Saturday 6 August 2022

How atheists can indignantly (and honestly) claim they they Do believe in the reality of purpose and meaning; truth-beauty and virtue!

Note added to my earlier post

It strikes me that the 'ultimate' pure consciousness of life in the above scheme is able to account for the fact that atheists (of which I was one for most of my life) are able honestly and indignantly to claim that they believe in truth and objective morality and beauty:

Metaphysics is the most fundamental, basic, deepest of all discourses - but also that there may, in principle, be a deeper level below metaphysics, i.e. the assumptions of pure consciousness and the pure thought; that of which 'consciousness is conscious'! Such might be expressed by analogy in a (metaphysical!) model; that we are living beings that have a kind of ultimate 'life' (with motivations) which Just Is; and this being also necessarily includes a (very variable) degree of consciousness of itself

What is happening is that the atheist is introspectively aware of his own belief in a purposeful and meaningful universe, and the reality of truth/ beauty/ virtue, at the most fundamental level of pure consciousness; but is not aware that such deeper-than-metaphysical assumptions are in stark contradiction to his explicit, expressed-in-language metaphysical discourse.  

To be aware of pure consciousness, and then to be aware of one's own metaphysical model of reality, are two different experiences; and the analytic comparison of the coherence of these two experiences is a third thing. 

Not many people have (apparently) done this third thing, and actually made this analytic comparison between metaphysical discourse and wordless intuition - and so they are not aware that their inmost intuition are actually in stark and ineradicable conflict with their expressed metaphysics. 

Once the comparison has been made; then something will 'have to give'. 

Either the metaphysics must be brought into harmony with intuition; or else some additional metaphysical assumption (or obfuscation) will need to be inserted between metaphysics and intuition - to bridge the gap. 

(Such obfuscations include 'it's a mystery', 'the human mind cannot comprehend this' and the introduction of reason-stunning abstractions and paradoxes such as infinitudes and assumptions of timelessness.) 


Nicholas Fulford said...

You seem to be ignoring the a-theist who simply refuses to reduce his or her experience of ineffability to the symbol "God".

There are atheists who are aware of the problem of mistaking the symbol for the thing symbolized, and the propensity of people to project into empty signifiers - of which "God" is a prime example - their desires, hopes, fears and thoughts. The creation of an idol in the form of the symbol "God" has numerous problems. It vests the symbol with power, making it a type of talisman to assuage the ego of the disturbing whispers that it would prefer not to hear and consider, making it a stop sign in the form of a mirror that stops further inquiry. (Most people prefer comfort to challenge, even as challenge is the way of growth, and comfort is a type of decay or decadence.)

And it is possible to simply walk in nature and to take in the fullness of its beauty and mystery without the intrusions of the chatterbox mind. All I have to do is listen and look, and to feel the movement of the wind, my gait, my lungs, birdsong, cloud movement, et cetera. If I can simply take it in and not become fixated or project then it is essentially timeless in as much as such an experience is not bound to a particular period in human history.

I am this type of a-theist, and there are many more of us than you might think. We just aren't as noticeable as the positive atheists because we aren't out there being evangelical about our lack of theism.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NF - "You seem to be ignoring the a-theist who simply refuses to reduce his or her experience of ineffability to the symbol "God"."

And you seem to be ignoring the entire argument of this post - you are just talking past the point I make.

More specifically, you are arguing from different metaphysical assumptions then me. But (if you take the trouble to examine your own assumptions, and try to derive your assertions from them) you will discover that your assumptions don't explain how you could know anything or have any values that are other than arbitrary and idiosyncratic.

Also, I don't understand either why someone with your asserted views would want to read and comment on a blog!