Thursday, 31 May 2018

Change And Transcendence

A random genetic combination followed by specific organism-environment interactions generates a distinct personality very early in the life of each human being. Each of us can transcend our personality only if the potential for transcendence was present from the beginning and also if that potential is strong enough to overcome mental inertia and the psychological self-defense mechanisms of the personality.

Inertia and self-defense are unconscious and conscious levels of resistance to change. However, existence is interaction between change and resistance to it. Much change and transcendence have occurred and more can. On the other hand, deep personal change is rare.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Here And Now

Here and now:

the One is;
It is conscious of Itself in and through this organism;
the organism perceives and thinks;
thought obscures the One, impedes unitive consciousness and generates separative delusion.

Therefore:

let random thoughts pass;
do not prolong them unnecessarily.

Thus:

I see the sun;
I remember an unhappy sunny day in childhood;
I let the memory pass or
I start to think about it;
I realize that I am thinking about it;
I let it pass.

This practice weakens the grip of thought and of the illusory separate self.

The One is here and now.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Borrowed Ideas

"Every religion in Earth's past, no matter how exclusive in theory, had had influential thinkers who were willing to borrow ideas from contemporary rivals."
-Poul Anderson, "The Three-Cornered Wheel" IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (Riverdale, NY, 2009), pp. 199-261 AT VI, p. 251.

Mani claimed to synthesize three traditions. See here.
The Fourth Evangelist borrowed the Logos from Greek philosophy.
Zen synthesizes Buddhism and Taoism.

Ideas also proliferate. See Enforced Uniformity Or Continued Diversity for arguments that 1+1=3 or even that 1+1=7.

Like the Jesuit in Anderson's "The Word to Space," Martin Schuster in "The Three-Cornered Wheel" aims to subvert a theocracy by inciting:

reinterpretations;
reformations;
counterreformations;
revelations;
new doctrines;
fundamentalist reactions;
etc.

Aycharaych also aimed to build such divisions into a new jihad.

I think that the heirs of any tradition can:

conserve their idea of the tradition but in a changing context, thus changing the tradition without realizing it;

reinterpret the tradition which means rejecting conservative interpretations and even sometimes the essence of the tradition;

reject the tradition although they remain influenced by whatever they reject.

In all cases, continuity and change are combined.

There is continuity of monarchy in "The King is dead; long live the King" and continuity of ordered society in "The office of King is abolished; long live the Republic."

Introducing The Kabbalah

In Poul Anderson's "The Three-Cornered Wheel," Master Merchant Martin Schuster, seeking to sabotage the Ivanhoan theocracy, begins to introduce the Kabbalah to an intelligent and inquisitive Consecrate called Hertaskor but the latter is led by the nose far too easily.

Schuster argues:

God is unbounded in every way;
therefore, He must have eternally pre-existed the world;
He is above everything finite;
but thought and existence are finite.

Herkastor agrees with this last proposition, adding:

"'Thought and existence as we know them, anyhow.'"
-Poul Anderson, "The Three-Cornered Wheel" IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (Riverdale, NY, 2009), pp. 199-261 AT VI, p. 251.

However, Schuster is not talking about thought and existence as we know them. He is talking, to a fellow monotheist, about God. They have just agreed that God's existence is unbounded and eternal, not finite, so it will not do simply to state that all existence is finite, then to qualify that by referring to existence as we know it, thus not to all existence. Immediately, a distinction has to be made between the infinite existence of God and the finitude of existence as we know it.

A text-book on Hegelian philosophy presented the argument that to be is to be one thing, not another, therefore that to be is to be limited. However, there is no agreed terminology in these matters. I remember the same text-book as applying the word "existence" to things which exist only by virtue of their relationships to other things and the word "being" to the absolute totality that is independent of any external relationships. Such technical distinctions are helpful as long as they are clearly defined and adhered to.

Schuster goes on to argue that a pre-creation God Who was neither comprehended by thought nor described in words would in some sense not exist. This is nonsense. God, assuming the premise of monotheism, would exist in the fullest sense, would comprehend Himself and would not need words.

The Chief Consecrate might show from scripture, tradition or reasoning that a new teaching contradicts the Word of God. So far, this is exactly the position of Catholic Christians on Earth except, of course, that they have different scriptures and traditions. Full-rank Consecrates may dispute freely within doctrinal limits. Thus, unlike the Bishop of Rome, the Chief Consecrate cannot define doctrines infallibly. Science replaces scriptures and traditions with observations and thus has immensely expanded knowledge of the universe.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What I Value

The understanding and practice both of meditation and of unorthodox Trotskyism.
An understanding of the origin of Christianity.
A lay person's knowledge of scientific cosmogony and Darwinism.
Training in analytic philosophy.
Knowledge of world religions and mythologies.
Imaginative and speculative fiction.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Light And A Man

In Buddhism, a man is enlightened.
In John's Gospel, the light becomes a man.
Are these the same process, differently described?

The Cosmic Buddha of the Mahayana Sutras,
the Incarnate Word of the Fourth Gospel and
the cosmic form of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita -

- each transcend an original human being.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Messianism In Fiction

Fictional expressions of Christianity include:

Aslan telling the children that he has a different name in their world;

Poul Anderson's Father Axor telling Diana Crowfeather that he seeks evidence of the Universal Incarnation.

Anderson also transposes a familiar historical situation to a science fictional context in The Day Of Their Return:

the Terran Empire imposes direct rule on the planet Aeneas;
some Aeneans plan a military rebellion;
many expect the Return of the Ancients.

Reading about the religious and political situation in Judaea at the time of Jesus, I am reminded of how well Anderson conveyed this sense of Messianic expectation and social/political volatility.