Let the quotes speak for themselves.
Last post I had the temerity to offer an updated for the modern era version of the Buddha’s venerable old Four Noble Truths. In affect I said He taught what He knew but that His horizon was limited to His own particular civilization which was incidentally in decline. As such there’s a whole lot of suffering in the Buddha’s original teaching. That is, a declining civilization—not unlike our own I would add, though His was far more advanced along the road—was the context in which He lived, learned, attained to ‘enlightenment’ or ‘at-one-ment,’ and taught. Hence suffering was at the heart of his message and the key thing to be ‘liberated’ from.
Here, as everywhere else, the Living context is always crucial in truly comprehending a moment’s blossoming in time.
That being said, it’s never been my aim here at the Omphalos Cafe to offer up any sort of New Agey feel good panaceas; Life is just as it is, full of challenges, trials, joys, sufferings, triumphs and loves, everything in fact under the sun.
However, it IS my firm unshakable conviction that we today are on the cusp of something radically new, something never before seen and something perhaps never before even permitted to gain the light of day, if only we let it into our hearts and minds. What’s more, everything I see around me is pointing in one clear direction, for those with the eyes to see and understand.
So here at the Omphalos Cafe I’ve proclaimed a new set of Four Noble Truths for the modern era. Are we up to them, I ask? Only time will tell.
Anyway, below each of the Truths I thought I’d pin a few notable quotes, just to sort of lend weight to them, strengthen the thesis so to speak, or at the very least absolve me of total lunacy.
Noble Truth number one:
Life is ALL there is
“Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life.”—Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
“It is not that the divine is everywhere: it is that the divine is everything.“—Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology
“Everything is gestation and then birthing.”—Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet
“Though he is hidden in all things, That self does not shine forth. Yet he is seen by subtle seers With superior, subtle intellect.”—Katha Upanishad
“God is in all things as being, as activity, as power.”—Meister Eckhart
“So now I name it in a nobler fashion… It is free of all names and void of all forms. It is one and simple, as God is one and simple, and no man can in any wise behold it.”—Meister Eckhart, from The Perennial Philosophy, Aldous Huxley
“Life has an aim. It is the fulfillment of that which was ordained at its conception.”—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West,
“There is simply no problem of life; it is completely purposeless play—exuberance which is its own end.”— Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology
“Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.”—Henry Miller, Wisdom Of The Heart
Noble Truth number two:
Life is nothing more or less than the ever ongoing flow from one generation to the next, what I’ve sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Passing Through’
“… [L]ife is like a current passing from germ to germ through the medium of a developed organism.“—Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
“The essential thing is the continual progress indefinitely pursued, an invisible progress, on which each visible organism rides during the short interval of time given it to live.”—Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
“Satori is the continuum becoming conscious of it. When it perceives itself as it is in itself there is a satori.”—D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen
“Satori is intuition dynamically conceived. When you move with a moving object, when you are identified with it, and yet when you are not moving at all, a certain state of consciousness—super-consciousness—prevails, which is satori.”— D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen
“Zen, it might be said, is the art of being ‘in form’ for everything, all the time. There is no blocking: all perfectly flows.”—Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology
“Understanding is not a piercing of the mystery, but an acceptance of it, a living blissfully with it, in it, through and by it.”—Henry Miller, Wisdom Of The Heart
Noble Truth number three:
Each species accomplishes this Passing Through from one generation to the next in their own specific and highly unique fashion
” …[T]his current of life, traversing the bodies it has organized one after another, passing from generation to generation, has become divided among species and distributed amongst individuals without losing anything of its force, rather intensifying in proportion to its advance.”—Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
“This movement constitutes the unity of the organized world—a prolific unity, of an infinite richness, superior to any that the intellect could dream of, for the intellect is only one of its aspects or products.”—Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
“‘Mankind,’ however, has no aim, no idea, no plan, any more than the family of butterflies or orchids.”—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West
“History is a fragment of biology—the human moment in the pageantry of species.”—Will Durant, The Age of Louis XIV
“I see world-history as a picture of endless formations and transformations, of the marvellous waxing and waning of organic forms.”—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West
And finally, Noble Truth number Four:
Humans, the most adaptable, flexible and resourceful of species, accomplishes our Passing Through in phenomenally diverse, dynamic, and ever evolving communities
“… Man invented culture, and culture promptly took charge of man. We do what culture tells us to, whether we quite know it or not.”—William Howells, Back of History
“History, religion, civilization, the conquest of the universe by man, his pathetic creation of God, all this is nothing but poetry—….”—Elie Faure, The Spirit Of The Forms
“Cityful passing away, other cityful coming, passing away too: other coming along, passing on.”—Leopold Bloom, from James Joyce’s Ulysses
“You look upon Bibles and religions as divine—and I say that they are divine. And I say that they have all come from you, can come again from you, and that it is not they that give life, but you who give life.”—Walt Whitman, as quoted from Elie Faure, The Dance Over Fire And Water
“The Holy Spirit does not descend from God to animate the heart of man; the Holy Spirit arises from man to animate the heart of God.”— Elie Faure, The Dance Over Fire And Water
“All sing, all build, and all hearts beating together flood with such life the secret God that inhabits them, that His form appears.”—Elie Faure, last sentence of The Dance Over Fire And Water
“For, as in the visible world of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, so also in the visionary world of the gods: there has been a history, an evolution, a series of mutations, governed by laws; and to show forth such laws is the proper aim of science.”—Joseph Campbell, The Masks Of God: Primitive Mythology
“For indeed, it is man that has created the Gods, whereas the power that has created the universe is none other than the will that operates in man himself and in man alone has achieved the consciousness of its kingdom, power, and glory.”—Joseph Campbell, Primitive Mythology
“The myths and rites constitute a mesocosm—a mediating, middle cosmos, through which the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation to the macrocosm of the all.”—Joseph Campbell, Primitive Mythology
So there you go, a little corroboration on a big, big topic. Too big, perhaps.
I’ll leave off with a few further quotes on the difficulty we experience when confronted with the mystery of Life:
“The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life.”—Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
“Those who reflect, however, build up a world of concepts, and postulate a continuum. But as this is the result of intellectual deliberation the continuum is not apprehended as such by most.”—D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen
“Why must we consider always the intelligence of the reader? Is it not for the reader to endeavor to understand us?”—Henry Miller, Letters To Emil
“The great work must inevitably be obscure, except to the very few, to those who like the author himself are initiated into the mysteries.”—Henry Miller, Wisdom Of The Heart
“There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”—Henry Miller, Sexus
“All [religious] doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God himself.”—Ramakrishna, Joseph Campbell’s Primitive Mythology
“Such a monkey-holiness is not what the functioning world requires; rather, a transmutation of the whole social order is necessary, so that through every detail and act of secular life the vitalizing image of the universal god-man who is actually immanent and effective in all of us may be somehow made known to consciousness.”— Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces
“There is a wondrous music of the spheres which wills to be heard and which a few of our deepest spirits will hear.”—Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West
Here’s to the music of the spheres…
You hear it?
Life is ALL there is.