Jump to content
Monica Soto

Welcome Guest!

Welcome to UK Pagan; The Valley

Like most online communities we require you to register for an account before we give you access to read and post.

Only a small number of our forum areas can be read without registering for an account.

The Magick Shop
Please consider visiting our kind sponsor: The Magick Shop
Paganboater

The Thrill of the Dark Side.

Recommended Posts

Paganboater

Today I wandered around a small section of unhallowed burial ground and later had some secondary school kids think my Masonic fob meant I was a devil worshiper. While I wouldn’t associate with anything I know to be harmful I did find their reaction amusing. Day and night are flipsides of the same coin but before I consider a descent into the dark how would people define “dark” and how would they define “evil”. I currently worship Hestia as my home and the concept of hospitality are important to me but I don’t have any intention of playing with metaphorical fire. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ad from Google

DavidMcCann

Like many a better thinker before me (Aristotle, Confucius) I subscribe to virtue ethics. If "good" means anything at all, then a good person is like a good cat or a good book: fit for purpose. The virtuous person is one whose conduct enables them to flourish in both human society and in the cosmos as a whole. Consequently, I'd define evil as anything that a virtuous person would not do. Obviously one must think of the context: in the Bhagavad Gita, Arunja doesn't want to fight in a civil war and cause the deaths of his rebel relations, but Krishna points out that as a prince it's his duty to do so.

Now some virtue ethicists follow Nietzsche rather than Aristotle in saying that we should seek to perfect ourselves rather than just "fit in", regardless of the consequences. This is the view of the Western Left Hand Path, which is usually described as dark.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/

http://theisticsatanism.com/Muse/FAQ-DV.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon

Interesting. 

How about the aesthetics of virtue? That which isn't aimed at furthering the concept of self perfection or flourishing in society but rather those two may interpreted as an outcome of behaviour which is fair, balanced and attractive ie. aesthetically appealing.

Appreciation of context gives rise to unique perspectives - Krishna is saying follow the princely role in war as all duality is the play of illusion anyhow. Even given that context do we buy it though?

Contemplating the attractiveness of virtuous behaviour is not just based on the output but rather the process going on within that behaviour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paganboater

Interesting. 

I wasn’t expecting the conversation to take this path. 

While most of us try to be “good” and therefore traditionally support the side of “light” I believe this an oversimplification. 

Being “dark” might not be the same as “evil”. 

I look forward to more replies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
On 4/3/2019 at 9:20 PM, Paganboater said:

how would people define “dark”

I wouldn't even begin to make a definition of it. As soon as one tries to define something it puts limitations on it. That's not really a problem in the mundane world but in the spiritual realm I think it is. We can grow towards greater insights, an expanded awareness or consciousness or however you describe but to that it open ended as opposed to making prescriptive definitions.

To me darkness contains the hidden and the mysterious dimension from which  imaginative creativity and the regenerative power of the divine arises. The manifestation of these is concurrent with light and vision but their origin is in the darkness of the unseen. But there is of course a whole lot more...

Whether this is a mental projection of my own creating onto my interior world (psyche) and exterior world or a "valid" perception of objective reality doesn't matter to me. It is the outcomes experientially that emerge from this way of looking and thinking that matter...

On 4/3/2019 at 9:20 PM, Paganboater said:

how would they define “evil”

I don't use the word evil very often but to me it connotes a particular kind of   manipulation, by an individual, of the energy which is inherent in other beings and/or their environment. The qualities of that type of manipulation are that it is either damaging to other people or restricting their freedom (even though it may appear that the outcome is appealing to them!) , the manipulation and its effects are done knowingly and the resulting dynamic involves in some way a feeding process by the individual doing the manipulating.

Looking at the the origin of your train of thought - the idea of worship has been explored in previous threads on here. I understand the interpretation of worship as simply recognising value and giving praise. I am more inclined to steer away from worship in favour of communing. Worship, to me, exists alongside supplication which could easily lead to a dysfunctional power dynamic with that which is worshipped. My view on that may well be down to the stage I am at in establishing my own "spiritual sovereignty" so to speak but I think there is also the possibility of that which is worshipped engaging in the same sort of feeding process as mentioned above.

Edited by Earthdragon
Clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavidMcCann
On 4 April 2019 at 8:40 PM, Earthdragon said:

How about the aesthetics of virtue? That which isn't aimed at furthering the concept of self perfection or flourishing in society but rather those two may interpreted as an outcome of behaviour which is fair, balanced and attractive ie. aesthetically appealing.

That's a good point. In classical Greek, kalos means both "beautiful" and "virtuous". We naturally find admirable a person who functions well in any way.

16 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

Looking at the the origin of your train of thought - the idea of worship has been explored in previous threads on here. I understand the interpretation of worship as simply recognising value and giving praise. I am more inclined to steer away from worship in favour of communing.

The other day I was thinking that if the "Abrahamic" religions make right living part of religion — "do what you're told" — with pagan religions it could be seen as the reverse: worship is part of virtue. We expect people to live in accord with their nature, their community, the natural world, and the gods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
19 hours ago, DavidMcCann said:

We expect people to live in accord with their nature, their community, the natural world, and the gods.

Just looking at the way you've scripted that...to be in accord implies dialogue, agreement and a mutually congenial dynamic taking place. That's not possible without appreciation of others and empathy. The "Abrahamic"systems seem to have the accord only with their own deity. I'm reminded of a conversation I had last year with a very likeable Christian business man who admitted that his morals operated within his religious life but did not enter into business or money matters - they were subject only to considerations of legality. That was hard to get my head around.

PaganboaterI've just looked again at your title for the thread. The thrill of danger and risk can become addictive and that can be part of the dynamic for "evil" I would say...

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

PaganboaterI've just looked again at your title for the thread. The thrill of danger and risk can become addictive and that can be part of the dynamic for "evil" I would say...

I've stayed out of this conversation as the words "good" and "bad", "evil" and "righteous", are cultural and contextual. 

Looking at the OP title, I might infer that the word "thrill" suggests something clandestine  and "dark side" to suggest something taboo.  You refer to "unhallowed ground" which is meaningless to me but is reminiscent of Dennis Wheatley.  In the Christian sense all ground is unhallowed except that which has been subject to specific [cultural and contextual] ritual.  In the Druidic sense this isn't sense.

If by the term: "Thrill of the dark side," you mean someone amusing themselves by breaking their own taboos then I would advise caution.  They are knocking bricks out of the walls of their identity.  This is sometimes done with professional support where someone has created for themselves a taboo which is affecting them negatively.

Certainly, in most Pagan paths, the term "dark side" is nothing to do with consciously negative behaviour whether directed at self, others, society or a situation.

My own view of rectitude stands on three legs.  [Nothing as grandiose as three pillars]

  • There is what is legal and what is illegal.  Without this the human world cannot function.
  • There is what is social and what is antisocial.  Without this humans cannot function.
  • There is what is kind and what is unkind.  Without this I cannot function.

Paganism has no commonly held description of the life well lived [possibly because we do not require redemption!] but for me, right living involves the three legs above coupled with perpetual learning.  I cannot say whether it is a good life but it is a satisfactory one 🙂

 

Edited by Moonsmith
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellinas

MS's approach has the virtue of being practical.

As regards Greek - the modern language seems to be capable of bearing much the same range of meaning for "καλός", albeit based in the idea of "good", and I might prefer to use "ωραίος" for "physically beautiful".

Dark and light are merely symbolic terms in this context.  They bear the meaning you want to give them  For me, there is no concept of virtue or goodness that really falls into the equation.  I would tend to see darkness as introspective, restful, healing, possibly with an element of mystery and a hence having a tendency to self-enquiry.  Light I tend to see as more active, outgoing, work related.

If you see them differently, that is your prerogative.  If your view of them is somehow difficult or even harmful, it is for you to analyse those symbols differently.

I doubt the value of virtue, good and evil as concepts.  Spartan society, for example, seem to have had no problem with killing off weak infants and of having an approach to developing the capacity of their youth that was decidedly bloody (if certain accounts are to be believed).  I doubt if they counted themselves evil on such bases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
10 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I doubt the value of virtue, good and evil as concepts.  Spartan society, for example, seem to have had no problem with killing off weak infants

Leaving aside the possibility of producing an imagined or a real world example of such an event being the only feasible survival related alternative ,  would you in general consider such a practice as being in keeping with becoming spiritually integrated and developed?  😁

Edited by Earthdragon
Grammar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
8 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

spiritually integrated and developed?  😁

Define for a given culture and time.  Please write on both sides and ask for more paper as required.

Edited by Moonsmith
to ensure that tongue is firmly in cheek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon

But in this dialogue, Moonsmith, I am addressing Ellinas's conception of the above.

I relate to the idea of spiritual knowledge and also opinion but I don't subscribe to the idea that the only valid knowledge is that which lies outside of matters of opinion. Of course there are many conceptions of what it is to be spiritually developed and integrated.

Edited by Earthdragon
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellinas
On 4/10/2019 at 8:25 AM, Earthdragon said:

Leaving aside the possibility of producing an imagined or a real world example of such an event being the only feasible survival related alternative ,  would you in general consider such a practice as being in keeping with becoming spiritually integrated and developed?  😁

Of itself, and as an intellectual exercise, I consider it neither "in keeping" nor "out of keeping".

That is partly because I have no clear concept of "becoming spiritually integrated and developed".  Certainly, I have difficulty identifying any objective or verifiable measure.

It is also partly because every society has its' own concepts of what is right and wrong.  Within my social background, it is not something I would recommend, spiritually or otherwise.  I rather suspect the ancient Spartan whipping the child to prevent it performing a ritual theft of cheese (yes, you heard that correctly) would be taking part in a practice that was of importance to the social, and possibly spiritual, ideas of the time.  Perhaps so did any who flung a weakling infant off a cliff.  In any event, it did not stop them being a highly religious society.  How "spiritual" they may have been is difficult to judge - even assuming that my idea of spirituality would accord with theirs.  They seem to have had a remarkable capacity for self sacrifice, if that is any indicator.

So, I do not regard the practice as currently proper.  But neither do I condemn automatically the spirituality of those of another time and place, where such actions were thought appropriate (at least, according to some accounts of that society).  And I conclude that "good", "evil, "virtue" and the like have meanings that become more nebulous the more I think about them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Of itself, and as an intellectual exercise, I consider it neither "in keeping" nor "out of keeping".

I've been meaning to bring up the morality thread from a couple of years ago and in a way this is going down a similar track. 

The consideration of the spiritual nature of our own reality can be looked at purely intellectually or we can additionally try to employ a higher or expanded level of consciousness, intuition and experiential knowledge. Likewise this topic of looking at Spartan brutality can be an analytical intellectual exercise or it be seen distinctly spiritual exercise in its own right.

12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

That is partly because I have no clear concept of "becoming spiritually integrated and developed".  Certainly, I have difficulty identifying any objective or verifiable measure.

What do you relate to within the idea of spirituality?

Objective measures could include looking at behaviour and psychometric tests etc but even if we were to have a comprehensive set of tests I doubt whether each of any  who are interested in spiritual work would only be encouraged by test results at the local clinic 🤣 

In practice our subjective judgment coupled with unloaded feedback from people who know us well are realistic ways to gauge where we are at. Should one be following a particular path then feedback from those who have more experience on said path would be useful. 

 

12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I rather suspect the ancient Spartan whipping the child to prevent it performing a ritual theft of cheese (yes, you heard that correctly) would be taking part in a practice that was of importance to the social, and possibly spiritual, ideas of the time. 

By "integrated and developed spiritually", I partly mean having a proper consideration to mental and emotional health. The practice you quote above this does not do this , in my view. The fact that it may have been an important practice for them does not make invulnerable to our assessment of it as a behaviour. It's necessity in a survival situation would be a different matter.

 

12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

In any event, it did not stop them being a highly religious society

Indeed. Again, to be working towards being spiritually integrated would subject religious practices to the considerations of health, balance and growth for those involved.

 

12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

How "spiritual" they may have been is difficult to judge - even assuming that my idea of spirituality would accord with theirs

Does your conception of the development of any sort of spirituality involve the acceptance of brutalisation as a general facet of organised conditioning in society?

Clearlysome of the outcomes from their practices were successfyl according to the outcomes they were looking for eg. producing fearsome warriors but that is a separate issue.

12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

But neither do I condemn automatically

I don't think that automatic condemnation is  very desirable or wise in any situation 😊

12 hours ago, Ellinas said:

And I conclude that "good", "evil, "virtue" and the like have meanings that become more nebulous the more I think about them.

These things can be seen as concepts objectively but the practical use of Moonsmiths reply coincided with a subjectivity in his answers which is where we find personal meaning.

The meeting between objective and subjective meanings (both valid in their own way)  is where philosophy should make a difference in our lives. I see spirituality as preferably being partly philosophical in its nature. 

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellinas

I may be able to think personally, and for my own purposes, in terms of intuition.  It would come down to little more than with what I feel comfortable.  I cannot easily turn that into a meaningful discussion, because it is so entirely subjective that what I regard as intuitively correct may be in an entirely different language to what those around me "feel"

What is an expanded consciousness?

Spirituality to me refers to introspection, being comfortable with and within myself, being able to "be" rather than "do", if that makes sense.  Whether others consider me spiritual is, to me, irrelevant - just as I would, generally, seek to take no stance on whether they are "spiritual".

Your definition of "integrated and developed spiritually" seems to me to lead to the conclusion that psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are likely to be the most spiritual persons in the world.  I'm not sure that is quite what you mean.

I have no need either to accept or deny brutalisation as an element of social conditioning.  It depends on the society.  And societies can change.  Such practices are merely historical (and, in some instances, current) fact.  I accept that they are facts.  I doubt whether they have any necessary consequence on what a given society might accept as spirituality.

Philosophy attempts to put matters that might be characterised as "spirituality" within a coherent framework - though that is not its' only, or necessarily its' current function in any given instance.  How successfully it does so is another matter.  Discussing overtly subjective matters I tend to find very similar to wrestling with blancmange.  I can identify my subjective viewpoints more or less successfully, and accept that others have such viewpoints.  But when they are so subjective as to be incapable of logical analysis beyond "it feels right", I have difficulty finding anything to discuss.  Which returns me to my first paragraph in this post...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

intuitively correct may be in an entirely different language to what those around me "feel"

It's also possible to have intuitional feelings in common with others in which case that can be explored.

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

What is an expanded consciousness?

Consciousness that has has a greater content of awareness than it did prior to being expanded...?

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Spirituality to me refers to introspection, being comfortable with and within myself, being able to "be" rather than "do", if that makes sense.

The qualities arising from that sense of comfort have an effect on your outer appearance and behaviour surely? 

In my experience what I do affects my ability to introspect and my introspection affects my behaviour. The two are conjoined almost...so why separate out "being" as spiritual and "doing" as non spiritual? The "doing" requires intent and I do see intent in action as being one of the key facets of spirituality that is visible in the world (see the bit about philosophy further down)

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Whether others consider me spiritual is, to me, irrelevant - just as I would, generally, seek to take no stance on whether they are "spiritual".

Is spirituality important to you then? (I'm not suggesting it should but am curious) If it is then wouldn't having some sort of external feedback be beneficial even if it isn't the objective measures that you refer to? How can you gauge your own subjective judgment apart from the degree of feeling comfortable with your own sense of self?

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Your definition of "integrated and developed spiritually" seems to me to lead to the conclusion that psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are likely to be the most spiritual persons in the world.

I said that to me it means partly having proper consideration of mental and emotional health. 

It actually means an enormous amount more experientially and regarding intention. Similarly to the concept of the dark, I don't try to define it as such as that would probably limit the scope of experience and potential that it can have.

Incidentally a psychotherapist may well be far more effective if they are integrated and developed in their spiritual self. In other words if they've sorted out their own self then they will be more able to help others with their expertise.

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I have no need either to accept or deny brutalisation as an element of social conditioning. 

Of course I am not trying to give you an imperative there, I just invited you to give a view on spiritual growth and brutalisation...

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I doubt whether they have any necessary consequence on what a given society might accept as spirituality.

Let me put it another way - in general terms do you think an individual is likely to be impeded in emotional well-being, mental health and spiritual growth by being brutalised? 

Being traumatised gets in the way of introspection, empowered awareness and a sense of comfort I would say...

All of that isn't to say that for any given society brutal conditioning has a necessary consequence that they see spirituality. In all likelihood however it will mean that the view of the people wielding the power in that society will be conditioned into the ones being conditioned by such methods.

 

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Discussing overtly subjective matters I tend to find very similar to wrestling with blancmange. 

Surely all of our experiences are subjective? And experience is the stuff that our lives are made of and what we value the most? Is this how you see the overtly subjective or am I seeing it as something different to you?

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Philosophy attempts to put matters that might be characterised as "spirituality" within a coherent framework - though that is not its' only, or necessarily its' current function in any given instance.

Hmm I agree about the different functions that philosophy seems to have in its many current manifestations. I would point to the original meaning as being paramount in this context - namely the love of wisdom. So being a philosopher should entail not just possessing wisdom but loving it. I would argue that analytical philosophy has drifted far from that. Love involves intention and identifying intention is an aspect of wisdom in my view. Outer actions are an indicator of all of this.

 

22 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I can identify my subjective viewpoints more or less successfully, and accept that others have such viewpoints. But when they are so subjective as to be incapable of logical analysis beyond "it feels right", I have difficulty finding anything to discuss. 

Surely there is a thought process that is involved in forming your viewpoints as well as a feeling that they are acceptable? Tracing how societal conditioning has affected us is a useful way forward. And looking at Moonsmith's example of his view on right living - that seems based on observation as much as feeling. As I opened my last post I suggest that intuition, observation and discernment (viz expanded awareness) be possible to be used in conjunction with the intellect. 

That is where my thinking was heading on the morality thread. Yes society has its collective moral judgments but we as individuals  have the capacity to analyse our own conditioning, examine our intuitions and conscience and decide what we want to value and why.

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellinas
On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

It's also possible to have intuitional feelings in common with others in which case that can be explored.

Up to a point.  But, of the feelings have no identifiable logical basis, how can we say a joint intuition is not merely coincidence?

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

Consciousness that has has a greater content of awareness than it did prior to being expanded...? 

Rather circular.  What does "expanded" mean?

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

The qualities arising from that sense of comfort have an effect on your outer appearance and behaviour surely?  

In my experience what I do affects my ability to introspect and my introspection affects my behaviour. The two are conjoined almost...so why separate out "being" as spiritual and "doing" as non spiritual? The "doing" requires intent and I do see intent in action as being one of the key facets of spirituality that is visible in the world 

Regarding your first sentence here, indeed, but in the chicken and egg, it is the internal that, to my mind, has primacy.  I find "doing" has the capacity to get in the way - from being an unwanted distraction to an excuse to avoid facing oneself, so to speak.  To do that which expresses the being - that is the, not always straight-forward, trick.

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

Is spirituality important to you then? (I'm not suggesting it should but am curious) If it is then wouldn't having some sort of external feedback be beneficial even if it isn't the objective measures that you refer to? How can you gauge your own subjective judgment apart from the degree of feeling comfortable with your own sense of self? 

It is important enough to be a pursuit.  But I do not trust external feedback.  I find others have, at best, concepts of spirituality which may or may not have relevance to mine, and, at worst, agendas that are totally at odds.  I've spent too long in the context of fundie Christian "spirituality" to have any reliance on the approval of others.  Doesn't mean I won't listen to what others say - but I will take nothing as read and care not if others disapprove.

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

n general terms do you think an individual is likely to be impeded in emotional well-being, mental health and spiritual growth by being brutalised?

A difficult one.  Has not apparent spiritual development arisen out of suffering?  What experience is off limits in spiritual terms?  Are all experiences equally valid?  I have no fixed view on this.

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

Surely all of our experiences are subjective? And experience is the stuff that our lives are made of and what we value the most? Is this how you see the overtly subjective or am I seeing it as something different to you?

Yes, but I think we assume a level of objectivity for the sake of practicality and to avoid a rather chaotic and anarchic approach to our conceptual life.

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

So being a philosopher should entail not just possessing wisdom but loving it. I would argue that analytical philosophy has drifted far from that. Love involves intention and identifying intention is an aspect of wisdom in my view. Outer actions are an indicator of all of this

I'm running out of time so, very quickly - are you confusing love of wisdom with the assumed wisdom of love?

 

On 4/14/2019 at 9:29 PM, Earthdragon said:

Surely there is a thought process that is involved in forming your viewpoints as well as a feeling that they are acceptable?

Probably.  Doesn't mean I can identify it.

Sorry, got to log off at this point...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pearlbrook

Ok *cracks nuckles* apologies for the edge lord-ness that is about to emerge, but these are my honest, though recognisably derivative, simplistic and fallible thoughts.

I mostly agree with Moonsmith and Ellinas. "Good" and "evil" or "light" and "dark" are concepts which I do not accept and which are entirely down to the society and its place in time. 

I believe that humans are just trumped up animals. If you can't apply the concepts of "good" and "evil" to animals - which very few people would -  why do they apply to us? Just because we are not living in a survival scenario? Because we can reason? Humanity proves over and over that fundamentally we are driven by the same things as the animal kingdom. As my old English teacher would say: it all comes down to sex and death. (Maybe not all, but more than enough). 

The universe appears to me to be fundamentally amoral, and as far as I'm concerned the only thing that matters is being able to live with the things you do. I am not actually myself anarchic - I believe fully in the rule of law and also in trying to improve other lives alongside my own, because these things bring me some sense of security, control and peace. But I believe that morality and legality are concepts invented to increase control over populations, alongside things like religion. That doesn't make them better or worse, but they are constructs and I find it helpful to recognise that.

While I may not agree with violence, crime, brutality and so on, I also do not believe these are evil things. They may be against the morality of the society in which they occur, but that is a different thing. Those that some would consider "evil" I believe are realistically either psychologically disturbed (though the pathologising of crime can have dangerous ramifications) or simply are people who have found a way to psychologically live outside of the sphere of human society. Rehabilitation and reconditioning is hard for these people, but also seems to have good results in countries who make it a priority. That's not to say crime is ok - crime is a risk to our societal safety, and as humans we require society to function to maintain such a productive and large population. We also all know there is no such thing as a victimless crime. But my judgement on whether crime is evil or not is no more valid than yours, or a criminal's, or a bird's. 

To the point about brutality and trauma leading away from spirituality and self-realisation - I see what you are saying, but there are many examples of people who felt extremely spiritually enlightened while enduring these things. Examples include: the Roman games; monks self-flagellating; fasting, even to the point of starvation; martyrdom etc. We can also see it arguably in serial killers who experience the act of killing as a release of their true self and an ecstatic moment. In a way they become closer to themselves and their spirituality this way, and also conforms to your idea, Earthdragon, that what you do instructs your spirituality and vice versa. This spirituality might look very different to outsiders, but we cannot judge their amount of spirituality because it is a personal, subjective thing.

Finally, because it is late and I am rambling... about the psychologists comment. The majority of a counsellor's training is actually self exploration and self-confrontation, so if you are defining spirituality as knowing oneself, they should come pretty close! Counsellors have regular counselling and mentoring of their own throughout their career, and as trainees or during PD the essays they write are expected to contain examples of the principles being applied to their own lives. That requires a lot of introspection! I should say that this doesn't necessarily apply to psychiatrists, who generally aren't required to go through formal training in therapies beyond learning the theoretical principles. 

I feel as though I may have missed the point of a lot of what I was trying to say, but I hope it was an interesting tour into my mind anyway.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

recognisably derivative, simplistic and fallible thoughts.

Like most of us 😀

 

13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

"the concepts of good and evil etc" are entirely down to the society and its place in time. 

These concepts surely exist for each of us and we can decide what they mean to us and that's a process we can undertake irrespective of the society we live in...

 

13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

If you can't apply the concepts of "good" and "evil" to animals - which very few people would -  why do they apply to us?

Because we can choose to take these concepts as being meaningful to us. Just like we can choose not to...

 

13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

Humanity proves over and over that fundamentally we are driven by the same things as the animal kingdom.

These are universal drivers for human behaviour, yes.

 

13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

As my old English teacher would say: it all comes down to sex and death. (Maybe not all, but more than enough). 

Well we all die, and have survival as a key driver for our behaviour and there are many approaches to sexuality.

 

13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

The universe appears to me to be fundamentally amoral,

Morality is observably an issue in the human sphere only, agreed. How it comes about - well for the most part power structures in society have used them to their own advantage. That doesn't remove each of us having the opportunity of using these concepts as we see fit...

 

13 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

That doesn't make them better or worse, but they are constructs and I find it helpful to recognise that.

I agree that they are constructs.

 

14 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

While I may not agree with violence, crime, brutality and so on, I also do not believe these are evil things.

I agree, they are actions. I gave a rough way that I see the concept of evil earlier in the thread but as I say I don't use the concept very much.

 

14 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

. But my judgement on whether crime is evil or not is no more valid than yours, or a criminal's, or a bird's. 

I agree.

 

14 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

but there are many examples of people who felt extremely spiritually enlightened while enduring these things. Examples include: the Roman games; monks self-flagellating; fasting, even to the point of starvation; martyrdom etc. We can also see it arguably in serial killers who experience the act of killing as a release of their true self and an ecstatic moment.

I think that no matter what situation one is in there is potential for an enlightening experience but to discern what is happening for an individual by only looking at what they report and not by considering the way they function , not only at the time but also over time, is a mistake I believe. It's partly why I brought the issue of feedback from others being important.

One could say that brutalisation may well lead to the person realising that they have a splintered sense of self and then commencing on the work needed to integrate their sense of self and their emotions appropriately. So in that case one could say brutalisation is a good thing. While this positive outcome may happen - in some cases spontaneously even - I wouldn't say that brutalisation is desirable. Most people who are being brutalised would have their energy  used up simply coping with the emotions created by such a thing and that makes growth very difficult. A lot are scarred and damaged permanently, which doesn't mean spiritual growth isn't possible for them either. 

This reminds me of Crowley who used to terrorise his disciples in order break their psyche thereby provoking huge change for them. It may be possible but to me has the danger of the feeding dynamic that I wrote about earlier and is too dangerous to be considered a healthy option for either party.

14 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

and also conforms to your idea, Earthdragon, that what you do instructs your spirituality and vice versa. This spirituality might look very different to outsiders, but we cannot judge their amount of spirituality because it is a personal, subjective thing.

Well, I have some sympathy with the idea that we all may be viewed to have the same amount of spirituality except that we choose how to direct it and expand it. I use the concept of a spiral , with certain ways of growing and behaving leading up the spiral and others heading down the spiral. Up the spiral could be seen to having "more", down the spiral as having "less" - it's another template for viewing these things.

Expanded consciousness is simply being aware of more than one was before.

14 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

That requires a lot of introspection! I should say that this doesn't necessarily apply to psychiatrists, who generally aren't required to go through formal training in therapies beyond learning the theoretical principles. 

Absolutely. Most psychiatrists in my experience are mainly engaged in handing out meds (useful and in some cases essential as they) but not engaging in psychotherapy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
15 hours ago, Ellinas said:

are you confusing love of wisdom with the assumed wisdom of love?

Not sure about making assumptions? 

I see love as a developed state of being in action. It is a doing rather than a feeling. The intentions within it can seem spontaneous as they may emerge from levels of being deeper than that which we are normally aware of. To love wisdom means to me having time, space, respect for it. Nurturing it where appropriate, not trying to control it, nor grasping at it, nor seeking it for the power that it may yield. Working with it to enlarge the capacities of both it and oneself.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
15 hours ago, Samhainmooncat said:

for the edge lord-ness that is about to emerge,

Hmm being an edge lord - that has a ring to it. Quite like the sound of that lol 😀

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon

Hi Paganboater,

How are you doing? What do you think to the answers and discussion that you've brought up? 😃

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pearlbrook
2 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

This reminds me of Crowley who used to terrorise his disciples in order break their psyche thereby provoking huge change for them. It may be possible but to me has the danger of the feeding dynamic that I wrote about earlier and is too dangerous to be considered a healthy option for either party.

I think "healthy" and "unhealthy" is actually a very interesting way of putting it.  I think that you're probably right that for the majority of people, this would be an unhealthy option. But I think there are certain people for whom this would be a positive experience. But I also imagine those people are relatively rare. 

2 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

These concepts surely exist for each of us and we can decide what they mean to us and that's a process we can undertake irrespective of the society we live in...

Because we can choose to take these concepts as being meaningful to us. Just like we can choose not to...

Morality is observably an issue in the human sphere only, agreed. How it comes about - well for the most part power structures in society have used them to their own advantage. That doesn't remove each of us having the opportunity of using these concepts as we see fit...

I think you're right that we can definitely choose to take these concepts as meaningful or not and experience them in our own way - in a way that's exactly what I'm saying I suppose. We all choose what we can live with, and that for me forms the basis of our personal morality. But at the same time I think the influence of our society on our morality is inescapable, insidious and pretty hard to untangle from our own. The influence begins from when we are small children copying our parents, and that kind of conditioning is really hard to argue with for most people.

I also absolutely think these are all simply my opinions and how I choose to live, and are no more valid than anyone else's!

Quote

I think that no matter what situation one is in there is potential for an enlightening experience but to discern what is happening for an individual by only looking at what they report and not by considering the way they function , not only at the time but also over time, is a mistake I believe. It's partly why I brought the issue of feedback from others being important.

One could say that brutalisation may well lead to the person realising that they have a splintered sense of self and then commencing on the work needed to integrate their sense of self and their emotions appropriately. So in that case one could say brutalisation is a good thing. While this positive outcome may happen - in some cases spontaneously even - I wouldn't say that brutalisation is desirable. Most people who are being brutalised would have their energy  used up simply coping with the emotions created by such a thing and that makes growth very difficult. A lot are scarred and damaged permanently, which doesn't mean spiritual growth isn't possible for them either. 

I think that's a really interesting question. I'm not sure I agree whether feedback from others is important or not, to be honest. After all, psychosis and spirituality are not always very far apart, and could be confused by others. Also, the perspective of others is informed by their own experiences and biases. However, monitoring how a person functions and reacts over time is also a useful tool for trying to rule out issues in the psyche. But I think it is very difficult to judge whether someone is experiencing "true" spirituality or not. 

I wouldn't personally say that brutalisation is desirable either - or at least, not something that I would find spiritually helpful. I don't necessarily think brutalisation requires a splintered sense of self, although I'm sure for many it does. "Appropriate" is an interesting word in this context. How do we judge if your emotions are integrated appropriately? Psychodynamic theory would say that if your emotions are properly integrated then the struggle between your id and superego is balanced and causes little distress. This is entirely possible for someone whose superego does not contain too many judgements on the topic of brutality. I am also thinking primarily of those who are being brutal, rather than those who are being brutalised. 

That's an interesting point, too though. If we lay aside non-consensual violence, In very specific circumstances violence and even physical/psychological "torture" can bring about altered or expanded states of consciousness (see "sub space"), integration of personality, and even an experience of spirituality. 

However, I definitely agree that trauma from non-consensual violence is something that makes spiritual and personal integration harder. Sometimes under those circumstances a person may cling to spirituality of course, but for most people I know that trauma can make self-realisation harder. If nothing else, trauma will create a lot more defence mechanisms psychologically which might block aspects of reality from consciousness. If we're defining spirituality as expanded consciousness (I honestly don't think I even have a real definition of spirituality but I'm happy to accept yours for the moment) then this means that defence mechanisms are definitely at odds with spirituality. 

I should add that we don't have to accept psychological theory as fact either, so the above is all conjecture of course.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
10 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

These concepts surely exist for each of us [good and evil] and we can decide what they mean to us and that's a process we can undertake irrespective of the society we live in...

Absolutely not!  We are models of the society in which we were brought up.  I grew up in middle class England.  How can I understand the ethics of a Jihadist or a member of KKK?  Brought up in their respective societies and learning their perceived justices why would I look further?  How could I look further?  How could I even discuss this?  With whom?  Even the words "Good" and "Evil" carry with them associations and examples learned within the given culture.

Oh some of us do change our attitudes.  We leave our communities and meet others.  Some of us use the internet for open discussion but not many of us.  Look at an average commuter crowd.  How many of those people spend time contemplating the origin or appropriateness of their thought process or habits?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
8 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

We are models of the society in which we were brought up.  I grew up in middle class England.  How can I understand the ethics of a Jihadist or a member of KKK?

It may well be impossible for you. But according to my life experience I can suggest a way that may work to some degree.

To understand their ethics you could study them, Moonsmith. Really go into them. Probably necessitating spending time with KKK people.

This would have to be in conjunction with working to examine your own conditioning and how it has happened. Or maybe ebb and flow between those two 

You could explore KKK ethics in relation to the intents and values that you of your own free will in the here and now decide to adopt and manifest in your reality. This hinges to a degree on a sense of detachment from the past that I think is achievable through a variety of methods all of which takes a long term approach.

To my view looking at one's own conditioning hinges also,ironically, on focussing with detachment on the past. And looking at what the emotional content of one's conditioning was. Was it control, restrictive expectation, unquestioning conformity. Was it narrow minded? Etc etc...

Finally having acceptance about the origin of one's conditioning fives the detachment from its origins (parents , school, church whatever) and that gives freedom to be, as you feel and think, who you want to be whether that is like KKK or whatever.

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon

Just to take this out of the realm of seeming speculation and theorising I'll say that my related experience to the above is with personal centred psychotherapy, transactional analysis, trauma focussed psychotherapy, emotional freedom technique (EFT), kinesiology, in depth Taist Nei Kung energetics in conjunction with a Chinese martial and finally various meditative and contemplative healing methods within traditional Druidism. 

Yes the society and our conditionings form a strong hold over our being and our thinking and can even seem like a prison but I think the prison has gaps between the bars at the doors and windows and we can over time reduce the rigidity of the bars. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
On 4/4/2019 at 5:49 PM, DavidMcCann said:

The virtuous person is one whose conduct enables them to flourish in both human society and in the cosmos as a whole

What about behaviour that enables them to flourish at the continual detriment of others albeit within the confines of the laws of the society? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
42 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

and that gives freedom to be, as you feel and think, who you want to be whether that is like KKK or whatever.

Just for clarity my personal belief is that should one choose to set out doing this kind of work with the intention that purpose is to enable a healthy flourishing, as David put it, and also to enable having an input into society which tends to enable freedom for others to make a their own choices then the outcome is that one would choose not to pursue power and control over others using thediscriminating, persecutory, brutalising ways of groups such as KKK. 

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
9 hours ago, Moonsmith said:
19 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

These concepts surely exist for each of us [good and evil] and we can decide what they mean to us and that's a process we can undertake irrespective of the society we live in...

Absolutely not!  We are models of the society in which we were brought up.  I grew up in middle class England.  How can I understand the ethics of a Jihadist or a member of KKK

Just to clarify the basis for this question, Moonsmith. Are you thinking that the ability to thoroughly decide what those concepts mean for us hinges on understanding the ethics of say a Jihadist?

I'm pointing to understanding our own journey and our own conditioning as being primary in this as it's only after sifting through that that an more uncluttered appreciation of how others have been conditioned in their views can take place.

So we end up looking at the process and how it is done. The actual content is secondary - we end up not fighting against the outcome but liberating ourselves from the cause which is conditioning. 

Pearlbrook you're right in that it takes place from our early development and so is difficult to work with. Doing enough disentangling to empower a sense of self in the present moment that detaches from the past can give opportunity to use other work to build that sense of self which can lessen the hold of the conditioning of the past.

We can then end up choosing to adopt all or some of the values of our society , truly as our own. This relates to the idea of "spiritual sovereignty" that I have referred to before. Or we can choose to adopt entirely different values. Either way we become free to be who we want to be.

All this is a process and is probably never ending.

I'm reminded of Tantric practice of purposefully adopting behaviours hat are taboo in one's society in order to break the hold of the ingrained conditioning that holds say over our subconscious and unconscious minds. Quite a bold and somewhat dangerous path depending on what the taboos are and what societies reaction might be to breaking them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pearlbrook
2 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

Just to take this out of the realm of seeming speculation and theorising I'll say that my related experience to the above is with personal centred psychotherapy, transactional analysis, trauma focussed psychotherapy, emotional freedom technique (EFT), kinesiology, in depth Taist Nei Kung energetics in conjunction with a Chinese martial and finally various meditative and contemplative healing methods within traditional Druidism. 

Yes the society and our conditionings form a strong hold over our being and our thinking and can even seem like a prison but I think the prison has gaps between the bars at the doors and windows and we can over time reduce the rigidity of the bars. 

ED, I'd love to discuss this more with you. I trained briefly in person-centred, and intended to do so with transactional analysis. I think the way therapy and the theories of different therapies interact with personality and spirituality is fascinating. I suppose this isn't the thread to do it in, but maybe we should create another?

48 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

I'm reminded of Tantric practice of purposefully adopting behaviours hat are taboo in one's society in order to break the hold of the ingrained conditioning that holds say over our subconscious and unconscious minds. Quite a bold and somewhat dangerous path depending on what the taboos are and what societies reaction might be to breaking them!

This reminds me of one of the books I read years ago, whose title I cannot remember. But it was written by a high magician I believe, and basically the first chapter encouraged you to recite the lord's prayer backwards once a night, in order to break the hold Christianity may have on you. I believe this was intended not in a magical sense, but more as a de-conditioning. I never bothered, but it is an interesting thought experiment and I think there may be some truth to it. In Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (and in OCD treatment) this is called "acting opposite to emotion" or "repeated exposure therapy" and is really quite effective, though very draining and usually takes years to master. I can imagine that this could apply equally to societal taboos. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×