LONELINESS, THE DEATH OF MEANING, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECTIVE, THE LIVING DEATH

Reflections of the Real

“We have become victims of our own art.

We touch people on the outsides of their bodies,

and they us, but we cannot get to their insides

and cannot reveal our insides to them.

This is one of the great tragedies of our interiority-it

is utterly personal and unrevealable.”

Ernest Becker

 

Solitary confinement is among the worst punishments human beings inflict on one another. Social isolation has profound negative effects on health, from reduced lifespan in the fruit fly, Drosophilamelanogaster, to decreased anti-inflammatory responses and survival rates in mice following induced stroke (Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2009). Feelings of loneliness might have evolved as a signal to human beings that their social connections are in need of repair (Cacioppo & Patrick, 2008). University students, particularly in their first year, are especially susceptible to feelings of loneliness (Cutrona, 1982

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or communality with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental or emotional factors.

Research has shown that loneliness is widely prevalent throughout society among people in marriages, relationships, families and successful careers. It has been a long explored theme in the literature of human beings since classical antiquity. Loneliness has also been described as social pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate him/her to seek social connections.

The existentialist school of thought views loneliness as the essence of being human. Each human being comes into the world alone, travels through life as a separate person, and ultimately dies alone. Coping with this, accepting it, and learning how to direct our own lives with some degree of grace and satisfaction is the human condition.

Some philosophers, such as Sartre, believe in an epistemic loneliness in which loneliness is a fundamental part of the human condition because of the paradox between the desire of man’s/person’s consciousness to have meaning in life conflicting with the isolation and nothingness of the universe. Conversely, other existentialist thinkers argue that human beings might be said to actively engage each other and the universe as they communicate and create, and loneliness is merely the feeling of being cut off from this process.

Waiting for the dawn (2)

 

The Death of meaning

We have reach a historical moment in time were through our values, and beliefs we have reached a end to meaning. The current era has seen radical changes in both formal and popular conceptions of human nature. The knowledge disclosed by modern science has effectively rewritten the relationship of humankind to the natural world. Advances in medicine and technology have freed humans from significant limitations and ailments of previous eras, and philosophy particularly following the linguistic turn, has altered how the relationships people have with themselves and each other are conceived. Questions about the meaning of life have also seen radical changes, from attempts to reevaluate human existence in biological and scientific terms as in pragmatism and logical positivism to efforts to meta-theorize about meaning-making as a personal, individual-driven activity (existentialism, secular humanism).

These various movements often lead to the notion that language ‘constitutes’ reality, a position contrary to intuition and to most of the Western tradition of philosophy. The traditional view (what Derrida called the ‘metaphysical’ core of Western thought) saw words as functioning like labels attached to concepts. According to this view, there is something like ‘the real chair’, which exists in some external reality and corresponds roughly with a concept in human thought, chair, to which the linguistic word “chair” refers. However, the founder of structuralism, Ferdinand de Saussure, held that definitions of concepts cannot exist independently from a linguistic system defined by difference, or, to put it differently, that a concept of something cannot exist without being named. Thus differences between meanings structure our perception; there is no real chair except insofar as we are manipulating symbolic systems. We would not even be able to recognize a chair as a chair without simultaneously recognizing that a chair is not everything else – in other words a chair is defined as being a specific collection of characteristics which are themselves defined in certain ways, and so on, and all of this within the symbolic system of language. Thus, everything we think of as reality is really a convention of naming and characterizing, a convention which is itself called language. Indeed, anything outside of language is by definition inconceivable (having no name and no meaning) and therefore cannot intrude upon or enter into human reality, at least not without immediately being seized and articulated by language. Of course there are those who oppose this view.

Scientific Realism

Scientific Realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be. Within philosophy of science, it is often framed as an answer to the question “how is the success of science to be explained?” The debate over what the success of science involves centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities apparently talked about by scientific theories. Generally, those who are scientific realists assert that one can make reliable claims about unobservable (viz., that they have the same ontological status) as observables. Analytical philosophers generally have a commitment to scientific realism, in the sense of regarding the scientific method as a reliable guide to the nature of reality. The main alternative to scientific realism is instrumentalism.

Man facing Future

My Views on the Matter

We are suffering a crisis of values we dethroned God and kicked him out of our lives embracing materialism, and when Thomas Reid said:

“If there are certain principles, as I think there are, which the constitution of our nature leads us to believe, and which we are under a necessity to take for granted in the common concerns of life, without being able to give a reason for them–these are what we call the principles of common sense; and what is manifestly contrary to them, is what we call absurd.”

We have taken the path of supposed common sense to the bitter end, where there is no longer meaning to life, and existence, is just is, and you got to take it and swallow it even if it choke you to death with the lack of meaning!

We can’t pretend to go on living without meaning ignoring totally that we are subjective beings even before we realize we have legs to walk, hands to grasp, and eyes to see. Giving no reason for existence kills the spirit, and killing the spirit we kill ourselves of what it’s more precious; an inner life that bring peace, and joy to our subjective being.

 

Denying spirit it’s denying our souls, denying our souls it’s to be participants of a dehumanizing society were the bottom line it’s not consciousness. but a philistine society were money and selfishness is the rule not the exception, by the simple fact of a life lived with a lack of meaning, where there is nothing sacred, and therefore everything it’s for sale, we exchange our wellbeing and future generation’s as well for some instant gratification, be this monetary like the selling of our ecosystems,  weather, you can buy anything if you have the money and willingness like individuals, corporations, and governments, and countries if this will increase your wealth!

By no means I advocate a religious  complaisant, and complicit  bigotry who with a vision of a sure Apocalypses they cross their arms and do nothing waiting for this to happen, but for a real activism of moral value, this is what Paul named to live in the flesh:

For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.

 

The business of living it’s not n easy one, but I believe as a human being, even if subjectively alone, we are burdened with consciousness, and therefore with moral choices, and responsibility, do not be of those who docilely participate in the senseless destruction, and corruption of the world by being a passive conformist, or permissive with a who gives a damn attitude  of: If it does not affect me personally, why should I care? The world it’s what we want to make out of it, so do not be a zombie, take action, stop being an obedient follower, and consumer of all that junk they sell you, materially and morally, this may be a product that will damage our environment, our health, or our an idea like mindless entertainment that keep you distracted of what really it is important, and would corrupt our souls, and make out of us part of the living dead.

I do not believe, I know that our current cultish obsession, with vampires, zombies, apocalyptic scenarios, in our novels, media, and cinema it’s part of our subjective, and subliminal spirit warning us of what we are becoming as a society in general, so be one of the awaken ones, rather than a living death.

Arnold_Boecklin_-_Island_of_the_Dead,_Third_Version

Posted in Consciousness, Counsciousness, Critical Thinking, End of materialism, Future, Loneliness, Nihilism, The Death of Meaning, The Subjective, Uncategorized, Values, Weltanschauung, Western Civilization, Western Ideals, Western Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A BRAVE NEW WORLD, THE ANONYMUS PHENOMEN, A CHALLENGE TO THE STATUS QUO

MediaBrainwashWords (2)

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire,

but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen.

To shame it. To mock it.

With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness,

our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness

– and our ability to tell our own stories.

Stories that are different from the ones

we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse

to buy what they are selling

– their ideas, their version of history, their wars,

their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few.

They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.

On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

― Arundhati Roy, War Talk

From some time now, I am sure you have run in the net with the guys with the Guy Fawkes mask is a stylized depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605. The use of a mask on an effigy has long roots as part of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.

A stylized portrayal of a face with an over-sized smile and red cheeks, a wide mustache upturned at both ends, and a thin vertical pointed beard, designed by illustrator David Lloyd, came to represent broader protest after it was used as a major plot element in V for Vendetta, published in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation. After appearing in Internet forums, the mask became a well-known symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous, the Occupy movement, and other anti-government and anti-establishment protests around the world.

Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people’s rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another. The RIAA and the MPAA feign to aid the artists and their cause; yet they do no such thing. In their eyes is not hope, only dollar signs. Anonymous will not stand this any longer.

Since the release in 2006 of the film V for Vendetta, the use of stylized “Guy Fawkes” masks, with mustache and pointed beard, has become widespread internationally among groups protesting against politicians, banks and financial institutions. The masks both conceal the identity and protect the face of individuals and demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause.

David Lloyd, V for Vendetta illustrator and co-creator, is quoted as saying:

“The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way. My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolize that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system. We knew that V was going to be an escapee from a concentration camp where he had been subjected to medical experiments but then I had the idea that in his craziness he would decide to adopt the persona and mission of Guy Fawkes – our great historical revolutionary.”

Anonymus

Ironically someone is making money selling  this mask:

According to Time in 2011, the protesters’ adoption of the mask had led to it becoming the top-selling item on Amazon.com, selling hundreds of thousands a year. Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world, is paid a fee with the sale of each official mask, as it owns the rights to the image.

As to what all this will amount? We do not now, but it’s a symptom things are not working, and that there is people who is aware of what’s going on, and are fighting back against the system one way or another.

A TIME OF CHANGE IS UPON US

I am not sure what form exactly this phenomenon will take, neither I can predict at what time it would come to a full expression, or the place were it will explode, as an example to follow, but one thing is sure, its, coming!

Change it’s inevitable, if I do not believe in a progressive sense of History for the good, I do believe in an evolution of ideas, and a discarding of old values, and ossified structures that limit the individual, and society at large as a consequence of events we like to call historical in lack of a better name since what we name History it’s nothing but a selective look at events from a particular point of view, past events always can have a different interpretation based on our own interest, that it’s mostly based in conflict, science, and technology, with some sociology, and anthropology throw as scholastic disciplines of interest only to the specialist of diverse branches of knowledge, like art, music, food, or any conceivable thing, like the history of weaving, ceramics, agriculture, or metallurgy, you name it, and you can have History of X.

If you have been following my blog you will know that I believe as a whole we are fed up with the current paradigm of frenetic consumerism, and a society based in material values, who keep us locked in working situations for the most of us not of our choice, but as a matter of survival, when conditions could be a lot better  for most of us with some basic changes in our outlook on life, and what we desire for our well being, not only from a material point of view, that no doubt it’s necessary, but not at the price we have been paying for it. There is another dimension to Man and that it’s the subjective, spiritual, moral, or humanistic side of it, for too long people has been forced in to a slave mentality where the individual it’s lost to forces not of his choice but imposed on him by the rule of governments who do not have his best interest on mind, but the interest of the few  who profit in these state of affairs.

Same governments who in the guise of defending democratic values are lackeys to plutocracy, and socialism for corporations and the rich, and enablers of ecological mayhem for the world, wars, famine, and all sort of crimes against the common man, if not by crimes of design, by crimes of ideology, or omission.

And an end of this state of affairs is urgent, period.

The illusion of progress

Posted in A Brave New World, Anger and Violence, Capitalism, Counsciousness, Crisis of Values, Critical Thinking, Democracy, Disillusion with Capitalism, Ecological Crisis, Economy, End of materialism, Freedom, Future, Greed, Historical Evolution, History, Justice, Life Liberty and the pursuit of happines, Materialism, Progress, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

IGJUGARJUK, ON SUFFERING AND TRANSFORMATION, ALCHEMY, THE EMERALD TABLE, AND OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNION

Igjugarjuk

” True wisdom,

is only to be found

far away from people,

out in the great solitude. “

Igjugarjuk

Knud Rasmussen quoting on Inuit shaman Igjugarjuk

“When I was to be a shaman, I chose suffering through the two things that are more dangerous to us humans, suffering through hunger and suffering through cold. First I hungered five days and was then allowed to drink a mouthful of warm water, the old one say that only if the water is warm will Pinga and Hila will notice the novice and help him. Thereafter I went hungry another fifteen days, and again I was given another mouthful of warm water. After that I hungered fro ten days, and then could begin to eat…

Later, when I had become quite myself again, I understood that I had become the shaman of my village, and it did happen that my neighbors or people from a long distance away called me to heal a sick person, or to inspect a course if they were going to travel. When this happened, the people of my village were called together and I told them what I had been asked to do. Then I left tent or snow house and went out into solitude: ahiarmut, away from the dwellings of man…

If anything difficult had to be found out, my solitude had to extend over three days and two nights, or three nights and two days. In all that time I had to wander about without rest, and only sit down once in a while on a stone or a snow drift. When I had been out long and had become tired, I could almost doze and dream what I had come out to find and about which I had been thinking all the time. Every morning, however, I could come home and report on what I had so far found, but as soon as I had spoken I had to return again, out into the open, out to places where I could be quite alone…

These days of ‘seeking for knowledge’ are very tiring, for one must walk all the time, no matter how the weather is like and only rest in short snatches. I am usually quite done up, tired not only in body but also in head, when I have found what I sought.

We shamans in the interior have no special spirit language; and believe the real angatkut do not need it. On my travels sometimes I have been present at a séance among the saltwater-dwellers, for instance among the coast people of Utkuhigjalik . These angatkut never seemed trustworthy to me. It always appeared to met this saltwater angatkut attached more weight to tricks that would astonish the audience, when they jumped about the floor and do tricks, nor does he seek by the aid of darkness, by putting out the lamps, to make the minds of his neighbors uneasy. For myself, I do not think I know much, but I do not think that wisdom or knowledge about things that are hidden can be sought in that manner. True wisdom is only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude, and it is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and therefore a shaman must seek his wisdom there.”

Suffering is the key word of the Spiritual work, it is a birth labor, a shedding of the skin, a furnace were the Soul it is transformed in to a luminous being, a crucifixion were the ego is put to die, not an easy work, now days with so many people searching for Spirit and in consequence the many self anointed spiritual guides of all kinds of nature, it is easy to believe  the Spiritual path it is an easy, and joyful ride, full of magical, and extraordinary experiences, yes there are many of those, but not without been brought by a lot of work, suffering, and the taming of ego.

A place of solitude

Why Suffering?

Suffering it’s necessary for the soul in order to detach of the objective, and realize the subjective, it’s the shedding of the skin so to speak of the serpent, so it can grow, the pain of birth that brings a new being, along with happiness and joy. It’s the realization that we are here to be a shining mirror of Spirit, and it’s necessary for us to be better polishing ourselves, and realize that even if we are made of flesh, and bones, this is not our final destination, but the place were we are tested, thrown in to the river bed as rough rocks rubbing off the sharp corners, pebbles tossed in fast flowing waters become beautiful to be transformed in to polished pebbles by the continuous rush of the water.

Life, and living  itself is the furnace of the alchemist where base metals are transformed in to gold, by the relentless heat, and the long time it requires for this elements to transform, which it is a lifetime pursue, and the the explanation as to the title of my blog KONE KRUSOS KRONOS

KONE=   The furnace

KRUSOS=  The Gold

KRONOS= The Time

The Emerald Tablet

  • Tis true without lying, certain & most true.

  • That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing

  • And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.

  • The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.

  • The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.

  • Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.

  • Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.

  • It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.

  • By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world

  • & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.

  • Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.

  • So was the world created.

  • From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world

  • That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.

I have killed you so you may have overflowing life...

Devour by a Bear

The selection and initiation process of the Inuit Angakoq is slightly different from that of the Noaidi, although it does follow the same traditional patterns of spiritual death, rebirth, and contact of spirits for aid. Unlike many Noaidi, who are typically selected by a personal spiritual calling, the older Angakoq selects the new pupil as a young child. These are usually children that have either already demonstrated unusual dreams/visions or seem especially gifted for the position. As demonstrated earlier with the reference to attacks by tuurngait, the initiation process of the Angakoq is a bit more inclined towards the aspect of spiritual death and metaphorical dismemberment than the initiatory sequence of the Sámi Noaidi. “The anagkok teaches him to isolate himself in a lonely place—beside an old grave, by a lake—and there to rub two stones together while waiting for a significant event. ‘Then the bear of the lake or the inland glacier will come out, he will devour all your flesh and make you a skeleton, and you will die. But you will recover your flesh, you will awaken, and your clothes will come rushing to you’” (Eliade 2004). In other stories, the Angakoq is ripped apart or slowly drowned at the bottom of the sea. “The ecstatic experience of dismemberment of the body followed by renewal of the organs is also known to the Eskimo. They speak of an animal (bear, walrus, etc.) that wounds the candidate, tears him to pieces or devours him…” (Eliade 2004). Then, he is reborn into his old body with a new sight. It is often described as light pulsating through the shaman’s body and interweaving through the eyes to create new vision.

Polar Bear Animal Totem

Dionysus

The idea is to die to the body to be reborn in the Spirit, a symbolic image that it’s recurrent in all myths, and Religions; Jonas in the belly of a whale, Crist crucified, the Dionysus myth the bacchants Cultic rites associated with worship of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus (or Bacchus in Roman mythology), were allegedly characterized by maniacal dancing to the sound of loud music and crashing cymbals, in which the revellers, called Bacchantes, whirled, screamed, became drunk and incited one another to greater and greater ecstasy. The goal was to achieve a state of enthusiasm in which the celebrants’ souls were temporarily freed from their earthly bodies and were able to commune with Bacchus/Dionysus and gain a glimpse of and a preparation for what they would someday experience in eternity. The rite climaxed in a performance of frenzied feats of strength and madness, such as uprooting trees, tearing a bull (the symbol of Dionysus) apart with their bare hands, an act called sparagmos, and eating its flesh raw, an act called omophagia. This latter rite was a sacrament akin to communion in which the participants assumed the strength and character of the god by symbolically eating the raw flesh and drinking the blood of his symbolic incarnation. Having symbolically eaten his body and drunk his blood, the celebrants became possessed by Dionysus. Is this not communion analogous to the celebration of mass and the sharing of the body of Christ?

Gregorio Lazzarini Orpheus and the Bacchantes

Posted in Alchemy, Cosmogony, Dionysus, Direct Spiritual Experience, Dreams, Ego, Emerald Table, Heart, Mundus Imaginalis, Myth, Mythology, Religion, Spirituality, Suffering, Symbology, Symbols, Transcendence, Transfiguration, Transformation, Transmutation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

MATHEMATICS THE HIDDEN ROOT OF THE PLATONIC ARCHETYPES, A STORY OF EROS AND THE LOVE OF ABSTRACTS IDEALS

Raphael's detail, Plato & Aristotle

Beginning from these very beauties,

for the sake of that highest beauty he ascends eternally,

just as if employing the rungs of a ladder, from one to two,

and from two to all beautiful bodies;

from beautiful bodies he proceeds to beautiful pursuits,

from pursuits to beautiful sciences,

and from these sciences arrives at that science which is

concerned with the beautiful itself and nothing else,

so that finally he comes to know what the beautiful is.

Socrates, on Diotima’s wisdom, on Plato’s Symposium

My views on Plato’s Archetypes

I am opposed to the idea of Platonism as an independent and abstract dimension concept that split Man from the Archetypes, (Theory of forms) as the result of the separation of the Physical from the Spiritual, as to deny the subjective integral world of ideas, as unreal on the basis it’s is a mind product, and not an objective reality. Mathematicians, at least some of them have seeing the intimate reality of conceptual ideas on the way the Universe works; Not only is the Platonism under discussion not Plato’s, Platonism as characterized above is a purely metaphysical view, it should be distinguished from other views that have substantive epistemological content. Many older characterizations of Platonism add strong epistemological claims to the effect that we have some immediate grasp of, or insight into, the realm of abstract objects.

I believe Semantics is at the root of the problem, and the long but now obsolete definitions of charged words like Metaphysics, it is really conceptual ideas, subjective insights that define something beyond our physical dimension, really something beyond ourselves the creators of the ideas, the definers of concrete objects, and subjective images, and understanding?

The Universe can exist without Man as a witness? No doubt, considering the relative young age of Man, but it’s not Man the essential key to explain it? No Man, no consciousness, no consciousness, not even conceptual existence, since the conceptual is totally dependent on the conscious observer…Of course it could be argued that consciousness it’s in everything even in the mineral kingdom, to which I agree, the Universe/s it’s consciousness.

“I was a Treasure unknown then I desired to be known so I created a creation to which I made Myself known; then they knew Me.”

Islamic Hadith

A Hidden Treasure

For those interested on the Platonic Archetypes you can read my post of THE WORLD WITHOUT DUST GEOGRAPHICAL ARCHETYPES OF THE SOUL, posted on March 2012

Love and Math: The Heart of a Hidden Reality

Here are  long excerpts of the New York Review of Books article by Jim Holt on Edward Frenkel’s book Love and Math: The Heart of a Hidden Reality, a very interesting article that deal in a quasi mystic idea of the existence of the Independence of mathematics in relation to our understanding  that Mathematical objects are independent of intelligent agents and their language, thought, and practices.

“For those who have learned something of higher mathematics, nothing could be more natural than to use the word “beautiful” in connection with it. Mathematical beauty, like the beauty of, say, a late Beethoven quartet, arises from a combination of strangeness and inevitability. Simply defined abstractions disclose hidden quirks and complexities. Seemingly unrelated structures turn out to have mysterious correspondences. Uncanny patterns emerge, and they remain uncanny even after being underwritten by the rigor of logic.

So powerful are these aesthetic impressions that one great mathematician, G.H. Hardy, declared that beauty, not usefulness, is the true justification for mathematics. To Hardy, mathematics was first and foremost a creative art. “The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s, must be beautiful,” he wrote in his classic 1940 book, A Mathematician’s Apology. “Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.”

And what is the appropriate reaction when one is confronted by mathematical beauty? Pleasure, certainly; awe, perhaps. Thomas Jefferson wrote in his seventy-sixth year that contemplating the truths of mathematics helped him to “beguile the wearisomeness of declining life.” To Bertrand Russell—who rather melodramatically claimed, in his autobiography, that it was his desire to know more of mathematics that kept him from committing suicide—the beauty of mathematics was “cold and austere, like that of sculpture…sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection.” For others, mathematical beauty may evoke a distinctly warmer sensation. They might take their cue from Plato’s Symposium. In that dialogue, Socrates tells the guests assembled at a banquet how a priestess named Diotima initiated him into the mysteries of Eros—the Greek name for desire in all its forms.

One form of Eros is the sexual desire aroused by the physical beauty of a particular beloved person. That, according to Diotima, is the lowest form. With philosophical refinement, however, Eros can be made to ascend toward loftier and loftier objects. The penultimate of these—just short of the Platonic idea of beauty itself—is the perfect and timeless beauty discovered by the mathematical sciences. Such beauty evokes in those able to grasp it a desire to reproduce—not biologically, but intellectually, by begetting additional “gloriously beautiful ideas and theories.” For Diotima, and presumably for Plato as well, the fitting response to mathematical beauty is the form of Eros we call love.”

Lenk Diotima Dioskuren

As with Galois theory, the Langlands Program had its origins in a letter. It was written in 1967 by Robert Langlands (then in his early thirties) to one of his colleagues at the Institute for Advance Study, André Weil. In his letter, Langlands proposed the possibility of a deep analogy between two theories that seemed to lie at opposite ends of the mathematical cosmos: the theory of Galois groups, which concerns symmetries in the realm of numbers; and “harmonic analysis,” which concerns how complicated waves (e.g., the sound of a symphony) are built up from simple harmonics (e.g., the individual
instruments). Certain structures in the harmonic world, called automorphic forms, somehow “knew” about mysterious patterns in the world of numbers. Thus it might be possible to use the methods of one world to reveal hidden harmonies in the other—so Langlands conjectured. If Weil did not find the intuitions in the letter persuasive, Langlands added, “I am sure you have a waste basket handy.”

But Weil, a magisterial figure in twentieth-century mathematics (he died in 1998 at the age of ninety-two), was a receptive audience. In a letter that he had written in 1940 to his sister, Simone Weil, he had described in vivid terms the importance of analogy in mathematics. Alluding to the Bhagavad-Gita (he was also a Sanskrit scholar), André explained to Simone that, just as the Hindu deity Vishnu had ten different avatars, a seemingly simple mathematical equation could manifest itself in dramatically different abstract structures. The subtle analogies between such structures were like “illicit
liaisons,” he wrote; “nothing gives more pleasure to the connoisseur.”

As it happens, Weil was writing to his sister from prison in France, where he had been temporarily confined for desertion from the army (after nearly being executed as a spy in Finland).

The Langlands Program is a scheme of conjectures that would turn such hypothetical analogies into sturdy logical bridges, linking up diverse mathematical islands across the surrounding sea of ignorance. Or it can be seen as a Rosetta stone that would allow the mathematical tribes on these various islands—number theorists, topologists, algebraic geometers—to talk to one another and pool their conceptual resources. The Langlands conjectures are largely unproved so far. Are they even true? There is an almost Platonic confidence among mathematicians that they must be. As Ian Stewart has remarked, the Langlands Program is “the sort of mathematics that ought to be true because it was so beautiful.”

Robert LanglandsAndre Weil

Quantum Physycs Connection

The next move was to extend the Langlands Program beyond the borders of mathematics itself. In the 1970s, it had been noticed that one of its key ingredients—the “Langlands dual group”—also crops up in quantum physics. This came as a surprise. Could the same patterns that can be dimly glimpsed in the worlds of number and geometry also have counterparts in the theory that describes the basic forces of nature?

Frenkel was struck by the potential link between quantum physics and the Langlands Program, and set about to investigate it—aided by a multimillion-dollar grant that he and some colleagues received in 2004 from the Department of Defense, the largest grant to date for research in pure mathematics. (In addition to being clean and gentle, pure mathematics is cheap: all its practitioners need is chalk and a little travel money. It is also open and transparent, since there are no inventions to patent.)

This brought him into a collaboration with Edward Witten, widely regarded as the greatest living mathematical physicist (and, like Langlands himself, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton). Witten is a virtuoso of string theory, an ongoing effort by physicists to unite all the forces of nature, including gravity, in one neat mathematical package. He awed Frenkel with his “unbreakable logic” and his “great taste.” It was Witten who saw how the “branes” (short for “membranes”) postulated by string theorists might be analogous to the “sheaves” invented by mathematicians. Thus opened a rich dialogue between the Langlands Program, which aims to unify mathematics, and string theory, which aims to unify physics. Although optimism about string theory has faded somewhat with its failure (thus far) to deliver an effective description of our universe, the Langlands connection has yielded deep insights into the workings of particle physics.

This is not the first time that mathematical concepts studied for their pure beauty have later turned out to illumine the physical world. “How can it be,” Einstein asked in wonderment, “that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality?” Frenkel’s take on this is very different from Einstein’s. For Frenkel, mathematical structures are among the “objects of reality”; they are every bit as real as anything in the physical or mental world.

Moreover, they are not the product of human thought; rather, they exist timelessly, in a Platonic realm of their own, waiting to be discovered by mathematicians. The conviction that mathematics has a reality that transcends the human mind is not uncommon among its practitioners, especially great ones like Frenkel and Langlands, Sir Roger Penrose and Kurt Gödel. It derives from the way that strange patterns and correspondences unexpectedly emerge, hinting at something hidden and mysterious. Who put those patterns there? They certainly don’t seem to be of our making.

A hidden place of the Heart (2)

The problem with this Platonist view of mathematics—one that Frenkel, going on in a misterioso vein, never quite recognizes as such—is that it makes mathematica lknowledge a miracle. If the objects of mathematics exist apart from us, living in a Platonic heaven that transcends the physical world of space and time, then how does the human mind “get in touch” with them and learn about their properties and relations? Do mathematicians have ESP? The trouble with Platonism, as the philosopher Hilary Putnam has observed, “is that it seems flatly incompatible with the simple fact that we think with
our brains, and not with immaterial souls.”

Perhaps Frenkel should be allowed his Platonic fantasy. After all, every lover harbors romantic delusions about his beloved. In 2009, while Frenkel was in Paris as the occupant of the Chaire d’ Excellence of the Fondation Sciences Mathématiques, he decided to make a short film expressing his passion for mathematics. Inspired by Yukio Mishima’s Rite of Love and Death, he titled it Rites of Love and Math. In this silent Noh-style allegory, Frenkel plays a mathematician who creates a formula of love. To keep the formula from falling into evil hands, he hides it away from the world by tattooing it with a bamboo stick on the body of the woman he loves, and then prepares to sacrifice himself for its
protection.

Upon the premiere of Rites of Love and Math in Paris in 2010, Le Monde called it “a stunning short film” that “offers an unusual romantic vision of mathematicians.” The “formula of love” used in the film was one that Frenkel himself discovered (in the course of investigating the mathematical underpinnings of quantum field theory). It is beautiful, yet forbidding. The only numbers in it are zero, one, and infinity. Isn’t love like that?

Rites of Love and Math

Posted in Archetypes, Counsciousness, Diotima, Edward Frenkel, Eros, Love of the Beautiful, Mathematics, Metaphor, Mysticism, Philosophy, Plato, Science, Semantics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

GREED AND IMPUNITY THE LAW OF THE LAND, GOVERNMENT, AND FREE MARKET ECONOMY IDOLS WITH CLAY FEET, A FUTURE OF UNCERTAINTY

lobbyist money

29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.

30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.

31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.

35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Daniel dream

Greed and Impunity

The decay of our society as we speak it’s terrifying, you may think its business as usual, I agree that it is, I do not believe time past were better, however the difference is in the scale, and scope of it, never before so much was at a stake, as it is now, we seem to be at the edge of a precipice were  our fall it is almost inevitable and we will be sucked up by an enormous sink hole, a hole made by ourselves, and our greedy capitalistic entrepreneurs, abetted, and shoved down our throats by our elected politicians that myopically and greedy are selling our future for any chump change they can get in to their pockets, it’s a crisis of values of Babylon’s proportions were and end like in the style of Sodom and Gomorrah  is foreseeable, brought not by Angels, but  Ecological disasters, floods, draughts, global warming, contamination, financial ruin, famine, sickness, crime, anarchy, and all the evils you can think about brought by a World society falling apart at the seams by selfishness and the law of the jungle brought by greed, and impunity.

Meidner apocaliptic end

Whistler Blower

in September 22, 2013 in the New York Times, Opinion there is an article by William D. Cohan titled: Was This Whistle-Blower Muzzled?

Here are some extracts of it, you can find the whole article on line.

Mr. Bowen, who was featured in a piercing “60 Minutes” segment in December 2011, had discovered that for years before the crisis, Citigroup, like many other Wall Street firms, had been purchasing  tens of billions of dollars’ worth of risky home mortgages and then packaging and selling them as investments. “When I started screaming,” he told me, “I was just trying to do my job. Silly me.” At wits’ end, on Nov. 3, 2007, Mr. Bowen sent an e-mail to a small group of Citigroup executives, including Robert E. Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and former Treasury secretary who was then chairman of the bank’s executive committee (and who received $126 million during his decade at Citigroup). “The reason for this urgent e-mail concerns breakdowns of internal controls and resulting significant but possibly unrecognized financial losses existing within our organization,” Mr. Bowen wrote.

Mr. Bowen told me that the following Tuesday, a Citigroup lawyer told him of his e-mail: We’re taking it seriously. Don’t call us. We’ll call you. He sent more e-mails to the lawyer, but heard nothing. “I mean, silence,” he said. (Months later, the two men did talk about Mr. Bowen’s e-mail to Mr. Rubin.)

Mr. Bowen, who is now 66 and teaches accounting at the University of Texas, Dallas, was fired in January 2009. (After signing a separation and confidentiality agreement, he received a severance package of less than $1 million.) And Citigroup went on to receive a $45 billion bailout from the taxpayers, plus guarantees on nearly $300 billion of securities, some of which were most likely crammed with the very low-quality mortgages Mr. Bowen had warned about.

Richard M Bowenn III

America became inured to the sight of one extremely wealthy former Goldman Sachs senior partner turned Treasury secretary (Mr. Rubin) asking another (Mr. Paulson) for a favor. But what Mr. Bowen believes happened to him after Citigroup fired him still has the power to shock anyone who cares about accountability and justice. He feels he was muzzled; others involved are adamant that he was not.

In 2008, after his note to Mr. Rubin and after his responsibilities were vastly reduced at Citigroup, but before he was fired, Mr. Bowen decided to become a whistle-blower. That April, he filed a complaint, under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration claiming he had been retaliated against after writing his e-mail to Mr. Rubin. (The complaint was settled as part of his separation agreement with Citigroup.) Then, in July, Mr. Bowen went to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I testified before the S.E.C.,” he told an audience in Texas earlier this year. “I told them what had happened.” He gave the S.E.C. more than 1,000 pages of documents. “Mr. Bowen, we are going to pursue this,” the agency told him. He never heard back. “Not only did they bury my testimony, they locked it up,” he said in his speech. (The S.E.C. has denied my numerous requests under the Freedom of Information Act for access to Mr. Bowen’s file, even though he has given his permission, claiming that the material was “confidential” and included Citigroup “trade secrets.” On Sept. 11, the S.E.C. denied my administrative appeal of its decision.)

Of course, it’s the old story on Wall Street: One man’s aggressive lobbying is another man’s undue influence. Mr. Kardell believes that “there’s no question that Richard was censored.”

Mr. Bowen told me that, despite the denials from Mr. Karp and Mr. Bondi, he continues to believe he was censored and bullied into changing his testimony. The experience has shaken his faith in the country’s institutions.

“It was devastating,” he said. “It truly was. From my standpoint, the corruption extends to the highest levels of government. I feel absolutely, completely violated. Every principle that I grew up with, and even when I did a brief stint in the R.O.T.C. and the Air Force, it’s just completely violated.”

He plans to keep talking about what happened to him. “By God, I’ve got to leave this country better off than the way I found it.”

Typhoon Haiyan

Just as the world was beginning to take in the almost unimaginable devastation wrought by typhoon Haiyan, a young Filipino diplomat, Naderev Sano, was getting ready to lead his country’s negotiations in the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. Yeb, as he is known, is a scientist and head of his country’s national climate commission and had flown out of Manila just hours before the vastness of Haiyan had become apparent.

By Monday morning, Sano knew that the Philippines had been struck by possibly the strongest storm ever measured, killing many thousands of people and making millions homeless. He took the floor and, in some trepidation in front of the delegates of 190 countries, gave an extraordinary, passionate speech in which he clearly linked super typhoon Haiyan to manmade climate change and urged the world to wake up to the reality of what he said was happening from Latin America to south east Asia and the US. He lambasted the rich countries, and dared climate change deniers to go to his country to see for themselves what was happening.

187854886

When he sat down, sobbing, he was given a standing ovation.

This was not just diplomatic theatricals or righteous grandstanding by a developing-country diplomat about the snail-like speed of the climate talks, which have dragged on for years and are not likely to conclude until 2015. What few people in Warsaw knew until Sano had nearly finished his speech was that even as he was addressing the UN, his brother was digging people out of the rubble of the ruined city of Tacloban and he and his family still did not know the fate of other relatives.

Normally stone-hearted diplomats broke down, and Sano, who calls himself a “revolutionary” and a “philosopher” on Twitter [@yebsano], said later he would go on hunger strike for the whole of the two-week meeting. In the last 24 hours he has been joined by 30 activists.

Nadarev Sano

When it comes to connecting the dots between climate change, extreme weather and health, the lines are clear. The earth is saying something with record heat, drought, storms and fire. Scientists are telling us this is what global warming looks like.It’s time to listen – and take action. There’s plenty we can do. Carbon pollution is the main reason our planet is getting hotter, increasing the chances of weather disasters, drought and flood and hurting our health. There are solutions. For starters, we can cut carbon pollution by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing our use of clean, renewable energy. And we can implement policies that help us prepare for flooding, drought, storms and other consequences of climate change. But first, we need national leadership that will stop ignoring what the earth and scientists are telling us about climate change, and instead start ignoring those who continue to deny it is happening.

“If the movie had ended in Hollywood fashion, the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 would have marked the culmination of the global fight to slow a changing climate. The world’s nations had gathered in the December gloom of the Danish capital for what a leading climate economist, Sir Nicholas Stern of Britain, called the “most important gathering since the Second World War, given what is at stake.” As Danish energy minister Connie Hedegaard, who presided over the conference, declared at the time: “This is our chance. If we miss it, it could take years before we get a new and better one. If ever.”

In the event, of course, we missed it. Copenhagen failed spectacularly. Neither China nor the United States, which between them are responsible for 40 percent of global carbon emissions, was prepared to offer dramatic concessions, and so the conference drifted aimlessly for two weeks until world leaders jetted in for the final day. Amid considerable chaos, President Obama took the lead in drafting a face-saving “Copenhagen Accord” that fooled very few. Its purely voluntary agreements committed no one to anything, and even if countries signaled their intentions to cut carbon emissions, there was no enforcement mechanism. “Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight,” an angry Greenpeace official declared, “with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport.” Headline writers were equally brutal: COPENHAGEN: THE MUNICH OF OUR TIMES? asked one. “ (Rolling Stones By Bill McKibben)

Neville Chamberlain after returning from Munich

Government VS Free Market Economy

Government clotted with the bureaucracy and ossification that have piled up over two centuries of the industrial age, government today is among the forces in society most resistant to change, it doesn’t adapt and innovate in order to work successfully, government seems to grow more bloated and ineffective as its leaders claim they are making it leaner and meaner.

Meanwhile, in the private sector, the forces of free-market competition who provided society’s most powerful spur for change and innovation in the last half of the Twenty Century, and that supposedly would make Government obsolete, proved themselves to be a an idol with clay feet. In contrast to Washington’s dismal performance in recent decades, not to mention the sorry history of the former socialist states which somehow managed throughout their 70-year history to remain wholly incapable of providing so much as a decent kitchen appliance to their citizens,  the free market in contrast has shown itself to be the most effective force in society for creating new wealth and the infamous 1% spreading that wealth unequally thin   among the rest of the population, who is growing dissatisfied with both Government, and the shameless Wall street speculators, bankers, insurance companies and financial mavericks who selfishly bought Government to change the rules of the game in their dream of maximizing profits, at the expense of Nature, and society at large who suffer Ecological disasters, lack of proper services, healthcare, social services, education, jobs, and proper wages, have turned many citizen in to cynics, impotent to see and end to so much corruption, and a lack of empathy to resolve the common problems who affect the most to the less privileged masses of individuals who join not the new market forces, but the homeless and the disfranchised, who wander in droves around our cities as an spectacle of  shame, and hopelessness of a better future.

City of homeless

A Brave New World

So what is the future? I do not want to be an alarmist, but I am neither an optimist about the situation we face in a world obvious too big, and complex to be able to predict a future, but I am certain that if the change that it’s coming soon, it will be not so much about the exploitations of resources, or the creation of more wealth, with better infrastructures, and a more just and inclusive distribution of  goods and services, maybe this no doubt can be better, but I foresee more a switch in a radical change in goals, aspirations and objectives in our way we live, see and understand ourselves within our environment, and Nature, the dream of the winner takes all, the maverick in pursuit of money success, luxury, and the fine things in life will have to change and become a dream of downsizing to live in an ecological balance with Mother Earth, were wealth would not mean how much you can own for yourself, but as to adapt ourselves to live better with less, an to loose interest in amazing money for the sake of it, but to exchange it for peace of mind, and community interaction, abandoning the idea of consumerism to create an economy, but of embracing quality craftsmanship of goods made not by fabrics, but by individuals, for local consumption, simpler lifestyles rather than expensive ones, recycling of everything, sewing buttons, mending clothes, like our grandmothers did, the abandonment of plastic, chemicals, and synthetic materials in favor of natural ones, the abandonment of big cities in favor of small rural, organic self sustain communities, the total renunciation of the car as an individual mode of transportation in favor of community transportation, the demise of the big chain markets for the farmer markets, the elimination of the big agribusiness complex, pharmaceutical complex, oil complex, and any other enterprise that require the  automated, and the mass produced goods, along with the factories, that need a large pool of people concentrated in small areas we call now days cities.

I could go on and on, but with this you get the idea, downsize and go green, I am sure a lot of you will smile, and dismiss this as naïve, utopian, impossible, etc. However one thing I can tell you, if we don’t, there will be no future for mankind, the model that we live right now, it is no longer sustainable and its condemn to fail, and fall apart as it is clear to see it happening as we speak, how long we will be able to go  on like this, I ignore it but it may not take long, unless we reestablish harmony between Man and Nature.

Harmony with Nature

Posted in A Brave New World, Capitalism, Climate Change, Corruption, Counsciousness, Critical Thinking, Cynicism, Democracy, Disillusion with Capitalism, Ecological Crisis, End of materialism, Future, Globalization, Government and Free Markets, Greed, Greed and Impunity, Materialism, New Values, Politics, Progress, The Rights of Nature, Typhoon Haiyan, Uncategorized, Wall Street fiasco | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MY VIEWS ON RELIGION, ATHEISM, BUDDHISM AND OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, HOUSTON SMITH A LIFE ON RELIGION

Sinuous Path to Heaven's Gate

It is very good to be born in a church,

but it is very bad to die in a church.

Swami Vivekananda

It may come as a surprise to my readers,  my particular views on this issues, Religion, Atheism, and Buddhism, and other manifestations of the human spirit, I do not expect for my readers to share my views, after all they are mine! And more than mine, it is my experience through years of practice, study, and life acquired knowledge, distilled in to wisdom, or my lack of it, that can be communicated, but not shared in equal degree, because after all as incarnated sentient beings in this realm that we give various names:  The World, Mankind, Life, or even negate as Maya (Illusion) it really come to our own solipsistic nature that we experience the world not through somebody else perceptions, but our own, rendering each experience unique, and limited to our corporeal person, subject to our particular set of circumstances, as our sex, family, language, nation, occupation, historical period we live in, socio-cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds, that define us, including the Religion, or lack off, in to what we are born in, or choose to change it later, as it may be the case.

I am a deeply religious person but do not have a Religion, I am not a Christian, even if I was born and baptized as Catholic, never care too much about the apostolic side of it, that either is missionary in nature, or to ratify hierarchical authority, do not care,  or wish to convert people to my beliefs, and if  believe there are Hierarchical values in Spirituality, I do not like Religion as an institution,  I see Christ more as an example to follow, than a personal savior, I am neither a Jew, if most interested in Kabbalah, I am disqualified by being a Goyim ,  nor a Muslim since I had never embraced totally the five pillars of Islam I do my daily prayers but not always in a ritualistic way,  plus I don’t think I will ever become a Haji, this doesn’t mean I am an Atheist, or even if I respect and admire Buddhism. And at one point in my life, my inclinations was to embrace Buddhism, never did, serious Buddhism it is monastic in nature, and I do not see it as a way for me, or for most part of Mankind as a matter of fact, and no, categorically I am not an Agnostic, I find the term rather lukewarm, From Agnostic to Atheist there is really little difference if you consider it is just a subjective idea of admitting belief, or disbelief, with little relevance one way or another one, to my knowledge there is not such a thing, as  Agnostic activism, like there is some Atheist who are in a crusade to propagate their lack of faith, they believe man will be free if unshackled of belief on a higher power, a rather mystifying belief on itself, since freedom it is such a subjective, and relative word…

Freedom and Awe of Nature

However if I respect their right of disbelief on a personal God, or an Immanent God,  what I find odd , it is  many of the limitations such position entails, it was not until I started to understand how diversely different a concept of God vary from individual to individual, Religion, to Religion, and from sect to sect that realized how complex a subject it is, and how little explored by many who declare himself an atheist on the face of their particular choice, rather than conclusions after a lifetime of study, and experience on the matter, instead than a choice he took after he read the last bestseller book from Richard Dawkins, a popular writer of atheist books, whose lingua franca is arguably the Scientific method of a biologist! With little relation to the study of Ontology, Philosophy, or Theology, and many other branches of knowledge besides biological determinism, and Darwinism.

The late Ronald Dworkin did an essay entitled: Religion without God, Mr. Dworkin a Constitutional lawyer and anti-positivist, no doubt fed up with the idea that the dominion of science, should be applied in to such a subjective Sociological field as Law, but very possible an atheist on the principle of denying a personal God argued for a defending an atheism, that sound now days more like a “Cosmic Force” “Awe of Nature” or some other Euphemism for God, cited Einstein, a favorite undisputed darling of scientific oriented, or not, but of a large section of mankind, believers, or unbelievers alike, whose words are the final verdict of truth, Dworkin quoted Einstein:

“To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.”

What do you know? Einstein if alive would be classified as; Spiritual but not Religious, quite a big umbrella for many whose beliefs could be as different as night from day! With that thought in mind, my point is the diversity of personal unbelief can be as baffling, complex,  supercilious, or idiotic, as that of many believers. Dilettantism on almost anything seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

Yes, also I know the History of intolerance by religious authorities, wars, genocide, murder, torture, abuse, and so many other crimes.

However I like to point out there not seem to be a cessation, or decrease of this crimes just because people has abandoned belief. Political, social, economical, racial, family, and so many other issues, seem to be the source of continued unabated violence, and crimes regardless of belief, or unbelief.

The Angel contemplating the works of Man

The Root of anger and Violence

Maybe it has to do more with how we react to  issues, our virtue, wisdom, or lack of it, and not our belief, or unbelief  that is responsible for our bad behavior? What I mean we can believe whatever we may wish to believe but it is the capacity of self restrain, against anger, violence, greed, opposed by the virtues of compassion, love, tolerance, and wisdom of the individual, groups, societies, nations, that will determine their actions, in other words Moral Virtue sorely lacking in most of the leaders of mankind, and people in general around the world at the present moment, otherwise the world wouldn’t be in such a mess, doesn’t it?

Perpetrators of violence exist at all levels of society, and hardly any particular individual is free from it, consciously, or unconsciously we are all perpetrators of violence, male or female. I will not go in to a full study of the causes of anger, fear, and human weakness  that are responsible for it. But we can point out, to countless of historical examples from Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot to Attila, Tamerlane, Genghis-Khan. Suffice is to say that religion, or lack of it has little to do with it, more to do with the family structure, and the values, and pressures broth in to such families by an unjust society:

“The violence inflicted by human adults on themselves, each other and the Earth is an outcome of the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted on them as children.”

Robert J, Burrows

At the time, in the moment, violence makes emotional sense to the perpetrator because it feels “right.” It also feels “free” because social restraints are suspended. And it feels satisfying to let angry impulse rule, anger the most common justification for violence. Why is that?The awareness of anger is usually identified by such thoughts as, “this is wrong,” “this isn’t what I like or want,” “this isn’t fair,” “this shouldn’t be going on,” “This must be stopped.” So the function of anger is to patrol a person’s wellbeing, identify possible violations, and energize some expressive, protective, corrective, or aggressive action in response, regardless of how misguided may be.

Mankind seems to be historically every moment at a crossroads of sorts, driven by our foibles, and weakness, rather than by our wisdom, or good judgment were the future, and our human survival, and that of the world seems to be in question, a estrange and mysterious state of our Human condition…

Sometimes the path ahead can be mysterious

SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS

Spiritual but not Religious it is a common expression used now day to denote you believe there is such a thing as Spirit, but you do not conform to the norm of following a established religion, unfortunately the term now days it is so common, that the phrase is used world-wide, but is most prominent in the United States where one study reports that as many as 33% of people identify as spiritual but not religious. On the other side it means little to too many, and I will be the first to admit the bad connotations associated with this term, many serious religious observers claim people who embrace this rubric, are people who lack to avoid commitment, and the sacrifice that making a difference in embracing a religion imply, they say:

“Do you like feeling good without having to act on your feeling? Boosting your self-esteem no matter your competence or behavior? Then I’ve got the religious program for you, Spiritual but not Religious!”

“The thing is, SBNR folks, you may know more about what we’re supposed to be doing than we do. I mean, church — if it’s done right — involves inconveniences like missing brunch with friends on Sunday morning, money that could be spent elsewhere given away, old people calling you by the wrong name and occasionally boring sermons.

Being transformed and transforming the world together takes commitment and hard work. It’s a messy engagement that sometimes hurts. It’s caring and sticking around, changing systems and continuously inviting a world in desperate need to witness communities of transformation and prophetic witness

It’s a fair question to ask why you would add that kind of inconvenience to your life if you didn’t have to.”

My response is of course they do not understand how fed up we are with dogmas, ossified institutions who are a waste of time, who follow the letter, but the Spirit flew away millennia ago, hierarchical,  authoritarian figures who tell us what to do, how to think, and what to say, when most of the time they do not follow their own rules, and not only that, they claim to be the voice of God, and go on committing  on their sheep flock serious abuse crimes too well known to bother to talk much about it, from the historical Inquisition Auto da Fe, to contemporary now unfortunately common sexual abuse, to monetary exploitation of the believers by leaders, gurus, and all kind of spiritual scoundrels ready to make a buck out of the innocent.

Pedro Berruguete's Saint Dominic Presiding over an Auto da fe (1475)

NO SMOKING ALLOWED

But above all, that barking at the wrong tree talk, blaming the SBNR for being wishy-washy, the key factor, that most organized religions are missing in their discourse against the SBNR it is not the disappointment of people with religious institutions, or the implied flakiness,  selfishness sunset watching, and lack of seriousness of SBNR, but the lack of direct Spiritual experience that is absent in their own Religious Institutions, or pseudo spiritual communities, and that are unable to provide, because simply  put; They do not have it!

That is on my view the real culprit why people do not flock in to their churches, temples, synagogues, etc..After all there is religious groups that thrive, when others fail, I used to joke with a friend, when years ago we explored different Spiritual groups on the fringes, who promised an esoteric knowledge of sorts, I remembered a comment the painter Edgar Degas made when visiting the House museum of Gustave Moreau a French symbolist painter, when a friend pull out a cigarette to smoke meanwhile he walked through the house, Degas, said something of the sort: “No smoking allowed here, after all we are in the house of a very sick man.” A harsh criticism from the painter, no doubt on Moreau’s art, but visiting ourselves the temples, or saloons of many of this religious, or quasi religious museums of time past, mockingly I would use the same phrase, or if the group or church were vital, and thriving with plenty of people, I would said admiringly: “You could have a few fat, big cigars here, nobody will die!”

Gustave Moreau museum

HISTORY

However it is true that if serious about your spirituality you will better be an exceptional individual, who apply itself to a Spiritual practice, rather than remain a spiritual dilettante for life, a common case now days, regardless of claims of high spirituality when the only spiritual exercise you do is having a vague idea of a supreme deity, or pagan deities, as a reaction against an unfortunately association between old religions, and patriarchal Monotheism, ignoring Oneness of Being as the essence of it, not the tribal patriarchal context it come from. Or what is very fashionable now days naively become a Buddhist, just because it suit your ideas that Buddhism it is not a religion, a statement that it is half true, to a point, but since most of it is organized as any other religious institution, with it’s rituals, scriptures, chants, temples, rules, and hierarchical, and monastic dogma, and where abuse it is not unheard for those in the know. To our eyes perhaps, a new dish exciting like an exotic, fragrant,  and foreign plate,   but old, agonizing, and decrepit on it’s place of origin, and no less unappetizing than our Judeo-Christian fare, after all fossilized as well.

Once a place of worship...

Since the Renaissance it has been fashionable to revive ancient beliefs,  there was a religious and moral, or, as usually expressed, an irreligious  side to the classical revival in Italy which cannot be passed wholly unnoticed. In the first place, the study of the pagan poets and philosophers produced the exact result predicted by a certain party in the Church. It proved hurtful to religious faith. Men became pagans in their feelings and in their way of thinking, not that Christian in Europe ever abandoned paganism entirely, merely adapted it, like making the pagan gods, in to saints. Italian scholars and Italian society almost ceased to be Christian in any true sense of the word. And although Europe remained Christian the Pagan gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece jostled with the patron saints of Christianity on public monument, and classical philosophy began to change the way people thought about ethics and morality.

I kind of smile when contemporary church leaders complaint at the decline of believers, abandoning the church, in fact the Protestant Reformation, was an effort to bring back the old Spirit of Christianity in what was considered a decadent, immoral, church with obsolete doctrines, rituals, leadership and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, through the centuries since then the germ keep propagating, bringing more enlightenment, humanism, atheism, and rationalism, with the subsequent backlash of more offshoots of more radical Christian fundamentalist, until even those movements loose impetus and embrace modernity, to the point of Nietzsche famous declaration: “God is dead.”

What it seems to be missing it is the understanding that the Christian church in general can’t survive postmodernity if a new Spiritually a live current doesn’t come to revitalize it, not only in the logical, and conceptual side of it, were all the efforts seems to be made, forgetting the most vital, and essential part of it, which it is not the rational part, but the non rational, and emotional side of it, as the Theologian Karl Rahner expressed it:

“The Christian of the future will be a Mystic or not exist at all.”

We can see the light of a new way

The dilemma

Shamanism, Paganism, and a host of Oriental religions and practices, like Vedanta, Yoga, Taoism, Sufis, Gnosticism, not to talk of the revival esoteric traditions like Theosophy, Kabbalah, Hermetic,and now New Pagans like  Druids, Wicca  appear to hold high court for a few years, then to loose their initial impetus to settle down as a small communities, who struggle to survive, and prosper on the fringe of the mainstream religions.

What this groups intent, it is to offer an alternative to the decadent, but still dominant mainstream religions, some with more luck than others, some falling in to what is no different, than a novelty with the lifetime of a short summer that goes in to an early cold Autumn. Some of this groups start with a charismatic leader, or guru, who is able to inspire people to spiritual action, and religious fervor for a while, just to disappoint them after some scandal, or other. Others if better, as soon as the charismatic leader pass away they fall on the hand of uninspiring leaders, who institutionalize the teaching, and set shrines to the memory to the personality of the individual in question, and soon forget the essence of the message to  become death letter, worried with the prosaic practicality of supporting a church, and the memory of the death leader. Many times a struggle for power ensues between the disciples of such leaders, and many followers leave disappointed, usually schism promptly follows, and two, or many other splints of the original group take place, and attack each other from a distance claiming legitimacy over the others.

It seem Human social interaction with our eternal companion, our egos it is at the base of conflict and lack of ecumenical understanding between nations, societies, groups, religious institutions or not. All this is antithesis to Spiritual pursuits, and here is when we come to the dilemma of involving ourselves with a particular religion, or spiritual fringe group, and get bogged down in our search for true Spirit, since not only we have to deal with our inner struggle, weakness, and temptations as limited, and imperfect individuals, but add to our misery the weight of a spiritually death congregation.

Matthias Grunewald's Saint Anthony

The Spirit bloweth where it listeth

The great explorer of Religion an acquaintance of mine, Houston Smith, of who I read some of his books, and listen to his talks when in town, and if too briefly engaged in conversations with. Interviewed about the subject said:

Loudon: I would think that Thomas Merton’s experience might bear out the legitimacy of this gradual independence within an ongoing dialectic between freedom and form.

 

Smith: It is a dialectic. The Zen tradition, as we know, has many stipulations like “When you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha!” or “Tear up the Sutras! Such teachings have their place, but we tend to overgeneralize them, divorcing them from the contexts for which they were intended. Too early in the game, we appropriate to ourselves the right to take the liberties they counsel.

Loudon: Might there be a special temptation for Westerners, with the emphasis on freedom and individuality, to avoid the early stages of
initiation into a teaching?

Smith: Yes. And there is a sizeable streak of counterdependence in our culture. “Don’t tell me what to do!” The Fritz Perls attitude toward life.

Loudon: And if you say that at the start, you may never get off the ground.

Smith: Exactly.

Loudon: Does following a religious way, a path of faith, necessarily involve spiritual disciplines of some sort?

Smith: Yes. Again, we must recognize that “the spirit bloweth where it listeth,” so there may be one in a million who may be the exception.
But overwhelmingly the need is for wisdom and method both; all the traditions so teach. As the saying goes, we need to walk on both
feet: right views and right practice.

Loudon: How can a person understand a religious tradition that he or she does not practice?

Smith: Very imperfectly. There are those who see the promised land, get some intimation of what lies there, but for some quirk within them
just do not take the steps to cross over into it. But the rule in religious matters is that understanding proceeds through living what
one is trying to understand.

Loudon: So it is only by living a tradition that one comes to understand it and gains thereby the resources to understand other traditions?

Smith: That’s true. Noam Chomsky once said that there is a very real sense in which to understand fully how one language functions is to
understand how they all function. The situation with religious traditions is comparable.

Houston Smith Scholar of Religions

Loudon: Is the advanced, scholarly study of the particular traditions a necessary or vital part of the interplay between knowledge and practice?

Smith: One has to ask, “Necessary for what?” You see, I believe that Black Elk [Lakota Sioux medicine man] or an Australian aborigine living the Dreamtime that Eliade talks about had everything“ necessary unto salvation,” as the saying goes. Scholarly equipment would be irrelevant to the depth and quality of their awareness. When it comes to religious living, the kind of information that appears in scholarly journals is quite expendable. Even so, the mind is a part of the human complement, and one can become interested in comparative religions as one can in other things. Lunching with a
colleague, Bertrand Russell listened attentively to his report of a discovery in brain functions that he had made, and then commented quietly “It’s nice to know things.” That holds for religions too. I am constantly grateful for such historians of religion. As you may know, I chanced myself to stumble on one remarkable fact in this area: the capacity of certain specially trained lamas to sing multiple tones simultaneously. Was that discovery important?
Probably not. It was a grace, you might say; a grace, moreover, from which one can learn something beneficial.

Loudon: So it’s not necessary, but such study can be enriching.

 

Smith: It can also be distracting, because if one isn’t careful one’s attention can get sidetracked into merely collecting information. In
which case living, organic wholes get pulverized and become like dry sand.

Loudon: Regarding the interrelationship of religious traditions, what about the individual traditions’ claims of exclusivity and preeminence?

Smith: It’s totally understandable, because that to which one gives one’s life one must think is ultimate. Otherwise, it doesn’t deserve ultimate allegiance. If one gives one’s life to Christ, exoterically conceived, then it’s almost as though one wouldn’t be wholly committed to Christ unless that Christ were absolute above all other exoterically nameable deities.

Loudon: Otherwise you’d always be on the threshold of commitment and never committing yourself actually.

Smith: That’s why Schuon says that for the exoteric the preeminent, privileged status of one tradition is not only inevitable, but appropriate. Now, such people are going to have problems, because we live in a world where people are aware of other traditions. And how God’s mercy is to be reconciled with his apparent favoritism for one
tradition will probably be a lifelong koan for those people. But whatever one says, this is no problem for the esoteric, because the esoteric core is common to them all.

(From the book The way things are Conversations with Houston Smith)

The Spirit bloweth where it listeth

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TURNING OUR DREAM METAPHORS IN TO SPIRITUAL REALITY, AND TURNING OUR SPIRITUAL REALITY IN TO LIFE WISDOM

Going beyond reason

Imagination it’s like a musical instrument all Men posses,

but few know how to play.

B.A.

The Language of Metaphor

Metaphor is a figure Rhetoric of identifying a real term (R) with one imaginary (I) between which there is a similarity or analogy: Metaphor comes from Greek meta (outside or beyond) and pherein to move. To move a meaning beyond a boundary of reason, to a place of the Imagination by analogy, and similitude.

Viewed as an aspect of speech and writing, metaphor qualifies as style, in particular, style characterized by a type of analogy. An expression (word, phrase) that by implication suggests the likeness of one entity to another entity gives style to an item of speech or writing, whether the entities consist of objects, events, ideas, activities, attributes, or almost anything expressible in language. For example, in the first sentence of this paragraph, the word “viewed” serves as a metaphor for “thought of”, implying analogy of the process of seeing and the thought process. The phrase, “viewed as an aspect of”, projects the properties of seeing (vision) something from a particular perspective onto thinking about something from a particular perspective, that “something” in this case referring to “metaphor” and that “perspective” in this case referring to the characteristics of speech and writing.

When we dream mainly we do it in images with a Metaphoric content, rarely we have straight dreams were there is not a series of symbols constructed as metaphors, that require interpretation.

We could say that our dreams are the metaphors of our life reflected in the mirror of our consciousness, a realm of the Imagination that open the gates of insight in to the nature of Being beyond it’s material manifestation in to the realm of Spirit.

A gate to a different realm

Metaphore in Native Cultures the Yaminahua of the Western Amazon Forest

The shamans themselves understand very clearly the meaning of these metaphors and they call them ‘tsai yoshtoyoshto’, literally “language-twisting-twisting.” Graham Townsley translates this expression as “twisted language.”

 

The word ‘twist’ has the same root as ‘two’ and ‘twin’. ‘Twisted’ means, technically, “double and wrapped around itself.”

 

Why do Yaminahua shamans talk in twisted language? According to one of them: “With my koshuiti I want to see – singing, I carefully examine things – twisted language brings me close but not too close – with normal words I would crash into things – with twisted ones I circle around them – I can see them clearly. “

 

For Townsley, all shamanic relations with the spirits are “deliberately constructed in an elliptical and multi-referential fashion so as to mirror the refractory nature of the beings who are their objects.” He concludes: “Yoshi are real beings who are both ‘like and not like’ the things they animate. They have no stable or unitary nature and thus, paradoxically, the ‘seeing as’ of ‘twisted language’ is the only way of adequately describing them. Metaphor here is not improper naming but the only proper naming possible.”

Yaminawa

Graham Townsley

 

“The central image dominating the whole field of Yaminahua Shamanic knowledge is that of Yoshi, spirit or animate essence. In Yaminahua thought all things in the world are animated and given their particular qualities  by Yoshi. Shamanic knowledge, is above all, knowledge of this entities, which are also the sources of all the powers that Shamanism claims for itself.

Everything about the domain of Yoshi is marked by an extreme ambiguity, not only for the outside observer, but for the Yaminahua themselves. For most Yaminahua they are things associated with the night, the half seen and dreams. They are called upon to explain a host of events that  seem uncanny, strange or coincidental. However their significance goes far beyond this; they are implicated in all the literally vital questions of Human existence: birth growth, illness and death.”

After a lengthy explanation of Yoshi that can be analogous to the Chi, or Ki of the Chinese and Japanese.  Concepts similar to qi can be found in many cultures, for example, prana and cit the serpent power Kundalini in Hindu religion, mana in Hawaiian culture, lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, ruah in Hebrew culture, and Vital energy in Western philosophy. Some elements of qi can be understood in the term energy when used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine. Elements of the qi concept can also be found in Western popular culture, for example “The Force” in Star Wars. Notions in the West of energeia, élan vital, or “vitalism” are purported to be similar.

Townsley goes to the use of metaphorical allusions of the Shamanic songs of the Yaminahua that never call things by their name, but by their similitudes as visually perceived:

“The important thing, emphasized by all shamans, is that none of the things referred to in the song should be referred by their proper names. One might assume that this circumlocutions were not consciously metaphoric usages at all, but cultural fixed equivalents which were learnt and employed automatically with no awareness of their metaphorical content. This is certainly not so. In every instance the metaphoric logic of these songs could be explained with no hesitation. In every case the basic sense of this usage was carried by finely observed perceptual resemblances between the song-word and its referent. Thus fish become “white-collared peccaries “ because the resemblance of a fish gill’s to the the white dashes on this type of peccary’s neck; jaguars become “baskets” because the fibers of this particular  type loose-woven basket (wonati) form a pattern precisely similar to a jaguar markings, rain becomes “big cold lean-to” because the slanting sheet of rain in a downpour resemble the slanting roofs of the lean-tos  wich the Yaminahua built for shelter when they are away from the village.

Jaguar in the Amazon Rain Forest

But Yoshi are much more than this. They also have an intelligent, volitional existence in a supra-sensory realm. It is this fact which, for the Yaminahua, makes them so hard to know. The only established discourse about this realm is that of mythology. The creation myths which tell how, out of the original chaotic flux of the “time of dawnings”, the things of this world came to be, are not simply regarded by shamans as tales of some distant past. The powerful flux of the “time of dawnings” is regarded as in some senses still present in the spirit world. It is precisely these mythical, transformational powers with which yoshi are charged and that shamans see themselves as tapping. Origin myths are seen as providing “paths” into this spirit world and true accounts of the nature of yoshi. This is why shamans will sometimes chant origin myths, transformed into the elliptical language of shamanic song, because these are “the paths which take you to a yoshi”. The Yaminahua are only too aware of the extreme ambiguities and paradoxes surrounding yoshi. All accounts of them stress their mutability and the fundamental difficulty of knowing them. As a shaman, who like all shamans claims to see and deal with them directly, said to me: “You never really know yoshi — they are like something you recognize and at the same time they are different — like when I see Jaguar — there is something about him like a jaguar, but perhaps something like a man too — and he changes …” For the Yaminahua there is no possible unitary description of a. yoshi. They are always “like . . . and not like”, “the same . . . but different”. This profound duality marks not only all accounts of them but is reflected in all shamanic and ritual dealings with them. As I will discuss later in this paper, these are consciously and deliberately constructed in an elliptical and multi-referential fashion so as to mirror the refractory nature of the beings who are their objects.

As far as the Yaminahua are concerned, the key to the nature of this yoshi- world is the dream. Dreams, of course, are precisely understood as the wanderings of the human yoshi in this ordinarily unperceived world. Perhaps the best image we can have of the way they view their knowledge of this world is the one the Yaminahua use themselves when they refer to both myths and shamanic songs as “paths” (wai). These are the hunting paths which radiate out from every Yaminahua village into the vast surrounding forest. Near the village the paths are open, wide and well-trodden. These are the myths, the shidipaowo wai, the “paths of the old ones who went before”, transited by everyone and well known.”

The world as you dream

And here we go a little further in Graham Townsley discourse in to the nature of the Shaman use of metaphor.

“Shamans are clearly aware of the underlying sense of their koshuiti metaphors and refer to them as tsai yoshtoyoshto — “twisted language” (literally: language- twisting-twisting). But why do they use them? All explanations clearly indicated that these were associated with the clarity of visionary experience which the songs were intended to create. “With my koshuiti I want to see — singing, I carefully examine things — twisted language brings me close but not too close — with normal words I would crash into things — with twisted ones I circle around them — I can see them clearly.”

There is a complex representation of the use of metaphor and its capacity to create immediate and precise images, contained within these simple words. Everything said about shamanic songs points to the fact that as they are sung the shaman actively visualizes the images referred to by the external analogy of the song, but that he does this through a carefully controlled “seeing as” the different things actually named by the internal metaphors of his song. This “seeing as” in some way creates a space in which powerful visionary experience can occur. It is in this visionary experience that the magical efficacy of the song is thought to lie. The song is the path which he both makes and follows. It sustains and directs his vision. Whether or not the patient can understand the song is irrelevant to its efficacy as far as he is concerned.”

And he conclude

“In showing how shamanic visions and song-images are constructed and sequenced, how the “paths” are made and followed, crisscrossing the boundaries of the yoshi-world of myth and this one, I hope also to have shown how the descriptions of the world contained in an Amazonian cosmology are actually known and constructed. This emphasis on the techniques of knowledge helps us to see how such a cosmology, far from being a complete and ready-constituted system of things known is, for the Yaminahua themselves, always a system in the making, never finished and always provisional. It certainly has stable reference points fixed by tradition, such as the “wide paths” of the myth-songs, however there are not very many of these and once off them, the song-paths followed by shamans are multiple and idiosyncratic. In this context we should pay attention to their own image of their knowledge as a network of paths. These paths are tenuous and impermanent, threading their way through a vast and refractory space of signs and images which, like the forest and the dream, offers the occasional glimpse of something, but is fundamentally opaque.

Yaminahua shamans have no certainty about what this space contains and are always ready to discover something new in it. It should not be surprising that they have been so ready to embrace the experiences of the transformed setting of their modern-day existence. Yaminahua shamans have now made koshuiti to almost all aspects of this world. There are songs to outboard motors (hard- fire-baskets), good for curing headaches and working on the resemblances between the sound of a distant outboard and the throb of a headache; to engine oil (fire-sun- water), good for children’s diarrhoea and working on the remarkable similarities between the used oil of an outboard and a child’s diarrhea; also to airplanes, shot-guns, cinemas, radios, sunglasses and much more. “When we first saw these things we examined them carefully, asked ourselves what their yoshi were like, and then found their song.” These are viewed as welcome and important additions to their repertoire.

Like good bricoleurs, Yaminahua shamans have found a use for everything. Along with the social circumstances paradoxically favorable to them, it is this creativity of Yaminahua shamanic knowledge which has contributed to its growth in the modern context of violent social transformation.”

The old meets the new

 

 

The Yaminahua are of course not the only tribal culture where metaphor is the key that open the door of spirit, mankind through History, and around the world have used metaphor to connect and translate  spiritual experience in to earthly wisdom, I like to offer a different view on the same subject but in a total different Historical, and Geographical context to look for parallelism, and analogy despite their obvious disconnection.

IbnArabi

“When the knowers of God enter the Universe of spiritual meanings they are in the presence of a reality in which what is hidden to the rational faculty, and therefore deemed  sometimes impossible by it, actually occurs and it is witnessed. it’s a spiritual reality teeming with the impossible and the coincidence of opposites. The unaided rational faculty has no direct access to this world and cannot countenance it’s true reality. it is the world where the impossible is given form, sense perception its the nearest thing to the imagination, since imagination takes forms from  sense-perception, then discloses meaning through those sensory forms, it sees knowledge in the form of milk, honey , wine, and pearls…It sees religion in the form of a cord…the Real in the form of a human being or a light.

Its an Ontological realm in which spiritual meanings are given tangible form, and tangible forms become subtle spiritual meanings. The sensory thing cannot be a meaning, nor can the meaning be a sensory thing, but in the supersensory realm of the Imagination meanings are literally embodied, and sensory things subtilized.”

This Ontological realm is called in many cultures with many names, but we can resume saying we all men have the faculty of dreaming and to be connected to this realm by the fact of being human, however we have to point, that most men due to an impoverished culture of Spiritual values, had lost their ability to understand what their dreams are all about, few even care to find out, most they just dismiss it as nonsense, and are happy to go through life even thinking they do not dream, and if they do, it has no relevance in their life, they do this at their own loss ignoring we are the substance of dreams, and we are immersed in this metaphorical reality, where we can discover meaning, and purpose for a life of wisdom.

 Waters of meaning

Posted in Ancient Civilizations, Archetypes, Barzak, Cosmogony, Ibn Arabi, Imagination, Inner Journey, Inspiration, Language, Metaphor, Metaphysics, Mundus Imaginalis, Mysticism, Myth, Mythology, Ontology, Revelation, Shamanism, Uncategorized, Yaminahua | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

THE ILLUSION OF TRUTH, MEMORY, ARCHETYPES AND THE DREAMLIKE LANDSCAPES OF THE SACRED

Taj Mahal reflection

“The only real treasure is in your head.

Memories are better than diamonds

and nobody can steal them from you”

Rodman Philbrick

 

Most of us, specially those who can claim we had a happy childhood we hold our memories  of youth dearly, specially as we grow old the past come to our minds often, and sometimes with great detail, at least of certain things we cared about, or paid enough attention,  since memory is selective, my relatives, and friends seem to remember things that I can’t recollect, and likewise I remember things they may have a vague idea, or not at all.

The Great Neurologist Oliver Sacks says about our fleeting memories:

“There is, it seems, no mechanism in the mind or the brain for ensuring the truth, or at least the veridical character, of our recollections. We have no direct access to historical truth, and what we feel or assert to be true  depends as much on our imagination as our senses. There is no way by which the events of the world can be directly transmitted or recorded in our brains; they are experienced and constructed in a highly subjective way, which is different in every individual to begin with, and differently reinterpreted or re-experienced whenever they are recollected. (The neuroscientist Gerald M. Edelman often speaks of perceiving as “creating,” and remembering as “recreating” or “re-categorizing.”) Frequently, our only truth is narrative truth, the stories we tell each other, and ourselves—the stories we continually re-categorize and refine. Such subjectivity is built into the very nature of memory, and follows from its basis and mechanisms in the human brain. The wonder is that aberrations of a gross sort are relatively rare, and that, for the most part, our memories are relatively solid and reliable.

We, as human beings, are landed with memory systems that have fallibilities, frailties, and imperfections—but also great flexibility and creativity. Confusion over sources or indifference to them can be a paradoxical strength: if we could tag the sources of all our knowledge, we would be overwhelmed with often irrelevant information.

Indifference to source allows us to assimilate what we read, what we are told, what others say and think and write and paint, as intensely and richly as if they were primary experiences. It allows us to see and hear with other eyes and ears, to enter into other minds, to assimilate the art and science and religion of the whole culture, to enter into and contribute to the common mind, the general commonwealth of knowledge. This sort of sharing and participation, this communion, would not be possible if all our knowledge, our memories, were tagged and identified, seen as private, exclusively ours. Memory is dialogic and arises not only from direct experience but from the intercourse of many minds.”

Old pottery

One of my personal experience with the treachery of memory, came in the form of two decorated with relief figures clay pots for plants my Grandmother had inside at the house,  as a child the figures fascinated me, and I remembered pretty well, or so I thought, the fact that I even dream about them in a couple of occasion, in my memory they had a dark green color as background for the reliefs figures, and that I last saw when my Grandmother was alive, sometimes I dreamed of the house and the mentioned pots, thirty years later visiting my family by chance I saw those same pots visiting the office  of my brother in-law, my carnal brother who work with my in-law looking at my surprised face, told me he brought them there. The shock of seeing them at the entrance of the office, two hundred miles from their original place, when their lost was almost certain, accompanied by the fact the color of the pots wasn’t green, but a dark blue!

Our memories can seem true, but in reality are a sinuous, intricate path, with a historic shaky reality, that didn’t exist but in our minds, a road and foggy path, that may lead to a land of no where…

A land of nowhere

The Method of Loci

The ancients aware of this fact devised a method to exercise the mind to be able to recollect things in an accurate way, the Method of Loci.

The Method of Loci (plural of Latin locus for place or location), also called the memory palace, is a mnemonic device introduced in ancient Roman and Greek rhetorical treatises (in the anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium, Cicero’s De Oratore, and Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria). The items to be remembered in this mnemonic system are mentally associated with specific physical locations. It relies on memorized spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect memorial content. The term is most often found in specialized works on psychology, neurobiology and memory, though it was used in the same general way at least as early as the first half of the nineteenth century in works on rhetoric, logic and philosophy.

In this technique the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject literally ‘walks’ through these loci and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any distinguishing feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by ‘walking’ through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items. The efficacy of this technique has been well established (Ross and Lawrence 1968, Crovitz 1969, 1971, Briggs, Hawkins and Crovitz 1970, Lea 1975), as is the minimal interference seen with its use.

Giovanni Paolo Pannini Gallery of Views of Ancient Rome

However my interest it is not the recovery of memories for practical reasons, or historical truth, but as to the realization, that our memories, are a device from our Alter ego, to guide us to a specific end, where memories, and dreams melt in to what becomes our Loci of Imagination a very useful tool to advance our understanding of ourselves, and our development as Spiritual beings.

There are the three dimensions that we are all aware of, but there is the fourth dimension, which is also a spatial dimension, but we don’t perceive it as that, we perceive the distances of the fourth dimension as the passage of time. If time is just a perception with no reality inherent, but to our vision of existence, as limited, and perishable, we experience time as a continuum passing through, but if we change our view in to a four-dimensional solid in which time is not passing, where every moment that ever existed or will exist is suspended, forever unchanging, from within this immense solid of space-time. Then the passing  of time is an illusion that is only apparent to us as we move through this huge solid along what we perceive as reality.

If time is an illusion, then all movement and change are also illusions. So the only thing that gives us the illusion of movement and change and events and time is the fact that our consciousness is moving through this thing called existence, If you imagine it as a film, a movie encased in existence, each of those individual small moments are a part of a large frame, If they each represent a moment, that only is changed by our inability to recognize our consciousness is moving along . Individual moments are not going anywhere, but as the light, or focus of our consciousness passes across them, it provides the illusion of movement, this produces an idea of a past, who has never really passed, it just exist somewhere else.

But as we saw before, this reality  of the past if it ever existed, has been transformed in to the new reality of our memory, and de facto transformed in to our new reality, as untrustworthy this may seem, this process allows to bend time, and have a rich malleable repository of experience an Akashic record. In theosophy and anthroposophy, the akashic records (from akasha, the Sanskrit word for ‘sky’ ‘space’ or ‘aether’) are a compendium of mystical knowledge supposedly encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the astral plane. A library, or file cabinet of Universal knowledge, rising in the mist of our consciousness, when we are ready to dip on it, for Spiritual progress.

Rising in the mist of our consciousness

Our personal Heaven

This bring us back to our personal reality, our individual sack of memories, given to us by the Ontological fact of existence, existence that allow us a myriad of memories, different but analogous to some one else, our own private Universe of consciousness.

I remember as a child the long trips to reach the towns were my to Grandmothers lived, like a pair of opposites, they were antithetical in geographical location, one living north of us, the other south, a contrast on environment and  weather as well, desert like in the north,  humid, tropical, dense jungle forest like in the south, those conditions now days I realize were excellent for creating a rich environment for my web of dreams, providing numerous symbolic archetypes to my future dreams.

Relatively recently a tree in the property of my maternal Grandmother become a sort of secret Axis Mundi of my Imagination, now in my Grandmother house were numerous trees, and at the time during my childhood never saw anything remarkable in this particular tree, neither remember hearing anything about it, however from time to time I will dream about this tree. A few years ago a little before my mother died I had a powerful dream were my mother signaled the tree, and indicated she wanted to put her ashes under the Nacapule tree. Immediately asked for a leave of absence at work, and went to visit her, she was living with my sister at the time, and as soon as my sister could talk in private to me she let me know, what already I knew by the dream, my mother was living her last days. Without revealing my dream, I just mentioned I was aware of the situation, later talking to my mother, I asked her about the tree of course without telling her the dream, to my surprise the tree had a very interesting story; my Grandfather a man who died eight years before I was even born, brought the tree from his old town and planted it like some sort of connecting symbol between his new home and the old one, and the tree was his special care, and worry, suffering the harsh desert heat, and even strafing by airplane in 1929.

When grandmother died in 1973 the house was sold, and the new owner destroyed the house to the ground , and cut all the many trees of the property, and beautiful garden, except for the Nacapule tree, and two palm trees, to my further surprise Mother produced an old piece of paper with a poem about the house and the tree made by an aunt of mine, her sister when they sold the house, poem that I translated and posted in this blog on May, 2010.

Nacpule

 

On many of my dreams the tree, and the town of my Grandparents had been a recurrent dream of mine, one theme that appeared frequently was the desire to take young spiritual friends of mine to that particular place, but in my dreams always was frustrated in this endeavor, they will excuse themselves for one reason, or another, or I would be by alone myself in this Archetype Geographical paradise, to the point I was a little bit sad to the fact it seemed I will never be able to show them what it is Sacred ground for me. Finally one day I had a dream, that at the old house were many Nacapule trees, all over the yard, and in each one a friend of mine resided, I interpreted the dream to mean, that this particular tree it is my personal Archetype axis mundi symbol but that each individual has his own according to their own life circumstances, regardless of how estrange, particular, or mundane this relations may be, a few days later a friend of mine told me something he considered strange about another common friend of us, he told me confidently:

“I spent a whole day with X and all we did was going around this lackluster neighborhood (the place is known as very unhip, and drab place to live among people who is familiar with this place, and of course do not live there.) and he showed me his old house, his old school, his grocery shop, etc. It was weird, the place is so uncool, what possible he could see in it?”

I understood that we all have a heavenly place in our memories, and has nothing to do with it’s beauty, or his lack of it, this place come to us from time, to time, but in our dreams this place is special, and much more beautiful, that it is in our wake up reality, after all this place it is unique since it belongs to our hearts…

A place in our hearts

Posted in Akashic Record, Archetypes, Axis Mundi, Counsciousness, Dreams, Family History, Garden of Eden, Imagination, Impermanence, Inner Journey, Inspiration, Memories, Memory, Method of Loci, Mundus Imaginalis, Na-kojd-Abad, Nacapule Tree, Paradise, Personal Story, Pure Land, Reality, Sacred Grounds, Sacred Tree, Symbology, Symbols, Tree of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

URBAN AND ECOLOGICAL DECAY, THE EROSION OF DEMOCRACY, CAPITALISM THE GOD THAT FAILED, AND WHAT IS THE SOLUTION FOR A BETTER WORLD

Lonely Angel

“The government failed us.

The market failed us.

Harvard, Yale, and the

University of Chicago

failed us.

Our government

-The government-

doesn’t belong to us.

Forget them;

they forgot us.

We need to solve

our problems

Ourselves.”

J.R. Fleming

 

 

The end of  dream

Who that lived during that day on November 9, 1989, and the following days could forget the exhilaration of seeing that symbol of hate, separation, cold war,  and suffering, a wall fall, signaling the death of an era, and the beginning of hope in a new future.

The fall of the Berlin wall the death of an era

But actually things have not turned as rosy as people hoped to be, Lane Wallace from the Atlantic tell us:

“The dream in its ideal form didn’t last long, of course. The revolution was wrought by factions, burdened by bureaucracy and characterized more by brutality than any cooperative utopia from almost its first bloody days. But when I left Vienna, I discovered that the taxi driver taking me to the airport was a recent émigré from Berlin. East Berlin. I asked him about how reunification was going, and he told me about some of the same problems I’d heard before: East Germans being second-class citizens, economic resentment on the part of the West Germans who had to pay to upgrade East Germany, and the like. But then, he said:

“You know, everyone sees it as the West helping the East. But it could have been done better. We could have helped them, too. But nobody wanted what we had to offer.”

Intrigued, I asked him to explain. There was a long pause. Then he answered:

“For all the problems of the system, in East Germany, it wasn’t all about consumerism. It wasn’t how much you could buy, how much ahead of your neighbor you could get. We really did have more of a sense of helping each other out. Community really mattered more to us than things.”

Who better to see the difference than those people behind the iron curtain, who now face consumerism, naked capitalism, and the rat race to survive in a world were you are on your own, and get nothing but stabs on the back by the people who suppose to uphold our Government, and our private institutions like our banks who gambled and lost with our money?

Who, or what will bridge this gap in our political, and economical system, now wide open?

The opening of the gap

Richard Heinberg, director of the Post Carbon Institute, begins his book, The End of Growth, as follows: “The central assertion of this book is both simple and startling: Economic growth as we have known it is over and done with.” He then presents over 300 pages of various kinds of supportive evidence backing up this conclusion.  The book was published in 2011, the evidence in support of this conclusion seems stronger than ever.

The reason are complex, and many, but simply put unlimited growth, and unlimited consuming, in a finite, and ecological frail world, this cannot be sustained. In the past we liked to tell ourselves that continual progress in science and technology will keep paying off by creating the new energy sources and the improved technology that we need to maintain ourselves and solve our problems, especially when we take care to grow in a smart way with sensible restraints. It is obvious this is not possible, the Achilles heel of expanding economies is the necessity for them to grow producing goods, and consumerism, this has brought an ecological nightmare at our doors, that we can no longer ignore, but our governments married to capital, refuse to yield to reality, the fact is we do not trust our government any more, and even less when there is not a system in place to make sure people in power behave ethically, and think first on the well being of others, rather than the benefit for their pockets, and bottom lines, that by the way they seem to be insatiable.

Few economists in the day of Adam Smith or Marx, with the notable exception of Malthus, could foresee a day that there would be any important limits to economic expansion that could not be overcome by human ingenuity and continually improving technology. If there were such limits, it was presumed that these were local limits that could be dealt with rather easily. If natural resources such as metal mines were exhausted in one area, one could always move to a fresh area, and use the advantages of continually improving technology to keep production expanding, ad infinitum.

 

In reality it is found that technology tends to harvest the low hanging fruit in terms of available resources first and then moves on. While there was an abundance of cheap energy available, this exhaustion of resources and a simultaneous increase in unwelcome consequences could be concealed for a time. In the USA, there has been a well-funded, right-wing corporate disinformation campaign to lead the public to deny that burning fossil fuel is changing the climate for the worse. Now people are beginning to realize the unhappy truth.

Are  we facing a doomsday future?

Malthusian future

The Optimistic View

Theoretically, there is enough acreage already planted to keep the planet fed forever, because 10 billion humans is roughly where the United Nations predicts that the world population will plateau in 2060. But success depends on portion control; in the late 1980s,Brown University’s World Hunger Program calculated that the world then could sustain 5.5 billion vegetarians, 3.7 billion South Americans or 2.8 billion North Americans, who ate more animal protein than South Americans.

Even if fertility rates rose again, many agronomists think the world could easily support 20 billion to 30 billion people.

Anyone who has ever flown across the United States can see how that’s possible: there’s a lot of empty land down there. The world’s entire population, with 1,000 square feet of living space each, could fit into Texas. Pile people atop each other like Manhattanites, and they get even more elbow room.

Water? When it hits $150 a barrel, it will be worth building pipes from the melting polar icecaps, or desalinating the sea as the Saudis do.

The same potential is even more obvious flying around the globe. The slums of Mumbai are vast; but so are the empty arable spaces of Rajasthan. Africa, a huge continent with a mere 944 million people on it, looks practically empty from above. South of the Sahara, the land is rich; south of the Zambezi, the climate is temperate. But it is farmed mostly by people using hoes.

If food became as pricey as oil, we would plow Africa, fish-farm the oceans and build hydroponic skyscraper vegetable gardens. But they see the underlying problem in terms more Marxian than Malthusian: the rich grab too much of everything, including biomass.

Technological Utopia

Possibility does not imply Feasibility

Vegetarians are minority as right now maybe not even 6% of the population today, and that would be a very optimistic, more likely a 2% or 3%  at most, besides it ignores that the production of meat it is a well established machinery, that provide ample profits for those who control it, not likely to be abandoned just because suddenly everybody got conscious and decided it was morally unjustifiable, a waste of resources, like water, grain, and arable land, on top a great source of methane, and the pollution of our water, air, and land, contributing to global warming,  just like people do not abandon alcohol, sugar, tobacco, coffee, tea, oil, carbon, and many other consumer products, that are not good for our health, but that produce wealth for some, and satisfaction for many.

As for the world population fitting in to Texas, I am sure the nice folks of Texas would be very happy to pack up the rest of the world in their back yards, as no doubt the cosmopolitan, and always nice to all, Manhattan people, would have no qualm to pile more people up! And for that matter any other people around the Globe, will be reluctant to be the safe haven for millions of ecological refuges, now think on billions! it is unrealistic to expect borders, and governments of many nations to melt away, and disappear when asked to sacrifice themselves in order to make room for those who lost their ecological resources, and now bent in taking over theirs as well!

If there is vast unpopulated areas of the glove are for good reasons, they lack water, or the weather is extreme like in the Artic, not fit for living and not capable of sustaining population, ecologist cringe at the idea of robbing Peter to pay Paul, which it is basically what happens, when we shift resources, like water for irrigation to desert areas, or destroy forest to cultivate the land, basically we are borrowing with a high interest, that would be very unlikely we will be able to repay, destroying ecological habitat that  it is not renewable, and irreplaceable, for short time gain.

Technological innovation, so far if smart, had proven no solution to ecological mayhem, if anything they have been the cause of most of the problems, and to the challenges we face today, there is no easy solution, or shortcuts to fix our problems, but to acquire the wisdom to live in Harmony with our environment, regardless of the loss of revenue this may inflict on our consumer slash, and burn make a quick profit economy of today, pay with high interest tomorrow based economy society, the time of blind exploitation need to be over, and done, for the survival not only of our own, but for life on Earth, and the only solution, is a more wiser, and conscious Mankind who by force of survival will manage our resources better.

Cracked lake bed

The God that failed

Democracy: The God That Failed is a 2001 book by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, containing a series of thirteen essays on the subject of democracy. The book “examines modern democracies in the light of various evident failures” which, in Hoppe’s view, include rising unemployment rates, expanding public debt, and insolvent social security systems. He attributes democracy’s failures to pressure groups seeking increased government expenditures, regulations and taxation and a lack of counter-measures to them. He discusses as solutions secession, “shifting of control over the nationalized wealth from a larger, central government to a smaller, regional one” and “complete freedom of contract, occupation, trade and migration introduced”. It concludes that democracy is the primary cause of the de-civilization sweeping the world since World War I, and that it must be delegitimized.

Hoppe characterizes democracy as “publicly owned government,” which he compares to monarchy “privately owned government” to conclude that the latter is preferable; however, Hoppe aims to show that both monarchy and democracy are deficient systems compared to his preferred structure to advance civilization—what he calls the natural order, a system free of both taxation and coercive monopoly in which jurisdictions freely compete for adherents. In his Introduction to the book, he lists other names used elsewhere to refer to the same thing, including “ordered anarchy,” “private property anarchism,” “anarcho-capitalism,” “auto government,” “private law society,” and “pure capitalism.”

The title of the work is an allusion to The God That Failed, a 1949 work in which six authors who were former communist (or former communist sympathizer) describe their experience of and disillusion with communism.

Homless person begging

A change is Needed

On my view the models based on the wrong values we pursue today are at the root of our problems, the accumulation of wealth it is not a bad thing in itself, but has been corrupted almost totally, almost to the exclusion of any other considerations, and it has been an individualistic quest, with the exclusion of others, were the disparity lays naked in front of us for all to see. Our governments have become accomplices in this ruthless enterprise, corporations, had hijacked the agenda, and made their policy to make our goals, and structure society according to their benefit regardless of the cost, as long it is not their cost.

This state of affairs need to be over, we need to move to a total new way to make society work, it is my thought that we have been shepherded in to compliance by our apathy, and reluctance to get involved in to the political process, after all busy with a full day at work, and the burden of making ends meet, bills to pay, children to care for, and educate, who has time, or energy to confront and battle the status quo?

Sure we have an ecological, and environmental problem in our hands, but the origin of it is like Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica told at the Rio Summit:

“Today, man does not govern the forces he has unleashed, but rather, it is these forces that govern man; and life. Because we do not come into this planet simply to develop, just like that, indiscriminately. We come into this planet to be happy. Because life is short and it slips away from us. And no material belonging is worth as much as life, and this is fundamental.But if life is going to slip through my fingers, working and over-working in order to be able to consume more, and the consumer society is the engine-because ultimately, if consumption is paralyzed, the economy stops, and if you stop economy, the ghost of stagnation appears for each one of us, but it is this hyper-consumption that is harming the planet. And this hyper-consumption needs to be generated, making things that have a short useful life, in order to sell a lot. Thus, a light bulb cannot last longer than 1000 hours. But there are light bulbs that last 100,000 hours! But these cannot be manufactured, because the problem is the market, because we have to work and we have to sustain a civilization of “use and discard”, and so, we are trapped in a vicious cycle. These are problems of a political nature, which are showing us that it’s time to start fighting for a different culture.

I’m not talking about returning to the days of the caveman, or erecting a “monument to backwardness.” But we cannot continue like this, indefinitely, being ruled by the market, on the contrary, we have to rule over the market.

This is why I say, in my humble way of thinking, that the problem we are facing is political. The old thinkers. Epicurus, Seneca and even the Aymara put it this way, a poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more.” This is a cultural issue.

So I salute the efforts and agreements being made. And I will adhere to them, as a ruler. I know some things I’m saying are not easy to digest. But we must realize that the water crisis and the aggression to the environment is not the cause. The cause is the model of civilization that we have created. And the thing we have to re-examine is our way of life.”

Mujica, 77, former guerilla who spent more that 14 years in prison, two at the bottom of a well, gives 90% of his salary to charity, refused to live in Presidential Palace and continues to stay at his little farm, guarded by a three legged dog, excuse to say that if our presidents, and government officials would live that way, then we may have a chance of a better future.

Jose Mujica It is a Political Problem

Posted in Berlin Wall Falling, Capitalism, Counsciousness, Crisis of Values, Cynicism, Democracy, Disillusion with Capitlism, Doomsday, Ecological Crisis, Economy, End of materialism, Environment, Globalization, Greed, History, Malthusian Future, Mother Earth, New Materialist, New Values, Politics, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Utopia, Western Civilization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DREAMS AND MYTHS, CROSSING THE WATERS OF KNOWLEDGE, ARCHETYPES OF WISDOM, AN INNER JOURNEY

 Waterhouse's Psyche opening the door of Cupid's garden

On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth,

and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.

Genesis 7. 11

 

On Archetypes Myth, and Dreams Analogy

“The archetypes to be discovered and assimilated are precisely those that have inspired, throughout the annals of human culture, the basic images of ritual, mythology, and vision. These “Eternal Ones of the Dream” are not to be confused with the personally modified symbolic figures that appear in nightmare and madness to the still tormented individual.

Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind.”

Joseph Campbell

I pretty much agree with Joseph Campbell statement, although I go further reasoning that there is no difference between the individual, and mankind, yes cultural patterns may be different but the essence of the Archetype remains the same regardless of the changing circumstances of the dreamer, or the details of the dream. The whole point of it is the analogy that points to the solution of the dreamers problem, it serves a s a guide, or sketch map, that would help the psyche, or soul of the individual in question to solve the existential riddle. A sort of finding our Soul, or Heart revelation of a Spiritual nature, that would bring us to an Eden like place after facing turmoil, ugliness, suffering, constriction, and all kind of troubles that afflict our spirits at certain times in our life.

Light piercing the storm of our lives

Campbell, then goes to describe the dream of a woman:

“I was walking alone around the upper end of a large city, through shimmy, muddy streets lined with hard little houses,” writes a modern woman, describing a dream that she has had. “I did not know where I was, but liked the exploring. I choseone street which was terribly muddy and led across what must have been an open sewer. I followed along between rows of shanties and then discovered a little river flowing between me and some high, firm ground where there was a paved street. This was a nice, perfectly clear river, flowing over grass. I could see the grass moving under the water. There was no way to cross, so I went to a little house and asked for a boat. A man there said of course he could help me cross. He brought out a small wooden box which he put on the edge of the river and I saw at once that with this box I could easily jump across. I knew all danger was over and I wanted to reward the man richly.
In thinking of this dream I have a distinct feeling that I did not have to go where I was at all but could have chosen a comfortable walk along paved streets. I had gone to the squalid and muddy district because I preferred adventure, and, having begun, I had to go on… . When I think of how persistently I kept going straight ahead in the dream, it seems as though I must have known there was something fine ahead, like that lovely, grassy river and the secure, high, paved road beyond. Thinking of it in those terms, it is like a determination to be born—or rather to be born again—in a sort of spiritual sense. Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul’s destination.”

The clear stream of Consciousness

My Analogous Dream

Personally, when as Dante’s open lines to  “Inferno”from his magnificent Divine Comedy:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,ché la diritta via era smarrita.

Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte

che nel pensier rinova la paura!

Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark,

For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

Which in the very thought renews the fear.

 

I have found myself in that place many years ago at the Midway upon the journey of my life at 42 years of age, by my unconsciousness, bad judgment, and ignorance found myself facing the dark forest of middle age, it was not a nice place having lost almost everything, materially, emotionally, and not in a very good shape spiritually speaking, I was in a hole, a dark situation in every sense you can imagine, no money, a work I hated, lost love, few friends of not much help, and no sense of where to go, or what to do in order to extricate myself of that situation, I was very depressed, and very much in pain, to the point were my heart hurt so badly it was almost a physical feeling on my chest. Regardless I was determined to ride the storm, and face the consequences of my actions face on, I was willing to take the bull by the horns and die if this was necessary, and above all I kept quite about the whole thing, and pretended in front of my few friends everything was fine, despite my sense of hopelessness, and despair. But something was clear, I wouldn’t take the lower road, and turn bitter towards the person that hurt me the most, and I wouldn’t blame anybody for my situation. But I was dying from the inside.

Ironically at one point my dally life a drudgery, my dreams turned in to incredible visions of beauty, paradisiacal in nature, when waking up, to my dark reality my thought was that I was about to die, and somewhat disconcerted about the whole thing couldn’t figure out what was going on.

The night before my climatic spiritual experience, I dreamt that I was traveling to my father’s town, but we were stop by a block on the road by police, a river was flooded, and had took the bridge down, a line of cars, were being turned back, and I was advised to so as well, curious I parked the car, and went to the river shore to look at the disaster, the river was rough cresting with waves and a hard current, in my youth I had witnessed several floods of this nature, and I thought myself full of confidence, “I bet I can cross it!” Somehow I produced a painted canvas, and used it as a surf-board, I defied the current of the flooded river, and safely reached the other shore, and proceeded with ease to my father’s town with no further trouble.

A trial of the Soul, flooding.

Ibn Arabi on Moses

The analogies are many, and vary in many different stories, from Noah building an Ark, Moses is left in a basket amid the reeds and bulrushes along the Nile, to latter part the waters of the Red Sea, on the flight from Egypt. Ibn Arabi wrote in is Fusus al-Hikam:

“As for the wisdom of Musa being put into the ark and then cast into the river, the ark (tâbût) is his human nature (nâsût). The river is what he received of knowledge through his body by what the power of discernment and the sensory imaginative faculties accorded him. Only by the existence of this elemental body does the human self have these faculties or their like. When the self comes to this body and is commanded to freely dispose of it and manage it, Allah gives it these faculties as instruments by which it obtains what Allah wills that it obtain in the management of this ark which contains the sakina of the Lord. Musa was cast into the river in order to receive various knowledge by these faculties. Thus Allah taught him that the spirit which manages him is the ruler. He is only managed by it. It gives him the command of these faculties of phenomenal being which are in this nâsût that is designated by the ark in the field of indications and wisdoms.

The form of casting Musa into the ark and then casting the ark into the river is outwardly a form of destruction. Inwardly, it was his rescue from being killed. He was brought to life as the self is brought to life by knowledge from the death of ignorance as Allah says, “Is someone who was dead (i.e. by ignorance) and whom We brought to life (with knowledge) and supplied with a light by which to walk among the people (which is guidance) the same as someone who is in utter darkness (in being astray) unable to emerge from it (i.e. will never be guided)?”  In itself the matter has no end at which it stops.”

Moses saved from the waters

The solution to the Soul riddles are based in our willingness to face the dangers face on, and give ourselves to the mercy of God, the keyword is trust on a higher wisdom than ours, the life of Moses exemplify the Myth of the hero who overcame trials, tribulations, and great peril, armed with courage, oblivious to his mortality, but trusting in faith.

Cracking the constructs of the ego, and be able to let go of the unnecessary things that keep us slaves in a foreign land, like the story of Israel in Egypt, a great analogy for the soul enslaved to a material existence without a sight of it’s promised land who flows with the symbolic spiritual milk and honey for the soul, a return to the paradise lost, that Moses exemplify abandoning the life of a prince of Egypt for the uncertainty of persecution, the escape to the perils of the desert where he s offered water and shelter by the daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian the archetype Abraham encounter as well as Melchizedek.

The Story of Musa and Al-Khidr

On the Qur’an Musa (Moses) meets Khidr. Musa got up to deliver a speech before the Children of Israel and he was asked, “Who is the most learned person among the people” Musa replied, “I am.” Allah rebuked him because he did not refer the knowledge to Allah. So Allah revealed to him: “At the junction of the two seas there is a servant of Ours who is more learned than you.” Musa asked, “O my Lord, how can I meet him” Allah said, “Take a fish and put it in a vessel and then set out, and where you lose the fish, you will find him” So Musa took a fish, put it in a vessel and set out, along with his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, peace be upon him, till they reached a rock (on which) they both lay down their heads and slept. The fish moved vigorously in the vessel and got out of it and fell into the sea and there it took its way through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel. Allah stopped the flow of water on both sides of the way created by the fish, and so that way was like a tunnel. When Musa got up, his companion forgot to tell him about the fish, and so they carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night. The next morning Musa said to his boy-servant, (“Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey.

Musa did not get tired till he had passed the place that Allah had ordered him to look for. His boy-servant then said to him, (“Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.”) There was a tunnel for the fish and Musa and his boy-servant were amazed. Musa said, (“That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps.”) So they went back retracing their steps until they reached the rock. There they found a man covered with a garment. Musa greeted him. Al-Khidr said, “Is there such a greeting in your land” Musa said, “I am Musa.” He said, “Are you the Musa of the Children of Israel” Musa said, “Yes,” and added, “I have come to you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught.” Al-Khidr said, (“You will not be able to have patience with me.) O Musa! I have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon me but you do not know it; and you too, have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon you, but I do not know it.”

Sacred Opening

The rest of the story is well known, however what I want to point out is the importance of the meeting place, that is primordial to our point. They need more detailed information about the exact location, because the area described as “At the junction of the two seas ” is quite large. Without this detailed knowledge, they might have trouble finding this person. This is where one of the reasons for the fish’s escape becomes apparent: It is a sign, because the fish pinpoints the exact location for this meeting.

He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through Q. 55. 19,20

The junction of the two seas is a barzak is something that separates two other things while never going to one side, a line like the one that separates light from shadow, an unknown, from a known, an existent from a non existent, consciousness from dream, a gate, a passage in to an Imaginal world, where coincidentia oppositorum.The meeting place of opposite things can take place. A gap like a tunnel the kind like the one the fish fall through and was the signal to the place where this spiritual meeting should take place, an entrance in to a numinous state of consciousness were truth it is revealed to the individual going through this barrier. The Symplegades (Greek: Συμπληγάδες, Sumplēgades) or Clashing Rocks, also known as the Cyanean Rocks, were, according to Greek mythology, a pair of rocks at the Bosphorus that clashed together randomly. A common myth through the world in different cultures, were the individual, or the shaman, look for revelation of spiritual nature, as to the quandaries he may be facing.

Gilgamesh, the Waters of Death and the Sacred Reed

The Sumerian Hero Gilgamesh a legendary king, who set forth to attain the watercress of immortality, the plant “Never Grow Old.”After he had passed safely the lions that guard the foothills and the scorpion men who watch the heaven-supporting mountains, he came, amidst the mountains, to a paradise garden of flowers, fruits, and precious stones.

Gardens of paradise

This numinous place once the gate is trespassed if bearing a familiarity to a geographical place of our own we realize is the archetype of such location, in it rivers of clear waters, and sceneries of heavenly beauty, were even the light, and colors are more vivid give the dream a psychedelic like experience, were colors, and moods are so closely related that we can say we can taste them, or experience them as bliss, and joy.

Gilgamesh pressing on, he arrived at the sea that surrounds the world. In a cave beside the waters dwelt a manifestation of the Goddess Ishtar, Siduri-Sabitu, and this woman, closely veiled, closed the gates against him. But when he told her his tale, she admitted him to her presence and advised him not to pursue his quest, but to learn and be content with the mortal joys of life: Gilgamesh, why dost thou run about this way?

The life that thou art seeking, thou wilt never find.
When the gods created man,
they put death upon mankind,
and held life in their own hands.
Fill thy belly, Gilgamesh;
day and night enjoy thyself;
prepare each day some pleasant occasion

Day and night be frolicsome and gay;
let thy clothes be handsome,
thy head shampooed, thy body bathed.
Regard the little one who takes thy hand.

Let thy wife be happy against thy bosom.

Gilgamesh of course pay no attention to the Goddess and our hero with the ferryman Ursanapi convey him across the waters of death. It was a voyage of one and one-half months. The passenger was warned not to touch the waters. once reaching Utnapishtim a Noah archetype who instructed him in how to obtain the reed of immortality “Gilgamesh, something secret I will disclose to thee,and give thee thine instruction: That plant is like a brier in the field;its thorn, like that of the rose, will pierce thy hand. Bat if thy hand attain to that plant, thou wilt return to thy native land.The plant was growing at the bottom of the cosmic sea. Ursanapi ferried the hero out again into the waters. Gilgamesh tied stones to his feet and plunged.

Down he rushed, beyond every bound of endurance, while the ferryman remained in the boat. And when the diver had reached the bottom of the bottomless sea, he plucked the plant, though it mutilated his hand, cut off the stones, and made again for the surface. When he broke the surface and the ferryman had hauled him back into the boat, he announced in triumph: Ursanapi, this plant is the one . . .By which Man may attain to full vigor. I will bring it back to Erech of the sheep-pens. . . . Its name is: “In his age, Man becomes young again. ” I will eat of it and return to the condition of my youth.

Gilgamesh didn’t enjoy the fruit of his labors, meanwhile he slept a serpent took hold of the sacred reed and ate it.

Gilgamesh, the serpent eats the sacred reed of immortality

The River Acheron, or Styx

The myth is archetypical some years before reading this story, but after my dream of flooding I dreamt I was in a paradise like shore, with beautiful forest around me the place was of unimaginable beauty, as I walked delighted I run in to this wide river, it’s waters looked fresh and clear, intrigued by the other side decided to take my clothes off and swim across, the water was very clear, and nice to swim in to, after some time I reached the other shore with no problems, as I got in to a place somewhat different than the other shore, there were fewer trees, and some people come to my encounter, and asked me where I come from I told them I swim the river from the other shore, their face changed immediately and said to me: “That’s impossible, no one can cross that river and be alive!” I thought estrange their claim, and I said “Well I just did.” As I stand there naked more people began to congregate and tell each other: “He just cross from the other shore!” Feeling somehow aware of my nakedness I said, “Well I will have to go back, I left my clothes there.” Immediately everybody exclaimed: “No, no, you can’t do that, you will die if you do that!” Finding the whole thing ridiculous, and sure of myself, at the same time I considered important to get back in to my clothes, without further delay I jumped back in to the river and start to swim back listening to a clamor of voices telling me to come back to the shore, as swam deeper in to the river, the river seemed the same, but then a multitude of death animals, and human corpses floated down the river alongside me, my only thought was that they were not there on my first swim, after avoiding the corpses, finally reached the other shore, were I found my clothes and put them on, and that was the end of the dream.

It didn’t take me long to figure to figure the meaning of the dream, I had been at the threshold of Life and Death, a sort of crossing the river Acheron, or Styx, at first my thought was there was no difference between one shore and the other, returning to my clothes seem obvious enough to consider I returned for my body, however the more I think about it, the more convinced it was the other way around, the first shore was amazingly beautiful, heavenly and there was no people on it at all, the fact the waters were crystal clear, and unpolluted by carcasses, besides why the dead should fear death? And why the trial should be in the return? And not in the first crossing, I still ponder?

The River between Life, and Death

Entering the Waters of Wisdom

Besides this dream many dreams I had of bathing in clear waters, or crossing familiar places were there is crystal clear waters, when in reality there are non, and the strange fascination I had since a child of bathing in rivers of clear waters, that later impulse me in to pursue snorkeling, and diving in my younger days, of course at the time couldn’t figure out the symbolic analogy between the two.

However the important thing about it is the knowledge we receive out of this experience, is a knowledge that is transmitted in a richly symbolic way, sort of the equivalent of bathing on the waters of wisdom, and thus acquiring wisdom by the fact we bathed on it’s Sacred waters, like the many familiar myths of yore, like the fountain of youth, or like Achilles by been submerged on the river Styx, now I do not want to confuse the reader, in to believe this can be easily obtained, the Hero has to successfully pass the trials and tribulations of the path, were these are many. Like Musa’s journey, Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that Huqub means a year in the dialect of ﴿the tribe of﴾ Qays,” then he narrated that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, “Huqub means eighty years.” Mujahid said, “Seventy years.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that it means a lifetime. Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said likewise.

Regardless, entering the waters of wisdom it is possible, if we are ready.

Entering in to the waters of wisdom

Posted in Ancient Civilizations, Ancient Religions, Archetypes, Barzak, Counsciousness, Dante, Dreams, Garden of Eden, Heart, Ibn Arabi, Imagination, Inner Journey, Inspiration, Khidr, Melchizedek, Moses, Mysticism, Myth, Paradise, Personal Story, Revelation, Rivers, Self, Spirituality, Subjective, Symbology, Symbols, Theophany, Transformation, Transmutation, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

REDUCTIONISM, DETERMINISM VS SOCIOLOGY, THE TRUE NATURE OF MAN, AN ETERNAL NOW

Reductionism

 

Reductionism can mean either an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents. This can be said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings.

Reductionism strongly reflects a certain perspective on causality. In a reductionist framework, phenomena that can be explained completely in terms of relations between other more fundamental phenomena, are called epiphenomena. Often there is an implication that the epiphenomenon exerts no causal agency on the fundamental phenomena that explain it.

An example of reductionism will be like the views of certain individuals sustain in fields they lack specialization, in order to explain or rationalize  their own views on their field of specialization, example: Religious reductionism generally attempts to explain religion by boiling it down to certain nonreligious causes. A few examples of reductionist explanations for the presence of religion are: that religion can be reduced to humanity’s conceptions of right and wrong, that religion is fundamentally a primitive attempt at controlling our environments, and that religion is a way to explain the existence of a physical world. Anthropologists Edward Burnett Tylor and James George Frazer employed some religious reductionist arguments. Sigmund Freud’s idea that religion is nothing more than an illusion, or even a mental illness, and the Marxist view that religion is “the sigh of the oppressed,” providing only “the illusory happiness of the people,” are two other influential reductionist explanations of religion, that try to reduce the Spiritual side of Man to fantasies and fairies.

Tiny Fairy

E.B. Tylor argued that in the past, religion was used by people to account for or explain things that occurred in the world.He saw that it was important for religions to have the ability to explain why and for what reason things occurred in the world.For example, God (or the divine) gave us sun to keep us warm and give us light. Tylor argued that animism is the true natural religion that is the essence of religion; it answers the questions of which religion came first and which religion is essentially the most basic and foundation of all religions.For him, animism was the best answer to these questions, so it must be the true foundation of all religions. Animism is described as the belief in spirits inhabiting and animating beings, or souls existing in things.To Tylor, the fact that modern religious practitioners continued to believe in spirits showed that these people were no more advanced than primitive societies. For him, this implied that modern religious practitioners do not understand the ways of the universe and how life truly works because they have excluded science from their understanding of the world. By excluding scientific explanation in their understanding of why and how things occur, he asserts modern religious practitioners are rudimentary. Tylor perceived the modern religious belief in God as a “survival” of primitive ignorance.He claimed the contemporary belief in God to be a survival, because science could explain the phenomena previously justified by religion.

Edward Burnett Tylor

 

We would smile now a this patronizing views on Religion if not for the fact many contemporary, supposedly well educated  men share this outdated outlook on the issue. A simplistic chain of causality it is frequently heard by completely rational, scientifically oriented individuals when co-relating phenomena to cause an effect. For example, a reductionist believes that the complexity of the human brain is a result of complex and interacting physical processes. If scientists research and understand these underlying chemical reactions, then they can explain intelligence, emotion and all of the other human conditions. Of course this is tied to the ideological concept of scientific determinism.

Scientific Determinism and it’s problems

Determinism (specifically causal determinism) is the concept that events within a given paradigm  are bound by causality  in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely, or at least to some large degree,determined by prior states. In physics, this principle is known as cause-and-effect.

Determinism is also the name of a broader philosophical  view, which conjectures that every type of event, including human cognition  (behavior, decision, and action) is causally  determined by previous events.In philosophical arguments, the concept of determinism in the domain of human action is often contrasted with free will. The argument called in-determinism  (otherwise “non-determinism”) negates deterministic causality as a factor and opposes the deterministic argument.

Determinist believe any determined system is fully governed by causal laws resulting in only one possible state at any point in time. A debate within determinism exists about the scope of determined systems, with some maintaining that the entire universe is a single determinate system and others identifying other more limited determinate systems. Within numerous historical debates, many varieties and philosophical positions on the subject of determinism exist, most prominently the free will debates involving compatibility and incompatibles.

Predeterminers  proposes there is an unbroken chain of prior occurrences stretching back to the origin of the Universe.”

Universe Folds

The problem with this view of course is that exclude Free Will, in a deterministic Universe, your choice has being predetermined by a particular previous cause. Even physicists are finding that the quest for fundamental particles making up matter and governing the laws of the universe may be much too difficult to study, without looking at the model as a whole.

Unlike Newtonian physics, modern research takes into account the complex interactions between the particles, rather than looking at them individually. Chaotic systems, such as turbulence, weather patterns and even the behavior of crowds are difficult to explain by the process of scientific reductionism.

In addition, isolating one phenomenon and studying it often changes its behavior. For example, it is impossible to measure both the position and speed of an electron, because measuring one affects the other. Therefore, the very purest reductionist principles cannot be used to describe anything.  Scientific reductionism is too flawed to act as a valid philosophical viewpoint.

Aside from the problems involved in applying the idea to abstract ideas such as emotion and being, it is very impractical. Many areas, such as quantum physics, are too complicated to describe by studying the individual parts, and doing so does not always give the best picture.

Scientism

This is known now days as Scientism, the “ism” added to signify dogma I guess, following is an excerpt of Science Delusion by Curtis White:

“Scientism is essentially the belief, the faith, that all problems and questions are potentially soluble by empirical investigation (and that if they’re not, they’re somehow not real questions, not real problems). But there are large areas of human experience for which science has no convincing or compelling means of accounting. I am, I suppose, more or less an atheist, but when I read the Book of Genesis, I find that there is something profoundly true about the picture of human nature in those verses—a picture of our perversity and self-alienation that neuroscience, for instance, has no way of getting at or talking about. Schopenhauer, Freud, and Heidegger all give us comparable forms of truth—truths that aren’t verifiable or measurable in the same way as those of science, but that are no less valuable. The most important truths are often untranslatable into the language of fact.”

The Taj Mahal photo mosaic, not the best picture

Just like the picture above you got to stand back figuratively, and literally in order to look at the whole picture, it always irritate me when mechanic materialistic explanations for social phenomena, with vaguely analogies to Physics, or Mathematics, Just because we can quantify statistics about it, like divorce, homicide, crime, etc. Doesn’t mean the phenomena in question is a mathematical problem, or some biologist mixing different categorical realms,  try to reduce complex issues like love, attraction, procreation, to a genetic component, or to pheromones, or chemical reactions, etc.. Ignoring complex cultural, historical, and sociological structures, who may  radically vary geographically, and were the person you may end marrying and procreating, was not even your choice, but imposed to you by tradition, like arranged marriages so common in many cultures, all to do with social, political, and religious structures, nothing to do with the chemistry of hormones,  and biological attraction!

A Vow from an Arranged Husband

I don’t know who you are, or where you come from. I have never met you so I don’t know what you look like. I don’t know what makes you laugh, what makes you sad, what makes you cry, what makes you tickle, and what makes you scared. I don’t know what book is your favorite or whether you read books or magazines. I don’t know what lipstick you wear, what color is your favorite. I don’t know what you like to eat or whether you enjoy cooking. I don’t know whether you like love stories or you are into die hard action. I don’t know whether you believe in love on first sight, or love at all. All I know is that you are out there and you are my future wife. I haven’t found you or you have not been found for me, yet. But deep down, beneath all the skepticism that I have for this system, I know you are out there. Whether you will read this or not, I write this vow, this promise that I make, not to portray myself as a poet or some romantic but to ease my own uneasiness. This world will ask you to leave your family, your home, your sanctuary, your childhood, and swear in front of a crowd of witnesses with judgmental eyes, that you, in sickness or death, in good times and bad, accept me as your husband and bind you fate to mines. I pray and I pray from the deepest depths of my heart, with all the will and strength in my body that I have, that when you take that vow, you do it out of choice not coercion. When you do make that choice, your choice, and you take that bold leap of faith.

Indian weding

A Giant Leap

The above paragraph  I included just to prove my point, and to show how biological determinism based on some supposed biological mechanism, come to nothing when confronting cultures, and complex social issues that transcend the realm of biology, Man may be an animal, and  genetically very similar to an ape, a friend of mine, a scientist liked to remind me of the fact we share a 98% genetic material, to justify his materialistic, mechanical views, recently read new discoveries that say it is only 95%, but regardless, 98%, or 95%, means little, my answer to my friend was to tell him to focus not on the 98%, but on the 2% difference, and reminded him that the 2% difference allowed Neil Armstrong’s famous phrase when he landed on the Moon:

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”

Just to point out we can’t reduce Man and the Universe, to a mere mechanical happenstance, and dismiss Man Spiritual side, that in my opinion is by far more important as a deterministic element in Man’s true nature.

Rudolf Steiner on the Nature of the Ego

“Through self-consciousness man describes himself as an independent being separate from all others, as “I.” In his “I” he brings together all that he experiences as a being with body and soul. Body and soul are the carriers of the ego or “I,” and in them it acts. Just as the physical body has its center in the brain, so has the soul its center in the ego. Man is aroused to sensations by impacts from without; feelings manifest themselves as effects of the outer world; the will relates itself to the outside world, realizing itself in external actions. The “I” as the particular and essential being of man remains quite invisible. With excellent judgment, therefore, does Jean Paul call a man’s recognition of his ego an “occurrence taking place only in the veiled holy of holies of a human being,” for with his “I” man is quite alone. This “I” is the very man himself. That justifies him in regarding his ego as his true being. He may, therefore, describe his body and his soul as the sheaths or veils within which he lives, and he may describe them as bodily conditions through which he acts. In the course of his evolution he learns to regard these tools ever more as instruments of service to his ego. The little word “I” is a name which differs from all others. Anyone who reflects in an appropriate manner on the nature of this name will find that in so doing an avenue opens itself to the understanding of the human being in the deeper sense. Any other name can be applied to its corresponding object by all men in the same way. Anybody can call a table, table, or a chair, chair. This is not so with the name “I.” No one can use it in referring to another person. Each one can call only himself “I.” Never can the name “I” reach my ears from outside when it refers to me. Only from within, only through itself, can the soul refer to itself as “I.” When man therefore says “I” to himself, something begins to speak in him that has to do with none of the worlds from which the sheaths so far mentioned are taken. The “I” becomes increasingly the ruler of body and soul.

Man meditating on it's true nature

Steiner on the Spiritual Nature of Man

The soul nature of man is not determined by the body alone. Man does not wander aimlessly and without purpose from one sensation to another, nor does he act under the influence of every casual incitement that plays upon him either from without or through the processes of his body. He thinks about his perceptions and his acts. By thinking about his perceptions he gains knowledge of things. By thinking about his acts he introduces a reasonable coherence into his life. He knows that he will worthily fulfill his duty as a man only when he lets himself be guided by correct thoughts in knowing as well as in acting. The soul of man, therefore, is confronted by a twofold necessity. By the laws of the body it is governed by natural necessity. It allows itself also to be governed by the laws that guide it to exact thinking because it voluntarily acknowledges their necessity. Nature subjects man to the laws of changing matter, but he subjects himself to the laws of thought. By this means he makes himself a member of a higher order than the one to which he belongs through his body. This order is the spiritual. The spiritual is as different from the soul as the soul is from the body. As long as only the particles of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen that are in motion in the body are spoken of, we do not have the soul in view. Soul life begins only when within the motion of these particles the feeling arises, “I taste sweetness,” or, “I feel pleasure.” Likewise, we do not have the spirit in view as long as merely those soul experiences are considered that course through anyone who gives himself over entirely to the outer world and his bodily life. This soul life is rather the basis of the spiritual just as the body is the basis of the soul life. The biologist is concerned with the body, the investigator of the soul — the psychologist — with the soul, and the investigator of the spirit with the spirit. It is incumbent on those who would understand the nature of man by means of thinking, first to make clear to themselves through self-reflection the difference between body, soul and spirit.”

Body, Soul, Spirit

 

Ibn al-Arabi

God has intended man to know himself and creation. For Ibn al-`Arabi the highest form of knowledge is the knowledge of oneself, which is really God knowing Himself through the human consciousness as in the Hadith, “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” Knowledge is not just a bunch of information as we tend to think of it, but it is a knowing of oneself and life, which is to know the unity in oneself and with life. In other words, it is a knowing of God, within oneself and within the world. Ibn al-`Arabi says:

“All the infinite objects of knowledge that God knows are within man and within the cosmos through this type of nearness. No one knows what is within himself until it is unveiled to him instant by instant”

Al-khalq al-jaded – the world goes on being created anew at every single moment, the Absolute is continually manifesting itself in the infinity of ‘possible’ things.The manifest universe is manifest into existence instant by instant, without this continual recreation of all reality it would cease to exist.

The world in its entirety is perpetually changing. And every thing in the world is changing in itself from moment to moment. Thus every thing becomes determined at every moment with a new determination which is different form that with which it was determined a moment ago.

Thus the Absolute reveals itself perpetually in these successive self-manifestations, while the world is perpetually being lost due to its annihilation at every moment and its renewed birth at the next moment.

In this world-view expressed by Ibn Arabi, nothing remains static; the world in its entirety transforms itself kaleidoscopically from moment to moment, and yet all these movements of self-development are the ‘ascending’ movements of the things toward the Absolute-One, precisely because they are the ‘descending’ self-expression of the Absolute-One.

The ‘new creation’ he speaks of concerns the concrete things of the sensible world, and not the permanent archetypes themselves.

Thus in Ibn Arabi’s thought, everything in the world is constantly changing, but underlying this universal flux of changing things there is Something eternally unchanging.

The Descent is followed by its reversal, that is, Ascent, thus the whole process of creation forms a huge ontological circle in which there is in reality neither an initial point nor a final point, the whole circle is a trans-temporal or a-temporal phenomenon, everything is an occurrence in an Eternal Now.

An Eternal Now

Posted in Crisis of Values, Determinism, Eternal Now, God, Ibn Arabi, Materialism, Metaphysics, Mysticism, Oneness of Being, Ontology, Philosophy, Physics, Positivism, Post-Positivism, Reality, Reductionism, Science, Science and Belief, Scientism, Secular Society, Subjective, Tawhid, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

EDUCATION, A CRISIS OF VALUES, VIRTUE A RETURN TO ARCADIA, OR HOW TO GET OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE OF MATERIALISM

philosopher Plato

 

And if I say that the greatest good of a man

is daily to converse about virtue,

and all that concerning which you hear me

examining myself and others, and that

the life which is unexamined is not worth living.

 

Plato in Socrates Apology.

 

After finishing reading a brilliant article, one of many that I frequently encounter randomly in prestigious magazines of diverse content, I ponder at the cleverness of certain individuals to make light of what really is going on, versus the abysmal state of education in our Nation, and the masses of uneducated fellow Americans, and not only those who barely accomplished a High-School education, but of those who having attended  higher education remain  at best mediocre, and at worst unable to tell the difference between objective news that inform without bias, and what I mean by bias  is the slant that our general corporate media infuse the news, as to reflect an uniformity of consensus with the explicit purpose to subdue peoples minds in to conformity with agendas designed to control minds and behaviors, in to submission to particular interests not necessarily in the benefit of the general population, actually against their own well being,  the same  who support and blabber back the same slant in the news they docilely are fed, with disastrous end results to our lives, keeping society at the mercy of unscrupulous individuals whose only concern is to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest, who sheepishly follow lead  never questioning where they are lead, and what price we all will have to pay for their folly.

 Follow the leader

So who, or what are the reasons for this sad state of affairs?

Obviously the reasons are many, Historical, political, social, etc. We can’t in this post make an exhausting analysis of every reason, we will concentrate on the education factor.

There has been a long decline in education towards the abandonment of a classical education, to the utilitarian, and philistine approach for “practicality” and the teaching of a professional education, were basically the skills to make a living are emphasized over the teaching of critical thinking  like that provided by classical education.

The curricula and pedagogy of classical education was first developed during the Middle Ages by Martianus Capella, and systematized during the Renaissance by Petrus Ramus. Capella’s original goal was to provide a systematic, memorable framework to teach all human knowledge. The term “classical education” has been used in Western culture for several centuries, with each era modifying the definition and adding its own selection of topics. By the end of the 18th century, in addition to the trivium and quadrivium of the Middle Ages, the definition of a classical education embraced study of literature, poetry, drama, philosophy, history, art, and languages. In the 20th and 21st centuries it is used to refer to a broad-based study of the liberal arts and sciences, as opposed to a practical or pre-professional program. The University of Pennsylvania seal (1894) depicted the trivium as a stack of books providing the foundation for a quadrivium of mathematics, natural philosophy (empirical science), astronomy, and theology.

The House of Learning or what is left of it...

The Eschaton of Belief

We have reach the Eschaton (end of days) of our beliefs, what I mean it is a sort of end of the beliefs that propelled us as a civilization, particularly what we call Western civilization, some call this a Post-Modern state of affairs, the end of belief in progress, Industrialism, corporatism, commercialism, scientism, institutionalism, Socialism, Capitalism, and so many other words ending on ism!

Nietzsche famous proclamation: “God is death.” Now also old, and passé can be analogized by the thought that our Western Ideals are death… Our ideals only have carried us to a death end of history, we are jaded, and cynicism are embraced almost by all, eternally lied by our politicians,  misguided by our Religious leaders, robed, and impoverished by those who supposed to protect our money, our bankers, the media pimps for selling us products we do not need, and sold to those who wish to keep us obedient, peaceful and blind consumers of goods and iniquity, our scientist a clog of our materialistic, pragmatic, and utilitarian end on itself (profit) technology who inundates our world with an infinitude of junk, weapons, oblivious of environmental destruction, we feel like prey to the wolves who profit from our economical, and moral dispossession, a sad, and apparently death end with no solution in sight but our destruction, it is not a miracle than we wake day, after day feeling anxious, impotent,  afraid and insecure?

How education can extricate out of this quagmire, when the very institutions of higher education is part of the problem?

Suzy Lee Weiss a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh.:

“Like me, millions of high-school seniors with sour grapes are asking themselves this week how they failed to get into the colleges of their dreams. It’s simple: For years, they—we—were lied to.

Colleges tell you, “Just be yourself.” That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.

What could I have done differently over the past years?

For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.

The state of education

I also probably should have started a fake charity. Providing veterinary services for homeless people’s pets. Collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo. Raising awareness for Chapped-Lips-in-the-Winter Syndrome. Fun-runs, dance-a-thons, bake sales—as long as you’re using someone else’s misfortunes to try to propel yourself into the Ivy League, you’re golden.

Having a tiger mom helps, too. As the youngest of four daughters, I noticed long ago that my parents gave up on parenting me. It has been great in certain ways: Instead of “Be home by 11,” it’s “Don’t wake us up when you come through the door, we’re trying to sleep.” But my parents also left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I’ve never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn’t last past the first lap. Why couldn’t Amy Chua have adopted me as one of her cubs?

Then there was summer camp. I should’ve done what I knew was best—go to Africa, scoop up some suffering child, take a few pictures, and write my essays about how spending that afternoon with Kinto changed my life. Because everyone knows that if you don’t have anything difficult going on in your own life, you should just hop on a plane so you’re able to talk about what other people have to deal with.

Or at least hop to an internship. Get a precocious-sounding title to put on your resume. “Assistant Director of Mail Services.” “Chairwoman of Coffee Logistics.” I could have been a gopher in the office of someone I was related to. Work experience!

To those kids who by age 14 got their doctorate, cured a disease, or discovered a guilt-free brownie recipe: My parents make me watch your “60 Minutes” segments, and they’ve clipped your newspaper articles for me to read before bed. You make us mere mortals look bad. (Also, I am desperately jealous and willing to pay a lot to learn your secrets.)

To those claiming that I am bitter—you bet I am! An underachieving selfish teenager making excuses for her own failures? That too! To those of you disgusted by this, shocked that I take for granted the wonderful gifts I have been afforded, I sayshhhh—”The Real Housewives” is on.”

Not for sale

Education as a Business

You may smile,  be indignant, or blame Suzy, and their parents, but the fact is higher education has become a business to make money out of the students, caring little what happen after! Here an excerpt from Charles M. Blow A Dangerous ‘New Normal’ in College Debt, The New York Times, March 9, 2013:

“The student loan debt crisis has become a drag on the economy. Younger Americans who are saddled with bankrupting payments — or credit ratings damaged by delinquency — are in no position to buy homes, save for retirement or start businesses.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released a study showing just why many young people are being strangled by student loans. It found that 43 percent of 25-year-olds had student debt in 2012, an increase from 27 percent in 2004.

Unemployment and the collapse of household income in the recession only made the borrowing problem worse.

According to the new study, student debt almost tripled between 2004 and 2012, and is approaching $1 trillion, while the percentage of borrowers who were more than 90 days delinquent had risen to 17 percent, from 10 percent in 2004. In addition, student loan debt was the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession, and it is now the second largest after mortgage debt.”

Students protestingagainst rising fees for education

Numb To Bullshit

 

Here an excerpt from the middle finger project, by Ash:

 

We’re numb to bullshit.

We eat bullshit for lunch.

We smear it all over our faces and then dutifully smile for society’s camera.

Yet, even though it surrounds us and we’re practically choking on the stuff, we somehow still manage to swallow and look the other way.

We’ve convinced ourselves that surrendering to bullshit is necessary in order to get ahead (the ever popular default goal–also bullshit), and we prance around in bullshit all day because we’re too chicken to do anything about it.

Bullshit runs our lives.

Almost. Every. Waking. Minute. Of. It.

And we let it.

Bullshit is the politics that drive decision-making processes instead of what’s best for our citizens, consumers, elderly and children.

Bullshit are the values that we’ve been spoon fed since day one, encouraging us to idolize all that is superficial, and shove the rest under the rug. We get high off of purchasing big ticket items, and as soon as the high comes, it goes, leaving us with nothing more than the angst to do it again. We’re akin to nation of crack addicts, always looking for our next high…except ours comes in the form of consumerism.We disregard the value of people. Of relationships. Of human beings and authentic, genuine interactions. These things are all of secondary importance, because we’re taught that we’re only as good as the car we drive. (By the way, if you really want to see someone fighting against the consumerist movement, check out my friend Everett.  You’ll be amazed & will want to throw your TV off the roof, as he says.)

Bullshit are the federal agencies, such as the USDA, who have marketed themselves nicely as a watchdog agency looking out for our safety, but in fact, the USDA is nothing more than another big business.

Bullshit is the way we can justify engaging in war over oil, yet sit back and do virtually nothing about.

What it comes down to, in the end, is the mighty dollar. We’re so desperate for it, that all bets are off when it comes to ethics. And I find that unacceptable.

But most of us will continue to ignore the bullshit; we’ll just keep climbing to the top of it, and then maybe eventually hope that some suit and tie corporate manager will let us have a slice of the pie someday.  And then it’ll be even easier to swallow & turn our heads, once we’re making the big bucks.

Because after all, isn’t that all that matters these days?

Smell like...

 

A CRISIS OF VALUES, AND THE WAY OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE

The fact is that contemporary education is totally off the mark, it is because instead of educate our young,  on Ideals, and higher aspirations, education has become a tool for our money obsess society in order to produce tangible value, in the form of material gains, with the feeble excuse of “progress, and well being” to make every individual a cog of the machinery, and a mammon worshiper, forgetting totally the Galilee advice: ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE’ Mathew 4:4 And this not a Religious statement the kind it is trying you to go and joint a particular church or cult, we know you probably are too cynic for that, I just want to point out the root of the problem is a crisis of values, we can’t expect to teach practical, utilitarian and money oriented goals in to our young, to the exclusion of anything else and expect a generation of people of virtue when we teach greed, selfishness, and crass materialism devoid of spiritual values!

You may argue that the study of Ethics is enough, it is many years I took a class on Ethics, and remember very little, but the fact that to my young mind it was boring!

Nevertheless, a sense of idealism, and the pursuing of Virtue was instilled in me by the study of the Humanities, particularly Philosophy, now days a career on Humanities is perceived by most as a waste of your time, and good luck of ever finding a job!

Who said everything should be about money?

One of the greatest myths of our time is that public services including Education can be made more efficient if we run them as businesses.  The commercialization of our public services has been a manifest failure, and the response offered by the mainstream parties is that we simply haven’t commercialized them enough. What they fail to understand is that a public service as Education, and a business are inherently different beasts, and asking one to behave as the other is like asking your two year old child to pay for food, and lodging, nonsense!

The primary aim of Education is to educate the people, and can’t put enough emphasis on this,  this service of education exists to avoid negative social impacts, creating a future better society and protect the individual, as much as society in general, with a crucial social welfare from the instabilities of capitalism.

This is our future

The unsustainability of Capitalism going awry

 

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.

~Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Here in brief a paper showing that greed could be acquired just by studying Economics by:

Wang, Long; Northwestern University

 

Murnighan, J. Keith; Northwestern University

 

Greed is a classic topic in human development (Balot, 2001; Robertson, 2001) and it inevitably affects many of our choices and decisions. Although greed is typically viewed as uniformly negative and reprehensible, we propose that people‟s attitudes and opinions about greed are actually subject to change. In particular, studying economics may help legitimize and even beautify greed. Previous research shows that economics education might make people more self-interested because self-interest maximization is central to most economic models (Marwell & Ames, 1981; Frank, et al, 1993). Because greed and maximizing self-interest are sometimes difficult to separate, conceptually or empirically, we propose that studying economics may make people view greed as potentially positive and beneficial. Two complementary studies support our proposition. Study 1 shows that students who are pursuing economics view greed more positively than students who are pursuing other majors and taking other courses. Study 2 indicates that positively priming greed can significantly increase people‟s positive attitudes and opinions about greed.

Greed and Economics Greed is a basic element of human nature (e.g. Plato, Aristotle & Thucydides). Defined as “an excessive desire to get more … a primarily materialistic type of desire” (Balot, 2001: 1), greed is generally viewed as reprehensible (Wang and Murnighan, 2008). Greed stimulates rather than sates, creating a vicious cycle of extravagant, insatiable desire to procure. At the same time, paradoxically, it may have been an essential element in our evolutionary ancestor‟s survival. In addition, the basic logic of capitalistic economics, to maximize one‟s outcomes, makes it difficult to clearly delineate basic self-interest from overindulgent greed. Thus, greed is a two-edged sword: on the one hand, it can help drive economic growth (Hume, 1739/2001; Smith); on the other, it encourages immorality and societal injustice (Plato). Wall Street encourages organizations to maximize their profits: as profits increase, so do stock prices, impressing analysts and leading to more positive recommendations. Although CEO salaries are not directly related to organizational profitability (e.g. Tosi & Gomez-Mejia, 1989), employees‟ returns on their profit-sharing plans are. Thus, in the corporate world, the push for more is pervasive, traditional, and taken-for-granted.

Are we teaching greed to our children

The economics literature takes the same stance: it has long portrayed homo economicus as a rational choice profit maximizer. The assumption of self-interest, which inherently implies the desire to achieve and/or maximize material gains and to minimize losses, is central to most economic models (Frank, et al, 1993). The notion of maximizing gains does not include a stopping mechanism: the accumulation of economic gains need see no end. Instead, rational choice implies unlimited wants and unrelenting greedy action (Schwartz, 1986). A purely economic approach to greed pays little attention to ethical issues, values, or human motivations

(Stigler, 1980; Sen, 1987). Economics encourages greed and the maximization of self-interest, with guile, as long as a person‟s actions fall within the rules of the game (Friedman, 1962). The current study investigates the relationship between economics and greed. We investigate how people view greed, and we study whether students who are pursuing economics view greed differently from students who are pursuing other majors and taking other courses. Though not conclusive, previous research suggests that studying economics might encourage the pursuit of self-interest and inhibit cooperation (Marwell & Ames, 1981; Frank, et al, 1993). Because economic models draw – at best – a fine line between self-interest and greed, we predict that studying economics will lead people to have more positive views of greed and, as a result, might make them more likely to engage in greedy action. Thus, our investigation assesses not only the selection effects of individuals who have chosen to be economics majors but also whether taking more economics courses leads people to view greed as being potentially positive and beneficial and see their own greedy actions as more favorable than others might see them. We conducted two studies to test this proposition; the results indicate that studying economics significantly increased people‟s positive opinions and feelings about greed. This suggests that greed is not only evolutionary inherited, but also socially and educationally espoused.”

My piece of the pie

Greed is bad after all

Their conclusion:

Negative Priming: Greed can get out of control. “If you have an unregulated arena, cheaters win,” says Michael Josephson, a radio commentator and president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Marina del Rey, Calif. “But if you have a civil society, which we do, with a series of checks and balances, by all means the honest people can win. … Honesty and integrity is the way to conduct business.” This is echoed by Paul Krugman, a notable economist. “Now, as each day seems to bring a new business scandal, we can see …. a system that lavishly rewards executives for success tempts those executives, who control much of the information available to outsiders, to fabricate the appearance of success. Aggressive accounting, fictitious transactions that inflate sales, whatever it takes.” Ken Lay, Gary Winnick, Chuck Watson, Dennis Kozlowski — we’re not talking about a few bad apples. . Statistics for the last five years show a dramatic divergence between the profits companies reported to investors and other measures of profit growth; this is clear evidence that many, perhaps most, large companies were fudging their numbers. “Now, distrust of corporations threatens our still-tentative economic recovery; it turns out greed is bad, after all.”

Hardly a surprising conclusion, after all Virtue is not only a word, or an idealistic thought, but words like Justice, Goodness, Wisdom, Peace, Truth, are virtues, and are the axis of which every life should be lived, to avert ruin, and catastrophe, not only in our personal lives, but that of society as well. Should not Virtue then be thought, with emphasis at our schools, rather than selfishness, and greed?

The walls of Jericho

This is a moment of true for all citizens of this world,  the walls of Jericho are tumbling down, as you read this. For many, it is clear the show it is over the the musicians had put away their instruments and are going out the door,  the dance is over! Do not try to  cling to the falling wall, you will go down with it, some like the ostrich choose to bury their head in the sand, our surround themselves with trivia, and irrelevance never to face the disquieting thought: This is it, now what?

This thought, once you get to it, demands something of you,  it demands a quest for real values, a new evaluation of your life, and the way you live, new ideas and a new you.  It may be scary to be one of those a top those walls, jump before is too late.

No matter how hard those on the walls try, the walls are going down,  and all the toys, and trinkets you have will not make a difference to fill the void, our crass materialism, consumerism, and zombie like life had soaked our soul to the point of sickness, and alienation, from our inner being, our true Self, who doesn’t need trinkets or toys but the real important things in life, Love, Truth, Justice, Knowledge Peace within, and without, and that is what we need to teach at schools to our children, youth and to all.

“Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge.”

Dante Alighieri

 Francisco Bayeus y Subias Providence Presiding over the Virtues and Faculties of Man

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EROS SUBLIMATED, THE MUNDUS IMAGINALIS OF DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY, AND IBN ARABI’S TARJUMAN AL-ASHWAQ

Dante and Islam

“Beauty is the reflection of reality in the mirror of illusion”

“And there is no more powerful creature in the universe than woman

- for each angel that God has created from the breaths (anfas)

of women is the most powerful of angels.”

Ibn Arabi

DANTE AND ISLAM

Miguel Asín Palacios (1871–1944) was a Spanish scholar of Islamic studies and the Arabic language, and a Roman Catholic priest. He is primarily known for suggesting Muslim sources for ideas and motifs present in Dante’s Divine Comedy, which he discusses in his book La Escatología musulmana en la Divina Comedia (1919). He wrote on medieval Islam, extensively on al-Ghazali (Latin: Algazel). A major book El Islam cristianizado (1931) presents a study of Sufism through the works of Muhyiddin ibn ‘Arabi (Spanish: Mohidín Abenarabe) of Murcia in Andalusia (medieval Al-Andalus). Asín also published other comparative articles regarding certain Islamic influences on Christianity and on mysticism in Spain.

Perhaps Asín Palacios a is best remembered for his 1919 book, La Escatologia Musulmana en la Divina Comedia,which suggests Islamic sources for the memorable context and perspective used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) in his work La Divina Commedia. Specifically, Asín compares the Muslim religious literature surrounding the night journey [al-'Isra wal-Mi'rag] of Muhammad (from Mecca to Jerusalem and thence up with the Prophets through the seven heavens), with Dante’s story describing his spiritual journey in which he meets various inhabitants of the afterlife and records their fate. Accordingly, Asín (I) discusses in detail the above night journey in Muslim literature,(II) compares it to episodes in the inferno, the purgatorio,and the paradiso of La Divina Commedia, (III) investigates Muslim influence on corresponding Christian literature predating the poem, and (IV) conjectures how Dante could have known directly of the Muslim literature in translation. Asín remarks that notwithstanding these Muslim sources, Dante remains a luminous figure and his poem retains its exalted place in world literature.

Asín’s book inspired a wide and energetic reaction, both positive and negative, as well as further research and academic exchanges. Eventually two scholars, an Italian and a Spaniard, independently uncovered an until-then buried Arabic source, the eleventh century Kitab al-Mi’raj [Book of the Ladder (or of the ascent)], which describes Muhammad’s night journey. This work was translated into Spanish as La Escala de Mahoma by a scribe (Abrahim Alfaquim) ofAlfonso X el Sabio in 1264. Information surfaced about another translation into Latin, Liber Scalae Machometi, which has been traced to the Italian milieu of the poet, Dante Alighieri. It appears that Dante’s mentor Brunetto Latini met the Latin translator of the Kitab al-Mi’raj while both were staying at the court of the Spanish king Alfonso X el Sabio in Castilla. Although this missing link was not available to Asín, he had based his work on several similar accounts of Muhammad’s ladder then circulating among the literary or pious Muslims of Al-Andalus.

Miguel.Asin.Palacios.1871-1944.

The Kitab al Miraj (Arabic: كتاب المعراج “Book of the Ascension”) is a Muslim book concerned with Muhammad’s ascension into Heaven (known as the Miraj), following his miraculous one-night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (the Isra). The book is divided into 7 chapters, and was written in Arabic using the Naskh script.

Kitab al-Miraj is believed to have been written by Abu’l-Qasim ‘Abdalkarîm bin Hawâzin bin ‘Abdalmalik bin Talhah bin Muhammad al-Qushairî al-Nisaburi أبو القاسم عبد الكريم بن هوازن بن عبد الملك بن طلحة بن محمد القشيري (born 376 – died 465 A.H.).

In the second half of the 13th century, the book was translated into Latin (as Liber Scale Machometi) and Spanish, and soon thereafter (in 1264) into Old French. Its Islamic depictions of Hell are believed by some scholars to have been a major influence on Dante’s 14th century masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, including Miguel Asin Palacios, and Enrico Cerulli .

I got no problem finding this associations merely anecdotic, sure reading  Kitab al Miraj could had being a source of an idea, that by the force of the Genius, and the Imagination of Dante, united to the Cosmological views of his Age contributed to his magnificent work. But I will like to point out the similitudes of the Mundus Imaginalis shared by Christain and Muslims mystics alike,as defined by Henry Corbin:   Na-kojd-Abad, the “land of No-where.”

Land of No-Where

Many centuries ago, the philosopher Suhrawardi coined the term “Na Koja-Abad” (Nowhere Land) to refer to a mythical, but nevertheless real place, situated in a kind of interworld between the realms of the senses and those of the intellect. Later Shi’ite traditions referred to it as “Hurqalya” and mentioned its two emerald cities (Jabarsa and Jabalqa) capable of being perceived solely by the Creative Imagination. (This is not the “imagination” of fancy or of wish-fulfillment, but the “Imaginatio Vera” of the medieval philosophers: a kind of organic mirror where  according to certain Ishraqi philosophers — images from the material world and archetypal forms from the sphere of the intellect are able to come together and react). Hurqalya was believed to be the real theater of life, bubbling up images into the conscious mind in the form of myth and legend.

The Oxford dictionary define it as:

The term was used first by Suhrawardi to define a ‘boundary’ realm that connects the sensory and the abstract intellectual segments of the whole continuum of being, and is the distinguishing component of non-Aristotelian cosmology in Islamic philosophy . It is constructed as the locus of visions, prophecy, and sorcery, and also defines eschatology . This wonderland is described by negating Aristotelian logical principles and laws of physics, and is employed to explain non-standard experiences such as ‘true dreams’ and ‘miraculous powers’. As the individual subject moves away from the center of the sensory segment of the continuum nearing the boundary realm, qualitative change takes place. Material bodies change to imaginalis ones; time changes, no longer confined to measure of linear space; and space is no longer limited by the Euclidean.

Shining Through

LA VITA NUOVA

Dante wanted to collect and publish the lyrics dealing with his love for Beatrice, explaining the autobiographical context of its composition and pointing out the expository structure of each lyric as an aid to careful reading. Though the result is a landmark in the development of emotional autobiography (the most important advance since Saint Augustine’s Confessions in the 5th century), like all medieval literature it is far removed from the modern autobiographical impulse. Instead the they are suffused with the Imagery of the Mundus Imaginalis. However, Dante and his audience were interested in the emotions of courtly love and how they develop, how they are expressed in verse, how they reveal the permanent intellectual truths of the divinely created world and how love can confer blessing on the soul and bring it closer to God

According to Dante, he first met Beatrice when his father took him to the Portinari house for a May Day party. At the time, Beatrice was eight years old, a year younger than Dante. Dante was instantly taken with her and remained so throughout her life even though she married another man, banker Simone dei Bardi, in 1287. Beatrice died three years later in June 1290 at the age of 24. Dante continued to hold an abiding love and respect for the woman after her death, even after he married Gemma Donati in 1285 and had children. After Beatrice’s death, Dante withdrew into intense study and began composing poems dedicated to her memory. The collection of these poems, along with others he had previously written in his journal in awe of Beatrice, became La Vita Nuova.

According to the autobiographic La Vita Nuova, Beatrice and Dante met only twice during their lives. Even less credible is the numerology behind these encounters, marking out Dante’s life in periods of nine years. This amount of time falls in line with Dante’s repeated use of the number three or multiples of, derived from the Holy Trinity. It is more likely that the encounters with Beatrice that Dante writes of are the two that fulfill his poetic vision, and Beatrice, like Petrarch’s Laura, seem to blur the line between an actual love interest and a means employed by the poet in his creations.

Gianetti's Dante and Beatrice

Dante in chapter XXIV, of La Vita Nuova “I Felt My Heart Awaken” (“Io mi senti’ svegliar dentro a lo core”, also translated as “I Felt a Loving Spirit Suddenly”), Dante accounts a meeting with Love, who asks the poet to do his best to honour her.

Io mi senti’ svegliar dentro a lo core
Un spirito amoroso che dormia:
E poi vidi venir da lungi Amore
Allegro sì, che appena il conoscia,
Dicendo: “Or pensa pur di farmi onore”;
E ‘n ciascuna parola sua ridia.
E poco stando meco il mio segnore,
Guardando in quella parte onde venia,
Io vidi monna Vanna e monna Bice
Venire inver lo loco là ‘v’io era,
L’una appresso de l’altra miriviglia;
E sì come la mente mi ridice,
Amor mi disse: “Quell’è Primavera,
E quell’ha nome Amor, sì mi somiglia.”
I felt awoken in my heart
a loving spirit that was sleeping;
and then I saw Love coming from far away
so glad, I could just recognize.
saying “you think you can honor me”,
and with each word laughing.
And little being with me my lord,
watching the way it came from,
I saw lady Joan and lady Bice
coming towards the spot I was at,
one wonder past another wonder.
And as my mind keeps telling me,
Love said to me “She is Spring who springs first,
and that bears the name Love, who resembles me.”
she is Spring who springs first

Following their first meeting, Dante was so enthralled by Beatrice that he later wrote in La Vita Nuova: Ecce Deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur mihi (“Behold, a deity stronger than I; who coming, shall rule over me.”) Indeed, Dante frequented parts of Florence, his home city, where he thought he might catch even a glimpse of her. As he did so, he made great efforts to ensure his thoughts of Beatrice remained private, even writing poetry for another lady, so as to use her as a “screen for the truth”.

Dante’s courtly love for Beatrice continued for nine years, before the pair finally met again. This meeting occurred in a street of Florence, which she walked along dressed in white and accompanied by two older women. She turned and greeted him, her salutation filling him with such joy that he retreated to his room to think about her. In doing so, he fell asleep, and had a dream which would become the subject of the first sonnet in La Vita Nuova.

H Holiday's Dante and Beatrice

In this dream, a mighty figure appeared before him, and spoke to him. Although he could not make out all the figure said, he managed to hear “Ego dominus tuus“, which means “I am your Lord”. In the figure’s arms was Beatrice, sleeping and covered by a crimson cloth. The figure awoke Beatrice, and made her eat Dante’s burning heart. An English translation of this event, as described in La Vita Nuova, appears below:

This was the last encounter between the pair, since Beatrice died eight years later at the young age of twenty-four in 1290.

The manner in which Dante chose to express his love for Beatrice often agreed with the Middle Ages concept of courtly love. Courtly love was a secret, unrequited and highly respectful form of admiration for another person. Yet it is still not entirely clear what caused Dante to fall in love with Beatrice. Since he knew very little of the real Beatrice, and that he had no great insight to her character, it is perhaps unusual that he did. But he did, and there are clues in his works as to why:

“She has ineffable courtesy, is my beatitude, the destroyer of all vices and the queen of virtue, salvation.”

Dante saw Beatrice as a savior, one who removed all evil intentions from him. It is perhaps this idea of her being a force for good that he fell in love with, a force which he believed made him a better person. This is certainly viable, since he does not seem concerned with her appearance – at least not in his writings. He only once describes her complexion, and her “emerald” eyes.

Dante's Dream at the Time of the_Death of Beatrice by Dante_Gabriel Rossetti

Let’s Dante speak and tell us of his sublimation of Eros in to Agape:

“Nine times now, since my birth, the heaven of light had turned almost to the same point in its own gyration, when the glorious Lady of my mind, who was called Beatrice by many who knew not what to call her, first appeared before my eyes. She had already been in this life so long that in its course the starry heaven had moved toward the region of the East one of the twelve parts of a degree; so that at about the beginning of her ninth year she appeared to me, and I near the end of my ninth 2year saw her. She appeared to me clothed in a most noble color, a modest and becoming crimson, and she was girt and adorned in such wise as befitted her very youthful age. At that instant, I say truly that the spirit of life, which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart, began to tremble with such violence that it appeared fearfully in the least pulses, and, trembling, said these words: Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur mihi [Behold a god stronger than I, who coming shall rule over me].

At that instant the spirit of the soul, which dwells in the high chamber to which all the spirits of the senses carry their perceptions, began to marvel greatly, and, speaking especially to the spirit of the sight, said these words: Apparuit jam beatitudo vestra [Now has appeared your bliss].

At that instant the natural spirit, which dwells in that part where our nourishment is supplied, began to weep, and, weeping, said these words: Heu miser! quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps [Woe is me, wretched! because often from this time forth shall I be hindered].

The Marriage of the Soul to God

I say that from that time forward Love lorded it over my soul, which had been so speedily wedded to him: and he began to exercise over me such control and such lordship, through the power which my imagination gave to him, that it behooved me to do completely all his pleasure. He commanded me oft times that I should seek to see this youthful angel; so that I in my boyhood often went seeking her, and saw her of such noble and praiseworthy deportment, that truly of her might be said that word of the poet Homer, “She seems not the daughter of mortal man, but of God.” And though her image, which stayed constantly with me, gave assurance to Love to hold lordship over me, yet it was of such noble virtue that it never suffered Love to rule me without the faithful counsel of the reason in those matters in which it were useful to hear such counsel. And since to dwell upon the passions and actions of such early youth seems like telling an idle tale, I will leave them, and, passing over many things which might be drawn from the original where these lie hidden, I will come to those words which are written in my memory under larger paragraphs.

When so many days had passed that nine years were exactly complete since the above-described apparition of this most gentle lady, on the last of these days it happened that this admirable lady appeared to me, clothed in purest white, between two gentle ladies who were of greater age; and, 4passing along a street, turned her eyes toward that place where I stood very timidly; and by her ineffable courtesy, which is to-day rewarded in the eternal world, saluted me with such virtue that it seemed to me then that I saw all the bounds of bliss. The hour when her most sweet salutation reached me was precisely the ninth of that day; and since it was the first time that her words came to my ears, I took in such sweetness, that, as it were intoxicated, I turned away from the folk; and, betaking myself to the solitude of my own chamber, I sat myself down to think of this most courteous lady.

And thinking of her, a sweet slumber overcame me, in which a marvelous vision appeared to me; for me thought I saw in my chamber a cloud of the color of fire, within which I discerned a shape of a Lord of aspect fearful to whoso might look upon him; and he seemed to me so joyful within himself that a marvelous thing it was; and in his words he said many things which I understood not, save a few, among which I understood these: Ego Dominus tuus [I am thy Lord]. In his arms me seemed to see a person sleeping, naked, save that she seemed to me to be wrapped lightly in a crimson cloth; whom I, regarding very intently, recognized as the lady of the salutation, who had the day before deigned to salute me. And in one of 5his hands it seemed to me that he held a thing which was all on fire; and it seemed to me that he said to me these words: Vide cortuum [Behold thy heart]. And when he had remained awhile, it seemed to me that he awoke her that slept; and he so far prevailed upon her with his craft as to make her eat that thing which was burning in his hand; and she ate it timidly. After this, it was but a short while before his joy turned into the most bitter lament; and as he wept he gathered up this lady in his arms, and with her it seemed to me that he went away toward heaven. Whereat I felt such great anguish, that my weak slumber could not endure it, but was broken, and I awoke. And straightway I began to reflect, and found that the hour in which this vision had appeared to me had been the fourth of the night; so that, it plainly appears, it was the first hour of the nine last hours of the night.”

Behold your Heart

THE HIEROS GAMOS

Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (Greek ἱερὸς γάμος, ἱερογαμία “holy marriage”) refers to a sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities. It is the harmonization of opposites.

The notion of hieros gamos does not presuppose actual performance in ritual, but is also used in purely symbolic or mythological context, notably in alchemy and hence in Jungian psychology. The three Monotheistic Religions share in the Hieros Gamos symbolism.

Ralph Austin tell us:

“Here is introduced a theme, curious, but persistent in the three great monotheisms, of the secret consort of the High God.Whether in human or angelic form, who seems to be an essential part of the scheme of creation and salvation and who constantly, especially in mysticism, manifests the deepest desires and dreams of the Godhead. Thus, in Judaism we meet the powerfully feminine Shekinah, Cherubim and Matronit who, according to R. Patai in his very interesting book The Hebrew Goddess, personify and symbolize the maternal and feminine aspects of the divinity.  In Christianity, one need only point to the overwhelmingly influential cult of the Virgin Mary with its myriad ramifications in Christian culture. Even Islam, that bastion of patriarchal ascendancy, expresses, albeit enigmatically and cryptically, subtle but pervasive images of the “eternal feminine”, especially in Sufism and Shi’ism, as has been so well elaborated in H. Corbin’s fine work on Ibn Al-’Arabi.  Man, we are taught, is created in the image of God, his Creator, so that we may expect to find the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage of heaven reflected in human experience. Of course, men and women relate to each other in many ways, and their mutual and elemental attraction serves many quite ordinary and mundane purposes, not the least of which are the procreation of the species and the proper ordering of society. They also, however, serve as powerful images and archetypes of suprahuman forces and realities, thus opening up to each other visions and insights, mysteries and secrets which greatly transcend the ordinary and every-day concerns and experiences of the mundane world; indeed, by virtue of Man’s special intermediary and linking function in the Divine—human—universe scheme of things, both sexes serve to manifest transforming forces which may, in certain circumstances, as Rumi says, “transfigure the dustbin of this world into a rose garden”, or give flesh and substance to spiritual realities. In all of this we enter, unavoidably, into that area of human experience which is still, even in our own cerebral culture, a sphere of magic and mystery.

Transfigure the dustbin of this world into a rose garden

IBN ARABI AND LADY NIZAM

Ibn Arabi like Dante, a century earlier produced an ode to Mystical Love, disguised as courtly love when he wrote the Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (The Interpreter of Desires) Later he had to mount an apology to his critics that his poems where erotically profane, explaining the symbolism of his poetry.

His inspiration was Lady Nizam.The way in which such an image and presence serves in such cases to inspire and enrich is very well described by a recent writer on the life and work of Dante, whose own experience of Beatrice is so remarkably close to that of Ibn ‘Arabi. William Anderson writes towards the end of his book, Dante, The Maker.

Through his love of her on Earth he formed an indissoluble union of love with her that transcended the incident of her death. She mirrored to him the Incarnation of Christ, and, in purifying his individual nature as a Christian, he found that the only way to the sight of God was through her as the revelation of his soul… so she, as his illuminated soul represents the search for unity and contains in herself the still causes of history and of creation. Through the love of her his love expands to become the love of God… she is in him the gateway to ecstatic joy. the source both of his inspiration and his salvation, the maker of him as a torch of living flame and his guide towards the peace which his difficult temperament and the sorrows of his bitter political life so long denied him. Through her guidance he achieved a total transformation in his emotional and intellectual being

Here Ibn ‘Arabi is describing his encounter with a very beautiful and spiritual young woman whose physical as well as her spiritual charms affected him greatly. Here we are in the presence of a wonderful human being of flesh and blood whose memory will torment him down through the years.

Ibn Arabi relates his encounters with the sublime Nizam. Of his first meetings with her, the daughter of a Persian scholar of Isphahan. he says:

Now this shaykh had a daughter, a lissome young girl who captivated the gaze of all those who saw her, whose mere presence was the ornament of our gatherings and startled all those who contemplated it to the point of stupefaction. Her name was Nizam (Harmonia) and her surname “Eye of the Sun and of Beauty”. Learned and pious, with an experience of spiritual and mystic life, she personified the venerable antiquity of the entire Holy Land and the candid youth of the great city faithful to the Prophet. Her glance, the grace of her conversation were such an enchantment… If not for the paltry souls who are over ready for scandal and predisposed to malice, I should comment here on the beauties of her body as well as her soul, which was a garden of generosity… And I took her as a model for the inspiration of the poems… although I was unable to express so much as a part of the emotion which my soul experienced and which the company of this young girl awakened in my heart, or of the generous love I felt… since she is the object of my quest and my hope, the Virgin most pure…

 The Virgin most pure

“Whatever name I may mention in this work, it is to her I am alluding. Whatever the house whose elegy I sing, is of her house that I am thinking…I never cease to allude to the Divine Inspirations, the spiritual visitations, the correspondence of our world, to the world of the Angelic Intelligences…this is because the the things of the invisible world attract me more than those of actual life, and because this young girl knew perfectly what I was alluding to.”

However, at the Ka’abah in the sanctuary at Mecca, he has a very different sort of meeting with a transfigured and ethereal Nizam, who proves to be a stern initiatrix into the rigors of the divine mysteries. He says:

One night I was performing the ritual circumambulations of the Ka’abah… suddenly a few lines of verse came to my mind. I recited them loudly enough to be heard… No sooner had I recited these verses than I felt on my shoulder the touch of a hand softer than silk. I turned around and found myself in the presence of a young girl, a princess from among the daughters of the Greeks. Never had I seen a woman more beautiful of face, softer of speech, more tender of heart.

This brings us to opening a window from which we can view Ibn ‘Arabî’s perception of female beauty, as far as we are able to tell. We say that the desired woman for whom Ibn ‘Arabî yearns is the woman created in his image. And by looking into his private life, we discover that Nizam bint Makinuddin is the only woman who was capable of becoming to him the “Eve” who came out of the body of “Adam”, and with whom he yearned to unite to achieve his satiation in being. He describes her at the beginning of his Diwan by qualities that serve to confirm what we have mentioned. He says:

[She is] the incomparable one of her era. Her home is the pupil in the eye, and the heart in the chest. She is of long experience-

The incomparable one of her era

Tarjuman Al-Ashwaq

From the tranlation of Reynold A Nicholson, and others, even mine.

Would I know if she knew what hearts she possessed?

I wish I knew what mountain pass her heart threaded!

It is the heart of my beloved throbbing for me,

or it is dead towards me?

My beloved has her beloved in her heart, but her beloved is in love

with someone else!

Lovers lose the way in love and become entangled!

Spiritual Interpretation

They,’ i.e. the Divine Ideas , of which the hearts (of gnostics) are passionately enamored, and by which the spirits are distraught, and for whose sake the godly workers  perform their works of devotion.

‘What hearts’: he refers to the perfect Muḥammadan heart, because it is not limited by stations , Nevertheless, it is possessed by the Divine Ideas, for they seek it and it seeks them. They cannot know that they possess it, for they belong to its essence, inasmuch as it beholds in them nothing except its own nature.

What mountain-pass they threaded,’ i.e. what gnostic’s heart they entered when they vanished from mine. ‘Mountain-pass’ signifies a ‘station’, which is fixed, in contrast to a ‘state’, which is fleeting.

The Divine Ideas, quâ Ideas, exist only in the existence of the seer; they are ‘dead’ in so far as the seer is nonexistent.

Lovers are perplexed between two opposite things, for the lover wishes to be in accord with the Beloved and also wishes to be united with Him, so that if the Beloved wishes to be separated from the lover, the lover is in a dilemma.

the heart that behold

Greeting to Salmá and to those who dwell in the preserve, for it behooves one who loves tenderly like me to give greeting.

And what harm to her if she gave me a greeting in return? But fair women are subject to no authority.

They journeyed when the darkness of night had let down its curtains, and I said to her, ‘Pity a passionate lover, outcast and distraught,

Whom desires eagerly encompass and at whom speeding arrows are aimed wheresoever he bends his course.

She displayed her front-teeth and a levin flashed, and I knew not which of the twain rent the gloom,

And she said, ‘Is it not enough for him that I am in his heart and that he beholds me at every moment? Is it not enough?

Commentary

‘Salmá’: he alludes to a Solomonic ecstasy , which descended upon him from the station of Solomon in virtue of a prophetic heritage.

‘In the preserve,’ i.e. an unattainable station, viz. prophecy, whereof the gate was closed by Muḥammad, the last of the prophets. Solomon’s experience of this Divine wisdom (###) in so far as he was a prophet is different from his experience of it in so far as he was a saint, and we share it with him only in the latter case, since our experience of it is derived from the saintship which is the greatest circle

God does nothing of necessity: whatever comes to us from Him is by His favour. The author indicates this Divine Solomonic apparition (nukta) by the term ‘marble statues’ (i.e. women fair as marble statues). He means that she does not answer by speech, for if she did so her speech would be other than her essence, whereas her essence is single, so that her advent is identical with her speech and with her visible presence and with her hearing; and in this respect all the Divine Realities and Attributes resemble her.

They journeyed,’ etc.: the ascension of the prophets always took place during the night, because night is the time of mystery and concealment.

The darkness of night,’ i.e. the veil of the Unseen let down the curtains of gross corporeal existence, which is the night of this animal organism, throwing a shroud over the spiritual subtleties and noble sciences which it enshrines. These, however, are not to be reached except by journeying through bodily actions and sensual thoughts, and whilst a man is thus occupied the Divine wisdom goes away from his heart, so that on his return he finds her gone and follows her with his aspiration.

Speeding arrows’: he describes this celestial form as shooting his heart, wherever it turns, with the arrows of her glances, as God said, ‘Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah‘ (Kor. ii, 109).

She displayed her front-teeth,’ etc., i.e. this lover found his whole being illuminated, for ‘God is the light of the heavens and the earth‘ (Kor. xxiv, 35), and the Prophet also said in his prayer, ‘O God, put a light into my ear and into my eye,’ and after mentioning the different members of his body he concluded, ‘and make the whole of me one light,’ viz. by the manifestation of Thy essence. Such a manifestation is compared to a flash of lightning on account of its not continuing. The author says that he did not know whether his being was illuminated by the manifestation proceeding from this Divine wisdom, which smiled upon him, or by a simultaneous manifestation of the Divine Essence.

She said,’ etc., i.e. let him not seek me from without and let it satisfy him that I have descended into his heart, so that he beholds me in his essence and through his essence at every moment.

whatever way Love's camels take

And for last his most famous, and commented Divan :

O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.

My heart has become capable of every form:

it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,

and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,

and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.

I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,

that is my religion and my faith.

Curro Piñana from his album De lo Humano a lo Divino (From the Human Realm to the Divine) He sings Ibn Arabi’s Poetry, here he interprets the above divan.

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DELEUZE, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY AND THE ENDLESS REVERSING OF THE SOCK, THE CONCEPT, A SISYPHEAN TASK, ONENESS OF BEING, ZEN AND THE EVER CHATTING MIND

Titian Sisyphus

It is too clear and so it is hard to see.
A dunce once searched for a fire with a

lighted lantern.
Had he known what fire was,
He could have cooked his rice much sooner.

Joshu

A SISYPHEAN TASK

In Greek mythology Sisyphus (pron.: /sɪsɪfəs/; Greek : Σίσυφος,Sísyphos) was a king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.

King Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce but was avaricious and deceitful, committing many crimes,  not only against mortals, but also against the gods, even deceiving Thanatos the god of death. As a punishment for his trickery, King Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. Before he could reach the top, however, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself. Zeus accordingly displayed his own cleverness by enchanting the boulder into rolling away from King Sisyphus before he reached the top which ended up consigning Sisyphus to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration. Thus it came to pass that pointless or interminable activities are sometimes described as Sisyphean.

Friedrich Welcker suggested that he symbolizes the vain struggle of man in the pursuit of knowledge. Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, saw Sisyphus as personifying the absurdity of human life, but Camus concludes “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” as “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”

Maybe Camus  was referring to the happiness of our Western philosophers, in their unstoppable pursuit of eternally “reversing the sock” inwards an outwards!

Albert Camus

GILLES DELEUZE

Reversing the sock one more time

Deleuze’s main philosophical project in the works he wrote prior to his collaborations with Guattari can be baldly summarized as a systematic inversion of the traditional metaphysical relationship between identity and difference. Traditionally, difference is seen as derivative from identity: e.g., to say that “X is different from Y” assumes some X and Y with at least relatively stable identities (to name one example: Plato’s forms). To the contrary, Deleuze claims that all identities are effects of difference. Identities are neither logically nor metaphysically prior to difference, Deleuze argues, “given that there exist differences of nature between things of the same genus.” That is, not only are no two things ever the same, the categories we use to identify individuals in the first place derive from differences. Apparent identities such as “X” are composed of endless series of differences, where “X” = “the difference between x and x’”, and “x” = “the difference between…”, and so forth. Difference goes all the way down. To confront reality honestly, Deleuze claims, we must grasp beings exactly as they are, and concepts of identity (forms, categories, resemblances, unities of apperception, predicates, etc.) fail to attain what he calls “difference in itself.” “If philosophy has a positive and direct relation to things, it is only insofar as philosophy claims to grasp the thing itself, according to what it is, in its difference from everything it is not, in other words, in its internal difference.”

Deleuze’s virtual ideas borrows from Plato’s Archetypes but denies it’s transcendence, superficially resemble Plato’s forms and Kant’s ideas of pure reason, they are not originals or models, nor do they transcend possible experience; instead they are the conditions of actual experience, the internal difference in itself. “The concept they [the conditions] form is identical to its object.”A Deleuzean idea or concept of difference is not a ghost-like abstraction of an experienced thing, it is a real system of differential relations that creates actual spaces, times, and sensations. In my opinion a clever Sisyphean cunning to deny the Idealism of his idea, good try although I prefer Plato original Archetypes.

Thus Deleuze, alluding to Kant and Schelling, at times refers to his philosophy as a transcendental empiricism. In Kant’s transcendental idealism, experience only makes sense when organized by forms of sensibility (namely, space and time) and intellectual categories (such as causality). Assuming the content of these forms and categories to be qualities of the world as it exists independently of our perceptual access, according to Kant, spawns seductive but senseless metaphysical beliefs (for example, extending the concept of causality beyond possible experience results in unverifiable speculation about a first cause). Deleuze inverts the Kantian arrangement: experience exceeds our concepts by presenting novelty, and this raw experience of difference actualizes an idea, unfettered by our prior categories, forcing us to invent new ways of thinking. Once more reversing the sock: His Transcendental Empiricism vs. Kant’s Transcendental Idealism, may be considered original by some, repetitive, and in vogue with our politically correct materialism for others …

Gilles Deleuze portrait

Univocity

Simultaneously, Deleuze claims that being is univocal, i.e., that all of its senses are affirmed in one voice. Deleuze borrows the doctrine of ontological univocity from the medieval philosopher John Duns Scotus. In medieval disputes over the nature of God, many eminent theologians and philosophers (such as Thomas Aquinas) held that when one says that “God is good”, God’s goodness is only analogous to human goodness. Scotus argued to the contrary that when one says that “God is good”, the goodness in question is exactly the same sort of goodness that is meant when one says “Jane is good”. That is, God only differs from us in degree, and properties such as goodness, power, reason, and so forth are univocally applied, regardless of whether one is talking about God, a person, or a flea. Note the inversion of what is above is equal as to what is below, but nevertheless I agree that is does not matter where you find God, since He is in the flea, and the Transcendent.

Deleuze adapts the doctrine of univocity to claim that being is, univocally, difference. “With univocity, however, it is not the differences which are and must be: it is being which is Difference, in the sense that it is said of difference. Moreover, it is not we who are univocal in a Being which is not; it is we and our individuality which remains equivocal in and for a univocal Being.” Here Deleuze at once echoes and inverts Spinoza, who maintained that everything that exists is a modification of the one substance, God or Nature. For Deleuze, there is no one substance, only an always-differentiating process, an origami cosmos, always folding, unfolding, refolding. Deleuze summarizes this ontology in the paradoxical formula “pluralism = monism” Wahdath al-Wujud (Oneness of Being)

Difference and Repetition is Deleuze’s most sustained and systematic attempt to work out the details of such a metaphysics, but his other works develop similar ideas. In Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962), for example, reality is a play of forces; in Anti-Oedipus (1972), a “body without organs”; in What Is Philosophy? (1991), a “plane of immanence” or “chaosmos”.

Multiplicity

Wahdat al-Wujud

Wahdat al-Wujud literally means the “Unity of Existence“. Ibn Arabi is most often characterized in Islamic texts as the originator of the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud, however, this expression is not found in his works and the first who employed this term was perhaps, in fact, the Andalusian mystical thinker Ibn Sabin. Although he frequently makes statements that approximate it, it cannot be claimed that “Oneness of Being” is a sufficient description of his ontology, since he affirms the “manyness of reality” with equal vigor.

In his view, wujūd is the unknowable and inaccessible ground of everything that exists. God alone is true wujūd, while all things dwell in nonexistence, so also wujūd alone is nondelimited (mutlaq), while everything else is constrained, confined, and constricted. Wujūd is the absolute, infinite, nondelimited reality of God, while all others remain relative, finite, and delimited.

But we need to be careful in asserting wujūd’s nondelimitation. This must not be understood to mean that wujūd is different and only different from every delimitation. The Shaykh is quick to point out that wujūd’s nondelimitation demands that it be able to assume every delimitation. If wujūd could not become delimited, it would be limited by its own nondelimitation. Thus “He possesses nondelimitation in delimitation” Or, “God possesses nondelimited wujūd, but no delimitation prevents delimitation. Rather, He possesses all delimitations, so He is nondelimited delimitation, since no single delimitation rather than another rules over Him…. Hence nothing is to be attributed to Him in preference to anything else” . Wujūd must have the power of assuming every delimitation on pain of being limited by those delimitations that it cannot assume. At the same time, it transcends the forms by which it becomes delimited and remains untouched by their constraints.

As you can see Deleuze’s metaphysics is as new, an original as cooked beans, if you consider that the Andalusian mystics precede him by eight-hundred years!

With the added fact that the Andalusian mystic Ibn Arabi wrote volumes on the subject, and the above it is just a very limited view of the theme.

Unity in Multiplicity

Epistemology

Deleuze’s unusual metaphysics entails an equally atypical epistemology, or what he calls a transformation of “the image of thought”. According to Deleuze, the traditional image of thought, found in philosophers such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Husserl, misconceives of thinking as a mostly unproblematic business. Truth may be hard to discover—it may require a life of pure theorizing, or rigorous computation, or systematic doubt—but thinking is able, at least in principle, to correctly grasp facts, forms, ideas, etc. It may be practically impossible to attain a God’s-eye, neutral point of view, but that is the ideal to approximate: a disinterested pursuit that results in a determinate, fixed truth; an orderly extension of common sense. Deleuze rejects this view as papering over the metaphysical flux, instead claiming that genuine thinking is a violent confrontation with reality, an involuntary rupture of established categories. Truth changes what we think; it alters what we think is possible. By setting aside the assumption that thinking has a natural ability to recognize the truth, Deleuze says, we attain a “thought without image”, a thought always determined by problems rather than solving them. “All this, however, presupposes codes or axioms which do not result by chance, but which do not have an intrinsic rationality either. It’s just like theology: everything about it is quite rational if you accept sin, the immaculate conception, and the incarnation. Reason is always a region carved out of the irrational—not sheltered from the irrational at all, but traversed by it and only defined by a particular kind of relationship among irrational factors. Underneath all reason lies delirium, and drift.”

the image of thought

Zen Buddhism and the Yoga Sutras

Deleuze’s peculiar readings of the history of philosophy stem from this unusual epistemological perspective. To read a philosopher is no longer to aim at finding a single, correct interpretation, but is instead to present a philosopher’s attempt to grapple with the problematic nature of reality. “Philosophers introduce new concepts, they explain them, but they don’t tell us, not completely anyway, the problems to which those concepts are a response. [...] The history of philosophy, rather than repeating what a philosopher says, has to say what he must have taken for granted, what he didn’t say but is nonetheless present in what he did say.”

Likewise, rather than seeing philosophy as a timeless pursuit of truth, reason, or universals, Deleuze defines philosophy as the creation of concepts. For Deleuze, concepts are not identity conditions or propositions, but metaphysical constructions that define a range of thinking, such as Plato’s ideas, Descartes’s cogito, or Kant’s doctrine of the faculties. A philosophical concept “posits itself and its object at the same time as it is created.” In Deleuze’s view, then, philosophy more closely resembles practical or artistic production than it does an adjunct to a definitive scientific description of a pre-existing world (as in the tradition of Locke or Quine).

Maybe what Deleuze understood was that the whole canon of Western philosophy is based on concepts, and that the study of philosophy in it’s Western way, is the study of words, a hopeless pursuit and not truth in a enlightened way.

A hopeless pursuit

Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen  and interaction with an accomplished teacher.

if you’re a westerner you may find it hard to shake off the intellectual and dualist ways of thinking that dominate western culture: these can make it difficult for westerners to come to Zen.

Zen Buddhists pay less attention to scripture as a means of learning than they do to various methods of practicing Zen. The most common way of teaching is for enlightenment to be communicated direct from master to pupil.

Zen practices are aimed at taking the rational and intellectual mind out of the mental loop, so that the student can become more aware and realize their own Buddha-nature. Sometimes even (mild) physical violence is used to stop the student intellectualizing or getting stuck in some other way.

Students of Zen aim to achieve enlightenment by the way they live, and by mental actions that approach the truth without philosophical thought or intellectual endeavor.

Zazen

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali tell us:

Before beginning any spiritual text it is customary to clear the mind of all distracting thoughts, to calm the breath and to purify the heart.

1.1 Now, instruction in Union.

1.2. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.

1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.

A far cry from “conceptual philosophy”

In his later work (from roughly 1981 onward), Deleuze sharply distinguishes art, philosophy, and science as three distinct disciplines, each analyzing reality in different ways. While philosophy creates concepts, the arts create novel qualitative combinations of sensation and feeling (what Deleuze calls “percepts” and “affects”), and the sciences create quantitative theories based on fixed points of reference such as the speed of light or absolute zero (which Deleuze calls “functives”). According to Deleuze, none of these disciplines enjoy primacy over the others: they are different ways of organizing the metaphysical flux, “separate melodic lines in constant interplay with one another.”For example, Deleuze does not treat cinema as an art representing an external reality, but as an ontological practice that creates different ways of organizing movement and time. Philosophy, science, and art are equally, and essentially, creative and practical. Hence, instead of asking traditional questions of identity such as “is it true?” or “what is it?”, Deleuze proposes that inquiries should be functional or practical: “what does it do?” or “how does it work?”

My Zen Teacher would complain: “My novice American students, ask me to explain the concept of Zen, or how does it work? My Oriental students, ask me: ‘How it feels like?”

Zen it is not a concept to understand with our minds, it is not a definition that you put in a file on your memory, and bring it up when somebody ask you about it, as the way you learn formulas for your chemistry test, or when somebody ask you have you read so, and so? And you say yes, I read it, you have not grasped it! Zen flesh, Zen bones! Just because you climb a small hill, doesn’t mean you can climb Everest, or if you swim a few laps means you can cross the English Chanel, or because you know how to ride a bicycle means you can compete in the Tour de France, however like Zen, there is some people who do just that.

Climbing Mount Everest

The Meaning of Practice Dogen Zenji

One of my teacher’s favorite anecdotes was Dogen meeting of his Teacher Rújìng. In 1223, Dōgen and Myōzen undertook the dangerous passage across the East China Sea to China to study in Jing-de-si (Ching-te-ssu, 景德寺) monastery as Eisai had once done.

In China, Dōgen first went to the leading Chan monasteries in Zhèjiāng province. At the time, most Chan teachers based their training around the use of gōng-àns (Japanese: kōan). Though Dōgen assiduously studied the kōans, he became disenchanted with the heavy emphasis laid upon them, and wondered why the sutras were not studied more. At one point, owing to this disenchantment, Dōgen even refused Dharma transmission from a teacher.Then, in 1225, he met a master named Rújìng (如淨; J. Nyōjo), the thirteenth patriarch of the Cáodòng (J. Sōtō) lineage of Zen Buddhism, at Mount Tiāntóng (天童山 Tiāntóngshān; J. Tendōzan) in Níngbō. Rujing was reputed to have a style of Chan that was different from the other masters whom Dōgen had thus far encountered. In later writings, Dōgen referred to Rujing as “the Old Buddha”. Additionally he affectionately described both Rujing and Myōzen assenshi (先師?, “Former Teacher”).

Monk begging for alms

In those days, even the shortest trips of this nature were arduous, and very dangerous. It took its toll on Dogen as well, who become very sick on the way. As soon as he arrived, however, his spirit returned and he set off to the Temple to begin his training. But much to his disappointment, it was not what he had expected. The training was lax, there was no discipline, and all the priest were lazy, not pursuing any types of studies at all. Heartbroken he returned to the ship thinking about heading home to Japan.

He had spent about two weeks in the ship waiting for departure, when  he happen to look at a decrepit priest of about 60 years of age, who had come to the ship to buy dried mushrooms from Japan. Dogen with nothing else to do began casual conversation with him. “What business do you come for?” Inquired Dogen.

“I have come to buy dried mushrooms for tomorrow’s soup at my temple.” Replied the old man.

“Where is your temple?”

“About 14 miles away.”

“You come that distance just for mushrooms? You are old; aren’t there younger priests who can do this work? It so hot outside and you must be very tired.” Replied Dogen.

“I have to do this work because it is my work and no one else.” Said the monk.

“Why don’t you rest here tonight and go back tomorrow morning when it is more cooler.” Dogen offered.

“I must return today because this is for tomorrow’s soup, which I must prepare. I will leave as soon as I buy this mushrooms.”

“You are obvious a senior monk at your Temple. Why don’t you spend your time studying the teachings instead of doing such menial work which the younger priest should do?” Demanded Dogen.

“The younger priest are not me, I am not them. This is my job.” Then added: “Obviously, you don’t understand the meaning of practice.”

“What do you mean by that?!” Asked the astonished Dogen.

“In anything in this world, there is nothing hidden,” said the old monk, and he left, vanishing down the road.

Of course at that time young Dogen still cling to the mind for answers, even if what he was looking for was a rigorous practice.

Misogi under iced waterfall  The Swordsman and the Cat

From an old book on swordplay, probably written by
an early master of the Ittôryû school, which was founded
by Itô Kagehisa in the seventeenth century.

“After listening intently to the wisdom of the Cat, Shôken proposed this question: “What is meant by `There is neither the subject nor the object’ ?”

Replied the Cat: “Because of the self there is the foe; when there is no self there is no foe.  The foe means an opposition as the male is opposed to the female and fire to water.  Whatever things have form exist necessarily in opposition.  When there are no signs  stirred in your mind, no conflicts of opposition take place there; and when there are no conflicts, one trying to get the better of the other, this is known as `neither foe nor self’.  When, further, the mind itself is forgotten together with signs of thought, you enjoy a state of absolutely-doing-nothingness, you are in a state of perfect quiet passivity, you are in harmony with the world, you are one with it.  While the foe-form ceases to exist, you are not conscious of it, nor can it be said that you are altogether unconscious of it.  Your mind is cleansed of all thought movements, and you act only when there is a prompting.”

“When your mind is thus in a state of absolutely-doing-nothingness, the world is identified with your self, which means that you make no choice between right and wrong, like and dislike, and are above all forms of abstraction.  Such conditions as pleasure and pain, gain and loss, are creations of your own mind.  The whole universe is indeed not to be sought after outside the Mind.  An old poet says: `When there is as particle of dust in your eye, the triple world becomes a narrow path; have your mind completely free from objects — and how much this life expands !’  When even a tiny particle of sand gets into the eye, we cannot keep it open; the eye may be likened to the Mind which by nature is brightly illuminating and free from objects; but as soon as an object enters there its virtue is lost.  It is said again that `when one is surrounded by an enemy — hundreds of thousands in strength – this physical form  may be crushed to pieces, but the Mind is mine with which no overwhelming army can have anything to do.’  Says Confucius: `Even a plain man of the street cannot be deprived of his will.’  When however this mind is confused, it turns to be its own enemy.  This is all I can explain here, for the master’s task cannot go beyond transmitting technique and illustrating the reason for it.  It is yourself who realizes the truth of it.  The truth is self-attained, it is transmitted from mind to mind, it is a special transmission outside the scriptural teaching.  There is here no willful deviation from traditional teaching, for even the master is powerless in this respect.  Nor is this confined to the study of Zen.  From the mind-training initiated by the ancient sages down to various branches of art, self-realization is the keynote of them all, and it is transmitted from mind to mind — a special transmission outside the scriptural teaching.  What is performed by scriptural teaching is to point out for you what you have within yourself.  There is no transference of secrets from master to disciple.  Teaching is not difficult, listening is not difficult either, but what is truly difficult is to become conscious of what you have in yourself and be able to use it as your own.  This self-realization is known as `seeing into one’s own being’ which is satoriSatori is an awakening from a dream.  Awakening and self-realization and seeing into one’s own being — these are synonymous.

To make Nature display its mysterious way of achieving things is to do away with all of your own thinking, contriving, and acting; let Nature have her own way, let her act as it feels in you , and there will be no shadows, no signs, no traces whereby you can be caught; you have then no foes who can successfully resist you. “

Seeing in to one's own Being

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THE COPERNICAN REVOLUTION, WESTERN CIVILIZATION, DUALISM, AND SEPARATEDNESS, TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM, E.F. SCHUMACHER AND THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING, THE EASTERN VIEW

Thich Nhat Hanh

We are here to awaken from the

illusion of our separateness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Copernican Revolution

It is common in our Western societies too look in to the other to assign blame for whatever is wrong with the World, or with ourselves, our way to solve our problems it is related, not in what to do with ourselves, but how to deal with the other, if you can’t be on time because you were delayed by traffic, it drive you nuts, and you blame those morons who decided to take to the road at the same time you did. If things do not work at work it is easy to assign the blame to this , or that person, who dropped the ball, just like the idiot who fumbled the football on the last game of your favorite team, and therefor they lost the game. If our love relationship is not working, usually is because our partner it is not doing, this, or that, or because he/she does exactly the opposite of what you expect.

You may be wondering what Copernicus has to do with all this?

Well, his heliocentric model, with the Sun at the center of the universe, demonstrated that the observed motions of celestial objects can be explained without putting Earth at rest in the center of the universe. His work stimulated further scientific investigations, becoming a landmark in the history of science that is often referred to as the Copernican Revolution.

Jan Matejko's Copernicus

But what interest us here it is not the change from the Ptolemaic system of an Earth centered Universe,  to an Heliocentric, but  far vaster consequences; Not only the Earth was not the center of the Universe, and orbited around the Sun, but the idea of a center, in an Universe constantly in motion lost it’s appeal, from there to believe that Man as subject of knowledge it is no longer the central reference point of what he knows, just like the Earth, and the Stars, it lost the center idea that Man was the measure of all things.

Therefore the Self was relegated to a dustbin in history.

Vitruvian Man

Jean Laplanche, and Freud

Following the introduction of the theory of generalized seduction, French philosopher Jean Laplanche published a collection of essays under the title “The Unfinished Copernican Revolution” which referred specifically to the “object” of psychoanalysis, the unconscious – the generalized seduction theory emphasizing that such a revolution is “incomplete.”

Freud, who repeatedly compared the psychoanalytic discovery to a Copernican revolution, was for Laplanche both “his own Copernicus but also his own Ptolemy.” On the Copernican side, there is the conjoint discovery of the unconscious and the seduction theory, which maintains the sense of “otherness”; on the Ptolemaic side, there is (to Laplanche) the misdirection of the Freudian “return to a theory of self-centering”. Thus ‘what Laplanche calls Freud’s “going astray”, a disastrous shift from a Copernican to a Ptolemaic conception of the psyche…occurred when Freud replaced his early seduction theory…of sexuality as an “alien-ness” decentering the psyche’with one centered upon the individual – ‘the illusion of a universe that Laplanche would characterize as Ptolemaic, where the ego feels it occupies the central position’.

Laplanche wasn’t too happy with Kant, he accused him to revert to a Ptolemaic position, despite his Copernican Revolution.

Jean Laplanche

Immanuel Kant

THE ANTINOMY BETWEEN THE IDEAL OF SCIENCE AND THAT OF PERSONALITY IN THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON

Actually KANT’s “Copernican deed”, i.e. his critical reversal of the relation between the knowing subject and empirical reality, his fundamental break with dogmatic metaphysics, in short the whole content of his Critique of Pure Reason, acquires its essential significance only in the light of the new relationship between the ideal of science and that of personality, in the basic structure of his transcendental ground-Idea.

If one isolates KANT’s epistemology from the latter, KANT’s Copernican deed, which is usually considered to be a radical revolution in modern philosophy, is, in itself, in no wise radical.

It is quickly forgotten that since the time of DESCARTES, Humanist philosophical thought had been characterized by the tendency to seek the foundations of reality in the knowing subject only. HUME had with extreme acuteness tried to show that our experience is limited to sense phenomena. In distinction to the “objective” metaphysics of Greek and medieval philosophy, the Cartesian adage “cogito, ergo sum,” signified the very proclamation of the sovereignty of subjective thought. Insofar as the Humanist ideal of science, with its logistic principle of continuity, developed without a real synthesis with medieval or ancient metaphysics, its deepest tendency was the elevation of mathematical-logical thought to the throne of cosmic ordained. If any one doubts this, he may return to the sources of the Humanistic science-ideal and behold once again the cleft which separates modern Humanist thought, with its essentially nominalist concept of substance, from the old objective metaphysics of substantial forms. He may examine once again the experiment of HOBBES, as presented in the preface to his “De Corpore“, according to which the entire given world of experience is theoretically demolished, in order that it may be reconstructed by the creative activity of mathematical thought.

Kant

Kant’s major work, the Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, 1781), aimed to unite reason with experience to move beyond what he took to be failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics. He hoped to end an age of speculation where objects outside experience were used to support what he saw as futile theories, while opposing the skepticism of thinkers such as Berkeley and Hume.

He stated:

“It always remains a scandal of philosophy and universal human reason that the existence of things outside us … should have to be assumed merely on faith, and that if it occurs to anyone to doubt it, we should be unable to answer him with a satisfactory proof.”

Kant proposed a ‘Copernican Revolution’ in reverse, saying that:

“Up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but … let us once try whether we do not get farther with the problems of metaphysics by assuming that the objects must conform to our cognition.”

Western civilization and it’s Copernican Revolution, in is rejection of Metaphysics, and it’s embracing of a Secular non-Religious views find fault with Kant, precipitating Scientific methodology, and abandoning the subjective Self, in my opinion bringing the disastrous materialistic condition we live today at the rejection of Spirit, and the scandalous downfall of the dream of the modern Man in to the  quicksand of Postmodernism pessimism.

Fukushima the triumph of reason

Leo Marx holds that the boundless optimism that bolstered the hopes of Americans until the Second World War has dissipated into “widespread social pessimism.” The reasons for this change in attitude, according to Marx, are complex. They are to be found in specific technological disasters (Chernobyl and Three Mile Island), in national traumas (the Vietnam War), and more generally in a loss of faith in technology as “the driving force of progress.” Marx places this change of expectations in historical context by examining the role of the mechanical arts in the progressive world view and showing how “both the character and the representation of ‘technology’ changed in the nineteenth century” from discrete,easily identifiable artifacts (such as steam engines) to abstract, scientific, and seemingly neutral systems of production and control. With its “endless reification” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the newly refurbished conceptof “technology” became invested with a “host of metaphysical properties and potencies” that invited a belief in it as an autonomous agent of social change. By mystifying technology and attributing to it powers that bordered on idolatry, mid­-twentieth­ century Americans set themselves up for a fall that prepared “the way for an increasingly pessimistic sense of the technological determination of history.”

Marx concludes that postmodernist criticism, with its ratification of “the idea of the domination of life by large technological systems,” perpetuates the credibility of technological determinism.

Chernobyl 25 years later

E.F. Schumacher and The Great Chain of Being

For Schumacher one of science’s major mistakes has been rejecting the traditional philosophical and religious view that the universe is a hierarchy of being. Schumacher makes a restatement of the traditional chain of being.

He agrees with the view that there are four kingdoms: Mineral, Plant, Animal, Man. He argues that there are critical differences of kind between each level of being. Between mineral and plant is the phenomenon of life, As Schumacher says though scientists say we should not use the phrase ‘life energy’, the difference still exists and has not been explained by science. Schumacher points out that though we can recognize life and destroy it, we can’t create it. Schumacher notes that the ‘life sciences’ are ‘extraordinary’ because they hardly ever deal with life as such, and instead content themselves with analyzing the “physical-chemical body which is life’s carrier.” Schumacher goes on to say there is nothing in physics or chemistry to explain the phenomenon of life.

For Schumacher, a similar jump in level of being takes place between plant and animal, which is differentiated by the phenomenon of consciousness. We can recognize consciousness, not least because we can knock an animal unconscious, but also because animals exhibit at minimum primitive thought and intelligence.

The next level, according to Schumacher, is between Animal and Man, which are differentiated by the phenomenon of self consciousness or self awareness. Self consciousness is the reflective awareness of one’s consciousness and thoughts.

Robert Fludd's Mundus Intellectualis

Schumacher realizes that the terms—life, consciousness and self-consciousness—are subject to misinterpretation so he suggests that the differences can best be expressed as an equation which can be written thus:

  • ‘Mineral’ = m

  • ‘Plant’ = m + x

  • ‘Animal’ = m + x + y

  • ‘Man’ = m + x + y + z

In his theory, these three factors (x, y and z) represent ontological discontinuities. He argues that they are differences can be likened to differences in dimension; and from one perspective it could be argued that only humans have ‘real’ existence insofar as they possess the three dimensions of life, consciousness and self consciousness. Schumacher uses this perspective to contrast with the materialistic scientism view, which argues that what is ‘real’ is inanimate matter; denying the realness of life, consciousness and self consciousness, despite the fact each individual can verify those phenomena from their own experience.

He directs our attention to the fact that science has generally avoided seriously discussing these discontinuities, because they present such difficulties for strictly materialistic science, and they largely remain mysteries.

Next he considers the animal model of man which has grown popular in science. Schumacher notes that within the humanities the distinction between consciousness and self consciousness is now seldom drawn. Consequently, people have become increasingly uncertain about whether there is any difference between animal and man. Schumacher notes that a great deal of research about humans has been conducted by studying animals. Schumacher argues that this is analogous to studying physics in the hope of understanding life. Schumacher goes on to say that much can be learned about man by studying minerals, plants and animals because man has inherited those levels of being: all, that is, ‘except that which makes him human.’

Schumacher goes on to say that nothing is ‘more conducive to the brutalization of the modern world’ than calling humans the ‘naked ape’. Schumacher argues that once people begin viewing humans as ‘animal machines’ they soon begin treating them accordingly.

Schumacher argues that what defines man are his greatest achievements, not the common run of the mill things. He argues that human beings are open-ended because of self awareness, which as distinct from life and consciousness has nothing mechanical or automatic about it. For Schumacher “the powers of self awareness are, essentially, a limitless potentiality rather than an actuality. They have to be developed and ‘realized’ by each human individual if he is to become truly human, that is to say, a person.”

Albert Durer  Christ like Self Portrait

The Eastern View

Shvetashvatara Upanishad

1 What is the cause of the cosmos? Is it Brahman?

From where do we come? By what live?

Where shall we find peace at last?

What power governs the duality

Of pleasure and pain by which we are driven?

2 Time, nature, necessity, accident,

Elements, energy, intelligence —

None of these can be the First Cause

They are effects, whose only purpose is

To help the self rise above pleasure and pain.

3 In the depths of meditation, sages

Saw within themselves the Lord of Love,

Who dwells in the heart of every creature.

Deep in the hearts of all he dwells, hidden

Behind the gunas of law, energy,

And inertia. He is One. He it is

Who rules over time, space, and causality.

4 The world is the wheel of God, turning round

And round with all living creatures upon its rim.

5 The world is the river of God,

Flowing from him and flowing back to him.

6 On this ever-revolving wheel of life

The individual self goes round and round

Through life after life, believing itself

To be a separate creature, until

It sees its identity with the Lord of Love

And attains immortality in the indivisible whole.

7 He is the eternal reality, sing

The scriptures, and the ground of existence.

Those who perceive him in every creature

Merge in him and are released from the wheel

Of birth and death.

8 The Lord of Love holds in his hand the world,

Composed of the changing and the changeless,

The manifest and the non manifest.

The separate self, not yet aware of the Lord,

Goes after pleasure, only to become

Bound more and more, When it sees the Lord,

There comes an end to its bondage.

9 Conscious spirit and unconscious matter

Both have existed since the dawn of time,

With maya appearing to connect them,

Misrepresenting joy as outside us.

When all these three are seen as one, the Self

Reveals his universal form and serves

As an instrument of the divine will.

10 All is change in the world of the senses,

But changeless is the supreme Lord of Love.

Meditate on him, be absorbed in him,

Wake up from this dream of separateness.

11 Know God and all fetters will fall away.

No longer identifying yourself

With the body, go beyond birth and death.

All your desires will be fulfilled in him.

Who is One without a second.

12 Know him to be enshrined in your heart always.

Truly there is nothing more in life to know.

Meditate and realize that this world

Is filled with the presence of God.

A Sadhu

Even if I got no sympathy for the idea of Reincarnation a common occurrence on Indian thought, for it lacks Ontological soundness, since it gives autonomous reality to the individual self that goes on reincarnating until achieving personal liberation, or Oneness with Brahman, when to begin with the individual self is illusory, and therefor non-existent, so how can have existence even after death? It is rather more simple for Brahman to be the only existent, and the separation illusory. In Advaita philosophy, individual souls are called Jīvātman, and the Highest Brahman is called Paramātman. The Jivatman and the Paramatman are known to be one and the same when the Jivatman attains the true knowledge of the Brahman (Skt. Brahmajñāna) . In the context of Advaita, the word Paramatman is invariably used to refer to Nirguna Brahman, with Ishvara and Bhagavan being terms used to refer to Brahman with qualities, or Saguna Brahman.

However having this in mind, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad is a wonderful example of seeing the Self as One.

Posted in Buddhist Monk, Capitalism, Copernicus, Cosmogony, Cosmology, Counsciousness, Critical Thinking, Deconstruction, Dualism, E.F. Schumacher, Ecology, Economy, Future, Globalization, Historical Evolution, History, Human Nature, Jean Laplanche, Kant, Leo Marx, Metaphysics, Myth, Mythology, Otherness, Philosophy, Politics, Postmodernism, Progress, Science, Self, Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Spirituality, Technological Determinism, The Great Chain of Being, Uncategorized, Western Civilization, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

GAIA, PANPSYCHISM, NEW MATERIALISM, THE RIGHTS OF NATURE, A NEW ECOLOGY FOR MANKIND, NEOPAGANISM, AND OLD RELIGIONS ON CONTEMPORARY ISSUES.

Druids Celebrate Winter Solstice Stonehenge 2012

“Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world

[i.e. the entire universe, both visible and invisible]!

Because I, the All-Creating Sovereign, have created you,

you are My children and equal to Me.

Because you are not second to Me, I am present in you …

Oh all you sentient beings of this threefold world,

if I were not, you would be non-existent. …

Because all things do not exist outside of Me,

I firmly declare that I am all – the All-Creating One.”

Kulayarāja Tantra

I kind of smile, at looking at contemporary, urgent political, and ecological issues, taking resource at what just some years ago, most of Mankind sneered as a discarded  Old Mythology, or at best ancient dead Religions!

In philosophy, panpsychism is the view that all matter has a mental aspect, or, alternatively, all objects have a unified center of experience or point of view.Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Gustav Theodor Fechner, Friedrich Paulsen, Ernst Haeckel, Charles Strong, and partially William James are considered panpsychists.

Panpsychism is related to the more holistic view that the whole Universe is an organism that possesses a mind (see pandeism, pantheism, panentheism and cosmic consciousness). It is claimed to be distinct from animism or hylozoism, which hold that all things have a soul or are alive, respectively. Gustav Theodor Fechner claimed in “Nanna” and “Zend-Avesta” that the Earth is a living organism whose parts are the people, the animals and the plants.

Many Neopagans worship Gaia. Beliefs regarding Gaia vary, ranging from the belief that Gaia is the Earth to the belief that she is the spiritual embodiment of the earth, or the Goddess of the Earth.

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Gaia (pron.: /ˈɡeɪ.ə/ or /ˈɡaɪ.ə/; from Ancient Greek Γαῖα, a poetical form of Γῆ, “land” or “earth”; also Gaea, or Ge) was the goddess or personification of Earth in ancient Greek religion, one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods, the Titans and the Giants were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea). Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.

The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.

The hypothesis was formulated by the scientist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. While early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, later refinements have resulted in ideas highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in disciplines such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and climate science. In 2006, the Geological Society of London awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal largely for his work on the Gaia theory.

Gaia theory, which views the biosphere as a self-regulating system, that maintains homeostasis in relation to many vital chemical and physical variables, is sometimes interpreted as panpsychism, because some think that any goal-directed behavior qualifies as mental. However, the goal-directed behavior of the biosphere, as explained by the Gaia theory, is an emergent function of organised, living matter, not a quality of any matter. Thus Gaia theory is more properly associated with emergentism than panpsychism.

Mayan 2012 Winter Solstice

So-called naive panpsychism, as opposed to philosophical panpsychism, is sometimes used to refer to the idea of inanimate objects as sentient and/or intentional. This is similar to animism. The attitude of labeling this philosophy “naive” could be considered a vestigial Eurocentric belief in the inaccuracy or unimportance of non-Western world views. It could be considered to be a colonial artifact utilized as a tool of domination to discredit the philosophical contributions of the colonized. In addition, it downplays the possible role that indigenous philosophies may have played in the formation of panpsychist ideas in the Western world.

Panpsychism, as a view that the universe has “universal consciousness”, is shared by some forms of religious thought: theosophy, pantheism, cosmotheism and panentheism. The hundredth monkey effect exemplifies the threshold for this applied cosmic consciousness. The Tiantai Buddhist answer is that “when one attains it, all attain it.”

Panpsychism also plays a part in Hindu, Buddhist, Dzogchen and Shinto mysticism, and for that matter in most if not all Animistic Native Religions, and Mother Goddess Cults, like Pachamama, in the Andes, Rhea, for the Greeks, Durga, or Kali for the Hindus, Nerthus, for the Germanics, Dea Matrona, for the Gauls, Ninhursag for the Sumerians, Tuuwaqatsi for the Hopi, Nut, or Isis for the ancient Egyptians, etc. It will be hard to find a place on Earth were the ancient goddess has not being worship.

Maya elders celebrate end of Cosmic Cycle 2012

To many specialist this may strike as oversimplification, syncretism, or whatever they may choose to name it, however in an age of rapid, and expanding communications, and the phenomenon we call Globalization, it is impossible now for people around the world  not to see the same phenomena expressed under a different guise all over the Earth, by those old, native cultures who perennially have lived close to the land, and that colonization, and modernity has not alter the close connection to their roots, in a world hybridized by the seed  of our Western disconnected ways, our lack of awareness, on many Ecological issues, something as simple as were food come from, not from our sterile well provided   markets, packaged in attractive colored containers for us to buy, actually the packages seem to create more garbage volume than the product itself!

Market aisle disconnection

In my view Panpsychism  it is a way for the reductionist, mechano-materialist to reconnect with an emergent ecological consciousness, for so long time sleep in our Western culture without give in totally to a Theistic world view of the world, fine, and dandy, if you are too proud to apologizing for your past  mistakes it is beyond you, if backtracking to a Theistic view it is too much to bear, after you unshackled yourself of the heavy yoke of God, ignoring that there is more to God than the Paternalistic Judeo-Christian, chauvinistic male centered views, associated with the  word God, or sin…uhh, scary!

Anyway welcome to fight for your hard won new ecological panpsychic awareness! Now let’s look what those poor, ignorant, undeveloped third world people are doing down South!

Rights of Nature

President Evo Morales of Bolivia, Morales has declared himself Bolivia’s first Aymara president. this may not be true by blood only, since other presidents had some native blood in them, however Evo Morales is the first president of Bolivia who grew as an Indigenous individual, and that by class, and socioeconomic factors belong to the real native people of Bolivia, and do not serve the Criollo’s policies, subservient to an Eurocentric colonial model of economics, and racism, were for centuries the native people has been marginalized from education, and economic opportunities a sort of an apartheid not institutionalized by laws, like in South Africa,  but enforced by custom, and racist behavior from the classes in power. Together with Rafael Correa president of Ecuador in 2010 issued a declaration of Rights of Nature. (See my post on this blog of June 2011, PACHAMAMA; MOTHER EARTH, GODDESSES,THE STRUGGLE OF INDIGENOUS CULTURES, AND THE MESSAGE OF THE MAMA KOGUIS TO YOUNGER BROTHER.)

By comparison native cultures, unlike us a supposedly more advanced culture we lag behind on defense of Ecological issues, muddled in a morass of rampant commercialism, corporatism united to a corrupt government, and media who it’s married to a exploitative plutocracy who despoils Mother Earth at will,  and export our Eurocentric views, and way of life to the poor, and practically defenseless Native Cultures, with our implicit consent, since we do not even object to be labeled “consumers” and passively accept to go out and shop for whatever they advertise to sale us .

Ancient market

Ancient market Street market

Ancient marketIn contrast  Indigenous cultures still are close to the land and know were food come from, and because their dependence, it is immediate to the source were food come from, and their survival depends on it, their ecological awareness usually it is not clouded by our modern commercialism, and lack of connection to Mother Earth. Many governments in third World countries follow the same obsolete, and harmful policies that big money dictates, and despite their “Independence” from a colonial past, they are still subjects of our Imperial economic policies, and they lack the power to be truly independent, and not subjects to the whims, and caprice, dictated by our corporate plutocrats, and “free market”capitalism, so individuals, and small communities,  have to organize and fight  for their Indigenous rights to have access to their own land, water, and many other resources, that manly foreign capitalist ventures, came to their lands to exploit, despoil, and marginalize this people even more, ignoring their rights to life, clean soil, clean water, and free access to it, in their blind pursuit of wealth, they trample on the natural rights of this poor people who have lived with their ancient ways close to the land, Mother Earth who give sustenance to all of us.

Ancient marketAncient marketAncient Market

NEOPAGANISM

Because of the principle of separation of church and state, the U.S. government does not formally maintain a list of recognized religions. Both the U.S. and Canada register religious groups as tax-exempt organizations and grant clergy the right to conduct marriage ceremonies.

However, many European federal governments have ecclesiastical affairs ministries which do formally recognize religions. The governments of: Iceland in 1973, Norway in 1996 and 1999, and  Denmark in 2003 have officially recognized Neopagan religions which worship Viking Gods such as Odin and Thor.

HISTORY

The Romantic movement of the 18th century led to the re-discovery of Old Gaelic and Old Norse literature and poetry. Neo-druidism can be taken to have its origins as early as 1717 with the foundation of The Druid Order. The 19th century saw a surge of interest in Germanic paganism with the Viking revival in Victorian Britain and Scandinavia. In Germany the Völkisch movement was in full swing. These pagan currents coincided with Romanticist interest in folklore and occultism, the widespread emergence of pagan themes in popular literature, and the rise of nationalism.

During this resurgence in the United Kingdom, Neo-druidism and various Western occult groups emerged, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis, who attempted to syncretize “exotic” elements like Egyptian cosmology and Kabbalah into their belief systems, although not necessarily for purely religious purposes. Influenced by the anthropologist Sir James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough, several prominent writers and artists were involved in these organizations, including William Butler Yeats, Maud Gonne, Arthur Edward Waite, and Aleister Crowley. Along with these early occult organizations, there were other social phenomena such as the interest in mediumship, magic, and other supernatural beliefs which was at an all time high in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Another important influence during this period was the Romantic aesthetic movement, which venerated the natural world and frequently made reference to the deities of antiquity. The Romantic poets, essayists, artists and authors who employed these themes in their work were later associated with socially progressive attitudes towards sexuality, feminism, pacifism and similar issues.

It is the belief of modern Pagans that the religious beliefs of pre-Christian Europe “possess continuing value for us in our own time, even after centuries of suppression and neglect.” Strmiska asserted that contemporary Paganism could be viewed as a part of the “much larger phenomenon” of efforts to revive “traditional, indigenous, or native religions” that were occurring across the globe.

Asatruarfelagio

Contemporary Paganism, Modern Paganism, or Neopaganism,

Is an umbrella term referring to a variety of contemporary religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe. Although they do share commonalities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse and no single set of beliefs, practices, or texts are shared by them all.

Contemporary Paganism has been characterized as “a synthesis of historical inspiration and present-day creativity”, in this manner drawing influences from pre-Christian, folkloric and ethnographic sources in order to fashion new religious movements. The extent to which contemporary Pagans use these sources differs; many follow a spirituality which they accept is entirely modern, whilst others attempt to reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources as accurately as possible.

Most modern pagan religions celebrate the cycles and seasons of nature through a festival calendar that honors these changes. The timing of festivals, and the rites celebrated, may vary from climate to climate, and will also vary, sometimes widely depending upon which particular pagan religion the adherent subscribes to.

Wheel of the YearSome pagans also draw inspiration from modern traditions, including Christianity, Buddhism and others, creating syncretism like “Christian Witchcraft” or “Buddheo-Paganism”. Since many pagan beliefs do not require exclusivity, some pagans practice other faiths in parallel.

Eclectic pagans take an non dogmatic religious stance, and therefore potentially see no one as having authority to deem a source “apocryphal”. Contemporary paganism has therefore been prone to fakelore, especially in recent years as information and misinformation alike have been spread on the Internet and in print media. A number of Wiccan, pagan and even some “Traditionalist” or “Tribalist” groups have a history of “Grandmother Stories” Typically involving initiation by a Grandmother, Grandfather, or other elderly relative who is said to have instructed them in the secret, millennia-old traditions of their ancestors. As this “secret wisdom” can almost always be traced to recent sources, tellers of these stories have often later admitted they made them up.

A number of Wiccan, Neopagan and even some “Traditionalist” or “Tribalist” groups have a history of spurious “Grandmother Stories”  usually involving initiation by a Grandmother, Grandfather, or other elderly (and conveniently dead) relative who is said to have instructed them in the secret, millennia-old traditions of their ancestors. As this “secret wisdom” has almost always been traced to recent sources, or been quite obviously concocted even more recently, most proponents of these stories have eventually admitted they made them up. These “origin myths” are sometimes also referred to as “The Myth of the Wicca.” In these cases, rather than a case of folklorists from outside the community calling the Wiccan stories “fakelore”, phrases such as “Grandmother Stories” and “The Myth of the Wicca” have become synonyms and shorthand for a specific type of fakelore found within the communities in question.

May Day Dawn Celebrated Glastonbury Tor

Some claims of continuity between contemporary paganism and older forms of paganism have been shown to be spurious, or outright false, as in the case of Iolo Morganwg’s Druid’s Prayer. Wiccan beliefs of an ancient monotheistic Goddess were inspired by Marija Gimbutas’s description of Neolithic Europe. The factual historical validity of her theories has been disputed by many scholars, including historian Ronald Hutton.

While most pagans draw from old religious traditions, they also adapt them. The mythologies of the ancient traditions are not generally considered to be literally factual by pagans, in the sense that the Bible and other Abrahamic texts are often thought of by their followers. Eclectic pagans in particular are resistant to the concept of scripture or excessive structure, considering personal freedom to be one of the primary goals of their spirituality. In contrast, some Reconstructionist movements, like those who practice Theodism, take a stricter religious approach, and only recognize certain historical texts and sources as being relevant to their belief system, intentionally focusing on one culture to the exclusion of others, and having a general disdain for the eclectic mentality.

In all honesty most Western Neopaganism  are fringe groups not taken very seriously by most, and easy to criticize by serious scholars like The English academic Graham Harvey noted that Pagans “rarely indulge in theology.” And I will add a magnet for people wanting to fulfill personal fantasies, or break the mold that  our current society impose on us as acceptable behavior, and traditional thinking, Neopaganism is a way to liberate the individual from the prevalent  Materialism, and Judeo-Christian mental, and psychological moral straightjackets, the downside of it is that in many cases some individuals embrace Neopaganism as a license for a “anything goes” type of behavior, inspired no doubt, by an oversimplification of historical accounts, and Hollywood portrayal of Arthurian legends.

Modern Pagan

The Earth Connection

Contemporary paganism emerged as part of the counter-culture, New Age and Hippie movements in the 1960s to 1970s. Reconstructionism rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. The majority of pagans are not committed to a single defined tradition, but understand paganism as encompassing a wide range of non-institutionalized spirituality, as promoted by the Church of All Worlds, the Feri Tradition and other movements. Notably, Wicca in the United States since the 1970s has largely moved away from its Gardnerian roots and diversified into eclectic variants.

Paganism generally emphasizes the sanctity of the Earth and Nature. Pagans often feel a duty to protect the Earth through activism, and support causes such as rainforest protection, organic farming, permaculture, animal rights and so on. Some pagans are influenced by Animist traditions of the indigenous Native Americans and Africans and other indigenous or shamanic traditions.

Eco-paganism and Eco-magic, which are off-shoots of direct action environmental groups, have a strong emphasis on fairy imagery and a belief in the possibility of intercession by the fae (fairies, pixies, gnomes, elves, and other spirits of nature and the Otherworlds).

Some Unitarian Universalists are eclectic pagans. Unitarian Universalists look for spiritual inspiration in a wide variety of religious beliefs. The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, or CUUPs, encourages their member chapters to “use practices familiar to members who attend for worship services but not to follow only one tradition of paganism.

In my view this fringe groups are part of a new global consciousness who is trying to correct the disconnection, and ecological blindness brought by industrialism an economic and social system based on the development of large-scale industries and marked by the production of large quantities of inexpensive manufactured goods and the concentration of employment in urban factories, the abandonment of our agrarian past in favor of an urban culture that cuts our connection with Pachamama, our Mother Earth, and that Native, and aboriginal cultures still embrace, preserve, and respect. This inevitable point for a break from our blindness, and the path in to ecological unsustainable living, and a re-encounter of the eternal values  that promote sustainability based in our wise, and respectful use of Nature, a recognition that historically the Western dominant culture went astray with Industrialism, and the values of modernism, that calls for our humility to recognize our failure, and a return to embrace Mother Earth as the sustainer of life, and a return to Her, embracing the ancient values that sustain, and preserve Her.

Pachamama's celebration

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THE MYSTICAL TALES OF THE 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, SYMBOLS OF THE HEART OF SECRETS.

A Wisdom Tale

 

“We lay veils upon their hearts lest they understand it…”

Qur’an (17:46)

 

 

Many years ago in my youth when I meet my Spiritual Teacher, I heard someone ask him what were his favorite movies, to my surprise he said:

“I love those movies, about Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, The thief of Bagdad, and that type of movies.”

I was floored, an avid movie fan at the time I couldn’t figure out a man of his Spiritual realization would care for such cheese B movies made on the fifties, and sixties, with second rate actors like Steve Reeves, and other perhaps more memorable, like Douglas Fairbanks earlier and many others, since Hollywood love for the exotic, an adventures has been a cash cow, and every so many years they bring to the screen the tales of the Arabian Nights in a new form, with little, or any artistic relevance, .

At another occasion  I heard him express the same opinion, fortunately someone asked him why he loved such movies, his answer made me realize he didn’t care too much for the artistic side of the movies as for the stories themselves, without giving too much explanations he said:

“The  spiritual symbolism of those stories is great, like the seven gates, the seven voyages, the magic carpets, lamps, the Genies. etc.  And the trials of the soul has to go through in order to find the treasure.”

It was until many years later that I read The Arabian Nights, and I had to agree with my Teacher.

The Seven Gates

Brief Official History

One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة‎Kitāb alf laylah wa-laylah) is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition (1706), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.

The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators and scholars across West, Central, South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان‎, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.

What is common throughout all the editions of the Nights is the initial frame story of the ruler Shahryār (from Persian: شهريار‎, meaning “king” or “sovereign”) and his wife Scheherazade (from Persian: شهرزاد‎, possibly meaning “of noble lineage”) and the framing device incorporated throughout the tales themselves. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while others begin and end of their own accord. Some editions contain only a few hundred nights, while others include 1,001 or more.

Some of the stories of The Nights, particularly “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp”, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor”, while almost certainly genuine Middle Eastern folk tales, were not part of The Nights in Arabic versions, but were added into the collection by Antoine Galland and other European translators. The innovative and rich poetry and poetic speeches, chants, songs, lamentations, hymns, beseeching, praising, pleading, riddles and annotations provided by Scheherazade or her story characters are unique to the Arabic version of the book. Some are as short as one line, while others go for tens of lines.

Scheherazade

The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and various forms of erotica. Numerous stories depict Jinns, Ghouls, Apes, sorcerers, magicians, and legendary places, which are often intermingled with real people and geography, not always rationally; common protagonists include the historical Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, his Grand Vizier, Jafar al-Barmaki, and his alleged court poet Abu Nuwas, despite the fact that these figures lived some 200 years after the fall of the Sassanid Empire in which the frame tale of Scheherazade is set. Sometimes a character in Scheherazade’s tale will begin telling other characters a story of his own, and that story may have another one told within it, resulting in a richly layered narrative texture.

The history of the Nights is extremely complex and modern scholars have made many attempts to untangle the story of how the collection as it currently exists came about. Robert Irwin summarizes their findings: “In the 1880s and 1890s a lot of work was done on the Nights by the scholar Zotenberg and others, in the course of which a consensus view of the history of the text emerged. Most scholars agreed that the Nights was a composite work and that the earliest tales in it came from India and Persia. At some time, probably in the early 8th century, these tales were translated into Arabic under the title Alf Layla, or ‘The Thousand Nights’. This collection then formed the basis of The Thousand and One Nights. The original core of stories was quite small. Then, in Iraq in the ninth or tenth century, this original core had Arab stories added to it – among them some tales about the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. Also, perhaps from the tenth century onwards, previously independent sagas and story cycles were added to the compilation. Then, from the thirteenth century onwards, a further layer of stories was added in Syria and Egypt, many of these showing a preoccupation with sex, magic or low life. In the early modern period yet more stories were added to the Egyptian collections so as to swell the bulk of the text sufficiently to bring its length up to the full 1,001 nights of storytelling promised by the book’s title.”

Julius Köcker Harun al Rashid Receives Charlemagne

The Mystical aspect of some of the Tales

What western writers and Scholars had put little effort  to study, or to show, is the Mystical aspect of some of the tales like Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, and other tales, of the Arabian Nights, not surprising since early in the History of the Western discovery of Oriental texts, and their translation in to Western languages, specially coming from Islamic countries, there was an  emphasis to demystify them, and rendered naked from their true link to Islam, making them profane stories with no connection to their roots in Islam, denying their Mystical origin, and castrating them from their true Symbolic meaning, and the facto making them in a Historical context, children’s  stories, material for movie adventures, or at best medieval Oriental legends, of little interest for the contemporary reader! When they posses a rich vein of Mystic knowledge, that goes beyond a moral tale. A few Western readers had glimpsed beyond the common Western trite characterization, and the materialistic, unimaginative, or biased mind of scholars.

The Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini observed:

“Every tale in The Thousand and One Nights begins with an ‘appearance of destiny’ which manifests itself through an anomaly, and one anomaly always generates another. So a chain of anomalies is set up. And the more logical, tightly knit, essential this chain is, the more beautiful the tale. By ‘beautiful’ I mean vital, absorbing and exhilarating. The chain of anomalies always tends to lead back to normality. The end of every tale in The One Thousand and One Nights consists of a ‘disappearance’ of destiny, which sinks back to the somnolence of daily life … The protagonist of the stories is in fact destiny itself.”

Do you want to know your fate

Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is the self-fulfilling prophecy, which dates back to the story of Krishna in ancient Sanskrit literature. A variation of this device is the self-fulfilling dream, which dates back to medieval Arabic literature. Several tales in the One Thousand and One Nights use this device to foreshadow what is going to happen, as a special form of literary prolepsis. A notable example is “The Ruined Man who Became Rich Again through a Dream”, in which a man is told in his dream to leave his native city of Baghdad and travel to Cairo, where he will discover the whereabouts of some hidden treasure. The man travels there and experiences misfortune, ending up in jail, where he tells his dream to a police officer. The officer mocks the idea of foreboding dreams and tells the protagonist that he himself had a dream about a house with a courtyard and fountain in Baghdad where treasure is buried under the fountain. The man recognizes the place as his own house and, after he is released from jail, he returns home and digs up the treasure. In other words, the foreboding dream not only predicted the future, but the dream was the cause of its prediction coming true. To the aware individual it will be useless to explain the rich Spiritual meaning of this story, to those thick of understanding, is easy to point out that there is no need to look for richness outside of us,True richness lays at the heart of our Being, not outside of us.

A Jewel in our Heart

Story of the Blind Baba-Abdalla, and Ali Baba

The owner of eighty camels runs in to a dervish, who offer him a treasure for his help, but greed consumed his heart, and ended in misfortune. Here I show the always secret place that is full of precious jewels of all kind and plenty of  gold.

“I did what I was bid, and rejoined the dervish, whom I found trying to kindle a fire out of some dry wood. As soon as it was alight, he threw on it a handful of perfumes, and pronounced a few words that I did not understand, and immediately a thick column of smoke rose high into the air. He separated the smoke into two columns, and then I saw a rock, which stood like a pillar between the two mountains, slowly open, and a splendid palace appear within.

But, Commander of the Faithful, the love of gold had taken such possession of my heart, that I could not even stop to examine the riches, but fell upon the first pile of gold within my reach and began to heap it into a sack that I had brought with me.

The dervish likewise set to work, but I soon noticed that he confined himself to collecting precious stones, and I felt I should be wise to follow his example. At length the camels were loaded with as much as they could carry, and nothing remained but to seal up the treasure, and go our ways.

Before, however, this was done, the dervish went up to a great golden vase, beautifully chased, and took from it a small wooden box, which he hid in the bosom of his dress, merely saying that it contained a special kind of ointment. Then he once more kindled the fire, threw on the perfume, and murmured the unknown spell, and the rock closed, and stood whole as before.”

Of course because his bottomless greed and not listening to the warnings, he ended blind not only morally but physically.

“Miserable dervish!” I shrieked, “so it is true after all! Into what a bottomless pit has my lust after gold plunged me. Ah, now that my eyes are closed they are really opened. I know that all my sufferings are caused by myself alone! But, good brother, you, who are so kind and charitable, and know the secrets of such vast learning, have you nothing that will give me back my sight?

 

“Unhappy man,” replied the dervish, “it is not my fault that this has befallen you, but it is a just chastisement. The blindness of your heart has wrought the blindness of your body. Yes, I have secrets; that you have seen in the short time that we have known each other. But I have none that will give you back your sight. You have proved yourself unworthy of the riches that were given you. Now they have passed into my hands, whence they will flow into the hands of others less greedy and ungrateful than you.”

Ali Baba

Is this a Spiritual lesson, or what? The usual elements in the story that are so common to the many other stories in the 1001 Arabian Nights, like Ali Baba and the Forty thieves, it is this Secrets Caves, Underground Vaults, Hidden Palaces where it can only by access by special secret words like:

Open Sesame” (Arabic إفتح يا سمسم iftaḥ ya simsim ‘open, O sesame’) is a magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in One Thousand and One Nights. It opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden a treasure; “Hemasas Nepo” was the original phrase to re-seal the cave, but in recent stories, it was “Close Sesame.

This secret caves, rich hidden palaces,or enclosures, were inexhaustible wealth abounds,  are allegories for the Human Heart, but like in Ali baba’s tale forty thieves jealously guarded the cave, ready to kill any intruder, just like the passions of an impure heart are ready to commit mayhem, and guide the person to an unfortunate end. Only those possessing a pure and kind heart can have access.

Surah Yasin 9. And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see.

Thus according to the Holy Qur’an, the hearts are:

 

• Alive (to guidance)

 

• Dead (absence of Tawheed)

 

• Hard (obstinate in disbelief)

 

• Soft (in remembrance of Allah)

 

• Pure (free of materialism, empty for Allah)

 

• Impure (polytheism, disbelief)

 

• Diseased (un-Godly)

 

• Sealed (will not receive Truth)

 

• Pious (God conscious)

 

• Veiled (from guidance)

 

• Open (to truth)

 

• Blossom (become enlightened)

 

• United (with the believers)

 

• One heart in each person (it contains either Allah or the world)

 

Ali Baba’s brother whose heart was veiled, and deceased with greed and forgetfulness, is caught in the cave by the forty thieves.

The fate of the greedy

Ali Baba brings the body of his death brother home, where he entrusts Morgiana, a clever slave-girl in Cassim’s household, with the task of making others believe that Cassim has died a natural death. First, Morgiana purchases medicines from an apothecary, telling him that Cassim is gravely ill. Then, she finds an old Tailor known as Baba Mustafa whom she pays, blindfolds, and leads to Cassim’s house. There, overnight, the Tailor stitches the pieces of Cassim’s body back together, so that no one will be suspicious. Ali Baba and his family are able to give Cassim a proper burial without anyone asking awkward questions.

Morgiana keep fooling the thieves with clever ruses so they could not get a hold of Ali Baba, and she finally dispatch the forty thieves, and later the chief of the thieves, that with cunning had found his way in to Ali Baba’s house, and planed to kill him, now why a simple slave girl would take the stage, and be the protagonist of the story, rather than Ali Baba?

The slave girl represent Ali Baba’s soul that is totally at his service, and rejecting the vices that afflict the heart and passions represented by the thieves she triumph over them, and it is rewarded in the end and brought in to the family.

On the necessity of self-control, the Glorious Qur’an says:

وَ أَمَّا مَنْ خافَ مَقامَ رَبِّهِ وَ نَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوى‏ فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوى‏

And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lordand forbids his own soul from its whims and caprices then surely Paradise is the abode. (79:40 & 41)

يا داوُدُ إِنَّا جَعَلْناكَ خَليفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَ لا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوى‏ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَنْ سَبيلِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ الَّذينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَنْ سَبيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذابٌ شَديدٌ بِما نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسابِ

O David! …do not follow the whims of your own soul for they will lead you astray from God’s path. (38:26)

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَداءَ لِلَّهِ وَ لَوْ عَلى‏ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوالِدَيْنِ وَ الْأَقْرَبينَ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقيراً فَاللَّهُ أَوْلى‏ بِهِما فَلا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوى‏ أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا وَ إِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ بِما تَعْمَلُونَ خَبيراً

O you who have faith! Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of God, even if it should be against yourselves or [your] parents and near relatives, and whether it be [someone] rich or poor, for God has a greater right over them. So do not follow [your] desires, lest you should be unfair, and if you distort [the testimony] or disregard [it], God is indeed well aware of what you do. (4:135)

وَ الشَّمْسِ وَ ضُحاها وَ الْقَمَرِ إِذا تَلاها وَ النَّهارِ إِذا جَلاَّها وَ اللَّيْلِ إِذا يَغْشاها وَ السَّماءِ وَ ما بَناها وَ الْأَرْضِ وَ ما طَحاها وَ نَفْسٍ وَ ما سَوَّاها فَأَلْهَمَها فُجُورَها وَ تَقْواها قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاها وَ قَدْ خابَ مَنْ دَسَّاها

I swear by the sun and its brilliance and the moon when it follows the sun and the day when it makes manifest the sun (and her beauty) and the night when it covers the sun and the heaven and Him who made it and the earth and Him who extended it and the soul and Him who made it perfect, then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it. He will indeed be successful who purifies it and he will indeed fail whoever pollutes and corrupts it. (91:1-10)

John Frederick Lewis The Coffe Server

Purification of the soul is a prerequisite for closeness to God. Indeed, the whole point of morality and spirituality is to purify one’s soul. It is only then that the soul starts shining, receiving and reflecting utmost radiation and light from God. If we want to meet God, Who is the Most Pure, then we need to achieve purity. It is impossible to be polluted and then try to go towards God.

The Seven Voyages of Sinbad

While Burton and other Western translators have grouped the Sinbad stories within the tales of Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights, they apparently originated quite independently from that story-cycle and modern translations by Arab scholars often do not include the stories of Sinbador several other of the Arabian Nights that have become familiar to Western audiences. However this is no doubt an Islamic story. The Persian name Sindbad (“Lord of the Sindh River”) hints at a Persian origin. The oldest texts of the cycle are however in Arabic, and no ancient or medieval Persian version has survived. The story as we have it is specifically set during the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate and particularly highlights the reign of Harun al-Rashid. The name Sindbad indicates the name of the Indus River(Sindhu). The Sindhi Sailors, who became famous due to their skills in navigation, geography and languages may very well have inspired the stories of Sindbad the Sailor. Sindh is actually mentioned in the story of the Third Voyage: (“And thence we fared on to the land of Sind, where also we bought and sold”).

Like the 1001 Nights the Sinbad story-cycle has a frame story, which goes as follows: in the days of Haroun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad, a poor porter (one who carries goods for others in the market and throughout the city) pauses to rest on a bench outside the gate of a rich merchant’s house, where he complains to Allah about the injustice of a world which allows the rich to live in ease while he must toil and yet remain poor. The owner of the house hears, and sends for the porter, and it is found they are both named Sinbad. The rich Sinbad tells the poor Sinbad that he became wealthy, “by Fortune and Fate”, in the course of seven wondrous voyages, which he then proceeds to relate.

Seven voyages of Sinbad

It is alleged with some justice that the Seven voyages shares a lot in common with the Odyssey of Homer, the Arabs knew well the Greek antiquity, and no doubt borrowed elements of the Odyssey, since it is also a Symbolic tale of the soul to reach home.

Also the nature of the tales, is repetitive, and Chiasmic in nature, sailors made out to sea were they expect to make a larger fortune of the one they spend on making the trip, they go to unknown regions, were sometimes are shipwrecked by storms and end stranded in a foreign land, or Island, were all kind of vicissitudes are met and deal successfully or that would be the end of it and likely Sinbad would die, but instead, he regains all what he lost, and come back home with more.

Michael Murray writes:

“What is gained by exploration? Knowledge: of market-resources, trading-terrain, of conditions, regions and customs. But also an invaluable network of colleagues and contacts. What is gained is trust, honor and esteem. Wealth is only a metaphor for knowledge: worldly wealth, and spiritual wealth mirror each other in the overall tale.

So what happened to change matters? As you can guess, there is a central voyage where all changes – because, yes, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad, are structured in a ring.Each tale has a repeating pattern of shipwreck, loss, or abandonment; and resolution. This last can come from the restitution of goods/fortune from a previous voyage; or earned honors from the present voyage.Each tale ends as it begins with the merchant safely back home and turning once more to an indulgent lifestyle. Each tale employs a change of circumstances in the middle section – each tale is a complete ring in itself. They all add up to the overall ring of the Seven Voyages.

The Roc

The changeover, in the fourth tale, is very well marked, and prepared for: it is a death experience. Where before, surviving shipwrecks and other catastrophes had been the case, in the fourth tale he is by custom of the land lowered into the grave pit with his dead wife, and a small supply of food, as well as the grave goods. That he survives is due to his total abasement: he must kill all subsequent burial spouses, and steal their food supplies. He escapes his death-experience by following a carrion-eating animal’s tunnel to a bleak shoreline. He has become that animal almost, crawling on all-fours. He brings out bales of grave goods as loot.

The question being asked here is: what survives when all else is taken away, even one’s life? It is the life of the spirit. The Fourth Voyage sees all shipwrecked, and the survivors drift to an island. Strange wild men take them to their king; he treats them extraordinarily well; Sinbad is wary, however, and soon finds that his fellow men are being fed adulterated food. They lose their wits, eventually grow corpulent on the fare, and are then eaten, by the king and company. Sinbad grows thinner and thinner. They take no interest in him, and he escapes. On the other side of this vast island he meets a gentle people, who take him in. He provides goods for them and becomes very wealthy by making saddles for their horses, for they have none. As written earlier, he marries, is honored by their king, then undergoes the ordeal of the grave pit. The ring here centers around the subject of the bestiality of living solely in the physical body. He must die in the body and mind in order to be reborn as someone worthy of his life: the man must ride the body, and not vice versa.”

The Seven Voyages of Sinbad ultimately represent the travels of the Soul through the seven spheres of Spiritual Knowledge.

In Islam  Sura Al-Fatiha (Arabic :سورة الفاتحة‎), (Sūratul-Fātihah, “The Opener”) is the first chapter of the Qur’an. Its seven verses are a prayer for Allah’s guidance, and stress His Lordship and Mercy.

Arabic: 1.1 بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

1:2 الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين

1:3 الرَّحمـنِ الرَّحِيم

1:4 مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّين

1:5 إِيَّاك نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِين

1:6 اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم

1:7 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين

Transliteration:

Al-Fatiha | 7 verses | The Opening | سورة الفاتحة Sura #1 | Makkah

Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-ʿālamīn
Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm
Māliki yawmi d-dīn
Iyyāka naʿbudu wa iyyāka nastaʿīn
Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭa al-mustaqīm
Ṣirāṭa al-laḏīna anʿamta ʿalayhim ġayri l-maġḍūbi ʿalayhim walā ḍ-ḍāllīn

Translation: [Quran 1:1].

“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

All praise and thanks is for to Allah,[The] Creator, Owner, Sustainer of the Worlds.

The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful.

Owner of the Day of Recompense.

You alone do we worship and You alone we seek for help.

Guide us to the Straight Path.

The path of those whom Your blessings are upon, Not of those who You have cursed nor of those who have gone astray.”

Volumes had been wrote about the profound Symbolism of this first Sura.

Muslims Prayer Namaaz

Ṭawāf (طواف) is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to circumambulate the Kaaba (most sacred site in Islam) seven times, in a counterclockwise direction. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to Allah.

The Zamzam Well was revealed to Hagar, the second wife of Abraham and mother of Ismail. According to Islamic tradition, she was desperately seeking water for her infant son, but she could not find any, as Mecca is located in a hot dry valley with few sources of water. Muslim traditions say that Hagar ran seven times back and forth in the scorching heat between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, looking for water. Getting thirstier by the second, Ishmael scraped the land with his feet, where suddenly water sprang out. There are other versions of the story involving God sending his Archangel, Gabriel, who kicked the ground with his heel and the water rose.

Stoning of the Devilor stoning of the jamarāt (Arabic: رمي الجمرات‎) is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslim pilgrims fling pebbles at three walls, called jamarāt, in the city of Mina just east of Mecca.

When he [Abraham] left Mina and was brought down to (the defile called) al-Aqaba, the Devil appeared to him at Stone-Heap of the Defile. Gabriel said to him: “Pelt him!” so Abraham threw seven stones at him so that he disappeared from him. Then he appeared to him at the Middle Stone-Heap. Gabriel said to him: “Pelt him!” so he pelted him with seven stones so that he disappeared from him. Then he appeared to him at the Little Stone-Heap. Gabriel said to him: “Pelt him!” so he pelted him with seven stones like the little stones for throwing with a sling. So the Devil withdrew from him.

The Isra and Mi’raj (Arabic:الإسراء والمعراج‎, al-’Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāj), are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey to the Seven Heavens. This is so rich in Symbology, and Wisdom that this article scope will not do justice to it , and will have to address at another time in the future.

The Sages teach that seven are the attributes of physicality:

  1. Height

  2. Width

  3. Depth

  4. Top and bottom (limits height)

  5. Front and back (limits width)

  6. Left and right (limits depth)

  7. The connecting of the other six

The Symbology of the number seven is so extend and so well known it will be necessary to dedicate a book to it, let’s just mention the seven days of the week, the seven colors, the seven notes of the music scale, the seven days of creation, the seven seals of Revelations, the seven seas, the seven Spiritual centers in Man, that the Hindus call Chakras, etc.

Walking around Kaba seven times

Other common theme is the Genie Invocation Spells or Jinn Invocation formulas Djinns. Like in the story Aladdin or, the wonderful Lamp.

Aladdin

Aladdin is an impoverished young ne’er-do-well in a Chinese town, who is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin’s late father Qaseem, convincing Aladdin and his mother of his goodwill by apparently making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. The sorcerer’s real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave of wonder. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Fortunately, Aladdin retains a magic ring lent to him by the sorcerer. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring, and a jinni, or “genie”, appears, who takes him home to his mother. Aladdin is still carrying the lamp, and when his mother tries to clean it, a second, far more powerful genie appears, who is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp. With the aid of the genie of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries Princess  Badroulbadour, the Emperor’s daughter. The genie builds Aladdin a wonderful palace – far more magnificent than that of the Emperor himself.

The sorcerer returns and is able to get his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin’s wife, who is unaware of the lamp’s importance, by offering to exchange “new lamps for old”. He orders the genie of the lamp to take the palace to his home in the Maghreb. Fortunately, Aladdin retains the magic ring and is able to summon the lesser genie. Although the genie of the ring cannot directly undo any of the magic of the genie of the lamp, he is able to transport Aladdin to Maghreb, and help him recover his wife and the lamp and defeat the sorcerer.

Jinn or Genie

The sorcerer’s more powerful and evil brother tries to destroy Aladdin for killing his brother by disguising himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Badroulbadour falls for his disguise, and commands the “woman” to stay in her palace in case of any illnesses. Aladdin is warned of this danger by the genie of the lamp and slays the imposter. Everyone lives happily ever after, Aladdin eventually succeeding to his father-in-law’s throne.

Jinns, Genies are also living beings but they are made of fire. Genie or Jinns can be conquered by human beings by special invocations and if the invocation is done properly then after the completion of the Invocation it is possible to conquer the genie of jinns. But they all are one having the same powers and if this power is conquered by any one that person will be a very powerful human being having any type of power to do any thing and every thing. Looking for Genie Invocation spells or formulas for invocation of genies. Jinn invocation is done to conquer jinns. Invocation of jinn is possible by jinn spells or genie spells with talismans or charms.  Summoning or invocation of genies, jinns etc requires proper concentration and then invocation of genies (jinns) is possible.

Again a simple tale of a humble orphan boy, and his impoverish mother who rise to power defeating an evil sorcerer, with the help of a Magical ring, and a Magical oil lamp were Genies reside, of course there is not such objects in the literal sense, but the fact is that this treasures are hidden in a secret cave, does not take much to discover the cave as a source of richness and treasures with unlimited possibilities, it is no other than the Heart.

Cave of the Jinns

The Heart of the Believer is the House of God

 

“So the Prophet’s  migration from Makkah to Madinah was to pass by a cave. According to the life story of the Prophet , that cave was called the cave of Thawr. It is one day’s distance from Makkah. The Prophet  stayed there three days. Why did the Prophet  stay in that cave? Why was he unable to continue? The unfolding of the secrets occurred in that cave.

The Prophet  was ordered to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah for the purpose of going inside the cave of Thawr where God taught him how to “remember God” (dhikr Allah). It was the first time that the Prophet  invoked God in a loud voice. This is a very great Sufi secret indeed.

To emigrate from Makkah to Madinah was very easy for the Prophet. He only had to say, “In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” and he would have been in Madinah as easily as it had been for him to take sand and throw it at the ignorant people’s eyes preventing them from seeing him as he was leaving his house. Or he could have ridden on his horse or camel and reached Madinah in ten to fifteen days. Why did he go to that cave? The ‘Cave of Silence’ as it has been called? Indeed, it is the ‘Cave of Silent Secrets’. Why was the Prophet ordered by God to go to that cave, which is one day’s travel from Makkah, when he had a distance of fifteen days journeying to go?Climbing to the cave of Thawar

The cave of Thawr

Climbing to the cave of Thawar

When the Prophet went into that cave, a spider and a dove came and made a house over the door in order that no one would know what was inside. This is common knowledge. As for the secret, look to love. When love for someone is pure, God will never forget that person. “

“My earth and my heaven do not encompass me, but the heart of My servant who has faith does encompass me.”

Hadit Qudsi

There are 5 lata’ifs (subtle points of spiritual Energy), or Maqams (spiritual stations), on

 

the human heart.  These five stations are, in an ascending order:

 

Qalb (“External Structure of the Heart”)

 

Sirr (“Secret”)

 

Sirr as Sirr (“Secret of the Secret”)

 

Khafa (“Hidden Akha (“Most Hidden”)

Surah Al-Inshirah

94:1

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ

Alam nashrah laka sadraka

Have We not expanded thee thy breast?

94:2

وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ

WawadaAAna AAanka wizraka

And removed from thee thy burden

94:3

الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ

Allathee anqada thahraka

The which did gall thy back?

The Arabian Nights in resume  contain many tales where we can find numerous hidden symbols for the Spiritual wayfarer, not just simple tales of adventures fit for children, but a call to those who have eyes to see.

22:46

[22:46] Did they not roam the earth, then use their minds to understand, and use their ears to hear? Indeed, the real blindness is not the blindness of the eyes, but the blindness of the hearts inside the chests.

 

Arabian Nights

Posted in 1001 Nights, Aladdin, Alchemy, Ali Baba, Ancient Civilizations, Ancient Religions, Being, Cosmogony, Dreams, Gabriel, Imagination, Jinns, Kaaba, Literature, Muslim, Mystical Tales, Mysticism, Myth, Sinbad The Sailor, Spirituality, Symbology, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

THE AXIS OF THE UNIVERSE, THE OMPHALOS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, SACRED MOUNTAINS, THE SACRED TREE OF LIFE, A SACRED REALM OF BEING

Collier's Priestess of Delphi

And I say the sacred hoop of my people

was one of the many hoops that made one circle,

wide as daylight and as starlight,

and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree

to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.

Black Elk

According to Greek mythology, Zeus wanted to locate the exact center of the world. To do this, he released two eagles from opposite ends of the earth. The eagles met at Delphi. Zeus marked the spot with a large, egg-shaped stone called the omphalos, meaning “navel.”

The temple at Delphi once belonged to Gaia, but when the Olympians came into power, Apollo took the temple. The temple was guarded by a great serpent, Pytho. Apollo killed Pytho and excised Gaia. In honor of his heroic deed, the priestess of Delphi was called Pythia. The temple was located at what was believed to be the center of world. And at the center of the temple was the omphalos, the stone Kronos swallowed in place of Zeus.

To consult the oracle, you approached with a question. Asking it of the Pythia, she would breathe in the intoxicating fumes from a fissure in the earth. She would, in this drug-induced state answer your question with what seemed to the patron to be nonsense. The real power laid with the priest who would interpret the Pythia’s words. The outcome often depended on how much tribute the patron had given.

The Pythia  Greek: Πυθία , commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo.

Delphi

The Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the Greeks. The oracle is one of the best-documented religious institutions of the classical Greeks. Authors who mention the oracle include Aeschylus, Aristotle, Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus, Diogenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Julian, Justin, Livy, Lucan, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Sophocles, Strabo, Thucydides, and Xenophon.

The name ‘Pythia’ derived from Pytho, which in myth was the original name of Delphi. The Greeks derived this place name from the verb, pythein (πύθειν, “to rot”), which refers to the decomposition of the body of the monstrous Python after she was slain by Apollo. The usual theory has been that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapors rising from a chasm in the rock, and that she spoke gibberish which priests interpreted as the enigmatic prophecies preserved in Greek literature.

Consulting the Oracle. No one knows for certain how the process of consulting the Delphic oracle worked. However, over the years, a traditional account has been widely accepted. According to this description, a visitor who wanted to submit a question to the oracle would first make an appropriate offering and sacrifice a goat. Then a priestess known as the Pythia would take the visitor’s question into the inner part of Apollo’s temple, which contained the omphalos and a golden statue of Apollo. Seated on a three-legged stool, the priestess would fall into a trance.

Camilo Miola's The OracleCamilo Miola's The Oracle

After some time, the priestess would start to writhe around and foam at the mouth. In a frenzy, she would begin to voice strange words and sounds. Priests and interpreters would listen carefully and record her words in verse or in prose. The message was then passed on to the visitor who had posed the question. Some modern scholars believe that the priestess did not become delirious but rather sat quietly as she delivered her divine message.

Anyone could approach the oracle, whether king, public official, or private citizen. At first, a person could consult the oracle only once a year, but this restriction was later changed to once a month.

The ancient Greeks had complete faith in the oracle’s words, even though the meaning of the message was often unclear. As the oracle’s fame spread, people came from all over the Mediterranean region seeking advice. Numerous well-known figures of history and mythology visited Delphi, including Socrates and Oedipus.

Visitors would ask not only about private matters but also about affairs of state. As a result, the oracle at Delphi had great influence on political, economic, and religious events. Moreover, Delphi itself became rich from the gifts sent by many believers.

Pythia

Axis Mundi

The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, columna cerului, center of the world), in religion or mythology, is the world center and/or the connection between Heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms.Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning.

The image is mostly viewed as feminine, as it relates to center of the earth (perhaps like an umbilical providing nourishment). It may have the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a product of human manufacture (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, minaret, church) or secular (obelisk, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced “urban centers”. In Mircea Eliade’s opinion, “Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all.”

Axis Mundi

SACRED MOUNTAINS

Kailash is a mountain located in Ngari prefecture in Tibet . The mountain is sacred to the four Asian religions, Buddhism , Hinduism , Bön (Local Shamanistic Religion of Tibet before Buddhism) and Jainism . It was here that the god Shiva descended to earth. Manasarovar called a sacred lake just beyond. The four rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra , Sutlej and Indus have their sources around the mountain. Some believe that Kailash is the mountain Meru from where the Aryans came. In Sultejdalen near Kailash low silver palace with Bönpo -religion’s holy kingdom. This was destroyed by the nykonverterade Buddhists in Lhasa as before spared this country in their conquests.

Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 mi) long.

Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day, which is not considered an easy task. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the 52 km trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain,altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process. Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four weeks of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen. The mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities, such as benches, resting places and refreshment kiosks, exist to aid the pilgrims in their devotions. According to all religions that revere the mountain, setting foot on its slopes is a dire sin. It is claimed that many people who ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process. It is a popular belief that the stairways on Mount Kailash lead to heaven.

Chortens and Kailash

The Tibetan name for the mountain is Gangs Rin-po-che. Gangs or Kang is the Tibetan word for snow peak analogous to alp or himal; rinpoche is an honorific meaning “precious one” so the combined term can be translated “precious jewel of snows”.

“Tibetan Buddhists call it Kangri Rinpoche; ‘Precious Snow Mountain’. Bon texts have many names: Water’s Flower, Mountain of Sea Water, Nine Stacked Swastika Mountain. For Hindus, it is the home of the mountain god Shiva and a symbol of his power symbol om; for Jains it is where their first leader was enlightened; for Buddhists, the navel of the universe; and for adherents of Bon, the abode of the sky goddess Sipaimen.”[

Another local name for the mountain is Tisé (Tibetan: ཏི་སེ་) mountain, which derives from ti tse in the Zhang-Zhung language, meaning “water peak” or “river peak”, connoting the mountain’s status as the source of the mythical Lion, Horse, Peacock and Elephant Rivers, and in fact the Indus, Yarlung Tsangpo/Dihang/Brahmaputra, Karnali and Sutlej all begin in the Kailash-Lake Manasarovar region.

Bön

The Bön, a religion which predates Buddhism in Tibet, maintain that the entire mystical region and the nine-story Swastika Mountain are the seat of all spiritual power.

Hinduism

According to Hinduism, Lord Shiva, the destroyer of ignorance and illusion, resides at the summit of a legendary mountain named Kailāsa, where he sits in a state of perpetual meditation along with his wife Pārvatī. In the Vishnu Purana of the mountain states that its four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli. It is a pillar of the world and is located at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus.

Kailash Rimpoche

Jainism

In Jainism, Kailash is also known as Meru Parvat or Sumeru. Ashtapada, the mountain next to Mt.Kailash is the site where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva, attained Nirvana/moksa (liberation).(The authenticity of Mount Kailash being Mount Ashtapada is highly debated.)

Buddhism

Tantric Buddhists believe that Mount Kailash is the home of the Buddha Demchok (also known as Demchog or Chakrasamvara),who represents supreme bliss.

There are numerous sites in the region associated with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), whose tantric practices in holy sites around Tibet are credited with finally establishing Buddhism as the main religion of the country in the 7th–8th century CE.

It is said that Milarepa (c. 1052-c. 1135 CE), champion of Tantric Buddhism, arrived in Tibet to challenge Naro Bön-chung, champion of the Bön religion of Tibet. The two magicians engaged in a terrifying sorcerers’ battle, but neither was able to gain a decisive advantage. Finally, it was agreed that whoever could reach the summit of Kailash most rapidly would be the victor. While Naro Bön-chung sat on a magic drum and soared up the slope, Milarepa’s followers were dumbfounded to see him sitting still and meditating. Yet when Naro Bön-chung was nearly at the top, Milarepa suddenly moved into action and overtook him by riding on the rays of the sun, thus winning the contest. He did, however, fling a handful of snow on to the top of a nearby mountain, since known as Bönri, bequeathing it to the Bönpo and thereby ensuring continued Bönpo connections with the region.

View of Kailash

Sacred Tree of Life

The concept of a tree of life has been used in science, religion, philosophy, and mythology. A tree of life is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies. A mystical concept alluding to the interconnection of all life on our planet; and a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense. The term tree of life may also be used as a synonym for sacred tree.

The tree of knowledge, connecting to heaven and the underworld, and the tree of life, connecting all forms of creation, are both forms of the world tree or cosmic tree, and according to some , that are portrayed in various religions and philosophies as the same tree.

The Tree of Life is an important symbol in nearly every culture. In Jewish and Christian mythology, a tree sits at the center of both the Heavenly and Earthly Edens. The Norse cosmic World Ash, Ygdrassil, has its roots in the underworld while its branches support the abode of the Gods. The Egyptian’s Holy Sycamore stood on the threshold of life and death, connecting the worlds. To the Mayas, it is Yaxche, whose branches support the heavens.

The Ceiba Tree was the sacred tree of the Mayans, and it had many representations and significances. “The ancient Maya of Central America believed that a great Ceiba tree stood at the center of the earth, connecting the terrestrial world to the spirit-world above. The long thick vines hanging down from its spreading limbs provided a connection to the heavens for the souls that ascended them.”

Sacred Mayan Ceiba Tree

The Archetypal Symbolism of Trees Trees have long held a literal and symbolic fascination for humanity. Their source as a deep archetype of absorption begins with the earliest epic in the Western World, the story of Gilgamesh and his quest for the plant of life (a symbolic tree) that is snatched away by a serpent, thus illustrating that the use of the tree as a universal religious symbol is incredibly ancient; such utilization can be dated to at least the third millennium B.C.E. as a symbol of a rich cultural mythos, the major archetype being that of the center, the beginning where sacred powers first originated. The tree is the navel of the world, the “cosmic axis” (Axis mundi) standing at the universe’s center where it passes through the middle and unites the three great cosmic domains: the underworld, earth, and sky.

With its branches reaching into the sky, and roots deep in the earth, the Tree of Life dwells in three worlds—a link between heaven, the earth, and the underworld, uniting above and below. It is both a feminine symbol, bearing sustenance, and a masculine, visibly phallic symbol—another union. The tree has other characteristics which easily lend themselves to symbolism. Many trees take on the appearance of death in the winter—losing their leaves, only to sprout new growth with the return of spring. This aspect makes the tree a symbol of resurrection, and a stylized tree is the symbol of many resurrected gods. Most of these gods are believed to have been crucified on trees as well. A tree also bears seeds or fruits, which contain the essence of the tree, and this continuous regeneration is a potent symbol of immortality. Trees seen as givers of gifts and spiritual wisdom are quite common. It was while meditating under a Bodhi tree that Buddha received his enlightenment; the Norse God Odin received the gift of language while suspended upside down in the World Ash.

In Celtic creation stories, trees were the ancestors of mankind, elder beings of wisdom who provided the alphabet, the calendar, and entrance to the realms of the Gods.Trees were also associated in the Shamanic beliefs of the Druids and other Celtic peoples with the supernatural world. Trees were a connection to the world of the spirits and the ancestors, living entities, and doorways into other worlds. The most sacred tree of all was the Oak tree, which represented the axis mundi, the center of the world. The Celtic name for oak, daur or duir, is the origin of the word door; the root of the oak was literally the doorway to the Otherworld; the realm of Fairy.

Tule tree

The tree of life (Heb. עץ החיים Etz haChayim) in the Book of Genesis is a tree planted by the Abrahamic God in midst of the Garden of Eden (Paradise), whose fruit gives everlasting life, i.e. immortality. Together with the tree of life, God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). According to some scholars, however, these are in fact two names for the same tree.

In the biblical story, the serpent, who is regarded as Satan in Christianity but not in Judaism, tempted Eve into eating a fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve and Adam both ate the fruit, despite God’s warning to Adam that “in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). As a consequence of their transgression, the land, the Serpent, Adam, and Eve were each cursed by God. To prevent them access to the tree of life, God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden:

And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22)

In the Book of Revelation, a Koine Greek phrase xylon (tēs) zōës, ξύλον (τῆς) ζωής, is mentioned three times. This phrase, which is also used for the Genesis tree of life in the Ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, literally means “wood of (the) life”. It is translated in nearly every English Bible version as “tree of life”, see Revelation 2:7, 22:2, and 22:19.

The tree of life is represented in several examples of sacred geometry and is central in particular to the Kabbalah (the mystic study of the Torah), where it is represented as a diagram of ten points.

The Tree of Life, or Etz haChayim (עץ החיים) in Hebrew, is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to God (usually referred to as HaShem, or “The Name”, in kabbalistic texts) and the manner in which he created the world ex nihilo. Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of Creation.

kabbalistic Tree

Some believe the kabbalistic Tree of Life corresponds to the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis 2:9. This mystical concept was later adopted by some esoterically inclined Christians as well as some Hermeticists. Among the Christian Kabbalists, the sephirot were called Dignities, and were referred to by their Latin names, instead of their Hebrew names. Christian Kabbalah also places emphasis on Christ as Sustainer and Preserver of the Universe, and the Malkuth of Jewish kabbalah is absent, as it is considered of a different order-of-being.

the Tree of Life can potentially be applied to any area of life, especially the inner world of Man, from the subconscious all the way to what Kabbalists call the higher self.

But the Tree of Life does not only speak of the origins of the physical Universe out of the unimaginable, but also of Man’s place in the Universe. Since Man is invested with Mind, consciousness in the Kabbalah is thought of as the fruit of the physical world, through whom the original infinite energy can experience and express itself as a finite entity. After the energy of Creation has condensed into matter, it is thought to reverse its course back up the Tree until it is once again united with its true nature. Thus, the kabbalist seeks to know himself and the Universe as an expression of God, and to make the journey of Return by stages charted by the Sephiroth, until he has come to the realisation he sought.

The Tree of Life bears many similarities to the Christian Gnostic conception of the Pleroma, emanations from the ineffable and self-originating Divine Parent that offer the best possible means of describing God. Each emanation in thepleroma is born from a more complex emanation before it. Most notably between these two allegories is the final sephira on the Tree, Malkuth, and the last emanation in the Pleroma, Sophia, whose fall resulted in the physical world.

In the Bhagavad Gita there is a mention of Asvattha, tree of Life and Being, whose destruction alone leads to immortality, is said in the Bhagavad Gita to grow with its roots above and its branches below. The roots represent the Supreme Being, or First Cause, the LOGOS; but one has to go beyond those roots to unite oneself with Krishna. The Vedas are its leaves. He only who goes beyond the roots shall never return, i.e., shall reincarnate no more during this “age” of Brahma.

In every old culture the Tree of Life is a given, our ancient ancestors understood the interconnectedness of Life the Microcosm being a reflection of the Macrocosm, the Outer, a reflection of the Inner, the bellow from the above, the Spirit residing in our inner Hearts, wherever we are, there is the center of the World, the Sacred Womb of the Mother, the Axis of the Universe, the Sacred Mountain, a Sacred Realm of Being.

Mexican Tree of life

Posted in Ancient Civilizations, Ancient Religions, Archetypes, Axis Mundi, Being, Buddhism, Cosmogony, Cosmology, Forest, God, Hinduism, Indigenous Cultures, Inner Journey, Kabbalah, Maya, Mayas, Metaphysics, Mount Meru, Mysticism, Myth, Mythology, Paradise, Religion, Revelation, Sacred Mountain, Sacred Tree, Shamanism, Spirituality, Subjective, Symbology, Tibetan Buddhism, Tree of Life, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, POST-POSITIVISM, MYSTICISM, CONTEMPLATION, AND KARL RAHNER’S ABSOLUTE MYSTERY

  • Miksang

  • The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.

    Karl Rahner

  • There is a science for the subjective study of the Spiritual life, analogous to science that explains the mechanism, and laws  of the physical world, of course this science of the soul can’t be reproduced in a laboratory, since the laboratory it is the Self who is  the subject of investigation to the individual in question, but that if it is a knowledge impossible to reproduce in a physical laboratory, however it is a Knowledge possible to be experienced in the Soul, and transmit, to other individuals by analogies, introspection, meditation, Intuition, symbolism, synchronicity, dreams, through the study of Ontology, and Metaphysics, but before you roll your eyeballs, there are techniques, and spiritual practices conductive to Enlightenment, like Yoga, diverse Meditation methods, Prayer, Ritual and many other spiritual techniques used by a wide range of Mystics; Sufi, Shamans, Magi, Monks, and every individual seriously involved in Religious practice conductive to Enlightenment, or a Communion with God, Spirit, the Atman, the Infinite, the Tao,  or whatever term may apply to the specific method.

    • POST-POSITIVISM AND CRITICAL REALISM

    • If your eyeballs are still rolling up, it is time to update your old fashioned belief in Positivism:

    • “Let’s begin by considering what positivism is. In its broadest sense, positivism is a rejection of metaphysics (I leave it you to look up that term if you’re not familiar with it). It is a position that holds that the goal of knowledge is simply to describe the phenomena that we experience. The purpose of science is simply to stick to what we can observe and measure. Knowledge of anything beyond that, a positivist would hold, is impossible. When I think of positivism (and the related philosophy of logical positivism) I think of the behaviorists in mid-20th Century psychology. These were the mythical ‘rat runners’ who believed that psychology could only study what could be directly observed and measured. Since we can’t directly observe emotions, thoughts, etc. (although we may be able to measure some of the physical and physiological accompaniments), these were not legitimate topics for a scientific psychology. B.F. Skinner argued that psychology needed to concentrate only on the positive and negative reinforces of behavior in order to predict how people will behave — everything else in between (like what the person is thinking) is irrelevant because it can’t be measured.

      In a positivist view of the world, science was seen as the way to get at truth, to understand the world well enough so that we might predict and control it. The world and the universe were deterministic — they operated by laws of cause and effect that we could discern if we applied the unique approach of the scientific method. Science was largely a mechanistic or mechanical affair. We use deductive reasoning to postulate theories that we can test. Based on the results of our studies, we may learn that our theory doesn’t fit the facts well and so we need to revise our theory to better predict reality. The positivist believed in empiricism — the idea that observation and measurement was the core of the scientific endeavor. The key approach of the scientific method is the experiment, the attempt to discern natural laws through direct manipulation and observation.

    • Measuring the clouds

    • One of the most common forms of post-positivism is a philosophy called critical realism. A critical realist believes that there is a reality independent of our thinking about it that science can study. (This is in contrast with a subjectivist who would hold that there is no external reality — we’re each making this all up!). Positivists were also realists. The difference is that the post-positivist critical realist recognizes that all observation is fallible and has error and that all theory is revisable. In other words, the critical realist is critical of our ability to know reality with certainty. Where the positivist believed that the goal of science was to uncover the truth, the post-positivist critical realist believes that the goal of science is to hold steadfastly to the goal of getting it right about reality, even though we can never achieve that goal! Because all measurement is fallible, the post-positivist emphasizes the importance of multiple measures and observations, each of which may possess different types of error, and the need to use triangulation across these multiple error full sources to try to get a better bead on what’s happening in reality. The post-positivist also believes that all observations are theory-laden and that scientists (and everyone else, for that matter) are inherently biased by their cultural experiences, world views, and so on. This is not cause to give up in despair, however. Just because I have my world view based on my experiences and you have yours doesn’t mean that we can’t hope to translate from each other’s experiences or understand each other. That is, post-positivism rejects the relativist idea of the incommensurability of different perspectives, the idea that we can never understand each other because we come from different experiences and cultures. Most post-positivists are constructivists who believe that we each construct our view of the world based on our perceptions of it. Because perception and observation is fallible, our constructions must be imperfect. So what is meant by objectivity in a post-positivist world? Positivists believed that objectivity was a characteristic that resided in the individual scientist. Scientists are responsible for putting aside their biases and beliefs and seeing the world as it ‘really’ is. Post-positivists reject the idea that any individual can see the world perfectly as it really is. We are all biased and all of our observations are affected (theory-laden).Trochim, W. (2000). The Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2nd Edition. Atomic Dog Publishing, Cincinnati, OH.”

    • Black and White twins

    • If post- positivism, and post-modernism in general may not mean for many a return to Metaphysics,  no doubt it had humbled and deflated many scientist egos, and let those interested in the study of Metaphysics and Ontology proceed without the rolling of the eyes, and the dismissive attitudes of hotheaded  materialist, atheist, deterministic and positivistic individuals, who believed to be the torchbearers of Truth, and Reason, after all there is an argument of why we posses a Intuitive, and Subjective right side brain,  think about it!

    • MYSTICISM

    • A Religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is  a subjective experience in which an individual reports contact with a transcendent reality, an encounter or union with the Divine. Such an experience often involves arriving at some knowledge or insight previously unavailable to the subject yet unaccountable or unforeseeable according to the usual conceptual or psychological framework within which the subject has been used to operating. Religious experience generally brings understanding, partial or complete, of issues of a fundamental character that may have been a cause (whether consciously acknowledged or not) of anguish or alienation to the subject for an extended period of time. This may be experienced as a form of healing, enlightenment or conversion. The commonalities and differences between religious experiences across different cultures have enabled scholars to categorize them for academic study.

    • William James’ definition

      Psychologist and Philosopher William James described four characteristics of religious / mystical experience in The Varieties of Religious Experience. According to James, such an experience is:

      • Transient — the experience is temporary; the individual soon returns to a “normal” frame of mind. It is outside our normal perception of space and time.

      • Ineffable — the experience cannot be adequately put into words.

      • Noetic — the individual feels that he or she has learned something valuable from the experience. Gives us knowledge that is normally hidden from human understanding.

      • Passive — the experience happens to the individual, largely without conscious control. Although there are activities, such as meditation (see below), that can make religious experience more likely, it is not something that can be turned on and off at will.

      • William James

      • Norman Habel’s definition

        Habel defines religious experiences as the structured way in which a believer enters into a relationship with, or gains an awareness of, the sacred within the context of a particular religious tradition (Habel, O’Donoghue and Maddox: 1993).Religious experiences are by their very nature preternatural; that is, out of the ordinary or beyond the natural order of things. They may be difficult to distinguish observationally from psychopathological states such as psychoses or other forms of altered awareness (Charlesworth: 1988). Not all preternatural experiences are considered to be religious experiences. Following Habel’s definition, psychopathological states or drug-induced states of awareness are not considered to be religious experiences because they are mostly not performed within the context of a particular religious tradition.

        Moore and Habel identify two classes of religious experiences: the immediate and the mediated religious experience (Moore and Habel: 1982).

        • Mediated — In the mediated experience, the believer experiences the sacred through mediators such as rituals, special persons, religious groups, totemic objects or the natural world (Habel et al.: 1993).

        • Immediate — The immediate experience comes to the believer without any intervening agency or mediator. The deity or divine is experienced directly

    • The Numinous RUDOLF OTTO

    • The German thinker Rudolf Otto (1869–1937) argues that there is one common factor to all religious experience, independent of the cultural background. In his book The Idea of the Holy (1923) he identifies this factor as the numinous. The “numinous” experience has two aspects: mysterium tremendum, which is the tendency to invoke fear and trembling; and mysterium fascinans, the tendency to attract, fascinate and compel. The numinous experience also has a personal quality to it, in that the person feels to be in communion with a holy other. Otto sees the numinous as the only possible religious experience. He states: “There is no religion in which it [the numinous] does not live as the real innermost core and without it no religion would be worthy of the name” (Otto: 1972). Otto does not take any other kind of religious experience such as ecstasy and enthusiasm seriously and is of the opinion that they belong to the ‘vestibule of religion’.

    • Otto’s most famous work is The Idea of the Holy, published first in 1917 as Das Heilige – Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen (The Holy – On the Irrational in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational). It is one of the most successful German theological books of the 20th century, has never gone out of print, and is now available in about 20 languages. The book defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinous. Otto explained the numinous as a “non-rational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self”. He coined this new term based on the Latin numen (deity). (This expression is etymologically unrelated to Immanuel Kant’s noumenon, a Greek term referring to an unknowable reality underlying all things.) The numinous is a mystery (Latin: mysterium) that is both terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans) at the same time. It also sets a paradigm for the study of religion that focuses on the need to realize the religious as a non-reducible, original category in its own right.

Rudolf Otto

KARL RAHNER’S MAN IN THE PRESCENCE OF ABSOLUTE MYSTERY

Mark F. Fisher’s condensed Foundations of Christian Faith: “The title of this chapter does not include the word “God.” Strictly speaking, the title indicates that the chapter is about the human being. That human being, however, is in the presence of absolute mystery. The chapter focuses on this mystery. It asks what it is, why it is absolute, and how it is present.

Chapter II has five parts. The first part is a meditation on the word “God.” The meditation distinguishes between the word and what it represents. Even if the word were to be stricken from the dictionary, says Rahner, the question implicit in the word – the question about the origin and destiny of life – would remain.

After Part 1 has raised the question, the second part discusses whether we can know God. It advances Rahner’s central thesis, namely, that we encounter God in a transcendental experience of God’s Holy Mystery. Whenever we experience our limits, imagining what lies beyond them, we begin to transcend them. In that experience, we recognize the mystery of our existence, whose origin and destiny are not yet clear. To know that mystery, says Rahner, is to know the source of transcendence.

The source of transcendence is not, however, a blind and impersonal force. The third part states that the source is a personal God. We speak of God as a person by way of analogy. God is not a person in the same sense that we human beings are. But God is indeed a person in that God cannot be reduced to a thing. God is the absolute ground of all things, “absolute” because irreducible to anything else.

The human being is related to God as a creature to the source of creation. The fourth part explains how human beings “know” God. We know God by knowing ourselves in relation to the mystery of our lives. This mystery is nothing other than what gives us our place in time and invites us to fulfill the possibilities allotted to us.

In Part Five, Rahner states that the Holy Mystery is present “in” the world as its fundamental ground. It is “holy” because it enables us to be complete. It helps us to be what we are meant to be. Doubtless we find God in historical religion and its holy places, people, and things. But God may not be confined to phenomena. Rather, the phenomena of this world, including the holy symbols, sanctuaries, and deeds of religion, mediate the presence of God and teach us how to discern it. But we already know this God immediately as our transcendent ground.”

Karl Rahner

In this most challenging part of Chapter II, Rahner begins with the fundamental idea that we know God in our reflection on experience, but not as some entity that we can “prove” independently of experience (A). Before any natural or revealed knowledge of God, we have an encounter with God (B). This encounter is given in the human experience of transcendence. This experience is mysterious, for it is both given to us (subjectively) and is something upon which we can (objectively) reflect (C). The mystery was recognized as early as Greek ontology. Ontology, the “science of being,” showed that one both can express something as a concept and yet not capture everything in the concept (D). So instead of a concept, Rahner uses the phrase “Holy Mystery.” He calls it the “term” of transcendence (E). Term is related to terminus, end, or goal. This term is both present in transcendence and as the way to transcendence. It enables us to know the reality of God, and is our experience of it (F). Finally, Rahner makes a comment on the proofs for the existence of God (G). They are signs that point to the reality, he says, and can enable the listener to reflect on the transcendental knowledge of God that he or she already has.

When Rahner speaks of “transcendental” knowledge of God, he means it is something “a posteriori.” We know it, in other words, “after the fact,” e.g., while reflecting on human experience. Our experience with others, Rahner says, enables us to know ourselves, whom we “see” as we reflect on our experience. So too we know the divine in reflecting on our experience of the world. The experience raises in our minds the question of who we are and what we ought to be.

Aposteriori Experience

But this knowledge is no mere reflection after the fact. It is what Rahner calls a “permanent existential,” i.e., a part of who we are. We encounter ourselves whenever we try to speak of our experience of God. It is we who are capable of an encounter with God. In this encounter, we find that we can transcend what we once thought to be our outermost horizon. The discovery of this experience itself is a mystery. The mystery is not reducible to what we can say about our transcendental knowledge.

To be sure, our knowledge of God remains “a posteriori.” We know God “after the fact,” after reflecting on our experience of meeting our limits, of imagining what lies beyond them, and of realizing the possibilities given us to respond to God’s call. Our transcendental experience does not cancel the fact that we know it only afterwards, in the reflection on it. This cautions us to beware that God is not a thing we can “know” beforehand. We cannot indoctrinate another person about God, but only lead him or her to recognize the God whom they in an implicit way already know.

What can we know about God? Our knowledge of God is indirect, like the knowledge of “our subjective freedom, our transcendence, and the infinite openness of the spirit” (p. 53). We know the experience of God, even when we do not consciously reflect on the experience. Moreover, we know God, even when our conceptualization of God is unpersuasive to other people.

So we can finally say: the concept of God is not a concept we can grasp. It is, rather, what grasps us. We do not formulate a concept and ask if it is God. No, it is better to say that both the concept itself, as well as the reality, move us into the unknown.

God is not a concept we can grasp. It is, rather, what grasps us

Traditionally, one speaks of “natural” knowledge of God, and of knowledge through “revelation” (in word and in deed). Rahner says, however, that there is a more “original experience,” an experience upon which both natural and revealed knowledge rely. The more original experience is a transcendental experience. It is not reducible to metaphysics, and it is fully compatible with the theological concept of grace. Transcendental experience is not purely “natural” because it takes place in freedom. We can choose to reflect on it or ignore it. This God-given freedom, the freedom to act responsibly and to make choices, is itself “supernatural.”

Transcendental experience, says Rahner, is “the basic and original way of knowing God” (p. 58). More basic than “natural” and “revealed” knowledge? Yes, says Rahner. Natural and revealed knowledge is mediated. It comes to us through the media of categorical experiences. Transcendental experience, by contrast, is not a neutral power by which to know God. It does not enable us to “master” our experience. Instead, transcendental experience allows us to know ourselves as finite beings – finite beings who can transcend their finitude.

Are human beings united with their transcendence? This is an important and dangerous question. Since God is our transcendence, a “yes” might suggest that we are our own gods. But the unity we experience, says Rahner, is not that. It is rather the unity between the ground and the person who is grounded, between the Word and our response to it. There are two ways, says Rahner, to understand our knowledge of God in transcendence.

1. Subjective knowledge. This transcendental knowledge comes to light in conversation or even in something like Victor Frankl’s “logotherapy.” Subjective knowledge enables us to see that our experiences (experiences of love, of freedom, of joy, etc.) are experiences of transcendence. We bring our experience to light in discourse with another person.

2. Objective knowledge. This transcendental knowledge comes from a direct contemplation of the source of transcendence. We contemplate it and call it “God.” But there is a danger in such objective knowledge. The danger is that, by speaking of God we might lose sight of what we mean. What we mean is the source of the experience of transcendence, the holy mystery. It might be obscured by the concept we use to express it. If we try to describe the source as “absolute being,” we might settle for an abstraction, not the source itself.

through comes Light

So Rahner proposes that we call the source of our original experience of transcendence the “holy mystery” (p. 60). This phrase, this image of God, may not be easily confused with a stereotype, a myth, or a conventional image.

Rahner states that his goal is to express the source of our experience of transcendence without reducing it to a mere object, one topic among others, or a system. What gives him hope is that, whenever he tries to reflect on the meaning of transcendence, “an experience of transcendence takes place” (p. 62). The human being reaches out to or anticipates the “term” of transcendence. This technical word (German: “Woraufhin”; English: “where-to-there”) means goal, end, or terminus. Every person implicitly anticipates an ultimate goal, and in the anticipation of it, grows toward it. The lure of God’s future is the “term” of transcendence.

The transcendental experience (of God) and the categorical objects that mediate it (in the world) are united but different. If they were only united, their relationship would be pantheistic. God would then “be” our experience of the world. If the experience and the categorical objects were only different, their relation would be dualistic. God would be the unknowable “other.” Rahner sees the relation between the two as unity in difference. “God establishes and is the difference” between the world and God (p. 63). Anyone searching for a God “contained in” reality seeks a false God. Those searching for a God wholly other and distant will never know God or themselves.

God Shining Through

The earliest Greek philosophies touched upon the mysteries of first principles. Greek ontology saw that human beings cannot measure the first principles, but are themselves to be measured. True, we can have legitimately categorical knowledge of God – knowledge that we can categorize and classify. But we recognize that such categorical knowledge is not the whole. There is more to God than what we can say: that is why we acknowledge that God is infinite, indefinable, and ineffable.

“Holy Mystery” is Rahner’s “term” of transcendence. Since “term” means “way of access to” as well as terminus or goal, “Holy Mystery” indicates the way to transcendence and remains the goal of transcendence. Rahner says that this Holy Mystery possesses absolute freedom. The Holy Mystery, the Term of Transcendence, is our freedom. In it we are free to be present, in whatever way we choose, to other “subjects of transcendence,” other free persons.

Moreover, transcendence moves us toward Holy Mystery, its proper end. The experience of transcendence opens up to us the Holy Mystery. It is a “mystery” because we cannot fully fathom it. It is “holy” because it enables us to be complete. It allows us to be present to other persons in a communion of freedom and love. When we put ourselves “at the disposal of” transcendence, we move beyond ourselves and form relationships with others, above all, with God. Holy Mystery includes the capacity to freely love.

Transcendence, Rahner concludes, does not depend on its “ground” or “term,” that is, on Holy Mystery. Transcendence is not derived from or reducible to it. Rather, Holy Mystery is what we encounter in the experience of transcendence. Transcendence moves us in freedom and love toward its goal.

God is what we encounter

Transcendence does not create God. Rather, transcendence is “borne by” God, who makes transcendence possible. Rahner calls the term or goal of transcendental experience a “Holy Mystery,” namely, the unity of essence and existence. If it were existence alone, then we could experience it in the same way we experience anything else, like a sunset. If it were only an essence, without any concrete existence, then we could not experience it at all. But as the unity of essence and existence, Holy Mystery has a reality that is grounded for us in the experience of transcendence. That experience is a necessary part of the human being, the one who is created so as to hear God’s Word.

The proofs of God’s existence are, in Rahner’s view, “signs.” They point to God but do not make God graspable or a mere concept. Just as we can only point to our experience of transcendence in words, but cannot reduce the experience to a concept, so we can point to God in “proofs.” These proofs are not “ways” by which a previously unknown object can be known. By means of the proofs, however, one can show another person that they are already involved in the experience of transcendence and of Holy Mystery. The listener, presented with “proofs,” is really being confronted with the light of his or her own spirit. He or she is faced with questions, anxiety, joy, moral obligation, and the anticipation of death – all of which recall the very experience of transcendence.

In the “proofs” of God, there is an element of causality. Causality in this case does not mean, for example, that one sees creation and is moved to belief in a first cause. Rather, causality is a way of indicating that being itself moves our judgment. Absolute being points to the relation between finite creation and its incomprehensible source.”

Waterdrops

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SPACE EXPLORATION, OR MYTHICAL EXPLOITATION OF YOUR TAXPAYER MONEY? THE SELLING OF A DREAM

Earth from space

The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way—the way God intended it to be—by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space.

- Roger B Chaffee

My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.

- Edgar Mitchell

On the morning of Friday 21, of September there was a exciting buzz in the otherwise matter of fact usual fare in the local news, the Space Shuttle Endeavor would make it’s final trip around different points of California from Edwards air force base in California to  LAX  in route to it’s final destination at the Museum of Science in Exposition Park in Downtown Los Angeles.

Cynical me, I was not taken by the supposed grandiosity of the Event, of “being witnessing History”, and all that fanfare, self serving promotion to a failed, and very expensive program, paid by us, the taxpayer, and the lost of life of fourteen people, astronauts, and civilians.

As the morning progressed the enthusiasm of the newscaster and people aligned in San Francisco, Sacramento Santa Monica, Griffith Park, LAX, Pasadena, etc. Grew in excitement and all kind of emotional nonsense, of “once in a lifetime experience”, people cried, and said: “I will be able to tell my children I was there that day, I saw the Endeavour  flight over my roof!” Cynical me thought: “Maybe I will be able to tell my grandchildren how Grandpa saw how our Government allied to private capital, invested our tax money to enrich the few, meanwhile the homeless were cheering in awe at looking the shuttle flying through their full time home, the streets and the sidewalks!”

As it happens I got a little share of my taxpayer money in the form of entertainment, and mild awe, as the shuttle on piggyback ride on top of a  giant Jumbo Jet with great noise and escorted  by two jet fighters flew in front of my window who face the Griffith observatory, so low you could see clearly many details if your eye was fast enough to catch it. It was a big production, not unlike a Hollywood  movie. Of course our local politicians were there at the airport to cash on the event, and present the shuttle like “our achievement” making us part of it, and therefore proud for it, like if we had any say in the matter, and to reassure us what a great honor was for our city to be the retirement home of the old shuttle, however not an undeserved honor, since we in California and in Los Angeles, contributed a great deal to the space program, and the shuttle in particular, of course nothing was said how much the honor cost us up to the present, or in the future.

shuttle Endeavour in Hollywood

Here is an article in The Guardian UK Thursday 21 July 2011, you may find enlightening:

“With Atlantis’s touchdown on Thursday bringing down the final curtain on the space shuttle program, there is much hand-wringing over the end of an era. For the first time in 30 years Nasa has no immediate program  for human space travel in place. While many are mourning this loss, the last flight of the space shuttle instead provides an opportunity to rethink space exploration and a time to cut our losses from a failed program that has been a colossal waste of resources, time and creative energy.

The space shuttle failed to live up to its primary goal of providing relatively cheap and efficient human space travel. There is a good reason for this. As the engineers made it clear to the physicist Richard Feynman when he was investigating the cause of the Challenger explosion, human space travel is risky. While Nasa managers had estimated the odds of a shuttle disaster to be microscopic, engineers estimated the loss rate at about 1 in 100 flights, which is close to the actual disaster rate.

Not only has the shuttle program been costly, it has been boring. A generation that grew up with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey had hoped that by the dawn of the new millennium we would be regularly vacationing in space, and routinely sending astronauts to boldly go where no man or woman had gone before.

Instead we were treated to regular images of the shuttle visiting a $100 billion boondoggle orbiting in space closer to Earth than Washington DC is to New York. No one except a billionaire or two has ever vacationed in space, and their “hotel” was a cramped, stuffy and at times smelly white elephant.

Either aboard the shuttle or the International Space Station, astronauts have explicitly demonstrated that what we learn from sending people into space is not much more than how people can survive in space. The lion’s share of costs associated with sending humans into space is devoted, as it should be, to making sure they survive the voyage. No other significant science has been learned by a generation’s worth of round trips in near-earth orbit.

Yes, there have been highlights, such as the Hubble Space Telescope launch and repair missions, which were not only exciting but useful. However, the real question is whether they were necessary to achieve the science goals. The initial HST repair mission was required because of poor engineering on the ground, which may even have resulted from the daunting requirement of creating a device that had to be designed to be deployed from the space shuttle.

Endeavour in Los Angeles

And given the $5 billion or so price tag per year associated with the shuttle (leading to cost estimates ranging between $500 millions and $1.3 billions per launch) compared with the total cost of, say $5-7 billions over more than a decade for the James Webb Space Telescope, one wonders – as my colleague Robert Parks has mused – whether it would have cost less and been more efficient to merely send up another Hubble (on an unmanned rocket) instead of sending an expensive crew ship to repair the old one.

Helping construct the International Space Station has been no serious justification for the shuttle program. A largely useless international make-work project that was criticized by every major science organization in the US, all that can be said for its scientific justification is that it now houses a $2 billions particle physics experiment (the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) that managed to avoid serious scientific peer review during its development, otherwise it certainly would not have been recommended for funding.

The real science done by Nasa has not involved humans. We have sent robots to places humans could never have survived and peered into the far depths of the cosmos, back to the early moments of the big bang, with instruments far more capable than our human senses, all for a fraction of what it costs to send a living, breathing person into Earth’s orbit. The first rovers went to Mars for what it would cost to make a movie about sending Bruce Willis to Mars.

But science is not the real goal of human space travel. As I argued over a decade ago to the House Science Committee when Buzz Aldrin and I were asked to testify before their subcommittee on space exploration, we send humans into space for adventure. Astronauts inspire us by their courage and skill, and not least by the fact that they risk death every time they step into a spacecraft.

The Romance of Space

I personally have no problems with this fact. I believe the future of the human species will eventually be in space, and that we will one day colonize other planets. But we have to be honest about this goal.

I have been on stage with astronauts and watched how they inspire kids to dream big dreams. Indeed, I myself stayed home from school during every Apollo moon mission, and dreamed of one day walking on the moon myself.

Did those missions encourage me to become a scientist, or was I interested in them because of a pre-existing fascination with the cosmos? It is hard to say. But the inspiration associated with tackling problems as immense as those associated with sending humans away from their natural environment into the hostile reaches of space has ultimately produced a host of scientists and engineers who might otherwise have pursued other careers.

If we are going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on human space travel, however, we need to have a rational plan, and one that can excite the imagination of the next generation of would-be scientists and explorers. The space shuttle did not provide such a plan.

As Richard Feynman himself said in his final report on the Challenger disaster: “Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Lawrence M Krauss  is foundation professor and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, and the author of books including The Physics of Star Trek. His most recent book, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science, was published in March

Challenger explosion

Unlike Mr. Krauss I do not share his enthusiasm for space exploration, neither I believe the future is in space colonization, when as Mr. Krauss admit, we do not posses even a rational plan for it. I believe our future is here, on Earth, our home, here now, not in a distant pay in the sky dream, we need solutions for our planet, Earth it is not a celestial body made to exploit, and rip off, discarding at our convenience, so we can go and exploit other planets and discard them on the recycle bin once we have enjoyed the usefulness of it like a soda can. Earth is our Mother, and our Home, and will be for our foreseeable future, so let start caring about it, and invest our money on conservation, and environmental ecology, and stop putting escapist dreams in the tender minds of our children, romanticizing space travel,  better let’s cultivate in them a love for our Earth, so they can continue to live in it with wisdom and happiness for all, and not only for an elite of corporate oriented profiteers who using science, and technology as tools, at the expense of our taxpayer money, dream to despoil other planets, like they are doing to Earth, so they can accumulate more wealth  at our expense, and that of of our Mother Earth, with little benefit for the common man, who unwillingly pays the bill, and receive in exchange a cheap thrill, like watching the shuttle on piggyback parade all over California, at the cost of hundred of billions of dollars, and to add insult to injury the death of 400 trees, in Inglewood and South Los Angeles, to make way for the shuttle in to the museum, ironically trough one of the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles… A cynical friend of mine paraphrasing Neil Armstrong  said: “A small chump change of money for our government,  a giant long 274 years, at 10,000 dollars a day for a man to spend just a single billion!”

Tree cuting in South Los Angeles

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JESUS CHANGING FACE, MYTH VS A HISTORICIZED LIFE OF JESUS, AND A NEW SPIRITUALITY, GNOSTICISM.

The changing face of Jesus

14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.

15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”

16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.

17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

John 7

One of the biggest problems of the study of religion now days, specially with our intellectual elites in scholarly circles, than rather than throwing light, and better understanding on the area of the history of Jesus, and Christianity in general, on the contrary the issue of Jesus it is even more obscure, and muddled by  the  division in sectarian groups with diverse, and contradicting ideas, that unfortunately are not the product of honest study, and research, but of partisan ideology.

It will be difficult to explain the current state of scholarship today, however I will do as briefly as possible, using public known summary records, without citing, do not pretend to encompass every detail, since it will be impossible on this brief account, too many names, accusations, and recriminations go back, and forth to require many volumes. Basically it is divided not between so much different Christian denominations, despite those divisions remain pretty much unchanged today, as in the past, but between  traditional Christian scholars, and non traditional Atheist, Agnostics, some of them not even Bible scholars, in the Theological Divinity school fashion, but nevertheless people who contend that the whole story of Jesus, has no basis since the historical Jesus has never being proven, and the New Testament, specially the Gospels are based in Mythological allegories borrowed from different sources at the time the Gospels were written, Hellenistic, Roman, Egyptian, etc.

“Philosopher George Walsh argues that Christianity can be seen as originating in a myth dressed up as history, or with a historical being mythologized into a supernatural one: he calls the former the Christ myth theory, and the latter the historical Jesus theory.Biblical scholars Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd break the spectrum of opinion into four positions; they call the first three the “legendary-Jesus thesis,” namely that the picture of Jesus in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke is mostly or entirely historically inaccurate.

The Return of Persephone by Frederic Leighton (1891). Robert Price writes that a central plank of the Jesus myth theory is that Jesus is one of a number of dying-and-rising gods.

Resurrection

  1. The Jesus myth theory: the gospels describe a virtually, and perhaps entirely, fictitious person. There are no grounds for supposing that any aspect of the Jesus narrative is rooted in history. This view is represented to varying degrees by Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews, G.A. Wells, and Robert Price. Mythicists do not agree on a single theory of the actual origins of Christianity.

  2. There is enough evidence to conclude that Jesus existed, but the reports are so unreliable that very little can be said about him with confidence. This view is represented by Rudolf Bultmann and Burton Mack.

  3. Historical research can reveal a core of historical facts about Jesus, but he is very different from the Jesus of the New Testament. His sayings and miracles are myths. Robert Funk and Crossan represent this view, one that Eddy and Boyd write is increasingly common among New Testament scholars, particularly those associated with the Westar Institute’s Jesus Seminar and Jewish New Testament scholars such as Paula Fredriksen or Amy Jill-Levine.

    Within this camp there remains a significant gulf between those who hold Schweitzer’s view that Jesus had apocalyptic end-time beliefs such as Bart Ehrman and Paula Fredriksen, and those who do not hold this such as Marcus Borg.

  4. The gospels are reliable historical sources, and critical historiography should not rule out the possibility of supernatural occurrence, a view represented by John P. Meier and N.T. Wright.

Christ Deconstructed

Three pillars of the theory

New Testament scholar Robert Price, who argues it is quite likely there never was a historical Jesus, writes that the Jesus myth theory is based on three pillars:

  • There is no mention of a miracle-working Jesus in secular sources.

  • The Pauline epistles, earlier than the gospels, do not provide evidence of a recent historical Jesus.

  • The story of Jesus shows strong parallels to Middle Eastern religions about dying and rising gods, symbolizing the rebirth of the individual as a rite of passage. He writes that Christian apologists have tried to minimize these parallels.

Pauline epistles

The composition of the letters of Paul of Tarsus is generally dated between 49 and 64 CE,some two to three decades after the conventional date given for Jesus’s death. Paul did not know the historical Jesus. He only claims he had known him, ‘as of one born out of due time’, i.e., as the ‘risen’ Jesus.

Paul on the Road to Damascus

Many biblical scholars turn to Paul’s letters (epistles) to support their arguments for a historical Jesus.Theologian James D.G. Dunn argues that Robert Price ignores what everyone else in the field regards as primary data. Biblical scholar F. F. Bruce (1910–1990) writes that, according to Paul’s letters, Jesus was an Israelite, descended from Abraham (Gal 3:16) and David (Rom. 1:3); who lived under Jewish law (Gal. 4:4); who was betrayed, and on the night of his betrayal instituted a memorial meal of bread and wine (I Cor. 11:23ff); who endured the Roman penalty of crucifixion (I Cor. 1:23; Gal. 3:1, 13, 6:14, etc.), although Jewish authorities were somehow involved in his death (I Thess. 2:15); who was buried, rose the third day and was thereafter seen alive, including on one occasion by over 500, of whom the majority were alive 25 years later (I Cor. 15:4ff). The letters say that Paul knew of and had met important figures in Jesus’s ministry, including the apostles Peter and John, as well as James the brother of Jesus, who is also allegedly mentioned in Josephus. In the letters, Paul on occasion alludes to and quotes the teachings of Jesus, and in 1 Corinthians 11 recounts the Last Supper.”

Corinth's The deposition

In an article on the Huffington Post’s Web site,  Bart Ehrman insists:

“Apart from the most rabid fundamentalists among us, nearly everyone admits that the Bible might contain errors—a faulty creation story here, a historical mistake there, a contradiction or two in some other place. But is it possible that the problem is worse than that—that the Bible actually contains lies?

Most people wouldn’t put it that way, since the Bible is, after all, sacred Scripture for millions on our planet. But good Christian scholars of the Bible, including the top Protestant and Catholic scholars of America, will tell you that the Bible is full of lies, even if they refuse to use the term. And here is the truth: Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle—Peter, Paul or James—knowing full well they were someone else. In modern parlance, that is a lie, and a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery (2011b).

Why is this alleged consensus of scholarship not forthcoming about the “truth” of these lies, mistakes, and contradictions? According to Ehrman, many scholars are ministers and professors who have to serve the needs of their clientele (see Ehrman, 2009, pp. 13-14). Ministers don’t want to be honest because either it conflicts with their personal faith, or they fear being fired by their elderships. Professors really do know the truth, Ehrman claims, but they cannot be honest about it, because they largely teach in colleges, seminaries, and divinity schools. They cannot denigrate the very texts they are teaching to Christian students without suffering repercussions from their constituency. Simply put, Ehrman implies Christian scholars are dishonest, if not duplicitous, and have engineered a conspiracy to keep the populace from learning the “truth.” Conspiracy theories like this have no place in any serious discussion of these issues.”

However Ehrman suggest, and personally do not find far fetch, that the business of studying Jesus, for this scholars it is no different than that of a worker of a particular brand of manufacture, who it is forced to be loyal to the company name, regardless if in private would prefer to choose his own choice of soap, car, shoes, bottled drink, etc..

Judas Pact of Judas

It is not necessary to say Bart Ehrman become a pariah in scholarly circles after this outburst!

In other words, are you accusing me of toeing the party line and saying what they wish me to say, and therefor you doubt the integrity of my public opinions?

Well, yes!

When you belong to a church religious denomination, and you get butter for your bread from, but privately can hold an agnostic position, or even an atheist one. Or play both sides, holding Faith but pretending not to with other scholars of a different ilk!

Not that there is any crime on it, in this world with a increasingly Secular majority, but still is intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise, it is plainly speaking spiritual bankruptcy.

Neither I believe Theology, and the study of scriptures should be the exclusive domain of the believer, since you can study Theology just to prove it is nonsense, or the study of scriptures that can be fascinating, from an anthropological, and archeological historical point. But who are we kidding, if you are getting paid by your church institution, it is threading a fine line between the two sides I find objectionable, and morally troublesome, you cease to believe, why to keep on pretending otherwise?

But what I find excusable perhaps, but hypocritical to say the least, is the ambivalence of it, because you become disappointed with your previous beliefs, and you find yourselves middle aged, maybe old, and cynical, and invested too much effort, and years in to it, and now you lack the courage of proclaiming your new beliefs, the dishearten realization your life has being a waste of your time…or the opposite, saying you agree with the skeptics, but  then decided, it is better to lie low, avoid the flak and keep your faith to  yourself. Does not this two positions are clearly ambivalent, and dishonest? Or in the better cases a compromise?

At least the position of the mythicist is clear, if not their end result thesis, but those who vouch for the historical Jesus, who instead of having a living spirit in their heart,  cling to official agendas regardless of their private beliefs, and keep arguing who was, or was not, the man who was the inspiration of the legendary story of Jesus…well it is sad, and dishonest.

“15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelations

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Have you guys seen the outpour of movies about King Arthur, Camelot, Excalibur, where the new theme is to explain to our common late Twenty, and early Twenty-One century rationality how a man no different than any of us, but gifted with courage battled invaders, barbarians, thieves, etc. And somehow for the lack of accurate historical records of the times it rose in to a legend, and  a few historians, or pseudo historians misguidedly search for proofs of a similar character during that age, with no Magicians of the likes of Merlin, or villains the likes of Morgana, and all that mythological nonsense. I wonder sometimes at the rolling of the eyes of Medieval scholars!

“The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is the most powerful and enduring in the western world. King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot did not really exist, but their names conjure up a romantic image of gallant knights in shining armor, elegant ladies in medieval castles, heroic quests for the Holy Grail in a world of honor and romance, and the court of Camelot at the center of a royal and mystical Britain.

The Arthurian legend has existed for over a thousand years and is just as compelling today as it was in the faraway days of its early creators – Geoffrey of Monmouth, Robert de Boron, Chrétien de Troyes, and most majestically: Sir Thomas Malory in his epic work, Le Morte d’Arthur. Countless writers, poets, and artists (not to mention film-makers and now, webmasters) have been inspired by the life and times of King Arthur.”

However if there is an argument between Medieval scholars for the historical Arthur this, it seems, does not make the noise that an  historical Jesus do.

If we have no  issue believing  Geoffrey of Monmouth, Robert de Boron, Chrétien de Troyes, and Sir Thomas Mallory as responsible of our knowledge of the Arthurian legends, why we have such trouble with this other writers; Paul, Mark, Mathew, Luke, and John?

I frankly find this rationalistic new movies about the Arthurian legend, boring, and not near as exciting as John Boorman’s  Excalibur, based on Sir Thomas Malory’s book, not only that what they portray it is not accurate historically, since we all agree to be a myth, but in their eagerness to rationalize Myth, they had lost the point of such story! Which of course is not to appeal to our objective left side brain, but to our subjective right side brain, our Hearts…

Merlin and Morgana

I do not have a problem with a non historical Jesus to see the greatness of the New Testament, neither I care if the position of the mythicist is true, as a matter of fact, I believe to be so in a general sense, if not in the details, or the particular twist they choose to give to the Jesus story, I agree that the Gospels are Myth, but since they come with so much bogus ideas, in their zeal to discredit belief, God, Jesus, and Religion, they lack depth, and suffer of the modern malady of lacking the use of their right brain, if only they will refrain of speculating wildly about what kind of man was Jesus:

Bandit, political agitator, Doomsday Prophet, Magician, etc. At least a not existent Jesus is an allegory, and a Symbolic entity deserving of imitation. Period!

After all Religions are not isolated phenomena, they thrive on the social historical period of the people who produce them, and they inherit myths, from older Religions and adapt them to their new understanding of their religious experience, after all we shouldn’t forget Christianity despite it’s Jewish, and Hellenistic origins, become the official Religion of Rome:

In the early 4th century, Constantine I became the first emperor to convert to Christianity, launching the era of Christian hegemony. The emperor Julian made a short-lived attempt to revive traditional and Hellenistic religion and to affirm the special status of Judaism, but in 391 under Theodosius I Christianity became the official state religion of Rome, to the exclusion of all others. Pleas for religious tolerance from traditionalists such as the senator Symmachus (d. 402) were rejected, and Christian monotheism became a feature of Imperial domination. Heretics as well as non-Christians were subject to exclusion from public life or persecution, but Rome’s original religious hierarchy and many aspects of its ritual influenced Christian forms, and many pre-Christian beliefs and practices survived in Christian festivals and local traditions.

What it is difficult for me from mythicist, to accept is their believe that the analogies of myths  made their religious experience a borrowed copy, and therefor a lie , sort like declaring our constitution a phony, and unoriginal because it is based on previous English experience with constitutional representative government. Expedient perhaps, but a social common phenomenon, they obviously do not understand religious experience, and lack right brain side sensitivity to understand, and realize so.

 

On the other side for those who uphold dear the historical Jesus, even the existence of a man that was crucified, maybe the leader of a small group of Jewish dissenters from the orthodoxy of the Sanhedrim, and it is my understanding that they may have been many, this does not make one of them the historical Jesus, the one the Gospels of Mark, Luke, Mathew or John were talking about, who to my understanding is the allegory of the Ecce Homo the ideal man every human being should aspire to be, Christ like at the pinnacle of his life, despite the incoming crucifixion.  Bazzi's Ecce Homo

In my opinion the story of Jesus probably has more to do with small, syncretism Jewish religious groups, who borrowed freely from different traditions, how to explain the Wise men from the East of Mathew?

Syncretism is the combining of different (often contradictory) beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism may involve the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive  approach to other faiths.

The Gospel of Matthew, the only one of the four Canonical gospels to mention the Magi, states that they came “from the east” to worship the Christ, “born King of the Jews.” Although the account does not tell how many they were, the three gifts led to a widespread assumption that they were three as well. In the East, the magi traditionally number twelve.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path.

Adoration of the Magi-1624-by Rubens

Excuse to say this gifts are highly Symbolic some speculate they belong to three different Esoteric schools, of Knowledge, represented by the Gold; Alchemy, Frankincense; Astrology, and Myrrh; Theurgy. The fact is the wise man story of Mathew taken as a mere  pastoral anecdote, stick as bad as a sore thumb, in a work that is eminently allegorical, and symbolic and syncretic in nature, to deny influences beyond traditional Judaism at the time, it is well known the discontent of orthodox Jewish groups with King Herod he is described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.” He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem sometimes referred to as Herod’s Temple, and the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima. Important details of his biography are gleaned from the works of the 1st century CE Roman-Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. Many Jewish groups like the Essenes, believed that the high priest of the Jerusalem Temple was elected on false pretenses, which invalidated the whole Temple cult. Judging by this passage, and many others, it is hard to believe the Gospels were anything but the work of a “New Age” type of Jews, probably looked with contempt, if not with total animosity by the orthodox groups. Paul the clear example of a Hellenistic Jew who basically become the pillar of Christian belief.

Herods Temple

No Orthodox Jewish will dare to be as bold as to incorporate Hellenistic, Zoroastrian, or Egyptian symbolism in to the Gospels, it is quite shocking to read the Old Testament virulent rejection of anything foreign to Israel, and the Prophetic tradition, except for obscure passage in Genesis.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was [is] the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram to the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand”. And he gave him tithe from all.

—Genesis 14:18-20

In the New Testament, references to Melchizedek appear only in the Letter to the Hebrews (later 1st century AD), though these are extensive (Hebrews 5: 6, 10; 6: 20; 7: 1, 10, 11, 15, 17, 21). Jesus Christ  is there identified as a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek quoting from Ps. 110:4.And so Jesus assumes the role of High Priest once and for all. Abraham’s transfer of goods to Melchizedek is seen to imply that Melchizedek is superior to Abraham, in that Abraham is tithing to him. Thus, Melchizedek’s (Jesus’) priesthood is superior to the Aaronic priesthood, and the Temple in Jerusalem is now unnecessary.

A collection of early Gnostic scripts dating on or before the 4th-century, discovered in 1945 and known as the Nag Hammadi Library, contains a tractate pertaining to Melchizedek. Here it is proposed that Melchizedek is Jesus Christ.Melchizedek, as Jesus Christ, lives, preaches, dies and is resurrected, in a gnostic perspective. The Coming of the Son of God Melchizedek speaks of his return to bring peace, supported by the gods, and he is a priest-king who dispenses justice. (Check my Post: The Grail) Little effort it is needed to link Melchizedek to Jesus, since he falls in the category of a Universal Priesthood, not from Aaron, or Levite, or even  of the house of Israel, but of a Divine Celestial origin.

Melchizedek  and Abraham. Raphael

The Divinity of Jesus

It is the posterior decrees of the Christian church who in Divinizing the man Jesus created the problem of a historical Jesus.

Following the Apostolic Age, from the second century onwards, a number of controversies developed about how the human and divine are related within the person of Jesus. As of the second century, a number of different and opposing approaches developed among various groups. For example, Arianism did not endorse divinity, Ebionism (See my post Via Positiva, Via Negativa) argued Jesus was an ordinary mortal, while Gnosticism held docetic views which argued Christ was a spiritual being who only appeared to have a physical body. The resulting tensions lead to schisms within the church in the second and third centuries, and ecumenical councils were convened in the fourth and fifth centuries to deal with the issues. Eventually, by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Hypostatic union was decreed—the proposition that Christ has one human nature [physis] and one divine nature [physis], united with neither confusion nor division—making this part of the creed of orthodox Christianity. Although some of the debates seemed to be over a theological iota, they took place in controversial political circumstances and resulted in a schism that formed the Church of the East

In 325, the First Council of Nicaea defined the persons of the Godhead and their relationship with one another – decisions which were again ratified at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. The language used was that the one God exists in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); in particular, it was affirmed that the Son was homoousios (of same substance) as the Father. The Nicene Creed declared the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus.

jesus in Gethsemane

In 431, the First Council of Ephesus was initially called to address the views of Nestorius on Mariology, but the problems soon extended to Christology, and schisms followed. The 431 council was called because in defense of his loyal priest Anastasius, Nestorius had denied the Theotokos title for Mary and later contradicted Proclus during a sermon in Constantinople. Pope Celestine I (who was already upset with Nestorius due to other matters) wrote about this to Cyril of Alexandria, who orchestrated the council. During the council, Nestorius defended his position by arguing there must be two persons of Christ, one human, the other divine, and Mary had given birth only to a human, hence could not be called the Theotokos, i.e. “the one who gives birth to God”. The debate about the single or dual nature of Christ ensued in Ephesus.

The Council of Ephesus debated hypostasis(coexisting natures) versus monophysitism (only one nature) versus miaphysitism (two natures united as one) versus Nestorianism (disunion of two natures). From the Christological viewpoint, the council adopted hypostasis, i.e. coexisting natures, but its language was less definitive than the 451 Council of Chalcedon. The Oriental Orthodox rejected this and subsequent councils and to date consider themselves to be miaphysite. By contrast, Roman Catholics to date believe in the hypostatic union and the Trinity. The council also confirmed the Theotokos title and excommunicated Nestorius.

The 451 Council of Chalcedon was highly influential and marked a key turning point in the Christological debates that broke apart the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the fifth century.It is the last council which many Anglicans and most Protestants consider ecumenical. It fully promulgated the hypostatic union, stating the human and divine natures of Christ coexist, yet each is distinct and complete. Although, the Chalcedon Creed did not put an end to all Christological debate, it did clarify the terms used and became a point of reference for many future Christology’s. Most of the major branches of Christianity — Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Reformed — subscribe to the Chalcedon Christological formulation, while many branches of Eastern Christianity – Syrian Orthodoxy, Assyrian Church, Coptic Orthodoxy, Ethiopian Orthodoxy, and Armenian Apostolicism  reject it.

It is easy to see how that by that time the politics of the Roman Empire had a lot to do with the standardization of Christianity, in what become the official Religion; The Roman Apostolic Catholic Church, and their Eastern counterparts, also it is easy to understand the reluctance of non believers to accept  men hands in to the making of Religion, when supposedly should be a Divine affair, well you can hold to your unbelief, but it is naïve to believe man is not  part of the Sacred, therefore the Sacred manifest in man, the actor, and creator of Religion in good faith,  or in bad faith, it is all part of the Human condition, that at the same time can manifest in sublime spurts of the spirit, like the Gospels, or in weak, and flawed choices in Religious, or Secular affairs as well! Errare humanum est…

Nicea-Arius

In my view,  I posit little faith on a literal Jesus, if the historical Jesus existed, it was a man, like any of us, more virtuous no doubt, if it really existed, he had a Symbolic, rather than a literal resemblance to the allegorical Jesus of the Gospels, who is perfect, more an Archetype, than a real man, I will go as far as giving him the mantle of Prophecy as even not Christians do, like the Moslems who recognize him to be born of a virgin, and a Prophet, but totally human, a servant, not the son of God, as for the Jews they believe will be a man with no special powers to be the Messiah.  Nachmanides argued that the central issue separating Christianity and Judaism was not the issue of Jesus’ Messiahship, but whether or not Jesus was divine.  There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, for believing in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man.  To Nachmanides, it seemed most strange “that the Creator of heaven and earth resorted to the womb of a certain Jewess and grew there for nine months and was born as an infant, and afterwards grew up and was betrayed into the hands of his enemies who sentenced him to death and executed him, and that afterwards… he came to life and returned to his original place.  The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannot tolerate this.”  Nachmanides told the Spanish monarch, “You have listened all your life to priests who have filled your brain and the marrow of your bones with this doctrine, and it has settled with you because of that accustomed habit.”  Had King James heard these ideas propounded for the first time when he was already an adult, Nachmanides implied, he never would have accepted them.

Barcelona Jewish Museum

Perhaps what made Christianity an Institution for the many, and no longer a living experience, but for those fewer who hold Faith as a way of life, is the idea of the Incarnation of God exclusively to Jesus, that excluded Theosis for all Human beings, it is not following the  objective of the Way of Jesus to become Christ like?

The Jesus of our Modern and Postmodern age it is tainted by our current  Worldview of Rationalism, Science, and Secular ideas, in other words contaminated by our revisionism, and almost a total ignorance of the Worldview of the writers of the books of the New Testament, and I am afraid even many scholars of today are incapable to understand the Religious fervor, and individual Heart enlightenment of this  diverse early Christians communities. As I walk through my humble neighborhood, full of new immigrants to this nation, there is so many small churches, sometimes but a little hole in the wall church, where no more than a dozen people sing, cry, jump, and speak in tongues, who possible resembled the fervor of the early Christians at the time of the Gospels, than any of the  old ossified Church Institutions were the Spirit is gone, and the parishioner is just a social spectator who may even hold agnostic views of his own, no different than the Priest, Minister, Pastor, or the Scholar of this Institutions, who regard this issues as intellectual ideological positions, not rivers of living water. What is the use of scholarly studies, the many petty debates over a simple word, if there is no longer those rivers flowing?

Rivers of Living Waters

KOINONIA

In my view the old Religious Institutions will have to transform themselves to the point they wouldn’t be recognized  by a Christian of the beginning of the Twenty Century, in order to survive and thrive, if listing to the point of sinking would be avoided, their leaders would have to respond to change, and to a revival of Faith in their own life, to produce the enthusiasm Evangelization requires in the souls of their parishioners, small churches with small congregations, will continue to prosper, as long as they not become too big, and fall in to the error of carelessness, and apathy, that had plagued big established churches, too big to care for one individual, and lost their sense of being one with their congregation, the sense of KOINONIA is the Anglicization of a Greek word (κοινωνία) that means communion by intimate participation. The word is used frequently in the New Testament of the Bible to describe the relationship within the Early Christian church as well as the act of breaking bread in the manner which Christ prescribed during the Passover meal [John 6:48-69, Matthew 26:26-28, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:24]. As a result the word is used within the Christian Church to participate, as Paul says, in the Communion of Christ, in this manner it identifies the idealized state of fellowship and community that should exist in Communion.

In the New Testament, the basis of communion begins with a joining of Jesus with the community of the faithful. This union is also experienced in practical daily life. The same bonds that link the individual to Jesus also link him or her with other faithful. The New Testament letters describe those bonds as so vital and genuine that a deep level of intimacy can be experienced among the members of a local church.

The first usage of koinonia in the Greek New Testament is found in Acts 2:42-47, where we read a striking description of the common life shared by the early Christian believers in Jerusalem:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the communion, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”

Breaking Bread

Ultimately the failure of the big  Religious Institutions, it was to be expected, they may survive, or not, but if you are a militant Atheist, and you believe Christianity or any other Religion will eventually disappear for the good of mankind, as remnant of a dark past, and Science will be the new torchbearer of Mankind well, don’t hold your breath, you will be disappointed, nothing against Science, on the contrary it is a great tool to deal with the material world, unfortunately has little to offer to the maladies afflicting our subjective self, unless you go along with drugs, and genetic induced paradise ideas, I am afraid despite the triumphs of technology, we have being witness to too much medical malpractice, the side effects of drugs, ecological disasters, and the many ills brought by the use of technologies derived from science discoveries, maybe they will come with a new drug to make people wiser, and avoid lack of judgment! Sorry I am an skeptic when it come to technological Utopias who try to change the exterior circumstances of Man, ignoring the basic premise that at the bottom of it, is just a Philistine desire for making money, not the welfare of Humanity. Meanwhile all this scientific, and technological advances do  but little to look within Man to his subjective nature to find “the peace that defies all understanding”…like in antiquity a new wind is blowing and bringing with it a new Spirit:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”   Acts 1:8

And Jesus words will be fulfilled:

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”Mathew 18:20

Kelly's Pentecost

THE NEGATION OF THE SELF

The failure of Religious scholars in my view it is that they do not recognize the value of the Symbolic, and the Self, under the constant attack of those Materialist, and the unfortunately common trend of many scientist in denying the Self, , in favor of a mechanized, and reductionist view of Man were everything it is reduced to a biological imperative, and there is no room for the  Subjective, but as a biochemical synapsis at cellular level, were everything can be conveniently explained as a process of cause, and effect, ignoring that there is no way to replicate such synapsis in individuals who apparently similar may differ subjectively in experience, and therefore in conclusions, like if two individuals reading the same book they must  arrive to the same understanding, when we know this is not the case, simply because the variances are practically infinite to be able  come to the same understanding, therefor the axiom “if all factors would be identical” or “if we could track back every cause, we will be able to predict the effect”. This “if” it is groundless, and totally a fiction, and therefore of no value to explain actions, and ideas in Man. This is the realm of the Self, and the Subjective. Many Scholars the product of a Scientific education, and the modern age,  coward to oppose this materialistic, and reductionist views, or really believe in them, and a lot of them are divided between Faith, and Reason, they are “crucified” in this dichotomy of making sense of an academic construction of facts, based in dates of manuscripts, brought by the pressure of a materialistic understanding of History, in what is clearly a different realm; allegory, and myth in a search for an “Historical Jesus” or the the last bastion of a new trench, for the literal belief of a mythical character, the new term: Historicity of Jesus Christ. I would said rather pointless if the value of your belief hangs precariously on this tenuous hinge, since as we saw previously they do not give proper value to the Self, and the Symbolic, what would be the purpose of the material existence of a Jesus, that has little to do with the Gospels? And what the meaning when  Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18: 36-37

Jesus before Pilate

THE GNOSTICS

The word gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge”, which is often used in Greek philosophy in a manner more consistent with the English “enlightenment”. Some scholars continue to maintain traditional dating for the emergence of Gnostic philosophy and religious movements. It is now generally believed that the evidence suggests that Gnosticism was a Jewish movement which subsequently reacted to Christianity or that Gnosticism emerged directly in reaction to Christianity. The name “Christian Gnostics” came to represent a segment of the Early Christian community that believed that salvation lay not in merely worshipping Christ, but in psychic or pneumatic souls learning to free themselves from the material world via the revelation. According to this tradition, the answers to spiritual questions are to be found within, not without.Furthermore, the gnostic path does not require the intermediation of a church for salvation. Some scholars, such as Edward Conze and Elaine Pagels, have suggested that Gnosticism blends teachings like those attributed to Jesus Christ with teachings found in Eastern traditions.

The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. Twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman. The writings in these codices comprised fifty-two mostly Gnostic treatises, but they also include three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum and a partial translation/alteration of Plato’s Republic. In his “Introduction” to The Nag Hammadi Library in English, James Robinson suggests that these codices may have belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery, and were buried after Bishop Athanasius condemned the use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of 367 AD.

The contents of the codices were written in the Coptic language, though the works were probably all translations from Greek. The best-known of these works is probably the Gospel of Thomas, of which the Nag Hammadi codices contain the only complete text. After the discovery it was recognized that fragments of these sayings attributed to Jesus appeared in manuscripts discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1898 (P. Oxy. 1), and matching quotations were recognized in other early Christian sources. Subsequently, a 1st or 2nd century date of composition circa 80 AD has been proposed for the lost Greek originals of the Gospel of Thomas. The buried manuscripts themselves date from the third and forth centuries.

Nag-Hammadi books

But those who wrote and circulated these texts did not regard themselves as “heretics. Most of the writings use Christian terminology, unmistakable related to a Jewish heritage. Many claim to offer traditions about Jesus that are secret, hidden from “the many” who constitute what, in the second century, came to be called the “catholic church.” These Christians are now called Gnostics, from the Greek word gnosis, usually translated as “knowledge.” For as those who claim to know nothing about ultimate reality are called agnostic (literally, “not knowing”), the person who does claim to know such things is called gnostic (“knowing”). But gnosis is not primarily rational knowledge. The Greek language distinguishes between scientific or reflective knowledge (“He knows mathematics”) and knowing through observation or experience (“He knows me”), which is gnosis. As the Gnostics use the term, we could translate it as “insight,” for gnosis involves an intuitive process of knowing oneself. And to know oneself, they claimed, is to know human nature and human destiny. According to the gnostic teacher Theodotus, writing in Asia Minor (c. 140-160), the gnostic is one has come to understand who we were, and what we have become; where we were… whither we are hastening; from what we are being released; what birth is, and what is rebirth.

Yet to know oneself, at the deepest level, is simultaneously to know God; this is the secret of gnosis. Another gnostic teacher, Monoimus, says:

Abandon the search for God and the creation and other matters of a similar sort. Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point. Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own and says, “My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.” Learn the sources of sorrow:, joy, love, hate . . . If you carefully investigate these matters you will find him in yourself.

St Thomas-Apostle-

Orthodox Jews and Christians insist that a chasm separates humanity from Its creator: God is wholly other. But some of the Gnostics who wrote these gospels contradict this: self-knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical.

Second, the “living Jesus” of these texts speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance, like the Jesus ofthe New Testament. Instead of coming to save us from sin, he comes as a guide who opens access to spiritual understanding. But when the disciple attains enlightenment, Jesus no longer serves as his spiritual master: the two have become equal–even identical.

Third, orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God in a unique way: he remains forever distinct from the rest of humanity whom he came to save. Yet the gnostic Gospel of Thomas relates that as soon as Thomas recognizes him, Jesus says to Thomas that they have both received their being from the same source:

Jesus said, “I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become drunk from the bubbling stream which I have measured out…. He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.”

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

John 7

The Water of Eternal Life

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SPECIALIZATION, AND GENERALIZATION, A SHORSIGHTED VIEW OF KNOWLEDGE, AND LIFE, THE POLITICS OF WENDELL BERRY

Light through the forest

There was a time when the world was a simpler place, or we may like to believe so on this days of tremendous advances on the field of science, of technological progress that would make our early twenty century forefathers heads spin! At the same time the complexity of the issues this progress has brought; overpopulation, ecological devastation, pollution, the over exploitation of our precious limited resources, of a world getting too small for our Human insatiable needs, the unequal distribution of resources and wealth, and the disparity of access to  those resources, the creation not of a world government, but a world ruled by plutocrats, in the form of corporations, with no accountability, and in bed with our dysfunctional, and obsolete, now archaic, and sclerotic form of government, who still pretends to be a Democracy, and determined to keep in control the axis of power for personal profit, despite the urgent need of a new approach to our world problems, were disinterested and selfless cooperation should be the rule to oversight, and give a guideline to the solving of this problems without the interference of special interests who thwart Real Progress, and the Common Good.

It seem we the world has been a victim of our general lack of capacity to be virtuous, overcoming our Human nature, and selfish desires in order to allow a just, and wise solutions to the undoubtedly  worldwide crisis that as we speak would engulf us before we can come to an organized, and well run program of actions, in order if not to solve totally, at least to ameliorate the damage, our lack of consciousness has brought us to this zero hour crisis for our world. It seem we have become victims of our own so much vaunted progress!

The extremes of specialization on one side, and of generalization, and reductionism on the other side combines to the common adage of : ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ failure of vision on our postmodern age. Our individual actions due to our specialization, lack the depth of understanding of the whole picture, our combined resources of our individual specializations have reached a point were nobody cares about the result of the whole, a sort of cleaver but Dr. Frankenstein creation that will end haunting us for the lack of wisdom, in the end too much specialization is leading to a loss of ethics, and integrity. Generalization on the other hand prevent the large interests to make proper managerial decisions fit to individuals, providing at best one size fit all, specially when the individual well being confronts  the interest of the corporation, usually their bottom line, profit.

specialization & economics

This not only affects society as a whole, but directly harms and minimize the individual:

“The fact is, however, that this is probably the most unhappy average citizen in the history of the world. He has not the power to provide himself with anything but money, and his money is inflating like a balloon and drifting away, subject to historical circumstance and the power of other people. From morning to night he does not touch anything that he has produced himself, in which he can take pride. For all his leisure and recreation, he feels bad, he looks bad, he is overweight, his health is poor. His air, water, and food are all known to contain poisons. There is a fair chance that he will die of suffocation. He suspects that his love life is not as fulfilling as other people’s. He wishes that he had been born sooner, or later. He does not know why his children are the way they are. He does not understand what they say. He does not care much and does not know why he does not care. He does not know what his wife wants or what he wants. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make him suspect that he is basically unattractive. He feels that all his possessions are under threat of pillage. He does not know what he would do if he lost his job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies failed, if the police went on strike, if the truckers went on strike, if his wife left him, if his children ran away, if he should be found to be incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of course, he consults certified experts, who in turn consult certified experts about their anxieties.

It is rarely considered that this average citizen is anxious because he ought to be—because he still has some gumption that he has not yet given up in deference to the experts. He ought to be anxious, because he his helpless. That he is dependent upon so many specialists, the beneficiary of so much expert help, can only mean that he is a captive, a potential victim.”

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

BOOMERS AND STICKERS

“Quoting his former teacher, the late writer Wallace Stegner, Berry said Americans have always tended to fall into two camps: boomers and stickers. “The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property and therefore power,” Berry said. “Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”

Boomer ideals dominate America’s economy and culture now, he said. Almost everything has been reduced to statistics. Like corporate ownership, as compared to individual ownership, big numbers distance us from the consequences of our actions.

“Now the two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth in the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment,” Berry said. “At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny.”

Even the term economy has lost its original meaning, which had to do with household management and husbandry, he said. Most economists now “never ask, in their professional oblivion, why we are willing to do permanent ecological and cultural damage ‘to strengthen the economy.’”

Corporate industrialism, he said, “has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature.”

Industrialism’s effects are often defended as the “price of progress” or “creative destruction,” Berry noted.

industrial-wasteland-rust

“But land abuse cannot brighten the human prospect,” he said. “There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. When one is abused, the other suffers. The penalties may come quickly to a farmer who destroys perennial cover on a sloping field. They will come sooner or later to a land-destroying civilization such as ours.”

Who is to blame? “We are all implicated,” Berry said. “By economic proxies thoughtlessly given, by thoughtless consumption of goods ignorantly purchased, now we are all boomers.”

How can it be changed? By having more respect for our fellow humans and the land, Berry said. By focusing on long-term sustainability — things like local food, soil conservation and renewable energy. And by rediscovering the importance of affection.

“Knowledge without affection leads us astray every time,” he said. “Affection leads, by way of good work, to authentic hope. … And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind and conserving economy. … We should, as our culture has warned us over and over again, give our affection to things that are true, just and beautiful. When we give affection to things that are destructive, we are wrong.”

Since Berry began making these arguments in his 1977 book The Unsettling of America, critics have dismissed him as unrealistic, nostalgic, even anachronistic. But more people are listening. Indeed, this seems to be Wendell Berry’s time.

As “local food” and “buy local” movements have sprung up everywhere in recent years, Berry’s books have attracted an international following. His lectures are packed, often by young people.

Can America change before it is too late? It can, Berry told me, if sustainability becomes a bigger part of the public conversation. “The only way to do that,” he said, “is to make as much sense as you possibly can.”

We can clearly see that what is required for a better future, it is a clear consciousness of the individual to be responsible of his actions, and stop to be a brainwash sleeper who obediently consumes whatever is advertised to him, by those who want to profit from this general state of hypnotic behavior the complicit media has impose like a gospel of consumerism!

Consumerism at his worst

Here is a clear example of how they sell you what you want to believe you are:

“In the real world, a fast car is no faster than a slow car.

In the real world, what’s inside your Macbook doesn’t matter.

In the real world, you don’t wear a watch so you can tell the time.

In the real world, you don’t buy a product, you buy a story.

Owning a Porsche tells a story about you. It tells people that you’re cultured, that you’re a sucker for details, that you are a great connoisseur of precision and efficiency. Your Macbook Pro tells people that you’re creative, sophisticated, and individualistic. The Patek Phillipe on your wrist tells people that you have aristocratic tastes, and that you’re into authenticity and heritage. The Pink Floyd playing on your car stereo tells people that you’re into the modern classics, that you are refined and sophisticated, and that today’s world is much too crude for your tastes.

Our urge to buy and wear these stories overshadow the utilitarian relationship we once shared with products. Everybody who buys a Porsche knows that its not going to get them to the airport any faster than a blah-colored Toyota Corolla.

They don’t care though, because when they drove off the dealership, they didn’t buy a sports car.

On the contrary, they bought a 600 horsepower twin-turbo storytelling machine.”

Umair Kazi

Hypnosis-fate

DO NOT VOTE AT THE BALLOT, VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET!

We do not need to buy stories, to believe we are what we are not, unless you are a total fool, we do not need to buy what we do not really need, or what is harmful to Mother Earth, or to others. The only way to take control of the current state of the World politics, economics, environment, etc. Is to take control of our own lives, and realize we need to bring the change in to our own sphere of life  thinking globally , but acting locally.

“The moral order by which we use machine-derived energy is comparatively simple. Whatever uses this sort of energy works simply as a conduit that carries it beyond use: the energy goes in as “fuel” and comes out as “waste.” This principle sustains a highly simplified economy having only two functions: production and consumption.

The moral order appropriate to the use of biological energy, on the other hand, requires the addition of a third term: production, consumption, and return. It is the principle of return that complicates matters, for it requires responsibility, care, of a different and higher order than that required by production and consumption alone, and it calls for methods and economies of a different kind. In an energy economy appropriate to the use of biological energy, all bodies, plant and animal and human, are joined in a kind of energy community. They are not divided from each other by greedy, “individualistic” efforts to produce and consume large quantities of energy, much less to store large quantities of it. They are indissolubly linked in complex patterns of energy exchange. They die into each other’s life, live unto each other’s death. They do not consume in the sense of using up. They do not produce waste. What they take in they change, but they change it always into a form necessary for its use by a living body of another kind. And this exchange goes on and on, round and round, the Wheel of Life rising out of the soil, descending into it, through the bodies of creatures.

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrected, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

Soil the stuff of life and death

“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is highest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

Wendell Berry.

The World in our hands

Posted in Cosmogony, Counsciousness, Critical Thinking, Democracy, Ecology, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Future, Generalization, Globalization, History, Human Nature, Inductive Knowledge, Life Liberty and the pursuit of happines, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Postmodernism, Progress, Property, Specialization, Spiritual but not Religious, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wendell Berry, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments