Ecologies of Play
All Good Things…

A Virtuous Interlude

Sunset BirdsIt is time once again for my autumnal social media break, a chance for me to exercise my cyber-restraint, pay less attention to my pocket robot’s distractions, and peer more deeply into the world around me. When I come back in early December, I have a small handful of blog-letters to share before the Winter Festival hits – mostly on or around game topics, and following on from discussions that have already happened here or at events I went to this year. I have room for one more that I haven’t started yet, so if you want to write a blog-letter to me while I’m away it would be more than welcome.

Then, as the Gregorian New Year comes around again, it will only be two months to the release of The Virtuous Cyborg and I will be gearing up for the book’s launch events. I will be touring, so if you would like me to come for a guest lecture or other speaking gig please get in touch through the contact link at, or directly if you already have my email address. So far, I am focussing on the UK but a US trip is always on the table and Europe is only a short trip away even if the current political climate makes it feel more distant.

To everyone who has continued to support the discussions here at Only a Game, my unlimited love and gratitude. Enjoy the silence, and we shall speak again soon.

The Game resumes in December.


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Hey Chris, it’s Ryne again. So I’ll try to make this one a bit more brief, even though it’s about the one of the greatest philosophical discussions of all time: God. Yep, the big old G.O.D, and how I relate to the idea. I’m not really trying to externalize this question upon the metaphysical and religious aspects of the universe and society and so and so forth. But I’m rather trying to figure out something personal for myself, which is: What belief do I classify as within my form of belief?

I know that I’m not an atheist of any kind, but neither am I religious in any way. From what I do know, is that I range somewhere in field of deism sense I don’t believe in a personal, anthropomorphic god that can evaluate morals. So as of these past couple months, I’ve been trying to pin down the correct ‘ism’ that I’d properly clarify as. For example, when I began researching more about Einstein’s beliefs, he generally came to range under the pantheist description (to my knowledge, it wasn’t officially established if he was one). At first, I thought I would classify as a pantheist, but the more I investigated it online, it seemed to be more pagan than I would describe myself as. Panentheism as of now seems like greatest classifiable term for me, as it’s what I’m leaning towards.

Although, out of all of these contrivances for categorizing the many different variations of belief outside of traditional theism and atheism (pantheism, panentheism, pandeism, panendeism), my greatest contradiction to being any of these is that I believe the universe has an order (everything happens for a reason). Sort of like taoism, yet I still hold a far more spiritual upholding in there being a deity. Obviously, it wouldn’t make much sense to believe in a natural order, and still believe in an impersonal god.

I probably have yet to be critiqued on that last sentence. Nonetheless, without having to read through tons of books and articles on science, philosophy, and religion, I thought I might as well take the easy way out and ask you. So what would you say I would classify as?

Hey Ryne,
My first question to you is: why do you need to find a name for your metaphysical position? I don't mean this facetiously, but it may matter if you need a name for it because you want to present yourself to the spiritual and religious community around you in one way or another, or whether naming your position serves to clarify something in yourself. There are many other reasons why you might feel the need to bring in a name here, but I do think it matters which kind of activity you are engaged in.

Notice the case of Einstein. The pantheists like to 'claim' Einstein, because he did express views that could be judged pantheistic. But Einstein didn't have any particular need to identify in this way, a subject that may well have been complicated by his relationship to the Jewish traditions. He identified as part of the Jewish people, but not of the Jewish faith, at least as I understand the matter. He had his position and he didn't feel the need to hang a flag on it. I have a lot of respect for those who are comfortable coming at these matters in this way.

There is, as you suggest, an inherent contradiction in rejecting a personal god or God and yet accepting an implicate order that allows all events to have meaning, but I wouldn't let contradictions slow you down. One of the Discordian teachings that has always spoken loudly to me is the suggestion to 'swallow the dilemma', and sometimes that's just what you have to do! (Kierkegaard, working inside the Christian traditions, has his own version of this, taking things 'on the strength of the absurd - I have a lot of time for Kierkegaard's Christianity, and wish he had more influence on Christians today).

I suspect what you are rejecting in the concept of a personal god or God is the idea of an entity engaged with human affairs in a way that allows it to make moral judgements about them being-to-being or person-to-person. I have a lot of sympathy with this position, in that I take it as a basic theological tenet that anything worthy of the claim to god or God cannot be simple enough to be readily explicable in human terms! This is a negative claim, it doesn't even entail a claim to the existence of a god or Gods, but it ties in with my Discordian project of NUTMOG - No-one Understands the Mind of God, which is a particular kind of agnosticism i.e. a refusal to claim knowledge about the unknowable.

You have the option in terms of the contemporary theological landscape to use quantum mechanics to construct a metaphysical haven for your to rest your hat in. A very good friend of mine has his entire metaphysics based around the 'many worlds' interpretation of quantum mechanics, for instance. Some people use David Bohm's quantum interpretation and the idea of the 'implicate order' (mentioned above) to form a kind of contemporary Gnostic position. So non-theistic Gnostic might work as a label for you, although its clunky. Indeed, non-theist might be a reasonable umbrella for you, and it's one that many interesting people shelter under. Certainly, if your purpose is having a theological badge to wear, 'non-theist' might not be a bad place to start.

Thanks for coming back to continue our discussions,


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