posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 03:53 PM
Traumatology, and developmental trauma theory, would say we have reason for suspecting that it is not.
Since ancient times - or as far back as we humans can remember - the religions that have grown around civilization have developed concepts of the
deity based in the "first-hand" experience of the initiate.
The experience we speak of with the word "mysterium tremendum" is the experience of God, or the "highest scalar object" conceivable, imagineable,
or perceivable to the human mind.
Anyone who has experienced this state - and I've experienced it again and again over the years - describes it something like this: one is"taken" by
a deep feeling of negativity, fear, and anxiety. "God", or the object interfaced with - captures the body and showers its mind with morbid thoughts
related to time, existence and being. This is God; he is represented this way again and again in the Hebrew Bible as well as in other Pagan religions;
Zeus is thunderous; his power is expressed as the tumult of thunder and the shock of lightning. The mind can be 'ringed' in this way, and
indeed, the Mysterium Tremendum may carry with them electrical brain shocks - thus cementing the archetypal continuity between the experience of
Highest Deity and the experience of Thunder and Lightning.
God Emerges From Culture
We humans still don't get that the cultures we form simultaneously constitute - symbolically and noetically - the God we actually come to experience.
First and foremost, God isn't a non-real thing. Human beings are functions of a Universe which is Alive with Meaning; this means that when we relate
to the world outside of us in a symmetrical way - as Levy-Bruhl noted primitives do - we actually imbue that external reality with a semiotic
Don't be amazed by this - please. Humans dream every night, and every night some mysterious "other" guides our thoughts. But the primitive and
unware person thinks this process is a magical journey - a mere adventure with no rules or internal structure to it all.
The cognitive sciences, neurosciences and psychodynamic and developmental sciences reveal what that substructure looks like, and it is more or less
the ecological totality of the meanings-we-make-with-others. That is, it is determined and constittued by our actions and the meanings and feelings we
A Scary God, or A Scary Father?
The biggest problem with Humans is projection. When we don't realize that our every moment of existence is simultaneously pattern formation and
meaning-assimilation, we act frivolously and mindlessly; this is what 'original sin' should mean - as Gregory Bateson once wrote: the
epistemological error of thinking taht you are an unchanging 'substance', as opposed to a self-constituting and self-determined physiological
process. Narratives based upon an uncritical acceptance of claims which aren't justified by perceptual reality i.e. by the objective world itself,
are an example of this epistemological error. Gnosticism, Satanism, or Tantrism, are all based in a profound epistemological error of assuming that a
self exists apart from his or her relations. The whole idea of the "Hero", is an obnoxious denial of relationality and processes - or said
differently, a denial that states depend upon background conditions.
In this sense, the background conditions for a Mysterium Tremendum, a God of the Bible, Zeus, Indra, Shiva etc - a God which grips you with fear and
imbues in you a "Fear of it's power" - this state is precisely the sort of illusion that Buddhism seeks to steer the mind from.
But why is it an illusion? What is illusory about the Mysterium Tremendum? Consider the background conditions for the emergence of these views: war,
genocide, theft, rape etc. These sort of events are not ones that simply go away, as Michel Serres writes, the facts of the civilization we live
within begin in murder - in killing - in blood: it is the blood of the ancestors which is the true cause of the "eternal return":
“Rome rarely leaves the time of beginning; it endures by returning there…The redundancy sown on the multiple is the return to the
foundations…The eternal return is exactly the return of the sacred, the return of the forgotten, of the buried, the return of the light of the head
with the intact face at the top of the Capitoline Hill. Who could have buried who, dead or alive, on this mound, in this hill? The return of the
founded, the lightening fast return to the abominable gesture of foundation. The sacred comes out of the black box, and it calls back, while Rome,
like Hercules, has its back turned. They flee, trembling, this not very certain place, and the cattle’s mad baritone calls them back. The city then
returns, blind, crazy, to the cave, to the cavern, or to Numa’s grotto. It falls into the foundation trench; Rome always has one foot in this grave,
and it falls back in. Return. It leaves it due to the abundant and perennial spring. This: the false rhythm of its time, the irregularity of the
luminous arms around the star come from the compromise of the irreversible time of the water pourer – spring, Tiber, Albula, the time counter
without return – with the monotonous, repetitive, legal time of the sacred. Should the linear carry it along, the festoon will be long; should the
return impose itself in its turn, the ray will become short…The work of the negative is a null work; it nullifies itself at the point of return, at
the sacred place of foundation. Real work only comes from diverging from this position, only comes from distance from this return, distance from
the fragile disequilibrium’s around the thesis, only comes from separation in relation to the foundation, in relation to the inexorable invariance
of the sacred, with zero information. Livy holds together, in the palm of his hand and from the origin, the question of the foundation, that of
the negative, that of the return, that of the sacred. One little word resolves them: Ab. There is history on in tearing away from there. Rome can do
so, Rome can’t do so. Hence the ruleless beating around the thesis. Ab urbe condita. An impaled insect struggles madly around a thorn. Culture is,
quite simply, the distance from this foundation, barbarous.” – Michel Serres, Rome: The First Book of Foundations; pg. 97-98, Bloomsbury,
The mysterium tremendum is a reflection of the human self's relation to its own self. It is the relation of Fathers to their children; of fathers to
their wives; of fathers with other fathers. There is much to fear in the way the world works - with the way power arbitrarily imposes itself on
The brain has been made afraid; the amygdala have grown - and the fruit which the snake gave Eve - the body - , no doubt, is the almond: the almond
shaped amygdala which wont quit representing the world in stereotyped ways, because the Self fears its relatedness to the other. Trust is killed by
the act of a violent murder.
The murderers - like the founders of Rome - seem self-aware that the cult they propogate means their own destruction - so they, the naive initiates,
believe that the Mysterium Tremendum is essential - and why not? The logic of statist civilization - of growth and power - is that the masses
eventually rebel and, like Romulus, kill the founders - or elite - of the civilization.