The crux of pantheism
Nature, the whole universe, is god. God is here defined1 as set of creation rules.2
The pantheist chooses to believe that nature, that is to say, every animate and non-animate system/form therein, is self-regulating, self-adapting and therefore self-creating,3 hence god.4
Consequently the pantheist belief arises in self-sufficient individuals5 seeking the freedom to also become self-regulating and thereby act out their godliness. And this they do by extending or altering the boundaries6 of their niche.
So the transition from theism, actually from heno-theism7 to pantheism merely reflects the transition from (external) regulation by one ‘other’ to self-regulation (by each other).
The Split Man
The sculpture represents an individual in painful limbo8 between other and self-regulation. He has yet to invent his niche and become a god in his own right. He is, therefore, depicted without a penis.9
But can there be true10 self-regulation? Well No!11 After all, each individual (as self-regulating, hence god) is as it were surrounded, indeed embedded12 in an ever changing field (or ocean, or traffic system) of other external (sic) individuals (i.e. other gods), all running on the same basic creation operating system.13 Moreover each self-regulating individual is dependent14 on the surround of other self-regulating (also dependent) independents for actual life support.15
So the argument between heno-theists, believing in one external or transcendent God-as-regulator, and pantheists, believing each existing thing is god, hence that all living systems are self-regulating16, is spurious in that external regulation takes place in both cases.17
The situation and reverse transition, namely from many gods (i.e. polytheism) to one god (i.e. henotheism) is described in the Jewish Bible when the external to Adam Elohim (Genesis: 2 & 3), to wit, the adult self-regulating but dependent others (i.e. the ‘powers’18) are later compressed into the one humanoid El.19 That was done for political expediency20 since rules deriving from one specifically oriented and highly motivated (to survive) and autocratic war-lord-as-source-of life are far more powerful than rules derived by a democratic committee of squabbling elders/equals.
© 2018 by Victor Langheld
1. No theistic belief system has yet produced a cogent and compelling definition of god though each system chooses to believe that it has.
2. For ‘a set’ read: algorithm or fractal. For rules read: constraints or limitations. The rules set is wholly recursive.
3. As in spontaneous bootstrapping to ever increasing complexity and survival efficiency.
4. For ‘god’ read: external or internal (creation) law maker and enforcer.
5. That is to say, in fully mature individuals no longer requiring external guidance and survival help. Indeed, the contemplation of pantheism tends to emerge in older, post-menopausal individuals of private (survival) means, like, for instance, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and the ancient Hindu cow-herders/warriors whose philosophic speculations were handed down as the Upanishads. See: Vedanta
6. For ‘boundaries’ read: constraints, limitations, rules.
7. Heno-theism (Greek heno meaning = one (specifically my) God), meaning one selected external or transcendent regulation/constraints systems/sets (i.e. God). Down the millennia humans have invented hundreds of theisms, all designed to facilitate the socialising or domestication process needed for group survival. So, for instance, the Traffic Code (to wit, rules-as-commandments) created by humans/priests who have run out of body bags becomes the transcendent god of motorists. He rewards the good guys, i.e. those who adhere to the rules, with free-flow hence survival upgrade and punishes the bad guys, i.e. those who break or ignore the rules, first with fines and/or imprisonment and eventually with the loss of the driving licence (hence excommunication, in nature meaning death).
8. Elsewhere called purgatory.
9. For more on the split man see: Split Man
10.‘True’ meaning: complete, whole, @1, hence real because, according to the Upanishad inventors, independent.
11.The self-regulation problem was central to the speculations of the Upanishads with their notion of the atman, derived either from the reflexive pronoun atta (meaning self) or from the notion of the universal ‘breath of life’) and of course, to the Buddha’s speculation concerning his notion of anatman or anatta (meaning: no self). The Buddha claimed all formations suffered discomfort or even anguish (dukkha) because they were anatta, to wit, not-self His claim was false.
See: Analysis of ‘The Self’
12. And therefore constrained, meaning ruled and regulated.
13. Let’s call the basic creation operating system Pan.
14.Being ‘dependent’ was the Buddha’s gripe. He believed that dependent origination, to wit; the dependent interplay of the 5 aggregates, was the cause of dukkha (meaning unpleasantness suffering and so on). He also got that one badly wrong.
15.For ‘life support’ read: nourishment, meaning: disorder to be upgraded into self-sustaining and self-enhancing order.
16.That is to say, the regulator is immanent, meaning ‘within’, to wit: ‘The kingdom of God is within’.
17.And if contact to or by an external other is understood to be digital (i.e. quantised), hence serial, then at any moment a living systems is regulated by only one god (as external self-regulating system).
18.Recall Genesis 3:22:‘Then the Elohim (wrongly translated as the LORD God) said, ‘Behold, the man has become as one of us, knowing good and bad;’ The Elohim said that after Adam had put on leather breeches (post fig leaves which he had used) which they had made for him, thereby indicating that because his genital was covered he was now an adult, i.e. one of them. And which suggests that originally the Adam & Eve story was a passage fable rather than a crime and punishment tale.
19.Lately renamed ‘Allah’.
20.The theist one (meaning our) god-as-regulator domestication option is a more useful fiction than the pantheist ‘all- (all 1’s are)-god option.