S: Q, do you believe that there is a god?
Q: That’s a meaningless question. To ask that without defining what a “god” is means nothing. Without a definition to work from, one can define anything to be a “god” and then proclaim that yes there is or no there isn’t. It is only meaningful to define what a god is and then ask that question.
S: Well, one idea is that god is simply the totality of the universe, of all of existence and how it works.
Q: I won’t necessarily argue with that. However, at that point it becomes an issue just of word choice. The difference between calling it the universe and calling it god then means nothing. So while I won’t really say that’s not the case, I don’t think it has any spiritual significance if you define god that way.
S: Well, a more traditional view might be described as a being with agency that controls what happens in the universe.
Q: In that case, I can’t say for certain either way. I mean, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so I won’t definitively say that such a god does not exist. To do that would be dogmatic. However, I feel like the possibility that there likely is one is just a weird place to start from if you have no reason to believe so, which is the case for me. Because of that, and because of my experience with the world, I would guess that there probably isn’t. However, I can’t be sure. That being said, if there is, it’s a really shitty god, and I would never worship something so awful.
S: Q, do you believe that there is a god?
A kamikaze pilot in the air.
He must be crazy.
A kid ships off to Afghanistan.
It’s an honor to die for your country.
Some of us were waiting for god,
and some of us were waiting for dough,
but we were all just waiting for Godot,
and I didn’t know what to say when they asked me why.
There we were,
and Jane was smoking a cigarette,
and Mark was telling a story about when he took acid and saw the asphalt as a bunch of baby squid,
and we were tucked away in a small corner of the universe,
in a small apartment rich with the soft glow of youth,
somewhere lost in the night,
and the nothingness of our existence was heavy in the air.
There was a certain warmth from the dim light
and casual conversation,
juxtaposed against the dark, silent street just outside,
and when I wandered out there in a few hours,
I would again be cold,
and I would be alone,
and the night was still there,
and the existential void was still there,
but I was okay with that.
I like math, I like science, and I like logic. Because of this, I have often tended to put a lot of faith in reason. But, see, the problems already start there: faith in reason? But faith and reason are opposites! Oh boy… Over time, I have come to grow much less trustful of reason as something that has that much use in philosophy. In math, science, and logic, sure it’s useful. But when we get to philosophy, we find that it tends to fall short. Even if it can be useful, it never seems to be enough. So then that whole idea of basing everything on reason seems to crumble (sorry, Descartes). Most of the central questions of philosophy seem to be things that will just never be definitely answered. Reason alone won’t help us do things like develop an ethical system, and I doubt that we’ll ever just stumble upon a basis for absolute morality that was right there on the coffee table all along while we were tearing apart the whole house looking for it. This puts us me in a position where I wonder whether there’s even any point to trying to answer these questions. Sure, our search for answers may give us some insight, but it seems silly to keep chasing after answers at which we know we won’t arrive. Perhaps there is some way to gain insight without engaging in a futile pursuit. I feel like maybe the answer is blurring the lines between art and philosophy. I think Camus did a lot of that. One might feel like that disintegrates the rational dignity of philosophy, but it seems as though there was not much of that rational dignity in the first place. A friend of mine looks at philosophy as art. I think there may be a lot of validity to that. Perhaps philosophy should drop some of its pretense of being a rational endeavour. Perhaps art and philosophy should become one. Perhaps they already are. I think that maybe the diverse, often contradictory insights on human experience, taken together, offer a better portrait than any rational analysis has or could.
When she used the word “destitute,” an image came up of some eternal homeless woman. A dark blue, worn out coat. Dirty blonde hair coming out from under a sad brown cap. The weight of a painful life giving her a somewhat stooped posture. A scene that we abstract in a poem, giving it a certain romantic sadness that evokes enough feeling to make us like the poem, but not enough to ruin our day or anything. But when you see that woman, and we all have, realise that she’s not seeing the æsthetic value. She is just cold, hungry, and hopelessly caked in a filth that is very difficult to escape. But then what is this poem? Do I not do exactly what I’m criticising? Oh, the hypocrisy!
The artist can take her feelings and translate them into something beautiful. I have trouble with this. Inside me, I sometimes feel art. there comes this heightened sensitivity to the emotions of the human soul. This deep and strikingly beautiful feeling of, well, art. It feels as though the songs and poems of the human spirit are inside of me, and I want to let them out in a magnificient flurry of artistic creation. I want to pick up one of my instruments or a pen and express something, soemthing profound, something that moves people. I want to feel a smooth and masterful transition from some vague feeling in me to a work of art. Alas, when I try to make this happen, I find nothing. There is still but a vague feeling. There is not the specificity required to create something. It feels as though something is missing, as though I feel a deep desire to be an artist, but I lack the basic ore required to do so. And then I usually give up. That’s certainly not the way to get anywhere. I think the key may be to just do something. I think writing this is a start.