Ignorance


Right away this signifies a refusal to recognize any kind of living away from this world, or indeed taking the least interest in supramundane affairs.

All forms of religion, mysticism, magic, or the slightest hints of spiritual states must be resolutely rejected. Being begins with physical birth and terminates with death. Provided we stay within whatever bounds have been laid out by our “people-planners” our brief lives here may not be too bad. After all, we are only animals to be eaten up by earth when we are surplus on her surface. And so forth and so forth. The principle of all this is to divert us away from inherent divinity at all costs, whether by distracting attention, screening and obscuring viewpoints, or any other likely tactic.

People who are prepared to accept materialism as a way of living offer no opposition to intended evil or very much opportunity for intended good. So long as they willingly remain with their noses firmly glued to the ground their eyes are unlikely to discover any stars. They are no threat to evil doers at all. True, they may, and often do, draw distinct lines at physical or observable ills that might be traced to chemical and allied causes, but they will cheerfully allow all kinds of much more subtle and spiritually dangerous contaminants of consciousness first because they do not believe these have any reality, and then because they suppose that whatever will not respond to physical treatment can scarcely be much of a menace in a totally material world. The more humans who can be held as relatively happy captives of entirely greater opportunities earth bound environments, they occur for dedicated evil doers to operate on levels rather above the heads of those who refuse to up lift themselves beyond bodily bounds. In addition, if evil is intelligently presented as socially or economically expedient, it is incredible what materialists will not only accept, but actively insist upon. Perhaps the worst evil possible among materialists is to become convinced there is no such principle as evil at all. It has been said that the devil being the “father of lies”, his greatest deception has been to disguise himself from humanity altogether.

At all events, materialism might positively be marked up as a high major score for the “baddies” of life, whether incarnate or not. At a stroke, it reduces any serious opposition to their intentions right down to minimum. It may not provide over whelming possibilities of profit, but it does at least afford a definite work able basis in this world for whatever worst might be coming to it. By clever use of the powerful coercion compulsion persuaders to discourage man from seeing his divine spiritual heritage, humanity may remain condemned to the eventual extinction of all who refuse to rise above their material marks.

–W G Gray ( Exorcizing the Tree of Evil )

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yet the crisis itself is not first of all an ecological crisis. It is not first of all a
crisis concerning our environment. It is first of all a crisis concerning the way we think. We are treating our planet in an inhuman, God-forsaken manner because we see things in an inhuman and God-forsaken way. How we see the world depends above all upon how we see ourselves. Our model of the universe – our worldview – is based upon the model we have of ourselves, upon our own self image. Unless our own evaluation of ourselves, and of what constitutes the true nature of our being, changes, the way we treat the world around us will not change either. The industrial and technological inferno we have produced around us, and by means of which we are now devastating our world, is not something that has come about accidentally. On the contrary, it is a direct consequence
of our allowing ourselves to be dominated by a certain paradigm of thought that impels us to look upon ourselves as little more than two-legged animals whose destiny and needs can best be fulfilled through the pursuit of social, political and economic self-interest. And to correspond with this self-image we have invented a worldview in which nature is seen as an impersonal commodity, a soulless source of food, raw materials, wealth,
power and so on, which we think we are entitled to abuse by means of any scientific and mechanical technique we can devise and produce, in order to satisfy our self-interest. Having in our own minds de-sanctified ourselves, we have de-sanctified nature as well.

Our contemporary secular scientific mentality goes hand-in-hand with a
corresponding and increased erosion in us of the sense of the sacred. We do not have any respect, let alone reverence, for the world of nature because we do not fundamentally have any respect, let alone reverence, for ourselves. It is because we have lost the sense of our own reality that we have lost the sense of every other reality as well. It is because we cripple and mutilate ourselves that we cripple and mutilate everything else as well. Our contemporary crisis is really our own depravity writ large.

So the only real answer to this crisis is to stop depraving ourselves. It is to
recover a sense of our true identity and dignity, of our creation in the image of God, of our self image as sacred beings. Once we repossess a sense of our own holiness, we will recover a sense of the holiness of the world about us as well and we will then act towards the world about us with the awe and humility that we should possess when we enter a sacred shrine, a temple of love and beauty in which we are to worship and adore the Creator. Without a sense of the holy – that everything that lives is holy – and without
humility towards the whole – towards man, towards nature and to God Himself Who is beyond both man and nature, their transcendent source and origin – we will simply proceed headlong along the course to self-destruction to which we are now committed and which is our own choosing and for which we are entirely responsible.

Philip Sherrard (1922-1995)
(The Rape of Man & Nature: An Inquiry Into the Origins and Consequences of Modern Science)

There are practically no athiests among traditional farmers, even in England –a country whose main “intellectual” export right now is atheism. Also in a country like France, which is known for its secularism, where only 11% of people go to church and 40% of people are agnostics and atheists, if you were to go to the French countryside and talk to a farmer who produces that wonderful French cheese you eat for lunch, there are hardly any athiests among them. To do something that is close to God’s world is to participate in a sense in things which are natural, and thereby to circumvent the illusion of the absence of God which the modern world has created, an illusion upon which the modern world is based.

–Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The process of secularization of the microcosm resulted in one impoverishment after another of the human reality. First, the depletion of the angelic content of the microcosm helped transform the three dimensional traditional man into the two dimensional modern man. Since traditional psychology is closely related to angelology the transformation resulted in the disappearance of the idea of the soul from modern science wheras its reality at various ontological levels was affirmed in the traditional sciences. Not only that, the soul served as a key scientific concept in traditional sciences. For example, in Islamic science, we encounter the development of scientific concepts of plant, animal, rational and even universal souls. Second, the human reality became further reduced when two-dimensional man comprising body and mind was transformed into a living organism with a mechanistic body and mind largely determined by the brain. Mechanization of the human body was only one side of the coin of mechanization of the cosmos, the other being the better known mechanization of the macrocosm. The reduction of human reality reached its extreme end when every aspect and dimension of it, including consciousness, is visualized as being entirely determined by matter and physical processes.

–Osman Bakar (From secular science to sacred science: The need for a transformation, sacred web 33)

The traditional man is defined by its three essential components, namely body, soul and spirit. In the constitution of modern man the combined reality of soul and spirit has shrunk to what is called mind, a fused reality without a sacred meaning and significance.
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Just in case there are those who refuse to be caught forever by ugliness and seek some alternative, the evil of cruelty makes its claims. Cruelty is something we recognize so easily as a physical activity, yet find so hard to identify in its finer but no less dangerous forms. It is essentially an intentional misuse of power by a strong entity toward a weaker one on the same plant’ of action. For instance, a helpless cripple could scarcely be physically cruel to a strong and healthy person, yet could very well be diabolically cruel mentally to the same person if he were intellectually vulnerable. Cruelty is only possible as a calculated discharge of destructive energy directed at feebler creature unlikely to retaliate effectively. Thus cruelty automatically implies cowardice as well.The motivation of cruelty is commonly again the artificial ego-enlargement resultant from its practice. It makes the little boy feel bigger when he kicks his baby brother. If we can make others frightened of us we seem larger by comparison to their shrinking. That is the secret of cruelty. A false sense of boost because of aggressive action which appears to avoid injurious reprisals. To hurt and kill some helpless and defenseless creature makes cruel people feel enormously powerful by contrast. They may even delude themselves for an instant that they are acting like gods. Taking their pathetic little share of life energy, they are willing to expend this on damaging the lives of weaker beings for the sake of supposing themselves more powerful than they truly are. None cry louder than such cowardly criminals when justified retribution rebounds on them. Nobody hates being hurt more than those who hurt with hate.

We need not always look for evident violence in order to recognize cruelty. It is possible to be extremely cruel in the “nicest and sweetest” ways. Staging little scenes deliberately to humiliate and hurt someone’s feelings while remaining righteously on the side of conventional virtue meanwhile. With the aid of a little intelligence people can contrive all sorts of cruelties yet themselves keep in the clear so far as rule books apply. Attendants in mental hospitals, for instance, have ample opportunity on these lines. So has anyone in charge of children or animals, or whoever is unable to hit back where it hurts most. Let those who think they could not be cruel examine what conscience they have within their own life-frameworks If we are still in human bodies then we are yet capable of cruelty in some degree or another. It is well to see this and convert our energies otherwise as we can.

–William G. Gray (Exorcizing the Tree of Evil)

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If only this did not relate to numerous people in my life at the moment… lol oh well, can’t change them, when it is their own internal battle, their own lack. A baby will eventually soil it’s diapers, a hateful, spiteful, ungrateful, manipulative personage will soil their diaper too…although as they are so oblivious they’ll probably sit in their own feces and not notice the difference…..

Sometimes kitty’s are so honest… at least their malice is only over kibble, belly rubs and how much wool you dangle in front of their face….
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We and God are not two separate existences; therefore the will of God is also our own will. If we want to change, then God will not stop us from changing. The poet Nguyen Du put it like this:
“When necessary, the heavens will not stand in the way of humans.
The result of past actions can be lifted,
future causes and conditions can be created.”
The real question is, do we want to change or not?

Do we want to hold on to the lure of suffering and let our minds wander around in dreams? If in your heart you want to change, then whatever spiritual being you believe in will also be happy for you to change.

Families work the same way; no person is completely separate. If the son or daughter changes, then the father and mother will also change. If the energy arises from the son or daughter and effects a change in them first, then it will also produce a change in the heart of the father and mother some time later. Families are not made up of completely separate entities. Even if God has predisposed things to be a certain way, we can still change because, as the Bible says, “we are children of God” (I John 3:2).

What is the relationship between the creator and the creature? One has the ability to create and the other is what is created. If they are connected to each other then we can talk about them as subject and object. If they are not connected to each other, how can we call them subject and object? The subject that creates is God; the object created is the universe in which we live. Between the subject and the object there is a close relationship, just as there is a close relationship between left and right, night and day, satisfaction and hunger; just as, according to the law of reflection, the perceiver and the perceived have a very close link.

When the angle of incidence changes, the angle of reflection will change immediately. What we call the will of God is linked to our own will. That is why the retribution of our past actions can be changed.

— Thich Nhat Hanh (The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice)

Cat-wool

If this metaphysical space is to be known,

such knowledge can be attained only by faith and grace,

not by ‘entering’ but by ‘being entered’

-this is so because the greater must reveal itself to the lesser.

Put differently, that which is immanently ‘Spirit’ can only be known receptively,

through its own intellective vision, and not any derivative faculty such as reason,

feeling or sensation. Reason can only discern conceptually,

at best reducing reality to a dualism of subject and object

(as in the case of Descartes) or catagorical postulate

(as in the case of Kant) or dialectic process

(as in the case of Hegel) – its ‘telos’ will tend to be utopian(as in the case of Marx),

fundamentalist( as in the cases of religious, political or secular dogmatism)

or anthropocentrically consencual (as in the case of Rousseau’s social contract);

while sensation or feeling even where elevated to

the level of empirical ‘science,’ can only discern reality as matter or as psyche,

quantitatively, thereby cutting it off from its transcendent

and qualitative roots, leading to an emphasis on hypertrophic subjectivism

(as in the case of Nietzsche), Psychologism(as in the case of Freud),

or reductive positivism(as in the cases of philosophical positivism and of scientism).

That which transcends us cannot be known reductively

but only by that transcendent faculty which is immanent in us-which in

Tradition is termed the ‘Intellect’

or the Self-knowing Spirit. To know is to discern BEING.

We must empty ourselves or our ‘self’ in order to know who we ARE.

We must return to the sacred emptiness of the space that is our

ontological core in order to know that which truly IS.

–M Ali Lakhani (the Distance between us, found in Sacred Web issue 31)

“As men’s Prayers are a Disease of the Will, so are their Creeds a disease of the Intellect.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is the use of gnosis, if it is so forbiddingly elitist? Since the alternatives are diseases of the will and of the intellect, why invoke the criterion of usefulness? Prayers are a more interesting literary form than creeds, but even the most impressive of prayers will not change us, let alone change God. And nearly all prayers are directed anyway to the archons, the angels who made and marred this world, and whom we worship, William Blake warned, as Jesus and Jehovah, Divine Names misapplied to our prison warders. The Accusers who are the gods of this world have won all of the victories, and they will go on triumphing over us. History is always on their side, for they are history. Everyone who would return us to history always performs the work of the Accusers. Most scholars worship history, the Composite God who rewards their labors by granting them their illusion of value. Emerson remarked that there was no history, only biography, which is another Gnostic recognition.

Do not pray, do not believe; only know and be known. Many among us know without knowing that we know; Bentley Layton catches this when he suggests that gnosis should be translated as ‘acquaintance’ rather than as ‘knowing.’ Acquaintance with your own deepest self will not come often or easily, but it is unmistakable when (and if ) it comes. Neither the will nor the intellect spurs such acquaintance, but both come into play once it is achieved. To be acquainted with what is best and oldest in yourself, is to know yourself as you were, before the world was made, before you emerged into time.

–Harold Bloom (from “Alone with the Alone” by Henry Corbin)

 

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