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The hierarchy of being and the idea of reincarnation

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My thinking on all of this grew in part from a few sources, most generally a sense I always had form earliest youth that I had been before and would continue to be (I recall none of the early memories of previous lives often encountered in the literature from extremely young children, generally 5 or younger, who also seem to demonstrate arguably residual sensitivity to various energy phenomena, such as auras, what are called ghosts, etc..  In my case it was a feeling.).  My thoughts have been highly influenced by Nietzsche (who started from a premise of nihilism or what I call vulgar materialism, then dedicated his career to finding ways first to cope with that [such as the veils of transfiguring illusion found in The Birth of Tragedy], then to refute it by replacing it with something that resonated through eternity metaphysically [the idea of the eternal recurrence, which has to be understood as having had different levels of intended meaning, and which developed late in Nietzsche’s life, unfortunately cut short by his collapse into madness the idea arguably accelerated).  They were also influenced by Heidegger (who used Nietzsche as his starting point without the burden of nihilism that tortured his mentor); Heidegger’s fixation, of course, was ontology (the study of the nature of being), he groped around looking for answers without ever really arriving at anything more concrete than a set of speculative assertions and a vocabulary (way of being in the world, thrown-ness, all being as being there [someplace specific with a concrete, essential identity, not being “anywhere” with any or no identity).  This was all combined in my mind with the core concept articulate classically by writers like Plutarch critical to into-european spirituality, the idea that all being exists within a hierarchy, or, if you will, multiple overlapping hierarchies, of consciousness, from low to high (from the smallest instance exhibiting conscious, volitional intelligence, such as a mouse to a god, defined as a volitionally intelligent form of consciousness having greater individuation and more control over itself, its environment, and potentially other consciousnesses than a human).  You could define a god more precisely as a being having a kind of supremely individuated, powerful consciousness (though not one omnipotent or necessarily immortal in its current form, and certainly not one with any definitional need to conform to some human moral definition of “good” or “all-good”).

You could also define various consciousnesses encountered universally in all human belief systems (assuming some base level of civilizational sophistication) between god or gods and humans – demigods, archangels, angels, demons, djinn, etc.  (Of interesting note to me as a brief aside – there never has been any such things as monotheism, that’s an illusion asserted by various proponents of abrahamic structures, none of which are monotheistic, even Islam —  all are predicated on the idea of not just God, but angels, demons, djinn, the critical difference between the Abrahamic faiths and all others, certainly Indo-European belief structures, is that while all intelligent peoples everywhere believe in a hierarchical multitude of godlike consciousnesses, ONLY the Abrahamic faiths, starting with that of those strange, little, “chosen,” people, the Jews, asset that their primary God is the only God and that all of the other gods of other peoples are “false,” or “demons” to be denied, reviled, cast out, whose altars are to be torn down and idols destroyed.

The God of the Jews is a “jealous god,” who tolerates no other (though even he and his adherents assert the existence of a multitude of lesser, subordinate godlike beings, angels and fallen angels (demons), to which category all other gods are supposedly reduced  The Jews also uniquely defined their one primary god as Omnipotent, Eternal, and later at least implied he was “all good,” though that concept has little support in their scriptures and was more left to their theological offshoot, the Christians, another strange sect, to articulate explicitly.  In my view, though Islam is, I believe, a bastard, cobbled together offshoot of these Abrahamic traditions that should only be taken seriously as a kind of retrograde, totalitarian death cult, the Islamic idea is more internally consistent than the Christian when confronting an Omnipotent being, their God being beyond good and evil, or rather, good not being defined for their god by any moral categories cognizable by humans but rather simply being the expression of whatever their god wants.  It is a terrifying view, but I don’t think a god can meaningfully be both Omnipotent and All Good with Good being confined to whatever humans might like it to be in a given moment; certainly nothing in the actions of Yahweh in the Jewish texts seems remotely “good” by our moral calculus, let all “all good,” unless by “good” we mean him doing whatever he wants).

Anyway, I started thinking about all of this again during my war with the Kurzweil cult (documented on ); briefly:

1.  These people, organized around techno-triumphalist lunatic Ray Kurzweil, have now infested Google among many other organizations, and thus have the influence and resources to realize their particular vision for mankind, which is to either subordinate it to successor “machine intelligences” or replace it with them

2.  They represent the logical conclusion of vulgar materialism and what used to be called Satanism (a worship of power as power, with a specific goal of transcending human limitations by transforming matter into life either infusing humans into that or supplanting them with it)

3.  Critically: they deny that there is a qualitative difference between life and non-life and reduce all volitionally intelligent consciousness (something that has not been and arguably cannot be fully understood) to something they do understand, namely, what machines do – gathering and storing data, then manipulating it through calculation and using the product to inform action in the world.

To these people there is no difference between a rock and a person, or, as they would put it, if a computer has enough acting memory, long term data storage, sensors, and a powerful enough set of processors to manipulate that data and inform various actions in the world, then that computer could be as “intelligent” as a human, or more intelligent than a person, and thus would represent not just consciousness, but a transcendent consciousness.  (This is expressed various ways, such as the “Turing Test,” i.e. If a computer is sufficiently facile at responding verbally to a person to fool the person into thinking it is human, than it may as well be considered human, etc.)

By denying the difference between life and non-life these people express absolute materialism and what Nietzsche called nihilism (as such a denial is a denial of the reality of consciousness as something having any meaning other than the product of random combinations of molecules over a long enough period of time).  

I think this denial is both wrong and monstrous as well as being absurd.  (I won’t repeat all of my arguments here; feel free to read over if you’re interested).

Anyway, if we accept the qualitative difference between life and non-life, with life being defined as anything having volitionally intelligent consciousness (which machines do not have, and in my view, can only ever mimic), movement to the classical idea of the hierarchy of being is simple enough, with all creatures having consciousness being qualitatively similar (though different hierarchically in degree of individuation, power over themselves and their environment, etc.)  

I think what I’ve been referring to as volitionally intelligent consciousness should rather be called by its traditional term, the soul; further, I believe all creatures exhibiting volitional intelligence have souls. Machines do not and in my view can not.

I also believe the soul is immortal, and merely incarnates in physical forms for purposes of acting in the world.  I suspect this is part of a process of transformation, wherein over the course of vast amounts of time beings learn to further individuate themselves and gain greater mastery over themselves, their environments, and others – or at least, within which such growth is possible (as is decay from higher to lower levels of individuated consciousness).  

It could be thought of as an eternal game. Now, when reading the literature on this kind of thing, there’s often much Buddhistic type verbiage about the “goal” of this process being to learn how to become more “tolerant” and “loving” with the ultimate object being obliteration of the self in some vague oneness of being; I reject that as both undesirable, from my perspective, and totally unsubstantiated.  I think the goal of being, to the extent it has a goal, is or should be to become what you are (as Nietzsche had it) not to become nothingness, as the Buddhists assert, and think they have it exactly backward – 

Each consciousness in my view begins as part of this undifferentiated mass of being, then either is expelled, or detaches itself; it then incarnates over and over in various forms in the world as, arguably, part of the process of becoming what it is, learning to differentiate itself, and also to experience, to do.  

(An aside:

1.  I don’t believe that any kind of equality exists or is desirable, between sexes, species, races, ethnicities, ancestral groups, individuals; we do not see and should not want “equality,” what we see are overlapping hierarchies of ability, temperament, ways of being in the world (as Heidegger would call them).

2.  As a necessary corollary, different groups exhibit different sets of preferences, what are called values, etc.  All of this is rooted physically in genetics, which I believe is the mechanism by which souls express themselves in physical form in the world; that controls all aspects of personality, physical and mental preferences, etc; the closer related and thus more genetically similar people are, the more overlap there tends to be, probabilistically, the less related and more genetically distinct the more difference.  Thus different groups express their “cultures” or rather the extended phenotypes of their shared genotypes in the world.

3.  Different groups have different concepts of the beautiful as they have different concepts of the good.  In my view, these are not “equal” to each other in some anodyne, phony relativistic way, but they are specifically valid for each group; Jews for example, really do think various building are beautiful that someone like me considers hideous.  Both judgments are correct; similarly, the gods were always understood by everyone but the bizarre Abrahamic traditions as being particular to each group (existing tangibly but having particular relevance and currency for particular groups, arguably as more indicated, powerful expressions of the shared way of being in the world of the members of those groups.)

4.  So, it could be that, consistent with all of this, there is no one hierarchy of the good, no one hierarchy of the beautiful, no one hierarchy of the true or the desirable, but an essentially infinite number of overlapping hierarchies particular to each way of being in the world (shared by individuals to the extent their ways of being in the world are similar, which generally corresponds to or is given physical expression by genetic similarity)

5.  Thus it could be that different souls have different objectives or find the objectives most consonant to their gradually defined/discovered ways of being in the world.  It could be that I am a Nietzschean who views being as a process of becoming what you are with an object of obtaining greater mastery over the self, the environment, and others (power), but that others have a very different way of being in the world; perhaps some of them really do strive towards greater “karmic purity” with the object of achieving “unconditional” absolute “tolerance” and “love” and being ultimately reabsorbed into some great undifferentiated mass consciousness (an idea repulsive to me).  Perhaps others strive towards achieving ultimate submission towards some omnipotent or powerful enough being, as in the Islamic view.  It could be, as was viewed traditionally, that all belief systems are true, in a way, NOT because they all ultimately say the same thing (they don’t), BUT because they are all true for those who naturally subscribe to them (as they are false for those who do not).  Critically, in this view, it would not be belief or “faith” in something that makes it true, rather it would be true to the extent it was consistent with the way of being in the world of the proponent.  That would of course mean that such truths are contingent but real, in the sense that different people can have an opposite aesthetic reaction to a given object that is still valid for both.

Now, being, acting and observing others in the world are enough to demonstrate to me both the qualitative difference between life and non-life and the presence of souls within beings that have life.  Such souls would not necessarily be immortal; this question is inherently more speculative and draws on human traditions in all cultures of any level of sophistication as well as many experiences that don’t seem reconcilable with any other explanation.  (One of my principles is that all beliefs of consequence are rooted in something real, however confused or distorted; the more various belief systems independently come to the same conclusions, the more likely the conclusions are to all spring from the same real thing.  For example, it is a strange commonplace of all belief systems that gods, demigods, angels and demons existed in concrete form and acted in the world, then, at some point, vanished.  I think it more likely that something like that is true than that people everywhere would have just decided independently that the gods all left.  )

All human spiritual systems agree on the existence and effective immortality of the soul; into-european systems also all share a belief in transmigration of souls or what is called reincarnation (more often now encountered in their Indian offshoots, hinduism and buddhism).  What evidence do we have that such a thing really happens; wanting it to be true, of course, isn’t enough.  

  1. The most concrete evidence I’ve seen is documented memories of small children recalling specific details of past lives that are verifiable, consistent with reincarnation, and impossible to explain through separate encounters, chance, etc.  Such recollections are often also accompanied by strange birthmarks and evidence of traumas that seem consistent with details from those past lives; they have been independently verified and can’t be rationalized away; some also exhibit not just memories of concrete details that arguably are otherwise impossible, but facility with languages they have never encountered and understanding of other things that cannot be explained adequately by their experiences as small children
  2. Were these simply fabricated accounts or drawn from books, movies, etc. they would happen more as children get older (and absurd more such information); but they don’t.  They seem to stop around 5; similarly, such young children often demonstrate a sensitivity to energy lost as they grow older (as do animals).
  3. Near death recollections and experiences from past life regression should also be taken into account (not uncritically, but when properly verified).

All of this is part of a larger whole regarding the subtle body, energy, other phenomena that can’t be explained within materialist structures (ghosts, energy phenomena, psychic abilities, possession, out of body experiences, etc.)

Written by ulrichthered

July 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized