Sunday, September 04, 2011

Friendly Discussion

I joined Multnomah Adults' Discussion (SMAD) for an engaging reading this morning. Gary has scraped some ostensibly "satanic" stuff off the Internet, about six pages, which we passed around, taking turns reading.

In this version, the angelic host is merely exercising the privileges of selfhood against a jealous Demiurge that would keep them servile. Some of their number get involved in human relationships, starting with Eve. They basically encourage the study of STEM subjects against the know-nothing boot lickers who wait upon the Demiurge, a jealous jerk.

We had some insightful discussion, treating our text as science fiction. Indeed, Gary said much of it had been written as recently as 1991. One of our discussants and been raised in a Satanic cult. She advised us that the taxonomy among Satanists was ramified (not unlike among Xtians) and this text we were reading had little if anything in common with the protocols she'd been reared on.

I spoke with John Wish afterward who extolled Gary for his intelligence, and quality walking sticks (Gary has a Lord of the Rings air about him, would probably thrive in New Zealand).

Meeting for Worship was a lot about community. Our delegation from Jubilee House had returned. I used some of the time to study a book entitled Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia by Edward Baltzell. He was writing in the turbulent 1960s, comparing it to the 1600s in some dimensions. Quakers as proto-hippies?

Eve Menger was present today. We know each other from Wanderers as well, lots of history. I mentioned having just come across her father's story again, in "some esoteric philosophy I've been reading". I was talking about this book Alex found at Powell's and is letting me read: Wittgenstein: From Mysticism to Ordinary Language by Russell Nieli.

These latest two SUNY Press books have felt more alive and contemporary to Alex and myself, we think because Wittgenstein is finally getting more recognition as a shaman (to sound ethnographic about it). Kimberly, in The Jew of Linz called him a magician. Of course these are not academic categories and such terms are easily confused with metaphysician. Perhaps "alchemist" is better.

In any case, the many references to George Fox and Quakers, by Nieli, a Princeton quasi-contemporary (we had some of the same teachers) is helping me shrink my world. That may sound like a bad thing ("shrink") but in the vernacular I'm using, it's more like "more with less".