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Quotes from Paul Tillich---1886-1965 theologian


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http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/paul_tillich.html

 

http://www.amazon.com/Courage-Be-Paul-Tillich/dp/0300084714

browse the ToC and look at headings for pages 155-186

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tillich

 

==quote==

Tillich's criticism against the traditional theistic God is that:

 

He deprives me of my subjectivity because he is all-powerful and all-knowing. I revolt and make him into an object, but the revolt fails and becomes desperate. God appears as the invincible tyrant, the being in contrast with whom all other beings are without freedom and subjectivity. He is equated with recent tyrants with the help of terror try to transform everything into a mere object, a thing among things, a cog in a machine they control. He becomes the model of everything against which Existentialism revolted. This is the God Nietzsche said had to be killed because nobody can tolerate being made into a mere object of absolute knowledge and absolute control. This is the deepest root of atheism. It is an atheism which is justified as the reaction against theological theism and its disturbing implications.[30]

 

==endquote==

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In such a state the God of both religious and theological language disappears. But something remains, namely, the seriousness of that doubt in which meaning within meaninglessness is affirmed. The source of this affirmation of meaning within meaninglessness, of certitude within doubt, is not the God of traditional theism but the "God above God," the power of being, which works through those who have no name for it, not even the name God.

 

– Tillich , Systematic Theology Vol. 2 , p.12

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tillich

 

In other words: 'Don't limit God by referring to Him, don't consider Him as anthromopomorphic, I don't really know the answers but neither do you? A wise man indeed!

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I read "Courage to Be" by Paul Tillich in my existentialism class in college. It was really rather profound. Thanks for the nice thread reminding me of those neural explorations, Martin. :)


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I pulled out my copy as a result of this thread. Yes, I'm one of those dorks who likes to keep books he's read and re-explore them in years later when I'm a different man with new experiences. :)

 

 

 

Much courage to be, created by religion, is nothing else than the desire to limit one's own being and to strengthen this limitation through the power of religion. And even if religion does not lead to or does not directly support pathological self-reduction, it can reduce the openness of man to reality, above all to the reality which is himself.f In this way religion can protect and feed a potentially neurotic state.

 

<...>

 

Pathological anxiety about fate and death impels toward a secuirty which is comparable to the security of a prison. He who lives in this prison is unable to leave the security given to him by his self-imposed limitations. But these limitations are not based on a full awareness of reality. Therefore the security of the neurotic is unrealistic. He fears what is not to be feared and he feels to be safe what is not safe.

 

Tillich, The Courage to Be, 73-75

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I just wonder why religions ultimately lead to the dissolution of the ego- look at Taoism as an example, and other, theistic religions also believe that submission to a greater ego is an ideal. In other words to recognise one's extreme limitations and to eradicate the feeling of self adoration. It seems to me, perhaps wrongly, that the existentialists put the ego in the place of God and the 'Nietzschean' man becomes a superman. Take this thought to its logical end and it creates an Aryan superman whose task it is to dominate all lesser men.

 

"I teach you the Superman. Man is something that should be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

All creatures hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and do you want to be the ebb of the great tide, and return to the animals rather than overcome man?

What is the ape to men? A laughing stock or a painful embarassment. And just so shall man be to the Superman: a laughing stock or a painful embarassment".

http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/nietzsche_philosophy.html

 

Taoism

 

To serve your ego is

to worship a false identity

created by yourself.

It is like someone suffering from amnesia

reinventing herself because

she has forgotten

who she is.

 

(The Tao is Tao, 80)

http://www.taoism.net/theway/ego.htm

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I just wonder why religions ultimately lead to the dissolution of the ego- look at Taoism as an example, and other, theistic religions also believe that submission to a greater ego is an ideal. In other words to recognise one's extreme limitations and to eradicate the feeling of self adoration. It seems to me, perhaps wrongly, that the existentialists put the ego in the place of God and the 'Nietzschean' man becomes a superman. Take this thought to its logical end and it creates an Aryan superman whose task it is to dominate all lesser men.

 

I can't speak for Nietzsche, but I would suspect the trend you are observing with regards to the elimination of the ego comes from the pursuit of inner peace. Unease is a feeling that applies pressure to us to act despite disagreeable sensory input, and the ego is an emergent effect of natural selection to promote the propagation of our individual genes.

 

The analysis of suffering is a large component of many religions, and the source of this really is the unchecked ego and the desire to out compete and rise above (obtain the fittest mate(s) and have the most successful offspring) others, despite the pain and suffering endured or caused. If we wish to end suffering, we have to let go of the ego's desire for that which brings it. One trick to achieving this is to surrender to a greater, abstract ego (God, The Balance, etc), since it is in our instinctive memory to differ to stronger leaders within social collectives.

 

 

Now, I don't know much about Nietzsche, but as I understand it the goal isn't to worship the ego, but transcend the state of acting and reacting to one's wants, and actively control and refine one's wants. The goal is unflinching self examination and manipulation of what is within us to produce the most effective and efficient capacity to examine and effect the world outside us. It's to not settle for changing the world but to change oneself first. The goal isn't to transcend "want" but to refine it and produce "second generation wants" by changing what we first want to change in ourselves. Then in our new found state, our wants have changed, and we can reassess and reconsider, and change ourselves further.

There is no true "perfection" to seek, just a deliberate attempt to consciously self-optimize.

 

In the interest of full disclosure most of my exposure to Nietzsche has been through philosophy majors while incredibly inebriated... so I could be very very far off the mark.

 

Lastly: I don't see how any logic results in Aryan supermen, or how dominating anyone "lesser" or otherwise comes out of it. Domination is a dreadfully labor intensive task that really offers little rewards.

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A more scientific way to answer this is to first consider the structure of the human psyche. Starting on the surface, we have the persona or the mask of the ego. This is the outward personality we show the world. It may nevertheless hide certain things. Fashion, bling, make-up and attitude are aspects of the persona. This is all subject to will power.

 

Below the persona is the ego in a more natural sense. The ego not only includes the persona, but also all our personal memories and quirks which only our close friends and family may be allowed to see. It includes all conscious things below the mask.

 

Below the ego, we enter the personal unconscious. These are all memories we have created, but may have forgotten. These are subject to recall via hypnosis. Within the personal unconscious is a dynamic aspect of the ego called the shadow. This aspect, follows the ego around like a shadow.

 

The shadow not only has a connection to our personal memories; quirks, but is also connected to what Freud called the superego of culture; cultural attitude or persona. For example, a given culture can mold an individual with idiosyncrasies that become second nature to them. One may not even notice this in their behavior. Often, others are more aware of your shadow but not their own.

 

Below the personal unconscious is the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is composed of personality forms or firmware that are common to humans. They define the personality characteristics which make humans a separate species.

 

The shadow is the gateway between the personal and collective unconscious. The ID of Freud is connected to the lowest level archetypes of the collective unconscious. It has a connection to primal human and our animal nature. In war, circumstances can activate aspects of the lowest level archetypes for primal strength.

 

If we go even deeper, we enter aspects of the archetypes that are more what we would consider human nature. These are separated into two overlapping groups; archetypes of relationship and archetypes of meaning. The first help humans to relate to not only other humans, but to nature, to things, to ideas, etc. The archetypes of meaning give humans the ability to question, learn and figure things out.

 

Running the collective unconscious is the inner self, which uses the archetypes sort of like the ego uses the persona. The archetypes are the many masks of the inner self. But unlike the persona, which is learned, the archetypes are part of natural wiring.

 

The archetypes are empty at birth and gather memory as they progress and branch, with the ego (and superego) playing a role in the progressing memory grids. This is analogous to helping dad build a wall. Dad is skilled at the wall building, but allows the ego (child) to add bricks at the same time. The ego's bricks may not fully line up being less than natural. This can cause neurosis.

 

The avoidance of the ego, that is characterized by many religions attempts to limit the influence of the ego relative to archetype progression, so it develops naturally. The persona is often fad dependent and therefore temporal. This is crumbly bricks for something more natural. The idea of losing the ego is let dad do the wall building. With the archetypes made more natural, when the inner self generates its mini-me or the ego, the new ego is more natural. One has to lose their presumed self (ego) to gain their inner self. Then the ego returns, reborn.

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I can't speak for Nietzsche, but I would suspect the trend you are observing with regards to the elimination of the ego comes from the pursuit of inner peace. Unease is a feeling that applies pressure to us to act despite disagreeable sensory input, and the ego is an emergent effect of natural selection to promote the propagation of our individual genes.

 

 

Of course you are seeing it from the perspective of selection and from a materialistic perspective. Science provides a wonderful explanation of the material, an objective truth about material phenomena - I agree with you entirely. However, there is no 'beyond' and therefore no explanation or no desire to explore anything outside of the material world. So, I take it that you believe ego/mind/self to be epiphenomenal in origin?

 

The analysis of suffering is a large component of many religions, and the source of this really is the unchecked ego and the desire to out compete and rise above (obtain the fittest mate(s) and have the most successful offspring) others, despite the pain and suffering endured or caused. If we wish to end suffering, we have to let go of the ego's desire for that which brings it. One trick to achieving this is to surrender to a greater, abstract ego (God, The Balance, etc), since it is in our instinctive memory to differ to stronger leaders within social collectives.

 

Again, I see that you are using a scientific and materialistic basis for your answer which I would expect in a science forum. However, you use deduction and not inductive reasoning as a method of recognising the patterns around you. I would argue that inductive reasoning and insight have a bigger part to play in Science than we would collectively think. Surrender to leaders is a strongly built trend in our social systems. It is taught and quietly internalised and then propagated. We are breeding generations who do not want to think 'out of the box' because of the fear of what is outside. It is social engineering in my opinion, not an automatic instinctive process. But we can agree to differ...

 

 

Now, I don't know much about Nietzsche, but as I understand it the goal isn't to worship the ego, but transcend the state of acting and reacting to one's wants, and actively control and refine one's wants. The goal is unflinching self examination and manipulation of what is within us to produce the most effective and efficient capacity to examine and effect the world outside us. It's to not settle for changing the world but to change oneself first. The goal isn't to transcend "want" but to refine it and produce "second generation wants" by changing what we first want to change in ourselves. Then in our new found state, our wants have changed, and we can reassess and reconsider, and change ourselves further.

There is no true "perfection" to seek, just a deliberate attempt to consciously self-optimize.

 

padren, I know next to nothing about Nietzsche, apart from a couple of his books but his thoughts on the death of the human 'God' seem to point towards the reconstruction of thought and desire. I agree with you. However, let's be quite clear that his message was nihilistic (life is meaningless etc...) and that the 'God' figure is replaced by man himself by his reconstructive process to reconfigure his 'hard disk drive' so to speak. Your knowledge of Nietzcshe is quite correct in my limited view.

 

 

Lastly: I don't see how any logic results in Aryan supermen, or how dominating anyone "lesser" or otherwise comes out of it. Domination is a dreadfully labor intensive task that really offers little rewards.

 

I was wrong on that point, it was not logical to get to the point of world domination and destruction, but the Nazis miscontrued the Nietzschean message and disaster followed anyway.

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Of course you are seeing it from the perspective of selection and from a materialistic perspective. Science provides a wonderful explanation of the material, an objective truth about material phenomena - I agree with you entirely. However, there is no 'beyond' and therefore no explanation or no desire to explore anything outside of the material world. So, I take it that you believe ego/mind/self to be epiphenomenal in origin?

Yes, but then so is multicellular life and everything that occurred as a result of natural selection. As a point of clarification, I wouldn't say there is no "beyond" or anything outside the material world - just that if we could sense it or perceive it, then it would be technically part of our material word and not be "beyond" anymore... and if we can't sense it or perceive it - what exactly can be explored about it and said about it?

 

If you are talking about the "non-material world" in terms of the intangible thoughts in our minds - I'm definitely enjoy exploring that. For instance natural selection may have driven us towards seeking inner peace, but it is still a personal experience as to how one chooses to explore it and what meaning they may take from it. Science isn't really involved at that point.

 

Science may tell me why genetically, I am predisposed to enjoy a beautiful landscape, but it doesn't diffuse the meaning of that experience.

 

Again, I see that you are using a scientific and materialistic basis for your answer which I would expect in a science forum. However, you use deduction and not inductive reasoning as a method of recognising the patterns around you. I would argue that inductive reasoning and insight have a bigger part to play in Science than we would collectively think. Surrender to leaders is a strongly built trend in our social systems. It is taught and quietly internalised and then propagated. We are breeding generations who do not want to think 'out of the box' because of the fear of what is outside. It is social engineering in my opinion, not an automatic instinctive process. But we can agree to differ...

Well I've always used inductive reasoning to kick up various ideas that are then vetted with deductive logic, and I just kinda assumed everyone else did this to. I really don't see much use for inductive logic past that of a "first net" to catch patterns that are later vetted. Maybe you could explain how you feel it would play a bigger part in science.

 

With regards to the instinctive process of differing to larger things, I did not mean to say it was an automatic instinctive process, just that the amount of time for which there has been the need to differ as a survival mechanism makes it likely that genes (and therefore instincts) would have been selected around this. (Actually, I think that's inductive logic there. :D) I also agree society plays a big role in how it is amplified. Regardless of the origin, it still makes sense that it would play a role in how religions often include submission to an abstract ego, instead of solely the abandonment of one's own.

 

padren, I know next to nothing about Nietzsche, apart from a couple of his books but his thoughts on the death of the human 'God' seem to point towards the reconstruction of thought and desire. I agree with you. However, let's be quite clear that his message was nihilistic (life is meaningless etc...) and that the 'God' figure is replaced by man himself by his reconstructive process to reconfigure his 'hard disk drive' so to speak. Your knowledge of Nietzcshe is quite correct in my limited view.

Well, there's nihilism and then there's nihilism. I thought the main reason for coming up with the "Superman" was to counter the nihilism already emerging as "God was dying" so to speak. Essentially it was a philosophy that could be embraced despite nihilism, yet able to bring somebody out of the destructive trappings that nihilism can have for many people, especially when they have just "woken up" to a nihilistic view after a lifetime of other views.

 

Reminded me of a quote I read a while back (apparently, from Joss Whedon, Buffy) "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."

 

A lot of the negativity around nihilism (and I am not even sure the definition really applies) is that it's easy to associate the feeling "that there is no greater meaning" with the feeling of "loss of one's birthright." We often come to the conclusion that there is no greater meaning only after having already believed we are part of a greater plan. It's like having something you never owned stolen from you. In that moment of being somewhat cheesed, it's easy to see someone taking nihilism to a pretty dark place - no morality, no one to catch you if you cause suffering... but the truth is you always still have what you have. The sun doesn't have to be divine to feel warm, and the chemical causes behind the sensation of pleasure doesn't make it feel any less nice on a spring day.

 

Anyway, after writing that and then doing a little looking around, I found that naturally, Nietzsche stated his views on nihilism best, found here:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism#Nietzsche

 

It's a good read, as he thought of nihilism as a very dangerous crisis, and one to be overcome.

I was wrong on that point, it was not logical to get to the point of world domination and destruction, but the Nazis miscontrued the Nietzschean message and disaster followed anyway.

 

I'd say the Nazi's misappropriated the Nietzsche's message, as they did with countless things to ever increase their justifications for what they were doing and planning to do.

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The human ego was not always there. It is relatively new in terms of evolution. Apes have an inner self, but they don't have an ego which allows then free choice. The inner self choses for them within the guideline of their natural instincts. The human ego is a mixed blessing. Free choice breaks us free from the limitations of nature and instinct. The ego can help program the inner self and collective unconscious, which in turn, can evolve the human mind and human nature. But the ego can also program archetypes and the inner self in an unnatural way. War is not natural.

 

Let me give an easier example of the programming effects. Our sexual drive is connected to an archetype or two from the collective unconscious. Human sexuality is more than just a chemical impulse, since it involves personality dynamics connected to the mating rituals. It is brain intensive, also making use of the imagination.

 

The ego, which has free choice, adds its own two cents to the natural programming as the archetype(s) collects data. All that needs to happen, is a chemical trigger that induces neuron branching toward a given archetype structure. This potential to branch creates the potential for memory, via the natural learning potential created and sensory expectation. The archetype of sexuality makes us expect to see sexuality even before it enters the eyes. We don't expect to see food unless two archetypes overlap. The archetype heads toward a natural steady state neural structuring for behavior, with the ego adding its two cents via its role in the unique memory details. We get a composite effect.

 

The cultural superego can play a role in specifying how this composite needs to occur; male must tip hat, not open the door when mating female, have sex at 13 or not until married, etc. This becomes programmed into the natural. Nature may not have chosen this or maybe it might have. The final archetype reflects the composite memory.

 

The ego will also add it own two cents, maybe through copying others or through learning smaller group propaganda, to add memories to the form. The final results be close to natural or can get bizarre. Just go to the internet and see some bizarre ego composite programming.

 

Nietzsche's superman simply uses a different archetype for the special effect. This archetype firmware also has natural learning potential down a different line of sensory/imaginary expectation. The ego can make the composite archetype better or worse.

 

Since natural comes from the inner self, which is the main frame, a counter position can form in the unconscious if the ego is too far off natural. This can lead to the need for ego over compensation; superman. The ancients saw this and tried to become more natural. First they needed to isolate the various archetypes, and then attempt to reverse the effect of collective and personal ego-centric programming. Often this required isolation from the cultural superego to prevent constant reprogramming. It might also require denying the ego to remove preprogrammed bias.

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Yes, but then so is multicellular life and everything that occurred as a result of natural selection. As a point of clarification, I wouldn't say there is no "beyond" or anything outside the material world - just that if we could sense it or perceive it, then it would be technically part of our material word and not be "beyond" anymore... and if we can't sense it or perceive it - what exactly can be explored about it and said about it?

 

What if an entity from the beyond wanted to make contact and communicated with you? This is the position I hold at present, after years of (shallow) reading of philosophy and religion. If there is a God, He wants to communicate and the religious books are evidence of His existence. In my view, I can prove the existence of God to my satisfaction.

 

If you are talking about the "non-material world" in terms of the intangible thoughts in our minds - I'm definitely enjoy exploring that. For instance natural selection may have driven us towards seeking inner peace, but it is still a personal experience as to how one chooses to explore it and what meaning they may take from it. Science isn't really involved at that point.

 

Science may tell me why genetically, I am predisposed to enjoy a beautiful landscape, but it doesn't diffuse the meaning of that experience.

 

Agreed. In my opinion, the only true freedom humanity has is in our thoughts. Take that freedom away using 'thought police' and you have complete oppression.

 

In regard to induction, I may be wrong but, as a researcher, I experience the 'Aha!' moment which seemed to come from nowhere. Actually it may have been a generalisation built upon deductive reasoning. This reasoning may have occurred 'silently' using models that were internalised but never expressed. A better example would come from the stock market where decisions by some stockbrokers are uncannily accurate and may depend on a form of inductive reasoning. http://www.myarticlearchive.com/articles/8/118.htm

 

 

With regards to the instinctive process of differing to larger things, I did not mean to say it was an automatic instinctive process, just that the amount of time for which there has been the need to differ as a survival mechanism makes it likely that genes (and therefore instincts) would have been selected around this. (Actually, I think that's inductive logic there. :D) I also agree society plays a big role in how it is amplified. Regardless of the origin, it still makes sense that it would play a role in how religions often include submission to an abstract ego, instead of solely the abandonment of one's own.

 

That is a neatly tied up conclusion padren :). However, I think there is still a lot to be learnt about the evolution of instinct and I would argue that this form of evolution is not well explained, and that sound scientific conclusions are also problematic. However, that is a separate thread....

 

 

A lot of the negativity around nihilism (and I am not even sure the definition really applies) is that it's easy to associate the feeling "that there is no greater meaning" with the feeling of "loss of one's birthright." We often come to the conclusion that there is no greater meaning only after having already believed we are part of a greater plan. It's like having something you never owned stolen from you. In that moment of being somewhat cheesed, it's easy to see someone taking nihilism to a pretty dark place - no morality, no one to catch you if you cause suffering... but the truth is you always still have what you have. The sun doesn't have to be divine to feel warm, and the chemical causes behind the sensation of pleasure doesn't make it feel any less nice on a spring day.

 

Agreed. I actually regard this particular world-view as both honest and logical in the absence of proof of the existence of an unseen God. As such, I respect it but wish to disagree - you see, I think I have found the proof.

Thanks for the Nietzsche link. I will read it. However, reading a bit of Nietzsche from his writings proved to be a roller-coaster ride full of contradiction and confusion. I could not find a strong consistent thread in what I read except for his contempt of the religious man (possibly a rebellion to his Lutheran upbringing) and a strong sense that man needs to overcome his own suffering and weaknesses stemming from a morality based upon religion up to that point (correct me if I am wrong here).

 

I would like to agree to differ on our world-views but to agree that beauty and peace are one to a believer or to an atheist. With that thought - Peace.


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If we go even deeper, we enter aspects of the archetypes that are more what we would consider human nature. These are separated into two overlapping groups; archetypes of relationship and archetypes of meaning. The first help humans to relate to not only other humans, but to nature, to things, to ideas, etc. The archetypes of meaning give humans the ability to question, learn and figure things out.

 

Running the collective unconscious is the inner self, which uses the archetypes sort of like the ego uses the persona. The archetypes are the many masks of the inner self. But unlike the persona, which is learned, the archetypes are part of natural wiring.

 

In other words, are you saying that the idea of a 'self' is an emergent phenomenon from the noise of neuronal firings that comprise the epiphenomenological 'pond' of the brain?

 

The archetypes are empty at birth and gather memory as they progress and branch, with the ego (and superego) playing a role in the progressing memory grids. This is analogous to helping dad build a wall. Dad is skilled at the wall building, but allows the ego (child) to add bricks at the same time. The ego's bricks may not fully line up being less than natural. This can cause neurosis.
Are you sure here? I thought the idea of a blank slate, or tabula rasa was a now forgotten hypothesis and that babies are born with certain 'archetypes' already in place. Certainly educationalists seem to recognise that babies at a young age are aware of certain 'cause and effect' relationships.

 

The avoidance of the ego, that is characterized by many religions attempts to limit the influence of the ego relative to archetype progression, so it develops naturally. The persona is often fad dependent and therefore temporal. This is crumbly bricks for something more natural. The idea of losing the ego is let dad do the wall building. With the archetypes made more natural, when the inner self generates its mini-me or the ego, the new ego is more natural. One has to lose their presumed self (ego) to gain their inner self. Then the ego returns, reborn.

 

Quite a romantic idea here pioneer, I see you are trying to think from your own particular paradigm:)

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