Harbal wrote: ↑Mon Nov 27, 2023 10:41 pm
I think this is what some of us find hard to understand. Never having experienced that need to believe, I can't imagine the pull of it, or what psychological state it could be a response to.
My view is that religious practice can be understood at least in some sense as an extension, or modification, or evolution, of the belief in magic. Magic involves a supposition that I might be able to do things with my mind, or within my consciousness, or as some sort of ritualized act, that could have effect on the world around me. Another aspect is that of 'knowing the future' and learning what might happen. There are forms of divination like Tarot cards or the I-Ching or the Ifá divination system of Nigeria and these (especially the last two) have been used and still are used for spiritual, personal and also therapeutic reasons. It seems to me that even the analysis of dreams, even Freudian and of course definitely Jungian, is an extension of the same *science*. For Jungians, and certainly for Jung, dreams reflect an inner world that is as real as the outside world though in very different ways. Jung declared that the dreams of his patients revealed beforehand the cultural and political explosions of WW1 and WW2.
So the question becomes: What is the psyche? For Jung the psyche was the real mystery. The psyche has a depth that can be explored.
I am relatively sure that if I were to speak of *setting up synchronicities* you would not immediately understand what I mean. Yet there does seem to be a way to *do things* that elicit responses from the world around us. In some forms of magic -- again I am thinking of the African religion of Ifá
-- they work with a notion of *blocked roads*. That is, the person finds himself blocked on a psychic level; or plagued with depression; or bad luck. A spiritual technician uses divination to determine why this person is blocked. Then, when he has a sense of why the next question is what is needed to relieve the problem, to lift the block, to open the roads. And usually, or at least often, the cure involves some sort of magical invocation which also involves the patient in the process of lifting inhibiting energy or what have you. It is really a proto-psychology. Or it could be said that psychology is a sort of reapplication of similar principles.
Naturally, all of these modalities that had been suppressed in the Christian era -- about a thousand years -- came bursting back on the scene at certain junctions in European history. But specifically when the power of religious practice began to wane. And then again in the first part of the 20th century and very strongly in the pre- and post-Sixties era. Yoga, divination, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese acupuncture, Vedic and other philosophies, Kabbalah, alternative medicine -- these and so many other modalities began to attract people.
I do not think you are grasping that there are perennial questions that will always be asked. These have to do with existence, the nature of this reality, the reason we exist, the reason we perceive, and then what we do with ourselves in a strange, dangerous, extremely temporary existence.
So *spiritual science* is not a vain area of consideration.
What you most object to is the insistency of Immanuel Can's specific Christian admonitions. Lacewing talks about *energies* and going up the scale of vibrations (I paraphrase) but in an obvious sense she is *working* a spiritual philosophy. But the thought of the confining constraints of Protestant Christian religiosity turns her stomach (partly because she grew up with it). But when you examine the ideas of St Paul it is not hard to see that he propounds a *spiritual technology* and a spiritual science. There are far more esoteric Christian factions as well -- take for example those who get involved in the spiritual science of communication with their Guardian Angel. This was always a big deal throughout European history. And the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel is an involved magical-psychological science.
Did you never read any of Carlos Castaneda's books? Journey to Ixtlan
had a profound effect on popular culture. Again, he outlined a type of *spiritual science* which he dressed up in the clothes of mystical Toltecs of pre-Colombian Americas. In so many ways it was all a giant (California) cultish scam but numerous elements in it are *sound* in the sense that they were appropriated from magical and esoteric systems of other cultures and times.
Even hyper-rationalist Aldous Huxley ended up in California and influenced the Human Potential Movement. These movements were very attractive to people who discovered how deeply fucked up they were on internal, emotional, psychic levels and sought cures. The Wellness Movement, which became so popular, all grew out of this. It was not without sound effect. Consider the 12-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I read that the man who began that healing movement got the idea (if I remember correctly) from either Carl Jung or Paramahansa Yogananda. The healing modality of the 12-Step Program is based in a spiritual science of *Let Go & Let God*. The idea being that the ego, our small self, our fucked up self, can invoke God or a *higher power* (for those who balk at the word God). It is really all part of the same renewal or renaissance of internal spiritual sciences.
I assume you have never experimented with Kundalini Yoga? There are breathing exercises (pranayama) that can produce visionary experiences.
Harbal, you have got to keep your options open!