A while ago, I wrote online about how, in a post-Christian era, those of us following spiritual paths like Hermeticism that were embedded in a matrix of Christianity for so long often seem ungrounded in basic ethics and practices that mainstream religion often has supplied. No one had to teach your typical Christian magician basic ethical behavior or philosophy because his esoteric beliefs were always the refinement or development of a set of exoteric beliefs based on his religion. The same goes for your typical Orthodox Jewish kabbalist. Part of my current re-investigation of the philosophy of stoicism is an investigation of its possible basis, in the modern age, of an ethical philosophy giving a code of conduct and way of working with the world based on Classical philosophy, spirituality and values for those of us who have attempted to return, by and large, to a non-Christian, if not pre-Christian model for living.
Out of many sites that I read or follow, one is http://www.integralnaked.org, which is a site run by Ken Wilber, author, philosopher and seeming pain-in-the-ass, as part of his Integral Institute and efforts. I'm fairly fond of his work though it isn't without its flaws and a certain amount of hubris. The man gets points for actually doing and saying something and living a life in support of that. In any case, the Integral Naked site focuses on audio interviews with various thinkers, artists or interesting individuals by Ken Wilber. This week's main entry is Larry Harvey, the creator of Burning Man, discussing that topic. I haven't listened to it yet but I'm likely to burn it to a CD to listen to in the car. The other interesting entry is Erik Davis, author of Tech Gnosis, discussing my generation (and his) and its relationship to Boomers, spirituality and culture. Also quite interesting.
In relation to my first topic above, I found the following quote as part of the introduction to a series of pieces done by a Rabbi on Kabbalah on the site to be very much at home with me:
Kabbalah—the mystical branch of Judaism—is concerned with the ultimate knowledge of God. In this series of clips from a gathering in Boulder, Rabbi Marc Gafni and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi—the world's foremost proponents of Integral Kabbalah—discuss with Ken three of the main practices within their tradition that constitute the means of this knowledge: Study, Prayer, and Meditation.
In this introductory clip, Ken sets the context by noting that in the world's great spiritual traditions, the process of God-realization is often divided into three stages: ethics, meditation, and nondual awareness.
Ethics isn't going to leave my mind, it seems.
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