Sunday, 27 July 2008

GOOD AND EVIL ARE NEVER ABSOLUTES...

Here’s Jonathan on “The Controversy That Is Homosexuality And The Hope For A Higher Light“:

“God, The Prince of Peace, wishes his children, the men and women of Planet
Earth, to love one another and to live in peace. This means that he wants, not
only men and women, the two halves of the human family, to love one another, as
they do not too much of the time; but that women love women and that men love
men. The purpose of this love is not that we should experience rhapsodic
epiphanies of sexual delight (though these on occasions might occur as a
spin-off), but that hatred, fear, oppression, and cruelty and suffering should
be banished from the surface of the Earth.”

An act of wishful thinking, at best, Jonathan, or, at worst, of appeasement - and nobody knows that better than God Himself ...

Good and Evil are never absolutes. They are the twin poles around which human civilization evolved, it is true, but nothing is good or evil in itself. Moral values are always derivative. Determined by their own frame of reference. God loves gays, and Allah hates homosexuals. That which is conducive to its own indigenous environment is “good,” and that which opposes it is “evil.” Full stop.

Even five years ago, just as a for instance, I was confused about the various transactions of war and peace. I found the idea quite intolerable that this kind of world was sustainable only through violent and mutually inflicted acts of worldwide inhumanity. Now I am much more settled in my opinion that it assumes a benevolence which simply does not exist. I see a pattern. The way I look at it, everything starts with benign intentions and ends with Armageddon. Humans are self-destructive. I own, it gives me a great feeling of sadness. Death itself has become agonizingly hip. Violence has become an end in itself, sought chiefly as a stimulus to the exercise of itself. Peace has become bland, unappetizing and frankly, unerotic. For as a matter that has never been sufficiently remarked upon, the veil of civilization is probably only as thin as a virginal hymen, and just about as resilient.

Dreamy

17 comments:

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

Cheers Selena,

'The way I look at it, everything starts with benign intentions and ends with Armageddon.'

Well, it has been said that the road to hell is lined with good intentions. This is why intent is never enough. What we need is wisdom and the guidance of a higher light...and the best and truest higher light, not just imitations and impostors.

I agree that good and evil are never absolutes. In fact, if you ask me, it is good and evil that is ultimately speaking precisely the problem. They justify and fuel the fires of judgement and divisiveness. Who ever casts scorn upon his neighbour, and then hates or kills him, without thinking first that they are 'good' and the neighbour 'evil'? To do this you need to 'know good and evil' and eat of the tree of death (Genesis 3).

The serpent started this process himself when he accused God of that very evil which he himself invented. The Serpent is the first and primordial judge and accuser. Or so it seems to me.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil kills (Genesis 3)because it is the antithesis of innocence..and innocence is life...indeed the Tree of Life. The tree of death is accusation, which feeds off the discriminations and judgements of good and evil. Young children know this. This is why Jesus says that they always behold the face of the Father.

On the other hand this is a very ultimate way of looking at things. In this grubby world of shadowy duality and moral quandaries we do need to muddle through and discriminate in terms of better and worse ways of behaving. But we can still maintain that the 'knowledge of good and evil" is not everything. Of far supassing importance is love.

'I found the idea quite intolerable that this kind of world was sustainable only through violent and mutually inflicted acts of worldwide inhumanity.'

Within this sentence you express, to me, the observation that can yield the solution to the very quandary the sentence expresses. You speak of 'this kind of world'.

While I am not gnostic enough to believe that the physical creation is in-itself irredeemably evil, that from which we must escape, that which we must abandon, I do believe the very structure and fabric of our reality is highly diseased in omnipresent ways (as Morpheus implies in 'The Matrix'). This is an observation about reality as we find it that secularism is not able to express :namely that our world should not be the way it is, that it has gone awry, that it can be healed, that there is hope indeed for a transfigured world shorn of that enveloping darknesss that, yes, defines a world bereft of its creator light. This critique needs a spiritual perpective and point of view by which to lovingly condemn the totality in the name of the hope of its transfigurative rebirth.

This lack of a higher world, however, in secular utopianism of the 20th century, oddly enough, never prevented the communist and fascist utopianists, ironically, from being idealistic and setting high and exacting, unrealisable goals. And of course it was their crushing failure to realise what they had expected would be their historical right (born of Hegel's dialectic or whatever) that can explain the savage sadism of their revengefulness against whoever or whatever stood in their way.

Im all for trashing utopianism if by it we mean 19th-20th century secular utopianisms. But not if by it we mean the traditional aspiration of the hungering spiritual heart for the Kingdom of Heaven, etc.

Or to put it differently: How different things might have been if Marx had been a theist...like the 17th century Levellers or Diggers perhaps?

I really do recommend www.darkage.ca. Longsword's take on this is important and original, I think. He truly merits consideration regaring our challenge to refound the basis of a regenerate post-decadent culture beyond the ruins of collapsing narcissistic late modernity.

x

Richard Havers said...

Dreamy, surely God doesn't love bad gays, or perhaps I should say gays who do bad things....or have I got this completely wrong and God loves everyone?

mutleythedog said...

I am always up for one up the bum as they say and I like to suck cock. Am I so bad?

Bob said...

'Peace has become bland'
'Our world has gone awry'
Sorry I don't have a way with words as you guys (english is not my native language,as you will have noticed), but these remarks hint at the idea that the world used to be a better place and somehow humans have let it go down the drain. I think on the contrary that humans have not evolved far enough yet and are hindered by the cruelty and ruthlessness that you see everywhere in nature amongst animals hunting their prey or defending their territory. This cruelty, supported by our imaganitive minds leads to torture tools, war and the lot.
What we need is more moral and empathy but that is of course utopian.

Oh and a thought about the human mind shaping the universe (hope I didn't misunderstand you there, your texts aren't very easy): don't you think it is kind of arrogant that 'things' don't exist without us observing them? As far as I remember, the only reason an electron changes it ways when we observe it, is that we need to bombard it with X-rays in order to see it. That doesn't mean it doesn't 'have a life of its own' (thank you, Jonathan).

Cheers,

Bob

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

'Peace has become bland, unappetizing and frankly, unerotic.'

Oddly enough, I hadn't noticed this fruity reference before.

Perhaps Morrissey alludes to this jaded perspective on the banality of 'peace' when he croons:

"and if you think peace is a common goal, that goes to show how little you know" (hmmm..did he say 'that' or 'it')...

Beyond the somewhat whey faced ponderance - why does something have to be 'erotic' to be important..I would go on:

I sympathise with, and understand, for I have known, the grey perception of the failure of opposites to interact with each other with a sufficiently arousing frisson, that, it seems to me, underlies and explains the boredom often associated with peace; that is often, moreover, used to justify a fascinated devotion to war and conflict amongst the restless.

But I don’t share it. I think there can be a re-creative, joyous peace that is far from inert and passive. It just means, however, that the dialectic of creative 'opposing' forces interacts, plays itself out, on a different background, in a different context; one not as limited as that provided by war..with all the fear and suspiciousness and sensual shrinkage that war actually involves, be we aware of that or not.

So the union of peace and love on the one hand with fascination and excitation on the other, are in no way necessarily antithetical, or mutually exclusive.

I need more coffee.

Selena Dreamy said...

Yep, Richard - and don't you just love a mission statement -
that is absolutely "everyone"!!!


And, Mutley, I'm going to tell my mum what you said. You're gonna be in real trouble this time, mate...!

Selena Dreamy said...

“Sorry I don't have a way with words as you guys (english is not my native language.”

Your English is excellent, Bob - if your point was to make yourself understood. And your point a very valid one. We have indeed, preserved our animalistic instincts. In fact, the full significance of this propensity emerges only when we assume that the necessity for violence is, and it certainly has so proved, a fundamentally atavistic compulsion.

“don't you think it is kind of arrogant that 'things' don't exist without us observing them?”

Value judgements have no part in this, Bob. Science has no ethical contents. Arrogance and humility are the preserve of religion.

No doubt, you will agree?

Selena Dreamy said...

The Knowledge of Good and Evil kills (Genesis 3)

The Bible, Jonathan, is a very good encryption of the psychological relationships that underpin received religion, or what you call “the traditional aspiration of the hungering spiritual heart for the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And the Gospels are, even more so, testimony to the psychological susceptibility of circumstances to faith. They are an illustration of Christ’s utter self-belief: He knows His place in the universe; it is assured, as He is. Nothing will take that away. Nor do I believe that Christ was attributing to himself unreasonable abilities. If anything, he was a master-craftsman, the redeemer of faith and of circumstances.

Albeit that not Christ, but - on His own evidence - the principle of faith itself, is at the heart of the matter.

Faith alone operates as a law of selection, and not even science can take that away. Albeit that its limits are determined less by God than by doubt. It is equally manifest in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, the Hindu Vedas, occultism and tribal superstition and reflects in no way on the nature of God other than that it confirms its own selective principle.

Dreamy

Jonathan said...

“don't you think it is kind of arrogant that 'things' don't exist without us observing them?”

Value judgements have no part in this, Bob. Science has no ethical contents. Arrogance and humility are the preserve of religion."

But dont you think even scientists are motivated to perceive the universe in the way they want to, or if not then at least the way they can. This is even reflected in the type of questions they ask of the universe, and the ones they don't ask; as well as the directions in which and at what they point their microscopes.

I think you might have to run this last bit by mere in altered form:

"Faith (operating as a selective principle) is equally manifest in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, the Hindu Vedas, occultism and tribal superstition and reflects in no way on the nature of God other than that it confirms its own selective principle."

I dont know, I think Christ had his own share of doubt about what he was doing, in line with his being 'fully human', as well as 'fully divine' (I'm pretty orthodox in that way)

Genesis 3 contains many illuminating insights , methinks. I have never been satisfied with either the Orthodox (God punished our disobedience and pride etc) or the Gnostic (the Serpent liberated us from a deceitful, oppressive God) interpretations.

I think even atheists could find this text a fascinating meditation on the eclipsing of intimacy and understanding between persons, and between God and mankind, and the falling down in consequence of the shadows of accusation, judgement, and the subsequent rise of hierarchy and authority.

At the beginning of the chapter God and Adam are pretty much equals, and certaonly friends. Meanwhile Adam and Eve are clearly at one, enjoying all the delightful trees. By the end, all this is lost - and all becausue of the KGE -i.e accusation. By disfiguring themseves, humanity then also difigured the way in which they could relate to God, or the higher light.

Genesis 3 is the great moment of transition, when man comes to assume a necessarily Religious (formal, exoteric) relationship to God, where formerly there had been intimacy and direct, esoteric communion, and no good and evil.

Religion is a bridge, a bridge across an abyss. Religion is not 'the other side'. There was Religion neither before the fall, nor will there be Religion in heaven (thank god:))..or at least not as we understand it.

Btw, thanks for correcting my spelling when you posted my extract. I shall aspire to be ever stricter with my incompetent fingers.

Selena Dreamy said...

“...don’t you think even scientists are motivated to perceive the universe in the way they want to, or if not then at least the way they can?”

Yes I do, Jonathan, but it must not affect their science!


I’ve read your account of Genesis with great care. And marvelled at it. Adam and Eve, to me, is the story of Prometheus. Or of the acquisition of knowledge, carnal or otherwise, and being punished for it...though, admittedly, the deterrent effect appears to have been minimal...

D.

D.S. Martin said...

Jonathan, your theology is refreshing. I respect your contemplative evaluation of the fall.

The Love chapter of 1 Corinthians puts this in similar terms. "(love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

It is a paradox to say that love always trusts. If Eve and Adam had trusted God, nothing bad would have happened. Yet, they had to distrust one side or the other. Either way, how can love "always trust" when someone is always out to 'get-ya'.

Is there a way of offering trust to the unworthy devils who are out to kill us and still maintain trust with the Creator?

The "unworthy devils" should be not only be understood in metaphorical terms.

How can a follower of Jesus, call damnation down on Satan, while still following the directive to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."?

Should Christians pray for demons? Should we love Satan too? Is there a level to which love, simply cannot extend? And if not, why not?

Jonathan said...

Selena, your analysis of Genesis 3,to me, puts you squarely in the Gnostic camp. Fair enough, to an extent, but:

How can I not mince my words?

This is exactly what the serpent wants people to believe it means. That the creator of the Universe, and not the impostor, is the real bad deal.

The Knowledge on offer was not the beatific vision at all (which was instead, surely, the Tree of Life). It was the knowledge of good and evil, which is shame and accusation, leading on to every other darkness.

Actually, I have been persuaded to believe, by a certain close reading I undertook (could be mistaken) that it was not actually God who planted that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden. Check it out, why not?

Yes, d.s. martin, we should love the devil. But we have to be clear that love does not mean approval, far less support or allegiance.

The idea of saving the devil is not new, it's just heretical. Origen, an in many other ways revered Theologian, was condemned by the Church because of the reach and depth of his love, so I understand it.

Personally, I am very encouraged by the extent to which 'Universalistic' soteriological viewpoints gain credence and breadth of exposure today.

Though we should be cautious, since contained within such Universalism (itself, I grant a kind of liberalism) lie the seeds of a possible, but NOT necessary, denial of the uniqueness and divinity of Christ - the very heart and power of the Gospel.

A question then arises - if it is not hell from which we save people, from what, then, pray, do we save them?

A question, indeed.

A question tending to all kinds of awkward socio-political consequences to do with the dungeon that is this world, before death, perhaps?

mutleythedog said...

You are right Johnny! This world is a dungeon... a horrible dark, rubber lined S&M dungeon full of nasty cane wielding spanking dominatrices....

mutleythedog said...

By the way - at least you have not barred me like that boring woofter ...

Jonathan said...

In my fear lest I be accused of an "irony insensibility" , oh Mutley, I shall suppose that you ironise, and find the idea of such a dungeon, if not appealing , as such, at least agreeable -potentially?

Presumably, you name yor dog after the character in "Stop the Pigeon"?

It's not many a dog that gets to fly around in an aeroplane, lucky canine.