The Nepsis Foundation is …
VAULTING SPLENDOR, ABSOLUTE INTIMACY…
That, from a Seraphim-like presence at a certain wild place, beneath a star encrusted grandure of night in the Great Basin of North America- IT FILLED THE SKY. Then, we in our vehicle were transported about 15 miles without going in-between.2 Needless to say, there is more to it. Or, the human path to self-justifying, radiant simplicity [SPIRIT] is not as simple as it sounds,
thus this Litany of Adventures.
Nepsis is a composition that gelled in 2005, 40+ years in development: See First LETTER TO A BISHOP and ANNOTATED ART CORE. Its four pillars are Visual Arts and Poems, Prose-[Non-fiction Narratives, long and short Fiction, Essays]- and Metaphysical Exercise (described in the Narratives). All of these attend upon a complex of phenomena by which we know being. Ample warnings are issued about unusual style and grammar- abuse of hyphens, shifty gerunds, swishy tense formulations- even allegory. The paintings are more straight forward and the Poems… well, see for yourself, as we reconsider Art, Religion, Devotion and the Critical Method.
Well, is it by a
Religious Pilgrim or Secular Picaro?
SEE FOR YOURSELF!
This painting represents a series of more than 90 works in a series that stretches over several years. The main formal elements here are the amorphic color and space in counterpoint relationship with hardedge, linear and geometric embellishments. It is about the relationship between the general context of being and specific experience as open and luminous. This subject might also be likened to the Sipahpuni (Hopi), the point of emergence from mythic underworlds as well as the physical and psychic womb, to levels of increasing realization. Thus, this painting indicates secondly, a poignant moment of transition in physical and personal evolution guided by the Dragon Lord, i.e., a salvific, catalytic function of Spirit in Nature; God, if you like, or Grace.
FATHER ADAM’S LAST WORD
Steam of Consciousness Streams to the Sea,
From Priesthood to Sorcery,
SEX: Though the drama of “spirituality” is the topic- Sex, any graphic sex, is used here to explore the biosphere of human experience as it relates to ultimate reality. Sexual imagery is a necessary vehicle in the discussion of biological life. It’s not ‘real.’ It’s poignantly symbolic- so arousal, at least interest, would not be a surprise. But the vision is inclusive and does not reject what is given. It is a way of truth, not extremes. It is a way through- The direction is transcendent.
Acknowledgements and Unresolved Elements: Where my knack turns more to the art studio and metaphysical practice or recreation, see bibliography for knowledgable sources. Especially, I recommend Raimon Panikkar for in-depth, serious scholarship experienced in these issues and recognized around the globe on the highest levels.3
But there is MORE and enough uniquely here to begin anew.
From Nepsis Fictions: Who really killed the Exorcist? Why did the Golem have to be destroyed? -And by such ‘good’ people? Who finally is Stephanie? Why was she exiled to the Island of Ghosts? How did she really gain freedom? How and why did she create the Golem? What outside influence increased this creature’s danger so terribly! What is its true purpose and capacity? What is it that required all this art and studies and hard travel- ‘stopping/seeing.’ What is it that requires something more than sweet reason and determined vigor?
…Shamanistic themes involving earth powers and metaphysical energies in relationship with the Passion of Christ, expressed here with ancient symbols for the divine hunt–antlers, and the crucifix, display an underlying unity in a variety of spiritual traditions and experience. Elemental Powers, Angels, Archetypes are suggested on the horizon where they keep their vigil. In this work, the practical influence of shamanistic elements is beginning to be apparent. Abrahamic and Asian religions live on their inheritance from the Animist/Shamanistic intuition.
THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION AND THE ORACLE OF XIBALBA is the core composition: And its more than reflections upon ten to fifty thousand years of spiritual attitude- i.e., the notice that there might be two essential aspects in our cosmic construct: One ruled by the laws of physics, the other- life with, in, containing the Spirit(s)! –These two find perfect union in animate sensibility as ‘Consciousness itself is untouched by temporality.’ [R. Panikkar.]– There have been many theories over millenia about how all that works. Nepsis invites/provides an experience that illumines such qualities. See Visual Art and Narratives above especially in this regard.
Extensive studies, Art theory and practice, Metaphysical exercise influenced by Hesychast/Christian ‘stillness’ and ritual processes, developed over millenia, that ‘out’ the ‘inner world,’ are compared with Buddhist method, ecstatic mastery in Shamanism- Modernist and Animist insight.
One salient issue involved that helps make commentary possible about such a broad spread is the genius loci- spirit of place or places. While there is a history of this sensibility exercised in various cultures around the world, I posit that encountering this phenomenon expanded to cosmology, is a foundation for most experiential and theoretical religion. It was noticed early that there is something about places, even objects, that exhibit relational character, even power and this is important in the development of religious sensibilities and even economies. We would be in a very different position on every level, if we still believed that ‘the land’ is thus sacred, for instance.
The Nepsis Foundation is a Mandalic configuration. The Nepsis Foundation is an elaborate ruse, an art form, that tries to tell the truth. As in a traditional mandala, once having ‘gained entrance’ through its four gates (here Paintings, Prose, Poems, and Metaphysical Exercise described in non-fiction narratives) and various initiations, one moves in a sacred circle growing to ultimate Realization. This is accomplished, or at least expressed via “10,000″ evocative symbols and activities laden with meaning- “Who climbs up upon the Cross?” -as a prominent Zen Roshi once asked me. Or who is the Buddha, for that matter- (Who is it that can help themselves or anyone else?) What is a Shaman? Saint? Sorcerer? Poet? Artist? Scientist? What spell is cast to fulfill the human capacity? And who casts it?
Why this complex for a spiritual excavation? Because more than just an intellectual evaluation of experience, ideas or objects is required to explore the inner treasures of human perception. Encounter the genius loci, spirit of place—Dragons of Being. Know the Mercy of God—the Elohim, for instance. Religious, aesthetic, sexual initiation must be reconsidered in our cultural and individual evolution. Ecstasis! Spiritual transcendence may be the ground of the Biosphere. Animism, Shamanism, Insight (Siddhartha et al) and Revelation (Abraham …),
Light Mysticism and Visionary consciousness combined with critical method are the vehicles of my explorations.
From the offerings above, view first the principal POINTS OF ENTRY, VISUAL ART with its Annotations, NARRATIVES, “SELECTIONS” or”A Poem of Voices,” and “Art, My Art, and Religious Aesthetics,” “A Case for Religion,” “Nepsis Rational I-V,” et al. As well consider, from outside evaluations, Raimon Panikkar’s ‘Response‘ under ESSAYS, the 2012 IBook, Nepsis Foundation, and finally, the UCB/ECAI Site’s Menu Page,
147  Oil on Canvas 5’ x 5’ 1990. Nature is the first Mandala, the human person is the second. Paintings #84-87 were painted upon my return from India in1990. I had journeyed to India to study Tibetan Buddhism (1980): in particular, Tibetan Mandalas, (1990). Paintings #88 and #94 continue the influence of this study and practice. (Painting #30, 1980, reflects an early interest in this complex of themes.) The Mandala in Tantric Yoga, like the Christian Icon and its theologies, is the Great Art of Divine/Mundane union, the Symbolon. This practice and product requires the reconfiguration of intellect, emotion, imagination and physicality of the practitioner for re-creation of the whole human person in its ‘true’ or ‘divine’ image. In other words, this attempts full, true ‘conversion.’ That is the intention for both the practitioner and for the world. Thus, an actual mandala or madalesque (truly iconic) art carries that same intention: the ‘salvation’ or ‘realization’ of individual and world by seeking and telling—being—this truth. This is the touchstone for the whole of NEPSIS.
“Sit in your ‘cell’ as in Paradise,” St. Romuald advises. There are states of ‘consciousness,’ or ‘awareness’ if you like, from which all things flow in the vales of perception: Compassion, creativity, para-rational phenomena, even material processes- unimaginable happiness, satisfaction and peace. Creation itself is subject to this animation.
‘Nepsis,’ thus, comments upon the “inner life.” ‘Foundation,’ in the title above, refers to the “Clear Light Realization” of Buddhism and the “Lamb whose light casts no shadow” that is the foundation of mysticism and from that perspective, all reality. Because my theme focuses on an essential thread that weaves itself through these various religious traditions, I have had to familiarize myself with them to follow its course. Thus proceeding, one will realize the significance of the shift of consciousness within the fabric of the whole and consequently to perceive its significance in the works of Raimundo Panikkar, (as 1989 Gifford Lecturer, with three doctorates-Chemistry, Philosophy, Theology- and fluent in twelve languages, his significance is easy to note. See Bibliography.) His understanding of human perception with distilled simplicity and the quality of his expertise in the history of religion and the philosophy of science, is useful for these studies and exposes my theme as central and universal to the history of human perception itself.
In 2005, there occurred a coalescence of Frost’s visual arts, prose, poetry and metaphysical exercise that resulted in a ‘composition’ first expressed in a Table of Contents, see below, then a University of California, Berkeley Internet Site, (2010) including a further distillation of elements in THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION AND THE ORACLE OF XIBALBA, an Anti-Novel.
-In Ambulando Solvitur, the latent faith of the pilgrim. I.e. walking long distances with the pilgrim’s intentions in itself resolves a lot of issues. Nepsis acknowledges and practices a number of such yogic/ascetic, or metaphysical forms. But the real exercise of the Nepsis project is to inculcate the vantages of such ancient attitudes and experience as well as those of Modernity—to address its ‘Problem.’ Nepsis Pilgrimage puts one at the Mercy of God by hitchhiking. Any such venture, months in duration will always involve a lot of movement. Nepsis tries to address personal salvation, enlightenment and health, but something more as well. One example: The re-urbanization of Europe in the late Middle Ages, pushes God further and further away into a distant Heaven to be obtained by an obscure moral perfectionism only satisfied by death. The Renaissance, Commercial interests, soon joined by the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, slowly replace spiritual immediacy of high Medieval mysticism (including the remnants of 50,000 years of mystical consciousness). Even today, hopeful lip service is paid to the Divine Presence, but just enough to get back to the real business of running highly monetized institutions. Spirituality becomes a convivial grease for the skids of Big Business—even small business—the real interest that dominates contemporary consciousness. Everything is sacrificed for the ‘bottom line,’ including the very environment that gives us a place to be. Nature’s wanton destruction continues, without taking the time to notice its significance in the construction of ‘who and how we are.’
Because of the multiple categories and sheer volume of expertise under consideration here, the accuracy of these ambient references does not depend alone upon my intuitive sensibilities or my research to represent these great traditions of human understanding and expression- This accuracy also depends upon verification from the dissertation committee members in Berkeley, outside readers, and other respondents, including Raimundo Panikkar, chosen for their particular expertise in the different themes of that work.
The 2010 NEPSIS FOUNDATION hosted at the University of California, Berkeley advanced and archived the essential elements of this project: See UCB/ECAI MENU PAGE
The pivotal 2005 NEPSIS FOUNDATION Table of Contents included:
SECTION I FIRST STATES
PAINTINGS: 1973-1987 Last College Work, Canyon Studio, Monastery, Wilshire Studio, Venice, Seminary, Orange, Long Beach POEMS: 1970-1980
To consider is to “draw the stars together” or to give/find order in one’s universe. To desire is to “tear the stars apart.”
First Interstate Reflection: Religious Initiation and States of Consciousness
INTERSTATES An Investigation into the Inter-phase Between Discursive and Non-discursive Perception according to Pertinent Criteria in the Works of Raimon Panikkar.
Second Interstate Reflection:
SATISFACTION: An Essay: Introduction FURTHER ESSAYS on Satisfaction: Icons, Mandalas and the Nude:
FICTION FOREWORD SECOND FICTION THE COMPANYAs with all the fiction works here, “The Company” is developed from “Second Fiction” above and properly belongs in LETTER TO A BISHOP, Part II. Here are distinguished five characters and five stories: Chris, Agnes, Stephanie, Catherine, and the Priest (See Section III, “What Georgia Did” endnote, for a recent edit.)
Paintings and Sculptures Then from:
THE NARRATOR, A Businessma
INTERSTATES, A Novel
ADAM’S WAY, A Novella
CHRIS AND STEPHANIE, A long Short Fiction
HOW DIONYSIUS SAVED HIS MOTHER FROM HELL and Thus Saves the World. Three Short Fictions of Magic, Mysticism and Rocket Science…
PAINTINGS: 1987-1995 Long Beach, Berkeley POEMS: 1980-1995
…neither separate from, nor subject to, oneself…
IMPORTANT FICTIONAL AND ‘REAL’ CHARACTERS: WHAT THEY DID
Some of the following characters are ‘real’ characters unheard from in NEPSIS before this. They stand here with imaginary characters and scenes from NEPSIS fiction and poems and other fragments from this collection so as to draw together ‘internal’ processes of perception with ‘external’ processes. Thus,knowledge is integrated, history is transformed and the world is saved!
TO ACCESS THE FOLLOWING REFERENCES FROM THIS SECTION
1. The Narrator’s Last Note and Dread Conclusion (From NEPSIS, Section II Fictions.)
2. What Mike Did
3. What Georgia Did
5. The Company Disbands
6. The Author’s Last Note: Last Luxor, i.e., Yemen and the Great Experiment.
7. HOW DIONYSIUS SAVED HIS MOTHER FROM HELL:
POEMS: 1995-1999 PAINTINGS: 1995-1999
Agree with this direction or not,4assuming the effects of an American Liberal Education, Systematic Catholic Theology, Scientific Scripture and Religious Studies, traditional training as an artist in the conjuring of Paintings and Poems, and the glamor of a Genius Loci- the intuition of the Nepsis Project is to live and explore a deeper way of being in this world, to experience certain core practices and states of awareness to re-animate an immediacy of Mystical Union and to resolve “the problem.”
Reader, see for yourself what happened. Decide for yourself how you want to be in this world.
230  Ecstasis: Flora, Fauna, Spirit
Acrylic on Canvas 7’8” x 3’ 7” 2011. From a descriptive letter: “It was your unusual name (Natale Albino, White Christmas) that was suggestive for me. Mine is as well in reference to Christmas, but your’s is more to the point. The great Winter Solstice celebrations that used to mark those dates were in part fertility celebrations, but as well warmth and light at the darkest moments of the year. We also celebrate warmth in the darkness. Hope at the coldest moments. The barren or virginal womb is, of course, the great symbol in the Scriptures of this impossible Void that is the source of all things– I.e. God, Godhead, or the ineffable ground of being. Our lives as celibates are also the opportunity for impossible goodness to erupt from barren lives. My interest explores and acknowledges the whole body of such observance.”
An actual spiritual presence of creative fecundity, ecstatic propagation has been inculcated and here revealed. Ecstasis unlies the whole of Creation, certainly the Bioshere.
- Nepsis is a metaphysical process for the spiritual observation of Self. Nepsis is a New Testament Greek term that implies sobriety, certain kinds of preparation (Yoga for example). Nepsis implies being awake spiritually so that one might notice the ‘coming of the Lord’ i.e. clearing away obstacles and distractions to the Beatific Vision, epiphany in a general sense. See Matthew 25:1-13. Nepsis is a method of inner examination conversant with Buddhist meditation and many other traditions for exploring perception and the nature of reality. NEPSIS as a doctoral project–a life project for this editor– ranges across cultures, academic and religious disciplines; Art, Religion and Science (i.e. critical methodology); Cultures and the Individual; Identity in Nature, Civilization– Human Identity… But always in these travels there are certain themes and practices that express themselves as essential. The following indicate a core of content and activity thus distilled and expressive of this search for human identity and meaning. [↩]
- See “Nepsis Foundation, Cycle III- Resolution” I determined this to be of God, rather than otherwise, since at the time I felt suffused in love and that has never changed. Some might claim that this is the result of hallucinatory alkaloids. That is not the case. There is a valid place in the History of Religion for such. But this experience that expanded to transcend the laws of Physics was unmedicated. [↩]
- The theology of Raimundo Panikkar provides a context large enough to accommodate a wide array of important human elements. This is of particular significance since an expansive context is necessary for the operation and discussion of the shift of consciousness between discursive and non-discursive perception. Perhaps that is the signal characteristic of Panikkar’s schema in relationship to the interests of this project. His work, his system of values referent to the history of religion and modern consciousness, provide the context in which the operation of the shift of consciousness is always implicit and sometimes an overt requirement. Three terms, Pratityasamutpada, Nairatmyavada, Avyakrtavastuni, from Panikkar’s SILENCE OF GOD, describe generally the parameters of our discussion. I use them to subtitle, respectively, the three chapters of this section.
Chapter 2 discusses the general themes and positions that characterize the works of Raimundo Panikkar necessary to the research.1
Pratityasamutpada refers to the primordial law or essence of how things work, from the Buddha’s point of view. This understanding results from the Buddha’s enlightenment experience in Bodhgaya, when he came to understand the past, present, and future in its essence. Thus, Chapter Two displays the essence of Panikkar’s system of thought in the face of what he calls ecstatic consciousness 2 or that particular shift of consciousness studied here from the prehistorical period to our own age of rationalism and logic.
Chapter 3 treats specifically the role that the shift of consciousness plays in his work.
Nairatmyavada refers to the question of a self, or human identity, Atman or Anatman. What is the nature of human experience in time and out of it? Who is it that has the experience? Is there no self to experience? “…there is no ‘itself’ to change skins: the ‘selves’ are precisely dynamic points” in a network of relationships of dynamic points, according to Panikkar.3
Chapter 4 projects these views into the future of the world and into certain cosmological concerns, such as “the rhythm of Being”, that develop in Panikkar’s world-view pertinent to the shift of consciousness, art, and the experience of religion.
Avyakrtavastuni refers to the typical Buddhist calm. “The gentle, smiling Buddha does not refuse to speak, but as we see from our texts, he surely refuses to answer”, i.e., to enter into a dialectic about ultimate things, about God.4 Without avoiding the issue of eternity, in Chapter Four we explore Panikkar’s projections about the world in the face of the unspeakable. In other words, building upon the discussion of temporal and non temporal reality from Chapter Three, we examine the processes of the world that bring us to silence, the peace of Christ.
SECTION II: CHAPTER TWO
SURVEY(PRATITYASAMUPADA: PRIMORDIAL LAW)
Panikkar’s vision is one of integration. He resolves conflicts by finding new concepts which afford unity in the face of opposition and exclusivity. Neologisms abound in his work–for instance, his “cosmotheandric” view of reality. This term unites cosmic, divine and human dimensions on a level of identity, though not necessarily on levels of quantity or equality. While these three are one in a sense of spiritual identity, the nature of reality for Panikkar is not monolithic–even ultimate reality is not monolithic. The real world is a world of variety and complexity. In his words, “Pluralism penetrates into the very heart of the ultimate reality.”5
He applies this principle to religions: “Each religion has unique features and presents mutually incommensurable insights. Each statement of a basic experience is to be evaluated on its proper terrain and merits, because the very nature of truth is pluralistic.”6 How then, one might ask, do we communicate with others who stand on another truth which is not ours? According to Panikkar, we must engage in dialogue, but not in the usual dialectical manner. Dialectical dialogue, which exists to convert or even to understand is not enough. Panikkar presents the option of dialogical dialogue which is “opening myself to another so that he might speak and reveal my myth that I cannot know by myself because it is transparent to me…”7 The other person helps me in an unusual way. “A myth is something in which you believe, without believing that you believe it.” One who aids us in de-mythologizing our myth actually forces us to establish new myths. Humankind cannot live without myths nor without changing its myths, and in dialogical dialogue we are able to acknowledge this truth without the threat of destroying the thread
of one’s tradition or the fabric of one’s culture.8 “The Church’s attitude is no mere stratagem for ingratiating herself with the other religions but something far weightier: she looks on the religions of the world as paths to salvation for those who go along them in good faith.”9
“To speak of man as an individual is, in my opinion, totally insufficient and eventually wrong.”10 Panikkar often makes the distinction between the individual and the person. The perfection of the human individual is not the fullness of human nature; it is not the individual, but personhood that is the fullness of the human; individuality is not the essence of humanity, but the ineffable and unique existence of the person.11 According to Panikkar, “everything in the world is interrelated and … beings themselves are nothing but relations.”12 Panikkar remarks that unlike the King James translation of Luke which says that the kingdom of God is within you, or the New English Bible which has God’s kingdom among you, he finds it more correct to know that the kingdom of God is between you, which is what the Greek preposition “entos” means and which clearly emphasizes the relational nature of both person and God.13 Here is the basis for the significance that he places on the relational attitude of cosmos, theos and anthropos–Cosmotheandric–nature of not only the world but heaven as well. In this is emphasized the importance of the dialogic approach to communication, for only in such dialogue is pluralism, co-existence, democracy, even justice and peace possible.14
It is important to note that the role of icons and mandalas in their respective cultures are examples of integrated, holistic communication of cosmotheandric dimensions. Yet, each of these is the particular product of its own religious cultures with its own unique features. Still, it is the ability to shift consciousness in a particular way that gives one access to the meaning of such art forms. It is the shift of consciousness to
these other realms of mystical significance that have given rise to these art forms in the first place. Their function within religious culture is part of the dynamic relationship between this world and the “other” states of consciousness that Panikkar would identify as appropriately relational in the cosmotheandric sense.15 These are art forms which treat of that about which one can say nothing directly but only experience. Thus, such art is primarily an aid to ineffable experience, an artifact of such experience once it has passed.16
Beyond certain important references to the trinitarian nature of Deity, Panikkar does not say much more about God. His approach is remarkably Buddhist for a Catholic priest. Panikkar has explained the deep rooted theism behind the Buddha’s lack of reference to God. Buddha perceived that God is beyond all possible naming. “He tells us that any speaking of the name of God, that any talk about God, and even all thought, are just so many blasphemies.”17 There is nothing more to be said about God, then. God is that about which there can be no talk.
However, as mentioned above, Panikkar does talk about the trinitarian structure of all creation, certainly of human perception, a structure upon which Christianity does not hold a monopoly. He mentions that every bit of reality carries the trinitarian imprint, i.e., his cosmotheandric principle of Gods, Men, and Cosmos. He declares, “I know of no culture where heaven-earth-hell, past-present-future, gods-men-world, and even pronouns I-you-it… are not found in one form or another.”18
In this vein of unity and plurality, Panikkar develops an important approach to the major philosophic problem of the “One and the Many” in his book Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics. Here, he explains that Advaita Vedanta “understands itself as the culmination of all religions and philosophies insofar as it leads to and interprets the
“ultimate experience” of non-duality, i.e., the essential non-separability of the Self, atman, and God, brahman.”19
This unity finds its importance in Panikkar’s work as his thought unfolds about pluralistic and relational aspects of persons, nations, cultures, and religions. The significance of the shift of consciousness finds its place in all these categories, but most clearly in the experience of individuals and the development of cultures and religions. Through this ecstatic shift–the fundamental characteristic of universal Shamanistic experience, indispensable attribute of meditation, and necessary vehicle of any mystical realization–we move outside ourselves in relationship with the “other” and discover our in-depth personhood.
According to Panikkar, peoples and world religions can no longer exist, isolated by mutual indifference. “The expression ‘our pluralistic society’ has almost become a cliché. In spite of the technical supremacy of the West, they impact each other and none can avoid the omnipresent action of the various world views.”20 Panikkar sees this question of the one and the many as perhaps the central human question as “one becomes aware of both the need for diversity and the need for unity.”21 According to the famous Tibetologist, Herbert Guenther, in his book The Matrix of Mystery, the Nyingmapa doctrine of Dzog Chen, which relies heavily on mandalic perceptions, deals with this question of diversity and unity in terms of what Guenther refers to as the “Fury of Being” and its “Rectification.” The Mandalic configuration describes a process of creation, integration, and disintegration in a dynamic, experiential–the human body and the universe are the first mandalas after all–yogic ritual that incorporates individual(s), cosmos, and Nirvanic or transcendent realizations.22 Still, some people resolve in favor of monism, others prefer dualism but Panikkar suggests the more accurate reflection is in advaita, neither one nor two, but a non-dualism in which a tensile polarity is maintained.23
“To take religions seriously and, further, to experience them from within, is to believe, in one way or another, in what these religions say.”24 Here, Panikkar goes beyond such schools as Process Theology because “they want to be universal from a perspective which is seen as universal only from within the system.”25 We must view these issues not from “my” Christianity, “his” Hinduism, or “her” Islam. The differences which appear in world religions are basic and ultimate. “If we take religious pluralism seriously we cannot avoid asserting that truth itself is pluralistic–at least for the time being, which is our being in time, and on which we need to rely for our very thinking.”26
A brief commentary on these last words is required as they serve to introduce the next category of Panikkar’s point of view. Panikkar’s concept of time is crucial to his understanding of reality and meaning. This will be developed more fully in Chapter Three, since important connections are provided there by which this study of the shift of consciousness relates to Panikkar’s work. But, in brief: Time should be measured not only horizontally but as a spiral and vertically as well, not only in duration but in cycles and depth. For instance, the phenomenon that impressed me the most during my stay with the Zuni Indians, was how the festal calendar structures their lives while describing the passage of time so differently than that of the business world in mainstream America. How time is transformed by the Zuni year might be compared with the festal cycles of the Catholic Church with its Christ feasts, solemnities, and saint’s days, as well as Buddhism’s full moon festivals, Kalpic eons, among many such practices.27
Panikkar observes three modes of consciousness which are neither mutually exclusive nor dialectically opposed. They are kairologically related. He distinguishes three moments in history: the non historical, the historical, and the trans historical.
When the past is the paradigm through which we experience time, we have the nonhistorical moment (memory and faith are central); when it is the future, historical consciousness prevails (the will and hope are predominant); and when past and future are lived in terms of the present, we share in the trans-historical experience of reality (the intellect and love become fundamental.)28 Before the invention of writing, humanity had no way to project all of its creations into the future. The past had us in its grip; tradition was paramount. Time comes from the beginning: Mythos.29
With writing, progress is key. Time is seen to move forward. The future belongs to God, God to the future: History.30
But when Man split the atom, the apparently indestructible elements of reality became vulnerable, the past broke, the future collapsed. Only the present is left: Mysticism.31
According to Panikkar, time must be seen not as the construct of culture but as the rhythm of nature. Panikkar gives an example of other-worldly time as seen in the lives of certain monks for whom all hurry loses its meaning. Efficiency and purpose fade away. The person who lives in this other worldly condition “was, is,” “not does, not has.” Being is unified. “Doing” and “having” entail multiplicity. But, Panikkar makes this important distinction between the nature of this unity and creativity. Being is a “kind of total spontaneity.” The Indian effort is not “thinking and being” but “being and wording”: “being and letting being be; being and letting being escape. This element of spontaneity is also found to a significant degree with self-expressive art of modernity. It is being and letting being express itself, without the reflection of self-consciousness, without going back to the being from which you have departed. It is a kind of total spontaneity. Being
explodes itself into being, into word, into the expression of that being… being is just… explosion!”32
There is an implicit connection here between the explosion, the Word, and creativity. In Panikkar’s framework, creation and creativity is absolutely connected with sacrifice. Since God had no primal “stuff” from which to create, he had to use himself. “By sacrifice the world is made and maintains itself in existence; by sacrifice the entire cosmos returns to its source.”33 Panikkar stresses in Worship and Secular Man: “sacrifice is by its nature a theandric act, an act in which God and man have to work together in order that the world be maintained; it is a cosmic act, for the subsistence of the world depends upon it.”34 Panikkar suggests that God cannot perform the sacrifice without human cooperation. Similarly, Man requires divine help, since he alone is impotent to make the sacrifice acceptable.
From these archaic notions, Panikkar maintains the fabric of tradition and culture by projecting into the future, or the present, a contemporary vision of value for secular or religious appreciation.
To be engaged in the perfection of the cosmos is not vanity, but the fullest realization of the person. The crisis of our contemporary human period, at the same moment its great opportunity and vocation, is to realize that the human microcosm and material microcosm are not two separate worlds, but one in the same cosmotheandric reality, in which precisely the third ‘divine’ dimension is the unifying link between the other two dimensions of reality. Otherwise, to withdraw into the business of saving one’s soul becomes sheer egoism or cowardice, and to fling oneself into the taste of saving the world sheer vanity or presumption.35 It is for this “divine” cohesion that the integrative capacity in the shift of consciousness is essential. Panikkar voices these concerns with great urgency:
Today’s world is in effervescence and even more, it is at a boiling point. Those who abstain become decisive factors within the mutation which is taking place. If mankind’s venerable traditions do not contribute in forging a new mentality, the latter will be formed without their 62
immediate impact… there is no way we can avoid the urgency of the situation.36
We must understand the part that this shift of consciousness plays in these “venerable traditions” in order to understand Panikkar’s urgent concern here. The difference between the “venerable” vision and this emerging mentality is vast and vastly nuanced.37 It is only by a radical, in-depth experience facilitated by the shift that we can “know” the world in a way that Panikkar understands will contribute positively to the emerging “new mentality.”38 Panikkar would say along with St. Paul, “Show me your resurrection. The rest does not matter one bit.”39 The resurrection, not unlike the somewhat more humble psychokinetic event recorded in the story “EBACY ’91″ to be found in my art catalog at the end of Chapter Five, is evidence of the shift of consciousness. Like an archeological artifact, it is the evidence of a cultural and personal complex perhaps otherwise missed. One participates in this transfer of self, this communion, when one goes out of oneself dialogically, assimilating along the way other views of reality that change one’s own profoundly.40 In this process one not only engages levels of reality that might resolve one’s terrestrial issues, but one must encounter “deity,” if “encounter” is an adequate reference, since it is meta-ontological, beyond being. According to Panikkar: “The apophatism is absolute. The deity neither is nor exists, nor is it thinkable or speakable. Possible names for this deity are sunyata, …neither Being nor Nonbeing… To think about it would be idolatry… In a word, deity connotes the highest form of life.”41 Thus, the only proper attitude toward it is silence since silence best befits it; silence says nothing, there being nothing to say.
Avoiding idolatry, the shift of consciousness is a human capacity, a creature whose activity, sustenance, and mystical dimension, indeed, whose life, whose ultimate purpose is described by this imageless, apophatic emptiness. Yet, it is an emptiness whose product is the creative fecundity that Panikkar tries to describe with new terms and concepts: dialogic, cosmotheandric, ontonomy, mutual fecundation, and many more.
One can say that a sunyasin–i.e. one who is inspired to renounce the world of domestic, civil life, to become a pilgrim depending upon divine mercy–experiences the shift of consciousness. What makes the mere yogi into a sunyasin is that which results from and happens in the shift, inherently within the heart of this primary human characteristic. Panikkar’s work is an open door, an icon, that allows passage between the world of the mystic, that is, the world of the shift, and the world of critical thought.
SECTION II: CHAPTER THREE
THE SHIFT (NAIRATMYAVADA: IDENTITY)
The shift of consciousness between “discursive” and “non discursive” states admits to a wide spectrum of descriptions and occurrences throughout history. It can be identified as a specific action or experience associated with an adept, such as a shaman or Zen master. It can become enmeshed in cultural phenomena as sophisticated and complex as one finds in Tibet wherein a society has come to be influenced and altered by its attributes. The very nature of the shift often is only apparent as the artifacts of its effects are discovered and considered. The story of the resurrection of Christ itself might be considered such an artifact, especially in association with such Christian categories as metanoia and kenosis.1 The shift itself is universal and pan-functional precisely because it is the agent, occasion or quality of transfer between temporal and non temporal realms.
The following review of Panikkar’s understanding of time, including references to the importance of myth and dream in this consideration, will begin to display the environment in which the shift of consciousness operates. Eventually, this will indicate a complex of activities and states accessed by the shift of consciousness. This complex of activities and states is the properly human and natural framework for individual lives and whole cultures, what Panikkar calls “fully human life.”2 This finds models of reference across a full spectrum of human experience, from the Stone Age to the era of computer technology. For instance, Hypertext, mentioned in the introduction to this dissertation, considers a revolution in theories of knowledge which have taken place in this
generation. There are a vast number of sources and resources immediately available to the computer operator, interwoven in a web-like context of references. This changes the brain’s process of processing information from a linear, logical, narrative mode to connect the age of the computer and modern media to networks of associations typical of Shamanistic thinking.
This contextual approach suggested by the network of associations discussed in Hypertext3 is pertinent since the context of the shift defines much of the nature of this phenomenon.4 The shift has operated often as a quality of phenomenological associations, a world view, found in such categories as myth and archaic theories of time.5
The shift operates, as well, as an innate human capacity giving one access to various experiences in these categories. The story of the Zen archer, told in the introduction to “Interstates,” wherein subject and object lose their dichotomy, illustrates this capacity that opens doors to all the accomplishments of Buddhist mysticism, especially highly relational compassion.
Panikkar’s approach to the topic of time is generally twofold. He compares ordinary, everyday time, that is, linear, chronological, historical time, to liturgical mythic, ritual or dream time, which is qualitative, ambivalent, and polydirectional. The basis for this comparison and a resulting synthesis is the use of the paradigm of sacrificial time in Hindu and Christian traditions. Panikkar suggests that the objective and the subjective derive from the philosophical assumptions which underlie traditional theologies and the classical history of religions respectively. He suggests a possible synthesis by presenting the traditional category of sacrifice as still valid for modernity.6 This study encourages us to overcome the subject/object dichotomy at the epistemic level and the natural-supernatural dualism on the ontological plane when dealing with ultimate human problems. “The nature of time is not an a priori occurrence in our minds or in the phenomena themselves, nor is it a posteriori, i.e., detectable only as a given external fact. Time is at the crossing point between consciousness and matter.”7 Any reference to it becomes at once metaphoric or mythic. Its very existence posits the existence of non-time or eternity. There is no evidence of the experience of time after death, for instance. Eternity is the appropriate appellation for this condition of non-time. To these matters, human diction or even mental concepts may not refer directly, if at all. Panikkar’s and the Buddha’s admonition concerning reference to God is quite clear: Silence. One may only experience it as ineffable.8 The operation of artistic metaphor as an expression and exploration of this experience is none-the-less universal, and vital to this dissertation: i.e., the production of the art in the form of stories and paintings documented in the art catalog of Chapter Five. The grimoire-shaman’s technical journal – “Nepsis,” and the novel
Adam’s Way, which derives from “Nepsis” and integrates Panikkar’s themes in a fictional context, along with the catalog, document the author’s journey of appreciation for the operation of this metaphor.
I have mentioned the operation of myth and dreams and rituals as important to Panikkar’s discussion of time as well as the themes of the shift. If we can agree, as common knowledge, that the operation of the symbol is central to these topics and generally synonymous with the artistic metaphor mentioned above, let us take a brief detour here to discuss symbol as a technique of the shift. This is a usage which engages other states of consciousness, which in turn, alter our experience of time. Panikkar speaks here in a specific context about the use of symbols
…to express an experience of reality in which subject and object, interpretation and interpreted, appearance and its noumenon are inextricably united. God, being, matter, energy, world, mystery, light, man, spirit, and idea are such central symbols. The symbol symbolizes the symbolized in the symbol itself, and not elsewhere. It is different from mere sign.9 Christ is the Christian symbol of all reality. Nothing short of this first and capital sutra will do justice either to Christian belief or to the experience of practically all human traditions. The Christian tradition, emerging from Jewish monotheism and confronting Greek polytheism, regained the trinitarian, age-old intuition of reality as Heaven, Earth, and Man; as God, world, and humanity; Spirit, Matter, and Consciousness. For the Christian, Christ is the central symbol which embodies the entire reality.
Christ is that “light which illumines everyone coming into this world”; “all has been made by him” and “in him all things subsist”; “he is the only begotten” and “first born”; the “beginning and end”, “alpha and omega” but also beta, gamma, delta… of everything, the Son of God equal to the Godhead, the icon of the entire reality the “head of a body” still in the making, in the pangs of birth. The adventure of reality is a temporal and spatial egressus from God, coming back, regressus, to the source by going ahead toward the end. This spacial ex-tension and temporal dis-tension is being bridged by the human in-tension of man in “growth to the full measure of Christ.” “God becomes Man in order that Man may become God…” all through the remarkable efficacy of a symbol.10 This is suggestive of the power of the mandala, the icon, the fetish, and the Abstract
Expressionist struggle to explore the boundaries of the human psyche and experience. This directs our attention to the power of art both to represent and engage the full spectrum of reality through its efficacy as the symbol that is a technique of the shift that (re)engages this world with the other.
The function of Art and Symbol in this reference will be further developed, especially in Chapters Five and Six. Let us now return to our other focus of interest here; Time, Panikkar, and the shift of consciousness.
The concept of time as a moment of meeting between matter and consciousness, is of major importance to the contextual approach in this study of the shift, especially to the experiential and personal nature of part of this research. The shift does not exist solely as a temporal phenomenon, a shaman altering consciousness to cure someone’s sickness, for instance, but also as a quality that must be captured in the net of associative, temporal and trans-temporal human perceptions.11 It is the quality of a certain category of experience that claims to move between the temporal and non temporal, the personal and the universal. It is a phenomenon, the real existence of which there is convincing and illuminating anthropological evidence. The capacity of human beings for the shift of consciousness is perhaps basic to all mystical religion as will be further developed below. I had to be a shaman or a priest of a certain type in order to know, even to examine up close, the otherwise transitory and ineffable character of the qualities associated with the shift. One has to be a practitioner in order to know the elements of what is practiced.
It is only the full religious capacity of human personality that can experience the full implications of being temporal creatures in the face of the non temporal. This is where the shift operates. Thus, it is only more fully human consciousness, i.e., scientific, artistic, and religious consciousness, that can engage and then comment upon this phenomenon. The rational, discursive dimension of human abilities is not enough to examine this subject as per Panikkar’s methodology. For instance, I had to be an Abstract Expressionist artist in order to access the unconscious realms of interest to the Abstract Expressionist branch of Modernism, in order to appreciate their existential mysticism,12 and to understand the catalytic artifacts, i.e., the paintings and sculptures, of these other world encounters. Just to have read about other people’s experiences of these
phenomena, several times removed, produces an entirely different understanding of the subject. It might, according to Panikkar, produce a dangerously fragmented understanding of reality. Perhaps no real understanding at all.
For Panikkar, the fragmentation of knowledge is one of the major philosophical issues of our age. From his perspective there cannot be a knowledge separate from the context, i.e., culture, temperament, and education of the one who is learning and acting. This is a problem that he addresses often but especially in the Christological arena where he develops what he calls, Christophany.13 Here he tries to draw together in a reasonable way orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Individual, culture, and cosmos are drawn together in a mystical milieu of gestalt awareness.
It is from this perspective which actively encourages a holistic approach that this dissertation tries to engage more fully the full human personality in a perceptive network of discursive and non discursive associations. It is only thus that one can traverse the territory of the shift, according to Panikkar. Something of the rational of his own interdisciplinary and inter-cultural and even trans-temporal methodology is expressed in Panikkar’s Christophany as he roots the Christian temporal experience firmly in history as well as maintaining its coherence with universal and non temporal qualities. Creation is creatio continua, as the scholastics said. And according to Panikkar, it is not something which happened just at the beginning of time. It is not a mere cosmological assertion about where to place the Big Bang. Creation is at the basis of every time, of every temporal existence; it is the foundation on which time, concrete time, the temporality of every instant, rests. The protological, sometimes called preexistent Christ, is the same as the historical Christ, and the historical Christ is not separable from the eucharistic and risen Christ. And similarly the coming Christ, the parousia Christ is not separable from the eucharistic and risen Christ. So the eschatological Second Coming is not another Incarnation or a second Christ appearing here or there. We have been warned not to believe in any appearance of the coming Messiah here or there. The Kingdom does not come at a specific moment and one cannot tell by observation when it comes. (Lk 17:20-24).14 “It is in this sense that christophany helps us to live consciously our tempiternal life, the fullness of life which has integrated past, present, and future the trikala of some indic traditions so that life may be lived abundantly (Jn 10:10).”15 The Church
understands itself to be the place where the incarnation takes place. And here is a reference to the shift in its ultimate sense. Just as the Church, since Origen and St. Cyprian in the middle of the third century formulated that famous statement: extra ecclesiam nulla salus, outside the church there is no salvation, we are exposed to a tautological emphasis: Wherever salvation happens, there is the church. Ecclesia is understood as locus salutis. This is the cosmic and soteriological understanding in the primordial Katholike: the church which exists throughout the universe, space, time, and eternity.16
There is always an urgency that one senses behind Panikkar’s theology: The shift of consciousness changes our experience of time; it opens and breaths from eternity; it carries our perception from a one-dimensional track heading towards death, to a living ambiance of fulfilling experience that engages ultimate meaning: “Mankind peers longingly over at the other shore from its own milieu of limitations: Of knowledge (power), of space (communication), and of time (fullness).”17 The last of these is the worst according to Panikkar, since it implies not only the impossibility of gathering together the past and the future into the lived present, but also the shocking discovery of a normally inexperience able limit a quo, birth; and another, still more intriguing and equally beyond experience limit ad quem, death. Man’s temporal limitation touches him to the very core: We experience it as something painful, humiliating… My real ego cannot be only today’s ego, [What about last year's ego that was different than today's?] and yet [today's ego] seems to be practically all that is left to me.”18 The most astonishing thing, however, remains the fact that we are conscious of this split so that, in a sense, in our present, there is a certain presence of our past and our future. Human consciousness seems to be peculiarly trans-temporal. “In a certain way, if I want to be my-self, I must somehow gather up all three times and most probably, transcend time altogether. In sum, conquering time- i.e. mastering my temporal dispersion- seems to be the fundamental condition of being my-self, [for modern consciousness]. But how to achieve it?”19
In suggesting the possible hows of this fundamental condition Panikkar describes a condition of consciousness that requires, consciously or not, the shift of consciousness that embraces and is the full three-dimensional spectrum of reality, the fullness of Being. For Panikkar, Being is simply, “everything that is” of this temporal world or the other, non temporal one.20 The art; Mandalas, Icons, and Abstract Expressionist pieces as well as the spiritual techniques such as pilgrimage, ritual, devotional attitudes, and study as well as other practices detailed elsewhere in “Interstates” are all possible vehicles to accomplish the translation between these two worlds and the unification of their mutual exclusivity.
Panikkar sees this unification as fundamental to the nature of sacrifice. I suggest that the shift of consciousness is that interstate, the realm of the moment when this translation or unification takes place. It is the sacrificial, liturgical moment. This can only happen and be of significance in the human personality because of what Panikkar describes as the peculiarly trans-temporal nature of human consciousness that must master the temporal dispersion–past, present, future, and non-time as it struggles to conquer time. This in order to fulfill the fundamental condition for being one’s self. “In sum, conquering time, i.e., mastering my temporal dispersion-seems to be the fundamental condition for being my-self.”21
This capacity to operate in and to unify both temporal and non temporal realms is the defined stance of each of the representative religious traditions in Chapter One: Shaman as master of ecstasy, Hesychast contemplative as master of enstacy, and Buddhist as master of meditation (states). The Abstract Expressionist Artist is master and victim of this modern dilemma of fragmentation in knowledge and the capacities used to process knowledge in the human personality itself. Here is a primary characteristic of the dilemma about which Panikkar speaks so urgently, i. e., the wholeness of being or its diaboli, tearing apart.22
Myth and dream play important roles in all of these traditions of the shift. Panikkar often speaks of the myth of history23 as being the myth par excellence of the
West and of modern thought. That we view history solely as nonfiction contributes to the peculiar degree of tension associated with our temporality in the West. As also presented by Panikkar, the myth of history tries to ease the tension between past and present and also between present and future, performing the same function in both cases, namely that of linking time with non-time, namely eternity or at least bringing together the different fragments of time.24
There seem to be several ways of solving this fundamental human unease, dubkham. Panikkar classifies these ways as (A.) attempts to overcome the tension, or (B.) efforts to put up with it.
(A.) …either denies the basis of the tension, avoiding the subject altogether or B.) “it tries to transform the condition of the tension so that it can be conquered.” Buddhism represents A) typically by “denying the existence of the patient.” There is nothing permanent in an individual to sense the tension. There really is no individual. No soul. This denial is not merely intellectual, it is a “personal conquest” an experience that can be realized.
(B.) Transforming the tension is either “gnoseological” (consciousness is identified with being–e.g. Vedanta), or ontological. If it is the second case, ontological, we have most the religious traditions of the world that believe in the ultimate transformation of humanity, including secular humanism, Marxism, and radical nihilism.25
This ontological category is represented in the art catalog of Chapter Five in the form of a story, “EBACY ’91.” It refers to a state of Being in the process of being transformed. It describes an occurrence of the shift, that caused a Shamanistic event involving psychokinetic powers.26 The story, “EBACY ’91,” tied this event, as evidence of the shift, to the intentions of the characters to change certain things about themselves and the world they lived in. But there is also what Panikkar might recognize as glimmerings of a Vedantic quality to this psychokinetic event. That is, what it took to get to the point so that this character in the story was able to engage paranormal functions
such as psychokinesis. The model for this story is, of course, the gospel miracle stories that provide evidence that Jesus had other world connections.
This story also represents processes that cradle the teleological character of religious initiation, i.e., it describes an unusual baptism instruction in detail. In a highly abstracted way it portrays an unusual event to represent the process and the powers that might be engaged, Shamanistically, from the “other world” to resolve human dilemmas. An age-old religious phenomenon is presented in the form of a sacred drunkenness.27 That leads to the surprising but not unexpected, paranormal event. In a certain sense, this story represents the whole of “Nepsis” in so far as that work describes the context and experience of spiritual initiation and the Shamanistic encounter between temporal and non temporal, mythic and historic, dream and waking perception, finally being unable to distinguish between such dichotomies.
For a Catholic priest to be radically drunk, often, as in my catalog story, with his college students is Tantric in its spontaneous, ritual, breaking of taboo in order to access other, important realms of reality, even ultimate realms: the holy.28 It is Shamanistic in that the use of mind altering substances within a sanctuary of the sacred is nearly universal in Shamanistic, agrarian cultures and because of the psychokinetic event that climaxes the experience. The relationship between the priest and the students, in this case, would be the sanctuary.
This Tantric operation if practiced in full would involve a whole cosmology of associations. But in particular it would involve the circulation through the whole body and personality, analogous to the universe, of the vital, psychic energies. Raising these energies from the psychic center at the base of the perineum Muladhara up through the (psychic) central nervous system to the crown chakra Sahasrara at the top of the head is the action that reunites heaven and earth, male and female, Kundalini and Shiva, all duality, to produce the Nirvanic condition of Enlightenment, or energies for magical purposes. In the Hesychasm, something comparable is in progress when the Great Robe Monk, or the thaumaturge, draws the sexual energies up and pushes the intellectual energies down into the heart, the symbolic center of the personality, to experience a spiritual, eternal, Eucharist of the divine indwelling. Panikkar proposes something
similar when he tries to draw together the elements of time, past-present-future, into one moment of trans-temporal, eternal consciousness.
It was my intention that this story, “EBACY ’91,” in a precise and disturbing way, depict an cosmotheandric attitude resulting from the mutual fecundation of cultures and religions, so important to Panikkar and at the same time display the urgency about certain issues, such as the fragmentation of knowledge and therefore personality and culture, that is of concern to Panikkar.
Attitudes about the phenomenology of time and shift of consciousness express themselves as central to any consideration of sacrifice and ritual. As Panikkar writes:
The case in point here is the recovery of the profound meaning of ritual, so often overshadowed by ceremonies and paraphernalia, not only in ritualistic practices but also in the philosophical and theological universes. Ritual is the act by which Man tries to reach, obtain, express, or do what is otherwise inaccessible by any other means… An embrace of peace can be ritual when it expresses more than what I can say and do, and a meal becomes a sacramental rite when it not only feeds the body… but also instills grace… A style of dress… becomes liturgical when it symbolizes what otherwise is not visible… It is on this common ground, with all the ambivalence it possesses, that the nature and function of sacrifice is situated.29 According to Panikkar, a phenomenology of sacrifice would yield the following:
1. Man wants something else, something more than his situation allows. 2. At first, he “stretches his hand out in space… and waits in time… to reach the expected maturity.”
3. …the temporal flow alone does not bring the expected results. …the machine reaches further than the hand and internal effort is required to obtain the glory and strength he desires. No wonder that an aura of sacredness surrounded the first material tools and the first spiritual exercises.
4. …the help of others is required, others who have more power: the hero, the elder, the ancestors and the God. Entreaty and supplication, imitation and emulation appear on the scene. The ritual appears.
5. Machines and techniques do not help. “A rupture of planes has to take place; [The shift] Man has to jump outside his given situation, he has to be initiated… This is the place of the sacrifice: the act by which Man transcends his factual human situation and reaches what he wants– health, riches, a prosperous family, heaven, wisdom, joy, divinity…”
“… the action by means of which Men believe they will fulfill those desires which they cannot achieve alone, is the very core of the sacrifice. It is that ritual which breaks the planes in order to reach transcendence.”
6. “This act always takes the form of a rupture: something is destroyed, cut, burned, offered–precisely sacrificed– in order to reach the transcendent.”
7. “… the sacrificer seeks to deal with the temporal situation of Man in one way or another, and precisely by this fact, to save, redeem, enhance, make happy, enrich… the human being.”30
In this instance, the shift is the phenomenological capacity for moving one’s consciousness in a direction that passes through or causes this rupture in planes to address both material and spiritual issues. From the Vedic point of view, “by the sacrificial act, Man reaches the shores of the other world, and is saved from the grip of time.”31 This dissertation declares that it is because Mankind can shift consciousness in a particular way that the sacrifice can be made and time transcended. This capacity, then, seen as basic, begins to describe a common cosmology of perception that is universal, archaic, “developing out of the early stone age”32 and yet contemporary to the degree that it might also be a basic ingredient to religious sentiment of the future. Let us leave for now
further prognostications of this sort to Panikkar’s vision of the future to be treated at length in Chapter Four of this dissertation.
The Christian sacrifice also performs a trans-temporal function. Christ’s sacrifice, already prefigured by Abel, Melchizedek, and Abraham, is a ritual over which Christ presides as High-priest for all humanity. In the liturgy of Christ’s sacrifice, the Christian is “entering into a relation with that act which was at the beginning of the World, has redeemed the cosmos and continues until the total divinization of the universe.”33
“…that sacrifice is an act which transcends time and space, an act by which past sins are forgiven and future grace is treasured, an act which connects us with the beginning of the World and has eschatological repercussions.”34 Navajos sand paintings perform a similar mythic function when used in a healing ritual.35 Christians who share in the mystery of Christ do so by means of the sacrifice. They lift up mundane life into the life of Christ himself, and by doing this, share in the mystery of the cosmotheandric universe.
Time is overcome by sacrifice:
Time is sacrificed, destroyed, pierced through and a transtemporal core uncovered. But again time exists because of the primordial sacrifice (of god) that has called the temporal reality into being. Thus one could sum up at least these two highly representative traditions saying that time both springs from and dies through ritual. It is sacrifice that makes time, and ultimately destroys time and enables the World to reach its tempiternal core… It constitutes the dignity of Man to be able to perform this act.36 Panikkar usually does not mention the shift. The shift is a different level of reference from his usual topic. Sacrifice and ritual are great phenomenological, philosophical, theological categories. They might be noble actions performed consciously by Hindus, Christians, and many others. But from a practical point of view, it remains our immediately adjacent ability to shift consciousness that makes this noble action possible. This, I believe constitutes the power of humankind.
However, Panikkar will posit that it is the act of consciousness itself which is different than the reflective response of being aware of being conscious of something.
The act of consciousness itself is non temporal. That is that it is not possible to be consciousness of an act of consciousness while one is being conscious of something. One can only reflect upon the fact that one was conscious of something after the fact. Therefore, this act of consciousness is not subject to time. “I may become conscious that I was conscious of something, and then situate the first act of consciousness in space and time, but this is after the fact and another act altogether. Any act of measuring the original act of consciousness is already another act entirely. Therefore, that act is the more fundamental.”37 First, that we are conscious at all; second, that we can reflect upon the fact that we are conscious, Homo Sapiens Sapiens; and then that we can manipulate states of consciousness, or they are manipulated by outside force, in such a way that evokes change minor or great, would seem to be the proper order here and indicates that the shift is active in this operation.
The importance of this ability is total, according to Panikkar: “I am saying that the representation or presentation, the appearing or manifestation of reality that constitutes a conscious act, as such, is untouched by time.”38
Therefore, that which is the common trade, the exalted emblem of shamans, Zen masters, and the like, is the result of our fallen, samsaric condition, since Panikkar believes that the fundamental act or moment of consciousness is already, very democratically, outside time, having no need for the gifts and powers of adepts, psychopomps, masters or technocrats to access it. Our immediate temporality necessitates the ability to shift into the even greater immediacy of the original non temporal moment of consciousness. These things are unchartable except through dreams, the ineffable sensations of art, and myths; i.e., symbol and metaphor. Panikkar is an intellectual whose mysticism revels in the “timeless ecstasis behind any true act of understanding.”39
Panikkar feels that it is precisely because we have not a perfectly conscious act, because we are not pure consciousness, we go on living in time. “Could we become pure consciousness or see God face to face, to rephrase Hindu and Christian terminologies, we would jump outside temporal reality altogether and we do it, ‘momentarily’ each ‘time’ that consciousness dawns upon us.”40
SECTION II: CHAPTER 4,
PROJECTION (AVYAKRTAVASTUNI: NO ANSWER)
This chapter projects Panikkar’s views, as discussed in Chapters 2 and 3, into the future of the world. Certain cosmological concerns in Panikkar’s world-view, such as “the rhythm of Being”, are treated in this chapter and are pertinent to the shift of consciousness, art, and the experience of religion.
Panikkar’s position posits a hermeneutic of sacrifice that would help strengthen the thread between tradition and modernity, and thus help develop the proper approach, or even ritual, that in turn will help modern humanity cope with the discomfort that Panikkar has determined that it feels about its own temporality. Mankind contains a human invariant that can be identified as the “constitutive tension” in human consciousness between “being and becoming”, “the one and the many”, “identity and difference”, “change and continuity”, and also, between “time and eternity.” Parenthetically, Panikkar notes,
my conviction that handling this constitutive tension in dialectical terms expresses both the strength and the weakness of Western culture, and that other traditions approach the problem differently. Only a complementary approach can help us to overcome the increasingly dangerous cultural neo-colonialism of our times.1 The nature of this strength and weakness will become clearer as Panikkar’s analysis of the situation is presented. It should be noted that here is another, insistent encouragement for interdisciplinary, partially non discursive projects such as “Interstates.”
The relationship between the shift of consciousness’ occurrence in the history of religions and Panikkar’s ideas about the nature of time, sacrifice, and ritual are the key to the cohesion of this dissertation. For Panikkar the ritual of sacrifice is the primordial and contemporary religious phenomenon. The shift is the function of sacrifice. It is
suggested there that the shift is the inherently human capacity that allows ritual to be something more than an intellectual construct. Without the actual shift there would be no internal substance to ritual, and subsequently no real sacrifice. Therefore, there would be no religion, in a traditional or secular sense as developed below. If religious phenomenon could be separated from the shift of consciousness, there certainly would not be mystical religion, or spiritual experience of ultimate import. The ability to shift consciousness within a religious construct is implicit within the gestalt of sacrifice.
To understand Panikkar’s place in the contemporary philosophical and theological scene and to further evaluate his theories about time, ritual, and sacrifice, let us review his attitudes about the “science of religion.” In the West, history is the basis of truth. A fact is accepted as real if it can be proved to be a historical fact. This acceptance seems not to reflect upon its own process.
This, in fact, is a rather modern, Western myth probably of Semitic origins,2
and not an experience common to humanity.
To speak of sacrifice as the proper ritual for overcoming time may be easily accepted by the historian of religions when dealing with other people and cultures. But the question becomes much more delicate when applied to our present-day (largely Western) situation.3 Panikkar suggests that the function of the science of religion is not limited to investigating different, novel cultures, but entails broadening its scope and exploring the religious dimension of humanity, including ourselves and our culture. This broader understanding of religious studies which explores the ultimate self-understanding of Man, points to the significance of the underlying insights of the traditional doctrines of sacrifice in the modern secular world. Furthermore, by placing our understanding of our modern predicament in a wider and deeper context, this perspective allows us not only the opportunity to understand it, but also to reform and possibly restructure it.
This is relevant since “knowledge and love” have given way to “making and acting.” “Homo sapiens et homo amans are increasingly giving way to homo faber et homo agens.” 4 To further place Panikkar in the modern context: Panikkar does not say
that intentional contemplation or wisdom, jnanamarga, and the intentional practice of love and devotion, bhaktimarga, are obsolete or that the traditional karmamarga, right action, is what modern secularized humanity is performing. But he detects a link with such tradition that is connected with a contemporary sense of sacredness applied to secular work.
Panikkar sees the shift in the attitude towards time as being key to the transition underlying the industrial age, and therefore our attitude towards work and more importantly, human identity. The clock, a Christian, monastic invention meant for keeping the hours of prayer better, not the steam engine, is the machine that first revolutionized the beginnings of the modern era.5 Our appreciation of time moved from liturgical sacredness to utilitarian commercial production.
However, there is in modern, secularized humanity a sense that we are still performing sacrificial actions:
The efforts of the good citizen to increase the welfare of society, the concern of the genuine intellectual for the well-being of his fellow beings, the sincere ideal of the scientist in working for the progress of the world, the pains of the honest national or international official takes for the elimination of poverty, disease, hunger, injustice; and the like, could be adduced as examples. We should not minimize the religious pathos behind such attitudes.6 Educators, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and politicians are the dignified and well-honored priests of this modern religiousness. [Are businessmen then, wild warriors on the plains of culture, riding their steeds of commerce; raiding parties stalking the rich village of world resources?] Modern banks are better kept than churches. Sacred hours, hours of sacrifice are working hours. An employee who works overtime is naturally paid more, precisely because he sacrifices more time.7 To take up your time or to ask for some of your time, without compensation, amounts to exploitation.
By means of work the ordinary citizen becomes contemporary with the Founder’s dream, myth, or idea that inspires him to work. He also reaches the ideal of the end of times, when the hardships endemic to work will be taken away and life will be filled with justice and joy. If we organize ourselves well enough, and produce enough “time-saving” 81
technology for everyone, this will redeem us from the effort and pain of [the post-Eden] connection with work… Thus, the sacrifice, the sacrificer, and the sacrificed ultimately coalesce as in the Vedas and the New Testament. All traditional motive of sacrifice have been preserved in the process of being transplanted into another horizon. We have here a typical example of trans-mythicization.8
According to Panikkar:
1. The ancient ages were characterized by the theological belief that Man’s life is part of the divine adventure. And the rituals express the struggle of men and gods all together. The first Hellenic and Vedic ages are examples.
2. The middle ages are represented by the cosmological belief that man’s dignity consists in collaborating in the sustenance of the world. The ancient rituals and sacred mysteries are thus converted into expressions of and means for the human participation in the destiny of the universe. The Gita, the Hellenic, and Christian mysteries here come to mind.
3. Modernity is shaped by the humanistic belief that man’s life justifies itself by being of service to the human race and working together toward the progress of society. The ancient rituals are here transformed in the ethical behavior of the community, be this nation, state, party, church, academia, or any other group.9
From a popular perspective, modernity might also be shaped by Natural Law. But something different than that derived from scholastic thinking. In popular literature Natural Law is “the Law of the Jungle.” The Octopus, by Frank Norris would be an example of this. Capitalists, ranchers, and gangsters are generally free-market economists for whom the first law is to endure. This is the warrior’s motivation. Your honor is motivated by the ability to survive and endure suffering and then, after that, when one’s primary motive is secured, to take a profit, or your leisure, or your enemy’s/competitor’s horses, land, and women. Has Ayn Rand’s party carried the day? Or is it something else. From the latest novel by Robert Pirsig, Lila10 , the author quotes Anthropologist E. A. Hoebel’s conviction that the American Indian is the model for many
of the primary modern American values, or, at least values admired by Americans. To wit: The Cheyenne male
…moves with a quiet sense of self-assurance. He speaks fluently, but never carelessly… He is slow to anger and strives to suppress his feelings, if aggravated. Vigorous on the hunt, in war he prizes the active life… Usually quiet, he has a lightly displayed sense of humor… a firm grip on reality. His thinking is rationalistic to a high degree and yet colored with mysticism… He is “mature,” [sic] serene and composed, secure in his social position, capable of warm social relations. He has powerful anxieties but these are channeled into institutionalized modes of collective expression with satisfactory results.11 The author of the preceding quote attributes at least the (anti)-hero masque of the highly popular American cowboy to that model. As well, other traits, such as personal independence, individualism (Plains Indians), a confederacy of independent states (Iroquois), and even how American soldiers drank and fought in the World Wars, are credited to Native American habits. There was little of such values as personal independence or individualism that came from autocratic, hierarchical Europe or Asia. As Panikkar has often said, the defeated undermines and recovers/conquers from below. If true, Hoebel’s conviction is a prime example of the mutual fecundation of cultures. Though, Panikkar uses a European or Asian example, such as Greek culture transforming Roman civilization after Rome’s defeat of the Athens.
According to Panikkar, there is now a very great opportunity for mutual fecundation between the old and new in this encounter of modernity and the primordial need to make sacrifice. The essence of the sacrifice is not the item to be burned, buried, or given away. The essence is “the ritual through which humanity finds salvation [which] spacially overcomes the dominion of time and is rescued from its slavery.”12 This had been the task of the shaman. In facing these trans-temporal issues, modern humanity is facing the Shamanistic task. The Modernists, particularly the artists, especially the Abstract Expressionists, attempted to turn their art-making specifically into a means and an experience of exactly this tempiternal reality.13
However, according to Panikkar, the secular sacrifice does not take us away from time into some atemporal realm. Secular sacrifice does not save us from time; rather it saves time itself because time needs to be redeemed, purified, sublimated, and eventually made to reveal its tempiternal core. “Neither accelerating [the experience of] time, on the one hand, as the pure secularist would recommend, nor stopping it, on the other hand, as the old shaman would command, would help us to ‘win our lives.’”14 To put it more explicitly, Panikkar believes that neither of the two extremes–creating a better, more humanized technology or destroying it altogether–are practically effective. Moreover, these solutions are theoretically wrong. Panikkar’s question remains: Can modern Man find a path to discover something built in the very heart of time, inseparable from time, and yet not to be confused with it? This is what he refers to as tempiternity, “which is neither an everlasting time, nor a ‘post-temporal’ eternity but the very soul of time as it were. Time without it, is a corpse, but the soul without its body is a mere abstraction.”15
From the perspective of this dissertation, in order to access this tempiternal condition, it will be necessary for both the modern secular mind and modern religion to give credence to the gift of the shift as being able to access, if not the soul of the world, then, at least, inherent capacities in nature for healing, regeneration, and integration. These are ecstatic capacities that are not available to solely intellectual, rational processes. That is, for an intellectual assent to the tempiternal realities to be more than a corpse, the body without the soul of actual experience, then this intellect must engage the shift.
It is the task of the mystic or Shamanistic personality to realize that facing the difficult issues of our age are not like facing the evils of the past. Evils which would just pass away eventually. Now, it must be realized that these evils have an ultimate character to them that requires an equivalent largess of response.16 The shift needs to be recognized as an anthropological fact that gives access to realms not otherwise apparent to ordinary consciousness, but necessary for tempiternal realization.
Now, sacrifice is the set of actions which reach the tempiternal core of reality [the reason for religion] and thus gives us, first an 84
awareness of the transcendental value of our authentic acts, and second, the possibility of acting with the full power inherent to those acts.17
Panikkar believes that we now live in the world of technocracy which he calls the Fourth World. The shift is properly a vehicle for transport between the Second and Third Worlds, i.e., the world of the gods and the world of humans. To Panikkar and most of humanity, both these worlds are realities, although they are the “worlds” of the past. Modern man no longer needs to appease the gods or even be on good terms with them in order to live peacefully. The same applies to his relationship to the tyrant, king, or the authorities that be. There is no longer a need to understand nature in its own terms, the sun, the climate, the elements, etc. We have created another world, “the mega machine which now we feel we are caught in and find more difficult than to appease the gods or to kill the tyrant or to tame nature.”18 The Fourth World [of technocracy] operates in autonomy. It does not leave room for freedom and spontaneity. For Panikkar spontaneity is the act of letting being be. Letting being express, without self-conscious interference.19 It is intimately related to and necessary for creativity, for art.20 This spontaneity is necessary for the Shift and defines artistic creativity.
Techniques as profound as Zen, or the gifts of the shaman engage the shift, but the complex of personality and culture must be such that all the requisite connections are made in the person for the shift to be most effective. The shaman’s use of hallucinogens would be an example here. In order for one to go on the right inner journey, in accord with the hallucinogenic deity, one must personally and culturally be immersed in the myths and attitudes of one’s world view. Traditional Shamanistic culture was structured to accentuate the experience for the greatest effect. Huichol culture of central western Mexico is but one example of such. In one of their rituals, the shaman goes on pilgrimage to the place where the peyote grows. The peyote is hunted ritually like a deer. The seeker is guided by the deer god to effect the goal of the hunt–for instance, divine realization and the proper resolution of practical problems.21 This is a vastly
oversimplified description, but it makes the point of the culturally structured personal experience that must be so deeply inculcated that one’s engagements of these archetypes is spontaneous and immediate, with or without the sacred substance.
So, one’s act of consciousness is determined or at least effected by a large web of attitudes, knowledge, emotions, commitments, sentiments, and activities as well as other agents identified variously as gods, archetypes or powers, along with one’s technical understanding of world and experience. From a perspective such as this, and from Panikkar’s tempiternal perspective, the concept of a distant god separate from its creation is blasphemous. Therefore, some secular notions, even so-called atheistic notions have more theological basis because of their demand for self-sacrifice and the search for experience of an immediate totality, such as Abstract Expressionists, not to belabor a point.
The Fourth World of technocracy, however, does not prohibit the tempiternal experience necessarily; it has simply made the traditional “webs” unnecessary, so our capacity for trans-temporal experience atrophies. Many already deny that it exists at all.
A conscious, wide-spread interest in the shift of consciousness would be a stage of reverse evolution that commands a general audience only after themes such as Panikkar’s were widely attended. It would indicate the practical lived-out application of his philosophical, theological, and sociological concerns. Though it is a spontaneous phenomenon in human beings, the shift of consciousness would be the agent of an intentional integration that accomplishes the proper relationship between22 all things; when modernity becomes aware of its own practice of the universal ritual of sacrifice.
That we are far from such a paradise would be a major under-statement in Panikkar’s evaluation of our current condition. According to him, it is not that we have made a mistake. Nor is it that we make the kind of mistakes that prophets and wise men traditionally warned us about. These mistakes, on the whole, leave our general direction uncontested. For the first time on a global scale, it is becoming clear to us that what is wrong is not that we have made mistakes but that the very flow of history, the very direction which we collectively are engaged in is wrong and ultimately destructive.23
This is why Panikkar feels that even works of mercy are tragic because:
if you don’t do them you are a callous scoundrel; if you do them, you are only prolonging the agony of an unjust system which would create more evil by its continuation… That’s why… here is a kind of a lack of any sense of direction that we are going [anywhere positive]. And as I am unable to change the general direction so I become a drop out, an outsider or a cynic, or violent or a terrorist or simply quit in a sarcastic way by which I save myself as much as I can.24 To a great extent, from the aesthetic perspective of our postmodern vantage, we do not care so much any more about what concerned the Abstract Expressionist. For many Abstract Expressionists and their followers, the artist was the great shaman making the connection between worlds as the spiritual arm of modernity, in deadly competition with other traditional Western religions for the soul(s) of Europe, America, and now the world.25
But, as in a Pirendello play, the characters are not so easily controlled. The European ideals of modernity have lost their grip. The blind warrior steeds of capitalism and technology are running wild along the precipice, the Grand Canyon of eternity!26 They are
running towards mutual destruction: depletion of the earth and elimination of the unfit and exploitation of the weak, etc. On a world scale. And that is what leads me to all of the analyses I am still doing of a very radical indictment of the very sense of the human project in the last 300 years and perhaps in the last 6,000 years. I think that the moment that we have disconnected pre-history from history and the whole thing of the Nuova Scienza, we have committed a sin–again in the etymological sense–putting asunder something which belongs together. This does not mean 87
that I am pessimistic. I would say that I am very realistic and that we need [a] radical metanoia.27
Panikkar is not totally pessimistic because he does not believe in the exclusively historical character of the human being nor of reality. For him history is not everything. Even if history “goes to the dogs,” the whole of reality is not for that matter destroyed or eliminated. History is the Western myth par excellence. In a minor way, it is part of the human project for the last 6,000 years. That is why he speaks of prehistorical, historical, and post-historical consciousness.
Panikkar feels that while we come to the end of historical consciousness as the dominant mode of thought; to speak of post-history in even Teilhardian categories would be insensitive to the enormous human suffering that this mutation may entail. He finds it too cynical to witness three-quarters of the entire planet being destroyed while consoling oneself by saying that it is the “seed of a new thing.” To say, “Well, that’s the way it is,” and continue on is too heartless, cynical, and superficial. Similarly, to use the metaphor of a divine dance (Lord Shiva, the Manirimdu, and the Quaker hymn not withstanding)28 may be useful to display the traditional cosmic picture, but it is a flippant and cruel metaphor–it is that dance of the dead, according to Professor Panikkar.29
Panikkar reacts against the Creationist model of reality as fanatical and childish. But he also reacts against the model of evolution as too mechanistic. Both of these concepts come from the same root thought in early Semitic consciousness.30 Inorganic matter produces organic matter at an enormous price, organic matter produces vegetable produces animal produces human produces superhuman all at the expense of unimaginable suffering. Panikkar prefers another model: Humanity in creative intercourse with the divine in the full ritual of sacrifice.31
Panikkar confronts modern science from another angle: Science does acknowledge the value of Ontonomy, the recognition that the entire universe is an order, as in the Ved, a cosmic order, and as a result of this, man’s continued conquest of nature will ultimately harm him. As an example, he uses the view of modern medicine, which pits man against nature. From the medical perspective, the viruses that cause sickness are merely things to be destroyed rather than members of a larger universal system in which they interact with others. Panikkar states that ontonomy implies a radically different conception of science, of medicine, of politics, of metaphysics: “We cannot isolate anything because everything is constitutively interconnected.”32
This interconnectedness is also the underlying principal of Tantra,33 the energies, and all positive mysticism as well as the basis of compassion. In these following references to Adam’s Way, the novel that I developed out of “Nepsis,” I present part of Panikkar’s position regarding Ontonomy in a dialogue between Fr. Adam and his adversary, Fr. Pat. According to Fr. Adam, we are significant in the universe because we share the Mystical Body of Christ (the Sangha). Eternity surrounds us and we are permeated with this non temporal quality of being.
For the fictional Fr. Adam, and for Panikkar, the diabolical part of the theory of evolution is that the definition of a person is reduced to being this self-conscious speck of dust in the universe, an accident with certain limited powers of self-determination, just enough power for self-destruction. Fr. Adam argues that God has tied his destiny to ours, making himself vulnerable to creation. If we abuse or now extinguish ourselves, and our ecosystem, perhaps we also extinguish God.
Fr. Adam does not deny the validity of history and science. However, the perspective they offer does not fill the whole of reality. He believes that modern mankind has relied too heavily on the scientific perspective while denying all the rest of reality, the eminent character of eternity. In denying ourselves our whole self, we undergo the ultimate schizophrenic split. Wherever and however the “conversion of heart” happens and we become wholly human, the Church is there.34
…traditional Christian terms say that everyone is a temple of the holy spirit which infinitely transcends the spaces and the times and 89
everything. But once we have lost an organ to keep us in touch with that reality, we lose… [The concept/belief in the temple is such an organ. The shift is the function of the organ that has intercourse with the realm of the Holy].
…to have… technological consolation that some of us have been doing great things… I think that is a qualitative jump from that kind of technological ideology to the other side of human experience which is just a mother giving her breast to the new born child which touches the infinite in a way that is bigger than all the spatial magnitudes [of scientific accomplishments].35
Clearly, Panikkar stands with those ancient systems of wisdom that regard the search for and the union with the true “order” of things, the Ved, to be that true meaning of human life. In other words, there is a natural system of which we are part. But, such a natural system includes the supernatural. That is, there is in the natural, a capacity for the supernatural that takes nature beyond itself to full, though ineffable realization. This can be found in ordinary human affairs. The great technological revolution of the last four hundred years, or perhaps, the last six thousand years of history is largely a artificial drive away from, a distraction from this order. However, Panikkar’s position is not just a partisan reaction to the horrors of industrialization, as that of a nineteenth century romantic. Panikkar’s perspective, through the disciplines of science and religion, is a nuanced evaluation of contemporary and traditional culture.
To illustrate the mood of what Panikkar is trying to deal with here, let us look at a depiction of justice and the Kingdom. Panikkar, without telling what century, relates the story of the northern Spanish king, Alfaire X, called “the sage,” in which he prohibits all the jugglers, entertainers, comedians, painters who find and give joy producing “works” of arts, from receiving any kind of pay lest their art be polluted. They do it for their own joy and for the joy of others, which is a necessary nutrient for the communal body. But in a subsistence economy, where salaries or careers are unthought of, this is possible because it is understood that the artist or artisan will receive necessary support. Beauty begins to be fouled the moment that one receives monetary reimbursement for something which should be done for its own sake and for the (spiritual) commune.36
It is easy to imagine the resistance of the contemporary entertainment industry to such a scenario. But we are considering a radical shift of consciousness that will bring
about a proper relationship of universal elements; that will bring order to the stars.37 Such considerations present an understanding for what is essential in Panikkar’s perspective when he is talking about metanoia. It is holistic; it is a gestalt of all possible elements.
So, what is missing in secular consciousness, and that which is producing the modern dilemma, is the mystical dimension, according to Panikkar. The shift of consciousness is the phenomenon of, and the tool for, engaging the mystical dimension. Without it, we are all victims of a producer-consumer society that is becoming increasingly difficult to escape. But there is hope that historical, discursive consciousness is not the only level of reality. We might still escape the “horror of history.” There is, inherent in us and in the world, other aspects of reality to be considered. Access to these “other realms” is not escape, but the fulfillment, in its “self-justifying beauty,”38 that is necessary for the discovery and the application of a healing balm on an otherwise mortally wounded world. The shift of consciousness has traditionally been the vehicle through which the ritual of sacrifice is performed to unite the worlds, to access the “other states of consciousness” necessary for salvation and survival. This includes an appreciation of the underlying dynamics hidden within the folds of even our own cultural cloak. The ritual of the primordial sacrifice, especially of time itself, is the fundamentally active element in this regard. We maintain with extraordinary consistency, the traditional desire to draw together the temporal elements of our existence, past/present/future, into one tempiternal moment of conscious eternity. That, according to Panikkar, is at least the seed of the missing mysticism. According to this dissertation, that is accomplished by a radical, cultural, and personal metanoia, the seed of which is the shift of consciousness. Yet, this mystical dimension is always in counterpoint to social realities for Panikkar. “I maintain that this is one of humanity’s most important tasks: to incorporate the variegated experiences of the children of Man into a pluralistic awareness of the human condition.”39 As I have created Fr. Adam to say in the concluding chapter of Adam’s Way during his heated encounter with Fr. Pat, the Bishop’s agent: “Christianity has seeded the world. Now, perhaps, it must die itself in
order for Christ to live in the world. Perhaps, it is time for the Bishop to die!” This extreme statement simply uses a dream-like metaphor of death as important change to symbolize Panikkar’s call for radical metanoia.
Addendum to Section II:
The following addendum from the Cargas interview of Panikkar, reports upon Panikkar’s presentation of these categories: a. Death, b. Sin, c. Freedom, d. Labor, e. Justice. This report upon Panikkar’s presentation of these categories will help flesh out some of the nuance of Panikkar’s critique of culture and provide further reference to be used in Chapters Six and Seven.
Death is not in the future but is in the past. The more one lives, the more life is obtained and the more one is distanced from death. Here is the relativity of any kind of value, even of that value which one would consider that everyone would agree on: that death comes. Death can be considered equally as before or behind. These are two metaphorical ways of seeing that. The synthesis would be–this is Panikkar’s personal idea–a kind of overcoming the negative side of the syndrome of death. Sometimes he puts it in a rather facetious way, but thinks it is more than that. When he says, “I do not die.” Others die. One sees one’s mother die; one may believe that one is going to die, but cannot really say in truth, “I die.” It is impossible to say. One can say, “You are dying.” One may say, “I shall die.” But one cannot say, “I die.” It is an experience of immortality equivalent to the moment of consciousness that cannot be stretched across a time frame. Though reflection about consciousness may be a temporal affair. None the less, because one cannot say “I die” is not to say that anyone is going to endure and live from now to the year 2155. No one will. But the “I” does not die. An example is the drop of water and the water of the drop. The drop disappears in the ocean, but the water does not. We go back to different ways of thinking before the loss of the metaphysical thinking and the weakening of the mystical experience. We are accustomed to seeing ourselves as drops of water and we lose sight of the water of the drop that we are.40
In losing the metaphysical training both intellectually, and practically, that is physically, and psychically, as found in the training of monks, yogis, shamans, and in the cultures that produced these specialists, we lose much of the spectrum of powers available through such capacities as the shift.41 Death becomes the end of life and we
are no longer able to consider the character of the after-life very well. Since “no one really knows,” we are told to “concentrate on what you can really know, what you can touch,” so we develop a world culture based on what you can touch physically or rationally. We know the drop, its configuration, its dimensions, but we have lost “touch” with the water, according to Panikkar.
Underlying the problem of death is the conception of time. If time is linear and on the way from St. Louis to San Francisco you just get caught in San Luis Obispo, perhaps your automobile crashed, well, you have missed your life. You have not gotten to San Francisco, the whole thing is a failure, and death is a tragedy. If time is not a highway on which we drive but is instead the parameter of our own existence, and not an internal clock but simply the duration of one’s own being, the fact that one has been means that one is and one shall be. In this kind of span of time one’s time is limited. Here, time is linear time. So one’s whole effort has to be, on the one hand, overcoming individuality, and on the other overcoming the mirage of linear time. For instance, punishment is the direct consequence of the Fall. Our dread before death and our suffering before death is the natural punishment of falling victim to the two mirages: the mirage of our own individuality as a separate entity and the mirage of time as the highway on which we travel. A person is something different than an individual. A person is a nexus of trans-temporal relationships.
Panikkar introduces another element. In the Jewish and Indian traditions, the real problem of death is not the death of the patriarch. It is not the death of the person already heavy with years, having seen one’s children’s children grow and flourish and having, as it were, exhausted one’s own life and karma. The real tragedy is what the Vedas say, the untimely death, the accident, the death of a young person; a death which by external causes has not been allowed to run its course. That certainly is a mystery from the point of view of the person, from the point of view of the people dealing with that person which belongs, perhaps to the dire dimension, the more tragic view of life.
Death need not frighten. Suffering frightens, justifiably, not death. Because generally, death goes along with suffering, we say we are afraid of death. But there are many cultures and peoples which are not afraid of death at all. The Western world sees death in front of us and the more Indic world views sees death as behind us.
A person is a torch sustaining the flame of life. That torch will come to an end but the important thing is that the flame goes on. If one is so selfish that one is only a torch and not a flame, then, it is a tragedy that the torch is soon exhausted. But there is joy when one sees the flame continue, which was in the torch, the same flame. In a
certain way it goes on in other torches. In more traditional societies, it goes on in the torches of one’s children! There is in the Vedic Indian way wherein the children are the redeemers of the parents. So, the father is redeemed by the life of the children because they continue what the father has been unable to fulfill. So, there is satisfaction in this traditional way even if one has not been able to have done everything one would have wished.42
One can give many explanations or descriptions of what sin is. Sin is anything that puts reality asunder and cuts the harmony, the interconnectedness of reality. Sin is in the medieval sense, amor currus, that curved thing that instead of going in the direction of the harmony of the totality, for one reason or another, tries to have prior property, “my” own benefit for one little portion of the whole. So sin would be that kind of selfishness which intercepts the rhythm of the dance, the flow of the things in one particular direction, for “my” own sake instead of for the sake of the whole. This implies that I am converting myself into the center of the universe or into God. It is the divinization of “me” instead of “me” being for the whole and in that very thing finding my own realization and fulfillment. That would be, probably, the ontological explanation of sin. Sin is much more of an ontological reality than simply a moral behavior.43
A free act flows from your inner being. It is not a choice between this or that. Freedom is the practice of the right choice, for which there is no doubt. It is likened to the idea of sacrifice, which is not giving up something painfully or regretfully but bringing something to its fulfillment, its highest realization: God, Sacrum facere, to make sacred. In the modern sense it is the creative act.
Unfortunately, especially in this country, we have inherited a Christianity at its lowest ebb. If Reformation is bad, Counter- reformation is worse. We have here only Christianity nearly devoid of the first fifteen centuries in which Christianity acquired solidity and roots. Even Cistercians and Benedictines live out of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth century. All the rest is a little bookish knowledge for specialists, but nothing for the gut reaction of what a monk is supposed to be. The Orthodox monks have
perhaps kept it a little more. And that is a tragedy for the depths of Christianity, especially in this country. There are beautiful exceptions, but we miss the mystical dimension. We miss the cordial aspect. We miss even the political aspect. We have separation of church and state and that is sometimes interpreted as a separation of religion and life, which is a crime. We miss a cordial and temporal and physical standing of the Christian message. We have Christianity as an ideology, (not a life).44
Panikkar makes a fundamental distinction between work and labor. Work is creativity. Work is not a curse. Work is wit, ingenuum. The doing of the human being. And man is made to work. On the other hand, Labor would be the negative aspect of work. Labor is what we have come up with in our civilization.
Our technological civilization has killed work and instead has produced labor. Labor is for the sake of a salary with which one may do whatever is wished. Labor is a means for something else and generally speaking for somebody else. Labor is for capital, or capitalism. Capital needs labor. Work is arts and crafts; work is creativity. Work is technique, not technology. We have converted citizens into mere laboring ants and if you do not labor you are punished. We have degraded human culture by monetizing every kind of value.45
The mystery of the Incarnation is what in Christian countries the theology of liberation wants to spread: Namely, the idea that human justice is not independent, not only from divine justice but from human salvation. The clearest proof for this in the Christian economy is this blunder which has been unchecked for so long. The New Testament uses one single word, justice, and we have, in all the languages translated it with two words, justice and justification. The New Testament says search the Kingdom of God and its justice. Panikkar further reminds us that St. Paul constantly speaks about justice by faith. We have translated justice for the political sphere and justification i.e., righteousness, to go to heaven. And so faith for righteousness and justification. “If you allow here slave exploitation, that is justice, that’s for the secular arm and that will take
care of it but that has nothing to do with going to heaven.”46 But, there is no justice without justification and no justification without justice and the whole New Testament uses only the word, justice.
In the present day society only the mystics shall survive. The others are crushed or exploited. First we have to study. Second, if one speaks as a Christian, one must understand that salvation or identity does not come out of exegesis, of reading one book or of interpreting the Bible. The Bible does not contain message of salvation.
What Panikkar means by that is as follows. First of all, what is the Bible? The Bible is not just a book. It is a book that must be read and understood properly. Salvation is one’s reading of it, an interpretation of the book.47 And it is an interpretation which is not just a hermeneutical action; anybody can interpret anything as they like. So the whole thing depends on the context, your intention, and what you are looking for.
That comes from the Holy Spirit. We take it from our own lives, and then check and countercheck, use veto power and explanation and language, especially to formulate, to express, and to understand it better. That is how Panikkar explains the double edged character of Augustine’s dichotomy expressed as City of god and the City of Man. It is a dichotomy (i.e., justice/justification) which today has to be healed. But it is a dichotomy which saved, for a millennium at least, Christian life. Because the moment that fulfillment is not found in society, it has to be found somewhere else. Theological reflection has taken the right direction as it tries to discover that human justice is not independent of divine justification. After all, the two things belong together just as our temporal and eternal lives are one.48
Back to Table of Contents Forward to Section III: Art, My Art, and Religious Aesthetics
1 This chapter owes much to the work of Dr. H. J. Cargas on Panikkar. Especially see, “Approaching Wholeness”, McKendree Pastoral Review, Fall 1990, p. 49.
2 Panikkar, The Silence of God, (New York: Orbis Books, 1990) p. 84.
3 Ibid. p. 29.
4 Ibid. p. 62.
5 R. Panikkar, “Religious Pluralism: The Metaphysical Challenge,” in Religious Pluralism, ed. Leroy S. Rouner (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), p. 110.
6 Ibid., p. 98.
7 R. Panikkar, Myth, Faith, and Hermeneutics, (New York: Paulist Press, 1979), p. 242.
8 Panikkar, “The Mirage of the Future” Teilhard Review, vol. VIII (June, 1973), p. 42.
9 Panikkar, “Christ, Abel and Melchizedek,” Jeevadhara Vol. 5, Kerala (Sept./Oct., 1971) p. 396.
10 Panikkar, “The Mirage of the Future,” Teilhard Review, Vol. VIII, 2. London ( June, 1973) p. 45.
11 Panikkar, Blessed Simplicity, (New York: Seabury Press, 1982), pp. 12-13.
12 Panikkar, Worship and Secular Man, (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1973), p.1.
13 Panikkar, Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics, (New York: Paulist Press, 1979) p. 334.
14 Ibid., p.105.
15 Universe, Humanity, Eternity: The shift allows one to permeate the psychic veil, not only between the two -cosms of universe and individual but through the barrier of the non-temporal as well. See Panikkar’s “Bellarmine Lecture, 1991: Christophany…” for a Christian approach to the cosmotheandric realities.
16 Tucci, G. The Theory and Practice of the Mandala, (New York: Weiser, 1969). A mandala is a “psycho-cosmogrammata” to guide the yogi in his visualization, p. vii.
17 Panikkar, “Nirvana and the Nature of the Absolute,” The God Experience, ed. Joseph P. Whelan, S.J. (New York, 1971.) p. 83ff.
18 Panikkar, Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics, p.137.
19 Ibid., p. 228.
20 Panikkar. “An Emerging Myth,” Interculture, (Fall, 1987), p.17.
21 Panikkar “The Myth of Pluralism: The Tower of babel– A Meditation on Non-Violence.” Cross Currents XXIX (Summer, 1979) p. 205.
22 Herbert Guenther, Matrix of Mystery, (Boulder, Shambala, 1984) p.139ff.
23 Dominic Veliath SDB, Theological Approach and Understanding of Religions: Jean Danielou and Raimundo Panikkar: A Study in Contrasts, (Bangalore, Kristu Jyoti Collage, 1988) p. XII. Or, more succinctly, “…my pluralism which I consider not as a lesser evil, but as the very revelation of the ultimate character of reality, i.e. its trinitarian nature, and the very pluralistic aspect of truth”, p. 206.
24 It is Panikkar’s dialogic attitude here that insists upon the strongly experiential aspect of this dissertation. It was important for me to live among the Tibetan monks, especially as the great sand mandalas were ritually prepared. It was important to practice the visualizations and other yogas associated with this world view. It was important for me to experience a shamanistic initiation (see Nepsis in Appendix 1. p. 221) as it has been important for me to be a Abstract Expressionist artist as well as a Catholic priest, in order to reflect upon religions and Modern Art as a religious phenomena seriously and to understand more fully Panikkar’s perspective. When I was in the fold of these great religious and art traditions, over a period of twenty years, I identified with them as completely as possible. Though I am a “believer,” even credulous at times, I am also a critical thinker guided by one of the great commentators on perception and culture, Panikkar himself. Now, I am a creature of one of his main neologisms, Mutual Fecundation, the major characteristic of Panikkar’s (Dialogic) Dialogue. My interest in the shift of consciousness developed, as this capacity is a necessary technique of the larger dialogue.
25 D. Veliath SDB, Theological Approach…, p. 205.
26 Ibid., p. 111.
27 Also see, Barbara Tedlock’s Time and the Highland Maya, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1982)which details a highly developed and inter-worldly approach to time and its variable values.
28 Panikkar, “The End of History: The Threefold Structure of Human Time-Consciousness” Teilhard and the Unity of Knowledge, eds. Thomas M. King and James F. Salmon (New York: Paulist Press, 1983), p.85
29 Ibid., p.85-86.
30 Ibid., p. 86.
31 Ibid., p. 86.
32 Panikkar, Blessed Simplicity, p. 123.
33 Panikkar, Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics, p. 82.
34 Panikkar, Worship and Secular Man, p. 34.
35 Panikkar, Blessed Simplicity, p. 131.
36 Panikkar, “An Emerging Myth,” Interculture, (Fall, 1987), p.17. The character of Fr. Yang, mentioned often in this dissertation, while mainly representing qualities of “mutual fecundation”, also illustrates the movement of these “venerable traditions” as they try to influence our own new age.
37 See Mandala essay, Appendix #4, of this dissertation, p. 263, for an example for such nuance.
38 Metanoia, see Chapter Four of this dissertation, p. 88.
39 Transforming Christian Mission Into Dialogue” Interculture, (Fall, 1987), p. 21.
40 Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. M. Eliade, (New York: MacMillan Publishing Corp. 1987) p. 268, 274.
41 Ibid., p. 274.
1 Panikkar, “The Contribution of Christian Monasticism in Asia to the Universal Church,” Cistercian Studies, IX (1974) nos. 2 and 3. This is a Christian, monastic, but seemingly also universal definition of Kenosis: “This is what could be called the principle of kenosis, the total emptying of oneself in order to incarnate a higher principle. Does it not belong to the calling of the monk to be so well rooted in the transcendent that he does not fear to be monachos, alone? No need for me to say how easy this is to speak of, and how overwhelming to do.”
2 For Panikkar, “full human activity” would involve the mutual fecundation of cultures and religions, as well as a dilogic attitude in individuals. Dialogic implies an openness to one another that allows for not only an exchange of views, but for one to change the other, so that both grow from the encounter. This is not only for individuals but for cultures operating in a cosmotheandric reality; cosmos, deity, humanity.
3 Landow, Hypertext, p. 115. In a different vein, but similar to that found in Hypertext, Panikkar says this about a text. “Man speaks, but a text says. A text is not just a book or an engraved stone or a coded document of some sort. A text has more than just a body. On the other hand it is also a body. It is more than just improvisation; it does not consist merely of reading from a blank page nor of an arbitrary interpretation according to one’s private whim. There is no text without a material being, a carrier of the text, a sub-stance. But neither is there a text without an intelligent or spiritual being who reacts to and reads the document. A non-saying text is not a text. An undeciphered script or an untranslated document is not a text for those who cannot read or understand it. A text is a text only insofar as this inner relation between the document and the reader is maintained. A text is culture and history in a very special way. Only Man is a speaking being, but a text is also a saying reality. A text is not just an artifact, a tool, a dead product of Man’s spirit. A text– in this integral sense as I am taking it–is a real embodiment of Man’s spirit: its transcends human individuality without ceasing to be human. A text says just as a Man speaks…” p.58, “The Texture of a Text.” A text is not just the writing, but the interpretation as well which includes the culture and personality of the one who reads it.
4 Panikkar, “The Texture of a Text,” pg. 52. “The subject-object epistemology fails here, as elsewhere, to provide us a valid tool for understanding this…”
5 G.M. Mullett, Spider Woman Stories: Legends of the Hopi Indians, (Tucson, Az.: University of Arizona Press, 1991). The story of Tiyo, a precocious Hopi lad, growing to meet his destiny, which is a salvific encounter and friendship with the great mother goddess (Spider Woman) Kokyanwuhti, is an example of such a myth that describes the temporal passage of the “people” in a world viewed through the perspective of temporal and transtemporal values. This legend describes the shamanistic shift in which a hero figure, Tiyo, goes on a spirit journey to encounter a (the) deity to become empowered for the sake of resolving problems at home. In many parts of the world such a hero figure would eventually become a “sacred king” to be sacrificed in order to become a divine representative for the “people” with the gods. See Robert Graves, The White Goddess. Also, in Zuni, it is the deity itself, in the form of the Shalaco, that is sacrificed after the celebrations, for the sake of the “people.” The Shalaco is the main autumnal celebration in the festal cycle of the Zuni year, certainly it is the most popular and famous feast of the year in Zuni.
6 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice–the Sacrifice of Time and the Ritual of Modernity,” The Study of Time III, ed. J.T. Fraser, N. Lawrence, D. Park. (New York, 1978), p. 683.
7 Ibid. p. 683.
8 Which, I repeat, is why the making of certain art and the practice of certain kind of religion can “study” this moment of passage, the shift, better than merely discursive reflection. Belief or the shift are necessary ingredients, like the myth or the archaic theory of time, to understand the phenomena. You can’t understand the mythic realm of consciousness that is engaged unless you are able to believe or experience it. That is, to take it seriously. At least, a combination of discursive and non-discursive methodology is preferable and perhaps necessary to approach these topics. The methodology of “Interstates: The catalog” p. 394, attempts to demonstrate the advantage to this approach. Chapter Five, p.99, explores the intellectual, artistic, religious milieu which produced the catalog of paintings and stories, and describes in part the interdisciplinary “research” that was undertaken to provide a deeper and more complete basis for this thesis. As well, “Nepsis,” (summarized in Appendix 1, p. 221) described the Shamanistic initiation possible as well as the integration or contrast of Buddhist concepts and practice with the Christianity of the author. This integration/contrast has altered considerably the eventual conclusions and experience of this dissertation and provides the basis for the methodology of this research.
9 Panikkar, Bellarmine Lecture, 1991. “A Christophany for our times”, p. 6ff.
10 Ibid., p. 6. All the Panikkar material on this page, 68, is from the same Bellarmine Lecture reference in note #9.
11 Panikkar makes this proposition often, as in Chapter Two where he refers to the “trans-historical” nature of our times in the language of mysticism, p. 60-63, in the quote identified by footnote #28.
12 See Chapter Five in this dissertation, pp. 119-122.
13 Panikkar, “A Christophany for our times”, Bellarmine Lecture, 1991, p. 1.
14 Ibid., p. 16.
15 Ibid., p. 16.
16 Ibid., p. 19.
17 Panikkar, R. “Time and Sacrifice…”, p. 688.
18 Ibid., 688.
19 Ibid., 688.
20 Panikkar’s Gifford Lecture, Edinburgh, 1989, p.3.
21 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice,” p. 688.
22 Pannikar, Bellarmine Lecture, p.1.
23 Panikkar, “In Christ There is Neither Hindu nor Christian: Perspectives on Hindu-Christian Dialogue. The Myth of History…” Religious Issues and Inter religious Dialogues, p.484-485.
24 Panikkar, R. “Time and Sacrifice…”, p. 688
25 Ibid., p. 688.
26 This element of fiction is derived from an actual event witnessed by others. It continues the shamanistic initiation described in “Nepsis.” It was recognized by Drs. Al Bloom(GTU) and Louis Lancaster (UCB), both experts in the history of religions and religious phenomena, as a shamanistic occurrence. It is a small but important bit of evidence of the process of transformation going in the author that is part of the “research data” used in the formulation of this dissertation. (See Appendix 10, p. 392, for a letter of witness for this event.)
27 See note #27 in the general Introduction to this dissertation, p. 10.
28 Perhaps, certain elements of this access are not to be touched in the domicile of conventionality. See end of note #67, p. 50, Shamanism section of Chapter One, for Eliade’s question about the community’s appropriation or misappropriation of yogic accomplishments.
29 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice…”, p. 692.
03 Ibid., p. 692-4.
31 Ibid., p. 695.
32 Halifax, Shamanic Voices, p. 3.
33 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice…” p. 696.
34 Ibid., p. 696.
35 See page 175 of this dissertation, “…to harmonize the rhythm of the two worlds.” Or see Chiao, Navajo Sand painting and Tibetan Mandala… (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1982).
36 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice”, p. 698.
37 Ibid., p. 700.
38 Ibid., p. 700.
39 Ibid., p. 700.
40 Ibid., p. 700.
1 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice,” p. 687.
2 Ibid., p. 704.
3 Ibid., p. 705.
4 Ibid., p. 705.
5 Ibid., p. 705.
6 Ibid., p. 705.
7 Ibid., p. 706
8 Ibid., p. 706.
9 Ibid., p. 708. [But, from a Shamanistic perspective, humanism is a secondary consideration.]
10 R. Pirsig, Lila, (New York,: Bantam Books, 1991.)
11 R. Pirsig, Lila, all of Chapter Three of this novel, esp. p. 49ff.
12 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice,” p. 708.
13 Ibid., p. 711.
14 Ibid., p. 711.
15 Ibid., p. 711.
16 Dr. Harry James Cargas, whose expertise in Panikkar earned him the role of outside reader for the Panikkar material of this dissertation, conducted a long interview with Panikkar, tape recorded, January 6-11, 1982. These references are taken from the typed text of the interview, p. 79.
17 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice,” p. 711
18 Cargas interview with Panikkar, p. 5. Or, see note #16 this chapter.
19 See Chapter Two of this dissertation, note # 30, p. 61-62. Or, see Cargas interview p. 71.
20 Cargas interview, p. 83, story about “Alfaire X.”
21 Peter Furst, “Peyote Among the Huichol Indians of Mexico,” The Flesh of the Gods, (New York: Praeger, 1972) pp. 136-184.
Remember, “entos” means between… in Panikkar’s diction re: Spirit. Chapter Two of this dissertation, p. 57, note #13.
23 Cargas interview, p. 18
24 Cargas interview, p.11.
25 Stephen Polcari, Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience, (Cambridge, 1991), p. 99, Re: Abstract Expressionism and the figure of the shaman. Also, see the following note #26, in this chapter, re: Rothkrug.
26 Though this passage is editorializing, it validly extrapolates from Panikkar’s positions and begins to establish the context for the conclusions about the state of the shift in Chapter Four and in the general conclusions of Chapter Seven in this dissertation. It will be important to be clear about the context in which the shift currently operates, at least from Panikkar’s perspective.
Lionel Rothkrug “Religious Practices and Collective Perceptions: Hidden Homologies in the Renaissance and Reformation,” Historical Reflections, (Concordia University, Ontario, Canada, 1980). Lionel Rothkrug in this article posits that the period following the Renaissance in Europe was a period of battle for control of the Penitential systems of Europe. That is, who is it that seemingly controls how you get to heaven. In a conversation with Rothkrug in the GTU library, Fall 1993, he agreed that this conflict was still a central characteristic of the modern period, with the artists carrying the modernist banner. This was reflected in such movements as Kandinski’s Blue Rider group, the Surrealists, and American Abstract Expressionists, as well as in literary and philosophical circles.
27 Cargas interview, p. 11-12.
28 Traditionally, Shiva, one of the Hindu triune godhead, is considered the Lord of the Dance (of creation). The Manirimdu is a Tibetan Buddhist festival including lama dancing, that celebrates the Tantric Buddhist equivalent of the Lord of the Dance. The Quaker hymn, “Lord of the Dance”, sings the cosmic significance of the passion of Jesus Christ, who, in this case is the Lord of the Dance.
29 Cargas interview, p. 12
30 Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice”, p.704.
31 Cargas interview, p. 12.
32 Ibid., p. 16.
33 Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, (San Francisco, 1979) p. 129.
34 Panikkar, “A Christophany for our times”, Bellarmine Lecture, 1991, p. 19.
35 Cargas interview, p. 22.
36 Cargas interview, p. 82-83.
37 From the Cargas interview, p. 33, Panikkar provides the derivation of: “Consider”, which means to draw the stars together and “Desire”, which means to tear the stars apart. To study is to consider, in that studium means that one consecrates your whole being to the investigation of a subject.
38 Hans Urs von Balthasar, Glory of the Lord, vol. I, (New York: Crossroads. 1993) p. 420-423.
39 Panikkar, “A Preface to a Hindu-Christian Theology”, Jeevadhara, (Kerala, India) p. 6.
40 Cargas interview, p. 38.
14 It was the “experiment” of “Nepsis” to try to regain these capacities which are centered upon the abilities associated with the shift of consciousness.
42 Cargas interview, p. 67.
43 Cargas interview, p. 57.
44 Cargas interview, p. 81.
45 Cargas interview, p. 83.
46 Ibid. p. 83.
47 Ibid. p. 83.
48 Cargas interview, p. 79-80. [↩]
- I debate all this more fully beginning in the content and forms of the LETTER TO A BISHOP series including: Introduction to Letter…, “Memo to a Bishop,” “Brilliant Passages,” “A Case For Religion,” -See POINTS OF ENTRY above. Before CHAPTER NINE of CYCLE I of the NEPSIS FOUNDATION AND THE ORACLE OF XIBALBA, is the account of sincere research while living a religious tradition. WHAT FOLLOWS SPECULATES, EXPERIMENTS AND EXTRAPOLATES FROM THE PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE. It’s allegory- sorry. And there be monsters… [↩]