Ayn Rand/Objectivism Sightings
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There are no gods
“The conflict of reason versus mysticism is the issue of life or death – of freedom or slavery – of progress or stagnant brutality.
(From “Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World,” in “Philosophy: Who needs it?,” by Ayn Rand)
By simple, noncontradictory definition, the term Universe signifies “All that exists”. It is verified by an ostensive definition, sweeping one’s arm around and stating: “I mean this”. Thus, it is an axiomatic term, identifying a fundamental, self-evident truth, a primary fact of reality. It is an irreducible primary, for any attempt to oppose it produces a self-contradiction, as it would require a leap to nonexistence.
Moreover, its definition renders every intention to define it as “part of existence” nonsensical, due to what it defines, i.e. “ALL that exists”. In accordance, trying to introduce “Multiverses,” “Metaverses,” “Parallel Universes,” etc. indicates that such aims signal a lack of understanding of the term itself, for the definition states that there can be no multiplicity of "universes". The universe is ALL that exists and, as such, there can be no multiplication of "ALL that exists," since the term itself makes this impossible. Hence, the universe is linguistically as well as in existence a singular. It has no plurals. This in itself points out that it is not an independently existing object, separated from everything else existing (which would also turn it into a self-contradiction of itself) but an abstract term, a synonym standing for “ALL that exists”.
On the other hand, the term allows the use of the concept “Local Area of the Universe” or “LAU(s),” should the speaker want to differentiate given localized parts of the whole.
The definition itself states that beyond (or beside) the universe there is nothing, a fact which in itself suffices to define as a contradiction in terms the tentative statement that something exists (or could exist) outside of the universe, be the cause or action of anything within the universe, but not belonging itself to ALL that exists.
We must even be extremely careful with the way in which we word what we are saying, since even to state that something exists within the universe is a needless repetition of the term itself for nothing can exist outside of the universe or without the universe. If it were the only thing existing, it would be, in itself, the universe. The universe is all there is and nothing can exist anywhere else, for there is no "anywhere else," as we shall see when we come to view Parmenides’ premises. Hence, "existence exists," a further synonym to “Universe,” signifies a self-sufficient primary and, thus, an axiom, self-sufficient as every other axiom. In fact, it is the basis of every other axiom.
Due to the very definition of the term, “Universe” lacks any cause. It is in itself the sum of everything existing as well as the place where everything happens. This allows several conclusions, premises that were deduced by Parmenides, who lived some 2,500 years ago in Ancient Greece:
These laws of identity and causality automatically pertain and dominate everything that exists. They are part and product of all that is and lead us to far extended consequences. One of them is that we cannot state that something could exist outside of the universe and have consequential actions on the universe since the term universe signifies everything that is, By definition, beyond the universe there is nothing. In fact, this in itself already suffices to define as a contradiction in terms the statement that something exists (or could exist) outside of the universe and be the cause or action of anything within the universe.
The above suffices also as demonstration that there neither is nor can be any “god” of whatever denomination whatsoever.
"Well, there must be some power, some 'God' or the like, something that originated the universe", someone might now say. Whoever does so is totally missing the meaning of what we have just said. As said already, anything that might exist "beyond" the universe does not lie "beyond" but is, by definition, part of the universe, i. e. all that exists. Hence, in the utopian case that we were to accept that "God" (whatever we may mean by this) "made" the universe (again, whatever we may mean by this) we would already be facing an impossibility. If this "God" exists, it would automatically be part of all that exists and, thus, cannot have created what already existed eternally. This "God" couldn't also "exist beyond" the universe because, again, the universe includes everything that is and nothing can lie "beyond". Further on, the "creation" of a universe out of an already existing universe is a contradiction in itself. Even more, we must remember that, since by “Universe” we mean all that exists, an additional contradiction comes up here, were we to state that the universe was “made” out of nothing.
Pantheists, who mean that "God" is everywhere, would now come up with the fallacy that "God" is just a synonym for "universe", that "God" himself is the universe. This is a double contradiction since what the pantheist means here is that "God" had to make himself first and then the universe. Out of what? Out of nothingness? Nothingness is not just a part of existence. It is nothing. It does not exist. Thus, we have two impossibilities in a row. End point, since the conclusion that this "God" would have had to "create" himself in the first place pertains not only to Pantheism but also to all religions in general.
Well, then, "God" would have to be "made" out of existence. But this is also a contradiction, since it would require the very idiotic act of "making," as said before, existence itself out of existence. This would place "God" on the same level as man, and not on any "superior" level, since only a living, rational, being can make something different out of something already existing (like man producing semiconductors out of silicon and several other elements). Here we have, again, the Heraclitean notion that man "made 'God' in his own image and likeness". Moreover, to "make" all that is out of all that is would also be a senseless purpose.
However, since the definition involved is so peculiarly important, let us use another example of what is meant. Could the reader explain what is a non-apple? Is it an apple taken away from the fruit bowl or is it an "apple" that never even existed? Nothing cannot be anything. Let me repeat it: any intention to give identity to what does not exist ALWAYS produces a contradiction in terms. At least one of the premises on which it is based is false and must, thus, be corrected.
Though the word "God" means a lot of different things (and often very contradictory things) to different people, it always relates to something supernatural, most of the times in the shape of an old bearded man covered with a Greek toga (Xenophanes expressed this by saying that "if oxen or horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of their gods like horses, and oxen like oxen and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds"). This "supernatural" power would have had to exist in a "void", that is, it would have had to be "outside" of the universe itself (All that exists).
Let's reduce this to the final end point from another angle. As said before we confront a contradiction since it is maintained that it was this "God" that "made" existence out of nothing. As existence means all there is, the notion of "God" produces a "double" existence: "God" and the universe, which is, as shown before, a contradiction of terms. Either "God" or the universe is defined as all that is. To take "God" as the definition of all that exists produces in its turn a further contradiction. The universe was not "created," for would it have been, it would have had to be created from an impossible place lying outside of the universe. As we have already seen, such a point cannot exist even in imagination, for to have existed "outside" of the universe it would, due to definition, have been automatically part of the universe. Hence, "God" is a fraud developed by the human mind as a way of explaining what was unexplainable at a time when men were still closer to the irrational animals than to what man is by definition: a being with the faculty of reason. Philosopher Ayn Rand considered religion to be an early form of philosophy, an initial intention to understand the universe. Out of this effort, religion tried to construct a sense for man’s being and supplied a very rudimentary standard of ethics.
The additional fraud of stating that this so-called "God" is unknowable entails again a contradiction which whoever coined the hoax (Plato and Kant among them) was either unaware of or, else, a liar himself, since how can the notion of "God" even be conceived, if it is unknowable. Everything knowable can be known and understood. The unknowable means that it cannot even be known as unknowable and, thus, cannot be described since describing the "unknowable" would mean that we know it. Incongruities sum up and make it unnecessary to spend more time with them. Remember, whenever a contradiction pops up, at least one of the premises on which it rests is wrong.
A short commentary of what many people mean when they say that they "feel" that "something different" or "higher" exists that they cannot prove: Feelings, capriciousness and desires belong to the area of psychology but not to the hard world of facts. Feelings are not the proper tools to reach truth. As Ayn Rand demonstrated in her book "For the New Intellectual", emotions cannot be used to obtain knowledge. In order to avoid any confusion in this matter a clear distinction must be drawn between what one thinks and what one feels. Against the contention that this would require omniscience, she stated that an individual must only be fully conscious of what he knows and understand the difference existing to what he feels. One must differentiate between one's thoughts and one's feelings, wishes, hopes and fears, with full clarity and precision. Only a rejection of any contradiction involved is required and this means that a full philosophical knowledge is unnecessary.
To clean the road from unnecessary ballast let us look at another question, which comes up from time to time (often among scientists who study the composition of the universe but are unaware of the use and meaning of definitions): Parallel universes, Metaverses and such. Are they possible? Can there be infinite repetitions of the same or opposing variations in different areas of the universe? This fantasy is based on two mistaken concepts: One is Plato's concept that the universe is not what it is but an image of ideal forms (whatever such things may be) reflected onto our "imperfect" world as if this were a distorted image of a "real" world existing somehow separately from what exists ("outside the universe", let us remember!). This fantasy sustains that our universe is not real. The "real" form of these ideal forms is unknowable; we can only "suspect" what they may look like in "reality". But how can we even "suspect" what is unknown and unknowable?. Here we are back, with other words, at Kant's notion of both the intention of knowing the unknowable and the doubling notion of the universe (all that is) and something else. The statement of suspecting what is beyond does not turn the idea beyond into a more knowable form; it continues to be unknowable. Let us not juggle with words, but keep to strict definitions. We have analyzed this already and do not need to repeat it.
A final word of advice must be added: Whoever wants to prove that 'God' "created" the universe, cannot start from the dogma of saying "'God' exists" and proceed from there on. He must, from the very start, demonstrate the true existence of the being or entity he is using as the basis for what he intends to prove. Relying on a dogma clashes totally with the definition of what the universe is. Since a dogma cannot be proved – else it would not be a dogma but an axiom, i.e. something that must not be proved since one can deictically point at it – the expounder must then abandon any hope to prove his thesis, for it is based on nothingness. As philosopher Ayn Rand declared in "Atlas Shrugged", he will have "to expound no theories and die."
 "Not being" can be used, of course, in another context also, when something existing is involved, like "He’s no longer alive".
 However, most of the time we have a tendency of seeing change to be external to us, in a way like an eighty year old man who sees again a friend of his youth and thinks: "My, oh my, how has he changed since I've seen him last time sixty years ago."
 From "Atlas Shrugged", Part III, Chapter VI (Random House)
 From the "Intellectual Ammunition Department", by Nathaniel Branden ("The Objectivist Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1962). Many requests, like the one demanding an origin of the universe are also related with the peculiarity of the languages that allow the composition of grammatically correct but logically incorrect statements, such as: "What, on the planet, lays north of the North pole or south of the South pole?" or "What form has a round square?"
 "Objectivism – The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff.
 The objection that the universe – real existence - was made by "God" starting from a spiritual level is invalid, since such an influence had to act and, thus, operate, on a material level. This puts us back at the beginning ("What is, is", etc.), as we shall see immediately, since it could not remain spiritual while acting materially. In addition, the same considerations apply to the "spiritual" as well as to the "material": From "where" would the spiritual have come in the first place? If the universe were a spiritual creation (as would be required in this assumption) it would have to be an all-spiritual "creation" and could not be material in any way and viceversa. It is or isn't, as Aristotle would have said, which clears the contradiction. On the other hand, it is very well possible to create something that has not existed before, though for this being possible raw materials must already exist. Mankind constantly produces new things by inventing new ways of mixing existing materials or producing even new materials out of existing ones (plastics, for example) which are then produced, sold, used, etc.
 Here too and once again we start with the scientists’ lack of concern for the meaning of the definition of universe, that is that it means "All that exists". Undisturbed by this, scientists and philosophers as well are smuggling into our minds an impossible repetition of the term (Twice everything that exists).
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