History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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NK comments: the strangeness of the ‘soul’ question // it’s a sad question, everyone bar none is confused

February 25th, 2015 · 3 Comments

Note: in fact I have been discussing the ‘soul’ question here for many years, but the time has come to put out a larger discussin.


NK: check the date: this is the first period in history where this issue could have become global. I have tried not to conceal anything here, but being open here doesn’t always work. People just go blank. The Gurdjieff era one of the first in history to start leaking esoteric information. But it appears he didn’t fully understand this issue, as far as I know. Gurdjieff either misunderstood or tried to do it but hide it behind a bunch of obscurities about higher being bodies. It is not clear if he actually understood the sufi legacy here. I find it hard to think that he didn’t but it is not clear.

So we are talking about something that has eluded all scholars of religion and all scholars of sufism. And most sufis, I suspect. I have never seen sufism in action in a moslem country, so I don’t know. Sufis in the know will never speak of it. And the real sufis are lost to spiritual organization. They have nowhere to go.
I have included the issue of demiurgic powers, which complicates the discussion with a possible speculation.
I need to find a way to deal with this question in public.

All the discussions of buddhist psychology are irrelevant here.

The issue of Rumi, I don’t know. His comments which seem to suggest evolution are not what I am referring to.

1 NK // Feb 24, 2015 at 1:14 pm

I’m not aware of where “growing souls” is taught in the classic sources of Sufism. Maybe you’re referring to Rumi about growing from a plant, animal, human, etc.

It seems like the tradition you’re really referring to is Taoism, in which the goal is to create an immortal spirit body.

2 NK // Feb 24, 2015 at 1:18 pm

This path does not create a soul, but shows the way beyond the samsaric manifestions.

The problem from the Buddhist perspective is that the “astral body/etheric body” is not a soul either. It can develop and lead to delusions in people who have strong powers of concentration:

“Of particular interest here is the Buddha’s treatment of the three “acquisitions of a self.” The first — the gross self — refers to the ordinary, everyday sense of identifying with one’s body. The latter two — the mind-made acquisition and the formless acquisition — refer to the sense of self that can be developed in meditation. The mind-made acquisition can result from an experience of the mind-made body — the “astral body” — that constitutes one of the powers that can be developed through concentration practice. The formless acquisition can result from any of the formless states of concentration — such as an experience of infinite space, infinite consciousness, or nothingness. Although meditators, on experiencing these states, might assume that they have encountered their “true self,” the Buddha is careful to note that these are acquisitions, and that they are no more one’s true self than the body is. They are one’s acquisition of a self only for the time that one identifies with them. ”


– See more at: http://darwiniana.com/2015/02/24/soul-and-sufistic-legacies/comment-page-1/#comment-728554

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nk // Feb 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

    “so we are talking about something that has eluded all scholars of religion and all scholars of sufism.”

    Uhh…are you suggesting that we’re supposed to make stuff up & impute ideas to the classic sources that were never there? I don’t buy the dubious claim that Gurdjieff had access to esoteric knowledge that isn’t in public sources. All of the people creating esoteric religions in that era seem to have been influenced by similar Theosophical ideas (Max Heindel, Steiner, etc.).

    As for the connection with Lataif and “growing a soul,” the connection with classic sources is dubious:


  • 2 Nk // Feb 26, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Sound familiar(?):

    These great Adepts, belonging to human evolution but having already advanced far beyond the cycle of rebirth, are reported as being among those exalted Beings who guide mankind’s evolution, the Compassionate Ones.


  • 3 nemo // Feb 26, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    NK, you need to step carefully here. I am no fan of sufis or Gurdjieff, but buddhist analysis is not sufficient here. Period. Buddhists are going to fumble here, because they think they represent the core of true religion.
    I have been as critical of Gurdjieff as anyone, and I have criticized his theosophical borrowings. But I didn’t get this from Gurdjieff. I have navigated sufi schools and learned at first hand that ‘sufism’ contains something no known to many, including buddhists.

    These quotations misuse the term evolution, in the biological sense, and reaching enlightenment is not evolution.
    The issue of ‘soul’ in the sufi sense is a tremendous elusive riddle, but, strangely, it is very concrete. I have no proof that Adepts guide human evolution. In their cycle of lives they never studied biochemistry. The evidence for evolution, leaving out the later confusions of Darwin, in the general era of Buffon to Lamark created human knowledge that was a first in human history. …..I am going to transfer this to post level…..

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