Space and Time: Looking Deeper

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Does time exist within space or does space exist within time? Plato identified time with the period of motion of the heavenly bodies, and space as that in which things come to be. Aristotle defined time as the number of changes with respect to before and after, and the place of an object in space as the innermost motionless boundary of that which surrounds it. The Incas regarded space and time as a single concept and named it pacha. Preston Harold defines time as “heavens knows what” and describes it as veiling the eternal ‘now’ of the I AM.

Time may also allow for the expansion of the universe up to a point or “turning” which evokes a contraction, and this contraction is experienced in the now. The now, being “Absolutely Everywhere,” cannot be grasped by consciousness so that the turning point is hidden in time.

As for space, Harold explains:

Not what is in it, but space itself is the great mystery, as great a mystery as time. Eddington’s drawing shows twelve segments converging in the sphere of “here now” – or “I.” Thus, twelve “thrones” govern man in space-time, but there is room for many more segments, more “mansions” – and there must be many more space properties than man knows of today and some, like “Absolutely Elsewhere,” beyond that which consciousness can penetrate.

As for that in space which consciousness can observe, Jesus says, “Heaven and Earth will pass away…” As to how this passing will happen and when, man can know from Him only that the reign of God, the working of the law, is begun, that the Father knoweth the hour, that this passing away will not come as men expected it then. Today, as men observe the process of evolution, change, and decay that passes away the arrangement of celestial bodies and the matter which sustains life, they are committed to another concept of the end of things – but in saying that heaven and earth will pass away, Jesus also said that the creative force, the word, weak a force as it may seem, will not pass away. Thus, His cosmogony comes to rest upon the concept of constant creation or renewal, upon the precept that all things are made anew. His words allow for “becoming” within the universe, but not of the universe which now sustains life in many mansions, and is now operating under perfect and infallible law, in accord with one which is, mathematically speaking, self-sustaining.

Until next time, peace.

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Eternal Gain

“So if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed!” – John 8:36

Jesus came to set humanity free. How is that possible? Harold elaborates for us:

Jesus saw that man is not chained to the sin of the past or present, prone or doomed to repeat his sins because he is bound to the wheel of rebirth; He saw that what a man has gained in knowing, in knowledge of good and evil, he has gained for eternity. In the words of the Psalmist, the Lord “will not suffer thy foot to be moved…” and he “shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121:8) This is to say, Jesus saw that man is committed to life everlasting and thus he cannot escape it. But He saw, too, that life is becoming an ever more conscious state of being and that in time the swinging of the pendulum between life and death will move as evenly as breathing, with no loss of consciousness or sense of dying attendant upon it, that death and rebirth will be accomplished with the ease of laying down and picking up one’s life again in sleep and waking.

This brings us back to our friend Valentin Tomberg, and his assessment of forgetting, sleep, and death and their antitheses, remembering, waking, and life. While Plato is the one who taught us remembrance and Guatama Buddha is the one who showed us how to permanently awaken, it is Jesus who unveils to us the way death is overcome. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Mr. Tomberg! And what is this way of Jesus?

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THANKS, GUYS!

Jesus says God is love. In the unconscious, the kingdom of God within, love enfolds both the tried and the true, the untried and the untrue, enfolds ALL that man is and ALL that life is. “Ye” of the conscious domain express the unattenuated lusts of prime evil which leads men to abuse themselves even as they abuse their brothers. In effect, Jesus says to the men confronting Him that only love can draw one man to another and give understanding, each of the other, and that love is not parent of the consciousness they are expressing. Evil fathers it. But His words – ‘your father, the devil” – indicate that man’s quota of evil is part of his very-being…

And when that quota has been spent, death shall be no more. Until next time, peace…

The Education of Jesus

We now move into Chapter 2, titled “The Messianic Mission of Jesus.”  The chapter begins with an exploration of the cultural and world context from which Jesus’ thought and ethic grew…

Schweitzer says, “The ideal would be that Jesus should have preached religious truth in a form independent of any connection with any particular period and such that it could be taken over simply and easily by each succeeding generation of man. That, however, He did not do, and there is no doubt a reason for it.”

A look at the world in the time of Jesus may reveal the reason, for more assuredly  He did not ignore its thought patterns.  The question is – how much of the world and of its prevailing beliefs did he know?

One must pause here to consider the multi-cultural influences that permeated the Middle East at the time of Jesus.  The trade route of the Silk Road was the conduit for ideas in all realms of human experience, and the Middle East sat right at it’s crossroads.

Image From the Asia Society’s website: “The religious beliefs of people along the Silk Road at the beginning of the 1st century BCE were very different from what they would later become. The peoples of the Silk Road in its early decades followed many different religions. In the Middle East, many people worshiped the gods and goddesses of the Greco-Roman pagan pantheon. Others were followers of the old religion of Egypt, especially the cult of Isis and Osiris. Jewish merchants and other settlers had spread beyond the borders of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judea and had established their own places of worship in towns and cities throughout the region. Elsewherein the Middle East, and especially in Persia and Central Asia, many people were adherents of Zoroastrianism, a religion founded by the Persian sage Zoroaster in the 6th century BCE. It posited a struggle between good and evil, light and darkness; its use of fire as the symbol of the purifying power of good was probably borrowed from the Brahmanic religion of ancient India. The Greek colonies of Central Asia that had been left behind after the collapse of the empire of Alexander the Great had, by the 1st century BCE, largely converted from Greco-Roman paganism to Buddhism, a religion that would soon use the Silk Road to spread far and wide. In India, on side routes of the Silk Road that crossed the passes to the Indus Valley and beyond, the older religion of Brahmanism had given way to Hinduism and Buddhism; the former never spread far beyond India and Southeast Asia, while the latter eventually became worldwide in extent.”

Preston Harold sees the possibilities here:

In truth there is no way to define the type and limits of Jesus’ education.  After the report of his visit to the temple at twelve years of age, with His parents, it is said, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them…”  Here the record breaks off and takes up again with the ministry of John the Baptist.  Within the years lost to the record, Jesus coud have traveled to the ends of civilization and back; studying along the way – or in neighboring cities He coud have studied the cultures and philosophies of East and West.  In the Gospels there is a statement that could be interpreted as an indication that Jesus was away for Imagemany years: when he goes to His native place to teach and heal, people do not seem to know for sure who He is – which is to say, they ask, “Is this not the son of the joiner?”  Strange question to ask, even to express incredulity, had Jesus lived there since childhood and been away but a short time.  Because the townspeople know His family so well, they are offended at His brilliance even though they are astounded at His teaching.

He goes on to say:

There is a similarity, however, between (Jesus’) words and those of other philosophers.  Renan attributes this to “secret channels and…that kind of sympathy which exists among the various portions of humanity…conformable to the instincts and wants of the heart in a given age.”  Is this indicated, considering all that surrounded Jesus and His inquisitive, discerning mind?… In many ways His approach resembles that of Socrates, who, as Robert de Ropp describes him, followed the bidding of his “inner voice” endeavoring at all times “to lead men to truth by Imagequestioning.  And the truth he valued most highly related not to externals but to the laws that govern man’s inner being.”  In discussing ancient Greece, Edith Hamilton points to Plato’s philosophy: “Freedom is no matter of laws and constitutions; only he is free who realizes the divine order within himself, the true standard by which a man can steer and measure himself.” (emphasis mine)

And here we have the impetus to jump into how Jesus saw his Messianic role, which we will explore more in depth beginning with the 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…