For the few consistent readers of my blog, I must apologise for the lack of content over the past week, especially since there has been a lot going on, but I was preoccupied with another side of my writing, discussing issues on a discussion forum. What has come to my attention though are a few books that I find interesting.
In which a physicist discusses how to make a universe, of what would you make it? And how would you put together what you need in order to make it? The recipe that she comes up with is very interesting and, as she points out, inspired by an ancient numinous image of the Cosmos that was first expressed in the sacred Indian text of the Atharvaveda and termed Indra’s net. She informs us of a “twenty-first-century revolution [that] is being led by cutting-edge science, [and] its empowering implications will profoundly affect all of us. For it’s about to transform not only what we thought we knew about the physical Universe but also our perception of ourselves and the nature of reality itself.”
Her informed account is spread across a multitude of pages and covers numerous topics that are pertinent to a theory of cosmic reality, and I can thoroughly recommend it.
A Secret History Of Christianity sounds very conspiracy related, but Mark Vernon is making a point of showing how Christianity fits into the paradigm changes of the era, showing how Christ and Socrates had a similar fate due to causing similar irritation amongst the authorities. Their revolutionary way of thinking was seen as heresy, but they were influential because they helped people break out of the limitations of what Owen Barfield (once the last of a celebrated group with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, the “Oxford Inklings”) called “original participation”. This refers to an attitude by which people have little distinction between what is felt to be inside someone, and what is outside of someone, in the way we take for granted today. He quotes Barfield as saying, “Early man did not observe nature in our detached way, he participated mentally and physically in his inner and outer processes.”
“A second phase away from original participation is marked by what he called a “withdrawal of participation.” It happens when there’s a shift from the sense of being immersed in the life of others, nature and the gods. An awareness of separation, even isolation, is felt. A person will begin to sense that they have an inner life that is, relatively speaking, their own.” Vernon, Mark. A Secret History of Christianity (S.3). John Hunt Publishing. Kindle-Version.
The third phase was called “reciprocal participation” says Vernon, and as he says …
“This is, in fact, standard mystical theology. It follows from the discernment that God is not another being, like you and me, but is the ground of being itself. God is known implicitly as the poetry in the poem, the fire in the equations, the life in the living, the pulse of the cosmos. And it’s a truth that must be inhabited to be understood.” Vernon, Mark. A Secret History of Christianity (S.2). John Hunt Publishing. Kindle-Version.
The book is interesting for its comparison between the traditions of Israel and the surrounding cultures, leading up to Christianity and the time afterwards.
Consequently, with so much reading and discussion, which also implies following through on hints and suggestions, I spent a lot of time at my desk, and (next to the standard chores) the remaining time in the garden, where the weather has been inviting.