I found a reference to Bill that you made [here]. Thank you for sharing the tribute about him as well. He sounds like a really interesting person. I’m often more than a little amazed at the number of wonderful people, who have given me the honor of even learning my name. Bill sounds like one of that kind.
I think your points about measurement and subject-hood1 are correct. After spending most of my time relying on the fuzzy sciences, particularly psychology, information sciences related to working with humans2, and then in the fuzzy non-sciences of language and literature, I’ve worked with plenty of attempts to quantify the unquantifiable. We may be able to quantify our observations to a point, and describe patterns. But to actually measure – what? Our observations don’t get to the subject-hood under the surface of the observable. Howard Gardner’s (Howard Gardner - Wikipedia) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - Wikipedia) helpful research in multiple intellegences and flow (respectively) are some examples I’ve dealt with. So much useful information, but gathered from “subjective” subjects. Is it research? Well, yes. But it is not like measuring “stuff.”
And even, if subject-hood were measurable, what would those measurements tell us? I expect, we would find out that the tools available are not going to tell us what we hope to learn.
I’ve been eavesdropping at times, while you and @mervin_bitikofer have spoken before regarding consciousness, and I need to go back to those discussions and rereread them. This is obiously an important concept in your thinking, and foreign one to me. However your points about a winding down bang, tuning, watchmaker-type being tinkering make sense to me.3 Honestly, as far as the material is concerned, I find Klax’s description of an eternally cycling/processing universe (or multiverse) taking infinite shots on goal in the development of life far more aesthetically pleasing, which really has nothing to do with anything, I guess. But having stepped away from a literal reading of Genesis, I see nothing preventing the possibility. But I wasn’t there! Like you, however, I can’t accept the loneliness of mere Stoff. The presense of a creator God in that picture is necessary for me, as consciousness seems to be for you.
Thanks for adding your discussion of Campbell, Hillman and Jung, and spirituality and soul. Actually, some of this sounds familiar, I think from some of the femininst criticism I read many, many years ago, but I lacked the background to recognize the connection. That was a time of great soulish anguish for me, which would have been lessened if the categories I had to jump were not so clearly defined and guarded. It took years to recover a sense of balance, but I’m sure I acheived some of that through some forms of escapism myself. Setting some things aside was preferable to metaphorical schizophrenia.
I do want to return to your description of “an all powerful, timeless being did some quick adjustments to keep the possibility of us afloat.” You are welcome to stick with the description, but I find it a bit of a strawman. I’m going to pull in some ideas that I’ve encountered elsewhere, that make sense to me. I hope you find it at least worth consideration.
I make stuff. I can’t help it. I do it all the time.
Yesterday, I wound into balls some wool I had bought recently, because I liked the colors in it and the feel of it. The tiny slubs wound into the otherwise smoothly plied wool in radiant shades of my oak and maple and birch trees. What will it be? I really don’t know. Eventually, it will tell me. We will work back and forth, trying rows of stitches to see how the colors behave and what fabric it yields. What structures will work with this? How to show these colors so others see what I see, when it comes from the needles in my hands, so it expresses what I feel in my mind?
The process is joyful work. It will never be until I make it. The Stoff will just remain Stoff. The other yarn in the trunk that is still unformed is still just Stoff and remain so, until we spend a lot more time together. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether the yarns become something other than Stoff, but when they do, the process and product and giving are a joy.
I’d like to propose that there is a maker who makes what is for the pure joy of it and the delight of making something that will eventually lead to living things (as well as many, many other things) in which that maker can delight, and who can delight in the maker. I am proposing that what is is made as an expression of joy and love, as well as an object of joy and love, and capable of spreading that joy and love. The making wasn’t necessary or even useful. But yet…
Footnotes (OH JOY!)
1I will be adopting and plagerizing this term from now on.
2The LIS folks who work with things go into tech services and shake their heads at the rest of us. Many of them are more akin to serious computer scientists, rather than the stereotypical “librarian.” A very special few, such as my colleague, the incomparable TW, incorporate the very best of all human qualities. Such people are a pecurliar joy to work with.
3This causes me to request an alternative number be created between 3 and 5, after noting hints of fine-tuning and intellegent design, both of which I find uncompelling, in the description of choice number 4 at the beginning of this thread.