Philosophical Skeleton Keys: Facts Are Fossils of Acts

Of all the Philosophical Skeleton Keys I have written about, this one is the hardest. Not because it is inherently complicated, but rather because it is so simple, and so powerful; and because the moment I understood it so many perplexities so completely vanished that I have now but little recollection of them. So well did this Key dispose of so many problems, that I cannot now well remember what most of them even were!

I use this Key all the time; so often, that I don’t usually notice having done so.

It opens all sorts of locks, but I suppose that the most important of them is the Hard Problem of Consciousness, as David Chalmers has called it: namely, how do you get awareness out of the coordinate activities of trillions of particles that – on the usual modern construction of “matter” – are not themselves at all aware? The Hard Problem is the difficult and apparently incorrigibly perplexing nub of the Mind/Body Problem; the other aspects of the Mind/Body problem are what Chalmers calls the Easy Problems. Translating the Hard Problem into the terms I shall employ in what follows: how do you get lively acts from dead facts?

Here’s the key: you don’t. You *can’t.* You get facts from acts, and not ever vice versa. A fact is a completed act. Facts no longer act. They do exert effects, to be sure. But those effects are mediated by other acts, which are enacted in the context of an environment of completed acts: an actual world.

What neurophilosophers struggling with the Hard Problem call the brain is a congeries of facts; of completed acts. Because they are already completed acts, facts can’t do anything at all. To ask how they might act so as to generate awareness is then to fall prey to a category error.

That facts are generated by acts means that of the two, acts are the more basic. Worlds are constituted *of* facts, but they are constituted *by* acts. Acts are then prior to facts. An act begins by taking account of its factual environment, and then, combining the apprehended properties thereof in itself, constituting itself a new fact.

Facts are then as it were the fossils of acts; are their outward appearance.

So, the brain doesn’t produce the mind. The mind produces the brain. The brain then does not explain the mind – although it does, to be sure, explain the data of the acts of the mind. Rather, the mind explains the brain.

Analogously, the state of the economy doesn’t produce decisions about resource allocation, but is rather constituted of them.

All sorts of perplexities vanish when we remember that facts don’t act.

45 thoughts on “Philosophical Skeleton Keys: Facts Are Fossils of Acts

  1. I like that concept. It also makes the Prime Mover a little more approachable. If you accept that Facts are completed Acts, then what Act underlies all subordinate facts but the Act of Creation?

    • Yes. There is no First Brute Fact, that fills the causal hole usually filled by God, because there are no such things as brute facts. All facts are generated by prior acts, and acts by definition are not brute. On the contrary, acts are all intelligent, in the sense that as intensional they are all teleological. So there is a First Intelligent Act.

      From any creaturely perspective, the Divine Act has the character of a fact, which is the actual forecondition of all other events. But from the Eternal perspective of Divine Omniscience, all creaturely acts whatever are facts, all at once; and the Divine Act is a coordinate response to all of them.

      This gets a little confusing for us, because the only way we can understand the relation between act and fact is as eventuating over the course of time, and within it: first you have the act, and then afterward, and to other creaturely acts, that act appears as a fact.

      God’s procession from Act to Fact is per contra Eternal. For him, the Act is not before the Fact, because for him there is no before or after. Moreover, for him the Act is not different than the Fact: they are one thing only, and are not even different phases in the becoming of his Moment, as they are for the becoming of each of our moments.

      • But from the Eternal perspective of Divine Omniscience, all creaturely acts whatever are facts, all at once


        We see the temporal relationship between act and fact, but God, as an (as the?) Atemporal being, all acts are completed–or, to tie in earlier conversations, all occasions of being are complete and fully realized. Which helps me understand or conceptualize how God can be omniscient and we still have free will. Some facts, while they have always been true, are surprising to learn (Venus’ day is longer than its year!). God created each of us, knows us by name, sees the fact of our total existence, and free will means our fact can be new!

      • That’s about the size of it, Scoot.

        Bearing in mind that in addition to knowing our acts as facts, God knows them also as potentia. The instants when they have not happened are as present to him as those in which they have.

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  3. Emerson:

    There sits the Sphinx at the road-side, and from age to age, as each prophet comes by, he tries his fortune at reading her riddle. There seems to be a necessity in spirit to manifest itself in material forms; and day and night, river and storm, beast and bird, acid and alkali, preexist in necessary Ideas in the mind of God, and are what they are by virtue of preceding affections, in the world of spirit. A Fact is the end or last issue of spirit. The visible creation is the terminus or the circumference of the invisible world.

    • Aye. This is not a new idea. It’s in Aristotle, Thomas of course therefore, Whitehead, and John Wheeler. Chalmers, too, for that matter. It is implicit in Mangan and in Tononi’s IIT, as well; and Dembski’s Being as Communion, and in Henry Stapp, and in David Bohm, come to think of it. But it is so counterintuitive that you can read all those guys and not see that they are talking about it. Indeed, even some of them don’t quite seem to understand that they are talking about it.

      Once you do grasp the notion, you start seeing it everywhere, in writers both ancient and modern. If you take the mind to be real, you are ipso facto implicitly endorsing it.

  4. I don’t mean to open a can of worms concerning “free will”, and perhaps I am posing a question that is inappropriate to the argument, but could you explain how is this distinct from determinism? (the belief that all events are determined by previously existing causes)

    • As eternal, God does not know about our acts before they happen, because as eternal there is for him no before or after. He knows what we do as we do it. He does not exist, know, and act before we do. He exists, knows, and acts as we do. This is so of him in respect to all creaturely acts.

      It’s devilish hard to wrap one’s head around, I know. You might want to check out my Philosophical Skeleton Key about eternity. It might help. Or not.

      • “As eternal, God does not know about our acts before they happen, because as eternal there is for him no before or after. He knows what we do as we do it. He does not exist, know, and act before we do. He exists, knows, and acts as we do. This is so of him in respect to all creaturely acts.”

        Yet able to declare the end from the beginning. And anticipating what is to come that is inevitable.

      • Yes. Except that he does not anticipate. To us it seems that he does, to be sure. But really he just sees all at once all that happens. So nothing is inevitable, except that, it being impossible for him to fail, his eventual total success is inevitable, somehow or other, sooner or later, and no matter what. All other acts than his then are evitable.

  5. What is Perfection?
    But an actual, factual act-fact confection? Objective (S)upremacy upon mundane reflection. The Act with Fact manifest in His desired selections. God’s “wish” a “philosophical skeleton key” opening infinite dimensions.

    • Thordaddy, I’ve approved that comment even though I have *absolutely no idea* what it means, on account of the fact that I can just tell from it that you are in the midst of a cascade of insights, prompted by my poor reflections. I honor you for that.

      • Kristor…

        When you put forth a symbiotic vision of act and fact, you are, in my humble opinion, summoning (P)erfection, some such.

        Objective (S)upremacy just is both “act and fact,” simultaneously.

        Putting sweet and simple, I interpret from your work a genuine desire for (P)erfection both in act and in fact. The “act” in writing “things” Right and the “fact” in your self-identification as a Roman Catholic.

        And therein lies the nub…

        Roman Catholics, ultimately, unwilling to confess their desire for (S)upremacy.

        It is a self-annihilating refusal.

      • Approved again, despite its opacity, Thordaddy.

        Roman Catholics unwilling to confess their desire for Supremacy? For theosis, i.e.; sainthood, the Beatific Vision? Where did you get that idea?

      • You misunderstand, Kristor…

        I very much believe that Roman Catholics, properly-speaking, desire (S)upremacy. In fact, desire for Supremacy is to be Roman Catholic, IMHO.

        Which is why I write that you are a white (S)upremacist.

        But it is against the accusation of “white supremacist” that most, if not all, white Roman Catholics will knee-jerkingly DENY the charge WITHOUT clarifying the meaning of the “accusation.”

        In other words, when it was quite normal and common for white, heterosexual, Christian men to be labeled “white supremacists” (some 8-12 years ago before a mass cucking), the “accusation” was never met with a “well, it all depends what jew mean by ‘white supremacy?’”

        There is no more excuse for such passiveness at this late date when the “accusation” carries potential severe repercussions. As such, the white Christian West just is “white supremacy” no matter how many try to deny this and white Roman Catholics just are white (S)upremacists (because (s)upremacy Cause (S)upremacy. So, “white supremacy” because white Supremacy).

        It should be no surprise that the decline in white Christianity across America (and the West) run parallels to the delegitimization of “white supremacy” across the globe. Each is, in the eye of the enemy of both movements, one in the same (read: equal) no matter what any fanatic of a finer association might claim.

        The memes of attack are copious iterations of anti-racism, ie., anti-white (S)upremacy.

        And this is where many “white” Roman Catholics buckle and “white supremacy,” by definition, does not.

        So the convergence is at “racial incarnation.”

      • Although I can sort of tell that you wrote with a meaning in mind, I have absolutely no idea what you mean. Consider, Thordaddy, whether in your writing you are seeking perfection. Write like a Christian, for the love of God. Write as if you want your readers to understand you. Otherwise you are just wasting your time, and injuring the cause of righteousness.

        Any reply that is not immediately and pellucidly clear to the reader’s intellects shall not pass moderation.

      • Kristor…

        You are a white (S)upremacist as are any white, self-identified Christians who reject anti-racist ideology.

        And any “white Christian” who does not reject the anti-racist ideology, is a self-annihilator.

        I cannot write these “facts” in a more succinct manner.

      • Here’s how you could have done it:

        White Christians who accept that there are differences among the races are white supremacists. White Christians who do not are engaged in annihilating themselves.

        See how clear that is?

        As thus stated, I think that those statements are not true.

        As to the second, there are lots of white Christians who just don’t think about race, and who are not engaged in suicide.

        As to the first, to accept that there are differences among the races is simply not the same thing as to believe that whites are the supreme race, or ought to be. To believe the latter, you’d have to believe that the white race exists in the first place (that would have been a hotly controverted assertion 100 years ago (it may be more true in America today than it was then)) *and* that the white race is in fact better than all the others, so that it merits rule over the other races. And there is a lot of work you’d have to do, to show the truth of those notions.

        But then, the way you write, no one can easily tell what you mean by “white supremacy.” It seems that you might not mean by it what most people do: namely, the notion that the white race is the best and ought to rule the other races. It seems that you might mean simply that to believe in white supremacy is to believe that you ought, as a white person, to exemplify the good qualities of the white race (whatever those might be) as well as you can; to seek perfection in your expression of the good characteristics of your race.

        To tell you the truth, I’m just deadly bored of the topic of race. I’m sick of people talking about it. Stop jawing about it as if there was anything anyone could do about it, or ought to, get on with your life, and Let the chips fall where they may, is what I say, and devil take the hindmost. Talking about it does no good at all. All it does is exacerbate resentment, covetousness, anger, greed. Not good.

        Your life is not a mess because of your race. It is a mess because you are beset with evil sinful temptations, to which you keep giving in. If you stopped sinning, as much as you could, you’d be OK. Not just you, Thordaddy, but me, too, and everyone reading this, or not reading it. Our lives are a mess because we keep messing them up.

        Become worthy. Then shall you rule, as night follows day, and to the extent of your worthiness. In no other way might you deserve to rule.

        Now, if what you mean by “white supremacy” is “white people seeking to become worthy,” then I’m all for it. But if that’s what you mean, then you should stop calling it white supremacy, which everyone takes to mean something quite different, and call it instead *white people seeking to become worthy.*

        You’ll cut a lot more ice with readers if you use terms the way they are usually employed. Because why? Because *they’ll understand what the hell you are talking about.*

      • Kristor…

        You are simply refusing to come at this issue from a whole different perspective.

        Even if you are entirely unclear as to the definition of “white (s)upremacy,” you cannot be at all unclear in the idea that “it” is not equal to white (S)upremacy. After all, you are highly proficient in use of the English language and, as far as I know, a staunch Capitalist.

        Now, “we” know what “white (s)upremacy” means… Evil, bad, wrong. And ALL SIDES AGREE (so as to render reality one-sided).

        Yet, white (S)upremacy “defines” itself against this one-sided fallacy.

        White men who believe in and therefore strive towards objective (S)upremacy are right.

        So OUR psychological war is not much more than the “reverse” psychology of my childhood lore.

        To the enemy of (P)erfection, white men who desire (S)upremacy are “evil, wrong and bad” and to be articulately diminished as “white (s)upremacists.” Likewise, in this global demonization of “white (s)upremacy” is the concurrent and precipitous decline in white men who desire (S)upremacy. A simple cause/effect phenomenon.

        So, yes, this is racial, in the sense of Kristor, a father and protector of his race, disabuses his children of a lifetime of “reverse psychology” and recognizes that his Church cannot stand neutral in the face of a racial self-annihilation done in the name of Christ.

      • It sounds as though you are arguing simply that white men are especially hated these days by the Left – which is to say, by the ruling class – and that they are particularly hated when they strive to achieve excellence and virtue such as Europe has traditionally construed them; and that, more and more often, the pejorative flung at such excellent white men, which offers moral cover for their persecution, is “white supremacist.”

        With all that, I agree. I agree also that, like every other institution of the modern West, the churches are almost entirely converged – taken over by Leftists. And I agree that an obvious goal of the Left is the eradication of European culture and the peoples who have sustained it. I agree furthermore that this campaign of the Left is a danger to my children and grandchildren.

        These are not widely controverted notions in reactionary discourse; on the contrary, they are commonplaces.

        If that is indeed what you meant, I wish you had just said it plainly, without all the confusing scare quotes, parentheses, idiosyncratically purposed terms that everyone else than you uses differently, and so forth. Your idiosyncratic syntax and terms are a tax upon the reader; indeed, a sort of insult.

        Consider thoughtfully, please, that excellence in writing is one of the great European virtues – as it is in most cultures of the North. To the extent you do not seek that excellence when you write, you subvert and betray your race – and civilization.

        It is interesting that in the last year or so, the Left has begun to turn against Asians and Jews as well. Uppity blacks, too; particular viciousness is lavished upon them. Hispanics are probably next.

      • So you are a white Supremacist, properly-speaking, even if you’d rather identify yourself as a Roman Catholic?

      • I still have no idea what you mean by “white Supremacist, properly speaking.” So I don’t know how to answer. If you are asking whether I seek to perfect my expression of my God-given nature, the answer is yes. But rather than call that white Supremacy, which connotes something radically different to most readers, it would be simpler and more accurate to say that I seek virtue.

        I don’t identify as Catholic; that’s SJW talk. I *am* Catholic. It’s not so much a system of doctrines in which Catholics believe – although it is that, to be sure – as an ontological condition, in which belief in those doctrines is implicitly entailed.

        I hate to disappoint you, Thordaddy, but Catholicism has nothing to do with whiteness. Nor does any other sort of traditional Christianity that I know of. It does have to do with the Supreme Being, of course, and with man’s quest for communion with him, and for perfection in him. And its confidence in the resurrection of the body implies that the bodies resurrected will be the very bodies of the believers, so that a resurrected Swede will be resurrected as his own perfected Swedish body, with his own Swedish genes, eyes, hair, and so forth. Likewise an Ibo will be resurrected as an Ibo.

        It seems to me Thordaddy – speaking respectfully, as a long term acquaintance, and as someone who is toward you most charitably inclined – that your focus on white Supremacy (and on calling it just that, whatever it means) is an obsession verging on monomania. You seem to interpret *absolutely everything* in terms of race. From the perspective of others, my friend, you appear to be enmeshed in the throes of a terrifically strong addiction to a sort of idolatry. You seem to have taken race to be the supreme thing, and indeed almost the only thing. But of course that’s a silly idea.

        I think it would do you a world of good to think about other things for a while, *without* trying to understand them in terms of race. Try just saying the Rosary 3 times a day, with nothing else in mind than the words you are reciting. It’s really rather magical, what that can fix. Give it a shot.

      • The only difference being the recognition of a racial incarnation versus just plain incarnation. Or does Roman Catholic imply racial incarnation as truth be told?

      • No, Roman Catholicism doesn’t care a whit about race one way or another. The only possible exception might be the particular worry of the Church on behalf of the Jews, and her prayers that they should be saved.

        I think you are barking up the wrong tree with this line of inquiry.

      • Kristor…

        When I state that you are a white (S)upremacist, properly-speaking, I am proclaiming that you are a white man who believes in and therefore strives towards objective (S)upremacy, ie., (P)erfection. And in writing this, I am neither deceptively diminishing your person (as the enemy does with “white (s)upremacist) nor subverting the English language whatsoever. That you’d switch out “Supremacy,” replacing it with “Ultimacy,” and/or equate the above understanding to “man’s quest for communion” with the “Supreme Being,” is no more than an indication of your Roman Catholic bent towards describing reality.

        Furthermore, I am agreeable to the Austerian take on “race.” Those who treat “race” as everything are as “radically autonomous” as those who treat “race” as meaningless. Race just is. Not “all”, yet not “nothing,” either. You and I are of our respective father(s). You and I are racially incarnated. That one’s desire for (S)upremacy originates in his father(s) is “racism.” That one instills desire for (S)upremacy in his children as a father is also “racism.”

        So when you state that:

        Roman Catholicism doesn’t care a whit about race one way or another.

        This is reasonably interpreted by non-Catholic whites to mean that Roman Catholicism does not care one whit about the white race and/or makes meaningless the reality of white man’s racially incarnated state. And I am at a loss to imagine how this is to Roman Catholicism’s credit given the reality that anti-racism is self-annihilation?

        PS The “parentheses” are absolutely necessary in linguistically combatting the egalitarians’ attempt at collapsing white man’s reality via an anti-Capitalization of the English language. So as it is the want of the “universal equalist” to crush (S)upremacy down to (s)upremacy, a mechanism of triggering support is required. The “parentheses” does the trick.

      • Thordaddy, beware idolatry:

        If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26

        Christ is not telling us that we are to hate the things of Earth, period full stop, but rather that our love for them is to be to our love for him as our hatred of evil is to our love of our children. I.e., love God, above all other things, and then – and only then – shall all your other loves be properly ordered, so that they each receive from you their proper dues.

        You are evaluating Christianity – and, therefore, God – according to your own Earthly criteria, according to your own this worldly preferences. You put yourself and your race above God. It’s a bad, bad mistake.

        Your parentheses and scare quotes do *not* do any tricks. All they do is confuse the reader. Honest. If you want to get an idea across, use words, like everyone else does.

      • Christ is not telling us that we are to hate the things of Earth, period full stop… — Kristor

        Of course not, or else no white man of sound mind could embrace Christ or preach to his children the Perfection in Christ. But this does not at all stop anti-racists from using Luke 14:26 to legitimize anti-racism (father hate) in the name of Christianity. Nor does it prevent anti-Christian “national socialists” from claiming Christianity as the original anti-racist (father hate) ideology. Furthermore, such passage is used by self-annihilating “Christians” to subvert The Founding Fathers, tear down Confederate Monuments, rename historical sites, etc. In all instances, I am not reading any Roman Catholic response to these effective attacks at turning white males away from Christianity?

        But as you’ve stated, it is not an actual concern of the Roman Catholic Church that the white race is turning towards collective damnation.

        But what of actual white Roman Catholics? How can your Church’s indifference sit well with you? You cannot save yourself, but you can pro-create (read: perpetuate your race) further necessitating the saving grace of Christ. How is this not ideal racism? How is this not a regenerate belief?

        You say, “I am Catholic.”

        I say, “Yes, you are a white Supremacist.”

        There is no conflict.
        There is no subversion.

        And the Church can provide you with no argument against my outside-of-Catholicism identification other than a falling back onto her enemy’s concept of “white supremacy.” And that is no fall back position whatsoever.

      • Thanks, Thordaddy, for refraining in this most recent comment from the use of parentheses, and for your restraint in using scare quotes. It made reading your message much easier.

        I’ve never seen a single instance in which our adversaries – the adversaries of Christendom – used Luke 14:26 as scriptural warrant for destroying us or our patrimony. Those guys don’t know scripture – or anything else of the patrimony, for that matter (and what they think they know about us is mostly projection). It would not occur to them that a scriptural warrant for their enmity was either needful or might be rhetorically efficacious. Even if it did occur to them, they would not know where to look in scripture for a useful proof text.

        You are correct to have noticed no institutional response from the Church to the depredations of her adversaries upon Christendom. There have been no such responses for hundreds of years. That’s discouraging. The Church has been sorely and progressively weakened for 500 years; her morale is low, and dropping.

        But then, the same is true for *every* social institution of the West. The Church is in dire straits, to be sure; but compare the institution of the monarchy, to cite just one example. Of all the patrimonial institutions, the weakened Church is the strongest. I feel confident that the worm shall soon turn, and that when that happens, she shall come roaring back, with all the other institutions in her train.

        … it is not an actual concern of the Roman Catholic Church that the white race is turning towards collective damnation.

        The Church understands that all races, and all men, stand in mortal peril of damnation at all times. Her whole mission is to propagate to all races and all men the saving Grace that she makes available to them. So of course she *is* concerned that any race is heading toward damnation. She rails against the moral evils that nowadays particularly beset the West (and to a lesser degree the other cultures of Earth), and threaten demographic survival: sexual sin, contraception, feminism, abortion, euthanasia, moral relativism, atheism, on and on. And she strongly supports the factors of reproductive success: strong families, strong faith, righteousness, sexual propriety, and so forth.

        The most faithful families of the Church are having lots and lots of children. Where the Church is strong, demographic annihilation is not much of a concern. It’s the enemies of the Church who are not reproducing, and who face demographic annihilation.

        The Church is not particularly interested in propagating any particular race. But also, and by the very same token, she is not particularly interested in the genocide of any particular race. She is not against any race; she is for all races. So yes, she does not seek to provide me with particular support in the propagation of my race; but neither does she seek to frustrate that propagation. On the contrary: she wants me and my family to reproduce, a *lot.*

        So, yes, there is no conflict between being a Roman Catholic and being a Swedish man seeking to realize the perfections proper to himself – qua man, qua Swede, and so forth – in his quest to attain the Supreme Perfection possible to any man, the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision. And yes, there is no conflict between being a Roman Catholic and being a Nigerian man seeking to realize the perfections proper to himself – qua man, qua Nigerian, and so forth – in his quest to attain the Supreme Perfection possible to any man, the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision. The success of the Swede and the Nigerian in their quests will not work in them to make them just like each other. On the contrary, it will work in them to make them more completely and thoroughly their own peculiar selves, and so in the maximization of their various beauties will sharpen and amplify their differences, and the differences of their nations, even as it engenders conditions and customs that enable Nigeria and Sweden to live at peace with each other.

        The Church will not furnish an argument against the notion that Swedes should be the best Swedes they can be. Why would she? She wants all men to be the best that they can be.

  6. “So, the brain doesn’t produce the mind. The mind produces the brain”

    Empirical evidence supports that conclusion:

    Since the mind manifests in physical matter as the brain. To henceforth alter the brain is the alter the mind. This philosophy fits the data better than other explanations.

    • Yes. But it goes further even than that. Other explanations simply *don’t work.* Despite a lot of hand waving and high falutin’ talk, they don’t when push comes to shove explain how a bunch of dead pebbles can be conscious. Because why? Because they can’t. It can’t be done.

      Arrange your pebbles as elaborately as you like, you can’t arrange them so that they wake up. Pebbles can’t wake up. So they can’t explain waking up.

    • A natural question. There is in eternity no before; so there is no already. Nor is the Great I AM logically conditioned upon any prior thing; were it so, the Great I AM would not be ultimate, and would not be God.

      The Great I AM then is becoming always, and always is.

      • @Kristor

        What’s fascinating is that the nature of God itself doesn’t change at all His Glory, His Supreme and Perfect Beauty, his Holiness remains ever the pinnacle of excellence.

        Even is he is the agent of change and becoming always. Yet never deviating from any excellency or any perfections at all.

      • It helps me sometimes to visualize God as the center of an expanding sphere of cosmogonies radiating outward, each cosmogony a worldline terminating at the center. Or not a sphere, come to think of it, because of course some worlds must be older than others. On each worldline, the first instant would be the outmost end of its line. The lines then would be growing from the inside – from the central point – as God seeded them with novel events.

        Thus the future of all worlds lies in God. It’s not just that he is the terminus ad quem of all worlds, although he is that, to be sure; it is that the future of every event in every worldline is in him. But the center does not move; nor then does the whole volume in which the worldlines are growing outward from him. The center defines the whole volume; the volume then comes along with the center as a package deal, and simply. The whole of each of the worldlines is in that volume, all at once. That volume is boundless: ain sof.

        That volume is what Plato called the Receptacle – in Greek, χώρα, the khôra, dancing ground and parade ground for assembling troop formations (as of Sabaoth, ‘armies’) – and Kabbalah calls צמצום, the tzimtzum, the empty place that God opened within himself to make room for the created order. In that volume we live, move and have our being. In and throughout that “empty” place, the perichoresis of the Trinity proceeds.

        The khôra is not of course really empty. It is not an extensive space, but rather *ontological room* – i.e., real potentiality – for creatures to be that are not God. So the Receptacle is a plenum, full of God; he is then all at once and eternally surrounding and throughout every locus of it, and so likewise each occasion of creaturely becoming in every cosmos. That ubiquity is the reason of his omniscience.

        Creatures change, but he does not. Creatures change *because* he does not; his changelessness is a forecondition of their change.

    • It is a way of saying that agents lie at the root of reality, going back to the Prime Agent. I take “person” to mean the outward, effective aspect of an agent; literally the face it presents to the world – its objective aspect – and by which it faces its world – its subjective aspect. Not all persons are like human persons, of course. Most are evanescent, far simpler, and are not reflexive.

      Human persons, and other perdurant persons – as angels, dogs, cats, and so forth – are a subset of persons that I suppose should be called selves:

      PIE *sel-bho-, suffixed form of root *s(we)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker’s social group …

      A self is a temporally distributed society of agents, each of whom incorporates the characters of its predecessors and modifies them at the margin according to the evolution of events, and expresses them in and as itself (so that Fido is recognizably himself from one moment to the next); each of which is therefore more or less reflexive; more or less aware of itself qua self.

      Selves can be spatially distributed, as well. Fido’s tongue is Fido, and so is his tail.

      The First Agent is of course Three Persons. Not three agents, but one; not one Person, but Three.

      My complete inclusion and incorporation of my past acts into this my present act, thereby extending the extensive continuum that is Kristor, is an apt analogy that may perhaps give us some glimmer of the procedure whereby the circumincession of the Trinity is effected. As I inherit and integrate all of Kristor’s life and character from my past, so the Son inherits and integrates everything from the Father, the Spirit inherits and integrates everything from the Father and the Son, and then the Father and Son inherit and integrate everything from the Spirit.

      There is in that circumincession however no sequence, as there is with us as one moment of our personal life succeeds to another; the Divine perichoresis happens all at once, as the Act of God: the Great Singularity.

      The Three Persons then are Three Selves: three societies, each of which consists in three Persons.

      I should perhaps explain that last confusing statement. From the Father’s Personal perspective, there are Three Persons in the society that is his Self: himself, his Son, and his Spirit. Likewise from the Son’s Personal perspective, there are Three Persons in the society that is his Self: himself, his Father, and his Spirit. Likewise again from the Spirit’s perspective, there are Three Persons in the society that is his Self: himself, the Father, and the Son.

      Each of the three societies is the Self of its respective Person.

  7. So, the idea that existence is a ‘brute fact’ is no longer tenable, as no fact can exist without having been preceded by an act.

    • Yes. Although it would be more precise to say that no fact can exist except as the effect of some act. A fact is just the outward appearance of the act that effects it, and not a thing disparate from that act.

      But then, when you get right down to it, the very notion of a brute fact is nonsensical, even supposing there are no such things as acts. What is at all orderly is eo ipso *not brute.* It is not “raw,” i.e., but “cooked;” i.e., *formed.* And all the facts we know about are somewhat orderly. Indeed, it is hard to see how “utterly disorderly fact” is conceivable. How could it be possible to obtain a completely chaotic thing, when chaos is the absence of all form?

      All contingent facts are formed. By what?

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