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Oral traditions

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posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 01:24 PM
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All religions, from the east to the west, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, aswell as pre-christian pagan myth and religion, all had an Oral tradition.

The idea of an Oral tradition is based on a metaphysical perception that all things are dualistic; there is an outer covering - the physical world, and its inner essence - the spiritual. Thus, in all religions, there have been metaphoric basic texts, whether that be the Bhagavad Gita, and other Hindu scriptures, the Islamic Kuran, and Hadiths, the Christian gospels, and the Jewish Hebrew Bible.

Nonetheless, i continue to encounter people who refuse to accept the metaphysics of a Biblical narrative becuase there is no "source text" - as if they have no knowledge of the concept of an oral tradition.

The Oral tradition is the metaphysics, the inner spiritual, archetypal meaning, of the written scriptures. This tradition only exists within the minds and memory of those initiated into the inner wisdom. Accordingly, this wisdom is never put in writing, and is only passed on from teacher to student, orally.



posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 02:05 PM
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Interesting perspective. But when you're dealing with people who are obsessed with things like "truth" and "authenticity" and if the chicken came before the egg, oral tradition can't stand on its own. And while I agree with your OP that oral tradition is part of the metaphysics, too many variables come into play. In a healthy debate, if you don't have a solid foundation your position is weakened. There in lies the advantage of written text over oral tradition. Still though, good post.



posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by dontreally
 


The problem is many of these "oral traditions" within these texts involve eliteism, promote murder and hatred... and contradict one another...

Finding the truth within these scriptures is what people should be doing, as opposed to taking every word of said books as the word and rule of some diety or God




posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by Akragon
reply to post by dontreally
 


The problem is many of these "oral traditions" within these texts involve eliteism, promote murder and hatred... and contradict one another...

Finding the truth within these scriptures is what people should be doing, as opposed to taking every word of said books as the word and rule of some diety or God


I hereby recognize these statements as the infallible and truthful Word of God. Wow! Canonization is easy! Why haven't we been doing this all along? Oh wait...



posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 03:18 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 





involve eliteism, promote murder and hatred... and contradict one another...


How so?? Metaphysics is the interpretation of the allegory. Where do you get "elitism, promote murder and hatred"????

The reason for the metaphysics to be transmitted orally, is because metaphysics is itself an abstract and difficult subject for many people. But on a deeper level, Metaphysics is the spirit - the mind - while the body, is the written text itself. Thus, the religion itself mirrors creation as it is. Hence, every religion on earth engages in this tradition of having an exoteric and esoteric dimension.



posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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reply to post by dontreally
 


You don't see any elitism, murder and hatred in any religous texts?




posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 08:03 PM
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I think there were more practical reasons for keeping most information as oral traditions:
- books were expensive
- written information could be used by enemies
- secret knowledge helped to make people feel important and part of the inner circle

edit on 2-11-2011 by cloudyday because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 2 2011 @ 08:44 PM
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reply to post by cloudyday
 


While those points are all true, there is still a validity to dividing the religion into an inner and outer tradition inasmuch as it reflects reality as it is: An outer physical body which is external and apparent to all, and an inner, spiritual "mind" reality, hidden from perception.. Thus, the written sacred text parallels the symbolic nature of external reality; and just as external reality contains its secrets - the fact that the physical is a reflection of an archetypal spiritual dimension, so too does the sacred written text allude symbolically, in the same manner of the world, to a spiritual/archetypal theology.

To ignore this is to profane a sacred truth. Though, nonetheless, there have been religions who deliberately mislead the lower classes in order to maintain and justify their power.



posted on Nov, 3 2011 @ 10:20 AM
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A lot of people, I think, reject the oral traditions because they are NOT written down,and therefore suspect. What is now known, however, is that oral transmission can be very good at preserving information. The rejectors do not realise that when everything gets written down, the memory suffers. I think of where I read about some Western travelers who encountered a local reciter-of-tales in Nepal or someplace near it. He offered to recite the saga of some local culture-hero, and asked if they wanted to hear the short or the long version. It seems that the long version would have taken weeks to recite, and it was all the reciter's head.

The Finnish Kalevala was not written down until the mid-19th century, but it is so old that it hints at not the end, but the BEGINNING of the last ice age.

The Maio people of southern China have handed down traditions for many centuries which parallel the early chapters of Genesis exactly, even to the pronunciation of names.

As to the metaphysical, mystical part of it, I think that is so, because the oral tradition is internal, while the written tradition is external - heatblood if you will.



posted on Nov, 3 2011 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by Lazarus Short
 


Druids strictly used oral tradition in their teachings. And we suffer for it today. Conjecture and speculation abounds as to their beliefs and practices and who they really were. It has also opened up a can of worms with books like "The 21 Lessons of Merlin" that claim to have originated from "true" Druid traditions. Again, nothing but speculation and conjecture.

Ancient Egyptians believed in the power of the written word. To them, once something was written down it was reality. As a result, we have a wealth of information on their culture. Same thing with the Sumerians.

Not saying I don't agree with the value of oral tradition, but the longer it goes without being recorded in some fashion, the more diluted it gets. Until eventually you have everyone with an inclination running around saying, "I follow Ancient Druidism" or "I'm a witch!" These proclamations are hollow as modern man has no basis of their actual teachings. Richard Gardner wrote the first modern Wiccan texts in the 50's. He claims it was based on a long oral tradition and esoteric line of teachings. Unfounded claims. Wiccan didn't exist before Gardner wrote about it. Taking a hodge-podge of shaky and subjective teachings from mainstream and alternative history and blending them together into a tradition doesn't mean that tradition extends back thousands of years.



posted on Nov, 4 2011 @ 10:03 AM
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reply to post by LeftySinister
 


Yes, I understand your viewpoint, but the written word can (and too often, is) subject to the same distortions and misunderstandings as the oral word. It is just easier to go back and check. The ancient Egyptians were very wrong in thinking that a thing, once written down, was reality. What would they have thought of the modern novel?

Your comments on wicca are spot-on.



posted on Nov, 4 2011 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by Lazarus Short
reply to post by LeftySinister
 


The ancient Egyptians were very wrong in thinking that a thing, once written down, was reality. What would they have thought of the modern novel?

I've wondered that myself on many occasions. I was using it as an extreme example of the written word.


Your comments on wicca are spot-on.

Thank you. I was highly disappointed in the whole Wiccan thing.



posted on Nov, 4 2011 @ 05:12 PM
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reply to post by Lazarus Short
 


It is actually quite a simple matter that any knowledgeable person can accept, and have faith in.

I can try to explain the practical reasons for maintaining an esoteric tradition, but i think the metaphysical reason is much more interesting and persuasive; problem is, most people who doubt the validity of an esoteric tradition have problems with ontological thinking. They want things to be concrete, and realizable in an easier cognizable way.

Unfortunately, it is what it is, and the spiritual traditions are designed to be a mirror of reality. Metaphysics is NOT - some game, or baseless speculation as many people ere accustomed to thinking. True systems of metaphysics, like the Kabbalah, or, Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism etc, understand reality not merely as having particular properties, but rather, these properties being real things in themselves; being the origins of how things are here. And these origins arent some unordered chaos but rather, they reflect a metaphysical system of laws..

Plato wasnt the first to posit the notion that ideas are things; this is the tradition of all mystery schools since ancient times, and thus, throughout history there has been a tendancy, particularly strong in the west, to split religion into two distinct spheres of knowledge. The exoteric which deals primarely with rites, rituals, and liturgy, while the esoteric dealing with the metaphysics - of saced texts, and reality in general, aswell as spiritual exercizes. This latter being much more pronounced and understood in the East then in the west (for instance, Yoga). The Exoteric is congealed - just as physical matter is congealed - into a written text. But just as physical matter is merely a window and outer expression of a spiitual reality; so to, esoteric knowledge is kept in its spiritual state - in the minds of initiates, and not put into writing.
edit on 4-11-2011 by dontreally because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2011 @ 05:13 PM
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posted on Nov, 4 2011 @ 07:31 PM
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reply to post by dontreally
 


Is it possible that some of these esoteric ideas aren't put into writing because you need to be in a different state of mind to understand? So the ideas need to be discovered through spiritual exercises under the guidance of a spiritual father rather than communicated from person to person. Then when you exit that spiritual state you can only take reminders of the ideas.



posted on Nov, 4 2011 @ 07:52 PM
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reply to post by dontreally
 


Yes, even the Bible says that some things are spiritually discerned, but I don't buy into any of the esoteric traditions you list.




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