One of my grandfather’s hobbies was the study of ancient mystery religions, especially Eleusis and Eleusinian Mysteries. One thing that was striking in reading his work was how much we don’t know. The rites continued for thousands of years, but the initiates kept confidences. They abided the social covenant [http://adrr.com/adr2/ethics2.htm]. The same is true of the sacred mysteries of the early Christian Church which were completely lost by the third century A.D. or so.
Myself, I’ve had an interest in modern mystery religions and paths of sudden enlightenment. Some, like Primal Scream, are open. Some, like EST, are closed. A striking feature of many is the complete willingness of anthropologists studying them to complete disregard any interest the participants have in preserving the confidence that is part of a sacred space.
Of course their motives are pure. They say so. They take all the benefits, others experience all of the costs. What other measure is there of pure motives.
Not to mention, what seemed like a hobby that crossed generations and brought me a sense of being closer to an estranged grandfather, now makes me feel like a voyeur, at least in the modern era. Especially as I have my own sacred spaces I would like preserved.
I know, that is a long introduction to the question: what level of encryption is required to preserve a sacred space? With temple dedications, the parameters of the sacred are wide. They are recorded and thereafter freely available, so there is no confidentiality expected. They are sometimes broadcast, so they are not limited in space. But the broadcasts are encrypted to preserve the nature of the sacred space while the dedication service is ongoing.
So what does it take to preserve a sacred space, and when are our motives pure in the violations of the sacred spaces of others? What about the nature of the loss when the knowledge passes? Nibley preserved the confidences of the Hopi sacred spaces, but his knowledge of those sacred spaces died with him. Does that matter? Are we better off with tatters of knowledge of a tradition that has suffered a break in transmission than we would have been with a complete knowledge gained forty to fifty years ago when the preservers of the tradition were still vital and able to discuss its depths and intricacies with a scholar? How does that reflect on our own sacred spaces?
What level of encryption is required to preserve a sacred space?
That’s interesting. It makes me think of two things (that don’t necessarily answer your question). First, I remember when I was young, and I first learned about the Egyptian pyramids. The Egyptians believed that the pyramids would aid their journey to the next life, and that they were sacred, in essence. And we break them open and show them to the world, and King Tut is on tour. And that’s okay because… we know their religion is wrong? I thought that was strange when I was young. We only have to respect the religion of living people.
Secondly, it reminds me of a song I once heard… “Song for a Dead Friend” by an amazing musician named Kevin Gilbert. He wrote this song for an old friend who had committed suicide… and it’s full of inside jokes, and little secrets the two people shared together. I almost felt incredibly guilty for listening. It was a song FOR his dead friend, and I felt no right to listen to the lyrics.
I guess I’m just all for preserving the sacred.
That’s a good question and I will need to think about it. On one level I believe that whet is required is that the religious societies who own these places work with those wanting to “explore”.
For example. if a university wanted to study the Mountain Meadows Massacre, probably a place we we don’t want fooled around with, we should let them, in my opinion, we should require them to work very closely with us.
As for those societies where they are all dead? Well, that is tough again but it some sense I would think they would want at least someone to know about them so that their traditions are not completely lost. The Hopi may actually find it unfortunate that Nibley did didn’t confide their secrets in at least one trusting individual to keep thier tradition alive.
128 bit. Much more than that and you’re straying into overkill territory.
“The same is true of the sacred mysteries of the early Christian Church which were completely lost by the third century A.D. or so.” Huh?
c.biden — The early Christian Church had mysteries, rituals and sacred rites, that are well acknowledged to have been lost. The Gnostics were pretenders to possession of same.
Of course the LDS Church claims to have restored them.
As with the question, “What level of encryption is required to preserve *anything*?” I think the answer is: there is no level that will preserve everything.
The fact is that with any sacred space, there will be those who find openness and dissemination more sacred than the privacy. Add the internet and all bets are off.
#5. When you say something like “well acknowledged” you might want to give us a reference or two. I’m coming up with nothing.
^A case of wikipedia weasel words!
Ha! “Experience has shown us that…”
How about “the Brethren have asked us to… “? Mormon weasel words! This deserves another post.
(i’m actually interested in some of these well acknowledged early christian sacred rites)
LDS guy, 128 bit is probably more than enough since the preservation is only temporary and symbolic. Good point.
For a nice example, http://www.gnosis.org/library/pistis-sophia/ps103.htm
I’d then suggest MacRae (e.g. mi.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=64 — lets see if that will get past the spam filters which block more than one url per post).
A good search term for more is “disciplina arcani” or “disciplina arcana”
Well acknowledged, with disagreement about what it means.
e.g. (from Wiki)
Andrew, the rites themselves are not well acknowledged, just that they were kept as mysteries and an accurate form of them can not be assured (Origin even writes about it). Lots of disagreement of just what was going on, many questions. To say “we lost sure knowledge of which rites and how they were performed” is not to say “we agree on what the rites are or were.”
Hope that clarifies things.
OK, that does clarify some things.
Yep… thanks. I’m interested in biden’s take on that.