•    Rationalism Religion & Dogma
                  Three Wicked Sisters

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Abstract: Rationalism, mainstream Religion & Dogma – The Three Wicked Sisters: Not because of their inherent nature, but because they falsify the scope of their abilities and their fields of expertise and thereby steal that which rightfully belongs to another.

    The eye ‘sees’ but cannot hear a Mozart Piano Concerto. The ear ‘hears’ but cannot smell the roses. The nose ‘smells’ but cannot see a beautiful sunset. Yet each of these faculties does what it does very effectively and none of them ever exhibits jealousy toward the other or seeks to steal some of the land belonging to the other faculties. The total organism that is blessed with these faculties is able to benefit from the expertise of each ONLY because they work in harmony and there is no dissention in the land.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the myriad epistemological faculties of the human organism, and this disharmony and dissention among the epistemological faculties has made this species very dangerous and misanthropic. This is an attempt to examine the territorial nature of one particular epistemological faculty that is invariably responsible for the incessant “land grab” mentality in an effort to understand why it has such a hard time ‘sharing’ the honors and working in harmony with the other epistemological faculties at the disposal of this human organism.

    Substituting the epistemology of Rationalism for the epistemology of Compassion has proven to be a catastrophic mistake. This is, at its core, an epistemological problem.

    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.

    If you take a philosophy course anywhere in the World, it is likely you will be given the impression that the ‘REAL’ skirmish, the “Main Event” dogfight in epistemology is between the Rationalists and the Empiricists. The Rationalists would sardonically point out that “you can only believe half of what you see and none of what you hear,” in conveying the superiority of ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’ while conveying the unreliability of the empirical epistemology. The Empiricists, on the other hand, would point out that Rationalism is prone to spitting-out false abstractions which are quite often conclusively disproved by empirical research. And so the student is led to believe that this skirmish between the Rationalists and the Empiricists is the main historical flash-point in Epistemology.

    The truth is that the Rationalists and the Empiricists are actually very intimate, accommodating, friendly and compatible bedfellows who work very well together in the fields of science and technology. The truth is that this isn’t the real ground-zero “Main Event” skirmish at all. 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.” But you won’t hear about this from any academic philosophy department because they take the position that if you want to explore this third epistemological faculty you need to enroll in the Theology department, not the philosophy department.

    So the internally contradictory position of most academic philosophy departments is that, if you come here to study epistemology, the operating assumption from the outset is that the sole legitimate epistemological faculty to be used in that investigation is the epistemology of Rationalism and all findings, conclusions and hypotheses flowing from that investigation must pass Rationalism’s litmus test and must conform to the rules and standards and protocols of Rationalism in order to be deemed valid. This is like a blind person denying the existence of a beautiful sunset because he cannot hear it and then stubbornly insisting that in order for it to have validity it must be conclusively verifiable as a detectable audio signal. In fact, it is like a blind man who completely and absolutely denies the existence and validity of the visual, optical “seeing” process solely because he cannot verify and confirm its existence through his auditory faculties.

    This circular, self-predicating rationalism rationale is like demanding that only hammers may be used to build a house, because saws are, ipso facto, deemed to be illegitimate and unrecognized, or because they are deemed to be an inferior and unreliable instrument for house building. Why? Because “Hammers” set the standard and saws can’t do what hammers do and therefore cannot meet the “Hammer Standard.” One might rightly conclude that the “Hammer Industry” is behind this tyrannical, arbitrary and capricious operating presumption and that the “Saw Industry” simply does not have as strong a lobby in Washington. And that’s just about what has happened. It illustrates the axiom, “To a Hammer, everything looks like a nail.” That is because everything it perceives in reality passes through the “hammer filter.” It’s a stunted, distorted, biased view of reality.

    That is the epistemological predicament in the World today and it is producing some ridiculous, absurd results that are every bit as ludicrous as the edict in the ‘hammer and nail’ metaphor. Consider the Radio Telescope. It can see many times further out into space than an Optical Telescope. It can see at such great distances that it can nearly look back to the birth of the Universe (to the Big Bang). The Optical Telescope has nowhere near that kind of power, because it operates only in the visible spectrum and the Radio Telescope operates in the invisible wave length spectrum. They are entirely different instruments operating under completely different scientific principles. But try to imagine what would happen if astronomers took the position that the Radio Telescope MUST operate precisely like optical telescopes, under the same scientific optical principles, in order to be deemed valid. It would eradicate one of the biggest breakthroughs in astronomy’s entire history.

    You’d have ‘optical telescope’ astronomers insisting that the objects allegedly seen by Radio Telescopes are illusions, phantasms, hallucinations, because the sightings cannot be verified by the “industry standard” — the “Optical Telescope,” which unlike its counterpart, operates only on the visible wave lengths. And ‘Optical Telescope’ astronomers would accuse Radio Telescope astronomers of engaging in “bad science” and of making irresponsible, baseless claims, while insisting that alleged Radio Telescope discoveries and observations must be seen and confirmed by ‘Optical Telescopes” before Radio Telescope discoveries and observations can be deemed ‘valid.’ And of course, because Radio Telescopes see so much further out into the far reaches of space, that ‘Optical Telescope” sighting and confirmation can never, ever occur.

    That is precisely what the predicament is between the epistemology of Rationalism and the epistemology of Insight, Intuition manifesting as Compassion. Rationalism is insisting that Insight 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 stunted, distorted, circular, self-predicating, dishonest approach to exploration in the field of epistemology.

    Plato’s notion about the three parts of the soul serves as an optimal illustration because it demonstrates how we have erroneously categorized, i.e., compartmentalized an extremely important human faculty, in such an arbitrary, capricious way that it has been rendered essentially useless and inconsequential. The diagram below illustrates Plato’s Model of the 3 Parts of the Soul.

    Plato 3 Parts of the Soul Graphic

    Plato 3 Parts of the Soul Text

    The problem (and the error) arises when we take the epistemology of Insight \ Compassion, categorize it as an “Emotion” and bridle it by and subordinate it to the epistemology of “Reason,” aka, Rationality. That is precisely what has happened. The epistemology of Reason has been deemed the superior epistemological faculty, and the epistemology of Insight \ Compassion has been deemed to be a highly inferior, unreliable, often truant and potentially dangerous faculty that must be bridled by Rationality as subordinate.

    The prevailing erroneous notion today is that “Compassion” is an emotion. In reality, Compassion is NOT an emotion, but emotions, ironically, ARE a product and construct of Rationality. We know that Compassion is NOT an emotion because emotions (anger, fear, jealousy, envy, anxiety, etc.) are always “me” inflected and directed. The focus of Emotions is always on what might happen to “me” — They are focused on “my” wants, “my” needs, “my” well-being, “my” safety, “my” security, “my” fears, “my” disappointments. Compassion, on the other hand is, by its very nature, “other” inflected and directed, and hence it is typically referred to as being “selfless” in nature.

    The science of psychology that delves into the web of both emotive-based and desire\appetite\addiction-based problems, does so via ‘rationalism’ as it untangles the intricate web (knot) of rationalizations created and accumulated, consciously and unconsciously, over a lifetime. So it is unmistakably clear that Plato’s model was intended to bridle errant malfunctioning ‘rationalistic’ operations that all lie within the same epistemological domain. It was never Plato’s intention that his model should be applied so the epistemology of rationalism would subordinate, mute, muzzle, castrate, debilitate, enfeeble, cripple or make impotent the entirely different epistemology of Insight and Compassion. Plato’s model was strictly addressing ‘in-house’ problems within the domain of rationalism.

    The bitter irony is that Plato’s use of the term “Logos” actually refers to a much larger category that embodies “Twin Rulers” because the term correlates with both Rationality and the epistemology of “Insight” and Compassion. Many Plato scholars agree that this interpretation is more consistent with the term “Logos” as it was understood in Plato’s time, around 500 B.C. Plato’s “Cave Shadow” allegory (“Plato’s Republic”) stands as compelling evidence that this was Plato’s understanding of the term “Logos.” But that fact has been lost over the centuries and the erroneous categorization of the epistemology of “Insight” and Compassion as a subordinate, inferior ’emotion’ persists to this day.

    So 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, while the typical western view today inverts this premise, holding that compassion, insight and intuition must be bridled by “reason” and the intellect, as a safety measure.

    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 ‘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.

    In short, Rationalism is what you think & say; Compassion what you are & do. Equilibrium is having resilient, fluid open access to all ways of Knowing & Being.”   ~~The epistemology of `rationalism’ will never connect you to the epistemology of `Compassion,’ just as the ear will never connect you to a beautiful sunset. So many today are drowning in rationalism and suffering acute starvation from lack of Compassion. If they continue to use only one of the two chopsticks Life has given us, they will miss another dinner and ultimately shrivel up to the size of parched pea from malnourishment.~~

    Because of the erroneous compartmentalization of the epistemology of Insight and Compassion as a trivial, inferior ’emotion,’ mainstream Religion and the notion of ‘religiousness’ has been condemned to wallow in the mud as nothing more than hyperflexed “Dogma,” the inevitable result whenever rationality attempts to muscle-in on another epistemology and 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.

    (See also, “On Moral Questions – Science is Clueless” and “Has Religion Forsaken Spirituality?“).


    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog

  •    Spiritual But Not Religious   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    A Response to Alan Miller’s Article Entitled:
    “The ‘I Am Spiritual But Not Religious’ [notion] is a Cop-out”

    This article is responding to Alan Miller’s original CNN ‘My Take’ article (“The ‘I am spiritual but not religious’ [notion] is a cop-out”) ~~ and this response is also addressing — another of Alan Miller’s similar commentaries – condescendingly entitled: “I’m So Spiritual.” (See footnotes below for links to these Miller articles).

    Miller condescendingly states that spirituality is delusional in believing that “by choosing an ‘individual relationship’ to some concept of ‘higher power’, energy, oneness or something-or-other – they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution.” From this errant perception, Miller concludes, “The trouble is that ‘spiritual but not religious’ offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.”

    It’s a classic illustration of how erroneous premises invariably lead to erroneous conclusions. Miller has gotten it exactly backwards. He has reality standing on its head.

    In Christianity, the exodus from institutional religion to Spirituality constitutes the abandonment, i.e., the patent rejection of, religious ‘dogma’ — in favor of Compassion – the central cardinal precept of Christ’s teachings. Spirituality, which manifests for most of us in our daily lives as ‘Compassion’ — differentiates itself from the epistemology of rationalism, and in doing so, often incurs the wrath of rationalists like Miller, who have difficulty understanding that when you take Christ’s central teaching, Compassion, and try to cram it through the rationalistic meatgrinder, you end up with ‘dogma’ — NOT the Compassion Christ enjoined us to marry. When you cram ‘Compassion’ through the rationalistic meatgrinder you end-up with a seedy ‘quid pro quo’, something-for-something, plastic, Golden Rule, glad-handing barter-and-exchange concept utterly devoid of Compassion’s content and directly opposed to it.

    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 gluten-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, fools, 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, fools, NOT the ‘dogma’ or the doctrines.”

    But Miller would have us remain wedded to institutional “beliefs” and belief systems (the ‘dogma’) dispensed as a toxic pabulum gruel after being pressed through the rationalistic meatgrinder for a ‘one size fits all’ grease-ball patty that’s content-barren and guaranteed to choke your arteries with its myopic indecencies and generalities. When we look at all the Crusades and wars and atrocities and genocides committed in the name of ‘religion’ we see rationalism’s self-righteous dogmatists enforcing their sanctimonious dogma and belief systems in a militant iron-fisted determination to impose them on others.

    Miller has inverted reality. The cop-out actually is the substitution of dogma for Compassion — the substitution of rationalism for Spirituality. Spirituality is not a “cop-out.” It’s the toughest, hardest, most grueling rocky road one could travel. It takes enormous courage, honesty and Compassion to take such a hard and burdensome path. Just ask the beloved enlightened ones, the saints and sages who have traveled that rocky inglorious road – Mother Theresa, St. Francis, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer. It’s not the easy life of remote arm-chair ruminations, rationalizations and pontifications dispensed from a safe, comfortable perch in a sumptuous lecture-hall sanctuary for robust discussion and ego gratification. Rationalism masquerading as ‘religion’ is the cop-out.

    The road Miller would take us down is the road of institutionalized rationalistic dogma that has heretofore alienated people from the Compassionate Heart of the True Teachings. Miller’s delusion is that he sees ‘Compassion’ as nothing more than mere emotional ‘feelings’ that need to be bridled by and subordinated to the supreme operation for the human species — the Rationalistic Meatgrinder — that produces such superior products as dogma, belief systems, egotism and feudalistic wars of carnage and atrocities committed in the name of this religious dogma versus that religious belief system – The Doctrine Wars — it’s what the killing has been all about from time immemorial.

    So once again, we witness the goose-step march of rationalism’s dogma, stomping and strutting through the town square with imperious ferocity — with an impudent, militant determination to condemn all blasphemers and to castigate, mock, scorn and exterminate all infidels who repudiate the supremacy of its beloved rationalistic dogma and all that it stands for.

    It’s something we never see within the Spiritual domain — where Compassion reigns supreme by virtue of its honesty, and its acceptance of the ‘other’ as other. Compassion is NOT an emotion — no matter what rationalism says to the contrary. And Reason is not nearly all of my eye.

    Revised: Tuesday, September 26, 2017




    Below are some footnotes that link to Alan Miller’s original CNN ‘My Take’ article (“The ‘I am spiritual but not religious’ [notion] is a cop-out”) which this response is addressing — and including a link to another of Alan Miller’s similar commentaries – condescendingly entitled: “I’m So Spiritual.” Footnotes 3-5 are links to Reflecting Pool articles that are also listed here in the Posts and Pages index on the left.



    Footnote 1 Link: CNN My Take – Alan Miller article entitled: “The ‘I am spiritual but not religious’ [notion] is a cop-out”

    Footnote 2 Link: Battle of Ideas discussion panel with Alan Miller on topic – I Am So Spiritual

    Footnote 3 Link: Related Articles: “Has Religion Forsaken Spirituality”

    Footnote 4 Link: Related Articles: “Rationalism Religion & Dogma Three Wicked Sisters”

    Footnote 5 Link: Related Articles: “On Moral Questions – Science is Clueless”


    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog