via Wikimedia Commons
The man who moves boldly through the world is widely admired. He seems to have a a conviction of belief that frees him of the doubt and triviality that feels like a plague to his followers. That admiration is what weak men feel for those who live in extreme humility. It’s a confounding of illness with purpose, of small thinking with spiritual truths.
The footprints of small thinkers are in their virtues. The weak man is ineffectual, so he relabels ineffectiveness as passivity and aspires to humility. The intellectually exhausted man seeks rest through identity, so he relabels exhaustion as certainty and aspires to faith. Expounding what already exists to a perfection of form.
A truth is nothing more or less than the articulation of the way by which one may move closer to an ideal, and that ideal is the description of a perfect man according to some framework of thought. Every truth comes with a set of evaluations that underly a moral creeping into self-acceptance, pride, and power. Defining your life purpose is an effort to make an explicit expression of that moral creeping, and resolutions are the attempt to formalize it. The religious man might find his power through Christ just as an atheist might feel intellectual smugness over his lack of faith. The action is the same and each has their truths, but it’s nothing nobler than a thinly-masked struggle for contentment rather than happiness.
Every truth grows out of a soil of neediness and all such growth is an action of a morality. Each morality is simultaneously a framework that enables men to effectively address the world and a system of social engineering that separates the rulers from the masses. No single morality is sufficient for all men at all times. As your needs and relationships with the world change, either your morality must evolve or you must withdraw into an ever-more-fictional reinterpretation and fantasy of the world.
The modern religious man seeks to tame himself, but calls that masochism acceptance, in a united front with his fellows to call himself the noblest of all creatures. The modern scientific man reinterprets life in just the same way, but calls it objectivity. In a reversal of primary experience, both take the individual’s experience out and replace it with social awareness – a glittery version of the movement of herd animals. Both trending paths of our modern world are contaminated with the socialism of the lowest common denominator. The ideal of the equalization of one man with all others has always been the nature of trends.
Popular small thinking always disregards the individual and says that primary consideration of others is in fact bigger thinking. As children, we start from personal consideration and are educated to the ideal of personal unimportance as part of our adaptation to communal living. Later in life, we might grow repulsed and adopt small thinking that reverses the adaptation to give back focus to the individual, usually in angry-sounding retorts smelling of hedonism and desire for subverted domination. Both are methods superficially driven by the fundamental desire for mastery over the world, but are really about coping with feelings with insufficiency.
Religious men are accused of being escapist by scientific men, scientific men are accused of immorality by religious men. Yet both endorse nearly identical structures for community and taming wild men. One man claims moral (spiritual) superiority, the other claims intellectual (rational) superiority. Some emphasize the community or the self, some emphasize spirituality versus rationality. There’s no difference; both types of men live pretty much the same lives when they live “well”.
The escapism of the devout Christian’s visions of pearly gates is no different than the counter-affirmation of atheism. Both have made determinations, decisions of truth, that release them to simply live out their lives according to a pattern. Intellectual fatigue drives solid belief into our egos, forming our ideas of who we are, and that belief can optionally contain religious faith or not. It’s the certainty that is the coping mechanism.
A single idealogical paradigm only fits all of our lives when we choose to reinterpret all of life through that idealogical paradigm. A truth is only permanent for you when it describes you as a belief. Religious and scientific world-views are systems of prescribed belief and systems of interpretation, exceedingly useful and full of contradictory truths. Each system and its truths are perfectly valid for the soils of neediness in which they grew; the arguments of validity are simply failures to understand gradations of soil.
Spiritual truths are individual and transitory. They’re unifications of mysticism with philosophical truth. They arise out of direct, minimally-filtered, experience in the world with an after-the-fact comprehension of the small-thinking paradigms that were a part of that filtration. They’re not reinterpretations of experience into a system, they’re the identification of our limiting mental structures so that we can burn those systems out of ourselves. Spirituality is a framework of abolishing frameworks, until nothing remains but to burn the framework of abolishment. That last burning is enlightenment.
Spirituality is not the seeking of God. It’s an openness that continually admits to the unprovable possibility. Faith is misunderstood as mental insistence toward the belief, but faith in that way prevents the mystical experience of God. Spiritual faith has no outward insistence so that it may be free to perceive, to receive, and to understand the signs. It is profoundly spiritual to read the words of Christ with total disregard for the interpretations of the church – there can be no other spiritual reading.
Spiritual truths are contradictory and heretical. They’re offensive to organizations and movements, which are groups of small-thinking men. They’re subjective, but without predetermination whether the context of the individual or the community is more important. Each experience is given a case-by-case basis.
What journeys lie in the Bhagavad Gita! And Eckhart Tolle modernizes generalized religious sentiment with such great appeal! How the poetry of Rumi stirs my heart! How well-deserved is Deepak Chopra’s reknown and financial success! Here, the religious people have turned away in disdain – I’m not pure enough with such thoughts.
Such insight into my conditioning from Freud! Such sublimity of divine physicality in Stephen Hawking’s essays! Look, spirituality bound up in psychology and in physics! The abstraction of mathematics yields visions unbound by dimensionality, and watch the perversion of modern medicine yield good cheer through health in men. Here, the scientific people have turned away – I misunderstand their efforts with such thoughts.
But deeper, watch also the faces of the people of well-meaning positivity and contentment pale before they at last turn away too.
Such transcendence of mediocrity in Nietzsche! What rediscovery of immediacy through Gide! Such a colorful burning of religious sentimentality by the Marquis de Sade! Such confounding of man and God in the mad speaking-in-tongues of Aleister Crowley! Why is all this burning of the equalization of all men not called spiritual? Is there not at least as much spiritual truth in their voices as in those that trivialize individuality? As I age, I realize the wisdom of Timothy Leary’s pied-piper calling to the children against their parents.
The question of the truth is just tiredness and the abandonment of happiness for contentment. Wanting one truth is wanting one soil, one life, one tiny little area of the world in which to rest. And this question and neediness for one truth can be good, for we all grow weary at times. So, pick your singular truth and carry on until you are restored to energy if you must.
But the cultivation of happiness is the collection of spiritual truths, with all their burning and immediacy of life. They’re conflicting, inconsistent prism facets of individual lives that grow on and travel across many soils. When life casts light across them, a glittering fire of dissonant comprehension cascades out in every direction… to every depth and height and to every compass point, through every imagined division of self and world.
Many of your spiritual truths lay in the things you think you aren’t – the things you wish you weren’t.