Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Outsider

We are continuing with the negative (dark) phase of supersensory development, where a substantial amount of passive - as well as active - cleansing of the senses takes place.

However just as the more positive phase gradually gives way to increasing conflict, here in reverse, the more negative phase gradually gives way to a new found acceptance and peace with respect to its characteristic dark interior state.

In other words, as one becomes more accustomed to the dark, authentic unconscious development is strengthened. Therefore one becomes better at coping with the erosion of concrete phenomena (both sensory and supersensory).

In spiritual terms this is associated with an increasing depth with respect to contemplative prayer. For example the "prayer of quiet" is often highlighted at this time, whereby one can peacefully remain in  silent communion with God (without the need of intermediary symbols).

There are also of course corresponding affective and cognitive aspects.

In my own case I remember becoming increasingly attracted to existential literature at this time esp. Kierkegaard, Camus and to a lesser extent Sartre.

Indeed I remember at one time reading two books simultaneously entitled "The Outsider" by Albert Camus and Colin Wilson respectively, both of which made a big impression.

In fact the term "The Outsider" very much summed up for me the existential position at the time.

Any severe "dark night" episode quickly cuts through all the rigid nonsense that typifies institutional approaches to morality.

Therefore from an existential perspective - when conventional supports are of no avail - one is forced to make authentic personal choices as to what truly constitutes meaning for the self. So, morality now becomes defined in terms of how faithful one can remain to the authentic promptings of inner conscience (and not what is formally accepted in institutional circumstances).

Thus, when there is a clash as between the objective moral dictates of a particular religious institution and one's authentic inner belief, one sides with one's conscience. For an existentialist, personal conscience thereby provides the only true measure of moral freedom.

So from this perspective, waking up to the existentialist position confirmed my position as "an outsider" in that I realised that from now on I would always strive to follow my own way (seeking authentic meaning for the self, irrespective of conventional aspirations and supports).

Therefore at this time new circular internal structures are formed (just as in the earlier phase, their external counterparts were formed).

The essence of this circular type understanding is that one can no longer divorce the external (objective) circumstances of a moral decision from corresponding internal (subjective) circumstances.

Thus every moral decision in this sense is necessarily of a relative nature, entailing the dynamic interaction of complementary aspects that are external and internal with respect to each other.

This does not imply that anything now goes with respect to morality. Rather it implies the reverse!

I would be strongly critical of the stance of the institutional churches (such as the Catholic Church) with respect to "objective" morality i.e. the idea that certain acts can be deemed absolutely right or wrong in objective terms!

Even in physics it is now accepted that at the quantum level, objective phenomena have no strict meaning (in the absence of our psychological relationship with them). And remember the macro physical world is built on such quantum interactions! So equally of course, it is true that objective acts can have no meaning independent of our subjective relationship with them. In this sense every moral decision is of a unique nature!

Thus the very fact of subscribing to the objectivist position on morality, tends to lessen true moral responsibility. For if one already accepts that something is right of wrong in an independent objective sense, this thereby removes the crucial element of personal subjective evaluation.

Thus one can only take a true moral position with reference to the careful balancing of both objective (impersonal) and subjective (personal) aspects with respect to any decision.

And the decisive factor in then making such a decision (having taken account of both aspects) is an unconscious intuitive signal (representing an act of faith).

So the very essence of every moral decision from this dynamic perspective is that it is ultimately of an uncertain nature. And this is precisely why an act of faith must be exercised therefore in taking the decision.

Now if one attempts to portray moral choices in absolute terms (defined merely by general objective criteria) this in effect trivialises the very need for responsibility in taking decisions.

This represents a huge problem at present for the institutional churches. As I would see it their - often rigid - moral positions are based on an outdated philosophical position i.e. that objective meaning can be viewed independently of its subjective counterpart.

Initially I found in my own case, the notion of existential choice was based strongly on personal feeling - again not on any indiscriminate spur of the moment reaction - but rather on a conscientious form of discernment where internal feelings were directly inspired by the holistic unconscious.

Later as I attained greater perspective on the issue, I gradually become more detached and better able to philosophise, as it were, as to the general nature of decision-making compatible with Band 3 (Level 1). This would then represent the intellectual aspect of the stage!

And again the nature of such choice is of a circular paradoxical nature (when viewed in merely dualistic terms).

From this perspective, all decisions are necessarily of a relative uncertain nature. Once more, this does not at all imply that anything goes with respect to morality, but rather in fact that a greater degree of personal responsibility must now be exercised in terms of authentic choice (in any circumstance).

Listening to recent debates on abortion in this country (Ireland) where issues were so often portrayed in a misleading absolute manner (by both sides) it has become painfully obvious to me how much we need now to move on to a much more enlightened position on the very nature of morality.

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