Space and Spirit

Stories, Essays, Epic Poems, Rippin' Yarns

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Windwalker
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Postby Windwalker » Wed May 02, 2007 11:31 am

caliban wrote:I think the answer is to reclaim and to foreground compassion maps--whether through pre-existing, traditional compassion maps found in religion, or in (not so) new secular maps. I think the compassion-mappers of all stripes ought to recognize their commonality and to join in rejecting purity maps.


Your point about the two overlapping maps is spot-on. I wholeheartedly (and wholemindedly!) agree with your solution as well.
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Postby rocketscientist » Wed May 02, 2007 11:32 am

Caliban, I couldn't agree with you more. Just wanted to say.

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Postby sanscardinality » Wed May 02, 2007 1:16 pm

I think your comments about compassion are important and spot-on.

Two of my favorite religious icons are the Tibetan pair of Chenrezig and Green Tara that are normally arranged beside each other at a place of honor. Chenrezig represents compassion and Tara wisdom. Enlightenment is shown as seated between them. I think that this arrangement of a trinity hits the nail on the head*.

Purity is an interesting idea in the abstract, but applied in the world and it generally becomes a cause for hatred and killing. So compassion is the way to go in my view.

However, there is also a need for wisdom to go along with compassion. I think this relates to an earlier piece I wrote here about dogma vs. progress. Dogma is the wisdom-related equivalent of purity. Progress is its opposite and therefore the equivalent of compassion.

So:

Code: Select all

Purity---------------Compassion
Dogma-----------------Progress


Put another way, I think any realistic and morally "good" religion or belief system or world view (or whatever title you put on the unique collection of things you think are pretty good) must lean towards compassion and progress and reject judgmental ideas of purity and dogma of any form.

Jesus said pretty much the same thing through his actions, and so did Buddha. Everybody just wants to hang their hat on being right (dogma) and better (purity) than those who are different. Maybe they should get a hobby or something.

-SC

PS> Spong's a cool guy!

* It's also very similar to the Father/Son/Spirit trinity in Christianity, with the Father being wisdom, the Spirit compassion and the Son enlightenment.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Oscar Wilde

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Postby Windwalker » Wed May 02, 2007 1:23 pm

sanscardinality wrote:Two of my favorite religious icons are the Tibetan pair of Chenrezig and Green Tara that are normally arranged beside each other at a place of honor. Chenrezig represents compassion and Tara wisdom. Enlightenment is shown as seated between them. I think that this arrangement of a trinity hits the nail on the head*.

* It's also very similar to the Father/Son/Spirit trinity in Christianity, with the Father being wisdom, the Spirit compassion and the Son enlightenment.

The Spirit was once female, rather than a disembodied or neuter representation -- Sophia (=wisdom, since you brought it up!) in Christianity, Shekinah in Judaism. If we are to pursue the very worthwhile goal of compassion, inclusion of the female is among the basics. If the female is by definition excluded from the divine (however defined), we are doomed to go forever in circles -- or, worse yet, ever tightening spirals (as in around a drain... around a black hole...).
Last edited by Windwalker on Wed May 02, 2007 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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caliban
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Postby caliban » Wed May 02, 2007 1:27 pm

sanscardinality wrote: Everybody just wants to hang their hat on being right (dogma) and better (purity) than those who are different. Maybe they should get a hobby or something.

I think the human desire to be right and better are very difficult to overcome. It's true not just in religion but in many other arenas--even in science. Because skepticism and questioning are incorporated into the mechanism of science, science has much better (not perfect) defenses against dogma.

Of course, I think I'm right about this. :)

The problem with dogma is when it eats your homeworkma. :)
"Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work." --Thomas A. Edison

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Postby Windwalker » Wed May 02, 2007 1:29 pm

caliban wrote:The problem with dogma is when it eats your homeworkma. :)

Did you make this up?! Stop this man before he puns again! (*giggling helplessly*)
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Postby sanscardinality » Wed May 02, 2007 2:30 pm

Windwalker wrote:The Spirit was once female, rather than a disembodied or neuter representation -- Sophia (=wisdom, since you brought it up!) in Christianity, Shekinah in Judaism. If we are to pursue the very worthwhile goal of compassion, inclusion of the female is among the basics. If the female is by definition excluded from the divine (however defined), we are doomed to go forever in circles -- or, worse yet, ever tightening spirals (as in around a drain... around a black hole...).


In both Hassidic/Kabbalistic views and in Tibetan Buddhist, wisdom is female and compassion male at an archetype level. The case can also be made that the Christian trinity has the same model, but that Old Testament God makes it a difficult one. I'm not making any statements about whether men or women are more compassionate or wise - just that I find the archetypal "perfect" man as purely compassionate and the "perfect" woman as all-knowing to be attractive.

I particularly like the Hermetic/Alchemical/Tibetan/Kabbalistic/Gnostic view that progress on an individual human basis leads up to the "Chemical Wedding" or full integration of male and female aspects of the psyche. Some Gnostic sects had the Divine Marriage (the same thing) as a sacrament. It is likely that this was a basic component of mystery religions like latter Isian and Mithrain cults.

-SC
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.



Oscar Wilde

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Postby sanscardinality » Wed May 02, 2007 2:35 pm

caliban wrote:I think the human desire to be right and better are very difficult to overcome. It's true not just in religion but in many other arenas--even in science. Because skepticism and questioning are incorporated into the mechanism of science, science has much better (not perfect) defenses against dogma.


Agreed. The problem is when it gets codified into an unchangeable set of "truths" that dogmatically support notions of purity, and attribute authorship to a higher power. It's bad enough when the higher power is a King or CEO and much worse when it is God.

-SC
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.



Oscar Wilde

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Postby Windwalker » Wed May 02, 2007 2:49 pm

sanscardinality wrote:I find the archetypal "perfect" man as purely compassionate and the "perfect" woman as all-knowing to be attractive.

Perhaps it's attractive because it goes against the common (reverse) stereotype of the two genders, or because it partakes of the Older Goddess/Younger God archetype.

sanscardinality wrote:I particularly like the Hermetic/Alchemical/Tibetan/Kabbalistic/Gnostic view that progress on an individual human basis leads up to the "Chemical Wedding" or full integration of male and female aspects of the psyche. Some Gnostic sects had the Divine Marriage (the same thing) as a sacrament. It is likely that this was a basic component of mystery religions like latter Isian and Mithraic cults.

One of the oldest extant myths is that humans once were androgynes. In that guise, they threatened to overtake the deity in wisdom and strength. So s/he split them in two. Ever since then, the sundered halves both fight and miss each other, leaving the deity's supremacy secure.
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.


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