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Category Archives: Speculative conjecture

The Ancestors and the Religion of the Soil (Part 3)

In my last two posts, I speculated about the establishment and possible later subsequent theological interpretation by the British populations of a Religion of the Soil. My initial curiosity was roused by the now, somewhat historically dubious, quote accredited to the Georgians. This period was a period of time in Britain known as the Neolithic age. This age was notable for several things, as can be seen on the provided link. One was the establishment of comunittees that settled into an agricultural lifestyle, providing food grown by and on the land as opposed to the earlier hunter / gatherer peoples. Adoption of this lifestyle points to how a religion of the soil would have been both a logical and natural position from which to develop a spiritual framework that would be directly influenced by both environment and the earlier interactions of previous generations.

These people worked with stone but the tools produced were mainly produced by chipping or knapping and it wasn’t until the end of this period that a more sophisticated working of the stone appeared. These later techniques were responsible for the dressed stones seen in henges in varyingly degrees of quality. It would, therefore, lead one to speculate whether these techniques led to the stones being accredited with ancestral power, possibly by the accumulations of stone dust being assimilated back into the soil, thus revealing the origin of the stone or whether the theological position of the ancestors residing in the stone drove the stone working techniques. Either way, it would appear that for the next several hundred years, stone was accredited with the quality of ancestor influence and how the stone appeared was deemed important enough for these people to spend many hours dressing the stone. Britain’s ultimate example of the effort involved would be represented by Stonehenge (without wishing to reduce the influence and quality of other examples out there).

However, referring back to the link presented in my first post that relates to a proposed historical development of Stonehenge, we see the adoption of further influences and the subsequent redevelopment as a consequence of a continuing developing spiritual framework. The most obvious of these would be the positioning of the stones in relation to the entrances into and out of the monument, and the alignment with the midwinter and midsummer sun.

This hints at a theological movement that now places spiritual influence out of the strictly physical and into the nonphysical side of life. This would appear to be a position that didn’t create conflict, as it would appear to me that the inclusion of stone was still central, judging by the positioning of the stones, so I would suggest that these were seen as complimentary forces. I would also suggest that any influx of peoples from mainland Europe may have brought with them ideas about the nonphysical and that may have also have been judged initially as complementary to this position.

However, I refer back to the climatic information provided here and especially the period of time from 2300 BC. There is no doubt in my mind that such climatic conditions and the results of such weather patterns, with crop failures and the subsequent consequences, would have led the populations, quite understandably, to reassess their belief systems. It may have been concluded that the main power lay not in the physical realms of the ancestors, but in the nonphysical realms, that being represented by the air that brought the extreme weather patterns that were laying ruin to their endeavours. Something would have been seen as being even more powerful than the ancestors and the indiscriminate nature of the activities may have hinted at a force that didn’t originate from a genealogical line so therefore this force would not be tied to the populations by blood. The influence of these powers therefore, could not be relied based upon through family ties.

Therefore, we may have our earliest candidate for the circumstances that may have led to a British spiritual hierarchical structure being developed with different entities being accredited with different powers. The severing of blood ties (genealogically)  would have reinforced the notion of a power beyond the human, the God. Population increases and increasing trading with mainland Europe may also have influenced the perceptions of the nature of these Gods, as these Gods would have been understood to be more of a transient nature, not being tied to a physical place but instead to a group or groups of people, which if climatic conditions were impacting upon the populations, may have proved to be a more pragmatic way in which to invoke the favours of the otherworld. The Gods were forcing the populations away from the ancestral grounds through climatic change, therefore their influence may have been viewed as being now in the ascendancy compared to the previous ancestors. This, logically, would have seen the establishment of a hierarchical structure, evidenced by later religious frameworks and thus moving the greater power away from the earlier religion of the soil.

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Posted by on July 1, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

The Ancestors and the Religion of the Soil (Part 2)

In my previous post, I speculated as to the origins of a potential “Religion of the Soil” mentioned in a text from 1911. Subsequent work amongst the Brython community has established this quote to be somewhat dubious if the author was accrediting the quote, as is suggested, to one Marcus Valerius Probus who lived in the 1st Century AD. The problem is that the subject matter, the Saint Martin of Tours, was a 4th century AD saint. However, the work this quote was taken from, the Georgics, appears to be a patchwork of commentaries ranging from the 1st century to the end of antiquity and further, the referencing is vague. So it would appear that the specifics of that quote don’t historically match the facts. However, if this quote has the potential to have been mistranslated and historically distorted, I remain of the opinion that this Religion of the Soil may be based in fact.

With this in mind, I’ll continue to speculate as to the progression of this early religious understanding and how it may have developed using the current archaeological understanding of the progression of monuments such as Stone Henge, which appears to be representative through both construction methods and historical time frame references with a lot of these types of monuments here in the British Isles.

The period of long barrow construction appears to be one that spanned several millenia, which suggests to me two things. First, that the spiritual belief system, the religion of the soil, was stable and widely used. Second, the human population was stable and probably not in large scale conflict. I make the second assumption because the history of conflict shows us that changes of perspectives, both spiritual and practical are often prompted by conflict with the victors imposing their beliefs and practices over the vanquished (unless, of course, this belief system was common to both parties).

Using SH as our primary reference, there appears to be a re-alligning of beliefs over several hundred years from around 3000 BC. Stone artifacts in the form of standing stones appear in these henges, whose original constructions appear to be of just earthen banks, suggesting as I previously raised, that these areas were for the ancestors using the medium they may have believed them to currently inhabit, the soil. I have also read elsewhere, and this has been raised in the link to the proposed historical progression of SH in the comments section, that one possible purpose of the ditch was to “keep in” the henge, that which the population wished to interact with. I would suggest, using the ideas I have raised so far, that this would be in keeping with my speculation here, that is to say, they wished to “keep in” the ancestors and the formation of the ditch may have been their way of creating a restraining influence on these ancestors.

So, what may have been the circumstances that led to this apparent re-allignment? Well, if we think about the time periods these henges would have been in existence for at around 3000 BC, then some of them would be aged at over 1500 years, which is quite a long period of time. No doubt, their physical appearance would be different, at least in some of the less well used ones, with the more well used ones being subject to frequent maintenance. The natural elements, driven no doubt by climatic conditions, would have had a resultant effect on the physical condition of these henges. There is some data that suggests that from 3500 BC to 3000 BC, the climate did, indeed, take a turn for the worse. It doesn’t take a large leap of imagination as to the results of such climatic upheaval upon the spiritual resolve of these peoples.

Constant maintenance as a result of an intense storm driven climate would, no doubt, have led to the questioning of the supposed power and influence of these ancestors in their henges. Maybe not so much of the ancestors spiritual influence, but one of their physical influence. If the ancestors were a presence that influenced the people at all times, then shouldn’t their physical appearance be one of a more permanent nature also?

Physical interactions and processes viewed as interacting with the soil, such as intense periods of heat for example, may have led some to conclude that the soil may be subject to an ongoing change from pliable to fixed. Sandstone springs to mind readily, a “soft” rock that may have been viewed as being in a state of transformation, one that was still soft enough to be damaged by humans with their bare hands, but would ultimately, be hard enough to not be damaged by human hands without some form of additional tools. Therefore, is it possible that a continuing developing understanding may have concluded that the presence of stone may represent the ancestors at a different stage of development?

Stone would have been seen to be not affected as much as the soil strata when subject to climatic conditions. Stone would have been observed to contain the small particles present in soil, but “fixed” in a solid state. Therefore, logically those same particles viewed in the stone must contain those same ancestors as seen in the ground soil. The ancestors would have been present in stone! This must have represented quite a leap for a people for whom the ground soil may have represented the physical animating force of the ancestors with the realization that the ancestors may also be present in a more fixed substance!

In the last part, I’ll speculate upon the reasoning that may have led to the establishment of a belief in forces being present in the unseen realms of existence.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

The Ancestors and the Religion of the Soil (Part 1)

This time of year, around the summer solstice, is usually a quite significant period of the year for me. Connections to and with both Spirits of Place and ancestors heighten around now and it is usually a period of revelation for myself, which can lead to a period of unrest, usually with myself, as concepts start to encroach in my subconscious before manifesting themselves coherently. I have learnt that this heightened agitation with my posting is usually indicative of a change of perspective as these revelations make themselves known. This passage of transition through the subconscious into the conscious appears to be akin to a power surge through an electrical circuit, with thoughts, moods and perceptions subject to unusual activity (for me anyway) which lead to dissatisfaction with some previous perspectives.

However, the establishment of this blog has presented an outlet for ideas not entirely appropriate for some of the forums I frequent, giving me licence to follow-up ideas and perspectives that may have taken a considerable longer amount of time previously to develop. As such, it appears to be serving the primary purpose of acting as a safety valve, allowing me to attempt to try to make some cohesive thought structures here that, hopefully, will speed up the process.

My previous reading material from this past year has impacted on my reasoning with this book in particular, though hard to comprehend in some sections at the time, especially giving me a frame of reference that continues to impact on my thinking. This was not immediately obvious at the time of reading, but it appears the process mentioned previously has been in motion since reading and the solstice has now acted as a catalyst for some form of structure to take place in my mind.

I was reading some material on the net and this came to my attention. The entire piece is quite substantial and is dated around 1911 but on this page I was struck by this….“S. Martin of Tours was allowed to destroy a temple, but the people would not permit him to attack a much venerated pine-tree which stood beside it – an excellent example of the way in which the more official paganism fell before Christianity, while the older religion of the soil, from which it sprang, could not be entirely eradicated.”

An older religion of the soil was something I had not considered thoroughly. However, the more I think about it, the better it fits. Basically as we know, soil is the physical remains of organic material. With the landscape in earlier times being more organic in nature due to the very limited impact of humanity in those times, the surface of the land, one would assume, would be covered far more expansively in varied native plant litter. Attempting to get into the mindset of the peoples of those times, it occurred to me that this material may have been viewed as life giving back the potential for future generations through these physical remains, possibly viewed as a ritualistic sacrifice by these other forms of life. The results of trees depositing leaves, adding to this material, would have been observed to be, amongst other things, new tree life. Ground hugging plants dying back would also have been observed as providing the fuel for new growth. These living structures would be seen to be rooted in this life-giving substance and I would suggest that to some, it may have appeared that these very same living structures may have been viewed as attempting to retain this life-giving property by attempting to retain this soil through these rooting systems and building upon by these deposits by sacrificing its own life-giving parts, thus adding to the vitality of the soil by the sacrifice of the plants own parts. Therefore, these accumulations may have been seen as containing the ancestors of these life forms whose sacrifice was returning life to later generations.

Anything leaving physical remains in the environment may have been instinctively viewed as sacrificing of itself to nurture new life. Therefore, a religion of the soil would appear to be a natural position. The soil may have been viewed as the catalyst for life by the inclusion of ancestral remains, thus providing the conditions for vegetation to grow and therefore providing the material for more advanced life to exist, for example, life cultivated for human consumption amongst other things. Because it would be accepted that the ancestors existed in this soil substance, it would be a natural progression to see examples of “concentrated” ancestor interactions present in some examples of plant life. Therefore, certain examples of plants would be understood to exhibit ancestral powers, in the form of healing, fertility etc. This would place certain individual examples of a particular plant into the realms of the sacred also, through observed or related examples of interactions.

If we take the position that this ideology may have been present, then the examples of Long Barrows may be further explained using the idea that human remains being housed in areas derived from wood, taking it’s life from the sacred soil and possibly being derived from these sacred examples, would then act as a “conditioner”, preparing these remains for their entry into the sacred soil. When the time was deemed appropriate these remains would have been covered by that very same sacred soil, as is seen in the covered roofs of long barrows, thus reenacting and ritualizing the observed cycle of life and directly placing humanity into this sacred cycle. These human remains would, therefore, have a direct place in this cycle, no doubt with the intention of influencing that very same environment for the advantage of later generations.

If my speculation here has any basis in actuality, then it would appear to me that animism would be a natural evolution from this base position, the idea that there is a common substance or condition that envelops or permeates all of life. Ritual depositing of human remains into the soil, with these remains being marked out by the elevated mounds present in the landscape, would represent a marker and possibly a suggestion of soil being enhanced by the incorporation of these honoured human remains thus making a statement about the areas human population entering into and hopefully enhancing or influencing the localities life-giving potential.

Using this position that the soil was viewed as sacred by earlier generations makes for some interesting observations about ancient monuments and raises some further possibilities about some secondary reasoning behind the structures themselves. Most henges appear to have started life as earth banks and ditches, a position that appears to also relate to Stonehenge amongst others, if this piece is correct. Other henges appear to follow a similar construction, for example Arbor Low with its long barrow (Gib Hill) dated around 4,500 BC with the henge itself being a later addition, appears to have had its earthen bank constructed before any stone structures were placed on site. Using the position of soil as being viewed as a sacred substance may indicate that as well as forming a physical structure with which to restrict both access and viewing opportunities to the ceremonies being held inside, the bank may have been viewed as a method of symbolically raising the ancestors and incorporating them into the rituals of the local populations using this soil as a physical medium. Creating the bank is to raise the soil and thus, raise the ancestors from their present position within the soil.

The circular construction of these banks suggests that this would present all the ancestors with a viewing position for any and all activities within the henge and also would place protection of the site into the care of those very same ancestors by creating ancestor structures (the earthen bank). If they wanted certain ancestors present, then this design would afford those ancestors the opportunity to participate, no doubt with some positions more favourable for the “honoured” ancestors for whom a particular ceremony may be held for.

So the raised soil, in the form of earthen banks, may have been a symbolic and physical attempt with which to exert the influence of the ancestors into the lives of the present generations through both ceremonies and rituals in a semi-permanent setting using their understanding as to the properties of the soil. Entering the henge through these banks would be viewed as entering the arena of the ancestors, no doubt a somewhat powerful experience. The ditches observed with such structures, as well as being a possible defensive adaptation, may have also been intended as a possible method of intimidation to potential attendees by forcing them first down into the sacred soil (the ditch), and as such, the ancestors earthen bank would appear to be even more imposing from that position in the ditch, before being allowed to ascend into the company of the honoured ancestors.

I would suggest that this ideology would have been present before ideas about Gods started to impact onto their thinking and whose appearance would appear to be of a later period. I will deal with this progression in the next part.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

Theology (Part 3)

My previous articles on this subject considered both the origins and applications of theology in both pre and documented history. Pre-history theology was subject to the direct revelatory aspect with documented history being subject to the agenda driven committee approach.

So what of present and future definitions? When one considers the amount of information now (largely) freely available to anyone with access to todays technology, the result is that people are now starting to take some responsibility for their own spirituality by redefining theological aspects.

Documented historical theology was subject to both committee agendas, designed to both control populations and create personal power-bases, and limited sources of information with which to define personal theological viewpoints. The 21st century sees us with more potential sources of information than any other time and with greater numbers of humans living than any other time in recorded history, that information base literally grows by the minute.

This leads to some specific problems in itself with all sorts of theories, some well meaning and others nothing but scurrilous attempts at relieving the individual of their cash reserves. This ability to be able to express viewpoints, as evidenced by my own blog for example, increase this potential. There are various conclusions one could draw from the whys and hows of this explosion of personal expression but it is not my intention to delve into this in any depth at this present minute in time. I am more interested in the direction, as viewed from my primarily pagan perspective.

My experience of Paganism came about, viewed from the perspective of hindsight, by perceived physical interactions with and through my local environment. Unlike many others this did not come about through interactions with named deities but through what I came to later understand as genius loci or spirits of place. As far as theology goes, this places my experiences outside the common ground spoke about by the Abrahamic religions. My understanding of these experiences meant that I could not perceive of these interactions being the result of an all pervading God, but was convinced by rational discourse that the source, was a distinct and separate entity capable of independent thoughts and actions.

Due to the understanding of the consequences of these interactions, paganism was best placed to represent a framework with which to better interpret these interactions. So, I came to first read about and later interact with pagans and pagan ideas. Initial forays into pagan forums produced some interesting interactions but it soon became apparent that there was no common framework with which to place my experiences. Worst, was that a lot of the people were totally wrapped up in personal interpretations that mirrored the worst excesses of the Abrahamic religions, showing a complete lack of either understanding or questioning of perspectives they held to contradict their own “special” relationship with nature.

Paganism, much like lots of other areas of life, was just as prone to personality domination. Unfortunately, this has been self-defeating as any cohesive frameworks generally to date, have been shown to be lacking when faced with rigorous examinations by motivated individuals from outside pagan spheres. It has also been my experience that a good deal of the individuals I came to think held some sort of cohesive and better than average concept of the consequences of pagan thinking, either voluntarily or through negative experiences, withdrew from the pagan “scene”, which has contributed to a lack of common framework. The freedom offered by paganism through lack of theology or the dreaded “D” word, dogma, reduces most to an entirely individualistic viewpoint.

There are examples of exceptions however and it is my belief that there may well be others for whom their own frameworks, probably when individuality gives a little to accommodate others in the cause of a common understanding, demonstrate some interesting aspects and understanding of common shared experience. One of these is representted by my friend Lee with his definition of theology and although my own experiences are not strictly in keeping with his, this is as good a definition that I have come across to date and as such, am happy to use as a workable model.

This is a good example of structured thinking and for me, demonstrates the potential for development as we progress into the future.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

Theology (Part 2)

The main religions of the world, generally had their period of “enlightenment” via the prophets of their choice between 600 BC and 600 AD. Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Jesus and Mohammed, all are claimed to have lived and died between these dates.

Even a cursory glance at the writings of these religions reveals some profound insights into the nature of existence. And yet, when one starts to look further into them, one cannot help but realise that although there are aspects worthy of respect because of some universal truths, the method of both transmission and context are probably neither true or accurate to the original intention.

Little of the original ideas have remained unaltered by multiple translations, cultural appropriation or generations of “officials” rewriting or reinterpreting the material for personal or group advantage. Whereas the earlier Shamans used personal experience to define their interactions, the later religions gained spiritual insights through the experiences of others and bestowed upon those same individuals titles that were representative of the aspirations of the growing organizations dedicated to further their power bases in the general populations. As I have discussed elsewhere, the route offered to the supporters was one of preferential treatment in the afterlife.

The earliest major religion to appear was probably Hinduism which generally predated the other major religions by somewhere between 2 to 5000 years. The polytheistic nature of this leads to, viewed from a western perspective, a confusing and contradictory theology. Rites and rituals which would appear to be both contradictory and incompatible in both nature and meaning co-exist alongside each other with no major conflicts of interests. Unlike the other religions, there is no general prescribed course of entry into the afterlife or even into the realms of reincarnation. Instead this is defined by the local belief system prescribed to by the local populations.

The first example of a cultural shift from a polytheistic theology to one that maybe viewed as a monotheistic viewpoint would be one whose primary figure was Zarathustra Spitama. He is believed to have lived around the 18th century BC, though dating is very imprecise. His creed is Zoroastrianism, from the Greek translation of Zarathustra. At its height, it is believed that it was practiced in an area larger than the Roman empire. In an example that has been viewed throughout recorded history, most of the recorded early history was lost when many of its priests, who, like the later Druids acted as living libraries, were slaughtered during Alexander the Great’s invasion of the 4th century BC.

This course of action would be repeated many times in later times as an example of one of the favoured methods used to gain ascendency over rival theologies. Zoroastrianism also set a precedent which would be repeated by the later religions namely the nature of the discourse was one of direct revelation to a specific individual by a specific God. The earlier shamans experienced interactions with a variety of entities, but the nature of Zoroastrianism and the later monotheistic paths was one that claimed exclusivity through this interaction with a single entity. It is not my intention to go into depth into the theologies of these religions, as I’m sure any reader of this will have experienced this aspect for themselves. What I intend to do is study the probable consequences for adopting these theologies and their inherent, and in my opinion, fatal flaw.

Of the current mainstream religions, only Islam was initiated within the lifetime of the appointed prophet. It would therefore, be considered to be the candidate for the least amount of theological alteration. From a western perspective, it would appear this is not the case and therefore this raises the question, if a religion that had direct access to the individual concerned is subject to as many different interpretations as the rest of the evidenced religions, can the central tenets be reliable frames of reference?

If these works were subject to modern scientific rigours, it would probably result in a conclusion that stated that the evidence had been altered too much to place any credence in the resultant evidence. The primary evidence has been gained from a singular source of interaction from the appointed prophets, and it has not been confirmed by any other independent means. In fact, the whole area of theological conjecture which has arisen from the religions of this period, are pieces of conjecture written in the second ,third or more parties, parties who were not subject to, or were present at, the time of disclosure. They are works of interpretation written from the perspective of later times, sometimes hundreds of years later. This brings into perspective the reliability of these interpretations and also raises the question as to the motivations behind the reworking of the earlier material.

If this was a court of law, we would in a position of being be asked to believe the eyewitness account of an individual who was hundreds of miles away and several years later than the actual event. How much credence would the court give to such an individual? How much would you?

Interestingly, there is a shared ethos throughout most of these documented religions, which is supplied here:

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. DADISTAN-I-DINIK, 94,5

Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do nought unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. MAHABARATA, 51 1517

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. UDAN-VARGA, 5,18

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. MATTHEW 7:12

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. SUNNAH

Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you. ANALECTS, 15.23

Taoism: Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss. T’AI SHANG KAN YING PIEN

Jainism: In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, regard all creatures as you would regard your own self. YOGA-SASTRA

and my own personal favourite….

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary. TALMUD, SHABBET, 31A

So there is a common theme, which is both appropriate and respectful. What a crime that this could not be accommodated without the need to qualify either a reward or a system run more for the benefit of the administrators.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

Theology ( Part 1)

The subject of theology and its many interpretations is both interesting, complexing and controversial. The amount of time and effort spent throughout recorded history in pursuit of theological truth must be one that probably, has few equals. The very term itself is subject to differing interpretations, usually through hidden (or not) agendas. Therefore, it would be useful to define what this particular term is representative of. Using one of the better online dictionaries, this definition is both concise and accurate enough for us to be dealing with…

Theology – 1. The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.  Source

I find this definition to be specifically accurate enough with which to base further disclosure / conjecture upon.

There is no doubt that this area has been important to humanity throughout the time that we, as a species, developed enough mental capacity and self-awareness to understand our place in the natural world. Our perceived individual isolation, built upon the experiences of living and the consequences of those very same living processes, result in a mental process that has the capability to consider beyond the “now” and to consider both past and future events and actions. Because of this ability, the area for consideration expands through the recognition that we can plan for many eventualities, thus increasing our chance for success.

This process has its “drawbacks” though in that these predetermined actions, if the situation is either a) desperate enough or b) motivating enough that the individual may consider actions that may not be in keeping with either cultural, moral or social guidelines. This could be viewed as in some way representative of The Selfish Gene hypothesis, with the actions being representative of the base instinct of increasing the survival odds of the individual or, in some cases, group of individuals.

However, evolution has provided a counter-mechanism, to a greater or lesser degree, to provide the individual with the ability to consider the ramifications of those very same courses of actions. This is commonly known as the human conscience. Note that I have defined conscience specifically with humans, there is evidence in some other primates to suggest a limited amount of self-awareness but I would contend not enough for them to be cognitive enough to be able to fully understand any and all consequences of their actions. Therefore, this ability, in its fullest sense at this minute in time, would appear to be confined to humanity.

How does this recognition of the consequences of any and all actions humans make, manifest itself in terms of mental processes? Well, one of the earliest examples is the differal to other world presences. Actions unforseen or out of the blue, using the limited frames of references available in earlier times, ended in said actions being placed in the realm of the other world and their comprehension of the other world, mainly took the shape of the Gods. This in itself presented these interactions into a context, at least partially understandable to the individuals at those times, with the possibility of creating a means by which to intercede with these other influences. To further make these actions at least partially understandable and accessible, these other world entities were endowed with human characteristics with a view to present a common ground for interactions to take place.

Different Gods were presented with different personalities representative of some viewed aspect of nature. Because of this, they were consequently linked to that particular aspect of nature. Interestingly though, this idea also gave rise to the belief in a static spirit of place, a spirit somehow tied to a particular location. Gods were allowed free passage amongst lands and peoples but it was believed that some other world entities did not possess this ability. These Genius Loci as they became known as using later Roman terms of reference, may have emerged as the human populations adopted agricultural lifestyles which dictated the establishment of static, location specific communities, engaged in food production at local locations.

So through a combination of many things including genetic predispositions, lifestyle changes and perceived interactions with other world entities, the need to form a framework with which to engage all these aspects was placed into the realm of theology.

The earliest recorded individuals for whom we may speculatively refer to as demonstrating some form of theology were the Shamans. Unlike later modern definitions of theology using a single source of information, these were subject to different methods of interactions with these interactions being defined by the individual concerned. Methods ranged from naturally self induced trances to drug induced trance (in the form of plant ingestion). Because of the nature of these interactions, their interpretations were left with the individual experiencing these interactions. This, one may reasonably assume, would have left the life of that same individual subject to successful interactions with the other world. It would be also reasonable to assume that for longevity of life for that individual, fear of that same individual and their perceived power must have been a prerequisite to survival.

This method of theology, based in the perceived power of the affected individual, may have taken precedence until the widespread adoption of the written word. It may be also reasonable to assume that this type of theology concerned itself with the immediate outcomes of everyday living for the communities engaging in this type of interaction. The power base for this theology, however, was to be displaced with the adoption of the written word.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Speculative conjecture

 

Humancentric

I have been involved recently with some interesting discussions about the nature of specific religious outlooks. This has led me to consider a few perspectives that were not immediately obvious to me before this period commenced.

It occurs to me that several of the implied inherent “givens” of the major religions may be in line for re-evaluation. One I have already dealt with was around the “goal orientated reward systems”

The next would be the premise that continuation of “life” after death, be based upon a continuing humancentric existence. This probably is a common denominator amongst the vast majority of religions, that directed life choices made in the understanding and consideration of the cosmological viewpoint of said religion, result in the individual being accepted at the end of Earthly existence into the community of that particular religions approved individuals.

This idea has its basis in the power structures of human society. Some would conclude, not unreasonably, that this was suggestive of the desire of a continuing restriction after the end of life and was more representative of the individual’s who would attempt to continue to assert their domination over the majority after the end of this life and into the next, than of what actually may be the case.

With the advent of scientific data demonstrating the specific and unusual conditions needed for us to live, the feeling of isolation experienced by humanity as a species, tends to make perspectives rather introverted. The physicality of living on this plane of existence results in the inability, for many, to consider if this totality of human living is the only measure of existence. To deal with this, it is necessary to evaluate if the consequences of human living constitute a total perspective. I was recently watching a program on the BBC that dealt with newly observed phenomena of everyday activities that are too quick or subtle for the human eye or brain to deal with in real time. One amazing fact that left be reeling was that the total percentage of the visible light humans can see is just (if I recall correctly) 0.0000000001%. That is to say, 99.999999999% of visible light is unseen by humanity. Now, to put this into some form of perspective, and if my rudimentary scientific knowledge is up to scratch, as a species, we exist on the crust of a planet thats depth represents less than 0.6% of it’s total mass, in an atmosphere only conducive to human respiratory systems to a height of less than 5 miles (either way), growing food supplies on the area of the earth that represents around 10% of it’s total area and with a visual ability that would, by our own standards, class us as severely blind.

We would appear to have some handicaps inherited to us by nature and we perpetuate them further by insisting to continue with these conditions of living after our allotted time span is over. This is at best, inconsistent or at worst, totally depressing.

Yet, over the last hundred or so years, humanity has been experiencing interactions, borne initially from superstitious beliefs but developing through both experiential and more recently, experimental means, that suggest that this isolation may be suggestive of an inherent inability by ourselves to perceive the actuality of what the cosmos actually represents. Advances in both technology and communications mean that this inherited blindfold may be in the process of, if not being removed, at least shifted.

Most striking as far as the relevance to religious beliefs are concerned, are the changing nature and methods of communication between humanity and the other realms.

I will be presenting threads over time that both explore the changing nature and the changing interactions that I have been party to. This will not be an exercise in the methodology of how these were arrived at, for I consider that the “mechanics” of these interactions to be a purely subjective thing and it has been my experience that to qualify such a thing usually results in too much time spent in disclosure as to the “correct” way of doing it and what usually happens is that the subject matter is somehow lost in the rhetoric surrounding that methodology. In doing this, by not presenting my methodology at how I arrived with such things, I leave my positioned weakened to the more skeptical. I also leave myself open to the position of having these experiences condemned as delusional. That is as it may. What I will do though, is to concentrate on the substance of what has been disclosed to me and leave the subject matter at the discretion of the other parties to raise. You are invited to contribute, if the subject matter interests you and to raise any and all points of interest relating to the subject matter.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2010 in Speculative conjecture