Light as a Metaphor for the Divine

'God is light and in God there is no darkness at all.’ (1 Jn 1:5)

In The Celestial Hierarchy the great mystic Pseudo-Dionysius refers to God as the ‘light which is the source of all light’ and writes: ‘Of course God himself is really the source of illumination for those who are illuminated for he is truly and really Light itself. He is the Cause of being and seeing.’

In The Divine Names the same writer has this to say about God (whom he refers to as ‘the Good’) as light:

Phenomenological Ontology of Love: Body, Heart and Spirit

Just a word of warning for those not familiar with the speaker's approach to philosophy. The following is an unapologetically partisan and probably minority collection of theories, stand-points, and values (ie a world-view). That is, it does not purport to being a representative summary; nor does it seek to reconcile conflicting views. Hopefully it is not even regarded as arguments proselytizing certain theories etc. What it purports to be is one individual's enquiry and current theories in a certain subject area. So the first questions which it hopefully inspires are:

What is this person talking about ? Why do I disagree (or perhaps agree) with this person ? How do I currently view these issues ?

'Love' as a word which is simultaneously ambiguous; and likely the subject of many diverse, contentious and passionately held theories, points of view and value judgments; reminds us that as philosophers often we must just agree to disagree. Perhaps we should consider our agreement to disagree, as not merely a way of ensuring ordered discourse, but a way of recognizing and legitimising our differences, in a human diaspora into an immense 'mind-space'?

The Kingdom of God

Clarence Russell Skinner was the most influential Universalist minister of his generation. He wrote a wonderful book entitled The Social Implications of Universalism (1915). Skinner wrote that modern religion must sanctify the world.

Why Believe?

‘There is hope for whoever does not know what to believe. Human belief is a combination of superstition, gullibility and mental laziness. We need not believe anything; we need to find, to see, to know.’ Those words come from the American spiritual teacher Vernon Howard whose writings and talks have helped me greatly over the years.

Did Jesus Actually Exist?

This is a brief critical analysis of the extra-Biblical evidence for the supposed existence of Jesus Christ.

There is no non-Christian record of Jesus before the 2nd century CE. There were over forty well-known pagan and Jewish historians writing at the time of Jesus’ supposed existence or within a century of that time. Apart from two demonstrably forged passages in Josephus, and two highly disputed passages in the works of two Roman historians, not one of those historians made any mention of Jesus at all.

1. Josephus:-

Is Buddhism Atheistic?

It is often said, especially by Buddhists, that Buddhism is ‘atheistic’ or ‘nontheistic’. Often this is said in order to promote Buddhism as a sensible religious or spiritual alternative to the monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam with which many Westerners have become disillusioned.

The Illusory Mind

How well do you know your ‘self’? Well enough to know that your ‘self’ does not exist? Please read on.

More and more psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are drawing upon the insights of Buddhism to better understand the nature and activities of the human mind. In my own therapeutic practice, I apply, quite eclectically and unashamedly, ideas and teachings from a number of different traditions, both Eastern and Western. A pragmatists, all I am interested in is results---and changed lives.

The Problem with Organized Religion

'Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism.'--William James.

The following comes from the great spiritual philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti:

The Philosophy of Social Development: Of Civilisation and Its Discontents

Ziggurat of Ur
1. Social Development; What Is It?
1.1 Social Development in this context is part of social theory. It is not referring to the individual's ability to interact with others, which can also be described as "social development". The philosophy of social development is about testing a component of social theory, specifically the notion that are developmental, qualitative differences in different societies which have an internal logical consistency and are backed by evidence. The term 'development' is used to differentiate with 'evolution'; both mean change but the former is the result of human-directed change.
1.2 Of a major concern is the concept of civilization, Whilst a dictionary definition (using all those in common use) will give competing and contradictory definitions, there is a more definitions that has a consensus among anthropologists and sociologists, which includes (i) the establishment of the state, political classes, and centralised authority; (ii) urbanisation and agriculture, (iii) currency, writing systems, and religious institutions; (iv) metallurgy, the end of the neolithic stone age, and the rise of violent conflicts between states. The word civilization notably comes from the French root civilis, for "relating to a citizen". Major contributors in the origins of civilization include the archeologist Gordon Childe (urban revolution, three-age system), the philosopher Karl Jaspers (axial age civilisations), the foundational sociologists Émile Durkheim (collective consciousness, distinction between the sacred and profane, religious and legal institutionalisation) and Max Weber (world-views of different traditional religions), and the anthrologist Bronislaw Malinowski (freedom and civilisation, economic anthropology).

The Once And Future King : Mythology and Motivation from the Arthurian Legends

La Bell sans merci

Introduction

Most people when asked about the Arthurian legends will bring to mind well known tropes from idealised British fantasy. Indeed, the Arthurian legends, in combining medieval history and ancient mythology, created those tropes. There are maidens in flowing dresses in extraordinary castles, brave knights in shining armour, old wizards with long beards, seductive witches, changelings, ghosts, giants, dwarves, elves, goblins, unicorns, dragons, magical swords, and otherworldly lands. There are wise rulers, antagonistic offspring, sibling rivalry, obsessions and madness, dangerous quests, romances both pure and destructive, and competitive love triangles. There is the theme of the end of the old ways and the rise of the new. The only thing missing from what we consider staple fare for contemporary fantasy is hobbits; and we all know where they came from.

For those who are a little more familiar with the story, they might mention a youngster who draws a magic sword from a stone during a time of chaos, which determined the King of all the Britons, receives Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, who rose and united the land against invaders, formed a semi-democratic and multicultural council of knights, the Round Table. They may also mention the establishment of chivalry as a knightly code of conduct as the foundations of 'noblesse oblige', a tradition sorely lacking in contemporary times. They may even mention the illicit romance between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, and the tragic parallel between Tristram and Isolde, the rise of the Waste Land, and the search of the Holy Grail to cure the ills of the world. They will also certainly mention Mordred, Arthur's nephew and son (think about that for a moment and let it sink in), who eventually fights Arthur at the Battle of Camlann and wounds him, leading Arthur to be sent to the isle of Avalon, where he rests, until he will return again, in accord with the 'King in the Mountain' motif, to save the green and pleasant land of the Britons in the time of greatest need.

But what really is this story? Why has it survived for hundreds of years, with its many and various representations? There are literally thousands of published poems, hundreds of books of prose and plays, scores of films, computer games, studies, and so forth. Is there, stripped of even all the supernatural embellishments, even a kernel of truth to the legend? Why is it still popular to this very day, and doubtless will be in the future? What can we learn from it? To answer these questions one must explore the actual history of Britain when the stories were set and compare them to the medieval stories of the Arthurian legend. One must also look at some of the modern reconstructions and interpretations of the legend. One must also engage in literary analysis, to discover the motivating factors that have ensured the tale's continued popularity.

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