You can tell that someone isn’t interested in the truth when they say things like “obviously, it might be bad to be truthful all the time”. It’s why I gave up on the philosopher A.N. Whitehead, even though I admired the crispness of his thought. At one point in his philosophical work, he just says, in paraphrase, “Obviously, there are some things you cannot be truthful about, because of the moral consequences”. However, he never argued why this should be so—he just begged the question.
As soon as I saw that I knew that I couldn’t trust Whitehead, because how could I know what he has suppressed or withheld in his philosophy to conform to some notional “negative consequences”? I don’t know what he has lied to me about, but I know that he thinks it’s acceptable to lie for “reasons” (which are not adumbrated). So how can I know? All I know is that I can’t trust him, because he’s told me “you can’t handle the truth” (in implicit terms).
As with all clever people, he didn’t lie by fabrication—he lied by exclusion. So there was *something* that Whitehead withheld from me—supposedly for “my own protection”. Yet the idea of “protection” is fallacious—it’s not a dichotomy. You could expose someone to a lower version of the truth to prepare them for the higher and harsher version. You shouldn’t suppress the truth altogether.
Practical example: there is post-mortem survival, but it’s impersonal survival. It’s not that you’ll get together with your family and all your dead pets in some “other realm bathed in light” (it will be bathed in light, just not a personal light)—that is the allegory or parable told to the masses (everything for the masses being sentimental and somewhat literal).
The unsentimental truth is that it is an impersonal and supra-personal force that survives death—that is not an analogy for “the survival of the molecules that make up your body” or anything materialist like that; it is a metaphysical reality, but it’s just not a personal metaphysical reality.
And, indeed, to reach that realm on earth you have to burn off everything that most people would commonly want to survive death (the “friendly personality”—really, a set of tricks for getting what you want). This is why holy men like Jesus or the Buddha are, well, somewhat impersonal—in literal terms, “other-worldly”.
The mass version sometimes leads to objections from atheists like “I think I’d get bored just feasting and spending time with my family for eternity—that’s why I’m glad there’s nothing after death, just ‘ice cream forever’ sounds dull.” Religious people, in the Christian mould, sometimes reply “but you cannot comprehend what it will be like to eternally contemplate God’s love”. This is also sentimental, both are sentimental.
It’s because ideas like Christianity and Islam were presented that way to appeal to the plebeian mob, just like tabloid sentimentalism today.
The reality is more like you’ll be an entity of pure light (you go back to the light, per near-death experiences) and considerations like “ice cream forever” or “the cool waters of paradise” (metaphor for the masses) just will not enter your consideration—or only in the most minimal way, because I think spirits in the other world, on the lower supra-personal planes, have some remembrance of things like the touch of wind on the cheek or the embrace of a lover.
However, in substantial terms, your existence will be impersonal—there will be no such considerations for you. You will have changed state, and ideas like “the love of God” or “ice cream forever” will just be meaningless to you.
As for punishment, the oldest traditions, per Guénon, hold that an extremely wicked life will end in your supra-personal identity being extinguished—not punished for eternity, just terminated.
Otherwise, you exist on lower or higher frequencies—the better the life, the higher the frequency you persist at; and that is analogous to hell and heaven, as understood through analogies or allegories for the masses (with the passage through hell also being a symbolic representation of the initiatory act you can undergo on earth).
It’s why I relate myself to Merlin, not because I’m a literal reincarnation in that his soul, like a globe, hopped into my body—it’s just that I’m on the same supra-personal wavelength as him. The individual identity doesn’t come into it at this level.
I think, with the Hermetic philosophers, that there is just truth—which is beyond good and evil; and that’s the position men like the Buddha speak from. Indeed, the only “immoral” act is to lie—which makes sense, because Satan is “the father of lies”.
It’s why religions associate women with evil, it’s because while women tell the truth sometimes they cannot be truthful in a consistent way like a man—from a biological perspective, their ability to seduce with lies grants them survival.
However, just to “speak truth” shouldn’t be confused with “I have the truth”. Most people who speak about coming to “the truth” of Christ just want to use religion as a club to control you, to guilt-trip you and enhance their power—they don’t even know it’s real themselves.
In fact, Jesus just went round making truthful observations that were denied by people—he didn’t say “here’s a package, ‘the truth’—now swallow it”; and yet that’s what Christians and Muslims do today. Hence truthfulness against “the truth”.
To be truthful, Jesus likened the provision of miracles to non-Jews who asked for his help to “throwing scraps to the dogs”. So if you follow Jesus you follow a god-man who regards you as a dog (if you’re a non-Jew, and that’s because he came for the Jews—and no one else).
Hence Christians are the equivalent to Marxists on the spiritual plane—Marxists offer one economic choice, the state, and Christians offer one spiritual choice, Jesus; and anything else is “evil”—and, as a result, both have to coerce people to follow their doctrines, because by choice few would.
So I claim to be a person who maximises truthfulness and minimises lies—so I have some observations that seem to be confirmed by experience and intuition (and I make every effort to minimise lies, which I become better and better at—the only way to eliminate lies totally would be to remain silent, the total Hermetic position; although it is true that while I write much I speak little).
To enter such states you’re meant to negate yourself—to achieve divine power you become open and receptive, like a void (like the vital centre, the symbolic centres of initiation being ways to access this state—the divine power being considered feminine, so attracted to the indifferent masculine).
Indeed, most people who think they “talk to God” or have a “personal relationship with God” talk to some part of their psyche—you have to strip that away, then you’ll go down to a stage where you’ll see visions of god-like entities (also parts of your psyche); but you have to go right down until you hit <<blank>>, then you’ll see things as I have seen, like a red triangle glowing in a red square. Then you are in a true supra-personal state.
The only way to exercise miraculous power is to give up all desire, then it becomes a practical matter; not miraculous in the “outside regularity sense”, because it is within your control through practical means—though it remains miraculous in its outcomes, since these defy cause-and-effect relations.
Of course, to negate yourself in such a way means that you don’t want the things—money, social status, or sex—that most people would use those powers for (to develop such powers for those aims amounts to sorcery or witchcraft, but it is not to be an initiate). The initiate is dead to this life, hence he “commands without commanding, leads without leading”. He is a “walker on the waters”.