Humanity has a mysterious need for transcendence

From Wikidebates
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Argument againstThis argument is an objection to The concept of God is a human invention.
Keywords: God[ edit ].


Aldous Huxley interprets various symptomatic human activities as substitutes for mystical experience. Alcohol, drugs and sex would be ways of breaking down the limits of the ego from below. But there are also "horizontal" ways of giving oneself a sense of transcendence: identification with the group, with its feelings of power and self-forgetfulness - think here of the exaltation of soccer matches, big parties and even political rallies. For Huxley, these attempts are doomed to failure, and prove the absurd that man can only find fulfillment in spirituality. Only a direct, lucid encounter with the infinite can quench our thirst for transcendence and break through our unbearable limitations. The desire to reach a state where we step outside ourselves, even at the cost of suffering, seems to be a well-attested reality.


“The need to transcend oneself is almost as widespread and, at times, as powerful as the need to assert oneself. Men desire to intensify their awareness of what they have come to regard as themselves [...] but they also desire to be aware of being someone else [...] they long to step outside themselves and cross the boundaries of this closed universe where each individual feels cramped [...]. In some obscure way, despite our ignorance, we know what we really are. We know (or to be more precise, something within us knows) that the basis of our knowledge is identical to the basis of all knowledge and all being.”

Aldous Huxley, God and I, p.107, Le Seuil, 1994.


Arguments forJustifications

  • Argument forNothing shows that a god exists

Arguments againstObjections

  • Argument againstGod responds too much to our desires for him not to be a human invention.

Parent debateParent debate