A week or two ago, pollsters watching the primaries in the US said: “Eight years ago, the big issue for the American public was the economy. Now the big issue is trust.’ For awhile, I felt a very high personal resonance with the electorate ...because trust is my big problem now. But today’s polls (Fiorina and Bush and Rubio all up) suggest that really , what I see myself is a lot stronger than what the electorate sees.... I saw some things in that last debate which make me sad about the recent shift in polls.
Trust is now a very deep and fundamental problem, requiring some care and even some analytic models.
So: first some stuff on models.
Before Quaker Meeting today, we had some “early drop-in” discussion. The first person there was a guy who is both Quaker and Catholic at the same time. I told him that there are two official Catholic authors whose writings are far more important than any other official Catholic writings I have ever read, for the serious and unconstrained seeker of spiritual truth: Teilhard de Chardin, and Andrew Greeley. We talked some about Teilhard this week and last week. In honor of Pope Francis visiting this area, I had hoped to bring a copy of the one really important article by Greeley to meeting this morning – but couldn’t. It wasn’t on the web that I could finmd, not even on Greeley’s own web site (maintained by his family since his death in 2013). So for $1 cost + $4 shipping, I have bought a copy of the hard copy edition of a book which reprints his paper and others of possible interest: Consciousness: The Brain, States of Awareness, & Alternate Realities by (Author), (Editor). An important source – but not for this blog today.
Teilhard de Chardin’s Phenomenon of Man popularized the idea of “noosphere,” which in my view is really essential to understand the vast bulk of esoteric and spiritual experience of us people on earth. But I had to agree with the guy who read the book before me that the discussion of “evolution” was implausible. Today he summarized it: “It’s not that Teilhard did not understand Darwin. It’s that he uses the word ‘evolution’ in a generic way, saying we now have new rules.” I compared that to the beliefs of some transhumanists, who imagine that sheer brain power automatically leads to a rapid positive progress – not accounting for phenomena like entropy, aging, conflicts of interest and corruption.
And so: my view of where the noosphere comes from is fundamentally different from Teilhard’s. I would not believe it at all, were it not for very compelling experiential evidence. “The real question – highlighted by what we see on TV and in PR efforts right now – is why there is any hope the whole thing will not collapse soon into total death, both of species and of noosphere. The same question applies to the human body. As above, so below. The human body has a special feature, analogous to antibodies, which I would call ‘DNA protectors.’ They detect and kill cells with bad, improper mutated DNA. Without that, our body would not last so long. The only real hope for growth to outweigh aging and entropy, even within the noosphere itself (let alone the world economy), is the expectation that the noosphere might also contain inborn ‘spiritual DNA protectors’ and that these would be expressed.... along with the things we do for growth.”
That was before the drop-in discussion proper. For the drop in discussion, we had a three page reading of an old debate between a friend of George Fox, named John Roberts/Hayward, and an Anglican preacher, about perfection of the soul and afterlife. The preacher first argued that “perfection of the soul” is not possible in this life, while Roberts argued that it is. I broke in to say that I do not believe perfection is possible in this life or any other life – if “perfection” really means perfection. But does it? In THEIR use of the term, their debate, “perfection” meant a soul being just good enough to be allowed into “heaven.” And then I realized – one could construe a definition of “perfection” as being just good enough to pass the test of any spiritual DNA protectors... which is basically a matter of embodying a few correct procedures. There is some analogy to machine-verified compliance with formal standards for an operating system to be unbreakable; it is not that the information in that operating system is perfect or complete, but that a very important fault mechanism (being hacked) is excluded.
So – if spiritual-DNA protection plays a central role here, how does it work? Certainly NOT by being taken over by awful human litmus tests intended to verify that one is under the thumb of some corrupt power holders who write THEIR rules to keep others under control! But perhaps it is important to have a bit more understanding and respect for things like the “antibodies” in the movie Conception, things which are all too familiar to me in so many phases of life. Bad outcomes, but drawing on valid sources of energy, which could be better channelled.
Also at the drop in meeting, a woman described growing up in the deep south, and the really crazy sounding debates on fine points of theology common back then – crazy in a way we see all around us in the world, related to the serious threat of religious wars resulting in human extinction.
And thus did I walk into meeting proper....
Feeling almost totally paralyzed by the impasses and lack of trust on all sides, in all channels... new gestapos all over the world not tolerating authentic speech and dialogue... political factions using awful dark ages tactics to try to rule everything they can rule, some of them fundamentalist and some of them the grossest of hypocrites claiming to believe in freedom while working so hard and effectively to extinguish it... some chopping away that the technology strength of the US amazingly effectively on all fronts while pretending to a patriotic motivation (but do I trust our freedom enough to name names as I certainly could?)... ever more concerned about whether any major power center in the world could be trusted with any of a half dozen new technologies I know of.... Aware that doing nothing puts us on a course to extinction, but not really seeing what could be done now...
In meeting, we are called not to stand up and speak out loud except for very rare things. So it seemed right for me to voice very loudly INSIDE the question – what can WE do to do the most we can to inject at least some hope of survival at least of the noosphere? I can be pretty good at projecting questions sometimes.
After one brief rising by someone with a prepared reaction on Yom Kippur... not quite what is supposed to happen... two people spoke out vey powerfully as Quakers are supposed to do in meeting, both really addressing my question and both with palpable spiritual energy.
The first, on trust. What we need to work on. “Can we ever trust those in the society around us as much as we once trusted our parents... We will see.” The second started (without detail) on a problem of trust she had which led to her ex-husband not to be her present husband... but raising to her recent journey on the path of Mary Magdalene and the spiritual energies she experienced in France.
Two images coming out here: (1) some things can be trusted and should be engraved at the level of the noosphere post spiritual DNA cleansing, but not held in other places, as a major of trust and legitimate understanding of the powerful forces of abuse now around us; and (2) how free we could be to trust broader society depends a lot on the health and sanity and balance of that society, which is at a low point right now... but could be a bit better if the kinds of energies discussed by the second speaker were better represented in human society, with more balance of male and female reducing the worst disruptive entropy we now see in places like the Middle East and the harems of right-wing hypocrites (many depending on money from the Middle East).
Of course, I still agree with Yeshua that social contracts are an essential part of this. The old ones do not seem to be enough.
Also... thinking about those theological debates mentioned by the woman from the south... part of my has always been baffled: “Why don’t these people look at themselves in the mirror, and at all the other people in world behaving the same way, getting nowhere except into fights with each other?” Basic neurosceince (see www.werbos.com/Mind.htm): the muse learns from its experience, but the monkey also learns from the experience of others. Why don’t these people exercise the basic ability possessed even by monkeys to look at the other folks getting into trouble, taking that to heart, and avoiding becoming such idiots themselves? That question may be one small part of the solution, not just the problem.
All for now.