Lesson 1: On Children and the Feudal Family Model

Family.

I consider that the term “family” refers to the natural Family of Creation. The natural family includes its invisible and visible aspects:  rocks, plants, animals, and humans, each of which  has its own unique consciousness that obviously enables the sacred creation in which we live  to function as a harmonious whole.

If there is something we might call “intelligent design” then the sacred creator which I have come to refer to as Wisdom is whom we call upon for help. In my experience I can only conclude that Wisdom functions on the basis of Harmony. Wisdom serves us best when we recognize our correct place in the Whole. We err when we assume that we are somehow more “special” and – even if only subconsciously – we adopt demanding and presumptuous attitudes about our worth and stature in Wisdom’s scheme of things.

What about the demanding and presumptuous attitudes? Wisdom’s help comes to anyone who asks for it regardless, but when we believe that help comes from something other than Wisdom, i.e.  a clan God from a clan that listens to a supernatural source that plays favorites we inevitably think of ourselves as undeserving or worse yet – unworthy – when the clan God talks to fellow-citizens but not to us.

The natural human family contrasts with that defined by the collective spiritual-minded  society which employs believers to insert a false mental program, or mindset, into the psyche of children. The natural human family has the function of providing the correct environment for the child while he is being reared; including the avoidance of demanding and ego-feeding assumptions.

By the way, a definition of the natural family is not limited to any notion of marriage or a supernatural-endorsement of “one man and one woman” proclamation that suggests a supernatural decree that there is only “one true way” to build and raise a family. The natural family can refer to whoever it is in a child-rearing environment, whether it be an orphanage or single parent household, or adoptive parents, regardless of gender. There are no character differences between the genders.

The natural function of the parents, throughout their child’s infancy, is to care for him, and to ask Wisdom, not some other human mind, for help for all the needs of the family. Beyond infancy, the parents’ function is to recognize the innate abilities of the child, and give space to grow. Children’s abilities must develop in a psychic atmosphere that shelters them from the pressures of any collective social group whose philosophy is based on their own or other flawed human assumptions.

Natural families are to teach the child that the families themselves are not the source of love, help and nourishment, but the vehicle through which these gifts flow to the child  through the will of Wisdom – which is in mortal terms the real Mother and Father of the child.

As Gibran wrote:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

Natural families must also teach that when they are not present or available, the child  can inwardly ask Wisdom for any help, love and nourishment needed. They also teach that they are NEVER cut off or abandoned by Wisdom, whose love is true and at no time has ever been conditional. Finally, the natural family has Wisdom’s calling to let go more and more as the child learns to trust his or her own connection with creation.

Natural families must be firm in the face of pressures from the collective spiritual-minded community. It is the parents’ job to make the child aware that all guilt, fear, threat and flattery come from a mere human society with the purpose of making the child feel inadequate, on the one hand, and special on the other.

Natural parents must ensure the child learns to think critically and to acquire a large bottle of salt grains. They must make the child aware that feeling special prevents one  from listening to true feelings; that feeling inadequate makes one forget that Wisdom’s help is available. Wisdom – the Creator – exists in the presence of every person, and  whenever one believes oneself to be in trouble, ask Wisdom to come and help.

Natural parents, through not regarding themselves as superior, and treating themselves with respect, teach the child respect for oneself, and support a sense of equality, fairness, and respect for others. The parents also must persevere in helping to keep the child free from taking literal projections, threats and criticisms that others might put upon him. In sum, the family setting, as defined above, is meant to be a setting in which the uniqueness of each member can develop and find expression without any feelings of inferiority or fault.

In and of itself then , the natural family is the setting that prepares the child for a future personal love relationship. The principles of relating that is learned in the natural family  environment can lead to a respecting of the personal space of a love partner. When the love relationship is not based on this respect, its duration is at risk.

There is a contrast, something I’ve perceived and come to describe as a “feudal” model of the family. Such a family is held together by the loyalty and endurance mostly of the  wife and mother, whose place is within the house. The husband’s role is to  be the family “face” and “facade” in all outer relationships. He is more but not entirely in charge of a strong authoritative need in the parents to instill the values of the collective spiritual community in the children. The children are taught that the loyalty they owe to their parents, right or wrong, is to be carried over to a “feudal prince,” or in modern terms, the supposed chain of authority starting with parents, then to church, community, nation, (as in the expression “my country, right or wrong.”)

Thus, the family may be regarded as “society in embryo,” where the sons and daughters are to learn the societal roles they are expected to take later on, and to which they are expected to sacrifice themselves by putting aside whatever feelings they have that do not fit into the roles.

This feudal model of the family is still in practice in modern, hierarchically organized societies throughout the world. The term, “feudal prince” may be easily replaced by institutions such as colleges, government, corporations, and most especially churches as those entities to which a person presumably owes his loyalty.

Why?

Because they have gradually assumed authorizing powers, and because the individual have been programmed to believe they are the only sources of protection. Such “feudal lords and ladies” have taken on the function of authorizing individual existence, individual worth and forced purpose into group purpose.

An important part of conditioning within the “feudal family” is to prevent the children from questioning the fundamental premises and taboos on which the institutions of the collective ego are founded. To this end, feudal the parents must train the child to suppress any awareness of contradictions between what is said and what is inwardly felt to be true.

The poorly -trained child grows to adulthood having gradually learned to substitute the shoulds and oughts of the collective for real inner truth.

Let’s talk a moment about authority.

Since the natural family is where the children learn language, and comes to understand  the crucial role of language in a maturing circumstance. Children then start out mentally, spiritually and emotionally  healthy.

In the feudal model of the family, parental “authority” is taught to be paramount. If the authority is strong enough, then the societal roles assigned to each individual will be enforced. All hierarchical social orders must stress this need for authority over the individual in order to maintain their dominance.

However, when one’s words have substance, they call things by their true names and not words and phrases that confuse the natures, meanings  and functions; or even turn them to their opposites.

For example, if a child is taught that his/her existence is something owed to parents, something vital may never be taught, let alone realized: a child, once born, is Wisdom”s  gift to the parent to whom the child does not owe his/her life.

The worst spiritual notions parents can teach a child include any theological notion of how existence occurs, where existence comes from and superficial and silly ideas about what Wisdom’s creation has as purpose.

Teach a child have to regard his nature as defective and you harm the child’s growth and ultimate maturity.

Teach the idea that a child is born with original fault, or sin and you harm the child’s growth and ultimate maturity.

Teach that a child’s animal nature is the source of evil, or, put another way, natural man is an enemy to God, and you harm the child’s growth and ultimate maturity. This particular belief is the basis for the suppression of the child’s true nature and its replacement by the abstract virtues and disciplines promoted by an ignorant and presumptuous spiritual collective thinking. Many adult neuroses have their origin in notions put on them in their early family life.

Within the feudal mindset, I believe it is a learned attitude to shove personal accountability in the direction of others who had been the pretended cause of one’s misfortunes. Unfortunately parents who were also brought up within this mindset are unaware for the most part,  of even the possibility of any other way of relating. Inasmuch as they did not listen to the prodding of their inner own truths, they risk creating a similar fate for their children, ignorantly thinking it’s the best way even when confronted with their accountability.

The truth is that Wisdom  naturally and easily helps keep the house in order through giving clarity and enabling contact with our inner truth. The Creator is the helper that watches over the borderline between the subconscious and conscious mind, so that we  do not get overwhelmed by elements of falsehood in portrayals of life as it really is.

Children need to be earnestly taught to rid themselves of the idea that they need to be authorized in thoughts and actions by an outside authority. This idea has deprived them  of the ability to feel inner truth and to act from it.

A person who has grown up in an authoritarian structure is rarely taught that while the Creator knows everything, it does not use its knowledge to intimidate or belittle those it teaches. When it comes to spiritual considerations of life, the watch words ought to be “fear not.”

No mortal can protect you from any spiritual “infidelity” because such infidelity – with its attached penalties does not exist.

 

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On performance based religion: Assess your assumptions

Image result for fear god
What does it mean to live spiritually?

Religion proposes a performance-based life with the following operational formula:

Obedience + Worthiness constitutes Spirituality … which leads to –> Blessings

Most Churches encourage the belief that heaven is the destiny. Life in heaven is a reward toward which one directs a life of a having learned of a “proper” way to think and accumulate accomplishments. Performance-based religions, many with systematic theologies, doctrines and programs pattern this way of imagining god and god’s reality.

Although entirely lacking proof in any physical or spiritual form of such a realm a host of early American prophets, evangelists and circuit-riding preachers asserted performance-based spirituality. They did so in creatively imagined and described forms.

Christian fundamentalism takes this notion a few steps further. Most  believers easily and perhaps without much critical thought –  buy into religious legalism. It becomes almost second nature to accept the idea of an over-controlling detail-obsessed God who seems much after the pattern of a controlling parent or lover. Uncritically, as an act of faith, devotion and obedience many sincere believers buy without question into the notions such as

  •   humans are so imperfect that God created religion by which that Male Patriarch could – in a loving but domineering manner – thrust into our lives guidelines for living.
  •  Such guidelines almost casually become laws or, better said, doctrines “irrevocably decreed” which the children of said God are expected to follow.
  •  This God of guidelines demands strict adherence to such doctrines which in fact do nothing more than establish a notion that obedience is elevated at the expense of agency.
  •  The highest spiritual approval in life is nothing more than an experiential pat on the head for being an obedient child.

The implications of such internalized assumptions include an idea that the God and Father of Obedience created a world abundant with the fruits of creative activity, but then mandated performance and worthiness as prerequisites before creative activity could bear fruit.

Fundamentalism: An unnatural way of living.

On Prophesying, Seeing and Revelating

A performance based religion puts bans on what are perceived to be inappropriate things. These bans become “laws of the Church” which by implication become “Laws of God” which are viewed then as irrevocably decreed and upon which a worthiness-obsessed God gives blessings.

In a performance-based-religion, members are banned from inappropriate music, television, movies, books and other literature. Freedom of expression in art, music, and other forms of entertainment are seen as risks that may cause the Father to stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion certain food and drink products are banned and seen as the causes of risks that the Father will stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion the Father requires strict adherence to dress and personal appearance codes the rejection of which creates a risk that the Father will stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion scriptures become the means and tool that can be utilized to effectively stand in for a lack of contemporary legitimate revelation. The same God who started everything eons ago by speaking directly to his children doesn’t do that anymore.  Scripture becomes the weapon that confronts those who challenge would-be prophets.

In a performance-based-religion, the very Father of Obedience has become in fact a Father of Conformity. The Father of Conformity either refuses or is unwilling to justify or explain how such an  only-right-means-to-salvation system and circumstance is equally fair and just to every other human being on the planet.

In a performance-based-religion the Father of Conformity has authorized the use of emotional guilt, intimidation, thought control and coercion to keep members in line. He is also seen as justifying guilt-ridden sermons and lessons designed to push believers into submitting to the authority of the leadership without question or criticism. Failure to respect the leadership creates a risk that the Father will stop attending the disobedient.

In a performance-based-religion the Father of Conformity has authorized the use of the theory that people should spend long hours at the Church and do work in the Church in order to gain rewards in heaven. A bureaucracy has been created at all levels in order to engender, monitor and “lovingly” coerce this sort of working participation which then becomes the standard by which member spirituality is measured and recognized.

The same bureaucracy becomes then a powerful instrument for limiting criticism and dissention through emotional and spiritual abuse by perceived authority and endorsement by the Father of Conformity.

A process of establishing and enforcing man-made rules and doctrines creates mere man-made leadership.

The consequences are always harmful, stifling and soul-destructive.

Some who are driven away leave with emotional scars that cause depression, substance abuse and  – unfortunately – suicide, along with the very activities against which the religion relentlessly preached. One can make a case the some of those driven off are at least temporarily not prepared to deal with life and society in a manner that is free from long-internalized judgmental and narrow notions.

Rigid Church programming involves and in fact revolves around forms of guilt and coercion. Within the Church as well as among those driven off there is a danger of low self-esteem that causes essentially unreasonable reactions to the Church itself.

Repentance becomes much more than returning to God, it involves returning to the Church from which one has fled in desperation. This is not unlike a battered-wives syndrome where one consciously returns to a life at home with a mean and unrepentant drunk who will continue business as usual.

There is a genuine tragedy when one feels driven off from the clan or out of the tribe  because like an enormous and ominous dark tower, the Church rises in the background or even the actual center of the tribal village,  thrusting itself with impunity into the middle of family relationships to which it has no moral or God given right to interfere.

Members – unconsciously in many cases – are forced to choose between Church and family.

The Father of Conformity has said nothing about why this circumstance is a positive fruit by which that Father is known among the children of men. The either-or attitude may only be a perception of those driven off when the rest of the family remains inside the righteous but unseen walls of Church conformity, but the Church does little or nothing to address that very  family estrangement of which the Church and it’s self presentation is the principle cause.

Limited serenity that comes from separation from the direct and immediate sources of emotional pain still feels like something much better than the rigidly inflexible  cauldron of conformity whose principal legacy is misery.

One day perhaps enough souls will be driven out of that imagined reality to change a destructive mentally-imagined reality.
That which you imagine to be absolutely true … Believe … and then pretend to make it so

platos cave

If one honestly recognizes that assumptions are in fact only assumptions, then it makes  possible an entrance to the real world in which human beings are perceptibly masters of their own universe.

Divinity then is something other than an invisible monarch and by definition is not focused on our condemnation of anyone?

Could we not propose that just as our lives are the living myths of our own creation, our personal stories are made of all the stuff inside with which we show and tell others who we are?

Human spirituality in this century is no longer even the simplistic 19th century evangelizing fundamentalism of the American frontier.

Modern spirituality is best blended with common sense and ethics rather than organized religion driven by hundreds of years of theological guesswork that becomes more and more obviously flawed and inadequate.

What is called for is spirituality that functions as part of and not a background to a reality that is defined daily by human interaction, curiosity, discovery and challenge.

Old Time Religion does not work – principally because all those old assumptions that were never valid are now seriously impeding social movement toward social justice and genuine compassionate concern for each other.

It’s time to stop climbing and clamoring all over that medieval  statue of Jesus and other gods and instead looking in the direction in which Jesus was always pointing … the compassionate inner self whose kingdom has always thrived and pulsed within.

Assess your assumptions

It’s the internal story most of us were taught to carry around that may be flawed. What is within us in terms of how we define the world and its realities – spiritual, material, intellectual, sexual – all the inner thoughts that determine our outward performance come from a source that was never designed to be perfect.

“The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave and light, without shame or blame.” – Thomas Hobbes.

Our secret thoughts are the authors of our own story, our personal mythology from which we navigate our lives.

Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox have addressed this subject* with excellence and I have paraphrased their writing to discuss myth.

Our secret thoughts are where we have authorized our answers to the following questions:

Where did I come from?

Why is there evil in the world?

What happens to me when I die?

With whom do I belong?

How close should I be to others?

What are my obligations?

What is taboo and to be avoided?

Whom should I imitate?

Who are the heroes, villains, enemies and allies?

What are the stages along life’s way?

What is disease?

How can I be healed?

What should we do with bounty and surplus?

What is our relationship with nature and the animals?

Why Do We Do The Things We Do?

Why Do We Feel The Way We Feel?

Are We Vitalized Or Bleeding Away Our Emotional Energy?

Our lives are living myths of our own creation. Our companion is our personal story, all the stuff inside we use tell us who we are and tell the world the same.

“Myth” is a word given too much work in how we share knowledge with one another. Many will not accept a myth because it is something built from nothing. Others say myth is illusion or a mistaken belief. When myth equates to the opposite of “fact”, how can we trust or use myth?

Myth is assumption.

Every definition of life is an assumption.

Every reasoning behind what we choose to do and how we choose to behave is based on assumption.

Defenders of religious creeds use the word “myth” to characterize religious beliefs that conflict with their own, saying

“Your, assumptions are not as valid as my assumptions. In fact, your assumptions are myth while my assumptions are truth.”

What do we deny if we refuse to recognize our own assumptions?

Image result for mythological god

Our personal mythical scenario is always on and is always running. Sam Keen has described myth as referring to

“an intricate set of interlocking stories, rituals, rites and customs that inform and give the pivotal sense of meaning and direction to a person, family, community or culture.
The myths we carry around inside include unspoken consensus, the habitual way of seeing things, unquestioned assumptions, and our ‘automatic stance’.”

A society lives on its own unconscious conspiracy to consider a myth the truth, the way things really are. Do we belong to the majority who are literal without thinking; men and women who are not critical or reflective about the guiding “truths” – myths – of their own group?

As Keen implies,

” To a tourist in a strange land, an anthropologist studying a tribe, or a psychologist observing a patient, the myth is obvious. But to the person who lives within the mythic horizon, it is nearly invisible.”

I also like this quote from Carl Jung:

“I asked myself, ‘What is the myth you are living?’, and found that I did not know. So … I took it upon myself to get to know ‘my’ myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks … I simply had to know what unconscious or preconscious myth was forming me.” -C.G. Jung, The Portable Jung

How much are our individual lives shaped by inner scenarios based on assumptions we have been taught to accept as absolutely true?

Do we live an inner myth that reflects how we’ve been taught the world “is” rather than how we’ve discovered the world to “be”?

 

*I recommend YOUR MYTHIC JOURNEY, Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Story Telling, by Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox., copyright 1973, 1989 Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc