I love this, Katina. I have a kit for adults, too. I can’t use it in every class, some would think I had lost it, but I have a collection of ropes, balls and stretch bands that I introduce into discussion groups to get the “ideas” moving. Not everyone takes up the challenge, but many do, and it helps!
So…I proposed that we could use a JohnBot on the site (similar to the Cthulhu Bot you may have interacted with when you first signed onto the site). John works frequently with Clean Language and will often use a “Clean Start” to set the stage for our conversations. Many of us find it very useful for the direction of the discussion. JohnBot on the site, in theory, would help the user to orient to the site and to learn more about what they need or want from the site. This idea was quickly questioned, for how do we replace John with some program?! I saw it as a nice possible addition, but others see it as another brick in the wall of technological misinformation/misdirection. And none of this was taken too seriously, but it did segue more often than not into the distaste towards the directionality of technological advances.
Here is where it was first mentioned on a recording:
John uses a “Clean Start” to begin the session (watch the interaction with Marco and John to get the idea):
Later, after John discusses his reasoning for his contributions (a great autobiography by John of his work on this site, I might add!), using “questions that generate qualities,” etc., I mention that this is why I think a JohnBot is a good idea (at the 28:46 time mark) :
Ed (@achronon) quickly reminds us in the video that John is irreplaceable, for obvious reasons.
JohnBot is still just an idea and won’t be utilized here anytime soon, but one can hope!
Thanks, Doug, for your expert timing. I have forgotten this group grope for a group subject and this snippet from a previous Cafe has given me a jolt of self -remembrance, a remembrance of the forest and the tree. And it is also a very wierd kind of conversation. We are doing our best to put into words what most people have until recently never had to put into words. This is a wonderful time to be alive for we are privileged to try to create from the ground up a new way of talking about our peculiar time and place with the hazards and great opportunities we are blessed with. I am glad we have this archive to draw upon as a collaborative research project. We who are on the verge of a nervous breakthrough salute you!
There are, indeed, “shortcuts” to interpreting the Book. Many theologians refer to the Bible as a “living Word”. In my experience with reading (void of the ego), the Bible would just reveal itself. Reading it is like an outer body experience for me. So much so, that I walk away from it feeling as though I’ve known the characters all my life. Sometimes, I could smell the salty air of the sea when reading Exodus or I would choke on the dry dust of the Israeli work camps in Egypt. I read it the first time with my mind. The second time, I read it with my heart (cheesy, right?). This time around, the Book is reading itself to me. And it reveals things to me about myself.
Most people over do it when reading the Bible (like I did the first time I read it). I got to a point where I became afraid of the Book because I feared the things it revealed to me about myself. I would put it away for months at a time, only to find that I had trouble grasping reality without its guidance.
Amen to that, Marco! That is precisely why I used the word “prejudice” when it applies to Christianity. I know for a fact that the idea or attempt to incorporate Christian liturgy into your spiritual excursions would be wholeheartedly rejected! And the one initiating the attempt would be deemed a “Bible Thumper”. A site wide scandal would erupt against this “Thumper” and they would be exiled from the intelligentsia. That is the usual pattern.
See, this is why I love you bros so much! What sheer and pure honesty!!! I am very impressed and grateful that you (Marco) would notice and make others aware of this double standard. God Bless You!
Indeed, but where do they get us?
Also – and I don’t want to be a quibbler here – but just what is “the Bible”? What the Jews say it is? What the Christians say it is? And, if it’s the latter, which Christians are we talking about? The Roman Catholic Bible, for example, contains 7 more books and additional sections in retained books that were included in the generally used Protestant Bible (which goes back to what Luther decided was in or out). Oddly enough, all of the excluded books do not appear in the Jewish Tanakh (what Christians call the OT, even if the books are in a different order).
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not rejecting or negating anything you have said, I am merely looking for qualification and clarification. The Bible isn’t simply the Bible.
I’m also going to assume that you’re reading it in translation. (If I’m wrong in that assumption, please just say so and skip over the rest of this paragraph.) The stories that are related there (and I’m just going to stay with the Tanakh for the moment) are, indeed, inspiring, thought-provoking, and even capable of inducing other types of experiences. Still, the text you are reading in translation has little to do with the text that was preserved. I am finding out that it is in many regards a completely different book.
What is more, as our CCafé sessions on the Meru Foundation work and its follow-up, there may be a whole lot more going on with these texts that we would even suspect reading them either in translation or in their generally accepted parsed forms.
There is nothing there, to my mind, that should induce fear, other than that feeling of numinosity that should accompany the reading of something profound. It is good that you gain so much from your reading, and I can (and do) only encourage you to continue. But as with some many things, there may be much more here than meets the eye.
[ALERT: this is not proselytizing nor imposing a belief system onto this platform…Read with caution]
Your commentary, Marco, inspired me to dust off some of my old Eastern Religion notebooks from college. I did undergrad research on the harmony between Eastern and Western liturgy. It is so amazing to see the Hindu scriptures bear witness to Jesus Christ by name and his vicarious death. As a religion undergrad, I have gleaned over several remarkable scriptural references from Hindu scripture books about Christ. These Hindu scriptural passages show clearly that Christ was born to a virgin, is holy and blameless, he suffered and died, and redeemed the sinners by shedding his holy blood.
For example: The following quotations speak clearly about Jesus Christ. The second quotation even mentions the name of Jesus. - "After creating the sky, waters, and the earth, the supreme spirit of the Lord almighty thought “I created the worlds. Now to provide for and to save these worlds I have to create a savior.” Thinking thus He gave birth to a man from himself. (Ithareya Upanishad 1.1.3)
FROM MY SENIOR RESEARCH NOTEBOOKS:
All the Hindu scriptures which are referred are written in Sanskrit language and the Vedas quoted here are written between 2000 and 1500 B.C. The Upanishads are written between 10th century and 2nd century B.C. I took Sanskrit for 2 semester but never mastered it. My knowledge of Sanskrit was only applied to guided translation of some of the Eastern (Hindu) liturgy.
The Puranas explain the Vedic truths in the form of stories. The “Bhavishya Purana” is the 9th in this set of 18 sacred books. Its 3rd part is entitled “Bharath khand”, and the 2nd in the 3rdpart is entitled Pratisarg. This chapter has 34 verses that clearly tell the story of Jesus Christ and His incarnation. The following verses show the main parts -
Yeesh moorti parapta nitya shuddha shivakari:
Yeesha masih itticha mam nama prathishtatham
“The revelation of God who is eternal, Holy, Compassionate and giver of salvation; who dwells within our heart is manifested. His name is yeesha Masih [Jesus Christ].”
Speaking of this Savior and God incarnate, the sages call Him “Purusha shubham” (blameless and Holy person); “Balwaan raja gaurang shweta vastrakam” (sovereign king in a holy person robed in white); “Yeesh putra” (Son of God ); “Kumari garbha sambhavam” (one who is born of a virgin), and “Satya Varatha Paraayanam” (one who is the sustainer of the path of truth).
“Rigveda”, the 1st scripture, also presents Christ without mentioning His name, but referring to Him as the “Word who is God”. In more detail the description translates: “This man is all that has been, all that is and all that has to be. He controls the eternal life and it is for the redemption of mankind. He surpasses His immortal sphere and descends to the mortal sphere. He comes to give every one reward as per their deeds.”
Venerable words from the Vedic scriptures also affirm: “The word is the indestructible God.” (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4:1, 2); “The Supreme Leader who is the cause and governor of all creation who to protect and save sinful mankind, Himself appeared upon the earth wrapped in a body that is Holy and without sin.” (Rigveda 10.125).
*References to the Suffering and Death of Christ: As the NT catalogues Christ’s suffering as He underwent immeasurable physical and mental pain when he was crucified. The Hindu scriptures also highlight his physical suffering. Some of these statements seems to refer to Christ because there was no Hindu god or goddess who bore such suffering on behalf of sinners.
- The crown of thorns was placed on his head: “The sacrificial victim is to be crowned with a crown made of thorny vines” (Rigveda 10.90.7, 15);
- His clothes were divided among those who offered him: “After death, His clothes are to be divided among the offerors” (Ithareya Brahmanam);
- The person tied to a wooden cross: “His hands and legs are to be bound to a yoopa (a wooden pole) causing blood shed” (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 3.9.28);
- While the victim was at his greatest agony on the cross, he was given a herbal drink which had an intoxicating effect: “Before death, He should be given a drink of somarasa” [an intoxicating herbal juice] (Yajur Veda 31);
- Though the victim was hung on the wooden cross, none of his bones were broken: “N_one of His bones be broken_” (Ithareya Brahmanam 2.6).
I apologize for the lack of brevity, as I am sure that most of you are familiar with these ancient scriptural parallels between divine biblical revelation and the writings of the Upanishads and the Vedas. I just find it remarkable.
For the Jews, the Bible is limited to the first 5 books of the OT (the Torah or the Pentateuch in Greek) and the Talmud, which are the rabbinic writings and interpretations of the Torah. The NT doesn’t receive much attention or consideration among the Jewish faith population. That is what fundamentally separates the religion of "Judaism " from that of “Christianity”.
For Christians, the Bible is the totality of the OT and NT with the exclusion of the Talmud or the Apocrypha - the latter are the books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament. Though, Roman Catholicism still authorizes the use of the Apocrypha.
What irks me about the ignorance of Christians who send their kids to catholic school or even worship at Mass is that they often, have no idea how far apart Christianity and Catholicism are in their doctrine of faith. The former places all spiritual authority in the canonized scriptures (OT and NT) and the triune Godhead, alone. Catholicism, however, extends spiritual authority beyond the canon to include the apocryphal writings and the papal tradition. This characteristic of assigning spiritual authority equal to that of divine authority to the legacy of a mortal man’s teachings (the Pope) is considered blasphemy to the Christian faith. And vice versa. Yet, a lot of people (tragically) think that they are of the same faith. Have they never heard of the historical bloodshed which followed the Reformation of the 16th century? It was only the papal encyclicals and letters of the 17th century calling for ecumenism and pluralism that finally put out the fires and shut down the guillotines of the Reformation.
Yet, Christians often do themselves a great disservice by focusing almost solely on the NT whilst minimizing the relevance of the OT. Some churches (at their own peril) abandon the teachings of the OT altogether. Yet, most of the NT can only be accurately interpreted via allusions to the OT, esp. Revelation.
So, from a textbook POV, this is the historical definition of the “Bible”.
I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. The “Bible” (a Christian word used to describe another faith’s sacred text) for Jews consists of three parts: the T orah (or instruction), as you noted, but it also includes the Prophets (N aBiAiM), and the Writings (K etuBiM). The intial letters (and please excuse my horrible transliterations) TN’K is what yields the “word” Tanakh. I would also submit that there is more separating the two communities of faith than just which books they subscribe to, but that’s another discussion.
Though I hear what you are saying, I don’t think you mean to say that Catholics are not Christians, but that is a conclusion one could draw here. Luther excluded what you have identified as the Aprocrypha, and a lot of other (non-Roman Catholic folks picked up that ball and ran with it). For the Catholics, those seven books are every bit as much scripture as Genesis or Matthew.
OK, I’m not going down that road: you do mean to say that Catholics are not Christians, which is a bridge too far for me.
If this were in fact a true statement, there wouldn’t be the multiplicity of denominations that proliferate within what is generally agreed to be Protestantism. The Pentecostals have very different doctrinal/dogmatic positions than, say, the Baptists, and there is a variety of flavors of Baptists as well. Each and every one of those dogmatic tenets is man-made.
But, this is all I have to say about that.
That’s why I limited my description of Bible to that of a historical summary. All of the diversions taken by various faiths regarding the Bible and the cultural nuances added or taken away, I could never account for (I. e., the multiplicity…).
Catholics are Christians but Christians are not Catholic. Try to apply that to a logical syllogism.
When one of you described your dream and was told that we are “para” to the earth, it immediately reminded me of the medical terminology for different types of childbirth experiences - Para: Any woman who has given birth once or more is termed a “para.” … A woman who is para I (a primipara) has given birth once; a woman who is para II has given birth twice; and so on. The term “para” comes from the Latin “pario,” to bring forth or bear. And that symbol you drew after your dream…in all honesty struck me as a phallic symbol.
That is, if the spelling is correct.
Well…I don’t personally know this for a fact, as it hasn’t really been tried. Moreover, I can imagine Cosmic contexts in which it could fly—we’d have to be conscientious about it; after all, this is not a traditional Christian church, but an ecumenical society in the radical sense of allowing for the expressions of multiple belief systems, or no particular ones, at the same time that there is, I would say, an ethos amongst discourse participants relating to shared values such as kindness, listening, honesty, respect, curiosity, self-expression, etc.—and how we play these out.
That’s really the secret sauce, in my opinion. As well, there is always more to the story behind any person’s faith or non-faith. Personally, I am most interested in the story behind the story…that’s where things get weird.
Recently, I have been watching some pretty silly old sci-fi movies which reminded me of Infinite Conversations.
One movie, (the silly one) entitled, “Zardok” was about this man who was part of a savage race of humans. These savages worshipped this God called “Zardok” which revealed itself to them, now and then, as a huge head made of stone with the mouth opening to the entrance of the head. The head would just float around through the air and land on earth to be worshipped and appeased with gifts from the savages. In exchange for weapons or other pro-evolutionary gifts bestowed upon their land.
It gets interesting when one of the savages manages to climb into the godhead as it launches itself back into the clouds, and impulsively murders one of the gods hiding within the godhead. The godhead then transports or lands the savage into another vortex of existence that is hidden behind reality and protected by an invisible and impenetrable dome. This savage then discovers that he has stumbled upon a realm of immortals who have harnessed nature for the scientific and technological secrets to eternal youth. These immortals, then secluded themselves off from reality by building and navigating this stone faced spaceship that travels among the lower vortices disguised as their god and controlling the affairs on earth. The conflict arises as the immortals reveal their secret suffering in engineering themselves to avoid death, as it has manifested several immortal sub communities that have grown bored or apathetic with their immutable existence and start to envy mortal man for retaining access to death. The immortals had evolved into a sterile and stagnant culture cursed with an everlasting life in which their consciousness of the accumulation of time had an emotional impact upon them that robbed them of necessary mortal desires critical for procreation. In fact, when an immortal experienced death by some accident (not via deterioration), his/her cells were immediately regenerated and they were born again, over and over again into the same, etc.
The experiments and dialogues that took place among the immortals is not much different from what I’ve encountered in IC. Esp. as these immortals learned how to harness collective psychic energy to increase and apply their acquired knowledge in ways that accessed the supernatural.
The second sci-fi film, (which was actually quite beautiful and way too short), “Fantastic Planet”, also carried similar themes I’ve heard discussed in IC.
The first film had the greater impact upon my imagination as, I had never before considered the “burden” of immortality.
Okay, you are right! My bad, Marco! Not for a “fact” but it would not at all surprise me.
So, I had this weird dread about some of you guys last night. In the dream, some of you decided to meet up in a dream together. You all had scheduled a precise time to go to sleep visualizing a place to meet up (I think it was the Parthenon in ancient Greece). One of you had written down a message on a piece of paper and held it in your hand as you fell asleep. You all even went so far as to turn it into a “Zoom” event and fell asleep in front of your screens. You all have quite a beautiful brotherhood.
Have you all ever tried that? I think it would be a good idea. Bump it up a level. Dream together, bros! You chant and meditate together online. Have you ever tried applying some of your newly developed psychic skills to synchronized or synergized dreaming? When I watch you all on the recorded Zoom -casts, you appear to have incredible harmony. Anybody up for such an experiment? In my dream, you all had the objective of passing messages among each other via synchronized dreaming. Then, you all would meet up in waking life to discuss and process the dreams, which led to incredible discoveries and revelation.
This website reminds me of a mythical training ground for Platonic Guardians of the culture. Such ancient Guardians, I believe, were those who made the painful and courageous ascent from the cave of shadows. They educate each other on the utility of this new source of revelatory energy encountered from the light of the Sun, which gives them access to the Forms. In preparation to return to the cave as liberators.
I will use the Cave Analogy as a metaphor for my approach to technology. It is possible to educate one’s brothers and sisters out of the cave. Using knowledge to manipulate the shadowy images on the wall with encouraging messages of freedom. Using media that will “turn their heads” away from the wall of the cave (I.e., the screen) and spark or reignite their curiosities about the real world. Encouraging them to pursue such curiosities and develop safe community spaces for expression. That is my approach as an educator.
Although I have reports that mutual dreaming projects are happening, I would not like to participate in such a project. My pre planned direct experience with Mutual dreaming ended up in a disturbing experience I would not like to repeat. What I learned was that the ego, though necessary, should not try to be in the driver’s seat. I doubt that much good will come from mass lucid dreaming without ethical standards and a way of working with boundaries in respectful ways. I would not cancel out the possibility of shared meaning making in dreams, altered states, reading groups, study groups, happening spontaneously and with disciplined flow this is a great good.
I’m not sure, Katina, if you were parodying our efforts here or trying to change them in some way that you would prefer to go in? I am very open to your influence. I may have not gotten the affective attunement right.
To reveal one’s inner life in a public space requires great sincerity. It is not my book your holding it’s my heart.
It is easy to make a flippant remark and very hard to undo the damage. There is great care in treating other’s flights of fancy ( no matter how deluded you think they are) with respect.
This is my personal ideal which I dont always live up to. As someone who has been scorned and thrown out of the village many times I know how difficult it is to discern ego voices, demonic voices and visitations from higher intelligences. Unless there are enough people with enough skills the visionary impulse can cause us to crash a burn if it is not well grounded in a common sense. As a self declared semi- Aristotelian I imagine you get my drift. When we are harmonized it is due to being able to handle many mixed messages. It is not easy to produce a sense of trust on line and very easy to loose it.
I am sure, Katina, as an educator and a student of philosophy and religion you are not a stranger to these complex issues. We are in very wierd territory.
Co-sponsorship is one of the skills we are actively developing. This takes a lot of patience and willingness to be wrong-dead wrong. I am impressed by the vigilance of the core members commitment to this ideal and whatever is coherent in our group is probably produced by this preferred relational style. Our culture does not excel at this, yet, but those of us who are drawn to that ideal like hanging out together.