Wittgenstein's Lion


(Randy) #1

For all you philosophy buffs…carried over from @jpm’s post from July 14 in Humor in Science and Theology. I’ll rely on @markd, @mitchellmckain to put their thoughts up from the other thread and continue it, if they’re willing. Thanks.


(Mark D.) #2

Really it was Mitchell who first took it deep. My thoughts have been after his own. I sided with Wittgenstein in thinking the Lion would be incomprehensible to us even if it spoke our language since its world of experience is so different than our own. So I suggest that while a World of Warcraft’s experience would be a possible world even for an old fart to comprehend, a lion’s experience would not be. The closest we could come would be the lion’s world as experienced by our kind. I await my comeuppance.


(Randy) #3

@mitchellmckain, interesting train. What do you think?


(Mitchell W McKain) #4

The explanation with the comic leaves out one thing. There is not only a matter of being a part of their world but also that of having the desire to be a part of it. As long as “world of warcraft” or whatever remains something you don’t want to be a part of then what they say will remain unintelligible. But you can also let yourself be draw into their world and then it becomes possible, however long it takes, to make sense of what they say.

Don’t get me wrong… there is nothing judgmental meant about this. We all have to make choices about what to do with our lives and there is nothing wrong with deciding you are not going to go in that direction. But if you want to know why you cannot understand some people, this is the explanation.

I think human beings even have the capacity to be drawn into the world of lions… or insects… or plants… or fungi… or fish… or microbes. The interests and passions of people are vastly diverse… and when they really devote their lives to understanding something, I wouldn’t put it past people to even understand these creatures if they could speak.

I disagree. I am not talking about what the average person can do. I am talking about those who immerse their lives in the subject. To put it another way, this is a capacity which I think we share with God being made in His image. That just as He can be both 100% God and 100% man, we also have the capacity, however difficult and exceptional, and however much genius, passion and immersion it requires, to put ourselves in the life of another living creature, without ceasing to be human. I really think we share some of the limitless nature of God in that way. In a way you can say that this what we are paying the price for in the bizarre extremities of our diversity.


(Mark D.) #5

Well, you may be right to some degree. I think my dogs and I are on the same wavelength and understand each other pretty well. They both are fairly worshipful (which might be because of what you say about our sharing God’s-nature). The larger, nine year-old has never been willing to have my hand in her mouth. If I put it there, she’ll move away. If I try to make her close her mouth on my hand she will resist. My three year-old while recognizing her supremacy when she is mad is all too eager to play rough with me, though he keeps it light. Perhaps he is an atheist?


(Randy) #6

Hm, fascinating thought. I don’t know–I do try to be empathetic, but I don’t think I’m 100% empathetic.


(Mitchell W McKain) #7

I am not claiming any such thing myself either. I don’t even have the kind of connection that MarkD has. My claim has more to do with the incredible variety I have seen in people.


(Randy) #8

I think I understand. It’s actually pretty inspiring to think that maybe a part of the “image of God” is our ability to empathize. Thanks.


(John Dalton) #9

We could still talk about hunting, eating, and sex.


2 Peter 3:5 and Genesis 1:2
(system) #10

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