Open Letter to Steve Bannon

dusty
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Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by dusty » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:04 pm

i listened to the audio of the video below while running in the rain this weekend, in terms of delivery...overly preachy/righteous perhaps, at least for my tastes, but i'm generally in agreement. a solid state of the times rant.



word of warning: upton is follower of the traditionalist school that believed in the transcendental unity of world religions, which is now fascism by association (via evola-namedropping thinkpieces). just a heads up.

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:33 pm

I don't think you need any words of warning, not here nor any other sane forum, you might be thinking of some other place where pearl clutching abounds.

Firstly, I failed to see why this was addressed to Steve Bannon, apart from some vague connections that could apply to other folks too although maybe not so well known, this doesn't do the presentation any favours from my point of view as it appears click-baity. I then settled for a general philosophical angle.

I tried very hard to discover some context and his trajectory from Catholicism to Islam (Sufism) would have made for a very good narrative, unfortunately this was not forthcoming and I had to make do with "I'm a Sufi". He comments on the extreme forms of Islam around the globe from the perspective of a Sufi and this is all very nice, but I place this in the same category as the remarks of most moderate Muslims ie a verbal complaint in the face of an overwhelming and indifferent force. Perhaps this Good vs Evil 'disagreement' in Islam will be resolved in the next world, but in this one the latter has the upper hand.
I've studied Islam a fair bit in the last year or so and the present hard and frightening realities have persuaded me to pay more attention to the likes of David Wood and Bill Warner who, even though openly 'anti', at least address current conflict directly(spiritual matters interest me more in peaceful times).
Here's David Wood assessing the role of moderate Islam in relation to extreme Islam, and this is not the usual kneejerk stuff that usually gets labeled under 'Islamaphobia':



It's hard to disagree with his analysis, even if you don't like the sentiment.
I know the OP video went very deep, but I found it hard contextualizing it, and the mention of Islam draws me to matters other than the spiritual at present.

dusty
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by dusty » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:50 pm

The title of the vid in the OP is indeed rather clickbait-y and not indicative of the overall content - he has other videotitles namedropping Alex Jones, likely for the same reason - but his choice to address Bannon isn't entirely arbitrary. It's been claimed in various thinkpieces that "Islamophobe" Bannon's worldview has been influenced by the works of the Traditionalist school - with most of the emphasis on rogue Traditionalist Julius Evola (the Italian fascist + SS collaborator)... with the implication in these articles that Traditionalism is inherently fascist, racist etc. Upton simply points out that the founder of the movement, Rene Guenon was infact a Muslim. Upton is a follower of Guenon, in the video he makes the case that the influence of Traditionalism on those wielding power can be a positive thing...so that's the connection.

He also details the work of the Muslim group he's involved in, the Covenants Initiative, whose purpose is explicitly to support Christians under attack in the Middle East. Taking this into account. I can hardly see how he, the "moderate" is turning a blind eye to, or merely paying lip service to antiextremism, or somehow even condoning the actions of his "extremist" Muslim counterparts in ISIS.

As for this vlogger with the extremely irritating tic of raising his eyebrows after every condescending statement he makes... the idea that Muslims (this apparently monolithic entity...) benefit from terrorism is frankly laughable. Sure, the same middle class idpol crowd that use all the other -isms and -phobias to shame people into silence will wield Islamophobia when it suits them, just as much as they use the others (transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, white supremacism etc). But that's only within a segment of society in the West. His claim is myopic in the extreme. Even if we're to completely disregard the destructive history of western "interventionism" in the Muslim world ("blowback" etc), or prior to that, the weaponization of the religion to serve western interests (see Max Von Oppenheim and Global Jihad), I can't imagine how he'd manage to make the case that those getting drone bombed at family weddings in the Middle East are somehow reaping the rewards of terror attacks in the west. Someone throw this smug piece of shit off a rooftop already.

I wonder if this feller also makes videos saying that Jews benefit from antisemitism. I doubt it.

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:38 pm

He would be more consistent (with his other language here) to say that "Islam benefits from Terrorism", although this is using the rather simplistic yardstick that says that the spread of Islam is considered by Muslims to be a 'benefit'.

I suppose his numbers may be wrong, but he makes the argument quite well, even if it seems counter-intuitive (he makes it precisely because it is counter-intuitive): that interest in and sympathy for Islam actually increases with atrocities rather than the opposite, people can be funny like that.

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:00 am

I mentioned David Wood and Bill Warner together because they represent different perspectives even though being openly 'anti'

Wood comes from the religious (Christian) angle and therefore probably has a better chance of portraying the religious mindset, it can be argued that to try to understand religion from a secular viewpoint is always going to fall short. This makes his language rather flowery at times but aside from this he does keep most of his presentations on the factual side, ie, a lot is checkable.

Bill Warner maintains a largely secular approach and, as well as delineating between Muslims and Islam (like David should have stuck to above), he has come up with the label 'Political Islam' to describe the aspect of it that has strict systems for dealing with almost every aspect of daily life, plus the interaction of believers and unbelievers. This sounds fairly benign unless one notices that the latter are disadvantaged (sometimes extremely) in respect to the former and that 'political Islam' is a surefire (if gradual) recipe for achieving hegemony, he connects it to Islam's early and aggressive stage, but also goes on to argue that Islam never really altered from that, just slowed.

Warner's 'political Islam' is not wholly secular (a Western notion) though, it incorporates the religious aspects. On the other hand, spiritual Muslims could be said to coincide with what are called 'moderate Muslims', but as far as I can see, political Islam is set to roll relentlessly over moderates, secularists and other faiths too, that hard reality is what persuades me to regard Political Islam as the more significant, the other variety seems to address the next world, not this one.

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:53 am

Still looking for a 'way in' to Charles Upton's mindset, the Bannon thing here is a massive misdirection (he sort of owns up to this in his other Alex Jones titled video), so that's a non-starter and going past that I reckon that a look at his transition from Catholicism to Sufism is the best angle (for me).

Digging around his other stuff I find he is often vague about this, but sort of describes it as a mystical revelation, so 'sort of vagueness' goes with the territory. I've found a Counter Currents interview with him and Greg Johnson and, possibly because of his ideological leanings, Johnson doesn't mind pressing him on why he didn't plug back into Christian spirituality and went to Islam instead (@12:25).

Link to Counter Currents interview

Again he is a little vague, after all he denies that Christianity has become spiritually barren, but cites a quote (source?) where Mohammed claims that he is here to ".. repeat and renew what is said in the Torah and Gospel. I would say that this statement would be contended by all of the Abrahamic religions, but less so by Islam because it makes for great optics.
Shortly afterwards he is talking about how Islam was stopped (by the Crusades) from civilising Europe after the Dark Ages, but Johnson seems to hold back at that point, and seems to be dwelling on Islam's alleged 'Golden Age', something that Bill Warner has done quite a good job of demystifying.

There's a lot to unpick here, this is just a few instances (I'm only half-way through). As Charles' passage to Islam is via largely mystical experience, I'm not expecting too much detail, but it seems to me that he was as much pushed in that direction (by dark experiences?) as well as there being an attraction.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by dusty » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:36 pm

he had a catholic upbringing, but from i can remember he wasn't a practicing catholic in his adulthood.

my guess is he became a sufi muslim simply because frithjof schuon, the most prominent traditionalist from the 50s onwards, was one, as were his closest followers. also at that time, post-vatican II and all, catholicism wasn't looking so "traditional". as someone coming out of the sixties, and having been influenced by the beat generation, the mystical aspect to sufism probably seemed like a good fit. just speculating...

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by dusty » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:13 pm

btw the bannon/traditionalism connection is absolutely relevant, seems to be the main focus of the video, read up on traditionalism and then rewatch the video.

some superficial background can be found here: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07 ... t-fantasia

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:23 pm

dusty wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:36 pm
he had a catholic upbringing, but from i can remember he wasn't a practicing catholic in his adulthood.

my guess is he became a sufi muslim simply because frithjof schuon, the most prominent traditionalist from the 50s onwards, was one, as were his closest followers. also at that time, post-vatican II and all, catholicism wasn't looking so "traditional". as someone coming out of the sixties, and having been influenced by the beat generation, the mystical aspect to sufism probably seemed like a good fit. just speculating...
This is more or less what he implies in interviews like the Counter currents one, but is careful not to downgrade the mysitical content of Christianity. It seems he felt 'pushed' in the direction of Sufism rather than abandoning Christianity because it was becoming shabby.

He doesn't seem one to easily jump ship, after all Sufism is beleaguered in an overwhelming sea of Political Islam in a similar way to how the mystical element of Christianity is in the shadow of more materialistic versions. He doesn't offer much analysis of his attraction to Islam and TBH, this sounds to me like the product of a genuine mystical experience ie the realisation that to overthink (and hence over-explain) these things is counterproductive.
dusty wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:13 pm
btw the bannon/traditionalism connection is absolutely relevant, seems to be the main focus of the video, read up on traditionalism and then rewatch the video.

some superficial background can be found here: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07 ... t-fantasia
Traditionalism certainly, but Bannon to me looks like an incidental fellow traveler who just happens to be well known. If Bannon responds to this 'letter' to him then useful connections may be made, until then his larger footprint elsewhere will be a distraction and I'll disregard him.

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:24 am

In the above address, Charles Unwin cites the 'Covenant of the Islamic prophet Mohammed' as having central importance. Islam though (perhaps better identified as Warner's 'Political Islam') already has an established way of dealing with the authenticity of documents and also the relative significance of them.

Firstly, if something doesn't appear in the Koran or Hadiths then it is likely to be disregarded in the same fashion as something outside of the Bible.
If something is recognised as having import, then it will still be subject to the doctrine of abrogation, and I would expect a document that cannot be given a position in the timeline of Mohammed's lifetime will be given the same lesser status as other abrogated writings. Reading between the lines though, I would hazard that this document is consistent with Mohammed's earlier Meccan phase and therefore can be abrogated.

In a nutshell, abrogation is an attempt to address any contradictions in the Koran (because the word of Mohammed is regarded as final), so if two verses appear to contradict each other then the one that was revealed later in Mohammed's life is deemed to be the correct one. This is unfortunate for peaceful Muslims as Mohammed's later life as a Warlord in Medina starkly rebuts his actions and pronouncements from his his Meccan phase.
There is no such yardstick concerning The Bible in Christianity (it could be regarded as implicit though.. a suggestion) so even though it is equally, if not more, contradictory, personal preference can be applied without official sanction.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by Pauli137 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:26 pm

Of interest are a couple of Upton's books: The System of Antichrist and Cracks in the Great Wall. I've read the first one, but not the second. The ideas in these books are of interest to me for reasons I can explain if others are curious.

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:00 am

Please do.

dusty
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by dusty » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:41 pm

From a recent essay by Mark Sedgwick (author of Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century)
The issue of immigration and, especially, Islam is always a difficult one because Islam is not like universalism, liberalism, financial capitalism or the media. All of these can be identified with modernity, and so condemned. Islam, in contrast, is easier to identify with tradition than with modernity. This is how Guénon saw it, and this is how his readers in Turkey and Iran see it. Guénon was a Sufi, and as a Sufi in Egypt he lived as a devout Muslim. Many of his followers today are also Sufis, sometimes born Muslims and sometimes converts to Islam. While some Westerners condemn Islam as pre-modern, many Traditionalists prefer to celebrate it as a bulwark against modernity.

That Islam is the ally of tradition is the position taken by Dugin in Russia, which has had a significant Muslim population since Ivan the Terrible captured Kazan in 1552. Islam is viewed rather differently in Russia than in northwestern Europe, if only because of its longstanding presence there. Dugin has often supported the alignment of Russia with the Muslim world, notably Iran and Turkey, against Western modernity. America as quintessentially modern, is the problem for many Traditionalists, not Islam. The European New Right, however, is not a philosophy club. It aims to lay a new ideological basis for a new politics, and pro-Muslim positions would not, in the current climate in Europe and America, go down well. The alternative view, therefore, is that the problem with Islam is the particular nature of the Islamic tradition: that it is a tradition of conquest. This is not the view of Benoist, but it is the view of others associated with him in Europe, and it is the view of Bannon. Hence the (attempted) Muslim ban in the United States. This makes sense for Bannon, but differs from the Traditionalist norm.
reminds me I should give Houellebecq's Submission a re-read, which talks about Guenon iirc

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jakell
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:13 pm

Pleased to see someone being fairly plain about Islam's tradition being a 'tradition of conquest' (possibly in line with Warner's 'Political Islam'), so Dugin's "alignment of Russia with the Muslim world" would be seen by Muslims as Russia becoming Islamic, where the position of Jews and Christians would be that of dhimmis rather than a religious melting pot.

ISIS have grabbed most of the limelight as Islam's 'extremists', but behind them lie more patient extremists such as the Deobandis who regard Wahabbis and Salafists as non-traditional**. If ISIS had stuck to beheadings (instead of torturous deaths) and treated Christians as Dhimmis then they might have been looked upon more kindly by other Muslims (maybe even Unwin). As it happens they will not be missed, but extremism will carry on and I would be interested in how Charles Unwin will comment upon that.
I came upon the concept of 'competing extremisms' in a recent interview between Dave Rubin and Maajid Nawaz (@1:10:55) He is talking about a relative newcomer Imam Tawhidi who seems to be a strident critic of ISIS (etc) but Maajid cautions that he may have his own agenda.




ETA ** I was working from memory here so this may be inaccurate on details.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by Pauli137 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:57 am

jakell wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:00 am
Please do.
I'll start with just copypasta. First one is one of the reviews of The System of Antichrist: Truth & Falsehood in Postmodernism & the New Age on Amazon (one that I thought did a good job summarizing the book):
_The System of Antichrist_ by the Sufi scholar Charles Upton offers the reader a unique look into some of the pernicious philosophies and movements which are contributing to the moral degeneracy of our times. The modern world is besieged by a crass materialism which emphasizes scientism and denies the traditional outlook of the world's religions. Postmodernity has brought new philosophies which deny absolute truth and objective reality while at the same time offering New Age spiritualities which lead man away from God. Firmly grounded in the Traditionalist school of such writers as Rene Guenon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon and basing his critique on the perennial philosophy and the idea of the Transcendent Unity of Religions, Charles Upton attempts to show that both postmodernity and the New Age are likely to lead man astray and are a sign of nihilistic decadence which may be heralding in the coming of Antichrist. According to Charles Upton, both postmodernity and the New Age movement consist of spiritualities which are fitted for the coming globalism. Opposing globalism are various revolutionary and reactionary tribalist groups which attempt to assert their own identity against the conformity demanded by the New World Order. It is this crisis in the modern world that is likely to bring about the Age of Antichrist. Charles Upton contends that a return to the traditional outlook, perennialist metaphysics, and the world's great religious traditions is necessary if we hope to survive the coming tribulation and our own modern nihilistic culture. Much of this book is spent critiquing various systems of New Age thought. Thus, there are to be found critiques of the spiritual systems of Jane Roberts and her "Seth" material, the Native magician Carlos Castenada, the neo-Gnosticism of _A Course in Miracles_, the philosophy of _The Celestine Prophecy_, and the entrepreneurial Hinduism of Depak Chopra. In particular, Charles Upton shows how each of these systems conflicts with the traditional metaphysics and religious orthodoxy and thus falls into error. Upton proceeds to show how the New Age movement is actually a reflection of the shadow of God and how each individual must address the problem of evil. In addition, various aspects of the New Age movement are particularly disturbing because they seek to either deny or rebel against the idea of love - as traditionally understood. Charles Upton provides a unique interpretation of the modern phenomenon of UFOs. To Upton, UFO sightings and alien abductions constitute a particularly disturbing aspect of the postmodern world. Upton contends that perhaps we can understand these aliens as spiritual beings, the jinn of Islamic folklore or the demons of Christian tradition. [More at Amazon]
Picking up where that review leaves off, here is the Amazon synopsis for Cracks in the Great Wall: The UFO Phenomenon and Traditional Metaphysics:
Can we really know what UFO's are? The answer is Yes-but only if we study them armed with a kind of knowledge that explains the true and complete structure of the universe—spiritual, psychic, and material—a knowledge that only traditional metaphysics can provide. Science can supply one piece of the puzzle, detective work another, psychic investigation still another. But only metaphysics can put the puzzle together, and give us a complete and satisfying picture of the UFO phenomenon. Cracks in the Great Wall analyzes of the findings of UFO researcher Jacques Vallee and some of his colleagues in light of the teachings of René Guénon, particularly as expressed in his prophetic masterpiece The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. According to Guénon, one of the signs of the End Times is the erosion of the energy barrier or 'Great Wall' between the material plane and the world of subtle realities—which is why our world is now being invaded by 'infra-psychic forces' of a terribly destructive nature. Author Charles Upton shows how one of the most obvious examples of this invasion is the UFO phenomenon, including the experience of 'alien abduction'. A lifetime student of comparative religion and mysticism, he explains the true nature of UFOs, the quality of the world they come from, and also something about the agenda these beings, or some of them, are trying to impose upon our world. If you want to remain merely mystified or fascinated by the UFO phenomenon, this book is not for you. But if you want to understand it, Cracks in the Great Wall will give you the conceptual tools you need. With the help of UFOlogists Jacques Vallee and John E. Mack, Christian writers C.S. Lewis and Seraphim Rose, Kaballah authority Leo Schaya, and traditionalist writers René Guénon and Whitall Perry, Charles Upton has provided the most comprehensive explanation of the UFO phenomenon yet written. It is difficult to be objective in areas outside our collective view of reality—but if, as the author contends, his argument is based on sound principles, it deserves serious consideration by all who are interested in the UFO phenomenon and its effect on our world. "Charles Upton is a serious writer from whom I have learned much. His writing deserves close attention."—Prof. Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions, etc.
I believe this is actually happening, and what is behind many of the events you see in the news cycle these days. Again, I can go into more detail, but it has to do with the manipulation of language, understanding that language itself is the fundamental basis of reality. Or rather, information (not particles) lies at the foundation of material reality, and information is controlled by language.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:15 am

The phrase "trancendant unity of religions" sounded a small alarm bell for me when I heard it in the OP video. In the Counter Currents interview I posted though he makes it quite clear that he does not mean the Interfaith movement at all and he expands on this by talking of the so-called 'One World Religion' which would ring larger alarm bells with Christians who believe it will be one of the props that the Antichrist will use. The interfaith movement could be said to be the thin end of the wedge here and is the sort of thing that will attract New-Age types.

Prior to studying Islam I was immersing myself in Christiantiy a bit and noted that The Antichrist was said to be a character who will appeal to all men and all religions. The religion part seems pretty hard but religiosity can be said to be the common element which can be worked upon, bringing in new-age types too, the hardest part would be bringing secular types on board, especially hard-headed atheists.
It was posited that the presence/discovery of aliens would be sufficient to catch the imaginations of some secular types and to those who still remain resistant to religiosity, ideas of immortality via tranhumanism are a good hook. As to those who remain, the arrogance and egoism that can result from pride in the intellect can be encouraged into something that is brittle, and then assailed by the lure of postmodernism which does seem to provide an absorbing intellectual challenge, but not in a good way**.
Those who still remain will have to be eliminated or neutralised.

I suspect that a lot of this may be present in Unwin's first book and I'm just unloading some thoughts that the review encouraged in me.


** That "manipulation of language" you mentioned.

Pauli137
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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by Pauli137 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:01 pm

jakell wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:15 am
** That "manipulation of language" you mentioned.
Yes? Please go on ...

I mean that literally: the manipulation of language is (or can be) the manipulation of reality. Maybe that is best explored on the "Occult" thread, but it is relevant here because the thinning of the veil to which Upton alludes is brought about by occult means.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by dusty » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:59 pm

http://www.sophiaperennis.com/discussio ... -religion/

Rather long post by Upton, promoting a book called False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism and the Quest for a One-World Religion, about the global religionists, the enemy of his "team", the Traditionalists/perennialists.

a quote from Frithjof Schuon:
In our time one has often heard it said that in order to fight against materialism, technocracy, and pseudo-spiritualism, a new ideology is needed, one capable of standing up to all seductions and assaults, and of galvanizing those of good will. Now, the need for an ideology or the wish to oppose one ideology to another is already an admission of weakness, and anything undertaken on this basis is false and doomed to fail. What must be done is to counter false ideologies with the truth that has always been and that we could never invent since it exists outside us and above us.
The "transcendental unity" of the world's religions, from the Traditionalist perspective, from what i've gathered, is the belief that at the root of all religious teaching is the same "Truth" - consequently, the more these belief systems are modernized and liberalized the further they stray from that "Truth". The Traditionalist remedy to this is for the individual to take up a religion (any one will do, apparently) so long as one has access to a teacher/guru/church that follows the original/core teachings as closely as possible. The universalists (who I share much more of an affinity with than someone like Upton) are similar, having an interest in and respect for the world's religions, but take the opposite approach, opting to pick and choose what they deem useful to their own lives and disregarding what is perceived as outdated/irrelevant e.g. the various westernized forms of secular buddhism. The traditionalists would likely argue this plays into the hands of the "globalists" (i.e. the antichrist) who are trying to create a one-world religion. As Jakell noted above.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by Pauli137 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:13 pm

I tend to take a middle ground. I agree that (almost) any path will do, and I also agree that syncretism is dangerous because it puts the ego in control of Truth, which is an inversion. However, the Traditionalist remedy, "for the individual to take up a religion (any one will do, apparently) so long as one has access to a teacher/guru/church that follows the original/core teachings as closely as possible," is problematic also because there is always doubt about what constitutes an authentic expression of a particular religion. For example, there is considerable evidence that Christianity has been corrupted from its original form. Also, many gurus have been demonstrated to be self-serving and spiritually destructive.

So, for me, I think the answer is simply to ensure that whatever religious expression one commits to, that it be "other-focused". Many Christian sects conform to this principle. A mature form of spirituality is always community-based and relational. This tends to negate the influences of the ego; in particular it argues against most western expressions of Buddhism, which tend to be very self-absorbed.

The globalists, i.e. the Antichrist, tend to favor self-serving, hedonistic forms of faux-spirituality, because these lead to alienation and isolation. From a mundane perspective, alienation creates markets, and from a spiritual perspective, it isolates the soul from the Source.

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Re: Open Letter to Steve Bannon

Post by jakell » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:12 pm

Pauli137 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:01 pm
jakell wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:15 am
** That "manipulation of language" you mentioned.
Yes? Please go on ...

I mean that literally: the manipulation of language is (or can be) the manipulation of reality. Maybe that is best explored on the "Occult" thread, but it is relevant here because the thinning of the veil to which Upton alludes is brought about by occult means.
I'm not really addressing any deeper reality than that which we co-create as conscious beings, this is such a powerful concept that I regard the quest for any other sort as a side issue most of the time.

I regard religion and 'The Occult' as pretty much the same animal, just that the former is a more user-friendly (ie relatively safe) way of approaching the latter, or keeping it at a distance if one prefers.

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