The symbolic world

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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:13 am

felix dakat wrote: 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 agree, but it also doesn’t clash because it is a different way of looking at the world. It is a different perspective, which anyone can adopt to get a kind of 3D look at existence.

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.

It very much is. I think that is the part that my previous evangelic contacts have a problem with when they meet me. I chose to go a different path, for good reasons that I’m not going to lay out for them. One aspect was, however, the change of vocation at 35 and looking at life through the eyes of the weak, sick, and dying. I went into it with a haughty evangelical assuredness and came out the other side realising that humility was lacking.

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 problem with such theories, as far as I’m concerned, is that they have no real answers, and they are professing more a hope than anything else. They hope that someone will come and sort out this mess, rather like the Star Trek story of first contact after a world war. Of course, the Sumerian stories do pose questions and there is a vast time period before the younger Dryas that could contain such a story, but Paul Wallis is also sure that the worlds Governments have been in contact for some time with aliens.

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.

I think that this is our situation today. We have access to so many traditions and there are people doing work on them, so we are confronted with differing perspectives on a regular basis. The symbolic approach helps contain the multitude of traditions and assists us to choose what is helpful at any time. I have long ago appreciated the Buddhist wisdom and it may have influenced my Christian understanding (The Christ in you), but I also looked at the various areas in which Thomas Merton was engrossed, including Taoism. We also had a German theologian who wrote books full of Christian Mystic quotes, but also American Indians, Sufi mystics, Jewish mystics and various Far East wisdom. His idea was that the reality that we call God is too big (and too small) to be restricted by our concepts.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:55 pm

Bob wrote:I agree, but it also doesn’t clash because it is a different way of looking at the world. It is a different perspective, which anyone can adopt to get a kind of 3D look at existence.


3D--that's a good way to put it.


It very much is. I think that is the part that my previous evangelic contacts have a problem with when they meet me. I chose to go a different path, for good reasons that I’m not going to lay out for them. One aspect was, however, the change of vocation at 35 and looking at life through the eyes of the weak, sick, and dying. I went into it with a haughty evangelical assuredness and came out the other side realising that humility was lacking.


Yes. My time with the Evangelicals informs me that secularists stereotype them as do they stereotype secularists. In a way I stand on the boundary between the two. The stereotypes themselves are not without an element of truth. But there is so much more to the persons themselves. And the task of understanding the Other isn't easy. At the very least it involves opening to the cognitive dissonance in oneself and empathy.

The problem with such theories, as far as I’m concerned, is that they have no real answers, and they are professing more a hope than anything else. They hope that someone will come and sort out this mess, rather like the Star Trek story of first contact after a world war. Of course, the Sumerian stories do pose questions and there is a vast time period before the younger Dryas that could contain such a story, but Paul Wallis is also sure that the worlds Governments have been in contact for some time with aliens.


The Alien Conspiracy Theories [ACT] reflect the alienation people today have from the modern state. Government officials have lied to people and broken the trust it takes to maintain social cohesion. The ACT gives symbolic representation to this. Of course, every government is encompassed by a higher level of order that it unknown. ACT imagizes that fact.



I think that this is our situation today. We have access to so many traditions and there are people doing work on them, so we are confronted with differing perspectives on a regular basis. The symbolic approach helps contain the multitude of traditions and assists us to choose what is helpful at any time. I have long ago appreciated the Buddhist wisdom and it may have influenced my Christian understanding (The Christ in you), but I also looked at the various areas in which Thomas Merton was engrossed, including Taoism. We also had a German theologian who wrote books full of Christian Mystic quotes, but also American Indians, Sufi mystics, Jewish mystics and various Far East wisdom. His idea was that the reality that we call God is too big (and too small) to be restricted by our concepts.


Who is the German theologian you're referring to? That description could apply to Tillich. These days I'm thinking in terms of perennial wisdom I have found at the core of many cultures.

I do have issues with Pageau's acceptance of Trump's attitudes towards the LGBTQ community and his equivocation regarding Alex Jones. Trump is a liar without integrity who fluidly talks on both sides of any issue that serves his political or financial interests. Pageau praised Alex Jones's symbolic insight and stated that he is not delusional. I think Jones is delusional and a preacher of hate as well. As evidence of this I submit his delusional attacks on the parents of the children who were murdered in the Sandy Hook daycare massacre.

So Pageau's assessments make me question his judgment as a political observer. Is he naive or does he have a political agenda? He claims to be possess wisdom. So naivete would mean that he's mistaken at least on this point. Jordan Peterson is looked at as a hero by the so-called alt-right. But I find some of the criticisms of him by the Left to be unjustified. He claims to be seeking ground in the political center. Pageau also identifies with the political center. But so far I've seen them both to be more critical of the Far Left than the Far Right. I'll continue to look into it.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:08 pm

felix dakat wrote:Who is the German theologian you're referring to? That description could apply to Tillich. These days I'm thinking in terms of perennial wisdom I have found at the core of many cultures.

The theologian was named Jörg Zink. Probably unknown outside of Germany.

I do have issues with Pageau's acceptance of Trump's attitudes towards the LGBTQ community and his equivocation regarding Alex Jones. Trump is a liar without integrity who fluidly talks on both sides of any issue that serves his political or financial interests. Pageau praised Alex Jones's symbolic insight and stated that he is not delusional. I think Jones is delusional and a preacher of hate as well. As evidence of this I submit his delusional attacks on the parents of the children who were murdered in the Sandy Hook daycare massacre.

Yes, I think there are issues where he doesn’t care enough. He is only interested in the symbolic side, which is too little.

So Pageau's assessments make me question his judgment as a political observer. Is he naive or does he have a political agenda? He claims to be possess wisdom. So naivete would mean that he's mistaken at least on this point. Jordan Peterson is looked at as a hero by the so-called alt-right. But I find some of the criticisms of him by the Left to be unjustified. He claims to be seeking ground in the political center. Pageau also identifies with the political center. But so far I've seen them both to be more critical of the Far Left than the Far Right. I'll continue to look into it.

Yes, Pageau isn’t perfect and I think he should be asked these questions. Peterson, I think, is trying to focus on science, common sense and the wisdom of traditions. I haven’t seen him take sides, except expressing his thoughts on Brexit, which came at a difficult time and weren’t thought through.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:27 pm

Okay let's try an example. How would Pageau treat this issue in terms of the symbolic cosmology?

I have a friend who likes to tell this story to illustrate the problem. He says his cousin was so thrilled when his 11-year-old daughter accepted Jesus. A few years later she came home and asked where is heaven? He answered her "out beyond the universe". She replied, "How did Jesus ascend to heaven? if you traveled at the speed of light he wouldn't be out of the Milky Way galaxy yet."

Now obviously his cousin and his daughter are thinking of the story of the Ascension in terms of the modern scientific cosmology whereas the story was written in the context of the traditional biblical cosmology. But how would Pageau address the Ascension in terms of the symbolic world to make it meaningful to people today? I have some thoughts on this based on my understanding of Pageau's symbolic world so far. But you may have a clearer picture. So I'll let you go first.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:28 pm

Okay let's try an example. How would Pageau treat this issue in terms of the symbolic cosmology?

I have a friend who likes to tell this story to illustrate the problem. He says his cousin was so thrilled when his 11-year-old daughter accepted Jesus. A few years later she came home and asked where is heaven? He answered her "out beyond the universe". She replied, "How did Jesus ascend to heaven? if you traveled at the speed of light he wouldn't be out of the Milky Way galaxy yet."

Now obviously his cousin and his daughter are thinking of the story of the Ascension in terms of the modern scientific cosmology whereas the story was written in the context of the traditional biblical cosmology. But how would Pageau address the Ascension in terms of the symbolic world to make it meaningful to people today? I have some thoughts on this based on my understanding of Pageau's symbolic world so far. But you may have a clearer picture. So I'll let you go first.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:06 pm

Okay let's try an example. How would Pageau treat this issue in terms of the symbolic cosmology?

I have a friend who likes to tell this story to illustrate the problem. He says his cousin was so thrilled when his 11-year-old daughter accepted Jesus. A few years later she came home and asked where is heaven? He answered her "out beyond the universe". She replied, "How did Jesus ascend to heaven? if you traveled at the speed of light he wouldn't be out of the Milky Way galaxy yet."

Now obviously his cousin and his daughter are thinking of the story of the Ascension in terms of the modern scientific cosmology whereas the story was written in the context of the traditional biblical cosmology. But how would Pageau address the Ascension in terms of the symbolic world to make it meaningful to people today? I have some thoughts on this based on my understanding of Pageau's symbolic world so far. But you may have a clearer picture. So I'll let you go first.

Pageau has said in one talk that the ascension is clearly symbolic and that he wouldn’t think that if someone had a camera back then, they would have caught him on film. However, he said it is symbolic of something that happened, albeit not seen by the human eye.

Another thing is where heaven is. I am reminded of the quote from W.B. Yeats: “There is another world, but it is in this one.” I think that Pageau would say that it didn’t take any time at all. However, I'm not Pageau of course, and I have appreciated much of what he's said but not everything. He gave me a different perspective on the OT.

Having said that, I think the view taken in the story is a materialist one. I also think that we’re missing something that is essential to our existence, and it is connected to how we see our role in the world. I have been reading Charles Eisenstein who has taken a very interesting stance on how to change the world in his book “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” (which is very cheap on Kindle) in which he asks why we fail to believe that by loving people around us, caring for the old and sickly, helping in various ways, we might be inadvertently solving the larger issues we are facing.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:55 pm

Bob wrote:
Okay let's try an example. How would Pageau treat this issue in terms of the symbolic cosmology?

I have a friend who likes to tell this story to illustrate the problem. He says his cousin was so thrilled when his 11-year-old daughter accepted Jesus. A few years later she came home and asked where is heaven? He answered her "out beyond the universe". She replied, "How did Jesus ascend to heaven? if you traveled at the speed of light he wouldn't be out of the Milky Way galaxy yet."

Now obviously his cousin and his daughter are thinking of the story of the Ascension in terms of the modern scientific cosmology whereas the story was written in the context of the traditional biblical cosmology. But how would Pageau address the Ascension in terms of the symbolic world to make it meaningful to people today? I have some thoughts on this based on my understanding of Pageau's symbolic world so far. But you may have a clearer picture. So I'll let you go first.

Pageau has said in one talk that the ascension is clearly symbolic and that he wouldn’t think that if someone had a camera back then, they would have caught him on film. However, he said it is symbolic of something that happened, albeit not seen by the human eye.

Another thing is where heaven is. I am reminded of the quote from W.B. Yeats: “There is another world, but it is in this one.” I think that Pageau would say that it didn’t take any time at all. However, I'm not Pageau of course, and I have appreciated much of what he's said but not everything. He gave me a different perspective on the OT.

Having said that, I think the view taken in the story is a materialist one. I also think that we’re missing something that is essential to our existence, and it is connected to how we see our role in the world. I have been reading Charles Eisenstein who has taken a very interesting stance on how to change the world in his book “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” (which is very cheap on Kindle) in which he asks why we fail to believe that by loving people around us, caring for the old and sickly, helping in various ways, we might be inadvertently solving the larger issues we are facing.


Yes well according to the perennial philosophy there is a hidden world behind the world of appearance. So in the story of Christ's Ascension he disappears into a cloud as he rises. And that is the case that he is present to the believer he is nevertheless invisible.
So let me attempt to read the story symbolically.
Now the heavens are the source of spiritual truths and powers. Each planet represents a concentric sphere of Truth and power. Christ rises above them all to the place of preeminent power at the right hand of God. Thus he is said to have conquered the principalities and Powers. His way of life and his mode of being--the way of love and sacrifice--are thus symbolically shown to be the highest possible pattern of human life.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:55 pm

Duplicate post
Last edited by felix dakat on Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:55 pm

Bob wrote:
Okay let's try an example. How would Pageau treat this issue in terms of the symbolic cosmology?

I have a friend who likes to tell this story to illustrate the problem. He says his cousin was so thrilled when his 11-year-old daughter accepted Jesus. A few years later she came home and asked where is heaven? He answered her "out beyond the universe". She replied, "How did Jesus ascend to heaven? if you traveled at the speed of light he wouldn't be out of the Milky Way galaxy yet."

Now obviously his cousin and his daughter are thinking of the story of the Ascension in terms of the modern scientific cosmology whereas the story was written in the context of the traditional biblical cosmology. But how would Pageau address the Ascension in terms of the symbolic world to make it meaningful to people today? I have some thoughts on this based on my understanding of Pageau's symbolic world so far. But you may have a clearer picture. So I'll let you go first.

Pageau has said in one talk that the ascension is clearly symbolic and that he wouldn’t think that if someone had a camera back then, they would have caught him on film. However, he said it is symbolic of something that happened, albeit not seen by the human eye.

Another thing is where heaven is. I am reminded of the quote from W.B. Yeats: “There is another world, but it is in this one.” I think that Pageau would say that it didn’t take any time at all. However, I'm not Pageau of course, and I have appreciated much of what he's said but not everything. He gave me a different perspective on the OT.

Having said that, I think the view taken in the story is a materialist one. I also think that we’re missing something that is essential to our existence, and it is connected to how we see our role in the world. I have been reading Charles Eisenstein who has taken a very interesting stance on how to change the world in his book “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” (which is very cheap on Kindle) in which he asks why we fail to believe that by loving people around us, caring for the old and sickly, helping in various ways, we might be inadvertently solving the larger issues we are facing.


Right. According to the perennial philosophy there is a hidden world behind the world of appearance. So in the story of Christ's Ascension he disappears into a cloud as he rises. And that is the case that he is present to the believer he is nevertheless invisible.
So let me attempt to read the story symbolically.
Now the heavens are the source of spiritual truths and powers. Each planet represents a concentric sphere of archetypal truth and power. The resurrected Christ rises above them all to the place of preeminent power at the right hand of God. Thus he is said to have conquered the principalities and powers and therefore encompasses them. His way of life and his mode of being--the way of love and sacrifice--are thus symbolically shown to be the highest possible pattern of human life.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:09 am

felix dakat wrote:Right. According to the perennial philosophy there is a hidden world behind the world of appearance. So in the story of Christ's Ascension he disappears into a cloud as he rises. And that is the case that he is present to the believer he is nevertheless invisible.
So let me attempt to read the story symbolically.
Now the heavens are the source of spiritual truths and powers. Each planet represents a concentric sphere of archetypal truth and power. The resurrected Christ rises above them all to the place of preeminent power at the right hand of God. Thus he is said to have conquered the principalities and powers and therefore encompasses them. His way of life and his mode of being--the way of love and sacrifice--are thus symbolically shown to be the highest possible pattern of human life.

Sounds good. I can see that I'm not familiar enough with the symbolism of the NT, but I could imagine that you are right in that description. I tend to see the description of Jesus as the "first fruit", the first of many resurrected. The Christ seems to be more than that, being the firstborn at the beginning of creation, the formgiver, the King of Kings etc. Perhaps that is misguided.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:37 pm

Imagine you were alive thirty thousand years ago and had a vision of all that was to come: symbolic language, naming and labeling the world; agriculture, the domestication of the wild, dominion over other species and the land; the Machine, the mastery of natural forces; the forgetting of how beautiful and perfect the world is; the atomization of society; a world where humans fear even to drink of the streams and rivers, where we live among strangers and don’t know the people next door, where we kill across the planet with the touch of a button, where the seas turn black and the air burns our lungs, where we are so broken that we dare not remember that it isn’t supposed to be this way. Imagine you saw it all coming. How would you help people thirty thousand years thence? How would you send information, knowledge, aid over such a vast gulf of time? Maybe this actually happened. So, we came up with the three seeds.

The first seed was the wisdom lineages: lines of transmission going back thousands of years that have preserved and protected essential knowledge. From adept to disciple, in every part of the world, various wisdom traditions have passed down teachings in secret. Wisdom keepers, Sufis, Zen masters, Kabbalists, Taoist wizards, Christian mystics, Hindu swamis, and many others, hiding within each religion, kept the knowledge safe until the time when the world would be ready to reclaim it. That time is now, and they have done their job well. Many spiritual leaders, even the Dalai Lama, are saying that the time of secrets is over. Released too early, the knowledge was co-opted, abused, or usually just ignored. When we had still not covered the territory of Separation, when we still aspired to widening our conquest of nature, when the story of humanity’s Ascent was not yet complete, we weren’t ready to hear about union, connectedness, interdependency, interbeing. We thought the answer was more control, more technology, more logic, a better-engineered society of rational ethics, more control over matter, nature, and human nature. But now the old paradigms are failing, and human consciousness has reached a degree of receptivity that allows this seed to spread across the earth. It has been released, and it is growing inside of us en masse.

The second seed was the sacred stories: myths, legends, fairy tales, folklore, and the perennial themes that keep reappearing in various guises throughout history. They have always been with us, so that however far we have wandered into the Labyrinth of Separation, we have always had a lifeline, however tenuous and tangled, to the truth. The stories nurture that tiny spark of memory within us that knows psyche. You get the feeling that something else has been transmitted alongside the plot, something invisible. Usually, such stories bear rich symbolism often unknown even to their authors. A comparison of two twentieth-century children’s books illustrates my point: compare a Berenstain Bears story with How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Only the latter has a psychic staying power, revealing the spirit of a true story, and it is rich with archetypal symbolism.

The third seed was the indigenous tribes, the people who at some stage opted out of the journey of separation. Imagine that at the outset of the journey, the Council of Humanity gathered and certain members volunteered to abide in remote locations and forgo separation, which meant refusing to enter into an adversarial, controlling relationship to nature, and therefore refusing the process that leads to the development of high technology. It also meant that when they were discovered by the humans who had gone deeply into Separation, they would meet with the most atrocious suffering. That was unavoidable. These people of the third seed have nearly completed their mission today. Their mission was simply to survive long enough to provide living examples of how to be human. Each tribe carried a different piece, sometimes many pieces, of this knowledge. Many of them show us how to see and relate to the land, animals, and plants. Others show us how to work with dreams and the unseen. Some have preserved natural ways of raising children, now spreading through such books as The Continuum Concept. Some show us how to communicate without words—tribes such as the Hadza and the Pirahã communicate mostly in song. Some show us how to free ourselves from the mentality of linear time. All of them exemplify a way of being that we intuitively recognize and long for. They stir a memory in our hearts, and awaken our desire to return.
Eisenstein, Charles. The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (Sacred Activism) . North Atlantic Books. Kindle-Version.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:50 pm

Bob wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Right. According to the perennial philosophy there is a hidden world behind the world of appearance. So in the story of Christ's Ascension he disappears into a cloud as he rises. And that is the case that he is present to the believer he is nevertheless invisible.
So let me attempt to read the story symbolically.
Now the heavens are the source of spiritual truths and powers. Each planet represents a concentric sphere of archetypal truth and power. The resurrected Christ rises above them all to the place of preeminent power at the right hand of God. Thus he is said to have conquered the principalities and powers and therefore encompasses them. His way of life and his mode of being--the way of love and sacrifice--are thus symbolically shown to be the highest possible pattern of human life.

Sounds good. I can see that I'm not familiar enough with the symbolism of the NT, but I could imagine that you are right in that description. I tend to see the description of Jesus as the "first fruit", the first of many resurrected. The Christ seems to be more than that, being the firstborn at the beginning of creation, the formgiver, the King of Kings etc. Perhaps that is misguided.


The symbolism of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus as the Christ, can be read as an endorsement of Jesus as the Pattern of patterns for human life. Baptism was understood to be ritual initiation into the Pattern. Then people were expected to live out the pattern everyday. Those who faithfully follow the Pattern are considered saints. Saint Paul said, "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me" and that he "died" to himself daily. The resurrection and the ascension have symbolic meaning for the present and eschatological future. Symbols are the doors connecting the phenomenal world with the spiritual one.
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.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:39 pm

felix dakat wrote:The symbolism of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus as the Christ, can be read as an endorsement of Jesus as the Pattern of patterns for human life. Baptism was understood to be ritual initiation into the Pattern. Then people were expected to live out the pattern everyday. Those who faithfully follow the Pattern are considered saints. Saint Paul said, "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me" and that he "died" to himself daily. The resurrection and the ascension have symbolic meaning for the present and eschatological future. Symbols are the doors connecting the phenomenal world with the spiritual one.

Do you think that the early Christians thought of it this way? I have often asked myself whether a story had been concocted or whether there was symbolism in it. It wouldn’t have been fitting for people proclaiming the truth to lie about the whereabouts of Jesus. If heaven and earth are seen as coming together in the man Jesus of Nazareth, he became Jesus the Christ at what moment? At birth or at his baptism?
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:28 pm

Echo!

echo

echo

echo
echo
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:04 pm

Bob wrote:
felix dakat wrote:The symbolism of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus as the Christ, can be read as an endorsement of Jesus as the Pattern of patterns for human life. Baptism was understood to be ritual initiation into the Pattern. Then people were expected to live out the pattern everyday. Those who faithfully follow the Pattern are considered saints. Saint Paul said, "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me" and that he "died" to himself daily. The resurrection and the ascension have symbolic meaning for the present and eschatological future. Symbols are the doors connecting the phenomenal world with the spiritual one.

Do you think that the early Christians thought of it this way? I have often asked myself whether a story had been concocted or whether there was symbolism in it. It wouldn’t have been fitting for people proclaiming the truth to lie about the whereabouts of Jesus. If heaven and earth are seen as coming together in the man Jesus of Nazareth, he became Jesus the Christ at what moment? At birth or at his baptism?


The Nag Hammadi scriptures suggest there was enormous variability in the thinking of early Christians. But I think the writers of the canonical gospels saw no conflict between the literal and the symbolic.

There's no mention of a divine birth in the epistles of Paul or in the Gospel of Mark which is usually considered to be the earliest of the four. The gospels of Matthew and Luke which have miraculous birth stories probably came later. The Gospel of John which identifies Jesus with the logos through which the world was created was probably written last of the four. So what we seem to see is progressively higher christologies over time.

Which raises questions about how to read the story symbolically. Traditional methods that I'm familiar with have tried to harmonize the Gospels and Paul's epistles without complete success. I haven't seen Pageau address the issue. What's significance do conflicting views of the story have for a symbolic reading? One can speculate historically about how the differences arose. But the historic record is incomplete. To me it is one more finger pointing to our ignorance about Ultimate Reality.
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
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:55 am

felix dakat wrote:The Nag Hammadi scriptures suggest there was enormous variability in the thinking of early Christians. But I think the writers of the canonical gospels saw no conflict between the literal and the symbolic.

There's no mention of a divine birth in the epistles of Paul or in the Gospel of Mark which is usually considered to be the earliest of the four. The gospels of Matthew and Luke which have miraculous birth stories probably came later. The Gospel of John which identifies Jesus with the logos through which the world was created was probably written last of the four. So what we seem to see is progressively higher christologies over time.

Which raises questions about how to read the story symbolically. Traditional methods that I'm familiar with have tried to harmonize the Gospels and Paul's epistles without complete success. I haven't seen Pageau address the issue. What's significance do conflicting views of the story have for a symbolic reading? One can speculate historically about how the differences arose. But the historic record is incomplete. To me it is one more finger pointing to our ignorance about Ultimate Reality.

I was really taken aback when, 20 years ago, I heard Pierre Grimes say that Mark was a typical Greek tragedy (I think it is still online). He proved it as well as far as I am concerned. The Gospels of Luke and Matthew obviously couldn’t let that stand and so they added to the story and developed a Christology that was very close to the stories of other mythical figures. John was the one who brought the cosmic Christ, i.e. the Logos, into a Gospel. I have heard people say that John is probably closer to Paul than anyone.

I can’t remember where I read a talk about miracles. It could have been on Pageau’s site, but what interested me was the way in which CS Lewis was quoted pointing out that we have our own perspective on our planet, somewhat like fishes in an aquarium. If something happened outside of the aquarium, but affected the content of the aquarium, it could be seen as a miracle. He says that reality is a question of perspective, which is quite right. Everything is a miracle until it is explained. If there are things that we can’t explain, but affect us, isn’t that something that could be seen as a miracle? Conscious life on earth is a miracle, let alone the incarnation.

I am unsure how to understand the Gospel miracles, as I have already said. Whether they are symbolic (which they are as well) or whether they happened, is still something that isn’t clear to me. I prefer to explain them in a symbolic way, but I may be missing something.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:12 am

Bob wrote:I was really taken aback when, 20 years ago, I heard Pierre Grimes say that Mark was a typical Greek tragedy (I think it is still online). He proved it as well as far as I am concerned. The Gospels of Luke and Matthew obviously couldn’t let that stand and so they added to the story and developed a Christology that was very close to the stories of other mythical figures. John was the one who brought the cosmic Christ, i.e. the Logos, into a Gospel. I have heard people say that John is probably closer to Paul than anyone.

I can’t remember where I read a talk about miracles. It could have been on Pageau’s site, but what interested me was the way in which CS Lewis was quoted pointing out that we have our own perspective on our planet, somewhat like fishes in an aquarium. If something happened outside of the aquarium, but affected the content of the aquarium, it could be seen as a miracle. He says that reality is a question of perspective, which is quite right. Everything is a miracle until it is explained. If there are things that we can’t explain, but affect us, isn’t that something that could be seen as a miracle? Conscious life on earth is a miracle, let alone the incarnation.

I am unsure how to understand the Gospel miracles, as I have already said. Whether they are symbolic (which they are as well) or whether they happened, is still something that isn’t clear to me. I prefer to explain them in a symbolic way, but I may be missing something.


The "aquarium" or "fish tank" analogy is included in this quote from Lewis's book, "Miracles" on the Symbolic World blog, :

"A miracle is emphatically not an event without cause or without results. Its cause is the activity of God: its results follow according to Natural law. In the forward direction (i.e. during the time which follows its occurrence) it is interlocked with all Nature just like any other event. Its peculiarity is that it is not in that way interlocked backwards, interlocked with the previous history of Nature. And this is just what some people find intolerable. The reason they find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality. And they are sure that all reality must be inter-related and consistent. I agree with them. But I think they have mistaken a partial system within reality, namely Nature, for the whole. That being so, the miracle and the previous history of Nature may be interlocked after all but not in the way the Naturalist expected: rather in a much more roundabout fashion. The great complex event called Nature, and the new particular event introduced into it by the miracle, are related by their common origin in God, and doubtless, if we knew enough, most intricately related in His purpose and design, so that a Nature which had had a different history, and therefore been a different Nature, would have been invaded by different miracles or by none at all. In that way the miracle and the previous course of Nature are as well interlocked as any other two realities, but you must go back as far as their common Creator to find the interlocking. You will not find it within Nature. The same sort of thing happens with any partial system. The behaviour of fishes which are being studied in a tank makes a relatively closed system. Now suppose that the tank is shaken by a bomb in the neighbourhood of the laboratory. The behaviour of the fishes will now be no longer fully explicable by what was going on in the tank before the bomb fell: there will be a failure of backward interlocking. This does not mean that the bomb and the previous history of events within the tank are totally and finally unrelated. It does mean that to find their relation you must go back to the much larger reality which includes both the tank and the bomb — the reality of war-time England in which bombs are falling but some laboratories are still at work. You would never find it within the history of the tank. In the same way, the miracle is not naturally interlocked in the backward direction. To find how it is interlocked with the previous history of Nature you must replace both Nature and the miracle in a larger context. Everything is connected with everything else: but not all things are connected by the short and straight roads we expected."


Jonathan Pageau and J.P. Marceau take up C.S. Lewis’s argument on this video: https://youtu.be/Su_ggDVzKLw

Marceau says that Lewis was set against the naturalism of his time which was a relatively simplistic kind of materialism where nature is one big interlocked mechanical system. Lewis’ strategy to introduce miracles in that worldview was to take something closer to us, our rationality, and show that it is not something that can be fit in that interlocking system. If all that is real ultimately is the mechanical level then this will make our rationality unreal. Our intellectual concepts will have to be reduced to something mechanical. But, this would make our theories themselves unreal. Only the mechanical level would be real. This would mean that the materialist theory is not rational. So we don’t have to believe it. The argument is self defeating.

Pageau calls it a blind spot. Materialists take for granted the invisible part of their world. They take for granted their own consciousness which the materialist theories don’t explain. Pageau tries to tell them “Look up. You have patterns that you use to interpret reality. You can’t pretend as if those patterns are physical because they're not. You also can’t pretend that the patterns don’t exist because your using them to interpret reality.

Marceau goes on to say that what is much more traditional is a non-reductive kind of physicalism. He introduces a series of examples that become more and more complex and make their way up progressively to miracles.

If you look at the lowest level of physics, physicists will say that fundamental fields of probability at the bottom of physics you can see that particles just appear there. If you leave it there, its a very poor explanation of what is going on. It’s super strange. Things don’t just pop out of fields of potential. That’s a strange thing to say. But, the reason why we accept this strange emergence is because we also know the top down pattern that informs the potential. We know certain laws of physics that tell us that the probability that certain particles will manifest themselves out of potential there. We know the potential at the bottom layer of physics and the emanation of the laws on the potential explains to us why the particle appears and because we have this pattern to explain the emergence we’re OK with it.

You already have two layers of reality there. And it just keeps getting more and more complex as you go up the different layers of reality. To explain the emergence of something you always need to know the top down pattern that that informs it.

One layer that is useful is the one that happens in our brains. If you look at what happens in our brains as we’re saying words, you would see billions and billions of neurons which coordinate in perfect ways so that the right signals are sent to your muscles and your lungs and your mouth so that you say the words you intend. And this kind of coordination is so complex that the possibility of error is so high that it is amazing that we are able to say what we intend. But, once you know the top-down pattern, which is the fairly simple desire to say these words then the whole coherence makes sense. You can explain the bottom-up emergence by simultaneous knowing the top-down emanation.of your thoughts. You have two layers of reality there.

The way that non-reductive physicalists explain it is that you cannot reduce the brain as a whole to its individual constituents. If you try to do that you get the problem of all these possibilities that don’t cohere. We need to explain that there are constraints that come from my brain as a whole.

Modern cognitive sciences also includes the environment. It’s not just your brain in your body, it’s also your environment, and who knows how far this goes. It’s this old structure, this pattern, this abstract spirit so to speak, that informs, that shapes the potential that is emerging from your neurons. This is going from the cellular level to the level of mind of an individual person.

So, when you look at something from the bottom up without understanding the pattern that informs it, you can’t make sense of it. The sense actually comes from the manner in which the bottom level joins together and connects with the top-down pattern.

So if you look at a painting, all the individual specks of paint on the painting, it’s just a jumbled specks of paint until you understand it’s the painting of an apple. When you know it’s the painting of an apple, then all of a sudden all those specks of paint make sense. They find a reason to be there.

If we keep going higher we get closer and closer to miracles. The sort of top-down causality that ultimately Lewis was getting at. The way that can have causal influences on your neurons for instance the way that rationality can smoothly intermesh with the brain is the same kind of smooth interaction that God who is behind emergence altogether can have on creation. But it’s useful to go through a few layers to get that this is so.

One example is the placebo effect. You need the narrative frame to have a sense of what is going on. The top-down causality of the placebo makes sense of the emergent chemical reactions which cures the illness.

Lewis gives a useful criterion to think about what a miracle is and how to think about them. At the level of God and miracles, once we know that a certain event was a real miracle, should make all of reality more intelligible. When we talk about emergent phenomena the question is, what are they emerging for?

Pageau says inevitably they’re emerging towards different levels of unity. A multiplicity jumps into a one, and then ones at that level jump into a higher one, and so forth. They’re emerging towards an identity. They’re emerging towards name. They’re emerging towards pattern. They can also be emerging toward a narrative.

Lewis' argument is developed and critiqued further here: https://tllp.org/managed-feed-item/natu ... -vervaeke/
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
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:57 pm

felix dakat wrote:The "aquarium" or "fish tank" analogy is included in this quote from Lewis's book, "Miracles" on the Symbolic World blog, :

" I think they have mistaken a partial system within reality, namely Nature, for the whole. That being so, the miracle and the previous history of Nature may be interlocked after all but not in the way the Naturalist expected: rather in a much more roundabout fashion. The great complex event called Nature, and the new particular event introduced into it by the miracle, are related by their common origin in God, and doubtless, if we knew enough, most intricately related in His purpose and design, so that a Nature which had had a different history, and therefore been a different Nature, would have been invaded by different miracles or by none at all. In that way the miracle and the previous course of Nature are as well interlocked as any other two realities, but you must go back as far as their common Creator to find the interlocking. You will not find it within Nature. … Everything is connected with everything else: but not all things are connected by the short and straight roads we expected."


Jonathan Pageau and J.P. Marceau take up C.S. Lewis’s argument on this video: https://youtu.be/Su_ggDVzKLw

Now I know where I have read that. I think that this argument is right for reasons that Lewis wouldn’t have know in his day, but which are becoming evident. There is the thought that much of what is experienced when watching the solar system is being likened to brain activity. The electromagnetic forces are present in a much larger dimension than in the brain, but they are there.

Vervaeke constantly refers to the “weirdness” of nature, in which so much is going on, not least in the ways that human beings connect with the world. He says that he doesn’t need a God for many “normal” wonders, and he wouldn’t call them miracles. I think that people just aren’t able to handle the fact that this could be all to do with God’s interaction with the world.

Marceau says that Lewis was set against the naturalism of his time which was a relatively simplistic kind of materialism where nature is one big interlocked mechanical system. Lewis’ strategy to introduce miracles in that worldview was to take something closer to us, our rationality, and show that it is not something that can be fit in that interlocking system. If all that is real ultimately is the mechanical level then this will make our rationality unreal. Our intellectual concepts will have to be reduced to something mechanical. But, this would make our theories themselves unreal. Only the mechanical level would be real. This would mean that the materialist theory is not rational. So we don’t have to believe it. The argument is self defeating.

Pageau calls it a blind spot. Materialists take for granted the invisible part of their world. They take for granted their own consciousness which the materialist theories don’t explain. Pageau tries to tell them “Look up. You have patterns that you use to interpret reality. You can’t pretend as if those patterns are physical because they're not. You also can’t pretend that the patterns don’t exist because your using them to interpret reality.

I think that the materialists themselves just shut down the argument when they are confronted with the simplicity of their argument. They are dedicated to explaining everything away and ignore that which they cannot. I have met people who have said that the one argument for God they entertain is the sheer complexity of existence. The fact that we are continually discovering things that are possible, which were just imagination a short time ago, is enough to ask oneself, how much more is possible in ways we can’t even imagine? What if these things were witnessed two thousand years ago?

You already have two layers of reality there. And it just keeps getting more and more complex as you go up the different layers of reality. To explain the emergence of something you always need to know the top down pattern that that informs it.

One layer that is useful is the one that happens in our brains. If you look at what happens in our brains as we’re saying words, you would see billions and billions of neurons which coordinate in perfect ways so that the right signals are sent to your muscles and your lungs and your mouth so that you say the words you intend. And this kind of coordination is so complex that the possibility of error is so high that it is amazing that we are able to say what we intend. But, once you know the top-down pattern, which is the fairly simple desire to say these words then the whole coherence makes sense. You can explain the bottom-up emergence by simultaneous knowing the top-down emanation.of your thoughts. You have two layers of reality there.

The miracle of the human body never ceases to amaze me because it isn’t just buttons to push, it is biochemistry combined with electric signals that help us think and do things. There are panic reactions where the mind is bypassed, our faces react faster to things than our minds do. I still think that the top-down emanation is just one aspect and difficult to classify. Where do the archetypes come from? How much of it is my contribution to anything?

The way that non-reductive physicalists explain it is that you cannot reduce the brain as a whole to its individual constituents. If you try to do that you get the problem of all these possibilities that don’t cohere. We need to explain that there are constraints that come from my brain as a whole.

Modern cognitive sciences also includes the environment. It’s not just your brain in your body, it’s also your environment, and who knows how far this goes. It’s this old structure, this pattern, this abstract spirit so to speak, that informs, that shapes the potential that is emerging from your neurons. This is going from the cellular level to the level of mind of an individual person.

I think we completely forget that our environment is as much a part of us as we are a part of it. The interaction is multi-layered and doesn’t always involve our cognition. If you switch off the cognitive aspect, many things go on working (I experienced this about thirty years ago and “woke up” after I had showered, dressed, had my breakfast with my wife, drove my car to work and taken over the shift).

If we keep going higher we get closer and closer to miracles. The sort of top-down causality that ultimately Lewis was getting at. The way that can have causal influences on your neurons for instance the way that rationality can smoothly intermesh with the brain is the same kind of smooth interaction that God who is behind emergence altogether can have on creation. But it’s useful to go through a few layers to get that this is so.

One example is the placebo effect. You need the narrative frame to have a sense of what is going on. The top-down causality of the placebo makes sense of the emergent chemical reactions which cures the illness.

That is a very good point, but one where Vervaeke asks, “Was that a miracle?” When is something a miracle and not just a wonder of existence?

Lewis gives a useful criterion to think about what a miracle is and how to think about them. At the level of God and miracles, once we know that a certain event was a real miracle, should make all of reality more intelligible. When we talk about emergent phenomena the question is, what are they emerging for?

Pageau says inevitably they’re emerging towards different levels of unity. A multiplicity jumps into a one, and then ones at that level jump into a higher one, and so forth. They’re emerging towards an identity. They’re emerging towards name. They’re emerging towards pattern. They can also be emerging toward a narrative.


I found this helpful, because we have to know what words we are using and how they differ from those used at the time of Jesus:
Scripture has no single word that is translated “miracle.” The English word “miracle” comes from the Latin term miraculum, which merely refers to something that evokes wonder.
There are four primary Greek words translated as miracle: works (ergon), wonders (teras), powers (dunamis), and signs (semeion). These various terms are used because no single term can possibly exhaust all the significance of a miracle. These words do not depict different kinds of miracles. They portray the miracles from different perspectives. Miracles in the New Testament: (1) are not associated with spells or incantations (the power was in Jesus); (2) were not performed to punish, but to rescue people from physical and spiritual forces; (3) provide testimony to Jesus’ supernatural power and authority. The “Grand Miracle” is the Incarnation and is at the very heart of the message of Scripture.
Miracles, as an integral part of the Bible, provide evidence that it is God’s divinely-inspired Word. Miracles are both the official and authoritative seal of God and the insignia of Christ’s deity. Miracles were performed directly by God, by Christ, the Holy Spirit, angels, servants of God, and evil agents.
Miracles serve several purposes: (1) accredit God's messengers; (2) confirm God’s message; (3) bring glory to God and Jesus; (4) demonstrate the presence of God’s Kingdom; (5) promote faith; (6) demonstrate God’s sovereignty; and (7) help people in need.
Ron Rhodes’ definition of a miracle is: “a unique and extraordinary event awakening wonder (teras), wrought by divine power (dunamis), accomplishing some practical and benevolent work (ergon), and authenticating or signifying [as a sign] a messenger and his message as from God (semeion).”
Greek Word Studies: Miracles
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:21 pm

Bob wrote:I think that the materialists themselves just shut down the argument when they are confronted with the simplicity of their argument. They are dedicated to explaining everything away and ignore that which they cannot. I have met people who have said that the one argument for God they entertain is the sheer complexity of existence. rom God (semeion).”
Greek Word Studies: Miracles
I see this as 'of a family' with fine tuning arguments which even physicists, many of them at least, feel drawn to. Life being the most complex things we've noticed yet. I mean the universe could have been something the equivalent of one giant lump of protons. Or scattered neutrinos almost never even coming near each other. (I am not making a case for those scenarios in specific, just that coming from nothing it would seem like the amount of universes that could support or encourage complexity would be vastly outnumbered by ones that were monolithic and simple, even static.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sat Dec 05, 2020 3:57 pm

Bob wrote:
" I think they have mistaken a partial system within reality, namely Nature, for the whole. That being so, the miracle and the previous history of Nature may be interlocked after all but not in the way the Naturalist expected: rather in a much more roundabout fashion. The great complex event called Nature, and the new particular event introduced into it by the miracle, are related by their common origin in God, and doubtless, if we knew enough, most intricately related in His purpose and design, so that a Nature which had had a different history, and therefore been a different Nature, would have been invaded by different miracles or by none at all. In that way the miracle and the previous course of Nature are as well interlocked as any other two realities, but you must go back as far as their common Creator to find the interlocking. You will not find it within Nature. … Everything is connected with everything else: but not all things are connected by the short and straight roads we expected."




Vervaeke constantly refers to the “weirdness” of nature, in which so much is going on, not least in the ways that human beings connect with the world. He says that he doesn’t need a God for many “normal” wonders, and he wouldn’t call them miracles. I think that people just aren’t able to handle the fact that this could be all to do with God’s interaction with the world.
Marceau says that Lewis was set against the naturalism of his time which was a relatively simplistic kind of materialism where nature is one big interlocked mechanical system. Lewis’ strategy to introduce miracles in that worldview was to take something closer to us, our rationality, and show that it is not something that can be fit in that interlocking system. If all that is real ultimately is the mechanical level then this will make our rationality unreal. Our intellectual concepts will have to be reduced to something mechanical. But, this would make our theories themselves unreal. Only the mechanical level would be real. This would mean that the materialist theory is not rational. So we don’t have to believe it. The argument is self defeating.

Pageau calls it a blind spot. Materialists take for granted the invisible part of their
world. They take for granted their own consciousness which the materialist theories don’t explain. Pageau tries to tell them “Look up. You have patterns that you use to interpret reality. You can’t pretend as if those patterns are physical because they're not. You also can’t pretend that the patterns don’t exist because your using them to interpret reality.

I think that the materialists themselves just shut down the argument when they are confronted with the simplicity of their argument. They are dedicated to explaining everything away and ignore that which they cannot. I have met people who have said that the one argument for God they entertain is the sheer complexity of existence. The fact that we are continually discovering things that are possible, which were just imagination a short time ago, is enough to ask oneself, how much more is possible in ways we can’t even imagine? What if these things were witnessed two thousand years ago?


The miracle of the human body never ceases to amaze me because it isn’t just buttons to push, it is biochemistry combined with electric signals that help us think and do things. There are panic reactions where the mind is bypassed, our faces react faster to things than our minds do. I still think that the top-down emanation is just one aspect and difficult to classify. Where do the archetypes come from? How much of it is my contribution to anything?


I think we completely forget that our environment is as much a part of us as we are a part of it. The interaction is multi-layered and doesn’t always involve our cognition. If you switch off the cognitive aspect, many things go on working (I experienced this about thirty years ago and “woke up” after I had showered, dressed, had my breakfast with my wife, drove my car to work and taken over the shift).


That is a very good point, but one where Vervaeke asks, “Was that a miracle?” When is something a miracle and not just a wonder of existence?



I found this helpful, because we have to know what words we are using and how they differ from those used at the time of Jesus:
Scripture has no single word that is translated “miracle.” The English word “miracle” comes from the Latin term miraculum, which merely refers to something that evokes wonder.
There are four primary Greek words translated as miracle: works (ergon), wonders (teras), powers (dunamis), and signs (semeion). These various terms are used because no single term can possibly exhaust all the significance of a miracle. These words do not depict different kinds of miracles. They portray the miracles from different perspectives. Miracles in the New Testament: (1) are not associated with spells or incantations (the power was in Jesus); (2) were not performed to punish, but to rescue people from physical and spiritual forces; (3) provide testimony to Jesus’ supernatural power and authority. The “Grand Miracle” is the Incarnation and is at the very heart of the message of Scripture.
Miracles, as an integral part of the Bible, provide evidence that it is God’s divinely-inspired Word. Miracles are both the official and authoritative seal of God and the insignia of Christ’s deity. Miracles were performed directly by God, by Christ, the Holy Spirit, angels, servants of God, and evil agents.
Miracles serve several purposes: (1) accredit God's messengers; (2) confirm God’s message; (3) bring glory to God and Jesus; (4) demonstrate the presence of God’s Kingdom; (5) promote faith; (6) demonstrate God’s sovereignty; and (7) help people in need.
Ron Rhodes’ definition of a miracle is: “a unique and extraordinary event awakening wonder (teras), wrought by divine power (dunamis), accomplishing some practical and benevolent work (ergon), and authenticating or signifying [as a sign] a messenger and his message as from God (semeion).”
Greek Word Studies: Miracles

I rejected supernaturalism a long time ago. The discussion opened me up to take a fresh look at CS Lewis a writer I enjoyed years ago, but had pretty much dismissed. Non-reductive naturalism appears to be the middle way. People live as if non-reductive naturalism was the truth without thinking about it most of the time whether they admit it or not philosophically. At any rate we don't have to go far to see evidence of a meaning crisis. Who among us couldn't use an injection of higher level meaning in our lives?
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
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Berkley Babes » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:23 pm

Symbolo :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:31 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Bob wrote:I think that the materialists themselves just shut down the argument when they are confronted with the simplicity of their argument. They are dedicated to explaining everything away and ignore that which they cannot. I have met people who have said that the one argument for God they entertain is the sheer complexity of existence. rom God (semeion).”
Greek Word Studies: Miracles
I see this as 'of a family' with fine tuning arguments which even physicists, many of them at least, feel drawn to. Life being the most complex things we've noticed yet. I mean the universe could have been something the equivalent of one giant lump of protons. Or scattered neutrinos almost never even coming near each other. (I am not making a case for those scenarios in specific, just that coming from nothing it would seem like the amount of universes that could support or encourage complexity would be vastly outnumbered by ones that were monolithic and simple, even static.


"Materialists" of the sort being discussed here don't really exist... It's a common error of the "faithful" to presume people must have some sort of "commitment" to their metaphysics.
I can't think of a single person who would identify as a materialist, that wouldn't instantly and without hesitation abandon that position if given reason to.

It's just that "there is stuff we don't understand and can't explain" is not a very good reason to start filling in the blanks with fiction about the supernatural... at least not where we believe that fiction to be true.
Yet it seems that can be tempting... This is how gods are born after all... to explaining events our ancestors couldn't understand.
Following in that proud tradition I suppose the new gods can be the god of dark matter and dark energy, the god of quantum physics, the god of abiogenesis and the god of cosmological constants... :lol:
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:02 pm

There are quite a few possible positions under discussion here. There are at least two overarching cosmologies, the modern scientific one, and the traditional symbolic one. There are at least two kinds of materialism or physicalism, reductive naturalism and non-reductive naturalism.

The symbolic world can be looked at at least from psychological or metaphysical perspectives. Theologically orthodoxy and neoplatonism and mysticism, Eastern and Western are at least in the historical contextual background. And we have the ideas of emanation from above and emergence from below.

Then there are different ways of looking at these alternatives including faith, agnosticism, skepticism and atheism and the variants thereof. I haven't seen anybody dogmatically holding to one or the other positions at this point in the discussion.

Personally I don't see faith as an all-or-nothing proposition for anybody. Depth psychology shows that we are more than our consciously held philosophical positions on things.
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
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:13 am

Mad Man P wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Bob wrote:I think that the materialists themselves just shut down the argument when they are confronted with the simplicity of their argument. They are dedicated to explaining everything away and ignore that which they cannot. I have met people who have said that the one argument for God they entertain is the sheer complexity of existence. rom God (semeion).”
Greek Word Studies: Miracles
I see this as 'of a family' with fine tuning arguments which even physicists, many of them at least, feel drawn to. Life being the most complex things we've noticed yet. I mean the universe could have been something the equivalent of one giant lump of protons. Or scattered neutrinos almost never even coming near each other. (I am not making a case for those scenarios in specific, just that coming from nothing it would seem like the amount of universes that could support or encourage complexity would be vastly outnumbered by ones that were monolithic and simple, even static.


"Materialists" of the sort being discussed here don't really exist... It's a common error of the "faithful" to presume people must have some sort of "commitment" to their metaphysics.
I can't think of a single person who would identify as a materialist, that wouldn't instantly and without hesitation abandon that position if given reason to.

It's just that "there is stuff we don't understand and can't explain" is not a very good reason to start filling in the blanks with fiction about the supernatural... at least not where we believe that fiction to be true.
Yet it seems that can be tempting... This is how gods are born after all... to explaining events our ancestors couldn't understand.
Following in that proud tradition I suppose the new gods can be the god of dark matter and dark energy, the god of quantum physics, the god of abiogenesis and the god of cosmological constants... :lol:

"One of Putnam’s favorite examples is that, depending on our interests, we can correctly and usefully describe a chair in the alternative languages of carpentry, furniture design, geometry, or etiquette. each of these descriptions is useful in its own way, without being reducible to any of the others. there is no a fundamental theory of what being a chair is, so to speak. and this is valid with regard to a vast amount of entities (possibly all of them, with the exception of the entities of microphysics), since they can be described in different ways not just because of conceptual relativity, but also because things have different properties that belong to different ontological regions, to use husserl’s term."
Mario de Caro Università Roma Tre and Tufts university
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:30 am

Many cognitively non-equivalent and mutually irreducible conceptual schemes must be used to take account of the different levels of reality. The use of symbolic language in the traditions is one way of dealing with this and can only be understood within that concept. As soon as one interprets symbolic language with scientific concepts, it doesn’t make sense.

I think the inclusion of moral features, free will, normativity, consciousness, and intentional properties in a worldview is important enough not to exclude them. Just because science has difficulty in categorising them doesn’t mean they’re not important. Therefore the use of symbols, analogy, allegory, metaphors, and fable is warranted.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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