The Rebirth of Faith

The 20th century saw the flourishing of the scientific revolution in its attempt to discern the math and logic behind all phenomena. It was a century of endless studies into matter, energy, as well as the mind and human behaviour, and has so far continued into the 21st century. The objective world has been meticulously dissected from the subatomic to the realms of galaxies and the universe, and the material world has never been illuminated as brightly, and understood more deeply, than the current age. All this came at the cost, however, of any sense or understanding of spirit and our subjective depths and possibilities.

Still, even after all these endless studies and investigations we still can’t seem to make sense of it all. The meaning of life and the purpose of our being here remains as elusive as ever. The answers to these fundamental questions requires turning away from the objective world of many things, and turning inward to the subjective realm of spirit, to touch our true natures, the depths of which flickers in inner darkness beyond the floodlights of science.

I have found that in the cathedral of nature and our subjective depths we can touch the surreal, transcendent realm of spirit, the source of poetry, art and myth. Our unconscious, it seems to me, is far from being just some repressed realm of aggressiveness and infant sexuality, but rather is a treasure chest of wisdom and potentialities of the human spirit.

Without the idea of higher powers and the immortality of the soul, the truth of which remains a mystery not ruled out by science, all the endless studies of the objective world will never make sense of our lives and time here. A purely materialistic attitude makes the state of our bodies and our possessions all that matters as goals, leading to a desperate clinging to the objective world, and a pervasive nihilistic cynicism that nothing else matters. This attitude utterly fails to prepare us for the second half of life, and the ultimate tragedy that all things in the outer world decay and die, and our time here is very finite and short.

Touching the transcendent within us gives a deeper significance to life and sheds light on our shared pilgrimage on the crooked road to salvation, giving true hope in a life hereafter that justifies our suffering and struggles here, and gives a grace and serenity that all the countless scientific studies in the world can never give.

So perhaps it’s time to heal from the horrors of the 20th century, and believe in something again, for without faith in the face of the eternal mysteries, our lives here are in the end all just an absurd joke.

If you liked these thoughts you can check out more at my website www.kloschinsky.com.

The Casualties of Modernity

The 20th century left many things wounded or dead in its wake. A shattered Greek vase, a vandalized Madonna and child, a fractured statue of the Buddha. All things that once meant much to humanity, but were abused and tossed out as delusion by modernity. Instead, in their place, reason, science and statistics were elevated to the status of supreme deity, with the expectation they will eventually understand all and give salvation from the hard stony truths of mortality. Since Darwin and his purely materialistic creation myth, humanity has lost any sense of Spirit, and its fundamental duality with matter. The proper domain of reason and science is the objective world of matter, where things can be quantified, experiments conducted, and reason used to solve problems. The subjective realm of spirit, however, lies beyond scientific inquiry, and is qualitative, and best understood through poetry, myth, music and art in a figurative or allegorical fashion.

I for one am sick of the bleak, meaningless old tale told by modernity, which has left many people terribly neurotic and despairing, particularly as they face aging and death. There has been no experiment that ruled out a higher power and the afterlife,  as these things remain mysteries, and outside the realm of science. The imbalance of the modern reliance on the left hemisphere exclusively perhaps should now be reconciled with the qualities of the right hemisphere, such as intuition, feelings, emotion and a sense of spirit that pervades nature. Indeed, a reintegration of nature, art and spirituality with the technological tools modernity has given us may be one of the great imperatives of the coming century.

Man’s Favorite Tool

Reason has always been one of man’s greatest tools. With the long march of modernity from the Enlightenment to the 21st century logic and science has firmly established the mechanical and mathematical nature of matter and the objective world. With this knowledge the engineers have dazzled us for over a century with their mechanical and electronic wizardry, from trains and automobiles to computers and the internet.

Like any tool, however, reason and math can be used for both good or evil ends depending on the intention of its user. It could be used, for example, to produce vaccinations against deadly diseases and enhance creativity with computer software, or alternatively industrialize the workplace to maximize profits for a few, and devise more efficient ways of killing people, such as concentration camps and smart bombs. Indeed, computers are an extension of man’s reason, and can perform algorithmic tasks determined by the left hemisphere, and represent man’s latest and greatest tool, but also carry the danger of misuse. 

Staying exclusively in the left hemisphere world can lead to problems however. It is logic and reason that idealizes with its images of perfection, and while this improves things sometimes, it can also lead to dissatisfaction with the real, and purging of all that is deemed as an imperfection. In a strictly logical approach there can also be sleights of hand that draw logical, but misleading, conclusions such as post-structuralism and arguments for atheism. Furthermore, the left hemisphere’s desire to categorize with binary classifications can lead to the dismissal and stereotyping of people and things by not accommodating their inherent complexity.

The solution is to ground out our logic with the right hemisphere, which appreciates things as a whole, and can contain dualities and complexities missed by a strictly left hemisphere approach. This is avoided by many people, however, because unlike the left brain, the right cannot be wielded like a tool by the ego, and presents what it wants, when it wants, much like our senses. Indeed, patience and acceptance are needed to reap the right brain’s benefits, including acknowledging that even our own minds are not completely under our control. The mystery religions of the past and Zen Buddhism stress the importance of having such an experience that transcends  reason and leads to wisdom and a better appreciation of reality.

The New Saviour

As conventional religion has stopped meeting most peoples needs as a way to deal with the mystery and mortality of life in the past century, these needs have been nonetheless met by a new, albeit implicit, source. It seems that the new supreme deity is now science, with its promises of salvation with its statistical studies and inferences, which are treated like holy scripture, and are supposed to point the way to a longer, healthier, happier life. It is also to science people turn to explain the mysteries of life, and some think it has solved the fundamental questions. Indeed, science’s Darwinian creation myth is considered fact beyond question, and a bleak, material, random universe is the only explanation allowed in most serious, academic circles.

Perhaps in this new century its time to stand back and take a philosophical approach to reason, science and statistics, and identify their strengths and weaknesses in the search for truth. I feel they are good at dissecting and determining the mechanics of the material world, or matter, but in terms of the subjective, spiritual realm and life’s most profound questions they fall terribly short. Its still to the great spiritual teachers and philosophers that one should turn for the answers to the great mysteries, and how to have the good, long life, and deal with the inevitable mortality of us all. It is time to put our faith and hope for salvation back where it belongs, and not give it all to the damn scientists.

You can also check out my poetry, songwriting and photography at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

I also have some music videos you can check out at

http://www.youtube.com/user/kloschin1/videos.

Non Religious Faith

Like a lot of people these days, organized religion doesn’t do it for me, with its rigid rituals and dogmatic positions. Since reading Nietzsche as an undergrad, I have thought like him that Christianity and morality are problematic. I interpreted his statement that “God is Dead” to mean the Christian God was no longer going to meet the needs of most people in the 20th century, but as to the actual existence of a higher power, Nietzsche was just a mortal like the rest of us, and the answer is still shrouded in mystery. Along with karmic justice and an afterlife, these three beliefs form the basis of my faith, and have not been ruled out by science.

As I enter the second half of my life, and can see the brevity of our time here, and have lost some loved ones I had in my youth, I don’t know how you deal with these tragedies without believing in something. The solace that we will see our loved ones again, and that all our effort to learn, love and grow will not be ultimately meaningless and just reduced to dust, and that the end is something to look forward to, provide a meaning to our pilgrim’s journey here that science, math and statistics can never give.

Unlike organized religion, I believe the diety to be non-denominational, and not just for some sect you were fortunate enough to be born into, and to be accessible to anyone with an open heart, and that have the courage in this science obsessed society to dare to believe. The alternative is just the random, chaotic, meaningless existence that science proposes and which provides little comfort as we inevitably pass through the life cycle with its certainties of aging and death. The beauty and mysteries of nature and the universe suggest an architect to me, and therefore a purpose to our lives beyond the random and absurd.

If these thoughts appeal to you may I suggest you check out my other newsletters on this site.

You can also check out my photography, poetry and songwriting at http://www.kloschinsky.com

Thanks for your support of my music,

In song and in spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Heart Over Head

It seems the head reigns supreme these days. The long march of reason, and its offspring science, from the days of Socrates and Plato through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to the present day has put forth rational argument and empiricism as the pinnacle of methods in the search for truth. Man’s left hemisphere or reason not only guides our approach to understanding ourselves and the natural world, but can also generate an ideological system of rules and idealistic version of perfection that condemns parts of humanity that could be accepted as part of our imperfect glory and natural instincts. Indeed, our human, all to human disposition is denied by these moral systems, and like a harsh light, produce the deepest, darkest shadows, that eventually emerge in the horror of the return of the repressed.

 

In contrast to such moral dogma, our conduct could instead be governed by the human heart, with its capabilities for love, compassion and empathy. The soft light of tolerance produces the smallest shadow, and counteracts the labyrinth of mind produced when people condemn themselves for being merely human, and deny some of the fundamentals of human nature. Our desires and reward centres need to be gratified somehow, whether with the regular vices, or if denied, can emerge later in much more destructive forms.

 

For me the human heart, or ethics, always reigns supreme and trumps the arguments of the human head, or morality. I find this leads to a kinder and more accepting attitude to both myself and the others in my life.

 

Paul Kloschinsky

Mystery, Humility and Wonder

With all the science and statistics gushing forth from the past century, celebrated by the bright light of the media, it seems to some that the answers to our most profound questions have been answered, and the doctors and engineers have everything under control. Although the rise of reason and humanism was a reaction against religious dogma, and has determined much about matter that calls into question a literal biblical explanation of things, this same reason and humanistic spirit has grown cocky, thinking it has solved everything, and all its conclusions are certain, beyond reproach, and now puts forth dogmatic proclamations of its own.

Well, I take exception with anyone who thinks they have definitively solved all the mysteries of life, and put forth their views as certain, whether it is from a religious or a scientific atheist viewpoint. For all our technological advances I feel humanity should now regain a sense of humility before the great mysteries that still remain, including our origins and spiritual nature, and the ultimate meaning and outcome of life here on earth. Instead of crowing about our superiority over all on this planet, perhaps it is in order to regain a sense of awe and wonder before the sublime, like the stars, the seasons and the magnificence of nature, which all came into being with no human input or intervention.

Perhaps it is also in order to develop a new philosophy of reason and science that acknowledges both its strengths and weaknesses in determining truth in different domains. In my view, science is the best way to determine objective world truths about matter, but it falls short in the subjective world, which is qualitative and not easily quantified, and is best approached with myth, allegory and poetry. It is this subjective realm that is full of mystery and magic, and is what alchemy, the kundalini and Arthurian myths are referring to and where they are valid.

You can check out my photography, poetry and songs at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

In Song and in Spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Modern Art and Tradition

“Make it new!”, was the rallying cry of the early 20th century, and novelty and the advant guard become the main measure of success in the art world. Since the late 19th century, with the ascent of the machine and the new urban experience, the western world was changing into something new and unknown, and art was expected to express this change and progress. Since Darwin, Freud, Marx and Nietzsche at the fin de siecle, the official position of the academics and intellectuals was athiesm, and art expressed this bleak view, and the so called absurdity of existence. The long march of modernity, with its deification of reason and science, from the Renaissance to the modern world, left some artists in favor of the changes, and others in marked opposition to it, particularly as this “progress” led to the horrors of World War I. Soon the art of the past was seen as not relevant anymore in this new world of machines, industrialization and large cities.

With the destruction of World War II and the horrors of Auschwitz, this atheistim and bleak existentialism was felt even deeper, and the art of the rest of the century expressed a meaninglessness and despair unparalleled in human history. The march of progress continued though, as new electronic inovations happened at breakneck speed, including the TV and computer, and the art of the past seemed hopelessly inadequate to deal with the new changes and attitudes of the modern world. In fact, it seemed that anything that hadn’t been on the TV was considered irrelevant and superfluous. By the end of the century post modernism declared all cultural productions to be deconstruct-able to meaninglessness, but I doubt this was truly the successor of modernism, since it still retains its predecessors complete atheism and nihilism.

Now as the new 21st century is dawning before us I feel a new art is necessary, one that reintegrates the traditions of art present since the beginnings of humanity, and helps heal the spiritual malaise that plagued most people in the past century. The proud traditions of faith, beauty and hope found in art prior to the 20th century can serve as signposts to lead us back from the brink of destruction to a reconciliation with nature and the transcendent, and a healthier, more balanced attitude towards existence on this planet. An art that moves beyond the atheism and despair of the 20th century, and expresses a renewed spiritual grounding, may be truly fitting to call the successor of modernism.

If you liked theae thoughts, may I suggest you check out my previous newsletters at kloschinskyblog.com.

You can also check out my poetry, photography and songs at kloschinsky.com.

Thanks for your support of my music,

In Song and in Spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Logos and Spirit

The long march of reason and science to its present supremacy has not been without its casualties. Starting with Socrates and Plato, who insisted on using their reason to approach the problems of life, the discipline of philosophy was born. Although it was overshadowed by religion in the middle ages, reason again surfaced in the Renaissance with the rebirth of humanism, or the idea that man can use his reason to evaluate things, and not just accept religious dogma. This led to the 18th century Enlightenment, where reason was crowned as the monarch, and philosophy and science flourished. This climaxed in the past century with the breathtaking discoveries of science, and the mesmerizing magic of the engineers.

It seems now that modern humanism not only asserts that man can use his reason to evaluate things, but in a hubric fashion asserts that reason and science are the only way of evaluating things, and all will be intelligible to the intellect. Indeed, as its proper field of study is the objective world, or matter, science has determined the hard mathematical constraints of the outer world, and has discredited superstitions and magical thinking. After Darwin it has been believed that the material world is all there is, with its hard rules and bleak final outcomes.  Lost is a sense of mystery, and a humility, in front of life’s deepest questions. The thorough debunking of religous dogma by science has left people without a spiritual anchor, and Logos in its long march to dominance has claimed Spirit as it’s casualty in the 20th century.

I believe it is in the subjective world that Spirit is found, which lies beyond reason and science, and is by its nature surreal and ultimately unintelligible. Just as Galileo asseted the findings of science when the pendulum had swung too much in the favour  of irrational, religous dogma, so now it has swung too much to the realm of rational, scientific materialism at the expense of Spirit. Perhaps our task in the 21st century is to accept the miracles of science and engineering, but also to reassert the transcendence of the spiritual, that so many hunger for, with a faith that can accommodate the scientific facts.

My photography, poetry and songs can be found at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

in Song and in Spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Television, Meaning and History

Its been around for 60 years now, has proliferated so it is everywhere, and is the way most people spend their leisure time. And it sends one message – everything is random, cling to life as desperately as you can,  and the best you can do is to skew your odds as much as you can based on the scientific statistics. The television, with its ubiquitous screens, seems to me to represent a collective ego, which is young, petrified of death, and consumed with worry about all sorts of issues. I think living in this artificial media world on a constant basis leaves people neurotic about all sorts of possible tragedies, and in a state of denial about the inevitable facts of the life cycle and mortality, and trivializes the best way anyone has ever had to face these hard facts – a faith in a higher power, a purpose to our time here on earth, and the golden promise of a just afterlife.

I wonder if people realize that, regardless of all our technological progress, the brevity of the lifecycle and the inescapable finality of a cold winter’s tombstone is unavoidable and here to stay, an acknowledgement of which would enlighten people about how to best to spend their limited time here, instead of living, and eventually dying, in a state of denial about the hard stony facts of life. Indeed, the only valuable stage of life that the TV tells us is youth, and it is completely lost what are the advantages, and what is appropriate, at all the stages of the life cycle, including eventually dying.

I think a lot of people’s sense of history and culture are from what they have seen on the TV, thinking this mainly junk food diet is all that is important, and missing all the sources of meaning to be found in historical cultures prior to JFK and the Beatles, or in leaving the media world behind sometimes to embrace the cathedral of nature.

If these thoughts resonate with you may I suggest you check out my other newsletters.

You can also check out my poetry, songs and photography at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

In song and in spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky