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Atheism with Thuse

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Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 15th, 2009, 5:27 pm

I would agree that as vibrations slow the material interactions become more complex as matter itself becomes more dense. But as a believer in levels of reality I see it as a a conscious descent similar to the idea of the relationship of trees to a forest. Where a tree exists as an individual, it loses its individuality as part of a forest.
I would say the tree only exists individually and apart from the forest conceptually. The tree sees itself as existing on one level of reality as a separate individual. However, once it frees itself of the conception, it sees it is and always was inseparable from the whole forest. It was only its conceptualisations about reality and its levels that created this separation. Reality is always whole and free of separation.
From this perspective a galaxy like the Milky Way is defined by a quality or vibrational frequencies of its materiality. Suns as expressions of a galaxy have a denser defining level of materiality. So the sun consists not only of its own materiality but that of the galaxy it involved from. A planet like our earth has a defining material density that includes chemical elements but within it, also contains the basic materiality of the sun which has within it the base materiality of the milky way. In this way what we know of as atoms contains atoms of a frequency beyond our perception. The idea is that just as cosmoses exit one within the other, qualities of matter defined by their vibrational frequencies and densities do likewise.
This is very much in accord with my own thoughts about the fractal nature of reality.
When Jesus says that I am within the Father and the Father within me, it is a cosmological expression.
In your opinion, of course. There is nothing in what he actually says nor how he is commonly interpreted to suggest he means anything other than what he says.
Imagine a log in a pond. The log is in the water. At the same time the water of the pond is within the log.
Exactly. But Jesus says that god is more like the vibrations (or even, technically, the consciousness) composing both water and the log. The ideas of inside and outside are mental categorisations not present in objective reality. When Jesus says that he is within all things, I think he means it. I’m not sure why you think he doesn’t.
Cosmology is the same and explains why:
Quote:
So, he clearly in the first sentence states that heaven is inside you and outside you, right now. Therefore, heaven as an external transcendent kingdom does not exist. Therefore, Weil was mistaken and the proof is right here.


This means we have an indication of this higher reality through beauty for example but it is a conscious quality our inner life is capable of evolving towards
Where does he say anything about beauty, higher realities and evolution? Clearly he doesn’t actually say that. He says the kingdom is inside you and outside you. Obviously, the kingdom then, is inside and outside you. This is the only possible way to interpret this and if you interpret it to not be this, then you misinterpret it, surely.
So you'll understand where I'm coming from, when a person begins to feel that the source of meaning the heart is attracted to comes through our inner world they experience what is called metanoia.
I understand what you are saying, and I know what metanoia is too, but I don’t see where you are coming from, since it is not from anything Jesus has said, nor anything that can be gained introspectively. It seems you have passed over the quotes that I specifically highlighted where Jesus says, several times, that the kingdom is not in another dimension, but in the very reality we are currently experiencing. I also highlighted the quotes where he said, again repeatedly and very clearly, that everything is non-different to god. So, without any doubt, what you are saying about conscious connection, higher realities and so forth is nothing to do with Jesus and his teachings, since he has literally said the opposite; that basically we are all god and heaven is here and now. I get that you have an inner feeing that makes you seek truth - that is universal, everybody feels that. So by all means, seek truth, not concepts based in misinterpretations given to you by others.

Life for us in Plato's Cave is at the first three levels where we are enchanted with the external world or shadows on the wall. Level 4 is beginning to smell the coffee. Levels 5, 6, and 7 pertain to Man's possible conscious evolution.
Again, not really anything to do with what Jesus i.e. god has actually said. It would seem that life in Plato’s cave is referring to exactly what you are doing right now – creating arbitrary conceptualisations not necessarily representative of reality that you are getting attached to and mistaking for truth.

Quote:
So Jesus, i.e. god, says he is everywhere and in all things. Obviously this includes humans. Therefore, god is not apart from his creation, and we are all god, already. I think that god is, surely, the highest authority on this matter, so you don’t need to believe me, its right there, coming from his own lips. This is similarly in complete contrast to Weil's preachings


Yes, God is in all things and all things are within God. It is a cosmological relationship. Divine love and consciousness permeate the universe but at levels of reality within us that we've become closed to.
It is not a relationship. There is only a relationship between multiple things. Jesus is saying there are no multiple things, there is only one thing and we are that thing. He is categorically and unquestionably saying this. He never says anything about consciousness permeating the Universe or Divine Love or any of that. This is what I think you have chosen to become closed to.
Quote:
"Know what is in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you"


Yes, this is the problem. How to get out of our own way when we are in Plato's Cave.
The solution – stop taking conceptualisations about reality to be reality. Turn your eyes from the shadows, to the sunlight. Jesus is not offering a problem - he is offering a solution. That which is in front of your face is your own mind and it is the only thing that stands in your way.
My question is if as an atheist you sense that you are in Plato's cave, governed by imagination?
No, not at all, because I don’t unquestioningly believe in things I have imagined without cause, like levels of reality and conscious connections to gaseous vertebraes. I do everything I can to question my conceptualisations and remind myself that my mind’s idea of reality is not what reality is. I sincerely suggest that you consider the possibility that the entire point of the cave is that you don’t realise the shadows are shadows, but think they are truth. This is the great thing about doubt that we were talking about earlier – I really suggest that you doubt that you are seeing the sunlight and just consider, for a moment, that you are transfixed by the shadows.
Try this and you will see how hard it is. This quality of attention requires a quality of consciousness that exists in us only in potential.
You assume I haven’t already tried it. I have been practicing various forms of meditation (daily) and Raja and Jnana yoga (bi-weekly) for more than a decade, so I am very much aware of how hard it is ;). I am also aware of how easy it eventually gets, given enough practice. Once the mind is seen for what it is, it becomes significantly less difficult for it to stand in its own way.
That is why when it is pure it becomes prayer which is just a call from the deeper parts of ourselves for help from above. Conscious attention and imagination including self deception are mutually exclusive. Living in imagination, we cannot retain conscious attention and quickly lose it.
Yes, but the point of conscious attention is to train the mind, so that it can see itself more clearly. It is not so that it can getter better and better at imagining things and getting lost in concepts. It is also a means, not an end.
Yes, as creatures of reaction, we are slaves. Our condition is not hopeless since we can awaken to the human condition and consciously participate as normal for human meaning and purpose within the necessity of Creation.

As an atheist, how do you appreciate "awakening?"
I very much appreciate it in the sense that the Buddha meant it in the quotes you use below. I personally interpret the various accounts of mystical awakening to be a totally unattached, unconfined awareness. Just as when we take dreams to be real, we can be considered sleeping, when we take our mental objects (inc. thoughts, conceptions etc.) to be real, we are similarly sleeping. Of course, just like with the Buddha, theology is not relevant to awakening.

I also think there is another kind of “awakening” which is simply a more apparent awareness of our awareness. This is the awakening people refer to when they say they are awakened to a spiritual reality or what have you and what fuels their search for an understanding of reality and self. So, a Christian might say they had an “awakening”, but we would both agree they did not mean a kind of enlightenment, rather just an experience of something more to reality than meets the eye, so to speak, even though they may describe it with different words than another. Very occasionally, people can jump the gun and assume this kind of awakening refers to what the Buddha is talking about.
Quote:
I Am Awake
When the Buddha start to wander around India shortly after his enlightenment, he encountered several men who recognized him to be a very extraordinary being.
They asked him, "Are you a god?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you a reincarnation of god?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you a wizard, then?"
"No."
"Well, are you a man?"
"No."
"So what are you?" they asked, being very perplexed.
"I am awake."
Buddha means "The Awakened One". How to awaken is all he taught.


For me, awakened Man to a sufficient degree is part of conscious humanity. Sleeping man is in slavery, while awakened man is free to participate in universal purpose to a greater degree than a horse does.
Perhaps an awakened man is not one who becomes a ‘part’ and separate. Perhaps an awakened man is one who sees himself as inseparable from the whole and is free of all conflict. What good is awakening if it involves violence? (Separation = conflict = violence).
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Skepticism and doubt are, I think, interchangeable. There is nothing I see in Weil’s writings to suggest that she ever doubted the validity of her imagination in approximating truth. There is nothing in her writings that demonstrate she valued critical thinking either.


You just don't know Simone. Her struggle with imagination and its effects upon not just her but with humanity in general are legendary.
On the contrary, I don’t disagree with this last part, and that is exactly why I do think I know her. Only her struggle with imagination was a struggle she lost. Her imagination, for example, led her to think that the kingdom is an external otherworldly place. I have already demonstrated that this is not in accord with what god himself has said, in her own religion. The effects then were that they resulted in a philosophy that is purely conceptual and had no bearing on the very words of the god she alleged to take solace in. In your opinion, which is not based on the writing of your own religion, she was legendary. In my opinion, which is based on the writings of your religion, her life was a testament to self-indulgent delusion. If I prayed, which I do not, I would pray that someone as obviously intelligent as yourself realise that sooner rather than later and that you learn to be your own legend instead of creating idols out of others. I think god said something about that latter part, too.
Quote:
“Imagination and fiction make up more than three-quarters of our real life”


We are so used to it that we underestimate how true this is.
Technically, this isn’t true at all. Imagination and fiction make up none of real life. Think about it. Further to my point that Weil obviously didn’t understand the difference.
Quote:
I think the idea that doubt and/or skepticism is a negative attitude is surely false. In Weil’s mind, god created us all, gave us these minds and our inquisitiveness. Would he really not expect us to doubt and be skeptical? Are we not simply behaving according to the very nature Weil alleges he granted us? What kind of petty god would give us a thirst for knowledge, then expect us to randomly guess what to believe then just cross our fingers, have faith and never be skeptical? What is the difference between this and pulling the legs of a spider? I see none. Weil sees none. But Weil is happy to be the spider. Hell, she’s even grateful. I don’t think that makes her a very suitable role model, in my eyes.


Where Christendom believes in the personal God, Simone is far more Panentheistic. In fact she contends that one of the main reasons Christianity devolved into Christendom or man made Christianity was because of the influence of the Hebrew God
Firstly, I would remind you that you have posted many, many quotes of Weil that clearly establishes she was not a panentheist. She stated, clearly, that god was elsewhere and so was his kingdom – in direct conflict to what god said in the gospel of Thomas and panentheism. So what Weil espoused was just not panentheism, not even close.

Secondly, had she bothered to overcome what in my opinion was her own self-aggrandising arrogance and studied these religions that she was fond of criticising, she would have quickly found that in Kabbalah, esoteric Judaism, god is not personal but immanent, and not-different from his creation. In fact, their entire view of creation is exactly the same as your involution/evolution, only to them it is god himself that is involuting and evolving. So, to anyone who has studied esoteric Judaism, her accusations are immediately seen for what they are - straw men fallacies and patently false.
OK so we're wrong. Is it a crime to need to get to the bottom of it.
No. It is, however, in my view, an error to simply believe other people like Weil without questioning them, then claim you are interested in getting to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, an error to never be sceptical of your own belief system, then claiming you are interested in getting to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, in error to lay your own personal conceptions over a Christian text, which contradict what the text actually says, then claim you are a Christian and that you want to get to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, in error believing anyone because they claim to have had an experience, when you have not yourself had these experiences, then claim you are trying to get to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, in error to not think for yourself, to not question authority, then claim you are interested in getting to the bottom of it. These things are not errors to you but valid ways to get to the bottom of it. I simply disagree.

Though, these things are not what I consider crimes. The only crime would be my own, if I could make these observations and did not respect you enough to tell you about them.
Is there anything wrong with consciously witnessing through ones power of attention?
No, of course not, but this is not what Weil is doing, this is the opposite of what Weil is doing. She is not being attentive to her thoughts. She is not simply witnessing, but becoming attached to them. You are giving her more credit than she deserves. You are seeing something that isn’t there.
You believe that Simone is preaching escapism but actually she is experiencing conscious witnessing. They seem more similar the more we value imagination.

Her conscious attention is the same as an expression of Karma Yoga.
What she is doing is nothing, not anything, remotely like Karma Yoga. As I mentioned above, I have practised and studied yoga for most of my life. You have already admitted that Weil certainly never studied it. Karma Yoga is about action with non-attachment to the result. In quotes you have posted, Weil has herself stated that she is very much attached to the result, this result being going to a far-away kingdom with a father following death. So, therefore, this is not Karma yoga, it is the antithesis of it. Further, Karma yoga necessarily includes non-attachment to self, it is wholly self-less, yet Weil and yourself have repeatedly expressed notions of complete identification with a ‘soul’. Again, the total antithesis of Karma yoga. So, to equate the two is simply wrong, by way of definition and not opinion.
Escapism is living in La La Land while Simone is acting with non-identifying. In this way the reality of life enters us free of our psychological filters including negative attitudes.
This is simply a mistake, one contradicted by absolutely all the evidence. Weil is thoroughly attached to her own personal conceptions of a ‘soul’. This bears categorically no similarity with Karma yoga nor any of the other practices of non-identifying. She is identifying (with a soul) and is attached to a result (the hope that she gets into heaven you quoted and referenced earlier) therefore she is not acting with non-identification, again by definition and not simply “in my opinion”.

You are correct of course though that non-identifying is the lack of identification with negative attitudes aswell. I realise the hypocrisy here in my own negative attitudes to Weil (although I consider ignorance to be the most negative of all attitudes). I lay no claim to enlightenment, so I make no excuses for my imperfections. I would hope that I one day have the patience, fortitude and compassion to deal with people who have caused as much damage as selfishly as Weil without becoming emotive and passionate. However, I reiterate that I see no fundamental difference between that which Weil was and that which I am, therefore, my emotion is not anger at her but in a sense anger at another version of myself. I expect the best of Weil because I expect the best of myself, and I treat her exactly the same as I do myself. Tough love is more useful than adoration.
Simone didn't purposely starve to death.
She refused food. Either you acknowledge that she was purposely refusing food and mentally healthy enough to understand the consequences, thus effectively starving herself on purpose; or, you acknowledge that she was mentally ill, unable to understand the consequences of her actions, in which case you acknowledge that she was indeed living in “La La Land”. There is no third way.
She just saw no reason in her condition to go on living.
So she refused and starved herself on purpose. Note how this observation contradicts your previous one. Moreover, who is she to decide what is best for her considering that it was god’s will that she be in that condition? That kind of ingratitude and audacity doesn’t sound very Christian to me.
Here is an account from a wiki discussion
Quote:
I assume we all agree that she was a most independent woman...a forminable discussant [she scared Simone de Beauvoir by unmasking bourgeois tendencies according to Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter].

So, how does this fit the end of her life. She was really sick - TB. They had collapsed the lung and it did not good at all. The dr. wanted to do it again. She refused [what today would be call the 'right to refuse treatment' - especially frutiless treatment. He got mad that she would not just acquiese [like any patient, especially woman was expected to do] and so when she died he signed the death certificate that she died as a result of self starvation.

Here is where Pretrement comes in...documents the testimony of her nurse, some friends who would bring food in etc. Even goes to her confessor, 2nd doctor etc. Now, I have had some friends who have died and almost none of them wanted to each anything near the end...cancer, TB etc. there is a natural loss of appetite.
I sincerely suggest you don’t rely on getting your historical facts from people who don’t not only which parentheses to use, nor even how to close them, nor how to properly write the honourable title “Dr.” let alone spell, who think that self-starvation is equivalent to the “right to refuse treatment” (suicide is illegal and thus not considered a right) or someone who thinks their historical account should be considered accurate because they “have had some friends who have died”.

Your self-proclaimed ‘saint’ willingly killed herself because she couldn’t deal with life; quotes from random people on Wikipedia will not change the fact that you are making a martyr out of weakness and failure. These may seem like “legendary” attributes to you, but these are simply not values I adhere to, atheist or otherwise.
Simone Weil cannot be classified. It is what makes her so valuable. She forces us to keep an open mind. She is hard to take but for those unafraid to damage their ego, she is a valuable influence. She is far more intelligent then me with a heart far more developed than mind. I can either huff an puff about it or be open to learning with the open mind she so prized.
I have offered contradictions from the religious texts themselves, I have pointed out inconsistencies in Weil’s own works, I have highlighted complete contradiction between her musings and Gnostic dogma, I have raised historical facts regarding her demise that question her dedication, I have demonstrated beyond all doubt that she was a liar, lying at least about non-identifying and Judaism just in this post, so please don’t accuse me of simply “huffing and puffing”, that kind of raw ignorance simply doesn’t suit you.

She was not open-minded, by definition, because open-mindedness requires a willingness to be sceptical even about one’s own beliefs. You choose to see Weil as something that she is not. Perhaps it is your ego that risks damage by acknowledging that you have blindly followed a fool. Well, I ask you, who is more the fool – one who realises their mistake and corrects it? Or one who, realising their mistake, has too much pride to find the courage to move on and continues to haplessly follow a corpse?
She wasn't against education. She was for education. Modern education is against education because it denies what Simone knew as to the value and purpose of education:
Quote:
Weil lamented that education had become no more than "an instrument manipulated by teachers for manufacturing more teachers, who in their turn will manufacture more teachers." rather than a guide to getting out of the cave.


This is the problem. Education seeks to justify cave life when it should teach knowledge in the context of leaving the cave. But without either realizing it or teachers capable of it, were stuck.
So, she was anti-education, which is what I said. Perhaps she could have made a more ‘pure’ education, yet she was still anti-education at the time, was she not? So there is no need to justify what I have already said of her, surely.
Here a person writes a theses on education referring to Simone Weil. Simone wasn't anti knowledge.
She was anti-intelligence, anti-rationalism, anti-doubt, anti-scepticism, anti-criticism, anti-questioning, anti-logic, anti-science, and, as above, anti-education. Her ‘knowledge’ was only that of her ideas, which she never questioned. Hence, there is nothing in this that pertains to neither knowledge nor any attempt to acquire it.
What creates human perspective for you as an atheist? For me. part of our human perspective comes through the influences of higher consciousness. Do you believe that human perspective is strictly the combined results of heredity and societal conditioning?
It would be simplifying it, in my view, to say our perspective is strictly the results of genetics and environmental influences – although this is essentially true, of course. Neils Bohr said something relevant when he said, “The physicist is simply the atoms way of looking at itself”. The evidence we have shows that, literally, we are what happens when you give one hydrogen atom 14 billion years to complexify. We are at an incredible point in time where we able to track this entire process, with the aid of science and critical thinking, and contemplate our incredible journey. What it has revealed is that we are, quite literally, atoms perceiving themselves, and inseparable from anything else. So, the human perspective is actually cosmic perspective – each one of us is literally the entire Universe, aware of itself.
I will be going for one of my visits to Montauk Long Island to refresh with the great Atlantic Ocean until Saturday when once again I can look in.

Hopefully I can reply to you then as we gradually explore human perspective both for the individual and as a society from our respective perspectives and clarify our beliefs and differences.

Until then, stay well

Nick
Thank you, I hope it is a relatively peaceful and inspiring experience.

Until then, best wishes

Thuse

Nick_A
Posts: 2391
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » October 16th, 2009, 11:14 pm

Well I made it back in one piece. A good woman and several striped bass. What more can a man ask for? :)

I believe in Pythagoras Law of Octaves so see the universe as a giant octave and connections within it as smaller octaves. The forest has its existence within an octave and a tree is a step lower in the octave. The Forest and the tree both exist within the octave contained within the cosmos of the earth

The Law of Octaves allows me to appreciate what Plato meant by "forms" and their expression into the phenomenal plane.
Reality is always whole and free of separation.

So for me, reality is expressed as octaves within which different degrees of wholeness exist within a lawful vibratory framework. We see our difference. Where you don't recognize separation, I see it as essential

I believe one reason the New Testament is misunderstood is because people believe its purpose is to create answers and moral dictates but actually its primary purpose is to create questions, to stimulate awakening.

Any legitimate path that initiated with a conscious source must be this way. This is why the real teaching must be an oral teaching between student and teacher. It is necessary to bypass the egoistic results of acquired imagination.
Where does he say anything about beauty, higher realities and evolution? Clearly he doesn’t actually say that. He says the kingdom is inside you and outside you. Obviously, the kingdom then, is inside and outside you. This is the only possible way to interpret this and if you interpret it to not be this, then you misinterpret it, surely.
I can respect how you see it but for me it is a cosmological idea. The number 10 exists within 100 as a quantity. Yet the essence of 100 or 1 exists within 10. Both 10 and 100 exist one within the other. Mathematics is a measure of quantity while cosmology is a measure of quality in relation to wholeness. The basic laws though are the same.
Again, not really anything to do with what Jesus i.e. god has actually said. It would seem that life in Plato’s cave is referring to exactly what you are doing right now – creating arbitrary conceptualisations not necessarily representative of reality that you are getting attached to and mistaking for truth.
The Christian idea of re-birth is a cosmological idea. It is an idea that invites one to ponder it.
John 12:

23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
A person has to become able to experience what life in the world is before one can sacrifice it for the pearl of great worth or human conscious potential. Pleasing a personal God has nothing to do with it.
The solution – stop taking conceptualisations about reality to be reality. Turn your eyes from the shadows, to the sunlight. Jesus is not offering a problem - he is offering a solution. That which is in front of your face is your own mind and it is the only thing that stands in your way.


For me the solution is not looking at the sun but rather to allows the sunlight or "grace" to flow through us so as to illuminate what we often view as reality in order to see it for what it is.
I really suggest that you doubt that you are seeing the sunlight and just consider, for a moment, that you are transfixed by the shadows.


I consider this my advantage. I am willing to admit that I'm in Plato's cave. The difficulty is to become able to verify it both intellectually and emotionally to the degree Socrates did. Only a very few are capable of this.

As an atheist, are you willing to admit that you are in Plato's cave?
Yes, but the point of conscious attention is to train the mind, so that it can see itself more clearly. It is not so that it can getter better and better at imagining things and getting lost in concepts. It is also a means, not an end.
In contrast I see the purpose of conscious attention to align the human organism much like Plato suggested in Book 4 of the Republic:
Not I, indeed.
Then our dream has been realised; and the suspicion which we entertained at the beginning of our work of construction, that some divine power must have conducted us to a primary form of justice, has now been verified?
Yes, certainly.
And the division of labour which required the carpenter and the shoemaker and the rest of the citizens to be doing each his own business, and not another's, was a shadow of justice, and for that reason it was of use?
Clearly.
But in reality justice was such as we were describing, being concerned however, not with the outward man, but with the inward, which is the true self and concernment of man: for the just man does not permit the several elements within him to interfere with one another, or any of them to do the work of others, --he sets in order his own inner life, and is his own master and his own law, and at peace with himself; and when he has bound together the three principles within him, which may be compared to the higher, lower, and middle notes of the scale, and the intermediate intervals --when he has bound all these together, and is no longer many, but has become one entirely temperate and perfectly adjusted nature, then he proceeds to act, if he has to act, whether in a matter of property, or in the treatment of the body, or in some affair of politics or private business; always thinking and calling that which preserves and co-operates with this harmonious condition, just and good action, and the knowledge which presides over it, wisdom, and that which at any time impairs this condition, he will call unjust action, and the opinion which presides over it ignorance.
For our inner world to experience the external world in a balanced fashion through which we can inwardly grow, it requires this balance. Without this balance conscious attention just produces out of balance results: knowledge without perspective that can produce anything between acts of great compassion and abomination. The loss of conscious balance is what produces the human condition we see in the world today.
I also think there is another kind of “awakening” which is simply a more apparent awareness of our awareness. This is the awakening people refer to when they say they are awakened to a spiritual reality or what have you and what fuels their search for an understanding of reality and self.
This quality of consciousness requires inner balance to retain. This is the greatest proof of the human condition: the inability to retain this conscious awareness.

Can we agree that regardless of our belief in a source, we can agree as to the imbalance of the human condition?
"Pity them my children, they are far from home and no one knows them. Let those in quest of God be careful lest appearances deceive them in these people who are peculiar and hard to place; no one rightly knows them but those in whom the same light shines" Meister Eckhart
I can only think of a few that are worthy of this quote. One of them is Simone Weil. Since this is the centennial year of her birth I've been reading up on her. All I can say is that she is new to you. Can you admit the possibility that there is a lot you are unaware of?

A human being can be a microcosm for example. At the same time the universe is a series of higher cosmoses. As such, Simone's world of forms exist both within her and as an external reality of our conscious universe. So in this way the higher truths are both within our being and an external reality. I'm not asking you to accept it but just presenting it for clarification.

Christianity is not something we can know. We know Christendom. Christianity predates Christ. Jesus actualized it.
To conclude, the great Christian theologian, Saint Augustine in his Retractiones, wrote “The very thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients also, nor was it wanting from the inception of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, at which point the true religion, which was already in existence, began to be called Christian.”
Simone Weil experienced the essence of Christianity. This is rare.
Technically, this isn’t true at all. Imagination and fiction make up none of real life. Think about it. Further to my point that Weil obviously didn’t understand the difference.
Don't forget that these are translations from the French so the word "real" may be misleading. Our real life consists of what we do. We can say that since we live in imagination, it isn't based on reality but regardless, our understanding is defined by what we do. If I want to lose ten pounds I understand why it is beneficial. I also understand why I like chocolate chip cookies and eat them. What do I understand? Both, depending upon external stimuli.
Firstly, I would remind you that you have posted many, many quotes of Weil that clearly establishes she was not a panentheist. She stated, clearly, that god was elsewhere and so was his kingdom – in direct conflict to what god said in the gospel of Thomas and panentheism. So what Weil espoused was just not panentheism, not even close.
God, for Simone is anonymous. The Christ influence became personal because it is within time and space. Since it is such a high influence she often uses the word God. She wrote:
After this I came to feel that Plato was a mystic, that all the Iliad is bathed in Christian light, and that Dionysus and Osiris are in a certain sense Christ himself; and my love was thereby redoubled.

I never wondered whether Jesus was or was not the Incarnation of God; but in fact I was incapable of thinking of him without thinking of him as God.
After her mystical experiences she learned Sanskrit to read the Bhagavad-Gita in the original. She did read the Old Testament but wasn't too impressed with the majority of it. Don't think she wasn't well read. This is why her essay on the Iliad is so valued:

http://www.amazon.com/Simone-Weils-Ilia ... 0820463612
Review
« This new edition of Weil's well-known essay on the 'Iliad' is welcome on several counts. James P. Holoka's commentary and notes draw richly yet judiciously from scholarship on both Weil and her beloved Homer, and his translation fairly matches the limpid French of the original. In an age feverish with wars and their rumor, it is hard to imagine that any reader will be unaffected by Weil's vigorously argued perceptions in what must be rated one of the most effective briefs ever written against the inhuman nature of violence. This book will benefit students and teachers in French, classical studies, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology. -- Thomas R. Nevin



Product Description
Simone Weil, a brilliant young teacher, philosopher, and social activist, wrote the essay, The Iliad or the Poem of Force at France at the beginning of World War II. Her profound meditation on the nature of violence provides a remarkably vivid and accessible testament of the Greek epic's continuing relevance to our lives. This celebrated work appears here for the first time in a bilingual version, based on the text of the authoritative edition of the author's complete writings. An introduction discusses the significance of the essay both in the evolution of Weil's thought and as a distinctively iconoclastic contribution to Homeric studies. The commentary draws on recent interpretations of the Iliad and examines the parallels between Weil's vision of Homer's warriors and the experiences of modern soldiers.
No. It is, however, in my view, an error to simply believe other people like Weil without questioning them, then claim you are interested in getting to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, an error to never be sceptical of your own belief system, then claiming you are interested in getting to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, in error to lay your own personal conceptions over a Christian text, which contradict what the text actually says, then claim you are a Christian and that you want to get to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, in error believing anyone because they claim to have had an experience, when you have not yourself had these experiences, then claim you are trying to get to the bottom of it. It is, in my view, in error to not think for yourself, to not question authority, then claim you are interested in getting to the bottom of it. These things are not errors to you but valid ways to get to the bottom of it. I simply disagree.

Though, these things are not what I consider crimes. The only crime would be my own, if I could make these observations and did not respect you enough to tell you about them.
I appreciate your willingness to be honest but am curious as to why she arouses the emotion in you she does? Does atheism require such emotional resistance? I'm not being critical but just don't understand. She said:
"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God.
How much more doubt would you ask of someone? Yet if her extraordinary power of attention could sustain the awareness that she was aware and result in her mystical experiences, how are we to know? We don't have this attention. But why deny? why not leave the question open? If people feel something of great value in all this, they are welcome to pursue it.

Julia Haslett has posted a trailor to the soon to be released documentary on Simone Weil. Is the need to understand the cause of human suffering by placing oneself intentionally within it and being willing to experience it not related to karma yoga? Do we have to identify with it or can we learn from it at the depth of our being? Do you see it as harmful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLGrwf9TIek

This encounter between two brilliant women raises an essential question of what it means to be normal.
Weil's fellow student, the feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir, wrote of Weil in her book Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter:
She intrigued me because of her great reputation for intelligence and her bizarre get-up; "A great famine had broken out in China, and I was told that when she heard the news she had wept: these tears compelled my respect much more than her gifts as a philosopher. I envied her having a heart that could beat right across the world. I managed to get near her one day. I don't know how the conversation got started; she declared in no uncertain tones that only one thing mattered in the world: the revolution which would feed all the starving people of the earth. I retorted, no less peremptorily, that the problem was not to make men happy, but to find the reason for their existence. She looked me up and down: 'It's easy to see you've never been hungry,' she snapped.
I cannot feel the world condition as Simone could. Is she normal or am I normal? Perhaps I'm so lost in imagination that I cannot experience what someone so dedicated to the experience of reality is capable of. Is this a harmful question?

Simone Weil explained the value of Christianity:
"The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it." -- Simone Weil
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you would deny her assertion. But my question to you is on what basis do you deny it. Why not leave the question open?

Is she right not to fear death? Perhaps we have an abnormal fear? Maybe this is why there is so much written on the quality of our life but very little on the quality of our death or even what it means?

Granted the people discussing Simone on Wiki aren't writing papers. But they are referring to "Simone Weil: A Life, by Simone Petrement." She was very close to Simone Weil

I didn't accuse you of huffing and puffing. I said that there is no reason for me to huff and puff about it. It is obvious that I lack her intelligence and quality of heart so there is no reason for me to huff and puff. I'd rather try to understand. If Kasprov beat me twenty straight chess games, what sense is it for me to huff and puff? It just indicates that I don't understand chess to the level of a Kasparov. I "FEEL" something of great value so try to explore the depth of a quality of Christianity that is beyond my "understanding."

Are you as an atheist attracted to a quality of "Feeling" that is not a part of our normal daily life? If so, does atheism address its significance?
She was not open-minded, by definition, because open-mindedness requires a willingness to be sceptical even about one’s own beliefs.
I think this is a critical difference. I see doubt as healthy and emotionally neutral. Skepticism for me is emotional preconception and this I agree with Simone is psychologically damaging. It is the basis IMO for all the evils of prejudice.
She was anti-intelligence, anti-rationalism, anti-doubt, anti-scepticism, anti-criticism, anti-questioning, anti-logic, anti-science, and, as above, anti-education. Her ‘knowledge’ was only that of her ideas, which she never questioned. Hence, there is nothing in this that pertains to neither knowledge nor any attempt to acquire it.



But Simone's life proves the opposite. She needed to understand. she wrote:
"Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand."
She put herself in this position so as to understand. She was anti-imagination and willing to sacrifice the temptations of luxury for this pearl of great worth. There is no reason for her to be anti-science. She was trained in mathematics and science. She even said:
"Whatever debases the intelligence degrades the entire human being."
So, the human perspective is actually cosmic perspective – each one of us is literally the entire Universe, aware of itself.
But this is the problem. We don't have the human perspective. Man may be a microcosm but it is a sleeping microcosm. As creatures of reaction captivated by imagination, a cosmic perspective only exists within us as a potential. The value of those like Simone is that we see how little we both care and are capable of as we are. If this is true, what is the sense of denial as with an ultimate source for creation? Why not just say that in Plato's cave, we cannot know? If this is true the question becomes how to become capable of understanding? Real education is knowledge within perspective. What would you find wrong or harmful with this attitude?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 21st, 2009, 5:32 pm

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, drama as we all know, comes unannounced. Although, it would be no fun otherwise.
Nick_A wrote:Well I made it back in one piece. A good woman and several striped bass. What more can a man ask for? :)
Glad to hear you made it back in one piece. Did you leave in several?
I believe in Pythagoras Law of Octaves so see the universe as a giant octave and connections within it as smaller octaves. The forest has its existence within an octave and a tree is a step lower in the octave. The Forest and the tree both exist within the octave contained within the cosmos of the earth

The Law of Octaves allows me to appreciate what Plato meant by "forms" and their expression into the phenomenal plane.
I would say that the various octave "levels" of things in reality are really just differing expressions of reality rather than discreet, isolatable planes. So, we have 8 notes, but no note is preferable to another, each has its relative purpose. Moreover, each note is still just vibration. So, on one level the notes are different, on the most fundamental level however, they are the same thing, its just doing its thing a little differently each time. It's not form that I consider important so much as that which is formless and responsible for form.
Reality is always whole and free of separation.

So for me, reality is expressed as octaves within which different degrees of wholeness exist within a lawful vibratory framework. We see our difference. Where you don't recognize separation, I see it as essential.
I recognise apparent separation. If I didn't see myself in some grosser sense as different from other things, I would probably be quite lazy. Mystical traditions take a stance I agree with, when they take about different 'types' of truth, relative and absolute. Relatively speaking, all is everything, that is, reality is lots of things. Absolutely, everything is all, that is, the lots of things are not separate from reality itself. It is true that we are different, but it is also true that we are the same. Fancy that.

I would say the idea that reality comes in different degrees of wholeness doesn't make too much sense to me. Surely wholeness doesn't come in degrees - you can't half one and a half wholes.

I would agree about the vibratory framework, but this is where I see contradiction. I call the vibratory framework reality, which is why, everything being vibration, is not separate from the "structure" itself. You are saying the framework creates different modes/levels of reality. But then, what is the framework itself if not reality?
I believe one reason the New Testament is misunderstood is because people believe its purpose is to create answers and moral dictates but actually its primary purpose is to create questions, to stimulate awakening.
Well, if that's so it doesn't seem to be doing a very good job so far, lets be honest.
Any legitimate path that initiated with a conscious source must be this way. This is why the real teaching must be an oral teaching between student and teacher. It is necessary to bypass the egoistic results of acquired imagination.
Well, this is another aspect in which we differ. Where you depend on another for freedom, something I consider a contradiction, I don't.
Where does he say anything about beauty, higher realities and evolution? Clearly he doesn’t actually say that. He says the kingdom is inside you and outside you. Obviously, the kingdom then, is inside and outside you. This is the only possible way to interpret this and if you interpret it to not be this, then you misinterpret it, surely.
I can respect how you see it but for me it is a cosmological idea. The number 10 exists within 100 as a quantity. Yet the essence of 100 or 1 exists within 10. Both 10 and 100 exist one within the other. Mathematics is a measure of quantity while cosmology is a measure of quality in relation to wholeness. The basic laws though are the same.
Well, then surely god (100) exists within man (10) and man within god - i.e. they are not-different. Note how both are still units of the same thing, however.
The Christian idea of re-birth is a cosmological idea. It is an idea that invites one to ponder it.
John 12:

23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
I find it somewhat contradictory to quote the New Testament and the gospel of Thomas for the same effect. They both completely contradict one another. The NS says we are all isolated lumps of mud who, if well behaved, will be granted the gift of being able to spend eternity on our knees; on the other hand, the G. of Thomas is about how heaven doesn't really exist anywhere other than right here and now, we are all the son of god and god is not different from his creation.

To use the two as complimentary shows, I think, that you are picking and choosing - which necessarily means you don't consider them both to be completely accurate. Therefore, any reliance on texts your own philosophy necessarily considers inaccurate becomes meaningless.
A person has to become able to experience what life in the world is before one can sacrifice it for the pearl of great worth or human conscious potential. Pleasing a personal God has nothing to do with it.
It seems it has everything to do with it, according to Weil. Moreover, it has everything to do with it according to the New Testament. It has nothing to do with it according to the G. of Thomas, but then the G. of Thomas has nothing to do with levels of reality and conscious awakening either.

On the contrary, I would say that you don't seem to understand Christianity, not everybody else, as you state. I think it is no secret Christianity is entirely focused only on pleasing a personal god. For instance, morality should be taken up not because it is right, but because god will be annoyed if you don't. It is a religion of fear. No doubt you will disagree with that, nevertheless, your interpretation of it still uses fear for its motivation. You seek awakening only because you fear the life without it.

Every single believer in the Bible has thought their interpretation to be the one, true interpretation. You are not different, in my view. If you really do value critical thought and healthy doubt, perhaps now would be a good time to consider that, by all probability, it is considerably unlikely that you and only you have worked out what Christianity is really all about, even moreso than Jesus was able to.
For me the solution is not looking at the sun but rather to allows the sunlight or "grace" to flow through us so as to illuminate what we often view as reality in order to see it for what it is.
And we can do this by forming further conceptualisations in our mind about what reality really is? That seems contradictory to me.
I consider this my advantage. I am willing to admit that I'm in Plato's cave. [...] Only a very few are capable of this.
Perhaps only too willing. The worst kind of ego is the one that tries to be humble. Perhaps you only get out of Plato's cave when you realise there was never any cave to begin with.

Personally, I think everyone is capable of this. Perhaps only a minority have managed it, but I think everybody at least has the capacity to release the chains of their own self-administered bondage. If you have the capacity to do, you have the capacity to undo.

Also, perhaps it is worth remembering that according to your religion, Pythagoras and Plato, though they had never heard of Christianity, are both burning in hell right now for all eternity for not accepting Christ as Lord.
As an atheist, are you willing to admit that you are in Plato's cave?
Somewhat of a loaded question. If I say "yes", then I am in Plato's cave, if I say "no", then I am still in the cave but just not willing to admit it. So, surely any answer I give is inconsequential seeing as how your mind has already been made up.
In contrast I see the purpose of conscious attention to align the human organism much like Plato suggested in Book 4 of the Republic
Well, okay, but this is completely contrary to the various teachings themselves. The first part is that meditation, of which conscious attention is a part, is always purposeless. You cannot try to do it nor can you have any kind of goal; if you try to get somewhere, you are not doing it. The second is that conscious attention is about training and strengthening the mind, not aligning the organism.

So, I have to respectfully disagree with you here and stick with the source of these teachings themselves and moreover my own experience with these techniques.
For our inner world to experience the external world in a balanced fashion through which we can inwardly grow, it requires this balance. Without this balance conscious attention just produces out of balance results: knowledge without perspective that can produce anything between acts of great compassion and abomination. The loss of conscious balance is what produces the human condition we see in the world today.
You're essentially saying that the suffering you perceive is because people don't agree with you. I don't think that is a particularly healthy attitude.

I think that you can read lots of books about the mechanics of car, but not only might it not help you drive one, you don't know what driving one is like until you do it. The same is true for conscious attention, and I think you would be better to actually try it rather than repeat one person's, whom you have never met, opinions about it. Just like that you don't get a vote on how many moons Jupiter has unless you look through a telescope and study astrophysics, you don't get to vote about what you think things like conscious attention are about until you have practiced it enough and studied and verified its principles. I think that when you do that you will drop these notions of it.
[In regards to the Buddha’s awakening – Thuse] This quality of consciousness requires inner balance to retain. This is the greatest proof of the human condition: the inability to retain this conscious awareness.
Yet, how do you know that? It is obvious from your writings that you are not speaking from personal experience here. I think you shouldn't talk about things you have no knowledge of yourself.
Can we agree that regardless of our belief in a source, we can agree as to the imbalance of the human condition?
Not to disappoint, but no, I can't agree. I don't think the human condition is imbalanced itself, but becomes unbalanced when the mind mistakes itself for its objects. When the mind realises it is not its objects, it no longer perceives things like "imbalances" in the human condition. Mind is the source of all "imbalances". Funnily enough, mind is also the source of all "balances".
"Pity them my children, they are far from home and no one knows them. Let those in quest of God be careful lest appearances deceive them in these people who are peculiar and hard to place; no one rightly knows them but those in whom the same light shines" Meister Eckhart
I can only think of a few that are worthy of this quote. One of them is Simone Weil. Since this is the centennial year of her birth I've been reading up on her. All I can say is that she is new to you. Can you admit the possibility that there is a lot you are unaware of?
Certainly she is new to me, I had never heard of her before you mentioned her. However, I have examined her teachings in this thread and elsewhere and pointed out repeatedly that she has an inconsistency in speech, action and thought. She has nothing in her life that I see as commendable, because even her positive acts were born out of selfishness, even by her own admission. There is no doubt from my postings that that she was certainly at times a hypocrite and (perhaps unintentionally) a liar. Hence, I cannot reasonably cling to every single word she says as absolute fact, because she is not a trustworthy source.

Moreover, quite frankly, though I am not a Freudian, it is glaringly obvious that her desires to submit to a strong masculine figure is indicative of sexual repression. It is kind of silly to talk of critical thinking and doubt then decide reasonably that her actions were because she and she alone had a transdimensional connection with an invisible creator rather than she was just manifesting her own subconscious. You of course have the right to believe the former, but not to then persuade yourself that you are being sufficiently doubtful, critical and reasonable.

I think that any reasonable person would see the variety of evidence and take it as evidence that her opinions are not worthy of adoration to such an extreme extent as you are doing. You seem unable to accept even one imperfection regarding Weil, which suggests to me that you are no longer interested in Simone Weil, but your own mental projection of what you want Simone Weil to be. So actually, we are not even talking about the same Weil. You are talking about one that exists only in your head and I am talking about the historical figure. I'm not sure you see this difference between a projection and the reality - so perhaps Weil has influenced you more than you realise.
Christianity is not something we can know. We know Christendom. Christianity predates Christ. Jesus actualized it.
"Christianity precedes Christ"...I'm pretty sure the practice of accepting Jesus Christ as the only Truth doesn't precede Jesus Christ.

Your statement is no more meaningful or sensible than saying toasters existed before toast did. This is likely why some of the less sensitive atheists often refer to religious convictions as "delusion".
To conclude, the great Christian theologian, Saint Augustine in his Retractiones, wrote “The very thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients also, nor was it wanting from the inception of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, at which point the true religion, which was already in existence, began to be called Christian.”
Right, so you mean Paganism. Because that is what Christianity was before Christ came along.

I think what you are trying to do is conflate your own religion with any old spiritual teaching ever said of value, from Plato to Buddha to whoever. That's nice for you, but it doesn't mean anything. Every spiritualist in the world tries to do this. They can't all be right. I believe you can tell who the great teachers are because they all agree. I don't see anything in what Weil or yourself are saying that is confirmed by any of these teachers and teachings you are referencing directly and, as above, indirectly.

Saint Augustine also thought sexuality was evil and unnatural. We now know sexuality is just a biological expression of self-replicating molecules; it couldn't be less natural, certainly not evil. So, since he was wrong about that, then he could have easily been wrong about a lot of things - such as technically nonsensical claims that Christianity existed before its subject did.

The essence of Christianity is John 3:16. Acceptance of this is literally what defines a Christian. So, you can change suffixes from -ity to -dom to suit your conception if you want, but in the end, John 3:16 did not exist before Christ, even if a repressed 4th Century monk says otherwise.
Technically, this isn’t true at all. Imagination and fiction make up none of real life. Think about it. Further to my point that Weil obviously didn’t understand the difference.
Don't forget that these are translations from the French so the word "real" may be misleading.
Well, "in real life" in french is "dans la réalité" which could not have been anything other than what was translated, since there is no other way to say this.

Therefore, this effectively settles that Weil is equating what is real with what is imagined, thus she proves my point better than I ever could.

Either that, or she was simply too moronic to understand what she was writing.

So, either she was deluded or moronic. If you consider her not to be either of these two things, then that is your right of course, but it is not based on fact, which is my only point.
Firstly, I would remind you that you have posted many, many quotes of Weil that clearly establishes she was not a panentheist. She stated, clearly, that god was elsewhere and so was his kingdom – in direct conflict to what god said in the gospel of Thomas and panentheism. So what Weil espoused was just not panentheism, not even close.
God, for Simone is anonymous.
In my humble opinion, I think you should stop saying what you think god is for Weil. In this quote I have established that you were mistaken to attribute panentheism to her conception, since she herself has said differently. So on what basis can you assume that you have understood her correctly about everything else?
The Christ influence became personal because it is within time and space. Since it is such a high influence she often uses the word God.
It seems to me that you are becoming quite wound up in your own web here. You can't just say that when she says one word she means another, and that her god is anonymous yet has more than one identity and so on. Why is so difficult to acknowledge her inconsistencies? What does this tell you about yourself?

In my opinion, which is no more than just that, rather than admit these mistakes, you are persistently trying to maintain a perfect aura around Weil, which is causing you to bypass your own logic and reason to make totally nonsensical and obviously irrational statements. I think that you resist acknowledging her flaws because you need to hold onto her as a perfect example to cling to safely. Admitting that you don't know and have little reason to trust what she says would put you in the very hard position of being independent, which is difficult because it means that you are as unsure of truth as everyone else, which is something you probably don't want to admit. However, often times, the hardest thing to do is usually the right thing.

You might say, even if this was so, why should I criticise thing which other people find so valuable? Simply because I expect only the best from my fellow man, and anything less is a waste of their talents.
After her mystical experiences she learned Sanskrit to read the Bhagavad-Gita in the original. She did read the Old Testament but wasn't too impressed with the majority of it. Don't think she wasn't well read.
So her reading list was the Bible and a moralistic fairytale (which every Hindu will happily admit); that actually explains a lot. It would not matter if she was illiterate or even mentally challenged - the problem is with the inconsistencies within her own speech, words and actions. This is a problem irrelevant of intelligence or education. In any case, the greatest knowledge doesn't come from books, as you will likely agree. (Unless, they were written by Weil, of course).
This is why her essay on the Iliad is so valued.
I am sure people do value her book. That is fine, but they are of no use here, because I differ from you significantly in that my judgment of something's worth comes from what I think after my own examinations, not from what other people think.
I appreciate your willingness to be honest but am curious as to why she arouses the emotion in you she does?
When I see someone contributing to the suffering of other beings, then I am going to stand passionately against it, of course. If you see a child putting his hand in the waste disposal, you don't give him a hug and tell him that you respect his beliefs, then let him continue.

It is not however, as you perceive it, an "emotive" response - I am simply saying what is true. When the truth about Weil is said it sounds as if the speaker is angry, simply because unfavorable things are being said. Yet the truth is unfavourable to Weil. I am not angry/emotional at all, I am just saying what is the case. It is ironic to me that you cannot perceive this and instead filter the substance of what I have said through the presupposition that whatever I am saying is dishonest, even though that is not the case. You are seeing only the result of your own filters. "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you." Wise and relevant words.
Does atheism require such emotional resistance?
I see no emotional resistance here. I would note the wording here, as elsewhere. You are pointing out, quite rightly, that emotion has no place in a philosophical context. Yet that you consider what you perceive as anger also as "emotional resistance" is really quite telling. You are presuming that this perception is the result of me resisting something, however, if I was indeed angry or similarly emotional, and was releasing it, then how could I be resisting? Of course, it infers immediately that I am resisting the ‘truth’, your ‘truth’, just like I do not "accept" it. My point is simply that this thinly veiled passive-agressivity is no more or less emotive than someone who wears their passion on their sleeve. I do wonder how clearly, if at all, you can see this. If atheism requires that one be honest and straightforward with their beliefs, and theism that they mask their misplaced confidence within semantics, then I will happily choose atheism - since, even if it is "emotional resistance", then at least it is honest. I will readily risk offense in the maintenance of sincerity, rather than feign tolerance if it requires hypocrisy.
"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God.
How much more doubt would you ask of someone?
Seriously? I surely would ask that the person doubt that god actually existed which Weil is not doing in this quote! This is categorically not doubt, nor anything like it; this is presumed certainty, literally the opposite of doubt.
Yet if her extraordinary power of attention could sustain the awareness that she was aware and result in her mystical experiences, how are we to know? We don't have this attention.
The first point is, how do you know that her power was "extraordinary"? You can have no reasonable proof of this, since you have no evidence of her subjectivity.

I would say secondly that it is error to assume that we don't have this attention. Conscious attention is a practice accessible to all, which, just like learning piano, gets better with practice. And like piano, anyone can learn it.

But you ask an important question, I think - how can I be sure that she wasn't truly a high adept in this regard and so on. We can approach conscious attention, a form of meditation, like any other scientific experiment. In this case, the instrument is one's own nervous system, yet we still have the same controls as any other experiment. Because the experience is subjective, and cannot be demonstrated objectively, we are obliged to copy the experiment personally in order to verify them. This is the first point - since you admit that you lack a high level of conscious attention, you are therefore admitting that it is currently impossible for you to verify her experiments (since you cannot achieve this “level”). Hence, you are unwittingly admitting right there that you actually have no valid reason to believe her.

The second way of testing would be to compare her results with the results of other experimenters, just as you would do in any other science. It is immediately clear that her notions of a personal, separate god, levels of reality rather than levels of appearance, notions of transdimensional paradises that "pure" people go to, worship and encouragement of separation/conflict/violence, praise of self-pity, disgust at the natural human condition and nature itself and so on bear no similarities to the various other experimenters with these techniques. Hence, we have a second reason to safely conclude that she does not have a trustworthy account.

Thus, we have two clear reasons to distrust her claims: 1. that they have no correlations with any similar claims and 2. most importantly, they contradict the results of personal experiment itself.

Compare with your methodology: we should believe her because she says so, and subjectively seems like she wouldn't be lying. Moreover, it "feels" like it must be true.

I do not think your methodology is a valid or preferable one, so this is why I dismiss her so easily.
But why deny? why not leave the question open?
In fairness, no-one is denying anything. I am accepting the evidence, which is not in her favour. There is no question to leave open - there is an assertion: that Weil was successful and her methodology is sound. As above, we can falsify this assertion quite easily, which we have done beyond all doubt. To leave open the question when it can be quite easily closed is no more useful than leaving open the question: is the Earth flat? Obviously, no, its not. Case closed.
If people feel something of great value in all this, they are welcome to pursue it.
People see great value in massacring infidels, but likely you would dispute that they are equally welcome to pursue that. You draw the line, no doubt, and the kind of bodily harm that you can see. Well, the damage done to the mind is much more harmful, precisely because it cannot be so easily seen, although its effects can.

The value people may see in Weil has nothing whatsoever to do with Weil anyway; it is their own doing, which is much more value. Anything good that you see in her is actually in you, and always was.

I do not see value in letting people persist in an inhibiting and restrictive ideology like Chrisitanity in general, whether “Christendom” or your own brand. It is, like all the others, based on one fundamental principle from which all else stems - that you are "wrong". What I mean is, that there is something wrong with you, something screwed up from birth, some imperfection that makes you necessarily inferior. In Christianity's case, it is Original Sin. Of course, “concept [X]” is the only "true" way to rid your self of your own "impure" nature. I say this is a horrific, cruel, disgraceful ‘fuzzying’ of the principles of the ancients on which these teachings are alleged to be based.

Fair enough, you criticise me for criticising belief systems some find value in - but I believe that the true seeker seeks truth and accepts it, no matter what it is. I see no value in encouraging people to persist in something that causes them suffering. People can choose happiness in slavery, or happiness in freedom, and I have no hesitation in presenting the latter alternative. If they think its harsh, whatever. Life is harsh. Comes with the territory. I expect nothing than their best at all times. We are each more capable than we allow ourselves to believe.
Julia Haslett has posted a trailor to the soon to be released documentary on Simone Weil. [...] Do you see it as harmful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLGrwf9TIek

This encounter between two brilliant women raises an essential question of what it means to be normal.
The most evil people in history have many supporters. I do not think Weil was evil, but my point is that the opinion of a few has no bearing on truth. L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology, which I naturally presume, since you are not a Scientologist, you probably consider a totally ridiculous philosophy. Yet, I can bring up many people who consider him a great man, who helped the poor and so on. This establishes nothing.
Is the need to understand the cause of human suffering by placing oneself intentionally within it and being willing to experience it not related to karma yoga? Do we have to identify with it or can we learn from it at the depth of our being?
I would say first that Weil's and your own methodology is not about understanding at all, you have both implicitly accepted this within your own writings. You both seek to believe, rather than attempt in any way to understand who is believing, why you believe and why you desire to believe so. Faith is the opposite of understanding.

Suffering is a standard part of the human condition - it is a necessary condition of existence, as the Buddha pointed out. Suffering happens, but not ‘to’ anyone. We observe suffering, of the body and the mind, but that which observes is ultimately indifferent to all suffering. So identification with suffering is exactly what we don't want to do.

Since Weil and yourself believe in a isolatable self/soul, even though this is not constituted by any evidence, logic or reason other than it is entailed by your interpretations of the Bible, you necessarily think this suffering happens to you. Therefore, neither of you can have this belief and act selflessly, which is what Karma yoga is about. Action born out of self generates karma in Karma yoga, which is always bad. Karma for all intensive purposes simply means attachment in this context. No matter what goodness is perceived to have been generated, karma and attachment was also generated, thus nothing positive was achieved, only perhaps delayed.
I cannot feel the world condition as Simone could. Is she normal or am I normal?
There is no such thing as abnormal, i.e. unnatural, so you both are perfectly normal, because you are both exactly as you are.
Perhaps I'm so lost in imagination that I cannot experience what someone so dedicated to the experience of reality is capable of. Is this a harmful question?
It is funny how Christians feel self-depreciation, self-hate and inferiority complexes are virtues.

Perhaps you're so lost in imagination you don't realise your image of Weil is just your imagination, and can only ever be that.

Perhaps you are so lost in imagination that you don't realise that while imagination and concepts are not-different from reality, imagination and concepts are also not what reality is.

Perhaps you are so lost in imagination, you don't realise that your imagination is an experience of reality too - that nothing can be experienced that isn't reality.

Perhaps Scientologists were right, and suffering comes from the souls of dead aliens that entered our bodies after they were blown out of a volcano by the Galactic Overlord Xenu with nuclear weapons.

Perhaps you shouldn't believe everything you read and hear, and find out for yourself.
Simone Weil explained the value of Christianity:
"The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it." -- Simone Weil
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you would deny her assertion. But my question to you is on what basis do you deny it. Why not leave the question open?
Haha, yes, you are certainly right about that. I must be getting too predictable.

Again, I don't think I "deny" it; rather, I simply accept it isn't true.

Weil is saying that Christianity is great because it makes use out of suffering. Therefore, Weil is asserting that associating, attaching, identifying with suffering is a good thing, thus contradicting everything else she and you claim about non-association, non-attachment and non-identifying. Nice one Simone. There is nothing great about being selfish anyway.

Moreover, she is explicitly condoning self-pity and self-absorption, since embracing suffering and making ‘use’ of it necessarily requires these things.

Finally, she implicitly infers that other systems seek "supernatural" remedies for suffering, which is total nonsense. Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, Taoism etc. do no such thing, but acknowledge suffering as a necessary part of human existence and growth, which is ultimately illusory considering that, in the end, there is no-one that is the subject of suffering anyway.

So, on that basis, I accept that it is not true.
Is she right not to fear death? Perhaps we have an abnormal fear? Maybe this is why there is so much written on the quality of our life but very little on the quality of our death or even what it means?
Her rationale for not fearing death is based on her assumption that she is pure enough to enter a kingdom, she arbitrarily assumes the existence of, afterwards. So, she hasn't really achieved anything at all, she hasn't accepted death, she has simply denied that it applies to her. Moreover, her assumptions are based entirely in fear - i.e. fear of what happens at death if there is no kingdom.

"She" will always fear death, because "she" is an ego, which necessarily ends at death. On the other hand, that which is not born cannot die, but I don’t think she got that far.

It is an interesting point you make on the lack of writings about death as oppose to life. I can't remember where or who said it, but I once read a quote something like "history is nothing more than the ego writing its memoirs". Perhaps then, if death is the end of the ego, it is not surprising it would be hesitant to write about it.

On the other hand, I personally think this is not so. I think in a sense, everything written of life is also a writing of death. Death is exactly that which gives life not just meaning but also existence. Life and death are one movement, so nothing can be said of one without reference to the other. Death is the shadow of life; and one can never shed his shadow.
I didn't accuse you of huffing and puffing. I said that there is no reason for me to huff and puff about it. It is obvious that I lack her intelligence and quality of heart so there is no reason for me to huff and puff.
On what basis do you make that judgment? Surely, it is a subjective assessment, which we all know, is not always very reliable. I think you are considerably more intelligent that Weil. So, now you have evidence to the contrary. Therefore, you can no longer reasonably say it is obvious to you.
I'd rather try to understand. If Kasprov beat me twenty straight chess games, what sense is it for me to huff and puff? It just indicates that I don't understand chess to the level of a Kasparov.
Yes, but Kasparov doesn't make up the rules as it goes along. Weil does, and therefore, as long as you are playing her game and not your own, you will always lose. Moreover, when you play Kasparov, you both see and know it is just a game. Neither you or Weil realise that you are just playing a game, you are mistaking a game for something real. I suggest you learn to see your game and don’t do what Weil did and wait until it’s too late.
I "FEEL" something of great value so try to explore the depth of a quality of Christianity that is beyond my "understanding."Are you as an atheist attracted to a quality of "Feeling" that is not a part of our normal daily life? If so, does atheism address its significance?
So you believe it not because of evidence, not because of structural comparison, not because of experimental results, not because of coherence, nor any other form of evidence, but because you feel it to be so. Come on dude.

I feel I can assure you, with absolute confidence, that this "feeling" of significance applies to anyone or anything that even so slightly hints at the bigger picture. I am sure you feel this when you read any great works, like Eckhart or even non-Christian texts like the Tao Teh Ching, the writings of the Buddha or the Upanishads. Yet, no doubt you acknowledge that these all contradict each other is at least some ways. So what of these feelings? You are taking the position that you don't believe, rightly so, that this feeling is meaningless. Therefore, you believe without question everything that Weil says. However, I think you are creating a false dilemma. That feeling will persist even without faith and blind dogmatic following, so I claim, as an atheist. That feeling is something you have, not implicit in the works themselves - it goes where you go.

In Zen for instance, they describe the 'truth' as like a transmission, that is, like a message being translated and transmitted. Everytime this message is transmitted it gets filtered through the individual nervous system, so it take on a bit of the colour and form of the individual. But, the Zen masters say, to mistake the transmission with the original message is like a finger pointing at the moon - don't mistake the finger for the moon.

As an atheist, I have no prior commitment to any system. I do not have any need to believe and defend one particular dogma. I have no obligation that ‘this one’ has to be right. Yet, as a human being, I feel an indefinable attraction to something beyond appearance, absolutely. Yet I also know that this feeling should not persuade me no to bypass critical thinking, reason and doubt. I seek truth, not comfort, and will accept it whatever it is.
She was not open-minded, by definition, because open-mindedness requires a willingness to be sceptical even about one’s own beliefs.
I think this is a critical difference. I see doubt as healthy and emotionally neutral. Skepticism for me is emotional preconception and this I agree with Simone is psychologically damaging. It is the basis IMO for all the evils of prejudice.
Okay, I’m not going to try and persuade you again that scepticism is simply a refined from of doubt, which it is. But regardless, you are not willing to exercise any doubt whatsoever regarding your adoration of Weil, nor your confidence in things without evidence whether objective or from personal experience, nor your personal ideas of a god and a heaven that is at odds with the scriptures themselves. Weil had exactly the same lack of doubt. There is nothing healthy or neutral about this attitude.

In addition, your assertion that scepticism (i.e. the thesis that one should suspend judgment until an investigation of the claims has taken place) of Christianity and anyone claiming to have a divine by-line to the truth is at best hopelessly naïve and at best horrifically ignorant, IMO. You are saying that we should believe Christianity and Weil, without question or investigating it, but just belief without any reason whatsoever, then everything will be fine. This is even more ridiculous than your assertion that toasters proceeded toast, again, IMO.

You have basically inferred that people like me, who doubt, question, investigate claims and think for themselves rather than just believe anything they read and are told are responsible for all the evils of the world. I think it is fair that you are no longer justified then for criticising me for being harsh, since you’ve basically just aid that I am responsible for everything bad ever.
But Simone's life proves the opposite. She needed to understand. she wrote:
*snip*
You cannot expect to gain a full understanding of someone only from what they say about themselves, that is not a very good idea.

Not one iota of her life demonstrates that she needed to understand, only that she tried to understand something she had already assume true for no reason. I have showed this by analysis of her writings, her works, her biography and using simple logic and reason in addition to historical fact. If you choose to insist the opposite, then of course that is your right, but you do so in spite of not just there not being any evidence, but also in spite of loads of evidence to the contrary.
She put herself in this position so as to understand. She was anti-imagination and willing to sacrifice the temptations of luxury for this pearl of great worth. There is no reason for her to be anti-science. She was trained in mathematics and science.
I am trained in French, but I needn’t apply it when doing philosophy. She was trained in science, but arbitrarily decided she needn’t apply it to her own beliefs. I disagree. I think that the truth, if it is really true, should be subjected to the scientific method like anything else. What’s it got to hide? When Weil’s ideas are subjected to the scientific method, they fail miserably. No amount of quotes from Weil can change this fact nor justify the assertion that everything she says is 100% god’s truth. There is nothing here that pertains to understanding.
But this is the problem. We don't have the human perspective. Man may be a microcosm but it is a sleeping microcosm. As creatures of reaction captivated by imagination, a cosmic perspective only exists within us as a potential. The value of those like Simone is that we see how little we both care and are capable of as we are. If this is true, what is the sense of denial as with an ultimate source for creation?
(Again, a brief note, you are perfectly free to accuse me of ‘denial’, in fact I prefer this kind of sincerity, it is indicative of life, just remember that it would be hypocritical for you to suggest that my responses are emotive and intolerant. Whether emotion is hidden behind words or expressed fully, it remains emotion. The difference is only one of acceptance of what is and letting it flow, versus a denial of what is and attempting to mask and resist it.)

Your evaluation of Weil has nothing to do with any evidence and nothing to do with your own personal experience. You do not literally experience levels of reality and conscious connections, you know you don’t. At best, you infer these things on your experience in hindsight. On the contrary, you only ever experience reality as a single inseparable event. So your question makes no sense. You are saying how can we doubt something, which the evidence and personal experience shows to be false. Well, quite easily. The question is more aptly reframed as why should we believe that for which there is no reason to believe? Well, we shouldn’t.
Why not just say that in Plato's cave, we cannot know? If this is true the question becomes how to become capable of understanding? Real education is knowledge within perspective. What would you find wrong or harmful with this attitude?
Honestly? Everything.

First, you are assuming Plato’s cave exist somewhere other than in the minds of men. If there were no minds, there would be no Plato’s cave. What might that suggest?

Second, you say that we cannot know, yet claim you know what understanding is, that you know it is even possible, that you know what you are doing is understanding and that you know that education can be defined by empty axioms you’ve read in books. Thus, you contradict yourself.

Third, that this attitude is conceptually obsolete – if we cannot know, then we cannot know that we cannot know either. Hence, nothing can be said or understood. So, you have created nihilism out of an absolute, which is self-refuting.

Fourth, that you say in order to understand, if it is possible, one must generate a capacity to do so. Yet, capacities are already implied in the system. That is, you cannot generate a capacity, you either have the capacity already or you don’t. Therefore, a capacity to understand is not something that can be gained. Moreover, you assume that understanding everything results in something different that what you know and feel now.

Fifth, everything you are saying about knowledge and understanding is obsolete anyway, because you already presume to know and understand, without any justification to do so.

So, in my opinion, these things created a confused and conflicted mind and system of thinking. Conflict can only create more conflict and hence more harm, since conflict is always harmful. Hence, this is why I personally view this attitude as harmful.

Peace,

Thuse

Nick_A
Posts: 2391
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » October 22nd, 2009, 12:44 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong but I see our basic difference concerns levels of reality. You would say I "don't seem to understand Christianity" But if Christianity exists as levels of reality as described before, then you and I living at the exoteric level, cannot understand a living reality at the transcendent level

http://www.integralscience.org/unity.html

You imply that fear of hell is a motivator but the Christianity I know is more concerned with the loss of conscious freedom through continual sleep in Plato's cave.
Perhaps only too willing. The worst kind of ego is the one that tries to be humble. Perhaps you only get out of Plato's cave when you realise there was never any cave to begin with.
Again the essential difference. While I agree with the foolishness of false humility, to deny Plato's cave is to deny the human condition of psychological sleep. If we are asleep in Plato's cave, what understanding of a higher reality can we have? If there is no cave it means that this psychological sleep we can awaken from isn't the human condition. I believe it is and the purpose of the great traditions is to aid in awakening. To you it seems as though we already are awake but just ignorant and just have to continue learning.
Well, okay, but this is completely contrary to the various teachings themselves. The first part is that meditation, of which conscious attention is a part, is always purposeless. You cannot try to do it nor can you have any kind of goal; if you try to get somewhere, you are not doing it. The second is that conscious attention is about training and strengthening the mind, not aligning the organism.


Simone Weil describes the purpose of meditation. It reveals the uselessness of guided meditations or la la land.
"Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it We must continually suspend the work of the imagination in filling the void within ourselves."
"In no matter what circumstances, if the imagination is stopped from pouring itself out, we have a void (the poor in spirit). In no matter what circumstances... imagination can fill the void. This is why the average human beings can become prisoners, slaves, prostitutes, and pass thru no matter what suffering without being purified."
Without conscious attention, it is easy to fall into imagination

Faith as a human quality rather then acquired faith in something can be developed through conscious attention.

The Bible is written on several levels. At the surface it appears as accounts or stories but at a deeper level they are esoteric teachings.

The centurion in Luke 7 for example had the faith that could sustain the balanced man.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
The psychological meaning is within a story. The servant is a part of the psych it serves. Jesus' energy was capable of restoring the servant and balancing the centurion's "being" again.

Notice how the centurion was master over the lower and nothing in relation to the higher, This is a description of a psychologically healthy human heart and why Jesus celebrated it. A part of his psych needed help and the centurion received it. Again, it is levels of meaning inherent within levels of reality.
I think that you can read lots of books about the mechanics of car, but not only might it not help you drive one, you don't know what driving one is like until you do it. The same is true for conscious attention, and I think you would be better to actually try it rather than repeat one person's, whom you have never met, opinions about it. Just like that you don't get a vote on how many moons Jupiter has unless you look through a telescope and study astrophysics, you don't get to vote about what you think things like conscious attention are about until you have practiced it enough and studied and verified its principles. I think that when you do that you will drop these notions of it.
Very true, but what makes you think I haven't practiced these ideas?
Yet, how do you know that? It is obvious from your writings that you are not speaking from personal experience here. I think you shouldn't talk about things you have no knowledge of yourself.
But I have. I've experienced for example what John meant by testing the spirits. A person cannot sustain the state of presence through conscious attention in the presence of a dominant inner lie. When it does, presence is lost.

The reason I refer to Simone is that she doesn't express a teaching. She lived her philosophy and other then in "The Need For Roots," recorded her experiences in her notes, letters and essays without any intent on publication.. Others found them, organized, and published them. That is why they are valuable. There is no reason to lie.

Simone adds ideas to my path. Without a previous understanding I must admit I don't think I could have gotten through the book "Gravity and Grace." My path and Simone insists on verifying everything rather than belief so she isn't an idol for me. Her ideas compliment what I believe to be essential for a perennial tradition
"Christianity precedes Christ"...I'm pretty sure the practice of accepting Jesus Christ as the only Truth doesn't precede Jesus Christ.

Your statement is no more meaningful or sensible than saying toasters existed before toast did. This is likely why some of the less sensitive atheists often refer to religious convictions as "delusion".
You say this because you underestimate the deeper meaning. The way to the father is through the son. Again, this is a vertical psychological cosmological expression. In linear life it is like saying for me living in NY, the way to North pole is through Canada.

The way to the highest realty requires going through a higher level of reality then our own. This was always known and part of a perennial tradition. Jesus actualized it.
So, either she was deluded or moronic. If you consider her not to be either of these two things, then that is your right of course, but it is not based on fact, which is my only point.
Well she wasn't moronic. If she were she would not receive the high praise she does by so many religious and scientific minds.

What is our real life? For us, isn't it what we do? The contention is that the great majority of what we do is based upon conditioned imagination.

I've read that the fact that war exists is proof of our collective sleep. It is what we do. Conscious humanity would be incapable of war. Would you disagree?
In my humble opinion, I think you should stop saying what you think god is for Weil. In this quote I have established that you were mistaken to attribute panentheism to her conception, since she herself has said differently. So on what basis can you assume that you have understood her correctly about everything else?
There are so many interesting potential questions arising from our discussion that hopefully can be gone into later on a philosophy board. One of these is actually what Panentheism is in contrast to Pantheism.

When I first read Simone's explanation for creation I marveled how she could paint such a picture. When I contrasted what I knew on cosmological creation with what she brought, it was a mind blower. Yet they both refer to Panentheism. From a Wiki article that explains a bit of what she described as "absence:"
Absence

Absence is the key image for her metaphysics, cosmology, cosmogeny, and theodicy. She believed that God created by an act of self-delimitation—in other words, because God is conceived as a kind of utter fullness, a perfect being, no creature could exist except where God was not. Thus creation occurred only when God withdrew in part.

This is, for Weil, an original kenosis preceding the corrective kenosis of Christ's incarnation (cf. Athanasius). We are thus born in a sort of damned position not owing to original sin as such, but because to be created at all we had to be precisely what God is not, i.e., we had to be the opposite of what is holy.

Further information: Apophatic theology
This notion of creation is a cornerstone of her theodicy, for if creation is conceived this way (as necessarily containing evil within itself), then there is no problem of the entrance of evil into a perfect world. Nor does this constitute a delimitation of God's omnipotence, if it is not that God could not create a perfect world, but that the act which we refer towards by saying "create" in its very essence implies the impossibility of perfection.

However, this notion of the necessity of evil does not mean that we are simply, originally, and continually doomed; on the contrary, Weil tells us that "Evil is the form which God's mercy takes in this world."[13] Weil believed that evil, and its consequence, affliction, served the role of driving us out of ourselves and towards God--"The extreme affliction which overtakes human beings does not create human misery, it merely reveals it."[14]

More specifically, affliction drives us to what Weil referred to as "decreation"--which is not death, but rather closer to "extinction" (nirvana) in the Buddhist tradition—the willed dissolution of the subjective ego in attaining realization of the true nature of the universe
The Source of creation is outside creation yet exists within it through God's will which is involution and God's grace which allows for evolution. This is Panentheism.

In my opinion, which is no more than just that, rather than admit these mistakes, you are persistently trying to maintain a perfect aura around Weil, which is causing you to bypass your own logic and reason to make totally nonsensical and obviously irrational statements.

But why do you say this? She wasn't perfect. She had a soul that hungered for truth so put her body on the line for it. This isn't perfection. But her purity allowed her experiences only a few are capable of. Some wonder in France if she wasn't an incarnation of Joan of Arc. This isn't a suggestion of perfection but rather a response to a calling only a few experience.
It is not however, as you perceive it, an "emotive" response - I am simply saying what is true. When the truth about Weil is said it sounds as if the speaker is angry, simply because unfavorable things are being said. Yet the truth is unfavourable to Weil. I am not angry/emotional at all, I am just saying what is the case. It is ironic to me that you cannot perceive this and instead filter the substance of what I have said through the presupposition that whatever I am saying is dishonest, even though that is not the case. You are seeing only the result of your own filters. "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you." Wise and relevant words.


But this brings us back to her profound insight:
Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification. I have to be an atheist with that part of myself which is not made for God. Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.
- Simone Weil, Faiths of Meditation; Contemplation of the divine
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 417
She admits the failings of religion and the value of atheism in the world but can you admit the possibility that at some point a supernatural part of yourself may open?

Can the essence of these lyrics from amazing grace be experiential or must it all be fantasy and escapism?
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
From everything I've learned about the importance of attention and her descriptions as well as accounts about her, I feel safe to conclude that she had a very highly developed power of attention.
I would say secondly that it is error to assume that we don't have this attention. Conscious attention is a practice accessible to all, which, just like learning piano, gets better with practice. And like piano, anyone can learn it.
Now that is another good discussion deserving a thread of its own: education. Yes conscious attention can be developed but we neither value it or have people capable of teaching it in public education. The goal of society now is to perpetuate imagination and fixate attention at the expense of conscious attention.
But you ask an important question, I think - how can I be sure that she wasn't truly a high adept in this regard and so on. We can approach conscious attention, a form of meditation, like any other scientific experiment. In this case, the instrument is one's own nervous system, yet we still have the same controls as any other experiment. Because the experience is subjective, and cannot be demonstrated objectively, we are obliged to copy the experiment personally in order to verify them. This is the first point - since you admit that you lack a high level of conscious attention, you are therefore admitting that it is currently impossible for you to verify her experiments (since you cannot achieve this “level”). Hence, you are unwittingly admitting right there that you actually have no valid reason to believe her.

The second way of testing would be to compare her results with the results of other experimenters, just as you would do in any other science. It is immediately clear that her notions of a personal, separate god, levels of reality rather than levels of appearance, notions of transdimensional paradises that "pure" people go to, worship and encouragement of separation/conflict/violence, praise of self-pity, disgust at the natural human condition and nature itself and so on bear no similarities to the various other experimenters with these techniques. Hence, we have a second reason to safely conclude that she does not have a trustworthy account.



I don't believe her but rather don't doubt her. She arouses questions in me. She describes one experience. I am invited to make the necessary efforts to become able to experience. It is similar to what Paul explains in the Bible of a man being taken to the third heaven.
2 Corinthians 12

2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
Simone Weil writes:
Last summer, doing Greek with T-, I went through the Our Father word for word in Greek. We promised each other to learn it by heart. I do not think he ever did so, but some weeks later, as I was turning over the pages of the Gospel, I said to myself that since I had promised to do this thing and it was good, I ought to do it. I did it. The infinite sweetness of this Greek text so took hold of me that for several days I could not stop myself from saying it over all the time. A week afterward I began the vine harvest I recited the Our Father in Greek every day before work, and I repeated it very often in the vineyard.

Since that time I have made a practice of saying it through once each morning with absolute attention. If during the recitation my attention wanders or goes to sleep, in the minutest degree, I begin again until I have once succeeded in going through it with absolutely pure attention. Sometimes it comes about that I say it again out of sheer pleasure, but I only do it if I really feel the impulse.

The effect of this practice is extraordinary and surprises me every time, for, although I experience it each day, it exceeds my expectation at each repetition.

At times the very first words tear my thoughts from my body and transport it to a place outside space where there is neither perspective nor point of view. The infinity of the ordinary expanses of perception is replaced by an infinity to the second or sometimes the third degree. At the same time, filling every part of this infinity of infinity, there is silence, a silence which is not an absence of sound but which is the object of a positive sensation, more positive than that of sound. Noises, if there are any, only reach me after crossing this silence.

Sometimes, also, during this recitation or at other moments, Christ is present with me in person, but his presence is infinitely more real, more moving, more clear than on that first occasion when he took possession of me.

I should never have been able to take it upon myself to tell you all this had it not been for the fact that I am going away. And as I am going more or less with the idea of probable death, I do not believe that I have the right to keep it to myself. For after all, the whole of this matter is not a question concerning me myself. It concerns God. I am really nothing in it all. If one could imagine any possibility of error in God, I should think that it had all happened to me by mistake. But perhaps God likes to use castaway objects, waste, rejects. After all, should the bread of the host be moldy, it would become the Body of Christ just the same after the priest had consecrated it. Only it cannot refuse, while we can disobey. It sometimes seems to me that when I am treated in so merciful a way, every sin on my part must be a mortal sin. And I am constantly committing them....

excerpted from WAITING FOR GOD by Simone Weil - Harper & Row, New York, 1951, translated by Emma Craufurd (title is also translated as "Waiting ON God")
This is beyond my experiences. I've read enough accounts to sense something real in it.
Since Weil and yourself believe in a isolatable self/soul, even though this is not constituted by any evidence, logic or reason other than it is entailed by your interpretations of the Bible, you necessarily think this suffering happens to you. Therefore, neither of you can have this belief and act selflessly, which is what Karma yoga is about. Action born out of self generates karma in Karma yoga, which is always bad. Karma for all intensive purposes simply means attachment in this context. No matter what goodness is perceived to have been generated, karma and attachment was also generated, thus nothing positive was achieved, only perhaps delayed.
Now this is another meaningful separate thread. What is the origin of our conscious attention? Does it come from us or do we supply the will and lesser level of attention to allow it to enter our common presence.

I believe that Meister Eckhart is right and that we have the seed of a soul rather then a soul which the seed can mature into.

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

Clearing Karma as I understand it is what allows the seed to grow by letting the light in. It concerns our personality rather than the seed. We suffer ourselves. This is what makes "Know Thyself" so hard. At some point we have to suffer it to know it and let the light in.
It is funny how Christians feel self-depreciation, self-hate and inferiority complexes are virtues.
This may happen in accordance with certain sects of Christendom but not with Christianity. It is precisely these forms of negative emotions that have to be seen as expressions of the egotism that denies the Christian experience.
Perhaps you shouldn't believe everything you read and hear, and find out for yourself.


Yes, this is what is necessary. How can we verify if we are asleep in Plato's cave? It seems that Inner Empiricism and verification are necessarily related by becoming able to "Know Thyself."
Weil is saying that Christianity is great because it makes use out of suffering. Therefore, Weil is asserting that associating, attaching, identifying with suffering is a good thing, thus contradicting everything else she and you claim about non-association, non-attachment and non-identifying. Nice one Simone. There is nothing great about being selfish anyway.
This is again an important difference. Simone Weil referred to detachment and not attachment.
"Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached."
Since as Buddha said life is suffering, the suffering she is referring to is becoming able to consciously witness our own suffering for the purpose of re-birth. This is the meaning of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Moreover, she is explicitly condoning self-pity and self-absorption, since embracing suffering and making ‘use’ of it necessarily requires these things.
Yes, we have to consciously witness our self absorption, self pity, and the all the rest of it normal for our acquired personality. This witnessing allows us to be seen from above.
I feel I can assure you, with absolute confidence, that this "feeling" of significance applies to anyone or anything that even so slightly hints at the bigger picture. I am sure you feel this when you read any great works, like Eckhart or even non-Christian texts like the Tao Teh Ching, the writings of the Buddha or the Upanishads. Yet, no doubt you acknowledge that these all contradict each other is at least some ways. So what of these feelings? You are taking the position that you don't believe, rightly so, that this feeling is meaningless. Therefore, you believe without question everything that Weil says. However, I think you are creating a false dilemma. That feeling will persist even without faith and blind dogmatic following, so I claim, as an atheist. That feeling is something you have, not implicit in the works themselves - it goes where you go.
I don't see the contradictions since I accept that contradictions for us occur at the exoteric level. When what appears as a contradiction is impartially pondered I've found it reconciled from a higher perspective.

For example you mentioned before about the earth being flat. It seems absurd. Yet for ancients familiar with cosmology, levels of reality are like discs. From that perspective the earth is considered flat. From Jacob Needleman's book "A Sense of the Cosmos"
The scale of the universe is awesome. Our sun, which is more than a million times greater in volume than the earth, is, as everyone knows, only a tiny speck in the unimaginable vastness of the Milky Way. Hundreds of billions of such suns make up this galaxy, most of them far greater in size than our own. And the galaxy itself is but a tiny speck among countless billions of galaxies that occupy the cosmos that science perceives.

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

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

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

As with size, energy and distance, so with the reaches of time. Astronomers say the earth is some five billion years old, which means that the entire history of mankind, as we record it, is but a fraction of a second in the time scale of earth.

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

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

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

Here it is important to note that even in terms of physical astronomy ancient man did not use the word "earth" in the way we do. In his astonished and astonishing book, Hamlet's Mill, Giogio de Santillana explains how misled we have been to think that the wise men of old actually thought the plane earth was flat. Cosmic phenomena were described, and their laws were expressed

in the language, or terminology, of myth, where each key word was at least as "dark" as the equations and convergent series by means of which our modern scientific grammar is built up...

What was the "earth"?

In the most general sense, the "earth" was the ideal plane laid through the ecliptic. The "dry earth," in a more specific sense, was the ideal plane going through the celestial equator...the words "flat earth" do not correspond in any way to the fancies of the flat-earth fanatics who still infest the fringes of our society and who in the guise of a few preacher-friars made life miserable for Columbus...(Moreover), the name "true earth" (or of "the inhabited world") did not in any way denote our physical geoid for the archaics. It apples to the band of the zodiac, two dozen degrees right and left of the ecliptic, to the tracks of the "true inhabitants" of this world, namely, the planets. (2)

We have misunderstood these cosmological schemes of the past. What we call "geocentrism" was never meant to establish the earth merely as the spatial center of the great universe, but principally to communicate its place as an intersection of primary and secondary cosmic purposes and forces. The medieval mystic Meister Eckhart likens the earth to a station of cosmic reality through which there passes all the powers of Creation on their way to complete unfolding. "Earth...lies open to every celestial emanation. All the work and waste of heaven is caught midway in the sink of earth." (3)
If I were condemning the ancients for their stupidity I would never be open to this possibility.
As an atheist, I have no prior commitment to any system. I do not have any need to believe and defend one particular dogma. I have no obligation that ‘this one’ has to be right. Yet, as a human being, I feel an indefinable attraction to something beyond appearance, absolutely. Yet I also know that this feeling should not persuade me no to bypass critical thinking, reason and doubt. I seek truth, not comfort, and will accept it whatever it is.
We agree. That is why Simone Weil is called the New Saint or the Saint with a mind. The universe is logical. The division between religion and science is an unnatural one. It continues since Religion has become secularized and science is motivated by secular agendas. Yet there are efforts to try to bring about unification. Basarab Nicolescu's Transdiciplinarity is an example. It is years ahead of its time but his description of the included middle will further serve to unite science and the essence of religion.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17677034/Basa ... iplinarity
In addition, your assertion that scepticism (i.e. the thesis that one should suspend judgment until an investigation of the claims has taken place) of Christianity and anyone claiming to have a divine by-line to the truth is at best hopelessly naïve and at best horrifically ignorant, IMO. You are saying that we should believe Christianity and Weil, without question or investigating it, but just belief without any reason whatsoever, then everything will be fine. This is even more ridiculous than your assertion that toasters proceeded toast, again, IMO.



No, the idea isn't to believe or disbelieve but to experience life without the negative emotion of denial. I've found that I can only do it when in a better psychological state I know of as "presence." Otherwise it is just my usual patterns expressing themselves.
You have basically inferred that people like me, who doubt, question, investigate claims and think for themselves rather than just believe anything they read and are told are responsible for all the evils of the world. I think it is fair that you are no longer justified then for criticising me for being harsh, since you’ve basically just aid that I am responsible for everything bad ever.

No, not at all. You seem like a nice guy. Like Simone Weil wrote, you bring a necessary influence of purification needed in the world where the essence of religion has become secularized causing the damage it has.
Your evaluation of Weil has nothing to do with any evidence and nothing to do with your own personal experience. You do not literally experience levels of reality and conscious connections, you know you don’t.
I have worked with efforts to "Know Thyself." To do this requires first a separation between what consciously witnesses and what is witnessed. For example instead of saying that I am sitting at the computer, it is changed to It is at the computer and it is reading the screen. I'm trying to experience the distinction between it and I. Normally we are "it." There is no conscious experience of "it." Yet a person can begin to verify that self awareness or the perspective of I witnessing it is possible. If so, what are its limits and what denies us the ability to inwardly explore in this way without degenerating into fantasy?

You express very well what you are against but what are you for? Does your atheism experience an inner calling?
"The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is ... but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry. ..." Simone Weil
I believe this to be true with atheists I have known. They have been caught up in denial so much that they have closed off to the feeling of an inner calling. Have you experienced an inner calling atheism has helped you with other then with the denial of absurdity?
Not one iota of her life demonstrates that she needed to understand, only that she tried to understand something she had already assume true for no reason. I have showed this by analysis of her writings, her works, her biography and using simple logic and reason in addition to historical fact. If you choose to insist the opposite, then of course that is your right, but you do so in spite of not just there not being any evidence, but also in spite of loads of evidence to the contrary.
But before her mystical experiences she was a Marxist and an atheist. She didn't believe or assume anything to be true. That is what is so remarkable. It was only the purity of her need for truth that could outgrow her belief in Marxism.
First, you are assuming Plato’s cave exist somewhere other than in the minds of men. If there were no minds, there would be no Plato’s cave. What might that suggest?
Plato's cave is the home of imagination. It has no objective reality but rather the psychological state of the world. Awakened man in the world has a much different experience of the world then sleeping man in Plato's cave caught up in the shadows on the wall. The earth as a cosmos is a reality while our perception has become fantasy.
Second, you say that we cannot know, yet claim you know what understanding is, that you know it is even possible, that you know what you are doing is understanding and that you know that education can be defined by empty axioms you’ve read in books. Thus, you contradict yourself.
Understanding requires presence that I don't have. I can theoretically describe balanced understanding as when the senses emotions and intellect agree and act on this agreement. But lacking this agreement, our understanding is based upon imagination necessary to unite their opposition and sustain habitual psychological sleep.

Theoretical understanding and practical understanding are not the same. Critical thinking can conclude one thing and our emotional nature often results in our doing the opposite
Third, that this attitude is conceptually obsolete – if we cannot know, then we cannot know that we cannot know either. Hence, nothing can be said or understood. So, you have created nihilism out of an absolute, which is self-refuting.
When Socrates said "I know nothing," do you believe he was being nihilistic?
Fourth, that you say in order to understand, if it is possible, one must generate a capacity to do so. Yet, capacities are already implied in the system. That is, you cannot generate a capacity, you either have the capacity already or you don’t. Therefore, a capacity to understand is not something that can be gained. Moreover, you assume that understanding everything results in something different that what you know and feel now.
In order to play piano we have to connect our hands with our mind and heart. We have this potential but it requires a directed effort to do so. A potential is one thing and actualizing it is another. All I am suggesting is that man has the capacity to become conscious. Just like some strive to become able to play piano, others strive to consciously experience a reality greater then our psychological states described as Plato's cave.

Our major difference then is that where you believe we are experiencing reality but just have to open our eyes to it, I believe that our interpretations normal for daily life including the results of negative emotions, deny reality regardless of how much we know. Our lack of balance must distort anything critical thinking suggests. Do you agree?

Towards awakening

Nick
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 24th, 2009, 9:56 am

(Note: Whoah, this has got to be the longest post I’ve ever written. I like to be thorough, hope it isn’t to much of a mission. Its got 2 parts.)
Correct me if I'm wrong but I see our basic difference concerns levels of reality. You would say I "don't seem to understand Christianity" But if Christianity exists as levels of reality as described before, then you and I living at the exoteric level, cannot understand a living reality at the transcendent level
I believe that the various esoteric teachings that speak of what can be interpreted as levels of reality is actually metaphor to try to help explain things that cannot easily be conveyed linguistically. The exoteric ‘level’ you mention is the level of appearance, of mistaking concepts for reality, which I think we can both agree on. What I would consider the esoteric is the absence of these concepts altogether and a direct awareness of reality as-it-is.

The reason I am critical of taking levels of reality to be a literal description is because that is just another description, another concept and therefore exoteric. If reality was composed of levels, and one were to experience this directly, they would not be experiencing levels at all, they would simply ‘be’ – a kind of unfiltered and uninhibited being so to speak. Whatever description is arrived at, it is not the described; the map is not the territory; the menu is not the meal. All true mystics are poets by nature – thus, I think, if a true mystic talks of levels of reality he should be interpreted as you would a poet and not a scientist. I think you are talking him/them literally and I think this is a mistake. All language is metaphor.
You imply that fear of hell is a motivator but the Christianity I know is more concerned with the loss of conscious freedom through continual sleep in Plato's cave.
Sure, but this is precisely my point. Since you fear this notion of ‘loss of conscious freedom through continual sleep’ then you are motivated by fear. I don’t think that something can come from nothing; therefore, love and compassion and peace and joy cannot come from fear and, ultimately, hate – since you surely hate this condition also.

I believe that genuine seeking comes from the love of other beings alone, rather than a dissatisfaction with one’s current state, and I believe that this is a kind of attitude that separates the true teachers from the misguided. This is partly why I personally consider Weil to be misguided and not a genuine teacher. True compassion is not possible if there is someone doing it. True compassion resides in self-less action.
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Perhaps only too willing. The worst kind of ego is the one that tries to be humble. Perhaps you only get out of Plato's cave when you realise there was never any cave to begin with.


Again the essential difference. While I agree with the foolishness of false humility, to deny Plato's cave is to deny the human condition of psychological sleep. If we are asleep in Plato's cave, what understanding of a higher reality can we have? If there is no cave it means that this psychological sleep we can awaken from isn't the human condition. I believe it is and the purpose of the great traditions is to aid in awakening. To you it seems as though we already are awake but just ignorant and just have to continue learning.
I feel I should elaborate on where I am coming from, if I may.

We are awake in the sense that our true nature is always present. We are asleep in the sense that we mistake our self/our being to be the mind and its contents. The Zen and Sufi teachers are perhaps most blunt about this. In Advaita, the classic nondual esoteric school of Hindu philosophy, they explain the situation to be that we are all ‘Shiva’ (i.e. in this context, ‘god’, for all intensive purposes), we have merely forgotten our identity. So, awakening then is recognition/realisation rather than achievement. This is how I indentify our key difference here – that you hold awakening to be a goal that can be achieved, while I consider it more like a realisation of what is already the case.

Note, for example, that ‘Satori’, the Zen description for awakening from the cave, can literally be translated as “catching on”. It is as though one suddenly ‘catches on’ to what is going on, rather than literally find themselves somewhere other than here and now. One Zen master, when asked to describe what enlightenment is like, said “When hungry, eat, when tired, sleep.” In other words, life continues as before, yet without the constant effort of the mind to conceptualise reality and put itself at the centre of it. This Zen master is saying he does everything we do except he doesn’t allow his monkey mind, the creator and origin of the cave, to get in the way. Note also that he doesn’t say “when I’m hungry” etc.

Compare with the Hindu word for getting out of the cave – ‘Moksha’. Moksha literally mean liberation – presumably from the self-imposed (mental) chains of the cave. One is liberated from the limits of the mind, but they still exist in the same reality as always. Their liberation tells them that they were always unbound from the mind, they simply thought themselves to be otherwise. Hence, too, they realise they are and always were one with the ‘all’, they just didn’t realise it previously and took themselves to be a thought.

So, in your model, we could make sense of this by saying the conscious connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm is always present and not something later generated. The ‘awakening’ is to realise this is already so, in my view.
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Well, okay, but this is completely contrary to the various teachings themselves. The first part is that meditation, of which conscious attention is a part, is always purposeless. You cannot try to do it nor can you have any kind of goal; if you try to get somewhere, you are not doing it. The second is that conscious attention is about training and strengthening the mind, not aligning the organism.


Simone Weil describes the purpose of meditation. It reveals the uselessness of guided meditations or la la land.
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"Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it We must continually suspend the work of the imagination in filling the void within ourselves."
"In no matter what circumstances, if the imagination is stopped from pouring itself out, we have a void (the poor in spirit). In no matter what circumstances... imagination can fill the void. This is why the average human beings can become prisoners, slaves, prostitutes, and pass thru no matter what suffering without being purified."


Without conscious attention, it is easy to fall into imagination
To be honest, I don’t see how this quote has relevance to meditation or what I have said exactly.

What I said was the meditation and conscious attention are not the same as what Weil is describing.

Meditation with purpose is not meditation. A purpose implies an isolatable self with a goal to achieve i.e. desire and self[ish]-ness.

So, because Weil is assuming an isolatable self and a goal she desires, she is not meditating. Nor, as it turns out, is she practising conscious attention. Conscious attention is about simply witnessing and not attaching to our thoughts. Weil assumes that her thoughts about a separate soul/self, a heaven, a god, and so on are not thoughts, so she mistakes them for reality. Even if these things were true, then it would still not be conscious attention, because the thought of something is not equatable to the thing itself.

So, it simply isn’t meditation or conscious attention, although you are welcome to keep repeating otherwise if you so choose. At best, we could perhaps say the Weil invented her own technique for something-or-other, however we cannot call it either meditation nor conscious attention for it is not either of those things.
Faith as a human quality rather then acquired faith in something can be developed through conscious attention.
Faith by definition is a human quality. It’s a very unconstructive thing for you to do if you simply keep accepting that something like faith is unreasonable when everyone else does it but not yourself or Weil. This is a very contradictory and fallacious way of thinking and arguing, in my view. I think that you are likely quite aware of this.

Moreover, as above, what Weil is doing is not conscious attention. Again, even if we truly did have souls etc. the thought of a soul would not be the souls itself. So, even if this were all true, this is still not conscious attention. There is simply no way out of this contradiction I’m afraid.
The Bible is written on several levels. At the surface it appears as accounts or stories but at a deeper level they are esoteric teachings.

The centurion in Luke 7 for example had the faith that could sustain the balanced man.
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He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.


The psychological meaning is within a story. The servant is a part of the psych it serves. Jesus' energy was capable of restoring the servant and balancing the centurion's "being" again.

Notice how the centurion was master over the lower and nothing in relation to the higher, This is a description of a psychologically healthy human heart and why Jesus celebrated it. A part of his psych needed help and the centurion received it. Again, it is levels of meaning inherent within levels of reality.
I of course agree that all spiritual texts are written in and can be interpreted on multiple levels.

I also however think it is dangerous to use verses from something like the Bible to corroborate your own ideas based on your own interpretation.

You see, I would interpret this verse to mean that Jesus is saying that faith is not a good thing. He is using the example of the servants blindly following their leader out of faith. He is specifically referring to the obedience of slaves to a master, which we all know is pointless, as faith.

By your interpretation then, you are equating faith in Weil to a slave blindly following a master, which has no end benefit for the slave. So, it doesn’t actually matter about the rest, this surely shows that faith is not a positive thing, which Jesus is suggesting.

Unless of course you consider slavery with no benefit to be a good thing, but I don’t think that Jesus would agree.
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I think that you can read lots of books about the mechanics of car, but not only might it not help you drive one, you don't know what driving one is like until you do it. The same is true for conscious attention, and I think you would be better to actually try it rather than repeat one person's, whom you have never met, opinions about it. Just like that you don't get a vote on how many moons Jupiter has unless you look through a telescope and study astrophysics, you don't get to vote about what you think things like conscious attention are about until you have practiced it enough and studied and verified its principles. I think that when you do that you will drop these notions of it.


Very true, but what makes you think I haven't practiced these ideas?
Well, for one, you can’t practice an ‘idea’. You might say I know what was intended here and am being pedantic – however, had you engaged in these practices you would not make such a mistake, of this I am certain. Hence, I am certain that you have not practiced genuine conscious attention.

Secondly, your notions are not compatible with anyone who has practiced these things. Conscious attention does not allow you to conclude there is a god, levels of reality etc. It is not necessarily incompatible with these beliefs of course, however, it does not lead one to conclude them, which is what you are suggesting. This is false, and so also allows me to conclude that you have not practised it.

Thirdly, you and Weil talk of ‘detachment’ rather than non-attachment. This is a very, very important distinction. Detachment implies and assumes something (or someone) who is detaching and that separation/conflict is implicit. Non-attachment refers to a lack of attachment. Again, this distinction is fundamental, though it might not appear so to a layman. I am forced to conclude therefore that you are a layman in regard to these practices, as was Weil.

Finally, you take certain concepts to be true a priori – namely the soul, existence of god, levels of reality and so on. Specifically the first of these, the belief in a separate individual being, is mutually exclusive with conscious attention. It is not “I (or my soul etc.) is consciously attending” but more like “there is conscious attention”. Again, this categorically confirms that you and Weil could not have been practicing conscious attention. It is something that requires no assumptions whatsoever, and no association with mental content.

So this makes me think that you couldn’t have practiced conscious attention.
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Yet, how do you know that? It is obvious from your writings that you are not speaking from personal experience here. I think you shouldn't talk about things you have no knowledge of yourself.


But I have. I've experienced for example what John meant by testing the spirits. A person cannot sustain the state of presence through conscious attention in the presence of a dominant inner lie. When it does, presence is lost.
I simply don’t believe, for a moment, that you are awakened in the sense of the Buddha; in fact with all due respect I feel that is a ridiculous claim to make, when you simultaneously admit you are still in Plato’s cave. The Buddha’s awakening was referred to as “Supreme Enlightenment”. Are you seriously going to try to persuade yourself that you are Supremely Enlightened?

Again, your above notions of conscious attention are clearly repetitions of things you have read. Anyone who is familiar with the practices can see this instantly, just as anyone familiar with dolphins can tell a description of a whale is incorrect.

In regards to mystical experiences in general, anyone can obtain such things, they only need to meditate for long enough or, if they were so inclined and impatient, drop some LSD or something. I am not impressed in the slightest by claims that you have had the most mystical experiences, who’s dad can beat up who’s dad etc.; I am impressed only by the substance of what is communicated. Your desire to seek truth and so on necessitates a lot of strength and struggle with internal pressures, which is why the mystically inclined are capable of respecting others mystically inclined who have very different beliefs, much like you and I do. This goes with the territory. If we did not both at least believe ourselves to have experienced certain things, we would surely not be here or interested in these topics.

Nevertheless, while I can acknowledge this, I simply do not believe that you would claim such things as having the degree of understanding as the Buddha. If you, in hindsight, accept this as unlikely, then my point stands that you cannot reasonably be certain of things you have not experienced, much like if you were to hold beliefs regarding the taste of orange juice even if you have never tasted it.

Note well that you have repeatedly stated that you believe Weil to have “attained” things that you have not yourself, therefore, you cannot reasonably comment on the validity of such things.

I don’t think this is unreasonable, though I do think it requires for you to reevaluate how much of Weil’s and many other’s words you take on good faith alone.
The reason I refer to Simone is that she doesn't express a teaching. She lived her philosophy and other then in "The Need For Roots," recorded her experiences in her notes, letters and essays without any intent on publication.. Others found them, organized, and published them. That is why they are valuable. There is no reason to lie.
A false statement is a lie by definition; I have proven many of her statements, at least some beyond doubt, to be false statements and therefore lies. In fairness, I did explicitly state in my last post that these ‘lies’ do not imply intentional dishonesty; in fact I would, for the same reasons you note, expect there was no such thing involved. I do not consider her a purposeful manipulator or dishonest, simply someone who, verifiably, espoused non-truths, thus should be read with an open and informed mind.

The only thing she did that could be considered ‘immoral’ was if she purposely used her position as an educated person and her associations with the intelligentsia of the day to promote her own beliefs, while consciously bypassing her knowledge that they were both philosophically and scientifically invalid. No true philosopher nor scientist would ever dream of passing something as unconfirmed as her beliefs off as valid and reasonable, even if they held them to be true.

It is interesting that you should bring up that her theological works are gathered from notebooks. There is much contest as to what specifically she meant on a variety of topics, her precise conception of god being one of the many ambiguities. So, for you to acknowledge that her relevant works were born from her notes unintentionally is followed necessarily by the acknowledgment that much of her ideas are unconfirmed and contested, subject to lack of clear definition and not necessarily accurate to her thoughts. Thus, you contradict much of the certainty and confidence you have asserted in most of this thread.
Simone adds ideas to my path. Without a previous understanding I must admit I don't think I could have gotten through the book "Gravity and Grace." My path and Simone insists on verifying everything rather than belief so she isn't an idol for me. Her ideas compliment what I believe to be essential for a perennial tradition
However, you make no attempt to verify the belief in a soul, god and levels of reality. So it is actually false that you and Weil “insists on verifying everything”. That has been clearly established throughout this thread. Your idea of verification is if it “feels” right.

I appreciate that she adds ideas, however, you are very adamant on taking these ideas as true without reasonable cause. There are certainly many aspects to her work that would be understood very differently were you open to exploring other mystics as enthusiastically, and most importantly practising the various technologies prescribed therein.

Every person remotely interested in mysticism uses the term ‘perennial’ erroneously to refer to their conceptions and here you follow suit. In my view, it is frankly nonsense to claim that the ideas of your god, souls, conscious connections and levels of reality are part of the perennial tradition. To simply assert so is not helpful to your cause in any way. The perennial philosophy refers to a reoccurring undiscovered understanding that is independent of any one particular culture or time but appears in all cultures and all times. It partly defined by the fact that it is compatible with every philosophy in some sense. I imagine that you know very well what the perennial philosophy is, and that you also know that your beliefs are not it. So, in this light I consider it to be quite unfair and even dishonest for you to assert it as equatable when you know this not be the case.

Perhaps recall my notion of a man stranded on a desert island his whole life. The perennial tradition is that truth which even this man could realise, without any knowledge of history or anyone else. He could not, however, realise that reality is composed of levels, that a separate being that lives in another dimension created him out of mud nor that he sent his only son to be crucified by a group of people called the Jews in the Bronze Age, and you are quite aware of this.

There is really nothing perennial in your conception, so it is best to refrain from equating the two without proper understanding that this is so.
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"Christianity precedes Christ"...I'm pretty sure the practice of accepting Jesus Christ as the only Truth doesn't precede Jesus Christ.

Your statement is no more meaningful or sensible than saying toasters existed before toast did. This is likely why some of the less sensitive atheists often refer to religious convictions as "delusion".


You say this because you underestimate the deeper meaning. The way to the father is through the son. Again, this is a vertical psychological cosmological expression. In linear life it is like saying for me living in NY, the way to North pole is through Canada.

The way to the highest realty requires going through a higher level of reality then our own. This was always known and part of a perennial tradition. Jesus actualized it.
It is immediately erroneous for you to presume things of which you have no knowledge, without at least justifying your assertion, such as here that I am underestimating the deeper meaning. When I assume things about you, such as that you don’t understand conscious attention, I justify and provide evidence for these assertions. So you cannot presume I have no knowledge of the deeper meanings. Irrelevant of whether that is true or not, simply because I think your interpretation has no bearing on what is being said, nor evidence, nor experience, is alone not a reasonable justification to assume such things.

Hopefully, as above I have established my position on ‘higher’ realities.

Again, I must state that I consider it incredibly distasteful of you to stain the perennial tradition with your personal conceptions, which are completely unrelated. I think it is an arrogant and foolish way to go, and incredibly disrespectful to the various great people who worked so very hard to stop this kind of thing from happening. If nothing else, it is simply misleading for others.

I would however certainly agree that much of the Bible is metaphorical; though I try not pick and choose as you do to only apply metaphor where it suits my previous assumptions. It is ironic to me that you interpret one part of the Bible to be a metaphor for another part, which you for no particular reason do not also consider to be a metaphor. You do not follow your methodology through, which means it is no longer a methodology, but an attempt to push a square peg in a round hole. I do not think you will be successful.
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So, either she was deluded or moronic. If you consider her not to be either of these two things, then that is your right of course, but it is not based on fact, which is my only point.


Well she wasn't moronic. If she were she would not receive the high praise she does by so many religious and scientific minds.
Then you necessarily concede that she was deluded, and we agree.
What is our real life? For us, isn't it what we do? The contention is that the great majority of what we do is based upon conditioned imagination.

I've read that the fact that war exists is proof of our collective sleep. It is what we do. Conscious humanity would be incapable of war. Would you disagree?
Well, humanity is technically conscious already of course…but I know what you mean and would agree. External events are always representative of internal states. War is a manifestation of conflict, and conflict arises from separation. As long as there is a perception of separation, there will be conflict and thus, war, in its various forms. My contention is that your belief that separation, thus conflict and war, can be avoided by more separation is necessarily false. I feel that separation can only cease to exist if separation ceases to exist.
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In my humble opinion, I think you should stop saying what you think god is for Weil. In this quote I have established that you were mistaken to attribute panentheism to her conception, since she herself has said differently. So on what basis can you assume that you have understood her correctly about everything else?


There are so many interesting potential questions arising from our discussion that hopefully can be gone into later on a philosophy board. One of these is actually what Panentheism is in contrast to Pantheism.
Pantheism considers god to be immanent, Panenthesim both immanent and transcendent. Since Weil believes god to be only transcendent, with creation being the manifestation of god’s love but not actually god, he is neither a Panthesist nor a Panentheist, but a monotheist.

Perhaps it is interesting to note that many if not most panenthesitic and pantheistic theologies are functionally indistinguishable from no theology at all i.e. atheism.
When I first read Simone's explanation for creation I marveled how she could paint such a picture. When I contrasted what I knew on cosmological creation with what she brought, it was a mind blower. Yet they both refer to Panentheism.
You have misinterpreted her. As above, Panenthesim is the belief that god is immanent and transcendent. In other words, that god both equals his creation and extends beyond it. Weil did not believe this, but believed that god was completely beyond his own creation and separate from it, while his creation was a manifestation of his love. Nothing whatsoever to do with Panentheism. This is monotheism, there is really no question about that, if you believe otherwise then you have a false belief.

Weil, unfortunately, did not change the way words are defined, nor that the meaning of certain words are not subject to opinion.
From a Wiki article that explains a bit of what she described as "absence
*snip*

The Source of creation is outside creation yet exists within it through God's will which is involution and God's grace which allows for evolution. This is Panentheism.
No, really, it isn’t. You have misunderstood Panentheism and Weil. If the Universe is a creation of god’s ‘will’ or love then it is not a Panentheistic Universe. It is a monotheistic Universe. God in Weil’s account is fundamentally separate from creation, therefore, Weil’s account is not Panenthesim. This is not a value judgment, but a fact.

So since we have here established at least one irrefutable misconception you had about Weil, it is therefore reasonable for you to at least consider the possibility that you might have others.
In my opinion, which is no more than just that, rather than admit these mistakes, you are persistently trying to maintain a perfect aura around Weil, which is causing you to bypass your own logic and reason to make totally nonsensical and obviously irrational statements.

But why do you say this? She wasn't perfect. She had a soul that hungered for truth so put her body on the line for it. This isn't perfection. But her purity allowed her experiences only a few are capable of. Some wonder in France if she wasn't an incarnation of Joan of Arc. This isn't a suggestion of perfection but rather a response to a calling only a few experience.
I say this because in spite of the evidence, you are maintaining that she was wonderful and amazing and without fault. You also keep referring to her “purity”, as if it didn’t clearly refer to her virginity. You also keep calling her by her first name, which surely shows that you lack any objectivity when dealing with her. I have, taking the most recent example, shown that Weil was a monotheist not a panentheist. No doubt you will refuse to accept this and simply persist in believing things about Weil that are not true. This is just one of numerous example that shows you are twisting Weil (the reality) into Weil (your idea). Unfortunately, our ideas do not equal reality.

You seem to have no awareness of how obviously irrational some of your claims really are. Take the last line here – “a calling so few experience”. You have repeatedly said that you are not there yet, that you are not worthy etc., so you are admitting that you haven’t experienced this yet. Thus, you are admitting that you have no plausible reason to follow her every word. Moreover, how can you possibly know what other’s experience? This is the hallmark of someone in denial, which you would see so clearly if it were someone else blindly following some other mystic. You must apply the same eye to your own beliefs. Simply saying that you do, when we both know otherwise, suggests you don’t really want to understand, but to simply believe. Everything good you see in Weil comes not from Weil but yourself. You are your own greatest teacher. You were born and will die without Weil, why do you think you need her to live?

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It is not however, as you perceive it, an "emotive" response - I am simply saying what is true. When the truth about Weil is said it sounds as if the speaker is angry, simply because unfavorable things are being said. Yet the truth is unfavourable to Weil. I am not angry/emotional at all, I am just saying what is the case. It is ironic to me that you cannot perceive this and instead filter the substance of what I have said through the presupposition that whatever I am saying is dishonest, even though that is not the case. You are seeing only the result of your own filters. "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you." Wise and relevant words.


But this brings us back to her profound insight:
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Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification. I have to be an atheist with that part of myself which is not made for God. Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.
- Simone Weil, Faiths of Meditation; Contemplation of the divine
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 417


She admits the failings of religion and the value of atheism in the world but can you admit the possibility that at some point a supernatural part of yourself may open?
You are assuming then that I am already closed.

I would ask you to think very seriously for a moment here. Please try and just be as objective, rational and reasonable as you can. Just based on what I have said so far, how likely is it that someone who has clearly extensively studied Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sufism, Theology, Metaphysics, Philosophy, who practices meditation daily and who practices two types of yoga, does all of this for no particular reason and has no relevant experiences of anything these people are talking about?

You must understand that your judgment here comes from the fact that I don’t agree with you and nothing more. I don’t agree, therefore must be ‘closed’. You are also assuming, for example, that my atheism is not just a proper understanding of your theism. This is not a rational set of assumptions, in my view.

I think Weil is merely patronising atheists. Calling atheists a bunch of sleeping sheeple is not really valuing anything, simply feigning tolerance and decency. Fortunately, it is overtly transparent, in my opinion.
Can the essence of these lyrics from amazing grace be experiential or must it all be fantasy and escapism?
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Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Sure, why not. If you take me to be doubting genuine mystical experiences, then you mistake me.
From everything I've learned about the importance of attention and her descriptions as well as accounts about her, I feel safe to conclude that she had a very highly developed power of attention.
Okay, but my point is that reading and being convinced by words is not a good thing, nor a good way to make a judgment.

The second point is that you have read only accounts that are in her favour, which is again not a good way to make a judgment.

The only reasonable way to make such a judgment is to practice conscious attention the way it is originally described and then review her words. Do the experiments yourself, then verify the results.

However, it is also clear you must take certain cares that she did not take and not make certain assumptions, just like a scientist cannot assume he knows the result before the experiment, for this would be counter-productive.
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I would say secondly that it is error to assume that we don't have this attention. Conscious attention is a practice accessible to all, which, just like learning piano, gets better with practice. And like piano, anyone can learn it.


Now that is another good discussion deserving a thread of its own: education. Yes conscious attention can be developed but we neither value it or have people capable of teaching it in public education. The goal of society now is to perpetuate imagination and fixate attention at the expense of conscious attention.
I certainly agree here, though no doubt would twist it a little differently. I wouldn't call it a 'goal' either really, so much as an unhelpful by-product.
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But you ask an important question, I think - how can I be sure that she wasn't truly a high adept in this regard and so on. We can approach conscious attention, a form of meditation, like any other scientific experiment. In this case, the instrument is one's own nervous system, yet we still have the same controls as any other experiment. Because the experience is subjective, and cannot be demonstrated objectively, we are obliged to copy the experiment personally in order to verify them. This is the first point - since you admit that you lack a high level of conscious attention, you are therefore admitting that it is currently impossible for you to verify her experiments (since you cannot achieve this “level”). Hence, you are unwittingly admitting right there that you actually have no valid reason to believe her.

The second way of testing would be to compare her results with the results of other experimenters, just as you would do in any other science. It is immediately clear that her notions of a personal, separate god, levels of reality rather than levels of appearance, notions of transdimensional paradises that "pure" people go to, worship and encouragement of separation/conflict/violence, praise of self-pity, disgust at the natural human condition and nature itself and so on bear no similarities to the various other experimenters with these techniques. Hence, we have a second reason to safely conclude that she does not have a trustworthy account.


I don't believe her but rather don't doubt her. She arouses questions in me. She describes one experience. I am invited to make the necessary efforts to become able to experience.
Doubt is a questioning and lack of affirmative or negative belief. So, lack of doubt necessitates that you have one of those beliefs. Obviously, it is not a negative belief. Therefore, you believe her. Lack of doubt and lack of belief are mutually exclusive.

What would be much more reasonable is to doubt, is to suspend belief (i.e. be sceptical), until one has done the experiments. I really suggest doing this.

Simone Weil writes:
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Last summer, doing Greek with T-, I went through the Our Father word for word in Greek. We promised each other to learn it by heart. I do not think he ever did so, but some weeks later, as I was turning over the pages of the Gospel, I said to myself that since I had promised to do this thing and it was good, I ought to do it. I did it. The infinite sweetness of this Greek text so took hold of me that for several days I could not stop myself from saying it over all the time. A week afterward I began the vine harvest I recited the Our Father in Greek every day before work, and I repeated it very often in the vineyard.

Since that time I have made a practice of saying it through once each morning with absolute attention. If during the recitation my attention wanders or goes to sleep, in the minutest degree, I begin again until I have once succeeded in going through it with absolutely pure attention. Sometimes it comes about that I say it again out of sheer pleasure, but I only do it if I really feel the impulse.

The effect of this practice is extraordinary and surprises me every time, for, although I experience it each day, it exceeds my expectation at each repetition.

At times the very first words tear my thoughts from my body and transport it to a place outside space where there is neither perspective nor point of view. The infinity of the ordinary expanses of perception is replaced by an infinity to the second or sometimes the third degree. At the same time, filling every part of this infinity of infinity, there is silence, a silence which is not an absence of sound but which is the object of a positive sensation, more positive than that of sound. Noises, if there are any, only reach me after crossing this silence.

Sometimes, also, during this recitation or at other moments, Christ is present with me in person, but his presence is infinitely more real, more moving, more clear than on that first occasion when he took possession of me.

I should never have been able to take it upon myself to tell you all this had it not been for the fact that I am going away. And as I am going more or less with the idea of probable death, I do not believe that I have the right to keep it to myself. For after all, the whole of this matter is not a question concerning me myself. It concerns God. I am really nothing in it all. If one could imagine any possibility of error in God, I should think that it had all happened to me by mistake. But perhaps God likes to use castaway objects, waste, rejects. After all, should the bread of the host be moldy, it would become the Body of Christ just the same after the priest had consecrated it. Only it cannot refuse, while we can disobey. It sometimes seems to me that when I am treated in so merciful a way, every sin on my part must be a mortal sin. And I am constantly committing them....

excerpted from WAITING FOR GOD by Simone Weil - Harper & Row, New York, 1951, translated by Emma Craufurd (title is also translated as "Waiting ON God")


This is beyond my experiences. I've read enough accounts to sense something real in it.
Okay, this clarifies a lot more things for me immensely. Please, if you oblige me, follow this part carefully, I would consider this very important.

What Weil is describing is called, for example, in Sanskrit “Dhāraṇā”, which is the sixth limb or stage of (Raja) yoga. This is not actually the same as conscious attention, nor meditation, this is so incredibly important to know.

Dhāraṇā is basically fixed attention - not the same as conscious witnessing which you were equating with conscious attention - which is the starting point for meditation in all disciplines. For instance, Zen asks its potential mediators to count the breaths from 1-10, and just like Weil, they must start again when the thoughts distract them. A similar method is using malas, or mantras in some yogas. In fact, this is exactly what Weil is doing – using a mantra to strengthen the attention which could later be used in meditation, though I fear she may not have reached that point. Thus, the attention is strengthened for use in meditation proper and this is what Weil is essentialy doing.

If as you say, this is beyond your experiences, then I can be certain again that you are not familiar with meditation nor conscious attention, for what Weil is describing is not either of these yet. She is describing a very, very basic starting point. If you were to practice this for a very short time, as long as you were disciplined, it would not be long before your experiences matched those of Weil.

There are many classic mistakes she makes however, which all disciplines mention and warn against. For instance, odd things simply start to happen during the approach to these practices and then eventually in the practices themselves. For Weil, as soon as something odd happened, she assumed it was Christ; this is very unfortunate and she may have never overcome this problem. When one begins experiencing things, they must not make any effort to conceptualise or identify the experiences, nor assume this or that is what is happening. It is vital that Weil did not allow these things distract her at first. Even if it was Christ, assuming so was responsible for her failure here.

Later on, she could turn her attention directly to these feelings and make them the objects, then that would become meditation – however, it is obvious that this did not happen, partly because she was identifying the feelings anyway which prevents genuine meditation by any standard technical definition.

So, I am very glad you have brought this quote up, it is very clear to me now what the problem was with Weil. It seems here that she mistook a very basic starting point for spiritual practice as an advanced spiritual awakening; this is actually not that unusual, as often even the early results of these technologies are startling to the non-scientifically or objectively minded, and since Weil has a very emotional mindset it is unsurprising. It is quite sad that she chose not to learn from other disciplines, had she had done this she would have quickly found that her experiences are actually not particularly advanced and relatively easy to acquire. The more strong-minded are able to continue without guidance of course, but they must be willing to doubt everything, start from scratch if you will, which Weil was unable to do.

It is amazing that she built her whole understanding from such a simple and beginner-level practice, however, it also explains perfectly why there are so many problems with it and also exactly why there are the contradictions and mistakes there are. Had she only been more willing to doubt and merely glance at some of the other mystics she would have realised her errors and also how she had only just started.
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Since Weil and yourself believe in a isolatable self/soul, even though this is not constituted by any evidence, logic or reason other than it is entailed by your interpretations of the Bible, you necessarily think this suffering happens to you. Therefore, neither of you can have this belief and act selflessly, which is what Karma yoga is about. Action born out of self generates karma in Karma yoga, which is always bad. Karma for all intensive purposes simply means attachment in this context. No matter what goodness is perceived to have been generated, karma and attachment was also generated, thus nothing positive was achieved, only perhaps delayed.


Now this is another meaningful separate thread. What is the origin of our conscious attention? Does it come from us or do we supply the will and lesser level of attention to allow it to enter our common presence.
The former. There is no reason to believe otherwise. I think practice and theory makes this clear.
I believe that Meister Eckhart is right and that we have the seed of a soul rather then a soul which the seed can mature into.

"Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God." Meister Eckhart
Yes, but he is not talking about conscious attention, nor souls. He is talking about the realisation that all and the individual are not separate, a notion that is known as the ‘perennial philosophy’, funnily enough.
Clearing Karma as I understand it is what allows the seed to grow by letting the light in. It concerns our personality rather than the seed. We suffer ourselves. This is what makes "Know Thyself" so hard. At some point we have to suffer it to know it and let the light in.
No, clearing karma implies there is a ‘you’ that clears karma; a 'clearer'. Thus, there is attachment and desire and more karma. Nothing escapes or clears karma.

I think Know thyself means that one has to look within for truth, not without. The personality is not you. You make your own light, you don’t get it from anywhere. This is what Eckhart’s analogy of the seed means.
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It is funny how Christians feel self-depreciation, self-hate and inferiority complexes are virtues.


This may happen in accordance with certain sects of Christendom but not with Christianity. It is precisely these forms of negative emotions that have to be seen as expressions of the egotism that denies the Christian experience.
It was you who was doing this with regards to Weil. You see it as a good thing to view yourself as inferior to Weil, who is much more worthy in your eyes. This is not humility but submission. Not only are you assuming you have a separate soul, you are assuming it is lower down the ranks than some other soul. You are creating the notion of better and worse. You are creating a self, so you can feel sorry for it. Since your idea of self is an idea, you are absorbed in an idea. Cave-paintings, we might say.
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Perhaps you shouldn't believe everything you read and hear, and find out for yourself.


Yes, this is what is necessary. How can we verify if we are asleep in Plato's cave? It seems that Inner Empiricism and verification are necessarily related by becoming able to "Know Thyself."
How can we verify that we are in Plato’s cave at all is the first question you must ask. Otherwise it is totally meaningless.

The second part of your sentence is, I think, absolutely correct, which is why you must do it and not try to know thyself based on knowing Weil’s words, because this is knowing Weil’s self and not thyself.
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Weil is saying that Christianity is great because it makes use out of suffering. Therefore, Weil is asserting that associating, attaching, identifying with suffering is a good thing, thus contradicting everything else she and you claim about non-association, non-attachment and non-identifying. Nice one Simone. There is nothing great about being selfish anyway.


This is again an important difference. Simone Weil referred to detachment and not attachment.
You are ignoring my actual point and just picking up words you just don’t like, it seems. This is very irrational.

As I said, she is attaching because she is attaching to a soul and her ideas of the Universe.

So, you can repeat yourself and ignore me if you really want, but is doesn’t matter, she is engaging in attachment, that is all there is to it unfortunately.
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"Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached."


Since as Buddha said life is suffering, the suffering she is referring to is becoming able to consciously witness our own suffering for the purpose of re-birth. This is the meaning of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Well, I have already shown that she was not practising conscious attention but Dhāraṇā, a very basic form of practice. It is equivalent to placing a foot on a pebble (Weil) and climbing mount Everest (Buddha). Thus, anyone with knowledge of these practices, even if it were just in theory, can disregard her philosophy without question, since she did not have any experience that cannot be had by any novice after a very short time.

So, I suggest you study the people who are experienced in the more advanced practices and practice them yourself before you try to fit the Crucifixion in with Weil’s philosophy, since it is merely wasted energy otherwise.
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Moreover, she is explicitly condoning self-pity and self-absorption, since embracing suffering and making ‘use’ of it necessarily requires these things.


Yes, we have to consciously witness our self absorption, self pity, and the all the rest of it normal for our acquired personality. This witnessing allows us to be seen from above.
Your notion of conscious attention based on Weil’s is inaccurate, it’s really simple as that I guess.
Obviously, you’re further convictions that such things allow us to be ‘seen from above’…I mean, you haven’t even offered any plausible reason why you think that, it is not logical, it is not reasonable, it is not based on evidence nor experience, so it doesn’t even need to be refuted it already is by its own nature.

Please, you seem like a clever guy – find out for yourself.
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I feel I can assure you, with absolute confidence, that this "feeling" of significance applies to anyone or anything that even so slightly hints at the bigger picture. I am sure you feel this when you read any great works, like Eckhart or even non-Christian texts like the Tao Teh Ching, the writings of the Buddha or the Upanishads. Yet, no doubt you acknowledge that these all contradict each other is at least some ways. So what of these feelings? You are taking the position that you don't believe, rightly so, that this feeling is meaningless. Therefore, you believe without question everything that Weil says. However, I think you are creating a false dilemma. That feeling will persist even without faith and blind dogmatic following, so I claim, as an atheist. That feeling is something you have, not implicit in the works themselves - it goes where you go.


I don't see the contradictions since I accept that contradictions for us occur at the exoteric level.
This makes no sense. You can accept that something is contradictory and wrong because the philosophy in question says it is true even if it contradicts itself and is wrong. Nothing even slightly intelligible in this.
When what appears as a contradiction is impartially pondered I've found it reconciled from a higher perspective.
You have no experience with ‘higher perspectives’ that are anything like such things claimed by any other tradition, thus I am force to ponder this statement and conclude that you need to base your beliefs on the experiences on your own experiences. Claiming that you know you are correct because you are more enlightened than anyone else is…seemingly beyond help. I hope not, for your sake.
For example you mentioned before about the earth being flat. It seems absurd. Yet for ancients familiar with cosmology, levels of reality are like discs. From that perspective the earth is considered flat. From Jacob Needleman's book "A Sense of the Cosmos"

*snip*

If I were condemning the ancients for their stupidity I would never be open to this possibility.
Its an interesting idea, unfortunately it simply isn’t one corroborated by any evidence. The ancients really did believe the Earth was flat, and the Bible really does say the Earth is flat.

Moreover, Eckhart is really being misused by the author here, there is nothing there that suggest he agreed with this notion, in fact everything else he ever said is not compatible with it.

You’re not just condemning the ancients, you’re condemning everybody who doesn’t agree as a sheep or asleep or unenlightened or unopened or impure etc. Actually, as I have now shown in this post, it was indeed Weil who was mistaking her very neophyte practices as the ‘higher levels’ – I use those words very loosely – and not more like kindergarten. This simply isn’t so.

I gave the yogic description for what she is doing above, however, in Buddhism the equivalent concept are the Jhānas, which are basically stages of meditative practices. She is describing the first Jhāna. The first one. She has nine more to go.

In this light, it is much more sensible to realise that in fact, all the other mystics and great sages and so on in all of history were not all wrong; simply Weil alone was. So what? Every way in which she helped you isn’t lost by you admitting this. Whether good bad or ugly, you are the source of all these things, not Weil. You create the world within which you reside. That’s a good thing.
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As an atheist, I have no prior commitment to any system. I do not have any need to believe and defend one particular dogma. I have no obligation that ‘this one’ has to be right. Yet, as a human being, I feel an indefinable attraction to something beyond appearance, absolutely. Yet I also know that this feeling should not persuade me no to bypass critical thinking, reason and doubt. I seek truth, not comfort, and will accept it whatever it is.

We agree. That is why Simone Weil is called the New Saint or the Saint with a mind. The universe is logical. The division between religion and science is an unnatural one. It continues since Religion has become secularized and science is motivated by secular agendas. Yet there are efforts to try to bring about unification. Basarab Nicolescu's Transdiciplinarity is an example. It is years ahead of its time but his description of the included middle will further serve to unite science and the essence of religion.
You criticise science for pending its belief prior to investigation and evidence i.e. scepticism. While you know I do no agree, I have my own criticisms of science which would restrict it from ever being unified with religion. Namely, that science presumes that the Universe is exclusively objective. However, we know this isn’t actually so. In any case, if science where to include subjectivity, which there are suggestions of needing to do in Quantum mechanics, it could never be unified with religion anyway, since religion is not subjective nor objective, it simply presumes things to be true without any evidence whether subjective or objective i.e. faith.

So, they are not really feasibly mutual in any meaningful way, I think.

The only kind of religion/science unification I could concede to would be along the lines of the British occultist Aleister Crowley when he wrote:
I place no reliance on virgin nor pigeon,
My method is science, my aim is religion.
This is a much healthier methodology, in my view. It is a pity Weil did not share this sentiment.
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In addition, your assertion that scepticism (i.e. the thesis that one should suspend judgment until an investigation of the claims has taken place) of Christianity and anyone claiming to have a divine by-line to the truth is at best hopelessly naïve and at best horrifically ignorant, IMO. You are saying that we should believe Christianity and Weil, without question or investigating it, but just belief without any reason whatsoever, then everything will be fine. This is even more ridiculous than your assertion that toasters proceeded toast, again, IMO.


No, the idea isn't to believe or disbelieve but to experience life without the negative emotion of denial.
Yet you do positively believe. You have tried asserting that you don’t believe but lack doubt but I have shown there to be no difference. So you are not practicing this philosophy and nor is Weil anyway.

You can only deny something if you don’t believe it and not deny it if you believe it, therefore you must believe it anyway and completely contradict yourself.
I've found that I can only do it when in a better psychological state I know of as "presence." Otherwise it is just my usual patterns expressing themselves.
Well, as I have outlined above there are many, many more deeper psychological states that need to be explored before a valid understanding can be reasonably undertaken.

For example, one thing you might come to see, in my opinion, is that your desire to attach to ideas and believe them is also your usual patterns expressing themselves.
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You have basically inferred that people like me, who doubt, question, investigate claims and think for themselves rather than just believe anything they read and are told are responsible for all the evils of the world. I think it is fair that you are no longer justified then for criticising me for being harsh, since you’ve basically just aid that I am responsible for everything bad ever.



No, not at all. You seem like a nice guy. Like Simone Weil wrote, you bring a necessary influence of purification needed in the world where the essence of religion has become secularized causing the damage it has.
Ahh, thanks. Attrition is a form of erosion, after all. In Lak’ech.

My point was more than saying scepticism is responsible for all the evils in the world is not a positive attitude. Scepticism is lack of belief pending investigation. Therefore, you are saying that the evil in the world can be avoided if we just believe things for no reason. This doesn’t really make much sense to me.
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Your evaluation of Weil has nothing to do with any evidence and nothing to do with your own personal experience. You do not literally experience levels of reality and conscious connections, you know you don’t.


I have worked with efforts to "Know Thyself." To do this requires first a separation between what consciously witnesses and what is witnessed. For example instead of saying that I am sitting at the computer, it is changed to It is at the computer and it is reading the screen. I'm trying to experience the distinction between it and I. Normally we are "it." There is no conscious experience of "it." Yet a person can begin to verify that self awareness or the perspective of I witnessing it is possible. If so, what are its limits and what denies us the ability to inwardly explore in this way without degenerating into fantasy?
So who is working with efforts to know thyself exactly? Do you see what I mean?

The problem I see here is very simple. It is not “It is at the computer” but “there is the experience of the computer”. You see, by implying an “it” you create an object. The point of conscious attention is centred on the subject. So, what you should be consciously attending to becomes something more like, in your case, “there is the experience of the mind objectifying the subject” which is followed by the observation of that observation and so on. Your mistake is making an object from the subject. The subject is precisely that which is not an object.

So, the ‘I’ that ‘works with efforts’ to know itself is not the self you want to know anyway. The ego comes to know itself as only thoughts, being a thought itself.

You are creating conflict between a perceived “I” and a perceived “it”; yet, all the while, there is the observation of this, therefore the observer is neither. You are perhaps forgetting that your thoughts of these things are still objectifications. Peace cannot arise from conflict – however, conflict can, and is, arising from peace, or “stillness”. This is very important, if not key, I would claim.

What you are describing is much like the ‘Mindfulness’ of the Buddhists. I would perhaps earnestly suggest reading up on it if not already familiar.

Perhaps also ask yourself, if one can know thyself, then who it is that who is doing the knowing, since it cannot be the subject which is known as an object.
You express very well what you are against but what are you for? Does your atheism experience an inner calling?
The absence of separation. (One might also say ‘union’ to make it positive, though this implies a “with something” and entails separation again).

I think the ‘inner calling’ is not felt by us as a calling so much as feeling of separation. When no separation is present, no calling is felt – or in a metaphorical sense, the call has been answered. Since reality is whole, separation only exists in the mind. Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha was Pantajali’s great way of saying what I am for and believe our ‘calling’ to reference – Yoga [union, absence of separation/conflict] Chitta [mind] Vrutti [psychic tendencies, mental ‘chattering’, mental attachments] Nirodha [extinguishing, ceasing] – thus, “the absence of separation is the ceasing of mental tendencies” or: “union is the ceasing of mental chatter”. This ‘union’ is what I believe we are calling for – the absence of conflict.
Quote:
"The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is ... but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry. ..." Simone Weil


I believe this to be true with atheists I have known. They have been caught up in denial so much that they have closed off to the feeling of an inner calling. Have you experienced an inner calling atheism has helped you with other then with the denial of absurdity?
I simply consider atheism to be the best description for my theological conclusions, rather than a starting point, though likely for different reasons than other atheists.

I do actually agree with you and Weil that most atheists refuse to acknowledge certain inner conflicts. However, I also think theists refuse exactly the same. I think that theists pretend that their calling is being satisfied, when in fact they know, deep down, otherwise. Most likely they are afraid, since they see no other option – to accept that their theologies are fulfilling they think will lead to an itch that can never be scratched. A false dilemma, in my view. What is most amusing to me about both atheists and theists is that the technologies (I call them) or practices that are at the center of all of this are accessible to all and have been verified by everyone who practices them with enough diligence. It is so odd how so many theists and atheists just hypothesise instead of simply doing the experiments themselves and finding out, rather than simply believing stuff.
Quote:
Not one iota of her life demonstrates that she needed to understand, only that she tried to understand something she had already assume true for no reason. I have showed this by analysis of her writings, her works, her biography and using simple logic and reason in addition to historical fact. If you choose to insist the opposite, then of course that is your right, but you do so in spite of not just there not being any evidence, but also in spite of loads of evidence to the contrary.


But before her mystical experiences she was a Marxist and an atheist. She didn't believe or assume anything to be true. That is what is so remarkable. It was only the purity of her need for truth that could outgrow her belief in Marxism.
Well, she was born a Jew and studied many religions; by most accounts I think it would be fair to say she was more of an agnostic. In any case, as you admit, she was a Marxist. Thus she believed and assumed Marxism to be true. She also, her whole life, believed chastity to be an apt spiritual choice. Therefore, she did believe things w

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 24th, 2009, 9:59 am

(continued)

...without evidence throughout her life (one cannot know both the benefits of life-long chastity versus its absence, this is impossible). Therefore, the facts of her life contradict and negate your assertion.

The truth is, she believed lots of things to be true and assumed lots of other things. To say she didn’t is completely baseless. It is obvious that she did. She apparently had ‘religious experiences’ that persuaded her to become a Christian, right? Why did she not doubt the experiences, acknowledging the possibility that she was hallucinating? She assumed it was genuine and separately assumed that the soul and god exist and that here interpretations of things were unquestionably correct. So, again, I am afraid the facts contradict this nonsense that she didn’t assume things, she literally assumed absolutely everything she believed.
Quote:
First, you are assuming Plato’s cave exist somewhere other than in the minds of men. If there were no minds, there would be no Plato’s cave. What might that suggest?


Plato's cave is the home of imagination. It has no objective reality but rather the psychological state of the world. Awakened man in the world has a much different experience of the world then sleeping man in Plato's cave caught up in the shadows on the wall. The earth as a cosmos is a reality while our perception has become fantasy.
So you except that it is not objective. Therefore it is subjective only. Therefore it is your own doing and exists only in your mind. Hence, you concede that you are in Plato’s cave because you choose to be. So the conjecture stands, and your point is refuted.

“The Earth as a cosmos is reality”…a grain of sand is a cosmos on some level, but it is a level of description. Reality is. That’s it. Reality is not subject to your ideas about it. If you really were as awake as you claim to be, you would see this very clearly, I think.
Quote:
Second, you say that we cannot know, yet claim you know what understanding is, that you know it is even possible, that you know what you are doing is understanding and that you know that education can be defined by empty axioms you’ve read in books. Thus, you contradict yourself.


Understanding requires presence that I don't have. I can theoretically describe balanced understanding as when the senses emotions and intellect agree and act on this agreement. But lacking this agreement, our understanding is based upon imagination necessary to unite their opposition and sustain habitual psychological sleep.

Theoretical understanding and practical understanding are not the same. Critical thinking can conclude one thing and our emotional nature often results in our doing the opposite
You have said that you know nothing in, I guess, an attempt to be humble, then you immediately say that you also know this and that and those. So I get that you’re now trying to justify this contradiction with ‘balanced understanding’ and ‘hypothetical agreements’ and so on. But you can’t know things and know nothing at the same time, whatever you say. So, either you know nothing, which is good, or you think you know lots of things, which is bad. It seems that you just say you know nothing but think you know lots of things, which is really bad.

Since 99% of everybody in the world’s intellect and emotion are not in agreement with this, then you litmus test kind of fails. Moreover, since your beliefs are, apparently, not invalidated by contradictions and counter evidence, nor subject to doubt, scepticism and critical thinking, then there is no longer anything for the intellect to agree with. So, your intellect cannot possibly agree with things that are not intellectual.

Hence, your justification actually boils down to, “I really want this to be true, therefore it is true”.

Quote:
Third, that this attitude is conceptually obsolete – if we cannot know, then we cannot know that we cannot know either. Hence, nothing can be said or understood. So, you have created nihilism out of an absolute, which is self-refuting.


When Socrates said "I know nothing," do you believe he was being nihilistic?
No, because he actually acknowledged this paradox, so it isn’t the same.

He also didn't write on a piece of paper "anything written on this paper is true", then write "the above statement is not subject to doubt, contradiction or any other form of reason" then say therefore it must be true because it is written there, which is effectively what you are doing.
Quote:
Fourth, that you say in order to understand, if it is possible, one must generate a capacity to do so. Yet, capacities are already implied in the system. That is, you cannot generate a capacity, you either have the capacity already or you don’t. Therefore, a capacity to understand is not something that can be gained. Moreover, you assume that understanding everything results in something different that what you know and feel now.


In order to play piano we have to connect our hands with our mind and heart. We have this potential but it requires a directed effort to do so. A potential is one thing and actualizing it is another. All I am suggesting is that man has the capacity to become conscious. Just like some strive to become able to play piano, others strive to consciously experience a reality greater then our psychological states described as Plato's cave.
Right, so you are going back on what you said earlier then. You said, specifically, that not all of us have this capacity, which is what my quote refers to. You are now saying that we do have this capacity but it is not actualised - that is not the same.

So, I will take you to be conceding the point.

I would just say reality is. There cannot be something that ‘greater is’, its not even possible linguistically. Reality is everything.

I think that if you want to experience a ‘greater reality’ you have to do exactly that, not simply believe things about what it might be like. Just like you cannot play the piano by reading about someone who says they can play the piano. This is where we significantly disagree.
Our major difference then is that where you believe we are experiencing reality but just have to open our eyes to it, I believe that our interpretations normal for daily life including the results of negative emotions, deny reality regardless of how much we know. Our lack of balance must distort anything critical thinking suggests. Do you agree?
If we are not experiencing reality, then what are we experiencing? There are no experiences that happen anywhere other than reality, think about it.

I don’t completely agree with what you are saying either about me or about experiencing reality. Let me try to clarify.

I think it would be better to classify our major difference here as how we view what is called the ‘esoteric’.

My impression is that you consider the exoteric to be this thing you call Christendom, which I assume you mean the standard superficial interpretation of Christianity etc, as well as similar things in all other religions and atheism etc. Exoteric then is this view of reality where the person is ‘asleep’. I more or less agree here.

The disagreement I think comes from how we view the esoteric, which I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Recall when I talked about the distinction between Relative truth and Absolute truth, present in all religions – you have mentioned this as well. It seems that you equate the Relative truth to be the same as the exoteric, but its not – it applies to the esoteric.

You say that the Bible, for instance, can be interpreted to talk of conscious connections, levels of reality etc. and that this is the esoteric meaning of it - esoteric of course means ‘secret’. I, however, hold this to be the Relative truth, that is, more metaphors.

Our notions of the mysticisms of the East come nearly entirely from only the last two centuries. Christian mysticism is relatively new and undeveloped in comparison, since Christianity (or “Christendom”) has so regularly outlawed and forbidden the teachings, thinkings and writings of anything beyond the exoteric. Even today, it is not particularly popular, while it is standard practice in most other religions, though least of all in the Abrahamic ones (perhaps because the monotheism of the day is usually overturned).

The point is that the standard translations of these ideas are the Relative esoteric ones, that is, they are ways of describing the ‘hidden’, mystical aspects to those who are unfamiliar with the ideas and want a superficial explanation that is in theory and not practice. So, that reality is ‘made of levels’, that we must ‘awaken’ etc. are themselves metaphors and not really the esoteric, or hidden, aspects of these teaching. In the places where these teachings originate, they would never be taken this way. This is simply something that has been lost in translation, with Westerners taking the poetry to be the thing being described.

You are very concerned with how everybody is asleep, imagining things, falsely perceiving reality etc., but not particularly concerned that you might be doing this. I agree that most of us take something to be reality that is not reality, on a Relative level. In an Absolute sense, everything is reality, therefore even or thoughts are inseparable from it. This however confuses the situation sometimes, so it is often not revealed in the early stages of the various teachings.

I think that you are taking the Relative description to be the ‘real’ one and that this is a mistake. I think if you have a look at the original texts, and not just things written by Western authors (since that is necessarily third-hand) and combine it with certain practices, then you will take a different view.

So, while I believe like you that we usually take reality to only be that which we imagine it to be, I part ways in that I believe no description to be that fundamentally different from any other. I do not think that reality is ever the same thing as a description alone, and so taking any description to be what reality is, which you are doing, is not experiencing reality directly, but through the filters of the mind. You maintain that a higher experience of reality must be filtered through a thought, whereas I think the ‘highest’ experience of reality is established when there are no thoughts.

Peace,

Thuse

Nick_A
Posts: 2391
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » October 25th, 2009, 4:16 pm

I'm glad this interview inspires you to post such a complete post. That's the idea. It helps me appreciate your outlook. Why condemn?

But I still believe you are making some false assumptions about my beliefs. So I'd like to clarify some basic ones to vivify our differences.

An octave can be considered both as a unity and as a division into eight tones. The first and the eighth are the same such as middle C and high C but differ in pitch. One is representative of the other but different in vibrational frequency.

The vertical scale of being is like this. From one perspective it is unity but from another it resonates as levels.

The idea is that all cosmoses contain a cosmological structure. Each cosmos is an octave. Man as a microcosmos has this same inner structure.

The human organism can be divided into three essential levels: head (intellect), heart, (emotion), and body (sensory) Each functions with a specific quality of energy. The chakra divisions are based on this conception of levels.

The human condition is as it is because we are not ONE but rather have become divided so we are MANY. Man's name is legion. You speak of unity and I see unified MAN as a potential. The mind, emotions, and sensory do not function together as an expression of wholeness but rather in opposition. This opposition can only remain psychologically tolerable through imagination.

Fear is only harmful when it paralyzes and drives one further into imagination. But if it inspires the necessary efforts towards awakening, why not consider it useful? Imagination is such that it doesn't allow us to profit from our fear. consequently men of knowledge must use artistic ways to get around our resistance.

http://www.conversations.org/issue.php?id=0&st=jerry_n
What does he mean by a "numinous experience"? In Plato's Republic there is the famous Allegory of The Cave. Socrates says that the person who finally comes out of the cave and sees the Truth-the reality of the sun-is obliged to go back down into the cave and try to help the cave dwellers. He is obliged. That doesn't mean it's nice to do that, it means it's part of the law. You don't keep it for yourself, you must share it. Then that touches on the question of skillful means, which is another root of this question-a big root out there, having to do with the transmission from one person more attained to one less attained. This is matter of communicating in a way that actually helps you feel something, touch something, glimpse something in your heart and your intuition. It troubles you in a right way, intentionally. So skillful means. I'm just trying to expose the roots of this question.

RW: Yes. It is helpful.

JN: The Buddha goes to help people who are suffering in hell, and in order to communicate to those who are living in hell, he has to speak in the form of a lie. He speaks the truth in the form of a lie because they would never understand the truth as it is. A famous example of that is called "the lie of kama" which is love. "The Kamatic lie" which is how you communicate the truth. People are asleep. People are deluded. If you tell them really straight out what the situation is... He likens it to a house being on fire where there are children in the house on the second or third floor. You've got to get them out but they don't know the house is burning. You might try to scare them, you could try to plead with them, but they might not listen to you. You have to say something that will really make them listen. You tell them there are toys in the street. Jump! They would be afraid to jump, that you might not catch them. There are many toys down here! And so they jump and you catch them. They see then that there are no toys, but their lives have been saved. So you have to communicate knowing the levers that you have to press. Skillful means could be called, aesthetic communication. That could be part of the roots of this whole big question. Do you know Kierkegaard's thought at all?
Ideas like Plato's Cave and the Buddhist parable of the Burning House are skillful means to allow us to feel beyond our resistance. As Father Sylvan said in Jacob Needleman's "Lost Christianity:"
It is extraordinary to think how much of the intellectual activity of man is actually a beginning contact with this force, this third person of the Holy Trinity. All efforts to think, being the call for confrontation between levels, are a first step towards the prayer to the holy reconciliation of presence. Thought begins with seeing, but ends, unfortunately, with the slavery to the mechanisms of conceptualization. Out of these conceptualizations, which are only the records left in the nervous system by moments of seeing, and which are needed as instruments of the energy of the spirit existing in the world, or the lower reality - out of these neural results of the spirit man erroneously tries to imitate the work of the spirit. but only the spirit can do the work of the spirit.

Thought, which means in essence seeing, exists on these many levels. There are no esoteric thoughts or esoteric ideas, as such; but there is esoteric thinking, an inner action which carries the energy of harmonization and reconciliation between levels........................
Impartial pondering is a higher quality of thought above linear associative thought. The ideas contained within the Cave and the Burning House can inspire esoteric thinking which eventually opens the way to the living reality behind the ideas.

The New Testament contains three main qualities of knowledge expressed through stone, water, and wine. Stone is literal truth but cannot be digested like the Ten commandments for example. When their essence becomes water, they can be received by the inner man at the esoteric level leading to a higher quality of understanding. Esoteric doesn't mean hidden but rather inner. for the sake of the inner man, certain ideas are passed on as an oral tradition so as to protect against their corruption. But the intent isn't to hide but rather to preserve what they offer for the seeker.

Eventually a person can grow sufficiently on the inside to be able to express them with the whole of themselves which would include a certain quality of energy a seeker could feel. This transformation of water is called wine. Jesus had such an energy which is why the Apostles could follow. It awakened something in them which they knew they were looking for.

The benefit of sacred ideas is really to invite esoteric thinking. The trouble is that many deny the value of the paradox or the contradiction that associative thought leads them to. If it isn't appreciated right away so is discarded as rubbish.
The paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a lover without feeling: a paltry mediocrity. (Soren Kierkegaard)
When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door. Simone Weil.
The poison of skepticism is that it denies being emotionally open to the paradox or contradiction.
True compassion is not possible if there is someone doing it. True compassion resides in self-less action.


I agree as far as with Man inside Plato's living in imagination and in opposition to oneself. However for the Man of inner unity having acquired consciousness, compassion is the norm since it is an attribute of connecting the higher with the lower.

You referred to the monkey mind and the soul. I feel I should clarify on what I mean by the soul and how the monkey mind inhibits its growth. Where christendom asserts a fully developed soul, Christianity sees it as a seed or potential. From Jacob Needleman's Lost Christianity:
The principal power of the soul, which defines its real nature, is a gathered attention that is directed simultaneously toward the spirit and the body. This is attention of the heart, and this is the principal mediating, harmonizing power of the soul. The mediating attention of the heart is spontaneously activated in the state of profound self-questioning. God can only speak to the soul, Father Sylvan writes, and only when the soul exists. But the soul of man only exists for a moment, as long as it takes for the question to appear and disappear.
If true, the intellect of the monkey mind and the emotional attitude of skepticism deny this gathered attention or the sum of conscious attention. I do not believe in attachment to ideas but rather using them for esoteric thinking or "pondering. Simone Weil having experienced life with this impartiality transmits the energy of this impartiality in her writings. It is what people are drawn to.
So, because Weil is assuming an isolatable self and a goal she desires, she is not meditating. Nor, as it turns out, is she practising conscious attention. Conscious attention is about simply witnessing and not attaching to our thoughts. Weil assumes that her thoughts about a separate soul/self, a heaven, a god, and so on are not thoughts, so she mistakes them for reality. Even if these things were true, then it would still not be conscious attention, because the thought of something is not equatable to the thing itself.
What is the Aim of Man on earth. Is it non existence or to become oneself? Naturally I agree with Fromm. Another great topic.
Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. -- Erich Fromm
Are we potentially "no-self" or a "soul" neither potentials of which we can understand?

Jesus said we must lose ourselves to become ourselves.
25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
"The self is only the shadow which sin and error cast by stopping the light of God, and I take this shadow for a self." Simone Weil
I'm just trying to express the value of being open to ponder what is impossible for either the monkey mind or the emotion of skepticism to be open to.
So, it simply isn’t meditation or conscious attention, although you are welcome to keep repeating otherwise if you so choose. At best, we could perhaps say the Weil invented her own technique for something-or-other, however we cannot call it either meditation nor conscious attention for it is not either of those things.
Conscious attention is the ability to experience life with non attachment. It requires purity. Simone Weil had this purity which is not to be confused with sexual purity which often is suppression. Nothing can me more harmful to the psych than virtue which just allows imagination to feed on sex energy. Both consciousness and imagination develop through sex energy.
"Purity is the power to contemplate defilement." Simone Weil
Normally we lack this purity, this conscious quality of "being." This lack assures the continuance of life in Plato's cave.
Faith by definition is a human quality. It’s a very unconstructive thing for you to do if you simply keep accepting that something like faith is unreasonable when everyone else does it but not yourself or Weil. This is a very contradictory and fallacious way of thinking and arguing, in my view. I think that you are likely quite aware of this.
For some reason you believe that I consider myself an enlightened person. Becoming aware of a situation is not enlightenment. It is the first experience of metanoia. It is a long way from becoming able to play a piano then when one first hears a pianist. That's my situation. I first heard the pianist long before I knew of Simone. I never mention who I believe to be the most extraordinary man of the twentieth century simply because like Simone, he is far beyond classification. One could consider him either a Christ or Satan so why create controversy? It is necessary so as to avoid classification and invite critical thinking. One thing I've learned from these people and verified myself is the danger of blind belief including blind faith IN something or someone. In contrast, faith as an inner quality is what allows us to stay connected with the higher during our normal reactive living experiences. The Apostles wanted Jesus to increase their faith but it was something they had to develop in them through his help.
You see, I would interpret this verse to mean that Jesus is saying that faith is not a good thing. He is using the example of the servants blindly following their leader out of faith. He is specifically referring to the obedience of slaves to a master, which we all know is pointless, as faith.
I believe that as we are in Plato's cave we have a choice of slavery. We can either be a slave to cave life or become open to a higher influence which is voluntary slavery for our personalities . We must determine which we are drawn to. I believe that becoming open to what we do not understand is a form of slavery that leads to freedom. This is the danger of blind faith and why sincere doubt is necessary before one can or should open in this way. Charlatans are only successful with people unable to doubt but instead surrender to blind faith. They lack the ability to "test the spirits." The Centurion's faith was experiential. He had no reason to indulge in escapism since he was top dog with wine women and song. He just accepted that reality existed beyond his egoistic limitations and this reality was what was needed to help the servant.
Secondly, your notions are not compatible with anyone who has practiced these things. Conscious attention does not allow you to conclude there is a god, levels of reality etc. It is not necessarily incompatible with these beliefs of course, however, it does not lead one to conclude them, which is what you are suggesting. This is false, and so also allows me to conclude that you have not practised it.
The intent of conscious attention isn't to prove anything but rather to align and to know ourselves. The intent isn't for mystical experiences but rather first to know thyself rather then exist as a plurality of parts in opposition to each other requiring life in Plato's Cave to make it tolerable.

http://www.cesnur.org/2002/slc/bauer.htm
12. In unyielding opposition to the authoritarian pretensions of a Church that demands intellectual surrender to its dogmas and regards itself as the "patrie terrestre"[65] [earthly fatherland] of its members, Simone Weil's kenotic thought leads up to an a-theology of exile that copes with the paradox of becoming rooted in God's absence.[66] Refusing to acquiesce in the spiritual comforts that the traditions of Judaism and Christianity claim to offer, Simone Weil stresses the need for a form of saintliness without precedent in history. The "sainteté nouvelle"[67] [new saintliness] she envisaged assumes that the search for redemptive truth can only take place on the basis of complete freedom of thought, and dismisses the ideal of a sacrificium intellectus on the altars of organized religion as perhaps the most fundamental perversion in the long history of the Church. If one bears in mind the scope and import of Simone Weil's contentions, it is hardly surprising that, in her view, the needed new saintliness presupposes a greater geniality than that of Archimedes.[68] Tellingly, her a-theological demarche toward the redemptive universality of kenosis could be paralleled at most with Franz Kafka's strategy of overcoming power by taking refuge in what he called "das Kleine" [the small].[69] In a brief passage that Elias Canetti[70] considers akin to a Taoist text, Franz Kafka explains what "small" meant to him:

"Zwei Möglichkeiten: sich unendlich klein machen oder es sein. Das zweite ist Vollendung, also Untätigkeit, das erste Beginn, also Tat." [71]

[Two possibilities: to make oneself infinitely small or to be (such). The second one is perfection, therefore non-activity; the first (is) beginning, therefore action.]

For her part, Simone Weil, in one of her last essays, wrote:

"Toujours le même infiniment petit, qui est infiniment plus que tout." [72]

[Always the same infinitely small, which is infinitely more than all.]
She is referring to the importance of those willing and capable of leaving the psychological comforts of cave life to meet life in the raw rather then to escape in imaginary mysticism This "saintliness" she professes is the furthest thing from escapism. The corruption of the secular religions have made these people necessary as awakening influences leading humanity to become more human and acquiring the conscious connection necessary for its evolution.
Well, humanity is technically conscious already of course…but I know what you mean and would agree. External events are always representative of internal states. War is a manifestation of conflict, and conflict arises from separation. As long as there is a perception of separation, there will be conflict and thus, war, in its various forms. My contention is that your belief that separation, thus conflict and war, can be avoided by more separation is necessarily false. I feel that separation can only cease to exist if separation ceases to exist.
Once we finish discussing the individual, I'll be asking you about the effects of atheism on society in general. That will be revealing but we'll avoid it for now so as to avoid confusion.
Pantheism considers god to be immanent, Panenthesim both immanent and transcendent. Since Weil believes god to be only transcendent, with creation being the manifestation of god’s love but not actually god, he is neither a Pantheist nor a Panentheist, but a monotheist.

Perhaps it is interesting to note that many if not most panenthesitic and pantheistic theologies are functionally indistinguishable from no theology at all i.e. atheism.
This is true IMO without the awareness of levels of reality. The source can be both immanent and transcendent simultaneously in "NOW" from the point of view of levels of reality. God is ONE outside time and space but creation begins when God simultaneously becomes THREE. ONE and THREE are only simultaneous when considered from the perspective of levels of reality. But it requires being open to what "NOW is in relation to time which isn't so easy. To illustrate I'll post this section from the intro to "Time and the Soul" beginning with page 5 that also elaborates on conscious attention:

http://www.jacobneedleman.com/Books/Tim ... 0intro.pdf
the effect of communication technology(such as e-mail) with its tyranny of instant communication; or to the computerization,and therefore the mentalization,of so many human activities that previously required at least some participation of the our physical presence, or to any of the other innumerable transformations of human life that are being brought about by the new technologies, the essential element to recognize is how much of what we call "progress" is accompanied by and measured by the fact that human beings need less and less conscious attention to perform their activities and lead their lives. The real power of the faculty of attention, unknown to modern science, is one of the indispensable and most central measures of humanness, of the being of a man or woman—and has been so understood, in many forms and symbols, at the heart of all the great spiritual teachings of the world. The effects of advancing technology, for all the material promise they offer the world(along with the dangers, of course) is but the most recent wave in a civilization that, without recognizing what it was doing, has placed the satisfaction of desire above the cultivation of being. The deep meaning of many rules of conduct and moral principles of the past—so many of which have been abandoned without our understanding their real roots in human nature—involved the cultivation and development of the uniquely human power of attention, its action in the body, heart and mind of man. To be present, truly present, is to have conscious attention. This capacity is the key to what it means to be human.

It is not, therefore, the rapidity of change as such that is the source of our problem of time. It is the metaphysical fact that the being of man is diminishing. In the world as in oneself, time is vanishing because we have lost the practice of consciously inhabiting our life, the practice of bringing conscious attention to ourselves as we go about our lives.

All clichés about "be here, now" aside, the fundamental fact is that, in ways we cannot imagine, the key to living the values we prize—freedom, moral will, compassion, common sense and far-seeing wisdom-- depend on the exercise and development of the uniquely human capacity to free our attention from its "capture" by the impulses of the body and the imaginings and automatisms of the mind and emotions. In the world as in oneself, everything depends of the presence of humanness—in oneself it depends on the presence, even if only to a relative degree, of the Self, the real I am,--and in the life of the world it depends on the presence of people who have and can manifest this capacity to be, or even only who wish for it and who come together to learn from each other and to help each other for that purpose.

To ask where are the people is to ask where is the soul of the whole of humanity? Where are the men and women of being and genuine honor? The metaphysical fact—and such facts exist; they are properly called cosmic laws—is that the vanishing of time in our lives is the result of the progressive diminishing of the inner life of people, not only our own individual inner lives, but the inner life of mankind as a whole. Where are the people?—that is, in the whole of contemporary life where are the men and women who understand how to search for what is objectively good and true and who understand how to call the rest of us to that search and that way of life? Just as I am not present in my body and my life, so authentic humanness seems to be disappearing from the body and the life of mankind as a whole. Where are the people?

Some years ago I was walking in downtown San Francisco—in the financial district-- with a great friend, a learned Tibetan scholar who was helping some colleagues and me translate one of the most beloved sacred texts of Tibetan Buddhism, The Life of....................................................
You were born and will die without Weil, why do you think you need her to live?
I don't think I need Simone to live. Rather I know that I need the influence that these people transmit for me to become able to live beyond just as a part of society. I know when I first psychologically experienced a certain quality of ideas that included levels of reality, it became obvious to me that I could not have invented it myself or constructed it from the bottom up. I needed the help to be able to experience the intellect top down so as to add deductive reason to my established inductive reason. It became clear to me experientially that the road to understanding requires the union of inductive and deductive reason. The trouble is that the origin of conscious deductive reason doesn't arise from the earth but is continually descending onto it from higher consciousness that permeates the universe in a relative structure I've learned as levels of reality. The question then is how to become open to it.
I would ask you to think very seriously for a moment here. Please try and just be as objective, rational and reasonable as you can. Just based on what I have said so far, how likely is it that someone who has clearly extensively studied Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sufism, Theology, Metaphysics, Philosophy, who practices meditation daily and who practices two types of yoga, does all of this for no particular reason and has no relevant experiences of anything these people are talking about?

You must understand that your judgment here comes from the fact that I don’t agree with you and nothing more. I don’t agree, therefore must be ‘closed’. You are also assuming, for example, that my atheism is not just a proper understanding of your theism. This is not a rational set of assumptions, in my view.
I don't mean to be insulting here but it happens all the time. If the essence of the book "The transcendent Unity of Religions" is correct and there are different levels of understanding, there must be many learned people in the same position. I remember some friends telling me after they had visited the Dali Lama years back when he came to the States that when one of his associates was asked about esoteric Christianity he replied that it is basically the same as esoteric Buddhism. All sorts of experts with exoteric values would be insulted but it is true as far as I've been able to learn. A lot of Buddhism I've read on the net is strictly secular in the same way Christendom is. All our experiences will be interpreted in a secular fashion until becoming open to the transcendent via the route of esotericism or inner discovery: Know thyself.

So I'm not judging but rather trying to understand your point of view in the context of my own.
It was you who was doing this with regards to Weil. You see it as a good thing to view yourself as inferior to Weil, who is much more worthy in your eyes. This is not humility but submission. Not only are you assuming you have a separate soul, you are assuming it is lower down the ranks than some other soul. You are creating the notion of better and worse. You are creating a self, so you can feel sorry for it. Since your idea of self is an idea, you are absorbed in an idea. Cave-paintings, we might say.
I am not speaking of the soul yet since we only have it as a seed. But why is appreciating someone as better than yourself surrendering or somehow detrimental? Suppose a ladder has twelve steps that connect the first floor to the second floor. All the steps are necessary for the ladder to function. The seventh step is no better han the third in relation to the purpose of the ladder.

I don't feel insulted that Simone's heart was so advanced or that she was reading the evening paper to her parents when she was five. She's making her progress and in turn helping me with mine. From the perspective of the ladder, what can be so offensive about this necessity?
You criticise science for pending its belief prior to investigation and evidence i.e. scepticism. While you know I do no agree, I have my own criticisms of science which would restrict it from ever being unified with religion. Namely, that science presumes that the Universe is exclusively objective. However, we know this isn’t actually so. In any case, if science where to include subjectivity, which there are suggestions of needing to do in Quantum mechanics, it could never be unified with religion anyway, since religion is not subjective nor objective, it simply presumes things to be true without any evidence whether subjective or objective i.e. faith.
But then again the universe may be an objective reality governed by universal laws while we are subjective entities within it. If this is true the question is if we can consciously become less subjective and closer to objective reality through the conscious evolution of our being? Much like the caterpillar becomes the moth through a mechanical process, can man become himself through a conscious process?
Yet you do positively believe. You have tried asserting that you don’t believe but lack doubt but I have shown there to be no difference. So you are not practicing this philosophy and nor is Weil anyway.

You can only deny something if you don’t believe it and not deny it if you believe it, therefore you must believe it anyway and completely contradict yourself.
This is the human condition of which I am a part. We can believe one thing at one moment and the opposite at the next. If we don't really believe, the best we can do is to start with this realization and not believe in false gods. You can call that a belief if you want.
My point was more than saying scepticism is responsible for all the evils in the world is not a positive attitude. Scepticism is lack of belief pending investigation. Therefore, you are saying that the evil in the world can be avoided if we just believe things for no reason. This doesn’t really make much sense to me.
It doesn't make sense to me either. It also doesn't make sense to live in accordance with an ATTITUDE of DENIAL that leads to SKEPTICISM. This attitude IMO denies the impartiality necessary to have a direct experience with the real world.
So, the ‘I’ that ‘works with efforts’ to know itself is not the self you want to know anyway. The ego comes to know itself as only thoughts, being a thought itself.
I agree. I also know it is the purity that Simone refers to that makes "know thyself" possible. It doesn't come from analysis which quickly becomes a function of egotism. this is why simone wrote:
"Introspection is a psychological state incompatible with other states.

"1. Thinking about things of the world precludes introspection.

"2. Very strong emotion precludes introspection.

"3. All actions which require attention preclude introspection.


"To sum up, thought, action and emotion exclude examination of oneself.


"[therefore] introspection results in one's taking notice, for the most part, of what is passive in human thought. By the very fact that one keeps a watch on oneself, one changes: and the change is for the worse since we prevent that which is of greatest value in us from playing its part." From – Lectures on Philosophy
I think the ‘inner calling’ is not felt by us as a calling so much as feeling of separation. When no separation is present, no calling is felt – or in a metaphorical sense, the call has been answered. Since reality is whole, separation only exists in the mind. Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha was Pantajali’s great way of saying what I am for and believe our ‘calling’ to reference – Yoga [union, absence of separation/conflict] Chitta [mind] Vrutti [psychic tendencies, mental ‘chattering’, mental attachments] Nirodha [extinguishing, ceasing] – thus, “the absence of separation is the ceasing of mental tendencies” or: “union is the ceasing of mental chatter”. This ‘union’ is what I believe we are calling for – the absence of conflict.
The question then is if life is suffering, how to suffer? You write of the absence of conflict and I write of the conscious experience of conflict. This seems like a contradiction. Simone calls such contradictions a door. Perhaps we should ignore the door. But for those needing to understand, how can we experience what is behind the door? Can we do it on our own or do we need help from above. If we need help from above we are back to the question of God as the ultimate source again.
What is most amusing to me about both atheists and theists is that the technologies (I call them) or practices that are at the center of all of this are accessible to all and have been verified by everyone who practices them with enough diligence. It is so odd how so many theists and atheists just hypothesise instead of simply doing the experiments themselves and finding out, rather than simply believing stuff.
Yes, only a few are willing and capable to let down their defenses so as to "Know thyself." Our habitual nature struggles against it since it means its death and it doesn't want to die. By capable I mean as of now rather then it not being a possibility

I didn't mean to assert that Simone was born a saint. Rather she had a calling but no one around her at her level. So it was primarily through Plato that she got her start and later on in her twenties she began to sense the necessity of the truths behind the sacred traditions which began her more serious study. Where she first believed in Marxism she saw that the problem wasn't with certain values it spoke of but rather we were incapable of them. Marxism couldn't answer the question of world hunger since human nature was incapable of it.
So you except that it is not objective. Therefore it is subjective only. Therefore it is your own doing and exists only in your mind. Hence, you concede that you are in Plato’s cave because you choose to be. So the conjecture stands, and your point is refuted.

“The Earth as a cosmos is reality”…a grain of sand is a cosmos on some level, but it is a level of description. Reality is. That’s it. Reality is not subject to your ideas about it. If you really were as awake as you claim to be, you would see this very clearly, I think.
The cosmos IMO is real but we are incapable of the experience of reality with the whole of ourselves since we exist as a plurality without conscious inner unity. We can study parts but cannot experience the reality of cosmological wholeness. Sacred ideas are really an art form that invites a quality of inner opening that IMO leads towards wisdom.
You have said that you know nothing in, I guess, an attempt to be humble, then you immediately say that you also know this and that and those. So I get that you’re now trying to justify this contradiction with ‘balanced understanding’ and ‘hypothetical agreements’ and so on. But you can’t know things and know nothing at the same time, whatever you say. So, either you know nothing, which is good, or you think you know lots of things, which is bad. It seems that you just say you know nothing but think you know lots of things, which is really bad.


You've read the old axiom that the more you know, the more you see that you don't know. So it is logical then that as you begin to know more and more you will come to the conclusion that you know nothing of the essence behind what we know. This seems absurd but is it really? From a cosmological perspective it is obvious.

I remember the movie "Star Trek the Motion Picture" where V'ger came to know everything but needed something beyond all this knowledge that could put it into the perspective of its creation.

Associative thought can go just so far and then it must submit to a higher form of reason. So we return to the same question if higher consciousness or inclusive perspective exists. If it does, what is the highest form of inclusion within which all parts exist?
Recall when I talked about the distinction between Relative truth and Absolute truth, present in all religions – you have mentioned this as well. It seems that you equate the Relative truth to be the same as the exoteric, but its not – it applies to the esoteric.

You say that the Bible, for instance, can be interpreted to talk of conscious connections, levels of reality etc. and that this is the esoteric meaning of it - esoteric of course means ‘secret’. I, however, hold this to be the Relative truth, that is, more metaphors.
I agree the esoteric at a point of transition and the means by which awakening progresses. the exoteric is one level of reality while the transcendent is another. The esoteric is a relative ladder that connects them. Esotericism really means inner in contrast to the outer of exotericism rather than intentionally hidden which suggests manipulation.
So, while I believe like you that we usually take reality to only be that which we imagine it to be, I part ways in that I believe no description to be that fundamentally different from any other. I do not think that reality is ever the same thing as a description alone, and so taking any description to be what reality is, which you are doing, is not experiencing reality directly, but through the filters of the mind. You maintain that a higher experience of reality must be filtered through a thought, whereas I think the ‘highest’ experience of reality is established when there are no thoughts.


I agree. This is why I believe that genuine sacred text is an art form that reveals psychological meaning rather then a historical text. Cosmology for example reveals a skeleton that invites one to fill in through experiential verification. This is why neither a monotheistic or personal God nor mysticism is involved. We have to start from the beginning in Plato's cave. This beginning assumes our inability to grasp a higher wholeness of conscious unity.

You don't believe in God, and I agree that speculations about God cannot produce anything but Idolatry. I prefer Meister Eckhart's approach:
"The mind never rests but must go on expecting and preparing for what is yet known and what is still concealed. Meanwhile, man cannot know what God is, even though he be ever so well of what God is not; and an intelligent person will reject that. As long as it has no reference point, the mind can only wait as matter waits for him. And matter can never find rest except in form; so, too, the mind can never find rest except in the essential truth which is locked up in it--the truth about everything. Essence alone satisfied and God keeps on withdrawing, farther and farther away, to arouse the mind's zeal and lure it to follow and finally grasp the true good that has no cause. Thus, contented with nothing, the mind clamors for the highest good of all."
So we cannot know God. But does this mean that we have to deny an ultimate source far beyond our comprehension or should we begin to admit our limitiations and practice what is necessary to begin to awaken?

Towards Awakening

Nick

Nick
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 26th, 2009, 8:44 pm

Nick_A wrote: An octave can be considered both as a unity and as a division into eight tones. The first and the eighth are the same such as middle C and high C but differ in pitch. One is representative of the other but different in vibrational frequency.

The vertical scale of being is like this. From one perspective it is unity but from another it resonates as levels.

The idea is that all cosmoses contain a cosmological structure. Each cosmos is an octave. Man as a microcosmos has this same inner structure.

The human organism can be divided into three essential levels: head (intellect), heart, (emotion), and body (sensory) Each functions with a specific quality of energy. The chakra divisions are based on this conception of levels.

The human condition is as it is because we are not ONE but rather have become divided so we are MANY. Man's name is legion. You speak of unity and I see unified MAN as a potential. The mind, emotions, and sensory do not function together as an expression of wholeness but rather in opposition. This opposition can only remain psychologically tolerable through imagination.
Thank you for clarifying.

In my own perspective, I would only disagree that the separation has any fundamental reality, only relative or exoteric. So, I do not personally think there are levels of reality or being, though certainly think that, conceptually, these kinds of divisions are apparent, and this is why they are present in all traditions on the exoteric level. I also definitely agree that the purpose of most spiritual practices and codes of actions focus on unifying the disharmony between these categories. However, I think that the very fact they are not in harmony is precisely because they are one. It is more like a return to the natural, original state of oneness and balance, than something new. Union is not the unity of conflict, but the absence of separation.
Fear is only harmful when it paralyzes and drives one further into imagination. But if it inspires the necessary efforts towards awakening, why not consider it useful? Imagination is such that it doesn't allow us to profit from our fear. consequently men of knowledge must use artistic ways to get around our resistance.
Fire is no good, should you want water instead. Fear is not good, should you want its opposite. I don’t think fear can be used as a starting point for its own annihilation. A jug filled with water cannot be emptied by keeping the water in it. Similarly, I think a person motivated by fear cannot embrace love by clinging to fear.
Ideas like Plato's Cave and the Buddhist parable of the Burning House are skillful means to allow us to feel beyond our resistance.
The Buddha used skilful means, what I have called Relative Truth, always with the understanding that the means were not the end. He was very clear about this throughout also, see the Diamond Sutra for example. Invoking this notion with reference to your viewpoint is erroneous, because you consider your “skilful means” to be the end, moreover, you admit that you have not reached the conclusion of your own path yet, therefore, could not possibly know to what extent your descriptions are relative. I think you would like to think that this is what you are doing, but it doesn’t really mean anything to say so. I could equally say that all lemons are pink, then when questioned about it simply say I was merely communicating some deeper truth to you but you are too ignorant and asleep to understand. Yet, that would be meaningless and condescending, and quite silly.

When the Buddha employed this method he did so specifically because his philosophy was Nondualistic, and Nondualism proper cannot, by definition, be expressed linguistically and conceptually, since thought and language are both dualistic. So, it was absolutely necessary for the Buddha to ultimately speak inaccurately, since the only accurate thing he could have said was to be silent (which he often did anyway), which would have been useless.

Since your philosophy is completely at odds with the Buddha’s and is obviously not Nondualistic, this practice of “Kamatic Lying” simply doesn’t apply to your philosophy at all. Hence, you are not really expressing contradictions covering deeper truths, just contradictions.
Impartial pondering is a higher quality of thought above linear associative thought. The ideas contained within the Cave and the Burning House can inspire esoteric thinking which eventually opens the way to the living reality behind the ideas.
You have misunderstood the burning house analogy, at least in this context. The analogy refers not to linear thought but dualistic thought. Nondualistic thought doesn’t exist, it is an oxymoron. So, you are free to think linearly and associatively or nonlinearly and dissasociatively, but neither will bring you any closer to the Nondualism that the analogy refers to. You’ll still be on fire.

I think it is odd and fairly futile to ‘hijack’ skilful means and the Burning House analogy for your own purposes; with all due respect, anybody familiar with Buddhism and Nondual philosophy and the theory and practice of related techniques including “esoteric thought” can immediately see that these things have really nothing to do with your ideas of Christianity. It makes no sense to use arguments and concepts from unrelated disciplines to defend your own.
The benefit of sacred ideas is really to invite esoteric thinking. The trouble is that many deny the value of the paradox or the contradiction that associative thought leads them to. If it isn't appreciated right away so is discarded as rubbish.
There is an incredibly big difference between the paradoxes/contradictions you present and the paradoxes/contradictions in other esoteric notions that you are comparing yourself with. For example, the Buddhists say “Emptiness is Form, Form is Emptiness”; this is a paradox and a contradiction, on the level of, say, “stone”, but the contradictions disappear when understanding increases. The contradictions in your own philosophy are so in the sense that you say one thing that later contradicts something else you say. You make statements that negate something you have said earlier. This is completely different, this really only means either that the philosophy itself is invalid, or that your thinking is muddied or both.

Again with all due respect, what you are trying to express here is actually quite ridiculous. Your philosophy contradicts itself in many places, as well as contradicts evidence logical, scientific and experiential. There are no similarities between this and the mystical notion of paradoxes undoing themselves at increased levels of understanding. It seems you are just using these concepts as defences to fill in the holes, and simply put, without wanting to sound arrogant, I feel I am far too intimately familiar and with these ideas that you are borrowing for this to get past me. I think the essence of what you are trying to express is that anyone who disagrees is simply to stupid and asleep to understand what it really means, which is a totally useless position and, you should note well, never, ever used in any of the traditions that these ideas originated with.

So, in my view, when I dismiss your ideas, I don’t do so because I interpret them only superficially and do not see any other level of meaning, but because they are superficial, and have nothing in common with those ideas that do carry deeper meanings. In fact, they contradict them.

The poison of skepticism is that it denies being emotionally open to the paradox or contradiction.
No, it simply doesn’t. I think this is again just a kind of way of using a get-out clause so that the errors in your thinking needn’t be addressed by you, at least in my opinion. I would roughly describe my philosophical as [neo-]Nondualist. If you are familiar with Nondualism at all, you will notice that it is full of contradictions. It’s first premise is a contradiction - that subject and object are not the same, but they are not-different. However, I am also incredibly sceptical. I am able to approach Nondualism with intense scepticism, yet it survives. Your philosophy does not survive this approach. So, this notion you have that scepticism destroys apprehension complex mystical paradoxes is completely false.

You have also openly admitted that the Buddha used this way of communicating that necessarily entailed superficial paradoxes. So, you must necessarily also think he denied scepticism since it “denies being emotionally open” to these paradoxes. Well he once said:
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense…It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’ Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them.
So, here, the Buddha is categorically advocating extreme scepticism. Since you have already stated that Buddha also entailed these paradoxes, it is clear then that scepticism is useless against them. So again, you are wrong that scepticism denies their acceptance. You have also basically admitted that your ideas do not agree with reason nor common sense, thus not meeting the Buddha’s standards here either.

So, really, you are just trying to use these ideas to deflect your philosophy from being thought about reasonably. Unfortunately, I think it just doesn’t work, and here the Buddha’s statement finalises that conclusion. Since his “stone” contradictions were untouched by doubt and scepticism, while in your case they render your philosophy obsolete, it is clear that actually, the only explanation is that your contradictions are there because the philosophy is confused and contradictory, rather than veiling some great truth.
True compassion is not possible if there is someone doing it. True compassion resides in self-less action.


I agree as far as with Man inside Plato's living in imagination and in opposition to oneself. However for the Man of inner unity having acquired consciousness, compassion is the norm since it is an attribute of connecting the higher with the lower.
Okay, well, to clarify these are exactly the kind of contradictions and errors that I perceive, but you maintain that is only because I am ignorant and asleep, which may be the case, sure.

For instance, you say that you agree that compassion is self-less action, yet you maintain that you have an isolatable self/soul, therefore, you cannot be capable of self-less action, since you will always be acting with a self. So, the rhetoric really doesn’t matter about how you would try to amend this, nor does the notion of skilful means apply, it is simply impossible to combine having a self and acting as a self and compassion the way you have defined it. These are errors in your thinking/description, the same as any other philosophical errors, and do not become saved by falsely applying the notion of levels of truth.

Another type of contradiction here is that you speak as though consciousness need be attained, however, consciousness obviously already exists, otherwise there would be no experience, yet you have spoken much of experiences. So, again this type of error is simply an error, and has nothing to do with skilful means at all.
You referred to the monkey mind and the soul. I feel I should clarify on what I mean by the soul and how the monkey mind inhibits its growth. Where christendom asserts a fully developed soul, Christianity sees it as a seed or potential. From Jacob Needleman's Lost Christianity:

*snip*

If true, the intellect of the monkey mind and the emotional attitude of skepticism deny this gathered attention or the sum of conscious attention.
Certainly the monkey mind denies gathered attention irrelevant of whether this is true, I think.

However, scepticism is not an emotional attitude. It is obviously an intellectual attitude. It is suspending belief, prior to investigation, that’s it. The opposite of scepticism, which you condone by denying scepticism, is to believe anything without any reason whatsoever. That is the most absurd conclusion you could make about anything.
I do not believe in attachment to ideas but rather using them for esoteric thinking or "pondering.
It is one thing to say something, another thing to doit. You say you are not attached; yet you are attached. You have said that you don’t doubt certain things are true, therefore you believe them. Therefore, you are attached. You are attached to ideas about levels of reality, god, souls and conscious connections. You are even attached to the idea that you do not believe in attachment. Even this statement demonstrates necessary attachment to ideas, such as using ideas for esoteric thinking. So this statement has no meaning or reality.
What is the Aim of Man on earth. Is it non existence or to become oneself?
Is it nonexistence? How would that be an aim?

Look at the statement “become oneself”. Think about it, even ponder it, if you will. Become what you are already, is what you are saying. This is completely irrational. Something cannot be-come what it is. Becoming is a transition. When there is no transition, there is no become. Moreover, there is not necessarily anything that “becomes”. It is a false dichotomy to assume that these are the only two possible aims.
Naturally I agree with Fromm.
I point out again to Fromm that something cannot become what it is already. Silly Fromm.
Are we potentially "no-self" or a "soul" neither potentials of which we can understand?
If you are referring to the Buddhist conception here, I think you mean not-self, which is an extremely important distinction.

I can’t tell if you are asking here whether we are one or the other, or you are equating the two. Surely you are not equating the two?

I will assume not. My first point would be that “we” cannot be a not-self, because not-self means no “we”.

My second point is that, if you mean potential to become something other than it is, then I would remind you that this is impossible, nothing can be that which it is not, this is a illogical notion.
I'm just trying to express the value of being open to ponder what is impossible for either the monkey mind or the emotion of skepticism to be open to.
Again, scepticism is not emotion. Scepticism is an intellectually motivated discipline, emotion is exactly that which denies scepticism. Scepticism is equivalent to doubt, you have only to look it up to see that this is so.

You are saying there is value in believing something for no reason. I personally see no value in this.

I think your conception is flawed because I understand it. There is nothing in your ideas I have failed to comprehend or be open to. I am perfectly open to it and have pointed out why it is inconsistent. So, it is not a valid claim to say that one needs to be open to anything here. That simply isn’t true.
So, it simply isn’t meditation or conscious attention, although you are welcome to keep repeating otherwise if you so choose. At best, we could perhaps say the Weil invented her own technique for something-or-other, however we cannot call it either meditation nor conscious attention for it is not either of those things.
Conscious attention is the ability to experience life with non attachment. It requires purity. Simone Weil had this purity which is not to be confused with sexual purity which often is suppression. Nothing can me more harmful to the psych than virtue which just allows imagination to feed on sex energy. Both consciousness and imagination develop through sex energy.
Well, I made it clear that Weil was definitely not practicing conscious attention or anything similar in my last post. I think this point has been concluded. Simone Weil was not practicing conscious attention.
"Purity is the power to contemplate defilement." Simone Weil
Normally we lack this purity, this conscious quality of "being." This lack assures the continuance of life in Plato's cave.
Obviously, you cannot speak for others. My consciousness has intrinsic to it the quality of being. I do not lack being nor consciousness. So, if this is “purity”, then I am not lacking it, nor have I ever been. Furthermore, I cannot see how you would be able to communicate were you not in possession of consciousness and being.
For some reason you believe that I consider myself an enlightened person.
Because you said that you had experienced the awakening that the Buddha experienced, and refer to yourself as awake in this sense. The Buddha was referring to “enlightenment” in that quote. If indeed you consider yourself not awakened in this sense, therefore not enlightened, then you must consider yourself asleep also. Therefore, you cannot comment on any deeper aspects of your philosophy visible to those who are awake. Hence, your position effectively collapses.
Becoming aware of a situation is not enlightenment. It is the first experience of metanoia. It is a long way from becoming able to play a piano then when one first hears a pianist. That's my situation.
I disagree then. You haven’t demonstrated a sufficient degree of awareness of many things. For instance, in my last post, much of it was dedicated to finally proving that Simone Weil was not practicing conscious attention. However, just above this you wrote, for no particular reason, that she was, completely ignoring everything I had said regarding the fact that she wasn’t. This shows obviously that you are not fully aware of this prior point, since had you been you could not continue to state that she was. So there is no reason to assume you would be aware of considerably less trivial things like levels of reality that the rest of us are not.
I first heard the pianist long before I knew of Simone. I never mention who I believe to be the most extraordinary man of the twentieth century simply because like Simone, he is far beyond classification. One could consider him either a Christ or Satan so why create controversy? It is necessary so as to avoid classification and invite critical thinking.
Critical thinking necessarily includes scepticism. Scepticism is suspending certainty prior to investigation. One cannot be critical, nor think, if one has assumed certainty (in the absence of scepticism). Therefore, it is a mistake to say that you are applying critical thinking. By definition, you are not.
One thing I've learned from these people and verified myself is the danger of blind belief including blind faith IN something or someone. In contrast, faith as an inner quality is what allows us to stay connected with the higher during our normal reactive living experiences.
Redefining faith to justify it doesn’t make it that. There is no faith that is not blind. Faith is believing something without evidence or reason. So, you acknowledge that blind faith is bad, yet do not consider your own blind faith to be bad. This is why critical thinking is so important, because it will wipe away these kinds of inconsistencies in thought and mind.
The Apostles wanted Jesus to increase their faith but it was something they had to develop in them through his help.
Faith is not something you develop. Faith is what happens when you give up. When crossing the abyss, only the strong prevail, however.
I believe that as we are in Plato's cave we have a choice of slavery. We can either be a slave to cave life or become open to a higher influence which is voluntary slavery for our personalities .
Okay. I only ask you to be aware of the fact that you have absolutely no reason to believe any of this, that’s all.
We must determine which we are drawn to. I believe that becoming open to what we do not understand is a form of slavery that leads to freedom. This is the danger of blind faith and why sincere doubt is necessary before one can or should open in this way. Charlatans are only successful with people unable to doubt but instead surrender to blind faith. They lack the ability to "test the spirits." The Centurion's faith was experiential. He had no reason to indulge in escapism since he was top dog with wine women and song. He just accepted that reality existed beyond his egoistic limitations and this reality was what was needed to help the servant.
It is one thing to accept that there is more to reality than your egoistic limitations. Obviously I accept this, otherwise I wouldn’t have been trying to get you to see past your own egoistic limitations during this thread. It is another thing to assume that the reality beyond your own egoistic limitations is the limited one your ego comes up with. This is the essence of the contradictions in these ideas of yours, and the essence of their failure too I think.

You are not becoming open to anything, this is my claim. You are becoming open only to the idea that god did such and such and so on. That is not being open-minded. What you mean is you are submitting to an idea your presume true for no reason. You are literally becoming closed.

Your own philosophy negates the possibility of ever being free. You will always be dependent on and inferior to another kind of being, thus your slavery will never lead to freedom. To be free you must let go of the workings of your own mind and learn to know reality as it is and not what you think it is, that is my view.

Again, you have misunderstood my objection. I do not object because I haven’t understood or been open to the possibility. I have understood and been open to it, however, it simply cannot be true for many of its tenets to hold. This insistence, though subtle, that I do not agree with you because I just don’t get it is a futile endeavour. I think I have already demonstrated a clear degree of familiarity with enough related subjects and content to be able to make an informed decision and that is what I have done.

The intent of conscious attention isn't to prove anything but rather to align and to know ourselves. The intent isn't for mystical experiences but rather first to know thyself rather then exist as a plurality of parts in opposition to each other requiring life in Plato's Cave to make it tolerable.
Well, I showed in my last post that what you are referring to is not conscious attention. I also showed that you could not have been practicing it yourself. Therefore, your comments don’t have any application. You were simply mistaken. That’s okay, just move on.
She is referring to the importance of those willing and capable of leaving the psychological comforts of cave life to meet life in the raw rather then to escape in imaginary mysticism This "saintliness" she professes is the furthest thing from escapism. The corruption of the secular religions have made these people necessary as awakening influences leading humanity to become more human and acquiring the conscious connection necessary for its evolution.
Again, I have shown extensively that there is no longer any reason to assign Weil any particular authority, as she had barely glimpsed the novice stages of spiritual practice. Since her entire theology is based on these preliminary experiences as she mistakenly held them to be significant, her entire theology can be abandoned by anyone who has ever engaged in serious ‘spiritual’ practice and/or study.

In short then, there is absolutely no reason to assume that Weil knows what she is talking about, since her only apparent credit was based on the veracity of her mystical experiences, which have now been proven to be trivial. Moreover, every person or teacher who has proceeded to the later stages of said practices report information that strictly contradicts and negates Weil’s comments in a non-amendable way.
Pantheism considers god to be immanent, Panenthesim both immanent and transcendent. Since Weil believes god to be only transcendent, with creation being the manifestation of god’s love but not actually god, he is neither a Pantheist nor a Panentheist, but a monotheist.

Perhaps it is interesting to note that many if not most panenthesitic and pantheistic theologies are functionally indistinguishable from no theology at all i.e. atheism.
This is true IMO without the awareness of levels of reality. The source can be both immanent and transcendent simultaneously in "NOW" from the point of view of levels of reality. God is ONE outside time and space but creation begins when God simultaneously becomes THREE. ONE and THREE are only simultaneous when considered from the perspective of levels of reality. But it requires being open to what "NOW is in relation to time which isn't so easy.
I respect your point of view, but you must understand that neither your nor my opinions have any importance here specifically. Panenthesism is a word that is defined a certain way. It is not open to interpretation. Panenthesism demands that everything in reality is made only of god. Evil, hatred, ignorance and things like this for example are not made of god in Weil’s theology. This is the first reason why her theology is not Panentheism. Also, reality must be made up of god, not his actions or attitudes. It is simply that the whole of god transcends the sum of his parts, i.e. reality, in Panentheism. Since Weil holds that reality is caused by god’s love, this is not Panentheistic. There are other reasons, but this is enough really.

If by your first sentence you mean to imply that dictionary definitions change based on levels of awareness then that is quite an arrogant and patently false observation. Nobody who practices awareness related practices like meditation for example, including myself, would agree with you that the literal definitions of philosophical concepts change with increased awareness. Moreover, they would never equate the deeper apprehension of aspects of reality with levels of reality. This is partly how I know you are not talking from experience. Very likely you have read a genuine practioner who was simply a sloppy writer and may have described proper apprehension as “levels” of reality, in metaphor. Unfortunately you seem to have taken him literally and now think that reality is split into separate parts, even though you are unable to explain where these separate parts are if not in reality.

Were you to practice these techniques, I think you would understand this mistake with clarity. It is useless to continue to blame the non-acceptance of your ideas simply on the ignorance and “closed-ness” of others, however you may attempt to subtly present it, when you have clearly not put in the hard work necessary to experience the relevant results directly.
To illustrate I'll post this section from the intro to "Time and the Soul" beginning with page 5 that also elaborates on conscious attention:

*snip*
This quote really does nothing to illustrate your point. Your point is that the social agreement on the meanings of invented words changes if you’re not really ignorant, blind, closed and asleep, like I apparently am. This quote presents nothing that corroborates this claim.

The author also contradicts himself. He says that conscious attention is simply being present. However, he also states that this is the soul or Self being present. Therefore, he says that conscious attention is the soul being present. This is not the same as just being present. Therefore, he has totally annihilated his own argument and, obviously, doesn’t know what he is talking about. We can also surmise that, if he has practiced the soul being present, then he has never practiced just being present, which is his own definition of conscious attention. Even on his own terms, in addition to all others, his argument is irreconcilably invalid. Obviously, this is also something you were not aware of – so if ignorant sleeping people are aware of things that you are not, you might be in trouble.
You were born and will die without Weil, why do you think you need her to live?
I don't think I need Simone to live. Rather I know that I need the influence that these people transmit for me to become able to live beyond just as a part of society.
Unless you doubt, question and be sceptical of this influence, then it cannot be of value to you.
I know when I first psychologically experienced a certain quality of ideas that included levels of reality, it became obvious to me that I could not have invented it myself or constructed it from the bottom up.
Then the next step was to verify your own experiences with other experimenters. We have essentially done that in this thread, and shown that the results are not verified by other experimenters. Either that means that the experiences are not genuinely ‘mystical’, or that they are, but you have simply misinterpreted them. I cannot comment based on the information you have given me which of those it might be.
I needed the help to be able to experience the intellect top down so as to add deductive reason to my established inductive reason. It became clear to me experientially that the road to understanding requires the union of inductive and deductive reason. The trouble is that the origin of conscious deductive reason doesn't arise from the earth but is continually descending onto it from higher consciousness that permeates the universe in a relative structure I've learned as levels of reality. The question then is how to become open to it.
This is how I would do it: First, applying doubt, I would not assume without good reason that the experience was god-consciousness descending on me from space or another dimension. So the first question is: what is this that we should be open to? Inductive reasoning is useless and not a valid form of reasoning, we have known this now for a few hundred years. So we can throw that out. From your deductive reasoning, what have you got? Something happened you’re your brain has interpreted a certain way. I would suggest, as a next step, to study other, non-Christian religions/mysticisms (for the purposes of objectivity) until you can find a description of the experiences you have had. Then, you will have an idea of how far you’ve come and what you have to do now to get to the next bit.

It will also give you insight into what is not the cause. For instance, many people will have had your experiences from many other schools and religions. So, for instance, a belief in a soul, god, Jesus, levels of reality and so forth are not necessary. Thus, following parsimony, you can abandon them. Also, since they were not needed to produce these experiences, they are probably not actually true or at least remotely important. Continuing in this methodology will ensure less unnecessary conceptions and misunderstandings. This is the methodology I have followed.

Compare with your methodology: get what you can from deduction, then guess the rest based on what you have read in the Bible (i.e. inductive reasoning).
I don't mean to be insulting here but it happens all the time. If the essence of the book "The transcendent Unity of Religions" is correct and there are different levels of understanding, there must be many learned people in the same position. I remember some friends telling me after they had visited the Dali Lama years back when he came to the States that when one of his associates was asked about esoteric Christianity he replied that it is basically the same as esoteric Buddhism. All sorts of experts with exoteric values would be insulted but it is true as far as I've been able to learn. A lot of Buddhism I've read on the net is strictly secular in the same way Christendom is. All our experiences will be interpreted in a secular fashion until becoming open to the transcendent via the route of esotericism or inner discovery: Know thyself.

So I'm not judging but rather trying to understand your point of view in the context of my own.
No esoteric Buddhist will tell you that the soul exists, god exists and there are levels of a reality. The Dala Lama was likely referring to the “golden rule” and similar moral codes, which he considers the point of (esoteric) Buddhism. So, I don’t mean to be insulting either, but your friend is kind of...uniformed, if he didn't realise this.

I am not insulted at all, however. I am not interested in persuading you of the degrees of my experience and understanding. If you choose to believe, despite the evidence, that I have no idea of what I am talking about, then that is not that important. On the other hand, I do not need to hinge the entirety of my argument on the premise “I am more awakened than anybody else, therefore what I say is true”. I use logic, evidence and the results of experiment to verify my claims. These things are not that important to you, and I respect that, just as you no doubt respect my view that belief for no reason at all is not something I consider important or accurate.

Remember though that no-one in any esoteric school from Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, Kabbalah, Taoism and the majority of Christian Mysticism agrees with anything you have said regarding god, souls, reality, the benefits of slavery, the abandonment of critical thought/doubt/scepticism, the lack of a need for the scientific method, the need for blind faith and many others. Therefore, every single practioner who has ever lived from these disciplines has been wrong about all this stuff, except you, if you are correct.

Also keep in mind that if it is true that there are different levels of understanding, which I would think is trivially true, then this might apply to you to, you know.

Considering that in this thread, you have admitted to not being experienced in the advanced stages of practice, that you have shown, if we are honest, not to be particularly knowledgeable regarding the nature and content of most other esoteric systems, that you have even misinterpreted mystics from Christianity, that you have openly admitted that blind faith is more important and necessary than doubt, scepticism, reason, logic or evidence and that you make assertions that contradict conclusions in every single esoteric tradition, I feel safe in concluding that you do not understand as much as you think you do.
I am not speaking of the soul yet since we only have it as a seed. But why is appreciating someone as better than yourself surrendering or somehow detrimental? Suppose a ladder has twelve steps that connect the first floor to the second floor. All the steps are necessary for the ladder to function. The seventh step is no better han the third in relation to the purpose of the ladder.
Then in the analogy of the ladder, no step is better or worse. Yet you have said that Weil is better than you. Thus, you contradict yourself and render this statement meaningless.
I don't feel insulted that Simone's heart was so advanced or that she was reading the evening paper to her parents when she was five. She's making her progress and in turn helping me with mine. From the perspective of the ladder, what can be so offensive about this necessity?
As above, the analogy of the ladder is irrelevant to your relationship and views of Weil.

You choose to see yourself as less than another, not equal to. You also think of yourself as more than many, including me, not equal to. You are imbalanced, by definition. This is detrimental, if your aim is to regain balance.
But then again the universe may be an objective reality governed by universal laws while we are subjective entities within it. If this is true the question is if we can consciously become less subjective and closer to objective reality through the conscious evolution of our being? Much like the caterpillar becomes the moth through a mechanical process, can man become himself through a conscious process?
Development and growth are intrinsic to the workings of reality, obviously. Man grows, being does not. The caterpillar and the moth both are. This is where I would say your thinking has confused itself. Man is not equal to being. Relfexivity, i.e. self-awareness, comes in degrees, while consciousness itself does not. This is something known and understood from experience.
This is the human condition of which I am a part. We can believe one thing at one moment and the opposite at the next. If we don't really believe, the best we can do is to start with this realization and not believe in false gods. You can call that a belief if you want.
No, I call the first part, the part where you admit you believe in things, a belief. I call it that not because I want to, but because that’s what it is called. So, you admit that you believe things, therefore you are attached, therefore you are talking nonsense to consider yourself awake and [more]enlightened that anybody else.
It doesn't make sense to me either. It also doesn't make sense to live in accordance with an ATTITUDE of DENIAL that leads to SKEPTICISM. This attitude IMO denies the impartiality necessary to have a direct experience with the real world.
Scepticism is not denial. Scepticism is a lack of belief or disbelief. Nothing has been committed to either way. You are demonstrating here that you don’t understand the meanings behind very, very simple words and phrases. If you continue to assert that you are awakened and experiencing reality, yet have no notion of very basic philosophical terms, no reasonable part of you could continue entertaining these ideas.
The question then is if life is suffering, how to suffer?
Surely the question is, what is the cause of suffering and can we eradicate it?
You write of the absence of conflict and I write of the conscious experience of conflict. This seems like a contradiction. Simone calls such contradictions a door. Perhaps we should ignore the door. But for those needing to understand, how can we experience what is behind the door? Can we do it on our own or do we need help from above. If we need help from above we are back to the question of God as the ultimate source again.
Hahaha, dude, you do make me laugh. You might be the single most patronising person I have ever encountered, probably even more than me, and its great. I know I don’t know you at all, but you seem like a fascinating and beautiful individual.

Anyway, I think the eventual absence of conflict should be the aim, sure. Reality cannot be experienced if there is conflict among the experience, obviously. Up until then we should certainly be aware of our conflict, though, sure. I don’t see a contradiction, just a different extent of consideration.

The conflict in my reality comes from my mind. Therefore, it is my own doing, no-one elses, and it follows that I do not need any help to undo it. Creating the idea of an external being creates separation and therefore more conflict. So, it is obvious that this is not the correct way to go. I know that conflict does not exist in reality. Therefore, removing conflict in my mind will leave only reality. I have no need for god. He is little more than a deadweight. Blind belief in god is really just a phase. Necessary perhaps at first, even helpful; but eventually to be outgrown. Just like the warmth of the chrysalis of the moth, as long as it remains there, while it is safe, it is also limited and blind to the outside world. Once it leaves, it is finally free to fly to previously unknown new heights.
Yes, only a few are willing and capable to let down their defences so as to "Know thyself." Our habitual nature struggles against it since it means its death and it doesn't want to die. By capable I mean as of now rather then it not being a possibility
You cannot be one of the few, is my point. You already think you know yourself, by thinking yourself as a soul and child of god etc. Yet, this does not satisfy you. Therefore, knowing yourself to be a soul and creation of god is incorrect, since you admit knowing thyself is not that. This is why even elementary logic should not be abandoned; it will save you a lot of time I think.
The cosmos IMO is real but we are incapable of the experience of reality with the whole of ourselves since we exist as a plurality without conscious inner unity. We can study parts but cannot experience the reality of cosmological wholeness. Sacred ideas are really an art form that invites a quality of inner opening that IMO leads towards wisdom.
If cosmological wholeness is reality, then you have contradicted pretty much everything you have said, and are agreeing with me. If you acknowledge that your ideas are just a form of art, then you are also contradicting most else you have said and agreeing with me.
You've read the old axiom that the more you know, the more you see that you don't know. So it is logical then that as you begin to know more and more you will come to the conclusion that you know nothing of the essence behind what we know. This seems absurd but is it really? From a cosmological perspective it is obvious.
Exactly! So, considering that you know so much, what does this suggests?

Associative thought can go just so far and then it must submit to a higher form of reason. So we return to the same question if higher consciousness or inclusive perspective exists. If it does, what is the highest form of inclusion within which all parts exist?
Ah, I see. This doesn’t apply to you because your knowledge comes from “higher forms of reason” than us mere mortals.

Reality cannot be apprehended in its totality by “normal associative thought”, I think we agree there. Ultimately, I don’t consider reality to be dualistic. So, since thought is dualistic - all thought - reality cannot be apprehended through thought.

Furthermore, thought, even if it is possible to be non-dualistic (which is technically impossible), would act as a filter anyway, thus not being a direct apprehension of reality. Thus, I believe that the proper apprehension of reality can come from the lack of awareness of thoughts at all. This is largely what all spiritual practices, from conscious attention to meditation for instance, are about, as far I as I am aware and surmise from personal experience. I have never heard of certain practices that allow you to comprehend reality directly through a higher form of thinking, perhaps I am simply not looking in the right places? In any case, surely any experience of a thought is not the thing the thought refers to (reality), therefore, I would not pursue it personally since I am only really interested in reality, not more thoughts about it.

So, I would maintain that thoughts themselves, however higher they may be, are not capable of including all of reality. This is exoterically true, or perhaps esoteric in your definition. The esoteric in my view would be the recognition that actually, no part being separate from the whole, all of reality is contained in any one part, thus even thoughts and even delusion are parts, and wholes, of reality. Understanding this intellectually, however, is not the point; rather, the ‘point’ is to grasp this without having to think about it. To get there, you have to fully assimilate the exoteric first, then you move on yourself.
I agree. This is why I believe that genuine sacred text is an art form that reveals psychological meaning rather then a historical text. Cosmology for example reveals a skeleton that invites one to fill in through experiential verification. This is why neither a monotheistic or personal God nor mysticism is involved. We have to start from the beginning in Plato's cave. This beginning assumes our inability to grasp a higher wholeness of conscious unity.

You don't believe in God, and I agree that speculations about God cannot produce anything but Idolatry.
You see, I agree with you here. This is why it is so strange that you have since concluded from this starting point so much rhetoric not based on experience, nor evidence, nor logic. I cannot see how you can amend this paragraph with your beliefs. How can you know them to be true, if you can admit that the texts are themselves art? Do you not see that art can be interpreted in many different ways? Should not the true seeker, instead of seeking just another interpretation, seek that which is being interpreted? I think you should concentrate on this, seeking the described, rather than a better description, in my opinion.
So we cannot know God. But does this mean that we have to deny an ultimate source far beyond our comprehension or should we begin to admit our limitiations and practice what is necessary to begin to awaken?
Well, Eckhart’s notion of god was very, very different from your own, of course. If anything, his was no notion at all.

I definitely think we should acknowledge our limitations and do what is necessary to awaken. This is also why I would personally urge you to do this. I would make the claim that when we do we become more aware of the problems in how we think, such as how you contradict yourself so readily in this question. You infer that you have acknowledged your limitations, yet also know god as a separate conscious source of existence. Therefore, you haven’t acknowledged your limitations at all yet, since you also say that our limitations are that we can’t know god, but apparently you do. If, as you infer, one cannot begin the trip towards awakening until they have done this, then surely you should do so quickly, so that you too can start the journey.

Peace,

Thuse
Last edited by Thuse on October 26th, 2009, 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 26th, 2009, 9:04 pm

*double post*

Nick_A
Posts: 2391
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » October 27th, 2009, 12:28 pm

Hi Thuse

So, in my view, when I dismiss your ideas, I don’t do so because I interpret them only superficially and do not see any other level of meaning, but because they are superficial, and have nothing in common with those ideas that do carry deeper meanings. In fact, they contradict them.

But again if Simone Weil is right then your dismissal concerns secular exoteric conceptions of higher realities that permeate the secularization of religion. You think that I profess blind belief but I don't think so. Such an attitude is against my path which serves to unify science and religion. Let me try to elaborate from a different direction.

Associative thought is duality which is the basis of comparing associations. Linear thought has no denying side so cannot compare and is the basis of blind belief.

But we don't live in a dualistic universe governed by two forces but rather a triune universe. I believe this distinction is what allows for intellectually grasping esoteric ideas we are incapable of through dualistic thought.

The Taoist tradition for example isn't confined to the duality of yin and yang but includes the reconciling quality of qi

http://taoism.about.com/od/cosmology/a/Cosmology.htm
Another way of describing this process is to say that these stages represent the descent of consciousness into form. Taoist practitioners, using various Inner Alchemy techniques, are able to reverse this sequence of events, to return to the realm of Tao.
The lawful descent of consciousness into form as levels of reality is the basis of cosmology. As you can see, the intellectual experience of this cannot be dualistic but requires a triune awareness of yin and yang being experienced as ONE through a conscious perspective.

Duality doesn't require consciousness. People are functioning quite well through habit all the time without requiring a triune perspective or self awareness.

You say that the triune perspective cannot be communicated linguistically but I've witnessed it in two ways: art and the Law of the Included Middle.

I should have included the very beginning of the Needleman Whittaker interview linked to in my previous post
I visited Jacob Needleman at his home. We sat out on his deck in the sun and talked...

Richard Whittaker: Not too long ago I heard Lobsang Rapgay, a psychologist and Tibetan Buddhist from Los Angeles speak. One thing he talked about was "a tremendous fatigue of thinking that prevents us from thinking aesthetically." He said this way of thinking makes it possible "to transform a numinous experience and share it"... To be shared, he said, "it has to be transformed in a way that someone else can understand and learn from." He said, "What I find most painful, even within spiritual communities, is an inability to translate a numinous experience..." This caught my attention, and it struck me that Rapgay chooses the word aesthetic as the necessary form of transformation. I wonder if you might have some thoughts about that?

Jacob Needleman: [long pause] I think there may be many things to clarify before we can approach this. The question has many roots. One root is that we really don't know what we're communicating most of the time. If I try to communicate to you just in words, even aesthetically--however you want to put it--I don't really know what I am communicating. I don't know on the very simplest levels. You can say something to somebody and then you hear that person speak about what you said and you realize that, just on the level of simple declarative sentences, they haven't heard you, and far less in regard to very subtle or inner experiences. So one of the biggest roots of this big issue is the awareness that we don't know what it is that we are communicating. Of course-as the "communicatee," if you like-I don't know when I am taking in what the other person has said or instead, how much I am imposing my own associations.

So, in a way it is a very profound thing he is saying, but it covers over a lot of other things that have to be unpacked before we can really dig into it. From one point of view it sounds like a great re-expression of the meaning of art, and probably, it is.


Simone Weil had such an experience:
"There was a young English Catholic there from whom I gained my first idea of the supernatural power of the sacraments because of the truly angelic radiance with which he seemed to be clothed after going to communion. Chance -- for I always prefer saying chance rather than Providence -- made of him a messenger to me. For he told me of the existence of those English poets of the seventeenth century who are named metaphysical. In reading them later on, I discovered the poem of which I read you what is unfortunately a very inadequate translation. It is called "Love". I learned it by heart. Often, at the culminating point of a violent headache, I make myself say it over, concentrating all my attention upon it and clinging with all my soul to the tenderness it enshrines. I used to think I was merely reciting it as a beautiful poem, but without my knowing it the recitation had the virtue of a prayer. It was during one of these recitations that, as I told you, Christ himself came down and took possession of me.

In my arguments about the insolubility of the problem of God I had never foreseen the possibility of that, of a real contact, person to person, here below, between a human being and God I had vaguely heard tell of things of this kind, but I had never believed in them. In the Fioretti the accounts of apparitions rather put me off if anything, like the miracles in the Gospel. Moreover, in this sudden possession of me by Christ, neither my senses nor my imagination had any part; I only felt in the midst of my suffering the presence of a love, like that which one can read in the smile on a beloved face.

I had never read any mystical works because I had never felt any call to read them. In reading as in other things I have always striven to practice obedience. There is nothing more favorable to intellectual progress, for as far as possible I only read what I am hungry for at the moment when I have an appetite for it, and then I do not read, I eat. God in his mercy had prevented me from reading the mystics, so that it should be evident to me that I had not invented this absolutely unexpected contact."
Art in this case had an awakening effect on Simone.

Where art is the medium by which the emotions can experientially open, I believe that the Law of the Included Middle in comparison to the classic logic of the Law of the Excluded Middle, intellectually reveals the transition from associative thought into conscious thought.

Both associative thought and conscious thought adding the triune dimension are necessary IMO to function as a well balanced human being. The trouble is that people have taken such pride in the power of associative thought that the essence of the Law of the Included Middle is mostly unknown.

http://basarab.nicolescu.perso.sfr.fr/c ... /b12c3.htm

Rather than trying to explain this, if you are interested this short article can be quite thought provoking. I must admit being curious if atheism with its emphasis on dualism can be open to compare vertically between the classic logic of the excluded middle or non contradiction and the triune logic of the included middle.

I'd like to clarify this question of skepticism. I think you would agree that there are people walking around with attitudes that dictate their beliefs. The question becomes if doubt can exist both free of our negative emotions or if they can be colored by them. The poison of skepticism is coloring our doubts with the negative emotion of preconception.

Doubt is normal and necessary. The question is if it defeats its purpose through coloring it with negative emotion? I say yes simply because this attitude restricts experiences to prejudging dualistic thought. As such it cannot open to the triune experience that reconciles duality which is the essence of the law of the included middle.

So between what art is capable of and intellectually beginning to compare the basis of the Laws of excluded and Included Middles, it is possible to experience beyond our normal habitual limitations based on imagination taking the place of conscious experience.
Okay. I only ask you to be aware of the fact that you have absolutely no reason to believe any of this, that’s all.
I agree with you as far as the damages done by blind beliefs. I even assert that "A Course in Miracles" is actually Luciferic through its denial of the material world.

Where we apparently differ is that I am open to Man as a part of a cosmological universe structured on levels of reality. It makes conscious evolution understandable as well as the function of conscious attention. You seem to deny such a structure based on hierarchy which I guess must be normal for an atheist. To accept this possibility of a vertical quality of being manifesting as different levels of reality and qualities within each level must deny atheism since such a scale requires a source.

The ideas is not to believe in the false gods Simone refers to but rather how to become open: how to align the human organism so that it takes in the world realistically so consequently becomes open to the reality of higher influences we are normally closed to. Where the exoteric stresses beliefs, the esoteric stresses pondering at the expense of beliefs.
"In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs." Simone Weil
This is it in a nutshell. The esoteric strives to open to the mysteries while the exoteric tells you what to believe. The idea then isn't what God did but rather if we can experience universal laws. If we can, what is their source? Do laws just come out of nothing? Is the Law of the Included Middle a reality? If it is we can experience it through becoming able to Know Thyself through the conscious witnessing of our habitual automatic reactive nature.

Feel free to divide this into two posts. You can further clarify what I just wrote and we can begin to examine atheism in comparison to the role of the essence of religion in society. To begin with, I'd like to ask you your impressions of the preface to Jacob Needleman's book: "Lost Christianity." Is anything acceptable to your atheism?
"Do You wish to know God? Learn first to know yourself" -ABBA EVAGRIUS, FOURTH CENTURY

"Never in recent memory has the world been at once so deeply drawn toward religion and so troubled about it. As it is now clear, all self assured predictions that the march of modern science would marginalize religion have proved false. As far as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are concerned, we are, on the contrary, in a period of religious expansion throughout the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. At the same time, it is clear that with the very survival of our civilization hanging in the balance, the question relentlessly insists itself: Is religion a force for good or ill in the life of humanity? Does the actual influence of religion, in fact sometimes intensify the very defilements of human nature - ignorance, fear, hatred, - from which doctrines and practices are intended to liberate us?

As once again we witness the horrific engines of war being fueled by religious zeal of one kind or another, and under one kind of name or another, the answer to this question is obviously to be: Yes, sometimes: Yes often! Have not the darkest crimes of world history - the insane barbarism of genocide, the bloody crusades, the murder of innocents, and the depredation of defenseless cultures - have not many, if not most, of these crimes been committed under the banner of religion or through a quasi-religious frenzy attaching itself to religious ideals? Put next to these endlessly recurrent horrors, the intimate comforts of personal religious faith and day-to-day individual efforts to live religiously may seem to count for little in the balance scales of human life on earth. Little wonder, then that so many of the best minds of the modern era entirely rejected religion as a foundation for both ethics and knowledge. Just as the scientific turn of the mind seemed to have entirely eclipsed religion's claim to knowledge, so - it has seemed to many - the same modern turn of mind must inevitably displace religion's claim to moral authority. Just as religion can no longer show us what is true but must yield that task to methods of thought that are independent of religious doctrine, so neither can religion, it was claimed, show us what is good, but must now surrender that task as well to the secular mind of modernity.

But in fact, no assumption of moral authority by secular humanism has taken hold or now seems in any way likely or justified. The modern era, the era of science, while witnessing the phenomenal acceleration of scientific discovery and its applications in technological innovation, has brought the world the inconceivable slaughter and chaos of modern war, along with the despair of ethical dilemmas arising from new technologies that all at once project humanity's essence-immortality onto the entire planet: global injustice, global heartlessness, and global disintegration of the normal patterns of life that have guided mankind for a millennia. Neither the secular philosophies of our epoch nor its theories of human nature - pragmatism, positivism, Marxism, Liberalism, humanism, behaviorism, biological determinism, psychoanalysis - nor the traditional doctrines of the religions, in the way we have understood them, seem able to confront or explain the crimes of humanity in our era, nor other wise and compassionate guidance through the labyrinth of paralyzing new ethical problems.

What is needed is either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man: an understanding of God that does not insult the scientific mind while offering bread, not a stone, to the deepest hunger of the heart; an understanding of Man that squarely faces the criminal weakness of our moral will while holding out to us the knowledge of how we can strive within ourselves to become the fully human being we were meant to be -- both for ourselves and as instruments of a higher purpose.

But this is not an either/or. The premise --or rather, the proposal -- of this book is that at the heart of the Christian religion there exists, and has always existed, just such a vision of God and Man. I call it "Lost Christianity," not because it is a matter of doctrines and concepts that may have been lost or forgotten; nor even a matter of methods of spiritual practice that may need to be recovered from ancient sources. It is all that, to be sure, but what is lost in the whole of our modern life, including our understanding of religion, is something even more fundamental, without which religious ideas and practices lose their meaning and all to easily become the instruments of ignorance, fear, and hatred. What is lost is the experience of oneself -- myself, the personal being who is here, now, living, breathing, yearning for meaning, for goodness; just this person here, now, squarely confronting ones existential weaknesses and pretensions while yet aware, however tentatively, of a higher current of a higher current of life and identity calling to us from within ourselves. This presence to oneself is the missing element in the whole of the life of Man, the intermediate state of consciousness between what we are meant to be and what we actually are. it is perhaps the one bridge that can lead us from our inhuman past toward the human future.

In the writings and utterances of the great teachers of Christianity over the centuries, one may begin to discern, like a photographic image gradually developing before ones eyes, the outlines of this vision of what is called in this book "intermediate Christianity." But modern man can no longer perceive that vision or hear that language that has been associated with it. Words like "humility," "purity of heart," "contrition" are no longer understood to require the individual, existential struggle, for what the early Fathers called "attention in oneself." On the contrary, it is assumed that such qualities of character can be ours in the distracted and dispersed state of being that is more and more characteristic of life in the contemporary world. The result is self deception which masks, and perhaps even intensifies, our weaknesses and which inevitably leads to the disillusionment with religious ideals that has been one of the hallmarks of the modern secular worldview. Of course, the modernist attempt to establish ethical life without religion itself ignores the same lost element in human life that has been forgotten in the conventional understanding of religion. The result is often a sad ineffectuality under the name of rousing moral formulae - or, ironically, the decay of what began in opposition to perceived religious tyranny into its own brand of quasi-religious dogmatism and violence - as witnessed for example, in the fate of communist ideology.

Whether it is conventional religion or secular humanism, or any other modern program of morality or inner betterment, the question remains: Can there be any hope or our becoming what we are meant to be without first becoming fully and deeply aware of what we in fact are, now, here, in just this moment of our lives? Whether religious or not, is there any hope for man who has lost this capacity, or forgotten the need, to know himself and to be alive and present in himself?

The great ideas and ideals of Christianity continue to offer hope and comfort to the world, as do the ideals of Judaism and Islam -- and all the world's great religions. And as do the ideals of humanistic morality, with its passionate commitment to justice and to human rights. Yet we see, we see, we cannot help but see that now, as ever, something is missing, something has been forgotten about ourselves and in ourselves. Our children see it as clearly as we sometimes do; more clearly! The words of St.Paul never sounded more distinctly than they do now in the lengthening shadows of our civilization.

For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do......Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

-Romans 7"
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 28th, 2009, 5:22 pm

Nick_A wrote:But again if Simone Weil is right then your dismissal concerns secular exoteric conceptions of higher realities that permeate the secularization of religion.
My atheism does not dismiss exoteric vs. esoteric descriptions, not at all. Rather, I claim instead that you are only expounding and professing an exoteric, not esoteric, understanding.

The paradoxes of apparent contradictions of the esoteric in an exoteric interpretation only ever apply to theories that are non-dualistic. Your theory is dualistic.

I think that every single esoteric tradition that employs paradoxes in this way that is amended with increased understanding is therefore Nondual. The nature of these paradoxes is always the same - one speaks of the apparent truth, which is true, the other speaks of the absolute truth, which is also true.

So, the core paradox in esoterica is that we are all not-two (absolute/esoteric) yet we are all different/separate (relative/exoteric).

Therefore, in all the esoteric traditions where this distinction of exoteric vs. esoteric interpretations apply, your interpretation that everything is different/separate is called the exoteric interpretation.

The esoteric interpretation is to then understand that we are all not-separate.

The point though is that both are true, that is where the notion of contradiction comes in.

So, your argument that your beliefs are infallible because they express a deeper truth is a misunderstanding of the original concept of the esoteric.

Remember that the conception of levels of reality is by definition relative (relative to each level). In the absolute sense, i.e. esoteric, the levels are part of one whole, reality. It is this latter sense, the esoteric sense, which you have not yet assimilated and integrated into your model, in this view.

So, the notion of separation/difference only applies to the exoteric. The esoteric is always not-two i.e. nondual.

You speak of your philosophy as being composed of a triune, but really it is still just dualistic. There is you, then there is god, not-you. This is dualistic. There is still the causer and the caused. The notion of 'three' is still dualistic. Therefore, your philosophy is fundamentally dualistic. Esoterica is when the causer and the cause become inseparable.

Therefore, it would seem that the notion of dualism you have arrived at is not the esoteric but the exoteric.
You think that I profess blind belief but I don't think so. Such an attitude is against my path which serves to unify science and religion. Let me try to elaborate from a different direction.

Associative thought is duality which is the basis of comparing associations. Linear thought has no denying side so cannot compare and is the basis of blind belief.

But we don't live in a dualistic universe governed by two forces but rather a triune universe. I believe this distinction is what allows for intellectually grasping esoteric ideas we are incapable of through dualistic thought.

The Taoist tradition for example isn't confined to the duality of yin and yang but includes the reconciling quality of qi
I would say that you have misinterpreted Taoism here, as well as other nondual philosophies.

You are trying to understand Nondualism dualistically, which has created the confusion. Nondualism cannot be understood using this kind of dualistic thought, which is why you arrive at this notion of "threeness" instead of "not-twoness" (non-dualism).

The Tao is fundamentally nondual. It has a dualistic expression, however, the dualistic expression is combined not as a separate third, but a nondual harmony. It is very difficult to express obviously, because language is dualistic.

Let me explain it like this: lets say that we have a light-switch, and 'on' is ying, 'off' is yang. What happens when we remove the electricity? Then, the switch is not in a binary, dualistic on/off state, nor is it in a triune state. It is in a non-state, a nondualistic superposition of the two states.

This is the Tao - a superposition of the potential for either state, but not a state unto itself. Not-one, not-two, not-three.

So, Taoism does not posit the Tao as a third, triune state. I think you may be closer to Nondualism than you think, personally. It is simply this notion that you can grasp these kinds of ideas dualistically and linearly that I think is causing problems for you.
The lawful descent of consciousness into form as levels of reality is the basis of cosmology. As you can see, the intellectual experience of this cannot be dualistic but requires a triune awareness of yin and yang being experienced as ONE through a conscious perspective.
As above, I think you have misunderstood Taoism here. Taoism is nondualistic, not composed of a triune. The Tao is not a third state, but a non-state composed of the potential for either state. The Tao is not a 'thing' in the normal sense i.e. state.

I would argue that taking these ideas further will approach a non-dualistic perspective. For instance, in this cosmology (or cosmogony, technically speaking), the consciousness descending into form is not-different from the form. I personally think that when you understand this esoterically, you will understand the notion of not-separateness.
Duality doesn't require consciousness. People are functioning quite well through habit all the time without requiring a triune perspective or self awareness.
Actually, I would say it does. In my view, dualism is not implied in reality itself. Dualism occurs when the Subject exists in reference to an Object. The process becomes full-circle when it is realised that this dualism is fundamentally nonexistent.

The nondual school of Buddhism (although all Buddhism is technically nondualistic) Zen have a koan that asks, "Who is the master who makes the grass green?" There is the grass (object) and the master (subject). The greeness - the subjective quality - is arrived at the union of the two. This union is yoga - yoga means, literally, union. What were originally two, dual, become not-two, nondual. There is no three here, nor four, five, six....or simply not-two, not-one.

So, consciousness comes about first on the necessity that there must be something that consciousness is of. So, dualism exists, so that reflexivity can occur. However, this dualism is only superficial, or exoteric, in my view.
You say that the triune perspective cannot be communicated linguistically but I've witnessed it in two ways: art and the Law of the Included Middle.
No, Nondualism cannot be totally accurately expressed linguistically.

Of course your ideas can, because they are dualistic.

As above, Taosim is not similar in any way to your triune perspective. The Tao cannot be expressed linguistically - "the Tao that can be talked about is not the eternal Tao".

I am sure your triune can be expressed linguistically, because it is dualistic. There is no problem there, because it does not convey anything beyond dualism.

I think you misunderstand what duality is. Among other things, duality is anything that implies an opposite that negates its affirmative. Your duality does this. It doesn’t matter if it is a triune, quadrune or dodecality, it is all still duality.

In my own opinion, I personally think that when you take your notions to their logical conclusions, then you will arrive at a notion that you will not be able to express dualistically.

*snip two external quotes*

Art in this case had an awakening effect on Simone.
Sure. As I have highlighted in one of my previous posts, Weil's “awakening” experiences here are equivalent to very early stages of 'spiritual' practices; although certainly they are genuine, she simply makes the mistake of interpreting them according to the limitations of her ego, which if she never overcame this tendency she would have never progressed further.

Mystical experiences of all degrees can be triggered spontaneously, however, it is clear that Weil’s experiences were rather tame (by most standards), if only because she is able to talk about them so easily.

In any case, as above, this does not apply to esoterica. Since Weil and your own ideas are (currently) dualistic, it is perfectly reasonable that they can be expressed dualistically.

I think you have mistaken that my criticisms regarding the contradictions in your model. In esoterica, paradoxes abound on the dualistic level of interpretation. On the non-dualistic level, they disappear. This is what I personally think you have not understood.

So, the paradoxes in your philosophy are not esoteric, therefore, they don't disappear at the non-dualistic level, because there is no level there yet that is not dualistic; your concept of threeness is still dualistic. I think it is likely that you have misunderstood the concept of duality and esoterica and perhaps do not see why your ideas are still dualistic.
I must admit being curious if atheism with its emphasis on dualism can be open to compare vertically between the classic logic of the excluded middle or non contradiction and the triune logic of the included middle.
I don't know what you mean about atheism being dualistic. I am an atheist and a Nondualist, so obviously this must be a misconception on your behalf.

On the contrary, since you assert positive beliefs, whereas atheism does not, it is actually surely yourself who places the emphasis on dualism.

I would point you in the direction of the tetragrammaton of Indian logic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catuskoti

This is a logical system that attempts to describe the Nondual. It is a more advanced form of the dualistic logic you present. I think it is the reasonable next step in your thought process.
I'd like to clarify this question of skepticism. I think you would agree that there are people walking around with attitudes that dictate their beliefs. The question becomes if doubt can exist both free of our negative emotions or if they can be colored by them. The poison of skepticism is coloring our doubts with the negative emotion of preconception.
You seem to be repeating yourself here. Rather than make assertive statements, it is more helpful to propose arguments as to why you believe such things.

Rather than also repeat myself, let me put it another way - scepticism that I practice, that any reasonable person does, is not an emotion, nor is it in anyway related to emotions.

You have chosen to ignore this point for I assume personal/emotional reasons. So, I'll simply say instead: what you are calling scepticism, I am not that, and I do not practice that.

So, what you are describing is not something I do, you are calling it scepticism where I would not, but whatever - the point is I do not do that, nor do most scientists or philosophers. I would simply call our scepticism equal to doubt.

So we have clarified then that my scepticism, or just doubt, is not an emotion.

However, then we arrive at the point that, while you claim to also doubt, there is a difference between our doubting. While I doubt everything, you do not. This means you believe things without reason. You have said already that you believe them because you 'feel' them - i.e that they invoke an emotional response.

So, actually you have admitted already that you are motivated by emotional attachment, rather than any higher intellectual understanding.

This is what I mean by contradicting yourself. You say that you seek truth and knowledge, but here are only acting to satisfy your emotions, which is generated out of attachment. It is very simple and there is no reason to assume that there is a higher esoteric meaning to this - there simply isn't, it is just wrong thinking, that's all. There is no other level to this, we can correct it on this (dualistic) level since it is a dualistic problem.
Doubt is normal and necessary. The question is if it defeats its purpose through coloring it with negative emotion? I say yes simply because this attitude restricts experiences to prejudging dualistic thought. As such it cannot open to the triune experience that reconciles duality which is the essence of the law of the included middle.
Again, doubt is not an emotion. So no, doubt does not result in, nor is motivated by, negative emotions.

Also again, your triune does not reconcile dualism. This is a grand misunderstanding of important concepts on your behalf. Your triune is dualistic, through and through. There is you and then there is not-you i.e. god. You don't seem to have fully understood your own philosophy. It is currently completely dualistic.
I agree with you as far as the damages done by blind beliefs. I even assert that "A Course in Miracles" is actually Luciferic through its denial of the material world.
I am very glad you dislike A Course in Miracles, we can agree here. Unfortunately, some troll has decided to put it on the Wikipedia page for Nondualism, even though it is a monistic belief. This likely comes from the popularity of Nondualism and the desire for many with unassociated beliefs and practices trying to use Nondualism and its arguments to further their cause. That seems very popular nowadays…
Where we apparently differ is that I am open to Man as a part of a cosmological universe structured on levels of reality.
No, this is not where we differ at all. I am open to this idea, as I have already said. I have opened myself to it and dismiss it because it is an exoteric/relative interpretation. It is a metaphor. So please stop saying I am not open to it, that just isn't true.
You seem to deny such a structure based on hierarchy which I guess must be normal for an atheist. To accept this possibility of a vertical quality of being manifesting as different levels of reality and qualities within each level must deny atheism since such a scale requires a source.
Why would that be normal for an atheist?

Again, I don't deny anything, I simply acknowledge that this description is not of the level of understanding that I am interested in or think is helpful. In your case, it seems you have confused the exoteric with the esoteric and now think you are more awakened than everybody. This is why I view attachment to these beliefs as damaging. It is preventing further development and results in people not being able to differentiate between their ego and reality.

This talk of conscious sources and levels of reality is an attempt by your dualistic mind to grasp something non-dual. It is akin to explaining reproduction to a child using the story of a stork. You presume that my atheism is not a higher understanding of your own beliefs, when actually, that is exactly what it is, in my view.

From your perspective, saying that reality is a hierarchy of levels seems very accurate. From a non-dualistic perspective, which is what I am trying to present, this is no more accurate than saying that reality is a stack of pancakes.

You are talking as though you have insights and knowledge that I lack. However, it is clear that this is not the case. I have fully understood and assimilated your ideas, even in some ways you have not, but lack your beliefs, so it is pointless to continue speaking as though I am simply lacking openness or understanding, you know this is not true. I think this is a problem for you that you should address.

The difference between the description and the described, the exoteric and the esoteric, is so incredibly vital in these philosophies.
Where the exoteric stresses beliefs, the esoteric stresses pondering at the expense of beliefs.
Not really, I would say the exoteric simply means that which can be approached and grasped intellectually, while the esoteric is something that must be experienced rather than subjected to linear thought.
Feel free to divide this into two posts. You can further clarify what I just wrote and we can begin to examine atheism in comparison to the role of the essence of religion in society.
I felt it best in this instance to simply keep it to one post.
To begin with, I'd like to ask you your impressions of the preface to Jacob Needleman's book: "Lost Christianity." Is anything acceptable to your atheism?
Well, it is an interesting preface. Of course, it is clearly aimed at Christians, so it makes no attempt to justify any statements meaningfully since its only audience will be nodding automatically anyway. He seems like an alright guy anyway, just a little misinformed.

I agree in that we are at a point that is problematic. But I disagree in that I do not think that the problem can be solved by reintroducing the thing that caused the problems to begin with (arbitrary beliefs).

I'll just sort of go through it with a critique, hopefully that is the easiest way to clarify my beliefs.

It starts of with a lie. The dropping of religion is on the significant rise, so it is not true that more people are now drawn towards religion. This isn’t a good start, lying, and is not very Christian either.

I would also very much disagree with his notion that the idea that science marginalising religion has “proved false”. I think this is an obviously false assertion. That is exactly what science has done, marginalised religion. Surely this is the very problem for the religious?

He later implies that science brought about chaos and destruction, but science doesn’t bring about slaughter, we do. This is a common misunderstanding that science is just a method, not an entity.

He feels we need to redeem ourselves by inventing yet another god. I think it is clear that the word ‘god’ is a dead concept. For one, god has nothing to do anymore; he has no effect on how the Universe actually operates, if he even did exist. We simply don’t need such an idea to explain anything anymore. We don’t progress by picking up ancient mythological baggage and lugging it around.

Also, I think there can be no description of god that “doesn’t offend the scientific mind”. Science is based on evidence. If there is no evidence, then science has no comment. So, an idea of something without evidence is always going to “offend” the scientific mind. I suppose that raises the question of whether the existence of god is a scientific question or not; I think so.

Of course, he then goes onto say what we need to save the world is his idea of what Christianity and god is. This kind of thing is just so tiring to me.

He then concludes that everybody feel empty and unsatisfied just because he is, but they don’t, so his point is meaningless. Presumably it is his religion that makes him feel like this.

He also seems to forget that religious belief, based on obedience, submission and inferiority, is by definition weakness, not secularism.

So, as I noted earlier, he only really offers value for those who already agreed with him. He assumes that because he feels unsatisfied by his religion, that everybody feels that way, instead of making the rational decision that religion is unsatisfactory.

I would say that there is certainly a problem with the world today, as there have been many problems, but religion doesn't work. Science "works"; you do something scientific and it just works. When religion helps people, it doesn't really help at all. Every way in which religion helps is simply reducible to science.

Take a child who has lost their mother and is helped by the idea that she is in heaven. It is not religion here helping, but simply the psychology of memetic safeties and postponing grief. I don't see anyway in which religion helps. Religion has been associated with some great people of course, but it is their morality, their humanity, that is responsible, no religion. This is my view.

Peace

Thuse

Nick_A
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Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » October 29th, 2009, 7:07 pm

The exoteric simply means that meaning is being experienced through our sensory connection with the external world. (body) The exoteric experience is the world of continual reaction and interpretation. The emotions determine their subjective quality (like-dislike). Associative thought analyses experience in relation to our memories of the past and anticipations of the future colored by imagination to make them acceptable.

The transcendent is our conscious potential. (head) It is a level of inclusion within which everything is included as "ONE" as an organic whole.

The esoteric direction is psychologically vertical to these two planes that exist within our collective being and is the means for their eventual conscious connection (emotions). It leads to our potential and as an analogy to experience the trees from the perspective of a forest. The exoteric is our normal animal reactive earthly perspective while the transcendent is human conscious potential that connects above and below. Both are real but our imagination denies real experience. We imagine both the forest and the trees. We lack the emotional purity to realistically connect them but instead justify or deny all our negative emotions. Often we've become so used to them we are unaware of what they deny us.

Head, heart, and body, is a triune connection. Consciousness and sensory experience are connected by emotion. But our emotions having degraded to the level they have prevent any sort of conscious connection. Could intellectual imagination and emotional justifications produce conscious awareness. It can't which is why collectively it is called being asleep in Plato's cave.
You speak of your philosophy as being composed of a triune, but really it is still just dualistic. There is you, then there is god, not-you. This is dualistic. There is still the causer and the caused. The notion of 'three' is still dualistic. Therefore, your philosophy is fundamentally dualistic. Esoterica is when the causer and the cause become inseparable.
But as you can see, this is not the case. There is God outside of time and space and man on earth. It isn't one or the other but a ladder of levels of reality or inclusion that leads to the source. The same structure exists within us and why we are said to be "in the image" and a microcosm.

It is this vertical direction that reveals the triune universe and nature of our being as a microcosm. it is this vertical direction of the triune reality that allows the perspective to experience the duality as ONE.
Actually, I would say it does. In my view, dualism is not implied in reality itself. Dualism occurs when the Subject exists in reference to an Object. The process becomes full-circle when it is realised that this dualism is fundamentally nonexistent.
Imagine a horizontal line on a piece of paper that connects the extremes of "hot" on the left and "cold" on the right. Would it be safe to say that they don't exist from the perspective of the midpoint of the line? I believe this is what you are saying.

For me, it is the vertical triune direction that connects the extremes of heat and cold. This is why the triangle is a sacred symbol. Creating a triangle by extending lines from the two extremes to meet at the center is analogous of the triune conscious perception of the duality of hot and cold a ONE.

It seems from your perspective the duality ceases at the midpoint of the horizontal line while theoretically from a conscious perspective the wholeness of the duality is experienced from the height of the apex of the triangle that includes the span between hot and cold.

This quality of consciousness that reconciles duality is a middle that is also a duality that is reconciled by a higher inclusive quality of consciousness. This relationship of triads proceeds along the qualitative line of "being" in the direction of the source of "being."

Is there any reason that the Tao, Ein Sof, or the God of Christianity outside of time and space described by Meister Eckhart cannot be the same? If they are, it is only our interpretations natural for the secularization of the ancient traditions that produce disputes.

So, consciousness comes about first on the necessity that there must be something that consciousness is of. So, dualism exists, so that reflexivity can occur. However, this dualism is only superficial, or exoteric, in my view.

If a source for creation exists that means that consciousness without contents is a reality. Creation is the beginning of the contents of consciousness or the lawful fractioning of consciousness into material manifestations. Where atheism seems to take a bottom up approach that we create consciousness, the transcendent perspective asserts a top down approach beginning with consciousness without contents. Rather then being created, consciousness from this perspective is re-membered
So, the paradoxes in your philosophy are not esoteric, therefore, they don't disappear at the non-dualistic level, because there is no level there yet that is not dualistic; your concept of threeness is still dualistic. I think it is likely that you have misunderstood the concept of duality and esoterica and perhaps do not see why your ideas are still dualistic.
In all fairness you misunderstand my position. Duality as previously described can be represented by a horizontal line connecting the span between the extremes of heat and cold. Duality is the opposition of two forces represented by yin and yang. For me, the additional dimension that expresses the triune reality that connects levels of reality is represented by the creation of the apex of an equilateral triangle. It doesn't exist in dualism.
On the contrary, since you assert positive beliefs, whereas atheism does not, it is actually surely yourself who places the emphasis on dualism.
As I've already said, I agree with Simone that atheism serves a positive purpose of purification. It seems to me that it just doesn't recognize this vertical psychological direction. We disagree here but it doesn't make either of us bad. I'm just trying to clarify your perspective.
Not really, I would say the exoteric simply means that which can be approached and grasped intellectually, while the esoteric is something that must be experienced rather than subjected to linear thought.
For me the exoteric level is the level at which we react to external stimuli. The esoteric level is the beginning of the experiential realization that we are creatures of reaction inviting the search that reveals conscious potential.

From the "Lost Christianity" preface:
What is needed is either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man: an understanding of God that does not insult the scientific mind while offering bread, not a stone, to the deepest hunger of the heart; an understanding of Man that squarely faces the criminal weakness of our moral will while holding out to us the knowledge of how we can strive within ourselves to become the fully human being we were meant to be -- both for ourselves and as instruments of a higher purpose.

But this is not an either/or. The premise --or rather, the proposal -- of this book is that at the heart of the Christian religion there exists, and has always existed, just such a vision of God and Man. I call it "Lost Christianity," not because it is a matter of doctrines and concepts that may have been lost or forgotten; nor even a matter of methods of spiritual practice that may need to be recovered from ancient sources. It is all that, to be sure, but what is lost in the whole of our modern life, including our understanding of religion, is something even more fundamental, without which religious ideas and practices lose their meaning and all to easily become the instruments of ignorance, fear, and hatred. What is lost is the experience of oneself -- myself, the personal being who is here, now, living, breathing, yearning for meaning, for goodness; just this person here, now, squarely confronting ones existential weaknesses and pretensions while yet aware, however tentatively, of a higher current of a higher current of life and identity calling to us from within ourselves. This presence to oneself is the missing element in the whole of the life of Man, the intermediate state of consciousness between what we are meant to be and what we actually are. it is perhaps the one bridge that can lead us from our inhuman past toward the human future.
Would a panentheistic source be acceptable to your atheism as a new understanding of God?

Is a new understanding of Man possible for atheism or are we just what we appear to be and our potential is to be better creatures of reaction? Could it be possible that through genuine inner empiricism we could experience that we are capable of what Jacob Needleman describes as instruments of higher purpose and the potential to move from an "inhuman past toward the human future?"
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 29th, 2009, 10:02 pm

I thought I would answer your post in a slightly different order if I may, to hopefully make things easier.
In all fairness you misunderstand my position. Duality as previously described can be represented by a horizontal line connecting the span between the extremes of heat and cold. Duality is the opposition of two forces represented by yin and yang. For me, the additional dimension that expresses the triune reality that connects levels of reality is represented by the creation of the apex of an equilateral triangle. It doesn't exist in dualism.
I think that I do understand your position. I just think you have misunderstood what “dualism” is. Dualism is any philosophy that entails distinct substances, or separate levels of reality. There is no such thing as threeism, nor fourism...there are only three –isms; monism, dualism and nondualism.

So, in your philosophy you think that the link between the two aspects of reality, the transcendent and the immanent, is itself another aspect of reality; a “triune” reality. I am not sure however that you realise this is still dualism – just because there are three “things” here, doesn’t mean it is not dualistic – dualism only trivially implies “two”. If your philosophy had five points, instead of three, and a pentagon not a triangle was formed, it would still be dualistic. If it had one point, it would be monistic, if it had no points, it would be nondualistic.

So, when I say your philosophy is dualistic then, it is not because I misunderstand it. It really is a form of dualism - also because it is not monism and not nondualism, and these are the only alternatives.
Imagine a horizontal line on a piece of paper that connects the extremes of "hot" on the left and "cold" on the right. Would it be safe to say that they don't exist from the perspective of the midpoint of the line? I believe this is what you are saying.

[…]

It seems from your perspective the duality ceases at the midpoint of the horizontal line while theoretically from a conscious perspective the wholeness of the duality is experienced from the height of the apex of the triangle that includes the span between hot and cold.
You see, now you have misunderstood my position ;)

Let’s keep with this metaphor of the paper, I think it is a useful one.

My perspective is not from the midpoint of the line. It’s more like this: hot only exists relative to cold. Cold only exists relative to hot. Without one, there is no other. They are defined in terms of one another, like yin/yang, on/off, up/down, vertical/horizontal, god/man, male/female etc. In the analogy you provided, we have a 2-dimensional, i.e. dualistic, representation. On this level hot and cold are separated, with or without the line, yes. Upon realising their relative, co-dependent existence, we switch dimensions, so to speak, so we can fold the piece of paper up so that the two points match up, and become one point.

So now, on one level, the points are one point, and on another, they are two. It is incorrect to say they are either one or the other, both or neither. So, I simply say there is not-one and not-two – thus also unify and avoid the other relative extreme of monism/dualism (or monism/triunism if you like). This is my position.
The esoteric direction is psychologically vertical to these two planes that exist within our collective being and is the means for their eventual conscious connection (emotions). It leads to our potential and as an analogy to experience the trees from the perspective of a forest. The exoteric is our normal animal reactive earthly perspective while the transcendent is human conscious potential that connects above and below. Both are real but our imagination denies real experience. We imagine both the forest and the trees. We lack the emotional purity to realistically connect them but instead justify or deny all our negative emotions. Often we've become so used to them we are unaware of what they deny us.
I understand.

In my view, there is a dissonance in your extremes. I think you take this very literally, and that is fine of course. I take what you are saying here, and those who said it before you, as metaphor. Esoteric vs. exoteric, trees vs. forest, animalistic vs. conscious potential, god vs. man – all extremes simply represent the same essential opposites which, at least in this discussion, we have called yin vs. yang.

The idea, I think, is not that any one extreme is preferable to another. You have a perspective that you are at a point and need to get to another point. But, I claim, from a higher perspective all points are the same points in some sense. For every heaven there is a hell and for every spiritual experience there is a “come-down”. The problem, the original problem, is separation, conflict, and I think that you are creating more of it by assuming you are impure and so on. You are somehow missing something, and need to get it back, call it purity, god whatever. But I maintain that you, and everything else, is already complete, and it is only this realisation that we are “missing”.
It is this vertical direction that reveals the triune universe and nature of our being as a microcosm. it is this vertical direction of the triune reality that allows the perspective to experience the duality as ONE.
So now you are a monist? This is what I mean when I say your philosophy is confused. There is a god outside of time and space – monotheism. But apparently you are a panentheist. Your reality is composed of levels and separation and relative opposites – dualism. But apparently you are not a dualist. God and man are separated – again, dualism. But apparently you are now a monist.

I mean this with a sincere heart: you have not thought this through. Don’t say I don’t understand it, please, I do. Understand that the mind grasps, that is its job. I think your mind is grasping at something it cannot grasp, and it is getting confused. Use your mind, don’t let it use you.
This quality of consciousness that reconciles duality is a middle that is also a duality that is reconciled by a higher inclusive quality of consciousness. This relationship of triads proceeds along the qualitative line of "being" in the direction of the source of "being."

Is there any reason that the Tao, Ein Sof, or the God of Christianity outside of time and space described by Meister Eckhart cannot be the same? If they are, it is only our interpretations natural for the secularization of the ancient traditions that produce disputes.
It is very important that you acknowledge the fundamental differences between your picture of god and the Tao, Eckhart’s and Ein Sof. I absolutely agree that the Tao, Eckhart’s god and the god of Kabbalah are exactly the same. But your conception of god is completely different from these three.

The main, but incredibly significant difference is that your god is separate from everything else. Neither the Tao, Ein Sof nor Eckhart’s god is separate in any meaningful sense. Please don’t pass over this, it is really important.

Take Eckhart:
“To gauge the soul we must gauge it with god, for the ground of god and the ground of the soul are one in the same”
[Note: ‘ground’ here likely means “being” or equivalent]
“Simple people imagine they should see god, as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one.”
And perhaps the most significant, relevant and noteworthy:
“When is a man in mere understanding? I answer, “When a man sees one thing separated from another.” And when is a man above mere understanding? That I can tell you: “When a man sees All in all, then a man sees beyond mere understanding.”
So, Eckhart sees no absolute difference between man and god, nor anything else. Separation does not exist in a higher understanding, according to Eckhart.

Then the Tao – we have already kind of covered that. The Tao is the source of all extremes, but is not an extreme itself, since it has no opposite. So it is not one nor two nor a “triune”, it is no-thing that can be categorised as such. It is of course not separate from anything either; “pervad[ing] all things”.

Ein Soph is perhaps the most obviously non-separate. It is the “limitless nothing” that becomes Ein Soph Aur, or “limitless light”, before descending into creation as creation. It is god, but not separate from creation, but both in it and beyond it.

So, yes, all these things are, I believe, referring to the same conception, absolutely. But one of the most significant aspects of this conception, non-separation, is lacking from your model. What’s so bad about being one with everything? ☺
If a source for creation exists that means that consciousness without contents is a reality.
If, in the beginning, there was only objectless-consciousness, then in what sense was there a god, if there were no-things (objects)? Also, how can anything “is” if the contents of existence and nonexistence had not yet come into being?
Creation is the beginning of the contents of consciousness or the lawful fractioning of consciousness into material manifestations. Where atheism seems to take a bottom up approach that we create consciousness, the transcendent perspective asserts a top down approach beginning with consciousness without contents. Rather then being created, consciousness from this perspective is re-membered
A quick point, but very important one: not all atheists are materialists, nor physicalists; i.e., not all atheists believe that consciousness comes from the brain or “bottom up”. Atheism is not a by-word for Scientific Materialism anymore than Christianity is a by-word for Creationism. It is unfair to associate the two.

You are describing the Kabbalistic conception of the materialisation of the Universe via consciousness. I hope that you understand this notion is incompatible with the belief that separation exists absolutely. I also hope you understand that the Tree of Life is a metaphor.
As I've already said, I agree with Simone that atheism serves a positive purpose of purification.
Which is an incredibly patronising and condescending thing to say. Perhaps I should follow suit. I was a theist just like yourself once and was exactly where you are now. I feel my atheism now is an evolution, a progression, not a lack of something you have.
It seems to me that it just doesn't recognize this vertical psychological direction. We disagree here but it doesn't make either of us bad. I'm just trying to clarify your perspective.
No, of course not; it makes us all too human.

I think it is important that we understand atheism should not be conflated with a whole load of other things, which, in all fairness, you have been doing a bit. Atheism is a non-belief in the existence of god but also a non-belief in the non-existence of god (but a step up from the “I don’t know” of agnostics). It is simply a lack of belief.

Personally, I don’t recognise a vertical psychological direction literally. I accept it as a conception of your own, as a model you use to interpret your experience, but it doesn’t objectively exist. For one, if there was no psychology, there could be no psychological direction, so it doesn’t exist objectively by its own terms. Apparently, you haven’t noticed this and think it exists literally, even though this is impossible without psyches, even how you have defined it.

You are making the mistake that I, as an atheist, am sort of “below” you in that I don’t accept certain aspects of existence. However, this is not the case, even if I am wrong. I do not deny your vertical directions, merely see them from a different perspective, as a model that allows you to try to grasp and try to understand reality intellectually. Reality however, is not made of vertical levels, nor is it not made of vertical levels, it simply is.

As I said, there is no difference between saying reality is a set of vertical directions, or levels or a stack of magical pancakes. That isn’t supposed to be facetious; what I mean is that these are just descriptions. I am not interested in any descriptions, but you mistake me for just not being interested in your own. This is not the case, however; I am trying to move beyond descriptions to the described.
Would a panentheistic source be acceptable to your atheism as a new understanding of God?
I don’t believe that god is a meaningful concept.

Let’s assume Panentheism is true. God is everything in the Universe, but also exists outside it. Transcendence, however, is not merely outside of space and time, but outside of existence itself. So, in this sense, we can no longer say “god exists” or “god is” because existence/non-existence do not apply. Therefore we can say nothing about god whatsoever, not even that he/she exists. So, in this sense, god is meaningless as a concept.

In another case, if Panentheism is true, then everything is god. Therefore, it is somewhat feeble to assume that the human mind, which is limited, can grasp god, which is limitless. Therefore, the very notion of “understanding” god is meaningless. In such a case, anything that one understood about god would only show that they didn’t understand god.

So, if Panentheism is true, then the notion of god and understanding god are still obsolete, since if god existed, he doesn’t exist. God in this case would be beyond categorisation, including the category “Panentheistic”, therefore the very notion of Panentheism is an oxymoron.

There is no such entity, therefore, that could be meaningfully attributed the description of “god” in such a case.
Is a new understanding of Man possible for atheism or are we just what we appear to be and our potential is to be better creatures of reaction? Could it be possible that through genuine inner empiricism we could experience that we are capable of what Jacob Needleman describes as instruments of higher purpose and the potential to move from an "inhuman past toward the human future?"
I think atheism already is arriving at a new understanding of man. Science has essentially proven (to the furthest extent that science can “prove” anything) that free-will doesn’t exist and that separation, as we perceive it, doesn’t exist either. This means that every action we do is indeed a reaction, but we are not mere creatures of reaction, simply self-aware units of the whole process, but not separate from the whole. The Universe then, is the only thing that both acts and reacts. It is like one wave telling another wave, “you’re just a creature of reaction”. The other wave says, “maybe, but I am also the whole ocean”.

I think Needleman contradicts himself. He wants, very badly, to be anything but human. He is unwilling to accept what humanity is and fulfil his only possible purpose as a small part of a much bigger whole. He is going against the tide in this sense. Not being “one with the Tao” we might say. For Needleman, being a mere creature of reaction is an ugly thing. However, he only sees this way from his limited perspective. From a bigger perspective, every inch of reality, including him, is the whole works, doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. Nature always takes the path of least resistance, and by resisting so intensely, Needleman is being thoroughly unnatural.

Peace,

Thuse

Nick_A
Posts: 2391
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » October 31st, 2009, 12:51 am

Hi Thuse
So now, on one level, the points are one point, and on another, they are two. It is incorrect to say they are either one or the other, both or neither. So, I simply say there is not-one and not-two – thus also unify and avoid the other relative extreme of monism/dualism (or monism/triunism if you like). This is my position.
I don't see how anything can be built upon your idea. For example, can involution and or evolution be explained from this perspective?
The idea, I think, is not that any one extreme is preferable to another. You have a perspective that you are at a point and need to get to another point. But, I claim, from a higher perspective all points are the same points in some sense. For every heaven there is a hell and for every spiritual experience there is a “come-down”. The problem, the original problem, is separation, conflict, and I think that you are creating more of it by assuming you are impure and so on. You are somehow missing something, and need to get it back, call it purity, god whatever. But I maintain that you, and everything else, is already complete, and it is only this realisation that we are “missing”.
I would agree that the same laws for mechanical existence are the same as for a conscious existence. The importance is that man has the potential to be more then a reactive creature asleep in Plato's cave and participate in a higher form of meaning and purpose our heart is called to but our conditioning rejects. Man has the potential for a conscious existence that serves to unite levels of reality "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" Take away secular moralism and this is a cosmological assertion that the consciousness defined as heaven feeds our mechanical nature allowing it to aid in the awakening process.
So now you are a monist? This is what I mean when I say your philosophy is confused. There is a god outside of time and space – monotheism. But apparently you are a panentheist. Your reality is composed of levels and separation and relative opposites – dualism. But apparently you are not a dualist. God and man are separated – again, dualism. But apparently you are now a monist.
Monotheism is the belief that only one God exists. The Godhead doesn't exist for me. Existence is a quality of time and space. The Absolute being outside time and space doesn't exist but rather "IS." This is why Meister Eckhart distinguishes between the Godhead outside of time and space and God within
"When I came out from God, that is, into multiplicity, then all proclaimed, 'There is a God' (i.e., the personal God, Creator of all things). Now this cannot make me blessed, for hereby I realize myself as creature. But in the breaking through (i.e. through all limitations), I am more than all creatures, I am neither God nor creature; I am that which I was and shall remain evermore. There I receive a thrust which carries me above all angels. By this sudden touch I am become so rich that God (i.e., God as opposed to the Godhead) is not sufficient for me, so far as he is only God and in all his divine works. For in this breaking through I perceive what God and I are in common. There I am what I was. There I neither increase nor decrease. For there I am the immovable which moves all things. Here man has won again what he is eternally (i.e., in his essential being) and ever shall be. Here God (i.e., the Godhead) is received into the soul."
Take this idea and add it to your quote “Simple people imagine they should see god, as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one.”

God in time and space is the inner unity of the three forces that can divide and manifest creation. Whenever I've read your quote it is followed by 'in knowledge.' The knowledge of inner unity is ONE. They only differ in scale.
“ When the Father begets the Son, He gives Him all His nature and essence; in this giving the Holy Spirit proceeds.” Meister Eckhart
This is a description of the essential levels of reality which are connected by the Spirit. They are ONE in inner unity but different in their levels of inclusion. I can only ponder these ideas from a triune perspective. You may call it duality but for me the three forces within the vertical line of being requires triune conceptions. so we have to agree to disagree.
So, Eckhart sees no absolute difference between man and god, nor anything else. Separation does not exist in a higher understanding, according to Eckhart.
If Mesiter Echart describes the Father Son relationship from a triune perspective, why deny the Son Man relationship. It is the same but just lower in scale on the vertical line of Being.
So, yes, all these things are, I believe, referring to the same conception, absolutely. But one of the most significant aspects of this conception, non-separation, is lacking from your model. What’s so bad about being one with everything? ☺
There is nothing bad about it. I just don't see how it explains either evolution or involution. For example assume the progression of the numbers 1 through 9. All of a sudden it clicks into a higher reality beginning with ten within which 1-9 exist. This is basically man's cosmological potential. Mechanical evolution leads to 9. then under the right cirumstances, it can lead to 10 or lowest level of conscious being: a higher level of relity. This is why Jesus said John the Baptist was the highest born of woman but lower then the lowest in heaven.

Physical man already contains everything or all the substances within organic life so is ONE with everything. However, this is not the same as the conscious reconciliation of everything.
If, in the beginning, there was only objectless-consciousness, then in what sense was there a god, if there were no-things (objects)? Also, how can anything “is” if the contents of existence and nonexistence had not yet come into being?
“ The beginning, in which God created heaven and earth, is the primary simple now of eternity ... exactly the same 'now', where Himself exists eternally, where also the progress of the divine persons [of the Trinity] eternally was, is, and will be.” Meister Eckhart
The Absolute IS the consciousness outside of time and space within which potential is present. Creation is the beginning of time and space and contents of consciousness. But it continually exists in NOW. Time and space exist within NOW.
Which is an incredibly patronising and condescending thing to say. Perhaps I should follow suit. I was a theist just like yourself once and was exactly where you are now. I feel my atheism now is an evolution, a progression, not a lack of something you have.
If you believe it, why not say it? Why should it be patronizing? Levels of reality appeal to me both intellectually and emotionally. Cosmology explaining the meaning and purpose of Man answers questions for me nothing else has been able to do. If the Cave analogy holds true it means that those willing to persecute the person having experienced the light of metanoia were missing something. This seems rather basic.

I'm not trying to put anyone down but just feel the need to get to the bottom of it so must consider possibilities.
You are making the mistake that I, as an atheist, am sort of “below” you in that I don’t accept certain aspects of existence. However, this is not the case, even if I am wrong. I do not deny your vertical directions, merely see them from a different perspective, as a model that allows you to try to grasp and try to understand reality intellectually. Reality however, is not made of vertical levels, nor is it not made of vertical levels, it simply is.
A lot of atheists I've conversed with on the net seem to feel the same that someone professing a belief in a quality of consciousness beyond our own is somehow calling another wrong. Well if we are both in Plato's cave we just have different expressions of "wrong." What good does it do to call each other wrong for those in search of "understanding?" What good is one idiot calling another idiot and idiot? The question is how to deal with our idiocy.

You don't appreciate levels of reality and yet to me they explain everything. At one time I thought that the world didn't make any sense. Once I became familiar with levels of reality it became clear that the world has to be as it is and could not be different. How can I not value such experiences?
So, if Panentheism is true, then the notion of god and understanding god are still obsolete, since if god existed, he doesn’t exist. God in this case would be beyond categorisation, including the category “Panentheistic”, therefore the very notion of Panentheism is an oxymoron.
Not according to levels of realities. Creation as I've learned it is six dimensional. so cosmology in that context is hard to describe. But from a two dimensional perspective, God as the Absolute IS and can be represented as a large circle. The first level of creation and the initiation of time and space is a smaller circle within the larger one. The next layer consists of a circle with that one. The same progression of circles within circles continues down into the octave of creation.

What we see as a rock for example contains the materiality of all the cosmological levels preceding its manifestation. In this way the source is still at the vertical beginning of this rock that contains the materiality of all the cosmoses before it. In this way the Absolute (Godhead) is both outside of Creation and manifesting in Creation as God.
I think atheism already is arriving at a new understanding of man. Science has essentially proven (to the furthest extent that science can “prove” anything) that free-will doesn’t exist and that separation, as we perceive it, doesn’t exist either. This means that every action we do is indeed a reaction, but we are not mere creatures of reaction, simply self-aware units of the whole process, but not separate from the whole. The Universe then, is the only thing that both acts and reacts. It is like one wave telling another wave, “you’re just a creature of reaction”. The other wave says, “maybe, but I am also the whole ocean”.


Are you familiar with "metaxu" as introduced by Plato? Simone Weil describes it well. From Wiki:
The concept of metaxu, which Weil borrowed from Plato, is that which both separates and connects (e.g., as a wall separates two prisoners but can be used to tap messages). This idea of connecting distance was of the first importance for Weil's understanding of the created realm. The world as a whole, along with any of its components, including our physical bodies, are to be regarded as serving the same function for us in relation to God that a blind man's stick serves for him in relation to the world about him. They do not afford direct insight, but can be used experimentally to bring the mind into practical contact with reality. This metaphor allows any absence to be interpreted as a presence, and is a further component in Weil's theodicy.
We live at this level of separation that has the potential to indicate a level of reality that reconciles separateness if we learn how to experience it. I'm going to try to build on that soon as we explore the potential role of atheism in society. But to begin with, how does Simone's remark resonate with you. I don't believe it would be favorable but do you think it is detrimental?
"The combination of these two facts – the longing in the depth of the heart for absolute good, and the power, though only latent, of directing attention and love to a reality beyond the world and of receiving good from it – constitutes a link which attaches every man without exception to that other reality. Whoever recognizes that reality recognizes that link. Because of it, he holds every human being without any exception as something sacred to which he is bound to show respect. This is the only possible motive for universal respect towards all human beings." Simone Weil “Draft for A Statement of Human Obligations” SIMONE WEIL, AN ANTHOLOGY ed. Sian Miles
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Thuse
Posts: 34
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 3:16 am

Post by Thuse » October 31st, 2009, 9:01 pm

Nick_A wrote:Hi Thuse
So now, on one level, the points are one point, and on another, they are two. It is incorrect to say they are either one or the other, both or neither. So, I simply say there is not-one and not-two – thus also unify and avoid the other relative extreme of monism/dualism (or monism/triunism if you like). This is my position.
I don't see how anything can be built upon your idea. For example, can involution and or evolution be explained from this perspective?
Absolutely.

I’ll use the example of Advaita Vedanta, the Nondual school of Hindu philosophy, just for ease’s sake.

The Advatain concept of involution/evolution is very similar to yours, only it is consciousness itself that is involving/evolving. So all Objects (including the Universe) are manifestations of consciousness, while all Subjects are in fact only one, “the” consciousness so to speak, experiencing itself through the body-mind organism. The Universe is, in a sense, an attempt by consciousness to “Know thyself” by manifesting itself as Objects so that it can know only what it is not – since it is the Subject. This is perhaps a parallel with your notion of macro vs. microcosm – the individual knows thyself and thus repeats this process on a smaller scale.

It’s obviously more complicated than that, but this is just the gist of how involution/evolution as you see it is interpreted by some Nondual schools. This great and short video is much better at elucidating the basic idea than myself, and in a cool way too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwyuQbIb0Xs

So, in that sense the notion of involution vs. evolution could easily be compatible, as an example.
I would agree that the same laws for mechanical existence are the same as for a conscious existence. The importance is that man has the potential to be more then a reactive creature asleep in Plato's cave and participate in a higher form of meaning and purpose our heart is called to but our conditioning rejects.
I simply think it seems you are at war with your conditioning, thus you create inner conflict. No matter how hard we try, conflict cannot give rise to peace. Rather than continue debating the differences, let me assume your position.

In Weil’s view, which you seem to agree with, the Universe is a manifestation of god’s love. Which means you are a manifestation of love too. Therefore, it may be possible in this interpretation, that, upon realisation that your original nature was love, no effort is needed to return to that. If you fully understand your true nature to be love, then there cannot be any struggle in living that way, and everything you do will be an act of love, since everything you do is an expression of self. Perhaps the struggle with conditioning comes only because you haven’t fully acknowledged your own nature. It takes effort not to remove conditioning, but to maintain it. Upon recognition that you are not your conditioning, it will surely cease to have any effect on you and your way of life. If you are love, then acting with love should be effortless and that which involves effort is not your self.
The Absolute being outside time and space doesn't exist but rather "IS."
If so, then you can say nothing of it whatsoever, including that it “IS”.
This is why Meister Eckhart distinguishes between the Godhead outside of time and space and God within
Godhead to Eckhart was as you say the non-knowable Absolute beyond time, space and concepts.

However, “God” in contrast to the “Godhead”, was not the “God within” at all, but man’s (false) conception of the Godhead. God in this sense is false, an invention of man in an attempt to conceptualised that which is not conceptualisable.

Often, Eckhart will use the term “God” in his writings to actually refer to the Godhead, in fact most of the time he does this, including when referencing the “God within”. This causes a lot of confusion with those less familiar with his works and terminology.
Take this idea and add it to your quote “Simple people imagine they should see god, as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one.”
As above, you have misinterpreted Eckhart. This is a common misinterpretation. In the quote he is describing a thought process in which he realises the notion of a creator god is unworthy of praise and, in fact, an invention of man.
God in time and space is the inner unity of the three forces that can divide and manifest creation. Whenever I've read your quote it is followed by 'in knowledge.' The knowledge of inner unity is ONE. They only differ in scale.
Okay, well Eckhart didn’t agree with this in any case.
“ When the Father begets the Son, He gives Him all His nature and essence; in this giving the Holy Spirit proceeds.” Meister Eckhart
This is a description of the essential levels of reality which are connected by the Spirit. They are ONE in inner unity but different in their levels of inclusion. I can only ponder these ideas from a triune perspective. You may call it duality but for me the three forces within the vertical line of being requires triune conceptions. so we have to agree to disagree.
It isn’t simply disagreement. It’s not like we are arguing over “who is better, Beethoven or Mozart?”, which would be down to opinion. “Duality” is a word defined a certain way, within which is included your conception of a “triune”. If you call a “duck” and “ostrich”, you are simply wrong, it is not a matter of conjecture. If you choose to continue believing something mistakenly simply because you don’t want to acknowledge the truth, then so be it, but it shows you may not be so “awakened” as you wish to convince yourself. Surely, it is not a good thing to be asleep, let alone willingly.

As a side note, in the quote you reference, the “Son” is man, not Jesus. The notion of Jesus as the one and only son is considered by Eckhart a metaphor, and it is this metaphor he is referencing in your quote. The Holy Spirit refers to the common nature between the two (man and the Father). So it is not analogous to your “triune” perspective. It is unwise to use quotes out of context.
So, Eckhart sees no absolute difference between man and god, nor anything else. Separation does not exist in a higher understanding, according to Eckhart.
If Mesiter Echart describes the Father Son relationship from a triune perspective, why deny the Son Man relationship. It is the same but just lower in scale on the vertical line of Being.
Meister Eckhart doesn’t describe it as a “triune” relationship, though. You have misunderstood him. I suggest actually reading some of his works, rather than quoting things totally out of context retrieved from the Internet, and you will see this.
So, yes, all these things are, I believe, referring to the same conception, absolutely. But one of the most significant aspects of this conception, non-separation, is lacking from your model. What’s so bad about being one with everything? ☺
There is nothing bad about it. I just don't see how it explains either evolution or involution.
See above.
For example assume the progression of the numbers 1 through 9. All of a sudden it clicks into a higher reality beginning with ten within which 1-9 exist. This is basically man's cosmological potential. Mechanical evolution leads to 9. then under the right cirumstances, it can lead to 10 or lowest level of conscious being: a higher level of relity. This is why Jesus said John the Baptist was the highest born of woman but lower then the lowest in heaven.
All of this is purely conceptual. What good is it? It is simply a description, and thus useless, if your interest is in the described.
If, in the beginning, there was only objectless-consciousness, then in what sense was there a god, if there were no-things (objects)? Also, how can anything “is” if the contents of existence and nonexistence had not yet come into being?
“ The beginning, in which God created heaven and earth, is the primary simple now of eternity ... exactly the same 'now', where Himself exists eternally, where also the progress of the divine persons [of the Trinity] eternally was, is, and will be.” Meister Eckhart
The Absolute IS the consciousness outside of time and space within which potential is present. Creation is the beginning of time and space and contents of consciousness. But it continually exists in NOW. Time and space exist within NOW.
Again, this is a total and, I have to say, fairly obvious misuse of Eckhart. He literally meant nothing like you take him to mean.

You have misunderstood my point. If the Absolute is without Objects, then it is without concepts, and without duality. It cannot, therefore, be described as “IS”, “having potential” or any of the other qualities that you are attributing to it. By giving it labels, including the label “the Absolute”, it is no longer the Absolute.

By naming it, you are professing to know it. By professing to know it, you must, therefore, not know it. (Knowledge is of things i.e. Objects.)
Which is an incredibly patronising and condescending thing to say. Perhaps I should follow suit. I was a theist just like yourself once and was exactly where you are now. I feel my atheism now is an evolution, a progression, not a lack of something you have.
If you believe it, why not say it? Why should it be patronizing?
Exactly. I wasn’t criticising you for honesty – just as I believe it patronising, so I said so.
Levels of reality appeal to me both intellectually and emotionally. Cosmology explaining the meaning and purpose of Man answers questions for me nothing else has been able to do.
Then your motives are not to seek truth, but satisfy your emotions and intellect. You are, then, under their control. Not a good start if you wish to “remove conditioning”.
If the Cave analogy holds true it means that those willing to persecute the person having experienced the light of metanoia were missing something. This seems rather basic.
Oh, please, I am not persecuting you, Weil or anyone else.

I have tried to show and argue, in my opinion, that your thinking is confused, that your ideas entail contradictions, that you have misunderstood Christ, Buddhism, the Buddha, Kabbalah, Taoism, Dualism, Panentheism, Eckhart, Weil and some others, that you speak of much of which you have no experience of yourself, that the majority of your information comes from what you have read/been told and not worked out yourself and that your arrogant and resistant responses to being faced with these things has promoted an intense reaction of extreme, irrational denial.

But I haven’t called you names, I haven’t ignored you, I haven’t disrespected you, I haven’t mocked you, I haven’t nailed you to a cross and I certainly haven’t “persecuted” you. If you believe that my assimilation and alleged refutation of your argument is equivalent to persecution then, trust me, you don’t know persecution. You can keep your self-declared martydom to yourself.
I'm not trying to put anyone down but just feel the need to get to the bottom of it so must consider possibilities.
Perhaps, but you claim you are much more holy and awakened than everybody else, therefore you are right. You may not try to put others down, but you do try to raise yourself to an elevated 'untouchable' position – which has an equal and opposite reaction.

None of the significant mystics ever claimed they were more awakened/pure than anyone else. Their primary interest, in fact, was in restating their ignorance and trying to facilitate the cessation of suffering for others. One of your primary interests, conversely, has been in restating how much you know and how ignorant everybody else is. This is an interesting observation, no?
You are making the mistake that I, as an atheist, am sort of “below” you in that I don’t accept certain aspects of existence. However, this is not the case, even if I am wrong. I do not deny your vertical directions, merely see them from a different perspective, as a model that allows you to try to grasp and try to understand reality intellectually. Reality however, is not made of vertical levels, nor is it not made of vertical levels, it simply is.
A lot of atheists I've conversed with on the net seem to feel the same that someone professing a belief in a quality of consciousness beyond our own is somehow calling another wrong.
Come on now, that is not what I said at all. It is as though you are purposely misrepresenting me.

You are consistently suggesting that my understanding is of a lower class than your own without ever offering any argument as to why but simply restating your beliefs over and over and over, which is an incredibly foolish and inane position to start from.

This has absolutely nothing to do with you “professing a quality of consciousness beyond our own” whatsoever. Everybody, including me, is doing that. This has to do with the structure of and attachment to your conceptualisations.
Well if we are both in Plato's cave we just have different expressions of "wrong." What good does it do to call each other wrong for those in search of "understanding?" What good is one idiot calling another idiot and idiot? The question is how to deal with our idiocy.
I am not calling you “wrong” or an “idiot”. I am saying that, as I have tried to argue, your ideas are confused, contradictory and inherently false. The ideas, not you, are false. Your fake humility is nonsensical. You have a kind of “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others, namely me and anyone who agrees with me” attitude to things. You are thoroughly lost in your own mind, so it seems to me.
You don't appreciate levels of reality and yet to me they explain everything.
I responded to exactly this in my last post. Why must you insist on falsely representing what I say? Why are you so eager to hide behind falsity? What are you hiding from?

I do “appreciate” levels of reality, in the sense that they are mere attempts to describe reality, which is beyond description. The description “there are not levels of reality” is equally false, along with all others.
At one time I thought that the world didn't make any sense. Once I became familiar with levels of reality it became clear that the world has to be as it is and could not be different. How can I not value such experiences?
I simply think you should be more broad in your examinations.

You could say, instead, that just as one time the world seemed one way, it now seems another, which may eventually become another. When you were 5 years old, the world makes perfect sense, but now you understand it very differently. This line of reasoning “it makes sense to me right now” is great if that is all you want - for things to seem like they make sense for now. If you want truth, if you want reality, if you want to know what its all about, then these are useless ideas.

Let’s say, tomorrow, Jesus appears to you and says, “hey Alex_A, you are the chosen one, everything you think is right, bravo, now go save the world” then he vanishes. How do you know you were not hallucinating? How do you know someone didn’t spike your milkshake? How do you know it wasn’t the devil in disguise? You don’t, you can’t, and therefore, it is a worthless experience. Truth is that which cannot be doubted. I can doubt your levels, so can you, therefore, they are not Truth.

Here’s a great story from Jiddu Krishnamurti that reflects my own views:
You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket.

The friend said to the devil, "What did that man pick up?"

"He picked up a piece of Truth," said the devil.

"That is a very bad business for you, then," said his friend.

"Oh, not at all," the devil replied, "I am going to let him organize it."
Are you familiar with "metaxu" as introduced by Plato?
Yes.
The concept of metaxu...
We live at this level of separation that has the potential to indicate a level of reality that reconciles separateness if we learn how to experience it.
I think this is one of the more interesting things Weil has said. It is unfortunate, in my view, that she did not take things further.

Again, predictably, I would note that separateness is a conceptual phenomenon, not an objective one. It can be demonstrated reasonably, logically and, now, empirically/scientifically, that separation does not exist objectively. Therefore, intrinsic separation is an illusion, and just like a magic trick, it can only be dispelled when one is aware of the fact that it is illusion and was never real to begin with.

Although, perhaps like a magic trick, some are more content suspending disbelief and pretending it real. Such is the nature of the game.
I don't believe it would be favorable but do you think it is detrimental?

*snip Weil quote*
Admittedly, it seems harmless. The problem is that Weil is unmistakably demonstrating a fairly early stage, novice-like understanding of basic mystical ideas; as such, it is only detrimental in that she is taking them to be the ‘be all and end all’. It was not seemingly in her nature to be humble towards her own thoughts; had she been, I believe she may have gone further in her thinking to a more positive outcome.

Unfortunately, it was, then, arrogance, even if subtle, that clouded her views – as such, views born out of egoic tendencies, however appealing they may at first appear, cannot have a positive result, as is shown by deeper examination.

Moreover, her claim that this is “the only possible motive for universal respect” is so, so obviously false. She must conclude that anyone who doesn’t agree with her cannot have Universal respect, which is totally ridiculous, there are hoardes of people with universal respect who do not share her views– e.g. Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, other Christians, Mystics in general, Atheists etc. etc. There are literally hundreds of possibilities where this is not the case, therefore, she is so blatantly mistaken. There are other problems with this view, but this is already enough to disregard it anyway.

This is the kind of obviously wrong thinking is exactly why something like this could be detrimental. Those who follow Weil’s every word, thinking her the genuine article, may be so blinded as to not see even a flaw so clear as this. If so, they would have never realised Weil was not infallible and could be doubted, and would have never uncovered a reason to doubt everything else she had said that they could not infer from their own experience. This is obviously a detrimental conclusion.

The problem then is not with anything superficial – on the surface, Weil’s view here is fairly harmless. It is simply that when one falsely believes themselves to have gained significant “mystical” wisdom, when it is clear they have not, what they espouse from then onwards is necessarily limited and egoic and simply creates more attachment and suffering. That is just how it goes.

There is a saying with regards to mysticism: “when you reach the top of the mountain, keep climbing”. Unfortunately, Weil did not keep climbing, nor is it clear as to what extent he actually began at all. Not doubting herself and not reminding herself of her own humility, she created an idea that, while it may seem to be non-offensive, could quickly spiral into negativity, having been generated from the ego alone.

Peace,

Thuse

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