Beyond Theism and Nihilism
Ch. 1: Twilight Atheism
Much contemporary atheism is stuck in Plato's cave. This is also Nietzsche's cave, which is filled with the shadows of God. And while twilight atheists don't believe in God, they still believe in his shadows. They are cultural theists who endorse theistic if-then chains which bind valuable things to God. Twilight atheists agree with theists that if there is no God, then: there is no objective meaning to life; there is no objective morality; there is no cosmic meaning or purpose; there is no modal or mathematical objectivity; there is no life after death; and there are no deities and no things with any divine attributes. Twilight atheism is nihilism. Atheistic Platonists seek to overcome both theism and twilight atheism. We aim to construct new cultures which do not depend on either theism or its negation.
Ch. 2: Laws and Kings
Atheistic Platonism (atheoplatonism) begins with the Law. The Law includes the laws of logic, mathematics, physicality, and morality. All things fall under the Law. Atheoplatonism affirms mathematical, modal, and moral realism. If any gods exist, they are subject to the Law. Atheoplatonism rules out any gods above the Law. It rules out all theistic deities. Any deities in any universe are subject to its laws, and their actions can be evaluated using the moral laws. The Law entails the existence of souls and life after death. Since all persons are equal before the law, atheoplatonists are committed to justice. The Law is divine. The projection of any King above the Law is idolatry. Many concepts previously associated with theistic religion can be defined atheistically in terms of the Law. Atheistic Platonism liberates religion from theism.
Ch. 3: Class-Theoretic Platonism
Class-theoretic Platonism develops a Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics using class-theory. It opposes abstract-concrete dualism. Concrete things are identical with abstract objects. All existing things are pure classes. Class-theoretic Platonism has many theoretical virtues. Many arguments are given to support class-theoretic Platonism. It provides a new and non-dualistic way of thinking about the relation between the physical and the mathematical. Physical structures supervene on mathematical structures. Class-theoretic Platonism supports a version of modal realism. The Platonic One and the Good are responsible for the existence and organization of both the iterative hierarchy of pure classes and the physical universes that supervene on that hierarchy.
Ch. 4 The Structure of Being
Platonism envisions a rationally well-ordered structure of being. This structure beings with the Platonic Zero, which is non-being. By negating itself, the Zero generates the One, which is being-itself. Being-itself generates the beings among beings. The first beings generated are the abstract objects, namely, the classes in the iterative hierarchy of pure classes. Some of these are abstract universes. By expressing its power rationally, the One animates an unsurpassable class of surpassable abstract universes. Every animated abstract universe manifests a concrete image of itself. The proposition which corresponds to the animation of these universes is the Good.
Ch. 5 Axiology
The transition from the Zero to the One points in the direction of increasing value. Greater complexity is greater intrinsic value. Physical complexity is the amount of computational work needed to simulate an object. Value increases along rising lineages of universes in the Optimal Library. One of these lineages rises to include our universe. The first universe in this lineage contains only simple things. Thermodynamic laws drive the emergence of more complex wholes in later universes. Self-regenerating systems emerge which contain parts with functional roles. Normativity emerges along with these roles: parts are obligated to perform their functions and prohibited from violating them. Later universes contain increasingly complex forms of life which follow increasingly sophisticated axiological laws. These laws are objective and necessary. Beyond our universe, this lineage rises infinitely towards the Good.
Ch. 6 Platonism as a Way of Life
The Platonic way of life aims at transforming you into a deity. And while ancient Platonists recommended many contemplative practices for self-deification, they also recommended ascetic ways of life. Ancient Platonists pursued the he telestike techne, the craft of self-surpassing. And they recommended theurgical procedures for raising your self to the rank of the deities. But the old Platonic dream of self-deification evolved into the dreams of the modern transhumanists, and the ancient craft of self-surpassing evolved into practical transhumanism. Practical transhumanists apply the experimental method to the self. They update the craft of self-surpassing into the hacker methodology. The Platonic way of life is the way of self-hacking.
Ch. 7 Theurgy and Transhumanism
Theurgy was a system of magical practices in the late Roman Empire. It was applied Neoplatonism. The theurgists aimed to enable human bodies to assume divine attributes, that is, to become deities. I aim to show that much of the structure of theurgical Neoplatonism appears in transhumanism. Theurgists and transhumanists share a core Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics. They share goals and methods. The theurgists practiced astrology, the reading of entrails, the consultation of oracles, channeling deities, magic, and the animation of statues. The transhumanist counterparts of those practices are genetics, self-tracking with biosensors, artificial intellects like Google and Siri, brain-computer interfaces, programming, and robotics. Transhumanist techno-theurgy shows how Neoplatonism can be a modern philosophical way of life.
Ch. 8 Multiverse Rebirth
Ancient Platonists believed in reincarnation, along with karmic laws that transformed past lives into future lives. Since reincarnation involves natural laws rather than any deities, it can be further developed in an atheistic context. However, ancient reincarnation theories are both false and immoral. They need modification. Atheistic Platonists say our universe will be surpassed by many better universes. You will be reborn into your better counterparts in those better universes. While the ancient Platonists endorsed retributive karma, atheoplatonists embrace progressive karma. Your future bodies will rise through all the ranks of superhuman animals.
Ch. 9 To Call a World Tree
Just as Platonism is a form of paganism, so atheistic Platonism is atheistic paganism. To illustrate the spiritual richness of atheoplatonism, it will be helpful to display its pagan aspects. I therefore cast a circle of reasoning into which I call the participants of a pagan atheology. I use Platonic concepts to make these calls. I invite these participants through sacrificial offerings of arguments. My intention in ritual is to call into circle a Platonic world tree, a tree which has counterparts in many paganisms. Since the cardinal elements play foundational roles in many paganisms, I call first to them. I call water, earth, air, light, and fire. Out of these elements, I call the world tree. Out of this world tree, I call divine sexed powers.
Ch. 10 Atheistic Mysticism
Eleven detailed cases of atheistic mystical experience are examined. They all satisfy the standard hallmarks of mysticism. Their subjects present them as truthfully revealing deep aspects of nature and only nature. These cases constitute an empirical dataset. Five themes emerge from these cases: structural insight, wholeness, extremity, dissolution, and valuable connection. These five themes motivate a specific structuralist interpretation of atheistic mysticism. This version of structuralism provides a way to integrate these experiences into a mystical yet rational view of nature.
|12 May 2021|