Fear of the gods

by Narkissos 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • tetrapod.sapien


    this is why i keep saying that apostacy is about more than just shedding religious doctrine. it's about shedding all fake fears, and staring the true fear in the eyes. it's about more than fear of natural disasters and whatnot. it's about the fear of meaninglessness.

    atheists are going to hate me for saying this, but imo we all have our drugs that make us feel better about existence, and take our focus off of the possibility that this is all there is, *AND* it's a lose lose situation. ie: it sucks bad.

    for example, like you said about philosophy, science and logic and rationality can be a drug too. it assumes that there is an ultimate truth out there, somewhere, even if we haven't fully grasped it yet. it assumes the great potential of our species. that science will one day make the world a better place, free of ignorance and idiocy. and we may not stop to ask: "*why* do we want it to be *better*?" we want it to be better, regardless of the mechanism, because it is just SO hard to stop and say: "there is no meaning, and no point. it's about the survival of genes, NOT about my personal happiness."

    We may have outgrown the gods, but I doubt we'll ever outgrow the strategy of fear which I feel is the essence of religion. Even describing this process in a philosophical way is basically a religious act reflecting the very same strategy.

    yes. exactly what i try to say.

    personally, i feel that such "great" and "true" and "down to earth" things like:

    • love

    are manifestations of this fear. avoidance of the true fear that has haunted our subconscious since childhood. the fear of meaninglessness.

    paradoxically, i have been *thinking* about *meaningless* for a while now. i keep testing out different things that might hint at maybe, just maybe, some meaning, after i have shed all of the so-called "good" meanings like morals and logic and betterment. things like "slutdom", "depravity", "sex drugs and rock n roll".

    and i think i am doing this still, instead of just taking James Thomas' advice and looking inward, because if the only meaning i find in the face of external meaninglesness is internal meaningfulness, then i am really just kidding myself. even if slutdom was the only meaning to the universe, it would be some comfort against the possibility that there is no meaning. it would be an *external* meaning, which for some dumb reason i think is better than internal meaning.

    so, i'm getting to the point where i ask myself: what's wrong with only internal meaning? and really, i think james is right although i don't want to admit it. there is nothing wrong with it. it's all we have. make up anything you like, it's all the same difference. as in: "why fight the biology? just go with it."

    Ignorance and lack of knowledge about science, physics and human psychology made them accept these myths as fact.

    see seven? this is sort of what i am talking about. this statement (though i agree with it technically, 100%), still assumes that science and rationality point us toward some "better" place. we don't know what it is, but we still believe in it.

    but i have to ask, why do we believe in anything? why must we have *something*, anything, that will give us hope for a better future? because of FEAR.

    and before all you religious nuts come out of the woodwork and say: "see! religion (or spirituality) is the answer!" - stop. stop right there. admitting that science, and philosophy (even though they get the job done, technically) are just manifiestations of this fear narkissos speaks of, makes religion and spirituality even dumber.

    you get it? there is no hope. there is no meaning. science works better, yes. but it doesn't change a damn thing in the end.

    and before you say: "well tetrapod, it's better because it's good, and people suffer less thanks to it." - stop. and ask yourself: what is "good"? what is "better"? what is "less suffering"? what is "right"? and what is "wrong"?

    there are no answers. just understanding the nature of the question.


  • tetrapod.sapien


    If I reject searching for spiritual enlightenment and decide to only pursue selfish, fleshly, interests then soon that would be my god. If I reject everything all together and live as a hermit and worship myself and my existence then I am still worshiping. Why do we feel the need to have a religious act?

    it's our biology. i don't mean to insinuate with all i said in the last post that i have an answer. i don't. the only thing i can say is: the mind can only overpower biology so much before it can no longer win.

    and the only thing i can say to that is a question: "why fight our biology?"

    (nice post btw.)


  • Midget-Sasquatch


    I very much agree with you that a major concern is that life is meaningless. The almost cliched response of reckless abandon that some have after losing their religion supports that it was a central concern for themselves anyway. I think the degree of dread this particular concern causes varies.

    I wonder if religion came about not only to address all the fears mentioned by Narkissos, but also to attenuate the discrepancy between the way the human mind is wired and apparent reality. Looking for patterns and causes in an often random universe, the dissonance between our sense of justice and the rather amoral natural (as well as artificial) world we live in, etc.

    I think the Epicurians could be "godless" because they consciously dealt with these fears and realizations and just accepted them. Just like you said in your own post "stare" right into them.

  • LittleToe

    If everything is internal, and Solomon was right to be so negative, how do you make out that religion is "dumber" than science? Sure Science can give material benefits, but our emotional wellbeing is an important factor in our enjoyment of life and health. The philosophy and framework that we use to attach meaning to our lives is what often gets people through the day.

    You come across as increasingly jaded, these days, my man...

    A little fear is a good thing - it aids survival. Notwithstanding that, fear only fear ittself

  • Narkissos

    Thank you all for coming and sharing. You're making this place really exceptional to me.

    I guess the big shift of paradigm which modern science brought about is that fear of the unknown gave way to fear of the almost-perfectly known. We know what death, sickness, natural disasters are. No need, no serious possiblity for anyone of anything "behind". And if we still feel strange to the world we know too well, it becomes increasingly difficult to take this "strange feeling" seriously. Strangeness of strangeness. We have become unable to believe in the mythological speech which was designed to make sense of both "I" (soul, spirit or whatever) and the world. Any "internal," "subjective" meaning is something we can still pretend believing, not really "believe" I'm afraid (!). Perhaps it was always like that actually, but now we know we can't escape knowing it.

    Echoing what DB said, I have personally found that the most scary thing I ever had to face by far is myself. Of course I know it will ultimately be solved into the subjective nonsense of objective "biology" (and curiously I tend to find this prospect more appeasing than scary) but as long as "I" subjectively stand against the world I objectively belong to, there lies the scary and awesome numinous -- which I cannot even take seriously. Tragedy and comedy have become inseparable.

    I could bet that the ultimate concern of tomorrow's religion will be "the unbearable lightness of being," to borrow from Kundera's novel title.

  • JamesThomas


    Just to throw this a little off tack; I did read somewhere about a theory that all Gods were man-made and therefore worship of a God was in essence a worship of ones self; perhaps this could be applied a little differently.

    Applying this theory then if we feared God or Gods in a sense, we are almost fearful of ourselves.

    The needle seems to be beginning to make an important shift to another pole here in DB's post.

    Narkissos, your thread here is -- as is usual for you -- very lucid and interesting. It makes sense that gods were cooked up within the stew-pot of fear and awe of the unknown.

    Gods, are simply ideas, the minds feeble attempts at grasping the mysterious, and so fear of them is the mind fearing itself (as DB, pointed out)....but at least we know what we are fearing, so there is some sense of control, illusory as it may be.

    What is fear? and who is it that fears? I have invited and sat with fear; and have faced some very, very intense whirlwinds of thoughts, emotions and crushing physical feelings. Just beneath many emotions and feelings ( e.g. hatred, anger, boredom) is often discovered big fear (some of the most burning can erupt while sitting with boredom, which at first may seem so innocent and subtle). When there is seen the phenomenal dynamics of what we call fear, there opens an opportunity to realize what is looking. Is it, afraid? What is this which is most intimate and close which I am?

    (It was within an experience of intense hatred and fear, that there was the first clear glimpse of what is boundlessly pristine and at peace. Such emotions like fear, hatred, anger, which we normally push away as we fear and hate them (ironically), can be a blessing if they are openly, earnestly and honestly investigated.)

    Who am I, really? Am I the complex matrix of thoughts, beliefs, emotions and physical feelings I have for so long believed myself to be? What sees all this? What silent vastness is it all happening within? Could it be that unquestioned belief in one self as an individual entity separate from and in need of protecting itself from the entire rest of the universe, the foundational reason for fear? Am I a shard of existence? Or am I no thing, at all?


  • tetrapod.sapien


    If everything is internal, and Solomon was right to be so negative, how do you make out that religion is "dumber" than science?

    i know bro... i know what you mean.

    sure, i am a contradiction. which doesn't bother me i guess, because lately i can't seem to sepparate contradiction from logic. it's seems like everytime i follow the "logic" somewhere, i end up at a "contradiction". like narkissos said:

    Tragedy and comedy have become inseparable.

    and yet the so-called contradiction is truer, imo, than logic-language can define.

    somehow, at some place, the logic becomes a poem. you know?


    i liked your post. asking these questions have become sort of paramount in my life these days. standing in front of the "mirror", and seeing myself for real, for the first time ever, has been a journey i never thought i would have to take. there is a monster in my closet. and when i opened the doors, and confronted it, i found myself staring back.

    When there is seen the phenomenal dynamics of what we call fear, there opens an opportunity to realize what is looking. Is it, afraid? What is this which is most intimate and close which I am?

    this reminds me of the famous frank herbert quote:

    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
    Frank Herbert, Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, "Dune"
    US science fiction novelist (1920 - 1986)
  • Satanus


    Do you like/love yourself? If so, how?


  • LittleToe

    That "complex matix", complete with it's fears and neurosis, is most certainly part of who/what you and I are

    Being a contradiction is good. It adds mystique

    I stumbled across this article in connection with Human and Female Neurosis, earlier today, that vaguely has a bearing on the topic of the thread:


  • daystar


    Once the meaninglessness of it all becomes apparent, what is left?

    I approach this dilemma using a different device. I meditate upon the nature of purpose, and then the purpose of purpose, to eventually meet the meaninglessness of it all. I can be quite distressing.

    The only solution that occurs to me is simply perpetuation in the most efficient and fulfilling way that may be determined. Even that is a way of coping. However, without something we are left only with that famous line of Shakespeare's, "To be or not to be, that is the question."

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