The Sacred and the corrupt

For those deep thinkers out there.
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Hovannes
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The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by Hovannes » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:44 pm

I've been reading Falling Inward, Humanities in the Age of Technology by Jason Baxter and thoroughly enjoying it. Chapter Two, Why Read Old Books, touched on a topic I thought interesting, the difference between ancient man and moderns regarding the very different world views of the sacred(as well as the evil) being a dynamic tangible reality for ancients as opposed the modern skeptic view, void of the supernatural.

Until modern times, the divide between the Spiritual World and the Physical World was porous. There were sacred mountains of the gods, like Mountt Parnassus, as well as evil places like the Ploutonion at Hierapolis, the gateway to hell. Real places populated by gods or monsters. In pre-Christian times gods might even be synonymous monsters, but the perception remain that physical locals may be innately good or evil due to supernatural events. Lewis and Tolkien often portray such in their literature

Today, houses of worship are still considered sacred, and places where horribly evil acts have been committed, such mass shootings, are so objectionable that crime scenes had to obliterated because of public outcry. While moderns won't admit to the physical perception of good and evil grounds or perhaps haunted buildings, the practice exists still.

Sam Harris would call it stupid. Scientists might suspect the cause may be mass hypnosis or something like it. Psychologists might assign stress as the reason. Skeptics are, well, skeptical,

On the other hand, there are tangible inklings to the contrary. During my brief experience as a Special Constable I've seen more murder scenes than I'd have liked.
Evil tends to have a common foot print. If a gang rape occurred there I wouldn't be surprised if a hooker was murdered close by, or a gang "hit", or a transient beaten to death or suicide or you name it. Maybe not in the same month or even the same decade, but sometime.

A girl I knew had a large dog and was looking for an apartment. The only place should could find to rent that would allow her well mannered but huge pooch was an old mansion. The rent was cheap and when she went to look the place over with her dogthe dog acted very strange when she approached the door to the basement, doggie not only refused to check it out, he prevented her from going down the steps ---and he was big enough and motivated enough to do just that---all the while growling viciously. Very unlike his usual cuddly demeanor, he was in full protective mode.
There had been gruesome goings on there in the distant past.

On SAR missions in the Sierra, I would sometimes take a group of volunteers out for a grid search for some lost unfortunate. One of these, fixated on the ground looking for "sign" walked right into the feet of an unfortunate young man who had committed suicide by hanging from a tree. Another crime scene was where two older women were bludgeoned to death and the incident was fresh and very bloody. We were again doing a grid search for evidence---the murder weapon.
The hanging occurred on an isolated summit overlooking a lake where the boy grew up while the double homicide was in a small book keeper's office on a two lane road next to a church. It was Sunday and I remember seeing the people leaving church wondering, I assume, what was going on next door, Perhaps it is my memory of these events that haunt me, but I always get the chills when in the proximity of either location even though it's been 30 years past.
Another time I was given a squad of volunteers to look for a little girl who had wondered off and had been missing for four days. Fortunately we found her alive and evacuated her out, but before we found her we came across a stock tank (a pond for holding water for cattle) that just looked evil. I even called the Highway Patrol chopper to shoot it with it's FLIR (forward looking infrared camera) but there was no body to be found, Still, it was dang spooky and the area had been grazed for over 100 years, so who knows?

What do you think? Are you of the modernist view or do you think that the division between physical world and the spiritual is more porous than modern thought permits?
"What doesn't kill you, gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humor."

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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by tuttle » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:39 am

Hovannes wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:44 pm
the perception remain that physical locals may be innately good or evil due to supernatural events. Lewis and Tolkien often portray such in their literature
Perhaps even beyond their literature? George Sayer (who provided the excellent C.S. Lewis quote in my sig line) was a friend of Tolkien's and said this in 1979:
Sayer wrote:I've gone for one or two walks with Tolkien, and he did talk to me about natural scenes he visited. One of the things I noticed, which surprised me from the start, was the way in which he regarded certain natural scenes as evil. This came up most strongly after he'd been examining in order -- that is to say classifying students in an Irish University according to their achievements in the English language and literature. He described Ireland as a country naturally evil. He said he could feel evil coming from the earth, from the peat bogs, from the clumps of trees, even from the cliffs, and this evil was only held in check by the great devotion of the southern Irish to their religion. This was a very strange view, and was not one I could even have guessed.
Hovannes wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:44 pm
What do you think? Are you of the modernist view or do you think that the division between physical world and the spiritual is more porous than modern thought permits?
I've pondered this more than a few times. I think that the 'porousness' you speak of is actually constant, ever present, and it is only at certain times when we become aware of it. Does that mean certain places lend themselves better to our perception of it? I don't know. It seems so sometimes.

I believe that spiritual battles/warfare/action/influence is not disconnected with the physical world or specific to certain locations only, and that more often than we think, influences the physical world in ways we don't even realize its being influenced. Something we take for granted as purely 'natural' or within the realm of science/psychology/culture/politics/etc might be physical manifestations or 'ripples' from the spiritual world that we don't think twice about as being 'normal' and would never think to attribute to spiritual influence.
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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by Goose55 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:30 am

It's why this world often seems such a dark place.
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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by Jester » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:46 am

I thought this was a thread on prostate exams.
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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by Hovannes » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:49 am

Consider Jerusalem. If you've been there or planning to visit you'll experience something quite unusual, or at least was my experience. It is a place where tensions run high and armed camps are common. Nearly every day there is some nasty violence and deaths reported in the environs. I heard there is now even a wall built around the wall!
And yet there is a transcendent feeling of God's blessing that permeates the ugliness. It is difficult to describe but the place is considered sacred ground by three of the world's four great religions.
I'd return in a heartbeat if I had the $$
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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by durangopipe » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:55 am

I’ve not experienced much in the way of “evil places” that give me the willies. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.
I’ve seen a lot of places I considered ugly, but haven’t really felt the evil.

But I have often found myself in places that very clearly seem to elevate me closer to God. Sometimes in sacred buildings, cathedrals and the like, but more often on a river or out in the wild somewhere.

Pretty much any mountaintop.
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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by Cleon » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:28 am

Because science. Because digital. Because google. There is no sense of the supernatural anymore because we've figured it all out. When there's no supernatural you can't tie it to the physical. That, IMO, is the view of modern secular man.

On the other hand, in the Christian circles I run in, and I would guess most other evangelical circles, there is an emphasis on the spiritual as somehow always superior to the physical. A robust catechesis or confession of belief in the resurrection is lacking. I would say that half the evangelicals that I know think that eternity is spent in the ether. And the sacraments are, well...so, yeah, the two shall never meet.

IMO, the physical and the spiritual world are so intertwined that they are inseparable. It'll all be apparent in the end.
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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by Hovannes » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:35 pm

Cleon wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:28 am
Because science. Because digital. Because google. There is no sense of the supernatural anymore because we've figured it all out. When there's no supernatural you can't tie it to the physical. That, IMO, is the view of modern secular man.

On the other hand, in the Christian circles I run in, and I would guess most other evangelical circles, there is an emphasis on the spiritual as somehow always superior to the physical. A robust catechesis or confession of belief in the resurrection is lacking. I would say that half the evangelicals that I know think that eternity is spent in the ether. And the sacraments are, well...so, yeah, the two shall never meet.

IMO, the physical and the spiritual world are so intertwined that they are inseparable. It'll all be apparent in the end.
Our ancestors built their world around the spiritual and that's part and parcel of classic literature and necessary for understanding it. This opens a whole new experience for students. That's one of the points raised by the book I'm reading.
"What doesn't kill you, gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humor."

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Re: The Sacred and the corrupt

Post by ryland » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:25 pm

Jester wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:46 am
I thought this was a thread on prostate exams.
We can get it there.
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