Sunday 23 December 2018

Is the spiritual just fantasy?

William Wildblood tackles this vital question at Albion Awakening:

On more than one occasion in my life I have been informed that because of my spiritual interests I live in a fantasy world. Even well-meaning people have told me that I should forget all that sort of thing and restrict my concerns to everyday reality. My response (internal usually, but not always) has been that it is they who live in a fantasy world. By rejecting the spiritual what you are doing is rejecting the real because the spiritual is the real, and it is the material without the spiritual that is the actual world of fantasy...

(Read the whole thing...)

This is a key question - and for some people the way-in, is to recognise the incoherence of believing that we live in a purely 'materialist' world, a world that regards only sensory-perceptible, is 'scientifically'-detectable/ measurable' things as really-real.

As a professional and vocational scientist, I very soon realised that science could not be separated from the consciousness, motivation, judgement of specific individual scientists; and indeed this has been recognised in mainstream theoretical physics for a century.

In a simple sense, science cannot validate itself by scientific means.

Yet we do (culturally) believe that (somehow) science validates science! What has happened, culturally, is that scientific self-validation is taken as a basic, structuring metaphysical assumption - we simple assume it is true, because... 'the modern world', all this stuff - and build our lives upon that assumption.

But it is easy to see that this is to give 'science' a free pass, and exempt science from scientific evaluation. It also makes it impossible even to ask what is science - and to ask when is science really being done, as contrasted with fake-science.

By regarding 'science' as intrinsically self-validating; we have created a situation when science is not just assumed to be self-validating, but is also self-defined! Science has become corrupted into expedience and careerism. Science has become the purest relativism - its arbitrariness concealed behind a complex bureaucracy, arbitrarted by funding, enforced by the state and media.

My point is that we assume that spiritual things are just made-up while materialism is plain truth; yet we know that materialism is definitely wrong.

In other words, we can coherently only dispose of the spiritual if we are also prepared to dispose of the material - the choice is between having a place for the spiritual, and the denial of any possibility of knowledge at all ; i.e. nihilism - a reality that could not be known, even if it was true.

This does not prove that the spiritual is true - it simple makes clear the massive consequences of rejecting the spiritual as we do, glibly, with some comment of its being a subjective, arbitrary 'fantasy'...

(For more on this see Owen Barfield's book - Saving the Appearances.)  


Epimetheus said...

This goes a little way toward explaining the West's seismic move from a reality-oriented mindset to virtual reality. For example, I inherited some old Popular Mechanics magazines dating from 1912-1960s, and I'm awestruck (and shamed) by the sheer practicality and adventurousness of our recent ancestors.

Prior to the invention of television, your average Joe Blow Western man was tinkering constantly in his garage, his yard, his workshop, and his home-made laboratory. He was building sailboats, toys, tools, furniture, structures, vehicles - tinkering with engines, electronics, new technology... all as a matter of fun!

There's a noticeable decline over generations - the sons of carpenters, welders and mechanics play video-games; daughters are on social media instead of making dresses and baking delicacies, and all of us young suffer disinterest in learning real skills. As far as I can tell, each generation is less intrigued by the tangible, physical world than the last.

Modern man's secret fear that "real" reality is a meaningless, indifferent void plays a huge role in this process too.

It's a paradox - without spiritual perception, the material world fades away as well, until we are caught in the inescapable trap of modern mainstream virtual "reality," which is all smoke, mirrors, and lies.

But, happily, spiritual awakening seems to be the way out of all these problems.

This is one of the exciting prospects of spiritual renewal, especially in my life: to even dimly perceive the spiritual meaning, significance, detail, and life that suffuses the physical world is to once again become re-enchanted with it. I think I'm more interested in the real world than I've ever been.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A - On those lines. The thing is, from adolescence Original Participation is denied us, unless we are in an imapired conscious state - drugs, delirium etc. Because in OP we are immersed in the really-real, whereas in a movie the real is only 'real' - we know it isn't actually happening. For it to be like OP and feel objective, we would need to have something removed from our capacity.

If Alternative Reality ever does come, it will include some drug, or brain interference, (e.g by an implanted technology) so that we 'forget' that the reality is only virtual, and will react to it exactly as if it is really happening.

This is what happened to some people with LSD - they believed the hallucinations/ delusions and thought it was actually happening.

Chiu ChunLing said...

This is probably a greater problem with online play, especially massively multi-player online, since such games necessarily eliminate the genuinely creative possibilities of computer gaming (custom content creation/scenario editing, modding, and of course cheating) from the player experience, reserving them as the sole prerogative of the licensed administrators/IP owners of the game world. This creates a sharp and explicit divide between those who are creators of the game in any meaningful sense and those who are the audience of it.

And of course this creativity does not come with complete freedom for those who are working on the content/programming/balance of the game, as they are doing so as employees. It may be a "dream job" for some of them, but it's still a job.

Dexter said...

"Spiritual" experiences are dismissed by the materialist mainstream as delusion or full-blown insanity. By definition they are "not real". How would you distinguish between someone genuinely delusional and someone having a genuine spiritual experience? Accepting that there are genuine spiritual experiences... is there also insanity/delusion, i.e. "visions" that are not spiritual but the product of a disordered brain?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dexter -= there is no general rule or algoithm. Each case must be judged intuitively, by our-selves or someone whose judgment we trust (not on hearsay) and on on its own merit.