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Still working on the Jewish phase of "God..."
But there were so many snippets that I wrote down
& want to share. Go read this book; good times.


- Unlike the pagan deities, Yahweh was not in any of the forces of nature but in a realm apart. He is experienced in that scarcely perceptible timbre of a tiny breeze in the paradox of a voiced silence.

-There was no way that we could fathom this out by reason. It is only "revealed" to us by an experience (anubhara) which cannot be expressed in words & concepts. Brahman is "what cannot be spoken in words, but that whereby the mind can think." It is impossible to speak to a god that is as immanent as this or to think about it, making it a mere object of thought. It is a Reality that can be discerned in ecstasy in the original sense of going beyond the self: God
       "comes to the thought of those who know It beyond thought, not to those who imagine It can be attained by thought... It is known in the ecstasy of an awakening that opens the door of life eternal."

- Language is not equipped to deal with
a reality that lay beyond concepts & reason.

- Isaiah had expereinced that sense of the numinous which has periodically descended upon men & women and filled them with fascination and dread. In his classic book The Idea of Holy, Rudolf Otto describes this fearful experience of transcendent reality as mysterium terribile et fascinans: it is terribile because it comes as a profound shock that severs us from the consolations of normality and fascinans because, paradoxically, it exerts an irresistable attraction. There is nothing rational about this overpowering experience, which Otto compares to that of music or the erotic: the emotions it engenders cannot even be said to "exist" because it has no place in our normal scheme of reality.

- Aristotle had an acute understanding of the nature and importance of religion & mythology. He pointed out that people who had become initiates in the various mystery religions were not required to learn any facts "but to experience certain emotions and to be put in a certain disposition." Hence his famous literary theory that tragedy affected a purification (katharisis) of the emotions of terror and pity that amounted to an experience of rebirth.

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eternalmists

February 2012

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