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7658Orphism, Shamanism, and the irrational [was: Ancient Greek Mysticism (LONG)]

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  • C G
    Feb 17, 2012
      Hi Dan and All,

      I was vaguely aware of the Pythagorean belief in the transmigration of souls but never made the connection between Orphism and Platonism, for example. We are taught that there would have been a real divide between the belief systems but I suspect that Orphism was more deeply rooted than we can know. Put differently, I am slowly discovering that the rational-loving Greeks must have been both repulsed by, and attracted to, the irrational. Kind of like working with prime numbers...you hate to look and have to look...you see glimpses of something that is bigger than your mind can conceive.

      I am also interested in the cross-cultural connection. That writer's particular bent is with Zoroastrianism, which he references through his article. (You can see his website here: http://www.pyracantha.com/ but his article is hosted elsewhere: http://www.eocto.org/article/103)

      I have been reading Ouspensky over the past year and reviewed his thoughts on reincarnation:

      http://www.ardue.org.uk/library/book18/chap11.html

      I was especially interested in his criticism of Nietzsche's approach to eternal recurrence. My understanding is that Nietzsche's idea runs like this: if you assume that life, of necessity, must repeat endlessly, then why *wouldn't* you choose to do those things that make you happy in this life and, therefore, all repeating lives? But don't take my word for it, here is Nietzsche in his own words: "Everything becomes and recurs eternally - escape is impossible! - Supposing we could judge value, what follows? The idea of recurrence as a selective principle, in the service of strength (and barbarism!!)..." (from The Will to Power)

      Ouspensky seems to understand Nietzsche differently from me but, regardless, I was interested in his criticism of Nietzsche's math.

      > The question about reincarnation for me is if something survives bodily
      > death and is reincarnated, what is it? Surely it is not me as me, since I
      > don't remember any past lives. In order to answer the question I think we
      > need a whole new physics, one that integrates consciousness into the
      > current cosmological order. This is coming, though what its form will be
      > I have no idea.

      Ouspensky touches on that same idea, to a point. I would prefer to re-word the problem differently. Questions like the one you've raised are challenging to answer because they assume that the answer must conform to the same thought pattern that posed the question. However, as we know from altered states of consciousness, 2 plus 2 does not always equal 4. In some states of mind, addition has no meaning whatsoever. Many "answers" simply rise above the question..as you get older, for example, the questions kind of drop away and, instead, an emotional response calcifies more than a rational understanding. To put it in context, I have no idea what happens after life, if anything, but if any kind of awareness survives, I believe it won't be recognizable by my present state of awareness. It is more likely it is vegetative. Much like dreams, I believe that all such extra-ordinary consciousness will not be confined to the limits of waking thought. In a moment of rapture, all the agonizing questions just...don't exist.

      I also don't think we necessarily need a whole new physics, just a more holistic approach to consensus reality. I prefer the type of Shamansim that Graham Hancock is talking about these days (to plagiarize my good friend, neo-mystical, not new age):

      http://www.amazon.com/Supernatural-Meetings-Ancient-Teachers-Mankind/dp/1932857400

      Funny, too, that I was drawn to this list twelve years ago by his earlier work, Fingerprints of the Gods, but now I find myself more closely aligned with his present interest in ancient teachings.

      >The quantum measurement problem, parapsychological
      > studies, near death studies, psychic experiences, and mystical religion
      > all point to it. Mad materialism can't hold out forever.

      Well said!


      > I sent a reply to your earlier post to the list, but didn't see it show up
      > in my mail box. Did you get it?

      Oh, sorry, Dan, I had received that post you just re-sent; and I also replied to it, too. However, strangely, when I went to check Yahoo Groups home page today, I was prevented from seeing anything more recent than 2009 in the table of posts at the bottom of the home page. Must be a coding bug because I can retrieve those messages simply by clicking on one and moving through the "previous" posts one-by-one.

      Cheers,

      Chris
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