Response to a Young Christian Concerned with the Loss of Meaning and Essence

This is a response to a Twitter conversation concerning metaphysics and authenticity that was too long to post there:

It’s interesting that we are looking at the same problem but from different perspectives. In such situations it’s sometimes possible for each to learn from the other. The problem in focus here is the loss of meaning and disconnection from the authentic. Here is how that problem appears from my path:

As humans we have two innate and essential modes of being: technological and esthetic. The technological mode enables our survival and the esthetic mode provides our motive to survive. When in balance, we experience our primordial connection to the world and live somewhat harmoniously. We have been out of balance for so long we forgot about the essence of our nature and the world we inhabit. We lost our connection to the essence of Being when we surrendered it to an imaginary transcendent metaphysics. This metaphysics misconceived Being as static and rational, and unavailable to experience as it resides beyond in an immaterial realm. This left technology an open field for dominion; rendering everything in the sensible world as objects for our manipulation – material devoid of essence under our rational control. Stripped of its worth which we lost to the imaginary realm of ideas. Under this hegemony of technology, the esthetic comes as a bit of an embarrassment, humbled by the triumphs of reason and the technical.

There was a time when humanity worked the earth in an integral partnership, with respect and appreciation of its essence interconnected to ours. That has been lost to technicalization, where both land and labor are reduced to objects, commodities, by capitalist corporatism or the socialist state. We no longer stand in any authentic relationship to that which enables our existence, and this loss reduces worth to mere cost.

The problem, however, isn’t technology but our esthetic loss which is the only means of grounding technology and ourselves. Until metaphysics disappears from our modes of thinking, this problem remains unsolvable.

A fatal metaphysical error was to imagine Being as rationally simple and unchanging, thereby blocking our appreciation of a mysteriously manifold world of infinite becoming, but – and this is the critical point – becoming only within the possibilities inherent in the manifold essence of Being itself. Much as the phenomenal world is constantly in flux, but possibilities confined to the superpositional events available to determination at wave collapse. We evolve only within the possibilities resident in our DNA, but DNA thought wholistically.

We are closer to the determination of our essence as it manifested following the formation of agricultural civilization because we still have a hint of memory from that. And yet reside in such a world. And it is within that memory that we have the most immediate path to the remembrance of Being itself. But there is far more to our essence than we can imagine, and that forms the basis for future evolution. The essence of Being is not static but eternally playing out its possibilities and we are in no position to categorically rule out extreme changes in the future. What determines our possible authentic relationship to the essence of the world today will be different tomorrow. The key to our survival is not to reject change, but the more urgent need to reconnect the technological and esthetic.

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