Defining Non-Duality pt 2 – Theodicy
[coming back again, for good I hope]
To further illustrate in a concrete way some "Defining Non-Duality pt 1" distinctions between Un-Qualified Duality [UQD], Qualified Duality [QD], Qualified Non-Duality [QND], & Un-Qualified Non-Duality [UQND], we consider the "mystery" of Theodicy, that of evil in the World & why God allows it to exist. (Perhaps since we are delving into the "World" in this episode, it may serve to repeat our occasional "value-disclaimer": whatever good might be accomplished with, say a hundred billion dollars, whatever the practical value such funding might have, never for a micro-second could we consider relinquishing the liberating Teaching of Non-Duality, Advaita Vedanta, for such a pay-off. Whatever the World holds is unreal, whatever leads to the Self-Realization of Non-Duality is priceless beyond all imagination).
Theodicy – To further illustrate Theodicy, evil in the World & why God allows it to exist.
Testosterone Monsters – Mostly males, but a few females have stretched the envelope of credulity when it comes to cruel Theodicy, so to speak. Long-term sexual slavery & sadistic abuse is incredible. Mass murder, genocide, Inquisitions, slow boiling of enemies, quartering by horses & the “rack”, hanging by the tongue, the genitals, the intestines, you name it. Unspeakable cruelty & terror, a thousand cuts, covering a skinned victim with covering sheets of cellophane to prolong survival & pain – what is the point ? Sado-sexual cross-wiring & hate, sick adrenaline-rush from a real-live horror movie, it is baffling. Extracting information by dismemberment, nailing scrotum or tongue to a table, subjecting the victim to be devoured by fire, insects, crabs, rodents, wild beasts, or dogs. Daily immersion in feces, overheating & crowding, freezing, withholding sleep, food & water, attaching electrodes internally & to pain centers in joints, teeth, eyeballs, private parts, & so on. How can this be, what does it mean ? Such super-dense ignorance foretells long-term compensating karma & fierce obstacles to awakening for the perpetrator. Perhaps some accelerated karmic catch-up is a factor for the victim, who can say ? No God “allows” this most horrid of Ego manifestation. And yet considering the selfish nature of Ego, only glimmerings of Divine self-nature explain why is not even worse. For true “pure” Ego, anything goes when it’s the other guy. Mis-directed self-love always rationalizes the pain of a victim as somehow deserved. The same mis-directed self-love always paints the act as loyally following orders, seeking revenge & honor, or some other twisted explanation.
That all would be part of what we later call the rajasic side. But dull-minded neglect & indifference, the other tamasic side of human cruelty can be just as crushing. Giving birth to AIDS infested fetal-alcohol (and/or "gifted" with HIV, syphilis, etc) babies dangerously born to too-young mothers & rape victims, babies pre-addicted to crack cocaine & heroin, how can there be such neglect ? Getting high & “partying” in the a filthy room, leaving babies locked in roach & rat infested, unclean restrooms, with stopped-up, overflowing toilets, babies “toyed” with by cigarette burns & sold by the hour to sexual predators, how can there be parents like this ? And how different are they from the luxuriously pampered privileged one inheriting millions or cheating hundreds of have-nots with financial swindles, when those same through selfish greed, indifferent contempt, war-mongering & political hate serve as active or passive accomplices to families freezing & starving, lying sick in the streets & roadways ?
Not for the first time, nor last, there arises the enigma of Theodicy, that mystery of evil in the World, & questions like: how can a loving God let all the "bad things" happen ? To various questioners, various first answers could be offered in terms of UQD, QD, QND, & UQND. Only some such explanations can be introduced here in the partial outline that follows:
I) UQD, Qualified Duality – adherents for starters live in denial about how mean-spirited God would have to be to have eternal Hell, to leave the vast majority excluded from Calvin’s Predestination, Rapture, or whatever might be the current & Last Days elitist clubhouse. Pushing all that under the rug first, they attempt to console themselves with “God’ s will” & his “mysterious ways.” But when their young daughter is stricken with painful & fatal disease, or raped & tortured by a child molester, some understandably turn their backs on that God when their blind faith has thus been too sorely tested. War & evil of all sorts can overwhelm the UQD practitioner.
II) QD, Qualified Duality – adherents are "soft" on hell but more rationally find mystery in Theodicy, God’s destiny or justice, that includes the existence of evil. In a circular mutually modeling cycle, Crime & Punishment Legal systems mirror & inspire Crime & Punishment Theological systems, & vice versa. In neither case can the grim enjoyment of revenge & retribution satisfy the grief of loved ones. At the same time, revenge punishment offers precious little "closure" balm to innocent victims who suffer, & of course less solace to those who die.
III) QND, Qualified Non-Duality adherents include some who take a subtler but also weak position on Theodicy, & this QND subset itself can be well divided into 2 groups for clarity. One still retains some metaphysical version of a RWOT [real-world-out-there] ranging from varieties of Deism-Panentheism to all kinds of Gnostic & Theosophical hierarchies of planes & levels with many hierarchies of beings. Exoteric Buddhism & Hinduism, for instance, retain almost biblical heavenly hosts & demonic hosts, armies at war with each, like traditional religion’s angels & demons. Levels of heaven & hell abound, though usually not eternal hell. Astral planes of all description are the scene for elaborate delineations of karma, where hopefully, mysteries of Theodicy get lost or forgotten in all the confusion. In a sense this
strategy, at best, results in a plan of not getting distracted by theodicy, dealing with what "learning experience" comes your way, but primarily getting on with one’s real job of striving for union with
God, the Buddha-Mind, or the Tao. The 2 groups filter all of the foregoing through roughly 2 distinguishable models for a RWOT [real-world-out-there]: both QND & less than highest UQND.
- Nirguna Brahman, Buddha-Mind, Dharmakaya, most absolute Tao, by whatever name “co-exists” in some fashion with Saguna (with form) Brahman or equivalent. This latter more objective aspect of Absolute Reality or God projects, dreams, or “like a spider extruding its web” s omehow manifests a Universe out of its own substance. God’s Dream or Lila ("Sport, Play, Dance"), or web of Illusion (Maya is a more friendly tone) contains all of "us" as evanescent characters playing out multi-lifetime karma –learning. Rehabilitative sentences (ajudicated) with R & R rewards on various heavenly, hellish, & other planes are determined by our thoughts (especially last ones), words & deeds that obscure the reality of God in & as it all. Evil describes the wrong turns that we dream–characters take in our winding path. Victims of karma thereby fulfill retributive punishment from former transgressions recorded in the akashic records or their own minds. So no matter how horrible, the suffering is expiative, like Purgatory on the fly. Ultimately, as generalized above, union with God is the destiny of all these dream characters or projections/sparks with whose immortal souls live through many, thousands or millions of lifetimes as required.
- Nirguna Brahman (Absolute Reality without Form) & Saguna Brahman (Absolute Reality without a little Form left in) is a distinction that becomes far more virtual in the 2nd group, verging toward Nirguna Brahman alone which is UQND, Un-Qualified Non-Duality. What we will repeatedly return to as the “Counting Problem” is embraced here in the negative in that “there is only One even if it can seem that we are many.” Life & the Universe are illusions from which we awaken to rediscover that we are One all along.” How this can happened remains a mystery as it must because the only resolution lies in the context of Un-Qualified Non-Duality, UQND where it just plain never happened. Evil, Suffering, & Theodicy are branded with the status of Illusion, but this can still be weak solace to one who is suffering or who is or knows an innocent victim of Evil. Progressively, from the furthest advanced edge of QD Qualified Duality through QND Qualified Non-Duality there is growing recognition that Ego is the selfish fount of misguided, ignorant Evil. So then seeking Liberation, “erasing the Ego” is the only solution. Further into Qualified Non-Duality, QND toward UQND, Un-Qualified Non-Duality, the surprise is no longer in the perverse depths of consummate Evil whenever it appears. Rather, in contemplating the inversion that is Ego, we must be surprised that, with "out for number one" Ego at the “helm”, Evil is not even worse. Rather than feeling betrayed by God for “allowing” Ego, this seeker is grateful for the Grace that holds Ego–Evil at bay, limits it, admits Goodness, & in the end redeems all from evil Ego.
IV) UQND, Un-Qualified Non-Duality alone has an answer for Theodicy, evil, Ego, & all suffering. Knowledge alone liberates, knowledge of the Self as Brahman "1-without-a-2nd". Words cannot express Un-Qualified Non-Duality, UQND but more words will be directed at hinting & pointing as we proceed. Looking back across this brief Outline, we metaphorically see that needless suffering, Ego, evil & such are the “fly in the ointment” for UQD, QD, & QND, a fatal flaw in every one of them that belies posing as a complete understanding.
V) SPAM [scientism–physicalism–atheism–materialism], needless to say, can only face Evil & Suffering with “fear & loathing,” enough to inspire suicide in any such adherent who is not living in denial. In this “last” or “first” properly but listed-out-of-order entry, there is no God, so no Theodicy or divine mystery or answer to Evil. Instead Evil is trumpeted as a salient "proof" against the existence of God. Taking on the lamest & least appropriate spokesmen for spirituality, the most obdurate Fundamentalists within UQD Un-Qualified Duality & their Bibles, all at face value, SPAM adherens they see no answer forthcoming at all to their question: "how can there be a God if "He" allows evil & suffering in the World. For SPAM, evil proves no-God. So again, the contradiction of evil Theodicy is resolved only in the “all Form is unreal” absolute resolution of Un-Qualified Non-Duality, UQND reviewed in acronyms.
SPAM = Scientism-Physicalism-Atheism-Materialism
UQD = Un-Qualified Duality
QD = Qualified Duality
QND = Qualified Non-Duality
UQND = Un-Qualified Non-Duality
Typically, there is the “allow” term in the: how can there be a God if he "allows" Evil & Suffering in the World. This “allow” part of the objection carries a context of complete micro-management by special creations & miracles at all times, & a divine "Legal Justice" system context. The God of Un-Qualified Duality, UQD has his fingers in every pie, all the time, or else he doesn’t exist, they would say. Any undesired outcome is “God’s will” & he seems mean-spirited for intending & dictating the nasty ones. There “should” be no disease, no evil, no death, but only great family planning. God could not exist if he fails the criteria for fair play, good intentions, & support of life, liberty, justice, & the American way, the pursuit of, even if never finding, Happiness, & generally a good GDP & low unemployment rate for all. Then the fact that some of us are born weak, fat, sick, ugly, & impoverished is another issue but we’ll take that up another day under "identification with the body". All goes to show that God is not very nice, eyen without the unspeakably insane eternal Hell, so therefore he could not exist, so say SPAM adherents.
[The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com ]