Does the body exist, or are we only mere thoughts of God?

I have been reading up on some psychology and other material lately, and have been trying to figure out the Mind-Body relationship. I can’t decide if anything physical even actually exists. There are always stories of miracles and things happening that just have no explanation. For example: I talked to a man whom was a missionary for his church; he said that a number of years ago, he was driving in a car with some fellow missionaries and there was a car coming toward them in the other lane. Somehow one of the cars merged into the opposite lane and headed right for the other, having no time to swerve or do anything to prevent an accident from occuring. The cars went right through each other and no one was hurt. both cars stopped and no one could hardly say a single word to each other after that had happened. nobody could explain it.

I hear of things happening like this quite often and I don’t know what to think about them. How can anything physical go through something else that is physical, and both objects be undamaged?

I think that there is a physics law (although I can’t seem to remember it exactly) that states that the simplest explanation for something is usually going to be the correct one. Going by this physics law (although I question anything “physical”), I would say that the simplest explanation for this would be that we are all mere thoughts of God, and that nothing physical exists at all. It is quite easy to imagine (in thought) a car going through another car and being undamaged.

I don’t know if all of you believe in God or not, and if not, this concept would be quite a hard one to believe. Are we physical or just all thought?

Well most everyone on this forum is atheist. As for your story, I wasn’t there and can’t say, but I just don’t believe the cars went right through eachother. And for everyone one story you will hear about “cars going through eachother” there will be a million car crashes where the cars don’t go right through eachother. So I don’t really see how your conclusion " physical doesn’t exist" follows from the “story” of how two cars went through eachother. Surely if your omnipotent God did exist he could simply make two physical objects go through eachother, there would be no need to assume everything is just mental.

By the way, the idea that physical doesn’t exist is called ‘idealism’ and it is widely refuted in philosophy.


hmmm stuff like that make me worried that factors such as these would limit our thought and hence our discussions. i notice that many of the discussions head towards a certain trend…
hence i thank the discussion brought up by phanatic.
i recommend a reading of descartes’ meditations. a rather short and simle read that might give you some insight.

descartes pondered about mind-body relations. such dualisms coexist making divisions like mind VS body, reason VS passion, idea lism VS realism, rationalism vs empiricism and so forth…
descartes came to the conclusion that the ideas in his head came from a source and that source is god. he knows that he thinks and concludes the cause of the thoughts as god. plato too believed that ideas and eternal concepts are dispensed by the divine.
it is possible that we are mere thoughts in ones head, in your case, god. i too am an atheist hence i disagree. if what you stated is the case, this whole world would be one big solipsism in the head of g-d. there would be no free wil and all our actions are determined by the mind of g-d. neither would we have to worry or put any effort in to our lives but live stoically, accepting whatever that comes.
i completely disagree with this. as an atheistic existentialist, i believe that we are completely free. body and mind are one and necessary for Being. nothing matters but the world subjective to me, even if by horrid misfortune, i am merely a thought of a 10 year old girl.
if this world is merely a though of g-d, this g-d would be a hideously imperfect one, with the most horrid thoughts.

jedi pocky,

What do you mean that you believe we are completely free? Many of the Post-structuralists have damaging arguments against existentialism. They go along the lines of how we are slaves to society and genetics.

hmm i should edit my post to say that we’re completely free to choose our actions/values/meanings and will them.
yes there will be societal/economic forces, genetics, instincts, irrational feelings, the chaos in the universe, random chance, nature, psychological issues, other people etcetc. but in spite of that we can choose and are completely free to choose from whats presented to us. that is what i meant rather. thanks for bringing that to attention. :blush:


this statement is very true, for if God does exist, surely he would be perfect. i also cannot see a god that would have such imperfect thoughts either.

but, what if we do have a destiny, but we still have freedom of choice. maybe God knows us so well that he knows every choice that we will make, but yet, when a choice or decision is placed before us, we have the opportunity to go in any direction that we want. whatever choice we make, leads us to our destiny. i don’t know if this concept makes sense: having destiny, but also having freedom of choice. for me, i believe in freedom of choice, but also that God knows all.

I’m really not so sure we have this freedom of choice that you speak. First off who is this “you” that is making this choice?

You guys should read some eastern philosophy. It might change your mind on a few things…

The simplest explanation for you is that we are all in another being’s mind? To me this does not seem to be a simple explanation at all. The simplest explanation would be that the cars did not go trought each other.

take for instance that the cars did go through each other. there were several people in both cars and i don’t think that each individual would have mistaken what had happened. i know this man very well and he is an honest man; i could never imagine him making this up. haven’t you ever heard of “miracles” happening. i seem to hear of them once in a while and i just don’t see an explanation.
so, if, for instance, this did happen, then yes, i believe that the simplest explanation would be that it was a thought. it is very simple to imagine two cars going through each other unharmed. it is similar to the matrix: they are all in a system and can do extremely amazing things in that one system, there is a lot of activity in that system; is it really possible that there could be so much activity and information in one system? so many “lives” being lived in that one system? my theory is very similar to that system: everything that one sees or seems, and thinks exists, is but a mere thought. maybe we are not exactly in the head of one man, but exist outside of his head, as a thought. we exist, but only as a thought of one god. i don’t know exactly how to explain it any better.
if God exists then surely he is perfect; like i said before. therefore, if one was to be perfect, then would it not be easy to imagine such a complicated place and such complicated things? one individual said: if we are a mere thought of God, then he is very imperfect with the most horrid thoughts; like i said before, we have freedom of choice. how would God control what goes on in our “world”, if we as an individual has our own freedom of choice? we as individuals make up what this world is, and how it progresses.

When you are in a car crash you tend to panic and close your eyes. So I think that yes it is possible for several people in both cars to think that they where going to hit the other, they closed there eyes and hoped for the best. So they didn’t see what realy happend. The truth is that they don’t know.

Yes I have heard of miracles happening and everytime there was a simple explanation to it. People want to beleive in that stuff so when something happens that they can’t explain they automaticly assume that it’s an act of god, or a “miracle”.

true… :confused: i always get stuck when i circle back to this problem and slam into a wall. all i can think of is cogito ergo sum, and that still is really weak. any particular suggestions?

true. living in asia i know many taoists, hindus, buddhists (my family is buddhist) and muslims. all these (as most eastern philosophies do) favour the concept of wholeness and community above radical individualism. ( i have left out the chinese thinkers as i have yet to read them. having failed mandrin as my second language for years on, i have developed a prejudice… i have to admit, those are the reasons why reading eastern philosophy doesnt interest me much… this has resulted in complacence in individualistic pride.

if the individual is composition of a system and this system flows in cycles, (generalising!) why in the name of eastern philosophy does this system exist and flow?
heh this isnt a rhetorical question. if you throw the question back at me, i can only say that life is absurd. ive not read enough eastern philo to study what they say to this question.


Where in Asia do you live bro? If you think I have the answers well I certainly don’t. I’m only 19, I believe you said you were 18 on another thread , which means I’m no longer the young buck. But I think the determinism has a much better case then free will. Now is everything fully determined? I dont know.

I have always believed that the existence of a “God” was a null point. That either this was completely incomprehensible to me in the first place, so that it wouldn’t matter whether or not I had a “belief” in this existing “God,” that as far as this “God” was concerned, it can’t both expect me to “believe” in its existence and remain purposely incomprehensible to me at the same time. This, I think, is a rather impolite gesture, a folly, unworthy of a “God.” Now, it might very well be the case that the universe is a “thought” of “God,” but what does this have to do with me? How important is this possibility when I’m deciding whether or not to go to work, to eat fat-free potato chips, to love my girlfriend, etc.? Either I am a puppet on strings and my choices are illusory, or I am without an excuse, design, or destiny, making my existence a series of “choices.” Nonetheless, what acts are possible, that is, what I can possibly “do” in my lifetime is determined, but this is again another moot point. Without an excuse any one of these acts I wish to engage in are contingent because the universe would not require that I do so. If I were of a “design” then my activities would be necessary, choice would be superflous, I would be autonomous, and the universe would stop in its tracks if I chose to eat fatty potato chips.

We have, my friends, put “God” in checkmate. We won’t even begin to waste out time wondering whether or not “God” exists because that is “Gods” matter. God is an absentee landlord and I refuse to pay the rent.

There is no such thing as “freewill” because there is no “will.” Freedom, on the other hand, is a very real state of affairs which, if properly understood, is an untouchable and not to be refuted with determinism. Causality is a process that affects empirical existents, things of the mind and body, and has nothing to do with consciousness.

:slight_smile: im living in singapore and i just turned 19 in october. (im female though :wink: but gender doesnt matter to me. heh). who really has the answers anyway. but i saw in another thread, an enquiry you made about some indian philosophy, i was hoping to learn something from you. age, has no relevence either… its what you say that counts.

elaborate on your case for determinism please…


how is it that there is no “will”? give me your definition of “will”. to me, “will” is the act to determine by choice; will is strength and energy; the strength and energy that you use everyday to get out of bed in the morning and make something of yourself. will is determinism, and i am not refuting freedom with determinism. it is putting will, or determinism, with freedom; not replacing it. i do not see how any economy could survive without will, determinism, greed, desire, etc.; our economies thrive on these.

The body and mind are interrelated, you dont have a heart or lung you are heart and lung.

pro, we hear statements like “he has a strong willpower,” or “goodwill to all men,” or “he willed this deed,” among others, every day. But what does that really mean? Sounds pretty ambiguous to me, or I’d have to at least admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what a “will” was after hearing these examples.

I am very familiar with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche’s take, because each posit the “will” as a necessary and determined entity in man, an “instinct,” an ethos and pathos, whatever, I am skeptical and find an all too familiar series of mistakes. It is an inaccurate examination of human characteristics, specifically the psychological, and the nature of “consciousness.” Getting down to it, I don’t believe in “drives.” I believe that a human being is the only organism that can, if I must use the term, “will” himself out of existence if not deliberately resign from all desires. It is here that I question “instinct” and its role in this dynamic metaphysical “force” these guys are talking about. If, as someone mentioned on another thread, we say that a prerequisite for a “desire” must be that it, whatever it is, first have perseverance, what do we then say of the desire of the denial of desire? We cannot say that a naked man jumping off of the empire state building is a manifestation of the “will to live” in one of its better moments, this is certainly an example whichs confuses the term “will” all the more. If, as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche claimed, man is some psychogenic vehicle driving this “will” around, it should seem obvious at this point that such a dynamic were clumsy and unorganized, or, more easily understood, that it was an erroneous assumption to say that “instinct” and “will” were priority in the structures of human existence. I have seen people, for no reason, to spite the fact of there being no reason, do nothing for a reason. What if every single human being got together and agreed to, at the count of three, sit motionless in the spot they were just standing for the rest of their lives…to deny hunger, thirst, shelter, even shit where they sat? Nothing. Well, let me rephrase that to "whatever it was, it damn sure won’t no “will” to live. This, like Aristotle wanted, elevates “man” from the animal and gives him a rationale, or, unfortunately, an irrationale. No, they are wrong.

Man isn’t “driven” to act, he chooses to act. He is not an autonomous machine that cannot possibly turn itself off…he doesn’t have to do anything, period(.) His acts are guided by a set of intentions which are realized as possible ends, these ends do not need to involve means of self sustenance, hell, they could involve the means to jumping naked off a building or sitting in one’s own feces for eternity. As long as one constructs some whack system of beliefs, one is inclined to set out into the world toward the fulfilment of those beliefs. The beliefs do not need to be coherent with an ethos, or an instinct, or an “ego,” now that I mention it.

If I could ask a hamster to do something outrageous, something he would have never thought that hamsters were supposed to do, or be able to do, just to exercise his independence from his “instinct” or his “will to hamster power,” do you think he’d understand what I was saying? Can we imagine an esthetic hamster monk sitting under his wheel refusing to move? Is his world determined, is “hamsterdom” determined? What is it to be a hamster? What is the essence la hamster?


Sorry that I thought you were male. Now that I know you are female, you are 19 and I am 19, I guess the most important question I can ask you is " are you hot"? I’m kidding of course.

As for my case for determinism well lets see here I really can’t think of anything that I have ever done in which I can’t say was “caused” by something else. To quote the french dude from the matrix “free will is an illusion and everything is simply causality.”

We exist, god doesnt. End of story!!

Nihilism, or no nihilism?
…that, is the question.