Saturday, July 11, 2015

Temples and Sacred Science

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g298003-d2615522-r169527496-Pergamon_Asklepieion_and_Acropolis-Bergama_Izmir_Province_Turkish_Aegean_Coast.html#photos

I think I ended the last post with a positive vision, even if I have little faith that the nuts running our schools and media will stop being nuts because I asked them to.  [Best English accent: if you would be so kind as to stop fucking the planet up with your horrible ideas, unchecked emotional needs to interfere with other peoples lives, inability and unwillingness to learn, and functional economic incompetence--all while relentlessly accusing people like me of the same--I would be ever so grateful.]

Here is another.  A friend of mine posted a video of this marvelous complex in Turkey with which I had been unfamiliar, the Asclepion of Pergamum.  The Asclepion comes from Asclepius, from whom we get the caduceus, which is still a modern symbol of medicine.  Pergamum is the Roman city where it was.

It was a healing center, where among other things they had sleeping chambers where you would go to have dreams which it was hoped would provide the clue to curing whatever your ailment was.

What struck me was what we might call the ceremonial science, in which you would drink water thought to have healing properties, and then in my understanding walk a path between columns and through a tunnel into what I think were underground sleeping chambers.

Ritual and architecture, song and chant and music, ceremonies and images and sculpture: all can be evocative, and supportive of altered states of consciousness which are healing.  I think they knew, then, some things we have not yet rediscovered, about how to nourish and tend to the inner self, the spiritual self, and how then to integrate it back into the outer world.

And the image returned to me, which I shared a few years ago, of modern temples build using actual science.   There is no reason we could not study what they did then--and what various religions around the world do even today--and discover what value they provide, and eventually how they provide it.

We can and should develop a Science of the Sacred.  Complete psychospiritual integration should be a university level discipline, one which uses aspects of psychology, sociology, visual arts, music, architecture, literature, biology and biochemistry, neurology and neuroscience, and philosophy.  And whatever I forgot.

The task of learning to live with love and pleasure in this life, and learning how to properly enter the next, is really all that human life is actually about.  We have entered an age in which leisure COULD be nearly universal.  We have made slaves of our machines.  We can exist well with relatively little work, and without living on the backs of anyone, as most of the world has for most of history.

But we have to overcome bad ideas, stubborn, recalcitrant people, and the clinging to a past which is gone.  We have lost matter, and it is not coming back.  We are left with spirit in the middle of our science, but all too few want to admit it.

We need to admit it.  We need to tell this truth too.  We need to begin to build a world which is beautiful, not ugly; free, not confined; and genuinely liberal, open and honest.

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