|22 Nov 2006 @ 17:25, by Jeffrey Trenton Crace|
Anyone unfamiliar with the ideas of the Sufi Ibn ‘Arabi might be missing out some brilliant ideas and perspectives...
Anyone unfamiliar with the ideas of the Sufi Ibn ‘Arabi might be missing out some brilliant ideas and perspectives. Despite that he was working within a more or less strict cultural environment (as most environments were in the 12 century), exploring his ideas is like taking a breath of fresh air. He seems to have been primarily concerned with delineating the relationship between the higher realities (God), lower realities (the world) and everything in between (Ideas). It’s here that there is a very conspicuous similarity between his ideas and the ideas that in Scientology were called the conditions of existence (see “The Phoenix Lectures” by Hubbard for probably the best elucidations of this concept).
According to ‘Arabi, the only proper attitude to hold towards God (or the Absolute, as he called it) was the synthesis of two perspectives. One was called tanzih and was informed by man’s faculty of reason. This faculty instructs a person that since God is infinite, He cannot be contained in anything of the world. In other words, God is transcendent. The other complementary yet contradictory perspective is that of tashbih was informed by man’s faculty of imagination. Bearing God’s infinite nature in mind, it informs a person that God is every-thing.
So it seems that if God is truly infinite then both of these perspectives must be true, and yet must be false. If God is infinite He cannot be delimited to a finite thing. But this in fact is delimiting God. So He must have the capacity to be contained within space and time. But this is also delimiting God. It’s clear that this paradox is not to be resolved on a normal level of consciousness.
This paradox is also present within Scientology’s ideas known as the conditions of existence. Is-ness is As-isness in the sense that Is-ness could never be without the underlying As-isness giving it its power or reality. Yet Is-ness is not As-isness because it’s there look after look, observation after observation. In other words, reality cannot be As-isness because it persists. Geoffrey Filbert is saying just this when he writes in Excalibur Revisited that all one is ever really dealing with is absolutes.
Not surprisingly, Siddhartha Gotama also presents these ideas but unlike Ibn ‘Arabi, he seems to have elucidated them in a more practical light and in less invalidating manner. Using the anatta doctrine, one realizes more and more that one has nothing whatsoever to do with the world (this mess)--the world is not I. Yet if one practices the Brahmavihhara States, one can be more and more identified with the world--the world am I. Practicing both of these exercises, one approaches the resolution of the paradox that is present in both Ibn ‘Arabi’s ideas about God and the world and Scientology’s ideas called the conditions of existence.
For Ibn ‘Arabi this paradox is the paradox of the transcendence and immanence of God. For Gotama, it concerns the transcendence and immanence of Self. However, to ‘Arabi’s credit, he did not seem to suffer from the normal afflictions of the religiously fervent monotheist. In other words, God was the Self to him.