Perhaps you might recall my earlier proofs of God, well here is another.

We live in a flawed reality. We use language with its limitations to describe things that we perceive with our imperfect sensory organs. The label of a thing is not that thing; it is merely how we as human beings are able to understand it to the best of our abilities. However, presumably there is actually a thing that we are perceiving and experiencing. It must have an essence that makes it what it is, despite us as a species being unable to objectively ratify it. The tree-ness of a tree, for example, that goes beyond a green leafy-looking thing that may or may not get rid of its green leafy-looking things every autumn.

The idea that things must have an essence that truly make them things was first theorized by a German, Immanuel Kant, and he referred to that essence as the thing-in-itself. While unable to be appreciated by our insufficient intellect, Kant suggests that there still must be an objective reality that transcends our experiential one, and defines it from the outside.

Arthur Schopenhauer, another German, built upon Kant’s theory of the thing-in-itself by suggesting that the Will is what makes a thing a thing. It is what drives us that defines us. Circumstance, character, environmental factors (note: all of these would be phenomena, existing within the experiential universe) may all focus or direct the Will, but the Will itself exists outside. The subject to the universe’s object.

Of course, there are gradations to the Will. The Will as it exists in a human being is a much stronger representation than the Will that exists in a fluffy bunny rabbit. The further down the scale, the more devoid of knowledge the subject becomes, and the more it must conform to laws. Animals are more susceptible to instincts, and plants only have the drive to grow, bear seed, and die. The bottom of the scale would be inanimate objects, mere pawns of physical laws.

Now what does the Will as the thing-in-itself have to do with God? Well, if the Hindus are to be believed, the Atman (the Self) is the same as the Brahman (God). The Will, as Schopenhauer envisions it, permeates all of eternity, and we are individualized portions of it, focusing it in our actions. If our Selves (our Atman) are all the representations of this Will, then we are all disillusioned into thinking that we are individual people, and to achieve salvation, or moral well-being, we would have to recognize the unity in all things, and act accordingly.

Another possibility of this theory accounting for a God is if each individual person/creature/object has their own thing-in-itself, rather than a generalized one that encompasses everything. For example, my Will would exist strictly within my own consciousness, and would not be a focusing of a larger/greater Will. If this were the case, and each Will of each person is their essence, each Will of each fluffy bunny or of each stone, then there would be a thing-in-itself of Being as well. Existence would require its own thing-in-itself, and following Schopenhauer’s proposition that the thing-in-itself is a Will, then there would be a Will behind the universe, this being God. Of course, Schopenhauer followed closer to the Hindu model and didn’t investigate this more individuated method (so far as I know), so this is just my own theory as to how the Will as the thing-in-itself is a potential for a proof of God.

Do I agree with this? Nope, still atheist. However, it is an interesting proof, and does answer the problem of Free Will that I look at in my previous post. Should I offer my refutation as to why I don’t believe it? Ehn, it’s getting kind of late. Maybe I’ll let you, dear readers, figure this one out for yourselves.

 

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