What is Neuro-spinozism aka athenism
Neuro-Spinozism aka athenism uses our current neurological understanding of the brain to give answers to the criticism on Spinozism and it translates into submitting our emotional drive to logic*, with the help of simple four steps.
→ Logic as being the consistent patterns that bring about our reality.
Spinozism is a philosophical system posed by Baruch Spinoza in which God is indistinguishable of nature, all of existence and the laws that underpin it. His most well-known followers include Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan and Lessing.
Einstein believed in the God of Baruch Spinoza, but not in a personal god, an idea he criticized.
He frequently expressed his admiration for the logical simplicity of order and reality. On 24 April 1929, Einstein wrote to rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein in German:
- I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
In an interview published in 1930 in G. S. Viereck's book Glimpses of the Great, Einstein, in response to a question about whether or not he defined himself as a pantheist, explained:
- We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's Pantheism. I admire
- even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.
On 24 March 1954, Einstein replied to a letter from Joseph Dispentiere, a declared atheist who was disappointed by a news report which had cast Einstein as conventionally religious:
- It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
Carl Sagan views
Carl Sagan's views on religion have been interpreted as a form of pantheism comparable to Einstein's belief in Spinoza's God. His son, Dorion Sagan said in 2007:
- My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature but as nature, equivalent to it.
Sagan wrote frequently about the relationship between religion and science, expressing his skepticism about the conventional conceptualization of God and directly mentioning Einstein and Spinoza:
- Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—:: considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage :: point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws.
In another description of his view on the concept of God, Sagan emphatically wrote:
- The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God.
In his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994), Sagan imagined a future religion based on the same Spinozism remarks:
- A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.
Later in his life, Sagan suggested that accepting the Spinozism definition of God should make everyone a believer of God:
- Now, it would be wholly foolish to deny the existence of laws of nature. And if that is what we are talking about when we say God, then no one can possibly be an atheist, or at least anyone who would profess atheism would have to :: give a coherent argument about why the laws of nature are inapplicable. I think he or she would be hard-pressed. So with this latter definition of God, we all believe in God.
The Neuro-Spinozism breakthrough
Neuro-Spinozism aka athenism builds upon the beliefs of Spinoza and Einstein by combining the most recent knowledge in neuroscience and how the brain works.
Even though Einstein's faith in Spinoza's God was universally known, it never broke through the already established reverence to the personal God most people had submitted to. As Sagan explains, this personal God, who to this day is prayed to and worshiped, has been more attractive than the one Spinozism proclaims:
- This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
Carl Sagan also knew, just like Spinoza and Einstein, the importance of emotionally connecting with this God and he would frequently call his own feeling a religious one:
- ...there is no deeper religious feeling than the feeling for the natural world. I wouldn't separate the world of nature from the religious instinct...I would not even object to saying that the sense of awe before the grandeur of nature is itself a religious experience.
6 years ago, Neil deGrasse Tyson had been wondering whether his admiration for the Universe was stimulating the same parts of the brain of someone that was marveled by their own God.
- I've spoken to people who have had deep religious experiences and there is a certain vocabulary that they draw from. They talk about majesty and being humbled and awed and I look at the Universe and I am using all the same vocabulary. I feel energized and lifted. I wonder if it is stimulating the same part of the brain. This is a question I formally posed to neuroscientists to check this out.
And he soon recognized the importance of understanding how to neurologically dissociate and rewire our core emotions to new concepts:
- I use words and compose sentences that sound like the sentences I hear out of people who have revelations of Jesus. Who go on pilgrimages to Mecca. There is some commonality of feeling. I know it, I want someone to do that experiment. Because the day you do. If the same centers in my brain are excited by these comic thoughts as are going on in the mind of a religious person, that is something to know. That is going to be a really interesting finding.
Our current research connects with an emergent field in science called neurotheology, the study of correlations of neural phenomena with subjective experiences of spirituality. Today, we are able to understand the process a religious person undergoes when they submit themselves to a God.
In order to click, the subjects go through a process of deep dissociation. Though there are many forms of dissociation in psychology, our research indicates it’s usually the result of detaching from a concept that relates to a core emotion and has been strongly associated with the brain’s reward system.
Now that we understand the underlying neurological mechanisms, we are able to forge the same connection by submitting to what really created us, which is the consistent patterns that bring about our reality.
1. Lesiker, Arnold V. "Einstein:Science and Religion - Spinoza and Einstein". St Cloud State University. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
2. Brian, Dennis (1996), Einstein: A Life, New York: John Wiley & Sons, p. 127, ISBN 0471114596
3. Viereck, George Sylvester. "Glimpses of the Great". Duckworth, 1930. p. 372-373.
4. Dukas, Helen (1981). Albert Einstein the Human Side. Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 43. Einstein Archives 59-454 and 59-495
5. Dorion Sagan (2007). Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature. Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1933392312.
6. Sagan, Carl (1980) [Originally published 1979]. Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (Reprint ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 330. ISBN 0-345-33689-5. LCCN 78021810. OCLC 428008204.
7. "Quotes on Religion – Carl Sagan". Atheism.about.com. IAC. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
8. Sagan, Carl (1994). Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-43841-6.
9. Sagan, Carl. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. Penguin Press, 2006.
10. Sagan, Carl; Head, Tom (2006). Conversations with Carl Sagan (illustrated ed.). Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. xxi. ISBN 978-1-57806-7367