Friday, 7 June 2013
"The Old Way To The One"?
there is an ancient planet called Chereion with an inhabitant called Aycharaych;
a Chereionite civilization may have reached beyond the galaxy a billion years ago but that civilization disappeared for unknown reasons;
Chereion is a dominion of the Roidhunate but its inhabitants probably serve Merseia for their own ends.
This is the only place where we read of Aycharaych's "'...castle at Raal.'" (p. 116) Does that sound like the place where Cthulhu sleeps?
Ydwyr tells the human being, Djana:
"'...the Old Way is not for you to tread to its end - nor me, I confess. We have the real world to cope with, and we will not do so by abandonment of reason.'" (p. 118)
And Djana later mentions, "'The Old Way to the One...'" (p. 120).
Let us agree that reason should not be abandoned ("the sleep of reason brings forth monsters") although sometimes transcended, as in aesthetic experience? Although Anderson creatively imagines other intelligent species, his only source of information on ancient practices is humanity. So is there an "old way" and must it involve abandonment of reason? Let us summarize human traditions.
(i) The Greek tradition of intellectual inquiry from Thales and Socrates to modern science.
(ii) The Abrahamic prophetic tradition culminating alternatively in Torah, Gospel or Koran. This tradition assumes not only a world to be explored but also a single extra-cosmic but historically intervening deity. However, this tradition of urgent social interpretation and intervention can be secularized by synthesizing the prophetic urgency with rational analysis. Thus, oppression is to be ended not because God says so but because it alienates human beings, preventing their self-realization.
(iii) The Hermetic tradition of Occidental mysticism. I do not know much about it.
(iv) Zen ("meditation") synthesizes Chinese Tao ("the Way") with Buddhism which I regard as a reformed version of Jainism (just as Sikhism is like a reformed Islam). Jainism is very old - pre-Vedic? Jains practise asceticism but the Buddha's "reformation" involves a Middle Way between asceticism and hedonism and a meditation that is relaxed awareness, not enforced concentration.
(v) Vedism is polytheism with monism. Hindu philosophy variously synthesizes Vedic and pre- or non-Vedic traditions, for example in Yoga and Vedanta.
I value reason and meditation so I think that we should learn from the "old ways" but not return to them in a way that would negate either rational analysis or scientific knowledge of the external world.