Panentheism

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Greta
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Greta » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:27 am

Reflex wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:48 am
Greta wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:30 pm
This topic is simple enough.

Either we just have/are a universe. No theism.

Or we have/are a universe with a kind of integrated universal sentience. Pantheism.

Or we have/are a universe that is an expression of a larger sentience. Panentheism.

Or we have a universe that is created by a larger sentience. Theism.

If anyone tells you that they know for sure which is the case, they are presenting speculation as fact.
Right. Each has their own logical consequences and their own absolute against which to measure the validity of ideas. Some prefer the ease of "I don't know" over exploring the logical consequences of each; some prefer to rest their laurels on relativism and the aimlessness it leads to over exploring other possibilities and their uncertainties.

Is there a name for fear of being wrong?
Yes there are words for that, Reflex - words like "cautious", "careful", "rigorous" and "humble" (with antonyms of "reckless", "careless", "imprecise" and "arrogant"). "I don't know" is ultimately the only standpoint from which we can learn. After all, if we decide we already know:

1. We may stop inquiring since we already "know", or

2. We may delve into ever greater detail down a blind alley (note that in this case the "I don't know" is still present, only shifted).

You know how workers often think their job is the hardest, most important and undervalued in an organisation? The same overestimation of self and underestimation of others applies everywhere, and definitely in philosophy forums! We see our own minds in all their lurid depth but can only access the shallows of others' minds. So it goes. It's only logical, though, that others do have these similar rich inner experiences, regardless of the conduit.

The upshot is that delving and inquiring, regardless of the standpoint of where one decides they "don't know" or not, is intrinsically valuable in itself and, arguably, the crux of leading a good life - to keep growing as a person and learning.

Summary: what we believe or don't believe matters less than being open to growth and learning, be it scientific, mystical or whatever.

Reflex
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Reflex » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:44 am

Greta wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:27 am
Summary: what we believe or don't believe matters less than being open to growth and learning, be it scientific, mystical or whatever.
Never said otherwise. Inferences to the contrary are imagined.

Nick_A
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Nick_A » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:46 am

I hope this clarifies both the difference between Pantheism and Panentheism and why I believe Spinoza was a Panentheist.

http://www.gutenberg.us/articles/Panentheism
Panentheism (meaning, from the Ancient Greek πᾶν pân ("all"), ἐν en ("in") and Θεός Theós("God"), "all-in-God") is a belief system which posits that the divine – whether as a single God, number of gods, or other form of "cosmic animating force"[1] – interpenetrates every part of the universe and extends, timelessly [and, presumably, spacelessly], beyond it. Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical,[2] panentheism maintains a distinction between the divine and non-divine and the significance of both.[3]
In pantheism, the universe in the first formulation is practically the whole itself, while in panentheism, the universe and the divine are not ontologically equivalent. God is viewed as the eternal animating force maintaining the universe. Some versions suggest that the universe is nothing more than the manifest part of God. In some forms of panentheism, the cosmos exists within God, who in turn "transcends", "pervades" or is "in" the cosmos. While pantheism asserts that 'All is God', panentheism goes further to claim that God is greater than the universe. In addition, some forms indicate that the universe is contained within God,[2] like in the concept of Tzimtzum. Much Hindu thought is highly characterized by panentheism and pantheism.[4][5] Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical transcendent Divine Panentheism, through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of Kabbalah, with the populist emphasis on the panentheistic Divine immanencein everything and deeds of kindness………………….

……… MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Baruch Spinoza later claimed that "Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived." [9] "Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner." [10] Though Spinoza has been called the "prophet"[11] and "prince"[12] of pantheism, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza states that: "as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken"[13] For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world. According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence.[14] Furthermore, Martial Guéroult suggested the term "Panentheism", rather than "Pantheism" to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Yet, American philosopher and self-described Panentheist Charles Hartshorne referred to Spinoza's philosophy as "Classical Pantheism" and distinguished Spinoza's philosophy with panentheism.[15]
The ONE is a great deal more than the living universe that functions within the ineffable ONE as the body of God. If not then the universe is a perpetual motion machine appearing from nothing existing as a virtual infinity of individual unique attributes often in opposition with no meaning or purpose which is impossible

Nick_A
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Nick_A » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:55 am

Reflex wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:44 am
Greta wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:27 am
Summary: what we believe or don't believe matters less than being open to growth and learning, be it scientific, mystical or whatever.
Never said otherwise. Inferences to the contrary are imagined.
Greta doesn't believe in a hypothesis. Just learn things as you go along and let the chips fall where they may. Panentheism is a hypothesis beginning with the Absolute outside of the limitations of time and space but also within creation providing the emanations necessary to produce creation. Can the workings of creation be verified from this premise reveling the basis for objective human meaning and purpose? I believe it can and eventually will if humanity survives technology.

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Greta
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Greta » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:15 am

Reflex wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:44 am
Greta wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:27 am
Summary: what we believe or don't believe matters less than being open to growth and learning, be it scientific, mystical or whatever.
Never said otherwise. Inferences to the contrary are imagined.
Correct, you did not say otherwise. But, since no one else had said it on the thread, I filled the gap. I am not unaccustomed to cleaning up after males who are even sloppier than I am :P

Panentheism is speculative. Maybe it's true, maybe it's one of the many other options that people are certain is true.

I've personally felt rather more sympathetic towards dualism after the recent experiment suggesting that quantum spin is unaffected by gravity. The upshot being that a TOE may actually be impossible, thus reality would actually be dual, with the domains not always following the same rules. That's how it's looking ATM.

But why stop there? What of the Planck scale? Again that's speculative, but if reality can be granulated into Planck scale entities, then they may well operate by different rules again. That would make reality trial, a notion that perhaps accords with the numerous claims that reality can be broken up into three domains (with various classifications).

Again, why stop there? What if, at the most fundamental level, reality it is not granular but one blobby thing? God? The Void? A four part reality?

But why stop there?! There could be a number of other dimensions containing, contained, adjacent and/or parallel to our familiar ones.

What of a universe with infinite levels, but a monist only sees it as one and a dualist two?

It's all speculation and I find it most enjoyable. But I'm only open to it; I don't believe. I will not make claims of certainty because, seriously, how the frick would any of us know? Seriously. We may have inklings or notions but certainty is a decision, not a response. As Nick noted, it's passive rather than active. Rather than being demanding of reality to be this or that, one can simply opt for submission to reality, receptiveness to it. Rather than telling the universe what it should be, we can simply keep asking it questions.

My favourite mystical concept is de Chardin's Omega Point. I see extraordinary potentials for life - somewhere, even if Earthlings don't work out - over the many billions of years ahead for our young universe. I don't believe in his actual point, although I think the probabilities are fantastic, almost certain, that somewhere at some time some intelligent species will break through whatever barriers are holding them back and become something that we would perceive as godlike - at least to us. I wonder if they would feel godlike?

Reflex
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Reflex » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:31 am

Even kids can see the problem with relativism:

Why Relativism Will Lead to a Disintegrated Society

Greta,

I'm a fan of The Book of Not Knowing by Peter Ralston, but I also recognize the need for structure. I said that I can provide a long list of phenomena such as non-locality that can be combined with personal experience in such a way that panentheism is certain. That doesn't mean that my exploration of the deeper things has come to an end. On the contrary, the possibilities it opens up are endless. It does mean that the chances of finding a meaningful way of thinking that is more comprehensive is extremely remote.

"Personal experience" is a key component of the above paragraph. That conditions everything. I appreciate what you said about quantum spin and the omega point because they are food for thought, opening even more doors to unexplored possibilities. I'm also deeply impressed by the ideas presented in Ervin Laszlo’s Science and the Akashic Field.

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Re: Panentheism

Post by fooloso4 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:14 am

Nick:
For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world. According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence.[14] Furthermore, Martial Guéroult suggested the term "Panentheism", rather than "Pantheism" to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Yet, American philosopher and self-described Panentheist Charles Hartshorne referred to Spinoza's philosophy as "Classical Pantheism" and distinguished Spinoza's philosophy with panentheism.[15]
Finally something of substance (no pun intended). I think Jaspers’ argument is weak. Here’s why. The wiki article fleshes the argument out a bit:
German philosopher Karl Jaspers believed that Spinoza, in his philosophical system, did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence.[14] Even God under the attributes of thought and extension cannot be identified strictly with our world. That world is of course "divisible"; it has parts. But Spinoza insists that "no attribute of a substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the substance can be divided" (Which means that one cannot conceive an attribute in a way that leads to division of substance), and that "a substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible" (Ethics, Part I, Propositions 12 and 13). Following this logic, our world should be considered as a mode under two attributes of thought and extension.
His argument is that nature is divisible. It is, however, not Nature itself but modes of Nature that are divisible. He mistakes “our world”, that is, the world as we know it via two of its infinite attributes for Nature itself. He treats Nature as if it were a thing in Nature, that is a mode of Itself.

Regarding the letter to Henry Oldenburg, Spinoza states that:
as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken
The mistake that he is pointing to is to take nature as a kind of mass or corporeal matter. Nature, according to Spinoza, is not a mass or corporeal matter. Nature is not a body. It is not something that can be divided.
Jaspers makes precisely this mistake.
The ONE is a great deal more than the living universe that functions within the ineffable ONE as the body of God.
You make the same mistake as well, taking nature as a kind of mass or corporeal matter or body.

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Greta
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Greta » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:03 am

Reflex wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:31 am
Even kids can see the problem with relativism:

Why Relativism Will Lead to a Disintegrated Society
I don't believe that an integrated society even exists and, even if it did, that balance would soon be tipped because you cannot contain a society in time. The process always is a matter of the previous generations being superseded, and the previous generations have never been impressed with their repudiation of "the old ways".

Further, what I see is not integrated societies but control increasingly being imposed from above. The more people there are, and the more east Asians in the population (who are more conditioned to control), the more controls will be imposed on societies. There will be the controllers and the controlled, once it was churches, now it's multinational companies.

All of these processes are far larger than any of us. It's not national or even regional but global, with all the diversity of circumstances and opinions that entails.
Reflex wrote: I'm a fan of The Book of Not Knowing by Peter Ralston, but I also recognize the need for structure. I said that I can provide a long list of phenomena such as non-locality that can be combined with personal experience in such a way that panentheism is certain. That doesn't mean that my exploration of the deeper things has come to an end. On the contrary, the possibilities it opens up are endless. It does mean that the chances of finding a meaningful way of thinking that is more comprehensive is extremely remote.

"Personal experience" is a key component of the above paragraph. That conditions everything. I appreciate what you said about quantum spin and the omega point because they are food for thought, opening even more doors to unexplored possibilities. I'm also deeply impressed by the ideas presented in Ervin Laszlo’s Science and the Akashic Field.
Ta for the recommendations, they seem interesting.

Still, I am loathe to simply embrace quantum consciousness, probably because it is so tempting, especially given the experiment results. It does appear that it is indeed another domain and, given the quantum processes of the brain, there may well be something more going on in reality than cautious thinkers might assume.

I know what you are talking about with peak experiences. While my largest peak experience about a decade ago was probably the best time of my life, I would rather not aim to go back there again. If I do, huzzah! If not, no drama.

I came away from that PE feeling that trying to "repeat the good times" would be a mistake since, if there is an awesome afterlife ahead, I can always enjoy it then (fingers crossed - haha). After all, NDE survivors, often unbelievers, seem to not be discriminated against in the least for not subscribing to cultural mythology. If the claims are true, the issue is not the beliefs one holds but plain old goodwill.

In fact, one could readily adapt Pascal's wager from a matter of belief to one of behaviour.

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Greta
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Greta » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:04 am

fooloso4 wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:14 am
You make the same mistake as well, taking nature as a kind of mass or corporeal matter or body.
Well, it might be - or it might not. The issues for me are not related to his concepts but his excess certainty, hostile demeanour and self-entitlement.

Reflex
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Reflex » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:10 am

Greta wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:03 am

I don't believe that an integrated society even exists and, even if it did, that balance would soon be tipped because you cannot contain a society in time. The process always is a matter of the previous generations being superseded, and the previous generations have never been impressed with their repudiation of "the old ways".

Further, what I see is not integrated societies but control increasingly being imposed from above. The more people there are, and the more east Asians in the population (who are more conditioned to control), the more controls will be imposed on societies. There will be the controllers and the controlled, once it was churches, now it's multinational companies.

All of these processes are far larger than any of us. It's not national or even regional but global, with all the diversity of circumstances and opinions that entails.
I love oxymorons. "Multicultural society" is one of them.
Still, I am loathe to simply embrace quantum consciousness, probably because it is so tempting, especially given the experiment results. It does appear that it is indeed another domain and, given the quantum processes of the brain, there may well be something more going on in reality than cautious thinkers might assume.

I know what you are talking about with peak experiences. While my largest peak experience about a decade ago was probably the best time of my life, I would rather not aim to go back there again. If I do, huzzah! If not, no drama.

I came away from that PE feeling that trying to "repeat the good times" would be a mistake since, if there is an awesome afterlife ahead, I can always enjoy it then (fingers crossed - haha). After all, NDE survivors, often unbelievers, seem to not be discriminated against in the least for not subscribing to cultural mythology. If the claims are true, the issue is not the beliefs one holds but plain old goodwill.

In fact, one could readily adapt Pascal's wager from a matter of belief to one of behaviour.
I've had epiphanies, but nothing like what's what's usually associated with a PE. For instance, when it hit upon me what time really is, I was stunned by the sudden insight. It was a remarkable experience.

Given what "neurotheology" has revealed, there's definitely more going on than what "careful thinkers" assume. But if by "quantum consciousness" you mean panpsychism, I, too, am loathe to embrace it, but probably for different reasons. It may be seriously considered by some respected scientists, but it's really just sexed-up materialism or pantheism -- both of which I reject for several reasons.

My worldview is an amalgam of experience, personal insights, science, and insights from all kinds of sources. Does it make sense? Probably not to anyone else. Is it progressive? Absolutely. Is it aimless? No. It's a pathless land we walk, but it's not omnidirectional.

BTW, Pascal never meant his wager to be an argument for belief in God's existence. He wasn't that shallow.

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Greta
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Greta » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:41 am

Reflex wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:10 am
Given what "neurotheology" has revealed, there's definitely more going on than what "careful thinkers" assume.
Yes, and that's exactly the point. The scientific consensus is necessarily ground zero - the very most basic interpretation of the evidence as possible. The main aim is reliability and that is what makes the agreed body of knowledge so valuable. I'd agree that too many people take that baseline as actual reality rather than the most conservative possible view. Then again, too many disregard that very solid scientific body of knowledge. Basically, we humans screw up a lot :)
Reflex wrote:But if by "quantum consciousness" you mean panpsychism, I, too, am loathe to embrace it, but probably for different reasons. It may be seriously considered by some respected scientists, but it's really just sexed-up materialism or pantheism -- both of which I reject for several reasons.

My worldview is an amalgam of experience, personal insights, science, and insights from all kinds of sources. Does it make sense? Probably not to anyone else. Is it progressive? Absolutely. Is it aimless? No. It's a pathless land we walk, but it's not omnidirectional.
Just so I can get a handle on your ideas, what do you think of John Hagelin's universal field hypothesis?

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Re: Panentheism

Post by Harbal » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:44 am

Reflex wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:10 am
I've had epiphanies,
Maybe that will teach you to practice safe sex in future, you could get something a lot worse next time if you're not more careful.

Belinda
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Re: Panentheism

Post by Belinda » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:12 am

Fooloso4 wrote in a reply to Nick ,about Spinoza and panentheism:
(F4)The mistake that he is pointing to is to take nature as a kind of mass or corporeal matter. Nature, according to Spinoza, is not a mass or corporeal matter. Nature is not a body. It is not something that can be divided.
Jaspers makes precisely this mistake.

(Nick)The ONE is a great deal more than the living universe that functions within the ineffable ONE as the body of God.
(F4)You make the same mistake as well, taking nature as a kind of mass or corporeal matter or body.

Spinoza writes that Deus sive Natura is causa suis. There can be only one that is cause of itself.

The self-caused is exclusively either

1. a God that is the world which we inhabit of ideas and extended things plus infinitely more attributes that we don't experience,

or

2. the self-caused which transcends the world which we inhabit of ideas and extended things plus infinitely more attributes besides ideas and extended things.
-------------------------------------------------------------

2. cannot be the case because by Occam's razor hypothetical transcendence which cannot be known to us by definition of 'transcendence' is redundant. Spinoza says that our thoughts are adequate in proportion as they are reasoned thoughts: Spinoza's pantheist Deus is all reasoned.

Nick's claim is that he knows that which transcends ideas and extended things. Mysticism is unanswerable except by the practical and sceptical objection that mystical insight gives the bearer such a huge advantage over the rest of us that it's reasonable to suspect the bearer of either fraud or delusion. I think that Nick is not a fraud but that he is deluded, perhaps is a wishful thinker. Nick might benefit from applying Descartes's demon to himself.

Nick wrote:
The ONE is a great deal more than the living universe that functions within the ineffable ONE as the body of God. If not then the universe is a perpetual motion machine appearing from nothing existing as a virtual infinity of individual unique attributes often in opposition with no meaning or purpose which is impossible
But a machine does not have ideas, mind. Mind, or ideas, is one of the attributes of Deus sive Natura. So what you call "the universe"(I assume that you use "the One" and "the universe" interchangeably) includes ideas, and is also the ultimate cause of ideas. So the One is not a machine whether or not the One transcends nature or is nature.

Nick_A wrote , in another thread:
If a philosophy site goes secular and abandons the purpose of philosophy, then the only thing worth discussing are the aesthetics of the female behind and possibly the NY Mets.
The purpose of philosophy is well met by Descartes. I do urge you to subject yourself to the sceptical demon.
Apropos of scepticism, Spinoza wrote to the effect that passions are reactive. Descartes's demon would quiz you about whether you were led by passions instead of reason.

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Re: Panentheism

Post by Belinda » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:05 pm

Reflex countered:
Illiterate? Write for free help.
Will it be all right if I keep trying to improve?

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Re: Panentheism

Post by seeds » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:55 pm

Reflex wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:29 am
Honest inquiry is not limited to the realm of the already-known. It is the willingness to explore unknown possibilities and the courage to invade new levels of experience and to attempt the exploration of unknown realms of intellectual living. You may call it mere speculation, but how do you know that's all it is? We speculate not for answers, but to experience whatever is true. When reality is perceived as solidly “known” or "unknowable," it engenders no investigation -- and why would it?
Well said, Reflex.
_______

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