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The Ideas of Darryl Reanney

A pastor-friend wrote:

Anyone understanding Darryl Reanney?

A question for you more learned and intellectual thinkers out there.

One of our playgroup mums who is doing the Introducing God course with us is rather keen and passionate about the ideas put forward by Darryl Reanney. From what I can understand it all seems a bit pantheistic/psychological concept of humanity and universe. This description alone gives you a good idea I have no real grasp of the thinking of this man. So any of you heavy hitters out there come across his writing – eg The Death of Forever. What is he on about and what is a Christian critique of his view?

My response:

I’m not learned re Darryl Reanney, but with this sort of question, researching the guy in Google is a beginning…

And there you pick up ideas like:

* Microbiologist Darryl Reanney, in his book Music of the Mind, comments that our primary mode of physical expression, language, fractures Truth.

* The late Darryl Reanney believed that three of our most common fears (vertigo, a fear of falling from a height; claustrophobia, a fear of closed spaces; and agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces) are all metaphors for our fear of death.

* The root of human suffering is independent of sickness. The fundamental human suffering is knowledge of mortality. What to do? The culturally sanctioned solution, Reanney believes, is “the pursuit of happiness”, or “pleasuring”. That’s the attractive road to salvation, but its effect is to deepen the malaise. The authentic road to salvation passes through the anguish of acceptance of death; one must die many times.

Reanney writes:

“Is this then the meaning of life? To struggle, to bleed in silence, to grow through suffering? Is comfort the necessary adversary of growth? . . . My answer has to be yes.”

And you might all-too-quickly associate him with theosophy, eastern mysticism etc. He finds many clues to the mysteries of life and death in traditional religions and morality, but Reanney is a secularist with no brief for organised religion.

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Eg. Music of the Mind by Darryl Reanney

An Adventure into Consciousness: written in prose that is almost poetry, asks us to imagine a harmonious infinity, a perfect cycle of creation, life, death and renewal that affects every part of this universe.We are taken on a journey into consciousness, back to the beginning of time and forward to an endless wholistic future.

Or:

After Death, A New Future for Human Consciousness by Darryl Reanney

I saved this book for last because it is my all time favorite text on the subject of death. Unfortunately for the planet Darryl Reanney died of leukemia while working on his second book so we will not have the benefit of his thoughtful and painstakingly exact logic on this subject again. However, as a molecular biologist his study of death covers physiological, psychological, historical, philosophical and cosmological aspects. It is one of the most beautiful and elegant presentations of man’s thinking on the subject and his analytical structure and conscientious word style allows any novice thinker to follow his train of thought and ponder along the way. I have read this book many times and intend to continue to do so. My hope is that anyone with an interest or a fear in the business of life will take time to read this book about death. P. Elizabeth

More on Darryl Reanney: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/peter/selected-correspondence/corr-reanney.htm

~~

Now the mature – albeit amateur – theologian will not stop there.

There’s a larger question: what is ‘truth’ and where is it found? Can we discern *any* of God’s truth in New Age, pagan, secular etc. writers as well as in the Scriptures and Our Particular Group’s interpretation thereof?

One of my clients, Dawn Rowan, (see http://jmm.org.au/articles/4728.htm ) is happy for people to know she’s a ‘deconverted Christian’ partly because the conservative Christians she’s met are not good at listening, and believe they have a total monopoly on ‘truth’. If they were more humble about mystery and ambiguity as well as ‘authority’ she might find herself being more interested in the corner of the total ‘truth’ they inhabit… (She accepts that I have generally a ‘progressive-to-radical evangelical’ stance on many issues).

Back to Reanney: a responsible *Christian* mode of dialogue in this situation surely involves *listening* to the other’s perceptions, and in the interaction perhaps hearing oneself say “I like…. and…. but here is my essential question: ‘……?’ “

Food for more thought…

Shalom! Rowland Croucher

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