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egal love

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Indra's Net
« Reply #450 on: April 25, 2009, 09:50:51 AM »



Buddhism's philosophy of interdependence lets us see our differences as a vast interconnected web. In fact, the image Buddhists use to illustrate this is that of Indra's net. At each intersection of the strands of this net, which is the universe of different selves, is a jewel -- a "self" -- which reflects all the other jewels in the net. No single jewel, then, is self-sufficient. Its existence depends upon, and reflects, all the others. And so, in Buddhist lingo, each jewel is Empty of self-existence!


There are several aspects of Indra's Net, as described in the above quote, that signify it as a crystal clear allegory of reality:

1. The Holographic Nature of the Universe

Long before the existence of the hologram, the jeweled net is an excellent description of the special characteristic of holograms: that every point of the hologram contains information regarding all other points. This reflective nature of the jewels is an obvious reference to this. This kind of analogy has been suggested by science as a theory for an essential characteristic of the cosmos, as well as as the functioning of the human brain, as beautifully described in The Holograpic Universe by Michael Talbot.

2. The Interconnectedness of All Things

When any jewel in the net is touched, all other jewels in the node are affected. This speaks to the hidden interconnectedness and interdependency of everything and everyone in the universe, and has an indirect reference to the concept of "Dependent Origination" in Buddhism. Additionally, Indra's Net is a definitive ancient correlate of Bell's Theorum, or the theory of non-local causes.

3. Lack of a substantive self

Each node, representing an individual, simply reflects the qualities of all other nodes, inferring the notion of 'not-self' or a lack of a solid and real inherent self, as seen in the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism and Buddhism in general.

4. Non-locality

Indra's Net shoots holes in the assumption or imputation of a solid and fixed universe 'out there'. The capacity of one jewel to reflect the light of another jewel from the other edge of infinity is something that is difficult for the linear mind, rational mind to comprehend. The fact that all nodes are simply reflections indicates that there is no particular single source point from where it all arises.

5. Innate Wisdom

The ability to reflect the entirety of all light in the universe attests to the inherent transcendant wisdom that is at the core of all nodes, representing all sentient beings, and to the inherent Buddha Nature.

6. Illusion or Maya

The fact that all nodes are simply a reflection of all others implies the illusory nature of all appearances. Appearances are thus not reality but a reflection of reality.

7. Universal Creativity

A familiar concept in various high dharmas is one of an impersonal creative intelligence that springs forth into reality through the instruments of all living beings.

8. The Mirror-like Nature of Mind

The capacity to reflect all things attests to the mind being a mirror of reality, not its basis. This is a common thesis among various schools and religions.


The jewels are shiny and reflect each other successively, their images permeating each other over and over. In a single jewel they all appear at the same time, and this can be seen in each and every jewel. There is really no coming or going.



Now if we turn to the southwest direction and pick up one of the jewels to examine it, we will see that this one jewel can immediately reflect the images of all of the other jewels. Each of the other jewels will do the same. Each jewel will simultaneously reflect the images of all the jewels in this manner, as will all of the other jewels. The images are repeated and multiplied in each other in a manner that is unbounded. Within the boundaries of a single jewel are contained the unbounded repetition and profusion of the images of all the jewels. The reflections are exceedingly clear and are completely unhindered.



If you sit in one jewel, you will at that instant be sitting repeatedly in all of the other jewels in all directions. Why is this? It is because one jewel contains all the other jewels. Since all the jewels are contained in this one jewel, you are sitting at that moment in all the jewels. The converse that all are in one follows the same line of reasoning. Through one jewel you enter all jewels without having to leave that one jewel, and in all jewels you enter one jewel without having to rise from your seat in the one jewel.

ahimsa

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #451 on: May 08, 2009, 11:00:42 AM »
Quote

caracost, think about Sartre's famous conception of being and nothingness :)

Sartre tries to improve on Heidegger's famous, or infamous, dictum in "What is Metaphysics?" that 'nothingness nihilates' by saying 'Nothing does not nihilate itself. Nothingness "is nihilated"'. Heidegger too is trying to avoid the charge of holding that nothing in some sense exists, but Sartre thinks Heidegger makes a mistake in his formulation. By saying 'nothing nihilates' Heidegger imparts an agency to nothing; the power to nihilate, but this agency could hardly be efficacious unless it or that which exercises it existed. Sartre's 'Nothingness is nihilated' does not carry the logical or grammatical connotation of accomplishment. It is a putative affirmation of nothing's non-being logically consistent with that of Eleatic pre-socratic philosopher Parmenides. Sartre fails to observe that his passive rendering of Heidegger's active voice may have equally incoherently construed nothing as a subject of anihilation, and hence, something that exists.

Nonetheless, it is true acording to Sartre that there are absences. There are refusals and denials, acts of imagining that things could be otherwise. For example, in the celebrated passage from "Being and Nothingness" Sartre is expecting his friend Pierre to be in a cafe, but Pierre is not there. Sartre encounters nothingness. Sartre wonders whether this is a judgement or thought that Pierre is absent or whether there is an experience of Pierre's absence, an intuition of nothingness. Sartre knows there is a prima facie absurdity in speaking of the experience of nothing. Nothing is not anything, so an experience of nothing would not be an experince of anything. Nevertheless, Sartre decides that it is by sight that the absence of Pierre was detected. There was at least the phenomenon of seeing that Pierre is absent, even if not a seeing of Pierre's absence.

It is as if nothingness existed. Non-being is a component of the real. Nothingness is real even though nothingness is not. We may speak of absent friends, holes in the ground, negative and false propositions, purely imaginary states of affairs, fictitional characters as though they existed because nothingness possesses an appearance of being, a being it borrows from being.


I would appreciate a little bit more clarification.


Robotarium, maybe this other post will shed a little light on the matter?


[...] Dissemination is NEITHER just polyseme, semantic richness, nor multiple meanings. It is not just ambiguity. Dissemination is about an indefinite number of meanings that the author does NOT intend.



Sort of I guess!

kel

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #452 on: May 14, 2009, 10:44:54 AM »

Some journalists and scholars have pointed to Koresh's 1983 trip to Jerusalem and the Holy Land as the turning point in his life, the place where he began to believe he was divine. During that trip, Koresh began to suffer the delusion that he was a prophet. Surprisingly, this delusion is not uncommon among tourists, visitors, and pilgrims to the Holy Land. Each year, a number of people become convinced that they themselves are Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, King David, God, or Satan. This psychological phenomenon has been studied extensively at the Beersheva Mental Health Center where it has been dubbed the "Jerusalem Syndrome." Eliezer Witztum, professor of psychiatry, explains that the onset is sudden. According to him, it has to do with being psychologically overloaded by the historical and religious significance of the city. This usually triggers a response in people who have had a deeply religious childhood, but who may have rebelled against the faith and fallen away. According to Witztum, it is not Jerusalem's religious atmosphere alone that induces psychiatric disturbances in vulnerable individuals. The unique atmosphere couples with deeply submerged beliefs, unresolved anxieties, utopian aspirations, or inner conflicts to cause the syndrome to emerge. In some cases, these may be true mystical experiences, which result in the betterment of humankind. For the most part, they are not.

The syndrome is a false mystical experience which simply reinforces the afflicted individual's delusions and grandiosity, whereas a genuine mystical experience should deflate ego-seeking, self-centered behavior and attitudes and replace them with new humility and a desire to serve others. The true mystical experience gives the individual clarity, lucidity, and a new way of thinking. The Jerusalem Syndrome adds another layer of self-delusion and narcissism -- all of which implies that those who suffer from the Jerusalem Syndrome are ego-ridden monsters, which is not the case. They are in many cases pathetic, self-destructive and frail -- their inner conflicts have driven them to desperate psychological convolutions in order to avoid fear, pain, uncertainty, and shame.

While all of the Holy Land is conducive to the Jerusalem Syndrome, the Holy Sepulchre is the primary location where susceptible travelers' psyches react and they feel prophetic, messianic urges within themselves. The wilderness around Jerusalem is the second most frequent breakdown point. In the desert, meditation, physical discomfort, and isolation subliminally suggest Christ's 40 days in the desert and the wanderings of God's chosen people. For Koresh, who considered his wanderings in the Texas "wilderness" evidence that he was God's chosen leader, the desert near Jerusalem provided him with his own "burning bush" experience. He returned to Waco with a mission to establish his own "promised land." In the case of the Jerusalem Syndrome, the malady is usually suffered by a person who is in isolation. Hallucinations can easily accompany dehydration, fatigue, lack of sleep, and a manically elevated mood.


I do not believe it was his trip to Jerusalem that turned him psychotic/delusional - I mean, he'd still go nuts had he not visited Jerusalem - another event would have precipitated the insanity.

theme

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #453 on: May 15, 2009, 10:39:50 AM »

This is all nice being able to vent our collective rage at these scumbags. Believe me I struggle against just exploding with disgust at humanity seeing these captains of industry act like satans minions and most people just lamely sucking it up as lazy, weak, lobotomized consumer clowns all caring about no one and no thing except their own ease and convenience. So what I want to know is what are we all going to do about these parasites?

All these fascist pieces of poo deserve whatever we can do to them and then some! I fantasize a global revolution somewhat like the French revolution with mobs storming the office towers and mansions of the ruthlessly rich and dragging these shitballs from their obscene cucoons of comfort and burning them or cutting their f**cking evil heads off. You can bet that then unbridled greed and rapacious business practices would not be idolized and worshipped with the same vigor that it is today by our propaganda spewing masters. I can just see people like Dickhead Cheney trying to fit in with the street people dressed in rags.


Diogenes has said, "In a rich man's home there is no place to spit but in his face."

His grave would also work. 


Was Diogenes rich?

synthetic

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Re: All is One: Zeno Paradoxes
« Reply #454 on: May 23, 2009, 12:17:45 PM »


This sequence also presents a second problem in that it contains no first distance to run, for any possible (finite) first distance could be divided in half, and hence would not be first after all. Hence, the trip cannot even begin. The paradoxical conclusion then would be that travel over any finite distance can neither be completed nor begun, and so all motion must be an illusion. This argument is called the Dichotomy because it involves repeatedly splitting a distance into two parts. It contains some of the same elements as the Achilles and the Tortoise paradox, but with a more apparent conclusion of motionlessness. It is also known as the Race Course paradox. Some, like Aristotle, regard the Dichotomy as really just another version of Achilles and the Tortoise.


newb poster, but I remember this one. I can't recall the name right now, but the listener to this paradox politely responded to this argument by kicking a stone with his foot. As the stone moved some feet ahead, he said something like, "Look, it moved." I remember that from one of my first philosophy classes and I thought it was hilarious. In situations like this, it is only our mind that gets in the way from accepting the reality of the situation. That's what I gather anyway.


Could you expand a bit, abe?

telepathic

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"Spectres of Marx"
« Reply #455 on: May 26, 2009, 10:16:24 AM »

Many Marxists and feminists have attacked deconstruction because it cannot provide a firm foundation for political action or even political criticism. Because if language is just the free play of meanings -- with no fixed meanings -- if all texts degenerate into the play of meanings, then there is no basis for political action. And if language is fragmented, then people, who use language, must be somewhat fragmented too.

If the sentence breaks down, so does the psyche. So does our experience of past, present and future. Deconstruction and postmodernism wallows in the play of meanings, it surfs these meanings and is concerned with performance, play and process rather than with the finished product. It delights in the ever-changing play of appearances, rather than with sources and roots and origins.


In "Spectres of Marx," Derrida proceeds to argue for deconstruction as a inheritor of the liberationist credentials of Marxism. The title "Spectres of Marx" is an allusion to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' statement at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto that a "spectre [is] haunting Europe." For Derrida, the spirit of Marx is even more relevant now since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the demise of communism. With its death the spectre of communism begins to make visits on the earth. Derrida seeks to do the work of inheriting from Marx, that is, not communism, but of the philosophy of responsibility, and of Marx's spirit of radical critique. Derrida first notes that, in the wake of the fall of communism, many in the west had become triumphalist, as is evidenced in the formation of a Neo-con grouping and the displacement of the left in third way political formations.

Derrida went on to list 10 plagues of the capital or global system. And then to an account of the claim the creation of a new grouping of activism, called the New International. Derrida's ten plagues are:

  • Employment has undergone a change of kind, e.g., underemployment and requires 'another concept'.
  • Deportation of immigrants. Reinforcement of territories in a world of supposed freedom of movement. As in, Fortress Europe and in the number of new Separation barriers being erected around the world, in effect multiplying the "fallen" Berlin Wall manifold.
  • Economic war. Both between countries and between international trade blocs: USA - Japan - Europe.
  • Contradictions of the free market. The undecidable conflicts between protectionism and free trade. The unstoppable flow of illegal drugs, arms, etc..
  • Foreign debt. In effect the basis for mass starvation and demoralization for developing countries. Often the loans benefiting only a small elite, for luxury items, e.g., cars, air conditioning etc. but being paid back by poorer workers.
  • The arms trade. The inability to control to any meaningful extent trade within the biggest 'black market'.
  • Spread of nuclear weapons. The restriction of nuclear capacity can no longer be maintained by leading states since it is only knowledge and cannot be contained.
  • Inter-ethnic wars. The phantom of mythic national identities fueling tension in semi-developed countries.
  • Phantom-states within organized crime. In particular the non-democratic power gained by drug cartels.
  • International law and its institutions. The hypocrisy of such statutes in the face of unilateral aggression on the part of the economically dominant states. International law is mainly exercised against the weaker nations.

On the New International Derrida has this to say:

Quote
The 'New International' is an untimely link, without status ... without coordination, without party, without country, without national community, without co-citizenship, without common belonging to a class. The name of New International is given here to what calls to the friendship of an alliance without institution among those who ... continue to be inspired by at least one of the spirits of Marx or of Marxism. It is a call for them to ally themselves, in a new, concrete and real way, even if this alliance no longer takes the form of a party or a workers' international, in the critique of the state of international law, the concepts of State and nation, and so forth: in order to renew this critique, and especially to radicalize it.

philetor

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Re: Indra's Net: What Is It?
« Reply #456 on: June 04, 2009, 10:30:22 AM »

There are several aspects of Indra's Net, as described in the above quote, that signify it as a crystal clear allegory of reality:

1. The Holographic Nature of the Universe

Long before the existence of the hologram, the jeweled net is an excellent description of the special characteristic of holograms: that every point of the hologram contains information regarding all other points. This reflective nature of the jewels is an obvious reference to this. This kind of analogy has been suggested by science as a theory for an essential characteristic of the cosmos, as well as as the functioning of the human brain, as beautifully described in The Holograpic Universe by Michael Talbot.

2. The Interconnectedness of All Things

When any jewel in the net is touched, all other jewels in the node are affected. This speaks to the hidden interconnectedness and interdependency of everything and everyone in the universe, and has an indirect reference to the concept of "Dependent Origination" in Buddhism. Additionally, Indra's Net is a definitive ancient correlate of Bell's Theorum, or the theory of non-local causes.

3. Lack of a substantive self

Each node, representing an individual, simply reflects the qualities of all other nodes, inferring the notion of 'not-self' or a lack of a solid and real inherent self, as seen in the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism and Buddhism in general.

4. Non-locality

Indra's Net shoots holes in the assumption or imputation of a solid and fixed universe 'out there'. The capacity of one jewel to reflect the light of another jewel from the other edge of infinity is something that is difficult for the linear mind, rational mind to comprehend. The fact that all nodes are simply reflections indicates that there is no particular single source point from where it all arises.

5. Innate Wisdom

The ability to reflect the entirety of all light in the universe attests to the inherent transcendant wisdom that is at the core of all nodes, representing all sentient beings, and to the inherent Buddha Nature.

6. Illusion or Maya

The fact that all nodes are simply a reflection of all others implies the illusory nature of all appearances. Appearances are thus not reality but a reflection of reality.

7. Universal Creativity

A familiar concept in various high dharmas is one of an impersonal creative intelligence that springs forth into reality through the instruments of all living beings.

8. The Mirror-like Nature of Mind

The capacity to reflect all things attests to the mind being a mirror of reality, not its basis. This is a common thesis among various schools and religions.


Cosmic Web. Much of the missing "normal" matter from the in the cosmos resulting from the Big Bang  has been found  clustering around wispy ropes of invisible matter forming part of the "vast weblike superstructure of the universe within which galaxies are embedded like sparkling sequins."


A computer simulation of the universe showing a region of space about 1.5. billion light-years a side.

Dark Matter, an invisible form of matter that does not give off or reflect light yet accounts for the vast majority of mass in the universe,  has been mapped in 3D and seems to provide "compelling evidence that the mysterious substance is the scaffolding upon which stars and galaxies are assembled."



Dark Energy, accounting for some 74% of energy in the universe repels gravity and is attributed to be the force behind the expansion of the universe.



It all reminds you of nothing so much as Indra's Net, the Buddhist concept of interpenetration of all phenomena.


"Imagine a multidimensional spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image." -- Alan Watts

Honest Tea

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Re: "Spectres of Marx"
« Reply #457 on: June 11, 2009, 10:14:37 AM »

In "Spectres of Marx," Derrida proceeds to argue for deconstruction as a inheritor of the liberationist credentials of Marxism. The title "Spectres of Marx" is an allusion to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' statement at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto that a "spectre [is] haunting Europe." For Derrida, the spirit of Marx is even more relevant now since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the demise of communism. With its death the spectre of communism begins to make visits on the earth. Derrida seeks to do the work of inheriting from Marx, that is, not communism, but of the philosophy of responsibility, and of Marx's spirit of radical critique. Derrida first notes that, in the wake of the fall of communism, many in the west had become triumphalist, as is evidenced in the formation of a Neo-con grouping and the displacement of the left in third way political formations.

Derrida went on to list 10 plagues of the capital or global system. And then to an account of the claim the creation of a new grouping of activism, called the New International. Derrida's ten plagues are:

  • Employment has undergone a change of kind, e.g., underemployment and requires 'another concept'.
  • Deportation of immigrants. Reinforcement of territories in a world of supposed freedom of movement. As in, Fortress Europe and in the number of new Separation barriers being erected around the world, in effect multiplying the "fallen" Berlin Wall manifold.
  • Economic war. Both between countries and between international trade blocs: USA - Japan - Europe.
  • Contradictions of the free market. The undecidable conflicts between protectionism and free trade. The unstoppable flow of illegal drugs, arms, etc..
  • Foreign debt. In effect the basis for mass starvation and demoralization for developing countries. Often the loans benefiting only a small elite, for luxury items, e.g., cars, air conditioning etc. but being paid back by poorer workers.
  • The arms trade. The inability to control to any meaningful extent trade within the biggest 'black market'.
  • Spread of nuclear weapons. The restriction of nuclear capacity can no longer be maintained by leading states since it is only knowledge and cannot be contained.
  • Inter-ethnic wars. The phantom of mythic national identities fueling tension in semi-developed countries.
  • Phantom-states within organized crime. In particular the non-democratic power gained by drug cartels.
  • International law and its institutions. The hypocrisy of such statutes in the face of unilateral aggression on the part of the economically dominant states. International law is mainly exercised against the weaker nations.

On the New International Derrida has this to say:

Quote
The 'New International' is an untimely link, without status ... without coordination, without party, without country, without national community, without co-citizenship, without common belonging to a class. The name of New International is given here to what calls to the friendship of an alliance without institution among those who ... continue to be inspired by at least one of the spirits of Marx or of Marxism. It is a call for them to ally themselves, in a new, concrete and real way, even if this alliance no longer takes the form of a party or a workers' international, in the critique of the state of international law, the concepts of State and nation, and so forth: in order to renew this critique, and especially to radicalize it.


Derrida considers this book an attempt to exorcise the "spirit" represented by Marxism, just as Marx was concerned with the "ghosts" and "conjuring" of capitalism. Basically he posits many Marxisms. It is therefore the interpreter's duty to preserve the spirit of Marxism by pursuing the ghosts and laying bare the conjurings.

BelGioioso

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #458 on: June 15, 2009, 12:01:35 PM »

[...] Freud had had similar uncharacteristic reactions to "Totem and Taboo" and later would to "Moses and Monotheism," two other works he was inclined to publish anonymously.


In "Moses and Mono­theism," which was published in 1939, the same year Freud died, he boldly repeats his theory from "Totem and Taboo," although having received substantial criticism for it, during the quarter-century since he presented it. If anything, he proclaims it with even less reservation:

Quote
That conviction I acquired a quarter of a century ago, when I wrote my book on "Totem and Taboo" (in 1912), and it has only become stronger since. From then on I have never doubted that religious phenomena are to be understood only on the model of the neurotic symptoms of the individual, which are so familiar to us, as a return to of long-forgotten important happenings in the primeval history of the human family, that they owe their obsessive character to that very origin and therefore derive their effect on mankind from the historical truth they contain.

He gives a narrated form of summary of the primordial event of the father murder, more precisely and to the point than in his earlier book, and begins it with the following reservation, which was more vaguely implied in Totem and Taboo:

Quote
The story is told in a very condensed way, as if what in reality took centuries to achieve, and during that long time was repeated innumerably, had happened only once.

Because of its fluent clarity, its added detail from his version in Totem and Taboo, and its similarity to many a myth, I can't resist repeating it in its entirety:

Quote
The strong male was the master and father of the whole horde, unlimited in his power, which he used brutally. All females were his property, the wives and daughters in his own horde as well as perhaps also those stolen from other hordes. The fate of the sons was a hard one; if they excited their father's jealousy they were killed or castrated or driven out. They were forced to live in small communities and to provide themselves with wives by stealing them from others. The one or the other son might succeed in attaining a situation similar to that of the father in the original horde. One favored position came about in a natural way: it was that of the youngest son, who, protected by his mother's love, could profit by his father's advancing years and replace him after his death. An echo of the expulsion of the eldest son, as well as of the favored position of the youngest, seems to linger in many myths and fairy-tales.
     
The next decisive step towards changing this first kind of "social" organization lies in the following suggestion: the brothers who had been driven out and lived together in a community clubbed together, overcame the father, and – according to the custom of those times – all partook on his body.



Cain kills Abel

In "Moses and Monotheism," Freud expands and clarifies his theory somewhat. He specifies the stages gone through by mankind as a whole, in comparison to the individual neurotic stages of "early trauma – defense – latency – outbreak of the neurosis – partial return of the repressed material." The analogy makes additional sense, since he claims that: "the genesis of the neurosis always goes back to very early impressions in childhood." Also for mankind, the father murder supposedly took place at an early stage, a childhood of sorts, of its development. He describes the process:

Quote
Mankind as a whole also passed through conflicts of a sexual aggressive nature, which left permanent traces, but which were for the most part warded off and forgotten, later after a long period of latency, they came to life again and created phenomena similar in structure and tendency to neurotic symptoms.

The latency mentioned, which exists both in the individual and the collective, is a sort of mental period of incubation, where the traumatic event is forgotten to the conscious mind, but remains subconsciously and gains strength, so that when it erupts, it is much more potent than it was at the time of the traumatic event:

Quote
It is specially worthy of note that every memory returning from the forgotten past does so with great force, produces an incomparably strong influence on the mass of mankind, and puts forward an irresistible claim to be believed, against which all logical objections remain powerless – very much like the credo quia absurdum.


The "sexual libido" took over the role of a deus absconditus, a hidden or concealed god ... Yahweh and sexuality - remained the same. The name alone had changed and with it, of course, the point of view: the lost god had now to be sought below, not above. (Carl Jung, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections")

Most interpreters of Freud's "Moses and Monotheism" dismiss it as one of his least interesting analytic works. It is the product of his old age, written while his health was deteriorating, and during the rise of Nazi Germany, a time when the tenuousness of the psychoanalytic movement in Vienna and the vulnerability of Jews to anti-Semitism were much on his mind. Because the substantive claims of "Moses and Monotheism" have been dismissed, attention has recently focused instead on what this work signifies about Freud's own Jewishness. The fact that Freud initially intended to call "Moses and Monotheism" a historical novel signifies, according to some, that he did not regard this as a serious historical work on the Jewish religion. While many of the historical claims in "Moses and Monotheism" are absurd, Freud did formulate a number of illuminating analytic questions about the relationship between the deity's gender and corresponding religious practices, particularly in the third essay of the book. This is the essay that Freud could not bring himself to publish in Vienna during the rise of Nazi Germany, and only published subsequently after fleeing to England. And it is this essay that Freud himself recognizes as containing the essential parts of his arguments. Indeed, the first two essays of "Moses and Monotheism" are relatively uninteresting in psychoanalytic terms.

At the end of his second essay, Freud indicates that the central contentions of his argument would have not yet appeared: "Beyond this [the second essay], there would be a very great deal to discuss, to explain and to assert. Only thus would an interest in our purely historical study find its true justification." Several times he indicates that he views the claims of the first two essays as primarily historical in nature and not interesting from an analytic perspective. In the preface to the third essay, Freud tells us that his motivation in withholding this essay stemmed from his fear of how the Catholic church might react to the psychoanalytic movement. This worry was probably legitimate. Indeed, Freud had some very new things to say about the nature of Christianity and its origin, though he seemed to wonder about his own motivations by reminding us that Moses and Monotheism in many ways retraces ground that he had covered earlier in "Totem and Taboo." Everything points to the third essay as being of fundamental concern to Freud: it contains his central psychoanalytic claims about monotheism, and he worried most about its publication. There are a number of new claims in this section that do not appear in his other writings on religion. In the context of reviewing his historical argument about Moses' Egyptian origin and murder, Freud develops at length his understanding of psychological latency and repression, which he regards as parallel to the development of monotheism. Just as childhood memories come back to an adult, so the primal deed against Moses and the original religion of Moses underwent a repression and return in the history of the Jews.

It is here that Freud recounts his theory of original parricide which he had developed in "Totem and Taboo." But Freud believes monotheism does introduce a new twist. It is not simply a repetition of totemism because in that form of religion the father is disguised behind the symbol of an animal. The worship and eating of the animal expressed in indirect form the reverence for and fear of the father. But with monotheism the presence of the father behind God is made explicit: "The first step away from totemism was the humanizing of the being who was worshipped. In the place of the animals, human gods appear, whose derivation from the totem is not concealed ... The male deities appear first as sons beside the great mothers and only later clearly assume the features of father-figures .... The next step [the development of monotheism], however, leads us to the theme with which we are here concerned -- the return of a single father-god of unlimited dominion."
People can never have access to the essence of things, only their metaphors, metaphors grounded in the bodily experience of pleasure and pain.

BelGioioso

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #459 on: June 15, 2009, 12:12:21 PM »
Monotheism, according to Freud, is the first religion to recognize the father behind the image of God: "The reestablishment of the primal father in his historic rights was a great step forward but it could not be the end." This development was related in Freud's view to what he believed to be the Jews' distinctive spirituality. According to Freud, a conceptual, cultural, and moral revolution occurred when Moses introduced the Jews to an abstract conception of God. By prohibiting the making of divine images, Moses helped the Jews to triumph over the senses since they now no longer envisioned God in human form. This triumph of spirituality over the senses was an instinctual renunciation which, like all such renunciations, Freud viewed as a sign of maturation and progress. The Mosaic prohibition on images raised God and the Jews to a higher level of spirituality, Freud believed, and moved the Jews to a superior position over those who have remained in bondage to the senses. Freud thus saw a direct relationship between this transformation of a people and the renunciations of instinctual gratifications which a boy must accomplish on the way to maturity: "The religion which began with the prohibition against making an image of God develops more and more in the course of centuries into a religion of instinctual renunciations. It is not that it would demand sexual abstinence; it is content with a marked restriction of sexual freedom. God, however, becomes entirely removed from sexuality and elevated into the ideal of ethical perfection. But ethics is a limitation of instinct."

Freud sees a connection between the fatherhood of God, the prohibition on images, sexual renunciation, and the triumph of the spirit over the senses. And he sees the prohibition on images as linked to masculine renunciation. But Freud does not sufficiently theorize these connections. He does not ask why a prohibition against the image of the father God would be connected to sexual renunciation. Had he asked this question, he might have interpreted the Jewish prohibition on images as a means of veiling the body of the Father God. It is curious, in fact, that Freud did not interpret the prohibition on divine images as a prohibition against seeing the father's body. In part, he was surely misled by the long history of tradition that claimed that the God of the Jews did not have a body. But given Freud's propensity to depart from conventional wisdom about monotheism and about most other things that he interpreted, this explanation by itself cannot account for Freud's failure to speculate about the body of the father God. Indeed, the human father's sexual body is central to Freud's account of the Oedipus complex. There is an important tension and even contradiction in Freud's account of monotheism. He describes monotheism as discovering the image of the father that had earlier been disguised in the symbols of animals. But at the same time he claims that Moses introduced an intellectual/spiritual notion of God, an idea of God with no imaged content. Thus Freud's account of monotheism is contradictory: on the one hand he asserts that in monotheism the father is rediscovered behind the image of God; on the other hand he insists that what is discovered is a conceptual idea of God with no imaged content. Freud seems unaware of his conceptual leap from paternal image to the intellectual idea of God: "Freud does not seem to be aware that in talking about an abstract idea [of God] and instinctual renunciation he makes a major shift - at once descriptive, conceptual, logical, theoretical, and historical. The introduction of this new notion meant abandoning the beautifully built theory of object representation implicit in his previous formulations." In remaining unaware of this shift in his thinking, Freud provides no explanation for the banning of the father's image.

Ironically, Freud had all the theoretical resources to account for this disappearance of the father's body for he was well aware of the potential for homoerotic desire between father and son. Freud postulated an original bisexuality in the newborn that only later was organized along heterosexual lines through the Oedipus complex. But there were two versions of that complex. In one version, the one most familiar to readers and the one central to "Totem and Taboo" and "Moses and Monotheism," the male child desires his mother, and because of that desire becomes afraid of his father castrating him, an event Freud believed occurred repeatedly in history. Out of narcissistic attachment to his organ, a boy represses his desires for his mother so as to end the competition with his father. This is the successful resolution of the Oedipus complex. But Freud explored another variant on this process, what he called an "inverted' or "passive" Oedipus complex. In this version, the boy wished to be castrated so as to replace his mother and become the object of his father's affections. This desire to become a woman and take the female position was, if development was not arrested, surmounted for the same reason. The narcissistic connection to his penis helped the boy renounce this desire for his father, identifying with him instead and therefore taking a heterosexual love object. If for some reason these homosexual feelings became fixed, they could be the cause for paranoia or other disorders.

Freud's analysis of this case is based on Daniel Schreber's (1955) personal memoirs of his hospitalizations and treatments in two asylums written between 1900 and 1902. Schreber was a well respected Judge and at one point presiding judge of the superior court in Leipzig. During his hospitalization Schreber develops a detailed theology in which he imagines that God wishes him to be transformed into a woman. According to Schreber's theology, the soul is in the nerves of the body and after death returns to God who is made up of nerve alone. In returning to God, the soul-nerves go through a purification and gain a state of blessedness in which there is uninterrupted enjoyment combined with contemplation of God. A soul's happiness lies in continual reveling in pleasure. When describing his own transformation into a woman, Schreber refers to this as "soul voluptuousness." Schreber believes there is an upper and lower God. The rays of the lower God Ariman can "unman" human men.
People can never have access to the essence of things, only their metaphors, metaphors grounded in the bodily experience of pleasure and pain.