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

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