How To Tell Right From Wrong

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Gustav Bjornstrand
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Gustav Bjornstrand »

Hobbles, this is such basic stuff. All relationship is obviously subjective. Thus the question about relationship or friendship with another human person, or a sense of relationship to a place, one's land, a forest, a field, a flower, and the cosmos that surrounds. 'Mystical' is just a word. Take it as 'concerned with the soul or the spirit, rather than with material things'. Man is a perception tool, man is consciousness.

You confuse domains. There is certainly a domain for strict reason, weight and evidence, an objective stance and platform. And that domain very certainly requires work and sacrifice. And with those tools one certainly comes to 'agreements reached with others provide the objective ground for true knowledge about the world we live in'. And this is very much as it should be.

(Except that, in fact, you have no knowledge at all. All you have, Hobbles, is assembled facts. Assembled facts, like so many stones. You have no knowledge about the world, no interpretive knowledge).

But the sort of relationship, or spiritual knowledge, or knowing of other orders, and the sense of relationship, love, service of higher ideals and the possibility of articulating higher ideals, is out of the realm of scientific measurement. It is stuff of another category altogether. And I'd imagine it is outside of your scope completely.
What I allow myself is demonstrable and replicable.

Of course, that is clearly obvious, and completely fine by me. Yet to understand religion, connection to others and connection to a Whole, requires a different use of the mind, different sources, and the enunciation of different possibilities.
I have no care or interest in your internal world, as it appears the meanderings of a mad-man.
Makes perfect sense to me. The predicates that you establish and hold to with a certain force would allow you no other option.

And so I reverse the assessment and suggest that - possibly - the delusion and the deluded mistake may be yours. In any case you have no right, nor power, to apply that label to others. That's why I asked quo warranto: by what authority? As Obvious Leo clearly indicates: The assignation of madness is part of the project. This is linked to the project of a New Definition of Evil, something she (he?) and others seems quite involved in.

This is not about you and me, Hobbles, this is about greater ideas, and the ideas that have moulded our world and civilisation. I know you will grasp so little of this but as there are others reading here I thought to include this.

Waldo Frank wrote in The Rediscovery of America:
  • This is no wonder, when we realise that at its simplest the sense of the whole is the sense of self. All that William James has said about the mystical experience may be applied to the experience of self. Man takes himself as a whole, long before he takes the world; he knows himself as whole, ages before he knows such terms as brain, heart, soul. His sense of self is not irrational, but pre-rational; not ineffable save that it comes before all words and thoughts. It is the forever past-present, forever (when one seeks to know and to express it) retreating nucleus of feeling that introduces knowledge and expression.

    Now there are certain men who know the unity of the Whole of Being - including, of course, themselves - in the same way that a man knows the unity of his person. These men have been called the mystics. Their sense of Wholeness, without abandoning the personal which is its core, reaches beyond it. Since they are called mystics, it is well to call their sense of the Whole mystic sense.

    This sense is universal. It is pre-rational, like the sense of personal wholeness. It is ineffable at the outset, also like the sense of self, in that it must precede self-expression. But it is in all men; else science, art and religion would be illegible pages. The mystic (like the scientist and the artist) differs from other men only in degree. He articulates what men sense, else his articulation would be aloof from men's need. The true mystic is he who, with his life, expresses the cosmic self, in a way comparable with personal self-expression. To contend, as James did, that the mystic experience is finally ineffable is nonsense: from the Upanishads to Blake to Whitman, high men have expressed and talked of little else.
You-all seem only to have narrowed and reduced the categories. No work there, really, as it is mostly reduction.
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Obvious Leo wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:I have no care or interest in your internal world, as it appears the meanderings of a mad-man.
This was very much the Pauline legacy. Saul was at once a paranoid schizophrenic, a misogynist and a sado-masochist but he was a gifted orator with a compelling personal presence and subtle geopolitical smarts. Schizophrenics were both revered and feared in the Roman world and Saul was able to use the gruesome execution of Christ to his advantage. He was able to re-brand Christ's simple message of redemption through forgiveness and change it into a message of redemption through suffering. This self-humiliation was to be the public face of Christianity while the true spirituality of the Christian experience was to be achieved through a personal communion with god himself. Such symptoms are commonplace with this unfortunate disease. Many perfectly healthy people talk to god but god only talks back to those afflicted by this very psychopathology. Indeed schizophrenics have been both revered and feared throughout the Christian world for two millennia for precisely this reason.

Like I said, I'm not interested on your interior world, and adding Christian myths does not make it more attractive. Now, not only do you appear a mad-man, but a mad-man in the habit of spouting out-of-date parables of no relevance to the thread.
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Gustav Bjornstrand
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Gustav Bjornstrand »

What you are interested in, or not, is of little concern to me. Just for the record.

I had and have no interest in convincing you of anything at all, Hobbles. I understand your views quite well. They are common, known, and also virulent in their way. They are not completely unreasonable either. They have a place. I find that in polarised 'conversations' like this one is writing for an audience of readers who may read, make their assessments, take different ideas away, so I offer Frank's thoughts and my own.

What is relevant to the thread is simply continued definition of what Christianity is, how it functions, in what ideas and cosmology it is based, etc. Or have I got that wrong? Understanding the role of 'mystic relationship' in world history is certainly a part of that.

It is important to add though that definitions of madness, schizophrenia, psychosis, and all of that, are not at all irrelevant in this (larger) conversation. But the interesting part is to note how assignations of madness shift with the times. Madness and genius rub up against each other.

My sense is that biological life, its stresses and strains, as well as the knowledge of impending death, produces a madness in man. Life is rather mad, when you really dwell on it. But that madness will be expressed, and is expressed, with and without religious impulse. Certainly a response to existence which is, say, neurotically religious, can be seen as a manifestation of psychological unwholesomeness. And many religious persons have spanned sanity and madness, as have all men. All of this is part of the puzzle, part of the problem.

But what is more interesting is that you, Hobbles, pretend to preside over the definition of sanity and balance. It is more than just having an opinion on the matter. You feel you can make sharp and strict assignations. I have doubts that you are necessarily qualified. But then who really is?
Obvious Leo
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Obvious Leo »

Gustav Bjornstrand wrote:It is important to add though that definitions of madness, schizophrenia, psychosis, and all of that, are not at all irrelevant in this (larger) conversation.
Since you defend a minority position you will be expected to produce evidence to support it. Your so-called "mystical religious experiences" have been associated with mental illness for many years and this link is very well supported by modern science.
Gustav Bjornstrand wrote: Madness and genius rub up against each other.
"Well, they WOULD say that, wouldn't they?"....Mandy Rice Davies

Go and see your doctor, Gustav, and stop fucking with your medication. I mean it. This is not a laughing matter because your disordered thinking is sticking out like dogs balls.
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Gustav Bjornstrand
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Gustav Bjornstrand »

With tremendous moral earnestness in an act of self-mastery I resolved to follow your advice (thank you), made an appointment, grabbed my keys and headed out to the street where my car is parked. There, blocking my way, and snarling hideously, was what I can only describe as a 17-story gnat! Progress blocked, I high-tailed it back to my computer terminal.

Plan B?
Obvious Leo
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Obvious Leo »

Gustav Bjornstrand wrote: Plan B?
A calming toke of quality home-grown washed down with a glass of cheeky red have been shown to have great short-term remedial effect. I recommend this treatment to your consideration and hope for your sake that the gnat decamps elsewhere.
uwot
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by uwot »

Gus, the thing with you, from my perspective, is still that you wish to generate some grounding for a holistic philosophy, a metaphysical dream world I think you called it. Those are ten a penny, and I don't see that yours will be any less dogmatic, nor untrue, than all the others.
The thing that makes minds like mine so skittish and excitable is that they are extremely open to ideas. I keep saying that I am prepared to entertain any possibility that isn't flatly contradicted by the observable facts. I don't know the truth, for technical reasons that I'll gladly bore you with, should you wish, nobody can ever know the truth. Anyone who claims otherwise has a poor grasp of epistemology, or they are fooled into believing that a coherent story is a true one. It seems to me that this is what you are trying to create.
You have said that it is a personal quest, and the best of luck to you, but what I perceive as your conservatism makes me suspect that should you succeed, your philosophy will have limited appeal. Mind you, there's a lot of crackpot ideologies, many of which I imagine you are sympathetic to, not least christianity, that are very well received. You have said that I can only destroy and not create. I refer you again to my blog: http://willibouwman.blogspot.co.uk I am working as hard as you to create a coherent story. Unlike you, I think the foundation is a coherent ontology that is mindful of the observable facts.
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Gustav Bjornstrand
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Re: How To Tell Right From Wrong

Post by Gustav Bjornstrand »

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.


---William Blake
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Image

The term 'metaphysical dream of the world' is Richard Weaver's - a philosopher who wrote a book called 'Ideas Have Consequences' which, I will add, has been and still is a mainstay for those people - 'conservatives' to use your term - who look for a structure of ideas in which to ground themselves against a 'present' that (they feel) desires to totally overswamp them. It might interest you to know that some part of what interests and concerns me has to do with 'defensive tools' to protect against the advance of modernity with its blind, machine-like determination. A combine that devours and consumes that human side which is most expressed in 'fancy' and 'imagination', 'relationship' and 'connection'. We lose that, we lose a great deal.

I can't really (or honestly) put myself in the conservative camp and for numerous reasons. So, what I seek is a general notion of a Traditionalism which I hope will link up with a cogent metaphysic that can function with or alongside 'observable fact'. I concede that most and perhaps all religious stories are unable to make a bridge to modern notions, physics descriptions, etc., and so the image-content they cling to, the symbolical 'language' as it were that they keep hold of, renders itself ridiculous. To one not enough aware of metaphysics. (On your blog, in answer to the question of what the Universe is made of, you indicate that the only 'answer' we have is 'philosophical', and I use the term metaphysic also in a general sense).

There is a sort of mind emerging in our present which has received enough of the modern, physical science platform-of-view that all religious stories are seen, automatically, as completely ridiculous. This 'mind', I suggest, is not an independent mind, but an expression of a machine-like quality that is sweeping over the mental landscape. It is infectious, insidious in its way. Powerful and yet brittle. It has very little link with idea and knowledge in a wide, historical sense, and thus not much link with 'the human'.

I think one finds numerous of those types here on this forum. They are belligerent, oddly 'violent', destructive and notably immature. I suggest that this attitude is the wrong one altogether, yet it plays so very well in a world that divides itself into polarised 'camps' that rage against each other - while, of course, a machine-like quality of soul entrenches itself more. (I am fairly sure that it is imagination and also 'metaphysical dream' that can function as an antidote. But the quality, as it were, of the metaphysical dream is everything). In my view, they do not well enough understand what the radical advances in scientific view did to a poetical/intuitive or intuitive/interpretive way of grasping 'the world'. Hobbes wrote:
  • "...there is no conception in a man's mind, which not at first, totally, or by parts, been begotten upon the organs of sense".

    "...without steadiness, and direction to some end, a great fancy is one kind of madness; such as they have, that entering into any discourse, are snatched from their purpose, by every thing that comes in their thoughts."
I am inclined to understand that the new - Hobbesian - way of seeing and understanding 'reality' had much to do with a new trend in human will, and new on-the-ground necessity, than with a larger, encompassing, interpretive manoeuvre. It is my view that this View, if and when it overswamps a man's thoughts, possesses him in a strange way. Yes, it offers tremendous avenues for amassing of power, and yet it pulls him away from another sort of 'power' which functions in a very different arena. So yes, I am "working [...] to create a coherent story" but less about the physical description of the world outside, and more having to do with the 'lens' or 'structure of relationship' that is internal to man. It renders my discourse quite unintelligible to many, especially the under-educated, hot-headed ones.

This though is a false statement: "Unlike you, I think the foundation is a coherent ontology that is mindful of the observable facts". I do not seek to deny or weasel around 'observable facts', yet I do know that in the instant that one interprets these facts, one enters the domain of 'fancy' and 'metaphysical dream'. If you don't think so please send me some indications.

Your blog seems to have changed - visually. I will certainly look it over in more detail. Nice work BTW.

Two final comments: 'Limited appeal': As you know I tend toward the aristocratic. To have 'wide appeal', if meant as 'popular appeal', is of no interest. The better ideas, I have found, are largely impenetrable by the vulgar mind. I know that this declaration offends your sensibilities ...

"Crackpot ideologies which you are sympathetic to": I am interested in many things - including many things on the fringes - which modern mechanism rejects. Those rejected, marginalised people and areas often have significant 'message'.

Too, to say 'crackpot' is similar to saying 'pretentious': it means nothing until defined. Do you consider, say, Rene Guenon's counter-modernist notions 'crackpot'? ('Crisis of the Modern World' and 'The Rein of Quantity'). I don't remember all too well our previous conversations (except that they got absolutely nowhere...) but you, too, have your limitations.
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Diane Arbus is a devastating photographer whose images, to me, speak to a shrouded, quite lost, aspect of the human. They are terrible to contemplate. I suggest we need 'Upanishads' that speak to that ...
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