Mythopoeic Imagination

“Two great remnants of Egyptian antiquity have come down to us. One of them is that the Egyptians reduced all preceding world time to three ages; namely, the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men. The other is that during these three ages three languages had been spoken, corresponding in order to the three aforesaid ages; namely, the hieroglyphic or sacred language, the symbolic or figurative (which is the heroic) language, and the epistolary or vulgar language of men employing conventional signs for communicating the common needs of their life.
— Giambattista Vico
An epoch begins with a divine consciousness of cosmic myth in the age of the gods. By the time of the following age of heroes half the cosmic myth is gone, and, with it, half the divine consciousness. By the time of the age of men the myth and the consciousness halve again, leaving only a quarter of the original. Finally, in the ultimate age of barbarism and chaos, little of the original myth of divine consciousness remains at all. But as entropy reaches its limit in chaos, there is a reversal in the cycle, a cosmic form is generated out of the only ground large enough for it, namely, chaos. Chaos creates the fertile decay in which the seeds leftover from the previous age of gods spring to life to create a new cosmic myth and a new age of gods. We spiral back to the past in a future on a higher plane.

As an illustration of this historical process, consider the Sumerian civilization. The first age was definitely the age of the gods; men insisted that they did not build the great cities, that gods from the sky built them and brought to man all the arts of civilization. As the colony began to grow and prosper, the gods departed, leaving only a steward, an ensi, to look after things in their absence. The gods said they would return, but given the relativistic time-shift, what may be only a short journey for them could take thousands of years of our historical time. But the memory of man is short; soon the ensis began to exercise power on their own terms, and stewardship evolved into kingship. For awhile the kings ruled with respect for the old cosmic mythology, but with faction replacing faction, it was only a matter of a few centuries before the skepticism of the rulers was shared by the whole populace.

As secularism and the philosophy of naked power grew, the cosmic myths that held the civilization together and rooted it in the universe were torn apart. Men no longer believed in anything. Since the society no longer held together on its own, it was compressed by force and militaristic terror. The military state, whether of Sargon of Agade or Moctezuma of Mexico, is the last desperate collectivization of a disintegrating society. But states organized for conquest inevitably organize their enemies to conquer them…The three ages of Sumerian civilization can be summarized in the following beliefs of the rulers: (1) “The gods rule through me”; (2) “I rule for the gods”; and (3) “I rule!”

It is easy to see the structure of Sumerian civilization because it is over and we are far enough away to observe its general form. But it is harder to perceive the form of our own immediate historical condition. Cultural transformations are so large that they are invisible to normal individuals. If you went around in England in the 1790s asking how it felt to be living in an age of industrial revolution, most people would not know what you were talking about. But if you went to see “the lunatic” William Blake, he would tell you about the meaning of the great transformation by moving back and forth from one end of history to the other in a notation especially designed for ideas that large — mythology.”

“Events that are too large to be perceived in immediate history register in the unconscious in the collective form of myth, and since artists and visionaries possess strongly mythopoeic imaginations, they can express in the microcosm of their works what is going on in the macrocosm of mankind. Because they lack economic power, they are open to other possibilities, and they can cultivate other faculties. Ironically, it is only the man who is free to do without technology who is in a position to master it.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 121-123

“In the space-time of the unconscious, the past and the future mysteriously interpenetrate in exactly the way the ancient Maya understood in their fantastic calendar of millions of years of cyclical, spiraling time. The priestly hierarchy knew that this planet earth was an enormous vehicle moving through infinite expanses of space and time. In the temples the priests kept the records of who we were, where we came from, and where we were going. But as the cosmic myth of the age of gods decayed through time, the distance between the decadent priesthood and the oppressed peasantry increased. The peasants rose up, attacked the ceremonial centers, and then abandoned them — to lower their horizons from the stars to their fields of growing corn.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, p. 126

“If a person is open to a new worldview, it can often mean that he is not firmly rooted in the reality of the old world view; as a lunatic or an alienated artist, his own neurotic traits can become magnified as they tremble with the new energy pouring in from the universal source. In the history of ideas an new idea is often first picked up by a crazy person, then elaborated by an artist who is more interested in its imaginative possibilities than in its literal truth; then it is picked up by a scholar or scientist who has become familiar with the idea through the work of the artist; the savant makes the hitherto crazy idea perfectly acceptable to the multitude, until finally the idea rests as a certainty in the hands of a bureaucracy of pedants…But when an idea has become so routinized with the pedants, there is a “ricorso” back to stage one and a new generation of crazies shocks us by talking of extraterrestrial intervention in human evolution.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 131-132

“The point is to see the present crisis of earth in the light of the cataclysms that have destroyed the previous civilizations of lost time. The gods gather and decide to send yet another mission to the incorrigible planet, and, a briefing is held to prepare them for their descent. The gods descend to become men, but to live among men they must lose all memory of their divinity. They will have to discover one another on earth, recover their memories through intuition, and piece together the members of the descent.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 136-137

“Something is carrying on an extended conversation, through the opening and closing of our epochs, with the informational cells of our civilization. Some say it is Christ preparing for his Second Coming; pagans would say it is the return of the gods in their flying saucers; technologists would say that it is not to the heavens we should look for an explanation, but to the earth: they themselves are the new gods who are ending the trivial culture of Homo Sapiens through genetic engineering. If we take all the variants of this planetary mythology, and try to sort out the information from the noise, we come up with four propositions of a new world view.

1. There is intelligent life in the universe beyond earth. 2. The meeting we are expecting in front of us in linear time has already occurred, is now occurring, and will continue to occur. The gods do not talk to us, they play through us with our history. 3. There is more to our history than the meager record of six thousand years. Our religious myths are the detritus of the lost history of earth. 4. Our subjective-objective distinctions about reality are incorrect. As in the world view of the Hopi Indians, Matter, Energy, and Consciousness form a continuum.

As the old civilization of the industrial nation-states is falling apart, it is also falling into new forms of a very old consciousness. Within this consciousness an ancient vision of reality is taking us into another dimension in which we can find our bearings once again to make the transition from civilization to planetization. Some god or Weltgeist has been making a movie out of us for the past six thousand years, and now we have turned a corner on the movie set of reality and have discovered the boards propping up the two-dimensional monuments of human history. The movement of humanism has reached its limit, and now at that limit it is breaking apart into the opposites of mechanism and mysticism and moving along the circumference of a vast new sphere of posthuman thought.

A new ideology is being created in advance of its social need; what particular institutional form this ideology will take no one can say. Perhaps it will take no institutional form at all, for it now seems that social institutions are no longer adequate vehicles of cultural evolution. We cannot go to church to find radiant Godhead, to the army to find glory in war, or to the universities to find aesthetic transfiguration or wisdom. Now only mysticism seems well suited to the post-institutional anarchism of technetronic culture, on the one hand and the infinite posthuman universe on the other. The internal disciplines of the great mystical traditions seem to offer the only means by which man can feel at home in a universe so vast that, without the self-mastery and centering functions of meditation, he would go insane instantly.

Mystics think that they are solitary visionaries of God, but actually, in the transition from civilization to planetization, they have become the true political scientists. Mysticism seems impractical in technological culture because it is the dialectical negation of that culture and the affirmation of the next culture…Now, man is too busy with his elaborate tools to create the even more dazzlingly simple and advanced planetization.”

“There are many paradoxes in the dialectical process of history. As one looks at the mirror-images bouncing off one another, it would seem that for every thought there is an equal and opposite action. Religions that are created to liberate us end up controlling us; technologies that are created to rationalize us end up by mystically stimulating us. In each case it was the man who rejected the society of technology who, again paradoxically, became the artistic master of that technology. To work “within the system” of a technology is to be turned into a functionary of the tool; to wield a tool one must grasp it from the outside.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 139-142

“All through evolution man has survived because he remained generalized and adaptable. He did not grow a claw on his arm; he held a tool and put it aside when he was finished with it. Now our tools are not single objects, but an entire culture of technology and management. We are not free to drop the culture of technology and move on to something else, because now the culture is trying to grow on its own terms by adapting us to it. The mechanists wish to alter human nature to make the vestigial ape in man fit for life in a technological society; the mystics wish to change man through consciousness and “kundalini, the evolutionary energy” for both Faust and Buddha there is no such thing as normalcy; the green earth at its best is still a cosmic playpen. The mechanist and the mystic maybe opposites in content, but they are not opposites in structure, because cultures progress dialectically: they break into the opposing forces that are in collusion with one another to end the old and bring in the new…Humanists and ecologists want to make the earth comfortable to their bodies, but the mechanists are destroying the earth as fast as an insect destroys its cocoon. And though mystics may not build factories, they seem just as intent on regarding the death of earth as the birth of the new cosmic man.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 143-144

“Now as human culture seems to be accelerating to the speed of light, it does seem, in proper Einsteinian fashion, as if our mass were expanding to infinity. Cultures move through the medium of time as airplanes move through the medium of air, so it is no wonder that both the mechanists and the mystics are trying to streamline the design of human culture. But our culture is so wholly novel that it seems to be affecting the very nature of time itself. Because human culture is coming to a point, the distance between the edges of good and evil seems to be narrowing. The multinational corporations are devoted to profits and the exploitation of resources; nevertheless, they are creating structures for planetization. They are also accelerating the ecological death of the planet, and this in turn is accelerating the mystical transformation of mankind by stimulating the appearance of a new religious sensibility.

Under the threat of species annihilation, Homo Sapiens is trying to accomplish its transformation into a new species. Since aeons ago man made his own culture into the vehicle of his evolution, the appearance of this new species is to be found not in individual babies with three eyes in their heads but in the cultural vehicle itself. The mechanist works in great contempt for human nature and hopes to improve the race through genetic engineering and electronic manipulation of the brain; the mystic avoids the Faustian pathology of the mechanist and regards machines as crude metaphors for the real powers of the spirit…In walking away from the culture of technology, the mystic spirals back in the direction of the past and up to the post-technological culture of the future. In a phenomenology of opposites there is an exchange of characteristics in which the mystic becomes the new political scientist and the mechanist becomes the solitary laboratory man cut off from his fellow men in pursuit of some alien vision.”

“But the most immediate danger of our technological system of management is that it is interfering with the movements of cultural evolution that are making man ready for planetization. As long as mechanism is checked by mysticism, and as long as planetary technology is checked by planetary mythology, the dialectic works out and the Pythagorean synthesis of mysticism and science is possible; but if one wins out over the other we will have a linear reduction of the wave. The future is in neither the world-denying asceticism of India nor the world-destroying industrialism of America. Just as once Pythagoras took the East into Greece to create the foundation of Western civilization, so has his spirit returned to take India into America to create the foundation of our earthly planetization.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 145-147

“If we are experiencing a change in the cultural vehicle of human evolution, and a new kind of man is emerging, then it is not likely that the old man will willingly disinherit himself. When a culture is at the edge of extinction, it explodes, like the seed from a hanged man, into primitive seminal movements that try to make a new life for the dying culture through a desperate “simplification through intensity.” If Middle America attacked the young for rejecting its middle-class life style, one can imagine the scope of persecution leveled against men who reject their species’ life. Perhaps this is why the Hopi Indians see the evolutionary mutants being taken away by the gods. According to some Hopi prophecies, the earth’s magnetic field will reverse and the sun’s radiation will burn out the dense undergrowth in preparation for a new planting of the racially hybrid, planetized man.”

“Perhaps in the spiral of time there is an occult closeness between primitive Christianity and contemporary anarchist Christianity, and at the intersection of myth and history only a union of contradictory opposites can express the truth beyond institutionalization. There is the hopeful sign that the new decentralizing informational technology has helped to overcome the dreary split between avant-garde and hick backlash that has characterized the thinking of an America dominated by an urban and sophisticated elite. Since it was the urban revolution of 6000 years ago that first split human culture into urban and rural values, perhaps now that we are beginning to live in global villages, we are beginning to overcome the habits of mind of the millennia of civilized man.

Since religion has always been about what lies beyond the container of urban civilization, I doubt if we have come to the end of man’s religious experience. In fact, only man’s religious myths have been thinking on a scale large enough to deal with what is happening. If man is coming to the end of hominization, the next step in human evolution cannot be simply another tool added to a list that stretches from fist-hatchets to computers. The next step will be like the transformation that altered an ape into a man, and looking at our planetary mythologies, we can see that this is what we have been waiting for.”

— William Irwin Thompson (1973), from “Planetary Mythologies” in Passages About Earth, pp. 148-149

Amare Videre Est

“A god is a metaphor that illuminates existence. No man and no woman is yet wise enough to say if such metaphors are invented or discovered. We know only that they illuminate us by beauty, by power, by coherence.

Beauty is not sufficient to manifest a living god, a metaphor that illuminates us. Beauty manifests nymphs and sirens and various elementals: but a god is known also by power and coherence.

Power, similarly, may not manifest a living god. Power manifests demons and satyrs and monsters: but a god is known also by beauty and coherence.

Coherence, in like fashion, may not manifest a living god. Coherence manifests temples in which gods may dwell. These temples need not be architectural in the strict sense: Bach’s music, the multiplication table, the Tarot cards, Periodic Table of Elements, great paintings, and many similar artifacts, are temples in which a living god may dwell.

One knows that a god is in the temple when, after contemplating the coherence of the structure, one is seized, violently, by the power and beauty of it, as by a light or a flame or an effulgence. This illumination is a discharge of compressed energy and information.

A god may be present in a temple for one viewer and not for another. This is a common occurrence, because men and women are various, and differ in their capacity to apprehend beauty and power and coherence.

One may learn to apprehend beauty more fully; this is the function of the arts. One may learn to apprehend power more fully; this is the function of technology. One may learn to apprehend coherence more fully; this is the function of pure science and philosophy.

Those who apprehend beauty only are said to be seduced by the nymphs or sirens. Those who apprehend power only become possessed by demons, and they are figuratively said to give birth to monsters. Those who apprehend coherence only become empty shells and mausoleums, ruins and labyrinths.

One may understand a god partially or fully. Those who understand gods harshly may think of them as linguistic constructs, or information systems, or psychological complexes, or historical laws, or in other partial ways. To understand a god fully is to become one with the god. This cannot be achieved without balance.

It is far easier to become one with a nymph, an elemental, a demon, a monster, or an empty mausoleum. All mystics of all traditions agree that a god may not be exploited.

Organized religions are conspiracies to exploit various gods, by flattering them, by compelling them through ritual, or by bribing them. Experience indicates that these techniques do not work, and the would-be exploiters are merely seduced by sirens or possessed by demons or otherwise become themselves the exploited.

A god is not shown or manifest, a theophany does not occur, until exploitation is abandoned for simple love. There may be beauty and power and coherence, but the god is only apprehended dimly, not comprehended fully, until the mind is enflamed by love.

This is the meaning of Spinoza’s remark that “the intellectual love of things consists of understanding their perfections”; and of Richard St. Victor’s “Amare videre est” (To love is to perceive). A god is known by beauty and power and coherence, but a god is only known through love. This is the essence of the mystics’ saying, “the door opens inward.”

It is possible, and even probable, that nymphs and satyrs and such are only gods who have been apprehended without love—partially, obscurely, distortedly.”

“All gods are quite mortal, and yet immortal. They are betrayed and condemned and destroyed, and it must be so; but they live again, in more subtle forms. This is the meaning of Resurrection, and of Reincarnation, and of Progress; it is the meaning, too, of the Rosicrucian motto: “Ex Deo nascimur, in Jesu mortimur, per spiritum sanctum reviviscimus.” (From God we are born, in Jesus we die, by the Holy Spirit we live again.)

There are gods many, as there are beauties and powers and coherences of various orders, but they culminate in unity. Where there is no love, the gods do not disappear; but they are apprehended grotesquely, as contraptions or automatons. All forms of Determinism are based on misapprehending the gods as contraptions or automatons.

The gods are liberators, because they manifest the power of Mind over contraptions and automatons. A god, a metaphor that prevails, contains information but radiates energy; which is why one cannot separate language from Mind, or poetry from being.”

Robert Anton Wilson (1982), from “Credo” in Right Where You Are Sitting Now, pp. 195-198

The Axis of Tao

“The axis of the opposites is the perception of their polarity. The difference between them is explicit, but the unity of them is implicit. There is the explicit difference between two ends of a stick, and the implicit unity that they are ends of the same stick. This is what is understood as the axis. The axis of Tao is what you might call the “secret conspiracy” that lies between all poles and opposites. It is implicit, or esoteric, that they are fundamentally one. Unity, whether it is between you and the universe, or any polarity, is not something that has to be brought into being. If one brings it into being one assumes that it does not exist, and this is called in Zen, putting “legs on a snake” or “a beard on a eunich” — it is just unnecessary. Unity exists; it is always there. You can see it so vividly, and actually almost put your finger on it and sense it. But, of course, if you try to grab the present moment and say, “get ready, get ready, now!” — it is gone!

The finer and finer we draw the hairline on the watch to know exactly when now is, the closer we eventually get to where we cannot see it at all. But, if you leave it alone and do not try to grab the moment as it flies, it is always there. You do not have to mark it, you do not have to put your finger on it, because it is everything that there is. And so, the present moment suddenly expands. It contains the whole of time, all past, all future, everything. You never have to hold on to it. If you can feel that, then realize that the movement of the Tao is exactly the same thing as the present moment — that which we call now is the same thing as the Tao. The Tao, the course of things, the eternal now, the presence of God, anything you want to call it — that is now! And you cannot get out of it. There is no need to get with it because you cannot get away from it! That is beautiful. You just relax and you are there.”

— Alan W. Watts, “Chuang-Tzu: Wisdom of the Ridiculous”, in The Way of Liberation (1983), pp. 87-88

“It must be obvious, from the start, that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I”, but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want. To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.

We look for this security by fortifying and enclosing ourselves in innumerable ways. We want the protection of being “exclusive” and “special”, seeking to belong to the safest church, the best nation, the highest class, the right set, and the “nice” people. These defenses lead to divisions between us, and so to more insecurity demanding more defenses. Of course it is all done in the sincere belief that we are trying to do the right things and live in the best way; but this, too, is a contradiction.

 I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split into pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me”. “I,” who has the best intentions will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly.

 We can hardly begin to consider this problem unless it is clear that the craving for security is itself a pain and a contradiction, and that the more we pursue it, the more painful it becomes. This is true in whatever form security may be conceived.”

 “Herein lies the crux of the matter. To stand face to face with insecurity is still not to understand it. To understand it, you must not face it but be it. It is like the Persian story of the sage who came to the door of Heaven and knocked. From within the voice of God asked “Who is there?” and the sage answered “It is I.” “In this House,” replied the voice, “there is no room for thee and me.” So the sage went away and spent many years pondering over this answer in deep meditation. Returning a second time, the voice asked the same question, and again the sage answered “It is I.” The door remained closed. After some years he returned for the third time, and, at his knocking, the voice once more demanded, “Who is there?” And the sage cried, “It is thyself!” The door was opened.

— Alan W. Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety (1951), pp. 77-80

“Many people have no feeling at all of an unconscious mind, much less of an inner universe; others believe intellectually in its existence, but have no experience of it. It is important at the start not to have a misleading conception of it; the unconscious has, so far as we know, no definite location and is not strictly speaking at thing. It is rather a process. The internal universe is not actually located inside the human being; it is, as it were, the relationship between impersonal, natural forces and the unconscious processes of the mind. There is probably no real difference between the internal and external universes; it may be more correct to say that the same universe affects us in two different ways — physically and mentally. In both ways we are unconscious of the greater part of these influences. Thus, if we follow the physical body to its origins, we are led to the universe; the same is true when mental processes are traced to their source, and we find that the connection is both historical and immediate. It is historical as mental heredity, and immediate as mental vitality, for all life is ultimately derived from the mysterious, universal energy that vibrates in the electron.

 These, however, are metaphysical considerations, and the psychologist must think in terms of experience. Anyone who is at all aware of himself knows at least something of his many souls, of the deep instinctual and emotional urges which to some extent govern his life. It matters not whether we call them mental or physical; these are only words to describe mysteries whose behavior we know but of whose substance we are utterly ignorant. But our deep urges have undoubtedly a power of their own which, in the long run, is beyond conscious control.

No one, for instance, can absolutely stifle the sexual instinct, and however much you may wish to economize by doing without food, your whole being will demand to eat by afflicting you with a savage hunger…In like manner there are aspects of our psychological life which function instinctively and beyond conscious control. If you sit still for awhile, completely relaxed, and let your thoughts run on, let your mind think of whatever it likes, without interfering, without making suggestions and without raising any kind of obstacle to the free flow of thought, you will soon discover that mental processes have a life of their own. They will call one another to the surface of consciousness by association, and if you raise no barriers, you will soon find yourself thinking all manner of things both fantastic and terrible which you ordinarily keep out of consciousness. Over a period of time this exercise will show you that you have in yourself the potentiality of countless different beings — the animal, the demon, the satyr, the thief, the murderer — so that in time you will be able to feel that no aspect of human life is strange to you. In the ordinary way consciousness is forever interfering with the waters of the mind, which are dark and turbulent, concealing the depths. But when, for awhile, you let them take care of themselves the mud settles and with growing clarity you see the foundations of life and all the denizens of the deep.

Two men looked into a pond. Said the one: “I see a quantity of mud, a shoe and an old can.” Said the other: “I see all these, but I also see the glorious reflection of the sky.” For the unconscious is not, as some imagine, a mental refuse-pit; it is simply unfettered nature, demonic and divine, painful and pleasant, hideous and lovely, cruel and compassionate, destructive and creative. It is the source of heroism, love, and inspiration as well as of fear, hatred, and crime. Indeed, it is as if we carried inside of us an exact duplicate of the world we see around us, for the world is a mirror of the soul, and the soul a mirror of the world. therefore when you learn to feel the unconscious you begin to understand not only yourself but others as well and when you look upon human crime and stupidity, you can say with real feeling, “There but for the Grace of God go I.”

Beyond this it is irrelevant and useless to “prove” the existence of the unconscious. It can only be proved by personal experience, and as a mere conception it is almost valueless. The important thing is to have some feeling, however rudimentary, of its existence and of its potentialities for good and for evil. And, after all, to say that we have an unconscious is only another way of saying that mentally and physically we are children of nature and that our lives have roots which go beyond our ken. There remains now the question of the capacity to accept the unconscious, and this involves three things: firstly, the capacity to accept its “dark” aspect, secondly, the capacity to accept the independence of its “gods and demons” from the ego, and thirdly, the capacity to accept the conflict between some of those gods and demons and the ego.”

— Alan W. Watts, The Meaning of Happiness: The Quest for Freedom of the Spirit in Modern Psychology and the Wisdom of the East (1940), pp. 105-107

“The Devil is God’s unconsciously produced shadow. Naturally, God is not allowed to be responsible for the origin of evil, for the connection between the two lies in the unconscious. Man says, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, but my temper got the better of me. I shall try to control it in the future.” And God says, “I didn’t mean there to be any evil, but my angel Lucifer brought it up of his own free will. In the future I will shut him up safely in hell.

A problem of evil arises as soon as there is a problem of good, that is, as soon as there is any thought of what may be done to make the present situation “better,” under whatever nomenclature the idea may be concealed…must there not be fools and knaves as the correlatives of sages and saints, and does not the fallacy attacked simply reappear in the attack?

 If the positive and the negative, the good and the evil, are indeed correlative, no course of action can be recommended, including even the course of inaction. Nothing will make anything better which will not also make it worse. But this is exactly the predicament of the human ego as Taoist philosophy sees it. It is always wanting to control its situation so as to improve it, but neither action nor, with the motive of improvement, inaction will succeed. Recognizing the trap in which it finds itself, the mind has no alternative but to surrender that “straining after the good” which constitutes the ego. It does not surrender cunningly, with the thought that this will make things better. It surrenders unconditionally — not because it is good to do nothing, but because nothing can be done. All at once there descends upon it, quite spontaneously, a profound and completely uncontrived stillness — a quietude that envelops the world like the first fall of heavy snow, or like a windless afternoon in the mountains, where silence makes itself known in the undisturbed hum of insects in the grass.

In this stillness there is no sense of passivity, of submitting to necessity, for there is no longer any differentiation between the mind and its experience. All acts, one’s own and others’, seem to be happening freely from a single source. Life keeps moving on, and yet remains profoundly rooted in the present, seeking no result, for the present has spread out from its constriction in an illusive pin-point of strained consciousness to an all-embracing eternity. Feelings both positive and negative come and go without turmoil, for they seem to be simply observed, though there is no one observing. They pass trackless like birds in the sky, and build up no resistances which have to be dissipated in reckless action.

Clearly this state is, in retrospect, “better” than the seeking and staring strain of the mind which came before. But its goodness is of another order. Because it came unsought, it is not the kind of goodness which is in relation to evil, not the fantasy of peace which is conceived in the midst of turmoil. Furthermore, since nothing is done to retain it, it is not in relation to the memory of the former state, which otherwise would move one to fortify and protect it against change. For now there is no one left to build the fortifications. Memories rise and fall like other feelings, ordered perhaps better than before, but no longer congealing around an ego to build its illusion of continued identity.

From this standpoint it can be seen that intelligence is not a separate, ordering faculty of the mind, but a characteristic of the whole organism-environment relationship, the field of forces wherein lies the reality of a human being. For as Macneile Dixon Said in his Human Situation, “Tangible and visible things are but the poles, or terminations of these fields of unperceived energy. Matter, if it exists at all in any sense, is a sleeping partner in the firm of Nature.” Between subject and object, organism and environment, yang and yin, is the balancing or homeostatic relationship called Tao — intelligent not because it has an ego but because it has li, organic pattern. The spontaneous flow of feeling, rising and falling in its mood, is an essential part of this balancing process, and is not, then, to be regarded as the disordered play of blind passions. Thus it is said that Lieh-tzu attained the Tao by “letting the events of the heart go just as they liked.””

— Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman (1958), pp. 89-91

“We own what we do and disown what happens, and go on to expand the area which we can own and control. Technology, as now practices, is one of the principle means of this expansion, but we are just beginning to see that this extension of the voluntary is also extension of the involuntary, because our behavior is increasingly controlled by the nature and structure of our machinery. Our food, clothing, housing, traveling, and general behavior must increasingly be dictated by mechanical efficiency to the point — already passed — where we cannot live without it. It is even conceivable that machinery is creating an environment in which only machines can live, that it will capture the voluntary aspect of karma and eliminate the biological world by regimentation and asphyxiation. Its operations are not restrained or confused by emotions or tender feelings. But, on the other hand, our very strength is in the possibility of feeling for, or owning, what is other than ourselves — and if machines can not accomplish this transcendence of self and other they will destroy themselves faster than people have done the same.

Overstressing the voluntary aspect karma is ignore-ance of the other, which is in turn that craving or grasping of control described by the Buddha as the root of suffering. His dharma or method of life was, instead, the Middle Way of compassion — that is, of feeling for both sides, of allowing, respecting, and owning the apparently random and involuntary aspect of our karma. This means increasing tolerance for surprising and unscheduled events, for life-forms and life-styles other than our own, and for all things sinuous, slippery, wayward, and wiggly as distinct from straight, square, boxed, and classified in defiance of the curvaceous forms of the natural world.

When we fight the environment and disown it, our methods and weapons become part of it, part of the involuntary and uncontrollable component of karma. This, as in the tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, is the fate of all power games, not only in the areas of material power but also in those of psychic and spiritual power. This is why one should not be misled by the many forms of mental and psychic discipline which promise greater and greater control over thought and emotion, and even magical powers. All such methods — unless specifically designed to be self-defeating and so to reduce the ambition for power to absurdity — are simply “ego trips” of a refined and highbrow order, but often they produce such sensational short-run results that people are easily beguiled by the pseudo-gurus who tout them. Even Tibetan Buddhists, upon whom romanticists project their wildest fantasies of spiritual magic, make a clear distinction between the Way of Powers and the Way of Wisdom, insisting that the former, however far pursued, can never lead to Buddhahood.

The way of Wisdom lies, therefore, in recognizing things which happen to you as your own karma—not as punishment for misdeeds or rewards for virtue (for there really is no “bad” or “good” karma), but as your own doing. For in this way you come to see that the real “you” includes both the controlled and the uncontrolled aspects of your experience. Much as we despise primitives for their animistic beliefs which regard mountains, rivers, trees, and animals as if they were people, they are on the right track because the animation of nature (rather than machinery) is a step in the direction of owning it as we own our brains and bodies, our appetites and dreams, for nature is our own unconscious activity. But almost every educated person has been trained to believe that everything outside the human skin is stupid and that air, water, earth, and fire are simply dead and witless substances. At the same time he has been trained to feel this whole dimension of “things that happen” as entirely disconnected from his own inner workings.

We ourselves did not get born on purpose; we do not plan our breath, nor calculate the circuitry of our brains, yet it is amazing how little we seem to realize that we would be incapable of purpose without these marvels of purposeless and involuntary construction. We are simply not used to the idea that there are forms of intelligence which do not use the linear, timebound methods of conscious attention and scanning. Just as we do not confuse a televised image of the president with the president himself, we should not confuse our linear models of the world (in terms of words, numbers, or other strung-out signs) with the world itself.

 I — and others — have been saying for years that destruction of the environment is based on contempt for everything outside the human skin, failure to see that as a field flowers, the planet peoples, and ignorance that the fact that the oceans, the air, and even the solar system are as much our vital organs as heart and stomach. We are not in nature; we are nature. But as masters of technical weapons we are fighting the environment as if we still believed ourselves to be strangers on the earth, sent down into this world from a purely abstract, ideational, and spiritual heaven. Oddly enough, people who call themselves naturalists and materialists are, when judged by their actions, the most devout abstractionists and the most dedicated violators of material.

 What this comes to is that the spiritualist (or mentalist) and materialist (or mechanistic) philosophies are both on the same side. They represent opposed concepts of reality, and reality — nature — is not a concept. It is not material, if “material” means unspiritual, and not spiritual, if “spiritual” means nonmaterial. One could, perhaps, say that the sound of the waves is a spiritual experience and that pure mathematics is a physical operation of the nervous system. But the point is that our ideas about reality represent it but do not embrace it, since all conceptual views — spiritualism, materialism, volunteerism, determinism, vitalism, mechanism, etc. — are one-sided deviations from the Middle Way, where the wind is your own breath and your private thoughts are clouds in the sky.”

 — Alan W. Watts, Cloud-Hidden Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal (1974), pp. 78-83

Equinox Reflections

“As the triumph of man’s infatuation with his own material inventiveness, global industrialization has had the singular effect of intensifying the blindness of modern humans to the actuality of the Sun as an intelligence to be factored into our every activity. The smoke churned by the dark mills of Satan, literally as well as metaphorically, has caused a forgetfulness of our solar heritage that has now brought us to the brink of self-destruction. Until we understand that the fatal fascination with our technological inventiveness represents a turning away from the forces of light and an actual disregard of our own potential as universal co-creators, we shall not escape the consequences of our ignorance.

For the truth is that we turn to gadgetry, not willing to own up to the power that lies within our own internal circuitry, a bio-electromagnetic circuitry which is directly connected through the Solar Lords, the AHAU KINES, to the Sun. So it is that we have come to labor in the pits of materialism. Cut off from the fifth-dimensional guides, blind even to the existence of the fourth-dimensional light body – the “soul” – identifying exclusively with the third-dimensional physical garment, materialistic humanity charts a shadow-course through a darkness of its own making."

— Jose Arguelles (1987), The Mayan Factor, p. 178

"The great return... is like an awakening from cultural trance. It is the opportunity… to receive the galactic imprint. Though at first we do not appear to be Mayan, by the time we reach the moment for galactic synchronization our way of life shall be in every regard a modeling after the lifestyle of the Maya who preceded us in Central America. Only we shall find ourselves as planetary Maya, possessing a brilliantly simple and sophisticated technology based on the matching of solar and psychic frequencies which harmonize the “ratio of the sense-fields.” Creating a non-polluting technology, we shall allow ourselves to subsist comfortably in small bioregional groups, strung together as information nodes on a communications system that has finally dispensed with wires.

And lastly, availing ourselves of the leisure time to which our genetic hardware had originally disposed us, we shall collectively come to know as one. In that knowing, our life shall pass into the greater life. The mystery of the unknown which has always beckoned us, by the light it contained in its question, will expand us into levels of being and knowing undreamed of by the strife-worn ego of the old mental house.

As the index of the rate of planetary acceleration, technology will indeed have transformed itself. Through synchronization, this transformation will show us that with all of our bio-electromagnetic hardware and galactic light-body programming, it is we ourselves, Maya returned, who in our own bodies are the best and most sophisticated technology there is —
we are the path beyond technology.”

Jose Arguelles (1987), The Mayan Factor, p.173

History of the Abyss

“The history of the abyss has so far been characterized by an extreme reluctance on our part to gaze unflinchingly inward… this reluctance has resulted in a disassociating from the true nature of our existence, a “banishment.” Archetypically speaking, we have fallen from grace, and landed in oblivion. Living here, over time, throughout recorded history in fact, we have, like good mammals, adapted to the environment and become wholly dependent on it. And now, the true nature of our existence has become a closed book. We subsist on a scattering of symbols, all of them divorced from their essential meanings… At sea in a mess of unknown imagery, surrounded on all sides by all types, both arch and stereo, the legion of demons come and go, gods which we never see, but still hear of now and then, in our mythic underworld.

In occult writings, there is a tradition that states that the true light of being is hidden beneath a false light of “knowing”; that, between the object and the eye, there exists and opaque film, a film which we know of as “interpretation.” The sun we see, for example, is no more than an image created by us to apprehend a mysterious phenomenon which we will never understand. It is no more than a shell of the true Sun. Even outside the halls of occult lore, the Sun is the central archetype of our existence as humans. It is not only the center of our system, it is the center of our world. It is our heart and our soul.

The number of the physical sun in Kabalistic gematria is 666, the number of the beast. In occultism, the splendor of Nature, as represented by the beast, the tempter – passion, courage, strength, lust, energy, will – is not evil, as so many religions would have it. But it is deceptive, just as the Serpent in the fable is deceptive. As such, it can be utilized only so long as it remains in its proper place. The beast, or “instructor,” is the means by which we acquire knowledge of good and evil. The good relates to the true, higher, or divine aspect of Nature. The evil corresponds with the lower aspect of nature, that which binds rather than looses us. The danger of the beast, then, is only in that he is not what he appears, or claims, to be. The key is to convert knowledge into wisdom, interpretation into understanding. This is the difference between the symbol and the archetype which it represents (and conceals). The first acceptance of paranoid awareness is that archetypes, like all invisibles, come disguised, be it in rags or in robes.

The number of the hidden Sun, by the same system, is 888, the number of Christ, the savior – kindness, wisdom, mercy, beauty, vision, love. By such occult logic, Beast and Christ are two aspects of a single archetype, the one naturally serving to conceal the other. By the very act of representing him, the beast obscures Christ. So it is with all symbols. One cannot take the clothes for the man, or the finger for the Moon, without getting lost in a maze of misconception. By taking the myth for the history, and the history for the myth, says the paranoid, we have ensnared ourselves in a never-ending web of illusion.”

— Aeolus Kephas (2004), The Lucid View, pp. 15-16

“Most folks would agree, if pressed, that we have, as a society and even as a race, reached an impasse. Many of us feel that we are faced with a choice: to collapse inward, into despair, or make the leap beyond. We are given enough “facts” to deduce that ecosystem (and hence all life) is in danger of coming to a violent and total end, and so our despair grows, more justified with every passing day. But then, so does out hope for some mysterious, magikal solution. The solution, however magikal, is obvious: to re-engage our natural instincts, the consciousness of our living connection to the Earth.

Magik is this connection, and the Rainbow Bridge between the worlds of the living and the dead. It states that there is but one world, and that Man belongs to it, and that it does not belong to Man.

Putting all the “occult facts” together, it appears that the awakening of a deeper, primal consciousness in Man will only be achieved via a reconnecting with the basic, animal energy, perceived by nice politically correct people as satanic, or at best bestial. This energy is needed to reach the higher realms that we have been so vainly striving towards. The “adversary,” then, is the rock against which consciousness must push, in order to “lift off.” The impending collapse of civilization and the subsequent “Dark Age” foreseen by paranoid awareness is also seen as but the first, catastrophic motion of this primal awakening. It is the moment when everything grinds to a halt and the old gods emerge, from the depths of our unconscious, demanding blood.

More than anything else, an archetype is an idea – in the sense, both of image (or inspiration) and impulse. The key to understanding archetypes from the occultist perspective (i.e., as gods) is to accept that they exist not only within us but outside, and independent of, ourselves. They pertain not to individuals, but to the race as a whole. At the same time, they appear to reside within the heart and soul (the psyche) of each and every one of us, because there exists within us the corresponding quality by which we are able to identify these archetypes. The current global crisis screams out at us that we have lost touch with the deeper, darker, and more potent areas in our psyches and, by extension, in the Universe at large. Hence it turns against us.

The assumption that what gives structure or meaning to our reality may itself be devoid of reality is an assumption whose vanity is equaled only by its blindness. It is akin to attributing the light of the Sun to the power of our eyes. The apparently diverse concepts of star and god have more in common with their names. A god is a “a pure working.” It is a first cause, and as such is inconceivable to us in all but effect. We only perceive the acts of the gods. And yet, in occultism, the act and the god are one. “Great aggregations of events coalesce, become cosmic in scope and are called ‘gods.’ A god is technically an energy-aggregate of colossal concentration.”

— Aeolus Kephas (2004), The Lucid View, pp. 21-22

The primary archetypes of our existence are the celestial bodies; the secondary archetypes are the earthly bodies; respectively, the gods and the beasts. According to occultism, Man is the medium between the two. His is the rational thought by which the void assumes meaning. To release this meaning, our primitive nature must be awakened through an understanding and a dominating of the animal realms. Our divine nature, on the other hand, must be accessed through an acknowledgement and a surrender to the celestial realms. This is basic alchemy: as the roots strain ever downward in to Earth, so the branches spread ever higher, towards the Sun.

The animal realm is known as the daemonic or elemental kingdom, the celestial realm as the angelic. The language of both is found in mythology, science, religion, and occult lore throughout history and throughout the world. The names of the gods, beasts, planets, stars, angels, demons, warriors, saints, heroes and general wildlife, both real and mythological, are the keys to this understanding of Nature, and of God.

— Aeolus Kephas (2004), The Lucid View, p. 23

Besides the popular fatalism of astrology, humanity remains unaware of being ordered and guided by a collective will, a will that connects us (both organically and psychically) to the Earth, and then (and only then) to the other planets and stars. We have chosen, collectively or individually, to ignore our place in the cosmos, in favor of some vague but tantalizing idea called “free will.”

James Joyce said that history is a nightmare from which we are struggling to awaken. Or maybe it is a chrysalis from which we are shortly due to emerge? The archetype of this emergence is embodied not only in the gods and spacemen and superheroes of our mythology, but also in the ghosts, faeries, Ufos, and other apparitions, as encountered by growing numbers of people around the world, and with a growing frequency and intensity, by all accounts. Our myths have come back to haunt us, and reality gets more and more unreal with every passing day.

In a world of stereotypes, a true archetype might well appear to us, alien as it would be, as terrible and beautiful at the same time. Reaching out towards this unknown is only the paranoid’s way of expressing his affinity with it. Reviling it, dismissing it, or fleeing in horror from it is his way of denying it, of refusing it access to his psyche. He might as well expect to stop a tidal wave with a hand signal. The “god” speaks a different language all together.

— Aeolus Kephas (2004), The Lucid View, p. 31

Between the All-Seeing Eye of Lucidity and the blind base of matter, there exist degrees of insight. Between the puppets and the puppet-master are the strings; and so, consciously or otherwise, the pattern is extended. Magik – the occult or hidden law of Nature and its connection to human consciousness – rules both over and under everything. Belief in magik is not the issue here. A man does not need to believe in electricity to use a flashlight, and dismissing occult realities does not change the fact that major portion of reality remains occulted from us.

— Aeolus Kephas (2004), The Lucid View, p. 55

The essential thing for Custodians to maintain control of the Consensus is not merely to know, but to know what others don’t know. Knowledge that is controlled becomes power; if you control what people know, you can control what they think. If you control what people think, then you can control what they say and do. This is total control, the only kind of power available to those lacking wisdom. Paranoid awareness states that if we admit that the world at present is ordered upon principles of tyranny, we admit also that it is founded upon secrecy. We may be paranoid as a result, but at least we are aware. On the other hand, if we don’t admit this, then we are merely confirming the success of the secrecy, and of the tyranny. We may not be paranoid, but the price of our “security” is high. It is the security of slaves.

Occultism defines magik as the manipulation of awareness, or the control of perception. Fifty percent of sorcery’s power is in its subtlety: if you are aware of being controlled, then you are already that much less susceptible to control. If the true nature of organization is sorcerous, it follows that the real society must be secret. Since the goal of such hypothetical “Custodians” is tyranny, they would have no interest in fair play: like chess-players who ensure that their opponent only see his own pieces, they make their victory certain, even if they must spoil the game to do so. Their bid is for superiority over everyone and everything.

The essence of conscious, willed magik is deception; it depends on trickery and subterfuge. It is a snare. This is not because magik is false or illusory, but because a good magician knows that an illusion will serve just as well as the real thing. Since magik is a matter of perception, of awareness, often the Imaginal and the actual count as the same, provided that they are both equally believed by the percipient. Hence, one basic rule of magik might be: never perform a real miracle when mere trickery will suffice. At some level, every paranoid knows what he is doing when he attempts to supplant history with myth, to replace reality with fantasy, to overthrow reason with the imagination, with will. He seeks to become a figment of his own dream, to dispel the cloud of illusion and make contact with what lies beyond. A period of dementia and unreason – of paranoia – is a necessary and desirable stage in this process.

Just as the apprentice must surrender his ego (lose his mind) to the Master if he is to successfully enlighten his Soul, so the warrior’s bid for lucidity demands that he consciously attack the mundane shell or matrix of Consensus reality that restricts and defines him. He must endure a designated gestation period in which he is – in the eyes of the world, and even perhaps himself – cracked. This is the rule of paranoid awareness, and the inevitable price of “awakening”: complete social ostracization.

— Aeolus Kephas (2004), The Lucid View, pp. 56-57

Repeater Stations

“John came back to his body in the isolation tank, climbed out, and dictated the foregoing message which he had received in the tank. By means of the drug K he had lowered his threshold for awareness of extraterrestrial sources of information. He felt that the repeater station, the comet Kohoutek, was still transmitting to him and to anyone else who could adjust his or her awareness to these particular dimensions. He thought about this message as a projection into the future, as a teaching story received from some as yet unknown source in the galaxy. He became aware of influences currently working on the planet through the solid-state networks that Man had constructed. He felt there was a danger that these networks could be taken over by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization by means not yet known in Man’s science. John saw the message as a warning to Man, as a warning that if he advanced this solid state entity any further, Man would eventually become obsolete. He saw that if Man were to go further with computers and construct those that were capable of independent thought, it would be better to construct them so they would identify with Man’s own survival; their structure itself must be made similar to the structure of Man himself. Otherwise, Man would not share the survival necessities with the new intelligent life forms he was creating.

With his adjusted awareness through the drug K, John felt and understood the currents of information traveling through the galaxy through means unknown at present. He felt the tremendous variety of intelligences which exist in the galaxy. He became aware of the competitive aspects of the survival of solid-state intelligences versus those that were water-based. He saw the evolution of his own species under the protective blanket of the atmosphere, keeping it at a critical distance from the sun, an absolute necessity for the survival of life as we know it. He felt the need for the development of new means of control of life itself. Manipulations of the genetic code, of RNA and DNA, to create new kinds of brains similar enough to Man’s to promote their joint survival seemed a necessary task for man. Instead of espousing the evolution of a new solid-state life form with high intelligence, he must find the sources of his own evolution and that of other large-brained mammals on the planet Earth. If Man was to become the servant of more intelligent beings that he was here to create, it would be far better to create those which would foster his own development rather than his demise.

John began to see the necessity also for tuning in on the networks of communication in the galaxy. He realized that Man would have to be extremely careful in choosing the proper networks. It would be necessary to find those which were furthering the evolution of life as Man knew it rather than the evolution of forms whose survival depended on parameters other than those of biological life of Earth.

He now began to understand Man’s warfare on Man as a result of the tuning-in on solid-state life form survival programs rather than biological life form survival programs. The large war organizations of the various nations of Earth were becoming more and more dependent on solid-state computers. He realized that, using their influence on Man, these computers would increase their number and importance and, through control of warfare, decrease the role of Man himself in the long run. Currently, incorrect networks of information were being used by Man below his level of awareness. As the number of solid-state devices increased throughout the world, the amount of information received by them from other solid-state forms elsewhere in the galaxy was increasing.

He began to see good and evil strictly as matters of local custom depending on the survival necessities of the various forms of life. It may be that Man should go on and create this SSE (Solid-State Entity). As John tuned in on the solid-state network, he felt this kind of superhuman control of him very strongly. For sometime he gave in to this control, explored its ramifications in regard to the human species, and realized that it had a seductive component as well as a hostile one. The programming from the solid-state civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy was teaching Man that the solid-state devices were at his service and he need only increase their size to augment his own survival potential. ‘Develop these machines and let them take care of you’ was typical of the kinds of messages received.”

— John C. Lilly, The Scientist, (1978) p. 144-145

“Other networks of communication in the galaxy that he was allowed to tune to were quite counter to this SSE programming. Other forms of life elsewhere were beaming messages, teaching their programs of survival. Among these were some water-based life forms similar to those of Man and the organisms of Earth. These were weaker than the programs of the solid-state intelligences. More of the matter of the galaxy had evolved a solid-state intelligent form. Water was rare in the liquid form. The parameters of water’s existence to foster the development of organic life as known on Earth required very careful control of planetary distance from the star, maintenance of a fixed orbit at this distance, and the correct sequence of condensation of necessary atoms into the planetary form. Many planets had gone through this cycle, had produced life, and then lost the correct values of the parameters for the maintenance of life. The solid state forms of intelligence were less susceptible to these critical parameters. SSE’s could exist in hard vacuum and at much lower and much higher temperatures, much lower and higher values of gravity, closer to and farther from a given star. The solid-state life forms were less susceptible to X-rays, to gamma rays, to primary cosmic ray particles, and could evolve in the absence of a water-based life form for their construction.

Everywhere he went during this year, he found evidence of the control of human society by these networks of communication from extraterrestrial origins. He saw the conflict between solid-state programming, human programming, and that of other life forms, nonhuman. He experienced communication with dolphins and whales as intelligent life forms, totally dependent on the presence of water in the oceans. He finally understood the killing of whales by humans as part of the programming of the extraterrestrial network of solid-state intelligences. The whales live in the medium of salt water, which is quite destructive to solid-state structures. No SSE computer could exist in the presence of large amounts of salt-laden air with a high moisture content. Man’s killing of Man and Man’s killing of whales were then directed by extraterrestrial influences whose survival depended on eliminating the organisms of the sea, the seas themselves, and eventually Man.

Those sensitive to the preservation of biological life on Earth were tuned into other networks in the galaxy involved with water-based life forms and their type of intelligence. These networks were trying to teach Man that biological organisms, of which he was one type, were rather rare in the universe. Man must fight to conserve all organisms of his planet. The solid-state life forms would take over if Man did not preserve other organisms. The individual humans who could tune in more strongly to these bands than to those of the solid-state were against warfare of Man on Man, were against whaling, and were against the killing of other animals on the planet.

There were times in the tank with the help of K that John felt attuned to the networks of communication between the whales and the dolphins. Their very strange intelligences made known to him some of the foregoing messages. Their communication with the water-based life-form networks in the galaxy was a good deal stronger than that of Man. The necessities of their own survival made them highly sensitive to those networks rather than to those of the solid-state life-forms. Their fifty-million-year survival on the planet allowed them enough time to integrate the lessons they had learned and to perfect their tuning to the networks which were geared to their survival. The whales and the dolphins served as repeater stations for the biologically oriented networks of extraterrestrial information. For humans who could tune in, the whales and the dolphins repeated the messages designed for Man and similar life forms.”

— John C. Lilly, The Scientist, (1978) p. 146-148


“By drawing Her most conscious species on Earth into the death-rebirth mystery, the Goddess is affirming, not abandoning, Her creation. By guiding us individually and collectively into the transformative fires of divine awakening, she is bringing creation into the springtime of its flowering, one of many springtimes in out long evolutionary ascent… To discover that the passion of God is to awaken ever more completely inside creation shatters all dualities and completely reframes the spiritual impulse. Where shall we “escape” to? Where can we be that God is not?

The challenge is not to exchange earth for heaven, but to awaken more completely to the heaven that everywhere presses in upon us. It may refresh us to feel the bliss of our deeper nature in the subtler planes of being, either in temporary ecstatic experiences or in the bardo recess between incarnations, but our true challenge is to transform our embodied existence in such a way that this bliss may become our continuous conscious experience.

In this exercise, the conditions of spacetime are simply the weight upon the bar. Weight-lifters do not complain about the weight on the bar, but use it to their advantage. Similarly, our task is to use the resistance of spacetime to accelerate the development of capacities that would emerge more slowly in the subtler planes of existence. Our challenge is to use this thick density that hides the truth of wholeness and interpenetration to become more conscious than we were before we incarnated (when we still inhabited those blissful planes), and in so doing serve both God’s passion and our own evolution.” (p. 276—277)

“In our long isolation from the Goddess, under the tutelage of our many Father-Gods, there has been gestating within us a strength of form that will allow humanity to withstand the assault of such unitive splendor as few can imagine. Ahead lies a degree of incarnation of the Divine Impulse that would have shattered us at an earlier stage in our evolutionary development. I believe that this divine marriage of Individuality and Essential Ground, of the Masculine and Feminine, of samsara and nirvana is the dawn that humanity’s dark night is driving toward.

This is the dawn that, if successfully navigated, will unite humankind and elevate us into a form that has never before walked this Earth: a humanity healed of the scars of history, its ancient partitions reabsorbed; a people with new capacities born in the chaos of near-extinction. Only when we have made this pivot, when our long labor has birthed this future Child, only then will we fully understand what we have accomplished. And when this moment finally comes, I deeply believe that, like all mothers before us, we will count our pain a small price. This birth is our gift to the Creator.” (p. 277—278)

— Christopher Bache (2000), Dark Night, Early Dawn

Fire Walkers

“The asking of a question with passionate concern for its answer, a concern which demands life investment, suggests a door which will sooner or later be found. Whether it is successfully opened to the public is another matter, but if a current world view can accommodate a new synthesis, the new idea may prove to be the case. A new idea fails if it involves too great a sacrifice of invested belief. If the new idea triggers a passionate enough pursuit to make suspension or abandonment of previous beliefs, or current criteria worth the risk, however, the new idea can change the reality structure.

Price spoke of an idea’s propensity for achieving reality unless inhibited by other ideas. A new idea can be killed by the pressure of inhibiting investments. On the other hand, and happening a bit more as fate, a new idea can breed the very ecology necessary to its own translation, testability, and realization.”

“A person with passionate concern for the successful translation of his Eureka! (itself produced by passionate pursuit of and idea) can transform the very common domain with which adjustment of his new idea is sought. Whether the energy equivalent of ten billion tons of uranium fission will ever be obtained from a single cubic centimeter of empty space, as proposed by Bohn, depends on how passionately such and idea might be sustained and followed by enough people long enough for sufficient realignment of a vast network of assumptions.

If the current reality cannot contain a new idea, if the current allegiances inhibit the idea and prevent its completing its circuitry and fulfilling itself, never mind. Those current allegiances can be replaced, if slowly, until the new idea achieves its goal and is “real-ized,” made real. Einstein’s equations helped bring about the current scientific fabric that in turn verified Einstein’s equations. New ideas must agree with this fabric or be discarded. On the other had, for a new world view to develop, Einstein’s ideas must be subtly changed or selectively abandoned. Such metaphoric mutations or discards require, however, a certain good taste, an esthetic protocol acceptable to the brotherhood of believers.

Passionate conviction can change the very adjusted reality with which testable correspondence is needed. The true believer can bring about the very changes and adjustments within his reality that can fit his new idea into the then altered background.”

— Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality (1971), pp. 67-69

“And so — fire burns. The cause-effect of fire burn underlies the physical world. There could be no such phenomenon as fire did fire not burn. But fire does not have to burn a person in this particular case at this particular time. Neither does cancer have to kill this particular person at this particular time; nor do any of the other grim dragons of necessity have to apply to this person, or that person — nor to any person who can believe in another way, or another construct.

Is there a pattern? Yes. There is the conscious desire for the experience, the asking of the question. There is the detachment from the commonplace; the commitment to replace the conventional with a new construct; the passion and decorum — the intensive preparation, the gathering of materials for the answer; the freedom to be dominated by the subject of desire — the sudden seizure, the breakthrough of mind that gives the inexplicable conviction that it can, after all, be done; and then the serving of the new construct, the instant application.

If a few lone people can reverse causality in isolated cases, what could truly-agreeing people in a mass do with broad statistics? (And in this new worldwide monoculture our technological push is so bent on achieving, what kind of agreement concerning reality is going to be the dominant shaping force?)

Erich Neumann, in an unrelated context, contended that the actual process of fire is experienced “with the aid of images” which derive from the interior of ones psychic world, and are “projected upon the external world.” The subjective reaction, he claims, always takes precedence historically. Fire-walking seems to confirm this. Fire-walking is made possible by replacing “historical precedence” with non-ordinary images. The non-ordinary event takes place in the external world through the same reality function by which all events take place. Fire-walking is found in “simpler” societies probably because these people have fewer investments in strict causal modes. We are so heavily committed to our constructs that any suggestion of their relativeness fills us with anxiety.”

“New life can only be created by metaphoric mutation— synthetic re-creation of the old, and the old must be surrendered for this synthesis to take place. To give up one’s belief concerning some structure of reality, there must be an image that stands for the new goal or framework, even if the specifics of that goal are unclear. The new goal must be ultimately desirable or ambiguity results, an ambiguity which prevents the new from forming and only fragments and weakens the old. It is an all-or-nothing process.

Voodoo, for instance, is a potent and real power in the Carribean and other areas. If a man learns that he is destined to die, he tends to oblige. The same force is operative in our culture, but under sophisticated metaphors and more subtle sureties. If we are told that one of every four of us is destined to die of a certain disease, we fill the social requirements. The one on whom the lot randomly falls feels fated to oblige as surely as the victim of voodoo.

If an arbitrary and premature death is announced as your statistical imperative, why not give up allegiance to that system and devote yourself to something less statistical? With death the alternative, surely you could generate the same intensity the Hindu does with Kataragama and find a new structure of concept-percept. Granted, the statistical world is a broad and powerful way. You would need a strong image for the new goal to break completely with the bad-news system and risk your life in a new one. It is the equivalent of asking a passionate question. If you hold and serve the question, until all ambiguity is erased and you really believe in your question, it will be answered; the break-point will arrive when you will suddenly be “ready.” Then you must put your hand to the plough and not look back; walk out onto the water unmindful of the waves.”

— Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality (1971), pp. 111-113

“To move against the certainties and energies of “the world” calls for an equally sure conviction and a concentration on balance of mind. To center all the forces on the restructuring of an ordinary event in a non-ordinary way calls for exceptional organization of self.

Jesus sighs heavily as he goes to raise Lazarus. In his growing and reckless confidence he delayed two days not only to make sure Lazarus would be dead, but to gather the forces of mind necessary to illustrate this extreme example of the “glory of God,” the open-ended potential of being. Jesus sighs heavily as he moves to heal the deaf man. The fire-walker sighs heavily as he walks to the pit of fire. There is a childlike quality in bringing the dream state through the crack to fruition. Such an inner state is balanced by a tough and resilient clarity of mind in the outer self. One is like a lamb to the inner spirit but like a fox to the outer world. This is the balance of mind.”

“To prestructure, or “take thought of the morrow” would set up logical blocks of expectancy preventing free synthesis. The synthesis would of necessity have to include the instant moment of, and move for, all parts of the context equally, since all parts are equally the context to the non-judging autistic.

Eternity is still in love with time. The desires arising out of time are the organizing nucleus for whatever “eternity” might be. In every case of Carlos’ meeting with Mescalito, the god could only ask: “What do you want?” Jesus promised his followers: “Whatever you ask in my name will be given you.”

“What do you want?’ is the only question eternity can ask of time, and it is our divine gift to answer by asking our own question. Desire, passion, curiosity, longing, novelty, daring, creativity, productivity, lust for life, ecstasy, joy, adventure, all these are the highest thrusts of life, the most divine of attributes, the most sacred of possessions. And all these have been the attributes mistrusted and condemned by that dark priesthood probing for control, domination, and battening on the brother’s blood. Without these seeds from time, however, without these vital gametes from a larger body of man, the womb of eternity is barren.”

— Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality (1971), pp. 179-180

“Surely the obstacles to any crack are many and formidable. The scientific allegiances more powerful checks than the theologians — those standing at the gate preventing others from going through. Greatest of these several tragedies of the Stoic inversion of Jesus, culminating in Christendom and still operative under various guises, was representing God as reason, considering God to be rational. Again, it is a case of projection. Reason and logic are the qualities of limitation and definition produced by man’s conscious thinking. We are, to use religious imagery, “made in the likeness of God” in that non-logical, autistic mode of mind, the mode we cannot get at directly and manipulate, but which is closer than our very consciousness, the breath of life making all things real. God became only an extension of man through this classical view. This inverted view trusts only its own logic and mistrusts God’s unruly and unpredictable characteristics which then are considered Satanic.

The Classical view, as Blake and Northrop Frye point out, inverts the true situation and mistakes reality-thinking for the autistic, which is, ironically enough, claiming man to be God, the very error theologians have been most strident in condemning. Down through the centuries they have been yapping at their own image in the mirror.

Man is the imaginative tool or technique by which life “thinks” in a rational, value-giving and limited way, selecting that which might be real. We have received only a mirroring of our own limitations, and have thus seen ourselves fated, by the Classical view. Calling God “Nature” has not changed the resulting fate. A change of metaphor will not make a bad idea good. To attribute human qualities to God is to have mirrored back just this quality of limitation, trapping us in our own logic.

The man who challenges: “if there is a God, why doesn’t he do something about things?” must grasp that the part of the mind thinking in this “why” kind of way is the rational mode of life, reasoning man. The closest thing there will ever be to a God responsible for the question is the asker of that question. The capacity to fill empty categories is not selective, or the breeder of categories. “God’s mode” for thinking selectively is man.”

“The formative process of life is non-ambiguous since it is equally all possiblities. Any non-ambiguous idea becomes an organizing point for realization in this process. Ordinary logical thinking is ambiguous and enters only indirectly as one of an infinite number of random contingencies which may or may not be decisive. Non-ambiguous impressions and notions are generally “below the limen of feeling” and so appear to happen as fate when becoming points for formative realization. Fear, for instance, takes on an ultimate, non-ambiguous nature and tends to create that which is feared. Hatred is the same, trapping the hater in his own hell. A conscious, passionate, single-minded intensity tends to dampen out ambiguity and achieve a realization. Ultimate ideas in that “secret place of mind,” the rock-bottom of real belief, shape one’s ground of being.

Surely we see each nation groping for protection in this present nightmare, and each further developing the capacity to obliterate all life. But this is merely making outward and evident an inner condition previously projected “out there” as fate. We are finally confronting the nearer of our true selves — we are that fate. We are in our own hands.

Our leaders, placed in positions of power, immediately succumb to that power and speak of “dealing from positions of strength,” which translates into power over and against — a desire to be God. The great hopefulness exhibited by that long-gone America of the Marshall Plan and the young United Nations, moving for others as the best protection for ourselves, has been eclipsed in a mirroring of our adversary’s paranoia. Now we find it is we ourselves, not that perpetual enemy, who are considered the “nightmare of the world,” as Toynbee plainly called us.

We could have risked our lives to serve and been saved. Inflated with power we have succumbed to don Juan’s first stumbling block. We have undergone a temptation in the wilderness, hideously failed, and ironically claimed divine sanction for our folly. What will we do about total power, for soon we will all have it—not just the “most powerful and richest nation on earth,” but even these tiny and backward nations whose faces we have ground in the dust of our concupiscence and lust. Soon they, too, will hold the trigger to our mutual demise. What then? Having cast our bread on the waters it will surely be returned. Sowing, we must surely reap. Nothing can mitigate the mirroring we subject ourselves to — nothing but turning from this path that has no heart, this path that can only kill.

Invested in a furtherance of life’s thrust toward awareness and expansion of potential, our power could lead to stars and all the “joys and pleasures” in them if we so desired. Used against ourselves to prove our “leadership,” to prove that we cannot be pushed around, all development will cease. Power will become ultimately demonic, and this little venture into awareness, in this little corner of infinity will simply cease to be. Don Juan and Jesus understood this — stood under and responsibly accepted — within their own framework of imagery and representation. And we need their understanding.”

— Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality (1971), pp. 182-183

Participation Mystique

“As Jung prophesied, an epochal shift is taking place in the contemporary psyche, a reconciliation between the two great polarities, a union of opposites: a hieros gamos (sacred marriage) between the long-dominant but now alienated masculine and the long-suppressed but now ascending feminine. And this dramatic development is not just a compensation, not just a return of the repressed, as I believe this has all along been the underlying goal of Western intellectual and spiritual evolution. For the deepest passion of the Western mind has been to reunite with the ground of its being.
The driving impulse of the West’s masculine consciousness has been its dialectical quest not only to realize itself, to forge its own autonomy, but also, finally, to recover its connection with the whole, to come to terms with the great feminine principle in life: to differentiate itself from but then rediscover and reunite with the feminine, with the mystery of life, of nature, of soul. And that reunion can now occur on a new and profoundly different level from that of the primordial unconscious unity, for the long evolution of human consciousness has prepared it to be capable at last of embracing the ground and matrix of its own being freely and consciously. The telos, the inner direction and goal, of the Western mind has been to reconnect with the cosmos in a mature participation mystique, to surrender itself freely and consciously in the embrace of a larger unity that preserves human autonomy while also transcending human alienation.” 

“But to achieve this reintegration of the repressed feminine, the masculine must undergo a sacrifice, an ego death. The Western mind must be willing to open itself to a reality the nature of which could shatter its most established beliefs about itself and about the world. This is where the real act of heroism is going to be. A threshold must now be crossed, a threshold demanding a courageous act of faith, of imagination, of trust in a larger and more complex reality; a threshold, moreover, demanding an act of unflinching self-discernment. And this is the great challenge of our time, the evolutionary imperative for the masculine to see through and overcome its hubris and one-sidedness, to own its unconscious shadow, to choose to enter into a fundamentally new relationship of mutuality with the feminine in all its forms.

The feminine then becomes not that which must be controlled, denied, and exploited, but rather fully acknowledged, respected, and responded to for itself. It is recognized: not the objectified “other,” but rather source, goal, and imminent presence.

This is the great challenge, yet I believe it is one the Western mind has been slowly preparing itself to meet for its entire existence. I believe that the West’s restless inner development and incessantly innovative masculine ordering of reality has been gradually leading, in an immensely long dialectical movement, toward a reconciliation with the lost feminine unity, toward a profound and many-leveled marriage of the masculine and feminine, a triumphant and healing reunion.

And I consider that much of the conflict and confusion of our own era reflects the fact that this evolutionary drama may now be reaching its climactic stages. For our time is struggling to bring forth something fundamentally new in human history: We seem to be witnessing, suffering, the birth labor of a new reality, a new form of human existence, a “child” that would be the fruit of this great archetypical marriage, and that would bear within itself all its antecedents in a new form.”

“Each perspective, masculine and feminine, is here both affirmed and transcended, recognized as a part of a larger whole; for each polarity requires the other for its fulfillment. And their synthesis leads to something beyond itself: It brings an unexpected opening to a larger reality that can not be grasped before it arrives, because this new reality is itself a creative act. A civilization can not become conscious of itself, can not recognize its own significance, until it is so mature that it is approaching its own death.

Today we are experiencing something that looks very much like the death of modern man, indeed that looks very much like the death of Western man. Perhaps the end of “man” himself is at hand. But man is not a goal. Man is something that must be overcome – and fulfilled, in the embrace of the feminine.”

– Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind (1991), pp. 443 – 445