What has come to an end is the distinction between the sensual and the supersensual, together with the notion, at least as old as Parmenides, that whatever is not given to the senses... is more real, more truthful, more meaningful than what appears; that it is not just beyond sense perception but above the world of the senses... In increasingly strident voices, the few defenders of metaphysics have warned us of the danger of nihilsim inherent in this development. The sensual... cannot survive the death of the supersensual. Hannah Arendt There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Einstein A story is told of Coleridge who had listened to a vehement argument by a visitor against religious instruction of the young. His caller concluded by stating his determination not to prejudice his children in any form of religion, but to allow them at maturity to choose for themselves. Coleridge made no immediate comment, but shortly afterwards asked his visitor if he would like to see his garden. Saying that he would, Coleridge led his guest to a strip of lawn overgrown with weeds. "Why this is no garden. It is nothing but a weed-patch." "Oh," replied Coleridge, "that is because it has not come to its age of discretion. The weeds you see have taken the opportunity to grow and I thought it unfair of me to prejudice the soil toward roses and strawberries."
There are two ways of lying, as there are two ways of deceiving customers. If the scale registers 15 ounces, you can say: "It's a pound." Your lie will remain relative to an invariable measure of the true. If customers check it, they can see that they are being robbed, and you know by how much you are robbing them: a truth remains as a judge between you. But if the demon induces you to tamper with the scale itself, it is the criterion of the true which is denatured, there is no longer any possible control. And little by little you will forget that you are cheating. Denis de Rougemont
The coming peril is the intellectual, educational, psychological and artistic overproduction, which, equally with economic overproduction, threatens the wellbeing of contemporary civilisation. People are inundated, blinded, deafened, and mentally paralysed by a flood of vulgar and tasteless externals, leaving them no time for leisure, thought, or creation from within themselves. G. K. Chesterton Toronto, 1930 The problem is not bad politics, but a bad way of life. Wendell Berry
When asked what he thought of Western civilization, Mahatma Gandhi replied: "I think it would be a good idea."
We know to the extent we love. St. Augustine of Hippo
Thomas Merton was once asked to write a chapter for a book entitled "Secrets of Success." He replied: "If it so happened that I had once written a best-seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message for my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and
form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success."
The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess Success. That - with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word "success" - is our national disease. William James
I'll help you fix and squeeze yourself up a new kind of God, one that tells you fertilize and multiply, outsow, and outblow, outplant and outgrow, outdo and outrun.
Some of us hate evangelism for its attitude, not its message. How do I explain to Billy Graham, a good man, why pitching his gospel to me is like trying to sell binoculars to Stevie Wonder? Hal Crowther, author "Unarmed and Dangerous"
Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand... The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious and everything else becomes lucid... A symbol from physical nature will express sufficiently well the real place of mysticism before mankind. The one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything. G. K. Chesterton
The task of the novelist is to deepen mystery, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind.Flannery O'Connor All the books were beginning to turn against me. Indeed, I must have been blind as a bat not to have seen, long before, the ludicrous contradiction between my theory of life and my actual experiences as a reader. George MacDonald (the Scottish fantasist) had done more to me than any other writer; of course it was a pity he had that bee in his bonnet about Christianity. He was good in spite of it. Chesterton had more sense than all the other moderns put together; bating, of course, his Christianity. Johnson was one of the few authors whom I felt I could trust utterly; curiously enough, he had the same kink. Spenser and Milton by a strange coincidence had it too. Even among ancient authors the same paradox was to be found. The most religious (Plato, Aeschylus, Virgil) were clearly those on whom I could really feed. On the other hand, those writers who did not suffer from religion and with whom in theory my sympathy ought to have been complete -- Shaw and Wells and Mill and Gibbon and Voltaire -- all seemed a little thin, what as boys we called "tinny." It wasn't that I didn't like them. They were all (especially Gibbon) entertaining; but hardly more. There seemed to be no depth in them. They were too simple. The roughness and density of life did not appear in their books..... The only non-Christians who seemed to me really to know anything were the Romantics; and a good many of them were dangerously tinged with something like religion, even at times with Christianity. The upshot of it all could nearly be expressed in a perversion of Roland's great line in the Chanson --- "Christians are wrong, but all the rest are bores." C. S. Lewis The impasse contained in the scientific viewpoint itself can only be broken through by the attainment of a view of nothingness which goes further than, which transcends the nihil of nihilism. The basic Buddhist insight of Sunyata, usually translated as "emptiness," "the void," or "no-Thingness," that transcends this nihil, offers a viewpoint that has no equivalent in Western thought. The consciousness of the scientist, in his mechanized, dead and dumb universe, logically reaches the point where --- if he practices his science existentially and not merely intellectually -- the meaning of his own existence becomes an absurdity and he stands on the rim of the abyss of nihil face to face with his own nothingness. People are not aware of this dilemma. That it does not cause great concern is in itself a symptom of the sub-marine earthquake of which our most desperate world-problems are merely symptomatic. ... It is becoming ever clearer that the terrors of war, hunger and despoliation are neither economic, nor technolgical problems for which there are economic or technological solutions. They are primarily spiritual problems..." Frederick Franck
Frederick Franck was born into a non-observant Jewish family in Holland. He was subsequently baptized a Protestant. After graduating as a dentist, Franck began the first dental clinic at Albert Schweitzer's hospital in West Africa. Later, having embarked a career as writer and artist, Mr. Franck heeded Pope John XXIII's call to build a society of peace on earth (Pacem in Terris.) Franck became the official artist of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and, as a tribute to Pope John, has created a temple of all faiths called Pacem in Terris on his property in Warwick, New York.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that we shall not have the benefits of this world for much longer. The imminent and expected destruction of the life cycle of world ecology can only be prevented by a radical shift in outlook from our present naive conception of this world as a testing ground to a more mature view of the universe as a comprehensive matrix of life forms. Making this shift is essentially religious, not political or economic.
Myth is "truer" than history. Rev. J. Edgar Bruns, paraphrase.
.... Information has become a form of garbage, and ourselves garbage collectors.... Like the sorcerer's apprentice, we are awash with information without even a broom to help us get rid of it. Information comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular.... And there is no loom to weave it all into fabric. No transcendent narratives to provide us with moral guidance, social purpose, intellectual economy. No stories to tell us what we need to know and what we do not need to know. Neil Postman
"What thou art doing is dangerous. Religion is not a tax thou payest to get rid of the woman's image for this image is indispensable. Woe to those who use religion as a substitute for the other side of the soul's life. They are in error and they shall be cursed. Religion is no substitute, but it is the ultimate accomplishment added to every other activity of the soul. Out of the fullness of life thou shalt give birth to religion and only then shalt thou be blessed." A pronouncement within a dream by a patient of Jung.
The work of heaven alone is material; the making of a material world. The work of hell is entirely spiritual. G. K. Chesterton
Most frequently (mysticism) appears historically, in relation to some definite system of belief, as a reaction of the spirit against the letter... For opposite reasons, neither the Greek nor the Jewish mind lent itself readily to mysticism: the Greek, because of its clear and sunny naturalism; the Jewish, because of its rigid monotheism and its turn toward worldly realism and statutory observance. It is only with the exhaustion of Greek and Jewish civilization that mysticism becomes a prominent factor in Western thought. It appears therefore, contemporaneously with Christianity, and is a sign of the world-weariness and deep religious need that mark the decay of the old world... The revived interest in mysticism has had popular results in several directions. It has seemed to endorse the shallow eclecticism in which many escape the difficulty of belief... It has produced numerous bastard cults, mostly hailing from America, though often wearing Oriental disguise; cults mainly compounded of pantheism, quietism, and crude auto-suggestion, and, offering a "mystical religion" to those seeking a spiritual home full of modern convenience and devoid of discipline.
"Mysticism"--- the 1958 Brittanica article The problem with insight, sensitivity and intuition is that they tend to confirm our biases. Naomi Wesstein Aquinas does lift Faith above Reason; but does not lowerreason. He does put the supernatural higher than the natural; but does not lower the natural. He says that the lower thing is in every sense worthy' except that compared with the higher it is worthless. This led to a habit of thinking on two levels, or even on three. It was like a medieval theatre... G. K. Chesterton Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around. G. K. Chesterton
From the Buddha's First Noble Truth ("Life is Suffering") to Judeo-Christianity's postulation of "original sin," world religions describe discord at the heart of the human condition. By changing the quality of consciousness, religion aspires to the elimination, transformation or transcendance of painful disharmony. Death is represented as a hopeful transition.
In the modern world, many people do not engage the "re-connective harmonies" of religious practice.
Obstacles are legion. Organized religion's endorsement of inquisition, crusade, jihad, and witch hunt are common stumbling blocks, resulting in easy demonization of traditional belief systems. Ironically, the unprecedented carnage provoked by 20th century secularity caused British ecologist E. F. Schumacher to remark "that the modern experiment to live without religion has failed. When we realize this, we will know what our post-modern tasks really are."
To understand the current state of religion, it must be noted that the 18th century "Enlightenment" marked a sea change in human outlook. Suddenly, it became plausible for human beings --- and almost obligatory for intellectuals --- to live without reverence for the "Ground of Being," to "wash one's hands" of the Mysterium Magnum.
The accompanying information may kindle interest in spiritual traditions that have sustained humankind since the dawn of religious instinct.
He who marries the spirit of the age is soon a widower.
The world is, for the most part, a collective madhouse, and practically everyone, no matter how "normal" his facade, is faking sanity.
Everyone is more or less mad on one point.
There has been no ideal in practice so moonstruck and misleading as the ideal of practicality... The man who is theoretically a practical man is practically more unpractical than any theorist. Nothing in this universe is so unwise as that kind of worship of worldly wisdom.
The most idealistic
is the realistically most practical.
Love your enemies, do who persecute you.
Y'eshua the Nazarene
I don't like a man to be too eficient. He's likely to be not human enough.