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Author Topic: A Graybeard's Intro  (Read 112 times)

R. Eugene Laughlin

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  • Religion: Derivational Pantheism
A Graybeard's Intro
« on: September 12, 2019, 01:28:07 pm »
Greetings,

My background goes like this: I found a book called White Magic on a table at a yard sale when I was maybe 13 or so, and... during that same time frame read my fist novel: The Hobbit. Together those exposures were compelling. I've sought after "real" magic ever since. My ongoing search for knowledge and useful instruction naturally overlapped with 1970's Neopaganism and people within it, Golden Dawn literature and people who promoted it, and it's various spawn (Crowleyana of course, and Wicca by extension, and other things), and every stripe of New Agey thinking and practice you can imagine. I've made of hobby Medieval literature, Natural Philosophy within it's academic framework, and the more peripheral but related Grimoiric literature we still have, and have put just about all of that into practice to varying degrees at different times in my life.

The formal education I've taken in started somewhat late in life, and culminated in a Ph.D. at age 50. I trained for scientific research in psychology and neurobehavioral biology. After a couple of years of post-doctoral research I chose a teaching track rather then the research track. What I value most from that education today includes a deep appreciation for critical thinking, sound methodology, and the humility to acknowledge that no matter how strongly we might believe that a certain thing is true, we can be mistaken. Therefore, all truths I accept are working truths in form, and remain subject to change given good reason. Other than that, my understanding of psychology and the nervous system tend to inform my understanding of just about everything I do, and just about everything I care about. I continue to teach part time, while focusing evermore attention on the gift shop my wife and I co-own.   

Most relevant to the theme of this site, I currently think of myself as a Derivational Pantheistic Pagan. My approach is derivational because I don't embrace the eclecticism or reconstructionism that tended to define the 20th Century NeoPaganism in play most of my adult life. As a matter of personal preference, I reject all manner of anthromorphised deity. I don't look to world mythologies nor extent dogmas for clues about my own spiritual nature. Rather, I look to the natural world as I experience it for personal inspiration, and use my own feelings of awe and wonder to define the sacred for myself.

I recognize spirit (non-physical yet interactive agencies), such as in the spirit of a given person (my own spirit for example), the spirit of a Nation, the spirit of an Age, etc., but I find no value in the concept of an immortal personal soul, neither of the reincarnating sort nor the moving on sort; that is, I'm comfortable with the idea that the degree of personal immortality available to me can be limited to the effects I create while I live, which can indeed resonate into the future. For example, if I'm kind or cruel to someone, my kindness or cruelty might change that person in some way that affects others, and so on. Effects of that natural can be understood to resonate into the future, so long as there is a continuum of interactive agents. But when that ends, so will all traces of my existence end.

However, part of my Paganism is that I assume/accept I am of the Earth, and nothing else. I don't presume that I came from any other place or dimension, nor do I assume that I ever existed in any other form. By extension, neither do I presume will continue to exist in any form after I die. I know that to be a harsh notion for many, but I'm personally comfortable with it. Furthermore, I believe that mindset lends significant urgency to life I'm living, and more than sufficient reason to always strive to live it well. 
Effectiveness is the Measure of Truth

EclecticWheel

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  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: A Graybeard's Intro
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 03:49:38 pm »
Greetings,

My background goes like this: I found a book called White Magic on a table at a yard sale when I was maybe 13 or so, and... during that same time frame read my fist novel: The Hobbit. Together those exposures were compelling. I've sought after "real" magic ever since. My ongoing search for knowledge and useful instruction naturally overlapped with 1970's Neopaganism and people within it, Golden Dawn literature and people who promoted it, and it's various spawn (Crowleyana of course, and Wicca by extension, and other things), and every stripe of New Agey thinking and practice you can imagine. I've made of hobby Medieval literature, Natural Philosophy within it's academic framework, and the more peripheral but related Grimoiric literature we still have, and have put just about all of that into practice to varying degrees at different times in my life.

The formal education I've taken in started somewhat late in life, and culminated in a Ph.D. at age 50. I trained for scientific research in psychology and neurobehavioral biology. After a couple of years of post-doctoral research I chose a teaching track rather then the research track. What I value most from that education today includes a deep appreciation for critical thinking, sound methodology, and the humility to acknowledge that no matter how strongly we might believe that a certain thing is true, we can be mistaken. Therefore, all truths I accept are working truths in form, and remain subject to change given good reason. Other than that, my understanding of psychology and the nervous system tend to inform my understanding of just about everything I do, and just about everything I care about. I continue to teach part time, while focusing evermore attention on the gift shop my wife and I co-own.   

Most relevant to the theme of this site, I currently think of myself as a Derivational Pantheistic Pagan. My approach is derivational because I don't embrace the eclecticism or reconstructionism that tended to define the 20th Century NeoPaganism in play most of my adult life. As a matter of personal preference, I reject all manner of anthromorphised deity. I don't look to world mythologies nor extent dogmas for clues about my own spiritual nature. Rather, I look to the natural world as I experience it for personal inspiration, and use my own feelings of awe and wonder to define the sacred for myself.

I recognize spirit (non-physical yet interactive agencies), such as in the spirit of a given person (my own spirit for example), the spirit of a Nation, the spirit of an Age, etc., but I find no value in the concept of an immortal personal soul, neither of the reincarnating sort nor the moving on sort; that is, I'm comfortable with the idea that the degree of personal immortality available to me can be limited to the effects I create while I live, which can indeed resonate into the future. For example, if I'm kind or cruel to someone, my kindness or cruelty might change that person in some way that affects others, and so on. Effects of that natural can be understood to resonate into the future, so long as there is a continuum of interactive agents. But when that ends, so will all traces of my existence end.

However, part of my Paganism is that I assume/accept I am of the Earth, and nothing else. I don't presume that I came from any other place or dimension, nor do I assume that I ever existed in any other form. By extension, neither do I presume will continue to exist in any form after I die. I know that to be a harsh notion for many, but I'm personally comfortable with it. Furthermore, I believe that mindset lends significant urgency to life I'm living, and more than sufficient reason to always strive to live it well.

Welcome to the forum.  I always enjoy hearing other religious perspectives.  If you wish I hope to hear more on your perspective on magic in the future.

Welcome again.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

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