An ascetic tone to atheism

Those who disagree with religious takes on the world commonly advocate a state of consciousness where no “purpose” is projected onto the world. I found the following quoted on Facebook, which seems great and highly atheistic on the surface, but upon closer examination is wrought with contradictions.

Dawid Cieloszczyk: I am so tired of people projecting “purpose” onto the world where there quite frankly is none. At least not a grander one that somehow serves human interests. I am perfectly okay with not projecting purpose onto a chaotic, random, but beautiful and amazing universe. It’s a much harder but more noble route to take, to face existence head-on, with nothing but courage and rationality, as opposed to cowering away under the comfortable and deluded “purposive” explanations religious folk attribute to the events around them.

The aesthetic consideration that the universe is “beautiful and amazing” is an outcome of human consciousness and its projections. Furthermore, the idea that there is a “harder but more noble route to take” than any other route one could think of taking could not be more religious in its asceticism.  As Nietzsche points out in Genealogy of Morals, the atheist merely takes the logic of Christian asceticism in truth-telling to its ultimate conclusion, thus destroying the illusion of god. Along with this, the idea that there is an “existence” (or sphere of aesthetic meaning pertaining to reality that it totally independent of human consciousness) is simply erroneous.

Beauty does not exist independently of human consciousness, so to leave a “God” and religion behind, one will have to face a lot that is ugly — but also face the project of creating beauty both in concrete form and out of  deliberate and trained intentions.

Human sensibilities project everything — beauty and the desire to engage with difficulties — outward onto the world. While it may seem obvious that our aesthetic sense is quintessentially human, it may not be immediately apparent that we are actually projecting something onto the world when we deem it to be “beautiful”.

There is nothing wrong with retaining much of the aesthetic sense of reality that comes from humanity’s history of deity worship, but lets not turn atheism into a hard-headed ideal.  All ideals are religious in origin.



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