Why Don't Friends Have Substantive Agreement on Political/Economic/Social Issues?

Sometimes human beings are simply intended to disagree, be divided, see matters differently -- if nothing else, so we won't all be wrong about everything all at once!

And certainly Friends' power as a pressure-group is tiny, if not outright negative -- so that no-one with any sort of secular power needs worry about any position we take, together or separately.

Yet, we are supposed to be able to reconcile differences, even seemingly intractable ones, by being willing to sit with each other even over wide divergences and mutually seek God's discernment on a matter.

Why doesn't this happen more thoroughly among us? -- Why is is so often a hard struggle over matters of wording, leaving the profounder differences in understanding quite untouched?

Views: 498

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

These philanthropic casinos (not churches, more like meetups), where winnings go to those refugee camps, WWF, EFF etc., are envisioned as a network of coffee shops.  The philosophy takes off from how coffee shops sprouted up in Paris and places, as steeping grounds for new philosophies of a more existential sort, following a time of horrific war-making.  I see some parallels.

I am very attached to Friends' testimony against gambling. I don't wager, have stopped using eBay, don't even go to charitable auctions. I think the idea of philanthropic gambling is, quite frankly, a tool of the Devil to get us acculturated to the idea that gambling can be okay, can be innocent, can be good. Not to say it isn't an idea that would have a lot of traction, Kirby - modern state-run lotteries would not get anywhere near the levels of participation they have if they couldn't say that the money goes to "the children." But I don't think it is where the Inward Christ would have us focus.

Thank you for saying this, David. One of my more surreal conversational moments in college was when a (White) friend of mine said to me with a laugh, after we had been speaking back and forth in rhyme, "We're so Black!" It was an innocuous enough statement, but it showed how easily colorblindness ("I don't think of you as Black") shades into racial stereotyping (speaking in rhyme=rapping=Blackness).

David McKay said:

Hello Keith —
I agree in principle but not fully in practice. For any person or group of marginalized because of someone else's label there is an experience of having been marginalized by people who feel they have transcended the process. One of the best ways to deeply trouble a black person is for a white person to claim to be colour-blind. To reach the level of unity in the spirit that you are calling us to at least some of us have to go through a process to get there. And that means respecting and honouring me and them in our differences because our differences matter and they matter in part because we have been oppressed because of the labels imposed on us by others because of those differences. At one level believing that "our differences don't matter" is a form of false consciousness which also needs to be transcended. And the language of a deeper unity that you speak of is counterfeited at that level and at least on the surface sounds the same as what you're speaking about. And so it becomes important to honour our outward conditions out of a sense of compassion before we move on to the experience that you witness to.

Yes Adria I accept that many Friends will continue to adhere to some strict code of ethics around gambling, and indeed those with high level IT responsibilities in these facilities are customarily forbidden to play, except perhaps when testing the equipment, as what works best for casinos is to keep it all squeaky clean, as the laws of chance work in its favor, so no need to cheat, quite the contrary.  Even the appearance of something under the table going on is ill-advised, so most casino workers are committed non-gamblers.

However, as a veteran of the Bucky Fuller flavor of transcendentalism, with "Spaceship Earth" and "World Game" in my everyday lexicon, I cannot help but think of everyday life as a gamble, including driving one's car on the freeway and trusting one's "fellow American" to not be swerving and driving drunk. I'm glad police are on the lookout for such drivers and that on-board computers measure and log those swerves. Too many die on the freeway.

Testimony against drinking and driving is likewise valuable, and yes, gambling plus alcohol has ruined many a scenario, we could fill warehouses with the stories.  I've lost family to driving. That's why I'm eager to move on to a new paradigm.

Let me put it this way instead: it's a video arcade that rewards various types of skills, which Friends feel OK with, because military or other outward violence, as a service, is not presumed.  We're not training them to become soldiers necessarily, unless metaphorically, in some "Lamb's War" (in which case I'd accept "Jihad" on the same basis). 

A young Friend wins high points playing a game with chance involved, but lots of skill, and the 33 million points make for a $3 dollar donation to (A) Electronic Frontier Foundation (B) World Wildlife Fund (C) More Choices.  The Friend is building a profile.  "Here's what I won for whom."  It's an heroic and benign role, but with risks involved.  You might not get many points.

Some of the games require doing math problems.  You can see where this goes:  almost like paying home schoolers to do homework, but in "money" they have to invest in helping others.  Sounds like a worthy experiment, something Quakers might try. 

It's only because I'm happy to employ former casino workers that we use a lot of the same lingo.

I expect you'll say that's just more Devil talk.  I'll just say the standard of living we enjoy if we use the Interstate freeway system at all, depends on such Devil talk.  We gambled the freeways would be fun and worth their high toll (environmental, demographic...).  They helped warm the planet.  Now we're wondering how much fun we really need.  Electric cars?  The energy still has to come from somewhere... it's a gamble, whatever we do.

Adria Gulizia said:

These philanthropic casinos (not churches, more like meetups), where winnings go to those refugee camps, WWF, EFF etc., are envisioned as a network of coffee shops.  The philosophy takes off from how coffee shops sprouted up in Paris and places, as steeping grounds for new philosophies of a more existential sort, following a time of horrific war-making.  I see some parallels.

I am very attached to Friends' testimony against gambling. I don't wager, have stopped using eBay, don't even go to charitable auctions. I think the idea of philanthropic gambling is, quite frankly, a tool of the Devil to get us acculturated to the idea that gambling can be okay, can be innocent, can be good. Not to say it isn't an idea that would have a lot of traction, Kirby - modern state-run lotteries would not get anywhere near the levels of participation they have if they couldn't say that the money goes to "the children." But I don't think it is where the Inward Christ would have us focus.

I do not know you well enough to sense where you are on the "differences don't matter spectrum". I do know-- both from my own case in a different setting and in the rhetoric surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement that your talk about a more transcendent (my words) experience will tend to be seen as being spoken from a place of privilege by people invested in the notion that they have been victims of privilege. Words have become weapons in these conflicts and consequently words that cannot be easily assimilated to a particular stance/faction/tribe - tend to be misread and mistrusted.

Keith Saylor said:

I do have a concern that you are suggesting I am expressing a notion that "differences don't matter."
Keith: A 'leading' is supposed to be a divinely-inspired, inwardly received assignment to mitigate a condition in the outward world -- yet you still object to that? Why?

Forrest. Yes, I agree, there are leadings given through divine inspiration. I am speaking of another knowledge that exists in the activity of inspiration itself. I will use Issac Penington's words to setup what I mean.

" There is a knowledge of things by the Spirit's opening the words which speak of them, or by inward, immediate prophecies from the word of life in the heart. This is an excellent knowledge, and not to be found in the earthly part of man : yet the earthly part (when this knowledge is given) is very apt to be swelled and exalted with it; but then there is also a knowledge which ariseth from the gift of the thing itself. This knowledge is very precious, and much more full and certain than the other, having the nature and immediate power of life in itself, and so is perfectly able to preserve. "

The more immanent being itself in itself governs and institutes my conscious and conscience the more this Life itself in itself leads or informs me by immediate (I may even say tactile) leading through the relative increase and decrease of awareness in immanent being. I mean to say I am led by inward inspiration itself. When I engage in an activity that dims or overshadows awareness in immanent being, I an led out of the activity. By the way, that does not always mean I will follow. I may go further into the rabbit hole and experience further dimming of Presence itself in itself. Likewise, when I engage in an activity wherein awareness of immanent being increases or is static I am encouraged to move forward. The leading in the activity of inspiration itself in itself is what I was distinguishing from leadings that come as a result of divine inspiration. It is the difference between being in the drift and grabbing onto things that come out of the drift.

For example, I do not gamble because I have found when I gamble life or consciousness in and though immanent awareness dims. I do no gamble because of a supposed divinely inspired Quaker testimony against gambling. I do not gamble because being in the Life is compromised when I do gamble. It is important to note that this is not so much a judgement against gambling. It is affirmation of the relative movement of the inward Light itself in itself anchoring my conscious and informing my conscience. Gambling is not the focus it is the relative increase and decrease of immanent Presence itself in itself.

Penington writes further:
" As for instance, to make it more plain: there may be a knowledge of justification, by the Spirit's opening the words written in scripture concerning justification, and the blood of sprinkling; and this is a good knowledge, where there is a true opening of it from the Spirit : but then there is a knowledge by feeling of the blood of sprinkling in the heart, and by seeing with the new eye the way of its justification; and in this knowledge is the power and the cleansing of the life received, which in the other was but spoken of. Therefore rest not in opening of prophecies, or true meanings of these things (though this kind of knowledge is very excellent, and hath been very rare), but wait to feel the thing itself which the words speak of, and to be united by the living Spirit to that, and then thou hast a knowledge from the nature of the thing itself; and this is more deep and inward than all the knowledge that can be had from words concerning the thing."

A word we'll use outside the casino biz, referring to gambling, is simply "risk".  Riding my bicycle around Portland is risky, yet I'm about to do it again, taking my life in my own hands.

US Americans are obsessed with "chiefs" in business (sounds very n8v-inspired): CEO, CTO, CFO, CMO... several new ones every week it seems, with CRO or "Chief Risk Officer" now an expected official.  In colloquial English one might call her "the gambler".  At Google Chrome they have an official "Security Princess" (of Persian heritage).

Quakers aren't big into titles, but have them (Overseer), meaning I think we take them rather lightly.  We don't look up to US presidents.  We look across, at our peers, some of our number having served in said office (not saying with my approval -- no one asked me, nor should they have had to).

What I predict with my Coffee Shops Network idea, i.e. opportunities for calculated risk-taking heroics for the benefit of the under-served and unbanked, is it will not be "Quaker owned" so much as "respectful of Quakers", especially in light of my own ties to that sect (and I'm CMO for CSN -- Chief Marketing Officer, hence the blog).

Additional writing on the CRO theme:

https://twitter.com/4DsolutionsPDX/status/759822221883781121

(if you follow the tweeted link you'll come to a blog post for one CERM academy -- RM for "risk management" -- with my picture and a longer bio).

Or maybe don't follow the link to my tweet (an outward form).  Maybe "fight the tweets" instead?

https://youtu.be/4hYC9jR2Wwo (political humor)

... one way I catch up regarding Outward Forms News [tm].. :-D

Kirby

PS:  includes picture of me from that time in 2008, touring still under construction (since completed) extensions to Angel of the Winds, Stillaguamish tribal casino, north of Tulalip: http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2008/07/touring-facilities.html

The problem with gambling -- as with the parody of capitalism our civilization now embodies -- is that it's not about gaining personal wealth by adding to the public wealth, but merely a zero sum game that proves remarkably _in_efficient at generating actual goods, remarkably effective at producing public bads --

and like the bulk of con games, works by convincing people that they can and should gain personal wealth at someone else's expense.

For those who provide the 'service' of letting other people gamble -- it is not 'gambling', but merely an unproductive 'business' that serves mainly to corrupt the victims and redistribute their already inadequate income upwards...

much like our corrupted financial economy, as I say.

-----------

Keith -- If you could increase your sense of attunement by acts you knew would increase other people's suffering...? What then?

Forrest.

You asked "What then?"

Political, economic, social, and religious forms and leadings; and the resulting periods of peace, periods of war, periods of war and peace, rumors of war, rumors of peace, cries for peace where there is no peace, cries for war where there is peace. Men and women ruling over the consciences of other men and women. And in all of this, the paradox of immanent Being veiled under and through the perversion of
Presence itself in itself through the usury of suffering.

Yeah, lack of any awareness of God (Being, Presence, etc) seems to be a prime ingredient of 'sin', 'ignorance', & the suffering implied by that.

But it seems strongly to me, that what you're talking about increasing your awareness-of -- is anything but ethically-indifferent. That for you to harm someone else, or let someone else suffer harm, would be detrimental to you & contrary to 'Its' nature.

So we aren't talking here about merely becoming some sort of bliss-junky; visible need in the outer world would have to pull you into appropriate responses. Hence, "leadings".

There is a manifest indifference to outward ethical standards and rules of appropriate behavior the more immanent Being illuminates the conscious and governs the conscience. When I act to help other people, I do not help out of a sense of being led or divinely inspired to act in a certain way. I do not help because it is appropriate. Now with that said, I am led by the direct inward movement of immanent Presence itself in itself without reference to outward ethical standards or rules of appropriateness. I help people because in helping the inward Spirit radiates and in the activity of the radiating Light I am led. There is no sense of a "leading" in the sense of God giving me the idea to help people because that is righteous or appropriate. It is a subtle shift in focus and experience.

So, no I am not indifferent to circumstances, needs, and events in the outer world. I have lived through occasions where I experienced the withdraw of immanent Being itself in itself as a result of not acting. In not acting, the inward Light withdrew and I experienced further withdraw when I ignored the drawing of immanent Presence itself in itself. However, I have also lived through the withdraw of the inward Light because I acted to help another and ignored the gentle stirrings upon my conscious and conscience to refrain; the stirrings was the Light receding and I did not adhere to the led inward Light itself in itself.

No, I wasn't meaning any "standards" or "rules" of appropriate behavior.

Nor would anyone else responding to a 'leading' -- although he might find it more convenient to explain it to others, even to himself, in terms of such rules.

But it seems clear that Jesus was moved to speak out against certain outward rules that were being used to impoverish and oppress other Israelites, & to blame their sufferings on their (allegedly) more 'sinful' state. (Even the worst of imperial kleptocracies aren't going to shamefully & painfully execute a holy-man for telling people to find God within and/or to treat each other better.)

Forrest Curo said:

The problem with gambling -- as with the parody of capitalism our civilization now embodies -- is that it's not about gaining personal wealth by adding to the public wealth, but merely a zero sum game that proves remarkably _in_efficient at generating actual goods, remarkably effective at producing public bads --

Your analysis rings true of casino gambling, however lets remember that ordinary English allows that "to gamble" is also to "take risks", and the prevailing mythology is one of reaping rewards for one's ships that come in. 

Those ships, off for India, were the paradigm limited liability corporations (LLCs), which landed-estate holders (venture capitalists) partnered up to fund, standing to reap handsome profits based on steep markup pricing, should said ships actually make it back.

The profits would be divvied, as dividends, per shares ventured. These landed gentry were thereby protected from losing any more than their ventured amounts (the "limited" part). The sailors, on the other hand, stood to lose their very lives on the high seas, and reaped less in exchange, on average, percentage-wise. 

Queen Elizabeth helped get these startups funded, and the East India Company was born, establishing the boilerplate for the "Inc." of our modern day. In today's Voodoo Economics these literally soulless zombies actually enjoy a form of personhood.

[ In a less superstitious culture, corporations would have likely stayed non-human, more like robots.  I'd suggest constituting what's clearly a non-person supranational corporation outside of "white-man law", by now riddled with too much nonsense and based on shaky precedents (the Doctrine of Discovery is fading fast). ]

Having friends in high places (namely royalty) is what allowed those with the money to piggy-back on risks taken by those without, continuing to benefit the landed classes in disproportion to their stake.

In sum, venturing, risk-taking, is also gambling.  Is the game necessarily zero-sum? 

Here I'd say "not in principle", as we do see win-win opportunities on occasion.

I haven't found Quakers especially averse to risk-taking. 

Indeed, when it comes to challenging obsolete reflex-conditioning and obeying the promptings of continuing revelation, I'd say Friends stick their necks out more than average. 

In that sense, our Faith & Practice informs a kind of "educated risk-taking" (or call it "experimentalism") which in a colloquial sense we might call "gambling". 

However my leading is Friends are not obliged to work for the East India Company or its boilerplate derivatives, as mere minions. Our shared meme pool draws deeply from more sources than our Elizabethan-Anglo heritage.  Quaker meetings themselves suggest a different business architecture.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

William F Rushby commented on William F Rushby's blog post 'From John Woolman on Ministry'
"In my younger years, I tried to get Quaker sociologists to turn the spotlight on their own faith…"
7 hours ago
William F Rushby commented on William F Rushby's blog post 'From John Woolman on Ministry'
"It seems clear to me that John Woolman was guided by intuitive leadings rather than (or more than)…"
7 hours ago
Keith Saylor commented on William F Rushby's blog post 'From John Woolman on Ministry'
"Reference Key: TJAEOJSOAC Summary, Observations, and Considerations John Woolman's Journal…"
9 hours ago
Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"Indeed I agree and Jorjani goes into that in his Perisian Renaissance interviews, contrasting the…"
21 hours ago
Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"Hi Marcia.  Yes, the Sufi Gulenists as one might call them (are Quakers Foxists?) have or have…"
22 hours ago
Forrest Curo replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"Religions seem to intrinsically develop a mystical wing and a doctrinal one. Mystics from different…"
yesterday
Marcia P Roberts replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"You mentioned Turkish service-oriented franchise of subsidized schools. I am curious to know if…"
4th day (Wed)
Mike Shell replied to Mike Shell's discussion 'An Exposition of Laozi’s “Essence of Dao” by Yun Choi Yeung'
"Thanks very much, Marcia. I will share your comment with Yun Choi Yeung.  Blessings, Mike"
3rd day (Tue)

© 2020   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service