Welcome, my name is Tarquin Rees and this is my blog Paralogical.
A bit about me: I am currently researching topics surrounding Transformational Learning for my Phd at Canterbury. My academic interests are essentially (para)theology (Christian and Islamic), Sufism and the concept of Blame/Holy Fools as well as a good dose of Fortean mayhem to mix things up.
I frequently moonlight at Okapi Creative as a freelance Web Developer, Fundraiser and internet consultant – primarily in cryptocurrency - and I also deal in rare books as well as occasionally dabbling in antique tribal rugs and textiles.
What to expect here: This blog will essentially serve as an online journal where I record my process and journey during the course of my postgraduate research. I'll post reviews on books, podcasts and other stuff I've dived into, discuss philosophical and theological ideas and probably talk a bit about food and crypto.
Disclaimer: In debates about religion, particularly with atheists (a vice I have officially semi-renounced), I'm often asked what my beliefs are and/or what religion I adhere to. In truth it's a hard question to answer so maybe this is a good place to try to outline it, if only for myself.
I was raised in an Evangelical Christian setting (my father was/is a preacher of the old-school hellfire and brimstone type) but pretty early on I realised there were some serious stumbling blocks in the theology. Later, when I became more politically aware, I found even more barriers to God in the right-wing aspects, particularly in the US context which was my family's baseline, as well as in many traditional Evangelical expressions. Ultimately, being unable to take the atheist escape-route, I set off on the traditional 'journey of discovery' which led through Gurdjieff, Sufism, Islam and some other interesting by-roads. The strange thing is that each of these stages of exploration built on the previous, one never actually replaced another but merely expanded it. Like a Russian matryoshka doll, where each smaller doll is nested and contained within a larger. One gets to know a single expression of self and then discovers a larger encompassing one which contains and expands - as opposed to replacing - the previous.
So here is the problem in communicating this position; I see no conflict between any of these expressions – Christian, Muslim or other. God is the origin of all and larger than all. The religions are formed as maps - pathways to God. They need to be walked and followed but their 'accuracy' surely depends on where the map-reader is situated. One reader needs to go south. Another needs to go north. They are headed to the same place. But from different locations. And if they get to the destination then both the map and their starting point become secondary. That's ‘if'.
In short, I see religion as a process rather than an end-result. It is a process many believers don't engage in but that does not invalidate the process itself. But we will examine that perhaps at a later time.
Tied in with this perspective is the idea of double seeing which is a large part of my research and which I will doubtless expand on at some point. In short it's analogous to Blake's concept of 'double vision', seeing something as both mundane and divine simultaneously. As Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia says in this regard: "the second sight" that God confers upon us does not obliterate but enhances our "first sight". Once one has been initiated into such Imaginal or Daimonic vision, one is denied the comforts of literalism. One can agree with more fundamental expressions of 'hell' and 'salvation' even the divinity of Jesus or the Trinity and feel no need to oppose - of course one no longer accepts them literally but metaphorically. I'd see this as a stage following naturally from the current - and necessary - emerging religious processes of Deconstruction and Reconstruction but then I am not a literalist and could be wrong. In some ways I hold that the only truth is the truth we ourselves create and this is mine.