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The non-existence of other minds

August 31, 2010

solipsist convention

We should all be familiar with Descartes’ famous, Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am.

But one thing we shouldn’t necessarily take for granted, like we can take for granted our thinking and our existence is that “we” are a “we” at all. After all, since I don’t see life from another human’s perspective…I don’t think as an another human, how can I be sure that any other humans are actually thinking and feeling?

We simply take on faith that there are other minds. It’s a pragmatic thing.

…but after reading a few things, I’ve come to draft a Mormon understand that other minds do not exist.

The first time I heard of such an idea was from reading The Egg, a short story by Andy Weir. The situation of this story was a man, who had died in a car accident, meeting God and finding out that he is to be reincarnated. Of course, the details of that reincarnation (e.g., being reincarnated as a Chinese girl from the sixth century) lead to a surprising conclusion.

But Andy Weir’s story had nothing really Mormon in it. So that went into my, “OK, that’s nice, but kinda lame” pile.

But then, the second thing that made the gears of my mind turn was a comment on reddit. The comment brought up Adam-God Theory, which to be honest, I hadn’t really paid much attention to ever before. It pointed out that, if Adam is God, then the “loop” of “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become” is closed. In other words, it isn’t the case, for example, that God was a man on a planet like ours…God was the first man on our planet.

The issue is: how did God create the same world he was the first man on? If God is outside of time, this isn’t problematic at all, however. But is the Mormon formulation of God (any system of folk doctrine you choose) outside of time?

At Faith-Promoting Rumor, Enoch posted his nuancimony. While I think the discussion about the nature of honesty is fascinating (you should just read all of the comments, there, I was more interested by Enoch’s elaboration on his belief in reincarnation. He elaborated:

Yes, it is a very fun topic. The very short version: If our goal is godhood, this life is both too insufficient and unequal to accomplish that. My views absolutely extend to Jesus–would you want a God who had not also been a Savior? The only answer is multiple incarnations and there is much to back this up–the temple statement about the nature of this world, the King Follett discourse that says God was also a Christ, the doctrine that Christ is also the Father, the idea that Adam is Christ’s “firstborn”; we are spiritually begotten, etc. My favorite parts of this idea: That we have a God who understands everything because he has BEEN everything, and the equality of men and women. I will email you the document I wrote up on this, since I don’t want to get on too much of a tangent on this post. Perhaps I will post my “Eternal Progression” thoughts another time.

Consider the lines in the middle of that: God was also a Christ, Christ is also the Father, Adam is Christ’s firstborn. We have a God who understands everything because he has BEEN everything.

God was also a Christ not to some other world, but to this very world. God understands everything because he has been everything.

Or more precisely, I have been everything. You have been everything. I am you and everyone else who has ever lived or ever will live, and one day, we will progress to be with heavenly father not just because this is proper, but because the only thing we can do is realize the fullness that we are ourselves.

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  1. You’re sure your not a theist?

  2. Apparently, I am God, so I guess that…makes that the case?

  3. Enoch my have it right, Andrew. The Book of Mormon originally stated that Jesus is the eternal father; that was later edited to read “son of the eternal Father” to fit the evolved doctrine that they were separate beings. I’m now inclined to believe they are one and the same.

    J. J. Dewey in his book “The Immortal” (volume one is free, by the way), a novelization of his meeting and association with the apostle John, has John explaining how reincarnation is the way that eternal progression takes place. Each of us has -I don’t remember- about a thousand or a hundred lives, and we can change sex from life to life. Might explain homosexuality, or at least those who are born effeminate (or in a woman’s case, mannish).

    You can download it free here:

    Dewey was excommunicated in the late seventies for one of the pettiest reasons I ever heard of. He believed (he didn’t promulgate it, he simply believed it) that once a person finds themselves relegated to either the terrestrial or telestial kingdoms, he can eventually work his way up and out of those lower spheres.

    This was considered so heretical, they tossed him on his ear, but I reckon many other Mormons presume the same thing.

    Dewey tells this story, and has a lot of criticism of the modern LDS church in his series “Infallible Authority” available here:

    I find his theology so insightful that I’ve read four more of his books, and I would never have known about his LDS background had it not for stumbling upon the link above. He is very popular among disaffected Christians and new age types who are seeking deeper knowledge. Virtually unknown among the Mormon community.

    I think The Immortal provides a good link between believers and atheists, by the way.

    And on a slightly related note, this short animation is the way I like to think about God:

  4. Cool links, Rock…will have to check out The Immortal for sure…

  5. John permalink

    Pretty sure that this line of thinking about god is closer to Pandeism, or Panentheism.

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