Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Universe Is Just Trying To See Itself — Caitlin Johnstone

The Universe Is Just Trying To See Itself
Caitlin Johnstone


Ahmed Fares said...

If we witness Him we witness ourselves, and when He sees us He looks on Himself. —Ibn Al-‘Arabi

Ibn al-‘Arabi illustrates in The Bezels of Wisdom God’s reason for creating the Cosmos as a desire to witness and perceive Himself, and consequently, the duty of man to be the mirror, or the tool, for His perception. God created the world to encompass all of His Most Beautiful Names; existence itself would show God His own mystery. The role of man’s existence then, al-‘Arabi explains, is to be the means for this reflection – the mirror for God’s nature, and His Most Beautiful Names. Al-‘Arabi writes, “the [divine] Command required [by its very nature] the reflective characteristic of the mirror of the Cosmos, and Adam was the very principle of reflection for that mirror and the spirit of that form […].” Man’s role is to perceive aspects of God, which are embodied in His names – Beauty, Majesty, Mercy, Truth, Forgiveness, Patience, etc. However, to perceive these aspects of God, man must realize them in himself since he was created in the image of God, and also because he is meant to be the instrument of reflection by his very nature. This idea is further revealed in the ‘Hidden Treasure’ Hadith that relates God’s words, “I was a hidden treasure, and I wished/loved to be known. I therefore created creation in order to be known.” Man’s duty then, necessitates a cultivation of knowledge of God through one’s self. These hadiths with al-Arabi’s works reveal both God’s desire to know himself and his subsequent inspiration to create man and the Cosmos, as well as man’s designated role as the reflection of God’s creation and Self. This represents the heart of the Sufi way – to have knowledge of God, and thus to fulfill God’s desire.

Peter Pan said...

Who wants to witness it all?
Who wants to witness small animals being crushed to death?
Who wants to see children being sexually abused?
Who wants to see people being tortured, mutilated and disemboweled?
Or do you only want to witness pretty things?

There is video of all this and more.
We get to watch it on video; the universe watches it live.
We censor our experiences; the universe has no need for censorship, for it is desensitized.

You guys really are a bunch of cherry-pickers.

Unknown said...

So life's conscious then what does it do stand there looking at stuff till a meteorite hits it?

Matt Franko said...

Correct... It’s a demonstrative failure Pete... it obviously doesn’t work...

Matt Franko said...

“life evolved greater and greater capacity for sensory input, then it evolved capacity for abstract thought and language.”

Then what is she complaining about all the time?

Goes all around the place all the time saying “we evolved from the apes by random chance survival of the fittest!” ... then when policy makers use the same “free market! creative destruction!” approach she loses her shit...

Typical Art degree fcking hypocrite...

Peter Pan said...

Life evolved sociopathy and sadism... the kind of traits that Caitlyn loves!

Tom Hickey said...

“There is only one question. And once you know the answer to that question there are no more to ask. That one question is the Original Question. And to that Original Question there is only one Final Answer. But between that Question and its Answer there are innumerable false answers.

Out of the depths of unbroken Infinity arose the Question, Who am I? and to that Question there is only one Answer — I am God!

God is Infinite; and His shadow, too, is infinite. Reality is Infinite in its Oneness; Illusion is infinite in its manyness. The one Question arising from the Oneness of the Infinite wanders through an infinite maze of answers which are distorted echoes of Itself resounding from the hollow forms of infinite nothingness.

There is only one Original Question and one Original Answer to it. Between the Original Question and the Original Answer there are innumerable false answers.

These false answers — such as, I am stone, I am bird, I am animal, I am man, I am woman, I am great, I am small — are, in turn, received, tested and discarded until the Question arrives at the right and Final Answer, I AM GOD.”

Meher Baba
The Everything And The Nothing, 47
Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Foundation, 3rd printing, 2003 (1963) p. 78

Tom Hickey said...

If you want that unpacked in a few paragraphs, read "JOURNEY OF THE SOUL TO THE OVERSOUL (for meditation through reading) from Meher Baba's Discourses.

For the details in a book see, Meher Baba's God Speaks

BTW, this is a theme running through philosophy and religion extending into prehistory. In philosophy, is called metaphysical monism and epistemological realism. This is in contrast to ontological dualism and pluralism, and epistemological realism and skepticism, which are the other major trends of thought. In religion it is called gnosis.

The difference between philosophy and spirituality is that philosophy is intellectually based whereas spirituality is experientially based. From the spiritual point of view, this is called nondualism.

Nondualism is found in all religions and wisdom traditions. It is also a trend of thought in science. In contemporary psychology and cognitive science, it is called panpsychism. It finds expression in physics in the attempt to connect the unified field of energy with consciousness. There is a large and growing literature on this.

For a non-professional in this field, I thought Caitlin Johnstone did a very commendable job in summing it up in outline form.

It's worth paying attention to. It's at the cutting edge.

Ahmed Fares said...

A few paragraphs from a short two-page pdf which I link to below:

Translators tend to squirm at things like this. Islam gives you naked monotheism without the cute metaphors. In Islam we talk of the One God and the implications of His divine majesty is that everything that happens is an expression of the divine power, including the people going wrong. In the Latin tradition particularly, people like Augustine and Acquinas tried to dissociate the divine from the dark things in creation, setting up a semi-autonomous demonic sphere where things have gone wrong and God can't deal with it and we have to cooperate with God in order to redeem it. But that's not the Islamic view.

Blake would call that the left hand of God. That left hand is the plagues, the dying babies, the exploding stars and the scary stuff.

Within Islam you can of course find the Mu'tazalites who said that you can't attribute bad stuff to God because there is free will and moral agency but classical Sunni Islam bites the bullet and says that the reality is that God is doing whatever happens.

The Christian mystics indeed looked at it a bit more clearly however, as they happened to contemplate on the problems of darkness and suffering. They look upon them in a certain non-sentimental way and can also embrace the divine rigor and the terrifying aspects of reality as an expression of divine love.

source (pdf file): Abdal Hakim Murad on free will

Ahmed Fares said...

re: mysterium tremendum et fascinans

Rudolf Otto's Concept of the "Numinous"

Rudolf Otto Otto was one of the most influential thinkers about religion in the first half of the twentieth century. He is best known for his analysis of the experience that, in his view, underlies all religion. He calls this experience "numinous," and says it has three components. These are often designated with a Latin phrase: mysterium tremendum et fascinans. As mysterium, the numinous is "wholly other"-- entirely different from anything we experience in ordinary life. It evokes a reaction of silence. But the numinous is also a mysterium tremendum. It provokes terror because it presents itself as overwhelming power. Finally, the numinous presents itself as fascinans, as merciful and gracious.

There is a bit more in the link below:

source: Rudolf Otto's Concept of the "Numinous"

In Sufism which is the mystical branch of Islam, i.e., the Islamic path to enlightenment, the two states above are referred to as follows:

The Divine qualities of jamal (beauty) and jalal (majesty) describe different aspects of the way God relates to human beings and creation. In fact, the fabric of our lives is woven from "fibers" drawn from both categories of quality in accordance with the design of Divine will.

source: Sufi Amanesis: Jamal/Jalal

Andrew Anderson said...

I don't think God is pleased by flattery. Rather, per the Bible:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice,
to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Note "walk humbly", not waste time speculating or flattering.

Ahmed Fares said...


“In truth,there was only one Christian and he died on the cross.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

The Bible says:

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; —Romans 5:3 (KJV)

To glory means to rejoice. Did you see all those Christians in Texas rejoicing when their gas and electricity got cut off?

No? Me neither.

Or how about the 9/11 attacks. Surely that was a great tribulation. I have yet to see one Christian rejoicing about that.

Or how about the tribulation of usury and privileged fiat banking cartels? Doesn't that call for rejoicing instead of complaining.

And doesn't the Bible say:

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. —Matthew 19:24 (KJV)

All these people getting rich on usury and fiat are really hurting themselves, aren't they? That means they deserve your pity and not your anger. And if other people become poor by the actions of the rich, then it eases their way into the kingdom of God, i.e., the kingdom of Heaven. In which case the rich are benefiting the poor by their actions when looked at from a spiritual perspective.

Ahmed Fares said...

When One is Two

The Self is One, inseverable
Unknown to pain or loss or difference;
Unborn of Essence, formless, viewless, void.
It is, and we of Buddha-Mind should know
That forms, all forms, are lanterns of illusion
Doomed, though born of life, to die.

‘Should know’. Who knows? The meditating mind?
It may be that the heart knows more.
The few, whose chariot of will
Has burst the gates of difference may know,
And truly know, and undivided live
The ambit of their days, above
The open wounds of riven love and parting.
It may be so. I am not of the few.
Yet I have known, in moments of no time
When mind is fierce illumined, sudden free
That Self is One, inseverable.
The heart knows more, that dwells in circumstance
And pauses on the swift revolve of time,
Remembering a joyous, foolish love,
Twin pilgrims on the sempiternal Way;
Two that in One were one, yet, hand in hand
Were two in Maya’s child, duality.

We loved, the One embodied thus in two.
We loved that, two, had cognisance of One.
Yet I, beyond of mind in Buddha-Mind
Perceive, alone, that I am human still
And sad with severance.

Tom Hickey said...

"The highest divine knowledge is attained through love (which has in it the spiritual faculties of intuition and inspiration and which is opposed to the intellectual faculty).

"It is love that makes one transcend the dominion of intellect and gain the state of complete self-annihilation.

"It is this state that ends in union with God."

Meher Baba
Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals
Compiled & Edited by Jane Barry Haynes
Myrtle Beach, SD: Sheriar Press, 1980, p. 10

Peter Pan said...

There is only one question...

Who told jrbarch that fish are thirsty?

The rest is just noise, laid on thick by folks who are trapped by their religious beliefs. Which is just a fancy disguise for our fear of death.

This is not my religion.
You are free to proselytize... and I am free to mock it.

If it brings you solace to believe the universe is conscious, or that the main sequence of stars is their dreamtime, then more power to you. These are lovely thoughts. Believe whatever you will, to make your journey more pleasant. And of course, in due course, your eventual demise.

My message is the same for those nihilists out there... as long as you understand that I'm using "power" in the figurative sense. Then again, accidents happen.

Ahmed Fares said...

Peter Pan,

"...and I am free to mock it."

That's assuming you have the power to create acts. Islam would differ with you on that. In Islamic theology, all acts are created by God, and servants acquire acts in accordance with their nature. In which case mocking would be coming not from you, but rather through you.

Thomas Aquinas said pretty much the same thing:

... just as by moving natural causes [God] does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates in each thing according to its own nature.
— Summa, I., Q.83, art.1.

He operates, not you operate...

Hinduism holds the same doctrine as regards acts. Here is an example of this:

“It is Nature that causes all movement. Deluded by the ego, the fool harbors the perception that says "I did it".” —― Veda Vyasa, The Bhagavadgita or The Song Divine

So that's a few billion people in the world, assuming they understand their own religion, which is not always the case, that hold as a tenet of their faith that your version of reality is not the correct one.

Peter Pan said...

So the man (devout Muslim?) who cut out the heart of a Syrian soldier and took a bite of it in front of the camera, was committing an act of God?

When Muslims lift their ass up in the air, is it an act of God or of their own volition?
Perhaps the God or Goddess enjoys seeing lots of booty.

Oh Lord, why do see Yourself as farce?
I thought it was me, but it was You all along!

Andrew Anderson said...

The Lord knows the thoughts of men, that they are vain. Psalm 94:11

Ahmed Fares said...

Peter Pan,

Yes, all acts come from God. There are no exceptions.

If acts did not come from God, then you're left with the problem of why God "allows" evil acts in the world, which is the same problem at one remove. For that you need a theodicy and there aren't any good ones.

Also, God is not shy. Stop obsessing with Muslim asses.

Ahmed Fares said...


Thank you for the kind words and I always enjoy reading your posts. Also, Tom Hickey who is an ocean of wisdom.

“The fish are thirsty in the Ocean, and every time I see that, it makes me laugh” [Kabir]

The same idea expressed here:

“There is a basket of fresh bread on your head, yet you go door to door asking for crusts.” —Rumi

Gnosis comes from within because it cannot come from anywhere else. This is because it is guarded by its ineffability. It can only be communicated by means of symbolic allusion.

"The difference between "symbol" and what nowadays is commonly called "allegory" is simple to grasp. An allegory remains on the same level of evidence and perception, whereas a symbol guarantees the correspondence between two universes belonging to different ontological levels: it is the means, and the only one, of penetrating into the invisible, into the world of mystery, into the esoteric dimension." —Henri Corbin

Peter Pan said...

Yes, all acts come from God. There are no exceptions.

Well then, why doesn't God command wardens to empty the prisons?

If acts did not come from God, then you're left with the problem of why God "allows" evil acts in the world, which is the same problem at one remove.

I agree that impotency is a problem when you're God.

For that you need a theodicy and there aren't any good ones.

Not believing in Him is sufficient.

Also, God is not shy. Stop obsessing with Muslim asses.

He wasn't shy about expressing his anger, to hear the Bible retell it.

It is the control of human sexuality, and female sexuality in particular, that is of utmost importance for religious types.

God is a prude.

Andrew Anderson said...

If acts did not come from God, then you're left with the problem of why God "allows" evil acts in the world, Ahmed Fares

Because life is a test:

“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

“I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds."
Jeremiah 17:9-10

But if the Lord must search and test then obviously He doesn't know everything.

So you're just wrong, Ahmed - all acts do not come from God.

You'd best crack open the Bible, including the Old Testament, if you'd like to really know what God has revealed about Himself - rather than trust mere extrapolation based on false premises such as that He knows everything, has always existed, can't change His mind, etc.

Andrew Anderson said...

God is a prude. Peter Pan

Not really. David, for example, had 10 concubines in addition to several wives.

What God is, is love, and "love em and leave em" (divorce cf.
Malachi 2:16) is something He hates .

So if you want sex, then pay for it with loyalty.

Peter Pan said...

Have you seen the documentary The Wicker Man?

That was an eye opener!

Andrew Anderson said...

Current Christian over-emphasis on sexual sins and "sins" is a result of almost completely ignoring economic sins.

And I'd say that a large percentage of even legitimate sexual sins are a result of our unjust economic system and are thus largely excusable (see "the woman caught in adultery", John 7:53–8:11).

Sex is a great thing and should be treated reverently lest one become bored with it; eg. Christian women report having the most satisfying sex lives, because, for example, their Christian husbands are commanded to LOVE their wives while the wives are only commanded to HONOR their husbands.

Andrew Anderson said...

I've never had a taste for horror movies.

Ahmed Fares said...

Peter Pan,

"Well then, why doesn't God command wardens to empty the prisons?"

They're in prison for their nature not their acts.

Aquinas again:

;for He operates in each thing according to its own nature.

Andrew Anderson said...


You poor thing! You know the works of Thomas Aquinas, with his OPINIONS, much better than the Bible which even Aquinas would acknowledge IS the Word of God.

And what's the point? Aquinas can't save you. Nor can the writings of mystics. Why are you wasting your time on what cannot save?

Life isn't a game, you know.

Peter Pan said...

Sex is better under socialism, don't you know?
(Women know how to fake it, and men have fragile egos, so no)

I don't need to believe in God to know that commodification of sex leaves us jaded.

They're in prison for their nature not their acts.

It's in the nature of wardens to keep people locked up.
Unlike God, wardens have power.

Peter Pan said...

I've never had a taste for horror movies.

That's Scotland for you.

Ahmed Fares said...


Scripture requires interpretation which is why you have different denominations in all religions. Take the example of transubstantiation which I'm sure you're familiar with as a Catholic. Here is the Church of England's position at one time(bold mine):

King Henry VIII of England, though breaking with the Pope, kept many essentials of Catholic doctrine, including transubstantiation. This was enshrined in the Six Articles of 1539, and the death penalty specifically prescribed for any who denied transubstantiation.

Here is the Church of England's position some two decades later:

This was changed under Elizabeth I. In the 39 articles of 1563, the Church of England declared: "Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions".

That's a 180-degree change on the issue, despite using the same scripture.

Meanwhile, seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics believe bread, wine used in Communion are symbolic.

In addition to asking Catholics what they believe about the Eucharist, the new survey also included a question that tested whether Catholics know what the church teaches on the subject. Most Catholics who believe that the bread and wine are symbolic do not know that the church holds that transubstantiation occurs. Overall, 43% of Catholics believe that the bread and wine are symbolic and also that this reflects the position of the church. Still, one-in-five Catholics (22%) reject the idea of transubstantiation, even though they know about the church’s teaching.

The vast majority of those who believe that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ – 28% of all Catholics – do know that this is what the church teaches. A small share of Catholics (3%) profess to believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist despite not knowing the church’s teaching on transubstantiation.

About six-in-ten (63%) of the most observant Catholics — those who attend Mass at least once a week — accept the church’s teaching about transubstantiation. Still, even among this most observant group of Catholics, roughly one-third (37%) don’t believe that the Communion bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ (including 23% who don’t know the church’s teaching and 14% who know the church’s teaching but don’t believe it). And among Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly, large majorities say they believe the bread and wine are symbolic and do not actually become the body and blood of Jesus.

source: Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with their church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ

"Nor can the writings of mystics."

In 2 Corinthians Paul the Apostle writes, "I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat."

You know that Paul is a mystic, right? (More probably a gnostic). And that he's writing about himself.

Ahmed Fares said...

Peter Pan,

"Unlike God, wardens have power."

You see power where there is none. There is no power outside of God.

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger [against Israel], The staff in whose hand is My indignation and fury [against Israel’s disobedience]! —Isaiah 10:5

God works through secondary causes.

Andrew Anderson said...

which I'm sure you're familiar with as a Catholic. Ahmed

I'm an ex-Catholic, ex-mystic, ex-Baptist, ex-Calvinist, Bible believing Christian, so you're not dealing with a novice.

But it's interesting that so many Roman Catholics are wise to the scam their "Church" has been attempting to pull on them. Thanks for that info.

But if you want to know God, He's in the Bible, NOT necessarily in what people have said ABOUT Him. I speak from experience that every church I've attended distort the Bible, one way or another. So read it yourself until you trust IT and not some guru.

Andrew Anderson said...

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger [against Israel], The staff in whose hand is My indignation and fury [against Israel’s disobedience]! —Isaiah 10:5 Ahmed

Yet God later punished the Babylonians for being excessively cruel.

So do please read the ENTIRE Bible to truly understand.

Andrew Anderson said...

Actually, Isaiah 10:5-19 itself shows that the people God uses may act on their own and exceed His will. So much then for your assertion that all acts are from God.

All power is from God but how that power is USED is at least partially up to man in at least some cases.

Ahmed Fares said...


"I'm an ex-Catholic"

Sorry, I thought you were a Catholic who no longer attended Church but still held Catholic beliefs.

My mistake.

Andrew Anderson said...

Isaiah 47:5-7: [referring to the Babylonians]

“Sit silently, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans,
For you will no longer be called
The queen of kingdoms.

“I was angry with My people,
I profaned My heritage
And gave them into your hand.
You did not show mercy to them,
On the aged you made your yoke very heavy.

“Yet you said, ‘I will be a queen forever.’
These things you did not consider
Nor remember the outcome of them."

Peter Pan said...

God works through secondary causes.

So do manipulators.
Even a house cat is capable of manipulation.
Unlike God, manipulators have power.

Andrew Anderson said...

God has power but if used too obviously, then life on Earth as a test would not work since the wicked would feign righteousness, having no other logical choice.

Ahmed Fares said...


This is one of those rare times when I agree with you.

In Islamic theology, God has ninety-nine Names and He has no partner in any of His Names. One of His Names is "The Subtle". That Name surrounds all the other Names and appears when one of the other Names appears.

So when you see a car accident and someone dies, there are two Names in operation. "The Giver of Death", and "The Subtle", i.e., the car accident. This allows people to attribute to secondary causes. If God was to manifest his Name "The Giver of Death" alone, then people would just die as they're walking down the street.

The ancient Greeks knew this as well.

“Nature likes to hide.” —Heraclitus

That reminds me of a story:

The Drowning Man

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, "Jump in, I can save you."

The stranded fellow shouted back, "No, it's OK, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me."

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. "The fellow in the motorboat shouted, "Jump in, I can save you."

To this the stranded man said, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith."

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, "Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety."

To this the stranded man again replied, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith."

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, "I had faith in you but you didn't save me, you let me drown. I don't understand why!"

To this God replied, "I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

There are various versions of this story, one of which has three boats instead, but the basic idea is the same.

Peter Pan said...

God has power but if used too obviously, then life on Earth as a test would not work since the wicked would feign righteousness, having no other logical choice.

They feign righteousness all the time to curry favor with their peers, their cult, or their boss. Is God impressed?

Andrew Anderson said...

Is God impressed? Peter Pan

Reminds me of the saying "Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue." Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Peter Pan said...

"Pretense is a veneer used to look beautiful." - Pierre de La roche