What about transcendence?
I don’t like the word. I’m suspicious of it.
James Croft and Tom Flynn just had an interesting discussion of that on Facebook, with contributions from me and Alex Gabriel and Valerie Tarico among others.
What do we mean by it? It seems to need some pinning down; once there is pinning down there is more agreement. Are we talking about Something Beyond, or are we talking about this world experiences that feel beyondish but in fact are still this world experiences? The second, as it turns out, but with different views of words like “transcendent.” James likes them, you won’t be surprised to know; Tom and I not so much.
Tom said one thing that echoed something I was thinking yesterday, in the wake of disagreeing with Mehdi Hasan on the “meaningful” answer to questions about How It All Began.
We could have evolved to expect — even demand — that reality display a pattern analogous to that of human intention, when it just doesn’t.
I was thinking much the same thing yesterday. To me, it seems odd to find it satisfying to say “God” is the answer to questions about How It All Began, because of the obvious and much-cited problem that it just raises the same question. I was thinking about that, and why Hasan and many others don’t see it that way, and so I was thinking about the possibility – likelihood really – that it’s just part of the human cognitive equipment to see questions like that in familiar terms. How did it begin? Somebody made it begin. It’s a natural thing for us to think, in other words, so it’s hard or at least peculiar to overcome it or veto it.
(That thought doesn’t really solve the problem with people like Hasan, though, because he’s an intellectual. Overcoming our first thoughts or intuitions is something intellectuals do.)
Alex’s reply is amusing, as is so often the case.
I think very often, religion drills a God-shaped hole where one wasn’t before, so that it might claim to fill it.
I like the word “drills” there.