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Responsibility


darby
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I wanted to start a new topic about responsibility. I didn't continue the old topic since we were way off it's intent, I didn't want to add fuel to the fire, and Fred had summed up my intent anyway.

 

Somehow, the message I was trying to convey got twisted into me absolving people who hate and abuse of their responsibility, and making the victims responsible. Even of sexual abuse. Where in the heck did that come from??

 

Certainly we're all responsible to God for OUR hate, abuse and anger...that's exactly the point I was trying to make. What I DON'T believe is that a past wrong committed against me gives me license to treat other people badly, and I'm sure none of you do either. It might be a REASON I'd be tempted to act out in anger, but not an excuse. An atheist might see me in a neighborhood ministering to people, preaching the gospel, and taunt me, call me "Jesus Freak," etc. That doesn't justify me hating the next atheist I run into. I'm responsible to God for my interaction with the people I run into, regardless of my experiences. It's similar to something Mother Teresa said about not wanting to forgive someone for something they had done to us. Basically, paraphrasing, she said, "When we don't want to forgive someone, we're focusing on the person. But it was never really about the person...It was about us and God. The call to forgive came from Him."

 

I think in society we also need to clarify what "hate" means. You might say, "I've studied history, philosophy, all the world religions, and I have come to the conclusion 'A' is true."To which I might say, "Sorry, friend, you're wrong...'B' is what's true....and 'B' and 'A' can't both be true." That is not HATE....that's disagreement. It becomes hate possibly when I won't serve you at my restaurant, or let you ride in my taxi, or taunt your kids, or damage your property, or say you can't gather together to teach 'A'. And we minimize TRUE hate when we say disagreement, even strong disagreement, equals hate. Now, I'll step off my soapbox, and get to work. :)

 

Interested to read your comments.

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Darby - I totally agree. I think that at the heart of it we are each responsible for our own behavior. Someone else's behavior has nothing to do with mine except as an excuse. It is easy (and common) to say something along the lines of, "I did X because he did Y", but I am accountable for my behavior and no one can force me to act outside my own standards. It's freeing and threatening to see this. :D In the end, if we are accountable to God for our behavior, He's not going to ask you about me or me about you... He already knows anyway. It's about intent, IMO.

 

I also agree about minimizing hate. Words are frequently ruined - we've had other discussions on this board about this - but hate is a strong word.

 

Just for the record, I didn't perceive you as absolving people of hate and abuse. <_<

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Of course we're all responsible for our own actions.

 

Yes, there might be circumstances in our lives that impel us to act in certain ways. However, we don't HAVE to act in those ways.

 

Determinism says that every effect has a cause, which is true. However, we do have free will. We can choose between any given set of options as to how to act and react to any given situation.

 

A harsh religious upbringing might eventually cause me to feel loathing towards religion. At this point a choice can be made. Do I choose to loath (even hate) ALL religion? Do I choose to reject Christianity only? Do I choose to reject fundamental Christianity only? Do I choose to look into other faiths? Do I choose to give Christianity a second chance?

 

In the "heat of the moment" it might not seem like a choice can be made. The emotions might be too overwhelming to step back and look at the situation rationally. However, eventually the anger is going to cool off (unless a person spends time feeding that anger, which unfortunately, many do). After such a "cooling off period," the situation might look entirely different than it did before.

 

That's what happened to me. I was angry at Christianity. I was angry at God. I didn't go on a rampage against theism, but I also felt, overall, that those that believed in God and religion were deluded and needed a "crutch."

 

It took a about a year before I was open to God and and religion again. At first I explored Zen, Hinduism, and neo-paganism. Then I explored liberal "historic" Christianity. And now I am where I am. B)

 

We are all victims of something at some point or another in our lives. It's a fact. Support at these times is generally desired and should be given. BUT it is so easy to slip into "victimhood."

 

Thomas Moore in "Care of the Soul" talks about how we all have our stories. It's up to the individual to decide if, in the story of their life, they see themselves as the victim or as the conquering hero.

 

I choose to look back on the myth that is my life and see that, despite the crap that came my way, I SURVIVED. I'm stronger. I couldn't be conquered.

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Cynthia-

 

Your response about "I did X because he did Y" made me laugh. With a five and six year old (both boys, 8 mos. apart), I hear responses like that too often! That book "Everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten" or whatever the title is really nailed it. We don't accept that answer from our kindergartners, and we shouldn't accept it from each other.

 

Alethia-

 

Just curious...share only if you're comfortable....what made you "angry at Christianity?" Certain beliefs....other Christians....bad leaders...?? I'm always interested to see what turned people off, hurt them, etc. in Christianity or the church.

 

Another question (being nosy today)...you said "now I am where I am." Where is that? I know from many of your other posts that many of your beliefs are evolving. But, after your journey around the world (spriritually), how would you describe "where you are?" Again, just curious.

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Alethia-

 

Just curious...share only if you're comfortable....what made you "angry at Christianity?"  Certain beliefs....other Christians....bad leaders...??  I'm always interested to see what turned people off, hurt them, etc. in Christianity or the church.

It was multifold:

 

1) I was really tired of the hypocrisy that I saw in my congregation. I'd had enough and I walked away. I think it helped me feel better about my decision to be a little angry for a while.

 

2) Doctrine and attitudes of JW's towards "the world." I couldn't swallow anymore the belief that God is as small as humans like to make him. JW's didn't teach eternal damnation, but they still taught that God was going to wipe out 99% of the worlds population in a huge act of genocide. I agree that yes, the Bible does portray God that way, but I don't think that particular writings about God as found in much of the Bible is absolute literal Truth, written down as a "once and for all time" question and answer guide.

 

I tried to stay Christian for a very short while after leaving. I tried to argue against JW's that their interpretations were wrong, but I couldn't agree with most alternative interpretations either. All the ex-JW's that I talked to were members of churches that were just as legalistic as the JW's. I had no experience with anything else and didn't even know "traditional" or "mainline" Christianity existed. I figured Methodists, Lutherans, American Baptists, Episcopalians were all the same and just as legalistic (differing only on minor doctrinal issues). That's what I get for growing up in an agnostic household in Mormonsville: no religious diversity.

 

I certainly didn't feel like I could stay inside the organization and help reform it. That just gets you labeled an apostate and then disfellowshipped. Also, I got married only a few months after leaving and moved to New York. All my husbands close friends were JW's and so we felt we had to be careful. Neither of us wanted to be disfellowshipped because our family (especially his) were/are JW's.

 

So, in a nutshell, I felt burned and I didn't know there were options. I eventually found out, but it took a while.

 

Another question (being nosy today)...you said "now I am where I am."  Where is that?  I know from many of your other posts that many of your beliefs are evolving.  But, after your journey around the world (spriritually), how would you describe "where you are?"  Again, just curious.

Where am I now? :rolleyes: Good question.

 

I'm not evolving toward a more "legalistic" interpretation off scripture, but I'm more comfortable with reading scripture as literal (as opposed to it being ALL metaphorical). I try to keep the literal reading within the cultural and temporal situation to which it applies.

 

I'm comfortable with the idea of "progressive revelation" or "narrative theology." It helps me reconcile apparent OT/NT contradictions.

 

My theology is: "I believe in God." My Christology is: "Something special happened in the person of Jesus. I think that Jesus was Divine. I think Jesus was resurrected. I think that the incarnation and the resurrection tell us something profound about the meaning of life and the cosmos."

 

Some doctrinal issues I have no problem affirming. Where I am perhaps still considered too liberal by many would be that I don't think much of what the church focuses on as being important (read: saves you from Hell) is actually important at all.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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"I" am NOT making excuses for their far LEFT hatred and bigotries..because to be honest with you..they completely piss me off too..I am merely trying to explain where they get their wrong hostile mentalities towards us.

 

Ok..say a person like on of these 5 UU Humanists I discribed to you...was raised Catholic BEFORE the creation of Vatican II. So they stand up in the UU Church and tell how they hold bitter feelings of being threatened with hellfire threats.....Well, in 'THIER' hostility and ignorence..they FAIL to realize that there ARE LIBERAL and PROGRESSIVE Catholics...that do NOT support such interpretations of hell. Secondanly, such a person would also fail to reason that even the regular catholic Church does NOT teach such views on hell ANYMORE.

 

Or what about the 3 UU's who told about the Southern Baptist church burning them with hellfire threats as children? Well, do they not realize that there ARE Protestant churches that do NOT teach hellfire threat..such as United Presbyterian or United Methodists?

 

Or let's take another example. Let's say that like Des, you were raised in the very fundamental far right version of New Thought Christian Science..and you grow up and say you were burned in it? Well, what about the Unity Church? They are New thought and yet are a PROGRESSIVE version of it. So, what I am getting at here...is whatEVER far right Judeo-Christian themed faith group you were raised in...there IS a Progressive answer to it...so a an unpleasent extremists right upbringing is no excuse for turning against all theists themed beliefs or against a belief in God...

 

And let's say you were raised in a faith group that is smaller in numbers than these others I mentioned such as Mormon or JW? Well, even if these groups don;t have enough Progressive ex members to offer a liberal alternative church..still, most likely someone, somewhere on the web or MySpace HAS created an online group you can join.

 

So, what I think is..we need to communicate to the UU and liberal community at large..that while we share their frustrastions with dealing with their previous far right extreme backgrounds...still..this is NO reason to preach hatred nor biotry towards ALL theist believers nor faith groups..especially towards their moderate and progressive brethern/sistern that are more often than not fighting for the same social justice issues that they are.

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Alethia-

 

Thanks for your story. Most people say "not having something to wear" and "hypocrisy" are the main reasons they don't go to church. We can say all kind of great things, but people watch what we DO....always. Or like the famous quote, "preach the gospel continuously, and then open your mouth occasionally when you need to."

 

I'm glad you're giving Jesus a second chance. Of course, He wasn't the one who let you down in the first place....it was the rest of us.

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Well, having defended darby against hasty misinterpretations, it seems fair that I should offer an alternative take on responsibility, just to mix things up a little.

 

:D

 

It is good to see that there has been a conscious distinction made between responsibility as "what brought me here" and responsibility as "what am I going to do about it." Probably a lot of arguments about blame, fault, responsibility, etc. take place because people are using the word in different ways without realizing it. I think it's essential in any theory of responsibility to make the distinction, and to understand that both dimensions of responsibility are important. Having said that, I will now say that I believe pure, isolated, individual responsibility -- in both senses of the word -- is a myth.

 

In the "what brought me here" category, I think it's pretty clear that we have the distinct minority role as far as what happens to us early in life, and how we're prepared emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. to handle what life deals us. I've met a very small handful of radical libertarian types, who literally believe that they have completely made themselves into who they are today. I don't see how anybody can seriously make that claim; I think it mostly boils down to a justification of selfishness about one's resources and one's situation in life. We are handed a steaming pile of life, that contains a whole lot of raw material that we didn't ask for, and we have nothing to do with. Anyway, all that seems uncontroversial enough.

 

Where the controversy comes in, of course, is in the "what am I going to do about it" category. At first glance, it seems sensible enough that we can just take this raw material and decide what to do with it, right? I mean, life may hand us less or more, good and bad, but can't we still make the best choice possible given our options? It turns out that, upon closer inspection, this "raw material" isn't just a set of "options" that we can choose to exercise from a standpoint of detachment and objectivity. Even our will and desires are part of our bequest, and many people in our culture -- this doesn't necessarily coincide with economic opportunity either -- are walking around with deformed wills and desires, and bad choices just waiting to happen, due in large part to circumstances outside their isolated, individual sphere of control. Sometimes, we can probably all acknowledge, people are so maimed by bad experiences, that, barring a miraculous intervention, their ability to make good moral choices is permanently impaired. But where some might see this as the exception rather than the rule, I believe this situation is simply the extreme and dramatic end of a continuum on which we all fall, to some degree or other.

 

Bottom line is, we are essentially social beings, with an essentially social fabric of causality and influence. (Actually, at a deeper metaphysical level, I'm claiming that what appear to us to be isolated, individual centers of consciousness are actually wave-like patterns arising out of, and falling back into, a single unified field of consciousness; but that's not really essential to the point I'm arguing here.) We never -- we couldn't if we wanted to -- act or decide in isolation from our formation. Yes, we can take some steps to grow beyond our initial formation, and into a spiritually awakened state -- a genuinely independent frame of conscience -- and I believe God ultimately desires this of every one of us. But the freedom to do this is not unlimited: even the desire and will to grow in this way is situated in a larger formative context that shows itself to be far beyond our own isolated, individual sphere of control, whatever that might be. This is really the sociology side of the "self is an illusion" claim I keep harping on.

 

Well, that's enough for now. Let's see how this flies. :D

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Well I think you have to separate behavior from feelings. As humans I think we are going to feel certain ways and it takes growth and so on to go on. But behavior is another thing. I don't think anything (even sexual abuse) entitles one to abusive behavior.

 

Though I think ideally-- as darby indicated I think--we would learn how to forgive. How many times? 50 or so.

 

 

Beach, I've never been esp. attracted to Unity. I don't have anything against exactly but take it personally as a sort of CS lite. (I would say the better aspects of CS, but it is an off-shoot. I think they are a bit less than honest when they say it isn't. Or maybe they just really don't know.) One thing about New Thought generally is that it requires some degree of mental gymnastics to believe in it. I know I do my share here, but I am more attracted to the simpler aspects of Christianity in action.

 

 

--des

Edited by des
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When I say we are all responsible for our own actions, I don't mean to imply that we always have a controlled, conscious choice in how we feel. Feelings well up inside of us unbidden and uncontrolled, which is what makes them feelings.

 

I'd agree that we can't act in isolation from our situations, but I also think that in any given situation we have CHOICES. I think that perhaps yes, the raw material we are handed is ours to make what we MIGHT of it. Perhaps that is how God exists in time. Why not that rather than something else? I think that perhaps the evolving of the universe is a "joint" effort.

 

I could say that God's grace is necessary to make those "correct" choices, but putting it in those words simplifies my rather complicated Hegelian ontology. ;)

 

Unified field of consciousness or not (which I actually agree with), basically I think humans pass the buck too much. "The Devil made me do it." "The prozac made me do it." "The twinkies made do it." "Fundamentalism made me do it." "God pre-determined I would do it." "I'm gonna sue you because your food made me fat." "I'm gonna sue you because your coffee was hot and burned my lap." :rolleyes:

 

 

:D

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I hope nothing I said sounded like buck-passing. The idea was that responsibility is always a joint effort, but we certainly have our share. In many ways, you have more responsibility in this scheme, because you are also partially responsible for the ways in which you influence the feelings and actions of others. It isn't just that other people are part of your responsibility context; you're also part of theirs.

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I hope nothing I said sounded like buck-passing.  The idea was that responsibility is always a joint effort, but we certainly have our share.  In many ways, you have more responsibility in this scheme, because you are also partially responsible for the ways in which you influence the feelings and actions of others.  It isn't just that other people are part of your responsibility context; you're also part of theirs.

 

No, I don't think you were championing "buck passing." :) I just wanted to clarify that yes, some people have legitimate "mental issues" that may make them more likely to act in certain ways.

 

However, I feel that the, dare I say postmodern, attitude, that "It's not my fault" is being over-used today. It "cheapens" the experiences, feelings and actions of those that basically, have a "good excuse" for their poor behaviour. I guess that those that use the twinky-defense could REALLY believe in it, but I'm more inclined to believe that a good defense strategist put it in their mind.

 

I totally agree that responsibility is a joint effort. I've been reading Scott Peck and really appreciate his focus on the true meaning of "Love" - concern and active involvement in the spiritual growth of others.

 

PS - you keeps bopping in to read as I'm editing. ;) Oops.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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PS - you keeps bopping in to read as I'm editing.  ;)  Oops.

No worries. :)

 

However, I feel that the, dare I say postmodern, attitude, that "It's not my fault" is being over-used today. It "cheapens" the experiences, feelings and actions of those that basically, have a "good excuse" for their poor behaviour. I guess that those that use the twinky-defense could REALLY believe in it, but I'm more inclined to believe that a good defense strategist put it in their mind.

Yes, there are definitely different degrees of control and choice-making capacity going on here. A person with a purely physical incapacity (severe childhood abuse or neglect that impairs brain development, a mental disorder, etc.) will have the most severe difficulty making authentic choices. A person with a psychological or emotional incapacity has a better shot at overcoming those deficiencies (with support and help), but still has a hard road to climb. But, from a transformational spirituality perspective, rationalizations based on our perceived needs, desires, and experiences -- the "twinkie defense" and its variations -- are exactly what constitute the more subtle disease known as ego-attachment!

 

Our culture doesn't see this as a "disease" because it's our dominant level of consciousness -- who wants to call something everybody has, a disease? It's not a rationalization or an excuse; it's a diagnosis. But it's still an impairment of choice-making capacity. We can't stop rationalizing while we're still bound to the ego, because the ego persists by means of rationalizing. Sure, a better ego will make relatively better choices, but it will always make egoic choices, and there is a hard limit to how much even the best of egoic choices can help us.

 

I'm guessing this isn't going to convince darby though. ;)

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But, from a transformational spirituality perspective, rationalizations based on our perceived needs, desires, and experiences -- the "twinkie defense" and its variations -- are exactly what constitute the more subtle disease known as ego-attachment!

 

Ah, I see what you're saying now. It's not that defenses such as the twinkie defense are valid, but it's that the whole disease that gives rise to such ideas as the twinkie defense is an actual disease (ego attatchment). Yes, I agree.

 

Our culture doesn't see this as a "disease" because it's our dominant level of consciousness -- who wants to call something everybody has, a disease? It's not a rationalization or an excuse; it's a diagnosis. But it's still an impairment of choice-making capacity. We can't stop rationalizing while we're still bound to the ego, because the ego persists by means of rationalizing. Sure, a better ego will make relatively better choices, but it will always make egoic choices, and there is a hard limit to how much even the best of egoic choices can help us.

 

I guess in ranting against what I think is the idiocy of such a defense, I'm actually ranting against the problems that ego-attatchment causes. I do see ego attatchment as a disease. Actually, I think selfishness and ego-attatchement are the "original sin" and the fall, respectively.

 

Mankind operates under this sin and it certainly makes following Christ difficult (perhaps impossible?) Perhaps this is where "Prevenient Grace" comes in. Do we, as humans dealing with "original sin," have the ability to overcome this state on our own? Via prevenient grace (which all have)? Or is it all "determined" (election)?

 

I'm guessing this isn't going to convince darby though.

 

I am willing to bet that the inability to choose to do right without some sort of help wouldn't be an idea at all foreign to Darby. Eh Darby?

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I'm guessing this isn't going to convince darby though.

 

OK, I'll bite :)

 

I'm not so sure that I'm convinced or not....it's more of a feeling of "who cares?" It might make for a nice philosophical discussion. But when my daughter (who turns one on the 28th!) goes on her first date in 16 or 17 years, I don't really care what "disease" the young man taking her out has....or what "raw material" he brings to the table....or what his initial formation was. All I know is, he better have her home at the exact minute I tell him, and not one minute late! :) Ande he better not drink and then drive her home. And I will hold HIM responsible for the choices he makes. (I'll hold my daughter and sons responsible for the decisions they make as well).

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All I know is, he better have her home at the exact minute I tell him, and not one minute late! :)  Ande he better not drink and then drive her home.  And I will hold HIM responsible for the choices he makes.

Heh. Well, yeah. For practical purposes, we assume that people are capable of making these kinds of choices, without delving too much into the underworld of how it all works. When I'm driving my car to work, I don't think too much about the physics of it, until something unexpected happens.

 

I also expect that you'll personally judge whether he's capable of bringing her home sober and on time, before you let him take her out, too. B)

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I guess in ranting against what I think is the idiocy of such a defense, I'm actually ranting against the problems that ego-attatchment causes. I do see ego attatchment as a disease. Actually, I think selfishness and ego-attatchement are the "original sin" and the fall, respectively.

Yup. Now we're on the same page, exactly. :D

 

Mankind operates under this sin and it certainly makes following Christ difficult (perhaps impossible?) Perhaps this is where "Prevenient Grace" comes in. Do we, as humans dealing with "original sin," have the ability to overcome this state on our own? Via prevenient grace (which all have)? Or is it all "determined" (election)?

The word "overcome" is sort of funny in this particular situation, because overcoming is heroism, which is just another layer of ego striving. We have everything we need already, that's what's funny about salvation -- it's not about acquiring something that we don't already have. There's nothing we can do to be saved, because it's impossible to become un-saved. The ego creates the drama of fall and redemption in the first place. But what you're saying is correct, in the sense that we don't have the "ability to overcome" -- because no such ability exists. Like Alan Watts used to say, it's like trying to bite your teeth. You already are what you're striving to become. So getting out of the fallen situation is a bit of a paradox!

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The word "overcome" is sort of funny in this particular situation, because overcoming is heroism, which is just another layer of ego striving. 

 

Right. That is actually the point I had in mind. We can't "overcome." In the same spirit, I'd say we can't "let go" either.

 

The situation is we are ego-attatched. So now what?

 

We have everything we need already, that's what's funny about salvation -- it's not about acquiring something that we don't already have. There's nothing we can do to be saved, because it's impossible to become un-saved.

 

I agree with this in theory, but where does that leave us? I'm all right and you're all right? Everyone is saved so we are all alright? We can't overcome our egos. We can't let go our egos, because all such actions are ego driven.

 

Where does the state of being saved (but not seeing it) leave us, if all our actions, even kenotic emptying, are ego driven?

 

So getting out of the fallen situation is a bit of a paradox!

 

It's a paradox, but obviously people (even Ken Wilber) make an attempt to transcend the paradox. How, what, where, when? Do we just let the universe play itself out? I think it has to be more than that and I think it's also infinitely simpler than we think it is. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Right. That is actually the point I had in mind. We can't "overcome." In the same spirit, I'd say we can't "let go" either.

 

The situation is we are ego-attatched. So now what?

 

... I'm all right and you're all right? Everyone is saved so we are all alright? We can't overcome our egos. We can't let go our egos, because all such actions are ego driven.

Yup, that's the situation. :D

 

It's a paradox, but obviously people (even Ken Wilber) make an attempt to transcend the paradox. How, what, where, when? Do we just let the universe play itself out? I think it has to be more than that and I think it's also infinitely simpler than we think it is.  :)

Wilber draws mainly on Buddhism here: all forms of striving for awakening, by way of conceptualization, meditation, activity, etc. are ultimately pointless -- but sometimes they have the side-effect of causing us to crash headlong into the paradox and realize that the problem never actually existed. Zen forms of meditation are, in fact, specifically engineered to accomplish this purpose -- to disarm logic and reason just long enough to enable us to peer into the beyond. But we shouldn't think of that disarming as an effort or an action.

 

We must let the universe play itself out, what choice do we have? And part of the universe playing itself out is us striving with all our might until we finally explode from exhaustion and wake up. Or maybe just look at a beautiful snowfall, or a newborn baby, or the ocean, and wake up. Either way, nobody knows exactly why it happens, because nothing causes it. You can't cause the Uncaused.

 

If that makes any sense, then I'm probably explaining it wrong. B)

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Wilber draws mainly on Buddhism here: all forms of striving for awakening, by way of conceptualization, meditation, activity, etc. are ultimately pointless -- but sometimes they have the side-effect of causing us to crash headlong into the paradox and realize that the problem never actually existed.  Zen forms of meditation are, in fact, specifically engineered to accomplish this purpose -- to disarm logic and reason just long enough to enable us to peer into the beyond.  But we shouldn't think of that disarming as an effort or an action.

 

If such activities can have the side-effect of causing us to glimpse "the beyond," then how are such activities pointless? :)

 

Are we (1) just along for the ride or can we (2) participate somehow, in the ride?

 

There is no empirical or philosophical proof that one of the above views is true, while the other is false. I choose to believe that we are called to actively participate in the unfolding of the universe. The first option, I think, leads to relativism.

 

We must let the universe play itself out, what choice do we have?  And part of the universe playing itself out is us striving with all our might until we finally explode from exhaustion and wake up.

 

I agree that we must let the universe play itself out. We don't seem to have the option of saying "I'd like to get off now." I don't even think death would give us that.

 

And when I said above that I think we are called to participate in the unfolding of the universe, I didn't mean it as a "striving," (just for clarification). Many people do strive, obviously. But I don't think waking up is the realization that we are just along for the ride and must let the universe do it's thing. I think waking up entails realizing that the universe is going somewhere, and that we can be part of that proactively, rather than being dragged along, willy nilly.

 

It's funny how dialectics plays into everything isn't it? The Christian Thesis seems to be that God is a personal, manlike being that is involved supernaturally, from above, in human affairs. The Antithesis seems to be that the universe is divine, that we are all God, that the whole universe is God, and that there is no "personal" God as the term in commonly understood. Over-reaction begets over-reaction begets over-reaction.

 

I think waking up doesn't entail going way over to the other side, but in the synthesis.

 

If that makes any sense, then I'm probably explaining it wrong.

 

Yeah, me too. ;)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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If such activities can have the side-effect of causing us to glimpse "the beyond," then how are such activities pointless?  :)

Picky picky. ;) What I mean is that they don't cause awakening.

 

Are we (1) just along for the ride or can we (2) participate somehow, in the ride?

Yes. :D

 

To the extent that we are still asleep, grinding our wheels attempting to regain what we've never lost, we are pretty much along for the ride, I think. When the True Self awakens, however, which is Christ in us, we realize that we woke ourselves up precisely when and where and how we chose to, and that we now have responsibility for our existence in ways that we never imagined possible.

 

There! I knew I could tie it all back in to the original topic!

 

It's funny how dialectics plays into everything isn't it? The Christian Thesis seems to be that God is a personal, manlike being that is involved supernaturally, from above, in human affairs. The Antithesis seems to be that the universe is divine, that we are all God, that the whole universe is God, and that there is no "personal" God as the term in commonly understood. Over-reaction begets over-reaction begets over-reaction.

 

I think waking up doesn't entail going way over to the other side, but in the synthesis.

Hmm, I'm not sure I see how "the universe is divine" is the opposite of "God is a personal, supernaturally involved being." Different, but not opposite. I think the opposition you're getting at is between "the universe is natural" and "the universe is divine"? Yes, this is a paradox that forces us to rethink everything we think we know about who we are! And there may not be a conceptual resolution, so much as a resolution that occurs experientially in unitive awareness.

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Picky picky.

Pot, kettle, black. :P Hehehehe. :lol:

To the extent that we are still asleep, grinding our wheels attempting to regain what we've never lost, we are pretty much along for the ride, I think.

Why would someone be attempting to gain salvation if they are asleep (and don't know that they did or did not lose it)? Yeah, I know, picky picky. ;) If someone is trying to regain salvation, I'd say they are "awake" enough to at least have asked some questions and try to find some answers.

When the True Self awakens, however, which is Christ in us, we realize that we woke ourselves up precisely when and where and how we chose to, and that we now have responsibility for our existence in ways that we never imagined possible.

You are a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in an invisibility cloak! :blink: How do we wake ourselves up? I thought there wasn't anything we could do?

 

We've come back around to the questions I asked earlier: Do we, as humans dealing with being "fallen" (ego blinded), have the ability to wake up on our own? Or does it take something akin to prevenient grace (which all have necessarily)? Or is it all "determined" (election)?

 

I wasn't really asking questions or making statements about salvation per se, as much as asking whether we do something to ourselves to wake ourselves up, or if some sort of "divine intervention" is needed IN ORDER for us to even contemplate such an idea as "waking ourselves up" and "salvation."

 

That ties in to the OP and the question of responsibility. Just how determistic is the universe and where does moral responsibility and free will enter into the equasion?

 

Hmm, I'm not sure I see how "the universe is divine" is the opposite of "God is a personal, supernaturally involved being." Different, but not opposite. I think the opposition you're getting at is between "the universe is natural" and "the universe is divine"?

 

I actually wasn't positing opposites. I was discussing the thought and counter thought to various propositions about God based upon the following definition of dialectic:

 

"On Hegel's understanding of dialectic, one examines a position or state of affairs and discovers within it problems and contradictions that allow one to take a new position or set up a new state of affairs that incorporates responses to those problems or contradictions. Hegel's notion of dialectic is often described as a process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis though he did not use those terms himself and though his understanding of dialectic cannot be reduced to that triadic pattern."

 

The "new position" that is taken up based on a previous position need not be polar-opposition, but it is recognized that the new position is generally an over-reaction.

 

Thesis: God is a person and we must use personal, anthropomorphic language to describe him, and offer him sacrifices, and believe he lives on a mountain.

 

Antithesis: God is not a person. In fact, we shouldn't ever use anthropomorphic language to describe God, don't talk to God, and don't believe God even hears us. That's how much God is NOT a person.

 

OR

 

Thesis: The universe is wholly seperate from God. We are autonomous entities, sinful, and God can't even bear to look at us.

 

Antithesis: The universe is wholly God. We are not autonomous entities, but are actually Godself, and the process of history is simply the product of a single entity, God.

 

My point was, basically, that as much as I appreciate current philosophical thought, I see in it an over-reaction to what has come before it. But hey, that is ok, because if Hegel is right, we are on our way to a Synthesis of the old and the new anyway. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Why would someone be attempting to gain salvation if they are asleep (and don't know that they did or did not lose it)? Yeah, I know, picky picky.  ;)

Well, I don't mean literally unconscious. I mean unaware of our union with God. "You're living in a dream world, Neo."

 

You are a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in an invisibility cloak! :blink:

Why, thank you. :ph34r:

 

How do we wake ourselves up? I thought there wasn't anything we could do?

There's nothing that your sleeping self can do in the sphere of activity or effort. Christ wakes you up -- but then Christ has always been your True Self anyway, hence the somewhat paradoxical concept of waking yourself up without actually doing anything, and then realizing that you were doing it all along. (Perhaps this plugs into your query whether God wakes us up, or whether we need to actually do anything? My answer: Yes, of course.) Hey, I didn't say it made logical sense! I'm improvising on a paradox here.

 

:D

 

I actually wasn't positing opposites. I was discussing the thought and counter thought to various propositions about God based upon the following definition of dialectic: ...

Heh, I was going to reply originally and say that you had two different sets of antitheses wrapped up in there, but decided to cut it short for brevity' sake. Then you responded with exactly what I was going to say!

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Well, I don't mean literally unconscious. I mean unaware of our union with God. "You're living in a dream world, Neo."

I knew you didn't mean it LITERALLY. But still, there seemed to be contradiction there, by saying that "To the extent that we are still asleep, grinding our wheels attempting to regain..."

 

I wouldn't think that anyone living in a dream world would be "attempting to regain" anything. Using the Matrix as an example. Most in the Matrix weren't trying to regain the lost city of Zion. They couldn't. They didn't even know it existed.

Christ wakes you up -- but then Christ has always been your True Self anyway, hence the somewhat paradoxical concept of waking yourself up without actually doing anything, and then realizing that you were doing it all along. (Perhaps this plugs into your query whether God wakes us up, or whether we need to actually do anything? My answer: Yes, of course.)

Yes, this does fit in with my query. I was hoping the conversation would eventually end up here. I'd say yes, Christ is my true self, but not "only" that (not pantheism). Meaning, I believe we are us (finite) with Christ's spirit, God's spirit (infinite), within us. In a way, we wake ourselves up, but in another way, God does. I think it's participatory both inward and outward.

Heh, I was going to reply originally and say that you had two different sets of antitheses wrapped up in there, but decided to cut it short for brevity' sake. Then you responded with exactly what I was going to say!

I didn't describe my thoughts well the first time thru, but I wouldn't say I had two antitheses in there. I'm saying that the overall Thesis that is today's popular Christianity, has been responed to by an Antithesis, that has thrown the "personal God" baby out the window, with the "God is a person" bathwater. They aren't the same. :)

 

I didn't mean for this to go so off topic. :huh: Sorry Darby.

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