and the Religious Impulse
[edited and additional material added 1/12/2019]
It is now two thousand years (more or less) since the birth of a man with a message from God that has forever changed the course of human history. That said, it is woefully apparent that our collective response to that message has been what he said it would be - indifference, hypocrisy, avarice, and blasphemy, but for the few “whose lines have fallen upon pleasant places” (Psalms 16:6), “with eyes to see and ears to hear” (Matt. 13:9-17 ), who search the scripture “precept upon percept, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10 ), until they discover “the keys to the kingdom” (Matt.18:18), and “the sign, spoken by Daniel” (Matt. 24:15), and the sacred heart of the matter: “Love…” “Faith…” “Hope…” and “Charity…”. But for the sake of a few who recognize the value, the beauty, and the power of the message, of the way, this world would be better rid of the plague of humanity. Yet we have the message and we have the few and there is reason enough, for hope. For Christ was one, and gathered the twelve [the original ‘few’] and all the world now knows of them two thousand years later, even if the world does not understand what He tried to do.
There is really no easy way to understand what actually was going on back then, nor is it a simple task to explain what could possibly matter today about the nefarious ancient history of a small tribe of nomads turned merchants who traded their ‘prophets’ for ‘profits’ and had their most renowned Rabbi put to death by the Romans.
Yet these now ancient events do matter, and the man and his message are as important and as relevant today as they were then. For, you see, very little has changed in the hearts of men, and that is what it was really all about. And still is. How and why they are so important may be understood by considering the following.
Vestiges of our evolutionary past still dominate and control most of what we think and feel. This condition creates conflict in our hearts and minds between our cultural and/or religious prohibitions and the instinctive drives and will of our animal nature. Most of the time for most of us our instinctive impulses are successfully subjugated by the evolutionary adaptations of the ‘will to conformity’ and ‘fear of being ostracized’, which arose from the ‘strength in numbers’ survival benefit of family groups bonding together in kinship ‘clans’ and tribes which led to social organization on ever larger scale [and regrettably to coeval military organization]. This ‘genealogy of morals’ [Nietzsche], of which many others factors were of course involved, such as personal disposition, experience, and ability [size, strength, talents], may be said to have grown out of the need for cooperation and fairness among group members [i.e., everyone shares in the work of hunting and gathering and everyone shares in the food so obtained].
However this is not the whole story. Since the first moment of self-consciousness man has looked upon himself and creation with fear, wonder, and awe. In a world of mystery and magic quite naturally questions arose concerning death and the little death of sleep - where did they go? As early as 40,000 years ago Neanderthals had complex burial customs which indicate a belief in an afterlife beyond death. How did such a belief come about? Evolutionary purists would have to say the myth of an afterlife [and anything having to do with spirits] was drawn from observations in nature, particularly the cycle of the seasons and the cycle of life.
I believe it extremely improbable that every distinct, geographically and linguistically isolated group over the whole planet would derive essentially the same basic cosmological/mythological motifs of a creator/deities, a spirit-world, and an afterlife beyond death. That these motifs are truly universal is fully documented by anthropological studies over the last one hundred and fifty years. To me, this universality of beliefs indicates that something more is at work here.
One possible explanation is the idea proposed by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the pre-eminent authority on mythology in the last century and perhaps ever, which he called the “collective unconscious”, by which he meant that the subconscious of our minds are somehow all connected or are part of a common ‘source’ from which our “archetypal” motifs are drawn. He derived his belief in a collective unconscious from his studies of the dream imagery of his patients, which contained alchemical motifs and symbols common to the alchemists of the Middle Ages but which had not been accessible to his 20th Century patients. Their minds must have ‘pulled’ them from ‘thin air’ or must be connected to or part of some kind of universal sub-stratum. Jung stated that,
It must be pointed out that just as the human body shows a common
anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the psyche
possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture
and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective
unconscious. This unconscious psyche, common to all mankind, does not
consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent
dispositions towards certain identical reactions. Thus the fact of the
collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity
of brain-structure irrespective of all racial differences. This explains
the analogy, sometimes even identity, between various myth-motifs, and
symbols, and the possibility of human beings making themselves mutually
understood. The various lines of psychic development start from one
common stock whose roots reach back into all the strata of the past.
This also explains the psychological parallelisms with animals.
purely psychologically, it means that mankind has common instincts of
imagination and of action. All conscious imagination and action have been developed with these unconscious archetypal images as their basis, and always remain bound up with them. This condition ensures a primitive health of the psyche, which, however, immediately becomes lack of adaptation as soon as circumstances arise calling for a higher moral effort. Instincts suffice only for the individual embedded in nature, which, on the whole, remains always the same. An individual who is more guided by unconscious than by conscious choice tends therefore towards marked psychic conservatism. This is the reason the primitive does not change in the course of thousands of years, and it is also the reason why he fears everything strange and unusual. (From Commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower.)
[...] It must be pointed out that just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious. This unconscious psyche, common to all mankind, does not consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent dispositions towards certain identical reactions. Thus the fact of the collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity of brain-structure irrespective of all racial differences. This explains the analogy, sometimes even identity, between various myth-motifs, and symbols, and the possibility of human beings making themselves mutually understood. The various lines of psychic development start from one common stock whose roots reach back into all the strata of the past. This also explains the psychological parallelisms with animals.
purely psychologically, it means that mankind has common instincts of
Jung never was able to ‘scientifically’ prove his idea yet he was on to something more important than sexual repression [Freud's obsession]. I have even seen the acknowledgement and importance of "Unconscious Bias" has been recognized in the Corporate world- as part of my former day job [an IT tech] [now retired] I had to take a course on the subconscious bias we all possess as part of 'Diversity' training. Within the limits of the scientific dogmas [and its own subconscious bias] in which he was immersed and upon which his esteem and reputation was based Jung ‘pushed the envelope’ and stands as one of the true pioneers and heroes of the last century, at least to my mind.
The fact of universal motifs has a better explanation though. If you can accept the possibility of spiritual dimensions which exist in our universe but are normally imperceptible, then it is probable that even earliest man had extra-normal, or extra-natural [i.e., ‘supernatural’] experiences in which they observed or experienced elements of these normally imperceptible dimensions, i.e., spirits, angels, demons, and even “the presence of God”. It is possible that many, even most or possibly all members of these early groups possessed an innate natural ability and/or specialized [Shamanism] knowledge of how to open the veil separating these normally unseen spirit-dimension-elements [or entities] and that this ability and/or knowledge has gradually been lost or repressed as imperialist Europeans imposed their perception of reality on the worlds indigenous cultures.
Equally as important as the ability to experience the extra-natural directly and consciously is each person’s subconscious connection of our little visible corner of the universe to the infinite holistic true reality hidden beyond the reach of our physical senses and scientific instruments. This substrate of our minds, like our spirits or souls, actually exists in both worlds at the same time, which, it must be noted, creates the problem of susceptibility to evil influences from the depths of our minds, or the depths of the "collective unconscious" , if you will. But this ‘connection’ also allows good influences to instruct, encourage, support, and edify us by means of ‘intuition’, dreams, ‘meaningful coincidences’, for which Jung coined the word ‘Synchronicity’ , and most dramatically (and most rare), visions, all of which are revelatory in nature and of which ‘intuition’ is the most ubiquitous and present, though mostly just below the scope of our awareness.
Intuition is our spiritual ‘sense-organ’ whose ‘receptors’ are connected to the collective unconscious, yet our minds are more or less constantly attempting to filter and adapt this communication to conform and ‘fit in’ with the Weltanschauung and willfulness of our identity and compulsions. This of course is the opposite of how we should be ‘hearing’ ‘the voice within’. This problem is often compounded by the type of voice within’ you’re tuned to. Sometimes unknowingly or due to an unusual ‘susceptibility’ (vulnerability to psychic attack), sometimes due to a lack of understanding, or poor ‘character’, misguided, or just plain evilness, some choose or are subjected to “the dark side of the Force”, to quote ‘Star Wars’. The collective unconscious is like the entire spectrum of radio-bandwidth; there are ‘stations broadcasting at the light end of the spectrum and there are those doing so at the dark end. What we ‘pick-up’ in our inner ear depends on the nature of our spirit, heart, mind, will, openness, and/or susceptibility to spiritual influences, and last but not least, if we want to listen.
We live in a global culture where disrespect for authority is ubiquitous, considered cool and ‘hip’ among the young. Much of this attitude is the result of the wanton level of corruption that has been exposed by the free press in the military-industrial complex of corporations and their ‘soft’ money-bought and paid for corporate-pawn governments. As I wrote this the ‘Enron-World com/Arthur Anderson accounting-fraud scandal’ is in full swing, truly exemplifying why politicians, lawyers [who happen to become judges], and corporate executives are held in such low esteem. Ever since Nixon resigned rather than be impeached because of ‘Watergate’, the integrity of ‘authority figures’ has been held by many, if not most people, to be at the least, suspect, or more typically, contemptible. This general disrespect for authority, particularly among the younger generations has only served to further the sense of alienation and apathy toward God, spirituality, morality, and the meaning of life that atheistic, scientific, nihilistic, Darwinanism began fostering and festering into our minds one hundred and fifty years ago. Not that evolution is a total lie, but that directionless, purely accidental evolution in a spiritual vacuum is a lie from the heart of hell. By the following we can see how this all ties together.
It is very likely that the prejudiced precepts, insidious ideas, and avaricious attitudes toward God and spirituality of the scientific and/or nihilistic minded may actually prevent them, or inhibit or repress their ability to experience or understand an experience extra-natural in nature, including the epiphany experience of the ‘presence of God’. This sense of God’s presence and His love around us and in us is the true starting point of an understanding of AR and the rightful birthplace of the religious impulse. Without God our existence is essentially meaningless and most all our ideals, ambitions, and aspirations are for naught, with few exceptions.* The evidence for the assertion that what we think and believe [what we are ‘tuned’ to] about God and spirituality may affect our ability to perceive experiences of the extra-natural or whether such experiences are ‘available’ to us is derived from the highest authority. It is based on secret knowledge¹ revealed in ancient times and is referred to as "the keys to the kingdom"². What are ‘keys’ for? To unlock and lock doors. What doors? Dimensional doors. Read the source material cited and my related essays. I think you will find it…inspiring.
*Ideas and actions such as humanism, heroism, stoicism, Altruism, are God-approved but do not require God to exist.
(1) Matthew 13:11 & 13:35
(2) Matthew 16:19 & 18:18
Theodore Welborn All rights reserved.
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