I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts.
You're a product of our language, and how our laws are and how we believe our God wants us. Every bitty molecule about you has already been thought out by some million people before you. Anything you can do is boring and old and perfectly okay. You're safe because you're so trapped inside your culture. Anything you can conceive of is fine because you can conceive of it. You can't imagine any way to escape. There's no way you can get out.The world is your cradle and your trap.
But what you're calling poetry is what everything is. It's not even poetry - it's seeing. These materialists are blind. You told me they say space is infinite. Where do they see that in space?' And I, disconcerted: 'But don't you think of space as infinite? Can't you conceive of space as infinite?' 'I don't conceive of anything as being infinite. How could I conceive of anything as being infinite?' 'But, man, ' I said, 'Imagine space. Beyond that space is more space, and beyond that more, and then more, and more... It never ends... ' 'Why?' asked my master Caeiro.
elvaro de Campos
It is possible to conceive, Anselm said, of a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. Even an atheist can conceive of such a superlative being, though he would deny its existence in the real world. But, goes the argument, a being that doesn't exist in the real world is, by that very fact, less than perfect. Therefore we have a contradiction and, hey presto, God exists!
I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?
When I think of God, when I think of him as existent, and when I believe him to be existent, my idea of him neither increases nordiminishes. But as it is certain there is a great difference betwixt the simple conception of the existence of an object, and the belief of it, and as this difference lies not in the parts or composition of the idea which we conceive; it follows, that it must lie in the manner in which we conceive it.
Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy; research, the progress; ignorance, the end. There is, by heavens, a strong and generous kind of ignorance that yields nothing, for honour and courage, to knowledge: an ignorance to conceive which needs no less knowledge than to conceive knowledge.
Michel de Montaigne
We can conceive a thinking being to have either many or few perceptions. Suppose the mind to be reduced even below the life of anoyster. Suppose it to have only one perception, as of thirst or hunger. Consider it in that situation. Do you conceive any thing but merely that perception? Have you any notion of self or substance? If not, the addition of other perceptions can never give you that notion.
The union Christ had with the Father was the greatest that we can conceive of in this life-if indeed we can conceive of it. Yet we have no indication that even Jesus was constantly awash with revelations as to what he should do. His union with the Father was so great that he was at all times obedient. This obedience was something that rested in his mature will and understanding of his life before God, not on always being told 'Now do this' and 'Now do that' with regard to every details of his life or work.
I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.
Prominent and influential editors, accustomed to deal with politicians, men of an infinitely lower grade, say, in their ignorance,that he acted "on the principle of revenge." They do not know the man. They must enlarge themselves to conceive of him.... They have got to conceive of a man of faith and of religious principle, and not a politician or an Indian; of a man who did not wait till he was personally interfered with or thwarted in some harmless business before he gave his life to the cause of the oppressed.
Henry David Thoreau
You do not conceive a novel as easily as you conceive a child, nor even half as easily as you create nonfiction work. A journalist amasses facts, anecdotes and interviews with top brass. Enough of these add up to a book. A novelist demands quite different things. He has to find himself in his materials, to know for sure how he would feel and act and the events he writes about. In addition, he requires a catalyst "" a person, idea, or emotion which coalesces his ingredients and makes them jell into a solid purpose.
If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death - or shall I say, death implies life - you can conceive yourself. Not conceive, but feel yourself, not as a stranger in the world, not as someone here on sufferance, on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.
[W]e conceive the Devil as a necessary part of a respectable view of cosmology. Ours is a divided empire in which certain ideas and emotions and actions are of God, and their opposites are of Lucifer. It is as impossible for most men to conceive of a morality without sin as of an earth without 'sky'. Since 1692 a great but superficial change has wiped out God's beard and the Devil's horns, but the world is still gripped between two diametrically opposed absolutes. The concept of unity, in which positive and negative are attributes of the same force, in which good and evil are relative, ever-changing, and always joined to the same phenomenon - such a concept is still reserved to the physical sciences and to the few who have grasped the history of ideas.
As a fact, we cannot give suffering precedence in either our individual or collective lives. We have to get on with things, and those who give precedence to suffering will be left behind. They fetter us with their sniveling. We have someplace to go and must believe we can get there, wherever that may be. And to conceive that there is a 'brotherhood of suffering between everything alive' would disable us from getting anywhere. We are preoccupied with the good life, and step by step are working toward a better life. What we do, as a conscious species, is set markers for ourselves. Once we reach one marker, we advance to the next - as if we were playing a board game we think will never end, despite the fact that it will, like it or not. And if you are too conscious of not liking it, then you may conceive of yourself as a biological paradox that cannot live with its consciousness and cannot live without it. And in so living and not living, you take your place with the undead and the human puppet.