This blog will probably be shorter than last night’s. Last night, we continued our look through “A New Earth” with Eckhart Tolle’s view of God. I didn’t cover everything of course. This blog is not meant to do that nor do I think it would be appropriate. A few passages that are select and most people can easily recognize the problems with the others. I would rather see people be able to pick out most problems themselves anyway. I get more and more concerned with a culture that doesn’t think.
Last night though, we covered the topic of his God and found that it is largely a pantheistic or panentheistic notion. Today, we will cover his view of the universe and probably leave out statements that are deifying the universe as much as we can. There will be some naturally, but God has already been covered and we don’t want overlap.
To begin with though, let’s look at a quote from page 25. Tolle has claimed that when we put a word on something, we think we know what it is. He replies: “The fact is: You don’t know what it is. You have only covered up the mystery with a label. Everything, a bird, a tree, even a simple stone, and certainly a human being, is ultimately unknowable.”
How does he know that?
This seems to be Kant’s problem of the noumena and the phenomena. Rest assured though that whenever someone tells you something is unknowable, they will always tell you something they know about it. Tolle delivers. He tells us that all we can know is the surface layer. Then the next thing he says is telling us about what the case is under the surface.
It never fails.
Tolle also has a personal universe. He speaks of acting in negativity on page 58 and states that when we do such, the universe will not be on our side. This makes sense though in Tolle’s progressing universe as it somehow seeks to grow through us (The panentheistic notion) and thus, it will work against us somehow whenever we act negatively. One wonders how it works against us. One wonders also if Christ sent out some negative energy greatly to get nailed to a cross. Is that how he thinks all suffering in the world is here? That it is simply people releasing negative energy?
We spoke yesterday of Gaia and on page 132, which ends with the start of the Gaia quote, we read “The body’s intelligence is, of course, an inseparable part of universal intelligence, one of its countless manifestations.” Again, we have a universe that is intelligent and we are manifestations of it. Thus, there is some of Kant in there and now apparently some of Spinoza. Tolle seems to have just taken a hodgepodge of worldviews and taken what he likes from each to form his own.
On page 163, we read that those who do not wish to obtain consciousness are out of alignment with the evolutionary impulse of the universe. One wonders where this evolutionary impulse comes from though if there truly is a pantheistic worldview involved. Where is the universe going and for what goal? Who gave it its final cause?
On page 196, speaking about the oneness of the universe he says “The deeper interconnectedness of all things and events implies that the mental labels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are ultimately illusory.” This is a most puzzling statement. Does that mean that his claims about ego are wrong? Is it illusory to say that ego is a bad thing? Is it illusory to say consciousness is a good thing?
And there are some things that I think are clearly good and clearly bad. I think the beauty of a lady is good and the marital union between a man and a woman is definitely good. (And as I am single, I hope to learn that firsthand someday soon.) I think also that acts like adultery are definitely bad. I think the slaughter of innocent children through “A woman’s right to choose” is definitely bad.
On page 218 he asks if we can be aware of space if there is nothing there. “The answer is both simple and profound. When you are aware of space, you are not really aware of anything, except awareness itself—the inner space of consciousness. Through you, the universe is becoming aware of itself!”
One wonders if the universe lost awareness sometime. Did it ever happen? How does this work with the universe having intelligence? There are just too many unanswered questions. Tolle has a worldview that is a complete jumble and one can search high and low through the book and they just won’t find a satisfactory answer to them.
Like I said earlier, much of this was covered last night, but ultimately, I find the entire worldview lacking. I do think there is some good psychology, but it has a terrible foundation, which we will look at in a later poist.