Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dark ontology's anti-spirituality

Bryant has a recent post called "Axioms for a dark ontology." I agree with many of them, like these (at least partially):

"There is no supernatural causation of any kind, nor any genuinely mystical experiences (e.g. astrology and merging with the totality of things) so anything that posits deep meanings, supernatural causes, purposes, and so on ought to be treated with disdain and ignored. Nonetheless, people do have 'mystical experiences.'  They just aren’t caused in the way they suppose and are perfectly ordinary natural/neurological events (the oneness with everything that certain epileptics describe after a seizure resulting from all their neurons more or less firing at once).  Buddhist meditation is therefore a good psycho-neurological therapy."

"Dark ontologists experience wonder, awe, and a reverence for things precisely because everything is an accident and meaningless and therefore irreplaceable.  There’s nothing 'spiritual' about this, unless one wishes to abuse language and, indeed, spirituality often dulls our ability to experience wonder at things such as the existence of life despite its improbability because it thinks there’s a designer behind these things."
On this one though I disagree firmly.

"There will never be a progressive form of spirituality as any discussion of the divine is always recouped as a justification for various forms of oppression (e.g., fundamentalists enlisting Hawking’s and Einstein’s statements about God for their own cause).  As a result, moderate believers are often worse than fundamentalists as they enable these dynamics of power."

As to the first claim, I've recontexualized mystical states in the states thread. As to the second and third, I don't accept that all 'spirituality' dulls us from awe/wonder, or that there cannot be a postmetaphysical spirituality. I wouldn't spend so much time here if I thought otherwise. But indeed such a spirituality requires a major reworking, a daunting task to which I've invested quite a few words, pages and volumes in the forum and my blog.

Not even Sam Harris is anti-spirituality, so Bryant if off the deep end on this one.

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