Physical Spirituality

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Table of Contents

Part I:

Modes of Interaction

Spatial Arrangements
Connectivity and Architectivity
The Relevance of Scale

Part II:

Modes of Meaning

Serial Meanings of the Architective Mode -->
Serial Meanings of the Connective Mode
Features of Serial Meaning
The Architective Dominion

Part III:

Modes of Spirituality

Spiritual Possibilities
Unimodal Deities
A Personal Perspective

Part IV:

Changing the Paradigm

The Unsung Virtues of Sublimation
Psychedelics in Perspective
Connectivity, Architectivity, Yin and Yang
Faith and Reason
Cosmic Consciousness in Perspective
To Sleep, to Dream
The Post Planetary Age


Chapter 5: Serial Meanings of the Architective Mode

"And I ll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax,
"That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax for fifty-nine years!
For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
Never budge! That s my rule. Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I ll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

Dr. Seuss


Stasis is a serial meaning arising from the endurance of objects and their arrangements. Objects such as houses, molecules, tables and societies, offer us meaning in their capacity to maintain a stasis even if disturbed.

Stasis makes our sense of position and distance meaningful. We can say for example that two towns are fifteen kilometers apart and expect them to maintain that distance, as well as allowing us to compare that distance with the distances between other towns. Stasis allows us to play games based on position and distance such as football. Importantly, stasis allows us to manufacture an item to fit a space and expect that neither the space nor the item will have changed size during the manufacture of the item.

Stasis gives symbols enduring implications, such as letters in an alphabet and words in a language. Stasis allows us to store information with fidelity and endurance, such as in a written text, a DNA sequence or a computer memory.

Stasis allows us a sense of social position and orientation.

Stasis can only be provided by phenomena having an architective component. While purely connective phenomena are able to display temporarily enduring arrangements, they cannot be relied on to maintain them, especially in the presence of disturbance.

Exclusion, Separation, Distinctness, Identity and Category

Exclusion and separation are serial meanings that arise when objects exclude each other from their spatial volumes, and so maintain a separation between them.

Exclusion in turn offers serial meanings of distinctness and identity, whose significance lies in us being able to distinguish one object from another, uniquely, enduringly and with certainty.

Objects can be lastingly categorized according to their lasting identities.

Identity and category enjoy great possibilities for variety, and can develop even wider ranges of possibility by aggregation, as new identities are created having new properties which open further possibilities for classification.

Games of classification are many and can be arbitrary. People may be classified according to nationality, age, occupation or preferences in music, for example. Books in libraries are categorized for ease of access.

Games can attribute different values to different identities and categories, increasing and complicating the significance of their consequences for their players.

Serial meanings of exclusion, separation, and identity can only be provided by phenomena having an architective component. Purely connective phenomena may be discernible by their visages, but these offer only temporary distinctions which are readily disturbed, are not exclusive and may even appear and disappear spontaneously.

Though the visages of connectives can also be categorized, for example as swirls, spirals, clusters or vortices, their categorization is not lasting, as a swirl may gradually develop into a vortex, for example. Unless a system of categorization is changed, an architective item such as a book does not gradually move from one library category to another, as a visage may do.

Complexity, Emergence, Creation and Destruction

Complexity and emergence are serial meanings arising from objects aggregating to create new and more complex objects. Aggregates may in turn aggregate with other objects, further extending the possibilities for novelty and complexity in their aggregation. Complexity and emergence permit enormous variety in the construction and distinction of objects, as evidenced by the endless possibilities in the design of buildings, furniture, textiles and organic molecules.

By generating difference, and difference of difference, emergence offers creation as a serial meaning.

Fashions are games of complexity and creation.

Capacities for complexity, emergence and creation can only be provided by phenomena having an architective component. Purely connective phenomena may also compound but no different objects emerge from their integration, and their integrated arrangements are not necessarily more complex or different.

In contrast to creation, architectivity also hosts destruction as a serial meaning, by which objects are disrupted and their identities lost.

Structural Composition

The distinction of each object in an aggregate and their layering in distinct hierarchical levels permits the drawing of a precise and enduring map of all the objects comprising an aggregate and all the bonds and embraces used in its construction.

Meaning can be found in the composition of things - what they are made of and what their components are made of, etc.

Knowing how materials are structured and the comparison of different structures enables us to exploit materials for their usefulness in different situations.

Objects are often classified according to their structural composition. People are often classified according to their lineage.

The structure of connectives is too vague and impermanent to allow a precise and enduring description of their composition.

Precise Enumeration and Enduring Count

Precise enumeration and enduring count are serial meanings by which objects can be allocated a number, or their sum counted, precisely and enduringly.

Precise enumeration arises from the fact that objects can be separately identified, allowing each to be allocated a unique number, usually in an integer sequence.

Since every aggregate has a fixed and finite number of constituent objects at each level of its hierarchy, an enduring count can be taken of the constituent objects of a bond or embrace at each level, which cannot be changed without disrupting the bond or embrace. The constituent objects of an aggregate (at any one level) can be counted, and counted again and again every which way, to yield the exact same integer total.

While every architecture has a fixed number of constituent objects at each level, I cannot say for certain that the number of levels in every architecture is finite. But starting at the top of any architective hierarchy, its levels can be enumerated, one by one, for as long as the internal objects are perceptible to the counter. Each of its perceived internal objects can be allocated a precise and enduring integer rank according to its level within the hierarchy, while the constituent objects at each level can be counted so as to allow the total number of objects internal to an aggregate to be counted, enduringly and precisely, to any observable level.

In a figurate arrangement too, starting at any arbitrary origin, objects can be enumerated, counted or summed, enduringly and precisely, every which way along the threads of its pattern, for example horizontally, vertically or diagonally. And while I cannot say for certain that the number of levels in every architecture is finite, the number of levels in every figurate hierarchy is.

The count of objects in an aggregate or along a pattern can be numerically compared to the count along a different pattern, or to a count in a different aggregate, according to arbitrarily chosen rules.

The hierarchical authority of an object in an architecture can also be enumerated as the number of objects subservient to it (to any specific depth in its hierarchy).

Objects participating in a connective may also be enumerated, counted or summed, but not with a necessarily enduring or repeatable result, if only because its participating objects may move, or if any of its participating objects disrupt, their debris may be incorporated into the connective. External objects may join the connective and others may leave without altering the nature of the connective. Besides, connectives may have an infinite number of participating objects that simply can't be totalled.

Precise enumeration and enduring count are serial meanings only available to architectures.

Exact Reproduction

The precision of separation, identification, enumeration and ranking in aggregates permits their architecture to be specified exactly; by written texts, maps or plans, thereby allowing them to be reproduced with absolute fidelity.

Reliably precise reproduction is an architective serial meaning. Connectives may be reproducible, but unless there is an architecture involved in their reproduction, not with a fidelity that can be termed exact.

Hierarchy and Rank

Hierarchy is a serial meaning based on the distinct levels at which objects occur in the hierarchy of an architecture. While the visages of connectives may display an apparent hierarchy, such as solar systems within galaxies, their rankings are not distinct, for there may be planets that do not orbit a sun, and star clusters and solar systems may come and go.

Unless an architecture is disrupted, the number of levels in its hierarchy does not change, while the rank of each level is both fixed and enumerable.

The ranks objects occupy in a hierarchy can be numerically compared, allowing us to categorize objects according to their rank. Many political and business organizations are structured on systems of rank. We play games in which objects are valued according to their rank.

Control and Containment

Containment and control as serial meanings can be seen in the capacity of architectures to hold both architectures and connectives within fixed boundaries through their ability to maintain a stasis. Many musical instruments have architective objects anchoring strings or tubes to particular, fixed lengths so as to precisely control the tones produced.

Control as a serial meaning can also be seen in the ability of higher ranked objects in architectures to control their lower ranks in matters of contest and allegiance.

Containment as a serial meaning can be seen in the ability of architectures to contain connectives and waves to precise boundaries by presenting barriers to their motions. One might argue that a particle accelerator such as the LHC uses the connective device of a magnetic field to hold a connective stream of particles within precise boundaries, but the magnets themselves are architectively anchored to the Earth.

Hierarchical control is used by an army, for example, as officers direct the actions of subordinate soldiers. We see hierarchical control utilized in all our hierarchical social institutions.

A connective has the capacity to generally influence the motions of objects but cannot control or contain them with certainty or precision.

Contest and Power

Contest is a serial meaning for interacting architectures.

Winning and losing are games of contest.

While connectives may be said to compete, the outcome is a superposition, a sharing, of the participating influences rather than a contest between survival and elimination. There are no winners and losers. Games of contest are not available to connectives.

An architecture's binding strength, on which its fortune in contest may depend, is often dependent on properties that accumulate with aggregation, such as size and hierarchical authority, so that the biggest or most populous architecture will win a contest. Contests thus permit games of power to be played between architectures, in which the contesting architectures strive to aggregate as much as they can so as to accumulate the contributions of more internal objects.

In games of power, expansion by aggregation has a positive value and contraction by disruption has a negative value. As well, objects having large size or high rank are more valued for their strength in contest. Players may increase their value by climbing the ladder of rank, or increasing their size or hierarchical authority, should the game permit them to do so. In games of power, big means powerful.

Games of contest can also be played using threats of extinction rather than actual vanquishments. After judging the possible outcomes of a contest, a player may choose safety by voluntarily submitting to an opponent rather than risking demise. A player may also be able to choose safety by retreating from a contest.

Skill, strategy and efficiency are tactics for contest.

Losing a contest has repercussions in games of identity as well, since loss in a contest necessarily means the loss of an object s identity. In a game of power, loss of a high-ranking object would have wider repercussions than losing a lower ranked object.

Business and politics often involve games of contest.


Procession is a serial meaning arising from architectures reconfiguring in discrete steps.

We see processions in the growth and shrinkage of our families as members are born or die. We see it in the reproduction of our bodily cells.

We utilize procession in the meshing of cogs in gear wheels (as one figurate embrace is replaced by another), and it affords the quantum leaping of electrons switching orbitals in an atom.

In many card and board games, players are permitted to make one distinct move at a time.

In a later chapter the serial meaning in procession will be considerably enlarged when we discuss narratives of serial meaning.

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