Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Most Important Section of the Gospel

I am in the great state of Texas and have been for the last week.  I really love it down here.  I find the people incredibly friendly and always have time to stop and chat.  I am the kind of person who starts up a conversation with anyone almost to see how the other person will react.  I guess I am sort of judging the various people I meet to see how they might handle the unknown.  I don't know I don't do these things deliberately.  As I am someone who enjoys - even reveres - the process of becoming I like finding out what people are made of, what makes people tick.  It never ceases to amaze me. 

So it is that I have been spending my time rediscovering this alien culture where everyone seems a lot be a whole lot friendlier.  It's been a while since I've been away from home.  You kind get in touch with yourself when you are away from the wife and kids.  It's strange how what we do in life takes the place of who we are.  It silently creeps up on you.  Before you know it, you become someone elses.  Maybe that's a good thing.  I just saying, it's strange to see how far we can get from who we really are. 

In any event, one thing that never quite leaves me is my interest in philosophy and religion.  I don't know where this comes from.  I was recently asked by a major television celebrity - what drew you to this field?  I really don't know.  I remember one of my high school American history teachers couldn't believe that I was reading Nietzsche in my senior year.  I didn't see what the big deal was.  My father was always into books.  I associated with manhood I guess. A man is what he knows not what he has, is a fundamental belief I inherited.  Of course my Dad wasn't rich.  I guess if he was a big business executive I would have inherited other values. 

But this brings up a fundamental question - was my Dad not wealthy because of choice or was it determined by his personality?  I have never believed in freedom of will so I would have to say the latter.  Of course when people here that someone denies free will they get this crazy look.  Of course we have contol of our destinies; we are the choices we've made.  The fact that everyone thinks this only reinforces my original suspicion. 

For surely if people had the ability to choose what they wanted to believe there would be a variety of attitudes toward the existence of free will.  Instead everyone comes down on the side of personal choice.  Why is that?  It's simple.  Everyone is an egoist and the doctrine of free will is unbridled egoism. 

The point then is that when I look back at my father I can't help get the sense that his social standing in life was determined by his personality.  He was frugal and because of his frugality he amassed a comfortable retirement income.  But if he had another disposition - one like my own - he would have spent every cent he had and then some. 

It can be argued of course that people who spend every cent they have are 'addicted' to vice and my father was excercising his 'choice' to save money.  But these impulses are determined by personality times rather than the other way around.  All of which brings me to the topic of this thread - the most important section of the gospel - namely the Question of the Rich Man. 

The point of the narrative clearly is that the rich man clearly says that he has observed all of the commandments and presumably - according to the understanding of the original author of the gospel - has become rich and just.  Yet the question he asks - how do I attain eternal life? - leads to a most surprising answer, if you want to be perfect sell everything you own.  Clement's Alexandrian tradition interprets this as meaning - give up your life, give up what you are, in other words - die and come back alive again as god. 

Who can't help but interpret this as a philosophical principle?  In other words, all we are has been determined from birth according to the pattern of the original creation according to the flesh.  The only way to wipe this clean is by wiping the slate clean and starting all over again - a new creation.  But not a 'new creation' according to the empty rituals of a morbid church tradition but one which is akin to dropping acid or some such psychedelic drug. 

You really can rebuild your nature according to perfection.  You don't have to be trapped in the fate determined for you since birth.  I think this is the original Christian message.  It is of course one which has subsequently been 'corrected' and expunged from the surviving tradition.  But the symbolism is still there if you look hard enough for it. 

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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