Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Mother-Sea of Mind - Cosmic Consciousness

Amidst twelve hour work days, home and church projects, I finally finished the book on William James last night. As usual, I awoke around 3 am, surfed the internet for a while, then took on the final twenty pages or so. It was better reading this book in small chunks so I could spend several days savoring what I'd read.

Man, this is beautiful.

"that we with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves, and Conanicut and Newport hear each other's fog-horns. But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean's bottom. Just so, there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir." p. 509

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Harold Bloom on The Gospel of Thomas

I haven't said anything about the GThom in a while. Here is a quote from Harold Bloom. It introduces us to a new category of Jesus and thinking regarding the beginning and eschatology.

"Whatever surges beneath the surface of the Gospel of Thomas, it is not a Syrian Christian wisdom teaching of the second century. The ascetic accepts creation, but always upon the basis of having fallen from it, and always with the hope of being restored to it. That is hardly the aspiration of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas. Like William Blake, like Jakob Böhme, this Jesus is looking for the face he had before the world was made. That marvelous trope I appropriate from W.B. Yeats, at his most Blakean. If such is your quest, then the Gospel of Thomas calls out to you."

Who we are has to do with where we have come from, where we began. That is why we are interested in Genesis. That is why we are interested in the Big Bang. These have everything to do with how we perceive ourselves and how we choose to live.

Below is from the Gospel of Thomas translation and notes from Patterson Brown's website Metalogos. These are probably pertinent verses to Boom's thesis.

18. The Disciples say to Yeshua: Tell us how our end shall be. (Ps 39:4) || Yeshua says: Have you then discovered the origin, so that you inquire about the end? For at the place where the origin is, there shall be the end. Blest is he who shall stand at the origin— and he shall know the end, and he shall not taste death. (Isa 48:12, Lk 20:38, Jn 1:1-2, Th 1; T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets: Little Gidding: ‘The end is where we start from’; Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody: ‘What kind of journey is the life of a human being that it has a beginning but not an end?’)

50. Yeshua says: If they say to you: From whence do you come?, say to them: We have come from the Light, the place where the Light has originated thru itself— he [stood] and he himself appeared in their imagery. If they say to you: Who are you?, say: We are his Sons and we are the chosen of the Living Father. If they ask you: What is the sign of your Father in you?, say to them: It is movement with repose. (Isa 28:12 30:15, Lk 16:8, Jn 12:36, Th 27; Bhagavad-Gita 6.27: ‘When his mind is tranquil, perfect joy comes to the person of discipline; his passion is calmed, he is without sin, being one with the Infinite Spirit’)

So, where our origin is, our end will be. And, our origin is the light. We come from the light and we return to the light.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Apothegm from Emerson

We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

But some of us have a harder time of it than others. Then again the real issue is which apples are good and which ones aren't.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Reasoned Argument is a Surface Exhibition from Subconscious Depths

Robert Richardson below describes some of what William James was thinking as James was putting together the Gifford lectures for delivery in 1901-2 at the U. of Edinburgh. These became a book still read today, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

That these feelings - intuitions- come from something other than day-light reason does not disqualify them as valid experiences. James is at some pains to show that these "unreasoned and immediate assurances(s)" are "the deep thing in us, the [reasoned] argument is but a surface exhibition." p 395 William James in the Maelstrom of American Modernism

My point, we (that includes me) often think we have followed inexorably the path of reason when it is really the case that our motivations/conclusions/beliefs come from out of our personal , subconscious depths.

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