We are born spiritually “good” with everything we need as physical and spiritual beings available to us in the natural world.
Nature must be honored and protected as we seek to live in it with a sense of innovation and harmony as we progress.
All people and things are interconnected; we must treat ourselves and others with fairness, kindness, and protection, seeking to improve the lives of all.
We are motivated to articulate a system of belief to communicate and protect our values. Our beliefs are central to our daily lives and are our moral foundation. Therefore, we make no distinction between a secular life and our spiritual practice. We make no contention toward any other unless it is to defend our Natural Rights.
We affirm basic and overarching spiritual truths exist that best guide the individual and all of creation, evident in a collective and evolving wisdom, inherent in nature and mankind. They have been honored in cultures and articulated by various celebrated voices throughout history. They can be found in various religious and mystical texts, governing bodies, art, science, literature, music, oral tradition, philosophy and scholarship. These ubiquitous truths are self-evident and inform our Concerns.
We present this document as a “theology” to fit it into a framework that others might understand, though we do not claim to know the existence of a knowable, anthropomorphic deity. We do not contend that we have any special knowledge or insight over any person, nor do we claim to offer an absolute or enlightenment. Our interpretation of these truths accommodates central tenets of many faiths, sciences and philosophies. We reject any institutional claim to exclusivity of “Truth” or “Salvation” but we welcome all to investigate and work with us in our common goals.
The following Concerns as articulated by Center for Sublime Art are intended to be adaptable within the pursuit of knowledge and improvement. They are not to be made rigid or dogmatic but rather serve as guidelines for a more fulfilling existence and as a foundation for further investigation. In other words, our understanding of these truths is in flux, as it should be.
13 Concerns of Sublime Arts
The Sublime is the multi-face of Nature. It is what we encounter in the natural world and in the mind. It is the flickering portal of that which is unknown, the vastness that is “every thing and no thing.” It is the landscape that confronts us, the painting that leaves us mystified, the music that transports us, the abyss that terrifies us. It gazes at us from the eyes of an infant. It flickers in the idiot who confounds us and in the mystic who annoys us. It blankets us with the starry sky; it’s what creates space and it confronts us with expanse of time. The Sublime is the conduit of itself in many forms, Nature, Science in perpetuity, Creation/Creator, Great Spirit, Gaia, The Universe, Tao, Brahman, God/dess, Jehovah, Allah, Truth, et al. It is our super-organism. It is our working title for the universal mind concocted from all of nature, inhabiting all with entelechy, the will to survive, desire to fulfill potential, need for connection in the biosphere, and the tendency toward equilibrium. It is this perceived intelligence intrinsic to us in our sensual world. It is what presents itself as a dynamic screen; a projection of our perception and as a thing unto itself. Its presence is just barely inferred in quantum experiments. It is so beyond our comprehension that it cannot be definitively interpreted. It can be approached but never circumscribed. It is not to be negated, dishonored or corrupted for the use of any individual or group seeking control over another. We are not interested in its appellation or dictation. We are concerned with acknowledging the expression of The Sublime.
Our spiritual survival is predicated upon more than genetic survival and procreation. We are driven to protect and perpetuate Beauty as it is what makes us human, what innovates our continued evolution, what constitutes our health in body and spirit, and that which allows us to not only live but thrive. Beauty is the presentation of our purpose. Beauty animates us, allows us a soul, a meaningful existence, a sense of usefulness. We are concerned with engaging Beauty as a sustaining source of sentient life and the force evolving us.
Our existence as it is with all of Nature indicates a hologarchic organization rather than hierarchic. As pantheists, we believe that our material world is holistic and hologramic, wherein each part of the universe contains information for the whole, and each particle is an individual entity as much as it is the whole itself. Mutualistic, each living creature co-creates a shared and individually-perceived reality. Being so, no single creation is more divine than another and there is no ruling entity but each entity is ruled by that which contains all entities. Each creature engages in reciprocal causality, a kind of open-source engineering or symbiosis. We must not be regarded as separate from our biosphere as we cannot be separate; we are a part of Nature and to be separated from it is to be divorced from the core of ourselves. We must not negate our connection with our natural world or our internal world for they are mirror images of the other and without them we have no place. We are concerned with the paradigm of a mutualistic universe.
In a holistic, co-creating universe, all truths orbit one law: The Golden Rule or Ethic of Reciprocity. Sacred texts and oral traditions from spiritualities like Paganism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Rastafari Way, et cetera, and of various indigenous people, as well as words from philosophers, social activists, poets and thinkers throughout the ages, all contain a variation of the same message: all is one; treat others how you wish to be treated. That is, imagine yourself as the other and behave accordingly. Imagine the world as self, Other as Self. An inherent law, it speaks to the spirit as much as to the intellect. It is to be understood in the spirit, or vibration, of its content: appreciation, or love, of all creatures. It speaks to our original state of innocence and the necessity of approaching ourselves and each other in a nurturing way to ensure improvement. It calls us to employ kindness, patience, thoughtfulness, and generosity to better each individual and humanity, while acknowledging that humanity is only a part of a superorganism. Not only does this improve our chances of survival as individuals, race, and ecosystem but it also improves the odds of our existential satisfaction; true nurturing empowers. This is the foundation of our faith and action. We are concerned with how we honor and manifest the Golden Rule in the spirit of love.
We assert there is no one path or sequence to enlightenment for everyone. While growing and evolving, each of us must seek our own truth, build our own concept of the sacred, or develop our own spirituality or religion, even if it is one of no faith. Each person capable of thought must think for him/her self; the relationship to The Sublime must be personal and not be contingent upon any external authority – be it symbol, entity, or organization. We are naturally equipped to be open, to change our perception, circumstance and influence – the autonomy given to us by Nature. Each of us must seek to reconcile the various notions of Self, through analysis, intuition, action and reflection. Each of us must be true to what we perceive as our core, yet strive to conceive and develop an optimal Self. We are concerned with empowering and cultivating the soul unique to each individual.
Our attitude, our approach to our external community and to our internal community, dictates our experience and effect. Our faith helps us better understand our roles in the world we inhabit. It helps us understand that each part of the mind and material world are interconnected and ultimately, that we each are responsible for our own well-being and actions as much as we are responsible for that with seems to be Other. This does not diminish the significance of the individual but emphasizes the power of it as everything external is as much a part of ourselves as what we perceive as our own molecular structure. We have evolved as social creatures and are thus engaged. In the paradigm of a mutualistic and holistic universe, we investigate, form, improve – become – ourselves by our experience with those who surround us. We are concerned with personal growth in relation to those close to us and with those in our communities.
We affirm that we are all interconnected with Nature and with each other. Each person is afforded by Nature an equal right to health, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness, so long as it does not impinge on the same rights of others. We understand that health is to be interpreted by the individual and may include physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Liberty is the freedom to live without harassment, control, exploitation, servitude or torture, be it physical or spiritual. Justice is the ability to enforce a system of fairness. The pursuit of happiness includes anything that allows an individual a sense of purpose and meaningful existence. In a holistic paradigm, our doctrine guides us to actively participate in defending these rights. We are concerned with honoring the natural rights of all people, now and in the future, including protecting the internal and external environment that sustains all.
We trust in the continual symphony of Nature of which we are an active part. Our faith is action in a holographic universe; as living creatures, we engage. As sentient creatures, our duty is to do that which we know we must and trust that we are existentially safe in the nurturing web of life. We each are exactly where the higher self – our connection with the divine – guides us. Beyond these, it is not helpful to fret about external judgment or the state of our souls. We are, at every step, supported in a system interested in our individual and mutual well-being, not in punishment, discipline or measurement. We must only imagine the Self outside of time and incarnation as our own judge – in a place when all is said and done. Nothing stands between us and the divine unless it is our own perceptions. While engaged with each experience of our material world, it behooves us to awake from the confines of any given situation to gain perspective of this fact. We are concerned with the state of existential safety.
We believe every coordinate and every moment is the point of origin. The concept of linear time is non-consequential in our theology unless it is to inform our current action or inaction. It makes no difference in our faith if the material world once arose from a consciousness or if consciousness arises from matter/energy. We do not assert there is but one life or that there exists the soul’s afterlife, reincarnated life, multi-dimensional existences, or that one’s memory survives after death in some physical or metaphysical sense. We are not concerned with nihilistic notions except in the context of personal flux. We insist upon no philosophy or doctrine that is irrelevant to the Golden Rule. However, we understand to be empowered to live fully, being secure in psyche, we must each have a solid sense of presence and connection with place and time, however one wishes to perceive or define it. By whatever path chosen by the individual, it is necessary to use one’s current coordinates as an anchor and starting place. We are concerned with what we do with our situation here and now while honoring the Golden Rule.
We affirm Nature holds an intelligence that exceeds each of us. Beyond the verity of our doctrine, we recognize that no human, faith, philosophy or science can comprehend the full truth of universal material and spiritual existence. Multiple seemingly conflicting truths may co-exist or it may be that a greater understanding might eventually explain the components. Humanity is possibly indefinitely incapable of comprehending some truths. Other truths, we suspect, can result from contradiction or that there can be more than two ways of being. We believe in simultaneity, whether inherent or in our limited perception. The natural world is not a simple system of switches nor is it perpetually predictable; it is simultaneous, symbiotic, nuanced, complex, paradoxical and, more than anything, mysterious. We acknowledge that there exist matter, energy, information and unnamable things that we yet have no conception of. We must honor possibility and remember our perceptual limitations of one so-called reality. We acknowledge that what we understand as true at this very moment may well be debunked the next moment and so on. We honor our search for knowledge through experience and celebrate the value in the adventure of life. We are concerned with wonderment and humility in the face of possibility and the elegant complexity of the Sublime.
The world abounds with mysteries, some droll, some wry, some just queer. While it also challenges us to survive, it allows us time and space to practice and hone our abilities to meet those challenges. We humans naturally respond with curiosity and a sense of play. Our world is filled with curiosities and nudges, not only inviting us to investigate the environment around and within us but they encourage us to investigate the possibilities. It is only with a freedom of spirit that we are capable of satisfying these instincts, that we are capable of exploring and improving our condition. We are concerned with holding a sacred place for play and investigation in our lives.
The Sublime calls us to imitate its action; it continually compels us to [re]create itself in the act of creation. It calls for fractalization as the created work embodies its source. The Sublime confronts us with possibility in ourselves or in a blank canvas, page, screen, instrument, stage, clay, womb, whatever our tabula rasa and beckons us to act there. The reincarnated Sublime as new creation serves to reframe. It allows for new perspectives to arise, taking us perhaps deeper or further in our journey. It resonates within us, it helps us understand our neighbor and likewise. The created work shares our experience and serves to emotionally connect us, to anchor us in relation; in here and now. The Sublime is the source of the creation, the inspiration to create, the tools to create, the thing that is created – the entire act of all creation. We are concerned with the divine act of creation.
We affirm that responsible action at times requires levity. Even as we articulate our most serious and sacred beliefs, we do so with tongue-in-cheek. This does not make our convictions any less valid. On the contrary. Every particle in our universe is a wink, every wave mocks us; laughter surrounds us. The world continually slaps our backs in good humor, even as it might deal us crushing blows. Levity and humor allow us a pragmatic perspective of our existential condition, the absurdity, the hilarity inherent in the human experience. In our most incapable of moments, we are capable of feeling tickled. This is the grace afforded us, even when our capacity is limited or our faith is weak – the loving disconnection from our necessary failure to comprehend creation and our emotional responses to that fact. We are concerned with remembering good humor.
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