Tag Archives: Martin Buber

Five common realities – facts en logic 10

Carla, Man and Narrator are walking towards their guest house after their visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce.

“I will come back to the words of Baäl Shem used as guidance in your introduction to “God in search of Man“. I have mixed thoughts on evil that we implicitly carry with us in interconnectedness. In my professional life I had investigated the causes, the facts and logic of evil in warfare. I also wear evil – like all people – in many forms with me; I will come back to this later. I wonder whether in a similar manner all human beings carry a godlike manifestation with them”, asks Carla to Man.

“Your question is a transition to God in the shape of a human being. The Jewish and Christian monotheistic God has created man in his own image [1]. In the Old Testament for Christians and the Tanakh for the Jews, God is described as almighty, invisible and in the core unmentionable. However, God shows many human characteristics: God is attached to loyalty and to a covenant [2], God is angry and jealous at times. The Christian God sends his son in a human form to the earth according to the New Testament. Should we fall back on religion in this description? Is God in human form physically possible? Or should we regard it as wisdom in the form of science together with religion according to Martin Buber?”, says Man.

Feiten en logica 10a[3]

“Interesting question. In nature lower organisms can direct the behaviour and even take over the consciousness of higher organisms for short or long duration. A well-known example is coughing during colds; this coughing is mainly focused on spreading the virus. Less well known examples are: certain fungi take over the behaviour of insects completely to optimize their own chances of reproduction. Ants – infected with fungus spores from the Cordyceps-stem – go to a favourable place located at a high leaf or branch where they bite and die; from the dead ants the fungus grows in this ideal place to spread its spores [4].

Feiten en logica 10b[5]

Another example is the infectious disease rabies that in its furious variant takes over and directs the behaviour of dogs and humans in an optimal way for its own propagation [6]. Conversely, also complex organism can customize the behaviour of simple organisms, such as humans by crop breeding to provide better crop yield in agriculture and varietal selection to achieve bigger and stronger livestock. Let us assume that God is a higher and more complex creature than humans; may God manifest itself in human form? If so, how? If not, why not?”, says Carla.

“During the rise of Christianity there had been a strong ideological struggle [7] over the position of Christ. Finally, this ideological struggle within the Catholic Church has resulted in the doctrine of the Trinity with a father God who had sent his Son to earth for the salvation of humanity and the Holy Spirit. Of this Trinity, the Son of God died on earth just like every human; also the Messiah in the form of son of God is at this point tied to the law of cause and effect. According to Christian doctrine, the Son has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven after 40 days on earth [8].

Feiten en logica 10c[9]

A different approach which I have mentioned before, is that humanity is created in the image of God. Erich Fromm [10] states, on the basis of analysis of the Tanakh [11] and the Talmud that:

“Man can be like God, but man cannot be God” [12].

He mentions that some Rabbinic statements imply that the difference between God and man can disappear, e.g.:

Raba said: If the righteous wanted, they would be creators, for it is written: ‘But your iniquities (unrighteousness) have separated – or forms the difference – between you and your God’ (Isaiah 59:2). Without unrighteousness the human power might match God’s almightiness and mankind would be able to create a world” [13] .

According to Erich Fromm the essence of humans is that mankind transcends its earthly bonds of blood and soil in order to achieve independency and freedom [14]. I think that Erich Fromm – next to “freedom from” – especially refers to “freedom to”. In my opinion, the most surprising fact in this analysis of Erich Fromm is, that – within the metaphor of Indra’s Net – mankind already has the independency and the freedom to the creation of a world within the earthly bonds of blood and soil. In Indra’s Net each glass bead creates the net, and in each glass bead the entire net is reflected without unrighteousness”, says Man.

“Because I was not free of unrighteousness, I have chosen to leave behind the callsign Kṛṣṇa that I had received from my parents in Kenia; at my departure from Amsterdam I had discarded my mask of an Idol due to the unrighteousness of beauty; and by innumerable unrighteousness in the mirror palace inhabited by secret services, my existence laid in smithereens [15]. The seeds of unrighteousness had affected my past incarnations to the marrow: at those moments my life needed another manifestation”, says Narrator.

Feiten en logica 10d[16]

“In my opinion incarnations and manifestations are not God in the shape of a human being. They may be a human being as God according to Erich Fromm”, says Carla.

“It may be different in the case of Kṛṣṇa. Let us discuss this further tonight”, says Man.

Carla, Man and the Narrator arrive at their guest house. Carla will take her afternoon rest and Man and the Narrator will make an afternoon walk.

[1] See from the Old Testament the book Genesis 1:27.

[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_of_the_Covenant and Origo, Jan van, Who are you – a survey into our existence – part 1. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 104 – 106

[3] Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt (1659). Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covenant_theology

[4] See also: http://vorige.nrc.nl/wetenschap/article2327717.ece

[5] Source image and see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordyceps

[6] See also: Quammen, David, Spillover – Animal infections and the next human pandemic. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012, p. 296 – 297. See also: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/rabies.html

[7] See also: MacCulloch, Diarmond, Christianity – The first three thousand Years. New York: Viking, 2010, Part II “One Church, One Faith, One Lord?”

[8] See also: Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51 and Acts of the Apostels 1:1-12 in the New Testament.

[9] Ascencion of Christ by Garofalo, 1520. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_the_Ascension

[10] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Fromm

[11] See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanakh

[12] Bron: Fromm, Erich, Gij zult zijn als Goden (You Shall Be as Gods: a radical interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition (1966)). Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 62

[13] Bron: Fromm, Erich, Gij zult zijn als Goden (You Shall Be as Gods: a radical interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition (1966)). Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 62

[14] Bron: Fromm, Erich, Gij zult zijn als Goden (You Shall Be as Gods: a radical interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition (1966)). Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 64

[15] See also: Leben, Man, Narrator – One Way. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2013

[16] Krishna Mediating between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna

Five common realities – facts en logic 9

Carla, Man and Narrator are walking around the Piazza di Santa Croce.

“I will come back on the synthesis between the world of the Upanishads and the Mahābhārata that Narrator has highlighted. Do you realise the difference between the “Thusness”-aspect and the “Concourse  of Things”-aspect?”, asks Man to Carla and Narrator.

“I have understood your explanation of this difference, but I wonder if in reality there is a difference between “thusness” and “concourse of things”. It seems to me that the “concourse of things” is another way of looking at “thusness”, or do I overlook something?”, says Carla.

“Carla may be right”, says Narrator.

“Carla is right. In my explanation, I have underlined the difference between both aspects to create a look on “Thusness” in two different ways. In the introduction to the “Awakening of Faith” initially the “Thusness”-aspect is indicated by “Thusness in essence (in emptiness and form)”; and “Saṃsāra – or Concourse of Things” is described as “Thusness in manifestations and characteristics”. After that, in the introduction the concepts of “Thusness”-aspect and “Concourse of Things”-aspect are both used to clarify both manifestations of “Thusness”. After reading this introduction I have fully realised what is meant by “evam” as first word – and also as summary – of all the Buddhist Sutras; “evam” includes everything, nothing is excluded”, says Man.

“Also with “evam” I have my usual question about the definition of this fundamental principle. When “evam” is finite, then Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem is applicable on “evam” [1]. But in case “evam” is infinite and all-encompassing, then nothing may exist outside “evam” to prove it or discuss “evam”; in case of infinity and all-encompassiveness, “evam” is by definition complete, because outside “evam” nothing exists. I will leave this question for the time being, because I think the answer is located in the inconceivable”, says Carla.

“It is an introduction to the “Awakening of Faith” and not an introduction to the “Awakening of Science”. The question of “evam” is a religious question; a question to the origin where people can fall back on when they don’t know or they cannot know. I think Carla is right; the answer probably lies in the inconceivable”, says Narrator.

“As stepping stone to “God in search of Man” – the book title includes my first name –, I use the book “Ich und Du” (“I and You”) from 1923 by the religious philosopher Martin Buber [2] (honorary professor in Frankfurt am Main) who in 1938 had escaped from the other regime in Germany by fleeing to Jerusalem. “In the beginning is the relation [3]” according to Martin Buber. Man can only say “I” due to “you” (or “it”), the relationship with others (and things) is dialogical. “I” and “you” are not separate objects or things; there is no “I” without “you”, there exists only a reciprocal relationship to one another. By interpreting this religiously – “In every You, we call the infinite all-encompassing [4]” – the relation with God is dialogic: in the all-encompassiveness we cannot describe God, but we can only appeal; our live is an existential dialog with the infinite all-encompassing “You”. Science together with religion offers no doctrine according to Martin Buber, but wisdom.

feiten en logica 91[5]

I read an example of this wisdom founded in science and religion on the backside of the book “God in search of Man” where the words of Baäl Sjem are mentioned as guidance:

If a man has seen evil, may he make no fuss.

Let he be aware of his own evil, and work hard to avoid it.

Because what he has seen, is also inside him.

Within the framework of the “Awakening of Faith” the words by Baäl Shem are crystal clear; all the good and the evil is – just like you and me – included in “evam” or “Thusness”. All the good and the evil is within us. Would Martin Buber see good and evil as manifestations of “Ich und Du“, as dialogical relationship between me and God, or would he place good and evil into his second dialogical relationship “Ich und Es” (“I and It”) ? I do not know; I’ll leave this question for the time being until we will arrive at God in the shape of a human being during my introduction.

When reading the first chapters of “God in search of Man” – in Sanskrit “Man” means amongst others “to think/consider/observe” – I was struck by the similarities in structure with the “Awakening of Faith”. Abraham Joshua Heschel had chosen the following three ways for this quest for God:

  • God – for Abraham Joshua Heschel this is the unspeakable all-encompassing One from the “Awakening of Faith”.
  • Revelation (unveiling or disclosure)
  • Resonance (respons)

The last two ways for the quest for God show similarities with “evam” where the “revelation” looks like “Thusness in essence (in emptiness and form)” during the transition to “Thusness in manifestations and characteristics” that looks like “resonance”. Is this coincidence or is this a fundamental resemblance with the “Awakening of Faith” of man?”, says Man.

“I think there is a fundamental difference between your introduction to the “Awakening of Faith” on one hand, and the reciprocal relationship between I and you by Martin Buber and the quest of God to human beings on the other hand. In Hua-yen Buddhism there is in principle no other, because all appearances and illusions arise from and are interwoven with “One”. Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel search and/or experience a dialogue with an everlasting all-encompassing You: there is a certain separation between I and You. This is similar to one key question on our quest: “Are you and I connected or are we separated“. I don’t know the answer, but it seems necessary to investigate this question more in depth”, says Carla.

“Maybe both ways of seeing are two manifestations of one and the same within Indra’s Net. Shall we first visit the inside of the Basilica di Santa Croce. Inside is the crucifix that was seriously damaged during the flood in 1996. This may offer a transition to God in the shape of a human being in our world”, says Narrator.

feiten en logica 92[6]

[1] See for a simplified explanation of the evidence of this second incompleteness theorem: Nārāyana, Narrator, “Carla Drift – An Outlier, A Biography”. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 154

[2] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Buber

[3] Source: Buber, Martin, Ik en Jij. Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 24; see also the first sentence in the Gospel of John.

[4] Source: Buber, Martin, Ik en Jij. Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 110, 111

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Buber

[6] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilique_Santa_Croce_de_Florence