EsoBites: Real I: Self-Made or Pre-Existent (1)
October 6, 2016
Today’s discourse is a good example of the interface between the Old and New Traditions of Esoteric Studies. In the next few discourses, I attempt to present the primary theological and philosophical views entertained by thinking men and women over the past six thousand years, as to the existence of an aphysical Soul, a Master Within, Inner Self, and Real I.
Everyone holds a current belief as the whether or not human beings come into the physical world with a God-Given and Divine Soul. I would appreciate my readers putting such beliefs, partially at least, while reading and thinking about these discourses. For if one refuses to empty his or her teacup of its particular brew, then he or she will be unable to taste anything new. Of course, any God worth Its Divinity would allow each one to choose and follow whatever belief he or she thinks has been consciously chosen–which is never the case.
As an aside, the Pali Suttas contain a succinct discussion of much which is to follows.
Nihilism is a philosophical belief system that rejects all Deity-based religious systems, both as to theology and ethics. It generally teaches that human life is innately meaningless and purposeless. Subsequently, the physical universe and its sentient and nonsentient life forms are conceived, born, grow, decay and die given sufficient time.
Nihilism comes in several flavors, the most tenable being existential (which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value), amoralism (asserts that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived), and epistemological (all knowledge is accepted as possibly untrue or unable to be known). I leave aside metaphysical and mereological nihilism as I find then untenable at all levels.
If one chooses nihilism as his or her summum bonum, then souls and nonphysical entities and nonmaterial worlds do not exist.
Humanism is a philosophical system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.
Modern humanists hold that humanity must seek for truth through reason and the best observable evidence and endorse scientific skepticism and the scientific method. As such humanism is a psychological and evolution based viewpoint. Decisions as to right and wrong are based upon individual and social concepts of common good, with no consideration given to metaphysical or supernatural beings.
Contemporary humanism entails a qualified optimism about the capacity of people, but it does not involve believing that human nature is purely good or that all people can live up to the Humanist ideals without help. If anything, there is recognition that living up to one’s potential is hard work and requires the help of others. The ultimate goal is human flourishing; making life better for all humans, and as the most conscious species, also promoting concern for the welfare of other sentient beings and the planet as a whole. The focus is on doing good and living well in the here and now, and leaving the world a better place for those who come after.
As humanism is a materialistic/existential system denying any concepts of an absolute standard of altruism and self-aggrandizement (as is known in all esoteric schools as True Conscience), it denies the existence of individual souls, the Over-Soul, and enlightened Cosmically Significant Beings.
In both Nihilism and Humanism, proponents have little interest in careful study of the inner worlds of our minds, individual and collective. Hence, they fail to find such worlds.