Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Adherents to Advaita Vedanta do not, technically, believe in the existence of Evil with a capital "E".

Natural events, however, regularly shake that faith.

On that note, one is reminded of Camille Paglia's point that we cannot rationally understand nature because nature is ontologically larger than ourselves. It is only through post-rational, mystical methods that nature can be wholly appreciated.

A member of the advaitin Yahoo Group had this to say:
The Earth itself is a living being with virtually all the characteristics of the archetypal jiva [or spiritual being], complete with all the attending chakras and koshas [psycho-spiritual knots and sheaths].
Sort of a spiritual Gaia theory. (He continued, but my agreement ended at that point.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Monday, December 13, 2004

I'm reading a fantastic book on the Gospel of Thomas with my local Society of Friends meeting. I posted a blub about it on Amazon (which will show up in the next 24 hours or so), but then promptly found a better, more extensive review of the book here.

Perhaps Ron Miller would have done better to call himself a "Thomas Realizer" rather than a "Thomas Believer", since the point of Miller's book is to go, as Elaine Pagels put it, Beyond Belief.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

James Wolcott, one of the sharpest writers blogging today, could clearly benefit from reading some integral theory.
Ever the forlorn optimist, Shawn floats the possibility that humanity might survive by availing itself of the moral codes embedded in traditional religions.

Chomsky cuts right through those dreamy clouds.
"You can find things in the traditional religions which are very benign and decent and wonderful and so on, but I mean, the Bible is probably the most genocidal book in the literary canon. The God of the Bible--not only did he order His chosen people to carry out literal genocide--...but was ready to destroy every living creature on earth because humans irritated Him. That's the story of Noah. I mean, that's beyond genocide--you don't know how to describe this creature. Somebody offended Him, and He was going to destroy every living being on earth? And then He was talked into allowing two of each species to stay alive--that's supposed to be gentle and wonderful."
Even God can't put anything past Noam Chomsky.
Apparently, to fling poo at ancient religions is now considered profound historical analysis. Chomsky has nothing better to do than to judge ancient epic literature based on contemporary liberal political standards? And Wolcott has nothing better to do than to applaud Chomsky's crude analysis? Nothing could illustrate the left's problems more dramatically.

Chomsky seems profound here only because of his utterly irresponsible reductionism.

Patiently enumerating the many incompetencies of our right wing overlords should not entail slamming the scriptures of traditional religion. There are good reasons why religion has been a part of human existence for the past few millennia. Ridiculing religions because they don't fit into your personal politics reflects poorly on Wolcott, not Judeo-Christianity.

As Wilber has pointed out, myth is a permanent pre-personal structure of the consciousness of the mature human being. Regardless of how admirable your political ideals are, beating myth with the stick of contemporary liberal politics will result in neurosis, not societal health, balance or progress.

If the only alternative is the reductionistic dismissal of our shared literary, spiritual, and artistic tradition, count me in for forlorn optimism.