History or renunciation?
Danny on ‘historical termination’
My remarks on ‘historical termination’ were merely an attempted retranslation of the much misused term ‘enlightenment’.
Much discussion of ‘spiritual paths’ is entirely vague, and amounts to wishful thinking about spiritual practices of diverse kinds.
The path to meditation becomes stress reduction, and the implications of, say, Buddhism are factored out into some kind of fantasy about spirituality.
The basic issue is, as I have said, a path in time, or out of time. Buddhism in its original form demanded world renunciation. Centuries of yogis have withdrawn from the world.
Rajneesh tried to challenge that tradition.
I merely thought to point out the ambiguity of the Gurdjieff work: it never makes an explicit reference to the path of enlightenment, it simply speaks of the work. That veiled omission can be the source of the eventual chaotification of those who follow that ‘path’, they really are drifting aimlessly toward nothing much.
Gurdjieff never really gave a way out of that surface cult-like allegiance to a sort of mystical club membership. The keys to do something real were simply ommitted. Everything that Gurdjieff did in his early years is veiled in disinformation. And his real aims were never made clear, in public.
The question of a ‘path in time’ is highly problematical. What does it amount to? A Buddhist would challenge that at once. It is all too easy to get lost in the vast stream of historical this and that.
But I would say that the potential for historical realization is there, and the many wrong ideas, it seems to me, of the ‘fourth way’ point to that, but misleadingly.
The question of the relationship to social existence is a complicated one. The world renunciation of the classic paths such as Buddhism is not so simple in our age, and perhaps that aspect of the ancient spiritual systems needs another perspective. There is no reason why the most ordinary circumstances of life can’t lead to something that is a ‘spiritual path’.
The modern world, despite the antagonism of traditionallists, has all the elements needed to base one’s ‘spiritual path’ on a sound foundation, in the concepts of human freedom and autonomy.
The traditionalists have become confused antiquarians and have lost their connection to the significance of modernity.
But the fact remains that the path through time might be aimless wandering, while a path toward enlightenment might lead to a coherent viewpoint with respect to melange of disorganized practices and methods which seem to become caught up in the commerce of New Age seminars and fads.