Dec 8, 2012

The Death Of Monotheism

Sunflower head, by Takkk
In his greatest work, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that "God is dead." This means several things. First of all, the philosophical abstraction known as "God" to institutional religion, especially Christianity, has met its demise in Western culture. Secondly, it means the dualistic metaphysic of Plato is no longer viable. It also means the point of centrality (monotheism) that once undergirded Western culture has been ripped away.  After Nietzsche, because we didn't know where to turn, we were left teetering on the brink of a dark abyss, of which Soul is the bridge across.

Giordano Bruno, in the sixteenth century, showed that there is no center to the universe at all. According to the Hermetic maxim of correspondence, we can also claim that there is no center to God, the universe, or the human Soul. The concept of centrality has fallen away gradually in human thinking. After concluding there is no center to the universe, thinkers realized this was not only a physical characteristic of Nature, but of Soul as well. The idea was actually a projection of what we believed existed in God and Soul. Eventually, however, the projection was withdrawn and we were faced with the stark reality that God, Soul, and Universe are all acentric and polytheistic realities.

The multifariousness of Nature is manifested in all Her creations. The above photo is but one example. This beautiful sunflower head is metaphorical of the living Beings that compose our Souls and the World Soul. There are many such examples in Nature, if we were more aware of them.

The Copernican theory did manage to make the Sun the center of the solar system instead of the Earth, but it still required a center. Bruno opposed this and claimed that we live in an acentric universe. This is the predominant theory today. The concept of centrality is a product of a control mentality. For example, having a central figure as the head of a religion or state to promote and perpetuate control. When a center is required, there is usually a lack of freedom in religion, society, or nation.
When released from the tyrannical imperialism of monotheism by the death of God, man has the opportunity of discovering new dimensions hidden in the depths of reality's history. He may discover a new freedom to acknowledge variousness and many-sidedness. He may find, as if for the first time, a new potency to create imaginatively his hopes and desires, his laws and pleasures (David L. Miller, The New Polytheism, p. 3-4).
The proclamation of God's death paved the way for a new epoch of freedom. If centrality suggests control, acentrality suggests theological and psychological liberty. "The death of God gives rise to the rebirth of the Gods" (ibid.). We are a privileged group to live in the Epoch of Soul.

Humans have always been polytheistic in nature. The word, polytheism, is a way to explain the plurality of living Beings that compose each and every person. Make no mistake, they are real Persons. Monotheism, on the other hand, is the promotion of a single, central figure at the center of the human Microcosm, which we call the Ego. The overinflated Ego is the Minotaur at the center of the maze of existence that consumes all others that challenge his authority. It is a male character because monotheism is very much a patriarchal phenomenon.

Polytheism is just as much a social phenomenon as it is a theological phenomenon. The idea of polytheism is inherent in the democratic ideal. The implication here is that there are many voices having a say in matters, rather than what occurs in totalitarian societies. True human nature demands democracy. Because we have many Voices within us, the best form of government for humans is to include the many voices of the people. As above, so below.

Our true nature as multifaceted selves leaves no room for an autonomous, overruling entity. Our identities are not fixed because we are composed of many equally real, but distinct personalities. Variety is the spice of life!

I would like to remind my readers that Reality is paradoxical in nature and that one truth, such as the truth of our polytheistic nature, does not totally exclude what truth there is to be found in monotheism. Reality is paradoxical, meaning we can simultaneously adhere to seemingly contradictory truths and not be inconsistent.  The truth of the One and the Many has long been a problem for Western philosophy. For me, it's not a problem at all because I believe one can hold such views in dialectical tension.

Most of the ideas I write in support of have long been neglected in the West. There have been overemphases  on matter, the body, monotheism, spirit, etc. I try to give a voice to those truths that have been ignored for such a long time. Also, I try to reject an either/or mentality in an attempt to see Reality in synthesis.

6 comments:

Tantra Wave said...

A very nice post. Concerning the idea of a/centrality, perhaps Bruno's approach is still unfinished. You take the fractal nature of the interpenetrating sunflower dais, for example, and have centrality containing everything, and everything containing centrality in perfect, hologramic interfusion-interpenetration. This is the concept of the Mandala.

It accords well with the omni-ubiquitous Soul (your Philosopher's Stone) in everything, from quarks to quasars, from the quantum to the cosmos itself, and everything thereby. The Mandalic "Center" is not a hierarchical center as in the (patriarchal, caveman-clan) paradigm of antiquity, but an entangled hierarchy of participatory Presence.

The death of God is the starting point of true interpenetration, it's the loss of an artificial, provisional centrality to make room for the authentic, living universe which precludes and excludes absolutely nothing.

Thank you for your inspiring posts, as always!

Anonymous said...

But, the one is the many. And the many, one. Yes, this is the antinomy at the heart of existence but it does not negate monothiesm, it richens it. The one cannot be wished away if there are to be many, and so the mono grounds the poly; the father is not the son yet they are one by their very relation. Or, that's how I see it.

Your blog is a light in the darkness.

Zeteticus (Mark Dotson) said...

> the mono grounds the poly; the >father is not the son yet they are >one by their very relation.

And the poly grounds the mono; I agree! :)

Thanks!

Mark

Brian Bowman said...

Nice article.

Monotheism is a means to socially concentrate "power into higher, tighter and righter hands" as George Bush Sr. said.

One Nation Under Guard

asfasdfsdfsdf said...

Reality is paradoxical, meaning we can simultaneously adhere to seemingly contradictory truths and not be inconsistent.

Maybe but in reality, if a tradition of the people tries to combine both, monotheism will displace polytheism, its tolerance of intolerance equals intolerance. that you can see worldwide by the displacement of polytheism.

asdfadsfasf said...

if you are tolerant you are intolerant to intolerance

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