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Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

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A Grand Synthesis of Natural and Technological Consciousness Is Possible … But the Ego Fights to the End: Beware of Skinhead Spirituality

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The Primal Renaissance

So what I am saying is that our advanced technology, itself a product of an unhealthy dissociated ego state that is called Western consciousness, seems, simply fortuitously … or through the grace of God … to be having the effect of intense consciousness change—yes! . . . but essentially back in the direction of what has been normal for our species for at least sixty thousand and possibly millions of years but, this time, while retaining … if we are lucky … the boons of technology.

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Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky

Some people think that the only way our consciousness will return to normal is with the loss of technology and the re-creation of the primal state. Thus they picture “Planet of the Apes” and post-nuclear “Thunderdome” scenarios.

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But I believe that we may just be lucky enough … God may be merciful enough … to allow us to keep the fruits of the extended Western aberration of consciousness; we may just be allowed to keep some of the toys we acquired from our prodigal days.

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There is nothing written in stone, after all, that says that people cannot enjoy the benefits of things produced from “unholy” vessels. Indeed, in the perfect universe that we are beginning to finally re-apprehend, it is clear that all things are useful and to some good end in God’s universe.

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For example, the legacy and benefits of democracy that we enjoy are not lost or neutralized by our realization that our founding American fathers were chauvinists and slave-owners.

So basically I am saying that I disagree that we are evolving into a new, advanced species, a Homo noeticus. For one thing, it has been pointed out that brain size has actually declined slightly over the past 100,000 years (Winkelman, 1990, p. 28).

The Primal Return

No. What I believe is that in fact consciousness change is happening … especially in Western culture … but in the direction of a return to a more truly human and natural state—one that characterized our species for millions of years.

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I am asserting that our Western mental illness, our cultural aberration of consciousness is reversing and healing. However we may be keeping with us, along with our natural self, some fruits of that extended aberration. And these boons we may only fortuitously or through God’s grace … and not through any particular heroics or “super”man virtue … be allowed to keep.

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Now, that combination of a healthy consciousness and advanced technology may be truly new on this planet. And even of that we cannot be sure. For certainly—and White would agree—likely it has occurred in other places of the universe many times—so that there is no need for species-ego-aggrandizement here, by any means.

A Grand Synthesis of Which We Should Only Be Grateful

Still certainly this possibility of a grand synthesis of natural consciousness and scientific-technological acumen is reason for excitement and rejoicing. It is without doubt something we should seek. But there is no need to march in the streets or “we’re number 1!” about it. If this is our fortuitous outcome, we have just been lucky. We can only be grateful to the Universe for conspiring to correct our transgressions before we, indeed, “killed us all off”!

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In Light of the Pre- and Perinatal, Spirituality Re-Visioned

In closing, I wish to say I hope I have conveyed why I believe that the exclusion of the prenatal and perinatal information from Wilber’s otherwise comprehensive and laudable schema of transpersonal development leaves it lacking and flawed. I feel that this entire area of integration between the two—the prenatal/perinatal and the transpersonal/spiritual—is considerably more complex and important than has been assumed … certainly that it should not be dismissed, or ignored. Indeed, I feel that the inclusion of pre- and perinatal evidence is crucial for any map of consciousness that purports to be a guide to spiritual evolution.

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Cosmic consciousness is not aided by a “fully functioning ego” or by ego-actualization. The age-old admonitions against the lures and enticements, the devices and strategies of ego are as apt in this day as they’ve always been.

The Ego Fights to the End

220px-Ken_Wilber_10The ego does not surrender easily. It sends out its emissaries of diversion and disruption, of fear and insecurity, to trip up the gullible and the arrogant. Yet surrender is what is required. The tendency to try to control and to ritualize our native experience is what is to be resisted. Banners such as “Homo noeticus” and “fully functioning ego” may bring temporary relief from the difficult task of ego resistance, dismantling of ego defenses, and confrontation with the painful aspects of the unconscious, the Shadow, in the ego-inflation inherent in such standards.

Beware of Skinhead Spirituality

skinhead-spiritualitySaint-Spock-2But it is as wise to align oneself with these tokens to fend off one’s necessary insecurity (see Watts, 1951) as it is a good idea to join up with the KKK or the skinheads as a way of dealing with the same kind of insecurities of changing … and growing … sociopolitical, cultural, and economic events. In fact the responses are much alike. And they should be equally resisted.

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THE END

Continue with The Earliest Yuppies, 25,000 Years Ago, Cast Us Out of the Garden. We Are Returning … Now: Out of Eden—Agrarian Revolution … Return to Eden—Primal Renaissance

Return to It’s Pure Egoism to Think We’re Evolving to a New Consciousness. If We’re Lucky We’ll Regain the One We’ve Lost

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace
Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness, by Michael Adzema, will be published and available in print and e-book format in May, 2014

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If We’re Lucky We’ll Regain the Consciousness We’ve Lost: It’s Pure Egoism to Think We’re Evolving to a New Consciousness

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Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … The Stormy Path to Self, Part Six — Critique of Homo Noeticus: Awareness of Death Leads to Taking Life Spiritually

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Critique of Homo Noeticus

Finally, I’d like to make it clear that all of this is not to say that I don’t appreciate White’s enthusiasm for advances on the leading edges of science and spirit and for thinking that this might have something to do with an increased pace of changes in consciousness. Indeed, I do believe that we are seeing an incredible and positive change in Western consciousness: But I view these changes, in Wilber’s terms, as a translation on the existing “level” as opposed to a “transformation” to a “higher” level, to a “Homo noeticus.”

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If We’re Lucky We’ll Regain the Unity of Consciousness We’ve Lost

To my way of thinking, there may in fact be pressures to bear upon changing the quality of Western consciousness, and possibly, even probably, in a positive direction. But I believe that these forces have more to do with the effects of our technological advance, in various ways, back upon ourselves.

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For example, I believe that modern telecommunications has the effect of making an assault upon ego defenses, making the ego-narrowed, nationalistic or “tribal”-bound views increasingly untenable under an onslaught of information. We might also consider some of the side-effects of pharmaceutical advance. I believe that our exposure to altered states through a variety of prescription and illicit drugs makes narrow, single-state, ego-fortified beliefs and ideas increasingly untenable.

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Awareness of Death Leads to Taking Life Spiritually

I also feel that the negative effects of technological advance—pollution, for example—are having positive effects on Western consciousness, albeit totally inadvertently and fortuitously. In this respect I might note that our co-habitation with the bomb and with environmental destruction is a spur to the growth of consciousness akin to more traditional spiritual paths that speak of the benefits of “having death as an ally.”

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That is, that the imminent possibility of death is a spur to taking life seriously (and spiritually) and to “waking up” in general.

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Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created

black-swan-intcrpd_thumbAnother factor is that the declining quality of air and the increased level of toxins that we ingest also are attacks on ego defenses. It is known, for example, that breathing increased amounts of carbon dioxide can bring up primal and perinatal feelings (repressed traumas that our ego defenses normally keep safely [?] tucked away in our subconscious). Grof (1993) has described how at one point he explored the use of increased carbon dioxide as a method of inducing nonordinary and perinatal/transpersonal states. The reduction of oxygen apparently acts similarly to a reduction of blood sugar or glucose to the brain and thus results in an inhibition of the brain’s ability to keep out unwanted information. The evidence concerning heavy metal toxicity indicates that can have a similar effect (Watson, 1972).

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Down Can Be Up

Now, I do not espouse environmental poisoning as a technique of higher consciousness. But I am saying that apparently Nature … and we are part of her … has ways of balancing herself.

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medusa-promo_288x288_thumbback-to-drawing-board_thumbAnd as we edge our way toward global destruction, we increasingly sicken ourselves in the process, causing us to psychologically “go back to the drawing board” and seek solutions—both inner and outer—to our misery. clip_image020_thumb555320_10151084223043185_1223314488_n_thumbSpecifically, I am saying that inhibited brain functioning, whether through oxygen depletion, heavy metal toxicity, or other environmental anomalies has the effect of heightened “mind” functioning (lowered ego and defensive functioning) in the sense of opening us to suppressed individual (and global/universal) truth.

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Acting Out

8053431-an-irritated-young-man-driving-a-vehicle-is-expressing-his-road-rageclip_image002_thumbGranted that many people, especially visible in our big cities, are not integrating this information from outside their ego boundaries (from the unconscious) and sadly are instead acting out the energy of these repressed materials … which our degenerating environment is opening up to them or giving them access to … in violent, destructive, wasteful, and pathetic ways.

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That is indeed a tragedy and is something that, if that response ends up prevailing, could actually do us in.

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Helping Out

But there are also many people who are integrating this emergent material, regaining their truth and the truths of this planet and the universe, expanding their consciousness to include this information, and carrying that information forward into positive action to heal themselves, the people around them, humanity at large, and the planet.

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We can only hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and re-action in the face of this influx of material. That, and then again, that those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier and more likely for those less able to integrate and themselves grow in response to it.

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Continue with Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

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Return to The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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Continue with Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

Return to The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

Invite you to join me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sillymickel
friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel
Planetmates: The Great Reveal — Michael’s latest book — is now available in print and e-book format. April 27, 2014. at https://www.createspace.com/4691119
To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

“There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung: The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts and Their Discomfort

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Grof Versus Wilber and the Frantic Thinking Between Paradigms: The Stormy Path to Self, Part Five: “Healthy-Mindedness” and the “Sick Soul”

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“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Jung

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“Healthy-Mindedness” and the “Sick Soul”

These two spiritual paths—the controlling and the surrender—were rather distinctively delineated over a hundred years ago by William James (1899/1982) in terms of the spirituality of “healthy mindedness” and that of “the sick soul.” The point is that the one—the “healthy mindedness” or control spirituality—involves a kind of mental ego-actualization, ego-aggrandizement; and the other—the “sick soul” or surrender spirituality—involves an honest dealing with and processing of the unconscious and all that it is.

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The Patriarchal Mistake in Spirituality … Keeping Out Negative Thoughts: Whereas True Spirituality Entails Experiencing “Hell” Before Getting to “Heaven”

This second path, this true spirituality involves a going through hell on the way to heaven—which is a matter of surrender and letting go, as opposed to control and healthy-mindedness. The one is a matter of surrendering to All That Is; whereas the delusional path is a matter of defending the ego, continuing ego defenses to keep out negative thoughts, and so on.

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It is interesting that the one can always be distinguished from the other in the false one’s emphasis on discipline, indicating it’s militaristic attitude of defending against unwanted negative thoughts, and so on. Elsewhere I have called this the “patriarchal mistake” (Adzema, 1972b).

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Stanislav Grof  Versus Ken Wilber in Transpersonal Psychology

John White Genuflects at the Altar of Ken Wilber

It might be pointed out that these two radically different views of spirituality are exemplified in the transpersonal psychology movement in that surrounding the ideas of Stanislav Grof and that surrounding the ideas of Ken Wilber. It is clear that rarely does the one movement ever refer to or revere the insights of the other. For example, in his book, The Meeting of Science and Spirit, John White (1990) does not mention Stanislav Grof at all. Yet he genuflects at the altar of Ken Wilber frequently.

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To Repent Versus to Transcend … Tob and Metanoia

In this respect, also, we have White’s inconsistency in his analysis of the terms tob and metanoia (and repent). In pointing out that the original Aramaic term for “repent” was tob he says that it means “to return” or “to flow back to God.” This is fine so far. But then he states that the Greek translation of tob is metanoia which then means “to transcend.” He then forgets the original meaning, disregards it, and builds a theory upon the latter term—meaning that we are to strive, struggle, and travel upward. The entire meaning and significance of returning or flowing back—which would serve to undermine both Wilber’s and his theories in its espousal of the significance of the “pre-” state—is completely ignored.

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To this move I say, you simply can’t have it both ways: You cannot ascribe some type of greater validity to an earlier term as being closer to the original meaning (metanoia over repent), while at the same time ignore or dispute the relevance of the even earlier term, in fact the original one (tob), just because to do so would undermine the argument you wish to present!

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Dualistic View of Reality … Ghost in the Machine Spiritual Thinking

Inconsistency—Dualism—Matter and Spirit

Nonetheless, perhaps John White’s biggest theoretical inconsistency is his assertions of a dual nature to the universe—Matter and Spirit—(with them “interacting”), laid alongside of his assertion that “God is all.” He presents therefore a dualistic view of reality much reminiscent of ghost-in-the-machine thinking, with his supposed big advance being that the ghost is just as important as the machine.

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Not a New-Paradigm View

In this respect then, White fails to make the transition to a new-paradigm view. He seems hopelessly caught between the views of competing worlds, trying to assert competing claims, trying to keep his old world from falling apart while still wanting to follow the light he sees ahead. Although he claims to, he doesn’t present a new-paradigm vision.

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Spirit and Matter as Indistinguishable as Ocean and Waves

The point is—as opposed to the old paradigm which says that the world is basically matter and that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter—that the new paradigm says the world is basically consciousness or a subjectivity that encompasses All and that the material universe is an epiphenomenon of consciousness. In this world view one does no more need to assert a difference between spirit and matter any more than one can assert a primary distinction between ocean and waves. In this respect we have Sathya Sai Baba’s statement that: All there is is the “I” or the Atma and that this is the foundation for everything else; everything else is illusion. All that really exists is the “I.”

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This is the same as saying in Western philosophy that subjectivity is the only true reality. This is in line with the philosophical position that the objective reality is indirect perception and is dependent upon subjective reality, and so subjective reality is the only true reality that can be known.

Unfortunately, White’s view is directly contradictory of this—he says that there is danger in “seeing one or the other (matter or spirit) as illusion or delusion” (p. xv). This he does despite the fact that this position of the ultimate phenomenal nature of mundane “common sense” reality is the major conclusion of most of the world’s religions, of much of traditional and Platonic philosophy, and more recently, even of the new, quantum, physics.

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The Frantic Theorizing That Goes on in the Time Between Paradigms

In essence then, White’s volume presents an example of the kind of frantic hyper-kinetic convoluted theorizing that is known to characterize the transition phase between paradigms. Like the convoluted theories of pre-Copernican astronomers, who struggled fervidly in re-arranging and making room in obsolete theories and concepts for the ever new astronomical data that was pouring in, who were doomed to failure and obsolescence by their inability to grasp the central organizing principle or concept of an Earth that is both round and not the center of the universe; so also White’s book, lacking any valid new-paradigm integrating vision, finds itself twisted about itself trying to keep one foot in old-paradigm concepts and theories while stepping with the other into new-paradigm facts and data.

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When it comes to paradigm change, you just cannot take both pills.

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To Be Continued with It’s Pure Egoism to Think We’re Evolving to a New Consciousness. If We’re Lucky We’ll Regain the One We’ve Lost

Return to A Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Spiritual Thinking: Whereas Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

Planetmates: The Great Reveal – Michael Adzema’s latest book – is being released in print and e-book format on April 25, 2014

Those who want signed copies of any of my books, email me directly … sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.
Invite you to join me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sillymickel 
 
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Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem: Sadly, a Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Current Spiritual Thinking

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Patriarchal Cultures Carry Their Advance and Conquer Tactics Into the Inner World: Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … Stormy Path to Self, Part Four — Control Versus Surrender

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Spirituality Is Self-Actualization Not Ego-Actualization

What people like White and Wilber simply do not get is that spirituality is not a matter of further ego-actualization . . . that spirituality involves surrendering the ego, letting go of the ego. Instead they would have us construct, control, strive, to build a “super” ego.

An Example of This Mistake: Homo Noeticus Is Actually Homo Ego

The Homo noeticus that White (1990) describes in his book, The Meeting of Science of Spirit, is an example of the kind of mistakes that are possible with this ego-highlighted model of human development. His Homo noeticus might better be termed “Homo ego.” For indeed, what he offers us is a continuation of the Promethean hubris that has brought us to this precarious situation. What he offers us is the same kind of attitude toward the inner world as we have taken towards the outer world, the same kind of advance and conquer, the same kind of control tactics. In support of this I note that while he uses the terms “control” and “master” often—in describing higher states and enlightenment, he uses the terms “surrender” and “letting go” only once. In White’s universe I suppose the meek do not inherit the earth.

Transpersonal Athleticism and Mystical Machismo

This entire attitude is reminiscent of a book from 1968 titled The Master Game by Robert S. De Ropp. Theorists like De Ropp, White, and Wilber have never quite understood the idea that this whole spiritual trip is not a matter of transpersonal athleticism, mystical machismo, or jocko-militaristic “mastery.” Indeed, it is obvious that White has this attitude in his espousal of the martial arts. It is understandable that he would see spirituality this way in that he is a former military man. Ken Wilber has a strong connection to the military as well, having been brought up in such a family. (Should we be getting our spiritual advice from the armed forces?)

It is equally clear that he doesn’t quite understand the concept of the surrender of ego for, even in his very espousal of Jesus, he doesn’t accept Jesus’s attitude of non-violence or “turn the other cheek.” Of course these pacificistic attitudes would not make sense in a spiritual program like his which involves the aggrandizement of the ego and its defense at all costs.

Spirituality Is Actually Attunement with God, the Giving Up of Ego Struggles

These sorts of would-be spiritual teachers also, in line with the kind of thinking I’ve described, are the ones who are wont to point out the dangers of regression to “pre-” states and so forth. Once again, in doing so, they acknowledge their fear of loss of ego in their espousal of so-called “higher” or “transcendent” striving. They do not understand that spirituality is, in reality, a matter of attunement with God, attunement with All That Is . . . is a giving up of ego struggles, and a letting go into All That; as opposed to a control, a “mastery,” a striving, or a transcendence of it all.

Control Versus Surrender

Essentially what I am saying is that there are two paths of so-called “spirituality.” One of these might be described as going up the “hierarchy of defenses” and the other as undercutting or going below such “act-outs” or spurious “atman projects.” Another way of saying this is that there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting.

Control Spiritualities: Atman Projects, Religion, Building a Hierarchy of Defenses — an Egoic Tower of Babel

control_room11Control spiritualities are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

Surrender Spiritualities: God As Being Good; Controlling Is Seen as the Problem, Not the Solution

surrender-to-godBut there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared … as it is in the control spirituality … but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

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“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to surrenderpsychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches … in which the “demon” of the id is postulated. The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant attitude of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

Hero’s Journey as “Control” Psychotherapy

the-control-attitude_thumbSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will … over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

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A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

05.Rue.JonahintheWhaleWSince the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is www-St-Takla-org__Jonah-and-the-Whale-1either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet. Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East.

Or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn. Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy. However, it is rather prevalent in traditional cultures … especially in shamanism … and in the East.

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Continue with The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

Return to Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

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Control

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Surrender

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Continue with The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung

Return to Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality: Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

we-are-then-simple-awarenessHigh Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant: Stormy Path to Self, Part Three

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Ego-Weak Mystics and Shamans

In a more recent work, John White (1990) continues Ken Wilber’s mistake in not realizing that the sharp distinction between the sacred and the profane that we observe today is a product of recent history.

The “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Not Fare Well in Front of a Psychiatrist

While White refers to early mystics in making his case for what a unitive state of consciousness entails, he does not seem to notice that these people, in terms of his proposition of developing a fully functioning ego as a necessary prerequisite to transpersonal realms, would not only fail in this regard but that by his criteria the kind of odd and extremely eccentric behavior of holy people in the past would be considered insane.

My point is that in neither White’s nor Wilber’s limited Western viewpoint is there any allowance for that kind of “regressive” behavior on the spiritual path. I quote Feuerstein (1991) as an antidote to this omission:

It is true that when we look at crazy adepts like Drukpa Kunley or Nityananda, we see phenomenal feats of renunciation. But we also see behavior that, certainly in the eyes of a psychiatrist, at times borders on the neurotic, if not psychotic. Some of these holy fools have in fact wondered about their own sanity. The saintly Ramakrishna, teacher of the world-famous Vivekananda, is a case in point. For a period of time he ceremonially worshipped his own genitals, and on other occasions he installed himself on the altar of the temple where he served as head priest.

Such behavior is certainly not “normal.” Nor is sitting on garbage heaps or sexually fondling women and girls, as has been reported of several contemporary Hindu adepts. (p. 21)

The “Fully Functioning Ego”

Thus, I re-iterate, as White (1990) himself points out (p. xxiv, he says “I elaborate on this central point throughout the book”), central to White’s argument that we are evolving into a new species of human at this time in history is that the characteristic Western ego “development”—one could as easily say (and some have said)—”ego-dissociation”—is a necessary prerequisite to higher consciousness. Thus he marshals in, to support his proposal, the concept of the “fully functioning ego” which Wilber has unfortunately popularized.

A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Most “Sanitized” Modern Spiritual Pursuits

What these transpersonal theorists are claiming then, in deference to mainstream psychology which is dominated by ego psychologists, is that a fully functioning ego is necessary to develop before one can go on to transpersonal pursuits. My research and experience, confirmed by that of Stanislav Grof and supported by the theory of Michael Washburn (1988) and others, tells me they are wrong in this espousal and that in fact what they are talking about developing is merely a supremely defended ego. It seems that what they would wish to develop is high self-esteem as a prerequisite for higher consciousness.

But the Idea of Necessary Defenses Is a Relic of Antiquated Freudian Thinking

Yet my research indicates that this is a legacy from Freudian thought which claimed that defenses are necessary. To the contrary, what we have learned from primal therapy and the other experiential, feeling psychotherapies is that defenses are not necessary.

Self Esteem Versus Self Regard

Furthermore, research by Gergen and Marlowe (1968) points out that there’s a difference between high self-esteem and high self-regard.

High Self Esteem (Positive Thinking) Distorts Reality for Temporary Pleasantness … High Self Regard Involves Openness to the Unpleasant

Essentially, high self-esteem involves the use of defenses that deny and avoid aspects of reality, whereas high self-regard is based on an openness to and acceptance of those same kinds of unpleasant aspects of reality. Self-esteem and the fully functioning ego is based on distortion of reality and falseness relative to the Self; high self-regard is rooted in painful and not necessarily so functional acceptance of reality in its dark and light, pleasant and unpleasant facets.

Attunement with the Higher Self Involves a Diminution of the Ego, a Reduction of Ego Defenses

Similarly, there is a difference between what is often called ego strength and what is meant by the fully functioning ego. For ego strength, as Erikson (1968, 1985) uses it for example, is really a consequence of being in tune with the higher self, which is in fact not ego strength at all. On the contrary, this kind of attunement with the higher self (or Self) represents a diminution of the ego, a reduction of ego defenses.

Madness and Genius … Madness and Mysticism

Going back historically, what is noticeable about mystical adepts (not always their followers, interestingly—see Hesse [1930/1968], for example) is their lack of ego, often from a very early age, and how they are closer to their mystical promptings because of this. This pattern also relates to creative people and the process of creativity. For creative people from all times quite often exhibit this poorly functioning ego that has often been associated with mystics. Because of this, people are familiar with the connection between madness and genius as well as the one between madness and mysticism. (See Erikson, 1962.)

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“Fully Functioning Ego” Actually Precludes, Rather Than Precipitates, the Mystical

The point is that in neither of these cases is there the development of this recent prescription: “the fully functioning ego.” In fact, a fully functioning ego is the last thing a person with mystical promptings would want to develop.

An Anal-Compulsive Control of Inner Life

One begins to suspect that what these transpersonal theorists and their legions of followers are really saying is that they really do not want to surrender to mystical promptings or to surrender to the Divine.

Affirmations, Ritual, and the Like Are Capitulation to the Controlling Ego and a Flight from True Spiritual-Mystical Surrender

What this kind of thinking says about these erstwhile spiritual adepts is that they want to continue to do their controlling; they want to continue to do their affirmations; they want to control their inner life. Certainly there are fear reasons why one would want to avoid the path of spiritual surrender and would wish to carry one’s controlling and defensive ego over with one into the transpersonal realms. And the devolutional model helps us to see the very deep roots of that fear and makes this entire transpersonal gambit quite understandable.

Worst of All, These Beliefs Have Roots in Racism and Western Supremacism

Still, the dictates of truth, and of real spirituality, require that these fearful prescriptions and their illusion-weaving proselytizers be spotlighted for what they are. For it is bad enough when one is self-deluded. It is purely unacceptable when one seeks to foist one’s ego defensiveness onto the spiritual pursuits of others. It is worse still when institutions, such as the psychiatric and psychological, are reinforced in their antiquated and soul-destroying methods by such efforts and beliefs. And it is worst of all when these beliefs support the kind of unconscious racism and denigration of other-than-Western-cultures that has caused so much suffering historically.

Continue with A Mystical Machismo Has Invaded Spiritual Thinking: Whereas Surrender Spiritualities, Believing in Ultimate Goodness, See Controlling as the Problem

Return to “Crazy” and Transcendent Are Not Opposite as Ego Psychologists Conveniently Proclaim: Have Western Puritanical Beliefs Infected Transpersonal Psychology?

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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Have Western Puritanical Beliefs Infected Transpersonal Psychology? “Crazy” and Transcendent Are Not Opposite as Ego Psychologists Conveniently Proclaim

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The Linear Fallacy and Ken Wilber’s Fall from Grace: Spiritual Growth Is Hardly Linear … You Can’t Put “Enlightenment” on Your To-Do List

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The Linear Fallacy

Cybernetic Dreaming

asfadfa220px-Trappist_praying_2007-08-20_dtiEven in the field of transpersonal psychology, for example, there seems an inability to accept such a visceral, energetic, cathartic, “Dionysian,” spiritual path—a “surrendered” one … a shamanistic one. Instead we see a tendency to opt for “Appollonian” head trips, mere relaxation and visualizations, cybernetic ego programming and affirmations, and rational-intellectual metaphoristics—a “controlling” path (cf., Berman, 1986, “Cybernetic Dream”).

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We hear that one must have an ego before one can lose one … as if we all, from birth, don’t have some kind of ego! We hear that there are “healthy” ego defenses to have … as if all defenses are not in some way the avoidance or distortion of truth.

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Ken Wilber’s Mistake

Interestingly, Ken Wilber—who, along with Stanislav Grof, is considered a fountainhead of modern transpersonal psychology—has been, at different times, on both sides of this development. His change of position from The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977) to The Atman Project (1980) is, in my opinion, regrettable. Obviously, from the analysis presented in this book, Falls from Grace, it is clear that I believe that his stance at the outset, in The Spectrum of Consciousness, is closer to the truth.

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The Prepersonal and the Transpersonal Are Not Separate

hippiesFurther, I agree with Washburn (1990) that Wilber’s espousal of a prepersonal/transpersonal distinction (Wilber, 1982)—which predicates his change of position—”assumes a major point at issue,” specifically, that “‘pre’ and ‘trans’ states are totally unrelated, and are in fact opposites,” and that Wilber does not establish this position empirically (p. 94). lunch-21_thumbSimilarly, while I regret the use to which Schneider (1987) puts this information, I concur with him that “a careful reading of the case evidence does not—as Wilber . . . would have it—clearly differentiate (prepersonal) psychotics from truly (transpersonal) visionaries” (p. 202).

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Ken Wilber’s Pre/Trans Distinction—Does Not Fit with the Evidence

In sum, the operative factor in Wilber’s change of position, which is also a basic building block of all of his later theory—that is to say, the pre/trans distinction—does not fit with the evidence from the spiritual or psychiatric literatures. It certainly does not fit with the evidence of experiential psychotherapy and pre- and perinatal psychology. Finally, as Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 140) pointed out, neither does his hypothesis appear to fit with the evidence of meditation research.

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One Returns to the Beginning, Again and Again

As Grof (1985) said concerning Wilber’s pre/trans distinction:

My own observations suggest that, as consciousness evolution proceeds from the centauric to the subtle realms and beyond, it does not follow a linear trajectory, but in a sense enfolds into itself.

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In this process, the individual returns to earlier stages of development, but evaluates them from the point of view of a mature adult. At the same time, he or she becomes consciously aware of certain aspects and qualities of these stages that were implicit, but unrecognized when confronted in the context of linear evolution.

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Thus, the distinction between pre- and trans- has a paradoxical nature; they are neither identical, nor are they completely different from each other. (p. 137)

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Ken Wilber’s Fall from Grace

Indeed why Wilber, while acknowledging Grof at least, would choose not to incorporate the findings of prenatal and perinatal psychology and would opt instead for a Piaget-based theory of development that begins (1) at birth (1980, p. 6) and (2) with the self identified with matter that is defined as lowest consciousness (1980, p. x and p. 7)—a Piaget-based theory that is radically altered by prenatal and perinatal psychology and consciousness research in general (see Grof; Pearce, 1980)—is a mystery in itself. emotionless_spock_by_elfqueen1969-d2yx7rp The Alpha and the Omega Meet By that I mean that (1) Wilber ignores the first nine months of an individual’s life, as if those experiences—which others, and myself in this book, have shown to be all-important—are not only not influential but non-existent!

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By that I also mean that (2) Wilber (1980) claims that at birth the self is identified with matter (p. x and p. 7), which he calls the pleroma and which he states is a gnostic term for the virgo mater or materia prima (p. 20). First of all, my reading of gnosticism does not tell me that the pleroma is a primal matter but rather a primal spiritual source from which all else—specifically, matter—devolves.

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Gnostic writings tell that, in fact, the creation of matter and the world occurs later, much later in the course of devolution than the “spiritual” pleroma. They tell also that the material universe comes in only with the creation of the inferior god, the Demiurge (the ego); and that it is a flawed creation—one might say it is one that no longer adequately reflects spirit and that it has fallen from grace. (See Robinson, 1988, The Nag Hammadi Library in English)

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“God Is All There Is.”

This may seem a minor point; however, its implications are huge for Wilber’s theory and it indicates exactly where we differ. What I am saying is that, from a particular perspective—one might say a gnostic one—matter is from spirit (or Consciousness), is of the same stuff as spirit (except that it is flawed). That really and truly what we see “out there” is spirit and is no different from what we experience “in here” save that our sensory experience is an imperfect—one might say, reflected or indirect—experience . . . but of the same thing! This is indeed the implication of the new physics and the new psychology. As one song sums it up: “God is all. God is all there is.”

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Now, Wilber knew this in The Spectrum of Consciousness; he espoused this perspective in that book. That he later turned from this radical spiritual perspective on matter; this mystical, Eastern, “new physics,” psychedelic, and Platonic perspective on the material world and sensory experience . . . well, one might say he “fell from grace.” imadgfhfjgjklges_thumb1_thumb75340_461952720518732_919352686_n0012-1468910684_21627a3681_o The Stormy Path to Self As Grof (1985) has exclaimed concerning Wilber:

It is . . . somewhat surprising that he has not taken into consideration a vast amount of data from both ancient and modern sources—data suggesting the paramount psychological significance of prenatal experiences and the trauma of birth. (pp. 135-136)

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Further, concerning Wilber’s theoretical system:

The complexity of embryonic development and of the consecutive stages of biological birth receives no attention in this sophisticated system, which is elaborated in meticulous detail in all other areas. (p. 136)

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You Can’t “Program” Your Way Into Transcendence

It seems that Wilber (1980, 1982), however—as one of the chief proponents of the ego-quest-as-precondition-to-spiritual-quest school of transpersonal thought—has made the mistake of constructing his transpersonal argument within the gravitational field of the Western ego psychologists. Thus it ends up helplessly skewed in that direction. He completely ignores the evidence cross-culturally for the ego weakness that most often characterizes mystical adherents and religious practitioners.

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Ken Wilber’s Cop-Out

Hence, Wilber’s overall position is muddied in contradiction. See, for example, A Sociable God. Here Wilber says adolescence includes previous structures:

As the adolescent mind emerges, it destroys the exclusive identity with the body but does not destroy the body itself; it subsumes the body in its own larger mental identity. (1983, p. 104)

homepageNow, compare that with The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977) in which he contends that each stage splits off from and represses previously “owned” realities making them unconscious. There are no two ways to interpret this: In the earlier work, he saw a reduction, or devolution, in consciousness with each subsequent stage in consciousness—exactly the position I espouse in this book. Whereas by the latter work, A Sociable God, he himself has become more conforming with societal beliefs, more “sociable,” and becomes an apologist for the status quo. He begins rationalizing—as people tend to do as they get older and more split off from their real feelings—that it was not “all that” repressed after all when one 0044-legiondefygod300full-2went from one stage to the other of the spectrum. This is the transpersonal psychology equivalent of the older person, tired of the emotional baggage carried from a traumatic childhood, resigning herself to saying that, well, Daddy (or Mommy) actually did love her “in his own way.” The point is this is not about truth anymore. It is about giving up the struggle for truth and conforming to whatever beliefs make life easier … or in Wilber’s case, facilitate one on the career “ladder.”

Transcendent States Require Pre-Egoic Integration

0003-imasgfsgsgsgfsgesAt any rate, I think the integration of Wilber’s work with that of Grof, primal psychology, Masters and Houston, and the new prenatal and perinatal information from various sources helps to clarify some of the confusion resulting from his change of position. [Note 1] My hope also is that my work in this book in integrating all of the above, including Wilber’s schema, goes at least some part of the way toward correcting the misunderstanding that arises from his omissions.

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Note

1. The new prenatal and perinatal information is referenced many times in this book—see especially Chapter One—as well as in publications and conferences of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH); the writings of Thomas Verny (1981, 1987); the evidence from primal therapy, rebirthing, holotropic breathwork, and psychedelic research—published in places too numerous to mention; and so on.

Continue with Ego Weak Mystics and Shamans: A Supremely Defended Ego Is the Aim of Modern “Sanitized” Spirituality … the “Holy Fools” of Mystical History Would Be Medicated Today

Return to Is the Supernatural Terrifying? The Idea of a Shamanistic, Stormy Spiritual Path Is Too at Odds with Our Religious Anti-Body Culture to Be Easily Accepted

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

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Will We Survive? Putting Our Society “On the Couch”: Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life … The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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The Journey to Light Leads Through Perinatal Darkness: Correcting the Arrogant Modern Ego … Religions Are About Control … Spirituality, Surrender

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming

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Are the Changes Needed to Avoid Apocalypse Occurring? The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind, Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

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Is there any evidence that the changes that need to happen for us to stave off apocalypse and save our world are actually occurring?

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The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind

I have mentioned there are studies of the psychology of generations, beginning with the Baby-Boomers or Sixties Generation, child.centered.parentingthat show both an increased access to the perinatal as well as a tendency to act out perinatal influences in less harmful…though more blatant…ways than generations prior. We have seen that this tendency goes hand in hand with actual engagement in activities to counter the negative perinatal act-outs that exist in our environment, moviesfor example, campaigning against war, pollution, racism, violence, and so on.

But in “Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media,” I introduced the common anthropological tenet that the projective systems of a culture—that is, its art and artifacts—can be analyzed to get a glimpse into the worldview of a particular society. For our purposes, I pointed out how our movies are especially potent glimpses into our collective consciousness as well as our collective unconscious. You might say that our cinema is the “royal road” to our collective unconscious.

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Movies As Collective Dreaming

movies.as.collective.dreamingOur flicks perform admirably well as collective dreams in that, unlike the other products of our collective consciousness such as other art and artifacts, they are multimedia stories, much like dreams are. But more than that, they are shared by more of the populace than any other art form. I am not including TV separately as an art form, since I put it in the same category as films, especially when many films are broadcast on TV and much else on TV also has the same character of being multimedia stories.

Finally, the strength of a particular element of the collective consciousness can be easily determined by the popularity of a particular movie that represents it or by that element’s increasing inclusion in a number of films. For example, in “The Perinatal Media,” I discussed the emerging new elements of faces coming out of walls and forceful oral insertion.

Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

All together, these mean that, just as a psychotherapist might analyze a client’s dreams to get an idea of his or her unconscious workings and contents, one can interpret mainstream movies to get an idea of the workings and contents of our society’s “collective mind”—both conscious and unconscious.

we.are.attracted.by.art.thats.inside.usThis is no more complex than saying that when we see things in movies that people rush to see, they are drawn to it because those things are also in their own minds. And the more they flock—the greater the success of a movie—the more pervasive in a society are those themes, elements, and contents. Certain aspects—themes or elements in films—are said to really “resonate” with people and therefore people make the movies that contain them popular and successful.

When this is said, it only means that people are consciously or unconsciously drawn to things that exist within themselves. Conversely, no existence inside? No interest.

lets.analyze.filmSo in this and upcoming chapters I will use films as the dreaming out loud of our collective mind. Put less esoterically, I will be analyzing a few examples of mainstream movies for their content, and I will be assuming the content I find there exists as well in the society that has watched it…has dreamt it.

I will also be assuming that movies that are mainstream, by which I mean can be found readily for sale as DVDs on-line or in retail stores and have become part of the popular conversation are indicative of pervasive elements in our collective consciousness and unconscious. brazil.faces.from.wallsThey can be looked at for the unacknowledged workings of our society as a whole.

I will not deal with the actual numbers of people who have attended particular movies. For I will assume out of the tens of thousands of movies that are produced each year—by small and large producers—those that have made it into the theaters of virtually all the communities of our society, and from there onto the DVD lists and the shelves of stores of all those communities, have by those facts alone demonstrated their resonance with the collective social mind. Otherwise, we would get into the maelstrom of analyzing critic’s opinions of these movies; and with that, to modify a saying, opinions are like asses: everyone has a different one.

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Something’s Happening Here … Again

masks-are_-like_-faces_-from_-walls_thumbOne final point about the heuristic value of the analysis of films for the workings of the collective mind: Elements and themes in movies change over time. I have shown how new elements may be evidence of new elements of our collective unconscious minds coming into consciousness in detailing how the faces-in-the-wall element has developed. (See “All in All It’s Just Another Face in the Wall.”)

But when old, familiar plots have different outcomes, this is important as well. When elements change or evolve over time, this speaks of something going on. This points to changes or evolutions in our collective consciousness. And when elements and themes and plots change or evolve rapidly, we can accurately faces.from.walls.everywheresay that the changes in consciousness are equally swift.

These are some of the tools we will be using in this and upcoming chapters as we take a look at a few examples of mainstream films and what they might be reflecting back to us about our own society’s changes in consciousness. But first let me say something about what may turn out to be the most important of the thematic evolutions or changes in film elements that we have been seeing.

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Information Avalanche and Pre- and Perinatal Themes

In the last half century we have been hearing a great deal about the need to expand consciousness to balance the negative effects of the extremes of technological advance. Fortunately this change of consciousness is to some extent inevitable—or at least greatly aided—by certain side effects of the technological explosion…specifically in the area of telecommunications.

Ego-Eroding Information Deluge

As cultural boundaries are eroded by a multicultural information avalanche, people are forced to lower their inner defenses and ego boundaries. Confronted by such incoming information people will either take some of it in, learn, and thereby grow beyond their former selves or they will need to expend themselves in an all-out effort to shore them up.

A potent example of the first, currently, is the way people worldwide are opening to and learning from each other using social media via the internet; the revolutionary potential of this creation of an open global consciousness is already showing itself in uprising for democracies and economic justice virtually everywhere on Earth. A clear example of the second—where folks are putting everything into blocking out information and beating back the personal growth that would result—is in the backlashes to these liberal forces, which are also occurring throughout the world—as a Tea Party in the United States and as the fortification of authoritarian regimes from China to Syria and Turkey, from Iran to Israel.

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We have seen that the first response—where folks allow the discomfort inherent in personal growth—is typical of a more advanced form of child-caring that is centered on the needs of the child. We know also that the latter reaction goes with child-caring centered on the needs of the care-givers, or parents…and not the child. In this latter instance of parenting, it is understandably called child-rearing or raising a child as opposed to child-caring. We have noticed that the first response goes along with increased self-analysis and introspection and the latter one with acting out, aggression, and culture war.

Information Tsunami Pushes Consciousness Revolution

tidal.wave.of.informationSo, this tsunami of information in all areas, where previously we could smugly hold forth ego-satisfying views, pushes both toward an overthrow of those narrower perspectives and the establishment of broader, more encompassing ones as well as toward an ever increasing irrationality in fending off this information, at any and all costs.

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I discussed at length in a previous section how this informational upswelling has led to a need to process it all in new social formats and the rituals of the talk and reality shows.

“Consciousness Raising” As “Shoveling It”

new.information.some.just.pile.it.onFor the most part, this growth or expansion of consciousness, when it happens, is seen as a linear increase and correspondingly is labeled a “raising” of consciousness. This is true whether we are talking about societal or individual progress.

Ken Wilber’s transpersonal theory is the most popular version of such a ladder-style path. In it the process of growth is analogous to that of climbing a mountain or shoveling compost into a pickup truck—one simply moves upward or piles it on. [Footnote 1]

But there are those who think otherwise.

Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Religions Are About Control; Spirituality, Surrender. Let Go, Let God to Correct an Arrogant Modern Ego

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The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

Those in the know about the pervasive pre- and perinatal influence on personality and behavior, and especially those of us actively engaged in working through the effects of such early traumas, are fully aware, like Dante, that the path to heaven leads through hell. We have found that the path to the transpersonal light leads through the psychodynamic and perinatal darkness, that the path up and the path down are parts of the same path outward. [Footnote 2]

A Dark and Hideous Shadow World

Our experience has been that the information avalanche and multicultural onslaught have eroded our personal boundaries to an influx, not only of transpersonal bliss-love-compassion, but equally—and very often, initially—to a dark and hideous shadow world, a backwards bizarro world, of pernicious and insidious disorganized feelings comprised of elements ancient, infantile, pathological, biological, scatological, and perinatal. These are some of the forms spiritual emergence can take, especially initially. And they are the ones most likely to be seen as spiritual emergencies.

Pre- and Perinatal Themes in Cinema

Therefore, it is interesting to see these views confirmed by the bubbling up of psychodynamic and perinatal themes in our collective consciousness as evidenced by current films, books, and music. I have mentioned the pre- and perinatal themes and symbolism in films and explained why, along with other elements of postmodern times, they are evidence of something significant occurring in the consciousness of our age—an emerging perinatal unconscious.

But there is another element evolving in current films which has to do with a changing or evolving collective attitude toward these perinatal elements. And along with a changing attitude, there is evidence pointing to an evolving collective response to it.

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Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life

“Control Spiritualities” and Patriarchal Cultures

Specifically, a different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, can be said to characterize the postmodern movies replete with perinatal symbolism. Most striking of all, this different kind of heroic response corresponds to a different kind of spirituality than what is commonly portrayed in this society, or at least has been the norm up until now.

control_room11For basically there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting. “Control spiritualities” are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

“Surrender Spiritualities” and God As Being Good

But there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared—as in the control spirituality—but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to psychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches—those in which the “demon” of the id is postulated.

The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant mode of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

“Hero’s Journey” As “Control” Psychotherapy

the.control.attitudeSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will…over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the Universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

Since the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet—Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East—or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn.

Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy, and it is much more common in traditional cultures and in the East.

A Shift to “Surrender” As a Corrective to a Western Overweening Ego?

All of this may be changing in recent times in the West, as once again the humanistic attitude and the new spiritual perspectives, as well as the experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, make us increasingly aware of the ultimate beneficence of the body, and of the Universe beyond even that, and of the importance of surrender and letting go as a corrective to the overweening control and defensiveness of the diminutive Western ego.

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Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Footnote

1. See especially Ken Wilber, The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.

2. See, for example, Michael Adzema, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116. Reprinted online at the Primal Spirit site at “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality.”

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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We’ve Fallen and We Can’t Get Up: Like Chiron, We Need to Take Inside Us the “Sins” of Promethean Fathers to Stop Millennial Cycles of Suffering

We Are the Centaurs, My Friends: We Are the Necessary Heroes for Deluded Promethean “Fathers,” Open the Jar, Pandora, and Why the Gods Are LOL

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Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Seven: Return of the Centaur and How We Look to the Gods

Enter the Centaur: Wherein Lies Real Hope – Sixties and Millennial Generations Are Shamans for Deluded Promethean “Fathers” 

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Blind Hope vs. Real Hope … Chiron Is Martyr for The Sins of the Fathers

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Prometheus Brought Us Blind Hopes

Another aspect of this is that Prometheus is said to have “caused blind hopes to live in the hearts of men.” Indeed, we are also now seeing how blind was our reliance on technology and the vaunted but vain “rational mind”—which has now been seen to be a rationalizing mind.

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Flight of Icarus

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For we realize this self-congratulatory thinking has been keeping out uncomfortable truths and building illusory, manic Atman projects of escape from the consequences of our actions. None of which, we are now finding out, are capable of working.

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Genetic-Engineering

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Enter the Centaur: Real Hopes – Chiron

tumblr_lcz2t5KL5X1qag9hro1_400But to jump ahead. There is hope in the Prometheus myth as well. There is shown a way forward for humanity, which at this particular time in history appears to have been prophetic. For Prometheus is saved from his sufferings by the Centaur, Chiron. Chiron sacrifices himself—Christ-like—taking on Prometheus’s suffering and dying in his stead.

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Return to The Centaur

Earthy, Sensual, Noble

woodstock13-1278469994-bg-make-love-not-warThe Centaur — half human, half animal — does not, like Icarus, paste on wings and try to separate from groundedness in the Earth. No. indigenousCentaur qualities are earthy, sensual, sexual. They embrace the noble qualities of first_peoplethe horse … reminding us that as primal beings, early humans, we were noble humans … as they say, a bit ethnocentrically, “noble savages.” We once stood, sure-footed and tall, and we walked confidently upon the Earth, knowing we belonged here.

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Wounded Healers, Shamans, Gardeners of Consciousness, Poets … Brave and Foolhardy Journeyers Into the Unapproved and Hidden

0Traditionally associated with intoxicants and with the bacchanalian, centaurs can see into other realities, nonordinary ones. They are open to altered states of consciousness. They are not averse to looking into their deeper natures, their “undersides,” their unconscious; that is how they came to be chironwoundedSam-and-Frodo-samwise-gamgee-10556837-1024-768 (2)one with Nature in the first place.

Indeed, Chiron is also known as the wounded healer and is associated with the shamanic. Being, like Chiron, healers, centaurs are skilled in both physical and mental health. Thus they are wholistic and psychotherapeutical. They are philosophical. Plato was one. Walt Whitman was one. They are poetic.

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Mystics, Scapegoats, Natural … A-mused and A-musing Not Deluded and A-mazed

tumblr_ll9s8ivSVj1qjab9ao1_r8_500Bradley-Manning-008They are scapegoated, like Chiron was, for the sins of society, and in modern times they have scornfully been referred to as “hippies” and anthony-weiner-6“beatniks” — but they include the bohemian types of all times. Being rooted in a more fundamental nature or reality they are mystic. Jesus was one. Following a “different drummer,” as it were, they are the Wayseers.

thinkingattherootsofthings2Connected to the real source of truth in Nature and the Divine, moreau_the_dead_poet_borne_by_a_centaur2they are in touch with their muse … and are both a-mused and a-musing…but they are not into the maze of culture, the matrix, they are not fooled or a-mazed.

The Centaur is completely in tune with her tumblr_lksstreQNh1qjtn0ko1_500and his planetmate-nature, the Divine and Natural 148522632order—as in the Jungian and mystic understandings of individuation as being a re-uniting with a fundamental and earlier reality — returning home, humble and prodigal-son like.

The Opposite of Ordinary Folks…Who Build Stairways to Heaven and Towers to Their Vanity

legiondefygod300full (2)jacobs-ladder-robb-scottThis is the opposite of most folks who spend their lives seeking to vainly build stairways to heaven, Towers of Babel to the divine, to be muscular Nietzchian supermen, or to struggle up Wilberian ladder-style paths for imaginary achievements and to an understandably elusive “enlightenment.”

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We Are the Centaurs, My Friends

frodo-grabs-for-the-ringThis self-sacrificing tendency in humans I will be talking about at length at the end of this book where I point out how we need to stop acting out and begin taking back the projections we make onto the Unknown and Lord-of-the-Ringsthereby stop the Promethean cycles of 147479756.0.bsuffering going on for millennia.  We need to, like Chiron, take upon ourselves the “sins of the fathers.” As Tom Waits sang it, “I’m gonna take the sins of my father (mother, brother, sister), down to the pond…I’m gonna wash them.”

AnimalNature_coverhippiesExactly that. We must make the heroic sacrifice of taking inside ourselves those perennial urges to act out on others what was done to us. In environmental terms we must make the sacrifices of lowering our standard of living returntoeden2422619039_549a84a75cand cutting back on the lavish appetites and lazy indulgences fed handsholdingtrees.4x (2)by excessive technology, cultural trinkets, and superfluous commercialism, which other generations were allowed to take to the limits of their times. For if we do not, then there will be very little left for future generations—assuming there’ll be any.

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Chiron_by_summitstudiosecocide-earth1These cultural “achievements” — wrought of burning of fossil fuels, release of fiery energy from the atom, and despoiling of natural resources — all of them in some way rooted in the theft of fire long ago, FantasyPic8 snakewhich started it all, must be let go of. We Wall Street Protest Denvermust refrain from being driven by these addictions and substitutes for actual felt experience, take the “fire” within instead of burning it up without. O_ChironSo in Icarus Suspended #2 2009 Dario Puggioniphysical terms we must bring those excessive urges home within ourselves and ground them in Nature, bring them back into our physical bodies, we must be Centaurs. And within our bodies experience the discomfort of such a monumental millennial turnabout.

So, no. This is not easy or comfortable.

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No. Not easy or comfortable.

Real Hope Lies in Pandora’s Jar and Return of the Centaur … Since the Last Time Was 1961, It’s None Too Soon 

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Open the Jar, Pandora, and Return of The Centaur … Wherein Lies Real Hope

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Open the Jar, Pandora

imasgfsgsgsgfsgesIn psychological terms, real change lies in peering deep into the Pandora’s jar of the Hopeunconscious to recover the real hope that is there. Remember, Zeus punished humanity for Prometheus’s theft by sending Pandora. Pandora opened the jar she was told never to look into—another broken law of the Divine, like that of Eve and Prometheus—and out came all the ailments that now plague humankind. It is said Pandora tried to close it but “it was too late.” Still, the legend tells us what was left inside was hope.

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pandora-boxcubeengravedgoldcrppdI don’t think you have a better description of the way most folks, including most psychologists, handle the discomfort of early pain: monster-under-the-bed.crpdThey can’t help but be affected by it…some of it does “leak out.” But they expend all kinds of efforts toward bottling it up as much as possible, suppressing, repressing, using all kinds of defenses—including what mainstream psychotherapists call “healthy” ones.

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Well, There’s No Sense Going Half Way!

487505594_68909d3e97_mYet I can tell you as a primal therapist, breathworker, and primal person that is the exact wrong thing to do. pandora_largeFrom the perspective of deep experiential psychotherapy and Holotropic Breathwork  one must open the “jar” all the way up. One must surrender to the discomfort within—not acting it out but acting it in…or rather, surrendering to the feelings that come up and expressing them (opening the jar wide).

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298009_1510005046893_1737376259_743931_1500214464_nThe jar is the personal unconscious, and what we find is that the only answer to all these troubles is to look deeply into them; for when we do we find the real hope that lies beneath the pain. Or as I have phrased it, there comes a time when one feels through the “negative grids” (the “pain grids”) to the “positive grids” (the “joy grids”). Therein is the hope.

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What we find is that when one has faced and integrated perinatal pain, then the blissful experiences from earlier in womb time opens up. In Grof’s terms referred to earlier in this book, when one allows oneself to experience the depression of BPM II (constricted womb) and the tribulations of BPM III (birth itself), then one is open to the euphoria of BPM I (early womb experience). Rather than seeing through a veil of perinatal negativity and illusion and acting out from the unreal self or ego, one is getting closer to one’s real self as a positive, truly creative being, .

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This is not a fleeting experience, for it allows a completely new perception on one’s life, vastly different from what one normally thinks. One has access to positive patterns laid down at earlier and more fundamental times in one’s life. One can build a life that works, for once. One can make choices that trigger one into happiness, not ones that are self-destructive and conducive to unhappiness.

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This is true in therapy and on the spiritual path but also in ordinary life. For any time one confronts or looks deeply into one’s discomforts there is a time when there is release from it, there is a time when one is in a better place for having faced it. As the Tao symbol indicates, there is a seed of light in the depths of darkness.

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ChironAchillesThetisspirit-of-the-nightAdditionally I can tell you that opening up even more to the reality of consciousness, as opposed to constructing egoic “castles in the sky,” leads to uncovering the “spiritual grids” beyond even the “positive grids.” That is images (3)when we go beyond even hope chironto actual redemption, re-union with estranged divinity, faith, empathy, love, and finally compassion. And that is when we as Centaurs go from being just wounded and suffering to being, like Chiron, healers…and caring teachers.

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imadgfhfjgjkl;'gesrings_doom1szd.half - Copy (3)So, for centaurs, for those who take this path, it is more depressive than aggressive. And up to the euphoric culmination I described above, it is painful and ongoing as well, just as Nine-Days-of-CreationChiron’s wound was incurable and tormenting. These become the shamans and wounded healers, like Chiron, throwing oc_websterthemselves into the fire, rather than shooting fire all about themselves at others. Centauric folks take on the suffering lest they end up being like all those before them who sheepishly and selfishly passed the burden down.

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Return of the Centaur

In another part of this book I point out how there are, beginning with the Sixties, now generations who are doing just that—working out these pains, not acting them out.

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concert11 TDPOPP05  HINDASHI just recently delineated the way these primal pains are emerging and how they are being worked through, not acted out, in younger generations and in alternative, rock music, and therapeutic cultures for a number ShlomiNissim2of decades now.

the-centaurs-c2a9-winsor-mccayFinally, in a related work of mine, Culture War, Class War, I have written how the Sixties Generation is a centaur generation and how the millennial generation is continuing that tradition. I’ve pointed out Sixties folk are centauric in standing upon (sitting upon) the achievements of previous generations but also reversing the perverse Promethean human direction by reuniting with our rootedness in Nature.

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Chiron Return…Every Fifty-One Years

220px-Mitt_Romney_by_Gage_Skidmore_38065543_origThis humble and correct primal returning has been done, is continuing to be done, and will keep on being done as the Sixties generation continues working out its power struggle at the top, but now aided by a Millennial Hrcfamilygeneration—comprised mainly of their OccupyEarth (2)daughters and sons — who are rather centaur-like themselves … as this book and the related works continue to show.

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82a59_Screen_shot_2011-09-17_at_11.24.16_AM_0.img_assist_customcrppdegyptAnd who, because of this, following different stars grounded in realities both deeper and higher, they boldly confront their societies, bringing about change, creating rapid evolution, revolution; and in doing this they have already created an youth-protest (3)Arab Spring and an Occupy Wall Street movement. They will bring about profound change in that they are opposed to the powers 40f01_OccupyWallstreet_TStarr5that be, just as their parents were opposed to the “establishment” of their day and created a “counter” culture.

The Chiron cycle is fifty-one years, meaning the last time we had energies like we do now in 2012 was in 1961. SixtiesMarwickIf you lived through or know about that decade, you know that 1961 through 1971 were SixtiesCollageamong the most transformative, progressive, and revolutionary years in the history of the world…and it indeed was a worldwide phenomenon. Considering the dire developments and challenges being laid at our feet, as this book has been laying them out…and requiring as much social but personal change as well…the centaurs couldn’t have returned any too soon.

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How We Look to the Gods and Prometheus Redux … Building More Nukes and Drilling More Holes – Icarus Keeps Flapping and the Gods Can’t Stop Laughing

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View From the Heavens and Prometheus Redux … Icarus Is Flapping and the Gods Are Laughing as We Build Nukes and Drill Holes

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Prometheus Redux

Before leaving Prometheus for good, let us consider some other interesting prometheussfgsgsgaspects of its rendering that provide insight into this book’s exploration of the deepest psychological—perinatal—roots of our apocalypse now:

There are four legends of the Prometheus myth—all of them are reflected, coincidentally, in themes in this and its related books, Culture War, Class War and The Great Reveal. They are

According to the first, he was clamped to a rock in the Caucasus for betraying the secrets of the gods to men, and the gods sent eagles to feed on his liver, which was perpetually renewed.

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Smeagol (2)“Betraying the secrets of gods to men” includes the biggest divine prerogative—dominion over death. Also, this implies that humans were given the forbidden knowledge which humans are incapable of controlling, which I dealt with at length in a previous section, using as modern examples our stirring up the forces of the atom and the secrets of the DNA.

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According to the second, Prometheus, goaded by the pain of the tearing beaks, pressed himself deeper and deeper into the rock until he became one with it.

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robocop13crppdOne of the results of Promethean hubris IMG_0092was control of Nature but therein also detachment from Nature. As I have been showing, our birth pain led us to the Promethean mistake of fire and meat. Both of these contribute to what I have called the thingification of humans, especially in 1468910684_21627a3681_omodern/postmodern times. By that I mean our extraordinary pain coming into the world and then in general in life causes us to split off from the feelings in our bodies. We objectify all of Nature: We remove all its feeling and spiritual components and leave Things as the only reality, including ourselves and other humans. We “thingify” our babies; and as adults we embrace thingification (repression, detachment, estrangement, suppression, alienation) as a way of defending against this pain.

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According to the third, his treachery was forgotten in the course of thousands of years, forgotten by the gods, the eagles, forgotten by himself.

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This separation from the pain creates the personal unconscious. But as a species, we have created a collective unconscious—what I have called the Unapproved and Hidden of all cultures. And as I have said, the truth became increasingly invisible over time…our real nature, what we did, and the true cost of our estrangement became ever more buried, obscure…eventually unknowable.

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According to the fourth, everyone grew weary of the meaningless affair. The gods grew weary, the eagles grew weary, the wound closed wearily.

vasdffasfhand_talismanThis refers to what happens when we face these uncomfortable truths and resolve them. Ultimately we leave behind these dramas when we have dealt with them so much they no longer have any charge for us… in other words, they become boring… we “weary.” The patterns are still there, but they contain no charge for us.

SmeagulPrometheusSo the first legend asserts that we are damaged and pained as karmic retribution robocop06crppdfor our defiance of Nature. And in these last three legends we have the ways we have reacted to the Promethean wound within us: ”We become unfeeling, detached, rock-like. We become one with our defenses, thingified.

The second says that we repress this information and it becomes increasingly hidden (“forgotten”) as our species has “evolved,” but also individually, as we get older in life. This is generally what is done with the Promethean wound of birth pain. The third says that some of us face and deal with the wounds. Eventually they are gone beyond, truly gone beyond, as eventually all the charge on them disappears, they have no more control over us or pull on us, as we just naturally weary of them…they dissipate.

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There remains the inexplicable mass of rock. The legend tried to explain the inexplicable. As it came out of a substratum of truth it had in turn to end in the inexplicable.[28]

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secretvaultlikeagravevaultsecretdublinFinally, inexplicable substratum of truth is a pretty damn good description of the Unapproved and Hidden … also known as the Collective Unconscious… But in my rendering of it—dealing with our species unconscious, not just personal, “racial,” societal, or cultural—it contains much more than Jung imagined and because of that reverses many of the interpretations and meanings arising from it from what the Jungians, Joseph Campbell, or Freud understood.

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Finally – Futility… The Gods Are Laughing at Us

One final message can be taken from these ancient minings of unconscious Truth which is also a commentary on our current mainstream reactions to the dire developments which are now reaching an apocalyptic peak:

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Icarus Flapping – LOL

8498664629643546845464684684581661In the Icarus myth, “Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms.” I don’t icarus4think there is a better image for the way we look in our actions in the face of apocalypse. The gods, GlobalWarmingaliens, Titans, angels, and the planetmates must be laughing their asses off at the sight of fukushima-no-1-meltdown-confirmed-japan_thumbhumans continued “flapping” about with ever more technology, pushing ever forward into the face of doom and apocalypse—the sun, the fire for Icarus—even as the Earth below us continues to fail, disintegrate, get polluted and poisoned, and no longer support our continued hubris.

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We’re Falling and We Can’t Get Up

Oh, yes, we’ve started the Icarus fall…our wings of technology are “melting”lrg-icarus—literally in the case of Fukushima—but ever faster we “flap”—seeking to build more nuclear plants, hiding from the populace the extinction level events that are happening RIGHT NOW at Fukushima, seeking to drill ever more even with the BP spill clear as can be in the rear view mirror, Icarus6lining the Koch Brothers pockets in touting the benefits of coal as an energy source, melting the rocks around natural gas so that our tap water catches fire and poisons folks who drink it, and so much more. So, yes, even more furiously we flap, the harder for every increase in our fall.

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We furiously pick up litter as our organs rot from radiation poisoning. Oh, yes, we’ll die. But where we fall it will be tidy. We register voters and sign petitions as our organs rot from radiation poisoning. Oh, yes, we’ll die. But we’ll all be able to vote.  [Footnote 1]

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View From the Edge

pwen95lWe’ve had a long journey through the world of ancient myths and prehistory in delving into the way our prenatal state of 166899_10150383077549679_650124678_8093125_721365237_n-the-beginning-is-near2oxygen insufficiency has pushed us to make fire and polluted environments attractive to us. We’ve seen how these early pushes have set us apart from all other species and placed us on an inexorable slide—which we in good time embraced and claimed as a goal and achievement even—to the edge of an apocalyptic abyss.

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Next we look at how this unconscious state of an Oliver Twist style of oxygen deprivation affects us politically and socially…no matter any conscious or moral rearranging of “furniture” on the decks of our individual Titanics.

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Continue with Prenatal Hunger Games and “Blood Wars”: The Fetal Fight About “Pure Blood” We Act Out in Politics, War, and Oppression … Class War, Culture War, Revolution….

Return to Will “Progress of Man” Be Humanity’s Epitaph? Apocalyptic Foretellings Hidden in Myth and a Re-Visioning of “Civilization” in Light of Impending Ecocide

Footnote

1.  Every time I look at this, It looks worse than I thought. This one makes me think there’s no way any of us will survive this. And if we do, then our children won’t. It’s that bad. And what pisses me off is that progressives want to poo-poo this.

Continue with Prenatal Hunger Games and “Blood Wars”: The Fetal Fight About “Pure Blood” We Act Out in Politics, War, and Oppression … Class War, Culture War, Revolution….

Return to Will “Progress of Man” Be Humanity’s Epitaph? Apocalyptic Foretellings Hidden in Myth and a Re-Visioning of “Civilization” in Light of Impending Ecocide

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The Consciousness of Stones: Transpersonal Perspective, Part One — Affirming Idealism, Debunking Materialism, and Rationalism as Egoistic Self-Abuse

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The Map Is Not the Territory, Reality Is What Is Directly Experienced: In Support of Panpsychism and the Primacy-of-Consciousness Postulate

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Some Assumptions

The perspective contained in this final argument on Experience Is Divinity: Matter As Metaphor and in the upcoming work, Falls from Grace, arises out of a set of assumptions that should be made clear at the outset. In addition, certain words are used with particular meanings that might not be clear to the reader initially. These terms are devolution, regression, the Divine, Experience , and metaphor; and I will deal with each of them in due course. In this part, “The Transpersonal Perspective,” I will discuss the definitional, epistemological, ontological, and methodological issues that pertain to the body of this work.

This book’s working set of assumptions is congruent with those of transpersonal psychology and the perennial philosophy as put forth by Ken Wilber (1977), and it is compatible with the metaphysical view constructed by Carl Jung. The basic assumption within that set is that Reality is

(1) something that is directly experienced and

(2) is not the interpretation of that experience.

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That is, that as soon as one begins to interpret, one is already abstracting from What Really Is, one is removing oneself from that Reality and is beginning the process of increasing abstraction, degression, and devolution (meaning the reverse of evolution, the opposite of growth forward) from What Is.

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(1) Reality Is Something Directly Experienced

Let us take each premise in turn. That Reality is something that is directly experienced is related to the position of Idealism, in philosophy, which is contrasted with the position of Common-Sense Realism or Materialism. Not only does Idealism have a strong historical legacy in philosophy, it has vital contemporary and empirical support from both the mainstream and cutting edges of our sciences.

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Debunking Materialism

To establish Idealism more strongly we might want, first of all, to undercut the prevailing notion of Common-Sense Realism or Materialism.

On the contemporary side, biologist, natural scientist, and philosopher Rupert Sheldrake (1991a) lists nine “essential features of the mechanistic world view”:

1. Nature is inanimate

2. Inert atoms of matter

3. Determinate, predictable

4. Knowable

5. Universe a machine

6. Earth dead

7. No internal purposes

8. No creativity

9. Eternal laws (p. 17)

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You will notice how many of these aspects of the mechanistic worldview overlap with what I have been calling Materialism. At any rate, Sheldrake (1991a) then states, and goes on to demonstrate, that “every one of those essential claims has been refuted by advances of science. In effect, science itself has now superseded the mechanistic world view” (p. 17).

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Why this is not common knowledge is answered by Sheldrake (1991a) in pointing out: “Although science is now superseding the mechanistic world view, the mechanistic theory of nature has shaped the modern world, underlies the ideology of technological progress, and is still the official orthodoxy of science” (p. 17). And furthermore about this reluctance to change: “It has had many consequences, not the least of which is the environmental crisis” (p. 17).

Nevertheless, it is our duty to shed popular or convenient positions when they are contradicted by the evidence … or else we should give up our endeavor’s claim to be a truthful one. In so doing, Sheldrake’s (1991a) conclusion is that

[T]he modern changes in science have effectively transcended each of these features. These changes in science have not happened as part of a coordinated research programme designed to overthrow the mechanistic paradigm. They have happened in specialized areas, seemingly unconnected with each other, and often without any consciousness that this was leading to a change in the overall world view of science. What I am going to suggest is that we can now see that this has effectively refuted the mechanistic world view within the very heart of science itself. (p. 18)

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And similarly, as concerns Materialism specifically:

Inert atoms have given way to the idea of atoms as structures of activity. Matter is not fundamental in modern physics. Energy and fields are fundamental. Energy is what gives things actuality or activity; it’s like the flow of change. Fields are what organize the flow of energy. As David Bohm says, “Matter is frozen light,” It’s the energy of light, or light-like energy trapped within a small space going round and round upon itself within fields. So matter is energy bound within fields. And as Sir Karl Popper has pointed out, “through modern physics, materialism has transcended itself,” because matter is no longer the fundamental explanatory entity, no longer the fundamental feature of things. Fields and energy are the most fundamental things. (p. 19)

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Affirming Idealism

With Materialism in disrepute, it is logical to consider the alternative of Idealism. Idealism is the position, in philosophy, that states that matter’s existence is dependent upon our perception of it, that we cannot know that matter exists outside of our perception of it, and hence that what is most fundamental about Reality is the observer, not the observed . . . that the observed always presupposes an observer, prior to that.

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This position fits in exactly with the idea of “biologically constituted realities” as I have described it elsewhere. This idea is that “worlds,” including “physical worlds,” are dependent upon the particular biological paradigm that constitutes the observer. Another way of saying that is that the “structure” of the observer … most notably, what is commonly called the “species” … determines the “world” that will be apprehended.

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By “structure” I naturally mean a “psychic” structure (which we mistakenly label a physical structure such as the anatomy of a species, of course, because of our culturally constituted materialist bias) as opposed to a physical structure—for after all we are herein arguing for the more fundamental reality of psyche1 over matter.

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At any rate, it follows that an infinite number of worlds are possible, corresponding to an infinite number of perceivers. That is to say that perceivers consist in an infinite number of conceivable “biological paradigms”; we call them species.

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Furthermore, subjective worlds vary as well within the individual biological structures that comprise each species. For the worlds of species vary with the individual perceivers or members which are by definition of similar, but not identical, construction to each other.

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At any rate, in our materialistic age, such an “Idealist” position that posits the essence of World as psychical or subjective is looked down upon. Indeed, it has been roundly dismissed as “logically impeccable but incredible.”2

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Rationalism As Egoistic Self-Abuse

Similarly, we have an argument against Idealism—more specifically the version of it called panpsychism, which is, by the way, the position being asserted here—by Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations. His conclusion is that the position of panpsychism is unintelligible. Stating “Could one imagine a stone’s having consciousness?” he concludes that if one could it would only amount to “image-mongery” (Sec. 390, p. 119e). The implication is that since we cannot do something adequately—that we cannot understand something completely—there is something wrong with it!

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This kind of reasoning qualifies for the “All-Time Boners in Philosophy Award.” For the argument—while claiming not to be saying anything about the truth or falsity of a position, nor about its provenness or unprovenness—would want us to evaluate positions, and even possibly dismiss them as viable (i.e., as possibly true), based upon whether we (as a species) are capable of understanding them with our intelligence.

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Whereas, not only does this limit our knowledge endeavor—removing it from any possibility of speaking of truth unless it somehow (miraculously, I suppose, or through some sort of chosen-by-God kind of privilege) happens to coincide with what is intelligible to us; not only does it eliminate the scientific and philosophical enterprises in their attempts at venturing, ever on, after what may actually be true (or at least “truer” than we had previously held); but it presupposes that what is unimaginable at one time, or to one person, will be unimaginable, or unintelligible, to all others in all other times.

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This is one particular instance where Rationalism displays its egoistic self-abuse . . . hence its inherent fallacy. For we know by looking at the record that what is unimaginable at one time, or to one person, ends up being imaginable to another. For example, do we suppose that an early “animistic” hunter-gatherer could imagine a physical universe as we picture it today—with black holes, a heliocentric solar system, a Big Bang, quarks, and quasars?

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Do we say that because this primal person could not imagine these that we must dismiss them as possible truths (i.e., as possible good models of our reality). Or must we say that our conceptualizations of these things amount to “image-mongery” and thereby dismiss them on those grounds.

This last point leads beyond it in compelling us to realize that all forms of what we call “intelligible” venturing after truth are already a matter of “image-mongery.” That is to say that all our attempts equate with imagining models of what is; none of which can be said to actually constitute the thing described inasmuch as the map cannot constitute the territory.

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Hence we are led, again, to a realization of the inevitably anthropocentric nature of such arguments as Wittgenstein’s attack on panpsychism—and the equivalent degree of arrogance that corresponds with them. For the argument reduces itself to “if we can’t imagine something, it doesn’t exist!”

Leaving behind such a fatuous and uninspired rationale, let us return to the position of Idealism anew.

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Continue with The World of “Matter” Is But the Appearance of Mind to Itself: The Footprints on the Shores of the Unknown Are Our Own

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Return to How End Times Can Be Seen as Beginning Times: Science As Myth, Part Six — Emanationism and the Cyclical Nature of Time and Change

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“The Footprint We Have Discovered on the Shores of the Unknown Is Our Own”: On Science as Idolatry … A Physicist Reports on the Truth Behind Scientific Conjuring

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Revolution in Science … Shunned: The Dire Import of Scientific Cowardice Regarding Their Own Findings as Relates to Humans’ Continued Existence on Earth … Science as Myth, Part One

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The Implications of Matter As Metaphor

Consistently applying the new-paradigm perspective on matter and consciousness — as is attempted in this book … that is, of matter as an epiphenomenon of consciousness and the primacy-of-the-psychic-world postulate — requires a rethinking of theoretical constructions even in the fields of consciousness and psychology, which one would think at first hand to be amenable to this sort of view. However, our cultural context is such, our Western viewpoint so engrained, that even in these fields there seems a huge temptation to bow to the prevailing winds and a consequently understandable reluctance to go out on a limb against those.

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Thus, we have many hybrids — theorists who it appears are trying to please too many people, too many former mentors, or whatever; and who find themselves, consequently, unable to go steadfastly forward, following through consistently on the implications of the transpersonal perspective. For example, from a consistent new-paradigm vantage point, Ken Wilber (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983) — the “consciousness” guru of the more intellectual, less experiential wing of the transpersonal movement — appears as inconsistent as pre-Copernican astronomers in devolving his theories.

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Therefore, much of this next part will entail addressing the way the perspective presented in the previous part, “Matter As Metaphor,” affects, expands, changes, and reverses the tenets put forth in transpersonal psychology and philosophy — especially those aspects associated with Ken Wilber.

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The Revolutionary Import, in Science, of the New-Paradigm Perspective

68375_464164440289506_211036429_nBut let us set aside transpersonal thinking for the moment to focus on the larger picture. It may also be argued that in the larger context of normal science, in general, the new-paradigm primacy of consciousness is simply irrelevant.

However, I take strong exception to that. It is not simply innocuous that scientists refuse to acknowledge the implications of their findings. For in fact the implications of them would require a revolution and an overturning, and in many cases, a throwing out as obsolete of much of what scientists have paid highly for and struggled long and hard to learn.

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The Lengths To Which They Go

So it should not be too surprising to observe the lengths to which scientists will go in avoiding the implications of their findings. Their actions and behaviors have all the earmarks of what, in therapeutic circles, is called denial.

For example, Roger Jones (1982), a physicist, in his remarkable book titled Physics As Metaphor, points out how physicists in their day-to-day activities hardly consider the implications of twentieth-century findings in their field. He begins by noting that, “Quantum mechanics, then, may just possibly imply an essential role for consciousness in the scheme of things. . . .” (1982, pp. 6-7).

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Nevertheless, he adds that

[T]he real issue is whether or not such ideas figure significantly in scientific research. It is, in fact, the rare scientist who is concerned with such matters. The Copenhagen interpretation may be the prevailing philosophy of quantum mechanics today . . . but it is hardly a hot topic over lunch at the research lab. Most scientists take a rather pragmatic and condescending view of philosophy, and its niceties have no direct bearing on their day-to-day research, thinking, and discussion. . . . Fifty years after the Copenhagen interpretation forced consciousness on an unwilling scientific community, there is precious little to be found in the research literature of physics to suggest any bridging of the mind-body gap.

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In fact, in the last fifty years, the trend in mainstream physical science has been away from consciousness and holism and toward the mechanistic and divisible world of the nineteenth century. Fritjof Capra argues that despite the much touted promises of an ultimate unification in physics, modern elementary particle and quark theory is basically a throwback to the atomistic, thing-oriented notions of premodern physics and is contrary to the holistic, process-oriented currents in modern thought. (Jones, 1982, p. 7)

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The Emperor’s New Clothes

footprints_in_the_sand_op pbucketIn fact, Jones (1982) goes so far as to say that in teaching physics and in publicly maintaining its precepts he often felt as if he were living a lie:

I found myself thinking hard about why and how to interest children in science, and this in turn awakened several philosophical issues that had troubled me over the years. As a practicing physicist, I had always been vaguely embarrassed by a kind of illusory quality in science and had often felt somehow part of a swindle on the human race. It was not a conspiracy but more like the hoax in The Emperor’s New Clothes. I had come to suspect, and now felt compelled to acknowledge, that science and the physical world were products of human imagining — that we were not the cool observers of the world, but its passionate creators. (p. 3)

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The Footprint We Have Discovered Is Our Own

His implication is that physicists are aware of the subjective and arbitrary nature of the pronouncements and assertions they make about physical reality. It follows that they assert, with such authority and with the certitude of fact, things which they know to be only conjecture, or at the most, conjuring.

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Jones (1982) concurs,

I . . . suggest that scientists (and indeed all who possess creative consciousness) conjure like the poet and the shaman, that their theories are metaphors which ultimately are inseparable from physical reality, and that consciousness is so integral to the cosmos that the creative idea and the thing are one and the same.

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What else are we to think when the theory of relativity teaches us that space and time are the same as matter and energy, that geometry is gravity? Is this not an equating, an integration, of mind and matter? Is this not an act of poetic, perhaps of divine, creation? And what of the astronomer’s black hole, the perfect metaphor for a bottomless well in space from which not even light may escape? Which is the reality and which the metaphor? And what of quarks, the claimed ultimate constituents of matter, locked permanently within the elementary particles they compose, never able to appear in the literal, physical world? Are they not constructs, figments of the mind, symbols for a collection of unobservable properties?

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How is the quark more real than figurative? . . . Indeed, as Sir Arthur Eddington said in 1920, the footprint we have discovered on the shores of the unknown is our own. (p. 5)

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Science as Idolatry

Finally, Jones goes so far as to equate with idolatry the elevation of such man-made scientific constructs to objective status. And he suggests that such deceptiveness and failure to be completely candid is linked to some of our major modern crises:

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For the full elaboration of the idea of science and the physical world as a construct of the mind or a collective representation, I owe a great debt to Owen Barfield and his writings, especially his book Saving the Appearances — A Study in Idolatry. It was Barfield who helped me most to fathom the deceptiveness of science by seeing that when metaphors become crystallized and abstract, cut off from their roots in consciousness, and forgotten by their creators, they become idols. For an idolator is not so much one who creates idols, but one who worships them.

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This failure to recognize the central role of consciousness in reality and thus to treat the physical world as an independent, external, and alien object has been a chronic problem throughout the modern era of scientific discovery, since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and has reached a critical stage in the twentieth century with its unconscionable, and largely unconscious, ravaging of the environment. (Jones, 1982, p. 5) 

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Continue with When Tradition and Religion Break Down, All Truth Is Liable to Erupt: The Center of the Onion Is Nothing … The Last Secret to Be Told Is That There Is No Secret.

Return to Are Aliens Actually Angels Attempting to Midwife Us Into the Next Higher Stage of Our Ascension to hOMe? Matter as Metaphor, Part Ten

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Experience Is Divinity

Note

Breaking this down:

Refusing to acknowledge the central role of consciousness, which their own science has demonstrated to exist, they can deny consciousness to all of Nature and rape it.

Think back to how science once told us that babies did not feel pain. They still don’t acknowledge there is sentience in planetmates (animals) like there is in humans.

With those kinds of attitudes all of nature can be raped and exploited. And thus we have the situation today.

But those are just examples. There are plenty more.

Think of how medical science views us as just like machines (i.e., without real consciousness), instead of holistically like they should. They fix and replace our parts. That is what comes from this attitude.

They certainly don’t ever/never did view humans that way in indigenous cultures.

Native Americans had planetmate spirit guides and if they hunted, they asked forgiveness for taking its life. Whereas we treat sentient beings, planetmates, like they are items being produced in a factory … their parts nicely packaged. And they are raised with no consideration that they are conscious beings and feel pain….

when you objectify Nature the way we do, we get to the point, as we are, where we even begin to objectify ourselves and begin acting like things, like machines … like robots… not like souls or spirits with intrinsic, not to mention divine, worth

Does matrix fit anywhere here?.

very much so, matrix fits in. This artificial construction … this objectification *is* the matrix. It is the artificial reality we consider more important (because we’ve been taught to) than our own lives, than our own loves, than our own feelings and experiences. And part of that, of course, is that we value ourselves not as emotional-spiritual beings but as economic units with specific units of measurement in dollars designating us.

the old-fashioned word for this is “dehumanization” … but of course that is only when we are speaking of this process with humans. But we do it with all of Nature, with all life, we do this process of reducing it to its objective status only. And that way it can be *used*

So you see how this attitude in science goes hand in glove with a capitalistic system of economics which seeks to exploit all of Nature for someone’s monetary gain.

And that brings us back to the point of the article. Science has gone beyond that understanding of reality but refuses to acknowledge that it has. So truth has been dismissed as irrelevant to profit.

Continue with When Tradition and Religion Break Down, All Truth Is Liable to Erupt: The Center of the Onion Is Nothing … The Last Secret to Be Told Is That There Is No Secret.

Return to Are Aliens Actually Angels Attempting to Midwife Us Into the Next Higher Stage of Our Ascension to hOMe? Matter as Metaphor, Part Ten

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Experience Is Divinity

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