Home > Devotional Works, Goddesses, Gods, Religion, Spiritual Experience, Spirituality > Flaws, Perfections, and the Gods

Flaws, Perfections, and the Gods

Something has been on my mind since reading these two posts, The Bane of Casual Irreverence by Galina Krasskova, and Respecting Flawed Gods by EmberVoices.

I’m not going to be going deep into the details of the posts, because I agree with both of them that the women that Galina writes about in her post were out of line.

I want to explore the ideas of flaws and perfection in our Gods.

The idea of perfection is one I have not found in any of my research of, or journeys with the Gods I worship as a polytheist.  The very assumption of perfection is that there are flaws or defects that can be gotten rid of, and accordingly, that the ridding oneself, or a being rid of these flaws or defects, is perfection.  The Gods I worship cannot possess perfection or be perfect because They do not have flaws, per se.

Does that mean that Odin is not an opportunistic power-hungry God?  Of course not, but then, that is not an imperfection.  That is part of Who He is.  The Gods are Beings whole in and of Themselves.  Thor being disposed to anger is not a flaw, but it is something to be aware of. The same with Odin’s ruthlessness. It’s not a flaw, it’s a part of Him, and  something a worshiper should know about.  Our Gods aren’t perfect, and flaw is too judgmental. I am still trying to find a different word or set of words that gets the notion across.

The idea of perfection does not sit with the my understanding of Gods because the idea of perfection is that there is that next step ‘beyond’, where supposed flaws and blemishes disappear.  Often that idea of perfection leads right into reductionist, monotheist, and/or monist ideas.  Perfection, especially in American society, is often seen as an indivisible One.  This reductionist model of one-as-perfect introduces problems, i.e. The Problem of Evil, which must be grappled with.  If a thing or Being is perfect, then is it good?  If it is not by goodness that we may know perfection, by what measure may we call a thing or Being perfect?  If a thing or Being is perfect, is it not evil?  Why?

Polytheism and animism have no need for such a concept as perfection.  This idea of perfection separates the Gods from us. It kills our ability to relate to Them.  How can I relate to something perfect?  How can I possibly contribute to a relationship with a Being that is perfect?  With a perfect Being, not only would the idea of a relationship make no sense, it would also be meaningless.  I have to be able to relate to a Being to have a relationship with It.

The idea of perfection also separates our sense of Self from us-as-we-are.  The notion that there is some ‘perfect self’ out there potentially divorces us from having to own our shit or do the hard work.  It makes our Selves caricatures, unchanging, remote, and allows cliches to set in, rather than lived experience informing who and what we are.

With the notion of perfection, especially because, as mentioned earlier, the dominant theme of perfection is the indivisible One, the need for a differentiated cosmology would disappear as well.  That is, if a Being is perfect in and of Themselves, there is no need for a description of how They came to be. They are.  I originally wrote ‘if a God/dess is perfect in and of Themselves’, but as I stated above, I do not believe this is the case, and so, the Being in question would have to be other than a God or Goddess.  There can be no origin, nor can there be an end with a perfect Being, because if such a Being is indeed perfect, They are perfect within and without Themselves.  In such an ontology it is questionable if there is anything ‘outside’ of Them, or within Them in the bargain.  If we are within such a Being’s body then the questions surrounding the nature of suffering takes a cruel twist: the assumption of perfection on the part of the Being means, then, that suffering is an indication of being out of step with this perfection, this Being, or worse, that such suffering is in step with such a Being.

We could take such ‘large’, that is, cosmically large Gods, such as Ptah and They would not fall within this purview of Being as described above.  Ptah exists within a cosmology and so far as I have understood, nowhere is He claimed to be perfect.  A creator need not be perfect.  Ptah is looked upon as an architect and a sculptor, and while His work is powerful, beautiful, and impressive, perfection is nothing I have seen evidenced in His creation myths.

If we reject the idea of perfection and the ideas that flow from the concept, then, we must come to our Gods with the understanding that They are not perfect.  If we reject this, then the ideas of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence also fall away as things that can be assumed.  If the Gods are indeed Gods and we are going to develop relationships with Them, it is on us to accept Them as They are.  If we cannot bring ourselves to worship a God in the manner They require it is not the God’s fault.

Am I blaming or faulting the polytheist, then?  No, actually.  Polytheism is the worship of many Gods, not all of Them.  Some people simply should not worship certain Gods.  For instance, I enjoy meat far too much to dedicate myself to Gods for whom such a thing is taboo.  That taboo is not a flaw on the Gods’ part.  Indeed, the flaw would be mine were I to attempt to worship Them and not honor that taboo.

In rejecting perfection I do not wish to assume that we then can judge the Gods.  That seems to me to an open invitation to hubris.  Rather, In rejecting perfection I believe it is an open invitation to come to understand our Gods more fully. It is an invitation to interact with Them, to learn from Them, and to understand Them in the capacities that we can.  It is also accepting the imperfections, that there are places where the Gods may be utterly incongruous with our lives.  Loki is often looked at as one of the exemplars of this, a bringer of chaos into one’s life.  I think that asking “Why?” and exploring why a given God, Goddess, Ancestor, or vaettir may be so is a worthwhile endeavor, one that can bring deeper meaning to our lives, and depth of understanding and relations with these Gods.  Rather than avoiding these areas, it may be fruitful to seek Them out, and why aspects of the Gods, Their stories, Their interactions with us rub us so wrong, or are so incongruous, and how we may grow to accept these parts of Them.  If we cannot, it would be equally important to explore why this is.

A God or Goddess asking or demanding for something we are unable to deliver is not a flaw.  That is part and parcel of negotiating with our Gods, if indeed such things can be negotiated.  In my own case, the Gods have asked and demanded things of me I was unable to deliver to impart a lesson, for instance, that I needed to learn to negotiate, or that I needed to learn to ask for help.  In other cases there are taboos that are part and parcel of worshiping a God that one sticks to if the worship is to be undertaken.  Far better to not worship than to do so in violation of taboos.  Far better to not offer at all than to offer a sacrifice that would be offensive to the Gods.

When we dispense with notions of perfection we can come to see our Gods far better for what They are, and Who They are.  Discarding perfection also frees us of the burden of being ‘perfect worshipers’, and frames things as relational rather than static requirements.  It also allows for the Gods to change; if They cannot be frozen in some ‘ideal’ state, neither can Their relationships with us.

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  1. June 16, 2015 at 1:27 am

    I agree with your underlying assessment for the most part, but it seems like you’re setting up a dichotomy of either following a god entirely without question, or not relating to that god at all if we can’t. I’m not sure that’s an *intended* dichotomy, but if it is, I disagree.

    I believe that part of being in relation to the gods includes being in dialogue, and part of being in dialogue means bringing our own best judgement to the table – even if that judgement doesn’t seem to match that of the gods.

    -E-

    • June 16, 2015 at 1:52 am

      No, it’s not my point at all. My point is that if a God has expectations that are reasonable it is on us to follow them, and if not, to negotiate them if we wish to worship that God. That is why I kept making the point of negotiation and that perfection gets in the way of dialogue with our Gods. For instance, I do not worship Ganesha because I do not desire to stop eating meat, and as I understand it, in order to worship Him in a respectful manner that is what I would have to do. This taboo against meat is not a flaw on Ganesha’s part, but it would be in mine if I did not hold to that taboo and still went to worship Him.

      I don’t really get how you got this idea that I am saying ‘follow a god without question or not relating to that god at all if we can’t’. For some people that may be the answer; if you cannot deal with a certain part of a God or Goddess, and you do not wish to interact with Them in this way, perhaps it is better that you do not worship that God or Goddess, or, as I wrote above, explore why you’re having a reaction there. Part and parcel of being a polytheist is being respectful of the boundaries, including taboos, of a God or Goddess, and accepting who and what They are as They are, rather than as we wish for Them to be. It would be wrong of me to expect the relationship I have with Odin to be the relationship I have with Anpu, for example.

      I’m also not saying we leave our judgment out when we worship, negotiate with, or otherwise engage with the Gods. What I am saying is that much of the judgment I have seen in regards to the Gods is not seen in the way of the Gods, but is very-much informed by our modern, Protestant-dominated culture. Putting aside the idea of perfection is one link in a chain of ideas that binds getting to understand the Gods on Their terms.

      • June 16, 2015 at 1:55 am

        Not just protestant but Christian in general, yeah.

        With this elaboration and clarification, yes, I pretty well agree with you.

        -E-

  2. June 16, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Fair point.
    As a former Catholic, though, I felt like there was a decent deal of anti-Catholic sentiment, and at many points I was asked (as a Catholic *laughs*) if I was Pagan because we ‘worship Mary and pray at statues’. My transition into Paganism and polytheism was fairly smooth, whereas when I have spoken with folks from Protestant backgrounds they seem to have a harder time.

    I find it odd that my Catholic upbringing was so very accepting of the mystic experiences I had, but when I talk with Protestant folks who had similar they were balked at, or actively discouraged from sharing.

    Thank you for asking for clarification and for writing the article you did. 🙂

    • June 16, 2015 at 2:27 am

      I was raised Episcopalian, which is… not very strict, as Protestantism goes. But the *assumption* that God just IS the ALL, even if it’s not particularly strenuously emphasized, was still very present. Mysticism was encouraged, though, so there’s that.

      I had assumed that it was true of all Abrahamism, but I know Judaism has a strong tradition of outright arguing with God, so not… exactly?

      Islam, I understand, considers the point that God, as a singular whole, is the essence of reality itself – or rather, vice versa. The “submission” people are so wary of is the same kind the Serenity prayer talks about – the ability to accept what we can not change, take responsibility for that which is ours, and wisdom to know the difference.

      I respect that, as far as it goes, and I think the *values* in question apply to our relationship with *reality*, but my ideas about what the gods are in relation to myself and that larger reality don’t match anything current in Abrahamic practice (except maybe the handful of those rebuilding polytheistic tribal Hebrew religion).

      -E-

      • June 16, 2015 at 2:40 am

        Huh, interesting. I did not know that about Episopalians. Cool.
        A lot of my experience with Protestants, especially the more anti-Catholic and anti-mysticism types, seem to come out of Methodist, Baptist, and ‘non-denominational’ churches.

        I have understood similar to what you have written above in terms of Judaism and Islam.

        Yeah, I can respect that the worldviews between myself and those of the Abrahamic religions are different, and I can see quite clearly how and why they don’t match up with my own. *chuckles*

        The AMHA and other polytheist Hebrew folks are awesome.

    • June 16, 2015 at 2:29 am

      I like Saint Teresa of Avila’s comment to Jesus – “If this is how You treat Your friends, it’s no wonder You have so few!” And yet she was so clearly entirely in love with Him. 😉

      -E-

      • June 16, 2015 at 2:30 am

        *laughs* That is an excellent quote that I have not run across.

      • June 16, 2015 at 3:30 am

        See also St. Augustine’s “God, grant me chastity and continence – but not yet!”

        The mystic saints are pretty awesome, even when I don’t agree with their theology. 🙂

        Re: Episcopalianism, it’s not really the same as other forms of Protestant, because it didn’t start the same way. Henry VIII had nothing against the ritual doctrine of the existing Catholic church, he just wanted to get out from underneath the Pope’s political authority. So he wasn’t *trying* to reform the church in the same direction the rest of the Protestant Reformation was. The whole “we don’t need priests because everyone is equally capable of interpreting scripture and relating to god” thing was a big deal to the main Protestant movement, and half-accepted by the Anglican church, but they kind of split the difference with “Yeah, but priests are sure *handy* and Apostolic Succession is shiny”. So the Episcopal churches do have priests with lineage, but they’re allowed to marry, and there’s no idea that they’re needed to intercede between God and the congregation, so much as experts on the topic.

        I can see a lot of how that influences my own ideas of what priests are and aren’t for.

        “All of the ritual, half the guilt, and twice the alcohol!” ;p

        -E-

      • June 16, 2015 at 3:43 am

        Come to think of it – and I’m sure Christian scholars have long since observed this – Henry VIII was right about the church not being meant for a single human leader, but for the wrong reason.

        Before the Schism, there were 4 Popes – patriarchs of 4 different major cities within the Christian world. It just happens that 3 of them ended up on the Eastern side of the split when the Muslim powers got between Rome and the other three. The Eastern Orthodox church still has multiple patriarchs today, and the Roman Catholic church still has only one.

        Religious history never ceases to be fascinating…

        Sorry, I’m babbling now, aren’t I? Don’t mind me!

        -E-

      • June 16, 2015 at 3:56 am

        I enjoy history as well, so no problem here.

        Relating this to polytheism, though, I think that this understanding of roles is also really important. My role a priest for the church I serve is different from my role as a shaman. I’m not only serving different communities, but the requirements for these communities in these capacities are different. It is for this reason that I think a lot of the fear around establishments in Paganism and polytheism is largely unfounded.

        Pope-like operations will only be possible if we are in large enough numbers to come together to justify such a thing, and even so, I would think that should we ever have large temple complexes that such roles would be born out of necessity, i.e. there needs to be management of the temples, temple grounds, offerings, cleaning, organization of festivals, etc. Really practical things which also have spiritual impact. The organization of religion needn’t mean we clamp down on the mystical, the individual paths, or the exploration of our religions, nor need it mean we will emulate Abrahamic religions. Rather, I would think that service to the Gods in such structures would lend us to being able to navigate things like hierarchy much more smoothly.

      • June 16, 2015 at 6:57 am

        I suspect Hindu traditions have more to offer us regarding models for how to maintain diversity of personal practices and mysticism while getting organized. Abrahamic traditions are approaching from a very particular set of angles that don’t necessarily apply to our needs.

        -E-

  3. June 16, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Reblogged this on EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir and commented:
    Continuing the conversation, with Sarenth Odinsson. 🙂 -E-

  4. James "TwoSnakes" Stovall
    June 16, 2015 at 8:02 am

    It’s funny sometimes how we are approaching similar thought trains sometimes. I agree with your thoughts. There may be some room to wiggle if perhaps we think if perfection as the ability to escape the karmic cycle. If we understand that actions have karma then even beings such as the Gods must be aware of this as well. But as my son put it once when he was very young “perfection, it just doesn’t last”. We might also dip a toe into new age thought by asking “is the perfect Odin flawless, or is he just the ideal form of himself?”

    Now I must be clear I was not thinking of the perfection of the Gods this morning, but of a slightly different matter that I think is related. Polygamy. I was thinking about the ongoing difficulties in the pagan world of the pursuit of polygamous relationships. Yes they can work but they fail far more often it seems. I would be curious of the actual statistics in our little sub culture if I thought they could be accurately found. How is this related? My thoughts this morning pointed out that as aware of their own nature as the Gods are, they might cheat on a spouse, but most still had a marriage in the more “traditional” sense. There were also times of jealousy, separation and conflict. I found myself wondering this morning if we think we can be more open and honest in a relationship than the Gods are about their very nature.

    • June 16, 2015 at 9:14 am

      As I am neither Hindu nor Buddhist, the idea of perfection as being able to escape the karmic cycle does not enter into my thoughts much. So perhaps there is wiggle room here. Regardless, I agree the Gods must be aware of it. If such a moment of perfection does exist, it would exist alongside others in mythic time, i.e. Odin hanging on Yggdrasil, Odin offering His Eye to Mimir, etc.

      To put it bluntly, I see perfection as a waste of time for the reasons I cite in the article. In the new age question of “Is the perfect Odin flawless or is He just the idea form of Himself?” is kind of an odd question. According to dictionary.com, ideal means “a person or thing regarded as perfect or satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable”. Merriam-Webster defines it as: “existing as an archetypal idea” and “existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only”. Given what I have written, I would need to reject both the idea that there is perfect Odin, and/or that He is an ideal form of Himself.

      In my view the reason polygamy and polyamory fail so often is because our society does not support them, or actively denigrates them. Many ancient polytheist societies supported and/or encouraged polygamy, polyandry, polyamory, etc. I would like to see better numbers and research on a great many things in our subcultures, and that needs to come with respect and understanding a good many academics do not currently want to extend, though I see that changing.

      • James "TwoSnakes" Stovall
        June 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        I’m not sure I agree with the definition of ideal. Let me phrase it this way, if Odin had no “flaws” would he still be Odin? I think you have answered that already as a no. Thus the ideal Odin, the “perfect” Odin is one with “flaws”.

        In my opinion the failings of the polys has more to do with us as humans than of society. But we might have to discuss that more face to face to understand where each other is coming from.

      • June 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

        Heh. Language is tricky. I wish we had better words to describe the concepts that are talking about here. I think I get what you are saying, that Odin wouldn’t be Odin without traits we may not like, find desirable, or look at as ‘good’ as a society. Though, that notion of ‘good’ is not necessarily ‘good’. Heh.

        The thing about approaching the Gods with the word ‘flawed’ is that it implies a lack or wrong that is not there. This approach is fairly modern, and, in my view, springs out of Christian theology and Atheist philosophy. I do not believe such a concept would not have come out of the cultures that worshipped Him.

      • June 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm

        Hmm. I think some folks do well in multiple partnerships while others do not. I think society is a factor, as it sets up and maintains what ‘good’ relationships look like. The services provided on society, i.e. counseling, family backup, etc., overwhelmingly support monogamy and heteronormative relationships even when the people do not fit the mould. It’s not the only reason such things work out, but that can have a powerful pull, I’m the same way modes of thought like ‘stand by your spouse’ or ‘loving more than one person is cheating’.

    • kiya_nicoll
      June 17, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      The biggest difference between poly breakups and monogamous breakups: when poly people break up, people blame the poly thing. When monogamous people break up, people blame the circumstances, the personalities, the behaviours, analyse the incompatibilities, talk about discovering lack of common ground, talk about growing apart….

      (Also people have weird standards of failure, but that’s a whole other rant.)

  5. June 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Respectfully, it sounds as if you aren’t so much engaging the question of flawed or imperfect gods so much as avoiding the argument by redefining the terms. This doesn’t matter if previous discussions simply inspire you to your own observations, but it does matter if you intend to answer previous authors. If I’ve missed a step somewhere, I apologize.

    For my part, if someone points out that my gods aren’t perfect, or aren’t always good,or are limited in power, or what-have-you, I just answer that my gods aren’t perfect, and I don’t need them to be. I need them to be what they are, not what someone else might wish them to be (or denigrate them for not being). If I can love, trust, and be loyal to my mortal friends despite their flaws, I can do that with the gods, as well.

    • June 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Except, respectfully, you missed the point of what I wrote. I’m saying that the idea of the Gods as ‘flawed’ and the idea of ‘perfection’ are not ideas that apply in polytheism as regards to our Gods.

      Dictionary.com defines it as ‘a feature that mars the perfection of something; defect; fault’. Merriam-Webster defines flaw as a noun: ‘a defect in physical structure or form’ and as a verb: ‘to become defective’. For Odin to be flawed, there would need to be something fundamentally wrong with Him.

      Judging the Gods from a position where we are judging Them on perfection is hubris, to say the least. It’s also completely unnecessary, as perfection is not an achievable state. The question ‘is God perfect?’ dogs Christian theology and thought otherwise because He is supposed to be omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient. We don’t have that problem in polytheism because these ideas of perfection are not in our Gods, nor should they be expected. Our Gods are our Gods wholly in Themselves, and there cannot be a refinement of Them into perfection. They may have qualities we do not like or care for, but these are part of Them, not a defect.

      • June 16, 2015 at 8:01 pm

        Fair enough. Thanks for clarifying.

      • June 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        No problem. If you disagree with my assertions here, that’s fine, and I’m willing to listen. I am very passionate about theology and the things we’re talking about.

  6. kiya_nicoll
    June 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    This sounds very similar to something that I’ve always articulated as “The gods are elemental; they are exactly and precisely themselves.” It’s not a defect in carbon that it doesn’t have as many electrons as silver. It’s not a defect in nitrogen that you can’t make everything ever out of nitrogen. That’s just not the way the world works, and trying to assemble blame or imperfection because different things have different properties is just plain weird.

  7. June 17, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    That’s a good point. The requirements of Hindu priests, gurus, and other spiritual specialists differ tradition to tradition, and in some cases, temple to temple. This was brought into deep clarity when I visited Chinmaya Mission, and then The Hindu Temple as part of my Hinduism course.

    The former was organized around Vedanta, working with guides such as gurus being spiritual examples, and temple leaders of both genders. It seemed more monistic in its teachings. The latter was openly polytheist with priests having specific roles and responsibilities.

  8. henadology
    June 18, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I’m in agreement with a good deal of what you say here substantively, but I would dispute some of your claims about historical polytheist thought, and in connection with that, some of how you conceptualize or articulate your experiential insights. In short, I find that you retain too much of a monotheistic logic in how you conceive of what is thinkable for polytheism.

    First, the concept of perfection *is* applied to the Gods by historical polytheist cultures. Thus, Greek teleios, generally translated “perfect”, is a core attribute of the Gods qua Gods in Proclus—see, e.g., Elements of Theology prop. 153: “All that is perfect in the Gods is the cause of divine perfection”. The Egyptian term tm, which is also often translated as “perfect” (or “complete”) is directly related to the name of the God Atum, and seems to be applicable to any God in suitable contexts. With respect to Ptah specifically, the Memphite Theology certainly accords to him the Egyptian concept of perfection, especially inasmuch as every reference in it to Atum is also a pun upon completion/perfection. But the evidence should not be limited to the occurrence of this single word; rather, all of the expressions of ultimacy in such a hymn should be recognized as implying perfection. Examples would not be lacking, either, for Hindu theology, where several Sanskrit terms glossed as “perfect” seem to be freely applied to the Gods in suitable contexts. (For more on the conception of ultimacy in polytheism, see my work on polycentric polytheism.)

    Now, this in fact supports the substantive point you are making, because in these polytheistic cultures, there was no presumption, as we find in our culture only as a direct result of centuries of monotheist indoctrination, that a multiplicity of perfect individuals would be indistinguishable and in fact numerically one, such that there could only be one perfect being, and all others would, in effect, have to be individuated by their flaws or lacks. The polytheistic concept of perfection, by contrast, implies nothing as to the number of such entities there may be, because perfection is either completion (i.e., having all that is proper to one, or in the way peculiar to one) or an excellence (i.e., *a* perfection, as Sanskrit siddha).

    Nor do these polytheist concepts of perfection involve a rejection of relation, because only a *privative* conception of relation, where relation is based upon entities’ lack, which must be supplemented by one another, is in opposition to perfection or completeness. This privative conception of relation, again, is purely monotheistic. Polytheistic thought recognizes, in addition to relations based on need and lack, relations that are based on unselfish sharing of goodness and the free development of the perfections of different individuals and kinds of things, as in Plato’s Timaeus, where the demiurge unselfishly shares his goodness by giving form to other things. Similarly, the notions of process and emergence are only opposed to perfection when they are conceived privatively. When Vishnu lends himself to the world of process through His avatars, he is expressing his perfection, just as Apollon’s birth from Leto and Zeus does not express His inferiority to Them, but His cooperation with Them in bringing forth a cosmic order. Everything that the Gods do, in a proper conception of Them, flows from Their superabundance of being, Their perfection.

    The perfection possible for one type of thing, or for something in a particular respect rather than another, is not the same as the perfection possible for a different kind of entity, with different conditions of existence. Multiplicity *is* ideality. Without ideality, we see only the abyss of flux without purpose or form, the precosmic state which Egyptians aptly described as that in which “there are not two things”. I do not, therefore, agree that we should dispense with the concept of perfection, and cede this vital notion to the monotheists, but instead reform it to embody the insights of the great thinkers of all our polytheistic traditions. For were we to eliminate the notion of perfection altogether, we would surrender our powers of thought and imagination in submission to a monotheistic framing of all the issues you raise, surrendering any criteria, any orientation toward the realization of potential—how unfortunate, if we should refuse to grasp for ourselves precisely that of which monotheists have sought to deprive us!

    • July 9, 2015 at 4:02 am

      Thank you for commenting, Mr. Butler!

      I will be fully honest, much of where you have your feet placed is not where I am experienced. It has been a long while since I have read up on the Egyptian polytheists and thought, and I am not anywhere near as versed as you are in ancient philosophy or many of the writings here. It gives me food for thought (and books to look for), so thank you.

      What I have been more or less trying to argue against is the notion of perfection as monotheism would posit it, and is commonly understood, as I mentioned above in regards to The One being Indivisible, etc. After reading your comment here and thinking on it quite a bit, I can agree with the idea that the notion of perfection is not one we should give up on, but modify our parameters for, and advocate our own teachings on.

      What I am struck by as I read your comment and think on it, is that I lacked or did not utilize the language to better articulate the ideas I have. In looking at your points in regards to “Now, this in fact supports the substantive point you are making…perfection is either completion (i.e., having all that is proper to one, or in the way peculiar to one) or an excellence (i.e., *a* perfection, as Sanskrit siddha).”

      Your description of multiplicity being ideality reminds of the quote commonly attributed to Einstein: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Perfection in polytheism is a unique thing unto each God, as each God is complete in and of Itself. Out of this perfection arises cosmic order. I can see these rise in the Creation Stories of the Egyptians in the precosmic state and in the Ginunngagap of the Northern Tradition one as well.

      “I do not, therefore, agree that we should dispense with the concept of perfection, and cede this vital notion to the monotheists, but instead reform it to embody the insights of the great thinkers of all our polytheistic traditions. For were we to eliminate the notion of perfection altogether, we would surrender our powers of thought and imagination in submission to a monotheistic framing of all the issues you raise, surrendering any criteria, any orientation toward the realization of potential—how unfortunate, if we should refuse to grasp for ourselves precisely that of which monotheists have sought to deprive us!”

      Thank you. It is well said, and I agree.

      I find it interesting, in reading your comment, where you saw me grasping for words for these ideas, and how you put them into words. I appreciate that you could see, bring to better light, and point out where I was going.

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