Monday, March 28, 2011

A Simple Explanation of The Perennial Philosophy

A philosopher friend of mine recently commented on the Simple Explanation, "Excellent retelling of the Perennial Philosophy!"

I was unfamiliar with the expression "Perennial Philosophy," so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Here's their essential definition:

Perennial philosophy is the philosophical concept which states that each of the world’s religious traditions share a single truth. Perennial philosophy asserts that there is a single divine foundation of all religious knowledge, referred to as the universal truth. Each world religion, independent of its cultural or historical context, is simply a different interpretation of this knowledge...

Yes, my friend was right. The Simple Explanation is all about identifying the universal truth embedded underneath ages of confusing memetic overlays.

And what is the basic truth that all traditions share when you strip away their superfluous memes?
  • There is a Divine Reality underpinning everything; without This, no thing and no one would exist. 
    • Ground, Sat, Undiffentiated Unity, Brahman, Godhead, Pure Light of the Void, Pure Consciousness, Metaverse

  • This Divine Reality may be directly perceived under certain conditions.
    • through prayer, meditation, near-death experiences, mystic revelation, psychedelic drugs, religious ecstasy, inspired ritual, super-rational intuition
  • Humans possess a dual nature: the little, egoic "me" of day-to-day living, and a true Self that reflects the Divine Reality.
  • People long to reunite with that divine Reality from whence they came.
    • salvation, enlightenment, Self-realization, Buddhahood
  • Unification is only possible through denial of the earthly self and identification with divine Reality.
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The late Aldous Huxley wrote an excellent book on the topic in 1944 called The Perennial Philosophy. I've only read the first three chapters so far, but they are already marked up with happy scribbles. What a smart man Huxley was! Everything he is saying fits in perfectly with the Simple Explanation, so if you would like a fuller explanation of the Perennial Philosophy, I'd recommend Huxley's book.