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September 21, 2009


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1. Truth is not manufactured by us; it is discovered by us, or dis-covers (the Latin vela, "veil," gives us the word re-veals or un-veils) itself to us.

--There is no final Truth. Perception of self as an independent separate entity is a product of conditioning.

2. The answers to all properly framed questions, both questions of fact and questions of value, preexist out there, objectively.

--There is no objective final answer, just neither this nor that.

3. There is a great and final Answer to the mystery of our existence, out there, awaiting us.

--Same as the last one.

4. All these truths and answers (2, 3) are, so to say, tailored to our faculties and our requirements. They are in principle accessible and intelligible to us, so that we may reasonably hope and expect to discover them, or have them reveal themselves to us.

--It (actually no 'it') is unintelligible, inaccessesible, unknowable, unnamable. Alakh, Agam, Anami. OMG!! Sant Mat was right!!

5. There is then something quite dazzling, namely a preestablished harmony between thought and being, language and reality; between the questions we want to ask and the Answer that the nature of things is waiting to give us. (Notice that this most astonishing doctrine is also the one most profoundly taken for granted.)

--'It" can't be bound by that conceptual framework as good as it sounds.

6. The final Answer will be revealed to us in or through death.

--There is no answer to be revealed. Death is just death. When we die, no 'us' could remain for the mechanism that originates it is, well, dead. What a relief to be rid of that burden!!

7. Our life is a pilgrimage toward death, the moment of truth, the moment of absolute knowledge.

--Death is inevitable but the one who would have absolute knowledge is not there to have it.

8. Our life is a journey, then, from

(a) the relative to the absolute; from
(b) time to eternity; from
(c) the changing, sensuous world of becoming to the realm of pure timeless intelligible Being; from
(d) the particular to the universal; and from
(e) the mediated, discursive, through-a-glass-darkly sort of knowledge, to pure face-to-face unmistakable vision.

--No one is having any journey. All of the above are just ideas that have no bearing on anything.

9. Each person's life is a story scripted beforehand, and there is a great Story of Everything whose plot has been revealed to us in a Book.

--There is no 'beforehand' and no plot, so how could there be a Book about it?

tucson, right on. You're in almost perfect agreement with Cupitt. As am I. The guy, who knows a heck of a lot of philosophy (as he should, being a Cambridge professor), has done a great job zeroing in on usually unspoken assumptions in both Western and Eastern religions.

I am not sure i agree with these assumptions at all, regardless of where this guy comes from.

"7. Our life is a pilgrimage toward death, the moment of truth, the moment of absolute knowledge."

What happens if there is nothing when we die, simply a passing into death, nothing, almost akin to a deep sleep never to be awoken from. This means that the only knowledge gained is that there are no answers after death, but you won't know that, you will simply be dead. If there is no life after death or no persisitng consciousness or no oneness; then what answers will one discover, none. there would be no knowledge to learn, the most knowledge you could have amassed about the truth is that before your death.

"8. Our life is a journey, then, from
(b) time to eternity; from
(c) the changing, sensuous world of becoming to the realm of pure timeless intelligible Being;"

Again, how does he know this, based on what? When we die, it might very well be that that is it, there is no proof of passing on into a realm of timeless intellible being at all. Those are beliefs.

We can all speculate on what might be, but it is just that speculation, there is no objective evidemce.

A proper scientist and cambridge don like Dawkins would have a field day with this guy's beliefs. I mean which is it, you either believe in reason or you don't. I have no problem with anyone speculation, but it should be made clear by anyone that does it, that it is merely that, personal speculation.

These 20-odd statements have been presented as if fact, as if some sort of logical philosophy, but they are nothing of the sort, they are personal beliefs, some of which i agree with and others that i don't, but the key issue is that they are totally unsupported one way or the other by objective evidence.

George, Cupitt doesn't agree with these 20 propositions. Just the opposite. He came up with them in an attempt to show the source of his colleague's statement after someone dies, "Well, he knows now." I said:
Below is part of his argument: a wonderful description of how most people, overtly religious or not, perceive reality. Largely, it's taken for granted as being the way things really are.

But when it comes to reality, taking things for granted isn't justified.

When you read the following excerpt from "After God," consider how easily someone -- perhaps you -- could agree with these propositions. And also how easily they could be refuted.

...Even more than agree, in this sense: these propositions tend to be unexamined and taken for granted, being part of a worldview that is so obviously true, few people stop to ponder how questionably true it is.

So actually you agree with Cupitt. These propositions are totally unsupported by objective evidence -- when they pertain to God and things metaphysical, at least.

"22. Our last end is the absolute knowledge of what is greatest, most real, and most perfect; a knowledge in which we shall enjoy perfect happiness."

---I would love to have an absolute knowledge of what is kinda sorta great, the partial real, and the some what perfect. This absolute knowledge, I can enjoy when I am slightly sad too.

Oh right, fair enough.

"(Non-realism basically says, "our understanding of the world helps produce the way it is."

---Could someone explain what the framework of "our understanding" is? Is this a collective or individual understanding?
Thanks for any info,

Roger, if you listen to the fairly short interview with Cupitt (click on the "can listen" link in this post) you'll better understand what is meant by what I said -- which I cribbed from a comment by the interviewer, and Cupitt assented to.

It's both: an collective and individual understanding. Not long ago, when people looked up at the night sky they considered that what they saw was a window onto the whole universe, because our galaxy was all science knew to exist.

Then Hubble realized that some of those "stars" actually were entire giant galaxies. So now looking at the night sky involved a fresh understanding.

In ancient times people thought that the stars were part of glass spheres, or something like that, revolving around. And that gods were responsible for heavenly events. Objectively, the same seeing and sights. Subjectively, very different understandings.

The point is that our experience of the world is framed by what we already know, or believe. To us that device lying on the table is a cell phone, and when we see it we think "cell phone," which conjures up all kinds of associations. To someone who has never seen a cell phone and has no idea what they do, it would just be an object.

With God, of course, there is nothing to be seen. So Cupitt's non-realism becomes really non-real. In the interview, he speaks about how non-realism isn't solipsism. There is definitely a world that exists whether or not we do. It's just that our understandings shape how we see and know that world. Totally, when it comes to metaphysical "seeing," in his opinion.


Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I am limited in my personal Internet use during the day. I don't have the Internet at my house. So, minimal time for watching Internet videos.

I looked up Solipsism.

Solipsiam is the philosophical idea that one's own mind is all that exists. Solipsism is an epistemological or ontological position that knowledge of anything outside the mind is unjustified. The external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist.

So, Solipsism doesn't allow for any kind of sensory-conceptual cognition?

Non-realism - basically says, "our understanding of the world helps produce the way it is." Therefore, knowledge of anything outside our mind is justified. So, this would embrace duality. I'm guessing.

I wonder how "non-realism" is different from realism? In addition, did Culpitt embrace non-dualism?

I can embrace non-duality and engage in dualistic activities. I have no problem with such.

Any further clarification on Culpitt's interpretation would be an interesting read.

Roger, the link is to an audio clip, not a video. But if you aren't at a computer where listening over a speaker isn't a good option, that could be a problem.

Cupitt doesn't appear to be a non-dualist. He views the natural world as the only real world, since it is the one we live in and know. As I'll describe in a post later today, embracing life fully and passionately is one of his watchwords.

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