Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

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Adur Alkain
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by Adur Alkain »

AshvinP wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:31 pm
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 1:07 pm
Adur Alkain wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:14 pmIn my comment I was thinking mainly of Owen Barfield, who I think was quite ethnocentric.
You realize you're going to be lambasted for misrepresenting Barfield. I would suggest that we are all to some extent or another 'conditioning'-centric, in that we all are interpreting through a conditioned mindset, which predisposes us toward certain views, for example, your own view that Barfield is ethnocentric, or that your guru Almaas is a cut above the rest ... Let anyone who is without conditioning cast the first stone ;)

:) I am tempted to give Adur a pass here, because it seems he is a super busy guy and doesn't follow any of the other threads and has not read my essays on these things, and I presume he has not really looked into Steiner or Barfield yet. That being said, I am going to paste my comment to Justin here (who actually read Saving the Appearances and still grossly misrepresented Barfield) and I really hope Adur will reflect on it and therefore, equipped with more insight from people who are clearly more familiar with Barfield, stop misrepresenting the "spiritual evolution" Barfield, Cleric, and myself (and Scott when he comments) are all speaking of.

Ashvin wrote:Although this particular point should be evident from the concept of "the evolution of consciousness" itself. He is in no way "applauding scientism", but recognizing the natural unfolding of these new conscious modes from earlier ones. Original participation was not destined to last forever and it is indeed counter-productive for modern society to long for a return back to the mother's womb, so to speak (I discuss this a lot in last mythology essay in connection with Prometheus-Epimetheus and Genesis accounts in the Old Testament).

If you take the view that socioeconomic events determine or even take equal share in determining modes of consciousness, which I have seen you argue for previously, then you will continue to completely misunderstand Barfield's sentiments. It's not as if he fails to express similar if not even more critical sentiment with the rationalism and logical positivism of the modern age, because he does that at length too. All of these intellectual or over-mystical worldviews, if clinged onto by the abstract intellect, inhibit spiritual growth and therefore the realization of "final participation" (which is not used by him to indicate the absolute end of spiritual evolution or anything similar).

Barfield does not think "collective practices", by which you mean socioeconomic and political arrangements, had anything to do with the 'liquidation' of OP or the metamorphoses into scientific mode of consciousness. These things all followed as naturally in his view as a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It did not at all depend on what "collective practices" the caterpillars adopted. Once we internalize his actual view, we realize how silly it is to read him as "applauding" these developments in isolation, like he is glad that a bunch of people got together and decided to do away with OP and mechanize the world with materialist science. That is simply an absurd reading of Barfield.

Does he applaud the holistic Wisdom of this overall metamorphic progression of the Spirit? Yes, of course - he was a Christian-Anthroposophist and they tend to think the incarnation of Christ in the world, i.e. the Spirit taking on flesh, was a positive development. Does he applaud the Hope that our current "dark night of the soul" in rationalism, scientism, etc. will give rise to our future spiritual freedom? Yes, of course. That is what is meant by "scoured the appearances clean of the last traces of spirit". He does not think it's good because the spirit is gone forever, rather because it was only through that scouring of the appearances that the Spirit can really take root within the souls of individual humans, and grow from the bottom-up to meet itself from the top-down. Like Steiner, he envisions man becoming Spirit-Man in the millennia to come
Yes I am a super busy guy... but you don't need to give me a pass! :)

I tried to explain in my reply to Soul_of_Shu what I meant when I said Barfield was ethnocentric. I find Barfield's writings quite inspiring, but I don't think pointing at what I perceive as limitations in his thinking is misrepresenting him.

I don't even think this perceived ethnocentricity is a big problem. There is no denying that there is a "spiritual evolution" in the Western civilized world, of which I am part. I just prefer to have a more inclusive and pluralistic view of human evolution. I firmly believe that many different views can coexist peacefully, and even enrich each other. When Western civilization hopefully reaches the next stage of "final participation", I hope that there will still be people left on Earth living in "original participation", or in whatever spiritual development they find for themselves... That is my dream.
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by AshvinP »

Adur Alkain wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:46 pm
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 1:07 pm
Adur Alkain wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:14 pmIn my comment I was thinking mainly of Owen Barfield, who I think was quite ethnocentric.
You realize you're going to be lambasted for misrepresenting Barfield. I would suggest that we are all to some extent or another 'conditioning'-centric, in that we all are interpreting through a conditioned mindset, which predisposes us toward certain views, for example, your own view that Barfield is ethnocentric, or that your guru Almaas is a cut above the rest ... Let anyone who is without conditioning cast the first stone ;)
I really like Barfield. I found Saving the Appearances a very interesting and inspiring read. Saying that he was ethnocentric was not intended as an insult. But it's a fact.

There is something very interesting about all you Eastern mystical types, in which I include Eugene, yourself (Adur), Justin, probably Lou, Ben, Marteen, and I am sure a few others on the forum - anyone with natural affinity to Eastern mystical tradition (which I presume would also be reflected in big 5 personality test in high level of trait openness to experience and low trait conscientiousness) - you have a complete inability to separate out logical arguments from personal emotions, i.e. sympathies and antipathies. Since calling someone "ethnocentric" is not insulting, this fact definitely should not be either. You guys assume that anyone who reaches a logical, reasoned out conclusion which highlights Western spiritual development must do so because of ethnocentric bias. Even if there is no logical connection between those two things other than your pure uninformed speculation - uninformed by your own admission - you still feel very confident in the conclusion. (Adur's quote of Barfield from A History in English Words is great example of this phenomena)

Why do you assume that? Because it is what you guys do in all of your own arguments! Therefore, you assume everyone else must reason in the same way you do - form the sympathies and antipathies for a position first, and only then reason out from those. Of course this will not be admitted, because it is repressed in the shadow intellect. The 'compensation' is to project it out onto all others as a sort of 'atonement' - "I am making up for my own bias by calling it out in everyone else". Sometimes the people you call out will have that bias, sometimes not - it's a matter of pure luck since logical reasoning has taken a backseat to unexamined sympathies and antipathies. The latter are not actually "formed", though, but come with you at birth, so it is completely outside of any reasoned considerations in this lifetime.

I don't expect any of you guys to accept this argument, as the egocentrism involved is very potent and therefore defense mechanisms will be strong, but if others pay close to attention and see the similarities between your responses to topics concerning Western spiritual evolution, which in this iteration have all manifested in relation to poor old chap Barfield, it will be very evident. Adur, I still hold out a bit of hope that you can get introspective on this issue and overcome the natural antipathy for Western spiritual evolution by prioritizing Reason and logic, but it will take quite a bit of effort. In all seriousness, I really appreciated your work on the QM front and in challenging BK's idealism, but the next step you need to take from abstract model to concrete Thinking is blocked by these sorts of unexamined prejudices, so you really need to focus on removing those blockages.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by AshvinP »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:17 am Adur, I still hold out a bit of hope that you can get introspective on this issue and overcome the natural antipathy for Western spiritual evolution by prioritizing Reason and logic, but it will take quite a bit of effort. In all seriousness, I really appreciated your work on the QM front and in challenging BK's idealism, but the next step you need to take from abstract model to concrete Thinking is blocked by these sorts of unexamined prejudices, so you really need to focus on removing those blockages.

Just to follow up with one more point - I didn't even see your last comment which really indicates I am justified in holding out hope for you to overcome this prejudicial thinking, Adur, because you actually recognize it within yourself!

Adur wrote:There is no denying that there is a "spiritual evolution" in the Western civilized world, of which I am part. I just prefer to have a more inclusive and pluralistic view of human evolution. I firmly believe that many different views can coexist peacefully, and even enrich each other

You quite clearly acknowledge that your conclusions, in fact, have little to do with knowledge and everything to do with preference and belief. Ideally, none of what we hold to would be determined by mere preference and belief, but clearly there are going to a few things here and there. But when it comes to an issue so critically central to all of our lives and experiences - our past, present, and future - such as spiritual evolution, it's really not an option to let preferences and beliefs dictate your position.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by AshvinP »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:12 am
AshvinP wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:17 am Adur, I still hold out a bit of hope that you can get introspective on this issue and overcome the natural antipathy for Western spiritual evolution by prioritizing Reason and logic, but it will take quite a bit of effort. In all seriousness, I really appreciated your work on the QM front and in challenging BK's idealism, but the next step you need to take from abstract model to concrete Thinking is blocked by these sorts of unexamined prejudices, so you really need to focus on removing those blockages.

Just to follow up with one more point - I didn't even see your last comment which really indicates I am justified in holding out hope for you to overcome this prejudicial thinking, Adur, because you actually recognize it within yourself!

Adur wrote:There is no denying that there is a "spiritual evolution" in the Western civilized world, of which I am part. I just prefer to have a more inclusive and pluralistic view of human evolution. I firmly believe that many different views can coexist peacefully, and even enrich each other

You quite clearly acknowledge that your conclusions, in fact, have little to do with knowledge and everything to do with preference and belief. Ideally, none of what we hold to would be determined by mere preference and belief, but clearly there are going to a few things here and there. But when it comes to an issue so critically central to all of our lives and experiences - our past, present, and future - such as spiritual evolution, it's really not an option to let preferences and beliefs dictate your position.

And one more point - a way to check our own prejudices is to observe whenever we read or listen/view something only to get to the conclusion, rather than follow the argument carefully. We want to see if the conclusion lines up with our likes and dislikes, what we prefer or don't prefer, or what we think we already know. I do this myself, as there is only so much time to consume information. If I am asked to read or watch something, I may look for a summary or the conclusions or skip to the end, and if the main thrust is metaphysically materialist-dualist, or anti-spiritual, or goes against the basic principles of spiritual science, then I will likely stop reading/watching and form some tentative conclusions.

BUT, if I comment and offer those conclusions, I always try to caveat that I am not passing judgment on the person whose essay I just briefly glanced at. I make it known these are tentative conclusions about the argument and, most importantly, I remain open to the possibility that I just got it completely wrong. If someone were to come along and say, "hey, you know all those parts of the essay you skipped over? they are actually important and your skipping over them led you to the wrong conclusions", then I will be very receptive of their feedback. Because, after all, I knew the risk of getting it completely wrong when I decided to skip over most of the content.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by Lysander »

I'm noticing another theme here which is the emphasis on Cleric and Ashvin's 'approach' being argued as revealing or yielding the further-est insight insofar as Thinking goes, such as, the higher-order cognition of man's local body and its relation to the Cosmic Body, and mineral kingdom's relationship to cosmic mineral kingdoms and whatnot. However, I see Ashvin stating that Thinking is one-third aspect, so to speak, of Reality, with counterparts of Willing and Feeling. But I don't see any emphasis on the significance of Willing and Feeling. As if, they're only discernable through Thinking in which case I don't see how we could mention them as being different.

And this matters because I read classic mysticism of all traditions as not being Thinking-based, but a pre-verbal Feeling (maybe even Willing). So I am confused about T-W-F. Next, I also see that Cleric is highlighting some kind of perspectival shift as a result of Thinking. It really seems that the definition of special definition of Thinking that's offered with a capital T is problematic to many lurkers. Because, as I understand it, you use it to encapsulate all conceivable mental faculties, basically any state or mode of consciousness is Thinking. So what do Willing and Feeling have to do with it? And shouldn't be a recognition or path or discipline for Willing and Feeling, as well?

All of this talk about "truly hard and dedicated work" about Thinking is another point of 'sectarianism' that Eugene was implying, if I am to give credit to the spirit of the back-and-forth embodied in his comments. The Anthroposphic method, if that we might call it, seems heavily Thinking based whereas other 'insight traditions' (esoteric mysticism) would be devotional or Feeling-based (can I put it that way?). Would you (anyone) agree, in accordance with their own traditions, they also yield a perspective shift? If so, then the kind of reconciliation I proposed earlier would be along the lines of different paths of authentic inquiry (depending on sincerity) for different types or dispositions of human personality.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by Adur Alkain »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:17 am
Adur Alkain wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:46 pm
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 1:07 pm
You realize you're going to be lambasted for misrepresenting Barfield. I would suggest that we are all to some extent or another 'conditioning'-centric, in that we all are interpreting through a conditioned mindset, which predisposes us toward certain views, for example, your own view that Barfield is ethnocentric, or that your guru Almaas is a cut above the rest ... Let anyone who is without conditioning cast the first stone ;)
I really like Barfield. I found Saving the Appearances a very interesting and inspiring read. Saying that he was ethnocentric was not intended as an insult. But it's a fact.

There is something very interesting about all you Eastern mystical types, in which I include Eugene, yourself (Adur), Justin, probably Lou, Ben, Marteen, and I am sure a few others on the forum - anyone with natural affinity to Eastern mystical tradition (which I presume would also be reflected in big 5 personality test in high level of trait openness to experience and low trait conscientiousness) - you have a complete inability to separate out logical arguments from personal emotions, i.e. sympathies and antipathies. Since calling someone "ethnocentric" is not insulting, this fact definitely should not be either. You guys assume that anyone who reaches a logical, reasoned out conclusion which highlights Western spiritual development must do so because of ethnocentric bias. Even if there is no logical connection between those two things other than your pure uninformed speculation - uninformed by your own admission - you still feel very confident in the conclusion. (Adur's quote of Barfield from A History in English Words is great example of this phenomena)

Why do you assume that? Because it is what you guys do in all of your own arguments! Therefore, you assume everyone else must reason in the same way you do - form the sympathies and antipathies for a position first, and only then reason out from those. Of course this will not be admitted, because it is repressed in the shadow intellect. The 'compensation' is to project it out onto all others as a sort of 'atonement' - "I am making up for my own bias by calling it out in everyone else". Sometimes the people you call out will have that bias, sometimes not - it's a matter of pure luck since logical reasoning has taken a backseat to unexamined sympathies and antipathies. The latter are not actually "formed", though, but come with you at birth, so it is completely outside of any reasoned considerations in this lifetime.

I don't expect any of you guys to accept this argument, as the egocentrism involved is very potent and therefore defense mechanisms will be strong, but if others pay close to attention and see the similarities between your responses to topics concerning Western spiritual evolution, which in this iteration have all manifested in relation to poor old chap Barfield, it will be very evident. Adur, I still hold out a bit of hope that you can get introspective on this issue and overcome the natural antipathy for Western spiritual evolution by prioritizing Reason and logic, but it will take quite a bit of effort. In all seriousness, I really appreciated your work on the QM front and in challenging BK's idealism, but the next step you need to take from abstract model to concrete Thinking is blocked by these sorts of unexamined prejudices, so you really need to focus on removing those blockages.
Ashvin,

I don't feel insulted in the least. But I wouldn't call myself an "Eastern mystical type". I'm much more interested in quantum mechanics than in Buddhism or Vedanta, for example. My favourite spiritual tradition is Shamanism (which in my view lies at the root of all spirtual traditions on Earth).

I never took that "big 5 personality test", in part because I can't stand Jordan Peterson, and in part because it looks to me rather arbitrary and superficial. But you are spot on in saying that I would rate high in "openness to experience" and very, very low in "conscientiousness".

I fear this lack of "conscientiousness" is the main issue here. I tend to throw about these offhand remarks (like that I can't stand Jordan Peterson, for example) without thinking much about them. I'm just expressing a personal feeling, not trying to make a logical argument. I'm simply enjoying the conversation, I'm taking part in this forum because I'm having fun. But I can see that for some of you (like you and Cleric, especially) this forum is a much more serious affair, and I can understand that this lightness of mine may seem annoying or even insulting. I'm sincerely sorry for that. I admire your conscientiousness, honestly. And I learn a lot from you.

That said, I'm perfectly able to distinguish between logical arguments and personal emotions. But for me both are important. I personally feel very strongly that all human cultures on Earth are equally valid and valuable. The ongoing loss of indigenous languages and cultures across the world is a tragedy, in my view. But I can clearly separate that personal feeling I have (I have always felt an emotional affinity with indigenous peoples, since I was a kid) from logical arguments.

The logical argument in this case would go like this: the notion of cultural evolutionism (which was supported by anthropologists like Durkheim and Lévy-Bruhl) has been largely dismissed in contemporary anthropology, on purely scientific grounds. Here is a quote from Wikipedia ("Unilineal evolution" article):
The early 20th century inaugurated a period of systematic critical examination, and rejection of unilineal theories of cultural evolution. Cultural anthropologists such as Franz Boas, typically regarded as the leader of anthropology's rejection of classical social evolutionism, used sophisticated ethnography and more rigorous empirical methods to argue that Spencer, Tylor, and Morgan's theories were speculative and systematically misrepresented ethnographic data. Additionally, they rejected the distinction between "primitive" and "civilized" (or "modern"), pointing out that so-called primitive contemporary societies have just as much history, and were just as evolved, as so-called civilized societies. They therefore argued that any attempt to use this theory to reconstruct the histories of non-literate (i.e. leaving no historical documents) peoples is entirely speculative and unscientific. They observed that the postulated progression, a stage of civilization identical to that of modern Europe, is ethnocentric.
But like I said, I don't think this "ethnocentric bias" invalidates Barfield's work in any way. I think his insights about the evolution of Western mind are deep and accurate. And I personally find the work of Lévy-Bruhl much more interesting than more "scientific" approaches to ethnology. These 20th century "scientific" approaches are rooted in materialism, and view the evolution of humanity as a basically meaningless and purposeless process.

Like I said, I'm completely on board with this idea of a spiritual evolution unfolding in our Western culture. I can't wait for that "final participation" to take over. This tumbling civilization desperately needs it! But I still feel that indigenous peoples should be left alone to find their own path, their own evolution (if they want or need to evolve at all; maybe some of them don't).

You haven't really addressed that question, as far as I can see. What is your view? Do you think that there is no "salvation" outside the spiritual evolution Barfield talks about? Do you feel that indigenous cultures are lacking something? I'm open to that idea. But I can't help feeling that those indigenous cultures have valuable wisdom in them. My dream for the future of humanity is a sense of a global spiritual-scientific community (probably English-speaking) peacefully and harmoniously coexisting with the richness of cultural diversity. This would be a global spiritual community where all kinds of different spiritual views could exist side by side, engaged in a peaceful, enriching dialogue.
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by Cleric K »

Lysander wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:31 am I'm noticing another theme here which is the emphasis on Cleric and Ashvin's 'approach' being argued as revealing or yielding the further-est insight insofar as Thinking goes, such as, the higher-order cognition of man's local body and its relation to the Cosmic Body, and mineral kingdom's relationship to cosmic mineral kingdoms and whatnot. However, I see Ashvin stating that Thinking is one-third aspect, so to speak, of Reality, with counterparts of Willing and Feeling. But I don't see any emphasis on the significance of Willing and Feeling. As if, they're only discernable through Thinking in which case I don't see how we could mention them as being different.

And this matters because I read classic mysticism of all traditions as not being Thinking-based, but a pre-verbal Feeling (maybe even Willing). So I am confused about T-W-F. Next, I also see that Cleric is highlighting some kind of perspectival shift as a result of Thinking. It really seems that the definition of special definition of Thinking that's offered with a capital T is problematic to many lurkers. Because, as I understand it, you use it to encapsulate all conceivable mental faculties, basically any state or mode of consciousness is Thinking. So what do Willing and Feeling have to do with it? And shouldn't be a recognition or path or discipline for Willing and Feeling, as well?

All of this talk about "truly hard and dedicated work" about Thinking is another point of 'sectarianism' that Eugene was implying, if I am to give credit to the spirit of the back-and-forth embodied in his comments. The Anthroposphic method, if that we might call it, seems heavily Thinking based whereas other 'insight traditions' (esoteric mysticism) would be devotional or Feeling-based (can I put it that way?). Would you (anyone) agree, in accordance with their own traditions, they also yield a perspective shift? If so, then the kind of reconciliation I proposed earlier would be along the lines of different paths of authentic inquiry (depending on sincerity) for different types or dispositions of human personality.
Lysander,

this confusion can be cleared when we deepen our understanding of Spiritual Activity in general. Problems arise when we imagine T-F-W as laid down before the eye of Consciousness, similarly to the way we have, for example, left and right hands (if we imagine that we have three hands with slightly different attributes). Such a view presumes that somehow our conscious perspective is already fully objective and it's all a matter of refining, filtering, elucidating phenomena that lie before the eye of the One Consciousness:

Image

When spiritual life is deepened then we find out that relations are more complicated. It's more like the Spiritual Activity of the One Consciousness is differentiated in layers which interfere with each other:

Image

So ultimately, there's only Spirit and its Activity (where the lines merge). In the course involution, this activity becomes delaminated, so to speak. We can see here analogy with the way science imagines that the four fundamental forces were united before the Big Bang and in the process of cooling down of the Universe, the forces became differentiated one by one and assumed their distinct character. The Spirit leaves part of its activity behind, which serves as 'carrier waves' for the more convoluted forms of activity. These left behind strata of spiritual activity are no longer experienced as clear creative and meaningful activity but are understood as contexts from the perspective of the convoluted one.

We can observe this quite easily in ourselves. Thinking is the kind of activity where we feel creatively involved and where we find our immediate reflection. Think about it: if Thinking is taken away can we even speak of consciousness? Can a floating feeling of joy in the Cosmos even be called consciousness if there's no experience of knowing that this feeling is being felt? The same holds about willing (quite clearly with Schopenhauer). On the contrary, it's quite easy to imagine the reverse - we can imagine that our will is paralyzed, that we feel nothing but even if we're left only with pure thought we're still fully conscious. In Thinking we have something of all three - a thought is known, felt and willed. But when we try to extract only feeling and willing, they become unconscious if there isn't also knowing.

The reason Western esoterism begins with Thinking is precisely this. If we have put on several layers of clothes, we undress them in the reverse order, don't we? Thinking is the last form of spiritual activity to come to the scene. It will also be the first to be transformed into the higher forms of spiritual activity. Like LIFO buffer (for the computer geeks) - Last In, First Out.

In this sense Feeling and Willing have more primordial origin but we must be perfectly clear that what we experience as Feeling and Willing from our human perspective is not what these forms of Spiritual Activity are when experienced from within. What we know as feelings is only a dream shadow of the spiritual processes that can only become conscious when Thinking transforms itself into the higher forms of cognition - Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition.

I guess most here have heard the words 'Thinking of the Heart'. Very sadly these words are misinterpreted in the most grotesque way in our age. People understand them as 'the way of the heart' or in other words, abolishing any trust in thinking and instead living by wherever the desires of our heart take us. Anyone can see where a life let to be run by blind desires leads, when these heart impulses are not being imbued with lucid understanding. If this lucid understanding was sought, everyone would see the difference between a pure heart and a heart that is simply torn by the most conflicting and destructive (usually in the long run) desires. Yet many people prefer the convenience of not thinking, being afraid that it'll take away something of the spontaneity and freedom of their desires.

Thinking of the Heart refers to actual higher form of spiritual activity. We get there when we pass through Thinking and rise its cognitive element into the world of Feeling. Then Feeling, is experienced in a completely different way than the nebulous sympathies and antipathies of the ordinary state. We have fluid spiritual activity, which no longer reflects the World in abstract thoughts but the spiritual force concealed in ordinary thinking is liberated and becomes transformative spiritual power that Imaginatively metamorphoses our organism and environment.

We discover that sympathies and antipathies are only the dream shadows of a higher World where everything is lucidly meaningful. For example, our sympathy towards given profession is seen as intrinsic part of our personality (some even take pride in it). Yet from the perspective of the Soul World, this sympathy is only a shadow of fully conscious, higher order spiritual activity of beings. These are actually the workings of Destiny. We don't understand it on the intellectual surface, but our soul is very complex spiritual organism, which goes through continuous development. For the Higher Self (in which I include multitude of beings) the soul is like a precious stone that is being carefully polished, in order to refract properly the Light of the Spirit - thus the One Consciousness can have more and more faithful perception of the Whole, as it experiences the Cosmos through the complicated lens system of that particular soul. We're not aware of this grandiose Cosmic work, so we simply take pride in whatever we do, while in reality higher order processes have led us to this life situation in order to develop the qualities and virtues that will further our development.

This process is not supposed to remain disconnected in this way. We can only build the bridge if we comprehend that the Spirit passes through the layers of W-F-T and is currently awake only at the tip of the iceberg. As it transforms its sheaths, it gradually elucidates the deeper layers where they metamorphose in higher forms of spiritual activity.

Of course this doesn't mean that we must neglect F and W and work entirely with T. Not for a second this has been suggested anywhere, neither here, nor in any genuine book on Initiation. It's quite the contrary - we must bring into complete harmony these three forces. Yet this can only happen if we have the High Ideal within our Thinking, which gives us the the direction of how this harmonization should happen and what goals it should serve. We must understand our High Ideal (T), we must Love our High Ideal (F), we must turn our High Ideal into virtuous deeds of Love (W). This is something that anyone must undertake in their Earthly life. Whether one will rise within this lifetime to the higher forms of cognition, where the true nature of F and W is revealed, is of secondary importance. Unless we work on this harmonization according to the High Ideal, the higher cognition won't come neither in this, nor in the next lifetime.
Last edited by Cleric K on Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adur Alkain
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by Adur Alkain »

Cleric K wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:54 pm
Adur Alkain wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:28 am Cleric,

I took the time to read this long post, since you said it has direct relevance to my work.

...

...

...
Hi Adur,

thank you for taking the time to read.

I won't go through your remarks individually because as a whole they stem from a common source. We need to clarify the place of Thinking in our scientific-philosophical-artistic-spiritual endeavor.

I'll just address the complexity issue first. We've been through that recently with Eugene. I don't like complexity. Then how do I explain that my posts seem complex? First let's distinguish between two types of complexity.

1. The first is complexity which issues from the large quantity of processes that can hardly be encompassed in some kind of unity. Turbulence is a good example. So I take it that my explanations seem in others' eyes like a very complicated philosophical system, similar to turbulent flow, which needs endless rules and sub-rules, types of entities, etc., in order to be grasped.

2. The second kind of complexity is again real complexity but with inner unity. Just look around your room. Imagine that you have to explain to someone over the phone every little detail, every piece of furniture, every object, every fluff of dust. The other person after a while will be like "wow, dude, slow down". Why does this happen? Because one received pieces of disconnected information. It would be like being told a sequence of 10 000 random numbers. Since there's no logic in the sequence we have to explicitly memorize every number individually and this is overwhelming. This is how we feel with any kind of novel knowledge that we still can't grasp as a whole and only see disconnected thoughts. Imagine that instead of describing your room, you describe some of the chapters in mathematics. The person will initially see disconnected math terms but at some point he'll say "wait a second, I'm getting it" and he'll even be able to find math relations on his own - we're now probing together the same mathematical ideal landscape.

I maintain that the complexity experienced regarding Spiritual Science is of the second type, except that it is not about getting the hang of an abstract (closed formal or discursive, as you call it) system of thought. It's about gradually metamorphing our inner perspective. This really takes hard work, since there're so much things to be undone, which we've inherited unconsciously from our materialistic culture, and even more, completely new, that we have yet to develop, but once we begin to assume our upright spiritual stance within, speaking the facts of the inner and higher realities is as describing one's room contents. Except that this room is the living Being of the Cosmos and everyone can attain to the proper perspective of it, just like everyone can probe the same mathematical truths.

We all know that Ptolemy's system of the Solar System was complicated. He had to account for all the strange behaviors of the planets, their retrograde motion, etc. which introduced many constructs such as deferents and epicycles.

Image

Yet things become much more simpler when we switch to the Heliocentric model. This is only a geometric analogy but it's a great metaphor for our spiritual life. Things become comprehensible when we find the right perspective.

This is understood fairly well in popular spiritual teachings. One of the problems of modern man is that his own point of view is not stable, he always moves on the trains of his thoughts, feelings, memories, desires, etc. How can we expect to have a faithful picture of the World Content when our anchor point itself is constantly oscillating? Is there any surprise that we can't make any sense of the world? Everything looks much more complicated than the Geocentric model above - we try to grasp one thing but we lose track of everything else.

That's why Enlightenment teachings put emphasis on the Here and Now, detaching from all contents of consciousness so that we can see clearly. You already mentioned this:
Adur Alkain wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:28 am The abstract thinking that most humans find themselves trapped in is in my view the result of automatic information processing happening in the brain. The way to liberate the soul from this automatic thinking is not to focus on those automatic thoughts to try to find out how that information processing works, but to disidentify from those automatic thoughts and realize that our true identity lies in the underlying consciousness. This consciousness is where the real knowing, basic or direct knowing resides. Discursive knowing is ony a distorted reflection of that basic knowing. (All this is my personal understanding of Almaas's view on knowledge.)
Yet this is only part of the work. You also mention:
Adur Alkain wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:28 am I think this "higher order" responsible for the harmony and orderliness of reality (not just physical reality) is what Almaas calls the logos or Creative Dynamism, one of the boundless dimensions of true nature. It is infinitely creative and dynamic, and it can't be captured by discursive thought.
But what does this 'infinitely creative and dynamic' really mean? Since you embrace the Universal Consciousness, I take it that this Creative Dynamism exists within us. While I agree that this Dynamism can't be captured (in the sense of completely contained) by discursive thought, the opposite is most certainly the case - the Dynamism is what creates the discursive thought. Now I'm not sure if you'll agree with this since you say "... ordinary or discursive knowing (which is what I would call thinking, and I believe is the result of brain activity)". I agree that we succumb all the time through the day in trains of automatic thoughts but what about when we fully consciously think? When we engage all our Creative Dynamism within ourselves and experience how we produce thoughts?

I'm not sure what your answer will be but most mystically inclined non-dualists quickly become quite dual at this point. They may speak of Creative Dynamism or the likes but when we reach thoughts they say "these just pop in and out of existence, we need to deidentify with them". But if we deidentify with them then who's responsible for then? "The Creative Dynamism, of course!" OK, but now we have placed this Creative Dynamism outside of ourselves and if we really were one with the Creative Dynamism (non-dual) it's only natural that we should experience the creative responsibility for the thoughts. The state of mystical union doesn't help either. No mystic says that "yes, in the beginning we deidentify with the thoughts but then, in the mystical union we once again feel creatively responsible for them".

This is a recurring theme on this forum, yet such that one stares right into its face and still can't awaken to its Divinely simple Truth.

So we should really find the place of Thinking within the World Process. As long as see discursive thinking as proceeding from the brain and true reality (the perspective of the Universal Consciousness) as completely opaque to it, we're creating for ourselves two irreconcilable worlds. We're condemning Universal Consciousness (which we assume is our true nature) to have part of itself forever unknowable - in this case, the brain (or whatever) activity which thinks discursive thoughts on behalf of the Universal Consciousness. I hope the fundamental and irreconcilable dualism is plainly visible here. The only way this dualism can be overcome is if Universal Consciousness (we) take creative responsibility for thinking. Then thoughts are no longer foreign elements that pop in and out of existence but the immediate expression of our Creative Dynamism.

The reason why people versed in Enlightenment teachings can't awaken to this simple fact is because they see thoughts only in their inert nature which can't capture the essence of reality. They don't like to approach them because that would be the opposite of what their ideal is - to deidentify with thoughts. But what we said above doesn't suggest that one has to identify with thoughts. One must simply find within himself the Creative Dynamism that brings the thoughts into existence. The difference is huge.

Next I would like to address the 'higher order' because this is another stumbling stone here, but I'll do it probably tomorrow.
Thanks, Cleric! This is really helpful.

I agree with pretty much everything you are saying here. There is no fundamental dualism. Everything, including egoic or automatic thoughts, ultimately comes from the Creative Dynamism.

My only question is this: how do you go about finding within yourself that Creative Dynamism that "brings the thoughts into existence?"

In the Diamond Approach the central spiritual practice is called "inquiry": it consists in paying attention to one's experience, including our thoughts. Whenever a thought or an emotion arises, the practice of inquiry consists in experiencing it fully, without trying to change it, and in trying to understand where it comes from. It is possible, with some practice, to distinguish thoughts that come from the ego or the superego from thoughts that come from a deeper, unconditioned level of discriminating consciousness. So, we can deidentify from the thoughts coming from ego while identifying with the thoughts coming from our true nature.

You can phrase this differently by saying that you don't actually deidentify with the egoic thoughts: you deidentify with the false ego-identity that is distorting those thoughts.

Is this similar to what you propose? Or do you have a different kind of practice, conducing to that recognition of the underlying Creative Dynamism?
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by AshvinP »

Adur Alkain wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:57 am Ashvin,

I don't feel insulted in the least. But I wouldn't call myself an "Eastern mystical type". I'm much more interested in quantum mechanics than in Buddhism or Vedanta, for example. My favourite spiritual tradition is Shamanism (which in my view lies at the root of all spirtual traditions on Earth).

I never took that "big 5 personality test", in part because I can't stand Jordan Peterson, and in part because it looks to me rather arbitrary and superficial. But you are spot on in saying that I would rate high in "openness to experience" and very, very low in "conscientiousness".

I fear this lack of "conscientiousness" is the main issue here. I tend to throw about these offhand remarks (like that I can't stand Jordan Peterson, for example) without thinking much about them. I'm just expressing a personal feeling, not trying to make a logical argument. I'm simply enjoying the conversation, I'm taking part in this forum because I'm having fun. But I can see that for some of you (like you and Cleric, especially) this forum is a much more serious affair, and I can understand that this lightness of mine may seem annoying or even insulting. I'm sincerely sorry for that. I admire your conscientiousness, honestly. And I learn a lot from you.

That said, I'm perfectly able to distinguish between logical arguments and personal emotions. But for me both are important. I personally feel very strongly that all human cultures on Earth are equally valid and valuable. The ongoing loss of indigenous languages and cultures across the world is a tragedy, in my view. But I can clearly separate that personal feeling I have (I have always felt an emotional affinity with indigenous peoples, since I was a kid) from logical arguments.

The logical argument in this case would go like this: the notion of cultural evolutionism (which was supported by anthropologists like Durkheim and Lévy-Bruhl) has been largely dismissed in contemporary anthropology, on purely scientific grounds. Here is a quote from Wikipedia ("Unilineal evolution" article):
The early 20th century inaugurated a period of systematic critical examination, and rejection of unilineal theories of cultural evolution. Cultural anthropologists such as Franz Boas, typically regarded as the leader of anthropology's rejection of classical social evolutionism, used sophisticated ethnography and more rigorous empirical methods to argue that Spencer, Tylor, and Morgan's theories were speculative and systematically misrepresented ethnographic data. Additionally, they rejected the distinction between "primitive" and "civilized" (or "modern"), pointing out that so-called primitive contemporary societies have just as much history, and were just as evolved, as so-called civilized societies. They therefore argued that any attempt to use this theory to reconstruct the histories of non-literate (i.e. leaving no historical documents) peoples is entirely speculative and unscientific. They observed that the postulated progression, a stage of civilization identical to that of modern Europe, is ethnocentric.
But like I said, I don't think this "ethnocentric bias" invalidates Barfield's work in any way. I think his insights about the evolution of Western mind are deep and accurate. And I personally find the work of Lévy-Bruhl much more interesting than more "scientific" approaches to ethnology. These 20th century "scientific" approaches are rooted in materialism, and view the evolution of humanity as a basically meaningless and purposeless process.

Like I said, I'm completely on board with this idea of a spiritual evolution unfolding in our Western culture. I can't wait for that "final participation" to take over. This tumbling civilization desperately needs it! But I still feel that indigenous peoples should be left alone to find their own path, their own evolution (if they want or need to evolve at all; maybe some of them don't).

You haven't really addressed that question, as far as I can see. What is your view? Do you think that there is no "salvation" outside the spiritual evolution Barfield talks about? Do you feel that indigenous cultures are lacking something? I'm open to that idea. But I can't help feeling that those indigenous cultures have valuable wisdom in them. My dream for the future of humanity is a sense of a global spiritual-scientific community (probably English-speaking) peacefully and harmoniously coexisting with the richness of cultural diversity. This would be a global spiritual community where all kinds of different spiritual views could exist side by side, engaged in a peaceful, enriching dialogue.

Adur,

Thank you for the considerate response. Just to be clear, I am not claiming any of you guys are doing this out of personal bitterness - I am sure you guys are pretty cheerful overall even when posting about these things. And I hope it's obvious I am not claiming that I am immune from this same prejudice, which is why I added on the last comment. It takes a lot of effort and discipline to work on these things meaningfully so they do not govern our thoughts, which I suppose is related to the more "serious affair" that we take our forum interactions i.e. posts to be. I think that is a fair assessment on your part, because I am beginning to realize that nothing is lost in this lifetime - everything we do, feel, and think has great significance. But I don't find that to have any sort of depressing effect, actually it brings me a lot of joy to know how richly meaningful all of my actions, feelings, and thoughts are in the whole course of Cosmic evolution. Like I said, you are extremely self-aware and that is great. That much shows really clearly through your comments, like the one above.

So you reach the bolded conclusions - which are similar to Eugene's music analogy where the process of exploration, trial and error, etc. refines to musical harmony as everyone learns from each other's thought-output and makes the necessary adjustments (it's not how I would frame the analogy but you get the point) - and then, like Eugene, you add in the "BUT". It's very good that you are self-aware of this "BUT" sentiment which is pulling your logical reasoning away from where it is naturally taking you. From our perspective, and that of Barfield, we have reached the stage in spiritual evolution where that sort of thing absolutely should not be allowed to happen. Our thinking activity (which it appears you already intuit is shared rather than divided up between "alters", another great advantage you have) is not other than the spiritual evolution itself - that is how the Spirit evolves towards integration i.e. "final participation".

So, to answer your question directly, no there is no salvation apart from that spiritual evolution under this view. There is only Spirit, as Cleric referenced in a recent comment. There are not pockets of humanity who are a part of the spiritual evolution and other parts who are totally outside of it. In fact, if somehow Reality was structured in this way, I would find that as the most depressing and prejudicial aspect. Indigenous cultural practices are not around forever, according to my understanding. But, for that matter, on a long enough timeline, our current physical bodies are not around forever! When we move from Earth to Jupiter phase of evolution, we will be living in an environment and bodies totally unrecognizable to us right now. Of course this will sound pretty "insane" to most people, since we are all conditioned by modern prejudices to rule out such things and treat them as products of a deluded mind.

But if we reflect on what the biggest objections to such developments are, I think we will find none of them follow logically from metaphysical idealism or spiritual reality - rather they are all based in flawed rationalist, materialist-dualist, reductionist axioms and/or the prioritizing of sympathies and antipathies over logical reasoning. And these are not just predictions for the distant future - we can actually begin experiencing these realities right now! Cleric has been offering many exercises which can help us develop imaginative Thinking which transfigures intellect and allows us real glimpses into the spiritual reality underlying this entire evolutionary process. Like he said in recent comment:

"Thinking of the Heart refers to actual higher form of spiritual activity. We get there when we pass through Thinking and rise its cognitive element into the world of Feeling. Then Feeling, is experienced in a completely different way than the nebulous sympathies and antipathies of the ordinary state."
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Re: Intuitive Idealism vs. Analytic Idealism (Part II): An alternative formulation of idealism

Post by Cleric K »

Adur Alkain wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:57 am Thanks, Cleric! This is really helpful.

I agree with pretty much everything you are saying here. There is no fundamental dualism. Everything, including egoic or automatic thoughts, ultimately comes from the Creative Dynamism.

My only question is this: how do you go about finding within yourself that Creative Dynamism that "brings the thoughts into existence?"

In the Diamond Approach the central spiritual practice is called "inquiry": it consists in paying attention to one's experience, including our thoughts. Whenever a thought or an emotion arises, the practice of inquiry consists in experiencing it fully, without trying to change it, and in trying to understand where it comes from. It is possible, with some practice, to distinguish thoughts that come from the ego or the superego from thoughts that come from a deeper, unconditioned level of discriminating consciousness. So, we can deidentify from the thoughts coming from ego while identifying with the thoughts coming from our true nature.

You can phrase this differently by saying that you don't actually deidentify with the egoic thoughts: you deidentify with the false ego-identity that is distorting those thoughts.

Is this similar to what you propose? Or do you have a different kind of practice, conducing to that recognition of the underlying Creative Dynamism?
Great question!

What I have in mind is a little more immediate experience. When we inquire thoughts in the way you describe, it is like we observe a thought that enters our camp like a foreign messenger and we try to figure out if he comes from the lands to the North or the South. If we reckon that he's from the South we imagine that as the result of mechanical brain processing. If we decide that he must be coming from the North we imagine it is the result of the Creative Dynamism. There's one more hidden factor though. Where do the thoughts that make the inquiry itself come from?

The thing is that the above question is rarely asked. The reason is that we are used to experience thoughts about things (including other thoughts) but the actual thinking process is, so to speak, in the blind spot of consciousness.

We can only approach these matters with living experiences. For example, consider the thought "I think the speech". Now this shouldn't be just noted on the computer screen. We really need to turn it into an exercise. We calm down, close our eyes if this helps us to become more focused, and slowly and clearly pronounce these words with our inner voice, while trying to be fully conscious of how we truly speak forth the verbal thoughts into existence. It's not only about mechanically producing the inner words but also at the same time experiencing what they mean. It's very powerful exercise! We can also observe how we pronounce the thought "dog" but the above thought has the very significant benefit that the contents of the words refer directly back towards the actual process the births them. A kind of recursion but not intellectual one, where one thought simply leads to another in endless loop, but thought that points attention to an actual intuitively experienced spiritual activity that is always there but is usually in the blind spot and we only notice the ripe fruits.

Now think again. Where do these words that we have spoken within us come from? If we say "the ego, the super-ego, the brain" we're simply overlying more thoughts on top of the original. Yet the source of these additional thoughts again remains in the blind spot.

We can see it thus. In the exercise of inquiry you describe, we behold a World Content of phenomena - including thoughts that we observe impartially and try to figure our from which system they proceed. But is there something in the World Content for which we know in a completely different and direct way, the reason for its existence? Yes, these are the thoughts that we experience livingly in the described exercise. When we experience "I think the speech" we know the source of the verbal worlds in a level of intimacy that we don't even conceive if we say "these words are product of the ego or super-ego". In the latter case we have mental explanation for where the thoughts might be coming from but we're still outside the Universal Creative process that actually brought them into existence. When we experience livingly, in full consciousness "I think the speech" we experience the actual Creative Dynamism at work. We witness part of the World Content (the verbal thoughts) for which the creative cause is fully known - we're one with that cause, we are that cause.

This is so simple that most people simply don't believe it. They think there must be some kind of mistake. It seems to them that it's much more probable that the experience of being creatively responsible for the thoughts, is some kind of positive feedback (imagine ringing microphone) that reinforces itself and perpetuates the illusion. OK. But if that is the case, can anyone show an instance of something else within the World Content, besides our livingly experienced thoughts, for which the creative cause is ever directly experienced? We can certainly say that the Creative Dynamism is responsible for our thoughts, or the super-ego, or the mechanical brain, but we only witness the end product of these things. We don't experience from within how the brain creates the lower thoughts, neither we experience from within the super-ego how they come about (assuming we're only inquiring impartially, fully deidentifying with the thoughts). This is why I said that this kind of looking at things is concealed dualism - because although we claim that we're one and the same with the Universal Consciousness and its Creative Dynamism, effectively we never find a first-person experience of that Dynamism, we only note the end results. This effectively means that we, as the Universal Consciousness itself, are divided in ourselves and say "An opaque part of me is creating the thoughts while I only witness the results". Yet the part that says that never finds the other part that supposedly experiences the creating. They are forever separated ... unless we consider Thinking, where the two parts find themselves - the one that creates and the one that perceives.

Now the question may arise "But then what am I? The brain? The ego? The super-ego?" This question loses meaning when it is asked like that. There's only One Universal consciousness. The question should be transformed into: "Now that I've finally found myself and I'm responsible for my thoughts, it's my task to investigate the forces that work within me and pull me in one or another direction and suggest to me to think about this or that. I need to direct my creative activity according to that knowledge. If I want to experience Peace, Love, Intelligence, Harmony, Righteousness, I need to seek out the forces that resonate and support my activity in that direction and resist the forces that lead me in the opposite."
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