There is a lot of "Business Stuff" [BS] in our public discourse at the present moment. Too many of our present day authorities are Grifters, Oligarchs, demagogues, charlatans and Pirates. If we listen to them uncritically we'll get steered over a cliff and eaten for dinner. This is true whether one is talking about religion, politics or economics. There is just too much money to be made by conning people [See Grifters], and at the same time, there are many folks who either believe the grifters or are so spun and gaslighted they pass on the nonsense. Yet we ourselves are not usually authorities. And if we set ourselves up as authorities, we set ourselves up to join the ranks of con artists and grifters. Worse our lies may be amplified by unreliable disciples and turned into myths and legends and join the corpus of fractional and misleading ideas that constitute our present messes in philosophy, religion and politics. How does one thread the needle of actual correctness, wisdom and find real authorities?
Who is An Authority
An authority is just an Author, his editors, scribes and interpreters. All of them are human beings, either the authors themselves or the people who heard and transmitted what they said. The message is always true on some level. How it is true depends on whether we can read carefully, wisely and critically or not. Many people who set themselves up as authorities are not. They have an opinion and they cut up a corpus of writings to justify that opinion. Their opinion is their opinion. If they are wise and sagacious we should listen to it. If they read the original material we should trust that they have something to say about it. But the authority for that opinion, if it rests on original writings, should be validated and valid within those original writings. Sometimes an author can teach us more by being completely wrong than passing on conventional interpretation. But more often an interpretation that doesn't trace back to the original is going to be a con. Entire religions started as cons that way. Sometimes that doesn't diminish the validity of the message, as most original texts are mythic, legendary, allegorical and intended to be interpreted. With the deeper levels of studying, one has to recognize the allegorical and symbolic elements, as otherwise one looks at text and sees an entertaining myth and misses the message. The "who" is always a vehicle. The authority rests in the practical or spiritual message within the teaching contained in the text.
To combat the risk of misreading or misapplying religion we must be careful and critical in selecting our authorities, reading their texts and vetting what they had to say. Most Authorities is a long term work of multiple Author, editors, scribes and interpreters. Scientific authorities are validated with experimentation, logic and observation. Religious authorities base themselves in "original texts" and careful reading of those texts. Religious authority has to be validated with experience, observation, applicability to daily life and yes logic is needed in religion too. Learning is iterative. Spiritual growth is also iterative. Scientific knowledge cannot contradict religious belief, and doesn't have to if one is going about it right. One cannot argue with past contextual interpretation, but one can argue with whether that same interpretation applies to the present. The facts, science and wisdom within texts, within the corpus of accepted science, and based on best wisdom, requires validation and sometimes revision based on changing circumstances and conditions.
Fallible Humans versus "Super" Beings
Even ancient human authorities are fallible. One can claim that the authority for religion is with God, but our evidence of that authority is through fallible humans. If one accepts the premise that a Higher Power is talking to us, it is through a chain of ever more fallible humans. Within a material historical context many texts are fiction. They were edited to give them more authority than they'd have without divine proofs [miracles, supernatural events, impossible deeds done], by humans who in many cases didn't witness them. Now some will argue that some texts are more reliable than others. That is all well and good. If so they are true in a beyond the present reality manner. If they are true in the material world, they are extraordinary "super" natural phenomena because they contradict the phenomena and causality we can expect. A story where a man becomes God is about a Super-Man. Most of us get our power from wisdom and deeds. When it comes from God, it is by Grace. We are not superman. I wish I could save the world. By myself I can't. Together we can make it better. If the stories about the world beyond, the world to come, the experiences beyond our 3d + time reach, are true. That is great. We have no way of knowing while bound to the material world, except the occasional flash of enlightenment or miracle. The extraordinary is still the product of ordinary people doing the right thing in an otherwise "mundane" world.
Both Jewish and Eastern Exegesistal hermaneutics agree on methods to navigate authority. And at the basis of experience are those extraordinary inspirations, often illuminating mundane experience, but sometimes giving us comfort that there really is more to life than the Mundane world shows us. The basis for the words "esoteric", the hindu "saddharma", is the root word "sot", which means sudden inspiration, or illumination. As we study and grapple with the spiritual and material world our on creativity and inspiration can transform how we see things. Often the secrets we seek are right on the shelf above our heads and we'll be able to see them when we make ourselves ready. Much of it may be fictional from a mundane perspective, but there is a whole universe of perception that opens for us, when we open to it. Real or not, fictional or cyber-reality, it can comfort us as we travel the material world we live in. In Jewish exegisis, one needs to be grounded before one is ready for such flights of fancy and illumination.
- Related Posts:
- Altemeyer "The Authoritarians"
- Reviewing Altemeyer: http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/01/authoritarians-and-totalitarians.html
- Understanding Social Dominance Theory
- Viciousness Opression and Bullying
- Trump and Social Dominance:
- EMAD Trump: http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/11/emad-trump-why-wheels-wont-come-off-in.html
- The Power of Doublespeak
- Trump's Totalitarian Movement and Totalitarian Propaganda
- Trump Dumps Lee Atwater's Advice
- For more information on John Locke and his relationship to other people read any of these posts:
- Spencer Versus Locke and Henry George
- Edmund Burke Versus John Locke
- Locke Talked of the Importance of the Collective
- The Concept of Commonwealth as Antidote to Tyranny
- Commonwealth According to Locke
- The Real Right to Property is Contingent on Reason
- Common Property and the Commons
- Rights Come from Below
- Ayn Rand Argues against the Enlightenment
- John Locke on the Virtues of Liberty
- Tyranny Definition - John Locke