Created October 31, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
The Sadducees were the materialistic and authoritarian traditional ruling class of wealthy aristocrats, high priests and merchants, and a self-identifying sect within Judaism that denied things that other Jews believed in, including the existence of the spirit; the Sadducees denied resurrection, denied redemption in a future life, and “believed in unrestrained free will —meaning God had no role in the personal lives of humans. Everyone was master of his or her own destiny”. They were known for their main belief which was in wealth. A significant recurring income stream they sought to protect was payment for the rituals performed in the great temple, including animal sacrifice. Jesus reinterpreted and reinvigorated the Jewish beliefs of the other sects, Pharisees and Essenes, focusing on the heart, mind, and spirit rather than on material wealth, and drew heavily upon the thoughts of Hillel, making kindness to others the number one priority of Jewishness.
If voting had existed there, Jesus would have not encouraged his followers to vote for the Sadducees no matter how seductive their arguments might have sounded. The brilliant Republican Evangelical American writer Michael Gerson has written an inspired article about this subject. Although I have quoted the article once before, it seems to me timely to share his words with you here, as we are heading into a season both of voting and of remembering the spiritual ideas that have uplifted us:
Jesus rejected the role of a political messiah. In the present age, He insisted, the Kingdom of God would not be the product of Jewish nationalism. It would not arrive through militancy and violence, tactics that would contribute only to a cycle of suffering. Instead, God’s kingdom would grow silently, soul by soul, “among you” and “within you,” across every barrier of nation or race — in acts of justice, peacemaking, love, inclusion, meekness, humility and gentleness.
Instead of ignoring the cries of the ill, poor and abused, they would honor the unerasable image of God we see in one another. Believers don’t accept a society divided by rank or dominated by the illusion of merit — they seek to subvert such stratification in constructive ways, to prioritize justice and common provision for people in need.
Do the dark pleasures of resentment and anger simply have a stronger emotional appeal than the virtues of compassion and self-sacrifice?
Or maybe it just feels impossible to judge your own upbringing and cultural background. It is hard to question the aggressive, predominant views of your community or congregation. It is far easier to seek belonging, even if it means accepting a lie or ignoring a wrong. Thus, moral courage is often a solitary stand.
Today Do Not Make the Dream Go That Way
India’s sages taught and still teach that our expectations program our material experiences. Our minds create our reality. This is not a solipsistic process (except in schizophrenia), we all do it together to create the consensus reality. This is not far from what physicist John Wheeler said in his theory of the Participatory Anthropic Principle.
This can be empirically verified, and is intuitive common sense, but its implied advice is not taken and acted upon by the population at large. The advice would be to consider every moment how one’s thoughts and feelings were programming reality, and whether one really wanted to do that. Perhaps we can learn how to cooperate better in mentally and emotionally pre-creating the reality we all want. There are some common elements virtually all of us agree on, such as peace, love, happiness, family, community, honor, hard work, education, creativity, art, individuality, public safety and its correlate, violence reduction… the list goes on.
To simplify, the imaginings billions of us are having at this exact second, of the bloody mess seemingly growing by the day all around the world, increases the probability of those even more disastrous escalation situations actually coming about. We have to steer away from that dream, not throw more fuel on its fire. All the negative hand-wringing conversations not only don’t move us toward solutions, they actually move us more into the feared outcome.
Then the news media have difficult choices to make but, so far, quickly decide to tell it like they see it. This is twisting the dial to a larger fire on the stove.
It is sane – once knowing these facts – to decide resolutely to stop going along with an assumption that this is hole we are doomed to swirl down in – and to switch channels in our minds and hearts to imagining how it could all end peacefully, with respectful dialog. And then to make the imaginings tangibly real together by hard work and respect for our seemingly antithetical viewpoints – which may not be as polarized as we have collectively settled into thinking they are. By avoiding unpleasant conversations about the details of what are the desired outcomes and paths, we are locking in the brain-dead animosity amplification approach as the standard operating system of the human race. How passé.
Imagination is more important than has been publicly stated, except in song. Zaltman said that 95% of decision making is subconscious. A powerful driver in that realm is the imagination. That is the seat of creative power in the subconscious. There are other powerful drivers there, including the intuition, which boils up insights from the subconscious and God knows where else.
Know Thyself was Socrates’ summary advice to human beings.
The meaning is scientific in its specificity. Know Thyself means Know what are your powers of mind, and how do they drive you (as we find things today), and then, now that you know who you are and are therefore in control, how to use those assembled powers, and why? The epithet is known in today’s science as metacognition and as self-metaprogramming.
This is the central purpose of every life. The percentage of us who find ourselves is an unknown number. The whole subject is abstruse because the world culture is polarized away from the spiritual and immaterial.
Jesus was talking about the same subject. Working upon oneself to be able to have sufficient control of one’s own mind and heart to be able to not even think about wrong actions or desires.
Working upon oneself was classically Jewish, with their concept of menschdom.
Hinduism calls it nivritti.
Islam means surrendering the little soul to the One Actual Soul of the Universe. This is actually the Flow state outcome of working on oneself. The working is done in an intermediary state we (The Human Effectiveness Institute) call Observer state. Werner Ehrhardt called it the “clear” state. Oscar Ichazo called it 96. Buddhism calls it the access state (the entrance doorway through which Flow is accessible). Jews call it being a mensch. I call it Observer state. It’s a state of being that pops up across time and space and cultures and is a commonsense reality. Nevertheless, its science status is zero. That tells you a lot about a culture. What it wants to find out and what it doesn’t consider worth trying to find out about. Scotoma means blindspot and they occur on all levels.
Esoteric literature throughout hisandherstory has been tabu, and yet all it was in essence is a package of spiritual intuition and powers of mind. The reason it was tabu was because that was the market that authoritarian high priests in all religions were going after. It all comes down to who really knows the most about: What happens after death. Whether ESP is achievable or not. Whether there is a benevolent God. What is our relationship to God. Whether God has given us license to do anything we want, or a path to stay upon.
These considerations appear to be academic and irrelevant to our lives. That’s the mindset we inherited. The same mindset is re-conditioned every day in every way.
Einstein had a strong intuition. One of his hunches that he was certain about, was that the universe was created by an incredible intelligence. Science to him was a way of gaining insight into the beautiful thinking of that supreme intelligence.
Yet Einstein balked at the notion of a personal God, a God who cared one whit about Einstein.
My only disagreement with Einstein is on that point. A supreme intelligence would have all of the faculties we have and infinitely more, which means that Being would be conscious and self-aware, in fact, supremely self-aware.
If the Being had infinite computing power, it could live through an infinite number of avatars simultaneously, paying attention to and caring about each one of us. As one cares about the protagonist in a movie perhaps, or more likely as one cares about one’s child.
There is nothing supernatural about that idea. It is eventually verifiable. It is in resonance with quantum theory and relativity. It changes everything though because it makes consciousness the most important thing in the universe.
If in fact we are in a massively multiplayer role-playing game (MMRPG) called existence, and the basic stuff of which the universe is made is consciousness, with matter being a supremely advanced haptic feedback system, then causality stemming from our expectations and perceptions having an actual shaping effect upon events, is not a long throw from there.
This again is also quite close to what the pre-eminent physicist John Wheeler said, that consciousness triggers probabilities to crystalize into facts.
Which means that at least in some cases you yourself are causing the very things that cause you the greatest suffering, partially by just expecting it, and partially by subconscious failure rehearsal.
The more we can all communicate with each other in a hopeful, realistic way, the sooner these new dark ages shall be forced back into inky shadows.
Love to all,