Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pantheism, Panetheism, Omega Point and Gods Debris

Sometime last week, I was reading about Pantheism on wiki:
Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( 'pan' ) = all and θεός ( 'theos' ) = God) literally means "God is All" and "All is God". It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent

Basically, it is a particular perspective on the Advaita school of Indian philosophy. Now, those of you mischievous kids out there wondering why I was doing this in the first place:

Advaita is also sometimes described as being monist in nature. But then it does seem that all these are but labels being applied by the newly formed western civilization taking its first baby steps after a long time.

The vishishtadvaita school on the other hand was superficially identified with the label, Panetheistic

Panentheism (from Greek: πάν (‘pan’ ) = all, en = in, and theos = God; "all-in-God") is the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. It is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe

Meanwhile, I came across this on the same page: Omega Point
Omega point is a term invented by French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the ultimate maximum level of complexity-consciousness, considered by him the aim towards which consciousness evolves. Rather than divinity being found "in the heavens" he held that evolution was a process converging toward a "final unity", identical with the Eschaton and with God.
Apparently, these ideas have influenced various artists, authors, shapers of popular culture like Issac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Scott Adams and (not in the same league, but still) Gregory David Roberts

This quote from this page got me really interested

There is a Dilbert comic strip in which Dogbert postulates that since everything develops from simpler forms to more complex forms, a supreme being must be our future, not our origin. His idea is that God must be the entity that will be formed when enough people are connected by the Internet
So, I decided to take a look at Scott Adam's take on this. I had always complained to myself that unlike the other favourite comic strip author of mine, Bill Watterson, Scott Adams (at least to me) seemed to be less concerned about the philosophical aspects of life :D. He had never disappointed me when it came to awesome insight into human nature or his surreal sense of humour. But boyohboy he does not disappoint. I first searched for the strip where the above quote was from, here is a transcript of the strip:

Dogbert: Simple Molecules combine to make powerful chemicals... - Simple cells combine to make powerful lifeforms. - Simple electronics combine to make powerful computers. - Logically, all things are created by a combination of simpler, less capable components. - Therefore, a supreme being must be our *future*, not our origin! - What if "God" is the consciousness that will be created when enough of us are connected by the Internet?!! -
Dilbert: That would certainly limit the types of files I download- I wonder what it would do to response times. - It's so nice to spend time alone with my thoughts. My web browser would *fly*!
But the best part was when I was led to "God's Debris" by Scott Adams. Now, I have read many of his books and do own three of them, but somehow, this book had unfortunately escaped my attention. It is available online and you can read it here. It is just over a hundred pages of giant size font text. It will not take you more than an hour to read it. Read it, it is time well spent.

Here is a related quote from the book:

"Humanity is developing a sort of global eyesight as millions of video cameras on satellites, desktops, and street corners are connected to the Internet. In your lifetime it will be possible to see almost anything on the planet from any computer. And society’s intelligence is merging over the Internet, creating, in effect, a global mind that can do vastly more than any individual mind. Eventually everything that is known by one person will be available to all. A decisioncan be made by the collective mind of humanity andinstantly communicated to the body of society."

“In the distant future, humans will learn to control the weather, to manipulate DNA, and to build whole new worlds out of raw matter. There is no logical limit to how much our collective power will grow. A billion years from now, if a visitor from another dimension observed humanity,he might perceive it to be one large entity with a consciousness and purpose, and not a collection of relatively uninteresting individuals.”

“Are you saying we’re evolving into God?”

“I’m saying we’re the building blocks of God, in the early stages of reassembling.”

“I think I’d know it if we were part of an omnipotent being,” I said.

“Would you? Your skin cells are not aware that they are part of a human being. Skin cells are not equipped for that knowledge. They are equipped to do what they do and nothing more. Likewise, if we humans—and all the plants and animals and dirt and rocks—were components of God, would we have the capacity to know it?”

“So, you’re saying God blew himself to bits—I guess that was the Big Bang—and now he’s piecing himself back together?” I asked.

I just love his surreal take on these kind of things! He even coins a new word called "God dust" :D Apparently, we are all made up of it.

I am reminded of "The Tao of Physics" by Fritjof Capra. Unfortunately, it still lies unread upon my book shelf!

Related quote from one of the characters in Shantaram, Khader Khan.

The tendency towards complexity has carried the universe from almost perfect simplicity to the kind of complexity that we see around us, everywhere we look. The universe is always doing this. It is always moving from the simple to the complex

And the ultimate complexity is God according to Khader Khan aka Khader Bhai, the underworld boss. Anything that helps this move towards complexity is good, anything that destroys this move towards complexity is evil.

And to end it all, an awesome video, I have a feeling that this is actually a spoof, I came across this link while reading the website of Richard Dawkins who has this to say about Pantheism:
"Pantheism is sexed-up atheism". Take a look at the video, it is hilarious!!

The Athiest's nightmare, the banana:


Anonymous Denali said...

People should read this.

4:05 AM  

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