Monday 13 June 2022

Two things are needed: Doing the right things, and knowing that these things are right

I've said it before, but it's a hard truth to grasp and hold onto; that our terminal condition of being is caused by a twofold error/sin, and can only be escaped by a twofold correction/repentance. 

Our basic beliefs are false and evil, such that our good impulses and experiences are ignored, explaied-away or (increasingly) inverted in meaning. 

At the same time, our actual lived experiences are defective. We think in a crude and unsustainable way - which means that we seek and value experiences that are needed to perpetuate this defective consciousness. 

That is, we seek constant affirmation and stimulation to keep the wrong ideas going; and/or we seek to obliterate our consciousness of the wrongness of things - e.g. by intoxication and other forms of dulling or obliteration. 

Escape is yearned-for but in a mistaken form. We passively seek to have the answer imposed-upon-us; because only thus are we prepared to believe it. Yet, simultaneously, we are aware that all the answers within our kind of consciousness are merely hypothetical models; that we pickup and discard with high frequency. 

Modern consciousness is so obviously shallow, labile, provisional... defective that we have lost trust in our capacity to know. 

We disbelieve our-selves - because we hardly know our-selves. We have no direct and experiential contact with other people, or other Beings (including deities) that comprise the living universe; therefore all of these are unreal, and unmotivating. 

And if  they are, briefly, experienced as real and compelling, we doubt this insight and suspect the motivations. We cannot chose, because all choices seem feeble and short-lived conjectures. 

In the end, the only safe thing is to assimilate to the currently-dominant external inputs...


Therefore escape requires a twofold move: to know the reality of ourselves and divine creation, and at the same time to direct our feeble and sustainable consciousness to participate in our-selves, other men and the Beings that comprise reality. 

But this cannot be done be any technique or method - because these are aspects of the very Modern Consciousness that we wish to escape. This doing can only be accomplished by Love, which is the basis of creation. 

Since we intend to re-connect our consciousness with creation - this entails Love. 

And again we meet with false understandings; since the passive modern consciousness believes real love, or the highest love, to be universal an impersonal, abstract and ideal - whereas real-actual love is particular and personal, 'concrete' and particular. 

The notion of ideal, impersonal and universal love is indeed another evil-absorbed-hypothesis of modern consciousness. 

So we must start-from actual, 'given', specific love of a person or other Being: that is the only basis of genuine escape; of re-connection with reality and the sustaining power of creation. We need to be guided-by love; not attempting to guide love by using that Modern Conscious which is causing the problem.  

Not technique but love; and love as specific and 'personal'; together with the conviction that this is indeed the ultimate reality of this creation in which we dwell. 

Both together and at the same time.  


Mia said...

This rings true. I had a personal experience of the most powerful sort that proved beyond any doubt the reality of Christian life after death, and yet I was astonished at the rapidity of the onslaught of materialist rationalizations that came into my mind of its own accord, so soon after a life-changing experience and continuing to this day. I learned very quickly what you have said elsewhere, that I cannot use my experience to explain, convince, convert anyone, even though it is the truest thing I have ever known. The more I try, the more I am in danger of losing trust in that knowledge, even though it is knowledge not belief and the materialist explanations are the beliefs!

Bruce Charlton said...

@M - That's very interesting, and I feel sure that others could tell similar stories.

Indeed, I think many people very rapidly accept the 'materialist rationalizations' and forgot all about their experience on the assumption that it 'cannot' be true.

You also confirm my general feeling that religious experiences are (nearly always) designed for the person who has them, and we ought not to talk about them with others. Especially not try to convince others, because people can never be convinced of anything they do not wish to believe. If all else fails, they will assume fraud or insanity.

Joseph A. said...

Elsewhere, you've commented on how common "supernatural" or "paranormal" experiences are -- and also how they're routinely ignored as evidence that materialism is wrong. It's quite bizarre that our society holds opinions about the nature of the world that so starkly contradict human experience, and in so many ways, but it appears so (and commonly so).

Concerning the peculiar nature of religious experience, a friend of mine from undergrad. was a smart, committed leftist . . . a prototype of later social justice warriors, I guess. She was very active in many causes, and her work was sincere. She was also an atheist and had taken on all the trappings of her adopted political tribe. I was the opposite in most every way, but we got along quite well, despite occasional heated arguments and hurt feelings. Anyway, we both went to study abroad our junior year -- she to Rome and I to Paris. At Thanksgiving, she visited me in Paris, and while walking down the street one day, catching up on old times, she relayed that she had become a believer. She said that she was just sitting in the Piazza del Popolo one evening when a stray dog came over to her. As she petted the dog, she told me that everything became clear to her . . . the love of Christ, the spiritual meaning of life, the importance of suffering and sacrifice. I understood, for some reason, but abstracting the event from our lives, I can see how it would look ridiculous to an outsider. But the Lord uses many messengers and messages. Thank God!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Joseph. Nice story.

Of course, I was an atheist most of my life, and yet quite often having what could otherwise have been understood as spiritual insight and experiences; so I know how it works. If your assumption is that something is Not Really Real, then there are *many* ways of effortlessly explaining it away.

Mia said...

I don't know if this generalized but I find it much easier to stay grounded in smaller miracles, maybe because my background is in statistics. So while the big dramatic event often seems to squirm away from me, the time when I prayed to be given a BoM and was given one the next day for the first time in over 20 years, that is just so obviously miraculous that materialist explanations just make me giggle.