High and Low – To and Fro

2007/06/24

SPIRITUAL JOURNEY (backwards – latest first, mostly)

Filed under: Thoughts&Journeys — tramp11 @ 14:19

Two very brief recent diary entries:

18 March 2007: To me, the Cosmos is the result of some billions of years of trial and error by its universal consciousness [more on that in earlier posts below about religion]. Everything came about by trial and error.

11 May 2007: Intelligent design or Evolution? Intelligent => Yes. Design => No! Evolution => absolutely, Yes. Trial and error over billions of years, and intelligence = memory, primarily memory.

The End of Religion -updated

Diary entry Sunday 7 May 2006: It’s been over a year since I wrote in this diary . Nothing dramatic has happened. My thinking has continued to evolve, because I keep learning. The more I learn the more I see that there is so much more to learn in the subjects that I find most interesting: philosophy, human history, cosmology and geography.
Since the tragedy of 9/11 – 11 September 2001 and the American reaction to it I have found it hard to concentrate on subjects other than the current political, economic and military situation in the world. But I have read some books and many commentaries that have given me new insights on how the world – and the USA in particular came to that point. I have also read a few interesting texts on philosophy and religion/atheism that have given me food for thought. I don’t know anybody who would be open to discuss with me my ideas about religion – or even interested in the thoughts I have expressed in my Internet “blogs” (taken mostly from my diaries).
As my thinking has evolved I have come to feel that I have simply gone way beyond anything that could be called religion, and I am no longer challenged by religion at all. Religion – even in its broadest sense – is no longer of any interest to me because I now believe it is primarily a device that has been used to control people through fear and to impede the evolution of our minds. It is true that religious people have helped greatly at times to advance human morality – but even though it was undoubtedly important to put forward those ideals, most efforts to put them into practice led to the worst disasters and human atrocities that the world has known. The ideals were always turned into ideologies based on disastrously false premises. Why did this happen? But also, why can the vast majority of humankind apparently not live without some kind of religion?
I continue to be challenged by atheism. I do believe there is something we can call god – though a very strange one – but other than as an answer to the above questions I have almost no arguments to support the notion that a god exists. I simply don’t feel comfortable with the positions of the different forms of atheism. But I have no answers for atheists and no “defense” against their arguments.
Continued on Wednesday 10 May 2006 at 03:00 a.m.: Somehow I still do believe in the existence of a “god” even though I have no strong argument – much less proof – for this. As my earlier diary entries indicate (see my posts about god and the universe below), my idea of “god” has evolved very much over the past 10-12 years as I have gradually weaned myself away from the ideology of (the Korean “Rev.”) Moon Sun Myung’s Unification Church – the Divine Principle – and beyond that the whole idea of religion itself. I still think that there is something like universal consciousness and that that is “god.” But I believe, as I have explained in my diary entry of 6 April 2004 – which is my post “Thoughts About God” below – that this god has a personality of his/its own, like a human being. And to me the most important idea about this god is that he/it evolves. He/it evolves and changes together with us – and whatever other “intelligent” beings may exist in other worlds – and in fact through us. Universal consciousness to me means that everything – including inanimate objects – is conscious on some level, and of course human and other “intelligent” beings are conscious at the highest levels. The sum of all consciousness is god, but he/it is more than the sum of the parts and therefore he/it (I don’t want to imply -with “he” -that god is male) has a personality of his/its own. We have another name for god that I think is quite appropriate: “Mother Nature.” — Whimsical Mother Nature – that is god. But we cannot separate from this god – unlike what the common idea of Mother Nature implies – because we are a vital part of him/it. But the idea that this god is to be worshiped is a holdover from the days when humankind was even more primitive than it still is today. Religion – and especially the idea of worshiping anything – really should belong to earlier ages and should be banished from our evolving society. As long as we continue to be bound to such ideas we remain extremely primitive. It is utterly idiotic to worship god, or anything else, though I think god – just like our kings and queens of the past – enjoys being worshiped.
Yet these are the things and ideas that have held up the evolution of our society towards the higher planes where we will become so sensitive and attuned to each other and the spirit of the whole – including god – that the very idea of hurting another being or of fighting or war will seem completely outlandish and impossible. We will no longer need to kill or destroy living beings in order to feed our bodies because we will be able to get our nourishment from inanimate matter. A stone is conscious because of the reality of universal consciousness, but a stone is not a living being that feels pain when its shape is changed. We will be able to “eat” stones – to derive our nourishment from stones or create it from hydrogen, etc. In today’s reality all this seems crazy – but I think this is where we are going. — I have too little time to analyze and correct my thoughts before committing them to paper – so they are not always logically consistent…
More about god from an email I sent to a friend on 16 May 2006:
… I think I never went as far as you did in having deep spiritual experiences, though at times I certainly felt something like what Einstein called the “cosmic religious feeling.” I know other people who have gone much further.
In my view now – as it has evolved over the years – the evil we perceive is as deep within ourselves as is the good. Both come from a god who should not be regarded the way we have learned to regard him (it). This god itself has only gradually – and together with our forebears and us – developed an understanding of certain things as good and others as evil – a process that will likely continue for eons to come. This is why I deliberately put the very word god in small characters (though not consistently so). I don’t want to capitalize that word so as to avoid giving the impression that it is something to be worshiped – because all of us who have grown up with religion have a one-sided, false view of god as an all-good father (and mother) of the world but what I consider the real god is also the same as “satan.” The most important point about this god is that it evolves through us – it can only change towards good through us and together with us (and all other intelligent beings in the cosmos – if any). We and this universe are like the body of this god and it cannot have a separate existence without this body, yet neither can we and the universe exist without the mind of god, whose consciousness makes all of this possible. Consciousness=existence and v.v. When I use the word “creation” (a word I really don’t like because it implies something impossible such as making something concrete out of nothing) I mean a process of changing elements of the body of god, bundling parts of its energy into different forms of matter and making new things out of existing material. If we worship this god we behave like stupid children. It is high time we started growing up in that sense.
Of course, just like you I don’t believe in “evangelizing,” proselytizing. I don’t believe in religion at all anymore – any kind of religion, other than Einstein’s “cosmic religious feeling,” which is within ourselves because we are god and god is us. God is no better and no greater than us, because he (it) exists through us as we exist through our bodies. I am telling you these things simply because in telling them I have to formulate and clarify them in my own mind and thus I can come to understand them better myself.
Anyway – I feel we have to grow up and to grow out of religion…
—–
Correction/Clarification added on 2 December 2006: After reading more from others on the subject of the above text and thinking about it I now feel that I used some inappropriate and misleading terms. In talking about “religion” above, what I really mean is a dominant religious or pseudo-religious ideology (e.g. including communism), not what is commonly described as faith. I am not against religious faith of any kind that inspires a culture, only against ideologies of any kind that come to dominate cultures. To the extent that organized religions have indeed dominated cultures or civilizations I would want to see an end to those religions. I now feel, however, that my use of the term “banish” in the diary entry in saying religion “should be banished from our evolving society” was inappropriate because it implies, wrongly, that I would advocate some kind of forceful action to rid society of religion as such. I believe in Einstein’s “cosmic religious feeling,” together with Bertrand Russell’s vision on his 80th birthday: to “care for what is noble,” beautiful, gentle, and “to allow moments of insight to give wisdom at more mundane times,” and to work towards creating a society “where individuals grow freely, and where hate and greed and envy die because there is nothing to nourish them.” To those things that have to “die” I would also add arrogance — the feeling of superiority over others as individuals or groups of any kind that appears to give one or one’s group the right to dominate them. This probably comes from one of the base aspects of god that I described in my 2004 entry “Thoughts about god,” and that we will have to change as we evolve with god to higher levels.
—-
More, adapted from a message to a friend on 27 December 2006:
… Even though I do respect the position of atheism because it is most logical I continue to feel that there is something else. But this something else is INSIDE, NOT BEYOND this world. This god, in my view, is inside us and inside everything – and it is not outside or beyond our world and our universe. If our cosmos could be said to have had any beginning at all, then this god began with it and could not have existed “before” the cosmos. And it grew and changed and evolved with the cosmos, because it IS the cosmos.
—-
More, from a message to another friend on 3 January 2007:
I tend to think that people who have died continue to exist in some way, but not in a heaven or a hell. I feel everything and everybody that ever existed did not just come and then disappear completely — they are like imprints on this universal consciousness or god or whatever you want to call it, and as such they are eternal. And I don’t believe time is really as it seems to be, leaving everything behind at some point. Nothing is really completely left behind. We and the cosmos carry everything and everybody with us into the future forever. So nothing and nobody is “just gone.”
***

Memory of California Thanksgiving 1975

Excerpt from my diary entry for Thanksgiving Day 28 November 1996: … Today being Thanksgiving reminds me of my most memorable Thanksgiving Day in America 21 years ago (it was also my first Thanksgiving there since I arrived in the States on 6 March 1975). That year, 1975, Thanksgiving Day fell on 27 November, a day earlier than this year. The day began, for me, in a boxcar of a freight train about 10 kilometers or so east of a town called Tracy, which is somewhere to the southwest of Stockton, California. It had been my third and last ride on a freight train in California (the first ride had taken me from Roseville outside Sacramento, where I had spent 3 days without a roof over my head, to a railroad yard only a couple of miles away, and the second ride was from that yard to Stockton at night).
With me in the boxcar outside Tracy was a man whom I had met in Sacramento (at the Salvation Army soup kitchen) a few days earlier and who had given his name as “Bob Robinson,” from West Virginia (if I remember correctly). We had tramped together. He had been on many freight trains and could tell many horror stories about life as a hobo. He said he also once spent 8 years in jail in Louisiana on charges of armed robbery. And he said he had fought in Korea. I estimated his age at 40-45. And he also said he’d been a boxer.
We had gone from Stockton to a place called French Camp, hitch-hiking and walking, planted onions in a field together with some Mexican workers for a few bucks. Then we went on to the small town of Lathrop and spent the next two cold nights out under the stars on a nearby swath of tumbleweed-strewn wasteland. I bought bottles of cheap red wine here and there along the way, and he drank most of it (he wanted the stuff but said he had no money, so since we were traveling together I bought it for him). We hoped to be able to catch a freight train going south through Lathrop, but the ones that passed were all going too fast. No way to catch them. “Bob” (he also called me Bob because he could not memorize my first name) had persuaded me to come with him to Indio, southeast of Los Angeles, for the winter, where he had previously worked in lumbering and where he thought we might both find temporary work.
The third night at Lathrop, on the eve of Thanksgiving, we saw some workers preparing a freight train for a trip. There were two nice boxcars, one with both doors wide open — just right. Bob got in while I went to get my backpack and his bedroll. When I came back there was no sign of Bob. It was pitchdark inside that boxcar. When I called him there was a muffled sound as if someone moaned in pain. I got in and the moaning intensified. There was something big on the floor under my feet and when I touched it I realized that there were several big and heavy wooden boards lying there. It turned out that they had been standing upright when Bob arrived, leaning against the wall of the boxcar and fastened there. Bob had apparently loosened them and they fell right on top of him. I pulled them off to the side one after another. They were so heavy that I could only lift one side of one of them at a time. I couldn’t see Bob’s face but he must have been miserable. He complained of excruciating pain in one leg and one side of his pelvis/hip. And he stank of excrement. His pants were full of shit. I assumed that the heavy load must have pressed on his abdomen, forcing his feces out. Luckily I had a spare pair of pants in my backpack. So I used handkerchiefs and paper tissue and a small towel to clean up his legs and buttocks in the dark after carefully pulling off his soiled trousers (he couldn’t move one of his legs at all and couldn’t even turn on his hips).
He cried in pain. Very slowly I inserted his legs into my spare pants and then covered him with his blankets. He asked me to take him to a doctor. I would have had to carry him, of course. The workers outside were long gone (we had waited till they left before approaching the train). There was an engine at the far end of the train but I didn’t know whether it was manned at this point. I was a bit hesitant to take him to the town because I was an illegal alien in America, liable to face a brief jail sentence and deportation if caught, and we had already committed an offense by just getting on the freight train in the first place. Moreover, I was upset with Bob at the time because he had broken into a trailer home that day trying to steal something. That trailer belonged to a nice middle-aged couple from Missouri (which they pronounced something like “Mazarra”) who had invited us in that morning for a cup of coffee when they found us creeping out of our hoarfrost-covered beddings amid the tumbleweeds. They had told us they planned to drive to Stockton that day, and they left the trailer sitting there. It was not very big but it contained, among other things, several bird cages with various small birds in them, and 2 or 3 dogs.
I gave Bob his wine that evening. He usually took only a few gulps but I later found out he had emptied the bottle this time while I had gone for a walk. I returned to our camp when I heard the Missourians’ dogs barking. Bob came back from the trailer. He was drunk. He confessed that he’d smashed a window with his fist, trying to break in, but gave up when the dogs went crazy. I told him we couldn’t stay together after this. I would not go with him to Indio — and anyway, we had to get out of this area fast because the Missourians would call the police when they returned. Not long after that … [continued on 30 November 1996, Saturday:] … we saw the fateful train with the open boxcar and decided to take one last ride together.
The train started moving before I could make up my mind to take Bob to a doctor. We didn’t go very far, though. Probably less than half an hour. The train stopped in what appeared to be an uninhabited area, because there were no lights except a small one outside a low building nearby that seemed to be empty. At the far end of the train I could see the engine leaving. We were alone in the dark.
In the morning I saw that we were on one of several railroad tracks, and that a road ran beside them — although there was a low fence in between. Bob was still in bad shape. I picked him up carefully and carried him to the fence by the road. Somehow I managed to get him over the fence. He moaned a lot and appeared on the verge of passing out at one point. He clearly was in great pain when I moved him. I brought our luggage. We found out that Bob was able to stand on one leg, and so we stood there, Bob leaning against me, waving wildly at the first car that came up on the road. It sped off. After a while a second car came, and its driver was less afraid than the first one. He rolled down his window and I told him we needed an ambulance as my companion had broken his leg in a bad fall. The man drove off, and sure enough, not much later he came back with an ambulance. Bob was put on a stretcher and I rode in the front of the ambulance with the driver. He told me that they came from a clinic in Tracy.
At the clinic Bob was immediately cleaned and x-rayed. The doctor told me he had suffered a complex fracture of the hipbone and had to be transferred to a bigger hospital in Stockton. I told Bob that our ways had to part because I couldn’t accompany him to Stockton, then wished him good luck. At this point I had only 9 (nine) dollars to my name, and there was nothing more I could do for him …
[continued 1 December 1996:] … I decided that it was time to fulfill a promise I had made to my friends at the Going-Up Press printshop (I’m not sure I remember that name correctly) in Washington D.C., fellow members of the Unification Church, when I left them 16 days earlier on 11 November 1975: to visit a Unification Church center in the San Francisco area on my intended trip around the world. My central figure (boss) at the printshop, Mr. George Edwards, and my friends at “Upshur House,” a former Libyan Embassy building on Upshur Street in D.C., had asked me to do that. One of them had hidden 10 dollars in a small plastic bottle of “holy salt” that I had in my luggage (to supplement my meager fortune of 30 dollars), and another had given me a space blanket for cold nights out under the stars plus the good advice to take (hitch-hike) Interstate Highway 40 instead of I-80 as I had planned. I-80 passes through mountainous Colorado, which is why I favored it (I always loved mountains), but he (he was a giant of a man named Dennis Taylor — a very good brother) looked at my sleeping bag and said I would freeze to death if I slept outside along I-80. He suggested that I take I-40 instead, which runs through North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona and southern California. I’d followed his advice and made it from D.C. to the Los Angeles area in 5 days (San Fernando Valley, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Santa Barbara and finally as far as Arroyo Grande on Route 101 [south of San Luis Obispo] where I spent my first night in California 15-16 November 1975 — I ended up staying in California until 31 January 1976 — exactly 2½ months or 77 days — my favorite state).
I hitch-hiked from Tracy in the general direction of the San Francisco Bay area, hoping to visit the Unification Church center in Oakland and then try to head north again towards Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — my original destination when I came across the Atlantic on 6 March 1975. After one very brief ride with a young hippie-type couple I was picked up by a man in his mid- thirties (my guess) who drove a big pickup truck. His name was Tom …. — I think — and he said he was from Ohio. He told me he was planning to buy a horse, or horses (don’t remember which) in this area, and then he asked me if I knew Jesus. I told him that I had joined a Christian movement on the East Coast and that I was planning to visit a church of that movement in the Bay Area. In the course of the conversation I admitted to him that I had sort of lost my way in the search for God and wasn’t praying anymore. I might have mentioned to him that the movement I had joined was the Unification Church, which did not ring a bell in his mind, but I certainly did not say anything about Reverend [Sun Myung] Moon, whose name would almost certainly have rung a bell for him. He asked how much money I had on me, and when I said 9 dollars he took a 20-dollar bill from the top of the sunshade above the windshield and handed it to me. He dropped me off on a bridge that crossed the freeway leading north to Concord, saying he had to look at some horses in nearby Livermore and would be back in about an hour. He said he would take me to Concord if I didn’t get a ride until he came back.
Some time after he was gone a car passed me and went down the ramp but stopped just short of the junction with the freeway. A young guy got out, waved to me and shouted, “Do you want a ride?” I picked up my pack and ran down towards him, but on the way I suddenly had a funny feeling that something was wrong with this guy and the way the car stopped where it did. The guy was on the passenger side, and another young man was in the driver’s seat. The car had no rear doors, so the first guy had had to get out to let me in. I dismissed my ill feeling and handed him my backpack when he reached for it. That was my mistake.
Instead of letting me into the car he simply threw my pack into the back and got right back in himself. Almost immediately the driver stepped on the gas and put the engine in gear. I jumped, trying to get on top of the guy who had taken my backpack, but found myself actually hanging between the car and its open door, with one hand on the roof and one on the door (when I told this story to others later they said I had made that up based on Hollywood movies). But as the car began to pick up speed I quickly realized that I was risking my life. Luckily I let go before it was too late. I fell flat on my belly on the freeway, and my glasses fell off my nose. By the time I had put them back in place the car was gone too far for me to be able to read the license plate.
I was unhurt, except for a couple of scratches, so I walked back up to the top of the bridge. The backpack contained nothing valuable to anyone but myself. It was almost all I possessed at that point. It was also a symbol of my past. There was a notebook in which I had written down my ideas and feelings, my philosophy, letters, and my first Divine Principle book, given to me by my spiritual mother, Noriko S. (of Japan).
I still carried a few things in my pockets: my passport, some Polaroid photos I’d taken in New York and my wallet with 29 dollars. That was all. I had symbolically lost my past. And I should have begun a new life at this point. But this type of situation had occurred before and would recur many more times without me ever really succeeding in making a new start — changing my life. I was never able to really cut off from my past, though I tried many times.
Anyway, Tom … came back in his pickup truck, and I told him the story. He said perhaps that was a sign from God that I should go back to the Christian movement I had left and stay with them. Just before he dropped me off in Concord he took two 20-dollar bills from his sunshade, handed them to me, and then took my hand and said a short prayer to Jesus, asking that the Lord guide me.
From Concord I took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train to Berkeley, went to a telephone booth and looked up the Unification Church in the directory. It was listed. The address was on a street or avenue (Euclid Avenue, I think) just off Hearst Street, which lines the nice University of California campus. When I went to the house I was told it was a day-care center or some such thing and the Unification Church had moved out some time (6 months?) ago: new address unknown.
I walked around the campus for awhile, checking out the trees and shrubs to see if there was a good place to sleep without being seen. Then I bought a 20-dollar sleeping bag in a shop downtown and returned to the street where the Unification Church had once been located. I thought I would now try to realize my original plan to go back to Stone Age in the woods of British Columbia. But one of the things I had lost when my backpack was stolen was a book I absolutely needed for that purpose: a wilderness survival guide. So I went to a bookstore near the campus and looked at the books there. They had several interesting ones.
As I was looking through one of those books two well-dressed young men walked up to me and greeted me. I was a bit suspicious because I thought they might be from the Immigration department (INS) looking for illegal aliens like me, or perhaps from the FBI or the CIA or who knows what. They said they were students and told me about an outfit called the Creative Community Project that brought young people from all kinds of backgrounds together to share ideas and experiences with the aim of promoting inter-cultural communication and understanding, and working together to build a better future for all. They mentioned that there was a beautiful farm where young people could study and work together. The idea of such a farm did not alarm me because I had worked on a sort of farm at Barrytown, on the Hudson River near Kingston and the Catskills in New York State, where the Unification Church held its workshops in a building that later became (as of September 1975) the Unification Theological Seminary. We had gardens on that 250-acre property and I had helped to grow corn there, etc.
The two in the bookstore invited me to a free Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and cake at their community place on Hearst Street, and I happily accepted. Being a bit short of money as I was, a free dinner was certainly welcome. After they left it occurred to me that they seemed vaguely familiar. Not because I had seen them before, but there was something in their faces and in the way they talked that was familiar: they seemed like members of the church that I had known back on the East Coast. One of the two, whose name was Trimble, from Minnesota (he was later kidnapped and reportedly became an enemy of our church — deprogramming other members), was just like some other brothers from the Midwest that I had known in New York. Another thing that was funny was my own feeling and attitude. I am by nature a rather pessimistic, melancholy person. And I had just been robbed of my most precious possessions. And I had nowhere near enough money to buy the necessary equipment to survive in the wild in British Columbia or even to make it up there — except if I was very lucky hitch-hiking (in Sacramento I had been stuck for 3 days without getting a ride). And yet I felt happy. I didn’t worry too much about where I would sleep that night or the next.
I went to an ice cream parlor and enjoyed a nice hot fudge sundae (I think — at least that’s what I used to like in New York). Trimble, the “student” (I think his first name was Jeff, but I’m not sure), came in and reminded me of his earlier invitation to the Thanksgiving dinner — at Hearst Street, number such and such, at 18:00 hours. Well, come 18:00 I went to the place. From the beginning I felt something as if I was not going to a strange house but actually coming home. Coming home, indeed. I had never seen the place before but the people’s faces were familiar — somehow. There were many young people. We gathered in a circle in a big room and began to sing songs. I knew the songs. I had sung them all in Barrytown, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., etc.
I turned to a sister next to me and asked: “Is this the Unification Church? — I’m a member.” She put a finger across her lips and indicated that we should talk after the singing and prayer. We had a great dinner, during which I learned, from the same sister and out of earshot of the others, that this was indeed the Unification Church.She asked me not to use that name, however, because there was too much bad publicity about it. She told me that Rev. Moon had approved the use of the name Creative Community Project.
We were all invited to spend a weekend at the farm at Boonville, 120 miles (200 km) north of San Francisco in the coastal hills — a 750-acre property. Of course I would be happy to go, I said, and signed up. We were to be taken there by bus the following evening — Friday, 28 November 1975. After it was all over I went out to try to find a place to sleep. Though I had been a member on the East Coast for some 8 months, nobody here knew me and they couldn’t let me stay at the center.
That night I walked up a road lining the upper side of Berkeley campus, looking for a place to crash and at the same time enjoying the view across the Bay to the lights of San Francisco … (continued 2 December 1996) … Suddenly I was illuminated by a car’s high beam. It was a patrol car. A police officer came up to me and asked to see some ID. His partner stayed in the car. On the spur of the moment I decided to show him my Luxembourg passport. He leafed through it, looked at the American visa and handed it back to me. Apparently he didn’t know that I was supposed to have an I-94 immigration dept. form attached to a page in the passport, which gave my date of entry into the United States and specified how long I was allowed to stay. I had thrown that form away months ago when it expired with no possibility of renewal. He then told me that I was not allowed to sleep outside near the campus, and he and his buddy left in their patrol car.
People at the church center had given me directions to the local YMCA, where they said I could spend the night for little money. I went there and got a cheap bed for the night. The next day I went up to Boonville, the 750-acre farm, which was called Ideal City Ranch. It’s a beautiful place. I went on to spend about 5 weeks there, attending workshops and helping with the farm work. Then I spent another month or so in San Francisco, mostly witnessing to people in the Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghirardelli Square area (met many New Yorkers there) and once selling roses on the street. I lived in the church center on Washington Street near a small park (Lafayette Park?) in Pacific Heights (?). Only once did I manage to bring a guest to a workshop in Boonville: a German girl by the name of Elisabeth H., who studied in Massachusetts and whom I met at the Wharf. She hailed from Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, I think, and was a practicing Catholic. She joined the (Unification) Church in Oakland later. I met her very briefly 7-8 months later in Washington, D.C., in a McDonald’s, I think. She was on her way to visit her folks in Germany. She said the Oakland Church leaders, Mose and Onni Durst, had given her permission to do that. This surprised me, as we were in the midst of Rev. Moon’s most important campaign in the States: we were preparing for the big Washington Monument rally on 18 September of this Bicentennial Year 1976.
Anyway, so much for the story of Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 1975, when I returned to the church after a 16-day absence. I never saw or heard from Elisabeth again.
END
*** 
 

The Universe and Us

February 10, 2005 diary entry:
– When I think about what we call the universe I wonder whether such a thing really exists or is perhaps no more than an illusion. Yes, we have cosmology and we imagine that we know something about how this so-called universe was formed and what it is like at this time — and we even have ideas about its future. We believe we can see and measure distant galaxies and we also believe we have found other planets — thinking there must be some out there that are not so different from our little “island,” the earth.
But how far have we gone until now? How much of this “universe” have we been able to actually explore rather than just look at from a very great distance with our telescopes and other devices we use to capture electromagnetic waves/emissions? We have actually traveled as far as the earth’s little moon and sent small remotely-guided spacecraft to explore some other planets and their moons within our solar system. Compared to the size of the universe that we believe we are seeing all around us, the tracks we have made so far are infinitesimal. For all we know from actual exploration, the entire universe might as well be just some kind of illusion projected onto a canvas that surrounds our solar system. We have really explored nothing at all. In that sense, we are really extremely primitive. In many other ways too, of course.
Our own imagination has raced very, very far ahead of us in the sense that we can envision spiritual and material things far beyond our present practical ability — but it is still grounded in and to some degree bounded/limited by our miserable, primitive reality. We can dream of a world where war is a distant memory but we are very far from being able to fashion one.
As I have explained elsewhere (in earlier diary entries), I believe there is a “god,” a single being that encompasses the world we know. Actually, my idea is pantheistic. I believe that that being I call god is the world we know. The world is a living being. Of course, as I have just mentioned in talking about the world “we know,” there is likely to be very much more to this world that we don’t know, since we have explored so little and are still so extremely primitive.
And, as I have noted before, what we like to call “good” and “evil” are simply aspects of this god, who I believe is evolving with us and through us.
For most of my life now — since March 1975 — I have been associated with a religious/political movement founded and led by the Korean Moon Sun Myung, also known as Rev. Moon. In recent years I have mentally separated from this man and his movement but have kept some ties to it because my wife remains a loyal follower and I do not want to break up our family (with 3 children). Moon is certainly a powerful and controversial figure, and in order to separate mentally from his movement and his world view I sometimes had to emphasize the negative aspects of what he is and does. I had to portray him in a bad light — to myself mostly. I think I have now reached a point where I can be more objective. At the same time I am aware that it is only natural for me to resist the notion that I have basically wasted my life by following a false belief and ideology for such a long time. However, I do see a lot of good in the teachings of Moon, even if I believe — as I most certainly do now — that his basic premise is false. He portrays god as absolute “good” and man as “fallen children” of this perfect god, who need to “restore” themselves to their originally-intended position with the help of a “messiah,” who will establish the “kingdom of heaven” on earth and in the spiritual world. I, on the other hand, believe that both “good” and “evil” are part and parcel of this god himself (or itself), and that he needs man to evolve in what I can only hope is his favored direction of “goodness.”
[For my view of god see: “Thoughts about God” and “Blasphemous Ideas… Y2K” below, also “Harmony and Chaos… 1996” and “First Serious Doubts… 1994” further down]
Moon teaches goodness, and he has some interesting, even valuable, things to say. But he also strives to dominate the world. There is perhaps potential good in this but I also see much potential evil. We cannot allow anyone to become king of the world. There is no way any single human being or human family or nation or race could ever be trusted to such an extent. I certainly believe that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely…. (could not continue as I was interrupted at this moment).
— Addendum November 2005: So who or what is Rev. Moon? Five years ago I suggested in a message to a friend that he was “god’s favorite toy of the moment.” It remains to be seen whether he is indeed the top favorite toy of the moment – but he is certainly no more than that – a toy. I do believe Moon is absolutely serious about what he does, so I don’t agree with those who describe him as a simple fraud. He truly believes that he is the messiah – there is no doubt in my mind about that – and that is why he is so good at making others believe… You may understand what I mean when you read more about my view of god in the posts below, especially “Thoughts about god.” 
***

Journeys Spriritual and Physical Since 1975

Adapted from a 1999 e-mail exchange with an ex-moonie in British Columbia/Canada whom I knew in San Francisco 24 years earlier:
… You know, when I came to America in March 1975, the place I wanted to go was actually British Columbia? I never made it to BC because I met the (Korean Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s) Unification Church in the States. I never even crossed the border into Canada. I have some distant relatives in Vancouver, who have lived there since the mid-50s. In 1974-75 I believed that modern civilization would be wiped out by a nuclear war in 1979 and that the only land areas of the world that would be more or less spared from the dangerous fallout would be in the southern hemisphere, because it contained few worth-while targets for nuclear strikes. But only very tough people used to surviving in a rough and wild environment could make it. So my plan was to put myself through a test: try to survive for at least one year alone in a wilderness area. The place I wanted to do that was an area somewhere to the north of Hazelton or New Hazelton in central British Columbia. Why that place? I don’t know — I just selected that spot when I looked over a detailed map of BC. If I survived, then I wanted to go south to Patagonia (Argentina-Chile) and basically wait there for the end of the world as we know it. – [[Thinking back to March 6, 1975, the day I arrived in New York on my first trip to North America — I wrote the following lines in April 1994: … Yes, this big city really conjured up the feeling that it was doomed, and the entire civilization that created it was doomed. It would all be annihilated in the nuclear war that I saw coming within a few years’ time. That holocaust had to happen — and I actually wished for it to occur. Because I felt that something was fundamentally wrong with this civilization. More than that, something was fundamentally wrong with humankind.
In my view the earth and in fact the entire universe was a harmonious whole, like a gigantic organism within which every part played a certain role and all parts were complementary to each other. Only man did not fit into this harmonious whole. Man was like a malignant cancer that, though originating from the whole, spread uncontrollably and destroyed other parts of the organism. Man alone was going against the purpose and design of the universe, and modern human civilization represented a cancer that had grown to such proportions that it threatened to overwhelm an entire planet. It had to be destroyed. Actually, because of its inherent contradictions it was bound to destroy itself. But I believed there could be, there had to be, a new beginning — because the universe had brought forth humankind and it was meant to exist, but it clearly had somehow gone wrong. Modern civilization would be destroyed but there would be survivors in different places. Those people would have to live in nature and start anew, but they would have to avoid the original mistake that made man go in the wrong direction. I felt that those survivors had to become completely one with nature, one with the spirit of the whole, the essence of the universe. And they should never ask the question “why?.” To me, this was the root of all the problems. We had to attune our hearts and minds to the harmonious whole of the universe without ever asking why things were the way they were and why we were what we were. Asking “why?” somehow meant that we separated ourselves mentally from the whole — and that was what caused humankind to go astray. Our ancestors in Stone Age had made this mistake, and the survivors of the expected nuclear holocaust would have to go back to Stone Age to try again. I was on my way to Stone age … ]] – I was alone. I told people, including my parents, about my idea, and of course everyone thought I was crazy. In early March 1975 I said goodbye (forever, I was sure) and flew to New York (cheapest flight across). I planned to take a train to Montreal the next day and hitch-hike west from there, looking up my relatives in Vancouver for a brief visit and then heading up to the woods north of Hazelton. But in New York City I ran into lots of moonie street preachers, and even though they seemed really crazy I accepted an invitation from one of them, a Japanese lady 10 years older than I, to listen to a lecture. I thought their idea of uniting religion and science sounded kind of interesting and, since I had time (and I knew it would be getting warmer in Canada), I agreed to go to a 3-day workshop at a farm/training center (now seminary) in Barrytown on the Hudson River northeast of Kingston/NY. Well, after 3 days came the 7-day, then the 21-day workshop, and I was hooked, more or less. I completed a 40-day workshop as well, then worked with the movement in Boston and New York City, went down to Atlanta a couple of times in a big truck to pick up fundraising product (peanut brittle, mostly), which we dropped off for mobile fundraising teams in the Carolinas, the Virginias, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Then I worked in a church-owned printshop in Washington, D.C. After 3 weeks there, in the first half of November 1975, I felt I needed a break. I wanted to travel to the west coast and around the world, and rejoin the church somewhere else. I told my friends I would rejoin within 2 years, and I promised to visit a church center on my way in California. So I left, with about $ 40 in my pocket and no plane ticket home or anything like that. All I had was the address of a friend in San Rafael, Marin County/California, who had left the church and whom I wanted to visit. I hitch-hiked down to North Carolina and across to the Los Angeles area on Interstate 40, then north on Highway 101, always sleeping outside. In San Rafael, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, I spent a few days with this ex-moonie friend, and he later dropped me off in Sacramento, from where I wanted to travel north to BC, going back to my original plan. I tried to hitch-hike north for 3 days — no success. Then I met some hobo at the local soup kitchen and he talked me into going south with him to Indio, near Los Angeles, where he was sure we could get jobs during the winter (I could always go to BC later on). Anyway, we wound up riding freight trains but got only as far as Stockton. Later, not far from there, he got badly hurt on one train, breaking his hip bone, and I had to take him to a hospital in Tracy. I couldn’t stay with him: I was an illegal alien (that’s another part of the story). Later the same day, Thanksgiving Day, I was robbed of all my possessions except my passport and a few dollars near Livermore, then a fundamentalist Christian guy gave me $ 60, and I was about ready to look up the church again. I couldn’t find the church center in Berkeley, but in the evening I ran into two young guys who invited me to a free Thanksgiving Dinner at a place on Hearst Street near Berkeley campus. That turned out to be the Unification Church, under a different name (Creative Community Project)….
After spending more than a month at the church’s farm in Boonville/Mendocino County and another month “recruiting” and selling roses in San Francisco I was sent with a group of over 30 other members on a bus (the “Dumbo” the elephant bus, which we had used as a mobile coffee shop at Fisherman’s Wharf to invite potential recruits) to New York. We drove south and then east along Interstate Highway 10. From El Paso we went northeast to Dallas via Abilene. In Dallas we started the Bicentennial God Bless America cleanup campaign by picking up garbage in one or two streets and doing our best to get some television coverage of our efforts (we had done the same earlier in San Francisco). We did the same in Birmingham/AL, Raleigh/NC, Richmond/VA, Washington DC and New York City, then headed to Barrytown for a 21-day workshop.
[Here comes a very long sentence:] … I stayed in the movement through Moon’s big Yankee Stadium (June 1976) and Washington Monument (September 1976) rallies, joined The News World (a new daily newspaper founded by church members) in New York City in late 1976, came back to my country Luxembourg for 3 months in 1979, traveled some 8,000 miles by train from here to Nakhodka in eastern Siberia and then by boat to Japan in October 1979 [through Supertyphoon Tip for 24 hours off the Pacific coast of Honshu Island] to visit my spiritual mother (the Japanese lady I had met in March 1975) there, went down to Bangkok to try working as a correspondent, was called back to New York a few months later, spent half of 1980 and all of 1981 in New York working for The News World and Free Press International, then in 1982 traveled around Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Czechoslovakia (just 3 days – in prison in Ceske Budejovice (Budweis)!), did research in New York City for an emigré Russian writer for 3 months, was arm-twisted by church member friends in the US and Luxembourg to go to Korea in October 1982, where I was matched and blessed to a Japanese sister, then went to Cyprus at the beginning of 1983 to help start The Middle East Times weekly English-language newspaper, went to Pakistan in 1984 and over the hills into Afghanistan (I had first visited that country from Iran in March 1972, when it was at peace) with a bunch of mujahideen warriors fighting the Soviets there, did the same again in 1985, also went alone up the highest mountain (10,000+ feet) in then very much war-torn Lebanon that year, and to Israel, then moved to Athens, Greece with Middle East Times in 1987, then spent a month with my wife in Japan, where we got married both legally and in a Shinto ceremony at a temple near her tiny hometown in Miyazaki Prefecture of Kyushu Island, then I went off to Pakistan and she back to her work in Tokyo, worked as correspondent for both Middle East Times and Sekai Nippo in Islamabad and Peshawar, went again into Afghanistan with mujahideen (came under artillery fire every time I went), then spent some time in the winter in wild and dirt-poor Baltistan (home of 28,000-foot K2 mountain), went back to Japan in late January 1988, started my family there, took my wife back to Greece in late May, worked for Middle East Times in Cairo, Egypt, in early 1989, then our first child, a son, was born outside Athens, and we went off to Cairo again, where I worked as managing editor of the local edition during most of 1990, then we spent 10 months in Larnaca, Cyprus, and finally, at my wife’s insistence (upon Rev. Moon’s instruction to all “blessed” families), we came here to my country in October 1991. A second son was born to us here in 1994 and a daughter in 1996.
… I have stopped thinking of myself as a moonie. I don’t know how I could describe my state of being at this point. In some ways I’m still a full member — though a very passive one — and in other ways I am probably as skeptical as you can get about not only this organization but all religion. My wife remains a loyal member, and I support her and cooperate with the movement to a limited extent. Our two boys have what is called fragile X-chromosome syndrome and are seriously mentally retarded. The girl is perfectly normal. We didn’t find out about the origin of the boys’ problem until late 1997.
***

Thoughts about God

Written down on April 6, 2004:
……
My view of god? … if he (it) is indeed a single being — which is quite likely — then he probably created this world for his own fun and enjoyment. I believe we do reflect his nature and therefore we can conclude that he must be similar to us. He has had so much fun in sharing our joys and pains, and in torturing us (and all plants and animals, etc.) — or having his temporary favorites among us torture others — that he is, perhaps, beginning to become bored a little (or at least I hope this is the case) and may be ready for some change a few hundreds or thousands of years down the road. I believe there was an inevitable element of uncertainty*, of unpredictability, when he created us or rather had us evolve from nature — which is directly subservient to him. [*I believe there was and is no way for god to avoid this uncertainty; it is fundamental]. Possibly he brought about (I don’t like to use the word “create”) other beings in other worlds (planets) who are similarly endowed with an element of uncertainty. This uncertainty will hopefully allow us, someday, to make god happy by changing the world/worlds he – um – created (that word again — it’s hard to avoid) in such a way that there needs to be no more suffering at all (including by animals, plants, etc.). I tend to think that there is an inclination in this direction, which exists in us humans and may ultimately come from god (although we could easily be deceived by him in this sense). At any rate, my idea is that we would ultimately change god himself and that that is what he wants, because he evolves through us. He made us in order to evolve with us and through us. Originally he had fun with a world that reflected his base aspects and required a kind of roller coaster ride for god to enjoy both the greatest pleasure and the deepest pain of the living things he had made. The world was made in such a way that one being obtained great pleasure by inflicting excruciating pain on another — tearing it to pieces and devouring it. This reflects the “dark” aspect of god’s nature. The “light” aspect of his nature is found in the beauty and the joy and love that all beings can also experience. But the two go closely together. Underneath the greatest beauty, inside the greatest joy and deep within the greatest love there is always an element or a latent potential of darkness and pain, torture and suffering. There is never anything that is just totally beautiful, joyful and loving. The very joy we feel and the beauty we see can only grow in a soil of darkness and suffering. This is the nature of the world and a reflection of the nature of god. We can understand beauty and joy only because we also know ugliness and suffering. Love and sex in many ways are close to hatred and torture. That is god’s true nature. But — and this is a big “but” — there is this element of uncertainty, this element of chaos, of entropy, this clear evidence that god left — or had to leave — a loophole, a part of the universe that is not organized. This, also, must reflect his nature. And there is indeed, in human beings at least, a clear inclination towards beauty without ugliness, joy without or beyond suffering, and love beyond hatred. Again, god’s nature must be at the origin of this, too [or maybe this is just my hope]. Yes, god is “good” and “bad” at the same time, but there is just a tiny little extra grain on his scale on the side of “good.” This is my idea of god. This extra grain is at the heart of the evolution of man and the development of his — and (hopefully) god’s — sensitivities towards his fellow beings — human and other — that allow us to envisage a (probably distant yet attainable) future when there will be only beauty, joy and love all around, no more grounded in their current counterparts. Don’t we all really strive for this? But we are having so much trouble because our feet are still stuck in the mud of ugly pain, the soil in which we have grown…
***

Blasphemous ideas -2000

What follows are two separate notes I scribbled in a hurry (in the summer of 2000) to explain my current view of god. I’m pretty sure most people would consider what I have to say extremely blasphemous, but the idea has sort of imposed itself. I don’t try to impose it on anybody …
If I’m wrong then I will probably burn in hell forever and if I’m right then my fate might not be very different either. Yet I don’t lose a moment of sleep over it. I’ve had no reason to become paranoid so far. …….
…. As I said, this view of god has imposed itself, but I know that my presentation is neither original nor particularly insightful. To me it’s all just plain obvious, but I’m happy to listen to any arguments that might refute it and present a better idea. ….
Here goes:
First note: “What if god thrives on both the pain/suffering and the joy experienced by all creatures? ….
Do I believe in satan? No — I never really believed in the existence of such a thing …. To me, satan is simply one aspect of god. It’s not a creation of god in the same way we are, though perhaps it can take possession of the mind of a created being. The aspect of satan can be a useful tool as god uses it in different ways to inflict the pain on man and beast that is his ecstasy or to draw maximum pleasure from the joys also experienced by man and beast. God can also use the concept of satan to make us fear because that fear is also one of his great sources of pleasure. If we could completely stop all pain and suffering and fear we would undermine god’s very existence — but of course there is no way we could do that. Yet if god were really a good, loving god as we were led to believe, that is exactly what he would want to do — relieve all beings (including animals, plants and whatever else is conscious on some level) of suffering, fear and pain. But look at how the world we know is designed: the fear and the pain are built in — violence, death, destruction and chaos, conflict — it’s all totally ingrained from the start. One being has to kill, destroy another in order to be able to survive. And isn’t there both fear and pain involved? Doesn’t the antelope fear and suffer when the lion pounces on it and tears at its throat? It’s designed that way. That is god’s nature. But if he had natural life evolve to the point where it produced us, maybe he wanted to — no, had to — bring in elements of uncertainty. I believe there is unpredictability — even for god, and he needs it. Or maybe there are many gods and the uncertainty/unpredictability arises from that. I find it hard, though, to think of god as not one but many — because I grew up believing in a single god. So I think, anyway, that there might be a chance for us to change god and {for him to be} happy with that because he needs the excitement of not knowing what comes next. I’m making god seem very human but this is because I can only describe him in human terms — no human being can really do it otherwise anyway. My conclusion is that god is most certainly unworthy of worship — though I’m sure he likes people to worship him just like Hitler and Stalin … (etc.) liked to be worshipped.”
———–
Second note (from a message to a friend): “….
….. My doubts about god come from the way I see nature, and that cannot be explained by the idea of a “fall of man”: I cannot believe that a truly good, loving god as I understand it designed a world where animals and even (some) plants have to tear others to shreds in order to live, where thousands of different species of parasites can only exist by sucking another being’s blood or harming it in other ways, where there are always fights to determine who is to dominate whom, where some are always expelled from a group and often hunted down and killed, where a male lion, for example, always kills the offspring of a new mate who lost her previous mate, the father of those cubs, where…. I could go on and on almost endlessly, just giving examples of totally unnecessary cruelty and violence in nature because it was designed that way — without ever getting to the cruelty of man, which, of course, is all the worse because he understands it. But could primitive man, for example, really help being cruel? Now we can, to some extent, and hopefully more and more so. Many people seem to believe god created the world but cannot be held responsible for the way it turned out. Not me. Did he really have to design it that way? So why didn’t he design us in such a way that we wouldn’t even be able to perceive this as cruel? Maybe he mainly designed us in such a way that we could develop our minds and hearts ad infinitum, so that he himself could evolve through us. I think he is indeed evolving through us, and I hope we can someday go so far as to completely change his original design of this world to accommodate the sensitivities that, with god, we are developing over time (too slowly, unfortunately). And we might be just one of many intelligent races in the universe — who knows — all going in that direction, more or less. Perhaps I choose to believe this simply because I need to find hope whereas the belief that god is really good and evil all rolled into one forever offers no hope at all. Of course, the god who created this world could easily fool us forever without us being able to find out for sure. No one can tell me god couldn’t pull this off, to make people believe he was all good and the bad was all their fault and that of some fictitious satan, so that they would worship him faithfully, which of course would tickle him pink. We should remember Gödel’s theorem showing that all finite systems are incomplete and their full truth is unknowable from within them.”
***

My final break with the God of the monotheistic religions – 1999

Diary entry: Woke up Saturday 20 June 1998 from a dream in which I met True Father/Abogee/Rev. Moon (Sun Myung) ….

Diary entry: Monday 13 September 1999: Apart from the incomplete sentence above, there is a 2-year gap in this diary between the last time I wrote and now. I can’t seem to find the time to write anymore.
In the dream mentioned above I sat by a table with “Abogee” and others, and realized that I was naked below the waist. “Abogee” gave me a hostile look and made some remark filled with contempt — I don’t remember what he said — and I don’t give a damn anyway.

30 October 1999 Saturday: Again I didn’t get a chance to write for some time. — I wonder if anybody will ever read my diaries. Would they be of any interest whatsoever to another person?
I’m writing these lines hoping that someday someone will read this and all of the diaries I wrote before, and find something of interest in them. My oldest diary goes back to 1976 — at least that is the oldest one that I still have. Almost everything I wrote before that year (I was 25 years old in 1976 and spent that entire year plus almost all of the previous year 1975, and all of 1977, 1978 and half of 1979 in the United States — 1976 was the American Bicentennial) was either destroyed, mostly by myself, or was lost when I was robbed near Livermore, California on Thanksgiving Day 27 November 1975. I only have a cassette tape on which I recorded some of my ideas in English in late 1974 and which I left with my parents when I went to America on 6 March 1975.

Over the last few years I have become more cynical about God and I have completely lost every bit of faith that I ever had. I still believe that there is a God. But while I believe that I must do my best to be good, and to be humble and honest and unselfish — I no longer believe that those qualities form the essence of God’s character. I am cynical about God because I believe God is the most cynical being. I believe God combines, and thrives on, both good and evil. God needs both and God needs to experience, constantly, the discrepancy between what we generally view as good and evil. “Satan” is God’s invention. If such a being exists, then he is entirely God’s creation, just like everything else.

God, my creator, is thus basically an anathema to me. The entity that humans call God, or whatever, is my enemy — although, of course, it’s ridiculous to describe it in this way — I’m saying that only to dramatize the idea (or emphasize it). I believe God created the World the way it is because God gets a kick out of it. God needs to experience all the joy and all the suffering that we humans and animals and plants, and whatever other beings there are, experience. God thrives on that, feeds on that. All those feelings are God’s feelings, but at the same time God is above them, and he must therefore derive great pleasure from them. It may sound strange to ascribe such “human” emotions to God but it really isn’t. How else could God have created us, or, rather, caused us to come into existence through guided evolution?

I submit that God created everything for one purpose: to serve God; to give God pleasure or to fulfill a need. We, and everything that exists, are meant to fulfill that purpose. But clearly there is evolution, development and change, because God pushes us forward so as to better fulfill that purpose and to increase his pleasure. And both our joy as well as our suffering give God pleasure. God is therefore just as cruel as God is magnificent and good, from our point of view. To me it is crazy for us to want to love God or even to be grateful to God. That is the point I have reached. Of course, I cannot really oppose God, since God is responsible for my being here and God makes all the rules and laws.

I have no choice but to accept God’s laws, however grudgingly. But since I see that God’s creation seems to be unfinished, and to be developing and changing, I can do my best to try to counteract or to fight against anything that I regard as evil, which is cruelty, selfishness, exploitation of others (that is what God does all the time, 100%) for one’s own good. I don’t believe that God sees love the way St. Paul describes it in the New Testament. To God, whatever gives God pleasure — and all too often that means for one chosen person or group to inflict great suffering on others — is good, I guess; but to me, ultimately, all suffering is the result of evil action — often induced or enouraged by that same self-glorifying, cruel God. God’s love is often evil.

The tiny spark of hope I still have lies in the fact that this World can change and does develop, as if God was still experimenting with the practice of love and good and evil. I’m probably totally crazy but I think it may be possible to change God — because God may have created us to do even that. And God would even get a greater kick out of that.
All of this is, of course, totally out of synch with Moon’s teachings. But Moon is just God’s favorite toy at this time. He is a fad, nothing else.

That’s all as far as my 1999 diary goes.
***

The Decline of the West and the Rise of the East

Excerpt from a letter I wrote to Mahmood Nawaz, a Pakistani student in Cyprus, on November 19, 1992 (words in square brackets were inserted later for clarification):
… I grew up in Europe and have spent all of my life, except for about two and a half years, in a western/Christian cultural environment (including 6 years in the United States, 5 years in Cyprus and close to 2 years in Greece). I think I have enough of an understanding of western/Christian culture [read: civilization] to be in a position to tell you that it is in decline. Western culture [civilization], which has dominated the world for centuries, is running out of steam, and Europe, the cradle of that culture, is in danger of becoming a cultural backwater and a spiritual desert. Europe has a huge moral debt to pay to the rest of the world because the European peoples caused death and destruction everywhere and ruthlessly exploited the peoples of Africa, Asia and the original inhabitants of the Americas and the Australia-Pacific region. Europe, however, does not recognize this and wants to continue exploiting others. And white America, which was created by the Europeans, is going the same way. But in Europe and America there are signs that their system is crumbling. Society is falling apart, riven by decadent immorality, crime, drugs and so on. I believe it is Karma. The west as a whole has to suffer because it refuses to pay its debt to the rest of the world. And I am sure there is more to come.
Mind you, I don’t think we will see a total breakdown of the western system in the next 20 or even 50 years, unless there is a major economic, natural or military catastrophe. But the western system is definitely crumbling, and changing. The west, which has long imposed change on other societies throughout the world, is now being changed by a kind of reverse osmosis as it absorbs other cultures. I don’t think we would recognize it if we could come back to the world even 100 years from now. There is great potential for an Asian culture [civilization] to rise to become the guiding light of coming centuries. It is not yet so. It has not happened yet, and, in fact, that Asian culture I am thinking of is still in a process of fermentation, so to speak, and it is not yet clear what eventual form it will take (I think it will arise primarily from 3 countries: China, Japan and Korea). I hope, of course, that the dark side of the rise of one culture as a guide to others can be avoided this time, or at least that it will be far less dramatic than the terrible destruction caused by the Christian west.
I am basically bored with Europe, and I cannot relate to the people who continue to firmly believe that the western system is the hub of the world’s cultures. To me it is already a thing of the past. The motor of history for the next century and beyond will be Asia. But this does not mean that Europe has nothing left to do in the world. Apart from the dark side of Europe’s progress through history, which I mentioned above, there are also positive achievements, and there are aspects of its culture and its science that others are well advised to learn. Europeans, and Americans, for that matter, have much to give and to teach. I believe that Europe and America should welcome millions of people like you from Asia, Africa and elsewhere, and allow them to study and work in the west. And millions of Europeans and Americans should go to the developing countries to help and to teach. All doors should be opened wide, because I firmly believe that the more communication and exchange we have with other cultures, the better it is for the world because the more likely we can resolve misunderstandings and disputes, and create conditions for real peace.
… The western world is in decline precisely because it has forsaken the moral and spiritual ideals that originally inspired and guided its progress. Those ideals were always challenged by the temptation of materialism. Today, more than ever before, moral and spiritual ideals have lost out and western culture [civilization] is ruled by the gods of materialism and individualism, or its extension: ethnocentrism (nationalism, etc. …).
***

Harmony and Chaos

Thoughts recorded on September 7, 1996:

It is quite obvious, I think, that God’s Creation is not a completed work but rather a process that will never end. It is indeed a sort of evolution, but not one destined to reach an end result, a specific goal. If I accept Sun Myung Moon’s Divine, or Unification, Principle, then God created mankind as His children, who are meant to continue the act or process of creation that He began. He meant for us to be co-creators. We were meant, first of all, to continue the creation and development of ourselves. Then we were — and are — to extend the greater order we have built within ourselves to the natural environment in which we live.
In the world of God’s Creation there is both order/harmony and disorder/chaos. If God had completed a Creation of total order/harmony, then this Creation would have/could have had no separate consciousness. It would have been a programmed robot world. — Beyond that, even God Himself must be incomplete. He is supposed to be love. Love is, in part, a desire or will to build an orderly relationship with another being. God completes Himself through His Creation in an everlasting process, yet there is no completeness in the strict, simple sense because this goal of completion is — and must be — forever unreachable. Full completion implies stagnation. So there will always be order and chaos side by side; there will always be entropy. But God’s love is also a will to order, meaning an actual effort to expand the order and harmony in Creation. — The creation or guided evolution of man/woman seems to be the achievement of the highest degree of order in the world — as far as we know. Yet it was achieved only at the expense of a substantial degree of dominion over the Creation. Making man as a separate, individual consciousness meant that a very high level of order was achieved locally, so to speak, at the expense of global or universal order. At the same time, the separation from God’s will to order meant that man contained the element of entropy and of chaos within himself to a higher degree than anything else created by God. —
I accept the idea that mankind is also responsible for the separation from God and we have to re-establish a link with God. God bears the primary responsibility, not simply because He created man, as the Principle says, but because He created all the conditions that made the full extent of that separation not only possible but very likely if not inevitable. Yet man has to struggle to build order within himself and outside in order to be able to relate to God. In love itself, there is both order and chaos, known and unknown, and love would really be meaningless if not impossible without either one of them. So, in a sense, it can be said that God Himself is still being created. God is an orderly consciousness which can maintain absolute order only as long as it is insubstantial. As soon as God’s consciousness/mind manifests itself or projects itself into anything substantial, such as the world of His Creation that we know, there is entropy and “randomness” alongside order. The order is fundamental, essential and primary, and the chaos is an epiphenomenon. But neither can eliminate the other. One can compare the human brain to a computer. The brain is vastly superior to a computer in part because it combines a very complex order with an element of randomness or chaos that would be unthinkable in the highly structured system of a computer. The computer is limited by its inability to incorporate an element of chaos within or around its order. Any element of randomness would totally disrupt the system. “Fuzzy logic” is still a long way from being able to cope with an element of randomness within the system itself.
***
 
My first journeys

As a youth in the 1960s in my hometown, Esch-sur-Alzette, I was always very insecure and confused about what I wanted to do with my life. Being the oldest of six children, I was so confused that I could never be an example to my younger brothers and sisters. My father, who was born in 1911 and who worked as a welder and mechanic in the iron mines and steel mills on both sides of the French-Luxembourg border, was very authoritarian in his younger years but mellowed very much with age. He had been hardened by experiences during and after the last war, when he had joined the German air force as an enthusiastic volunteer (he was crazy about airplanes and flying) after the Nazis invaded and occupied Luxembourg in 1940. He worked for the “Luftwaffe” as a mechanic in occupied France and Germany, was captured by the Americans in Bavaria at the end of the war, and escaped from a POW camp. On his return to Luxembourg he was promptly thrown in jail and sentenced to eighteen years at hard labor for collaborating with the enemy — but he volunteered to join a prisoner bomb and mine disposal squad, survived four years of doing that dangerous work, and was freed. He never regained full civil and political rights in Luxembourg.
Well, I guess, hearing my father talk about his experiences I realized that I was a real wimp. I read adventure books about faraway places and felt the urge to travel. In 1972, at the age of 21, for the first time, I was allowed to make major decisions about my life and to manage my own money. Up to that time I had always given everything I earned to my parents, and I got pocket money (I earned my first small salary as an apprentice at my hometown’s Arbed Belval ironworks in 1966-67, then switched to the “lycée” [junior high school] but left after passing a mid-level examination [“examen de passage”] a little over 2 years later and went to work in a bank from September 1969).
All of my brothers and sisters, incidentally, became independent at a younger age. From the beginning of 1970 I worked for Luxair airlines as a reservations clerk and had limited free travel. With my parents’ permission I flew to Vienna and Paris in 1970 and to London and Ivalo, Finland in 1971. On that last trip I hitch-hiked for a few days in September around the northern tip of Finland and Norway, covering about 670 kilometers and sleeping outside in a cheap sleeping bag, with a large sheet of plastic as my only protection against rain. One sleepless night out in the middle of nowhere near the northern end of Norway I was totally soaked and frozen in driving rain and strong wind — it was to be the first of many similar experiences.
So, in 1972 my real traveling began. In March of that year I flew to Teheran, Iran, which was the maximum distance I could fly for free based on the length of time I had worked for the airline. I knew practically nothing about Iran. At the Asia Hotel downtown I met a young man from Kenya, of Indian Muslim ancestry, who invited me to go with him to Lahore, Pakistan, in his car, a huge Ford Galaxie 500 that he had bought in Missouri and shipped across the Atlantic to England, where his family lived, and then driven to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage to Mecca before coming to Iran. “Ali” (this is a pseudonym) wanted to split expenses on the trip. I accepted, though I didn’t think I could make it all the way to Lahore because I had only two weeks’ leave from work.
The two of us ran into an American ex-soldier, a giant of a guy named Bob (X), who was on his way overland to Australia, and he agreed to join us for the trip to Lahore. We drove north across the Alburz Mountains to the Caspian Sea and then east. In the mountains west of the town of Bojnurd we got stuck in a heavy blizzard that raged for some 18 hours. We were almost out of gasoline and ill-equipped for the cold, so we huddled together and shivered through the night in the car. Late the next morning Iranian soldiers came on skis and brought bread, dates and cheese to us and the many other travelers who were stuck in the snow. An avalanche had blocked the road ahead for several hundred meters, but the soldiers managed to clear a path that people could walk to get to the other side of the blocked area. Some 30 hours after we got stuck in this place, with the road likely to be blocked for another day or two, we decided to try driving down that dangerous path — and by sheer miracle we made it to Bojnurd in one piece, though the Galaxie’s steering gear was damaged and had to be welded back together. This was to be only the first though perhaps the most dramatic of a series of adventures on this trip.
We lost Bob in Herat, Afghanistan, and continued to Kandahar in the south without him. Ali and I stayed 2 days in Kandahar, then he drove on towards Kabul and I had to take a bus back to Iran. At Tayebad on the Iranian side of the border I was quarantined for 24 hours because I didn’t have cholera vaccination. In Mashad I slept with several other men on the floor of a small room in a poor area of town (I’d met one of the men in the street late at night when I arrived and he had invited me because there were no hotels around). I had just barely enough money left to fly Iran Air back to Teheran’s Mehrabad Airport, where I could catch the weekly Lufthansa flight back to Germany the next day, and since I was worried that I might miss the flight if I went the long way back by road or rail, I decided to take the plane.
I wound up spending a full day and night at Mehrabad, shaken by severe diarrhea and stomach cramps, and unable to sleep, with no money left to go anywhere else or buy food or medicine. I was still lucky to get a seat on the plane out the next day. When I got back to Europe I felt that the little adventure had somehow changed me in a fundamental way.
I found it extremely hard to re-adjust to the workaday routines in Luxembourg, even though I had been away only 2 weeks.
In September 1972, a month after smashing my first car in an accident on the French side of the border, I left my job at Luxair and flew to Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, with my last free ticket from the company. I thought I might stay in Cayenne but found on my arrival that it would be very hard to get a job or a place to stay other than in one of the rather expensive hotels in town. In my pocket I had a letter from Ali inviting me to Munich, where he thought the two of us could do some business together and make a lot of money in the wake of the Olympic Games. I felt I needed more money anyway in order to get started in South America, so, after only three days in Cayenne I flew back to Paris and hitch-hiked to Munich.
I did work in Munich but also spent a lot of money at the Oktoberfest while I was waiting for Ali to show up, and less than 2 months later I was broke. I hitch-hiked back to Luxembourg in November, spending at least one night out in the cold next to a German Autobahn highway where nobody was willing to give me a ride until the following day.
Within a week or two after I got back to Luxembourg I got a letter from Ali inviting me on a trip by car to Lahore, Pakistan, to visit some of his sisters and other relatives there. He wrote that he and his brother Mahmood (=pseudonym) and Mahmood’s wife and their three small boys were coming from England in two cars, and they needed me as a backup driver because they were pressed for time and would have to drive through the nights. It turned out that they had to pick up their old and arthritis-plagued mother at the airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a certain day in early January 1973 and to take her to Mecca and Medinah for her first, and probably last, Haj — the full Islamic pilgrimage.
According to their tentative plan, we would drive as quickly as we could to Kuwait, where I would stay with their eldest brother Moazzam (=pseudonym), then they would race across Saudi Arabia, pick up their mother and perform the Haj with her, see her off at Jeddah on the flight back to London about a month later and come back to pick me up in Kuwait for the final leg of the trip to Lahore. I was gung-ho, of course. The two cars were a Volkswagen van with a big mattress and a gas cooker in the back, and a powerful Ford Capri 3000 GT sports car.
We left Luxembourg on 19 December 1972. Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey. We crossed the Bosporus by ferryboat (there was no bridge as yet) and stopped at the famous Pudding Shop near Sultan Ahmed mosque in Istanbul. Somewhere in the mountains south of Ankara, at night, with Mahmood and his family sleeping in the back of the VW and Ali far ahead downhill in the Capri, I lost control of the van in a nasty curve and skidded off the road to the edge of a deep, black precipice. I managed to stop at the very last moment, and I think one of the front wheels no longer touched firm ground. It was really a close call. I found Ali waiting just around the bend. He must have realized how dangerous the curve was, but he hadn’t seen the near-miss. Mahmood and his family didn’t wake up, and I didnt’t tell them about it.
After that we kept going through the night, to Aleppo in Syria, where we arrived in the wee hours of 24 December 1972, and then east towards the Iraqi border. It was a harrowing drive in the night to Raqqa, some 200 kilometers east on the Euphrates River, with dozens of trucks coming towards me on the narrow road, one after another, blinding me with their high-beam headlights that they apparently could not dim. At dawn just past Raqqa, the sun came up right in front and blinded me completely. I had to give up and let Mahmood take over. When I woke up a few hours later, the windshield was gone: a stone that fell from a truck had smashed it. We had to improvise, making a new windshield with sheets of plastic that quickly became covered with scratches. At Abu Kemal on the border with Iraq our journey ended for the time being. The Iraqis refused to let us enter their country, insisting we had to get visas. Mahmood and his family stayed behind with the VW while Ali and I raced the nearly 500 kilometers of mostly miserable road back to Aleppo in the Capri.
At Aleppo we found out that we had to go to the Iraqi Embassy in Damascus, another 400-odd kilometers away to the south. In Damascus we learned that it would take about 2 weeks to get the visas. Impossible. No way we could get to Kuwait and then Jeddah in time. There was only one way to go: directly south through Jordan to Medina and then Mecca and Jeddah. But that meant I could not go with them, since I was not a Muslim and would not get permission to travel with them to the holy places in Saudi Arabia. Ali said I could go back to Europe on my own, or, if I agreed, I could officially become a Muslim and go with them. I chose to become a Muslim.
We raced back to Aleppo and from there all the way back to Abu Kemal, because we couldn’t reach Mahmood by telephone and the Capri with its low ground clearance would never have made the shortcut across the desert via Palmyra. And again we drove the two cars to Aleppo and then to Damascus. Ali and Mahmood became my witnesses at the Saudi Embassy, and I was given an official pilgrim’s visa for Saudi Arabia under the name Omar Hussein. This is how I became a Muslim.
We drove to Jordan. At the border, before leaving Syria, we had to pay a special tax that we were told was levied on all pilgrims who had received their Haj visas in Damascus.
In Amman, the Jordanian capital, we met a friend of Ali’s whose name I don’t remember. We drove on to Ma’an and then Aqaba but found out that we wouldn’t be able to cross into Saudi Arabia from that Red Sea port. We had to backtrack the 100-odd kilometers to Ma’an and then head for the border at Al Mudawarra. My personal impression was that the people I met in Jordan were more suspicious of me than the Syrians had been, sometimes hinting that I might be an Israeli spy. This is exactly what Saudi officals at Al Mudawarra did, too. We spent the night of 29-30 December 1972 at the Saudi border post. The officials found a radio-electronics kit that I had bought in Luxembourg for a friend of Ali’s in Kuwait. When they realized that it was possible to build a tiny radio transmitter with it they refused to let me take it into Saudi Arabia, saying that I might use it to transmit information to the Israelis. They didn’t even let me send it by mail, so we had to leave it at the post, where Ali’s friend in Amman could later pick it up. …. to be continued ….
A little more… -Excerpt from a message to a friend Jan. 2004: …
Talking about the Middle East, I wonder if I ever sent you my little story of how I went on the Haj. I haven’t written the whole experience down yet but I have the beginning of the tale in some autobio notes I wrote a few years ago and may continue someday. I got only as far as late December 1972, on the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. You can read it in the attached text file. I spent over a month in Saudi Arabia after that. My friends wanted me to marry a 16-year-old Pakistani girl by the name of Noha (=pseudonym) in Djeddah and then try to get a scholarship to study at the Islamic University in Medina, etc… But I was not ready for that and wanted to continue traveling with them. We then spent 9 days with their eldest brother Moazzam (=pseudonym) and his friends in Kuwait (in the villa of the Radwan (=pseudonym) family – former postmaster general of Kuwait), then Ali dropped me off in Abadan, Iran, to fend for myself, saying I could not come with them to Lahore because I was not serious enough about being a Muslim and their family there would not like that. So I “celebrated” my 22nd birthday alone (and nearly broke) in Abadan, then tried unsuccessfully to get a job working on a ship in nearby Khorramshahr, and finally somehow made my way back to Europe by train and hitch-hiking via Teheran and Istanbul, etc. at the end of February 1973. This was a little over 2 years before I met Moon’s Unification Church in New York. In the summer of 1973 I went to England and worked at Heathrow Airport, then as a bus conductor in xxx, Lancashire, where I rented a room in a house that belonged to Ali and his family — and spent a lot of time with them. They were not mad at me for not being a good Muslim — they actually didn’t take it all that seriously themselves. I still keep in touch with them, and Ali still lives in xxx but travels a lot on business. He has visited me in Luxembourg twice in recent years. +++
***
 
In the Moon church -diary entries -Cyprus 1983-4, New York-1981

A dissident member of the Unification Church – 1983

Excerpt from my diary (unedited, uncorrected) – Nicosia, Cyprus, August 23, 1983:
… I joined the movement in New York in March 1975 – more than 8 years ago. My commitment has been somewhat off and on — never very strong. I believe mostly this has to do with my own personality, the relative weakness of my character, rather than with the church. Right now I would say that maybe about 80 percent of my problems as a rather rebellious, dissident member of the Unification Church are due to my own shortcomings in one way or another, while the remaining 20 percent of the problems are due to aspects of the church, its leaders (including Reverend Moon himself) and its way of doing things that I honestly disagree with, or, in some cases, cannot understand. Some of these latter problems, especially those having to do with Rev. Moon himself, might easily be resolved, I think, if I had a chance of gaining a better understanding of Rev. Moon and his thinking. Just listening to what he says or reading his speeches and hearing anecdotes from admirers about his life won’t do. In fact it tends to do just the opposite. I find him extremely arrogant, self-centered and callous. I believe, however, it is certainly possible that I would feel reassured about him if I could just meet him personally and talk to him about things of concern to me — just to see how he reacts and really to get a feeling for what kind of person he is in private. I know him only through the accounts of his life given by all too obvious, starry-eyed admirers whom I cannot trust, and through his public speeches, quite a few of which I attended. In these public speeches to crowds of church members who obviously admire and glorify him, he often appears to me to be gloating over his success and basking in the admiration and veneration by members, not at all humble or giving, loving, kind, or anything like that. Yet I grant that both through my own distorted perspective (due to my shortcomings, my jealousy or things like that) and through the need for him to address the needs of a great many people of different character simultaneously in a speech like that, he appears different from the man he really is. How different? How can I see him in a way that he can really serve as an example, a guide, a leader, yes, a messiah to me? This I don’t know. I did get what seems to have been a glimpse of a different Rev. Moon when he briefly asked me a few questions in English in front of a thousand other members during the matching in Seoul on 10 October 1982 before taking me to Tomoko and indicating that he suggested her as a mate and wife for me. It was a very brief, uncertain glimpse — but I will remember it. And I am sure that getting to know Tomoko will give me some clues as to whether this match — made by Rev. Moon — was really inspired by God. Of course I have to be objective to be able to judge that. I do have a very good feeling about it all, and about Tomoko, which is why I do feel grateful towards Rev. Moon. But I still can’t grasp the whole thing. Many other feelings are in the way. For some reason, which I never expected, I feel that Tomoko is the best person to be my wife — and I felt this way right from the beginning. Tomoko is certainly not the most beautiful girl I have seen or known. She is pretty in a simple, unsophisticated and natural way — not what I would call beautiful. Beauty is something I like very much to see, and I have, in the past, fallen madly in love with quite a few girls that I considered truly beautiful and that I felt very strongly attracted to in a sexual way. It still happens — although I could not fall in love the same way anymore — because part of the emptiness which I felt at that time (having no mate at all) is now filled (now I do have a mate, although she is thousands of kilometers away in Japan). My love was, needless to say, never answered, unrequited, because I was simply too awkward about the whole thing every time. ….

Reflection on why I joined the Unification Church – 1983

Excerpt from my diary – Nicosia, Cyprus, August 27, 1983:
… When I think about how I decided to join the Unification Church — which I did around 24 March 1975, after having heard about the movement for the first time only 18 days earlier, on 6 March 1975 in New York City — I realize that to a large extent the decision was not really my own. – I was interested in the teaching – the Divine Principle – and in fact I found it to be the most satisfying theory explaining God, man’s relationship to God and why God needed man (Divine Principle is – to my knowledge up to this day – the best and by far the most plausible answer to this particular question, possibly the single most important question to me, personally), as well as the occurrence of spiritual phenomena and their connection with the physical world and the mystery of Jesus Christ (I was raised as a Christian, Catholic in fact). It also provided at least some sketchy elements of a plausible vision for the future of this world — which hardly any other religion or philosophy that I am aware of does. At the same time, Divine Principle — which Rev. Moon says he “discovered” — also provides a concept of eternal justice (a subject which is extremely important to me — in fact, the question about eternal justice is the second most important question about everything in my mind, after the question about why God needs man) and discards the insane Christian and Islamic notion about an eternal hell. This notion of an eternal hell is the one thing in Christianity which I rejected most. An eternal hell — eternal punishment of any kind — makes no sense at all. Eternal hell for anybody, even the worst of criminals, and Satan (as the originator and master of evil in the spiritual plane is called in the Divine Principle — which draws heavily on the Bible as well as on some Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist concepts), would mean a major failure – and an eternal failure – on the part of God. I cannot accept this or else I could not accept the traditional monotheistic concept of God. I prefer to think that the concept of a loving, compassionate and merciful (Islam) and somehow indirectly almighty God as the creator of our world is indeed my own concept and understanding of God — so there simply is no room for such a thing as eternal punishment. Also, God cannot be truly almighty in the strictest and immediate sense of the word — because otherwise the world would not be in the state it is in right now. But I believe God is ultimately almighty, meaning God will and must at some point in the future be able to straighten out the world, which logically – to me – depends on the good parts of most humans gaining the upper hand in the struggle against their (own) bad parts. …
…I joined the church to some extent because there were people in it who seemed to have more faith in me and my capabilities that I myself did – something which intrigued me. they kind of coaxed me into joining….
Diary, Friday 7 October 1983 (still Nicosia): …To explain the factors which I dislike and disagree with in the Unification Church: First of all, I disagree with the authoritarian style which Rev. Moon has imposed and which causes many church members to behave in an intolerant manner (in other words, it encourages intolerance – although it does not directly cause it, since those members may have such an inclination by themselves) and promotes a kind of elitism. Maybe this is because Rev. Moon is misunderstood by the members – I don’t know. Too many times, though, I notice that some members become like “Big Brother,” invade other people’s privacy (they do not respect privacy at all – which is very bad – and they do not even respect another person’s basic human dignity – which is unfortunately quite common and often worse in the church than it tends to be outside of it – because church fanatics have no inhibitions whatsoever in these things – they believe God is on their side) and criticize others in a condescending, contemptuous way. This authoritarianism also leads church members and top church leaders (like Col. Bo Hi Pak) to support political causes which I totally disagree with – such as support for fascist-type dictators in Latin America and elsewhere, only because they are considered “anticommunist.” Politically, I find myself disagreeing with the church on many important points now – even though for some time I had accepted their arguments. But my political views changed gradually over a period of several years, until today, when my views are much closer to what they were before I joined the church – except that I am now much better informed and no more as naive about the Soviet Union as I was then.

Cultural communities to replace nation states – diary 1984

Short excerpt from a very long entry in my diary on 17 November 1984, Nicosia, Cyprus: ….On a different subject: I feel I must record something to explain my feelings about politics and our church’s involvement with it, because much of what I have written in these pages could give a false impression that I advocate more political involvement by our church. As a matter of fact, I really believe politics as a whole should be abolished as soon as possible. I have long been radically opposed to the present world system of sovereign nation states. I think they should be gradually abolished in favor of cultural communities. I believe there should be a kind of world federation of communities based not on the idea of sovereign territory under their control (because that is what the present nation states are all about – they are simply concepts of territorial sovereignty, the people coming second to the land as the determining factor of a community; the only permanent aspect of a nation state is its control of a certain piece of land, which, more than anything else – more than the people and their culture, because they are never truly homogeneous or even fixed – actually identifies that nation state) but on communities with internal ties of a cultural or some other kind of social nature. The whole idea of “territorial integrity,” even the whole idea of an international system, international law, based on “sovereign states,” is, in my view, medieval and does not belong in the 21st century, even though that century may be over before they are abolished. At the very least, I hope we can move decisively in that direction long before that century is over, even though it will likely take several centuries to complete the process. I am actually, and have always been, an anarchist at heart. I simply realize, however, that the world is not ready (yet) for the kind of peaceful anarchy which I have in mind, a world without politics, without bureaucracy, without governments, without nations, only cultural communities which cooperate and learn from each other. Today, when we say “anarchy,” we immediately think “law of the jungle.” But this is not necessarily the only meaning of that concept – that meaning is merely a consequence of the present state of the human soul or heart. I believe that, ultimately, no worldly leader will be needed – that a worldly hierarchy is really not necessary for a truly mature humankind. – I don’t know if our church agrees with this idea. In general, the church actually emphasizes hierarchy very much, as an extension of the hierarchy in a family between parents and children. – But this idea of anarchy, of abolishing governments and nation states, is very much my own. I believe that a relationship to God is really first and foremost an individual affair, and only in the second instance a family affair, and beyond that as well. Maybe, in a spiritual sense, there will always be different levels which people are at – and there will be in some ways a kind of hierarchy implicit or inherent in this. But this does not need to have any kind of worldly trappings – and it should not. Any kind of respect – beyond the general respect for universal human dignity in all people – shown another person should be voluntary, and not enforced by some form of worldly authority and instruments thereof. +++

From my diary in the Moon church – New York 1981

The following text was copied directly (without any corrections) from a handwritten diary entry in my Thai school notebook. The entries in that notebook cover the period between my stay in Bangkok from 4 November 1979 until the first of February 1980 and my second (½-year) and third (1-year) stays in New York, ending at the beginning of the year 1982:

Monday, November 2, 1981 — New York.

My attitude towards the Unification Church at this time: My feelings about this movement, of which I am still a member (have been since March 1975; I first met a member of the church in New York on March 6, 1975; I had never heard of the church before) although I have many disagreements with it, are mixed and constantly in a state of flux. I still agree with most of the basic philosophical/ideological views of the church as they are expressed in the Divine Principle teaching. I do not know a more satisfactory philosophy or religion from my own point of view as far as both morality and logic are concerned. I consider the Principle as no more than a hypothesis, however. It is not proven. It presents morally and logically satisfactory answers to some fundamental philosophical questions. I have tried to put it into practice. But I got mixed results, at best. Then I told myself, well, maybe I did not try hard enough, and maybe my own problems are worse than I thought. I tried harder, but I just got frustrated, because I could not become completely motivated. Instead, I became somewhat resentful. I prayed to God, but I could never really communicate with him. My prayers were not answered. And later, I began to wonder what it was all worth. As far as the other members are concerned, my brothers and sisters, the record is mixed, too. I never had any truly good friends among them; but then I am not the kind of person who can have a deep friendship. I am not really stable in that sense. In fact, I am too changeable (the Rev. Moon says, I was told, that the devil is just like that — like a chameleon — always changing — like me). I can attribute most of this — having no friends — to my own problems, my somewhat erratic nature, my insecurity, my weakness of character, etc. But I have also seen that members of this church who were supposed to be my leaders, or my brothers or sisters, have used my weaknesses consciously in order to exploit me — not for their own benefit, I must rush to admit, but for what they believed was the benefit of the whole. At times, of course, they also personally benefited from this — and then their motive was murkier. Now, I happen to believe that each person should be responsible for their own life, and that this means each person must have the freedom to make basic decisions concerning his or her life and that it is wrong and counterproductive to pressure someone into doing something. I believe it is very bad when people try to goad others by making them feel guilty about something, or by telling them, “You will go to hell if you don’t …,” or anything like that. This kind of stuff, in different form but still basically the same, (pressure, threats, etc.) is happening very much in the church. I resent it extremely. I totally reject a God who is like that. If God is anything like that, then I will defect to his enemy’s camp.
Many of the activities that the church engages in, such as the most basic fundraising and witnessing, are very difficult for me to do, because I have no desire and no incentive to do them. — I am not doing either of those things now. I have too many doubts about God, about the church and about myself to go out and witness to others. Witnessing, in a sense, means guiding others, showing others the way. It would be totally ridiculous for me to do that now, because I don’t know the way — I cannot pretend to know the right way. I don’t even really know what I want — at least not out of the things that are available in this world for me. — I always vacillate between wanting to do God’s will and satisfying my immediate desires. But the problem is really that “God’s will” always seems really murky, unclear to me. I ask God again and again what his will is for me now, but I don’t know what kind of an answer to expect. There is never any answer at all — a fact that has really frustrated me and made me very doubtful. I also want to know what his long-range plan is, because I can’t quite figure out my own feelings about what I want to do ultimately. But, as usual, there is not the slightest hint of a response — as if God did not exist, or did not hear me. Now, maybe I do not hear him. This is possible, too. So all I can do is continue hoping. But that is when my own immediate desires win out. This is why I vacillate. I cannot completely swing one way or the other until I either do get a clear answer from God, or I have an experience that completely shatters my belief in him. I know very well that such an experience is very possible, as long as my faith is as weak as it is now. Right now I cannot turn against God because my conscience is too strong and I am too easily plagued with all kinds of guilt feelings. — But if I had a really bad experience, then I could not trust him at all anymore and I would turn away from him completely because I would have to conclude that he is an evil God and I was all the time just running after a dream.
I believe the Unification Church will have to change substantially if it wants to truly guide the world. It must be broadened very much, including the teachings themselves. One single narrowly-defined culture can never dominate this world. If there is to be one world civilization, one world culture, one world ideology, it has to be very much broader, more truly encompassing and embracing — without causing serious friction or clashes — than what this tiny little church has now. Maybe Rev. Moon’s responsibility is just to spearhead a movement in that direction based on a certain central element of that future world civilization. But when he is gone, it will probably broaden out, with the central element still kept intact by his direct successors — but no longer so restrictive and limited as it is now. Otherwise it just cannot work — not in this reality. The whole thing must be based on love, not dogma. — I so often have been angered by those Moonie zealots among us, who judge me because I don’t follow the dogma. It makes me want to follow even less. They criticize me — and others like me — because I don’t do the things I am supposed to do according to dogma. They only criticize, not out of love, no way — but out of sheer self-glorification. They want to say, hey you, see, I am an exemplary follower of God and Rev. Moon, I am right, I am good, I am great, I am a saint — but you, look, you are not even doing this and that — you need to take a lesson from me. — This kind of thing stinks. — But there are many people of that ilk in this church. — I know if I were full of love and faith and close to God, this kind of thing would not bother me. The fact that it does just shows that I am very distant from God. But that is just it. Such a thing reminds me of that and it is frustrating. I feel weak then, helpless. I don’t have a high opinion of myself. I have no self-confidence. I cannot say anything then. I feel paralyzed. And it only creates resentment — resentment even against God. — So, why do those people do it?
There are many other things that I do not like about this church. — But I must concede that the world all around is much worse, in general. If the world as a whole were more like this church, it would still be far from good, but it would be much better and more acceptable than it is now. At least there would be no murders, no tortures, no rapes, no muggings, etc. This is why I consider the church a movement for constructive, positive change. It is certainly not the only movement like that — and not even necessarily the best. — A number of questions are still in my mind as to the integrity of this church and its leader, Rev. Moon. I don’t exclude the possibility that I might have been fooled — although a lot of things would be hard to explain if you thought that the church is some kind of Mafia or something. But I tend to see the church more as a boon to society here than as a threat. Any threat to society posed by this church is clearly minor compared to the real evils in the world. I think overall, the positive aspects far outweigh the negative ones — speaking from my experience of about six years of more or less continuous activity in the church and with its newspaper, The News World. This is the reason I have remained a member, despite my quarrels with some aspects of the operation. I also hope that this culture can be broadened. I will work for that.
***

My first serious doubts about God -May 1994

[This was written on 6 May 1994, when I still believed in (G)od.]

At the very bottom of my heart — as deep down as I can fathom it — there is confusion, mixed emotions and fear. That is where my doubts come from, my self-doubt foremost, and all the other doubts and fears that result from it. My fundamental doubts about God also come from an inability on my part to understand and accept certain realities in the world around me that appear to be permanent — thus indicating that they originated from God, the Creator Himself. — According to the Divine Principle, and the Bible, for that matter, God’s nature and character are reflected in Creation. — But, as I wondered even when I was something like 12 or 13 years old, why is it that there is so much wanton violence and cruelty in Nature? Why is there so much destruction? Why do the strong eat the weak, and why do they so often inflict unnecessary suffering — killing slowly, etc.?? When the mouse is tortured by the cat or the antelope torn apart by the cheetah — its bowels sometimes torn out while it is still alive — the hunted undoubtedly suffer excruciating pain, and they fear. Suffering is a major part of the experience of life in Nature. There are innumerable other examples of this sort in Nature that indicate that fear and/or at least violence and what we — in human terms, of course — can only describe as cruelty, are built in. We cannot even imagine how the world could exist without it. The ecological balance would be thrown out of kilter if the hunters and killers in Nature no longer hunted and killed the way they do. Now this, however, indicates that God must have designed it this way. Well, I really cannot accept the idea that this violence and cruelty come from a God who is supposed to be totally good. I cannot accept it; period. — Perhaps I am the only person in the world who thinks this way — at least, I have never known anyone who had the same feelings on this. I have never seen or heard any indication that (Rev.) Moon thinks this cruelty in Nature is not from God. — If you say that this is not cruelty because it is natural, then I must be an alien because I feel the way I do. In my mind, the cruelty and “inhumantiy” in human society could theoretically be explained as simply an extension of the inherent cruelty of Nature to the only known intelligent being that it has produced. Of course, we say God created man. But He also created Nature. Or was the original man meant to change the whole character of Nature, or to co-create a different kind of Nature from the one in which we live now — which is perhaps cruel as a result of the Fall? — This does not make sense. The violence and cruelty are too pervasive in Nature to allow for this explanation. What I — even if I am alone — perceive as cruelty (and thus evil) in Nature really seems to be inherent. Now, someone might question my (implied) description of violence and cruelty in Nature as evil. Why does it cause revulsion — at least in me if not in others? Human acts of cruelty certainly cause revulsion in most people, and most people also have this feeling when confronted with animal cruelty to man — which is, of course, much less common than the obverse. Thus, man’s cruelty is generally considered evil. But then why would animal cruelty not be considered evil as well? Because it is natural and all-pervasive? As I suggested before, man’s cruelty to man and animal or plant could simply be considered an extension of the cruelty in Nature — built-in cruelty, which can only come from the Creator.
There I have a dilemma that I cannot resolve. It bothers me. I don’t want to believe that God created a world that is both good and cruel. The Divine Principle does not explain this — in fact it does not address this question at all, as far as I know. This is one of the big holes in the theory that I have come to accept — and still accept — as the most plausible and satisfying explanation of God that I know. I want to believe that God is all-good. And, based on my personal experience in life I have no reason to doubt that. But I see far too many other signs and indications, too many other people who have very different experiences from my own — too much suffering and pain that is not explained by the theory of indemnity outlined in the Divine Principle as I know it. — I am still looking for answers to these questions, and I have so far not found any in (Rev.) Moon’s speeches or anywhere else. The fundamental question is: Will that cruelty which I have mentioned continue to haunt the world even after it is supposedly restored, and will fear, and cruelty of animal to animal continue even after man’s cruelty to man and Nature has ended? Or will even man continue to be cruel to man? It all depends on the true nature of God. I would very much like to believe He is all-good. But then all around me I see good mixed with bad — within myself as well, of course — and both good and bad seem to be inherent in the entire natural world in which we live. Why do we differentiate between good and bad the way we do? Or why do I do so? There is a dichotomy, a dilemma, and if I cannot resolve it I cannot follow God. — I have thought about why suffering and pain are so much part of the experience of life in Nature alongside joy, and I have wondered whether perhaps joy is deepened through suffering. Perhaps God needs both. Maybe He needs to experience excruciating pain one moment in order to feel all the more joy the next. Does God thrive on this roller coaster ride of extreme feelings? Cruelty is, in my understanding, when one person, animal or being makes another suffer — especially when it is not necessary. Instead of killing the mouse quickly, for example, the cat enjoys playing with it, making it suffer and fear, then allowing it to escape for a moment only to pounce on it the next and to kill it in the end, often without even eating all of it. The cat is, of course, a domesticated animal influenced by man. But there are plenty of similar examples of cruelty in “unspoilt” Nature as well. Is God a sort of Sado-Masochist? Or am I a pervert or an alien for being disturbed by these things? We all have a dose of something akin to sado-masochism within us. But is this exclusively the result of the Fall and thus totally outside God’s domain? If it is true that suffering would have been part of life experience in the original, ideal world, and that there will thus be suffering alongside joy forever, then I think God and “goodness” are quite different from what I, and perhaps most people, imagine them to be like. Perhaps, in God’s heart, there can be no real deep joy without a recurring (complementary?) experience of deep suffering. — But how do the two go together? And how can the evident, frequent occurrence of cruelty in Nature be explained? And, will we all have to suffer again and again forever, to be able to experience deeper and deeper joy?
———–
End of original reflection.
These thoughts were added later when I copied the above in a letter to a friend: (Rev.) Moon has said in the past that animals and plants are eaten by higher animals or by man, and thus they become part of something higher than themselves. But if this is part of the design of Nature, why then do they run away from that rosy fate, evidently in fear? — Is that fear unnatural? Also, many times the exact opposite happens in Nature — perhaps even more often: animals and plants at an evidently lower level often eat or destroy those at what we would consider a higher level. Viruses and bacteria kill very many animals and plants, as well as human beings. Crocodiles, snakes, etc. kill mammals and human beings, and so do sharks and poisonous jelly-fish like the Portuguese man-of-war. There are innumerable other examples, of course. Certainly, that statement by (Rev.) Moon doesn’t explain anything. The real question is, again: what does all that violence say about the heart of God??
———–
The following is excerpted from a reflection I wrote in the Notes section at the back of my Divine Principle book a year later, in May or June 1995:
…… What kind of a heart designed such a thing? Obviously there is much evidence of joy in nature — but the joy always has something like a shadow of suffering. Perhaps God needed the experience of suffering, for himself and all that he made, in order to grow his capacity to experience joy. Somehow this is a harrowing thought, something I find almost impossible to accept. But it is nonetheless a possibility that cannot be easily dismissed. If good and bad, as we see them, are thus (it doesn’t follow automatically, of course) complementary after all in a larger scheme of things, then God’s heart is very different from what I imagined it to be like, and all of history has to be understood in a different way; and this DP (Divine Principle) is all but meaningless. I have to continue looking for another explanation — and probably most religious people cling to such other explanations as they have found [or illusions] — because the thought of a duality or “complementarity” of joy and suffering, and/or of good and evil, is too depressing. I cannot accept it, and I could never love such a God. Thus, anytime I see indications that God might be like that after all, as in the Bible or in True Father’s {Rev. Moon’s} statements, I shudder and reject them. But the questions remain!!! For example, it is suggested that whatever goes along with God’s will is good — even if it means that thousands of basically innocent people have to be massacred, etc. [see p. 479 {also p. 125, in the old DP book}] (This is in DP, where it says: “… when seen from the standpoint of not knowing God’s providence, we must also regard as evil the Israelites’ invasion of the land of Canaan, during which they destroyed {slaughtered} all the gentiles without reason. However, this was also good when seen from the standpoint of the providence of restoration. Although there may have been among the Canaanites those who were more conscientious than the Israelites, the Canaanites at that time were uniformly on the Satanic side while the Israelites were uniformly on the Heavenly side.” — This is a justification for genocide — what if that still applied today: Could it be, one of these days, when/if the Lord of the Second Advent {Moon} gains absolute power, that an entire nation would be massacred or otherwise wiped off the face of the earth, and that that would be “good” in God’s eyes?) Why would that be necessary; and how much of the suffering and pain in human history was then “good” because it was caused by people following God’s will? How are we to understand and accept this? There are many, many more such examples, including many in True Father’s speeches … Are we being misled in a monstrous way in our understanding of God’s nature and heart? I hope not. ….
{End of excerpt.}
At that time I still blamed myself for not knowing God well enough, and not responding enough to his love, thinking that perhaps that was the reason I could not understand him. — I came to a different conclusion over the next few years, which was inevitable….
***

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: