• Phil Tanny
    In the article An Alternative To The God Debate we tried to understand the human need that created the God debate, with the goal of meeting that need so as to resolve the God question. Not answer the God question, make it unnecessary, resolve it. Or at least move in that direction.

    PLEASE NOTE: Nothing written here is intended to argue for or against the existence of a God. I assure you that I don't know the answer to that. The point instead is to try to convert the God debate in to something more useful than debate.

    It was proposed that the source of the God debate is that we lost the primal bond with reality experienced by animals and primitive humans as thought became dominant in the human experience. This development shifted our focus from the real world to mental abstractions, symbols which point to the real world.

    Doing The Homework

    It will prove useful for the reader to carefully observe how much of the time they are focusing their attention not on the real world so much as on their thoughts about the real world.

    As example, as you're driving to work on a road you've traveled many times, observe how much of your attention is on the real world going by outside of your car, and how much of your attention is thinking about the day ahead, or something else.

    You're driving along, mostly lost in thought about something or another. And then all of sudden a kid on a bike shoots out in to traffic, and the focus of your attention is immediately shifted out of the symbolic realm between your ears back in to the real world.

    All the philosophy in the world will not be as helpful as a few minutes of observing such very human phenomena in action.

    With that in mind...

    An Experiment

    Here's an experiment which may prove helpful.

    Let's observe something, anything, it doesn't matter what. Let's observe our subject as carefully as we can.

    Our goal is not to gather information, understand our subject, or come to any theory or opinion about it. Instead we will just observe, look closely, and take it in. We're observing, just observing, that's all.


    If this experiment is pursued with even a bit of seriousness it should soon become clear that the primary obstacle to close observation is that our attention keeps getting hijacked by our thoughts.

    This is what has happened to the primal bond with reality which earlier humans once enjoyed. The direct relationship with reality was hijacked by thoughts, abstractions which point to reality. As humans evolved we began trading in the real for the symbolic.

    The Second Hand Experience

    So as example, instead of fully taking in a sunrise to the point that it brings tears to our eyes, we think "that's a beautiful sunrise". We experience that thought, instead of experiencing the sunrise directly.

    And because experiencing a thought is a diluted second hand symbolic experience of reality, it doesn't have the power to bring us to tears. Instead, we think "that's nice" and then maybe check our phone to see if we have any new text messages.


    So many times, so many, I've gone to the trouble of showing up on a Florida beach before sunrise to witness the show, only to realize later that I missed most of it because instead of paying attention to the real world, I chose to write some article like this in my head.

    Let's see, which is more glorious?

    A massive nuclear powered fireball of a star shooting rays of photons across 93 million miles in just 8 minutes? Or Phil's big ideas?

    You can probably answer this one without my help.

    A Plan Of Action

    If you've understood the above, or much more importantly if you've done the homework and experienced it, the plan of action I will propose is probably becoming clear.

    If the God debate is a symptom of our degraded relationship with reality, and if thought is the primary degrading agent...

    It's time to move beyond philosophy.

    But how to do that? I won't be offering "the answer" because there are a million ways to go about this. I'll share some of the ways I move beyond philosophy, and you can share your strategies too if you want by replying to this post.

    On the next page we'll start moving beyond theory and get down to practical business.
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