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.

Friday, 29 December 2017

"Mind Has Mountains"

See Hopkins.

A material mountain is visible in its entirety only from a spatial distance.

A karmic consequence is a mental mountain, visible in its entirety only from a temporal distance.

Its foothills are fears and realizations.

Every new presentation to consciousness is the One appearing to Itself although an illusory separate self intervenes.

What comes up at each moment?
What is the least harmful response?
Is it possible to step back from imagined dialogues?
What is within apart from words?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Zazen

Zazen is not observation of thoughts because observation and thought are incompatible. Thought about x involves attention to x, not to the thought about x.

Zazen is neither deliberate thought nor uninterrupted natural thought but natural thought interrupted by a repeated return of attention to the present moment.

Thus:

deliberate thought is not applied to problems that it cannot solve;

natural thought is allowed neither to become deliberate thought nor to continue uninterrupted.

This at least provides a third perspective. Many problems are caused either by constant natural thought or by unhelpful deliberate thought.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Philosophy And Fiction

I will summarize a materialist understanding of consciousness, then outline how this impacts on two kinds of imaginative fiction written by Poul Anderson.

Everything interacts:

particles, potential or actual;
material bodies;
organisms with their environments.

Organisms are temporary, local, negative entropy.

Energized complex molecules changed randomly until one became self-replicating.

Natural selection favored multi-cellularity.

Organisms are sensitive and responsive to environmental alterations.

Naturally selected organismic sensitivity to environmental alterations quantitatively increased until it was qualitatively transformed into conscious sensation.

Sensation was naturally selected because pleasure and pain have survival value.

Responses became actions.

Brains process immediate sensations into perceptions of discrete objects.

Objects are conceptualized.

One social species communicates linguistically and internalizes language as abstract thought.

Interpersonal interactions transform human organisms into self-conscious individuals.

Individuals can transcend self-consciousness through meditation.

However, all consciousness remains an unintended byproduct of originally unconscious interactions.

Human beings interacting with each other projected interpersonal interactions onto their natural and social environments.

Thus, they personified, e.g., thunder as Thor and war as Tyr.

However, human beings have also come to understand preconscious processes.

Thus, they have created both mythology and science.

Poul Anderson wrote:

mythological fantasies, assuming the literal existence of Norse deities;
hard sf, including speculations about the course of evolution on other planets.

Most sf presupposes materialist evolution. Thus, authors ask: "What kind of organisms might have evolved in the Martian environment?," not: "What kind of organisms might have been created on Mars?" CS Lewis' theological sf has Ransom encountering on Mars beings that are both extraterrestrial and supernatural but that is unusual.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The New Monotheism

If I were to subscribe to a monotheism, then it would have to be one that was entirely free from the Mosaic Law, the Crucifixion and Hindu casteism. Some reformed Hindu monotheisms do meet these criteria, especially if we are able to include Sikhism as both a reformed Islam and a reformed Hinduism. However, I am inclined to agree with other Hindus who regard the one God as a personification of the one reality which is either impersonal or transpersonal if the latter term has any meaning. The most appropriate pronoun would be either It or That.

Let us rededicate ourselves to the One.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Inner Swamp

Drain the inner swamp.
The channel to drain the swamp is blocked.
Neither intellect nor will can unblock it.
However, meditation places a steady pressure on the blockage, which can move suddenly.
Experience of the consequences of wrong actions can be devastating and illuminating.
Some questions and answers must be lived, not thought.
New work on the self begins now.