Tag Archives: science

Levels

People sometimes ask Pauline and me how we are coping with losing Sean, and we answer as best we can. Words are inadequate. We are glad that they ask, though. We have sometimes wished that more people would ask, even if we can’t answer properly. It’s not that we want sympathy; it’s that we are still a family of four, and always will be. We like to speak about both of our children.

I have often said that one deals with something like this on different levels. Just a few hours after I had found Sean’s body, I was able to show something to a visitor to our house that I knew would surprise and amuse him, and we laughed about it. I was on that level at that moment. I was also operating on deeper levels at which I was no doubt trying to process, unconsciously, the awful thing that had happened.

I remember that within a week or so of Sean’s death, an online acquaintance became slightly impatient at the fact that I was still talking about it on my blog (in fact I talked a lot about it there for a couple of years). This person saw himself as spiritual, and knew that I saw myself the same way. As far as he was concerned, Sean was in a better place, all was right with the world and the universe, and I really ought to get over it already. I was polite, but I knew that the person in question was being naïve. I could adopt his attitude at one level, but not at all the others. People are not so simple. The online acquaintance stopped commenting on my blog. Continue reading

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Filed under Death, Ireland, Philosophy of life, Psychology, Religion

Self-assertion and self-donation

Most of the material I edit, proofread or index doesn’t hold much intrinsic interest for me, frankly. Sometimes, though, I get to work on a book that really appeals to me. Lately I had this experience when I compiled an index for a book on Carl Jung and the medieval mystics who inspired him, and a couple of years ago I enjoyed indexing A.J. McGrath’s The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious.

One passage of McGrath’s, referring to Jacob Boehme, expressed something that has often occurred to me: that we can’t be, and shouldn’t try to be, utterly selfless, caring only about others:

Boehme’s psychological point is simple enough to state: there is no alterity without ipseity, no self-donation without a latent self-assertion. This is not to say that love is selfish: self-assertion without self-donation is the essence of evil. But without the seed of selfishness, held in potency, not actualized, there would be no self to be overcome and given away. Continue reading

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Filed under Literature, Psychology, Religion, Work

Reality, religion, ‘proof’ and so on

I came across this piece which I wrote on a blogsite some time ago …

A lot of the online argument in this general area tends to be sterile and futile, largely (in my opinion) because of the aggression with which certain people try to slap down anything that’s ‘unscientific’. Personally, I have no religious or quasi-religious belief that I try to convince anyone else of. In fact, I have no strong belief of this sort at all, and no interest in trying to undermine or ridicule the beliefs of others.

As I see it, reality exists irrespective of our beliefs about it. Our senses and our minds are limited, and probably not fit for the purpose of understanding everything. Science can reveal a lot, but it cannot fully reveal reality because it is an aspect of our limited minds and is therefore limited, whereas reality is not. Science is like a torch … useful for finding our way round a cave; useless when we step out into the sunlight. Continue reading

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Filed under Philosophy of life, Psychology, Religion