People v. State

fairly undermining public confidence in the administration of justice

“Thou art the I in Me”

August 07, 2011 By: John Kindley Category: Ioz, Religion

I got in a religious debate of sorts in the comment thread on this post by IOZ, whose commentariat is comprised of commenters who, like IOZ himself, are in the main extremely clever and educated atheistic anarchists. There is an historic and understandable connection between anarchism and atheism (despite the fact that the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, who taught that the deity is an immortal and perfect living being and the providential “father of all,” is also regarded as the father of anarchism). Anarchism by definition means without rulers, and so would seem naturally inclined to reject the existence of a God whom we should obey and acknowledge as our Lord.

The difficulty is removed, however, if we recognize with Meister Eckhart that God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves, and indeed, that God is more us than we are ourselves. (If a strictly philosophical rather than theological “proof” of this proposition is wanted, I suggest it might be found as well in Platonism as anywhere else.) I commend to you the The Cherubinic Wanderer by Angelus Silesius, from which the title of this post was taken, which was influenced by Jacob Boehme (who also strongly influenced William Law) and especially by Eckhart, and which (surprisingly enough) received the imprimatur of the Roman Catholic Church when it was published.

God does not so much exist as insist.

In this light must be understood the denial of “Self” also preached by these same Christian mystics. Who we really are can’t be anything that can be taken from us by robbers, or thrown in prison, or lost in old age to dementia, or buried in the ground along with our corpse. How might a person who recognizes his essential Oneness with the Divine live his life? He would see his neighbor as God sees him, as a child of God like he is a child of God, not through the blinders of Self, and thereby be capable of Justice. He would judge by the Word within what others tell him about God and God’s Will. I suggest he might live and die as Jesus lived and died:

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Why, again, have I felt it important to mention these things on a blog titled “People v. State”? Because the outer Freedom at which anarchism aims is but a shadow of the inner Freedom at which true religion aims, and because the propagation among people of this inner Freedom is the surest foundation for that outer Freedom.

3 Comments to ““Thou art the I in Me””

  1. Hey, I am one of those clever atheist anarchists!

    I have existed a long time as an atheist, a rather arrogant one. I am not so sure, although I still am.

    What I mean is that beginning last fall and through the spring, I had a series of experiences that I realized were exactly what people had described to me as religious moments, and that which I had previously dismissed as lunacy.

    My outlook now is that I recognize what people refer to as religious faith in God, although I have a unique perspective. My religious experience was refracted through my personal experiences as a deterministic, cartesian atheist. So my understanding of them made sense to me as such. In other words, I really have no objective belief in my particular interpretation, although I do have a self-consciously subjective belief in them. I take a similar approach to my own sanity.

    It could be that my take on it is all wrong, that the faithful are right that there is an extraplanar deity. And if you wanted to take a vote on it, I would certainly be an outlier. That does not bother me, because I think some of the more important things is that we both agree on similar sets of premises. The existence or non-existence of God changes nothing in my view. Anyway, I spent about a month writing stuff everyday, and this was the result.

    Specifically related to your post here, I offer these takes on it.

    • John Kindley says:

      And I admit on my part that my early experiences of personal spiritual liberty started with Dostoevsky rather than, say Sartre, and so my subsequent experiences have been refracted through that perspective. I’ve heard before people say, as you and others said in the comments on IOZ’s post, that meaning can be found or created by the individual even without God, but frankly have not been motivated to pursue this line of thought, because I’ve found my theistic perspective to be both sufficient and to present more than its own share of problems, its own demand for discernment. I’m inclined to agree with you that the “existence or non-existence of God changes nothing,” at least given certain premises, which you allude to.

      I was going to read the posts to which you linked before replying to your comment, but then saw they’ll require more than the typical blog post. I’ll definitely check them out.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Preach on brother! It is refreshing to hear these words of affirmation. As a student of both gnosis and anarchism it is stifling how seldom these ideas meet. I’m with you.


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