Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Evolution of Evolution and the Supramental Manifestation

Hmm. Not much web fluid this morning. Not sure if I should even try to post. Usually when I wake up, there are various thoughtlets, precoonceptions, and ideas for ideas floating about overhead, just waiting to be caught, thought and jotted. But not today. All I see is.... this world. Bummer. Is this what it's like to be an atheist or liberal? I'd die of boredom.

You can learn a lot by watching a 3.5 year-old. One thing you notice is the relationship between interior and exterior. As a new internal world comes on line, old interests are dropped. The previous world no longer exists -- it has no significance or meaning. Instead, he begins looking for a new external world to match the new internal world, but that external world doesn't yet exist. So he must go about discovering and co-creating it. This is what the great psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott called the "transitional space." It is neither subjective nor objective, but a third category that transcends them.

In fact, human beings never stop living in this transitional space, which is very much analogous to a hologram, which is a stable image created by the interference of two coherent light beams or wavefronts. Or, think of how a good stereo creates a perfect three-dimensional sound-image that hovers between the speakers.

A culture will be "external" to you if you have either evolved beyond it or failed to achieve it. For example, the transitional space of the Raccoon is "exterior" to our scientistic jester. In one sense he seems fascinated by it -- since he keeps coming back -- and yet, refuses to do what is necessary to enter it, which would involve leaving the old familiar country of crude materialism behind (it reminds me of how my son is fascinated by the older boys). Any transition is always fraught with ambivalence, unless you are temperamentally a daring and adventurous soul. For spirituality is without a doubt the ultimate adventure. Furthermore, once you are on the adventure, nothing else will do. I could no more inhabit the cramped world of the atheist than spend the rest of my life in an airport terminal.

One of the intrinsic challenges of being a Raccoon is that "our world" does not yet properly exist on the outside except in pockets and fragments (thank God for the internet). Rather, it is in the process of coming into being. It's really fundamentally no different than a child who enters a new developmental stage, and must discover and create the objects necessary to articulate his new "unthought" idiom. For each new stage is also an idiom, or a mode of expression.

The transitional space, no matter how concrete, is really more dreamlike than material. If you could rise above history and view it from the widest possible angle, you would see a sort of dream-space between monkey and God, in which human beings articulate and externalize the various stages and dimensions of their soul.

For example, there was a time that all human cultures engaged in human sacrifice, not just Muslims and MSM journalists. Obviously, this felt "normal" to the people engaging in it, just as it feels normal for Palestinians to murder Israelis. This is because, in some way that most people no longer understand, human sacrifice represents a vital idiom for articulating something quite fundamental within the psyche. It is merely the exteriorization of the interior.

Again, I see this quite vividly in my son. Toys and other objects that were once intensely meaningful to him just drop away like rocket boosters. Which, in a way, they are. Any transitional object is merely a "bridge" to get one from here to there. Perhaps you have noticed old interests and concerns simply dropping away as you ascend spiritually. Things that were of the utmost importance are as interesting as Mister Rogers to a 16 year old.

Take, for example, the classic transitional object, the "baby blanket." At first, the blanket symbolizes all of soothing and containing capacities of the mother, as the child is learning to be independent from her. In so doing, he obviously cannot make the transition all at once, but needs a "bridge," so to speak, between dependence and independence. The blanket serves this purpose. Once the child has securely made the transition, he drops the blanket. But if he fails to make the secure transition to individuation, he may well spend the rest of his life covertly searching for that transitional object in disguised forms -- drugs, alcohol, food, sexual perversions and compulsions, etc. Furthermore, all of us can regress to this stage when under stress, and seek out familiar objects that comfort and contain. One thinks of Andrew Sullivan's extensive Barbie Doll collection.

Now, Sri Aurobindo may or may not be correct about this, and you are naturally free to translight it into your own spiritual idiom -- or, indeed simply use the idea as a sort of transitional object. But he was convinced that evolution was in the process of building a bridge between man and God, just as it had previously built one between animal and man (or, just as childhood is a bridge between infant and adult). One of the many ways to disprove reductionistic Darwinism is to consider the transitional space of an animal vs. that of a human being. The transitional space of an animal is tied to very concrete things linked directly to survival, basically what to eat, whom to avoid, and with whom to make a rap video.

But the transitional space so far transcends that of the animal, that only a fool could reduce it to a material epiphenomenon under control of the genes. For this vast and abundant space is indeed an earthly analogue of the divine plenum. Just look at all the stuff that was awaiting man when he popped his head into this space! Truth, beauty, paintings, poems, symphonies, divine revelations, novels, baseball, constitutions, ideologies, scientific theories, the Bo Diddley Beat. But also human sacrifice, child abuse, witch hunts, dailykos, huffingtonpost, Marxism, Hitlerism, Maoism, the designated hitter, and other beasts that we keep. Again, we could not enter this space without encountering its dark shadow (just as in biology, there are light and "luminous" creatures such as the butterfly, and ugly and "descending" entities such as cockroaches, trial lawyers, and entertainment executives).

The other day, someone brought up the "void," which is really the space that occurs when you die to one world but are not yet born into another. It entails a kind of depression that one must tolerate, just as the child must tolerate his separation from the mother in order to gain his independence. In the case of the child, it's not as difficult, because we have all kinds of age-appropriate objects to help make the transition. Plus, they will have friends who are going through the same thing, and will be a source of support. But mainly, the child needs adaptive parents who can empathically reflect whatever stage their child is at -- just as a good therapist needs to be able to mirror whatever stage the patient is at, or one spouse needs to be able to mirror and resonate the emotional state of the other. One can always tell when there is a disturbance in the force.

To review a bit, Aurobindo called the divine realm "Supermind." Most human groups are still in the process of mastering the realm of mind, but in between mind and Supermind is the realm of the "Overmental." Now, importantly, the realms of Supermind and Overmind exist whether or not the mass of human beings ever evolve there -- just as the realm of scientific truth would have existed had human beings never "discovered" it. In short, Truth has no need of man. Rather, vice versa. On the other hand, Lies do need man, as he is the only entity in all of existence who can harbor them. No wonder that man's mind is a battlefield between truth and lies.

Aurobindo's collaborator, Mirra Richard (known by disciples as "the Mother") said that on the one hand, the Supramental world was "absolutely determined, for all is from eternity; and yet, the path traversed by the Consciousness has a freedom and unpredictability that is also absolute." This, in my opinion, is how one reconciles divine omnipotence with free will. I'm trying to think of a good analogy. Perhaps it is again like jazz, which has extremely tight constraints, within which one has a radical freedom to arrive at the "aesthetic destination," so to speak. There are many paths to beauty, and yet, Beauty is One.

So one of the awkward things about the human state is that we coexist on so many different planes, some of which are still in the process of coming into being; or, to be precise, being articulated, since they again pre-exist us. I have no doubt whatsoever that the different authentic revelations of the world are more or less adequate attempts to articulate and describe these higher worlds.

But a critical point to bear in mind is that scripture is nevertheless a transitional object that is "lit up" like a hologram by the coherent light beam of our own intellect. In other words, revelation is one light; our intellect is another; in their intersection a "third object" emerges and comes into view. This is why it is so critical to not be reductionistic with regard to scripture, because that is a way to literally kill the emergent transitional spirit with the concrete letter. Thankfully, scripture itself is uniquely holographic, and is therefore capable of serving as a transitional object for anyone from the most unlettered peasant to the greatest spiritual genius.

Obviously, the spiritual world will appear non-existent if we have no contact with it, which, when you come right down to it, is the atheist's only argument. It reminds me of my son, who will put a blanket over his head and ask, "where's Tristan?!" We always go along with the joke, as if he has disappeared from view, but obviously my three year-old can no more understand his solipsism than can the atheist. In the case of the latter, he pulls the wool over his own I and asks "where's God?!"

Between the beings of the supramental world and the humans almost the same separation exists as between humans and animals.... Only when the link of consciousness is established shall we see it -- and even then only the part of our being which has undergone transformation in this way will be able to see it as it is -- otherwise the two worlds would remain apart like the animal and human worlds.

Truly this is what is actually happening now, and we can say with certitude that the supramental world already exists, but that it has come time for it to become the goal of the Journey of the supreme Consciousness, that little by little a conscious link will be formed between our world and that new one.... This zone remains to be built, both in the individual consciousness and the objective world, and it is being built.
--The Mother

73 Comments:

Blogger ge said...

Even when you've not a lot to say Bob, you sure do a great job sayin' it!

Do you [all] know the Aurobindian torchbearer Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet?

http://www.kheper.net/topics/gurus/Patrizia_Norelli-Bachelet.html

http://www.aeongroup.com/index.htm

[wish i recalled how to condense & groovily hilite these!]

she = a bit brilliant to say least

9/16/2008 07:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. You're insistence that man is in some way special is the only real basis for your hypothesis that the existence of man is beyond the capabilities evolution. Unfortunately you're using a belief which is entirely independent of what is going on. Whether or not man is special, that doesn't change the fact that evolution is happening. If you don't care to believe man didn't evolve from apes(considering that humans are still classified as a great ape I'm surprised people are arguing that we couldn't have come from what we are anyway) you don't have to.

But saying the evolution itself isn't happening because of that one issue has become an absurdity, and listening to you make so many blunders on definitions and facts of evolution makes me wonder how you've qualified yourself to make an opinion about it when you don't even know it.

9/16/2008 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Of course that has occurred to me, but I've never heard it put quite so ineloquently.

9/16/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you so prone to expecting more of others than what you practice yourself. Yes, ad hominem to quoque I realize, but the only argument to a fallacy is a fallacy.

9/16/2008 08:15:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

You're in the wrong world. Stay down in yours, or learn the rules of ours.

9/16/2008 08:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have rules? Apparently that would be disregard actually learning something before reasoning why its wrong. The least you could do is get something right before forming an opinion on it.

9/16/2008 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Anony's trouble is the trouble we've all got, you see, "Don't try to change the world, change worlds."

Clearly our BODY evolved from that of an ape. If we were only a body then the question would be answered.

Chesterton once wisely said, "Evolution is either an innocent explanation of how our body came to be, or it is a overturning of the entire cosmos." (paraphrase)

I think we ascribe to the first description here.

9/16/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Oh wild thing!

You make my head ring

You make everything ... confusing.

Wild thing, I think I get you,

But I wanna know for sure!

C'mon and uh, try to write.

I get you.




seriously, can't you guys invent some kind of machine that checks grammar? Or maybe evolve some kind of grammar-organ?

9/16/2008 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I recall the first-year counterpoint student reading Bach: "He can't do that!"

If observed from the perspective that the basic musical rules are all that there is and they are absolute, all musicians 'break the rules'. But when listening to them it is clear that they are very much following the rules.

Well, language is either our prison, or our ladder to heaven.

9/16/2008 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Clearly our BODY evolved from that of an ape. If we were only a body then the question would be answered."

And that is exactly all that evolution covers. The physiological/physical aspects. In terms of a mind it only concerns evolution of the brain, which is not the same as the mind. Would I argue that the brain has evolved because so much about human behavior/culture/spirituality has changed over the last thousands of years? No. And no reasonable modern evolutionist would. While the brain has evolved, it isn't nearly enough to keep up with human development. What you seem to think is that the mind is part of evolution, when clearly that isn't the case.

9/16/2008 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"Any transition is always fraught with ambivalence, unless you are temperamentally a daring and adventurous soul. For spirituality is without a doubt the ultimate adventure. Furthermore, once you are on the adventure, nothing else will do.
...
One of the intrinsic challenges of being a Raccoon is that "our world" does not yet properly exist on the outside except in pockets and fragments (thank God for the internet). Rather, it is in the process of coming into being. It's really fundamentally no different than a child who enters a new developmental stage, and must discover and create the objects necessary to articulate his new "unthought" idiom. For each new stage is also an idiom, or a mode of expression.
...
But the transitional space so far transcends that of the animal, that only a fool could reduce it to a material epiphenomenon under control of the genes. For this vast and abundant space is indeed an earthly analogue of the divine plenum. Just look at all the stuff that was awaiting man when he popped his head into this space! Truth, beauty, paintings, poems, symphonies, divine revelations, novels, baseball, constitutions, ideologies, scientific theories, the Bo Diddley Beat."

Yes, yes, yes!

Ahem.

Good post today, Bob.

Anonymous, you're trying to take over Ray's job today, I see. In demonstrating the murky and unpleasant darkness, the light simply shines all the brighter, transforming an already highly contrasted bit of art into a masterful work of chiaroscuro. Of course, Bob is capable of that all on his own, and we could really do without the attendant sulfurous reek.

9/16/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, I was referring to anonymous #1.

9/16/2008 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or I guess to correct my statement, you think evolution tries to encompass the mind, when it only covers the brain.

9/16/2008 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie what you say doesn't make sense to me but kissing bobs rear doesn't make him seem any smarter for being ignorant on a subject, it makes you seem dumber. But stay positive though that's a good quality.

9/16/2008 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The mind doesn't evolve? Speak for yourself.

9/16/2008 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

LOL, so that's your beef. Of course everything evolves, or, as we should say, "elaborates." Just as there was an elaboration of the expression of the complete revelation that was the person Jesus Christ. True Christianity has never changed, but it has evolved.

9/16/2008 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"what you say doesn't make sense to me but kissing bobs rear doesn't make him seem any smarter for being ignorant on a subject, it makes you seem dumber."

Why thank you, anonymous, that might in fact be the nicest thing anyone's said about me lately. Seriously.

The funny thing is, I actually don't mean to be flattering to Bob (it didn't occur to me until after I hit "publish" that of course, that's how it sounds. Which, yeah, that's a little embarrassing). It's just that he's good at putting into words things that have flitted across my brain pan a time or two, for the briefest of milliseconds.

And I can't help wanting to go "ooh, look!" when I see something that strikes me as appealing, whether it's a butterfly or something Bob said. Cause I'm mature that way.

Anyway, I'm just going to shut up now, until I actually have something to contribute.

9/16/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

One thinks of Andrew Sullivan's extensive Barbie Doll collection.

This is why I finish drinking my coffee before coming to OC each morning.

9/16/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger lance said...

I would join the fight but I am still confused by what Bob has written. *shrug*

9/16/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "...If you don't care to believe man didn't evolve from apes..."

Hmm... 'if you don't care to believe man didn't evolve from apes...'

Well, apparently your mind hasn't evolved....

9/16/2008 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In other words, revelation is one light; our intellect is another; in their intersection a "third object" emerges and comes into view. This is why it is so critical to not be reductionistic with regard to scripture, because that is a way to literally kill the emergent transitional spirit with the concrete letter. Thankfully, scripture itself is uniquely holographic, and is therefore capable of serving as a transitional object for anyone from the most unlettered peasant to the greatest spiritual genius."

Amen.

9/16/2008 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"It reminds me of my son, who will put a blanket over his head and ask, "where's Tristan?!" We always go along with the joke, as if he has disappeared from view, but obviously my three year-old can no more understand his solipsism than can the atheist. In the case of the latter, he pulls the wool over his own I and asks "where's God?!""

I miss playing that game... I wonder if God still gets a kick out of it?

9/16/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

anon:
Take another shot at English 60. Get a nice solid "C", then get back to us.

JWM

9/16/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Has anyone ever played the teen-aged version of putting the blanket over the head?
I did, and DAMN was I em-bare-assed!
I was at a party with friends from school and the hostess wanted to play this "blanket game."
It started out with just two people in the room. Everyone else was out of earshot and eyesight.
The hostess would tell the person with the blanket over thier head, "Take off something you don't need."
Well, when my turn finally came around there were plenty of eyes to witness my blunder.
There I was in the middle of the room, with said blanket over my head, when the instuctions came to take off something I didn't need.

It never occured to me to take off the blanket until I was , . .You guessed it!

By that time, there was no way I was taking off that stupid blanket!

9/16/2008 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Thanks for the memory Bob.

That's why I have a bad memory.
A defense mechanism!

9/16/2008 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

(Geez, I go away for a few days and I get honorable mentions in the posts. Who's parasitic on who? :-> )

But the transitional space so far transcends that of the animal, that only a fool could reduce it to a material epiphenomenon under control of the genes.

Which is, of course, a strawman parody of what 'materialists' actually say. Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" takes a lot of pains to explain why that's wrong and what's actually proposed.

...the realm of scientific truth would have existed had human beings never "discovered" it. In short, Truth has no need of man.

Does it, as Nomo alleges, have need of mind to exist? (I skimmed that link to the 'transcendental argument' you posted a few days back, Nomo - it's proposition 6 that I disagree with. The fact that we relate to such laws conceptually doesn't make them at root conceptual.)

Just look at all the stuff that was awaiting man when he popped his head into this space!

If it exists 'out there', why can't even a 'blind' search process find it, or at least take advantage of it if it's stumbled upon? Intelligence gets stumbled upon (perhaps the consequence of an 'arms race') and lo, there's all this other stuff...

Happened with feathers & flight, multicellularity itself, etc.

9/16/2008 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ray, you need to take a trip to Damascus. Maybe you'll stumble onto something along the way.

9/16/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

The cross is the ultimate transition object. Heh. Christians walking around saying, "where's my cross? Mommy, have you seen my cross? I can't sleep without my cross."

9/16/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Truly a transition object, Phil...!

9/16/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

ge:

For linky-dink how-to info, read this.

If the Blogger's auto-set-up does not work for you, many browsers have 'add-ons' that come with hyperlink features. Check the website for your browser for 'Hypertext link' or 'Text Formatting' to see what's available. Once it's installed, make sure it's set for HTML code (not BBcode or Wiki code)

9/16/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's actually a very good point about the Cross being a transitional object. I'll bet it would take me about five minutes to find a good quote to that effect by one of the early fathers. Furthermore, I don't see any reason to doubt that Jesus is -- among other things -- a "bridge" between man and the Supramental.

9/16/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

and pontiff is derived from pons, bridge.


I do think there's a reason Dracula (ie sensuality incarnate, which has the most intense pleasure as purpose and always ends in bloodshed) is afraid of the cross in myths.

9/16/2008 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, absolutely. Dracula represents the primordial urge to continue with blood sacrifice, whereas Jesus represents its final transcendence.

9/16/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

So tying the room together, when I think of Ray, I always think of the Count from Sesame Street, compulsively obsessed with quantity. Now we know where it comes from.

9/16/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus" -- 1 Tim 2:5

9/16/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

The Mediator is ultimately within

9/16/2008 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles Seper said...

Bob ~~ "For example, there was a time that all human cultures engaged in human sacrifice, not just Muslims and MSM journalists. Obviously, this felt "normal" to the people engaging in it, just as it feels normal for Palestinians to murder Israelis. This is because, in some way that most people no longer understand, human sacrifice represents a vital idiom for articulating something quite fundamental within the psyche. It is merely the exteriorization of the interior."

First, Animal sacrifice is found in most ancient cultures--not human sacrifice. Anyone that ever had an anthropology class could name numerous antediluvian groups in which no evidence of human sacrifice was ever found. Further, most of the studies in the past claiming cuts and scrapes on human bones found in mounds, caves, etc. that were then thought to be evidence of human sacrifice has turned out in recent times to be incorrect. I would refer you to Anna Salleh's excellent work in this field of research.

Second, there is no supporting evidence, nor will there ever be any, which indicates human sacrifice ever felt "normal" to any human being anywhere at anytime, nor that it feels normal for a Palestinian to murder an Israeli, or for anyone to murder any other human for that matter. You may find a few oddball prison convicts here and there that will make a bizarre statement like that, but I would challenge any of them to say it on a polygraph. People may _act_ like they have no moral conscious, or like they have a different one from us that not only allows, but encourages, behavior that is utterly inhuman, but, like Lewis, it is my opinion that right is right and wrong is wrong everywhere at all times and that all people know this but don't always acknowledge it. A person may well eat another, and claim he has no moral misgivings about it, but we would be both unwise and misled to believe him. It's not that they have no moral conscience or that they have a different moral conscience. It is rather that they have developed an anti-conscience. The cannibal knows deep down that what he does is wrong--he does it anyway. The ancients knew human sacrifice was wrong too. To assume they followed a different Tao is to assume a lot. Dispensationalism in regard to mankind's God given conscience is, I believe, a folly.

Bob ~~ "To review a bit, Aurobindo called the divine realm "Supermind." Most human groups are still in the process of mastering the realm of mind, but in between mind and Supermind is the realm of the "Overmental." Now, importantly, the realms of Supermind and Overmind exist whether or not the mass of human beings ever evolve there."

Sri Aurobindo just regurgitated many of Steiner's loony views on anthropomorphism, but we'll get into that more later.

Bob ~~ "So one of the awkward things about the human state is that we coexist on so many different planes, some of which are still in the process of coming into being; or, to be precise, being articulated, since they again pre-exist us. I have no doubt whatsoever that the different authentic revelations of the world are more or less adequate attempts to articulate and describe these higher worlds."

I concur with the last sentence. I wouldn't be so quick to think, however, that any of these planes "pre-exist us". Rather, as Chris Langan says, there is a syntactic comprehensivity-reflexivity where mind and reality are forever joined, and there is no logical way to un-join them. This is not so different from the way space ( at least in regard to distance), movement, and time are joined and perceived. Thought and perception are recursively related and will never be unrelated.

Bob ~~ "Truly this is what is actually happening now, and we can say with certitude that the supramental world already exists, but that it has come time for it to become the goal of the Journey of the supreme Consciousness, that little by little a conscious link will be formed between our world and that new one.... This zone remains to be built, both in the individual consciousness and the objective world, and it is being built." --The Mother

And again I find you worshipping at the feet of Steiner (whether you realize it or not). He went to his grave believing some big evolution of human consciousness was just around the corner as did Owen Barfield after him. It never came. I don't see any reason to think it ever will in this life, not in this portion of God's vast array of worlds. Perhaps it would be wiser to think death to be the catalyst of change for mankind where a refining fire awaits us all? Reading Plato, Pythagoras, and several other ancient thinkers and then comparing them with modern thought would leave any rational person the impression that, contrary to Steiner's notion, mankind is losing steam.

Nice chatting--gotta go.

9/16/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I believe your anthropological ideas are naive, sentimental, academically correct and revisionist nonsense. And the notion that Aurobindo was influenced by Rudolf Steiner is unalloyed kooky talk. Would you care to provide a citation for that?

9/16/2008 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"it is my opinion that right is right and wrong is wrong everywhere at all times and that all people know this but don't always acknowledge it."

Wow. Both immature and demonstrative of a pretty narrow field of experience. I have only to look within my own family to find people who honestly don't/didn't know, nor were/are properly capable of comprehending, the difference between right and wrong.

"A person may well eat another, and claim he has no moral misgivings about it, but we would be both unwise and misled to believe him."

Really? So are you a mind-reader, then, to know whether someone has moral misgivings about actions their culture either allows or even encourages, which ours does not? You mention cannibalism. If it is truly universally considered wrong, how do you explain the fact that cases of kuru occurred most frequently among women and children of the Fore tribe, who were most likely to eat the brains of the deceased. If you believed deep down that it was wrong, would you encourage the most vulnerable among your group to engage in the behavior? Given that they were usually eating relatives who had died, it's fair to think they believed they were honoring their dead, keeping them "alive" by consuming their bodies. Granted, that doesn't really fall under the category of human sacrifice, but you mentioned cannibalism, which is a behavior associated not only with warfare and human sacrifice.

Whether or not there are moral misgivings about any particular behavior, how much do they matter if they're not strong enough to cause the person to halt the behavior?

Your comment was so long, and there are so many more examples, but I think I'll stop there. Thanks for this fine example of intellectualism sans Intelligence. Truly enlightening.

9/16/2008 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"Truth has no need of man. Rather, vice versa. On the other hand, Lies do need man, as he is the only entity in all of existence who can harbor them."

heh - we were watching an old episode of the Simpsons last night on DVD:

"Marge: Hm... I thought you said she was overweight.

Homer: Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen."

9/16/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

The Evolution of Evolution and the Supramental Manifestation

First Dude is working, straight through,- a laborious work of love *and* we are constantly invited to join the party! I feel a gospel song comin' on ......

How i got over,

How i got over,

My soul looks back and wonders

How i got over.

9/16/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

A bit off-topic, but apropos of Bob's raccoomendation of using humor to deal with trolls and fools, a couple of good posts by Shrinkwrapped and Dr. Sanity.

9/16/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles Seper said...

"I believe your anthropological ideas are naive, sentimental, academically correct and revisionist nonsense."

You know, once men hit forty and leave the majority of their isms and ologies in the playpen where they belong, they tend to start thinking more clearly in general. Revision is only nonsense when it is incorrect. But if you know of a good source which has refuted Anna Salleh's work I'll listen. As to whether or not man once had a different kind of moral instinct: having read every scrap ever found at Sumer I can tell you that man's earliest known writings has nothing of human sacrifice in it. Whether or not they ever engaged in it at any period of time, under any ruler, is hard to say, but one would think they would have written about it if it was done regularly and was looked upon as a right thing to do. Yet they do have some very choice words to offer concerning murder that aren't particularly different from the bible. When we do find mention of human sacrifice in ancient writings among most peoples, it's generally the exception--not the "norm". You'll find very little of it mentioned anywhere in the Mesopotamia or China. And on the rare occasion when it is mentioned, it's almost always scorned. And the nonsense that passes for theories put forth by many archeology writers concerning pre-history is the real crime. They find a burial site with some men missing their heads along with a few _supposed_ religious relics and assume there is human sacrifice at the heart of it when it could just as well be that the men were slain in battle. As one of the texts at Sumer says, "Because these were warriors slain by Nin-jirsu, he set their mouths towards libation places." They find men buried facing a certain direction and _assume_ there is magic involved when it may well have been a simple turning of their faces toward the place a heavenly realm was thought to exist, or for that matter, toward the place they were born. They see a circular pattern of red dirt on a mound and _assume_ there was a post in it that represented some _supposed_ axis mundi when it could just as likely have been part of a child's ancient swing.

What you put forth concerning human sacrifice has nothing of the ring of truth in it and everything of fanciful notions. As Chesterton pointed out repeatedly, ancient man in no way seems very different from modern man--except that modern man appears to have devolved considerably. Is there a modern mathematician who ever came close to Pythagoras, who had so many new and different ideas that shook the world? I know of none. Is there a modern thinker who has influenced the thoughts of his fellow humans on so vast an array of subjects as Aristotle? Has any modern lawmaker come close to putting the world on so straight a path as Hammurabi in social and civil matters? Perhaps you know of another military leader who has influenced fellow military leaders throughout the world in the way Sun Wu has?

You can suppose the world in evolving spiritually until the day you die. It will never be true, and it won't stop your enemies from dancing on your grave.

"And the notion that Aurobindo was influenced by Rudolf Steiner is unalloyed kooky talk."

To say that they both had Goethe in their veins would perhaps be a more rational and adult statement... if you had made it. Unfortunately you did not. At any rate, Steiner was using the term "integral evolution" in the same way as Aurobindo except two decades earlier. To think Aurobindo developed this concept independently lacks sophistication.

I believe this is where you use the evils of sarcasm as a defense. Have at it kiddo. I was young once too.

9/16/2008 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Didn't take long to flush him out.

Next!

9/16/2008 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles Seper said...

"Wow. Both immature and demonstrative of a pretty narrow field of experience. I have only to look within my own family to find people who honestly don't/didn't know, nor were/are properly capable of comprehending, the difference between right and wrong."

Wow; both petty and lacking Christian charity. Not unusual for what I've been seeing at this sight the past year, which is why I hardly ever read it anymore.

I'll put this out there and say no more as I don't think you're receptive to anything outside your own ego. When I was a youth pastor I heard a number of young people speak about having been sexually abused as extremely young children--what misguided quacks would say is supposed to be before an age of being able to comprehend right and wrong, yet every one of these people say that while they didn't even know what sex was, they knew what was being done to them was wrong, even when it only involved a little touching with no pain or mental distress inflicted upon them. Frankly, I think most of us had some kind of at least mild sexual abuse as children. Didn't we _all_ know it was wrong without anyone telling us? I've known right from wrong for as long as I can remember, and I didn't need anyone to teach it to me. I just needed someone to keep me from doing what I already knew I shouldn't. So did you. Yes, I'm a mind reader.

9/16/2008 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another gem by Deepak. I think his dementia is deepening -- poor grammar, nonsense sentences, disorganized syntax, gross paranoia, transparent projection, all within the persistent delusion that he is a "wise man from the east."

9/16/2008 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Churlish simperer said "You know, once men hit forty and leave the majority of their isms and ologies in the playpen where they belong, they tend to start thinking more clearly in general."

Still got a few years to go, eh?

"Is there a modern thinker who has influenced the thoughts of his fellow humans on so vast an array of subjects as Aristotle?"

Aristotle, who I greatly admire, showed very little remorse over the institution of slavery, nor for the 'proper place' of women. So. Was Aristotle in his higher and more exalted time, more correct than the 'modernity'? If not, then how are our 'bright lights' (have you actually read Goethe? More than 'Werther' and 'Faust', I mean) more correct in some areas, and less in others? Could it be that Truth is something attained to, piece by piece, rather than something intrinsically implanted in the genes?

"Has any modern lawmaker come close to putting the world on so straight a path as Hammurabi in social and civil matters?"

Have you read Locke? Blackstone? The Founders? Or do you mean only enlightened' despots who imposed some ideas upon their people...?

"I was young once too."

Don't be so quick to use the past tense, you've seem to have stumbled upon the fountain of immaturity... put that goblet down.

9/16/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"both petty and lacking Christian charity."

*snork* That wasn't what the cops told my grandmother.

Or were you referring to the fact that I called your point of view both immature and demonstrating a narrow field of experience? By your statement, you believe that people are basically good, and that when they behave in ways we define as evil they always know it, even if they won't acknowledge it. Based upon my life experience, I know that you are, unfortunately, incorrect; it would be wonderful if everyone did, in fact, know for certain the difference between right and wrong. Is it unChristian to state the truth as I see it? Or should I tell you that you are wise beyond your years, instead?

9/16/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wait 'til he has a child...

9/16/2008 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Future leader is about as intrinsically moral as an iguana. Only much sweeter. Half the time.

9/16/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of humor, this is pretty funny (though I bet the Obamians would disagree...).

9/16/2008 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of Iguanas, I started watching Night of the Iguana last night. For some reason, I'd never seen it before. What a great film! It's like a Coen Brothers movie. John Huston had that same off-kilter sensibility -- c.f. Asphalt Jungle. And what an amazing actor Richard Burton was. He's really the British Brando. He's so "vital" he just burns up the screen. What a burden to be so intense.

9/16/2008 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Night of the Iguana -- there are people in that movie beside Ava Gardner? I never knew.

9/16/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You mean, it's not a movie about giant iguanas attacking a small midwest town?

Guess I'll have to see that one. Speaking of the Coen brothers, anyone seen "Burn After Reading" yet?

9/16/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One of the intrinsic challenges of being a Raccoon is that "our world" does not yet properly exist on the outside except in pockets and fragments (thank God for the internet)."

I've given some thought to what the external world would be like if Raccoons were the rule rathar than the exception.

All I can come up with is a sort of beautiful efficiency in terms of economic output, housing, and consumer goods. I see a world where less is more, or more properly where enough is enough, and just enough.

Homes would be small and elegant. Transportation would be minimized in favor of working in situ. Much leisure time would be available. People would be physically fit. Large projects such as space exploration or the development of powerful AI would be in progress on our campuses.

Arts would flourish in a golden age of fine products for the aesthetic senses.

Anyone see anything else to add?

9/16/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the trolls didn't see where evolution applied to the mind, and felt it should be limited to the brain.

This distinction should be hashed out in depth; it has not been disproved or it is not inconceivable that spiritual perception is in fact dependent on ganglia or brain structures.

In that case, "mental" evolution (by which we really mean spiritual evolution) is truly tied to the evolution of the brain and is co-valent and proportional with it and to it.

I question whether spirutal advances such as realizations, the experience of the Brahman, ecstatic intuitions, and all of the other mechanisms of the spiritual project, are even possible without a suitable neuronal substrate. I doubt it.

I'm not suggesting that spiritual experiences are epiphenomenon in the usual sense of trying to minimize their primacy. I am only putting forward the notion that brain and spirit are an indispensable team. Without the prescense of both you can't get anything meaningful done here in the matter-world.

If such is the case, a larger and more complex brain should yield correspondingly richer and more complex spiritual experiences.

In the realm of machine intelligence, it stands to reason that if you construct a similacrum of a human brain, then it would spontaneously manifest a mind and yes, a spirit. Spirit is an unavoidable consequence of complexity. If you exceed the human mind by building a machine that is more complex, then the machine will also exceed the human being spiritually. A new step in evolution will have been launched.

Or so it would seem. In any case, the troll was not so much in left field as all that.

9/16/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Charles

>>It's not that they have no moral conscience or that they have a different moral conscience. It is rather that they have developed an anti-conscience<<

Well, the pretty thin difference. You don't address the question of just why do some individuals consistently, willfully commit acts most of us would term "evil". Of course an "anti-conscience" individuals comprehend right from wrong, but they have inverted the equation to such that our right is their wrong and our wrong is their right. The darkness - their right, their standard of the good - exerts just as much gravitational force on them as does the Light on those who are spiritually-minded. Evil literally becomes their good - the Light literally repels them.

It is possible to become such a spiritual Black Hole that one does, in fact, possess a completely difference "moral conscience", which amounts to no conscience at all.

BTW, I don't necessarily believe that a huge leap of consciousness will occur collectively. However, dramatic spiritual transformations of consciousness can and do happen, one at a time, here, there, everywhere. (and such transformations include having to pass through the purgatorial fires, literally so). I happen to think that once a certain number of individuals are genuinely quickened, then a change in the very fabric of material nature will occur, new heaven, new earth kind of thing.

9/16/2008 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Re: Night of the Iguana.

Hey, how 'bout a shoutout to, if not the greatest American playwright, then certainly the playwright whose fevered, New Orleans-pickled brain came up with the absolutely greatest, most poetic titles .. . . Mr. Tennessee Williams.

Sweet Bird of Youth

Summer and Smoke

A Streetcar Named Desire

The Glass Menagerie

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof

9/16/2008 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Actually, I think I might agree more with Charles than I would the evolutionary model.

It is certainly possible for a person's conscience to be utterly seared--I'm thinking of the Aztecs who, it seems, pretty well desensitized themselves to human sacrifice and just gave themselves over to it. However, undergirding human sacrifice is the crossing of the ultimate boundary.

Come to think of it, we do it here in America a million-plus times per year.

Nevertheless, the "taboo" element seems to be the underlying foundation for the act.

Drat, the baby's crying...can't really think this one through. Sorry.

9/16/2008 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

anonymous -

>>I've given some thought to what the external world would be like if Raccoons were the rule rathar than the exception<<

No offence, 'nons, but your vision of Raccoon Rule sounds like Jerry Brown's wet dream.

Personally, I see a Raccoon-ruled world as being one in which one can willingly turn into an animal AT ANY TIME, if only just to scamper about making weird noises.

Also, say we're, oh, feeling like a snack - even though there's no need to eat, really - we can, via the power of our activated Creative abilities, manifest complete vending machines stocked with anything we want to snack on, including onx mix. Think about it.

Money? Who the *ell will need money, let alone dwellings and "efficiency"? Since we will be weightless couriers of the air, we will delight in exercises of complete NON-efficiency. You know, like situating ourselves into a punch bowl just for the fun of it. Or weekends of nothing but cow-tipping. (and the cows will LOVE it)

Art? ART??? OK, maybe there will be some art . . but there will be no artists! And anybody who dares lay claim to being an "artist" will be immediately dispatched to a neighboring galaxy where Raccoon Rule is still 15,000 years in the future.

9/16/2008 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

"In the realm of machine intelligence, it stands to reason that if you construct a similacrum of a human brain, then it would spontaneously manifest a mind and yes, a spirit."

I have Walter Cronkite's in a jar on my kitchen table, and I am awaiting the manifestation. No such luck as of yet, but I will post when it happens.

See, whenever you talk about a mere difference in degree accounting for a difference in kind, that's when the music starts.

9/17/2008 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

Quotes from The Night of the Iguana

Hannah Jelkes: Nothing human disgusts me, Mr. Shannon, unless it's unkind, violent.


Hannah Jelkes: There are worse things than chastity, Mr. Shannon.

Lawrence Shannon: Yes: lunacy and death.


T. Lawrence Shannon: I'm panicking!
Hannah Jelkes: I know that.

T. Lawrence Shannon: A man can die of panic!
Hannah Jelkes: Not when he enjoys it as much as you do, Dr. Shannon.


Hannah Jelkes: Who wouldn't like to atone for the sins of themselves, and the world, if it could be done in a hammock with ropes, instead of on a Cross, with nails? On a green hilltop, instead of Golgotha, the Place of the Skulls? Isn't that a comparatively comfortable, almost voluptuous Crucifixion to suffer for the sins of the world, Mr. Shannon?



Hannah Jelkes: I can't stand for a person I respect to behave like a small, cruel boy.

T. Lawrence Shannon: And what do you respect in me, miss thin, standing-up, female Buddha?

9/17/2008 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hey Chucky. I'm sorry you're so old.

I guess you're familiar with Timothy, right? I also recall reading a Church father who warned that people find someone old and assume they can confess to them? But he notes that you must find someone who is gifted with being able to hear confessions and with wisdom and insight. So just getting old doesn't suddenly make things come into perspective.

I can tell the stink of a hobgoblin when I hear this line: "We all were sexually abused..." The petty consistency of a small mind, there. (Of course that's not the exact Emerson quote, is it?) - because you know, no human sacrifice common to humanity, but sexual abuse, yes! What are you saying that isn't just confused?

Also, since you're so old and wise, do us a favor an be an exemplar. Firstly, it is 'site', or more properly, 'blog' - not 'sight'. Secondly the wisest remain silent, for silence is the truest prayer to God.

I hate to be pedant about it, but I 'do unto others as I would have them do unto me' - I'd prefer it if people honestly corrected my errors.

Also, to think that Auribindo was 'original' is idiotic foolishness. If he came up with a 'novel' idea it would certainly be an error. What he did was reconfigure things that were eternal in a novel way. The fact that you can trace his ideas back to someone else makes him.. human. Instead of, uh, insane?

If I've been uncharitable I apologize. Not for what I said, but for how I said it. Because I believe what I said to be true.

Lord have mercy man, remove... the... stick... from... the... rear.. end. Less painful that way.

9/17/2008 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Charles - "ancient man in no way seems very different from modern man--except that modern man appears to have devolved considerably... Is there a modern thinker who has influenced the thoughts of his fellow humans on so vast an array of subjects as Aristotle?"

If we approach the truth asymptotically, then we would expect bigger leaps early on, and smaller jumps later, even if later people are equally insightful, no? (A few broad brushstrokes are enough to outline a painting; later additions add details, of necessity...)

Then, of course, as the range of human knowledge expands, it becomes harder and harder to take it all in. Perhaps the very early 1900s was the last time when someone could be well-acquainted with basically everything known to humanity. Aristotle made big leaps in a lot of fields, but the fields themselves were rather smaller then, too. Had he been born today, he might only have been able to contribute significant insights to a narrower range of fields, a la Einstein.

9/17/2008 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Also, Charles. You seem to be arguing that mankind was not changed permanently by the coming of Christ. If the world was not changed, what was it all about? Changing God? Does God change? Modern man is both 'devolving' and 'evolving' - based on his choices, a la Lewis, "Can become an everlasting joy or an eternal terror."

9/17/2008 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said "Aristotle made big leaps in a lot of fields, but the fields themselves were rather smaller then, too."

Not only made leaps in a lot of fields, a lot of the fields we have today, HE made.

(Not a dig at Ray at all... Aristotle just always awes me)

9/17/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[I]Hey Chucky. I'm sorry you're so old.[/I]

His name is Charles. If you can't act like an adult toward others then you'd be best to take your own advice and let you silence be your wisdom.

[I]I can tell the stink of a hobgoblin when I hear this line: "We all were sexually abused..." The petty consistency of a small mind, there. (Of course that's not the exact Emerson quote, is it?) - because you know, no human sacrifice common to humanity, but sexual abuse, yes! What are you saying that isn't just confused?[/I]

First of all, you intentionally misquoted the man. Did your god teach you to do that? he did not say, "We [b]all[/b] were sexually abused...." He said, "I think [b]most of us[/b] had some kind of at least mild sexual abuse as children."

We don't have sexual abuse stats for ancient history, but we do have them for our era:

1 in 4 girls (25%) are sexually abused by the age of 18.
1 in 6 boys (17%) are sexually abused by the age of 18.
But only about 31%, roughly one third, of teen sexual abuse incidents are reported.
17 X 3 = 51%
25 X 3 = 75%

Once again, he was right. Most people have been sexually abused as children.

Comparing the act of sex with the burning at the stake/ripping the out heart/boiling alive of human sacrifice is an act of stupidity. Besides, he never said people had [I]always[/I] been abused as children. Nothing even close to it.

[I]Also, since you're so old and wise, do us a favor an be an exemplar. Firstly, it is 'site', or more properly, 'blog' - not 'sight'.[/I]

The term website is a stupid and childish misnomer that should have never came to be. A site always involves a piece of land. It is a physical location. A web server can be moved to any piece of land, but a web is a product of the ether. It has no stationary boundaries of any kind. You can, however, see a the product of a web, therefore web-sight is the only correct term.

[I]I hate to be pedant about it....[/I]

Then shut-up.

[I]...but I 'do unto others as I would have them do unto me' - I'd prefer it if people honestly corrected my errors.[/I]

Glad I made your day moron.

[I]Also, to think that Auribindo was 'original' is idiotic foolishness.[/I]

Then you should be telling that to Gagme Bob. Although I will give him credit for writing the most liberal essay he has yet to date. Good to see he's finally starting to see the liberal light. Oh, I guess that's "lite" in your backwards world. There is one flaw in his argument for the evolution of man though that allows me to easily refute anyone who spouts it. I can simply say, "Have you met Van?"

9/17/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smell the bile?

9/17/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it smells of lies.

9/17/2008 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Jeepers, it got nasty in here! Phew!

9/17/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aREALninnymouse said "[]"

That did give me a good laugh, thanks (next time try it with '<' & '>').

"The term website is a stupid and childish misnomer that should have never came to be."

There you have it folks, aninnyChuckie has spoken. Heed his wrath or may do even more impressive math facts for you!

"There is one flaw in his argument for the evolution of man though that allows me to easily refute anyone who spouts it. I can simply say, "Have you met Van?""

I appreciate that, thanks. You could have just said 'no, I haven't read Goethe... or Aristotle... or..." etc, etc, etc, but still, that was a good laugh, thanks again.

And no, no bile odor - must be on your end (check your pits), just laughter here.

Still laughing.

9/17/2008 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should be laughing. Unlike you I'm actually kind of funny.

"There you have it folks, aninnyChuckie has spoken."

If you're going to compare me to someone else here, how bout making it somebody with bigger tits.

9/17/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you like it better if I called myself the Inte-Christa? Beats Tramp I guess although there's a lot to be said for tramping some days.

9/17/2008 07:10:00 PM  

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