Irreligion

The word irreligion defines the state of being indifferent or even hostile to religion. In his book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion, Sam Harris describes the state of being Spiritual without the need for religion.  He makes a profound case why we should renounce religion but not Spirituality. Although he clearly denigrates religious doctrine, Sam’s book is worth reading if only to get the authors perspective of what really matters.

The following video sums up the books contents:

 

Waking Up by Sam Harris

Waking Up by Sam Harris

Archaeoastronomy

Based on many artifacts which evidently establish the worship of celestial bodies and other cosmic phenomena by archaic and primitive peoples, archaeoastronomy endeavors to interpret the mindset of those peoples who based their cultures, civilizations, religions and stories on their understanding of heavenly events.

This topic is the basis of Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth by Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Deschend.

Although this book contains complex analogies, it is well worth reading if only to get the authors’ perspectives.

Cosmic Serpent

The Cosmic Serpent (Photo Credit: http://www.usno.navy.mil/)

Freedom of Expression

A Frustrated Prophet

This cartoon depicts a frustrated prophet. I see nothing wrong with it. But, evidently, others may see interests they need to protect.

The problem with religious fundamentalists is that they live as though their way of living is the only acceptable way of life, wherein humor is scarce and freedom of expression is loathsome. They claim that they live as their savior or prophet lived. But, with all the intervention, interpretation, and interpolation introduced into their religions over the ages, how can they not see the futility in their views and actions?

Respectfully, my condolences to friends and family of the deceased.


 

Cette caricature illustre un prophète frustré. Je ne vois rien de mal à cela. Mais, évidemment, d’autres peuvent voir les intérêts dont ils ont besoin pour protéger.

Le problème avec les fondamentalistes religieux, ce est qu’ils vivent comme si leur mode de vie est la seule façon acceptable de la vie, dans laquelle l’humour est rare et la liberté d’expression est répugnante. Ils prétendent qu’ils vivent comme leur sauveur ou prophète vivaient. Mais, avec toute l’intervention, l’interprétation, et l’interpolation introduit dans leurs religions à travers les âges, comment peuvent-ils pas voir la futilité de leurs points de vue et les actions?

Respectueusement, mes condoléances aux amis et à la famille du défunt.

Imagination

The first matriarch and patriarch

The first matriarch and patriarch [biblical mythology]

Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability to form new images and sensations in the mind that are not perceived through senses such as sight, hearing, or other senses. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process.[1][2][3][4] A basic training for imagination is listening to storytelling (narrative),[1][5] in which the exactness of the chosen words is the fundamental factor to “evoke worlds”.[6] It is a whole cycle of image formation or any sensation which may be described as “hidden” as it takes place without anyone else’s knowledge. A person may imagine according to his mood, it may be good or bad depending on the situation. Some people imagine in a state of tension or gloominess in order to calm themselves. It is accepted as the innate ability and process of inventing partial or complete personal realms within the mind from elements derived from sense perceptions of the shared world. The term is technically used in psychology for the process of reviving in the mind, percepts of objects formerly given in sense perception. Since this use of the term conflicts with that of ordinary language, some psychologists have preferred to describe this process as “imaging” or “imagery” or to speak of it as “reproductive” as opposed to “productive” or “constructive” imagination. Imagined images are seen with the “mind’s eye“.

Imagination can also be expressed through stories such as fairy tales or fantasies. Children often use such narratives and pretend play in order to exercise their imaginations. When children develop fantasy they play at two levels: first, they use role playing to act out what they have developed with their imagination, and at the second level they play again with their make-believe situation by acting as if what they have developed is an actual reality that already exists in narrative myth.

Ref. “Imagination.” Accessed September 3, 2011. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagination

Personal Comment:

There’s an old saying that the “one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind.” This alludes to the fact that our faculty of imagination (mind’s eye) has enabled humans to reign over the animal kingdom.

Although we may say necessity is the mother of invention, imagination is the actual mother of both invention and innovation. This is the reason we have advanced so rapidly in tool-making, art, poetry, language (both oral and written), prose, and all the other facets of human civilization. In fact, it has provided us with the innovative ability to plan and build our civilizations.

Imagination has played a vital role in our creative ability throughout history. It has enabled us to conceptualize our mythologies, religions, cultures, and societies. However, we have employed it in ways that are both constructive and destructive; creative and devastative; helpful and manipulative. Now it is time for us to employ our imagination in ways that are collaborative and unitive, not divisive and dissociative.


 

Spirit

SPIRIT

A Potential beyond Mind and Matter

“Spirit.” Accessed on August 11, 2014. spirit-potential.com/#!Spirit/cylj/98F286EE-C7F1-4867-9CB1-26C58A530EA5

There are many meanings associated with the noun spirit, such as supernatural being or essence, Holy Spirit, psyche, soul, ghost, as well as the disposition of a person or thing. Evidently the word spirit has evolved to encompass many aspects of life, and its meaning has become diluted or diffused by the many notions and uses in various languages and cultures. However, underlying all of these definitions is the intuitive understanding that spirit is a non-physical potential that is indirectly observed; an animating force that we can point at but cannot observe directly — much like gravity.

The word spirit actually originates from the Latin spiritus meaning breath. Interestingly, this word is also associated with the word animate which is derived from Latin animus meaning spirit, and from Latin anima meaning life or soul. In turn, these are derived from the Sanskrit word aniti meaning breathes. Evidently, spirit is the animating potential that induces breathing and differentiates a living thing from a non-living thing; it is the essential life-giving principle that furnishes awareness.

Since prehistoric times, we have tried to describe or explain the life force of the universe using spiritual references and representation. Consequently, the underlying theme of primitive mythology and religion was always inherent spirituality. Hence, whether our spiritual beliefs lead us to consciousness, the Buddhist void, atman/brahman, God, or any of the other names and forms we use to represent the ultimate reality, all of these point to a singularity that is best represented as essential spirit.

 


Mythology

Map of Hell by Sandro Botticelli

Map of Hell by Sandro Botticelli

Infused with the essential elixir of life, which at higher proportional neuro-cranial levels develops self-awareness and comprehension, our species has evolved significantly faster and farther than the other denizens of the earth in communication skills, tool-making, and art. But endowed with this powerful mental agility, we have endured proportionately significant levels of rise and fall.

Not knowing how and why we have come by this wondrous mental ability has led us to invent mythologies involving macabre rituals and practices, including regicide, human sacrifice, and cannibalism. Misguided by the mythologies of primitive shamans, ancient priesthood, and semi-deified monarchs, we have committed horrendous and gruesome acts of murder in war and other kinds of human conflict, as well as significant environmental destruction.

Today, we continue to enact our mythologies under such pretexts as ordinance, while we unleash intentional devastation on other peoples and upon the earth.

In his remarkable and compelling work The Masks of God, Mythologist Joseph Campbell (19041987) wrote,

  • The world is full of origin myths, and all are factually false
  • The high function of Occidental myth and ritual, consequently, is to establish a means of relationshipof God to Man and Man to God
  • Supernaturally revealed, these have come from God himself as the myth of each institution tells; and they are administered by his clergy, in the spirit of the myth
  • Toward the close of the Age of Bronze and, more strongly, with the dawn of the Age of Iron (c. 1250 B.C. in the Levant), the old cosmology and mythologies of the goddess mother were radically transformed, reinterpreted, and in large measure even suppressed, by those intrusive patriarchal warrior tribesmen whose traditions have come down to us chiefly in the old and New testaments and in the myths of Greece
  • And the angry Lord of Isreal [Yahweh]—conceived in a purely masculine form—is supposed to have allowed a certain value to this excuse; for he promptly made the whole race of woman subject to the male
  • This curious mythological idea…poses forcefully the highly interesting question of the influence of consciously contrived, counterfeit mythologies and inflections of mythology upon the structure of human belief and the consequent course of civilization
  • For the human mind in its polarity of the male and female modes of experience, in its passages from infancy to adulthood and old age, in its toughness and tenderness, and in its continuing dialogue with the world, is the ultimate mythogenetic zone—the creator and destroyer, the slave and yet master, of all the gods
  • To regard the poems in traditional books as a chronicle of fact, composed by poetic priests as conscientious history, is to prove oneself a dolt
  • Any religion that is based on the notion of a Creator distinct from his Creation is fundamentally threatened by any recognition of divinity, not simply as present in the world but as inherent in its substance (this is the basic conceptual difference between the Occidental (Western) and Oriental (Eastern) themes.

Many ancient Greeks and Romans did not regard their religions as mythology. But indubitably, any tale explaining the interrelationship between mankind, the world, and the gods is mythology. Up until no, many of us still do not recognize this fact, because mythology is very much embedded in our religious doctrines, as well as our sociocultural and political systems and activities.

Language and art clearly differentiate us from the other denizens of the earth. Through these modes of expression, especially in works related to religion, it is evident that we cannot maintain ourselves without inherent elements of mythology present in our personal systems of belief.

Through objective analysis, we can determine that the religious doctrines (oral and written) of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam form a continuous successive link. There is no doubt that these religious systems come from the same primitive mythological source. In fact, any inference concerning supernatural beings is derived from primitive mythology.

Since we cannot actually see the ends of the universe or the composition of a quantum of energy, even our ideas of the Big Bang stem (metaphorically-speaking) from the same mythological sources of creation. All we can really do is point or indicate or conceptualize the various phenomena we observe.

Understandably, many religious folk are reluctant to concede the obvious primitive origins of their present religious mythology. They prefer to maintain their sentimental religious stupor, satisfied with what they are told by the priesthood. This condition is particularly evident in the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), where the original matriarchal tradition has been supplanted by a patriarchal (pastoral) tradition by the respective priesthood, and a supernatural order of their own design for their chosen people.

In every society in which they have been known, the shamans have been the particular guardians and reciters of the chants and traditions of their people

– Joseph Campbell.

Myth of Abraham stopped by an angel from slaying his son. (Credit: Wikipedia)

Abraham stopped by an angel from slaying his son. (Credit: Wikipedia)

 


Personal Comment:

Many of us are content with the mythological tradition and metaphysical explanations handed down by the ancients about the relationship between man, the world and the gods (or God). We do not feel the need to go beyond our particular nurtured Oriental and Occidental religious customs and beliefs, or even to explore the primitive origins of the religious rituals and practices. We feel that somehow this knowledge might unnecessarily taint our personal beliefs and faith, and might even impair our cultural identity.   

One day we will look back at our patriarchal religions of today and regard them as we now regard the matriarchal religions of ancient times—such as that of Minoan Crete and the Mother Goddess—that were supplanted by the ancient pastoral patriarchal priesthood.


 

Tao

Yin Yang

“Tao.” Accessed on January 11, 2014. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao

(Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid.)

Tao or Dao (/t/, /d/; Chinese: ; pinyin: About this sound Dào (help·info)) is a Chinese concept signifying ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’, or sometimes more loosely, ‘doctrine’ or ‘principle’, or as a verb, speak. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, Tao is a metaphysical concept originating with Laozi that gave rise to a religion (Wade–Giles, Tao Chiao; Pinyin, Daojiao) and philosophy (Wade–Giles, Tao chia; Pinyin, Daojia) referred to in English with the single term Taoism. The concept of Tao was shared with Confucianism, Chán and Zen Buddhism and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general. Within these contexts Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the universe. In the foundational text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, Laozi explains that Tao is not a ‘name’ for a ‘thing’ but the underlying natural order of the universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe. Tao is thus “eternally nameless” (Dao De Jing-32. Laozi) and to be distinguished from the countless ‘named’ things which are considered to be its manifestations.

In Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, the object of spiritual practice is to ‘become one with the tao’ (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonise one’s will with Nature (cf. Stoicism) in order to achieve ‘effortless action’ (Wu wei). This involves meditative and moral practices. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德; virtue).

In all its uses, Tao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing Nature) can be followed or practiced. Much of East Asian philosophical writing focuses on the value of adhering to the principles of Tao and the various consequences of failing to do so. In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). Tao is intrinsically related to the concepts yin and yang (pinyin: yīnyáng), where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Tao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments.

The concept of Tao differs from conventional (western) ontology: it is an active and holistic conception of Nature, rather than a static, atomistic one. It is worth comparing to the original Logos of Heraclitus, c. 500 BC


Personal Comment:

Within this immanent and transcendent universal principle, named Tao, is the interplay of two opposing principles Yin and Yang, which are actually two aspects of the same (duality) wherein life and death are implied. Yang represents: light, male, active, hot, dry, beneficent, positive. Yin represents: dark, female, passive, cold, wet, malignant, negative.