The argument for a nonliteralist spiritual path is very simple and very good

The argument for a nonliteralist spiritual path is very simple and very good

Either human reason, and its inborn assumptions that we need to seek and choose “truer” and “better” thoughts and actions, are onto something, or we humans have no system for choosing one idea over another that makes any sense to us.
Either human compassion, and its sense that we are all in this together and that kindness is the True Path, is onto something, or we humans have no system for choosing one action over another that means anything to us, that we can really follow, believe in, or care about.
Either our inborn guardrail of the need for awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competency, kindness, and shared joy are onto something, or we humans have no system for choosing one idea, feeling, or action over another that means anything to us.
Either the deeper, wider aspects of a human conscious moment can relate meaningfully to our words and deeds, or we humans have no meaningful relationship to our own lives.
Either we humans can relate meaningfully to one another, or everything we’ve learned (language and culture are learned via empathy: you stub your toe and wince and howl, your child maps your expression onto her mind/body and so gets a taste of your experience and understands to relate the words you say to that experience: “ouch! it hurts! so painful!”) is severed from the only meaning it could have for us, and life is too lonely and boring to stand.

The above does not prove that it is actually true that we should think reasonably, act with compassion, push for more and more awareness clarity, honesty, accuracy, competency, kindness and shared joy. Nor does it prove that one’s whole conscious moment (ideas, feelings, and whatever else is within a conscious moment) can relate meaningfully to itself, or that humans can relate meaningfully to one another.
Furthermore, the fact that by doubting those notions we undermine the only interesting/believable/understandable sense of life possible for us: that doesn’t prove that we should force ourselves to believe in them, or even to follow them. After all, who ever proved it matters whether or not we make any kind of sense to ourselves?
But the undoubtable nature (as in if you doubt them, everything you think and do becomes incoherent to you–including your attempts at doubt) of these notions does demonstrate that there is only one real hope for a human being: that these notions are true and that we can understand not just that they are true, but also the manner in which they are true. If we know that, for example, kindness really does matter, but we don’t know what kindness is, then we are like children who know that money is valuable but think that our own hand-drawn bills are money.

But what if kindness turns out sometimes to be cruel? What if the Nazis were right and sometimes the kindest thing to do is to strip another human being of everything they own and gas them? Then kindness is not what it needs to be in order for it to be anything meaningful or useful to a human heart/mind.

We’re hemmed in on every side. There is only one way forward: to understand not the word “kindness”, but that path that goes simultaneously into the Light within and out into that same Light shining within everyone else. There is only one hope: that that Light is Real and that we can grow in and through It.

What can a human say of the Truth? We know we’re limited. We know we get things wrong. Even if I knew that, for example, the Christian religion was literally True, there’d still be the problem of my meager human understanding figuring out what that means and how these True doctrines relate to my own thinking, feeling, and acting. And the problem is not a merely academic one: if I think x doctrine is literally True and that my understanding of it is also literally True (or if I simply confuse my understanding of a doctrine for the literal Truth), I may use that “Truth” to justify actions that are in fact, since I’ve misconstrued the Truth, not justifiable: I may use religion to sin against what matters most.

What’s the best a human can do? His or her best? What if there is a Light within that is simultaneously Truth and Reality (and which therefore has no error-gap like there is between human ideas and their referents) and that can relate meaningfully to our ideas and feelings and can guide us in our quest to think, feel and act reasonably and compassionately? Then we have a chance: then our need for a meaning that is not a stupid self-delusion has a chance of a successful resolution. Otherwise, no: what we need deep within is not a story about meaning that may or may not mean anything for real; what we need is wisdom: real meaning: a Light that knows that Kindness is Best and that can show us how to be Kind. Without this, our thoughts and actions mean nothing to us; the less we connect with and live in and through that wisdom, the less present we are in our own thinking and acting.

And so both saying life is meaningless and saying life’s meaning is xyz doctrines goes too far: both remove us from the only path that can mean anything to us: that whole-being coordination–necessarily imperfect since much of our conscious experience is much wider and deeper than words and deeds–that centers our thoughts and actions more and more around the Light within that Knows that Kindness Matters. And that is the minimally dogmatic spiritual quest: we know that it is a mistake to confuse our ideas and feelings about the Truth for the Truth, and so we go easy on the dogmas: they are there to point us towards the Light within, to help us coordinate our ideas and feelings and actions around that Light: but they are not that Light and when we pretend they are, we betray that Light. And so we go easy, though we go hard. We go careful, though we go bold. Every day we try and try again to live Love. Nothing else has a chance of mattering to us; so we keep trying to widen and deepen our insight into the Love that sticks up for EVERYONE ALWAYS NO EXCEPTIONS

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