Will the Real Reality Please Stand Up?
Could Copithorne possibly be correct? This is one of the reasons I generally do not respond to critics. Even when the critic seems to be an otherwise intelligent and articulate individual, the problem is, we are usually dealing with two very different realities. The best I can do is delineate our differences as sharply as possible and say “here is an example of someone who literally lives in a different reality than I do.” I won’t even speculate as to the reasons why.
As for Copithorne, he believes he does have the answer for why our realities are so irreconcilable. That is, I am not actually conversant with reality. Rather, what I call "the left" is simply “a projection” of my own “disowned super-ego.” In Freud’s system, the superego is a construct that describes the internalization of parental values. How this figures into my perception of the left, Copithorne does not say, but I invite him to do so. I suppose it means that when I talk about the left I’m really talking about my father. Anything is possible, but I confess to not seeing the family resemblance at all.
Perhaps he was talking about Melanie Klein’s developmentally earlier conception of the pre-oedipal superego, in which case I might conceivably be projecting the “bad breast” into the left. But if I project anything into the left, it is the infantile mouth in search of a bounteous governmental breast, so that doesn't really work either.
Copithorne also disagrees with my shallow new-age, “Thomas Moore” theological blathering. He offers a sharp and unambiguous corrective, assuring me that In every theological tradition, the soul is understood as unconditioned. It does not get sick.
This is an interesting view, and I must again confess to never having encountered it, despite the fact that I have never read Thomas Moore. I don’t quite know what to make of it, because if it is true, it runs counter to all of my understanding and experience. In my view, only God is by definition unconditioned. As a Christian Vedantist, I believe that in our deepest ground we are Atman, and that Atman and Brahman are “not two.”
But the Atman is not the personal soul, which is of course conditioned. Otherwise, all souls are identical, all souls are God, and there is no reality separate from God, which strikes me as a profound misunderstanding--an intrinsic heresy. Yes, on some level we are not-two with God, but it does our soul no good whatsover to say that we are God until we realize the extent to which we are not God.
In my reality--which is different from Copithorne’s reality--the entire purpose of any religious practice is to purify and elevate the soul. In other words, we are not perfect as we are. Far from it. This, in fact, is one of the divides between left and right. The left generally believes that man is basically good and that society is therefore perfectible.
Evolutionary traditionalists such as myself believe that human beings are neutral at best, but probably inclined to evil in their spiritually untutored, "horizontal" state. Our souls are anything but “unconditionally perfect” and not subject to purification, purgation, illumination, and growth. Orthodox Vedanta specifically holds that the soul incarnates in order to undergo evolution and growth. Orthodox Christianity maintains that the ultimate purpose of our existence is to undergo theosis, or the divinization of the soul. God became human so that humans might become God; likewise, Brahman becomes maya so that maya might become Brahman.
I honestly don’t know where the contrary theological idea comes from. I always assumed that it was one of those wacky new-age deviations with which I constantly do battle, but Copithorne comes along and informs me that I am actually a member of the new age Thomas Moore school of theology.
Confusing. Again, all I can do is clarify our differences as sharply as possible and concede that we do indeed live in two different realities. However, I must insist that only one of these realities is the real one. Even I am not that much of a new age liberal.
Don't miss this insensitive and celebratory video. Woo hoo!
Oh the Zarqman
Has no teeth, dear
'Cause we blew them
Clean outta' sight
And no virgins
Has old Musab now
And his walkin'
Just don't look right