So why doesn’t the United States fly apart at the seams?

Nation Builders
Simon Winchester’s ‘Men Who United the States’
By Stephen Mihm
The New York Times

“So why doesn’t the United States fly apart at the seams? James Madison may have had it right when he argued that a large, decentralized republic spread over a vast territory was more likely to survive than one confined to a much smaller landmass. A sprawling, diverse nation like the United States would necessarily encompass so vast a variety of people that no single group could consistently impose its will on the others. In Madison’s pragmatic if paradoxical vision, our very differences would keep us together. The nation would remain united because no bloc or faction can command sufficient political power to divide it and destroy the union.

“Of course, Madison couldn’t foresee the conflict over slavery, when two distinct sections of the country went to war over their differences. But this has been the exception, not the rule. Today, the nation is rarely, if ever, united on any single political issue. Our loyalties are too divided, too fractured and too unpredictable. Our diversity divides us, but in the process, guarantees that the larger union endures.”

New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 22, 2008, 11:09 PM:

 

New Age: Part 1

Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer MarmaladeNew Age is a more general term and New Thought is a more specific
term.  I don’t know when the term New Age was first used, but as its
used in contemporary culture it seems to mostly to apply to the pop
culture spirituality that was inspired by various earlier movements.
One of those earlier movements was New Thought, and New Thought is no
longer distinct from New Age.  New Thought has become incorporated
into mainstream culture.  Most people who are familiar with New Thought
views aren’t familiar with the New Thought tradition.  New Thought has
in some ways become even more generalized than New Age because its
influence has been so wide and yet so below the radar.

I was raised in Unity and it attracted the New Age type of person.  It
was normal practice to hug people at church and everything was fairly
politically correct.  There was an extreme open-mindedness about it
even though it was Christian… by which I mean that no one cared if
you were saved or if you believed in any particular dogma.  New
Thought Christianity is often referred to as Practical Christianity.
There are two basic elements to this.

First, personal experience is prioritized and so having a personal
relationship to Jesus/God is emphasized.  The difference between this
and the personal relationship of other Christians is that its very
relaxed.  Jesus is your friend and you can talk to him as you would a
friend.  Jesus isn’t our Lord.  Instead, this notion is replaced with
the idea of Jesus being the (or a) Wayshower, a wise and knowledgable
guide.

Second, the power of mind is related to the Power of God.  We are
microcosms of God, and as such we are co-creators of our reality.
There is a difference here from some later adaptations in New Age.
This power is rooted in our personal relationship to Jesus/God.
Beyond simple positive thinking, its primarily about faith and the
ultimate goal is in deepening our faith experience.

New Thought influenced the New Age, but it has other influences.
Unity publishes a small magazine which if I remember correctly is
called The Daily Word.  It used to (and may still) have a wide
readership outside of Unity.  I met people from mainstream Christian
churches that said that their church distributed it.  Unsurprisingly,
even though these people had seen Unity’s magazine, they didn’t know
of Unity or of New Thought.  Also, recently, I’ve been noticing New
Thought creeping into the Evangelical movement (practically taking it
over in some cases).

New Thought has common origin in several other American movements.  At
the time Unity was forming, Americans were seeking a new form of
religion.  For instance, out of this same milieu, the Mormons arose.
New Thought has much in common with the UU church as Unity too is
Unitarian and Universalist in its theology.  The Transcendentalists
also seem to have been a part of this quest for the new.  There was an
influence from Eastern texts that were being translated, but there
also was a renewed interest in the long suppressed Gnostic strains of
the Western tradition.  The inspired text A Course In Miracles has a
strong Gnostic flavor to it and it was an extremely popular book in
Unity.  One of the more interesting influences of New Thought was
Mesmer who proposed the idea of animal magnetism, that there was a
power in the world that could be directed for the good of humans…
specifically in terms of healing.  There is a strong emphasis on
healing in Unity and in Evangelism.  Interestingly, Mesmer led to the
tradition of hypnotism which in course led to Neuro-linguistic
Programming (NLP).  NLP, similar to New Thought, is interested in how
we influence reality through our perception of it.

Another interesting American phenomena is Landmark Forum which
originated from EST.  Landmark is a more harsh (almost cult-like)
product of the New Age movement.  Its positive thinking on steroids.
I’ve been to a Landmark Forum.  It had some useful things to teach,
but I didn’t like its morally questionable techniques of influencing
participants.  EST supposedly had even stronger methodologies.  Sadly,
I’ve heard that Landmark is gaining a foothold in some Unity circles.
If Landmark used its stronghold tactics to inveigle its way into
Unity, then it could use it as a respectable front for its
prosyletizing activities.  This is the darkside of the New Age.

All of this that I mentioned has influenced and in some cases been
incorporated into the almost anything goes theology of New Age.
Nonetheless, as I grew up in New Thought as a distinct tradition, I
still consider the two separate.  I agree with some of Wilber’s
criticisms of New Age: the Mean Green Meme (MGM) and cultural
relativism.

BTW my experience with New Age is pretty wide.  I’ve read many of the
New Age classics growing up.  I also attended a UU for a while.  I
went to massage school where I learned about alternative health and
energy healing.  Two of the psychotherapists I’ve been to were Reiki
healers and one of them was also a practicing Sufi.  I went to a
shamanistic healer a couple of times.  I’ve had my hug from the
hugging saint Amma.  I’ve done all kinds of spiritual practices over
the years.  I used to be a vegetarian.  I have interests in various
New Age subjects: tarot, astrology, chakras, etc.

OTOH I was also raised by two fairly conservative parents who later
became very dissatisfied with Unity.  I went to highschool in the
conservative South and lived in the heart of the Bible Belt for a
time.  I’m fairly critical of much of New Age and New Thought.  I’m
very intellectual and can be frustrated by anti-intellectual
ideologies.  I’ve spent much of my life depressed and can be annoyed
by the manic cheeriness of some New Agers.

I have both an insiders and an outsiders view of New Thought and New
Age.  I meet people online who have just discovered positive thinking
and I have to control myself from expressing my cynicism too strongly.
 I’ve practiced New Thought off and on over the years and I still
believe in it, but I also know of its weaknesses and pitfalls.  What
annoys me about the positive thinking is that many people who discover
it feel they must prosyletize it as if it can answer all of the
world’s problems.  To me, the most important New Thought principle is
acceptance and not optimism.  Plus, I distinguish between faith and
optimism… whereas, pop culture positive thinking downplays faith or
limits it to personal psychology.

Even though all of these ideas and experiences have made me who I am,
I don’t label myself as New Age or New Thought.  I believe that there is
much truth in these traditions, but I don’t align myself with any
particular tradition… which I suppose is very New Age of me.

Whether or not I’m New Age, there is no doubt I’m a product of this
sub-culture.  I joined Gaia because a part of me very clearly
resonates with this kind of positive thinking community.  Generally
speaking, I like most New Agers as people.  They’re my people and I
understand them.  I’m an INFP which is one of the MBTI types that most
closely fits with a New Age worldview.  I belong to an INFP forum and
I love the place, but the sweet kind pc friendliness would make some
people vomit.

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 22, 2008, 11:10 PM:

 

New Age: Part 2

Posted on Jul 22nd, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer MarmaladeIn Unity, Jesus isn’t superior to us.  We don’t need to give the right answer or win his approval in order to be saved.  This is because our salvation isn’t in his hands.  He just shows the way.
 
In Unity, access to Heaven isn’t limited to those who follow Christ (ie Universalism).  But it depends on what is meant by “Christ” and “follow”.  Christ has two meanings in New Thought: (1) Jesus Christ the Wayshowher, and (2) Christ Consciousness.  New Thought Christianity is non-exclusive.  Most New Thought practitioners probably see Christ Consciousness in all religions.  The language used isn’t important.  It doesn’t matter if you call this Wayshower principle Jesus or Buddha or whatever, and there is no reason why there can’t be multiple Wayshowers.  In New Thought, to “follow” Christ simply means to live your life according to his example.  This doesn’t necessitate believing in the one true dogma or accepting Jesus as the one true savior.  It simply means that you follow him and so all that it implies is that you trust his guidance, that you trust he knows the way.  Also, New Thought practitioners tend to believe that there are many paths to “Heaven”.
 
In Unity, Heaven and Hell don’t exist as separate realms.  They’re states of mind and they’re part and parcel with how we live our lives, our words and our deeds.  We don’t have to wait until we’re dead to be close to God.  Sin is our separation or rather perceived separation from God, but there is no Original Sin.  Sin like salvation is in the present.  Each moment gives us an opportunity to accept or deny God.
  
In Unity, we co-create reality with God.  It is difficult to trace this idea.  One of the earliest source would be Gnosticism.  There is an idea that began in Gnosticism and was adapted in later Kabbalah.  The idea is that we don’t merely passively receive salvation but rather participate in the salvation process. 
 
New Thought types like to quote passages such as Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34.  New Thought interprets as literal truth the statement of Jesus that “You are gods.”  And in John 14:12, Jesus says “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
 
Also, Mesmer had the idea that we have the power to influence our reality.  Phineas Quimby is considered the Father of New Thought and he studied Mesmerism.
 
I’ve read that Unity began within the Evangelical movement.  It doesn’t seem all that Evangelical in comparison to some more vocal Evangelists today, but it still has an Evangelical core.  I suppose it was Robert Schuller who first popularized New Thought (he is my mom’s favorite minister).  I’ve seen many Evangelical tv ministries where New Thought ideas are preached.  What is known as prosperity thinking in New Thought and positive thinking in New Age is called by a different name in the Evangelical movement.  Its called prosperity gospel or abundance theology.  The newest popular proponent of New Thought in Evangelism is Joel Osteen.
 
The wiki article says…

Universalism is a religion and theology that generally holds all persons and creatures are related to God or the divine and will be reconciled to God. A church that calls itself Universalist may emphasize the universal principles of most religions and accept other religions in an inclusive manner, believing in a universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine. Other religions may have Universalist theology as one of their tenets and principles, including Christianity, Hinduism, and some of the New Age religions. Universalist beliefs exist within many faiths, and many Universalists practice in a variety of traditions, drawing upon the same universal principles.

The most common principle drawn upon is love. (Sai Baba/Baba Speech): “The spirit present in all of the beings is varily seen as that of mind. They are all full of the essential love. Without love, it is all just a pun, without love you can not be happy !”

Truth is also an important principle to be drawn upon. The living truth is more far-reaching than national, cultural, even faith boundaries. [1]
That generally lines up with my understanding of Unity’s Universalism.  The Random House definition says that “the doctrine that emphasizes the universal fatherhood of God and the final salvation of all souls.”  Within the Unity church, fatherhood isn’t a term that I remember hearing much in reference to God, but the general idea of God’s universal nature as Creator has a similar meaning.  The major difference here is that Unity wouldn’t agree with a view that final salvation is a collective future event.  This goes along with heaven and hell not being places that we go to.  Ultimately, Unity teaches that everyone is already saved.  Sin is an error in perception and that is all.  We aren’t really separate from God because everything is eternally in and of God.
There are all kinds of weaknesses some inherent to New Thought theology and some with how New Thought has manifested in contemporary culture.  Most importantly is the question of whether New Thought aligns with what psychological research has discovered.  Some of the strongest criticism of New Thought in its relationship with New Age comes from the Integral theorists.  A book that looks interesting is The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford.  I haven’t read the book, but it seems to be about how some New Agers could learn a thing or two from Jungian shadow work.

In highschool, I was heavily influenced by both Unity and A Course In Miracles (ACIM).  This means that the two are pretty mixed in my mind.  The ACIM was popular in Unity.  Because of this, Unity decided to stop carrying it in their bookstores.  They were worried that people would start thinking of Unity theology only in ACIM terms.  The ACIM has much more of an intellectual theology than New Thought does in general, and so ACIM adds a bit of meat to the bones.  Check out Kenneth Wapnick if you’re interested in the theology pertaining to the ACIM.  Basically, the ACIM is most similar to Valentinian Gnosticism. 
 
I’ve studied the ACIM more thoroughly than I have ever studied Unity theology.  As I was raised in Unity, I never gave it much thought growing up.  And as I haven’t attended a Unity since highschool, I’ve never studied of its theology to any great extent.  I’m not an expert on Unity, but its essential philosophy is easy enough to grasp… easier to grasp than the historical comlexities of Catholic theology.  The funny thing about Unity is its lack of motivation to push a particular theology beyond a few basic beliefs.  I was never taught what the beliefs of Unity were.  I never even read the Bible growing up nor do I remember anyone reading Bible stories to me.  It didn’t even occur to me to think about any of this.

 

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  Alluvja :  Love In Action  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Alluvja said Jul 24, 2008, 4:43 PM:

  Hi Marmelade, interesting blog. I’ve been influmced also by a variety of faiths and thought systems, Christianity, Hinduism, Science of mind, Course of Miracles to mention a few. I’ve also studied theology for a copple of years.   I still have occasionally spurs of intellectual inspiration but in general i must say I have more and more trouble with that lately ,since I strongly feel that there is only so much to understanding, there comes a point where I need to let go of that and all needs to become quiet to be Known and reveiled and you just Are in that knowing.  Spirituality becomes a mystical experience and the mystical experience can be found in an ordinary way of being.
But aside from that, I just wanted to reflect on your comment on Kenneth Wapnick, who has been critized as well in the various ACIM “cults” .  I have met him, I did a weekend with him and his wife many years ago here in the Netherlands, and I must be honest to say that I was a bit dissappointed by the intellectual approach of his workshop which at that time held no room for some pratical application and sharing of what ACIM  is all about ,LOVE!   In talking with him personally however I found him a very warm and wonderful person and got a bit back from the feeling I got from reading some of his books. One of his books that was very powerful to me is “the meaning of forgiveness” and I can strongly recomment it to anyone wanting to get an insight in some of the Course in Miracles principles.
However, this was all many years ago and there are also many groups that work with the course that have a more practical and less intellectual approach.
And yes you’re right it is a gnostic teaching and on some of those concepts that is where I sometimes wrestle with ACIM.

Thanks for the clear explanation of the various churches etc.
Love,
Alluvja

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 24, 2008, 5:16 PM:

  Hello Alluvja,

I’m a pretty intellectual guy, but I go through phases.  A couple of years ago I was in a major non-intellectual phase where I wasn’t reading at all and I was meditating all of the time.  I’m in an intellectual phase at the moment, but I’m starting to shift into a fiction phase.  I really love fiction… in many ways more than I love philosophy.  Several of my favorite intellectual subjects of study relate to storytelling: archetypes, mythology, psychology, etc.  I love fiction writers who combine fiction and nonfiction writing… such as Philip K. Dick.

BTW I’m no big fan of Wapnick.  I’ve only ever owned one book by him and I’ve (Love Does Not Condemn) and I’ve never even read that one book all the way through.  If it wasn’t for a good friend becoming interested in the ACIM, then it wouldn’t really be on my mind much.  I will say that Wapnick re-awakened for me some interest in it, but only slightly. 

I’m attracted to Gnosticism and so that is the one thing that attracts me to ACIM at all these days.  So, what is your opinion about Gnosticism?  Are you familiar with Valentinus?  He was a Gnostic within the Catholic church and was a candidate for bishop of Rome.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 24, 2008, 6:41 PM:

  what fiction are you slipping into at the moment, buddy? anything bloggable? i’m all ears so to speak

🙂 light and joy,

nicole

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 25, 2008, 1:32 AM:

  It shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve been reading some of Philip K. Dick’s fiction.  I finished the book The Cosmic Puppets a while back.  I was thinking about doing a review of it.  Its about the battle between dark and light forces when they manifest on the human level.  Its also about how people respond when reality is altered.  All of the typical PKD character types are present including the dark haired girl, but there is a very odd twist to the story.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 25, 2008, 3:36 AM:

  sounds intriguing…. if you blog, i promise to get into a detailed discussion…
*wheedling appealingly* 🙂

 

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  Alluvja :  Love In Action  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Alluvja said Aug 1, 2008, 4:49 AM:

  Hello Marmelade,

It’s been a while, thanks for your reply, I didn’t mean to ignore your reply but I haven’t really been feeling very well physically lately and thus didn’t feel like going into a discussion on Gnostism because my mind was really occupied with other stuff.
Anyway, appreciate your thread very much and perhaps I’ll get back to it some other time.

Love and light,
Alluvja

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Aug 1, 2008, 5:29 AM:

  Sorry you haven’t been well, dear one… feeling better now?

Love,

Nicole

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 1, 2008, 5:49 AM:

  Don’t worry, Alluvja.  I wasn’t offended by your not replying.  I didn’t interpret it as meaning anything in particular.

I hope you feel better.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 24, 2008, 1:14 AM:

 

New Age: Part 3

Posted on Jul 24th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child MarmaladeUnity and New Thought denies evil any reality because God is all and all is in God.  There is no Satan and what appears as darkness is nothing more than a lack of light.  Just a false belief and a misperception.  As for sin (original or otherwise), evil, satan, and hell… its all the same in New Thought theology.  Good vs evil isn’t a dichontomy that is used in New Thought.  For instance, A Course In Miracles uses the terms of love and fear: “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.”  There really isn’t any more that can be said of it from a New Thought perspective. 
 
I was raised with no concept of evil and so I never thought about it growing up.  Even though I now understand it in the abstract, it doesn’t have much meaning to me.  As my grandmother (who was a Unity minister, a Science of Mind practitioner, and a student of the ACIM) used to say, “Everyone is doing the best that they can for where they’re at.”
 
In New Thought, God has no gender because God isn’t an anthropomorphic deity.  Rather, God is a spiritual principle something akin to monism or panentheism.  New Thought is the natural result of the evolution of the Judeo-Christian tradition taken to its extreme.  The Catholic God is more abstract than the Jewish God.  The Protestant God is more abstract than the Catholic God.  The New Thought God is more abstract than the Protestant God.  As rationality increased with socio-histoical development, God became ever more rationalized.
 
Unity uses the term “God” to refer to the divine, but the use of the term “Goddess” in reference to the divine is extremely common in New Age.  Even in Unity, nobody would care if you felt like referring to the divine as Goddess. 
 
Goddess combines the whole feel of embodied spirituality that is in line with the New Age’s desire to bridge spirituality and science.  The Gaia hypothesis is a case in point.  It was originated by a scientist, but was quickly spiritualized and has become one of the main tenets of New Age.  Nature and environmentalism are very important in the New Age. 
 
Plus, Goddess fits in with the whole female empowerment.  New Age groups have a high percentage of female membership and women often have leadership positions.  If I remember correctly, all of the ministers of Unity churches that I’ve belonged to have been women.  A major influence of the Goddess strain within New Age goes back to Gimbutas’ theory of ancient peaceful matriarchies.  Also, the rise of virgin mary worship has contributed to this.  New Age is the common person’s spirituality and virgin mary worship has a similar position within Catholicism.  There are many theories why the feminine principle is becoming more central.  I simply see it as the return of the repressed.
 
So, what is a Unity service like?  There is nothing particularly special about a Unity service.  Its very simple and bare bones.  Unity isn’t big into symbolism and ritual.
 
There is singing non-traditonal songs such as “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”  Come to think of it, God was referred to as Father in this song.  I just looked it up and I see that some versions have of course changed “Father” to “Creator”.  During the singing of this song, I remember that everyone held hands in a circle that connected the whole congregation together and everyone would sway back and forth.
 
Unity people are a smily and friendly group for the most part, but I have been to a Unity church nearby where the people weren’t as open as the Unity churches I grew up in.  One thing I remember is that people liked to hug and there was a specific point in the service that was for this purpose.  However, someone told me that Unity churches were much more huggy in the past than they are now.   I don’t know what would cause such a change.
 
Of course, there is a sermon.  But its quite different from most Christian sermons.  God is talked about in a less direct way.  There is much more neutral language.  Bible stories aren’t usually told.  Nonetheless, the whole service has a general Christian feel to it.

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 24, 2008, 3:35 AM:

  this is great – i commented to your first two on your blogs but will comment here for the third. i think i have been a bit more closed than usual to Unity because of my mom belonging to it and not feeling it was good for her, just reinforcing her tendency to escape reality. but the way you describe growing up in it makes it sound more appealing.

it makes sense that it would have a lot of women ministers. that seems to be true of the Unitarians as well and even in the Anglican church, though it’s still fairly recent that women are ordained, more and more are priests.

The feminine has always been worshipped… heck, it’s even in the traditional marriage service, “with my body I thee worship” 🙂 The awesome power to bring forth and nurture life is something that males have over the ages adored, desired, feared and sought to control through many means – religion, violence, literature and other arts…

Light and peace,

Nicole   

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 24, 2008, 4:59 PM:

  Nicole, what do you think attracted your mom to Unity?

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 24, 2008, 6:26 PM:

  I think she likes the “magical” aspects to it… she wants to think everything will fix itself with positive thoughts …

 

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  alexander rhubarb : nit picker  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

alexander rhubarb said Jul 24, 2008, 5:17 PM:

  Hi
Marmalade, Wow that sure was a mouthful. I have never heard of the Unity church. As I said earlier post I was ritualized Catholic and as a consequence no other religion really existed. This is akin to many aboriginal cultures defining themselves as the first peoples. And how do they set about proving this claim ,myth.
  I agree with your take on the evolution of religious thought and consciousness. One feeds into the other. Cultures and a culture’s dominant fiction also add to this nurturing of thought I suppose. I like also to consider the neurognostic aspects of religion. The physical allotment of the brain as it appears in the here and now afer predication of nature and nurture. I believe you have explained nicely the communitas  of spirit , what of the culmination of evolutionary tactics that have helped bring us to this point. I’ m not looking at specifics, but do recall that behaviour is a reflection of what is inside our brains.

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 24, 2008, 5:35 PM:

  Hi Alexander,

I don’t know much about the brain, but I’m sure studying the brain could tell us much about religious experience.  The only aspect of this that I’m slightly familiar with is research done on the brains of meditators.  I have heard of the theory that there might be a God part of the brain, but it seems unlikely that there would be a single location within the brain.

My knowledge of Catholocism is also rather limited.  I did go to boyscouts in the basement of a Catholic church.  Does that count?

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 24, 2008, 6:42 PM:

  hmmm it depends – what did you learn about Catholicism from looking at a church basement? 🙂

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 25, 2008, 1:35 AM:

  Oh, the things one can discover in a basement… deep dark secrets.
I would tell you but the Pope made me promise I’d never speak of it.  🙂

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 25, 2008, 3:33 AM:

  well, if the pope made you promise… :):)

 

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  alexander rhubarb : nit picker  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

alexander rhubarb said Jul 25, 2008, 9:05 PM:

  As always thanks for the chat. I was never an alter boy, and no scouts either. The structures of the brain are easily seen manifested cross-culturally. I don’t see a God gene either. my contention was that as peoples see themselves as the first peoples, and they support this in myth, so does religion resolve itself through cultural expression but stands as a universal structure, ie. the archetype. Dichotomy is also a structure of the brain, at least in thought and language usage, and development. Intentionality is yet another aspect of self. I see these structures as innate and part of the evolution of the brain. Any interest or thoughts on how innate  neurological structures can lead to cross cultural universals?  Thanks to all in advance.

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 25, 2008, 11:21 PM:

  Alexander,
“I see these structures as innate and part of the evolution of the brain. Any interest or thoughts on how innate  neurological structures can lead to cross cultural universals?”

I see the correlation between archetypal structures and the evolution of the brain, but causation is hard to prove.  We can only guess at which way the causation goes, or maybe there is a presently unknown factor that is the cause of both. 

For instance, we find spirals pleasing to look at and so there is probably a part of the brain that relates to this, but spirals aren’t just an evolution of our brain because they are one way matter tends to structure itself.  So, did our brains evolve to enjoy spirals because they exist in nature for obviously spirals preceded the evolution of our brain.  But then I wonder what is the evolutionary advantage of finding spirals pleasant to look at.  And I also wonder why nature tends towards spirals.  Maybe there is a third factor underlying both the manifestation of spirals and the human attraction to spirals.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  alexander rhubarb : nit picker  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

alexander rhubarb said Jul 26, 2008, 6:06 AM:

  Hi and thanks for inspirations. I am really enjoying this blog Marmalade, and Hansen sounds like my kind of read, right up my alley, with liminality and totemism and more. Spirals eh! At first I thought I would have to consider this for a while. Then I remembered another interesting fact that pertains to this line. If we close our eyes and rub them we see colours and bursts of light, similarly if we are in the shower with our eyes clenched and the water beating on our lids we experience this mirage of colour and geometrics. This is because we don’t see light in our brains it is transduced  into information our brain interprets as light. So maybe spirals are a part of this visual process and not of mind. I have heard that spirals in our visual field with eyes closed can mean a psychosis is present. Spirals have been present for as long as art, and maybe its more a physical than mental effort. With regards to causation, do you think causation at a distance is possible, ie. new age thinking and quantum leap?Really interesting Marmalade I’m struck by the depths of your soulful knowledge, and of course the same can be said of Nicole. Two rushing rivers. Thanks .

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 7:41 AM:

  Glad you’re enjoying the discussion, Alexander.  🙂

Spirals could be part of the visual process.  I’ve never heard of anyone theorize in that direction.  I can’t even begin to wonder how the visual process could create spirals.

Spirals in nature tend to follow the golden ratio, and so do human body proportions.  A common shape humans like to create is the golden rectangle: note cards, books, dvd cases, etc.

Then you have visual symbols such as crosses.  Humans not only are interested in crosses, but tend to perceive them with similar meaning across diverse cultures that aren’t known to have had contact and so influence seems unlikely.  Crosses often are associated with the sun, and solar mythologies also tend to follow similar patterns. 

If this is all caused by the brain somehow, I don’t think anyone has figured out how the brain could cause it.  Some suggest there could be some ancient myth from before humans spread out across the globe, and that would be remarkable as humans became separated on different continents long ago.

Do I think causation at a distance is possible?  I don’t know, but the research at least shows correlation at a distance.  Both quantum physics research and paranormal research demonstrates what seems to be influence that is faster than light.  The book by Hansen goes into some of the paranormal research.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

alexander rhubarb said Jul 26, 2008, 8:12 PM:

  HI and thanks for continuing what I hope isn’t becoming mundane for you. I am hopeful that you do not find it digressing from your blog. The spirals may be a byproduct of visual neurology, some sort of outlet for these impulses.

Why would it be difficult to percieve of these visual symbols as structures relevant to all humans much the same as we share many phonemic similarities in language as well as an inateness to language.Why not innate symbols of non vocalic types that are shared or can be shared by all humans I have hypothesized ,in an M.A. thesis that “grabbing at the branches” could support these structures and even in my belief the structure of written languages. As an engram a cross, even made of wood traditionaly, or a rectangle as is plentyful staring into entangled branches could have evolved into the hard wiring of our brains evolution, The importance of missing a branch is predicable and so it becomes important to visualize and rehearse and reinforce visualization of “the branches”. If you could let me know what you think. Thanks Marmalade. Alex

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 9:12 PM:

  Nope… nothing mundane about it, Alexander.  I’m perfectly happy discussing it as long as you wish.  It may be digressing from my blog, but I so happen to like digressions.  🙂

As for spirals and crosses, my guess is that (like many things) there are multiple factors which quite likely could include your theory.  I suppose there might be scientific research about symbolic perception/cognition, but I’m not familiar with it.  At some later point, I’ll look into this area.  I promise you that I’ll eventually do a blog about archetypes, symbols, and pattern recognition.  I do want to discuss this in more detail at some point, but it will take me a little while to get to it.  I want to finish off this New Age blog series, and there are a couple of other things I want to get done (such as a review of the new Batman movie that I promised OM that I’d do).  I’ll probably blog about these visual symbols in the next few weeks.

For the moment… if you have some info that you could link here, I’d be more than happy to look at it and comment.  Or you could start a separate thread and see what others have to say.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 25, 2008, 3:50 AM:

 

New Age: Part 4

Posted on Jul 25th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade The New Age has some of its origins in organizations such as the Theosophical Society.  Besant and Leadbeater wrote the book Occult Chemistry where they claimed to have used psychic vision to discover the structure of the atom.  Also, it was the Theosophical Society that raised J. Krishnamurti as the coming messiah even though he chose not to take up this role and went his own way instead.  Theosophy was a part of the whole spiritualism movement which related to various occult groups and practitioners.  This side has been a bit lost in the lightness and fluff of the New Age, but the New Age tradition of channelled writings comes from spiritualism. 
 
All of the spirituality and religion of that time was largely in response to the industrial revolution and the rising of scientific materialism.  Mesmerism was one of those attempts to bridge the gap between spirituality and science.  This is partly why New Agers are so focused on material manifestations of spirituality such as healing and wealth, and why they’re interested in quasi-scientific theories about quantum physics and such.  New Thought ideas are getting some actual scientific backing from books written by people such as Lynne McTaggart who is a reporter on consciousness studies.
 
There is also an intriguing connection between the New Age and phenomena such as UFOs and conspiracies.  They’re two sides of the same thing.  UFOs and conspiracies, like much of New Age, is seeking rational explanations for the non-rational.

The basic connection is that there is much crossover between those interested in New Age and those interested in UFOs, conspiracy theories, and whatever else.  New Age types tend to be open-minded and curious about life in general (and some more extreme New Agers have a naive gullibility that allows them to believe in almost anything).  I mentioned that the early origins of New Age include spiritualism and Theosophy.  The occult in general is sort of the shadow of mainstream New Age, and the occult is mixed up with UFOs and conspiracy theories.  
 
I was reading a book by Vallee who is a UFO investigator and was one of the first people to make a connection between alien abductions and traditional folklore.  In the intro to one of his books, he mentioned that he had studied Teilhard de Chardin and appreciated his view.  Teilhard de Chardin is a name that comes up in both New Age and Integral discussions.  BTW there is much crossover between New Age and Integral in general to the chagrin of Ken Wilber. 
 
If you go to the alternative section of a bookstore, you’ll find books on New Age, books on such things UFOs and conspiracy theories, and books on Integralism.  Also, you’ll find books on New Thought Christianity and all other aspects of Christianity that aren’t deemed suitable for a normal Christian viewing public. 

There is another common element to all of these besides the type of person who is open-minded and curious.  Nearly all of these subjects have some connection to Jung and depth psychology.  Jung proposed the theory of archetypes that has become popular in the New Age, in certain sectors of Christianity, and in subjects such as tarot and kabbalah.  The idea of archetypes does come up in books about UFOs and the occult and Jung comes up a lot in Integral circles.  Jung was influenced by some writers of the occult, Jung wrote a book about UFOs, and Jung was a direct inspiration of Alcoholics Anonymous which was one of the earliest self-help groups.  Jung had wide interests and many New Agers share this trait.  Also, shadow work is becoming an increasingly popular topic in the New Age.  Of course, the belief in synchronicity has been a mainstay of the New Age for quite a while now.  Plus, the MBTI was based on Jung’s theory of personality, and the MBTI has become a big player in the self-help field.
  
There is another even more interesting side to all of this.  Intentional communities and Gurus are very popular amongst New Agers, but there is a dark side to this with Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and Heaven’s Gate.  Heaven’s Gate is an especially good example.  They were a UFO cult that was very New Agey in their interest in pop culture utopianism and their beliefs in alien/angels that would come to save them.  Many people who have alien abduction experiences are given messages by their captors.  They are made to feel special and that they have a mission to accomplish.  They are often told that the world is ailing or even dying, and that the aliens have come to save the planet or the aliens have come to save an elect few.  You can find similar messages in New Age channeled writings.
 
Basically, there is a very diverse connection between the New Age and various subjects that don’t seem very New Agey.  Even so, these connections go back to the beginning of the New Age.  Part of the problem here is that its nearly impossible to define what the New Age is.  It includes so much.  And if you follow the trail of connections, it can lead you in many different directions.  Its good to keep in mind that the New Age has slowly been co-opted by the mainstream (eg Oprah and Tolle, and The Secret), but the New Age originated in the unrespectable fringes of society.  Just as its useful to distinguish between New Thought and New Age, its also useful to distinguish between the early beginnnings of New Age and the contempory popularization thereof.  The New Age that is becoming popularized right now is in some ways a whole new phenomena.

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 25, 2008, 4:24 AM:

  that last point you make is a good one. New Age thought has been a “heresy” fringe element of Christianity, for example, since the very beginning. But it becoming mainstream really changes its character I believe because before it used to thrive in being small secret and privileged… interesting.

Light,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 25, 2008, 11:59 AM:

  Also, in becoming mainstream, the New Age definitely changes.  The popularity of channelled writings will decrease and the self-help aspect will be more emphasized.

I was unusure about one thing you said: “before it used to thrive in being small secret and privileged”. 

So, what time period is your “before” referring to? 

And in what ways do you believe it was “privileged”?  I’m thinking you mean privileged differently than in how I’m thinking about that term.  I’ve been reading about it in relation to various philosophical movements such as postmodernism where it refers to such things as high status.  I’m guessing you mean that its privileged in that only a small group of people participated, correct? 

Also, are you referring to Gnosticism specifically?  Some people label the Gnostics as elitist as they tended to be small groups, but as far as I know the Gnostics weren’t any more exclusive than any other small group of early Christianity.  Actually, later they became quite large groups such as the Cathars.  Its true that some Gnostics believed only an elect would be saved, but then again that is far from an uncommon belief in Christianity as well.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 25, 2008, 5:52 PM:

  Before means before becoming mainstream… throughout most of history, in fact.

Yes, I was thinking in the sense of the mystery cults, the feeling of being on of the chosen few who could understand… So, part of it is being a small group, but especially a small, select and precious group.

No, not just Gnostics, there were a number of these types of groups, not all Christian sects of course, like the cult of Mithras…

Love,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

andrew said Jul 25, 2008, 7:30 PM:

  you know ben , when i read the urantia book in the winter of ’94, i thought to myself, this has to be otherworldly, who could write such a volume with that amount of information. now 4 years ago i came across will and ariel durants, a history of civilization, a set of books that is voluminous compared to the urantia book, and i thought aha, these people living before t.v. had the time and intellect to write these enormous volumes. so no supernaturalism need explain what high intellect and lot’s of time can explain. will and ariel durants work is a healthier use of time compared to the kelloggs family work in the urantia book, in my opinion.

happy someone else knows about the origins of mr. krishnamurti and his connections with the theosophical society and madame blatvatsky. we must not forget about alister crowley also. another guy who had tons of influence in spiritual circles. now to me, i find much of this stuff to be psychic fantasy believed in by people with very high i.q’s. i guess we all need our defense mechanisms against the enormity of the unknown. having said that, i’ve spent 25 years around the fringes of the new age community in vancouver and i find most of the people decent and caring, but lacking in critical thinking, in my opinion. 
i think we would all be stunned at the amount of fringe religious groups that existed 2000 years ago…..we are hardwired for god it seems….we can just never agree on what that is, which of course is a shame and nevermore so than when we claim exclusivity with the propensity towards silence……excellent blog man……

 

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

andrew said Jul 25, 2008, 7:32 PM:

  violence……

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 2:43 AM:

  Andrew,
we must not forget about alister crowley also. another guy who had tons of influence in spiritual circles.

Yup… he was influential such as with his helping to popularize Tarot, but I have no particular opinion about him.  Even though I’ve never read any of his books, I come across his name and ideas quite often.  If you have anything interesting to say about him in connection to this discussion, then please do share.  Have you read any of his books?

One interesting factoid is that the “New Age” was a phrase used amongst occultists at least a century ago, but I don’t know when it was first used.  I’ve come across quotes of Crowley where he used the phrase the “New Aeon”.

now to me, i find much of this stuff to be psychic fantasy believed in by people with very high i.q’s. i guess we all need our defense mechanisms against the enormity of the unknown.

I agree with this for the most part.  There is definitely no lack of psychic fantasy.  At the same time, I personally feel there is some truth in it all.

having said that, i’ve spent 25 years around the fringes of the new age community in vancouver and i find most of the people decent and caring, but lacking in critical thinking, in my opinion.

I’d like to see more critical thinking.  Integral theory is good in that its raising the bar for critical discourse.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 26, 2008, 3:42 AM:

  Hi Marmalade

Some interesting quotes about the term New Age:

A weekly Journal of Christian liberalism and Socialism called
The New Age was published as early as 1894

The leaders who stood at the craddle of the birth of the nation were influenced by Masonic, Spiritualistic and Rosicrucian thought. “A New Order of the Age begins” proclaims the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States.

Eight signatories of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons, amongst whom Benjamin Franklin (see image) and George Washington, as were sixteen subsequent presidents.


here for an article on the roots of New Age through the ages

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 7:47 AM:

  Thanks for that link, Nicole!  I had come across a mention of that journal when I was doing a search on Crowley.  Supposedly, he had some articles published in it.

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 26, 2008, 3:50 AM:

  From a review of Charles’ Williams novel All Hallows’ Eve

Readers interested in The DaVinci Code and the landslide of conspiracy theories, secret histories and occultic exposes that will inevitably accompany it may want to discover this lost (and recently reprinted) classic. Williams published this the same year as The Descent of the Dove: A History of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and it would seem at first that these books cover two sides of the supernatural, but it’s not quite that way.

Williams is unique, among other things, for his skepticism, as summed in the epigram, “Believe and doubt well.” His take on witchcraft isn’t based on believing or not believing in it but in looking at it in history and in relation to the rest of his ideas. To understand his approach, consider his credentials and the accidents of when he wrote. He was a member of A.E. Waite’s Order of the Golden Dawn, a mystical society whose members included Evelyn Underhill, author of Mysticism, and poet W. B. Yeats, known for his poem, “The Second Coming.” No doubt he derived much of the local color, as it were, and ideas for his novels from this involvement.

Aleister Crowley, the self-styled “Great Beast” tried to wrest control of the Golden Dawn. Whatever one thinks of “Mr. Crowley” as Ozzy Osbourne sang of him, he seems to be the model for a certain type of magician who appears in Williams’ novels. Williams delves briefly into the events surrounding the dark history of the Malleus Mallificarum, the witch trials, the mysteries associated with the Knights Templar, the Illuminati and the “secret histories” which these days are so much in vogue in contemporary fiction…

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 1:27 AM:

  Hi Nicole,

My guess is that mystery cults were just a product of their time.  From studying early Christianity/Gnosticism, my sense is that religions of the time (including early Christianity/Gnosticism) tended to be more enclosed.  For small religions, it made sense that they would tend to be enclosed because the world was dangerous back then.  For larger religions, it seems that it was common for religions to have an inner mystery and an outer mystery.  Most religions tended towards elitism back then (relative to modern standards) because ancient society tended towards elitism. 

I’m not as familiar with the Mystery cults as I am of Gnosticism.  I know that some people think that Chrisitanity was entirely different (eg Walter Burkert), and I don’t know enough upon which to base a conclusion about the subject.  But others like Doherty think there are commonalities or at least parallels.  I know that the Mystery cults were secretive (hence the “Mystery”), but I don’t know that they were exclusive.  Here is a quote from the wiki article on Mystery cults:

Mysteries were often supplements to civil religion, rather than competing alternatives of such, and that is the reason these are referred by many scholars as “mystery cults” rather than religions.[4]

The Mysteries were thus cults in which all religious functions were closed to the non-inducted and for which the inner-working of the cult were kept secret from the general public. Although there are no other formal qualifications, mystery cults were also characterized by their lack of an orthodoxy and scripture.
OTOH Gnosticism was definitely a mix of different kinds of groups.  Some Gnostics were basically the same as the early Christians, and there was no clear distinction (if any at all) between the two groups at the time.  Other Gnostics had a more exclusive structure as they were essentially intentional communities where people dedicated their whole lives and all of their earthly belongings to the collecitve.  This might’ve been exclusive in one sense; but, once you belonged, the Gnostics were one of the most egalitarian groups around: equality between women and men and a non-hierarchical structure(TAZ, communitas, liminal).  Basically, they were early communists who shared everything collectively.  Its interesting that it was these Gnostic communes that were the basis for later Christian monasticism.

Christianity became a more open religion when it became established as the state religion of Rome (maybe because it wasn’t being persecuted), but it still carried much of the old system of separating the inner from the outer.  As you know, the average Catholic wasn’t allowed to read the Bible for most of Christianity’s history.  Also, there was an elite priestly class that the average person had little acces to.  Even today, many Christian churches don’t allow unbaptised people to participate in the rituals.

I think the division you speak of has less to do with Christianity vs the Mystery Religions, and instead more about the major social shift that occurred during the Axial Age.  Are you familiar with the Axial Age?    I mentioned it another thread around here.  Anyways… prior to the Axial Age, religion was more hierarchical and as such more elitist.

Does that make sense?  Or do you think it was more than just the Axial Age shift?  Do you think Christianity represented a shift even within (or beyond) the first century Axial Age culture?  Despite the Axial Age similarities, what do you think were the significant differences between the Mystery cults and the Christians?

There is one difference that I notice.  Christianity was a whole religion that stood on its own, but the Mystery cults were the inner mysteries that were an adjunct to a larger religion.  I don’t think anyone knows how Christians operated their churches in the first century, but later on Christians did seem to merge the inner and outer more so than earlier religions had.  There is a nice book that talks about some of this… Yuga: An Anatomy of Our Fate by Marty Glass.

Blessings,
Marmalade 

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 26, 2008, 3:33 AM:

  My guess is that mystery cults were just a product of their time.  From studying early Christianity/Gnosticism, my sense is that religions of the time (including early Christianity/Gnosticism) tended to be more enclosed.  For small religions, it made sense that they would tend to be enclosed because the world was dangerous back then.  For larger religions, it seems that it was common for religions to have an inner mystery and an outer mystery.  Most religions tended towards elitism back then (relative to modern standards) because ancient society tended towards elitism. 

I don’t have the same take on this as you, but that’s ok. I think the enticement to an inside track on enlightenment continues to this day, just in different ways. My point was not so much the specifics of mystery cults, which are quite bizarre in some respects, but rather the draw to special knowledge that human nature has.

OTOH Gnosticism was definitely a mix of different kinds of groups.  Some Gnostics were basically the same as the early Christians, and there was no clear distinction (if any at all) between the two groups at the time.  Other Gnostics had a more exclusive structure as they were essentially intentional communities where people dedicated their whole lives and all of their earthly belongings to the collecitve.  This might’ve been exclusive in one sense; but, once you belonged, the Gnostics were one of the most egalitarian groups around: equality between women and men and a non-hierarchical structure(TAZ, communitas, liminal).  Basically, they were early communists who shared everything collectively.  Its interesting that it was these Gnostic communes that were the basis for later Christian monasticism.

That’s a moot point. This formula of the “early communist who shared everything collectively goes back to the very beginning of Christianity, see incidentally here for an interesting article about how in the early church the distinction between laity and clergy was not strong and all functions now considered priestly could be performed by “ordinary” Christians, and in fact the early church was very “charismatic” – ie it was believed that every Christians had charismata or spiritual gifts such as teaching, prophecy, healing …

As you know, the average Catholic wasn’t allowed to read the Bible for most of Christianity’s history

here is an official Catholic response to this.

Here’s another good summation:

“There is a perception on the part of many Protestants that Catholics do not read the bible. This idea developed largely due to a long-term misunderstanding. Until the Second Vatican (1962-65), Catholics were forbidden to read translations of the Bible prepared by non-Catholics and they were not allowed to participate in bible study groups with non-Catholics. The reason for this was that the Protestant Bible didn’t include 15 Old Testament (OT) books or portions of books (The Apocrypha) that the Catholic Church considered part of the canon (list) of Sacred Scripture. This was an important point because when the Church describes the Scripture as “sacred,” they mean that it is inspired by God. The Protestant Reformation accepted only 39 books of the OT, because it believed that only those books that were from the original Hebrew Bible could be counted on to be genuine. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, accepted the books that were included in the Latin Vulgate, which was translated into Latin from the Septuagint (the original Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible).

The Catholic Church has always placed a high degree of importance on the Bible. Early on the Fathers of the Church used the Scriptures as the principle source of instruction in the faith. “In the Middle Ages the Bible was revered as the sacred page. As such, it was the basis on which theology was developed. The Church today considers the Scriptures together with sacred tradition the supreme rule of faith” (Catholicism by Richard McBrien).

Biblical canonicity is not the divisive issue that it used to be among churches. Most Catholics and mainstream Protestant denominations use the same biblical lectionary cycle, the order of Scripture readings used in the Sunday and daily liturgies. There are versions of the Bible in use today that are the work of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish scholars.

The Mass (the traditional name given to the celebration of the Eucharist) is the main worship service of the Catholic Church. Throughout the world it is estimated that there is a Mass beginning somewhere every two minutes. There are four Scripture readings during Sunday Mass, holy days, and major feast days in this order: a reading from the Old Testament, a responsorial Psalm (usually sung), a reading from the New Testament and the Gospel. At daily Mass there are three Scripture readings instead of four. In addition most of the prayers that are a regular part of the Mass are Scripture based. In his homily or sermon (during Mass) the priest explains the Scripture readings and uses them as an instruction on how to live. It is said that if you read all the Scripture readings for Mass daily for three years you will have read the entire Bible.

Also, there was an elite priestly class that the average person had little acces to.  Even today, many Christian churches don’t allow unbaptised people to participate in the rituals.

There are very different practices and beliefs around baptism but in general there are few churches which insist on baptism for the vast majority of their rites.

Despite the Axial Age similarities, what do you think were the significant differences between the Mystery cults and the Christians?

There is one difference that I notice.  Christianity was a whole religion that stood on its own, but the Mystery cults were the inner mysteries that were an adjunct to a larger religion.  I don’t think anyone knows how Christians operated their churches in the first century, but later on Christians did seem to merge the inner and outer more so than earlier religions had. 

Remember that in the earliest days of the church, what we call “Christianity” was simply called “The Way” and was a sect of Judaism, in which people continued to practise their Jewish faith but also believed the Messiah had come.

There are a number of important differences, the main one being that the goal of the Way was always to become world-wide so all would be saved, not a special clique.

Love and light,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 3:11 AM:

 

New Age: Part 5

Posted on Jul 26th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer MarmaladeI’m reading a very interesting book right now: The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen.  Its not directly about the New Age, but covers similar territory and mentions the New Age in a couple of places.  The author explains the socio-cultural dynamics of the paranormal within non-mainstream groups, scientific research, debunker organizations, and our society in general.  He uses concepts such as communitas, liminal, anti-structure, reflexivity, and totemism.  Here are some quotes that are relevant:
 
p. 171
In our culture, psychic phenomena are hospitably received in Spiritualism, the New Age movement, and modern-day witchcraft.  The three movements share common elements, and in a variety of fashions, they are at odds with the establishment.  None of them have institutionalized in the manner of government, industry, academe, or mainline religion.  few of the groups within these movements have buildings or permanent paid staffs, and if they do manage to instituiionalize, it is usually only briefly.  None of the movements acknowledge any central authority; control is local.  The movements are marginal and anti-structural in many ways, but it is within them that one can find discussion of, training in, and use of psychic abilities.
 
p. 174
Marilyn Ferguson, one of the most articulate persons expressing the ideas of the New Age, noted that there is no central authority defining the movement.  In her book The Aquarian Conspiracy (1980), she emphasized its informal, fluid networks, decentralization of power, and lack of structured hierarchies.  New Age concerns typically include feminism, the environment, and alternative healing, and women play major roles.  In addition, it is open to astrology and other forms of divination.  All of this is a bit subersive to the establishment.  Overall, its properties define it as anti-structural.
 
pp. 176-177
All three of these movements have loose boundaries.  It is often difficult to tell if someone is part of them or not.  Many who attend Spiritualist services are also members of established religions; New Age followers are drawn from all faiths.  Witchcraft and neo-pagan groups are perhaps more distinct, but ambiguity reigns there as well with vast differences among them.  Within covens, beliefs and rituals can change with the whim of the high priestess or priest.  There is no higher ecclesiastical authority or common text that solidifies dogma or mandates what, how, or when rituals must be performed.
 
These three movements have striking similarities.  In all alltered (i.e., estructured) states of consciousness play a major role.  Women are prominent, as are the issues of feminism, the environment and healing.  None recognize a central authority for their movement, and they engage in virtually no instituion bulding.  All of the movements are considered subversive by the establishment; they court direct involvement with paranormal and supernatural phenomena, and all display elements of the trickster constellation.
 
The most vocal opposition to these movements come from two sources: establishment scientists (exemplified by CSICOP) and conservative and fundamentalist religious groups.  Both of these antagonists are typified by large, male-dominated, status conscious, hierarchical institutions—the antithesis of the targets of their scorn.  Both have produced massive amounts of literature denouncing the New Age proponents and modern pagans and similar attacks were directed at the Spiritualists of the nineteenth century.  While some of the political and social goals advocated by the”deviants” have been partially incoporated into science and mainstream churches (e.g., feminism, ecology, alternative healing), the establishments’ most vehement attacks remain directed at paranormal and supernatural practices.

 
Hansen has a section about psychiatrist Ernest Hartmann who wrote the book Boundaries in the Mind:

pp. 48-49
Thick-boundary people strike one as solid, well organized, well defended, and even rigid and armored.  Thin-boundary types tend to be open, unguarded, and undefended in several psychological senses.  Women tend to have thinner boundaries than men, and children thinner than adults.  People with thin boundaries tend to have higher hypnotic ability, greater dream recall, and are more lkely to have lucid dreams.  People with thick boundaries stay with one thought until its completion; whereas those with thin boundaries show greater fluidity, and their thoughts branch from one to another.  People with very thin boundaries report more symptoms of illness; however, compared with thick-boundary types, they are able to exert more control over the autonomic nervous system and can produe greater changes in skin temperature when thinking of hot or cold situations.  Thin-boundary persons are more prone to synesthesia, blending of the senses (e.g., seeing colors when certain sounds are heard).  Differences are found in occupations as well.  Middle managers in large corporations tend to have thick boundaries, and artists, writers and musicians tend to have thinner ones.  People with thick boundaries tend to be in stable , long-term marriages; whereas thin types are more likely to be, or have been, divorced or separated.
The author goes on to say that thin-boundary types tend to report more unusual experiences including psychic experiences.  He then lists the correlations between thin-boundary types and the traits of the Trickster archetype (as described in Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book Gods in Everyman).

Obviously, many New Agers are thin-boundary types.  The beliefs of the New Ager make no sense to the more skeptically-minded because skeptics are probably most often thick-boundary types.  Skeptics don’t realize that its not just an issue of belief vs rationality but an issue of experience.  Both the skeptic and the new ager trust their experience, but they simply have different kinds of experience.

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 26, 2008, 4:44 AM:

  i think a lot of people who are active here on the God Pod (and maybe on Gaia in general) are thin boundary, don’t you?

Light and peace,

Nicole

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 26, 2008, 8:08 AM:

  Yeah, many around here are probably thin boundary types.  I did have Gaia in mind when I was thinking about this, and specifically I had Julian’s blogs in mind.  I wrote that last paragraph about skeptics almost entirely with Julian in mind.  To him, God doesn’t fit his experience therefore it doesn’t seem “rational”.  To someone who has had experiences that fit what others have described as God, it does seem “rational”. 

Rationality is in some ways just the form of thought (a method of clarifying and communicating), but our experience is the content to which we apply rationality.  Nonetheless, I’m sure that a thick boundary type is more likely to use rationality as a way to think about their experience, and hence is more likely to conflate rationality with their experience of reality.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 26, 2008, 8:59 AM:

  That kind of conflation can be a real problem.

Love

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Phoenix Skye [no longer around] said Jul 27, 2008, 5:35 AM:

  Thank you for this blog series, my dear. While I have been reading your writing very attentively, I have not been able to put in words to share with you any insightful comments, so I am just going to tell you, that I aprechiate that you took your time to write this deeply, this heartfelt, and this inspired.

peace

Claudia

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 27, 2008, 7:07 AM:

  Hear, hear, Claudia, and I might add I really like Alexander’s insights and questions as well.

I have been on the road and very busy with work meetings so haven’t had much time to check in.

Love,

Nicole

 

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  andrew : ~SmAsHInG dUaLiTy~  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

andrew said Jul 27, 2008, 7:46 PM:

  i love the fantasy genre (just saw hellboy 2 and batman). i love science fiction (he who controls the spice). i love fiction that incorporates historical detail (anne rice for exp.). and i too think there is something to all this, but the dogmatic ontological assertions the pervade the new age movement and exoteric religious belief are in my opinion, unhealthy and counter productive in the quest for truth and assessing the ultimate nature of reality…….

well, i have never been into the dark side of things all that much but crowley would fall into that category of the new age, in my opinion. but yes, in and around 98 i read some of his stuff. he was a professional mountain climber and i believe he reached the summit of k2. personally i feel he was incorporating some of nietzsche in his philosophies (the superman thing). i think he was an alchemist but i also think he had a huge ego and lot’s of shadow tendencies, and yes, he was a magician of sorts,too. but i am not so sure that he did no harm. there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding his dealings with his peers. specifically, because i don’t resonate with his path, i don’t remember much more of what i read about him. wilber has had a much more lasting impression on me…..my own impression of the previous turn of the century (1900) was that when the messiah once again failed to materialize, it set off a whole new round of spiritual inquiry that led to the new age speculations. but like you, i see quite a bit of good in it, again, i just don’t like assertions without evidence.
the axial age is one of karen armstrongs specialties. the rise of all the patriarchal religions happened in this era. wilber theorizes that it may have been the invention of the plow that led us away from matriarchal societies, certainly a possibility, but much more to it than that i’m sure, although it’s interesting to see that farm and country life is still very much patriarchal, while urban centers are the hub of these alternate beliefs……

 

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 27, 2008, 9:03 PM:

  Andrew,
the dogmatic ontological assertions the pervade the new age movement and exoteric religious belief are in my opinion, unhealthy and counter productive in the quest for truth and assessing the ultimate nature of reality…….

Yeah, I agree.  Dogmatic ontological assertions are unhealthy and counter productive where ever they’re found.

the axial age is one of karen armstrongs specialties.

I learned about the axial age from Karen Armstrong.  I saw someone’s review of her book on Amazon, and they were saying that her presentation of the subject was imperfect.  I don’t know if that is the case, but it made me curious to want to go back to the original source of Karl Jasper’s book.

the rise of all the patriarchal religions happened in this era. wilber theorizes that it may have been the invention of the plow that led us away from matriarchal societies, certainly a possibility, but much more to it than that i’m sure,

Its been a while since I looked into this, but I thought patriarchy arose before the axial age.  Its true that the axial age prophets still were a part of the patriarchal society, and all of them were men.  I can’t exactly remember what Armstrong said about it.  One of the things that comes to my mind was that there was some emphasis of gender equality amongst axial age religions.

although it’s interesting to see that farm and country life is still very much patriarchal, while urban centers are the hub of these alternate beliefs……

Paul Shepard writes about the transition to farming, but its been even longer since I’ve read his books.  If I remember correctly, he differentiated between agrarian cultures and agricultural cultures.  Agrarian cultures were the matriarchal cultures that existed prior to the plow.  Before the invention of the plow, pregnant women could farm and farming was women’s work.  I don’t remember the full argument, and I don’t know how this relates to the axial age.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  alexander rhubarb : nit picker  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

alexander rhubarb said Jul 27, 2008, 10:06 PM:

  Hi Andrew. I just jumped in to say that I find you to be very insightful. And while on the topic of finding truth, I look in different places for it as well. If they or you or me should find it , regardless of the means well all the more power to whomever. My name here is Nit Picker and I am a born skeptic with a very open mind. I am not familiar with Karen Armstrong, but I will look to satisfy myself. I viewed your profile and we have very similar interests.So rock on in your pursuit for truth. I don’t have to tell you not to take any wooden nickles. Alex

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

alexander rhubarb said Jul 27, 2008, 9:53 PM:

  Hi Nicole.Thanks for your comment. Your a very thoughtful person.

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 28, 2008, 3:47 AM:

  Hi Alex, Thanks, you’re very thoughtful too! and glad to see you enjoying the discussion.

Hi Marmalade and Andrew, you made me curious to look up more about  the axial age…

from the What is Englightment article interviewing Armstrong, here

“Karen Armstrong: The period 800–200 BCE has been termed the Axial Age because it proved pivotal to humanity. Society had grown much more aggressive. Iron had been discovered, and this was the beginning of the Iron Age. Better weapons had been invented, and while those weapons look puny compared to what we’re dealing with now, it was still a shock.

“The first Axial Age also occurred at a time when individualism was just beginning. As a result of urbanization and a new market economy, people were no longer living on lonely hilltops but in a thriving, aggressive, commercial economy. Power was shifting from king and priest, palace and temple to the marketplace. Inequality and exploitation became more apparent as the pace of change accelerated in the cities and people began to realize that their own behavior could affect the fate of future generations.

“So the Axial Age marks the beginning of humanity as we now know it..”

from http://history-and-evolution.com/axial/

Karl Jaspers and The Axial Age
     
   
   
     
   The question of the Axial Age emerges from the discovery of many historians in the nineteenth century of a mysterious synchronism in the period of classical antiquity. This material was first summarized by Karl Jaspers in his classic The Origin and Goal of History. In a period from -800 to -200 a remarkable series of parallel innovations occur in concert across Eurasia, from Rome to China. A profusion of prophets and sages suddenly appear,  and we see large-scale cultural transformations behind them creating a virtual New Age of civilization.  Axial Ages and Eonic Observers

The extraordinary character of this data, and the difficulty of its correct analysis, has delayed its entry into public awareness. Also, the implications are such that its study has been virtually taboo in conventional scholarly circles. Theologians also tend to avoid the subject because the history of the Old Testament is suddenly seen in a broader context. There is a tendency to interpret this data as a kind of generalized age of revelation, emphasizing the birth of religion. But this is misleading, since, in any case, these religions, such as Buddhism, or monotheistic Judaism, are quite different in character, and because the total effect can easily be seen to have no intrinsic connection with religion. In Greece, for example we see the birth of democracy and the rise of science associated with the Axial interval. A broader approach to the question is needed. 

That is provided by the analysis of World History and The Eonic Effect  and this enables us to see what is going on very clearly for the first time. The case of Greece in many ways provides the clue. From there the other cases then become clearer, and we suddenly see the resemblance of the history of Israel to that of Axial Greece, as strange as that might at first seem. We can construct a special kind of ‘eonic model‘ to study the phenomenon we discover.

This work also brings in the question of evolution itself, and this can help us to realize something about the descent of man. The Darwinian view of evolution, hence of history, simply disallows any suggestion of historical directionality, teleology, and macroevolutionary transformations. Yet our history shows us how these issues are present in our own backyard. 

Finally, the study of the so-called eonic effect extends the pattern of the Axial Age to include the birth of civilization and the rise of the modern, and this greater context resolves the enigma of the Axial interval completely. 

The work of Jaspers was seminal, although it left the issue of the Axial period somewhat ambiguous in so far as the relationship of ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ history is concerned. In the final analysis there is no such distinction. But there are periods with a special character, which we will isolate with our analysis of the eonic effect. We can see that the Axial Age shows us the way that religion, philosophy, science, and the emergence of freedom are braided together in a single macroevolutionary process. But what do we mean by ‘evolution‘? That question requires setting up the apparatus of the so-called ‘eonic model’ which is a schema of periodization that brings out the meaning of the Axial period.

Jaspers’ insight sprang from the way in which he dramatized the synchrony of parallel emergence in five different zones of Eurasia in the interval from -800 to -200. Actually, as we explore the eonic effect we will see that this interval is a bit long, and that it probably begins a bit earlier. We also see a kind of division point around -600. It is as if there is a seminal period of gestation, followed by the onset of a new series of civilizations. It is like a slingshot: coil and release. The period from about -900 to -600 shows the heightening of potential, the foundations of a new era, then after -600 we see the take-off, with a series of spectacular realizations of the new potential. 

The generation after -600 is almost spectacular in the case of Greece, and it seems as if everything is happening all at once, from the Pre-Socratics, to the beginings of science, to the birth of democracy. Then by -400 there is a rapid fall-off, and an age of empire soon appears. Thus it is not really appropriate to include the interval -400 to -200 in the ‘Axial phenomenon’. Already a new character has emerged, and in fact many of the achievements are being undone. Thus Greek democracy barely survives the Axial flowering.

 

.

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 27, 2008, 9:20 PM:

  Howdy Phoenix,

No worries.  I’m glad to hear of your appreciation.  But its fine that you haven’t been able to put into words what you feel.

With this blog series, I wasn’t as concerned about eliciting comments.  This was just on my mind and I wanted to blog about it.  I also thought it would be a good way to share more about the background of my own perspective.

I’ve thought about the New Age often in the past, but I hadn’t ever tried to pull all my thoughts together.  Most of this blog series is just me writing about what I know from memory.  I’ve accumulated a lot of factoids over the years about the New Age and related subjects.  I wasn’t intending to write a complete analysis of the New Age, and I had no plan on what direciton this series would go.  These blogs are just my own understanding of the connections I see.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  andrew : ~SmAsHInG dUaLiTy~  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

andrew said Jul 28, 2008, 6:53 PM:

  hi alex, thx. for the complement, although i would be the first to say that i am just an average guy with some opinions. it’s true though that i have had some interesting life experiences.

hi ben and nicole, my apologies for the confusion as i somehow had it in my mind that the axial age started long before the time line that  mr. jaspers suggests. there are some in the new age movement that teach that the high priest of salem ( mr. supernatural melchizedek) was some how responsible for this flowering of human thought during that time. to me however, there are too many comparative contradictions in all these religions/philosophies for that to be true unless melchizedek is himself confused about the nature of reality. perhaps he can only meet the jars of clay where they are at? that could explain the anomalies.
by the way, i could never blame anyone that has had a authentic abduction experience for believing in ufo’s and aliens. so i would hope no one faults me too much for having had experiences with light beings. tis why i think we may be dealing with angelic phenomenon. however, through the years i’ve found that there may be better explanations for these experiences than that they literally happened, so to speak. but who really knows? i’d like to think i keep an open mind on these issues, but not so much that my brains fall out of my head:)

 

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 29, 2008, 1:33 AM:

  Hey Andrew,

by the way, i could never blame anyone that has had a authentic abduction experience for believing in ufo’s and aliens. so i would hope no one faults me too much for having had experiences with light beings.

You shall receive no faulting about your experiences from me.  So, would you mind sharing what those experiences were?  And the different ways you’ve tried to explain them?

however, through the years i’ve found that there may be better explanations for these experiences than that they literally happened, so to speak.

I’m curious to know what you mean by “literally happened” and how you see that connected with reality.  What are the better explanations? 

Harpur’s perspective is that literalism is an interpretation, an enactment of a specific perspective.  He gives examples of how the paranormal will present itself as literal when it is treated as literal.  George P. Hansen (in The Trickster and the Paranormal) discusses the challenge of ascertaining objective reality when dealing with the paranormal (both in personal experience and in scientific research).

What do you think of Jung’s view (wich Hillman later built upon)?  Jung had experiences with a “non-physical being”, and he seemed to lean towards relating with them on their own terms.  Here are some quotes of Jung from Patrick Harpur’s book Daimonic Reality:

“There are no conclusive arguments against the hypothesis that these archetypal figures are endowed with personality at the outset and are not just secondary personalizations.  In so far as the archetypes do not represent mere functional relationships, they manifest themselves as daimones, as personal agencies.  In this form they are felt as actual experiences and are not ‘figments of the imagination,’ as rationalism would have us believe.”
C. G. Jung, CW 5

“At times he seemed to me quite real, as if he were a living personality.  I went walking up and down the garden with him, and to me he was what the Indians call a guru…  Philemon brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psychewhich I do not produce, but which have their own life…  I held conversations with him and he said things which I had not consciously thought…  He said I treated thoughts as if I generate them myself but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room…  It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche.”
C. G. Jung, MDR, pp. 208-9

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 29, 2008, 4:44 AM:

  Marm, this is so intriguing… hopefully I will have time (ha!) at some point to do some research on Jung and daimones – if not, do you think you could do it and blog? hmmm? winning smile

I wonder too if this would be an example for Wilber of Jung falling into the pre/trans fallacy – anyone care to comment?

Andrew, no apologies necessary for anything, I’m glad to have been prompted to learn more about the axial age and to share it. Also, like Marm, I’d like to hear more than the tantalising snippets you have let fall thus far about your experiences and what you mean by them not having literally happened perhaps, and to hear your thoughts on Jung’s experiences…

And as always, I would be delighted to hear the thoughts of anyone else who would like to share…

Love and light,

Nicole

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Explorer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 29, 2008, 10:29 AM:

  Marm, this is so intriguing… hopefully I will have time (ha!) at some point to do some research on Jung and daimones – if not, do you think you could do it and blog? hmmm? winning smile

No worries, Nicole.  I’ll blog on it eventually. 

I’ve been thinking about this lately.  This of course relates to parapsychology research which is something I bought up to Julian and some others brought it up in one of Balder’s blogs.  I finished the Harpur book a while back and just finished the Hansen book.  I haven’t yet formulated my personal opinion on this, but I respect Jung’s opinions.  When Jung says he walked through the garden with a non-physical being, I don’t doubt that he is speaking of some kind of reality.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 29, 2008, 1:49 PM:

  oh goody! i will settle back and wait then… while tearing through all that I have to do before i leave for England,

Love,

Nicole

 

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  andrew : ~SmAsHInG dUaLiTy~  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

andrew said Jul 29, 2008, 6:59 PM:

  hi ben, thx. for asking. the best way for me to answer is in wilberspeak. no matter what otherworldly things i have experienced i can safely say they they were upper left quadrant happenings. in saying this i mean that these experiences of mine happened in my interior space. no angels physically manifested in any way in these 3 dimensions. no one walked thru my walls, no one defied the laws of physics etc. now whether it’s 3 kids in portugal having visions, or someone being abducted in downtown manhatten, i contend now that all these experiences are interior and have no right quadrant existence. in the case of fatima there does seem to be some lower left shared experience and perhaps in the ufo literature there are shared experiences. but nowhere have i come across objective, verifiable, repeatable accounts of any type in any of these phenomenal cases. sorry video and pics don’t cut it especially with the technology available today. but a ufo landing on the white house lawn and broadcast to the world would probably cure me of my skepticism. i feel the same way about religion. please all you theists, part the red sea today and have the decency to bring cnn along for verification (ok, at least some gaia cameras). is this making sense? now what i can say and feel is possible is that consciousness has hyper-dimensional aspects. that would explain some of my experiences, and perhaps jungs, but we see through that glass murky, so to speak. now, if there are other dimensions of consciousness, then yes, i would think in theory that it may be possible to effect and access the lower dimensions, but probably only psychically (there goes my c.t. of the nephilim)

initially of course, i interpreted what i experienced in traditional christian terms. there are angels and demons and there is a war going on here. but concomitantly, at the same time, i was also having nondual insights, so i was very not sure of what to make of things, if that makes sense. this is why wilber’s map has been so helpful to me personally, the guy actually made sense of my experiences, and it’s not to say he’s right perse, he may indeed be wrong about some things, but for now, the map works for me…..i hope that helps.
on jung, i read man and his symbols in ’89 and it really helped me in seeing another possibility and interpretation of my experiences. i don’t think he would be opposed to the idea of conscious dimensions………

 

 

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  Nicole : wakingdreamer  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 30, 2008, 4:15 AM:

  yes, i hear what you’re saying… i’m glad wilber helped you make sense of it all, it’s good to have a map when we suddenly land in very unfamiliar territory.

as for verifiable miracles… well, miracles happen every day, but as Jesus says, we see and see and don;t perceive…

light and peace

nicole

 

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  andrew : ~SmAsHInG dUaLiTy~  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

andrew said Jul 30, 2008, 9:08 PM:

  hi nicole, well yes, this is an amazing place this earth we share. the life, the abundance, the stars, the moon, the ocean and rain and sun, and looking into your children’s eyes. it’s all miraculous! but you know full well that is not what i mean, so what do you mean? are there really angels disguised as humans directing traffic on this earth so to speak? are we really dealing with some kind of personal supernatural agency here or are you just being mysterious? now perhaps my post above is my own way of finding god in the gaps, consciousness without personal identity, or panpsychism. of course, when the top of my head blew off (figuratively speaking) and i was shown billions of light beings singing the most amazing song onto god (who i did not see), well, perhaps hyper-dimensional consciousness is embodied after-all…………

but surely if supernaturalism exists, it’s on unemployment insurance at this time unless these angelic beings are just being really subtle and sneaky for some reason! 

 

 

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  Marmalade : Gaia Child  

Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 31, 2008, 2:40 AM:

  HI Andrew,

no matter what otherworldly things i have experienced i can safely say they they were upper left quadrant happenings. in saying this i mean that these experiences of mine happened in my interior space. no angels physically manifested in any way in these 3 dimensions. no one walked thru my walls, no one defied the laws of physics etc. now whether it’s 3 kids in portugal having visions, or someone being abducted in downtown manhatten, i contend now that all these experiences are interior and have no right quadrant existence.

Have you been following the discussion going on in one of Julian’s blogs (here)?  The relationship of internal and external has been brought up.  I mentioned paranormal research there and the difficulties of the field.  Specificially, I discussed Hansen’s view and linked to some detailed reviews of his books.

but nowhere have i come across objective, verifiable, repeatable accounts of any type in any of these phenomenal cases.

Hansen speaks to these issues.  Objectivity, verifiability, and repeatability aren’t easily applied to the paranormal, but researchers have attempted to do so.  Some are satisfied with the evidence and some aren’t.  I talked about the research angle in Julian’s blog comments, but you’re experience was outside of a research situation.  How are lived experiences proven?  Well, very little of even our “normal” subjective experience is provable.  As for the paranormal, it all depends on what kind of evidence you consider acceptable. 

People have seen lights and when they investigated discovered crop circles.  Crop circles are just more complex forms of fairly circles that have been observed for centuries in corollation with fairy lights.  My brother visited with friends a place where orbs (ie fairy lights) were known to be common.  They saw the orbs and the orbs approached the car and hovered around it.  Even scientists have observed orbs, but no one agrees on what explains them. 

Pilots have seen ufos and they were observed simultaneously on radar.  There are a fair number of radar cases.  Why is there not more evidence?  For one, I’ve heard that pilots are discouraged from reporting ufos.  Also, some evidence gets destroyed because people fear ridicule.  Vallee started out as an astronomer but later became a ufo researcher because he personally observed astronomers he worked with destroying video evidence (here is an interview with him where he speaks about this).

Rupert Sheldrake was describing a dialogue he had with Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Sheldrake: “This depends on what you regard as extraordinary”, I replied. “Most people say they have experienced telepathy, especially in connection with telephone calls. In that sense, telepathy is ordinary. The claim that most people are deluded about their own experience is extraordinary. Where is the extraordinary evidence for that?”

(Sheldrake describes how he tried to bring up his own rearch about telepathy, but Dawkins refused to discuss it.)

but a ufo landing on the white house lawn and broadcast to the world would probably cure me of my skepticism. i feel the same way about religion. please all you theists, part the red sea today and have the decency to bring cnn along for verification

Well, that is some pretty extreme skepticism.  If being “shown billions of light beings singing the most amazing song onto god” doesn’t convince you, then I doubt anything could.  Plus, I’d consider your statements to be based on a less-than-useful view of the paranormal.  You seem to be responding to a literalist interpretation of paranormal which isn’t the view I hold (nor that which Harpur holds).  It would take some explanation to describe what I mean by literalist, but here is an interesting discussion about Harpur from the Lightmind forum:

Jim wrote:
Kela has mentioned Patrick Harpur here a couple of times in the past, and Susan and Heru mentioned him just recently. Harpur, like Carl Jung, Richard Tarnas, James Hillman, Arnold Mindell, et al, understands the psyche. Many people don’t.

Here is Harpur from his book Daimonic Reality:

    St. Paul mentions an ecstatic experience in which he was “caught up even to the third heaven”, but, as he says, “whether in the body, I know not, or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth.” And this is the dilemma confronting many otherworld journeyers.

    It is, I think, too easy to dismiss the conviction of many of them that they were physically lifted into another realm, such as an alien spacecraft. This, after all, is what it felt like; and it is a conviction shared by all members of traditional cultures – although, as we shall see, with an important difference in viewpoint. Thus, although I do not share the conviction, I want to stress that it is ancient and respectable and, I think, nearer to the truth of the matter than not to believe in any kind of otherworld journey at all. However, using the model of daimonic reality … it is possible to make otherworld journeys intelligible, without recourse to a belief in an actual, physical experience.

Here is Ken Wilber from One Taste:

    When people have a memory or an experience of being “abducted,” I don’t doubt the experience seems absolutely real to them (most would pass a lie detector test). And it is real, as an experience, as phenomenology, but not as ontology, not as an objective reality. So there’s the phenomenology (or the experience itself), and there is how you interpret the experience. And for that interpretation – as will all interpretation – you need to draw on the total web of available evidence, which is exactly what the believers in these experiences are not doing.

    Do any UFO experiences represent higher realities? It’s theoretically possible that some of these experiences are stemming from the psychic or subtle levels of consciousness, and that, precisely because these people do not grow and evolve into these levels, they experience them as an ‘other.’ Instead of their own higher and deeper luminous nature, they project it outwardly as an alien form. Even if that is the case, these people are still in the grips of a dissociative pathology. … The giveaway, as usual, is the narcissism.

    What do people really want when they think of UFOs? What are they yearning for at the thought of something extraterrestrial? Why, they want something bigger than themselves. They want to know that, in the entire, wild, extraordinary Kosmos, there is something other than their meager egos.

What Harpur honors, Wilber tends to pathologize.

It seems to me that the rational, Freudian-flavored pathologizing approach that Wilber takes here doesn’t honor the way the psyche or soul actually works, plays, unfolds, grows, flows, meanders, soars, swims, lives, breathes, and develops.

When Wilber asks what people really want when they think of UFOs, he is talking about what the “meager ego” wants, but he neglects to note that the experiences in question (i.e., UFO abduction experiences) don’t stem from the ego but from the deeper psyche (there is no other place they can stem from, unless they are just willful fantasies, e.g., as if someone were to fantasize about winning the lottery, and reports of UFO abduction experiences indicate that they are not mere fantasies). So it’s not a matter of what the “meager ego” wants but of what the deeper psyche wants.

Speaking about the appearance of symbols of wholeness in the psyche, such as UFOs and mandalas, Jung says, “they do not invariably indicate a subliminal readiness on the part of the patient to realize that wholeness more consciously, at a later stage; often they mean no more than a temporary compensation of chaotic confusion.”

This is not something that someone who elevates pre” to “trans” would say.

Trungpa says:

    …anything that happens in our state of mind, including emotions, is manure. Whatever comes up is a workable situation…

    …we begin to realize that all kinds of chaotic situations that might occur in life are opportune situations. They are workable situations that we mustn’t reject, and mustn’t regard as purely a regression or going back to confusion at all. Instead, we must develop some kind of respect for those situations that happen in our state of mind.

This is why it simply isn’t skillful or useful to pathologize intrapsychic phenomena, such as UFO abduction experiences or those who have and interpret them. Such experiences are “workable situations that we mustn’t reject, and mustn’t regard as purely a regression or going back to confusion,” or as “dissociative pathology” and “narcissism.” “Instead, we must develop some kind of respect for those situations that happen in our state of mind.” Which is what Harpur, Jung, Hillman, Mindell, Tarnas, et al do. The issue here isn’t what is right or wrong or “politically correct” or incorrect. The issue is, what is most useful? What is most likely to benefit the individual who has and interprets the experience? If someone has a UFO abduction experience and they interpret it to mean that “they were physically lifted into another realm, such as an alien spacecraft,” as Harpur puts it, that’s the manure we have to work with. Calling it shit isn’t going to help anyone, is it? Saying that such people are in the grips of a dissociative pathology and are narcissistic isn’t going to help anyone, is it? There is psychic energy and psychic potential to work with here. Dismissing it by pathologizing it is like throwing manure away instead of working it into the garden and then tending and nurturing the garden and waiting to see what grows. Suzuki Roshi speaks of a similar process in terms of “mind weeds.” He says, “We must have the actual experience of how our weeds change into nourishment.” Or of how our lead changes into gold.

Jung and Trungpa compare the process of intrapsychic transmutation to alchemy. Trungpa says this is “like the alchemical practice of changing lead into gold.”

Mindell says:

    And what is this gold? The alchemist’s beginning goals will be like yours or mine: freedom from trouble, hope for nirvana, enlightenment, love, immortality or spontaneity. But what you actually receive may be something you were not even aware of missing, something so precious and vital that you might even forget your original goals.
Jim wrote:
Exactly, that’s my point: It’s not wrong to psychopathologize, but it’s kind of like calling something shit. When we call something shit, we naturally think in terms of flushing it away, whereas when we call the same thing manure, we acknowledge that we are dealing with something that, used skillfully, can fertilize and enrich the soil of the soul. To try to flush away aspects of the psyche that we don’t like doesn’t work, and as Harpur and Jung agree, when the daimonic is repressed, it often returns in the form of the demonic.

but surely if supernaturalism exists, it’s on unemployment insurance at this time unless these angelic beings are just being really subtle and sneaky for some reason! 

You really should read Hansen’s book if you’re genuinely interested in this.  He writes about how the Trickster archetype plays out with paranormal experience.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 31, 2008, 3:08 AM:

  Thanks, Marmalade. Even for you, I think, which is saying a lot, this last post was very carefully thought through and written, and has many helpful elements to it.

I concur with you about verifiability as I respond to Andrew that indeed, when I speak of miracles happening, I was not referring to sunrises and babies and bluebells, as beautiful and precious as they are. I refer to divine interactions with us. We can interpret what happens to us in many different ways. And we can remain agnostic about what happens to us as you did or as Paul did about being “caught up into the seventh heaven”. This is all good.

My understanding of God is that God does not  force or coerce us into believing because we see and cannot interpret it in any way but God’s actions. Now that I have attended Dr Marvin Marshall ‘s lecture on human motivation, I understand this even better than before. Since coercion is the worst way of motivating people, it makes sense God would not do this.

 Instead, we all have our many, many experiences of reality, which, again as Marmalade points out, are not so cut and dried as rationalists would like to present. Whether we are dealing with so-called “objective” reality or so-called “subjective” reality, we experience in one way alone – subjectively. Period. So, if God heals me (as I believe), or God guides me, or “tells” me important truths, or if you have thousands of angels dancing and singing around you, or whatever, I choose how to interpret it and so do you. So do we all. If pigs suddenly rush off a cliff, we could speak of demon possession or some naturalistic explanation. Same with the parting of the Red Sea. This is the freedom we inhabit.

And of course, our subjective interpretations change over time. I can see something as divine intervention now, and later see it as purely “coincidence” or vice versa.

Ain’t life fun? 🙂

Light and peace,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 31, 2008, 12:17 PM:

  Nicole, thanks for adding to what I said.

Instead, we all have our many, many experiences of reality, which, again as Marmalade points out, are not so cut and dried as rationalists would like to present. Whether we are dealing with so-called “objective” reality or so-called “subjective” reality, we experience in one way alone – subjectively. Period.

I was just thinking about this last night.  Even our striving toward “objectivity” we must work from our subjectivity, and the closest we can get is consensus.  However, consensus is far from being “objective”, and besides there isn’t a consensus about the paranormal.  Yes, the mainstream scientists have a consensus, but their consensus so happens to be the minority view and so ain’t much of a consensus. 

Nonetheless, science is useful even if severely limited.  The reason that its useful is that its limits are different than the limits of my personal experience.  The funny thing about science is that scientists’ personal views is the limit of science.  I speak about the experimenter effect in Julian’s blog discussion, and that combined with the placebo effect makes for some major limitations on the scientific ideal of objectivity.

To complicate matters (as I enjoy doing), we can bring up Sheldrake’s morphic fields.  Maybe all of reality truly is consensus meaning habit, and some habits are deeply ingrained.  Anyone who has tried to change a habit can understand why the universe has difficulty breaking its own habits.  Just think about it… some of the universe’s habits are pretty old (the universe being calculated as around 13.73 billion years old).

To complicate matters even further, I could add Hansen’s take on Max Weber’s idea of rationalization which relates to the disenchantment of the world.  If that idea is combined with Sheldrake’s, then we have an interesting view of reality.  Maybe consensus doesn’t merely suppress non-consensus views of reality, but maybe consensus suppresses non-consensus manifestations of reality.

I’m not talking What the Bleep here.  When I’m speaking of consensus, I’m not saying that by the consensus of humans so the universe must follow.  The whole universe is part of the consensus… a very complicated democracy of sorts.

So, if God heals me (as I believe), or God guides me, or “tells” me important truths, or if you have thousands of angels dancing and singing around you, or whatever, I choose how to interpret it and so do you. So do we all. If pigs suddenly rush off a cliff, we could speak of demon possession or some naturalistic explanation. Same with the parting of the Red Sea. This is the freedom we inhabit.

Our choice of interpretation is always available and that is because much of our interpretation comes after the experience itself.  However, we must not forget that most of our interpretation comes before our experiences and occurs largely on an unconscious level.  Once we’ve integrated a view into our psyche (whether religion or science), we filter all of reality accordingly.

And of course, our subjective interpretations change over time. I can see something as divine intervention now, and later see it as purely “coincidence” or vice versa.

I would take this a step further.  If you have a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance, you can see something as divine intervention and as purely “conincidence” simultaneously.  They can be seen simultaneously because they’re just views of reality and not necessarily reality itself.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

mikeS said Jul 31, 2008, 1:02 PM:

  Yes, the mainstream scientists have a consensus, but their consensus so happens to be the minority view and so ain’t much of a consensus. 

Do you really think mainstream science is a “minority view” or do you mean you wish it was the minority view?
Science has the distinct ability to keep you alive and and current advances even prolong your existence. Can God do that? I dunnno, maybe, but science can “prove” it, for most of society, God has yet to prove it.

My point is that science is the most powerful religion in existence and we all worship at that alter first, and then look to God to save us.

Our choice of interpretation is always available and that is because much of our interpretation comes after the experience itself.  However, we must not forget that most of our interpretation comes before our experiences and occurs largely on an unconscious level.  Once we’ve integrated a view into our psyche (whether religion or science), we filter all of reality accordingly.

Yes, and interpretation is solely based on superimposition of concepts upon experience whether or not that experience is assessed before or after. And our concepts are directly descendant from the learned value systems inherent to cultural paradigms.

As the ‘integrals’ have it this could be the problem in one’s ‘God’ interpretation if it is based on archaic or mythic cultural values. Therefore, ‘integral’ has superimposed a value system from which to determine the relevance of your supposed unique, individual interpretation based on learned value, thereby essentially negating, not your experience, but your mode of intellectually doubling-back upon that experience in making sense of it.

This is unfortunate, since it only seems to impinge or impose even greater strain on our interpretive functioning. I could experience God speaking to me, but science tells me that it is simply a matter of neurochemistry and neuronal circuitry, and the integralist tells me that I may be misinterpreting based on my worldview and my culture tells me I’m just friggin crazy!

If it only were simply a matter of ‘interpretation’…

Peace Angels
mike S

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 31, 2008, 5:26 PM:

  Thanks Marmalade, your response to mine was terrific as always. Of course I agree with you 🙂

Science doesn’t keep us alive, Mike, God does – from my point of view, anyway. Like the joke about science being able to create life in a contest with God – so the scientists start with – take a sample of dirt  and God says, hey use your own stuff! If all is of God – the stuff of the universe, the inpiration of scientific innovation etc etc then scientific advances are just another way God acts in the world, through people., right?

Light and peace,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Jul 31, 2008, 5:27 PM:

  MIke, I don’t think you’re understanding my viewpoint.  I don’t know if I can explain it much better without giving detail synopsis of my recent readings.  I have written about all of this in different places including my comments over at Julian’s blog.

I’m not arguing against science, but I am trying to level the playing field a bit.  That is what much of postmodernism and related fields attempt to do.  I realize that many people who think of themselves as “realist” dislike postmodernism.  I’m not arguing for postmodernism either in any simple manner.  I’m partly arguing about direct experience which doesn’t simply translate to subjectivity.

So, I don’t wish to dismiss science.  Rather, I wish that science would improve its methodology a bit.  See Julian’s blog (or mine) where I speak about the experimenter’s effect and double blinds.

Do you really think mainstream science is a “minority view” or do you mean you wish it was the minority view?

I should’ve been more clear because I was specifically referring back to the Sheldrake quote above and so my statment was only about the paranormal.  He mentions this: “Most people say they have experienced telepathy” .  I’m assuming he is basing this comment on poll statistics that I’ve seen before.  According to the polls, a vast majority (75%) of Americans (I don’t know about other countries) believe in the paranormal (and they didn’t even include all types of the paranormal).  Polls are important, but its hard to make of them.  Still, it shows that its less than helpful to be too quickly dismiss such things.  Of course, anyone is free to judge that the mass of the world’s population is deluded but that seems a rather cynical view (one I often fall into).

Science has the distinct ability to keep you alive and and current advances even prolong your existence. Can God do that? I dunnno, maybe, but science can “prove” it, for most of society, God has yet to prove it.

My point is that science is the most powerful religion in existence and we all worship at that alter first, and then look to God to save us.

I don’t disagree with this, and it doesn’t conflict with my views.  My response to you is the same as my response to Julian (and similar to Balder’s response to Julian).  Go read the Julian blog I linked above if you want to understand my position better.

Yes, and interpretation is solely based on superimposition of concepts upon experience whether or not that experience is assessed before or after. And our concepts are directly descendant from the learned value systems inherent to cultural paradigms.

As the ‘integrals’ have it this could be the problem in one’s ‘God’ interpretation if it is based on archaic or mythic cultural values. Therefore, ‘integral’ has superimposed a value system from which to determine the relevance of your supposed unique, individual interpretation based on learned value, thereby essentially negating, not your experience, but your mode of intellectually doubling-back upon that experience in making sense of it.


This is unfortunate, since it only seems to impinge or impose even greater strain on our interpretive functioning. I could experience God speaking to me, but science tells me that it is simply a matter of neurochemistry and neuronal circuitry, and the integralist tells me that I may be misinterpreting based on my worldview and my culture tells me I’m just friggin crazy!

You seem to think I can only hold one truth in my head at a time.  I agree to some extent with the integral view, but its just a view.  Its sometimes helpful and sometimes not.  With our experience of reality, we have superimpositions upon superimpositions.  There is no single ultimate superimposition above and beyond all others for all models are continuously being revamped and replaced.  We enact perspectives and those perspectives overlap.  This is the closest we come to integral as I understand it.

If it seems to impinge or impose even greater strain on your interpretive function, then that is your experience.  Nothing you’ve said is directly in conflict with my viewpoint.  I can include my viewpoint and yours, and I’m fine with handling a little extra strain.  Is it unfortunate?  I don’t know.  I’m just a person who sees multiple perspectives, and I can’t say that this tendency is necessarily superior.  Maybe its just the way my brain is wired.  🙂

What different perspectives say may all be true in the integral sense.  If I heard God speaking to me, I’d consider all perspectives.  For an example of how I’d respond to God, read some of Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis (ie his personal journals).  God may really be talking to me and I still might be crazy.  Heck even God might be crazy or I might be the misinterpretation of God.  Or maybe neither God nor I exists.  And yet the world goes on… and so does science.

Blessings,
Marmalade 

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 31, 2008, 5:37 PM:

  You’re such a delight! 🙂

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

mikeS said Jul 31, 2008, 7:42 PM:

  Marmalade,

I realize my questioning at times can be rather blunt and to the point and I should be more cognizant of the niceties of civil dialogue and I’m working on that issue. Actually I wasn’t attempting to debate with you nor identify or isolate for consideration your own personal views or “perspectives” (or anyone else’s for that matter) just making ancillary points with respect to your ideas based on the prevailing cultural perspective.

Usually in all my comments I am considering a larger perspective and not any one paritcular person’s perspective or ability to hold a variety of perspectives. I like to think that I am also capable of that and integral is one I hold in part as well. I enjoy reading many of the ‘perspectives’ presented in this pod. And I tend to put such ideas to the test in relation to whether or not they can fly with experience and particularly the experience of the average Tom, Dick and Harry. These are the ‘experiences’ I’ve spent my life working with and they are near and dear to me and also my own.

In addition, I too, am not dismissive of science or even cultural conditioned interpretations or worldviews, just taking into account the parameters of the collective unconscious in relation to cultural conditioned beliefs. In fact, my comments are more directed toward a larger socio-cultural view in terms of the prevailing ideology that tends to order the world we live in. The scientismic-rationalistic perspective is the predominat worlview of this culture.

The originating context from, as you say, “superimpositions upon superimpositions” is rational-empirical and science is the main perpetrator of that paradigm. Once again this is neither good nor bad just factual based on the general orientation of western society. Society tends to adhere to a value system based on scientific truths while all other ideological memes or beliefs are chiefly subordinate to that. I appluad all who can engage in varied interpretations, however, the larger society has not seemed to have attained such a capacity as of yet. This was my primary point and not necessarily in disagreement with yours, yet maybe adding something to the discussion. Maybe Not.

I’m sorry if my mode of general questioning caused you to interpret that was attacking your viewpoint. I was only adding other factors to what was already presented simply for discussion. And yes, the world does go on and we look for solutions to the suffering that goes on with it.

In fact my original comment on this thread was applauding your analysis of the “new age” and also adding additional material simply for discussion. However, I was accused of making “sweeping statments” regarding science and religion and suddenly found myself needing to reiterate my points from a defensive posture.

If the topic within a particular thread is ‘open’ for discussion then I usually add to it and try not take away from it, but simply add ‘something else’ to the discussion. In the drive-to-question I take great pleasure in the ongoing dialectic. However, in the future if you and Nicole would prefer certain threads be restricted to particular viewpoints only, that’s fine and I’ll gladly restrict my comments.

Here’s to all delightful people everywhere!

Peace Angels,
mike S

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 1, 2008, 2:29 AM:

  Hey Mike,

I realize my questioning at times can be rather blunt and to the point and I should be more cognizant of the niceties of civil dialogue and I’m working on that issue.

I interpreted your tone as being confrontational and so felt a bit on the defense.  I’m glad that you weren’t intentionally trying to be confrontational.  Its hard to read the tone of another person’s writing.

Usually in all my comments I am considering a larger perspective and not any one paritcular person’s perspective or ability to hold a variety of perspectives.

I’m particularly glad to hear that this is your style.  Its good to know. 

BTW I have this same tendency.  It can be problematic sometimes.  I’ll be overtly responding to a single person, but behind my response I have a larger context of other discussions and thoughts that are contributing to what I say.  I try to be provide some of this context (such as how I mentioned Julian’s blog) because I don’t want to confuse people.  Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to teach others to read my mind in order to automatically know the context of everything I say.  🙂

In fact my original comment on this thread was applauding your analysis of the “new age” and also adding additional material simply for discussion. However, I was accused of making “sweeping statments” regarding science and religion and suddenly found myself needing to reiterate my points from a defensive posture.

That is ironic.  I was meaning to respond to your original comment but then got preoccupied in responding to other comments.  I actually agreed with much of what you said in that original comment.  I’m sorry that we both got on the defensive as our views don’t seem in conflict.

If the topic within a particular thread is ‘open’ for discussion then I usually add to it and try not take away from it, but simply add ‘something else’ to the discussion. In the drive-to-question I take great pleasure in the ongoing dialectic.

That sounds like me.  My threads are always ‘open’ for discusion and I’m disappointed when others don’t add to the mix.

However, in the future if you and Nicole would prefer certain threads be restricted to particular viewpoints only, that’s fine and I’ll gladly restrict my comments.

I, of course, can’t speak for Nicole, but please don’t restrict yourself on my account.

Here’s to all delightful people everywhere!

Indeed!

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Aug 1, 2008, 4:51 AM:

  Hi Mike and Marmalade,

It’s so great when we can talk openly about our style of relating and how we respond to each other. As we understand better, miscommunications are sorted out.

Mike, I hope that you or anyone else here never consider that any thread should be limited to any particular viewpoint. That would be very boring! Sorry if anything I said gave that impression.

I am always glad when you share, whether I agree or not, and worry when you and others are silent for a long time that you feel alienated.

Love and peace, my angels,

Nicole

 

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Marmalade said Jul 31, 2008, 11:49 AM:

  Andrew, I wanted to comment further because I didn’t respond to all that you said.  My previous post was largely inspired by Julian’s blog.  You’re saying paranormal experiences were only in the left quadrants is what Julian was saying, and so I was responding as much to Julian as I was to you.  One thing that was brought up in that blog discussion is enactivism.  I don’t fully understand it yet, but it looks like a promising idea I shall study more about.  Coming soon they (Balder, Julian, and others) are going to have a symposium about it.

now what i can say and feel is possible is that consciousness has hyper-dimensional aspects. that would explain some of my experiences, and perhaps jungs, but we see through that glass murky, so to speak. now, if there are other dimensions of consciousness, then yes, i would think in theory that it may be possible to effect and access the lower dimensions, but probably only psychically (there goes my c.t. of the nephilim)

This is what I was wanting to respond about.  This made me curious, but I wasn’t sure what this meant for you.  If they existed, what do you think those hyper-dimensional aspecs might be?  And do you think they could be “provable” somehow?  I totally agree with your mention about seeing through the glass murky… ain’t that the truth!  You made a very intriguing comment about the possibility “to effect and access the lower dimensions, but probably only psychically”.  What do you mean by “lower dimensions”?  Do you mean the physical world?  And what does “psychically” mean in this context?

initially of course, i interpreted what i experienced in traditional christian terms. there are angels and demons and there is a war going on here. but concomitantly, at the same time, i was also having nondual insights, so i was very not sure of what to make of things, if that makes sense. this is why wilber’s map has been so helpful to me personally, the guy actually made sense of my experiences, and it’s not to say he’s right perse, he may indeed be wrong about some things, but for now, the map works for me…..i hope that helps.

I can see the attraction that Wilber’s map had for you.  Looking for the “correct” interpretation can send us in circles.  I know this is something I have difficulty with but have you wondered if the problem isn’t about finding the correct interpretation?  Maybe there is no correct interpretation.  What I mean by this is that some experiences are simply ineffable and in seeking to rationally understand them we can end up rationalizing them away. 

You said that Wilber’s map works for you.  So, is it a matter of practical use?  Its good to know what you’re looking for.  The paranormal is only rarely useful with its occasional healings and whatnot.  It is correct that from our everyday human perspective that the paranormal mostly isn’t “useful”.  Then again, it is correct that from our everyday human perspective that reality in general mostly isn’t “useful”.

How we approach all of this depends on the perspective we’re enacting and the paradigm we’re enmeshed in.  I must admit that I’m not one who focuses on what is useful first which has its obvious problems.  🙂  I trust my direct experience to a strong extent including the weird experiences… meaning that I take my experiences on their own terms.  In trusting my own direct experience, I don’t dismiss other perspectives… but I don’t assume that my left hand perspective is less real than right hand perspectives.  However, I do turn to right hand perspectives quite a bit and I agree that Wilber’s map is useful in disentangling complicated issues.  But at some point my analytical mind self-destructs in auto-analytical reflectivity and I’m left with my bare-bones experience. 

Ultimately, experience (left hand) and practicality (right hand) aren’t in conflict and can best be viewed as equally informing eachother.  Its easy to see how the right hand quadrants inform the left hand quadrants.  But the challenge that I see for our society right now is figuring out how the left hand quadrants inform the right hand quadrants.

So, what do you think (or feel, or experience, or intuit)?

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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andrew said Jul 31, 2008, 7:24 PM:

  hi ben, first off, i’d like to say that i am really enjoying this blog topic! oh yes, the brainiacs over on j’s blog!lol well, those guys really piss me off, always coming up with these concepts that i know nothing about and then i feel compelled to go and search what the hell it is they are talking about:)

i’ve had quite a few different types of spiritual experiences and it’d never been easy to figure out what they mean. once on a certain entheogen, i looked up into the night sky and instead of seeing dead space i saw the whole universe in it’s totality completely sentient, breathing, alive and intelligent, but not personal. it’s experiences like these that lead me to speculate about non-personal dimensions of consciousness. so yes, these ‘higher’ non personal conscious dimensions may be able to influence this physical world through structures of consciousness, whether  subconsciously or superconsciously. of course this is sheer speculation and if (and it’s  big if) we are probably not even close to being able to understand or prove anything like this. the human mind is still a complete mystery to science as compared to say, heart surgery……..
i don’t tend to put rationality in an ivory tower in the same way that julian seems to, but i still agree with much that he says, it’s just that i tend to see the good in the new age and religion, i acknowledge the not so good for sure (and that is really important) but i am a live and let live kind of guy. and tone! eric johnson could tell when his batteries in his effects peddles were effecting his tone which was brilliant.
yes, wilber’s  map has led me in a brand new direction in my life, so it is practical and not just theorizing to me. unfortunately these changes at this point in time are more of the mundane nature, but in my opinion necessary for me, for now….small steps ellie…….
completely agree with you on your last paragraph………
loved your shadow post nicole, and good to here mike chiming into this song……..
oh yes, i’ve seen the orbs on video, too. but fairies? now your heading into bhagavad-gita territory….and thems a whole lotta supernatural speculations………

 

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 1, 2008, 3:06 AM:

  Andrew, its nice to hear more about your experiences.  To me, experience is where it gets interesting… and also where the rubber meets the road, where theory is tested and put into practice. 

I love Wilber’s intellect, but I must say that someone like Harpur speaks more to my own direct experience.  Harpur seems to be in the tradition of Jung and Hillman.  Often Jung and Wilber are seen as in conflict with integralists (such as Wilber himself) seeing Jung’s views as being inferior.  Its true that Jung’s ideas are half a century old and so can use some updating, but I think that writers (such as Hillman, Harpur, and Grof) have provided the necessary updating. 

If I was forced to choose between Wilber and Jung, I’d probably take Jung.  I get the sense that Jung never spoke outside of what he directly understood in his own experience and in clinically studying others experience.  Jung feels more grounded than Wilber.  Still, Wilber’s model is nice in its simple and clear presentation (as compared to Jung’s more convoluted writings).

Its interesting that you mentioned the bhagavad-gita in relation to the orbs I mentiened.  I so happen to have just been looking at a book that is about ufo and alien experiences as interpreted in light of Hinduism (Alien Identities by Richard L. Thompson).  Its similar to Keel’s and Vallee’s theorizing about folklore.  Actually, that tradition starts with Jung’s book about ufos as Valle built upon Jung’s theories.

It all goes back to Jung.  🙂

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Nicole said Aug 1, 2008, 5:26 AM:

  I deeply feel the need to understand Jung a whole lot better than I do, Marm… and I’m glad you liked the shadow article, Andrew, isn’t Ian Lawson cool? I wish he had time to drop in here to comment directly but he’s a busy busy guy…

Light,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 1, 2008, 5:41 AM:

  Nicole, I concur.  I too deeply feel the need to understand Jung a whole lot better than I do.  Its partly why I’m glad I discovered Harpur.  He has written a lot about alchemy which was a favorite subject of Jung’s, and it is one aspect of Jung’s writings I haven’t yet connected with.

A funny incident happened when I was doing internet searches for my comment you had praised.  I was looking around for info about Harpur and integral, and I came across that Lightmind discussion.  But the funny thing is where I found it.  I had quoted it myself in another forum and had forgotten I had done so.  I had discovered Harpur a while back and then forgotten him, and then recently rediscovered him and now I’ve rediscovered my own orignal discovery.

Blessings,
Marmalade

ps why am I still awake?  🙂

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Aug 1, 2008, 5:46 AM:

  that is hilarious! :):) I don’t know dear one, why are you still awake? could it be the lure of Gaia? hmmmm….

light and peace, and sleep well!

nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 1, 2008, 9:42 PM:

  The Trickster and the Paranormal, George P. Hansen

pp. 203-204
The cultural tenor of the 1980s was decidedly different than that of the 1970s, and parapsychology felt it.  In society, business success become more highly valued among the middle class baby-boomers.  Less idealism was evident, and corporate and individual greed were frequent topics of pundits.  The baby-boomers were sometimes referred to as the “Me Generation.”  The number of volunteer workers at parapsychology laborotories dwindled rapidly.

The 1980s saw a move away from the popular interest in the paranormal in the larger society, and that was accompanied by a decided change within the New Age and psychic subcultures.  Those who had previously been interested in psychic matters shifted their atention to more “spiritual” concerns that might be characterized as “a search for meaning.”  This was subtly foreshadowed when California-based Psychic magazine changed its name to New Realities in 1977.  Channeling came in to vogue, but unlike spiritualism, there was little emphasis on verifiable information or physical phenomena.  Channelers spouted “philosophy,” made dire predictions of earth changes, and gave general advice, but that was about all.  The number of books published on paranormal topics dropped precipitously betwen 1980 and 1982.  With the general shift away from psychism and toward the search for meaning, the books of Joseph Campbell became popular.  There were new magazines, printed on high quality paper, catering to that general trend.

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Aug 3, 2008, 3:20 AM:

  the me generation supposedly shifted to the we generation… do you think it ever really did though? still seems to be an awful lot of navel gazing and i don’t exclude myself lol

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 4, 2008, 2:53 PM:

  I don’t think anything has shifted yet, but maybe it is in the process of shifting.  According to the Fourth Turning model of generations, the Millenials will bring a more community focus back to society.  I also think Gaia and Second Life are transforming our very notion of community and of connecting with others. 

It seems to me that it takes some major external event (such as a world war) to really bring people together and inspire society to shift to a new level.  That relates to the Fourth Turning and supposedly we are close to this transition point.  Some thought that 9/11 would be the crisis tipping point, but it didn’t seem to be.  If you ask me, it will take a world war.  I remember the moment I heard about the planes crashing into the twin towers, one of my first thoughts was that eventually this will be remembered as the event that led to WWIII.  Since 9/11, the world is more polarized than its been since the Cold War, and the Cold War was at least a somewhat controllable scenario because it was between two superpowerwer…

Hy!  My omputr i going funky on m an I an’t writ.  Will try again latr.  😦

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Aug 5, 2008, 3:54 AM:

  hope your computer is ok, hon… so what do you think of second life, then? or anyone else? any second lifers here?
peace,
nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Marmalade said Aug 5, 2008, 2:30 PM:

  No, my computer isn’t ok (I’m on a coffee house computer)… but its better than other things not being ok.  Mind and body are functioning adequately, and so all is more or less ok with my world.  🙂  I think I’m going to have to buy a new one because the one I have now has too many problems.  It was overheating and now I spilt something on it.  The fans probably need to be replaced, the keyboard would have to be replaced, and I’m guessing some of the hardware inside is permanently messed up.  Oh well…

I’ve been interested in second life.  I checked it out, but my now ailing computer didn’t have the requisite memory and video card.  Maybe I’ll get a computer that would allow me to get onto second life.

Blessings,
Marmalade

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Aug 6, 2008, 3:18 AM:

  oh my… well you do have your priorities straight i admire that, especially since you spend so much time on the computer. if you do get a second life compatible comp (mine isn’t either and i have no plans to replace it this year or next) let me know what you think of it

love

nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

mikeS said Jul 31, 2008, 7:58 AM:

  Marmalade,

I’ve been reading your blog on “new age” through emails with much interest. I too have participated in Unitarian (rationalizing the irrational) and Unity (irrationalizing the rational), but have long since sought to blaze my own trail from the valuable learning I acquired from these somewhat similar ideologies.
through a broad stroke I would paint the new age as post-modern romanticism in reaction to science (I gather this is the integral perspective as well). This reaction is simply a continuation of the earlier romantics who rebelled against the super-rationalistic ideology of the enlightenment. New age is an escape from the “flatland” of science into the extremes of what consciousness can conjure up. (It pains me to employ Wilberian concepts, but he does have a good take on the big picture, so I suppose we must give credit where credit is due).

As long as the predominant ideology, and who could argue that science has not almost completely ordered the sphere of the everyday, continues to reduce us to atomic properties devoid of “soul” (and, essentially, devoid of meaning) there will be those deviants who in their rejection of being so reduced, seek to make us all God with the associated powers of God. (and Wilber thinks he is the middle ground!)

It seems as post-modern science deepens and expands it’s “monological gaze,” the reaction becomes more excessive and extreme, but this is only due to the ever increasing reductionistic parameters imposed by science and the “leveling” that romanticism seems to have always reacted against.  “You Can Control Your Subconscious” is a reaction to cognitive neuroscience and both are quite extreme in the evidence they provide.

It seems that as long as science reduces us to more complex mechanistic properties, we must find an escape through “magical thinking” which, if we think on it long and hard enough, may begin to take on realistic proportions (but then, who’s to say it is NOT realistic?). Wilber’s complete dismissal of this reaction as pre-trans seems to negate its influence on science (no matter how subtle and subliminal), since scientists are not immune to influence from thought outside their domain and vice versa.

I have only read the posts of this thread so if I’m repeating a comment made by another on your blog I apologize.

Excellent analysis.

Peace Angels,
mike S

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 31, 2008, 10:25 AM:

  Hi Mike,

Nice to see you. I guess I’m starting to feel more and more impatient with sweeping statements about what science or religion does or doesn’t do – not mostly from you, so not to worry – for several reasons. First, science doesn’t do or not do anything as a monolithic institution. Nor does religion. Both have their limitations and they are also both made up of a multiplicity of elements – mechanistic, quantum and a host of other streams – and attended on by a wide variety of people.

Also, because regardless of what’s out there, it is always up to each of us how we live our lives. Science, religion, or whatever does not force us into this or that way of thinking or feeling, or course of action. So, it seems to me, the question is not what “science” or “Christianity” or whatever does or does not do, according to my, your or his understanding. The question is, what do you believe, what do I believe what do we believe and how do these beliefs affect how we live our lives? This would go for any scientists who wish to join these discussions.

Thanks for being patient with my rant.

Love,

Nicole

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

mikeS said Jul 31, 2008, 12:29 PM:

  I recognize your kind disclaimer, however, you do seem a bit impatient with the opinions expressed in my comment. Which is fine and helps me to more adequately check my thinking.

I guess I’m starting to feel more and more impatient with sweeping statements about what science or religion does or doesn’t do – not mostly from you, so not to worry – for several reasons. First, science doesn’t do or not do anything as a monolithic institution. Nor does religion. Both have their limitations and they are also both made up of a multiplicity of elements – mechanistic, quantum and a host of other streams – and attended on by a wide variety of people.

I didn’t employ the term “monolithic” (I’m not quite sure what you mean by that…big?) but ‘monological,’ which is an integral term relating to the tendency of science to reduce reality to the right quadrant of empirical analysis which misses the depth and levels included in left-side quadrants such as “lived-experiences.” However, maybe you have difficulties with Integral’s take on that?

Of course, science and religion certainly are incredibly limited and “made up of a multiplicity of elements” and my previous comment in no way negates that point.
Also, because regardless of what’s out there, it is always up to each of us how we live our lives. Science, religion, or whatever does not force us into this or that way of thinking or feeling, or course of action.

If this were true than I doubt we would have such strong reactionary counter-culture movements, such as romanticism and new-age ,which essentially seek to counter the rationalistic-empiricism of science (and, of course, religion). Yes, we certainly do have choices, but only within the parameters of the cultural belief system you have been indioctrinated INTO.

In other words, how much of your choices are completely free and clear of the cultural concepts you have been conditioned by? Centuries of western and eastern philosophy sought to answer that question and many of the practices that came from the answer were formed to break free of the concepts of conditioned mind. The answer they found was that your mind is nothing but a product of culture except, it seems, for this nebulous, deep-seated, inherent desire to realize your God-given freedom and not the culture’s concept of ‘freedom’ and all the apparent choices wrapped up in that.

To actually believe that “it is always up to us how we live our lives” may be a bit naive(respectively speaking), but I would agree that it is certainly “new age.” In the coming days take the time to fully explore, throughout your day, all the seemingly infinite ways science orders your society, culture, world, and the most intimate corners of your daily life and look closely at how the choices you make are made based on that ‘order of things.’ You might be surprised. These are the beliefs we live by because it’s in our actions and actions always speak louder than platitudes. Note: I’m NOT qualifying this as good or bad, just that IT IS.

Sorry that my brand of realism is frequently discomforting. Nevertheless, when I began to see things for what they really are, based on a multitude of western and eastern teachings, I found that I could no longer deny the deeper truth within.

Peace Angels,
mike S

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

Nicole said Jul 31, 2008, 5:19 PM:

  sure, we’re fish in water, it’s a challenge to come out of our cultural milieu, but we have the capacity to question, to explore , to reject … it is up to us – perhaps it seems New Age to you, but it’s simply a question of human potential – we can be so much more than we are.

God always has such a good sense of humour – today when I have been feeling annoyed about many things , I got this email which helps put my reactivity in perspective.

love ya, Mike!

 “If we truly want inner peace and world peace, we must do the difficult but fascinating work of owning and appreciating all aspects of who we are—truly making peace with ourselves.  Real consciousness involves holding both sides of any polarity, not identifying with one.  Exploring and embracing our darkness is the only we can truly live in the light.”  
Shakti Gawain, Living in the Light
 
 

Shadow Dancing with the Enemy

By: Ian Lawton

 

How do you stay calm in the midst of crisis? How do you ground yourself in inner peace when you are surrounded by war and conflict? How do you stay present to the moment, when you just want the horrors of the moment to end?
 
This past week has tested all my most cherished spiritual ideals about staying in “the now”.
  • More than 60 people were killed in suicide bombings in Iraq. This was the worst violence of the year so far in Iraq and is a reminder that the situation remains precarious. 
  • Two people were killed in a progressive church in Knoxville. When the gunner’s house was searched, the book “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, was found next to his bed.
  • Terrorists killed 50 in an attack in Ahmedabad in India. Terror attacks in India are on the rise.
In each case, the perpetrator attacked a perceived enemy. In Iraq, it seems that Turkmen attacked the Kurds, in a battle for land and political power. In Knoxville, it seems the out of work gunman blamed “liberalism” for the state of the nation. In India, the attacks were anonymous but part of a broader Islam/Hinduism rivalry.
 
The human tendency is to create enemies. Eckhart Tolle says this is because we have suppressed aspects of our pain body and it plays out in mindless aggression towards others. This is often spoken of as shadow projection; we are intolerant of qualities in others that we have not embraced in ourselves. Carl Jung said the shadow is “that which we think we are not.”
 
Shadows Have Healing Power
 
The Bible has some interesting uses of shadow imagery. The most famous is when the Psalmist describes despair as the valley of the shadow of death. I wonder if the shadow of death is the fear of life. Once you accept life as it is, death holds less fear.
 
There is a fascinating story told in Acts 5:15 – 
 
“People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.” 
 
In the first century, there were many superstitious beliefs about shadows. It was believed that there were healing powers in the shadow of a great person. You still find the same ideas in parts of India, where a person may throw away food if the shadow of an outcast has passed over it. On the other hand, it was not unusual to have vast crowds of people position themselves on the streets of New Delhi so that Mahatma Gandhi’s shadow might pass over them as a blessing.
 
Superstition aside, the shadow is a metaphor for hidden qualities. Shadows are powerful and seem to have healing qualities, if the light of awareness shines on them and they become part of a conscious self reflection. So the world will know peace when we all stop projecting our fear onto others, and own our own stuff. Jesus described shadow projection as “being so distracted by the speck in your neighbor’s eye that you fail to see the log in your own eye.”
 
Sound easy? Clearly it is much easier said than done. It sounds like a lofty ideal that very few will attain, and certainly not enough people to change global conflicts.
 
Who Would you be Without Your Story?
 
Here’s a practice to become more attuned to your shadow projections. It’s not a fun exercise. It’s a little like looking in one of those warped mirrors at a carnival, but after seeing the twisted image of your self, you embrace it, love it back into wholeness. 
 
This is part of Byron Katie’s system called “The Work”. She asks the question, “Who would you be without your story?”
 
Let’s try it out on my reaction to the violence of the week.
 
I am working from an expectation, my story, that there should be no violence in the world. I am shaking my fist at the world, saying “I hate your violence.” I am pointing a finger at the violence, while not realizing that there are three fingers pointing right back at me. What shadows are these three fingers pointing back at?
 
It seems that I’m angry about anger. I’m impatient with impatience. I’m intolerant of intolerance. 
 
Do I gain anything by believing that there should be no violence in the world? The answer is clearly no. I just add violence to violence. I change nothing, and suffer more deeply.
 
Is there reason to drop the belief that there should be no violence in the world? Yes. Then I stop adding my inner violence to the violence of the world. There is less violence in the world, and I suffer less.
 
There is something I can do about global conflict. Katie calls it a turn around. Shine a light on my own story. That’s something I can do to make a difference, and I can do it right now. Who will I be without my story that there should be no violence in the world? I will be more patient, less frustrated and more loving. Let it begin with me. My story that there should be no violence in the world is not true. It leads me to suffer and it does nothing to alleviate the suffering of others.
 
A miraculous change just happened. I just changed my self image. I realized my own impatience and embraced it, even a little. I am becoming love, and I am becoming acceptance.
Try it out next time you find yourself pointing a finger at someone or something. Follow the three fingers pointing back at you. You just might discover that you can turn around some of the stories by exposing the fear lurking in your shadows. 

Learn more about Ian Lawton by reading his bio here

 
Practice: Release from your story

Ask yourself these questions, as Ian demonstrated above, to discover who you would be without your story.
 
 1) What is my story?
2) Is it true?
3) Do I gain anything from believing this story?
4) Do I gain anything from dropping this story?
5) What is this story telling me about myself?

 

 

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Re: New Age: A Blog Series By Marmalade

mikeS said Jul 31, 2008, 7:55 PM:

  Nicole,

“…we can be so much more than we are.

Very true!

Yet that may also entail our seeing what we are NOT in order to see the “much more” that we ARE. Many centuries of eastern and western philosophy has approached what we ARE from this very starting point, the stripping away. Essentially, two parallel modes of SEEING. However, it seems some tend to see the NOT prior to the “much more.”

Both may be necessary…

Peace Angel,
mike S