Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Stream of Conciousness Staring, God, Moses and The Upanishads with a Guest Appearence by Rene Descartes and Popeye The Sailor

I can't seem to escape from God. Some would call me a God drunk mystic. I love to speculate and meditate about the nature of God. My favorite stream of consciousness on God's nature goes something like this: In Exodus (3:13), Moses asks God his name. God uses several names in the Old Testament and there are a lot of interesting traditions as to what that's all about. The idea of God's name certainly captures the imagination. Where this takes my mind is actually to some ancient Egyptian mythology (that Moses, as a former Egyptian prince, would presumably know more about than I do, and may be why he asked in the first place) in which God, as a transcendental, infinite being, begins the process of creation by coming up with some names for himself and those names come alive as aspects of himself, aka, the gods.

This Egyptian myth isn't entirely contradictory to the creation myth as presented in Genesis. Looking at the Ancient Greek of the Septuagint text of Genesis, I have been struck by the fact that the Greek word used for "named" or "called" ("and God named/called the light day") can also mean invoked, meaning that the author believed that the act of naming was also somehow an act of summoning into material existence or "calling forth". So, if I assume that a transcendental, infinite God is beyond our finite brain's ability to comprehend, somehow the process of God naming himself and creating gods, is about  creating a finite idea/thought form that the infinite transcendental can inhabit and give us some finite frame of reference with which to explore the idea of God.

So, anyway, Moses asks God his name and his first response is "I AM WHO I AM". (I always think about Popeye at this point "I am what I am and that's all that I am." I can't help but think that Popeye's function as an aspect of divinity has yet to be fully explored.) A little later God says "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

So, we have a finite concept with which to explore the infinite God. That concept being, "I AM". Okay, now I break it down. "I" is a way that one identifies oneself. "Am" means "exist". So, we could translate this name into "I EXIST". "Exist" can mean "Being" so we can translate this name into "I BEING"… I think that this name can mean I exist, or I am existence. I know that there are some philosophical leaps in there with the addition of the extra "am" but this is more a meditation or stream of consciousness than an analysis so I go with it, besides we get a couple of "am"'s in "I AM WHO I AM"

It pops into my head next that the Greek word Ego mean, I am. "I Am" in philosophy and psychology mostly seems to be about self awareness. God is then perhaps, self aware, or is self awareness. In the Hindu Upanishads "SELF" is the word used to refer to what we westerners would think of as God.This may explain why the human ego is always trying to place itself at the center of the universe.

Then my mind skips from Greek to Latin and the word "Sum", which means, "I am" and from there to philosopher RenĂ© Descartes who did a very famous meditation. He was concerned that he didn't know what was real and what was illusion. After all, our primary connection to the world seems to be our senses and our senses really don't give us a very accurate picture of how things are, in fact, they can be quite misleading. So, Descartes was going to think about everything and imagine away anything that he couldn't prove to himself was real. What he finally ended up with were the famous words "Cagito Ergo Sum" or, in English "I think therefore I am." Meaning, because he thinks, he knows he exists. Where that brings me is, God and I both can say "I am". After that I want to get all monistic and pantheistic and think that God and I are one (which is the upshot of the Upanishads) and that God and I are either existence itself, or self awareness… or both. Still.. this is a finite concept of God invoked into existence by God naming himself for Moses. So I'm left with a belief that self awareness is an aspect of God and, being self aware, that includes me.

No comments:

Post a Comment