Stepped-down Versions of God

Conversation with Lee Horstman

Let’s face it. Discussing God has to be this difficult a notion. If “God” – the vast horizon of possibility this term stands for – were easy to discuss, not only would the universe be more boring…we’d be more boring. So, let’s steer between two pitfalls; a Scylla and Charybdis if you will.

Inner Experience —  Primal Imperience

On the one hand is a “stepped-down” version. With some justification it can be said that in different ways the big five [chronologically, Hinduism / Judaism / Buddhism / Christianity / Islam ] do, in fact, stepped-down “God,” such that vast multitudes of people can gain some degree of access to what is meant. What is meant, is core content in the primal imperience (inner experience) of the mystics who founded these religious traditions [in like order, Krishna / Abraham / Gautama Buddha / Jesus / Mohammed ]; and, of the mystics who’ve kept these dispensations refreshed from time to time down through dozens of centuries. So our difficulty in this opposite direction is the profound inscrutability and ineffability and particularity or idiosyncrasy that is native to each and every such imperience.

So in this opposite direction – the effort at a truly penetrating intellectual sophistication – we must rise up so far as possible, without lapsing into any form of obscurantism whether inadvertent or (heaven forbid) intentionally devised: an ambuscade of self-serving disguises concealing ‘not really Knowing.’

Of course, the keenest of articulate and intellectual mystics – and I’ll invoke here the two greatest of these thus far in my opinion, namely, Gautama (563 – 483 B.C.E.), and Franklin Merrell-Wolff (1887-1985 C.E.) – have been the first, in fact, to make it crystal clear that there are yet further depths, which their imperiences hinted at, and yet which were not wholly comprehended or imperienced by them.

Inscrutable God

Translation? The nontrivial mystery and terminal inscrutability of God are indeed terminal. Or, as it has been so well put: “none know God, but God.”

Still let’s press on in the small space remaining to a thumb sketch of what actual God is and isn’t, insofar as our fragile mortal sensibilities can render this intelligible.

God is both a sum total of all that can be called sensible and external, this physical universe in other words; and, a sum total of all that can be called intuitive and internal: the interior psychical universe that to varied degrees we all – and I mean plants and animals and people and psychical beings we cannot ordinarily discern the presence of – “imperience.” But there is yet more, to the God notion: an alternative term for which, is big-C Consciousness or, Consciousness antecedent to any objects whatsoever…and any subjective locii-of-awarenesses whatsoever. Such antecedency is in point of fact a purified absence of unconsciousness, however much, from our perspective we suspect it to be “un”consciousness.

The Grand Abstraction

In summation, Franklin Merrell-Wolff calls it the Grand Abstraction, or Consciousness-Without-an-Object; Buddhists call it primordial consciousness; Christians call it God; and Larry Horstman describes the trans-rational mystery in terms of the psychogenic theory and the Lotka hypothesis.

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