divinity, embodiment, existence, freedom, History, matter, metaphysics, personality, religion
Fragment 146, word count: 520.
Christianity and other antique religions dismissed the world of concrete matter as trivial staging for the great drama that is spirituality, which is to say, the life of personalities. This was a metaphysical orientation that identified personalities, living teleological forces of will, of ideality, as the primordial occurrence of existence. Existence was a matter of subjects and their relationships, involving objects merely secondarily. Although in the Abrahamic religions the drama involved a very great difference between divine and human personality, there are other narratives from historical cultures placing human personalities much closer to the divine, even as active helpers in Creation. These narratives imagine a catastrophe, perhaps rebellion (rebel angels) followed by exile or retreat into the created material world, now turned into a prison under the control of demons who appear as stars and stellar constellations; or human personalities fell in love with the world-in-time they had created and ecstatically entered it, forgetting themselves and by that forgetting were made unable to get out again. However, there are also stories of alchemy in which the turning of base metal into gold is a symbol and a message to humans about human personality learning to re-join the company of divine personality. There are stories of a path across the nested astral spheres, past the demons, a path connecting human and divine personalities that can be taken downward into matter or upward and out. Such was the ultimate drama of existence which marginalized concrete matter, conceiving it as a kind of illusion, perhaps created specifically to confuse and alienate humans from their true and original ideality, perhaps on account of some distant transgression. Although the great drama of existence in the Abrahamic religions has a similar overall shape, involving an initial state of alienation of human ideality from divine and then an eventual joining accomplished by arduous trials and/or divine grace, the stories from other traditions express more directly a sense of an inherent transcendence of human existence as ideality (spirituality), a transcendence that has been made obscure and elusive by the profound difference and difficulty between human ideality and material embodiment. This is plausibly the message of the stories, more important than the speculative particulars. The heart of the drama, the human urgency to discover the transcendent freedom of ideality, can be most plausibly interpreted as a vestigial recognition that the idea of divinity itself is merely a means to highlight the primordial transcendence in ordinary embodied living.
Preoccupation with this sense of transcendence and its difficult relation to material embodiment got stuck long ago in rigid orthodoxies which criminalized any further searching for the truth of it. Those orthodoxies had to be disputed and marginalized for humans to pay attention to the details of the natural world in a systematic and scientific way. However, for by far most of human existence it was taken as obvious that teleologically free wills constituted primordial existence. Science dismissed that creative teleological freedom of personality as merely illusion, just as antique religions dismissed the world of concrete matter as trivial staging for the great drama, the life of idealities.
Please see also:
Fragment 84, June 17, 2015, Errors and Allegories in Gnosticism, (word count: 1,869) URL: http://wp.me/p1QmhU-7b
Fragment 86, November 4, 2015, Horizontal Dualism and the Spiritual Quest, (word count: 2,321) URL: http://wp.me/p1QmhU-7f
Copyright © 2019 Sandy MacDonald.