Philosophical thoughts

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the effect of the presence or absence of God in the daily lives of people and the very different aspects of how this give meaning to their daily practices (and thus provides ground for action). While I still don’t have a clear theory of that especially for my interest in understanding social mobilization, I inadvertently had some completely different types of thoughts (of a philosophical nature). It is just that because the idea of God is a language trick in many ways (something to develop on its own account), I cannot help but thinking of some of its drawbacks.

So Yesterday, I had this ‘illumination’: God is the product of reason. Ironically, all religions and beliefs represent divinity as what is beyond reason: At some point reason stops, thought-processes cannot comprehend this phenomenon and so you must believe in God. I would say that it’s actually the basis of our thought process (and so logic, reasoning, or intellectual activity in general) that creates or make the idea of God possible in the first place. Now if you then believe or not is another question. In the first place, if you did not have this capacity to think then you would not have even thought that God is an issue.

So my argument: Thinking is God, the latter being the perfect edge on which the faculties of reasoning must end. God is a pure reflection of our reasoning faculties. It is the ‘natural’ conclusion of the perfection in which we immerse our intellectual faculties.

As long as you think, you are trapped in this equation. It is only when you stop this intellectual dialectical process that God ceases to exist. That God ceases to be an issue. Let’s here hypothesize that internal arts like Yoga (This is probably why Yoga classical literature talks about a god, but one who did not create the universe, and who is only invoked to help with concentration techniques) may help in arriving at this state where the body is the siege of interest.The body is as such, mind being completely instrumental to what the body (the main field of Being) is capable of doing. The question is not anymore whether “God” exists or not (and what are the different arguments based on reason, or supposedly relinquishing reason to arrive at the certainty that he/she “is”). There are no more questions, just raw life forms in their contemplative state (imagine a tree for a nice metaphor). The idea of God (i.e. reasoning) ceases to exist and becomes immersed into the all powerful living body.

9 Replies to “Philosophical thoughts”

  1. I don’t think I agree completely, but i also don’t know whether i’ve completely siezed your point. Some people i interviewed described their faith in god as an intuition, as a sentiment. Others as an experience. Some finally explained that it was impossible to grasp God through reason (which then again could be a confirmation of your argument: the paradoxical effect of ‘thinking’ of god is that you cannot ‘think’ of him).

    I believe drawing an exclusive relationship between the idea of God and reason is a reflection of the Cartesian anthropology in which we are largely invested.

    There are other possibilities of ‘knowing’ god, knowledges which not only pass through reason but where the experimental also plays a crucial role – of not even more crucial for some.

    On the idea of God and people’s actions, check one of the rare articles i’ve ever encountered on this issue, it’s by Amy Hollywood (2004, Journal of Religion, 84) where she develops the concept of Divine Agency.

  2. it all comes down to where you arbitrairly place the terra firma.

    oversimplified, iknow, but it is the foundation of everything else

  3. Belief in God; belief in reason: replacing one with the other or placing them on a continuum one remains within the same line of thought. The replacement of God by reason and scientific truth is precisely what western modernity is founded upon.

    Deleuze and Guattari seem to make this point in What is Philosophy? with regard to ‘the idiot’. The Cartesian idiot – the person who says ‘I think’ – appears in reaction against the scholastic organisation of Christianity and the authoritarian organisation of the church. This idiot seeks to find indubitable truths at which he could arrive by himself; in the meantime he doubts everything, even that 3+2=5. Yet, the Cartesian idiot remains locked in a search for truth and wants to be accountable only to reason. Dostoyevski’s idiot, on the other hand, has no wish to find indubitable truths: he wants to turn the absurd into the highest power of thought – i.e. to create; he does not accept the truths of History of reason. “The old idiot wanted by himself, to account for what was or was not comprehensible, what was or was not rational, what was lost or saved; but the new idiot wants the lost, the incomprehensible, and the absurd to be restored to him.”

  4. Nadia, you may be right I did not make myself clear. Actually it is not that clear to me either! But I am definitely not questioning the thousand ways in which God is “felt”. I am just saying how a priori, God is a concept and a concept is a product of reason, or consciousness. This is why most philosophers say that you arrive to God through the reason (although once you acknowledge the limits of reason). My point is that this requires reasoning in the first place!

    Of course God can be felt then as an illumination, a feeling, an embrace, an intuition, whatever words we have in language in order to comprehend that very very diverse and subtle ‘state’.

    Now i just want to stress the implications of all this: Thinking has as a ‘natural’ extension the positing of the existence of God. We would not even be bothered by the question if it was not for our reasoning faculties.

    That’s all I’m saying. I’m not trying to diminish of the complexity of feeling. Although I would posit that these feelings may be as intense and very similar to feelings you would for any other living or inert entity, if not as party of a mystical state etc.

  5. Ok I just got an idea: “God” can be understood as an economic way to help people focus on this feeling energy. Kind of a focus point. It is actually pretty useful for disciplining and controlling (in the foucaultdian sense), or simply regulating population, societies.

    In this case the different ways in which disciplining discursive practices are internalized under monotheistic and polytheistic religions are i’m sure worth to look at.

  6. And just to echo with what Leonie said, How can we put back a specific reflection of the body (as far as “reflecting” can be used here of course), in order to account for the unthought, the absurd, etc.

  7. Bech first of all stop having “illuminations” they are not good for mental health ;-))))

    Seriously, it is a different thing to talk about the origins of the concept of “god” then to make an analysis of it’s implication on human mind up to the contemporary era. If you want to talk about the origins I think you’d need to make serious research on it before making any assumptions or having any illuminations.
    On the other hand it is clear that there is a huge (real huge) activity of reason around this concept, starting back with the Greeks, going through negative and positive theology to reach Christian middle-age theological debates and various schools up to Descartes/Spinoza and beyond.
    It is also clear that you, a rational mind of the 21st century would come to think of god through a process of reason. At one point you even equate thought to reason while they are very different concepts.
    God = reason is the spearhead of Cartesian thinking (more specifically the cartesian school of thinking) as Nadia points out so there’s nothing new in the idea proper although you give it a personal twist.

    I’d think that finding what god is, or how thinking god is made possible through reason is some sort of theleological (from thelos) tendency that is totally misleading, indeed there as many ways through which “god” can come to mind, and they all give this word it’s meaning: through reason, through feeling, through illumination, through pure legacy of mind, through residual thought, through ignorance, fantasy, delusion or even without any thought at all… and so many other ways that gives this world it’s meaning in our modern societies.

    Hope to have made a contribution to your ongoing thoughts Bech.

  8. Tchifna!


    ok i do agree with you. But still i do think that the god=reason (or more appropriately god = intellectual activity) is as old as Greek philosophy if not more, that is if I am not mistaken…

    I understand your point about cartesian reason but I still think that going out of this is going out of intellectual activity per se. Anyway, it is still not very clear… To be continued…

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