Thursday, October 27, 2011

Preaching, Passion, and Illumination

"It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms - A physicist is the atom's way of knowing about atoms..." -George Wald

" man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Meditation on these points. The subject is that which is in the object that can stand outside the object and view itself. The faculty for this is consciousness.

I continue my reading of Aristotle at the Metaphysics as an oblique reference to these thoughts.

I don't find the word preacher appealing.  It means minister or sermonizer.  It also means Ecclesiastic.  But Solomons are rare.   My problem is, I guess, and they are not alone in this at all, preachers make you feel the heat but if you want to see the light, move on because the heat of their passion effectively blocks out any enlightenment.  Conceded, heat is a form of light, and does give comfort if you are out in the cold.  So does passion, and they do communicate passionately, and this is good because faith begins in the heart.  It is felt, not reasoned.  That feeling is the first tentative step to wisdom, understanding, light.  Preachers compare to sophists.  Rhetoric is their main faculty; and they both pass the collection plate from Protagoras on down.  But truth can't be conveyed rhetorically.  Truth is not something that can be taught, or bought.  Only "things" are teachable.  Truth might inform things.  So might beauty.  But you can't teach beauty any more than truth itself.  Both are available to be realized, not learned.  Truth and beauty and the other concomitants of consciousness are aspects, facets, of the spirit that confer universality.  Sermonizers pray for this or that, implying they have power to move God in their favor, and, more to the point, that you can too.  Well, "Deeds can't dream what dreams can do", but, intention plays a greater part, I think, than actual work on behalf of the petitioner by the divine creative force behind the whole existential Reality.  What really happens in these settings is a longing for the Real, for truth, is set up but never fulfilled.  Instead they are satisfied with their dogma, which can be taught, and is bought, dearly.  But dogma does not confer universality and truth does and the sophist's belief he has a direct pipeline to truth, in the final analysis, tragically shuts off the possibility of discovery.

To be clear, I don't doubt the divinity of Christ, or any man, not that all men are Gods.  Is a drop of water the ocean?  I submit Christ understood how it was, and more importantly, how it wasn't.  People following this path like to say, "I know God loves me."  First of all, how selfish.  Secondly, say to them, if God loves everything the same then it begins to look a lot like indifference, and watch their eyes glaze over.  Their God is anthropogenic and the lie to their "faith" is that the more they pursue it the more they claim certitude.  Its true, rather, that real faith results in greater doubt, trepidation, humility, the closer one approaches the divine.  In the end one arrives at a sort of infinite resignation that knowing God is impossible.

Its written that in the beginning was the Word and the first act of creation was of light.  Leaving aside what is the Word think of the light as principle, not as visible light, per se.  As principle, illumination is participated in by the various forms, the concomitants of consciousness, e.g. Love, Liberty, Truth, Beauty, Grace, Wisdom, and so on.  All of these pertain to the substance of things; they are aspects of the indwelling spirit, of the potentiality inhering in the energia of matter and of the entelechy, the end within.  It is the form of things that facilitate display of these and in doing so universality is conferred on the subject by their presence.  The form makes a thing, a painting, for instance, individual, but it is the beauty that gives it appeal, universality.  Forms make the concomitants intelligible, available, individual.  The concomitants make the individuals universal.  People like to ask what a work of art means.  It doesn't mean anything.  It is a question; Who am I?  If it is a beautiful piece the answer is; I am everything that is.  My meaning and purpose consists in the instantiation of beauty in this individual object.  Likewise for love and the others.  You can't teach love, liberty, wisdom, grace, beauty, but your life is enriched beyond compare if you can find paths that participate in the divine light in which these qualities facilitate the awakening, the apotheosis, of the divine.  You can be Love, Freedom, Wise, Grace, Beauty; Truth can be lived.  No learning necessary.  To borrow from T.S. Eliot, the drop of water slips into the shining sibilant sea and arriving where it began knows the place for the first time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Birthdays

My son, Christopher M. Hinds, turned 26 this past Sunday.  Granddaughter, Eleanor Margarete Hinds, was two Sept. 6.  Nice photos at this link, Au Coeur blog.  They live on Nantucket.  Also, Christopher's mother, Helen Elizabeth Ragsdale was born this month.  Sept. 16.

Friday, September 16, 2011

God is Beyond Experience

Soren Kierkegaard, the great Christian philosopher, wrote that "God does not think, he creates.  God does not exist, he is eternal."  Athiests ignorantly deny God because they can't find empirical evidence.  At the same time religionists claim they do experience God, many claiming to even talk to "him", but mostly they "feel" his presence.

But, experience is anthropomorphic.  God can't be experienced any more than can eternity and his mind can't be known because thinking is not his function.  Knowing his creation is knowing his work, surely, but not him directly.  Experience relates to things.  You are a thing.  All you experience is a thing.  God is not a thing.  You can't experience not thing, God.  He doesn't exist, he creates.  When my religious friends say they can feel the spirit of God they are really feeling themselves.  That is, their religious experience is a form of self love, self worship.  Finally, Being is not the same thing, infinitely.  Each instance is all there is and the next an entirely new creation but based on the preceding.  Does a waterfall ever change?  Can you put your hand in the same river twice?  Essence does not precede existence.  Existence precedes essence; Existential means this.  To say essence precedes existence is to claim to know God, an impossibility. The form of a table is new for every instance of table, just like the river or the waterfall.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Poised on the Edge of Oblivion

The Scream, 1893, Edvard Munch
From Play It Again Sam, 1972

WOODY ALLEN:  That's quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn't it?
GIRL IN MUSEUM:  Yes it is.
WOODY ALLEN:  What does it say to you?
GIRL IN MUSEUM:  It restates the negativeness of the universe, the hideous lonely emptiness of existence, nothingness, the predicament of man forced to live in a barren, godless eternity, like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void, with nothing but waste, horror, and degradation, forming a useless bleak straightjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
WOODY ALLEN:  What are you doing Saturday night?
GIRL IN MUSEUM:  Committing suicide.
WOODY ALLEN:  What about Friday night?
GIRL IN MUSEUM: [leaves silently] 

In a constant state of dread wanting only to understand with the full knowledge that is impossible.  G. K. Chesterton thought the madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything but his reason.  Reason is the giver of false hope.  If it's reasonable, if it can be measured, is that the same as knowing, as understanding?  I don't think so.  All one Knows really is the metric, that by which measurement is made and that metric when reduced to the lowest common denominator is the thing, our physical body.  Measurement is not understanding but it might lead to same.  When attachment arises wisdom is shut out.  That something is reasonable ends up being such attachment.  Any answer worth anything can only be intuited.  It's direct, unfiltered, knowledge that satisfies the heart.  The darkness that is ever dogging us, the dread of meaningless and essentially empty purpose leaves one with only one choice, to be taken with infinite resignation, and that is the leap of faith.  The reasonable man wants to own truth but what's true is that truth owns him.

If the whole of reality is an apotheosis then it seems obvious every instance is new.  "G_d" wouldn't waste time doing the same thing over and over.  This obviates Nietzsche's  notion that its the same thing  repeated infinitely.  The very fact that species mutate is proof enough the process more resembles a fractal than a simple progression; and any eventuation is rooted in a universal principle.  Light, e.g., is not just light, but an expression on many levels of the principle of illumination.  The nucleus of an atom illuminates its electrons follows the same principle that a star illuminates its planets and a lord his disciples.  Likewise, the star confers universality on the planets and they confer on the star individuality.  Aristotle thought matter conferred universality, form individuality.  In the same vein, God gives man universality while man confers on the Deity individuality.  He is the author of apotheosis, his creation the instrumentality.  He doesn't just live in his creatures, but through them he knows himself, has the illusion of sleeping and waking, dieing and being born.  It is infinitely self-inventing, and every instantiation increases and enriches the pregnancy for ensuing evolution. All that will ever be is already actual in the "beginning" even though all that will ever be is an elaboration on the infinite stream of prior instances. Every new instance is a new beginning and a new boundary for the new. Every new instantiation is an elaboration of its predecessor. And, our heavens are self made as are our hells. It's all about individual responsibility and self-reliance. Belief in nothing gets you just that.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Cultural Psychopathology of Don Juanism

"Gaze steadfastly at stars which though distant are yet present to the mind."

"When attachment arises wisdom is shut out."

I am in your eyes for others to see.

Bodies mediate the meeting of souls; but souls meet each other immediately when eyes meet. The depth in the pupil of the eye is the quiet place that gives meaning to such encounters. Just a glance into the eyes of another is to directly encounter the depths of the abyss rendering attachment impossible. Creatures are often startled by another's gaze, and rightly so, for at that moment infinity looks into infinity.


Eroticism, Music, and Madness (Cont'd)

Meaning presupposes itself. Formal activity in the human mind has its roots in the form paradigmatic for an individual, namely, the body, and the paradigmatic act is speech, utterance, giving of the word, rooted in the Greek, Logos, reason, the word; controlling principle of the universe manifest by speech. From the Bible, John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the word was made flesh.." Giving of the Word, the first principle, is like the axle of a wheel, all meaning, movement, is presupposed, sensible, in so far as the center, the first principle, the axle, is stationary.

Language has a way of assuming the form of its objects. We say chair to reference a real thing. Math and music have an abstract relationship to existential mass. Mathematics has in common with music the fact that it does not have reflex pronouns, egocentric particulars; it has no terms like speech. But music has element in time, mathematics not. Music and mathematics take us out of the world; attending to them in a sense places one in a non-material place. But mathematics is static as a medium while music is a dynamic medium. Mathematics takes us out of the world in the Cartesian sense that it is of the mind which is separate from body. Mathematics joined with science and technology becomes a dynamic which hurriedly takes us out of the world, much more than music; consider nuclear weapons, e.g.  People aren't careful with their speech as in times past and as speech has become less responsible music has taken over, it is that by which we are encouraged to fulfill, or rather escape from ourselves.

What about expression in architecture? Architecture employs the concrete medium of existential mass. Look at the endurance of the thrusting movement of architecturally rendered faith, the leap toward edification seen in a great Gothic cathedral. Architecture is concrete by virtue of its duration in time; it endures of itself. Words must be spoken, mathematical formulas contemplated, but music is the true contrary of existential mass in respect of being the most abstract medium. It does not endure by itself in time, but only by virtue of its being played. Architecture endures by itself in time because it also exists in space; music has no existence in space, and thereby lacks the characteristic of enduring in time, so we can say that music is the most abstract medium.

What does it mean for a medium to be the most abstract? It means, simply, that it is most minimal. Don Juan seeks immediacy. He minimizes the mediate. Mystery, discovery, the sense of being on the brink of life fulfilling experience grows with increasing economy of means, and increasing risk.  Musical life has the highest economy; it only exists in time and abstracts the soul thus from the material.  Ambition is alien and confining to the basic truth of reality for the sensuous genius, which is openness or vulnerability itself.   Music minimizes the mediate, and in this respect it is the ideal expression of Don Juanism. The apparent flow of time is the most essential characteristic of immediacy. In mediation there are varieties of things which come to us one at a time, sequentially. Remove the sequential aspect of the world of objects as they pass in the stream of consciousness and you have immediacy. In immediacy sequentiality becomes secondary to the ostensible flow of time just in itself thus obviating the intentional thickness of consciousness which results from the repression of unselective consciousness in favor of selective consciousness. Music carries us away, out of ourselves, destroying intention. Architectural expression of Christian faith points to the heavens as where the human soul will find completion. Music likewise expresses a reaching for what is impossibly beyond grasping. The word was made flesh and flesh artificially separates itself from that paradigmatic act that is lost in the spirit of the sensuous. Soren Kierkegaard thought that Christianity brought sensuousness into the world by excluding it; it is the contrary of spirituality.  The long sabbatical from language and the descent into the musical expresses the urge for immediacy, to be in the world but not of it. Self gratification regardless of the consequence is the hallmark. Don Juanism is cultural psychopathology. Narcissism, confusion, estrangement, dread, and self loathing are its fruits.

The implications of unrestrained sensuousness date from the romantic period, the revolt of the 18th and early 19th century against the artistic, political, philosophical, and religious principles associated with neoclassicism. It is characterized in literature and philosophy by irrationality, fancy, fabulousness, impracticality, and emphasizes above all else feeling and originality. It is of the heart, not of the mind. Everything is transitory, the individual self is the only certitude. The most valid response to anything is the emotional one. From the religious to the political, from the artistic to the scientific, this error of elevating feelings above all other consideration reigns. The wheel has come off the axle.  Emotion has its place but when conflated with faith whether in religion, science, or anything else, and sought as an end in itself, when this attachment arises, wisdom is shut out and spiritual devolution follows. One hears in the exhortations of fanatics whether religious, scientific, or whatever, that they are addicts of their own pathos.  One hears in their tearful, dolorous, apocalyptic prophecy a music of exhortation calling us to their version of the only dance there is.  They have completely lost sight of Truth.

There are real consequences to having a false concept of reality.  I like to say the world is infinitely malleable; we get to make of it whatsoever we wish.  That is, in fact, our commission.  But without a solid foundation it gets increasingly difficult to keep the thing from collapsing.  We can't continue forever to conflate the axle with the wheel; man, still in his infancy, if he is to remain sane, must not fail to appeal to that Primal Spirit we call G_d.  To believe only in himself as mere mortal man is to believe in nothing and by my metrics believing in nothing will in the end get you exactly that.  Nothing.  So take heart.  The Sun will supposedly be here for another four and a half billion years and continues to orbit the hub of the Milky Way every 280 million years.  That wheel goes round and round while false religion, science, politics, and philosophy will have their day and in passing give sustenance to new growth.  Christianity merged the principles Greek Logos and Hebrew Davar, Word, action of God in space time.  These and other expressions of the first principle endure forever and when you look deeply into another's eyes you can see forever the stars there which though distant are yet present to the mind.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tacking Into the Wind

Occasionally I get hits associated with "tacking into the wind" searches, so I thought I'd put up a picture. It's just a way of making headway even when forces are aligned against you. If you approach things obliquely you'll find that you can often slide around the obstacles. It's sort of like going through the valleys to get over the mountains. Often we aren't equipped to meet adversity, the winds of change, head on. Tackle overwhelming impediments from their weak points, from the side, from an unexpected avenue of approach or concealment, in order to turn their torque into an harnessable force.

I have sailed. Mostly very small craft which easily capsize, but can just as easily be righted. There is a great personal thrill to be enjoyed in running very close to a hard wind on the razor edge of loosing it all. In such risk lies realization that immeasurable discovery is the action of the unknown. In an instant your boat is on its side and you are swimming now, not sailing, but it only takes a minute to right the thing and make another run. The stronger the wind the better, for we tire of mundane challenges and long to really test our abilities against the impossible.


Estragon: We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist.

Pozzo: day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second...they give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more. On!

Waiting for Godot
Samuel Beckett

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Yoga and Vipassana Meditation

Yoga and Vipassana Meditation, pdf of a lecture by Professor Desani in Rangoon, Burma.  I've written about Desani elsewhere in this blog., linked in my right panel, hosts this pdf.  I'm grateful to Todd Katz for his efforts in maintaining the site.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

De Generatione et Corruptione

Everywhere Aristotle utilizes the phases of qualities passing into and out of their opposite states as an anchor to the progress of his thinking.  Generation and Corruption studied as contraries is fitting to this basic principle or method and it fits his contention that the Real is always at least two in number.

Coming to be necessarily implies the pre-existence of something which potentially 'is', but actually 'is not';  and this something is spoken of both as 'being' and as 'not-being'.

Coming to be occurs in the region about the centre. (of the Universe, i.e., Earth)  The originative sources of generation are first matter and form.  A third originative source must also be present for while it is characteristic of matter to suffer action, i.e. to be moved:  to move, i.e. to act, belongs to a different 'power'.  Things assume forms which are their essential nature.

The third originative source is the alternating approach and retreat of the Sun, which corresponds with generation and corruption.  "Coming-to-be and passing-away will, as we have said, always be continuous, and will never fail owing to the cause we stated. And this continuity has a sufficient reason on our theory. For in all things, as we affirm, Nature always strives after 'the better'. Now 'being'... is better than 'not-being': but not all things can possess 'being', since they are too far removed from the 'originative source. 'God therefore adopted the remaining alternative, and fulfilled the perfection of the universe by making coming-to-be uninterrupted: for the greatest possible coherence would thus be secured to existence, because that 'coming-to-be should itself come-to-be perpetually' is the closest approximation to eternal being."

The cause of this perpetuity of generation is circular motion:  for that is the only motion which is continuous.  "... if there is to be movement... there must be something which initiates it; if there is to be movement always, there must always be something which initiates it; if the movement is to be continuous, what initiates it must be single, unmoved, ungenerated, and incapable of 'alteration'; and if the circular movements are more than one, their initiating causes must all of them, in spite of their plurality, be in some way subordinated to a single 'originative source'."

"...a thing is eternal if its 'being' is necessary:  and if it is eternal, its 'being' is necessary.  And if, therefore, the 'coming-to-be' of a thing is necessary, its 'coming-to-be' is eternal;  and if eternal necessary.

"It follows that the coming-to-be of anything, if it is absolutely necessary, must be cyclical---i.e. must return upon itself....

"The result we have reached is logically concordant with the eternity of circular motion, i.e. the eternity of the revolution of the heavens."

I seize on a couple of statements here in particular, for instance, coming to be is an effort by grace to mirror the divine's eternal being by itself being a coming to be perpetually;  he says a gift of God.  And the idea put forth that generation being circular exhibits the characteristic of returning on itself echos the notion that the essential nature of consciousness shares the same trait.

So, the center, Earth, is where generation and corruption take place and the ultimate cause is bound up in,  is made perceptible, by the circular movement of the fixed stars in the outer most sphere, that is, heaven.  The abode of the imperishable and perfect affects all the coming to be and passing away we creatures suffer in the lowest regions, the Earth.  The Sun is made to follow its alternating approach and retreat by the higher revolutions of the outermost sphere of fixed stars.  It in turn imparts the necessity of generation and corruption to what is beneath its orbit.   Aristotle further assigns decreasing powers to the elements both primary and simple being Earth, Air, Fire, Water which in their turn come and go in their own orbits alternatively creating and destroying what is within their purviews.

Next, De Anima

Friday, May 13, 2011

Creatrix Singularity

If man, Jesus, is the Word made flesh, the machine as singularity is the daemonic embodied; an embodiment of the daemonic in nature. It is an elevation of the original sin to a machine, mechanistic principle. I give you Creatrix Singularity 60 by 50 inches, acrylic on canvas, art by Me, about 1970:

The feeling here is there won't be feeling, heart, warmth, and intuition to counterbalance reason if computational heuristics is promoted as the evolute of consciousness mediating life in the world to the disadvantage of organic based beings. Welcome to the cold calculus of an infinite regress of efficiency to worlds without end where under the umbrella of the Dyson swarm love, beauty, truth, wisdom, and most of all, liberty, shrivel and die.

If you'll look closely here you'll see the separation of the two isosceles triangles of the Star of David symbolizing man's supplanting with himself the cosmic apotheosis.

Nadi Shastras - Personal Notes from Readings by Prof. Desani

This has been crossposted with an introduction at

Nadi Text, June 29, 1980

If there is only one religion, you will have a partial view of the world.

Treat all life as your own, small and large.

Nundi Deva and Shiva Yogi are the "speakers."

This text spoken before Buddha. Talks of Jainism, Buddhism before they appeared in the world and says one more religion will appear in Kaliyuga - Christianity.

The Lord incarnated, it said, as Buddha, Christ, Desani, etc. Eleven parts of the Lord.

Gives birth date, place, time, etc., parents, horoscope, of Buddha, Christ, Desani.

Of Christ, "He is Immanuel, Deva Kurna (sp.). There was a comet in the sky for three days. They fled to Egypt, to avoid edict of government....." His color is green, he is Love... "Twelve disciples, St. Paul wrote history."

Crucify: Prana left body, and they killed his physical body, Prana in Maya Svarupa (illusionary form) appears later. (He is risen.) He will appear in Maya Svarupa to some few devotees.

"After 1984 the people will get very angry. The government will do anything they want."

(aside: When you get angry evil beings get inside you. Buddha said if you control anger you could control the world...)

"Water will be bad, there will be bad gasses in the air, the food will be scarce."

"Why so many Shastras for Desaniman - 42? They are like God's treasures. Desaniman will know their purpose." (He gleans them for publishing.)

The five elements (Punja (sp) Bhutas are parts of Prakriti) are in the body. These perform their function, but they should receive proper help from the 6th sense, reason. Purity follows using 6th sense to control five elements.

(aside: Prakriti is conscious. This is the basis of magic.)

The same Tattvas do not apply to all religions.

"You are to control your mind and do Dhyana," then say, "Thy will be done."

If love of the lord is used for love of the self then it is not true Bhakti.

1983 - He might move to another country to avoid bad effect due to planetary positions. Might die in 8 years or 1988.

Prana/life and body are different from each other.

Sin and virtue go with Prana at time of death.

Atma (behind the body and Prana) is pleased by talk of Bhakti.


Nadi reading July 5, 1980

Gives 36 Tattvas - essential things | Dance of the Lord

Shiva - Rudra (speaks)
Shiva Yogi is there - This being has been identified with Desaniman - they are the same being.

The body is Shakti, life is Prana.
The Lord lives in us always.

All things happen according to the will of the Lord, if you are a Bhakta.

If you have affections for others, you have affection for the Lord.

Anger causes early death.

We should do good for other Bhaktas.
Do not speak against anyone. It will act as a curse, a bad deed. Such deeds reduce Satguna (sp) in one. Do not use poisonous words against others. If our state of mind is at peace, others will be at peace..

Avoid making friendships, takes away from Bhakti.

Karma affects even the Gods, their deeds.

We should not delay doing our works, our good works.

Shiva is Prana. The Lord, preserver, creator, destroyer.

Keep Atma in Bhakti, keep Prana dedicated to the Lord. (Jivsamadhi, 24th dance (of the) Tattvas.)

Do not desire status, high position. Do not be hasty, if something does not come to a Bhakta then have an aversion for that.

Upadesha - instruction.

We must love our families.
The (red) Lord - destroyer.
If the Atma is not pure, the Lord will destroy it.

Our bodies are Shri Yantras. The Divine Lord, the Divine Father are in the heart.

In the 32d dance, the five recede to the first, radiance. If the 5 - Punja Bhutas - are controlled they become "friends."

Reduce salt, sour, hot, irritants, bitter: five elements reveal themselves as tastes, too.

Not too much sweetness.
Sweetness causes knowledge.

Anger is encouraged by hot (and meat), sour, salt, (but these) should be added in balance, then the kundalini does not get exaggerated, instead there is sukha, ease.

To avoid (or during) sickness due to imbalance of these tastes, take milk, and milk curds. Take these tastes occasionally with no harm, take without greed, take as blessing.

Instruction: Take food offered from Bhaktas, accept all, decline none.


Nadi reading November 29, 1980

#1 "He is 72 (DOB, Jul. 1, 1909) He is 'form of the Lord' "

#2 "Shiva Yogi is disciple of Nundi Deva. Shiva Yogi meditates in the Himalayas waiting for Desaniman to die, come to him."

Text instructs: "Guard against self worship!"

Text mentions: "Faults in the sun." - sunspots - or power from the sun.... "After 18 years (i.e., 1998) it will hit the earth at 'scattered points'. After this time " a handful of grain for one gold. People will eat leaves. In a given country if 50% of the people are Bhaktas, the country will survive."

Used in Puja: Cardamon and cloves
Text instructs: "Do not use powers - ever! Do not break any laws."

3rd text

"He (Desani) is disciple of Nundi Deva (and) also Patanjali, also Markande (sp). He, Nundi Deva, has five disciples. In all the nine continents there are very few Bhaktas. Desaniman wrote Shastras in all incarnations.

4th Text
Rudra and others speak in this text. Text says to Desani: "do not eat at night. May do Zen, Yoga, with no object. The Atma is like an abode of the Deva. If one speaks against Desani he loses his merits."
Text mentions Auro-Bindo, 83.
Text says: "Death is a great, peaceful being." "A good Bhakta worships with no expectation."

Offerings: Deepa (lights), Dupa (incense)

Spoken aside: "Do not build temple..."

Text says: "Nundi Deva has greatness of Rudra, myself.

Aside: Keep in mind the Yantra is a material form of the Deity: Prevents one from doing wrong things.

Text says: "In 1981 1/8th of population has Deva Bhakti."
Text instructs: "Should avoid bad people."

This Shastra was recited 5 - 10,000 hears past.
4th text ends thus: "Shibum, may peace be."


Nadi readings Winter and Spring 1979 and 1980

Notes from 5 Nadi Texts G. V. Desani read to us.

Text instructs: "avoid over indulging 5 tastes: sweet, hot, sour, salt, irritants."

Text gives: The meritorious deeds: 1. To worship, to be mindful, meditate on the Lord. 2. To offer light to the Lord, e.g., night light burns always in (his) prayer room. 3. To help elderly person.

Text says: After 1984 (there is) much world trouble. At that time there will be a great meeting of great beings to decide the fate of the world. It will be like the end of the world.

Text says: "Bhaktas should guard against mistakes. The Guru will know, and advancement will be retarded...The power of the Guru accrues to the disciple in time...not necessarily in this life. It is the Bhakta's duty to renounce one article of food...To keep good health use nine grains, wheat, rice.....; meat eaters, including fish, should take extra water. To eat meat is permitted but it causes some trouble to the Bhakta. No greens at night. Greens can be taken four days a week; Peas two days a week. The nine grains are taken separately, not mixed. Take beans once a week. Take black beans (not available in U.S.) daily for strength. in worship offer fruit then take yourself as blessing."

Text says: If you want something, offer it. We should avoid cruel, wicked people.

Text says: In March, 1980 the force that was at the base of his (Desani's) spine will rise to the top of his head.

Text says: First there are two things (Personal note: Aristotle also concluded this): The Lord and the Prime Substance: Purusha and Prakriti. For the Lord, give up worldly pursuits. One should gather Puja things. We can follow any profession, just follow path of daily worship. Avoid politics.

Desani needs piece of lead and brass.

There are one or two cruel people - he rejects them.

Text says: "To each according to the quality of his worship." during Kali Kali (?Kali Yuga?) only one in one thousand will have love of the Lord." "From 1984 those who seek sexual gratification will suffer greatly." "There are many demons born as men now, they are the thieves, etc."

Text predicts: Acid rain, bad air, and so forth. Says some countries will be ruined by this. 1984 - 1989 (I'm not sure I took this down correctly) After 89 things will change again (maybe for) the better, somewhat.

Another text now - 6 in all today - I said 5 above (?) over a period of months.

It seems that Desani read to us for five hours straight.

Saturn periods come to everyone. (Note: Use intelligence during these Saturn periods to avoid injury, accidental death.

Another Text on future 10 years.

5085 = 1984: From then there will be bad troubles. Prices will increase, everything will be new, new level of evolution, times will see increase of knowledge in people of the world. Good grows with the bad. This text says to get Guru Bhakti, the five senses should be pure, (one should) speak truly, be moderate to get (have) the grace of the guru, to get divine strength.

"To each his own Karma. Thus we grow strong."

Saturn transit - November, 1978.

This text says to: "Treat the great light as the Lord. But he will appear in other forms too. Worship the feet of the Lord; that is, do not aspire for highness. When approached by the Lord, should he appear, get up! One should gesture supplication - hands together. Offer anything you are fond of."

"If you chant 108 times a day, that is good (enough)."

Aside: Mr. Pele (in India) types these texts. He is virtually blind. Mr. Murthi (also in India) translates. In a former life they helped Desani build shelters for pilgrims.

His text says: "To the Yogi, the benevolent look of the Lord is wealth, not gold, land, etc."

"It is natural to have some enemies. Leave it to the Lord. Some enemies are from former lives." (as are family members, wife, children, etc."

"Even bad people have some goodness in them," says the Lord benevolently.

"Each person who comes to Desani did so in former lives." Pele and Mr. Murthi helped (him) build shelters and asked to have their current role in this scheme (as typist and translator).

"The Deva says bad acts are his responsibility too, because they are 'in him'. Desani says, "this is very great of him."

"Desani talks only for a reason, not for gossip or 'passing time'. "

"Incline to the Lord and power comes. Never desire power or show it off for any reason."

"The Devil is a great fool; he can be fooled if you are clever."

"If there is less suffering in a country it is because of the people's intelligence, which follows from good deeds."

"He will give silver square to persons he owes debts to, people who helped him in former lives. This article stays in the 'Cottage of the Lord' for six months while he puts spirit in it. It is a Chakra. He should collect expenses for them. This Chakra will get them (the Bhaktas) divine wealth. Moreover, with the power of the Chakra the Bhakta will have a good life more or less free of the suffering of most people in these bad times."

"From the base of his spine the divine nerve has gone to the eye; it is time for it to go to the lotus at the top of the head."

"The rising of the moon is like the rising of the Kundalini. For Desani, in March, the rising of the Kundalini will be full."

Aside: "Confucius said death is a blessing as are all Universals."

"Desani will think that whatever comes to him is enough."

Pele and Murthi lived with him, helped him to construct shelters in a former life.

Aside: Desani says if you constantly give in to your appetites you merely serve the five elements.

"This is his fifth life. When he goes it will be like a Yogi leaving his Samadhi. His Prana goes to a tree in the Himalayas where Nundi Deva meditates. This being then rises and goes to a mountain....."

Desani says his guru told him to have a willed death.

"The body is our property, not us. It is to be controlled."

"Only because of the merit of Bhaktas, the Universe is not destroyed."

"The great beings will assume illusionary forms for a talk about the World's fate."

"A short person with six letters in his name will write against him in 1982, then come to him asking pardon."

"The Atma (Christian Conscience) will tell us it is not good to deceive. If we ignore it there will be untimely death. The voice of conscience causes guilt, which causes death."

guilt = death

This age is called Kaliyuga. Kali = iron "In 30 and in 100 years people (will be) are smarter, live longer. There will be much sensual gratification, but also Dhyana is being done.

The eighth dance of the Lord. Dance - Tattva

"At time of death the Prana leaves through one of nine doors (orifices). Then the Prana goes to Yama Puri (City of the Dead) to await rebirth. Full Yogis go to Parma Purusha (indestructible). His Prana can hence assume a living form at will."

-end of text-

New Text

"Some of Desani's disciples will publish Shastras too."

Text refers to following text.

-end of text'

New Text

I think this Shastra is the Devi speaking to the Lord of Wisdom. She is the Divine Mother. He has Elephant head.

Aside: "The Devi is different from the Lord, and eternal too."

To Desani: "Cut salt by half or three quarters."

Devi repeats that mentioned in first Shastra, "nine grains correspond to nine planets."

Aside: About 5000 years past only seven planets (circled the Sun). One split in two. Desani lived then too.

"Cut back on salt. Take fruits with grain if possible."

"Sickness follows if formal practice is not completed. If practice is begun (108) it must be completed. Offer fruit then have as a blessing."

"Desani is now 71. When he is 82 a person (name like a poison) will come to him. For no reason, in a former life, this person was an enemy. Desani is instructed to be friendly to him (by this Shastra)."

"Do not speak of siddhis. People will not understand; They will be confused, angry, etc."

"If offerings aren't available, do it mentally.... 'I make a flower of my life (or breath) and offer it to you' ".

End of Shastra

New Shastra

"A few more texts (are) to come."

Aside: Desani equates death and solitude. I think he said death and the Prana's being in Yama Puri is solitude. He said that (Milton or Blake ?) had what appeared to be a holy radiant being appear to him once when he was trying to conjure the Fiend. 'Go Away! It's not you I want,' he said. But lo!!! It WAS the Fiend."

End of this text

End of today's reading from the Nadi Shastras


This text I didn't date

"In the beginning all people were Devas. Then they fell to lower Worlds."

"Desani's five lives were all in the Kaliyuga."

Aside: "Why is it (the World process) happening? It is a divine secret, a secret of the Lord. This creation is more man's than the Lord's, so to speak."

"It is very difficult to see the Lord these days. It is the times."

"1992 -1993 - fire hits planet."

"During a period when we suffer blows we are in a Saturn period and the Karma of past lives works itself. He warns to be very careful not to do additional wrongs. He says to do additional Bhakti then."

"He will not know who the bad people are who come to him."

"One should control one's mind. Live in the law. Do not show off divine wealth."

"There are Bhaktas who indulge (strong) desires, who have weak minds, who will, in their next lives have the same attachments."

"In that passage he calls them great Bhaktas, that is, with attainments."

Karma - inordinate desire
Lobha -greed
Krobgh - anger
Moha - (self love) attachment
Ahankara - pride

"There are four periods. The best are the longest. Together they are known as a great period. After (illegible word) have run there is total destruction."

"Desani was born in a 'special way' in each period."

Bhakti - act

"He reads texts because they help us."

Chakra - anything round.

end of this Shastra


Nadi reading June 21, 1980

Three texts today

Palas - effects

second text: "All conjectures by man about creation are false."

"After 1984 people over fifty (will have) eye problems. This and pain causes lack of sleep."

"Before going to sleep do worship of the Deva. Bow down to the Deva."

"To avoid bad effects during these years (one should) control Panca Bhutas (5 elements)."

"To use siddhis (powers) one must abandon compassion." Desani says it is better to live simply, not to abandon compassion.

sixth sense - mind

"The mind and the five elements control his (Desani's) appearance in illusionary form before Bhaktas. He does this by intention, and the appearance lasts for several seconds. He gives some words then goes."

"When we do wrong the soul/self will be troubled. This is conscience. Blows come to the body. That is, debts of Karma are paid by physical pain."

"If anyone says one scripture is right over the other, his mind will be affected."

"The 'third eye' opens at the Lord's pleasure."

"The four Vedas are held in a fist (silence)." *

"The Deva sits in the place of the Puja."

"One should have fear/awe in that presence."

"To deal with evil people or beings is a sin."

"Taking liquor and meat causes sickness. Those who do this cannot become good Bhaktas."

"After 1984 Desani will be like a 'new Yogi' in the world. He will be shown awe by all who meet him. He will be famous the world over. He has more Nadi texts than any other Yogi.

end of these 3 Shastras.


Nadi reading August 9, 1980

Recited by, or to (?) patron saint of Southern India.

21 years from now half of world's population will have love of God.
Half of world's population will be destroyed by then too.

One of the texts read today says he will make a sanctuary (for himself). Personal note by your writer: Myself, and Josh Farley, and Lynn Hough, and Allan Smith did subsequently add on a little room in the back of Blossom Burn's apartment into which he moved and for a period of some months followed a vow of total silence. During this time when I saw him he would 'speak' to me in sign language.


Nadi reading around August, 1982

Three texts read this day.

This year Saturn is in 8th house - no one can fight it. Mentions "spark from the sun" - destruction.

2nd text from Five Faced Lord: It is divine knowledge of God that grants us happiness.

Don't see or know a difference between dukha (difficulty or pain) and sukha (ease).

He says our purposes are wrong... (meaning the purposes of modern man)

Doctrines are not different (meaning doctrine of Shankarachariya (sp) and his detractors, I think)

Postures for exercises, he says, shouldn't be done by older people.

3rd text: Narada. In every period there are seven sages. Rule for Bhakti, 18 steps among which are to listen with pleasure, satisfaction, to words about things divine. To see temples. To recite mantras. To have images. To avoid over eating. Not to be in search of money. Not to be egotistical. To go the forest, solitude: this is the way ??? from world attachments. To conquer death (former merits are needed) then you're not affected by dissolution of Universe.

There are several kinds of Yoga.

Should not change mind.

Highest Yoga is to become one with supreme Lord. Then comes powers.

To BE the creator, destroyer, sustainer.

The people of the Kaliyuga can't understand the Upanishads. Desani said he's been 'yelling' this. Then the Nadi writer says, "some will understand when explained by the proper people."

Ages of man
four Ashrams - rooms?

6-25 learns all through Yoga/learns how at 6 years ???
25-50 householder
50-75 seeks solitude, goes into forest
75- attains sunyasi

They, the Nadi writers (in this) text, are having court, Sabha, assembly. One says, "will not the wealth of the divine knowledge be diminished by the telling of it?" "No, rather it will be increased," comes the answer.

One said Yogis could stop the coming disaster. He also said the people could stop it (since) it stems from "bad thoughts".


Nadi reading April 18, 1981

The real powers of these Lords (the 3 forms - we have made the form!)

The Mantra's sound spreads through (to every) particle in the (one's) body. This is how the Punja Bhutas are controlled, for Sadhus.

Worship sitting - face North
Eating - face South
Don't face West - mind won't rest.

For Bhaktas. Assume particular posture. Plank, yellow cloth, maybe a chair. These procedures key the mind into religious mode.

Says to rise before dawn, do chores, then worship at dawn.

Manus - Lords

Before 1994 or 1998 (?) a great light falls on the people. This will shatter and go all over. Some call it a planet, meteor.

It is Lord's will. Good Bhaktas stay away from the (subject). Some will be saved.

Desani gets permission of the Lord to pass away. After death he still gives words, moves about in the world; he still helps people.

Recite/say Mantras to conquer demons in us.

Propunga - net

Many Manus, good people - are born now to help in these bad times.

"The Lord's grace is all. Mantra is all."

Light of the sun
If Bhakti increases destruction from light of the sun decreases. (I think he means on a planetary scale.)

What do we do?

Aside: "We weigh, we don't sell, buy. We weigh!"

* I'm reminded of Soren Kierkegaard who wrote that God stands before us with arms outstretched, hands closed. In one hand he offers the ultimate secrets to the Universe. In the other he holds the eternal searching for those. We should choose the eternal seeking and let God keep the greatest Truths, Wisdom, for himself. So says Kierkegaard.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

De Caelo

It is therefore evident that there is also no place or void or time outside the heaven. For in every place body can be present; and void is said to be that in which the presence of body, though not actual, is possible; and time is the number of movement. But in the absence of natural body there is no movement, and outside the heaven, as we have shown, body neither exists nor can come to exist. It is clear then that there is neither place, nor void, nor time, outside the heaven. Hence whatever is there, is of such a nature as not to occupy any place, nor does time age it; nor is there any change in any of the things which lie beyond the outermost motion; they continue through their entire duration unalterable and unmodified, living the best and most selfsufficient of lives. As a matter of fact, this word 'duration' possessed a divine significance for the ancients, for the fulfilment which includes the period of life of any creature, outside of which no natural development can fall, has been called its duration. On the same principle the fulfilment of the whole heaven, the fulfilment which includes all time and infinity, is 'duration'-a name based upon the fact that it is always-duration immortal and divine. From it derive the being and life which other things, some more or less articulately but others feebly, enjoy. So, too, in its discussions concerning the divine, popular philosophy often propounds the view that whatever is divine, whatever is primary and supreme, is necessarily unchangeable. This fact confirms what we have said. For there is nothing else stronger than it to move it-since that would mean more divine-and it has no defect and lacks none of its proper excellences. Its unceasing movement, then, is also reasonable, since everything ceases to move when it comes to its proper place, but the body whose path is the circle has one and the same place for starting-point and goal.

Aristotle, On The Heavens, Book I, Chapter 9

" and the same place for starting-point and goal." That's where we left off last time. "Arrive where you began and know the place for the first time." What jumps out at me in this summary of his thoughts on The Heavens at this point in the work; he goes on for three more books, is what I see as resonance with other religious and philosophical thought. To me it reads like the Bible, for instance, and also like the Bhagavad Gita. Saul, as Paul the apostle, traveled to Athens and stood on the ground that centuries before saw Plato, Socrates, Aristotle holding forth. Aristotle speaks above of the ancients while he himself walked the earth 300 years before Christ. Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Empedocles, among other philosophers referenced by Aristotle, lived as long ago as 500 B.C. Systematic philosophic systems of which the world's great religions have been the benefactor were developed very early. Though the Bhagavad Gita itself is relatively recent, maybe 300 B.C., the Mahabarata, of which it is a part, maybe an addendum, goes back over 3000 years B.C.; it cites astronomical events that date it at that time. Some think Christ preceded Paul in visiting Greece and that he traveled as far as India during the so-called lost years of Christ. The bible, as I understand, has nothing on 18 years of his life, from age twelve till he began his ministry about age 30. I rather imagine he did somehow seek out and make his own the wisdom of the ages. We should all follow his example.

Keeping things in true perspective remember that For Aristotle the Heavens consisted of the fixed stars which he thought as a whole circled the earth and was ungenerated, indestructible. Circular movement was thought of as characterizing the fifth element beyond earth, air, water, fire. It had no contrary, a contrary being necessary for decay. The earth was the center of the universe. All unconstrained movement below the orbit of the moon was either towards or away from the center, i.e., no circular movement was possible below the moon, the earth was not in heaven, but at rest, below. He also said the heavier an object the faster it fell. This cosmogony became part of the orthodoxy of the Christian church of Rome to be challenged at the risk of imprisonment or death. It was another great mind, Galeleo, born in 1564, who famously challenged this after having observed through his primitive telescope the orbiting moons of Jupiter. Until the so called Copernican revolution, however, this orthodoxy persisted. It's worth noting the neo-platonist, Plotinus, born 205 A.D., put it that the center of the universe was everywhere, the circumference nowhere, a poetic way of stating, I think, that this is outside the purview of mere human knowledge.

Aristotle thought the earth rather small because, he noted, one could travel the short distance to Egypt and the fixed stars would change. Some not seen in Greece would be seen in Egypt, or would be seen to set and rise whereas they didn't at the higher lattitude. He also concluded the earth was a sphere based mainly on the observation of the curve of the limb of the planet seen in eclipses of the moon. And he is credited with having been the first to record the predictions (of unnamed) mathemeticians of the size of the earth which he placed at 400,000 stadia, about 46,250 miles. Later, using the fact that the sun shone directly to the bottom of a well in Aswan (old Syene), and cast a shadow of a certain length in Alexandria on the same day, the summer solstice, Eratosthenes, born 276 B.C., calculated the circumference of the earth to be 25,000 miles.

A perfect, eternal, heaven above naturally becomes the Christian destination for saved souls. The corrupt earth is split off and shunned. This obvious false dichotomy of the good above, evil below, is the root and stem of a profound western malaise. Like the spires of our great cathedrals yearning, longing for the heavens, we seek completion in a realm beyond being reached. We split the Real in two yet maintain dogmatically the oneness of God. This is our schizophrenia and is at the heart of our self loathing and is an expression of the smug certainty of ignorance by the minds that followed Aristotle, encoded his 'scientific' thoughts into a code of conduct to be imposed on all mankind. To this day it still dominates the lives of most people on the planet whether they actively believe or not. And, this is all the more sad because the esoteric teachings of the ancients across the world tend to agree and for those who truly seek, the Christ also gave us real truth, his life being the story of God descending into matter in order to reemerge a self realized spiritual being.

Here is something to contrast with this. Sean Carroll, Theoretical Physicist, Caltech. Transcript here. H/T, American Digest. Video:

At about 17 minutes he says different versions of the universe are really like different phases of matter, speaking of the multiverse theory.

So. "God" plants a field and gets, along with a successful crop, some mutants too. Not every instantiation yields what I imagine is the goal, sentient life of the apotheosis kind. Some versions of the universe might not yield life at all. Interesting to note that the ancients in India held that the universe is created again and again without end.

Next up, Aristotle's On Generation and Corruption and after that, on The Soul.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Interlude for TEOTWAWKI

"The end of the world as we know it" is a myth chased by people who need something to believe in; a desire for something greater than their little selves.  There has always been a great hunger for apocalypse.  Eschatology is the most popular 'science' and religions are it's greatest beneficiaries. For instance, the 2nd coming of Christ, the eternal waiting for the Mesiah, the imminent emergence of the 12th Imman. One comes from above, the last from the bowels of the Earth, and the middle we haven't yet seen. That is the way of Christians, Jews, Muslims. In the East, he is sent forth again and again as needed, when there is a waning of love of God which is the view most correct, I think.

Principle: Self loathing is at the root of fascination with apocalyptic dreams. Essentially it is the yearning for self destruction.

This goes all the way back to the so called 'original sin' which in a way can be thought of as the first lesson in self loathing. Compare Soren Kierkegaard's "Concept of Dread". What is dread without the "r"? The search or desire for salvation is also a function of need for self annihilation. Kill the little self to realise God. This makes for a life of passion. It perverts the true meaning and purpose of existence by arresting development at the level of the sensuous, as in Don Juanism, and in reality is the mode of living of the daemonic in nature. It is antithetical to true faith and to reason. The existential daemonic mode of being is infinite desire or longing where being whole or complete resides infinitely in the next sensuous moment always and ever on the horizon as a goal but never reached. True faith is the opposite state of Being, always and ever complete. One needn't dread not being saved or dead to the Real because of the unworthiness that infinitely precipitates self loathing. Salvation is, once accepted, notice I don't say achieved, a state that should be seen as an end that when we arrive we see as the beginning, seen for the first time. We arrive at where we started and recognise it for the first time. That, of course, is T.S. Eliot. Salvation can't be achieved. It can only be accepted. We should focus on this promise of the divine: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the world."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Walking Through Aristotle

I'm through with Physics and into On The Heavens. In Physics he concludes there is no actual (separate) infinite; infinity is bound up in potentiality. The first principles [of Reality] are contraries and are at least two in number but no more than three. There is the first movent, itself unmovable, having no parts nor magnitude, bound with the moved, and eternal. Only circular locomotion is infinite. Nothing rests in a moment and nothing is moved in a moment either as a moment is indivisible. This follows because whatever moves is divisible. Only the sensible can be altered.

This is no true summary of the Physics but that is not my purpose. First, I'm not really capable of such a task. My personal journey through these thoughts is just that. Personal. I seek touchstones, places that resonate with my thought, faith, understanding. It is a rich field and there is more than I could ever write down.

Powers of nature, principles, manifest when the right conditions arise. Darkness calls (contrary) light out of itself. Light is a potency of the dark. This is the Greek idea of Logos and is also rendered "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God.” Logos refers to fundamental powers, principles, that have the ability to manifest themselves. The "light" in question is not mere self propagating magnetic fields, "physical" light. This is light as Idea and includes moral light, the light of truth, of understanding, of justice, and beauty. Perhaps all the concomitants of consciousness are a form of "light", powers of nature on a par with gravity. Doesn't Liberty shine forth an attractive force? Aren't we drawn to liberty as well as faith? We want to believe because we want to align with basic principles of nature, as if we had a choice. We want to reside in the Logos. I wrote elsewhere that the entelechy of potentiality is actuality. Truth is an eternal potency and eternally actualizing itself. The other concomitants are the same. "We", sentient life forms, created being(s), are the agency of this apotheosis and our "spirits" are in eternal motion, orbit, around the Divine Creative Spirit. Similarly, gravity holds planets in orbit around their stars.

Even our breathing follows the law of contraries. Nothing is closer to us than our breath. The law of contraries coupled with the law of potentialities means things familiar, such as the bilateral symmetry of biological organisms. The ramification of this is that any organism on any planet anywhere would likely be surprisingly familiar.* But also, this law would tend to mean, for instance, that whatever abominable monstrous evil one might imagine will eventuate somewhere, sometime. On the contrary, benevolent goodness and beauty beyond the ken of man will also come to be; beauty so terrible in its greatness that it is withheld from us because to look on it with mortal eyes would be to die.

That is Aristotle, my personal take thus far.

Finally, for today, in On the Heavens he begins by remarking on the trinitarian theme prevalent in nature. To have being in every respect is, he says, to be a body, not a line, not a plane, and it is only triads that we can refer to as all, not one, not both, but all. Referring to the Pythagoreans he notes that "the world and all in it is determined by the number three, since beginning and middle and end give the number of an 'all', and the number they give is the triad. And so, having taken these three from nature as (so to speak) laws of it, we make further use of the number three in the worship of the Gods." Protagoras was speaking of the Holy Trinity 500 years before Christ. Touchstone.

*Preserved here: "We know that mathematics are consistent throughout the Universe, and that physics is based on math and is also consistent throughout the Universe. We also know that the chemistry, which is based on physics and math is also consistent throughout the Universe. Since the math and the physics and the chemistry are consistent, it seems logical to assume that the biology of the Universe - which is based on the math, physics and chemistry - is also consistent. For example, consistent optics, derived from the physical principles of light interacting with gases and liquids, would lead to similar eyes. Consistent atmospheres with the same gases would lead to similar lungs and gills. The symmetry (left/right) of most physiques optimizes balance and control within a gravitational field, so physical laws point to similar physiological constructs. I think when we do finally encounter other life we (well, not me, you) will be startled at how similar to our own it is. Mother nature is consistent and her laws lead to the same outcome everywhere when applied locally, so it seems logically consistent that biological life will follow suit globally. Except, of course, that the people on all those other planets will all have strange foreheads. " (See Jim's comment at 9:59 a.m. at the jump)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finger Pointing at the Moon

In the Physics Aristotle analyzes motion at length and at one point gets to how in the soul motion pertains to knowledge and understanding. "And the original acquisition of knowledge is not a becoming or an alteration: for the terms 'knowing' and 'understanding' imply that the intellect has reached a state of rest and come to a standstill, and there is no becoming that leads to a state of rest.... for the possession of understanding and knowledge is produced by the soul's settling down out of restlessness natural to it."

Words alone do not suffice to reveal the truth. They can take us to a jumping off point, but the true discovery begins at the boundary of language's ability to express the absolute. The thought processes are pointers but when we turn away from them it is in silence that truth is born, blossoms. I'm led to make a comparison to an old Zen Yoga precept. It has been noted in these pages before that "There is nothing that can be said that can do more for enlightenment than what a finger pointing at the moon can do for seeing the moon." Seeing the moon is not a "becoming or an alteration." It occurs intuitively and if one focuses only on the pointers the moon never appears. Knowledge and understanding stand in the same relation to their pointers, thoughts, words, formulas, rituals, and rites. Many who deal in these mere signs on the path claim a direct pipeline to G_d. They should avoid self righteousness, the smug certainty of ignorance that finds the views of others contemptible.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Categories or Modes of Being versus Concomitants of Consciousness

The modes of being as written about here are, as Kierkegaard thought, Stages on Life's Way. The primitive man, the primitive mind, tends toward artistic expression and develops into religious, scientific, historical, and finally philosophical modes. I find it interesting to contrast this with the concurrent emergence of what I call the concomitants of consciousness and sentient life forms. Beauty, liberty, love, justice, wisdom, truth all have special niches of development corresponding to the Stages. They come into season and prepare the way for further seasonal changes. To me, and to thinkers like, e.g., Le Compte De Nouy, also written about in this space, these evolutes are proof enough to the doubting mind that divine providence is in play. They are, indeed, signposts along the avenue, the "way" to the transcendent. They are attributes of the divine creative spirit vouchsafed to us as evidence of the true meaning and purpose of life. So, since I am concentrating these days on Aristotle, I would note that these modalities considered extensively, as noted previously, by Collingwood, I find echoed in this statement of Aristotle in Posterior Analytics: "Further consideration of modes of thinking and their distribution under the heads of discursive thought, intuition, science, art, practical wisdom, and metaphysical thinking, belongs rather partly to natural science, partly to moral philosophy."

Consider this quote from Plato's Phaedrus:

"Now beauty [kállos], as we said, shone bright among those visions, and in this world below we apprehend it through the clearest of our senses, clear and resplendent. For sight is the keenest of the physical senses, though wisdom is not seen by it -- how passionate would be our desire for it, if such a clear image of wisdom were granted as would come through sight -- and the same is true of the other beloved objects; but beauty alone has this privilege, to be most clearly seen and most lovely of them all."

And this from Kelley Ross on Aristotle and Kant regarding the role of faith versus reason:

"The picture of the relationship of rational knowledge to existence that emerges is just the opposite of that postulated by Plato and Aristotle, who believed that the most real was the most knowable. Here, the deeper that we get ontologically, and so the closer to the most real, the less knowable, or the less it can be rationally articulated, the matter is. This is the principal characteristic of Kantian philosophy. In the simplest terms, what this accomplishes is to separate religion from science, the former most concerned with ultimate meaning, the latter the most productive of rational knowledge. Thus, Kant himself said, "I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith."

Plato in speaking of beauty, wisdom, and "other beloved objects" is touching on the Greek concept of virtue (arete). Virtue is the genus of these emergent principles which, like the bud of the rose, foreshadow greater unfolding, apotheosis, to come. Socrates argues inconclusively and at length with the great Sophist Protagoras in the Platonic dialogue of the same name whether virtue is teachable and is in the end sentenced to death for exercising corrupting influences on the youth of Athens. Jesus Christ, of course, suffered a similar fate.

It seems to me Kant's statement that to make room for faith one must deny knowledge echoes a sentiment of Aristotle noted earlier that knowledge is always knowledge of something. This is from his Categories. He goes on, in Posterior Analytics, to conclude "....we cannot through demonstration have unqualified but only hypothetical science of anything." This further echoes Kant and supports the idea of Polanyi, for instance, that knowledge always breaks down as we approach the boundaries of a subject. Can knowledge exhaust the Real? Aristotle goes on a little later to state "...scientific knowledge through demonstration is impossible unless a man knows the primary immediate premises." And then, he concludes in P.A., after bringing the function of memory and sense perception into play, and their retention in the soul, that we must "...get to know the primary premises by induction; for the method by which even sense-perception implants the universal is inductive. Now of the thinking states by which we grasp truth, some are unfailingly true, others admit of error - opinion, for instance, and calculation, whereas scientific knowing and intuition are always true: further, no other kind of thought except intuition is more accurate than scientific knowledge, whereas primary premises are more knowable than demonstrations, and all scientific knowledge is discursive. From these considerations it follows that there will be no scientific knowledge of primary premises, and since except intuition nothing can be truer than scientific knowledge, it will be intuition that apprehends the primary premises - a result which also follows from the fact that demonstration cannot be the originative source of demonstration, nor, consequently, scientific knowledge of scientific knowledge. If, therefore, it is the only other kind of true thinking except scientific knowing, intuition will be the originative source of scientific knowledge. And the originative source of science grasps the original basic premise, while science as a whole is similarly related as originative source to the whole body of fact."

So, the Real can be exhausted, by Intuitive knowledge. But reason alone deals only with facts, what can be measured scientifically. And the atheist, quite simply, denies intuition, denies the Soul and is thereby, in the end, dead to himself, dead to the world.