(2/2) The Godlessness Of The Philosophers: From Beginning To End
Last time I mentioned that:
- “Homer talks about the gods not appearing to everyone in their fullness (enargeis), with the example of Odysseus experiencing the full radiance of the goddess presencing through a woman, while the next person wasn’t experiencing her that way. Or, of a beautiful mansion we say “Now that’s a house!” though the next person may experience it to be presencing in a gawdy manner: The universal appears or manifests through the individual/particular.”
This has interesting philosophical implications for the foundations of religious life, specifically the experience of the holy (sometimes called the numinous). If, for instance, you feel the presence of God while listening to some gospel music, there is no reason to think this really is contact with God, but rather just the mind acting on itself, because if the same gospel song is played 30 times in a row, it goes from presencing as holy to presencing as irritating. So, it is something our mind is doing to itself, analogous to us experiencing boringness as a trait of the book, though we know the next person need not experience this stretching out of time in relation to the book at all. Nietzsche called this the death of God, the destroying of the bridge between God and humans. We may be experiencing God, but there is no reason to think so. Analogously, you can suppose LSD give you access to another reality, but the more likely explanation is the mind is playing tricks.
As Nietzsche pointed out, beings lose their luster simply as a functions of our spending time with them, like a worn out recording of a favorite song. We experience time as eternal return of the same, experiencing beings as though we’ve experienced them countless times before. Some examples are from (1) Ecclesiastes, (2) Seneca, and (3)Schopenhauer:
- (1) “All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes)
- (2) “26. Some people suffer from a surfeit of doing and seeing the same things. Theirs is not contempt for life but boredom with it, a feeling we sink into when influenced by the sort of philosophy which makes us say, ‘How long the same old things? I shall wake up and go to sleep, I shall eat and be hungry, I shall be cold and hot. There’s no end to anything, but all things are in a fixed cycle, fleeing and pursuing each other. Night follows day and day night; summer passes into autumn, hard on autumn follows winter, and that in turn is checked by spring. All things pass on only to return. Nothing I do or see is new: sometimes one gets sick even of this.’ There are many who think that life is not harsh but superfluous. (Seneca ep. mor. 24. 26).”
- (3) “He who lives to see two or three generations is like a man who sits some time in the conjurer’s booth at a fair, and witnesses the performance twice or thrice in succession. The tricks were meant to be seen only once; and when they are no longer a novelty and cease to deceive, their effect is gone.” (Schopenhauer, “Essays on Pessimism”)
For more posts on this see my 2 blog posts from my previous blog here:
ALSO, see the other posts in this series on this blog here:
Edward Babinski has also spoke to the phenomena of beings losing their luster through spending time with them, although I don’t know if he formulates the problem in terms of a Nietzschean repetitious experience of time as eternal return.