Pandeism suggests that all things are part of the Deus which has chosen to exist as our Universe. This Deus is presumed to be rational (at least to the degree that rational thought is required to create a rational universe, as ours is observed to be), and the further presumption follows that this Deus had a rational purpose in becoming our Universe. Speculation as to this purpose has ranged from the Deus needing to see itself from the perspective of human beings in order to know what it is (Eriugena); to the Deus wanting to experience the foibles and failures of the human experience, and in that way to learn how such experiences of limitation feel (various); to the Deus having a need to experience non-existence itself (Adams).
Our Universe, Pandeism suggests, was set in motion by the Creator's act of becoming it, setting forth the basic laws of physics which would inevitably lead to the origin and evolution of life, and eventually intelligence. The Big Bang is, so far as science has determined, the moment of this creation. The Universe was so designed that no further intervention would be required from the Deus after that moment to carry out the purpose of the design. Scientific investigation and discovery are seen not as an attack on religion, but as a means of discovering the mechanism used by the Deus in setting forth the creation, which is a worthy pursuit.
The moral basis of pandeism is somewhat ambiguous, depending on the view of the purpose of the Deus. One possibility is that, since the Deus created our Universe with no conception of right and wrong, we may exist to teach the Deus these things, and should develop and abide by concepts of right and wrong for the purpose of providing the Deus with our understanding of them. Another possibility arises for those who believe that we will continue to share in the experience of the Deus when our Universe returns to being the Deus. If we share in the experience of the Deus, and the Deus shares in our experience, then each person ultimately shares in every others' experience. If that is so, then whatever harm we do to one another may be experienced by all in the return to the Deus, and we should strive to minimize the suffering that we inflict on others now, in order to preserve ourselves from sharing in that suffering later.
Strains of pandeistic thought are reflected in certain scriptural verses, including those of the Bhagavad Gita, and in the Judeochristian Bible (elucidated further below), especially the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46), where Jesus instructs that whatever people do or fail to do unto the "least of" us, we do unto God; and the Biblical instruction from the Sermon on the Mount that we "turn the other cheek." (Matthew 5:38-42, Luke 6:27-31).
Pandeism explains miracles, and similar metaphysical events such as visions, supposed revelations, and development of scripture, which are reported by adherents to all theistic faiths, as unconscious manifestations of the power of the Deus which underlies the Universe. Thus miracles happen and prayers appear to be answered not because "God" is intervening on behalf of the person seeking assistance, but because that person taps the power of the Deus, but under the illusion that it is the conscious work of a higher power. The universality of these phenomena among people of all difference faiths is is posited as a proof of pandeism as a wider, underlying truth, which explains all such phenomena without need to resort to things such as "evil spirits" to explain why members of contradictory faiths report the same kind of miracles.
Arguments in support of Pandeism
Pandeism dares to ask the fundamental question:
Is the Creator in which you believe powerful enough to set forth the Universe as we experience it -- in every particular -- while needing do nothing more than set forth the energy of this Universe and the governing dynamics which control the behavior of that energy?
Pandeism derives from a logical and rational examination of our Universe itself, to determine the necessary and supportable capacities of an entity responsible for such Creation. In so doing, the theory follows Occam's razor and prizes rational simplicity; that is, it establishes the characteristics that are demonstrably necessary, and it discards all characteristics that are unnecessary, in explaining the existence of our Universe as we experience it. And so, it concludes that such a Creator would need to be exactly intelligent enough and powerful enough to execute such a Creation, and no more. That the power necessary to create our Universe is both the minimal and maximal extent of the Creator's power is necessitated by the need for a rational Universe to be the product of a rational Creator -- one having a rational and compelling motivation to create, for any rational entity capable of fulfilling its needs more efficiently will do so; and yet, here we are!!
Many of the same philosophical arguments used to support theistic belief systems also support a pandeistic system. Pandeism, at the same time lacks various points of weakness with which theistic faiths are often attacked. By far the most effective argument in favor of pandeism is a modified form of the argument from design. Like deism, pandeism accepts scientific evidence of things such as the Big Bang and evolution by natural selection as accurate indicators of the mechanism by which the Universe achieved its current form. However, the fact that the Universe is at all capable of supporting even such processes as these is seen as evidence that the laws of physics were themselves finely tuned to facilitate this outcome. Pandeistic variants of the ontological argument and the argument from contingency have both been argued to be more logically valid for a pandeistic Creator capable of perfecting itself through existence as our Universe.
A variation of Pascal's Wager, called The Pandeist's Wager, extols the logic of behaving as though Pandeism were true, even while acknowledging that an absolute truth can not be known. Unlike theistic faiths however, Pandeism does not suffer from the problem of evil and the absolutely devastating problem of the unevangelized. As to evil, the pandeistic creator is presumed to be limited to the scope of the Universe that it has become. Thus, it has not created evil which it could have prevented. With no revelation asserted and no purported judgment to be imposed, there is no concern that the pandeistic creator has created a merely deterministic Universe, with full foreknowledge of the outcome. Quite the opposite, pandeism proposes a Creator that has no foreknowledge of the specific course of events that will occur within the Universe, and creates the Universe for the very purpose of experiencing that which is unexpected in the outcome.
Continuity with scientific knowledge
Pandeism is notable for explicitly accepting, and even revering, concepts such as chemical abiogenesis and evolution by natural selection, including human evolution from a common ancestor shared with modern apes. A basic assumption of Pandeism is that, in a Universe which is the product of a rationally motivated Creator, scientific inquiry will accurately reveal the mechanisms by which the Universe was designed to operate, which in turn will be shown to derive from a very simple set of principles established with the creation of the Universe.
The scientific plausibility of pandeism was much bolstered in the 2000s by a peer reviewed article titled Emergent Consciousness: From the Early Universe to Our Mind, published by Paola Zizzi, an astrophysicist hailing from the lovely shores of Italy. Zizzi calculated that under a loop quantum gravity theory, the emerging Universe undergoing cosmic inflation could itself have acted as a kind of quantum computer, achieving the threshold of computational complexity sufficient to experience a period of intensive consciousness -- termed "the Big Wow."
Zizzi considers that such a momentarily conscious Universe may itself have had the power to select the conditions for our specific universe, out of a superposed multitude of possibilities. Put more simply, it is mathematically possible that the Universe expanding forth from the Big Bang took upon itself a moment of consciousness, and in this moment exercised the ability to set the future course of the Universe, choosing the one that would achieve the fortuitous results that we now experience.
Stephen Hawking's recent determination that our Universe (and others) needed no Creator to come about inspired the response from Deepak Chopra, interviewed by Larry King, to aver:
"he says in the book that at least 10 to the power of 500 universes could possibly exist in super position of possibility at this level, which to me suggests an omniscient being. The only difference I have was God did not create the universe, God became the universe."Because "Pandeists believe all consciousness, in all life, to be fragments of God's awareness", Such a being may not consciously interact with the material Universe, but might still exert a latent influence over the development of the physical Universe and the evolution of things within it. Because man is part of the material Universe, and therefore composed of remnants of the Deus, it could then be possible for the energy of the Deus to be tapped by an individual.
As with man's ability to release the power of the atom in an atomic bomb or nuclear reactor, every human mind could conceivably access and release some portion of the power or the knowledge of the Deus, perhaps by simply realizing their connection with the Universe through meditation. If this is valid, religious figures such as Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, and others may have been able to perform those miracles attributed to them by tapping into this infinite source of energy.
A History of Pandeism
I. Ancient thought
Components of Pandeism were considered by the ancient Milesian philosopher Anaximander of Miletus, and by the only slightly less ancient Heraclitus of Ephesus, each of whom viewed the universe as a physical construct of some divine material.
When Christianity arose, it brutally and violently displaced nontheological discourse for many centuries. And yet, some clearly pandeist concepts survived to be conveyed in the New Testament. Particularly in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46, popularly known as the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. There Jesus tells of how those who do good things for their fellow men will be blessed, and those who fail to will be cursed, saying to the blessed:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Jesus then also says to the cursed:
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.Here Jesus stunningly conforms to the pandeist view that, the Deus having become the Universe and all things (including people) being part of the Deus, everything that one person does for the benefit of another is experienced by the Deus, and whatever one person fails to do for another (or even whatever harm one person does to another) is experienced by the Deus.
An interesting instance arises in Colassians 1:17, which can be read somewhat more or less pandeistically depending on the particular translation used. The King James Version reports this verse:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist
But the New International Version reports it as:
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together
The latter sentimentation is so expressly pandeistic is to almost shock!!
Paul, as well, confesses as much in Acts 17:27-28, declaring:
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
II. Middle Ages/Industrial Age
In the 9th Century, Christian scholar Johannes Scotus Eriugena proposed in his great work, De divisione naturae, that a four-stage history of the Universe incorporated a pandeistic God. Eriugina contributed to this line of thought the idea that God, as a being above being, could not understand itself unless it viewed itself from the viewpoint of a lesser being than itself. Thus God had to become the universe (and the people in it) in order to understand how God relates to the universe. Eriugena was fortunate that his writings did not come to the attention of the higher hierarchy of the Church until after his death, for his work was eventually condemned as heresy, and he would surely have been tortured to recant it, and then executed for it -- as was the later pantheistic philosopher Giordano Bruno.
Gottfried Große's 1787 annotates his interpretation of the Natural History of Pliny the Elder with the observation:
Beym Plinius, den man, wo nicht Spinozisten, doch einen Pandeisten nennen konnte, ist Natur oder Gott kein von der Welt getrenntes oder abgesondertes Wesen. Seine Natur ist die ganze Schöpfung im Konkreto, und eben so scheint es mit seiner Gottheit beschaffen zu seyn.
As translated, Große intones, the spiritual motivator envisioned by Pliny makes him not a Spinozist, but "perhaps a Pandeist" for whom Nature is not a being which is divided off or separated from the world. For him, nature is the whole of creation, solidified, and such appears as well to be true of his divinity. Now, it is quite possible that Große made a spelling error, rather than a linguistic innovation, for his discussion is equally consonant with pantheism; the God thus described is synonymous with nature, there being no certain allusion to a God preexisting its Creation. By contrast, the first invective expressly condemning pandeism came from an Italian, though not until the 1838, when Italian phrenologist Luigi Ferrarase attacked the indubitably pandeistic philosophy of Victor Cousin, writing:
Farebbe mestieri far aperto gli errori pericolosi, cosi alla Religione, come alla Morale, di quel psicologo franzese , il quale ha sedotte le menti (COUSIN), con far osservare come la di lui filosofia intraprendente ed audace sforza le barriere della sacra Teologia, ponendo innanzi ad ogn' altra autorità la propria : profana i misteri , dichiarandoli in parte vacui di senso, ed in parte riducendoli a volgari allusioni, ed a prette metafore ; costringe , come faceva osservare un dotto Critico, la rivelazione a cambiare il suo posto con quello del pensiero istintivo e dell' affermazione senza riflessione e colloca la ragione fuori della persona dell'uomo dichiarandolo un frammento di Dio, una spezie di pandeismo spirituale introducendo, assurdo per noi, ed al Supremo Ente ingiurioso, il quale reca onda grave alla libertà del medesimo, ec, ec.Ferrarese thusly characterized Cousin's doctrine as one which "locates reason outside the human person, declaring man a fragment of God, introducing a sort of spiritual Pandeism, absurd for us, and injurious to the Supreme Being."
It was not until the 1850s that Pandeism got rolling as a serious school of thought. In that decade, Dutch naturalist Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn's four volume treatise, Java, seine Gestalt, Pflanzendecke, und sein innerer Bau (Images of Light and Shadow from Java's interior) was banned in Germany for rejecting Christianity and, in its place, detailing a pandeistic religious philosophy incorporating deism and pantheism. If the earlier, possibly incidental uses are disregarded, then it was in 1859 that this philosophy was formally named by German philosophers and frequent collaborators Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, in their Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft. They wrote:
Man stelle es also den Denkern frei, ob sie Theisten, Pan-theisten, Atheisten, Deisten (und warum nicht auch Pandeisten?) (Man leaves it to the philosophers, whether they are Theists, Pan-theists, Atheists, Deists (and why not also Pandeists?))
IV. Twentieth Century and Beyond
In the 1940s, theologian Charles Hartshorne scrupulously examined and rejected both deism and pandeism (as well as pantheism) in favor of a God whose characteristics included "absolute perfection in some respects, relative perfection in all others" or "AR", writing in Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism that this theory "is able consistently to embrace all that is positive in either deism or pandeism", concluding that "panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations". Pandeists would argue, however, that the negations of pandeism are not arbitrary at all, but instead derive from logical examination of the universe.
In 1995, Jim Garvin, a Vietnam veteran who became a Trappist monk in the Holy Cross Abbey of Berryville, Virginia, and went on to lead the economic development of Phoenix, Arizona, described his spiritual position as "'pandeism' or 'pan-en-deism,' something very close to the Native American concept of the all- pervading Great Spirit..."
Other noted pandeists, or persons who leaned towards Pandeism, have included Victor Hugo and Alfred Tennyson. Most recently cartoonist Scott Adams proposed a form of Pandeism as the basis of the philosophy in his book, God's Debris. Adams describes God blowing itself up in order to discover what the effect of its nonexistence would be, leaving behind the debris from which the universe is made.
The 2006 film, The Fountain, depicts Mayan mythology as describing a world made from the body of the "First Father", who sacrificed his own life to become the world. But the film-makers took great liberties with the mythology, which is in fact more polytheistic than pandeistic.
Emerging Schools of Thought Within Pandeism
In discourse of late, three distinct schools of thought have arisen within pandeism, and these can be called "spiritual pandeism," "radical pandeism," and "scientific pandeism." Spiritual pandeists are the largest group among these, believing that our Creator consciously became our Universe to share in the experiences of all that exists, as a means of learning things that it could not experience in its native state. It is generally put forth that this is the idea expressed by Eriugena, and which first formally came to light in a 1787 exposition on Pliny the Elder, and has since been most vigourously developed.
Radical pandeists, probably the most minute position, espouse a Creator intentionally destroying itself, effectively a deitic suicide, with its debris forming our Universe, and retaining an essence of the Creator which imbues it with its tendency to self-organise towards the Creation of life. This is consonant with the theory written by Scott Adams. Though most pandeists do not adopt so stark a position, critics of Pandeism often seize upon this minor version and errantly portray its particular claims as central to the whole of the theory. Conversely, the last grouping, the scientific pandeists believe, generally, that the universe is to be revered as our Creator (or, if not actively revered, to be treated as the equivalent of), but not for any metaphysical basis to its existence; it is under this theory that Zizzi's idea falls of the Big Bang-era Universe experiencing a quantum moment of consciousness or other natural phenomena permitting its self-organisation towards the creation of intelligent and self reflective life, but that this was a purely scientific phenomenon, and one that does not continue. It is also under this theory that Robert G. Brown's explication of God-as-Universe can be classed.
The Pandeist's Wager
The Pandeist's wager is a variation on Pascal's Wager putting forth arguments that the formula of Pascal's Wager, if applied to Pandeism against either Atheism or any Theism (broadly conceived), favors carrying forth in life as though Pandeism were true. Mind that Pascal's Wager is actually not concerned with the possibility of God existing, but with the logic of believing in a God, (or a Deus) whether one exists or not. Pascal well understood that the weighing of probability was in order, and that the weight to be accorded each possibility must take into account the consequences of a wrong choice.
Pascal insists: "You must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is."
Pascal presumed that failure to believe in a God who exists causes the unbeliever to be denied fruits—potentially infinite—that the believer obtains. But Pascal also says "If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is." Pascal agrees that we can not know if God exists, but it also reminds us that we could never not know God's nature! Pascal's conclusion, that it is mathematically a safer bet to believe in God, incorporates belief that the potential gain from believing is "infinite," the potential loss, finite.
The flaws in Pascal's Wager have been aggressively attacked. Though the Wager favors belief in God, the premise is equally applicable to all sects, leading J.L. Mackie to observe that "the church within which alone salvation is to be found is not necessarily the Church of Rome, but perhaps that of the Anabaptists or the Mormons or the Muslim Sunnis or the worshipers of Kali or of Odin." Theological systems to be counted include all that have long since been relegated to forgotten ages, or have not yet been devised or "discovered". Even conceiving a new idea of God necessarily introduces another possibility, however remote the concept may be from reality. and with the infinite number of possible Gods, the Wager fails to tell us which one, and in fact suggests that we must believe in all of them (or at least, any of them who promise an "eternal reward" for fealty).
Atheists, naturally, consider worship of a nonexistent God to be a substantial cost. The atheistic position is: non-religious life avoids waste of time, resources invested in religion, and strife caused by religion. but this approach puts too high a premium on time away from religious activities -- to many, group religious activities are a joyful and profoundly pleasurable experience; Atheists are correct in contending that one can have a sense of purpose in life absent faith, but it is possible to simultaneously have both nonspiritual and spiritual feelings of this type, so there is no inherent detriment to be derived from having a spiritual sense of purpose!
If the only flaw with Pascal's Wager were the difficulty of choosing the "right" God, it could easily fall into doctrinal arguments over the quality of textual evidence favoring one or another, but a much deeper problem is the presumption that the "correct" God will be one that rewards belief and punishes nonbelief, irrespective of the conduct of the non-believer. here, Pandeism offers yet another approach to Pascal's wager: rational assessment of the probabilities in play.
If there is any basis to believe based on possible negative consequences of failing to do so, it follows that the first situation to be examined should be whichever model of God is logically the most likely to be true. logically incoherent models must be eliminated. But what logic would have us adhere to a God that punishes good people for non-belief, or those having faith but in the wrong characterization of God? And in particular, what sort of God would punish a person for developing an understanding of the Universe that comports with that person's actual experience of the Universe?
The God presented by theistic faiths typically has absolute power to control the life experience that presents itself to people. Suppose such a God were to punish people for their beliefs when such beliefs are exactly what life's experience has led those people to deem reasonable -- this being would either be outright evil or at best insane, in a random sort of way. Imagine if God that informed the souls coming before it that they were to be punished for believing that the sky was blue when, God reveals, the blueness was only an illusion meant to hide the fact that the sky was green; imagine that God went on to declare that only those who correctly came to the belief that the sky was green would be rewarded! An evil God is, naturally, unlikely to actually give an "infinite reward" to anyone, and if God is insane, then there is really no telling who God would reward or punish, and for what!
But Pascal is clearly right that we must make this wager, and since the wager itself is required of us, reason demands that the examination must follow! Richard Carrier argued that if a God exists who rewards moral goodness, such a God would be unlikely to reward those who unquestioningly believe in the face of physical evidence countering those beliefs. such rote belief is indicative of a morally lazy mind, for a truly moral person would be intent on discovering truth, and would vigorously and rigorously question every belief that counters the available evidence: "since this knowledge requires knowledge about many fundamental facts of the universe (such as whether there is a god), it follows necessarily that such people must have a significant and trustworthy concern for always seeking out, testing, and confirming that their beliefs about such things are probably correct."
Carrier delimits that the people who meet this moral criteria as "intellectually committed but critical theists, and intellectually committed but critical nontheists". examining the evil that exists, he presumes that the world must be a test to determine which people have the requisite morality to end up in one of those categories. expounding on the evils ordered or directly carried out by the Biblical God, and the failure of God to intervene to prevent evils in the modern world, since "only an evil god would probably allow such things," Carrier concludes that not only must Bible-God be false, but that the world must be a test to see who can break away from that belief and accept that such a God does not exist, and that only the truly moral will be able to carry on nonbelief "in the face of assertions, threats and promises of reward".
This also fails to examine the probability of a God who rewards or punishes at all. If the nature of the Universe indicates that the Deus is either unconcerned with rewards and punishments, or unable to distribute them, the argument ceases to have any force as a reason to believe--but does not thereby become an argument that lack of belief is the correct position.
With Pandeism, a more sublime alternative emerges: if the purpose of the Universe is for the Deus to experience the existence of the Universe, then whatever behavior human beings engage in becomes part of that experience. If any sort of afterlife exists, it may involve being sustained as a consciousness within the continuing experience of the Deus, sharing in the whole body of those experiences. so, immoral conduct during life is not what theistic texts propound, but what contributes to the sharing of negative experiences by that collective of minds sustained in the continuing experience of the Deus. Naturally, the person who inflicts misery on others in life, would experience the very misery of his own victims.
If an afterlife that exists where our actions rebound upon us in this way, it would make sense to proceed with our lives as though every misery we exact upon another will someday be our own misery, and every joy that we bring to another will someday be our own joy! Note carefully, this is not an argument for belief in a Deus that brings about such a result, even if the result is necessarily brought about by the nature of the Deus. Pascal's Wager asks that we engage in behavior that non-believers would be right in considering wasteful if there turned out to be no God (or a God different from the one to whom belief was directed). The Pandeist's Wager runs exactly counter to this, insisting that we engage in behavior that enriches our own lives and the lives of others, maximizing positive physical and emotional experience while minimizing the negative. No waste inheres in such a consequence, even from the point of view of the committed non-believer -- so instead of proposing an infinite win for the person who calls out the correct name of God and an infinite loss for all others, this view proposes an infinite win for all who devote their time on Earth to bettering the life of others while enjoying their own, and provides a rational spiritual basis for acting in exactly this manner!
In human anatomy, the word ketosis identifies a metabolic state wherein the liver begins to break down the body's natural stores of fat, using them to fulfill the needs of fuel-starved organs. Since the cells of the human body are generally understood to prefer glucose as an energy source, this condition signals starvation, whether through involuntary deprivation or voluntary fasting. Continuation of such a lack of proper nutrition for an extended period, will prompt the body to proceed to catabolysis, breaking down tissue not only from fat, but also from muscle and non-vital organs. The body begins to digests itself, to sustain those functions needed to keep the brain and central nervous system alive.
Ketosis is derived from German keton, a shortened form of the German word Aketon, meaning "acetone." This in turn may be traced to the French acétone, which in turn derives from the Latin acetum – vinegar – from the Latin verb acere, to be sour (and what a sour experience it must be, to digest oneself!!).
There exists, quite by coincidence, a religious concept called kenosis. The word is used to describe an emptying of the self, in a transformative sense. It is most commonly used in Christian theology, to describe the process by which Jesus Christ became a human being, through the Biblical God temporarily emptying itself of the aspects of divinity. Various translations of the original Greek describe how Jesus "emptied himself" or "made himself nothing, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are," in a variant of the term is used in Philippians 2:7.
The God of most theistic faiths exists outside of time and space. This poses a problem for those who wish to explain how their God interacts with the existence of mankind, which is entirely bound by time and space. For Christians, it raises the particular problem of how God became one particular human, Jesus Christ, who, in Christian doctrine is simultaneously fully human and fully divine. Although Pandeists accord this attribute to all humans, Christians diminish or discount the divinity of most or all humans other than Jesus. For Christians, therefore, kenosis is a doctrine of sacrifice which is potentially more compelling than the human sacrifice embodied in the crucifixion, for it is through this process that the God of the Bible is asserted to have surrendered the attributes of Godhood – including the inability to die, in the way that Jesus dies upon the cross.
Christian theology presents another use for kenosis, as the reflective 'self-emptying' of the believer's will with the goal of eliminating internal obstacles to receiving the "perfect" will of God. Despite the predominance of its use in Christological theology, "the idea of kenosis, the self-emptying ecstasy of God is crucial in both Kabbalah and Sufism." Karen Armstrong describes in A History of God how this attitude is also reflected in the writing of William Blake, a Nineteenth Century mystical poet. "Like the Gnostics, Kabbalists and early Trinitarians, Blake envisions a kenosis, a self-emptying in the Godhead, who falls from his solitary heaven and becomes incarnate in the world."
Kenosis was also a fundamental element of the theology proposed by Georg Wilhelm Hegel, whose "Spirit which was the life force of the world" was "dependent upon the world and upon human beings for its fulfillment." Thus "Hegel's view of the kenosis of the Spirit, which empties itself to become immanent and incarnate in the world, has much in common with the Incarnational theologies" of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Kenosis derives from the Ancient Greek word κένωσις (kénōsis, "emptying") derived from κενόειν (kenósin, "to empty") which varies κενός (kenos) meaning "empty." There is no etymological relationship between ketosis and kenosis. Their similarity, separated by the difference of a single consonant, is merely fortuitous. The connectedness of the concepts, however, may be more direct.
Yet another concept worth mentioning at thus point (for reasons that will become clear a few paragraphs further on) is that of the conatus, a Latin term for 'inclination' or 'tendency to move in a certain direction.' For philosophers of various ages, this term has been used to describe the inherent tendency of things to move towards continued existence and improvement. The "will" sometimes attributed to living things in their pursuit of life, sometimes to the Earth itself, and sometimes to the mere inertia of nonliving things, has been a central concept in Pantheism since the earliest conceptions of that theory.
The concept of the conatus is particularly closely associated with its use by Baruch Spinoza, as related by ecological philosopher Freya Mathews:
"Spinoza inherited from scholastic philosophy a concept known as that of the 'conatus.' The conatus, according to the Schoolmen, is the impulse for self-preservation or self-maintenance, and also for existential increase, or self-realization. Under the scholastic interpretation, the conatus consisted in the unfolding or motion of a thing toward an independently or externally defined form or goal (where the external author of such a form or goal was... presumed to be God)."
Mathews explains that "the idea of self-interest (an interest in self-realization) as an informing principle of 'selves'... resonates deeply with the thought of Spinoza." Others note that "Spinoza's monism entails that the sort of individuals that Aristotle regarded as primary substances are distinguished not by their own substantial unity, but by their conatus — their striving to persist. Thus, self-preservation is not just one possible goal of ethical agents; it is the very thing that makes those agents individuals."
Mathews finds "a further question which Spinoza himself does not explicitly address, but which springs very naturally from his thinking," and one which is fundamental to bridging the gap from Pantheism to Pandeism, is "the question whether or not the universal substance is itself self-realizing." Mathews continues:
"Does it exhibit conatus? Spinoza's failure to consider this is, I think, tied to his failure to develop a dynamic theory of substance: conatus, as the impulse towards self-realization, is manifested in becoming rather than in being, in an unfolding-through-time rather than an established manifold. This being so, conatus could not find expression in the static manifold of Spinozist space."
If we apply the idea of the conatus to the Deus (the term used to describe the divine force in Deism, Pandeism, and sometimes Pantheism), a light shines through the darkness to illuminate the purpose, the motivation, perhaps even the compulsion of the Deus. If the Deus is an entity that is fundamentally composed of knowledge, of information, then perhaps the inability to generate or experience a particular form of information is its deprivation, its starvation.
If the Deus is starved for a particular form of information, its conatus, its internal drive to reach forth and maximize its potentiality and move towards perfection, would compel it to take whatever steps are necessary to fulfill that need. Like a starving body, the Deus is thus compelled to digest itself, to turn its own energy into the matter of a Universe through which it can solve this problem. This radical kenosis, this transformation comparable to the theistic emptying of the Godhood into the Universe, is really the entity's own ketosis, self devouring for the paradoxical purpose of sustaining the self in the only way that could possibly matter to an entity whose primary mode of existence is thought.