My worldview guides me, as does yours. I believe in expressing intent as the basis for experience. This world view is also a process that can be applied by everyone. The key is to let ‘the Universe’ have its say in how our intent is fulfilled, considering the intent of others in our domain, and trusting that a suitable outcome will be orchestrated. This is fundamentally a positive outlook. It is also simple. The goal is to have humanity spend less time rationalizing manmade theological problems, and more time actually experiencing life. Nature is in danger from those who don’t know her, who don’t know how connected they really are to her.
I am approaching topics of ultimacy from the personal experience of what works. Praying to Uranthom works for me. Reflexive prayer, i.e. the notion that all spoken prayer for our own benefit, reinforces my intent. Understanding self is so important because being aligned with what makes you tick is the best possible experience for you as an existential ‘node’ in this collective and connected existence. If physical creatures can achieve a ‘heavenly’ experience on earth, why look forward to a non-corporeal existence? Consciousness without physicality is a hell. Whether our souls go to ‘Heaven’ or blend back into a mystical cosmic consciousness, I do not know. I am confident that the Universe that makes Uranthom possible will have a suitable resolution of my consciousness existence.
We get into trouble when we make ‘authoritative’ and exclusive assertions about God the way both Muslim and Christian theologians have over the ages. Conflict arises when the respective believers take the God-speculation literally and defend mutually exclusive absolutes. The line of thought that tries to define God is a dead end. We can be believers without absolutes. In this mode, all world views are necessarily individualistic, which is what I think happens anyway, even to those who believe in the ‘heaven first’ approach where guidance comes down from God.
If you find your mind caught in a web of theological conundrums, it may be helpful to trace back the chain of ideas that led to your beliefs. I did, and it led me to start fresh, from scratch. What kind of conundrums? For example, conflicting ideas about free will vs. predestination; obsession with a physical God who cannot be touched; someone we talk to but who never talks back. Reconciling undeserved mishaps and tragedies with God’s good purpose for pious people. Talking about both love and eternal punishment in the same conversation. Advocating the never-ending exploitation of a finite earth. Advocating equality of genders while keeping the man as the ‘head.’ Preaching compassion and acceptance while attributing people’s sicknesses and disabilities to sin or laziness. Teaching forgiveness while always finding an enemy to fight. Asserting world peace is on the other side of a war. Thinking like this is making our planet sicker, and we need to change it.
Trace the origin any one of these ideas and you find they go far back, some thousands of years. The writers we read were influenced by ideas they might not properly credit. The Christian worldview goes back to the Greek philosophers, the Stoics, Christianity, kings since Charlemagne who believed in the divine right, the Protestant Reformers, and American conservatism. For example, we celebrate Easter because it recalls Christ’s death and resurrection. Why did He have to die? Shed blood was the atonement for sin. Why can blood atone? Because of pagan beliefs that God(s) demand it for transgression, and to earn favor. Why did Christ specifically have to die? Because he is God incarnate, and as such can atone all of humankind. Why does God have to be incarnate? Because of the theological tradition that requires God to be involved in human affairs, and the certainty that God(s) have to exist somewhere physically, like the Greek pantheon on Olympus. Change your worldview, and you change your destiny.
The tumor of over analyzed worldview tends to grow bigger as each generation tries to sort out one conundrum or the other, resulting in more spaghetti theology. Topics like ‘how do I stay out of hell?’ and other questions become irrelevant. That is all a huge distraction that myopic and weak-willed theologians debate ad-infinitum. Like addicts, they can no longer recognize the simple life and how good it can be. To those invested with years of study of treatises and intellectual traditions, real happiness and peace are a sign of apathy! They can not recognize a completed human being if she was sitting next to them in Sunday morning pew because such people are only expected in heaven. We could play their game and argue with every position that has been taken since Socrates. I do not have the life-energy to do that. Theology for its own sake only produces secure employment for professional mental wrestlers. We have to keep it simple. We can just snip that chain of beliefs at the source, let the weight of conundrums fall to the floor. Life goes on, and we can experiment with alternate foundational principles.
The fundamental worldview question we have to answer is ‘how should we live?’ I have arrived, for now, at a process build on existence as an experience of intent. Intent is simply an affirmation of the desired outcome. This is just a hunch, but so far, it is working for me, manifesting peace of mind and a good life. Note that intent is not the same as will. To will something implies a certain coercion, even if it is your own actions, which is a more aggressive stance that may in fact work against you.
Intent is a passive internal assertion that can be either be silent or can also be reinforced through vocalization, by saying it aloud (as in prayer). Lack of vocalization does not diminish the power of the intent. The ‘Universe’ realizes your intent based on an orchestration process that is opaque to us. I do not see the value of postulating what ‘God’ or ‘the Universe’ thinks and does since by definition it is beyond our grasp. This is why I invented the notion of Uranthom, which is my abstraction layer to what happens ‘out there’.
We express intent many times a day, thinking ‘yes I want a new shirt’, or ‘we pray for a new school for those missionaries, amen!’, or ‘I’d like to sleep in this morning’, or ‘I’d like to be paired with a woman (or man) like that’, or ‘my energy is better spent painting’, for example. We often try to execute on the intent, and this is where we should rather pause and listen to the Universe. Mindfulness is important before taking action, as is patience. I call it ‘manifesting’, which simply means that given some time for processing, those outcomes you intend will be orchestrated along with the intent of others for a more satisfactory resolution. It may not be exactly what you had in mind to start, but examining those desires in light of the outcomes, you will find a good state, one, which inevitably leads to new intent. Thus life evolves in a dialectic with Uranthom, the receptor of our expressions of intent.
If you have a communal intent, like ‘I wish to go to the ball game with my friends’, or ‘we need supporters to donate money to pay for fuel for the ship’, then expressing it helps align the intent of others. The expression can be a post on social media or a prayer in church. Because intent is bubbling up regardless of whether you are in a religious house or not, we do not distinguish between prayer and other expressions of intent. Intent that aligns with that of others is more likely to be realized. This is a driver for social awareness and political action, because, without the expression of an alignment on values, we are not likely to get our way.
Happiness comes from a realization that as you let go, and the manifestations are real, you stop being frustrated about what happens (or doesn’t happen), and start being present to recognize and enjoy goodness. This is parity for the assurance religious people feel when they believe ‘it’s all in God’s hands’. This mindset does not come overnight, especially if you are mired in the conundrums your ancestors fed you with our mother’s milk. Intent that aligns with that of others is more likely to be realized. As is intent that aligns with the progression of the Universe towards harmony, (this assertion, by the way, is an expression of my own intent). If we all share that intent, it will be. The simplicity of the model is the conscious expression (internal or external) of your intent, coupled with a letting go so ‘the Universe’ can manifest that intent.
This all sounds so simple and even mystical. What about all those conundrums that theologians and philosophers have spent lifetimes debating. Are we going to address those questions? I believe a lot of it gets sorted out on its own when you pivot on intent. For example, we don’t have to account for an all knowing God, since ‘God’ knows through our experience. I don’t believe in a God object, a person-like entity who somehow both sits on a throne and at the same time knows everything everywhere and has all power as Christian doctrine affirms. God may, in fact, have some of those attributes, but it is in a distributed fashion.
It is my hunch – and you don’t have to believe this, it’s just my way of dealing with categories of thought that need an accounting – that the ‘the Universe’ achieves omnipresence and omniscience through physical instances of people and other creatures who are embedded within it. ‘Creation’ is a mechanism for self-discovery. Good and evil are really just relative ideas based on the quality of the outcome of intent. Suffering is not a consequence of sin, but rather a consequence of intent and actions that don’t align with a viable existence. Mistaken experiments fail, people learn and change their intent. Look at the Chinese stance towards pollution. They have gone from not caring about it to engineering forest cities. We just have to learn from misguided policies, improve, and move onward towards a healthy expression of a society that doesn’t leave people behind.
Predestination is a moot point, since you are the agent of destiny, if you intend it, it was meant to be. As you realize it, it is also known. As the universe experiences and understands itself through each one of us, this universal consciousness grows. As we expand our experience, we expand the instantiation of knowledge of that area. And we move on. Now don’t ask me about the mechanics of all this. It’s just a myth that helps me explain things I don’t understand, as all good myths do. All this assumes positive intent and has yet to be proven. What will be the intent that wins out in an over-populated world?
Now don’t ask me about the mechanics of all this. It’s just a myth that helps me explain things I don’t understand, as all good myths do. All this assumes positive intent and has yet to be ultimately proven good by humanity. What intent will win out in an over-populated world?
Since you are so important in this whole evolutionary process, it is important to understand the criteria by which you affirm intent. This is the domain of values. Decisions are based on what you consider worthwhile. Some of these are instinctual and innate. We naturally want intimacy or a fun night out with the guys (or gals). We dote on our children by nature. Some behaviors are learned. We defer to elders, distrust strangers or hate to accept help from others. Some values are ideological, such as patriotism and loyalty to a class structure.
Good values come from a common humanity. Despite all the theological conundrums, good values undergird every major religion and provide the redemptive glue that gives them longevity. This is where ‘culture forming’ or ‘cultural engineering’ come into play. What you call it depends on your temperament, but the gist is the same: we understand the dynamics of how humans internalize worldviews, i.e. through prevalent myths, which program the depths of the mind that impact the process and scope of decision making. The arts define these myths, and thus through art, we can change the operating system of the psyche.
As I’ve written elsewhere, Community Mythology is a technique that uses the arts to ‘craft’ a world view into a culture. The idea is that we collectively agree on the set of behaviors, and their underlying values, our common humanity, as colored by the experience of mistaken communities of the past (such as the Nazi experiment). A group comes to mythic awareness by recognizing when cultural artifacts, such as movies, advertising, and political rhetoric are impacting their value system. Awareness is the pre-requisite to a conscious decision process, a kind of ‘pre-qualification’ of the values we let into our intentional decision making. Allowing certain values into our lives is itself an intent.
Make no mistake about it, this a powerful ideological cocktail. The power of the Universe is harnessed with intent, and intent shapes its destiny with humans. Mis-guided collective intent results in ‘evil’, and people consequently suffer. Properly guided intent results in goodness for all those involved. Based on values we deem to be sacred, we have to express our intent, and then, as the saying goes, let go ‘and let God’.
— Roy Zuniga