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Blessings, Peace, and Justice be upon you and all of yours, fellow Kossacks!

As part of the impact from recent discussions regarding religion, spirituality, and politics here on Daily Kos, I decided to form a new Group where those of us who follow Spiritual Working Paths can discuss and share how our Spirituality can help us bring about a Just, Peaceful, Merciful, and Compassionate society for us humans to live in.

More Details below the Great Orange Squiggly of the Philosophers!

This Group's purpose is to maintain this discussion about how we use the wisdom and tools given us by our Spiritual Working Paths to transform human society into the just, peaceful, merciful, and compassionate one we all know it can be. When choosing a name for the Group, I considered my eventual vision of such a society; and Mutualistic Anarchism describes that vision more accurately than any other. (The fact that the word "Anarchism" begins with the same letter of the alphabet as "Alchemy" and "Ally" was a major factor here too, of course!)

As this will require major changes of the human creature (of transmutative order, as we say in Alchemy) and the societies built of and by them, the tools afforded by Alchemy come into play; hence the Group's name. But discussion of all other tools afforded by our Spiritual Work are welcome here.

And so are you! So watch this space, and if you like what you see, drop me (thanatokephaloides) a kosmail or leave a comment in one of the Group's Diaries to that effect; I'll get you an invitation to join us!

A short, unpleasant, but necessary footnote is below. If it applies not to you, kindly please ignore.

                                          ----------------------------------

(Short unpleasant but necessary note: Those who are inclined to just bash others' ideas for the schadenfreude of it should NOT come and play in this Group. This Group is for the constructive, compassionate, and loving exchange of ideas and we will keep it that way! The recent "atheist vs. theist" wars (and any other wars, for that matter) are NOT welcome here! If such is your inclination, kindly please do yourself, the Group, me, and Daily Kos a great big favor, and leave us be, pass on elsewhere. Thank You!)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Flask of Ye Philosophic Mercury (17+ / 0-)

    ..... drop by drop......

    "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

    by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:01:43 PM PDT

  •  I join, if you tell me how I unjoin most (5+ / 0-)

    of the groups I am listed in and do not participate.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:04:50 PM PDT

    •  unjoining? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama
      I join, if you tell me how I unjoin most of the groups I am listed in and do not participate.
      Your humble scribe is not of the Daily Kos Helpdesk, alas, but I will share what little I have.

      To wit: Contact the Admin(s) of the Groups you no longer participate in, and ask to be removed.

      Howbeit, were I you, I would confirm this with the Helpdesk folks first, as they are the experts on matters technical at Daily Kos whereas I am not.

      And thank you for your support and interest! I will create an invitation for you nonetheless; whether you join or not is, of course, up to you.

      Peace!

      Sean

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:19:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As admin of a couple of groups (4+ / 0-)

        You had it right at the get-go; and no need to bother help desk. Contact the admin of any group you wish to join, or leave, and they can take care of it for you.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:34:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Muchas gracias, Catte Nappe! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama
          As admin of a couple of groups, You had it right at the get-go; and no need to bother help desk. Contact the admin of any group you wish to join, or leave, and they can take care of it for you.
          Thank you, Catte Nappe!  (I knew the Pootie People wouldn't let me down!  :-)

          mimi, you see this?

          "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

          by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:42:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  mimi, go to your profile, and click on "My Groups" (3+ / 0-)

      in the row of links above "mimi's Profile."  This brings up a list of all your groups, your role in each group, and a button to select for leaving the group.  That's how I dropped all the groups for which I had a "contributor" role (which is pointless as far as I can see) after I hadn't gotten a response from the group admins to my requests to be removed.

      •  Thank you, Joy of Fishes! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama, mimi, AoT
        go to your profile, and click on "My Groups" in the row of links above "mimi's Profile."  This brings up a list of all your groups, your role in each group, and a button to select for leaving the group.  That's how I dropped all the groups for which I had a "contributor" role (which is pointless as far as I can see) after I hadn't gotten a response from the group admins to my requests to be removed.
        If mimi gets nothing else from this Diary, she'll at least get the assistance you and Catte Nappe gave her.

        This is what Mutualistic Anarchists call mutual aid, and it's the best, greatest hope for our human race to ever grow beyond our perceived need to give some of us authority over others of us!

        Your actions (and Catte's) are perfect examples of what commenter Paul Rogers called "Be Excellent To Each Other" which is really the only rule specific to this Group.

        I thank you and wish Peace and every possible Blessing upon you. Thank you again!

        Sean

        "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

        by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 04:42:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks to all who responded to my comment (2+ / 0-)

          I will try all the options ... to delete myself from groups. Very kind of you all.

          And thank you Thanatokephaloides, now I am very inclinded to reconsider. "Be excellent to Each Other" ...would be wonderful. :)

          At least I should try...

          Thanks again. Very kind of you all.

          We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

          by mimi on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 05:59:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you, mimi! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joy of Fishes
            now I am very inclinded to reconsider. "Be excellent to Each Other" ...would be wonderful. :)

            At least I should try...

            Thank you, mimi!

            I am flattered that my poor efforts have inspired you to give us (and by that, I mean this whole community) another try.

            My thanks to all those who reached out to mimi in any way to help her, as well.

                                                           ---------------------------------

            Mutual Aid.

            Alive and well, right here before our own eyes.

            I love it!

            "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

            by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:12:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Finnally... (5+ / 0-)

    I can use that Essence of Sulfur and Plumbum Nigredo I've been saving up...

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:37:02 PM PDT

    •  Sulphur, Mercury and Salt! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama, GreenPA
      I can use that Essence of Sulfur and Plumbum Nigredo I've been saving up...
      To bring all humanity to the Great Rubedo of the Philosophers! Love! It!

      I will soon need to go -- I've a meeting to attend this evening -- but I'll be in and out of The Great Orange Satan tonight and over the next few days. Looks like I've got a batch of invitations to make (including yours!).....

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:45:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And you seem to be the very Salt of the Earth! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama, GreenPA

      GreenPA, getting an invite out to you in the very next batch!

      :-)

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:12:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like fun! (4+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:51:34 PM PDT

  •  Be Excellent to Each Other. (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure how to really say this, but I don't know what the phrase Spiritual Working Paths means.  Is all that you're saying is required is to not to say negative things about other people and attempt to address criticisms of alternate viewpoints in as mellow and positive a way as is possible?

    I ask because I participate in a forum elsewhere, where this is a strictly enforced rule, and I don't find that at all such a bad thing.  As long as everyone is clear and upfront that's what we're doing and as long as that's what happens, it's a pretty worthwhile goal.

    To be clear, that forum is intended to avoid discussions about politics or religion, because those topics blow up into shouting matches so easily.  But the occasional forays into those topics do occur and when they do, it seems to me the existence of those rules actually do keep things civil for much longer than they otherwise would be.  (All of them do degrade eventually, though.)

    But in the usual discourse here, I occasionally engage in acerbic rhetoric.  Because sometimes it's appropriate for the conversation.  I do wish politics at large was a little more strictly positive, so if that was a realistic option, I'd drop that kind of thing.

    But I don't think that's likely to happen any time soon.

    There's no specific rules disallowing me from making a potentially offensive statement here.  And if I see the potentially offensive to be a good tool in my writing toolkit, I don't mind using it.  Because everyone else can and does.

    But I don't have anything I would describe as a spirituality.  Similarly, I don't really quite know what it means, since it seems to mean different things to different people.

    Hence my question asking for clarification.

    •  Be Excellent To Each Other, indeed! (4+ / 0-)
      I'm not sure how to really say this, but I don't know what the phrase Spiritual Working Paths means.  Is all that you're saying is required is to not to say negative things about other people and attempt to address criticisms of alternate viewpoints in as mellow and positive a way as is possible?
      That too! And excellently stated! When I write the Diary expressing the Guidelines per se, I'm going to "borrow" that, if you don't object!

      (I just don't want the "theist-atheist wars" dragged in here!)

      As for the phrase Spiritual Working Paths, that phrase is meant to include every way in which our readers and members perform spiritual Work in order to create (and be) the change they want to see. In Alchemy, we call this "the Great Work"; hence, the term I chose to use. In laboratory Alchemy, there are several Paths by which the Stone is said to be confected, which involve different starting materials and differing laboratory processes. The various Spiritualities and Religions of humankind are allegorical to these in many ways. Again, hence the phrase I used.

      If this doesn't clarify sufficiently for you, comment again or kosmail me and I'll try again.

      Sean

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:56:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm afraid I'm still a little uncertain. (2+ / 0-)

        I don't mind you using my phrasing at all if you feel it accomplishes your intentions.  I suspected it was at least a part of what you meant to say.  And if it helps, go right ahead.  After all, the purpose of this community is at least partly on being able to communicate more clearly with one another and outsiders.

        I think the atheist-theist conversation does matter in relation to a secular society.  But I think it's very difficult to actually have that conversation in a way that does not ultimately become some kind of war where divisive lines are drawn.

        Largely because when people are upset about a particular issue or angry at being misrepresented by the other side, it will often provoke a strong emotional response.  Often the result ends up being passages constructed to discredit the other person or side, not critique the actual idea.

        It's also very hard to speak respectably about things people honestly believe in and value greatly which I just frankly find odd.  There's no malice intended by that.

        To use as nonjudgemental a case as I can think of, my background is in mathematics.  My experience with others indicates to me I am usually better at interpreting statistics than the general public.

        Now suppose someone shows me a block of statistics and tells me a specific interpretation of that data is the reasonable conclusion to reach from that data.  There's lots of potential problems that can crop up with any statistics, and I do know how to look for some of them, at least.

        Mathematically speaking, I could disagree with the conclusion reached for one of those perfectly valid reasons.  If I point that out, my objection could either be purposefully disregarded, belittled or refuted in a way that makes no clear sense to me or reveals a poor understanding of statistics.

        If that happens, I will have no respect for that person's opinion, and I daresay it is impossible to respect opinions like that in general.  When this happens, it's also often difficult to speak respectfully to the person who does this, though I do try.

        I try less at doing that when the person makes it clear to me they will make no effort on their part to give me the same benefit.  This happens in lots of topics all the time, not just theist/atheist topics.

        I bring that up because I value clarity in speech.  I hope my own thinking here is at least clear to you.

        I still don't really know what spiritual work means.  Or how it relates to religious belief, practice or varying spiritualities.  For example, can someone with absolutely no belief in supernatural forces do spiritual work?  If so, what specific types of behaviors are spiritual work?

        I do generally try to remain nice, introduce people to ideas they may not have heard before, and remain positive.  These are things I think we as a society would all be better for if we generally adopted them.  I'm just not sure if those things alone would be a sufficient qualifier.

        •  clarity of speech (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paul Rogers, Joy of Fishes
          I bring that up because I value clarity in speech.  I hope my own thinking here is at least clear to you.
          It is, indeed.

          And you've been as perfect an example of a non-spiritual person making reasoned, mellow, inquiries regarding life on the "spiritual" side of the fence as I could hope for! And some really good questions, too -- some of which are stumping me at the moment. But I'll do my best with them!

          Thank you!

          I still don't really know what spiritual work means.  Or how it relates to religious belief, practice or varying spiritualities.  For example, can someone with absolutely no belief in supernatural forces do spiritual work?  If so, what specific types of behaviors are spiritual work?
          WOW! Now here's a nice thorny question! I'm going to essay to answer it as best as I can, without resorting to some cop-out like "if I have to explain, you wouldn't understand". I am fully well aware that explaining the things we're talking about here to someone unfamiliar with (and a non-user of) spirituality (as it is commonly understood) isn't the easiest task in the world; and if I fail to make such things clear to you, I realize that it is my own failure and not otherwise. I ask you to be patient with me on this account, as I am now entering uncharted waters which I have never attempted to sail in before.  Kindly please rest assured that I DO. NOT. bear any ill will towards you or any other, and I AM. NOT. attempting to belittle you or your mental position in any way. Anything to the contrary here is simply a brain-fart on my part; in the event of which I'll "back up to my own 40 (yard line) and try again").

          There are some basic spiritual beliefs which I am assuming here as axiomatic. The most basic of these is that the ultimate Source of all that is, being the origin of all intelligence, possesses intelligence Itself. Alchemists call this "the One Mind". According to the founding document of alchemy, the Emerald Tablet, everything that now exists does so because of the meditations of the One Mind on the One Thing.

          I look at this as an evolutionary process, starting with what "banged" at the Big Bang. The above-mentioned meditation of the One Mind on the One Thing is as likely to have caused the Bang as any other cause. (And I'm not sure the true cause(s) of the Bang will ever be truly understood. But I could still be made wrong here by science; we shall see, granted enough time.) Another thing that many/most Alchemists maintain is that the One Mind and the One Thing are One and the Same. I further add to this that, in one way or another, we all (and all other things) participate in that One-ness, as there can exist nothing beyond it.

          As to the nature of "Spiritual Work" itself: Let us say, for purposes of this discussion, that spiritual work, boiled down to its essences, consists of joining our psyches to the One Mind in order to forward the processes of evolution and development that began with (or before) the Big Bang. Several religions, mystical paths, philosophies, etc., offer various tools to accomplish this.

          As to whether or not someone with no known spirituality can do this kind of thing: I have no utter idea! As I stated above, these are largely un-charted waters for me, and in them I am indeed one lost sailor! So if you've accomplished nothing else in these comments, you may rest assured that you have made me think -- a lot!

          But let me think on this for a bit and "see what shakes loose", if you will; or some other commentator might slip us both some mutual aid with an insight.

          One short saying from our Taoist brothers and sisters which may apply here:

          The Tao which can be described is not the true Tao.
          The Tao, often translated into English as "the Way", is analogous to the "One Mind/One Thing" I spoke of above. (And the saying I blockquoted just above is just as true if I paraphrase it and say: "The Tao which can be translated into English is not the true Tao." (Which is why it's usually left as "the Tao" by Taoists, even those who speak English.)
          I do generally try to remain nice, introduce people to ideas they may not have heard before, and remain positive.  These are things I think we as a society would all be better for if we generally adopted them.  I'm just not sure if those things alone would be a sufficient qualifier.
          Above and beyond all else, those explorations are why we're here.

          And I thank you for your ideas and your (REALLY good!) questions!

          Sean

          "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

          by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:04:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The thorny questions are the most enlightening. (2+ / 0-)

            At least part of the time, I make bold statements as a reflection of the relative certainty of my own position.  It's not all that uncommon, and it's done more as a social tactic to get people over to my side (and silence contrary opinions) more than it is done to actually convince.

            It's the usual mode of discussion people engage in, in my experience.

            But I think it's also important to be able to throw all that out and actually have the real discussion now and then.  In part, that discussion is the primary method I use to evaluate my own position to see if it's as strong as I like to imagine it is.

            I also don't expect people to be able to give good answers to these sorts of things right away, either.  Or be entirely confident with the answers they initially arrive at.  Demanding to receive a good answer to a question never considered is a bit much to expect.

            I do greatly appreciate the attempt.  Your efforts here clearly demonstrate what you say your intentions are.  Anyway, onto your miniature essay.

            It looks to me like you're saying that the universe has something within it that is omnipresent, intelligent and is the source of our own intelligence.  And that spiritual work is something that seeks to gain an understanding of that underlying thing in the universe.  Possibly via some type of communication?

            I don't know why one would make the axiomatic assertion for any of those first statements, but you already likely know that about me.  But the second thing is curious to me for another reason entirely.

            Let's suppose there were an underlying, intelligent force of some kind permeating the universe.  Let's further suppose that people can join up with it in some way to acquire information about it and become more like it.  If this happens, it should mean that complete strangers ought to reach similar conclusions about its nature.

            In other words, it ought to render the traits of this thing (whatever it is) empirically verifiable.  I'm by no means an expert on mysticism, cultures or the like, but it seems to me that the reason why there's so many different names for various types of spirituality in the first place is because there's enough important distinctions between them that each group is (mostly) convinced the other ones are not on the right track.  (Universalist Unitarians, if I understand them, do not believe this.  But everyone else thinks they're wrong.)

            There's also the problem that all the observers are human, so if there actually did happen to be massive agreement, it could merely be a direct artefact of our human perspective, resulting from our common ancestry.  Like the general prohibitions against wanton murder, for example.  (Which again, gets into why one would credit these commonalities to the axiomatic spiritual things referenced earlier instead of something more mundane like the fact that we're all human beings with human brains.)

            I'm of the mindset that ruminating on difficult questions is generally the mark of intelligence and the path to wisdom.  So I'm glad I could at least be a help in that respect.  You're welcome for that.

            As for the Tao thing.  Not sure how that really applies.  It seems to be a fairly simple lingual paradox.  Like, "This statement is false."  Those sorts of things are trivial to construct.  But given that Tao is the name for a religion/spirituality, I do suspect the intention of that statement might be something larger.  Something similar to the following:

            There are no easy answers.  If right and wrong were easily determined via simple statements, there would be no problems left to solve.  What gives wisdom is not as simple as learning a series of words, but effort spent thinking about those words.

            If that's the intention, I can agree with it.  Lots of wise people over the course of human history have said similar things.

            •  thorny questions (0+ / 0-)
              It looks to me like you're saying that the universe has something within it that is omnipresent, intelligent and is the source of our own intelligence.
              You've got it. That's exactly where I was going.
              And that spiritual work is something that seeks to gain an understanding of that underlying thing in the universe.  Possibly via some type of communication?
              Exactly. The first goal is the communication; the second, what understanding we can obtain; the third, co-operation with that intelligence in our own evolution and that of the world around us.
              Let's suppose there were an underlying, intelligent force of some kind permeating the universe.  Let's further suppose that people can join up with it in some way to acquire information about it and become more like it.  If this happens, it should mean that complete strangers ought to reach similar conclusions about its nature.

              In other words, it ought to render the traits of this thing (whatever it is) empirically verifiable.  I'm by no means an expert on mysticism, cultures or the like, but it seems to me that the reason why there's so many different names for various types of spirituality in the first place is because there's enough important distinctions between them that each group is (mostly) convinced the other ones are not on the right track.  (Universalist Unitarians, if I understand them, do not believe this.  But everyone else thinks they're wrong.)

              Actually, in my own experience at least, it's not because "each group is mostly convinced the other ones are not on the right track", so much as "the other ones' " experiences weren't considered at all. And as for the Unitarian Universalists not believing this, they are not alone. Most of the modern Western Pagan religious Paths fully admit that their ways and methods are not for everyone. This admission, ipso facto, places them securely in the same camp with the UU folks on this issue. (Although at times I've encountered Pagans who have failed to figure this out, and reasoning with these can prove painful!)

              For the record, I'm in secure Solidarity with the UU (and, from what I've been able to gather, the Sufi) on this. In the final analysis, one must discover one's own Path and walk it.

              There's also the problem that all the observers are human, so if there actually did happen to be massive agreement, it could merely be a direct artifact of our human perspective, resulting from our common ancestry.  Like the general prohibitions against wanton murder, for example.  (Which again, gets into why one would credit these commonalities to the axiomatic spiritual things referenced earlier instead of something more mundane like the fact that we're all human beings with human brains.)
              I have argued this myself when, in the "atheist-theist war Diaries", a question was asked as to how and why morality arose among humans if it didn't come from God. My own answer was very much in your selfsame vein. I stated that morality, altruism, etc., were necessary things that human beings evolved to keep ourselves alive. If one considers where we stand in the animal kingdom -- naked, half-blind, half-deaf, and with no natural armaments to speak of -- we either developed these things (morality, compassion, altruism) and developed into the social and technological critter we are now or we ended up extinct. And that no god(s) were required for us to have done that.

              Just because I believe in a First Intelligent Causer does not, ipso facto, establish that proposal. And, unlike some, I understand that; I get that. The atheists' proposal with respect to the origin of ethics and morality is at least as reasonable, and should be so treated. (Along with those who propose it!)

              We're right back to "Be Excellent To Everyone" again!

              :-)

              I'm of the mindset that ruminating on difficult questions is generally the mark of intelligence and the path to wisdom.  So I'm glad I could at least be a help in that respect.  You're welcome for that.
              And I am gratified that you chose to participate with me, too. Although Alchemy often refers to itself as "Philosophy", you and I have entered into a serious degree of what modern humans call Philosophy! In other words, we're thinking about how we think (in this discussion, how we think about God and spirituality). And you're right, it has been quite rewarding indeed.......

              By the way, you have told me your background is in mathematics. Do you have any formal education in philosophy? (I don't; I'm an amateur.)

              As for the Tao thing.  Not sure how that really applies.  It seems to be a fairly simple lingual paradox.  Like, "This statement is false."  Those sorts of things are trivial to construct.  But given that Tao is the name for a religion/spirituality, I do suspect the intention of that statement might be something larger.  Something similar to the following:

              There are no easy answers.  If right and wrong were easily determined via simple statements, there would be no problems left to solve.  What gives wisdom is not as simple as learning a series of words, but effort spent thinking about those words.

              Although I'm not a Taoist (we do have some here, squeak up please!), I think you're on to what the proverb means. The effort spent thinking about the words we use to communicate one with another is what brings out the meaning; the words themselves often fail to do that by themselves. The journey (and how it changes us) matters at least as much as getting to the destination does.
              If that's the intention, I can agree with it.  Lots of wise people over the course of human history have said similar things.
              It's just the example I was able to come up with off the top of my head at the time.

                                                                       --------------------------

              A well thought-out response, kind sir. Very well thought-out in very deed.

              :-)

              "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

              by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 04:51:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I type way too much. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                thanatokephaloides

                Ah, well it appears I probably am incapable of performing spiritual work.  I'm also a little baffled by your use of the word evolution.  Your use seems to imply evolution seeks to make things better.  Which isn't accurate.  But that issue isn't as important as what I think you meant with the word.

                For what it's worth, I think the improvements we've had for a better world have come about through scientific understanding and discovery.  And the various refined tools of the scientific process have made that discovery much easier lately.  And in turn, those discoveries and technologies have allowed for better philosophy.  I get a sense of awe from contemplating the thought now and then.  I imagine it's not too dissimilar to a sort of spiritual satisfaction.

                About everyone else being wrong.  Yes, that is partly inaccurate.  I heard a claim once (I have no idea if this is true!) that when the Vikings would sail to a new land, they would honor and try to not offend the local gods, as those gods surely had dominion over the local lands.  There's a lot of variety when it comes to religious/spiritual beliefs.

                What I meant to say is that it appears to me there is a great deal of inconsistency in this prime intelligence thing for a supposedly empirical phenomenon.  So without making any assertion of its existence or nonexistence, it appears to have no consistent definition.  In mathematics, we call that not well-defined.  And it's something to avoid.

                I understand the concept that each type of path/spirituality exists for a different type of person, but it seems to me that's also an empirical claim which does not hold up.  These paths seem to be largely homogeneously adhered to by culture, instead of spread out all over the globe in big multicultural, spiritual communities.

                As in, if I ask someone what is the single most important lesson to learn, what first step is most important to take in order to be on their spiritual path, I'm going to get very similar answers based on the culture of the person I ask.  If I flew around the world, I'd get completely different answers (and fairly consistent answers) from believers living in Japan, Israel, Pakistan, Congo, the Southern US and so on.

                Going into further detail on this could take a while, so I'll just hope you understand that example.

                Part of what makes this such a thorny area, is once there's a certain level of clarity established, I don't think it's that hard to reach a reasonable conjecture that some empirically testable conditions ought to exist.  When that happens, I think we're essentially out of this spiritual field and entirely in the realm of science.  Of skepticism.  And once we're there, everything proceeding forwards in the conversation will remain there.

                The only way I know to avoid that kind of thing from cropping up somehow is to deliberately avoid it.  But then it seems the goal would no longer be to seek the truth, but something else.  Something dishonest.  And I don't think you're doing that nor would want to.

                Essentially, I think you fell into a sort of trap.  It wasn't my intention to lay one, nor did I design it.  It just seems to be a sort of natural, philosophic trap that occurs when things are defined clearly enough that another human being can understand the meaning of your language.

                In a way, that makes sense to me, since the way we learn language is by direct experience with empirical reality.  Hold up an orange, point.  That's an orange.  Saunter about the place, demonstrate.  That's sauntering.  More complex (and abstract) ideas are later built on this underlying foundation.

                It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that anything which is then clearly defined by our language (not self-contradictory) would then in turn make a statement of some kind about empirical reality.  To be clear, I'm not stating this is always going to be true, it just seems like a reasonable working hypothesis for what is transpiring here.  The nature of the trap.

                I really hope that doesn't come across as offensive, but is just an interesting idea.  That is why I suddenly felt justified speaking about empirical reality when our primary topic of discussion was spirituality.

                With regards to humans developing morality, it's been observed that primates (and many other social animals) have basic behaviors we can describe as morality.  So it's a part of our scientific knowledge that we are not alone in that area.

                With regards to my background, I took a few classes about philosophy (and read very few books) in college.  Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately?) it was mostly simple topics I either already knew a great deal about (skepticism/epistemology) or already had a strong background for (formal logic).  On the other hand, they were easy As without effort.  So bonus, I guess.

                When I was really young I used to think about various philosophical topics now and then.  Mostly about epistemology, as I've never really been inclined towards anything else.  I enjoy discussions about philosophy.  And I will admit to finding some amusement in playing devil's advocate and performing trickery with it that I find is difficult for others to correctly critique.  (Though I cheer inside a bit when I speak to someone who does!)

                I find it's easier to understand the strengths of a position if one understands the weaknesses of that same position.  That way, you can tiptoe around all the traps!

                Most of my friends susceptible to those rhetorical tricks (and in addition aggravated by them) quickly discover they ought to avoid those types of conversations with me.

                As for Tao and words.  Words don't have meaning.  They're just shapes or noises.  We give them meaning through our interpretations.

                Some of us are better at compacting a great deal of meaning into very few words.

                Some of us are uniquely skilled at compacting absolutely no meaning into a stunning quantity of words.

                I'm still unsure which is the greater feat.  But I do know which one I value more.  I know which one I'd rather accomplish.

                I'm glad to hear you've considered my efforts valuable so far.  I type way too much sometimes, but that's just fine if I know my audience (tiny as it is) can at least appreciate it.

                Unfortunately, I won't be able to respond for over a week after this, so if you'd like to continue this discussion, we'll have to do it in a message or something another time.  But if you leave a response here I will read it when I return.

                I hope I've given you some interesting fodder for the meantime.

                •  type too much? Not really! (0+ / 0-)

                  Your last message left me with much to think about, of course.

                  With regards to mathematics and spirituality, I suggest you look into Pythagoras. He was (from my understanding) what we moderns would call a Deist; he believed that the Prime Intelligence pretty much set the universe a' whirling and then stepped back to watch.

                  He then suggested a means by which the Prime Intelligence communicates with us lesser beings.

                  He posited that this communication occurs via -- wait for it -- Mathematics! (And Music, the relationship between which he was the first recorded person to have explored.)

                  I now travel to another Diary's comment thread, with the explicit purpose of bragging about our conversations thus far. We have carried out an "atheist - theist" dialogue the way such should be carried out, and I'm going to brag about it here.

                  Kind sir, you have accomplished a great deal for our little Group in a very short period of time indeed. In addition to much to think about on the atheist - theist plane, you have left us with the single, simple rule our Group will use as our guide for doing business (Be Excellent To Each Other!). And you have encouraged us all to think about what we think and believe; about the why we do what we do and think what we think.

                  I thank you. For all of it.

                  Peace and Success go with you on your journeys. You are welcome back here at any time.

                  Sean

                  "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

                  by thanatokephaloides on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 03:21:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  There is an entire DKos (4+ / 0-)

    'other' spin-off called Street Prophets, where just these sorts of conversations go on all the time. Do check it out.

    Oh... and while I'm at it, I discovered the hard way when this version of DKos launched with the ability to form Groups that groups actually cannot 'police' their own diaries/threads to keep troublemakers out. So don't fall for that hype, it'll only get you in trouble.

    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

    by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:55:57 PM PDT

    •  Street Prophets et al. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH, AoT, Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama, Joieau
      There is an entire DKos 'other' spin-off called Street Prophets, where just these sorts of conversations go on all the time. Do check it out.
      I do. Religiously. (Pardon any pun!)

      And if none of the topical Diaries (as opposed to administrative Diaries like this one!) don't get republished "over there", I'm going to be disappointed! And don't be surprised to find us republishing their Diaries here, of course.

      ;-)

      Seriously, I know there's going to be overlap. But this Group is more like "the Spiritual side of the Anti-Capitalist Groups", whereas Street Prophets is more "the Spiritual side of Daily Kos as a whole". And, of course, with a large side of Alchemy for flavor!

      Oh... and while I'm at it, I discovered the hard way when this version of DKos launched with the ability to form Groups that groups actually cannot 'police' their own diaries/threads to keep troublemakers out. So don't fall for that hype, it'll only get you in trouble.
      I may not be the police, but I can call the police (in this case, the DK site admins) with the best of 'em. The notice you're responding to there is more intended to prevent in advance. I just don't want to be offering any more gasoline or LOX to the "atheist-theist" conflagration going on elsewhere at Daily Kos.

      The Waldo Canyon Fire, from which I was evacuated, was enough of such for me, thank you!!

      ;-)

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:07:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll join (5+ / 0-)

    I'm Tibetan Buddhist and receptive to paths to peace.  

    "You can observe a lot just by watching." ~ Yogi Berra

    by dandy lion on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:03:19 PM PDT

    •  Peace (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH, Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama

      Peace, peace, and peace be upon you, dandy lion!

      I'll join. I'm Tibetan Buddhist and receptive to paths to peace.  
      And, in the final analysis, it's Peace -- everywhere and to everyone, fully deserving of the capital letter at its start -- which we're after here.

      Thank you for the comment! Invite on its way next batch....

      Sean

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:16:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm thinking about it. (4+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, I was born with a very strong sarcasm gene, and have had terrible luck finding the off switch.  I'll read and comment for a bit, and see how it goes.

    The subject of religion vs. spirituality does interest me strongly in my deepest core self.  I have a hard time communicating about it, though.  Hearing other people's "out of the box" thoughts can only help!

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:23:20 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, NancyWH! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH, Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama
      Unfortunately, I was born with a very strong sarcasm gene, and have had terrible luck finding the off switch.  I'll read and comment for a bit, and see how it goes.
      Not to worry. I've read enough of you elsewhere to know something about where you stand and what you're all about. And you're welcome here. If you write a Diary germane to our topics, and haven't joined, I'll republish it here myself.
      The subject of religion vs. spirituality does interest me strongly in my deepest core self.  I have a hard time communicating about it, though.  Hearing other people's "out of the box" thoughts can only help!
      And your thoughts will assist the rest of us, as well!

      In regards to the difficulties we all face when commumicating on these topics: From a strictly Alchemistic viewpoint, we don't call this "the Great WORK" for nothing! So please let us hear from you. It's worth your effort.

      Galtisalie wrote a Diary I've republished to this Group Blog. (It's here.) I recommend it most enthusiastically.

      (And, in fact, the publication of that Diary and its comments gave me a kick in the rear to get this Group started!)

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:39:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would also like to be sent an invatation! (3+ / 0-)

    I believe that we all strive, in our own way, to do the right thing. sometimes our own way can be a bit askew and having other people's input can set things into perspective and, perhaps, many can do the right thing.

  •  As a nonpracticing Anarcho-Mohist (4+ / 0-)

    this is in my interest. I'm an atheist and not "spiritual" in any traditional sense, but I have a very strong interest in virtue ethics and the crossover between the two is fairly strong.

    Mohism

    The Mozi

    My preferred pronoun is 'They', what's yours?

    by AoT on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 03:49:19 PM PDT

  •  Better living through chemistry (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a pharmacologist and connoisseur of consciousness.  
    Open minds  ---> open hearts (or vice versa).

    Please send invite when you get a chance.

    •  TIKHAL? n/t (3+ / 0-)

      My preferred pronoun is 'They', what's yours?

      by AoT on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 04:20:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shulgin should have won a Nobel prize (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Wee Mama, thanatokephaloides

        His work has positively affected so many lives and he was a wise and delightful old soul.  

        PiKHAL came out when I was a grad student.  It had a profound effect on my career path (which was basically to leave mainstream science shortly after finishing my degree).    

        RIP Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin - I went to his memorial service in Berkeley a few weeks ago.  It was very well attended and lots of friends and family gave wonderful testimonials of his life and love.

        •  And the treatment he received from DEA (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, bill dog

          ..... was little short of an outrage and definitively disgraceful. The DEA needs to be abolished, right along with the "War on Drugs" mentality which created it. (Thanks, Tricky Dick Nixon!)

          Howbeit, we need have no such worries hereabouts; I am what is called a Contemplative Alchemist, rather than a Laboratory one. I apply the Emerald Tablet and other such wisdom sources to myself, and encourage others to apply them to themselves, rather than substances. (As will soon become readily apparent). The goal here is to accelerate the constructive evolution of each human in accordance with that human's Will.

          There are still folks out there who pursue the Laboratory Work, seeking to confect a physical Stone. However, I'm not one of them. The Stone I seek to create is made out of each and every one of us, as is the Transformation being sought. Transformed, evolved humans, formed into a mutually assisting society which needs no bosses.

          That's what this Group is all about.

          "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

          by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 01:25:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And PiKHAL, too! :-) /nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

        by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 01:14:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  better living through (al)chemistry (0+ / 0-)
      Better living through chemistry.....

      I'm a pharmacologist and connoisseur of consciousness.  
      Open minds  ---> open hearts (or vice versa).

      Please send invite when you get a chance.

      Will do in next batch -- should be in next time you look.

      With regards to your open minds/open hearts diagram, I see it slightly differently, more like:

      Open minds  <---> open hearts
      i.e., and vice versa.

      Much like the idea that the One Mind and the One Thing (referred to in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes as the source of everything else that is). These are One with one another and, therefore, each other's Source. Neither can exist without the other.

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:51:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanatokephaloides, I'd like to join and see (3+ / 0-)

    how this rolls out.  I see many spiritual traditions as wisdom passed to us from our ancestors.  In my own practice, I am probably more daoist than anything else.  

  •  Dear Sisters and Brothers..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama

    (That's the English translation for the traditional Alchemical greeting Cares Sorores et Fratres)

    I must needs leave this Diary for a few hours. I have a meeting I must attend; and if I don't get a shower in first, my fellow attendees will assign me the status of terra damnata (or at least the Putrefaction sub-operation of Fermentation)!

    But I'll be back in the Diary later tonight, so keep talking; I want to hear from you all!

    And: for those requesting to join the Group, if you have made the request already, and you haven't gotten your invite by 1500 MDT Sat 09/06/2014, write me a kosmail and remind me, please!!

    In loving Solidarity,
    Sean

    "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

    by thanatokephaloides on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 04:57:37 PM PDT

  •  ::waves!:: (2+ / 0-)

    Wishing you all mutual support and insights! I'll follow the group - at the moment I'm about to take on more responsibility for another group but what you're undertaking sounds worth an eye -



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 05:29:34 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, Wee Mama! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Wee Mama
      Wishing you all mutual support and insights! I'll follow the group - at the moment I'm about to take on more responsibility for another group but what you're undertaking sounds worth an eye -
      Thank you!

      And, unless and until you're a member, if you post a Diary germane to our endeavors, I'll offer to re-publish it here.

      (I know about responsibility for a Group!)

      ;-)

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:29:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, since I'm aspiritual atheist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    I'll have to pass.

    Good luck.

    •  Well, thank you for checking us out! (0+ / 0-)
      Well, since I'm aspiritual atheist

      I'll have to pass.

      Good luck.

      Well, thank you for checking us out!

      Peace go with you!

      Sean

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:31:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I woudln't mind lurking. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides
    •  Thank you for your interest! (0+ / 0-)
      I woudln't mind lurking. n/t
      You are welcome!

      Do give us a squeak now and then (as you just did there) to let us know you're still with us.

      And if you do have either questions or contributions, please feel free to speak up. These things are also welcome here.

      ;-)

      Sean

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:41:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Although I'm a mixed bag in all things (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    anarchism and alchemy are a couple of the things in that bag, and I'd be most interested in at least taking a look at what you've got.

    “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” —Aldous Huxley

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:27:13 PM PDT

    •  bag (0+ / 0-)
      Although I'm a mixed bag in all things, anarchism and alchemy are a couple of the things in that bag, and I'd be most interested in at least taking a look at what you've got.
      I fully plan on writing some Diaries relating anarchism, alchemy, and modern human society. It's the ideas behind those Diaries which evolved into this Group.

      And it sounds like there's "stuff" in your "bag" that I'd like to see, too -- so when the Diaries start coming out, please do say what you think!

      Sean

      "I have to remember that while Jesus dined with publicans, there is no record of his consorting with Republicans." -- entlord

      by thanatokephaloides on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 12:45:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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