Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Christ and India

I have put a post on Albion Awakening that speculates on a possible connection between Jesus and India. I should emphasis that it is very speculative!



Aaron said...

Quick question, William - are you the guy who approves comments on "your" posts on Albion Awakening?

I ask because Bruce Charlton tends not to publish many of my comments, and it would be pointless to make a long comment only to have Bruce can it.

Either way is fine, I'd just like to know in general what the situation is. Thanks, William.

William Wildblood said...

Do you know I'm not sure what the situation is there, Aaron. Bruce manages it and the other two of us just contribute posts.
Why don't you put your comment there and if it didn't appear then put it here?

Aaron said...

Thanks, William. I guess I'll just have to try my luck then :)

Aaron said...

A very good post, William. One sees a real spiritual maturity and freedom from attachment to mere "form", and ego.

I am increasingly beginning to think that metaphysics, doctrines, and dogmas are a mistake.

Metaphysics increase ego and attachment. After a debate with anyone, I notice the other person is always angrier and more attached, and I develop my own ego and attachment as well.

We become attached to our various "positions", defend them from attack, and impose them on others - this is not spiritually healthy.

I sometimes wonder if the most spiritually advanced people are the ones who write nothing, and we don't hear about - writing itself indicates attachment, and ego.

Maybe such people wander and dwell in remote corners of the world, or live inconspicuous lives in modern cities.

Maybe the only permissible spiritual writing is for the purpose of getting beyond writing - i.e beyond the need for doctrines, dogmas, and metaphysics. Yet most of us write to impose our dogmas on others.

What we need is the Path of liberation from ego and attachments.

As we progressively liberate ourselves from ego and attachments, we begin to "see" - "knowledge is a function of character" - this is a truth that has been known for a long time to the worlds religious traditions. But what we now "see" probably cannot be expressed in words.

It is not at all the case that India rejected Christ. Rather it is the case that she accepted Him well before us. What can we offer India? Only a name, Christ. But the heart of the matter is not in a name.

That's why Indians were so puzzled at the Western attempt to proselytize - what were we bringing them that was new? A new name, but an old Path - and a strange claim that the old Path can must be known by the new name. Strange!

In essentials, India has indeed accepted Christ.

Anyways, excellent post, William, and thanks.

P.S -

I submitted this over at Albion as well, but I am not sure Bruce will let it see the light of day.

William Wildblood said...

I put my response over there on the main post.

Aaron said...

@ Chris - Bruce wouldn't publish my response to you so I put it here.

You are quite correct - all experience and knowledge gets filtered through our mental "categories" (time, space, individuality, etc). It is all colored right out of the box. There is no such thing as pure and unmediated experience or knowledge.

My use of words was clumsy and does not get at it.

This is precisely why negative theology was developed. You cannot say what it is, you can only say what it is not. That is why the mystics talk of "unknowing".

In terms of this world it is "nothing" - it is not knowledge, it is not experience, which is, as you say, all mediated by our categories - it is not "something"...and yet it is not nothing.

From the perspective of transcendence, it is "this" world which is "nothing".

It is utterly transcendent- beyond our mind. It is another world that we reach when we still the intellect and connect with something unnameable within us. It is the "darkling aspiration" of Tolstoy, the unnameable aspiration within us.

But this kind of "experience" can only be described in terms of what it is not.

Interestingly, as a digression - the fact that our mental categories organizes sense data into "knowledge" is the basis for Bruce's saying that imagination gives us access to Reality. Our minds "organize" the world and participate in its creation - the "world" is as much a creation of our minds as it is "out there".

(I use "world" to mean what appears to us)

Hume's famous problem of induction is the starting point here, developed by Kant.

Yet see how Bruce and Barfield reach the opposite conclusion from me while starting from the same point!

For me this means the "world" is not absolutely real - for them, they accept the reality of the "world" as an unquestioned assumption, but then observe! - if you do so, you have no choice but to accept that our minds participate in creating Reality, and therefore Imagination - in some sense - gives us access to Reality.

I do not find their solution convincing. I also find it vague.

But it is interesting how the same starting point can lead to opposite conclusions!

P.S - I appear once again to be dabbling in metaphysics, but only of the kind that leads to the cessation of metaphysics.

Aaron said...

you can erase that comment here william, my apologies to u and bruce he did publish it at albion...maybe it got stuck in his span box

Aaron said...

@William - responding to your comment about negative theology here as well.

I see what you are saying, but I think this is a basic disagreement here between us.

For instance, I know that you think individuality is necessary for love. But I think when we liberate ourselves from individuality compassionate love wells up spontaneously within us like a fountain.

For me, it is only when you give up all attachments that you can truly have loving compassion towards others, but you think love itself is a kind of attachment, if I understand you (or maybe that's Bruce's position).

I would say posessive passionate love (eros) requires attachment and individuality, but compassionate benevolence (agape), not possessive, without passion, is spiritual love.

You say negative theology is "dry" and intellectual - but how can the most radical desire to go beyond the intellect be "intellectual"?

I think the main difference between us is that you are working with the standard and basic human categories - intellect, emotion - and you think this is all there is. And once these are gone, nothing is left. So maybe it removes some bad, but it does not let us reach the Good. It is too a high a price to pay.

What you do not see is that there is something "left over" after you remove the standard human categories. That something is God and Spirit.

Negative theology reveals and uncovers a positive - it is only negative instrumentally.

You strive to "attain" the Good, but what if the Good merely needs to be "uncovered"? What if all striving takes us further away from the Good?

As the Mystics say - so long as there is any "I", God has no space to fill. Remove the "I", and God rushes in.

All he Mystics report that the "negative" process connects us to the most blindingly incredible Good there is.

And if you think about it, William, does it not accord very well with the notion of the Fall? To re-connect with God we must un-do the assertion of will that separated us from him to begin with. And what about the self-negating character of the Sermon?

The fear of negative theology seems to me based on a shaky belief in the supernatural - maybe there isn't another force out there - God - outside our own force. Maybe there is only the "I".

The basic difference is in one's belief in forces other than the "I" that operate - you think love has to be attained and striven for, whereas I think it is a force that rushes in precisely when I am no longer pursuing my egotistic ends.

Instrumental "negativity", it seems to me, is the basis of the religious world view - we recognize that supernatural forces, God, exists, and we align ourselves with them. Achieving the Good through direct striving seems to affirm the primacy of the "I", and is the basis of modernity.

That is why all religions seem to have a "negative" character (while really being positive), and all modernity seems "positive" (while really being negative).

William Wildblood said...

Some quick responses.

We don't liberate ourselves from individuality but from attachment to and identification with individuality. Complete liberation from individuality would leave us with nothing. We need that in order consciously to know God. This whole business of negating the self comes from mistaking skilful means with actual reality. I will (hopefully, one day!) transcend my Williamness but that will be incorporated in the higher stage though in a totally transformed state. I don't say this because I am so attached to my silly little self but because the greater includes the lesser. It's not just discarded but transmuted into something new. Jesus had his favorite disciple as did the Buddha. That's individuality right there.

So I think compassion is a bit feeble compared to love. Love is a fire and compassion is diffuse and general compared to that. I can only say that Jesus loved while the Buddha had compassion and I see a big difference in how that played out in their lives and teachings.

The desire to go beyond the intellect can certainly take an intellectual form. It tended to I would say in Nagajurna and Sankara for example who wrote intellectually about going beyond intellect. So different to Christ. They lost simple connection to the truths of the heart.

I would phrase the difference between us a bit differently (to my advantage, of course!). I see the goal as the integration of the worlds of being and becoming to create something more than either of them. You might tend more towards the absolute while negating the relative. I think it should be drawn up into the absolute and melted in it like sugar in tea.

The 'I' to be removed is egotistical identification. If you really remove the'I'completely then God has nowhere to rush into. So yes, overcome ego, sacrifice the self but the unattached 'I' with all its borders removed still remains and it is that into which God rushes.

No I don't think we attain love. I completely agree that love is when identification with self goes. Love is the fact of life. You know, I think it may be words and peculiarities of expression that separate us more than basic doctrine. Nuance rather than substance.

Not so quick after all!

There's a squirrel eating bread in my little garden. His tail is like a question mark inverted and he's got a pure white belly that bobs about when he chews. What a lovely sight!

Aaron said...

Thank you for responding, William. I do appreciate the chance to hash out these positions - it helps me clarify my own thinking.

I think what really matters is achieving things like love, detachment, compassion, and as far as I can tell you agree with this. If your way of thinking helps you on this road, then bravo!

The problems begins when our way of thinking interferes with these things. But I don't think this is the case with you.

In any event I've explained my position enough to give you an honest chance to reject it :)