The symbolic world

For intuitive and critical discussions, from spirituality to theological doctrines. Fair warning: because the subject matter is personal, moderation is strict.

Moderator: Dan~

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:11 pm

Bob wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Harris has a book out entitled "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion." I'll bet that wok-seared fish and shrimp cakes with ogo-tomato relish he wrote about in his satirical piece would really wake up one's taste buds!

I haven't read the book but his publicist says "From multiple New York Times best-selling author, neuroscientist, and "new atheist" Sam Harris, Waking Up is for the 30 percent of Americans who follow no religion, but who suspect that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi and the other saints and sages of history could not have all been epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds." Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi! Hey those are some of the same guys I look to for my "version of Christianity"!

And, we are told that Harris writes “A middle path exists between making religion out of spiritual life and having no spiritual life at all.” Sounds to me like Mr. Harris and I are fellow travelers on the "path."

I can understand Harris though, because if you literally believe what Evangelicals and militant Muslims believe, there is enough explosive content there to destroy civilisation as we know it.

His ideas though, contradict his needs and so he has to come up with something that is like religion but not religion. I can understand that.


I watched Harris's dialogues with Jordan Peterson. I have a greater affinity with Peterson. But not a hundred percent. I'm not aligned with anyone 100%. That's what I mean when I say we're each on our own path. I don't reject God as a symbol. There is almost nothing literal that can be said about God including that God exists. Yet at times, like right now, I am aware of God's presence. The Shekinah the Kabbalists call Her. The Immanence of God. The Sacred. I don't belong to any formal religious organization. The last time I was in the church building was for the funeral of the wife of the drummer of the band I was playing in. That was a couple of years ago. I'm what the statisticians call a "None" as in "no religious affiliation". Yet I feel I'm participating in something spiritual. And part of that is becoming aware of the images that fill my inner life. The Gnostic Christ contains all seven of the planetary spheres of the ancient cosmology. Those are the gods that make up the days of the weekly cycle. The last is Saturn. Then the cycle begins again with the sun. Everybody uses those symbols. Yet most of the time we're barely conscious of them. To become more conscious of our symbolic world is to re-enchant it. Images are the lights of the soul.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9006
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:22 pm

It is quite fascinating to watch people ascribe such significance to the symbolism of made up fairytales and pretend they are doing anything more than seeking the very "distraction" they accuse others of seeking.
Just because you call it "spiritual" does not mean it's any less vacuous than is being a member of a marvel movie fan club... the difference being marvel fans don't generally make a religion out of it.

In so far as you can extract wisdom from within, as inspired by such symbols and stories, marvel movies or even cook books might serve the same function, as Sam pointed out...
That people have MADE these stories significant, is not being contested... that they ARE significant, otoh that's what is being contested.

It is true that having everyone in society share values and stories does a great deal to help us cooperate by giving us common ground.
It's also true that not all values or stories would result in a functional society if adopted.
But neither spiritual, nor religious pursuits need be that common ground, nor even the best option available.
It is not irrelevant what we replace religion with, this is true... but that we CAN replace religion with something better is also true.

What you'd need to argue is that in the absence of these "religious" stories or traditions we'd be NECESSARILY diminished.
Yet if you look at the most irreligious countries in the world (scandinavian) we often rank the highest in terms of happiness and wellbeing.

What gaping chasm do we need filled I wonder, what spiritual hole or religious vacuum is it that you insist must exist?
How is it that a culture more or less devoid of religious or even spiritual symbolism is the one thriving above all others?

You'd need to stretch the definition of "religious" or "spiritual" to a ludicrous degree to make the case that scandinavians fit either description by and large...
Yet here we are, perfectly content without silly symbols or a membership in some ancient fan-club.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:43 pm

so you argument boils down to an emotional response against the word "religious"?
i mean, surely you are not saying that scandinavians don't have symbols
phoneutria
purveyor of enchantment, advocate of pulchritude AND venomously disarming
 
Posts: 3733
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 5:37 am

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:34 pm

phoneutria wrote:so you argument boils down to an emotional response against the word "religious"?


Not unless you engage in creative "interpretation"

i mean, surely you are not saying that scandinavians don't have symbols


Not sacred ones, no.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm

well you might notice if you pay attention that most, if not all people talking in this thread
are not religious in a traditional sense
there doesn't seem to be anyone here "running around calling themselves zoroastrian" so to speak
they're more like in a path in the harris sense
so what i'm saying is all you got is a strawman

i also didn't mean to say that marvel heroes
are any less valuable than the mythological ones in which they are largely inspired
(mythologies that as you well know were once religions)
i'm saying that there is a necessity for symbols and people will find them
in fairytales if they must
or fish recipes
you don't need to think about it as religion if it offends you
you don't pray and sacrifice to old gods or whatever but that cultural heritage is a part of you
whether you like it or not

anyway
lets have some of that strawman, what do you mean by sacred?
phoneutria
purveyor of enchantment, advocate of pulchritude AND venomously disarming
 
Posts: 3733
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 5:37 am

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:19 pm

felix dakat wrote:I watched Harris's dialogues with Jordan Peterson. I have a greater affinity with Peterson. But not a hundred percent. I'm not aligned with anyone 100%. That's what I mean when I say we're each on our own path. I don't reject God as a symbol. There is almost nothing literal that can be said about God including that God exists. Yet at times, like right now, I am aware of God's presence. The Shekinah the Kabbalists call Her. The Immanence of God. The Sacred. I don't belong to any formal religious organization. The last time I was in the church building was for the funeral of the wife of the drummer of the band I was playing in. That was a couple of years ago. I'm what the statisticians call a "None" as in "no religious affiliation". Yet I feel I'm participating in something spiritual. And part of that is becoming aware of the images that fill my inner life. The Gnostic Christ contains all seven of the planetary spheres of the ancient cosmology. Those are the gods that make up the days of the weekly cycle. The last is Saturn. Then the cycle begins again with the sun. Everybody uses those symbols. Yet most of the time we're barely conscious of them. To become more conscious of our symbolic world is to re-enchant it. Images are the lights of the soul.

I share your opinion of Peterson and it was Peterson who brought Jonathan Pageau into the limelight. Pageau says that there is nothing that can be taken literally because everything about life is complex and therefore, we need the spotlight to differentiate between what is important and what is not important. That means we have a purpose when we relate something and it is this purpose that we need to convey, not how we transport the message.

Having said that, what Judaism and Christianity have tried to relate, the purpose of taking the trouble, is not something very easy to put in words. That is something that came out of the conversation that Pageau had with Tom Holland, who wrote the book “Dominion – The Making of The Western Mind”. Holland says of St. Paul, for example, that his letters were transcripts of Paul’s struggle to make his churches understand what he had experienced and found backed up by scripture. That is virtually the problem anyone has, who has received some inspiration.

The thing that I believe Paul discovered was the power of his message, which occurred in solitude and in the community, and had the ability to make people take up a new way of life, even in the face of danger. Later, as the sacraments were established, Christians found a power in these too. The liturgy of Mass was enough, which is why it was left in Latin for so long. They feared that in the common tongue the magic would go out of it.

And it is magic in a way, invoking the Name of God in the trinity. Not sorcery, which was intended to be the opposite of the Christian magic. There were reasons for this, I understand this, but we shouldn’t forget the intention of the Christian message, which was far more transformative. I’ve experienced it myself and have seen people transformed. There still is contradiction and hypocrisy, these are traits of mankind and a shadow that we all have.

Gnosticism seems to me a special teaching for those privy to it. It wasn’t for the masses and was therefore rejected because the Gnostic churches found no agreement and the church was looking for a creed that all could speak. There are those who just cannot take up Gnosticism and this meant that it was against the teaching we see in the Beatitudes, which preached the love of God in Christ.

I still believe that we can all experience the presence of God, if we can learn to be silent long enough. But the atmosphere of a spiritual gathering, a communion of like-minded people, the spirit of people around a common goal for good, singing and making music, can all invoke that presence. It is all symbol, just as the creed is a “symbolon” of faith.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3505
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:20 pm

Mad Man P wrote:It is quite fascinating to watch people ascribe such significance to the symbolism of made up fairytales and pretend they are doing anything more than seeking the very "distraction" they accuse others of seeking.
Just because you call it "spiritual" does not mean it's any less vacuous than is being a member of a marvel movie fan club... the difference being marvel fans don't generally make a religion out of it.

In so far as you can extract wisdom from within, as inspired by such symbols and stories, marvel movies or even cook books might serve the same function, as Sam pointed out...
That people have MADE these stories significant, is not being contested... that they ARE significant, otoh that's what is being contested.

It is true that having everyone in society share values and stories does a great deal to help us cooperate by giving us common ground.
It's also true that not all values or stories would result in a functional society if adopted.
But neither spiritual, nor religious pursuits need be that common ground, nor even the best option available.
It is not irrelevant what we replace religion with, this is true... but that we CAN replace religion with something better is also true.

What you'd need to argue is that in the absence of these "religious" stories or traditions we'd be NECESSARILY diminished.
Yet if you look at the most irreligious countries in the world (scandinavian) we often rank the highest in terms of happiness and wellbeing.

What gaping chasm do we need filled I wonder, what spiritual hole or religious vacuum is it that you insist must exist?
How is it that a culture more or less devoid of religious or even spiritual symbolism is the one thriving above all others?

You'd need to stretch the definition of "religious" or "spiritual" to a ludicrous degree to make the case that scandinavians fit either description by and large...
Yet here we are, perfectly content without silly symbols or a membership in some ancient fan-club.

Like I said above, if you don't have something profound, you just have anything in its place.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3505
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:22 pm

Bob wrote:Like I said above, if you don't have something profound, you just have anything in its place.


Well, is it any coincidence that Scandinavia has some of the most communist policies in all of western Europe?
User avatar
Pedro I Rengel
ᛈᛖᛉᛖᛉ
 
Posts: 7076
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:40 pm

Pedro I Rengel wrote:
Bob wrote:Like I said above, if you don't have something profound, you just have anything in its place.


Well, is it any coincidence that Scandinavia has some of the most communist policies in all of western Europe?

You don't know what communism is ... and you don't know what life in Europe is like.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3505
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:48 pm

Bob wrote:
Pedro I Rengel wrote:
Bob wrote:Like I said above, if you don't have something profound, you just have anything in its place.


Well, is it any coincidence that Scandinavia has some of the most communist policies in all of western Europe?

You don't know what communism is ... and you don't know what life in Europe is like.


Enlighten me then.
User avatar
Pedro I Rengel
ᛈᛖᛉᛖᛉ
 
Posts: 7076
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:49 pm

Bob wrote:Well, it is good to know that even old Calvin spoke of symbols with respect to God. Interesting though that he says that, taken literally, they become idols. In a particularly idol-ridden time such as our own, it does ask questions in the direction of evangelical Christianity.



You don't know what Christianity is, and you don't know what idol worship is like.
User avatar
Pedro I Rengel
ᛈᛖᛉᛖᛉ
 
Posts: 7076
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:56 pm

Bob wrote:I share your opinion of Peterson and it was Peterson who brought Jonathan Pageau into the limelight. Pageau says that there is nothing that can be taken literally because everything about life is complex and therefore, we need the spotlight to differentiate between what is important and what is not important. That means we have a purpose when we relate something and it is this purpose that we need to convey, not how we transport the message.


I haven't checked Pageau out yet. I must do so. Yes I got that sense about taking nothing literally first from Tillich and then Kierkegaard. When you do that a lot it changes how you perceive the contents of your own mind. I read Peterson's tome "Maps of Meaning". I was already watching his college lectures before he hit the big time. Harris's cookbook analogy misses the pragmatism of Peterson's hermeneutic. To the degree that one's map makes one's life meaningful and full of color-- voila! success!

Having said that, what Judaism and Christianity have tried to relate, the purpose of taking the trouble, is not something very easy to put in words. That is something that came out of the conversation that Pageau had with Tom Holland, who wrote the book “Dominion – The Making of The Western Mind”. Holland says of St. Paul, for example, that his letters were transcripts of Paul’s struggle to make his churches understand what he had experienced and found backed up by scripture. That is virtually the problem anyone has, who has received some inspiration.


Yeah yeah. I used to preach the gospel in the streets. I know. One could say Paul invented Christianity. But, it isn't quite right to say that one who is possessed by a spirit is inventing the things that come out of that passion. Paul said that Christ was a lifegiving spirit. In his letters he pretty much ignored the teachings of Jesus. If one supposes that he subverted the import of Jesus' message one can't be proved wrong. Neither can it be proved wrong that he captured the spirit of Jesus' message. There aren't enough facts. Just enough for academics to debate the issue forever. But the myth is there. And it's rich enough to generate infinite interpretations. The problem isn't a lack of meaning. It's too much to limit it to a single dogma. There's genius in that. I'll check out Holland too.

The thing that I believe Paul discovered was the power of his message, which occurred in solitude and in the community, and had the ability to make people take up a new way of life, even in the face of danger. Later, as the sacraments were established, Christians found a power in these too. The liturgy of Mass was enough, which is why it was left in Latin for so long. They feared that in the common tongue the magic would go out of it.


Paul's vision of Jesus came to him unbidden from the collective unconscious. He was a Merkabah mystic who ascended to the third heaven.

And it is magic in a way, invoking the Name of God in the trinity. Not sorcery, which was intended to be the opposite of the Christian magic. There were reasons for this, I understand this, but we shouldn’t forget the intention of the Christian message, which was far more transformative. I’ve experienced it myself and have seen people transformed. There still is contradiction and hypocrisy, these are traits of mankind and a shadow that we all have.


Christian magic has a long tradition https://youtu.be/APQn6M3gJcY

Gnosticism seems to me a special teaching for those privy to it. It wasn’t for the masses and was therefore rejected because the Gnostic churches found no agreement and the church was looking for a creed that all could speak. There are those who just cannot take up Gnosticism and this meant that it was against the teaching we see in the Beatitudes, which preached the love of God in Christ.


It was suppressed by the proto-orthodox, book-burning types. There's a lot of gnosticism in Paul himself. But, the authoritarians dogmatized it into a formula and discouraged people from the first-hand experience and the creative expression of it. "Same as it ever was" as David Burn would say.

I still believe that we can all experience the presence of God, if we can learn to be silent long enough. But the atmosphere of a spiritual gathering, a communion of like-minded people, the spirit of people around a common goal for good, singing and making music, can all invoke that presence. It is all symbol, just as the creed is a “symbolon” of faith.


I do. I don't know how the experience is distributed. Religiously you get into the doctrines of grace and election which ultimately explain nothing. Or you can go with the personality types. The trait of openness seems to have something to do with it. Anyway I'm very close with people who have little in common with me spiritually. They let me do my thing and I let them do theirs. We enjoy the diversity of each other. I get along every day with people much like Madman P. From what I see of Scandinavia I think I would like it there. If this pandemic ever ends maybe I'll visit.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9006
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:21 pm

https://youtu.be/-qGfkFlZKgA I watched this. Two propositions particularly resonated with me. One was the impossibility of viewing the world as the people of the classical era did due to our own historical point of view as described by Holland. The other is the phenomenological approach to symbols espoused by Pageau. That's what I've been doing. It's a matter of experience not belief per se.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9006
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:40 am

phoneutria wrote:they're more like in a path in the harris sense
so what i'm saying is all you got is a strawman


Yeah, I'm not sure you're qualified to interpret what other people are saying given your track record with me...
Harris and Peterson disagree on this topic and the people in this thread are leaning more toward team Peterson than Harris.

Bob wrote:Like I said above, if you don't have something profound, you just have anything in its place.


That is either unresponsive to my post or assuming your conclusion...
How is religious imagery or symbolism any more profound than what we find in Harris' cookbook?
Or are you suggesting that the religious stories take hold because people don't have anything profound and therefore seek it out in bronze age fairy tales?
Last edited by Mad Man P on Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:51 am

Every time I see your name, I think "Madame P."
User avatar
Pedro I Rengel
ᛈᛖᛉᛖᛉ
 
Posts: 7076
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:04 am

Mad Man P wrote:
phoneutria wrote:they're more like in a path in the harris sense
so what i'm saying is all you got is a strawman


Yeah, I'm not sure you're qualified to interpret what other people are saying given your track record with me...


should i take this to mean that i have misunderstood you?

Harris and Peterson disagree on this topic and the people in this thread are leaning more toward team Peterson than Harris.

honestly i think the difference between the two is more of a nuance than it is one of paradigm
peterson's position is also secular and also heavily based on modern day neuroscience and psychology
phoneutria
purveyor of enchantment, advocate of pulchritude AND venomously disarming
 
Posts: 3733
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 5:37 am

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:34 am

phoneutria wrote:should i take this to mean that i have misunderstood you?


Repeatedly

honestly i think the difference between the two is more of a nuance than it is one of paradigm
peterson's position is also secular and also heavily based on modern day neuroscience and psychology


It's a fairly critical divide, if you were to ask me... or Sam.
You may not be willing to discuss that difference or think it trivial, that's your prerogative...

But I would very much like to hear the answer to my query...
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby phoneutria » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:02 pm

Mad Man P wrote:That is either unresponsive to my post or assuming your conclusion...
How is religious imagery or symbolism any more profound than what we find in Harris' cookbook?
Or are you suggesting that the religious stories take hold because people don't have anything profound and therefore seek it out in bronze age fairy tales?


kinda surprising that you have to ask this
like
what's the difference between the monalisa
and some ink splat my pen made on my shirt when it exploded?

the artist, the sculptor, the musician, the poet
are deliberately looking into themselves to find something meaningful to express
their works are inspired
and as such
they strike us immediately when we see/hear them
and we're moved by them
they ring true

if you can't tell the difference between a piece of art and an ink stain
or between a poem and a fish recipe
what does that make you?

if i'm misunderstanding you, please clarify
i have a coarse personality but it is mostly for humor
am talking in good faith
phoneutria
purveyor of enchantment, advocate of pulchritude AND venomously disarming
 
Posts: 3733
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 5:37 am

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:06 am

phoneutria wrote:kinda surprising that you have to ask this


Assume for a moment we're having a philosophical discussion
You know where it's not insane to ask why murder is bad... or why the mona lisa is art and your ink splat isn't.

the artist, the sculptor, the musician, the poet
are deliberately looking into themselves to find something meaningful to express
their works are inspired
and as such
they strike us immediately when we see/hear them
and we're moved by them
they ring true


Are you arguing religious stories are works of fiction, like any other such artistic expression?
Because, that I could agree with... If we're critiquing it as such, I wouldn't call it inspired.
But hey, some people LOVE the transformers movies... there's no accounting for taste, right?

I'm fairly certain the authors of the bible were writing fiction and trying to pawn it off as fact...
It took a lot of people being whipped, tortured and even burned alive for heresy to make it "ring true" and become "moving"

Not sure these stories or the imagery qualify by the standards you're putting down... as art they are fairly meh
Or maybe their value is similar to a Jackson Pollock painting... it's a bunch of ink splats that allow you to interpret their significance.
A mirror for you to admire yourself in, but credit the painting, so as to seem modest when you dote on yourself.

Where is the pit of nihilism you were warning me about?
Where does that enter into the picture?
I agree that art is enriching, music, architecture, painting, poetry etc
But we don't have to fawn over every painting as though all of art is in peril, nay our very ability to value, if we but dismiss one painting as sub-par or Odin forbid, ugly.

i have a coarse personality but it is mostly for humor
am talking in good faith


I can relate... :wink:
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:15 am

Mad Man P wrote:How is religious imagery or symbolism any more profound than what we find in Harris' cookbook?
Or are you suggesting that the religious stories take hold because people don't have anything profound and therefore seek it out in bronze age fairy tales?


phoneutria wrote: kinda surprising that you have to ask this
like
what's the difference between the monalisa
and some ink splat my pen made on my shirt when it exploded?


On the other hand, what's the difference between a urinal that you piss in and a urinal you display in an art museum?

phoneutria wrote: the artist, the sculptor, the musician, the poet
are deliberately looking into themselves to find something meaningful to express
their works are inspired
and as such
they strike us immediately when we see/hear them
and we're moved by them
they ring true


Okay, but what of philosophers reading this and attempting to conclude whether it is either the optimal or the only rational assessment of the world of artists.

And artists are themselves no less the embodiment of particular historical and cultural and circumstantial contexts. They too are no less influenced by the actual experiences and relationships and access to ideas that came to become the life that they lived.

Only, in most instances, disagreements about art only rarely result in the sort of consequences that can come about as a result of disagreements over religious or moral or political prejudices.

Still, dasein is everywhere in the art world

phoneutria wrote: if you can't tell the difference between a piece of art and an ink stain
or between a poem and a fish recipe
what does that make you?


More to the point [mine] are those who reconfigure this into: if you don't agree with my own take on a piece of art or a poem what does that make you?

phoneutria wrote: if i'm misunderstanding you, please clarify
i have a coarse personality but it is mostly for humor
am talking in good faith


On the other hand, how on earth do we go about clarifying something that revolves so profoundly and problematically around conflicting artistic tastes and visions?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 38688
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:56 am

Bob wrote:
Dan~ wrote:I wonder if the objects we make names for are also symbols.
They are definitely subject to a perspective.

Also i believe the lord's evening meal was symbolic.

Yes indeed, Jonathan Pageau has the term "symbolic truth" which I find helpful.

Names are just labels, and therefore also symbolic in nature.


https://youtu.be/YpOkMmWZnOY Background to Lecture VIII Abrahamic Stories, with Matthieu & Jonathan Pageau

The Pageau brothers are looking at things from the spiritual perspective of the traditional cosmology. This perspective answers different questions than the materialistic modern one which asks how does it work? What is it made of? The spiritual perspective asks what does it mean? What higher truth does it embody?

Materialistic cosmologies describe phenomena in terms of energy, matter, space and time. The biblical cosmology describes reality in terms of heaven earth space and time.

In the context of the spiritual worldview a symbol is a fact that embodies higher meaning. Symbols have a metacognitive function in this cosmology because they're miniature representations of the entire cosmos.

The traditional cosmology doesn't describe the natural world. It's a model in which consciousness mediates between spiritual and corporeal realities as symbolized by heaven and earth.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9006
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:21 am

felix dakat wrote:I haven't checked Pageau out yet. I must do so. Yes I got that sense about taking nothing literally first from Tillich and then Kierkegaard. When you do that a lot it changes how you perceive the contents of your own mind. I read Peterson's tome "Maps of Meaning". I was already watching his college lectures before he hit the big time. Harris's cookbook analogy misses the pragmatism of Peterson's hermeneutic. To the degree that one's map makes one's life meaningful and full of color-- voila! success!

I think it was you who pointed me to Peterson, for which I thank you. I listened to Maps of Meaning rather than read it. I had the diagrams etc. in a PDF file. He covered so much in that; it is no wonder he needed so long to write it. Pageau is different to Peterson but is eloquent enough to point out the connections of modern symbolism with archetypal symbolism. He has several videos touching various subjects.

Yeah yeah. I used to preach the gospel in the streets. I know. One could say Paul invented Christianity. But it isn't quite right to say that one who is possessed by a spirit is inventing the things that come out of that passion. Paul said that Christ was a lifegiving spirit. In his letters he pretty much ignored the teachings of Jesus. If one supposes that he subverted the import of Jesus' message one can't be proved wrong. Neither can it be proved wrong that he captured the spirit of Jesus' message. There aren't enough facts. Just enough for academics to debate the issue forever. But the myth is there. And it's rich enough to generate infinite interpretations. The problem isn't a lack of meaning. It's too much to limit it to a single dogma. There's genius in that. I'll check out Holland too.

I think Paul went off on his own to begin with, and his teaching was very much different to what the Jewish Christians were teaching. It was more a cosmic view. He thought that those Christians were missing the universality of Christ and were still preaching a Jewish Messiah – different to what orthodox Jews were used to, struggling with the curse of the one “hung on a tree” but here and there still accepted as pious Jews.

The thing that Holland discovered was that western thought is riddled with Christianity, which surprised him, because he was brought up on the classics. He thought that the Greek influence was larger. Of course, Christianity adopted a lot from the Greeks, so in a way he was right, but it was the Christian slant that surprised him.

Paul's vision of Jesus came to him unbidden from the collective unconscious. He was a Merkabah mystic who ascended to the third heaven.

Christian magic has a long tradition https://youtu.be/APQn6M3gJcY

I think we forget the influences in the middle ages that had substance, although there were enough people around who were selling something different under that name.

It was suppressed by the proto-orthodox, book-burning types. There's a lot of gnosticism in Paul himself. But, the authoritarians dogmatized it into a formula and discouraged people from the first-hand experience and the creative expression of it. "Same as it ever was" as David Burn would say.

I think that the “book-burners” came later. To begin with a vast diversity spread, especially after 70 AD when the dispersion took place. It became difficult to say what Christianity was, and the Gnostics were diverse in themselves. I think that we can see from Dag Hammadi that there was also a quality difference too. It may be me looking at those books with 21st Century eyes, but there is much that, today, we wouldn’t recognise as Christianity. That is what I took away from Elaine Pagel’s books.

I do. I don't know how the experience is distributed. Religiously you get into the doctrines of grace and election which ultimately explain nothing. Or you can go with the personality types. The trait of openness seems to have something to do with it. Anyway I'm very close with people who have little in common with me spiritually. They let me do my thing and I let them do theirs. We enjoy the diversity of each other. I get along every day with people much like Madman P. From what I see of Scandinavia I think I would like it there. If this pandemic ever ends maybe I'll visit.

Yes, Scandinavia has a lot of attraction. I went to Norway once and found it refreshingly different to Germany and much better than the UK. Of course, one trip doesn’t tell you anything really. It is always a diversity of things that makes up an impression of a country.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3505
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:29 pm

Bob wrote:I think it was you who pointed me to Peterson, for which I thank you. I listened to Maps of Meaning rather than read it. I had the diagrams etc. in a PDF file. He covered so much in that; it is no wonder he needed so long to write it. Pageau is different to Peterson but is eloquent enough to point out the connections of modern symbolism with archetypal symbolism. He has several videos touching various subjects.


Right. I am immersing myself in the Pageaus. I subscribed to his YouTube channel and I'm reading his brother Matthieu's book "The Language of Creation: Cosmic Symbolism in Genesis" on Kindle. My previous post reflected that.

I think Paul went off on his own to begin with, and his teaching was very much different to what the Jewish Christians were teaching. It was more a cosmic view. He thought that those Christians were missing the universality of Christ and were still preaching a Jewish Messiah – different to what orthodox Jews were used to, struggling with the curse of the one “hung on a tree” but here and there still accepted as pious Jews.

The thing that Holland discovered was that western thought is riddled with Christianity, which surprised him, because he was brought up on the classics. He thought that the Greek influence was larger. Of course, Christianity adopted a lot from the Greeks, so in a way he was right, but it was the Christian slant that surprised him.

I agree with what you say about Paul. He was laboring under a grand narrative. It had more to do with who he understood Jesus to be than what Jesus taught. The problem is all we have is a few letters from the guy written to churches with immediate problems. It's not a systematic theology, and we're reading it [if we're reading it at all] through a historical lens that's 2000 years thick. We have both not enough information and too much.

I've been aware of the Christian influence for a long time through reading Tillich, and many others. Of course the Evangelicals took that to far with their claim that the USA is a Christian nation. Yes and No. The liberals here said "no the founders were mainly deists etc." which has a lot of truth. But, Deism came out of Christianity. Thomas Paine's critique of Christendom is shot through with Christian values. Hell, atheists define themselves in terms of theism. Richard Tarnas' "The Passion of the Western Mind" is a good one on the origins and influences of the Western mindset. The church Christianized classicism. Of course that turned it on it's head. And that was what Nietzsche saw so clearly and what Pageau and Holland elucidate in their discussion.

I think we forget the influences in the middle ages that had substance, although there were enough people around who were selling something different under that name.

My impression is that during the medieval period, Europe came about as close as in ever was to being united under a single cohesive world view, what Tillich calls a theonomy.


I think that the “book-burners” came later. To begin with a vast diversity spread, especially after 70 AD when the dispersion took place. It became difficult to say what Christianity was, and the Gnostics were diverse in themselves. I think that we can see from Nag Hammadi that there was also a quality difference too. It may be me looking at those books with 21st Century eyes, but there is much that, today, we wouldn’t recognise as Christianity. That is what I took away from Elaine Pagel’s books.


According to the book of Acts, chapter 19 some of Paul's converts burned books:

17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.


How widespread the practice was at that time I don't know. I entertain the propositions of Gnosticism along with other forms of Christianity which I like to abbreviate as Xianity. They give it more breadth, diversity and depth.



Yes, Scandinavia has a lot of attraction. I went to Norway once and found it refreshingly different to Germany and much better than the UK. Of course, one trip doesn’t tell you anything really. It is always a diversity of things that makes up an impression of a country.


I'll soon turn 71 and I've never been to Europe, the birth place of my world view. My family came from Alsace-Lorraine. The rampant pandemic has made Americans unwelcome there at the moment, I understand. I would like to visit if and when that becomes possible.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9006
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:35 am

What interested me about the Pageau brothers was the way they described the cosmology of the Bible, like you say, portraying Heaven and Earth, and the realisation of the heavenly plan on Earth. This cosmology goes through the whole OT and has been redacted to become a narrative leading up to the one, the left-over from Israel, where finally heaven has a worthy representative and reveals the heavenly plan. I think this is what Paul grasped and tried to impart, frustrated as he must have been with all the problems the churches were having.

I recently saw a video from an Australian Pastor, Paul Wallis, who discovered that the OT stories originated in with the Sumerians and by taking out the name Jahweh and replacing it with Elohim, a plural for the Gods, you had stories that have a very big similarity with the epics of pre-biblical times. This way, he said, you don’t get the struggle that seems to take place in Jahweh, instead it is a council of the Elohim that has an argument over what to do with human beings. The Elohim are, what a surprise, an alien race – “sky gods”.

I’m not sure how that holds up. The explanations of the Pageau brothers seem to make more sense and using this cosmology you have something that isn’t instantly at odds with science, but on a completely different plane. I think we have to acknowledge that the ancients saw the struggles of mankind under the roof of the seemingly eternal cosmos, with multitudes of stars and galaxies, and thought that we have to become humbler. Humility is something that is also lacking today. The instalment of heaven on earth is delayed until we get wise.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3505
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:21 pm

Bob wrote:What interested me about the Pageau brothers was the way they described the cosmology of the Bible, like you say, portraying Heaven and Earth, and the realisation of the heavenly plan on Earth. This cosmology goes through the whole OT and has been redacted to become a narrative leading up to the one, the left-over from Israel, where finally heaven has a worthy representative and reveals the heavenly plan. I think this is what Paul grasped and tried to impart, frustrated as he must have been with all the problems the churches were having.

I recently saw a video from an Australian Pastor, Paul Wallis, who discovered that the OT stories originated in with the Sumerians and by taking out the name Jahweh and replacing it with Elohim, a plural for the Gods, you had stories that have a very big similarity with the epics of pre-biblical times. This way, he said, you don’t get the struggle that seems to take place in Jahweh, instead it is a council of the Elohim that has an argument over what to do with human beings. The Elohim are, what a surprise, an alien race – “sky gods”.

I’m not sure how that holds up. The explanations of the Pageau brothers seem to make more sense and using this cosmology you have something that isn’t instantly at odds with science, but on a completely different plane. I think we have to acknowledge that the ancients saw the struggles of mankind under the roof of the seemingly eternal cosmos, with multitudes of stars and galaxies, and thought that we have to become humbler. Humility is something that is also lacking today. The instalment of heaven on earth is delayed until we get wise.


What interests me about them generally is their command of traditional symbolism and their ability to apply them to the contemporary cultural moment. This symbolic world view is not something that begs for acceptance on the basis of fitting into the objective modern scientific paradigm. It's an alternative way of looking at the world which is self-validating for those who choose to look at things this way.

I remember back in the '90s when I was working for the state one of my co-workers a guy who was a militant Catholic Evangelical asked me if I believed in God. I replied that "I can" and answer that he didn't like at all. It was a conversation stopper. What I meant was that I could look at things that way through that symbolic worldview or I could look at things through the lens of secular a modern worldview. It's a choice.
The Pageaus are well aware of this. In one of the videos Mattieu flips back and forth between a scientific paradigm and the traditional symbolic one adroitly. Jonathan's forte is interpreting modern culture through the symbolic paradigm as he does in the Pepe the frog dialogue with Jordan Peterson.
Interesting that you mentioned the theory that religion originated as the results of visitation from space aliens. I've listened to a variety of presentations of that theory online and I have a friend who holds it. It's a theory that asks to be accepted on the basis of the scientific paradigm. However, it seems to work like a conspiracy theory. That is there are unexplained architectural artistic and mythological phenomena. The alien visitation theme is mapped over the phenomena to explain them. The scientific experts in the fields reject the theory has pseudoscience on the basis of the preponderance of evidence. This then is viewed as a kind of scientific community tyranny by people who like the alien story. Watching the battle unfold is a bit like watching the alt-right battle with the social justice warriors and not feeling like one belongs in either group.

The thing I can't do is get into a mindset that only looks at the world through one lens. I have internalized too many philosophies religions and worldviews over the course of my life for me to do that. It's rather like having many pairs of glasses to wear and to look through. Which pair will serve me best in the situation I face today? It's a question we each have to answer. If the worldviews are meta cognitive structures, then my ego is a metameta cognitive structure. Then I can ask whether my choice is free or determined by unconscious factors. At that point I am in a state of aporia, the land of uncertainty. The circle of what is known to me is encompassed by the infinite unknown.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9006
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

PreviousNext

Return to Religion and Spirituality



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users