nobody knows my name
- an overly long pre-owned obituary,
written by the dead man waiting himself -
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This essay is intended to be a summary or overview of my work ... nobody else knows it well enough to do such a task.
There are over 12 self-published books, 100 essays and 270 videos on YouTube.
For books, go here: Joel A. Wendt's Theory of Everything Emporium
where books can be on-demand printed at cost, and in many instances downloaded as e-books for free.
Like T.H. White’s version of the wizard Merlin, I seem to live in an odd relationship to time.
Six years ago I died - twice - on the same day. I saw no white lights, and only woke into consciousness (for which I have memories) about two and a third days later. Three of my five adult children were sitting around me in the hospital room. They told me I had been waking up briefly, and then going back into unconsciousness several times. I did not remember any of those previous awakenings.
Somehow I was not surprised to have died. Nor, to be alive.
I’ve had an odd life, at least in my view. I am 73 at the time I am writing this, and won’t really let myself imagine living past the next moment. I do keep on living, but since my death over six years ago, I don’t let myself put off things I know need doing (by my own lights).
I’ve written and self published over a dozen books and a hundred essays, and created over 270 videos for YouTube. Everything is available for free on my website: Shapes in the Fire. I’ll forgo the stories of efforts and mailings to get published in a regular way - they mostly failed. A couple of essays got published in obscure magazines. Friends got free copies of books for Christmas.
I’ve been writing and thinking for a long time - since whenever in my late 20‘s. It was more of an avocation or a hobby, and then ... at age 31, in 1971, I changed and became a completely different personality. Those details are found here: Biographical Necessity, but are not essential to this essay.
In 2003, when I retired on social security (after working the last three years in a light industrial factory), I created a business card, which read: “social philosopher ... and occasional fool”. I had thought for a time that the people who were members of a society/community called “The Anthroposophical Society” might have a use for my work and my other talents. In this I was mistaken. I kept writing anyway, a lot of it being a critical examination of that Society.
Mostly for work in life I have washed dishes, cooked in restaurants, and worked in the field of mental health. I do have a B.A. in pre-seminary, and a J.D. in law. I fell out of the middle class in the late ‘60‘s, which is an irrelevant story here. Although this "fall" did involve drug addiction, I have been clean and sober for 27 years. It is the tale of my avocation as a thinker that concerns me now.
That being the case I find myself in this odd situation of having created the corpus of a work of thought, which no one is studying. Oh, a few people read parts of it, but in the main the whole is only known to me. Facing that fact has led me to realize that if I want there to be an adequate summary of this work, I’ll have to write it myself. Thus, this so-called obituary.
I am most definitely not writing here an autobiography, by the way. This is simply a summary of my life as a thinker - as a “social philosopher ... and occasional fool”. It is that work that I seek to explicate, and perhaps give some order to, for it appeared in bits and pieces over many decades. No one but me will be able to make the needed whole of it, or attend to its meaning in the larger scheme of things - if it is to have any meaning there at all.
It is entirely possible that I will pass away, mostly unread, and what I’ve done will be subsumed into the ongoing cultural debris of our Age. Others, perhaps, will not find it a work worthy of being remarked upon, or remembered. I, however, value it. I spent a great deal of my interior life giving birth to it, and to some degree robbed my children and wives and girlfriends of some attention they may have otherwise deserved, but which they lost to my obsessions regarding the ideas that make up this work.
I don’t apologize for this. I don’t regret it. It is who I am - a thinker about life and meaning and the strange corners of the intellect to which few writers have devoted themselves. I used to want fame, or at least to be of service and known. I am satisfied now to have simply done the art of this thinking-work to the best of my ability. I summarize it now, because I recognize there is no one out there who could do such a summary - without prejudice.
Am I biased and egotistical? Certainly. Why not, for if the work delivers what I am about to say it delivers, then it is a work deserving of being remembered and perhaps found useful. I do have fans who see me sometimes as wise, so I will accept that judgment and then now make this summary of the work, in the manner I hope will be most helpful to those who bother to read this faux
I hope to also make an oral version of this for YouTube, but always the future does not want to be pinned down. It is the winter of 2013/2014, and I need my “hobbies” to keep me company. Ideas are my friends in a way most people cannot even imagine. Not to say I lack for human companionship - I have a wonderful girlfriend who I live with, and five children and a grandchild - all young adults and older. I live in New England with my girlfriend and the others live in California. We talk on the phone, and occasionally visit in person.
I also talk to those who are not visible - spirits, if you will. Here is something I wrote as part of a recently finished novel (American Phoenix):
T’ asked the Captain: “what is spirit, to your thinking”.
The Captain replied: “something you can’t see ... its invisible, and because its invisible it might not even exist, right?”
T’ continued: “Do you have a self, or something you think of as a ‘self’?”
“Can I see it? Is it your body?”
After a pause, “No”.
“How do you know its not your body?”
“I’m not sure. Its just that my self and my body are not the same things. My self is more ... personal somehow. My body serves my self, but my self doesn’t serve my body. I drag my body around. I make it do things it doesn’t want to do. I guess that’s the key - my being able to make my body do stuff it - the flesh - doesn’t want to do. I can override pain and tiredness. Hunger. I run it, it doesn’t run me.”
“Can you see Aryee’s self, or Valentine’s?”
After another pause, “No”.
“But we treat each other as if we had this ‘self’, yes?”
“So, we can see each others physical body with our physical sense organs, but only with our thinking and feeling do we ‘see’ this self. Yes?”
“Do you see me or others do this thing we call ‘thinking’?”
“Yet, it is with this invisible thinking/feeling that you know you have a self, and with this invisible thinking/feeling that you believe others too have a self. Yes?”
“So self is invisible exactly like spirit, and thinking perceives this invisible spirit in us and in others. Yes?"
“Could anything be more simple?”“
*Then there is this: The Grandmother Tree, a report about communion with nature beings.
I write a lot about thinking. Have made a study of it for decades. Perhaps I should start there.
One day I was reflecting (one of a dozen different modes of thinking) upon the various transformations of my thinking life, which had taken many decades to arise. These transformations were not directly intended, but arose as a kind of natural consequence of some other types of inner activity, which might be called “moral” in nature.
Now by “moral” I do not mean any virtue described in a book, Holy or otherwise. Nor a commandment supposed to come from God, either. I invent this free-moral-activity in the situation of the moment. It is moral because it comes from the desire of my will to do the good, and because of the insights of my heart - of my feeling life - which then influences my thinking by in effect “warming” it. Cold-hearted abstract thinking does not give us “the good”. Will the good and think with the heart would be the cliche.
If you think I am putting myself up as some kind of moral example, this is not the case. I know my flaws and bad habits as well as anyone. I am just writing about a kind of inner effort, with thinking, that changes the character of the product of thinking. Sort of like someone with a skill, who makes art on a stage, but then in their private life they remain pretty human and ordinary. My writing, and its related thinking, is my art on the stage of a page. Even then this art is often uneven. In life and in a lot of personal relationships, I can be just as goofy as anyone else.
As early as 1986 I described my then practice as follows:
In what follows are only the barest indications. The reader very much needs to experience their own activity and its consequences, forming their own conclusions as to which objectives and what processes are most suitable for them.
a) Preparation: these are exercises, such as those practices in control of thoughts, developing inner quiet (meditation practice plays a role here) and so forth. Its like the stretching one must do before beginning serious physical exercise.
b) Sacrifice of thoughts: letting go preconceptions; overcoming habitual patterns. Nothing will prevent new thoughts from arising, as easily as already believing one knows the answer.
c) Refining the question: the moral atmosphere, why do we want to know; fact gathering and picture forming. It is an artistic activity. What moral color do I paint my soul, what factual materials do I gather as I prepare to form an image - i.e. think in all that that act can imply.
d) Offering the question: acknowledging Presence, and not needing an answer. Tomberg urges us to learn to think on our knees.
e) Thinking as a spiritual Eucharist: receiving and grace. We do not think alone. It thinks in and with me (Steiner).
f) Attitude: sobriety and play.”
I called this practice: Sacramental Thinking, and thus began a progression of practices which were over time cataloged in various essays (earliest first): pragmatic moral psychology; The Idea of Mind: a Christian meditator considers the problem of consciousness; The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul; In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship; Speaking Truth to Power: Inwardly, in the realm of mind, also known as: soul and spirit; The IDEA of the thought-world; and, Cowboy Bebop - and the physics of thought as moral art.
There is a book containing all the above essays: Sacramental Thinking.
What I was discovering (after having been inspired on this path of soul-research by Rudolf Steiner), via what is basically a scientific and empirical investigation of my own inwardness, was that my mind was a doorway to the spirit. And, that the spirit was as real as the world visible to my senses.
In fact, thought and thinking are even more real, in a way, than the objects of the sense world. I made them and I could observe myself make them. The outer world came to me already made - done. Thoughts and thinking were solely rooted in my own creative activity.
This eventually lead me to writing a book as a kind of culmination of my life’s work in 2010: The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything. In that book, which is basically a text on social science, following the example of Goethe’s Theory of Color, I discuss the disconnect between science and religion, and resolve it. Like a lot of my work, few of my contemporaries will read it.
Goethe’s method of thinking plays a role here, but to get to that story we need to first borrow a picture from the above essays.
Thinking, in the process of producing thought, has an object. We intend to think about something. The above essays chart a course of development in the methods of thinking itself, where various moral renunciations take place. We sacrifice something, and by that inner moral work of sacrifice (and its related life-trial), thinking acquires new capacities. Goethe, in his studies of the Plant, noticed that it too underwent processes of metamorphosis, where something was sacrificed or renounced. He called this aspect of the living element of the Plant: dying and becoming.
So, in looking back over many years of inner work, which could not be directed toward a specific end because I had yet no idea of such an end, I found that I had three times sacrificed something in the way I oriented my thinking activity.
The first sacrifice concerned my instinctive feelings of liking and disliking, or what some call sympathy and antipathy. In my empirical studies of my own inwardness (soul) I had noticed that thoughts took a shape based upon these instinctive feelings. I wrote somewhere: Thought is a flower rooted in the soul-soil of feeling, and filled from within by the blossoming life of the will-in-thinking.
If I took away (sacrificed/renounced) the instinctive feelings of liking and disliking, and replaced those with a consciously created cultivated feeling (such as wonder and awe), then the product of the thinking activity changed. It also helped to follow Goethe, and use my imagination - my picture thinking capacity - on purpose and with discipline. He called the doing of this: exact sensorial fantasy. We recreate the object of thought as a sequence of inner pictures that change over time.
Thinking-about then became thinking-with. I learned that the object of thought had its own story, whether it was a person or something else. If I recreated in my picture thinking (imagination) this story (which changes over time), then a new and deeper understanding of the object of thought arose. If I am thinking about a person, we call this: learning to walk in another’s shoes.
The second sacrifice/renunciation involved past thoughts. Anything thought in the past had to be let go or the truly new thought was inhibited from appearing. If I pulled an already existing thought from memory, this became a kind of ghost appearing in between my thinking “I”, and the object of thought.
This is called, after the teaching in the Gospels: becoming poor in spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3) Thus Goethe’s dying and becoming becomes an act of will in the life of the mind. We then move from thinking-with to thinking-within. The interior of the object of thought begins to light up in the mind’s eye. This is more than learning to walk in another’s shoes, but is rather true and self-consciously willed empathy. We don’t just understand someone better, we begin to really know them.
The third sacrifice/renunciation involves our “self”. We let go the natural egocentric aspect of seeing the world always from our individual point of view. These renunciations do not become habits, by the way. Rather they become first skill, then craft and finally art. They require our conscious attention and intention (the will-in-thinking) in order to manifest.
As a consequence of these three renunciations, and the related and growing ability to love more and more deeply, the gap between self and other dissolves. Thinking-about become thinking-with becomes thinking-within and then finally thinking-as. Our point of view changes and we begin to see reality from the point of view of the Other - of the Thou.
A very important point here is to realize that while the above is described as requiring a lot of inner “work”, the fact is that as we develop these arts we begin to see that everywhere many people naturally do this. What I developed consciously over decades of empirical research into the true nature of thinking is often given to most people (in the form they most need it) by life itself.
For a good understanding of this, look to the art of the films by Clint Eastwood: Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino. There you will see what artists perceive as already happening in various ways in the normal trials of life. All someone like me does is give names to these inner changes. That’s why its useful to see me as a “scientist” of the spirit. I do research and only end up describing in detail something that already exists. I don’t invent it, I just invent its name. This is what poets and philosophers do - invent new names.
Now one of the discoveries that is possible here is that there is something that can be called: the thought-world. Like the sense world, which our physical senses see and know, the thought-world is seen and known via our thinking activity, as that activity grows more and more self-directed and awake. Like a fish swims in water, we all swim in the oceans of the thought-world without really noticing this fact of our spiritual environment at all.
Part of the difficulty to perceiving this thought-world comes from modern culture, which under the influence of scientific materialism (all is matter, there is no spirit) tells the story of our true nature as if our consciousness was separate from the rest of reality, and even then only a function of the activity of an isolated material brain. That brain scientists see the world this way is understandable - we can think-with their work - but they are wrong. For a more detailed discussion of this, see: "I am not my brain: the map is not the territory".
In order to deal with the related complicated questions, I then took the religious or spiritual aspect of existence, and placed it “inside” the scientific enterprise by offering an alternative theory to that of the Big Bang and Darwinian Evolution in my book: The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything. The purpose of that book is to accept the fact that science follows a valid method of knowledge - one that is appropriate to our Age. The question that book seeks to answer is whether or not it is possible to create a better “explanation” of the meaning of human existence than the one currently offered by science alone. Only those who bother to read that book will find their way to the necessary nuances.
At the same time, there was a journey involved before that book could be written, and that story comes next ...
As a kind of introduction to this part of my “obituary”, the reader needs to understand that I did not work alone. I had a great deal of help and inspiration, both outwardly and inwardly.
For example, I often write currently of what I call: the counter-Copernican revolution. Natural science arose from the Copernican revolution, by which thinkers in the 15th and 16th Century challenged the views of the Roman Catholic Church as regards the nature of the world and the cosmos. The end result of this “revolution”, after about 500 years, was the view that all is matter, there is no spirit. For many this has come to mean that God is dead, and the neo-atheists are correct: religion has it horribly wrong.
This view too we can think-with, so as to understand it. But not everyone followed where the main stream of natural science went. The Romantics and the Transcendentalists, for example, did not buy it that there was no spirit. In my works this is dealt with in some detail.
Like the original Copernican revolution, the counter-Copernican revolution, which is in its infancy now, is in this beginning known only to a few. The wider world accepts the dominant paradigm, although in this case the dominant paradigm comes from Science rather than from the Catholic Church. I have a library with many books not just rejecting many views common today to natural science, but actually advancing human knowledge and understanding in a Way the original revolution did. Let me give an odd example.
Much of my conscious self-education began in the nearly 14 years I spent living in the general area of Berkeley, California in the late ‘60‘s, through the ‘70‘s and into the early ‘80‘s. One day I happened upon a little pamphlet called: On the Absence of Disorder in Nature, by a man named David Shiang. I did not understand this book although its stuck in my memory and then a couple of years ago, after a conversation with me about my memories of this booklet, my girl friend found Shiang’s work via a Google search. I had misremembered his last name, spelling it Chang, and thus never found it on my own. I immediately ordered his latest book: God Does Not Play Dice, which is part of a quote from Einstein.
In that book Shiang, who is a graduate of MIT, writes about what to him is a logical problem with the ideas underlying indeterminacy in physics. In Chapter Five, for example, Shaing gives a detailed discussion of those individuals who created this idea, and what they actually said about it. But before that, Shaing lays out the logical problem, which I will try to summarize. Keep in mind that this is similar in character to Galileo discovering the moons of Jupiter, and thus turning upside down the whole of the Roman Church’s cosmological views. Shaing is dismembering the basic thinking in modern physics which requires probability theories.
By the way, I don’t agree with everything he says in this book. He makes conclusions about social life and human inner life that are in error. Now to the logical problem:
Take a simple experiment: flipping a coin. We flip a coin a thousand times. We record each result. Perhaps we get heads 512 times and tails 488 times. Then, in thinking and writing about this question of “coin flipping” we introduce the idea that when we flip the coin there is a slightly greater than 50% chance the coin will be heads. That very idea says Shaing is not correct. There is no slightly greater than 50% chance of anything.
When we flip the coin it will do what it does. There will be a result, and only the result is empirically real. The idea of “chance” is not empirically real - it is just something we made up because we were confused about what nature does. From where came our confusion?
We assumed that because we could not know all the factors effecting the coin flip, which then made it unpredictable to our minds, that nature was therefore not predictable. This was a logical mistake. We mistakenly took a limit to our perception as a reflection of a real aspect of the natural world. But the limit to our perception, while itself real, did not reflect the true reality of nature. Only the result of the coin flip (the experiment) shows that reality.
From this simple logical error physics introduced into all of its theoretical studies a non-empirical conclusion. Nature is never indeterminate. We just can’t always predict it, because our perceptions are limited, even with all the technology at our disposal. Yes, I know. All kinds of very smart people believe it and believe they prove it with their experiments. Indeterminacy is a kind of Myth, and has evolved into a huge industry devoted to an obscure mathematics that tries to nail down nature - a nature that steadfastly follows its own rules, not our fancies.
Just think about human social behavior. Very unpredictable. Probability theories are useless there. They really only work in fields where we are looking at the smallest aspects of matter, which aspects (if we think carefully about them) have also been invented. In order for us to force on nature our own Myth, we have to slam bits and pieces of stuff together at huge velocities, and then pick apart the debris as if nature made those parts that way in the first place. We need to get back to learning from nature - and stop imposing our fancies on its empirical reality. For some further insight into this problem, read my: "Electricity and the Spirit in Nature".
The whole of the counter-Copernican revolution is coming from the minds of individuals and communities that have noticed all manner of logical errors introduced into science during the years of the seeming triumph of scientific materialism (all is matter, there is no spirit). I have read many of those books and I work in that stream of thought, which is hardly known at all in the 21st Century - yet. My book The Art of God refers to many of these works. Spirit can be found in nature, right within our own minds - it could not be closer.
My biography has certain complications in it. I have a talent, and cannot claim to always properly use that talent, but at the same time it is clear that I have a gift, and this gift is as much responsible for what I do as is my own will and other efforts. Mozart was born Mozart - what he made (or not) of that gift is something else. There is a little book of mine, that I noted above: Biographical Necessity, that covers some of these personal questions of talent and so forth.
The unfolding of my personal journey to becoming a “social philosopher ... and occasional fool” involved visiting number of territories and landscapes in the thought-world. As a result, and because of the “moral” elements I was discovering in thinking, and because I was raised a Christian, it became necessary to think about Christianity on many occasions. On my website Shapes in the Fire, there is a whole section devoted my books and essays on Christianity.
It was actually during these journeys in the realm of thoughts that I began to more clearly experience it as a “world” - as a place, purely spiritual in nature, but at the same time not simply an extension of my mind as I had been taught by my culture to pre-conceive it. There was “otherness” present, which is described in detail in the above essays on thought and thinking. I was meeting the “wind” (“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3: 8).
In the youth of my body and soul, an encounter was had with modern styles of thinking about the Gospels - a college course was taken in the New Testament. This course was arid and intellectual, tying its thinking to scholarly research into dead languages and weird problems of interpretation. The magic and mystery of the Gospels my body and soul knew as a child was not present. I finished the course very dis-satisfied and needed to understand why.
Eventually I came to know that Christianity had been split into two streams - the stream of the Shepherds and the stream of the Kings. The Shepherds were believers and often emphasized unchangeable systems of belief/faith in their doctrines. St. Paul bears a lot of blame here. The Kings’ stream (represented in the birth-story by the “wise men from the East”) practiced gnosis or the direct knowledge of the divine mystery. The Kings knew directly from their “star”, while the Shepherds had to be told by an Angel.
The Kings disciplines were all made into heresies by the Roman Church, and their libraries were burned, and their teachers and members murdered, if they failed to agree with Catholic doctrine and dogma. We know some of the names of these Kings/gnosis Ways: the Essenes; the Gnostics; the Manicheans; the followers of the Tarot in the 15th Century; the Rosicrucians; the Romantics; the Transcendentalists; and lately the Anthroposophists.
Only as the Church, and its belief/faith successors, lost social power to the aristocrats of blood, did the Church’s ability to murder heretics wane. They are still often shunned and ignored.
In an effort to heal the split between these streams I wrote a book during this time of research and understanding, that was self published in 2003: “the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character, and the future of Christianity - both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis”
In that book I wrote about the true Second Coming of Christ, which the Kings’ Way named Anthroposophy called: the Return of Christ in the Ethereal. This Ethereal is another name for the thought-world, the realm where one can learn to feel in the activity of the own mind the wind or Holy Spirit. Toward the end of the Way of the Fool I wrote of a Second Eucharist in the Ethereal, that was taking place for a few consciously, and for many instinctively. In this Second Eucharist, which does not replace the Original but rather adds an extra dimension, an inner Rite is enacted when we create the moral out of ourselves, where within this Rite Christ offers His own Being, in the form of Holy Breath (see Acts), as support for our wills as we go through the trials of life in the biography. Details of this Second Eucharist are in many places in my major books, in an essay called: The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, which is also the first essay in my Living Thinking in Action.
By the way, please do not confuse what I mean by the term: Christ, with what most Christians mean. We do not agree.
Christ has always been available to us, but only around the 1930‘s have we been able, in our own consciousness, to forge this meeting - this Second Coming in the Ethereal or thought-world - out of our own forces. This fact naturally leads us to taking a look at what is called in the counter-Copernican revolution: the evolution of consciousness.
The best modern thinker on the evolution of consciousness is Owen Barfield (1898-1997), and in his book: Saving the Appearance: a study in Idolatry, Barfield describes the situation this way: Generally human beings today assume that our type of consciousness is exactly the same as the consciousness of people in the past. Once we question that assumption however, and actually begin to investigate it, all the evidence is otherwise.
Barfield did most of his research through the study of words and languages. The meaning of words changes over time, and he showed in many books (such as Speaker’s Meaning; or History in English Words), that these changes in meaning directly presented us with how consciousness itself was evolving. For example, as near in time to us as the 14th and 15th Centuries a kind of participatory consciousness died out and was replaced by what those in the field sometimes call: the onlooker separation. The Copernican revolution comes into existence because of this change of consciousness.
The consciousness of the disciples of Christ was not at all like our consciousness. The further we go in the past, the more the significant the differences. In the Way of the Fool, where I tried to help the Shepherd’s stream (people of belief and faith) become aware of the importance of the King’s stream (people of direct knowledge of the divine), understanding these changes (evolution) of consciousness over time is crucial.
I was also intimately spiritually involved with the fact that the Anthroposophical Society, which was meant to be a King’s stream community, had fallen on hard times in Europe during the Wars with which the 20th Century began. That Society’s founder, Rudolf Steiner, suffered, at the members hands, the loss of his introducing them to a scientific and empirical study of the mind, and of thinking - Steiner dying too young as a result. This then necessitated for me (90 years later) the writing of the book (self published in 2008): American Anthroposophy - an introduction. As a celebration of the American Soul’s unique ability to contribute to the future of Anthroposophy, and to the future of world culture, the book attempts to deal with the many underlying problems and difficulties in the Anthroposophical Society, as well as in order to represent a version of the New Mystery of Thinking appropriate for the American Soul.
I have also written a long essay on the present failure for the Aristotelians and the Platonists, in the Anthroposophical Society, to properly meet: "The Potential Mission of the Anthroposophical Society in the Early Centuries of the Third Millennium", which understanding of this Potential Mission is intimately connected to first fully understanding: the Culmination*
This makes then my major works: the Way of the Fool (2003 - an offering to mainstream Christianity); American Anthroposophy (2008 - an offering to main stream Anthroposophy); which become the necessary preparations for the later culmination of my thinking in: The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything (2010 - an offering to the valid impulses manifesting in the new atheists).
These are primarily books about the spiritual life of humanity from a modern perspective. Many of the over 100 essays I have written have dealt with various details peripheral to these major accomplishments and included, for example, such writings as were related to the differences between Eastern cultural spiritual practices and Western cultural spiritual practices (such as Anthroposophy): this and that - a meditation on the Four Noble Truths; West and East; Transcendentalism Comes of Age; and, Zen Anthroposophy.
I also had to deal with various questions concerning modern Christianity, with such essays as: Saving the Catholic Religion from the Roman Church - through deepening our understanding of the third Fatima Prophecy; Barack Obama and the reality of the anti-Christ spirit - what might happen if you begin to insert reason into Christian discourse, on questions of public life; and, Sex, Porn, and the Return of the Divine Feminine.
Then there is this: "waltzing and weeping by the rivers of the holy grail".
In addition there was the question of the meaning of evil, dealt with in many places, but most explicitly in my The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount, which is either a very small book, or a very long essay. It is a companion piece to The Art of God, because in that book I could not take the time to go into certain details as regards the problem of evil.
Work on the problem of evil came into my life in a natural way, because I am an addict in recovery (since 1987), having taken an interest in hallucinogens and ganja (the Sanskrit word for marijuana) during my years living near Berkeley. Research into the nature of the mind and of thinking leads eventually to a confrontation with our dark side - something which various traditions call the double; the doppleganger; the shadow; and so forth. These are not simple problems, and I’ll leave the reader to their own devices and the study of The Mystery of Evil, which introduces these problems in a straight forward fashion.
During all of this time, I was not unmindful of what was going on in our political and social life. So I applied the New Thinking to those questions, but kept out of those writings any purely spiritual matters as were taken up in my three previously mentioned major works. This resulted in another short book or long essay: Uncommon Sense: the degeneration, and the redemption, of political life in America; a collection of essays: On the Nature of Public Life; and, around the time of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, a 60 page booklet: Economic and Social Rebellion. My latest efforts in this regard is work on a screenplay called: Consent. It is meant to be a kind of modern version of Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and here is the website being developed to illuminate those ideas: "I - an individual human being - no longer Consent".
Also in 2009/2010 I began the work of taking my written works and creating for them an oral form, which has since resulted in the making of over 270 videos for YouTube. I knew that many young people were not taking to books very easily, so the ideas that I cared about seemed to need an oral expression. These videos take up various themes, of which the most popular is: On Becoming a Real Wizard.
In creating that video-theme I had in mind the many readers of the Harry Potter series of books, and felt that those books, while of value in their own right, did not really appreciate that there was more to wizardry then having a talent, waving a magic wand and shouting some strange words. So in the very first video I explained that the word wizard really meant wise-head and wise-heart so that if someone really wanted to be a wizard they would have to pursue wisdom.
This video work has had over 190,000 visits, with 70,000 of those going to the wizard theme. There is a quick die-off as regards “wizards” and such, with perhaps slightly less then 9,000 visitors going to the second video (there are over 30 in all on the wizard-theme, and less then a 1,000 have endured the whole thing). YouTube allows for questions to be asked, and I have been able to answer those when it seemed appropriate. Many young people (and a few that are more mature) seem mostly interested in fantastical magical powers, and since my life during the Berkeley years included a study of the magic/hermetic science of Franz Bardon, I have on occasion been able to help people with their confusions here. For some details on my encounterss with various Ways to the Spirit, go here: Five Paths to the Spirit.
A few members and friends of the Anthroposophical Society do take an interest in my other writings, but so far (in spite of some small efforts of my own), my best work: The Art of God is largely unknown. I have plans to increase those efforts as regards The Art of God, in various ways as I am able. But, in the main I am content to have written it. Like a lot of my work it really belongs to the future.
It is also possible to write of the "spiritual" or "political-social" using short fiction: "The Zen Potter"; "Albert, in fugue"; and, "Counting Coup", are good examples.
This then is a summary of the results of my thought-life. Books, essays and videos on somewhat grand and wondrous themes. The whole system of thought is internally consistent, although different purposes required different kinds of language usages. It is also very organic, with ideas and concepts naturally growing out of previous ideas and concepts - all connected to inner developments in the skills, crafts, and arts of thinking in the New Way.
I am not done. There is always more to learn, and to think concerning. I wouldn’t mind living several more decades, but don’t expect to do so. At least I wouldn’t mind if my body doesn’t get too cranky. Who knows what uses Divine Providence (what moderns call: the Universe) might find for a “social philosopher ... and occasional fool”?
What is major import of The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything?
In a certain way all we have to do is describe social reality carefully, in order to see that human existence is The Art of God. Our main problem, however, is in how we describe the inner psychological aspect of the human being. The human being has both an outer sense appearing reality, and an inner spiritual appearing reality. The two go together and can’t actually be separated.
Yet, because we have not studied human inner life with the same empirical discipline as we have studied outer material existence, our present day sciences get confused. Our habit is to study this inside existence indirectly, such that the brain scientist measures the electrical patterns of the brain, while the psychological scientist observes the behavioral patterns of his/her subjects. But both those disciplines make the same methodological error - they don’t study their own inside empirically. Yet, everyone can do this - study the own inwardness empirically.
That direct empirical study of ones own insides changes everything. Emerson: The American Scholar: “For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks. He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds...”
Most brain scientists and psychologists pay the greatest attention to the mode of thinking we call: discursive - that inner wording/self-dialogue we all assume is us thinking. The mind is actually a far richer and mostly unexplored territory. That’s why I started far above by first relating my works on thinking and thought.
In addition, as suggested, one begins after a time to have direct contact with the divine mystery, which is as well a rich field one can explore. Once we go there ...
It becomes soon apparent that God does not really concern him/herself with what human beings believe to be important, such as history or religion or philosophy or science etc. The main object of God’s Love is the individual human being. Once we see that, we see the core of matters sublime. A thug in a brothel in Thailand is just as important to God as is an Abraham Lincoln. Recall, if you will, the teaching in the Gospels recommending we be more concerned over the lost sheep, than all the ones already in the fold.
Now we can wonder about how this works out in practice, so we have the silly movie with Jim Carrey, Bruce Almighty, which shows Bruce getting millions upon millions of prayers in his computer. That’s because we fail to appreciate that God exists outside of Time and Space - in Eternity. God has all of Eternity to pay attention to each single human life.
Further, the human spirit is immortal - we have many many lives; and Divine Justice is profound because of this. In the cultural East this is called: karma. Those, such as Rudolf Steiner, who do research on the real nature of the afterlife, report that when we die our consciousness is not extinguished, but undergoes a long process of metamorphosis that begins with remembering the most recent life, and then goes on to being made aware of how our actions affected others. We experience, in the beginning of the afterlife, what others felt because of our deeds. Only after drawing out these fruits of the just passed existence, do we start to get ready for the next one.
I could go into greater detail, but as there are many nuances and lots of understandable questions, my book The Art of God had to go into a lot of different subjects, as well as deal with the points of view of modern materialistic (all is matter, there is no spirit) science.
The main point here is to realize that everyone with a more or less intact mental life can study their own mind and find through that study the reality of spirit. We can have a science of the spirit (which is simultaneous religious and artistic). Eventually, the culmination of my thought life, in the book The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything, is able to offer an explanatory theory of our shared human experience that is far superior to the ideas of the Big Bang and Darwinian macro-evolution.
Let me end this with copying from that book its “list of themes”, so as to give some hints:
Table of Contents (as it were)
(This vortex-like structure is very fluid and in constant movement, such that we will come around to the same general conceptual area over time, seeking with each new experience a deeper examination. In a way a kind of new conceptual vocabulary has to be prepared, such that over the period of the different experiences, all will hopefully become more and more useful. Simultaneously, as we build new concepts, we will in the same gesture have to dismantle others.
Page numbers are not given, although I can understand why someone might want them. They are in part technically a problem in internet self-publishing because of the conversion of an rtf. file to a PDF document, which conversion alters the paging considerably. But the main reason is that this book is not written like a scholarly work it all. It is written to be experienced, and the reader is free to organize that experience in any way they see fit, and should not be confined to any arbitrary scheme of mine. The titles below simply represent where in a certain mood I felt like delineating a change of theme, and these titles then have more of a relationship to artistic musical and poetic notation then any more academic or conventional system of order.
Once more, as regards the vortex metaphor: the upper boundaries of a vortex are wider, and the speed of circulation slower for those objects caught up in that aspect of its nature. As the vortex-tornado deepens it narrows almost to a point, where the velocity and force which is active there is at its maximum. So also then with the journey through this book - a gradual intensification is intended in terms of the application of this books nature on the processes of the reader’s mind.)
- beginning with a theory of God
- the Shaman sees Wholes
- back to our pursuit of a theory of God
- the Idea of God
- the shape of the social political world of humanity
- some limits to natural science
- a transition
- the questions of Why and Time
- the Mystery of Evil as aspects of How and Why
- some thoughts on the necessary, yet temporary, superficial nature of these discussions
- God in Time and Space
- the totality of the order of the macro-social world as an Embodiment of the Word
- further limits of the present truth-structures in natural science
- the problem of human freedom
- the conflict itself has meaning
- ... and make an evolved synthesis of the previous thoughts
- a slight shift of emphasis
- time, space and spiritual causality
- the Theory of Evolution, its limits and biases
- the bones ... an alternative explanation
- ... some aspects of a real science of the mind
- the appearance of the free moral individual in human social-political life
- interlude and recapitulation
- additional aspects of the nature of thought and thinking
- social life, in the biography, as a creative invention - the self-conscious spirit as an artist in life
- evidence and proof of God, as well as some proposed experiments and tests ... or, the now we’ve got him section,’cause he is never ever going to be able to do that
- indirect evidence of God
- direct evidence of God
- a new path to the spirit, elaborated in three parts:
1) The Misconception of Cosmic Space as appears in the Ideas of Modern Astronomy
2) The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul
3) In Joyful Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship
Please keep in “mind” that this book is mostly “about” social science and human existence - all those difficult to predict (yet necessarily determinant once we choose to act) and messy aspects of life and relationships and politics and religions and Everything. The book is an actual theory of Everything and tackles matters the weird mathematics of theoretical physicists doesn’t even begin to consider at all - such as the quality and meaning of existence. I recently wrote a long "Introduction to a Spiritual Social Science", which describes in some detail processes occurring over many decades of self-development and social contemplation.
One further thought: the Divine Mystery. Theologically speaking, Christians have been introduced to the Mystery of the Trinity - the Three in One. In more ancient times, prior religions/spiritual conceptions at the least had some Idea of a Creator, sometimes also with a threefold nature (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, for example). The future Idea of the Diving Mystery will be six-fold: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Mother, Daughter, Holy Soul. Six aspects manifesting from something that was once a Unity, is now divided, and in the End will return once more to a Unity. During the "division" all that is will Evolve, and the new free/voluntary/participated Unity will be vastly unlike the original. Right now one Way to see this Divine Mystery, in its Christ the Creator aspect, is that this Mystery is co-extensive with all Time and all Space, ... or what Rudolf Steiner called: the "Cosmic" Christ. When we really appreciate the earthly social-political-spiritual existence of humanity, we will become aware that it takes place within - inside of - the Being of the "Cosmic" Christ. All that is, ... all that has manifested as spirit and matter, is within/inside this aspect of the Six-Fold Divine Mystery ... the "Cosmic" Christ. That "teaching" is to be the next phase of the evolution of Christianity itself, as a Religion that is simultaneously Art and Science. Anthroposophy, which involves a metamorphosis of the mind, that I am naming: "the Rising of the Sun in the Mind", is to play a role in developing those human capacities that will led individual human beings to become able to experience this "Cosmic" Christ.
I fully expect the reader who endures the trials of the book: the Art of God, to learn to see past the Big Bang and macro-Darwinian evolution. Meanwhile, I wait to exhale from the physical and to inhale into the spiritual, at least until the next life, when I hope we will all meet again - God willing and if the creek doesn’t rise.