Conscience

Theology, Religious Studies, religion, god, faith and other topics of a spiritual nature.

Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 14th, 2019, 1:13 pm 

Savagery in nature is one thing, our world is another. We're supposed to be evolved human beings, cultured and civilised, but there's little evidence of it.
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 14th, 2019, 1:46 pm 

I understand, of course, what an upheaval of the universe it will be, when everything in heaven and earth blends in one hymn of praise and everything that lives and has lived cries aloud: ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed.’ When the mother embraces the fiend who threw her child to the dogs, and all three cry aloud with tears, ‘Thou art just, O Lord!’ then, of course, the crown of knowledge will be reached and all will be made clear. But what pulls me up here is that I can't accept that harmony. And while I am on earth, I make haste to take my own measures. You see, Alyosha, perhaps it really may happen that if I live to that moment, or rise again to see it, I, too, perhaps, may cry aloud with the rest, looking at the mother embracing the child's torturer, ‘Thou art just, O Lord!’ but I don't want to cry aloud then. While there is still time, I hasten to protect myself, and so I renounce the higher harmony altogether. It's not worth the tears of that one tortured child who beat itself on the breast with its little fist and prayed in its stinking outhouse, with its unexpiated tears to ‘dear, kind God’! It's not worth it, because those tears are unatoned for. They must be atoned for, or there can be no harmony. But how? How are you going to atone for them? Is it possible? By their being avenged? But what do I care for avenging them? What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don't want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price. I don't want the mother to embrace the oppressor who threw her son to the dogs! She dare not forgive him! Let her forgive him for herself, if she will, let her forgive the torturer for the immeasurable suffering of her mother's heart. But the sufferings of her tortured child she has no right to forgive; she dare not forgive the torturer, even if the child were to forgive him! And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, what becomes of harmony? Is there in the whole world a being who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? I don't want harmony. From love for humanity I don't want it. I would rather be left with the unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a price is asked for harmony; it's beyond our means to pay so much to enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And that I am doing. It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return Him the ticket.”

— Ivan Karamazov
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 14th, 2019, 2:03 pm 

Or, as a great fan of Dostoevsky, Henry Miller -- who signed his early work "The American Dostoevsky" -- put it, much more pithily: If after I die I meet God, I will spit in his face.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 14th, 2019, 8:27 pm 

David

Maybe we will have a thread on Christianity. But for now let me introduce some quick points since you went to so much trouble to create your post.

The first is that Christianity is the expression of a perennial tradition whicf existed from the beginning.

The very thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients also, nor was it wanting]rom the inception if the human race until the coming if Christ in the flesh, at which point the true religion which was already in existence began to be called Christian. -ST. AUGUSTINE, Retractiones


Christendom is concerned with what we DO while Christianity is concerned with what we ARE

"People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works." Meister Eckhart


Christendom has a personal God while Christianity doesn't making the Son as the intermediary necessary.

https://www.cesnur.org/2002/slc/bauer.htm

5. In Simone Weil's life, religion played a dominant role in the years following the mystical epiphanies she experienced in 1938. Long before, however, her wish to partake in the suffering of the distressed led her to a life-style of extreme austerity. It was under these circumstances that, in 1937, Simone Weil became increasingly attracted to Christianity, a religion she considered to be in its true essence a religion of slaves, and therefore in utter contradiction to the actual form it had taken in history. On this assumption, Simone Weil objected against Catholicism -- the denomination she knew best and respected the most --[21] that it had ended by perverting itself for the sake of power. The historical "double stain" on the Church that Simone Weil denounces originates in the fact that Israel imposed on Christian believers the acceptance of the Old Testament and its almighty God, and that Rome chose Christianity as the religion of the Empire.[22] Despite its universal redemptive mission, the Church became from its very beginnings heir of Jewish nationalism and of the totalitarianism inherent in Imperial Rome. As the spiritual locus in which both traditions of power displaced the religion of powerless slaves, Christianity became the actual negation of its own foundational leitmotiv: the self-annulment of divine omnipotence by the godly act of kenosis or self-abasement.


Christendom became a tool of secularism and its need for power which opposes the goal of Christianity which is re-birth.

The Gospels speak mainly of a possible inner evolution called "re-birth". This is their central idea. ... The Gospels are from beginning to end all about this possible self-evolution. They are psychological documents. They are about the psychology of this possible inner development --that is, about what a man must think, feel, and do in order to reach a new level of understanding. ... Everyone has an outer side that has been developed by his contact with life and an inner side which remains vague, uncertain, undeveloped. ... For that reason the teaching of inner evolution must be so formed that it does not fall solely on the outer side of man. It must fall there first, but be capable of penetrating more deeply and awakening the man himself --the inner, unorganized man. A man evolves internally through his deeper reflection, not through his outer life-controlled side. He evolves through the spirit of his understanding and by inner consent to what he sees as truth. The psychological meanings of the relatively fragmentary teaching recorded in the Gospels refers to this deeper, inner side of everyone.

- Maurice Nicoll; The New Man



Christendom and its many branches are man made interpretation of Christianity with the intent on influencing the outer Man. Christianity serves the purpose of awakening the inner man to the purpose of and the conscious potential for its being
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 14th, 2019, 8:45 pm 

David

Tell me, Nick, what kind of God would make a world like this?


The mistake IMO you are making is to judge the purpose of the universe by the suffering taking place within it.

I've learned that the purpose of the universe is revealed in the process of existence rather than the results. Some like Whitehead have tried to understand the process through process theology. I'm not supporting process theology. I'm more in tune with Platonic and Neoplatonic Christianity. But the point is that there are those who don't judge universal purpose by results but by necessity for its laws and the transformation of substances they produce.
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Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 15th, 2019, 10:56 am 

Nick_A » March 15th, 2019, 1:45 am wrote:The mistake IMO you are making is to judge the purpose of the universe by the suffering taking place within it.


But do you know the purpose of the universe?
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 15th, 2019, 11:17 am 

charon » March 15th, 2019, 10:56 am wrote:
Nick_A » March 15th, 2019, 1:45 am wrote:The mistake IMO you are making is to judge the purpose of the universe by the suffering taking place within it.


But do you know the purpose of the universe?


The purpose of anything is defined by what it does. The purpose of a car for example is to provide transportation.

We know that the universe transforms substances. That is what it does so is its purpose. It does so by means of universal laws. The remaining question is why. We know the purpose of the universe but why does it transform substances.
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 15th, 2019, 2:26 pm 

Nick,

There is a difference between purpose and function. The purpose (and function) of a car is to provide transportation, true. We know this because we know cars are designed by humans, for that purpose and function.

Does the heart have a purpose? One might say that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood, but this begs the question. It assumes what must be proved: that the heart was designed to pump blood, by some intelligent agent. The default, parsimonious explanation is the heart has a function only, not a purpose — Hume identified the design fallacy long before Darwin came along.

The idea that the universe has a purpose is wholly unsupported. If it does have a purpose, it must be creating empty, lifeless space, because that is what the universe mostly consists of.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 15th, 2019, 9:02 pm 

davidm » March 15th, 2019, 2:26 pm wrote:Nick,

There is a difference between purpose and function. The purpose (and function) of a car is to provide transportation, true. We know this because we know cars are designed by humans, for that purpose and function.

Does the heart have a purpose? One might say that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood, but this begs the question. It assumes what must be proved: that the heart was designed to pump blood, by some intelligent agent. The default, parsimonious explanation is the heart has a function only, not a purpose — Hume identified the design fallacy long before Darwin came along.

The idea that the universe has a purpose is wholly unsupported. If it does have a purpose, it must be creating empty, lifeless space, because that is what the universe mostly consists of.


So you believe space is empty when your senses cannot experience it. According to you nothing by definition exists above Plato's divided line

https://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/plato1.htm#intro

The Divided Line contains much in a few short paragraphs. As Raven (1965, p. 144) put it: "One of Plato's more baffling tendencies is to condense his writing in proportion as his thought becomes more profound. This particular tendency is especially pronounced throughout the whole of the Divided Line." Whether this condensation is "baffling," or instead a highly productive feature of Plato's literary genius is perhaps an open question. But in any case it is clear that the Divided Line requires attentive reading and reflection.
The Divided Line is supplied at the end of Book 6 of the Republic, with additional remarks in Book 7 (Rep 6.509d–6.511e; 7.533c–7.534b).

The basic features are as follows:

• Using a line for illustration, Plato divides human knowledge into four grades or levels, differing in their degree of clarity and truth. First, imagine a line divided into two sections of unequal length (Figure 1, hash mark C). The upper level corresponds to Knowledge, and is the realm of Intellect. The lower level corresponds to Opinion, and concerns the world of sensory experience. Plato says only that the sections are of "unequal" length, but the conventional view is that the Knowledge section is the longer one.
• Then bisect each of these sections (hash marks B and D). This produces four line segments, corresponding to four cognitive states and/or modes of thinking. From highest to lowest, these are:
o noesis (immediate intuition, apprehension, or mental 'seeing' of principles)
o dianoia (discursive thought)
o pistis (belief or confidence)
o eikasia (delusion or sheer conjecture)


You seem to be one who prefers to limit yourself to opinions arrived at from pistis and dianoia. Others may seek knowledge or the source of opinions by opening to a higher mode of thought through noesis which is rejected by the lower mind. Noesis may discover that empty space is not so empty

I'm a chess player. Assuming that the universe is without conscious purpose and ID just seems to be a lost position. There is no combination which can save it. Universal laws which govern the materiality of our universe cannot arise accidentally. Like it or not, function and purpose exist together. If not the universe cannot reveal the logic that it does
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Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 16th, 2019, 12:58 pm 

Nick_A » March 15th, 2019, 4:17 pm wrote:
charon » March 15th, 2019, 10:56 am wrote:
Nick_A » March 15th, 2019, 1:45 am wrote:The mistake IMO you are making is to judge the purpose of the universe by the suffering taking place within it.


But do you know the purpose of the universe?


The purpose of anything is defined by what it does. The purpose of a car for example is to provide transportation.

We know that the universe transforms substances. That is what it does so is its purpose. It does so by means of universal laws. The remaining question is why. We know the purpose of the universe but why does it transform substances.


What has 'transforming substances' got to do with suffering?
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Re: Conscience

Postby hyksos on March 16th, 2019, 2:49 pm 

davidm » March 14th, 2019, 9:09 pm wrote:I’ve also seen a pregnant elk paddling in water, surrounded, on shore, by wild dogs of some kind. The elk is on the verge of giving birth. Exhausted, it finally approaches shore, even though the dogs are waiting for it, licking their chops. Even before the elk gives up and leaves the water, the dogs bound in, seize it by its neck and back, and drag it onto the shore. They proceed to tear to pieces, and one of the dogs, or jackals, or whatever the hell they were, rips open its womb, and it drags out the about-to-be born sentient baby elk, its slender legs kicking vitally, and then it cavorts off with its prize, seemingly gloatingly, and devours it alive!

Now let’s speak no more of Weil, or Dostoevsky, or third-trimester human abortions, or whatever. If God exists, he’s an evil bastard. Can you imagine some all-powerful and all-knowing Author of All of This looking down at what He wrought and — what? Guzzling beer and laughing?


Anyways... if I could chime in here to try to turn the heated rhetoric down a tad ---

The contingency of this forum is made up of people who genuinely want to make the world a better place. Some of them are so genuine, that they make sure to keep themselves very realistic about the situation. This forum is not a meeting place of nihilists who want to watch the world burn. We really aren't. But I do fear that posts like the one above will confuse and distract from that.

As far as I can make out, you seem to be telling us that if we all get in touch with our soul conscience that the right thing to do in every situation -- the right ethical choice -- will become clear to our minds. I do appreciate the sentiment, and many others who came to the world before you had a similar message.

If you have encountered nihilistic world burners on Philosophy Now!, then I apologize for that. I worry that you are attempting to continue a debate on that forum by coming here and trying to either recruit us , or find a common mind with one of us. Trying to debate those users from a different forum by using this one as a proxy will go no where.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 16th, 2019, 8:41 pm 

Hycos, does this really make sense to you? David was calling me all sorts of names and insinuating I was involved with some nasty people on that forum so I showed him why they hate me more than him. They are against the ideas which I further. Well if the mods are against it and nasty towards these ideas, there is no use staying on. There is no sense in it. My personal interest is in the complimentary relationship of science and the essence of religion as understood by those like Einstein, Simone Weil, Jacob Needleman, Basarab Nicolescu and others. It is emotionally rejected so why fight city hall?

When I learned of Science snd Philosophy Chat Forum I thought it could be ideal. Maybe there are those who are more aware then I am who I can learn from. So far it hasn’t happened. You win some and you lose some but there is no reason to bring a fight over here that never happened. I’m a lover, not a fighter. There is no sense fighting with people who are closed to what is essential for modern Man to survive technology. Einstein’s conception of the Cosmic Man which allows for the unification of science and the essence of religion by opening to the experience of conscience is rejected by those commenting. I’m surprised but that’s how it is. I will remain in support of those who aid our species in becoming human. Without the unification of facts and perspective, science and religion, we may not make it. I’ll go down with the ship knowing I tried.

Simone Weil and Thomas Merton were born in France 6 years apart - 1909 and 1915 respectively. Weil died shortly after Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemani. It is unclear whether Weil knew of Merton, but Merton records being asked to review a biography of Weil (Simone Weil: A Fellowship in Love, Jacques Chabaud, 1964) and was challenged and inspired by her writing. “Her non-conformism and mysticism are essential elements in our time and without her contribution we remain not human.”
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 17th, 2019, 2:23 am 

Nick -

It would be helpful if you were to express what “religion” is and what “science” is. I think you mentioned something about “science” being the pursuit of “truth”? This isn’t strictly true! Science cares not for “truth” as it’s makn job is it relay the “meaning: of reality upon a causal basis. It is a practical discipline grounded in experimentation and measurement bolstered by the use of pure mathematics.

The closest “area” of science to religion in my view is psychology - this should be apparent enougn given that “psyche” adn “soul” have occasionally been used synonymously throughout history. The questions of subjective human existence is not really something science has much to do with directly.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 17th, 2019, 1:30 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 17th, 2019, 2:23 am wrote:Nick -

It would be helpful if you were to express what “religion” is and what “science” is. I think you mentioned something about “science” being the pursuit of “truth”? This isn’t strictly true! Science cares not for “truth” as it’s makn job is it relay the “meaning: of reality upon a causal basis. It is a practical discipline grounded in experimentation and measurement bolstered by the use of pure mathematics.

The closest “area” of science to religion in my view is psychology - this should be apparent enougn given that “psyche” adn “soul” have occasionally been used synonymously throughout history. The questions of subjective human existence is not really something science has much to do with directly.


I accept the normal definition of science:

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.


The essence of religion in contrast supports the human need to experience objective quality in relation to our Source.

Where the value of science is in horizontal time connecting before and after, the essence of religion deals with the objective quality of a moment in vertical time. Where the facts of science are studied in accordance with the laws of duality, the essence of religion is concerned with the study of “being.”

Plato wrote in favor of objective values. Most here would support Protagoras’ assertion that “Man is the measure of all things” so there can be no objective values.

I’ve never had much success discussing this topic. The spirit killers arrive like sharks and begin to tear it apart. It may be different here; I don’t know. I will use this link as a source:

https://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl201 ... alues.html

However I’d like to begin the discussion on objective values in accordance with Plato’s divided line but in a different thread titled “Beauty.” It will invite the comparison between the attraction to fragmentation to reveal the attraction to beauty as described by Richard Feynman and the attraction to the wholeness beauty masks as described by the Christian Platonist Simone Weil. The basic question is if a person can be consciously capable of both approaches simultaneously or must they remain divided as is often the case with increasing secular influences? If we can at least agree that Richard Feynman and Simone Weil have legitimate ideas rather than destroying them with negativity, it is beginning.

If it bombs it bombs but nothing ventured, nothing gained
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Re: Conscience

Postby hyksos on March 17th, 2019, 5:56 pm 

There is no sense fighting with people who are closed to what is essential for modern Man to survive technology.
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Without the unification of facts and perspective, science and religion, we may not make it. I’ll go down with the ship knowing I tried.

We hear you loud and clear. Myself personally, I have met more than a handful of people on the internet who repeat this anti-technology mantra you are repeating here again. "Technology is going to kill all of us!" "Run for the hills!" We should reject technology, clutch our bible and run back into the woods to have another revelation there.

My main problem at this particular juncture is your assertion that you "cant fight" because our minds are "closed to what is essential". Make a new thread on this topic, and you will find we are not closed off to discussing this.

Technology is already creating sociological and economic problems in our society. But again, I will wait until you make a thread on this topic in particular to continue.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 17th, 2019, 7:29 pm 

hyksos » March 17th, 2019, 5:56 pm wrote:
There is no sense fighting with people who are closed to what is essential for modern Man to survive technology.
.
.
.
Without the unification of facts and perspective, science and religion, we may not make it. I’ll go down with the ship knowing I tried.

We hear you loud and clear. Myself personally, I have met more than a handful of people on the internet who repeat this anti-technology mantra you are repeating here again. "Technology is going to kill all of us!" "Run for the hills!" We should reject technology, clutch our bible and run back into the woods to have another revelation there.

My main problem at this particular juncture is your assertion that you "cant fight" because our minds are "closed to what is essential". Make a new thread on this topic, and you will find we are not closed off to discussing this.

Technology is already creating sociological and economic problems in our society. But again, I will wait until you make a thread on this topic in particular to continue.


I can do it but the problem is the same as described in the OP. I have yet to experience people on line who realistically appreciate the danger but prefer instead to blame anything wrong on God or the "other guy" Blind believers and blind deniers are closed to the reality of the human condition creating the problems that we witness.

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=35127&start=0

The problem isn't technology or knowledge in general. The problem is the lack of human perspective in which knowledge can be placed to further "meaning" Technology should further Man but Man is being indoctrinated to further technology leading to the loss of the human need to experience objective meaning.

I've experienced two kinds of people equally dangerous: blind believers and blind deniers. Both IMO are open to becoming victism of technology supporting their blind beliefs and blind denials. Both lead to a dead end.

Plato in the cave allegory asserts we are attached to the shadows on the wall so incapable of experiencing the reality of our inner prison. Can you agree that Man's potential demise is not the fault of technology but in our inability to acquire a human perspective so Man can benefit from technology as opposed being destroyed by it due to our loss of conscience and the ability to be drawn to objective meaning by opening to the "third dimension of thought"
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 18th, 2019, 12:36 am 

Nick -

I can certainly see we have a common thread of interest here. It just may take some time to dig it out. A discussion on rationality and aesthetics is one I always find intriguing.

Again, this is why I believe a thread on Plato may help in terms of how “justice” is approached. Do you have a copy of The Republic?
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 18th, 2019, 2:22 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 18th, 2019, 12:36 am wrote:Nick -

I can certainly see we have a common thread of interest here. It just may take some time to dig it out. A discussion on rationality and aesthetics is one I always find intriguing.

Again, this is why I believe a thread on Plato may help in terms of how “justice” is approached. Do you have a copy of The Republic?


I cannot seem to make myself clear. Respect for life as an attribute of conscience opens the question of love as explained by Diotima to Socrates in the famous "Ladder of Love"

http://www.mesacc.edu/~davpy35701/text/ ... adder.html

It begins with the selective love of bodies and as we see we kill some and nurture others. Understanding rises in quality and finally concludes as the love of beauty and the wholeness of life itself which is a human potential. This is how it connects to the beauty thread and why some seek to dissect beauty while other seek to experience what is behind the mask of beauty. An easier explanation of the ladder can be read here.

https://www.thoughtco.com/platos-ladder-of-love-2670661
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 19th, 2019, 2:17 am 

Nick -

Let’s return to the OP and hopefully ou can better express your thought if we summarize what ou’re saying and faults I see:

The natural question asks if conscience is a reflection of universal reality or social conditioning. Consider a universal reality first. Is the attraction to justice an attraction to a universal reality experienced as soul knowledge or strictly a societal value?


I think this is a faulty question. ‘Conscience’ is neither a black or white concept. The age old question of “nature or nurture” is now seen by most biologists as a roughshod delineation of convenience NOT a black and white reality.

Our ‘humanity’ is expressed in various forms across the globe and it adapts due to discoveries and problems that surface. The ‘unknown’ has no end and this cosmological view has been very much a ‘finite’ existence throughout the greater part of human cultural history (as far as we know). With the advent of The Enlightenment we truly began to depart from the ‘finite’ view of the cosmos and replaced it with an ‘infinite’ view. The rise of the scientific method has led to some disjoint as we adjust from a ‘finite’ and simple cosmological view (full of awe and wonder) into a ‘infinite’ and complex cosmological view (full of awe and wonder).

This is not, to be fair, simply a question of “science” and you rightly framed this as a “technological” issue rather than as a “scientific” one. Even so the advent of sendentary living, of adjusting our ways of life, has led to some shifts in respects to the finitude of our universal view; the “world” (Weltenschauung) remained within our immediate horizon. Today the cosmological view is ‘infinite’. This may at first seem good because possibilities open up for us and humility is an obvious reaction to such unimaginable scale ... and therein lies the problem, we cannot “imagine” infinity yet our rational investigations have led us to this rather unnerving thought (being intuitively incomprehensible).

In the above sense “technology” has certainly equipped us with a sense to focus on empirical measurements as “meaningful” when they are not in and of themselves “meaningful”. By regarding the advances in scientific knoweldge as “meaningful” some are prone to expressing the cosmos as a ‘finite’ scientific endeavor not as a human endeavor once grounded by ‘finite’ regard to the cosmos now blown up into a kind of physical infinity.

From this stance I see the problem between the “Scientist” figure and the “Religious” figure as both being problematic to each other becasue they’re BOTH conflating the realms of thought they general operate in. The “Scientist” is not a worthy replacement for the “Religious” figure and the “Religious” figure is not a worthy replacement for the “Scientist”. Resolving this problem is difficult because BOTH work within an admixture of thought based on precision and causal means yet teh subject matter they deal with is utterly different.

To the “Scientist” the “Religious” figure is only viewed as a poor/idiotic “Scientist,” and to the “Religious” figure the “Scientist” is viewed as a poor/idiotic “Religious” figure. In doing this both ignore the issue of awe for the cosmological perspectives they possess. One more fully immersed in the ‘finite’ and the other in the ‘infinite’.

Anyway, to move onward:

The natural question here is why human being became abnormal and what if anything could allow our personalities to reflect normality or what is natural for the human soul or essence?

It does seem that as technology has advanced we have lost our collective capacity to open to intuition and what it reveals about normality.


Well, Plato was not aware of what we’re aware of today. That is the divide between the human being and environment is merely one of convenience when testing ideas and experimentation. It has lasted because it was a very fruitful point from which to delineate and explore our cosmological perspective/s.

The question fro me is why you think human beings have become “abnormal” and by what methodology of thought have you come to such a conclusion? I can only assume you’re use of “abnormal” is a padticularly subjective one that you’ve neglected to define explicitly?

I guess our “abnormal” state, compared to the rest of the species on Earth, would appear (and I’m assuming quite a bit about other species cognitive abilities here - that I am forever ignorant of) to be we’re able to extend ourselves theough time and set out hypthetical circumstances in the now and contemplate different possible outcomes. As we’ve lived mostly in a finite world (meaning one in which the end of the horizon lies in a set position) all manner of mystery and whimsy came to us naturally as we navigated about the environment mapping out our life as an earthly life not as some “existential” issue. Eventually we’ve abstracted this “map” of being (our “axis mundi” - the reference by which we reference our lives) and gave it physical presence. From there on it appears to me that this inevitably has led to the situation today (we’ve come to this “natural” juncture).

——perhaps I should take a breath and expand this thougth so it is easier to see/understand. I mean that we were not so prone to measure things exactly. We were certainly just as smart now as we were tens of thousands of years ago, yet we were not concerned with quantifying our daily lives yet by making the abstract foundation of our sense of ‘finite’ being physical - by setting out a permanent position physically - we inadvertantly captured this ‘finite’ being and made it the seed of an ‘infinite’ cosmological perspective. You may ask what the hell is this “abstract” idea and where did it come from ... this is the main point. Through “community,” meaning with the World not simply and ONLY other humans, we felt what we are by expression of how we lived (and still do), then abstracted this from the culmination of what is “humanity” and manifested physical forms expressing this - “physical” meaning through emotional and/or practical expression; through dance, crafts, language, hunting and resource management.

This has made humans imbue physical items with a sense of humanity. Empathy and theory of mind are obvious factors that play into this too. If a families home is destroyed they feel a sense of loss beyond the mere physical value, their family “totem” has been disrupted (not destroyed as the “totem” is merely an abstract entity birthed from a shared sense of existence and understood as a culmination of interactions which is then instilled in an admixture of practical and meaningful worldly phyaicality; such as a “home”). In hunter gatherer tribes this kind of thing has been observed in a more extreme circumstance where “magical” items are lost or destroyed sending the whole community into disarray. The “axis mundi” being literally torn apart and the sense of orientation in the world deeply damaged (when destroyed they simply lie down and die). In such situations the ‘finitude’ of being has been revealed to be false and the ‘infinite’ floods in - such a shift is obviously devastating. What has to be understood here is their entire life narrative has been revealed as a “lie” and if it isn’t amended quickly society breaks down.

Conscience is part of this “communal” process. We’re “abnormal” because we can extend ourselves through time ans space more than any other species. Our culture is made physical through stories and language, art and exploration. What we are is a species torn between various points of orientation. We cluster together to bolster our expression of some underlying causal being and forge narratives we call “culture,” “tradition” and/or “method”.

Modern science unconcerned with intuition sees its domain as the source of universal and human meaning.


This is simply untrue. “Science” has no “concern” and neither does “religion”. They are merely abstract expressions of a communal phenomenon, they don’t think nor possess any concerns.

Conscience is a faculty within our being which enables us to FEEL objective value as opposed to indoctrinating or preaching subjective morality.


This is a confused mixture of terms used out of place and you appear to have neglected a useful psychological term here that would’ve helped.

Start with the idea of the “ego”. The “ego” acts against the will of the self sometimes - meaning what we know is good for is in the long run is not something we’re so willing to do in the now (think back to what I said above regarding how we’re a species able to extend ourselves through time and space). Our “conscience” can more simply be expressed as the conscious reflection of moral doubt coming from what we may unconsciously know to be a “good” or “bad” course of action. There is always some kind of compromise to be had (sometimes so small we don’t even notice or consciously bother to measure it).

Another point about the use of “objective” and “subjective”. In these terms you mean “intersubjetcivity” and “subjectiviity” ... and yet again, if you think and look hard and long enough you’ll see that it is not so black and white merely a useful outline from which to begin an investigation.

Also, when it comes to the terms “ethical” and “moral” I find it much more useful to revert to a quickly dying use of these terms to differentiate them. What is “moral” is my authored view, my freedom of choice, whilst what is “ethical” is what is deemed by the masses as a whole to be the “right” choice. No one possesses an “ethical” objective thought because what is ethical is an expression/manifestation of the community tied into various different machinations of society. And remember, even this distinction is one of convenience. To act morally means to do so with some sense of community and to be orientation about some “otherness”. No opint of reference means no ethical meaning, but the moral choice exists first and foremost through how we regard our weltanschauung and with what meaning we imbue the entities of our experience - in more tangible terms game theory, empathy and theory of mind grow, and as we’re extended beings the other can be ourselves, yet I don’t quite see how we have a true sense of “self” if we’re not able to frame another being in the now.

Anyway, chew away on that if you wish.
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Re: Conscience

Postby PaulN on March 19th, 2019, 9:08 am 

Good post, bj. The main barrier to me is understanding what it means to "feel objective value." This is a seeming oxymoronic phrase that NA keeps using. Feeling is, by its nature, subjective.
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 19th, 2019, 12:11 pm 

PaulN » March 19th, 2019, 9:08 pm wrote:Good post, bj. The main barrier to me is understanding what it means to "feel objective value." This is a seeming oxymoronic phrase that NA keeps using. Feeling is, by its nature, subjective.


And I sympathise with it. It is a huge problem. I’ve had the very same kind of arguments with people on opposing sides regarding the use of “objective” and “subjective”. In science the meaning is made explicit, and sadly when it comes to philosophical discourse many don’t bother to reveal the context within which they are using the terms.

I just ask that it be kept in mind that some proposed “absolute” subjective or objective is likely delusional, or simply of limited use within set and defined parameters. It’s certainly messy stuff.
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Re: Conscience

Postby TheVat on March 19th, 2019, 12:37 pm 

There's usually a dropoff in thread participation when someone starts claiming they have tapped into an objective and universal morality while others are mired in subjectivity and somehow out of touch. Especially given that most experience moral choices as embedded in culture and situational context. As Badger noted in his thoughtful essay above, moral conscience is part of a communal process.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I'm not keenly excited ATM.

BTW, I would ask that everyone seek out solid definitions of science before taking it down. Science uses observation and experiment to discover regular patterns and relationships in nature. It does not make ontological or existential claims about meaning or teleology. That's what philosophers attempt to do.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 19th, 2019, 5:36 pm 

BJ

The natural question asks if conscience is a reflection of universal reality or social conditioning. Consider a universal reality first. Is the attraction to justice an attraction to a universal reality experienced as soul knowledge or strictly a societal value?

I think this is a faulty question. ‘Conscience’ is neither a black or white concept. The age old question of “nature or nurture” is now seen by most biologists as a roughshod delineation of convenience NOT a black and white reality.


I begin with the premise of the Great Chain of Being. It connects conscious no-thing with every-thing or fraction of the whole coming into creation at a given level of being. The closer a given fraction of the whole is to the Absolute, the greater its objective value as compared to value being an expression of societal standards. From this perspective objective conscience is what allows us to experience objective value. I’ll post a link to the Great Chain of Being so you know it isn’t an original idea

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Great-Chain-of-Being

Great Chain of Being, also called Chain of Being, conceptionof the nature of the universe that had a pervasive influence on Western thought, particularly through the ancient Greek Neoplatonists and derivative philosophies during the European Renaissance and the 17th and early 18th centuries. The term denotes three general features of the universe: plenitude, continuity, and gradation. The principle of plenitude states that the universe is “full,” exhibiting the maximal diversity of kinds of existences; everything possible (i.e., not self-contradictory) is actual. The principle of continuity asserts that the universe is composed of an infinite series of forms, each of which shares with its neighbour at least one attribute. According to the principle of linear gradation, this series ranges in hierarchical order from the barest type of existence to the ens perfectissimum, or God.

The idea of the chain of being was first systematized by the Neoplatonist Plotinus, though the component concepts were derived from Plato and Aristotle. Plato’s “idea of the good” in the Republic, eternal, immutable, ineffable, perfect, the universal object of desire, is fused with the demiurge of the Timaeus, who constructed the world of becoming because “he was good, and in one that is good no envy of anything else ever arises.” Aristotle introduced a definition of the continuumand pointed out various graded scales of existence. Thus, in the words of Plotinus, in his Enneads, “The one is perfect because it seeks for nothing, and possesses nothing, and has need of nothing; and being perfect, it overflows, and thus its superabundance produces an Other.” This generation of the many from the one must continue until all possible varieties of being in the descending series are realized……………………………...


The question fro me is why you think human beings have become “abnormal” and by what methodology of thought have you come to such a conclusion? I can only assume you’re use of “abnormal” is a padticularly subjective one that you’ve neglected to define explicitly?


Are you familiar with Plato’s Chariot allegory? If you are you know the driver of the chariot is pulled by two horses. The dark horse or our lower nature has become corrupt. The allegory describes the nature of our tripartite soul. What happened to the dark horse is an open debate but it would be foolish not to recognize its deformity. How to cure a sick deformed dark horse? A good question once we see it for what it is.

In the Phaedrus, Plato (through his mouthpiece, Socrates) shares the allegory of the chariot to explain the tripartite nature of the human soul or psyche.
The chariot is pulled by two winged horses, one mortal and the other immortal.
The mortal horse is deformed and obstinate. Plato describes the horse as a “crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow…of a dark color, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.”
The immortal horse, on the other hand, is noble and game, “upright and cleanly made…his color is white, and his eyes dark; he is a lover of honor and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; he needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only.”
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 19th, 2019, 8:57 pm 

Nick -

Yes, I’m well aware of the analogy. More recently these have been re-represented as the devil and angel on the shoulders. Physiologically we now know this represents are base survival instincts and our social adaptation of these instincts. We most certainly cannot “cure” our instincts because to do so would be to “cure” being human (or rather cull humans).

He was using the analogy to express the difference between love and physical lust. It is not a case of “curing” but of learning to understand and control.

I begin with the premise of the Great Chain of Being. It connects conscious no-thing with every-thing or fraction of the whole coming into creation at a given level of being. The closer a given fraction of the whole is to the Absolute, the greater its objective value as compared to value being an expression of societal standards. From this perspective objective conscience is what allows us to experience objective value. I’ll post a link to the Great Chain of Being so you know it isn’t an original idea


I think I know what you are getting at here. Let me attempt to reiterate in a language I find to be more clear ... throughout life we gain experiences and general learn how to avoid mishaps and actions that seem trivial to us in the now (the more instinctual side of our natures) yet over time we move toward some supposed ideal way of living. You seem to be saying this vision of an ‘ideal way of living’ is what we move toward? What gives us our sense of moral value?

The Absolute in terms of human life is only ever an abstract concept. Maybe if you’re religious you believe otherwise, but sadly I, and many others, do not. We’d just have to agree to disagree at that juncture because I know it’s difficult to get someone to accept an idea that removes their “axis mundi” or even shifts it too much.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 19th, 2019, 10:09 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2019, 8:57 pm wrote:Nick -

Yes, I’m well aware of the analogy. More recently these have been re-represented as the devil and angel on the shoulders. Physiologically we now know this represents are base survival instincts and our social adaptation of these instincts. We most certainly cannot “cure” our instincts because to do so would be to “cure” being human (or rather cull humans).

He was using the analogy to express the difference between love and physical lust. It is not a case of “curing” but of learning to understand and control.

I begin with the premise of the Great Chain of Being. It connects conscious no-thing with every-thing or fraction of the whole coming into creation at a given level of being. The closer a given fraction of the whole is to the Absolute, the greater its objective value as compared to value being an expression of societal standards. From this perspective objective conscience is what allows us to experience objective value. I’ll post a link to the Great Chain of Being so you know it isn’t an original idea


I think I know what you are getting at here. Let me attempt to reiterate in a language I find to be more clear ... throughout life we gain experiences and general learn how to avoid mishaps and actions that seem trivial to us in the now (the more instinctual side of our natures) yet over time we move toward some supposed ideal way of living. You seem to be saying this vision of an ‘ideal way of living’ is what we move toward? What gives us our sense of moral value?

The Absolute in terms of human life is only ever an abstract concept. Maybe if you’re religious you believe otherwise, but sadly I, and many others, do not. We’d just have to agree to disagree at that juncture because I know it’s difficult to get someone to accept an idea that removes their “axis mundi” or even shifts it too much.



The Great Chain of Being refers to a vertical universal structure and the being of man is within it at the level of a particular note. It is like a musical scale of eight tones which is an expression of vibration. The universe is like this. Its levels of reality are lawful expressions of vibration in and the densities of matter.

An “ideal way of living” is a secularized interpretation of the conscious aim “to be.” Christendom and other secularized paths would agree with you yet the person who is familiar with the aim of rebirth as the core of esoteric Christianity would understand the importance of Meister Eckhart’s words:

"People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works." Meister Eckhart

Secularism almost by definition must be closed to the idea of the relativity of “being.” What is “being?” How many ever consider the question. Usually being only means life and non being as non existence. Yet the Great Chain of Being which those like Plato and Plotinus referred to suggest the relativity of being and the means for defining objective and subjective quality and value.

What we do is one thing and what we are is another. Secular politics and ethics are concerned with what we do. But there is this hidden concern by some to contemplate what they ARE and be open to experience and admit the human condition as it exists within them by means of efforts to “Know Thyself” to have the conscious experience of oneself rather than justify oneself through imagination.

"Since we are as we are, everything is s it is." This ancient truth explains why everything repeats. But since we are as we are and refuse to admit it, everything repeats

“Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.” Socrates


This is it in a nutshell. We are born capable of a high quality of being, but as we become indoctrinated into society we adopt the same habits and hypocrisy which dominate society so end up with a deformed horse. Socrates and others I respect suggest the means in which the inner and outer man can be as one. But society is against it. Even the relatively obvious ideas suggested by Jesus and Socrates got them killed which had to be. They are intolerable for a world which is compared to life in cave. Society will tell you what to do but suggesting what it means “to be” can get you killed.
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 20th, 2019, 1:04 am 

Nick -

I do get the gist of what you’re saying. I’m not wholly opposed to mysticism, yet I am well aware that when it comes to rational discourse, and communicable language, it becomes a slippery thing easily misconstrued and misunderstood. This is because it is an attempt to express the heart of what is essentially a personal subjective position framed within the knowledge of being among others.

Quite a number of people have considered what “being” means. To name some obvious names, Descartes, Heidegger, Husserl, Wittgenstein, and Satre, not to mention me, you and most people who participate on this forum.

It doesn’t appear we have a similar approach to this subject matter. We may be closer to each other than others here, but still, it is not apparent to how we can continue this discussion in a fruitful manner.

To start with I am not inclined to start using analogies of musical scales and/or to frame “being” as a atomized matter utterly separate from acting (I wouldn’t say in a rational discourse that “doing” and “being” are different items - in terms of mysticism I can grapple more readily with that thought in an abstract and creative manner though).

In simply linguistic convention when we use a verb+ing we mean “acting”/“doing” and “being” is one such instance, so you cannot seriously expect me to accept - in a rational discussion - that “being” is completely disconnected from “doing”? If you do then I don’t see where we can go from here?

If you can see some common ground we can work from let me know. Up to now I’ve only seen some vague hints that we can find such a place. I’m particularly interested in theological discussion tbh
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Re: Conscience

Postby hyksos on March 20th, 2019, 1:37 pm 

Secularism almost by definition must be closed to the idea of the relativity of “being.” What is “being"


What we do is one thing and what we are is another. Secular politics and ethics are concerned with what we do.


Plato’s “idea of the good” in the Republic , eternal, immutable, ineffable, perfect, the universal object of desire, is fused with the demiurge of the Timaeus, who constructed the world of becoming because “he was good, and in one that is good no envy of anything else ever arises.”

A Republic is an ironclad structural pillar of modern secular societies.

Prior to the establishment of democratic republics in the early 20th century, Europe was composed of a collection of monarchical kingdoms and empires. If you go back a few hundred years, to the period between 1500 to about 1780, the Western world was literally a collection of Protestant and Catholic princely fiefdoms. Every feifdom had a state-sponsored church. The Catholic princes slavishly obeyed the hierarchy of bishops of the Catholic Church in Rome.

For western civilization, Republic is defined as a government which is set up to protect the Rights of the individual. A republic will often have a Bill of Rights, or in the case of France, a universal declaration of Rights. See also https://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf

When you keep heaping invective at "Secularism" what this means is that you want our present-day societies to return to a time of state-sponsored churches. Within the same forum thread, you then quote Plato calling for a Republic.

This is inconsistent.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 20th, 2019, 5:05 pm 

hyksos » March 20th, 2019, 1:37 pm wrote:
Secularism almost by definition must be closed to the idea of the relativity of “being.” What is “being"


What we do is one thing and what we are is another. Secular politics and ethics are concerned with what we do.


Plato’s “idea of the good” in the Republic , eternal, immutable, ineffable, perfect, the universal object of desire, is fused with the demiurge of the Timaeus, who constructed the world of becoming because “he was good, and in one that is good no envy of anything else ever arises.”

A Republic is an ironclad structural pillar of modern secular societies.

Prior to the establishment of democratic republics in the early 20th century, Europe was composed of a collection of monarchical kingdoms and empires. If you go back a few hundred years, to the period between 1500 to about 1780, the Western world was literally a collection of Protestant and Catholic princely fiefdoms. Every feifdom had a state-sponsored church. The Catholic princes slavishly obeyed the hierarchy of bishops of the Catholic Church in Rome.

For western civilization, Republic is defined as a government which is set up to protect the Rights of the individual. A republic will often have a Bill of Rights, or in the case of France, a universal declaration of Rights. See also https://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf

When you keep heaping invective at "Secularism" what this means is that you want our present-day societies to return to a time of state-sponsored churches. Within the same forum thread, you then quote Plato calling for a Republic.

This is inconsistent.


Plato's Republic is a description of the human organism as opposed to a real city. It can be said it speaks highly of communism. But at the time it reveals why communism must fail. We are incapable of producing philosopher kings who have experienced the GOOD and can make it a part of society..

Forget about good and bad. Secularism is structured on one level of reality while universqlism is consciously aware of man's connection with influences from higher consciousness necessary for the expression of higher values.

Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace ~ Simone Weil


It isn't that secularism is bad but rather its worldly culture denies the help of grace necessary to actualize its values.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 20th, 2019, 5:37 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 20th, 2019, 1:04 am wrote:Nick -

I do get the gist of what you’re saying. I’m not wholly opposed to mysticism, yet I am well aware that when it comes to rational discourse, and communicable language, it becomes a slippery thing easily misconstrued and misunderstood. This is because it is an attempt to express the heart of what is essentially a personal subjective position framed within the knowledge of being among others.

Quite a number of people have considered what “being” means. To name some obvious names, Descartes, Heidegger, Husserl, Wittgenstein, and Satre, not to mention me, you and most people who participate on this forum.

It doesn’t appear we have a similar approach to this subject matter. We may be closer to each other than others here, but still, it is not apparent to how we can continue this discussion in a fruitful manner.

To start with I am not inclined to start using analogies of musical scales and/or to frame “being” as a atomized matter utterly separate from acting (I wouldn’t say in a rational discourse that “doing” and “being” are different items - in terms of mysticism I can grapple more readily with that thought in an abstract and creative manner though).

In simply linguistic convention when we use a verb+ing we mean “acting”/“doing” and “being” is one such instance, so you cannot seriously expect me to accept - in a rational discussion - that “being” is completely disconnected from “doing”? If you do then I don’t see where we can go from here?

If you can see some common ground we can work from let me know. Up to now I’ve only seen some vague hints that we can find such a place. I’m particularly interested in theological discussion tbh


We appraach the question of universal meaning and purpose from different directions. You seem to prefer inductive bottom up reason while I begin with top down deductive reason. This means I begin with premise of what the universe actually is and verify it by the results of deductive reason. Where Pythagoras Law of Octaves may be meaningles for you, understanding the lawful relationship of vibrations serves to verify the results of deductive reason.

I begin with our conscious universe structured on the Great Chain of Being. This may seem like lunacy to you but read how Jacob Needleman explains it in his book "A Sense of the Cosmos."

http://www.tree-of-souls.com/spirituali ... leman.html

The scale of the universe is awesome. Our sun, which is more than a million times greater in volume than the earth, is, as everyone knows, only a tiny speck in the unimaginable vastness of the Milky Way. Hundreds of billions of such suns make up this galaxy, most of them far greater in size than our own. And the galaxy itself is but a tiny speck among countless billions of galaxies that occupy the cosmos that science perceives.

Each sun is an ocean of energy, one tiny fraction of which is enough to animate the life of our earth and everything that exists upon it.

Every second there pours forth from the Sun an amount of energy equal to four million tons of what we call matter. Since the planets of suns capture so little of this energy, all of outer space is in reality a plenum of force that is largely invisible to us, yet life giving.

To set our minds reeling, it is enough to contemplate the bare distances that astronomy has measured. Light, traveling at 186,000 miles a second takes eight minutes to reach us from the sun--but four years from the nearest star, 27,000 years from the center of the Milky Way, and 800,000 years from the galaxy Andromeda. Yet Andromeda is now considered a member of what is called the local cluster of galaxies, beyond which lie countless stars and groupings of stars thousands of times more distant from us than Andromeda.

It is no exaggeration to say that in this picture of the universe man is crushed. within cosmic time he is less than the blinking of an eye. In size he is not even a speck. And his continued existence is solely at the mercy of such colossal dimensions of force that the most minor momentary change in these forces would be enough to obliterate instantly the very memory of human life.

Ancient man's scale of the universe is awesome, too, but in an entirely different way, and with entirely different consequences for the mind that contemplates it. Here man stands before a universe which exceeds him in quality as well as quantity. The spheres which encompass the earth in the cosmological schemes of antiquity and the Middle Ages represents levels of conscious energy and purpose which "surround" the earth much as the physiological function of an organ such as the heart "surrounds" or permeates each of the separate tissues which comprise it, or as the captain's destination "encompasses" or "pervades" the life and activity of every crewman on his ship.

In this understanding, the earth is inextricably enmeshed in a network of purposes, a ladder or hierarchy of intentions. To the ancient mind, this is the very meaning of the concept of organization and order. A cosmos--and, of course, the cosmos--is an organism, not in the sense of an unusually complicated industrial machine, but in the sense of a hierarchy of purposeful energies.

Here it is important to note that even in terms of physical astronomy ancient man did not use the word "earth" in the way we do. Cosmic phenomena were described, and their laws were expressed in the language, or terminology, of myth, where each key word was at least as "dark" as the equations and convergent series by means of which our modern scientific grammar is built up...

What was the "earth"?

In the most general sense, the "earth" was the ideal plane laid through the ecliptic. The "dry earth," in a more specific sense, was the ideal plane going through the celestial equator...the words "flat earth" do not correspond in any way to the fancies of the flat-earth fanatics who still infest the fringes of our society and who in the guise of a few preacher-friars made life miserable for Columbus...(Moreover), the name "true earth" (or of "the inhabited world") did not in any way denote our physical geoid for the archaics. It apples to the band of the zodiac, two dozen degrees right and left of the ecliptic, to the tracks of the "true inhabitants" of this world, namely, the planets.

We have misunderstood these cosmological schemes of the past. What we call "geocentrism" was never meant to establish the earth merely as the spatial center of the great universe, but principally to communicate its place as an intersection of primary and secondary cosmic purposes and forces. The medieval mystic Meister Eckhart likens the earth to a station of cosmic reality through which there passes all the powers of Creation on their way to complete unfolding. "Earth...lies open to every celestial emanation. All the work and waste of heaven is caught midway in the sink of earth." (3)

In the Hermetic writings the hierarchical structure of the cosmos resembles that of an organism: cell in the service of tissue; tissue in the service of organ; organ in the service of the whole (governed by a supreme consciousness or intelligence). At each level of being there are "gods" or "angels" or, to use less uncomfortable language, "purposeful energies." From this point of view, the ancient spatial descriptions of the cosmos are meant to be understood symbolically.

Likewise, the word "sphere," used in describing the forces and purposes at different levels, is never meant merely to be taken literally. The very idea of the circularity of movement in "the heavens" can be understood to mean not only the encompassing nature of these progressively higher influences, but their eternal nature. The circle is, among many things, a symbol of that which "eternally recurs," that which is not subject to time and change as we know them.

Obviously, there is a great difference between contemplating a universe which exceeds me in size alone or in intricacy alone, and one which exceeds me in depth of purpose and intelligence. A universe of merely unimaginable size excludes man and crushes him. But a universe that is a manifestation of great consciousness and order places man, and therefore calls to him.

So much is obvious, for a conscious universe is the only reality that can include human consciousness. And only when I am completely included by something does the need arise for me to understand my relationship to it in all the aspects of my inner and outer life. Only a conscious universe is relevant to the whole of human life.

Undoubtedly, one contributing factor in our misunderstanding the cosmos of the ancient teachings is our habitual assumption that a conscious universe is somehow more comforting, a psychological crutch. Giorgio de Santillana also speaks to this in Hamlet's mill:

[MAN] is unable to fit himself into the concepts of today's astrophysics short of schizophrenia. Modern man is facing the nonconceivable. Archaic man, however, kept a firm grip on the conceivable by framing within his cosmos an order of time and an eschatology that made sense to him and reserved a fate for his soul. Yet it was a prodigiously vast theory, with no concessions to merely human sentiments. It, too, dilated the mind beyond the bearable, although without destroying man's role in the cosmos. It was a ruthless metaphysics.

"Ruthless" not in the sense of hostile to human hope, ... the universe of the traditional teachings, such as Hinduism and Judaism, is "ruthless" in that it is ruthlessly responsive to what man demands of it and of himself. For whatever man expects from external reality reflects what he asks or fails to ask of himself.

We must explore this thought further, for it can help us to see why the idea of a conscious universe appears to modern man as naive, as either a daydream or a nightmare. Science, as we know it, searches the universe for order and pattern. To pursue this search carefully, objectively, the scientist struggles to be free of his feelings, his inclinations to believe. He may follow hunches--what he calls "intuitions"--but in the final analysis he wishes for proofs that will compel the intellect, and only the intellect. The entire organization of modern science, the community of experimenters and researchers, the teaching of science in the schools, the training of specialists, is based on this ideal of proof that compels the mind.

Looked at in this way, we may conclude that the practice of modern science is based on a demand for human fragmentation, the division between thought and feeling. Searching for an outer unity, the scientist demands of himself an inner disunity. Perhaps "demands" is not the right word. We should simply say that in his practice the scientist endorses the division and inner fragmentation from which all of us suffer in our daily lives.

We now see why a conscious universe makes no sense to modern science. In the ancient teachings, higher mind or consciousness is never identified with thought associations, no matter how ingenious they may be. If these teachings speak of levels of reality higher than human thought, they are referring, among other things, to an order of intelligence that is inclusive of thought. Consciousness is another word for this power of active relationship or inclusion. Can the power to include ever be understood through a process of internal division and exclusion? Fascinated by the activity of thinking, and drawn to it to the extent of psychological lopsidedness, is it any wonder that we modern scientific men almost never directly experience in ourselves that quality of force which used to be called the Active Intellect, and which in the medieval cosmic scheme was symbolized by a great circle that included the entire created universe?




It doesn't matter what secularists or dedicated atheists think of me. My concern is for the young in high schools and universities who are having their normal attraction to eros as described by Plato crushed by negative secular influences. Sometimes a kid surrounded by these spirit killers gets a chance to read a book like :A Sense if the Cosmos" and experience an attraction to a perspective they are naturally drawn to. I see it as a good thing but I am in the minority. It gets in the way of indoctrinating social justice.
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Re: Conscience

Postby hyksos on March 20th, 2019, 6:41 pm 

It doesn't matter what secularists or dedicated atheists think of me. My concern is for the young in high schools and universities who are having their normal attraction to eros as described by Plato crushed by negative secular influences.

Every single nation-state in the contemporary Western world is secular. The only examples of non-secular states that I can think of are Iran and Saudi Arabia.

What definition of "secularist" are you using here?

What is your definition of "secularism"??
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