Two Sides of the Coin of Authority

Every coin has two sides, yet it remains one. What are the two sides of the “coin of authority?”

Jesus saw that a man who plays the role of absolute authority, or God, a priori, plays the same role as the man who plays Satan, for both roles veil a grasp for power. When accused by the Pharisees of casting out devils by the prince of devils, He does not deny this, but answers, “And if I by Be-el-ze-bub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?” Then, having spoken of the house divided if Satan casts out Satan, He adds, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Jesus says if. He will not admit to playing either the role of the devil or of God, saying on another occasion, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”

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We as humans cannot condone anyone who makes a claim to Godhood; to absolute authority. Preston Harold continues…

Jesus recognized that both the Satanic and Messianic concepts conceal the will to express absolute power, and that the truth bearer who loses himself in his own revelation, believing himself to be or allowing himself to become deity, poses such threat as the sanity or logic associated with Satan could never pose. He showed in his drama that the man who allows himself to be called the Son of God, God in the flesh, or Messiah, will not be tolerated, that Judaism would not in truth tolerate any man’s fulfillment of prophecies regarding the Christ as these are set forth in the Scriptures. Judaism could not in Jesus’ day, nor can it now, tolerate its own Messianic concept, if actualized, any more than Christianity can tolerate the Pauline elaboration of it.

Yet Jesus revealed that we are all endowed with the very being of God, and that that being never allows us to truly be lost from sight:

Jesus refused to play either the role of God or of the devil. He was divinely human, and so must have been that first “gigantic one” who could not extricate himself from the role of God, intolerable, and thus was murdered only to return again and again, a promise and reminder in man’s mind, as parent truth in Homo sapiens led others to speak the same words, “Ani hu.”

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Until next time, peace…

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Inner Archeology

Happy New Year!  For the new year I’ve decided to change the layout of the blog for a fresh viewing and reading experience.  The first post of 2014 will be the last post on Chapter 3, Man’s Archaic Heritage.  It also will serve as an introduction to Chapter 4. 

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Preston Harold ends Chapter 3 with a focus on humanity’s legends, those stories and myths that tell us in no simple terms who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.  In his work “The Evolution of Religion,” Samuel Miller says that in primordial myths “the experience of multitudes was strained, concentrated, and objectified in archaic figures and forms.”  Hold the pulp; just the juice, please!  Harold expounds on this thought:

Legends convey race memory, and because of their similarity they may be seen also as vehicles to convey man’s realizations of inner processes, both physical and psychic, for which no adequate words existed, so that these must be stated in poetic form…  The Genesis legend may be viewed as telling the story of man from the dawn of life, retelling it through each day.  It tells the story from every point of view and it is also a mound of truth enfolding the inner facts of life just as a “Tell” enfolds artifacts that reveal the lives of those who built and rebuilt upon the same spot.

In other words, the Biblical and other legends implore us to become inner archeologists, digging into the “mound of truth” within for the deep inner psychic and spiritual meanings to be discovered there. 

Next, in one of my favorite illustrations in the whole book, Harold compares the telling of the legend to the structure of the human brain…

In this study the chain of Biblical legends is examined because they embrace so many others.  Each of them must be viewed as a deeply and intricately furrowed unity enfolded into the smallest possible space: … “the surface of the hemispheres began to wrinkle at an early stage.  The human cortex covers the hemispheres in deep and narrow folds.  If the cortex were stretched smoothly over the hemispheres, a human brain would have to be the size of a beer-barrell.”  The “shape” of the legend follows the “shape” of the brain.

 

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I love it!

God IS, and yet is constantly BECOMING.  The clue to God’s, and therefore mankind’s, workings lies in the name of God.   Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh.  I Will Be What I Will Be, or, I Am Becoming What I Am Becoming. And Harold reminds us that in the view of “The Shining Stranger,” the Biblical legends…

…are not to be viewed as an absolute dictum handed to certain men from “God on high,” from an authority apart.  They are mankind’s own best efforts to state and transmit memories of happenings and realizations that widen the boundaries of human consciousness… Evolution speaks of “change” or “becoming” — the problem is, how to convey the passage from one state into another?  Legends enfold the story.

In other words, “mankind’s own best efforts” are undertaken by those inner archeologists, those who have gone deep within to find the beginnings of the heavens and the earth in their very own selves.  The legends are how these archeologists pass on the information.

Now, as we prepare to move on to Chapter 4, Preston Harold wants us to keep the words of Arthur Toynbee in mind:

“If the Universe is a mystery, and if the key to this mystery is hidden, are not myths an indispensable means for expressing as much as we can express of the ineffable?… myths are the instruments through which these farthest flights of the Human Spirit are achieved… A primordial element is perhaps to be found in every myth that makes its mark.  Yet the stuff of which myths are fashioned is mostly local and ephemeral.”

Until next time, peace.

Beginning to Break the Messianic Mold

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Continuing with Chapter 2, how does a human being become free?  How does one realize the divine order within him/herself?  What steps must be taken?

According to Harold, Jesus understood that as long as mankind looked for the advent of some one or a series of Messiahs to solve his problems, he could not realize his own potential.  So how was Jesus to destroy this idea of the Messiah that mankind longed after and hoped for?  Here is Harold’s view…

Jesus seized the opportunity to complete the Judaic Scriptures.  This was his mission – and in fulfilling it He also lead men toward a high moral ethic vested in love.  Why did he do it?  In completing the Scriptures, He could destroy the Messianic tradition… Jesus broke it.  This study concludes that He knew what He was doing, knew that He was breaking the Messianic mold, and that to break it through completing the Scriptures, thus freeing mankind from the curse of Messianic expectation and Messianic delusion, was His mission.

Among the prevailing Messianic concepts and even the Greek intellectualism of Jesus’ day, unfortunately nothing could destroy humankind’s innate compulsion to search beyond their own consciousness for saving grace…

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[Jesus] saw that because Messianic hope was universal, springing eternally in man’s heart, it must be a valid hope, but misdirected when man holds the concept that governing-truth or God’s Messiah is foreign to his own individual being.  Jesus discovered its residence in man, found the key to unlock His own unconscious, and said that man must seek this inner kingdom if he hopes to find God’s saving grace and the sufficiency in life he craves; He then made Himself a symbol of the Authority within it, the Christ of God in man. His own words support this concept…

…And it is these words we will look at in our next post. Until then, peace…

THE PROBLEM, THE OBJECTIVE, THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS – Part 3

It’s time for the last of our 3 foci, “the objective.”

To understand the objective of THE SHINING STRANGER, we will all have to become poets.  But what exactly is a poet?  Of all the definitions I’ve heard, I enjoy Dr. Cornel West’s the most:

The great (Percy) Shelly used to say that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ What did he mean by that?  He wasn’t talking about versifying.  To be a poet in the most profound sense is to have the courage to release your imagination and your empathy…

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True poetry is full of contradictions, paradox, mystery, conundrums, and riddles.  Many people say the Bible cannot be trusted because it contains many contradictions.  Others say “if the Bible says it, it must be so,” and can’t see any meaning beyond the plain sense of the text.  Both sides are barking up the wrong tree.  Harold says…

Dr. Henry A Murray writes that an “important fact not generally acknowledged is…the Bible is poetry, in its best parts, magnificent and edifying poetry….Some devout Christians overlook the fact that the stirring and sustaining power of the Book they live by depends on the wondrous emotive language, the vivid imagery and figures of speech, with which its wisdom is transmitted….If the New Testament…had been written by a modern social scientist in the jargon of his profession, it would have died at birth.”

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As does (George) Santayana, Dr. Murray sees that the playing down of the “crucial import of the Bible’s poetry,” hand in hand with the playing up of its historicity, is the greatest fallacy of Christianity, for thereby the scope of its traffic with and judgement of reality is severely limited.  Poetry does not obscure fact – it presents it in words that act as leaven in the mind to make room for it to house there.  Poetry is dazzling in its completely open and full use of words that have, as John Ciardi puts it: “…far more meanings than anyone thinks about in reading factual prose.  A word is not a meaning but a complex of meanings consisting of all its possibilities: its ability to identify something, the image it releases in making that identification, its sound, its history, its associations-in-context…” (emphases mine)

Plato equated poetry with creation: “All creation or passage of non-being into being is poetry or making.”  Poetry comes from the subconscious, and Harold sees in Jesus the universe’s Poet Laureate…

Jesus spoke poetically, but if His words are true they must be a correct, albeit poetical, description of reality.

Until a man has grasped the full implication of Jesus’ words, “the kingdom of God is within you,” he cannot begin to understand Him.  His every word is predicated upon this revelation.  It is the woking of the inner kingdom He reveals.  If the kingdom of heaven is within, there is no heavenly place of the abode for the “redeemed” to go – the realm of heaven is now an individual state of being, a potential mankind shall in time realize.  It is inward reality as opposed to the outward illusiveness of life (and of matter, which Jesus proclaimed long before the physicists discovered it).

Jesus saw life to be infinite, saw that man’s religions form one-to-one correspondences of truth, and that each man is a one-to-one correspondence with God, truth, life, and with each other man.

Jesus saw the Ten Commandments as classical psychic law.  He realized, however, that quantum psychic law underlies the classical law, and this secondary law governs the inner, real life of the individual – this is the law he enunciated.

In saying that the kingdom of God, an unknown realm, is within each person, Jesus proclaimed the existence of that psychic reality now called the unconscious – revealed its working and power.  He made of Himself a symbol of the Authority within this psychic realm: the vital Self-of-selves abstracted from consciousness for which man yearns – which is unto each his own, “the Lord, your God.”

Jesus strove to heal the breach in man’s thinking upon reality, strove to rejoin the divided physical and spiritual realms, saying, poetically, that the energy which gives life to man is, potentially, in a “stone.”  Identifying Himself and mankind with primordial energy, light, He dramatized and phrased in poetic terms the most important of the secondary laws of physics, enfolding His answer to the question of the universe in the sign positive (+)….whether by design or because he knew how to tap the fount of truth in His unconscious, He presented in drama, symbol, and poetry the underlying physical and psychic laws that are today being revealed.

From these observations Harold derives the objective of THE SHINING STRANGER:

The objective, then,  is not to present one or several new aspects, but rather a whole new concept of Jesus, for, as Albert Schweitzer points out, “What has been passing for Christianity during these nineteen centuries is merely a beginning, full of weaknesses and mistakes, not a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.”

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One here is reminded of GK Chesterton’s quote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Although THE SHINING STRANGER is a difficult work, we will not leave it untried.  I hope we are up to the challenge ahead of us.  Until next time, peace…