Don't Miss this Book

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W4TVQ
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Don't Miss this Book

Postby W4TVQ » August 6th, 2008, 12:06 pm

A friend handed me a copy of a new book by Daniel C. Dennett entitled Breaking The Spell. It reads almost like an extension of James' Varieties of Religious Experience. The "spell" to which the title refers is the "spell" of religion. He is by no means anti-religious, but is trying in this book to "uncover the origins of this remarkable family of phehnomena that mean so much to so many people, and to discuss why -- and how -- they have commanded allegiance, become so potent, and shaped so many lives so strongly."

Anyhow ... I recommend it highly, especially if you found James' Varieties enlightening.

Namaste
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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zoofence
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Re: Don't Miss this Book

Postby zoofence » August 16th, 2008, 2:25 pm

It sounds like a good read. Thanks for the suggestion. I will look for the book.
He is … trying in this book to "uncover the origins of this remarkable family of phenomena that mean so much to so many people, and to discuss why -- and how -- they have commanded allegiance, become so potent, and shaped so many lives so strongly".


As I have said so often, I am convinced that the reach for spiritual awareness and awakening is an integral, intended, inescapable aspect of the process of creation. That is, in our “separative stage” we think that “my life” is all about “me” – and in some respects, I suppose it is – but as we grow, we come increasingly to perceive, and then to see, that it is not about “me” but about “God”, the very and only One, the Realization of Which is the Design of Creation.

And so, from birth, we are inwardly drawn toward the fulfillment of that Process, in the beginning unconsciously, sometimes despite ourselves, even against our will (kicking and screaming), but still we respond to the natural pull, and find ourselves in churches, in temples, in synagogues, in mosques – being baptized, getting married, celebrating “holy days”, reading and saying and singing words that somewhere in our hearts we know are real and true, but which – again, in the beginning – we often, sometimes too often, ignore with our heads and hands.

I suppose there are lots of valid explanations for religion – the desire for community and companionship, for security and protection, for justification and identity – but in the end, I am, again, convinced that it is none other than the inevitable outgrowth of a seed that is planted within us in the Garden. Simply stated, it is in the Divine-Designed DNA. Religion, however expressed or whether expressed at all, is as much an aspect of being alive as the survival instinct – we can’t avoid it.

The more I grow from within, the more apparent this is, and the more apparent is it to me that all expressions of this inbred force are fundamentally identical. We fight and kill, torture and maim, enslave and discriminate against each other over the differences we perceive in our religions, but at close inspection from a wider perspective, the differences that are so important to us in our spiritual youth are seen to be simply cultural curlicues, tweaks upon a primordial, indelible, unspeakable Truth: There is One, there is Only One, and I Am That.

Writing this, I am reminded of the following by Vivekananda which appears on TZF below the article Let God Be God: A round stone with special marks is the emblem of Vishnu, the Omnipresent, worshipped in the shrine. Each morning a priest comes in, bathes the image, clothes it, and puts his own Divine Spirit into it to "make it alive". Then he worships it with flowers and other offerings, waves incense before it, and finally puts it to bed, apologizing to God for worshipping Him in that way because of his inability to conceive Him without the help of an image or some other material object.


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