Archive | February 2020

Truth: Ultimate and Relative

It’s quite simple, in a way. Buddhism, like early Christianity, makes a distinction between “Ultimate Truth” and the domain of “Relative Truth”, which is the domain we call “fact”. In Christianity, what Buddhism calls “Ultimate Truth” was called “the truth that sets free”.

The domain of Relative Truth is everything we might say, correctly and factually, about the world and our experience. But here lies the trap that we call “delusion” and “delusive mind”. The domain of Relative Truth is mistaken as being the primary realm when it is actually only the secondary, and then it mistakes “Ultimate Truth” as something derived and dependent upon Relative Truth rather than vice versa. This is “the veil of Maya”.

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The Teachings of the Four Directions

If a man has a why, he can endure any how — Nietzsche

What is it that allowed the early Christians to persevere and triumph despite the persecutions, repressions, and martyrdoms of the Romans? They had the symbol of the cross as shield, and also their own teachings of the four directions — Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John by name.

What allowed William Blake to endure the humiliations and indignities of his contemporaries? He had his fourfold vision and his intimate knowledge of the four Zoas as being “our Energies”.

Similarly, what will aid the indigenous to endure, persevere and eventually triumph over the Megamachine and the racist morons of “Single Vision” that threaten to roll over them? It is their own Sacred Hoop and teachings of the Four Directions — (the Megamachine being the realised form of “Single Vision”).

What imparts new potency and vigour to Gebser’s “integral consciousness”? Again, it is another version of the teachings of the four directions, only called “archaic”, “magical”, “mythical”. and “mental-rational” modes of consciousness.

There are lessons in these issues for understanding the full meaning of “fourfold vision” and the meaning of the mandala.

The Social Volcano

“The end of the Master Narrative” and what Jean Gebser calls “chaotic emotion” are correlated issues. Likewise, the “death of God” and the “return of the repressed” are optional ways of describing the same unfolding process. The end of the Grand Narrative is also the death of God, and chaotic emotion (the “New Normal”) is also the “return of the repressed”.

This “return of the repressed” is also the meaning of what Gebser calls “the irruption” or a mutation of the present consciousness structure. This term “irruption” is apt, for it corresponds in significance to what Rosenstock-Huessy also described as “the social volcano”. And the metaphor of the volcanic is, as we see today, very appropriate.

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There is an old Yiddish saying that I quite like, and which is also quite wise: “Did your ears even hear what your mouth just said?”. It fits the circumstances of the New Normal, and it attests to a problem that Lewis Yablonsky described as “robopathy”.

Robopathy has been described as “the disease of our time”, and I suspect that the dozens and dozens of zombie movies (it has become a rather trite and tedious theme for filmmakers) is simply a commentary on robopathy and on what Marty Glass similarly called “our mutation into machinery” in his fine book Yuga: An Anatomy of Our Fate.

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Nihilism and Nietzsche Interpretation

Not many philosophers have suffered the abuse and misuse of their doctrines as Nietzsche. He knew it was his fate to be so misused and abused, and that his own Lehre, as it were, would also be sucked into the vortex of his expected “two centuries of nihilism”. “All higher values devalue themselves” — Nietzsche’s concise formula for nihilism — has been nowhere more apparent than in Nietzsche interpretation itself, or in what some describe as “vulgar Nietzscheanism”.

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Socrates and Descartes: A Tale of Two Cities

Or, the parable of the agora and the poêle.

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The Buddha and the Rogue Elephant

I think we all find the so-called “New Normal” a puzzle and a riddle — something of Timothy Morton’s “hyperobject” proportions. Lately, I’ve been pondering over this myself — the difficulty in characterising what this “New Normal” actually is and what it means.

The old parable of the five wise men and the elephant comes to mind. Everyone has a piece or aspect of it, but no one has the full picture of what it is, and so, like the five blind men, they mistake it for what it is not because each only has a partial view of the whole.

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