Thursday, April 26, 2018

Equipresence Versus Holy Lands

          Equipresence Versus Holy Lands

For this essay, let us define two quantifiers for logic: “variable” and “constant”. For any property P, say that
“P is variable” 
=  “Some but not all things have property P”
          = “P differs between some two things”
“P is constant”
           =  “All or no things have property P”
          =   “P is equally true for all things”

          The science-fiction writer Robert Anton Wilson advocated the use of some-but-not-all, as an antidote to stereotypical thinking; and he pronounced it “sumbunall”. Its formal negation, all-or-no, I advocate as an aid to principled thinking; and I pronounce it “ollerno”.

I think ollerno and sumbunall are overlooked and underestimated. I think that one can express serious insights in terms of ollerno and sumbunall, ones not easily denoted without them.

For instance: consider the concept of a Holy Land. For this phrase to bear non-zero information, there must be some land that is holy, and some land that is not holy. Sumbunall! What follows of course is an argument as to which lands are holy, and which aren’t. But if you reject that argument, then you reject its sumbunall premise, and should therefore affirm the opposite of “sumbunall lands are holy”; namely “ollerno lands are holy”.

“All or no lands are holy”: equivalently, “All lands are equally holy”. This is equivalent to “God is present everywhere or nowhere”, i.e. “God is equally present everywhere”. Call the property of being present everywhere or nowhere “equipresence”. The equipresence of God implies that any land is just as holy as any other.

Divine equipresence appeals to both theists and atheists, for opposite reasons. Taken as an ambiguous balance, it appeals to agnostics. It does not appeal to theocrats, who have an institutional need for some lands to be holier than others. Equipresence is anti-theocratic.

          The opposite of equipresence is varipresence; the property of being present some places but not all. I am varipresent; so are you; and according to theocrats, so is God.

          What other equiproperties might one attribute to God? How about power, knowledge and compassion?

          To say that God is equipotent is to say that God has all power, or no power.

          To say that God is equiscient is to say that God knows everything or nothing.

          To say that God is equicompassionate is to say that God loves everyone or no-one.

          Both theist and atheist can agree that God is equipotent, equiscient, and equicompassionate; though for opposite reasons.

          Their opposites are varipotence, variscience, and varicompassion. I have all these attributes, as do you. Theocrats tend to assign at least one of these attributes to God, usually varicompassion. 

One needn’t cite God to find equiscience. At the start of every semester, I tell the students in my classes that I will run review sessions for each chapter of the book; and during those sessions they may ask any questions about that chapter; and that I welcome all questions; and that the only thing that I do not want to hear during question-time is silence. “Because if you have no questions, then you know either everything or nothing, and in neither case can I teach you anything!” Equiscience vs. pedagogy.

          Here is an Equipresence Troika:

Moe: “God is present nowhere.”
Curly: “God is present everywhere.”
Larry: “God is present somewhere, but not everywhere.”

When the Stooges vote, the following three propositions each pass by 2/3 majorities:
God is present somewhere.
God is absent somewhere.
God is equipresent.

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