Longing for the Father

In the face of accident and death people recognize their cosmic helplessness. There is nothing new in this situation. It has an infantile prototype. For once before a person has been in such a state of helplessness: as a little child in one’s relationship to one’s parents. Infantile helplessness arouses the need for protection that the father supplies. The discovery of the adult that this helplessness will continue through the whole of one’s life makes it necessary to cling to the existence of a father—but this time a more powerful one, the father in heaven. It is a tremendous relief for the individual psyche if it is released from the conflicts of childhood arising out of the father complex. One fears the father, though at the same time one seeks his protection against dangers. We give god the characteristics of the father.

Sigmund Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents

totemitabu

Starting Point

For a common man, the independent existence of the world outside the mind, and thus the existence of the glowing sun, hard ground, cold water and the like, is beyond the slightest doubt; he holds this as the unshakable truth. It is enough, however, only to think for a while, to see that there is something even more certain, namely, that there is my own consciousness, because if it were not so, I would know nothing about the material world. Enough is to pronounce this sentence to be immediately convinced that my own consciousness can be the only appropriate starting point for any philosophical speculation. It is amazing that so many centuries had passed before people managed to understand it. Only Descartes with his famous cogito, ergo sum considered the consciousness as the starting point.

Consider the first manifestation of our consciousness. The first of its content can be, of course, nothing but a feeling of a different kind: the feeling of light, sound, pain, pleasure, etc. These feelings come to consciousness, go out of it and change without our complicity. They are the only content of our mind; the content that presents itself to us not as something created by the consciousness, but as something imposed.

The consciousness then assumes that there is an external object, the presence of which is necessary to induce feelings. But this assumption of the existence of external objects, which apparently takes place without any consideration and thought, is actually a logical conclusion, without which we would never have come to know the outside world.

It is obvious therefore, based on the above analysis, that the material world can not be regarded as a collection of some real beings, independent of our mind, which could exist even when the mind did not think or imagine anything.

Adolf Eugen Fick – Die Welt als Vorstellung. Akademischer Vortrag

In Time of Spirits

I must find myself behind thoughts – namely, as their creator and owner. In the time of spirits thoughts grew till they overtopped my head, whose offspring they yet were; they hovered about me and convulsed me like fever-phantasies – an awful power. The thoughts had become corporeal on their own account, were ghosts, e. g. God, Emperor, Pope, Fatherland, etc. If I destroy their corporeity, then I take them back into mine, and say: “I alone am corporeal.” And now I take the world as what it is to me, as mine, as my property; I refer all to myself.

Max Stirner – The Ego and His Own

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Snake

Men occupy a very small place upon the Earth. If the seven billion inhabitants who people its surface were all to stand upright and somewhat crowded together, as they do for some big public assembly, they could easily be put into one public square twenty miles long and twenty miles wide. All humanity could be piled up on a small Pacific islet.

The grown-ups, to be sure, will not believe you when you tell them that. They imagine that they fill a great deal of space. They fancy themselves as important as the baobabs. You should advise them, then, to make their own calculations. They adore figures, and that will please them. But do not waste your time on this pensum.

When the little prince arrived on the Earth, he was very much surprised not to see any people. He was beginning to be afraid he had come to the wrong planet, when a coil of gold, the color of the moonlight, flashed across the sand.
“Good evening,” said the little prince courteously.
“Good evening,” said the snake.
“What planet is this on which I have come down?” asked the little prince.
“This is the Earth; this is Africa,” the snake answered.
“Ah! Then there are no people on the Earth?”
“This is the desert. There are no people in the desert. The Earth is large,” said the snake.
The little prince sat down on a stone, and raised his eyes toward the sky. “I wonder,” he said, “whether the stars are set alight in heaven so that one day each one of us may find his own again… Look at my planet. It is right there above us. But how far away it is! It is a little lonely in the desert…”
“It is also lonely among men,” the snake said.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The Little Prince

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Attack on Solipsism

Solipsism, then, solegoism or monegoism or selfego – so is called the supreme wisdom of man, this is the ultimate yield of thinking and research that humanity, hungry for truth, received from rationalism and independent, modern philosophy, equipped and supported by so many achievements of science!

Those who know what mood prevails in the world of philosophers and scholars, and who know the conceit and pride of the guild, will easily guess that not all skeptics proclaim their bankruptcy to the world in such form and battue. After and most of all, they are academy members, university professors, magazine editors, authors of works and treaties. They beat around the bush, as they can, when it comes to the nothingness of their knowledge and powerlessness of reasoning, they pull the wool over our eyes with the stream of platitudes, hypotheses, metaphors and sophistry.

There is no lack, however, of those sincere, who show the wound in their mind, in full width, and by preaching the theory that the world is nothing more than just our imagination, admit to the ultimate philosophical misery, to an absolute illusionism, which is nothing but – solipsism.

Wladyslaw M. Debicki – Great intelectual bankruptcy

Correctness

Today we call it political correctness. Most people want to belong to their peer group. They want to be the same as everyone else when it comes to opinions. In fact they judge their own personal sanity by bouncing ideas of their neighbors and friends, who will answer back and agree on the same topics and kind.

It doesn’t matter if the topics or the way you are given the facts are utter nonsense, as long as everyone agrees at the same time. And your friends will all agree because they have the same information given to them.

Alan Watt – Shock and Awe

The Way

There is a thing inherent and natural, which existed before heaven and earth. Motionless and fathomless, It stands alone and never changes; It pervades everywhere and never becomes exhausted. It may be regarded as the Mother of the Universe. I do not know its name. If I am forced to give it a name, I call it the Way.

Laozi

Pourquoi y a-t-il quelque chose plutôt que rien?

A belief in the existence of the material world is impossible to justify using reason. When I get lost in thoughts on that subject, what happens to me always when I wonder about it, I come to a conclusion that everything we see is a mere phenomenon, that there is nothing outside of us that relates to our fantasies, and I always go back to this question of the Indian king: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

Jean d’Alembert – Letters to Voltaire

The Problem of Meaning

The difficulties associated with “the arguments for the truth” of Christianity have given me sleepless nights; most of our core beliefs must be taken on faith. Significant intellectual difficulties, faced by a believer or an alleged believer, are not posed by the problem of proof, but by the problem of meaning. Statements specifically religious seem to me without any meaning.

A. N. Prior

Paradise

Christianity says, I believe, that sound doctrines are all useless. That you have to change your life. Christianity is not a doctrine, not, I mean, a theory about what has happened and will happen to the human soul, but a description of something that actually takes place in human life.

L. Wittgenstein

The Willful Child

Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and did not do what his mother wanted. For this reason God was displeased with him and caused him to become ill, and no doctor could help him, and in a short time he lay on his deathbed. He was lowered into a grave and covered with earth, but his little arm suddenly came forth and reached up, and it didn’t help when they put it back in and put fresh earth over it, for the little arm always came out again. So the mother herself had to go to the grave and beat the little arm with a switch, and as soon as she had done that, it withdrew, and the child finally came to rest beneath the earth.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm – Household Tales