Friday, September 22, 2006

Rosh Hashana Musings

I would like to say some brief points regarding Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana is the day in Judaism which is designated for proclaiming God's Kingship. The question one may ask is according to our philosophy is it accurate to portray God as a king? God, according to us, has no desires or will. He orders no edicts. So in what way is God king? Now obviously we don'’t want to think of God as a literal king. The idea of kingship represents power and control. When we say God is the king of kings, we mean there is nothing more powerful than God. This fits very well with our understanding that God is total existence/being. Since God is really all that exists and everything is merely an aspect of God'’s power and being then it is clear that nothing is more powerful. What lessons can we take from this insight that will perhaps make the Rosh Hashana service a little more beneficial?

1) We realize that we are not in complete control of our own destiny. This relieves some unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves.
2) We learn to accept things as they happen and as they are instead of trying to force reality to conform to our wishes and desires
3) We should stop worrying about the results of our actions and focus on the actions themselves since the results are beyond our control
4) We realize that nothing in existence is its own power and everything is connected and interdependent. Instead of focusing on ourselves we should try to focus on the bigger picture. Even to focus completely on humanity is a mistake since humanity is just an aspect of existence.
5) By properly understanding the relationship of all things we will no longer have irrational hatred for those things which we think are different than us, because we will realize that even what appears as separate than us are really part of the same being.

I hope these musings are helpful. Have a happy year to all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Mystical Experience

There are experiences that most of us are hesitant to speak about, because they do not conform to everyday reality and defy rational explanation. These are not particular external occurrences, but rather events of our inner lives, which are generally dismissed as figments of the imagination and barred from our memory. Suddenly, the familiar view of our surroundings is transformed in a strange, delightful, or alarming way: it appears to us in a new light, takes on a special meaning. Such an experience can be as light and fleeting as a breath of air, or it can imprint itself deeply upon our minds.

One enchantment of that kind, which I experienced in childhood, has remained remarkably vivid in my memory ever since. It happened on a May morning - I have forgotten the year - but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden, Switzerland. As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light. Was this something I had simply failed to notice before? Was I suddenly discovering the spring forest as it actually looked? It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness, and blissful security.

I have no idea how long I stood there spellbound. But I recall the anxious concern I felt as the radiance slowly dissolved and I hiked on: how could a vision that was so real and convincing, so directly and deeply felt - how could it end so soon? And how could I tell anyone about it, as my overflowing joy compelled me to do, since I knew there were no words to describe what I had seen? It seemed strange that I, as a child, had seen something so marvelous, something that adults obviously did not perceive - for I had never heard them mention it.

While still a child, I experienced several more of these deeply euphoric moments on my rambles through forest and meadow. It was these experiences that shaped the main outlines of my world view and convinced me of the existence of a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality that was hidden from everyday sight.

From LSD - My Problem Child by Albert Hofmann

Saturday, September 16, 2006

XGH: My rebuttal

I feel so honored that the world famous XGH (formally known as GH) mentioned little me in one of his posts:

Reminds me of Spinoza (the blogger) who redefines God to mean existence and then claims he believes in God. Yeah sure, and Torah means ethics, Halachah means tradition, Sucah means a screened porch and Lulav is reallyÂ…errrÂ…what the heck is lulav? A kind of spiritual light saber I guess.

I don't think GH understands completely where I'm coming from. That's probably my fault since sometimes I'm not completely sure where I'm coming from myself.

GH seems to think that I'm just playing cute word games to avoid being called an atheist. But the that's not it at all. When I state my belief that Existence or Reality is God, I am not trying to pretend I believe in something I don't. My concept of God may differ from the majority, but I think that the common denominator of all definitions of the term "God" is the ultimate and greatest being. Because no other being is worthy of our worship. The only question is what exactly is the ultimate and greatest Being? My answer is that the totality of existence or realty is, in fact, the greatest possible being. All other concepts of God are simply not true because they don't fit this description.

The question then becomes how do I know existence is the greatest being? The answer is obvious. Let's try testing our theory out by picking a possible being that we might give the name "God" to. GH suggested a couple of choices in his post, I will choose one of them. I will start with his example of a hyper intelligent shade of blue from another dimension. Now let's ask ourselves if this hyper intelligent shade of blue is the greatest possible being. Well, if we postulate the existence of this other dimensional being then we must agree that it's part of existence otherwise it wouldn't exist. And if it's a part of existence then it can't be greater than existence itself. Hence we can conclude beyond any cause for doubt that it's not worthy of the name God. That's not to say that it doesn't exist and that it's not really groovy and worthy of admiration. It's just not worthy of the title God.

You can try this test out on any other conceivable being and you will see the same result. Therefore we conclude that the only being worthy of the name God is the totality of existence. QED