Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two Views Of Quantum Reality And Another View Of Caritas En Veritate

Wood carving of The Sacred Heart at the Sanctuary of Chimayo. It contains an important message about the nature of quantum reality for the scientists of Los Alamos. Note the tile pictograph at the top of the carving.

The following is an NCR editorial by Father Tissa Balasuriya dealing with Pope Benedict's recent encyclical Caritas en Veritate. It has been edited for length. The entire editorial can be accessed here.

This encyclical is a valuable document, but has some missing dimensions. It does not analyse the way the modern world has been set up as an association of Christians with governments and colonial powers, especially from 1492 to 1945. The pope seems to overlook the inadequacies of the church in the course of history.

The Catholic church, it needs to be recalled, was closely associated with the invasion of the lands of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Oceania. In addition to plundering the riches of these lands, the Western invaders virtually exterminated almost the whole of these people in North America. It is estimated that there were 80 million Native Americans in these lands in 1492, but by 1600 their numbers had been reduced to one million due to wars and diseases brought by the invaders.

The map of the modern world was made mainly by European (colonial) expansion which was by invasion and capture of weaker peoples territories, by expelling the natives further into the interior, by their murder and virtual extermination, by wars among colonial powers, and even by purchase of vast areas of land from colonisers, usually after their conflicts......

This is what passes for the present world order, legitimized by the United Nations, set up with their national borders as inviolable. It consolidates centuries of European victories, pillage, colonization, exploitation, and marginalization of other peoples. The structural adjustment policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank do not call for structural improvements in relation to population and land. Only factors such as capital, resources and technology are considered mobile in the so called "free market" and "free world". The present distribution of land among the peoples is taken as legal and unchangeable, except with their consent.

The church needs to analyse how the message of love of God and neighbor revealed by Jesus Christ seems to have been gravely distorted during many centuries until the Second Vatican Council in 1962-1965. Further, has not the truth of history been so overlooked by Christians and the church to forget the harm they have done to other peoples, other religions and nature itself during nearly a millennium? We can all profit by reflecting on the hundred and more apologies of the Pope John Paul II to the groups thus offended.

Pope John Paul did not, however, take these apologies to their practical consequences of a good and integral confession and penance including: to assess the extent of the damage, reparation, compensation, firm purpose of amendment, avoiding occasions of sin. The tone of the encyclical would be less self justifying and more self purifying if it would undertake a good analysis of these historical realities, seeing also the neo-colonial re-domination of the world by the super powers and their multinationals. Can not the universities, seminaries and research institutes of Christians and civil society help us all in seeking the truth and action of justice and charity to build a better world as the pope desires? (I see this neo colonization as more of one of multinationals and their super power lackeys. Multinationals have no national allegiances.)

The church would have much to learn and gain from a serious dialogue on these issues with activists and scholars of other faiths and cultures, who have a not so pleasant experience and memory of powerful Christian powers during the past five centuries. As the pope mentions, the human community can get together to build a civilization of love and truth in this century, which commenced with a “war against terror” since March 2003.

In his inauguration homily, Pope Benedict XVI said: “My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen with the whole church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the church at this hour of our history.”

This reflection shows that the Catholic church has had to correct herself on several issues during the course of the centuries. Some issues include the claim that the Catholic church is the sole possessor of the truth about God, ignoring that the Spirit of God is present to all persons, cultures and historical events and processes and unique and necessary path to human salvation. (The presence of God is the foundation on which all creation is built. One can be ignorant to God's presence in their life, but God is still there.)

The church has shown it could:

--marginalize women in church and society and exclude them from decision making.
--use violence as a means of spreading the faith,
--adopt authoritarian ways to suppress dissent on doctrines.
--tolerate and even encourage colonial imperialist policies and profit from them.
--teach that the way to human salvation depends on amends made to God the Father for the sins of humanity by Jesus Christ by his death on the cross.

This view has overlooked the social mission of Jesus in working for the liberation of the poor and oppressed. The church accordingly stressed works of charity but neglected action for social justice and the reform of the social structures within countries and the world at large. (I would go further and state that the Church actively used personal acts of charity as a means of undermining any real social justice reform specifically to support the colonial powers.)

On this basis Christian spirituality encouraged humble acceptance of domination by others, as a way of discipleship of Jesus who accepted suffering even unto death on the cross. This is said, to make amends to the Father for the sins of humanity. Due to this perspective, the spiritual life was interpreted more as a flight from the world rather than as a commitment to realise the kingdom of God on earth.

During 15 centuries, until recently, the accent in Christian spirituality was more on charity and works of mercy rather than social justice. There was no insistence on the need of reforming the unjust world order which Christians helped to set up. Thus, even at the beginning of the 21st century, Euro-Americans, controlling most of the land and resources of the world, are forgetful of the core teaching of Jesus on sharing with the needy.

In the process the Catholic liturgy was made more a ritual than an expression and experience of the love of God and neighbor. Thousands of Holy Masses can be celebrated in a country without much serious reflection on and impact on social justice in a world of great inequalities and armed conflicts. Prayer and meditation can be, de facto, indifferent to unjust social realities and to gross violations of human rights. (And they can be purposefully taught so that they in fact support gross violations of human rights and leave people stagnant and ineffectual in their spiritual life.)

It would be beneficial if pluralist groups would dialogue on these issues for our common good.


One didn't have to look hard to see the effects of 500 years of Euro-American rule on the indigenous population of the Southwest. The city of Santa Fe and the communities surrounding Santa Fe show the effect. I couldn't begin to afford living in Santa Fe, but twenty miles out of the city it's a different story--a different world.

Santa Fe seems to revolve around wealthy international tourists and the professional population of Los Alamos. It was mind boggling to meander down the Old Santa Fe Plaza and see the unbelievable mark up on Native art and all the outlets for some of the more expensive stores one would find on Rodeo drive in Los Angeles. It didn't take long to figure out I was not one of the elite Old Santa Fe exists to serve. Santa Fe serves the rich scientific modern world in the way that Chimayo serves the poor spiritual old world.

The ironic thing for me is that both the Catholic spirituality of Chimayo and the Indigenous spirituality of the Navajo and Pueblo tribes co exist with the cutting edge science of Los Alamos. In my scheme of things both world views deal with quantum reality and their respective effects on Newtonian reality. I guess it's not surprising these two world views are in the same area, with Santa Fe in the middle, benefiting and profiting from the adherents of both mind sets.

What I have called spiritual technology works from the quantum level to further the common good and is always holistic, balanced, and healing. It is based in unconditional love, as love is a real force in the quantum world. See these previous postings.

Man's technology is often beyond man's capacity to predict the full consequences of it's use. It all too frequently does not result in balance and holistic integration. The consequences of it's use throw cultures and societies completely out of balance, resulting in little that resembles healing.

On that note it was interesting to see that many of the exhibits at the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos stressed that one use of the discussed weapons technology was medicinal. With out their nuclear and computer research there would be no CAT or PET scans, no use of radioactive isotopes in diagnosing and treating cancer. Without research into bio weapons there would be no human genome project and fewer break throughs in vaccine technologies and delivery systems. Very little of the modern medicine we all know and love (and most of us can't afford) wouldn't exist without the weapons related research of the scientists of Los Alamos.

Los Alamos is worth the trip. The Bradbury museum is really well done. The exhibits extolling the scientific progress made at Los Alamos are informative while mostly devoid of any mention of the negative impact the created technologies have had on the world. It is never the less, a mind boggling experience.

The exhibit on the progression in computer technology starts with the slide rule and ends with the latest super computer. That's a progression in data processing speed of a half a bit per second to three trillion bits per second. My daughter was floored to think that a lot of this progression happened in my life time. She came away with a much better appreciation of the amount of change society has undergone since World War II.

For people in Pope Benedict's age bracket, whose lives have experienced one endless technological revolution after another, this has been especially theologically challenging. Catholic leaders like Benedict grew up with a ritualized formal spirituality which, as Fr. Balasuriya points out, was specifically designed to be a spiritual flight from the world, not an active participant in the world. This has not only resulted in a lack of real social justice, but in a theology which has allowed the Western scientific community to define reality on their terms. Western science does not have the whole truth. It isn't close to having the real truth.

A more complete world view must also contain the truth about the quantum force Jesus called love. This truth is not part of the Western scientific model. It was the truth Jesus came to teach. It is the truth which is timeless and limitless and the one where western Christianity has seriously dropped the ball. The consequences of that fumble now threaten the entire world. Love has no place in our quantum calculations when it should have first place.

More on this tomorrow.


  1. I don't always understand everything you write about, but I deeply appreciate that you DO. Your entry today has left my mind reeling- in a good way. I feel stretched and called to continue to think more deeply and listen more carefully to what is being revealed in this age.

    I am a amazed at how you are able to tie all of these diverse topics together.

    God bless your relocation. It sounds like a rich time for you spiritually. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Colleen, glad you're back. I'm looking forward to hearing about St. Michael the Archangel and the quantum force of love.

  3. Bernard Lonergan S.J. said that the Second Vatican Council was, "the Church discovered history" or words to that effect. The Church finally acknowledged that human development is an action of Spirit, moving towards God.
    The people who point to dogmas and statements of data as the definition of their religion, who suggest that we "just leave" the Church because of our questions and desires and loves, who champion "the Truth" - they are guilty of idolatry. Theirs is the Church of Mind, not the Church of Spirit.
    Human consciousness is a wonderful and mysterious thing, wrapping the world in vision, lapping on the farthest shores of this universe. Consciousness, however, is not unique to human beings. Animals have a lesser kind of consciousness; plants can be said to have a certain kind of awareness too. The mind gives meaning to the world, meanings that can change when we respond to the Spirit. Consider anything you experienced in the past that now has deeper meaning than it did then because of your spiritual growth. What if you had elevated your mind above your spirit, and dictated to yourself that Meaning #1 of that past experience is set in stone? What if you labeled Meaning #1 as "defined dogma"? Abrasion, stagnation, irrelevance.
    Yours would be a Church of Mind, not a Church of Spirit.
    I commented on the consequent "frozen Truths" people would cling to on the Bilgrimage blog under my actual name, Brian, the other day.
    As the new Earth issued forth Life and Life issued forth Mind, now we must let Mind be enhanced by Spirit, which is more and more welling up in the minds of Catholics and people everywhere.
    Our relationship with God in Spirit is totally different than the relationship we have to God with our consciousness.
    Think of the old question, "What is the meaning of life?" That question refers to the relationship of Mind (which gives meaning)and Life. Whatever the answer is, it is not ultimately what we're looking for. We, as the People of God, desire communion with God and each other. In a communion of Spirit, there's no meaning necessary to interpret the other. I sometimes wonder, does consciousness survive death? If the answer is no, that's nothing to be afraid of because our Spiritual communion is a far, far better thing.
    We ought to ever strive to be members of a Church of the Spirit and People of God, not the Church of an idolized human Mind, that freezes all reality into concepts, definitions, dogmas in order to subdue it and establish dominion over it. I'm being purposely forceful to make a point here. Of course, we need languages, scientific, theological, etc. to get by and flourish in the world, but when we idolize them, we are no longer listening to the Spirit.

  4. Brian, you are getting into some interesting territory. I think consciousness is evolving, moving up the spiritual food chain so to speak. In other words we are bringing more spirit into our incarnated bodies and this is expressed through consciousness.

    Neuro physiologists see the brain as an information sending and recieving unit whose number of channels can be augmented through meditative and spiritual practices. That's certainly been my experience.

    Certain of these channels allow access to areas of reality which most certainly impact and change Newtonian reality. Sometimes this information comes in a creative breakthrough, such as Watson and Crick had with their discovery of the double helix design of DNA. Sometimes it's more concrete such as in a 'spontaneous' healing which instantly changes mutated DNA to it's pristine state.

    Any action motivated by love will have the most positive impact for the most people. One truth from quantum physics, which also holds true in the spiritual world, is the idea of critical mass. It doesn't take many spiritual people working from the same 'channel' to effect massive positive change. Like minded people are meeting and gathering all over the world and are effecting massive change. Obama is one example of this massive change. Whether he intended it or not he is exposing exactly how corrupt our democracy really is,and just how co opted our political and economic systems are by self interested multinationals.

    The light is shining in some dark areas and it will be interesting to see how this all finally plays out. The one thing I know for sure is that things will evolve to a higher state.

    Catholicism is not exempt from this process. The pursuit of power will give way to the exercise of love if only because love trumps power.

    I have a bumper sticker on my little Geo Tracker which says: "when the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." That time is coming.

  5. Orlando, I had the same thought the other day of a new catholic church being named the Church of the Holy Spirit. Your comment makes a lot of sense to me. Almost everyday a mindful fundamentalist tells those in the spirit of Christ to just leave the Church. Since the mindful deal with words as from the mind and all that is "logical" they miss what the spirit is trying to tell them.

    There really are two Churches in one now in this moment of time. It's as if there is a tug of war going on. One Church is of the VI mind. The other Church is of the VII mind. Benedict stands in the middle it seems of this tug of war between the two minds as the great intellect trying to fuse these two very distinct mindsets. But rather than fuse, it tends to con-fuse.

    Fr. Tessa Balasuriyu then adds more dimension to what the Pope was trying to convey. Colleen blows them both away and interjects the idea of quantum energy of love.

    Now there are three Churches in one: the Church of the Father (mind), the Son (body), and the Holy Spirit.

    Makes sense?

  6. Butterfly,
    I don't quite understand your 'three churches in one' analysis. It sounds interesting, though.
    Also, I presume that 'VI mind' and 'VII mind' are part of a hierarchy of development that I'm not aware of (but should be).
    I agree with Fr. Tissa's analysis and I am reminded of the quote of Karl Marx that was inscribed on his gravestone: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." We could say much the same thing about contemporary, credentialed, professional theologians (as well as philosophers). Although, as Fr. Richard McBrien pointed out in a recent column, many theologians, who need to pay the bills like the rest of us, see what happens to the Fr. Haights, Sorbinos, and Kungs of the Catholic world and decide on a less challenging tact.
    I just purchased a DVD of a little known 1975 independent British film called "Winstanley". It was filmed on a shoestring budget with mostly volunteers and tells the story of Gerrard Winstanley, leader of the Diggers, or True Levellers during Cromwellian times. Winstanley believed that the common land was for all, especially the poor, and not just for livestock. In one great scene, a noblewoman lectures the poor Winstanley, explaining that God made some people poor so that others might practice charity, and if people "held the Earth as a common treasury" as Winstanley argued, wither charity? Great little film you can pick up on amazon.com. Fr. Tissa's article reminded me of this film, to a degree.

  7. Brian, the Winstanley film makes a great point, and one I have to elaborate on.

    The noblewoman essentially states that poor people exist to provide opportunities for rich people to practice charity. Like dart boards exist for people to practice darts.

    The truth is extra wealth exists for rich people to use, not just for charity, but also because it's an energy force for social justice. Wealth is a real energy force in society and it's use has real consequences.

    Poor people do not exist for rich people to use to make themselves feel Christian. The rich have the energy of wealth. Christian wealthy have a mandate from Christ to use that energy for the benefit of the common good. Or as Fr. Tissa says to create the Kingdom of Christ on earth.

    There is nothing inherently evil or moral about wealth. Those values are determined by how one uses wealth.

    Personally I prefer a much more scaled back life style than that which I grew up in because there is far more freedom and far less angst. But then I had a choice and maybe that's what we should all be aiming for, a society in which lack of material possessions becomes a legitimate choice and not a fate of circumstance.