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Web Resources on Being "Born Again"

Annex to Varieties of Rebirth

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This document provides brief excerpts from web resources on a wide variety of understandings of "rebirth". This is an annex to a structured overview of what follows that is provided in a separate document: Varieties of Rebirth: distinguishing ways of being "born again" (2004), with links to specific items below The materials were gathered for a separate study: Strategic Opportunities of the Twice Born: reflections on systemic camouflage of mass deception (2004).

Experiential rebirth (operacy, flow, emdiment of mind, speaking with God, born-again, possession, psychedelic experience, embodiment in song, spiritual rebirth) Cognitive perspective (metacognition, critical thinking, philosophy, aesthetic sensibility, orders of thinking, systematics, orders of abstraction, disciplines of action)
Therapeutical rebirth (release from trauma, mentors, self-help, discipleship) Developmental rebirth (education, perspective, initiation, cultural creativity, individuation)
Psycho-behavioural rebirth (sin-to-virtue, changing patterns of consumption, conversion) Socio-religious rebirth (birthright, destiny, reincarnation, socal status, ceremony, ritual, group affiliation, games, sports)
Cultural rebirth (renaissance, aesthetic birth, mytho-poesis, thrice born)

A. Cultural rebirth

Mytho-poesis: comparative

Louise Cowan. Epic as Cosmopoesis. Dallas, TX: The Dallas Institute Publications, 1992

Epic bards are aware of an entire poetic tradition preceding them, to which they are accountable-a realm of fame, a permanent repository of values realized in time and preserved only in poetry, implicitly or openly speaking across the ages from bard to bard. The Greeks recognized in this timeless region of immortal fame (kleos) the achievement of spiritedness, enshrining such actions in a repository of valorous and comely deeds, whether or not successful.

Yet the real significance of KLEOS lies in its being a vision of things from a transcendent viewpoint. It is revealed to mortals through a break in time that we might call chairos, the opportune time, the prophetic time. The truth of such moments impels epic heroes to strive for the absolute, committing their deeds to kleos. And though poets can use only the vehicle of their own societies to express this eschatological sense, the epic action they depict has all of time in its purview: it remembers the sacred past, contends with the ambiguous present, aspires to the prophesied future.

One might go even further to say that the epic poet accomplishes in his cosmic image the spatialization of time. The poetic cosmos, which, as we have said, comes into being from the act of bringing the myth into consciousness-from shaping the past into memory-contains analogically not only a time-free place (kleos) for the deeds that can never die but also a time-bound place for the dead and lost events that cannot go forward (nekros). Epic poets relegate these negative things to an underworld, though they set apart a portion of that region, an Alyssum, for the virtuous and distinguished dead.

To discern most clearly the nature of the third feature of the epic cosmos-the masculine-feminine conjunctio- giving form to the myth of a people and by placing that myth within a larger myth, a moral universe. And, as in all genres, since an ideal form is the basis for establishing the kind of the grouping, a newly discovered epic that fits into the assembly may not only reaffirm the shared elements of the group but bring to the foreground and thus highlight aspects previously unnoticed. In this instance, the chief feature that illumines the world shared by other epics is the affinity of the feminine with the earth and the power of the feminine to affect the course of action.

If we read epic poems with attentiveness, putting aside preconceived ideas about the dominance of the patriarchal virtues, we see in them something of a palimpsest, indicating that nations are not only "twice-" but "thrice-born."

Mytho-poesis: thrice born

The Probert Encyclopaedia - Norse Mythology ... Gulltopr In Norse mythology, Gulltopr was the horse of Heimdall. Gullveig In Norse mythology, Gullveig was the thrice-born and thrice-burnt virgin.

Dionysos, to the Thrice-born God, returning from the Dead and bringing Life to human kind. The principle Orphic deity, Dionysos is killed, dismembered, boiled, and eaten by the Titans. But Dionysos is then reborn due to Athena having saved his heart and given it to Zeus. Dionysos is thus actually "thrice born," as the Orphic's first god, Phanes, who emerged from the Orphic egg wound with the spiral serpent, was also named Dionysos.3

Tritigena Thrice born or Born of Triton. Athena was sometimes known by her epithet, Tritogeneia - "thrice born", either because of Triton or because she grew up at Lake Tritonis, in Libya

The thrice-born maid whom the giants sent from Jotun-heim was Gulveig-Hoder, whose other name is Aurboda, Hag of Iarnvid and "The Mother of Evil",

The shining brow, thrice-born Taliesin bestows the gift of Awen, inspiration, so that our speech might be pleasing before the Gods

Thus is Taliesin thrice-born: once from the cauldron, once from the womb of the Goddess, and once from the coracle (Leigh Ann Hussey. Lady of the Depths: Primal Goddess of Celtic Shamanism, 1988)

Indeed, a few decades later, Christianity rose in Roma, with a very specific reference, shared by the Fathers of the Church, about a Hermes, who the Christians would call Trismegistus (meaning Thrice Born, or Thrice Great, Triple Magician).

In history there were three famous queens named Semiramis -- each one claiming to be a Queen of Heaven. The last Semiramis claimed to be thrice born. Each one of them was an Assyrian queen.

Hermes Triplex, alias Trismegistus, Thrice Great or Thrice Born - the Monotheist Egyptian King who had built a Solar City in Egypt and was related to the Hebrew Moses, and the Greek Orpheus - was the patron of the Alchemists (See: Hermetica, Emerald Tablets).

Toth incarnated into the bodies of men in the manner described in the tablets three times, his last being known as Hermes, the thrice born.

In Norse mythology, Gullveig was the thrice-born and thrice-burnt virgin.

Thrice born: an Initiate; a true Witch; born once from their mother, once from the Cauldron, and once from the God/dess.

B. Socio-religious rebirth

Social status: comparative

Social status: twice born

The concept of twice-born among the Hindus is age-old and so are the rituals which the twice-born are supposed to follow. Formulated much earlier, these rules and rituals were committed to writing in the Sanskrit Sutra literature over 2000 years. Within the Hindu caste system, it has traditionally been customary to refer to the three "upper" castes as dvija or twice born, although there has been a tendency to restrict this recognition to the Brahmins alone, neglecting such recognition in the case of the Kshatriyas and Vysyas.

In the fourteenth chapter of the last canto of the Paramahamsa Samhita portion of the Vayu Purana, named "Sri Gauranga Candra Udaya", Lord Brahma prays to the Supreme Lord Sri Hari thus:

"In the age of Kali, people are spontaneously attracted to sinful activities and are devoid of the regulations of the scriptures. The so-called "twice-born" are degraded by their low-class activities and those who are born in low-class families are alway s hostile to brahminical culture. The twice-born are low-class by quality and do business by selling mantras. These so-called learned men are absorbed in their intestines and genitals and their only identification is the thread they wear. Indulging in ove reating, absorbed in bodily consciousness, lazy, intellectually dull and greedy for others properties, they are consistantly against God-consciousness. Due to being overly inclined towards false paths without essence, they manufacture their own processes for self-realisation. Neglecting their actual duties they are expert in blaspheming You (the Supreme Personality of Godhead) and the saintly persons; hence again Mother Earth is in tears due to this burden. Therefore, Oh Lord of the Universe, destroyer of the miseries of the destitute, please mercifully do what is befitting for the protection of the Earth and the living entities." [more]

Social status: thrice born

Given that induction into Freemasonry is recognized by other freemasons as a form of third birth, the attitude of freemasons to non-masons could be explored at this point.

Ancient Indians even before the discoveries of modern medicine had Indian System of Medicine about 5000 years ago. Quackery existed even then, is best understood by these beautiful lines in Sanskrit written by ancient Indian Physician, Charaka in his famous text, Charaka- Samhita. "If Saint Manu made Brahmins superior to others by calling them twice-born, once by mother and later by undergoing sacred duties and studies, Saint Charaka says," Doctors are even superior to Brahmins because they are thrice-born after completing medical education".

Michael J. Giuliano. Thrice Born: The Rhetorical Comeback of Jimmy Swaggart. Macon GA, Mercer University Press, 2002

In February of 1988, Jimmy Swaggart, the world's most watched televangelist, was caught consorting with a prostitute in New Orleans, Louisiana. This study examines Swaggart's rhetorical campaign to salvage his ministry in the face of those actions. By analyzing his sermons, letters, and magazine articles presented between February 21 and May 22, 1988, the work seeks to discover the rationale that Swaggart offered his doctrinal community to justify the claim, I am worthy of forgiveness and continued support. Using Stephen Toulmin's model of informal argument as a tool to unlock the shared world view of rhetor and audience, this study argues that Swaggart's overt stance, "am solely to blame for what I did," was not the conclusion his primary audience would reach. Using stories and doctrinal arguments, Swaggart successfully argued that he was not a fault for his actions, that his actions could be accurately be blamed on other individuals and the entire ordeal would lead to an improved Swaggart. However, in that the arguments were shaped out of the shared Pentecostal world view that speaker and audience share, many parts of the arguments were left unspoken, and as such, were completely missed by many outside observers. Although the analysis here exclusively deals with Swaggart, I will demonstrate that such rhetorical strategies are not unique to Swaggart, Indeed, we will see that when any celebrity defends his or herself in the fact of scandal, similar themes tend to emerge. As such, the analysis proves to be as timely now as it was in 1988. [more]

Walter V Wendler. Citizenship and Opportunity. Southern Illinois University, 26 March 2004

A man, or woman, is born three times. First we are born of the flesh, on this we can all agree. Second, we are born of the spirit in our hearts and souls as we understand our relationship to the world around us in ways that are beyond our explanation, and come about through faith, through understanding who we are, where we are going, and why we are here. And Third, that which we confirm today, we are born of a country, through citizenship. That bonding of ourselves to a larger group with whom we sometimes agree, and other times not is citizenship. We are thus thrice born, flesh, spirit, and country. These are difficult concepts to deliberate, but so fundamental to what we do on a daily basis that to deny them, or to pass lightly over them, is to amputate an essential part of our existence. I am so proud to be here today to participate with you in this celebration of your third birth.

Robert T Handy (Walter Rauschenbusch: A Handbook of Christian Theologians, 1984) reports that Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918):

Upon his return to New York, he was ardently involved in religious and social tasks, including his public speeches and writings on social issues, and his participation in an organization of the Brotherhood of the Kingdom, "a group of 'thrice-born men" who met annually to stimulate each other's thinking and to advance the cause of social Christianity"

Ceremony: comparative

Ceremony: twice born

Males of the upper three Hundu castes go through a "re-birth" ceremony when they come-of-age at around 12 -- at which the sacred thread is received. While the first birth is of course from the natural mother (saukra-janma, seminal birth), a person is said to be born again when he is initiated (savitra-janma) into brahmacharya or a vow of celibacy until he completes his education. Yajnopavita samskara is the ceremony that initiates him into his duties that start with learning. [more]

Ceremony: thrice born

A Hindu brahmana gets his first birth from his mother (saukra-janma, seminal birth) and he gets his second birth by receiving the sacred thread (savitra-janma). When a twice-born receives spiritual initiation in the form of hearing the Vedas (about ones relationship with the Lord) along with fire sacrifice, it is called third birth. (Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. The Third Birth, Vedantanet, 1999)

Paul Turner. That the Intimate Connection of Confirmation with the Whole of Christian Initiation May Stand Out More Clearly. National Bulletin on Liturgy 174:36 (Fall 2003):150-154. [text]

The succinct words of Sacrosanctum concilium [Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy - Second Vatican Council, 1963] called for a renewal of confirmation both modest and broad in scope:

The rite of confirmation should also be rethought so that the intimate connection of this sacrament with complete Christian initiation may appear more clearly. Therefore, the renewal of the promises of baptism fittingly precedes the reception of this sacrament. Confirmation may be conferred within mass when convenient. But there should be drawn up a formula to be used in the manner of an introduction, which pertains to the rite outside mass (71).

People commonly call confirmation a "sacrament of initiation." However, that is not specifically what the constitution said. Throughout the history of our sacraments, the term "initiation" referred only to the baptismal rites themselves. By the 5th century, confirmation was commonly administered apart from baptism. By the 13th century, the first sharing of communion commonly took place apart from baptism. But in neither circumstance were these deferred rituals called "sacraments of initiation."

Socio-religious: comparative

The Baptism of Allah (Surah 2:138 Al Baqarah -- The Heifer) for Muslims is the same 'second birth' for Christians; the same 'dwija or twice born' for Hindus; the same 'opening of the Dsam Duar' for Sikhs; the same Self-Realization, Satori, gnosticism, and fana of advanced spiritual seekers. They seemingly different paths are all one and the same, with no difference whatsoever as far as the pursuit of the Spirit is concerned. It is just that the human race has been divided and fragmented by the religious Idols, too brainwashed and conditioned to confirm the same Truth in other Holy Books. [more]

William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) [summary by John Durham, 2002]

The once-born The writer distinguishes three stages among the once-born. First, there was "man's primitive intoxication with sense-happiness" [p 143]. Then there came ancient Greek Epicurianism and Stoicism: "Stoic insensibility and Epicurean resignation were the farthest advance that the Greek mind made ... " [p 143].

The twice-born Finally, there came the great religions of the twice-born: "[The Greeks] knew no joys comparable to those which we shall erelong see that Brahmans, Buddhists, Christians, Mohammedans, twice-born people whose religion is non-naturalistic, get from their several creeds of mysticism and renunciation." [p 143] And again: "Compared with the complex ecstasies which the supernaturally regenerated Christian may enjoy, or the oriental pantheist indulge in, [Epicurian and Stoic] receipts for equanimity are expedients which seem almost crude in their simplicity." [p 144]

John F. Golden. (Our Soul's Journey from Bethlehem to Calvary and Beyond, 2004):

C. G. Jung in his seminar on The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga given in 1932 refers to the Christian baptism as a symbolic event representing how we receive "the immortal soul, which we did not possess before. He goes on to say: "Christ receives his mission and the spirit of God in his baptism in the Jordan. He is only a Christus after Baptism because Christus meant the anointed one. He too is "twice-born." He is now above the ordinary mortal that he was as Jesus, the son of the carpenter. He is now a Christus, a nonpersonal or symbolic personality, and no longer a mere person belonging to this or that family. He belongs to the whole world, and in his life it becomes evident that this is a very much more important role than if he were the Son of Joseph and Mary"(Jung 1996, pg. 31). It is when we discover the magnitude of the meaning of the "Anima Mundi" the "World Soul".

Andrew Wilson (Ed). World's Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. International Religious Foundation, 1991 Born Anew:

To leave the condition of worldly existence and enter the realm of God's grace is often understood as a second, spiritual birth. Jesus said, "You must be born anew."

The Christian who is born again in Christ becomes a child of God, experiences an intimacy with God, and has the spirit of Christ dwelling in him. The old self dies away, with its worldly desires and false views. To be born again, the Christian must undergo the rite of baptism by which he becomes open to receive Christ and the Holy Spirit. Among the passages from the Christian scriptures, we offer the account of the first Pentecost. The gifts of the Spirit, especially the gift of speaking in tongues, are essential signs confirming the veracity of a person's rebirth in Pentecostal Christian churches.

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the twice-born are those who have received religious instruction and have realized its truths. Their life is now ground- ed in Dharma and they have rejected a life of sense gratification. The Hindu's second birth is the student's initiation into the mysteries of Vedic knowledge; it must be mediated by an able teacher. In Buddhism rebirth means to become a 'son of the Buddha' after education and training, through which the old ways of looking at life are replaced by the new eyes of the Dharma.

Socio-religious: born again

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-10)

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:5-6 This same requirement is true for everyone. To enter the Kingdom of God, we must be born of His Spirit, so we must be "Twice Born". Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. John 1:12-13

The actual word in the Greek version of the New Testament is "Anothen" meaning "Born From the Above" or "Born of God". Jesus said, "Except man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (St. John 3-3) and Jesus added : "Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again". (St. John 3-7).

Born Again concept came from Hinduism. What Jesus said is Dwija. The actual meaning of Dwija is "Twice Born".

The Sacrament of Baptism

"Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above". Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?". Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (John 3:3-5) This Born Again issue is mentioned 7 times in Jn.3, and it is an absolute necessity, as Jesus puts it: "Very truly, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn.:5)... no one can even "see" the kingdom! without being born from above, says in Jn.3:3 (Tit.3:5). A person becomes Born Again by the Sacrament of Baptism, which is the Sacrament of spiritual rebirth. By Baptism, a person is cleansed of all his sins and incorporated into Christ. He becomes a member of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, and Christ lives in him, receiving the graces of the supernatural life. The person before Baptism is in sin, at least the original sin, and a slave of the devil; after Baptism, becomes a saint, with Jesus in his heart.

Socio-religious: thrice-born

Thrice born is a Masonic term meaning born again into Freemasonry. The natural birth is considered plus the new birth mimicking Bible Christ words "you must be borned again". Once natural birth + being born again as a Christian then born into Freemason is triple born.

K.Loganathan. Vedanta -- Metaphysics of Avoidance, 2001:

We have successfully disconstructed Tat Twam Asi by noting that it captures in a formulaic manner the Intentionality and hence Intentional temporality, the most universal existential structure. This is true not just of Indians but all human beings perhaps also other living creatures that are nonlinguistic or prelinguistic. For all living things search for this and that and therefore infected with intentionality of some kind or other. And this also means the possibility of becoming FREE of this intentionality is also UNIVERSAL, all human beings are capable of attaining this state of genuine metaphysical freedom. We gained this understanding, i.e. there is intentional-temporality as the integral structure of Tat Twam Asi by bringing together the metaphysical reaches pertaining to this of Tolkaappiyar, Heidegger and Meykandar. Among these Tolkaappiyar and Heidegger operate within I-T and do not attempt to disconstruct it . Meykandar using the insights of Thirumular Appar Cambantar and a host of others successfully does this disconstruction and thus understands BEING whose njaanam is NOT temporal at all and hence absolute and that we can enjoy this atemporal understanding provided we effect the disconstruction. But we noticed that this final disconstruction is NOT something we can do -- we have to AWAIT the Grace of BEING for that final disconstruction that would catapult us into the realms of Permanence, Absolute Understanding and so forth. Let us use the term "thrice born" to describe those who enjoy this final disconstruction and hence enjoy Mukti, the final releasement from Samsara, historicity-- existential repetition, being born again and again into the phenomenal world. The thrice born are Muktas, those who have attained Mukti, NirvaNa and what not. To become the thrice born is a possibility all of us already have and therefore EQUAL in that sense . This understanding provides the framework for becoming UNITED despite being different in sexuality, professions, birth. lineage and whatever.

Alvin Pitcher. Creation Communities: Why and How. Pilgrim Press. Excerpt on "Thrice Born Christians":

We are living in a new age which might be characterized as the age of the thrice-born Christian. The second birth is the age of justification by faith, of acceptance in faith of our being accepted in spite of our unacceptability, as a child of God, created in the image of God. The third birth is a birth into acceptance of our connectedness with the rest of the world, human and non-human, at a deep level, even though at the empirical level we act and feel unconnected. The church has the opportunity to respond to the environmental revolution as if to be in the image of God is to be and act as if we were in relation to everybody and everything.

C. Psycho-behavioural rebirth


D. Developmental rebirth


E. Therapeutical rebirth

Dane Rudhyar (New Mansions for New Men, Hunter House, 1978) presents the concept of life as a triple spiral journey:

His theory is that in the development of individual consciousness the archetypal life span of 84 years divides into three sub-cycles of 28 years each. . . . these three cycles correspond in a general manner [to] three levels of man's development as a conscious self. At the beginning of each of these cycles man experiences--theoretically--a birth. To the physical birth corresponds thus, at the age of 28, a psycho-mental or "second" birth, and at the age of 56 a spiritual or "third birth. [more]

Jungian psychology acknowledges the need around this time of life for a woman to establish a relationship with her animus--her inner masculine support system; and for a man to discover his anima as his inner feminine counterpart in order to develop his sensitivity to feminine values. Dante, too, shows the way through midlife's "dark and tangled wood," as first he descends through his personal levels of hell and then undergoes purgatory's transformations, until finally it is the divinely feminine Beatrice's love that leads him to earthly paradise, the moon and realms beyond where, from heightened awareness, he is able to see the interrelated connection between all of existence. If this can be glimpsed at midlife, a third birth onto a transcendent level of consciousness is more likely to occur. Perhaps, however, it most often comes gradually throughout the final years of life. Concerning the third birth even Rudhyar is cautionary:

This "third birth" is only a potentiality which a very few indeed really experience. Yet the trend it represents is more or less felt by those individuals who, after the years of maturity, face life in a broader and less separative way; who serve their race or their ideals with a wisdom accumulated from the tragic struggles of the period of individualistic focalization. (New Mansions, p10)

F. Cognitive perspective

Perspective: experiential

Susanna Ruebsaat. The Double: An Exploration of the Outsider and the Uncanny Viewed from the Vantage Point of Marginality.

Perspective: recovery

Michael J. Giuliano. Thrice Born The Rhetorical Comeback of Jimmy Swaggart. Macon, GA, Mercer University Press, 1999

Perspective: cognitive

George and Louise Spindler (Foreword to: Symbolizing America Edited by Herve Varenne)

When we anthropologists do come home we find that we must make the familiar strange-a repeated theme in Symbolizing America. We must be "thrice-born," to use Sriniva's words (V. Turner 1978). We have our physical birth, we are born again when we do our first fieldwork in some culture other than our own, and we are thrice-born when we again face toward our culture, now seeing it as something strange. We might say that when anthropologists objectify and translate someone else's culture they must make the strange familiar, and when they study their own they must make the familiar strange (Spindler and Spindler 1982).

Anthropologist Victor Turner, in his introduction to Barbara Myerhoff's Number Our Days (1976, xiii) suggeststhat anthropologists are thrice born--first in natal birth into a particular culture, second as they work and come tounderstand an exotic culture, and third, when they come back to their native culture and discover that the familiaris exoticized because they are seeing it with new eyes.

Perspective: thrice-born

Karen Johnson Zurheide. God's-Eye View. Christian Parenting Today, May/June 2002

Many of us are familiar with the biblical language of being born again spiritually. Cliff Vaughn of the Baptist Center for Ethics says, "Parents can help their kids be 'thrice-born' culturally, borrowing the term of a famous anthropologist. First is their natural birth. Understanding a different culture is their second birth. Returning to their native culture, with new eyes, is their third birth. Being 'thrice-born' makes them better citizens of both their local and global communities because it gives them a more grounded understanding of self and other."

For Thelemites, namely followers of Aleister Crowley's doctrine of true will (Thelema), after Rabbelais recognize a correspondence with the attitudes and those of the `once-born' and `twice-born' of William James (Varieties of Religious Experience):

Thelemites are `thrice-born;' we accept everything for what it is, without `lust of result,' without insisting upon things conforming with a priori ideals, or regretting their failure to do so. We can therefore `enjoy' all things of sense and rapture' according to their true nature. For example, the average man dreads tuberculosis. The `Christian Scientist' flees this fear by pretending that the disease is an illusion in `mortal mind.' But the Thelemite accepts it for what it is, and finds interest in it for its own sake. For him it is a necessary part of the Universe; he makes `no difference' between it and any other thing. The artist's position is analogous.

Insight: comparative

Eugene Webb. Differentiations of Consciousness, 1997

In a paper I presented at a conference at the Voegelin Center in Manchester in July 1994, 12 I suggested that Voegelin's discussion of differentiations of consciousness was incomplete and that even the two differentiations he did discuss require the complementary understanding and practice of a third with which both of the others are closely connected and which I think was at least implicit in what he said about the others. The third differentiation I have in mind has to do with what we might call Òappetitive consciousnessÓ as distinguished from the noetic Òquestioning consciousnessÓ and the pneumatic Òspiritual consciousness.Ó Appetitive differentiation of consciousness as I conceive it is the realization, both experienced and reflectively understood, of the distinction between two modes of desire.

Bernie Neville.( Some Gebserian and Keganesque Reflections on Academic Writing) comments on R Kegan.( In Over Our Heads: the Mental Demands of Modern Life. 1995). in relation to J Gebser (The Ever Present Origin. 1985 [1951]):

Our latent capacity to perceive the aperspectival, acategorical whole depends on the integration of archaic presentiment, magic attunement, mythical image, and mental-rational concept in an act of prehension which is not just a synthesis (which would be an exercise of mental-rational consciousness) but a synairesis....

In Kegan's model cognitive development proceeds through a series of increasingly subtle subject-object differentiations. In infancy (first order thinking), subject and object are not differentiated. In early childhood (second order thinking) the immediate perception moves from being the subject of experiencing to the object of experiencing. The child identifies with her experience. In late childhood/early adolescence (third order thinking) cross-categorical meaning-making becomes the subject which acts on the objects of experiencing. The adolescent identifies with the contents of his mind. The older adolescent (fourth order thinking) can disidentify from her thoughts (My thoughts are something I have, not something I am) and becomes capable of reflecting critically on the contents of her mind, which now become the object of her experiencing. The mature adult (fifth order thinking) can make a further subject-object differentiation, disidentifying from the system of thinking which frames fourth order consciousness and relativising its truths.

Acknowledging that Kegan's model deals only with cognitive development we can see Gebser's archaic and magic structures in first and second order thinking. Third order thinking is grounded in the mythical structure. A great deal of what we habitually refer to as "thinking" is a rationalisation of myth. Our beliefs and reflections are collective, not individual, enmeshed as they are in the taken-for-grantedness of our tribal narratives. We can reason abstractly within a cohesive set of assumptions but fail to disidentify from our reasoning, which is framed entirely by a consensus view of reality which is identified with "truth" within our culture or sub-culture. Fourth order thinking is grounded in the mental structure. We engage in it when we leave the security of consensus reality and critically reflect as individuals on the validity of our ideas. We may think of fifth order thinking as a manifestation of the integral structure. In Kegan's description we find reiteration of essential characteristics of an aperpectival, ego-free, integral consciousness:...

In Gebser's notion of integrality and Kegan's notion of fifth order consciousness, reality is manifested not only in the aggregation of complimentary and incomplete "truths", but also in the contradictions and tensions between them. Where mental/rational consciousness fragments reality, the efficient integral consciousness "prehends the whole".

Karin Jironet. The Image of Spiritual Liberty -- in the Western Sufi Movement following Hazrat Inayat Khan. Leuven, Uitgeverij Peeters,

The individual's development process involves different important elements including gradual annihilation of the ego and assimilation of more complex images of the self

Karin Jironet. To know nothing or to know it all? Experiential learning and development from a cognitive-linguistic perspective. 2003 [text]

William James looked for "what's behind" the individual's religious longing, belief and expression. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, he indicated that the source of belief, the individual's experience, distinguishes one state of religious belief from another. James identified two states of belief distinguished by experience, the once-born and the twice-born. He refers to Tolstoy's struggle as an example of the twice-born: Tolstoy is in a crisis to which no rational explanation could be found. James is even astonished about "his absolute disenchantment with ordinary life, and the fact that the whole range of habitual values may, to a man as powerful and full of faculty as he was, come to appear so ghastly a mockery" (James, 1985: 131). The once-born is incapable of thinking and feeling as Tolstoy does, because he lives in another world, in "Paradise". The twice-born is somewhere in a process of gradual disillusionment in which values lose their charm and meaning, become replaced by a new, more complex mind-set. The twice-born represents a more developed state than the once-born. James says, "It is indeed true that the outlook upon life of the twice-born "holding as it does more of the element of evil in solution " is the wider and completer". (James, 1985: 385) When asking people initiated to the Esoteric School of the Sufi Movement "what's behind" their seeking initiation, I identified a number of characteristics that match James' description of the twice-born. However, a closer examination of how initiates describe their outlook upon life some time after their initiation, revealed similarities with James' description of the once-born.Cognitive-linguistic theory holds that the individual's understanding of experience is determined by categorisation. Categories reveal structures of the mind, showing how the world is understood in a specific time and social context. Drawing on findings within cognitive linguistics (Kittay, 1992; Lakoff 1990; Taylor, 1995) I'd like to discuss how conservation of a dual conceptual structure can prompt the re-birth of the once-born, the "twice-once-born".

Insight: cognitive

The psychologist Festiger touched on this aspect of ideology when he put forth his theory of cognitive dissonance. Belief, he observed in his psychological examinations of religious groups, becomes not weaker but stronger when it is in greatest conflict with reality.

Ordered thinking:

First Order Thinking- The Bureaucrat It's linear. We do what we do because we have always done it this way. It will always be done this way because this is the way it's always been done.

Second order thinking: It's curvillinear and non-linear. It looks around corners. It sees advantages in problems. It is lateral. It turns problems into opportunities- it is fluid and changes direction unexpectedly and surprisingly. Ego does not get in the way of a change. The not-invented-here syndrome is totally absent.

Third Order Thinking- Quantum Effects in the Human Brain, Quantum Leaps, Breakthroughs: the Scientist, the Social Scientist, the Teacher, the Business Person (Genius can be anywhere)

Peter Elbow calls this type of writing/thinking "first order thinking." It's thinking that is "intuitive, creative and doesn't call for conscious direction or control. We use it when we get hunches or see gestalts...sense analogies or arrange the pieces in a collage, (or let our) words lead us to associations we hadn't foreseen." Elbow distinguishes it from "second-order thinking, conscious, directed, controlled thinking" (that is) "committed to accuracy and strives for logic and control." [Teaching Thinking by Teaching Two Kinds of Writing, in Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching (Oxford 1986).]

Peter Elbow, Embracing Contraries. Oxford University Press, 1986. 55.

First-order thinking is intuitive and creative and does not strive for conscious direction or control. We use it when we get hunches or see gestalts, when we sense analogies or arrange the pieces of a collage. We use it when we write fast without censoring, and let the words lead us to associations and intuitions we had not foreseen. Second order thinking is conscious, directed, controlled thinking. We steer; we scrutinize each link in the chain. Second order thinking is committed to accuracy and strives for logic and control: we examine our premises and assess the validity of each inference.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making [course outline]

Yehuda Elkana. Problem Choice in Science - Reflections on the Structures of Research

Reflecting on methodological and epistomological issues is not the metal of the scientist. Working scientists simply don t have the intellectual tools for discussing in depths these issues of second-order thinking. I think that is a disaster. Historians and philosophers can at best serve as midwives. It is not our task as philosophers and historians of science to analyze without the scientists themselves participating, intensively and intimately, those epistomological and methodological issues which we are very often asked to talk about.

But what motivates the second-order thinking in which one accepts or rejects one's emotional responses?

This in turn leads to second-order thinking about what expressions mean and about what is observable and easily agreed upon versus what must be interpreted.

Throughout the program you are encouraged to engage in second-order thinking, ie, to think about how you think.

Tom Jackson Philosophy for Children: Training Manual (1989)

"Metacognition is the knowledge and awareness of one's own cognitive processes (Flavell 1976) and the ability to monitor, regulate and evaluate one's thinking" (Brown 1978).

Metacognition is many things: 1. focusing on relevant information; 2. relating meaningfully to it; monitoring comprehension; 3. taking corrective action if necessary.

control over thinking in-depth understanding being aware of long term and short term memory needs second order thinking (Elbow) active self-monitoring evaluating productivity deep achieving approaches (Biggs) posing study questions paraphrasing to become better listeners clarifying terminology A four step process:

Rudi Dallos and Amy Urry. Abandoning our parents and grand-parents: Does social construction mean the end of systemic family therapy? 1998

The paper explores how ideas from first and second-order cybernetics can be incorporated into the contemporary interest in social constructionist perspectives. We argue that it is possible to contemplate a third-order cybernetics which incorporates ideas from systems theory and social constructionism and that this may capture the reality of the 'hands-on' integrations of ideas than many practitioners are currently exploring....

We suggest that what we are calling the third cybernetics shares with the second cybernetics an emphasis on meanings as central to family dynamics and experience. However, the meanings shaping interactions are now seen as not just personal and idiosyncratic but as shaped by realities of the culture that we are immersed in. It is still accepted that we can never know the 'world out there' in any definitive sense but in contrast a social constructionist approach suggests that this world is nevertheless very real, both in the structures and actions that take place, and in the shared systems of meanings or discourses that prevail. The shared ideas of a culture are seen as real and as vitally important in shaping family life and experience, and in turn what is generally seen to constitute a 'problem' or 'pathology'. The move to a third-order cybernetics can be identified with the impact of social constructionism in the social sciences and psychology.

Francis Heylighen. A "Systems University on the Net"

First order systems thinking assumes that there is a 'real world' of systems that we can know, independent of the observer. Second order thinking adds the dimension of the observer into the approach. I contend that if we continue this process to a conceptual 3rd order thinking process, we'll realise that ONLY the observer is of any significance. If external events are unregistered by the observer, it is as if nothing has happened for that person. With this 3rd order (?) subjective model, different items become important than with the so-called 'objective' models.

G. Experiential rebirth


Justin Beller. The Importance of Shifting to Learning Organizations provides a description of the disciplines articulated by Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, 1990)

Personal mastery, the first discipline is an individual's ability to know what they want and to work toward their goals. To foster this discipline, a learning organization would create an environment that will allow members to develop themselves toward the goals they choose. The second discipline is mental models. Mental models are an organization's and individual's internal picture of the world. In other words, this picture of the world is a paradigm to the organization. The third discipline is a shared vision where there is a building sense of commitment among the members of an organization to develop a common image of the future. Team learning, the fourth discipline, works toward developing the collective thinking skills of members in an organization. Finally, the fifth discipline is systems thinking, which is a way of thinking members adopt about the forces and interrelationships that shape the overall behaviors a system.

Jonathan Dolhenty. Philosophy of Education: An Example of Applied Philosophy

The academic discipline known as philosophy of education deals with what I call third-order questions or problems. Third-order questions are the province of an applied philosophy. First-order questions (such as What is real? What is truth? What is man?) are fundamentally metaphysical and epistemological questions and lay the foundation for the development of normative philosophy, which asks what I call second-order questions (such as What is good? What is beauty? What is the best way to organize society?). Disciplines which deal with third-order questions (philosophy of law, philosophy of science, etc.) are dependent on the principles and concepts formulated within descriptive philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology) and normative philosophy (axiology, ethics, politics, aesthetics).

Chris W. Sanchirico. Evidence, Procedure, and the Upside of Cognitive Error, 2004 discusses the anticipaztive thinking required of an insincere witness:

Contingent Thinking: Even were the insincere witness able to construct a detailed and consistent storyline, this would hardly exhaust her list of things to do. Such preparation might produce an impressive performance on direct examination. But the witness can count on the opponent to explore spurs off the main narrative path during cross examination. Given the even greater difficulty of spontaneously extending a detailed and consistent account--a difficulty we explore in more detail in the next part--the witness will want to do what she ca exponentially as we progress through each layer of questioning,135 and keeping up with this explosion of contingent inquiries seriously taxes the capability of the human mind. A similar form of contingent thinking is required for games like chess, wherein each player must anticipate not just how her opponent will react to her current move, but also how she will counter-react to each of her opponent's possible reactions, as well as how her opponent will counter-counter-react, and so on. Research on chess indicates that even world class chess players, who, we may suppose, play chess nearly every waking hour nearly every day, are able to look only several moves ahead.136 Lying witnesses, who play a far less structured game, usually as a sidebar to their careers, will likely perform far worse on this score.n to anticipate antagonistic probing.

The kind of contingent thinking required to do so is even more difficult than it may at first seem. The witness must not only anticipate the questions her account will raise, but also how her planned answers to these questions will lead to follow up second order questions, as well as how her answers to second order questions will themselves be followed up with third order questions, and so on. The number of answers to prepare increases

Insight: spiritual

An Interview with Marc Ian Barasch [text]

Once we have accepted this as our starting point, we can then move toward another realization that goes hand in hand with the first: that death, as well as being our companion for life, is also a fundamental spiritual metaphor and a fundamental spiritual experience. Almost every tradition says you have to be "twice-born," and that death-and-rebirth pattern is not a single epiphanic event, but an ongoing process. To really live, you must die to your preconceptions. That's a spiritual axiom with a very long, august tradition behind it.

death and spiritual rebirth. I believe that this is a more accurate elucidation of the theme which pervades all of the ancient mysteries, in one form or another. While the theme of spiritual death and rebirth is explicitly apparent throughout the mysteries, I believe that this theme also implies a larger process pervading this period of history: the emergence of the individual human identity. The mysteries may actually have caused this phenomenon, as the individual soul was forged in the experience of spiritual death and rebirth. At the very least the mysteries may be seen as the first, and most profound expression of the ingression of individual identity into the western mind.

Jim Fournier. Ancient Mystery Religions, December 1996

The first, and in many ways most powerful, example of spiritual initiation is found in Eliade's description of the shamanic initiation. Here the theme of death and dismemberment is universal. The shaman-to-be undergoes an experience which can only be described as a spiritual death and reconstitution. The initiation may be spontaneous or intentional, brought on by an illness, a lightening strike, through ingestion of a psychedelic substance, through spontaneous instruction by the spirits of shaman ancestors, or by contact with an older shaman. But, by whatever means the visionary dream state is induced there is an almost universal pattern in which novices see themselves dismembered, often decapitated, sometimes boiled, and their flesh stripped from their bones. They may visit Hell or Heaven while removed from their body, and are instructed how to find their own connection to the world tree or axis mundi, a trans-dimensional axis of reality which will continue to give them access to a realm beyond the reality others are limited to.

During the Greek and Roman eras and up until the 4th century AD many Mystery religions were practiced. They were all secretive by nature. They had several things in common. They all believed in a life after death which was possible through an initiation ceremony which brought the person closer to the god of that Mystery religion. Part of the initiation was to bring about a sense of revelation and happiness. Usually, after the initiation there were rules that had to be observed which enhanced a feeling of consecration in the service of God. One doesn't have to read very far in Freemasonry literature before discovering that there is some link between that organization and the Mysteries. Before you just to any conclusions, please consider what will be presented to you with an open mind. Some who oppose Freemasonry have made the claim that it has descended from the ancient Mysteries of ancient days. In case you are unfamiliar with the Mysteries, let me offer a brief education. The Mystery Religions seemed to have originated in India. From India they circulated to Egypt, Ethiopia, Phoenicia, Greece, Persia, Rome, Britain, and then Scandinavia. They apparently died out with the onset of Christianity, however, in some aspects were partially resurrected by the Church. The Church removed the paganism from the Mysteries, but maintained many of their tenets. When about to open a service for the "full members" of the Church, the announcement was made, "Depart ye profane! Let the Catechumens (neophytes) and those who have not been admitted or initiated, go forth." This is clearly borrowed from the Mysteries. Membership in the Mystery Religions was selective. Only the initiated could take part in the ceremonies. The Mysteries did not teach dogmatic religious doctrines, but did try to instill in their members a strong sense of moral values. Most of the Mysteries gave emphasis to the fact that the soul was eternal and that there was an after life. In the Mystery Religions everyone became a member by choice. No one was ever invited to join. No one would be able to say that they were coerced into this new relationship. Once a person is accepted into the Mysteries they go through a series of initiations before becoming a full member. [text]

Glossary of Gnostic Terminology

Second Birth: "To incarnate the Divine Immortal Triad (Atman-Buddhi-Manas) signifies the Second Birth, which means to come out of the Ninth Sphere. The child who is born comes out from the womb. Whosoever is born within the Superior Worlds comes out of the Ninth Sphere (Sex). Whosoever reaches the Second Birth is admitted into the temple of the Twice Born. Whosoever reaches the Second Birth has to renounce sex for all eternity. The Sexual Act is absolutely forbidden for the Twice Born. Whosoever violates this law will lose his Solar Bodies and will fall into the Valley of Bitterness." - The Doomed Aryan Race

Second Death: The complete dissolution of the ego in the infernal regions of nature, which in the end (after unimaginable quantities of suffering) purifies the Essence of all sin (karma) so that it may try again to reach the Self-realization of the Being. "He that overcometh (the sexual passion) shall inherit all things; and I will be his God (I will incarnate myself within him), and he shall be my son (because he is a Christified one), But the fearful (the tenebrous, cowards, unbelievers), and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21) This lake which burns with fire and brimstone is the lake of carnal passion. This lake is related with the lower animal depths of the human being and its atomic region is the abyss. The tenebrous slowly disintegrate themselves within the abyss until they die. This is the second death." - The Aquarian Message

Are Catholics Born Again?

Catholics and Protestants agree that to be saved, you have to be born again. Jesus said so: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). When a Catholic says that he has been "born again," he refers to the transformation that God's grace accomplished in him during baptism. Evangelical Protestants typically mean something quite different when they talk about being "born again." For an Evangelical, becoming "born again" often happens like this: He goes to a crusade or a revival where a minister delivers a sermon telling him of his need to be "born again." "If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe he died for your sins, you'll be born again!" says the preacher. So the gentleman makes "a decision for Christ" and at the altar call goes forward to be led in "the sinner's prayer" by the minister. Then the minister tells all who prayed the sinner's prayer that they have been saved--"born again." But is the minister right? Not according to the Bible....

The anti-baptismal regeneration position is indefensible. It has no biblical basis whatsoever. So the answer to the question, "Are Catholics born again?" is yes! Since all Catholics have been baptized, all Catholics have been born again. Catholics should ask Protestants, "Are you born again--the way the Bible understands that concept?" If the Evangelical has not been properly water baptized, he has not been born again "the Bible way," regardless of what he may think.

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