Tractate 3 : The Error of Boethius (continued)

What is: Divine foreknowledge - A location for ‘Being’ – the whole
A location for divine foreknowledge: the existence of ‘what is’
A location of: What ‘has been’

Near the beginning of the book: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy, Penguin Classics, 1969, one finds the statement:

    ‘It is not allowed to man to comprehend in thought all the ways of the divine work.’ (Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy, IV, 6)

Boethius then ends his work with the statement:

    ‘What does it matter, then, if they are not necessary, when because of the condition of divine foreknowledge it will turn out exactly as if they were necessary? The answer is this. It is impossible for the two events I mentioned just now – the rising of the sun and the man walking – not to be happening when they do happen: and yet it was necessary for one of them to happen before it did happen, but not so for the other. And so, those things, which are present to God, will without doubt happen: but some of them result from the necessity of things, and some of them from the power of those who do them. We are not wrong, therefore, to say that if these things are considered with reference to divine foreknowledge, they are necessary, but if they are considered by themselves, they are free of the bonds of necessity: just as everything that the senses perceive is universal if considered with reference to the reason, but individual if considered in itself.

    ‘But, you will reply, if it lies in my power to change a proposed course of action, I will be able to evade Providence, for I will perhaps have altered things which providence foreknows. My answer will be that you can alter your plan, but that since this is possible, and since whether you do so or in what way you change it is visible to Providence the ever present and true, you cannot escape divine foreknowledge, just as you cannot escape the sight of an eye that is present to watch, though of your own free will you may turn to a variety of actions.

    ‘Well, you may ask, isn’t divine knowledge changed as a result of my rearrangement, so that as I change my wishes it, too, seems to change its knowledge? The answer is no. Each future thing is anticipated by the gaze of God which bends it back and recalls it to the presence of its own manner of knowledge: it does not change… but with one glance anticipates and embraces your changes in its constancy… So that the difficulty you put forward a short time ago, that it was unfitting if our future is said to provide a cause of God’s knowledge, is solved. The power of this knowledge, which embraces all things in present understanding, has itself set a limit upon things and owes nothing to events, which come after. And since this is so, man’s freedom of will remains inviolate and the law does not impose reward and punishment unfairly, because the will is free from all necessity. God has foreknowledge and rests a spectator from on high of all things: and as the ever present eternity of His vision dispenses reward to the good and punishment to the bad, it adapts itself to the future quality of our actions. Hope is not placed in God in vain and prayers are not made in vain, for if they are the right kind they cannot but be efficacious. Avoid vice, therefore, and cultivate virtue: lift up your mind to the right kind of hope and put forth humble prayers on high. A great necessity is laid upon you, if you will be honest with yourself, a great necessity to be good, since you live in the sight of a judge who sees all things.’ (Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy, Penguin Classics, 1969, p167 – 169.)

In essence, Boethius stipulates the book is already written. ‘To which book are we referring?’ one may ask. We are referring to the book, which has more significance to ourselves than any other book. We are referring to the book, which outlines life itself. We are referring to what one might call the ‘Divine Book’.

The Divine Book includes the chapters: Divine Foreknowledge, Pre-destination, Predestination, and Determinism.

The book to which Boethius refers is not an ongoing book but rather a closed book, a completed book. The closed book – the fallacy of the argument regarding a ‘closed’ book and God opening the book does not mean the ending is not ‘known’ just because the players themselves do not know the ending until they get to the end.

We speak of ‘a’ book because Divine Foreknowledge suggests all is ‘known’. As such, the ‘book’ has been written. So where is it one finds the ‘divine book’? One finds the divine book located in a region of established abstraction void actions bound by the laws of nature:

Perhaps one could say: The book is not ‘a’ book but rather ‘a’ set of books.

Such a perceptions could be represented as follows:

This representation demonstrates the concept Boethius suggested regarding Divine Foreknowledge. So, what is the difference between the first and second diagram? The difference lies in the different perception, which emerges from each perception.

The first diagram suggests the existence of ‘a’ book and thus suggests ‘all is known’ to the whole.

The second diagram suggests a series of books, which in turn suggests a production of books. The second diagram suggests there is a ‘source’ of these books. As such, the question arises: Is there a ‘location’ from which the books evolve?

The first diagram suggests the existence of ‘a’ book:

Upon further examination, ‘The Divine Book’ becomes:

And then, since ‘the’ Divine Book contains ‘all knowing’ we in essence have:

The second diagram suggests a series of books:

One could depict the concept of an ‘emerging/evolving’ ‘knowing, depict the concept of ‘emerging/evolving’ books as"

Now isolating the ‘evolving’ Divine Book in order to facilitate it’s evolving uninfluenced by what is, we obtain:

We are back to the concept of abstraction existing ‘outside’ the physical. Once again, we are back to the solution we examined in Tractate 1: Zeno and Seamlessness. Again, we find ourselves confronted with the concept of the ‘real’ and the ‘real illusion’ coexisting as was discussed in Tractate 1. The diagram clearly demonstrates the relevancy of the solution we examined within Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesian Systems, the concept of ‘relative first truth’ as opposed to Aristotle’s implied existence of ‘a’ ‘first truth’.

Determinism is determinism, predestination is predestination, the book is the book, and divine foreknowledge is foreknowledge be it divine or otherwise.

Philosophically, it has often been said that life is but a book already written within which living entities of reality can no more see what is to come than can the characters in a book.

If one should open the book at page 15 today or tomorrow, the results are the same. The characters on page 15 have no idea regarding what will happen on page 456 regardless of how many times the book has been read from cover to cover by the ‘whole’, by totality, by ‘God’. Regardless of how many times ‘God’ rereads ‘the book’, the ‘story’ remains the same for Divine foreknowledge, as espoused by Boethius, remains Divine foreknowledge. Within ‘Boethius’ metaphysical system, regardless of the fact that the ‘whole’ may be found existing hunched over the book and rereading it for the hundred millionth time, the ending remains the same.

Some would say language is too limited to allow us the ability to understand what it is we cannot possible perceive. Again how ludicrous, if we can perceive the overall concept then the overall concept is not outside our ability to perceive the concept itself. ‘A’ concept may take some time to develop language capable of expressing the concept we perceive. It may take time to develop our understanding in order to express the concept we think we understand. It may take time to expand upon our perceptions in order to express what it is we sense our perceptions to be but which we have difficulty fully understanding. Regardless, if we do not ‘presently’ find it within ourselves to express what it is we ‘perceive’, eventually we will be able to express what it is we could not temporally express.

What does this have to do with Boethius? If we insist upon embracing the concept that there are things we conceptualize but will never be able to understand, then we shall remain ignorant of understanding not because we can ‘never’ understand but because we choose not to understand.

The only way to begin to understand the concept of ‘determinism’ and ‘free will’ existing simultaneously is through the process of remaining open and rejecting suggestions that we accept our lack of understanding as being simply a limitedness of our abilities. In short we cannot resolve the paradox of free will and determinism existing simultaneously until we dismiss Boethius’ resolution to the issue as being simply something we have to accept, as being beyond our intellectual abilities.

Zeno, with the introduction of the paradoxes of time and space, reached the philosophical level of understanding what it is we sense but could not express in the time period of 500 BC. For two and a half millennium, we have been ‘stuck’ at this level. We have embraced Boethius’ resolution to the problem, the concept of our limitedness, because we have been unable to express a solution to the problem. We are now at a point where we can begin to understand seamlessness existing simultaneously with multiplicity. We are now at a point where we can begin to understand how it is the physical world, multiplicity, can exist simultaneously with the abstract, seamlessness. Such understandings now begin to emerge through understanding the concept of seamlessness existing independent of multiplicity, through understanding that seamlessness, abstraction, exists independently of multiplicity, the physical, through understanding one existing ‘inside’ the other, through understanding a greater Reality existing ‘outside’ physical reality, through understanding the physical, multiplicity, existing immersed ‘within’ timeless existence itself.

What ‘is being’: Determinism - A location for being – action, process/reality – the universe
A location for Free Will to act: The process: individuality, ‘being’, becoming
A location of: What ‘is being’

We have briefly examined the need as well as the rationality regarding ‘a’ location for both free will and divine foreknowledge

What then of determinism: Isn’t determinism the same thing as divine foreknowledge? We often consider the two to be the same concept. Therein lies one of our problems regarding the paradoxical perception that free will and divine foreknowledge exist simultaneously as ‘the’ dominant form of action located ‘within’ the ‘same’ location.

By classifying action into four classes, we find a separate location for determinism. Presently we have proposed:

So where does this leave us regarding ‘a’ location for determinism? We have ‘a’ location for which one of the four forms of action has not been attributed:

Now we begin to understand what is meant by the concept: Determinism

Passive action:

    2. Actions bound by the laws of nature: What ‘is being’

    Actions bound by the laws of nature are actions requiring no ‘knowing’. Since these actions require no ‘knowing’ they are classified as forms of passive actions. These are actions taken by inanimate objects. Such actions also include the actions of animate entities that simulate the action of inanimate objects.

    Examples of actions bound by the laws of nature: When dropped from a cliff, a rock falls. When dropped from a cliff, you fall.

What ‘is’: Pre-destination/predestination - A location for being – existence of existence
A location for determinism to act:/a location for free will to act, the process of the whole becoming
A location of: What ‘is’

What is ‘intended’: Determinism and free will simultaneously independent

What then are we to say regarding our fourth form of action: Actions bound by the laws of: The state of being: What ‘is’?

This is perhaps the most interesting of the four forms of action for it is this very action, which makes the concept of separation of free will from divine foreknowledge possible.

Passive action:

    1. The state of being: What ‘is’

    The state of being is a form of action requiring no ‘knowing’. The state of being is the most basic form of action. This form of passive action, the state of ‘being’ itself is the most elementary form of passive action. The primal state of existence is the most basic form of action. All other forms of action emerge from this most basic form of action.

    Examples of states of being: I exist. A rock exists.

Where are we to find such action? It would appear there is ‘nowhere’ to place such action other than ‘outside’ the system thus once again rendering the system an incomplete system.

To understand the fourth location it will help to first simplify the concept. We do so be examining a simple circle:

At first glance, it would appear the circle divides space into two regions:

Upon closer examination, we find this to be an incomplete perception. In actuality, the circle divides space into three regions:

With this in mind, we can reexamine our previous diagram and as we do so it becomes apparent that there is not only ‘a’ location for our fourth form of action but in fact there are three locations for our fourth form of action:

Functionality of action:

Now we have a problem. We come back to our previous statement: ‘Having classified action (classified action into distinct groups) in this manner, it is now possible to find a location for these four forms of action.

To refresh our memory regarding these groups we see we have two major groups each of which are further divided into two subgroups:

I. Passive action

    a. States of being

    b. Actions bound by the laws of nature

II. Active action

    a. Actions bound by the laws of free will

    b. Actions bound by the laws of determinism

At first glance it would appear there are three forms of active action and one state of pacificity. How is it ‘action’ bound by the laws of nature are passive when they involve motion. Metaphysically all forms of action, regardless of whether or not they are ‘in’ motion or simply existing, without ‘knowing’ are passive forms of action.

This then brings us back to our previous examination regarding the ‘levels’ at which actions are placed:

Part II of this tractate found a new level of action beening introduced into the model. As such the dynamics of the graphic has been expanded to include four action forms versus three action forms found in Part I of this tractate

Two questions emerge from the information we have:

    1. How is it possible one form of action is, can be, appears to be, more significant than another if all forms of action exist?

    2. How can there be four simultaneous independent ‘locations’ for action when we ‘know’ of only two possible forms of action: the active and the passive forms of action.

Regarding question #1:

There is no rational answer to the question. The only way to answer the question is to simplify our diagram. Rather than ‘level’s of one dimension we will mold action into a two dimensional state:

We will begin the process through the application of Ockham’s razor by removing the perceived relative values of significance we previously illustrated:

Applying Ockham’s razor once again, we obtain:

If we then establish boundaries of existence for actions bound by the laws of nature, we obtain:

If we continue to expand upon the boundaries enclosing actions bound by the laws of nature we obtain:

If we then establish boundaries of existence for actions bound by the laws of determinism, we obtain:

Now why expand the boundaries regarding actions bound by the laws of determinism beyond the boundaries of actions bound by the laws of nature? We do so first to respect Boethius’ concept of divine foreknowledge beinging ‘within’. The concept of actions being ‘found’ ‘within’ totality applies to all forms of action. We do so secondly because, as we shall see, it provides the means of resolving not only Boethius’ paradox of free will versus determinism but it also resolves Zeno’s paradox of seamlessness versus multiplicity. In addition, the action of expanding the boundary of actions bound by the laws of determinism in such a manner as to encompass actions bound by the laws of free will allows for the resolution of Aristotle’s paradox. As we shall see in another tractate, this very perceptual process allows for the resolution regarding the paradox of a Kantian Cartesian system versus a Hegelian non-Cartesian system. In fact, such a perceptual model, provides a means by which we can resolve a myriad other metaphysical, ontological, and cosmological paradoxes as well.

But back to the task we have been addressing, understanding ‘location’ of action.. The question then becomes: What then of:

Why it becomes:


Whose ‘location of existence becomes quite obvious when we remove the clutter and label the ‘locations’ of action:

This does not appear to answer question #2: How can there be four simultaneous independent ‘locations’ for action when we ‘know’ of only two possibilities? We understand the concept of the entity and the concept of the universe, our reality.

Perhaps this can more simply be explained through the examination of a circle:

There appears to be two locations in this diagram:

    1. The inside of the circle

    2. The outside of the circle

In actuality, however, there are three locations to this diagram:

With this in mind, we can then identify the four locations of our previous diagram:

But how can a ‘location’ implement ‘action’? It cannot. What implements action are entities themselves. How then do we reconcile such a statement with the diagram above? We cannot if we retain Zeno’s perception as discussed in Tractate 1: Zeno and Seamlessness:

Nor can we reconcile such a statement if we retain Aristotle’s perception as discussed in Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesian Systems:

However, we can reconcile the questions:

    1. ‘But how can a ‘location’ implement ‘action’?"

    2. How can there be four simultaneous independent ‘locations’ for action when we ‘know’ of only two possibilities

if we go back to the previous diagram:

The entity ‘within’ the circle, within the physical obviously exists, obviously exists within a region of action bound by the laws of nature, intuitively exists within the region of action bound by the laws of free will – actions that do not defy the laws of nature.

Where, however, is the entity implementing action bound by the laws of determinism?

The solution becomes apparent when the entity whose actions are bound by the laws of free will as well as whose actions are bound by the laws of nature are terminated by the laws of nature themselves and thus moves into the non-physical, pure abstractual location of existence. As such, the diagram becomes:

Why do the discussion of time and distance suddenly enter the discussion. Time and distance enter the discussion because we understand time and distance to be functions of the physical, functions of space, matter, and energy themselves. As such, the introduction of these concepts at this point in the discussion helps us to visualize, in a less theoretical manner, the metaphysical system suggested. This helps to initiate discussions immersed in pragmatism.