Spirituality @Corey

As you may remember, after I broke up with sarah I was feeling like I’d lost too much magic in my life and had burned away anything that wasn’t cold steel rationalism. And that was a big part of why i got involved with the crystal healer. to bring some sprituality and romance and magic back to my worldview and experience of life

Over the last few months though I’ve been super head down writing code and burning fear and rage as fuel to get me through it

Then a couple weeks ago my grandfather died. And like before he did my parents told me to call him so I could say goodbye. So I called his wife and she held the phone up to his ear while I said some nice bs about how much I loved him and appreciated him and stuff, and then I talked to her a little bit

She’s an absolute sweetheart. tbh I kinda love her more than him, he was much more of a gruff asshole. Although I learned at his funeral that he apparently had like a huge philanthropic side that I knew nothing about. But anyway

The point is, in opening myself up like that, going from a really fear/rage driven focus on code writing to a very emotional moment of love and connection, I was able to very tangibly feel this part of my psyche that I’ve been eating around the edges of in meditation recently

You could desribe it as like, “love” or “connection to other people”, but I feel like that’s the blind man who thinks the elephant’s trunk means an elephant is a big snake

There’s some place inside me (and I’m pretty sure everyone else too but obviously idk), that is able to tap in to some thing that feels much bigger and deeper and more powerful than just like interpersonal love

It’s the feeling of thinking back on all the evolution that led to you, all the different ancestors who had to fight to get you here. The great unbroken chain of life that stretches back to the first single celled organisms. Or even of all the energy and matter in the universe going back to the big bang

it is something that cannot really be grasped rationally or expressed in words except as a shadow, because it is something that exists outside the cerebral cortex and the language processing parts of your brains. It’s something you kinda have to just feel

So when you say you want to “take back” the meaning of the word sacred, to be about a rational, secular humanist idea of like, politeness and respect and humility and graciousness… I’m on the opposite side of that

I’m trying to find a deeper spirtualism that is NOT rational, is NOT personal. A sacredness that is bigger than me and isn’t about like, what’s best for me

That’s why I asked about dualism. Because I think it’s really what’s at play here. You’re thinking of sacredness from the perspective of the mind, playing by the mind’s rules within the mind’s framework. But I think to talk about it properly you have to see it from the spirit’s perspective, within that framework

So when you say things like [“that’s why i said the ’emotional timbre’. I think there is something very satisfying (maybe necessary) to the human condition and i want to hijack it without producing the problems that irrationality/metaphysics creates”], it feels like you’re talking about how Yellowstone actually makes the workers who visit it 12% more productive. You want to hijack it without producing the irrational/metaphysical response? But the irrational/metaphysical response is the whole point. To just feel that connection to the greater universe beyond ourselves. That is a good in itself. An absolutely essential good that you can’t feel complete without

I’ve actually really been digging Russell Brand’s instagram recently. He’s promoting a book he wrote about recovering from addiction, and he’s been making basically the Rat Park point (that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connectedness), but framing it in this way that’s much more about the hole in your spirit that you try to fill with whatever substance

Modern life refuses to acknowledge the existence of the spirit and the need to connect with the universe, and instead subverts that drive and hijacks it on behalf of Sinek-ian Whys controlled by companies and charlatans, and so we all feel empty and alone and purposeless, and we chase a million different substances and escapes to try to fill the void

But they won’t. Because the thing that is missing is spiritual, not material, and we in the Secular Modern community have no ability to understand things on that level

Primordial-debt Theory

“The core argument is that any attempt to separate monetary policy from social policy is ultimately wrong. Primordial-debt theorists insist that these have always been the same thing. Governments use taxes to create money, and they are able to do so because they have become the guardians of the debt that all citizens have to one another. This debt is the essence of society itself. It exists long before money and markets, and money and markets themselves are simply ways of chopping pieces of it up.”

-At first debt was expressed by religion, not states. See the Sanskrit religious literature like the Vedas and Brahmanas. Earliest Vedic poems from like 1500-1200 BC are very concerned with debt, which is “treated as synonymous with guilt and sin.”

-In very early texts, “Debt seems to stand in for a broader sense of inner suffering, from which one begs the gods… for release.”

-The Brahmanas started weaving together a more comprehensive philosophy in which human existence itself is a debt to the gods. “A man, being born, is a debt; by his own self he is born to Death, and only when he sacrifices does he redeem himself from death.”

-Leads to the question, “If our lives are on loan, who would actually wish to repay such a debt? To live in debt is to be guilty, incomplete. But completion can only mean annihilation.” So the tribute of ritual sacrifice is like an interest payment, and the sacrificer’s life is the principal.

-Two famous passages in the Brahmanas: “We are born as a debt not just to the gods, to be repaid in sacrifice, but also to the Sages who created the Vedic learning to begin with, which we must repay through study; to our ancestors, who we must repay by having children; and finally, to humanity as a whole, to be repaid by offering hospitality to strangers.”

-Primordial-debt theory say these ideas aren’t peculiar to “a certain intellectual tradition of early Iron Age ritual specialists in the Gange valley, but that they are essential to the very nature and history of human thought.”

-Sovereign powers’ legitimacy comes from their representation of the entire cosmos, and so they invented money as a way of settling debts. So instead of owing the unpayable debt of your life to death, now you have money that you can use to settle more manageable debts. That currency is put into circulation, and then you have to repay it in taxes, and that is a much more reasonable ask than “You owe your life to the God of Death.”

-“The primordial debt is that owed by the living to the continuity and durability of the society that secures their individual existence.”

Religious Materialism

“The attempt to connect myth to social structure has mostly been a failure.”

“There is this great article called ‘Explaining the Political Ambivalence of Religion‘. It’s focused on political science, but I think it’s lessons apply broadly: religion and religious stories neither is defined by the area it comes from, nor does religious tradition define the culture of that area. Instead, how people use those stories and traditions are used is what’s important. After all, we all know the same stories and traditions have been used to justify both the violent conquests of Crusades and the austere, collectivist pacifist Amish and Hutterite communities. The Catholic Church helped prop up right-wing dictatorships in Europe and South America, fight against those same South American dictatorships through liberation theology, and bring down the Communist dictatorships in Poland and Slovakia all in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s what Philpott means by the political ambiguity of religion: each religious tradition can do many things, its specific political theology that matters most. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz’s famous Islam Observed also speaks to this: the Islam he experienced in Morocco and Indonesia were very, very different as they had been shaped by local conditions (and also shape local conditions).”

“I remember encountering one as an undergraduate (which unfortunately I have never been able to find again) which connected creation myths with primary crops. In areas where cereals dominated, people tend to grow out of the ground or be created from dust (cf. Genesis 2:7). In areas where tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava) were the primary crops, however, creation myths tend to involve chopping up a ceremonial figure and scattering their parts. [For those who don’t know, tuber crops are propagated not by seeds but by chopping them up and letting them grow anew in the ground–every eye on your potato could become a new potato plant if chopped and cared for properly.] I wouldn’t be surprised if this could be to some degree extended to other forms of agriculture. The original Indo-European creation myth was likely something like one twin slaughtering another (see Bruce Lincoln’s work on this–I think it is is still accepted), obviously related to their most important food source of flocks and herds of various animals.”

via This /r/AskHistorians Comment