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Isn’t this a fine definition of pantheism, from Pulitzer Prize winning Philosopher/Historian Will Durant?

I find in the universe so many forms of order, organization, system, law, and adjustment of means to ends, that I believe in a cosmic intelligence, and I conceive God as the life, mind, order, and law of the world.

I do not understand my God, and I find in nature and history many instances of apparent evil, disorder, cruelty, and aimlessness. But I realize that I see these with a very limited vision, and that they might appear quite otherwise from a cosmic point of view. How can an infinitesimal part of the universe understand the whole? We are drops of water trying to understand the sea.

I believe that I am the product of a natural evolution. The logic of evolution seems to compel determinism, but I cannot overcome my direct consciousness of a limited freedom of will.

I believe that if I could see any form of matter from within, as I can see myself through introspection, I should find in all forms of matter something akin to what in ourselves is mind and freedom.

Regarding life after death he goes on to say:

I suspect when I die I shall be dead. I would look upon endless existence as a curse–as did the Flying Dutchman and the Wandering Jew. Death is life’s greatest invention, perpetually replacing the worn with the new.
(((WWW))) beep beep

4 Comments

  • I heard that recently on NPR. Seems to me you’re kind of quote mining there. Here’s the whole thing from the “This I believe” website:

    “I find in the universe so many forms of order, organization, system, law, and adjustment of means to ends, that I believe in a cosmic intelligence, and I conceive God as the life, mind, order, and law of the world.

    I do not understand my God, and I find in nature and history many instances of apparent evil, disorder, cruelty, and aimlessness. But I realize that I see these with a very limited vision, and that they might appear quite otherwise from a cosmic point of view. How can an infinitesimal part of the universe understand the whole? We are drops of water trying to understand the sea.

    I believe that I am the product of a natural evolution. The logic of evolution seems to compel determinism, but I cannot overcome my direct consciousness of a limited freedom of will.

    I believe that if I could see any form of matter from within, as I can see myself through introspection, I should find in all forms of matter something akin to what in ourselves is mind and freedom.

    I define virtue as any quality that makes for survival, but as the survival of the group is more important than the survival of the average individual, the highest virtues are those that make for group survival–love, sympathy, kindliness, cooperation. If my life lived up to my ideals I would combine the ethics of Confucius and Christ–the virtues of a developing individual with those of the member of a group.

    I was a Socialist in my youth and sympathized with the Soviet regime until I visited Russia in 1932; what I saw there led me to deprecate the extension of that system to any other land. Experience and history have taught me the instinctive bases and economic necessity of competition and private property.

    I am not so fanatical a worshiper of liberty as some of my radical or conservative friends. When liberty exceeds intelligence, it begets chaos, which begets dictatorship. We have too much economic liberty in the later nineteenth century, due to our free land and our relative exemption from external danger. We have too much moral liberty today, due to increasing wealth and diminishing religious belief. The age of liberty is ending, under the pressure of external dangers; the freedom of the part varies with the security of the whole.

    I do not resent the conflicts and difficulties of life. In my case, they have been far outweighed by good fortune, reasonable health, loyal friends, and a happy family life. I have met so many good people that I have almost lost my faith in the wickedness of mankind.

    I suspect when I die I shall be dead. I would look upon endless existence as a curse–as did the Flying Dutchman and the Wandering Jew. Death is life’s greatest invention, perpetually replacing the worn with the new. And after twenty volumes, it will be sweet to sleep.”

    That he is obviously socialist, and believes in Social Darwinism makes his statements obviously suspect.

  • If he was a philosopher in anything, he would not bother about those prizes, peculiarly because they given by ignorants about matters of which they ignore the nature and meaning. He would not speak in such a way as he does, pretending without proving.

    A thinker has enough of priests to carry dogmatic speeches to not arrogantly pretend to know as they do.

  • It is a fine piece. Very profound, if one does believe in intelligent higher powers.
    If I were Pantheist it might become a mantra.

    {You’re so cute {{Rico}}, I just want to beep your nose!}

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