What is it That We Need?

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
Post Reply
Posts: 383
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

What is it That We Need?

Post by Apologeticsislying » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:25 pm

What is it That We Need?
By Kerry A. Shirts

We, in our time, are spoiled absolutely filthy, insanely stupid rotten. We are arrogant, redundantly proud brats who believe food simply ought to be handed to us, at all times, and in the most sumptuous variety at any time of year, summer, winter, spring or fall, we want our veggies, fruit, meats and sweets, (Good Lord don’t forget McDonald’s! Fast food, we want it now, within 2 minutes, or we will go elsewhere) believing, nay, knowing… knowing that we deserve to have electric lights, (and fluorescent was fine, but give us LED’s now!) and gas heat, (wood? Forget it! All I want to have to do is push a button on a thermostat to turn up the heat while I’m sitting watching my television show man, what are you thinking wood stove for? That’s for primitives, I’m educated, I got my GED when I turned 44!) and a roof over our heads, and clothes to wear, shoes on our feet (whaddya mean only 10 pair?! Good Lord what shall I wear for church if not from a choice of select 35 pairs of righteous footwear to choose from? What will the neighbors think if I have (GASP!) less than that?), automobiles to drive, cheap gas so we can travel literally thousands of times further in one than the majority of people in the 1800’s traveled in a lifetime. Garbage pick up once a week, conveniently right outside my door, so we don’t have to see that crap or smell that stench). We in the West, more or less, eat better than any of the richest, most powerful kings of Europe ever did from Charlemagne’s day to now. And I’m talking about those of us who only earn minimum wage, a boatload greater wealth than anyone earned in my grandpa’s day, just a mere 2 generations ago. We can’t see very well, so twice a year we get checkups on our eyes, with glasses to improve our eyesight. And toothaches? No sweat, there is a dentist on every street corner to take away the absolute most terrifying and worse pain dreaded in most humans. And do so without any pain thanks to the numbing shots we can now have too. Painless dentistry?! Katherine the Great is rolling over in her grave in jealousy. Oh, are you feeling achy tonight? Here, have a couple of Tylenol. So just why does life suck? Why are so many dis-spirited, depressed, and bored out of their gourds, even with the hundreds of astonishing video games we can play now for pure entertainment, coupled with an evening of all the microwave popcorn you can possibly eat during a 6 hour session (more than your parents ever had in any given year!)?

Edward O. Wilson in his magnificently astonishing, creative, and imaginative, spirited book “The Diversity of Life,” after sharing the dynamic and critically important interactions of all flora and fauna worldwide, yes, even those nagging, humming, damndable mosquitos are vital (the first thing I’m a gonna do when I get to heaven is ask God why the mosquitos?) noted something apparently we are not getting into our thick skulls because we love to imagine and vainly mythologize our own magnificent greatness, that we are Lords of the world, and we deserve to crush it and make nature surrender to us and serve our most important human needs, because the myth we have created is that as scientists we have the right to conquer all. Why? Because we are rational that’s why. No more questions. Our way is the best and the only proper way to think. Our brains are the pinnacle of creation we say. And that means manipulate and kill anything that gets in the way of our progress, anyhow we want, anytime we want to demonstrate the poppycock myth that nothing can stand in our way, and God created us to even overtake God, and what finer place to start than the world God created for us to own? We have created a mythic super power of ourselves to replace the mythic super power God. And how do you own the earth when you are Lord of Creation? Conquer, quench and control. That’s us. Man, the ultimate not even close to supreme God, but hey we got science and we be rational and objective thinkers, and that’s all we need to win, so lets get to killing shall we? Hey, I get the Pacific Ocean! Anyone wanting it has to fight me, because I own it! How do I know that? Because I said so, anyone not believing me, I can kill (or at least hire a lawyer to win my case for me, hee, hee) to get out of my way of legal and rightful ownership as the pinnacle of God’s creation. God made it for me, not these damn squirming, ugly, and slimy creatures! I’m better than them, (I have a Ph.d, therefore the superiority of my intellect is obvious, hence the deserved righteousness of my domain) so I deserve a larger piece of the pie, stick that in your i-phone and tweet it.

Anyway, Wilson has shown, aside from our sheer stupidity, as well as arrogance, that our killing off the biodiversity is our own suicide and death. It’s time we quit taking ourselves so damn seriously as being so smart and powerful, wake up a little bit, and see that we need the earth because “humanity evolved with the rest of life on this particular planet; other worlds are not in our genes. Because scientists have yet to put names on most kinds of organisms [as if merely naming something gives us any clue as to knowing anything about it], and because they entertain only a vague idea of how ecosystems work, it is reckless to suppose that biodiversity can be diminished indefinitely without threatening humanity itself… we did not arrive on this planet as aliens. Humanity is a part of nature…”(1) And yes you can tell that arrogant, ignorant prick, Donald Trump, this is not fake news.

Diane Ackerman is one of those who are trying to at least get us to clear our vision away from our own important, magisterial, rational selves with her wonderful realization that “our yearning to find whole-ness as holiness, and at-one-ment, fills a need ancient and essential as air…I’m an earth ecstatic; and my creed is simple: All life is sacred, life loves life, and we are capable of improving our behavior toward one another.”(2) Well, O.K. Donald, I’m sorry for calling you are prick, I should have said twit.

Our problem is precisely explained by Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University, Dr. Daniel Kahneman. “You build the best possible story from the information available to you, and if it is a good story, you believe it. Paradoxically, it is easier to construct a coherent story when you know little, when there are fewer pieces to fit into the puzzle. Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.”(3) Better proof has never been provided than in Washington D.C. these days.

The Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Elaine Pagels, in her witty and characteristically studious analysis and credible spiritual take on things, examining the recently found lost Gospel of Judas described early Christianity which has entire relevance to our own situation today. What the new discoveries are showing us is the manipulation and attempts of the powers that be to get us to think, in other words, to give us the impressions that “Christianity actually was a single, static, universal system of beliefs… they [early Christian apologists and Church Fathers] did so precisely because they realized how diverse Christian groups were, and they feared that controversies over basic issues – like those revealed in the Gospel of Judas – might undermine the ‘universal church’ they were trying to build…”(4) The myth of the One True Way to think… all others are superficial, ignorant, primitive, even subjectively wrong, even downright barbarian, the pagan twinks! This ties in with the theme I am developing.

Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Dr. Jonathan Haidt, described how Emile Durkheim found through experiment that humans are not so much Homo sapiens as really Homo duplex, “a creature that exists at two levels: as an individual and as part of a larger society…honor, respect (not in Washington D.C., sorry Donald), affection and fear which we may feel towards one another…” is one set of emotions and feelings. But another set of emotions with a society, the social entity as a whole gives us the psychology that “I am simply a part of a whole, whose actions I follow and whose influence I am subject to.”(5) The passion and ecstasy of belonging and participating in a group, in a whole “quickly launches them to an extraordinary height of exaltation… these collective emotions pull humans fully but temporarily into the higher of our two realms, the realm of the sacred, where the self disappears… the realm of the profane, in contrast, is the ordinary day-to-day world where we live most of our lives, concerned about wealth, health, and reputation, but nagged by the sense that there is somewhere, something higher and nobler.”(6)

Ralph Waldo Emerson “argued that the deepest truths must be known by intuition, not reason, and that experiences of awe in nature were among the best ways to trigger such intuitions. He described the rejuvenation and joy he gained from looking at the stars, or at a vista of rolling farmland, or from a simple walk in the woods:
‘Standing on the bar ground – my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am a part or particle of God.”(7)

Greek and Early Christian Classical Scholar David Fideler says “Philosophy, in its truest sense, emerges from a desire to grasp our relationship to the whole and constitutes the search for an integrated worldview.”(8) Patrick Harpur describes one of humanities most notorious proclivities, that of dividing the world into two. We almost insist on duality and “Western culture favours pairs of opposites produced by its fondness for polarizing.”(9) In Medieval times, they had the interpretation of the Great Chain of Being, that is a hierarchical view of nature, God at the top, then angels, then man, then animals, plants, etc. It was a vertical chain. According to E. M. W. Tillyard, their view derived “from an amalgam of Plato and the Old Testament, invented by the Jews of Alexandria and vivified by the new religion of Christ. It was unlike paganism (apart from Platonism and some mystery cults) in being theocratic.”(10) The pre-literate tribal peoples, however, according to Harpur, rather than imagining a chain of being as a ladder, vertically, had the chain of being which was horizontal, that is, they were connected genealogically (as world renowned mythologist savant Mercea Eliade noted in his many works). They “made vivid the idea of a related universe where no part was superfluous; it enhanced the dignity of all creation, even the meanest part of it…here was ultimate unity in almost infinite diversity.”(11) As mankind advanced through time, the correspondence became that of microcosm to macrocosm, “humans sum up the universe in themselves… we were linked to the stars spiritually as well as physically. They influenced, but did not determine, our lives…it is a participation in a network of intimate connections.”(12) In the ancient Pythagorean cosmology, “the phenomenal universe is a mixture, a synthesis of Limited and Unlimited elements.”(13)

Renowned William Blake scholar, Kathleen Raine noted “modern man in search of a soul is in search not of ‘belief’ but of knowledge – that is, the knowledge not of formulae but of experience. Indeed, nothing can be known about the sacred; but the sacred can be known – and known only – as an experience.”(14)

And that experience? Like the ancients, that of “timeless being and beatitude.”(15) The best way to approach a unity of knowledge is through a diversity, a diversity, as David Fideler says, of “Epistemological pluralism.” Because, “in the same way that monotheistic Christianity (remember Pagels above) strove to eliminate multiple ways of imagining the divine, scientific materialism has tended to assume that it offers the only genuine way of viewing the deep structure of the world. Seen in this way, science becomes a ‘candle in the dark’ that is invoked to cleanse the world of every superstition – except the superstitious premise that scientific materialism represents the only true path to human knowledge.”(16)

FIdeler continues, not in disparaging science or philosophy, but in demonstrating it is incomplete and unnecessarily narrow in its epistemological assumption of adapting the monomyth of it being the only possible correct way to knowledge. This was the fatal error early Christianity made by eliminating the diversity of views. We are “encountering an alienated vision of human nature, where the full range of human experience has been reduced to a limited way of knowing… thus in the world of academic philosophy, epistemology itself has embodied a suffocating reductionism through its predominate focus on the rational intellect.”(17) After all, it is rational, entirely so, to “become aware of the tremendous interconnectedness of everything. You see that everything goes together, which is what we mean by relativity. Relativity means relatedness – fronts go with backs, tops go with bottoms, insides with outsides, solids with spaces. Everything goes together. And it makes no difference if something lasts a long time or a short time – a galaxy goes together with all the universe just as much as a mosquito. From the standpoint of the self, time is completely relative. It’s all a question of point of view or – to use a scientific expression – level of magnification. Look at what’s in front of you with greater magnification and you’ll see molecules, and look at those with greater magnification and you’ll find space so vast between atoms that’s its comparable to the distance between the sun and the planets… the whole universe seems to be a process of playing with different patterns. But no matter what pattern it plays – no matter what it does in whatever dimension or scale of time and space – it’s all on the Self.”(18)

Academic philosophy has the problematic epistemology to “systematically exclude all other modalities of knowing, learning, and expression: art; love; intuition; empathy; compassion; immediate, nonverbal aesthetic appreciation of nature’s underlying order and beauty; the dialectic of friendship, intimacy, and sharing; creative process as knowing and self-revelation. Rather than seeing epistemology as an integrative or pluralistic discipline that could illuminate the relations between various ways of knowing, contemporary academic philosophy has sanctioned an amputation and fragmentation of the self into discreet categories which are not allowed to officially coexist.”(19)

“The cognitive power through which we experience beauty establishes value and meaning. Beauty ultimately transcends reductive analysis – at its fullest it may only be experienced, and through experience of beauty we become truly human. To experience beauty is to know that we are vitally and authentically connected with the heart of the cosmic pattern…rational analysis is essentially limited to discursive analysis and definition – obviously, in this regard, direct knowledge represents the highest form of cognition. At the discursive level, cognition is based on duality: the rational intellect divides things up, places one pile here and another pile there, compares the two, and writes up a little report. Through direct knowledge, however, subject and object become one – the mind is united with the actual object of knowledge.”(20)

Our choice for learning actual knowledge is not a dialogic split between Scientism and metaphysical dogmatists. “Both the scientific quest and the spiritual quest are based on a common, underlying recognition: First, that there is order to the universe – the universe is a kosmos. Second, that the principle of Mind is related to the nature of this order, insofar as it can fathom its secrets. Third, that by realizing the nature of this order and our relation to it, humanity experiences a sense of beauty, a sense of completion. The spiritual and scientific quests are both a search for meaning and value, the knowledge and experience of Being. Moreover, both spiritual and scientific insights originate from higher levels of cognition; but since these insights can only be approximated in words, both science and religion fall into grave error when their ensuing and often provisional models are literally taken to represent the actual territory.”(21)

They key appears to integrate as many possible ways of disciplined knowledge instead of using a mythical model of a monotheism of either science epistemology alone or spiritual epistemology alone. It is the combining of multiple disciplines that lies in our best hope for gaining complete knowledge, within our finite limits, of course, that gives us a connected environment with our universal home of which we are a part of as much as it is a part of us, and flows through us also. Uniting a fragmented approach includes every aspect of our humanity, including our own experiences, which is in the end, the truly only way we acquire knowledge for ourselves. As one of the world’s favorite philosophical Scriveners has wisely said – “The statement that science can in principle discover everything is defensible only when reduced to the trivial tautology that science can discover everything science is capable of discovering… it is because I, too, believe in this ‘wholly’ other realm, a realm in which our universe is an infinitesimal island, that I can call myself a mystic in the Platonic sense.”(22)

1. Edward O. Wilson, “The Diversity of Life,” Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992: 347, 348.
2. Diane Ackerman, “An Alchemy of Mind, The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain,” Scribner, 2004: 60.
3. Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011:201.
4. Elaine Pagels, and Karen L. King, “Re-Reading Judas,” Viking, 2007: 101-102.
5. Jonathan Haidt, “The Righteous Mind, Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” Vintage Books, 2012: 261.
6. Haidt, “The Righteous Mind, p. 262.
7. Haidt, “The Righteous Mind,” p. 263.
8. David Fideler, “Science’s Missing Half: Epistemological Pluralism and the Search for an Inclusive Cosmology,” in “Alexandria, The Journal of the Western Cosmological Traditions,”
5 vols., Phanes Press, 2000; 5: 41.
9. Patrick Harpur, “The Philosopher’s Secret Fire, A History of the Imagination,” Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2003: 61.
10. E. M. W. Tillyard, “The Elizabethan World Picture,” Vintage Books, (1942?): 4.
11. Harpur, “Philosopher’s Secret Fire,” p. 66.
12. Harpur, “Philosopher’s Secret Fire,” p. 67.
13. Kenneth Sylvan Gutherie, “The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library,” edited and Introduced by David Fideler, Phanes Press, 1988: 46.
14. Kathleen Raine, “Revisioning the Sacred For Our Time,” in “Alexandria, The Journal of the Western Cosmological Traditions,” Phanes Press, Vol. 1 (1991): 26.
15. Carl Kerenyi, “Dionysos, Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life,” Princeton University Press, 1976: 32.
16. David Fideler, “Science’s Missing Half,” p. 54-55.
17. Fideler, “Science’s Missing Half,” p. 58.
18. Alan Watts, “Out of Your Mind, The Cosmic Game of Hide and Seek,” Sounds True, 2017: 124-125.
19. Fideler, “Science’s Missing Half,” p. 58-59.
20. Fideler, “Introduction,” in “Alexandria,” (1991), Vol. 1: 8-9.
21. Fideler, “Introduction,” in “Alexandria,” (1991), vol. 1: 13-14.
22. Martin Gardiner, “The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener,” William Morrow and Co., 1983: 330.
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

User avatar
Posts: 5455
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: What is it That We Need?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:44 pm

Interesting stuff. John Locke expressed skepticism about scientific progress by suggesting that it is likely that humans are intellectually incapable of comprehending the true nature of the universe. If we can't imagine what the truth is like, can we design experiments to test it? Even Einstein said that every time we think we have arrived at ultimate knowledge something will ALWAYS come along to unseat the current theory.

But to the first part of your essay, as for me and mine:
(in case you can't read it: Give Me Convenience, or Give Me Death)
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

Posts: 383
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: What is it That We Need?

Post by Apologeticsislying » Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:53 pm

I can't argue with that. I also love my conveniences.....
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

User avatar
Posts: 471
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:51 pm

Re: What is it That We Need?

Post by 1smartdodog » Sun Nov 24, 2019 6:24 am

I sometimes think about a society that has the technology to reach the stars but is enjoying a more basic lifestyle in the day to day. Where nature is as important as progress. Where p community has equal value to individual success.

Not sure it is possible given the nature of humans but it would be a better way i think.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
― Thomas A. Edison

Posts: 383
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: What is it That We Need?

Post by Apologeticsislying » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:53 pm

My daughter emailed me the other day and laughingly said "Dad, your rants just kill me!" :D

I have to agree, I let this one get away with me more or less. I have more coming down the pipeline that are less rant, more substance. But hey, that's the fun of being an author over 55 years old. Ya can tells it likes its is's! :D
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 34 guests