Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Sexuality, Love and Partnership: From the Perspective of Spiritual Science

Sexuality, Love and Partnership: From the Perspective of Spiritual Science Sexuality, Love and Partnership: From the Perspective of Spiritual Science by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some insights I loved in this book:

If we're not interested in things outside ourselves, we will become sexually compelled. The one causes the other. Eroticism is a sense of being imprisoned by the body. The best cure for eroticism is to develop an aesthetic sensibility, to develop an active interest in the environment. You're not that interesting. No one person is. Watch sunsets; listen to music; talk to people. Focus on the wonders of people and things, not you.

The Christ impulse brings three things: wonder, compassion, and conscience. Where these three are, there is Christ.

Women and girls generally relate more with their imaginations, forming mental pictures of people that they love and hate, like and dislike. Thus they are able to have more nuanced perceptions of others than men easily can. On the other hand, Men and boys generally long for something not quite earthly. Their spirits are less connected to the body than in women and girls. The woman is more earthly, which is not a bad thing, but means that her spirit is more present. The man is more spiritual, which merely means that his spirit separates itself from the body more.

The etheric body of the man is female; the etheric body of the woman is male.

One can only really love someone by making a mental image of him or her. This happens through the etheric body. The etheric body is the bearer of love.

Feelings can be metamorphosed. An addiction for feasting can be transformed into feasting on literature. All baser feelings are higher feelings in germ.

When we are asleep, we are with other people in the spirit. When we are sociable during the day, in a certain sense, we are asleep.

Love creates joy for the universe.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Goethe's Theory of Knowledge

Goethe's Theory of Knowledge: An Outline of the Epistemology of His Worldview Goethe's Theory of Knowledge: An Outline of the Epistemology of His Worldview by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The gist of this is that you can't divorce the scientist's human mind from what it investigates. The thought that it *actively* thinks about the mere object is itself a part of the world, which is split in half into object (percept) and thought (concept). The human mind links the two and makes the world appear. That much sounds like Heidegger (the logos of phenomena).

A briefer summary: if you've got a mind, flaunt it.

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Science: A Spiritual Being

There are many hidden spiritual beings. Some of these are big. They are the movers and shakers in the spiritual world and, as such, in ours. The World Wars were their handiwork, as is any sudden historical change. "The Patriarchy" is a spiritual being like this, and the force that got Donald Trump elected is another. They are what many have called gods or goddesses. Swedenborg called them "spiritual communities," and Carl Jung called them archetypes. They are important. If you don't pay attention to them, you will blindly become a pawn in their chess game against each other. To really exist as a being apart from these era-defining forces, we need to bee aware of them. That's my goal in this post.

Specifically, here I'll write about a particular spiritual being that's very relevant right. This being is what you could call "rightness." This being exerts its influence wherever there are comment wars on Facebook, heated political debates, and especially in the scientific worldview. It wants to be right. When you settle a debate about whether James Monroe was from Virginia by looking on Wikipedia, "rightness" was the acting force. When you "know" the Church is true, it has a share in that testimony. And since we all love truth and never question it as a value, rightness has its metal tentacles enmeshed in our culture.

Rightness goes hand in hand with death. What made pollution? Science. What made nuclear war possible? Science. Moreover, whenever you take measurements, you kill the livingness that those measurements put in a cage. Flesh and fur become facts and figures. Science says "stay put!" and when nature says "no!" it kills nature. And yet it is not evil. Like many archetypes, rightness cannot see itself except in and as us. If it were self-aware, it would become a noble, pure, lofty intelligence like the top of a mountain or the crisp air of a winter's day. It would be the purity we taste in number and graphs. But it has been confused. It wants to kill things because it is convinced that this height and purity can only be achieved in death and the whiteness of bone.

For rightness is afraid. It is terrified that, if it stops the search for absolute purity and certainty, it will die. And it kills to do this. It desperately seeks for a feeling of its own existence, of body, in being right, but because it never gets this, it seeks even harder. This shows up in how we desperately feel that we must be right and that something indefinably terrible will happen if we're wrong. This insensitivity is rightness clawing for a body.

And yet it is mistaken. You can have purity and certainty alongside the messiness of life. Plants have an order and a logic that would make any engineer envious. As does any animal. When rightness sees that order and purity happen naturally, without compulsion and an endless striving, it will stop being so destructive. But it cannot do this until it realizes what it is doing. It needs to become conscious of itself and see the horror of what it has done. Then redemption can come. 

This happens in us. Whenever we ask ourselves "why do I need to be right?" we are expediting the development of rightness's self-awareness. Learn to know the force behind the push to be right. Know its edges and its fears. Learn the abyss it is scared of. Taste its revulsion at the messiness of life. And, slowly, teach it to face its fear. This will help the world more than you know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: Taking Appearance Seriously

Taking Appearance Seriously: The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought Taking Appearance Seriously: The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought by Henri Bortoft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world isn't just acollection of finished "things." Every "thing" is a process. Like a river flowing downstream, we cannot just judge it as it has flowed; we need to also treat it in its "flowing." It's like trying to treat cheese as if it were milk. You can learn to see hte "producing" of things, their appearANCE. It takes seeing the essence of things IN their appearance, not as something that is cut off from us in some invisible thing-in-itself or world of the forms. The world is a gesture; the invisible is merely the expression in the face of the visible.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Revelatory Dreams about the Church

So I have pretty vivid dreams. They used to only occur when I slept in an uncomfortable place like a couch, but now they happen almost all the time. And they're not just vivid; they have lots of visceral conversations, texts that I read, or events that happen, which tell me answers to concerns I have. Naturally, some of these concerns have to do the LDS Church.

What you'll find below are eleven dreams from the last three years that give revelations about the nature of the LDS Church. They speak indirectly; in almost all of them, the influx of information that happens has to come through the mask of whatever concrete details I'm interested in. So for example, you'll find some early on that have to do with the media I was into at the time (zombies and TV shows). People in my life pop up (I've taken out any names to avoid embarrassing anyone). You'll see references to Harry Potter and Doctor Who. But there is a discernible through-line of revelation in each one.

I've decided to italicize any part of the dreams that seems more relevant to the topic at hand than the other parts. For some of them, the whole dream is italicized; these dreams are explicitly about the Church.

Also, feel free to check out posts about two other dreams that fit this description:

My Dream about the Book of Mormon and a Wedding

My Dream about Joseph Smith, Swedenborg, and Fallout 4

I'll offer some brief commentary after each one.

Painting by J. Kirk Richards

The Dreams

8-9 October 2014

In a church function, I found one of the new kittens on the top bunk of my bed at Grandma's house. Our family and I brought the kittens and a dog ( possibly the yellow one) to Church with us. We were nervous that they would tell us to leave. We put the dog in a room where the mother's lounge is. There were teacher-age young men there.
You'll find this sentiment in many of my dreams: church members are judgmental. They cleave to the straight and narrow often at the expense of actual people. Is this good or bad? Both and neither. It comes with the territory.

27-28 January 2015
 I was considering writing a play about people in prison. Then I decide to write a play about the relationships between Mormons and Muslims.
Mormons and Muslims are "in it together," so to speak. This is very "in the air" right now. We are both cleaving to a way of life that's disappearing. We are imprisoned by the world and, by extension, we are also imprisoned by our restrictions.

7-8 August 2015

I am in a neighbors' basement. My non-LDS aunt is there, and she has an essential oil that is associated with Joseph Smith, as if it contained his essence. I ask her what she thought of it, and she said she didn't think it was real. The conversation drifts to Swedenborg on loves and correspondences to my saying that the only difference between religion and magic is political. This upsets her, and a parent gets in my way and tells me so.

Mormons tend not to like the magic and occultism that is, nevertheless, hard to hid from the religion. Things like essential oils and energy work betray our fascination with the magic-y things that we've tried to repress. We shouldn't; it's' our brightness. It's what makes us unique.

29-30 August 2015

At General Conference in a cross between Grandma's stake center and a cathedral (light revealing the dark) where President Benson's going to announce the two new apostles. On the stand, I can see that one of them is Asian. He starts talking about something else (perhaps on a senile way) and then talks about announcing the two apostles, but intimates that he already had. There is a musical number, and we find a seat way in the back. The front has a kind of blue mist veiling the very front, the very origin, and I can only see the front of the front. We sit by a friend from my singles ward, like I said I was going to in the dayworld the night before. The number starts, but I notice that the dividers are closed. I go to open them, but I get in the way of the dancers. Embarrassed, I go back to my seat. I leave, wanting to avoid the awkwardness, and a parent interprets that to mean that I'm going to my Singles Ward. So I leave the chapel, now the Grovecreek Stake Center by our house, and walk home. A feisty girl walks with me, wanting to tag along. I try to walk on the sidewalk but keep getting hurt by vines and thorns on overhanging the fence from unkept trees on the other side. The girl stays by me.

There is a mystical "background" to the Church that many people can't see. It is the endless like Endless is God's name. And it is blue, the color of the endless sky and sea. But the "dividers" can close it out. 

20-21 November 2015

A parent has talked with NYU and this I should go there for my Masters and live with relatives in New York. She has me go there immediately so I can meet with the LDS Institute people, perhaps for the purposes of meeting a girl to marry. I go to NYU, and it's Westminster, though it looks like Meridian. A professor from Westminster says I can still apply to the philosophy grad program at NYU (which he's in charge of) if I take the last ten minutes to take the philosophy subject tewst. But he says that even if I don't, he can arrange it so I take it some other time. I go to the computer lab to take it, but I can't find it. Eventually I settle in my apartment with someone like an actor from the theater, who helps me. It's Halloween again, and I realize that the previous Halloween wasn't the 31st but only a week-day combination that worked as Halloween for people who didn't want to celebrate it on the actual day. Trick-or-treaters come and ask for candy, even though it's only in the afternoon. One rogueish, bully teen group forces their way into the house (our Pleasant Grove house at this point) to get some of our pizza, but I force them to leave. I'm suddenly in the context of the last Harry Potter book, as if it's much more macabre and metaphysical than it actually is. There's a globe in Dumbledore's office representing and corresponding to the world, which is dividing into pieces and rearranging wrongly. there is the importance of lighting or electricity coming from Dumbledore and McGonnagal reuniting the pieces through continuity between the lighting branches. There are quarters of the globe that are much smaller than the other quarters they're stuck with; continents fit together wrongly like a botched Pangea. There is the possibility of touching a city on the globe and going there in real life, but it would be a sinister alternate reality where everything is red and violent. Salt Lake city is in a Utah called Idaho in this reality, and it's very sinister. 

The world is trying to unite itself together: not by means of the "continents" that are being united, but by means of the light between them. But it's a problem; something's going wrong. This happens beneath the surface, in the Shadow. We'll need to integrate it, to find the light in it. The Shadow in Utah is particularly vicious.

10-11 January 2016

In the Revolution (the TV show) world, Clara (from Doctor Who) is there, plus a horse that she communicates with by text a la the God King (from Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson), There's a blue suitcase that has a secret; it might explode if you do it wrongly. A parent barges in and opens it up completely, and we want to stop it from happening, but it doesn't do anything before we close it up. Then, after we do that, a projector comes out of the suitcase and plays a video on the wall, a la the Dharma Initiative in Lost. This is surprising, since, after all, it's in the Revolution universe (where electricity doesn't work). It's advertising a new nation, and it tells the history involved. It gives a list of numbers for its name, and at the end, it has two horses jokingly say that "you haven't seen this," as if to say that it's illegal and to tell me not to talk about it. It's from the Mormons. A boy/the horse is frantically copying stuff down.

Mormonism offers light to a dark world. It is a new nation hidden within this one. This happen despite the fac that people hate Mormons, but because of it. Wherever there is light, the darkness will hate it. Hatred is a sign that there is light stirring the pot.

15-16 January 2016

I'm in a desert area. Mormons down below have decided to stay down below, while the more righteous Mormons above have decided to take the train to a new place of refuge (a promised land), which was supposed to demonstrate your righteousness, but I know isn't really that.  They want me to come, but I decide not to. After they leave, I look at the railroad and think about last night's dream with the water park. I ask a black man working on the railroad what it meant. He says that the rails on the railroad signify literalism and righteousness, essentially. I can go in between and by fine. Down below there are anxious but good people.

Do you obey the commandments because they're commandments, or do you obey them because they outline a path to something more important than them? The rails aren't meant to be walked on; you can only walk between them.

12-13 February  2016

I'm reading a book that is giving me an influx of revelation. I realize that the text of the words doesn't matter; it's the meaning that occurs to me while reading that does. I read something about following the strait and narrow, and it makes me realize that the Church only has rules to that people don't stray too far when breaking them. It then talks about Tom Cruise being on the lam in Mission Impossible (the one with Burj Khalifa), and it makes me realize that my straying from the path (Tom Cruise's connection to the establishment in the film) is actually its own path that I don't yet understand.

The iron rod is a hard shell that keeps in the gooey center; it isn't the gooey center. It is the railroad that keeps the train on the tracks; it isn't the train itself, which remains between them. 

29-30 August 2016

In Pete's Dragon, watching the parts I missed. The boy is a Mormon, and he's been separated from Mormonism after his parents died. He is the key, but he's been lost. They find him again, and they go to a town fleeing something, where they find whole crowds looking at him. He's special, locally famous even. They put him in a blanket and toss him up like in "hip, hip, hooray!" The people who found him are a bit confused and disbelieving that he is Mormon or that Mormonism is worth anything. Something about the Book of Mormon being key.

The light is a boy that's been lost in the wilderness, but he's beginning to be found. This is true of both Mormonism as a whole against the world and the bright spirit of Mormonism against the hard shell of pseudo-Mormonism. The light is shining where before there was only darkness. The restoration occurs again whenever you see the light that brought it in. It is a lost boy being found. It is gold plates coming out of the ground. But it can be sheathed in darkness until you dis-cover it.

21-22 November 2016

We're in our old house, and there is a massive amplifier in the place of my old basement room that's also in a jungle. It makes the leopards that live on the stairs colorblind and harmless. This was a cruel experiment. We taunt the leopards and do a cycle where we go off of the leopards' reactions and learn about ourselves. This goes well for a while, even though I don't see parts of the cycle. But I decide to peek, and they're feasting on flesh by the start (by the amplifier/my old room), and I try to distract them to maybe save that person that didn't make it. I lock myself in the laundry room, which holds them off just for a bit. I need to leave by the window (we're on the second floor now), but a boa constrictor somehow got in the room. I manage to trick it out the window, and eventually, I figure out how to leave by it too, but it's a long struggle. I land in a kind of moat. We're now trying to escape Jerusalem as in the Book of Mormon, and I land right behind Laban. But a kind woman whispers to me and eventually tells me the way for us to escape. We leave, passing George Washington (who had killed the Indians; they're submerged; we are warned not to be like them). I realize that the Book of Mormon is obviously more than meets the eye, because of a preface I hadn't paid attention to in a while where Joseph Smith talks about space and time, how the indefiniteness of history means that it doesn't matter where or when you start. Hence the Book of Mormon's starting place. He also mentions how his prophetic career was constant from his birth, which meant that there's more to the Book of Mormon than we often think. 

The Book of Mormon helps us escape. By accepting it, a part of us is already free from whatever captivity we are in. It is our freedom in a self-contained unity, like a pill, like a circular timeline you step into. It doesn't matter where you start. Reading it, you enter an eternal round. 

27-28 March 2017

I am watching the temple movie. God says he wants to appear not as he wants to be but as he is. He steps down and becomes an ordinary man. I understand. He says that his embodiment is the "fatness of life." I understand the richness and lust for life that is implicated in true religion. Outside the temple movie theater, the walls to the world of spirits are boarded up. We are in the highest heaven. I understand that hell has infected it a good way, hence the barricade. A young man wants to go and get his friends on the other side but can't. I am for opening the barrier, but the others here with me aren't. I point out that hell will infect even here if we don't do something. That gives them pause. 
In this dream, I understood the embodiment of God. Embodiment isn't abstract; it's concrete; it's not what we want but what we are; it's the fatness of life. This is celestial life. But celestial life isn't opposed to evil; evil is the opposition to good, and by opposing evil, we give it strength. Look ahead; don't look back. Evil can't see a good that doesn't fear it.

The Takeaway

Mormonism is essential and holds the key to save the world. However, Mormons cling to the walls instead of what the walls protect. Don't turn toward the evil you're defending against; turn toward God. This will introduce the light into the whatever you pay attention to. Light will infect the world. And where does the light come from? The eternal, circular (for they are the same) history called the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Anthroposophy in Everyday Life

Anthroposophy in Everyday Life: Practical Training in Thoughtovercoming Nervousnessfacing Karmathe Four Temperaments Anthroposophy in Everyday Life by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To improve thinking, try to take mental snapshots of things and recall them with exact detail. Then, going back to the thing, notice what has changed. Let the world teach you, not representations of the world.

To strengthen the etheric body, the I, pay attention. Use force in your thinking!

Your higher self seeks out suffering to improve itself. You can think of all suffering like this.

There are four temperaments: choleric (hot-headed), sanguine (flighty), phlegmatic (passive), and melancholic (suffering). You help the choleric by being competent. You help the sanguine by guiding attention through your personality. You help the phlegmatic by cultivating interest through interesting people. You help the melancholic by letting her know your own experience in suffering.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Death as Metamorphosis of Life

Death as Metamorphosis of Life: Including Death as Metamorphosis of Life: Including "What does the Angel do in our Astral Body?" & How Do I Find Christ? by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are angels working in the astral body who, if we didn't consciously acknowledge them by the year 2000, would start to descend into the etheric body and work on us while we sleep. This would have three effects:

1. We would become sex-obsessed
2. We would find pleasant but harmful medicinal knowledge
3. We would develop machines that gratify our egoism.

Check, check, and check.

I hope there's still time.

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