Friday, September 22, 2006

Will the Real Reality Please Stand Out?

It all comes down to the question of reality, doesn’t it? What is the real world?

There are three ways of obtaining information about the world and answering this question, 1) logic and empiricism (i.e., inductive and deductive reasoning), 2) revelation, and 3) intellection. The modern world--or most of its elites, anyway--has rejected the latter two categories, which I believe creates a false and misleading image of the world. Ultimately it is not a human world fit for humans, and yet, we are increasingly forced to live in it.

I used to scoff at those ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel who are supported by the state for spending all day poring over the Torah, as if the government should be involved in funding people’s private religious fantasies--as if they are doing something “important,” like embryo stem cell research or advances in queer theory.

I now realize that such individuals are much more in touch with reality than the materialistic scientist, because they are specifically exploring a human world, and the human world is more real than the material world. Please, this is not to exclude or belittle science in any way, only to emphasize that human beings have real spiritual needs that science can never meet. To reject spiritual knowledge is actually to reject mankind, to run away from what man actually is in his deepest being.

For example, love is a dimension of real knowledge, as is beauty. So too the sacred. None of these quintessentially human categories is detectable by the methods of science. When you explore the sacred or the holy--which is what those bullfighting Torahdors are trying to do--you are dealing with a legitimate realm of human knowledge. Furthermore, just as profane knowledge “feeds” the mind, spiritual knowledge is metabolized by another part of ourselves, the nous, the "psychic being," or the intellect properly so-called. Just as there are mathematical geniuses, there are spiritual geniuses who are simply in contact with a different world. The former may well know nothing of the latter, just as the latter may be ignorant of the former.

And the failure to acknowledge the two worlds can lead to real problems. Historically we are well aware of what happens when the spiritual world is taken as the only reality. No need to chronicle those problems here, for we are living through them in the form of our struggle against global jihad.

But do the jihadis have a point in their condemnation of the west’s rejection of the spiritual world in favor of a non-human material world? Yes, in some twisted sense they might have a point, but this hardly justifies their actions, and more importantly, mired as they are in their deeply infrarational sprituality, they have no idea how spiritual a country the United States actually is (half the country, anyway--we’re not talking about the metaphysical yahoos of the New York Times). In reality, it is the most spiritual country on earth, especially because we are talking about a mature spirituality that has been honed by its encounter with modernity and which traditionally placed scientific knowledge in a wider spiritual context. If you completely extricate scientific knowledge from a spiritual framework, you will eventually end up with something very nasty.

We are using the term “intellect” in its time-honored way, as that which allows the human being to distinguish between substance and accidents. Intellection is direct knowledge of reality, very much analogous to physical perception. If you see something with your eyes, no one will ask you to prove the existence of sight. But in our current anti-intellectual climate, if you perceive something equally vividly with the intellect, you will be asked to provide logical proof--itself a wholly illogical demand. In reality, only a deeper intellect can judge the claims of the intellect. And there is no rational basis whatsoever for determining who has the deeper intellect. It is only something we can know with our own awakened intellect.

I humbly and gratefully bow down before intellects wider and more penetrating than mine, but I surely won’t waste my time with someone who challenges my perceptions but whose own intellect is disabled or asleep. This is not arrogance, it is just common sense. I wouldn't debate the merits of a poem with someone who cannot appreciate poetry. But in our egalitarian world, we would like to believe that knowledge is an external “thing” that can be passed from mind to mind like an object. Sadly, much religious knowledge is regarded in just this manner--as if you can “know” it in the same way that you know any other subject.

But as I was at pains to point out in my book, religious knowledge is realized knowledge. That was the whole point of my admittedly preliminary attempt to develop an abstract system of empty symbols to describe the realm of spirit. There are so many religious “talkers” out there whose talk is precisely vacuous--it is literally empty, devoid of the experiential light that would give it real meaning.

The analogy with the mystery of music is fairly exact. Two highly schooled musicians can play the exact same thing.... No, let’s make it even more dramatic. A true master--say the jazz great Bill Evans--can say more with the suspended silence between his crystalline notes than most pianists can say in a musical lifetime. Have you not felt the ontological weight of a real spiritual presence in certain souls? Have you not heard the identical words uttered by others, now rendered weightless, frivolous, and slightly silly?

The latter type of person would be happy to go on national television and share their banal insights with a profane boob such as Larry King or Keith Olbermann. On the other hand, Petey would probably just stare in stunned disbelief after the first moronic question, knowing that no matter what he said, it would only be experienced as words, just like any other words. Petey would be pleased to commit career suicide on national TV, since he’s already "dead" anyway. Knowing him as I do, he would probably say something along the lines of, “I’m having trouble answering your question because I can’t remember what it was like to be so stupid, and thus provide an answer suitable to your reptilian brain.”

(You might have noticed that this is a common problem in debating liberals. As one advances into the real world, one forgets what it was like to be so foolish and naive. Which is why those who have recently left the fold of liberalism are its most able and energetic debaters. They remember why they believed the stupid things they did, and can thus provide reasons.)

Just as there are materialists who are nothing but empirical “factualists” in a self-created infrahuman world, there are pseudo-spiritual types who are what Schuon calls “realizationists.” This is one of the banes of the whole new age movement, which arrogantly tells people that they are too good for traditional religiosity, that religion is a pernicious mythology that modern people have evolved beyond, and that they are so special that they can bypass the rest of us and become “one with God.” Virtually any person who claims realized knowledge of this type outside a traditional framework is either self-deluded or a con man (there are exceptions to every rule, of course). For one thing, if they had such insight, they would not have the attitude they do toward religion, but would be awakened to its profound depth and beauty.

The purpose of this post was to get into the question of the two worlds--the abstract world disclosed by science and the concrete world as experienced by humans--but I can see that my preface has already filled the allotted space, so I’ll have to get to it later. But the point I want to emphasize is that the world disclosed by science, although clearly useful to human beings--no argument about that on this end--is not the real world. Rather, it is merely an abstract world that is essentially based on an extension of our sensory faculties, i.e., the subatomic world.

But we do not live in that world. Rather--one hopes, anyway--we live in the human world, and it is this world that religion specifically addresses itself to. And this is why the unsophisticated literalist who says that “God created the world in six days” is far, far more wise--on a human level--than the man who knows only the equations of quantum cosmology, but is blind to the world from which those beautiful equations arise. For just like any other species, in order to thrive, human beings must live in a human environment.

68 Comments:

Blogger R. Sherman said...

Isn't the first problem separating the material from the spiritual? Instead of two separate worlds, are there not really two halves?

Cheers.

9/22/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not exactly. We can only begin with the one world we know, the human world. As I mentioned, the scientific world is merely an abstract extension of our senses, so in that sense, it is a declension from the human world--it is not primary but secondary and derivative. It is not "half" the world but a sort of shadow of the world. Perhaps Will can explain it better.

9/22/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saturday is the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The meditation for the day is concerned with Malchut, the lowest of the sefirot, the one that acts as a bridge between the world of the sefirot and the created universe. It therefore receives energies from the sefirot above and transmits those energies on to the world below, and indeed, vice versa.

Shanah Tova

9/22/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"I now realize that such individuals are much more in touch with reality than the materialistic scientist"

Are they more in touch with reality as a whole, or with one aspect or dimension of it?

"I happily and gratefully bow down before intellects more penetrating than mine, but I surely won’t waste my time with someone who challenges my perceptions but whose own intellect is deeply asleep."

So, the 'lesser intellect' can't still offer words of wisdom, derived either from his own experience and reflections or from those of greater intellects, that seem to "challenge" your perceptions without it being a waste of your time to give them any consideration?

"There are so many religious “talkers” out there whose talk is precisely vacuous--it is literally empty, devoid of the experiential light that would give it real meaning."

One could use this to rationalize dismissing the meaningfulness and, therefore, the truth of anyone who says anything of a "religious" nature with which one disagrees. That is, one could hear something he doesn't agree with, attribute it to a "lesser intellect" speaking empty words, and turn away from it prematurely for the wrong reasons. I would suggest that the truth value of a person's words is not defined by the "experiential light" of that person, but by the degree to which his words correspond with fact. Thus, a person without a high magnitude of "experiential light" can still say things that are true, especially if they are inspired by or borrowed from those whose "experiential light" shines brightly.

"But the point I want to emphasize is that the world disclosed by science, although clearly useful to human beings--no argument about that on this end--is not the real world."

Or it is about some aspects but not about all of the "real" world.

9/22/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"And this is why the unsophisticated literalist who says that “God created the world in six days” is far, far more wise--on a human level--than the man who knows only the equations of quantum cosmology, but is blind to the world from which those beautiful equations arise. For

just like any other species, in order to thrive, human beings must live in a human enviornment."

I'll second that. Have you noticed that Scientists and the Scienteffete seem to be embarrassed by having to associate with humans?

9/22/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"And this is why the unsophisticated literalist who says that “God created the world in six days” is far, far more wise--on a human level--than the man who knows only the equations of quantum cosmology, but is blind to the world from which those beautiful equations arise. For

just like any other species, in order to thrive, human beings must live in a human enviornment."

I suspect, Van and Bob, that you'd rather hang out with the quantum cosmologist than with the hardcore biblical literalist any day of the week except, perhaps, Sunday. :-) Some of my best friends are quantum cosmologists. Well, not really. But they as a whole are probably more open to the entire spectrum of human as well as "natural" reality than is the inveterate bible-thumper, and they're probably much more interesting conversationalists. :-)

9/22/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

No thanks. If you are any indication of someone who is "open to the spectrum of reality," we'll pass. We much prefer the "Bible thumper" to the Tony Robbins thumpee.

9/22/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

I'm not a quantum cosmologist, although I'd be delighted to play one on TV.

9/22/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"No thanks. If you are any indication of someone who is "open to the spectrum of reality," we'll pass."

That sounded better when it came directly from Gagdad. :-) But, actually, I may be just as open to the spectrum of reality as most of you.

9/22/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

"K'tivah V'chatima Tova" or "May you be inscribed and sealed for the good" to Bob and the Bobbleheads.

God gives us a chance to start fresh each year and try to live better lives than last year. I hope we can all use this opportunity to be the lumin beings we are meant to be!

9/22/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

Nags, you said:

"Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Vomit Vomit Vomit Vomit Blah Blah Blah Blah Vomit Blah Vomit Blah Blah Blah Vomit Vomit Blah Blah Vomit Vomit Vomit Vomit Vomit Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Vomit Vomit Vomit Vomit Vomit Blah."

Remember that filter between mind and paper that we discussed yesterday? You should really start paying attention to it.

It's so obvious that you're just arguing for arguments sake at this point.

Anonymous said:

"Saturday is the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The meditation for the day is concerned with Malchut, the lowest of the sefirot, the one that acts as a bridge between the world of the sefirot and the created universe. It therefore receives energies from the sefirot above and transmits those energies on to the world below, and indeed, vice versa."

Every year during the Jewish High Holiday Season, I am overwhelmed with a sense of holy awe. The vertical and the horizontal seem to come so close to each other for these 10 days.

I am reminded of a story about Hebrew worship back in the temple days. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the interior most section of the temple, the Holy of Holys. It was the only day of the year that anybody would set foot in this room, and only the High Priest could enter. Once in the room, he would utter the name of God. This was the only time of the year that the tetragrammaton could be spoken aloud.

At that holy instant, when the ineffable name of God was made part of the human world, the vertical and the horizontal touched.

When the temple system was destroyed, and the Hebrews transitioned to Rabbinic Judaism and substitute sacrifice, that holy instant became available to all Jews. The merging of the horizontal with the vertical became the responsibility not just of a priestly class, but of the Jewish people as a whole. Jesus and the Church made this responsibility available to all the peoples of the world.

During these Days of Awe, the vertical descends or the horizontal rises up, or maybe both. I'm alreading starting to feel it today. The familiar confusion that betrays a hidden udnerstanding. The inexplicable shivering. The restless anticipation. Heaven and Earth are converging. God is close.

9/22/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...as Flaky Foont to Mr. Natural.
...as Gordon to Charles.
..as fly to soup.

9/22/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

r. sherman, try to think of a circle within a circle and then fall inside!

9/22/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Stu,

"It's so obvious that you're just arguing for arguments sake at this point."

Not true. I ask questions and express opinions here not "for argument's sake," but because I have questions about your opinions and I have opinions of my own that differ or may differ from yours. I say "may differ," because sometimes what may seem to be differences of opinion may not be actual differences once we understand each other better.

9/22/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Stu--

I find it very hard to believe that you were a recent liberal, unless you are just growing at lightning speed.

9/22/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Stu- most of the time Nags is actually arguing with Nags.

9/22/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous--

It is for others to judge the dimensions of the abyss, but Charles to Gordon? I am not worthy of such lofty comparisons.

9/22/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Not true, Lisa. In fact, not only am I not "arguing" with myself, but I don't want to "argue" or debate with anyone. I'd much rather discuss. Better still, dialogue.

9/22/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

I guess that depends on whether you consider two years to be lightning speed, Bob.

I spent my college years as a die-hard liberal philosphy major and the year after I graduated as a New Age moonbat, albeit a politically moderate one.

I can still quote enough Nietzsche, Heidegger and Kant to make you sick.

I especially loved Daniel Quinn and the radical socialist environmentalist movement though. And I absolutely hated the "Bush Regime."

And then Ken Wilbur entered my life. Yay, now I could be a turquoise integrated centaur like only .02% of the population!!! Woo Hoo, I'm God!!!

I think I'll shoot myself if I ever read another long-winded word from that guy, but watch out, cause I can still get all Transpersonal on your ass if I want to.

I'm now two years removed from college, and am very pleased that I have finally come to my senses.

9/22/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous mr. smoketoomuch said...

Nags is like the argument clinic, only his humor is inadvertent:

http://www.mindspring.com/~mfpatton/sketch.htm

9/22/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"I think I'll shoot myself if I ever read another long-winded word from that guy, but watch out, cause I can still get all Transpersonal on your ass if I want to."

Why do you write so pejoratively about Wilber?

9/22/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

Um... because I have an opinion and I am expressing it.

But trust me, I think Ken's ego is robust enough to handle my "pejorative" remarks.

9/22/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous petey said...

Ha! Now there's a question that answers itself!

9/22/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Stu, I agree that Wilber is unlikely to be devastated by your remarks. But I do wonder what your reasons are for, apparently, dismissing his philosophy. What do you find in his system in general or in one or more of its particulars with which you disagree?

9/22/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hee, hee! Thanks for the laugh, Mr. Smokes!

9/22/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

Nags,

Ken's massive ego and self-righteous writing style are just too much for me to take seriously any more.

And I'm a bit wary of the cultish following that has developed around him and that he encourages.

Not to mention the fact I think Ken is just dead wrong about some of his maps.

Ken's ideas just don't align with my thinking any more. Or as the self-procalimed greatest philospher in the modern world might say, I've transcended and included him.

9/22/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous tony robbins said...

Isn't Nag's attraction to me and Ken Wilber condemnation enough?

9/22/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"Ken's massive ego and self-righteous writing style are just too much for me to take seriously any more."

It can be a little difficult to take at times.

"And I'm a bit wary of the cultish following that has developed around him and that he encourages."

I'm more than a "bit" wary of this, although I see something of the same dynamic, although on a much smaller scale, much closer to home. :-)

"Not to mention the fact I think Ken is just dead wrong about some of his maps."

Such as?

9/22/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

Spiral Dynamics
AQAL
The 20 Tenets

Must I go on?

Ken will be the first to admit that his models are pseudo-truths and half-truths.

He is a liar and a flatland reductionist on the grandest of scales. He embraces falsehood and tries to use falsehood to point to truth.

I much prefer the direct approach to Truth.

9/22/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

>>Petey: “I’m having trouble answering your question because I can’t remember what it was like to be so stupid, and thus provide an answer suitable to your reptilian brain.” <<

Heh. Whenever I'm tempted to bemoan the fact that I'm no longer 20 and can't party down like I used to, it occurs to me that if I were 20 again, I would be, in effect, undergoing a spiritual lobotomy. I would become unconscious again, whoa, no, danke. No high-kicking youthful frivolity would be worth that kind of death, seriously.

While ago, William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton (or BJ Clinton as some refer to him) let it publicly be known that he found turning 60 a real bummer, proving that he is as callow as ever. The fixation so much of America has on "youth" - and its failure to venerate the wisdom of age - is based on this materialistic perspective, this under-development of the higher spiritual senses. Hey, youth is great, but it - or the memory of it - mimics spiritual transcendence, in a sense. "Youth", physical, material youth, is also an ape of God. Aging materialists like Clinton worship at its alter.

9/22/2006 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will--

I caught some of Clinton on Larry King the other night. He is one pathetic and disturbed soul. He is the quintessential liar who must know the truth in order to lie. He thinks he's so clever, but you can literally see the devious way his mind anticipates the truth and heads it off at the pass with an unctuous lie.

"The envy of vulgar men," as one person described him.

9/22/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

But he's a big fan of Ken Wilber! (As is Al Gore)

9/22/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"Spiral Dynamics
AQAL
The 20 Tenets"

What do you see that's untrue about any of these. I'm not sure I buy all 20 tenets, but I find it difficult to quarrel with the basic ideas of spiral dynamics and, especially, AQAL.

"Ken will be the first to admit that his models are pseudo-truths and half-truths."

Actually, I think he would say that they are imperfect maps of the territory of the Kosmos, or something like that.

"He is a liar and a flatland reductionist on the grandest of scales."

What has he lied about? How is he a "flatland reductionist on the grandest of scales"? So far as I know, he coined the term "flatland reductionism" and goes to considerable lengths to criticize others for engaging in it. How does he engage in it himself?

"He embraces falsehood and tries to use falsehood to point to truth."

What "falsehood"? How are the "20 tenets, AQAL, spiral dynamics, or any of his other ideas false?

"Must I go on?"


Not if you don't want to.

9/22/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"He thinks he's so clever, but you can literally see the devious way his mind anticipates the truth and heads it off at the pass with an unctuous lie."

What did he lie about on Larry King's program?

9/22/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

anonymous--

I take that back. On further review, it might be wider than that between Nodrog and Charlemagne.

9/22/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

He who shall not be Named said...
"I suspect, Van and Bob, that you'd rather hang out with the quantum cosmologist than with the hardcore biblical literalist any day of the week "

I used to agree with He who shall not be Named, and on taking my new position (which sadly is ending soon) the CIO is one of those literalist Bible thumpers. Now to be sure there are some areas where conversation just won't go - discussing the development of civilization over the last 50,000 years is a non-starter when your fellow conversationalist believes the earth is only 6,000 years old. Mentioning Harry Potter also returns some blank stares.

However, once I figured out that he uses the literal text as a stair step to grasping higher moral concepts, I no longer had a problem talking with him, and we've had some fascinating discussions.

The quantum cosmologist's & self proclaimed scienteffete's however seem to have hardwired themselves to look at each comment at the level of the individual words, and they swiftly seek to shorn them of the encumbering sentence/paragraph/chapter context so that they will be more easily poked, twisted and assigned a new label for their lab.

Also, they have a galling tendency to alternate between "We are the World, and don't we love me?!", and the obligatory mannerism of elevating the Sneer to a conversational style as a way of being able to say half of a sentence, or hint at 'opposing' views with the secret eyebrow-raise-handshake that is the cue for all to snicker at the hinted at target.

As atheist and Liberal Sam Harris recently commented, he found, to his horror that he was able to have far more in depth and substantive discussions with Religionists, than with leftists.

9/22/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"The quantum cosmologist's & self proclaimed scienteffete's however seem to have hardwired themselves..."

Do you know any "quantum cosmologists" personally, Van?

9/22/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

Nags, let me sum it up for you:

Ken's personal pathologies pervade and taint all of his works. So my problem with Ken is with his approach and not so much with his content. But the two are so inseparable that the content actually takes on the pathology of its author.

As far as specific problems with the theories go:

AQAL separates reality into exteriors and interiors, the individual and the collective. Everything can supposedly be classified into one of these quadrants. But reality is divisible into many more fundamental categories than the categories Ken acknowledges. For example, Center and Periphery, Vertical and Horizontal, Holy and Profane.

The Twenty Tenets presupposes "holons all the way up and holons all the way down" or something like that. I'm just not comfortable assuming that some fundamental Absolutes don't exist. I don't believe in infinite regression.

Bob had a great critique of Spiral Dynamics a while back. I suggest you take a look. I don't think spiral dynamics is wrong. Just incomplete. Spiral dynamics supposes linear, steady development of cultures and worldviews. I think development can be more sporadic and punctuated.

9/22/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van--

Much to my own surprise, I have had the identical experience many, many times, to such an extent that I feel instant kinship with most any believer, but have no common ground with the spiritually autistic or faux-spiritual new age types such as HWSNBN and his phony contempt for his spiritual betters. They often know much more than they can clearly articulate, and are often grateful to me for giving words to their experience. I often receive emails to that effect. I remember one nice black lady was so overwhelmed that she burst out and told me I had "the annoint'n!" I'm not sure what she meant, but it sounded good.

9/22/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Nag,
Everything Clinton says is lie, or at least the context is a lie. It is for him pathological. He would fell guilty if he told the truth. You would think a person like that would have better looking sex partners.

9/22/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"I feel instant kinship with most any believer, but have no common ground with the spiritually autistic or faux-spiritual new age types such as HWSNBN and his phony contempt for his spirituaql betters."

HWSNBN has no contempt, phony or otherwise, for any "spiritual better." But he does find it a little sad and a little amusing that some people seem to think that their superior intellects make them spiritual betters when there is abundant evidence that they do not and are not.

9/22/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"Everything Clinton says is lie, or at least the context is a lie."

What "context" is that? The "context" of his saying it? Everything Clinton says is a lie because he is Bill Clinton? What did he say on the Larry King show that was a lie either in or out of "context," and how was it a lie?

9/22/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

As a fortuitous demo of "...swiftly seek to shorn them of the encumbering sentence/paragraph/chapter context so that they will be more easily poked, twisted..."
HSNBN has kindy provided:

"Do you know any "quantum cosmologists" personally, Van?"

9/22/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

For me, its actually more fun to converse with a scientist, which I have on a few occasions. More fun, because I like to pin them down on their real views and then finally ask why they give a rat's ass about how many soldiers are dead here or there if in the end, there is no meaning to anything. Why not loot at will? Crickets usually.

Bible thumpers, of which I used to be one, can be fun if you can get engaged in an end times discussion.

The Amish are the best. I used to work construction with a community (they have to have an English driver). So, why don't you get to use covered wagons again? Endless fun.

I can see now that one of my problems is that I like to have fun with people more than substantive discussions.

9/22/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

Oh and Nags,

The flatland reductionism that Ken rails against is the materialist / positivist scientific reductionism we see in academia.

Ironically, Ken does the same thing, just a level removed. He reduces everything to "the Ken Wilber model." If it doesn't fit in his model, it can't be true. Sounds a lite like scientific materialism, doesn't it?

9/22/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

You would know about Clinton if you read what he says under oath. "It depends on what the meaning of is is". I am not saying he wasn't smart--one hell of a politician. As my father would say, "that SOB gets up every morning and figures out a new way to get in the pockets of the small businessman."

9/22/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

And frankly Nags, I'm sick of models (except the very thin ones that were banned in Spain). I'm sick of being pointed in the right direction. I'm sick of arguing and debating and trying to figure things out.

I'm ready for direct experience of Truth and I know it when I see it. No more watered down maps and self-righteous wannabe gurus for me.

9/22/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"He reduces everything to "the Ken Wilber model." If it doesn't fit in his model, it can't be true."

Can you cite examples of things that are true that he calls untrue because they don't "fit in his model"?

9/22/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Stu,
What do you mean they banned models in Spain--I need to follow the breaking news more? When I was in Spain three years ago, I watched the Miss Spain contest (I pray they've not banned that) on TV. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen, but also, a vision of some amazing feminine beauty.

9/22/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

No, I can't. And I'm not about to dig through thousands of pages of material so I can.

I think I've made my position as clear as possible.

9/22/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"You would know about Clinton if you read what he says under oath. "It depends on what the meaning of is is"."

Once again, I asked what he said on Larry King that was a lie. I guess nobody has an answer. One, supposedly, could see him lying at every turn, and everything he says is a lie, but no one can give examples of what lies he told during his entire appearance on that program.

9/22/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

You know, I hate to be put in the position of actually defending Ken W., but hey . . .the guy has obviously got a "categorizing" mind plus a little gnosis, so he succumbed to the temptation of drawing up some higher consciousness maps.

The trouble, as I see it, is that not only are all "maps" fallible, but that his maps in particular are full of new agey jargon that tickles the fancy of people like Clinton and Gore (and no doubt Hillary). It makes them feel that they're part of the cutting edge spiritual vanguard, whereas the truth is they don't know their blanks from a hole in the ground.

Now anybody with an ounce of gnosis is going to see some spiritual truth in what KW has to say, but this is true of Bible readers also - those with gnosis are going to find themselves resonating with Biblical truths, others are going to run with their misinterpretations. It's all really an after-the-gnosis-fact proposition.

Anyway, to date I haven't seen KW issue any asinine, dangerous bromides/platitudes on the scale of Deepok Chopra's. Then again, I don't track KW's comings and goings with any great precision.

9/22/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said..."get engaged in an end times discussion"
, comparisons of Second Timothy and Hesiod are also good for some sport as well - but again, it's usually a simple step to turn the conversation to the ideas being dealt with and become involved in a very interesting conversation.

To discuss ethics and morals with the Scienteffete however - first off, you need to be one on one with them to have such a discussion - if in a group, the group view will be stridently asserted.

Second, as with HWSNBN, the overall context will tend to be shrugged off, and they will quickly seek to focus in on what the meaning of "is" is.

Joseph:"You would think a person like that would have better looking sex partners. "
LOL! - especially since you'd think he'd be very aware of how their appearance might reflect upon his.

9/22/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

Joesph,

I read something recently that anorexic / dangerously thin models were banned in Spain and maybe somewhere else too. I'm sure you could google the story.

9/22/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"I'm ready for direct experience of Truth and I know it when I see it. No more watered down maps and self-righteous wannabe gurus for me."

It seems to me that the two go hand in hand. Models are maps that can help with exploring the territory without wasting too much of one's time or becoming hopelessly lost. The trick is to find a good map, and I still don't understand why you call Wilber's a bad one. It also seems to me that you're still looking for a map and that you may think you've found one in Gagdad's writings. If so, you've just substituted one map for another as your guide.

I hope it guides you well.

All the best to you, Stu, and to all of you.

Sincerely,
Steve

9/22/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Van,
I agree with you on groups of scientists. My fun has been with one or two and some microbrew.

9/22/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

HWSNBN,
The idea that one is merely substituting maps stems from your heretical belief that relative Realities are contructs of merely human origin. It is possible for them to be of human origin, but there are also maps of Divine origin, for which there is no substitute.

9/22/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

Nags, you said:

"It seems to me that the two go hand in hand. Models are maps that can help with exploring the territory without wasting too much of one's time or becoming hopelessly lost. The trick is to find a good map, and I still don't understand why you call Wilber's a bad one. It also seems to me that you're still looking for a map and that you may think you've found one in Gagdad's writings. If so, you've just substituted one map for another as your guide."

Now you're just baiting me.

I've never called Wilber's a bad map, just an incomplete and disingenuous one. Ken has clearly had a significant influence on my thinking. He articulates a lot of brilliant ideas that have helped clarify my own beliefs.

But I'm not about to unconditionally accept every aspect of his theories like you do.

My grandfather passed away recently. He was the no-nonsense, no-frills, tell-it-like-it-is kind of man that has become so rare these days.

I used to think he was a coarse man.

But then I realized that there are people who make maps of the Truth and people who live the Truth.

My grandfather was the latter. He was Truth. Everything about him screamed Truth. Whatever his sins, and he had plenty, he never engaged in deception of any kind.

And that's the same reason why I like Bob.

I don't need Bob to make me a map, or tell me what to believe.

Bob calls it likes he sees it. When he recognizes Truth, he puts it out there for everyone.

I haven't turned in one map for another, as you suggest. I've given up on maps altogether. I don't need them any more.

9/22/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous HWSNBN said...

It’s amusing to see some of the more sensitive “quantum cosmologists” get rather twitchy as they begin to realize that their noxious Newtonian attachments have nothing to offer when Consciousness itself backs them against a wall, strips them naked, and violates their long-held dearest beliefs.

9/22/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Stu, I plan to participate far less here and online in general than I have these past few days. In fact, I thought my last comment would be my final one for today. But you've said some things I'd like to address so that there may be a glimmering of understanding between us that doesn't seem to exist at present.

I'm not sure why I care whether we do or don't understand one another, or why I would much prefer that we hold one another in positive regard and respect rather than in disregard if not contempt, but I do. I wish I could communicate better with all of you so that our discussions, such as they are, here would fare better than they have.

At this point, I'm thinking of how Bob accused me yesterday of alternating between belligerent "bully" and "pathetic victim," and he would probably be inclined to accuse me of the latter in opening myself to you like this. But I must take that chance and say that I'm very disappointed and sorry that my efforts here have met with the response they have, and I'm more than willing to acknowledge that I've contributed to the problem, just as I will also say that I believe that others have jumped to hasty, unfavorable conclusions about my motives, opinons, and basic nature and been very insulting in their expressions thereof. Having said all that, let me get to some of your points.

"Now you're just baiting me."

That was not my intention. I took your previous words about Wilber's alleged falsehoods involving his core ideas, his alleged lies and "pseudo-truths," and his "flatland reductionism" to mean that you thought his entire map was thoroughly flawed--i.e., "bad." Thank you for clarifying that you didn't mean this.

"But I'm not about to unconditionally accept every aspect of his theories like you do."

I don't believe that I "unconditionally" accept any of them, and there are some that I'm hard-pressed to accept at all. Contrary to the impression you may have, I do not see Wilber as the infallible oracle of our time. But I am highly impressed with his "map" or "integral operating system."

"I don't need Bob to make me a map, or tell me what to believe."

Good, Stu.

"Bob calls it likes he sees it. When he recognizes Truth, he puts it out there for everyone."

I agree that he "puts out" what he believes to be truth. I would add that he does it with breathtaking eloquence. I come here to revel in that eloquence, to steep myself as much as possible in a worldview that seems to be very different from my own so that my own can expand and become clearer, and to be part of a community of intelligent, articulate seekers of truth.

I guess I've failed miserably to fulfill that third objective. I wish it were possible to start here with a clean slate and be taken for what I say and for how I say it from this point on. But, perhaps, that is asking too much.

"I've given up on maps altogether. I don't need them any more."

I don't question the fact that you believe this, Stu, but I do respectfully question whether it's possible to give up "maps" altogether, or whether it would be desirable to do so even if we could. It seems to me that we all have some kind of concpetual "map" or representation of reality that we use to guide us through life, and I'm looking to find or draw the best one I can.

I sincerely appreciate your candid comments about your grandfather, Gagdad, Ken Wilber, and what you're trying to do with your life. I really do wish you the very best with your journey, with or without a map.

--Steve

9/22/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

Steve,

I feel no contempt or disregard for you. I just think you're wrong, plain and simple.

And the problem isn't that we don't understand one another. I clearly understand everything you've said. We just disagree.

Maps are for people who don't know where they are, don't no where they are going, or don't know how to get there.

As I am fairly certain about where I am, where I'm going and how to get there, I'm going to lay off the maps for a while.

It's too bad that you'll be leaving us. You've been such a great outlet for the aggression that builds within me while I'm at the office.

Anyways, none of this is personal as you seem to have implied in your last comment. I have nothing against you, Steve. I just think your ideas are false and dangerous. And you can be extemely pretentious at times, which I don't like either. Good luck to you too, Steve.

-Stu

9/22/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Stu,

I don't plan to leave entirely, although I realize that I'm allowed to remain here only at Bob's discretion. But I do plan to scale way back on my participation.

You aren't the first to suggest that my ideas are not only false but also "dangerous." When I see this, I can't help but think that people may misunderstand my ideas, even though they may think they understand them, and see dangers lurking in them that don't exist. Or maybe they do exist, and I just don't see them. What dangers do you see in my ideas?

Do I sound pretentious at times? I must candidly tell you that I have the same impression of many posters here, and I suppose there are times when I unconsciously or even consciously mimick the pretentiousness or, at least, smug dogmatism I see or think I see in others. But one of my goals is to stop doing this and not be reluctant to admit it when I don't feel certain or even all that confident in what I express, even if that is taken, rightly or wrongly, as a sign of weakness in my character or in my opinions.

Thanks, Stu, for engaging me in these last few posts in something much more closely approximating the dialogue I seek than the contentiousness I wish to put behind us, even if that deprives you of a prime outlet for your workplace aggressions. :-)

--Steve

9/22/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"Maps are for people who don't know where they are, don't no where they are going, or don't know how to get there."

This may be true of external maps, but is it also true of internal ones? When you know where you are, where you're going, and how to get there, isn't this only because you have an internal map that guides you, whether you've created that map entirely from your own explorations, borrowed it from elswhere and internalized it, or done some combination of the two?

--Steve

9/22/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Nags,

If and when you realize the true depths of your own narcissism, every answer to the questions you've been asking will become perfectly clear. That by truly knowing your own selfish, egotistical motives, you will intuit them in the rest of the world.
It's the crawling before walking stage yet it is imperitive this stage is realized before moving on. Most people here have passed though this stage which is why what you write is so transparent. It's not a misunderstanding, we understand only too well.
I hope you will realize that milestone in your life.

9/22/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

P. S.
Shouldn't you be out looking for work rather than wasting time here?

9/22/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Curious George said...

Hi Bob: Great post, one of your best. There is one point I would like to discuss further.

You wrote:

"There are so many religious “talkers” out there whose talk is precisely vacuous--it is literally empty, devoid of the experiential light that would give it real meaning."

Is the kind of 'experiential light' you are talking about experiences such as personal realiziations of God that come sometimes during quite moments, small miracles that visit a person's life, a feeling of God's presence, and the intimations of God felt in the mind and so forth? Or do you mean ordinary hardships that build character?

If the former, then what is meant in the following section?

You wrote:

"Virtually any person who claims realized knowledge of this type [spiritual knowledge] outside a traditional framework is either self-deluded or a con man (there are exceptions to every rule, of course)."

These passages would indicate that 1.) There is a positive premium placed on spiritual experiences, and 2.) They are very rare, and most reported instances are spurious, hence the mention of the self-deluded and the con-men. 3.)Real experiences are found mostly couched in traditional terminology or doctrine, either Christian, Jewish, Muslim or what have you, and that outside of these systems experiences must be regarded with scepticism.

Is this what you meant to convey, or am I reading it wrong? What is your personal take on spiritual experiences, ala the old "conversion narratives" of the Puritans? Do such conversions occur today or are they mostly bogus? Do you have spiritual experiences yourself? If so, what form do they take?

9/22/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger geckofeeder said...

Gee Whiz. Bobbleheads, here is the Wilber conversation and I've been missing it because I was exploring Ken's new Holon online mag. He has definately got the cool visuals and the tech stuff going and it was easy to link to the photo of the stylish hospital gown burga to make the muslim woman feel more at home in a couple of hospitals in England. It's cool, Ken's cool and Narj, you might like it over there. Wilber has created a compelling, seductive site but after linking with the select Integral International thirty five person multicultural group to take a Integral seminar in Fwance this Oct with lots of UN folks (who knows, Chavez, Dinnerjacket perhaps even Gore) I lickity split right back to Bobbleland and skipping tedious comments ( thanks for the beautiful blessing Lisa ) have to say how clean the air is at One Cosmos. I seem to remember a similar farewell from Narg months ago?

9/22/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

My pleasure, Gecko. Sometimes, we all can use extra positive vibes, so to speak! Your observation is true and yes history will repeat itself and I'm sure this will not be the last appearance.

9/23/2006 09:05:00 AM  

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