Monday, April 14, 2008

Brahmins, spaceships, Gore and the holograhic God

Timothy Desmond to Josh, pol673-l
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

I'd like to add a few things to what I said yesterday. Regarding Dr. Dator's request for more thought about future technologies, the Vedic texts of ancient India are based on the assumption of an intergalactic community of sentient beings on levels of self-awareness ranging from the microbe to the demigods. It is explained that five thousand years ago there was traffic between the demigod plaents and certain enlightened individuals on earth--they mention spacecraft and futurisic weapons, although these were all supposed to have occured, not in the distant future, but, rather, like Star Wars, long ago (I spoke about this with Seong won and Martin). Playing devil's advocate against my own faith, and assuming for the sake of argument that the whole thing is a fiction created by crafty brahmins, still, from that perspective, I would have to say they were incredible futurists, and were very keen on the power of technology to transform the world. At any rate, interplanetary travel was for them the prerequisite for self-realization, for our spiritual knoweldge on this planet was delivered to us by higher intellects from other planets. All the material planets, in all the various material universes (they assume there are innumerable universes), are furthermore said to be the dream reflection of a spiritual realm filled with spiritual planets on which all the temporary forms we perceive exist in their archetypal and eternal state--everything there is made of variegated consciousness. The central spiritual planet, the spiritual sun planet, is called Goloka Vrindavana, planet of the Cow where Krishna and Radha, the male and female aspects of God, engage each other's deepest desires in a celestial jungle paradise. Everything ultimately radiates from the love affair between Krishna and Radha (God and Goddess), which is what the Hare Krishna's are preaching when we chant in the streets: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna (Hare is another name for Radha).

Though my Platonic idea of basing a society on a caste system culminating with those who are capable of perceiving the spiritual sun with the eye of the soul may sound outdated, Al Gore, in the very act of attacking Plato, actually advocates the ultimate vision just described as the only viable solution to our ecological crisis. In the following key passage, after accusing Plato of schooling our civilization in the poisonous belief that God is separate from nature, Gore unwittingly offers the pinnacle of Plato’s cave allegory as the remedy to itself:

We are not used to seeing God in the world because we assume from the scientific and philosophical rules that govern us that the physical world is made up of inanimate matter whirling in accordance with mathematical laws and bearing no relation to life, much less ourselves. Why does it feel faintly heretical to a Christian to suppose that God is in us as human beings? Why do our children believe that the Kingdom of God is up, somewhere in the ethereal reaches of space, far removed from this planet? Are we still unconsciously following the direction of Plato’s finger, looking for the sacred everywhere expect in the real world? [reference to Raphael's Renaissance painting, "The School of Athens"]

It is my own belief that the image of God can be seen in every corner of creation, even in us, but only faintly. By gathering in the mind’s eye all of creation, one can perceive the image of the Creator vividly. Indeed, my understanding of how God is manifest in the world can be best conveyed through the metaphor of the hologram, which I mentioned in the introduction. … Each tiny portion of the hologram contains a tiny representation of the entire three-dimensional image, but only faintly. ...

Similarly, I believe that the image of the Creator, which sometimes seems so faint in the tiny corner of creation each of us beholds, is nonetheless present in its entirety— and present in us as well. If we are made in the image of God, perhaps it is the myriad slight strands from earth's web of life—woven so distinctively into our essence—that make up the “resistance pattern” that reflects the image of God, faintly. By experiencing nature in its fullest—our own and that of all creation—with our senses and with our spiritual imagination, we can glimpse, “bright shining as the sun,” an infinite image of God. (264-265)

I could rest my entire defense on a simple comparison of the cave allegory in Book VII of Plato’s Republic to the passage above, wherein Gore summarizes his case against and solution to Plato. Anyone, including Gore himself, who compares the cave allegory to Gore’s alternative will realize they are essential the same. First of all, Gore claims “earth’s web of life … reflects the image of God”, which is the basic premise of Plato’s cave allegory, according to which the material forms radiating from the material sun are like dream-reflections of the eternal forms radiating from the spiritual sun, the idea of the good. Gore furthermore claims that we can use our “mind’s eye” and “spiritual imagination” to see “an infinite image of God”, “bright shining as the sun,” within which all nature is enfolded and from which all nature unfolds. This is exactly the same analogy Plato had Socrates use to describe the final revelation of “the idea of the good; but once seen, it must be concluded that this is in fact the cause of all that is right and fair in everything—in the visible it gave birth to light and its sovereign; in the intelligible, itself sovereign, it provided truth and intelligence—and the man who is going to act prudently in private or in public must see it.” (Republic 517c)

If anyone read this far down, thank you for your time.



Jim Dator to Introduction, POL673-L
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

Thanks for that message, Tod.

Could you give me specific references in accepted translations of the Vedic texts (not in commentaries on them) where I can find these statements? I have read of these claims, but need the specific citations for something I am writing now.

Many thanks.

Jim Dator

Seong Won Park to Timothy, pol673-l, Josh
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

Thanks Tod. It is very impressive to know that Gore compared his vision
with Plato's alegory. So, Star wars happened a long time ago...Wow!
then, Humanity came from the Mars...


Jim Dator to Introduction
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

The creation story of every culture I know of says that humans (and usually all life on Earth) came from not-Earth. None of them have anything remotely like the Darwinian story as far as I know. Oh, there may be a kind of evolution (ie., Genesis may say God took seven days), but there is always some not-human(s) from not-Earth involved.

Anyone know of anything to the contrary?


Scott Alan Kroeker to Jim, Introduction
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

What they call the creation story of Palau, the story of Uab, does not involve either deities (non-humans) or some other place. In fact, it starts from the point of view of some islands and people already existing. I suspect this is simply a matter of earlier creation stories being lost or not translated--that is while this story discusses the origin of the island chain of Palau it doesn't address what came before. The story in summary form is this:

"A long, long time ago...." Palau only had two islands. On one island a woman gave birth to a boy who was already crawling. The next day he was growing and walking and eventually he grew into a giant. His appetite was so immense -- he was eating all the pigs and even other children -- that the villagers became worried and the mother agreed to allow them to destroy her giant boy. Under the guise of preparing food for the giant boy, they prepared a large fire. The convinced the boy to stand in the middle of the fire pit and set him on fire. He was rapidly consumed in flames and while struggling leveled the island, spreading burning wood and flames everywhere. He fell towards the north and different parts of his body became the island chain of Palau. There were not enough mats to cover the dead boys body so that is why parts of the island are forested and others are not.

Pretty obviously, in my mind, a volcano allegory and a creation myth of sorts, that doesn't involve anything not from this world. Yet, where did these people and islands originally come from--that is the question.


S. Sophan to Timothy, Josh, pol673-l
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

- Tod et al -

Regarding the image of God that Gore tried to justify is part of Saint Austine prominent logical philosophy who profoundly elaborated the changing perception of God/Creator created everything directly to be perceived as God/Creator created all things indirectly by using His image to supplement the existing things which have inherent value independent of their utility or function. Gore's argument of seeing faintly seems like another illusion justification.

If I can summary the perception of God in this world, it would be three distinctive characteristic of God.
1. God of Multitheism mainly divide their duties to cope human beings such as creator (Brahmin), destroyer (Shiva), and protector (Vishnu)
2. God of Monotheism mainly take in charge alone to achieve redemption and creation.
3. God of Virtue mainly take no charge or intervention to human being, they just receive provision of goodness as they have accumulated during living as human beings and when they die, they were reborn as God waiting for their higher realization to enlightenment. In this teaching, everybody has chance to become God if they practice "Avoiding all evils, cultivating the good, and purifying their own dirty mind".

Belief of God and Soul is skeptical in Buddhism. One of the prominent cause of suffering is the strong attachment. Attachment leads us to trap ourselves in the dark cave, but non-attachment leads us to the realization and live the fullest of freedom. But to put this teaching into practice is challenging as most of us are happy and easily deceived by illusory things/identity/I/We/You/They etc. The three indicators that jail us in this illusory world are: Greed, Hatred, and Delusion.

So the teaching of grabbing identity and ignoring identity, arguably debatable that which one is more critical and sophisticated? Buddha profoundly dictated that attaching the identity (God/Soul/I/We) is the substantial source of conflict and suffering. He taught is monks not to attach to him as Buddha, but to practice wisely of what he taught. This standing point of Buddha is impregnably debatable for me as well.

Let rant more!
Thanks for your reading,
Sophan - Monkseal

Jim Dator to pol673-l
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

Thanks. Very useful to know, though, as you say it seems to tell of their creation, and not of who/what created what came before them.

But of course all creation stories also ultimately finesse that, don't they?

As I understand it, Creationists say that since the world is so nice and orderly an intelligent God must have designed and created it. OK. But then who/what created God? He is eternal, comes the reply. OK then time and space must be illusions just as Tod said and didn't say last night since that spark of light is everywhere and nowhere (or at least sometimes only one-where). So time and space also must be both existent and illusions.

I guess that is why a common answer to the question is usually a version of : Turtles all the way down.

Jim Dator to Introduction
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

Sophan, thanks for this. But after reading it I don't see how what you say here accords with your rejection (last night) of the idea of "human becoming." Unlike "human being", where identity is "real" and "fixed" (or lost /false and to be regained as many indigeneous folks claim), the concept of "human becoming" implies there is no fixed identity, but that one's sense (or illusion) of "self" is always in the process of change--maybe even growth towards enlightenment where one's self-identity is finally lost in some kind of unity or nothingness (in my understanding, the latter, aka "death").

Where is my thinking wrong here?

Of course, when anyone adds the notion that someone/something somewhere is making a list and checking it twice in order to find out if I am naughty or nice, and will reward or punish me accordingly (i.e., that I am sent to heaven/hell or nirvana, or the like), well, then I lose interest. If God plays those kinds of tricks--like a street shark asking you to guess which cup he hid the bean under--I'd rather go to hell or be reincarnated as a cockroach than have to hang out with him, especially forever.

It is always the over-reach of religion that gets me. So many things seem pretty good in most religions, but they just can't stop there. They feel impelled to go on making firm assertions (usually in contradiction to the firm assertions of other religions) that just don't seem to relate to or derive from the good stuff.

As Reinhold Niebuhr said some time ago, most religions claim they know too much about the furniture of heaven and the temperature of hell.

The nice thing about all this is that I will find out when I die! One reason I look forward to my death with such enthusiasm.


Seong Won Park to Jim, pol673-l
show details Apr 10 (3 days ago)

I think it's the problem of whether or not something came from nothing
in the beginning of the world. Can we accept it as the only exception
that we never understand? Then we don't have to debate about God or


S. Sophan to Jim, Introduction
show details Apr 11 (2 days ago)

Dr. Dator
It might be my misunderstanding the terminology or context of "human being" and "human becoming". My primary thought to reject "human becoming" is to imply the restless desire of endless "becoming" of human beings. This is true that sometime it is wholesome but sometime it is unwholesome. The problems of outsourcing, conflicting, global warming, etc might be the outcome of endless "becoming" of human beings. This thought might make me a bad futurist!

As I am a monk, I like to make joke myself to be called as "monk-seal". Monk-seals in Hawaii like displaying themselves calm and quiet concentrating their stillness (mindfulness?). But sometime, I am easily distracted. I cannot compare myself with the monk-seal! When I was young I was overwhelmingly influenced by the magical of God or Creator. But after spending a first year as monkhood, this belief absolutely dissolved. I think world's population, major peoples are overwhelmingly influenced by the perception of God or Creator. Many religions are God-based teaching, but Buddhism is not. Buddhism is human-based teaching. Pragmatically, one seeks redemption or realization or Nirvana through their own heedfulness by treading on the path of realization map.

The concept of death is simple of what I have learned. At least there are four types of death:
1. Momentary death means our fluctuating changes of thinking, breathing or blood-pumping are entirely promptly died and reborn that is hard to recognize. Our breathing, inhale and exhale, is absolutely different. Our heart's blood-pumping, red blood in and black blood out from the heart is absolutely different, and other change in our tiny genes throughout our body are significantly dying and rebirthing under the circumstance of endless continuity of change: creating, deteriorating, and re-creating.
2. Periodizing death means yesterday, last week, last month, or last year; we have already died. We cannot return back to those past because it has absolutely died.
3. Temporary death means someone died at old age or some other causes that their physical appearance is not existed anymore, but their determinants of good and bad from previous deeds are the potency of continuity that proceed to another rebirth realm.
4. Absolutely death means someone who died permanently and will not rebirth anymore. This stage of death achieved solely by the awaken one or enlightened one. This is called Nirvana/Nibbana as all potency of rebirth are totally eradicated.

I think type one and two are mundane perception that we can accept it. Type 3 and 4 are supra-mundane knowledge that we might be skeptical about it. However, my perception about these distinctive teachings of death profoundly articulates the insight of impermanence of all things and pertain important degrees of social ethics. It gains the effort of non-attachment practicing. It extremely deserves the sense of peace, mindfulness, stressless, and fearless etc

Mindfulness & Peace!
Thanks for read my rant...

Jim Dator to Sophan, Introduction
show details Apr 11 (2 days ago)


I like death one and two very much, and was referring to death four in my previous message. It is death three that gets me since it implies exactly the kind of god I said I didn't want to live with forever: Someone or something is determining whether I die forever or get reborn, and if so, reborn as what--and I have to guess what the criteria are for making that decision. Even if you say that is not god, it is something/someone playing tricks with my life and I don't like it since one religion tells me I need to do (or not do) x, y and z or I will die forever or go to hell (etc), while another religion says, no, no, it is a, b, and c. And so I am supposed to guess which is correct and what ritual I have to follow. I gave up on that long ago and leave it up to the Hound of Heaven to track me down, if he is sniffing around for me at all. I did my part and gave up. Now he needs to do his if my soul (or nonsoul) is really that important.


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