How Smart is God? by Lee Horstman

If you were as smart as God, what would you do?

I have long been fond of this mental exercise or gedanken (thought) experiment.

Well, first of all, I would not want my enemies to know how smart I am.

This obvious corollary – it seems obvious to me – explains so much. It explains, for starters, why they who in ignorance construct elaborate theories about why God does not exist seem to carry the day. They do indeed seem to carry the day. In all these thousands of years since Socrates and before, thinkers as noble as Spinoza, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine, Immanuel Kant – many of them mystics of evidently singular depth – have sought for a penetrating rational demonstration that God irrefutably exists; whilst, a sort of loyal opposition featuring thinkers such as Bertrand Russell, have similarly sought to demonstrate that, no, God is but a pitiful fiction: a refuge for the weak-minded; a delusion; ‘the opiate of the masses;’ an anthropomorphic conceit. And so on. It seems to be so clear-cut a standoff, does it not? I say it’s a precisely balanced standoff. And moreover a very deliberate one. Thus is freedom vouchsafed. Freedom after all is paramount. Without freedom where is love? Freedom is the necessary oxygen for love. Thus we behold a cosmos well furnished with all manner of freedoms: freedoms great and small; all of them orbiting merrily within a sort of lawful superstructure that implies, every so slyly, that we inhabit something grander than just random cosmic soup. We inhabit in point of fact ‘the mind of God;’ withal, a mind subtle indeed. I will say it this way: a mind of boundless precision and intelligence; every inch the match for a nature possessed as well of boundless compassion, forbearance, love. While the antithesis of either, or both, might bloom for a day here or there, all such counterpoint but reinforces the cosmical leitmotif of wisdom most artfully veiled; love most adroitly shown. And vice versa.

So while it is in fact structurally impossible to ever construct an airtight rational ‘proof’ of God’s even mere existence, let alone whether God might be smart or not, by the very same token it is structurally impossible to ever construct an airtight rational proof of God’s nonexistence. Is this a fluke? Not. It accomplishes two things. First. It represents an ambuscade behind which God is permanently hidden: never, by mere rationality alone can God ever be accessed. Suggestions for and against can endlessly be mounted. Such playful efforts in each direction last forever. Each effort is as endless as the number “pi.” (Thanks to recent computer power this number has been taken out, now, to several hundred decimal places; yep, still no end in sight).

In sum it takes a supra-rational (not irrational) struggle, to arrive to…intelligent infinity.


[1] Briefly, I affirm cafeteria-style religionism: a little of this, a little of that, and mix to your – the seeker’s – taste. That this is a virtue and not a vice. My own plate seeks to reflect the virtue of the Trimarga (three paths) Yoga (Bhakti- / Karma- / Jnana-yoga), as recommended by Aurobindo among others. The Bhagavad Gita; The Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object and Without a Subject; and, The Law of One books:

These three highly disparate tomes have by far the largest impact upon my seeking for – and to notable degree finding – the Presence of God. ‘Be results oriented; not technique oriented.’ With this in mind I continue, always, to canvas for the teachings of seekers whose wisdom / love // love / wisdom, might impart yet further clarity upon ‘godnature.’

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.’ Continue reading

Is Science Irrational about God?

A casual conversation with Larry Horstman

Question to Larry: Why is science so resistant to the study of consciousness broadly considered, not to mention transcendental consciousness, aka God? Larry, on page 35 of The Lotka Hypothesis you say, “…the science of today supplies no explanation for or guidance concerning the things that matter most to us—our passions, hopes, dreams, desires, ideals, or criteria for daily decisions.” Should not science be curious about metaphysical things? Mathematics is purely a priori and yet it is an essential tool in science. Is it an element of irrationality in rational science to ignore the things that matter most to us?

Off-the-cuff, email, reply: The usual popular meaning of “irrational”, as in “irrational exuberance” (Greenspan), means not guided by reason. But my studies have led me to the conviction that underlying all behavior and attitudes are logical systems, in a special sense subdivided below.

Axioms and Logical Systems

Now, the usual meaning of a “logical system” has as its archetype classical Euclidean geometry, consisting at root of a set of axioms from which are deduced all sorts of theorems. They are indubitably true, given the axioms. Of course, we now know that if you alter the axioms, you get a different logical system, e.g., if you alter the parallel axiom of Euclid (that parallel lines never meet) you get new and different logical systems.

Further investigation in many areas has led me to the conviction that not only all of the classical western philosophies are also logical systems, but so are religions. In other words, all religions are philosophies in the sense that they are predicated on a few axioms (God is this or that …) from which follow the entire structure resting upon them. Continue reading