Thursday, May 19, 2011

Body of knowledge

‘Do gods exist?’ is not, in my opinion, a very useful question to ask. To have a picture already in mind for what you’re looking for is similar to a biologist going off in search of a species that he has already assigned attributes. ‘Is there life on Mars that is based on carbon, oxygen-breathing and intelligent?’ is a closed question. It’s far better for the bear to go over the mountain with an open mind to see what he could see.

Nothing in my construct rests on such an insecure foundation as a pre-carved deity figure. I would suggest starting out from a position of knowledge from solid ground, from the space between your eyes and ears central of the universe. Start with what you know—yourself. Venture forth from there.

I believe that it was Socrates who told his students: “Know thyself!” but I’m not sure if he told them what came next? What do you do once you’ve found that entity? What do you do with that ‘body’ of knowledge? 

From your elevated centre, do you sense other life forms coexisting? I don’t know about you, but I see zillions of them scuttling about everywhere. Isn’t it easier to ‘believe’ in them than in any of the myriad of gods and goddesses dreamed up through the ages? I’d say that there is less of a chance of their being figments of my imagination than angels and demons and the like. So why don’t we start with the natural world?

Apparently there exist various lifeforms that we don’t think of as equal (to each other, and certainly not to us). Their ‘aural envelopes’ appear to vary. Instinctively we assign the different plant and animal species grades of consciousness. So where does that lead us? 

My next trick relies on the idea that is is possible to grade that level of consciousness (though it won’t be necessary to do it). If this is possible, then we would be able to rank different life forms inter and intra species. Again, we won’t do that. 

Please be clear, this doesn’t imply that I consider a particular life form superior or more worthy than any other. ‘We’re all the same, yet we’re all different’ is a difficult notion to grasp only if one is addicted to dualistic thinking. If you do regard it as a two-horned dilemma, then I suggest that you set it aside as a paradox to examine later (as I had to do when I discovered myself at that all-important yet humble hub of the universe).

It follows then that, given that there’s a ranking, someone has to be the top dog, the kingpin, el supremo or yokozuna. In terms of consciousness, that being would stand above the rest. Very well then, let’s nominate—elevate—that dirty rascal to the position of King, Emperor or—why not?—God? May as well make use of that word? If God does happen to exist then that being will automatically slot right in. The point is: we’re assured that our vacancy will get filled by someone or other.

As to whether that entity is up to the task is another matter. Whether it is omniscient, omnipresent—all those other ‘Oms’—we don’t know, since we don’t know exactly who was elected (a puff of white smoke from behind closed doors). No one is in a position to say what its attributes are. And I’m not going to go there either. Until or unless it effects a self-introduction, I’m not going to worry myself about it since, by definition, it’s going to have at least as great a sense of humor and forbearance as me.

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