Beyond the Binary

Posted: October 4th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Nihilism | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Beyond the Binary

To students of language, the enduring mystery of words entices and provokes us. The terms which mean the most — spirit, truth, good, information — remain the most inscrutable, but are also found at the core of almost everything that we do. It is as if we are speaking a language we do not understand.

Nihilists embrace both relativity and an objectivity of the whole, saying that we all perceive different things and experience different parts of a whole system, but none of this matters because in the end the whole system is all that matters and makes all of the choices.

A working definition of nihilism says that a nihilist is one who refuses to believe in universal truths, values, and communications. We deny the illusion that most embrace. Furthermore, we accept that objectivity and subjectivity are the same, since people are different and perceive unequally.

Consider the age-old paradox of the elephant confronted by blind men. One feels a leg, and detects a tree; another touches the trunk, and finds a serpent; a third grabs an ear, and believes it is a dragon; a fourth grabs a tusk and believes he has found a unicorn.

Are they objectivity or subjectively wrong? They experienced different realities and reported on those honestly, then drew conclusions which made no sense. Only by seeing or feeling the whole elephant do they have a chance, but in life, all we get is the time and position to touch one part, generally.

This places us in the world of understanding by induction and then deduction. We recognize that for a beast to have one of these parts, there must be more to it, and so we explore further, mostly through the reports of others. Putting them together we have a mystery.

However, a unicorn with reptilian wings that has tree-trunk like legs must also be larger than a dragon, and a dragon with horns must have another form of body to bear that weight. In the end, we can inductively recognize a new type of creature, and deductively see it as none of the illusions.

Very few are willing to do this, especially with spiritual matters. We are all just feeling parts of an elephant here because we get no feedback on the whole; we can only discern parts and try to stitch them together into some approximation of a philosophy.

To a nihilist, religion itself is a spook. In fact, religion precludes spirituality because with religion, you are worshiping symbols, doctrine, and dogma instead of having spiritual experience itself. This is like feeling the leg of an elephant and calling it your master.

Nihilism expresses skepticism about the ideology of religion. If a religious experience becomes written, the words take on the character of the religion, and the experience is lost. Since nihilists are anti-egalitarian, they also recognize that some will be able to piece together the elephant while others cannot.

Right now binaries are thrown at us. They consist of this form: accept what we all know to be universally true, valued, and communicated, or get thrown into the miscellaneous heap with the conspiracy theorists, potheads, extremists, lunatics, religious fanatics, and con men.

For example, we are told that we must believe in the Christian God or His Secular Analogue, equality, or we are outsiders, losers, deplorables, Satanists, atheists, ignorant, and unsociable. You either buy into the dogma or you are ostracized.

Dogma of this nature consists of a human projection. The man who feels the leg of the elephant sets up the Religion of the Leg and decides that everyone must obey or they are dissident heretics who must be thrown in the gas chambers, gulags, Spring Shadows Glen, or guillotines of the State.

The humans in this case have taken part of the experience and projected it to the whole instead of trying to figure out what the whole is. They have a thesis in search of data, in other words cherry-picking, instead of the honest method of assembling all the data and then finding a thesis to match the pattern.

Our modern binary of spirituality consists of either obeying God or being cast out to Satan, and this is where Luciferianism becomes relevant: we accept that Lucifer, like Promotheus, brought us painful knowledge of how limited the human perspective is, and set us on a journey to find out more.

At some level, all spiritual experience consists of the same basics:

More than twenty-five centuries have passed since that which has been called the Perennial Philosophy was first committed to writing; and in the course of those centuries it has found expression, now partial, now complete, now in this form, now in that, again and again. In Vedanta and Hebrew prophecy, in the Tao Teh King and the Platonic dialogues, in the Gospel according to St. John and Mahayana theology, in Plotinus and the Areopagite, among the Persian Sufis and the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance–the Perennial Philosophy has spoken almost all the languages of Asia and Europe and has made use of the terminology and traditions of every one of the higher religions. But under all this confusion of tongues and myths, of local histories and particularist doctrines, there remains a Highest Common Factor, which is the Perennial Philosophy in what may be called its chemically pure state. This final purity can never, of course, be expressed by any verbal statement of the philosophy, however undogmatic that statement may be, however deliberately syncretistic. The very fact that it is set down at a certain time by a certain writer, using this or that language, automatically imposes a certain sociological and personal bias on the doctrines so formulated. It is only the act of contemplation when words and even personality are transcended, that the pure state of the Perennial Philosophy can actually be known. The records left by those who have known it in this way make it abundantly clear that all of them, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Hebrew, Taoist, Christian, or Mohammedan, were attempting to describe the same essentially indescribable Fact.

The original scriptures of most religions are poetical and unsystematic. Theology, which generally takes the form of a reasoned commentary on the parables and aphorisms of the scriptures, tends to make its appearance at a later stage of religious history. The Bhagavad-Gita occupies an intermediate position between scripture and theology; for it combines the poetical qualities of the first with the clear-cut methodicalness of the second. The book may be described, writes Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in his admirable Hinduism and Buddhism, “as a compendium of the whole Vedic doctrine to be found in the earlier Vedas, Brahmanas and Upanishads, and being therefore the basis of all the later developments, it can be regarded as the focus of all Indian religion” is also one of the clearest and most comprehensive summaries of the Perennial Philosophy ever to have been made. Hence its enduring value, not only for Indians, but for all mankind.

At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.

First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness–the world of things and animals and men and even gods–is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.

Second: human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.

Third: man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.

Fourth: man’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.

In Hinduism the first of these four doctrines is stated in the most categorical terms. The Divine Ground is Brahman, whose creative, sustaining and transforming aspects are manifested the Hindu trinity. A hierarchy of manifestations connects inanimate matter with man, gods, High Gods, and the undifferentiated Godhead beyond.

In Mahayana Buddhism the Divine Ground is called Mind or the Pure Light of the Void, the place of the High Gods is taken by the Dhyani-Buddhas.

Similar conceptions are perfectly compatible with Christianity and have in fact been entertained, explicitly or implicitly, by many Catholic and Protestant mystics, when formulating a philosophy to fit facts observed by super-rational intuition. Thus, for Eckhart and Ruysbroeck, there is an Abyss of Godhead underlying the Trinity, just as Brahman underlies Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Taking this seriously, it tells us that there is only one existence and therefore, only one spiritual pattern to it, although we may perceive it differently based on our IQs, experiences, and fears. All religions are just different vocabularies for the same observation about reality.

With that in mind, believing in the God/Satan binary makes about as much sense as fundamentalism of any religious stripe. Each religion is a human construct, made of human words, trying to describe something that does not fit in words and can be described only in the abstract.

Too many on the Left Hand Path or in the middle try to uphold the binary by becoming an inversion of what they see as the dominant religion, forgetting that because it is written and made into doctrine, this religion itself is an inversion of spiritual experience.

If Luciferianism has a core, it is the idea that knowledge comes through pain and is cumulative and unequal. There is no one doctrine — this is the human stain, again — that can be applied to everyone. We are each on our own paths and some will get farther than most.

When you ditch the binary, which is basically “what humans want to believe because it is tangible” versus “the ambiguous nature of reality understood only through analysis,” you escape into a world beyond symbolism, easy answers, and simplistic assurances that mask a greater truth.

This is like leaving the playpen. You lose the comforting simplicity of control, but gain a world where you can fit your head around reality and achieve better results that way. This is the primal Indo-European faith: making the patterns in our minds harmonious to the patterns of reality is power.

The basics of spiritual reality remain in play. They have not changed. However, one leaves behind the human construct of religion and is able to experience religious experience, which is more ambiguous and spacious than the human binary of religious doctrine.

Comments are closed.