Sunday, February 26, 2006

On Seeing the Depth of the Cosmos With Your Own Three Eyes

Psychologists don't actually know much about consciousness. However, one thing we do know--or should know, anyway--is that it is not a bag. And yet, in thinking about the nature of consciousness, this seems to be the default setting of most psychologists--as if consciousness is a sort of empty container where mental events take place and are stored. In many respects, this is simply a projection--"injection," actually--and reification of our perception of three dimensional space. But it's the other way around. Three dimensional space is a projection of the mind.

In many ways, human psychological development can be thought of as a conquest of dimensionality. (Don’t get bogged down in a literal understanding here--this is a mental exercise to facilitate understanding.) For example, the psychotic mind inhabits a "zero dimension" of pure mathematical symmetry. It is a world of infinite meaninglessness, with no floor or center, just a roiling panorama of catastrophic, uncategorizable novelty. Symbols are equivalent to what they symbolize and the terror is endless, because there is nothing to contain it.

The autistic mind may be thought of as one-dimensional. It knows no depth, only points of sensory contact with objects that are known by their feel and texture--hard, soft, rough, smooth. For them, a communicative expression does not emerge from the human face. Rather, it is simply a bizarre collection of disconnected points--a nose here, an eye there, a curved mouth down there. The points are not synthesized into an internal representation of the emotional depth or interior of the other. The psychologist Frances Tustin wrote about how autistic defenses can operate in neurotic adults as well, for example, in certain repetitive rituals such as "rocking." These rituals help to contain an anxiously fragmented mind by focusing on some limited sensory perception. Without it, the mind might slip into the terrifying chaos of zero dimensions.

Once we reach two dimensions, we are in the realm of something more recognizably human. This was called by Melanie Klein the "paranoid schizoid position," and more people inhabit it than you might realize. It is the world of extreme, forced splitting into diametrically opposed emotional categories of good and bad. This type of two-dimensional thinking pervades the Islamic world.

For example, just yesterday there was a link on LGF to a transcript on Memri.org of a film seminar on Iranian TV by Professor Hasan Bolkhari, entitled "Tom and Jerry - A Jewish Conspiracy to Improve the Image of Mice, because Jews Were Termed 'Dirty Mice' in Europe." This man is a "professor," and yet, his mind clearly does not operate like yours or mine. Rather, it is simply a caricature of depth, when it is actually operating in the two-dimensional world of extreme splitting.

The professor soberly discourses on how "the Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame" with their Tom and Jerry cartoon (for the record, a Hanna Barbera creation). He goes on to suggest that the main motivation "for making this very appealing cartoon was to erase a certain derogatory term that was prevalent in Europe." That is, "If you study European history, you will see who was the main power to hoard money and wealth.... In most cases, it is the Jews. Perhaps that was one of the reasons which caused Hitler to begin the anti-Semitic trend... "

In his two dimensional mind, the Professor observes that "No ethnic group or people operates in such a clandestine manner as the Jews." In fact, "This ultimately led to Hitler's hatred and resentment." Therefore, in nazi Germany, "Jews were degraded and termed 'dirty mice'," so Tom and Jerry had to be made "in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice."

Obviously, this type of two-dimensional thinking is not confined to the Muslim world. In America we have many of our own two-dimensional professors, such as Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, and Juan Cole. Their minds are like utterly predictable calculating machines. Whatever data you put into them, they spit out the same results: U.S. bad, everyone else good.

Only with the emergence of the transitional space proper are we dealing with the creative use of three-dimensional psychological space. This is the imaginal space that emerges between an infant and his or her loving caretakers. But this creative and dynamic space is often hijacked and reduced to two dimensions as a result of the malign imagination of internalized mind parasites.

The fourth dimension adds time to the mix. This is called the "depressive position," a term of art that does not imply clinical depression per se, but the capacity to form stable relationships that endure through time. One of the reasons it is “depressive” is that it involves transcending the omnipotent psychological defenses of the lower dimensions. For example, a borderline patient is not in the depressive position. Rather, when they become angry at a loved one, they instantly convert the loved one into the category of all bad. Not only are they bad now, but they have always been, and always will be, bad. In a very real sense, time and history have been destroyed. The feeling creates the reality.

Perhaps you have noticed when you shift from one dimension to another. For example, depression clearly involves a loss of dimensionality. One of its most striking characteristics is that the world seems to lose a vital dimension of depth. Suddenly it is flat, lifeless, and devoid of the meaning that can only be located and experienced in the higher dimensions. Moreover, many psychological defense mechanisms operate by plunging the individual into a lower dimension. I call these “dimensional defenses." For example, there might well be unpleasant meanings and psychological realities located in the fourth dimension--indeed, there usually are. One way to avoid them is to descend into a lower dimension where those meanings cannot be located or "entertained."

I didn't mean for this to be a discourse on psychological development. For one things, these are my own theories, and I doubt if many psychologists would subscribe to them. But any way you look at it, this is as far as conventional psychology can take you--into the four-dimensional space of the depressive position. It's what most people would call "reality."

But neither internal nor external reality are limited to four dimensions. This is pure projection, an artifact of our evolved nervous systems. For example, if you could ask a worm how many dimensions there are in the world, they would undoubtedly say two. Ask a bacterium, and they'd probably say one. Ask most humans, and you get four.

But in my opinion, one of the things that spiritual development involves first and foremost is the ongoing conquest of dimensionality---of higher dimensional space. One way to think about it is that the conquest of each dimension brings with it a new degree of freedom. Think about that insane Iranian professor. How free is he really? In reality, he's free to move in only two directions: Muslim good, Jew evil. Same with Noam Chomsky, at least insofar as his mind touches on politics. His mind is free in only two directions. Conclusions are preordained. He's on a railroad track.

Now several of my readers have pointed out a useful analogy for spiritual experience, one that I myself have used in the past. That is, they compare it to those "Magic Eye" pictures, which look like a bunch of random two-dimensional dots until you relax your gaze, and suddenly a three dimensional object emerges from the page, floating there in the space before you.

Yes. This is an excellent analogy. Genuine spiritual insight involves dwelling in what appear to be meaningless clues, out of which suddenly emerges spiritual "vision." It is there. You "see" it. But that doesn't mean others will see it as well. For example, when I read the Book of Genesis, spiritual insight after insight tumble forth from the pages. But a two-, three- or four-dimensional scientific or religious literalist will simply see something concrete: somebody dividing light and dark or water and land. Some people walking around in a garden. A tree you're not supposed to touch. Etc.

In the past, I have touched on the idea of spiritual experience taking place on the shoreline between the infinite and the finite, between time and eternity. Consider the fact that we have two biological eyes or ears that are set slightly apart. Because each of the two organs has a slightly different vertex, we are able to see and hear stereoscopically or stereophonically. If you have only one good ear, you can't experience stereo, only mono.

Now, suppose we have a "third eye" or a "third ear." What would reality look like from that perspective? As a matter of fact, it is our "third eye" that sees into eternity. If you want, you can even think of it as a right-brain phenomena. That is, the left brain experiences things in sequence, while the right brain experiences them "all at once."

There is a way of living in which these two modes--the lower and higher eyes--harmoniously coexist to facilitate the emergence of additional dimensions of depth--of not being shipwrecked on the rocks of time, or of being lost in eternity, but somehow experiencing time in eternity and eternity within time.

I tried my best to capture this in my book. That is, if our perception of spatial depth comes from our integration of different points of view, depth may be thought of as a function of the number of perspectives that are integrated in an experience or perception. In my book, I tried to integrate as many points of view as possible--scientific, cosmological, biological, psychological, developmental, neurological, philosophical, spiritual, religious, mystical, etc.

I am hardly the only person who has had the experience of the deep unity that subtends--or supertends--the surface multiplicity of the world. As a matter of fact, it's more common than you think. I'm just trying to develop a language to talk about it. Just as we have Euclidean geometry to describe external space, we need to invent a geometry of higher dimensional spiritual space. It's one of the things I'm working on. So if my ideas appear half baked, that’s why. In reality, they’re more like 30-40% baked at this point.

21 Comments:

Blogger Dan Spomer said...

Your article immediately made me think of our interactions and friendships with others. Do we tend to group up with those who "see" on the same level? In other words, do two-dimensional folks tend to stick together, likewise for "threes" and "ones?"

Further, does it stand to reason that the the success of those relationships depend on being with those who "see" on the same level?

For example, I throughly enjoy the company of those who, while they don't necessarily see things the way I do, have the ability to see things the way I do. It's not the result that counts, it's the process.

Take a marriage, for instance: If the gal is stuck seeing in two dimensions while the hubby reaches onward and upward (searching the vertical), it seems to me that relationship would default back to "two" no matter the efforts of the hubby. Or vice versa. Regardless, the lowest common denominator would win.

I guess that would also explain why this Iranian "professor" and his ilk remain in power; even those in Iranian society yearning to search the vertical are doomed to remain in two dimensions. They resign themselves to that reality.

Or I could just be blathering away needlessly before I have my second cup of coffee. I dunno. Is there hope for me, doc? ;)

2/26/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dan--

Very interesting question.

Many, if not most so-called intellectuals inhabit what I would call "false" or conterfeit higher dimensional worlds. For this reason, I find being around them very dreary and taxing.

On the other hand, as I have mentioned before, I happily toiled as a common laborer, a retail clerk, for many years, from 1976-1988. I greatly enjoyed the company of those guys, even though there wasn't an intellectual in the lot of them.

But one could enjoy their comraderie in the uncomplicated way one enjoys being with a dog. I know that sounds demeaning, but it's not meant to be. It's actually high praise. There's something very refreshing in just being around uncomplicated but authentic guys with no agenda. I related to them much better than most of my current peers. They are the people liberals think they understand but don't have a clue about.

I dread having to go to various seminars to obtain my continuing education credits. For one thing, few experiences are more creepy than being in a room full of psychologists. Give me the old union hall any day.

But nowadays it is always a joy to meet with a fellow traveller on the path, whatever their tradition. Those are the people I really relate to now. In fact, if someone is not on a spiritual path, there's not that much to talk about. I don't consider them serious people or even good canine companions.

2/26/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahn the Road said...

I think I've learned more in truck stops and red state rural dive bars than I did in all my years of east coast higher education.

In my atheist libertarian days my friends and I would comment on how we just couldn't relate to people who believed in God - it was a completely different (and inferior, we thought) mindset. A far right-winger could easily maintain a friendship with an communist, just based on arguing about politics all day. Even self described believers would either just not talk about the subject, or make overly-intellectualized arguments for religion.

However, later on - living on the road - I would come across people who shook my perceptions by not only their moral grounding, but their ability to make matter of fact statements that would demonstrate a seemingly internal understanding of the types of issues I'd been reading about and debating for years to no end.

The turning point for me was 9-11, and the realization that, when it came to matters that were most important - like moral clarity - I suddenly found I could relate to these supposed 'simpletons' more than I could the moral relativists.

What also struck me was that I felt uncomfortable when my education would come up. I was afraid to come off as elitist. However, these people were generally comfortable with themselves and whatever their craft or background was.

I like Dan's observation on relating to people who have 'the ability' to see things as we do. Also, I see it as relating to people who can at least grasp where you come from. I feel that I can make the case for the political or religious beliefs of most of my friends - even if I disagree, I respect how and why they hold those views. Also, I'm confident enough in my own perspectives to understand those of others. Naturally, it would be difficult to be friends with someone who honestly thought I was 'evil' for my political views (of course, evil or fascist is fair game when it comes to good natured ribbing).

Perhaps part of who we allow ourselves to relate to is a defense mechanism. After all, a fair-minded, intelligent, Christian is a threat to someone who holds a bias based upon the media perception of mindless, bigoted Pat Robertson clones.

It was only after I had abandoned my preconceptions (in the wake of 9-11) and became serious in my search for truth that I could allow myself to see a Christian as anything but a caricature.

2/26/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Spomer said...

Y'know, the more I review what I posted, the more I realize I didn't explain it quite right. Perhaps it is worthless to even try.

Bob, I think you are correct in your argument that existing language makes it very difficult to convey what is such an essential part of each of us. How do we define, exactly, a "friend?" An "enemy?" A "partner?" A "soulmate?"

Kahn posted more clearly what I was trying to convey; "I feel that I can make the case for the political or religious beliefs of most of my friends - even if I disagree, I respect how and why they hold those views. Also, I'm confident enough in my own perspectives to understand those of others."

But even that doesn't quite do it. I am much closer (for lack of a better word) to some folks on one plane of understanding than I am others. And of those others, I find I am much closer to some of them on even other planes. Yet they are all my "friends." At least I think they are.

It seems to be a chessboard of infinite planes, levels, moves and understandings, and it seems so unfair to try and communicate those meanings in the context of this language.

Or something like that.

I'm glad I ordered your book, Bob. Can't wait 'til it arrives.

2/26/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"It seems to be a chessboard of infinite planes, levels, moves and understandings, and it seems so unfair to try and communicate those meanings in the context of this language."

--I think that's exactly it. Think of what happens when you try to represent a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional plane. A transformation occurs in which something vital is lost.

The mind exists in hyper-dimensional space. There's no doubt about that. In your dreams, for example, you have no problem with your self inhabiting two or more different characters in the dream simultaneously, or different times in your life taking place at the same moment.

So the dream narrative may be thought of as a four-dimensional transformation of hyper-dimensional consciousness.

That is why normal consciousness is full of all kinds of wormholes into other dimensions that are going on now. The spiritual dimension is one of those.

2/26/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous LookingGlass said...

For some reason reading this post made me think about people without a sense of Humor. It seems that people thinking in a "lower dimensional" way are almost always lacking in this area. Can the third eye open without it?

2/26/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wit is the quintessence of higher dimensional thinking: seeing the invisible links that bring two seemingly disparate dimensions together. Many Zen masters have have commented that satori is the joke beyond which there is no funnier.

And what did Jesus say? "My jokes are easy, my words enlight."

2/26/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger ZenGolfer said...

In continuing with Dan's line of thinking... My "3rd Eye" tells me that most people don't exist in just one dimension all of the time...

In fact, my wife will likely never join me in my attempts at verticality, yet I find it soothing at times to return to her level (while not trying to judge her or anyone else here) and simply exist without the effort of discovery...

I find it exceedingly difficult to find others that have the same desire to ascend to the vertical, which is why resources like this blog are so valuable to me... I don't expect to be "led" to the truth, but I do feel like I can always use the information I learn here to advance my own path to discovery...

2/26/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"my wife will likely never join me in my attempts at verticality"

--No golfing in the queendom, eh? It happens.

That's okay. That's what we're here for--your vertical friends.

2/26/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Spomer said...

To zengolfer:

Ditto.

Which, of course, makes the quest that much more difficult. Akin to running a race while dragging an anchor behind.

2/26/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

HMMM seems to be a theme emerging here with the spouses. I have a similar situation- my wife is a devout Buddhist. When we married I was of the opinion that all religions were pretty much the same, except Christianity which sucked. (I know...) I decided to take up practising Buddhism. It wasn't for me. Bob described it well when he said something to the effect that Buddhism was like a scientific technique. It left me cold.
For me, like for so many others, 9/11 was the dark epiphany that tore my whole moonbatty world view to pieces. Unfortunately, my wife came down with BDS. (Bush Derangement Syndrome)
She also retains a lot of "jesusphobia"- you know, that icky Sunday school feeling that drives so many people to become- well, Buddhists and stuff. The worst, in fact- the only full-on screaming rage she has ever thrown at me was over religion. Now I just avoid the subject with her. I'm trying to build a bridge or two having her read One Cosmos (Both book and blog) but I'm still really gun shy about the topic around her.
Myself, I've developed the Hunger. I recently went back and read the Gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke, and about half of John, plus a lot of just picking and poking though the new and old testaments. I keep getting this odd 'sterogram effect' from the text where there just seems to be some luminous depth glowing beneath the words.

Where this is going I do not know. But I feel the draw. Bit by bit I move toward it. As a final note-it's very good to stop by here and hear that others are going through similar stuff.

JWM

2/26/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Spomer said...

Seems like we've all been asked here for the same reason.

Anyone feeling like sculpting mashed potatoes into a mountain on the kitchen table?

2/26/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Bob, when you said, "if someone is not on a spiritual path, there's not that much to talk about. I don't consider them serious people or even good canine companions"

I just related sooooooooooooooo much to that! I don't mean this disrespectful at all to anyone out there reading this, but I tell ya, when an athiest tries to tell me something, and implies it's "the truth" about something, and I mean on any topic, I notice that their words just pass right through me. It's like standing in front of them watching their lips move and not hearing a sound of what they say. I finally figured out that it wasn't that I didn't think this person was trying to be genuine on who they wanted to be, it's just my spirit wasn't interested in their transparent words. It was like my spirit was having a "shut down" because basically to me, if this person couldn't see the "truth" in that God existed, then "their truth" on all things must be distorted. I don't mean that they couldn't be intelligent on any subject, I just mean that like you are talking about in this post today, that their truth is dimensionly limited. So why bother soaking it all in by openinng up and absorbing "their details"???? I know this doesn't make sense, but seriously, it's a real chore for me to sit with a person that openly admits they deny their maker because IMHO, it's a red flag sign that this person has given up on searching. They have made a decision to stop seeking for whatever reason and have in the process become spiritually paralyzed and I personally feel that when a person is willing to give up on themselves, they surely are not going to put much deep effort into you or anyone else when or if it is required.

I do however, get encouraged though in knowing that although they have given up...that God will never stop giving up on them to have a change of heart. Hope is a good thing and I pray that any stubborn heart will reach that moment of a humble beat, because I think what keeps so many from taking that leap of faith is their stubborn ego refuses to be humble first.

2/26/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

P.S. (I love that term "veritical friend)

Ha Ha, maybe there is a line of t-shirts or something in the future with 'Vertical Friends' on them hahahhahaa and BTW, does Horizontal Friend take on a whole new meaning now?

2/26/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger huskermet said...

Ok...new here to the Vertical Friends Network.

Bob makes some interesting analogies in terms of dimensions. I thought on this quite a bit, and I'd like to offer my own, and briefly.

All of the various lower dimensional thinking is like looking at a tapestry. You can see vertical threads, horizontal threads, or both, depending on where you are. But it's just a collection of threads.

When you push out with the Third Eye (my particular variety is Christianity) you see the whole for what it really is. It's almost like a new sense, and one you're not very good at using to its potential.

My re-conversion back into Christianity (started there, left, came back) happened at a place in my life where I was looking for a way to make sense of things. In essence I was looking for the bigger pattern in all the various threads of my reality. It was only by stepping backward (or forward, whatever) into a completely new context of my reality that everything just clicked into focus.

I think the key is that you can continue to step backward and continue to see more and more of the picture.

Hard to explain, but there it is.

2/26/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous kahn the Road said...

Liquid,

The 'problem' - so to speak - is that a person truly has to be touched in some way to be drawn into a real quest for the spiritual. Frankly, among those I know, I have more hope for my atheist friends than those who have held on to their childhood religions. An atheist is already on a rebellious path, and, give the right circumstance, has little wiggle-room to dodge an attack on their premises. Someone who goes to church and goes through the motions may be getting just enough spirit for their soul to subsist, so they don't have the huge void that is ever-present in an atheist.

Of course, when I started to peek behind the curtain I went running around trying to explain things to my atheist buddies - thinking my skeptic's credentials would be enough to convince them. Not so. I rarely talk about it any more, because it's pointless. As Bob has pointed out, these things cannot be taught or explained - they must be experienced first hand.

That's another reason it's such a challenge - because the more one grasps the truth the more they recognize the futility of trying to convey it to others who are not yet of that mindset. So, an atheist is emboldened because the believers most inclined to take the bait are the ones most likely to get tripped up by silly questions.

Back when I started college I loved debating the campus Christians - it made me feel smart ;) They were completely absurd. The best was how some of them would carry this card for a 1-800 number called Faith Facts or something. I'd corner them on some stupid question like "How come Moses lived for 700 years" and someone would triumphantly pull out the card, dial Faith Facts - at any hour - and an operator would give them a canned explanation!

"Oh, yeah! Well, because back then...uh huh...okay...yeah, in Biblical days they...what was that...oh, okay...they measured time differently!"

I mean, considering all that, how could I not have remained an atheist? It would be like going to a San Francisco moonbat parade and expecting to discover the rational for, say, the early labor movement.

2/26/2006 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Kahn, what do you mean by you have "more hope for" the athiest friends? Exaclty what comes after that? Hope for what???

2/27/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahn the Road said...

Liquid,

I only meant 'hope' in the sense of being open to experiencing some of what I feel privileged to have experienced. In the terms of dan's point re: friends with a 'vertical' mindset.

I've noticed that certain people (again, these are just some people I've happened to talk to - I'm not trying to generalize) of deep religious faith are satisfied in their tradition and may not need to see beyond the metaphors. Of course, they may reach a deeper spiritual experience than I ever will, but they'll never intellectualize it beyond, say, a literal faith in the image of Jesus.

I'm not saying that it's bad, but its different than, say, Bob consciously giving the name Petey to his 'intuition' or 'guide.'

So, when I say hope I mean that I see myself relating on a spiritual level with certain friends of mine who are atheists - in that they are already like minded and, given some time and circumstance, will see for themselves.

Kind of like how every close friend of mine eventually comes around to loving Bob Dylan - no matter how much they may hate him at first. ;)

2/27/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Can people who take a lot of naps join Vertical Friends?

2/27/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Okay Kahn, I only asked because I was just referring to your comment "Frankly, among those I know, I have more hope for my atheist friends than those who have held on to their childhood religions"

So basically what you were really saying is that you "relate" more to the mindset of your athiest friends ...ummm more than you do those friends that focus their faith on just "Jesus"????

Maybe I am still not getting what you mean, but to be honest, I have witnessed both in my life; those when growing up that were lucky enough to be blessed to have families and a spiritual structure via a church that was an extended family to them and that prayed for and with them in good times and bad and then I have witnessed those that grew up in an "athiest" family environment. I have to say, that as long as the "religion" wasn't something negative like Islam or some other cult that tore down their spirit instead of building it up, that the individuals that I observed that did have that positive "childhood religion" as you termed it as a foundation, really were very secure and better equipped individuals and IMHO and in my personal observation did much better during those difficult teenage years. It was very obvious that they were experiencing another dimension and that many of them were fine tuning it along the way during their growth as young adults. I have kept touch with many of them and I am not saying that misfortune or life hasn't been hard for some but they have handled it very well and kept their faith through it all. I don't know the individuals that you have encountered along the way, but have you ever read the book that the son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair wrote? I wouldn't wish that empty childhood on anyone!

Personally, I have never met a Christian that has said they have stopped growing spiritually. I have heard old preachers and elderly aged men of deep faith state that they need to still read more and that they need to pray more and they are continuely encouraging others around them to "stay in God's word" so from my observation, I think its a constant ongoing process of development and that the hunger never leaves us...just as we get fed physically and the hunger comes back...so does our spiritual hunger and need. Bob explained that here once in one of his post...that perhaps you can read one verse or chapter of the bible today and it will inspire you in a total different way than it did a month ago depending on what was going through your life at that time and I think people of deep faith do learn that pretty quickly as they continue to seek. To be honest with you, I think most people are always seeking even after they accept there is a God and that He is the final authority of all things because once you find God...it's time to get to work at the relationship. I think people are always seeking to be closer to His light and seek to have a closer relationship with their creator. Real love is that way. It never stops growing.

There is alot of mystery put before us, but IMHO, I think God wants us to want him and I truly believe that He wants to be in a constant relationship with us on every level of our lives.

As for athiesm, I think that it is much more than a rebellion. Pehaps not for the ones that are unsure in the beginning because there are some that call certain times in their lives an athiest phase or a type of agnostic uncertainty when they were unsure or questioning, and it prompted them to seek out the answers, but for those that have chosen it adamantly and that continue in it as a lifestyle or as their own "religion type belief system in believing that there is NO God" it's basically giving up spiritually. It's actually accepting to stop seeking. Oh sure they will argue and debate to get anyone or anything to prove that God exist, but thats because they are too lazy spiritually or have given up and want someone else to do the seeking for them. For some, what was their initial rebellion has hardened into an advanced stage of dark denial and yet it is their choice and it became their chosen lifestyle. We can only "hope" that they have a change of heart but in their end on this earth, it will be ultimately up to them to have "their choice" and although with the athiest choice comes the denial that they will be accountable one day for it...well, they will have an eternity to find out just as those that chose to believe the opposite did.

So I have to add here that I have never met an athiest that became enlightened in that God does exist ever say, "Oh I really cherish those "athiest years" ...quite to the contrary, they have told me that they wished they had humbled themselves a long time ago, because they felt they had wasted so much "spiritual" time and I understand that because I think we all feel that way on the horizontal and the vertical level. We all regret the things we have wasted such as relationships and time and our own potential.

2/27/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Re Kahn's distinction drawn in reference to those "...satisfied in their tradition who may not need to see beyond the metaphors. [Of course, they may reach a deeper spiritual experience than I ever will,] but they'll never intellectualize it beyond, say, a literal faith..."

The conundrum, reflected in various institutional splits, is addressed here from an intelligent conservative Catholic perpective.

As Kahn notes, assuming the material in my brackets is sincere, in the long run and the big picture, the priority given Individualistic Intellectualizing Seekerdom may not be decisively fruitful past a certain point. At any rate, like any other, it is a criterion worth testing past the claims of familiar habit, unexamined faith, or piety toward a particular cultural style.

2/28/2006 07:51:00 AM  

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