Monday, October 16, 2006

The Drive to Suburbia.

So the title is kind of a pun. The problem is that I hate puns. Oh well. This is the beginning on a three post series (I like threes and sevens..) on future economic frontiers in transportation. Boring, huh? Then don’t read it. Hahaha. (I get to be eccentric. It’s my blog.)

About two years ago, I’m on this ten hour drive with some friends, coming back from a resort in the mountains. I get totally restless on a drive that long, so I start thinking. This thing totally occurs to me about opportunity cost. A ten hour journey is prohibitive for routine purposes. But the same journey is still about 8 hours door-to-door if you were to fly on a major commercial carrier. A charter Cessna is prohibitively expensive, even though the journey would probably only be 3 hours door-to-door with a light aircraft. So the transportation cost is an amalgam of the time and the monetary expenses involved. Both of these factors are a function of available technology.

All of this is basic econ. Here’s the crazy part: it has something to do with how we live. So back in the day, back when it was hard, when we had to walk uphill both ways because we were hard-core like that, we lived in hunter-gatherer societies. Eventually, we got bored of that and decided that we want to live in one place. So we built nice Ziggurats and the like and start growing crops. In the process, we invent real estate. Yuck. Everything is cool, though, because as farmers, we live the same place we work. Not much in the way of transportation costs. That is, until we start doing crazy things like making things we can’t eat. So we go to factories to make widgets that can be sold for money which can be used to buy food. The problem is that we can’t all live at the factory. We start needing transportation. So this real estate equation gets more complicated. Let’s do some math. Cause math is fun. Sort of.

Equation #1: (Total Real Estate Cost) = (Property Cost) + (Transportation Costs)
Equation #2: (Property Cost) decreases as a function of the square of distance (from pop. center)
Note: Past a certain point, the curve becomes convex to the origin and starts to level out. The unit is cost per unit quantity.
Equation #3: (Transportation Costs) increase as a linear function of distance (from pop. center) Note: This will vary for different modes of transportation. Each will have their own curve for cost per unit distance.
Equation #4: (Total Real Estate Utility) = (Property Utility) - (Transportation Utility Cost)
Equation #5: (Transportation Utility Cost) is an exponential function of distance, as it is a function of time. Its slope varies with different modes of transportation.

What does this mean? Two major things: first, changing modes of transportation greatly affect possibilities frontiers. If there are new transportation options, previously practically inaccessible real estate becomes available. Second, and as a function of this, the ‘carrying capacity’ of an area is determined by transportation technologies. As an area approaches its carrying capacity, real estate becomes prohibitively expensive, and leasing becomes more and more the only possible option. This has implications for class structures, as we will see later.
Let’s see this played out in history. Jump back to the industrial society. Now that people no longer live where they work, they have to live somewhere. This is a function of transportation. Public transportation systems are developed. They are efficient given the population densities of the time. (Note that public transportation ceases to be practical or efficient below a certain population density.) So tenement dwellings are constructed for the urban workers. Admittedly, this is a great oversimplification, but play along for a while. So the cities hit their carrying capacity, and those who already own land are the ones who make the profits off the rent. Stratification is strong, social mobility relatively low.

After a while cars roll around. There is now a means for people to live much farther from their work. So people who could not previously own land are able to purchase houses. Suburbia follows. People begin the individual commute, roads become the primary means of transportation. (This was greatly facilitated in the United States by the development of the interstate system.) Transportation costs go up, but housing costs go much farther down.
The rise of suburbia has some unique and undeniably middle class effects. With the ability to practically own land, social stratification is lessened. (Admittedly, this affects different groups differently due to inequities in the system. I’m speaking in broad generalities.) Consider Britain vs. America. In Britain, all the land has been owned for a long time. In order to ‘buy in’ to the property holding class, your family has to play good hands for good while. Because of this, the social stratification is stronger. For the American suburbanite, the buy-in cost is very low, easily achievable within a generation. Owning a token amount of land creates a middle-class consciousness, rather the total lack of a class consciousness. 95% of Americans self-identify as middle class. Perhaps this explains why (after the fizzling of the IWW ‘Wobblies’) Marxism never really caught on in mainstream America. Marxism points to the dialectic between those who own capital and those who provide labor. This assumes that these are separate groups. The paradox of the middle class is that they are capital-owning laborers. This is epitomized in the small businessman. Note that the only places where Marxism ever really caught on were the campuses of elite colleges, often occupied by the children of the wealthy. They would be some of the few who would really have any sort of non-middle class consciousness. This has sociological effects, to be certain. Some of the most interesting being the anti-gentrification of San Antonio by means of the suburbs. It is hard to segregate when people are simply buying where property values are the best. The suburbs serve as a means of melding cultures in SA. Gentrification seems to be most common in urban areas where all the property has basically static ownership. Tenancy, rather than ownership, seems to be the progenitor to ’white flight.’ This is a topic for another time, but it is ironic that intellectuals who hate suburbs on general principle are generally those who most actively participate in gentrification, which they claim to oppose. As another interesting note, as a child of a very proletarian family (son of a cop and a nurse,) I was very privileged to have trees and a back yard while growing up. I was also privileged to live in a very diverse neighborhood. As popular as it is to hate suburbia, because of suburbia I had opportunities I would never have had otherwise. A hundred years ago, my family would have been in a tenement paying rent to a landlord. Anyways, my point before I started blathering on about sociology was that suburbs are currently approaching carrying capacity. In California and on the East Coast, property values within reasonable commuting range are becoming prohibitive. This is causing a drive toward the mid-west, but certain jobs are still centered on certain cities. There is pressure building toward the next transportation revolution, the next big thing to increase the carrying capacity of population centers. The creation of super-suburbia, a world where an average family will be able to have a weekend home with land, where affordable housing will not become an elusive dream. Where will this revolution be? In the air (of course.)

The next big thing. Flying. Come on, all the cool kids are doing it. But really, the point where individual/family aircraft replace cars as our primary means of commuter transportation is the point where we hit our next revolution. With affordable aircraft, the time and cost per unit distance decreases drastically. What once took 10 hours takes two, so the house that was 4 hours drive and hence inaccessible is now a 30 minute commute. There’s always more sky, so there would not be the same rush hour problems. And you could fly straight there, so you would save time and fuel. Alarm bells. Lots of big problems. First, aren’t airports generally pretty far away? Doesn’t it take a long time to get to one? Yes, if you’re flying a 747. When I first started flying I was astonished at how many little airfields there are scattered around. Many are WWII fields that have been abandoned, but if you count all the repairable fields, I would be surprised if 50% of American homes weren’t within a 15 minute drive of a small airport. That’s a total WAG, though. I grew up around a lot of farmland, and there were two active airparks within 15 minutes. Second big problem, gas costs. If cars are expensive, wouldn’t planes be more so? There are a few factors that mitigate this. Fuel efficiency for a light aircraft is generally not very bad. Most light aircraft use piston engines, just like a car. Instead of pushing against road friction, they are pushing against wind resistance and gravity. You can also fly straight and not idle in traffic, both of which offset fuel costs somewhat. I admit, though, this is a weak point of the model. We must predicate the model upon advances in piston-driven efficiency, or availability of new propulsion technologies. Third big problem, isn’t flying dangerous? Don’t you have to get a lot of training to fly? That’s a longer question to answer.

Burt Rutan (who is awesome) said something once to the effect of personal commuter aviation will never be practical until you can make an airplane which will take home a person stumbling drunk out of a bar. The weakest link is the human element. This is also true on the road, although aviation certainly involves more variables. The human factor problem is complicated by the inaccessibility of aviation. There is a cycle: aircraft are expensive, so few people learn to fly them, so they aren’t mass produced, so they’re expensive. We can adjust this cycle in two places. First, if learning to fly them for commuter purposes was not as demanding, then it would be more practical to learn to fly, which would allow mass production, which would make airplanes cheaper, and even more people would learn to fly. If we made just one Honda Civic, it would be very expensive. Especially if you put in electronics. But if you make a zillion Honda Civics, they’re pretty cheap. (Especially with electronics, which have huge economies of scale.)

Flight safety warning horn! If learning to fly was not as demanding, we would have a zillion unsafe wanna-be pilots trying to pull Kennedies all over the place. The current leading cause of aviation mishaps is pilot error. This has been true for some time, and will almost certainly remain true as materials technology continues to improve. So you engineer the human element to a minimum. The human becomes the safety observer, where he is only flying in emergency circumstances. To teach safety observer skills for a highly automated platform would take, perhaps 10 hours. This basic course would give the commuter the ability to program the navigation system, to recognize problems with automated systems checks, and to fly and land the aircraft given very specific instructions. The aircraft would have graceful failure modes (to be discussed in the aircraft design section,) and only in the most dire of circumstances would the commuter actually have to fly. In fact, disengaging the FCS would be an override that the commuter would later have to explain to the FAA, as emergencies currently are (of course, manual override would always remain an option.) An Iridium-style self contained satellite communications system would allow the commuter to connect to a very directive controller in the event of total systems failure. The controller would set him or her up on a very long final, monitor the approach from GPS fixes in the radio, and direct a go-around if necessary. Second flight safety thing. We all know how many beater cars are out there driving. If your engine dies while driving, you pull over. Obviously, you can’t pull over the aircraft. Two fixes. First, maintenance. In order to fly, you would have to have routine inspections performed by qualified maintainers. Second, controlled landings. More ambitious solution, allow the flight control system to reference a database of suitable landing or ditching sites, and allow the commuter to select one (free of obstructions,) and allow the aircraft to land itself there. Less ambitious is the equip aircraft with parachutes (as has been recently been suggested in several flight journals.)
Should this light aircraft revolution occur at some point, there would be systemic effects. First, our Air Traffic Control system would have to drastically change. One option may be to keep the current Class A airspace for the traditional ATC functions, and primarily communicate with individual commuter aircraft (and their flight control systems) through data-link (mostly transparent to the commuters.) Back-up would be voice comms. Separate emergency channels would be reserved for emergency controllers for aircraft using Iridium comms due to total electrical failure. Many functions would have to be automated, but this would be facilitated by the establishment of a GPS-based airways system (to replace our old VOR system that concentrates aircraft into small channels.) Maintenance markets would come about to do preflight and routine inspections (which would be simplified by BIT (built in test) functions of the aircraft.) Arrival taxi services (vans that went from the small airports to the workplace or the home) would become profitable, and provide an option other than driving. So of course things would change, just as they changed when we had cars (stoplights and the like.)

One could make an analogy to steam engines ending up at cars. The first few non-organic earth-bound conveyances were merely a novelty. At some point the steam engine gets harnessed for mass transport, though. The railway system comes about, where full-time conductors and manually operated switches keep everything safe. Then, there is a revolution in propulsion systems in the piston engine, and you get generally practical and affordable individual means of transportation. You do not need a full time conductor to run the car, nor do you need individuals to manually turn on or off lights to direct the car. We are at locomotives with modern aviation. Trained and experienced professional pilots follow individually issued instructions for safety’s sake. And rightfully so. At some point, though, the locomotive gives way to the car (even though trains remain even today.)

What will this mean economically and socially? Like the car, the ICA (individual commuter aircraft) will start with the well off, who will cause the initial rudimentary infrastructure to be built. This will make the prospect of a rural weekend home or ranch a possibility for the urban working rich or the upper middle class. At some point, as R&D costs decrease, the ICA comes down to price. Then the prospect of super-suburbs becomes a possibility, where ICAs fill the role cars currently occupy in our extant suburbs. As ICAs grow more prevalent, urban spheres of influence expand, which will result in the megalopolis (already starting in Cali and on the US East Coast.) As opposed to the Japanese megalopolis, though, housing will be affordable. And kids still get to grow up with trees in their backyards.

So next time, we get to design this mythical ICA. (To be continued in The Airplane for the Masses.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Epistemology, Ontology and Uncertainty.

So I was kicking around some ideas on transcendence, some thoughts about how we reflect God’s transcendence even when we are fixed in space-time. We seem to establish transcendence by setting one dimension of our subject as constant, so that we are transcendent in that aspect, and hence can speak meaningfully about it. We, in effect, create a ‘flatland’ so that we can understand it. As a function of this, we have to give up knowing about the dimension we have set as constant. We can change the dimensions we set as constant, but cannot know the subject in all dimensions at once. Understanding is gained through transcendence. God’s transcendence is innate, so His understanding is complete. Ours is synthetic, so our understanding will always be incomplete. At least eternity won’t be boring… even with infinite time there will always be something to learn.

Let’s start with some definitions. Ontology tries to determine the nature of truth itself. Epistemology discusses the knowablity of truth. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Theorem basically tells us that you cannot know all the things about a particle at the same time. We’re going to try to put them all together. Yes, kids, we’re mixing physics and philosophy. Here’s a secret, though (shhh, don’t tell anybody,) pretty much all the upper tiers of any discipline are philosophy anyways. Advanced math is very concerned with ontology, Historiography concerns itself with the subjectivity of truth, Quantum physics cannot be separated from questions about determinism, Linguistics is irrevocably intertwined with epistemology. It’s all the same stuff anyways. We draw distinctions because we have to call our degrees different things. (Except for MBAs and MPPs, which are all about made up stuff. I should know.)

Consider a thing. Something. Anything. For that thing to exist, there must be some truth about it, and that truth exists in all dimensions in which the thing exists. For the purposes of our discussion, lets consider something that is moving in four dimensions (length, width, heights and time.) Imagine that you are a soldier on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. Bullets are flying, the air is thick with smoke, and between the yells and the crack of rifles you listen for bugles. There is a truth to that place. If you are unlucky, that truth will be visited upon you through the laws of physics and biology (momentum transfer, tensile strength of skin, oxygen requirements of brain cells.) If you are not as unlucky, then that truth will be imposed upon you through the laws of sociology and history. (recording of memory, writing of historical narratives, and effects of changes of governments.) From this, we can derive a very important point: you do not need to master, or even understand truth for you to be subject to its effects. Therefore, you do not need to assent to truth for it to exist. (I love the aviator’s saying about excuses: ‘Physics doesn’t care.’)

So there is some truth out there. But the soldier’s experience of that truth is that of a character in a story, certainly not an author, not even someone reading the script. And as immediate as his ontological experience may be, much of the epistemology of the event will likely be lost on him. The guy getting hit by the dodge ball (or wrench, as the case may be) is probably not at that point in time the right guy to ask about the physics of momentum transfer. So how do we get from the existence of truth to the know ability of truth? We have to transcend the situation to begin to understand it. We have to walk up to the balcony (Heifetz) to move beyond experience into understanding. We do this the same way we do a statistical regression: by holding something constant.

Back to Gettysburg. Instead of a soldier, we are now a historian. We climb all over the hillside, trying to understand the perspective of the riflemen. We look at overhead pictures to understand the topography, we climb up hills to understand the effects of elevation. We hold time constant so that we can vary length, width and height. This allows us to step out of the situation and look down upon it. Once we feel we have mastered the space of the battle, we then look to time. We follow the engagement through its time-line, moving it back and forward in its arc until we feel we have mastered the time dimension of the battle. Each time we look at it, we must hold something constant, but after we look at it enough, we gain enough perspectives to have a sense of the whole. This sense of the whole allows us to effectively choose what variables we want to hold constant in order to address a given question. Consider a multivariate regression. Consider the physicist’s discussion of 4-d space-time. In order to meaningfully describe it pictorially, the physicist must take a dimension away, and describe it in three dimensions. Politics finds critical interest groups and institutions, as it is impossible to discuss the sum total of the individual desires of each member of the polity. So in this, we are always speaking by way of analogy. We create a representation which allows us to master an aspect of a whole, but we are always losing something in order to speak meaningfully about the whole. This is why Heisenberg tells us that we cannot understand all the aspects of a particle all at once. We must ‘take a slice’ of reality in order to begin to understand it.

The artist paints on a canvas. Or takes a photograph. What have they done? They have captured something real and presented it to others for understanding. They have captured it by taking away dimensions. A picture exists in length and width. A sculpture has length, width and height, but is fixed in time. Music moves only in two dimensions: time and amplitude. Even in a play, which is experienced in all four dimensions, offers us understanding in the reflection afterwards. Experience and understanding are related but not synonymous. In the play, though, we see something very significant: even when we are in the midst of a fully-dimension experience, part of us can take a step back and begin to understand the situation. We can, be both on the dance floor and the balcony at once. (Refer to Heifetz and Dean Williams for a far better discussion of the dance floor and the balcony.) Whether we ascend to the balcony while we are in the dance, or whether we leave the dance to climb, we must take the same stairs. We must transcend to understand. And we transcend by taking a picture. We drop dimensions to gain understanding.

When we try to understand a chaotic, hyper-variate problem, such as in the social sciences or in relationships, we turn to our history and surroundings to tell us which variables to drop and which ones to keep. This can create conflict when people come from different surroundings or have different histories. Very different conclusions can be reached when you are looking at different variables within the same data set. In this, we see the failings of the line of reasoning that all reasonable, well-intentioned, and well-meaning people will reach the same conclusions. People‘s conclusions have real consequences, and here we run into a snag… resources are scarce and reality is constrained. So different narratives lead to conflict. Consider the American Civil War. To say that the war was about slavery is simplistic. This would imply that the South’s primary aim was the maintenance of the institution of slavery. The cultural narrative of the South saw the conflict as an expression of the legitimacy of state’s rights. The cultural narrative of the North saw the conflict as a moral struggle about the illegitimacy of oppression. (this is debatable, but my purpose here more historiographical rather than historical.) These two issues collided in the institution of slavery. To one narrative, its imposed extinction was an intolerable violation of state’s rights. To the other narrative, its imposed extinction was a moral imperative. Consider two geometric planes. Conflict or consensus exists at the line of intersection.

To the Pakistanis, Kashmir represents national identity. The Pakistanis have never believed that the Indians respect their right to be a state. The Indian-backed transition of East Pakistan to Bangladesh represents this to Pakistan. To the Indians, Kashmir represents national identity. If Kashmir leaves India because of religion, why can’t the Sikhs have their own state? Or the Hindus, or the Christians? A multi-ethnic and multi-religious state cannot allow itself to disintegrate along religious lines. The point of intersection is Kashmir, but notice that neither party really sees it as about Kashmir. So the war is about two different things, although at one locus of intersection. How many symbols, how many issues are the same way: competition for scarce resources at a locus of intersection between two very different narratives? Perhaps, in this, is a hope of reconciliation. Rarely is the locus of intersection teleological. Usually the scarce resources at the intersection are instrumental goals, not end goals. The path to a goal is defined by the ‘slice’ of reality you are using. In another slice, different paths to those goals may be possible. Here is the goal of mediation, the hope of reconciliation. If the problem exists at the intersection between two disparate ‘slices,’ perhaps a third slice can be discovered which bypasses the contested instrumental goals to achieve the end goals of the different parties. In order to find this third slice, we return to the Heifitz’s balcony. On the dance floor, your experiences are narrated by the slice that you occupy. Climbing the stairs, we gain understanding of the whole of the situation, and gain a sense of where to slice the situation to reconcile the two parties. We must see the whole to find the right slice, and in order to understand the whole, we must be able to see the whole from many different slices.

Let’s conclude by going back to Philosophy. What implications can we draw from the intersection of transcendence, truth and dimensionality? First, Post-modernism is incomplete. There is a truth, one that is objective, one that will assert itself upon us without concern for our assent or understanding. It is to our benefit to understand that truth to the best of our ability, to move beyond experience to understanding. Understanding and experience are dialectical, they push against each other. New experience can shape our understanding, and understanding can cause us to modulate our actions and hence change our experience. But in forsaking understanding we cannot expect truth to cease to assert itself on experience. Physics doesn’t care. Second, Modernism is incomplete. Modernity straight-lines out our growth of knowledge, assuming that big-P Progress will lead us to a shining utopian future. Discounting the total failure of 20th Century Modernity to create an idyllic future (reference Communism and Fascism,) we see that we cannot truly straight-line progress out forever. Nor can we expect that we will be able, in the thoughts of enlightenment, to wrestle truth to the ground and force it to yield all of its secrets. We must dance with truth. We must pursue it, and it will yield its secrets bit by bit, but when we try to imprison truth, it will slip from between our fingers. In this, Truth images the Creator. In this, we learn humility. We are still children. This is hardly a bad thing. Children still believe in magic, and its amazing how much magic you can find when you start believing in it again.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stubbs' Theorem.

This used to have cool pictures. It doesnt anymore because I was too lazy to transfer them. Sorry.

Male Default: Relationships are composed of two or more nodes which are linked.
Female Default: Relationships are composed of a linkage that is between two or more nodes.
Note: These are trends and tendencies, not necessarily categorically true, and not true to the exclusion of the other.


1) System Analysis: Point math is simpler than relational math. Far less variables involved, far more static a system. Intuitive analysis (chaos math?) is required when variables are unmanageable, manageable variables can be addressed with concrete analysis (linear math.) Therefore, females (linkage primacy) use more advanced math in there analysis, and hence rely more on intuition. Accordingly, they can draw conclusions where concrete analysis would find insufficient data, but these conclusions would be reached slower and with less certainty. Males (nodal primacy) use less advanced math, and hence rely on analysis more than intuition, limiting their horizons, but cementing their conclusions and allowing them to act more decisively (if less precisely.)

2) Information Acquisition (Questions): Acquisition from nodal primacy is simpler than from linkage primacy, as it generally takes the form of a query rather than a stimulus. Males are usually querying for information when they ask a question. Females, better able to understand social networks, are perturbing the system, providing a stimulus in order to observe the response and better understand the interaction, or alternately moving the system to produce the desired response. This can lead to misunderstandings, such as where a female asks a question of a male desiring a certain response, and he sees it as a query, and responds with data, when the female was really analyzing overall systemic health in his response. Or alternately the male may become frustrated when they feel that they can not get a direct answer to a query. Consider a male asking a question more as administering a multiple choice or true/false 'ScanTron' test. Consider a female asking a question more as plucking a guitar string, and determining if the guitar sounds in tune or not.

3) Relationship Valuation: From a nodal standpoint, the other person and their attributes (and the self) are primary in the relationship. Examples: 'She's so hot, she's smart, I'm lucky to have a girl like her.' From a linkage viewpoint, the shared thoughts and experiences are primary to the relationship. Ex: 'We have a lot in common, he likes what I like, I like who I am with him, I’m so lucky to have a relationship like this.' Hence, males are typically more concerned with being with the other person, and females are more interested in developing a relationship with the other person. Both aspects are necessary, hence it is more a difference of focus.

4) Power: Nodal Primacy leads to a direct understanding of power, often based in the hypothetical catastrophic/eucatastrophic. To a male, the idea that he may save the day is his default understanding of power. Power is applied to another node, whether to fix a problem, build up that node, or neutralize a threat. A healthy application of this power enhances the health of other nodes or overall systemic health by neutralizing malfunctioning nodes. Linkage primacy leads to an indirect systemic understanding of power, power as actual influence. The ability to reshape the system in small changes over time, rather than the hypothetical catastrophic/eucatastrophic changes all at once. This power can be used to enhance overall systemic health by strengthening the relationships in the system, or alternately to reduce the power than malfunctioning elements wield through their relationships. Nodal power is expressed in the 'big stick' rarely realized but decisive interactions. Linkage power is in the constant subtle changes, and the two forms of power can be complimentary, where the small changes set the stage for the eucastrophic change.
4b) Abuse: A nodal primacy abuse of power uses the direct application of fear from the threatened application to serve the node's own ends (greedy, arrogant, power hungry people wield their power to cow others rather than to build them up.) An indirect abuse of power likewise seeks to establish control over the system, but does so by twisting the system over time, and poisoning the relationships of the system, decreasing overall efficiency to enhance individual control (manipulation.) Refer to the Genesis curse.
4c) Threats: A nodal analysis of threats will find a threat in another node that has the power/leverage to threaten that node's potential pursuit of ends, especially if ends are at odds. Therefore, the male will be threatened by the guy who is smarter or stronger, 'eg. 'he could kick my a$$.' A linkage analysis focuses on actual influence, rather than potential power in a hypothetical interaction. As opposed to potential threats, which can be rapidly reconcil3ed when the confrontation is over, and can also rapidly escalate (i.e. guys can fight then be friends a day later,) actual threats tend to be over a longer timescale and a longer accounting of wrongs. With small, precise changes, relatively few people with different agendas (esp. Ones at odds with each other) can simultaneously successfully influence the system. Hence, the perception of females as 'catty.' This stereotype is a function of competition for influence over the network as a whole, and is very strongly expressed in relationships with a high degree of intimacy, where the female views herself as the sole subtle influence in the equation.
4d) Leverage: Nodal values the potential catastrophic/eucatastrophic ('save the day') interaction, therefore direct potential power (strength/knowledge/etc.) is seen as leverage. Linkages values the means by which indirect influence occurs ('the husband is the head, but the wife is the neck, and the neck turns the head') such as beauty, understanding, robust linkages, etc. The male hits things with sticks, and the female likes him for it. Direct is the broadsword, catastrophic when used, but unwieldy. Indirect is the dagger, causing a small amount of damage, but deadly when used at the right time.

5) Genders in Community: A better model is possible than this world's mutual abuse/conflictual model. The curse of Genesis made direct power difficult for males (your labor shall be painful,) and indirect power for women difficult as well (birth shall be painful; your husband will lord over you.) It is the direct power that holds back the waters, and the indirect power that builds a home (healthy social networks) inside the area carved out. The male has the most direct power, but all his power is for naught without the female, as without her, there is no continuation, no new life. He protects her in the now, and she brings the future. Only in both direct and indirect power can completeness be achieved. Therefore, both need each other, both on the micro and macro levels. He is traditionally seen as the greater, but in many ways, she is the greater: a woman gave birth to Christ. Without the man's role, the woman's cannot exist, but without her role, his has no purpose. In his justice, and her mercy; in his strength, and her beauty; in his clarity, and her mystery, the wholeness of God is revealed.

6) Biological Explanation: Perhaps this differentiation of thought has something to do with the chemical wash that bifurcates the brain of young males. Having analysis and reflection split creates simpler, more decisive math. The good CEO is generally not the super-genius, but rather the one who is comfortable making confident decisions with little data. These same traits may make him a poor analyst or engineer. The skillset for chess is vastly different than that for football, as is the decision-making process. The female, with the more unified brain, exhibits more complex processing ability, but this complexity in understanding may prohibit her from hasty actions she would consider clumsy and inadequately thought through. Hence, she sees the situation in more detail, as one coherent entity, as unified as her biochemistry. Hence, she may shy away from snap decisions that lack the concomitant level of understanding. The male, with the bifurcated brain, has far less of a problem simplifying the situation, as his understanding is usually to a more coarse level of detail. Hence, he is more comfortable making snap decisions on incomplete data. The two biochemistries are complimentary, much like the executive and legislative branches of government.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ontological Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics governs matter in the physical realm. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can be arranged in more or less useful sequences. Without an external factor, however, these arrangements to progress towards less and less useful forms. However, with an external input of energy, these forms can progress toward more and more useful sequences. An example would be an airplane. On a disaggregated atomic level, there is no real difference between an aircraft engine and a pile of rocks rich in various metallic ores. However, an engine is a far more useful sequencing of these elements. This comes about due to an influx of energy in the form of creativity, a force transcendent to matter, and hence capable of shaping matter. Without such an influx of energy to create or maintain, this sequence of matter would decay into less and less useful forms, breaking and rusting. It will not spontaneously improve. Given that the Author of matter is the Author of ideas, the same dynamics should hold.

1) First Law of Thermodynamics: Enthalpy. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. Ontological Enthalpy: Ideas are neither created nor destroyed. Predicate: Matter/Ideas came from somewhere, if they are here now. Imperative: All ideas have their origin in the mind of God. 'There is nothing new under the sun.' We cannot construct an idea that does not derive its origin from the mind of God. An idea can be corrupted, and lose parts of that essence, but at the point that it loses all of that essence, it ceases to meaningfully exist. 'Sin leads to death.' All the building blocks of concepts, all the atoms of ideas, can neither be created nor destroyed, as they came into meaningful existence (for us) at the point of creation, and before that existed in the mind of God.

2) Second law of thermodynamics: entropy. Energy flows from more useful forms to less useful forms, unless there is an influx of energy from outside the system. (Note: In terms of physics, what else would transcendence mean, if not 'from outside the system?') Idea form: Ideas flow from a more useful arrangement to a less useful arrangement, unless an external influx of energy exists.

Predicate: More and less useful arrangements of ideas/matter exist. Therefore, the creation of 'new' ideas is more the arrangement of more useful sequences of ideas. Given that the growth of knowledge is a function of expanding relationships between pieces of data, the growth of these relational networks leads to an expansion of knowledge (see discovery.) Similarly to physical entropy, the creation of more useful sequences of ideas is a function of a transcendent influx. Without such an influx, these sequences of ideas will degenerate over time, but with external energy, these ideas will build into more and more useful forms, establishing progress.

Example: Rule of Law is a combination of the ideas of government, objectivity and truth, all of which can be found in the mind of God. It is a more useful combination when applied to politics than the original ideas alone (just as a jet engine is much more useful for aviation propulsion than ore-laden rocks, but not necessarily more useful for grinding wheat.) Eugenics is a particularly un-useful (and virulent) combination of the ideas of optimization and diversity, where the base concepts can be found in the mind of God, even if the combination flawed form cannot.

Corrolary: In a fallen, post-entropic world, a cycle of death and rebirth is necessary to prevent stagnation. Angular sinusoidal motion and cycles are the only ways to present eternal dynamic tension. It must, in effect, cascade to be within time.

See Chesterton: What is wrong with this world is Christian morals run amok without any grounding. (Orcs are bad elves.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Epic and Vicarious Life

Societies need symbols upon which to project their definitional self-images. These symbols provide for a simplified corporate identity experienced vicariously. These symbols begin the transition to myth as they are imbued with the values, hopes and aspirations of those claiming them. The original real nature of the thing becomes canvas upon which the mystical and metaphysical are painted. (i.e. A flag) When the physical reality of the thing is forgotten, then it has completed its transition to symbol. However, this transition can leave the thing changed not just in nature, but also in essence. Things can be re-invented, and their original nature can be lost. (i.e. Che Guevara shirts.)

Often, these symbols can be people. The symbol cannot work without the capacity for identification, without a pathway for vicarious identification. Herein lies the complexity of a human symbol. Humans exist in reality, not in myth. We breathe in and out real oxygen and carbon dioxide, not glowing strands of ether. A human must be re-invented to in becoming the bearer of myth. In their beatification or vilification, they lose some of the complexity that comes from being a being of actuality and potentiality (Aquinas) inside of reality. In increasing magnitude, the symbol loses depth. (reference wave physics -> Doppler filter) Initially this may involves little change of intent (Sandino->Sandinistas) but over time can diverge tremendously from the original intent (Susan B. Anthony -> second wave feminism.) This is especially true when the reinvention is intentionally driven by those who seek to control the power structures built upon the social capital of the symbol.

Vertical Symbology is the pathway of traditional myth. It reaches back into history, or forward into fantasy to find vessels. These are the ubermenschen, the Luke Skywalkers, the Beowulfs, the George Washingtons, also the supervillians, the Grendels, Palpatines and the Hitlers. This pathway is in some way simpler, as it does not have to manage the dual life of a breathing myth; its vessels exist solely in the malleable past, or the infinitely rewritable imagination of the myth-maker. This pathway grants a society temporal continuity to its vicarious self-image: its epics of history either affirm or show progress toward the self of now, its epics of fantasy grant longevity to the society's dreams (or nightmares... Apocalyptic fantasies exist alongside Utopian fantasies, and many exist in between, in the catastrophe or the eucatastrophe.)

Lateral Symbology is the pathway of contemporary myth. It reaches across the now and finds its vessels in the prominent figures of its time: the kings, the celebrities, the controversial revolutionaries. These are the politicians, the musicians and the sports heroes. They are the stars of the imagined Soap Operas and the real soap operas. These may lack the clarity of the vertical myths, but a society can watch with bated breath as their lateral epics unfold. (For this reason, the lesser angels of our nature often inhabit these contemporary myths: the pettiness of our celebrity journals, and the eagerness with which we consume them, speak to this.) The difficulty with lateral symbols is that they still breathe. The symbol and the flesh must coexist. And this leads to a dual life for the lateral symbol. On one hand, they are known by a small group as a real person, on the other hand, they are know to the world as a mythical figure. This realization leads to ritual (or marketing) being used to manage (or package) the mythical nature. Lateral myths allow dynamic myth, myths still resolving their dynamic tension in conflict. For this reason, many who are contemporary heroes to some are contemporary villains to others (sports players, politicians.)

These pathways of symbology are society's means of creating a simplified meta-narrative of its identity. Hence, the symbols (and pathways as derivatives of symbols: derivative = flow over time) are only effective insofar as they as linked to that society. This is hardly a problem with a small society, where identification with the symbols is simple. For the Saxon villager, with most of the world shrouded by myth and encircled by monsters, it is not difficult to imagine Beowulf having lived in a neighboring village. For the tribesman who grew up in close proximity with the chieftain, it is not difficult for him to identify with the chieftain. Herein lies a problem for contemporary American society. Imagine symbology as a canopy of a tent hanging over the society. If the area the tent covers stays small, the canopy of the tent stays within reach. The symbols are easy to identify with. However, as the size of the society grows, the tent needs to cover a larger area. The growth of mass media provides more material for this canopy of symbology. However, even though the tent has enough material, the larger the tent you have, the higher the top of the tent becomes, and the farther is becomes from those under it. With the combination of growth and mass media, the society feels farther and farther from its symbols. If the symbols are no longer tied to the society, they no longer serve their purpose, and can be blown away with a gust of wind. Returning to our analogy, the society must find ways to fasten the canopy securely to the ground. Linkages must be created whereby the society can identify with the symbols again.

These robust pathways allow the society to maintain its symbology even as the gap between the represented and the representation increases. Such a robust linkage must provide the whole of society a means of identification to its mythical and historical symbols. To bridge the gap between society and symbology, this linkage must demonstrate the capacity of the society, specifically the everyman, to become symbology. This is achieved either by demonstrating a transition between everyman and symbology, or a coexistence between everyman and symbology. Through demonstrating this capacity for transition or coexistence, the robust linkage reinforces the idea that the symbols are of the society. This reinforcement is required when these symbols seem distant.

For the vertical pathway, there is no ability to transition or coexist as a historical symbol. Therefore, in order to reinforce the vertical pathway, we look forward to fantasy. Here we find the everyman-hero or 'superhero.' Many of these undergo some transition from a normal person to superhero. (Batman, Spiderman, Fantastic Four) These superheroes coexist as people and symbols by living double lives, often expressing the same problems in their 'normal' lives as in their 'superhero' lives. (Spiderman, Superman, X-Men (sort of).) This transition or coexistence anchors the symbols to the society. [This coexistence may be expressed in different ways, such as Hercules in Greek myth being human but also a son of Zeus.] [This coexistence may be the ultimate synthesis of symbol and flesh, the corporeal and ethereal. Interesting xian Corrolary.] Both transition and coexistence reinforce the vertical pathway, but coexistence is the stronger.

The horizontal pathway is reinforced also through both, but transition is the stronger. In order to tie the breathing symbols to the people, the people must believe that they can become breathing symbols themselves, and the breathing symbols are still people. The coexistence is attested to by the paparazzi, exploring the humanity (flaws) of the stars. Here is also The Osbournes, where Ozzy lives a real life as well (not the idyllic world of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but a celebration of petty daily conflict) When the real life seems lost, the power of the symbol suffers. (Baseball strike, and disenfranchisement of fans.) The transition is the stronger path. Herein is the NBA Draft, where normal people join the ranks of superstars. Herein are the bootstrap stories, where the narod achieves symbolism by the sweat of their brow. And finally, here is the reality show. American Idol, where one comes off the street and becomes a musical superstar. Survivor, or the multitude of 'Real World' shows, where normal people get more than their 15 mins. of fame. By displaying the humanity of the symbols, and the capacity to gain symbology, the lateral symbols' connections to the society are reinforced.

As with all things, any design choice has consequences. The good consequence of the strengthened linkages is an increased carrying capacity for the society, where the society can accommodate a larger population without coming apart. The downside is that these strengthened linkages introduce more capacity for abuse. Tension that is created as a function of discrepancies between the beliefs of the society and the beliefs of its elites can be used as a corrective mechanism to realign the two groups. Although this tension can break catastrophically (Fr. Rev.) it can also serve as a more positive impetus toward change. In buying off or shaping these pathways, the elites can maintain their position while constructing a facade of alignment between the elite culture and the larger culture. Ultimately, these linkages are designed as a relief valve for societal tension caused by friction between the human symbology of the elites and the reality of the collective whole. Herein lies both the capacity for good or abuse. Corollary: Deconstrutivism dismantles myth by taking apart the reality upon which the symbology is based. More precisely, it seeks to deny that the symbol has any bearing on reality, (and hence questioning reality.) This typically works with human symbols, as our real forms are so fallen and flawed. In viewing the reality of the individual, that individual becomes in a way de-beatified or de-vilified, and hence can no longer be the bearer of symbology.

Corollary: When this happens upon the one True Myth, it doesn't work. Science circa 1900 tried to do that and screwed up. They thought that in explaining the origin of the pages upon which the Story of Everything is written, they would disprove the intentionality of the story, in the same way postmodernism dismantles myths. They failed, as the stage upon which the drama is to be constructed was so exquisitely complex and perfect. This does not undo the idea of the Playwright and the Drama, but enhances it, for if the stage is so exquisite how much more breathtaking must be the drama.

Corollary: Man is the fusion of matter and symbol, flesh and spirit. We screwed up. Christ is fusion in synergy. Deconstrutivism works cause we are not a perfect fusion. Ultimately, He is the ultimate breathing epic, as He exists in reality in all the complexity that the flesh brings, but with none of the disappointment inherent in flesh. He then is perfect to bear His own divine nature, which is equally perfect. This is not to say there are two natures, but rather that one being existed completely as (true) myth and as flesh at once. The two expressions of the same nature required each other, and built off of each other; the perfect Image Bearer, and the perfect Imago Dei. We, even in the redeemed state, are but reflectors of this. However, because of this, there is some perfection to be reclaimed. In reclaiming the original perfection, we move beyond Deconstructivism. Deconstructivism points out that no one in this world is worthy to bear the myths society builds upon on them. Reconstructivism recognizes this, but looks to the shadow of the myth to find the truth of the myth bearer in the light of their original (intended) perfection.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Concordance Argument

From nothing, nothing comes. Expressed in physics with matter, in philosophy with causality, and in Biology with life, ex nihilo arguments point toward a beginning and hence beginner. The causality, existence and life aspects of this are often used toward this end, but other things exist that do not have to and hence require explanation, things that exist and recreate themselves yet never spontaneously generate, in the same way that life does. These things can be used similarly in arguing for a Creator. Furthermore, these things can allow us to explore aspects of that Creator, as if they have their origin in Him, they must also be aspects of Him.

1) Relationship- Relationship exists, but there is no reason for it to have to. Reality could be unitary, or atomistic. Relationship seems to arise as a consequence of relationship, whether in human families, in environmental interaction, in mathematics, or in the scientific pursuit of knowledge. And like life, the domain/span of relationship continues to grow (esp. in the fields of human knowledge). There must, then be an original relationship. Yet, the Creator was before all other things with which to have relationship. Therefore, he exists in relationship to Himself. This explains the creative impulse, as it is act to extend relationship. Relationships grow, like life. Discovery, then, is a human derivative of creation, as it also grows out of a desire to expand the span of relationship (by expanding to fill creation, rather than by the production of creation.) Relationship is then expanded vertically through creation (not necessarily temporally) in the relationship between God and creation, and horizontally through discovery in the relationships within creation. This expansion points back to an origin of relationship unexplainable by naturalism.

2) Consciousness- Self-consciousness also has no reason to exist. ('For beings without purpose, we seem to very preoccupied with questions of purpose') There is no reason that increasing our ability to externally optimize would cause us to look back inwards. Consciousness only comes from consciousness. It can be ended by non-consciousness, but can never be started by non-consciousness. Therefore, there must be a conscious origin for consciousness. This follows a similar pattern as the relationship argument. Naturalism has no explanation for consciousness.

3) Elegance- Nature is never clumsy. It never seems to use 'best fit' solutions, but rather solutions seem to enhance overall systems. There is art in the laws. Solutions are simple, yet complex. The most complex systems arise from simple laws. Human designs arise as a function of compromise. Solutions involve tradeoffs and rarely increase efficiency beyond solving the problem they are intended for. This is because our solutions do not usually take into account the overall intent of the design. Randomness, having no grasp of the overall design at all, would exhibit this clumsiness even more so. Omniscience, however, would have a total grasp of the overall design, and hence all of their solutions would be elegant. A naturalistic counterargument would involve infinite optimization with optimal time, but human optimization tends to get clunkier with time (design by committee), as best fits are incorporated into a design and become convention. It is only destruction of the framework that restores elegance in the creation of a new framework. (A mature aircraft design is usually less elegant (aerodynamically efficient) than the initial design, even if more capable: avionics backbone on A-4, CFTs on F-15E, etc.) Naturalism might rely on such a dialectic destructive process, but without directing dynamics, this would result almost solely in destruction, thereby hurting the original argument with a clunky solution to a problem (once again showing the results of inelegance.)

4) Transcendence- We grapple with concepts beyond the visible boundaries of the physical world. Yet we are incapable of forming a non-existent concept, except through the combination of extant concepts (which is the relational development of concepts.) Our desire for higher-level knowledge is definitionally a desire for transcendence. Human beings desire to be (and are) transcendent from their environment, even when still in it. Transcendence definitionally must flow from transcendence. God must then be the first transcendence, the 'I AM.' Stated simply, if God doesn't exist, a vast majority of humanity has wasted a vast amount of time trying to figure Him out. One might ascribe 'God-talk's origin to a desire for perfect government, but ordinally and temporally the concept of God is over the concept of government. (Government is a derivative of God's dominion, as 'the government shall be on His shoulder.') Furthermore, if the idea of God is the integral of a perfect government, one must ask why? If this is the case, it becomes an argument for His existence, rather than against it.

5) Cognizance- Humans desire more knowledge, to know and be known by those around them and their environment. They seek to expand their knowledge, and knowledge is a function of relations, so they seek to expand their relationships (see 1.) The desire to know and be known must come from somewhere, the Creator must seek to know and be known. Humans can recognize beauty in predatory animals (such as in zoos or in the wild.) There is no naturalistic explanation for this, for all threats must be countered under the law of 'kill or be killed.' Yet we seek to understand that which can hurt us (arguably too much,) even without countering it. Naturalism cannot explain the desire to know and be known, for animals desire survival, optimization, but not dominion. We desire dominion, and hence must come from Dominion.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reconstructive Analysis

- Problem: Deconstuctivism seeks to demythologize the world by taking the things presented as truth and looking to the filters, lenses and perspectives through which the truth is told. If history becomes myth, and myth becomes legend, can we really trust the concept of history, or any methodology that attempts an objective accounting of events? And so deconstructivism picks apart whatever cultural myths are presented as history. While injecting a needed dose of humility into our pursuit of truth, deconstructivism is still a belief without a core. The unspoken core tenet of deconstructivism is that, like an onion, once you peel back all the layers of a myth, you are left with nothing. This runs into direct conflict with Aquinas's ideas on essence. Aquinas wins, through the idea of self-evident truth... the fact that the discussion exists points to the existence of objective explorable reality. This does not mean that we should totally discard all of deconstructivism. Surely, we can salvage the idea of transformation of fallen myths and projections of reality into their true form. Turning this idea away from nihilism and toward truth, we change the basic assumptions. Rather than assuming everything is really about nothing, and hence to be discarded, we turn to the assumption of Aquinas, assuming that if anything has existence, then on some level it must incorporate some truth, and is hence redeemable. Instead of an onion, we have a softball, with a true core. Turning to Lewis and Tolkien, we are reminded that the reason that any deep story has power is because it draws from the Deep Magic. All myths are on some level a retelling of the One True Myth. Hence, if anything exists, it contains an element of Truth, and all truth is God's Truth. Applying the deconstrctivist concept of transformation, reversing our myths through their iterative process, we can find them all pointing back to God. We then find deconstructivism with a core, a philosophy which recognizes the self- deception of the world yet draws us toward redemption. Let's call this transformation into a true form, the recovery of the kernel of Truth from anything reconstructive analysis, or reconstructivism.

'To an unknown God'. Speaking to the Greeks, Paul used this place, where the ice was the most thin, to carve through the self-deception of the Greeks. He recognized the hunger for God all men have in their hearts, and found the point where their minds and hearts were least far from the truth to introduce Truth. He identified the kernel of Truth, recovered it, and proceeded to build upon it.

GK Chesterton tells us the problem with this world is a bunch of Christian morals run amok. Without a framework, all these things run rampant and self-destructive, like bleed air without ducting. Yet still, in order for something to exist, it still must be rooted in God.

- Theory: There is no such thing as a pure lie. A pure lie would simply cease to exist. In order to exist, a lie must have some truth in it. That truth can be reclaimed, and used to point toward the One Truth. (Note: Pure evil cannot exist, as evil is a corruption of the good. Pure evil would simply cease to exist, as we understand existence... Paul teaches of the progression between sin and death.) Any belief, no matter how incorrect, must have Truth at its heart. To take the most extreme example, consider 'God is evil.' Taking this apart, 'God is [true] the negation of [lie] good [truth.] Alternately, 'NOT God is good.' This most false statement has at its core an affirmation of the Truth of God, even in its attempted negation. One might argue that this logic can be just as easily reversed; proving that all is evil, and hence invalid. Notice that the affirmative formulation is possible without the negative, but the opposite is not true. As Aquinas teaches, it is possible to imagine a world without sin, but a world only of sin would not exist in any meaningful way, and hence cannot be discussed. You can have elves without orcs, but no orcs without elves. Most examples from real life are more complex and shaded than our example. One can salvage the good from a belief, and lead its adherents to Truth. Beliefs can be purified just as people can be redeemed.

- Corollary: Original True Myth spawns all other beliefs, good or bad. Can restore the corrupted myth: the original, lost truth can be recovered, the embers can spark again if found and breathed upon.

- Corollary: same is true for people: there is something that desires God and holiness, even if internally irredeemable and totally corrupt. The Spirit must breathe over these embers to bring us back. In doing so, the embers consume the whole and make it new again.

- Example: Yin-Yang.Progression:Corrupt belief ... (balance/dualism/conflict btw opposites makes reality) <- [from] <-Linkages... (the existence of contradiction points to transcendence)-> [back to] ->Source/Truth... (God creates with the synchronization of opposites)... (God of Wrath: God of Love;Fully Man: Fully God;'and He walks with me’:’ Dark is His path on the wings of the storm')

Recovery:To recover, use Yin-Yang to explain the duality of God, and further explain the resolution of duality. Perfection is found in the total synchronization of wrath and love. Sin and evil is falling short of this perfection, not an aspect of it. Hence, evil is a misunderstanding/misapprehension of purpose, willful as it may be. (Hence, Buddhism gets CFD (correct for data) on this point.)

Example: Stephen, who loved those who hated him, was an example of perfect contradiction, perfect dualism. To make war with love, to fight with love as a weapon, this is the embodiment of contradiction. Not simply a mishmash juxtaposition of opposites, but a synchronicity, a reconciliation, a harmony in chaos. To use the foolish to shame the wise (1 Cor,) for God to serve as a slave, for Him to conquer death by death, this is perfect contradiction. To do less is sin, a willful misapprehension of purpose.

- Corollary: Greek Mythology The Greek gods are undoubtedly very pagan. Yet no story, no matter how false, can be entirely original. Greek mythology must then be a flawed and twisted retelling of the One Story. It is as a revisionist retelling of the One Story from the viewpoint of the powers and principalities. What then, besides themes, can be salvaged? The clash between the Olympians and the Titans is where we will focus our analysis. The Olympians were a lower order of creation than the Titans, yet left their place and instead overthrew the Titans. In overthrowing the Titans, the Olympians then faced humanity, which they generally looked upon with disdain. They ensured the fealty of humanity through fear, not through love. Yet even more so, they cemented their hold on power with humanity through the fear of the Titans. As petty, cruel and hateful as the Olympians were, they sold themselves as infinitely better than the Titans, and hence worthy of the worship of humanity. Yet even more so, the ashes of the Titans were spread throughout humanity, making humanity the bearers of the essence of the Titans, and the Olympians disdained humanity all the more so for that, although it was retold to humanity as a mockery of the Titans at the hands of the Olympians. If I saw things through the eyes of the powers and principalities, I would find this a remarkably more comfortable retelling of the story of origins than the one that actually occurred. Yet, even twisted and corrupted, this story still follows the template of the One Story, for evil cannot create, but can only destroy. First, the rebellion of the Olympians. Surely the fallen princes would look upon the Creator as oppressive to all wills other than His own. Claiming that they had overthrown the Creator, claiming that God was dead, surely that would be a comforting claim to the losers of the first war of heaven. Yet the rebellion was unmistakable. Presenting the oppression of the powers and principalities as light in comparison to God's oppression is another old trick. The idea of the intermarriage of the 'gods' and humanity is also not new, given the Watcher tradition. The idea of the image of the Creator being poured upon humanity is also inescapable. Yet to the powers, the idea of the forced relocation of God's essence to humanity as a mockery is surely a more pleasant retelling of God's creation of man in His Image, than creation of man higher than the angels. Although the retelling is warped and flawed, and told from a resentful and lying tongue, the essence of the One Story is still inescapable. Recapturing it would be a harder matter, though.