Your thoughts are burdened because you are influenced by the thoughts of your fellow men. Pray to the Lord that He might take this burden from you. These are the thoughts of others which differ from yours. They have their plan, and their plan is to attack you with their thoughts. Instead of letting go, you have allowed yourself to become part of their plan, so of course you suffer. Had you ignored the attack, you would have kept your peace. ~ Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
By ignoring Thaddeus’ warning, I succumbed to various malignant influences. Therefore, I need this rant in order to purge myself. I was intending to review the movie As Above, So Below, but I couldn’t make it last night. As far as I can tell from the trailers, some explorers discover the gate to Hell far below the streets of Paris and they find it terrifying. My personal experience is that the gate to Hell is quite easy to find and most people, not only are not fearful, but are attracted to it.
Belief and Knowledge
In a given person a belief system is that conscious/unconscious set of basic beliefs, assumptions, axioms, biases/prejudices, models, simulations which determine, at a given instant, decisions, actions, thoughts, feelings, motives and the sense of the real and the true. ~ Simulations of God, John C. Lilly, M.D
Nearly all people regard knowing as something like looking. That is, they see something out there right now and claim to know it. In other words, the sense impressions create an image which we “know”, somewhat in the way that animals know.
This position is called “naïve realism” and it is nearly impossible to eradicate in people. Nevertheless, the path to esoterism requires the reverse of this mistake so that knowing is grasped as going from inside out. That is, when I know something in the world, I am actually intuiting its essence, or idea, in the Divine Mind.
That is a simple idea, but the principle applies to more complex ideas. Now, ideas are hierarchical, each level encompassing more and more of reality from a higher level. There is a philosophical theory called “holism” that postulates that more complex wholes evolve from simpler forms. The reverse is actually the case: more complex wholes create the simpler. Angelic intelligences are likewise hierarchical, with the higher orders grasping larger wholes.
As explained in the recent discussion of Hermann Keyserling, we can relate higher understanding to meaning. I wrote,
meaning is always in reference to a Self, not in the object. The exterior world takes on quite a different feeling once it is realized the extent that the Self understands it and invests it with meaning.
Notice that meaning comes with understanding; through misunderstanding, the world is experienced as meaningless. But that is intolerable. That is why ordinary man (hylic man and psychic man), holds onto a belief system, as Dr. Lilly describes. The effect is the world is misunderstood and its true meaning is obscured in a web of prejudices, etc., that are merely projections of his own thoughts.
Now, if you combine that with the naive realism of such men, you can see what happens. Believing he is experiencing a true picture of the world out there right now, he also experiences the very belief system he projected as similarly out there in the world. He is then completely so convinced that he understands the world objectively, that it is impossible to reach him with true knowledge.
The Doctoress and her Dogs
I recently heard from a doctoress from the Midwest who read my bibliophile post and was motivated to purchase Meditations on the Tarot. We had a brief exchange. Clearly she is a very intelligent woman. She majored in chemistry and became a physician, yet found time to study world religions. She even read Meister Eckhart. I recommended the Philokalia, which she had heard of. Yet, there was not much depth to her spirituality; I got the impression that, for her, the idea of reading such books was more important than actually understanding them.
Immediately, she turned to politics, explaining that she was a diehard liberal democrat and wanted to know my political views. A red flag went up. I know the type; the liberal belief system is so entrenched that she had no intention of pursuing a mutually intelligible conversation. Her goal was simply to dismiss me. I’ve noticed that, in such types, a spiritual emptiness is replaced with political action. There is a deep Manichean attitude replete with saints and sinners; for them, no conversation with the unsaved is possible, just a desire for their annihilation. How else can they explain how the actual world bears such scant resemblance to their entrenched beliefs?
Clearly, my own political opinions are virtually absent in the political dynamics in the USA; that is why I stopped writing on that topic. Nevertheless, hoping for the best, I gave her a detailed response. I explained that the spiritual has priority over the political, a position she associated with the Taliban. Obviously, the political is her simulation of god since every other value is secondary to it. She failed to grasp any subtleties, and accused me of being a republican, God forbid. Apparently in her understanding, beyond the liberal democrats there can only be an undifferentiated mass of republicans. She told me that democrats are for the “little guy”, even though little guys of European descent oppose them, views opposite to hers are “repugnant”, even though they are the teachings of her Catholic faith, and that she was glad to live in a democracy, even though decisions are made by the judiciary and the deep state.
I don’t want to litigate those claims here, but just to point out how predictable her comments were, certainly not indicative of any deep thought that her intelligence and education make her capable of. The real point is to demonstrate in a concrete way the psychic effects of naive realism. In a quite literal way there is an “animal faith” (in George Santayana’s words) in such a view that makes it seem simply too obvious to question.
There can be no science of particulars, so I am not generalizing from one person to a more universal critique. There are those who may arrive at views similar to the Doctor’s in a more intelligent way and I have no gripe with them.
There is more material to the rant … the world’s supply of outrage is apparently inexhaustible. But that is for another day.