• Jussi Tennilä
    9

    Yes, very good! I agree. Whereas Ishmael, i propose, recognizes the same ”difference/distance” but remains a pure spectator, not succumbing to the frustration of existing in a world filled with nonsense and absurdities like leg amputating whales. He remains a mindful, even meditative (like when he stands on top of the mast on lookout and just watches the sea) witness. Maybe that is the teaching that Melville ment to give us. He lived in a very dynamic age with many upheveals and changes occuring. Maybe he meant to show us two ways to react to the absurdity of life.
  • Constance
    1.2k
    Yes, very good! I agree. Whereas Ishmael, i propose, recognizes the same ”difference/distance” but remains a pure spectator, not succumbing to the frustration of existing in a world filled with nonsense and absurdities like leg amputating whales. He remains a mindful, even meditative (like when he stands on top of the mast on lookout and just watches the sea) witness. Maybe that is the teaching that Melville ment to give us. He lived in a very dynamic age with many upheveals and changes occuring. Maybe he meant to show us two ways to react to the absurdity of life.Jussi Tennilä

    Yes. And Queequeg, calm, adept, spiritually attuned, unquestioning (unlike Ahab who had been to the university, where he no doubt studied philosophy, just like crazy Hamlet at Wittenberg, where Luther nailed his 95 theses in protest. It is a mentality of protest that thought produces) primitive, who, like Stubb, sits comfortably in who he is. A novel so rich in interpretation.

    Melville was very aware of the ethical contradictions of our existence at the basic level. Torn off legs just shouldn't BE. The world wears its ethical normativity on its sleeve, and the prohibition of tearing one another to shreds is in the outrageous pain of it. We see this ethicality everywhere, in the givenness of the world, made ambiguous by distracted thinking (to put it succinctly). Faith in God must occur in the struggle to understand, not in the complacency of dogma , nor in the recklessness of rage. The top of the mast is a place to witness and think. Quite right: "mindful, even meditative."
  • ENOAH
    637
    Faith in God must occur in the struggle to understand, not in the complacency of dogma , nor in the recklessness of rage.Constance

    Yes! If you don't mind me saying.

    If there is God.

    And, if not, why not faith in truth? That there is a truth which we already are, and in being (that truth), freedom from the distracted thinking, and even the givenness of the world.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    I find in most or all of the discussions about religion that while willing to go into an issue, the is a general lack of interest to ask the basic questions that would lead to an understanding of what religion IS, that is, what there is in the world that warrants interest in the first place.Constance

    Already muddled.

    You talk about where you think religion comes from — but not about what it is. That would be helpful before discussing where it “rises out of.” What is doing the rising, exactly?

    Religion is amorphous, so it’s worth stating what you think it means before discussing your ideas about its origins or essence.

    For my part, I see little difference between religion and philosophy— both ask very universal, difficult, extra-ordinary questions about existence. That being said, your proposition seems a little out of left field.
  • Constance
    1.2k
    I've taken up enough of your time, and appreciate it. I'd say quickly this. Those desires, Icecream, a walk in the deer park, love even, are "spiritual" because they are constructed (mind).ENOAH

    Then a parting thought. Philosophy has one end, and this is the truth at the most basic level. Truth is an epistemic term, and the reality that is "known" is a matter for ontology, the "what is existence at the most basic level?" kind of thing. I argue that these are really one, and this is a tough thesis to defend out of the context of continental reasoning. It offends common sense to say that when one observes something, the observational act itself is part and parcel of the thing being observed. Anglo American philosophy has forgotten this Kantian legacy.

    But anyway, the question then is, what is the most basic level? Here I follow the post Husserlians, like Jean Luc Marion, Michel Henry, Jean Luc Nancy, Emanual Levinas, all French, but they have really driven thought to the actuality of religion through Husserl's reduction. So if you are looking for things to read that do just this, that analyze existence down to its essential (philosophical) ontology, then there is this continental undertaking. Begins with Kant, of course, and his Critique of Pure Reason. Perhaps you already know about this kind of thing. Just taking a moment to recommend all this as a way to finally get, not closure, but "openness" to the world. In a letter written by Maurice Blanchot talking about Levinas' influence, he says, "philosophy was life itself. . .passion renewing itself continually and suddenly in an explosion of new and enigmatic thoughts." Not the stale old arguments, but this extraordinary encounter with the world. One has forgotten that it is an exhilaration, as Emily Dickinson put it, just to be here. The essential message of Kierkegaard's Repetition.
  • Constance
    1.2k
    Already muddled.

    You talk about where you think religion comes from — but not about what it is. That would be helpful before discussing where it “rises out of.” What is doing the rising, exactly?
    Mikie

    It is not to be treated outside of the manner in which it appears. Of course, things are at first muddled prior to a clarification of terms and their meanigns. The OP is not a dissertation. It is an introduction to a theme. The clarification comes in a discussion about what these terms mean. I said, religion rises out of ethical indeterminacy, so what is this indeterminacy and what is the relation between ethical indeterminacy and religion?
    That which is "doing the rising" lies with the analysis of ethics and epistemology/ontology. The latter can wait, but ethics and its value-in-the-world, this is what makes religion what it is. I was talking to Jussi Tenila (above) and I referred to Melville's Ahab and I said, " Melville was very aware of the ethical contradictions of our existence at the basic level. Torn off legs just shouldn't BE." This is not about the ethical normativity found in the contexts of familiar affairs in which there are identifiable parties involved. The prima facie ethical prohibition against assaulting one another is generally determined by the particular case and the terms of justification. But "do no harm" IS a well grounded at the outset, prior to the details. Why? Because it hurts. It hurts, and we know it, a philosopher once put it. Pain itself is that which originally generates the obligation, not this pain or that, and no mention yet made of the element of "taste" and its variability nor the relativity of predilection. Just pain as pain, pain simpliciter.

    Religion is amorphous, so it’s worth stating what you think it means before discussing your ideas about its origins or essence.Mikie

    I did state that it is the radical ethical indeterminacy of our existence. You are having trouble because this doesn't mean much or anything to you, and this likely due to the very idea of metaethics to be unfamiliar. Ask, why does Wittgenstein in the Tractatus refuse to discuss ethics?

    For my part, I see little difference between religion and philosophy— both ask very universal, difficult, extra-ordinary questions about existence. That being said, your proposition seems a little out of left field.Mikie

    I agree with what you say about religion and philosophy, but there are many who would not. All philosophical questions are essentially questions of religion. As I say, a hard sell. One has to go into the argument. It begins, I am claiming, with Ahab, who loses his leg to a whale. The whale is a big stupid animal that simply lashes out and can do no better when provoked, and one's moral outrage really has no object regarding the offending party. Thus Ahab rages against what is "behind" the whale, existence itself that produces whales, and black holes, and fence posts, and everything! This is a big move. There is a name for this everything, which is Being. Being itself. It has no features for it is not A being, so all that can be talked about and predicated about using the copula "is" as in it IS a rainy day and the flower IS red, and so on, is the incidental expression of the Being of the whale, the tiger and the tax audit that puts you in jail.

    So the ethical is all about, if not these extreme examples (severed legs are dramatic and it makes the point so well), then what I call value-in-being. One could follow the way Kant treated reason in his discovery of "pure reason" only here we deal with value, or "pure value" which is the good and bad of the aches and pains as well as the thrills and joys of human existence.

    This is the way the argument begins.
  • ENOAH
    637
    Thus Ahab rages against what is "behind" the whale, existence itself that produces whales, and black holes, and fence posts, and everything! This is a big move. There is a name for this everything, which is Being. Being itself. It has no features for it is not A being, so all that can be talked about and predicated about using the copula "is" as in it IS a rainy day and the flower IS red, and so on, is the incidental expression of the Being of the whale, the tiger and the tax audit that puts you in jail.Constance

    Very nice


    ...aside from that, I guess you're viewing the tax audit as, though projected "out of" Being, nonetheless Being. And, why not? You say. Correct?

    Assuming I understand you correctly, without giving details, it surprises me. Although, it shouldn't. It appears to be a shared view.

    For me, unthinkable though it would seem, the tax audit is a "fiction" as is perceiving the day as rainy, and the flower as red (though in Being it may be raining and the flower is sensed as that color--I will trust that you're following). These are happening and are not some illusion or dream; but unlike being which is necessarily happening, these things, the audit, a flower, red, rainy day, are projections which only happen to hunan mind(s). These are part of the broad interpretation of "imposition thinking" you referenced in the OP in relation to Nietzsche, and I ran with.

    My point is that your eloquent placement of Being in Moby-Dick for me, properly captures that it is all Being, Nature, the whale, Ahab, the Ocean, and the wood constructing his ship, as is the movement of these manifestations of Being.

    But as for the manifestations of one manifestation of Being, tge human being, and its projections, these are constructed out of fleeting and empty representations stored in the organisms memory. They have created amazing and horrible things with real effect upon Being, but they, in themselves are empty images that come and go in shapes and forms, moved by desire, building meaning in Narrative forms.

    These, taxes and the flower, perceived as "flower", are imposition thinking and have "removed" us from the reality we naturally share with tge earth and other creatures.

    And because philosophy too is imposition thinking, religion, in essence, is a means to return, if ever so intermittently and briefly, to tge reality of Being. That is, the essence of religion is to awaken from the fiction in pursuit of the truth.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I see little difference between religion and philosophy— both ask very universal, difficult, extra-ordinary questions about existence.Mikie
    In my mind that "little difference" is this: philosophy (logos) begins with questions we do not (yet) know how to answer and proceeds by reasoning towards more probative questions (re: reflective inquiry as a way of life :fire:) whereas religion (mythos) begins with answers we are "commanded" not to question and proceeds by faith in obeying such unquestioned answers (re: surrender as a way of life :pray:).
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    whereas religion (mythos) begins with answers we are "commanded" not to question and proceeds by faith in obeying such unquestioned answers180 Proof

    It can be that, yeah. But then, so can philosophy — and science. Dogmatism can creep in anywhere. The point for me is a broad one: what’s called philosophy and religion often overlap in what they’re interested in, what they’re questioning. A set of beliefs with rites and rituals and social gatherings is on average perhaps less flexible and open minded than simply struggling with a question and not yet believing anything firmly, but only by averages (have you been to many philosophy departments? :vomit: ).

    I take your point. Mine is an outlier view and so broad as to make the everyday meaning (which is useful) empty. But still there is something to it.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Dogmatism can creep in anywhere.Mikie
    True. However, dogmatism is always anathema to 'reflective inquiry' (or dialectics & contemplating aporias) and usually consistent with – follows from – 'faith' (or undecidable (e.g. merely subjective, supernatural) beliefs).
  • ENOAH
    637
    usually180 Proof

    I guess you're leaving room for philosophical dogmatism, those who adhere to a strict logic, a functional, yet constructed framework, as a precondition to entertaining the validity of any and all propositions; or, those who discourse and reflect within the framework of a set of hypotheses (Aristotle's, Kant's, etc.) not only confining themselves to within a strict convention of interpretation of same dictated by the authorities, but to the exclusion of entertaining any and all alternatives.

    And political dogmatism, those who insist on a position, whether economic or social, not from reasoned analysis, but because it aligns with an ideology and its strict walls, growing thicker and thicker as they close in. (Abortion is a good e.g. both sides).


    And scientific dogmatism, those who insist that only what appears to 5 of the human senses can be data for constructing knowledge; ignoring that knowledge is constructed, and the data gathered was not immediate to the senses, but already mediated by mind and re-presented as if direct from the senses.

    And there's dogmatism in the arts, and across academics. You could argue that unlike religion, these adherences are reasoned. But maybe there are reasoned thinkers in each of those communities, but they're not the dogma I just referred to.

    I'm not even sure dogma is prevalent mostly in religion, though it might cause the most trouble there. That, I would agree.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    And scientific dogmatism, those who insist that only what appears to 5 of the human senses can be data for constructing knowledge; ignoring that knowledge is constructed, and the data gathered was not immediate to the senses, but already mediated by mind and re-presented as if direct from the senses.ENOAH

    :ok:
  • Constance
    1.2k
    But as for the manifestations of one manifestation of Being, tge human being, and its projections, these are constructed out of fleeting and empty representations stored in the organisms memory. They have created amazing and horrible things with real effect upon Being, but they, in themselves are empty images that come and go in shapes and forms, moved by desire, building meaning in Narrative forms.

    These, taxes and the flower, perceived as "flower", are imposition thinking and have "removed" us from the reality we naturally share with tge earth and other creatures.
    ENOAH

    I know what you are saying. You would find in Husserl and Heidegger a way of talking about this that would greatly make the idea more clear and meaningful. When one takes up their "method" of liberating oneself from the language and culture that seems to have a mind of its own, one is headed for some extraordinary exposure to what underlies normal life. It is not really natural at all, I would say. It is entirely unnatural. It is a removal from what is natural as well as from whatever distorting contribution the "tranquilization in unauthentic being of endlessly being busy makes. Heidegger talks like this, but I am taking him a radical step forward: When a person wakes up and looks around and asks questions like, What does it mean to exist? and Why are we born to suffer and die? the degree to which this carries one outside of being-in-a-culture and being conditioned to experience the world in a language, and in social institutions, depends on how well one can turn the tables on this lifetime of education and enculturation. Go all the way, like the Gautama Siddhartha, and one is simply not in this world anymore; yet, nor is one out of it.
    You will never find a philosopher 'round these parts speaking well of such a thing, for philosophers are professional academics more interested in arguments then they are interested in the world. Only continental philosophers take this radical move seriously.

    And because philosophy too is imposition thinking, religion, in essence, is a means to return, if ever so intermittently and briefly, to tge reality of Being. That is, the essence of religion is to awaken from the fiction in pursuit of the truth.ENOAH

    I'm not going to take issue with what you say here. I think along the same lines. Only to add one thing: when you say the essence of religion is to awaken from the fiction in pursuit of the truth, there is a method to doing this. Call it a kind of jnana yoga. It is Husserl's phenomenological reduction. It is not merely a turning away from bad thinking about metaphysics, but a reduction of the world to its essence, you might say. The essential givenness of the world. For me, the habits of thinking have to become undone in order to finally "see the world" in the pure way you take so seriously. Not natural, but the world free of active world-making assumptions. You might find Fink's Sixth Meditation very worthy, in which he says early on:

    Having overcome world naivete' we stand now in a new naivete, a transcendental naivete'. It consists in our unfolding and explicating transcendental life only in the presentness [Gegenwärtigkeit] in which it is given us by the reduction, without entering by analysis into the "inner horizon" of this life, into the performances of constitution

    Fink makes the radical move. The reduction is a reference to Husserl's Ideas 1, and Husserl was Fink's mentor. All of the French post -Husserlians I read (like Michel Henry, Jean Luc Marion, et al) attempt to follow through on elucidating this new naivete. One will become a mystic if one pursues this: common sense becomes more alien, and something else moves in and takes its place, not to be spoken simply due to a lack of shared experience. Of course, Husserl was no mystic. But the basic principles of phenomenology will, if one is predisposed, replace assumptions with questions, and questions are an "openness" rather than a fixity. This goes to your pursuit of the truth, doesn't it? Truth is openness where there once was rigid affirmation. Heidegger said something close to this. Truth is an unhiddenness of a that occurs in the way language creates meaning, but one has to yield to what is there, give up the attempt to close meaning off from possibilities. Hegel probably inspired this. Gelassenheit, a yielding that opens insight.
  • ENOAH
    637
    It is not really natural at all, I would say.Constance

    It is a removal from what is natural as well as from whatever distorting contribution the "tranquilization in unauthentic being of endlessly being busy makesConstance

    You are--besides that you arrive there ineluctably by a process of fully open, free, and independent reasoning (a Herculean task; all ideas are built like "Bricologe" from all accessible others)--taking this position that this hypothetical "religiously pointed to" liberation transcends both the world mediated by human mind, and the natural (what I am suggesting as ultimately real) world for one of three reasons,
    1. That is the position dictated by a "school" to which you subscribe;
    2. Although you might reject metaphysical dualism, you are yet "framed" by what I've found to be the dominating narrative in western thought, which is that the "spirit" is the locus of reason and morality etc, while the "flesh" the locus of gluttony and desire; or,
    3. You mean to say, "religious" liberation--presumably tied in with the divine, must transcend both mind and body.

    Hopefully, 1 and 2 speak for themselves as to why that's not up to me to address.

    If it's 3, I would clarify the hypothesis informing my thinking.

    It is "possible" that there is an Ultimate Reality beyond the natural universe.
    In "my" hypothesis that would mean three "levels" in a "hierarchy" of reality:
    Mind("projected" from nature, not real)
    Nature ("projected" from "god" real, but not as such)
    Ultimate Reality (like, Nirguna Brahman in Advaita Vedanta)

    But informed by phenomenology and science to the extent that these extremely useful and progressive tools can help, I can "safely" settle at 1 and 2. But 3, though possible, even arguable, is an unnecessary leap and it is confusing the "essence" of religion, even the root of what's causing some in this thread to lash out against religion.

    There is the natural universe. It is here and this body which mind makes me experience as "I" is in it. Why question its reality?

    The "why" comes not from truth but from tge "confusion" constructed by mind. It is far too complex to describe here, but simply, because Mind displaces the Body with the Subject, it functions to further create the "illusion" that it must be the seat of reality, thus, the Body, nature, the outside world, only its projections.

    When really, the so called outside world, including human bodies, is the universe, and it's mind's projections which are not real but which displaces how tge outside world and our Bodies "look" to mind.

    Liberation might involve a "third level" as in Godhead etc. And I do intuit that, but natural being itself is unspeakable enough. Because speakable belongs only to mind. And while we might, we need not take the extra leap as Kierkegaard did, to free ourselves from the "fake" constructions of mind (where, by the way, all suffering occurs because "I" causes attachment).

    We--and here is where I'm saying the essence of religion is--need only turn our natural organic body's aware-ing away from the chatter, focus on its organic sensations, drives, movements and feelings, and "see" even if ever so briefly, that the desires of Mind are not Real. Human history is not real. Nature and its being is real.

    There may yet be some "ecstacy" in uncovering that nature and its being, too, are not Real but that we are all God. But as I said, trying to speak of natural being is already a paradox since you can only access being by being and not knowing, which is constructed. Speaking from mind about God would be a double paradox. Fiction speaking fiction not only of its hypothetical host, but of its hypothetical host's hypothetical host.


    depends on how well one can turn the tables on this lifetime of education and enculturation. Go all the way, like the GautamaConstance

    I hypothesize that despite their great insights, both the Vedanta logins, and Buddhists remain yet "stuck" in mind. It is inescapable. Turning tables is still the table.

    But Zazen "unwittingly" offers something: the idea that if you at least focus on the Body, you may get reprieve from the chattering long enough to have accessed reality; just enough to at least bring that knowledge--albeit, still knowledge--back to the chatter. In that, Zazen captures the essence of religion which has been otherwise lost, and which makes the OP a question of ultimate concern not just here, but to each individual and to humanity.

    And yet more and more our ignorance based resentment to religion pushes it away.

    Fink makes the radical move. The reduction is a reference to Husserl's IdeasConstance

    Like Zazen, H's reduction is a brilliant tool for temporary reprieve. But while I believe Zen did pursue its path with liberation from the constructions in mind, hence employing a bodily tool, H was driven more by thinking he could use language to liberate language from language.

    Having said that, don't get me wrong, I fully agree that Husserl is a link in Western philosophy, to understanding these things. Notwithstanding some contradictions, very much Hegel, too.
  • Constance
    1.2k
    2. Although you might reject metaphysical dualism, you are yet "framed" by what I've found to be the dominating narrative in western thought, which is that the "spirit" is the locus of reason and morality etc, while the "flesh" the locus of gluttony and desire; or,
    3. You mean to say, "religious" liberation--presumably tied in with the divine, must transcend both mind and body.
    ENOAH

    So I did read all, and there are many things I am aligned with, but now I just want to say that all of the terms in play here as well as in religious contexts everywhere do not present a case that makes what is to basic inquiry clear, and this is what is needed to show that religion has important foundational meaning. What is spirit, metaphysics, morality, the divine, transcendence, the body? These may seem self evident, but if that were true, there would be no issue. The reason I cannot make all of these issues go away is that all of my thinking is grounded in phenomenology, and this is not a popular approach. So when I go into ethics and its metaethics, most in this forum think about this with a very active residual physicalism. This physicalism has to be dropped outright, explcitly, but this cannot be done. One has to "read: their way out of it to get to the impossible simplicity you and I agree about. I think you are right int he things you say, but it has to be brought to an even more penetrating analysis in order to show the world that religion is the THE profound center of our existence, not this or that religion, but religion in its essence. How does one talk about tis outside of the outrageous volumes of Heidegger, Husserl, Kant, Levinas, Henry, and so on? See, these guys are right, not in all things everywhere, but in the basic thesis of phenomenology, and Husserl's epoche is at the center of this. This "reduction" is the objective way to talk about metaphysics, and therefore metaethics and therefore religion, or meta-religion.

    I am arguing that the world is inherently religious as it shows itself in everyday living, and this is because everyday living is grounded in ethical indeterminacy. Not Turtles all the way down, but metavalue, and it stops right there. At metavalue, the Right and the Good, the wrong and the Bad, at root, stand as their own presuppositions, that is, they are stand alone in what they are. When you approve of this notion of non propositional truth, I don't think you mean it cannot be propositionally expressed, for anything can, but rather that this truth is an existential absolute, not a logical one, so just like modus ponens, we cannot imagine the contrary being true: one cannot even imagine the existential Good of, say, bliss, love, ecstasy, being Bad, or not being Good in any way, even if something most clearly Good, like MY hagen Dazs experience is put into some comparison of utility (as is found wiht arguments about utilitarianism. See How Bentham tries to quantify values is disparate kinds), not because they are logically opposed, but because the Good's existence as Good is as sound as a logical construction.

    Once this is seen as clearly as I think it can be, then it becomes clear that the metavalue Good IS our manifest divinity, entangled as it is in attractions, compulsions, desires, appetites, and on and on, and this permeates one's existence from the petty likes to the deeply profound. What is spirituality? I say it is what is discovered in the revelation of sublime awareness. What is sublime? Now that IS an interesting question. Value of the sublime experience, whatever it is, is not going to be "explained"; It IS the world, and presence qua presence cannot be spoken. It is an order of value and we have terms like holiness, sacredness, that attend the word divinity, and there is the Christian's "God is love" and love is so ethereal, but the quality of these cannot be argued. One simply has to actually BE in love to know.

    But the reasoning in this argument shows, I believe, that one encounters divinity even if one is not really attuned to those religious passions. Divinity lies in the universal caring about the world, for caring itself is transcendental, mystical, as Wittgenstein would say.
  • ENOAH
    637
    but it has to be brought to an even more penetrating analysis in order to show the world that religion is the THE profound center of our existence, not this or that religion, but religion in its essence.Constance

    Yes, please. I am an enthusiastic gardener, but I lack the training and the tools. And yes, not this or that--though I don't begrudge their efforts; we get sucked in easily


    How does one talk about tis outside of the outrageous volumes of Heidegger, Husserl, Kant, Levinas, Henry, and so on?Constance

    The way I see it, we already talk about it within those volumes; we cannot but.

    I believe no idea stands on its own, but emerges as a locus in the history of that idea. Then it gets tucked into the next. Any hypothesis "I" may purport to have, is already Heidegger, Husserl, Kant, Levinas, Henry, and so on's ideas, and the ideas of countless others.

    It makes sense to refer to them specifically where it is fitting, but we are already building off of them, and fettering our discretion to explore new directions is acting in bad faith as human thinkers.


    that this truth is an existential absolute, not a logical one,Constance
    Yes. I completely agree.


    one cannot even imagine the existential Good of, say, bliss, love, ecstasy, being Bad, or not being GoodConstance
    but here, I'm wondering if I misunderstood. I would say, that this truth, not being a logical one, does not imagine, period.

    the Good's existence as Good is as sound as a logical construction.Constance
    Again, am I misunderstanding?

    I would give neither logical nor Ethical, for that matter, any consideration in regard to this truth. Good is an imposing construct. Logic belongs to it. As does Ethics. But to The Ultimate Truth that we are the being which breathes, not the becoming which thinks, the only "concern" is being. Religion is that sublime mechanism built into the imposing projections, a peek hole into being.

    But this and that religion, like us in every endeavor, soon lost sight of that essence. And so we bicker instead of peek.

    Divinity lies in the universal caring about the world, for caring itself is transcendental, mystical, as Wittgenstein would say.Constance
    Ok, I didn't misunderstand. Yes, "divinity" is caring; not about the projected becoming of mind and history; but in the being of "God and Its Creation" to put it "religiously." To put it philosophically, it is caring (about) being; or, being caring-being, rather than distracted-being, or becoming.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    As "the essence of religion", why do you priviledge, or prioritize, (your) religious ideality over (primordial) religious facticity? It seems abundantly evident (to me at least) that the latter is the independent variable and therefore inescapably anterior both anthropologically and psychosocially to the former.

    ... it has to be brought to an even more penetrating analysis in order to show the world that religion is the THE profound center of our existence, not this or that religion, but religion in its essence.Constance
    Yes, fear – conatus as ineluctable striving to overcome – escape from – fear (e.g. mortality ... manifest in burying our dead, etc). H. sapiens' (aka "h. religiosus'")¹ first, oldest, perennial escape plan – the quest for magical/symbolic "immortality" – is what we now call "religion" as such.

    I prefer h. ludens¹ ... :death: :flower:
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    for caring itself is transcendental, mystical, as Wittgenstein would say.Constance

    Could caring instead, or also, be the most immanent, most intimate expression of the one who is being religious (or just being)? The place where instead of finding the essence of religion, you find the one being religious. By caring for something, one brings that transcendent thing (the “world”) into one’s immanent care. Still maybe mystical, but a mystery buried inside instead of beyond.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Could caring instead, or also, be the most immanent, most intimate expression of the one who is being religious (or just being)?Fire Ologist
    :fire: ... ecstatic immanence.
  • ENOAH
    637
    why do you priviledge, or prioritize, (your) religious ideality over (primordial) religious facticity?180 Proof

    You're thinking of essence anthropological, fear of death; myth and ritual arising therefrom. And I completely agree with that.

    I'm thinking of essence, as in what is its most essential function. You will say, to alleviate the fear of death. But I say, the fear of death has a deeper "root" which is the attachment to the Subject. And religion essentially addresses that. No attachment, no fear.

    Anthropologically, the thing was constructed to address death and manifested as myth and ritual; eventually as ecclesiastical institutions.

    Psychologically(?) Philosophically(?) the thing was constructed to address the attachment to projections including death.

    I'd say that's the essence of religion. You say not. I don't see how the fear of death precedes (temporally, psychologically, in any hierarchy) the attachment causing the fear.

    Unless you reject the notion of attachment to the Subject. (?)
  • ENOAH
    637
    and to argue that it is our natural "fear of death" the instinct for survival which forms the primal essence, I'd agree that would precede attachment to Subject. But I don't think such a fear exists in our natural being, independent of language or human mind. We also would not be constructing religion in that being, free of mind.
  • Astrophel
    479
    Yes, please. I am an enthusiastic gardener, but I lack the training and the tools. And yes, not this or that--though I don't begrudge their efforts; we get sucked in easilyENOAH

    Then why not go through it, the issue that is, as it is plainly put: Question that I asked Ludwig V: what if ethics were as apodictic (apriori, universally and necessarily true) as logic? Try to see how very weird this question is for it possesses nearly everything the issue deals with. For now I just leave it to you.

    I believe no idea stands on its own, but emerges as a locus in the history of that idea.ENOAH

    Now you're talking. But as I see it, one has to withdraw from the arguments, and move into the world (professional philosophers are too busy to do this. I mean, to write a paper, one has to be in the conversation about what others say and have said, comparing, contrasting, aligning ideas. They are good at arguments, but generally not good at "the world," which is the original point. I like to say, I don't read Heidegger to understand Heidegger; I read Heidegger to understand the world. ANd he is VERY helpful in this. Phenomenology is the only to understand the world): You know that perception is an historical construct, even though it occurs without pause. This is evident in that one's own personal history provides that language learning from infancy, yet when we engage with this language, there is exactly this immediacy in the way a knowledge claim is affirmed in and by language. The object is entirely mediated in its apprehension. And, following Heidegger, this language itself, apart from one's personal history, has a history that goes back through the ages and evolves in historical movements (sound like Hegel? Of course). But make that move into the world (this is what Michel Henry argued with passion) and there we are in this "fleshy encounter" of a very direct apprehension that is NOT qualified by the interpretative values of language. Feel the grass, the pinch of the flesh, and engage the senses in "real time" and all arguments in abeyance. Think of Walt Whitman, the 19th century poet of the living experience. He writes:

    Creeds and schools in abeyance,
    Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
    I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
    Nature without check with original energy.


    Henry and even Nietzsche likely applauded Whitman (Nietzsche adored Emerson, too). The point is, creeds and schools in abeyance means an unmitigated, unconditioned apprehension of the pure phenomenon that stands before one in vivid presence, and THIS will not be gainsaid by the philosopher's insistence that all perception is interpretative and constituted by language. This leaf of grass pressed between my thumb and finger is simply undeniably THERE in all the energy of a live experience. And the more you allow yourself to engage the world like this, the more you see what metaphysics is really all about: Language implicitly there, attending the qualitative moment, stabilizing existence, and yet, what appears before one, the reduced phenomenon that is most emphatically NOT language. This is where metaphysics is revealed, for in the mundane perception, the "presence" of the world stands entirely "Other" than what the understanding has to "say".

    You say the Eastern religio-philosophies have not made the significant move out of the habits of ordinariness, but serious meditation does not have any explicit ideational content. It is precisely a "liberation" from just this, and its telos is not to calm the mind and deal with the world more happily. Its telos is to literally leave the world, and by world I refer to the very historical construct you refer to. You sound a lot like Derrida when you say no idea stands out on its own. Derrida does what meditation does, two "yogas" and Derrida is the ultimate jnana yoga, thought discovering the delimitations of thought and IN this "apophatic" revelation, one has zazen, if you want to talk like this. And all schools are in abeyance.
    but here, I'm wondering if I misunderstood. I would say, that this truth, not being a logical one, does not imagine, period.ENOAH

    You think like this because of this language prohibition when we talk about mysticism. I read once in a preface to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, that monks speak often about their experiences in meditation. One can talk about anything if the talk is simply reporting and describing and quantifying. Liberation in the mystical tradition does not preclude language, but understands that language itself is transcendental, and here consider what Wittgenstein had to say about logic: Logic shows us what it is, but cannot tell us what it is. The same is true for my cat: it appears, and I know this in the contexts of cats and my cat and the knowledge base this is informed by, but this contextually conceived knowing is itself radically indeterminate, that is, belongs to no subsuming context. You understand this, and you understand the idea metaphysics, but to make a further move, one has to leave the text, the thesis, and behold the world and KNOW the world cannot be possessed by language. One is at once possessed and dispossessed by language (that "by" is VERY tricky. After all, as I speak these words, there is an independence of the language, as if the language were doing the dispossessing. The "I" of me is conceived in the language that conceives, is it not. See my point? See how this very language I am deploying NOW as I write about language is somehow entirely independent of ME if the "I" of me is so completely indeterminate. Every time I try to find myself , I encounter the language "doing" looking. "I" am not accessible to language! But then, what is this "I"? This is discovered not by language but by value, in "the religious" dimension of our existence: the metaphysics of "I".

    would give neither logical nor Ethical, for that matter, any consideration in regard to this truth. Good is an imposing construct. Logic belongs to it. As does Ethics. But to The Ultimate Truth that we are the being which breathes, not the becoming which thinks, the only "concern" is being. Religion is that sublime mechanism built into the imposing projections, a peek hole into being.

    But this and that religion, like us in every endeavor, soon lost sight of that essence. And so we bicker instead of peek.
    ENOAH

    When one considers the Good, one has to escape the metaphysics of Plato, the idea or form of the good, but when the subject is broached, it is done IN language. This "peaking" you refer to will never escape language in this way, for one is not reduced to a babbling feral adult when one meditates or when one is in meditative thought. Language is the house of Being Heidegger said, and while there is a great deal more to it then what H, the strong intellectual who cared little for ethics and the nature of value talk, meant by this, he was most clearly correct to say that when we have an acknowledgement of the world AT ALL, we have this in language and Time. A simply profound analysis, Being and Time. All the French post-post modern "theological turn" philosopher I read are deeply schooled in Heidegger and Husserl. They don't "bicker" like paper writers saying what Husserl was "really saying". They stand apart from this scholarly arguing, mostly.

    On truth: Please note the above on language.

    I have to remind myself that language is not intrusive into the endeavor to realize fully what the world IS. Language is what brings one to that peak you talk about. An once there, language is suspended, explicitly, anyway, and one realizes one really doesn't know what language is at all, and Plato comes back to haunt one. And this is registered at the perceptual level, not merely as a thought.

    Ok, I didn't misunderstand. Yes, "divinity" is caring; not about the projected becoming of mind and history; but in the being of "God and Its Creation" to put it "religiously." To put it philosophically, it is caring (about) being; or, being caring-being, rather than distracted-being, or becoming.ENOAH

    Just to remind, I think it is very important to steer clear of God the creator and the rest. I want to see the world as it stands there before my gaze, and have none of the explicit interpretative historical ideas rush in to claim it. This is the phenomenology of Husserl, or thereabouts. Husserl didn't understand ethics either.
  • Astrophel
    479
    Yes, fear – conatus as ineluctable striving to overcome – escape from – fear (e.g. mortality ... manifest in burying our dead, etc). H. sapiens (aka "h. religiosus")¹ first, oldest, perennial escape plan – the quest for magical/symbolic "immortality" – is what we now call "religion" as such.180 Proof

    Of course you are right! No one would ever argue against it, who understands this issue. But you have not taken the analytical step into the question begged, which is what is all the fuss about? This fuss is a structural feature of our existence, this death by a thousand cuts, say, IS the fuss, and to simply ignore it is entirely disingenuous to philosophy, for it is by parsecs THE most salient feature of our existence at the level of basic questions

    Though I do sympathize, for the reading is daunting.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    This fuss is a structural feature of our existence, this death by a thousand cuts, say, IS the fuss, and to simply ignore it is entirely disingenuous to philosophy ...Astrophel
    And what "structural ... death of a thousand cuts" have I ignored?
  • Constance
    1.2k
    Could caring instead, or also, be the most immanent, most intimate expression of the one who is being religious (or just being)? The place where instead of finding the essence of religion, you find the one being religious. By caring for something, one brings that transcendent thing (the “world”) into one’s immanent care. Still maybe mystical, but a mystery buried inside instead of beyond.Fire Ologist

    In my thoughts, there is no separation of the caring person and the essence of religion. Religion is nothing conceived as some independent objective state of affairs. Just as with value and reason, WE bring religion into existence and it is because of us, these agencies of ethicality, if you will, who care about things and indulge and refrain, loathe and rejoice, love and hate, and on and on, that religion makes any sense at all.

    But religion is always treated as if it were no more that the stories it tells and the bad metaphysics of God the creator, and the rest. I am arguing that religion has a demonstrable metaphysics, which is evidenced in the presence of value itself. I am arguing that the vagaries religious expression obscure the real essence of religion: Real metaphysics, the kind of thing philosophers do not talk about because there is nothing discoverable in the talking, and this is because language always already possesses the world.

    "The world" is mystical (not Heidegger's world; but then, he does take one to the threshold and gives it thought and analysis, and is VERY helpful for quasi-mystics like me), as is ethics and value, and when I say world I don't mean that "place" science does its business. It is the phenomenological presence of the world, a "purity" discovered in the reflexivity of thought IN the encounter with value experiences, which is all experience because value permeates experience.

    The argument here is that caring and its value essence IS religion's essence. One has to look at the Good, a very old philosophical idea; referring to happiness (the summum bonum) and pleasure and all the sundry "attachments" (as the Buddhists put it) and ask, what is the ontology of this Good in this caring? The question goes directly to the CARER. It is all about this agency of aesthetic and ethical possibilities. The "being" of the Good of this bouillabaisse or that love interest. Christians say God is love. The inverse is much better, Love is God. Just drop the agency of God altogether, and stick with the "there" of the world.

    How is value the essence of religion and metaphysics? Simple: value is apodictic or apriori or universal and necessary, AS logic. This is the argument is a very small nutshell.
  • Constance
    1.2k
    And what "structural ... death of a thousand cuts" have I ignored?180 Proof

    Well, fear of the world is obvious and the need to flee is just crystal clear. But what IS it that one has to flee from that is in and of the world? This has to be analyzed objectively as one would analyze anything; what one seeks must be isolated from the incidentals that surround it.

    What you seem to be ignoring is just this analysis.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Well, fear of the world is obvious and the need to flee is just crystal clear. But what IS it that one has to flee from that is in and of the world?Constance
    We flee mortality :fire:, or as Buddhists say: impermanence of ourselves, one another & everything else (NB: I prefer 'radical contingency'). IMO, this fleeing is fundamentally (i.e. atavistically) religious.
  • Constance
    1.2k


    The OP says nothing about mortality. This has no place here. Now the caring about mortality, this is quite different.

    Radical contingency, this is a Sartrean term as I remember. But Roquentin was haunted by the world's "otherness" vis a vis the familiar rational categories. I find this there, at the threshold of the infamous angst of Kierkegaard and later Heidegger. An important move, but not the matter here discussed. Here we look at metaethics and metavalue.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    The OP says nothing about mortality.Constance
    Thus, the failing (obscurity) of the OP.

    Radical contingency, this is a Sartrean term as I remember.
    No doubt he derives it from classical atomism.
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