Is the “arc of the moral universe” an illusion, or does “it bend toward justice” as Martin Luther King famously said, and Barack Obama maintained to his last day in office? (Even as he handed over the most powerful office in the world to a malignant narcissist.)
Being a philosopher of no faith, in the sense of a belief system, and little faith, in the sense of trust without evidence, I have a perennial question about whether there are ultimately two, or three, movements in human consciousness.
On the one hand I’ve had too much experience with what I’m loath to call ‘dark forces’ to deny their existence. On the other hand there is a nearly daily experiencing of the numinous with the negation of thought (the maker of darkness) within oneself.
So beyond the possibility of negating darkness in the individual, is there a movement of intelligence operating in human consciousness?
My spiritual “practice” flows from the felt imperative for stillness and negation of thought every day, beginning with ending the separate observer/self. To my mind, taking a daily period of passive observation is a matter of internal hygiene, of simple inward quieting and cleansing.
The transcendent states that ensue with active negation through passive watchfulness of the movement of cognitive/emotional accumulation are an unsought benefit–not the reason one gives space and energy for attention to wash away the detritus of experience.
Water, as an actuality and symbol, is of the essence, both for life, and for the religious mind. Many astrobiologists now believe that wherever there is liquid water in the universe, there we will find life.
That hypothesis has yet to be tested on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, or Saturn’s Enceladus, where below thick crusts, liquid water regularly spews huge geysers into space. However it’s looking more and more that where there is liquid water, there is life.
Water is the central symbol of many religions. Hindus symbolically cleanse their bodies and souls in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Catholics baptize their babies and Protestants their born again believers in water, often with full immersion.
That means beyond the physical necessity of water as the most important element of life, there is the oft-neglected necessity of keeping oneself inwardly clean. Few people do, or know how to, but to a person who does, it’s even more important than physical cleanliness.
It’s unnecessary and unhelpful to think in terms of sin. Rather, it’s in the nature of human consciousness to accumulate memories, hurts, grudges and sorrow. Suffering is the inevitable result.
Intense but passive observation cleans the caked material that builds up on the windows of the mind and heart. Undivided, undirected attention restores direct perception to consciousness. Given what this culture and world has become, there is no more important action that an adult can learn, and teach their children.
Even though I’m certain of the efficacy of undivided attention (call it meditation or whatever), that still leaves the question of whether there is only darkness, and individual negation, where human consciousness is concerned.
Find out for yourself if there is an immanent intelligence in the cosmos, which imbues nature and the universe. With complete quieting and emptying of thought, you’ll find one comes into contact with a completely impersonal sacredness.
However, is God in this sense utterly indifferent to humanity, or does intelligence care about humankind in an impersonal sense?
If there are only two movements in consciousness–the accumulation darkness, and potentially, its negation in the individual–then authentic religious experience is just for the very few. That would mean that humankind as a whole doesn’t stand a chance in the long (and perhaps increasingly short) run.
Tentatively, feel that there is a third movement. I just don’t see and feel it operating at present. And if one who regularly experiences transcendence doesn’t, then no wonder so many people have given up on humanity, taking the view that life is completely materialistic, random and meaningless.
The comforting notion of a personal God is moronic and oxymoronic. To awaken awareness of the sacred, the personal dimension has to be deeply negated.
However, that still leaves cosmic intelligence absent without leave with respect to millions of deaths in Auschwitz and Rwanda, not to mention all the other wars and suffering of humanity. Is it that Intelligence can only operate through us?