|26-02-2009, 04:40 AM||#1|
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Summun Philosophy, Kybalion
High Court Rules Against Religious Marker
by Nina Totenberg
All Things Considered, February 25, 2009 • The Supreme Court has ruled against a group that wants to erect a monument to its principles of living. The group argued it has the right to display the Seven Aphorisms in a public park in Utah because the city displays a Ten Commandments monument there.
Summun website: http://www.summum.us/summum.shtml
Summum is a religion and philosophy that began in 1975 as a result of Claude "Corky" Nowell's alleged encounter with beings he describes as "Summa Individuals". According to Nowell, these beings presented him with concepts regarding the nature of creation, concepts that have always existed and are continually re-introduced to humankind by advanced beings who work along the pathways of creation. As a result of his experience, Nowell founded Summum in order to share the "gift" he received with others. In 1980, as a reflection of his newfound evolutionary path, he changed his name to Summum Bonum Amon Ra, but news stories indicate he goes by Corky Ra.
Basis of the philosophy
Summum's philosophy stems from what it considers to be principles of nature that cannot be accredited to any person. These principles flower in different forms and were outlined before in the writings of The Kybalion first published in 1912. But Summum, considering The Kybalion incomplete and antiquated, rewrote the book after it entered the public domain. The new derivative work utilized a more modern language and incorporated the new information that was presented to Ra by the Summa Individuals. Included in that information is an explanation and description of how creation came about. The rewrite resulted in a book published by Summum entitled SUMMUM: Sealed Except to the Open Mind, and it provides an outline of the group's philosophy. The basis of the philosophy is the "Grand Principle of Creation" that states, "Nothing and Possibility come in and out of bond infinite times in a finite moment". The principle of creation generates the totality of existence which the Summum philosophy refers to as "SUMMUM", and from this master principle emanate "Seven Summum Principles" known as Psychokinesis, Correspondence, Vibration, Opposition, Rhythm, Cause and Effect, and Gender.
Summum states that its teachings are the same as the teachings of Gnostic Christianity and maintains that knowledge does not come from things such as the intellect or obedience or faith, but from revelatory experience.
Summum teaches the "Systematic Law of Learning" which explains that knowledge is attained through questioning and experience. According to Summum, devotion and spiritual practice leads to revelatory experience, and that was the basis of the authentic teachings of Jesus.Etymology and philosophical meaning
The word "summum" is Latin and is the neuter form of "summus" which means "highest". In the context of the Summum philosophy, "summum" means "the sum total of all creation". Summum appears to distinguish between "Summum" and "SUMMUM" in that "Summum" is the name of an organization and philosophy while "SUMMUM" is a name given to the totality of existence.
Practice of the religion involves meditation upon the aspect of creation that is within one's self. Summum believes that within all created things is an essence which is the spirit of the creator. The more one directs his or her attention to this indwelling spirit, the more one realizes its existence and moves along the lines of spiritual progression, developing "spiritual Psychokinesis". It appears that there is no recognized deity per se in the philosophy, but rather that people are all part of the mind of the universe and that the universe collectively constitutes something great and worthy of study and meditation.
Summum produces "Nectar Publications" which are nectars containing alcohol and used in the meditation practices that Summum teaches. The nectars are made inside the Summum Pyramid and according to Summum are imbued with resonations that contain spiritual concepts. Summum has made a number of different types of nectars, each containing its own "message". A small amount of nectar is consumed prior to meditation, and the alcohol is said to carry the resonations across the blood-brain barrier where they are released in the brain. Perception of the nectars' effects is said to depend upon the awareness of the person using them.
Governmental authorities consider the nectars to be wine and required that Summum obtain a winery license in order to make them. Summum is Utah's first federally bonded winery.
A cat being mummified by Summum
Summum practices "Modern Mummification" and "Transference" as a means to guide one's essence to a greater destination following the death of the body. Summum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation sole that was granted a religious exemption from the IRS for its mummification service. The service is available to anyone for spiritual reasons and is also offered for pets. Summum does request and accept donations, thereby making it probable that these mummification services are a major source of financial support. The process has been featured in programs produced by National Geographic and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
According to its founder, over 250,000 people worldwide have "received" Summum instruction. As the organization does not keep formal membership records, this figure is based on the number of bottles of wine it has distributed.
Summum and the Ten Commandments
Summum contends that the principles and nature of creation are continuously re-introduced to humankind by evolved beings. The group holds that in one such case, Moses in the Old Testament was given both a "lower" and "higher" knowledge from a divine being. The lower knowledge was embodied in the more widely known Ten Commandments, while the higher was expressed in what Summum refers to as the "Seven Aphorisms". According to Summum, when Moses first descended from Mount Sinai, he had with him the higher law inscribed on stone tablets. However, the undeveloped condition of the Israelites prevented them from understanding. Moses returned to Mount Sinai and returned with another set of tablets containing the lower law that was much easier for the people to comprehend. The higher law was only shared with a few capable of understanding its meaning. This appears to coincide with one of Summum's precepts that states, "The voice of wisdom is silent, except to the OPEN MIND", and in this aspect, Summum resembles an esoteric religious movement.
Freedom of speech
See also: Pleasant Grove City v. Summum
Summum followers have gained attention as of late in that they have proposed that their Seven Aphorisms be placed in public places alongside the Ten Commandments, specifically in several locations in Utah.
Christians and town fathers have objected, claiming that the Ten Commandments are of great historic significance to the United States, and as such are not solely a religious statement, whereas the seven aphorisms are a modern philosophy. Summum has prevailed in other litigation where the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Summum was denied its right to free speech and governments had engaged in discrimination. The governments in those cases elected to remove their Ten Commandments monument rather than allow Summum to erect its Seven Aphorisms monument. However, Pleasant Grove, Utah, was successful in getting the United States Supreme Court to hear the current case. Their argument is that the acceptance of a monument is not an instance of a public forum where speakers may not be discriminated against, but rather a form of government speech that does not require neutral viewpoints. On February 25, 2009, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Summum in the Pleasant Grove case. Justice Samuel Alito, in his opinion for the court, drew a distinction between Summum's case and efforts to block groups from speaking in public parks, which ordinarily would violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. According to Alito, "the display of a permanent monument in a public park" is held to a different legal standard. Because monuments in public parks help define a city's identity, Alito wrote, "cities and other jurisdictions take some care in accepting donated monuments."
Summum and the golden ratio
Summum has incorporated the golden ratio into the design of their Summum Pyramid winery in Utah, and maintains that because it is the human mind that interprets the characteristics and qualities of the golden ratio, it should be considered in its relation to the human psyche. According to Summum, our mental states dictate our sense of harmony and disharmony, and the resulting experiences become part of our memories that then hold us captive.