The more I write and interact with you all here in the Asylum, the more I realize the purpose of good interactive design. As a writer, you are allowed to put certain working concepts that you are still building to the side, with blogging you have to present your present thinking in real time on a pretty consistent basis. What that means for me, being sort of a polymath, and having various interests, is that I need to expand my navigation and build many categories. Also explain in some sort of visual manner that each post is building on the last post of that topic. It is like writing a book in public. I was taught that the wise artist never shows their work until complete…that’s not going to do much for my self-evaluation later tonight…any who…In my defense, even when I know I can’t give you the quantity that you may desire, I endure to give you quality.
Much like my thinking on categorizing and building on topics, my spiritual beliefs and knowledge tend to work the same. I realize that most people reading this might believe that “GOD” or their “Higher Power” has an ego, or a personality, yet, I don’t. I believe that all is ALL. Yeah, I know that statement is about as vague as the initial proposition of a prostitute, yet I have this need to develop all my public explanations of my beliefs in simple terms. Possibly why I was drawn to Twitter in the manner that I was. In a more specific statement, my belief is that everything in existence, the complete set of all that is, even beyond what the senses of the best hearing or seeing or smelling sentient beings can know, is what I refer to as “God”. Some say the “universal mind”, yet I tend to think most people will conceptualize towards the anthropomorphic. That is, they will think of how their mind works, and ascribe the same characteristics of their inner world to that of what we are calling “Universal Mind” or “God”. Which is all the same quite possible, just not something my logic allows me to adhere to at the moment.
If I say that my conceptualization of God, which is for the most part all we can ever discuss, is a mathematical formula, then I’ll lose most of my audience’s understanding. If I say that you are a mathematical formula within the whole of a fractal based on a similar formula, then I might lose you even more. Mainly, I believe that is because most of us like to base our understanding of the human on emotive responses. We tend to think solely about the emotional aspects of the person, and not the consistent patterns that we all share – the more structured and easily enumerated elements. And yet, many of us in certain religious and philosophical communities enjoy saying things like, “Life is math, and math is life.” Of course, the minute I describe sexual and intimate scenarios with mathematical nomenclature, I get treated like the nerd in gym class. Ironically, there are mathematical formulas for the labile, or reactionary in chemistry. In fact, I’d say a precise mind, with enough of a grasp on the abstract, such as in calculus, would be able to formulate a function for pretty much all that exist.
For me, there is no separation between the spiritual and all else. It is simply a body. My particular body is a composite of billions of ‘separate’ entities, and yet all serving one singular purpose, at the moment, to get me to figure out how to explain all this complex shit in a simple and even humorous manner. That means I believe that my politics are spiritual. My economics are spiritual. This shouldn’t be too difficult to grasp for those of us in the United States since our religions are embedded into both our politics and our economics regardless of conventional belief. We say that there is a separation between church and state, and yet “In God We Trust” is visibly printed on all of our bank notes and coins. Our political representatives and even our political pundits have made it a habit to say, “God Bless America”, or “God Bless the United States of America”. In my thinking, religion was actually institutionalized for such purposes. Any statements that suggests differently are nominal at best.
As I’ve hinted at earlier, all of our knowledge, even most of our beliefs are what we call a “build”. They are concepts, hypothesis, and theories, accepted theories (also referred to as facts) that have been dialectically argued, or forcibly agreed upon over the course of human existence and handed to us like a cognitive baton. Often, what we do with these ideas depends on the experiences, critical thinking skills, and ability to forge an identity or even find gain in the beliefs or theories that we have been handed. Integrity be damned, it makes all the sense in the world to me when I see people that I know are actually atheist to publicly promote Christianity in a country that wars under the banner of Christianity for political or economic gain. In the same vein, it makes all the sense in the world to me for a professed anarchist to justify why they stand up at ball games with their hands on their heart during the national anthem. As stated, I don’t separate spirituality from politics or economics, and part of spirituality is an understanding of the more reactive elements that are influenced by forces outside themselves.( I’m a complicated son of a wonderful woman, aren’t I?)
From socialization we are given our template of acceptable behaviors and in many ways our ideologies with regard to race, class, and sex. That template becomes a normalizing influence in our lives. As a person that has a record for rule-breaking and dissenting from social norms, I must admit, it is because I know and recognize the norms that cause me to be successful in rule breaking, or more importantly, effective. The same with the spiritual. There is a governing body of laws that allow the material existence that we must recognize as “the material existence”–or for those that accept the possibility of multiple dimensions, “OUR material existence”–to have order.
Although much of our existence is governed by randomness, the decisions of sentient beings with “will power” or “instincts”, or “natural selection”, there is another area of our existence that is much less protean, and even the labile can be controlled, or at least predictions of their behavior can be accurately surmised. My experiences have shown me that the same way a scientist that understands the rules or the patterns of radical elements can control for the various outcomes of that element’s reactions to other elements, so can one who understands the patterns, or most importantly, the guiding principles, of a labile personality control the behaviors, or at least create conditions that will promote the most desired outcome from such a personality.
Within that understanding comes a need for people to believe in not only a “God” that is nothing more than an all-powerful personage, but also an all caring one. Terms such as “Father” are used in many cultures to embody this idea of a power guide that only hurts as a form of “tough love”. Concomitant with that is this idea of a morally and ethically superior creature that is always right. Justifications for the reasons why good people die abound throughout cultural literature, as means to alleviate the cognitive dissonance that one might experience when considering why such an omnipotent and beneficent being would “allow” such activities to occur. As a standard of practice, those that are members of communities that profess such beliefs collectively, force upon one another absolute codes of morally dictated behaviors. Even those that simply possess the knowledge of said sorts of groups are held to often intolerable levels of human discipline. In the black community, many have mistaken simple awareness, or “consciousness”, as an invite to harshly persecute and judge. Often this is done without considering what a person’s actual ethical responsibilities and priorities lie. Ethical considerations often being relative, I have witnessed this become a very bloody sport, in deed. I am sure that someone reading the title of this post asked themselves,”How he gone say ‘God’ and ‘shit’ in the same sentence…?” Sacrilege….indeed.
Much of the conflicts we observe in our day to day lives either through close proximity, with familiars, or via mass communication have their origins in a quest for control, or influence over a person or group of people. The very concept of property is simply an influential belief that one or many have a right to a piece of land. That is a very simple handling of that concept, but I hope it gives you a brief moment of reflection. We as people in a society are influenced by our socialization, our templates, to accept economic systems of behavior, often without questioning why such patterns even exist, or how they came to be. Many of my colleagues can debate ad infinitum on the ideas of Big Bang theories, and can’t explain why there are more blacks in impoverished communities percentage wise compared to their white counterparts. In analogy, I tend to wonder why people lack the curiosity or critical comprehension to question why they believe what they believe. And as I have stated more than once already, I don’t separate my politics from my spirituality. I completely understand why a person that holds opposing beliefs than those espoused by their religious body would not act out of that belief. Possibly that person has a position among those that share that belief system, and voicing a contradictory opinion, no matter how well-reasoned, might cause them financial suffering, or political defeat.
I hold this sympathetic view even more when assessing those in religious organizations in the black community, where our religious organizations hold the most sway, or influence, over the rest of the American black populace. Social considerations are also a part of my spiritual understanding, and social reactions and responses must be considered. Those that conflict with the more established organizations of belief tend to already have planned for escape, regroup, and revolution. Or least they should.
As I close, or at least break from this particular post, I am reminded of the career of Jim Jones the leader of the People’s Temple. In his younger years, he was an outcast due to class bias and he sought understanding and acceptance from the black community. We have photographs handed down to us from his early years, with his black adopted children. He would go on to form a church and with that church he would develop such an austere reputation for helping in the black community that there are also images of him being guarded by the Nation of Islam’s FOI(The militarily trained men of the Nation of Islam) while giving a lecture to the presiding congregation of “Black Muslims”. It is pretty telling of the influence that Jones had at that time, to be a white man able to speak in front of a group of people that professed a belief in the white man being the devil. Jim Jones’ reputation would become smeared as his activities in the People’s Temple became more wide spread.
His congregation’s devotion to his form of leadership allowed Jim to amass enough money to secure land in Guyana, where he and his congregation built Jonestown. Well, his congregation built it, he simply broadcasted through loud speakers how the rest of the world despised black people while the blacks were diligently working in the fields. Soon, growing weary and beginning to question their place in Jonestown, a number of members formed dissenting opinions about Jonestown. Those members would be labeled as people who begin to think for themselves within these sorts of movements are historically labeled by the “prophets” and leaders of such movements: “fearful”, “unfaithful”, and the dreaded, “hypocrite”. The families of many of the members also became suspicious and I’m sure, quite concerned about their missing relatives and a congressional delegation was subsequently formed and sent to Guyana. Reporters would be passed slips of notes from members of the People’s Temple asking for help. That help would never arrive, nor would some of that delegation make it back home.
An ambush of the delegation left five dead at the airstrip. Jones would commence to order the largest mass suicide of US citizens to date. He ordered black mothers to have their black babies and children drink cyanide-laced grape Flavor Aid. Over 900 people died that day. Close to three hundred of them were children. Jones called it a “revolutionary suicide”. A political act under the auspices of a religious order, with social ramifications that have become cultural indices.
Influence, force and power, is the spirit that guides us all and it can take many forms.
Please be careful with your portion of God…it can get ugly in here…