2000-Summary Prevision challenges the culture of misplaced confidence in medieval faith-hubris (fideism) which glares in the destructive overreach of patriarchal imperialism's ignorance and arrogance. In the expanding cosmos, all energy, all substance, all "truth" is distributive. Truth like light is everywhere possessed in "everythingness" taking part in transformational interdependency. Authenticity lies in the discernment of truth in common.
The author, here, in imitation of the Middle Age Reformer Martin Luther, posts his theses and corresponds directly with powers-that-be, including his bishop and popes. His hope is to wake up the mind of universal conscience inherent in individual consciousness for purposes of stimulating a global shift away from fixation in backward thinking.
The author proposes and introduces a redirected Syllabus of Education that puts learner and teacher in equal standing, realizing that every one is and should be a learner and a teacher for his/her lifetime.
The book is in three parts that correlate to each other even as communication, consciousness and conscience correlate with each other.
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2000 - SUMMARY PREVISIONToward Global Revitalization
By Sylvester L. Steffen
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Sylvester L. Steffen
All right reserved.
Chapter One1. THE UNBRIDGED CHASM
"[Once] the truth has made its presence felt in a single soul, nothing can stop it from reaching out everywhere and setting everything free." Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
For my lifetime I've been haunted by the question "Am I that different from other Catholics? from other Christians? from other people?" What kept the question up-front was my struggle for self-reconciliation, which struggle was dogged by the taught belief of being blighted with genetic sin. The defect of birth-sin was a frustrating presence even though I was assured that it wasn't my fault.
Something wasn't right. For all my life the Christian tenet of original sin has been a knife piercing the fabric of my consciousness. It is only in recent years that I have reconciled my consciousness with religious culture. An awareness I eventually came to, especially helpful in healing my psychological trauma, is that we are religiously cultured in ignorant disregard for Nature and our essential connections to her, and that misinformed religious culture deludes consciousness and causes us personally and collectively to obsess in misdirected belief and behavior.
This awareness has opened me up to a "new genesis reading" of Nature that lays bare for me "religious" misinformation and its delusional consequences. My "new genesis discovery" had its serious beginning in February 1957. The class of first year theology students (Divine Word Seminary, Techny, Illinois) was required to write a paper. I titled mine "Religion: A Rational Consideration". It argued the fact of "essential continuity" connecting the whole of creation for all time and in all aspects. Some years later I discovered and read the writings of the Jesuit Priest/ Scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who also wrote from the perspective of cosmic continuity including incident life's evolving complexity.
As I became more familiar with quantum-science, it became clear to me that science and religion (Einstein and Chardin) could be harmonized on understandings of the quantum-electric universe. For me, wave/ particle harmony resonates the "beginning Word" in natural texts of quantum-electric continuity which expresses essentially energy/ symmetry, spirit/ matter, soul/ body, faith/ reason and religion/ science. It is now clear to me that when we violate their identity, we violate the NATURALIS SACRAMENTUM ORDINIS. The "signs of the times" and a reading of history provide, I believe, the evidence that proves this to be true.
The cultured schism between soul and body, spirit and matter, is a violation of consciousness-grounding that imposes on consciousness alienation from its grounding. The alienation of consciousness frustrates the naturally harmonious working of soul/ body. The implications of cultural disconnection are comprehensive even as are the consequences. The healing of the schism and its consequences doesn't happen easily, in no small part because we mostly don't realize how deeply rooted and widely injurious our culture of dualisms is. But the evidence now is that it has become a floodtide that threatens to sweep us away.
The habituated alienation of personal consciousness breaches internal communication; compromised consciousness compromises communication, garbles the true message. The compromise of ground-messaging diseases the psyche with an affliction called schizophrenia, which has many faces. Society-made up of people afflicted with the same disease-is collectively confused about itself because of false messaging-alien voices. In true messaging, individuals, communities and societies discover ordered relationships, that is, person-to-person relationships which are beneficially motivated in faith, hope and love. That the scrambling of messaging occurs prevalently is evident in the personal/ social dysfunction of faith, hope and love. Collective disruption is evident also in the collective sacrilege of natural sacraments, that is, in their "religious" appropriation in rite and ritual, wholly out-of-context with real world venue in "secular" reality.
In essential continuity, new genesis consciousness recognizes that natural soul/ substance, the soul/substance of Sacrament, is one with Earthlife's "super-natural" soul/ substance, and that we are personally Sacrament and Grace to one another. Only recently have I come to grasp the profound significance of Socrates' advice to "know thyself". I've come to understand that correctly informed self-knowledge is a priority even before worship of God, for, except we know rightly our place in created order we cannot know our relationship with our Creator and cannot, therefore, know the worship that God expects. Authentic healing is only possible in the continuity sense of energy/ matter, soul/ body, of Einstein's E=MC2.
It has become my belief that our cosmic ignorance, and our arrogance of refusing to inform ourselves in cosmic self knowledge, is a slap in God's face. The arrogance of locking ourselves into willful ignorance is nothing less than idolatry, blasphemy, for we own the means (cortical intelligence) to get beyond the self-obsessive fixes of arrogance and ignorance.
Arrogance and ignorance violate faith and hope, and when faith and hope are violated, so is love. "Civility" is the natural faith/ hope/ love expression of human relationships-what Christians believe exemplify the presence of God in Creation. The cult of incivility is rooted in three deadly social sins which directly defeat the civil virtues of faith, hope and love. These sins devastate personal and communal life; they fly directly in the face of Christian Trinity and must, therefore, be considered as blasphemy by Christians. These sins can be expressed in the manner of the seven deadly social sins of Mohandas K. Gandhi. They are: words without work, procreation without provision, and civitas without civilitas.
Words without Work: The fraud of word only spirituality is that it justifies itself without accountability for its connection to the working of natural necessity. God's Word is self-bound in natural Work. True Sacrament embodies in work its con-sciousness of word, unlike word-only rite and ritual. True word raises conscious-ness by its efficiency in doing in secular (material) reality what it says. The reliable embodiment of word is the fact-basis of faith; empty words are fruitless for they lack the faith-inspiration of work's embodiment. The pretense of words at odds with work puts God to the test and trashes Natural Order.
Procreation without Provision: Hope is consciously engendered in the experience of Nature's reliable provisioning of life. Hope is defeated when the providence of life is desecrated. Excessive human numbers and appetites are viciously wasting network life. True worship of God holds Providence sacred and sustains the largesse of network life for future generations. Where humans settle, history shows a mindless absence of foresight and the mindless waste of life. The conscienceless destruction of natural providence is a hope-destroying act that unmasks the lie of pretentious belief in God's Providence-a fearsome mockery of God.
Civitas without Civilitas: The collective breaches of faith and hope ultimately work their devastation on love. Without love for one another people obsess in egoism and neglect confessional living that acknowledges the debt responsibility of bearing one another's burdens and sharing life's gifts. Individual life and its giftedness is a gratuity of previous life that belongs also to future generations. The violation of communal love is a violation of conscience. Without civility, without lived faith/ hope/ love, there can be no City of God, no harmonious community. The defeat of love is the ultimate sin against God who is Love.
I return to the original question, "Am I that different from other Catholics? from other Christians? from other human beings?" Do my fears about the culture of alienation date my mindset as belonging to a different generation? If subsequent generations have acquiesced to acculturated alienation, is it because they are desensitized, do not recognize it, expect divine intervention to heal it, or simply refuse to let it be an obstacle to getting on with their personal lives? Whatever the reasons, the consequences of alienation remain an accumulating catastrophe that demands resolution.
Alienation's catastrophes are happening now: genocide; man-caused extinctions of species; out-of-control corporate consumerism; sacrilegious profiteering; ecological devastation driven by resource consumption and environmental pollution; social dysfunction at many levels-and the litany goes on.
Anciently speculated dualisms that cleave spirit and matter, soul and substance, are assumptions of alienation that defeat the continuity of working relationships. The adversary-minded people are the progeny of presumed adversary relationship between spirituality and materiality. The chasm of alienation fundamentally frustrates human relationships. The patriarchal male has from time immemorial arrogated himself the "high road" of spirituality and has derogated to woman the "low road" of materiality. This arrogation obtains in his casting of God to his male likeness and in his politicizing of dominion in Church institutions. Male self-arrogation is socially destructive idolatry.
When civil society is structured on the adversarial model of male arrogation, which is Western civilization's presumptive basis for religion, law and politics, radical contention is sanctioned. The fact is that Jesus' universal commandment of love applies personally/ communally/ globally and is irreconcilable with the male, adversarial presumption. The global challenge in the Third Millennium is to bridge cultured chasms and to authenticate the natural, civil virtues of faith, hope and love.
2. SOCIAL HAVOC & THE ADVERSARY PRESUMPTION
Rooted as it is in the heritage of European nationalism (racism) and theocratic paternalism, Dr. Martin Luther King called American Democracy "anemic"; he also might have called it cannibalistic. Acculturated American Democracy's consumerist mind stands the golden rule on its head. The freedom to profiteer is consumerism's Holy Grail, whose justification sounds in a distortion of the golden rule: "Do it unto others before they do it unto you". The "it" refers to self-advantaging conduct that disadvantages others. The exploitative mind behind self-advantaging puts each person in a distrustful relationship with every other. A point of fact, the working presumption underpinning the philosophy of American consumerism (consumer capitalism) is distrust.
The presumption of distrust roots in Judeo-Christian tradition. Christian Theology and Western Jurisprudence have evolved on a common, prevalent presumption, namely, on the mortal disabling of humankind by original sin, causing individuals and humankind collectively to be incapable of self-perfecting and self-rule. One is taught not to trust oneself. This dominating negativity (human untrustworthiness) discredits the essential goodness God pronounced on creation. While humans are prone to sin, they also carry in their consciousness the redeeming virtue that enables goodness. The disjunction of absolute negativity (original sin) without the positive offset of original grace has had a socially degrading effect. It negates originally graced nature. People can be nurtured to grow in trust even as they have been to grow in distrust. If societies would consciously cultivate the grace of personal goodness, people might come to be more trusting and trustworthy.
Social status is characterized by personal use and control of resources. People are class structured along lines of resource access (rich or poor) and use. When greed overwhelms need as the motive of resource control/ use, contention and violence are fomented. Historically, cultures have been preoccupied with contentiousness and violence because appetites of greed rather than need have been cultivated. Global societies are now mortally threatened because of the mortal waste that has been imposed on Earth by greed.
Life resources are perceived as twofold, that is, material and spiritual. All Earth-life manifests both qualities. The common "spirituality" of matter is its potential (electron energy) for transformation, its quantum-electric, thermodynamic potential. This transformational potential is a "cosmic" resource that resides com-monly, in diversified ways, in all substance of network life; its complexity (soul) varies with the complexity of molecular substances. The unity and continuity of spirit/ matter are such that the waste of one does not happen except with the waste of the other.
Humans cannot trash natural resources without trashing their own soul/ substance. American Jurisprudence, grounded in English Law, is structured on the adversary presumption, on the expectation that the testimony of opposing parties is weighted to self-advantage. Obviously, it is prudent for the Court to presume an adversary animus between parties; it does so, however, on the expectation that lawyers for the opposing parties, who are also Officers of the Court, will, in accord with commonsense, the law and facts, present the case of their clients truthfully before the Court. Thus, it is the intent of the Court, relying on the integrity of lawyers, to resolve disputes in a manner that is honest with the facts and that fosters public confidence and communal harmony; all the above, however, is frustrated when lawyers do not conduct themselves with integrity in their service to the Court.
In our times in America, it is generally believed that Courts do not dispense justice, that lawyers are not honest before the Court and that people are fool-hearty to expect justice from the process of law. To understand this public state of mind it must be realized that lawyers are acculturated in the consumerist philosophy of putting self-advantage first. Lawyering is perceived by students of law to be a "growth industry" precisely because the American business philo-sophy (the presumption of distrust) sanctions commercialized lawyering, that is, using the legal process for profit any way profit can be gotten. To put it bluntly, the Court and the public have been prostituted by abuses of the legal process. Lawyers sell their services to corporate greed; to some it matters little on which side of corporate litigation they argue for they enjoy bigger personal benefit the bigger the corporate interest.
Social havoc results from the fact that Courts, because of greed-motives of the Officers of the Court, are used by lawyers to foment distrust, vitiate the process of law and defraud common wellbeing.
The conduct of lawyers as Officers of the Court, as advocates for the adversary presumption, as advocates of greed, has not only poisoned the process of law but also American democratic government.
Citizens are now cynical toward and disillusioned with all branches of government because of lawyering poison contaminating them. In the summer of 1998 American Democracy was made the unwanted witness and victim of broad-spectrum, lawyerly dishonesty that involved the President of the United States.
Destructive lawyering, motivated in adversarial politics, and funded involuntarily by the American taxpayer, gripped the citadel of the U.S. Federal Government around matters of President Clinton's admitted sexual wrongdoings. Behind the pretentious guise of the letter of the law, political partisans and media pundits were emboldened to step forward and cast their judgment stones, even though the public perceives them to be no more honorable than the President. The public is rightly angered by the insult and injury it suffers at the hands of hypocritical, untrustworthy partisan zealots. An urgent question raised by the impeachment charade is: what child does the marriage of literal legalism and fideist absolutism produce? a cannibalistic theocracy. The absolutizing of the adversary presumption of law radically frustrates democratic government; the radical politicizing of adversarial parties creates a frustrated body politic. [I have personally experienced more than enough frustration in Courts of Law.]
Excerpted from 2000 - SUMMARY PREVISION by Sylvester L. Steffen Copyright © 2010 by Sylvester L. Steffen. Excerpted by permission.
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