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Re: [sl] "evil"

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  • Seth Melchert
    I like this conversation, although I confess I have not understood all of the comments given. But folks are really grappling with a perplexing question. So
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 6, 2002
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      I like this conversation, although I confess I have not understood all of the comments given. But folks are really grappling with a perplexing question.

      So much of this conversation revolves around people's concept of God. By definition, a concept is a construct of the mind, so we have a problem talking about God when in fact you really can't. Trouble is, it is convenient and easy to forget that and get locked into these arguments. The essential element is to know God for yourself. Even when one must converse and impose linguistic limitations, there is a root in something beyond. that is why paradox and humor essential elements in any sacred teaching. (Humor is definitely part of the comment, "It thickens the plot.")

      Isn't this a little like the metaphor of fish trying do describe this thing called water, arguing how it can be both within and without, above and below?

      Or like trying to understand that what you hear on the radio is not the underlying carrier frequency that is really the broadcast signal. How can one frequency be the steady unchanging signal, when you hear loud, soft, dissonant and harmonious sounds?

      I do not disparage someone's comments about the lack of evidence of God in the world. Without the experience of God for yourself, you are not left with much to go on. Ever try to explain an orgasm to a eunuch? (No, I am not alleging  impotence towards anyone on this list!!).

      Dan asked,

        Isn't there a contradiction though.  The world
      is the play of consciousness.  Suffering, good and evil exist
      only from the human point of view.
      sat-chit-ananda-buddhahood are beyond good and evil.  From
      the point of view of God/Buddha its all part of the process.
      To avoid suffering stop being a human and become
      enlightened.  But you are speaking of deepening as a human
      being.

      God is non-dualist being-consciousness-bliss and is beyond
      good and evil:  This solution to the problem of god and
      his/her relation to evil seems too inhuman to me. 
      Two things: I am curious how you think "enlightenment" requires stopping being human? I recall stories of the Indian saint, Ramana Maharishi. He died of cancer, I believe. He would shift from writhing in pain one moment, to sitting serenely in contentment the next moment. There was nothing inhuman about his suffering - he demonstrated that suffering is indeed a choice one can make. (I'm not going to claim it is an easy choice, but he did demonstrate something extraordinary).

      Second, your idea that non-dualism means God is "beyond" good and evil is a contradiction. Non dualism means that God is both Good and Evil....and more.

      Mike also wrote some thoughts:


      >From my perspective 99.9% of the 'God' I hear about is clearly a human construct designed to replace the awful chasm of unknowing and give hope - and usefully provide an architect/builder/creator to explain the existence of the world. 
      Mike, I'd be interested to know about that other 0.1%
      ....
      The problem, from my perspective, is that this madness is, as it has been for years, used a social instrument to unite peoples to a common cause, which is, as often as not the attainment of selfish goals. (Surprise surprise.)   We end up in world where whole nations of (mad) people, believing themselves to know 'God's 'Will', and armed with the sure knowledge that 'He' is on their side, set out to exploit, or in some cases destroy other populations, who are of course defined as 'evil'.
      I agree wholeheartedly. There is no religion, nation, race or other subgroup of humanity that can claim a monopoly of stupid fools and ignorance. But that does not reflect in any way on the underlying nature of existence and reality.
      .....

      Let me try and bring this to a close with some kind of point.

      The REAL problems facing the world today are mostly born of human beings who are unable to see the whole of humanity as their brother, or the whole of creation as their responsibility.  We all, I hope, understand something of the details.

      ......
      My advice, which I'm sure you don't want; take the first steps to real individuality, to the attainment of YOUR OWN set of beliefs and values, and embark on what will probably be a long, scary and painful process of discarding your unfortunate inheritance, as a first step to discovering yourself and your own universe. 
      I also agree wholeheartedly. It is a worthy endeavor to find out for yourself who you are and why you are here.

      Cat also passed a comment, dismissing Ramakrishna as mentaly-ill. Could be true, but it seems unfortunate to throw the baby out with the bath water. I do not see that is any reason to also dismiss aspects of his teachings that were powerful and inspiring.

      Seth
    • mikebispham@aol.com
      ... the comments given. But folks are really grappling with a perplexing question. ... definition, a concept is a construct of the mind, so we have a problem
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 7, 2002
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        Seth wrote:

        >I like this conversation, although I confess I have not understood all of the comments given. But folks are really grappling >with a perplexing question.

        >So much of this conversation revolves around people's concept of God. By definition, a concept is a construct of the >mind, so we have a problem talking about God when in fact you really can't. Trouble is, it is convenient and easy to >forget that and get locked into these arguments.

        Hi Seth

        It goes deeper than that.  Your arguments above and below presume the existence of an entity you call God.  In order for me to participate in your conversation, I have to either take the time to diss this presumption, or ignore the dissonanace in our philosophical outlook, and speaks as though I share it.  This has the effect of conveying to you the incorrect impression that I am in agreement with your presumption.

        In all our conversations therefore, there is a hidden lie.  Not liking lies, I'm trying to nail it.   (Believing as I do, from the centre of my being, that Truth is just about the most important human concern.  That's why religious nuts claiming to 'know' 'truth' irritate me.  Most of them wouldn't know what truth was if it punched them in the eye.)

        Seth, you, like the majority of americans, presume both that there is a god (and that you know certain of its characteristics and desires) and that 'everyone knows this'.  It is for you an unspoken 'given'.  This is not an attitude shared by everyone, and all cultures.  Here in the UK for instance atheism is, at least in some circles, regarded as as much a valid 'base' position, and in many way a better one than a religious/spiritual outlook.  In most academic circles a kind of 'working' atheism is assumed. 

        Here on the sl list, it appears to be the case that over time an unspoken consensus has been reached that a belief in a god is shared by all contributors.  Not so.  I didn't have an original well-thought out point to make.  I was reacting to a feeling, before breakfast, in mildly tense times.  I'm sorry for any offence.  Perhps I articulated the beginnings of a feeling that it is time to bring some internationalism to a group that perhaps hasn't yet fully recognised the limitations imposed by differences, nor the potential benefits of access to the variety of global cultures.  As an international discussion list we have to learn how to deal with deep cultural and individual differences.  Presumptions about other peoples core beliefs and values surely have to go. 

        Seth continues:
        >The essential element is to know God for yourself. Even when one must converse and impose linguistic limitations, >there is a root in something beyond. that is why paradox and humor essential elements in any sacred teaching. >(Humor is definitely part of the comment, "It thickens the plot.")

        Can you see what I mean?   

        Best to all

        Mike
      • IAMMYRIAH@aol.com
        I have heard the Native American cultures have no word for evil. There is simply harmony, and disharmony. I like that. Always with Love, Myriah
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 7, 2002
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          I have heard the Native American cultures have no word for evil. There is
          simply harmony, and disharmony. I like that.

          Always with Love,
          Myriah
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