Dilemma of the Group-ego

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Preston Harlod explains:

…the more lost man’s consciousness becomes in the sands of humanity’s ego-groups and Group-egos, the more his Authority-Ego leads him to hate his life in this world and any concept of himself or another that makes him a group-component or appendix or product even of his own family – thus, he must renounce any tie that binds him to Group-ego before he can become One, himself, truth to his own being.

Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) Preston Harold again:

“Israel,” the consciousness outgrown from that which was born in Eden, carried on in the ark, is a multitude of selves to which the Authority-Ego comes as saving grace – and “Israel’s” salvation depends upon being freed of the bonds of Group-ego.

Image

In what ways does Group-ego hold us back from becoming fully human? Harold ruminates in depth:

…Group-ego is found in all nationalities and races, expressing itself most vehemently in those most anti-semitic. Group-ego was merely elaborated in Christianity, and was further elaborated in Nietzche’s concept of super-race, coming finally to rest in Karl Marx’s mass-ego ideal wherein man in classless society must sacrifice his individuality to the State, to the Super-ideology, rather than to the idea of the Chosen-race, super-religion, or super-race complex.

The Greeks and Romans suffered Group-ego. The Athenian was first a creature of the State, Athenian democracy his god, and the Roman followed in his footsteps. Therefore, both embraced ziggurat concepts, towers of Babel, the structure of their society replacing God. But in the first and “almost perfect democracy” there was no part “for women, foreigners or slaves…” Euripides, the poet, had condemned slavery, calling it “that thing of evil,” and “the Stoics denounced it.” But something other than slavery also worked to undermine Athenian civilization. The need of Athens was that each of her citizens take full responsibility; but in “the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security, a comfortable life, and they lost all – security and comfort and freedom.”

Group-ego and responsibility are incompatible. Group-ego leads to the expression of parasitic consciousness.

Image

I have no doubt that you, reader, will find many parallels with Athens in today’s United States. Ben Franklin once stated, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” History is on his side.

We are almost finished with Chapter 4!  Our next post will be the last of the chapter, exploring what helps to set us free from the constraints of Group-ego. Until then, peace…

Advertisements

The Rite of Circumcision

Even though St. Paul seized with the full force of himself the majesty of Jesus and carried Christianity forward with majesty while also willingly drinking of the cup that Jesus drank, he also carried error along with him into enlargement.  He…

wrestled mightily with the Fruedian god, sexual libido, as is evidenced in these words:  the ‘immoral man sins against his body… You are not your own, you were bought for a price; then glorify God with your body… It is indeed an excellent thing for a man to have no intercourse with a woman; but there is so much immorality, that every man had better have a wife of his own and every woman a husband of her own…   –and then he transfers the dread of castration from the physical to the psychological level, saying that through Christ a man is circumcised…

Image

Harold then takes the circumcision theme and expounds:

In the Christian world, the circumcision rite of Judaism continues, veiled as a medical practice, so that the male’s castration-fear phobia is not necessarily born of race memory… Jesus says, “Moses gave you the rite of circumcision – not that it came from Moses, it came from your ancestors,” which is to say, from primeval times, and then He adds, “Well, if a man gets circumcised upon the sabbath, to avoid breaking the law of Moses, are you enraged at me for curing and not cutting, the entire body of a man upon the sabbath?” –or as the King James version puts it, making “a man every whit whole…?”  Jesus thus spurned circumcision and implied that from a psychological point of view it cuts the entire body of the male.

Although I’m not so sure Jesus completely spurns circumcision here (He was circumcised Himself, although he does contrast it with his healing), I do think there is something to the thought that it has an effect on the entirety of the male psychological makeup.  In his masterful “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares gives us his understanding of the circumcision rite.  I quote him at length:

Circumcision at 8 days is generally considered a hygienic measure, though actually something far more important is involved: the transformation of the human body.  The rationale is the need to sever manhood (as typified by Adam) from the purely animal heritage through a process of sublimation and transformation.

This shock is deeply felt by the individual.  Undergone 8 days after birth, as it is among the Jews, its effects are so decisive within the structure of the unconscious and the vital centres (chakras)* that it is justifiable to find in circumcision a factor of the exceptional history of the Jews.  We may well suppose that those who instituted this practice did so with a specific goal in view.  Circumcision intensifies the development of the sensorial apparatus through an effective co-ordination of sensory activity; it awakens the intellectual faculties; the sexual energy is utilized by the body prior to the awakening of sex.

The result is a freer self which transforms and assimilates the elements of its environment according to the needs of its own individual development.  At the same time this self is carried along by the inner movement which engenders that faculty of assimilation.  The individual is in perfect harmony with the rapid changes of the world.

These remarks may give insight into the manner in which the vital and contradictory movement set up in the human process by the circumcision is considered, in mythical terms, as a “pact” with Elohim (which is this process).  This pact causes the movement of the universe to penetrate into the very flesh of the body, and into the mind as well.  In fact, it has “conquered the flesh” by obliging to transmute, to transfigure, itself.

This is a theme already familiar to us; the transmutation of what is fixed and static (in this case, the flesh, the blood, the “dam” of Adam), so that it can eventually allow the life of Aleph (the unthinkable life-death, abstract principle of all that is and all that is not) to be resuscitated.

* my parenthesis

Image

Thought provoking indeed.  Until next time, peace…

You Will be Hated by All…

Sigmund Freud has an interesting theory on the reason for anti-Semitism.  Preston Harold mentions that Freud pointed out that Christianity became a cultural regression, a step away from strict monotheism.  In Christianity’s formulation of God as Trinity (1 God in three persons), and in it’s overtaking of many pagan sacred sites and traditions, including substituting devotion to Mary for the goddess traditions, Christianity was able to make great progress in expanding and mark a distinct progress in the history of religion.  Over the centuries, this has worked itself out in a particularly interesting way.  Harold explains…

Freud recognizes the jealousy the Jews evoked in maintaining that they were the first-born, chosen people of God, and takes into account the rite of circumcision that reminds humanity of the dreaded castration idea, but points out there is a more recent motive for anti-Semitism:

“We must not forget that all the peoples who now excel in the practice of anti-Semitism became Christians only in relatively recent Imagetimes….under the thin veneer of Christianity they have remained what their ancestors were, barbarically polytheistic.  They have not yet overcome their grudge against the new religion which was forced on them, and they have projected it onto the source….The facts that the Gospels tell a story which is enacted among Jews, and in truth treats only of Jews, has facilitated such a projection.  The hatred for Judaism is at bottom hatred for Christianity….”

Freud appears to have put his finger on the neurosis of the Western world: it stems from an ambivalent acceptance of, if not outright hatred for, Pauline doctrine.

Image

So according to Freud, anti-Semitism comes by way of Christianity (with it’s Jewish heart and soul) via Paul’s doctrine and the usurpation of local culture and traditions by the Roman empire via the Roman Catholic Church.  In other words, an anti-Semite would contend (if they were aware of their unconscious process [chuckle]), “You Christians forced your religion upon me, you Christians worship Jesus, Jesus was a Jew, so I don’t like anyone Jewish!”  It’s an interesting theory, but not one that totally convinces me.  It does make sense from a Freudian perspective, though.

So what do we do with the reality of anti-Semitism, not to mention the reality of all types of prejudice?  As always, Harold leads us to Jesus:

As one appraises Freud’s thesis and his diagnosis that anti-Semitism is at bottom hatred for Christianity, he must consider that there is a law of history which says: Imageerror must grow until it reaches its outermost limits.  Jesus revealed His understanding of this law by saying that the good seed and tares must grow together unto the harvest, and by speaking of the enlargement of conflict that must precede comprehension of the Christ in man (Matt 13:30, 24:6-7).  He knew that before the Judaic Messianic mold and any like unto it could be obliterated all men would come to hate the Jew and to hate Him, His name, Son of man, and all it implies:

You will be hated by all on account of my name…. (Luke 21:17)

Image

Until next time, peace…

Along Comes Paul

For Paul’s gospel to be effective, he had to tap into man’s primeval and archaic heritage.  Freud says that Paul’s success

“was certainly mainly due to the fact that through the idea of salvation he laid the ghost of Imagethe feeling of guilt.  It was also due to his giving up the idea of the chosen people and its visible sign – circumcision.  That is how the new religion could become all embracing, universal.”  Thus, he concludes that Paul effected a “continuation of primeval history,” and that both Christianity and Judaism stem from “the religion of the primeval father, and the hope of reward, distinction, and finally world sovereignty is bound up with it.

Freud also says that Paul shifted the focus from the father to the son, seizing upon the feeling of guilt for father murder and tracing it to its primeval source:

This he (Paul) called original sin; it was a crime against God that could be expiated only through death… A son of God, innocent himself, had sacrificed himself, and had thereby taken over the guilt of the world… The Mosaic religion had been a Father religion; Christianity became a Son religion.  The old God, the Father, took second place; Christ, the Son, stood in his stead, just as in those dark times every son had longed to do.  Paul, by developing the Jewish religion further, became its destroyer.

Image

Of course it was St. Augustine, not Paul, who developed the idea of “original sin.”  But Freud’s insights remain relevant.  We will explore his interesting insights into the reason for anti-Semitism in our next post.  Until then, peace…

Man’s Archaic Heritage

Image

We are now on to Chapter 3, titled “Man’s Archaic Heritage.”  Beginning with this chapter and continuing through chapter 5, Preston Harold takes us back to the ‘”beginning” in exploring the origins of humanity, how we come to be where we are today, and the role of Jesus’ message as applied to our genesis, for He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

ImageIn 1859 it was Charles Darwin who lead much of mankind to recognize it’s “origin” in the animal kingdom and thereby strike a major challenge and blow to orthodox Christian theology.  Twenty five years later Sigmund Freud began to publish his works, which also turned humanity to view it’s savage past:

…there probably exists in the mental life of the individual  not only what he has experienced himself, but also what he brought with him at birth, fragments of a phylogenetic origin, an archaic heritage…though different in extent and character [it] corresponds to the instincts of animals.

This theory also dealt a major blow to Christianity for Freud expounded on it to say that all religions are delusions containing a piece of forgotten, but historical, truth and thus imbued with psychotic symptoms.  Most religious origins revolve around themes of murder, patricide, infanticide, castration and cannibalism.  This takes us into the realm of myth and the hero’s journey which we briefly looked at earlier here.  In his “Moses and Monotheism,” Freud reconstructs the average myth:

The hero is the son of parents of the highest station, most often the son of a king.  His conception is impeded by difficulties… During his mother’s pregnancy or earlier an oracle or a dream warns the father of the child’s birth as containing grave danger for his safety.  In Imageconsequence the father (or a person representing him) gives orders for the new-born babe to be killed or exposed to extreme danger; in most cases the babe is placed in a casket and delivered to the waves.  The child is then saved by animals or poor people, such as shepherds, and suckled by a female animal or woman of humble birth.  When full grown he rediscovers his noble parents after many strange adventures, wreaks vengeance on his father, and, recognized by his people, attains fame and greatness.

The actual historical background for this mythic structure is where the “psychotic symptoms” come into play:

The story is told in a very condensed way, as if what in reality took centuries to achieve, and during that long time was repeated innumerably, had happened only once.  The strong male was the master and father of the whole horde, unlimited in his power, which he used brutally.  All females were his property… The fate of the sons was a hard one; if they excited the father’s jealousy they were killed or castrated or driven out….the brothers who had been driven out and lived together in community clubbed together, overcame the father, and – according to the custom of those times – all partook of his body.  This cannibalism need not shock us, it survived into far later times.  The essential point is, however, that we attribute to those primeval people the same feelings and emotions that we have elucidated in the primitives of our own times, our children, by psycho-analytic research….they not merely hated and feared their father, but also honored him as an example to follow; in fact, each son wanted to place himself in his father’s position.  The cannibalistic act thus becomes comprehensible as an attempt to assure one’s identification with the father by incorporating a part of him.

Image

 

“My father will come home and see what I did… He’ll have to deal with me. I’m just tired of being afraid.”

If this is indeed how the religions of man began, it certainly seems to paint a bleak picture.  There is no revelation from any type of God on high, no striving to become a better human being, no selfless giving involved.  Where is the hope, the faith, the love?  There is only striving for dominance and power.  To be at the top of the food chain is the ultimate goal.  How can this goal be transformed into something better for all of humanity?  This is what we will continue to explore, and in our next post will we begin to look at the role the Apostle Paul plays in his interpretation of the message of Jesus to affect this transformation.  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…

Image

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.”

Image

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.”

Image   Image

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…

Jesus’ Messianic Mission

prayer-for-messiah2

“Prayer for Messiah” by Ghenadie Sontu.

As promised, we now come to the point of exploring the main themes of Harold’s interpretation of Jesus’ mission.  In Gerald Heard’s introduction, he wastes no time in getting to the point…

THE SHINING STRANGER is based upon a revolutionary and, insofar as I am aware, unprecedented interpretation of Jesus’ Messianic mission which Harold develops as the discourse progresses, drawing upon Jesus’ own words and actions to support his thesis.  This interpretation involves the following points:

1. Jesus recognized the Messianic hope to be valid and universal, but misdirected when man looked beyond his individual being to find the Christ (Logos, God-Son) which Jesus saw to be incarnate in every person, revealed through humankind’s unique power of speech and expression of the Word, God, One, I.

2. Jesus realized that until the ancient Messianic doctrines were superseded by a valid, ethical concept of the Christ, of God, and of man, the individual and society would suffer the ravages of Messianic pretension, as well as the curse of Messianic delusion which Jesus suffered but from which he recovered before beginning his ministry, recognizing himself to be no more, no less, than any other human being.

3. Jesus was convinced that until man ceased to look for a Messiah to come and solve all problems, the development of human consciousness would be arrested because man would not seek his “inner kingdom” to find the Christ of himself, the Authority that governs his life and inevitably leads him to become responsible to and for himself as well as a responsible member of society in which truth alone actually governs and reigns, in time destroying whatever is false, spurious, and incompatible with man’s true nature and need.

4. Therefore, Jesus’ purpose was to complete and destroy the Judaic Messianic tradition together with any Messianic concept akin to it through a withering of this idea as the Messianic idea he espoused, the idea of the Christ in everyone, took root and flowered to overshadow prevailing Messianic expectation. He knew exactly what he was doing and was in no sense victimized.

5. Jesus’ mission was to destroy Messianic tradition creatively by making “Israel” and its history a symbol of human personality or consciousness, while making himself a symbol of the Christ in every person which insures his eternal life and the evolution of his consciousness through dealing with his own forces of good and evil which Jesus saw to be equally essential to life and satisfaction in it, but he saw also that each force was in process of regeneration; Jesus made himself a symbol of the Logos in humankind to establish the pattern of the operation of the Christ in Homo sapiens’ evolution from child to man free of destructive impulses by virtue of being fully conscious and completely empathetic, with dominion over himself, his flesh, and his life.

6. The Bible, one body of words encompassing the limits of human consciousness, truth bearer that can dwell always with men and which Jesus knew must be brought into being as a result of his works and his command to his disciples, is itself historical Judaic Messiah.

Pretty provocative stuff, no?  Hopefully some of these ideas are new to you, or if you are familiar with them the approach to them will be new.  Both of these are true of me when I first encountered this work, and I was certainly intrigued enough to delve into the book and explore further.  At this point I must confess that one of the main reasons for this blog is for me to “journal” my own thoughts as I read through the book, and to use the book as a launching pad for journaling thoughts and observations from other momentous works I have read in the past.  I would certainly appreciate any and all comments, and feedback from you, the reader, as there are many ways of understanding, as the Logos expresses itself individually and creatively through each human being.

OK, we’re almost ready to start Chapter 1.  But before we do, my next post will deal with the ground rules Harold sets if we want to take this journey with him.  We’ll examine his view of the historicity of the Gospels, and the importance thereof.  Until then, peace…