A Seeker and Follower of this Blog presents a thoughtful summation on where most of this primitively developed world currently stands on this perennially asked question.
By zenothestoic.com, reprinted with permission
Fascinated by the concept of transcendence I have started to conceptualize what I believe such states of existence could be.
I have to say I find the use of religious terminology off putting in the extreme. I dislike intensely the concept of an overlord, an anthropomorphic (or other) master who determines my fate and who acts as a gatekeeper to a mythical realm of bliss. I can however accept religion and religious literature as an interpretation, a metaphor, or a pointer.
Hence I find much enjoyment (instruction even) in the Psalms. But I view the Psalms as a poetic and often beautiful outpouring of human need and frailty. Human longing for safety and peace in an often frightening world. When reading the psalms I do not expect Jehova to pop up from the floor and save me or even speak to me. Nor would I wish him to. Any more than I want or expect to meet Gandalf or Tom Bombadil. Or Sauron for that matter.
I live in the 21st Century and find much religious thought, let alone dogma, belittling and degrading to the human spirit.
Religion is, to quote that wonderful Eastern phrase, merely a finger pointing at the moon. God was made in the image of man, not the reverse. God was a concept we invented to explain the apparently inexplicable. To comfort ourselves that all is well and all manner of things are well.
Such moments of clarity as I have had, such moments of bliss or apparent awakening have been of an altogether different sort.
If I were ever to acquire the ability to enter permanently into such state I would be most disappointed to have a boss, a committee or indeed any fleeting remnant of what passes for authority.
I have an extreme distaste for authority, perhaps because I believe, very strongly, that in a perfect world it would be unnecessary. In the same way that police would be unnecessary if there were no crime. And medicine redundant in the absence of disease.
Because I also believe very strongly that human justice is a poor joke and all too often used for purposes of repression and injustice, to keep an established class in situ.
I also dislike intensely the grovelling concept of service so beloved of Western religion. I do not wish to serve anybody thank you very much, and in the perfect world of bliss which exists in my own imagination, such service is neither requested nor necessary. There is nobody to serve and no services required. Service can not, under any circumstances or system of logic, be perfect freedom, whoever it is you are expected to serve.
So how do I envisage bliss? The transcendent state. The release from the drudgery, fear and horrors all too readily apparent in the physical world we see around us.
The realm of god (“heaven”in English) is a different and in many ways separable concept from that of a “god”, a creator, an overlord. Or at least it is in my imagination; in my wishes. In my belief even.
It is a state in which peace is not only attainable but ever present. It is a “place” where justice is natural and a fact of existence. Where there is plenty (perhaps because physical nourishment is no longer necessary). Where there is no pain, mental or physical. Where there is contentment. Where anxiety does not exists because there is no reason to be anxious. Where guilt is an unknown and unnecessary concept.
I have often thought of that old explanation of magic, or rather what super powers must seem like to a backward and technologically ignorant race. We read much about mind, consciousness. Some still claim adherence to the concepts of Jung, some scientists even posit something not so very dissimilar to his universal consciousness.
That consciousness just is. Is a law of nature, an irreducible feature like light or the nuclear force.
Is it so very fanciful then to suppose that in the far distant future a form of consciousness may be found or indeed created without the frailties which attach to our own inferior version?
A consciousness de-coupled from matter, free from the stifling necessity of defeating entropy day in, day out.
I have heard many say that mysticism and science are perhaps not such strangers to each other. My own belief is that the future might reveal that the mystic state is what a backward people might call a reality created by a sufficiently advanced species. As stone age man might construe electricity as magic, so we deem nirvana or ecstasy. Some impossibly unattainable state which has nonetheless been achieved by others eons removed from us in sophistication.
I am sorry for my outspokenness in so far as it may upset or even insult the cherished beliefs of so many who cling to more traditional beliefs. But I do not feel that should prevent me from propounding my own equally deeply felt “beliefs”.
It would not be enough to live in the imperfect Culture. But to be a member of a Sublimed species. That might just about do the trick.