|But I go further than this. There is a more specific identity of the psyche with the christos. I do this out of logical/historical necessity. The mythos surrounding the X-event is simply an historically unavoidable nexus of archetypes. No other event in history comes close to matching the semiotic density that has been ascribed to this one. There are many other teachings and scriptures, but none claim or even pretend to be so personally grounded. Christianity is indisputably a personality cult. Its claims on the psyche are unequalled. If there is a mythic coherence, if there is a metanarrative involving human history, there are no other contenders. Unless one is prepared to reinvent the mythic wheel, we must be prepared to go along with what is so evidently a given.
This, in a nutshell, is an argument for the X/christos/anthropos. If you have a more coherent scheme, it is time to place your bet. History rides on the outcome.
X is the nexus of AZO/X/QRP. We see here the macro/meso/microcosm. The zodiacal Z is certainly a strong nod back to the Zoocosm, but there is no historicity comparable to the incarnation. The Z is the primal circuit of the psyche. I can hardly avoid the apt rendition of 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds'. That 'Lucy' may also be the name of our mitochondrial, hominoidal Eve may be the closest we get to a scientific incarnation.
Originally I took Z for Sol, but this was too limited in its scope. Its brute nature does not conform with the minimalist creation scheme of the BPW. One could do worse than envision a creation sequence of Zodiac, Luna, then Sol. Heliotropism kicks in only in the latter phase. The common connection made between deep space and the psyche is probably no accident.
Taking Alpha and Omega as the extremes of the primal psyche-circuit of the Zoocosm, is nothing very radical. Alpha and Omega are the seeds of the metanarrative when history is viewed from a progressive, covenantal perspective. Can the BPW offer any less than a salvation economy? That X is also identified with the A&O, but mainly with the Omega, can hardly be a surprise. This short shrift may do for now, as I wish to turn to the microcosm.
Where we first had Sun & Atom, we now have Z & QRP. Much of our Logos is riding on Q, R & P. This is our contact with science, mainly via mathematical physics. But right now it looks more like manana.
Let's take it from the top again. I postulate the spontaneous symmetry breaking of the totipotency of the Matrix into a zoomorphic collection of psyches. These recombine into a semi-stable zodiacal/ouroboric circuit with the symmetry break now focused on the head/tail, Alpha/Omega gap. This polarity is the primal duality. The 'air gap' in the nearly complete 'magnetic' circuit becomes the basis of a temporal direction. The logos of this gap is also the christos. The christos is both the efficient and final cause of the gap. Thusly is implanted our salvific economy, from the very beginning. The salvific dialectic is virtually the precondition of history. Thus do we have Z, A, O & X, right off the mark. Q, R & P are more of a stretch.
What are the common traits and relations between Q, R & P? They occupy the borderland between subject and object. They are essentially normative, each in its own fashion. The biologic/metabolic cycle, R, is a prototype for the Quantum measurement. Under proper conditions it is a primitive recording device. Thus there is a mutual dependence between Q & R. R is the microcosmic analog of Z.
Q, R & P exhibit crucial symmetries. Quantum logic is the basis for most of the many symmetries and conservation laws of physics, viz. the theorem of Emmy Noether. Thereby enters substantiality into physics. Stable atoms are a direct consequence. The (molecular) measuring cycles of R complete the quantum measurement bootstrap. Many 'quantum' philosophers suppose that this bootstrap is the basis of global teleology. I demur. Pi is my counterweight. It is my logos, even christos, in its own context. Through it the anthropos crucially enters the telic bootstrap.
All roads lead back to Pi and its singular relation to the christos. If I could bequeath anything to the world, it would be a renewed appreciation for this fact. First, glance back at 12/20 & 21. Yes, I am saying that Pi is the number of Jesus. You cannot understand one without understanding the other. This is a radical statement. Perhaps better than any other, it sums up the philosophy of the BPW. This is all about the reenchantment of the world. Others talk about doing this, but here you can see it being done in real time with all the vengeance of immaterialism finally overcoming matter.
Pi is the Achilles heel of materialism: its jugular, to be more specific. It was Archimedes who said, 'Give me a fulcrum and I will move the world.' Well, Archie, here it is at last. It was right under our noses all this time. Do I detect skepticism? From the frying pan of zodiacal astrology, I jump into the fire of numerology. But if we are ever to reenchant the world, what else can a body do? Yes, Pi is no more or less teleological than a biological cell. (See 10/30 &ff, 10/13, 9/27 &ff, and other related entries, i.e. Pi anxiety)
It is the Platonic absolutists who have done the most to disenchant Pi. The same absolutism notoriously subverted Christianity. Luther, Hegel, Adam Smith and Mohammed are just a few of its victims. Scientific materialism is just the (very) last chapter in that sorry legacy. But, with a nod to the BPW, we would not be here now were it not for this legacy. There may be many dialectics, but there is ever only one legacy.
The crux of the matter lies in the anecdote of the freely drawn prefect circle, and also in our attempts to compute away our Pi anxiety. Yes, we are afraid of ghosts, and especially of any Koestlerian 'ghost in the machine' (69,000 hits).
Pi is the anchor of materialism. Nothing in the world has been or can be more precisely fixed. We've got this one nailed down, Baby! I demur. It's all in our mind. Yes, let's watch as the ground begins to shift beneath our feet.
There are no absolutes in the BPW. The closest to such would be cosmic love. Pi's pretense to absolutism stands to be revealed.
Knowledge of anything lies only in its proper usage. To be is to relate, is to be useful. This is pragmatism and utilitarianism where the ends are eschatological and transcendental. The final knowledge and being of Pi vastly outstrips any recitation of its digits, a mere exercise in syntax, with little or no semantic value. Pi is substantial only to the degree that it contributes finally to cosmic love, and I suggest that degree may be far from inconsequential.
Despite much opinion to the contrary, Pi is has much more to do with quality than quantity; although, in the end, it will hardly be possible to distinguish the two. Much of its ultimate quality remains hidden. That it may turn out to be the organic nexus of all math, could stand to revolutionize our conception of Pi. Anything that is useful will be pliable in the hands of the user.
The numerical value of any quantity exists only in relation to other known quantities. The first billion digits of Pi are a pure abstraction, without any intrinsic meaning beyond that to which they might be assigned by some convention or another. An atom at the center of the earth exists to the degree that it influences the gravitational field at the surface. The billionth digit of Pi has not even that much influence, and certainly not as an individual.
A principal influence of Pi is to be found in the syzygy: e^i*pi = -1, a configuration that was not even a gleam in the eyes of Pi's 'discoverers'. Note that its influence here arises only in conjunction with the other quantities that participate in the context. There is no such thing as an intrinsic or essential quantity. That the same goes for qualities is hardly controversial, but we have lately fallen into the habit of thinking of quantity as quite distinct from quality.
We cannot learn one new fact without modifying every other fact we have ever learned. Some epistemologists suppose that this constitutes an insuperable paradox for holism. The fixity of the billionth digit of Pi would be their exhibit A. Holism is a problem only for the non-vitalist, not for the vitalist or panpsychist.
Knowledge, like everything else, is alive. It moves, it 'evolves': all of it together, not just particular parts. Are there no eternal truths. None, other than cosmic love, and that exists eternally only to the degree that it is lived eternally. By the same token, nothing of value need ever be lost. Yes, each one of us has only a tenuous grip on parts of the eternal truth. Riding that beast is the task of a lifetime.
Cosmic intelligence is like the software of an object oriented parallel processing system. Its infinitely distributed intelligent agents are constantly reconfiguring and reconstructing themselves. Pi is no exception. Pi is another, albeit transcendentally important, chip off the cosmic spirit. It all comes from the same place, and it all ends up there, in perfectly seamless fashion. That is the one eternal verity. That is the beginning and end of all coherence. When we can see the world as Beethoven once saw his Fifth symphony, in one eternal flash, then our job will be done. The Pi we know today is just a pale shadow of its true Self.
Permit me to append a personal communication:
The Matrix as the 'uncreated heaven' and 'cosmic womb' sounds right to me. This is also not unlike the Hindu concept of Nirvana. I see it as the source and ground of all being: pure potentiality, fecundity. It has a feminine connotation, naturally.
Out of the Matrix emerges a primal psychical circuit. This is the original pantheon including zoomorphic psyches, not unlike the zodiacal powers and principalities. These spontaneously organize under the aegis or sign of cosmic love, and this is where the Christos emerges as the preeminent entity. Assume a mixture of genders herein.
Thus we have something like: Matrix -> zodiacal/Logos -> Christos -> Creation proper.
We seem to be missing both Sophia and the Holy Ghost. Also there seems not to be a 'godhead', per se, but I would think that the Christos/Creator entity might be closest to a 'godhead'. I do not see truly distinct forms at these stages. It is still very much a spectrum. With my AZO/X/QRP scheme, I struggle to maintain as much fluidity as possible, even with respect to the entity I arbitrarily designate as 'P' or 'Pi'. What we think of as '3.14...' is a very pale shadow of the living Archetype that is 'Pi'. A, X & P are the core of the Logos, while O, Q & R relate back more to the Matrix. Z is a mixed bag and even less formal than the others. It is almost pure(ly) dialectic.
'Pi' may come closest to pure intellect and wisdom. If there were a Bible 'code', this would be it. The other archetypes are more functionally identified.
My tentative suggestion is that Sophia ~= P. The HG might be subsumed as the dialectic of Z. In the mathematical context it is the sqrt (-1) = i. But recall that the HG is also the Spirit of Truth which, in its turn, reflects Sophia.
A principal point here is that the main archetypes are moving targets. Trying too hard to pin them down is to commit idolatry, Platonism, absolutism. All that you and I can offer is the occasional snap-shot, meant for purely pedagogical purposes. The above dialectic is true of any meaningful relationship in which there is constant give and take, role playing and the like.
All I am aiming for is a minimal identification, and only then as it promotes an understanding of the cosmic dynamic. No eternal verity can or need restrict any living power. Nor need any pedagogical scheme impinge upon anyone's personal relation with the higher powers. The love engendered thereby demonstrates what the most thoughtful words can only dimly echo.
The least discussed of the archetypes is Q. Following yesterday's communication I am inclined to associate it with the dialectic, picking up this topic from above and on the previous page.
Hegel's great bequest may well be his (transcendental?) dialectic (246,000 hits), though he might not recognize all of its progeny. What is it? What is it to become?
The great dialectician was Socrates: argumentative questioning in the ferreting out of truth. The Socratic tradition appears unique in the world, inclined mainly to the West. It stands in opposition to the mono-logic of rhetoric. The dialectic finds itself refurbished in Kant's hands where his transcendental version of it is used to defeat the speculative pretensions and excesses of theology. Hegel, not to be deterred, makes his transcendental dialectic the basis of his cosmology. Here I take my cue from Hegel.
Hegel used the dialectic to support his absolute idealism. I use it to defeat absolutism, following Martin Buber and existential theology.
Dialectical dynamics avoids Platonic stasis. I posit but one eternal verity. Lesser existence is not lost, it is merely subsumed, as the musical notes are subsumed by a symphony. The notes are transparent to the final effect. The final effect is the dynamical gestalt.
Existence is relational and psychical. Psychical existence is dynamical and dialectical. The 'internal monolog' is always a dialog. Gestalts are meant to be switched until the transcendental limit of coherence is grasped. The switch from materialism to immaterialism portends to be singular in its scope.
The closest that the dialectic comes to personification is as the third person of the trinity. The Matrix achieves a similar personification as the Mother of God. I oppose my personalism to the impersonalism of Hegel.
The nearest that the dialectic comes to specification is as the 'imaginary' iota in e^i*pi = -1. It enters physics as the quantum of uncertainty, placing it in a role that remains ontologically obscure.
In biology the dialectic takes the form of the metabolic cycle, 'R'. It is also the basis of the ouroboric A, Z & O archetypes.
Have I gone overboard with the dialectic?
Let me please follow up with Sophia. The above mentioned correspondent and I have discussed her in the past. My most significant spiritual encounter was with an entity of a similar quality. What are we to do with her? Is she being left out?
My tentative suggestion was to have her be subsumed by M & P, i.e. by the Matrix and Pi. Is this not doing her justice? I picked up the Christmas issue of the Economist. Mary was on the cover. Her special connection to Islam was being touted. It seems that there may be a message here. Why not just add Mary/Sophia to the pantheon along side of X, christos? Easier said than done.
The X event is essentially singular. This has to do with the singularity of the BPW. There have been many well-meaning attempts to provide the christ with heavenly and earthly consorts. Do we not jeopardize the Tao by failing to balance the yin and yang? Where is the dialectic?
My best answer at this point is that, in the BPW, balance only serves function. Balance is not an end in itself. The dialectic is an unstable equilibrium. Balance and stability would be tantamount to death. The Matrix is not the Tao. The Matrix is unstable with respect to emergence. X is the primary and singular emergence. X is the cosmic hinge/fulcrum. X & M can never be in balance. The battle of the sexes is essential to history. The resolution can only be eschatological and transcendental.
With regard to the BPW, the trinity has been modified: M, X & HG/SoT. The son has replaced the father. Yes, Christ's conception was even metaphysically immaculate. I have suggested that the holy ghost be considered as a personalized dialectic. For that persona I would suggest Mary/Sophia. How does this square with the archetypes: AZO/X/QRP? Are not the Matrix and the Dialectic both missing? The simple answer is that M & D, being pure potentiality and pure function, respectively, are neither one archetypal. They are the primal pair from and by which the archetypes logically emerge. Ontological priority is thereby being given to the feminine, it would seem. The BPW is her emergent consort. Sophia is the midwife. The only qualm here might be that the feminine is made less personal than the Christ. I would say that it does seem to be a bit more diffuse, but then that was part of the quality that I experienced of Sophia.
As with every other topic here, there can only be provisional resolution.
Yesterday I started out with Q, but then got sidetracked onto the dialectic. Among the archetypes, the Quantum, along with Z, perhaps, comes closest to expressing the pure functionality of the dialectic. What emerges out of Q's dialectic is metabolism as here represented by R, the self-reproducing, self-recording biological cycle.
Q is also responsible for the microscopic emergence of mathematical physics. The mathematical aspect of Q is represented by the 'trinitarian' syzygy of e^i*pi = -1. Using the previous symbols, this could be expressed as m^d*x. The instability appears in the negative unit.
Pi is the stalking/Trojan horse that smuggles every mathematical/physical symmetry into the dialectic of Q. This is not unlike the redemptive role of X within history.
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[Note that the most recent additions, in the form of a weblog, appear grouped in chronological order near the top of this page.]
Here you have it in a nutshell. If you have a familiarity with these four topics as treated herein, you may claim to have an overview of my philosophy, for better or worse. Please note the three separate introductory pages under each major topic as well as the Introduction. As of just now I would point to Introduction to God (part 2) as nearest to the crux of the issues being treated here. [4/21/05 - Now also consider this.]
The idea of the BPW is the logical start and finish. We like to complain about things, and with much cause, but that hardly proves that this is not the best possible world.
If any part of this world turns out not to be explained by just atoms swerving in the dark, then, hallelujah, none of it need be so explained. Then we are permitted to turn our metaphysical attention from Newton to Leibniz, the originator of the BPW concept. End of story, almost.
Taking the leap from materialism to immaterialism opens the door to the gestalt of a world stood on its head, and to almost every other possibility including, of course, the BPW possibility.
In questioning the authority of atoms, we consider reductionism vs. relationalism. It is hard to see how reductionism still retains as much influence as it does. We press ahead to the relational view associated with immaterialism and idealism. Coherence wins the day. Is anyone rooting for incoherence?
If the atoms are not in charge, and naturalism is on shaky ground, to what do we turn? How about to the Self and thence to the supernatural? It may not be your father's God, but she will do in a pinch. It will justify our consideration of the BPW. We take up the all revealing issue of concealment.
And finally the Big Story. I don't want to give away too much, but it does have a beginning, middle and end. It is a participatory drama in three acts and no intermissions. It might behoove us to have a strategy regarding our participation. Just a thought.
An annotated contents (old)
Best Possible World (start)
Several divergent thoughts seem to converge on a singular crisis. First, let me draw your attention to Elaine Pagels' Beyond Belief (2003), and 'Edmund Husserl and the Crisis of Western Science' by Thomas Molnar (1988). I bring these up in connection with my thoughts regarding Sophia. Why can I not do with Jesus what I have done with Sophia: defuse and diffuse the charisma? There is going to be much pressure to ditch the X in AZO/X/QRP. How shall we handle it? This is hardly a sectarian crisis. It is rather a crisis of cosmic proportions. It has everything to do with the crisis of science. It has everything to do with the future of ontology and epistemology.
Here is Tom:
To the question: "What went wrong?" the frequent answer is that it was inscribed in the nature of the Western, Greco-Christian project that it would end in modernity, nihilism, desacralization. The Islamologist Henry Corbin is perhaps the most radical exponent of this Muslim view: Christ's incarnation obliged the church to plunge into the vicissitudes of history, with its conflicts and shifts of power, which finally brought the church's own secularization. Today the world is homeless; it is torn by ideologies, all of them intent on remaking history and man.
Yes, are we not in the death throes of a singular personality cult?
The crisis of science has been its failure, for all of its objectification, to find any objects. Its legacy beyond technology is a fragmenting subjectivity. Into that vacuum of meaning flows mysticism and absolutism.
Against the tide of mysticism and absolutism, Elaine proposes gnosticism. We seek to know the universal God, the divine spark within. I subscribe to that. Jesus was our greatest exponent of universal Gnosis. Period? That is the question of the hour.
Well, what then do we make of history? May not God also be found in history? If not, then what is the point of it? Can God be universal and not historical? Elaine avoids this question, as does every other gnostic and mystic. If revelation does not have a social and historical dimension, we fall into a transcendental solipsism.
Hinduism has been blessed with many great teachers down through the ages, but does it not also display a singular lack of coherence? Is that a problem? It is for anyone who seeks universality. Science sought universality. Does its failure mark the end of that quest?
Let it, then, be given that if there is a cosmic intelligence it must have a social and historical dimension. History may have meaning only as a progressive and collective gnosis. This gnosis must include its own historicity. The self-concealment and self-revelation of the transcendental dimension must be played out in the dimension of time. The play must have finality. There must be a final reconciliation of creatures and Creator.
The choice is solipsism or universalism. Universalism directly invokes a redemptive history, a salvation economy.
Let us then consider God in history. Is not the Invisible Hand sufficient? Does it not keep the trains running on time? The Invisible Hand is not sufficient for reconciliation. But what about the Invisible Hand plus a solipsistic Gnosis? Would this not be the proper minimalist version of salvation? There is just a slight logistics problem. There is no provision for finality. For the eschatology to be coordinated it must be public. If one were to imagine public salvation events, surely the X-event would be an extreme of minimalism, of such a degree that its efficacy could remain in grave doubt for at least two millennia. A key to orchestrating such a minimalist salvific event was to provide it with a proper context. That the social context should be an historically 'chosen' tribe, may seem obvious only in retrospect. That the efficacy of the event could even be rejected by its nominal audience borders on the fantastic, in considering the subtlety of its orchestration. That rejection, however, certainly facilitated its subsequent universalization.
It is entirely within the specification of the event that the perpetrator would have only a vague understanding of the actual mission. The appropriate labeling would be left to the historical redactors and its self-defined recipients.
Who then was this Mr. X, a.k.a. Jesus? Just some bloke who happened to have stumbled onto the scene? It is even possible that there was no such person to begin with. The X-event might have been redacted out of whole cloth. What is the best possible answer? The only logistic requirement is that the person be a member of the given tribe.
The question might be rephrased. If there has to be a public Reconciler, who would we prefer that one to be? Would it not be most reasonable to suppose that the chosen one be especially reconciled with the Creator? Why not, then, just have the person be as closely identifiable with the Creator as is humanly/divinely possible? I see no good reason for skimping on this score. The degree to which this identification is redacted becomes a moot point. This point would matter only to the degree that we posit an epistemic/ontic divide, which is small indeed.
Now, was this either difficult or painful? Was this brain surgery, or was it a simple exercise in common sense? Why then are we having so much difficulty with our reconciliation orchestration?
The difficulty seems to have been built into the history of monotheism. Particularly noteworthy in this regard is the history of Islam. Did Mohammed simply miss the reconciliation boat? Why Islam in the first place? There must have been some mistake.
I sincerely doubt it. We merely have to put on our reconciliation orchestration thinking caps, and then we need to backup a couple of steps.
Reconciliation is essentially eschatological. Its orchestration is tantamount to orchestrating the eschaton. In the BPW there is a Millennium for the public and universal preparation for the eschaton. The inauguration of the Millennium becomes, almost surely, the singularly critical and dramatic event of our salvation history.
We then look for a means to simplify and minimize the logistics of this most portentous inauguration. That there be a reconciliation of believers would be a foregone conclusion. That the believers be partitioned into two principal camps lends itself to all our requirements. This theological reconciliation would provide both the context and pretext for the universally anticipated final messianic event. It would effectively presage the metaphysical reconciliation.
Lots of luck! Right? What then would be an adequate version of a minimalist X2-event? I defer to Big Mo. Big Mo is the touchstone for every political operator: Momentum. I simply point out that before there is Big Mo there must be little mo. Little mo is between you and me and the Internet. If the BPW is, as it seems to be working out here, just a straight forward exercise of common sense, then little mo is just around Google's next corner.
The early Christian communities were millenarian and charismatic. These two ingredients were mutually supportive. This was arguably their first combined appearance in history, but they were to emerge repeatedly in the next two millennia. It took several centuries for the original thrust of this spiritual momentum to exhaust itself. The charisma was routinized, stagnation set in, and the dark ages ensued. The monotheistic initiative then fell to a militant Islam. It was neither charismatic nor millenarian.
The enthusiasm of the early Church was not conducive to intellectual reflection. Philosophy served only the evangel. Such was not the case with early Islam. Here a much more formal and austere theology cleared away the underbrush of pagan superstitions, while leaving the contemplative mind relatively free to reconstruct a rational order out of the detritus of the preceding cultures. This period of enlightenment eventually encountered the expanding envelope of Islamic orthodoxy, but not before its intellectual drive had spilled back over to the stagnated Christendom in the west. Thus began the second phase of Christianity, gradually blending into modernism.
In this second phase, its millenarian enthusiasm was easily resurrected and harnessed into the singular notion of historical progress. History was afforded meaning by manifesting the progressive stages of God's self-revelation, leading up to the inevitable advent of his Kingdom. Nature was soon pulled into the revelatory dynamic and was cajoled and coerced into yielding up the secrets of Creation, all the better to fathom the mind and spirit of the Creator. How else to fulfill the charismatic covenant of reconciliation than by laboring to comprehend the rationale of Creation? I submit that there was ever only a token resistance on the part of the theocrats. The gnostic impulse was comfortably channeled into the scientific enterprise, which soon took on an economic life of its own.
Yes, science has been an enormous and sustained exercise is cosmic optimism and hubris. I submit that this historical dynamic makes sense only under the aegis of a personally accessible creator, and is that not precisely the import of the X-event? Yes, Virginia, there is a psychosocial linkage. Science was no accident.
Why then do not more of us see the hand of the creator writing on the walls of science? I suspect that many do, but they have not the excuse to brag about it. I would not be here if I did not feel so excused. Being excused is no small thing. It was not that for me. There is no avoiding the concomitant messianic scent. Propriety is a remarkable restraint. Deliberately disregarding it is just another aspect of the Evangel of which we speak.
The Prime Directive is most easily followed within a spiritual vacuum. God seems quite adept at setting such a stage. The aftermath of science leaves just such a void. Indeed, it leaves an audience unprecedentedly receptive to a new and meaningful worldview, given a sufficient rationale. Many ideas rush into this space, but where is there coherence and depth? Is there to be no competition?
Islam? I don't see that it stands a chance in the tsunami that is bearing down on us. It's not what you know, finally, it's who you know.
If I am right about the psychosocial importance of the human avatar, why then did Christianity not prevail from the start? Why was there this Islamic hiatus? Was this an accident of history or was there some internal dynamic that had to be played out? Furthermore, the concept of avatar was not unique to Christianity. The Buddha is an obvious example.
What was unique to Christianity was its millenarian enthusiasm. It was this enthusiasm that had a built-in obsolescence. That it persisted for several centuries despite the lack of historical support is remarkable. That it remained just below the surface through the dark ages, ready to flourish again in the Renaissance and beyond is no less remarkable.
Why then were Islam and Buddhism able to flourish, but not able to incorporate a millenarianism? There had to be a prophetic base, and there had to be a messianic event. Siddhartha (Buddha) lacked the former and never claimed the latter. Mohammed (Muhammad) had the prophetic base, why did he not attempt to usurp the messianic mantel? He, like John Smith in our own times, was evidently not given that choice. This is no small thing. Are you a messenger, or are you the message? Jesus and Siddhartha were the message; Moses, Mohammed and John Smith were the messengers. Siddhartha was one in a supposed succession of avatars. Jesus was unprecedented.
If the notion of the Millennium is ever to be revived, Jesus will remain its messiah. But will he not have to compete with the Maitreya and the Mahdi, to name but two?
Shiism As Mahdism- Reflections On A Doctrine of Hope -- Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (11/20/03):
In the vast field of Imamology, as a cornerstone of Shiite theology, Mahdism embodies the central axis of this theology, covering the most important doctrines of Islam: theodicy, eschatology, cosmology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, Creation, and political theology. These doctrines are embodied in the philosophical and theological method (eschatology, apocalyptic motif), epistemological presupposition (resurrection and history), and anthropological implication (hope) of Mahdism . With Mahdism as the center of its system, Shiism assumes a future-oriented eschatology continually speaking the language of hope, expressing God’s self-involvement in history. Based on divine intervention, Mahdi’s indwelling nature in history, or at least the part of history known as ‘Great Occultation’, creatively addresses the issue of theodicy from the perspective of divine suffering, for it is suffering in the exile of occultation mixed with hope in close proximity to a process history that defines and re-defines an eschatological community of people in the spirit of renewal and resurrection. [...]
Here, the gap between the Mahdist concept of promise and Christian doctrine of resurrection need to be elaborated upon. In the resurrection of Christ, “the intensification of the promise finds its approach to the eschatological in the negation of death,” in other words, even death cannot set limits to the promise of God to human beings (for salvation). This is in contrast to the Jewish concept of promise that “finds its eschaton in the promise of Yahweh’s lordship over all people.” By comparison, the Mahdist promise presents itself as the epiphany of the eternal present in the world, which can be understood only as part and parcel of a transcendent subjectivity that asserts the self-concealment of Mahdi as a divine matter of “self-revelation.”
[...] The Mahdist “event,” namely, both the minor and the major occultation, is a single activity of God that orients toward the eschatological consummation of all things. Therefore, the premise of occultation and the promise of reappearance give the Shiite theological form the definitive character - History as eschatology, giving history a progressive nature. The ultimate self-disclosure of Mahdi is the moment of eschaton that overcomes the qualitative difference between time and eternity, i.e., an “eternal now” that addresses the transcendence of humanity, [...]
[...] There is an ontological division here, between the being that is in time and yet outside of it, transported by divine intervention into the temporal vehicle of the eschatological promise, paralleling historical time and conjoining with it only at the climax of history, namely divine eschatology.
This is precisely where one may find striking resemblance between the Mahdi “event” and the Christ “event,” in the sense that both convey future-embeddedness of the present, where each stage of time points forward to the final completion of time in divine glory, even the apocalyptic moment which envelopes the eschatological promise, as an aeon of a new creation.
I see no problem with this material. Nothing here would prevent a fusion of the Mahdi and christos.
Jesus of Nazareth and Maitreya the Christ -- Peter Liefhebber (Share International):
In fact, the title Christ does not refer to an individual at all. It is the name of a function in the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom, that group of advanced beings who guide the evolution of humanity from behind the scenes. Whoever stands at the head of this Hierarchy automatically becomes the World Teacher, known in the East as the Bodhisattva, during the term of his office.
Maitreya, who embodies the energy we call the Christ Principle, has held that office for over two millennia, and in Palestine he manifested himself as the Christ to inaugurate the Age of Pisces, then beginning
Who is Lord Maitreya -- George Whitten:
The world teacher as he calls himself, lord Maitreya. Lord Maitreya claims to be the one expected of by all major religions. He claims to be the Messiah that the Jews are waiting for. He claims to the Krishna who the Hindus expect to arrive. He claims to be Maitreya Buddha whom the Buddhists expect. He claims to be Imam Mahdi or the Messiah that the Muslims are looking for. But even more shocking he claims to the be Christ whom Christians are waiting for.
Masters of Wisdom - Who Are They:
Masters of Wisdom are men like us who have gone ahead of us in evolution and have now perfected themselves by the very same steps we are taking today. They have learned the every lesson the earth has to teach Them, have undergone every disappointment, humiliation, and pain, and are now members of the spiritual kingdom or the kingdom of God or Heaven. Therefore the earth has no further to offer them and most of them have moved on to other higher planets within and outside our solar system. [...]
Sixty-three of them are involved with human evolution while others are involved with the evolution of animal, plant and mineral kingdoms. According to Mr Creme fourteen of them have already returned to the everyday world and are currently living in major cities of the world. They will show humanity that every human being can one day be like them.
Maitreya, here, is the Theosophical Master waiting to emerge and bring us into the age of Aquarius. The Theosophical characterization of Maitreya, bearing more than a few traces of theodicy, has evolved significantly from its Buddhist origins. The notion of a collective spiritual evolution of humanity guided by a succession of Avatars or Bodhisattvas is creeping into the New Age versions of Buddhism. But if it is pushed too far this linear evolution runs afoul of the emphatically cyclical Buddhist cosmology.
We quickly run into the great divide between theism and pantheism: Creation. Pantheism need posit no Creator as long as it can explain the world as an endless cycle: no beginning, no ending.
Primitive cultures are replete with creation myths. Modernity is essentially characterized by the discarding of that 'primitive' notion. Pantheism is emphatically modern, then, in its disavowal of a Creator. The historical irony, or perhaps paradox, is that science might never have taken off without the presupposition of a rationally ordered Creation. On the other hand, the idea of progress, which is also essential to modernism, is antithetical to pantheism.
We must wonder why the idea of Creation simply dropped out of such a great portion of the world's religions. What could be the rationale or teleology of so significant a development? It appears that the only sensible answer is that monotheism is not a natural belief. The natural or logical progression seems rather to be from animism to polytheism to pantheism. The only countercurrent in history was the singular Prophetic tradition.
Why singular? If there is a Creator, why was she so stingy with her prophets? Why leave so much of the world in the dark for so long? What can possibly justify such pedagogical parsimony? I have spoken several times of the Prime Directive, but isn't this carrying that too far? Think of the horrendous amount of religious strife that could have been averted with just a slightly more efficient dissemination and coordination of prophecy?
Frankly, I think I had best sleep on this one. Anon.
What I am seeing here is a naturalizing of our salvation economy: it's more like a salvation ecology. It is an organic dialectic between cosmic and human intelligence. It is a mutual process where we meet half way. By this half measure, the Hebrew tribe and Jesus were self-selected. Once selected, however, there was no turning back. The reconciliatory teleology took over. It became preordained.
Such an organic process does not lend itself to duplication. It is like the process of human fertilization: twinning is a rare phenomenon. There could not be two chosen tribes, nor two saviors. We are but one world. Diversity here is priceless. Why squander our precious diversity on mere redundancy? All possible worlds exist in our imaginations. The best of these is the one we live.
There has been ample darkness before this dawning of the Millennium, but cannot and will not the new dawning remove every lingering shadow? Will any of our dear departed ones miss this great awakening? I see no conflict between our historical diversity and our future universal reconciliation. Do you?
Scientific materialism has played a crucial role in laying out the infrastructure of our salvation, but it has also been a great distraction for the spirit. As we begin to see beyond this distraction, as the spirit begins to reorganize itself, the gospel of a permanent reconciliation will be beckoning every soul. What obstacle will remain? How can we shun such an obvious source of meaning for our existence? How can our intellects avoid the snare net of cosmic coherence? Can we possibly imagine a more efficient engine of coherence than the World Wide Web upon which I now type these words of reconciliation?
Ooops! Have I neglected to mention Krishna (1,300,000 hits)?
Lord Krishna, Source of Immortal Wisdom:
And at last Lord Krishna revealed Himself before Arjuna as the source of everything, the eternal form of the Supreme, the Personality of Godhead.
Krishna was the eighth or ninth avatar of Vishnu. The future avatar is designated as Kalki (45,000 hits). He would be the tenth avatar if you (syncretically) count Buddha as the ninth. Some allege that he will be the final avatar of this aeon, the Kali Yuga. Each Yuga has four ages: Kali is the last and most depraved. Kalki will defeat this evil and usher us back to the pristine Satya Yuga, to begin the entropic decline all over again. Somehow I fail to get the point of this. But isn't it just the point that there is no point? We are encouraged to escape the wheel of illusion and meaningless rebirth so as to return to Nirvana, Brahma or the Matrix(?).
What is the difference, then, if we all end up in the same place? The most immediate difference will be the Millennium. The Millennium would likely last only a thousand years at the most, while the Satya Yuga should last 1,728,000 years. Should that not be 1,728 times as good as the Millennium?
The answer to this question is very simple. The question is, which is the best possible world? The answer is that in order for there to be a best possible world it would have to be created. If the Brahmanic world is created by Vishnu then it could be the BPW. But if that were the case, why are we admonished to leave it? We either love it or leave it. Are the Hindus claiming that it is impossible to create a lovable world? But could they not retort that we Millennialists will be forced to leave our lovable Millennium anyway; we are not even to be given a choice.
Hold on. A slight correction:
Vishnu by Alan G. Hefner
Vishnu is regarded as a major god in Hinduism and Indian mythology. He is thought as the preserver of the universe while two other major Hindu gods Brahma and Shiva, are regarded respectively, as the creator and destroyer of the universe.
[...] It is throughout this literature and especially through incarnations that Vishnu is raised to higher rankings within the Hindu pantheon. He becomes the prominent second god of the Trimurti, the Hindu Triad, while Brahma is first and Shiva is third.
The biggest difference appears to be that Christ is billed as the redeemer while Vishnu is billed as the maintainer of the world. So which would you prefer, a janitor or a savior? To each their own?
I realize that this was a cheap shot, but, really folks, religion does not have to be rocket science. These issues should not be that difficult, given a clear choice.
The great wonder is that in the whole history of religion we encounter but one redeemer. The only sensible response is: How many redeemers does it take to save the world?
You may well object to being 'saved'. Many of us style ourselves as self-made individuals. Besides the parthenogenic difficulties of such a claim, does it not express a legitimate, humane need for dignity and self-respect? The acceptance of charity often comes at the expense of self-respect. Would we wish to marry someone who merely felt sorry for us?
However, a (the?) major aspect of the BPW is its participatory nature. We are the co-creators of the world. By that same token we must also be its co-redeemers. Co-redemption requires coordination. The X&X2-events are simply the logical, preordained foci of this coordination. If you wish not to participate, that is your choice, but could that refusal be viewed as anything other than the epitome of selfishness?
What was the crisis referred to above? There is the crisis of modernity, for one. Then there is the sectarian crisis. If modernity fails to sustain itself, our first alternative is to fall back to a premodern, religious tradition. Unfortunately the religious traditions have experienced little but sectarian fragmentation in the recent centuries.
Modernity held out the promise of a single coherent worldview. This was alleged to be its main advantage over the religious traditions: it would provide a universal basis for problem solving. With that promise fading, is there any hope remaining for an alternative universal worldview?
If there is not that hope, then we face the crisis of increasingly sliding back into sectarian conflict, but now on a truly global scale.
There should be a great incentive to construct a postmodern worldview; indeed, the survival of civilization may depend upon it.
New Age syncretism is a significant step in this direction.
Syncresis, however, fails to provide coherence, depth and vision. The next logical step is synthesis. Pantheism, being syncretic in nature, does not lend itself to this task. Coherence cannot be accidental. There must be a source. The only logical source must be essentially theistic.
India has survived and even prospered for millennia on a cultural diet of pure syncretism. Why cannot this be a model for the postmodern world? The New Age movement is certainly attempting to realize and expand on this model. It is not, however, experiencing much success in penetrating the prophetic tradition. This does not imply that syncretism should be abandoned; it does imply, however, that we should be on the lookout for alternative strategies.
If we wish to elicit the spirit in response to any sort of crisis, then our only appeal is to the Evangel. That is just the agent for the quickening of a communal or global spirit. Any historically significant evangelism, however, is going to have to push the evangelical envelope either up to or beyond the messianic threshold. To fail to push on that envelope would simply be to fail to rise to the occasion of a perceived global crisis.
If these pages do not meet the above requirements, then I fail at my task. If these pages do suffice, then you and I, together, have our work cut out for us. My thesis is on the door. I await the arrival of the Evangel. You know who you are. In the meantime I continue to fill in the details, while searching the web for any like-minded individuals.
If often seems that the primary function of priests and shamans is to protect the rest of us from the spirits. A widespread attitude is that spirits and ghosts are needy beings wishing to interfere in human affairs for their own ends. For every benign angel, there is a legion of greedy ghouls. We engage professional mediums to be our intercessors with the other side mostly just to neutralize what might otherwise be its baleful influence.
Even among the more enlightened faithful, the principal motivation is likely to be the avoidance of divine wrath. Fear of the gods is still a major force in our spiritual consciousness. Having intercourse with the gods is considered risky business, if not just plain foolish.
Before my involvement with phenomenology and more recently with the Internet, I spent considerable time discussing metaphysics with scientists and academics. The biggest obstacle, of course, to any such rational dialog was to get past the gut reactions. In most cases this was simply not possible. The main response was almost always one of fear. The exact nature of the fear was usually obscure, if not obscured. Consider the possible objects of fear: of the unknown, of personal doubt and insecurity, of censure and ridicule, of not minding one's own business, of contamination, etc., and all of the above.
Ritual and obsession dominate our behavior around the things we fear and distrust. Religion is just for the purpose of routinizing our intercourse with the other side. This reduces our anxiety level. We could also speak in very similar terms of much of our scientific and technological intercourse with Nature and the Cosmos. Is it not all part of the same bag?
Then there are the mystics, gnostics, fools and geniuses who go where even the angels may fear to tread. Such are the freelancers. I certainly am the latter, but I don't seem to fit amongst the former. I am rather too dogged in my approach to this subject to qualify as any virtuoso. Some twenty-five years ago 'Sophia', in virtually subliminal fashion, indicated that there was a larger truth worthy of pursuit. It was neither an offer nor an instruction. It was more like, 'Look what you'll be doing.' Truth leaves a taste that can scarcely be forgot. Once bitten, always smitten. I would not wish this on everyone. I'm not sure I would have wished it on myself. There only ever seemed to be this one path.
Except possibly for Sophia, and an acronymous agency or two, this is just a case of WYSIWYG. I try to be concise, but I don't hold back. I use this public journal mainly in the struggle to constructively channel my thoughts. I apologize for the endemic disjointedness. If I knew where this was going, both of us would already be there. Hyperlinking stray thoughts is a barely tolerable workaround. If I don't get the chance myself, there is always the hope that an interested party will try to bring order to the chaos. My heart goes out to such a one.
Meanwhile, it does seem on occasion that there is a world out there that might be in need of saving. Someone's attempt to conjoin intellect and spirit might figure in that process. But wouldn't you think that if this were the case that God would intervene at the least just to indicate some sort of preference? Should there not be a sign or two? Well, I'm not sure that salvation would work that way in the BPW. If there is truth, then we will individually have to be able to recognize it for what it is. This is simply a case of management by objective, as opposed to management by directive. God trusts her creatures; let us do likewise.
The question of participation looms large, right about here. So right about now I take a break.
Theism has been consistently hospitable to metaphysical dualism. There are not many instances of theistic immaterialism. Here are a few: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. These instances have generally been considered heretical by the maintainers of the orthodoxy. I am not presently aware of a handy explanation for this. There is nothing in the logic of theism which requires a metaphysical separation between Creator and Creation. Permit me, then, to attempt an explanation.
Theism is marked, and many would say marred, by its attention to orthodoxy. Fundamentalism is barely conceivable in the pantheist tradition. Furthermore, while any god could be forgiven for an occasional bout of jealousy, Yahweh turned his jealousy into a commandment, his first. As I have pointed out, monotheism does not seem to be a natural state of mind for us humans. We had to be reminded of it frequently. Theism is also marked by its moral dualism and absolutism. The pantheists entertain a plethora of demons, but the concept of Satan is unique to theism. Heaven and hell are part of this same package, of course.
You must be aware by now that I am no friend of dualism, either in its metaphysical or moral aspects, which is to say that according to the BPW hypothesis, dualism is mistaken. So how come this remarkable and erroneous linkage?
It does, I believe, come back to the problem of concealment (1, 2.). The whole point of creation is separation. Creation and separation are the epitome of unnaturalness in a naturally relational, holistic world. Maintaining that separation for the duration is no mean feat. In particular, you have to watch out for those clever creatures who see through the game, and decide they've had enough. Only the person who is 'it' is allowed to shout, 'All ye, all ye come in free!' Otherwise, there would be no game.
Where there is no physical or metaphysical barrier between Creator and creature, the trick is to create a mental barrier, which is the function of religion, as outlined above. But instead of protecting us from God, this mental barrier is actually protecting God from us. God does not wish to be overrun by conscientious objectors.
But then what about all those gnostics, Christian Scientists, Shaivas, etc. who, more or less, figure out the game? Won't they make trouble? Yes, and no.
Even God cannot fool all the people all the time. There are enough of the rest of us, however, to keep the game of Creation going quite smoothly. Mostly we are adept at fooling ourselves. Once we get into a rut, it is hard to get us out of it. Furthermore we are quite adept at fear. Once the notion of fearing God has taken hold of us, we are reluctant to let it go.
The only place that God seems to have outdone herself was with the scientists. She has sure kept a lot of scientists busy and off the streets. It is in this arena that the BPW end game will have to be played out. It is just in the present availability and in the recognition of the crucial significance of this audience that the BPW strategy is unique in the long history of immaterialism. The other versions and the earlier versions of immaterialism either did not have the opportunity or have not had the inclination to tackle science on its own turf, if not quite on its own terms, as I propose here.
Yes, God has afforded herself with an impressive camouflage in the form of scientific materialism. Perhaps she has truly outdone herself. It is a conceptual barrier of formidable proportions. I must be out of my mind if I think I can even begin to make a dent in it. My only weapon is the inexorable logic of coherence. My opportunity is in the increasing awareness of the incoherence of scientific materialism.
My target audience is not the professional scientists in the first instance. It is rather the seekers of meaning who are also cognizant of science, and who are using the Internet to further that pursuit. If just a few of us could cooperate, we would constitute a phenomenon that could not be easily ignored. Then it's up to Tar Baby.
This brings us back finally to the question of participation. Unlike the pantheist world of Maya, neither science nor monotheism presents a worldview that is conducive to participation. According to the latter two, cosmogony is definitely a spectator sport: don't try it at home. It is the task of us coherentists to insinuate some of the logic of pantheist participation into this spectator mindset, without subverting the crucial theistic/coherentist focus in the process. For instance, we could take some of the quantum logic and expand it into a recipe for a participatory Millennium. This would be a first.
I am trying to hold things together here. This started out on the last page as a recap, but I keep returning to the urgency of these times. I am struck again by the Islamic view of the incarnation:
Christ's incarnation obliged the church to plunge into the vicissitudes of history, with its conflicts and shifts of power, which finally brought the church's own secularization.
[In other words, the faithful felt themselves called upon to participate in what soon came to be thought of as 'progress': facilitating the advent of a Millennial aeon on Earth.]
We should have known! But this is just my point. The believers were being called to make history.
(The 'Right to Life' people take this calling in its narrowest possible (Islamic, legalistic) sense. They see themselves as God's school master with the long stick, keeping the rest of us in line. If that is not about the grossest possible perversion of our incarnational invitation to participate wisely in the world, then heaven help us.)
It has taken us two millennia to come to this threshold of deliberate participation in Creation. [Understanding ourselves, now for the first time, to be the co-creators of the world.] It is not surprising that we hesitate to cross this Rubicon. We do need a signal. We do need to compose our thoughts. My further point is that the correct composition of our thoughts will constitute its own signal. There will be no need for further ceremony. We will recognize the Telos and our path to it. The only real crisis here is our dramatic awakening to our place on the cosmic stage.
God came all the way to be here and participate in our history with us. What are we doing to return the favor? Can we think of nothing better than to go around casting judgments on each other? Can we not, at the very least, discuss our options?
The path to our eschatological Self-realization has been fraught with twists and turns. First there has been the delicate task of producing a 'naturalized' Creation, facilitated by our unwitting participation in the maya-esque 'dream-weaving' of the world, based on a preordained set of archetypes. Then there was the inauguration and maintenance of a prophetic/incarnational/millenarian tradition. Within that tradition was fostered an increasingly secularized notion of progress. The spiritual, intellectual and social 'crisis' of modernity ensues. As we come to the brink of losing our way and stumbling, we are impelled to reconsider the ground of our being and the Source of our coherence. We re-envision the Metanarrative of history and the Telos. Getting beyond this 'crisis' requires of us only the proverbial 'mustard seed' of faith.
We now have to acquire a deeper understanding of our participation in Creation. This 'gnosis' will prepare us for our participation in the Telos/Omega/eschaton. Within the Metanarrative the gnosis was necessarily compartmentalized. In that manner the keys to Creation could be hidden in plain sight, waiting for us upon the awakening from our 'slumber of materialism'. The formerly seeming antithetical notions of maya and Creation may now be seen to invite a teleological synthesis. The incarnation of the cosmic intelligence may thereby be brought to its natural fulfillment.
I continue to find remarkable the similarities and differences between the Eastern and Western traditions of philosophy. The crisis of modernism is forcing us to examine its roots in Western philosophy and contrast that with the East.
The theistic idealism/immaterialism proposed here has been much more strongly represented in the East than in the West. What is missing in the East is the rationalism of the BPW. With the immaterialism of the East, the theistic element was optional. Theism in the East was geared mainly to popular consumption, in the form of mystical devotion. Hare Krishna springs to mind. Serious philosophy came mainly with an atheistic flavor. There has been no Eastern tradition of theology, per se, despite the popularity of theism.
Western philosophy has been indelibly influenced by two unique sources: Greece and Israel. There is nothing comparable elsewhere. Greece is the source of our rationalism, and Israel the source of our optimism. In the East, optimism was just for the masses. It was not given intellectual expression.
What is not clear to me just now is whether optimism and rationalism are two sides of the same coin, and, if so, what is the coin? Greek rationalism certainly has an optimistic color, but what is its source?
Dualism probably figures here. There is no Plato of the East. Plato's highest form or idea was the Good. From whence did this come? Now that I think about it, must there not have been an historical connection between monotheism and Platonic optimism? I am not aware that this question has been raised. And while we are on the subject of sources, how much of the theistic devotionalism in Hinduism is indigenous?
The problem of evil is endemic and unique to the West. So also is the problem of matter. Which came first, dualism or optimism? They seem closely related. How then can I throw out the dualism and keep the optimism? Why has it never happened before?
But is it not obvious that cosmic optimism requires monism? The evil must be subsumed by the good, and matter subsumed by mind. This is just the statement of monotheism. It would appear that the primary source of difference between East and West is Israel: Israel and its insufferably jealous Yahweh.
Western dualism, then, is supervenient on Western personal monism. The monism of the East remains impersonal, abstract and often negative. Personalism comes only in the form of polytheism in the East.
If monotheism is true, why is it not commonly indigenous, especially in pre-scientific cultures? Why should paganism and polytheism be globally endemic. Is this just another dimension of concealment? If God exists, she had an incredibly effective anti-publicity agent. Abraham/Yahweh got her exclusive global franchise. How was the exclusion clause so effectively enforced? There never was another Yahweh in all of history. Is this not carrying jealousy too far? I'm feeling stumped.
But there is a confusion here. Who is Yahweh? I refer to the matrix and the christos. Yahweh is neither of these. Was Yahweh just local deity who made good? How did he get linked up with M&X, ontologically and epistemologically? Should Yahweh be taken as the eighth archetype? Then there would be an X/Y gender problem. But some could complain that Yang has not been properly represented here.
Yes, Yahweh was a tribal god on steroids. Every other such god ended up in a pantheon, but not our hero. I suspect that M&X made sure that Y got plenty of spinach to eat. They had big plans for this fella. By the same token, all the other tribal gods were left to fend for themselves. They twisted slowly in the wind, until they were either blasted with the gale of monotheism, or they were farmed out in pantheonic service to an impersonal monism.
I am proposing an M, X & D [dialectic] trinity, followed by a AZO/QRP sextet. In the trinity, the only real archetype or persona is X, so the gender specificity of the christos must be muted. Y may then be subsumed by A (Alpha), whereas X subsumes the Omega, if you will forgive the apparent lack of symmetry. Z figures as a relational nexus and a prototype for the celestial, mental and metabolic cycles.
Yahweh was, and still is, the stalking horse for the christos. The christos is much too subtle to be out in front. Let Yahweh do the warrior stuff. Yahweh starts the deck clearing operation, science finishes the job. That is where we are now. There is virtually a blank slate for the X2-event.
What of the difference between Brahman and the matrix? What of it? Perhaps there is none. More specifically, Brahman has both personal and impersonal aspects. The personal part has both a male and female aspects, and each of these can be many deities. But then there is also Brahma, without the 'n', who is the first of the triune godhead along with Vishnu and Shiva, the creator, sustainer and destroyer, respectively. Krishna seems the closest to the Christ figure in Hinduism, but then there is no christos. Krishna is just one of ten incarnations of Vishnu, in this round of creation. We cannot get away from the endless round of creation and destruction. Redemption loses significance every time it is has to be repeated.
From whence comes our finality? Is it something to be embraced? Finality may look good in theory, but how will it be when we must collectively face it?
My advice is that we will need to take this one step at a time. It is still a long way from here to eternity. Yes, we have grown very comfortable with mortality, temporality and biology, but we presume that there is more to existence than this.
On the Eastern view, the eternality of the material world, in no way adds to its value. In fact, while the finite Western world is seen positively, the infinite Eastern (material) world is seen negatively. More is less, evidently. Furthermore, with the finite world, redemption necessarily becomes a corporate or communal enterprise. This then lends a transcendental value to our social relations. In the East, salvation is mainly a solitary affair. It is considered best to remove oneself from society.
There is then a strong linkage between the communal spirit and the finite world. One might have thought that this fact alone would have given the prophetic model a decisive social advantage from the beginning of history. It should have become endemic with or without external influence, but this was not to be.
It does appear that the prophetic model, like the world it purports to represent, is necessarily singular. It is a package deal that is all or nothing. No substitutions are allowed. Thus, we have not only the singularity of the world to explain, but also the singularity of its representation in history. But is this singularity not just part and parcel of the holistic, relational essence of reality? In such a world there is no interchangeability of the parts, something to which we have become accustomed in our industrial world.
To put this another way, the world and our normally accurate representation of it cannot be distinct. We have noted that immaterialism implies a theory of direct perception for individuals. The prophetic model, by the same token, implies a theory of (stimulated) direct perception on the part the (singular) spiritual community. Gnosis is surely not something merely representational. Gnosis is an immediate acquaintance with the cosmos and the personal intelligence that comprises it. Normal perception is merely more limited in scope. This is just part of the logic of our status as co-creators of this presumably mental world.
The simple fact is that a created world must be quantitatively finite, otherwise it could not be relational or holographic in its essence. Relationalism implies a governing PSR, and this principle can only have a finite scope. This brings us back to Greek rationalism and their abhorrence of the Apeiron. There is an immediate linkage between monotheism and rationalism. This places Greece right on the verge of the prophetic community. Beyond the pale of that community there was the inevitable entropic-like slide back into the Apeiron. It is only the actual finitude of the world that prevents folk from falling off the edge. Plato's non-organic rationalism is more understandable in this context. His system was a useful abstraction of agape.
There are two things to explore at this point. First is my contention that there is a natural slide from a finite to an infinite cosmos, outside of the monotheist order. Second is the theistic antipathy to the positing of a God within.
The time scale of the Hindu cosmos turns out to be much closer to the modern scientific time scale than the traditional time frame of the prophetic cosmos. This has been taken as evidence of the superiority of the Hindu system. Most theists now accept the scientific/Hindu scale. Many of these would agree that this revision takes much of the wind out of the prophetic sails. What is unclear to me is the motivation for this pre-scientific inflation of the time dimension. Could the intent have been other than anti-theistic? Was it targeted specifically against the prophetic tradition? I'm not in a position to research these questions presently. I suspect the answers to be definitely 'no', and probably 'yes', respectively.
It might be more accurate to qualify the intent as anti-millenarian. Utopian eschatology has figured strongly in the many revolutions of the West. In contrast, the Hindu caste system and Chinese Confucianism have been comparatively stable, thanks in no small measure to the lack of a popular eschatological sensibility.
The second item, however, might suggest a different picture. One would think that theism would be naturally sympathetic to the idea of a God within, but this is not true historically. This idea has been a specific target in the prosecution of gnostic and pantheist heresies.
In the East we hear that 'thou art that': Atman, the higher self, may be identified with Brahman. One achieves enlightenment by attuning to that inner sense. This is an individual endeavor, although a teacher may be helpful in the early stages. Here we see a further weakening of the social bond, something not conducive to revolutionary solidarity.
As a non-dualistic theist, I am compelled to take up the cause of Atman, or the God within. We'll need to better understand the antipathy.
The first goal for a society as for an organism is stability or homeostasis. In pre-scientific societies, the realm of the spirits played a significant role. The spiritual realm was not easily controlled, and it could be socially disruptive. Societies evolved various means for taming the spirits, usually involving religious forms. The Latin term re-Ligio suggests the binding of the spirit. Many funeral customs seem intended to restrain or divert the spirit of the departed.