Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Conversations with God, part 7

Words and epistemology

One of the most ironic aspects of this book is its take on the power of words to convey thoughts. God communicates with all of us, but her "most common form of communication is through feeling. Feeling is the language of the soul. If you want to know what's true for you about something, look to how you're feeling about it" (p.3). Feelings are much more effective than words when God wants to communicate with us. In fact, "Words are really the least effective communicator" (p.3). It isn't just for God that words are ineffective, though. Words themselves are ineffective, regardless of who is using them. "Words are the least reliable purveyor of Truth" (p.8).

The irony is in the fact that God chose to communicate to us all through the words of Walsch's book. If God communicates to us all through feeling, why is it that we need Walsch's book before we can get the message? Why is it that God has commissioned Walsch to spread the message? God chose Walsch to be his messenger because Walsch has "the ability to communicate complex concepts in ways that can and will be understood by the masses" (p.143). But if God communicates to everybody through feeling, and feeling is a more effective communicator than words, then why did God need to choose Walsch to communicate to the masses using words so that they would be able to understand it? If they can understand the message easier by reading Walsch's words than they can by receiving God's feelings, then clearly words are more effective than feelings in communicating truth.

After reading about how God views words, I was particularly surprised by the urgency with which Walsch wanted me to read his book (p.2, see "How this book came to be written" above). But what was even more surprising was at the end when Walsch tried to sell his monthly news letter for $25/year. That's twelve letters written in words for a little over $2 each. Why would a person spend $25 a year for the least reliable purveyor of truth to read about what God is saying to Walsch when supposedly God speaks to all of us through feeling, and feeling is more reliable than words to convey truths? If feelings are so much more reliable than words for God to speak to us, it doesn't make sense for us to spend $25 a year for words when we can get the feelings for free.

As ineffective as words might be to communicate to sentient beings, they are apparently very useful in communicating to the non-sentient universe. There are three levels of creation. All creation begins with thought, but "Words are more dynamic (thus, some might say more creative) than thought....Words are the second level of creation" (p.74). So to create something we want, we have only to think that one thought, rejecting all others and then begin to speak it as true. Statements that begin with "I am" are especially creative. "The universe responds to 'I am' as would a genie in a bottle" (p.92-3). In fact, Jesus actually did rise from the dead because he said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (p.196). He spoke his reality into being.

It is amazing how powerfully creative words can be considering the fact that they are the least reliable purveyor of truth. It seems like if feelings are a more reliable purveyor of truths, then our thoughts ought to be more creative than our words because we ought to be able to convey our thoughts and feelings more accurately to the universe than with our words. That’s assuming, of course, that Walsch's book is consistent, which it isn't.

In fact, this is all just backwards. The primary purpose of words is communication. We use words to convey information to other people. But in Walsch's world, words are not very useful in doing what they are intended for, but they're quite useful for what they were not intended for.

to be continued...

Part 8

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