A naturalistic spirituality?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by DT Strain, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi EM —
    Ahhh ...

    By a few, but not by the many ... most theistic systems posit the Divine as utterly transcending 'the objective universe'. Monists and pantheists do consider God and matter as one, panentheists fall between stools, as it were, but the Abrahamics, Hindus, Daoists etc., treat the Divine as not part of the objective universe.

    Is that not fantasy?

    No, you can't do that, as one's view is a priori subjective, so all you're doing is affirming your own limitations, surely? Isn't that like the story of the three blind men and the elephant?

    But that's the same as saying one must deny objective experience, and live in one's own fantasies ... What prevents you becoming a Walter Mitty, A Billy Liar, a fantasist? What you 'create' exists solely within one's head, surely?

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  2. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Yet they are all RHP because they seek to atone with a divine principle that lies outside of themselves.

    Fantasy is defined in many ways.

    1. The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy.
    2. Something, such as an invention, that is a creation of the fancy.
    3. A capricious or fantastic idea; a conceit.
    4a. Fiction characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural elements.4b. An example of such fiction.

    5. An imagined event or sequence of mental images, such as a daydream, usually fulfilling a wish or psychological need.
    6. An unrealistic or improbable supposition.
    7. Music See fantasia.
    8. A coin issued especially by a questionable authority and not intended for use as currency.
    9. Obsolete A hallucination.


    This is quite different than the SU, which is better understood as everything we have immediate control over and can impact at Will.

    The Universe as a whole is divided into two parts: OU, which is the world around you, and the SU, which is essentially the world inside your head, incorporating the OU filtered through your sense and brain, and also anything you imagine.

    But you've missed THE neatest part of the SU . . . YEAH, YOU CAN do anything you want, there are no Laws, Principles, Ethics, Punishments, etc. The only "limitations" that exist are within the OU.

    "What prevents you becoming a Walter Mitty, A Billy Liar" . . . or a God? Stepping outside the OU is not denying, but I will say denying this thing called God by many, is a function of the LHP, and certainly why many RHP religions detest us and won't understand us.

    I assure you Thomas, you are not like most RHP adherents, your patience and persistence (not to mention scholar) to discuss and learn about us is admirable and most welcome.
     
  3. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Etu, you define most things thoroughly, is it intellectually stimulating, helpfull in your belief or essential in your belief?
     
  4. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
    - Carl Jung

    “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
    - Plato

    "Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! It is he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable, blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls? Doubt it not!" - Albert Pike
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Nice. For me, understanding and putting things in specific categories are not the same thing. But I sometimes feel I can go too far in my agnostic approach of not knowing ANYTHING.
     
  6. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    LOL . . .Yes, I agree!

    **disclaimer: I KNOW nothing, just what I am told (by Myself!)
     
  7. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    I hope you and yours make it safely through the upcoming (naturalistic) storm! {To try to bring it somewhat back into topic}
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I think saying all 'atone' is somewhat inaccurate. All seek to iron out the differences, as it were ... in light of which, is this discussion going anywhere? I have responses, but if all I'm doing is pee-ing you off, then that's not really doing either of us a service. I enjoy them, because they make me think.

    But there's your problem, the OU is bigger than you and determines what the SU can get away with.

    What I can't get over is that I can't see any mechanism to prevent the SU observer assuming his or her own 'i' is what is real, and the OU is a figment. If it were true, we'd all be fabulous and content, but we're not, because the OU has a habit of interfering ... you can pretend to think outside the OU, but it is just that, a pretence and a delusion.

    I have the issue with many contemporary religious expressions. Even my own Catholicism tends to see the body and soul as 'this' and 'that' — two separate things — which is actually a non-Christian mode of dualist thinking.

    The problem today for such views is more and more the evidence points to the fact that the existential and non-corporeal self is fundamentally tied to and a product of the corporeal body.

    Take corporeality away, and what is there that defines 'self'?

    The idea of the self existing within a body is becoming increasingly untenable, if it is not so already ... something that I continually try to discuss with reincarnationists, but they tend to be as fundamentally wedded to a notion they're not really prepared to interrogate, much like the 'eyes-wide-shut' followers of my own Abrahamic tradition.

    A 'naturalistic spirituality', that is one ordered as DT Strain explains above, I find acceptable, laudable and indeed necessary if we are to have any hope of getting ourselves out of the hole we're digging ourselves into, and I cannot but see the problem as we're all living in a SU culture that holds self-gratification as its highest ideal.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  9. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    iron out what & who's differences (no, you're not angering me in the least bit)

    How would the OU determine what goes on in our SU? Do you mean in terms of whatever can be imagined has already been experienced somehow? That the SU is limited in some way because of this?

    Agreed, and that is precisely the difference between R&LHP's. I really don't think the words "pretend" and "delusion" are accurate descriptions of our SU, this Universe is as real as the OU.

    ence my prior statement that the OU exists in order for us to assign meaning to our SU's. (not the other way around)
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Between where we are, and where we envision being ... which sounds like an OU/SU dialogue, doesn't it ... which I think it is ...

    From 'my' POV, the metaphysical dialogue is between the 'real Real' and the 'imagined Real' (or 'envisioned Real'). The first is the OU, the second is the SU, but the OU always wins, as the OU has substance and actuality, whereas the SU has limited substance and actuality ... in the mind, a unicorn is more wondrous than a horse, whereas in the world, a gnat is more wondrous that a unicorn, because a gnat actually is.

    In the same way, that Bacofoil contraption that looks like an origami cock-up will always trump the Starship Enterprise, because it actually went to the moon and back. (Then again, in my mind neither trumps the alien fleet found by 'Pater, the interstellar anarchist' in M Hohn Harrison's "The Centauri Device", but that's another matter ...)

    This dialogue seems to invoke Anselm's Ontological Argument, which still has philosophers turning on the head of a pin, and I suggest we don't go there!

    Because the OU produced the entity that posits an SU. It's a but like physics — all the laws were there at the Big Bang — so all that is, and all that can possibly be, is determined by the OU.

    The next level is the latest findings from psychology and neurosciences. It turns out that what we think of as 'original' and 'autonomous' is invariably not the case at all, and we follow a conditional programme far more than be believe.

    So I think I'm saying that a subjective being who thinks s/he can slip the ties of the OU is like believing one can slip[ the ties of gravity ...

    Well Aristotle said 'Nothing is in the mind that is not first in the senses' and I think that stands. Haven't seen it disproved.

    I'm not sure you can say that? Any 'reality' or 'actuality' the SU has belongs to the OU. The SU is all abstractions — meanings, values — stuff like that?

    How do you answer the Kantian argument about noumena/phenomena? What is, compared to what it appears to be to me? A thing in itself cannot be 'wrong', it is what it is, whereas my conception of it can be.

    I think it is the other way round. The SU assigns meaning and value to its experience of the OU, but it must always test its meanings and values with regard to the OU, otherwise it has no datum on which to base anything, surely?

    The OU validates the SU.

    I'm not decrying the SU, but I am saying that all religion belongs to the SU, as does all poetry and prose, music and art ... and it's notoriously tricky — I was in a cult for many years, with a fair degree of what one would call 'occult phenomena', but it was all a crock of ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  11. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    As a naturalist, I believe all things (that I know of at least) are governed by natural laws. The subjective, such as meaning, value, thoughts, experiences, etc. are all part of that One whole, interconnected, ever-changing flux, operating according to an underlying rational order and following from it.

    Yet, some things exist, while other things subsist. That is, things like physical objects, matter, energy, etc. exist. While other things like democracy, minds, waves, and so on are abstractions that describe complex patterns of relationships and interactions among those things that exist. They are just as real, but I'd say they subsist on the relationships between things that exist rather than existing as discrete phenomena.

    As for things beyond the natural or outside natural law. I cannot know (even in principle) whether such things exist. I'm perfectly happy to admit they might, but I simply have no knowledge of such things. :)
     
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    The entire thread speaks to one of the two classic failures of Philosophy (the other being the problem of induction). If one is a dualist, then how can mind and body interact? If one is a monist (physical or mental), why do we experience color or texture or tone?

    The only alternative is the Philosophy of Organism (Process Philosophy), which is an alternative way of seeing things; as instances of occurrence, whether physical or mental or spiritual. The universe is an organic, growing, natural thing consisting of actual entities and nothing else.
     
  13. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    That may be true, radarmark. Though I'm not certain if that is the "only" alternative. Perhaps, if monism is true, consciousness is an emergent property of any sufficiently complex system of the right formation, and this is a fundamental property of the universe (see Stephen Chalmers and also see Integrated Information Theory of consciousness - or ITT). Or, if dualism is true, perhaps there are certain 'laws of interaction' between the material and the immaterial. There are also some multi-dimensional models that could be considered a form of dualism.

    As for induction, perhaps this isn't a 'problem' with philosophy, so much as it is a simple fact that human beings are limited in their ability to ascertain all facts, as a matter of principle.

    Lots of possibilities :)

    Peace!
     
  14. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    I believe the mind/body problem, the hard problem of consciousness, and the problem of induction are all related problems of a Goedelian "pop-up" nature. That is why I side with Whitehead. His approach to time, actuals, universals, and non-reciprocal reference (A can be referred to in B does not imply B is referred to in A) really level all of these traditional scholarly hurtles. It seems a very integrated philosophical cosmology.

    And, it "fits in well" with the space/time, matter/energy, particle/wave dualities underpinning physical cosmology (quantum and relativity).
     
  15. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Yes, but ultimately we must be somewhat humble about claims - particularly with regard to ultimate explanations. I see these cosomological speculations as entertaining, but more of a distraction to genuine spirituality than anything else.
     
  16. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    See, I believe (that while mental masturbation of some form) that the mind needs to come to grip with the soul. If that soul is a transcendental over-soul (the kind of thing meant by "creativity" or "God") then the mind accepting that over-soul will need to fill in the gaps.

    Okay, for instance my bride and I had a discussion about if the ceiling fan kept its form when it is on. One can say "of course" but can never prove it except by experimentation-experience.

    On the other end one can say "all the universe is material" and "spirit is something separate". But one can only attempt to prove it by Gedankenexperiment... hence the effort.
     
  17. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    But to what end? I know I am some being of some type. I know can try various spiritual practices and cultivate mindfulness, compassion, etc. and these will make me more able to experience deeper happiness - and I can experience the efficacy of these teachings and practices. So, of what use are all these speculations about things beyond our knowledge which we'll never really know if we know? At the end of the day I still have to pay the bills and I still have to consider how I will treat my fellow human being, and what kind of qualities I should try to cultivate in myself. All of these cosmological wonderings seem more to me like gluttony - the craving after knowledge which we cannot, even in principle, really ever know that we have. I would refer one to the parable of the poison arrow :)
     
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "...one can say "all the universe is material" and "spirit is something separate"."

    --> There is another possibility, that everything is one form or another of spirit. (Actually, I prefer the phraseology that everything is one form or another of consciousness.) Consciousness comes in many forms, and phsical patter is only one example. This viewpoint leads to the idea that there is no separation between physical consciousness and matter.

    "But one can only attempt to prove it by Gedankenexperiment... hence the effort."

    --> Unfortunately, scientific experiments can only work on objects that exist in our physical universe. Experiments cannot be conducted on astral matter, mental matter, etc. So there is no way to use the scientific method and conduct experiments to prove anything about the astral plane, etc.
     
  19. Ecumenist

    Ecumenist New Member

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    Actually, quarks (and their smaller components) are astral matter. It has, therefore, been both observed - with scientific instrumentation in recent decades, years, days, etc. - and proven as certainly as the sun above or the earth below. Does that make some of us any the wiser, or aware of the cosmological underpinnings (so to speak)?

    No, because we never understood what `Firmament' meant to begin with. All we knew how to do was read the books, but long ago we lost the Keys. Only when provided with the appropriate keys will things begin to fit into place. And at that point, we'll see that Earth-Sun-moon, planets-Stars-constellations, and in fact, "everything under the [Spiritual] S*N" is in tune ... plus we'll realize that just as WE are a Unit, composed of organs, cells, atoms and LESSER LIVES, so too is Cosmos one giant ENTITY, also composed of ~ Lesser Lives.

    Obviously about 99.9% of these are Greater relative to ourselves, Earth's inhabitants, or even some of the other Intelligent civilizations evolving within this solar system. But we do not yet physically know (or remember from having been taught in previous cycles, even just a few thousand years ago) how to observe the other beings on the planet with us, or sharing this Star's heat, Light and Love ... so foolish men deny all of this, Doubters as they are.

    Further, some assail the very Foundations upon which all of Cosmos Itself rests, insisting that somehow - with their tiny mind - they have outstripped the experts, the Adept clairvoyants, the Creators of Planets and Systems, or even just the Building and Ensouling Agents [Angels, Devas, etc.] of the material forms which each human being uses in the physical, let alone subtler worlds. Most of us who have glimpsed even *slightly* beyond the veil are humbled by what we have encountered, we are forever uplifted and Positively changed by our new awareness ... and we can never again be fooled or misled by the likes of the blind, always clamoring to lead ~ the blind.

    But the blind will speak of veils, they will pretend they have somehow found mystical, magical answers ... when in fact, ye know them as surely by their fruits as ye know any other. They cannot prove word one of what they speak, their confused, muddled theologies are nothing but effort after effort to patch a leaking bucket, or so they imagine. Wiser minds than they have long ago stepped AWAY from the dike, for we can see how many fingers they have inserted, and we notice that all the toes they have left are not enough to save the crumbling confusion.

    So I say again, we SEE astral matter with today's scientific instrumentation, as also with trained clairvoyance, being one of the easiest and most common siddhis to either artificially hasten & somewhat develop ... or to find already present and partially active from a recent incarnation in which we have had mediumistic tendencies. This is how folks like my sister are able to perceive the astral aura from childhood, even if more detailed observations [chakras, the mental plane, the Soul itself] may remain beyond their grasp, or require additional development of the Ajna center in order to distinguish.

    A properly trained clairvoyant, using the Higher Siddhis [such as the MahaSiddha Shakyamuni Buddha, or countless others] can see not only the subtler expressions of the Aura [Soul], including the Spiritual Triad [the Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or TRIKAYA of Buddhist doctrine] ... s/he can also use the insight of the Buddhic awareness (and Taijasa-Manas) to tell us of our former incarnations. I would remind you that this is the same principle as a scientist peering into his looking-glass to describe the configuration of distant stars, or through a microscope to investigate astral matter. In each case, it is simply necessary to use the proper instrumentation.

    What an important question to ask, regarding the practical value of say, researching the constellations of the Pleiades and Orion, or stars such as Arcturus and Sirius. Perhaps the Old Testament seers were just smoking something and thought the sky looked awful perty in their stupified state. Hmmm.

    No, I don't buy that. Nor do I buy the nonsense patch-up job which is ongoing, perhaps initiated by some of the most UN-Christlike minds & hearts our planet has ever known, on one level or another. It is very sad that this has led us to the present state of affairs in the world today, and it is a crime that the LITTLE ONES must continue to struggle, unknowing, and often wonder why in the world the `Son of God' must die in order that eternal life be afforded for some ridiculous, limited number of human beings ... who otherwise are apparently to be damned forever in perfect demonstration of the philosophy that "a finite cause cannot have an INFINITE effect!" :eek:

    WHAT!?! rofl, what a crock.

    The observation of the most distant star, verily affects all life, all beings, all atoms and the very course of Planetary Evolution upon our little globe. When men are able to accept that teachings such as Rebirth have been provided as an aspect of the Divine Science, life will begin to Flow along a good bit smoother here in Earth's tiny Stream of Cosmic Evolution-in-the-preparing. But just as some of us know that asking us to chew a human hand or eyeball for good luck is ridiculous, stupid, offensive and inappropriate, so too do we know that Truth Itself can be hard to swallow ... perhaps as it is just as bloodly and unpalatable at the present time.

    Feed people on a thin gruel and notice how quickly they lose the ability to chew, to enjoy the TASTE of that which is Wholesome and spiritually Nourishing (for mind, body and Spirit) ... or to feed themselves with that which also requires more careful absorption, digestion and contemplation.

    Why do most of us as yet lack astral vision or the ability to immediately verify the existence of spiritual worlds and a planet TEEMING with Life that is much more Intelligent and Evolved than Human beings? Why, for that matter, do some of us recall many past incarnations, and have similar insight into those of our fellows? Ask the Buddha or ask the Christ; but do not ask a Fool. All will gladly tell you what THEY think are the answers, while only the fool is vested in just how you take these answers, and whether you attend HIS church as a result.

    The fool thrives on attention [the glamour of popularity & fame] and vainglory. Buddhas and Christs tend to have your spiritual well-being at heart, and since They know the value of a human incarnation, They also know that while some idiots will try (and succeed for a time), NONE can deflect your Will from the Divine [and from the WILL of the Divine] if and when *YOU so choose*! :)

    Our task is not simply in the aligning of our Will with God's, for the Angels have done just that ... and serve in this manner without the human predicament. Ours is to use Reason and the Higher Intellect [which is Divine, Inclusive & Insightful], in combination with what is called `Buddha Nature' or the Christ within, to discern God's Purpose for us at any given stage of our Spiritual walk ... and to APPLY what we learn in practical application. Humbly we must reapply ourselves day by day, aspire to *expand* our understanding of our Purpose, and I think we shall find that in so doing we are no less amazed when God's Purpose for us continues to deepen and broaden, gradually intersecting (as it must) with all other lives and expressions of the One Life upon our planet.

    Only thus may we begin to appreciate the Beauty and Majesty of Cosmos, and realize that 99.9% of it pretty much fits together almost Infinitely better already than our tiny, mortal minds can comprehend or imagine. IMAGINATION, and no less, however, along with a developed sense of Humor, are faithful friends upon our Journey ... and both will be greatly needed by all of us in days ahead.

    Be wary of that man who steers you from these notions. While most of us can never provide an answer for another, or lift Spiritual Insight out of the context and circumstances in which [or the Path, the Journey, *by which*] another individual must find it ... certainly we can point the way. And while there are many who already hold the curative Salve that will bring relief for quite a number of unnecessary sufferings, or alleviate the sting in cases of karmic manifestation ... one thing a doctor will never do is kill the patient, if the latter curses him as a devil and refuses all treatment whatsoever. Better to simply isolate the sick man, treat him with as much kindness & tenderness as possible, and even comfort him as his hour approaches. Do not, however, allow him to infect others who are already in much better health!

    The hour of human ignorance is nearly over. Our wandering in the dark is not for long, or in vain. And many of the answers that people seek are on the verge of Revelation ... to the masses.

    I quite agree that if something serves no apparent use, or has no immediate practical value, it is best left on a shelf, or hung out of the way for a possible future application. In such wise things we have read or experienced in childhood (or an earlier cycle) may one day prove useful, or even vital.

    The Buddha did not fill his students' heads full of a bunch of fluff (as I deem 98% of today's western theological ramblings and leaky bucket-patchings), but He also did not veil the Truth as He understood it when there was a need to share it ... even if the most sublime portions of that Wisdom are missed by 85% of Western practitioners of Buddhism. Nor did the Christ eschew any of the questions his Apostles asked when there was a relevance to His Ministry. Perhaps if we better understood the Christ, *and* His Ministry, we would see the importance of the Stars and Astrology (the Bible being replete with such references) ... or recognize that Christ's Doctrine is the same as the Buddhist `Interbeing' ~ which Native Americans have also strongly emphasized in hopes that we might Heal ourselves & this Earth, then continue Wise-Lovingly upon THE WAY.

    Namaskar :)
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    A very valid point, but on the other hand, we should be careful about imposing limits on what we can and cannot know ...

    ... the same argument is going on now in the scientific community. What point is all this research? Was the money spent on the Large Hadron Collider just millions poured down a black hole?

    Ah ... there I would say you're un uncertain ground. How do you know you cannot know if you have not tried?

    Of course, but so does the experimental physicist, or the theoretical mathematician, so does the sage ... but then, as the poet said:
    "They also serve who only stand and wait"

    And for many that's exactly what it is, it's a reflection of our materialist/consumerist culture.

    Scripture has been trivialised by 'The Little Book of' this and that, Yoga has been trivialised by reducing it to a keep-fit programme, all the world's teachings trivialised by 'self-realisation' books, the esoteric by reducing it to 'secret knowledge' ...

    The distinction is marked by those who 'take on board' what they have learned, then the message becomes simple: Love (as in agape, not eros).

    God bless

    Thomas
     

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