The guy giving that talk on schizophrenia and enlightenment has a website: click here. This guy, probably diagnosable as schizo-typal, believes that he is G-d. Not "part and particle of G-d," as Emerson might put it, but G-d incarnate (incidentally, he believes you are G-d too). William James described this attitude in The Varieties of Religious Experience:
'That art Thou!' say the Upanishads, and the Vedantists add: 'Not a part, not a mode of That, but identically That, that absolute Spirit of the World.'It's an unusual attitude -- one that's certainly difficult to defend, in the West, at least. Although (ahem) I have no personal experience with this kind of thinking, like William James, I find it to be a long and broad enough tradition that it is difficult to ignore. So while I may not declare "I am G-d," I do find some truth in the notion that there is at least some divinity in all human beings. [Note: I would add here, mostly for Mxrk, that I don't think this is an objectionable point even for an atheist, if the atheist is smart enough to read between the lines, which, in your case, I know he is -- that is, all I mean is that everybody is inherently valuable.]
SO! -- that point being established, I have begun my defense of why I am withdrawing from political discourse for yet another season. My justification lies precisely in the notion that I take each and every human to be a shining reflection of the One (i.e., G-d, "the Universe," Brahman, whatever). Imago Dei, Michael.
If I think that way -- and I try to -- then what opinion arising in these faces of G-d could I possibly want to change? Listen -- don't interrupt-- to Emerson:
Therefore the soul holds itself off from a too trivial and microscopic study of the universal tablet. It respects the end too much, to immerse itself in the means. It sees something more important in Christianity, than the scandals of ecclesiastical history, or the niceties of criticism; and, very incurious concerning persons or miracles, and not at all disturbed by chasms of historical evidence, it accepts from G-d the phenomenon, as it finds it, as the pure and awful form of religion in the world. It is not hot and passionate at the appearance of what it calls its own good or bad fortune, at the union or opposition of other persons. No man is its enemy. It accepts whatsoever befalls, as part of its lesson. It is a watcher more than a doer, and it is a doer, only that it may the better watch (my emphasis).I cannot defend myself in terms better than these. I consider myself to be very good friends with some people (Mxrk, Michael) who have told me to speak up this political season. I know that they are precisely the face of G-d. But I am friends no less with others (B. Dunn, Walt Whitman) who have told me that politics is nothing more than a passing season. I take all of that in; it becomes me -- I appreciate it and agree with everyone. To borrow the wonderful language of Sen. Obama, I can no more disown my semi-racist McCain-voting grandmother than I can disown my most progressive Obama-fawning friends. Undoubtedly, this seems like a rhetorical ploy, but they all are a part of me, and what they assume, I shall assume.
The question was: If this quest for the truth is keeping you from writing about things, how is it a quest for truth? The answer is: the quest for truth is not keeping me from writing anything--I am speaking freely and without reservation; the quest for truth is only keeping me from believing that which might motivate me to speak on political matters.
And, I might add: when I asked (Michael) about whether Jesus voted for the Sadducees (R) or the Pharisees (D), I meant to imply a direct and pointed correspondence to contemporary politics.
Forthcoming: 1) a post on the difference between Separatist Puritans and non-Separatist Puritans in the 16th century, and 2) a post on W.C. Harris' thesis concerning "the supplementary relation assumed by certain nineteenth-century literary texts toward traditionally nonliterary (political or theological) modes of social organization [which] takes its precent from the relation between America's operative documents of state formation, each of which (the Articles, the Constitution, its amendments, subsequent legislation, and judicial opinions) either replaces its predecessor text or omits or revises those passages that, by logical contradiction, block the full realization of some founding principle" (pg. 3).
(I'm not kidding about that 2nd post, ridiculous as it sounds -- it's very important, and I'm going to write about that sentence until it makes sense to all of you... especially you, Mxrk, with that prelim encroaching.)