Saturday, 10 March 2007

The archetype of Christ

The past one hundred years has seen an increased focus on the historical figure of Jesus - our investigation into the specifics of his life, environment, and teachings have brought undreamed of information (and the most ludicrous sensationalist speculation under the guise of unbiased research) and perhaps shattered forever the Church's previous presentation of him.

However, the one thing made most apparent by this trend is not the failings of Christianity but the problems at the very heart of our world view.

The symbolism, the meaning of Jesus - and crucially, his message - have been forsaken in the search for historical fact. Historical fact which ultimately is doomed by its nature to leave us spiritually disappointed.

The crux of 1st century messianic Judaism and the Christian movement which drew on much of its ideology, was the apotheosis of mankind; that each individual could reach up to the heights of divinity. That the Godhead was in fact an imminent part of our own nature, just waiting for us to realise it.

This concept has been more and more misunderstood in our search for historical rather than eternal truth (eternal meaning present in every moment, outside of particular, temporal, constraints). The immanence of the Christ archetype has been forgotten, lost, as we externalise Christ; we are then validated in our mundane, disrespectful self-image as we realise 'oh, he was just another dull human, just like the rest of us - not special at all'. Those searching for the truth of Jesus miss the point entirely. The truth was in his message, which was the same message as many teachers in those times: Man and God are one, but we must strive to transcend our mundane nature and rise above our lower selves.

Now it seems we have entirely lost this idea and we view ourselves - like we view Jesus - as purely material, unimportant, interesting maybe but ultimately meaningless.

We are more than that. In these times, we have to realise the divine that rests within us. That, or watch our nature slide into chaos.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

More on symbol and HTML-Reality metaphor

"In a sense, all user interfaces can be seen as interactive allegories of the computer. When Apple engineers introduced the Macintosh and its Graphical User Interface (GUI), they replaced the dry world of command lines and DOS prompts with a world of simple simulacra. The Mac cloaked the computer's workings inside an audio-visual "desktop metaphor" whose folders, trashcans and icons served as active and intuitive representations of the computer's internal processes. These simulacra proved enormously popular among non-technical people, and as computers and the internet continue to saturate the world at large, we can expect user interfaces - including internet browsers, web sites and program control panels - to plunge us even deeper into such iconic simulations, and to pull us furtehr from the binary codespace where the action "really" lies. Perhaps our tame digital metaphors will one day bloom into allegorical landscapes, and desktops, windows and browsers will open into three dimensional worlds animated with daemonic agents and interdimensional portals that conceal an underlying layer of purely logical protocols."
(Erik Davis, TechGnosis)

Is this not the same way that the philosophers and mystics have been veiwing the normal world for the past two and a half thousand years? The sensory experience we have are internally created metaphors which represent the real 'action' that is happening behind the scenes; the illusion of cause and effect, of colour, movement and scent, the social fiction of a cohesive self; the 'logical protocols', the 'code' which creates the appearance of a world is never experienced in itself (it cannot be: experience is caused by it, and is therefore a subset of the code: it is a particular 'program'), but can be manipulated by those with the correct tools.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Magic and symbol

Magic is something much misunderstood. I define it simply as the transference from imagination to reality: concepts within the ethereal realm of imagination, are brought into physical ('particular') manifestation.

The key idea here is the use of symbols. The ancient cave paintings depicting hunts were created in order to access the immaterial symbolic realm: an 'ideal' prey, the universal deer, is succesfully caught in the imagination, and this is the first step towards making that happen in reality. These works of magical art came about at the point when humanity was realising that we could use our minds independently of our environment. The ability to see with the mind's eye, something which is not real, and furthermore to express this in a form that others can understand. How amazing this must have felt to those first generations who developed these abilities! Now, we take this for granted but we must admit the wondrous power that this must have held for the primitive human beings exploring the new world opening up within them.

Precisely this is why magic has been so important to humans: we are the only animal capable of imagining. As soon as we held this ability, we knew it as a holy process asnd began treating it as such. The direction of imagination through ritual is a potent transformative tool, and essential in reaching individual maturity in a stable manner. It is essential for the ordered cohesion of society. And this, we have been slowly losing our hold on for the past 400 years. Our culture has lost its understanding of - and respect for - the subtle modes of consciousness. Through our bifurcation of reality (ever since Galileo and then Descartes divided Mind from Matter and instructed us that the two may meet but are distinct and separate worlds) and the subsequent hypertrophy of rational intellect (the hard, scientific approach as opposed to the softer, mythical/emotional one) we have reduced all aspects of Mind to an accidental speck, a benign growth from the huge mass of Body.