Mere humanity

Thomas

So it goes ...
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Yesterday was the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in the Catholic calendar — something held in faith for over 1500 years, but only defined in the 1950s.

I do not wish to argue the history of the doctrine, but would like to bring to light something of the reasoning behind it — for what what the dogma proclaims, what the Church wanted to highlight, was the central tenet of Christianity — that the body matters.

Before it, the depradations of the so-called Enlightenment, the genesis of a strictly secular science and its handmaid, technology, had triumphed over the flesh by reducing man to a unit of production, life's value in direct proportion to the ability to service the machine. The worth of a child was in someone who could be squeezed up a chimney, or reach into a machine without having to turn it off ... the worth of the old, of course, was nothing ...

(... The 'nobility of labour' might well be a romatic ideal, the picturesque image of the agrarian lifestyle far removed from lambing in the freezing hours of dawn, or watching a crop ruined by drought or deluge, a herd by disease ... but industrialism cared nothing for such delusions, and it cared not a jot who knew it ...)

The 'triumph of technology' was World War I. Railway timetables had more to do with the declaration of war than the assasination in Sarajevo. But more than this, every noble human value was desecrated and draped across the wire of no-mans' land, as humanity was forced into an inescapable danse macabre without solution, set to the rattle of the machine gun... the only rule being the mathematical theory that assured victory to the one who could throw men at the enemy faster than the enemy could kill them.

World War II saw this desecration of the human person carried across into the civilian population ... the Blitzkreig that deployed terror against populations as a weapon against the enemy (to disrupt the '3C's — command, control and communications) ... the image of Jews crammed into cattle trucks, the smoking chimneys of Auschwitz (so efficient, thanks to railway timetables, once again) ...

After it, the new dawn ... the vainglorius counter-culture of the 50s and 60's — the new desecration — the surrender of responsibility: turn on, tune in, drop out — get stoned, stare into your navel and waste away ... the mantra of the swinging 60s, "if you can remember it, you weren't there" — where else do we find such nihilism paraded as a virtue? The Age of Aquarius that turned the idea of agape ... of real love ... into a shagfest, the rut of a generation with too much money, too much time, no sense of self-worth, the body reduced to a trading commoddity.

Don't agree? Then why is the cosmetics industry one of the richest in the world? Why are there generations hooked on 'therapies'? Why is teenage suicide among young men in the affluent west at the highest levels ever recorded? Why is self-harm, bullemia and anorexia epidemic among our young women? They are the fruit of our generation ... Why are we powerless to protect them from the mediaculture we have created?

Because we are addicted to the ethos that created the problem. Every promise we have made to ourselves has been comprehensively broken — science and technology, that was going to set us free, has made us poor, impoverished, and has crippled our ecologies, damaged our environment, so we numb ourselves with new and exciting devices, we chase after novelty and shiny, pretty things, the latest distraction.

And we move faster and faster, because this culture is sick, and refuses to admit it, and dare not stop to take stock.

That's why it matters, more now than ever ... because sometimes the Church displays an uncanny prescience in making her declarations, the widsom of which only comes to light generations later ...

In this case, it is only when we rediscover the dignity of the human person will we have an adequate answer, a solution, a medicine, that will enable us to embrace the necessary ascesis to combat the rampant consumerism that will, if left unchecked, bring the world to ruin.

Ascesis — it was that word, that word alone, that converted Thomas Merton to the Catholic Faith.

Thomas
 
I agree.

My only differing perspective perhaps (which is a fairly fundamental one, with a quick check of which forum we're in) is to ask why limit this to the body? What of the mind? My understanding is that the mind-body is one, but that is a philosophical aside to the thrust of your OP Thomas, I think.

The cosmetics industry is concerned with the body (for example) but it is the mind that is persuaded and decides it needs the products and services of that industry, yes?

s.
 
I agree.

My only differing perspective perhaps ... is to ask why limit this to the body? What of the mind? ... The cosmetics industry is concerned with the body (for example) but it is the mind that is persuaded and decides it needs the products and services of that industry, yes?

Yes ...but what does that say about how we view the body ... that's the point.

Thomas
 
Well it kind of suggests the body is considered to be more important than the mind; but that's not exactly what you're saying is it? (re: the start of your OP).

s.
 
Hi Snoopy,

No, I'm saying that most assume the spiritual dignity of the mind as given, whereas the body, in many disciplines, is just a vessel to be discard like an old shoe.

The Doctrine of the Assumption signifies that the body has its own intrinsic dignity also.

Thomas
 
Hi Snoopy,

No, I'm saying that most assume the spiritual dignity of the mind as given, whereas the body, in many disciplines, is just a vessel to be discard like an old shoe.

The Doctrine of the Assumption signifies that the body has its own intrinsic dignity also.

Thomas

Ah, got you. Me talking in complete ignorance of the Doctrine.

So yes, I am in full agreement (now that I understand!!:eek::p)

My body is indeed a temple. However there has of late been some extension work carried out which had not been given planning permission by my mind. It's gone to appeal but it's gonna have to go.:D

s.
 
Thomas,
Brilliant argument as always, but it opens up so many other lines of inquiry :)

Some religions treat the body and everything that has to do with it as either inconsequential, illusory or even evil. As Snoopy points out it is our perception and mental constructs of what reality is composed of and means that drives our decisions. I agree that the mechanistic construct that society is so in love with has wrought the consequences you speak of, but doesn't it go even further? Our inpenetrable philosophies seem to isolate us so far from dealing with life as it is, and the ancient rituals, not in themselves perhaps, but what they point to can bring us out of our slumber?
 
Some religions treat the body and everything that has to do with it as either inconsequential, illusory or even evil ... but doesn't it go even further? Our inpenetrable philosophies seem to isolate us so far from dealing with life as it is, and the ancient rituals, not in themselves perhaps, but what they point to can bring us out of our slumber?

I agree. We have never managed to dump the soul/body dichotomy we inherited from the Greek philosophical systems — yet it is no part of the holistic message of Christianity.

Platonism (fundamentally dualistic) was seen as the handmaid of Christian doctrine, whereas Aristotelianism (fundamentally holistic) was seen as heresiarch — and this points to the philosophical training of the majority of the Fathers who were Greek and disposed towards a certain apophasis — a view still prevalent in Greek Orthodox theology.

The appearance of a 'Latin theology' (Augustine, et al) as something distinct, was actually closer to the Hebrew vision and thus could utilise Plato or Aristotle — or indeed any philosophical stream — with greater fluidity, being not so wedded to any one system. It actually still holds the key, I believe, to a new Renaissance of thought, evident in the works of the post-modern continental philosophy (Lonergan especially) whilst the AngloAmerican school is still in the grip of empiricism.

My critique of the New Age is that it retreated, albeit understandably, into some fantasy past of pseudo-wicca, pseudo-gnosis, pseudo-pagan, pseudo-Celtic idealism ... the inheritance of the Romance movement of the eighteenth century which penetrated every corner of human life and activity ion its revolt against the march of industrialisation and modernism.

So on the one hand we have empirical mechanism, and on the other romantic idealism, but neither will equip us for the future — neither can offer solutions to the problems the crowd in upon us every day — we cannot return to the ancient rituals, but must understand them, their inner meaning, if we are to find a way out of our present dilemmas.

Thomas
 
Take perspective in art ...

Up until the 1400s, artists did not use perspective, vanishing points, etc, in their artistic representation ... and this is usually taken to show how 'naive' they were ... the artists who built the Pyramids with 3D precision for example, apparently couldn't draw for toffee.

Or perhaps the accurate representation of the surface and superficial is not as necessary in art as it is in architecture.

So the 'scale' or 'perspective' deployed was something we no longer see or understand, it is the fading vision of the interior eye.

For man of antiquity, his place was in the heart of the image, under the vertical axis of the sky, the celestial orb, creation, the heavens ... he was central to it all ... he might have been scientifically wrong, but he was spiritually right.

Science has now moved us so far to the periphery that we're hanging on to the meaning of existence, to the meaning of ourselves in the universe, by a shredded fingernail ... we are so utterly inconsequential that the only good is the immediate material benefit, and we grow daily more alienated and bitter as ever promise we laboured under turns to dust and slips through our grasp...

... those ancient rituals, those rites of passage, gave us meaning, and a sense of our place in the order of things, both seen and unseen, known and sensed ... holistically, healthily ... and happily.

We can't go back to painting without perspective ... we can't turn back the clock ... but we need to discover that inner eye, that sees man as the heavens sees us.

We must rediscover the nobility of humanity, within ourselves, and the art of wonder.

Thomas
 
We must rediscover the nobility of humanity, within ourselves, and the art of wonder.
And this, Thomas, is precisely what these `New Age' philosophies are seeking to do ... the New Age approach which you are so keen and wont to criticize!

But in fact, it is not new at all, as Kabbalah, and the Chaldean Mysteries (upon which Judaism itself is based), and Eastern Traditions, date back several tens of thousands of years. And this is only in our recent phase of spiritual-material development - the so-called 5th Race, or the `Race of Sages' as it was long-ago dubbed in the Eastern Traditions.

And when it is shown that the Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx itself, are literally hundreds of thousands of years old (yes indeed, TWO hundred thousand plus, to be more precise) ... what THEN?

What will we understand of Humanity, and our place in the scheme of things, if the sequence of events in the Old and New Testament can be shown to apply only to the last few thousand years literally, at best ... while symbolically they clearly refer to timeless, eternal Truth (as any clear reading of Genesis should indicate)?

I think it will force some of us to RE-EXAMINE these false assertions that these `New Age' doctrines are `pseudo' after all ... such as the 19th Century Theosophy of H.P. Blavatsky, and the later contributions of Anthroposophists, and those in the traditions of Alice Bailey, Helena Roerich, Lucille Cedercrans, etc.

No, Thomas, the man who can only stand from the highest platform of his own, self-constructed ivory tower and throw stones at the "fantasy past of pseudo-wicca, pseudo-gnosis, pseudo-pagan, pseudo-Celtic idealism" - of all other mystical approaches save his own, treasured Roman Catholic eclecticism ... is in for a rude awakening indeed ... ONE DAY. What was that about men who live in glass houses? :eek:

~+~+~+~+~

The Inner Eye, it will be found, exists within every human being, as a spiritual orientation and potential mode of apprehension of the Soul (or Spirit) ... and the same is true of traditions as of individuals. Generally speaking, this is a timeless truth, yet in application, we clearly see that the Dharma wanes in certain seasons, almost as if a `spiritual entropy' still affects our planet, as a whole. But this will not always be the case!

For good contemplation of perspective, precision, and the perfect, Adept Science in practice - a thoroughly SPIRITUAL SCIENCE, in a way that exoteric Humanity has YET to achieve ... just consider the Great Pyramid of Giza. In case you are unaware of just what all was involved in its construction some 200+ thousand years ago, the corresponences and the precision involved, try this article: The Great Pyramid.

And for the skeptics, who still buy into the errors of a ~6 thousand year old Great Pyramid ... just wait. The "pseudo-science," along with all the other inconvenient `pseudos,' will see proper light soon enough. Nevermind silly people like me running around saying "I told you so!" :p

It's much more about saying to yourself, if you have half the open mind to contemplate it, "hmmm, and what MIGHT this mean, even IF?"

Hmmmm indeed! ;)

~Andrew
 
Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything--how to eat, how to sleep, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you--I don't know! But it's a tradition. Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do.

-Tevye
 
And this, Thomas, is precisely what these `New Age' philosophies are seeking to do ... the New Age approach which you are so keen and wont to criticize!

I don't see the New Age as something 'stand alone' – but as the result of a whole series of events, which was kicked off by the Romance movement, which itself is a response to the so-called 'Enlightenment' which basically believed Nature could be tamed, and man become master of his own destiny.

Hence industrialisation, etc.

Too much of the Romance movement was a retreat into the past, we closed our eyes and hankered after a mythical 'golden age' — but we suspended thought and our critical faculties and instead pursued a kind of closed-eyed idealism.

So we re-invent 'wicca' and 'gnosticism' and 'Celtism' as wish fulfillment, not in any real or meaningful sense. It's all escapism.

There is plenty of valid 'New Age' thought in philosophy, but without firm philosophy and its feet on the ground, it's too often simply wishful thinking. That's the distinction. Take the whole 'faeries' thing — it's a complete nonsense fabrication based on the work of four European authors, prior to this, in every culture going back to Persia and beyond, faeries were tricky, capricious, dangerous, and the enemy of man — but after a 'work over' by Romance writers, faeries are now lovely, cuddly, kind and cute ... but the authors were simply writing to make a buck, and hit a profitable seam.

I think it will force some of us to RE-EXAMINE these false assertions that these `New Age' doctrines are `pseudo' after all ... such as the 19th Century Theosophy of H.P. Blavatsky, and the later contributions of Anthroposophists, and those in the traditions of Alice Bailey, Helena Roerich, Lucille Cedercrans, etc.
You know my views on that score. I know yours.

Thomas
 
Certainly there has been a tendency to demonize the creative aspect of Nature, and the very Mysteries have been LOST which Roman Catholicism (and other traditions) once guarded, connected with Nature's creative powers - from the nature spirits of the cereals & grasses, on up to the Mighty Archangels Themselves.


But, as a brief excerpt will show, you're a bit mistaken about the perception of fairies, sprites, etc., Thomas ...

The three kingdoms of elementals actually build and form every new planet or world, beginning in serial order with the lowest of the three kingdoms, preparing the globe for the advent of the mineral kingdom, to be followed in turn by the vegetable and higher kingdoms in regular succession. The elementals are not only the matters of nature, but when acting together and used by higher intelligences become the forces or energies of nature, such as electricity, magnetism, light, vitality, etc. Unconsciously, human and other beings use them in the carrying on of all their bodily functions. For example, our bodies cohere through the automatic aid of the elementals of earth; and the elementals of fire give us our bodily heat.

The four kingdoms of elementals, existing in the four elements, are also known under the general designation of fairies and fays in the myths, fables, traditions, and poetry of all nations, ancient and modern. Their names are legion: peris, devs, jinn, sylvans, satyrs, fauns, elves, dwarfs, trolls, nixies, kobolds, brownies, banshees, leprechauns, pixies, moss-people, good people, good neighbors, wild women, men of peace, white ladies, and many more. They have been seen, feared, blessed, banned, and invoked in every quarter of the globe in every age.

-- Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary, Ea-El, Theosophical U Press
Let us not speak in half-truths ...

Has there been fraud, purported `faeries' photographed and the like? Certainly so. Nevertheless, we have enough direct, scientific study, via clairvoyance, on the part of trained and expertly-qualified investigators over the past ~125 years, to put nonsense aside and look at things like the `New Age' recogition of nature spirits quite seriously.
 
Hi Andrew —

But, as a brief excerpt will show, you're a bit mistaken about the perception of fairies, sprites, etc., Thomas ...


Precisely me point — you're quoting from a post-Romance text, in this instance of the TS ... I am talking about the original myths of antiquity.

from wiki:
"Much of the folklore about fairies revolves about protection from their malice, by such means as cold iron or charms of rowan and herbs, or avoiding offense by shunning locations known to be theirs. In particular, folklore describes how to prevent the fairies from stealing babies and substituting changelings, and abducting older people as well..."

This latter, the child theft and substitution, is almost global in its reach and representation.

"Wings, while common in Victorian artwork of fairies, are very rare in the folklore; even very small fairies flew with magic, sometimes flying on ragwort stems or the backs of birds..."

Nowadays all faeries have wings ... but the source of this was Victorian fantasy artists.

And as you will know ... or should do ... it's all too easy for clairvoyants or psychics to see what they want to see, or rather interpret what they apprehend according to their prior education and understanding ...

... then there is the whole area of research into faeries and post-partum depression ... and that has lots of scientific evidence behind it.

Has there been fraud, purported `faeries' photographed and the like? Certainly so. Nevertheless, we have enough direct, scientific study, via clairvoyance, on the part of trained and expertly-qualified investigators over the past ~125 years, to put nonsense aside and look at things like the `New Age' recogition of nature spirits quite seriously.

I think that's over-stating the case, as what constitutes an 'expertly-qualified investigator'? but one's faith in the expert?

The 'psychic sciences', although called that, are in reality an art, as no two psychics every produce precisely the same thing, or the same event exactly, twice, nor under acceptable 'scientific conditions' ... which is an axiom for a scientifically acceptable thesis.

When a Hermeticist, during a reading, I once described someone's character using the analogy of a walled garden ... only to be told after the reading I had given a precise description of the garden where she lived, and that she'd bought the house because she always wanted a walled garden ... she was utterly and 'scientifically convinced' (the description was accurate in every detail) of my psychic powers, but I told her nothing she did not already know ... and watching psychics at work, no-one has yet demonstrated to me otherwise.

I do agree we can 'read' people and things beyond the capacity for normal science to comprehend, there's more to this world than meets the eye, but I do not believe in the necessity of elaborate multidimensional otherworlds to do so ... Ockham's Razor ... and I am only too aware of how such world can be created, and presented, as very real, to the receptive.

On another occasion, after a lecture, I got feedback from someone new to the group, who I knew was a 'seer'. She said" I didn't understand much of what you said, but why did your face keep changing?" "In what way?" I asked.
"Sometimes you looked like a very young boy, almost a child ... other times you looked like someone else entirely, foreign, Asiatic ... other times you looked like you ... but absolutely ancient..."

The spoken word, in percentile terms, is measured in single figures when we total the means of communication at our disposal ... we hardly understand the mundane world we inhabit, and yet often create the most fabulous and intricate constructs to explain it ...

Scientists are observers ... artists are makers ...

Thomas​
 
Scientists are observers ... artists are makers ...
And Adepts ... the true Adepts .... are seers. They SEE. And they do so with an objectivity which only the most advanced students may begin to approximate!

We may safely say, Thomas, that you are not one of these. But that does not prevent you from being inspired, even for a short time (as during a lecture), by such Higher abilities as are available to the Adept at all times ... and which Christianity will speak of as some one or another form of Inspiration.

Fortunately, the research, experiences and contributions of the advanced students of the Adepts (of all Ages) have been made available, and the discerning student can learn by studying such teachings. Drawings have been made, and the sketches of clairvoyant Geoffrey Hodson can be compared with the contributions which others have made ... such as H.K. Challoner (Janet Melanie Ailsa Mills), and the similiarities observed.

Just don't complain to me if you are A) unwilling to even borrow or purchase these books so that you might learn something ... or B) too prejudiced to even consider that you CAN learn something by studying outside of the Roman Catholic Church's officially sanctioned and approved reading list.

I would agree that wings are a feature that is not, per se, a part of the structure of the Angel (or Deva) anatomy, especially as they do not have any need of them to fly, as do the birds of the dense strata. Hodson, and dozens of other qualified clairvoyants, explain things like this early on!

But if you observe the auras of several of the loftier (more spiritually Advanced) devas, you can see for yourself (via the artwork) how the mystical rapture of the UNTRAINED observers of all ages has led to the tendency to portray Angels as if they do indeed have wings.

This link will show some good and accurate depictions of Angels, or Devas, captured in 2 dimensional artwork (vs. their own 4D, 5D, or 6+D native element). More such artwork exists, as for example, this, the work of Arthur Doeut, a NON-Theosophical observer and artist ...
 
Oh Andrew — I was hoping we could keep insults out of the discussion?

Thomas
 
Oh Andrew — I was hoping we could keep insults out of the discussion?

Thomas
Oh no problem, Thomas. I'm not claiming to be an advanced student or an accomplished seer! Thus I was merely pointing out the obvious! (ahem! you aren't either)

But then, I'm not the one boasting about how great my own psychic abilities are ... with the lecture halls filled to capacity with all of my many fans. :eek:

Mere humanity, indeed. And yet we think ourselves to be some sort of gods.

No, Thomas, this is where the Ageless Wisdom will set the record straight with the egoists, no matter under what religious rubric and rhetoric they prefer to hide. Your raiment may be scarlet red, or as white as the Himalayan snows, but it is the man inside that counts.

And you can fool a great many people, sometimes, yet I for one will not hesitate to smile once I see the first piece of humble pie finally begin to slide down rather unpalatably. Sometimes, this is the only way we can progress.

Oh the hubris ...
 
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