19. Super
Session 1 -- Supernatural
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 11 Sept 1999

Ben< ALL: This seminar will explore some of the compound words beginning with "super" as tools for discernment. Super is the combining form; superior is the adjective. Both are used for various concepts of which way is up.

Ben< Superior means over, above, higher, greater, additional, or better. Because it is a relative term, it needs a basis for comparison: over what? above what? higher than what? greater in what way? better for whom?

Ben< Tonight the first word is "supernatural". What does that mean? Ready? Here we go.

Ben< WORD 1: supernatural: "existing or occurring outside the normal experience or knowledge of man; not explainable by the known forces or laws of nature." But this definition assumes that "natural" is limited to "normal" human experience and present knowledge. I don't necessarily agree with that.

Ben< QUESTION 1: What do you think supernatural means? If you use the word at all, how do you use it? Please give examples. YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ghost, goblins, and the like. Also "voices". Things that aren't included in science or 'faith'.

TXBELLES< We feel that supernatural means something that is not easily defined or seen in 3d, but exists.

Yopo< I think the definition you posted above pretty much corresponds with my own. The "known forces or laws" part provides for an acceptable escape clause. Means we can extend the boundaries as new facts emerge.

dCrone< I seldom use the word. Let me think how ...

SLIDER< I would say supernatural is outside the limits of natural body senses. Or other than the five basic senses.

Ben< ALL: Good points. "Natural" and "supernatural" are labels. What they mean usually depends on who uses them.

Lor< I sense it applies to things that are somehow beyond the normal experience of most people.

Yopo< Lor: Yep. Agree with that, too. It implies something outside the range of what is generally accepted or expected.

Cassandra< Something beyond our natural world. Something unusual to our usual senses.

dCrone< Okay, seems this is a word I use to refer to TV programs and also around Halloween. It is a sorta common denominator word and, as I think about it, I use it in humorous rather than serious tones or ways. I must not like the general definition of it. *S*

Ben< ALL: Some people consider ESP to be supernatural. Others call it paranormal, perhaps more accurately.

dCrone< Ben: What is the definition of para?

Ben< dCrone: para means beside or alongside or outside (e.g., parallel) and not above (super) or below (sub).

TXBELLES< Legs considers ESP more of a sometimes undeveloped skill, but possible for everyone, so therefore it would not be considered as supernatural by us.

Yopo< Hmm ... Perhaps something that can control or transcend the course of natural occurrences, by means that appear to operate outside of that framework?

dCrone< The basic question is: what is natural? Just because something is not apparently natural to me does not mean that it is not natural to another.

Ben< WORD 2: natural means "as born": (1) not artificial; not manufactured or modified by mankind; wild, uncultivated. (2) innate, inherent; not acquired (natural abilities). (3) normal or usual; customarily expected or accepted. (4) physical, chemical, or biological (the natural sciences).

Ben< QUESTION 2: From the several definitions of natural, what could be considered "over, above, higher, greater, additional, or better than natural"? YOUR TURN

dCrone< It takes some sort of effort to move beyond a natural state for (1) and (2). It takes some sort of courage to step out of the norm for (3). All of these involve conscious direction.

TXBELLES< Levitating, OBEs, telepathy.

SLIDER< I don't see any correlation between the definitions given and anything higher, over, greater or better than.

Lor< How about beyond natural?

FRAML< George Bernard Shaw's "Man & Superman." A person with extra talents than most of us could be "super" -- or come from the planet Krypton. *G*

Ben< FRAML: Superman is the topic for next week. *smile*

Lor< If Superman were actually real, I'd consider his feats to be supernatural.

FRAML< Ben: Whoops, I'm getting ahead again. (quietly moving to the back of the room)

Ben< FRAML: No problem. Your ESP also seems to be working, in the form of precognition. And you provided an opportunity for me to mention the topic for next week.

KBoots< It seems then that anything outside of your personal experience could be considered supernatural.

Yopo< ... or maybe even something that alters expected outcome while operating within the laws of nature, but against all probability.

dCrone< Beyond natural science is artificial science/intelligence? Serious math? Working on this ...

SLIDER< I would think that anything the human mind cannot perceive as natural occurrences, something misunderstood or not yet proven by the scientific community, could be taken as supernatural.

KBoots< Cameras and shaving cream are considered supernatural in deepest, darkest Africa.

Ben< KBoots: Your ESP must be working. *smile* You just illustrated what I was about to describe.

Ben< ALL: Okay, here's a hint as to how I think about this: since natural means "not artificial, not modified by mankind", anything that mankind has created is supernatural if it is additional or better than nature provided.

Cassandra< chocolate milkshakes.

[Ben< Cassandra: Yes.]

Lor< Ben: That idea does not sit well with me. It's not the way I have used it or have heard it used in the past. I say again: "supernatural" implies something beyond the normal experience of what a community usually experiences. Man-made things are another category altogether. The way I've understood the usage is that it may be natural in some sense, while yet surprising and being unusual.

FRAML< Lor: Remember, Ben nearly always starts with the dictionary and builds. I think you're running ahead like I did. *S*

KBoots< It never occurred to me that the word could take that meaning ... made by man.

Yopo< *looks suspiciously at computer monitor, wondering if it is a supernatural object* *G*

Ben< Yopo: A computer monitor sure isn't a *natural* object!

Yopo< Ben: *S* Guess it is a matter of definition. I would call it supernatural if, at this point, I were to suddenly look down and realize it wasn't plugged in.

Ben< Yopo: Yep, the (artificial) boundary between "natural" and "supernatural" slides according to what we expect based on what we think we know. If you had a laptop computer with batteries included, you wouldn't call it supernatural?

dCrone< *LOL* @ Yopo & Ben

SLIDER< Ben: I would think anything material, whether manmade or not, can be considered natural. The supernatural would come about by how the mind perceives or reads the senses or illustrations it receives.

[Ben< SLIDER: Humans have created materials that don't exist in nature, and many levels of assembly above the basic raw materials nature provides. A house is a man-made super-structure (higher-assembly) that doesn't exist in nature.]

dCrone< I have heard the argument recently that man-made objects are natural because man is a natural agent.

Yopo< dCrone: Good point.

Ben< dCrone: Because they are such highly creative beings, if for no other reason, humans are more akin to Creator than to creation.

Cassandra< Well, chocolate milkshakes are absolutely better than anything produced naturally.

TXBELLES< Not being of a naturally scientific turn of mind personally, I thought chocolate shakes came from chocolate cows until I was about 11. *G*

Cassandra< TXBELLES: A natural mistake.

dCrone< Is decaf natural?

Ben< dCrone: Hah! No, decaf isn't natural. I think it's sub-natural.

TXBELLES< Ben: *s* I assume by that comment then, that sub-natural is Not Quite Real.

Ben< TXBELLES: I think sub-natural could mean "worse than it naturally was before someone messed with it."

FRAML< Ben: Then, using dCrone's example: regular coffee with extra caffeine added to it is "super-natural."

[Ben< FRAML: Well, it does have some apparently super-natural effects. *S*]

Yopo< Was it Bradbury or Asimov who said: "Any sufficiently developed technology is indistinguishable from magic" ?

KBoots< Asimov.

Ben< ALL: Next post shortly -- 'tis a shift of gears.

Ben< WORD 3: superstition: "any belief or attitude, based on fear or ignorance, that is inconsistent with the known laws of science or with what is generally considered in the particular society as true and rational, especially belief in charms, omens, the supernatural, etc." But here again, the definition is biased to "normal" human experience and present knowledge. Any belief or attitude that doesn't go along with the crowd is, by that definition, superstition.

Ben< QUESTION 3: What do you think? What about superstition? Is there such a thing? If you use that word, how do you use it? Please give examples. YOUR TURN

KBoots< Then I am an enormously superstitious person. I don't generally agree with the crowd. That's one of the reasons I like spirit chat so much.

Yopo< That's a tough question! "Superstition" is a word that contains an element of judgment and usually contains a derogatory element. I would consider carrying a rabbit's foot for luck superstitious. But I also rationalize my belief in omens and portents, by falling back on the idea that all events in the world are connected on a meaningful level. "Judge not ... " *S*

TXBELLES< LEGS says that throwing salt over your shoulder after you have spilt some doesn't really prevent bad luck, it just makes you feel less guilty for having spilt the salt in the first place. *S*

wakingdream< Hmm, Super (stitious), Super (natural), something exaggerated. Exaggerated mistrust, exaggerated belief?? Extreme, because it is supposedly un-explainable or the inability to readily understand.

[Ben< wakingdream: Yes, "super" can mean "exaggerated" -- as in advertising.]

FRAML< Thus "superstition" is also defined by who "the crowd" is. Just as the earlier comment about shaving cream in Africa. I remember the stories about the "Cargo Cults" in New Guinea after WWII. The natives saw planes fly and drop things (supplies to troops) and thought if they made images of airplanes and landing fields the planes would bring them cargo.

[Ben< FRAML: That's an excellent example of a superstition and its origin.]

TXBELLES< K'AM says that our whole society is based upon the stigmatisms of superstition. You can find daily signs of how superstitious we are, such as throwing rice at weddings, etc.

Cassandra< Wearing white at weddings when you're 5 months pregnant, as so many do anymore. *G*

Ben< ALL: If it helps any, superstition literally means "over" + "standing" (in Latin). Thus, it could be considered the semantic opposite of under-standing. It isn't ignorance, but thinking we know when we don't.

KBoots< Ben: I have used the word (shamefully) in the past to denigrate the beliefs of sectors of society that are not 'enlightened' by my standards. It was not until the word was applied to me by someone else while I was discussing something that I felt was perfectly natural (psychic ability in my family) that I realized what I had been doing.

Ben< KBoots: Good point. Superstition is usually a derogatory term used to put down something one doesn't believe. Supernatural is also used that way by those who don't believe there is anything above or beyond what they know.

TXBELLES< Ben: As evidenced by some of the newcomers in henge discussions.

dCrone< If a pattern of some sort becomes evident after/before some event, a cause and effect may be determined. Ball players wear old socks and hats backwards and tap bats x-number of times. It is a form of protection from bad luck.

TXBELLES< dCrone: True, and so many more things that athletes do in all fields of endeavor to make their own luck or prevent bad luck. We see it on TV constantly.

SLIDER< Well, I don't believe in superstitions. Thought controls future events, and a weak mind can be conditioned to bring on superstitious events, even to go as far as mass hysteria. Friday the 13th just seems like another day even if a black cat walks in front of you and you walk under a ladder. :-}

FRAML< SLIDER: Think of the whole thing about the comet 2 years ago and the Heaven's gate folks. I saw a similar re-occurrence in here during the week before the solar eclipse. Folks speaking as if they did not know the scientific explanation behind why solar eclipses happen, and were looking for signs and omens. They were reverting to "stone-age" mentality, and some weren't even aware of it -- they saw themselves as "new age."

Yopo< FRAML: I heard a lot of the same eclipse talk here. I was surprised no one suggested standing on the lawn banging pans and blowing horns. *LOL*

SLIDER< FRAML: That's because most people are afraid to listen to their inner thoughts and find it easier to follow the crowd. We're all here until we die; it's the time factor when we die that makes the difference.

KBoots< And another example two days ago on September 9, 1999.

TXBELLES< Oh ... 9/9/99 ... what a wonderful date to have been alive. *S*

Ben< QUESTION 4: From the foregoing discussion of definitions, can or could belief in the supernatural not be superstition? If so, how? What do you think? YOUR TURN

Trudy< Ben: Oh, ho! I didn't see that one coming! Belief in the supernatural is often seen as superstition by those who do not believe. Are people who believe in the supernatural, naturally more superstitious? *G*

Ben< Trudy: Good question: Are people who believe in the supernatural, naturally more superstitious? I think that may be so, as compared to those whose beliefs are totally mundane.

SLIDER< Ben: Good job! You rolled over supernatural right into superstition. I guess it is all how you look at what you don't understand.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, it is in how one looks at what one doesn't understand -- and I think the key difference is whether one looks at it with humility or arrogance.

FRAML< Belief in the supernatural isn't superstition when one has personal experience with it, as KBoots said her family (mother, grandmother & aunts) has. Or some of the folks you've dealt with, or my own experiences such as at St. Joe.

Creativlit< What if a person does not view the super-natural as being something super or out of the ordinary? Perhaps we just don't always see the greater connection. If I talked to an angel today, I would not consider that extraordinary; to me that would be an every-day event. It's not like spectacular things happen. I just feel comfortable with that on an every-day relationship living level.

TXBELLES< Can a belief in the supernatural not be superstition? hmmm ... Superstition could be seen as repeating patterns, doing something constantly to bring about or to prevent subsequent action. Supernatural belief is sometimes founded on trust in reports by someone you've known and have faith in ... or by experiencing it yourself. And it seems that most people are unable or unwilling to experience the "supernatural".

Lor< Ben: You'd probably not think so once you had experienced something supernatural. Psychic abilities seem supernatural to many people. These are not superstition.

[Ben< Lor: Yes, I agree, but many people say that belief in ESP is superstition.]

SLIDER< Ben: The pursuit of truth in understanding what we think we know would put superstition and supernatural on a back burner if we could understand our inner self. Faith in the unknown forces that guide us through this experience on earth could be classified as either superstition or a supernatural ability to connect with something unseen, so I say call black, black, and red, red, until I can see them as different colors.

dCrone< Okay, if 'it' is part of my personal story, my myth, my perception and determination, then it is not superstition to me even though I may see 'it' as supernatural. Still thinking ...

KBoots< Ben: Using the foregoing discussion of definitions, and your definitions in particular, how could belief in the supernatural BE superstitious?

Ben< KBoots: Thank you. I was trying to expand that envelope that way. However, I think superstition is possible, even with my broader definitions, and we each ought to be on guard against our own superstitions. For example, I would like to think that crossing my fingers could improve my bowling score.

TXBELLES< Ben: *G* But from personal experience, it doesn't work! It's very hard to control the ball with your fingers crossed. *G*

SLIDER< Ben ... ????? How does one hold a bowling ball with your fingers crossed????? LOL

Ben< TXBELLES, SLIDER: Hah! Maybe that's the problem. Gotta cross the fingers of the *other* hand.

SLIDER< Ben: You could always cross the toes. :-}

Yopo< I think some aspects of supernatural belief are "superstition". For me, the issue is often who holds them, and to what extent the holder has questioned them. If they fit into someone's coherent view of the world, and serve a useful purpose, and cannot be disproven when examined, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Reasonable persons often reach different conclusions.

dCrone< Aren't there books about the roots of common superstitions? Perhaps many did at some time serve some purpose ... like the ball players'. They are not especially harming anyone by doing weird things to maintain their focus in events where they are not necessarily sure of their power to control.

FRAML< dCrone: "breaking a mirror is 7 years bad luck" is supposedly based upon the amount of time it took in the middle ages to get enough money to buy a replacement. They were quite expensive. Walking under a ladder is bad luck: common sense says if I walk under a ladder with a guy on top of it painting, I'll probably get paint drops on me and my clothes.

dCrone< Exactly, FRAML.

Lor< Sometimes we do things we know to be superstitious and not really causal for many varied reasons: custom, family traditions, not wanting to stand out in our group, etc.

dCrone< Maybe superstitions are more evident in obsessive-compulsive types.

KBoots< I don't even necessarily think that we have to be able to prove those things that we do out of habit to try to control our lives. If they make us feel better, do it and don't try to explain it.

Ben< ALL: Good responses! Thank you. I think the bottom line answer to question #4 is: a belief in something "supernatural" that is based on personal experience and not fear or ignorance is less likely to be superstition.

[Ben< COMMENT: One workable definition of superstition is: Believing that there is a cause-and-effect linkage where there isn't one; i.e., false attribution of cause.]

Ben< /topic Discussion of supernatural and superstition

Ben< ALL: Reviewing. No summary tonight. Be right back.

Lor< Ben: I agree that a belief in something "supernatural" that is based on personal experience and not fear or ignorance is less likely to be superstition.

TXBELLES< KBoots: Did you ever hear the superstition about how extremely lucky you will be if you stay in touch with your mother on the Internet? *G* It's true!

KBoots< Welllll, I try.

SLIDER< Ben: On the topic superstition ... if a black cat crosses in front of you at night on a dark road, I think I would call that bad luck for the cat as you would probably hit it. And as for walking under a ladder, any fool knows people drop things from ladders. This is just on the lighter side. Like what was said earlier, most superstitions clearly arise from something unknown to someone that is usually enhanced by someone that can make the superstition come true.

Yopo< This business about superstition also raises the issue of the power of belief, and self-fulfilling prophesy. Maybe the guy who forgets his lucky rabbit's foot really IS in trouble, if his belief is strong enough.

dCrone< Yes, Yopo. I agree!

SLIDER< Yopo: Maybe that rabbit's foot was a symbol at one time of a cult, and if you didn't bring it to the meetings you were the main course for dinner that night.

Yopo< SLIDER: Maybe the rabbit's foot was first lucky to some hungry hunter?

KBoots< Yopo: It obviously didn't do a lot for the rabbit. (I can't believe I pulled that old drone out! LOL)

TXBELLES< Yopo: If a person's belief is strong enough in anything, then it can become reality, and if their belief is so strong and something happens to a "token" that they have placed their belief in, then things come undone for them ... truly undone.

Yopo< TXBELLES: *S* Yeah, "token" point well-taken. But then I would consider one's going as symbolic as its appearance was in the first place. I would mainly have sentimentality to contend with. *S*

[Ben< The following comment may have been in reply to a private message.]

TXBELLES< Yopo: Tolkien was a fiction author.

Yopo< TXBELLES: And one of my favorites, too. *S* Interesting, how the creator of Middle Earth and the creation myths of The Silmarillion was a devout Catholic. Woulda been nice to chat with ol' JRRT on a quiet English afternoon.

TXBELLES< Ah, yes.

KBoots< Yopo: I think it would be wonderful to chat with anyone who's mind could create that kind of alternate reality for those of us who are escapist readers. How about Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey or Asimov? *G*

TXBELLES< Oh, KBoots ... my ol' friends you speak about!

FRAML< Yopo: Yes, his religious belief did not limit him in creating an alternate creation story, yet if you look at his characters, they are influenced by his ethics and morality. He had his 'good' characters practicing what he believed.

Creativlit< Have you ever looked though how close the Silmarillion by Tolkien resembles the creation story of the Bible? He was a smart man, and it is like he compiled a few different religions' views of the beginning into his tale.

FRAML< Yopo: Yet Frodo could be considered "super" natural in that he never seemed to take the natural course of repaying good for good and bad for bad. His nature was always to do good, even when done bad to.

Yopo< FRAML: *S* Oh, I've noticed. I read somewhere that Tolkien's ambition was to create a mythology for Britain. As creation tales go, his is quite a good one! Has a feel of truth. I figure in a sense it IS true on some psychological level, or it wouldn't resonate like it does. The same with the ethics his tales embody. A different telling of the same truth.

Creativlit< I never saw astrology as being superstitious, either. Some think it is, and honestly, I think it is those who really do not understand it that view it that way. To me, it's understanding relationships on the large scale with the universe and how they relate to us. Everything has patterns and sequences, from the smallest organism to the greatest heavenly body. To me, working with astrology is like working with DNA. It can help you understand patterns and how one may be more likely to feel or act in a certain way, but one still has free will within that to make choices and choose their own path. DNA is the same way. We can test DNA and see if someone may carry a gene for cancer or diabetes, but having the gene is not a guarantee that the person will get the disease. Also, knowing one has the gene, you can choose either to make healthier life choices, ignore it, take drastic medical measures; again, free choice. I think, less than 200 years ago, if anyone had said you could look at DNA in these minute patterns within cells, they would have thought they were nuts and believing in nonsense, too.

Ben< Creativlit: I've heard astrologers say: "The stars impel; they do not compel." That makes sense to me.

Creativlit< My thoughts on this last eclipse, along with Nostradamus prediction, was that I didn't see him predicting some catastrophic event. I think he understood the hysteria that can come with the end of a century and eclipses. Eclipses often brought terror to people steeped in superstitions, hence he saw that this celestial event would reawaken this same terror in people, not that the event itself would cause great tragedy.

KBoots< You know, there is also the theory that a lot of what we could call superstition in pre-industrial societies was a way of handing down warnings concerning natural occurrences from one generation to another. By making it something they must remember or do to prevent that nebulous 'bad thing' from happening, it was remembered much longer than it would have been otherwise.

Ben< KBoots: Good point. Primitive people didn't know *how* a lot of things happened, but they did learn some things were good for them and some were bad for them. They tried to pass that knowledge to their children any way they could.

dCrone< Still mulling why I don't like the word supernatural. Seeing myself above or below the crowd? But then, when the term Superbowl was coined, the word 'super' was 'way cool' and I really hated the coinage. I thought it was presumptuous and silly, something that would not last because it was obviously a phony, dumb made-up word (I was young ... knock on wood ... I have made some changes since then!)

TXBELLES< dCrone: *G* And you're not the slightest bit superstitious ... right? *S* Love it!

KBoots< dCrone: Could that be because it has been sooooo overused in our society in recent years? The media hype about some things is enough to turn you off completely. I sit and watch TV and think "Do any of you know the real definition of the words you are spouting?"

TXBELLES< KBoots: Definition of words? You mean like the all-purpose verb-noun-adjective IMPACT ?

KBoots< I mean like the on-and-on-and-on ad-nauseam discussion of the term 'sexual relationship' ... at least as the latest example.


Yopo< I've always thought it interesting how serious gamblers seem more prone to superstitious behavior. Lucky ties, lucky hats, lucky rabbit's foot and such. Perhaps the more the outcome of our endeavors are subject to mere odds, the more inclined we are to fall into superstitious behaviors in an effort to control them?

KBoots< Yopo: Is that kind of like buying the same numbers every time for the Lotto? *S*

TXBELLES< Good point, Yopo. Gambler's odds can be just as profound to them as a baseball player's desire to hit that home-run ... or have a shut-out game.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, those who strongly believe in chance, luck, etc., do seem to get more involved in superstitions than those who don't. But the toughest professional gambler I've ever met wasn't at all superstitious. To him, gambling was a science that combined probability and psychology. He only played cards, never machines.

SLIDER< Yopo: Could it be that those so-called lucky objects have attachments of a spiritual kind that enjoy winning?

Yopo< SLIDER: I wouldn't discount that possibility. Or maybe objects somehow become filled with the hopes and expectations of their owners. Not entirely sure if that is completely in the imagination of the owner, or if an object can actually carry some sort of "charge". I have handled certain objects that immediately filled me with a sort of dark dread. Don't really know how to account for that.

Ben< Yopo, SLIDER: Some objects and places seem to carry the residue of blessing or curse. Many people consider that feeling supernatural, and many consider it superstition. I think the residue of blessing or curse is detected by those who have the psychic ability called Psychometry.

Yopo< Ben: That is one of those things I once would have discounted out of hand as superstition, but now think of as perhaps quite real. I wonder about the nature of that "residue".

Ben< Yopo: I think non-physical residue is often thought-forms, and sometimes soul-fragments. Did you see my paper entitled "Barbara"? She inadvertently connected to the ghost of her father by psychometry -- which has some interesting possibilities, for good or ill.

Yopo< Ben: Don't recall reading the "Barbara" paper, but I will certainly do so. This whole business of "thought-forms" is something I don't know much about.

TXBELLES (K'AM)< Ben: I was trying to think of the word for being able to "read" objects, getting vivid pictures when holding certain things, or merely "vibes" from others. That is one of our family's supernatural "natural" abilities.

KBoots< Yopo: I also discounted psychometry in the past, until my mother handed me a stone that she had, and I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. I was absolutely nauseous before I could get rid of it.

TXBELLES< KBoots: That was the moldavite, from the meteorite that landed near the Valley in Yugoslavia.

KBoots< TXBELLES: I don't care what it was. I've never reacted to anything that strongly. it was like falling into a huge black well.

TXBELLES< KBoots: I know, luv ... I know ... and has the opposite effect on LEGS.

Creativlit< I don't per se feel things when I touch them, but I can feel residual energy when people have left a room.

Yopo< KBoots: For me, the thing that caught my attention was a certain very old Native American necklace. I have several, all of which I have sometimes worn. One, though, I thoughtlessly wore to sleep one night. I woke up from a horribly violent nightmare. My behavior in the dream was completely out of character. Haven't put it back on since. Also picked up a Tibetan cup in an antique store once for closer examination. It was made from a temple monkey skull, with worked silver and dark stones. Felt a cold shock when I touched it. Not pleasant, and I don't think it was my imagination.

KBoots< Yopo: Do you also receive impressions when you shake hands with people, sometimes completely at odds with what you may have been told about them by a mutual friend?

Yopo< KBoots: Sensing things by touch is very unusual for me. Much more the exception than the rule. But I have had that experience with certain people. Remember talking to a fellow once. Shook hands as a sort of formality. Something very weird about it. I almost felt like I'd picked up some sort of negative energy. Was a very troubled client, with a creepy legal past.

KBoots< Yopo: It has happened to me numerous times. I don't see events like K'am, but do have feelings of either needing something that this person can offer me, wanting to give something to that person, or worst of all, a real need to wash my hands, FAST.

Yopo< KBoots: *S* Yeah. First thing I did after that particular interview ended, was to wash my hands. Felt a bit silly doing it, but did it anyway. It seemed like a sort of superstitious act. While I was washing my hands, I was thinking of the Hindu "untouchable" caste, wondering if there was some similar concept at the root of it.

TXBELLES (K'AM)< KBoots, Yopo: I've learned not to shake hands with everyone. I get vivid pictures of past, and sometimes future events ... precognitions ... some good and some bad ... and never know whether to ask if this has happened in the past. And what do I say if it hasn't happened, when I know that it will?

Yopo< TXBELLES: Jeez. That talent might be sort of a questionable blessing.

TXBELLES< Yopo: Talent or curse? Take your pick. If I get wonderful, exciting news, then it's a talent, but if it isn't, then ... oh boy ... a curse. And so frustrating as to how much to share with that person, if at all. A question of ethics, etc.

TXBELLES< Ben: Any suggestions for K'AM as to what to do in that situation?

Ben< TXBELLES: Psychometry is a form of receptivity or openness (like empathy). So, a person who is too open needs to learn how to close, how to not receive. Then he or she can learn to open or close at will, as a choice.

TXBELLES< Ben: I don't have the problem of closing when I'm not touching, but when actually touching/shaking hands. I haven't been able to close out receiving, after years of trying. I thought it would work the same as shutting out thoughts of people when they are near, but it isn't the same for some reason.

Yopo< I wonder why Michael Jackson wears that glove? *S*

KBoots< Yopo: *ROFL*

TXBELLES< Yopo: *VBG* hmmm ... Who knows?

Yopo< TXBELLES: There was a period in my life when I couldn't bear to be in crowds. Felt this sort of crushing pressure that felt like emotional static. For a long time, I thought it was a psychological problem, but have since decided otherwise. Learned how to shield myself somehow. Not sure how I do it, but I can consciously put my shields up and down now.

TXBELLES< Yopo: That's what I normally call it ... shielding myself ... when not touching. And you're right, you have to learn to do it.

KBoots< Yopo: I learned how to shield myself at an early age, but still didn't know how to let the good in and keep the bad out.

Yopo< KBoots: *S* Timing is everything.

KBoots< Guess I need to install some kind of filter. *G*

Ben< KBoots: It helps to elevate out of the range of the bad ones, by generating reverent joy in yourself. It's like tuning a radio or TV receiver so you don't pick up the lower channels.

KBoots< Thanks, Ben, I'll try that. I spent a lot of years being completely closed, and I don't want to go back there. Just need to do the work to limit what I allow to come in.

Yopo< BTW ... one who once attended these seminars has now gone on -- Darren Scott Tannahill, known to some as *~ SWIFT ~* His sister created a memorial page for him at: http://www.netport.com/cindreli/index3.html

Ben< Yopo: Thanks for the post about SWIFT. I'll check it out later.

Dana< Ben: I think I have been picking up on some spirits of my own ... lost loved ones. What can you tell me?

Ben< Dana: Well, you may be able to help them home to the Light. That's what I do and have been doing for several years.

Dana< Ben: I just lost my Grandmother ... and my brother, too, 5 years back. Think I was picking up on both of their energies at the time of the passing ... but all is well now. Think I was able to help with unfinished business. Now I only feel their joy ... love and sense of peace ... but it was pretty rough at the time.

Ben< Dana: Good. I'm glad you resolved unfinished business. Doing just that is a large part of Spirit Releasement Therapy.

Dana< Ben: When I lost my brother was much more traumatic, but didn't seem as difficult, maybe because of the surroundings at my Grandmother's memorial. It was in New Mexico. Our family was blessed with the gift of the prayer of the eagle feather. I think, maybe because of my sensitivity, that the eagle feather may have acted as a catalyst for my Grandmother's unfinished business ... and sorrows. But I have been able to balance her energies, and feel only a sense of bliss and peace for her. I had a lot of help from my friends ... but I feel now only a sense of peace, love and great joy when I think of my dear Grandmother. She is living in love now. *S*

[Ben< Dana: It sounds as though her situation and your relationship is resolved.]

Ben< TXBELLES: Concerning unwanted psychic contact while shaking hands: You might try imaging a glove. Test the effectiveness of that thought-form glove by psychometry. When the psychometry doesn't work with an object on which it previously worked, the glove is effective.

TXBELLES< Ben: That is a good idea. I hadn't thought of that, even when Yopo mentioned Michael Jackson's glove. By forming that glove consciously before picking up an object that I can normally read, and having it blocked, then I could consciously block out receiving images when shaking hands ... great ... thanks.

Kemokae< And you all wonder why Michael wears a white Glove! (*laughing*) Is this superstition? ... or supernatural? *G*

Yopo< Perhaps I will visualize a thought-form hand-buzzer. *S*


dCrone< One silly question before I trundle off to bed: concerning the glove and clothing in general -- do you feel it better if they are of natural fibers? I have heard some say that natural fibers are better than synthetic. (This is a real question, not a joke.) *S*

TXBELLES< dCrone: Since I will be imagining the glove, I thought I would put on a long elbow-length white glove and other appropriate clothing. *S*

dCrone< *LOL* @ TXBELLES

TXBELLES< dCrone: Wasn't making fun of your serious question ... just thought I would tell about what I would imagine from now on before shaking hands. I wonder what people will think, depending on how long it takes me to imagine the full wardrobe *S* while they stand there with their hand stuck out. *G* Besides, it is a woman's prerogative to shake hands or not ...

dCrone< That's okay. It could be the guy who mentioned the clothes thing was the same one who had copper lines running under the rugs in his house to avert negative energy . *S*

Ben< dCrone: Some people are psychically and psychologically comfortable in one type of fiber, some in another. For example, I feel comfortable in woolen shirts; my wife doesn't feel comfortable with anything made of wool next to her body.

dCrone< I understand, Ben. In addition to the copper-line man, I've read articles that promote natural fibers. Like your wife, I am not a wool person ... and I don't like to iron cotton ... but the feel of silk ... *sigh*

TXBELLES< dCrone: *sigh* I'm with you.

KBoots< Ben: I can relate to your wife's discomfort. Mine is caused by the little red spots that develop when I wear wool. Do wish I could wear angora, though.

TXBELLES< KBoots: Mom's word of wisdom: wool is from sheep. Angora is from goats or rabbits. So maybe you can wear angora. *S*

KBoots< Hooray! There is this great sweater at the shop. Maybe I'll just go in and try it on ... for 15 minutes or so. ahahahaha

TXBELLES< Hey, hey, KBoots ... yeah!

KBoots< dCrone: I feel the same way about silk. And there is a synthetic fabric I bought last year called 'stone-washed suede' that feels almost as good as silk.

dCrone< KBoots: Agreed. But have you seen this new stretchy Spandex stuff that lots of the new shirts are made of? Heavy-ish and opaque? And why? So I can wear a smaller size? *LOL*

KBoots< dCrone: I have an existing aversion to Spandex. Haven't seen the new stuff, though.


KBoots< dCrone: The last time I tried anything in Spandex, I had two teenage sons living in the house with me, and they had some very uncomplimentary things (hahahaha) to say about putting something that shiny on something that size. I got a huge charge out of it at the time, but I just can't make myself buy anything else Spandex.

TXBELLES< KBoots: Ah, I remember those!

dCrone< Cotton is natural, Spandex is not. But what about cotton that grows in color -- sorta half and half?

FRAML< dCrone: But what about who is in the Spandex, and the shape that puts them in? Is their appearance thus super or sub natural? And is it natural if it is in a cotton toga?

dCrone< LOL @ FRAML

KBoots< FRAML: For some of us, there ain't nothing natural about Spandex. Of course if I ever got into it, it would become natural coz I'd probably never get it off.

TXBELLES< KBoots: -0- right on!

Ben< FRAML, dCrone: I'm not sure about Spandex, but I think a majority of the human race would agree that makeup and perfume are improvements over nature.

TXBELLES< Ben: Don't forget deodorant and shaving lotion. *S*


Yopo< Ben: Regarding those passed on: do you think there is anything wrong with trying to maintain an open channel in hopes of sometime making a connection?

Ben< Yopo: The risk in maintaining an open channel is that some of the deceased may try to use you to do what they want to do.

Kemokae< Ah, Ben ... they did. I was out at the family cemetery (the LDS Church bought the ground and we had been doing rubbings of the stones to preserve the information of the people buried there) and lo behold out of the middle of nowhere I tripped over what I thought was a rock. I thought, "I wonder where that came from?" so I picked it up. It was part of the Jackson family stone. He had a beloved daughter-in-law buried there whom apparently no one knew about until I picked up the stone piece with the words on it. Someone trying to tell me a message. His family legacy is one of "Music". (Yes, true story. His first name was Benjamin.)

Yopo< Ben: One cannot be selective? Sorta tune to a specific person's frequency? Does that make sense? Maybe "open channel" was a bad choice of words.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I understand. An open channel is one thing; making contact or checking in from time to time is another. I do that routinely, as a form of prayer: first, I connect to the Lord, then I open my connection to the person (incarnate or discarnate) and send my blessing. The Lord amplifies my blessing to the person and sends angels if needed.

Yopo< Ben: Thanks. I guess, in my way, that is what I try to do.

Ben< Yopo: I thought so. Love is the link. My blessings in support of your love.

Yopo< Ben: *S* Thank you.

Ben< ALL: Well, I guess it's time for me to hang up the mouse. It is good to be back, and it was a good discussion tonight. Peace and blessings to you and yours. *poof*

KBoots< Greetings to the new arrivals (buddward) (Thur) (Star12) *S*

Thur< KBoots: Been doing some review re supernatural & superstition. Are there any conclusions??

KBoots< Thur: Conclusions? A wealth of them. But they may have been different for each of us.

19. Super
Session 2 -- Superman
Sat 18 Sept 1999

Ben< This seminar is exploring some compound words beginning with "super" as tools for discernment. Super is the combining form; superior is the adjective. Both are used for various concepts of which way is up.

Ben< Superior means over, above, higher, greater, additional, or better. Because it is a relative term, it needs a basis for comparison: over what? above what? higher than what? greater in what way? better for whom?

Ben< Tonight we will look at some concepts of "superman" (superior man).

Lor< To be a super man is to be outstanding in some sense?

Ben< Lor: Yes. We are exploring in which sense various concepts of super man are deemed to be outstanding.

Lor< An outstanding athlete could be rather dumb -- so not super in some ways.

Ben< Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) coined the term "superman" (ubermensch) and defined it as an idealized dominant male, characterized by the will to power and a pitiless contempt for common men, not constrained by rules of good or evil, right or wrong, truth or falsehood, powerful, ruthless, in control of himself and everyone around him. Nietzsche said his superman is the goal of the evolutionary struggle for survival.

Ben< QUESTION 1a: What do you think of Nietzsche's superman? Is he superior to the common (average) man? If so, in what way or ways? YOUR TURN

windchild< A superman would have more awareness than the average man; however, that doesn't make one better than the other in my opinion.

Ben< windchild: Yes, Nietzsche said the common man is asleep; the superman is awake. Relative degree of awareness.

Lor< Isn't the common man still asleep?

Yopo< Lor: *mmph* Huh? What was that?

KBoots< The superman as defined by Ben would soon lead us into anarchy.

Ben< KBoots: That isn't my definition. It's Nietzsche's.

KBoots< Sorry, Ben ... I realize that. Nietzsche's ideal man was the ideal for Nazi Germany, was he not? ... not superman in any sense of my world.

HopToad< Sounds pretentious to me, and eerily like the foundation of Nazism.

Ben< HopToad, KBoots: Yes, Hitler based a lot of his stuff on Nietzsche.

Yopo< Seems to me his definition is questionable even in an evolutionary context. Cooperation and love are definitely things that enhance the likelihood of survival. Beyond that, they are what makes life worth living. Nietzsche was full of ... uh ... himself. *S*

Ben< Yopo: Yes. Too bad Nietzsche didn't realize that.

Lor< I think Yopo said it.

Yopo< His definition of "superman" is convenient for groups who wish to rationalize some very bad behavior, too.

FRAML< Superior only in that he would end up controlling everyone and everything, master of the realm. Only goal Nietzsche espouses by this is: POWER.

windchild< Of course, if the superman had contempt for the average man, then he wouldn't seem so superior to me.

K'AM< An idealized dominant male, characterized by the will to power and a pitiless contempt for common men, not constrained by rules of good or evil, right or wrong, truth or falsehood, powerful, ruthless, in control of himself and everyone around him. The key here is that, in the definition, the superman is in control of self and all around him, not constrained by anything but own power. and this is supposed to be the goal of the evolutionary struggle for survival? I'm afraid not too many would survive.

Lor< Competition is usually more akin to survival than cooperation, though.

KBoots< This superman would have to be very awake, or soon be out on his ear.

greyman< It would appear that if a superman's powers are limited to just physical abilities, he would subject to dampening function limited by population. e.g., I do not see very many giants anymore. In combat, I am sure they make easy targets.

SLIDER< A true superman would be of superior understanding in all aspects of knowledge and know how to blend with the populous in such a manner as not to be conspicuous.

KBoots< SLIDER: And maybe not even consider himself superior.

Ben< ALL: You guys are way ahead of me tonight. That's good. However, I'll post as planned.

Ben< QUESTION 1b: Is Nietzsche's superman a type of man others flock to, admire, envy, follow, submit themselves to, and obey even if they hate him? If so, do any examples come to mind? YOUR TURN

windchild< Jim Jones.

Ben< windchild: Jim Jones sure was thought to be superman by his followers.

bluestar< Hi, all. Just want to say I agree with all of the above and add simply that someone in need of controlling others quite likely is more afraid of losing control of/over him/her self.

HopToad< Some way-out religious cult leaders come to mind. The hundreds that followed Jim Jones and drank poisoned Kool Aide, as well as assorted dictators.

K'AM< The superman, to truly be super, would have to be superior in knowing how to convince people, either by example or by compelling them, to follow his or HER lead. *G* Of course, we know that Hitler was a prime example as others have already mentioned. Also, Napoleon. *S*

Lor< Patton or Clinton to the military, perhaps.

windchild< Lor: Yeah, Clinton. Everyone said they hated him but he was re-elected by a landslide.

FRAML< Lor: I don't think military types would flock to a Clinton, but civilians in a time of crises would want a superman type to make all the decisions ... those who desire safety over freedom.

Lor< Military types would not necessarily flock to a Clinton by choice, of course.

SLIDER< Lor: Not to get into a political discussion here, but Clinton is more of a follower than a leader, and his followers put him on such a pedestal that he feels invincible. He is the worst kind of " superman".

Yopo< Other wanna-be supermen will flock, if it looks like he's got a winning game going.

Ben< Yopo: And ramora fish attach themselves to sharks.

Cassandra< I just came from a discussion that said there is no right nor wrong. And I have heard this many times here on-line. I'm afraid I don't believe it, but have certainly heard it preached, and they are not saying it came from Nietzsche. So apparently many here DO believe part of his definition.

Ben< Cassandra: Nietzsche wasn't the only one who denied the existence of any morality. However, his concept is very popular, although it isn't always called "superman."

Cassandra< Ben: No, sometimes it is called religion -- of some sort.

bluestar< There are those who are "in love" with power. And those who have a need to submit to power. Also, there are many who are afraid of their own power and therefore would rather follow someone else.

SLIDER< Nietzsche's superman is one that many would follow for the simple reason it would give them some sort of security and purpose in their lives, some one to admire and try to mimic because of their own insecurities.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes.

KBoots< If you separate the man from what he can accomplish, and what he can accomplish is good, then maybe you could 'obey' or 'envy' him in some fashion.

HopToad< Saddam, Kaddafi, Nixon, Caesar, Charlemagne, conquerors, those who flaunt the law for their greater good.

Ben< ALL: Now to catch up to where Yopo was awhile ago.

Ben< QUESTION 1c: In terms of survival of the fittest, is Nietzsche's superman the type of man most likely to survive? If so, why? If not, why not? YOUR TURN

K'AM< Certainly, he would survive. Someone who is in complete control of self and others would have all of the safeguards possible to assure his survival.

HopToad< Not survive for the long haul. If once the power is corrupted, the people will rise up and violently overthrow the leader. Or envious even more corrupt men might overthrow the previous regime. Being "king of the hill" is a tricky position.

K'AM< We're assuming that the superman would use power to corrupt, but could be wrong in that assumption. He could use power for the betterment of mankind.

Ben< K'AM: Betterment of others isn't in Nietzsche's definition of superman. Only pitiless contempt for those weaker than himself. However, there are other concepts of superman.

KBoots< Hitler certainly didn't survive, did he? I think that, sooner or later, that type of man will be taken down somehow ... naive of me, maybe ... but I don't think the world can stand the weight of that type for long.

windchild< He would survive because he believes in himself, even if it is a self righteous kind of belief. If a person feels powerless then he is powerless. If their power is taken over by insanity then they will not survive.

Yopo< Guess maybe I am back-pedaling a bit here, but it might depend on the sort of world Nietzsche's superman finds himself in. In some stages of imperial Rome, he might do well. In the world of Road Warrior, he might.

FRAML< Yopo: Road Warrior, excellent point. I watched the last two movies this afternoon. Max was a "superior" man who did seek to use his skill to protect others. Thought there was a bit of desire for revenge in him.

Yopo< But HopToad has a point there. Sooner or later, what he is will make him a prime target.

Ben< Yopo: Even in Rome, a lot of dictators were stabbed or poisoned.

Yopo< Ben: I suppose Nietzsche might think poison and daggers are instruments of the evolutionary refinement process. *S*

bluestar< I don't think Nietzsche's Superman would survive very well in the real world, because it seems he couldn't handle defeat well, and nobody's perfect (super, maybe, but not perfect). Also, when we think of mankind as being on the top of the evolutionary ladder on earth (or as most of us think), I don't believe it is the qualities Nietzsche gives the Superman that put us in this position ... so it may follow that survival of the fittest requires qualities not idealized by Nietzsche. In fact, it might be argued that it is precisely the qualities that Nietzsche gives his "superman" that have led us on the road *down* the evolutionary ladder.

K'AM< If a superior person who had complete control of self and surrounding environment and people were to want to make things better, what a blessing that would be ... to not have to have committee meetings to decide anything ... to just get things done that would ensure the survival of mankind!

Cassandra< K'AM: However, if he was not constrained by rules of good or evil, how could he lead people to a betterment of mankind?

SLIDER< Nietzsche's kind would certainly survive in the short run, but as more of the followers fell victim to his moral ways, others would wake up and "smell the coffee".

FRAML< He would attract those to him who seek power for themselves. The more he has, the more flows down to them because of their loyalty, as long as they are useful to the leader, and they are dumb or desperate enough to ignore the reality that the leader will easily sacrifice them for his own safety. You have established a society of control by power and force. The means to revolt will be denied to or taken from those who oppose the ruler.

KBoots< FRAML: A man like that surrounding himself by men like himself will sooner or later be removed by one even more 'superior' than he, especially if he allows the power to flow downhill.

HopToad< A shrewd leader knows how to network and seemingly share the power to ensure a base of support and defense. Kinda like our political parties.

Ben< I think this type of man is likely to survive for awhile, but not very long, because he makes too many enemies. His followers lust for his power. And common men are likely to get together and dispose of him if and when they can.

K'AM< Contempt for those weaker than himself ... yes ... but to take care of, provide for, improve the situation/environment/economy/etc for those he feels worthy ... that would seep over into the good for all, even the common man!

greyman< K'AM: Yavol, und vit da super race vee vill take over da verlt!

K'AM< greyman: *S* I am playing the role of support for this type of person, to see if there are any redeeming factors, so I have to invent that even without restraints there could be some good in this superman!

greyman< Ben: What is Nietzsche without contempt?

[Ben< greyman: Excellent question. I think pitiless contempt is the basic flaw in Nietzsche's philosophy, including his concept of the superman.]

Ben< QUESTION 2. In comic books, movies, etc., Superman is an alien from another planet who has superhuman powers. When he strips to his Spandex underwear, he goes around bashing bad guys and rescuing good guys, but most of the time he is a mild-mannered reporter. What do you think of this concept? Do you consider him superior (or inferior) to Nietzsche's superman? In what way or ways? YOUR TURN

SLIDER< I would consider the comic superman superior by way of humility and respect for the human race, and all of the human race's under-dogs.

K'AM< Well, Superman as portrayed in the cartoon world stands for justice and good works. There is no "evil" to him. He is squeaky clean!

KBoots< Most of us like the idea that there is someone out there who can fight the bad guys for us, even better if it happens to be someone from another planet with 'super' powers: voila, no guilt for us because we aren't the ones out there fighting.

windchild< I think the concept of this superman suggests that man cannot take care of himself and needs a savior, or something or someone to protect him from the evil world. "Keep the common man asleep."

HopToad< windchild: We don't need a savior?

windchild< HopToad: I don't.

HopToad< If it were only humans determining the destiny of this planet, I for one would be terrified.

KBoots< HopToad: I concur.

SLIDER< HopToad: There are a lot of good human beings in this world. Trouble is we can't always pick who we associate with, and some bad laws are passed with the only gain incurred by a few elite humans whose only purpose is gain.

HopToad< Superman of the comics has several advantages: his disguise as a dweeb overlooked by the majority, and his near invincibility, plus his built-in high moral code.

Cassandra< That was nicely said, HopToad.

FRAML< That superman is "super" in his physical abilities. He is always on the side of good and does it, and that is also superior.

Yopo< Guess the comic book guy is superior 'cause he has a heart. An added dimension. He is a human who is superior, instead of someone who has decided he is superior to human. (Questionable taste in clothing notwithstanding. )

SLIDER< Yopo: Good comment.

K'AM< Yopo: I think that is the key to the comic superman. He is superior, not just a human trying to be superior. And we have to be forgiving of aliens who have no clothes sense!

greyman< K'AM: Truth, Justice and the Appian Way.

Yopo< greyman: *LOL*

K'AM< greyman: *G*

Cassandra< I like people who fight injustice, even if they are in comic books.

K'AM< Me too, Cassandra. *S*

Ben< ALL: I am enjoying your comments. Thanks! (I thought it might be fun to compare those two concepts of superman.)

Ben< QUESTION 3. There are many images of masculinity. One of them is machismo, macho-man: it is very similar to Nietzsche's superman. Another is the ideal of civilized maturity, gentle-man; it is almost the opposite of machismo. Which do you think is superior, macho-man or gentle-man? Why? YOUR TURN

Lor< I tend to respect gentlemen more.

KBoots< Must they be separate men? I know a few men who have managed to combine the two: confidence in who they are, with room in their lives to be gentle.

K'AM< I for one, vote for the civilized mature gentle-man, one who knows how to get things done without bluster and force.

Lor< Who's keeping score? That would make a difference.

Cassandra< I like a gentle-man, with a touch of macho if it is to protect me and the kids.

Kathleen< The gentle-man. He has nothing to prove to anyone. He knows who he is.

HopToad< No question ... gentle-man. The reason? Have you had any sort of intelligible conversation on any level with a macho, macho man? LOL

KBoots< HopToad: I almost feel like I should sing 'YMCA' but seriously ... no. "Me he-man, me eat meat and potatoes, me no understand tender" ... Yech!!!!

HopToad< KBoots: Good one!

windchild< I vote for a gentleman, but not one who is afraid to be macho when the need arises. It's a matter of balancing the male and female energies.

Ben< ALL: Yes, these two ideals are nearly opposites, but many men manage to combine some of the characteristics of both.

Cassandra< Ben: I agree. That is why I made my statement. Ted was a gentle man but he could certainly defend his family and fight for it if need be.

Yopo< Guess I prefer that men not be too much one or the other. Balance.

SLIDER< There has to be a combination of "macho-gentle" Man-Woman to make it work in this time of our evolution. The haves want more, and the have-nots will do almost anything to have. A question of morality seems to be on the horizon. *S*

greyman< Well, I do not encourage opening flower shops everywhere, but I do believe that a soul who takes on the role of a servant makes a very powerful statement of evolution. If all beings were servants by choice, a force much more powerful than a mere superman would exist. A synergistic multiplier would be proportional to the citizens of such ilk.

Lor< Strength in numbers?

greyman< Lor: Yep.

K'AM< For some reason, Ben, I have this vision of macho-men as being really muscled, wearing t-shirts ... motorcycle gang type, full of physical intimidation ... and that is probably not true of all macho men. However, a gentle man normally can be of any physical makeup. His manner can be intimidating if need be, but he usually attempts to get things done without any of the force or bluster that macho men are so often guilty of!

KBoots< I keep getting this flash of Rosie Greer knitting.

WaveWarrior< Would not an ideal type of man be variable unto the circumstances of the times and circumstances?

Ben< ALL: Excellent comments! Thank you.

Ben< ALL: This contrast between macho and gentle is an example of Buddha's definition of Maya -- the delusion of the duality of opposites.

K'AM< Ben: Say more about the delusion of the duality of opposites. I'm not familiar with Buddha.

Ben< K'AM: I led a series entitled "Maya -- the swamp" last spring. You might like to review it.

K'AM< Thank you, Ben. I will review it.

SLIDER< The right mixture of spices makes the tastes buds respond pleasantly.

Ben< SLIDER: A bigamist said, the plural of spouse is spice. (*groan*)

SLIDER< Ben: I wonder what a polygamist view is on that subject. ( huummm )

Lor< Politicians strive to be all things to all people ... BUT ...

SLIDER< White House gossip ...

WaveWarrior< Perhaps yesterday's ideal may be inappropriate tomorrow?

[Ben< WaveWarrior: Yes. Good point.]

Ben< I think that only the truly strong can afford to be gentle, because many people see gentleness as weakness and try to take advantage. For example, the will to power isn't exclusively a male characteristic: gentle men are often dominated by macho women.

Yopo< *Wondering if Ben has tested the thickness of the ice before stepping out on it* *S*

Ben< Yopo: Yep. I know that is thin ice. I posted that comment deliberately, as a stimulus.

KBoots< I absolutely do NOT want a man that I can push around, nor do I want one that I have to push around to get anything accomplished.

K'AM< KBoots!! *G* And you are right, Ben. Maybe that is why we are all drawn to the gentle man ... knowing subconsciously that there is strength to deal with anything present without being obvious by dress or mannerisms. *S*

KBoots< Next week, maybe we should discuss the term 'macho woman'. I have some real serious views about that one.

Yopo< KBoots: *S* The whole topic of gender stereotypes could make for an interesting discussion. As enlightened as we like to think we are these days, they're still very much a part of our culture.

HopToad< Doesn't the gentleman use his intellect and wit over brute force? That seems very strong to me.

windchild< Yes, Hop Toad. Outwitting the witty.

KBoots< HopToad: The complete man has the luxury of using his intellect and wit over brute force because he knows that if it comes to brute force, that won't be a problem either. IMHO

Cassandra< KBoots: I agree with you. And it is great to be married to one. (That didn't sound right somehow. *Blushing* You all know what I meant.)

HopToad< Wouldn't the ideal relationship be one in which the partners support and encourage each other instead of vying for dominance?

greyman< The thousand mysteries around us would not trouble but interest us, if only we had cheerful, healthy hearts. -- Friedrich Nietzsche

dCrone< Just got here, so am likely out of context, but must note: I never thought of Nietzsche's superman as machismo or macho-man. Maybe it was a translation thing for me ~ I preferred the 'overman' terminology ... or did he have several?

WaveWarrior< Wouldn't a perfect man adjust to suit the occasion, circumstances and current company -- or is a fixed type OK?

[Ben< WaveWarrior: Good question. I think flexibility is a positive characteristic, but too much flexibility could result in a spineless wimp.]

Ben< ALL: Now I would like to post three comments about Nietzsche's philosophy and then open the meeting for discussion.

Ben< COMMENT: Hedonism maintains that human behavior is basically motivated by the desire to experience pleasure and avoid pain. Nietzsche said the will to power is even more basic. He argued that people will forego pleasure and accept pain in order to do something that makes them feel powerful, competent, strong, vigorous, alive, in control of themselves and their surroundings. I see some who are like that, and I look to see what they do with their self-discipline.

Ben< COMMENT: Nietzsche said the warriors who dominated early societies labeled their own strengths "good" and the weakness of the common people "bad". There may be some truth to that statement: we get the words value, valuable, valid, valor and valiant from Latin *valere* which means strong, powerful, courageous, brave. All of these positive labels were originally based on warrior virtues.

Ben< COMMENT: Nietzsche said the priests and common people who wanted to take power labeled their own weakness, gentleness, humility, piety, etc., as "good" and the aggressive strength of warriors as "evil." He called this "slave morality" and attributed it to Judeo-Christian teachings, which he very much opposed.

Ben< COMMENT: Jesus did say "The greatest among you will be your servant" so there is a sharp difference between these two views. Which is a superior man: a dominant master or a willing servant?

HopToad< The later.

LightGrrl< Ben: I'm stumped.

WaveWarrior< ... and would a good man not mind his questions being answered? *S*

windchild< Now we are back to the basic question of what is good and what is evil and who determines what those definitions mean.

WaveWarrior< windchild: I have heard there is only wellness and sickness, rather than good or evil.

greyman< Ben, please: "Servant morality".

HopToad< And the last will be first, and the first last ...

LEGS< Jesus taught humility, and this is not subservience, but recognizing that we all have much to learn. Especially from such a Master as Jesus.

Yopo< Dominant master or willing servant? I hope those aren't the only options open. Is there no third? I would be a willing servant of my principals. I would like to me a master only of myself. If I could be as I wished.

SLIDER< To survive as a human being in almost all of history, there had to be heroes to keep a cause alive, whether the cause was for good or evil. As long as humans are kept in the dark about the real essence of their existence, there will be many that show a way to follow, be the road rocky or paved.

sam< Nietzsche also said that man is something to be overcome and surpassed. The superman is an evolutionary ideal.

Ben< sam: Yes, I posted that at the beginning of this session as part of Nietzsche's definition of the superman.

LEGS< Yes, sam, a modern view of what man must be ... not necessarily the right ticket to be stamped humble or servant.

sam< Servant and master and all of that are just ego games. Those thought formulas are just what has to be overcome if we are to achieve a freedom of consciousness.

Willapa< There is a broad difference between "service" and "servitude".

Yopo< Willapa: *S* Agreed.

sam< Willapa: Agree with you there.

KBoots< When we try to define our world and ourselves in black and white, we are defining limits that don't really exist in us ... strong, brave, courageous, humble, pious ... none of them are all inclusive or good by themselves.

HopToad< Agreed, KBoots.

sam< KBoots: Exactly ... that is the Buddhist emptiness ... the realization that we are none of the attributes that we habitually apply to ourselves and our world. They are all limiting labels.

KBoots< sam: I am not recommending a lack of any of those things as an ideal, rather a reasonable blending of them all.

sam< KBoots: Nor do I or the Buddhists ... just the recognition of the limitations of saying "I am like this" and "the world is like that" ... all maps and not reality.

WaveWarrior< Perhaps circumstances make the man. In a state of anarchy a certain male type shines. In a ballroom another type shines? etc.

K'AM< WaveWarrior: *S*

FRAML< Ben: A willing servant is superior in terms of character and helping other people and returning good for bad. He may get stepped upon, but the true master will know him.

Yopo< I suppose there could be men and women most would agree are "superior" that might be quite different one from the other?

Ben< Yopo: Here's a curve-ball: a willing servant is master of himself or herself. And a compassionate master is in large measure a servant. So, black-and-white categories are useful tools for thinking, provided we use them as contrast and don't stop with them.

Yopo< Ben: Point taken. *S* The servant/master thing is one of my hot-keys. Not really what you're referring to.

sam< Ben: Good point that was made earlier ... those who are truly strong don't need to appear so, and vice versa.

Ben< sam: Yes. And there is a lot of vice in that versa.

HopToad< What about the man who adapts to the circumstance?

WaveWarrior< HopToad: Perhaps that is the perfect person -- adaptable to the prevailing circumstances. That was my earlier point.

HopToad< WaveWarrior: And a good point it is!

Lor< WaveWarrior: Those who adapt best are not necessarily superior. They may be like politicians.

WaveWarrior< Lor: I discounted conniving and sliminess, and meant adaptable: more like cradle a baby, nurture a baby, protect a baby, teach a child ...

HopToad< But do politicians really adapt or just pose according to opinion polls?

Yopo< HopToad: *S*

SLIDER< Ben: As to what I understand about the teachings of Jesus, he mastered the way to understanding who and what we are and are to become. In doing so, he was able to teach those who would listen, as a servant of mankind and a master of himself. Mankind labeled Jesus the Master. I think of him as the loving brother that mastered the way for us to follow if that path is our choice.

Ben< SLIDER: Well said.

K'AM< SLIDER: Thank you for that statement. ((HUGS))

SLIDER< Thank you -- Ben, K'AM *s*

Yopo< Our culture doesn't really seem to have a model of the "superior man/woman". It seems to me our cultural heroes are usually elevated to that status based upon some particular thing or talent they are known for. We don't really have heroes. We have celebrities.

Lor< Yopo: Jesus Christ Superstar!

KBoots< Yopo: Good point.

sam< Yopo: Yes, that is unfortunate. We are very superficial in the western world ... America in particular. Capitalism thrives on materiality and the desire for 'things'.

WaveWarrior< Yopo: Right you are -- methinks most heroes are unsung. By definition they need to be until after they are gone. The rest are contrived, I think, to sell print and CNN.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I agree that this culture needs to re-think the whole ideal of superior men and women, as a basis for role models and aspirations to improve.

Yopo< Ben: Wonder why that is? That our heroes are unsung these days? Maybe some of them make us uncomfortable? Make us reflect on ourselves, and maybe not like what we see? (I'm using "us" to mean our collective cultural values.)

Ben< Yopo: Yes, some would rather deny the ideal and tear down superior people, because they don't want to see the contrast when they look at themselves.

SLIDER< Yopo: Our culture is based on what sells, not what is moral or intelligent, and when we are bombarded by what is offered, it paints a sad example for the followers to follow.

Willapa< I don't believe our problems are in not having enough superior humans, only in our lack of competent judges of who is and is not superior. *S*

Ben< Willapa: Yes, I believe we have many superior men and women, without recognizing them for what they are.

Tracey< Perhaps the real super people are the quiet ones who don't say much, don't make a fuss, don't shove their ideas onto another, but take the time to help an elderly person cross the street, pick up a stray animal, and tuck their children in every night. *S* Just a thought ...

WaveWarrior< Tracey: RIGHT YOU ARE!

Ben< Tracey: Well said.

sam< Tracey: That is so right!

KBoots< Tracey: Good thought. I happen to agree with that. Maybe superior people are all the people just trying to be good people.

SLIDER< Tracey: Those are good thoughts. *S*

sam< It seems that almost all activities and thoughts are motivated by ego. The question becomes how to get beyond the ego and all its limiting forms of mind. Through meditation we are able to experience the generative center of our consciousness and witness the thought forms emerge from the center and learn thereby that we are separate from them.

lion< I speak for an energy/entity that I know as a voice in my head. That voice is not me. I observe it entering my awareness, and I hear what it has to say, but there is no sense that it is me saying it. I relay what I hear, to my fingers and to the screen. Often, I am amazed by what is expressed. The sense is truly one of the material coming through me versus being generated by me.

sam< lion: What do you think is the source of this voice?

lion< sam: Spirit, the ONE consciousness. The voice comes from inside me and has a feminine character.

sam< lion: Do you feel that the voice is really yours if it comes from within?

lion< sam It comes from within, but I don't know it to be consciously "mine". I participate in bringing it forth, but that alone does not make it "me".

windchild< Superior men and women are those that love and support one another and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. They love their children and give them room to grow, and gently guide them instead of ruling over them with an iron fist. These are my heroes.

Yopo< windchild: Well said.

FRAML< dCrone: You made an interesting point last week, about being worn out on the word "super". I agree it is over-used to the point of being meaningless.

dCrone< (((FRAML))) *S* Nowadays when I don't cotton to a phrase or word, I tell someone (anyone will do) exactly how I feel about it. Often the effect is that I become indifferent to the offending term ~ go figure. *S*

FRAML< Yopo: Also your point that lack of heroes in society has had a negative effect on culture and how people treat each other. The 'anti-hero' became the movie cult figure back in the 70's. Also parts of society started denigrating those who wanted to help others, and it had nothing to do with 'capitalism' but with gaining political power.

Yopo< FRAML: Yeah. If someone asked me what the main thing America is really about these days, what the national goal or vision is, I'd probably say "getting rich". Not that this is true, but that is what is held up before us.

dCrone< Yes, Yopo ... and what is held up is oftentimes what is adopted. And this is what is difficult: thinking for one's self. It is very hard to move over, under or aside from the place where the pattern imposes ~ IMHO

Tracey< ((Yopo)) Yes ... and what a legacy to leave ... huh? What do they think they will do with it once they make their millions? So much scrambling to gather little pieces of green paper ... wish I was Native American again. *S*

Yopo< Ben: Sorta strange. I remember reading Ayn Rand back in my college days. In "Atlas Shrugged", I think, she voiced the idea that our culture does everything in its power to tear down the superior person. But somehow, I don't think she would find ol' Nietzsche's ideas too far off base.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I also read Ayn Rand. I thought she identified problems better than she identified solutions. And there is a version of "ubermensch" in her writings, though not just the same as Nietzsche's.

FRAML< sam: Please give me the definition of 'ego' that you are using. I'm not understanding why you want to get rid of it totally, or what you want to replace it with.

Yopo< Yeah. Ego gets a bad rap these days. *S*

sam< FRAML: I don't mean it in the psychological sense of the functional part of the personality that deals with reality, but in the spiritual sense of the superficial limiting factors that separate us from the world as well as from a deeper experience of what we are ... something like that.

FRAML< sam: OK, such as being willing to accept concepts that don't have a 'scientific' proof, or don't fit into a specific doctrine or dogma?

sam< FRAML: Certainly ... all advances in knowledge are based on such beliefs ... especially scientific ones.

Thur< sam & FRAML: What has worked is a combining of the ego and the "other" part of the mind.

sam< FRAML: As to what to replace it with, I would say with a deeper, more unified state of consciousness that is aware of consciousness as the medium in which these thoughts take place. I am not implying an otherworldly approach. Everything is based on this world, and I believe that the higher emerges out of the lower such that our relationship with work and family and all the basic elements of relationship to what is outside ourselves is crucial to the development of all that is built on top.

FRAML< sam: Your phrase "state of consciousness" has no meaning for me. Can it be related to what I said in my last post?

sam< FRAML: I'm not sure what post you are referring to. A state of consciousness could be anger or happiness. It could also be a realization of the source of consciousness.

windchild< sam: Wouldn't the ego play a part in all that awareness?

Ben< sam: ego is the awareness that says "I am". If anything comes next, it is a limiting concept. One expansion of the ego is identification with a group or family or community: "we are".

LEGS< sam: Your reasoning is clear as far as it goes, but there is another aspect, the unworldly one, the spiritual one ... knowing that there are other experiences awaiting us after we pass from here ... that should help guide us while we are here. IMHO

FRAML< sam: Ben & LEGS just gave the definitions I'm working from, but couldn't put into the proper words.

Yopo< Ah. But I wonder about that "I am". Maybe ego resides in the "I" part of the phrase. I sorta think when the "I" eventually bites the dust, the "am" part is going to emerge like a butterfly out of a cocoon. THAT is the distinction sam is making?

Ben< Yopo: Those who report NDEs often say they realized something like: "Well, here I am, up here in the corner of the room, and there is my body, down there on the bed."

Yopo< Ben: I've thought some on that NDE thing. Only from accounts I've read, not personal experience. But I've thought maybe the "Well, here I am, up here in the corner" stuff might be a result of the fact that the extraordinary experience is "downloaded" afterward into a still-living brain that conceptualizes it within the only context it can relate to.

[Ben< Yopo: Discarnates also identify themselves in the first person: "I am".]

windchild< Yopo: I'm not sure you can separate the I and the Am.

Yopo< windchild: Not certain myself, but I think the AM part is what is there when the mind becomes completely quiet and stops running all those annoying little programs that keep us chattering internally like monkeys. *S*

Simian< Yopo: What wrong with chattering monkey? *G*

Yopo< Simian: Nothing, I hope, as I do it constantly. *S*

[Ben< Yopo: Good point about quieting the mind. It illustrates the shortcoming in Descartes' rationalization, "I think, therefore I am."]

Yopo< I suppose Nietzsche's superman might be said to have an ego problem. His ego would probably be the LAST thing he would find fault with or want to be rid of.

SLIDER< Yopo: Do you think that type of superman would realize it's their ego driving them?

Yopo< SLIDER: I doubt if N's superman would see much of anything beyond ego.

Simian< Actually, individuals of pure ego exist -- those that understand only their own needs, wants, and desires. You may have one in your own home. They're called babies.

SLIDER< Simian: That may be a biological need, until the baby understands what fills that need and what it takes to have that need filled. Then, when that need becomes desire, I think the birth of the ego starts.

Simian< SLIDER: I agree. *S*

SLIDER< Yopo: What type of person would realize the driving force was ego? Just a thought.

Yopo< SLIDER: Maybe a psychologist? Or maybe a Zen monk? Not sure ...

Ben< SLIDER: I think that domineering types are often driven by a lack of ego or a dent in the ego that says "I want" rather than the simple awareness "I am".

windchild< I agree with you, Ben.

SLIDER< Ben: I agree -- like the have-nots that will go to extremes to have, be it material or dominance.

Ishtahota< I don't agree, Ben. Ego is of the earth-mind and its only function is survival of the body and the human race. Ego is also the instinct or animal part of us. Ego does not know source or spirit so it gets its power from outside of its self, from other people, places and things. Ego builds things and enslaves things to define itself. The I AM is of the spirit mind, it knows source and it is simply OK just to be the I AM.

LEGS< We are apt to confuse the Id and the Ego.

[Ben< LEGS: Good point.]

Yopo< LEGS: The ID is our unconscious bundle of primal drives and energies? I remember seeing a picture associated with the word ID in a college psychology text. Lon Chaney, made-up as Mr. Hyde. *LOL*

sam< Yopo: *s*

LEGS< Be careful, Yopo, you are dating yourself with such references. *G* Maybe that popped up in my conversation because I just finished a psychology course in May. *G*

Yopo< LEGS: Are they still talking Id/Ego/Super-ego these days?

FRAML< Yopo: To me it depends how far you take the "I". Are you greedy and think only of yourself? Or are you one who is directed toward "selfless service" such as folks in the military might be characterized? For me, the "I am" is a person who strives to do his best to give what I've been given. To do my daily job, knowing that others in the future will read the books I research and expect them to be historically correct and unbiased. That is my 'ego'.

sam< FRAML: Yes, I agree. It's all semantics. In the context I was implying, the center of our being, the source of our consciousness, is the Self, whereas ego is the superficial manifestation of this that is ignorant of its identity with the source.

windchild< If the ego is "outside" the "I AM" of the spiritual, then what exactly is experiencing what? I'm confused, Sam. Help me out.

sam< windchild, Ben: There are different definitions for ego, and I believe we may be arguing semantics and category errors. There is the psychological and the spiritual definitions. From the spiritual angle, the ego is outside the 'I AM' of the spiritual experience. Psychologically speaking it is within. Something like that.

Ben< sam: I use the word ego in its literal sense, because that makes the most sense to me. *smile*

sam< Ben: Yes, it's like we have to translate our personal dialects to each other.

dCrone< *musing* I seldom use the word ego, perhaps because I don't like to have to decide what I am talking about. *S*

Thur< dCrone: Seems the first thing we need is a "common" terminology, then we might know what is being meant.

Ben< Thur, sam: Yes, we are comparing our personal dictionaries. That's why I'm not dogmatic about definitions, even though they are tools for thought and communication. Oftentimes, I adopt someone's definition of a term because it makes more sense to me.

sam< Ben: Excellent point. Our conceptions are just tools for understanding. It's when we take them to be reality that terminal confusion sets in.

LEGS< sam: Ah, that's a good definition ... terminal confusion. *S* Welcome to the SWC chat rooms.

Thur< Ben: Personal dictionaries inhibit understanding and communication. For things spiritual, we would do well to adopt Jung's definitions for a standard, since he has done the best work on it.

Ben< Thur: I respect Jung and see that he did a lot for psychology, but I wouldn't say he did the best work on spirituality. Many other philosophers and mystics have addressed that subject.

Yopo< Ben: I sorta feel the same about Jung. I respect him for making a place for spirituality within psychology, but find his ideas confusing.

sam< Ben, Yopo: I agree. I'm not sure Jung could even be categorized as spiritual. His insights, which were considerable, seem to be mostly psychological, never really penetrating to the center. IMHO

Yopo< sam: His ideas about synchronicity and a collective unconscious broke the materialistic mold, though. Sort of opened a door ...

Thur< Ben: You misunderstand. Jung applied reasonable psychological terms for the topic. I haven't seen a philosopher yet that made any sense. To understand a Mystic, one must be one.

Ben< Thur: As I see it, Jungian vocabulary is a subset of psychological vocabulary, and psychological vocabulary is a subset of spiritual vocabulary.

Thur< Ben: My point was not to classify vocabulary, rather to choose *one* so we understand each other.

Ben< Thur: In choosing an authority for a common vocabulary, so we can understand each other, I start with Webster's Dictionary -- but I don't always agree with Webster.

Yopo< I generally have no trouble attaching a word to a thing I know. Knowing an unfamiliar thing from words is quite another matter. The word is apt to pick up odd meanings and nuances like a magnet picks up stray paper clips.

LEGS< Ben: Do you mean that [domineering types] "lack of ego" drives them to compensate for feeling they are 'unworthy' in their own eyes, by dominating others to build themselves up?

[Ben< LEGS: Yes, many domineering people secretly feel they are weak, deficient or insignificant -- and overcompensate for that feeling by bullying others.]

LEGS< Like ... Hitler's driving campaign to eliminate the Jewish community in toto was because he hated the weakness that he identified in himself as being his Jewish blood. He was really being suicidal, but acting upon his "outside self" ... killing those openly Semitic was helping him destroy his recognition of his own heritage.

LightGrrl< Wow, Legs, I've never heard Hitler's motivation summed up like that. Very interesting.

Yopo< LEGS: Agree with you there.

[Ben< LEGS: Hitler himself may have been secretly suicidal; however, I think he was able to mobilize so many of the German people using Nietzsche's concept of the superman because they wanted to feel superior to someone and he designated "inferior races" for them to look down upon.]

FRAML< LEGS: "Do I feel worthy in my own eyes?" Perhaps it is how one is taught to define "worthy"? To me selfless service is worthy; getting power just to have it is not.

Yopo< FRAML: I can relate to your definition. Like sam said, we've all got our own personal dictionaries. *S*

sam< FRAML: But what about the source of these motivations? There is something deeper in us.

FRAML< sam: I think that the source has to do with how we are raised, the ethics we are taught, and whether we are courageous enough to admit that everything isn't "inside of me"; that "I am not a god."

sam< FRAML: I agree that we are not gods and that we do not create our reality ... but I believe that there is a center of our consciousness that is the field in which ethics and identity occur. In meditation we can actually witness these functions of consciousness arise.

windchild< sam: I think we create our reality because of the Universal Law of cause and effect. For every action there is a reaction, so what we do now does indeed create tomorrow.

sam< windchild: I agree with you there. I was just referring to the new age solipsism side that implies that we have infinite control over reality and that if we slip on ice and hurt ourselves it is our own fault, that we are learning a lesson we were meant to learn and all that.

windchild< Well, yes. You learn that ice is slippery. LOL

Yopo< sam: I've got major problems with that myself. It is a source of friction in the Friday discussion circle I go to. The idea that we create our own reality in the smallest detail is almost New Age dogma there.

sam< Yopo: I am familiar with the thought process and it is quite strange to me. It sounds empowering, but I think it insulates people from reality ... perhaps a form of avoidance?

windchild< sam: What's your definition of reality?

sam< windchild: I believe in a reality that is out there, and that we are elements in it, and not lords over it. We have a definite influence as elements of this reality, but by no means have any sort of absolute dominion over it. IMO

windchild< Interesting, sam. So where does "free will" come into play?

Yopo< sam: What I suppose we are talking about with "AM" is the atman. *S* This reminds me of a discussion at Gathering one Friday. Folks were trying to figure out the difference between "soul" and "spirit". Woulda been comical, if we hadn't all been so durn serious about it.

sam< Yopo: Yes, the atman. It can be confusing. We can argue for centuries over definitions. I guess that's why systems like Buddhism and kabbalah are developed -- to get over just such limitations which inhibit deeper discussion -- but then they all ossify into formulas if taken too literally.

SLIDER< Yopo: Did you come to a conclusion on the difference between soul and spirit?

Yopo< SLIDER: All I got was confused. Apparently there IS some sorta metaphysical distinction, but I don't have a clue what it is.

SLIDER< Yopo: Seems some of us have had that same problem discussing that subject in here. *S*

LEGS< Yopo: *s* Well, you could have sent them to Ben's seminars on the definition of soul and spirit ... and Spirit.

Yopo< LEGS: *S* Maybe I ought to go back and review that session myself.

sam< Yopo: I am an admirer of Jung, and I guess the concept of the collective unconsciousness is spiritual in the sense that it is beyond the physical. I was referring to spiritual attainment. His concept of the self doesn't seem to be as transcendent as is found in the east. But I could be wrong!

Yopo< At least Jung wasn't a durn dialectical materialist like ol' Ziggy. "The Future of an Illusion" indeed! And Jung has made for more lavishly illustrated coffee-table editions than Freud ever will. *LOL*

sam< Yes ... what I meant by spiritual in that context was something that is beyond the physical.

Yopo< Yeah. Beyond the physical. The whole materialistic paradigm baffles me anymore. I mean, the idea that all is either material, or some sorta durn "epiphenomenon" of the material. What the heck! Consciousness arising from atoms bouncing around like so many billiard balls?

sam< Yopo: Yes, exactly. Even if everything is epiphenomenon, we are still some emergent property. There is an ooomph! or potential that drives existence -- shakti, god, elan vital? ... who knows?

Thur< sam: Jung's "collective unconscious" is not spiritual; it refers to the fact that we all get the same answers when we get down to the spiritual level.

Yopo< Thur: But isn't that a sort of "spiritual" concept? The idea that on some level, we are truly connected?

Thur< Yopo: I can't see a "being connected" in it. It's more of a being identical thing: i.e., Mystics have independently arrived at the same answers since the dawn of history, without having had access to others' thinking.

Yopo< Thur: Hmm ... Maybe I have misunderstood what little I have read of Jung. So, you're thinking "collective unconscious" is more like, we are each born with a separate version the same imprinted stuff. My interpretation was that he meant there was a single unconscious, that we are all connected to.

Thur< Yopo: Experience indicates we are each born with the same "imprint". Mother nature treats us all the same whether we are Christian, Buddhist, Jew, etc, or atheist.

Yopo< Then there's Jung's synchronicity idea. Think he even coined the word. Doesn't that imply connection on a non-materialistic cause and effect level? To me at least, that is a spiritual idea.

Thur< Yopo: I'm not aware of synchronicity deriving from Jung, so I can't comment on that. Perhaps one of the problems with "understanding" Jung is that much or most (?) of what he wrote was aimed at other psychologists.

Yopo< Thur: Might be that is so. He got popularized later on. Uh, yeah, the first observations about "synchronicity" were made by him, in a paper with the same title. He gives a classic little story as an example. He was with a patient who was discussing a dream she'd had. In the dream, there had been an Egyptian scarab beetle. He had been trying to convince her that dream symbols are often full of deep meaning, and was using the beetle as an example. At that precise moment, a beetle looking very much like the Egyptian scarab he was talking about flew up to the window and hovered there tapping on the glass.

Thur< Yopo: Thanks for that; I was not aware of it. Jung was strong on dreams. His work indicates that it's necessary to work with dreams in order to make spiritual progress.

Yopo< Thur: Wish I was more disciplined when it comes to dream-work. I agree that is an important place to look into.

Thur< Yopo: (:-) I don't have a solution for discipline. (grin)

wolfcat< I've been reviewing the discussion, but it looks like I missed a lot of stuff early on. Is the current topic synchronicity?

Yopo< wolfcat: Somehow we got to Jung, and then to synchronicity. We started out with Ben's seminar, discussing concepts of superman.

wolfcat< Yopo: Is this "superman" regarded as a future ideal being, or a current step in our evolution?

Yopo< wolfcat: Ben started out giving us Nietzsche's ideas about a superman, and we took off from there. I think we all agreed Nietzsche was all wet. *S*

wolfcat< Oh, Okay. *G* Even the part about "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger" ?

Yopo< Good attitude for Conan. Maybe not so useful for the rest of us.

wolfcat< I don't know, Yopo. It may be a bit simplistic, but it's gotten me through some rough times. *S*

Yopo< wolfcat: Ah, what has not killed me, has sometimes left me feeling sick for days. *S*

wolfcat< Nothing has killed me yet, so I'm not convinced that anything will. *G*

LeLe< Okay ... so, who's Superman?? *VBS*

wolfcat< You mean besides me, LeLe? *G*

Yopo< LeLe: We talked about the Superman in tights, too. Agreed we like HIM better. *LOL*

LeLe< LOL @ wolfie & Yopo ... yeppers, besides all the guys in here. *VBS*

Yopo< Ahem. Yes. The ladies in attendance tonight dismissed macho-man, in favor of us strong, silent, gentlemanly types. 'Course, we were here listening, so maybe they were being polite. *LOL*

wolfcat< Ah, silence is not one of my stronger virtues, Yopo. I suspect that many already know that. *G* Do you think it's possible to be gentlemanly and still make noise?

Yopo< wolfcat: Oh, sure! Just gotta pick appropriate moments. Sometimes a properly timed outburst can zero in on a deserving target like a cruise missile. *S*

wolfcat< Occasionally I can do that. Usually, I speak first, and bemoan my lack of timing after.

Yopo< hehehe, I've been known to have some occasions for bemoaning. Had this problem with my anger for years. Happily I save it now for appropriate times.

LeLe< Yopo: hummm. I just got here, but I can say that strong, silent (well NOT too silent. *S*) and gentlemanly types get my vote. *S*

Thur< LeLe: How strong must one be? Suspect I'm getting a bit feeble. (:-)

LeLe< Thur: Nope, not feeble. *S* Just tired, I suspect, same as me. *HUG*

aurora38< Lots of gentlemen make noise, but in a gentlemanly way.

Yopo< aurora38: Oh, I don't want to follow that line of thought too far. *LOL*

wolfcat< Oh, indeed, aurora38! It would be unthinkable to be less than polite! *VBS* So, it seems the consensus leans more toward the "gentlemanly" than the "silent" part of the phrase. (Except for LeLe, who still harbors a slight preference for a certain amount of silence. *S*)

LeLe< LOL @ wolfie: Well, if a man is too silent, then one doesn't know where he stands ... right? Gotta have SOME noise (as in TALK! *S*). *LOL*

aurora38< Silence in itself sometime speaks volumes. Often leaves the receiving party with lots of room to think harder about what was not said.

wolfcat< aurora38 ... hmmmmmm.

LeLe< ... Well, 'silence' in a chat room is not very conducive to communication ... methinks. *S*

aurora38< LeLe: You are right. But I think or hope you all know what I meant. (Perhaps I should be silent) *S*

wolfcat< Your comments were well-taken, aurora, at least by one exhausted wolfcat. There is much truth in the idea of allowing the words already said or written to have time to be absorbed, and heard and read and felt and considered.

19. Super
Session 3 -- Superhuman
Sat 25 Sept 1999

Ben< This seminar is exploring some compound words beginning with "super" as tools for discernment. Super is the combining form; superior is the adjective. Both are used for various concepts of which way is up.

Ben< Superior means over, above, higher, greater, additional, or better. Because it is a relative term, it needs a basis for comparison: over what? above what? higher than what? greater in what way? better for whom?

Ben< Tonight we will look at "superhuman" but first we need some comparisons.

Ben< SCENARIO 1: A car is off the road, with a woman slumped over the steering wheel. Three men come walking along the road, about five minutes apart, so they don't see each other, but each of them sees the woman in the car.

Ben< QUESTION 1a: The first man shakes his head, says something to himself, and walks away. What do you think he might have said to himself? Why did he say it? YOUR TURN

LEGS< Perhaps, something like "Another drunk" or "I don't want to be involved and better get out of here quick".

Yopo< "I'd better not stop. I don't want to get involved. She's probably OK. Maybe drunk or something."

UsBooted< He probably thought she was drunk or something. Some people tend to believe the worst about something that doesn't fit as normal.

Lotus< "I don't want to get involved."

LEGS< Or "It's too late to help her now".

FRAML< "I wonder what is the matter with her" or "If I do anything I could get sued by her or her family."

Ben< Maybe he said "I don't want to get involved in her carma." (*groan*)

LEGS< ((((Ben)))) A groaner for sure ... lol

Lotus< haha ~ Ben*

Ben< Okay, thanks. Note that all these are rationalizations of one sort or another.

LEGS< In NM if you call an ambulance at a wreck site, and the victim or their family doesn't pay, you are liable for the bill.

Ben< QUESTION 1b: The second man slips up to the car, takes the woman's purse, and walks away. Do you think what he did was superior (better), inferior (worse), or neither better nor worse than the first man? Why? YOUR TURN

LEGS< Worse.

UsBooted< Sounds like they were both jerks. At least the first guy didn't steal from her, so I guess he's superior ... gack!

Ishtahota< There is no good or bad. There is only what it takes for us to learn.

[Ben< Ishtahota: Learn what? That is the question behind this exercise. And the implied premise is that we can learn by observation in addition to learning by personal experience.]

FRAML< Inferior, he used her misfortune to profit ... unless she was an undercover cop who was setting him up.

LEGS< (((FRAML))) Only you would think of the undercover thingy. *G* Why so cynical?

Lotus< Neither better or worse.

Yopo< The inferior thing. Inaction of the first man at least did not worsen the woman's situation.

LEGS< On the way to Odessa, there was a nice car stopped by the road. On the way back, the nice car's hood and trunk were up, the headlights were gone, and all four tires, and probably the spare.

Lor< I figure the second man was worse in that he did her harm, whereas the first just did not help (for reasons not stated).

Lotus< Trouble is that we're assuming he is stealing her purse. He might phone her home or something.

LEGS< Laudable thought, Lotus.

Lor< On the surface it seems the second may not have done what he could to help; but we can not be sure from such a brief picture, of course.

greyman< On the surface, both reactions are reprehensible.

Ben< QUESTION 1c: The third man flags down a car, tells the driver to go telephone for an ambulance, and goes to see what he can do for the woman. Do you think what he did was superior (better), inferior (worse), or neither better nor worse than the other two? Why? YOUR TURN

Ishtahota< Same answer.

UsBooted< Superior, in my view. I believe we all need all the help that we can get.

Yopo< Better. He seems to be placing concern for another ahead of his own interests, and acting accordingly.

LEGS< Some of us wouldn't be here tonite if that hadn't happened.

FRAML< Superior. He is getting help for her and doing what he can personally at the scene. Thus he is "better" than the other two.

LEGS< I feel the third action is superior to the other two incidents described.

Lor< In defense of the second, there may not have been any cars to flag down, and as suggested by someone, he may have intended to use the purse to locate someone to help. The third man appears to have done the superior act of the three.

FRAML< Lor: In those cases, we are wanting to add stuff so that the second person will seem to be better than he is. We are partly deluding ourselves in not wanting to believe that such a person exists. Also, it is due to the constant battering of "don't judge" of those who don't want to be held responsible for their actions against those of us who believe that we are responsible for what we do and choose not to do.

greyman< On the surface, the third action is commendable.

Lotus< The difficulty answering this is that all three of them could have phoned for help. We don't have all the facts. It's just more evident that the third man followed through with assisting her.

Lor< I agree with Lotus.

Ben< Lotus: We seldom if ever have all the facts.

LEGS< We are answering for your benefit, Ben, maybe not our own first reaction, but wanting to 'get good answers'. *G* That is why the quibbling with our answers, sitting on the fence ... we are expecting a trick turn to the questioning.

Lotus< Being a woman, I frequently drive on and phone immediately without investigating personally a stalled car of any kind.

[Ben< Lotus: Yes. Good point. I think in many cases that is both kind and wise.]

Ben< COMMENT: All three of these actions are within the expectable range of human behavior. Each of them is considered better than the other two in some cultures. However, the woman and all those who care about her are likely to believe that what the first man did was worthless, what the second man did was worse (inferior, lower, wrong), and what the third man did was better (superior, higher, right). Thus, ethics and ethical thinking depend on whether one cares about others, and who one cares about.

Lotus< Ben ~ so true.

Ishtahota< Thinking someone is superior or inferior is a lesser-than greater-than value. This is only done by the ego or earth mind. The spirit mind or whole mind out of duality sees us all the same. It sees some of us in lessons or dramas, with or without limitations, and it sees some people who have realized their personal power.

[Ben< Ishtahota: All three of these men had the same power. They chose different actions because they had different attitudes toward the woman. The first was not moved by her situation, the second took advantage, the third was compassionate.]

Lor< FRAML: Having experienced a negative public reaction for something I was not responsible for, I tend to look deeper into the possibilities than some may. As Ben says "All three of these actions are within the expectable range" and could be viewed differently by someone knowing each of their motives for what they did.

UsBooted< I have been in a position where I needed someone else's intervention and got it. He sent someone for help and then stayed and held my hand. Maybe I should be disqualified from this question.

[Ben< UsBooted: I think that experience is precisely what qualifies you to answer this question, because it leads you to have compassion for the woman in trouble, and it provides a remembered role-model for what can be done in such situations.]

Ben< SCENARIO 2: An old lady is alone in her apartment. The doorbell rings. She goes to the door and sees a young woman with a black eye and a bleeding lip who says that she needs to use the telephone. Being a kind-hearted soul, the old lady lets her in and points to the telephone.

greyman< Brave old lady.

Ben< QUESTION 2a: What do you think the expectable, natural, normal outcome of this scenario would be in a civilized society? YOUR TURN

UsBooted< The young woman should be grateful, use the phone to get aid or the police, thank the woman and leave ... but I have this bad feeling about where this is going.

greyman< UsBooted: Relax, you are in a friendly seminar, no Jack Webb gotchas here.

Ben< UsBooted: Well, yes, there are other outcomes ... but the end of my line of questions may give you a better feeling. *S*

greyman< Authorities come and question lady, and lady is sent to hospital.

FRAML< On the 1st scenario, I've read the book. On the 2nd, the old lady is trying to help, when it could be expected that there was no reason to get involved.

LEGS< Normal ... she would use the phone, and I would offer a washcloth and a Band-Aide, a drink of water, or offer to carry her to the hospital if she needed it. Since I live on a corner of a busy intersection, this happens with wrecks all the time at my place. (Well, not constantly, but I have held bleeding noses shut and wrapped blankets around someone going into shock, etc.)

Ishtahota< A healthy society and its people are not self-serving. Each works for the greater good of the whole. A nation is only as wealthy as its poorest member. We are all one and when you help another you also help yourself.

Ben< Ishtahota: Yes, I agree, that is a description of a normal, healthy society. Would that all were.

FRAML< Ishtahota: To me your comment about a 'healthy society' depends upon having concepts of 'good & bad'. And your 'healthy society' contradicts your initial 'no good or bad', in my opinion.

Ishtahota< FRAML: Ending duality in one's self helps make sense of divine paradox.

FRAML< Ishtahota: Then you believe something I don't. Thanks.

Lotus< The woman would phone for help & thank the old woman.

Yopo< In a civilized society, the young woman would use the phone and thank the old woman. Might say thanks again with some small gift or gesture of kindness later on. But I would probably advise my mother in such a situation to not let the young woman in, but call for her instead.

Ben< Yopo: Good point about advising your mother to not let the young woman in. Because this isn't a thoroughly civilized society.

Yopo< Yep. The civilians ain't always civil. *S*

LEGS< See, this is a small town... perhaps a difference.

Ben< ALL: The next post is a downer, as most of you expect, but how else to illustrate which way is up?

Ben< QUESTION 2b: Suppose the young woman closes the door, attacks the old woman, knocks her down, and takes her purse. What do you think about that? How would you label the young woman's actions? YOUR TURN

LEGS< Reprehensible ... even worse than the purse thief at the site of the wreck ... because of the chicanery involved in seeking admittance.

greyman< Time to call Jack Webb.

UsBooted< Reprehensible. Inexcusable, and I don't care what kind of mitigating circumstances you want to quote.

Yopo< Way down there on my scale. Betrayal of trust is far worse than straight forward villainy in my book.

Lor< In my opinion the young woman has a lot to learn about how to properly interact with others in our society if she mistreated the older woman.

Ishtahota< The young woman does not have faith that the world is abundant, and the old lady needs to work on her victim consciousness. Both could learn much from the situation.

Lotus< Self-centered to the extent of harming others. Lack of inner morality and respect for others.

FRAML< Sub-human. But then, the old lady was perhaps only having to learn the karmic lesson that helping others is harmful to one's health.

Ishtahota< FRAML: Could be.

LEGS< Karmic? A serious lesson, but I don't buy karmic. Then you have to say that is part of why the girl did it, and part of why the old lady did it, and that they were born to do it, etc.

Ishtahota< Hay, Legs!

Yopo< FRAML: I guess that particular false lesson is what I think is particularly reprehensible.

Lor< FRAML: I have never thought that helping others is particularly harmful to one's health. Where did you get that idea?

UsBooted< I fail to understand why there are so many people today who excuse the vile actions of one or more people against someone else as that injured party's karmic destiny. I DO NOT AGREE !

LEGS< I feel that some people bent on evil or victimizing others can be thwarted by kindness and turned aside from carrying out such a plan ... by the trust the one they intend to victimize has in God.

Yopo< LEGS: Don't know about that. Wolves probably would prefer that the sheep trust them. *S*

Ben< LEGS: Oftentimes, the response "it was their karma" is a rationalization to avoid caring, because caring can lead to vicarious suffering.

greyman< I have first-hand knowledge that truly evil people do self-destruct or are helped to do so.

Ben< QUESTION 2c: Now suppose the old lady gets up from the floor and says to the young woman, "If you're that desperate, you don't have to hit me. I have $200 in a closet and I'll give it to you." What do you think about that? How would you label the old lady's response? YOUR TURN

UsBooted< Superhuman ... and foolish.

Lor< That would be much like the story of the good Samaritan, except he had not been mistreated by the victim like in this case.

Ishtahota< I think at that point the old lady is using understanding and compassion. If she makes the attempt without fear.

Lotus< The old lady is compassionate, wise under these circumstances, generous.

LEGS< Well, Ben, if she did that, then perhaps the girl in question would think "If she has this here, maybe more somewhere else." And she might indeed ransack the house or even torture the lady. (I'm not that naive to think that, once you've been hit, the person is deep down longing to do right.) But what if the Old Lady, as she was about to be hit, said something like, "Are you hungry? Could you use a good meal? Would you like me to order a pizza?" *laughing* Well, it would give her a chance to get to the phone.

greyman< Smart to avoid future pain.

UsBooted< greyman: Unless the young woman now decides that the old lady is a soft touch and continues to come back repeatedly ... in which case, it is foolish.

Lotus< UsBooted ~ foolish?

UsBooted< Very foolish

Ben< UsBooted: Yes, the old lady can be considered foolish.

UsBooted< Ben ... but what ...

Yopo< The holy fool, maybe ...

LEGS< Ben: UsBooted is just afraid I'll get ideas. *laughing* But, hey! No $200 laying around here. *G*

greyman< UsBooted: Do you really think that, after the first occurrence, the old lady would not go to the authorities? Thinking that she is a soft touch may be the young woman's weakness.

Yopo< Old lady maybe thinks helping someone to see is worth her $200. Maybe a foolish action. But ya gotta like her for it.

Lor< The old lady appears to be giving a good example of how to be.

FRAML< She is a sucker! However she is showing that she is super-human in her response. A person who believes in being better than society expects. Rather than having a lesson to learn, she is teaching one to the younger female (who will probably have my initial comment as her reaction).

Ishtahota< The difference being, she is acting out of love vs reacting out of fear.

Lotus< Ishtahota: Good point about love vs fear.

Ben< ALL: Perhaps I should have added that the young woman was going out the door when the old lady offered her the $200.

LEGS< Ben ... out the door? That is a puzzler ...

Ben< LEGS: In other words, the old lady wasn't reacting out of fear, or trying to prevent the young woman from looting her apartment. What she did was a voluntary action.

LEGS< Well, Ben, I have called the cafe and sent people needing food to eat, and had the restaurant put it on a tab for me to pay later ... but not after being hit.

UsBooted< I applaud the old lady's efforts at helping and at being generous, but I have 'old ladies' ('scuse me, y'all), and I would be very upset if I thought one of them would act this way. There are too many people out there looking for victims.

Ishtahota< I could also say that the young girl was not yet trying to get out of her life situation, and in that case, the old lady was an enabler. Helping the young girl stay where she is in this life. Sometimes it is best to let one hit their bottom.

FRAML< Ben: Was the young girl's name Valerie Jean? *S*

[Ben< FRAML: Good point! Yes, this young woman was like Jean Valijean was at the beginning of "Les Miserables" and the old lady was like the gentleman whose superhuman generosity led Jean Valijean to turn his life around.]

Lor< The old lady earned my respect and admiration for looking through the mistreatment to some intrinsic value within the young lady, methinks.

Ben< ALL: Now for two comments on these two scenarios ...

Ben< COMMENT: Most human beings naturally want to help those who have helped them and hurt those who have hurt them; this tendency is called instinctive, natural or poetic justice. Those who willfully hurt those who have helped them are usually called inhuman or sub-human. Therefore, those who voluntarily help those who have hurt them should be considered super-human.

Lor< Super-human in the sense of doing better than most would in similar circumstances -- YES.

Ben< COMMENT: I believe the primary axis of the spiritual universe can be understood in terms of ethics. The key is attitude toward others. Respect and kindness are higher and better (superior); contempt and cruelty are lower and worse (inferior), in the eyes of those who care about others.

greyman< Thank you, Ben.

Lotus< Wonderful contemplation, Ben.

Yopo< Ben: The north point on your compass, again. *S* Ethics as the Science of Navigation.

Ben< Now I would like to post six short paragraphs of associated terms and definitions:

Human -- of, belonging to, consisting of, produced by, or typical of the human race (Homo Sapiens, mankind, people).

Humane -- having what some consider the best (civilizing, humanizing) qualities of human beings, such as kindness, sympathy, compassion, mercy, benevolence, generosity, etc.

Humanitarian -- devoted to promoting the welfare of humanity, especially through the alleviation or elimination of pain and suffering; philanthropic.

Inhuman -- not human; especially, not having the qualities considered normal for human beings; unkind, unmoved by the suffering of others; unfeeling, heartless, cruel, brutal, barbarous, etc.

Cruel implies indifference to the suffering of others, or a disposition to inflict suffering on others. Brutal implies an animal-like or savage cruelty that is altogether unfeeling. Pitiless implies a callous refusal to be moved or influenced by the suffering of those one has wronged. Ruthless implies a cruel and relentless disregard for the rights or welfare of others while in pursuit of a goal.

Superhuman -- 1. having powers greater than normal human beings; 2. having a nature above that of normal human beings; divine.

To which I add: Subhuman -- 1. having less powers than normal human beings; 2. having a nature below that of normal human beings; demonic, diabolical.

Ben< ALL: I'm done. End of contemplation (meditation with seed).

Ben< /topic Discussion of human, sub-human, and super-human

Ishtahota< Ben: That thinking is a lesser-than, greater-than value of the ego or dualistic mind. If society is a fence that needs to be replaced, you have just white washed it instead.

Yopo< Ishtahota: I don't follow your meaning there. *?*

Lor< Ishtahota: I don't follow your thinking. What was so wrong with the "fence" represented by the old lady that it needs to be replaced?

LEGS< Ishtahota, dear heart, your judgment is severe tonite. I pray for leverage that you may wield in your personal situations ... and that God will move with you toward solutions.

Ben< Ishtahota: My line of questions were relative, but not dualistic. Greater-than and less-than, above and below, are relative terms, not absolutes or dualities.

Ishtahota< Ben: We just are. The I'Am.

Lor< Ishtahota: But we are so much more complicated than merely one or the other of two extremes -- that was the point that the Buddha made about the error of thinking only in terms of duality -- a very old insight into the nature of things that perhaps some still have not grasped?

Ishtahota< Seeing things outside of self as being good or bad, superior or inferior, is only a reflection of the internal battle that goes on inside of us. A reflection of our split nature. Or DUALITY.

Lotus< Ishtahota: The distinction between good and bad, etc, doesn't disappear until we embody it through our motivations, thoughts, actions.

Yopo< I wonder if maybe the misunderstanding comes from thinking of "sub-human, human, and super-human" as labels to attach to people, rather than labels to define their actions?

UsBooted< Yopo: Good point. One of the things that I try to do with people that I know is to say 'I find your actions bad' instead of 'You are a bad person'. Seems to work better that way.

FRAML< Ishtahota: I'd say that the young girl was a criminal and/or a person who had no ethics other than survival of 'myself'. She saw anyone she could steal from as 'lawful prey', just as a wolf goes after the sheep.

UsBooted< FRAML: There are a lot of people out there like that today. Makes me very afraid for my children and grandchildren's ability to be loving and kind and generous spirits.

FRAML< UsBooted: Then you are violating the current ethic of not judging others or their actions; especially in comparing them to yourself. (Current holding by some not present tonight.)

UsBooted< FRAML: Then how would you go about opening a dialog with someone about something that you consider to be a wrong behavior? It's the behavior that is wrong, in my opinion.

FRAML< UsBooted: Not my concern. They are living in their own reality; it isn't the one I live in. Thus not for me to judge whether or not they are right or wrong, especially since there are only lessons to learn, and nothing is right (good) or wrong (bad). Personally, I'd tell them that in my view they are doing wrong/bad things. That they have to accept responsibility for what happens, but most of those type of folks don't want to accept responsibility for their actions. In fact society has been preaching that it isn't a single person's fault, it is society's fault. Thus one is excused from personal responsibility and becomes a government sanctioned "victim".

Ishtahota< FRAML: Good show. I mostly agree.

UsBooted< FRAML: How do you handle that theory in a personal relationships with another person? If they do not receive some kind of feedback from you about their actions, how can they possibly have any hope of understanding you? If I do or say something that negatively impacts someone else, I expect and want to know about it.

FRAML< UsBooted: Just ignore them. Who cares about relationships. The entire world is "me". Caring about others is just "pretend" to protect one's self. That is how I see that type of person in these chats. Unfortunately it makes them more of a loner and more cynical and untrusting. They soon grow to hate the world and want to destroy it -- thus the two kids at Columbine.

UsBooted< I think a lot of the problems that go on in this world now are due to the attitude of 'it's none of my business' and I think it is a shame.

WhoAmI?< If we define ethics in terms of human/humane principles and values, does spirituality have a place at the table??

FRAML< WhoAmI?: Yes, spirituality does have a place. This is a method of helping determine whether we want our souls to stay in this realm, go up to a better level, or go down to lower level. Note, if spirituality to you is in the 19th Century definition of talking with ghosts, seances, and automatic writing, then not much relevance here, except to as a way to judge the source of those.

Yopo< I agree with FRAML. Right and wrong actions on the material plane are manifestations of something on a spiritual level, IMHO. Some sort of two-way feedback goes on. What we do here has effects there.

Ben< WhoAmI?: Yes, I believe ethics provide a major insight for spirituality, because the same relative terms apply to the behavior of discarnate beings.

WhoAmI?< The gradient of sub to super implies a transition, an evolution of ideas and ideals. There is no doubt that we live among a spectrum of ethical, moral and spiritual energy.

Ben< WhoAmI?: Yes, and I believe the same gradient from sub to super is the measure of spiritual development toward spiritual maturity.

Kemokae< Then "balance" is the word ... that means to be human, and progress to humane ... along that path.

WhoAmI?< If we hold "human" as a norm or standard by which we can label sub-human and super-human, then what criteria do we use for deciding a "human" standard. Are these criteria ethical, or moral, or spiritual? We use a term like "human" in a biological sense and in a social and spiritual sense. A human can be greatly progressive spiritually, yet be lacking in cosmic citizenship. Likewise, a socially successful and progressive leader may have moral and spiritual shortcomings.

LEGS< True, WhoAmI? ... very astute.

Ishtahota< To me it is all just lessons in how to find the real me. Facing my fears both seen and not seen is the only way to end duality.

LEGS< Wado, Ishtahota. ((((((((Mary hugs)))))))

Yopo< Ishtahota: To some extent, I think of duality as the Self/Other distinction. The essence of "good action" is to place other ahead of the false idea of an isolated, disconnected self. "Wrong action" (evil) is to place gratification of the false self ahead of all else. In that sense, ethical behavior is action that moves one toward the spiritual goal of realization of unity. That make any kind of sense?

LEGS< Yopo: I like that definition ... very much.

Yopo< LEGS: *S*

Thur< Ishtahota: Have you been able to end being dual??

Ishtahota< Thur: I have for small amounts of time. It is a place where I can see everyone's pain and fears. And no one can keep any secrets while I am in that space. I call it the knowing.

Thur< Ishtahota: Thank you, I wondered how you see "duality".

Ishtahota< Thur: Duality is a way of us seeing outside of self what we are on the inside. Good Bad, Love Hate, Good Evil. Like FRAML said, it is a way for us not to work on our own shortcomings. We blame things outside of self, instead of taking responsibility for our own actions.

Thur< Ishtahota: Yes, I understand that. I wondered if perhaps you might describe having "resolved" that condition.

Ishtahota< Thur: My head feels like I am looking into one of those 3D pictures only a lot more intense. The world around me takes on an added dimension.

Ben< ALL: By the way, in case you didn't notice, I believe Nietzsche's superman is sub-human, because of his contempt (lack of respect) for those weaker than himself.

Kemokae< *Chuckling* I thought human was me and you, that sub-human meant you were in the underwater Navy, and super-human means you're coping with today's new "lifestyle" ... Hi there everyone!!!

LEGS< Greetings, Kemokae. *s* made me chuckle too, to read your post.

Kemokae< Ben: I'm throwing in the towel on being super-mom. It's near impossible. And it's only when people take up the thoughts of sub-humans that our problems begin, 'cause it's those types that generally have nothing they feel to lose in being "super-human" over others.

LightedSoul< In terms of super-human, I believe you are referring to one who is spiritually aware of his true inner source of power. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on developing a spiritual community of this human quality, focused and in tune with their individual and global earth powers. What ideas and impressions do you have to share?

WhoAmI?< LightedSoul: Is not "religion" a spiritual community of this human quality?

LightedSoul< WhoAmI?: I never thought about it like that. However, religion today is full of fear and do's and don'ts. I refer to something more free-spirited, in tune with spiritual and psychic energies and the spiritual dimensions of self.

FRAML< LightedSoul: I recommend reading the first two sessions on this topic on Ben's site. Regarding "religion" some folks focus on the "do's and don'ts" and miss the reason for them. Also they focus on doctrine and dogma and never get to the underlying scripture and thinking about what it means, without 1900 years of dogma overlaid on it (note this is referring to Christianity, but can be extended to other religions as well).

Ben< WhoAmI?: I think that religion is *supposed* to be a spiritual community of better human qualities, but often isn't.

WhoAmI?< LightedSoul, Ben: Yes! Precisely. TRUE religion is indeed a spiritual community of these most sublime of human qualities. This is the ideal I MUST hold in my heart in order to renew my faith and fellowship in my fellow beings! Religion is a living thing.

Ishtahota< WhoAmI?: Religion was created to keep you from spirituality.

WhoAmI?< Ishtahota: Religion is the natural outpouring of human social expression from spiritual inspiration. You bet it has its faults (it's only human).

LEGS< Perhaps I live in a dream world. I expect people to be kind to one another, to be happy when others have their lives going good, to commiserate with them when things are in an uproar, to be a shoulder to cry on and expect to be offered a shoulder when the shoe is on the other foot. Lordy, I hope everyone will realize the intent of my post and overlook the clichés! *G*

Yopo< LEGS: *sigh* I must confess, for me that is more hope than expectation. "Aquarian Age" notwithstanding. *S*

LEGS< Yopo: But people mostly respond to me in a loving and kind manner ... ???

Yopo< LEGS: *S* I think that works on a personal level. We see the world through our expectation. And there DOES seem to be some principal that attracts in accordance with our expectations. I just wonder if enough will ever see that way to change things on a more global level. Seems like a close race to me.

LightedSoul< In my opinion, the Aquarian age is as we see it. We have to stand brave and build the foundations of what we wish to create for our tomorrows. I feel the move from our current systems of thinking will gradually and slowly change, but the waves of higher thought are out there and their impact is felt by all at many levels.

Ben< LEGS: I believe what you feel may be a dream world is more likely a karmic memory of (and yearning for) a higher, better realm of spiritual existence where no one hurts anyone and everyone helps anyone in need, if and when they can.

UsBooted< Ben: If some of us don't hurry up and start practicing that higher realm here on earth today, there's not going to be a later. That's the reason why I come to SpiritWeb. I think that there are a lot of people already practicing that. Thank God.

Ben< UsBooted: This earth is a mixture. There are spots on earth where the higher ethics are lived, and spots were the lower ethics are prevalent. I agree that we should practice the higher realm here and now, and I agree that the future of the human race depends on the percentages who practice the ethics of the higher and lower realms.

Kemokae< Ben: That can be your next topic. Are we wrong to "expect" Utopia here on earth with mankind? And just what is it, anyway?

LightedSoul< I believe this "expecting" is good. It is a strong focus. As you are all aware, thought flows and energy follows. It takes this thought to manifest this energy ... this energy that is in motion is the un-molded clay we have to work with ... the tools for shaping our utopia, as we "collectively" see it and expect it to be.

Kemokae< It's not what's good or what's bad, but what you do with whatever, to produce what for whom ... laughing ... I think ... YES! ... almost sure on that one.

Ishtahota< Look at the fruit. It will tell all.

UsBooted< I don't expect to be able to tell other people how to behave and what to do and what to believe. But how many kids are there out there today who just don't know how to behave, because their parents didn't take the time to let them know that their current course was not good and did not reflect well on them? If I ever get to the point where I just don't care and it's none of my business, it'll be time to throw in the towel.

FRAML< UsBooted: Naw, don't throw in the towel, just get the nanny state to pass more laws "because it's for the children." (Waco excepted)

Kemokae< FRAML: A lot of abuse is centered around "because it's for the children".

UsBooted< FRAML: There may be a need for the nanny state if parents don't start teaching their own children respect for other people's rights and property instead of expecting them to learn it at school.

LightedSoul< WhoAmI?: I believe religion is a global soul that we have created over a long duration of time. This global soul or focus is now in a state of reform, moving from the self-destructive, selfish, I don't care, to the creative, loving, buoyant, I DO CARE ... the I AM THAT I AM focus.

UsBooted< LightedSoul: Exactly.

LightedSoul< I see religion as evolutionary, the stepping stones to start the new wave of thought processes, the domino that fell, so to speak. Based on those systems of thought, we began to consider deeper truths found not in bibles and scriptures but at the core of who we really are. We are creating the incline for a spiritually mature world.

WhoAmI?< LightedSoul: Beautifully spoken. Namaste. *S*

LightedSoul< WhoAmI?: The divine in me honors and recognizes the divine in you also. *bows in respect*

Ishtahota< WhoAmI?: Religion is someone telling you what to believe. Spirituality is facing your fears so you can make conscious contact and knowing God for yourself.

Frodo< Ishtahota: Is it possible that religion can also aid us in making conscious contact with our Spirit and with God?

Ishtahota< Frodo: It depends on the person.

Frodo< Ishtahota: It depends upon the individual, and it depends upon the particular community of faith, whether the members of the community are struggling to know and be one with God consciously.

LightedSoul< Frodo: I am love. I do not need religion to help me experience myself. :)

Frodo< LightedSoul: When you say you are love, I agree. I also believe all of life and its creations are love. But I, at least, have great difficulty consciously knowing or expressing the love that I am. I find that I need others, community, church, SWC, friends, fellow pilgrims to help me walk the walk as well as talk the talk. (S)

LightedSoul< Frodo: I understand. You have a great point! Well said! Namaste.

Frodo< Thank you, LightedSoul!! (S)

order< LightedSoul: Why are the do's and don'ts that individuals accept upon themselves freely through an avenue such as religion (or society, for that matter) considered fear-based?

LightedSoul< order: I believe they are fear-based because you are told if you don't follow these rules 'this' will happen. It's a means to control and manipulate, rather than allowing the individual to freely flow and mold to its environments -- spiritual and material.

Frodo< LightedSoul: Have you never experienced religion which focuses on love rather than control and fear?

order< LightedSoul: Individuals who follow or embrace various religions are not really so inept at thinking for themselves as so many in the new age like to say. I think most of humanity tends to sit down where it is most cozy. There are lots of cozy spots also within the new age movement. These cozy spots are found in books or articles on the net, but they are the same. Religions may have their rules, but people are free to move at any moment; thus, if they stay, it is choice, not coercion.

LightedSoul< We live in exciting times, my friend, where all teachings should come together. They are all knowledge of value.

Yopo< order: In my opinion, the "do's and don'ts" are backed up with fear of dire consequences because that is the way they might achieve the widest respect in a society in general. Many or most do not analyze their actions or the consequences on a higher level than that.

order< Yopo: The operative word in your post is 'many' ... but then I think these many are not really seeking at the moment. They are content to accept and comply, not out of fear so much as out of laziness of spirit and mind. Maybe ...

FRAML< Ishtahota: Are you defining ALL religions/faiths/paths as that block to spirituality?

Ishtahota< FRAML: Yes and no. When I say conscious contact I mean just that. I both see and hear spirit. I represent an aspect of God. As do all of my brothers and sisters.

LightedSoul< Ishtahota: Well said! We must find and honor god in our hearts, not just a book or a building, but honor and see god in all that is ... see it working through us as evolutionary consciousness. I feel it is also important to face the truth that the lower is as important as the higher. They work to balance and ground thought and spirit.

WhoAmI?< Ishtahota: Certainly, SOME religions are as you describe. Some are not. Religions evolve over time and are as inspired or confused as their sub and super human collective consciousness. At least that's how I currently see it. *S*

Thur< Ishtahota: One more question ... when you "see spirit" what is or was your physical response??

Ishtahota< Thur: I get so excited that most of the time I shut down the experience. For me it will take more practice and more personal work.

Thur< Ishtahota: OK, I see now. I had hoped you might mention something like catatonic.

Ishtahota< Thur: It is like finally waking up.

LEGS< Ishtahota: So, saying you are working to overcome your duality is saying that you are trying to face your own skills and shortcomings, properly identifying each and what you are to proceed to from this point. I call that self-assessment.

Ishtahota< LEGS: Clearing work. I am greedy because I am afraid I will never have enough. I am jealous because I'm afraid I will loose the one I love to someone else. I'm envious because I'm afraid I will never be able to have something on my own. (All of my fears, dear.)

LEGS< I see, Ishtahota. Self-work is hard to stick with sometimes, but feedback from others may help the progression. Glad you are here tonite. I see your point on organized Religion, but be wary of generalizations ... that is what you are trying to escape.

order< Seems to me that the New Age movement FEARS any kind of structure, although structure is a creative building process. Evolution is surely built upon a long structure. It is not continually new, as some would have us believe, yet it makes us 'feel' new as we unfold within it.

Yopo< order: Yes. So, fear is useful in those stages to achieve, uh, order. *S* Social order. But all religious systems seem to have their people of mystical bent. The folks on a journey.

order< Yopo: There is a natural attribute that may best be called 'caution' or 'alarm' but think fear is always a negative? And yes, all religious systems seem to have their people of mystical bent; that is because in all systems and without systems there are individuals who are truly seeking and attuning themselves to Spirit/God.

Yopo< order: Fear obviously has some survival value. Clearly not a negative thing in all contexts. But it can often be an obstacle.

order< Yopo: Perfect Love casts out all fear, it has been said. Whatcha think? *S

Ishtahota< order: That is the biggest key to knowledge, to who we are.

order< Ishtahota: Yes. I'm remembering a story which states that the first act of willful rebellion by soul brought fear. *S

Ishtahota< order: It also put us to sleep.

ceri_dwen< order: I agree with your theory that perfect love casts out fear, for if one loves, one will then trust (by this they eliminate fear); unfortunately that could never happen in real life. *S* The Bible portrays the meaning that perfect love can overrule fear, yet I was just thinking: without fear, could one possibly have hope?

order< ceri_dwen: It can and has and does happen in real life to those individuals who love enough to give all of themselves for others. There are many, many, many, wonderful recountings of individuals who have so loved they moved beyond the instinct of fear for self, self-survival, and gave all in spirit of Love. *S

Yopo< order: *S* One might then be fearful of losing perfect love.

ceri_dwen< order: But do you not suppose that they feared ... feared the death of the one that they were caring for?

[Ben< ceri_dwen: Yes. If we care about anyone, we don't want them to suffer or die, and we fear what may happen to them. This is an automatic cost of caring.]

Frodo< order: I agree. I find people like Mother Teresa (and many others) have inspired me to get down on my knees. It is helpful for me to be with others who are also struggling to be all that God created each of us to be.

LEGS< Frodo: I too thrive on relationships in all of those areas. I am a people person. *G* My most spiritual feelings recently were engendered at a United Pentecostal Church revival. The vibrations were very powerful; the people loving and caring and genuine.

Frodo< LEGS: If we would remember, we are all connected to each other and cannot grow unless we recognize and accept our oneness with each other. I think we are each individual and different but yet one. I too have experienced amazing experiences in Pentecostal churches, though they are not a good fit for me overall.

LEGS< Frodo: It was an interesting and revealing change to me, a staid Baptist, but one who respects many paths and believes that we all seek the one God ... by different names, but the same Eminence.

Frodo< LEGS: I suspect that whatever path we are on, we cannot help but create our own individual or communal images/thoughts of who the "same Eminence" is. Inescapable, it seems, until we go beyond thoughts or images.

order< Frodo: I am inspired to get down on my knees also by these loving beings, souls, humans such a Mother Teresa! And I, like you, am helped along by other struggling, dedicated souls who are seeking to be all that God created each of us to be. **Hugs**

Frodo< order: I suspect that all of us, inside or outside religious bodies, are seeking to find out who we are, and thus recover our vaguely remembered past of being one in God. Some of us are more intentional and conscious of it than others.

order< Frodo: It may well be that all would like to understand, if they could just have it handed to them, but the unveiling, the becoming, takes a heart that is willing to seek, to remain 'on knees' so to speak, until the breakthrough comes. Then one must also be willing to make the effort, the application, the sacrifices, to become and to manifest in this plane of consciousness what one has found on the higher planes. (IMHO) Not many are willing to do this ... to take this journey.

[Ben< order: Yes. In terms of personal ethics, the upward way is difficult. It takes courage to care about others. The downward way is easy because indifference and contempt require no courage.]

Seminars | Next |