Are you There God?…2

Dear reader…this is part two of my letter to my god-son (see below for part one)

So Skippy, Socrates was this cool dude who lived roughly two thousand-four hundred years ago and grew up in a culture that didn’t believe in one perfect god but instead in many imperfect gods.

Socrates was a free and brilliant thinker, particularly committed to ethics, who believed in conversation. But then, as now, speaking against common beliefs was a dangerous occupation. When forced he chose to die rather than to live at odds with his deep convictions.

I’m not going to go on about him here though because I’ve written elsewhere about him and you can Google him or borrow my books if you want.

The point now is the Socrates Method. He looked at what folk said, usually presented to him as statements of fact, and looked at their implications. If the statement were true it could not lead to false consequences.

Scientific enquiry still has this method at its basis, though lately it has a habit of making unsubstantiated conclusions that would make Socrates roll in his grave. Anyway…Socrates applied his method particularly to ethics.

I personally have found that his method holds true for most thoughts across all fields except when the rare experience occurs that transcends thought.

Now I said earlier that popular scientific and philosophical atheists’ state there is no god by pointing out the clear evidence in science apposing theological statements. I refer here to theological statements referring to the Christian doctrine as based on the King James Version of the Holy Bible as put together by the early Catholic Church because this is the dogma they specifically attack across Australia, America, England and so on.

Now I’ll discuss that theology later but my point is lets apply Socrates Method to their ‘and therefore there is no God’ statement.

The most obvious implication is that Christian theology is the only musings of god in the human recorded data base. This clearly is not the fact.

Secondly it implies they actually believe the Roman Catholic Church is an authority on god. They ain’t I assure you (and I’ll prove it later)!

There are several more arguments but the point is to show you how the Socrates Method applies so you know how I approach knowledge (and to recommend I guess that you read some more and give it a go).

For me, it wasn’t till I discovered Socrates as I was reading philosophy in my early forties that I finally connected with a reasoning process I could relate to because it was a process that my head seemed to naturally follow anyway.

Up until then, as I moved throughout different schools, religious/spiritual groups and so on, I found myself being labelled rebellious, naive, cynical, airy fairy and resistant depending upon the particular person/groups ideas.

Yet I knew none of these labels were true. Socrates gave me a way to articulate my arguments.

The other side of the equation Skippy is your ‘gut’. For me if something hasn’t made sense to both my intellect and my gut/heart/whatever it is, then time has shown it to be false.

This served me particularly well when I was researching and experimenting in new-age and psychic lands!

Mate your gut is that feeling you get of ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ that many men and often woman ignore because the gut reacts before the left brain has gathered the data to support it.

I have found that when I stumble upon a ‘truth’, (for lack of a better description), then both my reason and my gut are in accord and it’s awesome. Otherwise your gut and your mind should be used in tandem to assess all you come across.

My goodness I go off the track don’t I. But not really. I have learnt so much Skippy as I have made this journey about god. About myself, about the universe I live in. I didn’t know when I entered psychiatry that these two interests of mine were so interrelated that now they are one and the same.

Oh, that reminds me, in case mum hasn’t told you. Do not scorn or judge others who hold different beliefs to your own.

The fact of the matter is every single human being has a right to hold their own thoughts. And you cannot judge another’s thoughts because you have not been in their lives and therefore you do not have enough information to judge.

More, if you chose, as I hope you will, to be a person who continues to learn and grow, then you will find that some of the beliefs you hold and swear by now, will not exist later. We change honey and evolve and as a result sometimes what was true then is not true now. Socrates method applies here beautifully.

So now Skippy I’ve showed you how I approach understanding I think the best way I can convince you that the journey of god is worth going on, rather than just straight out tell you what I’ve figured out, is to simply show you my journey.

You can reach your own conclusions. Everything I write here, as with all else I say in any format is true. You know me!

But that’s for next time little buddy. Until then I want to leave you with a final thought.

If you are looking for a boxed definition of what god is I will not be able to provide it for you. The best way I can explain this is to compare it with our current inability to have a definition of mind.

If you research the term mind you will find that the honest ‘expert’ will admit we have not yet understood what the mind is hence no definition.

The less honest experts offer definitions within boxes of their own particular bent(usually reductionism) and you are guaranteed to find the opposite by just as valid an expert somewhere else.

The fact is no one has been able to encapsulate the mind let alone its potential. What follows is my recent attempt to put to paper what I ‘knew’ of the mind.

That which we call ‘I’ and ‘me’; that somehow incorporates all we are, were and can be and includes; our organic self from toes to neural system, an as yet inexplicable energy system (that I am absolutely convinced includes a post organic element of note), computational ability, creative ability…ummm

…whose power and interrelationship to all other life and indeed to itself no philosopher, biologist, psychiatrist, psychologist theologizes, scientist of any discipline has been able to grasp, not even half thereof let alone box it within a definition.

Basically we don’t even have the questions to make the tools to research some of the minds capacities. As such the mind remains a concept. We know it exists but we are yet unsure of its optimal abilities.

The exact same thing can be said for God. There are many things we can rule out that exist in historical interpretations, and some things we prove, but god remains a concept like the mind because we just aren’t there yet.

But there are some definite things I’ve learnt through my journey that I will share with you.

…till next time…my heart to your heart.

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9 thoughts on “Are you There God?…2

  1. Just a couple of tips, I believe it is more correctly called, “The Socratic Method”, and you might want to emphasise that it is about asking good questions rather than making claims (as I think that is its central strength in drawing out the conclusions of another person’s argument).

  2. Hehe okay, well I’ll mention another thing I was thinking. I’ve read a few of your posts related to this topic and I feel that I want to say two things.

    Please understand that I in no way want to come across as a “jerk”. I think your writing is valuable, but I feel that you make two possible errors that you might want to think about and respond to.

    The first is that you value “the gut” or what I would call intuitions. Intuitions are generally good and we all need them. But I am currently doing a Masters of Science in Philosophy studying the use of intuitions in epistemology and ethics so i am perhaps overly-sensitive to the mention of intuitions in people’s writing. There is a great body of empirical evidence to suggest that humans have common, regular, and reliable errors, weaknesses and biases in their reasoning and this comes out in our intuitions. Intuitions are not always a very good primary source of information. I would take care that we don’t rely on our intuitions too heavily. Where they don’t match evidence, then I should imagine our best response is to make our intuitions take a back seat. That can be very hard and, naturally, “feels wrong” (i.e. counter-intuitive haha), but it is important. Sometimes, are intuitions are not our friend.

    Secondly, and this isn’t necessarily a response to this post, I feel that you sometimes use the mystery of the human mind in a way that could be perceived as a logical fallacy. Allow me to explain.

    You might say something like, “Experts/scientists don’t understand the human mind, which we all know is valuable. We also don’t understand Mystery X. Therefore Mystery X is valuable/worth examining/something that only we can understand intuitively.” If you place this in an argument, it gets close to being the logical fallacy, “the argument from ignorance” and “argument from false analogy”.

    The thing is, the human mind may not be analogous at all to Mystery X (e.g. God). Because we can’t easily define both does not imply that both are the same type of problem, and it also doesn’t imply that our (possibly flawed) intuitions are good methodological tools for finding out about Mystery X.
    In principle, it may at least be possible that one day “scientists” (whoever they are 🙂 ) may find out how our mind/brain works and yet theologians may be no closer to being able to explain or define God (because the existence of God is, generally speaking, a Transcendent claim and therefore stretches beyond our universe and immanent, observable reality).

    I don’t mean to cause offense or to be too long winded. Good job, keep it up 🙂

    • Thanks Iain. I need to ponder your thoughts some more before I can comment but I must say to you and all…

      I truly welcome feedback. I simply cannot take offence (unless you call me names :)) for certainty is impossible and if there is one thing I definitely believe its that our individual uniqueness is to be celebrated and listened to.

      By offering your thoughts my own grow just in contemplation, whether I may or may not agree and I LOVE IT!

      cheers

    • Iain, again love the feedback!
      Re: intuitions. Yes there is the said evidence but I think this evidence relates to misidentification i.e. what we label as an intuition may well be in fact sensitivities caused by previous psychological conditioning or simply the mismatching of information as we humans tend to do. And it is highly likely that even the majority of ‘intuitions are mislabeled.

      But I also think there is plenty of evidence to support genuine gut reactions where a left brain leap (perhaps) akin to some creative leaps we’ve seen in art and science do occur. Some argue neuro-chemicals here but I think that’s minimalist at best.

      Sorting out the differences perhaps is one of the challenges and I will later be talking to my godson of the importance of self-awareness in any assessment process.
      Your thoughts?

    • I’m going to play my own card here Iain and say “I’m not sure that intuition is as unreliable as you say, but I don’t have any good arguments right now to back me up.”

      Contra, I also think intuition/mysticism is less valuable than many spiritual paths make it. Experience without truth doesn’t satisfy me either.

      I am hoping to find some kind of middle path.

  3. I think emotion plus reason plus intuition (which I think very different from mysticism Jon?) plus transcendental experiences and so on are all part of the human experience and therefore all require equal consideration.

    Frankly I think the disregard given to emotions, subjective experiences, intuition etc is…ummm…as unreasonable as me arguing that only intuition, emotions etc count.

    This is not so much in response to Iain but to several responses that make me sometimes want to ask when the heck did emotion/intuition become so unpopular?”

    Was it Christianity saying all emotions were wild things…devil temptations, needing constraint and control?

    Was it when Freud; confronted by young men joyfully marching off to war and the clients with deeply repressed hence twisted sexuality; defined all emotions within the context of the ‘uncontrollable Id’ requiring a whole other consciousness in the super-ego.

    We socially demean folk for being too emotional and … oh dear, I’m ranting and I’ve
    done this rant before! See https://leesis.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/%e2%80%9close-the-rage-girlfriend%e2%80%a6%e2%80%9d/

    But my point here is when this same bias turns up in discussions in reference to spiritual, philosophical etc issues, it is the same as the psychiatrist respecting ‘defined symptoms’ and ignoring the emotional responses to same. And I’m not sure that line means anything except to people who worked beside shrinks for a long time :).

    To perceive the human being, thus the human experience validly ALL experience possible must be given equal weight. To me this is reason.

    Thoughts?

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