• BrianW
    773
    A few days ago, my friends and I were discussing cosmic stuff, from planets to stars to galaxies, etc. And we were quite impressed by neutron stars and black holes and kind of lost ourselves in our amazement. Anyway, at some point, my daughter (almost 8 yrs) came and asked why we were talking of stars being as big or bigger than the sun.
    So, I figured I could just tell her that all stars were as big or bigger than the sun and that they looked small because objects seemed smaller in the distance. And I also told her that from those distant suns, our sun looked just as a star. As expected, it was easy enough a concept to accept. However, later on I realised that she had regressed to the sun, moon and stars theory. For her, all I said was just that, something said. Because she didn't know how to apply that information, she had reverted to the reference which had utility in her life, and that was - in the sky there is the sun, moon and stars and the sun was big while the stars were small.

    Later on, during my spiritual studies (to my circle of friends, I represent myself as being spiritual instead of religious), I had an epiphany - That, the reason people don't accept spiritual teachings is because there are no efforts to translate the meanings and values into day to day language and value. For example, "the love of money is the root of all evil" is often taken by many to mean that money is evil or it inspires evil acts. But, if it were given a more logical translation and explanation, then perhaps there would be no such misunderstanding.

    Another shortcoming is preparation. For example, my almost 8 yr old is not ready to comprehend cosmic science even in the basic form in which I understand it (I'm not a physicist or an astronomer). In that same way, most people are not in a position to understand spiritual teachings because they have no foundation in it, yet. They don't know what spiritual teachings really are, and what value or significance they have or are expected to have. Because of this, they compare spiritual teachings with the other classes of knowledge they have e.g. science. Suppose art, like painting or sculpting, had the same expectations? The fact that artists relay the value and significance of their art, makes it acceptable when we see a painting sell for hundreds of millions of dollars even when it seems insignificant to others. Scientifically, it is easy to replicate the Mona Lisa. However, it is nigh impossible to replicate its significance. It's the same with spiritual teachings - they are a different class or type of knowledge and should be treated as such.

    So, what happens to those who have no way of comprehending spiritual teachings? They choose to use the point of last reference which they have. This is what I usually call regressing to the "earth is the centre of the universe theory." If we have learned anything in the past four to five hundred years, it's that we are not as significant in the larger/universal scale as we thought. Our beloved planet is not even the centre of the solar system - deal with that! And while most have accepted it, they still don't know what that information implies. Allow me to highlight a few implications of recent developments in our human understanding:

    • our current situation is not ultimate - there will always be room for improvement. It's just a matter of time before most of the social or cultural practices of the previous two millennia become impractical (useless). When we invent AI, when we regenerate body organs, when we commercialize space travel, when we colonize another planet, etc, etc (because we're working towards that), then the past connections (old cultures, beliefs, etc) that we hold on to will break instantly (burst like bubbles).
    • there is a collective mind, spirit or consciousness which manifests when a group of people act in harmony and unity with one another. There are a lot of loud mouths about how consciousness, mind or spirit don't exist, but the fact of human life is that terms like 'human spirit' or 'team spirit' means something. So instead of fighting against meaning we don't understand, how about we work to understand the values of those terms in our life activities.
    • True understanding is when the what and how is accompanied by the why. For example, understanding the psyche is more significant than understanding the brain - knowing the physical mechanics taking place in the brain during an emotional response is less significant than knowing what conditions trigger the emotional responses and why they do so - with reference to emotional control. This is also why the esoteric teachings are much better at teaching self-control than science has been so far.
    • Life is evolving. To most people evolution often means something that happened a long time ago and will happen in the future. Or, if it is current, then it only occurs in very minute levels of life. However, according to spiritual teachings, evolution has never stopped happening. Not only through ideas like reincarnation, but also in the actual real-time development of the society. Our interactions are evolving, our genetic material are evolving, our political situations are evolving, our society goals and structures are evolving, etc. They may look like they're being refined or like they're being adapted, but that is the basic movement of evolution (remember the climb to the summit of the mountain is not a single jump, it takes many steps along some winding and some vertical paths).
    • Our cosmic environment has opened up exponentially. The idea that we (earth organisms) are the only life-forms in the universe is so ridiculous that our intuition is rushing to fill in the gaps left behind by our cultural ignorance. This is why we are generating so many theories on extraterrestrials, space-time travel, super-powered life phenomena, etc. We're basically attempting to reprogramme our common-sense.

    So, what is the purpose of spirituality?

    From my perspective, it is to teach us that the earth is not the centre of the universe, but it is a part of that universe and with its own unique role to play. Also, to teach us that humans are not the acme of life but are a part of it and with their own unique role to play. Spirituality is about understanding how the small pictures (the individual, the community, the human society) blends into the larger picture (the greater unity), and the activities which facilitate that integration.
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    295
    For example, "the love of money is the root of all evil" is often taken by many to mean that money is evil or it inspires evil acts. But, if it were given a more logical translation and explanation, then perhaps there would be no such misunderstanding.BrianW

    Care to give us your logical translation, as money is indeed the root of all evil, when you concider that it means wealth and sustenance, which is what we compete for which is the root of all human to hunman evil.

    Or is that what you meant by a logical and reasoned explanation?

    They don't know what spiritual teachings really are, and what value or significance they have or are expected to have.BrianW

    What are spiritual teachings? Give a couple of examples please showing their value.

    they are a different class or type of knowledge and should be treated as such.BrianW

    Show what you mean with an example of two different classes of knowledge that are treated the same way.

    This is what I usually call regressing to the "earth is the centre of the universe theory."BrianW

    Spiritually, the earth is the center of the universe.

    You seem to be tying spiritual thinking to matter and this quote seems to say not to do so.

    John 6 ; 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    You use the larger bunch of matter, the universe, while ignoring that the earth can easily be seen as the center and most important part of the universe to us..

    So, what is the purpose of spirituality?

    From my perspective, it is to teach us that the earth is not the centre of the universe,
    BrianW

    My spirituality and religion, Gnostic Christianity, says that it is.

    Please allow me to get long winded on this.

    I wrote this to refute the false notion that Gnostic Christians do not like matter and reality that the inquisitors propagated to justify their many murders of my religions originators. It shows that Christians should actually hate matter and not Gnostic Christians.

    The Christian reality.
    1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    Gen 3; 17 Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
    -----------

    The Gnostic Christian reality.
    Gnostic Christian Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"
    "If those who attract you say, 'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you.
    If they say to you, 'It is under the earth,' then the fish of the sea will precede you.
    Rather, the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you.
    [Those who] become acquainted with [themselves] will find it; [and when you] become acquainted with yourselves, [you will understand that] it is you who are the sons of the living Father.
    But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."

    As you can see from that quote, if we see God's kingdom all around us and inside of us, we cannot think that the world is anything but evolving perfection. Most just don't see it and live in poverty. Let me try to make you see the world the way I do.

    Here is a mind exercise. Tell me what you see when you look around. The best that can possibly be, given our past history, or an ugly and imperfect world?

    Candide.
    "It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.”

    That means that we live in the best of all possible worlds, because it is the only possible world, given all the conditions at hand and the history that got us here. That is an irrefutable statement given entropy and the anthropic principle.

    Regards
    DL
  • BrianW
    773
    You seem to be tying spiritual thinking to matter...Gnostic Christian Bishop

    This is the point of misunderstanding - I'm implying that the significance in materiality is derived from spirit hence "the love of money... " quote.

    "The love of money is the root of all evil," - What is the root of all evil? Not money but, it's the love of money.

    1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.Gnostic Christian Bishop

    In both cases love has the same significance. Love is the aspect which one identifies with. It is a connection, an influence, an attachment, a bond, etc, etc. In both cases, love directed to the wrong thing, love when not directed to the father (the source, creator, unity), is mistaken, it is wrong and sinful.
    When the embodiment of one's identity is directed towards bias (limited or relative aspects), then it is wrong or sinful. When it is directed towards the absolute (the father, God - the unity and harmony of everything) then it is righteous.

    It is people's weakness and lack of self-discipline (lack of cultivation of inner strength, laziness, lack of vigilance, etc) that makes them persist in ignorance, that makes them succumb to wayward thoughts and emotions, that makes them mistake individuality for selfishness, etc.
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    295
    it is wrong and sinful.BrianW

    Your brush is too wide and is defective to boot.

    Sin has a victim and you are ascribing the term of sin where there is no victim.

    Regards
    DL
  • BrianW
    773
    Sin has a victim and you are ascribing the term of sin where there is no victim.Gnostic Christian Bishop

    Depends on the perspective you use to refer to victim. We can even be victims of our own misguided endeavours. Therefore just by being a participant in sin, we are already victims.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    So, what is the purpose of spirituality?BrianW

    From volatile compounds called spirits to ghosts to the reigning zeitgeist of a social movement to monks and nuns at prayer to the Eucharist to people who are vaguely spiritual to the Dalai Lama to God, to devout Lutherans and Zoroastrians, and more, "spirit" has many meanings and rhetorical uses. I don't know whether it "has a purpose" or "just is". I suspect more the latter. There is something about the world that is "spirit" and I will not attempt naming it.

    I don't put "spirit" and "matter" in opposition.

    Radix malorum est cupiditas. Cupidity, or greed for money or gold or... is the root of all evil. (Timothy 6:10). Ordinary people typically do not suffer from cupidity. They have to work hard to get the money they need to live, and they aren't in love with money. But, yes, some people do love money, or riches in some other form--maybe real estate, maybe status, that sort of thing.

    "It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.”Gnostic Christian Bishop

    "Objection: What about snakes?" (Bernstein: Candide)

    We may be the only lively planet. Maybe we are the only intelligent beings. Maybe our planet is one of millions, maybe we are one of many sentient species. Either way, it's amazing.

    There are not many science fiction novels that deal with spirituality in any depth. There are a few. Presumably whatever spirit infuses this world, infuses the cosmos. It seems plain enough to me that this species is not going to experience the distant music of the spheres, it's spiritual nature. All the more reason for us to take note of spirit here.

    I don't believe for a minute that many of the people who CLAIM to be spiritual are. It isn't that they are cardboard materialists. It's just that "spirituality" that has no form, no substance, no pattern, no antecedents, no consequences, but is just that vague thing, probably is an empty claim. When some dweeb blithely rejects religion on the grounds "I don't believe in religion -- I'm spiritual" I think they are full of stool. On closer examination one often finds that they have no idea what they mean. There is a lot to be said for formal religion -- and against it. I've said a good deal for and against The Church. But at least serious religion can give some understanding of spirituality to the people that will later scorn the church.
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    295
    Depends on the perspective you use to refer to victim. We can even be victims of our own misguided endeavours. Therefore just by being a participant in sin, we are already victims.BrianW

    Indeed. That is my perspective. The correct one.

    Are you not quick to forgive yourself? I am. I love myself as I love you. I can also love my god while you cannot.

    IOW. I cannot victimize myself as all acts against myself are voluntary as we are all independent and free entities. You are your controller as I am mine. As you stated, it is your own misguided endeavour. Forgive yourself by recognizing that we are always doing the best we all can with what we have been given.

    This universalist view is what Jesus had. You should try to adopt it.

    Regards
    DL
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    295
    it's amazing.Bitter Crank

    I agree.

    this species is not going to experience the distant music of the spheres, it's spiritual nature.Bitter Crank

    You are just not hearing well as statistics will embarrass you.

    Too much of the rest of your rant is unworthy.

    Humankind is the center of human existence. Being tribal, we live vicariously through the music makers and share their spirit.

    Regards
    DL
  • Izat So
    84
    Nice OP. But are you an ontological dualist or just think we need to look at the bigger picture?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    You are just not hearing well as statistics will embarrass you.

    Too much of the rest of your rant is unworthy.
    Gnostic Christian Bishop

    Wait a minute, wait a minute... to what are you objecting? What rant?

    I'm not knocking "spirituality". What I was knocking was the claim of "spirituality" which doesn't seem to have anything behind it. As far as not going to the stars -- I'm not against it; I just don't think it is likely, given the physics required to do so.

    Humankind is the center of human existence. Being tribal, we live vicariously through the music makers and share their spirit.Gnostic Christian Bishop

    "Man is the measure of all things." I don't have a problem with that.
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    295
    "Man is the measure of all things." I don't have a problem with that.Bitter Crank

    We agree on some things. Nice.

    Regards
    DL
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