http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_2.htm: Sunday link citations for WHEE
One of the confusions of the Xtian tradition is its account of the Age of Revelation. We can criticize that ‘mythical’ account, but the reality is also true that the history is beginning to show something that corresponds to the myth but stands above and beyond it. So the modern accounts via historical sociology are not really able to explicate the case. So both sides are in a funk.
The issue of the Axial Age come to the rescue to restore religious emergentism to ‘secular’ thought, but the result was scrambled from the start by the inability of scientifically trained historians to handle what they are seeing. Virtually every book on the Axial Age is a hopeless muddle. The scholarly community was so terrified at my WHEE that they have induced several scholars to indirectly challenge it, but without even mentioning what they doing. Robert Bellah’s books here are a sad waste of scholarly resources. But it has to enforce the basic myths, starting with darwinism. You would think such people would cite the book and try to challenge the perspective. But they must snobbishly ignore peons outside the academic world, even as they try to refute them without mention.
In this context the question of WHEE is a problematical issue for many. But the technique of the work is almost foolproof. It attempts to evade theories and to use the simplest means, periodization, to try and visualize the transformations of world history. And there the data of the Axial Age is so striking and transparent that we can’t avoid seeing it. But how to interpret it is a problem for modern scholars. It think it is fair to say the book outsmarts these wilfully blind scholars with a study that is almost impossible to refute, if only because there is nothing to refute: the data is arranged in a simple scheme of successive eras, with some potential insights into future ‘maybe theories’.
So I am tired of the boycott of scholars. If they are dumb enough to be Darwin true believers they are in any case confused at the start: emergence is not random. It is directional and detailed.
The evidence thus laid out suggests a progression of epochs, and the Axial Age shows the start of one such.
The distinction of sacred and secular disappears, and we see the way religion and social evolution emerge in parallel. It is a useful study but a reminder that we have to find a means to fix the data in our minds (reading books) for a large amount of history. That is the real problem. But the overall perception is fairly clear but it is blocked in our minds by the foolish theory of Darwin.
The point of these dwelling thoughts on Xtianity, instead of simply giving up and going buddhist, is that a great social change began under Xtianity and this tackled the real hard task of transforming a population so degenerated into addicted over death sports in the Roman arenas. The starting point was something horrific.
The signals are coming now of a new and related successor in the context of modernity slipping away into madness. The ‘help’ is already there in what Bennett called the hyparchic future. We have to troubleshoot frozen theologies to get in tune. And this may require a new post-Xtianity radically different from what we know. Another thing most postreligious types forget is the issue of soul and the opportunity of members of homo sapiens to complete their spiritual evolution as they enter the species definition. That phase is almost over, but it seems now to be moving into new phase.
A new epoch in world history is starting to both erode and remake the core complex of entities like Xtianity. These kinds of transformations are not yet open to voluntary manipulation.
The religions of the Occident were always less sophisticated on the surface than religions like buddhism. But Xtianity had a subtle core that drove the religion through its imperfect manifestations. The issues of Xtianity are somewhat hard to fathom: we spent two thousand years in Xtianity and will spend the next two thousand trying to figure it out. So the latter will be one aspect of the future.
As you note, it is easy to solve all these problems, but they won’t appeal to many.
Here my core objective is to see how a core Xtianity could assist in the transition to a new form of society. Historical materialism wasn’t up to the task, so we have to start over.
We too easily forget in the context of modern non-believers that even after we criticize religions like Xtianity it remains the case that they have a spiritual dimension. And that is complex.
One observation is that for all the confusions over theology the elusive spiritual guides didn’t care a jot, mostly: the secret behind Xtianity is that it worked just as well for confused persons.
In any case we can see sometimes the two levels, like my discussion of the Trinity and Samkhya.
If anyone with the skills to do so were to study Xtianity at close range, the muddle zone of the ‘born again’ phenomenon clearly shows a statistical reality of help asked for and help received. And Xtian populations didn’t have to worry about dark side comedians of the Aleister Crowley type: witchcraft and black magic were protected against, up to a point. We are beginning to see the resurgence of all these devils in the woodwork and people now don’t even consider it a problem to use magic against helpless people.
As the saying goes, you’ll be sorry. The text of the ‘three little pigs’ is relevant here.
The Cruel Realities of the Neoliberal Agenda
Global Agribusiness Hammering Away at the Foundations of Indian Society
The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860 establishes its author, Calvin Schermerhorn, as among the best practitioners within this new group of historians. While Walter Johnson, Seth Rockman, Edward Baptist, and Sven Beckert have recently made the same core argument, Schermerhorn exposes the links between capitalism and slavery with remarkable clarity, economy, and force. By focusing on the most successful firms involved in the domestic slave trade, Schermerhorn shows how the building blocks of modern capitalism—from innovations in marketing and technology, to the development of sophisticated financial instruments—fueled slavery’s expansion throughout the South. The possibility of bloodless abstraction is saved by his emphasis on the devastating human cost.
From Last and First Men
Capitalism was easy. Now comes the hard part. At a time of rising social crisis in the outcome of globalization, the place of capitalism is coming under intense scrutiny. It is ironic, and this has always been so, that at its moment of triumph, everything turns sour with the culture of markets, and its manic style. The defenses of capitalism, beside their mirror image in the debates over communism, have tended to seem irrefutable given the evidence of economic transformation, the mesmerizing ideology of laissez-faire. There the Hegelianized propaganda of the ‘end of history’ has created a powerful set of illusions. But now suddenly the prospect that we are all ‘dead by economy’ changes one’s view of the matter as the point of no return seems to have arrived in the form of the Faustian endgame in the accelerating destruction of the ecological base, and the dire scenarios of global warming. All at once the charge of utopianism, so often applied to the communist idea, flips to capitalism itself.
The rise of postcapitalism has to be more than an economic movement. It has to be able to create a cultural mix of elements yielding a new genesis of the arts, philosophy, (post-)religion, and the liberation of politics from mechanical machiavellianism of the prior era. Why does politics always default to psychopathic logic, covert agencies and murder? How could the debasement of the American System have occurred so rapidly?
For many the globalization of markets has nearly destroyed the planet and yet a large majority has still not seen any real benefits from capitalism. The whole project was a gamble, and Marx/Engels accepted the wager, but now we have to measure winnings and the usual predictable high losses at the suddenly arriving endstate.
We had a few brief years after 2008 in a ‘great recession’ to preach sobriety, but now the system still in partial stall is dosing out the same old puke economics of jobs, growth, and the rest of it. Our position now seems to be: the more the economy recovers the worse it will be for men of the future. We have sold them down the river.
Meanwhile, it is possible technological advances can repair the biosphere, but the movement toward postcapitalism cannot cease even for a moment.
If we examine the history of religion in term of the macro model of WHEE we can see the phenomenon of ‘new aging’ very clearly and the Axial Age is the supreme case. A close look also shows the persistence of the old into the new era. It took six hundred years from about -600 BCE before the start of Xtianity (emerging from Israelitism) got under way. Such comparisons are somewhat misleading but they are a reminder to puzzled observers of modernity that we haven’t defined ‘modernity’ yet: the consequences of the early modern transition are beginning to emerge, even as the whole scheme starts to suffer a fall into mediocre realization, if not decline. So it might be centuries before the weak forms of humanism, the decaying forms of religion, and the gestation of new post-religion religions, if any, bears fruit.
The Making of Modern Buddhism is the book I was looking for: I have been observing the way that buddhism was a ‘secular reformation’ from early antiquity and that it has passed into the modern world very easily as a stealth ‘new age’ movement turning rapidly into a mainstream ‘secular’ movement, working at a very high level of sophistication in its rapid adaptation to modernity. This useful book shows the breadth, intelligence and sly costume change that has made buddhism, which is starting to need a new term, into a vibrant part of modernity. In many ways it has outdone Xtianity in this respect. Only the deliberate stubbornness and muddle-headedness of the new atheists has ever bothered to attempt ‘extermination’ of this religion. There remains the problem of not dissolving altogether into the modern social scene. It is not clear how this will play out. The one problem is that world renunciation has perhaps ceased to be a focus. Short of armies of buddhist panhandlers (I was one myself) the nip and tuck comfy-asana will become a problem, but it was already becoming a problem in early buddhism itself. The original yogis ate fruits and berries in the forest. It was a buddhist innovation, and partial social capitulation that brought about the drastic interaction with a world renounced in the begging of alms with the begging bowl.
Debates over atheism are mostly vapor. Buddhists have quietly been ‘atheists’ (in quotation marks of some sort) for millennia and noone even bats an eyelash. The only people who attack buddhists are the new atheists themselves who think that atheism is not enough. Buddhism must be neutered of all references to enlightenment. \\
What brought about such a stupidit?
April 25th, 2015 · 1 Comment
Submitted on 2015/04/25 at 7:08 am | In reply to NK.
Such criticisms were arriving already in the sixties. But the confusions of legacy theology are hardly better
Nor can atheism resolve the confusion.
In any case I am not trying to reinvent theology, but to show a streamlined path bypassing the idiocy of the new atheism
Mainstream theology is so confused that almost anything seems better. The passage through the ‘god as being’ thicket is an ancient one no doubt.
In the round trip (weekly) between theism and atheism new conceptions of divinity rise and fall (daily)
Atheism doesn’t resolve the issues
Submitted on 2015/04/24 at 1:22 pm
Mainstream Xtians aren’t going to accept Tillich that easily:
The failure of secular atheism to produce a realizable postreligion is forcing people to ask what is wrong here: my answer has been that modernity is a complicated dialectical balance and was started via the Reformation. We try to move beyond Xtianity but end up in a muddle of scientism. We move back to look again through Xtian thinking, and then that is problematical.
But on the whole religious philosophies have elements that dogmatic scientism cannot stomach. So it goes back and forth. I think (I am sick of saying it) that Kant exposed the problems here and we are always stuck in one of his metaphysical situations. Kant is ironically the ‘non-theologian’ by default for modernity. He exposes religious metaphysics, but then does the same for raw empiricism.
We don’t have to follow Tillich to see that German Classical philosophy has been one through point for floundering religion.
It is easy to critique Tillich but the attempt to tear him to pieces as an atheist in disguise wasn’t really the answer either.
Somebody sat down and tried to bring Xtianity into the mode of modernity.
My real question here is the status of viewpoints on the radical left. We can debunk Xtianity but the basic viewpoint of marxists isn’t very helpful at this point either. The whole situation is in free fall. And I am warning the left not to dawdle. Whatever you do, don’t run in place. The marxist canon will simply free potential leftists into stubborn refusal when they might have been willing communists. It is not clear how to proceed.
There is of course my WHEE whose viewpoint transcends sacred and secular. It is important for marxist to simply drop their baloney texts on the evolution of religion. It is useless stuff.
In any case, since I am not religious myself, the problem of mediating a common language is in some ways a little simpler.
In any case the total spectrum of views of the early modern to the nineteenth century is vast and a possible antidote as such to reductionist Iron Cage logic.
Beyond genes: Are centrioles carriers of biological information?
April 24, 2015
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Scientists have discover that certain cell structures, the centrioles, could act as information carriers throughout cell generations. The discovery raises the possibility that transmission of biological information could involve more than just genes. Centrioles may actually be carriers of information, which holds profound implications for biology and disease treatment.
Agency Shrinks & LSD: From Timothy Leary to the Unabomber
A Psychedelic History of the CIA
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and ALEXANDER COCKBURN
On June 17, 1999 the state of Texas put to death by lethal injection John Stanley Faulder, a Canadian who had been convicted in 1977 of murdering Inez Phillips, an oil heiress. Faulder’s case received more press attention than most executions these days, mainly because the Canadian government tried to intervene on his behalf and urged Texas governor George W. Bush to spare his life. Unmoved by arguments that after his arrest Faulder had been denied his right to consult with officials from the Canadian embassy, Bush sent him to the death chamber.
What went entirely unmentioned by the American press was that 37 years ago Stanley Faulder had been the unwitting victim of medical experiments partially funded by the CIA.
Greece: The Noose Tightens
There are only three options remaining for the Syriza government.
by Stathis Kouvelakis
Jacobin magazine, April 24