Every so often there is a book that puts one’s views and ideals in an absolute euphoric whirlwind, exposing the reader to levels of philosophical sophistication and beauty that, with the old belief-system, were impossible. The whole universe around the reader is rendered alive and new, ripe for discovery using the reader’s newfound mental tools. There are only a few books which have done this for me: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and, most recently (I finished it today) Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
This book is a wonderful exploration of how, on a fundamental level, all the myths and stories of past civilizations are based on the same structure and the same ideas: a death of the ego, a union with the world-mother (the border of all things, Mother Nature, from whose womb springs all creation), achievement of a boon which renews civilization, et cetera et cetera. But it goes so much deeper than that, for in reviewing these similarities Campbell explores the psychological factors in humans that caused such similarities, and how the myths can help us get knowledge not only of ourselves and our desires, and not only of the way the universe was created and will be destroyed, but also of the One, the Nirvana, the Truth, that all human beings strive towards, whether they find it in the unknown areas of society or in the unknown areas of themselves. This is the boon, the Golden Fleece: knowledge that renews the ever-draining wellspring of civilization, a wellspring which, if I may, is quite dry at this point in time. This is because all facets of life, EVEN RELIGION, have become secular and focused on aggrandizement of the ego. How do I know this? Because religion no longer preaches anything in line with its wonderful and beneficial doctrine (viz. the Qur’an, Bible, Upanisads, etc.) and because one of the main goals of most religions is to degrade other religions. In short, the truth formerly connected with religion in the days of the myth has been emptied out of it. We now worship Christ from fear of Hell, because of the doctrine we have been raised with, or because we think we feel Him near us, feel a connection to him, and think he can stem the tide of death and misfortune if we pray to him.
Nay. The real purpose of religious stories like Mohammed and Gabriel, Buddha under the Bo Tree, and yes, the Crucifixion of Christ, is that they are metaphors to bring the soul closer to Enlightenment, Nirvana, Truth, and yes, God. This truth can only be defined as a force beyond all description, that is all things and so cannot be described as anything, is the union of every opposite. This is what is meant by the Eternal Light or the Kingdom of God described in Christendom, and the Nirvana described in the Vedas. The supernatural events illustrate the boon-giving that is at the center of civilization’s renewal, and man’s soul. Which is not to say that Jesus did not live, but only that, like many other prophets from pagan faiths, he was not really resurrected back to Earth: he died and joined his Father, the One Force, in eternal harmony and peace beyond any description.
And now, here is the key thing: you have, especially in this country in our demographic, plenty of people claiming to be ‘atheists’ because they reject the story of Jonah and the Whale as false, when they fail to realize that it was never meant to be taken literally! Of course no man survived in the belly of a whale: the point of these stories is to give us power, to elevate our souls to self-realization! And, similarly, you have ‘believers’ on all sides that claim to be Christians because they believe Jonah survived, even though they may not understand the full meaning of Jesus’s teachings! They also defend their faith as the so-called ‘One True Faith’ and fail to see that all religions, and indeed, science and rational philosophy, are all going to the same place, merely taking different paths. This means that everything is true, and “a cake is still a cake no matter which way you cut it!” I for one, believe in all religions, though perhaps not literally in any of them! What does this make me? Perhaps, one step closer to achieving truth.