Saturday 21 April 2018

Depth of character, strength and integrity; leathery, craggy, strong, warrior-like toughness and individual responsiveness: the kind of wisdom that God most values

William Arkle, a self-portrait done as a young man - and depicting something of the 'warrior like toughness' he valued...

I have extracted and edited the following passage from an essay entitled Wisdom in William Arkle's The Great Gift, of 1977. In this section Arkle explains why this world is well-designed to develop those 'tough' qualities in us that are necessary to our becoming fully grown-up individuals. 

So, although God could have made this world a kind of paradise; that would not have given us the possibility of becoming godlike ourselves - we could have remained 'angelic' servants, passively dwelling in permanent happiness, but could not have become sons and daughters of God, ultimately co-workers in the unfolding of creation.  

Great strength and a great wisdom and a great love cannot arise if an individual has not passed through the gate into the world of knowledge of good and evil. It is only on the other side of that gate that great strength will be required to recover from mistakes, and it's only on the other side of that gate that great mistakes will be made and great understanding developed in order to recover from those mistakes.

So we can see that the great wisdom of God is shown in him not interfering with the processes of life in order to 'tidy them up', do away with disharmony, abolish those crosscurrents of life that help stir the pot of experience and produce a rich soup of opposing currents, values, desires and attitudes.

Yet, at the same time, Wisdom is certainly not indifferent to suffering; and the fact that lived experiences produce a stumbling and a faltering, and that mankind has at times to be rescued and brought back to a reasonable level of buoyancy again from which further movements and further experiments can be made.

Wisdom is always on the lookout for a situation which has gone too far, and become so negative that nothing of value can arise from the situation anymore.

Then wisdom will try and suggest to an individual who is stuck in such a situation that there is a way out which that individual hasn't yet seen. Thus although our Wise God will stand back and allow people to make mistakes; he will also rescue people from mistakes when those individuals cannot rescue themselves.

We can see that Wisdom is a very deep awareness which is continually balancing-out all the processes engaged in building deeper and deeper characteristics into the individuality which exists in each of the divine children of the Creator.

Wisdom is encouraging each of us divine children to grow into a level beyond childhood, a level which is more mature than childhood, a level of growth in which divine friendship can occur between each of us and our Creator.

Wisdom will forever be observing the balance occurring in experience, particularly at a physical level, in order that this absolute value can be extracted and made use of in every situation.

So that wisdom is not so much engaged in 'easing the burden of life', as it is engaged in the harvesting of the fruits of the burdens of life.

Wisdom develops an ability to see that the harvest in life is not at the level of ease, happiness, bliss and joy... but instead exists in a level of 'beingness' in our nature which is at a very deep level of strength, integrity and selfhood.

So we are saying that the deep wisdom which exists in the Creator's nature, and which we can learn to understand, is a deep wisdom which values not only the individual who is a friend to each other individual, but values the depth of character and strength and integrity, the leathery, craggy, strong, warrior-like toughness and individual responsiveness that each individual can develop in their own right.

And Wisdom recognises that individuality which doesn't have this strength, and doesn't have deep experience, is less valuable.

Although all the divine qualities of heaven are something we must have an experience of, at least a taste of, Wisdom recognises that, these 'tough qualities' need to be understood and lived at this outermost physical level of the universe. they must be appreciated in terms of their opposites.

Wisdom recognises that there are three things that we need to achieve.

Firstly, our unique separate being-ness.

Secondly, the objective understanding of values, which produces the ability to understand the real quality and value of all things.

Thirdly, we must achieve that strength and integrity necessary to support both the being and the understanding.

It is here on earth, as it is; that these experiences have been made available for us, and to a degree which they may not be available for us in any other possible form of experience.

From Wisdom, in The Great Gift - by William Arkle (1977)


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"Leathery, craggy, strong, warrior-like toughness" sounds like a masculine ideal. I wonder if the Creator values rather different traits in his daughters.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Yes, I don't suppose many women would care to be described as leathery and craggy... But the general point is certainly intended to apply to men and women in the same sense.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I wonder. The difficulty of phrasing the concept in a way that would appeal to women suggests that it is in fact a gender-specific ideal.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - In context of the argument - it applies to women for sure. It is about the nature of this world, and why it is not easy.

I would say that the difficulty is merely that men and women are different, and sometimes addressing one sex effectively means being less effective at addressing the other sex.