Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.

Visions of death and God

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Post Reply
User avatar
Vlad
Posts: 136
Joined: January 12th, 2009, 3:11 am

Visions of death and God

Post by Vlad » February 18th, 2009, 12:34 pm

Image
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk

Visions of death and God

Since boyhood, I have been afflicted by visions of death and God.

I would be very interested to know about other philosophers' experiences with visions.

I don't remember now which happened first?

I was maybe five years old. It was the end of summer and the family was staying at my grandmother's dacha. It was a very gray day. I was down by the water. The sky was gray, the rocky beach was gray, the water was gray. I realized then, It would always be like this, gray.

One night about the same time I couldn't sleep. 'I am going to die.' I thought. And then, 'I'm still a small boy now.' And from that thought, I knew, 'It is certain.' I was at the end of a tunnel. A large rock was coming down the tunnel. It was a very long way off. But it would, certainly, crush me at the end. I broke into tears and called for my mother and father. I got up, it must not have been too late, the lights in the front room were still on. I found my mother sitting. 'I don't want to die!' Mother put me back to bed, and saying, 'You see how old I am. I'm very much older than you are. You won't die for a long time.' At her words I lapsed back into terror, trying to sooth me, she confirmed it, 'Death is certain.'

Another time, I had got into Father's study and was looking through his books, medical texts. One I took down off the shelf, and setting it down, opened it at random. The book opened to one of those black-and-white medical photos of a man with no arms and no legs. I recoiled in horror. To this day, opening anything which might have some unexpected content makes me nervous: a book, a box, a cupboard or drawer...

"If you are squeamish/
Don't prod the beach rubble."

- Sappho


It was years and years before any of this came back to me. Not until I started reading philosophy. And then it did not stop. Every night at falling asleep it is the same: visions of death and God, gasp, terror, sit up, visions of the churning noumena, horror, visions of absurdity and disintegration and disconnection, dread, visions of life's futility and brevity, visions of the endlessness of space and time, and on and on.

A few are memorable. On finishing reading Job, that same night, Why is a horse larger than a donkey? Another time I wished for an erotic vision and it was granted. Religious fanaticism would have been an understatement of my mood in those days. When I read The Birth of Tragedy a line jumped out, it meant exactly my visionary nights, "the terrible truth of existence." And also in Heart of Darkness, the same line, "The horror, the horror."

No one knows who hasn't been there. Philosophy does not come from logic or from scholarship.

Philosophy comes from visions of death and God.

df544
Posts: 98
Joined: February 20th, 2009, 6:17 pm

Post by df544 » February 20th, 2009, 6:51 pm

The terrible truth of existence is not so terrible when you understand the magnificent truth.

Imagine you are sitting in front of a barren desk. You are hungry. Someone comes walking pass you and places an apple on the desk.

By volition, you take and eat it.

You are still hungry.

Somebody else comes along and places another apple o the desk.

By volition, you take and eat it.

You are still hungry.

This goes on until you are no longer hungry.

When you think that the pleasure is "yours" then you become horrified of the thought that that pleasure will end when "you" die.

But you are like the apple. You are the companion of the apple. You are the apple tasting itself.

The creation which is the world in no other than God.

Just like different apples took the turn to be in your presence, your presence takes turns in different humans.

You never die.

You just forget who you are.

Somebody ate that apple before you were born.

The existence of the fruit and the taste of it is obscured by your belief that you will never be able to experience it again.

Once you believe that you are what is behind everything and everyone, you will never be tormented in a belief that you are a body. You transcend everything and anything because you are everything and anything AND you are beyond it.

Post Reply