>>… I'm a semi-regular on Acharya's lists. Her work often appears in Steamshovel Press, a magazine I publish. …
>>This concept of surrendering to the will of God is quite apropos to AS' historical thesis. In its more benevolent expression, as in various American New Age interpretations of Buddhism for instance, the idea seems to surface as one of reaching an egoless state or a communion with nature. (The varieties of actual Buddhist experience, of course, spanning the range from atheism to Pure Land ritualism.)
Michael Sharp wrote:
>You are right about the Christian idea. At the core though it isn't about surrending to a higher power but allowing more of your own consciousness to enter into your body. In uncorrupted form this is about becoming more of you you are deep down inside with teh assumption being that your full consciousness does not automatically enter into the body. I think in this form it's benign and empowering but in other forms where you are asked to surrender to authority (God, the church, the professor, etc.) it is profoundly disempowering.
>>In Christianity, however, this military ideation ("surrendering") dominates, right down to an anthropomorphic commander in charge of it all. It supports Christ Con's argument that Christianity was a military tactic by the Roman state to consolidate the various pre-Christian sun cults under its rule.
>>That's what's particularly pernicious about Christianity as it is typically practiced. What seems like a desirable state -- natural harmony -- has been corrupted to serve a military hierarchy. It takes tremendous intelligence and individualism to war against that and protect the innocents. So I would hope that individual consciousness exists. How else to keep away the Borg?
A concept or metaphorical idea can't be judged as helpful or harmful without reference to a context. The concept of the surrender of the personal will to the will of God is interesting and valuable in an authentic esoteric mystic-state context. The concept, like any, can be used in an evil, harmful way -- this concept of surrender becomes harmful when interpreted literally, partly because a harmful meaning is added and partly because a helpful meaning is removed. In practice, it's a matter of emphasis.
The mystic reading of 'surrender' uses military concepts as a metaphor for mystic-state phenomena. The literal reading of 'surrender' then turns that mystic usage back around again to prop up religiously-based literal militarism. The two domains of mystic phenomena and military warfare are often mapped to each other in religion, including Ruler Cult. The mystic-mythic metaphor system used in Christianity was largely a counter-response to the mystic-mythic metaphor system used in Ruler Cult.
In both cases, the realm of military-political ideas was deliberately and adeptly used as a source of metaphors to describe and convey mystic-state phenomena, and mystic-state phenomena were used to form military-political ideas. The military realm drew upon the mystic realm, and the mystic realm drew upon the military realm -- in both Ruler Cult and in the variant form of Ruler Cult, Christianity.
Similarly, the realm of astrology drew upon the mystic-experiencing realm for ideas and metaphorical expressions (remembering that all language is richly metaphorical), and the mystic-experiencing realm drew metaphors and concepts from astrology. In such a way in ancient and in Western esoteric thinking, the domain of mystic-state experiencing acted as a glue to closely interrelate all realms of human knowledge and activity, including interrelating astrology and military-politics.
Mystic surrendering means a particular kind of loss of individuality: the cessation of being deluded by the illusion of being a separate-self, a metaphysically sovereign prime-mover agent. It's easy to map this to military ideas of power, freedom, and capturing, releasing, and exchanging prisoners in battle. Such military ideas were prominent metaphors in Ruler Cult and in Christianity, probably used in Ruler Cult as well as in Christian initiation to describe mystic-state experiences of loss of the sense of being in control of one's thoughts, actions, and movements of will.
Jesus-myth related ideas to consider from perspective of Roman culture:
Paid the costly ransom price to set many prisoners/hostages free.
Exchange negotiated: if you do X, we'll free Y individuals and release the captives and permit them to live.
How did the idea of the cross and ransom of prisoners develop?
God/Fate/Ground of Being puts you as self-control agent in a self-control bind, where extreme doom is a vivid serious threat, and then makes a deal and releases you. This is the type of thinking needed to comprehend the mystical meaning of the Cross and similar godman saviors and divine sacrifices.
Who and when rejected pure no-fw and insisted on genuine simple moral responsibility?
Power-coercion dealing: I have the power to kill you or let you live. I will let you live if you do X. Coercively forcing someone's will.
Consider how ransom works in a Roman battle, where the war is between our power as personal (perhaps "egoic") control agents and God's power.
Who can pay an infinite ransom price to God? What person do we have that is so valued by God, he'll gladly release us in exchange? As "leader of the enemy army", God doesn't really want to kill us; he wants to *use* us as ransomed hostages, using the threat of killing us, to coerce the collective will of our people, or our leaders, to hand over our most valuable leader, our king.
So we are made to want to have a king that we can hand over to God in order to set all of us (members of that king's kingdom and army) free.
A battle of us against God: he has us in his grip; he has captured us and is holding us ransom. His deal is that if our side gives over our most valuable person on our side -- our king & military leader -- God will permit us to live and release us. How can we have such a valuable king? God gives his son as the king for us to give to God to fulfill God's high ransom price to release us and set us free.
There was some debate over whether the ransom price was paid to the Devil (personification of egoic deluded freewill controllership) or paid by God to himself.
Within this framework of thinking, the moment the spacetime-affixed, fate-threatened captive mystic calls out "ok, we will hand over our king (Jesus) if you release us", God sets the mystics free and there is peace between the military force of God and the control-power of our side. The military enemy leader, God, demands a high ransom price to release us -- an extremely valuable king. We do not have, of ourselves, such an extremely or infinitely valuable king. Then how can we be set free?
God the hostile military commander holding us captive with a death threat, out of infinite undeserved generosity, provides us with such a valuable king -- his own son. Because it is his own son, provided now as our own military leader and king, God thereby effectively brings us over to his side, away from the Devil's armies. We are released and now owned by God, and have been -- switching the ideas around symmetrically -- ransomed from being held by the Devil.
This is the general type of analysis to use in making sense out of the idea of Jesus as ransom sacrifice to set us free -- it makes sense if viewed from the proper context of Roman warfare conventions. This does not mean that enlightenment, mystic ego death and release into new reconciled and enlightened freedom is "the" way to understand transcendent knowledge or the Jesus figure or mythic godmen.
This is one of many allegories describing the experience of spacetime fixity, coercion of the mystic's will by the uncontrollable transcendent controller, and the homeostatic state shift from one stable controllership state (egoic thinking) to another (transcendent thinking).
Unfortunately for me as intellectual laborer pressed for time, this means that there is no single reading of the Cross as allegory, or Christian myth. I'm still forced to spend time doing a separate analysis of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and the idea of the sacrificial lamb -- even explaining two such close things as Abraham's lamb sacrifice and the Passover lamb sacrifice require two distinct explanations in terms of the cybernetic self-control model of mystic experiencing and insight.
The Christian myth-system is complex, not a single meaning or a single puzzle. It is a complex, large set of mythic-mystic-experiencing puzzles to solve. However, the idea of "ransom" is one of the main descriptions of the main myth (the Cross) of the main religion (Christianity). I have justified why a cybernetics theory of enlightenment must explain Christianity, but I have yet to select which of the Christian mythic episodes or aspects are most important.
I have yet to pin down exactly who and why, the Jesus version of the Hellenistic mystery-religion & myth took off. Who actually "pushed" it, who actually initially created it, who so loved the later idea of adding the Jesus lifestory to the totally abstract "Jesus' cross" Pauline idea?
Who created, promoted, and embraced the gospel story (with the Romans, last supper, trial, betrayal, crucifixion, removal, and ascension), when, and why? Who liked it at the very start, and why -- and who liked it later, and why? When did the "ransom" notion become prominent: is it "original", starting when the gospel storyline was created, or is it earlier, in the Pauline letters?
Does the ransom idea appear in the other mythic mystery-religions, such as Attis and Osiris and Dionysus? Was the Jesus myth embraced because the military ransom and political theme was so relevant and moving to people of various classes, while Attis, Osisis, and Dionysus seemed too fantastic and not the most worthy allegorical framework to lay over the standard Hellenistic core entheogenic initiation technology?
A strong candidate I'm proposing lately is that everyone understood the mythic-mystic-state meaning of all the myths and recognized the brilliant relevance of this particular story, which was set among "the Jews" as a fictional backdrop because the Jews generally represented the idea of loathing and resisting the domination system of Caesar. Maybe everyone was rooting for the Jews and loved them because they dared resist the Romans so much and chose death with integrity over honoring the system of Caesar.
Maybe people didn't give a damn about the Jews themselves, but *loved* the *idea* of choosing death with integrity over honoring the system of Caesar, and the Jews served well to represent that idea. The mythmakers and initiates were idea-people -- moderns don't grasp that, and assume that people had simple political and racial and religious divisions like we do.
Perhaps the idea of "Jew" became synonymous with the idea of refusal to the death of honoring the system of Caesar; maybe "Jew" meant "one who refuses to honor the system of Caesar". We can suppose with some confidence that the idea was hugely popular, of refusing to honor the system of Caesar, and this was the main reason why people loved the Jewish-extracted version of the Hellenistic godman.
"I sure don't want to literally be a Jew, but I'm all for the idea of refusing to honor the system of Caesar." This would explain the rapidly growing popularity of the Jesus religion after the gospel storyline was created and prior to its takeover by the power hierarchy. Phases to analyze are then:
1 CE -- Gnostic godman, no Roman crucifixion storyline yet; Jesus is abstract wisdom personification per Paul.
150 CE -- Gospel storyline created: the Romans, last supper, trial, betrayal, crucifixion, removal, and ascension. Becomes popular in lower and middle classes. Starts becoming an independent State within the State.
313 CE -- Christianity co-opted and taken over by the power-hierarchy that it was designed to resist and repudiate.