New Age Panentheism

Discussion in 'New Age' started by Wahkon, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Wahkon

    Wahkon Member

    It appears to me that the whole world is moving toward the acceptance and practice of a One World Religion that will be similar to the Lakota religion.

    "Wakan-Tanka is the essential concept of Lakota religion and is the life-giving force which sustains all being. Everything is seen as partaking of a sacred relationship which is born from the oneness of creation which is a manifestation of Wakan-Tanka. All things come and return to Wakan-Tanka who is all in the universe yet above all, transcending all."

    The Lakota person who wrote the above statement said: "Some of my white brothers have said 'You worship the sun.' No, we worship the same almighty God you worship. The sun, Wiwang wacipi, we look at the sun, we gaze at the sun, we admire His work, we thank Him for what He has done for us . . the many things that the Grandfather (WakanTanka ) has done for us."

    According to this quoted (above) Lakota person, the Lakota religion is a particular type of pan[en]theism, or a pan[en]theistic religion that believes that God is, both, transcendent and immanent, and that He is pantheistically immanent, and that He is only highly regarded and honored (not worshiped) in both His pantheistic manifestation as the entire creation and also in His polytheistic manifestation as the sun.

    Reverend Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed theologian and activist who promotes a type of pan[en]theism that believes that God is, both, transcendent and immanent, and that He is pantheistically immanent. When talking about the current pope in a recent interview, Fox said that the previous two popes called his work "dangerous and devious," but that Pope Francis "is plagiarizing it," suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church is now indirectly following his lead.

    Fox wrote: He [the late Thomas Aquinas, a famous Roman Catholic theologian] observes that apostles and prophets praise God in the Scriptures in this way:

    As the Cause of all things, as good, as beautiful; as wise; as beloved; as God of gods; as holy of holies; as eternal; as wisdom; as reason; as justice; as virtue; as in spirits, as in bodies, as in heaven and on earth, at the same time in the same place, in the world, involved in the world, above the world, supercelestial or above the heavens, supersubstantial; as the sun, as a star; fire; water; air; and dew; as cloud; stone; rock and all the other beings attributed to God as cause. And the Divine One is none of these beings insofar as God surpasses all things.

    There are two types of pan[en]theism that view God as being pantheistically immanent in the world. One type worships the creation and the other type only respectfully honors the creation. Those who practice the New Age type of pan[en]theism respectfully honor the creation.

    Robert Muller (1923-2010) was once the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and was called the "Philosopher" and "Prophet of Hope" of this world-unifying organization. Muller's vision for the world is still being promote at the United Nations. Muller was a disciple of the New Age prophetess Alice Bailey, and Bailey was a disciple of Helena Blavatsky, the Mother of the New Age Movement.

    I am promoting the New Age type of pan[en]theism. In her 1983 #1 best-selling book The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow Constance Cumbey offered the first major criticism of the New Age movement from a Christian perspective. She has also discussed the contents of this book of hers on the EWTN global Catholic TV network. I occasionally correspond with her and often post on her blog. I believe that I am in the prophetic forefront of the movement that is promoting New Age pan[en]theism for the entire world.
    Mountain Valley Wolf likes this.
  2. Mountain Valley Wolf

    Mountain Valley Wolf Senior Member

    I agree, in fact, I think that one of the sidelights of the DAPL protests at Standing Rock is that it introduced so many non-Natives to Lakota ceremony. Though I would add that the understanding of spirit in Lakota ceremony, is right in line with a universal understanding of spirit among most indigenous people. Where there is a significant difference it appears to be the result of a planter culture dynamic---a dynamic that represents the level of advancement in the transition from a hunter-gatherer zeitgeist to that of a civilized zeitgeist.

    But, here in North America, the Lakota are one of the last tribes to still have the bulk of their spirituality and traditions intact, and it is still authentic to the global hunter-gatherer spirituality, unlike, for example, the pueblo tribes in the Southwest where their spirituality is a little further along the lines of becoming a religious institution (the planter culture dynamic I referred to). Furthermore their traditions have been shared more widely, from the early writings of Eastman, to the contemporary writings of people like my friend, the late Ed McGaa, and John Marshall III and even Black Elk, and members of his family. Wallace Black Elk was a friend of Albert Einstein (who called him the only real teacher he ever knew), and has done a number of public things such as a healing of one of the Rockefeller kids. Very important is the fact that it is shared freely for the most part unlike the belief systems and traditions of many other tribes that reacted to white racism, dominance, proselytization and a demeaning academic interest by restricting their spirituality to Natives only. I think it is very telling that it is Lakota prayers songs and traditions that are used today by many tribes in their own sweat lodges.

    As Modern Culture—which is now American Western culture and the various country specific interpretations of it—spirals into nihilism and decadence, mankind has to find a new source of meaning and value in order to survive, particularly if he is to survive with his technology and some semblance of the culture and the advancements that he has achieved. It has to be a source that acknowledges an increasingly diverse and globalized world. This means we have to give up the divisive and destructive understandings that have built the foundations of civilization: 1.) dualism, 2.) group ethic, 3.) an overemphasis on objectivism, and 4.) a dominance of the masculine.

    Lakota belief, and indigenous spirituality in general, provide the answers to these divisive elements of our civilized zeitgeist and weltanschauung:

    The Answer to Dualism

    It replaces dualism with multiplicity, which is more authentic to our experience of life—we do not live in a black and white world, rather we live in a world where our mind can detect over 10,000,000 shades of color. Indigenous spirituality does not see the world in terms of dualities. There are no forces of good vs forces of evil. Instead, you find the good, the trickster, the neutral, the irritating, the bad, and then even those bad and malevolent forces have a greater purpose than just destroying and torturing all that we are. As Wahkon can tell you, the word, Wakan, for example, is a word we translate as sacred, but it can also be translated as power, or mystery. English does not really have a translatable word that does it justice. The spirits are wakan, the sun, moon, and grandmother earth are wakan. The wakinyan (thunderbirds) are wakan, Children are wakan. Taku shkan shkan, the animating force of the universe is wakan. But so is the Black Figure that the Natives have been talking about recently—a dark human-like figure that said that if the people don’t take care of their kids, he will take them (and therefore it is associated with the ongoing epidemic of youth suicide in native communities). Mni wakan is the word for alcohol---powerful or sacred water----not because it is used in sacred ceremonies or induces visions---it has been very destructive to the Native communities, and was even used to trick Natives into signing the treaties that continued the horrible policies of Manifest Destiny. Lightening too is wakan yet it can destroy, kill, and start dangerous fires.

    Wahkon has already touched upon the multiplicity that is God or Wakan Tanka. Many Westerners have been confused when they have been told that the sun is Wakan Tanka, only to hear a Lakota say a prayer to Tunkashila (Grandfather), which upon inquiry discover that it is Wakan Tanka, but then they hear about Taku Shkan Shkan and are told that it is Wakan Tanka. But wait, now they are hearing that the Thunderbirds are Wakan Tanka, and somehow they are one of the 4 directions, which, “what? Each one is Wakan Tanka and prayed to?” And then at the same time Grand Mother Earth is too, and… Well---that is why it is Panentheism. And it makes more sense to acknowledge this than a God sitting on a throne—separating himself from man in heaven, and yet somehow he is still everywhere. Something that I feel is even more significant is that you don’t have a great evil force, in other words a Devil opposing Wakan Tanka. In Jungian psychology we find that a fully individuated individual who has assimilated all that he is into a complete healthy whole would have also embraced all the shadow elements that the ego has repressed into the subconscious (what he saw as the evil within him) and thereby defused it. (This is a healthy psyche beyond what any normal human can achieve, but…) Wakan Tanka embraces all that is, good and bad, unlike the God-Devil dynamic which reflects an unhealthier ego-shadow complex. In all the indigenous spiritualities, spirit is everywhere---there is no place, good or bad, where you can escape the Great Mystery, but you are either in balance with it or not.

    The Answer to the Group Ethic and Objectivism

    Group ethic and an overinflated focus on objectivism developed in the planter cultures as civilization was developing. I think the in-group/out-group developed as communities worked together in their fields gaining an understanding of ‘our’ crops. Today we usually interpret tribalism in terms of group ethic, but the truth is tribal societies have a great respect for the individual. In fact, the individual is authentic among indigenous people, whereas our own concept of the individual and subjectivism is in effect a mask over an elitist group ethic. We even identify who or what an individual is in very objective terms. For example, there is a concept of once a criminal always a criminal. A person is judged and identified by a credit score, employment history, race, sexual orientation, and so forth—all kinds of histories, numbers, and judgments that will follow them for life. In indigenous societies, the concept of who and what a person is, is so subjective that even a person’s name can change over the course of his/her life reflecting who he/her is, or what his/her purpose, or skills or other factors are at that moment in his/her life.

    In a hunter-gatherer society, a person or a few people can go out and hunt and provide food for anywhere from a few people to the whole community, whereas in a planter culture, a large number of people must work together to clear, plan, and harvest enough fields to provide for the community as a whole. This planter culture group ethic is something we have not been able to escape from ever since, but now computers, internet, and other technologies are revolutionizing how we live, work, shop, and are rapidly carrying us back to a very subjective world. The world of fashion, for example, no longer dictates how we dress, or even the length of skirts, because anyone can pick and choose their own style over the internet. More and more people are able to work from home and even choose the hours they work. Technology has even freed up lucky people to make good money, while spending very little time actually working, thereby freeing them to subjectively pursue their own interests. In other words, it is slowly freeing people from being cogs in the machine. Anthropologists have only recently acknowledged that individuals in hunter gatherer societies tend to have a lot of free time, which they devote to themselves, family and friends, and to spiritual ceremony. Even Quantum Mechanics has discovered that our reality is built upon very subjective particles, individually appearing and disappearing.

    In Answer to the Dominance of the Masculine

    In terms of gender relations, indigenous people around the world traditionally have respect for women that is not found traditionally in Western society, or really in any modern civilization. This may not be as obvious in North America where several generations of Boarding Schools have seriously damaged family relations and interpersonal relationships as young Native people were forcibly removed from their families at a time when traditional values, particularly family values would have been learned. Among indigenous people around the world, you tend to find that, rather than a dominant gender, you have an understanding of gender as two sacred halves to a whole in the creative process. To the Lakota, Grandmother Earth (Unchi Makha) is just as important, and is just as much Wakan Tanka, as the grandfather in the sky (Tunkashila). Granted, you do find myths and traditions even among the indigenous around the world that reflect what seems to have been a global rebellion of the masculine from the feminine. For example, you have myths of how the men stole the bull roarer (a vulva shaped piece of wood that is tied to a string and then swung around the head causing it to spin and give off a humming or buzzing noise) from the women, who abused their powers with it. There are examples of this in both the Americas and Australia. Nonetheless you don’t find the misogyny around these and other myths that you find in planter cultures as the god rebelled and rose up against the goddess. The Old Testament is a good example of this latter case. I argue that the modern rise of feminism is a bigger thing than just equal rights, and equal pay. For one thing, as it progresses and shapes our culture it will have an impact on the very makeup of our psyche. It will break down the modern alienation from one’s subconscious mind breaking down our over inflated ego-shadow complex, and will eventually bring us back around to the same understandings of our world as those of our own ancient indigenous ancestors.

    Returning Meaning, Value, and Truth to our Nihilistic Modern World

    Probably the most important benefit to Modern Man is that these ancient ways reintroduce meaning, value, and truth, to a culture that has lost such things. There is no reason for me to restate the OP here. But let me add a few points from my perspective. First of all I define religion as strictly institutional so I do not refer to the Lakota or most indigenous belief systems as religions but rather spirituality. Second indigenous spirituality is by no means reductionist. This is in part a result of their multiplistic zeitgeist. (Unfortunately this is what has made it so easy for missionaries to prosyletize and take advantage of so many indigenous people. These people do understand that it is all the same god, and so when a missionary comes to teach them how to pray, their understanding is why not learn a new way to pray that they can add to their own ways of communicating with spirit.) But this is why a Lakota can pray to Tunkashila and Wakan Tanka, while a Central Asian shaman prays to Tenger, and yet they both understand and relate to that being in the same terms, and that both are able to tell a Christian that it is one and the same as the Christian’s God. This is very important in an increasingly global world longing for meaning and truth to a culture that has been thrust upon it by Western Man. There are after all many who walk the Red Road (follow Native spirituality) and yet participate in an institutional religion such as Christianity in a way that is meaningful to them.

    Finally, these ways are really not that alien to modern Western Man. After all, we all have indigenous ancestors, and you can find traces of these ancestral traditions in every religion. You find many traces of it in Greek philosophy, one of the primary foundations of Western culture, and Metaphysics, as it has been handed down from the Ancient Greeks, attempts to make sense of the same kind of realities, even if the experience of raw spirituality and the direct communication with spirit was lost to antiquity. Wallace Black Elk one time did a series of lectures for a small Television Station. One of his daughters still has the video tapes of this show that was made up of numerous episodes. It is amazing how much of what he says parallels the Pre-Socratic philosophers, whose understandings of life came straight out of their own Greek spiritual belief system.

    I personally walk the Red Road, but I am not Native, so I won’t really write anymore than a little of my opinion as I have shared here, or my own experiences of the power it involves. (Though I would be happy to co-author a book with a Native, which may very well be a possibility in the future). On the other hand, Indigenous spirituality has presented to me a reality that the West has long denied, and I felt compelled to make sense out of it from a Western philosophical perspective.

    In addition, even Modern Science is in the process of returning us to a metaphysical understanding of the universe. Einstein’s theories of Relativity have given us a universe that is not mechanical and material in the classic sense by any means. Then Quantum Mechanics has shaken the very foundations of what we believe the physical and material world to be. Reality as presented by Quantum Physics is so strange that Quantum Physicists generally do not even want to put it into ontological terms---i.e. discuss what it implies for the being of all things. Instead they just stick to the math. It will take philosophy to really state what it means---but this ontology is not far from Lakota belief. I have mentioned many times how I have sat with the grandson of Wallace Black Elk discussing Quantum Mechanics all night long---only he tended to put the language in terms of spirit, while I put the same thing in terms of Quantum Mechanics. Likewise, it is really fascinating to take such things as the Lakota Creation Story, which is very complex, and look at it as a metaphor for the scientific cosmology of our universe (and to think that civilized man has long labeled a people that have had a better scientific understanding of the origins of the universe than they have for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years as primitive.)

    My own philosophy, which I label as Archephenomenalism, Combines the Phenomenalism of Berkeley and Kant, the Idealism of Hegel, and the Phenomenology of Husserl, with Existentialism, Structuralism, the Deconstruction of Derrida, and so forth. It is a philosophy of Essentialism (a philosophy that argues that essence is the ground of our being rather than existence), and is therefore Metaphysical. But I back up and justify my metaphysics with Quantum Mechanics and Einstein’s theories. (In fact, what I didn’t count on is that my philosophy became a philosophy of the Holographic Universe---a concept that is rapidly gaining popularity among physicists and cosmologists). Following Indigenous belief, it too is multiplistic and places great emphasis on the subjective. I relate the term, Mind, which is very generic and general in philosophy, but which philosophically includes reference to the spiritual, nonphysical and even the Absolute, to Wakan Tanka, and present it as the First Cause (Arche). It therefore also provides meaning, belief, and value to a world turned nihilistic.

    Being mulitplistic, my philosophy provides validation to any religious or spiritual belief. It strikes many people as being very Eastern in nature, for example, as they draw parallels to Buddhism and Hinduism. But every religion will have issues with Archephenomenalism. Eastern religions, for example, will have problems with the focus on the subjective, as their entire focus tends to be denial of the individual in favor of the Cosmic mind. Only indigenous spirituality fits completely with this philosophy. Therefore, I see it as Western Culture’s philosophical introduction to the Red Road and other indigenous belief systems.
  3. Ged

    Ged Tits and Thigh Man. HipForums Supporter

    How do you manage to separate "Being" from "Existence?" That is just a semantic game surely. There is only the unfolding of the flow, and our position within it.
  4. Mountain Valley Wolf

    Mountain Valley Wolf Senior Member

    Good question! The problem is which comes first, essence or existence, and therefore we are not talking about the totality of being, but the ground of being. Sartre, for example argued that essence is in the appearance of existing things. Therefore he said there was no hidden essence or nature. The appearance of a thing provides the totality of what it is. Plato, on the other hand argued that the existence of things is dependent on the essence of form. A table, he said, is a table because it has tableness--the hidden metaphysical 'form' of all things that are tables. If one is religious or spiritual, you probably believe that humans have an essence which comes before the physical, in other words the spirit or the soul. If you believe in life after death than you would have to believe in essentialism otherwise there would be no essence to continue on after the death of the physical body. Therefore, more than semantics, the question involves which comes first---essence or existence.

    Indigenous spirituality is Essentialist. We refer to it as animistic, referring to the belief that everything is alive. But such an argument obviously ignores the fact that Christianity or any other religion, is essentially essentialist. If God is everywhere than his living presence must also be in inanimate objects as well, otherwise there is a contradiction.

    The philosophy we refer to as Existentialism is generally existentialist (in terms of being the opposite of essentialist). Though there were existentialists who were essentialist at heart. But many existentialists developed their philosophy in reaction to the objectivistic way essentialism had developed in Western Philosophy---that is, that people were determined by their essence or their nature. For example, the Anti-Semitism that played such a significant role in World War II was justified in that it was the nature of a Jew to have the negative traits portrayed by Anti-Semitism, and that could not be changed--they will always be that way. Or for example, a Native American is and always will be a lazy drunk because it is their nature (Yet I know many who don't touch liquor and I know those who work so hard, and accomplish far more in a single day than I can do in a week--even if I work really hard). Existentialists, on the other hand, argued that we all have existential freedom and therefore we each can choose who or what we are, and to where we are headed.

    Lakota and other forms of Indigenous spirituality, because it places such a strong emphasis on the individual, allows for an essentialism that does not determine who or what we are by our essence. Both humans and individuals always have a choice. Even in the wholesale destruction of our earth, which Natives the world over have been warning us about for an awful long time, mankind has a choice. There is no inescapable apocalyptic end to the world in indigenous beliefs, because we all have a choice. Granted, there are serious and grave results if we choose wrongly, but...

    In Archephenomenalism I argue that because mind is spontaneous and creative, that we are also not determined by our essence. We have a choice. More specifically, our essence creates who we are, but that essence can be changed and tweaked and so forth.

    P.S. I thought I would add that, you aren't really wrong in your assessment, since regardless of which comes first, from our human experience, it does not amount to much more than a word game. One of the definitions of Existential (and one of the ways I tend to use it in my own writing) is, "The experience of human existence." Human existence implies existence as a 'physical' being. As a human being in this physical existence, we cannot even experience life after death, and for all we know, death is a finality. Therefore, from our perspective, even if essence comes before being, then it would really amount to nothing more than a flip side of the coin of Being. This is still different from Sartre's argument that the essence is in the physical appearance, but in the end, we could not separate essence from existence. THAT IS UNTIL you happen to sit in a yuwipi ceremony or do a Vision Quest with a medicine man, or something like that----then you see a glimpse of that hidden reality, and you go What the F?!!

    OR, THAT IS UNTIL we start exploring Quantum Information, and realize that it is not the flip side of the being of a particle. It may determine the how, when, why, and what kind of particle will manifest from a universal and superpositioned quantum wave-field, and it carries a history, but then it can be transferred and determine that of another particle. Pretty soon we realize it simply carries and determines phenomena and starts to define reality in terms of what the first Phenomenalist, George Berkeley said, Esse est percipi (Existence is perception).
  5. Mountain Valley Wolf

    Mountain Valley Wolf Senior Member

    I happened to glance at your response again and saw this part, and realized I have to clarify. In this regard you are very right. But it is a question of Frame of Reference. I already wrote of how from our existential perspective, we can only see the physical side and so we cannot see or experience a separation of essence and existence---that is one frame of reference.

    The next frame of reference would be one that separates the physical from the nonphysical, and therefore essence from existence. I define the wave of wave/particle duality as a nonphysical state of the 4th dimension. This is an important frame of reference for Modern Man because we are so wrapped up in a dogma of physicality. In fact, this goes way back beyond Modern Man. The Book of John in the Bible is an early example of how we try to even bring the nonphysical into the physical, thereby denying the nonphysical---the darkness, the irrational, the unseen. In doing so, we place conditions on the nonphysical and how we can relate to the nonphysical. Take for example, "Who so ever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." The Book of John has connected the nonphysical Absolute with the physicality of light (as we physically experience it) and the physicality of Logos, and brought it into the world as a physical son, which allows human defined conditions to rule, such as only those who believe in him will be granted the graces of God.

    If you are scientifically minded, I'm sure you immediately reacted to my assertion that the wave is nonphysical with immediate disagreement. But whenever we try to measure the wave, we do so only after it has collapsed into a particle. The wave is superpositioned--all through space and time--which is the same as being positionless. A particle has a specific position in space-time. I define physicality as having a specific position within the 3 physical positions of space-time. I also define physical existence to only be in the present moment; there is no physical existence beyond Now. All quantum waves, including, and just like, light waves, exist in the 4th dimension. We picture light, for example from a star 100 light years away, as travelling through space for 100 years to reach us. But Quantum Mechanics tells us that the light is instantly and simultaneously everywhere. Einstein's Theories of Relativity tell us the same thing--not about being superpositioned, but about being dimultaneously at the star, the earth, and everywhere in between as a zero-space, zero-time existent (Einstein still saw it in terms of having a vector which is one of the biggest differences here). It therefore makes far more sense that it is nonphysical which explains such things as entangled particles and other oddities and paradoxes.

    At this frame of reference, the essence becomes more significant than physicality, which is completely opposite from the physical frame of reference. I referred to the Quantum Information as essence, but here you can see that even the wave-field is essence (which I didn't bother to go into in the previous posts), and this covers all of time as opposed to the brief infinitely small moments of Now when the particle manifests in a single position of space-time.

    From the next frame of reference, such as that of Quantum Information, or the individuated human mind as it is freed from the ego. I do not use ego in a religious or Eastern context, but rather I use it as defined by Jung--a filter with the purpose of maintaining a consistent personality. It therefore filters to the subconscious anything that is not pertinent to maintaining a consistent personality. In other words it keeps us trapped within, and focused upon, the physical world. Anyway, from this frame of reference, the totality of physical existence becomes more apparent. From here we see life existence as a cycle between being and nothingness, or essence and existence.

    Then there is the frame of reference from the absolute which sees all of life and existence as a single whole within which is that unfolding flow.

    Anyway, I think I've hijacked Wahkon's thread too much already...

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