1 2 3 >  Last ›
 
   
 

A New Concept of God

 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
21 August 2018 17:01
 

There are nearly countless models or concepts of God or of the Gods. We humans are great at creating them. Once in a while, a few us come into direct contact with what we think is the Divine. Under rarefied conditions, some of us can push aside the veil of normal day-to-day existence and come face to face with the Godhead, himself. Or a reasonable facsimile. From these experiences, new concepts can emerge.

I remember reading a book titled Rational Mysticism by John Horgan several years ago, and an idea about god in that book gobsmacked me with it’s strangeness and originality. I happened upon Mr. Horgan’s current blog on the Scientific American website recently, and traced various links to one where he recounts the experience he had told about in the book; the one that captivated me so much. The article is entitled “What Should We Do With Our Visions of Heaven and Hell?” I’ve copied the relevant paragraphs below.

To get you up to speed: Horgan and a friend have ingested an unknown substance given to them by a chemist who investigated psychotropic drugs for a defense contractor in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Horgan has gone into a complete trance and his consciousness is totally removed from external reality. The drug trip lasted 24 hours. Toward the end of it he has this climatic revelation:

As my penetration of the past and future became indistinguishable, I became convinced that I was coming face to face with the ultimate origin and destiny of existence, which were one and the same. I felt overwhelming, blissful certainty that there is one entity, one consciousness, playing all the parts of this pageant, and there is no end to this creative consciousness, only infinite transformations.

At the same time, my astonishment that anything exists at all became unbearably acute. Why? I kept asking. Why creation? Why something rather than nothing? Finally I found myself alone, a disembodied voice in the darkness, asking, Why? And I realized that there would be, could be, no answer, because only I existed; there was nothing, no one, to answer me.

I felt overwhelmed with loneliness, and my ecstatic recognition of the improbability—no, impossibility—of my existence mutated into horror. I knew there was no reason for me to be. At any moment I might be swallowed up, forever, by this infinite darkness enveloping me. I might even bring about my own annihilation simply by imagining it; I created this world, and I could end it, forever. Recoiling from this confrontation with my own awful solitude and omnipotence, I felt myself disintegrating.

I awoke from this nightmarish trip convinced that I had discovered the secret of existence. There is a God, but He is not the omnipotent, loving God in Whom so many people have faith. Far from it. He’s totally nuts, crazed with fear of his own existential plight. In fact, God created this wondrous, pain-wracked world to distract Himself from his cosmic identity crisis. He suffers from a severe case of multiple-personality disorder, and we are the shards of His fractured psyche. Since then, I have found hints of this theology in Gnosticism, the Kabbalah and the writings of Nietzsche, Jung and Borges.

https://tinyurl.com/ybho244d

So, to boil it down, the idea that Horgan wrote about, the one that stuck me as being so original, is this:
God is totally and utterly alone. He will remain so throughout all of eternity. He is the God of Infinite Loneliness.

This idea has disturbed and haunted me for years.

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15615
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
21 August 2018 17:38
 
Cheshire Cat - 21 August 2018 05:01 PM

There are nearly countless models or concepts of God or of the Gods. We humans are great at creating them. Once in a while, a few us come into direct contact with what we think is the Divine. Under rarefied conditions, some of us can push aside the veil of normal day-to-day existence and come face to face with the Godhead, himself. Or a reasonable facsimile. From these experiences, new concepts can emerge.

I remember reading a book titled Rational Mysticism by John Horgan several years ago, and an idea about god in that book gobsmacked me with it’s strangeness and originality. I happened upon Mr. Horgan’s current blog on the Scientific American website recently, and traced various links to one where he recounts the experience he had told about in the book; the one that captivated me so much. The article is entitled “What Should We Do With Our Visions of Heaven and Hell?” I’ve copied the relevant paragraphs below.

To get you up to speed: Horgan and a friend have ingested an unknown substance given to them by a chemist who investigated psychotropic drugs for a defense contractor in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Horgan has gone into a complete trance and his consciousness is totally removed from external reality. The drug trip lasted 24 hours. Toward the end of it he has this climatic revelation:

As my penetration of the past and future became indistinguishable, I became convinced that I was coming face to face with the ultimate origin and destiny of existence, which were one and the same. I felt overwhelming, blissful certainty that there is one entity, one consciousness, playing all the parts of this pageant, and there is no end to this creative consciousness, only infinite transformations.

At the same time, my astonishment that anything exists at all became unbearably acute. Why? I kept asking. Why creation? Why something rather than nothing? Finally I found myself alone, a disembodied voice in the darkness, asking, Why? And I realized that there would be, could be, no answer, because only I existed; there was nothing, no one, to answer me.

I felt overwhelmed with loneliness, and my ecstatic recognition of the improbability—no, impossibility—of my existence mutated into horror. I knew there was no reason for me to be. At any moment I might be swallowed up, forever, by this infinite darkness enveloping me. I might even bring about my own annihilation simply by imagining it; I created this world, and I could end it, forever. Recoiling from this confrontation with my own awful solitude and omnipotence, I felt myself disintegrating.

I awoke from this nightmarish trip convinced that I had discovered the secret of existence. There is a God, but He is not the omnipotent, loving God in Whom so many people have faith. Far from it. He’s totally nuts, crazed with fear of his own existential plight. In fact, God created this wondrous, pain-wracked world to distract Himself from his cosmic identity crisis. He suffers from a severe case of multiple-personality disorder, and we are the shards of His fractured psyche. Since then, I have found hints of this theology in Gnosticism, the Kabbalah and the writings of Nietzsche, Jung and Borges.

https://tinyurl.com/ybho244d

So, to boil it down, the idea that Horgan wrote about, the one that stuck me as being so original, is this:
God is totally and utterly alone. He will remain so throughout all of eternity. He is the God of Infinite Loneliness.

This idea has disturbed and haunted me for years.

Well, you could ask Mario about this…

The problem was that Horgan still had his self-identity. But then, there is the phrase “Alone with the Alone” to contemplate. And The Achilles paradox.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
21 August 2018 18:10
 
burt - 21 August 2018 05:38 PM

Well, you could ask Mario about this…

The problem was that Horgan still had his self-identity. But then, there is the phrase “Alone with the Alone” to contemplate. And The Achilles paradox.

I’ll have to look up what the Achilles paradox is.

I’m not sure about Horgan still having a self identity. It was more the Self identity — the Cosmic Self.

Probably Mario would think this is all hooey. In Judeo-Christianity, God creates us and the world the way a potter makes a pot – we are artifacts that God made, not God himself. Horgan’s experience is more of an Eastern and Western religious philosophy hybrid; the Godhead exists, has an identity and ego, but is using itself to create all of reality as a distraction.

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15615
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
21 August 2018 18:49
 
Cheshire Cat - 21 August 2018 06:10 PM
burt - 21 August 2018 05:38 PM

Well, you could ask Mario about this…

The problem was that Horgan still had his self-identity. But then, there is the phrase “Alone with the Alone” to contemplate. And The Achilles paradox.

I’ll have to look up what the Achilles paradox is.

I’m not sure about Horgan still having a self identity. It was more the Self identity — the Cosmic Self.

Probably Mario would think this is all hooey. In Judeo-Christianity, God creates us and the world the way a potter makes a pot – we are artifacts that God made, not God himself. Horgan’s experience is more of an Eastern and Western religious philosophy hybrid; the Godhead exists, has an identity and ego, but is using itself to create all of reality as a distraction.

Whatever identity was there, it was still think as “I.” But have fun with p.586 (or thereabouts, chapter titled CODA II) in Robert Heinlein’s book Time Enough for Love.

Achilles paradox: he has a foot race with a tortoise, and the tortoise gets a head start. Therefore, Achilles can never catch up. Why? Because when he reaches the point where the tortoise started, the tortoise has moved some distance ahead. Iterate. This has baffled philosophers for the last 2500 years. One proposed resolution, the one relevant to the issue here: with each step Achilles becomes more tenuous so that at the point where he pulls even with the tortoise he has also vanished.

 
Chaz
 
Avatar
 
 
Chaz
Total Posts:  129
Joined  24-02-2018
 
 
 
21 August 2018 20:06
 

Cheshire - I don’t think that’s a unique take on the idea of god. God “working in mysterious ways”/“having a sense of humor” makes a lot of people think that way.

Burt - honestly, Achilles paradox is just stupid and I don’t think it qualifies as a paradox. The idea is that Achilles can never catch up with the tortoise, because it takes time for him to catch up and during that time the tortoise added distance he needed to catch up as well. It’s a false infinity loop. The stupidity should be obvious. The distance the tortoise adds while Achilles catches up, is already added to the distance he needed to catch up with. The idea is presented as if Achilles needs to catch up multiple distances separately. The distance he needed to catch up with was a constantly changing number based on both characters movement. He doesn’t need to catch up with the distance the tortoise added in the time it took to catch up because it was already done.

[ Edited: 21 August 2018 20:29 by Chaz]
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15615
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
22 August 2018 00:03
 
Chaz - 21 August 2018 08:06 PM

Cheshire - I don’t think that’s a unique take on the idea of god. God “working in mysterious ways”/“having a sense of humor” makes a lot of people think that way.

Burt - honestly, Achilles paradox is just stupid and I don’t think it qualifies as a paradox. The idea is that Achilles can never catch up with the tortoise, because it takes time for him to catch up and during that time the tortoise added distance he needed to catch up as well. It’s a false infinity loop. The stupidity should be obvious. The distance the tortoise adds while Achilles catches up, is already added to the distance he needed to catch up with. The idea is presented as if Achilles needs to catch up multiple distances separately. The distance he needed to catch up with was a constantly changing number based on both characters movement. He doesn’t need to catch up with the distance the tortoise added in the time it took to catch up because it was already done.

Well, I guess you’ve solved something that has puzzled philosophers and mathematicians for 2500 years (along with Zeno’s other paradoxes). Mathematically, the resolution had to wait for Cauchy’s work on infinite series in the early 19th century (and even now philosophers still argue about it in various ways, for example, you have a light controlled by a switch and the light is on. Half a second later you throw the switch and the light is off. A quarter second after that you throw the switch and the light is on. An eighth of a second later, the light is off, and so on, ad infinitum. Question: after one second is the light on or off?). Philosophically, it questions the idea of representing reality as a point continuum.

 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15615
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
22 August 2018 00:04
 

Horgan was still himself, however ego-expanded. The solipsistic hell.

 
EN
 
Avatar
 
 
EN
Total Posts:  21119
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
22 August 2018 05:02
 

The idea of God being alone and having a possible identity crisis, while speculative, actually has some support in the Bible.  He creates Adam and Eve, and sets them in the garden basically to see what they would do.  He sounds like he needed some diversion.  He ends up not caring that much for his own creation and destroys most of them.  This is OT, but seems to show some internal discomfort in the deity.

In the NT his loneliness is somewhat resolved with the relationship of Father and beloved Son (itself indicative of some level of personality fracture), but look at Jesus’ abject loneliness on the cross.  It is as though the divine internal torment is on display for all to see.  It’s frightening to contemplate.

 
ubique13
 
Avatar
 
 
ubique13
Total Posts:  866
Joined  10-03-2017
 
 
 
22 August 2018 07:46
 
Cheshire Cat - 21 August 2018 05:01 PM

There are nearly countless models or concepts of God or of the Gods. We humans are great at creating them. Once in a while, a few us come into direct contact with what we think is the Divine. Under rarefied conditions, some of us can push aside the veil of normal day-to-day existence and come face to face with the Godhead, himself. Or a reasonable facsimile. From these experiences, new concepts can emerge.

I remember reading a book titled Rational Mysticism by John Horgan several years ago, and an idea about god in that book gobsmacked me with it’s strangeness and originality. I happened upon Mr. Horgan’s current blog on the Scientific American website recently, and traced various links to one where he recounts the experience he had told about in the book; the one that captivated me so much. The article is entitled “What Should We Do With Our Visions of Heaven and Hell?” I’ve copied the relevant paragraphs below.

To get you up to speed: Horgan and a friend have ingested an unknown substance given to them by a chemist who investigated psychotropic drugs for a defense contractor in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Horgan has gone into a complete trance and his consciousness is totally removed from external reality. The drug trip lasted 24 hours. Toward the end of it he has this climatic revelation:

As my penetration of the past and future became indistinguishable, I became convinced that I was coming face to face with the ultimate origin and destiny of existence, which were one and the same. I felt overwhelming, blissful certainty that there is one entity, one consciousness, playing all the parts of this pageant, and there is no end to this creative consciousness, only infinite transformations.

At the same time, my astonishment that anything exists at all became unbearably acute. Why? I kept asking. Why creation? Why something rather than nothing? Finally I found myself alone, a disembodied voice in the darkness, asking, Why? And I realized that there would be, could be, no answer, because only I existed; there was nothing, no one, to answer me.

I felt overwhelmed with loneliness, and my ecstatic recognition of the improbability—no, impossibility—of my existence mutated into horror. I knew there was no reason for me to be. At any moment I might be swallowed up, forever, by this infinite darkness enveloping me. I might even bring about my own annihilation simply by imagining it; I created this world, and I could end it, forever. Recoiling from this confrontation with my own awful solitude and omnipotence, I felt myself disintegrating.

I awoke from this nightmarish trip convinced that I had discovered the secret of existence. There is a God, but He is not the omnipotent, loving God in Whom so many people have faith. Far from it. He’s totally nuts, crazed with fear of his own existential plight. In fact, God created this wondrous, pain-wracked world to distract Himself from his cosmic identity crisis. He suffers from a severe case of multiple-personality disorder, and we are the shards of His fractured psyche. Since then, I have found hints of this theology in Gnosticism, the Kabbalah and the writings of Nietzsche, Jung and Borges.

https://tinyurl.com/ybho244d

So, to boil it down, the idea that Horgan wrote about, the one that stuck me as being so original, is this:
God is totally and utterly alone. He will remain so throughout all of eternity. He is the God of Infinite Loneliness.

This idea has disturbed and haunted me for years.

All is One. “God” is Love.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
22 August 2018 13:59
 
burt - 22 August 2018 12:04 AM

Horgan was still himself, however ego-expanded. The solipsistic hell.

This is true. Horgan came to realize that this was just a hallucination; or he rationalized it as such. But, there’s always that little uncertainty, that ever so slight possibility that he did indeed perceive the true nature of the Godhead. And that’s the huge problem with religions that rely on revelations from god; whose revelations are deemed “real” and whose are merely delusions? Who decides?

EN - 22 August 2018 05:02 AM

The idea of God being alone and having a possible identity crisis, while speculative, actually has some support in the Bible.  He creates Adam and Eve, and sets them in the garden basically to see what they would do.  He sounds like he needed some diversion.  He ends up not caring that much for his own creation and destroys most of them.  This is OT, but seems to show some internal discomfort in the deity.

In the NT his loneliness is somewhat resolved with the relationship of Father and beloved Son (itself indicative of some level of personality fracture), but look at Jesus’ abject loneliness on the cross.  It is as though the divine internal torment is on display for all to see.  It’s frightening to contemplate.

That’s an interesting take on this topic. As I mentioned before, orthodox Judeo/Christianity sees God as separate from his creation. One could say that by God become human in the form of Jesus, he has joined with his creation, so he is no longer separate from it. He has resolved his loneliness, at least for a while.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The most haunting words in the New Testament. Perhaps living the life of one His own creations, wasn’t what He hoped it would be. Maybe He had to withdraw, disconnect, as it were, from Jesus? I’m moving into heresy here, (oh dear). 

ubique13 - 22 August 2018 07:46 AM

All is One. “God” is Love.

Yep. All is One. Without a doubt. That’s a scientific fact. But do you really think “God is Love” or are you just testing the water in this OP?

 
 
Chaz
 
Avatar
 
 
Chaz
Total Posts:  129
Joined  24-02-2018
 
 
 
22 August 2018 14:00
 
burt - 22 August 2018 12:03 AM

you have a light controlled by a switch and the light is on. Half a second later you throw the switch and the light is off. A quarter second after that you throw the switch and the light is on. An eighth of a second later, the light is off, and so on, ad infinitum. Question: after one second is the light on or off?). Philosophically, it questions the idea of representing reality as a point continuum.

I haven’t seen that one before. My first impression is that it’s also a false infinity loop. I get the feeling that it’s circumstances won’t allow you to reach one second, but my answer would be on. After so many times the light would appear to be constantly on because the speed of switching would be too fast for our eyes to see the light being off. Strobe lights are almost that fast.

I accidentally left out my question to you when I edited my post. I didn’t see what the Achilles paradox had to do with what Cheshire posted, and I wanted you to expand on it, please

 
ubique13
 
Avatar
 
 
ubique13
Total Posts:  866
Joined  10-03-2017
 
 
 
22 August 2018 14:08
 
Cheshire Cat - 22 August 2018 01:59 PM

Yep. All is One. Without a doubt. That’s a scientific fact. But do you really think “God is Love” or are you just testing the water in this OP?

Corny though it may sound, I do actually think that this sentiment is accurate. There is no meaning to be found in a life devoid of all others, and it’s difficult to argue that there’s a more powerful emotion than love.

 
 
EN
 
Avatar
 
 
EN
Total Posts:  21119
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
22 August 2018 14:10
 

Getting back to the OP, this thread has made me think. Thanks for starting it. I’m just playing with ideas here, so don’t take me too seriously (not that anyone would). Thinking of God as Consciousness in some respect made me think about it in the context of Christian theology.  You can think of the Father as just pure consciousness. He gets lonely so he “begets” (not creates, but brings into existence as a differentiation of himself) a Son - self-consciousness.  This at least gives some feedback, some comfort. Then with his larger creation he becomes aware of others. So think of the Holy Spirit as “others-consciousness” (the Holy Spirit’s main function in the NT is to indwell believers).  The consciousness we have as creations is a part of God’s consciousness, so in a sense we are “gods”. (John 10:34).  God lets us experience some of his existential crisis.  In the end, he brings us all back to himself, so to speak, and God is “all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:28) The divine existential crisis is resolved by God giving and receiving love, as he is now “love” itself. (I John 4:8)

Yeah, kinda weird, but I had fun thinking about it.

[ Edited: 22 August 2018 14:54 by EN]
 
Chaz
 
Avatar
 
 
Chaz
Total Posts:  129
Joined  24-02-2018
 
 
 
22 August 2018 14:19
 
Cheshire Cat - 22 August 2018 01:59 PM

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The most haunting words in the New Testament. Perhaps living the life of one His own creations, wasn’t what He hoped it would be. Maybe He had to withdraw, disconnect, as it were, from Jesus? I’m moving into heresy here, (oh dear).

I never understood why that was so controversial. If Jesus was god but in human form, an angel wouldn’t have had to tell Jesus anything at age 12. The story represents them as separate entities.

 
Chaz
 
Avatar
 
 
Chaz
Total Posts:  129
Joined  24-02-2018
 
 
 
22 August 2018 14:27
 
EN - 22 August 2018 02:10 PM

Getting back to the OP, this thread has made me think. Thanks for starting it. I’m just playing with ideas here, so don’t take me too seriously (not that anyone would). Thinking of God as Consciousness in some respect made me think about it in the context of Christian theology.  You can think of the Father as just pure consciousness. He gets lonely so he “begets” (not creates, but brings into existence as a differentiation of himself) a Son - self-consciousness.  This at least gives some feedback, some comfort. Then with his larger creation he becomes aware of others. So think of the Holy Spirit as “others-consciousness” (the Holy Spirit’s main function in the NT is to indwell believers).  The consciousness we have as creations is a part of God’s consciousness, so in a sense we are “gods”. (John 10:34).  God let’s us experience some of his existential crisis.  In the end, he brings us all back to himself, so to speak, and God is “all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:28) The divine existential crisis is resolved by God giving and receiving love, as he is now “love” itself. (I John 4:8)

Yeah, kinda weird, but I had fun thinking about it.

That is fun. My mind went to hope instead of love. Pandora’s box came to mind and I combined the ideas.

 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15615
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
22 August 2018 15:36
 
Chaz - 22 August 2018 02:00 PM
burt - 22 August 2018 12:03 AM

you have a light controlled by a switch and the light is on. Half a second later you throw the switch and the light is off. A quarter second after that you throw the switch and the light is on. An eighth of a second later, the light is off, and so on, ad infinitum. Question: after one second is the light on or off?). Philosophically, it questions the idea of representing reality as a point continuum.

I haven’t seen that one before. My first impression is that it’s also a false infinity loop. I get the feeling that it’s circumstances won’t allow you to reach one second, but my answer would be on. After so many times the light would appear to be constantly on because the speed of switching would be too fast for our eyes to see the light being off. Strobe lights are almost that fast.

I accidentally left out my question to you when I edited my post. I didn’t see what the Achilles paradox had to do with what Cheshire posted, and I wanted you to expand on it, please

The light switch is unanswerable, although you could well say, as you do, that it would appear to be on. But that one points to what’s called the fallacy of continuity, that is, assuming that the properties of the limit point of an infinite sequence will be the same as the properties of all other points in the sequence. Zeno was arguing against the Pythagorean idea that everything was number and the world could be modeled as a point continuum. So his paradoxes showed up problems with that idea. A couple of others are The Arrow (an arrow in flight is not moving because at each instant it is at rest and being at rest at every instant it is always at rest), and paradoxes on size (if things are composed of an infinite number of points and points have any size then everything is infinitely large; on the other hand, if points have no sizel, how could even an infinite number of zeros add up to anything finite, so everything is infinitely small).

Relating the Achilles to Horgan’s experience, if his progression to the final horror state were thought of as a parallel, he didn’t get the need to also disappear as he progressed along the way. So he was still around as an individual awareness with a survival instinct and got plunged into the “terror of duality.”

 
 1 2 3 >  Last ›