It may seem strange to present the first principles of a subject at the end of the book, but one advantage of doing things in this order is that by now readers will be acquainted with the cyclic-entropic conception of time, and the ways in which it works. Consequently, they will now be better able to see the relevance of the first principles than they would have been, had they been stated first of all in the abstract.
These principles begin with the idea of creation, and I wish to make clear the reason for this, so as to avoid the pantheistic idea of a cosmic evolution in which everything proceeds continuously from God. Could not cyclic time still be a reality if we were just products of evolution in the Darwinistic sense? In fact this idea of time can be thought of as cosmic evolution in a created world. This point is of fundamental importance for an understanding of what this book seeks to explain.
For evolutionism and scientific theories generally, the phenomenon to be explained is invariably conceived as an object or collection of objects in time and space. These objects may be inorganic, or organic, or semi-abstract, like sub-atomic particles, but in every case scientific thought conceives them as independent and self-sufficient, such that they would still be there if they were not perceived by any subject, either man or God. This conception contradicts the very definition of ‘object’, according to which it is essentially the correlate of ‘subject’. An ‘independent object’ is nothing but an abstraction and must always be so, surprising as that will appear to those who assume that science is concerned above all with concrete realities. On the other hand, metaphysics, which is believed to be concerned only with abstractions, takes for its subject matter something which is undeniably concrete because it is a matter of constant direct experience, this being the binary relationship of a subject with an object.
Thus the subject-and-object relation and the forms it can take is the ‘object’ or primary cosmological reality, of metaphysical understanding, and therefore the kind of theory explained in this book is in no way concerned to explain how any kind of object developed out of some other kind of object; on the contrary, it is concerned with the laws by which the human mind in relation to its world develops through all its possibilities of relationship which emerge in the course of time. As such, it is an exceedingly subtle and complex ‘object’, for all its concreteness.
Here, then, is where the question of creation arises: the bipolar relation of subject and object is not a material thing, and so it cannot have originated in any of the natural processes known to science. Rather, scientific theories presuppose the subject-object relation in all their attempts to think about the natural world, and one cannot explain what one is presupposing. Since evolutionary explanations are therefore irrelevant for the subject-object relation, or combination, the latter cannot have any origin other than that of creation.
And, moreover, it should not be forgotten that consciousness does not originate from lesser degrees of itself, as evolutionists suppose; it is just as much itself in its least instance as in its greatest. If these points are borne in mind, the meaning and application of the first principles should be sufficiently clear:
1) That the world is caused or created by God who is transcendent in relation to it (cf. Proclus, Elements of Theology, props. 11 and 26). This causality is primarily Formal rather than efficient.
2) That God, and all created causes as well, produce first what is most like themselves, and then progressively what is less like them, until the extremity of unlikeness is reached (cf. Proclus, ibid., props. 7, 28, 36, and 97).
3) That the relation of Form to matter is not constant. The number of forms instantiated and the duration of the instantiations can increase or decrease greatly. (The relative absence of Forms is, in Aristotle’s terms, ‘privation’, and it increases with the passage of time.)
4) Each state of the world is the effect of the one before it and the efficient cause of the one after it, the cause always having more power than the effect (cf. Proclus, ibid. prop. 7).
5) Each momentary state of the world as an object of collective human experience is a representation of all time from its unique point of view. Thus the Whole is always present in the part.1
6) The unity of the world reflects that of its Creator, whence partial cyclic reversals to the Origin must preserve the unity and balance the asymmetry between the beginning and the end of a cycle (cf. Proclus, ibid. props. 33 and 34).
1. This parallels individual consciousness: as Leibniz expresses it, the monad contains a representation of the world as it is at a given time, again from its unique point of view.