Agreed. The Beast consisting of a myriad of opinions does the best it can at the time. Hypocrisy has become a natural part of the Beast so nothing more can be expected than what is all too painfully obvious in the world.Nick, IMO all any of us do is is the best they know how at the time. The ideas of theists, atheists, pantheists, panentheists, deists, agnostics, pagans and so on have many commonalities due to our common biology and existential situation.
OK, you want to be an expert on opinions. Nothing wrong there.So, nowadays I try hard to understand what key points people are trying to get across rather than worrying about detail. To do that, sometimes I need to translate into my kind of language, and this is the case with your ideas.
We disagree here. As I understand it, the definition of sin is “missing the mark.” In other words sin doesn’t exist without an aim – the attraction to become oneself. Second, I don’t believe we are born with the negative qualities you’ve described. They are learned reactions based on pride and vanity unfortunately often dominating our lives.To deal with the second part of your post first, I see "sin" as our atavistic animal nature - our greed, lust, aggression, anger, vengefulness, cruelty, and so forth. Freud called this base evolved nature the Id, Jung termed it the Shadow (Plato would have approved). It is a lifetime challenge to maintain control over one's more unhelpful base impulses.
Society wants us to outwardly maintain control but seekers of truth have learned that they must inwardly welcome the contradiction so as to receive help from above leading to reconcilition of our higher and lower natures. From the article:
Experiencing our contradictions with sincerity is very painful. We prefer imagination The world revolts against it but the seeker of truth invites it since they know it is essential for their searchIn one of these exchanges, Jacob articulates to Jerry the central premise of the book itself:
The struggle to exist, to not disappear in this moment, is the advancing root of the struggle to exist throughout the whole passage of time. We need to help each other in this struggle. You by asking, I by struggling to respond. This is the law of love, which rules the universe.
In another, reminiscent of Alfred Kazin’s beautiful case for embracing contradiction, Jacob exhorts Jerry:
Stay with the contradiction. If you stay, you will see that there is always something more than two opposing truths. The whole truth always includes a third part, which is the reconciliation.
The willingness to sit with contradiction, Needleman argues, is the beginning of true self-knowledge and of the deepest kind of truthfulness. Echoing André Gide’s assertion that sincerity is the most difficult feat of all, Jacob tells Jerry:................
Agreed, but who can do it? The main reason as I understand it is that we believe we have inner unity – we are ONE, but in reality we are a plurality consisting of many. So one I makes a decision to do something and a short while later, another emerges to deny it. Inner unity is our conscious potential, but as we are, we are a plurality.It's true that we need to recognise the impulses that prevent us from being the kind of people we most want to be, but recognising the many activities of the animal within (many of them helpful) is only the first step in potentially domesticating ourselves. At this juncture many meditation masters will talk about the importance of mindfulness, of regulating oneself, of noticing those things we take for granted, and to grasp the nettle of needed but unwanted tasks and ideas. It's much harder than it sounds; self mastery is more than a lifetime's work.
We don’t know if we could evolve to consciously experience objective reality. We know that as we are we cannot. We lack the conscious inner unity to experience with the quality necessary for objective knowledge. Yet some are called to try. From the article:My, and Kant's, understanding is that we cannot get in touch with actual reality. Consider what happens to people who return from NDEs - their filters are somewhat disabled and they tend to be overwhelmed by even dim light and gentle sounds. Without the buffer of our brain's filtering we could not function. That's life - you are born without a clue and struggle for a while until your inevitable destruction. One can only hope that when we die, rather than complete annihilation, that the actual reality we have been unable to touch becomes manifest. I suppose one can believe in that, but it's impossible to rationally justify.
Jesus said to put new wine into new bottles. We need to open to a new quality of mind which opens our mind and heart to a higher level of reality so as to receive new wine, new understanding.Working like this, and maintaining the fundamental attitude of sincerity about yourself and your discoveries, you will become disillusioned not only with your certainties, but with the structure of your mind itself. You will realize that what you need is not new beliefs, new information, new theories, but an entirely new mind.
Such dissolution of certainty, Needleman argues, is the gateway to real freedom:
Real ideas open the mind to the heart, to the heart of the mind, to another level of reality within ourselves… This is the taste, the beginning, of inner freedom. Only fools imagine that freedom means getting what one happens to desire. Real freedom begins with obedience to a higher influence — a higher, finer energy within oneself.
What is higher in yourself? That way of thinking about the question is the beginning of the answer — because it involves a real idea which has been handed down to humanity over thousands of years… At such a point you yourself will find the answer — not as a thought, but as an experience.
You will for a moment become the answer! You will not only have a taste of real freedom; you will for a moment be freedom.
Most prefer cyber bullying and verbal abuse to justify themselves. Yet there are a minority willing to experience the contradictions between their higher and lower natures in response to the question “who am I” regardless of how disturbing it is. The reconciliation this impartiality produces with help from above invites a higher quality of consciousness and feelings we rarely experience bringing us closer to conscious human evolutionary potential.