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The Great Unknown by Tristan A. Shaw

by Tristan A. Shaw
Writer, Dandelion Salad
British Columbia, Canada
December 12, 2013

Hope

Image by Dave’s place In-de-light via Flickr

Peering forward to the unknown abyss of modernity’s great unraveling — the instability of industrial civilization and its 7 billion inhabitants — invokes feelings of anguish. So apparent is the trajectory of global civilization, so obvious and clear, that we need not invest more energy outlining our inexorable demise. The time has come for all you compassionate observers to honestly confront the darkness of which so much is written. So, I say, waste no more intellect critiquing the benighted ultra-rich who we hear so much about, those contemptible faces of capitalism, and commit your efforts to the ultimate task at hand: your moral responsibility in the age of profound insanity.

Virtue: the Lost Discourse

The value imparted to us by those wise ancient thinkers, from the fragments of Parmenides and Empedicles to the mysteries of Pythagoras and later Socrates to the Eastern philosophy of Buddhism, can be functionally oversimplified the following way.

Human beings are endowed with the innate capacity of altruism. We are mortal beings moving through the vast cosmos of cyclical nature, furnished with a capacity to discern, by employing the faculty of reason, the difference between right and wrong. Those who commit their actions to the good we call virtuous.

The nature of virtue, although difficult to describe holistically, can be understood by examining its separate components, namely (in Greek literature), wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance. These are the qualities that make a man or women virtuous, and only the free will intrinsic to consciousness (or soul or spirit) has the power to ascertain the righteous course of action.

Endowed with virtue and decorated with knowledge, the sacred responsibility of human agency rests in the hands of its masters: yourselves. The whole world around you is mad indeed, and the social system into which you were unwillingly introduced stimulates compulsive consumption and narcissism; but this bears no impact on moral autonomy.

This, we can safely deduce, was the value of Western philosophy and Eastern spirituality. We are masters of our own destiny, dancing within a divine order; and this compels one to consider moral responsibility, no matter how chaotic our surroundings may be.

“Liberal” Hypocrisy

The relevance of this is staggering. So much we hear about the exploits of capitalism and the folly of governments. Volumes of books and endless streams of articles pour into our awareness daily. It can be rather overwhelming. But what good is it, really?

It becomes too much to bear. And we become jaded by the influx of perpetually negative media. This does not arouse the soul within; instead of fueling the spirit with a sentient potency that transforms weathered bodies and fogged minds, that invigorates the intellect with pure knowledge and existential relevance, we digress, become depressed, and lose that most valuable constituent of spirituality: hope.

Vaclav Havel wrote:

“Hope is a dimension of the spirit. It is not outside us but within us. ….The more I think about it, the more I incline to the opinion that the most important thing of all is not to lose hope and faith in life itself. This doesn’t mean closing one’s eyes to the horrors of the world–quite the contrary, in fact.”

I hold tremendous respect for the analytics of contemporary liberalism — Sheldon Wolin’s concept of inverted totalitarianism, Noam Chomsky’s critique of empire, Norman Finkelstein’s rigorous dissection of Israeli state crimes, and so on. And I say this with extreme caution and will choose my words with care: what in all seriousness can we — the small categorical minority of committed activist and hyper-aware intellectuals — gain from more intricate criticisms of elite ideological proclivities? The world has run amok, this much is clear. But where do we, as morally autonomous beings, assimilate into their analyses? Do we simply just keep attending those anomalous protests and, in doings so, contend to embody the solution as the “99 percent”?

Krishnamurti, the great spiritual philosopher of the 20th century, lays it out clearly:

“Most of us want to see a radical transformation in the social structure. And if there is a social revolution, that is in action with regard to the outer structure of man, however radical that social revolution may be its very nature is static if there is no inward revolution of the individual, no psychological transformation. Therefore to bring about a society that is not repetitive, nor static, not disintegrating, a society that is constantly alive, it is imperative that there should be a revolution in the psychological structure of the individual, for without inward, psychological revolution, mere transformation of the outer has very little significance.”

Chris Hedges, whose writing I admire deeply, warns us about the sad state of climate destabilization, yet eats factory farmed meat, the second largest climate culprit which pollutes more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined. He admits his indefensible involvement within this charade we call capitalism, but where is he challenged for such unambiguous hypocrisy? The radical revolution about which he so elegantly writes, even if it was carried out overnight, would be rendered futile if we all behave like Mr. Hedges.

Noam Chomsky is quoted as much as the Bible, apparently, and is heard all over the world and is highly respected. And I say this with careful reverence: where can be found the wisdom of personal virtue that the world desperately needs to consider? The solution so easily described by our Greek ancestors, or most other serious moral philosophy, is skewed and blurred when collective responsibility is temporally placed on the super rich, as if our participation bears no impact.

We have been robbed of all effective tools of intellectual inquiry — blinded by the powers of institutional authority. Chomsky, dodging a question concerning conspiracy and class power, establishes what he thinks is the only way to establish a serious hypothesis:

“What you do is write articles for scientific journals, give talks at professional societies, go to the engineering department at MIT, or wherever you are, and present your results. And then proceed to try to convince the national academies, the professional society of physicists and civil engineers, the departments in the major universities, and try to convince them you’ve discovered something.”

The only effective route to uncovering the politically controversial is through submission to the highest echelons of our corrupt and broken system? The very system that is polluting our minds with nonsense? This seems to me a proliferation of the very ignorance we are supposed to be fighting.

Fragmented Psyches

Mad folly and super-inflated egos: confusion haunts our collective discourse. We no longer grapple with the concept of death and eternity: atemporal contemplation and philosophical curiosity. Institutional hubris has infected every element of existence like a pathogen, drowning out, with the roaring noise of industry, the wise and virtuous.

To openly question those who are deemed our brightest and sharpest thinkers leads only to more conflict and thus more social malaise. Universities fill the vessels of youth with mind numbing information, the kind that suppresses inquisitiveness and spiritual growth; media outlets seem to be a kind of sick joke, impersonating reality with blind contempt; protests are violently repressed; government is buying up billions of rounds of ammunition; chainlink camps are being created in preparation for social instability; Fukushima continues to enlarge its isotopic bloom that is progressing towards North America; nature’s unleashed cataclysmic energy eviscerates human infrastructure with ease; and population growth refuses to mitigate its multiplicity.

This much, again, is abundantly clear. But what is your involvement within this dark carnival of death? What is within your power to revolutionize reality and ensure a future of serene perfection? For this we must invoke the powerful phantom of Parmenides.

Universal Truth

Lenny Bruce said:

“Let me tell you the truth. The truth is what is. And what should be is a terrible, terrible lie that they gave the people long ago.”

Planet Earth has endured many great extinctions. In hindsight, the evolution of this planet to bring about the organic complexity of human intelligence couldn’t have been any other way. Nature seems, to the spiritual observers and to the ancients, to contain a universal intelligence.

Western science is just now beginning this exigent examination of the nature of universe. The results have yielded frustration among materialists, who would prefer a simple step by step formula for uncovering the fundamental problems of consciousness. The sophistication of our technological ingenuity begets only more unanswered questions, like how many dimensions of reality truly exist. We procure grand interpretations of quantum mechanics and puzzle at the violation of all material laws of antiquity; multiverse theory, string theory, quantum neural consciousness, quantum field theory, entanglement, and so on. But these theoretical structures represent a mirage; nature’s disillusionment of thought-bearing assumptions.

Thus, the ultimate manifestation of what is can be described by Empidelcles, who wrote about this necessary disenchantment of mortal reality: Nothing ceases to be, nor is created to be. The universal evolution of nature consists of an eternal mixing and unmixing, bound up in the perpetual conflict of yin and yang, or, in his words, “Love and Hate.”

This rather simple yet far reaching observation — of the ebb and flow of nature’s perfection — gave rise to the philosophy of truth that fueled the Socratic dialectic of reasonable moral judgement, was later degraded and spiritually amputated by Plato, and just trickled down to the instrumental rationality of Aristotle. Such philosophy to the ancients, from our Western ancestors to Shamanism to Eastern Mysticism, was held with supreme importance to the understanding of “I” and “ALL” and to the perceptible reality they inhabit.

Parmenides is heeded, even today, as the most important pre-Socratic philosopher of the ancient world. He is probably the most misinterpreted philosopher to have occupied the minds of contemporary thinkers, and his fragments have barely made it down to us today.

To initiate the reader to the comprehensible nature of truth and intelligibility, he states:

“Listen and I will instruct thee — and thou, when thou hearest, shalt ponder –
What are the sole two paths of research that are open to thinking.
One path is: That being doth be, and Non-Being is not.
This is the way of conviction, for Truth follows hard in her footsteps.
The other path is: That Being is not, and Not-Being must be;
This one, I tell thee in truth, is an all incredible pathway,
For thou canst never know what is not (for non can conceive it),
Nor canst thou give it expression, for one thing are thinking and being.”

He continues:

“….That Being doth be — and on it there are tokens,
many and many to show that what is is birthless and deathless,
Whole and only-begotten, and moveless and ever-enduring:
Never it was or shall be; but the ALL simultaneously now is,
One contiguous one.”

He opens the reader’s mind to the concept of eternity and universal oneness. It is an explanation, in words, of meditation (an art he was said to have mastered), and can shed light onto the nature of our current human predicament, if one puts his or her mind to it.

We see the same articulation in the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”:

“All phenomena are naturally uncreated, they neither abide nor cease, neither come nor go.
They are without objective referent, signless, ineffable, and free from thought.
The time has come for the truth to be realised!”

All this, to the untethered soul, seems perplexing. But it is, at its roots, a primordial feeling we all carry within. Once recognized, this intransigent state produces a sense of love and compassion — a weight lifted off the shoulders of mortal confusion, a genuine liberation of consciousness.

The ancients elucidated life as the supreme manifestation of beauty. At times life can appear, to our physical perceptions, ugly, depressing, and vacuous. But this, according to the ancients, is merely that same illusion disseminating itself through the conditioning forces of Hate. “Nothing must needs not be; these things I enjoin thee to ponder. Foremost of all, withdraw thy mind from this path of inquiry.” wrote Parmenides. Everything that is, which always is, is “perfect” and that is why industrial civilization is bearing towards collapse — because it has to. And it couldn’t be, from beginningless time until now, any other way. The word “cosmos” in Greek literally means “well-ordered.” It is the juxtaposition of chaos.

And as Socrates so clearly articulates in the Apology, words that do not easily assimilate into the ontological machinery of Western existence, but should be deeply considered as we barrel forward to the great unknown:

“The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death. …You too, gentleman of the jury, must look forward to death with confidence, and fix your minds on this one belief, which is certain: that nothing can harm a good man either in life or after death, and his fortunes are not a matter of indifference to the gods. …For my own part I bear no grudge at all against those who condemned me and accused me, although it was not with this kind intention that they did so, but because they thought that they were hurting me; and that is culpable of them. However, I ask them to grant me one favor. When my two sons grow up, gentlemen, if you think that they are putting money or anything else before goodness, take your revenge by plaguing them as I plagued you; and if they fancy themselves for no reason, you must scold them just as I scolded you for neglecting the important things and thinking that they are good for something when they are good for nothing.”

The suffering born of darkness, through which the human species is now propelled, will open up the grand doors of Justice, restoring a resonant harmony that corrects the old and fortifies the new, that paves alternative possibilities for social and spiritual liberty and that shatters the amoral nature of systemic structures like capitalism. And once the smoke is settled and fate unfolded, a new consciousness will have arisen. A consciousness that sees the ALL as “I” and the “I” as ALL. A consciousness that does not condemn the past (for condemnation is the enemy of understanding), but understands it.

So, I say, with all this in mind, that the posterity of activism will be the following: to unite the intellect with the sentient power of spiritual integrity, to be unambiguous about our own behavior and culpability, and to refine our fragmented minds to capitulate to the great mysteries of existence, the great curiosities of life. In doings so, desire dwindles and humility reigns; the impulse to stimulate the mortal senses retreats in isolation as the grand intelligibility of nature, what Parmenides calls the tokens of life, thrusts one’s fate up the ladder of virtue and righteousness toward the humble abode of moral purification. The cultivation of widespread artistic creation unseen since the renaissance will emerge. I trust that you too will walk there with me.


Tristan A. Shaw is a young writer residing off the West coast of Canada. He invites constructive communication at tristanshw@gmail.com.

see

The End of an Age by Tristan A. Shaw

The Seeds of Hope by Tristan A. Shaw

Chris Hedges: The Country is Decaying at an Alarming Rate

Noam Chomsky: What is Anarchism? + Q&A

Exclusive: Optimism is the Enemy of Hope by Rocket Kirchner

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53 Responses

  1. Tristan,
    Thank you for taking readers on a journey into the world of spirit, wisdom, and possibility. You have earned great credit for courageously expressing your truth without pretense, touching on ideas that are essential for humanity’s creation of a better world for this and future generations.
    Great article.
    Jerry

    • Jerry , agreed 100 per cent . what i like about Tristan is that he is well read and articulates his views in a civilized manner , and that he responds to comments . he also has guts to come on to this blog and talk about spiritual matters. for the most part people that think that politics is THE answer despise spiritual things and see it as rivalry and attack the messenger for just bringing it up at all .

      • Yes! I have undergone enough of that, for sure. And I appreciate your kind words. These spiritual matters are hidden, usually, beneath a veil of political “practicality,” a venal justification indeed.

    • Jerry:

      Thank you so much. This is very enjoyable for me, since the nature of this discourse usually is esoteric, as many have pointed out. We are also in the process of establishing an institute whose aim is an intense intellectual meditation on such issues of pertinence … on Gabriola Island.

      Tristan

  2. The tokens of life, yes.

    Of course, in a world where the worship of commerce is an obligatory article of faith, we are not permitted the luxury of time-enough to notice, let alone ascribe significance to such fleeting angelic gestures.

    I take issue with the assertion that altruism is an assumed prerequisite of virtue.

    In my opinion nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I would go further and state that it is the calculated deployment of such a notion by organised syndicates of moralists, that enslaves mankind to the mercenary hierarchies of dominance.

    I would therefore robustly dispute the notion that art can manifest its full integrity in a consciousness-space determined by dogmatic altruism.

    Genius, as William James knew right well must be unfettered and boundless. Vision cannot illuminate the mind when refracted or hobbled by logic-chopping. Intellect is a vital tool, a rational instrument of transcendent understanding.

    Cognitive symbolic experience relishes the mature coherence of higher insight. Evolutionary development is not yet a complete science, any more than psychoanalysis, as Popper insisted, can claim to be anything but pseudo-science.

    I’m sorry to hear about Chris Hedges’ alleged predilection for “CAFO’s.” I dare say if that is reliable fact, this would change his mind

    http://inhabitat.com/mishak-henners-apocalyptic-photos-show-how-factory-farming-is-destroying-the-american-landscape/

    • My reply to you will require time, since it is serious. Give me a day or two.

    • David , i agree with you . Bono said at a prayer breakfast here in the States that ”eliminating poverty is not about charity but justice ” . of course we must be careful to not go to the other extreme of Ayn Rand’s notion that altruism is evil .

      as far as art is concerned in all of this , art owes nothing to anyone . that is the way we are wired …that part of our brain that gives and receives art. . real art is the exact opposite of anything dogmatic . not that i am against dogma ,. it just comes from different places in us .

      some of the greatest art ever just has nothing to do with anything as far as altruism or justice or social justice or whatever . it just is . thank God that it is !

      • Goya, still speaks to us, in a language all can comprehend.

        • Indeed.

          Of course, this raises the thorny issue of ownership, access and patronage.

          Consider Picasso’s “Guernica” for example….

          “A tapestry copy of Picasso’s Guernica was displayed on the wall of the United Nations Building in New York City at the entrance to the Security Council room from 1985 to 2009. It was commissioned in 1955 by Nelson Rockefeller, since Picasso refused to sell him the original……The tapestry was placed on loan to the United Nations by the Rockefeller estate in 1985……On 5 February 2003 a large blue curtain was placed to cover this work at the UN, so that it would not be visible in the background when Colin Powell and John Negroponte gave press conferences at the United Nations……”

          • David , see ”F for Fake ” by Orson Welles . it deals with this . ..intellectual property and deception . ..and brings Picasso into it big time .

            • Great film, watched it ages ago, it’s hooked me again…thanks Rocket…dare say you’ll be on my case about his holiness and the demon capitalism!

            • As with so many specialists such as Picasso, and Guernica, although depicting modernism, and the anguish of war, He was still a bastard to women, and a egotistical prat.
              As many artists are.

        • Don , agreed . but Bosch is more terrifying in my view .

          • Goya, commented on social injustice, as reality that exists, in terms of atrocities that happened to real people, Bosch, commented on a sort of surreal imagery or dream time, the surrealists obviously owe a lot to him, the point I am making is, when you are facing a firing squad, knowing death is imminent, is different to awakening from a dream, what would you prefer?

            • don , i would prefer Bosch because in his ”Garden of Delights ” , he shows that the hellish right side of the triptik is actually what is really going on behind the scenes in the garden of delight on the left side of the triptik . Desire causes suffering –Buddhism 101 in a Christian artistic context. this truth is comforting to me because i know that it is spiritually curable .

              i wrote an article on this on this blog called ”The concept of hell in the work of H. Bosch ”.

              i love Goya , but i contend that he was not the first modern artist . Bosch was .

              as far as the firing squad , i personally prefer that there were no bullets in the guns . empty guns is a fine work of art.

        • Don , http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/the-concept-of-hell-in-the-art-work-of-hieronymus-bosch-by-rocket-kirchner/ here is my article on Bosch . would be interested in your view on this . you can comment on that post since we dont want to clutter up Tristan’s post.

          • Yes Rocket I checked out your commentary on Bosch, the picture is obscure as to meaning, the suggestion of water and the requirements will be that you will thirst again, the creation of H2O, would be in the first fraction of the manifestation of the Universe, so unless you are going beyond time and matter which is what you or Jesus infers, is difficult to grasp, that is nothingness, what I am suggesting is not a competition of the greatest display of suffering, I am using Goya, as a example of what the meaning it related to when I wrote the analogy, my comment on Bosch, is you will awaken from the Bosch, nightmare, meaning that the pictorial aspect is not the reality that you see around you other than its symbolism, in contrast to Goya, is to be put in front of a firing squad is to me more disturbing that the awakening from the dream of Bosch, the Spanish guns would have bullets in them, beyond a example of technology and the worship of mans craft, has no intrinsic interest to me, what I find more interesting to me is my beagle, as a amazing creature, Although I knew Goenka, the Buddhist and having done his meditation course, I am not convinced of the Buddhist, philosophy, although Karma has something to do with cause and effect, I suggest with quantum mechanics, this has changed the interpretation of reality, furthermore it is doubtful, that the visual arts are a step towards a greater understanding of what is, as with consciousness, unlike what I thought in the 60s, art today has transformed from what it was in the 60s, and now is like the rock bands of today, academic.
            I must apoligise to Tristan, I cannot remember what the original blog is about.

            • don , points well made . as a musician i will defer to an artist on matters of these .

    • Altruism is the pre-requisite for universal oneness. You could argue that altruism is one component, or one half, of a substantial whole. I was arguing that virtue, as the Greeks argued, consists of their main constituent elements, and that wisdom is the overarching virtue which binds the rest together. Example: Courage without wisdom is folly.

      I do heed Poppers analysis with respect (in regard to the organized syndicates of moralists who merely use their words and ideas for one particular strain of tyranny). But those who I talked about do not fit into such a category. In fact, people like Parmenides actually fought tremendously hard against oligarchs … Pythagoras was martyred, Socrates was executed, for standing against such injustice.

      • Hi Tristan. Thank you for this.

        I’m not sure what you mean by altruism. My understanding is that it refers to personal sacrifice or in species terms a function of swarm coherence. I don’t accept the need for this among humans or as evidence of spiritual wisdom, unless it be indicative of a voluntary act of spontaneous bravery or formal praxis that initiates the necessary sacrifice of the (false) self, or illusory ego.

        Even so, how can we be sure that what remains is not just another reconstructed phantom invented by the vanity of consciousness? Aspiration and method are not always identical.

        I am not at ease with comforting monist abstractions that render unity as a type of component dualism, as this becomes almost meaningless if we acknowledge self-similarity or recursive logic, since a true manifestation must be a type of unity resolving itself to infinitude or zero.

        The closest we get to mapping these moral paradoxes is arguably the Mandelbrot fractal, that may be the only way multiplicity has so far been satisfactorily identified mathematically, as a coherent function concentrating (cf Bohm’s implicate energy?) infinite universal potentiality.

        So far as virtuous actions and the spiritual integrity of early mystics is concerned, I entirely concur. Many of their histories also demonstrate that once you’ve painted yourself into an inescapable corner, there isn’t much else to do other than accept your fate with the courage and dignity appropriate to your existential metal.

        However, I part company with Rocket on the issue of the historicity of the gospels. I see all forms of sacrifice as a problem, not the universal solution.

        • Well, I’m not sure of the definite meaning of altruism, but I intuit the undercurrent of value to be that of complete concern for all beings, “do to others as you would have them do unto you”.

          Agreed, selflessness, in and of itself, is a little abscise. For absolute virtue is actually advantageous to one’s self. It is also pleasureful in the true sense of the word. So, yes, in this sense I guess you’re right. Perhaps I need to revaluate my use of the word.

          Thank you for this insight.

          • Just a footnote… (& I had to look up “abscise!”)

            I was reminded today of Shaw’s caustic witticism concerning the golden rule. I quite like the notion of consideration, that I think translates the Daoist spirit quite well.

            Of course the real Achilles heel of Comte’s altruistic coinage, is the knotty problem of judgment.

            How do we know for sure what is even right for ourselves, let alone presume to second-guess the needs of someone else?

      • Tristan , always keep in mind when you are dealing with the Greeks , the concept of the Golden Mean .
        example — one extreme is cowardly. the other is being rash . in between is the Golden mean –courage.

        but these are outdated because they are ”approximate almosts ” and not absolute . they worked for their day when the world was young in thought . trying to build an Ethos on them today is like building on quicksand. there must be a teleological suspension of the ethical in order to avoid the bottom less pit of moralizing .

        • I agree, but fail to see how they have become outdated. To me this makes sense: Licentiousness being an excess, stinginess being the defect — temperance thus being the golden mean.

          I think these things work well for the reasonable.

          • it is not outdated if one views virtue as the goal of life. the golden mean only works in that context. if one views sainthood as the goal of life then the golden mean is not needed.

            the difference between virtue and sainthood was THE issue debated by the Stoics and the Early Christians. Read Flavius Justin Martyr, a former Stoic who became a Christian and died in the Arenas of Rome. he explains the difference well. also, the debates between Celsus and Origen.

            • (I’ve never heard it called the golden mean, Aristotle just calls it the mean. I assumed that rocket was referring to that, because of his reference.)

              Rocket,

              Then tell me, how does a rational free thinking being achieve sainthood? without tools used by thinkers like Aristotle? Our age, the age of electronic distraction and illiteracy, craves these simple dictums. I know it changed my life profoundly.

          • I thought the golden mean, was proportions found in nature, as a golden rule.

          • Tristan , in regards to your comment below ..on how can a rational thinking man come to Sainthood . ? by the irrationality of the organ of faith , given by grace and divine revelation . there is an actual power that is given when one enters in the Great Doubt. The trouble is is that doubters dont usually go far enough into the Great Doubt . They stop short an settle on some kind of self sufficient ideology that always fails .

            what is the Great Doubt ? it is the final step . it is doubting everything about oneself and ones self sufficiency . it is hitting an existential rock bottom without any apriori or apostori epistemology to cling to . that is when the organ of faith –as Kierkegaard calls it kicks into gear , and ”the leap of faith ” is possible . When that is done , a grace is given to the exitent individual and a power to begin one’s move toward a lifelong inner journey toward Sainthood .

            There are no methods , no programs , no guide map .. no ideology . The Ancient and Modern worlds have tried their roadmaps and have all ended up a a dead end . this is the exit and the cure of the modernism that you and i are always complaining about .

            • Rocket,

              I agree with you. My life has taken on qualities that can certainly be described as the “irrationality” (or non-rationality) of faith. Since my religious/spiritual awareness first became tangible things do occur, events occur, which can only be discernible through this religious/spiritual lens, if you will.

              My only point is that the tools employed by Aristotle, far from losing their merit, can be used today as helpful gestures toward the ‘light.’ One I think could effectively argue that these are more relevant today than they were in ancient times — little articles of wisdom which prompt a keen observer toward (what you call) sainthood.

          • in regards to your comment about Aristotle being relevant to a journey toward sainthood , now you are talking Aquinas ! your position is very Catholic . as a Catholic and a lover of Aquinas , i concur !!! the entire Summa by Aquinas is what many have called ”the baptism of Aristotle ”.

  3. Tristan ,good article . Parminide’s Cosmology as you know was that he viewed everything as seen to be in motion when in reality it is not . there is a constant . Heracletes said that the universes was made of fire and that everything really is in motion .

    the trouble as i see it is modernism has adopted the Heraclitian cosmos , or even more than that one of Democratus and everthing in motions made of atoms , and that is that . Being stuck in that mindset like the Stoics of old were , their answer to all problems begins and ends with the State , with personal virtue at its center . ..as Marcus Aurilous makes clear.

    but –from the immovable what ever of Parminides cosmology filtered thru Plato to the personal Christ eternal , sainthood and non statehood is where the game is really played . now only if this can be convinced to the modernists who still hold sway and power in all their illiusion of certitude before everything comes crumbling down .

    • I agree with you! Interesting fact about Heracletes too, I’ll look into that!

      Thank you for comment.

      • Tristan , i am firmly in the Parmenides camp myself . Fractals have proven that there is order in chaos so as to challenge the whole notion that Chaos Theory . Also , Aristotle adopted in his 4 cause theory of Causality that there was an Unmoved Mover behind it all. It was as mysterious to him as it was to Parmenides .

        Plotinus , the Neo-Platonist brilliant Pagan that lived after Christ , stated that the goal of life is to ascend the ecstasy to the ONE . St. Gregory of Nyssa agreed , but personified that statement by adding that the One that produces the ecstasy in the human soul that the individual ascends to is indeed the risen Christ.

        this is indeed the trajectory from Parmenides to Plato-Aristotle to the Church Fathers to Augustine to Aquinas, etc. Nietzsche adopted the Heraclitian Cosmology, and Kierkegaard.

        • Kierkegaard adopted the Parminides cosmology . which brings me to Pope Francis …the first recent encyclical called ”Lumen Fedie” ( the light of faith ). is it any accident that he begins it with Nietzsche’s famous letter to his sister to not become a Christian , stating that it is an ”illusory light”? this was the same debate that the Ancient Stoics and the Christians had .

          their Cosmologys were worlds apart. and people dont think that the Pre-Socratics are important anymore ! Modernist have dismissed them along with the golden age of Greek philosophy for some French deconstructionist nonsense ..

  4. But all the same, do you like babies?

    • Yes sir!

      • At what stage do you get over the romance of babies? is it when they pick up a gun, down the track, to clean up those terrorists, that threaten our way of life?

    • We don’t really have a population explosion on Earth, but a very skewed allocation of resources.

      See: http://climateandcapitalism.com/2012/07/20/the-return-of-the-population-bombers/

      • So agree! but would also add ~ their allocation is not only skewed, but is determined by the criminally reductionist notion of what constitutes a resource, just what “resources” really are (ie only “commodities” not sacred necessities for example) so that the “free market” dictates how they should be valued and therefore “necessarily” monetized….

      • I believe Egypt’s population was around 9 million approximately a century ago, now it is at a guess around tenfold as a increase, what do you mean we do not have a population explosion? this is a as a country randomly picked, I note that the habitats in particular of animals are under threat, here in Australia, where it is decided to destroy the natural fauna and bush, for housing estates, the wild life is under serious threat and many species have died, the consciousness of the average Australian is , when estates have been sold , the creatures of this once animal kingdom is now no longer, so by the time buyers come in, this now is a hidden agenda, the animals that no longer exist were never their. funny, it reminds one of, if a tree falls and no one is their did it happen? come again?, sorry, did I miss something? Yes, its called semantics.

        • I agree with you. But this is not from babies, per say. Because that would be like blaming the number of bullets for an escalation in homicides. The problem resides not in a natural, life giving process, but with a life-destroying one (poverty) and the physical forces which propel third-world families to have 6, 7 or 8 babies. There has been great work done on this. It is a side effect of capitalism, a symptom of disorder. We can’t blame babies for this, we have to blame the system that is distorting our capacity to live sustainably, which means to have healthy babies.

          • If the Western Allies have created a subclass, being not only a sub class within the society itself but also a subclass, called the third world, they would not have the ability of having fair use of the resources to have babies that are potentially OK.

            • Didn’t realize you were in Oz dw.

              Population is a mighty dilemma, fraught with a myriad of complexities, freighted with multiple perceptual issues, so I hear exactly what you’re saying; and you are so right, about the prevalence of unfeeling superiority and the assumed right of habitat theft by humans, simply because we feel “entitled.”

              This species hubris is no different from thinking, hey we’ve got “hi-tech” bullets, so may as well go drill some living thing to death, just ‘cos we can…it’s a sociological power thing and also, about “plausible personal” moral denial.

              I used to think all this was insoluble, but I’ve changed my mind. I now think it’s about sensible and ecologically proportionate dispersal and distribution in every sense of the meaning of that word, and a question of how we finally envisage life itself ~ especially on a human scale. There are some really good TEDx talks on this topic, quite counter-intuitive ideas like how shanty towns can actually be hives of creativity for example.

              I now think of population and indeed everything else, even inherited habit and attitudes, pretty much in terms of pollution ~ as too much of the same old (wrong) stuff in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the wrong amounts.

              Thinking the unthinkable is always challenging.

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