Studying languages in college I came across Noam Chomsky’s famous sentence “colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. His point was to show that native speakers of a language can tell whether or not a sentence conforms to rules of grammar regardless of whether or not the sentence has meaning.
One of the many inspirations leading to the epiphany of Rational Existence was the grammar Chomsky devised. Being multilingual I see all the time how sentence structure conforms, not to any strict rules of meaning or logical order, but rather to convention. Once we are used to a grammatical construction we use it. To deviate from the accepted form is readily noted. Chomsky asserted the grammatical construction is innately recognized, I say we are innately compelled to see order, and all humanity is able to see it as part of the human condition. We see order in a grammatical construction, and from that order we devise a grammar which is enforced, reified, and shown to be accepted by our abilty to recognize when it is misused.
Recognizing order and creating conceptuality is an innately to human action. We cannot be human and not recognize a grammar by its use or misuse, a rule by its application or misapplication, justice, truth, all manner of ideal, virtue and inspiration. We see and understand the best of all we can understand, not as a goal or inspiration, but rather as something better than the rest of what we do, something more important, more worthy. We separate that sort of conceptuality, the ideal, virtue, inspiration and such as spiritual.
And without to potentiality of adding to human RE we are no longer human. And using, influencing, adding to and making our own the order around us makes up the rational beings we are. Our physical nature is superceded, we are non-physical or rational beings almost exclusively.
According to my theory of Rational Existence order is what we see innately. It is the defining trait of humanity. Without seeing, using, communicating and actively adding to and adopting from the order around us we are no longer human. And humans devise methods to keep everything in some sort of order. Hence we separate the physical from the spiritual. But is that really such a useful dichotemy?
The sages of old knew all of this. They wrote, sang, instilled in us a sense of wonder and spirituality, of belonging, of mystery. We recognized the truth in their ideas, but did not make the connection they made. We recognized their power, their understanding, and saw wisdom and inspiration in their words, and all this we call “spiritual”. We are spiritual, but what the heck does that mean?
It means, plainly, that we reside in a world of our own construct that does not exist physically. We use our physical surroundings to construct and live within a world of ideas, words, names, concepts, models, not physical objects. And further it means that we recognize that the best, the most lofty, most sought after and worthiest of goals is that of virtue, justice, mercy, perfection and wonder. We live in a non-physical world, but our goal given us by our sages of old is virtue.
I draw a distinction between the physical object and the name it is called. Once a thing has a name it is no longer physical, it is in the realm of ideas, concepts and has no physical existence beyond that existence of its name. That name exists physically as vibrating molecules if it is vocal or ink on paper, wether that ink and paper is analog or digital.
Obviously I am not denying the existence of a physical world, only pointing out that our lives, our existence, is conceptual. We make a rational existence from the physical, and without our rational existence the physical might as well not exist. Without a concept to explain or communicate or identify it may as well not exist at all.
God Himself is such a Concept. If we can define Him as something identifiable and useful then He can be the Author of all the conceptuality that exists, the very Epitome of the rational, the Quintessence of the concept, the Owner of existence as we know exitence (rationally). He is the Higher Order conceptuality that we can never quite reach, but we know it exists, as our own conceptuality exists. His existence make our existence possible.
There is nothing imaginary or mystical about the existence of ideal objects. Justice, truth, or the idea of a quintessence of concepts are perfectly explainable and usable ideas. Do they exist? Where? Can you point to a quintessence? If not, then it should be reasonable to assume that it’s existence is not physical, tangible, concrete. Why not call that existence spiritual? Why not metaphysical or imaginary? Well, the reason I don’t use those words is because it invites misunderstanding of what I am saying.
It is my long-held conviction that the sages of old were misunderstood when we used their words to create metaphysics, spirit worlds, pergatories and the like. They knew, and tried their best to impart to us the simple truth that our world is rational, not physical, but we missed it.
Copyright Kent Johnson, 2011