Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Cosmology / god /
@ K. 1999 09 27
(I suspect that this was pk’s first online “scrapbook” file: oh so long ago.)
God is a Contradiction in Terms
2017 06 27 If your god is not a contradiction in terms, then your god is not the god the temples and churches and so forth and so on have been quarreling about, killing each other over.
For instance, I’ve long defined my god as the truth, defined god out loud, right her at Knatz.com. Whereas god is normally defined (implicitly) as the magic that renders us superior (the god who in advance determines that we can get away with murder! (He tells us not to kill, but then closes his eyes.)
(I’ll put this up in the Monthly and try to remind myself to delete it here come August 2017.)
I’ve thought of my own name for ever-unnamable god: Hsiouo: He/she/it/other/ur-other.
2016 11 30 Hold on a minute now, here’s something that has escaped me, even me, all these years, millennia, etc. I’ve joked forever, here for example, above and below, on the maleness of the Jud0X God. I’ve joked that maybe “his” name is really Mabel. But what if his name is really Caitlyn Jenner?!
Religions should put up or shut up.
2015 12 17 Some gal, female, Christian College theology professor got fired, suspended anyway, for saying that Muslims and Christians worshipped the same God. Yahoo news capitalized the “god”: that in itself is like trying to hit home runs off warmup pitches: the capital God IS the right god; all other gods are the wrong gods. You can’t meaningfully capitalize both contenders. Actually we should capitalize either contender while the qualifying fights are ongoing.
Anyway, Wheaton College of some such institutions, pulled the rug from under their gal.
My view on this has long been the same: let the true capital-G god determine the issue: everyone else, shut up, and let God speak. If God doesn’t speak, then the issues are unsettled: and no one may pretend that they are!
Meantime, when we don’t know something, we shouldn’t pretend that we do.
One test could be to put a throne in space and see who comes and sits in it. Then we could put questions, tests, to the occupant(s).
Meanwhile 100% of human resources should go scientists with proposals for testing the identity of the candidates. But of course all human institutions would instantly cheat, make unprovable claims.
Thus, any god who can prove he’s God should be handed all resources (if that’s what he’s asking for). If no god can prove he’s god then no resources should be transferred to that god. All resources already paid must be instantly paid back.
In other words, religions should put up or shut up.
God is a symbol of God.
2014 04 07 There’s necessarily an ambiguity lurking in the idea of God’s law: are we thinking of a law by which God bounds us (whether we know it or not)? or are we thinking of a law by which God is himself bound? “Thou shalt not kill” is clear enough: it’s addressed to us: “thou”. It doesn’t say God can’t kill. But how about other things? How about natural law? Is God bound by gravity? If time goes forward for you and me, could God go backward in time? (or sideways? and what would that mean?)
Think that’s trivial? Here’s what I’m really thinking about (coming in through a side door as it were): Jesus talked about heaven as his father’s house — it’s understood that God is the creator, the owner, heaven (and everything else (including hell)) is his! Everything is property, he can do whatever he wants with property: I can dam your water so long as I put the dam on my property … Now: consider any church congregation: we they yield to God one inch of free will with regard to who’s welcome in heaven? Does he let in women? Does he let in queers? Does he let in n-?! [Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 01, I censor an offensive word and substitute something more obscene: euphemism!] How about towelheads? If God’s house is God’s house could he invite Hitler for dinner? Well, he could in 1932. He could in 1941. But what American churches would sit still for that idea in 1946?
The pope kept his shirt on in 1938: would he keep his shirt on in 2014?
There’s a movie out now on Noah. I love that story. I loved reading the Gilgamesh version of the Flood a year or two back. One thing I love about the Bible’s version is the part with the rainbow: God promises never to drown wicked humans again. Now he’s bound by his promise! Now he can’t drown us, no matter what we do! We can do anything! We have complete free will for any evil: it’s he who’s bound, has no free will, can’t judge by merit.
It’s in that sense and that sense alone that I’m an atheist: I don’t want any God making promises and then changing his mind: I want law to be law, I want truth to be truth. I want human viability to depend on the degree to which we are discerning (as well as the degree to which we are lucky): if tobacco is poisonous and we live in a state that gives cigarettes to soldiers and then dodges and delays and equivocates as evidence floods in, I don’t care what we vote, who we bribe: I want us poisoned!
(Ah, now I see that I did scribble something about that in 2001.)
2014 01 22 That’s what I said a decade and a half ago (Hsiouo, above), good for me. Today I offer something else: (remember Godel, Escher, Bach’s infinity of “god-above-god”s:) IMG, pronounced Ming. “Infinite-Meta-God”. I’ll develop, maybe in its own post.
1999 11 24 And then there are those who find god-by-whatever-name an unnecessary postulate. By Occam’s “Law” of Parsimony, they are right. By tradition and emotional habit, they are wrong. My “head” is a repository of ideas about god now 61 years mature, 61 years confused, or whatever. I’ve been keeping data bases of scribble on this and that subject since acquiring my first PC as a word processor for writing my first novel. The novel began construction in 1982. I was loaned a Commadore 64 for it by the mid-80s and have used a string of others since, Mac of course being the friendliest and far and away the best for graphics. Together, these data bases add up to many thousands of pages. If I live long enough and can get around to it, I’ll try to sort those files and compare the result to what I’ve written here. Selected scribble will then get recomposed and blended into my home page.
god gives us all the rope we need to hang ourselves.
2000 01 09 Queued for composition soon is a module on god’s law (natural law) vs. God’s Law (interpreted if not written by humans) and human law (interpreted and written by humans). A little scribble in the meantime: god’s law cannot be violated. It’s not that you’ll be punished: you simply can’t do it. Of course god also has possible situations with probable results, punishment of a kind: poison the air, you’ll breath poison. It’s not that you can’t do it: it’s just that it’s suicidal as well as murderous to do it. Once upon a time, human behavior was limited enough that the probable results of most possible behaviors was known. Now we tread the unknown, never knowing what unknown situation we’re violating.
Once upon a time, the Big Bang (if there was a Big Bang) just happened somehow. It didn’t happen just anywhere because there was no “where” until it happened. What happened once can happen again. What would happen to you if there was another random Big Bang somewhere within the vast space within say a calcium atom somewhere within say your third left rib. Well, it would likely blow you to smithereens and might eventually blow away much of the rest of this universe in its own expansion. Nothing you can do about that. Don’t lose sleep. It’s never happened (that we know of): it’s not likely to happen to you. But it is possible, isn’t it? Far more probable is that someday we’ll do something that could just unzip this universe. We won’t know what to avoid in advance.
Perhaps nothing we do in splitting the atom or propelling structures out of the solar system is any more “dangerous” than was a Cro-Magnon rubbing sticks for a fire. Perhaps nothing we will ever do will be more dangerous than that. Perhaps, perhaps. We don’t know.
Anyway: human law. We make it up, we interpret it, we enforce it, we turn our back. There’s no predictability. You speed. You don’t automatically get ticketed. You get ticketed. You don’t automatically get convicted. You get convicted. You don’t automatically get punished. Oh, but I’m unemployed, I’m uninsured, I don’t live at the address I gave you, that isn’t really my name … “I” walk away and Fuck yez’all. The diplomat rapes the girl … Oh, but we can’t arrest the president: who’ll make the sun rise? Evidence disappears, witnesses die, and if it ever comes of the eve of an actual trial, something will happen to squelch it. The CIA will assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Sorry, the president can’t attend his trial, he has a funeral to go to. War has just been declared (he’s just declared it).
We are shocked, shocked to learn that … Fill in the blank. … there’s gambling going on here. (Aside) Here, cash in my chips please. (I’ve subsequently made much of Captain Renault’s corruption and hypocrisy at Macroinformation.)
Human law is so different from natural law it shouldn’t have a similar, let alone an identical, name. Ditto divine law. Has God ever punished anybody for anything of which we know for sure that He was the Cause? Can anyone verify a single occupant of heaven or hell? And even if we could videotape say the Marquis de Sade in hell (or heaven), how could we confirm that everyone else who ever committed the same sin (or virtue) is or will be there?
Thou shalt not kill. Unless your sergeant tells you to. Unless your family is starving. Unless your family is just kind of hungry. Unless your family is just kind of greedy. Unless it’s you who’s just kind of greedy. … Law, piffle.
2008 07 17
Universe: what God did while he was procrastinating from doing something else.
If he is being led, then what god is doing the leading? JM Coetzee
2000 08 07 Notes for More:
In effect what God turns out to be in case after case is an excuse, a license: a license that cannot be verified. “God told me to kill you, save you, steal your land, change your manners, send you to school …” The new tenant should not be the one to serve the eviction notice.
Wouldn’t it be better if God told you himself? “Here, people of Canaan: you’ve been living here for n number of years, but that’s all over now: the land is mine to do with as I wish and I’m giving it to these Jews here. Be out by the next moon. Or else.”
And if God did say that, why should the people of Canaan believe him? What makes him the owner? Does he have papers? Where would he get them? How would you know they’re not forged?
Only people trained in Kleptocracy would be stupid enough to believe any such claims.
Phrased differently: what’s God’s liability? What’s God’s responsibility? If he says that what he says is “true,” shouldn’t it agree with experience? What else can “true” mean?
The only sensible solution is the one I’ve long proposed. No one owns anything. All titles are illegitimate. Start over, from scratch: map the ecology, inventory the population, chart how resources can be distributed, and divvy everything up. All people need some land: divvy them some or kill them. Wolves and bears need more land than people, salmon more water: give them the most. Once everybody’s got their portion of what’s available, say that’s it, there ain’t no more … unless you can invent a way to make more. So: if you out-breed your resources, starve. Don’t dare cross onto someone else’s portion uninvited or without having made a deal with them.*
The only alternative to my alternative is for people to grab what they can, telling lies about who and what they are, how cooperative, how God loves them … unless the ecology can’t support another second of it and we all die. In other words: a chaos of clever, conscienceless men.
Wait: I’m wrong. That’s not an alternative. That’s exactly what we have already.
* note to above. Trouble is: I say “don’t dare cross …” Or what? Sounds like I’m implying a police force. No, no: that requires kleptocracy, a god, an authority, someone or something with license to regulate, control, punish, redistribute. No, it would have to be done cooperatively, or it couldn’t be done. The mythology of people getting together and deciding something, myths like the Social Contract, would have to be real. Well, unless we make that myth real, and then do the sensible thing, the Christian thing — share, we’re fucked. By ourselves. By our incapacity for civilization or sensible religion.
Look: I clown around: but there’s meaning in my jokes. Just as there’s meaning in my straight stuff. There’s meaning both in what I say, in the structure of the module, and in the structure in which the modules forms an apex. (No, it’s not just one triangle with just one apex.) My God module appears in my Magic folder. My Magic Folder appears in my History: Evolutionary Background folder. They’re all in my Teaching directory. (None of them are my Thinking Tools; the thinking tools are what you need to deal with the stuff in the History and Social Pathologies folders.)
2000 10 20 Here’s what I want to focus on about God: the right question isn’t Is there a God? Or not? The right question is: is the universe magical or not? God is one hypothesis about how the universe came into being: rather anthropomorphic, but still a contender for consideration.
Let’s work the hypothesis a bit: like a good science fiction writer: let’s assume that the universe is an artifact, that it was “created” by a “Creator.” That still leaves the important question: was the creation magical? or rational? Does the artifact operate by laws, invariances, things that once you see them you can rely on them? … Or does the artifact operate capriciously? Are the “laws” apparent rather than “real”?
First off, honesty requires the admission that we don’t know. Fourteen billions “years” of physico-energetic existence with only two million or so years of big forebrains in some species, with only fifty or so thousand years of babble-babble communications, less than a thousand years of a Rule of Parsimony, and only a half century at the most of emphasizing falsification in theory testing … with we don’t know what new refinement just around the corner (or already under out feet, unseen, getting stepped on) … just isn’t long enough. If time is indeed infinite, then time is too long for certainty to be possible. If the universe is finite, which it certainly seems to be, then physical existence will run out before any really final curtain can fall. Guy’s married to a gal for seventy years … They both die around ninety … Now we’ll never know whether one would have finally murdered the other. All we know is that it didn’t happen. …
One of the greatest tragedies in human history was the hi-jacking of morality by religion.
Arthur C. Clarke
2001 02 26 God is like the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s hard for some people to see that it’s an artifact; not natural territory. It’s common property: anyone can walk on it, ride on it, claim it’s his, sell it to gulls, claim to be able to fix it …
2001 03 20 Another good writer I’m just reading for the first time:
I could never work out whether we were to view religion as a life-insurance policy or a life sentence.
The Poisonwood Bible
I need to add a module in this directory on Religion. That subject relates to Magic and to God but isn’t quite the same thing. (Now I’ve added a couple, but they’re still a mess.)
2001 12 god is what God would be if large predators good at disguise had never become sentient
God is that aspect of god that believes and approves the camouflage
If time precedes Pleroma and Pleroma precedes Creatura, can all three possibly have the same god? Must not the god of Pleroma be distinct from the god of time? Must not the god of Creatura be distinct from the god of Pleroma? Must not the god of Persona be distinct from the god of Creatura?
Finally, we have kleptocracy and we have God. They’re the same age: approximately 6,000 years. Have the same values, etc. How perfectly awful to confuse God with the god of time or the god of Pleroma or the god of Creatura or the god of Persona …
Exercise: Figure out what god I’m talking about each time I say god.
Rowan: Did you know that there are more than five hundred religions practicing in the United States?
Martin: Yes. And they’re going to keep practicing until they get it right.
Man may be an enemy of the biosphere, an enemy of life. God too, if he loves man so much. Kleptocracy is definitely an enemy of the biosphere, of life. The public is an eidolon of kleptocracy. Therefore, the public is an enemy of the biosphere, of life.
Friends of life must be enemies of the public, enemies of the state, enemies — if not of man — of kleptocratic man. God is an eidolon of kleptocracy. Friends of life must be enemies of God. About god (Hsiouo) we must be silent: awestruck. About God, we must be outspoken: contemptuous.
We killed God: and still kill him. We railroaded Jesus: and still railroad his brothers. But it’s OK: we lit a candle. (So long as we get to judge ourselves, everything we do is OK.)
The [x] is
|an honor to God||an insult to god|
X evaporated: what had I written? More than one candidate comes to mind. Meantime, leave it blank. The further I go here, the less edited it becomes: temporarily.
God is the one we have captive in a box. He has to do what we say.
god is the one we don’t have captive; he’ll do what he’ll do.
Not bribable, subornable …
God forgive me … Heard commonly enough, right? (Even if not often enough.) Question: who or what should God ask for forgiveness? Who’s committed so many crimes? Oh, not crimes in his book. Whatever he does, by theistic definition, is not only not a crime, but good: the very definition of good. But what about by anybody else’s book?
Frederik Pohl comparing the importance and relevance of number theory to god:
Now, I don’t really expect you to sit still while I explain number theory to you. I am not sure if I could even answer the question if you were to ask me if it mattered at all. One answer would be, “Of course not.” The best answer would be that it has the same importance as God has. Either it is of transcendental concern or it doesn’t matter at all, and which it is to you depends on you.
Why will ordinary, self-described as decent, people commit any crime rather than tolerate a rational discussion of basic religious ideas? Is it really because they’re devoted to this particular proprietary brand of deity? Are we really like Swift’s Little Enders and Big Enders?
No, Nietzsche: God isn’t dead; he’s somnambulant:
And in thrall to the State.
I suspect that God is merely a synecdoche for what we really fear: an honest discussion of reality. God is our metaphor for the idea that there is one truth, one reality, and that someday it will get the last word. Dad will come along and tell your bully brother to give you an equal number of the maraschino cherries in the fruit salad.
I suspect that people would accept Baal or Allah a trillion times more readily than they would the idea that your certainty that you were right in that argument with your wife, the argument you had to abandon because the interfering neighbors were about to call the police (and you knew how rational they’d be), will never be validated. You and your wife will always just be your and your wife (until you’re conspicuously old or dead), the police will always just be impatiently blind, superficial bullies, carrying the guns for the mob: they will never be The Police, the True Police: the ones who would back your side.
If we are God’s children, the question becomes: Will God allow us to grow up?
I have to finish something at Macroinformation. Had to get something of the above up here first. I leave my rough notes only till I can transform them:
idea of god parallel to idea that there is such a “thing” as reality: one of them: such a thing as truth, one of it. such a thing as proof, etc idea that a true entity could prevail in the end. that at JD, the murderers would all admit that they did it, once shown the evidence for all to see: the idea [ha] that all could see evidence! that all would admit it if they saw it hss the one species that can coordinate a lie by the hundred million billion? I haven’t seen a lie yet that can be coordinated by the billion who knows with China
God would not only identity for us his true spokesmen but that we would all acknowledge that truth and admit to our errors where we are in error. Some one’s finally got to win the argument, not just have all the weapons.
how about a JD NIGHTmare where even when God is speaking, and proving, and judging, no one is paying attention, everyone is disagreeing, people walk out and form their own splinter groups. God, no: it’s just like reality!
We have the most hydrogen bombs (And the least remorse, the least conscience) So God must love us the best.
Even Caesar must admire that logic.
Of course I could be wrong: I wouldn’t be the first. … Of course God could be wrong:
He wouldn’t be the first?!?!?!
… Could the species be wrong? Would it be the first?
Nice. There’s a moment in Greg Bear’s Eon where a character says
Interesting how the crude myths of our youth come back as eternal truths.
2002 04 01
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Is Jesus saying there that the idea of “mankind” and the idea of “moral agent” are incompatible?
Or is he saying that “just this audience” is not a moral agent? (I’ve developed the idea further at the link.)
Are the actors in the drama (at least the background figures in this pageant) mere automata? While the reader of (or listener to) the story is conscious, sapient, a moral agent? The figure in the painting lacks free will: does the spectator looking at the painting have free will?
God: as in God the Father
The God of the bible cares for his little lambs, cares if one of them is lost, goes looking.
Don’t bother to read the following unless you’ve been following pk’s metaphor contrasting God and go throughout this section: at least in the top file:
Big brained social creatures care for their young over longer and longer periods of time: humans, whales, elephants … But we’re the extremities of bushy life; simple creatures are the core. Elephants and men could disappear and there might still be trillions upon trillions of bacteria, maybe even worms, starfish … The bulk of simpler creatures, those that employ sex for reproduction just spew their fertility, then go about their own adult business.
Consider that lower case god might be more like an oyster, just overwealming probability with seed, than like the shepherd who goes looking for one lost lamb.
Me, I think I trust numbers more than shepherds.
2002 04 24 My earliest files here emphasize the Jews’ claim that “God” “promised” “Canaan” to them. From time unknown, the Canaanites had been living on the Jews’ land. It was the Jews’ land even though the Jews had never seen it, never heard of it. (Gee, prime real-estate: right on the Mediterranean!) The Canaanites opinion doesn’t matter: God “owns” everything and can give it to whom he pleases. …
Now I am convinced the more how right I’ve been: symbolically, at least. Even someone with a smattering of “knowledge” about “religions” can see that only “civilized” men have gods who own and “give” things.
When people at the Shat’ al-Arab first planted wheat and then planted more (or people elsewhere, also many thousands of years ago, first planted rice or beans or corn and then planted more), it must have been inconceivable that they were doing anything that would some day cost them. Ten thousand years later it still takes someone like me to see that territory has been “subtracted” from “nature.” Still: by the time some nomads objected to the perversion of lands their herds had crossed, the farmers must have sensed that there were those elsewhere for whom the farmers’ boon was a bane. Maybe they didn’t mind that birds and mice had now become “thieves” thanks to their farming, but surely they noticed that their neighbors who still followed the herds now hated and resented them: instead of just, as formerly (mutually), making fun of the others’ silly rituals.
Farming begat civilization. Civilization may also be termed “kleptocracy.” Kleptocracy begat “ownership.” Ownership begat “Authority.” Authority gives the best profile if it’s imagined to be very very high.
Thus any of the magicians of the modern Homo species could have invented (or discovered) “gods”; but only kleptocrats would have needed to invent God.
2002 09 22 See God as the idea of an authority where the map actually is the territory. That is: imagine that power and truth coincide in one entity.
There’s still a problem though: how would such an entity identify himself to such fallible, credulous, simpletons — falsification innocents — as man?
Any group of men will attempt to palm some essence of themselves off as this God. Any devil would try to palm itself off as this God. Any cultural majority, any maniac with a nuke.
OK. Imagine for a moment that there actually is a god who is God: is true, is Truth! and has the Power! (but has been keeping it hidden, in reserve (otherwise, where the hell has he been keeping himself?). How does he ID his Himselfness to us? By the power? That’s easy: we’re suckers for power. But how about by the Truth? What has man got to do with Truth? How would we, the group, know it if it bit us? How could we tell the difference between it and mere power? Wouldn’t we need an infallible epistemology? Would we have to all be super-scientists?
2002 11 28 “God” is static, reactionary; “god” is dynamic, evolutionary
May the best God win.
2003 03 29 I’m stealing a moment from renovating and moving these files and directories to note a point I intend to develop at the earliest opportunity. Consider a spectrum. The points are infinite. Indeed, the points are infinitely infinite: since any two integers have an infinity of decimal fractions between them; any infinity of even numbers excludes an infinity (of infinities) of odd numbers … Yet sentiences (of (very) limited sentience will want to imagine a point and imagine that it’s the end. (Call it God.) Sentiences may also easily confuse the direction they’re looking in (either of two, spectra being bi-directional) with a goal, a purpose: even an intention.
Furthermore, don’t forget that to look at a spectrum (one dimension), one has to be looking from N dimensions: to look at two dimensions you minimally have to be looking from a third dimension; to look at three, from a fourth: minimally!
In my middle to late twenties I loved to climb mountains. The mountains I loved to ski down in winter I loved to climb up in summer. Then I sought other mountains, whether I intended to ski them or not. My girl friend (eventually my wife) loved to do things with me (in those days). She’d climb along, but complaining all the way. How much further? How much further to the top? “There. See?” I’d say. “That’s the top.” Of course I knew perfectly well that the eminence I’d pointed toward was very far from the summit: it was merely the highest we could see from where we were. By the time we got to it, it was no eminence at all: just part of the mountain.
Unfortunately, many theologians make their living encouraging everyone to stay in their camp low down on the mountain: so they won’t see their eminence as just another hump toward something else.
Then again there’s the time I climbed White Horse Mountain, across from Lake Louise, above Banff. Hilary quit when the vegetation did. I continues upward: sliding around on the loose scree. Once at the actual summit (of White Horse) I could see (what seemed to be) endless other summits: some greater, some lesser, not only running north and south, but also east and west. I was at the summit alright: but of one mountain. And that mountain wasn’t Everest!
And if I had been on Everest, who’s to say (and know what they’re talking about that K-22 isn’t a foot, a yard, a dozen yards … grander? And even if our measurements were reliable (from some additional dimension), what would we think if we could suddenly see peaks on … oh, Callisto … Triton? And that’s merely this solar system!
2003 10 06 I’ve selected quotes about god at , including especially from this section, and code them to appear directly below, one at a time, at random:
Hebrew and Latin as embalming languages
2003 11 04 Hey: Did you ever notice that God with the capital G is only worshipped in, only represented by, dead languages? Do you realize as well that those languages didn’t die while the worshippers were worshipping in them; the worship didn’t commence in them until the language was already dead. The Jew’s oral tradition had been kept in the language of the worshippers; the Jew’s literary tradition was written in their scholars’ memory of that same language but only once no peoples were actually speaking that language. The Jews at the time were ghettoed in Babylon.
The case with Christians is similar but also significantly different. Hebrew actually had been spoken; Latin never had. Latin was born as an artificial language: dead from its inception, deliberately selected to be artificial: a literary language, a language for declaiming in, not for bargaining over cabbages. Julius Caesar would have spoken Greek among his peers, Old Italian to his servants, who knows what languages to his mistresses or catamites … But he ran for dictator in Latin. It was in Latin that he penned his (ahem) histories. (Note: I doubt if the Greek Caius Julius spoke with Cassius or Brutus or Pompey would have passed muster in the marketplace of Athens of the day. I bet even the scholarly Greek of the Romans was “dead” when they used it. Just like the “Latin” spoken by medieval priests. Similarly, I could pretend to speak Middle English. Would Chaucer or Kind Richard understand me? I doubt that they’d hear a word a said: they’d be laughing too hard.
When Julius was with Cleopatra, what language did they discuss diplomacy in? What language did they whisper to each other in in bed as she was bearing him their several children? I don’t know, but I’ll bet is was neither Egyptian nor Italian. Greek again: probably: but the “Greek” of Alexandria, not the “Greek” of Alexander himself.
When King James had the Bible translated into the vernacular language of England, his scholars translated the dead Latin and the dead Greek into a dead version of English: thee and thou were no longer spoken: like casting a forgery of a bronze and then chemically adding a patina: cosmetics. The cosmetics intended to show antiquity actually betray the falsity.
Ah, but some of these points deserve development in other modules, other nodes of the meta-structure. Here, let’s remain simple-minded: like Sunday School. The earth is a mass in a gravitational system. If a rogue star comes wandering through, the fabric of the system will rend … tear, stretch, wrinkle, distort … But will a Creator alter the apparent pattern so his chosen people can conquer some city?
Question within the question: if the Creator will alter his apparent laws so Billie can have a bicycle, then: does he do it in agreement with his apparent laws? or in utter disregard of them?
The magician on the stage has more than one way to do a trick. There’s “honest” magic: sleight of hand and so forth … (more than one form of honest magic: the magician rightly trusts that the audience is too stupid to know that the magic power he sprinkles — openly or palmed — is a chemical that triggers a chemical reaction that turns a clear liquid red) … And there’s “dishonest” magic: there’s a pocket sewn onto the handkerchief: the ball isn’t up his sleeve, it isn’t palmed (and it certainly didn’t “disappear”), it’s in the secret pocket: and you don’t notice it because the magician has the part of the handkerchief holding the ball in his hand. If the magician took the wrong corner, the hankie would clunk down and swing like a pendulum: no magic at all.
So: accepting a creator (hypothetically), even accepting magic (hypothetically), the question remains: is the magician skilled? or unskilled? Honest? or dishonest.
Not: “There is no God”; Rather: “You’ve got god all wrong.”
2003 11 12
I must add a note to remind myself to check to make sure a couple of points are clear among the many God, god, and kleptocracy references here at Knatz.com:
- Note that when people talk about God (especially God with the capital G) they are generally trying to palm some human authority off on you as a divine, an infallible, authority: You must rest (and worship) (and obey) on Sunday! / No! You must rest (and worship) (and obey) on Saturday!
- Note further how like a magician’s patter much of the talk is: it’s designed (whether consciously or unconsciously) to repeat certain associations until identities blur. “Here comes the priest” becomes tantamount to “Here comes God.” “Here comes the Secretary” becomes mistaken for “Here comes the President.” These confusions are deep in human culture. “I am Paul.” I am I is a mere tautology. “I am Paul” is an absurdity. “My name is Paul” or “People call me Paul” … that makes sense; but “I am Paul?” (“Am I that name?” asks Othello’s bewildered Desdemona.)
Intelligence makes useful distinctions. When you hear god appealed to, consider: is a useful clarification being made? or is a Machiavellian confusion being choreographed?
I was taught as a child to think in terms of “god.” I do. I still do. I can’t not: for long. But I recommend it as an exercise to anyone to try to delete god from your vocabulary for a period. See how long you can keep it up. Does your ratiocination, your communication, improve? or suffer? (If it’s suffering, are you halting yourself deliberately?) If you mean truth, say “truth.” If you mean magic, say “magic.” Find synonyms. Test alternate routes to your goal.
If god is a good semantic habit, trust yourself not to forget it; but if it’s bad, free yourself of it. Oh, of course we’ll fail, but our grandchildren might gain: a fraction.
- Not yet I fear adequately coordinated at is my iterated Iron Mountain Report comment: again and again the most grievous fallacies are palmed on us among the opening axioms of a position. Since nothing is more good, right, or important than that I do well … therefore cheating, lying, stealing … are right, good, just …
Once again, watch out for what’s fed to your infant mind.
Again: don’t confuse “god” as “truth” with “god” as rationalization, as magic, as power … least of all, as stalking horse for our kleptocracy.
Notice how routinely “God” is a substitute for the will of some group. “God” is the Jews against the Canaanites, the Jews against the Philistines … “God is the white despoilers, the colonizers … against whatever saps had survived the Late Pleistoscene despoiling …
Some major points at first get mentioned in a footnote, then promoted to a module. Others remain scattered. Of course the reader, if he’s interested in applying intelligence to the chances of survival for him and his, must take final (for him) responsibility for making key connections: this therapist can only hint.
2003 11 29
What’s a supposed devotee of modern reason doing still obsessing about “god” all the time for? I’ll tell you one reason (at least briefly, for further development another time: “god” is an ideal thought experiment. At least god is an ideal thought experiment if you can ignore your cultural conditioning for long enough to think through a fixed axiom against a series of variables: like developing an idea as science fiction. God is perennial science fiction!
2003 12 15 The number of Gods (with a capital G) (in this universe anyway), is finite; the number of gods is infinite: the number of gods not yet having emerged being infinitely greater than the vast number of gods (also infinite?) already born, died, or living.
See also Cargo Cults.
2004 10 27 I’m finally reading, and enjoying the hell out of, Herodotus: nearly half a century after I was assigned to. I’d never not believed that he was a good story teller: still, it’s different to see for yourself. What I did not expect to find was a couple of neat perspectives on theology: not that one should ever be surprised in that quarter: new perspectives can come from anywhere at any time. To whit, here’s two (for my own convenience, at least for starters, I merely copy how I expressed this to my son):
I’ve long asked where Christians get the idea that good works are rewarded: not from the Bible. No, they get it from paganism:
When great wrongs are done,
the gods will surely visit them with great punishments.
Jews, Christians … don’t really hear the Bible, they hear what was already long in their heads.
The Bible goofs off of those stories: so it can freely punish Lot, Job, Moses, Jesus … Peter, Paul … and no one will notice: No, the gods punish the bad guys and reward the good guys.
OK, still: that was predictable compared to this: the Athenians go to the oracle, the oracle gives them bad news. they go back to the oracle, Oh, please, can’t you do better? And time 2 the Oracle says, Well, Athena has been pleading with Zeus so that …
We need Jesus, the kid, to intercede, to soften up the old man. Then that’s not good enough, not once Jesus gets promoted (becoming interchangeable with the old man), so we need his mother … (something female, something softer, not too bright …)
Athena is to people/Zeus as Jesus,Mary is to people/God.
In time I’ll spell that out better: already I’ve started to spell out abbreviations bk is familiar with.
I’ve moved the 2004 12 01 entry to Theological Logicism.
The older Pema Chodron entry is moved to Alternative To Theism.
2005 06 02 Any god who’s really a god may be a god without permission from any human. If Jesus is a god should Jesus be less of a god if some headhunter doesn’t recognize him? If Odin is a god should Odin be upset if some Catholic denies him? I doubt that a god needs Jehovah’s permission either.
Take any Homo sapiens sapiens. From any time, any where, in the last fifty or so thousand years. (2005 02 17 Current estimates age Hss at around two hundred thousand years. Reuters reports fossils just redated to 195,000 yrs: the oldest we have.) Get them to look at a cloud or a waterfall or a mountain. There’s an excellent chance you can get them to see a god. But try getting them to see God. It won’t work: until they need justification for wiping out the tribe next door.
2005 07 13 A corollary of the concept “god”, atheism, I put in a Belief folder, but philosophy, cosmology, theology … science … they’re all more closely related than we sometimes think. Note especially that atheism is not the only corollary to theism (belief in a god or gods); there is also non-theism.
2005 10 03 God with the capital G presides over a hierarchy. He’s at the top. He’s the Platonic original Form for Top. god is the essence of the cosmos with no top, the cosmos whose extensions we know nothing of: not its age, nor its size, nor its nature … God is datable; god is not. God, the super kleptocrat, takes credit for what isn’t his. That is: he stole it. Or tries to steal it: justifying (for us) all of our thefts.
2006 05 30 Once again my gods, God, & god scrapbooks must be revised. I hope I don’t mess up the sense as I move things around, reorder the chronology of the comments.
Here’s how I just scribbled that in a notepad prior to opening a file in which it belongs: superK God stole from god. Jesus (called Christ) is interesting because he seems to derive from both God & god. In any case, it’s only the god part I respect.
Do I need to spell out what I mean by Jesus seeming to derive from both God and god? God is the authoritarian part; god is the sharing, less competitive, part, the convivial part. Homo got going by cooperation. Kleptocracy flourishes by cooperation too, but by a cooperation among thieves, not a cooperation to help those in need.
God is: “We priests, we owners, we legitimate few are in the right; god is “There is no right, there is no legitimacy. Now: who needs a hand?”
2005 11 08 Some religions just offer a cosmology, a set of myths to explain the universe. Some religions, Judaism and Christianity, for example, also want to fix the future, to tell us what will happen. Well, once you’ve done that, why then you have to fudge things, trying to make it come true, don’t you?
Thus: God gives man free-will; but does man return the favor? Does God have free will? Is God allowed to learn from experience?
Christianity tells us that Jesus loved us. I believe it. But does Jesus still love us after we tortured and killed him?
Is Jesus allowed to make up his own mind? Or do we magically control him? the way we control the Father? keep him in a golden box.
|God isn’t allowed to learn anything from experience.||Are we?|
|god is what experience teaches.||Are we?|
I am now going to ha! organize these god scrapbooks in reverse chronological order, wrecking I don’t know what havoc: but it’s already a time-disordered mess. That is, some entries are dated, and that’s what will guide me. Other’s aren’t: that’s the trouble. Then I’ll feel free to “fix” violations of sense. But to make it flow I’d have to rewrite the whole thing.
2005 12 03 What society does with the messenger is trivial compared to whether or not society gets the message. Where society doesn’t get the message and crucifies the messenger, society’s typical mode, it doesn’t bode well.
2005 11 29 We need a mother to rescue us after we’ve shat the bed; we need a father rescue us after we’ve gotten in over our head, we need a to God to rescue us after we’ve fouled the earth. We need mommy and daddy to teach us; to scold us. And we need a God to judge us; because our own judgment fails on a somewhat regular basis. Problem is: who judges God?
Well, for one, I do. But what’s my judgment worth? in a galactic market? On earth, among humans, my judgment is worth zero.
But that still leaves the problem of a solipsistic theology.
In my Judgment Day story of 1972 or so (thought of, like all my stories, much earlier), God is throwing everybody into hell when he’s interrupted by … God. It seems God1 was just Satan, fooling us again.
We’re so easy to fool: any shyster, any snake oil salesman, any government, any church … can do it.
Then Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach … talked of an infinity of gods: god1, god2, godn.
Monism may well be my default setting: I’ll always return to a belief in “One” no matter where I stretch in the meantime. But is it true?
Do humans have any business talking about truth? Does God?
These days I’m regularly busy inventing multiple-universes to get us out of our and God’s solipsism problem. But it still leaves the basic monism problem.
The truth seems to lie with Prigogine non-equilibrium thermodynamics. Nothing’s certain, nothing’s final; which still doesn’t mean that we can’t cybernetically navigate from moment to moment.
2006 05 30 Dates: I can’t imagine that too many visitors would give a damn whether I jotted something in 1995, 2000, or 2005, but someday I might care: and I take some care to date things these days. Reordering a scrapbook like this may well though wreck havoc on a number of things, including which date goes with which entry. My date was accurate when I put it there, it may not remain accurate once it’s moved: and everything here has been moved at least a couple of times. The following are entries for which I have no dates: I’d guess them to be around 1999.
God is dead. And we killed him. (Sure, the Jews: but Jews-R-Us. Ditto Romans.)
|Hierarchical top down Judgment, final word, close the books||Poly-morphic emergent patterns open, no ends|
pk on pk and his god:
Decentralized thinking addressing the centralized: by centralized habit, in centralized rhetoric
I suspect that intelligence worthy of the cosmos is possible only from a decentralized perspective (even that word is too centralized). Mere cleverness rules the hierarchies.
Rules can be broken by people in power.
Any society living within its means (I know that’s a stretch, but imagine it possible) might symbolize How Things Are, How Things Came to Be as god. But only an ascendant kleptocracy, a predatory group on the prowl, could have invented God.
Kleptocracies need a key person, an imaginary Top, to make executive decisions, to close the books: This is loss and this is profit; these are sheep and these are goats … and my peons own the profits, and can blame the loss on the goats.
Now: centralized, hierarchical organization is possible, and can be efficient — in some things; and kleptocrats will automatically learn to look for Authority EVERYWHERE: and “find” it. (The mind is an awesome thing.)
The reason it’s scary for kleptocrats to view the night sky is that genera … [Whoops, I seem to have lost some data here: Maybe it will turn up, maybe I’ll remember what I was saying …]
Paul Tillich Note
Paul Tillich said that “God is a metaphor for God”: suggesting that God is outside Korzybski’s map / territory problem. In my first ￼ module on God I wrote, “God is whatever is slightly over the horizon.”
More recently I’ve been writing at Macroinformation about how problems that are unsolvable in Flatland find easy solutions if another dimension is added. Today I’ll add here that “god” is whatever lies just out of the majority’s reach in whatever number of dimension’s is that majority’s current Flatland. We can deal creatively with dimensions X, Y, and Z? Then god lies in dimension N: whatever dimension is Next to be reached: by some angel, some genius, some mad woman.
More, once I’ve done a few other necessary things.
2014 02 10 I quote an email to bk:
… re: dilbert map territory [cartoon he’d attached]
Sat PM at a Lake Placid dance a harmony quartet performed, used to be common, no longer. One of them told a joke or two.
One joke: girl in art class, drawing away:
People chuckled, but they’re still the people who crucify the messenger who says they have a map, claims impossible to verify, to falsify because no one will look.
Therefore, Galileo’s observation must be assumed wrong?
The statists sabotage the anarchists, then say they’re refuted them. No, they haven’t understood syllable one of the position.
Please understand that bk & pk have been discussing map/territory confusions since I forced Bateson on him, starting 1979.
You wanna see the Dilbert cartoon? https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/?view=att&th=1441b8f0919dc647&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P9XlDVPeP7SayFxb366Nw0x&sadet=1392053594261&sads=mknPhUXK4yKT-05Ww8dmGKHxKtA&sadssc=1