•    Reflecting Pool Discourse — Blog Introduction   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    “It is a more complex decision to live your life, rather than let your life happen to you. There are always more reasons to not get involved.”
    — Russell Crowe Tweet —

    There is a way in which Russell Crowe’s penetrating insight dovetails, in an interesting way, with another well-known axiom: “If you’re not part of the solution — then you’re part of the problem.”

    Until I read Crowe’s tweet, I had always just seen the axiom as a kind of ‘call to action’ for people to get politically involved in the struggle for social reform. And of course — it is. But the remarkable phrasing of Crowe’s tweet brought home the point that the axiom applies just as well to “the struggle within” each person — the struggle to understand the meaning and purpose of one’s life; the struggle to fulfill one’s potential; the struggle to ‘awaken’ to a new understanding that will finally make sense of the chaos within; the struggle to see our own faults as clearly as we see the faults of others; the struggle to attain the wisdom that we wish all humans had.

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse blog represents an attempt to reconcile the outer political-religious-social dynamics with the inner world of the human psyche — so as to convert the outer political-religious-social issues — from external dogmatic abstractions into a meaningful correlating map of the individual consciousness — with its hopes and dreams and needs and its long history of labeling, categorizing and defining ‘things’ — sometimes inaccurately in the heat of the moment.

    If the term “politics” or “religion” has any meaning whatsoever, it is realized only within the heart, mind and soul of each individual. Religion is not some ‘thing’ that is “out there” somewhere in the public domain that I agree or disagree with — rather it is an interactive dynamic within a psyche that interprets, defines, judges, categorizes, and reacts to that outer abstraction. With this understanding, the inquiry into these terms necessarily begins within that judging, interpreting psyche — because before we can decide ‘what to believe’ we have to first know what it is that we now believe and why we believe it.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti succinctly described a common glitch in this predicament when he said, “We are confronted with a dilemma that inhibits our ability to actually learn ‘New Things.’ This is because we listen comparatively. That is, we compare what we hear with what we already ‘know’ … what we already believe. That which does not comport is discarded. All listening of this type obviously prevents us from listening.” The big problem with this is that we all do this and we do it habitually and unconsciously. So it requires an extremely disciplined, focused effort to run this video in slow motion so we can actually see ourselves doing this — incessantly.

    Ordinarily, the proverbial wisdom is “Don’t talk religion or politics at a social gathering — if you don’t want to turn the ‘party’ into a War Zone.” Yet that caveat is assuming that the treatment of the topic is strictly as an external debate about the outer abstractions the topics are wrapped in. But when you unpack the contents and dive down into the deep end of the pool of the interpreting psyche that is ‘sorting the incoming mail’ — the outer skirmish is by-passed and the inner skirmmish begins.

    To this end, the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog presents a variety of Topic Categories with related articles intended to redirect the reader from the typical outer abstractions to the inner workings of the mind that is considering the issue. When properly understood, this converts the process from one of “examining the subject” — into one of “examining the critical mind” that is judging and interpreting the subject. It gets very, very interesting very quickly when articles are read in this way.

    All of the topics at the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog site are open for discussion and your participation by way of Comments on the articles posted is genuinely invited and encouraged. At this point in time, Moderator approval IS REQUIRED before a posted Comment will appear on a Post (necessitated by spammers and hackers). There is a very rapid turnaround time for Moderator approval — typically less than a few hours.

    TOPIC CATEGORIES

              1. Reflecting Pool Blog Introduction (uncategorized articles)
              2. Compassionate Truths
              3. Religion’s Mortal Wounds
              4. American Politics at Toxic Levels
              5. Animal Welfare Discourse

    Leaving Comments:: You can only leave comments for “Posts” — as Word Press does not display a comments section for “Pages.” But Keep in Mind there is a Post article for every ‘Page’ article — so you’ll always be able to submit a comment for every article on this site. If you see a ‘Page’ article you want to comment on — just find it under the same title under the ‘Posts’ section. To leave a comment to a Post — there are two “Required” fields that must be provided: 1) Your name and 2) your Email Address (E-mail address will NOT be displayed on the webpage). Keep in Mind comments submitted will not appear immediately. It takes 2-12 hours for it to appear — due to moderator approval requirements. Remember to click the reCaptchya “I’m no robot” security box BEFORE clicking the comments ‘Submit’ button.

    Special Note: The “Page” version of the article was necessary because “Post” articles can NOT be organized into Categories in any menus — because they are strictly date-ordered to show how current they are. But on Word Press Blogs — “Pages” do not allow visitors to leave comments. So I published all blog articles as both “Pages” and as “Posts” — so visitors could post Comments on every article here.

    Pages Categorized: To peruse this Blog site according to the Specific Topic Category, there are two Menu Options. Option One is to look under the “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” section on the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Page article you like under the listed Category. The Category header link is Worth Viewing — as it summarizes the importance of that Category. Clicking on a Page Title will take you to the Blog “Page.” The Second Option for viewing Topic Categories is to go to the “Topic Categories” mid-way down the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Topic of interest. This will take you to the first blog “Page” for that topic — with other Pages for that Topic appearing beneath that. There are two blog pages per page.

    Pages – Page No. Order: I have also arranged blog “Pages” according to their page number — which was simply a way to organize “Page” articles according to their level of IMPORTANCE. To peruse the blog “Pages” according to the page number, go to the “Pages – Page No. Order” section on the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Page of interest.

    ALL POSTS in Reverse Date Order (most recent on top): To view the entire string of blog Posts, which appear in Sequence with Most Recent First (descending order), click on the most recent Post (the first listed post) under the “All Posts – descending” heading on the left-side Menu Panel. Keep in Mind when you enter the “All Posts – descending” section, ALL posts from ALL Topic Categories are mixed together and the posts appear in descending date order, regardless of the topic category. To view “Pages” that are segregated according to the Topic Category they fall under, select a Topic under the “Topic Category” heading on the left-side Menu Panel — or better yet — go to the “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” on the left-side Menu Panel and select the article Page of interest to you. (see, “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” above).

    Recent Comments: To peruse the Comments submitted to the Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog by visitors, look under the “Recent Comments” heading in the left-side Menu Panel and select the Comment of Interest. Clicking on a Comment will take you to that Comment where you will be able to post your own comment on that Comment.

    Our Topical External Website Links: Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog “Website Links” appear under numerous headings that include the term “Website” in the heading. They appear in the left-side Menu Panel and they are labeled according the Topic Category which their subject matter falls under. These are “external” websites that will cause your browser to migrate away from the Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog website. Many of these “external” websites belong to the Reflecting Pool Discourse creators and you will see the word “Our” in the link title for these website links. Others are Third Party websites which we felt provided important, accurate, reliable information relevant to the Topic Category they are listed under. The word “Our” will be missing from these third-party website link titles. We always try to list these external website links according to the Topic Category they relate to, for easier browsing.

    Memorable Quotes: At the very top of the left-side Menu Panel is a revolving Marquee that displays 16 of the most memorable Quotes we have found in our travels. A new quote appears every 20 seconds. We will change \ rotate in a new batch of 16 quotes on a regular basis, to keep the offering fresh.

    Twitter Posts: On the left-side Menu Panel is a Twitter link to our “CatDaddy_NY” Twitter page (http://twitter.com/CatDaddy_NY). It used to dispay a few of the most recent Twitter posts — but — Twitter changed the ‘feed’ protocol so that it is a major gauntlet to set-up now – so I just have the link to my Twitter page. Clicking on the Twitter Feed label “Follow Me on Twittter” will take you to our Twitter site. On some browsers holding the CTRL key down or right-clicking on the link will offer an option to open link in a new window or tab.

     

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


     
     
  •    Has Religion Forsaken Spirituality?   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

              There are many who would say that religion manifesting as iron-fisted, petrified dogma is not religion at all. Enter the notion of “spirituality” and an examination of what is meant by that term, and for that matter, what is meant by the term “dogma,” such that it would be considered “not religion at all.”

    These are the bedrock cornerstone issues that inspired this topic category.

    Websters defines “dogma” as: “something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet – a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds.” Within the ‘religious’ context it means that religious dogma sees religion as a body of black letter rules and edicts that must be blindly obeyed and followed, much like the hierarchy of military command, where the soldier’s ethos and thought processes are subordinate to the high command. Those who do strictly obey and follow the tenets, the edicts, the religious laws, are deemed to be holy and religious (good soldiers).

    Central to religious dogma is the belief that one need not ‘understand’ or ‘grasp’ the meaning or import or purpose of the edict or rule. To the contrary, such an effort “to understand the meaning and import” is considered an act of blasphemy, an act of heresy by religious dogmatists and zealots, because it is deemed tantamount to ‘questioning’ or ‘second-guessing’ the inspired imperial word, order, edict, rule, law that God promulgated. This belief is often expressed as the fierce military command “Yours not to reason why, but to do or die.” Blind, unquestioning acceptance and obedience is expected and demanded, as an article of ‘faith.’ The hallmark of religious dogma is apparent as a cardinal trait in all mainstream and “Fundamentalist” religions throughout the World.

    Spirituality is the antithesis of religious dogma and the Fundamentalist movement. Spirituality holds that true religiousness lies in an ‘awakened’ understanding of the ‘spirit’ — the ‘heart’ of the religious rule or precept. Where religious dogma pontificates direct orders saying “You must do this – you must not do that” — spirituality emphasizes “being” over ‘doing.’ Thus, religious dogma says “you must do this” while spirituality says “if you will ‘BE’ this, you will always do the right thing.”

    Spirituality rigorously contends that Christ was a fierce anti-dogma Enlightened One. In fact, they would argue that anti-dogma stood as the very heart and soul of his teachings. Spirituality holds that Christ was saying “It’s not enough to follow the strict black-letter law not to kill. Instead, one must cultivate a heart of such Compassion that the impetus to kill cannot arise in the first place.”

    Christ WAS a devout anti-dogmatist. The teaching of Christ was of Compassion. There is no other teaching but Compassion. There is no other ‘way’ – no other salvation – no other ‘awakening’ – no other born-again eureka or ‘enlightenment’ – no other ‘understanding’ but Compassion. That was the teaching. That is what Spirituality embraces and what the rationalistic meatgrinder despises and avoids like the plague.

    Several recent Vatican ‘decrees’ help to illustrate this point and help to differentiate ‘dogma’ from Compassion. Recently, Pope Francis issued a decree holding firm on the long-standing ‘policy’ that NO Catholic church shall offer a guten-free wafer in place of the standard gluten-filled communion wafer. This is a perfect example of the Vatican’s long, long history of choosing Dogma over Compassion. Contrast this sociopathic model with Christ’s teachings of Compassion. In his day, Christ was castigated by the religious authorities for working on the Sabbath — something that was deemed forbidden by religious doctrine. Christ’s response? He said, “You enjoy adhering rigidly to the letter of the law, while you violate the heart of the law.” Translation: “It’s about Compassion, idiots, NOT the ‘dogma’ or the doctrines.”

    What would Christ have said about the communion wafer? “Why of course — go ahead and substitute the gluten-free wafer, so it does not harm or kill anyone. Communion is just a symbolic exercise and it symbolizes each person taking unto themselves the Compassion of Christ. It represents the consumption of Christ’s Compassion — and therefore — if it is not admistered in a spirit of Compassion, it defiles and bastardizes its own intention — to perpetuate and instill ‘The Spirit of Compassion’ in every human Heart.”

    About a year or so earlier, Pope Francis issued a heartless pronouncement to Brittany Maynard’s grieving parents, decreeing that their beloved daughter Brittany Maynard would go to hell because, in an act of Euthanasia, she ended her life a few months before her brain cancer would have, with certainty, killed her in a most cruel and inhumane and long-suffering manner. As has been evident in the entire history of this sociopathic, callous institution known as the “Catholic Church” — Pope Francis and ‘The Church’ once again patently reject Compassion in favor of the dogma and its mindless, heartless doctrines. Only a certified demented sociopath could have issued such a cruel, heartless comment to the profoundly grieving parents of a recently deceased child.

    In repudiating Compassion, Pope Francis and ‘The Church’ have, once again, patently rejected Christ, his teachings — and the teachings of the pope’s name-sake, Saint Francis — all of whom advocated, with every fiber of their being, the patent rejection of the ‘dogma’ and the unconditional embrace of Compassion in its place. The very same stunted papal mentality that militantly repudiated Saint Francis’ teaching — before, during and after his death — is precisely the same ruthless, sociopathic, decrepit Dark Ages mentality that terrorized Brittany Maynard’s grieving parents — and it is the same demented mentality that throws its own Communion participants under the bus — all in the name of a mindless, heartless dogma, which it deifies, while demonizing Compassion as a heretical threat to the dogma it worships and idolizes.

    What would Christ have said about all of this? Well — let’s look at what he actually did say about it. Christ was criticized by the religious elders — the religious ‘authorities’ and ‘experts’ of his time — for socializing with a prostitute — which was forbidden by religious doctrine. Christ’s response was essentially identical to his response to his Sabbath Day critics. He said, “This woman washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Which of YOU have treated me with such Compassion when I came to your city?” Translation: “It’s about Compassion, idiots, NOT the ‘dogma’ or the doctrines.”

    For Spirituality, ‘compassion’ cannot be translated as an edict, or a law, or a rule to be blindly and obediently followed. It must be understood, ‘realized,’ actualized, manifested in the heart, soul and spirit of each individual. St. Francis is often cited as the premier example of this understanding within the Christian religion. Mother Theresa stands as a giant contemporary example in Christianity.

    Spirituality illustrates this principle by pointing to one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” as an example. Under the blind obedience tenets of religious dogma, if asked why he does not kill, the dogmatist would answer: “Because the Holy word of God tells us not to kill.” Conversely, Spirituality would answer, “Because the idea of ‘killing’ cannot manifest in the heart of compassion which is the heart of God.”

    One might ask, just how comfortable would I feel being around someone who does not kill, merely because a rule tells him it is not allowed. Now compare that comfort level with one surrounding a spiritual person who states, as St. Francis did, that in the heart of compassion which was in Christ and is in me, no impetus to kill can arise. I, personally, would feel infinitely more comfortable around the spiritual person. It’s a no-brainer.

    When the notion of religious dogma is fully understood, it becomes apparent that organized mainstream religion today has become dogmatic. And it comes as no surprise that this dogmatized mainstream religion has become acutely politicized, something which the biblical records state its namesake, Christ, staunchly and adamantly repudiated.

    Now let’s look at the term “Spirituality” so it is clear exactly what we mean by that term.

    The term ‘epistemology’ sounds like a high-flying word only a Ph.D. academic would know. But it is really a simple term with enormous significance. Epistemology is simply the study of “the means available to humans for apprehending reality.” We have our five senses for detecting or apprehending reality. This is often called the epistemology of “Empiricism” and one who believes this is the superior, most reliable epistemological faculty is referred to as an Empiricist. Rationality is another epistemological faculty for apprehending reality and one who believes that Rationalism is the superior, most reliable epistemological faculty is referred to as a Rationalist.

    The truth is that the Rationalists and the Empiricists are actually very intimate, accommodating, friendly and compatible bedfellows who are joined at the hip and who work very well together in the fields of science and technology. The real dogfight is between the epistemology of Rationalism and the third epistemological faculty known as “Insight” or the “Intuitive,” which most commonly manifests itself as the faculty of “Compassion.” This ‘other’ epistemological faculty once was the special province of Religion, until mainstream Religion abandoned it in favor of Rationalism (Thank St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas for that treason).

    I noted, with great sadness, that one of the very first things the newly enthroned Pope Benedict proclaimed, was a reaffirmation of the Aquinas peace-maker treasonous pronouncement that the epistemology of reason \ rationality is fully capable of delivering devotees to moral and ethical rectitude and the Promised Land. Until that time, for Religion, it was the epistemological faculty of Insight, Intuition and Revelation, manifesting as Compassion, that delivered devotees to moral and ethical rectitude and the Promised Land. But mainstream Religion long-ago renounced and abandoned that precept, and as a result became a Rationalistic institution. Dogma is a common manifestation and unique fingerprint of rationalism.

    This is what the predicament now is between the epistemology of Rationalism and the epistemology of Insight, Intuition manifesting as Compassion. Rationalism is insisting that Insight \ Intuition \ Revelation meet the standards of Rationalism, that Insight & Compassion’s “sightings” be discernable by the faculty of Rationalism, and that is an impossibility precisely because they are two totally different epistemologies. In fact, that is precisely what makes them two completely different epistemologies. Rationalism can never detect and observe what is discernable to Insight, just as the Optical Telescope, by its very nature and limitations, can never detect the invisible radio waves perceived by the Radio Telescope — because it only operates on the visible spectrum. Now, we need to consider the single-most damaging, negative consequence that has flowed from Rationalism’s victory over Insight and Compassion.

    For both religion and global society, substituting the epistemology of Rationalism for the epistemology of Insight and Compassion has proven to be a catastrophic mistake. This is, at its core, an epistemological problem.

    The epistemological faculty of “Insight \ Revelation,” i.e., the faculty of the “intuitive,” manifests most commonly for most of us in the form of “Compassion.” This is a distinctly different epistemology altogether, and it alone, has the capacity, the ability to serve as a reliable moral compass, to reconcile what we commonly refer to as “ethical” and “moral” issues of empathy. Calling upon Rationality to handle such matters is like calling an electrician to fix a backed-up toilet. You call an electrician to resolve electrical problems, and you call a “plumber” to repair plumbing problems.

    The problem with the “Rationalism is King” notion that rationalism (the intellect) is an all-around handyman who can fix everything, is that it isn’t true, it isn’t accurate. At best, it gives you a “Jack of all Trades — Master of None” charlatan snake oil salesman who is scavenging the countryside extolling his brain surgery expertise, to the detriment of those who believe him. At worst, it results in the wretched condition that is epidemic throughout the World today, namely, a rudderless morally destitute, spiritually malnourished culture that has abandoned “the Real thing” (Empathy & Compassion) in deference to a fraudulent surrogate that has dumped its passengers in the middle of a barren wasteland without a map, a compass or a canteen.

    When you look at the state of affairs in the World today, man’s inhumanity to man and animals, the immense amount of violence and greed and rampant, acute sociopathic mental disorders on an epidemic scale, what you are actually witnessing is the horrific consequence of calling a plumber to correct an electrical short in the household wiring. And it doesn’t require a Harvard Ph.D. to figure out that, although the plumber may be an expert in plumbing, he is utterly incompetent at electrical work; he is profoundly inept at electrical repairs and if he tinkers with the wiring in your house, at your insistence, he is likely to burn the house down. The “rationalization” of empathy, Compassion and the moral \ ethical ‘conscience’ of humanity is the single-most colossal, horrific mistake in all of human history.

    In truth, Rationalism is utterly incapable of responsibly and competently performing the tasks we assign to it. Rationalism has reigned as king for centuries now, and when you look around at the decrepit conditions of corruption and inhumanity you are actually looking at proof positive that rationalism has absolutely no moral compass. And when you look at mainstream religion today you see a “political” institution that also lacks a moral compass. That is because the epistemology of Empathy and Compassion, the true moral compass, has been muzzled, maligned, subordinated, castrated, denigrated and forsaken, in large measure, by rationalism and by mainstream religion which renounced the epistemology of Empathy and Compassion in favor of rationalism and the heartless dogma and doctrines it mindlessly dispenses.

    This “other” very different epistemological faculty has integrity and legitimacy in its own right and in its own sphere of influence and it is unwise and premature to discount it or dismiss it merely because a different epistemology (rationalism), of an inferior scope, cannot metabolize its contents. And while this “other” very different epistemological faculty may not be amenable to microscope identification and test-tube corroboration, it is nevertheless discernable. In truth, it is entirely possible, realistically and credibly plausible, that this is an epistemology that exists beyond the faculty of the rational and beyond the faculty of language. There is absolutely no tenable, coherent logical basis for discrediting its integrity for this reason. It merely requires faith — faith in the belief that Compassion is the only True moral compass.

    But what we have today is the epistemology of “Rationality” reigning supreme, with absolute veto power over the epistemology of “Insight” and Compassion. Yet the historical record strongly favors the view that, reason (intellect), unbridled and uninformed by compassion, is meaningless, aimless and often dangerous. The typical western view today inverts this premise, holding that compassion, insight and intuition must be bridled by “reason” and the intellect.

    In trying to ferret out the truth of the matter, one might ask, “In all of human history, What great harm and evil has ever been wrought against the masses by COMPASSION when it has been ‘let loose’ and is off the leash and in command?” Then ask that same question of ‘rationality’ and the intellect. What Frankensteins of harm has unbridled rationality created in human history? The Holocaust? Hitler’s Ultimate Solution with his Grand Scientific Scheme for genetic perfection? The Crusades? The Stalin Holocaust? The Lenin Holocaust? The Mao Regime Genocides? The Pol Pot Regime Genocide? The Bosnian Ethnic Cleansing genocides? The Rwandan Genocide? The Darfur Genocide? Few would try to argue that these horrific rationalized ‘social engineering’ debacles were the product of ‘unbridled‘ COMPASSION. Indeed it is unmistakably clear that rationality, unbridled by Compassion, has proven to be a horrendously dangerous thing. Which means that for as long as anyone can remember, the fox has been guarding the henhouse and the hen mortality rate has been skyrocketing ever since.

    Respected philosopher Huston Smith graphically stated the problem when he wrote, “Reason makes a very good servant and a lousy master.” Given the spate of evidence throughout human history, it is fair to say Smith’s remark is a gross understatement. Reason unbridled by Compassion has proven to be the greatest, most disastrous “mistake” in all of human history.

    Because of the erroneous compartmentalization of the epistemology of Insight and Compassion as a trivial, inferior ’emotion,’ subordinated to Rationalism, mainstream Religion and the notion of ‘religiousness’ has been condemned to wallow in the mud as nothing more than rationalistic “Dogma,” the inevitable result whenever rationality attempts to muscle-in on another epistemology in order to handle something that is beyond its ken . . . beyond its capabilities, beyond its grasp and comprehension. Given this pathetic state of affairs, we are justified in stating that Rationalism, mainstream Religion & Dogma represent The Three Wicked Sisters in human history. When mainstream religion renounced, defected, betrayed, deserted the epistemology of Insight \ Intuition \ Revelation \ Compassion with a Judas kiss, it abdicated its throne in an act of treason that removed religion from its special place as the guardian of the Spiritual dimension of human consciousness.

    It is a bitter irony indeed, because the epistemology of Insight \ Intuition \ Revelation, manifesting as Compassion, had always been the hallmark and special province of Religion and it was this ‘Spirituality’ component in religion that brought many religions together under one roof, as one family, in the name and service of Compassion. And it is nauseating to have to contemplate that mainstream Religion traded away this precious jewel, for something as mundane and stunted as rationalistic ‘Dogma’ and the politicizing of the entire institution of religion by mainstream dogmatists and politicians. It is unmistakably obvious, that “Religious Fundamentalism” in every religion throughout the World today, has become nothing more than a ‘political clan’, a political tool, a political whorehouse, and it no longer has much of anything to do with true Religion, having renounced and abandoned Spirituality long, long ago. It was mainstream religion’s renunciation of the spiritual and its embrace of rationalism that has made it so amenable to the dogmatic political manipulations so commonplace today, something which, in bitter irony, the biblical records indicate, Christ repudiated with every fiber of his being.

    Revised: Tuesday, September 26, 2017

    This brief summary stands as the framework for this subject category entitled: “Has Religion Forsaken Spirituality?” This is an open forum and participation by way of Comments on the posted articles is invited and encouraged. At this point in time, no membership, registration or log-in is required to post a Comment. (See also, “Rationalism Religion & Dogma – The Three Wicked Sisters” and “On Moral Questions – Science is Clueless“).

     

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog