Boyd on Open Theism

Greg Boyd.  Open Theism.  Watch if interested.

And more fully…

 

And then if you’re just like, “Open theism!  Open theism!  I just can’t get enough open theism!  I just want to sit around all day watching videos about his theological construct!”  Go here.

A Series of Quotes from The Cloud of Unknowing: Contemplative Work of the Spirit

cloudThe Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymously written 14th Century mystical text.  Standing in the line of St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, and drawing on Dionysius the Areopagite, its author aims to instruct souls in the way of contemplation.

It will blow your mind.

In this first excerpt, our author describes “How contemplation shall be done, and its excellence over all other works”…

“This is what you are to do: lift your heart up to the Lord, with a gentle stirring of love desiring him for his own sake and not for his gifts.  Center all your attention and desire on him and let this be the sole concern of your mind and heart.  Do all in your power to forget everything else, keeping your thoughts and desires free from any involvement with any of God’s creatures or their affairs whether in general or particular.  Perhaps this will seem like an irresponsible attitude, but I tell you, let them all be; pay no attention to them.

What I am describing here is the contemplative work of the spirit.  It is this which gives God the greatest delight.  For when you fix your love on him, forgetting all else, the saints and angels rejoice and hasten to assist you in every way – though the devils will rage and ceaselessly conspire to thwart you.   Your fellow men are marvelously enriched by this work of yours, even if you may not fully understand how; the souls in purgatory are touched, for their suffering is eased by the effects of this work; and, of course, your own spirit is purified and strengthened by this contemplative work more than by all others put together.  Yet for all this, when God’s grace arouses you to enthusiasm, it becomes the lightest sort of work there is and one most willingly done.  Without his grace, however, it is very difficult and almost, I should say, quite beyond you.

And so diligently persevere until you feel joy in it.  For in the beginning it is usual to feel nothing but a kind of darkness about your mind, or as it were, a cloud of unknowing.  You will seem to know nothing and to feel nothing except a naked intent toward God in the depths of your being.  Try as you might, this darkness and this cloud will remIan between you and your God. You will feel frustrated, for your mind will be unable to grasp him, and your heart will not relish the delight of his love.  But learn to be at home in this darkness.  Return to it as often as you can, letting your spirit cry out to him whom you love.  For if, in this life, you hope to feel and see God as he is in himself it must be within this darkness and this cloud.  But if you strive to fix your love on him forgetting all else, which is the work of contemplation I have urged you to begin, I am confident that God in his goodness will bring you to a deep experience of himself.”

- The Cloud of Unknowing, Chapter III

The Cloud of Unknowing: and The Book of Privy Counseling (Image Book Original)

Quakers

QuakerOatsI’m drawn to mysticism.

I don’t know how I got here, but the experience of God in the quiet of my own soul seems to be just about the only thing that matters to me religiously anymore.  Not that this experience doesn’t lead to other important things.  The active life is almost always a major part of the day to day existence of the saints.  But, as I see it, to be truly effective, the active life requires the passive life.

As Aldous Huxley observes:

“Action…should be something added to the life of prayer, not something taken away from it.  One of the reasons for this recommendation is strictly utilitarian; action that is ‘taken away from the life of prayer’ is action unenlightened by contact with Reality, uninspired and unguided; consequently it is apt to be ineffective and even harmful.”

One group of Christians who take this idea very seriously are the Quakers.  Quakers are weird.  And awesome. 

Quakers trace their decent back to a radical English preacher named George Fox.  In the mid 1600′s, Fox riled up the Church of England by passionately preaching two fundamental doctrines: (1) every human being is indwelled by the “Light of Christ,” and (2) this Light is the only ultimately reliable spiritual authority.  These ideas pissed off both the Church and society at large.  The Church didn’t like ultimate “spiritual authority” taken from priests, ministers, creeds, or the Bible, and noble society didn’t like the implication that every human being was equal in the sight of God, regardless of class, gender, etc.  Fox wasn’t a real popular guy.

I suspect, I know, he wouldn’t be popular among Evangelical churches today.  Because you just can’t put anything above the Bible.  Your “inner Light” (especially the so called “Light” of a non-Christian!) must submit to Scripture, not the other way around.

And I get that.  Scripture is concrete (at least at a surface glance); a Rock.  It’s a text, not some vague feeling.  Fox would be denounced as New Age.  And if the Christian Scriptures could hold the weight that is placed upon them by Evangelicals and the doctrine of inerrancy, I would be right their with them.  It would be nice to have that Rock.  But to Quakers, the only Rock is the Spirit of God.  The inner leading of the Holy Ghost.  And their gatherings reflect this.

Straight from the literature of a local Quaker congregation:

There are two aspects of our Meetings for Worship.

The first is the silence of group worship, in which we gather in the Presence of the Spirit to hear, inwardly, the ministry of God to us individually and as a group.  A Meeting in which this Presence is sensed strongly is called a ‘covered or gathered Meeting.’  In such a Meeting, we are led to listen most of the time in silence to the ministry of the Inward Light, since this silence may say more to us than any spoken ministry.

The second aspect of the Meeting is the spoken ministry, in which the Spirit of God moves one or more particular individuals to speak a message of ministry to the whole Meeting.  Many Friends have described the true leading to speak as a strong impulse which makes them so uncomfortable that they are unable to keep their seats but feel that they must speak.”

Like I said, weird right?  They just sit around in silence and if someone feels that they have a word for the congregation from the “Inward Light” (i.e. God), they share.  Weird.  And Awesome.  They even give themselves a weird alternate name…the Society of Friends.  Umm…cult anybody?

But I love it.  I went to a Meeting last week.  We just sat together for an hour in silence.  One man shared something about his father for about 5 minutes.  It was great.

 

There are two aspects of our Meetings for Worship

The first is the silence of group worship, in which we gather in the Presence of the Spirit to hear, inwardly, the ministry of God to us individually and as a group. A Meeting in which this Presence is sensed strongly is called a “covered or gathered. Meeting. In such a Meeting, we are led to listen most of the time in silence to the ministry of the Inward Light, since this silence may say more to us than any spoken ministry.

The second aspect of Meeting is the spoken ministry, in which the Spirit of God moves one or more particular individuals to speak a message of ministry to the whole Meeting. Many Friends have described the true leading to speak as a strong impulse which makes them so uncomfortable that they are unable to keep their seats but feel that they must speak. John Woolman described it as “that rise which prepares the creature to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to his flock”.

- See more at: http://www.tcfm.org/article/on-speaking-in-meeting-for-worship#sthash.ru9W7jaZ.dpuf

There are two aspects of our Meetings for Worship

The first is the silence of group worship, in which we gather in the Presence of the Spirit to hear, inwardly, the ministry of God to us individually and as a group. A Meeting in which this Presence is sensed strongly is called a “covered or gathered. Meeting. In such a Meeting, we are led to listen most of the time in silence to the ministry of the Inward Light, since this silence may say more to us than any spoken ministry.

The second aspect of Meeting is the spoken ministry, in which the Spirit of God moves one or more particular individuals to speak a message of ministry to the whole Meeting. Many Friends have described the true leading to speak as a strong impulse which makes them so uncomfortable that they are unable to keep their seats but feel that they must speak. John Woolman described it as “that rise which prepares the creature to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to his flock”.

- See more at: http://www.tcfm.org/article/on-speaking-in-meeting-for-worship#sthash.ru9W7jaZ.dpuf

Impermanence

 

Everything, everywhere, always, changes.
Everything, everywhere, always, ends.

You can hold tight, but time is a grease;
and Heraclitus never stands in the same river twice.
It’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

So give thanks for today.

 

 

Allison on the Luminous Dusk

The Luminous Dusk: Finding God in the Deep, Still PlacesOne last Allison quote for a while.  Maybe eventually I will start writing my own thoughts down again, but they just pale in comparison…

“The luminous dusk, the unspent, dark cloud of God’s glory, lies beyond a door that is buried, in the words of Teresa of Avila, ‘in the extreme interior, in some very deep place within.’  Although only God’s grace can open the door, we can at least do our best to stand before the doorway.  We do this by temporarily abandoning, during prayer and meditation, the world of the five senses, by declining to look at or listen to or think about the things around us.  Darkness and stillness then become our collaborators, helping us to drag our attention away from this world of divertissement to the numinous world that hold the neglected fountain of divine light.  The testimony of the saints is that this fountain, although hidden, can be found, or rather revealed, and that, when this happens, we are remade – and then sent back into the everyday, material world to do our mundane tasks with renewed life.  Is this not the one great end to which we, on behalf of the whole world, should direct all our prayers?”

-Dale Allison, the Luminous Dusk

Allison on Ignorance and Prayer

ignorance“The human mind, however precious, is an oasis of knowledge in a desert of ignorance that extends infinitely in all directions.  And this is to speak only of the world of space and time.  If there is a divine reality beyond or behind this one, our knowledge of it must be even more circumscribed.

I find it helpful in this connection to think about my dog Ralph, who is more German Shepherd than anything else.  Ralph knows that his food is kept in a large bag in the kitchen cabinet, and also that when I go to that cabinet with his dog bowl in hand, he is about to enjoy a meal.  That is why he then barks with excitement.  Ralph further knows that rubbing his large paws and whiskered nose against the cabinet in my presence communicates hunger, and that turning over his empty water bowl will get it filled immediately.  Regarding his food and water, then, Ralph can think well enough.

There is, however, a fixed limit to his understanding.  He does not know that bags of dog food come from a grocery store, a thing for which he has no concept.  He does not know that a store has products because there are trucking lines.  And he knows nothing about the agricultural operations or the manufacturing processes that result in bags of food.  Such knowledge is too high for him; he cannot attain it.

These are things, moreover, that he can never understand.  I could spend every waking hour trying to instruct him about the long chain of events that puts dog food in the kitchen cabinet.  But it would all be in vain, for his mind is constricted.  Beyond a knowledge of certain facts about the cabinet and his bowl, there is only fog.  His mind runs out….

In some respects we remain forever like the dogs.  So even if I do not understand exactly what I am doing – or, rather, what God is doing – when I pray, I shall continue to pray.  I shall continue to ask for the good things, for myself and others.  Petitioning the Deity is too much a part of the tradition I love and trust for me to pluck it out and throw it away.  I moreover take some comfort in the knowledge that such petitioning is an almost inescapable activity of human beings.  Surveys tell us that even most atheists pray to God for help once in a while.  To pray is to be human.  Why then should I deny my nature, especially when I believe that God fashioned it?  I see no reason to disobey the invitation of the liturgist: ‘Let us pray.’”

- Dale Allison, The Luminous Dusk

Allison on Celebrities and the Need for Heroes

kanye-west“If there is indeed an instinct to emulate what appears before us, then at present we must be emulating celebrities.  Observation confirms the inference.  Celebrities are trendsetters.  Who first models our hairstyles?  Our skirt lengths? Our eyewear?  Now this is not itself objectionable.  Nor do I protest that so many celebreities, stained by riotous living, are decadent, unworthy of emulation.  The problem is more fundamental.  It is that celebrities are not heroes – that is, they are, even when upright, too small to do us any good.  Celebrities are, as their numbers necessitate, average people.  This is why their sins – extramarital affairs, multiple divorces, drinking binges – are so humdrum.  They are just like us.  But to look at ourselves is to emulate ourselves, which means giving up ‘ought’ for ‘is.’  To look in a mirror does not expand one’s horizons.  We need rather to dream, which is what heroes and poets, not celebrities, make us do.

Christopher Lasch is right: celebrities are welcome in the culture of narcissism because the narcissistic individual lacks the courage and imagination to change the self into the not-self; and whereas this is precisely the helpful demand implicitly made by traditional heroes, celebrities are not imperatives.  With them there are no surprises, and we can be ourselves – a frightful notion, if one is honest.  Celebrities do not encourage the humble thing, which is the reasonable thing: finding our lives by losing them.  As Meister Eckhart observed, ‘Those who would be what they ought to be must stop being what they are.’

Where is the sanity in attending to the ordinary when the imperatives upon us – ‘Go the extra mile,’ ‘Do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing,’ Be perfect in love, even as the heavenly Father is perfect’ – are so extraordinary?  The chief objection to Jesus’ moral injunctions has always been that they are too difficult: the Kingdom of God is Utopia.  As the Jew in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho remarked, the Gospel teachings are ‘so wonderful and so great that I suspect no one can keep them.’

Leaving for another occasion defense of Jesus’ ever-receding moral ideal, one thing is evident: the pious require models of old-fashioned heroic proportion, and narratives that reveal the possibilities and obligations of being ‘in the law of Christ.’  If democracy, historical criticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, an exaggerated belief in progress, our doubts about the value of adventure, and the incessant distractions of the mass media take these things from us, then the game is up – we have lost our souls.  These dragons that have captured our heroes must be either tamed or slain, so that our moral imaginations can, once again, be pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

Hebrews 11 says this: ‘They conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.’  We should, against the modern habit, hold these for memories, that they might hold us.  Our amnesia should not be for heroes, whose virtues are our sunlight, but for their modern usurpers, who represent the ordinary condition of humanity, which so obviously tends toward sin and sloth and mediocrity.  Celebrities do not conquer kingdoms, enforce justice, receive promises, stop the mouths of lions, quench raging fires, escape the edge of the sword, win strength out of weakness, become mighty in war, put enemies to flight.  Why exchange gold for pyrite?”

- Dale Allison, The Luminous Dusk

Huxley on Mortification

i_love_mortification_t_shirts-ree885eec746f42b59b161a5a629126fa_804gy_512“Our kingdom go” is the necessary and unavoidable corollary of “Thy kingdom come.”  For the more there is of self, the less there is of God.  The divine eternal fulness of life can be gained only by those who have deliberately lost the partial, separative life of craving and self-interest, of egocentric thinking, feeling, wishing, and acting.  Mortification or deliberate dying to self is inculcated with an uncompromising firmness in the canonical writings of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and most of the other major and minor religions of the world, and by every theocentric saint and spiritual reformer who has ever lived out and expounded the principles of the Perennial Philosophy.  But this “self-naughting” is never (at least by anyone who knows what he is talking about) regarded as an end in itself.  It possesses merely an instrumental value, as the indispensable means to something else.

- Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

Let Your ‘Yes’ Be ‘Yes’

“Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’  Anything more than these is from the evil one.”
-Jesus

Because this is what happens when you don’t tell the truth…

A Doodle

emptying and filling

Am I getting into Art Therapy?

I misspelled generosity.  That’s uncharacteristic of my spelling prowess.

Cultivating Gratefulness

gratefulSo last year I got into reading a little positive psychology…the art of how to be happy.  Read a few books (like this one), browed a bunch of blog posts (like this one), watched a few documentaries, thought about it quite a bit.  Some of it is pure BS.  Some of it isn’t.  But it was an interesting little phase of thought that I’m not sure I’m out of yet.

One of the pieces of the positive psychology research surrounds cultivating gratefulness.  Learning to count your blessings, see silver linings, and ultimately alter your day to day, minute to minute, perception of life, from focusing on negatives to focusing on positives.

I think this is one of the aspects of positive psychology that isn’t BS.

I have a ridiculous amount of things to be grateful for, but I would say my default setting, the way my mind naturally works, is to focus on the negative aspects of my life.  I’ve always thought like a pessimist, and I have a tendency to see the problems in my life as all-encompassing.  Like my whole life is one big problem.  When I get to thinking that way I’m miserable and sad.  It sucks.  So I’m trying to stop that.

One of the ways that you can supposedly do that is to set aside specific times to count your blessings.  Literally list them off, maybe out loud, maybe on paper, maybe in your mind.  I have been trying to list 10 things I’m grateful for in the morning and 10 things before bed.  I usually forget to do it before bed.  But I’m trying.  So I’m going to take a little time right now and list off some things that I am grateful for.  Things that I take for granted but are awesome.  Things that I should consider blessings from God.

1. I have hot water in the morning.  Every morning.  I can rub it on my body.
2. I have a shelter that keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
3. I have a bunch of really good friends who sometimes bake me things and always make me laugh.
4. My mom and dad love me.
5. I have a mom and dad that I actually know.
6. My brother and sister in law are awesome people.
7. I ate Chipotle yesterday.  I can eat Chipotle whenever I want.  And I can get chips.
8. Happy hours exist.  I can get beer there.
9. I get summers off to do whatever the heck I want.  Like go to happy hours.
10. I can run around and play basketball.  My quickness makes up for a poor 3 point shot.
11. I was able to afford to go to college and I went to an awesome college.
12. I have a sexy Honda Civic.
13. I will probably never be hungry for an extended time unless it’s by choice.
14. My grandma sends me fudge on Valentine’s Day.  Tasty tasty fudge.
15. I go to an awesome church.
16. I had a chance to talk to a kid about his credit situation and graduating high school today.  Maybe it made a difference.
17. I have meaningful employment.
18. Dogs exist and are bearers of unconditional love.
19. The sun is out and it shines on me.  It makes my face warm and releases endorphins in my brain.
20. I have really good neighbors.
21. Apples grow on trees and we can eat them.  And we can genetically engineer Honeycrisps.
22. I have leisure time to read mind-bending literature.
23. I have my choice in what to do with the rest of my life.
24. I have a wide variety of teas to brew at will.
25. I’m going to go make some tea right now.

Twenty-five seems like a good place to stop.  I want to cultivate gratefulness.  It doesn’t mean I’ll never be sad.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t have days where my whole life seems like a problem.  But it helps.  It helps me fulfill the mission of loving people.  Because getting lost in your own crap makes you depressed and self-centered, unable to care about anything but you.  Living a grateful life opens me up to loving, serving, and building up others.  And that, I have decided, is what it’s all about.

Used this TED video in class the other day.  The whole thing might be a little bit overdone, but still…take a look.  And cultivate gratfulness…

 

Someone

someone

Today someone was hit by a car.  The car drove away and the person died.
Today someone’s child was shot in a park.  It was a stray bullet.  They rushed him to the hospital, but the child didn’t make it.
Today someone is taking care of her husband who doesn’t recognize her because of Alzheimer’s.  She will take care of him for 20 more years, and he will never again know who she is.
Today someone watched their child starve to death.  Literally, they watched the child as he died because there wasn’t enough food for everyone in the village to survive.
Today someone put a gun to their head because they felt unloved.

Today a turtle got run over on the road.

Today someone was beaten by their spouse.
Today someone committed adultery.  His wife knows but lives with it because she doesn’t want to be alone.
Today someone was asked for a divorce.
Today someone made the decision to let his child grow up knowing only his mother.  That child will live an angry life.
Today a young girl was raped by her uncle.  She will be raped again tomorrow.
Today someone found out that they will be blind in a year because of a degenerative eye condition.
Today someone lost both their legs.
Today someone told their child they were stupid.  The child believed her.
Today someone will spend the night outside.  The wind chill will be 5 degrees below zero.  They are wearing pants soiled with urine.  They ate half of a sandwich they found in a garbage can yesterday.

Lent is a time to mourn.  There are things to mourn. 

 

C.S. Lewis on Pride

better“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.  Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Does this seem exaggerated?  If so, think it over.  I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others.  In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?’  The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride.  It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise.  Two of a trade never agree.  Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive - is competitive by its very nature – while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accidentPride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.  We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good looking, but they are not.  They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking than others.  If everyone became equally rich, or clever, or good looking there would be nothing to be proud about.  It is the comparison that make you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest…

The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.  Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people.  But pride always means enmity – it is enmity.  And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God…

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, swarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.  Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily.  He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step.  The first step is to realize that one is proud.  And a biggish step too.  At least, nothing whatever can be done before it.  If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”

- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity: “The Great Sin.”

Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded.”
- James

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” 
- Jesus

And speaking of Kierkegaard….

glowing-heartThat last quote about the seasons of life comes from his “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.“  I read a couple of chapters from it a few weeks ago.  Why can’t I read whole books anymore?  Probably because I spend so much time on the mind-altering electronic drug we call the Internet.

But in the book, Kierkegaard explores James 4:8, which links an impure heart to “double-mindedness.”  What Kierkegaard seems to take this to mean is that when our hearts are impure, our motives are always multiple.

I try to be nice to the people that rent rooms in my house.  Am I doing this because I care about them or because I don’t want to go through the hassle of finding somebody new to fill a spot?  I go to a party and mingle.  Am I doing this because I want to catch up with old friends and acquaintances and really know how they are, or am I more worried about how I come off to the people around me?  Maybe I just want to be seen as impressive in some way.  I give money to a charity.  Am I doing this because I think it’s a worthwhile cause, or do I just want to ease an unsettled conscience?

Why do we do what we do?  Our motives are a guessing game, even to ourselves in our most introspective moments.  I don’t know the mixture of motives that lie beneath the surface of why I act a certain way around my roommates, go to a particular party, or give money to a charity.  But, although I wish it were otherwise, I know they are “double.”  I know that at least part of my reason for doing all of the things I do is an unhealthy self-interest. A desire to look out for my own good above the good of others.  And most of the time, more specifically, a desire to feed my Ego.  Pride.

For Kierkegaard, purity of heat is to will one thing: “the good.”  Purity of heart is to give up seeking your own benefit over the benefit of others.  To lose your ego to the point that you literally do not will anything for yourself, but only the good of the world.   Kierkey might say that your will and God’s will become one.  That is purity of heart, and the pure of heart will see God.

But is it just an idealistic dream that this can be achieved?

I honestly don’t know.

“Oh, Thou that givest both the beginning and the completion, give Thou victory in the day of need so that neither a man’s burning wish nor his determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto him in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.”

Kierkegaard on Seasons

four-seasons1“The animal also changes with the years.  When it is older it has other desires than it had at an earlier age.  At certain times it, too, has its happiness in life, and at other times it must endure hardship.  Yes, when late autumn comes, even the flower can speak the wisdom of the years and say with truthfulness, ‘All has its time, there is a time to be born and a time to die; there is a time to jest lightheartedly in the spring breeze, and a time to break under the autumn storm; there is a time to burst forth into blossom, beside the running water, beloved by the stream, and a time to wither and be forgotten; a time to be sought out for one’s beauty, and a time to be unnoticed in one’s wretchedness; there is a time to be nursed with care, and a time to be cast out with contempt; there is a time to delight in the warmth of the morning sun and a time to perish in the night’s cold.  All has its time…”

- Soren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing

New Year’s Resolutions

NewYears

1. More eye contact when talking to people.
2. More physical greetings and exits (hand shakes, hugs, fives, etc.).
3. Be a man.
4. Lose ego and thereby find inner peace.

As easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Huxley on “The Age of Noise”

“The Twentieth Century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire—we hold history’s record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio, is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes.

And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the ear-drums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions—news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but merely create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas. And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ears, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s central core of wish and desire.

Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose—to prevent the will from ever achieving silence. Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination. The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving. Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify craving—to extend and intensify, that is to say, the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its divine Ground.”

- Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy