Dateline 2010: the world-historical situation

In the twilight century of western civilisation, the US, the last resting place of western power, has as its primary purpose the containment of rising China. China has as its primary purpose to put the world 'back to rights'. It is playing a waiting game, and is anxious not to jump the gun.

Dark Age Watch (DAW on hold.)

Issue du jour 1: War with Iran--important to containing China but delayed over two years

Issue du jour 2: The world economy--unbalanced, interwoven, delusional--some predict its unravelling

Issue du jour 3: Somalia--leading the world into a dark age

Issue du jour 4: Pirates exploit the decline of international order

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Things beyond

Proposing as I do to speak of the spiritual as well as the material affairs of the human race, I would like to begin by explaining what I myself believe.

Firstly, I believe in God, the Cosmic Forces, call them what you will. I believe in God through being aware of God. I cannot not believe in God. People who confidently dismiss God, faith and spiritual experience as primitive superstition long disproven by science seem to me not to have understood the question. As Kenneth Boulding once put it: we know nothing about the creation of thermodynamic potential. There remain great mysteries of existence and consciousness, and it is premature to claim that the universe is only what we immediately perceive it to be and nothing more. Proving that religion is flawed and man-made, and that holy scriptures are a farrago of self-contradictory materials, is old hat, and says nothing about the questions that these were inadequate attempts to address.

Secondly, I believe that God (a term of convenience) answers our prayers, though only those we offer on our own behalf. This may seem to imply that God is in favour of selfishness, but the point is that we must each conduct our own relationship with God; others cannot do it for us. For prayer to be effective, we must have faith, genuinely want what we are asking for and believe God will help us (we usually only get into that frame of mind when truly in despair). These views are based on my personal experience. There have been experiments seemingly showing that intercessory prayer (praying for others) is valueless or even harmful. While this supports my view, the experiments are nonsensical, being based on the fallacy that God is a material phenomenon discoverable through the methods of science. Putting God to an empirical test hardly suggests the level of sincerity that prayer needs. Meanwhile, some might say that there is a rational explanation for the efficacy of praying for yourself, in that it creates a positive frame of mind. Maybe so, but the point remains: prayer works.

Thirdly, I believe that we survive death in some way or other, though there are problems about this that trouble me. One problem is what aspects of us survive. For example, what about psychopaths, or intelligence versus stupidity - do such traits persist? The idea seems intolerable. Buddhists say that these traits are part of an outer personality that is shed and it is an inner essence that survives. This may be the answer, but I still have a problem thinking about say mass murderers floating around in some spiritual dimension on a par with their victims - unless you believe in hell, but then there are questions about responsibility: how far can someone born stupid or psychopathic be blamed for their actions? The other main problem is that our awareness/consciousness/existence disappears every night during certain phases of sleep. Why should it not also disappear at death, when the brain shuts down entirely? I have no answers here. If we do survive death, perhaps all will be revealed and make sense then. These gospel lyrics help me think about death.

Fourthly, I consider myself a trinitarian Christian. This is in the sense that I believe the doctrine of the trinity (God in Three Persons) to express an important spiritual truth. To quote Roger Jones (basing himself on Marie-Louise von Franz), "One is the symbol of the ultimate unity, the unus mundus, the primal fount of all things. Two is duality, the first mysterious splitting of oneness into distinguishable parts, that incomprehensible articulation which symbolizes the very process of creating an extended differentiable universe out of the primal chaos. Three is the tension between one and two, the dynamic actualization of the psychic and physical realms. Three is manifestation...But three is also the trinity, the synthesis of one and two, and thus the symbolic return to unity." These ideas can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, whose creation myths speak of 'the One' who then 'regards himself', generating the two opposites, which then collide to produce in their synthesis and reunification the third element: "It is I who spat out Shu, I who expectorated Tefnut. I had come into being as One God and behold there were Three." (citations from the exposition of Lucie Lamy). These ideas are messier than the pure simplicity of Islamic monism, but not as involved as the Hindu pantheon (nevertheless, trinitarian ideas can be found in both Islam and Hinduism). I do not discount cultural factors in predisposing me to believe them. Meanwhile, I understand Christ as more than a person who lived at a particular point in time. I believe in the divinity of Christ, which places Christ outside time. Christ always was, and embodies a permanent, transcendent mystery, which is that of dying and resurrection, destruction and renewal, life out of death. This is the principle of creative destruction that we see in the biological, psychological and social realms: the old must disappear so that the new can come into being. In my theory of history, I call it the phoenix principle.

This is what I believe. I do not say all this because I think you should agree with me, or even approve of what I say. It is so that you can understand what kind of person you are dealing with.