I. Ketosis

In human anatomy, the word ketosis identifies a metabolic state wherein the liver begins to break down the body's natural stores of fat, using them to fulfill the needs of fuel-starved organs. Since the cells of the human body are generally understood to prefer glucose as an energy source, this condition signals starvation, whether through involuntary deprivation or voluntary fasting. Continuation of such a lack of proper nutrition for an extended period, will prompt the body to proceed to catabolysis, breaking down tissue not only from fat, but also from muscle and non-vital organs. The body begins to digests itself, to sustain those functions needed to keep the brain and central nervous system alive.

Ketosis is derived from German keton, a shortened form of the German word Aketon, meaning "acetone." This in turn may be traced to the French acétone, which in turn derives from the Latin acetumvinegar – from the Latin verb acere, to be sour (and what a sour experience it must be, to digest oneself!!).

II. Kenosis

There exists,


quite by coincidence, a religious concept called kenosis. The word is used to describe an emptying of the self, in a transformative sense. It is most commonly used in Christian theology, to describe the process by which Jesus Christ became a human being, through the Biblical God temporarily emptying itself of the aspects of divinity. Various translations of the original Greek describe how Jesus "emptied himself" or "made himself nothing, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are," in a variant of the term is used in Philippians 2:7.

The God of most theistic faiths exists outside of time and space. This poses a problem for those who wish to explain how their God interacts with the existence of mankind, which is entirely bound by time and space. For Christians, it raises the particular problem of how God became one particular human, Jesus Christ, who, in Christian doctrine is simultaneously fully human and fully divine. Although Pandeists accord this attribute to all humans, Christians diminish or discount the divinity of most or all humans other than Jesus. For Christians, therefore, kenosis is a doctrine of sacrifice which is potentially more compelling than the human sacrifice embodied in the crucifixion, for it is through this process that the God of the Bible is asserted to have surrendered the attributes of Godhood – including the inability to die, in the way that Jesus dies upon the cross.

Christian theology presents another use for kenosis, as the reflective 'self-emptying' of the believer's will with the goal of eliminating internal obstacles to receiving the "perfect" will of God. Despite the predominance of its use in Christological theology, "the idea of kenosis, the self-emptying ecstasy of God is crucial in both Kabbalah and Sufism." Karen Armstrong describes in A History of God how this attitude is also reflected in the writing of William Blake, a Nineteenth Century mystical poet. "Like the Gnostics, Kabbalists and early Trinitarians, Blake envisions a kenosis, a self-emptying in the Godhead, who falls from his solitary heaven and becomes incarnate in the world."

Kenosis was also a fundamental element of the theology proposed by Georg Wilhelm Hegel, whose "Spirit which was the life force of the world" was "dependent upon the world and upon human beings for its fulfillment." Thus "Hegel's view of the kenosis of the Spirit, which empties itself to become immanent and incarnate in the world, has much in common with the Incarnational theologies" of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Kenosis derives from the Ancient Greek word κένωσις (kénōsis, "emptying") derived from κενόειν (kenósin, "to empty") which varies κενός (kenos) meaning "empty." There is no etymological relationship between ketosis and kenosis. Their similarity, separated by the difference of a single consonant, is merely fortuitous. The connectedness of the concepts, however, may be more direct.

III. Conatus

Yet another concept worth mentioning at thus point (for reasons that will become clear a few paragraphs further on) is that of the conatus, a Latin term for 'inclination' or 'tendency to move in a certain direction.' For philosophers of various ages, this term has been used to describe the inherent tendency of things to move towards continued existence and improvement. The "will" sometimes attributed to living things in their pursuit of life, sometimes to the Earth itself, and sometimes to the mere inertia of nonliving things, has been a central concept in Pantheism since the earliest conceptions of that theory.

The concept of the conatus is particularly closely associated with its use by Baruch Spinoza, as related by ecological philosopher Freya Mathews:

"Spinoza inherited from scholastic philosophy a concept known as that of the 'conatus.' The conatus, according to the Schoolmen, is the impulse for self-preservation or self-maintenance, and also for existential increase, or self-realization. Under the scholastic interpretation, the conatus consisted in the unfolding or motion of a thing toward an independently or externally defined form or goal (where the external author of such a form or goal was... presumed to be God)."

Mathews explains that "the idea of self-interest (an interest in self-realization) as an informing principle of 'selves'... resonates deeply with the thought of Spinoza." Others note that "Spinoza's monism entails that the sort of individuals that Aristotle regarded as primary substances are distinguished not by their own substantial unity, but by their conatus — their striving to persist. Thus, self-preservation is not just one possible goal of ethical agents; it is the very thing that makes those agents individuals."

Mathews finds "a further question which Spinoza himself does not explicitly address, but which springs very naturally from his thinking," and one which is fundamental to bridging the gap from Pantheism to Pandeism, is "the question whether or not the universal substance is itself self-realizing." Mathews continues:

"Does it exhibit conatus? Spinoza's failure to consider this is, I think, tied to his failure to develop a dynamic theory of substance: conatus, as the impulse towards self-realization, is manifested in becoming rather than in being, in an unfolding-through-time rather than an established manifold. This being so, conatus could not find expression in the static manifold of Spinozist space."

IV. Synthesis

If we apply the idea of the conatus to the Deus (the term used to describe the divine force in Deism, Pandeism, and sometimes Pantheism), a light shines through the darkness to illuminate the purpose, the motivation, perhaps even the compulsion of the Deus. If the Deus is an entity that is fundamentally composed of knowledge, of information, then perhaps the inability to generate or experience a particular form of information is its deprivation, its starvation.

If the Deus is starved for a particular form of information, its conatus, its internal drive to reach forth and maximize its potentiality and move towards perfection, would compel it to take whatever steps are necessary to fulfill that need. Like a starving body, the Deus is thus compelled to digest itself, to turn its own energy into the matter of a Universe through which it can solve this problem. This radical kenosis, this transformation comparable to the theistic emptying of the Godhood into the Universe, is really the entity's own ketosis, self devouring for the paradoxical purpose of sustaining the self in the only way that could possibly matter to an entity whose primary mode of existence is thought.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.