Welcome to Thinkers Corner, a place to discuss Theology, Philosophy and other profound thoughts. We're starting this week on a slightly chrisitan note for...
Who Was Jesus?
Jesus is a figure of not only one religion, but of a popular culture around the Judeo-Christian influence. This is also a part of many spiritualist traditions that came up between the late nineteenth and the mid twentieth century. Other Christian figures like the angels, especially the archangels, are also used often among ritual magick, protection rites and when evoking energies that go along with the angels portfolios. Leaving aside that in many ways the Judeao/Christian structure is very analogous with any pagan pantheon, we should focus on the one figure. How you interpret this is probably up to which path you're from and how open you are.
Christians, of course, think of him as a son of god, the messiah and the promise of the afterlife. To them he is the figure in the bible that is venerated as the beginning of the religion. They either take the bible stories literally or near literally as this is part of their creed. This is valid, this is their way. This is how they are being taught to be better people, so this is perfectly valid. He is a spiritual teacher, their spiritual teacher. This is one aspect, and the Christian aspect of how Jesus is viewed.
The second one is the one I share. The one that says he was a great spiritual teacher of his times and still has applications today. There are many from Spiritualist Churches, Happy science or Kofuku-no-gata in Japan, to even esoteric sources like Alice A. Bailey in The Rays and Initiations (See review on Spiritual Weal Bookshelf) still see him as such. Even the Qua'ran sees him as a prophet of God. He was clearly a very good spiritual teacher with a broadly popular message. This shows that most likely he was a good one whatever was lost in the process to formalise the religion between the third and fifth centuries. This perhaps shows why Christianity when followed properly is such a good path even today and not invalid. It is just his more.... Rabid followers that are the problem that are the invalid path.
Which brings me to my point of view. Most likely to my point of view studying the historical facts he was a rabbi or from a rabbinical family to be educated. Carpenters were not educated men at that time, Rabbis were. More likely he was from a radical rabbinical family of the time, with a great spiritual gift that they nurtured. He tried to start early, got called back to finish his education and nurturing his gifts and when he finished this he well... Came back preaching a message too radical for the Judaism around him. Part of this would have been the Messiah part, meeting prophesy to gain acceptance. Hence delaying his entry into Jerusalem to meet with the prophesy. As well as this there are other areas that could have easily been manipulated. Remember this, he was a man living in very fraught and complicated political times. A population caught between the devil they knew of the decadent and possibly corrupt priesthood and an invader that was a new and altogether new devil. The more pure sects, three sects of Rabbinic competing. People thought they were at the end times. All of this adds to... Well, chaos, panic and disorder. He stepped into this. Brave man, and great spiritual teacher to do so. He had followers from all walks of life from what we would now think of as separatist guerillas (Sicarii – Most likely the infamous Judas Iscariot), to former tax collectors, to women of whatever stripe who at the time would be considered scandalous.
So very progressive spiritual leader too. He would most likely than not been married, most likely had children by the time he died considering birth control at the time. This historical man was great historical teacher that spawned a movement of different people. Gnostics, Judaic Christians and gentile Christians, those who would eventually become the foundation for Roman Catholicism. And in answer to the blond, blue eyed representation in every bible of childhood, he would look like a Jewish person or Palestinian. It was his ancestry. Unless there was a Viking in the mix (doubtful) he wasn't likely to look like the later artwork. But he was a great spiritual teacher that spawned a lasting religion, despite this all whose valid core of message has continued despite the years. Through reformations, through wars, even Islam accepts him as prophet. He is seen as a being of light and worthy figure to invoke by many non-christians, and still seen as a spiritual teacher (even of not the son of god) like them. This shows that he was a great spiritual teacher with a message for all with a valid path.
Now we get to the problem. The problem is that we are getting is that the distortions from the third century on are destroying the message. The message was a simple one that is resonant, and worthwhile. I have not read the bible cover to cover, it is a very hard document to get through. It was not meant as a work of literature, it was meant as a work of canonising a religion, so this made sense like the difference between the ultimate textbook on a subject and a book written for the public. But the commentaries of those who have done that I've read through all point to the creation of an orthodoxy that stifled the beauty of this message in the name of uniformity. This is the message of the ultimate good guy, the ultimate believer, the ultimate sacrificial god that gave all for the good of those who would follow him. And that is why he is now so universal as a symbol even outside Christianity – it is beautiful and resonant. Too beautiful for the light to be hidden under the orthodoxy of whatever shade. And in that he was truly great spiritual teacher, just not the one I personally follow.
Are all of The Faiths of the Book one Religion?
The faiths of the book are a strange thing. Centred around one god, centred around one basic tennent of faith they seem very similar. Too similar some may say, sharing a lot of things that bring them into conflict. This may seem a strange idea, but look at them. They share the same god, they all one way or another hold Jerusalem in reverence, and they all, I if you look at them, share the same lineage like brothers who married women from different places and moved to where their bride lived. One stayed and at home and became Judaism, One married a cosmopolitan outsider and became Christianity and another became Islam when it moved to the Middle East. The above thought might sound funny, but think about it, really think about it.
They mention each other, they all have much the same beliefs and tenements, they all look at the world in many same ways. They also squabble like siblings. With the successive timings it is almost like the same higher evolved being came to different places at different times to perfect his ideas, and each time he started again to see if he could get it right without the humans getting in the way. Unfortunately for him, they do. Each time they started of relativity progressive, each time to get bogged down in the old conservative social trends. Both Islam and Christianity at least started off a lot more progressive on the front of women than current thinking, for example, than the society around them. They were both new ideas, radical ideas that as they got asorbed by the society and changed around, the reform agenda failing to a certain extent as the religion became asorbed into the society around it. There we have the reason that a person would keep going to do this, and most likely has. The reformation, for instance, or perhaps Mormonism etc... show that this is perhaps an evolving agenda of trying to get people to see the message. They in many ways can be seen as separate religions, but in many other ways they can be seen the same, the same message tailored to a certain area. A cynical reading of this could say that this was an attempt by said deity to get more and more followers and more and more credit. Another one is that this is an attempt to ensure that the message is given to all in a way they understand, the delivery of the message being tailored to the circumstances through prophets. Yet another one says a frustrated deity was looking around for a way to get the message through finally and not having it completely rewritten by the messages. All are possible, but the strength of the three semi-independent paths perhaps point to tailoring one message to multiple populations.
This shows how important the message was if it was properly listened to, showing in ways in how populous the religions are and how many people outside the religion consider Jesus a great spiritual teacher or figure. So this does tend to point to the tailoring of the message to different populations. So, to the original question, are they all one religion? Well, yes and no. Yes in that they are selling the same message, no in that in the tailoring of the message they became different religions selling the same message. This is the message of one particular version of the basics of how to live a spiritual path which is in valid versions still good and necessary. For that reason they should all the valid versions should be respected with only the invalid paths such as fundamentalist Islam Judaism and Christianity tarred with their own brushes. To do anything else invalidates the collective followers of the valid paths which is wrong.
How do the Four Paths Relate in Greater Society?
Here I am talking about the four types of paths – Religious, Spiritual, Humanist and Esoteric. There are followers of the four paths living side by side in greater society so this is a burning issue. In some societies there is no debate. Some this is very invalid a path where one path alone rules and make the choices of others invalid, others this is a constant fight over who has more validity. The first one is not restricted to Theocracies as you would think either, a nation like France where the public expression of religion is ruthlessly repressed is just as bad. This is not something to be encouraged as this disallows free expression of other paths rather than the favoured one, be that a religious path or secular humanism.
This means that the four paths in an ideal society find a balance. As imperfect as they are the democracies of the US, Britain and other countries are closest to this. They have their flaws and problems but in this regard they are the best, allowing religious pluralism in a way that paths can coexist well. A Muslim woman can wear her headscarf or a Jew his headgear or a large Star of David unlike in France, or a Catholic their cross over their clothes. A society that finds this threatening is a strange one and just as theocratic to the humanist path as Iran is to a particular religious one. Despite their flaws the Westminster based societies have the same basic balance between the paths as is needed. This changes over time, such as when particular faiths have problems due to sins of invalid followers, but they have a good balance. All have freedom to wear symbols and thus follow their full path but are not allowed to interfere with others. This is the best balance and how the paths should be used.
This balance means that all can follow their paths, worship and/or follow the rituals as they feel they need. They can, for most part follow the laws within the morals and ethics of their paths. Sometimes this is not the case, and here it is the followers individual choice which one is primary. I would like to say it is always the law of the land but I do have the money in legal fees and the expired good behaviour bond to say that that this choice is not always perfect and that sometimes the legal choice is not always the right one. I should count myself lucky in a way, others have faced far worse. It crippled me financially for a while and I'm still climbing out of that but I can't say I would have made another choice given the opportunity again. When that choice is faced all will make their own choices and have to face them, with differing consequences. Those that follow the legal path may find themselves with moral consequences, those that choose the moral path like me may find the legal consequences. For me the laws of return were above the laws of man so to speak, but for others it will be different and therefore their consequences will be moral rather than legal, questioning themselves and having to face the effected people. A note here though, invalid actions to the laws of return are still invalid there. These still incur both. The choice here is those such as facing a murder charge or watching friend die, for instance, not those actions wrong by both sets of laws. Nothing is perfect much like in the high school school ground. Sadly, institutions like teachers are not the best of us as they should be so this conflict will go in even in the society closest.
But this is part of why it works. It seems that the standards in a Westminster society are set just low enough nobody can agree they are wrong without being too low as to cause protest among groups. The argument is in how far higher they have to reach. Perhaps that is why it works – the balance is at the tension point that the majority can accept. If this is the best we can ever get, shame on us. If that is the starting point and we are working on better now, then this is very good. If it is all we ever reach then this damns us to disrespect each others personal dignity and personal honour and beings forever. Lets work, all of us as personal followers of total paths to bring in a moral part into this law that covers the common points to a point that respects personal dignity and honour to the full. Only then will we reach the ideal balance of all paths.
Devic Beings – Angels, Devas and Demons
You may think this is strange to say that these are all the same, but it's not. Think of the roles and representations of these beings, they’re eerily similar, aren’t they. Angels are part of all of the faiths of the book, Devas a part of many nature and Eastern Beliefs and of course Demons are a part of this as well in more than one religion as cursed but powerful beings. There are also devils in this, but as far as I’m concerned they are in a different category altogether as refugees from a destroyed world living on the astral. Some are problems, but like all humans they have their problem souls which is what we see rather than their mass population. Think of it as seeing their exiled prison population instead of the general mass of their society. With that distinction in mind we can go back to looking at what these Angels, Devas and Demons, or cursed Devic beings mean in terms of the various spiritual paths.
The most common one in the western world, still heavily influenced by Judeo Christianity is Angels. Islam also means that angels are also important devic beings in the Middle East. But through spiritual practise they have become relevant to so many more people than just the faiths of the book. Angels as devic beings have become important to forms of angel therapy, angel guidance and other areas. This started with the Christian based Spiritualist churches, spreading out to the so called new age movement from there. Here rather than serving the deity they are called on as devic beings in themselves through their own energies. While they are devic beings, they are a different type, being influenced by the Judeo Christian beliefs and though forms. This makes them influenced but their own Devic beings who serve the people who ask for help as much as the deity that influenced them. Today Angel Therapy, Angel blessing and other also work with them and the roles that they have done are expanded which makes them more relevant to some than they would have been otherwise with the waning of Christianity.
Devas are a more general group, being important to nature religions, general new age nature based beliefs and many Eastern Religions. This may take many forms and thus these beings work and look very different as a result, possibly with groups and sub-groups. As with all Astral beings they are influenced by how they work and grow with working with incarnates. This shows how the interplay and inter-relation works between these more general Devas and incarnates, the way the interaction influences both parties. This means that these beings have a wide ranging and broad influence which cannot exactly be defined. This means that this will be defined very individually per person and entity. It should be interpreted as such.
Last but not least of course we get Demons, or the cursed. Not always fallen, but cursed. Remember, Lucifer was the light bringer and Lilth the first wife of Adam. When you note that some see Lilith as a resonant and valid dark goddess on the same order as Hectate showing the darker side of femininity and suffering you start seeing the complexity here. This is not a one size fits all area, they do have their roles to play. These beings were not always a problem, they are powerful beings in their own right and cursed rather than 'Fallen'. Like people, Devas can be cursed for more than one reason. This is not a unified group either, but from many groups. Tibetans for instance have demons as well as Judeo Christian beliefs, which means that this is a interesting and diverse group. Not all are good, not all are bad. They are very much confused and working on the same basis as the humans that they are seen to lead astray, feeding on each other. These beings are to be watched, but not all evil. Some redeem, some don't. Be cautious but don't think they're all evil – Some are just the same misguided beings as their perceived victims. This in a way informs their visages, this tortured pain. Remember this, be cautious in dealing with them just like any conflicted being.
Overall, Devic beings are important as guides and helpers, sometimes for the wrong reasons, sometimes for the right reasons. This means that when dealing with them deal with them like any other deity, with respect and caution using psychic protection. Working with these beings is a constant work in progress so should be treated like such – A chance for both beings to learn and grow as they work together.
Have we Gone Far Enough in Rebalancing Society?
The women’s movement has made a lot of gains, no doubt about it. They have secured in theory equal pay, in theory equal rights. But even now there are so many issue that the law is unable or unwilling to solve. Some of this is because it is hard to legislate in this areas, other parts is because it there is the lack of will to legislate or enforce laws in those areas.
The first part is ensuring that gains that have been made are total, ones that we are now all part of and using. This is not at all true, and there is plenty of evidence to the fact. At the end of the day Women are still unrepresented in leadership roles in many countries. Sexual Assault of all types are far too common on men and children and well as women. Indeed adult males are often the hidden victims. Other problems caused by this imbalance are the domination of men in civil life, the lack of balance in partnering and parenting and our current problems with inequality (Both Global and National) and our current economic system and resource use. All of these are caused by the massive historical shifts towards patriarchal societies that is now only just being reversed. As early Ancient Greece and China Anima did not have as much representation in daily life as it did in myth and legend, this pattern continuing. This means that in many parts of the globe women are not fully represented as equal in power in family life, in daily life and in broader society. Confucianism in Asian societies as well as the patriarchal ideas of the family in western society have subjugated the living expression of anima and cycles – women. In a way Freud had it right when everything about sex, but he had the wrong end of the stick. What he had misinterpreted through the gender norms current at his time was the way anima and animus relate. How he misinterpreted was seeing the primal basis of life, the total survival instinct, but thinking of it as sex drive. Replacing every things about sex to every things a representation of the two primal energies, take out the gender role norms of his time his ideas actually make sense. It is the idea of realising the primal energies within and without and learning to balance them through action and interaction. Add the idea of the basically shapeshifting maiden/mother/crone goddess and Oedipus/Electra complex makes sense. But in a way that shows the ideas he was working with was very misinterpreted and makes sense, which goes with many misinterpretations society also made and has not corrected.
What has this meant? Well, it has meant that many males have not learnt their lessons, continuing to be eternal teenagers. Even in institutions such as exclusive private schools principals and head teachers allow sexual abuse to continue, seemingly condoning the practise. In the streets we have the over publicised, sensationalised one punch attacks, muggings and assaults. Sexual assault statistics are far more common that we need them to be. And worse still, while female and child sexual assault is becoming more widely reported and punished those against adult males are still hidden due to the way we see and construct men and masculinity in such a narrow fashion. Family violence is a growing problem that needs to be adressed. Women are not as represented as they should be in the higher echelons of leadership, women are not as represented as they should be in politics. And despite fits and starts males are not often seen in more domestic roles, or happy to don an apron and stay at home, or do an equal share of work at home. Some of this is reinforced by policies and attitudes in the workplace, other parts by an unwillingness for society to accept these things.
This is why our society is still unbalanced. If males and females were equal, even the equal and separate that some speak about then all of this would not be the case. But because females as the representative of anima lessons are not equal then we get this situation that animus is not balanced out. Women in public life while not the gentle nurturing creatures made out be would bring in different aspects of the anima lesson each, be that a Lilith, Athena, or Venus as well as Eve. All of these would balance out the unbalanced burning out of control animus that is now causing so many problems. This would also give women more power in the family unit, boys would respect and reflect of mothers, sisters and grandmothers more. This would mean as they grew up they learnt to understand and control their animus energy, fully maturing unlike many males do today. This would mean that they would be mature people learning their lessons. Respecting the domestic sphere more as a result of this would mean it would become more acceptable for males to enter and fully co-parent or become stay at home dads, once again balancing out the representations of people as people rather than roles. This balancing out done there would be great advantages in how people see each other as well as the false aggression that is the supernova of unlearnt anima (male) lessons unleashing havoc when they blow up becoming far less frequent rates of bashings, sexual assaults of all kinds would go down. And males who were attacked as adults would not have to fight that macho image to report and be much more able to report without feeling unmacho or they're not men.
This rebalancing would take a while, perhaps a generation. But once done it would be something that would allow us to work with individuals without the notion of gender as we have it getting in the way as it does now. It is artificial, it is nasty and it needs to be gotten rid of because it straitjackets people and causing half the problems manifest as they are today. Why don't we learn some sense and do this so future generations are not handed our problems?
Why are we Ignoring our Obligations to Others as Nations?
This is a question I have been asking each time I see the refugee news, each time I see the fact that we are willing to go to war for the oil and gas under the ground but not the defence of others, which is a legitimate reason to go to war. Even now many decisions to go to war are political and the strategic thinkers like David Killkullen are saying this even though they support action in Syria and Iraq. The just think the government has gotten it wrong and the current targeting is political rather than strategic. Fact is that if we had intervened in that first year before the problem became the rouge proto state we are now facing and Assad had made himself just as bad an option then we would be in better shape by now. As it is we are now facing an extended bombing campaign, limited (Special Forces) boots on the ground and to add my opinion to the expert commentators a ten or twenty year peacekeeping effort to build smaller, ethically and governmentally stable states out of the mess now. But if we don't do it it will get worse again. Besides, it was our mistakes in Iraq and Syria, going in then out when it got hard rather than listening and working smarter with the local populations that we once had as friendly that created this mess. We do have a moral duty to fix it.
Same as we have a moral duty especially to the refugees that come out of this conflict as a result. We can't ignore them like we have been or lock them up in worse than they came from because of their actions in desperation. Nations across Europe are failing in this dismally, as are we in detaining them in places like Narau and Mannus Island. This is about making sure that those that are affected by our mistakes are taken care of over the normal humanitarian concerns one has in this situation anyway. This is not on to ignore them or demonise them when we made them refugees in the first place. This is not on. There are extremists involved on all sides, yes. There are those that will not like us and try to hurt us yes. But this is no excuse and should not stop us from meeting our obligations which is exactly what we are trying to do.
So, why are we trying to do this? Well, the reasons are many and varied, but run from we can't afford it, to this crisis is too large, to it's not our problem, to why should we do it, we didn't create the mess? Let's go through these. First off, we didn't create the mess does not go to anybody who was part of the coalition of the willing in the second Iraq invasion, that being one of the major catalysts for the birth of Daesh. We are morally culpable for that mistake, so that ones out. Second off all of us because we were war weary ignored the crisis and civil war in Syria till it boiled over and attacked us so we're also curable for that by inaction, so that's out. Third off, it's too expensive? No, it isn't if we get together and actually all lifted part of it. Austerity has made nations miserly both to their own and to desperate people outside them, something that needs to be redressed. If there was good taxation and fair redistribution, including in foreign aid budgets, then this would not be happening. There would be enough for this crisis to be resolved. Of course the third factor is apathy, pure and simple. This is something that is not resolved and is perhaps the biggest driver in this. We want a quick and speedy resolution to the crisis, like we always want when this happens in Africa, but it is not going to happen. We are going to have to bite the proverbial bullet, put in what it takes and find some political leaders not only smart enough to listen to the strategic advice and not just play politics, deal with this. It will take ten or twenty years, boots on the ground and a lot of work. But it needs to be done, our mess, we need to fix it.
Then we get to other issues such as climate change. Well... Here it's just the same. The developed nations that pillaged the world now don't want to take responsibility for the damage they have caused. The US is shifting ground but we're stuck in the dark ages on this, as will the US be if they get republicans in the White House again. There are nations that are going to go under water soon if we don't take drastic action, something which is no laughing matter Peter Dutton and Tony Abbot aside (As an Australian I apologise for that man to the rest of the world. I wasn't one of the ones who voted for him). We need to get climate change under one point five to two degrees centigrade as a matter of urgency and we have the technology. The sooner we do it the less the transition will hit the economy and the more of a position we will be in to be technology leaders and exporters, which will mean jobs and growth – sustainable growth. If we take the pain now we will go so much better later, something that is not entering into our politicians heads. Coal, the little black rock is not good for humanity, it is drowning it. Responsible nations are all around the world and need to take action. I have hopes for Paris but.... Not that many.
At the end of the day nation states just as people are responsible for their actions and this is just a few areas they are failing. We need more responsibility at the top of nation states as well as in day to day life because, well, they are responsible as well. If they fail the laws of return fall on all the citizens in some shape or form, even the ones not responsible. So for all this should be fixed, both within and without the nations.
Wheel of the Seasons and Material Reality
The wheel of the seasons reflects material reality and who we are on this planet,. It reflects our conditions and resources we have available. It gives us a guide and awareness of our world. Thus to follow the wheel of the seasons is to follow the world and how it progresses. In the past it showed us when to plant, and when to harvest. It was a guide to survival which we largely ignore nowadays in our urbanised world. Much of this is lost to symbolism and when we can get a bikini on. This is sad because that means we've lost all perspective of where we are and what our worlds about. We need to do this to be aware and in tune with our world so we don't destroy it. This is a simple fact.
The Wheel of the seasons is our guide. Some follow the cross quarter festivals as well, I don't as they don't really suit my idea of Balance and Tipping points. The balance and tipping points, or high points and way points of energy guide us through the year to our activities. This may not be so pronounced in an urbanised environment (Especially if you're not a gardener) but you can still follow this by noting the weather, the dates of the Equinoxes, the way things feel You can mark the Turning points, the balance and tipping points in your yard, local parks even if very small and ceremonially to keep you attuned if you're a city dweller. If you're not you have so many more ways of doing this, so many more places.
If you follow a tradition, this is going to be your pathway through the year. Honour that the best way you can. If you do not have a tradition then you may fond things more free-form and have your own way of working. That is me, I will admit. See what you can do to mark. Of course, today is the Spring Equinox here in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere you would be having the Autumn Equinox. This will mean that we will be marking different parts of the year in different ways depending on where we are. We will also be doing this for all the others. Which means, basically what I can say is to look at the event, your tradition or preferences and follow that as it feels right. These are all marking points in our year, turning points both in the seasons and in the energy in our lives. This all affects the material world and therefore us. For this reason we should still look at the cycles of dark and light, Anima and Animus for guidance as described in the last month of the Spiritual Weal on our companion site as well as insights into his Equinox in Astrology and Ritual Corner. It is important.
Personas as a concept
I thought up some time ago and worked into the Conciousness matrix, but I think they are important in their own right in the way we see ourselves and work in society. This is something that came up for me last week when seeing some rather good artwork on this theme from an artist I follow on Social Media, Paula Maggs. This artwork (See The Gallery Editorial on our partner site), Unmasked made me think of this concept. The basic concept is below in the original form I wrote it;
We all have four personas, going from the outer Persona to the most intimate true persona. This is our levels of comfort with other people, and how much we share of us with others. Each of us has our own levels and interpretations of what each means, and the following descriptions are only a general guide. Each person has their own set of definitions as individual as they are, and thus will be different for each person. However, the four basic definitions are;
- Outer Persona – The persona that a person shows the outside world – people in the street, not so close colleagues, and other areas that are related to the outside world that we do not know people bellow a surface level. This is our outer persona, what we want to be and what we show others. this relate best to the Physical and superficial mental area most, but may have superficial level of the emotional or spiritual levels.
- Intermediate Persona- This is the persona we show our social acquaintances and friends that are at intermediate closeness. This is when we show a little more of ourselves and allow the lighter aspects of ourselves to be seen and expressed but not the inner aspects. This covers aspects of all of the four, Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
- Close Persona – This is the persona we show those that are at a moderate closeness to us, good friends, relatives, and close colleagues. This means we show much of who we are, but not all. This shows those areas that we are moderately comfortable about. There are degrees of this depending on how well we know the person. This is one of our most common one. This covers the emotional, Mental and Spiritual and can cover some of the psychical (in the case of casual lovers and other such things)
- True Persona – This is our true self – the naked true self that we limit the exposure of. We show this to those we are the very closest to – Lovers, friends, and very close relatives such as favoured parents and siblings. This is the true self, the person that we are naked. This is why we show it to the least amount of people and thus it is the most intimate contact. This is a very special thing, and when trust is broken here it takes a long time to get over it. This covers the true expressions of all four levels of being and all chakras, and is a highly personal and developed thing.
Each persona is a step up in intimacy with the persona that we show, and at what level we relate to the people around us. This is an individual thing, both the persona and the levels. But we will have the common thread of using the outer and intermediate Persona most often, the shallowest ones. These can be a danger to becoming us. This is especially true for those that do not have many of those that care for them around, or a good support network. The outer persona and the intermediate personas are both masks of various levels, showing what is acceptable to others. Especially in more complex societies this is increasingly the ones people live in, at cost. In effect people are being forced to live the outside life more and more at the expense of the inner life.
This is something we need to think about as we go ahead. The post modern idea of identity is one problem, how we increasingly craft more sophisticated masks in social media presence is another. We make ourselves who we want to be rather than who we are and this means that we create our own hell. This is something we should all think about as society seems to value the mask rather than the wearer more and more for ourselves, do we want to fall into that trap? Or do we want to be ourselves more and the crafted mask less? So much for you rests on your individual answer.
Euthanasia, A Good Death?
This issue is rousing much tension among many. Euthanasia, or assisted dying for the terminally ill is a very very contentious issue that not all agree on. There are several areas these views come from. One is the religious viewpoint, of course, which more often than not says that Euthanasia is a sin. Then there is the humanist viewpoint of relative ethics and morals. Most peoples views on Euthanasia tend to be considers and thought through and many very firmly held. This is the right of the people holding the views as long as they do not not impose them on others. Which brings us to the current debate on legalising Euthanasia.
To be fair to readers I should probably claim my own views, and that I am firmly in the Pro-Euthenasia camp. When it comes to those medicalised, overly drawn out deaths I've seen and heard of my first thought on this the old phrase They shoot Horses, don't they? A pet that is in pain and dying will be let go kindly through euthanasia, but we don't extend that dignity to ourselves, which to me shows that there is a priority reset that needs to happen. If we can show mercy to our pets in their last hours, then we can show mercy to our dying relatives as well. This is where I come from, but I am aware that not everybody agrees with this.
Many religions such as all three faiths of the book consider suicide a sin. Buddhist consider it an act of avoiding karma you will just end back up in and Hindus, who are also believers in reincarnation are not big on it either. One thing I will say for the Buddhist belief is that this is an event sent to you for a reason and in many Buddhist countries people still die at home, surrounded by loved ones rather than in a hospital at the bitter end, which would make it that much more pleasant. Same as in Many Hindu countries the sick and old die at home when possible, surrounded by loved ones. Indeed in some areas it is the duty of a son to be there as his father passes. This, while it sounds like a burden would mean that the loneliness and clinical isolation we regard death with is not a fear they face. Neither is ageing as we fear it. However, there is another side in our world, those like me who believe that people have the right to choose dignified Deaths when they want to go rather than a slow, painful one.
This is a debate that is very much framed around survival rates, prognoses and what is still on our society a dominant Judeo-Christan ethic that sees suicide as a sin, even if it is not as strong. You see it in our mainstream suicide prevention campaigns and systems that rather than focussing on how to get the help you need to truly live again, be that financial, Help to stop Cyber Bullying etc... And bargains to wait out the time before that is successful it is about locking people up in conditions that effectively punish them for being that low. Take away their possessions, drug them, restrain them, put them in cells in hospital gowns... This may work for a suicide watch at the time, but what does it do to those who already feel they have nothing left while they're there? Does it make them live, or just affirm the hopelessness they feel in their lives? We focus on survival, breathing, not the life and dignity of the person where a truly well framed suicide prevention program would do. Likewise a lot of the Euthanasia issue is framed around our taboo of death, a person controlling their death. This belief that the last breath of survival, every agonising, undignified breath is better than leaving this earth underpins both. Which is underpinned by a fear of death. This is time and time again what I think we come to. Not a value for life, but a fear of death as the end. Once again, I believe in reincarnation and that the soul survives death. Not being a believer in the powers we believe in don't give us anything we can't handle either I don't sit well with the whole notion that death is as bad as we fear. Misuse of free will can do many things from have someone run into our car and turn our lives into a hell of pain and total care needs, to release cancer causing chemicals into the air and water. These are not divine plans, these are more often than not free will. Abused free will, which often is what brings us to this point of hearing we're going to die a slow, painful death or greatly diminished life. Each of us know our limits, only us and nobody else. Not the doctors, not your neighbour, not your friends priest. This is your limit, what you can handle and what you call a dignified life.
This is why I personally think Voluntary euthanasia is a good idea. Voluntary euthanasia, and read voluntary on the doctors and patients side, is not about shuffling granny off so you can get her house. It is about being able to choose a dignified end while you are still you. Doctors who wish to help can help, Doctors who are conscientious objectors should have the obligation to refer on and not impose on the person suffering. This way both sides can have what they want. With a legislative framework in place including living wills, explaining to relatives how and why, and a full range of options including at home palliative care this can be a step that frees up both sides. It does this by allowing the diverse range of views in our community to all express themselves and act as they wish in their own lives. It frees up those that wish not to participate to not participate, it frees up those that wish to to do so. This way once our society gets past the Judeo-Christian inspired stumbling blocks it can allow the freedom of conscience we need in such a Pluralistic society. Because without it we are truly not granting legitimate freedom of choice at all.
Science, Rationality and Holism
As we head well into the 21st century we have a group of sciences, including sciences, working towards an understanding of the world one part of it it at a time. Scientific method, or the rigorous understanding of a topic that is tested and worked on to proof, is a very common idea on what works. However, we have to ask, is this method whereby we cut of each area for study and don't see the whole picture?
As we head into a time where evidence based and scientific method has invaded all areas of life it is a good question to ask. But to understand this we need to go back to the beginning. Science started out life as natural philosophy, a philosophy that attempted to explain the world around us in a rational manner. Here we had the beginnings of science and engineering, of looking at life and figuring out how it worked without a deity being in the explanation. This extended out till science started being it's own category in the enlightenment, where it gradually became a separate, dry discipline.
This beginning was not a specialized place, but a place for learned gentlemen who wanted to figure out the world and how it worked. Royal academies sprung up as learning became popular, technologies were invented and science, like rational philosophy became a field of it's own from theology in the Renaissance despite the constant references to God in many philosophers up to recent times. The first scientists, like the natural philosophers, were generalists. They had no specialty and utilised parts of many modern disciplines in their search to explain the natural world. Then as time went on and knowledge became more complex scientists started to specailise to study a particular field. This led to the specialties we know today. This allowed the collection of more and more complex knowledge, which led to the further specialistation into sub-fields. Without the early biologists we would not have geneticists, for example, or molecular Chemists. We would not have doctors or specialist surgeons had it not been for the early pioneers in anatomy, all generalist scientists, Barber Surgeons or Natural Philosophers.
Which brings us to science and the scientific method. You could say the roots of this was found in the natural sciences, and the rational forms of inquiry into how the world worked. As time went on and tools became more sophisticated, knowledge was easier to get and was written down and recorded in drier and drier forms. The true idea of scientific method was not around in the enlightenment, where gentlemen scientists made and recorded their own experiments, following hunches and ideas down chains of development. You could say they really began as science began to be less a field for the learned gentleman and more and more professionalised experts, starting with the begging of professional bodies such as the Royal Academy of Sciences in England. These bodies, while not considered professional to today's standards perhaps, started to set rules. From there their rules and standards became increasingly codified. In time this became scientific method and spread into the growing professional sciences of the Victorian Era to become what we see today – The scientific method. It is without doubt this increased understandings of so much.
Through this we have learnt to understand the world, so we think. It gives us factual information, proofs and theorems on how the world works. It has enabled engineering, advanced chemistry construction and transport. It has enabled so many things. But the question is, has it gone too far down the understanding path and forgotten the wisdom inherit in the natural Philosophy roots as it specailises into even narrower and narrower fields? To understand the question one must understand the 'Siloing' of the specialties and exactly how rigid at times the scientific method as become. While it has a lot of merit in the way it enables measured and measurable inquiry it does have some weaknesses, which this silo effect exacerbates. The first one is that it asks very specific questions in very specific fields without any reference to some very inter-connected questions in other fields. This is especially true when looking at things like the human body, especially the mind. This means that in order to truly life's big questions you need to bring multiple fields together with interlocking questions, which is not easy.
The gentleman scientist, while somewhat derided today, had the advantage of being a generalist and being able to run experiments of several fields of interest at the same time, thus creating a whole synthesis in his findings. The modern specialist does not have that and due to professional jealousies multi-disciplinary teams are rare, exacerbating this. This is not a good thing in many ways as science becomes dominant as a force in our society. This leaves a wide gap in understanding of the whole picture far too often for my comfort. The second one, of course is the way that the rigor of what can be proven and what cannot leaves out hard to measure. At times there are major questions in life that are not answerable to a rigorous scientific standard which we are trying to apply scientific standards to. There are parallels of course, a prime example being the striking similarities between parts of quantum physics and spiritual belief. However, scientists have a way of dismissing what cannot be proven in a laborotory. Which is disturbing seeing it is a lot of what makes us sentient beings.
Using an evidence base is one thing, letting it become a bias in itself is another. Something we can miss when we work with the immeasurables and intangibles in life and don't apply the wisdom of awareness to make the evidence based techniques fit into the world of real people. In some areas this works, such as the hard sciences. However in the humanities and the social sciences a degree of awareness based wisdom is needed to balance this out to make things work, balance the understanding with awareness to create true wisdom in the application of knowledge. Which brings me to my final critique in this area. Namely that while Evidence based, scientific method and specialised knowledge add a tremendous amount to the puzzle they are not all the puzzle. They add the knowledge to work with. What is needed is the awareness then, the wisdom, of how to use this so that all can benefit. This could include cross-speciality co-operation, or cross-training when studying certain things such as the human mind. It could also include consulting colleagues in other fields when coming up with experiment design so later scientists can link things together easier without redesign gymnastics. And of course, tempering knowledge with wisdom.
Taking the knowledge, or the effort to gather knowledge and bringing the spirit of the natural philosophers into how you approach this. This does not mean abandoning the principles of scientific method, but bringing a certain wisdom and forethought into their application as to how it advances humanity and it it's understanding of the world. This is important because at the end of the day rational thought is only half of the way we think, the awareness part of the mind both informs and tempers the results in application if we want to truly have a good result in the way we approach anything. This includes scientific inquiry,especially in the Human Sciences. If we get this balance right we will advance human thought by bringing together both awareness and understanding to create true wisdom.
Kyshera Du'Skall Kre'Mashen
Privacy and Isolation in the City
Look around any city street and what you see are a lot of people, wandering around, headphones on and in another world called their smartphone, barely paying attention to anything, be that foot or vehicular traffic. Sometimes it is very safe diversion, such as sitting on the train and waiting for the bus. Or sitting on the train and the bus for a long trip. However, in addition to this you also see people with headphones in their ears while walking around when they should be paying attention. I have also seen people texting while walking along a city footpath as busy and chaotic as the roadway as they're walking, or even crossing the street. Then the question is, why do people do this despite the risks?
Having come from a smaller place and feeling the crush of the crowd I can see one reason. Also, others might be busy and just need to quickly fire off a text, or they are in a form of emergency. To judge would not be appropriate, but to wonder why they are doing it and thinking about it and why this happens is perhaps more appropriate. It can be easy to judge, but not so easy to understand. So, looking past the initial stages of what an idiot, what are you thinking you can look past to see why. This is important to really understand rather than judge so you know why. It is dangerous, yes, but there are reasons every person does this.
In looking at why the first thing I did was observe people in the trains, on the crowd, and saw just how... Insular they are in the crowd as a result. In this they swap a complete safety of awareness for a sense of privacy in the crowd. This may seem stupid at first, but when you think about it makes sense. When you are in a crowd that makes you feel like an ant, there is something that makes you want to feel like... You. So rather than always feeling small in this crowd, uncertain, losing yourself, you wrap a bubble around yourself. Your earbuds and music, even just being in your own world talking and texting away. You may look stupid to the people around you, you may sacrifice some safety or spatial awareness, but you feel.... Better for it. So you do it anyway. It is when we understand this we understand the phenomenon. Then perhaps how to fix it.
It is not that the people are being reckless, they are doing this for survival. Insulating them to keep a sense of self. So to correct this we need to look at why, the sense of the impersonal you get from being a number in the crowd. How we have lost our way in our great numbers as a social creature making people feel welcome. Just a slight smile, a hello, keeping a door open for the next person. A please, a thank you. Asking the young woman serving you at the checkout how her day was. These were all partly lost before the insularity, and all lost after. Would we need that if we bought that back? Or on the inverse, have we created a society so large it makes us feel so isolated we feel alone in the crowd as though we were alone? This is not an easy thing to think about, that we have become so progressively big as a society that we have lost touch of who we are as a social animal, but it is quite likely the case. Or that our size is not insurmountable but we have lost sight of how to change this in ourselves and our society as we turn inwards to survive rather than facing the challenge. Either way, it is something we should think about as society changes so we can make it for the better. There will be no simple solution, indeed, no one answer, but one of how does each person, each segment of society work towards this? One thing is for sure, we will not be able to get to the answer by ignoring the question.
Kyshera Du'Skall Kre'Mashen
The Philosophy of Fashion
This might sound like a funny title, but think of this. We don't just all go and get our clothes one size fits all, same outfit, same time. We choose clothes. In a way it is a code that we show how we feel and think of ourselves. Some use it to fit in with the mainstream to get ahead, some use it to show off wealth and influence, some use it to project what they want to be as part of the effort of making themsleves who they want to be. Same as hair, shoes and other presentation areas. We think we choose, but in reality, what and how much do we really choose?
For instance, try walking down the middle of Sydney naked or in Underwear. Virtual underwear in the form of very scant clothing is allowed, but not obvious nudity. So we can't be true nudists walking down George Street without being arrested, for example. Same as if one is wanting to wear punk clothing one cannot expect to get a job at a merchant bank. We are constrained by ovbious forces. Of course, uniform or practicalities of jobs can also constrain those that are affected when they are in the workforce or in such situations. Adding to this we have the not so ovbious forces of the norms we face, for instance, men wearing shorts or trousers. A male wearing a traditional Middle Eastern robe or traditional Islander wear (A form of Sarong) would be out of place, potentially to the point of ovbious disapproval. There is also the norms of fashion that with increasing saturation and role modelling is becoming more and more powerful with the reach of product placement or advertising. We deny this, but are we really immune to it? Would you be brave enough to wear a wizards robe down the middle of Sydney, for example? Or wear your tracksuit to the races?
So, now I've shown the constraints, there is another side. That of self expression. The art of taking what is available, using it to express yourself if you are brave enough to go outside the norm. Or using it as a tool to assist you in becoming who you want to be if you see this as useful. This, rather than fashion, is a form of style, a true self expression. As the codifacation and trend setting for profit of the fashion industry become more and more prolific is becoming braver. Especially striking it out on your own, truly dressing for yourself without even a reference to fashion trends or norms. This takes confidence in yourself you have if you know you have it or not. Even if you are only just starting to do so to build your confidence, you have the spark that will grow into what you want to be. You just don't know it yet. Take the time, keep it up develop it. Following the crowd is easy, following the crowd is what most do. Some have to do it for work, some do it for advantage. Others do it because they feel they have no other choice.
I am with those that buck the trend, dress for themselves, dress for who they are and have the courage to break out of the mold. While I will admit I admire a nice suit on someone that wears it well and is comfortable with it, or a nice classic dress on someone it suits, when someone dresses as who they are not it is immediately ovbious. Being yourself, being a unique being is something that is hard, but worthwhile. And in many ways the true meaning of what has become the fashion industry should be – Self expression rather than making money out of dressing everyone the same.
Kyshera Du'Skall Kre'Mashen
Awareness, Perception and Ethics
Awareness, perception and ethics are interlinked in a way that most of us don't think about but we face every day. This is especially true of someone like me who not only working as a public energy and spiritual worker but also studying for a counseling and coaching degree. It has been something that has been in my mind a while as a personal interest, so I have thought about this. But (as these things tend to go) something crystallised for me after a heated classroom discussion on reflection after a heated discussion during an ethics class at Uni. The simple summary of what this came down to was that awareness led to perception, which framed ethical responses, which makes ethics relative according to situational awareness.
Even among good people ethical responses can vary according to what they know of. To illustrate the point I will use briefly the example that made me think about this. In short, it was a discussion that related to how ethical was it to work with systems that failed vulnerable people. This centered around the fact that professional ethics and legalities stated clearly that people in a mental health crisis need to be refereed to mental health teams. However, in my experience components of this response are the last people who you would want around a vulnerable person. Police that routinely lose their memory when it comes to their Ill treatment of suspects, Public mental health systems that are way below standard etc... At the time I came out with the idea on this forgive them, they do not know what they don't know, a little bruised about how even good people can ignore problems. What came of some reflection later was that well... Ethics is related to awareness and perceptions. Experiences that were exceptions to others had been the rule in my experience, so we had different levels of awareness of the ethical issues associated.
The same mechanics underlie the basics as well as the example, and they cut across all across all fields with similar ethical concerns. It comes down to the fact that what we are aware of shapes our perceptions. Each person as they have different values and experiences which feeds into their awareness. Awareness, or the raw data of what we are aware of to form our perceptions with, is the key to creating our awareness of a moral or ethical problem, therefore our perceptions of moral and ethical problems. This means that even good people can have different perceptions based on what they know. Sometimes this can be a blind spot, sometimes this is just a difference in perceptions. It is not good or bad in itself, but something to be aware of when formulating your responses to ethical and moral decisions. What you know will affect how you react morally and ethically, and something you may not be aware of may be a problem affecting ethical decision making.
The question that arises out of this of course is what does this mean for you? Well, it means that in order to make truly ethical decisions you need to be well informed. This is especially true of those that are living a spiritual path that requires people to treat people well. This cuts across Christian, Buddhist and Hindu paths as well as paths like mine. A belief in karma is a part of this, but could any belief in treating people as you would want to be. Or even a general belief in treating humanity well. All of this means how you treat people matters even if you are not a part of the helping professions. In our paths we need to know and learn this, we need to understand this. We will not always be perfect, we will slip up. We will make mistakes. We will... Work the wrong way somehow. This is part of being sentient, not just human. Fey had it, I bet even dragons had it. This is a part of our path, to learn how to do it the right way. Even I am learning this as I go along.
For me, still, part of this for me is keeping well informed. This is important because well informed means that you are aware of as much as possible when you make your decisions. Keep up to date, keep current, do your research. Listen when people talk of experiences that you are not aware of, take note of them, ask questions. Information brings factors into awareness which means that you can make better ethical decisions, being aware and informed. This key skill is something that we can all cultivate and work on, making ourselves the best people we can, and the best decision makers we can. This means our awareness and perception is as true as it can be, feeding into all our areas of our lives. If we do not have this we may be a little bereft and things may not work the best for true ethical decision making.