Sunday 10 June 2018

Inconsistency and Confusion

Today we live a very contradictory existence.  On the one hand, our beliefs are formed by materialism and our lives are largely lived as though that were true. This effectively requires that our sense of self be an illusion and any morals we might have arbitrary since one set cannot be better than another in any ultimate sense according to this doctrine. All morals are merely functional, for utilitarian purposes only, which means they rest on nothing substantial and the only requirement is to appear to obey them not to actually do so. 

But, on the other hand, we still live as if our self were real as well as those of others. The very idea of love, which we can't quite bring ourselves to renounce, insists that this be so. Surely we can't have it both ways?  Either materialism is true in which case we, as real individual selves with some actual substance, aren't true, or our individuality is real in which case there must be a non-material basis to life. And, if that is so, there has to be a God since something cannot come from nothing nor can things give rise to themselves or the lesser to the greater. Consequently our consciousness and sense of self must come from something that has these to give.

Moreover, we live as though free will were real but the philosophical basis of our culture, materialism, if true, would mean it was not. We would just be passive objects formed and impelled to action by mechanical or chemical but certainly external forces. Even the erudite philosophers who deny free will don't actually live as though they had none. Contradictions all over the place. No wonder we live in confused and chaotic times.

But there is a solution, and that is to rediscover the feeling of gratitude. Know that we have someone to be grateful to. We have closed our minds off to the reality of God, partly because of the relatively recent full discovery of our own selves and partly because technology has given us such control over our environment. So we are like adolescents who have found the keys to the drinks cabinet and embarked on a binge. At the moment we are flush with alcoholic stimulation but the hangover will surely follow. Perhaps that will teach us wisdom in future.

It is good that humanity has begun to live with the idea that it has some control over its destiny and does not just react passively to the world. That was intended as part of our spiritual development. But we have forgotten where we come from and that is not good. Our future course must be to seek to engage our minds with the mind of God and become aware of the greater consciousness that lies beyond that centred on our own little selves. We are true individuals but we are also sparks struck from the central fire. We can illuminate these sparks from renewed contact with that fire so they become brighter and brighter or we can grow ever more distant from it so that our little sparks eventually fade and are even perhaps extinguished. The problem is that as we initially separate ourselves from the fire our sparks appear to glow more brightly because of the surrounding darkness into which they have passed. That is just an illusion, the false nature of which will soon be revealed. And then we will find that we are alone. 

For consider this. If there is no God, you are totally alone. You can pretend that is not so, cover it up in various ways, but it is a fact. And if you reject God then one day you will have to face that fact full on. But God is merciful. Anyone can turn to him at any time, and if you do you will find that you are never alone. Of course, you can still be on your own if you wish. That is not what I mean. But alone in the sense of pure existential isolation, naked in a barren universe with the only release to be snuffed out completely, which is what materialism means. That you will never be. Of course, that is not in itself a reason to believe. If it were true it would have to be accepted, but we don't really accept it because we don't think through to the logical conclusions of our materialism for if we did it would lead to despair. That very despair would be the soul crying out in protest at the lie it has been induced to believe, at the violence done to its nature.

To reject God which is what most of humanity has done at the present time, certainly the ruling culture in the West, means death. Choose life.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - That's it! - in a nutshell.

William Wildblood said...

Thanks Bruce.

drizzz said...

That's a keeper, very good!

Adil said...

Well, that was a Home run!

Adil said...

Honestly I'm not sure people are that much more active as souls in our modern democracy than before. Activity today is wrongly assumed as physical or mental activity, wheras visible passivity equals "laziness". In reality, today's "activity" is mostly passive since it consists of reacting to the world and being carried away by our senses, impulses and desires. True activity is being responsive to the world, without reacting to it. A meditator is not in a "passive" state.

And I think we have the option to choose God, but not necessarily that the fallen world is entirely contingent upon him because of free will. There is real reality and virtual reality, and we may indeed choose the path of illusion and trying to feel at "home" with nature or "cosmic energy" or whatever. But the implications of that are obvious - an impersonal, unfamiliar, anarchic, naked world without any real sense of personhood and familiarity. Endless samsara - like a rolling snowball getting denser and bigger. In a sense, we choose the world we live in, but not the consequences.

William Wildblood said...

Thanks to you both!

William Wildblood said...

I think there is the potential now to be more active as a soul but not many people take it up. Most direct the increased potential for individual agency into getting as much as they can out of the fallen world and 'solidify' the illusion.