The Winding Path – 122

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2015-03-22 09:46

carolyntclark - ” I just knew that without the God factor the mysteries of suffering can be explained by the randomness of nature.”

What about nature qualifies as random?

2015-03-22 10:00

sTv0 - “N. DeGrasse Tyson says: ‘If you’re scientifically literate, the world looks very different to you, and that understanding empowers you.’ “

Relatively speaking…

Different than before but no more or less informed or empowered except in our own satisfaction.

2015-03-23 10:36

sTv0 - “I take it you’ve not had much science education…?”

 

What is the required threshold of “much”?

Is there a point where the absolute no longer provides context for the relative?

In terms of the eternal NOW, are the makers of this;

ancient-art-001-700x324

Less informed and empowered than us?

Or, they in turn, somehow more of something (real?), than their own ancestors.

ancient-art-002-700x524

In terms of the eternal NOW.

 

 

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The Winding Path – 121

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Recently my attention was brought back to an excellent blog by Troymo for which I am grateful.  My own work of late, has seemed stale, overworked, threadbare and frayed at the edges.  So I’ll rely more on voices of others for awhile.

The original comments from which the following are annotations can be found here.  Or summarized at The Winding Path – 074.

2015-03-07 18:28

troymo - “I must say brmckay … I have given this some more thought as of late … and think I now take your comment quite differently. Yes, our “regulating sets” are the essence of ‘finite,’ I agree.

Furthermore, if I follow your thinking, ‘we’ are (parts of/to) the ‘entirety,’ further ‘realizing itself.’

Therefore, not separate, but part of ‘the same.’ Not ‘individual but ‘evolving,’ as ‘it’ evolves thru our/this experience.

Still, I believe ‘our experience’ (as I have just suggested) is integral to the process. And, actually, REQUIRED (as described in my reply to Nearly Normal Fred, below) in order for this process (or God, ‘the entirety’) to fully realize itself, and/or evolve.

‘Reality,’ relativity, and consciousness … a feedback loop – each part further defining the other – and so, ….’the entirety’ revealed.”

Thanks for the follow-up. Not sure if I can summon an adequate verbiage for the occasion, but will try. At least to make a statement or two.

– The Perfection of Singularity expressing as Awareness. (Primordial “Self”).

– “Our experience” expressing as change. Motion, around and through the resulting infinitude of compounding “perfectly” complementary poles.

i.e.

– The Absolute as Entirety. As Singularity. As Potential. As Foundation.

– The Relative as local expressions of the Primordial Awareness. Orbits of “self interest”. Subject to the process of evolution.

Some questions:

– What does “REQUIRED” mean in this context? I think of it more as the nature of it All.

– What does “the process of evolution” really mean? In the relative sense of things, it must be cyclical. On one hand, towards individual comprehension of Entirety as an abstraction;  religion, philosophy, science etc.. On the other, towards resolution of individual awareness into the undivided Awareness; enlightenment, direct experience of non-separate identity.

An inconclusive conclusion:

– In the absolute sense, evolution does not exist. (Singularity as Absolute Infinitude is changeless, timeless, formless….), The individual part has never been separate from the whole. The seeming of it to the contrary, is an effect. (Astonishingly taken completely for granted. An effect of innate perfection?)

– In the relative sense, our only seemingly “mysterious capacity for will”, picks and chooses. More or less informed by it’s current understanding. Big picture and small.

troymo - “Yes, I hear you….. the best analogue I can conceive in this moment is that of ‘the cell’ (in relation to the ‘human experience’) and ‘it’s micro-evolution’ – a matter of bringing greater awareness and/or structure to the ‘macro’ (or, ‘it’s entirety’) IE – us.

I wonder if you had a chance to read my exchange with ‘nearlynormalfred’ (below), as it regards the ‘feedback loop’ I mention?

It seems in this sense you and I agree; where I may have inadvertently misconstrued ‘the mechanism’ … or ‘purpose.’ That said, the word’purpose’ does seem inadequate here, as it can hardly be ascribed to ‘entirety,’ that which is fully formed, determined, infinite, and complete.

For reference, my discussion with ‘nearlynormalfred’ was one focused on ‘point of view,’ in relation to ‘wave function’ (measured in particle physics) and how this effects (human) perception. I have included the link for you here…. would love to get your thoughts … .”

http://www.dabase.org/Reality_Itself_Is_Not_In_The_Middle.htm

2015-03-15 17:07

Yes that was a fun read. But I’m not claiming to have totally grasped every nuance in it, or in your comment. What jumps to my mind though is the similarity of Adi Da Samraj’s (aka. Bubba Free John, et al.) statements, and the Advaita Vedantin’s assertion that the only Brahman is real.

Since I tend to be a little scared of the former’s personality, I’m more likely to read other exponents of the latter (Advaita). Reading of this sort, being mainly about confirmation or inspiration. Of those teachers who use Advaita Vedanta as a template, I like Ramana Maharshi for his technique of direct “inquiry” into the Self, and Vivekananda for his wonderful articulation.

On the homefront, I’m becoming more inclined to extend my working model of “Reality” to encompass the paradox of the relative. So when you remark that, …

“However, so far as we can prove, a ‘point of view’ is required to acknowledge (any of) this. In other words, the two cannot be separated with ‘true’ certainty.”

…,I might also point out, that since a “point of view” (even if only just One) exists, all speculation about a universe without it, is a further abstraction. Something extra.

Awareness comes with the package.

I get a kick out of your final summary point … just because.

troymo – “Either way, the universe may not be so big at all. It might even be a ‘relative perspective’ which helped make it….. and my reply a ‘Dualistic language game FTW :)’ ”

In terms of the absolute, undivided and formless; size hasn’t been invented yet. But we show up, and can’t fit it all in our heads. Win-Win.

2015-03-19  02:09

troymo – “Yes, my choice to describe the universe in terms of ‘size’ here is a taunt, since most view it according to its ‘obvious form,’ …. something which is apart from us, measured by telescopes, …. ‘out there,’ and utterly MASSIVE. Suggesting it is ‘small’ therefore immediately invites a paradox, about what ‘size’ really means … if anything at all, since ‘size’ must be a function of something else IE – relative.

Thus questioning people’s sense of the world ‘as it appears,’ in this way, is an attempt to open their mind toward a ‘sense of infinity’ – something not big, nor small, .. fully defined, and yet undefined…. it just ‘IS.’ Or, as you say … ‘the entirety.’

I like to say ‘always, in all ways.’

I don’t believe most people grasp this, or (ever) even think about it … let alone, mathematically,… and what it means, …. for something to draw between all points simultaneously. ‘Points’ … don’t even exist. Therefore, time does not exist. ‘Everything,’ (the universe and all it is made of) must equal ‘one.’

And so to your statement, ‘size hasn’t been invented yet’..… I would add, ‘it never will be.’ ‘Size’ is something ‘experienced,’ a product of ‘consciousness.’ The universe itself is not ‘relative,’ it is the ‘conscious experience’ which is.

Nevertheless, why this is and what it means …. I am, so far, too naïve to tell.”

Beautiful.

So nice to sit back and listen for a change. I feel like I’ve been overworking my stuff a bit lately and need a break.

I’ll try to spend some time looking through your blog. There is quality here. Especially a respect for the infinite.

My strongest epiphany so far is the occasional flash on how the sheer utterness of nothing, results in all this. Perfect. Can’t be otherwise.

Thanks.

 

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The Winding Path – 120

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2015-03-12 09:49

fdgsr - “Do you get The All from the Gnostic Gospel of Truth?

“Getting” is an ongoing process.

But I like the sound of your question.

Read a little of you comment history and from that, found little reason to complain.

You lexicon is considerably more disciplined and abundant than mine of course. But I liked the following.

“Truth needs no verification, because it is true intuitively and actually.”

Existence and potential to exist is a priori in my book. God is the Entirety. All. Inside and Out.

2015-03-13 10:09

fdgsr - “brmckay Existence is impossible without the possibility to exist. It is possibility that is created by Truth. Though truth value is a factual distinction between true and false, Truth is a tautology. It cannot be false. Thus, if The God is Truth, there is no contradistinction. To say that Truth is not The God, is to reduce Truth to a fact that could be true or false. That is the confusion that permits atheist as a non-believer in Truth. If you stick to The Truth transcendent to all that is true (the claim of the essence of Islam in Qur’an) it is not possible that there is no God. Of course you would have to accept a static God as Truth unchangeable and truth value of false for facts you would want to believe as a potential of your reality.”

I was tracking you pretty well up to this:

“Of course you would have to accept a static God as Truth unchangeable and truth value of false for facts you would want to believe as a potential of your reality.”

Not sure what it means.

As for what is called “Creation”, I’ll usually refer to it in terms like “relativity”, “duality” or “perfect complementarity”. None of which alone gets us in the ball park of the “Real”. etc.

The paradox of “absolute/relative”, or “existence/non-existence”, or “infinite/finite” is the field of our experience. This hall-of-mirrors.

Primordial Infinitude as the undivided Singularity is changeless. Even non-existent (by way of our confused thinking). Nothing other than it’s Self. Truth.

Since Time is a characteristic of change, what I just called Primordial Infinitude remains in play. Completely accessible. Amen.

2015-03-13 11:30

fdgsr -“It is all in the horizon of our vision and comprehension. So long as our view is obstructed by the limitations of an assumption that we can know every detail as truth, we cannot comprehend truth as it is. Same for any construction of a concept of God as the Supreme Being of our own comprehension. We limit the Supreme Being to what we are willing to accept with self elevated to a position of dictation to the Supreme Being. Truth as it is is just that. We cannot restrict Truth, any restriction on Truth is already in place as Truth Supreme. If we could obstruct Truth as it is, we prove that it is not Truth Supreme, but a construct of our own. I do not do that. I allow Truth to guide me, obstruct me, and to obliterate me. I have no choice. I call all horizons to vision and comprehension ‘flat earth theories’ not absolute limitations on my own vision or the vision of a cooperative effort at science and theory of truth. Just view a Hubble field of deep space to see the effects of horizons of time and distance on our comprehension of what they mean. The red shift alone obscures what we could detect billions of light years since the light pixels were sent out by the images we now construct. The human mind is apparently unique in its ability to comprehend what we cannot see or sense in any way except by our own brain chemistry operating to see beyond our own comprehension and ability to construct a working model of truth and reality in our own minds. We are not unique in our ability to obstruct the light of reason. Most organisms live only to live, not to comprehend a reason or a purpose beyond the facts of life and sense perceptions distorted by the flat earth theories that are simplistic enough to excuse our frailty in the matter of a Supreme Being beyond our own visions of fact and material being. Now read this again and as often as you need to see around your own obstructions.”

Beautifully said.

Can’t tell if you liked my “Haiku” or not.

fdgsr responding to brmckay - “I like what I read from you. You seem to be where I was at about 50 and now near 87. You can take a giant leap forward that I never had the chance to do. All the encyclopedia available obscure more than they reveal. It takes a mind such as yours to see beyond the horizons and know that the earth is a distorted sphere, not a four cornered plane in space. Now subject the current ‘Big Bang’ to the flat earth comparison and see what you see. The Einstein theory of relativity was a kind of a flat earth theory that assumes a constant in the speed of light. I can show that the speed of light is co-dependent upon mass and varies with mass/energy as a variable relative that cannot seem to vary to anyone rooted in the faith in a constant as constant, not relative with all else relative to mass, distance and time. Even if the speed of light varies with mass it seems constant because if mass it increasing, decreasing, or staying static, the speed of light is co-relative with it, not a true constant except in its own relativity to relativity. ‘Haiku’ or iambic pentameter, I am a poet as well. Poetic art is to comprehend what non-poets cannot, or to philosophize what some philosophers cannot. Keep in touch.”

[I’ve included the following conversation between Kevin Osborne and fdgsr.  Kevin is responding to the first extended comment by fdgsr which I’ve repeated.]

fdgsr - “brmckay Existence is impossible without the possibility to exist. It is possibility that is created by Truth. Though truth value is a factual distinction between true and false, Truth is a tautology. It cannot be false. Thus, if The God is Truth, there is no contradistinction. To say that Truth is not The God, is to reduce Truth to a fact that could be true or false. That is the confusion that permits atheist as a non-believer in Truth. If you stick to The Truth transcendent to all that is true (the claim of the essence of Islam in Qur’an) it is not possible that there is no God. Of course you would have to accept a static God as Truth unchangeable and truth value of false for facts you would want to believe as a potential of your reality.”

 

Kevin Osborne responding to fdgsr - “Purely insofar as the construct of this place, light is the means to perception and therefore is supplied as a constant to allow perception to vary. Mass is bundled as necessary to create the illusion of reality and at the top end of light speed becomes the border of particle participation. Freedom as perception in time and space allows any viewpoint except the All. One must step outside to attain that.
I’m really enjoying your conversation with BR, I must step in when relativity mounts the stage.”

 

fdgsr responding to Kevin Osborne - “I wonder if you can substantiate your statements with more meat on the bones. What is ‘…the illusion of reality…’ and what are the ‘…top of light speed…’ ‘…border of particle of participation…’ and how does that relate to the horizons of perception, such as the curvature of the surface of the planet? What about the perceptions horizons in the sixth sense? The All, I understand as it was used in the Gnostic Gospels. You could go to the terms of point particle, occupied and unoccupied points in time and space, if you would. Explain the theory of relativity without the constant of the speed of light. Thanks for stepping in.”

 

Kevin Osborne responding to fdgsr - “All below is my opinion and can be taken as such.
Reality is what one chooses to see in this place. It is illusory in the sense that it is momentary and not the stream of existence it seems to be. We each create our own stream. Light speed is 186,000 miles per second and is considered the top speed for a particle in this universe because as a particle’s relative speed approaches the 186 it’s mass increases, to the point where at 186 it would contain all the mass in the universe. Since that is ‘impossible’ light speed caps all relative speed, so becomes the borderline in a sense between being inside and outside the universe. Things are round here to reflect how mass comes together, from observation that bends space due to the perception/creation machine we each have with God. There are occupied viewpoints in space and time but no unobserved viewpoints. Occupied space has mass, unoccupied space has very little because it has been ‘plumbed’ by our interest and creation into this spatial universe. Relativity can’t be explained, by me at least, without the speed of light since that is what relative speed is relative to. However one can say there is no absolute motion, that all particles seen as ‘one’ are in motion relative to all other particles and our observation of these particles is what governs our reality. A willingness to accept everything is real opens the doors to all reality, which is anything anyone could imagine.
I hope this helps.”

 

 

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The Winding Path – 119

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2015-03-10 10:40

ObscurelyAgnostic - “My own way of understanding the ‘-theism’ in pantheism — and above all, practicing it in our world! — is that it’s not a way of suggesting that a divine Being is dispersed among humanity or the cosmos, but it’s the collective meaning and purpose that WE [c]onscious/sentient beings give the universe — induction of divinity vs deduction?”

As a Monist this really isn’t a problem. However we find things to be, it is divinity. The word “divinity” is of course superfluous. But the emphasis keeps us alert.

Or have I just echoed your comments?

Though, the parsing out of “WE” for this act of “induction” (not deduction), raises questions, but then… What doesn’t?

2015-03-10 11:07

Elizabeth - “I think I’m just not ready to give up on “Peaceable Kingdom” ideas, with lions & lambs lying down together, etc.”

Without lambs, lions would not exist. Is existence the problem? Or choosing sides?

Our confusion of identity is not the whole picture. Just seems like it.

2015-03-11 09:36

Elizabeth – “The dust mote in this particular universe says ‘I object’! : )”

I don’t want to belabor the point. But probably will.

Crucifixion can not have been fun, or trench warfare.

What to do? What to do? And then we die?

Elizabeth - “good point… the dust mote has standing”

 

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The Winding Path – 118

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2015-03-09 11:37

(Rational Doubt – “Jesus: Human or Supernatural? The Liberal/Conservative Divide”; Linda LaScola)

Linda, I’ll echo the enthusiasm that others have expressed at hearing your own voice in this issue.

Having postponed my interest in Jesus until I’d absorb much of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Yaqui, Sioux, Hopi, Navaho, Quaker, Transcendentalist and Hippie articulations; I was not so blinded by the legacy of Jewish self aggrandizement or ponderous Roman hegemony.

I found it easy to see the life of the Carpenter in terms of great Yogi, Hero, Spiritual genius, saint and Avatar. The cackle and clatter of chattering generations was only to be expected.

Alas for many, the baby is out with the bath, and noses missing from their owner’s face.

Special evidence of rigid backlash amongst conservative ex-believers seems like the flip side of a basic personality type. Adamant and righteous in belief, adamant and righteous in non-belief.

Liberals are a softer breed. More content with fuzzy edges.

2015-03-10 09:50

mason - “It seems evident to me that the mythical Jesus really loved to be, and was quite happy to be worshiped, as all Gods are.”

You don’t seem to have considered the role of detachment from the personal. (vairagya, moksha, Buddha mind, enlightenment)

Projecting yourself into his shoes would of course be cause for scepticism.

But why invest so heavily in an obvious caricature?

There is a problem in assuming (or insisting) that nothing qualifies as God realization. This is one of them.

2015-03-11 10:19

mason - “I’ve studied Buddhism (since 1983), and the idea of detachment. I think it’s as valid as catching one’s shadow. I’ve observed people get very depressed and psychotic seeking detachment, believing all their problems come from wanting. Personally 95% of all I’ve wanted or desired turned out to be great and quite satisfying. I’ve found benefit in Mahayana Buddism, the Greater Vessel and Zen enlightenment, not in what I think is a toxic mental game, so called detachment.

Why invest in a caricature? Caricatures, metaphors, similes, symbols are very powerful instruments of human communication. Just curious, what do you invest in brmckay?

I have no personal problem assuming or insisting that nothing qualifies as God (any deity) realization; I’m an atheist. The only valid definition of God IMEO is the non-deity Spinoza Pantheist definition that God and the Universe are identical. There is no personal supernatural God, no deity. Realization is in the conscious experience of science, music, art, travel, interpersonal relationships, and all the other avenues of real life one can choose to travel.

Detachment? No thanks. We’ll get more than we need of that when the monitor flat lines. :)”

——-

mason – “I’ve observed people get very depressed and psychotic seeking detachment,…”

That would indicate an attachment to detachment.

Probably not what I meant (but you knew that). A little parallax maybe, but other than that, should not skew future readings. (please)

“I have no personal problem assuming or insisting that nothing qualifies as God (any deity) realization; I’m an atheist.”

Was not referring to a deity (Why do people think that?)

“Why invest in a caricature? Caricatures, metaphors, similes, symbols are very powerful instruments of human communication. Just curious, what do you invest in brmckay?”

Actually that was a brilliant turn. Very clear in the context of your assumptions per the Carpenter’s motives. (Remember the definition of Bodhisattva?)

Just because you have problems with the screwed up cultural overlays would not be justification for dissing the Guru. How many people actually get the Buddha as Siddhārtha Gautama got the Buddha?

As for what I “invest in”… Same as you.

This is all practice. (wouldn’t you agree?)

Kevin Osborne responding to mason - “I agree that God and the universe are identical. On earth and through human eyes we have a selective view of this place, however. Peel the onion to see the layers.”

 

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The Winding Path – 117

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2015-03-06 10:06

(Johnathan James Rychart is responding to an old comment on a thread at “Formerly Fundie”. In re-reading the original statements I’m not sure I should have interfered in the original discussion.  But who can say?)

Jonathan James Rychart - “Okay, this is going more than just a bit too far, this is 100% off, even more than the calvinists. If you [t]oss out the scriptures, you’ve tossed out your standard by which you can judge what’s right and wrong to begin with. You’re making humanity into the ultimate judge of right and wrong, and frankly, humanity doesn’t have a good track record.”
———————

“…this is going more than just a bit too far, this is 100% off,”

Too far “off” of what?

“You’re making humanity into the ultimate judge of right and wrong,…”

What have I said that justifies *this* conclusion on your part?

“If you [t]oss out the scriptures, you’ve tossed out your standard by which you can judge what’s right and wrong to begin with.”

Scripture (of all traditions) is like footprints on the beach. It confirms that others have also found the Sea.

I find it best to let God teach me. (This is a complex statement. What do you suppose it means?)

 

 

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The Winding Path – 116

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2015-03-03 11:12

(Responding to Anita after an extended exchange.)

Your conversation with Kevin Osborne was interesting.

Some thoughts… Perhaps there is a need to revisit just what “freethinker” means. What is “free” about a reflex to “doubt” before experience is accepted as real.

Then, the notion of “what is real” needs some examination. This involves contemplation of “consciousness” and more importantly,the sense of “I” through which the “personal” experience of “consciousness” flows.

At the level of physics and it’s laws, what is the prototype of the Self? Of Will? Of Love?

Even induced hallucination is “real” as a phenomena. What is the role of self in relationship to the hallucination? This is open ended. The “self” can doubt, or believe, or transform the vision to its needs. All of these actions are as real as the hallucination. No more and no less.

Another possible action it to simply witness. Without attraction. Without aversion. Dwelling in the “Realness” underlying every aspect.

This is Yoga, This is Zen. It’s fruit is actual freedom.

2015-03-04 09:27

Anita - “Hi brmcKay. Thanks for replying so long after the event. I thought this thread had finished. Some interesting thoughts. The term ‘freethinker’ is usually used as a euphemism to spare the indignity of the term ‘atheist’ as, like ‘communist’, the word comes with a lot of baggage a preconceptions about the worthiness of such a person.

To my mind the ‘thinker’ is not so free as to entertain the thought of any eventuality. If an idea seems completely preposterous to the thinker involved, and there’s not a shred of evidence to suppose that it’s true, then proposing such thoughts seems like an exercise in futility.

You know that nouns such as ‘love’ are abstract concepts and can’t be defined in any real way without the participation of the individual involved. One can see the manifestations of ‘love’ in the way that individuals are treated, but even then, the emotion is only really experienced by the individual. It can be faked, and it’s even possible to fool oneself. (Think of all those infatuations of ones youth!)”
——-

“You know that nouns such as ‘love’ are abstract concepts and can’t be defined in any real way without the participation of the individual involved.”

Yes, abstract. As is an “idea seem[ing] completely preposterous”.

What you have said is all true. I would expand upon it though, and suggest that humans have been engaged in piercing the veil of “abstracted experience” for millennia.

The best traditions of meditation have kinship with the scientific method. Even gestated it.

As some science benefits from genius but not all, and not all the time; The same for the path of contemplation.

The underlying motivation though, remains the same. Whether clouded or crystal clear;

WE WANT TO KNOW.

2015-03-04 19:07

Anita - “I wonder at the relative life expectancy of a Buddhist monk and an ordinary citizen in say Japan, Switzerland or Australia. I suppose that would depend on whether the monk had access to modern western medicine, would it not? My guess is that the Dalai Lama himself will end his days in a hospital bed in a country using up-to-date medical procedures.

Granted that meditation is a practice that leads to a higher degree of relaxation, but I think that where the benefits stop. I may be wrong of course, but when greater insights into the nature of the universe start to spring from the meditating mind I’ll sit up and take notice. Till then Ill rely on the scientific method for my revelations. And……from whence comes the notion that the scientific method comes by way of meditation? (no woo, please).”

Rather than stick around while we box each others ears over this, I’m going to say goodbye for now.

Someday I’ll make somebody actually explain this term “woo”.

Perhaps though, it is something that evaporates as horizons broaden. So I’ll defer to the passage of time to make the point for me.

 

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The Winding Path – 115

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(Continuing from previous post … The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

[note: There were a couple other conversational threads that have not been included.  (They were with Eoin O’Brien and Anita if you feel the need for more.)  For now, I want to resolve the tension with a record of a brief interaction with Mary Johnson.]

2015-02-28 11:12

Mary Johnson - “Brmckay, I appreciate your questions. ‘But what about God?’ or, ‘What about the cultivation of authenticity?’ or, ‘What about the discovery of True Self?’ or, ‘Awe, reverence and wonder?’

I’m all for awe, reverence, and wonder. I think they are part of the glory of life. I identified these experiences, often self-transcendent experiences, as experiences of God for most of my life. For the last decade or so, I’ve experienced awe, reverence, and wonder without a belief in God.

Like some others in this discussion, I’ve come to understand God as a human invention. God is a way to explain things, something that gives us meaning, something to hope for. I believe God is conceited of our human fears and desires, as well as our awe and wonder.

For me, cultivating authenticity means, among other things, setting the bar of evidence very high. Before, I was willing to believe based on tradition and what others told me. Especially when my experiences of awe and wonder corresponded with what I was told about God. But I saw up close how religious leaders often use the concept of God to control others. I also learned a lot about the human propensity to tell stories.

I’m all for authenticity and awe, but the human tradition of God no longer makes much sense to me.

If there is some sort of supreme something or other, it seems to me that it wouldn’t correspond with anything I’ve heard humans talk about when they talk about God. Even the early fathers of the church used to say that anything we humans say about God will be more unlike God that like God. (that is not to be construed as a concession to God-belief, but as a recognition that humility in the face of things that very well may be beyond us might be a good idea.

This seems more intellectually honest to me.

Thank you so very much for your response and especially for the even tenor of it. Which, is the quality in your original post that attracted me to respond. (Risking an all too familiar scuffle with the guardians at the gate.)

If you have not read Vivekananda there is an excellent compilation of his talks and writing called “Pathways to Joy” – edited by Dave Deluca. I just came upon it recently and was (seriously!) delighted by it’s confirmation of my fumbling intuitions.

I have the same gripe with the general trend of atheism, as I do with the general trend of Christianity. Both reinforce habits of thought that keep us in orbit around the personal and microscopic self. The “abstracted” sense of “otherness” that imprisons us in a mistaken identity with the finite, relative world of senses and form.

I feel compelled to voice my concerns, because the children’s children’s children need to know, that humans have for millennia instinctively sought out and mastered the fundamental Truth that we are One and not different from the All. i.e. God.

Yes there are many blind alleys to go down. But the simple virtues of honesty, integrity, authenticity, love of Truth will always sort us out. This is built in. The very nature of the process. The more these qualities resound in our being, the more proof we provide to our fellows.

Don’t use the word God if it blocks *your* understanding, but burning the bridge for others (even just in your own attitude) is “something extra” that does not serve. It sustains a genre of “blind alleys” that will only confuse those who you may influence.

I hope to inspire you to be more like this:

“Even the early fathers of the church used to say that anything we humans say about God will be more unlike God that like God.”

With out the need for this:

“(that is not to be construed as a concession to God-belief, but as a recognition that humility in the face of things that very well may be beyond us might be a good idea.”

For one thing; many, many, many have found the way home. Leaving a record of their journeys. This is at least as vital a legacy as all the miraculous parsings of scientific discovery.

Our energies should be directed to avoiding “real” mistakes. These we can be easily determine by their outward effects. War, cruelty, self aggrandizement, greed, murder, rape, enslavement, pollution, discrimination, inequality, etc. etc.

At the root of all these outward manifestations, is the fatal flaw, our fundamental ignorance. A confusion of identity.

2015-03-02 11:16

Mary Johnson - “Like you, I value honesty, integrity, authenticity, and love of truth. I also believe that we are all far more connected than we usually acknowledge. I think I’ll still refrain from use of the word God, even as a shortcut for mystery or energy or love or transcendence or any of the many other ways the term is used. When I want to talk about mystery, I’ll use the word mystery. When I want to talk about love, I’ll use the word love. Things just seem clearer that way. I do appreciate your search for honesty and for love, and your repeated, patient attempts at a real discussion. I sense a great heart behind your words. Thanks for being here.

Thank you. [heaves a great sigh of relief]

 

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The Winding Path – 114

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Continuing from previous post … The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

[note: For the sake of coherence and fairness, I have include the full text of Otto’s comments as much as possible.  This makes for a longer post than I would like.]

2015-02 23 09:17

Otto - “We are not saying the same thing

I have no dogma. If I do not understand your position then communicate it in clear, concise language. Tell me what you believe and why you believe it regarding the topic at hand. If you can do that in an intelligent manner using reason and the information can be verified I will change my mind.

(quoting me) “In order to perceive proof you have to prepared the experiment with integrity.”

Are you saying I have never done that? How would you know?

And you do realize this blog is about people that have experimented professionally with this issue and have since rejected the conclusion. Are you saying they all also lack integrity?

——-

Otto - “And you do realize this blog is about people that have experimented professionally with this issue and have since rejected the conclusion. Are you saying they all also lack integrity?”

“… and have since rejected the conclusion.”

Integrity is an interesting word isn’t it?

I like the statement that you have quoted by itself, but you have also skipped the following “concise language” that annotates it.

brmckay - “In the case of proof of God, or enlightenment, the ground of the experiment is your own being. No way around that. “

2015-02-25 10:59

Otto  - “And I have told you the experimental ground produced zero results…and you blame that on a lack of integrity.”

I’ve been at it 40 years or more. The acquisition of “integrity” is an ongoing process.

“Results”? What are your expectations?

Or, maybe it’s just not your thing, and Atheism is a good fit.

2015-02-25 19:28

Otto - “You seem to be conflating definitions of ‘integrity’ depending on how it suits your needs. Please don’t do that it is insulting and dishonest. In what sense is your experience an ongoing ‘acquisition’ of integrity and mine is a demonstration of an unwillingness to ‘experiment with integrity’?”

We’ve exhausted this thing. You squander to much time quibbling about how I use words.

I’m sorry to have wasted your time and that you have taken offence. In my opinion, I’ve made some interesting points along the way, which have been completely ignored because everybody here assumes I’m either attacking them or they just habitually refuse to co-operate for idealogical reasons.

Since it was Mary Johnson, the author of the main article, that my original comment was addressed to anyway, and she’s not interested, I’ll wrap up loose ends and mosey on.

[Note: Mary Johnson responds after the dust settles from these initial skirmishes.  That conversation will be included in a following post and I promise some relief from the prevailing boxing competitions.]

2015-02-26 07:13

Otto – “(quoting me) ‘In my opinion, I’ve made some interesting points along the way’

The problem is only you know what they are. I still have no idea what you believe and why.

The issue with conflating definitions of words is the people you attempt to communicate with don’t know what you are saying. In order for people to have a constructive discussion they need to agree what the words being used mean, and when words have multiple meanings switching the usage and giving no indication that is what you are doing only ends up in miscommunication, misunderstanding and frustration. Unfortunately that is standard operating procedure for the religious, the ‘spiritual’ and other spreaders of ambiguous concepts and dubious claims. If you will notice most of the responses to you on this blog have been an effort to get you to clarify what you are saying. Your responses were no better. That use of language may make you feel poignant but your audience doesn’t agree. I am more than willing to have these discussions but if I can’t understand you because of your conflation it isn’t a ‘me’ problem…it is a ‘you’ problem. I am sorry you have wasted our time as well.”
——-

Otto – “That use of language may make you feel poignant but your audience doesn’t agree. …

….I am more than willing to have these discussions but if I can’t understand you because of your conflation it isn’t a ‘me’ problem…it is a ‘you’ problem.

… I am sorry you have wasted our time as well.”

You analyse this then. You certainly haven’t been able to understand my attempts.

I will instead refer you to the clearest point in this entire series of conversations.

2015-02-26 09:14

Otto - “Clearest point…?

What is ‘primordial infinitude’? I have got a base understanding of each of those words but when you put them together what are you trying to communicate?”

Knock it off Otto.

Perhaps that lobotomy wasn’t such a good idea after all.

2015-02-26 16:12

Otto – “Wow…you think I am joking.

…I think I found your problem.”

You have been blowing smoke for some time now.

I have presented a list of reasonable assumptions upon which, I have established my worldview. (Your poetic liabilities aside.)

A similar list of the basic assumptions relevant to *your* choice of worldview, should be a simple thing.

If there is any further discussion, it should proceed from there.

A critique of my terminology and the style of presentation has nothing to do with it.

I’m not asking you to “buy in”. You don’t even have to “understand” what I have said.

If this is something that you prefer not to participate in then simply say so. Without the attempt to malign my character. (Who is the audience for that anyway?)

2015-02-27 09:20

[note: Unnoticed by me he had actually responded with the following.  Wish I had seen it before some of the above was said.]

Otto - “Oh and to answer your question. I have as few assumptions as possible. I assume we are experiencing a shared reality and we are not experiencing a solipsist existence. Beyond that I am a skeptic and attempt to avoid accepting unsubstantiated claims. I want to believe as many ‘true’ things as possible and reject as many ‘false’ things as possible.”

2015-02-27 09:08

 

Otto - “Unless you can answer what a primordial infinitude is I don’t see the point of further discussion.

I put it in to google to see if it was just something I have never heard of. The first listing for it links to you.

I have no idea why you are taking that question as an attack and you do not want to explain it further.

I have not once maligned your character. I have called you out for dishonesty in our discussions and I have explained why I have that view. You have never addressed the issue in response to show me why my perception of what you are doing is wrong. I even gave you an out by asking the question…

…”In what sense is your experience an ongoing ‘acquisition’ of integrity
and mine is a demonstration of an unwillingness to “experiment with
integrity”?”…

It was a effort to get you to explain your seemingly disconnected use of the different definitions of the word ‘integrity’. For some reason you don’t want to do that.”

——-
Otto - “…”In what sense is your experience an ongoing ‘acquisition’ of integrity and mine is a demonstration of an unwillingness to “experiment with integrity”?”…”

Could you please provide everybody with full citation for this “quotation”? (Including the half-baked interpretations that you have hacked together to create it.)

And…

I will once more tiresomely point out that my efforts to get past this subjective impasse have been rebuffed.

If you don’t get, how my suggestion, of sketching in our personal paradigms, without reference to, or critique of the other’s, is a helpful platform; A way to enhance our understanding, then I (really!) can’t work with you either.

In the mean time , here, have a cookie:

“Primordial” as in “primordial stew”. “beginnings”, “what came before”

“Infinitude” as in “no beginning and no end”, “no form”, “emptiness”, “boundless”, “nothing other than THIS”, “HERE AND NOW”.

I will continue to interpret you as being strategically obtuse, until you convince me otherwise. So it would be best to just provide a list of basic assumptions that inform *your” life.

(hint: What are the assumptions behind your atheism? If you are actually a(nti)theist instead, then it should become clear. This would be helpful for us all to know.)
2015-02-27 15:58

Otto - “So basically ‘Primordial Infinitude’ is an oxymoron. I know you will take that as an insult, but what I am pointing out is why that term confused me. ‘Primordial’ (beginnings), ‘Infinitude’ (no beginnings). But at least you answered the questions directly, I do appreciate that.

Regarding my half baked interpretations that that generated the question…just explain why my perception of your use of “integrity” is wrong. Put yourself in my shoes, if someone told you that you lacked integrity when addressing a metaphysical question what definition under the term would you assign it?”

“Primordial Infinitude” is only an oxymoron for those who find it so. I am very happy to have applied it. It gives me and everyone else a break from the term “Singularity”.

You obviously have no aptitude for this kind of discussion, “I know that you will take that as a insult”, but as I suggested, atheism is a good fit. You should be glad that there is a niche for you.

If you ever surprise yourself and start to “get it”, look me up.

I’m pretty sure that it was not me who said this thing that you are obsessing over. Without the citation I’ll assume that I am innocent of the charge. But, the issue of “integrity” (in the sense that you are using it) may actually become an issue if we keep talking. I would rather that it doesn’t.

As for *my* sense of the word integrity, think in terms of a lifetime of practice and exploration. And, as I see it, that “practice and exploration” is “informed” by “Primordial Infinitude”. As in our birthright of awakening to our integration with it.

 

[note: FINALLY!]

Otto – “There is nothing to ‘get’, you seem to think communicating in an enigmatic fashion in the same vein as a Depok Chopra makes you somehow thought provoking. It doesn’t. It just makes you out to be an asshole.

(there now I have maligned your character)

Don’t bother posting, I am done wasting effort with you.”

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The Winding Path – 113

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Continuing from previous post … The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

2015-02-19 17:53

Otto – “(quoting from my butterfly response to Pofarmer) ‘OK, yes this is a trope that I use way too much. But no-one ever bothers to address it. (so I persist)’

Wrong, it is addressed. It is addressed by biologists and entomologists. The philosophical question it brings up are addressed as well. And regardless of whether or not you feel they have adequately answered the issue(s) to your satisfaction I see no reason to conclude ‘therefore god’. That does not answer the issues any better and in my opinion sets us back (both personally and socially) by attempting to smuggle in an unfounded conclusion.”

——-

“I see no reason to conclude ‘therefore god’. That does not answer the issues any better…”

Nor does it conclude “therefore no God”. In fact based on the line of reasoning that brings me to suggest it, and my own understanding of how, and how not to understand the nature of God, it is a real gem.

“.. and in my opinion sets us back (both personally and
socially) by attempting to smuggle in an unfounded conclusion.”

It was not a conclusion as presented, but rather a question meant to nudge the reader into position to understand my frame of reference. (And also possibly spark a sense of wonder and even reverence. Sans the need to conquer it with a new model or theory.)

I will also note that once again I’m being referred to some external authority as regards the above question. Does it mean that you have been convinced of something yourself? If so what?

Personally, I’m hoping that you will ask yourself, “Why would a man’s cultivation of a sense for the undivided whole, in anyway interfere with the quest of science for specific knowledge of it’s parts?”

I could go on but don’t want to wear out my welcome.

2015-02-20 08:57

Otto – “I have not concluded ‘therefore no god’…just no evidence that points in that direction.”

But I have, and so butt heads with y’all because what is obvious to me is not to you. Why? What is different? Why does it matter? etc.

Otto – “Also I am not pointing you to an external authority, I am rebutting your claim that your question is not being addressed.”

And yet you have not bothered to apply it to the question in the context of this conversation. I have no idea why it’s potency is not recognized. Or why my sense of it may be misguided.

This is the gist of my lament.. “But no-one ever bothers to address it. (so I persist)”

Otto - “Not understanding the mechanism butterflies use to navigate is no different than a man 2000 years ago not understanding the mechanism that produces lightning.”

At the very least, here is a working definition of God. “The Uncarved Block”.

You do understand that there is an infinitude of nuance to be teased out of THIS. Out of the REAL. And no matter how much we “know” the pool is in no way diminished or even changed.

This is *my* working definition of God.

Otto - “The question I hope you ask yourself is ‘why would an undivided whole necessitate god?’ “

You misunderstand (I hope not for stubbornly political reasons). I’m saying that anything less would be a false god. Or at least an unnecessarily primitive conceptualization.

Otto - “It could turn out to be case but at this point I only see that answer as unsatisfying and lacking.”

That is because this is not your field of interest.

Otto - “New models and theories of the workings add to my awe and wonder, they don’t detract from them.”

Me as well, but nothing really changes. We refine our conceptions. This is evolution.

2015-02-20 22:49

Otto - “(quoting me) ‘This is *my* working definition of God.’

Defining god with mushy terms and concepts that seem to be intentionally framed in such a way that they can never be vetted, verified, demonstrated or falsified may be useful to you but it doesn’t further our collective understanding and knowledge one iota.”

Kevin Osborne responding to Otto - “Actually you can experiment with awareness and creation which are the components of God within this place. You can make the simple experiment of taking another viewpoint completely. It seems easy but is not because of the setup that encourages a severe limit on one’s reality. There are thousands of books which undertake to explain such but one must be wiling to learn in order to do so.”

Otto responding to Kevin Osborne - “(quoting Kevin Osborne) ‘Actually you can experiment with awareness and creation which are the components of God within this place.’

You would need to demonstrate that this statement is factual first. Why should I (or anyone) just stipulate that premise?

(quoting Kevin Osbourne) ‘There are thousands of books which undertake to explain such but one must be wiling to learn in order to do so.’

There are thousands of books on astrology. psychics. phrenology, reading tea leaves, etc. Having books written on a subject does not make the subject valid. Stating that one must be willing to *learn* in order for the information to make sense is a crock…it is condescending and insulting. That type of reasoning is a sure path to gullibility.”

He was not saying that “you ” must be willing to *learn* in order for the information to make sense”. But, be willing to engage in the exercise described. i.e actually get out of the way and see what the person is talking about.

It occurs to me that Einstein’s theories might have seemed like a crock if I didn’t trust qualified people to explain it to me.

or .. perhaps gone to the trouble of leaning the math. (which is not likely to happen.)

Either way, I rely on willingness and faith until the epiphany of understanding the thing itself.

2015-02-21 10:41

You don’t seem to realize that we are saying the same thing?

Otto - “Qualified people explaining it is not enough..”

brmckay - ” I rely on willingness and faith until the epiphany of understanding the thing itself.”

Your dismissal of my statement as a sign of gullibility is “proof” that your agenda (dogma) has skewed your understanding of my side of this discussion.

“The assumption that I have not investigated the baseless assertions you and Kevin espouse is bad one.”

“baseless assertions” is an assumption.

His reference to the thousands of books (observation, testimony) combined with his experience (replication), should be a reasonably sufficient starting point to “investigate” the matter without the prerequisite ideological spin (there is no God).

In order to perceive proof you have to prepared the experiment with integrity.

In the case of proof of God, or enlightenment, the ground of the experiment is your own being. No way around that. Waiting for a priesthood of elite scientists for confirmation, just adds to the pile of books about it.

2015-02-22 11:32

Kevin Osborne responding to Otto - “You will know someday. Be well.”

Otto responding to Kevin Osborne - “I can tell you exactly the day I will ‘know’ it…when it can be demonstrated and replicated.”

Well….demonstrate it then.

Otto - “I have never been able to. Nor has anyone else… which is why we are having this discussion.”

Upon what are you basing this incredibly broad statement?

What criteria have you applied? What are your expectations? Who’s testimony or life example have you investigated?

What are you looking for, Some sort of mathematical formula?

I suspect that we’ve probably reached the limit of what we can hope to accomplish. I’m willing to give it a rest if you are.

 

[note: Unfortunately, we don’t “give it a rest” just yet.  To be continued…]

 

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If this work seems good, and you can help. I would be grateful for your support.Thanks.

 

 

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