Two years ago I announced the suspension of all the esoteric Theosophical assumptions on which the web site was based, because I found them wanting. This was the conclusion of a long-drawn process of research and reflection. I hope to share in the future some of its relevant components and the logic of the gestalt-switch they triggered. This does not mean I went from an axiomatic esoteric view to an axiomatic materialist view. Many subtle versions in between are possible with room for paranormal phenomena, intelligent design, Sheldrake’s hypothesis of morphogenesis or the refutation of any of these as pseudo-scientific. What will come to the fore is a thinking more along the lines of the evolutionary paradigm and its applications in psychology and sociology.

Phenomenology

At the same time a few elements seem to stay constant. First, because of its metaphysical neutrality, the fruitfulness of phenomenological philosophy has in my eyes not diminished. The structures and dynamics of consciousness, in their careful analysis by phenomenology, can be interpreted both as belonging to an eternalistic spirit or as belonging to an evolved organic structure, which has acquired such characteristics in the evolutionary process. In the first case one could name it a spiritualized phenomenology, and in the second, a naturalized phenomenology. Phenomenology could in principle not object to that, though is still in a good position to refute simplistic or dogmatic interpretations of its findings. Initially I used phenomenology to defend religious and mystical experiences from materialist-reductionist interpretations and tried to point out its relevance for esotericism, but now I am more interested in a carefully naturalized version of phenomenology in which the value and function of such experiences are understood within the evolutionary paradigm.

Krishnamurti

A second theme that keeps running through my considerations is the still very interesting phenomenon of the life and teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti. I am still contemplating the why and how of my shifts in evaluating him, going from a Krishnamurti purist, to severely criticizing his metaphysical status on Theosophical grounds, to now inching my way to a position which I first thought was incongruous, which is the idea that the Theosophical world teacher project with Krishnamurti was not genuine, but in a counter-intuitive manner still quite successful. It can be argued, and I will do so, that the atheist, anti-esotericist, iconoclast Krishnamurti did attain a secular form of enlightenment comparable to other world teachers–after proper de-mythologization–like Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus of Nazareth.

History and Civilization

A third theme is the nature of history and the logic of the rise and fall of civilizations. Within the framework of the philosopher of history Arnold Toynbee I did for a while, and reluctantly, see the possibility of a future civilization based on the Krishnamurti phenomenon and thought that academia should have a look at the Krishnamurti movement as a new civilization in its very early stage of formation. I did not explicitly made the case because I did not think I had done enough spade work in the subject matter and because I felt that such attention from academia might distort the phenomenon investigated. Not that I thought I would be instrumental in triggering such interest, but because of the methodological problematic in the social sciences that investigated subjects might start behaving differently when they are aware that they are the focus of a study and that social scientists themselves, for different reasons, might be influenced by their subjects. At this moment I am a little more enthusiastic about the value and prospects of what I sometimes, and by absence of a better term, teasingly call Krishnamurtianity and think it will be overall intellectually robust enough not to be swayed too much by academic attention.

Conspiratology

Lastly, the whole problematic covered by the terms of geopolitics, parapolitics, conspiracy theory and conspiricism will get ample and ongoing attention, but now from the evolutionary understanding of the tactical and strategic functions of deception and deception detection, instead of the transcendental view of politics as the chess board on which unwitting, semi-conscious or fully participative, worldly subjects play out a grand struggle between good and evil, which had its origins in a meta-empirical realm where its angelic and demonic denizens made epic life choices. As is the case with most myths and religions, they are a mixed bag of beneficial and destructive aspects which have been selected for their relative functionality, but are intrinsically not true. I think mankind is better served with a mature conspiratology, not based on myths, but on a sophisticated, empirical understanding of the functions of deception and deception detection within the framework of the evolutionary struggle over scarce resources between and within species. Likewise with our understanding of the genesis of morality and politics in general. Morality and politics are much more likely the contingent product of evolutionary pressures to deal with conflicts of interests in order to promote mutually beneficial ways of living together, than they are the more or less distorted refractions of transcendental and eternalistic standards of good and evil. The origin of morality can maybe be better understood as the further evolutionary development (and later deliberative extension) of the proto-moral systems observed in non-human primates like the great apes who display behaviors which can only be termed–without anthropomorphizing too much–like conflict management through intervention, punishment, mediation and reconciliation; resource redistribution through food sharing and food for sex exchanges; and even behavior indicating empathy and sympathy.

In Short

My worldview is in transition from a transcendentalist one to a more scientific one, especially the evolutionary paradigm, though my preference for phenomenological methodology has not changed, nor my interest in Krishnamurti, history and politics.