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Meditation 602
Articulate thought, the source of imaginary friends?

by: Bernardo Arroyo

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After reading Meditation 596 an idea came to my mind. I must first clarify that I'm no expert in the subject. I'm not a psychologist, neurologist or something even related. So this is wild speculation.

I am not very convinced by the argument that tribal needs and characteristics generate a concept of god. I have no specific challenge to the argument either; but I simply don't see a very good connection between primitive tribal life and the need to explain things through a supernatural creator. I understand that ignorant and primitive people would have no better explanation, but magic and superstition would suffice. A specific supernatural being with the will to create the universe, seems to me an answer to a much more advanced cosmological question. Did tribes have that level of philosophical doubts? I may be grossly under estimating primitive people, but I had the impression that that had come later.

In any case, the idea that I mentioned earlier is just obliquely related. The concept of god differentiates us from animals (as far as we know) and so does articulate thought. I'm assuming that articulate thought and language have to be very intimately related. So I guess people started having articulate thoughts as language started developing. I'm also assuming that language is something that happened much more recently than human tribal groups, in fact I guess people lived in tribal groups before we could officially call them humans or even primates for that matter.

Well, am I crazy, or does articulate thinking "feel" a lot like talking to a imaginary friends? Non-articulate thinking, like when riding a bicycle or driving, catching a ball, etc. is fast and automatic. It doesn't allow us to even consider how our thoughts "look". In contrast, when we think with nouns and verbs and adjectives, we can almost sense someone hearing our thoughts. We hear them ourselves, we go slowly, step by steb. That gives us time to reflect how they would "look" if someone coud actually see. It's not so difficult to understand how someone could feel that a god is hearing thoughts (and receiving them as prayer), or that he who is hearing is a superior being with great super powers. From that point it's even easy to imagine that such a being would then be seen as the cosmological answer. I have no idea, but perhaps language, articulate thinking and cosmological questions came not too far apart in the evolution of human beings.

Does anyone know?