Law of Attraction Part 2. Early Accounts and the Divine Mind

Buddha

 

The functional form of prayer has as many divergent points as there are religions, and these points range anywhere from requesting some Divine blessing or boon, to gaining some intimate knowledge and understanding of the Nature and existence of God. Thus, Religion and Prayer are inseparable.

Let us take a brief look at the major religions of the world and of their functional forms of prayer to see if there are any hints or signs of the Law of Attraction within them.

 

Hinduism

The Rig Veda is the principal book of hymns of Hinduism and thought to have been written some 3000 years ago, making the Veda the oldest religious text that is still used in the world today. The very first hymn of the Rig Veda is addressed to Agni, the Hindu Deity of Fire and acceptor of sacrifices. This Vedic hymn has its own the Law of Attraction saying: “Through Agni man obtaineth wealth, yes, plenty waxing day by day…”

It is interesting to note that Ancient Hindu prayers and mantras also functioned as magical incantations extolling the virtues of the Gods, who are considered to possess irresistible magical powers that can be used to solicit Divine favors for the welfare of the person or the community.

 

Buddhism

In an uncanny foreshadowing of the Law of Attraction, the ancient Buddhists also insisted that if you believe in something with enough intensity, you will become what you believe.

“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.”
– Buddha, The Dhammapada

These lines from the Dhammapada are a favorite confirmation point of the proponents of the Law of Attraction. However, one of the main tenets of Buddhism is to transcend the state of suffering – and to do that, it helps to transcend the mind by removing attachment to material things. Thus for the Buddhist, prayer is used to remove the negativity within the mind and purify it through meditation which eventually leads to ‘Awakening.’ Meditation is not used to acquire material possession or abundance.

 

Judaism

The Jewish Rabbinical Tradition claims that God “longs for the prayer of the righteous.” Judaism recognizes three different sorts of prayer – thanksgiving, praise and requests. There is a belief in Judaism that God will take action in response to prayer, and the rabbinical tradition tells us that the more we ask God to help us, the more God will love us MORE.

 

Christianity 

Christians who buy into the Law of Attraction are fond to use this quote found in the Gospel of Mark, regarding prayer:

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The 1st Epistle of John says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1John 5:14). 

Thus for a prayer to be answered, it is God’s Will that must always be taken into account. But what is allowable for a Christian to pray for?

The answers are often contradictory. The Early Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine claimed that one could pray for anything as long as it was ‘legal.’ Thomas Aquinas said that praying was a waste of time since God had already decided whose prayers He will answer and no amount of prayer could ever change God’s Mind.

 

Islam

The Qur’an places many conditions and rules regarding prayer. A Muslim must perform the Salat- the 5 obligatory prayers that must be done at specific times during the day while facing the holy city of Mecca. The Muslim engages in an elaborate regimen of ablution, bowing, kneeling, prostrating and so on. The Muslim considers prayer as the most important factor in life after possessing a true and correct belief of God and His Prophet. The function of Prayer in Islam is to strengthen the character and deepen the connection of the faithful and is an expression of religious reverence. Basically, Muslims have no reason to pray outside of the notion that God told them to do it and that it would be good for them.

As we have seen, Prayer is one of the earliest and most popular form of the Law of Attraction. Whether the prayer is a petition for good fortune, or to curse one’s enemies, or even as a way to justify human sacrifice to lift a drought, all Prayer is the epitome of human self-interest which is a key point of the Law of Attraction. And for the Believers, the Will of the Heavenly Father always knows what is best for humanity.

 

The Divine Mind

A central tenet in the Law of Attraction is the emphasis placed on the magnetic and creative energy of the mind. As we have already shown, belief and practice of the Law of Attraction has always existed in one form or another, beginning in the dim past as ritual magic as a way to gain personal power from Gods or Demons. We also saw how ritual magic and incantation evolved into prayer – the respectful request for divine favor. The Gods were seen as cosmic forces with good and evil inclinations – beings, if you will, whose agendas a human could only guess at or fear.

The Ancient Greek Philosophers had a slightly different picture of cosmic forces. Obviously, they had their typical anthropomorphic Gods and Goddesses, Heroes, Golden Fleece, Mystery Cults and all of that. But the Greeks also had their own twist on the age-old pursuit of determining what made up the cosmos and how it worked. They imagined a universe as an ordered, rational process of a substance that was the source of all things. Various opinions were considered about the nature of this substance among the Greek philosophers, ranging from fire, air, water and earth. But it was the pre-Socratic philosopher Anaxagoras who came up with a cosmology in which he described the first principle as a divine Mind or Intelligence. Anaxagoras said that the physical was infinitely divisible and motionless unless moved by this Mind, which he called, ‘Nous.’

The Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Zeno both described the first cause as Logos, Greek for “Word’ or ‘Reason,’ which was an infinite, divine fire which operated in the same systematic fashion as Anaxagoras’ Nous. This Logos was a Divine Intelligence that was infused within all of existence.

Zeno and the Stoics also believed in predestination – where Humanity’s Fate was tied to a Divine Plan that Human Beings were unable to escape. Everything that happens to you is part of this Divine Plan, the Stoics said, so you might as suck it up and learn to foster indifference to events in the world, because you are not free to change anything. There are no accidents. There is no free will. Everything exists to further the Divine Plan.

In the first century CE, during the time of the historical Jesus, there was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria who went by the name of Philo. Philo joined Jewish and Platonic ideas into a cosmology in which he claimed that God was totally transcendent, unmoved and unconcerned about the affairs of this world. Outside of this God is eternal matter – evil and formless. Since God can have no connection to the corrupted state of the physical, the Logos, as the Reason and Spoken Word of God, functions as the mediator between God and Humanity. But by the end of the 2nd century CE, a radical new definition of Logos is presented. What was once conceived by Classical Greek philosophers as the rational Creative Principle and Divine Mediator between Heaven and Earth, is now reinterpreted by Christian theologians into the figure of the Son of God, descended to Earth in the flesh, in the bodily form of Jesus Christ.

Another important Egyptian philosopher of that era was Plotinus, who also placed a wholly transcendent, wholly unknowable and wholly indescribable God as the source of all things. This God cannot change, and thus it does not create – for that would imply change. From the source, or the One, as Plotinus called it, emanated the Divine Mind. The Divine Mind – Nous, again functions as mediator between Source and Creation, and holds all of existence, which are the Thoughts of God.

From the Divine Mind emanates the Soul. The Soul can be seen in all life forms – plant, animal and human, ordered in a hierarchy of progressively complex combinations of souls that are the outflows of the Cosmic Soul. For someone who claims that the source of creation is utterly unknowable, Philo and Plotinus sure seem to know a lot about this God.

By the time of the medieval period, Christian Theology had been heavily influenced by the teachings of St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, who each had their own interpretation of God’s Divine Plan. Augustine claimed that God knew before time who would receive His ‘Graces.’ According to Augustine, if you do not receive these graces, it’s only because God already knows that you won’t take them. Centuries later, the great Scholastic, Thomas Aquinas, taught that when we use our mind and heart according to the Divine Plan, we are united in love and knowledge and live the very life of God. And yet, this Divine Plan is unknown, which sounds a lot like Philo and Plotinus and a bit like the modern explanation Law of Attraction – where the emphasis of being “in synch” with the Divine Plan is the key in having your abundance manifest in your life.

 

Next: Alchemy & Medieval Magic

Fear of Equality, Part 3 03/06/2013

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The Myth of Liberty

Capitalism  is not only an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, and it is not only a system based on private ownership and generating profits for the “free market” and “investors.” It is actually a functioning Religion, as well.

As a Religion, Capitalism provides many of the same features and benefits any metaphysical system could conceive. It deals entirely in matters of Faith, worship and beliefs in a Supreme Being (of sorts). There are Narratives that are passed down from written books written centuries ago by Priests and Prophets, who created expansive systems of economic theologies which believers take as proof of their God’s existence and Truth of the nature of Reality. There are several main beliefs that have been given a metaphysical status within Capitalism, although we’ll only touch upon a few. It is the enduring, totalizing and ubiquitous presence of these beliefs systems that have made Capitalism so entrenched and almost impossible – to – dislodge for what it is; a pious and deadly superstition. If we look at some of the main myths of Capitalism, it will be revealed that what actually is offered as the truth are distorted and destructive definitions that has been surreptitiously uprooted and erased from their original meanings. The amazing thing is that these transformed, innovated and falsified distortions have caused these definitions to drift away and disappear from their supposedly definite significations, and nobody has seemed to notice. It is much like donkey meat being sold as 100% ground beef at the supermarket, and people not knowing or caring about the difference.

1. Liberty

Capitalism claims to promote liberty, voluntary exchange, integrity, political freedom, private property and wealth. Of these, private ownership of property and personal liberty are touted as the main benefits of Capitalism, and with it, a moralistic presumption that these things are what everyone naturally desires and are entitled to by their own self-reliance and the Grace of God. This idea, among others from classical Liberalism from intellectuals like Hobbes,  and slave – traders such as John Locke and proslavery advocate Hugo Grotius [1]. “Sovereignty,” “natural law,” and the “pursuit of happiness,” were all the rage with these philosophers, although the question of slavery was still far from settled for these purveyors of liberty. With the rise of Capitalism, there was a growing realization that realities of slavery and the ideas of liberty were causing friction and discord among the European intelligentsia. Logic, reason and common sense failed to dislodge the institution of slavery from the institution of Christianity (which tacitly supported it) and the newly – formed investor class that was beginning to amass astounding, if risky profits from the slave trade.  It took centuries and the bloody American Civil War to help settle the question for good. The definition of Liberty, always as metaphysical and philosophical term of “freedom” which never existence in palpable  physical terms on Earth, was slowly transformed within the evolution of the Capitalistic system. Although slavery was abolished, with the idea that man could not have his labor sold without his consent or payment, what now “free” to rent his labor to another for a wage, instead. This bastardization of “liberty” is today’s “freedom” to libertarians and neoliberals, who have no problem in checking their avowed respect for “voluntary exchange” and “personal integrity” at the door, or change their meanings into a gross distortion, as long as it boosts profits.

Capitalism does not promote “liberty,” but in reality, produces a crypto-authoritarian state of enslavement, alienation, endless consumption, poverty, waste and war. Why do I say “crypto-authoritarian?” Because there is no “voluntary exchange” within Capitalism. There is only voluntary servitude. If one doesn’t “voluntarily” hand over one’s body, effort, mind and time to another, that person will not have a bed to sleep or food on their table. Yet Liberty is raised to religious heights, like an invisible Supreme Being that lives in the sky that has no shape or form other than that molded by inference, wishful thinking and ignorance born from the narratives of Capitalist propaganda. Nobody wants to live without a bed or food, because there is no life outside this  system, where only the hell and gnashing of teeth of  begging, destitution and death awaits. Quite an inescapable bubble we’ve managed to create for ourselves, and yet, the belief has solidified into a substance far heavier than Mount Everest: that this is the best of all possible worlds and that Capitalism is the best of all possible systems created by Man. Well, with half of the world’s population living on less than $2 a day, you couldn’t prove this to me.

2. The Individual and the Fear of the Group

Also known as God, the Übermensch or the Exceptional Man. Here as well Capitalism elevates the Individual into metaphysical terms as a perfect expression of humanity, the idealized being that conquers and subdues all in his path. Like the petulant, disgruntled John Galt, but this Individual does not exist, much like John Galt, does not exist, but is a story of the frustrated expression of enlightened self-interest. “Men of the mind” [2], as Ayn Rand would put it, whose genius and acumen creates the gifts of the Gods for the swarming masses of humanity.

Within the Capitalist  (and especially the Libertarian and anarcholibertarian) mythos, the Individual is granted an unassailable sovereignty that is unconcerned with anything that might dampen the fires of “enlightened” self – interest. This dimension of the Individual is meant to convey a political reality where the rights of the Individual is claimed to supersede the rights of the Group. When we speak of Fear of Equality we are in essence speaking about fear of the Group.  In Western Civilization, this fear has a deep philosophical undercurrent. The great Holy Trinity of Classical thought, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, were all disdainful and fearful of democracy and majority rule. They thought, and many others as well, thought that the common man was a bit too dense to allow social groups to act as a politically cohesive unit. [3]

The Individual, according the Capitalist religion, is endowed with “rights,” “free choice” and “responsibilities” that must not be thwarted by any outside agency, for the Individual must be given “personal liberty,” free from the restraints of the leeches of society.  Individual must be granted total sovereignty over their body and more importantly, over the ability to form networks, agreements and relationships. This Individual seems to have no real connection or relationships with other Individuals, and seems to exist in and as an island unto themselves, unless one enters into a “voluntary association.”  Yet, even though this Individual must enter systems of social and financial relationships which forms a “Group” that he naturally fears and despises, according to the Capitalist mythos, the Individual must be allowed the liberty to dictate what kind of relationship he wants to enter with another, as long as it does not involve stealing or forcibly harming another’s body or property.

What is interesting here is that the current system steals and harms the largest portion of human beings (Individuals as a Group) on Earth. Of course the Individual lives in fear over that the Group will some day, out of sheer, overwhelming numbers and vengeance, take his property and wealth away. Ayn Rand went so far to even deny that society (as a Group) did not exist, since it is made up by Individuals, and did not enjoy any moral claims to have rights – “rights”  could only be enjoyed by the Individual. The grafting of a moral component to the capitalist concern of self – interest was a cheap trick (who isn’t for morality?), but many have bought it. And few have questioned how is it that Capitalism (composed of one group of Individuals), as a “moral” system, holds no responsibility for the incredibly damaging effects it produces for this planet and the larger group of Individuals living on it.  “Rights,” “liberty” and “morality” are imaginary, metaphysical concepts used to justify the trap that exists as the jaws of a nightmare from which there is no escape.

Only the fear of the Group is real.

NEXT: The Survival of the Fittest

NOTES

[1] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) was immensely influential in developing the “natural law” idea that would be borrowed and expanded upon by such thinkers as Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jaques Rousseau and Locke. Among his ideas was that is permissible for a being to enter into voluntary servitude in exchange for a stable society. Compare this with the modern libertarianism of  Robert Nozick’s notorious statement from his book, “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” (1974):  “The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery.  I believe that it would.” While Libertarians wonder why they aren’t taken more seriously, this is precisely the reality we all find ourselves in.

[2] Ayn Rand’s hero, John Galt, who is meant to be a Capitalist “hero” in Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” is a rather poor example of the flower of Capitalism Rand’s followers make him out to be, because the question must be asked; what self – respecting Capitalist worth his salt goes on strike against… his customers?

In a lengthy speech that drags on for dozens of pages, Galt crows, ““All the men who have vanished, the men you hated, yet dreaded to lose, it is I who have taken them away from you. Do not attempt to find us. We do not choose to be found. Do not cry that it is our duty to serve you. We do not recognize such duty. Do not cry that you need us. We do not consider need a claim. Do not cry that you own us. You don’t. Do not beg us to return. We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.”

[3] Aristotle:  “A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.” and “Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.” Plato was just as scornful: “Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.” According to research by I. F. Stone in his book, The Trial of Socrates, Socrates was put to death because of his teaching of anti-democratic views to his pupils in Athens.