Best of Spirits

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Best of Spirits

Deer Grazing, 2012 Oct

A brief bit of bucolic footage

Looking out the living room window on an autumn morning

Audio: Agondonter, two verses from a previously unpublished recording.
Related Mindful Webwork: Deer Outside the House, a Daily Doodle pencil sketch.

Best of Spirits

Conflicting Desires and Personality Unification

People do what they want to do

People do what they want to do.

What people want to do can be…
…what they ought to do or what they ought not do.
…what might be good for them and others or what might be harmful.
…what they thought they wanted or what they didn't fully realize they wanted.
…what they intended and what they never would intend.
But, people do what they want to do.

Mortals of time and space* originate as pretty much purely potential personality.

Proto-human mental abilities achieve a self-and-other awareness which confronts the young mind with, ultimately, moral awareness, and the moral choice permits a new reality, the birth of the immortal soul. The potentially immortal soul.

Personality, the gift of God to be like God, cannot be defined,1, 2, 3 but the best characterization of personality would be unity. In our origins, we develop a number of roles, identities, behavioral patterns, masks, rote responses, and even a variety of whole world-views we wear in different circumstances. Cynical on a Friday night over beers with rough-hewn companions, hopeful on Sunday afternoon after prayer and worship with other faithful. Context, above all the context of those around us, determines our masks, as a rule. When our compartmentalized circles overlap, we have conflicts. You're thinking you're getting away with something when suddenly your boss, pastor, guru, Mom, or the police are there. All these rules and masks, and especially the world-view matrix in which all thought must take context, if they are morally at odds with one another, represent schizophrenic personality — which is actually an oxymoron. Basically, everyone on earth is a disunified soul — a mostly-potential personality.

Unified personality may not be the same thing as achieving full spiritual status, but they're certainly related.

It's not really that hard to understand personality unification. "He walked with kings, nor lost the common touch," words by Kipling which my grandfather admired. Unified personality does not mean homogeneous behavior. A person can behave in many different ways — quiet in group prayer, boisterous at the ball game, gentle with young children, tough in friendly competition — and remain, as the saying goes, "the same person" throughout. The unified personality treats each person with the same regard as any other, President or peon, simpleton or genius. Interestingly, the definition of treating each person the same can work for the Narcissistic sociopath whose myopic egotism lends the mind much the same power as personality unification, but devoid of moral governance and self-discipline. Such a state can only be temporary. Even if the sociopath does not break down and endure the consequences of a life of evil in this life, there may have been no morally-predicated soul to continue. One way or another, this life or next (or none), this form of unity cannot endure. True personality unification is absolute mental health. Without that we remain, as Freud put it, the sick animal — in the sense that we are not functional anymore as "animal" mind, but we are not cohesive in our humanity either, a personality in process.

The whole process of unification may be mysterious, but aspects of it can easily be understood. In any arenas of life in which you find yourself betraying your highest ethical and moral principles, your ideals, whenever you put on a false face for show, in whatever ways you compartmentalize your behaviors to excuse doing that which you know to be wrong, you are delaying unification.

People do what they want to do. Un-unified people want many impossible, conflicting things at once, creating irrational, self-destructive choices — insanity and suicide. The unified person has one focus, one overarching idenity, one "want," to do the will of God, loving God and serving our One Parent and universal family.

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Theologians Mud-Wrestle Scientists

For intelligent debate on intelligent design.

Ignore the sociopolitical bent of unscientific professors of science. Science per se is just information. What we have managed not to refute, the preponderance of evidence, suggests certain theories are more practical than others, but theories are always approximations we continue to refine. Science doesn't decide. Science doesn't take sides. Science doesn't determine. Science doesn't moralize, philosophize, or theologize. Science measures. True scientists do not presume to suggest that science could ever prove anything theological. God, being infinitely beyond nature, cannot be proved by the study of nature. Nature may be nigh-infinitely complex in its potentials, but it is always natural, and study of it cannot reveal anything supernatural, not motive, not purpose, not intelligence.

Scientist startled by SpiritThe only revelation of God in our daily experience is each other: Here we are! Scientists, philosophers, theologians, each of us, relating to one another and (at our best) studying together to understand the natural world, to appreciate and live up to the moral and the ideal, praying and striving to improve our faith in God, and our devotion to lives of love and service with God. Science does not reveal the hand of the Almighty. but as scientists we can recognize that, if we exist seeking God, it MAY BE because God made everything this way. That's the theory. We can't prove it. We may have our belief, but without proof, it's only belief, a working theory, with perhaps a preponderance of evidence but still in process of refinement.

And as fascinating as a theory can be, one could not be driven to passion by a mere good idea. The most fascinating theory will not inspire people to go out and face persecution and mortal threat. Such passion and inspiration can only come from a surety of truth, and truth we cannot have by any study of science, law, morals, philosophy, or theology, but only by a magnificent jump of personal perspective, a leap of faith, that propels us from thinking about and wondering about to living as if.

Broadly speaking, I hold with the scientists, as far as the science goes, but side with the Intelligent Designers as far as theism. I oppose the politicization of scientific culture, and abhor inappropriate applications of science whether atheistic or theistic. The fight against these things is all to the good. However, Creationists frequently remind me of Will Rogers's saying (also reflected in some psalm or proverb I'm too lazy to look up) about not arguing with a fool lest onlookers can't tell which one is the fool.

A great movie about the scientific-theologic debate is Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (2006) (links to iMDB page). It's great because of the contrast between the self-styled Scientists, mean-spirited, self-inflated, closed-minded, arrogant elitists (familiar in our modern "progressives") and their counterparts the even-tempered, sweet-spirited, self-abnegating, open-hearted believers. I'd trust those believers with my greatest treasure and I wouldn't trust the scientists to walk my dog across the street. If science were determined by the friendliness, honesty, and general good spirit of the people studying, rather than by objective measurement, then the believers win. It's sad to see the separation preventing either side from appreciating the position of the other. Neither seems to fully appreciate that, however much we may appreciate the hand of God in the wonders of nature, however much living daily in the presence of God may sustain and nourish our souls, science simply cannot speak to theology, likewise, living in faith may be proof enough for one's soul, but it still cannot speak a word about science.

Related Mindful Best of Spirits Webwork: The Question of Cosmic Personality

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Thou Shalt Do No Murder

Murder is a subset of killing.

Hardly the scriptural scholar I'd like to be, but isn't the translation more appropriately "do not murder"? Murder reflects perverse motivations -- unearned gain, lust, revenge. Murder is a subset of killing, not its equivalent. Killing may be always awful, yet justifiable, in defense of self, others, groups as in the nation.

MurderAs God is the author of good sense, God's laws would be sensible.

There is a time to yield, avoid conflict, turn the other cheek, put away the sword, die under a Chinese tank, or on a cross. Some would say that those who truly take on the full mantle of apostleship of Christ on earth might even eschew normally-excusable self-defense. However, if employing lethal force seems the only recourse for such a horrible prospect as defending the innocent from a threatening sociopath, I expect that the Judges on High can differentiate the sin of murder from the horror of a self-defense killing, at least as well as any good judges on earth.

The ugly but necessary right to lethal self-defense, extrapolated to the group, means civil police and national armies. This sometimes means scenarios on a large scale -- war -- that reflect the same ugly but necessary value. Although war, in practice, is more the realm of the guy with the horns and hooves than anything of the realm of harps and hymns, those who fight for the good causes on the front lines are as justified as those who defend a single innocent from a maniac.

This sensibleness regarding "do not murder," as with all the commandments, derives from there really being just one law -- as Jesus well emphasized, the love of God as the Parent, and the inevitable consequence, filial love of one's fellow. Murder from sinful motive is loveless, the killer's ego vaunted, the victim devalued. Conversely, by the measure of the golden rule, that which is done in a necessary service of defense is done in love. This can include loving as best one can that poor confused soul dispatched of necessity to higher judges. And, since so many have fallen in defense of others, laid down their lives for others, recall that Jesus said, there is no higher love.