(Expressions of a personal metaphysics)
Night thoughts represent the evolution of my personal metaphysics well after the termination of my formal publication work. Yet I believe it is the most profound of my writings. The last entry on March 10, 2020 is my favorite, expressing what may be regarded as a religious intuition. In this era of spiritual disinterest, parading under the guise of religious ‘toleration’, I can express my metaphysical beliefs freely without fear. I have done so in these night thoughts.
On the unlikely possibility that a reader beside myself (I read my own writings often) may peruse these pages, I beg him or her to consider them in the context of my past philosophical writings on the soul, especially the book Souls Exist (2013).
Aug 18, 2019 - Panentheism
“Hear O Mankind, the Lord thy God is manifold and everywhere.” Polytheism is for children, monotheism is for adolescents, panentheism (God is everywhere as the soul of the universe) is for mature adults. After the intuition of a universal metaphysical divinity comes the intuition of the potential divinity of the human soul.
The individual human ego, usually oblivious of its role in the cosmic drama, is the driving force toward development of consciousness of divinity. It needs training to perform its appointed task. However, destruction of the ego because of its ignorant misdirection, throws out the baby with the bathwater. Egoism, i.e. reverence for one’s soul, is the central feature of the developed human soul. Metaphysical egoism is holy.
All the fulminations against polytheism in the Hebrew Scriptures can be equally applied to monotheism. But Panentheism is the mark of developed minds; panentheism concentrated on humanity is the mark of morally developed minds. How hard it is to accomplish the latter! (it seems to be beyond my powers.)
Jesus of Nazareth was primarily a teacher of Israel and thought ‘teaching’ (proclaiming the kerygma) would accomplish his goals. He didn’t seem to realize that a panentheistic God is the only effective teacher. Later, serious followers of his realized this reality and developed the concept of the Holy Spirit. But by then, Christianity had become an idol-worshipping religion, with ‘Jesus the Christ’ the central idol.
The human soul is the workplace of an incomplete Lord (Metaphysical Divinity) striving to develop a higher consciousness for itself. When the ‘materials’ of the workplace are exhausted, the souls are ‘recycled’ within the being of the Lord. (How do I know all this? I don’t, I only intuit it.) Metaphysical matters cannot be known, they can only be intuited. The consequence of this intuition for Vedanta may be that the formula ‘Atman=Brahman’ should be altered to ‘Atman<Brahman’. But the relationship is forever changing—as is all reality.
Aug 20 – My book Interior Lights
I have been rereading Interior Lights, published by me seven years ago. It is one of my best books, perhaps the best. During this time, I have been unjustly ignoring it due to my own absurd fault. Six years I took the stupid step of purchasing a review for it. I should have known better. As I might have expected, the anonymous reviewer must have been a hidebound academic who had no empathy for my writing and was irritated by its style and substance. He wrote a negative review, concluding with the opinion (expressed sarcastically) that it never should have been published. But the real absurdity was the impact his review had upon me. I was crushed, embarrassed, and unable to open or even mention the book until the present time. Now I know better. I should have expected nothing less from an anonymous academic reviewer. Now I can appreciate the writing and thank a kind fate that has allowed me to live long enough to make good in my mind my former pusillanimity. What a fool I was!
Melanie and I are thinking about relocating to a smaller, more accessible home. Then what will I do with my library of at least a thousand books? It is painful to me to think about it. My library is the record of my life.
It is getting more difficult for me to keep old age at bay. There is my defective hearing, defective vision, a hernia, my worsening hand tremor, my poor balance due to the vertigo attacks. So far, I soldier on with the aid of my devoted wife. But how long can this go on? My mind remains intact although the energy for expression is slipping. At some point, I must call it a day.
Yet I may have one more geographic life in my quiver!! I won’t reject it, I will welcome it.
(later) rejuvenated by worshipping at the shrine of Aphrodite!
Aug 28 – Alamos again
There is a force within me constantly striving to augment my spiritual being. I think that this force is coextensive in some way with the ultimate metaphysical reality (Divinity). On what do I base this belief? On an intuition that it is the way things are in the metaphysical universe. It is fruitless to attempt to comprehend the details of the connection of one’s own spiritual being with that of Divinity. Enough to intuit (divine?) their involvement with each other without resorting to meaningless speculation, imagination or self-serving commands.
God lives and grows through my soul’s activity!
Sept 1 – “A Voice Crying in the Wilderness”
When I reread my many books, I feel like “a voice crying in the wilderness” – except I am not proclaiming the way of the Lord, I am merely asserting my belief in the reality of my soul and its connection to God. Unlike the voice of John, however, there is no evidence that anyone has heard my voice. It has not emerged from the wilderness.
I do not think the Hollywood endings of Christian Scriptures will ever apply to me. Nor would I want them to, given the spiritually degenerate state of my society. I know my fate; it is to disappear from this world without leaving a trace. My books will be recycled into from whence their paper came. But the metaphysical world is another matter. I have high hopes for my soul’s existence there.
Sept 2 –
Now that I have stopped writing except for sporadic entries in this notebook, I notice an element of boredom entering into my life. I am often sleepy for no reason. The saying comes to my mind, from where I don’t remember, “Woe to him who abandons the passions of society.” Is my life becoming woeful? Perhaps it is so. Yet there is still some vitality in my aging corpus. What to do? I must think carefully and deeply on this question.
Sept 3 –
It occurs to me that I am living on experiences of my past life. It is time for me to acquire some new meaningful ones. At my age, these are hard to come by. But I will make the effort.
Sept 13 – Hindu Scriptures
The Vedanta Society of Houston interests me (we may relocate to Houston where Melanie’s family lives).
I have long been Intrigued by the ancient Hindu scriptures. Their main message as far as I can tell is to reach Divinity (Brahman) in oneself. However, I feel the emphasis should be on developing spirituality within the self. Brahman needs the development that individual souls can provide. Thus, a purpose is given to human life. Brahman is not ‘perfect’; He needs augmentation of his reality.
That is my intuitive view. If I have the opportunity, I will discuss it with the Swami in Houston.
Oct ł8 – Augmenting Divinity
Have been thinking rather than writing this past month. The principle idea I emphasize to myself is the obligation to augment the being of Divinity (God, Brahman. Ultimate Metaphysical Reality) through developing my own soul. This follows naturally from the recurrent intuition of spiritually-minded individuals that the human soul is a part of Divinity. But the soul must be developed.
I have finally accepted the fact that I do not belong in any organized church or fellowship. For me, places of religious worship are essentially social institutions and I cannot develop my spirituality through social institutions. I am an independent in every sense of the word. I have found inspiration in written words, not in social interactions or listening to sermons.
What is important to me as the essence of spirituality is consciousness and affirmation of reality as I see it. In this way, I contribute to Divinity. Others may contribute in other ways but most do not. I feel my physical insignificance in the universe is not proportional to my spiritual significance and, therefore, to my contribution to Divinity.
I firmly resist the temptation to speculate on exactly how I might augment the being of Divinity. It is enough for me to intuit that it can occur. Virtually all the spirit-minded philosophers I read have used their imagination to supplement their intuition. It is impossible to distinguish imagination from intuition in Christian faith-based dogmas. These are grave problems in my opinion and undermines spiritual reliability. Human individuals with their beliefs are limited in the ability to develop consciousness of cosmic realities – material or spiritual.
Oct 21 – A Transcendental Consciousness
Another way of expressing the principal responsibility of human beings is the need to develop a transcendental consciousness and follow wherever this may lead. Neglect of this responsibility, for whatever reason, is the ultimate sin toward the self. The assumption that there is a God somewhere in the cosmos who knows all and can tell human beings what to think and how to behave is completely erroneous. A spiritual individual is like a pioneer in a vast wilderness who must establish his own worldview and way of life.
“Purity of heart is to will one thing.” Kierkegaard’s spiritual genius perceived this truth even if the ‘one thing’ he asserted was a bit wide of the mark.
Contemporary ‘culture’ with its unrestrained materialism is the main hindrance today to spiritual development of an individual.
Oct 22 – Becoming Spiritual
To say it again, even more concisely, the one thing needful is to become spiritual. It needs saying many times to counteract the crushing robotization of current life. As far as I can tell, it is the same everywhere on this overburdened planet.
To yearn for a God to befriend one (never mind J.C.), is to evade one’s responsibility. It leads to a false spirituality based upon an imaginary companion. If there is a ‘compassionate’ God in the cosmos, He probably could not concern himself with all the specks of yearning dust. Even if he did, he would not be the pompous Judeo-Christian Jehovah, but something more akin to Spinoza’s pantheistic God or to the Hindu Brahman. These latter, however, cannot be anthropomorphized.
“Become spiritual” – that is the alpha and omega of the human condition – at least of my condition. God needs my spiritual consciousness. Modern spirituality represents the transition of rational physical creatures to intuitive metaphysical creatures; creatures that intuit and express instead of measure and explain – just as an earlier transition was from instinctive creatures to rational ones.
(The worst error is to confuse spirituality with morality. Morality may be an element within spirituality but it is not the most important one and the force of one’s broad ego must be respected.)
This is all forcefully expressed by Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust. 1st act, part II:
Now I recognize the learned master!
What you can’t touch is of no consequence,
What you can’t hold, has no meaning,
What you can’t calculate, can’t be true,
What you can’t weigh, has no weight for you,
What you can’t ‘coin’, that, you think, is worthless.
Oct 23 –
Definition of ‘spiritual’—concerned with the state of the inner, metaphysical self, the ‘soul’. A spiritual person has reverence for his soul and seeks to enhance and preserve it. In so doing, I believe, he can augment God’s being.
Oct 24 – Development of Self
Today, all the progress of so-called spiritual thought is directed toward relationships with others rather than individual development. The latter is regarded suspiciously as ‘egotism’, the ultimate sin. In a recent colloquium on the Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev, a prominent contemporary philosopher and cleric asserted that “man only arrives at his [true] self through relations with others.”
Martin Buber’s famous book I and Thou (Ich und Du—the English translation gives an unjustified archaic quality to it) provided a powerful intellectual basis for this concept. However, in the present age with trivialization of conversation, self-serving socializations and dominance of electronic talk, I–Thou relationships are hard to come by. Professional relationships are primarily means for career development. Church activities, in my experience, are forms of socialization and not of spiritual enhancement. Thus, one is necessarily thrown back alone into his inner self for meaningful spiritual development.
The Scriptural injunction, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, has to do with morality; compassionate behavior that is far removed from the spiritual “I–Thou” relationship. This is made clear by Jesus’ ‘Golden Rule’ asserted in the sermon on the mount, “So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do unto you, for this is all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). Jesus himself did not seem to have any significant spiritual relationships; his role with his disciples and other followers was that of a teacher and leader.
It is my considered opinion that the development of self is a solitary activity, far removed from the usual madding crowds. If an individual arrives at a genuine I–Thou relationship, he or she is fortunate indeed.
Oct 25 – Dualism
I do not agree with the sharp tripartite division of human beings into body, soul and metaphysically deeper spirit. To my mind, human spirituality derives from activity, both on a physical and psychical level. I don’t believe spirituality is a gift from God that descends on special individuals. Nor do I think it is only reached through trance-like yogic states. The individual soul and the transcendental spirit are a continuum—and perhaps including the physical body as well. However, given the state of affairs in the world today, dualism is a necessary corrective to the overwhelming materialist mentality that rules everywhere.
I write all this not to influence my society, which I have learned to be an impossible expectation, but to clarify for myself what I believe.
Oct 27 – Intuiting vs Imagining
‘Metaphysics’ falls into two categories:
1) A thinking subject intuiting metaphysical reality, and
2) A thinking subject imagining metaphysical possibility. The task of critically significant philosophy is to distinguish between these two categories of thought. In my opinion, most religious beliefs fall into the second category. However, intuiting metaphysical reality is a lifelong task undertaken out by very few individuals.
Oct 30 – The Good Fight
It is crystal clear to me that I am profoundly out of touch with the prevailing culture. After over thirty years of writing philosophy, I cannot say there has been one iota of interest in my writings in the culture world—other than my ventures into Nietzsche studies, which do not reflect my own philosophical thought. I believe in independent development; the watchword today is ‘interdependence’. I believe in the reality of the soul; today the world is committed to an electronic type of society where AI and its derivatives are reigning supreme. Academic, celebrity and literary cliques rule literature. There is no place there for me.
Nor do I have any illusions of posthumous ‘success’. The after-death notoriety of a Kierkegaard, a Nietzsche, a Pessoa will not come my way. So be it. I have led a full life and expressed myself fully within it. That is more than most can say. I have fought the good fight as I have seen fit to fight it. Soon I must lay down all my arms and commend my soul to an unknown fate, hoping fate will deal kindly with it.
Nov 4 – Divinity Can Wait
I believe the development of consciousness is the essence and driving force of the human condition. “All men by nature desire to know” is how Aristotle began the Metaphysics. Consciousness means ‘knowing’. Animals have the same sensations and activity than have humans, some even more intensely, but they have only the rudiments of consciousness. It is only humans who can develop their consciousness to higher levels of understanding and wisdom.
According to Eastern spiritual lore, consciousness of the identity of the human and divine spirit is the final goal of human development. However, I think this is very rarely—perhaps never—completely accomplished; nor can it be in my opinion, since I think the purpose of the development of individual human beings is to augment, enrich or further develop the divine spirit, not merely to fuse with it.
Individualized life is a learning experience for human beings of all ages and circumstances, for the callow youth as well as the aging octogenarian. The more individuals live their own lives, the more they can develop their consciousness. As long as one is alive, one should not abandon experiential living for any reason whatever, including temporarily experiencing divinity. The ‘I’ is the necessary feature for living fully. “Live till you die!” is my motto. Divinity can wait.
Nov 27 – Metaphysical Existence
All the great metaphysically-minded philosophers from Plato to Paul Tillich have believed that the ultimate goal of an individual can only be fulfilled through a spiritual connection with Divinity. The same is true of the Vedanta and Buddhist thinkers of India. St. Augustine asserted that the only real questions for philosophy were the soul and God. He might have added, ‘and how the former finds fulfillment through the latter. Divinity is always envisioned as an ‘entity’ (with the exception of Spinoza), albeit infinite in all possible properties and powers. They have based their opinions on the ever present ‘yearning’ of thoughtful individuals to find something fulfilling beyond earthly satisfactions, something more than the day to day pleasures and pains of societal living. This yearning has been interpreted as a desire to ‘find God’.
I have certainly felt this yearning and have recorded it in my writings. But now, the feeling has come upon me that I am not yearning for connection to a putative divinity, but rather I yearn to enter into a metaphysical dimension of existence beyond the robotic material dimension in which I now live. I imagine that the ‘goal’ of spiritual development is to enter this dimension; physical life may only be the breeding ground for growth of the soul. Perhaps the chief creator and inhabitant of the metaphysical dimension is the Judeo-Christian Jehovah, but the important thing for my soul is to gain access to this dimension. If Jehovah and I communicate and we share our spiritual beings with each other, that is all to the good. If some would like to label the metaphysical dimension of existence as Heaven or Nirvana and set up criteria for entrance, I would have no objection – as long as I and others like me were not excluded.
I believe I enter into the metaphysical dimension briefly at certain times when I am able to disconnect from the surrounding physical world. Periods of meditation, especially when lying awake at night, are times when this seems to occur. But these are brief and always terminated by either sleep or interruptions from the surroundings. I like to think that death will afford me the opportunity to permanently pass over into metaphysical existence. This may be wishful thinking but something within me says there is truth in it. Just as ages ago certain animals left their watery milieu for the completely different world of life on land, so certain human beings are destined to leave the physical world for existence in a metaphysical one. The analogy is not perfect but there are many similarities.
My intuition may not solve the great perennial problems of cosmology or theology, but then again there is no reason why my limited being should be capable of solving them. I am content to merely be aware of their nature and adjust my terrestrial way of life accordingly.
Dec 1 – Metaphysical Existence (cont’d)
I have allowed myself to wonder what metaphysical existence might be like. Doubtless the familiar time and space categories of terrestrial existence by which one experiences the universe will no longer be in force. This can be a frightening thought. But the best comment on the subject is that of Heraclitus, which I have often reread and reflected on: “What awaits human beings at death they do not anticipate nor even imagine.” (Fragment LXXXIV) It is foolish to expect otherwise. One can only await the great event of passing with hope.
Devout Christians and Jews will think what is missing from these reflections is the Word of God. That is undoubtedly true, but it is because He has never directly communicated with me nor have I been aware of His influence. I can’t trust second hand messages from so-called authorities on these important matters. Consequently, I must create my own worldview without His help. What faith I have is based on a sense of my own intellectual and spiritual powers.
It must be admitted that I cannot exclude the possibility of an unnoticed influence upon me by an all-powerful God. Kierkegaard says God is present in the world ‘incognito’. If this be the case, He is well disguised since I have no awareness of His presence. So-called ‘Grace’ (which may be just a pervasive delusion of Christianity) has not descended upon me. Therefore, I cannot ascribe any aspect of my consciousness or will to Him. My intellectual conscience forbids it.
Dec 5 – Immortality
The thought has again forcefully come to me that the essential thing in human life may be not just to ‘find’ God or to merely love and obey Him like a child to a parent, but to so significantly live that upon one’s passage through death, one’s soul may be integrated within Him—thereby augmenting His own reality. This then will constitute a meaningful immortality and it assigns great importance to human life. While some may dismiss these thoughts as merely imaginative mysticism, they are no more so than the belief in a supreme Metaphysical Reality that is a heritage of most advanced civilizations!
Jan 3, 2020 – The Most Important Thing
With his usual ability to penetrate to the essence of things, Jesus said that the most important commandment of the Hebrew Law is to love God with all one’s mind, heart, soul and strength. However, in order to love God to this degree, one must become conscious of his existence. Thus, becoming conscious of God’s existence is a crucial factor in the life of Homo sapiens. How to accomplish this task is a perennial problem for man and is especially acute in materialist societies such as now exist in developed countries of the world.
How does one become conscious of God’s existence? Historically, there have been two main routes—revelation from above and personal meditation. Religious traditions can provide a foundation for God consciousness but without individual effort are of lesser value, often only resulting in superficial ritualistic practices and Pharisaism. Education is valuable in broadening one’s horizons, but commonly ends in mere erudition, which is unrelated to God consciousness.
Genuine revelation in contemporary societies is very rare today to the point of disappearance of the phenomenon, probably due to dominance of the materialist-scientific worldview. So, one is only left with the necessity for spiritual meditation to become conscious of God. This is the message of Hindu Vedanta teaching whose influence ought to become more widespread in the western World. Meditation requires much mental effort, with which I have been wrestling for many years. But for me, the goal of meditation is metaphysical consciousness, not personal oblivion or entrance into ‘Nirvana.’
My view about Christianity is that the metaphysically lazy concept of salvation through ‘accepting’ the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, so prevalent in Protestant Christianity, has served its historical purpose to promote spiritual awareness and needs to be abandoned in order for individuals to obtain a deeper and more profound spiritual consciousness. Neither the practice of Christian (or Jewish) religious commandments alone serves to achieve this end. There is no suitable substitute for an individual’s personal search for God. A clue to finding Him is the significant statement attributed to Jesus that “the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
Continuing on the thought of the last sentence of the previous entry: if the Kingdom of God is within the individual, the obligation to develop a God consciousness is closely related to the dictum of the Delphic Oracle—“Know Yourself.” This maxim was a main principle of Socrates as related by both Plato and Xenophon. Thus, the statement of Jesus about the ‘location’ of the Kingdom of God can be reconciled with antique Greek wisdom. The truth of the human condition is the same everywhere and at all times, either potentially or actually.
Jan 7 – My Sin
I have been daily reading the Bible; both Testaments and the Wisdom books. The Gospels say John the Baptist was “a voice in the wilderness crying, ‘Repent your sins!’” What have I to repent? I follow my conscience; not the primitive ethics of the Pentateuch or the exaggerated injunctions of the Sermon on the Mount. I have never thought I had anything to repent about but now I know I do. My ‘sin’ is that I have never been aware of the immediate presence of God, a grave fault in human beings. Now I will try to repent that fault by striving to be constantly conscious of His presence and act accordingly. Mere intellectual belief in His existence is not enough.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.” – Ecclesiasticus 39. I would replace the word ‘fear’ with ‘consciousness’.
The ‘Law’ of the Hebrew Scriptures is a human product, not a divine one and should be treated as such—as are the sayings of Jesus of Nazareth. But as human spiritual expressions, they are worthy of respect and consideration without requiring obedience.
“Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
As my thoughts are above your ways,
My thoughts above your thoughts.”
God speaking to man in Isaiah 55:9.
Jan 9 – The Kingdom of Heaven
How does one arrive at consciousness of God or in Jesus’ terms; the Kingdom of Heaven? I have meditated much on this question. I do not believe it appears suddenly, like a bolt of lightning out of the blue. It requires sustained effort on the part of the spiritual seeker. These are some paths I have found that lead to God-consciousness:
Study of the Scriptures of historically significant religions; the Judeo-Christian Old and New Testaments, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, Buddhist tracts
Study of existential philosophers; e.g. Kierkegaard, Berdyaev, Nietzsche
Philosophically knowledgeable reflections on the meaning of existence
Techniques of deep meditation (e.g. Yoga)
Acts directed toward God; deeds, rituals, sacrifices (Mitzvahs in Judaism)
Meaningful experiences: creative activity, significant human interactions, travels in nature and cultures
Prayers of gratitude and praise of the metaphysical Kingdom
Writing out one’s insights and understanding (most important for me)
Finding the leisure to engage in all of the above things
None of the above are adequate alone; all require a sincere searching spirit.
Jan 12 – Loss of Capacity to find Metaphysical Reality
It is well known that a lifelong dependence on a single language greatly reduces ability to learn a new language. Similarly, I believe, lifelong dominance of a scientific mindset results in loss of the ability of an individual to find metaphysical reality, i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven in biblical terms.
‘Logical Positivism has been the philosophical movement underpinning a scientific mindset (scientism). It is based on the principles of objective observation, analytic thinking and verifiability of conclusions. Metaphysics is ruled out of court as founded on emotionality and superstition. In recent years, logical positivism has been downgraded in academic philosophy but still reigns supreme in the worldview of ‘advanced’ civilizations. This is because the modern worldview does not depend on the attitudes of academic philosophy, but rather on the remarkable successes of ‘scientism’ in controlling nature, empowering societies and advancing the physical welfare of populations in innumerable ways.
All this, however, has been done at a cost to the spiritual welfare of individuals. The capacity to enter upon metaphysical reality has been lost. Christianity emphasizes love of one’s fellow man because the capacity for love of God has been lost among Christians. God-consciousness is only possible on intellectual terms, not directly as one spirit searching for a higher one. When Spinoza advocated the “intellectual love of God”, he perceived the coming dominance of scientism. He saw no other possibility to develop a God-consciousness.
This is all entirely noticeable in myself. I can only envision God-consciousness in intellectual terms. In my opinion, this is quite inferior to an immediate God-consciousness but it is the best I can do with my history and at my stage in life. I believe my soul has been scarred by its development in a world dominated by scientism. I think I might have become a spiritually better person in a different world. However, I try to make the best of my circumstances.
Jan 14 – Philosophical Mind Storming
Significant spiritual developments in the western world:
Hebrew prophets (ending with J.C.)
Ancient Greek philosophers
Scholastic thinkers (Christian)
Pre-revolution Russian intelligentsia
Nothing new for over a century. Spiritual expression has been inhibited since the dominance of scientism and logical positivism in societal cultures. What is new now is the computer age with accompanying robotization of human activity in ‘advanced’ societies.
The concept of Robinson Jeffers that the human race represents a failed experiment of God seems to best fit the current situation as I see it.
Feb 11 – My worldview
My mind is gradually settling on a ‘worldview’. It is a trinitarian concept of the cosmos, except my trinity is myself, God and the universe without. My task is to integrate these three elements into one reality. God emerges in me and I in Him. God needs me and I need Him for mutual fulfillment. God is the soul of the universe and, therefore I in a certain sense am that also. ‘Loving God’ is the same as loving myself.
The task is to convert these mental concepts into a unitary personal reality. Here Hindu Vedanta is far ahead of Christianity (or Judaism) in portraying the nature of the cosmos for human beings.
Needless to say, my vision of God is as an ‘Ultimate Metaphysical Being’, not the Lord of Judeo-Christendom. All these assertions could be set forth in much greater detail one day.
Feb 24 – “Better late than never”
After a long period of worrying and brooding over various aspects of my life, I have succeeding in bringing into consciousness the most important thing; my ‘relationship’ with God. By God, I do not mean an all-powerful, judgmental Jehovah, but rather an ultimate metaphysical reality that I am sure exists. I must maintain my focus on this aspect of my life. The first thing necessary is to become conscious of God; more than consciousness may come later.
Furthermore, the awareness has come to me that God exists within myself as Jesus is said to have asserted in the Gospel of Luke. There is a part of me that coexists intimately with God and a part that is just an aging human being. When I arrive at consciousness of my condition, I believe the reality of God is augmented. (‘Augmented’ is an especially suitable word in the English language.)
There are multiple aspects to my human condition; an animal individuality, a marital role, an American, a Jew, a member of worldwide humanity. All these roles must be attended to in due measure. But the primary, most important need of mine is to develop a relationship with the ultimate metaphysical reality I call God. This must be paramount. Otherwise, I would remain in a restless, irritable, unhappy and unfulfilled state.
It is amazing to me that I have only fully arrived at this insight when approaching the ninetieth year of my life. Others have arrived at it far earlier. But I have always known I am a slow to mature. Better late than never!
I have not found that participation in church or synagogue activities has led me to God. The main emphasis in them has been on rituals and social ‘do-gooding’, which do not engage my interest. Religious organizations for me are agents for fellowship, not for experiencing God, much less than participating in His nature.
The feelings I have expressed above have often been put forth as speculations in my past writings. It has taken a long time for them to mature in my mind, to be assimilated into my soul so that they are now firm intuitions instead of speculative suggestions. I have no idea how or why this has happened. Some process must have been at work within the recesses of my soul to make me conscious of my participation in Divinity. Perhaps unbeknownst to me, God was at work. Whatever the reason, I am grateful to have finally realized the one essential thing in my life.
It matters little what others may think of my personal metaphysics. I live in a place where ‘blasphemy’ is not punished but only ignored—or ridiculed. However, in my opinion, most people in America today, especially scholarly-minded ones, are starved for God. I pity them even if they reject my pity and think poorly of me.
“Honi soit qui mal y pense.”
Perhaps it is too much to say I have been ‘born again’ (albeit with lapses), but I notice a certain resemblance between my new self and evangelical Christians who claim to have been born again through accepting their Lord Jesus Christ. Our theologies are quite different yet this may not be so important. The main thing is a turning toward an awareness of a metaphysical God, however one conceives of His nature.
Feb 26 – The Need for Spirituality
I do not feel a compulsion to impart my thoughts and insights with others. I have often had the suspicion that imparting one’s strongly held views to other people is a subtle means of dominating them. Nietzsche thought Christianity to be the most powerful tool for dominating minds of the people. It is enough for me to develop my own interior self without attempting to develop those of others.
Writing is the most effective means I have for developing myself. Writing out my thoughts and feelings, and then printing them enhances greatly their value for me. They are then available for my study and reflection. If others find them of interest, I do not mind but such occurrences are entirely superfluous for me. Basically, I have come to the realization that I seek to be at one with God. This is the alpha and omega of my spiritual life.
For me, spirituality is the continuous effort to arrive at consciousness of an Ultimate Metaphysical Reality, aka God. The Psalms of Hebrew Scripture are the most potent testimonial of this effort. I read them often. I feel the outside world is trying to destroy me just as the Psalmists felt, albeit spiritually rather than physically. We communicate over almost three millennia of history.
In referring to the souls of the virtuous, the apocryphal Book of Wisdom, composed by an Alexandrian Jew, says:
God has put them to the test
and proved them to be worthy to be with Him.
I sometimes feel I am putting God to the test. A blasphemous thought worthy of Lucifer!
Someone may think I have missed my vocation by not entering into a monastic life. However, my individuality and animal appetites were always too strong to permit such a step—and still are. One must be realistic about one’s capacities.
Prolonged meditation has been a great benefit to me. Then I feel I am leaving the corpse called my body to enter into a better metaphysical existence. It is at once both exhilarating and frightening. Sometimes, I have the fear of not being able to return to the terrestrial world. I am not done yet with the world I live in.
Feb 28 – Intellectual Consciousness and Intellectual Love
In spite of the above, it is not easy to make the transition from terrestrial to metaphysical existence. Praying is not enough. Circumstances must be favorable. Undisturbed solitude and concentration are required. One’s stars must be in the proper alignment. Materialist-minded skeptics may smile and think all this is illusion and self-deception. They belong to the same category as those Eastern thinkers who believe the entire physical world perceived by the senses is illusory. One is rigidly narrow-minded as the other. A thoughtful human being must trust his intuitions. Otherwise, it is easy to fall into the slough of cynicism and contempt.
Meanwhile, the intellectual consciousness of the existence of an Ultimate Metaphysical Reality carries an individual a long way toward spiritual fulfillment. One may add that the intellectual love of God (after Spinoza) also suffices.
Feb 29 – In Darkness, Sight
Daylight is the enemy of metaphysical awareness. It is only when physiological sight is suppressed by darkness that metaphysical sight is possible. ‘Outsight’ blocks out ‘insight’, just as solar vision prevents lunar vision. In tenebris, veritas. Then the question arises as to why I should be so desirous of metaphysical insight when it may be only fully possible after the ‘mortal coil’ has been shed. I suppose it is because my restless nature is always ahead of itself.
The chief antique exponent of metaphysical philosophy, Plotinus, said he only glimpsed the metaphysical universe four times in his life. That should give one pause for expecting to do so antemortem. And few people have the spiritual depth of Plotinus. Like Jesus, Plotinus did not see fit to convert his insights into discursive writings, which were great losses for their posterity.
Like the case of Jesus, modernity is dependent on their auditors to transmit their thoughts.
If these superior minds did not write out their insights, I ask myself often why should I feel the need to do so? One reason is that they had listeners, whereas in my solitary state I do not. Another is that modern technology makes it possible to do so in a convenient manner. There is no laborious struggle with parchment or papyrus. I believe myself to be fortunate to have modern tools for writing available to me.
Darkness does not only create the possibility of revealing the metaphysical universe, it also can reveal the yearnings of raw animality under the civilized veneer, e.g. uninhibited sexuality, uncontrolled aggression, surges of rage, and so forth. All this is the very antithesis of metaphysical awareness but may be necessary for it—in a Heraclitean sense of the unity of opposites. In my case, I think only death will curb the fierce yearnings of my animality.
How to act on yearnings is another matter entirely. This is a question of one’s philosophy of life, attitude toward societal mores and the courage of one’s convictions.
March 10 – Eschatology of the Soul
A summing-up of the development of my thoughts over many years about the destiny of the soul. It is speculation since I have no way of truly knowing its exact fate. But I have the strong intuition that something resembling my speculations will come to pass for myself - and for all other human beings. The worst idea a person can have is that there is no ultimate metaphysical destiny in store for his metaphysical soul. A yet worse idea is that souls do not exist at all (see my book Souls Exist, 2nd ed., 2013).
I conceive that following my death, my soul will return to the Universal Soul (aka God) from whence it came. It will contain all of the metaphysical qualities that it developed during the experiences of biological, interpersonal and societal existence. These qualities are manifold, but the soul is unitary, and its fate on returning to God will depend on the amalgam of these qualities. If God deems my soul worthy, it will be incorporated into His nature. If not, it will be discarded among the vast trash pile of unworthy souls. (A short hand for these fates are the terms: ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’.) God needs worthy souls. He needs them to augment His own nature, to provide it with more depth and breath. The attraction between man and God is a reciprocal one.
What are the qualities that form the worthy soul? They are familiar to all thoughtful individuals: wisdom, insight, vision, honor, kindness, self-awareness, self-respect, character, vitality, creativity, boldness, determination, endurance, modesty, spiritual consciousness—especially this last one. Others may come to one’s mind. The unitary soul, however, is an amalgam of all the qualities—or lack of them—that will determine its final destiny and relationship to the Universal Soul.
All this, as I have said, is speculative, subject to the limitations of my mind and my language. However, there is a fine line between speculation, which is the product of one’s imagination, and intuition, which is insight into reality. I like to think that my speculations about the destiny of the soul are more intuition than imagination.