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Atheist question (on Quora)

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I think that the answer to why some atheists behave self-righteously and dogmatically lies in the nature of how human consciousness makes sense of itself and the world.

If we understand that theism is a projection of the qualities of the interior of the self (the immaterial sense of who and why, indefinable yet indivisible presence, the subjective will, vitality, feeling, narrative revelation through time, etc) and that atheism is a diametrically opposed epistemology based on qualities perceived exterior to the self (the sense of what and how, material mechanism, logically and quantitatively defined processes, unfeeling objects and data stored in spatial locations, etc), then we can see that it would make sense that those who are interested in either approach would be equally likely to personally identify with it as well as equally likely to identify with reason in general.

The problem is, in my opinion, that reason owes it’s utility to discrimination, but the universe cannot be understood through discrimination. Reason insists that if the universe is logical, then it cannot be primitively personal, and if it is personal, then it cannot be logical without invoking the logic of a super-signifying being or narrative.

To reconcile this, all that needs to be done is understand the symmetry of how sense is made. Interior vs exterior, figurative vs literal, subject vs object, and how that symmetry itself supervenes on perspective. If we see ourselves from an objective perspective, is it like looking through a telescope or microscope, and our perceptions are drawn into themes of scale and taxonomy. As we bring this view of the universe into sharp focus, we naturally marginalize the contrary view and see the self in terms of it’s role as an empty voyeur. The self is elided as a non-essential and irrelevant consequence of physics. We lose ourselves in the spectacle of the universe without us.

While the content of this identification with the infinite and eternal is precisely contrary to the content of theological projection, the form is identical. The desire to lose the self in a superior universe or lose the universe in a superior self is the same desire to annihilate the ordinary into the context of the profound. The irony of course, is that this too is an all too human motivation. Behind its high flying pretensions to see through the mundane world to the Truth, the self is still there playing the game of ‘I know more than you do’ and ‘My epistemology can beat up your epistemology’. This is how the self works. This is what consciousness (and I think our entire cosmos) actually is: a single continuum of dialectic sense perspectives; literally figurative interiors vs. figuratively literal exteriors.

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