Meanwhile, the people at WIE, viz. Andrew Cohen the Instant Buddha idiot keeps plying his misleading path of the ‘evolutionary’, an unfortunate phrase that is a parody of ‘revolutionary’ and a not-so-subtle political reactionary platform from this fake Indian transplant.
Vivekananda’s view of evolution doesn’t seem to amount to much, I may be unfair, but his suggestion that Samkhya might help explicate some part of it is of value, save that in its current form Samkhya is not likely to be of much use.
Here again, Bennett’s effort is of interest, but his thesis is so embroidered with crap that nothing can be made from it. His hybrid approach at least suggests that conventional science should set up the foundation. But this approach fails with the explication of consciousness, or the two forms of it, if we credit the yogis (consciousness, self-consciousness) and/or Bennett (sensitivity consciousness and cosmic consciousness).
I am left non-plussed by Bennett’s daring suggestion that (cosmic) consciousness (as oppose to sensitivity-consciousness/life energy) is something that represents a turning point in evolution: man ‘evolving’ mind is going through a transition as drastic as that of the origin of life.
Since we have no way to test all these issues all we can do is stand back and try to wait on some real science here. Something neither Darwinists nor New Agers can provide.
“The whole object of [the Hindu religion] is, by constant struggle, to become perfect, to become divine, to reach God, and see God. . . . Every religion is evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them.” These words were spoken by the great Indian sage Swami Vivekananda to the Parliament of World’s Religions in 1893. So striking was the impact of Swami Vivekananda’s words and presence on those gathered at the conference that many say the beginning of the modern East-West spiritual dialogue can be traced back to that summer day in Chicago more than a century ago.
Read the rest of this entry »
I think that Bennett’s perspective should be used to insist on an open ‘fourth way’ path, no dogmatic/authoritarian gurus, no Gurdjieff worship (that shit head gangster Gurdjieff), and the obvious indication from Bennett (unfortunately he botched his account) that modernity is a ‘new epoch’ in world history, and that its freedoms and demand for equality must be taken seriously.
In fact, Gurdjieff completely wrecked his whole teaching by the extraneous reactionary elements he brought to it. This never had any real place in spirituality anyway.
As we have seen there are a number of suspicious moments that explain the views of super-conservatives like Gurdjieff: e.g. the spurious fraud in the concoction of Vedic Hinduism, one of histories greatest put ons, and an attempt by the Aryan aristocracy of millennia ago to rip off the Indian tradition and make it look Indo-European.
The crystallization of authoritarian guruism was never intrinsic to any ancient spiritual path.
Note: the title of this post is an exercise for Gurdjieff lickspittles to flush out their anger, and initiate their autonomy with respect to the work tradition, or pseudo-tradition. Don’t let the ripoff happen, or the fake tradition be created.
Remember the Aryan warriors ripped off a whole traditon and corrupted it.
don’t expect anything better if you let the Gurdjieff types take over the ‘fourth way’.
From Vol IV of The Dramatic Universe.
I have proceeded rapidly to the end of DU, having bypassed the project of a more detailed commentary. It might help to start over with a shorter summary (and critique).
The passage scanned here can conclude the scanned material and is of interest because of Bennett’s Great Blunder, saying something nice about modernity. Towards the end of this passage is the comical citation of the Communist Manifesto in favorable terms andn in terms of the ‘new age’ or Synergetic Epoch in Bennett’s timeline.
Comical, to me, because it innocently blew itself out of the water as far as the G work is concerned. You just don’t go around citing Marx’s Communist Manifesto in the Gurdjieff hotbed of fascist reactionaries. Bennett’s account here is typical of his style, and his manner of making things up as he goes along. Bennett is truly unique, the only writer I know of who uses a design argument to explain modernity.
His manner of depicting his theme is suspect at all points, including the name and starting point of the so-called Synergetic Epoch.
But at least Bennett realized that the modern world had to be taken into account as a valid phenomenon of evolutionary progression. The anti-modern reactionary complot of the Gurdjieff work is simply a form of New Age stupidity.
Read this passage with skepticism
Btw, look at the eonic effect, if you want to get the issue of epochs and modernity straight.
Until the seventeenth century we can see the progress of mind and
soul going hand in hand. The ideas and techniques came from the sam
sources and flowed through the same or closely allied channels. Th:
distinction between clerical and secular schools had relatively little
importance so long as a common understanding of the Great Work
linked artists, scholars, priests and laymen in pursuit of the one aim:
to prepare for the Kingdom of God. ‘*’
The seventeenth century was the parting of the ways. We have seen
reasons for believing that men connected with the Hidden Directorate
guided England towards parliamentary Government and, in effect, the
end of monarchy. We also have seen the explosion of creative thought
that transformed the pace of progress in Europe so that within two
centuries Asia, Africa and, temporarily, America were left behind. This
was the time when belief in Divine Providence as the guiding principle
in the working of nature began to give place to belief in Natural Law and
hence in the possibility for the mind of man to grasp and even to control
every kind of natural process. The seventeenth century also marks the
decline of religion, not only in Christendom, but remarkably enough in
Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist countries also. The last two centuries of
the Epoch-i.e. from A.D. 1650 to A.D. 185o-were to see the culmina-
tion of the tendency to exalt the human mind alone and to interpret the
Megalanthropic Master Idea in humanistic terms. Read the rest of this entry »
by Christopher Beam – Slate
A French court fined the Church of Scientology $888,000 on Tuesday after a couple claimed they’d been manipulated into buying between $30,000 and $73,000 worth of church products. The verdict is “a historical turning point for the fight against cult abuses,” said the leader of France’s “government cult-fighting unit.” How does this special cult-busting unit distinguish between cults and bona fide religions?
Vaguely. French law doesn’t define the term “cult.” Rather, it uses the expression “cultlike movements” to describe groups that demand unreasonable financial contributions, encourage nonparticipation in elections, promote anti-social behavior, or cut members off from their families. It’s easier to target bad behavior, the thinking goes, than to get into a semantic debate over what is and isn’t a cult. The French government has, however, tried to define the term in the past. In 1995, a special parliamentary commission compiled a list of 10 cultish characteristics, including the indoctrination of children, a mentally unstable membership, and the attempt to infiltrate public institutions. The commission also released a list of 173 groups that qualify as cults—that is, they meet at least one of the 10 criteria—including the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Scientology. (At least one group—the followers of Anthrosophy—sued the report’s main author for defamation and won.)
James comments on design argument
I am very critical of the design argument, but in general the question is a problem not because we know it to be false but because of its metaphysical character, as indicated by Kant.
From another perspective it is interesting to look at the design argument, and Samkhya, in Bennett’s version at any rate: note that the triad of being, function, gives an expression, rapidly decaying into its own deviating mentations, of Schopenhauer’s idea of the ‘will’, and that cascade of triads ( a complex model in the second volume of Bennett’s DU) in the degrees of manifestation of the will, as Schopenhauer puts it, bring a factor of ‘will’ (which by definition pings a feeling of ‘design’) into all levels of reality, becoming at each stage more mechanical. As we encounter ‘natural design’ in nature that confusion of design or the ‘laws and mechanizing triads of will’ is what leaves us non-plussed or disconbobulated: it hits us on the funny bone. We think we see design, then it seems natural mechanism, then both….
Elizabeth Prophet, who has died aged 70, was head of the Summit Lighthouse and the Church Universal and Triumphant, a New Age religious cult which she enjoined to prepare for nuclear Armageddon.
Comment on Nietzsche and atheism
23.10.09 at 8:30 am
“But, appropriately, he dares only the phrase ‘unfathomable’ as he reaches the highest triad in the Samkhya series, beyond which some ‘point’ of unity is by defintion posited by the system.”
Do you mean the most refined state of prakriti (I guess it would be Buddhi using the terminology of the Samkhya)?
The ‘samkhyas’ are no longer compatible by the time Bennett has finished.
But I will at least say he doesn’t hype this aspect of his version.
Keep in mind his samkhya is pegged to the hierarchy of cosmic objects, and that at this point his scale is beyond the level of galaxies. A useful reminder at least that assertions about divinity are from a more innocent age and don’t seem so intuitive on the scale of cosmological entities.
The ‘god is dead’ theme was originally critiqued very well by Rajneesh, no theist, and in general his critiques of religion have been imitated by the so-called New Atheists (perhaps without realizing it).
It is not really a question of ‘god’, but of obsessive belief. The idea of ‘god’ enters Bennett’s system, by the way, from many angles, even as you suspect that he has lost his standard faith (even as he exhibits an outer Christianity).
In one perspecitive, ‘god’ is the third reconciling force in every triad, an interesting, if ultimately inadequate, redefinition.
‘God’ also enters almost inevitably as the result of the (atheist) Samkhya cascade as ‘Universal Individuality’ and ‘Cosmic Individuality’, conceptual entities spawned almost automatically by his own sets of distinctions.
But, appropriately, he dares only the phrase ‘unfathomable’ as he reaches the highest triad in the Samkhya series, beyond which some ‘point’ of unity is by defintion posited by the system. It is something inconceivable, infiinitely far away, and possibly the point comes where a paper airplane should be made from the whole scheme of purloined Samkhya, originally the creation of ‘non-theists’.
Although it is invisible to the naked eye, the Heidegger fad and its tenacity springs from the same occult phasing that we see in the whole period, and in which we ambiguously try to place/understand Gurdjieff (who is generally too clever to be caught directly)
Confessions of a Philosopher: A Personal Journey Through Western Philosophy from Plato to Popper (Modern Library Paperbacks) (Paperback)
by Bryan Magee
Here’s the best short intro to Schopenhauer, in a larger discussion of modern philosophy. Also cheaper.
New Age spiritual psychology is a pile of nothing. The briliant perspective of Schopenhauer could easily be adapted to retranslating the great sutras into a modern conceptual idiom.
Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy (Paperback)
by Rudiger Safranski
Here’s a charming biography by the well-known Safranski with a short exposition of S.’s philosophy
Here’s a good book on Schopenhauer, as mentioned yesterday, but, as I notice, the price is horrendous, I will cite some other books: The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (Paperback)
by Bryan Magee
Comment on Kant and his categories…
This raises a lot of issues we can discuss later.
There is not reason this short statement by Gurdjieff should be allowed to stand without challenge, and it has already produced a calamity of New Age Gurfjieff criminals.
That’s the danger of the authoritarian system when the ‘authority’ shoots his mouth off.
19.10.09 at 4:28 pm ·
Dave Archer, in his Fourth Way Standup, gets very angry about the sentiment expressed in this Gurdjieff quote:
“One may say that evil does not exist for Subjective man at all, that there exist only different conceptions of good. ***Nobody ever does anything deliberately in the interests of evil, for the sake of evil.*** Everybody acts in the interests of good, as he understands it.” (Emphasis Archer’s.)
He thinks it embodies a kind of ethical nihilism being hyponotically forced upon us. I suppose it might have been. But it’s also a very basic statement of the problem of the incompatibility of freedom and determinism. Gurdjieff, “more determinist than the most determinist of the determinists” is logically bound to say that humans, qua machines, have no ethical qualities, since ethics requires the existence of the ability to choose, which in turn implies that determinism is false. No one does anything deliberately in the cause of evil – or good – or anything at all. Because nobody *does* anything.
It’s interesting to me that this philosophical problem ***which we should not also think is a practical problem*** (sceptics don’t leave by the window) seems to be being so abused. First through the insistence that people take it literally, rather than as an interesting problem to do with the logical semantics of scientific and ethical discourses; Second through the suggestion that there actually is is a way out of it, provided you are worthy.