The human person

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
OK ... it still would have been simpler to say:


"Buddhist doctrine differentiates between 'a human being' and 'a hungry ghost' as referenced here ...

Thomas
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
I also think, in the posts you have made, you do not account for the Christianity differentiation between God-in-Itself (Absolute) and God-in-cosmology (Relative).

We speak of what is generally called "The Ontological Trinity" and The Economic Trinity".

By Ontological Trinity we mean the Trinity in and of itself, regardless of the cosmos, creation, and all the rest, by Economic Trinity (from the Greek oikonomikos which means 'relating to activities' and theologically meaning 'revelation') we mean God as He is known by His activity.

The Ontological Trinity deals with who God is, and the Economic Trinity deals with what God does. There is, for example, a sharp tension between Latin and Orthodox theology. The Orthodox insist God cannot be known in essentia, in His essence, but only according to his energia, in His activities (in which He is immanently present nonetheless), whereas the Latins insist God can be known in essentia.

with regard to the Buddhist example — I refer to it as 'anecdotal' because one could offer exactly the same story from a Christian point of view. How many people crossing the concourse of any train station in the rush hour realise they are "Temples of God"? Not many ... but then I would not determine them as a different species to those who do ... so the term 'hungry ghost' is a qualitative distinction peculiar to the Buddhists. Then again:
Luke 4:19 "To preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised... " Christ came to gather the 'hungry ghosts' to Himself.

I recall someone telling me a Native American wiseman said "everybody's born people. You have to work to become human".

Again, Matthew 8:22 "But Jesus said to him: Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead."

Thomas
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
Dear all —

From my previous posts re the development of the idea of the human person, I'd now like to focus on the distinction between human nature, as something common to the species, and the human person, as a unique individual.

The definition of a person in the Western philosophical tradition is founded on Boethius (480-525), from his work "Against Eutyches and the Nestorians":
'an individual substance of a rational nature' (Naturæ rationalis individua substantia).
Each Latin term is the topic of a discussion in its own right, and will come up for review as we progress, but we should not let that delay us here.

I would be interested in 'definitions' (if such are possible) from other traditional perspectives.

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
I also think, in the posts you have made, you do not account for the Christianity differentiation between God-in-Itself (Absolute) and God-in-cosmology (Relative).

We speak of what is generally called "The Ontological Trinity" and The Economic Trinity".

By Ontological Trinity we mean the Trinity in and of itself, regardless of the cosmos, creation, and all the rest, by Economic Trinity (from the Greek oikonomikos which means 'relating to activities' and theologically meaning 'revelation') we mean God as He is known by His activity.

The Ontological Trinity deals with who God is, and the Economic Trinity deals with what God does. There is, for example, a sharp tension between Latin and Orthodox theology. The Orthodox insist God cannot be known in essentia, in His essence, but only according to his energia, in His activities (in which He is immanently present nonetheless), whereas the Latins insist God can be known in essentia.

with regard to the Buddhist example — I refer to it as 'anecdotal' because one could offer exactly the same story from a Christian point of view. How many people crossing the concourse of any train station in the rush hour realise they are "Temples of God"? Not many ... but then I would not determine them as a different species to those who do ... so the term 'hungry ghost' is a qualitative distinction peculiar to the Buddhists. Then again:
Luke 4:19 "To preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised... " Christ came to gather the 'hungry ghosts' to Himself.

I recall someone telling me a Native American wiseman said "everybody's born people. You have to work to become human".

Again, Matthew 8:22 "But Jesus said to him: Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead."

Thomas

Thomas

Cosmology seeks to put your ontological trinity and economic trinity into a meaningful mathematical relationship that makes the unification of science and religion possible.

Man is a creature within the workings of the economic trinity that is dual purposed: having both an animal and spiritual nature. These dual natures are reconciled within man as a microcosm. We are the wretched man so live as a plurality. The whole concept of the relativity of Man is the difference between man as a plurality, the wretched man, and man as inner unity or the awakened microcosmos, a Son of God.

This is why I prefer to define the human person as a sufficiently awakened microcosmos and fallen man on earth within Plato's cave as a "seed" of evolved man.

"Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God seed into God ." — Meister Eckhart
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
Cosmology seeks to put your ontological trinity and economic trinity into a meaningful mathematical relationship that makes the unification of science and religion possible.
Again I must ask ... who's cosmology? Your argument is vague in the sense that the terms are not defined sufficiently for the other person to get a grasp of what you are trying to say.

What do you mean by 'meaningful mathematical relationship'? The Trinity is One, and it is Three; It is Three, and it is One ... what more meaningful mathematical relationship d'you want?

Remember that mathematics is an abstract model that helps us explain the universe. Numbers are things that don't actually exist: There are three apples, take away one apple, and where is 'three'? Number has no intrinsic existence of its own ... it's a language of relation.

So the question is, what paradigmatic model are you trying to relate the Trinity to?

What 'science'? Empirical science? Metaphysics?

+++

Man is a creature within the workings of the economic trinity that is dual purposed: having both an animal and spiritual nature. These dual natures are reconciled within man as a microcosm. We are the wretched man so live as a plurality. The whole concept of the relativity of Man is the difference between man as a plurality, the wretched man, and man as inner unity or the awakened microcosmos, a Son of God.
Again ... who's model are you referring to. This is neither Christian Trinitarianism, Christian anthropology, nor Christian Cosmology. I'm just seeking clarification, that's all.

This is why I prefer to define the human person as a sufficiently awakened microcosmos and fallen man on earth within Plato's cave as a "seed" of evolved man.
OK. I don't, and Christianity doesn't. And sadly I don't find your thesis very compelling — especially when you couch it in Christian terms, as I find the argument flawed in its basic premise.

I'm trying to get to grips with the 'first fruits' of the world's wisdom, and not with individual reinterpretation of that wisdom. To do that, I would require you to define every term you are using.

I did say, at the outset, that the point of this board is not what 'I' believe — the rest of IO is for that, but what a given doctrine believes.

As you reference Christian one minute, Buddhist the next, Hindu the next ... I'd rather get to grips with them, not a syncretic or synthetic understanding. Hope that makes sense.

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
If you remember, I began a thread on the Transcendent Unity of Religions based on Schuon's book by the same name which asserted that religions have a common origin that devolves into the various exoteric forms we see IN the world. There are a minority of people that believe it to be true and seek the esoteric or inner path within all traditions that gradually awaken us to our transcendent origin.

Much of theology deals with interpretations on the exoteric level which is why all I am aserting here are indications to the idea of man's relativity of being where the seed becomes what it is a seed of.

Jesus describes the process in John 12

23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Esoteric Christianity is this way so it is sufficient for this board just to explain that Man is like a caterpillar that can go through a process and become a different quality of being. In Man's case the process is conscious

Esoteric Christianity, Dwight Ott - alternative Christianity

All parables in the Gospels contain layers of meaning, which are gradually revealed as one changes in understanding and in being. Ordinarily, people read only on a mechanical (literal) level and imagine that they understand all that is there. This is the letter that kills, - not the spirit that gives life. Jesus' message is not contained in the words he spoke or in the later words written in the gospels. These only point to the meaning, the understanding, which is above the literal, beyond language...that can only be received by those who have ears and eyes.

Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is available immediately and that it is within the person. It is not "here nor there" as a literal place. If the word "kingdom" is updated to modern usage it means "state" (not a literal state, but a psychological or spiritual state). Heaven is perfect order. So the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus taught indicates a higher state of conscious order, which is not to be entered after death, but during life. It cannot be entered by calling, "Lord, Lord," or by tradition. Few people ever see or hear beyond the conditioned structure of their cultural system. Still, the teaching is there, in the Gospels, beyond the words, - beyond historical and traditional interpretation and prejudice, - available only to those who seek for it from an inner need for truth and light.

Esoteric Christianity is not exclusive of truth in other cultures and religions. The Truth, (Christ) exists universally within all things. The Life, (Christ) conquers death and dispels the darkness of ignorance, partiality, vanity, and pride. The Way, (Christ) is transformation from a low state of being to what one is in truth.

Largely ignored by church teaching is the sevenfold nature of all things, spoken of many times in scripture, from the seven days of creation to the seven seals of Revelation. This is the law of transformation, - of creation.

7. understanding (comprehension)
6. knowledge (science and conscience) {-- KINGDOM
5. receptivity (directed attention)

4. intellect (conditioned thought / metanoia) { -- CHANGE

3. emotion (automatic feeling)
2. senses (physical senses) { -- ORDINARY HUMANITY
1. superstition (imagination)

The Bible, or anything else, can be approached through any of the seven levels. It is only with metanoia, - a change from automatic, conditioned thinking, to conscious thought, that an entrance into the higher levels (the Kingdom of Heaven) can be made. John the Baptist was at the pivotal point, but had not entered. Jesus said John was the greatest of once-born men, but that the least in the kingdom was greater. So this state has levels. Levels 1, 2, and 3 are those of ordinary humans. Level 4 is the dividing line between unconscious, conditioned thinking and the birth of a new process of thought that is conscious. Levels 5, 6, and 7 are the levels of the kingdom, -- the highest potential of humanity where there is peace, order, and unity. Lower humanity falsely believes it has the higher qualities of real experience, real knowledge, and real understanding, thus it sees no need for effort to change.

This relative understanding of Man and Christianity exists within the church but the exoteric level has no use for it. Defining the human person has to be considered within seven levels to become meaninful I place it here since levels of relity exist within all the traditions in one way or another as Schuon has pointed out
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
Hi Nick —

If you remember, I began a thread on the Transcendent Unity of Religions based on Schuon's book by the same name which asserted that religions have a common origin that devolves into the various exoteric forms we see IN the world.
OK, I'm with you now.

But that 'common origin', whatever it may be, is inaccessible to man, and is only accessible through the revealed religions. We may speculate about it, but the data on which we base our speculations is revealed through the traditions.

There is no actual meta-religion, nor is there any means by which man may bypass religion and get to the 'trascendent unity' — he can certainly bear that in mind in our interfaith discussions, but Schuon is not inventing or revealing a new religion, indeed it would need to be a meta-religion.

This is the claim made by people like the Bahai's and the Theosophical Association, and Schuon and the other voices of the Sophia Perennis are in accord in the rejection of such notions. Indeed Guénon has written a devastating critique of such movements in Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion and The Spiritist Fallacy.

There are a minority of people that believe it to be true and seek the esoteric or inner path within all traditions that gradually awaken us to our transcendent origin.
I'm sure they are ... but as Schuon himself asserts without any shadow of doubt, there is no access to the 'inner esoteric path' of tradition except through allegiance to the outer exoteric forms.

Much of theology deals with interpretations on the exoteric level ...
Indeed it does, but then that's in the nature of things.

But that's the very point of this board — I'm referencing authors who are not exoteric. That was the point of 'going deep' on this board, which invariably does not happen on the others.

A last point:

A good clue to a real Christian esoterism is to look for reference to the Holy Spirit — where there is none, there is no authentic esoterism.

The long text you quote is just more sub-Christian cosmology. You don't need 'Christ' in there to make that work, it's mostly common sense — certainly nothing revealed or esoteric. It's just psychology.

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Hi Nick —


OK, I'm with you now.

But that 'common origin', whatever it may be, is inaccessible to man, and is only accessible through the revealed religions. We may speculate about it, but the data on which we base our speculations is revealed through the traditions.

There is no actual meta-religion, nor is there any means by which man may bypass religion and get to the 'trascendent unity' — he can certainly bear that in mind in our interfaith discussions, but Schuon is not inventing or revealing a new religion, indeed it would need to be a meta-religion.

This is the claim made by people like the Bahai's and the Theosophical Association, and Schuon and the other voices of the Sophia Perennis are in accord in the rejection of such notions. Indeed Guénon has written a devastating critique of such movements in Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion and The Spiritist Fallacy.


I'm sure they are ... but as Schuon himself asserts without any shadow of doubt, there is no access to the 'inner esoteric path' of tradition except through allegiance to the outer exoteric forms.


Indeed it does, but then that's in the nature of things.

But that's the very point of this board — I'm referencing authors who are not exoteric. That was the point of 'going deep' on this board, which invariably does not happen on the others.

A last point:

A good clue to a real Christian esoterism is to look for reference to the Holy Spirit — where there is none, there is no authentic esoterism.

The long text you quote is just more sub-Christian cosmology. You don't need 'Christ' in there to make that work, it's mostly common sense — certainly nothing revealed or esoteric. It's just psychology.

Thomas

I don't know if we disagree or not. The potential disagreement is how we perceive level 4 or the point of change: metanoia. It is not possible without the Spirit or as is said in the song Amazing Grace. "once was blind but now I see.

Christendom as with all secular religious paths uses the emotional energy natural for earthly emotion to imagine the results of the spirit or spiritual energy. This is why there is so much friction between paths since emotional energy has taken the place of the Spirit. Transcendent Interfaith is based on experiential heart knowledge of the Spirit. Father Sylvan puts it nicely in Jacob Needleman's book "Lost Christianity" Someone posted an excerpt so I'll borrow from his efforts:

Jacob Needleman on the soul The Search For Integrity

Jacob Needleman, Lost Christianity : quoting “Father Sylvan”
Sensitivity to the qualities of energy is the one and only touchstone for determining the level or authenticity of Christian practices. The disciplined way of living, ideas, practices, that enable an individual to acquire this sensitivity in the whole of himself stands as the esoteric tradition at the heart of every revelation. Only there may one speak of the unity of all the religions of the world. Every other attempt to identify similarities among religions is false ecumenism.

Where the secular religions including Christendom are concerned with what we do, Father Sylvan expresses the ancient idea of the quality of energy itself that enables us "to be."

Metanoia makes us aware of this difference. Unfortunately without practice it devolves into normal emotional expression and becomes lost while inviting endless arguments.

The human person is the conscious evolutionary result of the Spirit while man in Plato's cave is the result of emotional energy responding to conditioning that changes between positive and negative expression allowing us to perform on one day with true compassion and with the most vile cruelty on the next and of course all is justified.
I will agree with you that without the Spirit all of this is modern psychology. However genuine metanoia that remains open to the Spirit without the need to interpret it is a psychology of a far deeper more genuine origin because it doesn't judge but teaches us how to remain inwardly open to receive the spirit.
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
Hi Nick —

I don't know if we disagree or not. The potential disagreement is how we perceive level 4 or the point of change: metanoia. It is not possible without the Spirit or as is said in the song Amazing Grace. "once was blind but now I see.
That is my point. With no reference to Christ or the Holy Spirit, the model presented is a generic psychological pattern, and somewhat general at that — emotion/senses/superstition are not faculties within humanity, they are products of the faculties.

If we were talking esoteric or, as I would prefer, mystical, I would suggest the following:

The lower three:
1: The Will
2: The Intellect
3: The Senses
(I would suggest these three are the source of the 1-3 listed)

4: Metanoia
This is not a position arrived at by unaided reason, it is not a psychological disposition but an infused condition, an illumination of the whole person, all three faculties, by the inspiration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The higher three:
5: Faith
6: Hope
7: Caritas
These are the Theological Virtues and are the infused virtues of their respective faculties:
Faith corresponds to the Will
Hope corresponds to the Intelelct
Love corresponds to the Senses

On other matters:
Needleman's book (Lost Christianity) is richer and more subtle than I have suggested. The author, after all, is an expert on the contemplative writings of most of the world's religions, including Christianity. This makes one particular omission for the book especially glaring. There is no mention of the Virgin Mary. Connected with this fact is another: there is very little mention of Jesus Christ, except as a historical personage, the founder of the religion that bears his name. The two facts are connected because it is Mary who gives us Jesus Christ as a real presence. It is she who stands at the center of the incarnational system the spiritual ecology of the sacraments, and it is she — the heart of the Church — who initiates us into true "esoteric Christianity."
From In search of the miraculous, by Stratford Caldecott

Needleman is fascinated with catholic, orthodox Christianity. One can say that the book is both an explanation of his unhappy love affair with that ideal and a search for the people and places where possibilities exist for that old faith to give meaning to the new humanity. Whereas people like Needleman embody humanity’s futile search, they still hope to find their home in the mother Church and the catholic, orthodox teachings. With a discovery of the human self, or the soul, the "intermediate man" can take effect and give greater meaningfulness to lower reality. How the soul in fact achieves that one cannot know, but there is reason to believe that it happens through meditative gnosis a la Gurdjieff and Father Sylvan.

The Holy Spirit never appears on Needleman’s horizon. Whereas he seeks the spirit as mankind’s great possibility, he does not acknowledge the Holy Spirit as God’s bridge to us all — to all of our pre-Christian, subhuman, low misery.

That is so much the more strange since Needleman begins Lost Christianity with a powerful interview with metropolitan Anthony Blum who indirectly gives him the answer to all of his searching. "The proper response to love is to accept it. There is nothing to do. The response to a gift is to accept it. Why should you wish to do anything?" (p. 33).
from a review of Lost Christianity by Dr. Johannes Aagaard, Aarhus University, Denmark.

The highlights I think, are telling: How can one discuss esoteric Christianity without Christ? Without the Theology of the Mystical Body? (see Innerexplorations).

I am not surprised that, in the absence of everything between the Theotokos and the Blessed Trinity, in the absence of an understanding of hypostatic union, then all one can do is fall back on psychologisms ...

Indeed, Needleman's necessity to apparently 'create' a Fr Sylvan — possibly his alter-ego? an expedient fiction? — asks a number of telling psychological questions.

This seems to be the tragedy and the 'problem' for the likes of Needleman and indeed Weil — two people who write and speak about Christianity, who are 'fascinated' by it, drawn inexorably towards it, but yet are not Christians, never embraced it, and why? One suspects that they cannot just simply accept the love of God as transformative, but insist on constructing intellectual edifices that forever keep them separate from that which they seek.

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Hi Thomas

Are you suggesting that these three correspond to the # 1,2,3 that you list?

3. emotion (automatic feeling)
2. senses (physical senses) { -- ORDINARY HUMANITY
1. superstition (imagination)

The lower three:
1: The Will
2: The Intellect
3: The Senses
(I would suggest these three are the source of the 1-3 listed)

You seem to be associating will with imagination. I would rather associate desire with imagination. Is a response to desire an act of will. Many would think so but I would only define human will in relation to the non-illusory.

I don't regard physical sensations as intellectual. A clam responds through sensation. No intellect seems to be needed here.

You seem to be associating sensations with emotions yet they are different but easy to confuse. We say that we feel cold when what we mean is that we sense cold. To feel cold and sense cold are different experiences.

4: Metanoia
This is not a position arrived at by unaided reason, it is not a psychological disposition but an infused condition, an illumination of the whole person, all three faculties, by the inspiration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Agreed. It is putting new wine into new bottles.

Faith corresponds to the Will
Hope corresponds to the Intellect
Love corresponds to the Senses


I understand the sacred impulses of faith, hope, and love to differ primarily if they reflect consciousness or not. The faith OF Christ for example is a conscious faith that is an attribute of evolved human being. Christ was a conscious being. Faith IN Christ is a mechanical conditioned faith. Even though the disciples had faith IN Christ, they did not have the faith OF Christ which he was trying to awaken them to.

It is this higher faith that allows us to be receptive to grace rather than block it as we always do by our attachment to the world which deny us will and keep us as creatures reacting to desire.

The Holy Spirit never appears on Needleman’s horizon. Whereas he seeks the spirit as mankind’s great possibility, he does not acknowledge the Holy Spirit as God’s bridge to us all — to all of our pre-Christian, subhuman, low misery.

That is so much the more strange since Needleman begins Lost Christianity with a powerful interview with metropolitan Anthony Blum who indirectly gives him the answer to all of his searching. "The proper response to love is to accept it. There is nothing to do. The response to a gift is to accept it. Why should you wish to do anything?" (p. 33).

Of course he acknowledges it but also acknowledges that we are not open to the Spirit. Yes Metropolitan Anthony Blum says just that but we go on to see by experience how far we are from it. We simply cannot accept it. If we could we would be capable of what Simone suggests:

Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude. –Simone Weil (Gravity and Grace, p.55)

Job could do this but we cannot. The question then is how to become open rather than imagining God or a faith in God. As the wretched man, we are one way at one moment and another way on the next. We have no inner unity to have a relationship with God since in our darkness we are closed to grace. Prayer is a means of becoming open.

Prof Needleman avoids using words like the Spirit so as not to diminish it in the reader that automatically creates associations. He is not telling you what to think but rather illuminating the problem of the human condition. I remember a passage in the book that states that there are no esoteric thoughts but only esoteric thinking. This means to me is an open pondering without asociative thought that invites the Spirit.

From the book:

It is extraordinary to think how much of the intellectual activity of man is actually a beginning contact with this force, this third person of the Holy Trinity. All efforts to think, being the call for confrontation between levels, are a first step towards the prayer to the holy reconciliation of presence. Thought begins with seeing, but ends, unfortunately, with the slavery to the mechanisms of conceptualization. Out of these conceptualizations, which are only the records left in the nervous system by moments of seeing, and which are needed as instruments of the energy of the spirit existing in the world, or the lower reality - out of these neural results of the spirit man erroneously tries to imitate the work of the spirit. but only the spirit can do the work of the spirit.
This is the danger of theology. It invites just these distortions since it can either be without the energy of the spirit when written or read without being open to the Spirit. It is senseless to argue these things because to truly begin to distinguish how we lose the spirit in argument requires the conscious intent to be open. We see how rare this is from the development of so many different forms of Christendom that have succeeded in denying the Spirit.

Actually my own experiences with the captivating force of righteous indignation has had me thinking more about the importance of "Apatheia" as explained by Evagrius Ponticus since it directly concerns how these negative emotions within us including me. deny the spirit and keep us as we are. If you're game for it, I could start a thread. It wouldn't attract many though even if it concerns the benefits of detachment known in the Eastern traditions since it requires admitting essentially that we normally are in the psychological darkness of Plato's cave. As we know, this goes over like a lead balloon. but even so, I believe it is necessary for anyone attracted to the essence of Christianity rather than the glitz, to come to grips with what we ARE and how the spirit can help us rather then justify our fantasies..
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
Hi Nick —

Are you suggesting that these three correspond to the # 1,2,3 that you list?
I'm saying in traditional psychology, emotion is a function of the will, and imagination is a function of the intellect. The senses respond to empirical data in a bodily or sensible fashion.

Whilst there is an argument of primacy — the Franciscans and Dominicans famously argued over the priority of the will and the intellect — all agree that the intellect does not move the individual, it just casts its light ahead. It is the will that moves the person, whether towards the light, it's own light, or some supposed light, is another matter.

Eriugena's 'esoteric' reading of John 20:3-8 sheds light on this. For him, John is the intellect, Peter the will, and the interplay between them, when informed after the crucifixion that the tomb is empty, is telling:

"Peter (will) therefore went out, and that other disciple (John — intellect), and they came to the sepulchre."
At this stage both are 'in the dark' with regards to what has happened, but the will moves, the intellect casts its light in the direction dictated by the will, and thus can illuminate the darkness of the non-understanding of reasonable and natural things by its own light (its reasoning faculty), but it cannot illuminate the supernatural. Only the will can move into unchartered waters, the intellect, by its very nature, can only light the way for the will to go, it does not move under its own steam.

"And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre."
Once given direction by the will — to get to the tomb — the intellect flies ahead, because it holds a picture of the tomb to itself before it gets there.

"And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in"
Again, the intellect meets the occluded, the darkness of unknowing, and cannot proceed — it sees the dark, as it were, but cannot enter the dark.

"Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre,"
So the will "rushes in where angels fear to tread" — because only by an act of will can man overcome his preternatural fear of the dark, his instinct for survival. In that moment, which you would call blind faith, the will has entered into the heart of the Mystery.

"... and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place"
All this data is delivered to the intellect to make something off ... (the will does not 'think', the will 'does')

"Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed."
So the intellect is taken to a place it would not go by the will, and draws on the data there ... like a good CSI, he realised this was not a case of grave-robbery or despoilation ... something supernatural had happened and the place was left, neat and tidy ... but the body was gone.

+++

The faith OF Christ for example is a conscious faith that is an attribute of evolved human being.
Sorry, but this is psychobabble to me. Christ is the Incarnate Son of God. You either read Scripture and believe that, or you read Scripture and don't, in which case, walk away, find something else which works for you. 'Divine Union', 'Grace', are not evolutions of human nature, they are supernatural gifts.

But reading claims of an 'evolved human being' in Scripture is pure invention. It's no different from a reading of the text to show that Christ is an alien from a distant galaxy.

+++

Of course he acknowledges it ...
Well patently, he doesn't.

Prof Needleman avoids using words like the Spirit so as not to diminish it in the reader that automatically creates associations.
That's offensive and insulting suggestion. He holds a pretty low opinion of his readership, don't you think, that they cannot aspire to his intellectual height, so it's not even worth trying to explain himself?

I don't think so, I think Needleman would be annoyed by your suggestion.

... but also acknowledges that we are not open to the Spirit.
No, he can acknowledge that he is not open, and indeed, he has met people who are open, by his own testimony, and who offer a solution, one that he can't accept.

Yes Metropolitan Anthony Blum says just that but we go on to see by experience how far we are from it.
'We'? ... You can only speak for yourself.

We simply cannot accept it. If we could we would be capable of what Simone suggests:
"Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude. –Simone Weil (Gravity and Grace, p.55)
Well here's my psychobabble response: I think Weil had guilt issues. She left her religion, and suffered guilt; and then couldn't embrace Christianity because she felt guilty about her Judaism. I mean, heck, the Jews invented guilt, ask any Jewish author or commedian, it's their whole schtick! Ask Philip Roth, ask ... I mean, we Catholics are pretty big on it too, don't get me wrong, but boy, credit where credit is due, there's nothing a Catholic can teach a Jew about guilt!

She left France, and suffered guilt, so she starved herself out of guilt ... I think she said the above because she felt guilty about being happy when she wasn't suffering.

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Thomas

Well here's my psychobabble response: I think Weil had guilt issues. She left her religion, and suffered guilt; and then couldn't embrace Christianity because she felt guilty about her Judaism. I mean, heck, the Jews invented guilt, ask any Jewish author or commedian, it's their whole schtick! Ask Philip Roth, ask ... I mean, we Catholics are pretty big on it too, don't get me wrong, but boy, credit where credit is due, there's nothing a Catholic can teach a Jew about guilt!

She left France, and suffered guilt, so she starved herself out of guilt ... I think she said the above because she felt guilty about being happy when she wasn't suffering.

In all due respect, I believe you are trying to understand the "calling" by secular standards. You simply cannot do it with people like Simone. This is one of my favorite quotes of Meister Eckhart. We simply cannot understand these people like Simone. We don't have that light yet to recognize it in another so try and analyze by secular standards. It cannot lead anywhere but is rampant in secularism.

"Pity them my children, they are far from home and no one knows them. Let those in quest of God be careful lest appearances deceive them in these people who are peculiar and hard to place; no one rightly knows them but those in whom the same light shines" Meister Eckhart

I know this to be true which is why I know guilt has nothing to do with it. Guilt is denial and Simone needed to "affirm."

Simone Weil - explorefaith

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Born in Paris in 1909, Simone Weil was “peculiar,” to use biographer David McLellan’s term, almost from birth. At the age of three, for example, she supposedly refused a cousin’s gift of an expensive ring by saying, “I do not like luxury.” And just two years later, with the outbreak of the war in 1914, she gave up sugar and other hard-to-find foods as an act of solidarity with the soldiers. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]As Weil would later admit, her belief in the value of sacrifice was shaped in great part by a story she heard as a child. Sitting at the bedside of her three-and-a-half-year old daughter, who was in the hospital recovering from surgery for appendicitis, Selma Weil entertained Simone with the tale “Marie in gold and Marie in tar.” As Weil friend and biographer Simone Pétrement explains, [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The heroine of this fairy tale, who was sent by her stepmother into the forest, reaches a house where she is asked whether she wants to enter by the door in gold or the door in tar. ‘For me,’ she replies, ‘tar is quite good enough.’ This was the right answer and a shower of gold fell on her. When her stepmother saw her bring back gold, she then sent her own daughter into the forest. But when asked the same question, her daughter chose the golden door and was deluged with tar.” [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]For Weil, “tar”—whether in the form of physical suffering or intellectual obscurity—was always “quite good enough.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]A precocious child who was memorizing passages from Cyrano de Bergerac at the age of five and calling herself a Bolshevik by age ten, Simone Weil nevertheless saw her own abilities as mediocre compared to those of her mathematically gifted brother, André, who was older by almost three years. “The exceptional gifts of my brother, who had a childhood and youth comparable to those of Pascal, brought my own inferiority home to me,” she wrote in a letter to Father Perrin shortly before leaving France in 1942. “I did not mind having no visible successes, but what did grieve me was the idea of being excluded from that transcendent kingdom to which only the truly great have access and wherein truth abides.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]This lack of self-esteem notwithstanding, Weil was a brilliant student of philosophy, becoming an academic legend even before completing her work at the École Normale Supérieure in 1931. It was also during her years at the university that Weil became politically active, particularly on issues of peace and economic justice. So intense was her commitment, in fact, that many of her classmates found her “extremely off-putting.” As an illustration, David McLellan cites the following comment from a fellow student: “We tried to avoid her in the corridors because of the blunt way she had of confronting you with your responsibilities by asking for your signature on a petition . . . or a contribution for some trade union strike fund.” Though remembered by many for her humor and kindness, Simone Weil was nonetheless seen as a misfit—socially inept, physically awkward, and given to a style of dress that confirmed this negative image.[/FONT]
[/FONT]

Simone was always the opposite. One man remarked that with most they seem attractive at the beginning until you get to see the deeper side. With Simone she was initially unattractive but once getting beyond that, one bcame aware of her deep inner beauty.

As a side note, the author is in error since she didn't look into the void but rather experienced the world with detachment while maintaining her contact with the void.

But the bottom line is that she wasn't guilty but inwardly aware of the human condition but too young to have the perspective to put it in. Her life was based on acquiring attentive perspective. It is a spiritual/conscious calling that is shunned by society yet essential for our spiritual part and to Christianity.

Imagination takes place in the emotion as well. It is a function of the intellect that is taking the place of the necessary function of conscious attention
John 22
39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." 41He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c]
45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."
The text doesn't refer to taking a nap but rather the psychological sleep of imagination. Jesus calls them to awaken to conscious attention.
Sorry, but this is psychobabble to me. Christ is the Incarnate Son of God. You either read Scripture and believe that, or you read Scripture and don't, in which case, walk away, find something else which works for you. 'Divine Union', 'Grace', are not evolutions of human nature, they are supernatural gifts.

But reading claims of an 'evolved human being' in Scripture is pure invention. It's no different from a reading of the text to show that Christ is an alien from a distant galaxy.

No not a distant galaxy but from a level above.

Grace for us is a divine gift since we live in darkness but God's love permeates the universe. It is we who deny it. IMO you deny the human condition by believing we can be open to grace whenever we want to. You underestimate our resistance. It is not a matter of reading scripture but of admitting ourselves. I am willing to admit how closed I am and a victim of imagination. Socrates was willing to admit he knew nothing. It is to our advantage to do so in respect to becoming open
That's offensive and insulting suggestion. He holds a pretty low opinion of his readership, don't you think, that they cannot aspire to his intellectual height, so it's not even worth trying to explain himself?
What in you is offended and insulted? You might be surprised when you witness it rather than be just become it.

Jacob Needleman doesn't give answers but helps us to raise questions. This book is an account of his search: his questions. It took me a long time to realize that the value of a finding sincere questions is worth far more then arguing answers.
Simone put it this way:
"In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs."
Some argue answers and others seek the experience of the question and to intensify it so as to invite help from above. We have to ask ourselves this: What do we want, justification or reality? Our personality wants to be justified and our budding soul craves the vertical reality. For reality we have to become able to "ask" in order to receive. But this requires sincere questions from the depths of our being and not expressions of conditioned ego frustrations.
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
In all due respect, I believe you are trying to understand the "calling" by secular standards.
Quite the reverse. It is I who insists that the "calling" is the word of the Lord, the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:21) written in the very depths of our being (cf Acts 17:28, Matthew 25:34, Ephesians 1:4...).

It is His voice only I seek, for "the Lord is my helper" (21 times in Scripture) and "there is no other" (I lost count...). "The Lord is my rock, and my strength, and my saviour" (2 Kings 22:2).

My faith is this: "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39).

If you will speak to me of 'esoteric Christianity' then speak of Him, and no other, for "with men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26) ... do not speak to me of a "gnosis falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20) that seeks to put a barrier between His love and me.

For myself, at this point, this conversation has exhausted itself.

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Quite the reverse. It is I who insists that the "calling" is the word of the Lord, the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:21) written in the very depths of our being (cf Acts 17:28, Matthew 25:34, Ephesians 1:4...).

It is His voice only I seek, for "the Lord is my helper" (21 times in Scripture) and "there is no other" (I lost count...). "The Lord is my rock, and my strength, and my saviour" (2 Kings 22:2).

My faith is this: "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39).

If you will speak to me of 'esoteric Christianity' then speak of Him, and no other, for "with men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26) ... do not speak to me of a "gnosis falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20) that seeks to put a barrier between His love and me.

For myself, at this point, this conversation has exhausted itself.

Thomas

That 's OK. Remember that I believe that Christianity can serve as one of the unifying principles of science and religion. Einstein said that
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." This is true and lame science is a fast way to our mutual destruction.
As far as I'm concerned Christianity has already begun to create the objective relationship. I support its efforts if for no other reason then I believe the future of our race may depend on it. As usual Simone Weil was far ahead of her time for establishing the proper relationship

I believe that one identical thought is to be found--expressed very precisely and with only slight differences of modality-- in. . .Pythagoras, Plato, and the Greek Stoics. . .in the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita; in the Chinese Taoist writings and. . .Buddhism. . .in the dogmas of the Christian faith and in the writings of the greatest Christian mystics. . .I believe that this thought is the truth, and that it today requires a modern and Western form of expression. That is to say, it should be expressed through the only approximately good thing we can call our own, namely science. This is all the less difficult because it is itself the origin of science. Simone Weil....Simone Pétrement, Simone Weil: A Life, Random House, 1976, p. 488
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
As usual Simone Weil was far ahead of her time for establishing the proper relationship
Ah, Nick, Nick ...

There is nothing in that quote that hasn't been said by philosophers for over a thousand years, and better and more accurately said, too, might I add.

Plato has Socrates offer the analogy of 'the divided line' (Book VI of The Republic). Aristotle calls it the "first philosophy" or "the study of being qua being", or "wisdom", or "theology" ... it goes on from there.

I understand that you are in awe of her, I was in awe of Schuon ... but we must learn to step back, and get a perspective, that's what philosophical objectivity is all about. A philosopher must not let his devotion to his master obscure the truth that we are all fallible.

If you have discovered anything in Weil that is 'new', 'original' or a 'breakthrough', then go back, hunt it down, look again at the Masters, from Plato on, and I'll bet a penny to a pound that you'll find, to your amazement and delight, that it was there all along. It'll be illuminating, I promise you.

(I've never really studied 'the divided line' analogy. Now, in just a glance, I can see how it underscores the 'multiple states of being' in both oriental and occidental metaphysics ... Philosophy! Don't you just love it?)

Thomas
 

Nick_A

Interfaith Forums
Messages
2,264
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Ah, Nick, Nick ...

There is nothing in that quote that hasn't been said by philosophers for over a thousand years, and better and more accurately said, too, might I add.

Plato has Socrates offer the analogy of 'the divided line' (Book VI of The Republic). Aristotle calls it the "first philosophy" or "the study of being qua being", or "wisdom", or "theology" ... it goes on from there.

I understand that you are in awe of her, I was in awe of Schuon ... but we must learn to step back, and get a perspective, that's what philosophical objectivity is all about. A philosopher must not let his devotion to his master obscure the truth that we are all fallible.

If you have discovered anything in Weil that is 'new', 'original' or a 'breakthrough', then go back, hunt it down, look again at the Masters, from Plato on, and I'll bet a penny to a pound that you'll find, to your amazement and delight, that it was there all along. It'll be illuminating, I promise you.

(I've never really studied 'the divided line' analogy. Now, in just a glance, I can see how it underscores the 'multiple states of being' in both oriental and occidental metaphysics ... Philosophy! Don't you just love it?)

Thomas

Thomas

It has all been said before in one form or another as rightly pointed out in Ecclesiastes. Because science has advanced in our time, the artificial division between science and religion is vivified.

I'm not in awe of Simone but rather admire her as one of the few people that have lived their religion which has allowed her to have a religious understanding rather than just quote from books as people normally do. She experienced the Christ because she lived Christianity. Christendom supports the Pharisee that Jesus criticized since it lives by appearance, lacking the humility for the inner experience of the teaching but content to identify itself by "appearance" and defending this appearance.

"Being" in the West is often a word that refers to existence as compared to non-existence. People do not know of a scale of being which determines "objective quality" which is defined cosmologically by distance from the source of being. It is this scale of being that the universal movements of involution and evolution have their existence. Science is becoming aware of it through quantum physics.

When the being of man (what we ARE) will become understood and what our potential being is and its importance in a universal context, hopefully more will come to see what the striving for Christian re-birth actually is and more scientists will become aware of the logic of it as well as the limitations of their logic.

To most, the following two quotations from Simone Weil would appear to be a contradiction. Those more familiar with cosmology would see instantly that the first refers to science and the second to the experience of our "being."

"Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being."

"The role of the intelligence - that part of us which affirms and denies and formulates opinions is merely to submit."
 

Thomas

Administrator
Admin
Messages
12,581
Reaction score
2,747
Points
108
Hi Nick —

Because science has advanced in our time, the artificial division between science and religion is vivified.
Only in the secular mind ... this separation came about as a result of the Enlightenment, which declared religion to be superstition, and insisted that man could shape the cosmos according to his own image. The foremost spokesperson of which was Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

The following from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Those who for the most part share Bacon’s view that nature exists mainly for human use and benefit, and who furthermore endorse his opinion that scientific inquiry should aim first and foremost at the amelioration of the human condition and the "relief of man’s estate," generally applaud him as a great social visionary.
This is where the opposition between man and nature, and science and religion, begins. It is not, as so many assume, down to a misreading of Scripture, but down to the assumptions of the Enlightenment.

On the other hand, those who view nature as an entity in its own right, a higher-order estate of which the human community is only a part, tend to perceive him (Bacon) as a kind of arch-villain – the evil originator of the idea of science as the instrument of global imperialism and technological conquest.
Which is where the West stands today, and where even President Obama is certain that the only cure is more of the same ... more science, more technology.

On the one side, then, we have figures like the anthropologist and science writer Loren Eiseley, who portrays Bacon (whom he calls "the man who saw through time") as a kind of Promethean culture hero ... On the other side, we have writers, from Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Lewis Mumford to, more recently, Jeremy Rifkin and eco-feminist Carolyn Merchant, who have represented him as one of the main culprits behind what they perceive as western science’s continuing legacy of alienation, exploitation, and ecological oppression.
The problem being, that people view religion without realising they're doing it through a scientific mind, or rather trying to understand religion from a secular mindset.

I'm not in awe of Simone but rather admire her as one of the few people that have lived their religion ...
She lived what she thought.

She experienced the Christ because she lived Christianity.
No ... sadly, no she didn't — she lived what you assume Christianity to be, but as I keep pointing out, you'be got it wrong.

... rather than just quote from books as people normally do.
Yet you continually quote from books by people who have not found what they are looking for. Peace.

You'd do a lot better to read the books of those who found apatheia, ratrher than from those who haven't and assume it to be all sorts of things it isn't.

Christendom supports the Pharisee that Jesus criticized since it lives by appearance, lacking the humility for the inner experience of the teaching but content to identify itself by "appearance" and defending this appearance.
That's just the kind of thing a secular person would say, because they can't see what it is.

People do not know of a scale of being which determines "objective quality" which is defined cosmologically by distance from the source of being. It is this scale of being that the universal movements of involution and evolution have their existence. Science is becoming aware of it through quantum physics.
Yes, but this is cosmology — it's nothing to do with Christianity. Christianity is a transcendent revelation, not a scientific discovery, nor can it be expressed in terms of cosmological processes, etc.,

As I keep pointing out, you're trying to make something fit in a neat cosmological formulae, and it doesn't. You're trying to render Christianity as a series of equations ...

... Science will never find God, although it might find ample evidence of the handiwork of the divine, for those who have the eye to see.

Take a look at the De docta ignorantia, whose contribution to Western scientific methodology is immense. Don't let the name or the title put you off, he was an inspiration and influence on Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), author of Oration on the Dignity of Man which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance".

Thomas
 

Ahanu

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,735
Reaction score
333
Points
83
I am currently working on notes for a post and discussion on the topic of anthropology. I will be submitting from the traditional Christian perspective, and invite posts from other viewpoints.

Thomas

According to the Gospels, after Peter denies Jesus three times, he "went out and wept bitterly" (Luke 22.62). David Hart uses this as a springboard for his discussion of the person in Christianity. He says this description of Peter weeping doesn't merit any special attention from us at first glance, but back then other readers or listeners from the rich literate class wouldn't have experienced the text the way we do. He says the literate back then would experience this scene as "an aesthetic mistake." Hart continues:

". . . for Peter, as a rustic, could not possibly have been a worthy object of a well-bred man's sympathy, nor could his grief possibly have possessed the sort of tragic dignity necessary to make it worthy of anyone's notice. At most, the grief of a man of Peter's class might have had a place in comic literature: the querulous complaints of an indolent slave, the self-pitying expostulations of a witless peon . . ."

Interesting observation.
 
Last edited:

Ahanu

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,735
Reaction score
333
Points
83
Why can't I edit my post here?

"The following error occurred:
403 Forbidden
Forbidden
You don't have permission to access /community/threads/10583/add-reply on this server."

But I can edit this post? So strange . . .

Okay. I edited it. But the error popped up whenever I tried to add a lot of text. Oh well . . .
 
Last edited:

StevePame

Administrator
Admin
Messages
1,153
Reaction score
282
Points
83
Why can't I edit my post here?

"The following error occurred:
403 Forbidden
Forbidden
You don't have permission to access /community/threads/10583/add-reply on this server."

But I can edit this post? So strange . . .

Okay. I edited it. But the error popped up whenever I tried to add a lot of text. Oh well . . .

Thanks for letting me know, Ahanu. There might be a character limit that is preventing you from posting, but the database is set to allow all posts less than 500,000 characters so I'll try raising that limit.
 
Top