Just as the opposite of love is indifference, not hate; so the opposite of openness to divine guidance is religious fanaticism. Robert A. Johnson, a Jungian analyst, writes in "Owning Your Own Shadow": Fanaticism always indicates unconscious uncertainty not yet registering in consciousness.

Wonder what the good doctor would say about conscious uncertainty - Quaker fanaticism?!

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I keep my shadow in a bottom drawer; I'm not all that sure that it fits. Given enough light, there really doesn't seem to be all that much to it. (Equally so in the dark, of course!)

Jungian analysis, like any other sort, seems to be as good a a squirrel feeder for people who really like to talk&talk. It does provide a language for describing phenomena I think could be better described in other terms -- like any other religion.

Really, our role in this is to answer: What do we think about the virtue of compulsive spiritual dilettantism? 

I'd say, that like any other virtue, it's much overrated by those who profess it.

But me, I just hang out in this Temple, thanking God that I am not as this Pharisee... or that one... or the other one over there.

On the other hand, Clem, "Quaker fanaticism" could be an unconscious certainty of an authenticity that they would deny and destroy by whatever means of attack they think they can get away with, such as mocking ridicule or intellectualization.

Well, sometimes people are simply 'Wrong, and proud of it!'

There's certainly a certainty involved, but it's a certainty that "Other people don't know nuthin neither nohow!" -- a mind jammed "open" with a 2X4 that blocks anything unwelcome from getting in.

I'm sure that God hasn't given up on such people, but I've found them quite beyond any skill of mine!

the value of Fanaticism is pretty much the same as that of a gored ox.

I don't know if my meeting for worship, my family, or my support group fully understood the significance in my life of removing all the icons in my possession that were man made folly, and only need for minor sentiments of exorcism. About fanaticism I am currently conforming to a non idolatrous way of life. If I can see how that applies to my work on the web and all of my daily affairs including choosing which books to read and what to study, I feel I can be at peace with the naturalist perspective of life, and embrace that inner peace to bring wisdom and comfort

This sounds very much like another "man-made folly," a folly not even conscious of how very man-made it is. Why should a "naturalist" perspective? -- I'm assuming that's something other than a simply "natural" one, as far from including all that truly is -- as scientism is far from science. (Or maybe what you mean could be better explained to us?)

& why should embracing "inner peace" -- if one can find any such -- How gained? For what reason? -- Why should that bring wisdom or comfort?

But if one begins from a very ancient notion: that God is willing to teach each person willing to learn -- and one keeps his eyes and mind alert for what comes, to ask and expect to realize what it's meant to convey -- Then one might find some valid reason to feel comforted, and at peace.

Praying to put this better: If you stop trying to tell truth what it's supposed to be -- but instead, start asking -- desire to know it, whatever it may be... Someday, somehow, you will be answered, and many times surprised. & then you won't need to try to snow anyone, not even yourself; because the simplest truths will be hard enough to say to anyone who doesn't yet see them. If you do this, you will find something worth having faith in -- and a far more interesting life than you expect.

I have come from a place of soul seeking and found it wanting the very act of searching for the truth reaps no rewards. I feel there is an inner peace that starts in being in the moment, and can even help restore confidence once we've let go of the shadows we hind behind. I am not a fanatic, far from a mystic and never was interested in much scientism, but the practice of peace is truly a way of letting things be how they are without having to change everyone or search for perfection by believing everyone can act as we expect them to. In finding this understanding it is OK to hope for better times. My trust in Gods mission is that each of us in someway may find a way to participate and contribute to their sense of self interest. meaning that everyone has a role; some are stronger, some are weaker, some are wanted, some are unwanted, but God has chosen Quakers to observe the silence of the conscious, and to envision a peace beyond all understanding that will we can carry with us through life unto death.

Ah, we do seem to have a language problem here... I don't want to confuse what people are saying with what they mean to say, when the two can be so very far apart. I'm just saying to have faith in what leads you, that what you're led to will approximate 'all truth' better as you go along.

Robben, is the peace you are talking about similar to the contentment that Paul speaks of?  I think Forest's point is that you have to be somewhat fanatical about the faith you are being led by.  I say somewhat because like a GPS your map can be out of date and you can find yourself in a dead end so you have to be constantly updating your map as you go along.  When you hit a dead end you might find that you lost your peace two blocks back.:)  I am also guessing that Clem's fanatics don't need no "stinkin updates"!

James, thanks! I think my point is that there is a Real, that it has true power and uses that power in true love and wisdom. I want more people to zero in on that and find it, not spend all their days circling in a swamp of indifference.

Words aren't the point in that search, and I get unnecessarily harsh about people being imprecise with them, for which I sincerely apologize! What feeds people is what they find nourishing at any one time, not what might be an ideal statement for someone else, perhaps for them themselves later on.

I feel the Quaker spirit is alive today, and agree that it is very real. Faith works has different means to an end for a lot of the paths of Quaker service. My first inner moments were by my safeguarding my home as a sanctuary and a refuge. My volunteer services as a Quaker have taken me from the shelter and Sunday School to Libraries and Community Centers to teaching adults literacy, and to writing letters to government. Somehow fanatical sounds like a problem with settling on one vocation to heighten awareness, and yet that is exactly what has kept me functioning in my civic duties. It may be I agree that Quaker services can feel fanatical. Yet I feel it is also useful to try to construct  reasonable evidence that demonstrates the contribution of the services we provide, and the faith and belief in morality as we are conscious of  it.

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