Phantom

What philosophers busily try to put in abstract and often abstruse terms, a mystic simply sees. From time to time, he describes his experience of accidentality of the things created, saying that the world is an illusion. So bluntly expressed, the thought is, of course, unacceptable to the Judaic, Christian or Islamic faiths, because each of them invariably proclaims the reality of all that God has called into existence (otherwise Jesus would only be a phantom), but is traditionally embedded in the Buddhist and Hindu heritage.

What is in the present, on closer examination shrinks to an elusive point, which by definition disappears as soon as we try to catch it. Thus, anything that is “in” time, never “is”; you can talk about it as something that was or will be, but these expressions are only meaningful when the perceiving subject is assumed. Things that do not have memory, owe their continuous identity only to our minds, but in themselves they hold no past and no future, so no identity whatsoever.

We bestow perseverance to the world of things that are subject to destruction, and thus keep it in existence; but in the very act of mental creation of the world, we become aware of the lack of our own identity, if it has to be something more than the content of individual memory. This in turn means that whatever is, is timeless. In this way, we go back to the great initiators of European metaphysics, Parmenides and Heraclitus, who, from two opposite sides, set in motion this dizzying carousel of concepts: what changes, is not; what is, is beyond time; if there is nothing out of time, nothing exist.

Leszek Kolakowski – If there is no God

Published by Diogenes

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