Black Hole Masquerades As Self And The Human Religious Urge

In The End All Questions About Self Are Religious Questions

Empty Self Continued

“Cat got your tongue,” said MV, “Once again, how do you go from pain and
hopelessness to believing in God?”

“That’s a very good question,” I said, “that question drove Kierkegaard to despair,
but he worked through it, and, in the process, he wrote his
philosophical fragments and postscripts, books that answered that
question. The real answer, though, is found in `despairing’ itself!”

“I don’t understand,” MV responded.

“Faith is earned,” I replied. “Kierkegaard struggled with his
relationship with the `other.’ `Every subject,’ he said, `is haunted
by an other he can never know.’ Finally, Kierkegaard put himself at
the center of this `other,’ and ultimately, this `other’ became his
own `nothingness before God.’ What Kierkegaard discovered was that
everything except faith in God became a `sickness unto death.’ Indeed,
it was this `sickness unto death’ that empowered his own faith in God;
a faith, that when genuine, meant `a total absorption in sickness unto death ‘—
a life with no place to go except to God.”

“You know, that’s the biggest hunk of rubbish I’ve ever heard,’
responded MV. “Life’s a party, and if it isn’t, it should be. Go tell
people that life is `sickness onto death’ and see what happens.”

“When I first read Kierkegaard I might have agreed with you,” I said.
“It took me a long time before I could find a God that I could believe
in. Heidegger had a lot to do with it.”

“Another Nazi,” MV responded, “one can only smile at you’re
inspirational sources.”

“Nietzsche wasn’t a Nazi,” I replied, “and Heidegger, well, that’s a
story for another time. What is important in Heidegger is that the
`personal’ dropped out of his philosophy. Dasein became a `way of

“And God became Dasein?”

“No, not yet; Dasein became something else first.” I said. “Escaping
inauthentic being, for Heidegger, took place along a continuum
characterized by inauthentic concern at one end and authentic concern
at the other. Getting from `here’ to `there’ was the problem, and
time—temporality, became the solution. The conscious accommodation of
the world of our concern meant, for Dasein, the temporalization of
inauthentic modes of being; but when concern is `brought back’ to its
source in Dasein–Dasein’s own most `having been,’ its own most
possibility in time–authenticity gets experienced. At that point,
Dasein emerges from `throwness’ and becomes the experience of
authentic, non-temporal being. That is hardly a sustainable condition,
however, so once again the self’s nothingness has to be confronted,
our own `angst driven self.’ Connecting time up with
authentic-being-in-the-world was, for Heidegger, if not a divine act,
a divinely inspired one, and, as far as I can tell, Heidegger was the
first to do it.”

“Help me. This is getting out of hand, and I’m tired. Where’s God in
all this?” MV said.

“Right in the middle of Sartre’s self,” I replied. “Sartre also saw
time as an intrinsic component of consciousness, but he called it by
another name–freedom.”

“Oh good, that’s got to be the frosting on the cake,” MV responded.
“No wonder God’s been invisible all this time. He’s been living and
hiding in the head of an atheist.”

“You got it,” I replied. “He’s been hiding in a being such that in its
being its being is in question in so far as this being implies a being
other than itself.”

“That’s Sartre’s definition for the `for-itself,’ right?” responded MV.

“You got it right again,” I replied. “The part of the definition which
is of particular interest is the part which says `being implies a
being other than itself,’ for it is here that once again, we encounter
the black hole that masquerades as self—the black hole that demands
everything, but gives nothing back. This hole in being implies, for
Sartre, time and freedom.”

“Don’t tell me—freedom is God,” said MV

“Chalk up another one, you’re on a roll,” I replied. “It’s just that
it’s a little more complicated than that. Freedom, for Sartre, is not
merely a description of external conditions wherein humanity confronts
alternative possibilities. It is the state of being to which
being-for-itself is condemned. In freedom, the human being is both
past and future, but only through negation. With respect to
self-consciousness, freedom incessantly negates, as it continually
forces us to confront our own nothingness, hence our `angst self.’ But
this angst is further qualified by Sartre when he says, `To be man
means to reach toward being God. Or if you prefer, man fundamentally
is the desire to be God.” Of course, Sartre goes on to show that not
only is that desire unachievable, but God too is also an
impossibility. The religious search for God is very real, however. In
fact, for Sartre, the religious urge is basic to being human. The
kicker is that Sartre did not know that the same freedom he used to
justify God’s impossibility is actually the self-conscious aspect of
God in the here and now.”


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to Black Hole Masquerades As Self And The Human Religious Urge

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    “Every theory we hold is based on a ‘Divinity Belief’. This includes both consciously held and unconscious beliefs. Clouser defined the Divine as that reality which is self-existent and everything else that is not divine depends on it. Others have approached the same definition by speaking of ‘the Absolute’, or ‘the Ultimate Reality’, or ‘the Unconditionally Non-dependent’. Thus, such things as worship, or ethics, are not necessary for a belief to be considered religious (not all religions involve worship or ethics, e.g. Theravada Buddhism) and certain beliefs (e.g. atheism, materialism) not normally considered to be religious beliefs can now be counted as religious beliefs (because even atheists believe that something is self-existent, usually matter, physics or the like)….” (Matthewherring’s Weblog) In other words, because self-existent reality is wedded to what we call reality, I am free to know the world in its worldliness, spatiality, quantity, temporality, and instrumentality because (like blood flowing through veins) a higher reality circulates within all that we call reality!

    For more on Professor Roy Clouser, author of The Myth of Religious Neutrality:

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