Featured – ZapOracle.com https://zaporacle.com Home of Jonathan Zap's Image Oracle Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:36:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://zaporacle.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-zaplogo31-32x32.jpg Featured – ZapOracle.com https://zaporacle.com 32 32 18772393 The Glorified Body-Metamorphosis of The Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution https://zaporacle.com/the-glorified-body-metamorphosis-of-the-body-and-the-crisis-phase-of-human-evolution-article/ https://zaporacle.com/the-glorified-body-metamorphosis-of-the-body-and-the-crisis-phase-of-human-evolution-article/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:12:16 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=340 The metabolism of our species is reaching a feverish intensity as we approach an evolutionary event horizon. One symptom of this feverish metamorphosis is our mutating relationship to body. Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be counted as one of the greatest spiritual plagues ever …

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The metabolism of our species is reaching a feverish intensity as we approach an evolutionary event horizon. One symptom of this feverish metamorphosis is our mutating relationship to body. Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be counted as one of the greatest spiritual plagues ever to be visited upon mankind. Media bombards us unceasingly with images of ever more idealized youth and beauty while vast portions of our population undergo voluntary starvation, grueling exercise regimens and surgery in an effort to control their body image. Attempts to control body image often result in collapsing self-esteem, intense suffering and premature death through self-imposed famine.

The temptation is to view body image problems as an isolated illness, rather than a phenomenon that points right to the core of our evolutionary predicament. What from one vantage seems an illness in need of eradication, from another is an evolutionary process in need of understanding and continued transformation. The purpose here is to explore body image problems in their actual context—- the spiritual/biological evolution of the species. Viewed from this depth, body image disorders come to seem part of a difficult birthing process. This process involves risk and suffering, but may also result in the creation of new life.

From the illness point of view, body image is a problem neither hidden nor unstudied, and especially in the last decade there has been an explosion of studies, articles and books which have attempted to understand and ameliorate this collective illness. Eating disorders are the most lethal of psychiatric conditions. Much of the most profound and valuable work on body image/eating disorders has been done by feminist historians and psychologists who have done incisive studies of how the oppressive force vectors of a patriarchal society, particularly the media, have distorted women’s expectations of their bodies. This work is entirely valid as far as it goes which, unfortunately, is not to the core of the problem. The body image epidemic is greatly exacerbated by media and patriarchal forces, but is not entirely reducible to those forces. What is perceived as the cause of the illness is actually a set of pernicious symptoms created by a deeper, more primary cause. Hiding the primary cause of the collective illness are symptoms and secondary forces that are powerful, highly visible, and capable of acting as seemingly independent prime movers. At the true center of the epidemic and its vortex of symptoms is an absolutely primary human urge, which I have termed the will toward the Glorified Body. This primary cause, unlike the secondary forces mistaken as primary, is a force capable of creating growth and transformation. When we look to the actual core of this problem we see both the reasons and the means for creating an unexpectedly positive outcome.

To understand the will toward the Glorified Body we first need to define what I am referring to as ” the Glorified Body.” Many Christian writings describe the body of the resurrected Christ as being a “Glorified Body” —-a radiant body free of mortal limitations. Although I am not working from a Christian point of view, I believe that this phrase captures a powerful archetype. We see images and hear stories of the Glorified Body in most or all cultures and periods. There are all sorts of variations and numerous gradations on the Glorified Body spectrum, but the defining characteristics are fairly apparent.

Although the Glorified Body occurs in endless variations there are two very broad categories in which the term “Glorified Body” will be employed in this article. One use of Glorified Body refers to the inherent “energy body” that all human beings possess. Sometimes I will substitute “energy body” to make clear this first meaning of Glorified Body. The second, and somewhat overlapping, category of use for the term “Glorified Body” is to refer to human or nonhuman entities whose manifest bodies are closer to energy than conventional flesh and blood bodies. This type of Glorified Body hovers in the collective psyche of the human species as a highly charged image and expectation of our further evolution.

No mystical leap of faith or willing suspension of disbelief is required to accept the reality that we all possess an energy body. This type of Glorified Body has been recognized by secular and religious traditions throughout human history. Eastern models of the energy body from Chinese and Ayuvedic medicine, and Western scientific studies of human energy fields by psychologist and physiologist Valerie Hunt at UCLA, are examples of systematic studies of our energetic anatomy.

Although the intense materialism of our culture has caused us to lose touch with our real nature, in many other cultures and periods the existence of an energy body existing in parallel to the flesh and blood body was accepted as medical, everyday fact. Chinese medicine has for thousands of years recognized that we have a body made of “Chi”, or life energy, and that it is composed of an intricate structure of energy meridians. Acupuncture works with “virtual points” located along these energy meridians which are not in any way discernible in the dense, physical body. Western medicine has gradually come to recognize the validity of acupuncture, though it is as yet unable to explain how it works. In other Eastern traditions the Glorified Body is referred to as “Shakti” or “Kundalini.” In Western occultism it is referred to variously as the “astral body,” “subtle body,” “light body,” “dream body,” “fine matter body,” and “etheric body.” Soul, psyche, self, mind, ego and consciousness can all be considered energy bodies or aspects of the Glorified Body which materialist science has failed miserably to locate or explain in terms of the physical body.

Parapsychological phenomena are also difficult or impossible to explain in terms of a physical body. Materialist science tends to react to such phenomena with agitation and denial. But these supposedly anomalous phenomena become obvious and expected when we recognize that we have an energy body. William James once said that, “All that is necessary to disprove the notion that all crows are black is one white crow.” A single occurrence in all of human history of a person, for example, being aware of another person remote from sensory information, just one mother in all of human history being able to accurately visualize her child in trouble at a distant location, would  be sufficient to disprove the notion that we are only physical bodies. And we’ve had whole flocks of such white crows pass over our heads. For example, very large numbers of people in different cultures and periods report out-of-body and near death experiences. OBEs and NDEs involve the experience of consciousness remote from the physical body. Increasingly, these phenomena have been subjected to serious and systematic study. NDE researchers have found that people who are revived from states of arrested bodily function describe strikingly similar, life changing experiences of departing their physical bodies and discovering their awareness existing as an energy body—-a Glorified Body which many describe as possessed with extraordinary vitality, capable of seeing and hearing with dazzling acuity and sometimes able to travel anywhere in space or time at will. Frequently, near death experiencers are able to view panoramically and remember specific details of the scene in which their body died and was revived though ordinary, anatomical eyesight was not possible at the time.

The following example of NDE evidence is far from the most impressive, but is chosen because of the arch-conservatism of its source — National Geographic — an organization known for its attempts to debunk paranormal claims. What follows are some transcribed excerpts from the National Geographic documentary: Moment of Death

Al Sullivan, a man who has survived a multiple bypass operation relates,

“In the operating room here comes Dr. Takata whom I had never laid eyes on before. He introduced himself, ‘Hi Mr. Sullivan, good afternoon, I am doctor Takata.” and he told me what he was going to do: ‘We are going to take veins from the legs and take arteries also from chest wall and probably do four or five bypasses for you.’ And I’m listening, listening, and all of a sudden I don’t have to listen to him telling me I can see what he is doing, because I found I wasn’t there to listen anymore. I just left my body and watched. I can see, but I’m up looking down at them. It used to be me, but it wasn’t me, because the real me is up here watching. That’s when they started putting stuff over my eyes and all kinds of drapes and blankets all around me and I still, I could see Dr. Takata and his people, and this is another thing, I could see through the operating table and me and I could see what kind of boots he had on. At one point he stepped back, the surgeon stepped back, and it looked like he was flapping his arms and I thought: What in the world is he doing that for?” Al continues,

“He was orchestrating: Do this, do this and do that and it did seem very foreign to me what he was doing.”

Al demonstrates Dr. Takata strange movements, his hands to the sides of his chest, elbows bent, twisting around and pointing with his elbows as he gives commands.

Dr. Anthony F. Lasala , MD, cardiologist at Hartford Hospital explains:

“Dr. Takata, when he’s not operating, and trying not to contaminate his hands, will put his hands close to his chest and point with his elbow.”

Dr. Lasala: “Al Sullivan would not know of this peculiar behavior of Dr. Takata. I did not tell him that.”

Dr. Takata: ” I cannot explain how he saw these things under the complete sleep of anesthesia.”

Dr. Lasala: “Even if he was conscious, it would be impossible for Al to see Dr. Takata’s stance or arm movement because Al was behind a drape that blocks the vision of the patient and his eyes were taped shut.”

For a much more impressive and detailed case history see the Pam Reynolds case in: Life Lessons from the Living Dead

Although the Glorified Body may exist in all of us, some people are able to manifest it in different ways and degrees than others. A charismatic person, a person who seems radiant or has a powerful presence may be a person better able to manifest their Glorified Body. There are apparently rare cases of human beings who have shifted their energy body into the foreground of manifestation to such an extent that, for a period of time, they appear to be closer to light than flesh and blood.  Extensive reports have accumulated that certain yoga masters, saints, religious ascetics, etc. achieve incorporation of the Glorified Body in ways that conventional, materialist science would have a hard time explaining if verified (of course many will turn out to be bogus). It would be great to see some of these cases subjected to rigorous, scientific study.

In mythologies, the Glorified Body appears free of some or all of the many limitations of mortality. The Glorified Body may be completely free of cosmetic blemishes, limited vitality, aging, pain, disease, and death. A Glorified Body may be able to transcend conventional limitations of space and time. For example, it may not need technology or an intermediary force of any sort to appear in any location it chooses. It may have transcendent clarity of vision and thought. Often it will transcend ordinary language and communicate through radiance or from the inside of another psyche. A being with a Glorified Body may live in a state of enlightenment and love. Or it could be evil and possess an incredibly potent array of diabolical powers. Visually, a Glorified Body may appear radiant and beautiful—–awe inspiring, numinous—–the body of an angel. But it could also choose to appear cloaked as a mundane, physical body or as a hideous apparition or demon. The most evolved Glorified Bodies are infinitely plastic—-able to take on whatever form is desired. This is the quality of the shape shifter, the changeling——like the devil that “hath the power to assume a pleasing shape” or the liquid metal terminator in the popular movie Terminator 2.

In contemporary mythology, the Glorified Body appears in a spectrum of permutations ranging from an idealized human material body to a state of omnipotent, omniscient godhood. In our materialist culture we have Superman, “the Man of Steel”, who has a more industrialized version of the Glorified Body.  (“the man of steel” seems the perfect Iron Age personification of the Glorified Body—to put this in the perspective of the cycle of ages see The Mutant versus the Machine—the End of the Iron Age and the Galactic Alignment of 2012) Superman doesn’t have special radiance, telepathy or most other divine attributes, but leaps tall buildings in a single bound, outruns locomotives, and most helpful in our culture, is bullet proof. At the other end of our cultural spectrum, the Glorified Body turns up as the shape-shifting UFO phenomenon perceived by human observers in endlessly varying forms.

An interesting mythological place to observe an evolving spectrum of Glorified Bodies in contemporary culture is in the rich fantasy world of Ann Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. These novels also have much to say about the intensity of the modern will toward the Glorified Body. As Rice develops her vision, particular vampires grow more powerful and their bodies become more glorified. Fledgling vampires don’t age, are stronger than mortals, more energetic, have superior mental clarity and memory, are superb mimics and have a number of telepathic abilities. But they are also dependent on living blood and can be destroyed by fire, sunlight and older, more powerful vampires. Vampire bodies go through a kind of reverse aging—-they become stronger, more impervious, and they develop an array of powers that seems to be evolving toward omnipotence. Significantly, the most advanced vampires are no longer fully dependent on drinking blood and become less and less constrained by the organic world. In Rice’s mythology the first vampire was created when a spirit, driven by jealous discontent at not having a body, is able to enter a human being and merge as a kind of symbiont with body and psyche. In the fourth book of the Chronicles, The Body Thief , the Vampire Lestat is tempted to trade his glorified vampire body for a mortal one by the “Body Thief”—-a man of dark psychic gifts who has learned how to transfer his psyche into the body of a vulnerable human being. Lestat agrees to a three day exchange of his vampire body for the body of an exceptionally handsome, vital young man. As soon as the exchange is made Lestat is horrified by the clumsiness of the mortal body, its vulnerability, slowness, tendency toward fatigue, poor vision and lack of telepathic abilities. He feels the most extreme revulsion when he has to suffer through eating, indigestion, bowel movements and illness. It takes a desperate struggle for him to regain his Glorified Body from the duplicitous Body Thief and he is never again tempted by mortality. In the Chronicles you can feel the deep urge in Rice to have a Glorified Body herself, a body not limited by predetermined gender, unwanted body fat, limited beauty and power. Through her characters, Rice displays the gifts of a talented body thief in the imaginal realm as she projects her awareness into one Glorified Body after another. And of course there is her cult following—-those folks who write her all the time begging to be made vampires so they can escape their mortal bodies.

The human will toward the Glorified Body is not a subtle urge. It is an iron fist pounding on both sides of the doors of perception. It is an urging of such terrible power that it will prompt some to go under the surgeon’s knife, to starve themselves to death, to sell their souls in the hope of having a mortal body that will merely better resemble a Glorified Body for a brief time. The Glorified Body is not a casual, imaginative musing or an episodic blip on the radar screens of various cultures. It is a powerful, emergent archetype. It is one of our most ancient obsessions and one of the most explosively contemporary. It is related to the deepest sources of human suffering, an inextricable aspect of a thousand types of neurotic torment, a companion in some way to almost every form of personal hell. It is also a divine muse, one of the greatest sources of hope and inspiration we’ve ever known.

Messages about the will toward a Glorified Body are as ubiquitous in our culture as radio and television waves. Expression of this will can also be found deeply embedded in every religion and mythology, and yet it is rarely named, rarely seen as a highly defined, differentiated and absolutely integral aspect of human psychology. The will toward the Glorified Body is at the center of some of our most destructive and also some of our most creative impulses. This will is a primary urge which can inspire incredible athletic achievement, great art, and technology that blurs with magic.

The will toward the Glorified Body is what inspired Michelangelo to carve David. This same will has also inspired the technological magicians of the computer industry to provide us with “Avatars”, animated characters that will represent us in the once visually anonymous world of the Internet. Soon we will be able to boot up our virtual Glorified Bodies and revel in a digital garden of earthly delights. Our bodies will be infinitely plastic and with a mouse click we can be leaner than Kate Moss or have cybernetically enhanced muscle definition that will make Mr. Universe look like the Pilsbury Dough Boy. It’s interesting to note the term the computer industry has adopted for these new digital bodies—-Avatars. The first definition of Avatar in the abridged Oxford dictionary is: “(in Hindu mythology) the descent of a deity or released soul to earth in bodily form.”

But somewhere behind the ever more glowing computer monitor or virtual reality goggles will be a human being—– a digitally unenhanced mortal/organic version 1.0, who will very likely have bags under their eyes and a pot belly. The Wizard of Oz tells us not to look at the man behind the curtain. But we will look, and will be ever more horrified with the contrast between what we see behind the curtain and what’s up there on the screen. The primary urge will remain agonizingly unfulfilled.

However unfulfilling it may be in some ways, technology is one of the central expressions of the will toward a Glorified Body. Technology actually does allow us to extend our physical bodies through time and space. The urge to become a celebrity, for example, is an urge toward a Glorified Body that modern technology can, to some degree, create. In her films, Marilyn Monroe still lives as a youthful beauty. Since she died young there is no aging, mortal body to provide an embarrassing contrast to her Glorified Body projected on the silver screen. She remains a goddess. People in our culture perceive that someone like Marilyn Monroe has achieved a kind of technological Glorified Body and seek material, technological means to achieve immortality themselves.

Projecting the image of a Glorified Body is much more difficult, however, for human beings who don’t live on the silver screen and instead are subject to the embarrassment of having an organic mortal body visible to others in real time without airbrushing or digital enhancements. Most people don’t possess unusual physical beauty or, if they do presently, may have problems if they plan to live a normal life span. Many in our culture try to glorify their mortal bodies through dieting, cosmetic surgery and exercise regimens. But attempts to whip the mortal body into Glorified Body status can never result in a lasting feeling of success. There is always that person in the glossy magazine picture who looks better and seems to really have a Glorified Body. Projection of the Glorified Body onto the idealized other makes them light up like a god, a being impervious to the blemishes of mortality. Many people are secretly fascinated and delighted when a beautiful celebrity is revealed in a People Magazine photo to have gained weight, aged or otherwise fallen from the projected glory of Mount Olympus to the mortal gutter. When many people see a glowingly beautiful person they don’t realize they are seeing a changing mortal body in a temporary condition of beauty. The glossy, airbrushed photo is relatively unchanging, but the super model is aging and hurtling toward death with the rest of us. For many, beautiful people, particularly celebrity beauties, are members of a fundamentally different caste than mortal appearing humans. These are the “hot” people that light up in our minds with the sacred fire of deep sexual longing. Perceiving them we feel the stirrings of immortal, archetypal forces. It may seem as if there were a race of gods and a race of mortals inhabiting the same planet. Nietzche’s Zarathustra said, “If there are gods, how can I stand it to be no god!” In our culture we say, “If there are beautiful people, how can I stand it to be no beautiful person!”

One of the great causes of despair and suffering in modern society is our tendency to identify exclusively with the mortal body. The intense materialist bias of our culture has caused many of us to forget that we also have a Glorified Body —-an energy or spirit body which religious and secular traditions from all cultures and periods have recognized. Modern science has also begun to recognize that it is a fallacy to view a human being as an object. The mortal body is not a fixed object, but a process. Fifty trillion cellular animals, each of them changing nanosecond by nanosecond, work cooperatively to create a human body. The mortal body has been called “spiritualized tissue” and conventional materialist science has failed utterly to explain the connection between mind and brain. Quantum mechanics, meanwhile, has exploded the materialist bias of conventional science as an irrational prejudice definitively contradicted by experimental evidence. A number of open minded physicists have confronted the replicable, empirical data which has exposed the materialist fallacy contaminating not only science, but every level of our culture. The so called paradoxes of quantum mechanics—-objects being in two places at the same time, nonlocality—the instantaneous parallelism of objects separated by any distance, the decisive need of consciousness to collapse the wave function and determine outside reality, etc—-immediately cease to be paradoxes when we give up the obsolescent notion that the universe is composed of “matter” and that mind, body, and cosmos are separated.

But does the materialist bias of science really affect, for example, a teenager with a body image problem? As a teacher in an Alternative School for troubled adolescents, I worked with a fifteen year old boy we’ll call Adam who was depressed, even suicidal. Adam was unhappy with his body and saw human existence as painful and futile. In talking about the source of his despair he mentioned a television program he had seen a couple of years earlier. The program was a documentary of some sort that showed brain surgery being performed on someone suffering from epilepsy. During this operation, neurosurgeons would stimulate part of the patient’s exposed brain, see what response they got, and label that portion. Adam was horrified by the television documentary. It seemed that being human was reducible to a brain that was nothing more than a circuit board. He felt that this show proved that he was nothing more than a “meat puppet”, a term he borrowed from the name of a popular rock band. Adam’s feelings about his own body, and human existence, were influenced by the briefest glimpse of the pseudoscientific position referred to as “neurological materialism”—-the belief that human consciousness is nonexistent or is reducible to an epiphenomenal by product of chemical process in the brain.

But we are not “meat puppets,” we are much more than our mortal bodies and we already possess a Glorified Body. For several hundred years the priests of science have influenced the rest of society toward the materialist fallacy. We became much more focused on objects and our attention was diverted from the realm of the spirit. Our present magic is technology which we can buy at the store. The gods and goddesses we once saw in the heavens have become technology wielding extraterrestrials who, like evil scientists, do medical tests on us inside of metal saucers. And, most significantly, we became focused on the body, our body and the body of the other, as an object. We identified with the denser, mortal aspect of our being—–our physical body. That identification became more and more exclusive, and our Glorified Body—-the energy body that exists in parallel to the physical body——-was forgotten.

(note added 2013: I’d be more cautious writing about the implications of quantum mechanics today. Quantum mechanics speaks the language of mathematics, not English, and there are multiple views of how to interpret the wavicle experiment)

Our Glorified Body became the “ghost in the machine” an elusive, suspect dimension that couldn’t be measured in grams, centimeters or amperes. Materialist science found that it was completely unable to explain mind, which is more a function of the Glorified Body than the physical body. Therefore, it literally and pervasively dismissed human consciousness as either nonexistent or, at best, as a byproduct of an automated neurological process. Once the patriarchy declared man made in the image of God, but more recently the patriarchal dogma went all the way to the other extreme and declared man made in the image of the machine. Consciousness and free will were disparaged as illusions, accidental subprograms of our “real” center—-the brain misinterpreted as a tangled, wet, digital computer. But to the great credit of science, there are now many scientists who have left the rather clueless paradigm of materialism behind. These scientists have begun to integrate the findings of quantum mechanics, and have stopped denying the existence of phenomena that materialist science finds impossible to explain.

(note added 2013: I’d be more cautious writing about the implications of quantum mechanics today. Quantum mechanics speaks the language of mathematics, not English, and there are multiple views of how to interpret the wavicle experiment)

One of the findings of quantum mechanics is that point of view changes the physical reality of what is out there. A simple, replicable experiment illustrates this principle. A photon emitter is set up to project one photon at a time at a metal plate. If the plate has one slit in it, the photon is a particle, and goes straight through the slit like a bullet. If the plate has two slits in it, however, the photon is a wave and a wave interference pattern results. The photon somehow “knows” what it is supposed to be before it even leaves the emitter. This result was startling and agitating to the naive mind of the materialist. But almost anyone who pays open minded attention to ordinary life sees all sorts of examples of inner psychic states having acausal parallelisms to outside reality. These are the strange, meaningful coincidences that Jung termed “synchronicities.”.

The photon has been called a “wavicle” because it is either a particle or wave depending on what you expect it to be. Some physicists have suggested that human beings are like the wavicle—–if you view a human being as an object, a particle, then you experience the mortal, physical body as all there is and will tend toward the “meat puppet” view of neurological materialism. If you view a human being as a soul, then you experience the wave-like spirit body and will tend toward a mystical, religious point of view. To see the full human being you must flip back and forth between these points of view until you are able to experience that human beings are both particle-like physical bodies and wave-like energy bodies.

The dualistic point of view formalized by Descartes at the dawn of science caused mind and body to be sundered into entirely separate realms. But that naive separation is failing both in science and society. Increasingly, a regained awareness is dawning in the West that body and mind are two sides of the same coin, that spirit and body have an inherent integration captured by the famous principle of alchemy, “As above, so bellow.” The Glorified Body is an energy body that is still physical, but more difficult for our present instrumentation to measure. Classical Newtonian physics and the materialist paradigm fail to explain consciousness and other aspects of the Glorified Body. But contemporary physicists like Danah Zohar, Amit Goswami, Fred Alan Wolf and others are beginning to hypothesize quantum mechanical models of the human organism that account for both body and spirit. One problem is that a generation gap of sorts has opened up between those people doing science who are aware, and have struggled to integrate, new paradigms of reality that jive with the findings of quantum mechanics and those who profess to do science but refuse to give up the obsolescent paradigm of materialism that fails to account for quantum mechanics, consciousness, parapsychological phenomena, etc. This generation gap is even wider in society were many ordinary persons, like my fifteen year old former student Adam, believe that science has proven that we are “meat puppets” and that there is no spirit or energy body, and others who know the “facts of life” recognized by almost every other culture in history that we have both physical and energetic bodies.

A large part of our suffering is caused by our tendency to mistake “reflection” for “radiance.” Our materialist bias causes us to equate ourselves and others with reflections. Mirrors, photographs, film, and video obviously present us with mere reflections of other human beings. But directly gazing at a real time human body passing us on the sidewalk can also be a case of seeing a mere reflection. What we actually see is the reflection of ambient light off the surface topography of skin, hair, and clothing. This reflection enters the simple convex lens of the cornea and emerges turned upside down on the back of the retina. The retina also  has a large blind spot where the optic nerve connects.  This imperfectly transmitted light must be turned right side up, the blind spot must be filled in,  and numerous other ways the registered image must be  interpreted by neurological processing. This doesn’t happen instantaneously, so there exists a time buffer between environmental phenomena and our perception. What we actually see is a neurological reconstruction of a past event.

Fortunately, we don’t perceive with just the conventional five bodily senses. Other persons have “radiance”—the direct transmission of self that allows us to feel their presence at a distance which precludes ordinary sense perception. What we actually perceive may be more like an overlay of reflection—-a neurological construct—and radiance—-direct perception of the self of the other. A person with the looks to create a beautiful topographical reflection might have a radiance that is sickening to behold. You see reflections, you behold radiance. We would ease a great deal of suffering if we could shift the ratio between seeing and beholding when we perceive ourselves and others. If we learn to behold others as radiance, to look beyond the blemishes of their reflections, to perceive the Glorified Body already present, then we will have gone a long way toward healing transformation. To accomplish that transformation we need to name and recognize the perception of radiance we already have. We also need to shift the ratio of reflection and radiance in our perception to favor radiance.

The Sixties rebellion from the dense, naive materialism of the Fifties was in many ways a reassertion of the Glorified Body. Consciousness altering psychedelic experiences were sought as out-of-body experiences on demand. The fascination with Eastern religion, transcendental meditation, parapsychology and the occult was largely a rebellion from the patriarchal dogma of the material body as all there was. For all the narcissistic goofiness, crass commercialism and gullibility often associated with the New Age, this movement grew out of the Sixties and furthered and articulated collective dissatisfaction with the reigning creed of materialism. Body image and eating disorders are largely pernicious symptoms of this reigning materialism and its tendency to create an exclusive identification with the physical body that is both painful and highly disorienting. We need  to heal that disorientation and expand our identification with the physical body to include recognition of our inherent Glorified Body.

The will toward a Glorified Body is a primary urge, the urge of our entire species and not just single individuals living in a particular culture. Organisms of all sorts seem to have the primary urge to reproduce, to genetically propagate. Among gendered organisms there is an insistent urge to couple with other individuals of the same species. That urging may be intense enough to be described as “going into heat.” Heat is a state of excitement and increased dynamism whether it is the material heat of fire or the metabolic heat of a living organism. The organism in heat may appear agitated, even tormented, while in the grip of this urge. In the adolescent stage of development—–the stage of recently acquired reproductive potential—-there may be the particularly urgent will to achieve that first coupling. The unfulfilled urge is antecedent to the coupling event—-an event that in chaos math would be a called an “attractor.” (Very roughly, an “attractor” is an event in the future that is so powerful that it warps causality and phenomenon in the present.) Very likely the organism will get to fulfill this urge. But it’s not a sure thing. Some organisms may die before they fulfill the urge—but certainly some individuals of that species must get to fulfill that urge or the species will become extinct. As far as I can tell, urges in nature are always fulfilled by a species, though not necessarily by every individual of that species. Only in human beings could we even imagine the existence of an urge that seems to never be fulfilled. My contention is that the human species has “gone into heat”—-a state of heightened expectation, agitation and chaos. We are nearing the attractor, nearing the place where we can couple with the Glorified Body and fulfill a primary urge.

The intensifying will toward the Glorified Body is happening at a time of evolutionary crisis when the metabolism of the whole species is heating up. Technological changes and scientific discoveries are fundamentally altering our experiences of self and outer reality. The biosphere that allows the existence of our physical bodies has undergone a global toxification threatening the continuance of our species. To understand the body image plague we must view it in the context in which it occurs—–a crisis phase of human evolution. Many attributes of the human psyche, from sexuality and body image to spirituality and our sense of relation to the universe, are rapidly mutating. We cannot comprehend symptoms without understanding the general condition of a species that is hurtling toward an evolutionary nexus charged with images of extinction and rebirth. Our intensifying will toward the Glorified Body is more than an urge to reconnect with the inherent, human energy body recognized by all human cultures. It is also a species-wide urge to make a quantum, evolutionary jump toward the Glorified Body as our embodied manifestation. We are experiencing an urge to massively redefine body, self and our relationship to physical reality.

 

Epilogue

The origins of this essay are interesting and have something to add to the content:

On May 31 of 1996 (the exact date is easy to establish because it happened to be the day that Timothy Leary died) I woke up feeling somewhat downcast about certain neurotic aspects of my personality that I felt I had never made progress with. Feeling no particular inspiration, I decided to sit down with a notebook and a pen in front of me and take another try at understanding anyway. Suddenly, what felt energetically like a transmission occurred, and in a short period of time—this seems to be a pattern for me; the time interval always seems to be less than 40 minutes—an intense series of life-changing insights cascaded through my mind. Was this a last message from Timothy as he left his body? The insights I had, about the nature of body and consciousness, and a largely unrecognized will in the human species, did not merely change my thinking and philosophy, they profoundly shifted some of the most over-determined, stubbornly neurotic aspects of my personality, and I’ve been a different person ever since that morning. Just when I finished furiously scribbling down this compressed burst of insight, my pager went off. This could be the most mundane of events, but intuitively I was absolutely convinced that the pager was registering a parallel transmission, and that whoever was calling had something of immediate bearing to the burst of insight. I left my RV to look for a phone. There was a voice message from my friend Jordie saying he needed to talk to me, but the number left on the pager turned out to be that of a hospital in Louisiana. Another page came through from him, again with the number of the hospital in Louisiana, and I worried that there might be a medical emergency involving him or his partner, Sarah. I’ll cut through the details here, suffice to say there were a series of telecommunication anomalies of different sorts, five inexplicable malfunctions of different systems making it impossible for us to communicate. It took more than twenty-four hours with both of us trying before we could have a live phone contact. Jordie had paged me immediately upon awakening from a dream of shocking intensity and import, in which I appeared as a dream character. The content of the dream had jaw-dropping parallelism to the burst of insights, which felt like a transmission, I had received at the exact same time that Jordie was having his dream.

In the dream I am  standing with Jordie and some of our other friends in the desert near Big Mountain, Arizona.  In the waking life we had all been there doing volunteer work on a Navajo reservation, staying with the family of a medicine man.  Our time there, in the Spring of 1996, corresponded with the appearance of  Comet Hyakutake, the brightest comet in a couple of hundred years.  The reservation, which was a high desert with few electric lights, had ideal viewing conditions, so many evenings we stood out there looking at the comet and that is the setting for the dream.  We see some shooting stars.  One of the shooting stars veers off its expected downward trajectory and comes shooting toward us. It appears before us as a glowing “impossibly geometric” (Jordie’s phrase, he compared it to an M.C. Escher design) object. It seemed magical,  merkaba-like, interdimensional and alchemical.  I turn to Jordie and say, “We finally made it.”

The dream seems to be about our coupling with the Glorified Body. It is a cosmic vessel, like the shape-shifting luminous craft of the UFO phenomenon. The key statement, “We finally made it.” seems to have at least three levels of meaning.  The first is the sense of victory, rescue, of accomplishment after long travail.  The second is made it in the sense of manifestation, manufacture or creation—“We finally manifested it.”  And the third, from the American vernacular, is that we finally coupled with it.  This third layer is interesting because of its sexual resonance, and implication of achieving sexual union that was a long time coming. For example, if a high school boy were speaking of  his girlfriend and made the statement, “We finally made it.” it would be understood to mean that after a long period of frustrated desire and working toward greater intimacy they finally had sexual intercourse.  This layer resonates with the realization I had that morning that our will toward the Glorified Body was destined to be fulfilled, and that it was a core intentionality like sexual desire.

White Crows Rising—Evolution, Jung, UFOs, Near Death Experiences, Virtual Reality,and the Approaching Singularity at the End of Human History puts the Glorified Body into a larger evolutionary context as does Casting Precious Into the Cracks of Doom—–Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring.

Avatar and the Singularity Archetype relates the ideas of the Glorified Body to the Singularity Archetype.

There is a brief discussion of the Glorified Body and a very thorough discussion of the evolutionary context in the two DVDs I did with John Jenkins and Lost Arts Media: Dialogs about Prophecy and the End of Time and Looking toward the Event Horizon (See Media on this site for free streaming)

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https://zaporacle.com/the-glorified-body-metamorphosis-of-the-body-and-the-crisis-phase-of-human-evolution-article/feed/ 4 The Glorified Body-Metamorphosis of The Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution | ZapOracle.com The metabolism of our species is reaching a feverish intensity as we approach an evolutionary event horizon. One symptom of this feverish metamorphosis is our mutating relationship to body. Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be coun Featured,glorified bodies,singularity archetype,white crows rising 340
Life Lessons from the Living Dead https://zaporacle.com/life-lessons-from-the-living-dead/ https://zaporacle.com/life-lessons-from-the-living-dead/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:12:02 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=2628 Hieronymous Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed Text copyright Jonathan Zap, 2010 Editor: Austin Iredale “Our ideas about death define how we live our lives.” —Dag Hammarskjold “And Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequately tell.” —-Herman Melville, Moby Dick (LL 247) …

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Hieronymous Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed

Text copyright Jonathan Zap, 2010

Editor: Austin Iredale

“Our ideas about death define how we live our lives.”
—Dag Hammarskjold

“And Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequately tell.” —-Herman Melville, Moby Dick (LL 247)

If you want to learn about what’s at the core of life, the essential and ultimate universal values beneath all the distractions, deceptions and delusions, then ask the living dead. No, I don’t mean zombies. From my experience zombies have little to offer when it comes to finding the deeper meaning of life. I am referring instead to the testimony of near-death experiencers, people who have been physically dead for short periods of time, glimpsed human incarnation from the outside, and come back to their bodies.

Extensive research has shown that near-death experiences have classic, universal elements and that near-death experiencers are usually profoundly and positively transformed as a result. Research also shows that parallel positive effects can occur in people just by reading about NDEs. As Dr. Kenneth Ring (professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut) put it:

“In general, then the overall pattern of our data here gives us a strong suggestion that merely acquiring knowledge about NDEs can act like a ‘benign virus’; that is, by exposing yourself to NDE-related information, you can ‘catch it,’ because the NDE appears to be contagious” (LL 203).

At the end of this document I will provide my sources and a brief list of the books and one documentary I recommend for “catching it.” This document centers around the first-person testimony of experiencers and leaves out many key findings that can be found in the sources I list at the end. There will also be a much more thorough discussion of NDEs in my upcoming book on the Singularity Archetype.

Although much of the testimony of experiencers that follows will be spiritual in nature, I want to assure you that I have no religious agenda. The NDE material resonates with me because of parallel OBEs (out-of-body experiences) I’ve had and not because of any religious orientation. In fact, one consistent research finding is that experiencers become more spiritual, but significantly less identified with formal, institutional religion after their NDEs. Eight years after their NDEs, the church attendance of experiencers decreased 42%, but a control group of people, who had cardiac arrest but no NDE, increased their church attendance by 25%. (CBL 68)

A woman in her forties who was raised in the South describes the change in her religious orientation:

“I was brought up in the Bible Belt and when I was a child I was very religious. . . . I mean I was taught certain things and I believed them as a child and adhered to them . . . just out of rote. But after this [her NDE], it made me less religious formally but probably more religious inwardly. . . . I don’t think I was in a church one time since [my NDE], but I think I’m spiritually stronger than I ever was before” (HTO 154).

Another woman, a Baptist living in Texas, found that after her NDE “she could no longer relate to what she describes as ‘traditional Christian dogma’” (LL 45).

 

A Simulated NDE

Before we delve into the ways people are transformed by NDEs, I would like to put this in context by offering a brief simulation of a classic NDE. NDEs usually involve a well-defined series of classic stages, though as Raymond Moody points out in Life after Life, no two experiences are identical. What follows will be a hypothetical composite version of an NDE containing all the classic elements and closely based on actual accounts. I am going to present it in the second person singular to better allow the reader to visualize the experience:

After suffering a life-threatening injury or other sort of medical emergency, you find that suddenly all physical pain is gone and you are feeling a deep sense of peace and well-being. There is a whistling, almost wind-like sound. You feel delightfully weightless and below you there is an injured body that looks just like you. The realization dawns on you that you are seeing your former body lying below you and that you must now be dead. The realization is not upsetting at all because you also realize that you are very much alive and aware. Around your former body there are frantic medical personnel and you wonder what all the fuss and anxiety is about since you are perfectly fine. You can hear every word being spoken and can also sense people’s thoughts and feelings. Your vision is panoramic and spherical and you can see everything with dazzling clarity. You can count the dust particles on the top of the surgical lights and see every tiny crack in the floor. You lose interest in this scene and find yourself rising above it, above the roof of the hospital where you notice an old sneaker lying on a window ledge.

You are delighted to find that you can fly and just by thinking of a place you can journey there. Above the earth you find you are drawn toward a dark space and as you approach it seems to form into a kind of spiraling tunnel, and then you find yourself being drawn rapidly through the tunnel at a speed that feels like it must be faster than the speed of light. Ahead of you is the most brilliant light, brighter than the sun and yet it doesn’t hurt your eyes, it seems to be bathing you in warmth, love and complete acceptance. You hear glorious music and it feels like a homecoming, like you are coming back to where you were always from.

An androgynous being steps out of the light and you feel a deep sense of familiarity with this being, that you have always known each other and you feel completely seen, recognized, understood and loved.

The being communicates with you telepathically and asks if you would like to review your life. You assent and begin to observe your entire life play out chronologically. You see every detail, and so much more than you were able to see at the time the events played out. You are aware of the thoughts and feelings of everyone present and sometimes it is quite difficult when you observe how every little action you have taken has had significant effects on others. The being of light comforts you during the review, assures you that no one is judging your deeds but that it is of great value to witness them and learn from them. As you experience your life unfolding you see how so much of what you thought was important at the time was a sham and a sideshow. You find that many small moments of compassion, a kind gesture to a stranger, for example, were of far greater significance. You become aware of a depth of meaning in even the smallest moments and become aware of the reasons for everything. There was a great purpose in your life you had never recognized before.

After the review, you find yourself with your guide in a beautiful field of wild flowers. Some of the flowers have colors you have never seen before and seem as if they are lit from within. There is a stream running through the field and you are told that you have a choice, if you go across the stream you will be able to stay in this beautiful world that feels like home, but will also miss out on many years you could have had in your former life. You don’t want to leave this place of peace and love but you also feel a deep responsibility to those you left behind. You indicate your choice to return and find yourself hurtling back through the tunnel and into your wounded body and its painful sensations. Despite the confinement of the body you feel a deepened sense of purpose in life, a deeper appreciation of the meaningfulness of life and a will to fulfill your mission.

The Pamela Reynolds Case:

Since the above is a simulated case, let’s take a detailed look at an actual case that is particularly well-evidenced. Pamela Reynolds, aged thirty-five, a working mother of three, received a grim diagnosis following a CAT scan in 1991. She had a giant aneurysm in a cerebral artery close to her brain stem. It was only a matter of time before the aneurysm burst with an immediately fatal outcome. There was no conventional way to operate on an aneurysm so deep in the brain. Pamela’s one slight chance for survival was a high-risk surgery that could only be performed at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, two thousand miles from her hometown of Atlanta.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Spetzler had pioneered a high-risk and daring surgical procedure known as “hypothermic cardiac arrest,” or less formally as “standstill.” Pamela’s body temperature would be lowered to 60 degrees, her heart beat and breathing would be arrested, and all blood would be drained from her head. She would be flatlined, in a state that would be consistent with all clinical definitions of death. As doctor Spetzler explained to the BBC, “What we want to do is we want to bring that brain to a halt. We don’t just want the brain to be asleep. We want the metabolism of the brain to stop. Every measurable output that the body puts out really disappears completely so that you have no neuronal activity whatsoever.”

As cardiologist Michael Sabom, M.D. put it: “During ‘standstill,’ Pam’s brain was found ‘dead’ by all three clinical tests—her electroencephalogram was silent, her brain-stem response was absent, and no blood flowed through her brain.”

What is also exceptional about this case is that Pamela, who was being worked on by a number of medical teams, was heavily instrumented and under continual state-of-the-art monitoring including EEGs of both her cerebral cortex and brain stem. No brain activity was measured even though her brain stem was being tested via “evoked potentials” in the form of 100-decibel clicks emitted continuously by small molded speakers inserted in her ears.

Despite the lack of brain activity, Pamela had a detailed NDE. Here are some excerpts from her testimony to the BBC and another account recorded by Dr. Sabom:

“I remember seeing several things in the operating room when I was looking down. It was the most aware that I think that I have ever been in my entire life. . . . I was metaphorically sitting on Dr. Spetzler’s shoulder. It was not like normal vision. . . . There was so much in the operating room that I didn’t recognize, and so many people.

“I thought the way they had my head shaved was very peculiar. I expected them to take all of the hair, but they did not. [. . .] I heard the term “saw,” but what I saw looked more like a drill than a saw.

“The saw thing that I hated the sound of looked like an electric toothbrush and it had a dent in it, a groove at the top where the saw appeared to go into the handle, but it didn’t. . . . And the saw had interchangeable blades, too, but these blades were in what looked like a socket wrench case. . . . I heard the saw crank up. . . . It was humming at a relatively high pitch and then all of a sudden it went Brrrrrrrrr! like that.”

Pamela provides a highly accurate layman’s description of the pneumatically-powered Midas Rex whirlwind bone saw, which was spinning at 73,000 rpm and did indeed look more like an electric toothbrush or dentist’s drill than a conventional saw. The box of drill bits looked exactly like a socket wrench case. Yet her eyes had been lubricated and were taped shut and she had been under general anesthesia for 90 minutes before the procedure.

Pamela continues:

“Someone said something about my veins and arteries being very small. . . . I distinctly remember a female voice saying: ‘We have a problem. Her arteries are too small.’ And then a male voice: ‘Try the other side.’ It seemed to come from further down on the table. I do remember wondering what are they doing there [laughs] because this is brain surgery!”

While the bone saw was opening Pamela’s head, a female cardiac surgeon had located the femoral artery and vein in the right side of Pamela’s groin. These blood vessels turned out to be too small because a large flow of blood would be needed to feed the cardiopulmonary bypass machine. Pamela’s left femoral artery and vein were prepped to be used instead.

As the surgery progressed, Pamela was brought to cardiac arrest, her core body temperature was 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The 100-decibel clicks from the ear speakers elicited no response and both EEGs were completely flat. At that point came one of the most radical medical procedures ever performed. The cardiopulmonary bypass machine was shut off, the head of the operating table was tilted up, and the blood was drained from Pamela’s brain and body like the oil from a car.

At some point during this time, Pamela’s NDE intensified. As Pamela narrates,

“I felt a presence. I sort of turned around to look at it. And that’s when I saw the very tiny pinpoint of light. And the light started to pull me, but not against my will. I was going of my own accord because I wanted to go. And there was a physical sensation to the point . . . rather like going over a hill real fast. It was like the Wizard of Oz—being taken up in a tornado vortex, only you’re not spinning around. The feeling was like going up in an elevator real fast. It was like a tunnel, but it wasn’t a tunnel. And I went toward the light. The closer I got to the light, I began to discern different figures, different people, and I distinctly heard my grandmother calling me. She has a very distinct voice. But I didn’t hear her call me with my ears. . . . It was a clearer hearing than with my ears. . . . I trust that sense more than I trust my ears. . . . The feeling was that she wanted me to come to her, so I continued with no fear down the shaft. It’s a dark shaft that I went through, and at the very end there was this very little tiny pinpoint of light that kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

“The light was incredibly bright, like sitting in the middle of a lightbulb. I noticed that as I began to discern different figures in the light—and they were all covered with light, they were light, and had light permeating all around them—and they began to form shapes I could recognize and understand. And I saw many, many people I knew and many, many I didn’t know, but I knew that I was somehow connected to them. And it felt . . . great! Everyone I saw, looking back on it, fit perfectly into my understanding of what that person looked like at their best during their lives.

“I recognized a lot of people. And one of them was my grandmother. And I saw my uncle Gene, who passed away when he was only thirty-nine years old. He taught me a lot; he taught me to play my first guitar. So was my great-great aunt Maggie. On Papa’s side of the family, my grandfather was there. . . . They were specifically taking care of me, looking after me.

“They would not permit me to go further. . . . It was communicated to me—that’s the best way I know how to say it, because they didn’t speak like I’m speaking—that if I went all the way into the light something would happen to me physically. They would be unable to put this me back into the body me, like I had gone too far and they couldn’t reconnect. So they wouldn’t let me go anywhere or do anything.

“I wanted to go into the light, but I also wanted to come back. I had children to be reared. . . .

“Then they [the deceased relatives] were feeding me. They were not doing this through my mouth, like with food, but they were nourishing me with something—the only way I know how to put it is something sparkly. Sparkles is the image that I get. I definitely recall the sensation of being nurtured and being fed and being made strong.

“I asked if God was the light, and the answer was: ‘No, God is not the light, the light is what happens when God breathes.’ And I distinctly remember thinking: I’m standing in the breath of God. . . .

“At some point in time I was reminded that it was time to go back. Of course I had made my decision to go back before I ever laid down on that table. But, you know, the more I was there, the better I like it [laughs]. My grandmother didn’t take me back through the tunnel or even send me back or ask me to go. She just looked up at me. I expected to go with her, but it was communicated to me that she just didn’t think she would do that. My uncle said that he would do it. He’s the one who took me back through the end of the tunnel. Everything was fine. I did want to go.

“But then when I got to the end of it and saw the thing, my body, I didn’t want to get into it. . . . It looked terrible, like a train wreck. . . . It looked pretty much like what it was: void of life. I believe it was covered. It scared me and I didn’t want to look at it. And I knew it would hurt, so I didn’t want to get in. But he kept reasoning with me. He says: ‘Like diving into a swimming pool, just jump in.’ No. ‘What about the children?’ You know what, the children will be fine [laughs]. And he goes: ‘Honey, you got to go.’ . . . I didn’t want to, but I guess I was late or something because he pushed me . . . he gave me a little help there. It’s taken a long time, but I think I’m ready to forgive him for that [laughs]. . . . I felt a definite repelling and at the same time a pulling from the body. The body was pulling and the tunnel was pushing . . . I felt it chill me inside. I returned to my body. It was like diving into a pool of ice water. . . . It hurt!”

The coldness that Pamela experienced was probably her perception of her chilled body, which was in a state of deep hypothermia. Pamela continues:

“When I came back, and I was still under general anesthesia in the operating theater, they were playing ‘Hotel California,’ and the line was ‘You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.’ I mentioned [later] to Dr. Brown that that was incredibly insensitive, and he told me that I needed to sleep more [laughter]. When I regained consciousness, I was still on the respirator.”

Pamela concludes: “I think death is an illusion. I think death is a really nasty bad lie.”

Neurosurgeon Spetzler observes about Pam’s NDE:

“I don’t think that the observations that she made were based on what she experienced as she went into the operating theater. They were just not available to her. For example, the drill and so on, those things are all covered up. They aren’t visible, they were inside their packages. You really don’t begin to open up until the patient is completely asleep so that you maintain a sterile environment. . . . At that stage in the operation nobody can observe, hear in that state. And . . . I find it inconceivable that the normal senses, such as hearing, let alone the fact that she had clicking devices in each ear, that there was any way for her to hear those through normal auditory pathways.”

Pamela concludes: I think death is an illusion. I think death is a really nasty bad lie.

The idea that death is an illusion is one of a number of lessons that people consistently derive from their NDEs. Dr. Ring enumerates them as follows:

  1. There is nothing whatever to fear about death.
  2. Dying is peaceful and beautiful.
  3. Life does not begin with birth nor end with death.
  4. Life is precious—live it to the fullest.
  5. The body and its senses are tremendous gifts—appreciate them.
  6. What matters most in life is love.
  7. Living a life oriented toward materialistic acquisition is missing the point.
  8. Cooperation rather than competition makes for a better world.
  9. Being a success in life is not all it is cracked up to be.
  10. Seeking knowledge is important—you take that with you. (LL, 19)

It is common to find that all ten of these points will come up in the testimony of an experiencer regardless of what culture or religious orientation (if any) they come from. For example, a young man named Neev summarizes what he learned from his NDE:

“My outlook on life was no longer bleak and dismal. I felt like I now had a purpose, which was to help people and share my positive perspective. My dependence on time seemed to stop. I no longer felt pressured by the clock—there was always time to do something else or more. I tried to fit in as much as possible into every day. I experienced everything for what it was—not for what it could do or give to me. I was no longer interested in what “society” had to say about how I lived my life. I was no longer interested in what people thought or how they felt about me, or if I looked good or not. I learned that I am much more than my body” (LL 24).

The above is just an excerpt from Neev’s extensive account of his experience. Summarizing the major points of Neev’s outlook, Dr. Ring provides a list with many parallels to the universal list quoted above:

1. There is a reason for everything that happens.

2. Find your own purpose in life.

3. Do not be a slave to time.

4. Appreciate things for what they are—not for what they can give you.

5. Do not allow yourself to be dominated by the thoughts and expectations of others.

6. Do not be concerned with what others think of you, either.

7. Remember, you are not your body.

8. Fear not—even pain and certainly not death.

9. Be open to life, and live it to its fullest.

10. Money and material things are not particularly important in the scheme of things.

11. Helping others is what counts in life.

12. Do not trouble yourself with competition—just enjoy the show. (LL 26)

“My outlook on life was no longer bleak and dismal. I felt like I now had a purpose, which was to help people and share my positive perspective. My dependence on time seemed to stop. I no longer felt pressured by the clock—there was always time to do something else or more. I tried to fit in as much as possible into every day. I experienced everything for what it was—not for what it could do or give to me. I was no longer interested in what “society” had to say about how I lived my life. I was no longer interested in what people thought or how they felt about me, or if I looked good or not. I learned that I am much more than my body.” (LL, 24)

The above was just an excerpt from Neev’s extensive account of his experience. Summarizing the major points of Neev’s outlook, Dr. Ring provides a list with many parallels to the universal list quoted above:

1.There is a reason for everything that happens.

2. Find your own purpose in life.

3. Do not be a slave to time.

4. Appreciate things for what they are—not for what they can give you.

5. Do not allow yourself to be dominated by the thoughts and expectations of others.

6. Do not be concerned with what others think of you, either.

7. Remember, you are not your body.

8. Fear not—even pain and certainly not death.

9. Be open to life, and live it to its fullest.

10. Money and material things are not particularly important in the scheme of things.

11. Helping others is what counts in life.

12. Do not trouble yourself with competition—just enjoy the show. (LL, 26)

In the first-hand testimonies that follow, I will try, wherever possible, to introduce each quote with the experiencer’s first name (some testimonies are anonymous). I want to distinguish one person from another because the parallels in what they have to say are such that it could easily seem as if one or two people were speaking throughout. For example, a number of people described having their values reversed by the experience—what was up was down, what was down was up:

“…there were things in my life that I’d come to accept as bad but that were now suddenly deemed good. The same applied to things that I’d always considered to be good and that were now branded wrong” (CBL, 37).

Harold: “…what I had counted in life as unimportant was my salvation and what I thought was important was nil” (HTO, 67).

“Before my [cardiac] arrest, I had my priorities mixed up. The list flipped completely over; everything that was on the top belonged on the bottom” (OP, 177).

Perhaps the strongest consistency is that the NDE causes the fear of death to vanish. I can corroborate this from my many OBEs. Once you have experienced that your consciousness can exist apart from your body and be incredibly enhanced by the separation, the fear of death has nothing to sustain it.

Tom: “As a result of that [experience], I have very little apprehension about dying my natural death…because if death is anything, anything at all like what I experienced, it’s gotta be the most wonderful thing to look forward to, absolutely the most wonderful thing” (HTO, 59).

Andrea: “I now have no fear of death. Let me reassure you from personal experience, no matter how bad the pain gets, it does end, and you will find yourself out of the body, in another dimension, still very much alive, and in no pain” (LL, 249).

An unnamed man: “As a result of going through this experience…I knew that as ordinarily perceived, what is called death is only experienced by the survivors…There is no such thing as death per se. Death in our three-dimensional space/time view of things is simply a biological event that has nothing to do with consciousness, which is continuous both before what we call birth and after death” (LL, 250).

The rest of the testimonies are presented in no particular order and without editorial comment:

“I understood that there’s so much more than we can fathom in our three-dimensional world. I realized that this was a great gift and that I was always surrounded by loving spiritual beings of light” (CBL, 34).

“It felt like a homecoming after an arduous journey” (CBL, 39).

“I feel a strong urge to never lie again. I’d rather keep silent than tell a little white lie” (CBL, 47).

Hank: “…I realized that there are things that every person is sent to earth to realize and to learn. For instance, to share more love, to be more loving toward one another. To discover that the most important thing is human relationships and love and not materialistic things. And to realize that every single thing that you do in your life is recorded and that even though you pass it by not thinking at the time, it always comes up later. For instance, you may be…at a stoplight and you’re in a hurry and the lady in front of you, when the light turns green, doesn’t take right off, [she] doesn’t notice the light, and you get upset and start honking your horn and telling them to hurry up. Those are the little kind of things that are recorded that you don’t realize at the time are really important. One of the things that I discovered that is very important is patience toward other human beings and realizing that you yourself may be in that situation sometime” (HTO, 69).

Belle: “You are shown your life—and you do the judging. Had you done what you should do? You think, ‘Oh, I gave six dollars to someone that didn’t have much and that was great of me.’ That didn’t mean a thing. It’s the little things—maybe a hurt child that you helped or just to stop and say hello to a shut-in. You are judging yourself. You have been forgiven all your sins, but are you able to forgive yourself for not doing the things you should have done and some little cheaty things maybe you’ve done in your life? Can you forgive yourself? This is the judgment” (HTO, 70).

Darryl: “What occurred was every emotion I have ever felt in my life, I felt. And my eyes were showing me the basis of how that emotion affected my life. What my life had done so far to affect other people’s lives using the feeling of pure love that was surrounding me as the point of comparison And I had done a terrible job. God! I mean it. You know, I’d done a horrible job, using love as the point of comparison…Lookin’ at yourself from the point of how much love you have spread to other people is devastatin.’ You will never get over it. I am six years away from that day [of his NDE] and I am not over it” (HTO, 71).

Carol: “I realized that consciousness is life. We will live in and through much, but this consciousness we know that is behind our personality will continue. I knew now that the purpose of life does not depend on me; it has its own purpose. I realize that the flow of it will continue even as I will continue” (HTO, 75).

Patrick: “[After I came back] I was very, very happy, filled with some tremendous energy. The wonder of everything about me. I loved everyone and everything…People were beautiful. This time we have—make the best of it. Don’t waste it!”

“…all you have to do to have a life of great interest…[is] simply to stay in the present moment…If you can stay there, you will live in eternity, I believe. (HTO, 124).

Celia: “I can see the pain in other people’s eyes. That’s why they hurt other people because they really don’t understand…The most important thing that we have are our relationships with other people…It all comes down to caring and compassion and love for your fellow man…It’s the answer to everything. (HTO, 127).

“I don’t really care if I’m laughed at. The few who don’t laugh are the few who will learn” (HTO, 130).

“ I learned that life was to be lived one day at a time. Like the song says, ‘Stop and smell the roses.’ Well, I not only smell them, but I embrace them. I’ve learned that the candle of life can go out at any time and I have too much to do before it goes out…Life is now, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but right now. And right now, this minute, I’m in love with life. I know now that we take nothing out of this life except what is in our hearts” (OP, 177).

Gina: “Love is very important. It is the main reason for our existence as human beings in our physical bodies. We must understand love—and we must understand love in a holistic sense, altruistic love, etc. We can never fully experience love or give love unless we also know compassion. To understand compassion, we must know pain, and loss—not just our own pain and loss, but the ability to feel the pain and loss of others. Love is a complex and powerful force. We must become part of the consciousness of love, for it is an entity in itself. Yet it is part of us, and we are part of it. When we are separated from this force we are not total, we are not whole” (OP, 178).

“These experiences made me cherish all life as I had never done before. I really began to be aware of everything in my experience on a deeper level. I even began to ‘salute’ animals I would meet, recognizing their individual worth, and of course, my recognition of human individual worth began to grow” (OP, 181),

Craig had a conversation with an entity during his NDE in which he discussed his unfulfilled musical ambitions and mentioned how much he admired Arlo Guthrie:

“The voice saw how I gave Arlo Guthrie a sort of hero image and explained to me that he was no different from the rest of us on earth, and that if you want something bad enough it can be yours—as long as you realize that once you get it, you may find that it was not what you were looking for in the first place. It seemed to say if only people could see the importance of love and cooperation instead of competitiveness, the world could be a better place to live. It told me to use my senses to their maximum potential, and to gather as much knowledge as I could through them” (LL, 17).

Ten years later Craig wrote:

“The experience changed my life in many ways. For one, I am no longer the least bit afraid to die. I know that I would not want to suffer, but I know that the actual dying process is nothing like what I thought it would be, and that it was probably the most beautiful and peaceful experience I have ever had. I realize now that our time here is relatively short, and it makes me want to live life to the fullest. I found that among the few things that people can take with them when they die, love is probably the most important. The only things left after one leaves his or her body are energy, love, personality, and knowledge. It seems like such a waste of time to become caught up in materialistic modes of thinking. When I hear birds chirping, it sounds so beautiful and makes me feel good inside. I notice trees and plants and other living things more than I ever had before. I guess I seem to get my happiness more from the little things in life than from things with great monetary value. Life in general seems more intricate and amazing than ever before. I feel that our bodies are the greatest gift of all, and I find that most people take them for granted. I know that I have been given a second chance in life, and every day is so much more precious to me. Words cannot describe the feeling I get when I wake up in the morning and the sun is shining in through the window, and it is the beginning of a new day with all sorts of opportunities to experience new things, and to learn from them. I know now that an existence after this lifetime awaits all of us, and that death is not the end, but simply a new beginning” (LL, 18-19).

Peggy (the Baptist living in Texas described earlier who found that after her NDE “…she could no longer relate to what she describes as ‘traditional Christian dogma’”) describes one of her revelations this way:

“The light showed me the world is an illusion. All I remember about this is looking down [at what she took to be the earth] …and thinking, ‘My God, it’s not real, it’s not real!’ It was like all material things were just ‘props’ for our souls, including our bodies. Heavier things we can see are of a lower reality and are real, but not like we think they are. There are invisible things to us now from higher levels that are far, far, far, more real. I thought, ‘I’ve GOT to remember this!’” (LL, 45).

Dr. Ring summarizes:

“Other revelations poured into Peggy. Time also was an illusion, she learned. Horrific events on earth had an inner meaning that humans, with their limited and parochial understanding, could never hope to fathom.”

Peggy continues:

“I continued to see some other amazing truths…One was when the light told me that everything was Love, and I mean everything! I had always felt love was just a human emotion people felt from time to time, never in my wildest dreams thinking it was literally EVERYTHING!

“I was shown how much all people are loved. It was overwhelmingly evident that the light loved everyone equally without any conditions! I really want to stress this, because it made me so happy to know we didn’t have to believe or do certain things to be loved. WE ALREADY WERE AND ARE, NO MATTER WHAT! The light was extremely concerned and loving toward all people. I can remember looking at the people together and the light asking me to ‘love the people.’ I wanted to cry, I felt so deeply for them… I thought, ‘If they could only know how much they’re loved, maybe they wouldn’t feel so scared or lonely anymore…’

“One of the many beliefs I have formed from this experience is that whenever unconditional love is bestowed upon an individual, no matter what the strength or from what source (a person of the light), it causes a purging of “unloving energy” or self-hating energy (which are all illusions) to come into the consciousness of the individual to be examined and discharged. Thus, the individual’s level of consciousness is raised every time this is done.”

Another lesson that Peggy receives runs parallel to the premise of my essay The Path of the Numinous:

“One thing I [learned] was that we are ALL here to do an ‘assignment of love.’ We don’t have to do it at all, or we can do as many as we like. It’s up to us. Our ‘assignment’ is programmed in at birth and it is the very things we love most. I was such a bozo. I always thought doing what you loved most was selfish. I can remember how amazed and happy I was when this information ‘came into my mind.’ This other source of energy, using my voice, said, ‘that is the most unselfish and constructive thing you can do for the world because that is your assigned energy and you will be happiest doing it, best at it, and most respected for it!’”

Later Dr. Ring points out that Peggy’s realization is an almost universal one for experiencers:

“The Light seems to be telling us, each of us, that we have a unique gift, an offering to make to the world, and that our happiness and the world’s are both served when we live in such a way as to realize that gift, which is no less than our purpose in life. What the NDE does is to help crack the egg in which this gift has lain, neglected and even unsuspected, so that it can begin to emerge and grow to its fullest” (LL, 51).

Tom: “You do have [an] effect on plants. You do have an effect on animals. You do have an effect on the universe. And in your life review, you’ll be the universe and experience yourself and how… [you] affect the universe…The little bugs on your eyelids that some of you don’t even know exist. That’s an interrelationship, you with yourself and these little entities that are living and surviving on your eyelids. When you waved a loving good-bye to a good friend the other day, did you affect the clouds up above? Did you actually affect them? Does a butterfly’s wings in China affect the weather here? You better believe it does! You can learn all of that in a life review!” (LL, 176).

“One big thing I learned when I died was that we are all part of one big, living universe. If we think we can hurt another person or another living thing without hurting ourselves, we are sadly mistaken. I look at a forest or a flower or a bird now, and say, ‘That is me, part of me.’ We are connected with all things and if we send love along these connections, then we are happy”

(LL, 177–quoting one of Raymond Moody’s respondents in his book, The Light Beyond).

Nel: “The most profound aftereffect of my NDE is that I now accept myself because of who I am. I am no longer bound by the preconceived restraints and conditions which others impose. I am no longer bound to do what others want; neither do I find the need to seek approval from others by measuring up to their standards. I have found a central core within me, a spirit, which knows what is best for me and which directs me in all that I do. I trust this inner spirit and I listen to what it says, and I act on its directions. While I respect the opinions of others, while I appreciate the concerns of others for my well-being, I am no longer compelled to follow the dictates of others. I am secure with the inner knowledge of what is best for me. I no longer fear rejection because I do not seem to measure up to the expectations of others. I am growing, daily, in the knowledge that I am an individual unto myself and, as such, I am a fully functioning human being with a mind, a body, and a spirit of my own.” (LL, 191)

Ginny: “…there were only two things that we could bring back with us when we died…LOVE and KNOWLEDGE…So I was to learn as much about both as possible” (LL, 296).

Beverly: “There was a reason for everything that happened, no matter how awful it appeared in the physical realm. And within myself, as I was given the answer, my own awakening mind now responded in the same manner: ‘Of course,’ I would think, ‘I already know that. How could I ever have forgotten!’ Indeed, it appears that all that happens is for a purpose, and that purpose is already known to our eternal self.

“…It felt like the universe is all one grand object woven from the same fabric. Space and time are illusions that hold us to our plane; out there all is present simultaneously.

“I felt now as if I had been made anew. I saw wondrous meanings everywhere; everything as alive and full of energy and intelligence” (LL, 298-299).

Then, death, so call’d, is but old matter dress’d

In some new figure, and a vary’d vest:

Thus all things are but alter’d, nothing dies;

And here, and there the’ unbody’d spirit flies.

Roman poet Ovid in Metamorphoses (CBL, 83)

“What you have perishes; what you are survives beyond time and space.” Death Notice (CBL, 318)

My future epitaph: “On_____Jonathan Zap won his long struggle with mortality by dying.”

Sources:

(LL) Ring, PhD, Kenneth 1998, 2006. Lessons from the Light—What We Can Learn from the Near Death Experience. Needham: Moment Point Press.

(CBL) Van Lommel, M.D., Pim 2010. Consciousness Beyond Life—The Science of Near Death Experience. New York: Harper One.

(HTO) Ring, PhD, Kenneth 1984, 1985. Heading Toward Omega—In Search of the Meaning of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Quill William Morrow

(OP) Ring, PhD, Kenneth 1992. The Omega Project—Near-Death Experiences, UFO Encounters, and Mind at Large. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Sabom, Michael, M.D. Light and Death—One Doctor’s Fascinating Account of Near-Death Experiences. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House (Source for the Pamela Reynolds case, pp. 37-51)

Video: One of my sources for the Pamela Reynolds case is also the best documentary I’ve seen on NDEs: The Day I Died produced by the BBC. If you have time for nothing else, you should at least watch this hour long documentary currently available for free on You Tube.

Reading Suggestions:

Some primacy must be given to Raymond Moody, Ph. D., M.D. since he is the great pioneer who broke the whole field open. Dr. Moody has Ph.D.s in philosophy and psychology as well as an M.D.. Dr. Moody is an extremely careful thinker and his training in philosophy keeps him from making unwarranted assumptions. His approach to experiencers, however is anecdotal and he does not use the rigorous scientific research methodologies employed by the other two authors I recommend.

Kenneth Ring, Ph. D, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut, is the greatest visionary pioneer working in the field as far as I can tell. He combines careful research methodology with penetrating insight and is a very articulate writer.

Pim Van Lommel, M.D. is a Dutch cardiologist who has produced the most authoritative, comprehensive and scientifically rigorous book on the topic. His research methodology sets a gold standard for the field and his findings were published in the renowned medical journal, The Lancet. Van Lommel also integrates the latest findings in neuroscience and quantum mechanics in his study of what NDE findings mean about the nature of consciousness. If you are going to read only one book on the subject, and especially if you come from a scientific and/ or skeptical background, Consciousness Beyond Life is your best choice.

About a week before his death at age 18 on Christmas day, 2011, Ben Breedlove made a two part six minute video about some near-death experiences he had. Here are the links to his final Youtube video: Ben Breedlove Part I Part II

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https://zaporacle.com/life-lessons-from-the-living-dead/feed/ 3 Life Lessons from the Living Dead | ZapOracle.com Hieronymous Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed Text copyright Jonathan Zap, 2010 Editor: Austin Iredale "Our ideas about death define how we live our lives." ---Dag Hammarskjold “And Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequat Featured,real people,singularity archetype,the path of the numinous life-lessons-from-the-living-dead 2628
Temporal Fencing and Life Fields https://zaporacle.com/temporal-fencing-and-life-fields/ https://zaporacle.com/temporal-fencing-and-life-fields/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:11:59 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=81 Temporal Fencing and Life FieldsOne lifetime is only a limited amount of space. We have a rough idea of the temporal fencing that bounds it, and most of us are expecting to live less than another hundred years. That brings us to the single and double digits as we measure that temporal fence. Sometimes the remaining space is even …

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One lifetime is only a limited amount of space. We have a rough idea of the temporal fencing that bounds it, and most of us are expecting to live less than another hundred years. That brings us to the single and double digits as we measure that temporal fence. Sometimes the remaining space is even less than the one or two digit number expected. People who believe that life is confined to a single lifetime may find this small fence depressing. Such people believe temporal fencing to be absolute, and they are bound to be depressed anyway. But many of us know that fences aren’t that hard to get past, to get over; fences are leaky, rickety boundaries, and souls are going over and through them, in both directions, all the time. Fences are sometimes there for our benefit. They mark useful boundaries. Good fences make good life fields, and staying aware of the temporal fencing around the field of your lifetime can make you more engaged with what you are growing right now. The size of your field is not anywhere near as significant as what you are growing there.

What are you growing there?

If that seems hard to answer then you are not being honest with yourself. What you are growing is what you have and will spend time on since the time you woke up today and the time you will go to sleep. The time field of the day is a microcosm of the time field of your life. Each has its awakenings, its dream times and its moments of oblivion. Temporal fencing marks a boundary between waking and sleeping/dying, a boundary that is as useful as the seasons. Today you have grown things, and tomorrow you will grow more things. Even when you are still you grow thoughts and feelings. Even if you aren’t a perfect meditater, you grow awareness, and this psychic foliage shifts the total biomass of the planet in all sorts of ways. What sorts of thoughts and feelings are growing in this day field? What sorts of relationships are you growing? Are they growing? Plants grow, wither, grow, wither. Is there more withering or growing in your day field? The thoughts and feelings, their growth and wither cycles, are often what determines the growth and wither cycles of relationships. A rewarding focus, therefore, is the daily harvest of thoughts and feelings we are growing. So many of the things growing in our life field are primary or secondary growths of our thought/feeling harvest. Some things in our life field are more the result of our particular harvest and some are the harvest, sometimes the hell-spawn harvest, of the collective thought/feeling field. Hell-spawn harvests can be a kind of fencing too. What you grow is not controlled by fencing. Throughout our lives we have a succession of full day fields before us. Whatever we grow in that day field has, as Whitehead put it, “the formality of actually existing.” It doesn’t matter if the existence medium is a deceptive matrix, a flickering hologram or video image, the dreamtime, when something exists it is a grown plant, and outside of the perspective of temporal fencing, it always exists. It lives in eternity.

Fences leave huge open boundaries under the endless sky of eternity. What we grow in our day field/life field has an eternal significance. Be aware of fences but look mostly at what you are growing out into eternity, the plants that are like planets living under the sky of eternity. Your body has about eighty trillion cells, but the human species consists of as little as six-and-half-billion day fields. One human day field is a fairly substantial amount of tissue in the larger body. Woe to the person who abandons their day field. Seize and grow your day field.

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You are Only as Old as you are-the Six Noble Truths of the Zap Philosophy of Aging https://zaporacle.com/you-are-only-as-old-as-you-are-the-six-noble-truths-of-the-zap-philosophy-of-aging/ https://zaporacle.com/you-are-only-as-old-as-you-are-the-six-noble-truths-of-the-zap-philosophy-of-aging/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:11:56 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=134 Cheating Death© 2007, Jonathan Zap, age 49     Revised 2008   Edited by Austin Iredale You’re only as old as you feel! The problem is that expression got old by the twentieth time I heard it, back in 1973.  And now, after hearing it an additional twenty times a week in the ensuing thirty-five years, I have come …

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© 2007, Jonathan Zap, age 49     Revised 2008   Edited by Austin Iredale

You’re only as old as you feel! The problem is that expression got old by the twentieth time I heard it, back in 1973.  And now, after hearing it an additional twenty times a week in the ensuing thirty-five years, I have come to find this particular cliché to be very, very old.  In fact, if this cliché were as old as my feelings about it, it would probably be able to remember a time when the Big Bang was a mere twinkle in God’s eye.  And that’s just another way of saying that, based on how I feel, “You’re only as old as you feel!” has become an infinitely old cliché.

Being infinitely old must be a pretty depressing phase in the life cycle of a cliché, whose mind consists of a single, unchanging thought form.  Especially since this single thought form fearfully cringes from age and seeks to diminish the horror of oldness through the viral propagation of an old mental trick, an arthritic sleight-of-hand, pulling the old switcheroo gimmick of substituting one word for another, in this case “feel” for “old.”  Winston Smith, of George Orwell’s 1984 , was very familiar with the old word-swap trick because every time he showed up for work at the monolithic, windowless Ministry of Truth building he saw, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”  Only now the Ministry of Truth would have to add, “Old is Feel.”

For the age phobic, this is a very convenient little switcheroo because, unlike age, feelings are famously variable and infinitely subjective.  So once you can reduce a feared quality into the quivering jello mold of that which is famously variable and infinitely subjective you can then claim the quality to be anything you like.  Unlike the one to three digits of your age, if age equals feel, well, who’s to say what you are feeling; you can claim you feel like anything. With a bit of word-swap legerdemain, the mortality-denying, self-tricking ego can pretend it has gained variable control, through cliché technology, of the annoying and relentlessly increasing variable known as age.

So now that it is politically incorrect for my age to be a number, now that it is a feeling, what my age is gets a lot more confusing.  Apparently my age is based on how I feel, but how I feel is always changing.  It has been said that the average adult has a major mood change every ninety minutes, and for the average adolescent it’s about every twenty minutes.

Like most people, my feelings are extremely variable. Feed me a triple espresso and a shiny, new digital gadget and for the first fifteen minutes I might feel like a fourteen year old on an ultra sour candy sugar rush. But check back a couple hours later when the espresso has worn off and I have to call tech support in India, and you’ll find that my feeling-based age is about 91. Or as I should say, “ninety-one years young.” But if I hang up on tech support and smoke some crack, then, for the next five to ten minutes, I’ll be a high blood sugar fourteen year old again. Five minutes later, however,  the crack starts to fizzle out and my feeling-based age increases by about a decade a minute for the next ten minutes. I could temporarily reverse that trend by smoking more crack, and so forth. The point is that during a typical day like that I have to constantly keep recalculating my age. This means that with every vicissitude of my feelings I have new math homework just to know how old I am, and rather than face an eternity of new math homework, I’d rather just accept my age, an easy to remember two digit number that remains constant for an entire year.

So let’s take off the beer goggles of you-create-your-own-reality, New Age wish-fulfillment thinking.  You are as old as you are, and if you are reading this, if you know how to read, then you are almost certainly old. Based on my calculations, people are already old, or at least middle-aged, by the time they are eighteen.  Eighteen is the age when people go to college and add “the freshman fifteen.” And what people really mean by aging, as we’ll see later, is something far more serious and tragic than age, what they really mean is:

The diminishment of hotness.

Let’s face it, by eighteen you are already over the hill in many important areas.  By the age of eighteen your chances of becoming the cute but bratty child star of a TV sitcom start to diminish by about forty-five percent a year. But even if you can accept never being the child star of a sitcom, and are willing to settle for being, say, a world-class gymnast, then you are still forced to realize that unless you already have at least six years of gymnast training under your belt, you are totally past it.

The truth is we are all old. Even if you are a fourteen year old gymnast you are still a mortal/corporeal Version 1.0, and I think for most of us the whole gravity-bound, aging, illness and accident-prone corporeal lifestyle is getting pretty old.  And that’s why people are lying to themselves when they say they want to be young, because they actually want some thing much more than that.

Let’s say, for example, a man is lamenting, “Oh, I wish I was young again,” when a genie happens to be walking by. The genie immediately grants his wish and puts him into the body of a random fifteen-year-old. The problem is that around 87% of the fifteen-year-olds in our society are morbidly obese, and only when the wisher finds that he is locked into the body of an obese and pimply fifteen-year-old does he realize the deeper truth: what he really wanted was not merely youth; what he really wanted was hotness.

Case in point, Galadriel, the elf queen of Lothlorien in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Those of us who have read the books, particularly the Simarillion, know that Galadriel is thousands of years old. But you don’t catch Galadriel saying defensive things like, “I’m six thousand years young.”  The reason should be obvious: Her hotness is not in question, therefore her age doesn’t matter.

Does anybody say, “If only I were a fruit fly?” Fruit flies are usually only a few hours old, they are younger than almost any of us, but no one cares because of a simple reason: Fruit flies don’t look hot; therefore their youth doesn’t matter.

This is the point of plastic surgery; it is not merely to look young, but to look hot. That’s why you hear about people paying thousands of dollars for liposuction but you never hear about people paying thousands for lipoinjection. (Actually, one easy fix for a wrinkly face would be inject it with fat, causing it to fill out and look more youthful. But that wouldn’t be hot, and so nobody will get rich from lipoinjection.)

So now we are starting to get a more authentic sense of one of the pillars of the age issue. It is not about feelings; it is not about youth versus old; it is about hot versus not hot.  Now I can formulate the First Noble Truth of my philosophy of aging,

I. For many, aging is not about feelings, not about youth, it is about hotness.

Most people are not yearning to be young in the sense of naïve and inexperienced. They want to continue to have all the inner resources of age, but they would like to have the smooth skin and radiance of youth. They do not want to be a sickly or unattractive youth; they want to be a perfect specimen. And do they want that perfect specimen to go through the aging process?  Hell no . .. that was the whole point, to escape aging. An immortal perfect body comes close to satisfying what they want, but if you think about it, immortality goes on for so long. Being in any one body, however perfect, has got to become boring after a while. But if one were an immortal changeling, able to match the body to the occasion, now that starts to look like an interesting prospect.

That’s the kind of prospect I’m willing to settle for. I’m not really interested in being young only to have to go through all the ages all over again —enough already. I’m ready for what I feel is my right as a citizen of this rich and abundant universe, which blossomed out of a single point ten orders of magnitude smaller than a gnat’s toenail into four times more stars than there are grains of sand on this earth. Is it so unreasonable for me to expect, as someone who has endured all the gross and petty humiliations of corporeality, to become an immortal changeling?  In the seminal computer game World of Warcraft, people can switch their embodied forms with mouse clicks. Does World of Reality have less processing power than World of Warcraft?  Why should I expect less out of life than I do out of a mere computer game?  Isn’t it only appropriate for me to want to have a warrior body form with rippling muscles to handle conflict situations, while still being able to slip into a variety of more comfortable bodies for sensual encounters?

I’m not joking here. If you think I am it might be because you have been successfully conditioned by the Babylon Matrix to take the whole corporeality scam completely for granted. If you put aside the fatalistic conditioning of a mortal slave, ordinary common sense tells you that being able to choose the right body for the occasion is as basic an evolutionary progression as being able to choose the right words, facial expressions or clothing for an occasion. It is only what is appropriate. What would be grossly inappropriate for an evolving being would be to get scammed into endlessly repeated corporeal incarnations in which you become stuck in one leaky, aging body after another.

Corporeal incarnation was probably a deal you made. Drunk on nectar and ambrosia, a giddy moment between incarnations, and with the foolish overconfidence of the disincarnate, you signed on for a mortal incarnation, which at the time seemed like the intense thing to do, kind of like a Nineteenth Century adolescent who thought going to war would be an exciting adventure.

But now you know better and might like to renegotiate the deal,

“Can’t I just be any age I feel like?”

“Can’t I just create my own reality?”

Yes, you can create your own reality, BUT . . .

(You knew there was a huge BUT coming.)

BUT, to really be able to create your own reality you need to be a fully, fully empowered New Age person who has completely internalized the you-create-your-own-reality principle and does not harbor a doubt the size of an organic mustard seed. To get to that kind of state of personal empowerment it’s going to take god only knows how many workshops, past-life regressions, and other costly New Age products and services.

But once you’ve paid for all that, and gotten rid of all doubt, then you really can create your own reality. This may finally explain the unsolved mystery of why there are no middle-aged New Age people. They have learned that they can create their own reality, and so they’ve recreated their ages and become the Indigo children who have such a precocious knowledge of New Age principles.

But if you can’t afford all those New Age products and services, or even if you can, but still harbor doubts, where does that leave you in 2012? If you think mortality is inconvenient, try mortality plus the inconvenient truth of climate warming plus apocalypse plus no ability to create your own reality!  If you are not the maître de of your own private reality by 2012, better prepare yourself for being left behind in a world composed of failed New Agers and other clueless mortals unable to self-rapture themselves into new realities.

That sounds harsh, but there is a kind of cosmic justice to it.  No one wants to live in a world of immortal changeling losers and doubters. The loser with a thousand faces. And it is so easy to imagine how being an immortal changeling could be abused by the unworthy—the devil that hath the power to assume a pleasing form, and all that. Ideally, being an immortal changeling should be reserved for only the high New Age elect like myself.

Without such selectivity the New Age would be a disaster. Can you imagine the problems that would be created if you allowed people who don’t respect diversity to live in a world of immortal changelings? Can you imagine the burka that an Islamic Fundamentalist would want you to wear if you were an immortal changeling?

So the losers and the doubters will get filtered out automatically. But you know just as well as I do that with the whole light and dark way that things work out, there are going to be immortal changelings who are evil and have a diabolical array of fell powers. Any immortal changeling knows that an epic struggle of light and dark comes with the territory; same as on the Babylon Matrix, only the light and dark will be differently distributed. In the epic world of immortal changelings, dark and light are concentrated into a much smaller number of entities, and this makes things considerably more dramatic and mythological.

I guess at some point it may have become unclear, even to myself, if I was dissing other people’s attitudes toward aging, spoofing my own, or pulling back the veil of a mortality obsessed matrix. I’ve been losing control of my rants recently, and they seem to reveal more of myself and my shadow than I intended. So let me clarify, what I am basically saying is,   (the Second Noble Truth)

II. Get over it. You are in an aging corporeal body. Take the damn two-digit number (which is not something you can feel your way out of) and get on with it.

But by “on with it” I don’t mean to a depressed acceptance of mortality. What I mean by “on with it” is (the Third Noble Truth),

III. Recognize that you are already a shape-shifting interdimensional traveler.

Your aging mortal body is not your true identity, and although the present phase of congealing into one corporeal body is such a convincing matrix, and no doubt a huge inconvenience and hardship, remember that it is only a phase. Your age is probably a two-digit number, and chances are, based on present medical technology, you will probably never have to endure more than two digits worth of age. And if you have any sort of background in math or science, you know that two digit numbers are really small numbers. The whole mortal number you pulled on yourself may stretch out into the scratchy last cut of a black vinyl golden oldie, but even that will probably still be only a two digit number, or at best in the very low one hundreds. Thankfully the mortality number is never a very big one, and once the reset button gets pushed you’ve got a chance to renegotiate.

Of course, if you are a fundamentalist materialist and a technological futurist, like Ray Kurzweil, then you may have some expectation of having your consciousness downloaded into a quantum computer housed in a titanium alloy exoskeleton with Zeiss Ikon optics and a shape-shifting dermal layer consisting of nanobots able to reconfigure themselves in any way that is consistent with the underlying titanium alloy exoskeleton. In other words, your expectation is the nerdy gadget version of being an immortal changeling. But no matter how many off-planet backups of yourself you have downloaded into quantum computers kept in super-cooled, fully hardened underground bunkers, there is always the possibility of a super wave or galaxy devouring black hole destroying all those backups. This is what Tolkien called premature immortality: the naïve confusion of immortality with being in a single, age-resistant body.

In addition to your aging, mortal/corporeal Version 1.0 body, with its two-digit age, and all its obnoxious limitations and vulnerabilities, you have other bodies, and those other bodies are not as stuck in one matrix as is the flesh and blood body. If death seems too long to wait for a new body then just wait a few hours until you are ready to go to sleep. Once a day most people enter another matrix called the dreamtime, and while there they are in an age-variable, shape-shifting dreambody that can defy gravity and rebound from life-threatening situations with the resilience of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character. There are also the energy bodies that people experience during near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences (of which I have had numerous).  These energy bodies may have such enhancements as panoramic vision, orgasmic aliveness and spiritual enlightenment.

Fundamentalist materialists would have us believe that unless we have the luck to live long enough until technology gives us an ability to download ourselves into quantum computers, then we are just eternal losers, a bunch of rapidly deteriorating furless monkeys with a couple of hemispheres of tangled wetware ready to crash into the velvet darkness of eternal unrecoverable data loss the moment our monkey form flatlines. And oh so many things can make a Version 1.0 monkey form flatline: a banana peel on a staircase, another monkey driven car on the freeway…

And even if it hasn’t flatlined yet, Version 1.0 is always buggy, and there is no warranty, no tech-support. The best you can hope for (if you can afford about $700 a month) is the privilege of turning your fate over to some caring, giant HMO, and maybe the mortality mechanics that work for the HMO can patch you up for a bit, or maybe they will kill you themselves if you are one of the unlucky hundreds of thousands that each year succumb to an adverse reaction to a combo of pharmaceuticals.

So before I lose control over this rant again, let’s boil things down to a few simple truths about aging. Stop trying to pretend that aging is sexy or that it is about personal empowerment, high performance, plus sentimental good feeling, like the fifty-five-year-old model woman with perfect bone structure playing volleyball on the beach with her grandchildren in the Celebrex ad.

Say after me the following affirmations,

“Every day in every way I’m getting older and older.”

“Today is the first day of the rest of my ever-diminishing life.”

“Mortality sucks, and then you die.”

Here now are the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Noble Truths about aging:

IV.  Mortality is developmental, and you probably signed on for it because it puts fire under your ass. Most immortal changelings are too stuck in the immortal changeling rut to do anything with their endless lives.

V.  Fear of death is about fear of unlived life.

Evaluate everything from the point of view of what you will remember well on your deathbed.  Live every day like it could be your last and stop the countdown to apocalypse dates like 2012. The count-down-to-apocalypse game was old when Revelations was written (in the expectation that the freaky events described were going to happen to the Christians of the First-Century AD).  Your personal event horizon of death could come at any time and is guaranteed, so stop projecting it toward a collective eschaton; it just binds you deeper into linear time.

VI.  Stop falling for the fundamentalist materialist longing for anti-aging medicine and its vain efforts to forever patch up a pro-aging mortal body.

You already have glorified bodies. Death, the mortal emergency, can actually be a liberating emergence of your other bodies, and a chance to more fully recover your real identity as an interdimensional traveler. So stop cringing from the amazing intensity and vulnerability of your corporeal incarnation.  Mortality is a once in a lifetime experience.  Disembodied entities are always talking about how envious they are of  the dynamism of mortal incarnation. Try to  remember that however ambivalent you might be about being in a body, it is for a limited time only, and then you may discover that there are other worlds than these…

For further reading:

The Glorified Body—-Metamorphosis of the Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution

Read the intro of A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler for more on your identity as interdimensional traveler.

The longing for beauty may originate from a longing to reconnect with the glorified body, see:

Beauty in the Eye of the Phase Shifter

The longing for the beloved may reflect deeper urges that have to do with the incompleteness of being in a particular mortal body:

Stop the Hottie!

Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom—Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring

For more on projection of mortality toward a collective eschaton see:

Clocktime Metastisizing toward  2012

For more on the feeling that there is something wrong with this world and the mortal coil it rode in on:

A Splinter in your Mind

For a more surreal version of your identity as interdimensional traveler see:

Friends don’t let Friends Incarnate in the Babylon Matrix

For more dissing of shadow-denying you create your own reality New Age philosophy see,

Reality Testing is Politically Incorrect

A more serious critique of same:

Dynamic Paradoxicalism—the anti-ism ism

And for a potent life stance that is empowered by awareness of mortality and death see the several documents in the Warrior category of the writing section of zaporacle.com.

The three best books on aging I have read (also the only three) are:

The Force of Character and the Lasting Life by James Hillman  (whom I found to be extremely obnoxious the last time I met him in person)

And  Still Here—Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying by Ram Das (whom I found generous and as lucid as ever despite his massive stroke when I last met him in person)

The Virtues of Aging by Jimmy Carter (whom I never met in person and who doesn’t know shit about the Middle East)  is an ok book on aging, but nowhere as good as the above two.

The post You are Only as Old as you are-the Six Noble Truths of the Zap Philosophy of Aging appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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Pushing the Envelope, Boundary Expansion into Novelty in Personal and Evolutionary Contexts https://zaporacle.com/pushing-the-envelope-boundary-expansion-into-novelty-in-personal-and-evolutionary-contexts/ Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:11:51 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=7644 Chris, airborne, seconds before injury. What does it mean to push the envelope? The answer is more complex and charged with light and dark elements than you might think. The phrase originated as an aerospace term as the following entry from Wikipedia makes clear: This phrase is used to refer to an aircraft being taken …

The post Pushing the Envelope, Boundary Expansion into Novelty in Personal and Evolutionary Contexts appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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Chris, airborne, seconds before injury.

What does it mean to push the envelope? The answer is more complex and charged with light and dark elements than you might think. The phrase originated as an aerospace term as the following entry from Wikipedia makes clear:

This phrase is used to refer to an aircraft being taken to, and perhaps beyond, its designated altitude and speed limits.[4] By extension, this phrase may be used to mean testing other limits, either within aerospace or in other fields.

Pushing the envelope has also become an expression in other fields, referring to the act of introducing new ideas in readily established concepts. An example would be a marketing campaign which advertised its product in a way never done before, or a video game which interacted with the player in a completely original fashion.

It has also been said that one can liken the flying, and especially the testing, of an aircraft to a mail-type envelope, with zero altitude, zero speed, essentially sitting still on the ground, in the lower left corner. As you increase speed and altitude, you move further up and to the right, until you are at the upper right corner, where you are at the limit of what the aircraft can handle. This likeness is particularly apt as this corner is also where a letter gets stamped ‘cancelled’, something test pilots try not to dwell on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushing_the_envelope#.22Pushing_the_envelope.22

The definition of pushing the envelope I have come up with and will employ here is: Boundary expansion into a zone of novelty previously unexplored by the species or an individual.

This essay began as an intention to write a brief oracle card based on the above image, but the topic quickly pushed past that envelope and demanded a more extensive treatment.

Even the image proved to be more complex and ambiguous than I realized. It was at one time the Facebook profile photo of a friend, Chris Catlin. Chris is a twenty-six-year-old EMT-trained ski patroller who was working his fifth season at Steven’s Pass, Washington, when the photo was taken. I knew that he’d recently had his first serious skiing accident, a compound fracture of his leg, but I did not know at first that this accident had any connection to the photo.

One evening I spoke with Chris over the phone, and he unfolded the story behind the image while I took notes. Chris, who had once been a very conservative skier, had for the last year or so been pushing the envelope with his skiing. Brian Shaefer, a professional snowboard photographer, invited Chris to accompany him and some professional snowboarders who were doing a photo-shoot in what Chris called an “out-of-bound zone.” When snowboarders and skiers get themselves photographed doing advanced stunts, and those photos get published in magazines, there is a good chance that they will get valuable sponsorships. Chris admitted that he’d started pushing the ski envelope the previous year when some of his roommates got photos published and thereby gained sponsors.

Somewhere in the out-of-bounds zone, Chris scoped out a feature, a cliff-like drop he had done once before. He recognized that this time there was less soft snow and that his safety margin was even less than his first successful attempt at the drop. Even so, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. For the last year Chris had been successfully pushing past physical and mental inhibitions to advance his ability to ski in marginal conditions. In his skiing career, he had never had an injury that required even a single stitch.

Chris decided to go for it, while photographer Brian Shaefer was poised on a neighboring peak with his finger on the shutter button. Chris shot off the cliff straight out. He knew that he had to get his body and skis to contour with the transition zone, but despite windmilling his arms he couldn’t get forward enough on his skis, and ended up landing with the full force of a forty-foot drop on the tails of his skis. When he landed, he hip-checked, went into a forward roll, and then was back up on his skis, moving away from the drop, seemingly in control. Incredibly, he didn’t realize anything was wrong until he tried to do a left-hand turn and found that he couldn’t. He stopped skiing and used both hands to pick up his right leg, which he found flopped out beneath him.

To his great embarrassment, Chris had to be rescued from the mountain by his ski patrol colleagues. In addition to the injury and loss of mobility, Chris was out for the season and would lose all the income and adventure that would otherwise have been available to him. Chris didn’t see much of an upside to the experience. In his words, he felt “kicked out of the Garden of Eden.” Working at Steven’s Pass had been literally and figuratively the peak experience of his life. Chris admitted, however, that if the injury hadn’t happened, he would have kept pushing the envelope. Besides the motivation to get sponsorships, he had also become an adrenaline junkie. As Chris put it, “I gave up too much. I didn’t realize what was at stake. I assumed I was good enough not to get hurt. If I hadn’t hurt myself, I would still be out there putting myself into even more marginal situations.” Because of his envelope pushing, Chris now has four titanium screws in his leg and can’t be sure that it will ever be quite as functional as it was before.

Chris getting rescued by colleagues. Brian Schaefer is wearing the green jacket.
X- Ray showing broken tibula and fibula
Steven’s Pass first aid trauma room. Snow forecaster John Andrews is pulling on Chris’s foot to expose the wound so it can be irrigated.

I realize that this is subjective testimony, but based on nine years of knowing Chris and seeing him in a variety of situations—wilderness camping, stressful travel, some hazardous situations, etc.—I have long intuited that he has a protector-warrior essence. I think anyone with an ounce of intuition would at least see the warrior aspect. That Christopher would become an EMT-trained ski patroller, something he has devoted himself to for the last five years, seemed perfectly aligned with what I had already sensed about his essence.

Pushing the envelope with skiing seems in accord with a core aspect of Christopher’s essence, his physical-warrior aspect. It is not surprising that a twenty-six-year-old male with warrior essence will want to test his mettle in an adrenaline-based, kinesthetic, wilderness, male comrade situation. All those elements are archetypally appropriate. When I was twenty-six, I was into mountain climbing, marathon running, and pushing the personal envelope with wilderness and on-the-road adventures with comrades, etc.

There is, however, a one-sidedness to the intensely focused kinesthetic type of pushing the envelope. Except for its body-centric aspects, this mode does not in itself provide much room for the archetypal Feminine. The Feminine could be present, however, through other means. For example, it is likely that this mode of pushing the envelope is pursued in the context of male bonding, with its sometimes mythically strong bonds of affinity between members of an all-male group. Although being part of an all-male group doesn’t sound Feminine, its relational/emotional core is archetypally Feminine.

If this type of pushing the envelope (skiing stunts) were to become an encompassing, all-consuming aspect of Chris’s life, it would probably lead to a high-adrenaline form of stagnation. It would be an exciting but too narrow perch from which to experience life. The physical-warrior aspect would be getting one-sided emphasis in Chris’s life at the extreme cost of other sides of his life. For example, the protector aspect of his essence, which has Feminine and spiritual aspects, would be neglected.

The universe, timeline and mythic drama of an athlete-warrior pursuing excellence and competitive edge in that modality is very qualitatively different from the universe, timeline, and mythic drama of a morally-based warrior putting his life on the line to protect others. The athlete-warrior experiences the dazzling focus you get with single-point concentration on kinesthetic skill and flow. In the best circumstances, the athlete-warrior pierces the envelope like an arrow released from the bow of a master Zen archer. The morally-driven protector-warrior type is less likely to experience dazzling single-pointed focus, but has a more soulful, deep, fulfilling human experience. He pushes a larger envelope, serves transpersonal aims, and is therefore a Warrior with an uppercase “W.” (Except in the previous instance, I won’t use capitalization to distinguish higher and lower forms of the warrior (as I have in my warrior writings). Also, although I’m using the default English pronoun, “he,” throughout the essay, I recognize that being a warrior and pushing the envelope is not the exclusive province of males. In fact, this is a golden age for females to push the envelope.)

Since I’ve attempted to analyze another’s (Chris’s) case of pushing the envelope, perhaps it is only fair that I also analyze my own case, and offer myself up as illustrative example. Of course this is as subjective as it gets, but there is no other case with which I am so intimately acquainted. I find within myself a complex relationship with pushing the envelope, and a number of light, dark, and occasionally ambiguous key aspects and instances. I offer this personal analysis not as autobiography, but as illustration of universal aspects of pushing the envelope.

Even at 53, keeping up a relationship with the physical-warrior seems crucial. As mundane as it might sound, daily workouts can resonate with the physical-warrior. Almost every aspect of my life seems to be intensified and positively influenced when I am trying to push myself during indoor cardio workouts and when I get outdoors and into the weather on my bike, etc. It would be a global diminishment of my quality of life if I were to neglect my daily exercise and instead become an indoor, sedentary, grossly out-of-shape sort of person. Intense, cardio exercise is almost as high a priority in my day as writing. I know that to neglect exercise is also to neglect writing, because I would have less vitality to apply to my writing. Everything we do is a direct function of vitality. When I neglect cardio exercise, I have less vitality the same day. Pushing the envelope with writing requires that I push—or at least maintain— my personal fitness envelope.

My daily exercise is intensified if it includes as many of the following as possible:

That I did intense, cardio exercise where I pushed myself a bit, and continued until healthy exhaustion.

That the exercise also brought me outdoors into the weather and the experience of nature.

Or, alternatively, that I did intense Nordic Track while watching a highly engaging movie, so that the cardio and movie experiences intensified each other.

The exercise I do everyday would be still more exciting if I was likely to break a record, compete successfully in an athletic contest, be photographed for a magazine, etc. I realize that I am unlikely to get a sponsor/photography deal with a magazine looking for pictures of middle-aged guys pushing their heart-rate envelope on a Nordic Track. If it were possible for me to get attention and recognition for athletics, as a narcissistic personality type I would very likely become addicted to that form of high excitement. If that were the case, a great pushing-the-envelope aspect of my life would become an encompassing, one-sided focus that, like Chris’s adrenaline-seeking, would be something less than great. I would push that envelope at the expense of a larger part of my essence that wants to push the envelope in consciousness-related, creative, interpersonal and intrapsychic ways.

After this essay was written, pushing the envelope with cardio exercise has taken on a more literal meaning with new research about high-intensity interval training (HIIT) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-intensity_interval_training . After decades of doing long slow distance (LSD), I’m now confronted with research that demonstrate significantly more benefit from pushing the heart rate envelope with short all-out bursts. Sean Moffitt, a friend of mine who is a trainer and fitness expert, has been coaching me on this practice for the last couple of weeks. The HIIT workout must be done first thing in the morning because if there is anything in your stomach it will not stay there. I have already seen that it does have a powerful conditioning effect. Physiologically, it is the perfect demonstration of the value of pushing the envelope. The way Sean practices it also demonstrates the will and pain tolerance often involved in pushing the envelope. Even more appropriate, doing a HIIT burst often generates literal tunnel vision. Later, when we explore the downside of pushing the envelope, we will discuss the more figurative tunnel vision it can produce. HIIT also confronts me with an inertial, conservative force in me that doesn’t want to push the envelope this way first thing in the morning. About twice a week it’s worth it to me to overcome that inner resistance and take the HIIT. But I’ve also discovered that even though it is not as efficient or conditioning as HIIT, I’m a lot more enthusiastic about LSD workouts. When your goal is to exercise every day, enthusiasm is invaluable. Five days a week I find that enthusiasm seems to trump pushing the envelope. Pushing the envelope doesn’t work for me in areas that are consistently counter-enthusiastic.

During my present life-phase, pushing the envelope relates to the integration of everything in my day, but feels most present during writing sessions that have involved as many of the following as possible:

That the writing session involved creative breakthroughs.

That the writing session involved the creation of a cultural product that I could share with others and which I feel has moral, human and aesthetic value.

That the writing session also involved a melding of intuition and thinking, allowing me to peer into something and see further into it than I had before.

Ultimately, that the writing session be in the medium of fantasy fiction, so that I am having the peak experience of sub-creation and am an interactive participant in an unfolding, alternate reality.

I want to emphasize this last item, not because of its significance to my particular case, but because it has something to say about a hidden aspect of pushing the envelope that relates to human evolution. But before I can arrive at the evolutionary context, it will be necessary to explore the surprisingly complex social context of this seemingly solitary activity: sub-creative fantasy writing.

Liz Milner, in a review of The Monsters and the Critics in Green Man Review , describes Tolkien’s definition and view of sub-creation:

Sub-creation, he writes, can only happen when fantasy achieves “the inner consistency of reality.” In the most powerful fantastic literature, the author creates a “secondary world.” This is different from a “willing suspension of disbelief,” for the reader must accept that some of the basic “laws” of the secondary world are different from the “laws” of our world. Inside the secondary world, “what he [the author] relates is “true”: it accords with the rules of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are…inside.” Therefore, it is critical that sub-creator apply his rules consistently—otherwise, the reader will be jerked back to this reality. Part of the disdain for fantastic literature comes from the fact that the “secondary world” is so hard to achieve—most fantastic worlds come out half-baked.

[Note: I will sometimes use sub-creation in the Tolkien sense of creating a secondary world, and other times more generally so that it can refer to imaginal worlds that are meant to be set in variations of the primary world.]

The sub-creative writing session is an instance of pushing the envelope that I find highly desirable, but only rarely available. This scarcity exists for me because either the muse doesn’t make it available, or there is a more pressing need for me to be available to work on something else. When fantasy fiction writing is happening, however, this form of pushing the envelope feels at least as intense, perhaps more intense, than any other sort of peak experience.

Sub-creative fantasy fiction writing involves pushing the envelope of the Babylon Matrix far enough to merge with alternate, parallel realities. To be able, in some ideal case, to come back from such an instance of participation mystique, sub-creative writing with a cultural product of moral, consciousness-related value, and that it also be aesthetically exemplary such that it will be enthusiastically read, recognized and deeply valued by others, would certainly be ultimate for me. Such an experience is purely hypothetical to me; I don’t know that I’ve ever brought all those elements together. But if I did, that would be about as fulfilling, exciting, engaging and encompassing an instance of pushing the envelope as I can imagine for myself.

An alternate, pinnacle pushing-the-envelope experience for me would be living out (in the outer life) an intense story rather than, or in addition to, sub-creating such a story. As a social mammal, it is not surprising that all my peak, pushing-the-envelope experiences would involve a social context. For example, most of the time when I am writing alone I feel very present in a social context. My peak writing experiences usually involve writing things intended for others. Most get published right away on my website. Sometimes I may have in mind particular significant others that I’m writing for as well as (more vaguely) some larger audience. Knowing that in this era I can write something and then almost instantly make it available to a large proportion of the world’s population, creates an extensive social context. Even if I am exercising in solitude, if I’m honest with myself, I must acknowledge that there is a social/body image layer to the motivation.

Here is another example of what would be a pinnacle, pushing-the-envelope experience for me: I am part of an intense, organic, synergistic fellowship with others and that fellowship experience includes as many of the following as possible:

That it be an hermetic circle where there is an exchange of intuitive insights about both members of the circle and the horizon lines of esoteric knowledge, such that there is creative cross-fertilization amongst psyches.

That the synergy of the hermetic circle, whether we work secretly or publicly, produces deeds, cultural products, larger influences, etc., which are of moral, consciousness-related value to the collective.

That I have bonds to members of the hermetic circle that are heartfelt, soulful, and (problematically, optional) romantic/sexual (wild card, perilous intensifiers).

That the circle is united in a struggle, journey, or endeavor of mythic proportions.

As with the previous example, bringing all those elements together is an idealized fantasy, not an actuality in my life at this time. Both these pinnacle instances of pushing the envelope (sub-creative fantasy writing and hermetic-circle outer-life adventure) have essential elements in common, but are differently proportioned. The sub-creative instance is an inner, alchemical experience that occurs against a misty social backdrop—the sense of a future audience. In the hermetic-circle instance, the synergistic, soulful, creative interpersonal bond is front and center.

The two pinnacle instances I described above (imaginal subcreation /hermetic circle) are related enough that they could easily coincide and have parallel social contexts and motivations. For example, the imaginal sub-creative experience is likely to involve being participant/creator of one or more hermetic circles in the alternate reality.

This may seem exaggerated or unreal to those who haven’t experienced it, but the intense, solitary fantasy sub-creation experience can be potently social. To an outside observer, I might appear to be a middle-aged guy up at an ungodly hour sitting in a chair bathed in the light of a computer monitor listening to Pink Floyd “Echoes” while occasionally typing on a wireless keyboard. To the outside observer, I might look like an obsessed, solitary person in some sort of mesmerized, introverted writing session. Actually, I might be having a powerful, soulful and intense social experience in the imaginal realm.

It’s become almost a cliche for fiction writers to say that their characters took on a life of their own and began to express their separate wills and agendas. Some authors have described characters whose actions seemed other and unpredictable, and sometimes even at cross-purposes to their presumed creator’s conscious intentions. I’ve had experiences with imaginal sub-creation that felt deeply interpersonal—a charged and unpredictable social context. Besides the encounter with what I experienced as autonomous entities, I have also journeyed into alternate realities that were visually, physically and emotionally potent. Many of the most intense and vivid episodes of my life have occurred in the imaginal realm. This is true even though my regular life, whatever other deficiencies it might have, has certainly not been lacking in vivid intensity. So, unless myself and all those other writers are straight-up liars, we must recognize a very significant and distinct type of human experience.

Multiple personality disorder is a very rare condition, but the fact that it occurs at all tells us something about the human envelope. More than one personality/identity can arise in a psyche contained in a single human body. Your psyche has the ability to generate other personalities and whole worlds and timelines. That isn’t hopeful conjecture, it is what you do every night in the dreamtime. Other mammals also dream, but our sub-creative abilities make us the pinnacle of mammals.

The evolution of life on this planet has pushed the envelope inwards, in the direction of greater interiority. The very first thing that the very first cell had to accomplish was some sort of boundary, an ability to enclose interior space for the metabolism of this individual life form to occur without just diffusing into the environment. There is no life without interiority.

From the cellular world, we moved toward cephalization, the tendency for an organism to have an asymmetric concentration of nerve tissue. Cephalization increased as that central nexus of nerve tissue folded itself into a head. When that head grew portals into the exterior world in the form of an array of sensory organs, it began to create an inner simulacrum of the exterior world. A whole new dimension came into being on this planet, the dimension of inner worlds that existed in association with the processing power of ever more complex and differentiated nerve tissue. The complexity and differentiation of nerve tissue, and the complexity and differentiation of inner simulacra have reached their ultimate on this planet, so far, with Homo sapiens.

I’m trying to avoid causal language in how I relate the trends of increased complexity of nerve tissue and inner simulacra because I am not a neurological materialist. I don’t believe it’s as simple as the chicken of greater neurological processing power hatching the egg of ever-larger interior space. For reasons I discuss elsewhere, I believe that these two great processes (increasing neural and inner simulacra complexity) are parallelisms that interpenetrate at certain levels, may have some causal connections, but may also have acausal associations. The alchemical motto says, “As above, so below.” It does not say below causes above, or that above causes below. (See Synchronicity— a Brief Introduction, The Glorified Body, White Crows Rising). And this is why, for example, during an NDE, there can be profound conscious experience while the brain is inactive. (see Life Lessons from the Living Dead for a detailed case history that illustrates this).

I know this will be a controversial claim in some quarters, but I believe that when we push the envelope with imaginal sub-creation, we are at the point of a teleological arrow that shoots through the sometimes-meandering process of evolution. This directional evolutionary force is apparent, furthermore, not just in the phylogenetic evolution of species, but is particularly evident in the very recent history of Homo sapiens. What makes our recent history anomalous, and seems evidence of a distinctly new phase in the parallelism and cross-fertilization of the neural and the sub-creative, is that neurological complexity seems like it is at a relative plateau. The brain of a Renaissance man of today is not anatomically different than that of the Renaissance man of the Renaissance. And yet, the last several hundred years of human culture have seen a steep ramp up in the complexity of inner simulacra, and this is associated with novel developments in cultural technologies and electro-magnetic technologies. For example, the invention and development of the novel was, and continues to be, a powerful manifestation, catalyst, realization and portal into interior space.

No other mammal seems remotely capable of sub-creating such complex and interior artifacts. A novel is an inner simulacrum, that weaves, out of a lattice of words, an unfolding world populated with persons, animals and sometimes other creatures. The wave of novelty represented by the novel, was and is being synergistically enhanced by cultural and technological developments. Novels grew from simple narratives into more complex and interior forms that sometimes include multiple points-of-view interior monologues that are portals into the depths of multiple personalities.

This cultural evolution of sub-creation happened in synergistic association with mechanical technology—the invention and evolution of the printing press— and also electro-magnetic technologies such as movies and television. A movie is almost always a simulacrum of an unfolding world populated with persons, animals and sometime other creatures. At the core of movies is a word-lattice known as a screenplay— the simulacrum within the movie simulacrum that grows from it.

Electro-mechanical technology evolved, and in the present era it has become digital, informational, interactive and globally networked. Consider the incredibly complex simulacra of networked computer games like World of Warcraft. The simulacrum of such a game is not just set in motion by years of collaborative efforts by programmers, computer graphic artists, writers, etc.; it is also the unpredictable performance of millions of networked users. If you had a computer memory capacious enough to store a complete recording of everything that has ever happened in World of Warcraft in the nine years of its existence, you would have a vast density of history. And it would be a history of a dynamic, evolving world, a simulacrum breathed into life by millions of human psyches. And whatever the vast World of Warcraft simulacrum might lack in quality, it certainly impresses with the sheer quantity of it.

Neural, sub-creative and technological evolution are deeply entwined synergistic processes. All are working to merge the physics of the dreamtime with the physics of the waking world. Movies are essentially a dream-delivery technology. Virtual reality realms, like World of Warcraft, bring an experience of dreamtime physics on demand into the waking life.

From this evolutionary perspective, a person having an intense, participation mystique experience sub-creating a novel, or sub-creating an inner movie as they read a novel, would be an example of pushing the evolutionary envelope. Pushing that envelope advances a main drive of evolution—-the expansion of interiority. We’ve gone from the first brain complex enough to support an inner simulacrum of the outside physical world, to psyches that can generate additional personalities and form their own simulacra worlds.

There is another aspect of sub-creation that needs to be included in its evolutionary context. Many authors, artists, composers, etc. will talk about a flow of creativity that seems “channeled.” They will often report that they did not feel like they were doing the writing or painting, etc. but that something was choosing to flow through them. Many great composers have said that they felt they were listening to music that already existed, and they were merely recording the notes.

My own experience is more variable. At times sub-creation feels like a discovery, like I’ve been granted a portal into a world that was already ongoing. At other times what I feel is closer to an enhanced mode of creativity. It isn’t merely my ego/mind doing it. It feels more like something being generated by what Jung called the “Self,” the totality of all the psychic structures. If someone is highly identified with his mind/ego, then the Self can feel other. What I experience may be closer to the feeling that my mind/ego is being enlightened as it channels the Self.

The slippery distinction here is what is meant by “I” when someone says, “I feel like I was channeling it, that I wasn’t the one who was doing it.” If the “I” in the statement is his mind/ego, then it makes perfect sense. Where the distinction gets more slippery is if the “I” is upsized to mean the Self. There is no firewall that separates the Self from even larger fields of intelligence that interpenetrate it—-the collective unconscious, and perhaps a guiding intelligence implicit in the cosmos. Sub-creation may be a manifestation created by a series of overlapping holons. Sub-creation, therefore, pushes the evolutionary envelope because it comes from a realignment of psychic functions and an expansion of the fields of intelligence a human psyche can access.

This powerful expansion parallels in the waking life what is already the case with the dreaming psyche. I have often pointed out that the psyche of a person who does not appear particularly intelligent in the waking life is capable of (apparently) spontaneously generating dreams that could have been directed by David Lynch. The dreams of such people may be filled with triple entendres, multiple layers of meaning, and symbolic, surrealist imagery and situations. The dreams are probably the sub-creations of the Self, but they may also be co-created with some larger field of intelligence, such as the collective unconscious of the species.

When I am involved in sub-creation, I usually experience it as a co-creation. I certainly feel like a participant, and some layers feel like a performance of mind/ego, but I am also aware that the totality of my being, the Self, is involved. Additionally, I sense an active intelligence and will in the medium, the imaginal plane itself, so that it feels like the medium is also shaping its own manifestations. It is fertile to some of my creative impulses, and less fertile to others, so that there is a cross-fertilizing collaboration between sub-creator and medium. This may be another way of saying that the Self is interfacing with a still larger holon. When you are really pushing the envelope into interior space, inner and outer blur.

It’s for you to judge whether I exaggerate the importance of imaginal sub-creation, but I believe it is as essential as dreaming, and is a pinnacle example of pushing the envelope. I have also chosen to emphasize pushing the envelope inward because the extraverted bias of our society tends to emphasize pushing the envelope outwards.

There are many other pinnacle instances of pushing the envelope I haven’t emphasized because they are much better recognized. Science and technology have provided numerous pushing-the-envelope pinnacles, such as splitting the atom, unraveling the human genome, creating mini-black holes in super-colliders, discovering counter-intuitive principles of quantum mechanics, and the ever-weirder theorizing of string theory. These sorts of pinnacles all represent incursions into collective novelty. The list of other pinnacle pushing-the-envelope experiences has increased with the increased metabolism of novelty that our species is undergoing.

Other pinnacle pushing-the-envelope experiences are mostly personal. For example, Joe Simpson is a mountain climber and the author of Touching the Void, an account of his amazing survival story. Simpson narrates the harrowing, sometimes visionary experience of surviving a mountain climbing accident that would be comic understatement to call “life-threatening.” An against-the-odds survival experience like Simpson’s may seem like a purely personal instance of pushing the envelope, but it also has collective aspects as well. It is a pinnacle of mammalian evolution that an injured creature could bring to bear that much situational awareness, intelligence, skill, and sustained will to turn such a no-win scenario around. And of course, his experience also builds on the collective evolution of mountain climbing.

Another type of personal pushing-the-envelope experience is the epiphany, especially one that causes the experiencer to change his life accordingly. If epiphany sounds like a rare and exotic state, consider the following example: An adolescent has an epiphany, a sudden, life-changing discovery: The feelings of other people are real. After he crosses this threshold of perception, his character matures over many decades like a deepening stream. Notice that a personal act of pushing the envelope doesn’t require a remarkable person, or at least not one remarkable by the celebrity standards of the collective. For example, the person pushing the envelope could an elementary school teacher who pushed to the limits of his abilities to become an empathic, impeccable elementary school teacher.

Since we’ve looked at a few of the pinnacles of pushing the envelope, it would be very imbalanced if we didn’t also look into its valleys. I have logged my fair share of time in some of those valleys and write about them from personal experience. Pushing the envelope often means getting caught in the grip of an all-consuming obsession, so that you may become the unconscious hero determined to be the fool that rushes in where angels fear to tread. Pushing the envelope can also make you poor company, and cause you to be absent in relationships because you’re afraid to descend from the high-octane world of pushing the envelope. Let’s say you’re an athlete that is pushing personal and maybe even collective envelopes (in the sense of breaking records). Or let’s say you are a high-power mathematician who has just come up with some breakthrough solution to a key problem in quantum mechanics. It’s going to be very hard to come down from the intensity of that, and enter the slower, often tentative and uncertain rhythms of soulful, interpersonal relations. Some pushing-the-envelope addicts are unable to make that transition. They are like deep-sea divers who have already experienced the bends trying to surface too quickly from the powerful currents of pushing-the-envelope mode into the often-fragile world of human relationships. To extend the metaphor, the deep-sea divers choose to live underwater, pushing the scuba-diving envelope, but at the extreme cost of pushing every other sort of envelope, including incursions into the novelty of soulful human relationships. Bobby Fischer, the chess prodigy, a genius and a world champion, certainly pushed the envelope. He pushed the chess pedal to the metal, but unfortunately this was also at the extreme cost of pushing all other pedals. All of his personal envelopes were in chaotic states of mismanagement and neglect.

An obsessive, monomaniacal, tunnel intelligence in one narrow area inevitably becomes a severe deficit in one or more other areas. My recommendation is to avoid becoming any version of the chain-smoking mad scientist, burning the midnight oil to create something that will shock the world. What is more sustainable is pushing the envelope that engages deep layers of who you are, so that you are not truncating your identity and life to fit into a narrow reality tunnel. However dazzling the focused intensity might be when you push the envelope into a narrow reality tunnel, such single-pointed focus has 350-degree blindness.

To push a larger envelope you need panoramic vision. You need to be able to look all around you to make sure that you are pushing the largest envelope possible for you. If instead, you commit yourself to pushing the envelope into a narrow tunnel, what happens, whether you notice or not, is that significant parts of you get stripped off so that you can fit into such a narrow tunnel.

The story of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook is a very interesting example of some of the peak and valley aspects of pushing-the-envelope. The example is only helpful if we set up a thought experiment based on a single condition: we replace the real Mark Zuckerberg with the movie character played by Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network. If the movie character is the example, then any reader who has also seen this movie shares a common data set with the author. Like most readers, I have no special inside scoop on what the real Mark Zuckerberg is like. In the sub-created world of the movie, however, we can be omniscient observers. Once the experiment is over, however, I will point out a couple of things I have heard that suggest pushing the envelope differences between Mark Zuckerberg and the character played by Jesse Eisenberg.

The movie character Mark Zuckerberg (hereafter “Mark”) is an extremely interesting case of pushing the envelope with many classic illustrations of the light and dark sides of pushing the envelope.

One classic element that is almost surreal in both its obviousness and significance is that Mark’s pushing the envelope has a social context. He is driven by certain relationship aims, but those aims are dominated by the power principle. When someone’s social impulse is ruled by the power principle, he will tend to have a ruthless drive to gain social status. This is not some exotic state; it is high school. Striving for social status is the default state not only for human beings, but other primates and social mammals in general.

A National Geographic documentary on primate behavior stated: “Chimpanzees are natural politicians driven by a desire for power.”As primates, we are very concerned with social status, and from a biological point-of-view that concern makes perfect sense. A higher-ranked chimpanzee gains greater access to valuable resources, like food, that increase his chance of survival. The high-ranked male chimpanzee also gains more access to fertile females, which gives him the genetic crown jewel of reproductive advantage. On the other hand, I would guess that higher-ranked chimpanzees are more likely to be involved in violent transactions. The alpha chimpanzee probably takes the lead when there are wars with other chimpanzee troops. Also, strong, young chimpanzees will want to depose him, so he will have to keep fighting to remain the alpha. So even amongst chimpanzees the outcome for gaining status is complex.

Obviously, many of these aspects can easily be mapped onto human examples. A man may achieve a higher social status through success in business, for example, and thereby he captures a trophy wife. Depending on your point of view, this may seem like a very ambiguous form of success. I think the ambiguity comes from an implicit sense that when the human domain parallels the atavistic domain, it is regressive.

If Mark were purely driven by a desire for social status, a desire to show the girl who spurned him what he can do, a desire to become part of certain Harvard Clubs, etc. that would be regressive for his personal evolution. But Mark is not exclusively driven by social aims. While his social intentions are sometimes give more of a voice in the dialogue, Mark is also clearly driven by other forces.

Mark is motivated by the creative muse and a sense of life mission. Mark is aligned with what Aleister Crowley would call his “True Will,” a will that comes from his essence. Mark is determined, at times ruthlessly determined, to fulfill his life mission. His speedy, sharp intellect, his state-of-the-art programming skills, and, yes, his social desires and sense of the social desires of others, all meld perfectly to make him a spearhead of a core intention of the species. As social mammals, if we discover a new power, such as how to make fire, it is a certainty that we will exploit that new power to further our social intentions. For example, we may use fire to cook food that we want to share to enhance a social occasion. Or we may burn women for transgressing a fundamentalist social hierarchy.

Human beings recently discovered a new form of fire, a digital fire, which we are busy using to transform everything. Our world is continually being changed by this new fire, but one thing hasn’t changed that much; we are still social mammals and we are still driven by social intentions. Mark pushes the envelope by bringing the new digital fire together with our intense social intentionality. Combining these fires fulfills a core species intention. Therefore, a significant portion of the species has chosen to join Facebook.

From that point-of-view Mark has achieved an ultimate instance of pushing the envelope. Mark, despite the deficiencies in his personal social life, may have pushed the collective social envelope more than any other person in history. The social context is intense and multi-layered. Mark’s pushing of the envelope, for example, is only possible because of the social context of other computer experts, not just the other programmers working with him on the Facebook code, but also all the other people who collaborated to invent computers, the internet, etc. Mark is at the point of the spear, but millions of other computer folks form the head of that spear, and billions of users form the shaft of the spear.

Of course pushing the envelope, including the species envelope, doesn’t mean there won’t be a dark side to the outcome. Just as Facebook has downsides of distraction and loss of privacy, etc., Mark also confronts many personal valleys in his efforts to push the envelope. He expands social networking but at the extreme cost of his own social life. The girl he loves and his best, perhaps only friend are alienated in the process. The whole Feminine side of his being and experience gets neglected, diminished and corrupted by the Masculine drive to push the envelope.

The actual Mark Zuckerberg (hereafter “MZ”) should not be confused with the movie character. At a party put on by his fraternity in 2003, MZ met his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, and they have been, more or less together since then. Also, MZ said something, I believe to Charlie Rose, that has implications for pushing the envelope and suggests he has a different proportion of motivations than the movie character. MZ said that what the movie didn’t capture was the sheer joy of getting the code right. It is easier for a movie to dramatize man and woman, for example, than man and software. Although pushing the envelope always has a social context, there is also the joy of when focus narrows to the very edge of the envelope. The awareness of other people may recede entirely when you are at the edge of many envelopes. Although I didn’t ask him about it, I’m sure that when Chris came off the cliff and was trying to come forward on his skis, he had little attention to spare for interpersonal relations.

I began this essay by defining pushing the envelope as: Boundary expansion into a zone of novelty previously unexplored by the species or an individual. That zone of novelty includes both the vastness of outer space, but also the vastness of inner space. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, when novelty intensifies, the outer edge of light and dark also tend to intensify. When we as a species push the envelope into major new zones of novelty, we must expect light and dark outcomes. For example, once we learned to manipulate the genetic code it was obvious that we would both cure some diseases and also create some horrors. As Sophocles said, “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” Similarly, when we as individuals attempt to push personal and/or collective envelopes we must also be aware of this dual aspect.

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Pushing the Envelope, Boundary Expansion into Novelty in Personal and Evolutionary Contexts | ZapOracle.com Chris, airborne, seconds before injury. What does it mean to push the envelope? The answer is more complex and charged with light and dark elements than you might think. The phrase originated as an aerospace term as the following entry from Wikipedia makes clear: This phrase is used to refer to an a Featured Rescue2 Chris getting rescued by colleagues. Brian Schaefer is wearing the green jacket. xray2 X- Ray showing broken tibula and fibula traumarooom Steven’s Pass first aid trauma room. Snow forecaster John Andrews is pulling on Chris’s foot to expose the wound so it can be irrigated. 7644
A Spiraling, Eye-Encrusted Overview of the Art of Alex Grey (and some related topics, and a response from Alex) https://zaporacle.com/a-spiraling-eye-encrusted-overview-of-the-art-of-alex-grey/ https://zaporacle.com/a-spiraling-eye-encrusted-overview-of-the-art-of-alex-grey/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:11:37 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=12319 Cover Image—Parallel Journeys, my first collage, was partly a tribute to Alex  and partly a foreshadow of my willingness to slash into his artwork as I sacrificed my first copy of Sacred Mirrors to obtain visionary source material Copyright 2013, Jonathan Zap (Alex has given image permissions and sent hi quality jepgs of some of his images. I …

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Cover Image—Parallel Journeys, my first collage, was partly a tribute to Alex  and partly a foreshadow of my willingness to slash into his artwork as I sacrificed my first copy of Sacred Mirrors to obtain visionary source material

Copyright 2013, Jonathan Zap

(Alex has given image permissions and sent hi quality jepgs of some of his images. I haven’t gotten around to getting Alex’s permission to include images for the last part of the article,  so expect to see quite a few (((insert image))) place holders. Meanwhile, googling painting titles will probably turn up the image and many can be found at alexgrey.com  and cosm.org. Even better would be to get Alex’s three Monograph books: Sacred Mirrors, Transfigurations and Net of Being Cick on this link: CoSM Store to buy these directly from Alex.)

Introduction

On the morning I started writing this, a five-year-old named Caleb happened to be visiting the house and interrupted my writing session to tell me (and this is an exact quote):

“Jonathan, I see ghosty things other people don’t see.”

I was tempted to reply: “That’s interesting because I just started writing about a grown-up named Alex Grey who also sees ghosty things other people don’t see.” Instead, I asked Caleb to describe one of the ghosty things, and he said he saw a cupcake with a “skeleton head” in it. There were more details I couldn’t quite follow due to the limits of his five-year-old vocabulary and his unfortunate inability to paint like Alex Grey. This synchronistic incident was a timely, and somewhat eerie, reminder of why we need Alex Grey—he sees ghosty things other people don’t see and he does paint like Alex Grey.

In fact, Alex Grey can paint unseen, ghosty things to a degree of potency that can only be compared to a Thor-hammer blow to the head while your body is being strafed by DMT-coated diamond bullets. Scientific testing indicates that some of Alex’s paintings generate phased bursts of nuclear magnetic resonance. This type of scalar wave NMR has been linked to high-lumen retro-chronal causation effects (sometimes called “balefire“), which are capable of matrix deletion of toxic patriarchal structures extending into the past. For example, ever since Alex began painting Net of Being, I can no longer find any record online, or anywhere, of Rasputin‘s two decade reign over Oceania. At their best, Alex’s paintings seem like unauthorized glimpses through the interstices of the matrix, the fever dreams of third-stage, space-folding Guild Navigators living in giant tanks of pure spice gas causing illegal ruptures in the space-time continuum.  (Note to literalists: The above are what are called “jokes,” so stop asking me to clarify or document.)

For less than seventy dollars you can own all three of Alex’s monographs—Sacred Mirrors, Transfigurations and the just published Net of Being. Holding these three books in my hands, I feel like I have paid the least price possible to obtain the Philosopher’s Stone, or at least the glossy paper version of an alchemical portal of some kind. I feel like I am holding a spiraling, eye-encrusted atlas of the hidden realms. No home would ever be complete without this trilogy on the shelf available for spiritual cartography, easy reference to the unseen and bottomless rabbit holes on demand.

Although I know Alex, or at least have had several conversations with him, and the reader can probably detect that I am partial to his work, I won’t always be easy on him in this essay. In some sections, like “Don’t Pray the Grey Away” (which critiques Alex’s transforming relationship to darkness and shadow material) I’m going to offer him some challenging criticism. These critiques are not merely to counterbalance the praise myself and so many others want to lavish on his work. I’m hoping this will be useful criticism since I regard Alex as much more than a private citizen and painter. I consider Alex to be a potent, alchemical mutagen introduced into the collective psyche that we all have a stake in keeping as potently mutagenic as possible.

When Terence McKenna was asked what we should do given the dire state of the world, he replied: “Push the art pedal to the metal.” Alex has pushed the art pedal past the heavy metal darkness of H.R. Giger, past the existential despair of post-modernism and trendy nihilism, past the heat ripple distortions of the collective asphalt and into the forbidden realms under-glowing the meat puppet antics of the Babylon Matrix. Stephen Daedalus, James Joyce’s literary alter ego, summed up an aeon when he said, “History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” Alex follows trails of red pills down rabbit holes, waking up repeatedly from the nightmare of history to see through the world that’s been pulled over our eyes. Quite a number of people have had parallel voyages of discovery, but the difference is that Alex brought back to us high-resolution images from across the threshold. For this reason, I see Alex as belonging to humanity, in much the same way as I see the Mars Curiosity Rover with its seventeen cameras, the best optics we’ve ever had roving across the surface of another world, to be public property.

The presumption I make in writing this essay, a presumption that some may find arrogant, is that in return for the two Alex Grey calendars I have purchased, plus up to a dozen of the postcards, perhaps as many as a half dozen of the much more expensive lenticular postcards, and a couple of his books, I am entitled to view myself as a majority shareholder in the Alex Grey enterprise with the right to offer all kinds of evaluations and suggestions about how the enterprise should go forward. Part of this presumption comes with the character flaws of being a demanding and egocentric mutant, but part of it is because Alex belongs to humanity, our high-definition, eye-encrusted Curiosity Rover exploring forbidden, unseen realms. We all have a vested interest in seeing that his high-stakes artistic mission succeeds.

Much of Alex’s work is intended to be an illustration of classic phases of spiritual transformation. But, as Alex and his work recognize, there are spaces where spiritual transformation and evolutionary metamorphosis overlap and coalesce like the multi-Janus-faced entities of Net of Being. Much has already been written, including by Alex, of the classic spiritual face of his work. In part two of this essay I will focus my gaze on the evolutionary metamorphic face of his work, and point out the myriad ways it manifests what I call the Singularity Archetype.

In addition to the enormous value of his work, Alex also has great value to us as what I call a “talismanic personality.” In a review of the movie, Lincoln, I describe a talismanic personality as follows:

A talismanic personality is one that is numinous and inspiring, an exemplar of wholeness that reminds us of what Lincoln called the ‘better angels’ of human nature.  In the presence of a talismanic personality, all that is superficially glamorous is revealed as the shoddy, mediocre product of false personality and inflated ego.

Alex personifies a person who is in touch with and coming from what Alistair Crowley called “True Will.” He is someone who recognized his mission in life very early on and has been faithfully pursuing it. By the time he was five years old, Alex had already completed a number of drawings of skulls and skeletons and other visual motifs reflecting his creative preoccupation with death.

lifecycle

Alex’s self-portrait entitled Life Cycle, drawn at age 17, is a brilliant revelation of his essence and life mission. His eyes are obsessively focused, and he is an image of alchemical tension, with one hand touching the boundary between a fetus and a corpse and the other hand raised in prayer. He seems to be surrounded by ancestral spirits.

Alex recognizes and fulfills the  foundational core of most True Will: commitment to consciousness and service to others. Also, unlike many of the folks that Alex finds to be talismanic personalities (highly talented people with enormous, unintegrated shadows—more about this later), Alex seems to be consistently benign,  gentle and generous with the people who encounter him. He is not the sort of genius, like Picasso, who is best appreciated from a safe distance.

 Alex, An Invisible Giant in the Realm of Art Worldlings

 

As far as I can tell, Alex Grey is invisible in the world of “serious art.” First, according to the postmodern world, spirituality is an incorrect subject for art, literature, film or any sort of culture. The only correct subject for “serious literature,” as Robert McKee has pointed out, are downbeat stories about failed relationships. Spirituality is considered the domain of evangelicals and the hoi polloi, and is far too unsophisticated a subject for art of any kind. Also, the use of skill in artwork, and accurately rendered representational images, indicates an amateurish rube whose art could never be taken seriously.

Net of Being excerpts what is probably the only time the New York Times condescended to notice Alex Grey’s existence. Reporting on the closing of The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, the Times informs us that the chapel was “…a curious, over-the-top combination of art gallery, New Age temple and Coney Island sideshow.” The tone of the article suggests that it is generously restraining the devastating sarcasm it might otherwise unleash if it weren’t showing good natured, bemused tolerance for any readers who might have fond memories of this quaint and colorful little New Age theme park that was closing anyway. The chapel, the Times continues, was a “theatrical environment…designed to transport paying visitors into states of ecstatic reverence for life, love and universal interconnectedness.” The sophisticated reader is meant to admire the tasteful restraint with which the Times implies that here was a place where suckers actually paid money to see a bunch of New Age clichés. I wonder how many Times reviews of exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art specified “paying visitors”?

One of the best assessments of what’s wrong with the art world is an article by Tom Wolfe entitled “The Artist the Art World Couldn’t See” about the sculptor Frederick Hart. Hart had a fatal handicap that cast him as a hopeless amateur in the art world—he could sculpt like a Renaissance Master. A masterpiece like Ex Nihilo, which had spiritual power and took 11 years of focused skill and inspiration, and would have won the respect of Michelangelo, couldn’t possibly be art. If Fredrick had created a sculpture that looked like a fifty-foot tall rusting coat hanger stuck in the ground, that would be art. But to commit the faux pas of using skill in connection with a work of art, and, God forbid, spiritual themes, meant that he didn’t show up as even the faintest blip on the art world radar. (In The Mission of Art, Alex quotes art historian Rosalind Krauss: “Now we find it indescribably embarrassing to mention ‘art’ and ‘spirit’ in the same sentence.”) The 2012 film, Cloud Atlas, is a masterpiece (see my review), but it was largely dismissed by critics, many of whom seemed to find its inclusion of spiritual themes to be unacceptable. For example, film critic John Serba wrote:

“Destiny, kismet, serendipity, karma – whatever you want to call it, ‘Cloud Atlas’ is full of it. And when I say ‘full of it,’ I mean ‘it’ to be New Age pseudo-spiritual baloney. ‘Everything is connected,’ the film’s tagline reads, and those who subscribe to that philosophy are more apt to be moved by its purported profundities.”

In other words, politically correct moviegoers, those sophisticated enough to realize that everything is disconnected and meaningless, can’t possibly support a film spreading outrageous spiritual propaganda like “everything is connected.”

No serious art critic would even review Hart’s spiritually themed masterpiece, Ex Nihilo. As Wolfe put it, “The one mention of any sort was an obiter dictum in The Post’s Style (read: Women’s) section indicating that the west facade of the cathedral now had some new but earnestly traditional (read: old-fashioned) decoration.” If Hart’s use of skill and spiritual themes weren’t offensive enough, he added insult to injury by becoming America’s most popular sculptor. Popularity with the general public is the ultimate disconfirmation of artistic value as far as the serious art world is concerned. According to Wolfe, “Art worldlings regarded popularity as skill’s live-in slut. Popularity meant shallowness. Rejection by the public meant depth. And truly hostile rejection very likely meant greatness. Richard Serra’s ‘Tilted Arc,’ a leaning wall of rusting steel smack in the middle of Federal Plaza in New York, was so loathed by the building’s employees that 1,300 of them, including many federal judges, signed a petition calling for its removal. They were angry and determined, and eventually the wall was removed. Serra thereby achieved an eminence of immaculate purity: his work involved absolutely no skill and was despised by everyone outside the art world who saw it. Today many art worldlings regard him as America’s greatest sculptor.”

Long before Ex Nihilo was dismissed by the art world, a Looney Tunes cartoon about a sculpture competition prophetically anticipated the undervaluing of Fredrick Hart. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd enter a sculpture contest. Elmer obtains a huge slab of marble and sculpts a general sitting on a rearing horse. Just as he is finishing up, his chisel slips and one of the horse’s legs come off. He has less marble now, and uses the remainder to make a sculpture of a standing person. Elmer slips again when he is almost finished and has to discard that statue. Finally, he ends up with a sculpture of a mouse that he entitles The Mouse.  As he is putting the finishing touches on The Mouse, Bugs Bunny casually enters his studio, picks up a jagged hunk of discarded marble, and asks Elmer Fudd if he can have it. Elmer distractedly assents. Bugs Bunny stands the rock up on a pedestal and entitles it Upwards Through Time and wins first place in the sculpture contest. My plot synopsis of the cartoon might be off by a detail or two, but you get the idea.

In another sphere of high culture, J.R.R. Tolkien and other writers of fantasy literature are similarly disdained by most literary critics for not realizing that a downbeat account of a series of failed relationships is the only subject sophisticated enough to be considered literature. Literary critics, like Harold Bloom, seemed to be in a hobbit-kicking competition. Edmund Wilson, who was once considered America’s preeminent man of letters, dismissed The Lord of the Rings as “juvenile trash.” There are some signs that attitudes are changing. Stephen King did get the National Book Award in 2003. However, the world of literary criticism still doesn’t seem to realize that fantasy is not a contemporary sub-genre, but the mainstream of literature, with classics like Beowulf and The Odyssey that were created millennia ago. It is in great works of fantasy literature that we often get glimpses of the hidden realms that Alex paints.

Instead of reducing fantasy literature into a subgenre, and calling downbeat books about failed relationships “literature,” I propose that only fantasy fiction should be called “literature” and the downbeat, failed relationship books be consigned to the following subgenre: “Nonvisionary/Personal-Neurotic.” Someone once said: “Don’t read a book unless it is like a ball of light glowing in your hands.” I’ve had that experience more often reading great fantasy novels than most “serious” literature and I was an English major with a couple of degrees and an English teacher for many years. I want all art that I encounter to be a ball of light in my hands, or even better, a ball of light I can step into. I propose that high art be defined as that which generates a ball of light in your hands, head or entire being, and all the rest should be consigned to subgenres with condescending names.

The 2006 film, Art School Confidential, is a wonderful spoof of what’s wrong with the art world. John Malkiovich plays a neurotic art teacher who only paints triangles and heaps scorn on any student naive enough to apply skill to their art projects.

So what is this “art world” that barely notices a visionary genius like Alex Grey? According to Wolfe,

“…the art world was strictly the New York art world, and it was scarcely a world, if world was meant to connote a great many people. In the one sociological study of the subject, ‘The Painted Word,’ the author estimated that the entire art ‘world’ consisted of some 3,000 curators, dealers, collectors, scholars, critics and artists in New York.”

On the morning I started writing this, the same morning that Caleb told me that he saw ghosty things other people didn’t see, there was another stunning synchronicity. While making breakfast, I put on the next Charlie Rose interview that happened to be waiting in my DVR queue. I knew I was going to be watching Charlie Rose, but I had no idea what guests were on. Up next turned out to be an interview with Arne Glimcher, a true princeling amongst art worldlings, the owner of five art galleries, including New York’s influential Pace Gallery. Arne had just written a book about the minimalist artist, Agnes Martin. One minute and five seconds into the interview, Arne laments the ignorance of people (what wretched idiots we are!) who think art has anything to do with skill. Glimcher:

“I think people don’t understand really that art is something in the mind not in the hand. So many people have enormous skill, can make beautiful portraits, can render what they see, so few people can interpret reality.”

Glimcher seems to have done a statistical analysis by proclamation and claims that people with “enormous skill” are a dime a dozen and much more common than his elite class of reality interpreters. First of all, Arne, all art, good or dreadful, abstract or representational, interprets reality. Second, where are all these “so many” folks with enormous skill who are apparently too numerous to be worthy of consideration? I don’t have any statistics either, but last time I checked, I noticed a lot more people doing sloppy, conceptual art projects than people who merely had “enormous skill.”

Oh, but how silly of me, I forgot that art worldlings are here to interpret reality for the rest of us, and to represent reality accurately on canvas or in public statements would be a descent into tasteless, hoi-polloi mediocrity. Perhaps the world of high art and the Tea Party are destined to be allies, since both feel empowered to interpret reality in anyway that feels convenient and both heap scorn on those who seek to represent things accurately. Glimcher’s nonsensical assertion that only the elite of artists “interpret reality” tells us that the art world is rife with pseudo-intellectualism. Highfalutin sounding statements filled with jargon that don’t even begin to make sense are passed off as if incomprehensibility were a sign of high intellect. The pseudo-intellectualism of art wordlings is the perfect bait to phonies seeking culture as status symbol. Privately such status-seekers think that someone making incomprehensible statements must be smarter than they are, and that their best chance of appearing cultured is to meekly defer to the judgment of art worldlings.

And Mr. Glimcher is full of judgments he expects us to defer to. In this one fourteen minute interview he is going to give us several more fascinating glimches into what constitutes high art. In the second minute of the interview, Glimcher provides a list of elite artists who don’t touch their own artwork, but hire other people to do it or create it digitally. “And you are saying what about those people?” asks Charlie Rose. “I’m saying that they are some of the best examples of art being a product of the mind, rather than the hand.” Apparently this is Glimcher’s most central discrimination: art of the hand vs. art of the mind. Notice that this is a nonsensical distinction. Opposable thumbs have been redefined as a counter-evolutionary development.  Perhaps if he had watched Charlie Rose’s brain series, he might have learned this interesting finding from neuroscience: Hands are often controlled by minds. Using your hand does not make you mindless, and if you instead use these unfortunate appendages only to touch a computer mouse or to pick up a phone and call other people to tell them how to do the messy, physical part of your art work, that does not make you more imbued with mind. It does not make you more of a “reality interpreter” than anyone else. It does, however, make it 72% more likely that you are pretentious asshole. Artists who are handicapped by having hands under intelligent, skillful control are still able to make art imbued by mind. The only thing I get from Glimcher’s favorite distinction is a snotty, upper class disdain for manual labor. Like a CEO, you become a member of the art elite by being as removed as possible from physical participation with the finished product.

Glimcher further clarifies his disdainfulness for the physical by condescending to recognize architecture as an art (barely), but a handicapped art that could never rise to the level of, for example, one of Agnes Martin’s smears on graph paper.

“Architects can, you know, make great works of ar—”

Glimcher breaks off mid-syllable, preventing himself from accidentally crediting architects as being capable of great art. He corrects the slip and continues:

“Great works of architecture. I think, for the most part, architects are utilitarian artists.”

Glimcher disdainfully over-enunciates “utilitarian” in a way that indicates that it is a synonym for “mentally retarded.” He continues: “It is not, it’s great, it is not the same level, for me, as painting and sculpture where they are non-utilitarian. They are something that just extends the perception of the mind.” (Of course, a utilitarian object like a computer could never extend the perception of the mind. Only things hanging in the Pace Gallery could possibly do that.) Rose ignores this dismissal of architecture as one of the janitorial arts, and tries to steer the interview back to something that Glimcher does know about: “Tell me who Agnes Martin was.” Glimcher:

“Many people call Martin the beginning of minimalism. She’s the end of abstract expressionism. Because there is brushwork, there is a sensitive application by hand. Minimalism sought to get rid of all possible human marks on a canvas.”

Glimcher over enunciates “human marks” to indicate that it is a synonym for dog shit. Martin sweeps away these unsanitary human marks,

“And she eliminates everything from the picture. There is at first no color, no composition. She begins making paintings that are grids that look like graph paper with pencil on canvass…she said to me that she wanted to make a painting that no one else would recognize as a painting. And you know, they responded.”

Glimcher smiles to indicate that Martin had received the ultimate recognition of creating art that no one recognized as art.

This statement generated a flashback to something my dad, Nathan Zap, warned me about in the Museum of Modern Art when I was about twelve years old. My dad was an expressionist/ surrealist painter (see Nocturnal Visions—The Paintings of Nathan Zap) and I grew up going to New York art museums on at least a monthly basis. The first pictures of my parents dating in the late 1940s were taken in the Museum of Modern Art sculpture gardens.

 

Nathan Zap in the Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden in about 1949

Even as a small child, it was obvious to me that some modern art was visionary, and some of it was a hoax. (An art hoax that costs $50,000 or more is called a “Glimcher”) When I was twelve, we walked past an absurdly minimalist painting, and I ventured the opinion that it wasn’t even art. My dad rebuked me sharply,

“Never, ever say something’s not art, and never, ever act outraged by art no matter how bad it is. There is always some chance that the artist is present and you’ll be giving them exactly what they want. They live for the hope that their art will outrage someone, or that someone will say it is not art. Just walk by it looking bored.”

He was exactly right, of course, and his advice has always stayed with me. There is a great shortage in the art world of people who will act outraged at unskillful art. Such art has been a banal and predictable stereotype for many decades. These are objects of boredom, not outrage. This type of artist is reduced to begging for outrage and disapproval, like Marilyn Manson in the classic Onion article: Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-to-Door Trying to Shock People.

The interview continues, and we finally see some of Martin’s work, beginning with a painting that looks like a sun-faded Rothko. Glimcher narrates: “This is the beginning of Martin’s mature work…it’s not mature yet, but she’s beginning to limit the amount of content in the painting.” This is another fascinating glimche into the nature of high art. An artist is mature to the extent that they have reduced or eliminated content from their art. An artist like Alex Grey, whose paintings are filled with mesmerizing content, is, therefore, an immature artist. That Alex’s art is recognizable as art due to his naive inclusion of content shows just how lowbrow it is. That his content is realized by the skillful use of hands lowers it even further.

Glimcher is not alone in his contempt for art that has content or that is recognizable as art. Sophisticated art must be nihilistic and expressive of nothing except contempt for the public. In The Mission of Art, Alex quotes the contemporary German painter Georg Baselitz as an example of this sort of trendy and contemptuous nihilism:

The artist is not responsible to anyone. His social role is asocial; his only responsibility consists in an attitude to the work he does. There is no communication with any public whatsover. The artist can ask no question, and he makes no statement; he offers no information, and his work cannot be used.

Next on the screen we see a painting entitled Pilgrimage, which looks like an unskillfully rendered portrait of a piece of corrugated, brown cardboard. Commenting on the blurry cardboard, Glimcher gives us another glimche into high-art perception:

“This is a really great, great painting…the way you have to look at these paintings is by erasing any kind of prejudice about what you think you’re seeing and look at the painting and it becomes a mantra.”

In other words, to see high art like this, you have to stop believing your lying eyes, check your mind at the door, and instead repeat the mantras of art worldlings like Glilmcher while opening your check book. It’s an amazing glimche into the doublethink/doubletalk of an art worldling. Most of the content of Glimcher’s interview has been a recital of his prejudices against architecture, or any form of art that has been touched by human hands or that has utility or content. What we think of art is prejudice, what Glimcher thinks of it is revealed truth. To know art we must become empty vessels so that art worldlings like Arne Glimcher can fill us up with their contentless notions.

Next we are shown a painting entitled Trumpet that looks like someone has smeared charcoal on a blank accountant’s ledger. Off camera you can hear Charlie Rose shuffling papers impatiently, and you can sense his hangdog expression drooping by several degrees, until you can almost see a clock melting over his face, which is lying deflated on his oak table, a PBS transposition of the The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. The fourteen minute and twenty second interview has become like watching pencil shadings drying on graph paper, and I can feel the embarrassment of my new LED monitor as it reluctantly surrenders its pixels to render up these colorless, contentless images. Next we are shown Homage to Light, which consists of a black trapezoid on a smeary background. Glimcher describes this masterpiece,

“You have this fantastic wash background…this rectangular shape is an echo of works from the Fifties…I see it as a kind of infinite void, infinite background, void of a background, with this concrete shape floating on it. I think these are open to incredible interpretation.”

Indeed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to erase my prejudices enough. The trapezoid was still a trapezoid, even though Glimcher referred to it as a rectangle (in fairness, they are both quadrilaterals). To paraphrase Louis Armstrong, “If you have to ask what a rectangle is, you’ll never know.” I guess I’m still stuck in a trapezoidal box when it comes to recognizing the value of unskillful, contentless art. The interview ends with a perfect logical tautology. Charlie Rose quotes an assertion Glimcher made in their previous interview: “The Western narrative is over.” A Westerner asserts a narrative that the Western narrative is over. Arne has forced me to see ants scurrying around the Möbius strip of his thinking. Now that’s art of the mind.

Exposing “Casual Sex” as an Oxymoronic Delusion and other Third Rails

 

Alex_Grey-Copulating

The sophisticated person is supposed to have thoroughly demystified sex into a series of hydraulic transactions that high art should view cynically, emphasizing the lurid and grotesque aspects. Alex, in paintings like Kissing, Copulating, Embracing, and Tantra, violates this taboo by revealing the as above, so below interconnection of sexuality and spirituality. Promiscuity, the current patriarchal norm, is often just as toxic as the old patriarchal norm of harsh taboos. (see my essay: Born under a Blood Red Moon—Metamorphosis of the Feminine in the Dreams of Young Women) Contemporary promiscuity and harsh taboos are opposite sides of the same patriarchal and unerotic coin. (Eros is defined in many different ways in psychology, philosophy and popular culture. Here it is used to refer to the capacity for oceanic merger with other beings.)  What are sometimes called erotic images are often depictions of unerotic sex on the level of the genitalia. Alex’s erotic images transcend both sides of the patriarchal view of sex. In a way, his images are more explicit than pornography, which exposes the topography of naked bodies. Alex’s images make the skin transparent so we see the internal organs. At the same time he reveals the interpenetration and merger of bioenergetic and spiritual energy fields. Professor Emeritus of Physiological Science at UCLA, Valerie V. Hunt, has done experiments that demonstrate that in many cases strangers sitting near each other (in laboratory conditions where they can’t hear, see, or smell if another person is nearby) will have potent effects on each other’s bioenergetic fields, which will tend to become mutually entrained. Imagine how much greater these effects are if, instead of proximal strangers that can’t be detected by ordinary senses, we have two people having sex. This is why there can be no such thing as “casual sex.” Sex is not casual on the microbiological plane—it can begin a new life and it can sometimes end a life through STDs like AIDS. As below, so above. It is also not casual on the bioenergetic and spiritual energetic planes. Many of the people who admire Alex’s artwork (Burning Man folk, etc.) don’t seem to get this aspect of what it reveals, and are still naively promiscuous, or even fall for the pre/trans fallacy and believe that sexual antics are daring, avant-garde and transcendent of the conventional. (see Incendiary Person in the Desert Carnival Realm for a critique of Burning Man eros) If you’ve looked at Alex’s paintings and you still believe in “casual sex,” you have not really seen them.

Growing up in New York City and taking the subway on a daily basis I was always fascinated by the forbidden third rail, crackling with 625 volts of lethal electricity. It was both dangerous and fascinating, and a powerful taboo forbade ever going near it. But there was always, and is still, some counterphobic desire to draw near to it, to see what it would be like close up. I feel my hand wanting to reach for it. I, I can’t stop myself, I am going to touch it right now:  ABORTION.

Alex’s artwork has profound implications concerning abortion. Many people who look at it don’t see this, just as they don’t see its implications for casual sex. Alex’s painting Pregnancy and his series of paintings in Transfigurations that begin with Attraction, and continue through Penetration, Fertilization, and Buddha Zygote, illustrate phases in the development of embryo and fetus with medical illustrator exactitude.

alexfertilization

They also address an issue that many would prefer to skirt around: When is a soul associated with a developing human body? In Alex’s paintings, the answer seems to be conception. Alex paints soul mandalas even at the moment just before conception. He is illustrating a Buddhist teaching that souls choose to enter the organic world at the moment of conception. Valerie Hunt, on the other hand, based not on science but on what she claims is a near consensus of intuitives, says that it is after the first trimester. Perhaps there is a necessary degree of tissue complexity, and especially neural complexity, before a body can house a psyche. Here’s my position on the subject: I don’t know. What I do know is that this is the essential question that needs to be addressed before I can know what to think of abortion. Abortion is not merely a political third rail; it is also an ontological third rail. How and when do psyche and physiology associate and how and when do they disassociate? (see: The Glorified Body—Metamorphosis of the Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution). I don’t know if the association in Alex’s paintings is correct, but his images are powerful reminders to me that I don’t know, and that this crucial, unanswered question crackles with dangerous electricity.

 Don’t Pray the Grey Away—Alex the Grey versus Alex the White

Note: I probably owe Alex an apology for this part. While there’s much about his relationship to the shadow here, I also went off at length about the problem of abusive gurus (with a detailed examination of Adi-da) and the idealization of spiritual traditions. Although Alex does have a tendency to be friendly to abusive gurus and to idealize certain spiritual traditions, I want to emphasize that he is the opposite of an abusive guru—a genuinely humble visionary who is kind and generous to everyone he meets. Expect some long tangential forays into the psychology of cultism and guru abuse which will, at times, seem pretty far afield of Alex’s work, but which I believe will be of interest and relevance to many readers. Alex wrote a response and that’s posted at the end of the article.

Darkness, the shadow, and death haunted Alex from the youngest age. As mentioned earlier, Alex was drawing skulls and skeletons by age five. By age ten, he created two powerful images: Grim Reaper and Graveyard Study and by the time he was seventeen, when he created his self-portrait, Life Cycle, his connection to the charged boundary between life and death was self-aware and profound. In Life Cycle, his hand, already the hand of an accomplished artist, touches the boundary between a fetus and a corpse. In a 1996 interview, Alex traces his awareness of darkness and light back to the crib, and his earliest memories:

My very first memories are of lying in my crib and seeing textures in my mind. I felt immersed in a pure, blissful, milky white light—an ecstatic peaceful space. Then I remember a gnarly snaggle-branched, brownish black shadow moving into that space from the periphery of my perception, coming in clumps, and then taking over. This ugly swarming texture would engulf and terrify me, obliterating all the light. Then little islands of bright purity would appear. These pools of milky luminescence would clear away the gnarly texture and I’d have a white-light ocean again. The visions of psychic texture were like yin-yang energies, a constant flux of the universal energies of clarity and chaos, peace and panic, light and darkness, hope and despair. My entire life has been conditioned by the oscillation of those opposing abstract fields.

Alex was born “Alex Velzy.” At age twenty, he changed his name to Grey as a gesture toward his struggle to harmonize the dark and light principles battling within him. By keeping Velzy as his middle name his initials became “AVG,” the abbreviation of “average.”

Especially in his twenties, Alex became creatively obsessed with death and darkness. He worked in morgues and did art projects with corpses. Much of this dark creativity took the form of performance art that Alex now considers “transgressive.” All of this is well documented in his books, so I’m not going to rehash his transgressive phase here. Obsession with darkness is not uncommon in both creative and uncreative people and, in the postmodern world, is considered a much more acceptable subject for art than spirituality. Alex, however, brought his profound originality and penetrating vision to the shadow realms and dark aspects. My first conversations with Alex relate to an area of dark, paranormal investigation that I call “mind parasites.” I wrote about some of Alex’s related experiences and art in Alex Grey and the Mind Parasites In 2006 I brought him on to Coast-to-Coast AM where George Noory and I interviewed Alex on the subject of mind parasites.

Alex has a great deal to contribute to our understanding of dark forces and shadow realms. I also think that his transforming relationship to light and dark needs to keep transforming. There may even be an area or two where the transformation has gotten stuck, and where his understandable preference for light over dark has led to certain areas of idealization and shadow denial. In his latest book, Net of Being, there is a small photo, almost lost in a large collection of small photos, showing Alex with a variety of well-known persons, which seems to unintentionally illustrate a polarization that has occurred in Alex’s relationship to darkness.

Giger, Grof, Grey

H.R. Giger, whom Alex appropriately describes as a “morbid genius,” is on one side of the photo, Alex on the other, and standing between them is transpersonal psychiatrist, Stanislav Grof. Giger, Groff, Grey.  I feel that this photo should be entitled: Stanislav Grof Standing Protectively between the Wizard of Darkness and the Wizard of Light so as to Prevent an Anti-matter Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Implosion that could Irreversibly Damage the Space-Time Continuum. The crackling, plasmic fields of boundary tension and cognitive dissonance as Giger and Grey were briefly in the same room together almost certainly created a profound disturbance in the Force. One shudders to think of the light saber battle that could have ensued if Grof weren’t there to stand between them. This photo could be the subject of a collaborative painting that might actually seal the breech between the light and dark sides of the Force. Giger would paint the left side of the canvas, which would include him and would no doubt be teeming with intricate, extraterrestrial, parasitic/heavy metal forms. The left side of Groff would be illustrated as infected with a burst-from-the-abdomen-type extraterrestrial parasite (as seen in the movie, Alien). Alex would paint the right side of the canvass filling it with a shimmering lattice of eyes and spiral galaxies. The right side of Groff would obviously have glowing transparent anatomy.

The Giger-Groff-Grey photo seems to illustrate the polarization problem that characterizes Alex’s current relationship to darkness. Giger’s identification with darkness is so absolute that it would be easier to imagine Megadeth performing a Dorris Day cover than it would be to imagine a ray of light entering a Giger image. Alex’s relationship to light and dark has been much more dynamic, and yet we can sense that Giger is now his unintegrated doppelgänger, the two of them able to appear together only with a powerful psychiatrist like Stanislav Grof standing between them. Giger might also be the only person that I’ve heard Alex tell a negative anecdote about. Alex asked Giger if he ever tried LSD and he responded with German mad scientist paranoia: “No! It is forbidden!”

Competing with Alex’s sometimes-extraordinary ability to integrate shadow, is his tendency to idealize spiritual traditions, spiritual practitioners and certain other people. While Alex is often vivid in depicting the shadow side of the West, of exploitative capitalism, etc. he is not so uninhibited in depicting the shadow sides of spiritual traditions or of people he idealizes including some notoriously abusive gurus. I wouldn’t comment on this, except that shadow integration is a major theme of his artwork.  Alex, who knows I’m writing this and will be critical of his shadow integration wrote:

“Jonathan, just wanted you to know that there is a special structure planned at CoSM for engagement with the shadow.  It goes with a mythic tale I’m spinning about the current darkness humanity is facing.  The land will host pavilions for engaging different levels of the dismemberment of Mother Nature.”

In some ways, Alex’s generous view of others is a product of his spiritual maturity and lack of competitive egocentrism. His attitude toward people, like that of my friend Rob Brezsny, sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable because it highlights my more sarcastic view of a lot of people. I can experience myself as more spiritually immature, and competitively egocentric by contrast. I heard Alex’s wife, Allyson Grey say, “I’m a Russian Jew, and Russian Jews are angry.” That’s my background, and I’m from the Bronx, so perhaps that explains part of the difference. I’m more likely to be confrontational than tolerant of others who are doing things I find objectionable.

I could feel this difference in temperament and attitude toward others’ failings in my last face-to-face conversation with Alex, which was at Area 51/ Burning Man 2012. Mostly we talked about the Singularity Archetype, and seemed to be on a common wavelength, but when I asked Alex what he thought about the somewhat disillusioning revelations about Terence McKenna that had come out recently from his brother Dennis, (See: On the Disillusioning Revelations about Terence McKenna) Alex vehemently dismissed them and launched into a spirited defense of Terence. As an admirer of Terence, I could see where Alex was coming from, but I was interested in discussing these newly revealed character flaws for the depth they would add to our picture of him. Alex seemed to regard them as distractions from the need to idealize Terence.

I felt Alex’s tendency to idealize was an unconscious reflex, but in an interview with Joe Rogan on October 10, 2012, Alex brings his feelings to the surface as a conscious policy:

“What we like to do is trash all of our heroes, make them as low as possible, so that you have no hope about human character, and I think that is a shame.”

This is a legitimate point. We do live in an anti-heroic age, and age where we like to trash talk the high and mighty and are fascinated with celebrity scandals. On the other hand, there are self-promoting charlatans who enforce their own idealization and whose unintegrated shadows make them a hazard to others. (For a recent example, see: American Cyclopath.)

Alex, who is a genuinely talismanic personality and worthy of some idealization, is unfortunately a promoter of certain influential persons who could be hazardous to idealize. In Net of Being there is a photo of Alex standing next to the abusive guru Andrew Cohen.  Alex has also invited Andrew to speak at CoSM and has had some public dialogues with him. (For more on Andrew Cohen’s abusive history see the book, American Guru, the website Whatenlightenment? and the sarcastically entitled The Mother of God—a book by Andrew’s own mother denouncing the abusive cult tactics she witnessed.)

Alex frequently lauds Ken Wilber, who is a genius, but also a promoter of abusive gurus like Andrew Cohen and Adi Da, and a man whose unintegrated shadow casts a reality distortion field that compromises the value of some of his work. When I tried to talk to Alex about him in CoSM several years ago, his description of Wilber was hagiographical, and I knew that my mixed feelings about him would be met with resistance. There are sides of Wilber that Alex either doesn’t see or chooses to ignore. For example, in Mission of Art there is an idealized portrait of Wilber and on the opposing page, accidentally juxtaposed, is a summary of the perennial philosophy. Wilber is a vocal opponent of key aspects of the perennial philosophy that contradict the spiral dynamics evolutionary model he favors. The opposing pages seem to illustrate the side of idealized figures Alex doesn’t see.

Adi Da

By far the most objectionable instance of idealization is Alex’s portrait of the criminally abusive guru Adi Da that spills across two pages of Transfigurations. Adi Da (who went through several name changes, but was originally born Franklin Jones in Queens, New York) is portrayed by Alex as the messianic avatar that Jones heralded himself as being. Next to the portrait Alex writes:

In my painting Adi Da, the guru is portrayed as a totally transfigured being. His heart is the dawning sun, source of illumination outwardly and inwardly symbolic of Da’s transparency to divine radiance. …The potion in the cup is amrita, nectar of the heart united with an ocean of love, the God intoxication that the guru provides and for which humanity thirsts.

Alex also describes how impressed he was by darshan with Adi Da:

There was only the Divine Presence that he is and all of us potentially are. He seemed silently to become every individual in the room, and as this happened, people swooned in devotional ecstasy. My one encounter with Adi Da was profound. I am not a formal devotee, but I have a tremendous respect for Da’s writings and teachings.

Alex’s words and striking portrait, created and published when Jones was still alive, could easily have enticed someone into the often spiritually, psychologically and physically hazardous presence of this very strange man.

In the following section I will take an extended look at Jones, because I think it will illustrate where Alex and others get some things wrong about the shadow, especially the shadows of spiritual traditions and charismatic spiritual figures.  This will be the longest tangent in the spiraling overview, so for readers who are not interested in the shadow side of gurus and want content more closely related to Alex Grey—feel free to skip ahead.

Jones was apparently a genius, and a spiritual prodigy of some sort, but he was also, according to numerous people close to him, a malevolent narcissist, an abusive and exploitative sadist and serial rapist who emulated a poor man’s version of Caligula’s lifestyle. At one point, for example, Jones had a harem of nine wives including a Playboy pinup girl. He binged on junk food, alcohol and drugs and had many expensive habits. He once paid $159,000. for a single glass paperweight, and devotees celebrated this deed as a great accomplishment.

Recently, I’ve been dialoguing with Conrad Goehausen, a brilliantly insightful man, who was a member of Jone’s inner circle for many years and is working on a book about him. As critical as he is of Jones, Conrad resisted any attempt I made to flatten him into a stereotyped caricature. Jones, according to Goehausen, was a genuinely powerful and spiritual being whose charismatic presence was a force to be reckoned with. Jones talent for mind control and manipulation may have been honed during his time as a Scientologist.

A few notes and disclaimers before we take a deeper look at the shadow side of Jones. The following comes from ex-devotees and members of Jone’s inner circle. The testimony is presented mostly in their own words, which I’ve found in the Adi Da Archives site). In some few cases I’ve done a little editing for continuity purposes.

I have no ability to independently verify all of the episodes they report. I would make any judgments based on the aggregate of this material in case any individual occurrence is misrepresented in any way. I have zero direct experience of Jones so neither Reality Sandwich nor I can take responsibility for the veracity of each and every claim. Those who want mainstream press documentation and legal testimony corroborating Jone’s history of abuse should check the following summary page:

http://www.adidaarchives.org/news_summary_connie.htm

Adi Da stated that devotional worship of him is the sole means of spiritual enlightenment for others. He said that his own spiritual stature was superior to that of Jesus, Buddha, or any of the great spiritual figures from human history.

In 1983 he predicted that before he died all of humanity (whom he called “five billion slugs”) would acknowledge him, and said that if he had not come to Earth all of humanity would have been destroyed.

Jones prophesied, repeatedly, that the year 2000 was the year he would be recognized by the world. He even went so far as to claim that Christians would recognize him as the Second Coming of Christ.

Jesus was a fifth stage realizer, Buddha a sixth stage realizer, and Jones was the first, last and only seventh stage realizer. The first, last and only claim by Jones was repeated so often that many insiders referred to it by the acronym: “FLO.”

In Jones own words (and eccentric use of capitalization):

I Am the Ultimate Demonstration (and the Final, or Completing, Proof) of the Truth of the Great Tradition as a whole. Until I Appeared, there were no seventh stage Realizers within the Great Tradition of mankind. I Am the First and the Last seventh stage Adept to Appear in the human domain (and in the Cosmic Domain of all and All). It is neither possible nor necessary for another seventh stage Adept to Appear anywhere, because I have Accomplished My necessary Work everywhere. However, because I have Appeared and have Done My Completing Work, seventh stage Realizers (not with the Divine Adept-Function That Is Unique to Me, but Fully Realized, through their ego-transcending devotion to Me, and, Thus and Thereby, to the by Me Revealed Divine Person and Self-Domain) will Awaken, in all times and places.

–Franklin Jones (Adi Da) from the prologue to his book The Basket of Tolerance.  These remarks were also posted on the official Adidam website.

Anyone who did not accept Jones’s megalomaniac claims, or who did not devotionally worship him, was a narcissistic egoist doomed to live in the outer darkness. In Jones own words:

I Am the Sign and the Revelation and the Proof of God in the world. I am the Way up from the pond. In your egoity, you only want to stare at yourself in the pond and apply some techniques and some disciplines to yourself. Without devotion to Me, without Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, disciplines are fruitless nonsense, realizing nothing but Narcissus. All of life is self-meditation unless life itself becomes meditation on Me. http://www.adidaarchives.org/drop_everything.htm

Those who Do Not heart-Recognize Me and heart-Respond to Me-and who (Therefore) Are Without Faith In Me — Do Not (and Cannot) Realize Me. Therefore, they (By Means Of their own self-Contraction From Me) Remain ego-Bound To The Realm Of Cosmic Nature, and To The Ever-Changing Round Of conditional knowledge and temporary experience, and To The Ceaselessly Repetitive Cycles Of birth and search and loss and death. Such Faithless beings Cannot Be Distracted By Me — Because they Are Entirely Distracted By themselves! They Are Like Narcissus — The Myth Of ego — At His Pond. Their Merely self-Reflecting minds Are Like a mirror in a dead man’s hand. Their tiny hearts Are Like a boundless desert, where the mirage of Separate self is ceaselessly admired, and The True Water Of My Constant Presence Stands Un-Noticed, in the droughty heap and countless sands of ceaseless thoughts.

(Aham Da Asmi, pages 77-78) http://www.adidaarchives.org/adi_da_non-believers.htm

 One of Jones’s favorite pastimes was “sexual theater” (his term) which was fueled by endless quantities of the sacred Tantric substances Jack Daniels and Rush (“poppers”—amyl nitrate) and which involved grotesque and sadistic humiliations of hundreds of devotees. Jones rationalized his sexual theater this way:

I Know what to do about sex.

 Most people do not know what to do about sex-so they generally just keep their pants on, if they are seriously involved in religious and Spiritual life.

 But I do Know what to do about sex-and I Know how to Serve My devotees in this matter.

 I am not an ordinary man.

 What I Do is Unique.

 I Straightened My devotees out about sex.

 No ‘lily-white’ approach to dealing with sex can come even close to straightening anyone out.

 http://www.adidaarchives.org/adi_da_non-believers.htm

Adi Da gave herpes to a significant number of women, so many that it cannot be claimed to be merely an innocent accident or mistake. One must admit he was reckless and negligent at a minimum, because he knew he had active lesions and was contagious, yet infected women anyway. Beyond mere negligence however, he was surely sick and deranged as well because he has claimed that he gave others the disease for their spiritual benefit. He told one teenaged girl in the mid-70’s, J.K, (and perhaps others) that he gave her herpes as “prasad (a divine gift) from the Guru to help her work out her bad cunt karma.” http://www.adidaarchives.org/news_summary_connie.htm

Jones consistently humiliated and emasculated other males to maintain his status as the alpha. For example, he would require heterosexual married men to be anally penetrated by other men in front of their wives. He would also have them witness their wives being sodomized by other men.

The first time 10 year old Jessica Constantine met Adi Da, he commanded her to strip naked in front of a large group of adults who were partying. She refused and ran away. Adi Da told some of his devotees to chase her down, and they brought her back and forced her to strip, against her will.

(Jessica Constantine, NBC Today Show, 1985)

Many devotees who were sexually abused by Jones were convinced that they had been divinely blessed. For example, Jones apparently burned the back of a female devotee with a cigar while having anal sex with her. Afterwards the devotee bragged that lightening had come out of the guru’s hands and left healing marks on her back.

http://www.adidaarchives.org/adi_da_non-believers.htm

A married woman gushed to another devotee: “I’ll never forget the first time I went down on the Lord.”

According to an ex-devotee:

When I was new in Adidam, I asked the teacher of the class I was in, when he was waxing on about crazy wisdom knowing no bounds and so on, if there wasn’t SOME LIMIT to what the guru would do. (Little did I know when I innocently asked that question!)

He then told me the story of Franklin turning to a devotee and saying, “Let’s go rape a virgin!” and going and finding a 16 year old girl and raping her in front of the other man, then leaving her crying on the floor.

Meanwhile, many of Jone’s devotees were instructed to be celibate. It was, however, permissible for them to masturbate in solitude while sitting or lying before a photograph of Jones.

Does Jones sound a bit vampiric? At one point this was all but literal:

Adi Da’s extravagant spending habits kept his community in a difficult financial condition for many years. At one time, in order to help mitigate the financial problems, he required all followers to be corralled like cattle into a San Francisco skid row blood plasma donation center to donate twice a week. The money went directly from the center into the organization’s operating budget, i.e. into Adi Da’s pocket by way of paying for his and his wives’ living expenses, travel, gifts and extravagances, etc. Many of the people should not have been donating plasma twice per week for so long, and had trouble passing the tests given by the blood center because they were getting depleted and sick, or experiencing dizziness, etc. However, they were given large doses of iron and other vitamins so they could continue to pass the physical and chemical tests so that they could continue to donate plasma and keep the money coming in. (see Mill Valley Record, 4/3/85).

Jones (who was a notorious binger on junk food and rich luxury foods) claimed his bulging belly, displayed in so many photographs, extends grotesquely due to the huge amount of “life force” being conducted through his “vital center” in the stomach.

(Mill Valley Record April 3, 1985, attested to in numerous articles and attested to by Miller, Kahn, Masters, Bev O’Mahony, the Lupa’s and others).

Many of Jones’s devotees followed the process of idealization into full-blown idolatry:

Carolyn Lee (author of the sycophantic The Promised Godman Is Here) described Jones appearance in exalted terms (and she also parrots his eccentric capitalization):

When you receive Beloved’s Communication you will feel His Extraordinary State of Body. His Darshan is an overwhelming Revelation. His Body, and especially His Divine Face is Plastic as He Speaks, Shaping and Reshaping Like a Flow of Water.

His Head appears more Spherical than ever. His Divine Human Form is Beyond Human. His Infinite Divinity has Assumed His Avataric Form in ways that are simply inconceivable. The very Sight of Him, Bodily, Grants us an immediate Vision of a Reality other than this gross domain.

He is the One to Whom we can only bow down in adoration and worship. Such a Sight as He is has never before been Granted to humankind or to any beings at all.

Another devotee, Malcolm Burke, described Adi Da’s demeanor this way:

After a time, His Eyes like laser beams of Fire, He Looked out at all devotees in the Room and beyond, and began to Speak. There are no words to describe the Sound of our Beloved’s Voice. He Speaks now from His Room, the Center of the Cosmic Mandala, so deep there is no doubt that the entire cosmos is conforming to His Divinely Husbanding Power, and yet so vulnerable and human there is no doubt He is the Embodiment of Compassion and Love.

One devotee spoke of the need for those who serve Jones directly to become “professional” (a term that Jones used). By “professional,” Jones apparently meant meekly and courteously submissive to his sexual demands:

He has Indicated that “professional” in His terms, means Samraj or Spiritual absorption in Him and sensitivity to Him, so that there are no Oedipal limits in devotees who are caring for His Body.

This is extremely important because our Beloved is so profoundly Involved in His Spiritual Work now that it is difficult for Him to even remain associated with the waking state. Thus the way that He is served must draw Him very sensitively and pleasurably into association with the Body.

Only this quality of devotional service can soothe the unspeakable Ordeal of His World Work that He Engages tirelessly in Divinely Loving Service to all beings.”

At one point, Jones told devotees that it was a shame he had to teach in a time and place where the laws of the land prevented him from killing devotees if that’s what it took to wake them up!

Jones frequently criticized his devotees for not bringing him enough gifts and “contact persons” (VIP visitors who were either celebrities or who had access to great wealth). For example, in 2000, the same year that Alex published his portrait of Adi Da in Transfigurations, Jones lamented:

So the force of My Work is pushed up in Me so profoundly it could be destructive, and so I have to have a way to function above and beyond the physical body. I am involved in the most immense struggle. I am at war with the most fierce forces that can be imagined. And this terrible descent comes into My Body unless My Descent is able to Flow. But this must not be allowed to continue. The forces I am dealing with must be allowed to flow and not come into this Body, and, for this to occur, I need to begin to relate to real contact people of wealth and influence…

This is a typical guru strategy. Ooze shaktipa and charm when VIP guests, like Alex Grey, are present, and save the sexual theater stuff for when they are off the premises. Alex was certainly not alone in his admiration for the teachings, if not the person of, Jones:

One ex-devotee provides a partial list of those who have offered Jones high praise:

Ken Wilber, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Larry Dossey, M.D., Willis Harman, President of the Institute of Noetic Science, Sun Bear, Fred Alan Wolf, Joan Halifax, Judith Cornell, Georg Feuerstein, Alan Watts, Bonnie Greenwell, Malidoma Patrice Some, Leroy Finch, Robert K. Hall, M.D., Irena Tweedie, Richard Grossinger, Charles T. Tart, Stanley Krippner, Peter Russell, Bill Gottlieb, Jeffrey Mishlove…

The same ex-devotee points out Ken Wilber’s remark in an introduction to one of Adi Da’s books,

“…no one in the fields of psychology, religion, philosophy, or sociology can afford not to be at least a student of Da Free John.”

Alex’s idealization of charismatic spiritual people also extends to spiritual traditions. As I mentioned before, while Alex is not shy about depicting the shadow side of the West, industrialism, etc. he does not seem to acknowledge the extremely dark shadows of the spiritual traditions that he idealizes in his images. In Net of Being, Alex writes:

When judging whether a teaching is adequate to the task of enlightenment, look to the teachers, the exemplars. To what degree are they realized? To what degree are they living and speaking and expressing as Godself?

I agree with this statement, but do not see Alex following his own advice. However, I would like to apply his advice right now, and assert that the abusive guru syndrome, the extraordinary number of gurus, especially those heralded in the West, who turned into Adi Da types—sadistic, exploitative sexual vampires—are the direct products of psychological flaws in their spiritual traditions. Most of us would be willing to make that sort of connection with the Catholic Church and the priest abuse scandals, but find that a veil of political correctness keeps people from seeing the flaws of Eastern spiritual traditions. The “Crazy Wisdom” approach that both Jones (Adi Da) and Andrew Cohen (who was once a Jones devotee) adopted to rationalize their sadistic behavior, comes from the spiritual tradition that Alex has most identified with, Tibetan Buddhism. I can hear the protests even as I type these words. People will say, But this isn’t a fair criticism, Jones and Cohen are Americans who distorted this tradition! (to clarify: I worded that poorly since it seems to imply that Cohen and Jones are identified with Tibetan Buddhism. They’re not. What I meant to convey is that the Crazy Wisdom Path comes from Tibetan Buddhism) Actually, many of the most inflated and abusive gurus are authentic, indigenous lineage carriers of their Eastern traditions. Also, shadow deniers of spiritual traditions always say: “Those aren’t the true (Christians, Muslims, etc.) that did that—” These same people would never say “Those aren’t the real Republicans, capitalists, corporatists who did that—” When a system or tradition regularly produces abusive people and tactics, then that phenomenon is a legitimate part of that system or tradition to be studied and evaluated. It will usually turn out that the abuses derive from structural and psychological flaws in the tradition or system and not merely bad apple individuals or sects.

One of the few people with the courage and depth to look into the shadow side of his own tradition was Carl Jung. The son of a Protestant minister, Jung remained a Gnostic Christian, but he also had the honesty to ask himself, “Why has so much blood been spilled in the name of Christianity?” He found that the flaw was in the religion itself and he wrote about that in his book, Aion.

Jung himself had a very brutal shadow and while I am greatly influenced by his work, I don’t see any reason to idealize him or hesitate to point out the flaws in his personality and conduct.

Idealizers of religions don’t do this work, but try to compartmentalize and exclude the pathology as having any thing to do with the system itself. For example,

America’s Roman Catholic bishops commissioned a five-year study to provide a definitive answer to what caused the plague of sexual abuse by priests.

According to The New York Times,

 The study, initiated in 2006, was conducted by a team of researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City at a cost of $1.8 million. About half was provided by the bishops, with additional money contributed by Catholic organizations and foundations. The National Institute of Justice, the research agency of the United States Department of Justice, supplied about $280,000.

According to the study, the problem of priests raping children did not derive from the culture or structure of the Catholic Church, its beliefs or practices. Instead, the blame was outsourced to popular, secular culture. In what’s been called the “blame Woodstock” explanation, the study asserted that the problem was caused by the sexual revolution. Similarly, people who’ve never studied the Qur’an (and who typically have no understanding of the principle of abrogation in Islam) will say: “Islam is a religion of peace, these extremists distort the religion and have nothing to do with real Islam.”

At CoSM several years ago, I met Dawoud Kringle, a Sufi Islamic Imam and friend of Alex’s who frequently called on at public events there to read poetry, play music and pronounce words of Sufi wisdom. I found him very personable and charismatic and we had some conversations at CoSM. At the time, I was also helping a nonprofit, The Women’s Assistance Fund that aided women who were the victims of Islamic Fundamentalism.  During the course of my work for that organization I had to encounter a mountain of horrific evidence of the dark side of Islam. I felt that Dawoud, with his mystical Sufi background would be the ideal person to reality check what I was reading in the Qur’an and Hadiths, etc. We conducted a lengthy dialogue by email that has been published online (with Dawoud’s consent) since 2006 (see Part III of Projection the Enemy of Peace and Justice). I think if Alex read the dialogue he would be shocked to find out what Dawoud thinks about women and gays (which emerges in the dialogue linked above).

What can happen when we meet a charismatic person with a spiritual aura is a particularly dangerous variant of the “halo effect.” If someone seems spiritual, is revered by others, is said to be an elder or a lineage carrier or whatever, we may assume all sorts of things about them. We idealize them, in another words, and that can be extremely dangerous.  (For more on the halo effect and other dangerous delusions, read: Seeing Blindspots) So when Alex paints a reverential portrait of Adi Da, he is using his genius to put a halo effect (and even actual halos!) around someone who also needs to have a skull and cross bones emblazoned on their forehead as a warning to others. Someone looking at this portrait of Adi Da in 2000, and at the words Alex added, might easily think: Alex is the real deal. He is a visionary genius and I’ve seen him in public and see how kind and compassionate he is. Someone whom he depicts in this way must be god-like. Maybe I should put myself at the feet of this amazing guru.  This is an example of how idealization can create suffering.

Oddly enough, Alex provided a relevant warning about projection, the halo effect and gurus in his 1998 book, The Mission of Art:

The teacher, is an outward symbol of one’s own highest nature. In a cult situation, people project their own spiritual authority onto their “infallible” guru and then become morally blind by justifying the guru’s outrageous behavior, or they become disillusioned if the guru doesn’t live up to their projections.

Some people in the West tend to be so awed by Buddhism, especially since it is non-Western and comes from exotic non-white cultures that they think it is beyond reproach. The halo effect extends across a vast tradition. But Buddhism is an amalgam of many different practices and beliefs of varying quality. It also has psychological flaws in its typical structure and a series of anti-feminine biases. I wrote about these in a surrealized way in Lessons for an Entity Incarnating as a Mammal.

Back to Tibetan Buddhism, the Crazy Wisdom Path and an indigenous, authentic lineage carrier of same, Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa. Trungpa, according to Wikipedia, was a “Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the eleventh Trungpa tülku, a tertön, supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and originator of a radical re-presentation of Shambhala vision.”

In Dynamic Paradoxicalism—the anti-ism, ism (an essay defining my own philosophy which was designed as an alternative to absolutisms, and other sorts of isms) I discuss Trungpa’s version of Crazy Wisdom:

Spiritual genius and abusive guru Chogyam Trungpa is a classic example of sophisticated rationalization. He defined crazy wisdom in the following way:

But this craziness is not so neurotic; it’s just basic craziness, which is fearlessness and not giving up anything. Not giving up anything is the basic point. At the same time, you are willing to work with what is there on the basis of its primordial wakeful quality. So that is the definition of crazy wisdom, which is sometimes known as wisdom gone wild.

Huh? Another explanation is that the Buddhist (and Hindu) emphasis on vertical transcendence may often mean a neglect of the horizontal plane of development, such as integration of the shadow, which can then rule the personality as an unintegrated autonomous complex. Trungpa’s crazy wisdom path involved sexual abuse of students and drinking himself to death at the age of 48. His chosen successor spread AIDS to some of his young disciples, which resulted in at least one fatality.

Trungpa selected Boulder, Colorado as the place to set up a college (Naropa) as well as the Shambala center. When I came to Boulder in 1995 (I still live in Boulder) I befriended a member of Trungpa’s inner circle. Bill was a brilliant and charismatic man who continued to idealize Trungpa even as he related horrific stories about what went on behind the scenes. Bill’s emulation of Trungpa was pervasive; he had been one of Trungpa’s favored drinking companions and sadly, like his master, was drinking himself to death.

Author Sam Keen had this to say about the proliferation of Wisdom teachers:

One of the things I frankly don’t like about your magazine [What is Enlightenment?, rebranded as EnlightenNext,  published by Andrew Cohen and now defunct] is the holding up of these people who are supposedly “in the absolute” and totally liberated. I don’t know whether you remember, but for many years I was the person at Psychology Today who interviewed all these gurus. And so I’ve had a good bit of experience with a fair number of them—Chögyam Trungpa, Oscar Ichazo, Muktananda and others. And if these are all examples of people who are totally liberated, I say give me slavery because they were people with enormous illusions and who were cultivating enormous illusions in their followers. By and large almost all of them were totally unclear about three important things: sex, money and power. And they could play like they were liberated as long as they had a whole cult of disciples who did everything for them except wipe their asses—and probably that, too. And most of them were on enormous power trips. So I think the idea of total liberation is an idea that is more crippling than helpful.

As I stated above, Eastern traditions that emphasize vertical spiritual transcendence have a huge psychological flaw: they tend to neglect the horizontal plane of development, such as integration of the shadow, which can then rule the personality as an unintegrated, autonomous complex. (I’m using the word “tend” because, like all traditions, there are endless variations of the tradition that can range from the sublime to the ridiculous and dangerous.) Eastern traditions often tend to denigrate the human plane of existence as maya, samsara, etc. and this may be part of an anti-feminine bias. (Taoism, however, is the most feminine of all major religions, also the least abusive.) Followers of these traditions often fail to recognize something that should be obvious at this point: Someone can have a transcendent experience of nondualistic connection to oneness—enlightenment, Samadhi, Satori—and then return to their psychological baseline where they may continue to be the same asshole they were before the experience. Often, however, they come back as a far more dangerous asshole than they ever were before because they will be more inflated and charismatic.

(Another example of an inflated and abusive guru who gets naively idealized is Amma. See my brief document related to her: Giving Away Your Power.)

There is a classic problem we see with New Age gurus, with psychonauts, conspiracy folk and many others who engage esoteric work. Often, when people contact the transcendent realm, and/or the collective unconscious/archetypal realm, they are not necessarily improved as people. I wrote about this in Carnival 2012—a Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Pitfalls and Blindspots of Esoteric Research:

Pitfall #7: Archetypes and other forces in the unconscious are powerful, high energy, obsessively fascinating, and pose dangers of ego inflation, literalization and possession.

Many take what they experience literally, failing to recognize the trickster aspect of the unconscious and the need for interpretation. This can lead to becoming possessed by unconscious contents. It is very easy to identify with the forces, archetypes and entities you encounter during unconscious exploration and you may find your ego becoming monstrously inflated. Key red flags include: you feel you have seen something no one else has ever seen; you feel filled with a sense of special destiny, perhaps messianic fervor; you feel an intense need to proselytize and convert others to your new vision.

Pitfall # 8: If your esoteric research, discoveries, etc. cause you to think that you are entitled to certain sexual privileges, that you are imbued with some special powers such that sex with you is an evolutionary catalyst or spiritual initiation: STOP! GET HELP! YOU ARE BECOMING AN EVIL ASSHOLE!

Some have suggested that the era of the sexually abusive guru might be coming to an end because of the Internet. Anyone can get on line and find out about their abuses. I’m not so sanguine. Some people are magnetically attracted to darkness. Some psychoanalysts I knew in the Eighties told me that at the height of AIDS, their gay male patients reporting being hit on by supposedly straight men much more than they had ever experienced before. I interpret this as an aspect of the mysterious connection between sex and thanatos (roughly, a death drive). Some people want someone to dominate and deceive them and sometimes even to lure them into death.

Pitfall # 9.  Sex, money and power tend to flow together. Many of the most revered, exalted gurus, prophets, religious leaders and spiritual teachers have been horrible sex, money and power abusers. Tolerating that in yourself or someone else means you have crossed over to the dark side.

Note: The abuser would be actively on the dark side, while the victims are less blameworthy but have crossed over to the dark side in the sense that they are now eclipsed by a dark force that is ruling over them. Their degree of responsibility for the situation would be governed by the degree that they had, and were able to exercise, free will to avoid the situation. For example, some of those abused in cult situations are children whose parents chose to join.

Now that we’ve taken an extended tour of shadowland, let’s move in a constructive direction and conclude the shadow section by looking at how we can healthfully work with shadow material intrapsychically, interpersonally and artistically.

In Carnival 2012, and elsewhere, I’ve talked about my ongoing work to integrate my own shadow. Many of the pitfalls of esoteric research I learned about by falling into them. In the discussion of pitfall #7, which warns about dangers of being possessed by archetypes and inflated by them, I acknowledge:

This gets a bit tricky because some of those red flags could be up and you could still be onto something valuable. To be honest, I’ve been aware of some of those red flags in myself since the Seventies. I am also well aware that I am a narcissistic personality type, the ruling personality type of this age (though I have never had narcissistic personality disorder, a much more serious condition). Very gradually I’ve made progress realizing how my narcissism and self-importance work, how they distort many things, and how to compensate for them so that I am not constantly acting them out in destructive ways. The self-monitoring and efforts at compensation for my narcissism are an imperfect, moment-by-moment struggle. Typically, I am self-monitoring the words I write and that come out of my mouth, scanning them for the thousand flavors and faces of my narcissism. When I sense my self-importance heating up, I try to rein myself in. Is what I am writing/saying of moral, informational and/or entertainment value to others, or am I merely caught up in self-promotion? The price of freedom from unconscious possession is eternal vigilance.

I also realized that there were certain hidden, valuable aspects in some forms of narcissism. (See my document Narcissism for more on its hidden, evolutionary side.)  To integrate the shadow, we need to embrace it, and work with it. I’m not expecting my narcissism to disappear, but I have made progress in becoming more aware of it so I can compensate for it rather than just acting it out.

The perceptive reader of this spiraling overview will no doubt be able to find ample evidence of my shadow (arrogance, narcissism, egocentrism, etc.) in the text, and are free to judge how well I have compensated for those attributes.

(More on  integrating Shadow: http://zaporacle.com/themes/integrating-shadow/ For more on reclaiming idealizing projections see Casting Precious into the Crack of Doom—Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring)

Dealing with the shadow interpersonally is another vast topic, but in this context we’ll focus on how to relate to those who are brilliant (as Franklin Jones/Adi Da certainly was), but who also cast dark shadows. As Jung once said, “The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.” He also said, “The larger the man, the larger the shadow.” Probably, 6’5″ Jung was hoping people would apply these aphorisms to him, since he was both brilliant and brutal.

Relating to talented people with very dark shadows is a topic that came up in a recent email exchange with my friend Rob Brezsny, who, like Alex, tends to take a much more charitable view of many people than I do.

Rob wrote:

The key for me is: How sizable is each person’s Asshole Quotient? Is their influence on the world and their presence in the Noosphere more than 40% Asshole and 60% Other Stuff? If so, then I will probably not have much to do with them. 

But if their proportion is more like 15% Asshole and 60% Pretty Good Stuff and 25% Other Stuff, then I will be more receptive.

Part of my response to Rob:

The following factors will allow me to tolerate a talented person with a very high asshole quotient:

1. They’re dead. Any abuse of others is in the past.

2. Their work has unique, intrinsic genius and is too valuable to throw out with the toxic bathwater and spoiled baby parts of them.

3. Their shadow is well known enough (for anyone who wants to find out) that it doesn’t need further outing. Even so, when I talk about Jung, whose work I revere and follow, I often point out that he was personally brutal.  I can quote Aleister Crowley without outing his dark side, since that’s often the only part people know about him.

4. Compartmentalization. If their teachings or work of genius are unrelated to character, psychology, spiritual development, personal conduct, etc. it’s easier to compartmentalize. For example, a physicist would be unlikely to say: “I like the theory of relativity, and the experimental evidence for it is overwhelming, but given Einstein’s near abandonment of his first wife, I’m never going to be able to accept it.” On the other hand, if someone like Adi Da proposes a path to enlightenment if you follow him, but then you find out that his approach led him to become a monstrous lecher, and those who followed him to become cult victims, then there is a need for some shadow reverse engineering to see where he went wrong and if there is any healthy tissue left in his work that can be compartmentalized from his metastasizing personality.

What lowers the pass factor is an aspect we might call “asshole marbling,” which is analogous to meat that is so marbled with fat that it would be impossible to trim it. Of course, as a vegetarian, it might not be the best analogy for me to use, but you get the idea. I’ve gotten some good things out of reading Ken Wilber, but the marbling with his grandiosity and unreliability is exasperating, and I don’t have time to double check every assertion. A labyrinth of intricate ideas caught in a personality distortion field wants me to enter. It might be give me a theory and history of everything or it might leave me with a Ken Wilber headache and the sense of his giant ego pounding in my head. At some point I may read some more Wilber, but the combination of voice of authority, brilliance, erudition and pseudo-erudition, and his overreaching grandiosity and need to be the one who categorizes everyone else, leaves me with the feeling of compromised content, and a particularly labor-intensive and irritating form of marbling to process. It feels like someone has put a Vulcan and a clown into a high-speed blender.  I want to drink just the Vulcan part, but it would take a team of PhDs and a basement full of centrifuges running for sixty years to make the distillation.

(Note: People much better educated than myself have already extensively criticized the flaws in Wilber’s philosophy. An index of this considerable body of work, including a recent book, can be found here: http://www.integralworld.net/criticism.html)

With Jung, I don’t find his personality flaws to compromise his writings very much, so it’s easy to compartmentalize. His brutality shows up in the writings mostly as an irritated wizard tone, like Gandalf talking to Pippin after a moment of appalling halfling carelessness, and I find that kind of tone quite appealing from Jung. A slightly brutal wizard confiding essential secrets through posthumous writings is quite tolerable for me, but a slightly brutal unconscious asshole standing in front of me is not.

Although I’ve given some criticisms of Alex’s relationship to shadow material, I see him as having great power to reveal shadow realms. In Alex Grey and the Mind Parasites I discuss three of his paintings, Demons and Deities Drinking from the Milky Pool, Self-Hatred/Endarkenment and Despair that aren’t merely manifestations of darkness (we’ve already got mountains of art, film, music, etc. doing that), but illustrations that penetrate darkness with illuminating vision.

Demons and Dieties

endarkenment

despair

In the triptych, Journey of the Wounded Healer, the first two panels, which depict dark or chaotic states, are the most powerful, and allow the moment of spiritual ascent in the third panel to seem earned. Prostration is a vision of earned spiritual transcendence. The power and depth of the image is greatly enhanced by the shadowy realm of demons below the prostrate figure. Similarly, I find the first two panels of Nature of Mind the most potent because they depict the darkness that accompanies the spiritual journey.

Finally, I’ll conclude this long shadow section with a suggestion of a new masterpiece that would redeem Alex’s occasional lapses into idealization. The excessively white light Adi Da portrait is badly in need of more grey, and specifically I recommend some Dorian Gray-style overpainting. The addition of herpes sores, a lecherous grin, and perhaps fangs, would help fill out Adi Da’s depiction. Beneath him could be discarded Jack Daniels bottles and vials of Rush as well as various of the demons he succumbed to. Then, possibly the greatest lenticular postcard in the history of art could be created which should be entitled “Guru.” It would phase between the original portrait of Adi Da and the overpainted revision. If Alex accepts my humble suggestion of this new masterpiece I will commit to buying at least four of the resulting postcards.

Public Alex / Studio Alex

 

The creative cycle demands an audience, yet there are many cultural obstacles and negative reactions with which the artist must cope. Many artists seek the perpetual shelter of the studio, yet feel the internal ache of incompletion of their creative cycle and yearn to have their voice join the cultural choir. The difficulties encountered with galleries, museums, and collectors leave some artists feeling bitter and rejected.

—Alex Grey, The Mission of Art

For many creative artists there is a difficult discernment to make about how much time and energy to spend in solitary creation, public performance, interacting with the public and being involved in various marketing/promotional activities. I struggle with this discernment myself, but I usually prioritize the development of original content over the more extroverted choices. If there is no original content, then there is nothing of value to promote, market, perform or interact with the public about. A stance I try to follow is expressed in Zap Oracle  card #169,  “Do the Work Only You Can Do” which includes the following words:

     It is humbling and appropriate that a lot of the work we do can easily be done by others. Somebody has to do it, and it is only fair that we do our share of some of the maintenance work necessary to keep the whole human experience going. But if you incarnated to fulfill a unique mission, then you must give that mission priority. If the creative muse wants to work through you, then you must do what is necessary to allow that to happen. On a more personal level, we may be here to work with particular people, to have particular relationships. In such cases only you can be the father or mother to your children, only you can be the particular friend, spiritual ally, parent, teacher, etc. to some other particular person. There is also unique work you have to do for yourself — only you can work on your relationship to yourself, only you can write in your journal, only you are fully responsible for your health, and so forth.

Prioritize doing the work only you can do.  

Based on this stance, an artist like Alex Grey, who has a mission to bring an original vision to the world, cannot compromise that goal. If he neglected being a father to his daughter, or taking care of his health, those would be mission failures too, because those are also works that only he can do. Only Alex can interact with the public as the direct personification of his art mission.  However, even amongst the works that only you can do there is a hierarchy of value and priority. It is more important for Alex to create the art that only he can do, than for him to be the public personification of it, since the former is prerequisite to the later. More extrinsic work, such as building maintenance and keeping the books at CoSM are not work that only Alex can do, and if he is able to outsource those jobs, which he probably does, he should. And then there are grey areas, promotional and marketing activities, teaching, public performance painting and so forth that are sometimes work only he can do, but which may also distract or take energy from the most intrinsic work, the development of the most powerful original content which probably occurs during solitary studio time.

Relating to the creative muse involves a complexity of layers and forces— some more intrinsic, some more extrinsic. There are some nearly universal principles, but no one-size-fits-all formula for navigating this highly individualized relationship. My major work on this subject is The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse. To give unsolicited advice to an artist about their deeply personal relationship to the muse is highly presumptuous and inappropriate, unless, of course, you are doing a spiraling, eye-encrusted overview of their work, plus related topics, which I interpret as a license to comment on anything.

Artists (by which I mean any creative person, not just visual artists) vary dramatically in terms of their public or extraverted creativity and solitary or introverted creativity. There is also a paradox, in that the most internal work, done in absolute solitude, may also be the most outer reaching.  I’m going to delve into this paradox because I want to make a case that it is studio Alex that has more of an effect on the public, than does public Alex.

In The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse I discuss a dream I had that illustrates this key paradox of creativity—the deeper in you go, the further out you often reach:

In the dream, I am working on a performance art piece in a somewhat chaotic situation where anomalous, almost apocalyptic weather is occurring, The art piece involves viewers looking down a shaft, partly created by optical illusions, at a person sitting at a table far below. The person at the table is in a state of subterranean isolation and I think of naming the performance art piece after the Dostoevsky novella, Notes from Underground. As I play with the optical illusions necessary to create the perception of the long shaft, I am in a subject/object reversal state as I experience myself as both the viewer and as the man from underground sitting at a table at the bottom of the shaft.

When I was designing the performance piece in the dream, I was well aware of my artistic intent. I was trying to make a statement that the artist must be a man from underground, must accept subterranean isolation in the depths, but that, paradoxically, from this intense isolation the artist can create things of universal import and of great interest to others. The dream art project seems like a shaft revealing a person in deep isolation, but it is an optical and conceptual paradox because it is also a projection, a creative extrusion into the outer world of an artistic statement. Optically, the art installation is paradoxical because it feels like you are looking through the wrong end of a telescope or into a deep well, but actually prisms, etc. are projecting the image up and out so it is also like a light house, a projector of light.

If we envision Dostoevsky alone in his garret, at an extreme low point in both his career and personal life, writing Notes from Underground in isolation at night, pages and pen illuminated by the flickering light of a kerosene lamp, it’s like looking down a shaft, seeing a person in the depths of isolated creation. But then if we shift our focus to view the present readers of Dostoevsky, we see, for example, young college students, 130 years after Dostoevsky’s death holding battered paperback copies of Notes from Underground and reading them with rapt attention. Our expanded view reveals that what looked like a shaft descending into total isolation was actually more like a lighthouse projecting a beam of light. The novella that Dostoevsky wrote in total seclusion is actually a 19th Century telepathic device, still fully functional, projecting Dostoevsky’s most private thoughts across space and time so potently that 150 years later they are still glowing in human minds.

If you hold the two perspectives in your mind—Dostoevsky at the bottom of a shaft of isolation writing, and the telepathic lighthouse broadcasting his thoughts across the night of time—then you see the paradox of solitary creation. What seems like an isolated tunneling into the depths of our being can also be a telepathic broadcast into the minds of others, a broadcast that can transcend our life span. The optical illusion of isolation when we tunnel inward has never been more illusory than in the Internet era. What Alex paints alone in his studio is destined to light up on the pixelated screens of far more people than he will ever meet in person.

Some of the best art requires complete solitude. For example, to write In Search of Lost Time (also called A Remembrance of Things Past), Marcel Proust needed to socially and acoustically isolate himself in a cork-lined study. He knew that certain types of penetrating vision require seclusion.  In Sodom and Gomorrah, Proust wrote:

I, the strange human, who while he waits for death to release him, lives behind closed shutters, knows nothing of the world, sits motionless as an owl, and like that bird can only see things at all clearly in the darkness.

Much of the source material of what he wrote in seclusion, however, derived from extroverted, social experiences that were now stored in memory.

Some art, performance art, for example, is almost always done before an audience. Similarly, there aren’t many people who take up acting on a solitary basis. Some art forms are collaborative and demand social interaction. A movie director might be a visionary introvert, but to make a major motion picture they also have to perform like a general who is able to maintain morale and command logistics. They must also be a CEO and manage money and resources, a politician, a man or woman of action and so forth.

Visual artists, painters and sculptors, usually work in solitude, but there is considerable individual variation. The most public artist I ever met was my sometime friend during my East Village years, Keith Haring. I first encountered Keith’s work riding the subway. During that era, when ad posters were due to be replaced in subway stations, they would first paste a sheet of black, matte paper over them so that the earlier ad wouldn’t bleed through. The poster frames with the flat, black paper were interpreted by Keith as temporally fragile, alchemical chalk boards.  Keith could wield a stick of chalk or a marker pen like lightening and arresting images formed in seconds. Sometimes, however, he wasn’t quite quick enough and, the arresting images resulted in his getting arrested by the N.Y. Transit police. Some of these fragile, public creations were brilliant and I got off the Six Train once to photograph a particularly striking one that is now featured in Zap Oracle card #293, “Power Worship” which is also relevant to the guru issue.

Soon thereafter, Keith began showing his work at Patti Astor’s Fun Gallery which was literally across the street from where I lived on Tenth Street close to Avenue A. I would go over to the Fun Gallery sometimes and talk to Keith about Jung and point out the many connections his work had to the Singularity Archetype. Keith drew some of his designs on a few of the Jung books I lent him.

 

Keith was the most fully public artist I ever met and it would be hard to imagine him in any other context. He was mercurial and hyperkinetic and, like his subway drawings, he seemed to be everywhere. His extraversion was in many ways a public service. For example, at the time Keith was showing at the Fun Gallery I was an English teacher and dean of a public high school in the South Bronx. I befriended some of the more talented graffiti writers at the school, and Keith helped me to get a couple of them, Caski and Galaxy, shown at the Fun Gallery. Keith also teamed up for a while with another graffiti writer, LA2.

Much of Keith’s best work was done in public. He was also out and about everywhere, and like Alex, incredibly generous with his time and talent and made himself accessible to anyone. Art dealers tried to get him to be less generous, pointing out that he lowered the financial value of his work by decorating every leather jacket that kids in East Village clubs put in front of him, etc. But Keith would not have been Keith, would not have fulfilled his particular art mission, if he weren’t so public. Also, his hyperkinetic, loose, line drawing style didn’t require a studio setting.

Alex is the next most public artist I’ve ever met. On the other hand, his best work is done with diamond cutter precision and usually does require a studio setting.

((Insert image p. 106, Net of Being))

The public paintings like Mushroom Sutra are OK, and I guess we can fill in most of the transparent anatomy detail with our imagination at this point, but it is not exactly a rival to Net of Being. Mushroom Sutra isn’t opening a portal into an unseen world the way his best studio works do, at least for me.  (In fairness, some Grey images painted in the looser style, such as Death and the Maiden, are quite powerful.)

((Insert Image))

I’m greedy and egocentric. I want as many visionary portals out of Alex as I can possibly get. Athletes are told to “leave it all on the field” and that’s what I want from Alex; I want him to leave it all on the canvas or stretched linen or whatever. If he’s had an amazing vision that is still languishing in his imagination because he hasn’t found the studio time to manifest it, then I feel cheated and perhaps Alex does too.

If someone offered me a low five figure fee to do a live painting or talk at a festival somewhere I could respond, “Thank you so much for the offer, but I place higher value on the creation of original content in solitude.” Actually, my response would be: “Hell yes, when do I need to be at the airport?” As a narcissistic personality who finds money to be a very useful thing, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. But if I started to get enough of those offers, enough that it was seriously encroaching on solitary writing time, I’d have to rethink my public/private creativity boundary. Even so, I’d find it hard to say no because cash is so useful and public attention (up to a point) can be exciting and addictive.

As soon as I have enough cash to pay all my expenses and get all the shiny, new digital gadgets I want, trading time for money gets much less attractive. If, however, I felt I needed fifty million dollars or so to build a Zap Oracle Pavilion then ordinary cash sufficiency would not suffice, and it would be even harder to say no.

Mark Twain, because of horrendously bad investments, was forced, late in life, to get out on the road and do public speaking tours to pay back his creditors. If he hadn’t had to do that, maybe he could have written another masterpiece. Charles Dickens put his health at nearly fatal risk to do public readings. He had four households to support and was paid well for his performances, but he also loved the stage, was a consummate actor, and the thrill of public performance was an addictive passion. The intensity of his performances was so great, and his health so fragile (he looked like a very old man when he died at 58) that his doctor could sometimes barely detect his pulse when he collapsed with exhaustion at the end of a performance. Dickens, who was perhaps the first modern celebrity, had obsessed fans all over the world. According to a New York Times report from that era,  “In New York City, 5000 people stood in a mile-long line for tickets…” Dicken’s enthusiasm for the public was matched by their enthusiasm for him. The time and vitality Dickens spent on his readings was worth it for those who attended. Unfortunately, no recording technology was available to preserve these performances. Also, given the dreadful current state of time displacement technology, and temporal paradox issues, I feel that the odds of my ever getting to attend one of these mesmerizing 19th Century performances are probably very low. So from where I am standing in linear time, I would prefer that Dickens had done fewer readings and preserved his health enough to say, finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which he was in the midst of writing when he was felled by a stroke in 1870.  My suggestion to Dickens would have been that he should do the work only he can do, and leave it all on the page. Like so much of my good advice, this suggestion will probably have little or no influence given the strange immutability of human affairs trapped, like moths in amber, on the wrong side of linear time. In the present era, however, Simon Callow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Callow and other actors and directors continue to do brilliant work bringing Dickens to the public, but none of them can finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

This is the reason why I immediately felt some reservations when I first heard Alex and Allyson talk about their extremely ambitious plans to build a giant temple complex in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.  I had already witnessed some talented people inspired by creative vision and an excess of New Age, Jah-will-provide optimism get burned by their naive faith in YCYOR (you-create-your-own-reality—see my critique of YCYOR as an absolutism in Dynamic Paradoxicalism—the Anti-ism Ism). On the other hand, the Greys and CoSM have far more competence, connections, wherewithal and original vision than those I saw who got burned. My concern was that the noble effort to build this facility would distract from the solitary studio work.

Unfortunately, I have not yet been to the Wappingers Falls, New York facility, but plan to in the future. I also have no inside knowledge of how the fund raising, etc. for the creation of the Temple is going. Maybe it’s all solidly on track and my concern is unwarranted.

To any and all multibillionaires who have fallen under the spell of this spiraling overview: write this man a sixty million dollar check. I’d feel better about the effort if there was a fully funded Apollo moon-shot-style team of engineers, architects and construction experts that could say to Alex, “Just give us your basic design drawings, and we’ll do the rest.” Even better would be a sixty billion dollar check so that the temple could be up scaled to four times the size of the Great Pyramid in Egypt with walls meticulously constructed of hurricane-proof, laser-cut prismatic solar powered, hologram-generating glass panels. I want the temple to be able to project rotating 800-meter tall transparent anatomy figures that will be visible from Manhattan at night. A monorail configured to follow the outline of a goddess would quickly transport visitors to any part of the compound. If I were president, I would give somewhere between 6 and 12 percent of the U.S. military budget (currently estimated as between 1 and 1.4 trillion dollars) to Alex for the purpose of art projects and sacred site development. As president, I would realize that a spiritual renaissance in 2013 has to have more pizazz, more sensory impact than what the Catholic Church offered 800 years ago. That’s also why I would take the next sixty percent of the U.S. Military budget and invest it in consumer virtual reality, CGI, and a hundred fantasy films with half-billion-dollar budgets each.

The reality is that even with sixty-million dollars and an Alex Grey design you will still not come close to the impact of an 800-year-old Gothic cathedral. Just think, these weightless looking structures wrought of a hundred million pounds of stone, the weight of the Empire State building, were wrought by the six gadzillion man hours efforts of Renaissance craftsman and stone masons steeped in alchemy working for up to a hundred years. Oh, and state-of-the-Gothic-art architecture might have a ceiling by Michelangelo thrown in.

We need to exceed the power of a Gothic Cathedral, but without a budget of at least six hundred million, it won’t happen. A Gothic cathedral is a pinnacle of analogue labors. Given the low probability that I will ever be in a discretionary relationship to the U.S. military budget, I can think of a less labor and cash intensive way to have more than Gothic cathedral power: combine Alex’s imagination, six million dollars or less and a team of alchemically adept digital artisans working on behalf of his vision.

Even though I visit New York City five or six times a year, I’ve never made it to a mile past the Path Train stop and the new facility. Right now I would trade my future chances of spending a full moon at the CoSM temple for a pair of $259 dollar wrap around, high-res, 3D, LCD Samsung glasses connected to an IPod Nano-sized object in the shape of an eye made of iridescent, injection molded, high-density plastic. It’s called an EyeCoSm® and the third generation model will eventually sell on Amazon for $129.95.  When I touch the pupil of my EyeCoSM®, I begin my virtual tour of the Sacred Mirrors. A series of transparent anatomy figures rotate in a three dimensional star field. An Eyeclick takes me into the virtual temple that has a domed roof and I lie down in the center of it. As I look up at the dome it morphs into a 3D rendering of The Net of Being. I rise up toward The Net of Being and hurtle through a tunnel vortex formed out of a spiraling mosaic of eyes and galaxies. Next I have to get past a threshold guardian in the form of what looks like a six hundred meter high befanged guru who shoots flames out of his eyes. Using the touch sensitive surfaces of my EyeCoSM® like a game controller, I navigate past the guru and pass through stages in The Journey of the Wounded Healer. And so forth.

Yeah, from the point of view of psychometry, of psyche-infused matter, a Gothic cathedral wrought by skilled human hands (painstakingly realizing its every nook and cranny, its every tile and pane of stained glass) towers over the iridescent, injection molded casing of my little EyeCoSM®. And my Samsung glasses have the psychometrical profile of a double-track, disposable razor. I don’t sacrifice the psyche-infused objects lightly, either. I happen to be someone obsessed with psychometrically intense objects that surround me in my home as I type this. Still, offer me an excursion package which includes first class airfare, plus five star hotel and dining so that I can spend a luxurious week touring the Apostolic Palace, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel and I’ll gladly sacrifice all the psychometrical benefits to trade for even a second-gen EyeCoSM® and the anytime/anywhere chance not to have tourists bustling about me while I’m in the sacred space.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Apostolic Palace as much as the next guy, but it sucks that they are currently located in the Vatican. If you moved them to Monument Valley, kept all the Catholics and tourists out, fumigated them with sage smoke for a couple of months and then allowed ayahuasca ceremonies at night in the Sistine chapel, they would become much more valuable as sacred spaces for me. Given the low probability that I’ll ever get the Vatican to agree to any of these enhancements, I’ll sacrifice some analog production values and psychometrical Gothic aura in return for the chance to have everyone else excuse themselves from the virtual Sistine Chapel so I can take an entheogen, turn on my EyeCoSM® and spend an entire night alone in there lying on a futon staring up at Michelangelo’s ceiling slowly phasing into Alex Grey’s Net of Being3D ceiling in complete silence. A couple of Eyeclicks, though, and I could add Gregorian chanting in surround sound if I want. Or loud trance techno or Bach organ fugues or whatever.  I’ll trade my excursion package to Rome or a stretch limo ride to Wappinger, New York for an EyeCoSM® I can use wherever/whenever I need to.

I realize that the social aspect would be sacrificed by solitary EyeCoSM® use. A lot of interesting people show up at CoSM full-moon events and that’s worth going out of your way for and I am glad that they will be continuing. I’m social, but I’m also an introvert, and I feel that group spiritual experiences tend to get overrated. Yeah, every so often eight people somewhere will take ayahuasca together and form a telepathic bond that creates a seed crystal glowing in the collective unconscious of the species. Most group experiences on the festival and public event scale, however, have a very diffused spiritual atmosphere at best, with a thousand layers of the same old social matrix infusing the mutant nexus. An individual, alone in her apartment, in silent darkness (plus EyeCoSM®) and perhaps an entheogen, could have a glowing-in-the-collective-unconscious, seed-crystal experience.

As important as it is to work on climate change and many other serious issues, I would place the highest moral value on helping to create seed-crystal experiences. Some may dismiss this as the personal preference of an introvert with interests in the paranormal and mystical. Actually, emphasizing seed-crystal experiences is the most pragmatic, potent and direct approach to achieving a positive metamorphosis of human existence. From the extrovert’s point of view, and the U.S. is an especially extroverted culture, art is a hobby type of a thing, a sideshow, something for arty types to do in their spare time. It’s not at the center. At the center are the big, serious things—-the economy, war, violence and environmental pollution. And yet, the economy, war, violence and environmental pollution are all psychological products. All derive from a common source: the human psyche. Addressing these things symptomatically is superficial and weak compared to going right to the source, the psyche.

As Jung said,

 There is no such thing in nature as a hydrogen bomb. That is all man’s doing. We are the great danger. Psyche is the great danger.

The primacy of psyche is also the reason why Terence McKenna, as I mentioned in the intro, said we should “Push the art pedal to the metal” to further human evolution. This is also why Terence and Alex emphasize entheogen experiences. It is because we need people to have seed-crystal experiences.

This is why Alex writes in The Mission of Art,

So take care, artist, you shoulder responsibility for affecting the collective mind. Even a tiny drop of a powerful tincture can change the color of an entire glass of water.

In Star Trek mythology, prospective Federation captains are tested in sophisticated simulators with a no-win scenario called the “Kobayashi Maru,” a tactically impossible situation where every possible strategy and series of actions will fail. Captain Kirk’s response, when he was tested by the Kobayashi Maru simulation for the third time, was to reject the no-win scenario. He did this by hacking into and reprogramming the simulation computer.

This is a key mythologem of our time. Our simulation computer (the collective psyche) is generating Kobayashi Maru, no-win scenarios globally. We need to hack into and reprogram the collective psyche with seed-crystal experiences to do that.

This is why I’m more interested in developing the EyeCoSM® than the temple in Wappinger, New York. I want the seed-crystal experience available to a nineteen-year-old cyberpunk who lives in a seedy part of Tokyo. We need to use the ever more world-wide availability of the internet and other technologies to bring down the patriarchal era. For example, when a young, visionary, Dutch artist, Thijme Termaat posted a brief, but very clever YouTube of himself painting (I Paint), it inspired many more people than displaying his canvasses in the conventional way.

Vax, the nineteen-year-old cyberpunk, who built the first version of my website several years ago, said to me at the time: “At least you have some actual content to put in a website.” He had grown tired of people who wanted him to build them websites and expected him to supply the content as well. When he delivered that line, I realized that one of the most important jobs on the planet is to be a content-provider. The technology and the ability to distribute information doesn’t help us much if there isn’t visionary content. The ten million SMS texts that will be generated in the next hour that read, “Whassup?” aren’t going to change the collective psyche very much. We need to combine the technology with the most visionary content we can find.

The perceptive reader will have long since concluded that I am not just giving advice to Alex Grey. Alex’s case dramatizes issues that all us content-providers need to keep in mind. What makes Alex’s case dramatic, however, is that he is the most seed-crystal-experience-generating visual artist I know. And this is why I want Alex to keep pushing his art pedal to the metal.

As great as it is to have so much public access to Alex— his availability at numerous public events, etc. I would rather get a few more paintings on the scale of The Net of Being. This is why I want people to write him big checks so he doesn’t have to do events to raise funds. If you are concerned about psychological products like war and other forms of violence, the economy, and environmental pollution (caused by greedy, short-sighted psyches), and want a potent way to address the root cause of those problems, make a donation to CoSM which is a 501(C) (3) nonprofit.  Your donation will directly help with seed-crystal-experience generation, which is the direst need of the human species.

Meanwhile, I want Alex to keep looking through the interstices of the matrix at hidden realities and then create portals for us to see what he sees. For this reason, I would also prefer that (in some cases at least) Alex didn’t have to spend years doing the precise, laborious, minute brush work that he does so well. Yes, there is an incredible, devotional presence to Net of Being with the immense effort of painting the same, tiny spiral galaxy again and again and again. Being near Net of Being, the original painting, is far more intense than being near a life-size, beautifully printed glossy poster version of it.

Alex, Jonathan in front of Net of Being at CoSM (NYC)  photo by Bernadette Salem

A couple of years ago I got to stand inches from Jung’s The Red Book in a museum in New York. The field around it was potent, a wizard’s secret book labored over during the course of decades, filled with visions. It was great to be able to stand so close to this book I had heard rumors about since I started studying Jung at age 20, but if I had to choose between that experience, and a PDF of the entire text, I would choose the PDF. If I didn’t get to stand next to Net of Being with Alex, but could hurtle through Net of Being 3D with my EyeCoSM®, I’d consider myself very well compensated. Ideally, we would be able to choose both/and rather than either/or. This is why I have already committed 6-12% of the U.S. military budget (should it ever be brought under my discretionary control) for Alex’s art projects and sacred site development. I want a sixty billion dollar temple complex at Wappinger, N.Y. and a third-gen EyeCoSM®. Given an either/or, however, I’ll take the EyeCoSM®.

Although Alex has had more to say about the devotional and psychometric aspects of labor-intensive handmade art, I have also heard him speak highly of computer-generated art as well. In The Visionary Artist (a Sounds True audiobook), Alex generously praises computer art and says that he has learned the rudiments of Photo Shop. The most notable example of Alex collaborating with digital animators is the music video of Lateralus by Tool.

I would like to see Alex collaborate more with skilled digital artisans. While I get the devotional aspect of painting the same tiny spiral galaxy again and again, a strong case can also be made for reducing the investment of repetitious labor in a mechanically resistant medium and allowing a crucial visionary content provider to, for example, propagate the spiral galaxy with a hundred mouse clicks rather than a million brush strokes.

((insert imageTransfiguraton pages 50-51 and insert image))

Some of Alex’s images seem like they would actually be enhanced in a digital form. Original Face, a series of five, 17″x24″ panels painted with oil on linen in 1995, looks like a computer image. An animated version was produced for Tool’s Laderalis, but I see it displayed on a giant video screen with nodes of light moving along the vertical lines that establish the contours of the faces.

 ((NB 38-9insert image)))

I feel that Lightworker would be more powerful if the lightning, electrical field and spiral vortex were all animated.

In principle, Alex embraces the power of the new media. In The Mission of Art, he writes:

Science and technology have stretched human vision to the farthest expanses of space by the powers of the telescope and have allowed us to peer into previously unknown infinitesimal worlds by the powers of electron microscopy. Photography of cells, molecules, and atoms reveals pattern upon pattern of refined interwoven worlds and has given artists new vistas of the miniscule.

    Super computers have given artists new tools to create vivid and realistic imaginal worlds. With 3-D modeling and texture mapping of surfaces at such a high level of sophistication, computer artists can seamlessly interject their fantastic worlds into films or photographic scenes of everyday reality.

Alex may agree in principle, but I would like to see him utilize more of it in practice. Michelangelo and Bach used the most high-tech means available in their eras. Unauthorized digital artists will continue to appropriate Alex’s images for their art and animations. Why not have the originator of the visions directing more of the digital magic?

Alex, the Writer

 

Alex has also worked in the least mechanically resistant of all media—writing.  Not much, as far as I can tell, has been written about Alex’s writings, so I’m going to make a few comments.

Unlike a biographer, the spiraling overviewer, at least as I interpret the role, comments on whatever catches his eye, and especially on what has not been commented on. A great deal has been written, by Alex and others, on Alex the psychonaut and his philosophy of relating to entheogens as a visionary, artist and spiritual seeker.  This spiraling overview is, therefore, going to skip over that important topic entirely.

Obviously, Alex will always be far more recognized for his visual work, than his writing, though most of his prose is written in a lucid style and often has cogent things to say, especially about being an artist with a moral purpose.  That an artist can and should have a mission to bring something life-affirming into the world is a stance that would have been more acceptable in the 19th Century. Today, coming from a New York artist, it is a courageous stance since it is dramatically cross-grained with the trendy nihilism that, as discussed previously, is considered the only sophisticated and correct stance by most artworldlings. Alex’s philosophy of art has intellectual precision, but is centered in the heart, soul and spirit.  This is especially admirable since he is working in an art world that is more about cash and the avoidance of positive content. A humble sincerity shines through in his writings, and often an ability, like the X-Ray painting style, to expose the core. For example, in The Mission of Art he writes,

God has ordained that imagination be stronger than reason in the soul of the artist, which makes the artist build bridges between the possible and the seemingly impossible.

The insight is powerful, and the use of the word “God” in the statement somewhere between unorthodox to heretical in the world of contemporary art. Arguably, the insight could be delivered without bringing a polarizing entity like God into the equation (my philosophy of creativity The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse makes no mention of God), but you have to admire the sheer chutzpah of a New York artist/intellectual using it in his philosophy of art.

Alex’s prose, both in style and content, gets high marks from me. Alex has also written considerable poetry (which he sometimes recites at public events) and has even published a book of poetry and imagery entitled Art Psalms. I’m less competent to comment on poetry than prose, and I’m also more ambivalent about his work in that medium. Alex’s poetry is mostly a poetry of ideas and spiritual principles that often seems more well intended than inspired in the use of language and poetic technique. From the craft of writing point of view, I have a one-sentence suggestion to Alex if he plans to continue as a poet: bring in the specificity of image that is your strongest suit into your poetry.  Much of the poetry is either nonvisual or has images that are too abstracted for me to visualize. There are too many lines like “A glowing God’s eye,” which is too generalized for me to conjure up any particular image in my mind. On the other hand, Alex’s prose will sometimes use very effective visual metaphors, “The fire of God fills the artist with holy pressure to turn the coal of matter into diamonds of art.”  A more playful and inventive use of language occurs in the title of a painting, “Psychomicrograph of a Fractal Paisley Cherub Feather Tip.”  My suggestion is to bring more specificity of image and visionary, playful inventiveness into the poetic writings.

This concludes part I of the spiraling overview. In part II we are going to go much deeper into the content of many of Alex’s images and see what they reveal about the evolutionary metamorphosis of the human species.

Response from Alex (2/15/13):

Hey Jonathan,

Sorry to have missed you at the Gem show! Have fun it’s amazing.
I’m just now re-reading and even though it speaks to your theme of my invisibility in the artworld, there were a few other times the Times covered my work:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/arts/design/08tomaselli.html?_r=0    In a Ken Johnson review of well respected ARTworld star, Fred Tomaselli:
“Unlike the psychedelic painter Alex Grey, whose art conveys a true believer’s faith in the reality of an ultimately beneficent divinity accessible by means of “entheogens” — drugs that activate inner gods — and practices like meditation and chanting, Mr. Tomaselli teeters on the agnostic line between belief and skepticism.”   Ken Johnson
Here’s Fred Tomaselli’s endorsement:
“There was a time when expeditions into the unknown were always accompanied by an artist to depict the newly discovered landscapes. Alex Grey is one of those kinds of artist, but in his case he explores our parallel realities and brings them back alive. He is the Albert Bierstadt of inner space.”–Fred Tomaselli, artist
Perhaps you could just say my work is lost in the convolutions of the artworld.  I have been in museum shows over the years, New Museum of NYC, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, etc. more than most “visionary artists” so in some ways I’ve been fortunate.
***************************************************
Regarding my portrait of Adi Da, I think all your critique of my willful blindness to the shadow of some spiritual leaders is fair.  I made the portrait as a commission for a devotee of Adi Da, it was not meant as a full summary or critique of the personality of Franklin Jones.  I had read Da’s work for many years and respected his teachings, but was never in a devotee relationship with Da myself..
Years before, my teacher, Namchai Norbu, a Tibetan Buddhist leader had told me, “Sometimes it is better to keep the guru at a distance.  The closer you get the more human they appear.  If you believe the guru is a Buddha, you receive the spiritual transmission of a Buddha.  If you believe the guru is just as human as you, you get that level of transmission, if you believe the guru is a dog you get the transmission of a dog.”  This affected the way I wanted to portray Adi Da, because I wanted the devotee to get the maximum “empowerment” from the transmission of the guru, so I painted the full-on “God-Man” fusion with all the bells and whistles.  Anyone not familiar with Da’s “crazy wisdom” guru theatre might be very drawn to him from my portrait.  I still love his writings though it is easy to understand the objections by his former associates.
By the way, both Adi Da and Andrew Cohen have no connection to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, but you state that they do.  Those teachers had connections to the Hindu non-dual tradition.
 (To clarify: I worded a sentence poorly and seemed to imply that Cohen and Jones are identified with Tibetan Buddhism. They’re not. What I meant to convey is that the Crazy Wisdom Path comes from Tibetan Buddhism—JZ)
**********************************************
I appreciate your invitations to those of means to help us.  Allyson and I put everything we have into the Chapel project and still CoSM needs the support of friends and angels to evolve this sanctuary of visionary art.  Also love the EyeCoSM!
Thank you for caring so deeply about the work and giving it your critical attention.
Alex

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https://zaporacle.com/a-spiraling-eye-encrusted-overview-of-the-art-of-alex-grey/feed/ 2 A Spiraling, Eye-Encrusted Overview of the Art of Alex Grey (and some related topics, and a response from Alex) | ZapOracle.com Cover Image---Parallel Journeys, my first collage, was partly a tribute to Alex  and partly a foreshadow of my willingness to slash into his artwork as I sacrificed my first copy of Sacred Mirrors to obtain visionary source material Copyright 2013, Jonathan Zap (Alex has given image permissions and archetype,Featured lifecycle Augusta001004 Alex_Grey-Copulating alexfertilization Giger, Grof, Grey Adi Da Demons and Dieties endarkenment despair Power Worship In the early Eighties Augusta001005 alex and jonathan 12319
Parallel Journeys—-sample, Chapter One https://zaporacle.com/parallel-journeys-beta-test/ https://zaporacle.com/parallel-journeys-beta-test/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 21:49:57 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=14418 cover image: Interdimensional Passport, 1997, paper and gel medium on plywood by Jonathan Zap Interdimensional Traveler Logo, copyright Jonathan Zap, 2010 Parallel Journeys © 2015, Jonathan Zap Parallel Journeys collage, copyright 1996, Jonathan Zap, paper, gel medium and varnish on foam core poster board(my friend Alex Grey has seen the collage and generously approved my …

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cover image: Interdimensional Passport, 1997, paper and gel medium on plywood by Jonathan Zap

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Interdimensional Traveler Logo, copyright Jonathan Zap, 2010

Parallel Journeys © 2015, Jonathan Zap

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Parallel Journeys collage, copyright 1996, Jonathan Zap, paper, gel medium and varnish on foam core poster board(my friend Alex Grey has seen the collage and generously approved my use of numerous images from his book, Sacred Mirrors)

This revision of Chapter One posted on 2/17/17

 

Chapter I

Andrew’s Journal, March 23rd

 

Occurrences of high strangeness, like the one that just happened tonight, have been the key turning points of my life. Until a few months ago, I was a photojournalist and earned a living writing about subcultures. Although that sounds like a profession that should prepare you for writing about anything, when it comes to the anomalous aspects of my own life, I’ve struggled to find both will and words to render them into a narrative.

An uncanny occurrence, past a certain level of strangeness, can be a charged, slippery, squirming thing as hard to grasp as an electric eel tossed down an elevator shaft. When I try to catch such an experience in a net of words, it feels like the holes in the net are too large and the eel just slips through.

And yet, especially after what happened last night, some inner urgency insists that I try again.

All witnesses disappear sooner or later, but if I can make a worthwhile record of my experience, even if it is only a string of zeros and ones lurking somewhere in the interstices of the web, I have a feeling that at least a few people will find it.

“Seek and you shall find,” sayeth the web. You cast a lure out into its depths, a lure you make with key words, and out of some obscure crevice comes just what you were looking for—squirming and alive on your screen.

I’ve learned that anything can happen to me at any moment, but the sequence of binary numbers I cast out into the web will keep lurking out there long after I’m gone. Perhaps my account here will be someone else’s electric eel to be coaxed out of the obscure depths of cyberspace through some unexpected link or search return. If this is how you have found these words, I hope their slippery meaning is easier for you to grasp than it has been for me.

Although I may be only twenty-six years old, and people say I look almost exactly as I did at nineteen, I am filled with a sense of the impermanence of life, and at the moment feel only tenuously connected to it.

A car accident when I was twelve killed my parents and brought me past the threshold of death and back. After months in the hospital I recovered my health, but was left permanently disfigured by burns, though none of them are apparent when I wear clothing. The placement of my burns, what I came to think of as my “fireskin,” seems weirdly appropriate in a way. Unless I take off my clothes, I look perfectly normal. But underneath my clothing is another version of me, a fireskinned version.

I’ve learned to maintain these two versions of myself on multiple levels. The clothed version has functioned well in society. I graduated from college when I was twenty and then had an unusual degree of success as a photojournalist. But underneath the clothing and successful career, the fireskinned version of me has had intense paranormal experiences, experiences that, like my scarred flesh, I’ve kept carefully hidden.

But there is a guilty anxiety that comes with keeping up these two versions. I feel like someone running an illegal business that has two sets of books. I have a public ledger that isn’t exactly false, but that omits the most significant events of my life, and I have a secret one that I have kept hidden away in the deepest vaults of memory.

There’s a line in the first of the Lord of the Rings movies that’s always resonated with me: “Keep it secret, keep it safe.” Now it feels like I am writing out my passwords, social security number and all my other keep-it-secret- keep-it-safe stuff on a page for anyone to find. That’s why the palms of my hands are sweating as my fingers hover indecisively above the keyboard.

I’ve always been an intensely private person—a loner, an introvert, and a careful listener who often attracts the secrets of others. After a lifetime of guarding secrets, it’s hard to spill them out into a public journal. And the secrets I am divulging are not just mine, but include a few people very close to me.

Even though my intention is to disclose everything, I don’t want to draw a red circle around anyone. So I am omitting last names, some specific place names and a few minor details for privacy reasons.

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For six years, following a lucky break I got just out of college, I viewed life from the perspective of a photojournalist writing about subcultures. The journalistic instincts that got wired into me during those years are another reason I feel so nervous about writing this account.

I took my work seriously and strove to conduct myself with integrity. Anyone with sense realizes that there is no such thing as perfect objectivity, and one human being observing other human beings is about as subjective as it gets. But it’s the responsibility of a journalist to strive for some degree of objectivity.

When you sense the limits of your impartiality, it’s unethical if you don’t acknowledge them to yourself and to readers. A number of my published articles include disclosures of biases I had about subcultures I observed. I think that any journalist who has active biases about a subject they are writing about and who does not disclose them is inauthentic at best, and very likely a charlatan.

My photojournalism career began by spending months immersed in the lives of obsessive online gamers. Then for half a year I lived in my camper van near an Amish community, exploring their world. The contrast of these first two cultures was extreme, and I soon realized that there was some way in which I needed that extremity. The online gamers and the Amish lived in different dimensions, and this allowed me to feel like an interdimensional traveler experiencing alternate realities.

Wanting to keep the extreme contrast going, after I finished my time with the Amish I spent the next several months immersed in the vampire subculture of a few large cities.

Although I was always aware of myself as an outsider and observer, I had strong personal reactions to each of these worlds. I realized the impossibility of overcoming the subjectivity of that, but I never submitted an article until I felt I had reached some degree of objectivity.

But when it comes to my own experiences, and what amounts to a subculture of one writing about himself, I have to admit that I’m never going to reach the degree of objectivity that will satisfy my journalistic instincts. And yet, as subjective as my testimony might be, I sense that it will have value for a few other strange people who somehow or another will find my words. It is for these people, wherever they might be in space and time, that I am writing. I feel an urgency about this task, a need to get this written and cast out into cyberspace. None of us knows how long we will be here, and now more than ever, I feel the fragility of my bond to this plane of reality. I sense that I could get called away at anytime, and I’m willing to be drawn wherever I am needed to go.

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Sitting here in the darkened interior of my camper van, the screen of my laptop glowing expectantly before me, I feel those few other people reading these words and pressing me to continue. I sense that they are also leading double lives and have had parallel anomalous experiences.

I am catching inner glimpses of some of these people, though their faces seem to be just past the edge of my peripheral vision. I see the shadowed silhouette of an adolescent male, time and perception flowing through him in a way that sets him apart. There is a fiercely intelligent middle-aged woman with dark hair, an aura of occult experience crackling about her. Sitting forward in a chair is an androgynous young woman. She is living close to the edge and seems poised for physical action. And there are a few others who I sense, but can’t envision. They appear to be shrouded by mysteries that distort my vision of them like heat rippling off hot asphalt. I can’t quite make out who they are, but I feel their presence, the force of their unique personalities and lives, and sense that they will find the meanings and patterns in my account that currently elude me.

And then there is another reader, I hope, one who I know intimately but who is also hidden from my sight. For the last few months I’ve been undergoing a strange and painful separation from the strongest connection I’ve made to another human being since I lost my parents— my best friend Alex, who was also my traveling partner for three years. For reasons I am still struggling to understand, Alex decided that we should permanently separate and has broken off all communication with me.

Alex was the one person I confided my deepest secrets to. I also carry within me the strangely parallel secrets he confessed to me. And this is another reason motivating me to write this journal. I have new secrets now, secrets that I feel have value to at least a few others, but there is no one presently in my life I can share them with.

I feel a need to cast these secrets, like messages in a bottle, out into the turbulent sea of zeros and ones enveloping this planet.

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When Alex disconnected from me I was between assignments. I had been staying at the Piñon Mesa Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, a small community of idealistic young people dedicated to rescuing big cats from guaranteed hunts and other abusive situations. The refuge was distinctly its own subculture, successfully living up to its aims with authenticity and heart, and I expected it would be my next subject.

For me, writing about a subculture requires near total immersion. Whenever I found a subculture that intrigued me, it was a little bit like falling in love. It wasn’t as unreliable as infatuation, I didn’t idealize these subcultures or look to merge with them romantically, but there was always a feeling of heartfelt commitment, a sense that I owed them the best story I could tell about what they were. I took that commitment seriously and devoted myself to it, and once I began reporting on a subculture, I stayed with it until it was done to the best of my abilities.

That had been working for me for six years, but Alex’s sudden and unexpected rejection made journalistic immersion impossible and I was forced to put my career on hold.

I had enough money saved to get by for a while, and living out of a camper van is pretty cheap, but I needed something to do, something with a moral purpose that could pull me out of the inner chaos. So instead of writing about the Piñon Mesa Wildlife Refuge, I became a volunteer fundraiser for them. They had a small crew of canvassers working for them locally. With my camper van and traveling lifestyle, I could serve as a nomadic fundraiser.

Even though they prepared me for it as best they could, I didn’t get the psychological stress of door-to-door fundraising until I started doing it on my own. Danny, their master canvasser who took me on a one-night “skill share” canvass, cheerfully called it “annoying people in the privacy of their own homes.” I stood next to Danny as he endured rejection, and sometimes extreme rudeness from people, and somehow he took it all with good humor, even chuckling when one person slammed a door in his face. Danny warned me not to take any reactions personally, “Rudeness and rejection just come with the territory,” he said.

I thought I understood that, but fundraising door to door by myself night after night has not always found me as emotionally impervious as Danny was during the skill share. Canvassing is stressful, but it would be absurd for me to complain about it since it’s something I’m choosing to do and it’s also been the main thing keeping me together.

And sometimes canvassing provides pleasant interactions with people. Many nights someone will invite me in to drink tea or a beer, or even smoke some weed with them, and usually that’s followed by the writing of a check, sometimes a generous one. These more personal encounters relieve the loneliness of nomadic canvassing.

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Earlier this evening, when I forced myself to step out of my camper with my clipboard, I found that a thick fog had settled over  Seattle. The streets seemed only half-realized, as if they were fading into memory.  It was the stagnant, disassociating fog of a bankrupt dot-com executive lying etherized upon a table.

I found myself in canvassing autopilot mode, going through the motions, scarcely paying attention, relieved that few people were coming to the door to answer my knock. My mind kept drifting back to the strange and disturbing dreams, almost nightmares, I’ve been having about Alex. Images of Alex, alone and terrified, in a dark, abandoned city were flickering in my  mind as I opened the chain-link gate of an infinitely-bland, early-seventies ranch house. It wasn’t until I knocked that I registered all the classic visual clues that I had disturbed the home of a highly conservative, elderly person. The stoop was covered in threadbare AstroTurf, and windowsill shelves held dusty knick-knacks of the sort where a ceramic Eiffel Tower might stand next to a puffy, large-eyed plastic child whose outspread arms held a little placard that read “I love you this much Grandma!”

The door rattled and then opened a couple of inches, a brass security chain pulled taut, and through this gap, peered a gaunt, elderly woman in a shabby dress. Her eyes were clouded with cataracts, and she gazed at me with a look of uncomprehending irritability that teetered right at the edge of senile paranoia. There was what looked like a hearing aid in one ear, but something told me that the batteries had been dead for a long time.

Her aged face was ground zero for a déjà vu shockwave that staggered my mind and left me dumbfounded for a moment. Then autopilot  clicked in and I managed to deliver the opening line of my rap,

“Sorry to bother you, my name is Andrew and I’m doing a fundraiser for the Piñon Mesa Wildlife Refuge—“

“Mr. Anderson from the what?”

“From the Piñon Mesa Wildlife Refuge.”

“I don’t need any wildlife. I’m on a fixed income.”

But I was no longer listening to what she was saying, because now I knew with absolute certainty where I had seen this old woman before.

The first time was when I was nine-years old and was with my mom as we waited in line in a tiny Manhattan supermarket. I remembered her because she had a dozen containers of cottage cheese lined up on the checkout conveyor belt and on top of each one was a torn-out newspaper coupon. Most were torn with very uneven edges, and I realized she must have scavenged discarded newspapers to get them all. I hated cottage cheese and couldn’t imagine what someone would want with so much of it. And she had this proud, defiant look, like she was daring the cashier to object to her cottage cheese hording.

Then, just a few weeks later, we were in Maryland visiting family, and I was walking down the aisle of a much larger supermarket with my cousins and I saw the same supermarket lady wearing the same floral dress I had seen her in a few weeks before in Manhattan. As if she had been designed to renact this one ritual, she stood defiantly before a dozen tattered coupon-topped cottage cheese containers lined up on the conveyor belt of a checkout station, her stern expression starkly illuminated by florescent light.

I had this shattering feeling that I had seen something I wasn’t supposed to, a flaw in a gigantic deception, and I was terrified about what would happen if anyone knew that I had caught on.

I quickly looked away from her and tried to cover my shock. I was afraid that if the supermarket lady knew that I knew, she would emit a high-pitched, piercing scream and that all the other simulated people would stop what they were doing and surround me, engulf me.

In the days after the supermarket incident, I had a gnawing anxiety that many people, and perhaps all people, were “extras”—people somehow contrived to fill in crowd scenes, to take up most of the empty space on subway trains, to mutely walk down sidewalks holding lumpy plastic shopping bags in the hot sun. When I looked at their eyes, looked closely, I had a feeling that there was no one there, that I was just seeing glass doll’s eyes, cleverly made to look bloodshot, and to scan and blink like real eyes. If you didn’t look closely, the extras looked real, but if you examined any one of them minutely, you could see that it was actually a mechanical simulacrum created by advanced alien technology.

The fear that I lived in a world of extras even extended to my family. I wanted to ask my mom how I would know if she and my dad were really themselves and not precise replicas created by aliens. At first I hesitated to ask because I feared some terrible retribution if I called out the great deception. But then I realized no retribution was necessary. I imagined asking my mom the question and having her smile and reply, “Yes dear, of course we are replicas. Isn’t it obvious?” I thought that would be the most horrifying outcome, but then I imagined asking her the same question and her answering, “No, of course not, whatever gave you that crazy idea?” But she would have this ever-so-slightly crooked smile and glint in her eyes that would tell me that she was lying, and that she knew that we both knew it was a lie.

There were too many terrifying possibilities. I never did ask, but this was what was tormenting me in the days before the fatal car accident. After I regained consciousness in the hospital, and was told that my parents didn’t make it, paranoia was replaced by raw grief. I knew I was mourning for them and not any replica, and when I remembered the crazy thoughts I had in the days before the accident it was with bitter regret and guilt.

Apparently, this type of paranoia is fairly common. There’s even a name for this condition—Capgras Syndrome. But even though I have long since outgrown this childhood paranoia, I’ve never entirely shaken the feeling that things are not quite as they are trying to seem.

And then, when the door of this house opened and I saw, standing right in front of me, the very same supermarket lady, still wearing the same frowsy, floral-patterned dress she had been wearing in the Manhattan supermarket, the almost forgotten paranoia of childhood came rushing back.

Autopilot still allowed me to deliver the opening lines of my rap, but then shock seemed to paralyze my ability to speak. The great deception I had feared as a child now seemed to be staring me right in the face and I had this sickening feeling that she knew that I knew.

As I stared at her, her facade fell away. The senile scowl disappeared along with the cataracts, and there was a high-pitched ringing or humming in my ears. I couldn’t quite hear what was said to me, but I knew I had been invited into the house. In a state of shocked compliance, I stepped into a living room whose only illumination was a black-and-white television with a test pattern mandala glowing on the screen.

And then I had that acutely embarrassing sensation you get when you realize you have been way off in guessing someone’s age, or perhaps have even mistaken their gender, because now I could see that the old woman was not actually the supermarket lady, or even an old woman. The hair that looked white was actually light blonde, and what had seemed like wrinkles were actually just a mottling of shadows made by the screen door. What looked like cataracts were reflections from eyes that were large and grey, almost silver. They belonged to a sorrowful, pale boy wearing a white button-down shirt, narrow dark tie and grey trousers. His style of dress seemed to be that of an English schoolboy from an earlier era. His eyes were sad and intelligent and seemed to be observing me carefully. I felt embarrassed and confused.

I assumed that walking around poorly-lit streets in the fog had played a terrible trick on my vision. I tried to bring autopilot back on line, and in a rather stilted way asked,

“Are you interested in helping endangered wildlife?”

“Yes, I am,” replied the boy. He had a slight British accent and spoke in a manner that was confident, formally polite, but also deeply sincere and humble. His tone and answer were so unexpected, I wasn’t sure what to say next.

“You are?”

“Yes,” he replied with the identical tone—sincere, confident precision.

“You want to help endangered wildlife?” His manner unsettled me, and I was lapsing into redundancy.

“It’s the main reason I came here.” This last statement puzzled me into another silence. I replayed it slowly in my mind,

It’s-the-main-reason-I-came-here. He sounded so sure of himself, but I couldn’t quite get a handle on what he meant.

“Please,” said the boy as he turned and gracefully, with an elegant old-world manner, motioned for me to follow. We stepped out of the darkened living room and into a long, wide corridor of polished brown marble, magnificently decorated with Persian rugs of deep colors and intricate patterns. Crystal chandeliers glimmered from the high-arched ceilings. There were mirrors and paintings on the walls as well as beautiful cabinets of mahogany and beveled glass that were filled with what appeared to be antique nautical instruments—sextant, astrolabe, ship’s chronometer, globes of various kinds, a complicated apparatus of gears and spheres of precious stone—was it an orrery or a model of some other solar system?

I followed the boy down the long corridor, and into a room that looked like the private study of a nineteenth-century English gentleman. There were floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with antique hand-bound books with gilt titles and marbleized paper on the covers. There were draperies of wine-dark velvet, and a beautiful chandelier whose faceted crystals were so prismatic that they seemed to be dripping with color. The boy motioned me toward a comfortable chair, while he sat behind a large desk with an elaborately carved oriental dragon motif. On the desk was a single object, an exquisite mechanical clock, a “grand complication,” with numerous hands and dials that showed phases of the sun and moon, and God only knew what else, for this clock had alchemical symbols or glyphs where one expected to see Roman numerals. The clock was housed in a crystal bell that revealed a whirring galaxy of gears, jeweled bearings, and other tiny parts in complicated movement.

“Would you care for something to drink?” The boy gestured toward a small marble-topped serving cabinet on which there were glasses and a crystal decanter of amber liquid. I assumed it contained some costly brandy, and wasn’t sure about the legality of accepting alcohol from a minor. Come to think of it, I wasn’t supposed to enter a home at all on the invitation of a minor. Something had addled my judgment.

“It’s non-alcoholic.” Was this boy reading my mind?

“Well, in that case . . .” He carefully poured me a drink, and handed me a glass tumbler of the amber liquid. It tasted golden, fragrantly herbal, like a mixture of sparkling cider, currants, maple syrup and cinnamon. Its effect was warming, relaxing, enlivening in a way that was more like an elixir than a stimulant. This seemed uncanny, until I remembered that nowadays, exotic, herbal concoctions could be found in any corner store. I took another sip of the drink, and put my clipboard filled with animal photographs on the desk.

And then, although the room looked exactly the same, it was like stepping out of a mirror and yet being in a mirror world at the same time. I knew that I had been mesmerized by a beautifully-realized illusion, and although I had awakened inside the illusion, to all my physical senses what I was experiencing felt as solid and stable as ever.

“You’re not who you appear to be.” I said to the boy.

“No, I’m not,” he agreed without hesitation. His tone was somewhat saddened, but not apologetic. I had a déjà-vu-tinged feeling that we already knew each other from past, future and perhaps some other dimension of time.

“Can you tell me who you are?”

“I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so?”

“I would like to, but . . . there is a force that resists certain choices.”

“What sort of force is that?”

“Well . . .”  the boy paused, and looked away for a long moment.

“I suspect that knowing who I am right now might distract you from your life mission, from what you need to do next . . .’ The boy studied me intently.  “There is a strong current of time running through you, a current that will pull you somewhere very soon.  I must not interfere with it . . .”

“Pulling me where?”

“I don’t know exactly, but I can feel that you are in the grips of a painful obsession. You are about to get pulled deeper into it, and that needs to happen.”

A vision of Alex slashed across my mind. As if sensing this, the boy raised his eyebrows slightly, his expression inviting me to say more.

“My best friend, Alex, severed ties with me a few months ago. He gave no explanation. It was a terrible shock and I’ve been struggling with it ever since. There’s been no communication from him, but I have this feeling that he’s in danger.  And for the last few days I’ve had disturbing dreams about him.”

“Dreams?”

“Yeah, a whole series of them. In all of them I find Alex in a dark, desolate city. I never see anyone there except him and it is always nighttime. In the last dream, Alex had a terrible wound to his left hand and arm which were wrapped up in rag-like bandages. He’s desperate and fearful.”

“What is he fearful of?” asked the boy.

“Of being attacked, I guess. Living alone in a dangerous neighborhood. In his right hand he was clutching an old wooden baseball bat, holding it up like he was fending someone off. I want to do something to help him or protect him, but the dreams never allow me more than a moment of contact. He recognizes me, and I am with him long enough to witness his state of desperation and loneliness, and then the dreams just end. I wake up feeling distraught and desperate to rescue him from something. But I don’t know what to do with those feelings. Alex knows how to get in touch with me. He knows I would be willing to help any way I could. Maybe these dreams reflect my emotional state and have nothing to do with him. For all I know, he’s doing just fine and disrespecting his wishes and getting in touch with him based on dreams I’m having might be a pathetic intrusion.”

The boy had been studying me with silent intensity. When I narrated the dream, I felt that he was not just hearing it, but seeing it with me. When I finished speaking, he closed his eyes.

Time seemed to stand still as I felt him looking into the situation with inner vision.

When he eventually opened his eyes, he gazed at me silently. I sensed that he was compassionately gauging what I was ready to hear.

“I can tell you what I feel, what I sense, but you are the one who is closely linked to Alex.  Your inner truth sense is the judge of what I say.”

“Always.” I said, nodding in agreement.

“I feel your dreams are about something that is happening to Alex. But whatever he is going through right now, he doesn’t want you to be part of it. At least not yet. He may not be fully conscious of it, but part of why he is keeping you away is to protect you. He feels that what he is going through would endanger you.

“You are at the verge of a shock —a revelation, a communication, something related to Alex is coming toward you without your having to do anything. Your life mission requires you to be completely present for that. There hasn’t been anything for you to do about what’s going on, but there will be once the shock happens. Other aspects of your life mission or mine would only distract from that.” Another moment of silence as he studied me empathically.

“I sense that our paths will cross again, but right now you are needed for whatever is coming next with Alex.”

The boy stood up, signaling the end of our meeting. I stood up too, and we walked in thoughtful silence down the long corridor of polished brown marble. At one point I glanced to the right and saw the reflection of our moving profiles in a long oval mirror. It was only a glance, but it seemed like the reflection of the boy was different, slightly taller and with long blonde hair. His clothes were different too. I sensed that everything I was seeing was an exquisitely realized illusion and wondered whether the distorted reflection in the mirror was purposeful.

We stepped out into the incongruously shabby living room where the test pattern mandala was still glowing on the black-and-white television.

The boy turned to look at me with his solemn grey eyes. “Blessings to you brother,” he said. There was that déjà vu twinge again, a feeling that I had been in this moment before and that it rippled through past and future. And then . . . there is a slight gap in my memory. I can’t remember what, if anything, I said to him. All I can recall is opening the chain-link gate and walking down the street about half a block. Then I stopped and looked at my clipboard so that I could mark the location of the house on my map. Under the metal clip were a dozen very new–looking hundred-dollar bills. He must have given them to me or placed them there during the brief memory gap.

The darkened Seattle streets were wet and a light, misty rain was falling. Everything was shrouded in mysteries and meanings that felt like they were right at the edge of perception . . .

Questions erupted in my mind like searchlights, trying to pierce the swirling darkness.

What just happened?

I felt myself pulled toward the camper and the need to write this all down . . .

01100001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01110010 01100101 01100001 01100100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01111010 01100101 01110010 01101111 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101000 01110010 01101111 01110101 01100111 01101000 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110011 01110111 01101001 01110010 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100011 01101000 01100001 01101111 01110011 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01100010 01101100 01101001 01101110 01101011 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101110 01100101 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110001 01110101 01100101 01110011 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01101101 01100001 01110010 01101011 01110011

And now I have written it down.

I’ve turned my thoughts and feelings into an obscure thread of ones and zeros I am about to cast out into cyberspace. But where this thread is leading me—-I have no idea. My mind can’t tell me anything, it is still just a swirling mass of blinking neon question marks. The swirl is slowing now because my brain is tired and I must sleep.

Alex, Alex . . .

I can see you standing near the edge of an abyss . . .

Why won’t you let me help you?

 _______________________________________

Some background on Parallel Journeys

The intention to write something like Parallel Journeys dates back to the summer of 1978 right after I first discovered and wrote about the Singularity Archetype in a philosophy honors paper, Archetypes of a New Evolution. After completing the paper, I had the strong intuitive realization that the best way for me to explore the Singularity Archetype, and to present it to the world, would be to write a fantasy epic. I planned to continue my research and nonfiction writing on the subject, and that culminated a couple of years ago in the publication of my book, Crossing the Event Horizon—The Singularity Archetype and Human Metamorphosis. I felt then, and feel now, that the fantasy fiction version would be more potent, however. To some, fantasy fiction is a form of trivial escapism. In Pushing the Envelope–Boundary Expansion into Novelty in Personal and Evolutionary Contexts I make the case that fantasy fiction, which Tolkien called “subcreation,” is at the cutting edge of evolution. I know that sounds like an over-the-top claim, but you can read my case (or listen as podcast) to see if this is a rational conclusion.

The earliest versions of Parallel Journeys that bear any resemblance to its present form began in the  early 80s. I regarded all my attempts as experimental and kept reworking the material. I also found that different than almost anything else I was drawn to by the creative muse, Parallel Journeys was both the most desirable project, and also the least available, as it depended on visionary access to other planes of reality. I’ve written about some of the ups and downs of my struggle with this project in my essay (and podcast) on creativity, The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse. Most of you are probably familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of 10,000 hours of practice as necessary to achieve world-class proficiency at anything. While I’m way over that standard in nonfiction writing, I have a long way to go before I log 10k hours in fiction writing. So even though much of the nonfiction practice carries over, and even though I got a master’s degree from the NYU creative writing program in the 80s, I still have a lot to learn about writing fiction at the level at which I want to write it.

One of the first versions of Parallel Journeys was a novella entitled Spiral that was my master’s thesis at NYU in the mid-eighties. It was signed by my beloved writing mentor/teacher/adviser one of America’s greatest novelists, the recently late, great, E.L. Doctorow <<link to a brief obit I wrote for Reality Sandwich.

 Compounding this is that Parallel Journeys involves experimental narrative devices and surreality on a number of levels and that requires much more skill to pull off than conventional fiction. I have high confidence in the creative process and have scarcely missed a predawn Parallel Journeys writing session since the autumn equinox of 2013. A few days before the autumn equinox of 2014 I finished the rough draft and since then have been working with my editor, Austin Iredale.  The revision process could take a few years. As of December 2015, I am about 14 months into the revision and have yet to finish work on chapter 3.  During April 15, 16 and 17 of 2015 I had a whole series of realizations of how I could make nearly every part of the book better and that has made the revision even more extensive and protracted.

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Are You an Invisible? https://zaporacle.com/are-you-an-invisible/ https://zaporacle.com/are-you-an-invisible/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2013 09:43:58 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=13283 A sometimes surreal exploration of Grant Morrison’s graphic novel masterpiece THE INVISIBLES asks the reader to consider whether they might be an Invisible---an empowered and transforming mutant.

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Are You an Invisible? —Manichean Mutant Metamorphosis, A Chaos Magic Artifact Brought Out of a Reading of THE INVISIBLES by Grant Morrison

© 2013 Jonathan Zap

(Note: All italicized quotes are from THE INVISIBLES unless otherwise indicated.)

A sometimes surreal exploration of Grant Morrison’s graphic novel masterpiece THE INVISIBLES asks the reader to consider whether they might be an Invisible—an empowered and transforming mutant.

Are you an Invisible?

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If you’re willing to read to the end of this document, or the book, THE INVISIBLES, then there is a high probability that you are an Invisible.

But there are many sorts of Invisibles—some are part of a hermetic circle of Invisibles, others seem to drift at the margins of social matrices, never fully bonding with fellow Invisibles. Some Invisibles fulfill their mission to shift the matrix in some essential way; others fade from Invisibility and become passively alienated or even merge with the opaque herd.

It’s important to know what sort of an Invisible you are, because some types of Invisibles have much brighter prospects than others.

invisiblesreaching hand

Every sentence that goes by diminishes the chances that non-Invisibles are reading, because Invisibles are more bi-hemispheric and able to process oblique information, thought-forms coming in from odd angles, while non-Invisibles require thought forms that are highly stereotyped and absolutist.

Of course, a source of information that is always oblique can get really annoying, like asking Confucius for driving instructions and getting a series of parables and kōans. Soon I will switch to straightforward mode and come up with a working definition of an Invisible.

Invisibles are in need of being named and defined, but not to a degree that they are made too visible, because then, of course, they lose their invisibility. To paraphrase Lao-Tsu, the Invisible that can be named is not a True Invisible.

While the Invisibles tend to be unnamed, many of us have names for non-Invisibles—some call them muggles or zombies; Jung called them “mass man;” Gurdjieff called them the “hasnamuss.”

I’ve never found a perfect name for the Invisibles. I use the word “mutant.” In an attempt at nonobliqueness, I wrote the following definition of a mutant in A Glossary of Zap Terms, which will also be our working definition of an Invisible:

A Mutant is not a genetic anomaly but a person who is undergoing evolutionary metamorphosis. Mutants are empowered by a core of self-actualization (what Jung called “individuation.”)  A Mutant is a self-aware interdimensional traveler who is taking charge of his or her own interdimensional journey into the unknown. A Mutant is someone who has a deep commitment to consciousness, which means a willingness to peel back the many layers of acquired conditioning and to help along the project of consciousness in general. This means that the deep commitment extends to others who are also committed to consciousness. A Mutant with a capital “M” is one who serves transpersonal aims, and is not merely looking to enhance his own status. It is this sort of Mutant that Jung referred to when he said, “Every advance in culture is, psychologically, an extension of consciousness, a coming to consciousness that can take place only through discrimination. Therefore an advance always begins with individuation, that is to say with the individual, conscious of his isolation, cutting a new path through hitherto untrodden territory. To do this he must first return to the fundamental facts of his own being, irrespective of all authority and tradition, and allow himself to become conscious of his distinctiveness. If he succeeds in giving collective validity to his widened consciousness, he creates a tension of opposites that provides the stimulation which culture needs for its further progress. (from A glossary of Zap Terms)

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You joined a long time ago, but if you don’t want to come with us now, if you don’t want to find out more about what this is all about, you’re free to go your own way. THE INVISIBLES 

The problem with this definition is that not all Invisibles have fully answered the call to adventure. There are many faded or fading Invisibles. To the perception of an empowered Invisible, they throw back a weak radar return—the distinctness of their invisibility is becoming a gray blur, browning at the edges. These are the Invisibles who disappoint their potential and succumb to the tragic magic of the Babylon Matrix.They are in a state of falling (sometimes quickly, sometimes in slow-motion) through the wrong end of the telescope. Reversed telescope portals are available everywhere—some are in the form of white powders, others reside in fluorescent-lit cubicles, junk food meals, advertisements, and inauthentic social situations.

You think you’re an outlaw but you just do what they want you to do; cause trouble for a little while, screw some tart, raise more robots, and on and on and on.  THE INVISIBLES

Diminishing Invisibles eventually become invisible to themselves and thereby lose their Invisibility. To be an Invisible, your self-awareness must be ever growing, and if it’s not, then it is ever diminishing. Dylan described this steep bifurcation:

He not busy being born

Is busy dying

Grant Morrison wants to empower Invisibles who are busy being born. In a fax he sent on October 26, 1993 with his proposal for THE INVISIBLES, Grant stated his intentions this way:

One of the things we should be trying to bring out is the idea of the Invisibles as a group to which anyone might belong. Involve the reader in the whole process by making him/her realize that she/he too can join/has already joined the ranks of The Invisibles. Part of what I want to achieve with this title in the long-term involves actually changing the consciousness of the readers by presenting them with various techniques and concepts which will undoubtedly alter their way of looking at the world, in that sense, THE INVISIBLES isn’t a comic about something but is the thing itself and every reader is a potential Invisible. If the Invisibles are Shamanic Terrorists, the comic itself is an act of shamanic terrorism.

The Invisibles in Grant Morrison’sTHE INVISIBLES are mutants who have answered the call to adventure and are willing to undergo a quest with transpersonal aims. They are part of a cognitive, imaginal, and sometimes fully physical, insurrection against the toxic patriarchal structures of The Babylon Matrix.

Invisibles never rebel from a default reality through purely physical means. It would be literal, obtuse and self-defeating to battle the toxic structures of a matrix while fully identified with its manifestations. It would be like someone having a manic, psychotic episode while playing World of Warcraft such that they forget about any existence outside of WOW. The deluded WOW player finds that he is in a hellish world surrounded by enemies and adversarial forces. In his state of self-forgetting, he assumes that the only way out of this hellish World of Warcraft is to defeat every single avatar that comes at him until they have all been defeated.

An Invisible, however, knows to just let go of various game controllers when they become disempowering. An Invisible realizes that to really transform a matrix you must hack into the source code and rewrite the linguistic and translinguistic reality definitions.

Rewriting these codes is another way of saying magic, which, as Aleister Crowley defines it, is “the science and art of creating change in conformity with will.” Of course, someone frying an egg is creating change in conformity to will, but they are not shifting a matrix in the more essential way that Invisibles seek to. So we could rewrite Crowley’s principle: An Invisible is engaging the science and art of creating fundamental change in conformity with will. George Bernard Shaw was hinting at the Invisibles when he said,

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

A classic way for an Invisible to create fundamental change is for them to create portals, portals which other Invisibles can gaze into, possibly interact with, and expand their awareness. The portals they create are sometimes cultural artifacts such as movies, books, websites or graphic novels…

Grant Morrison used his linguistic skills and chaos magic to work collaboratively with other artists to create a portal called THE INVISIBLES, a serialized work, which can now be experienced as a massive single volume of 1600 pages squirming with colored images, and words that horrify and inspire.

The Invisibles Omnibus is an expensive book, but it has to be—sewn binding, 1600 glossy pages exquisitely printed in full color and with no bleed through (except in your mind). And there are the thousands, if not tens of thousands of man-hours and mutant-hours contributed by Grant, and all the letterers, inkers and colorists who produced the 10,000 or so panels comprising this massive book. If you have money to spend on this book, I also recommend the purchase of a magnifying glass with a five-inch diameter lens. Magnifiers this size diffract light in such a way that it makes illustrations and photographs seem 3-D, and this effect, as well as the magnification, increased the portal effect for me.

invisible magnifier

Someone, probably an Invisible, once said that you shouldn’t read a book unless it is like a ball of light glowing in your hands. Reading the Invisibles Omnibus is like holding a 13-inch diameter sphere of what appears to be clear quartz crystal in your hands. It’s heavy and a bit unwieldy to keep a grip on for long. These physical considerations, however, fade into the background when it starts to radiate strange images and you discover that it is a Palantír. To paraphrase Nietzsche, if you gaze overlong into THE INVISIBLES, it begins to gaze back at you. And sometimes its gaze is like the Eye of Sauron and it penetrates you with fell visions and the spells of Mordor.

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As Invisibles become drawn into THE INVISIBLES they will see images of many things, some intentionally false and distorted, others revelatory of hidden truths. It takes strength of mind to look into a Palantír, or The Mirror of Galadriel, or THE INVISIBLES—an interactive portal made of words and images. An Invisible who engages THE INVISIBLES may find synchronicities linking them to this work in uncanny ways.

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They may also find that dark forces which whisper at the edges of their mind will be revealed in THE INVISIBLES, like a series of illuminated X-rays. The metastasizing spells of parasitic magic revealed in the X-rays will be tough to look at. But these things were much more uncomfortable for the Invisibles who underwent them. For example, imagine yourself held captive in an institution at age seventeen. The head of the institution is a man named Gelt, who wears glasses with round lenses of nearly opaque blackness. Introducing you to your institutionalized captivity, Gelt tells you,

We have mummified the LIVING here.

Removed all their anger and frustration. All their feelings; left them hollow and dry, ready to be returned to the world…

Here we make little soldiers. Empty heads, marching to a common beat. Living, growing old, dying in our service…

Two things we will make you; smooth between the legs, smooth between the ears, and what we take from you, will feed the kings of this earth.

It is this sort of X-ray you must be willing to endure to read THE INVISIBLES.

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THE INVISIBLES is a spell. It’s not just a comic book. It tells the future. Things happen around it and to the people who absorb it. I’m not lying to you. I present a slice of human experience in this form. I started out writing a story and slowly, over a few years, the world I live in became almost exactly like the story.  —excerpt from Grant Morrison’s final “Invisible Ink” essay, from THE INVISIBLES Vol 3, #1

The Invisibles is a nexus of synchronicities and crossover effects for both its authors and for many readers. For example, I found many synchronistic links to my own unfinished fantasy epic, Parallel Journeys.

There were several, but here are the two that are the easiest to explain. In a panel with a picture of a tower with six high-tension power lines one Invisible says to another:

One day when we’re all gone, the creatures who come after us’ll find these old steel skeletons marching across desert wastes or tropical swamplands.

Think how mysterious they’ll appear, like the old stones are to us. The new caretakers of the earth will wonder if these pylons were built to mark highways of unknown and forgotten power.

In a passage from Parallel Journeys written in the mid-eighties, a character named Tommy, who is an Invisible in multiple senses (he is a mutant with literal cloaking abilities) is also standing before a high-tension, power-line tower:

In the center of this dry ground stood an enormous geometric construction of steel bars, an abstraction of a standing human form with upstretched metal arms holding six black power lines against the sky.

Tommy stood before this structure with a deep, primitive dread, feeling its power through the pores of his skin. Invisible energy from the lines made his muscles twitch and pulled at his hair.

One issue of THE INVISIBLES is entitled The Last Temptation of Jack. Jack’s full name, his Invisible’s name, is “Jack Frost.” The largest section of book one of Parallel Journeys (which also dates back to the 80s) is entitled The Last Temptation of the Snowman.

Note added: On April 24 of 2013, the day after I wrote the above, I found that my very close friend, Jack Savage, had just taken his life. Jack had just turned 24 and was one of the greatest poetic and soulful voices of his generation (Savage Reflections—the Soulful Poems of Jack Savage). He was, by far, the most significant Jack ever to cross into my life. The Last Temptation of the Snowman takes place in an astral realm. Two weeks (and again three days) before the suicide (and with no information about Jack for the previous eight months) I had a powerful dream where Jack appeared to be in a distressed, paranoid place in a lower astral realm (which looks like a grim, abandoned, urban landscape) written about in Parallel Journeys. That part, and the Last Temptation of the Snowman involve an attempt to help persons having a difficult time in a lower astral plane. No specific dream was recalled three days before the suicide, but I awoke with an overwhelming and anguished concern for Jack. In the panel where Dane, a young man is being given his Invisible’s  name, Jack Frost, he says: “Fuck off! I’ not committing suicide…” Dane also looks like Jack.

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p. 589 of the Invisibles Omnibus (Jack Savage was born in 89’)

I could go on, but the synchronicities I experienced will not be as interesting to you as the ones you will likely experience if you approach the uncanny energies shimmering around THE INVISIBLES. As with the example outlined above, be prepared that the synchronicities could be intense and life-changing.

When you were young you spent hours writing with your left hand, didn’t you? You were trying unconsciously to break the alphabet spell our teachers placed upon you.                                                     

P.S. I have written this essay as a suicide note because your “education” system is retarded and rooted in an 18th-century production ethic and by the time you find this and award me zero out of infinity, I will be dead.

Issues of the THE INVISIBLES were originally printed with a warning that they were for “mature audiences.” I would add that THE INVISIBLES is not for those who confuse maturity with a persistent, socially sanctioned immaturity that many will bring with them to the grave.

The only way to do that is to jump “up” from the surface of timespace and see all of history and all our tomorrows as the single object I believe it is.

THE INVISIBLES is a jumping up from history and all its blood-stained pageantry marching through time and space.  It gazes down at all that from hyperspace where it can be seen as a single object.

The universe— the entire space-time continuum, from big bang to heat death, no less— was not a linear stream of events with beginning, middle, and end. That was only how it felt from the inside. In fact, the totality of existence looked more like a ball of sphincters, constantly moving through itself in a way that was hypnotic and awe inspiring to observe.

—Grant Morrison, Supergods

THE INVISIBLES gazes down from hyperspace at human history, that particular ball of sphincters glowing in the night of time, and then cross-sections it from odd angles.  These crosssections are then stained, colored, lettered and otherwise made into the 10,000 or so panels of THE INVISIBLES.

 I’ve been here before.

You’re here still. Prepare yourself.

Initiation never ends.

All it takes is the correct angle and you’ll see what you have always been.

 

II. Answering the Call of the Invisibles

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You joined a long time ago, but if you don’t want to come with us now, if you don’t want to find out more about what this is all about, you’re free to go your own way.

Imagine you’re made of smoke, blue smoke drifting in the breeze. A ghost of blue smoke. Be invisible.    

The way this works, Jack, is that we fold psychic constructs of ourselves through from one point on the supersphere to another.

You are in a room with wood paneling and leather-upholstered furniture. Bookshelves filled with old books line the walls. The room is so dimly lit you see little more than the outline of these things, but you can smell the old books, cracked leather chairs, pipe tobacco and dusty carpet. The carpet seems to be charged with an inordinate amount of static electricity. You feel it every time you move your bare feet. Or perhaps the electricity is coming from the Invisible who has entered the room from a shadowy corner. You feel him, the silent percussive waves of his personality and presence, the sense of long journeys and the magnetic pull of inexorable destinies. He has come here to offer you something. At the edge of your vision you begin to see the swirling of a blue smoke that has tiny scintillations of color within it, a prismatic mist scarcely visible beneath the smoke like tiny diamonds nearly hidden by the nicotine haze of heavy cigarette smoke. The scintillating smoke draws nearer, and for a moment it shimmers into different human forms—a seventeen-year-old boy with blonde hair and a couple of missing fingers, an athletic looking androgynous black woman, a man with a shaved head, a tall transsexual who is possibly Hispanic, an old homeless man with a scraggly beard. But none of these forms stick, and you sense that the Invisible is not here to meet you in any personal way. He/she is here to offer you a portal. The thought form crackles like static electricity in your mind space. What little it’s willing to say is offered telepathically and impersonally. The information appears in your mind as implicit thought forms, like the things you know in a dream without being told.

The subtle scintillations within the swirling blue smoke grow brighter and become more kinetic. The smoke is spinning itself up like a dust devil whipping up loose paper and other bits of debris from the carpeting. It is forming the portal, and the spinning of the vortex seems to tighten and focus itself until suddenly a definite form emerges and stands before you. It is a suit of clothes that is filled out as if by a person, but no person is visible, only a faint remnant of the blue smoke.

The suit of clothes is more threadbare than fancy—just an old green hoodie with slightly tattered sleeves, faded jeans and black Converse high top sneakers. But the outfit is also fringed by a corona of blue electricity and it seems to have an immense gravitational field. The field lifts you just off your feet so that now you are hovering a couple of inches above the carpet. You are not pulled into the outfit because there is a decision nexus preventing that, a choice that must be made.

Telepathically, you are made aware that choosing to enter the outfit means, among other things, that for eight minutes you will show up in this suit of clothes in a dimly lit room, the private library of a well-educated man of the 16th Century. This time displacement will be slightly unstable and may make you feel uncomfortable—some nausea and vertigo—but you will have to master these feelings and use these eight minutes to tell this man something that he will find highly disturbing. You must tell him that he has missed a whole dimension of life, and that this dimension, though unseen, forms his life and all the life he sees around him. You must make him understand that hidden in this dimension of invisible life are potent predators and parasites that could diminish or end his life. You’ll know what to say to him, because from where you come from, knowledge about this hidden dimension of life is commonplace and a summary of it will come quickly to mind. What is commonplace to you, however, will be an ontological shock to the man of the 16th Century, an Invisible living at a four hundred year displacement from you. For him, what you have to say will be like a tear ripping through the whole fabric of his reality. And yet, you sense that this message must be delivered and as you make your choice you are pulled toward the suit of clothes.

Your visual field interrupts for a moment as you feel an elevator drop twisting in your stomach, sudden figure/ground reversal, and now you are in the suit of clothes hovering in the dusty airspace of the room. There are things in the pockets of the hoodie. From the left pocket you pull a crinkling bag of candy, brightly colored capsules of sugar and chemical flavor, the brand name is revealed on a shimmering, rainbow-hued Mylar surface —Skittles. In the right pocket is a familiar oblong object of rounded edges and precision surfaces of glass and metal. Your fingers trace the familiar contours of an unsheathed iPhone.

A strong breeze blows through the room now. There is a sphere before you, it appears to be made of liquid metal which has the look of slightly iridescent Damascus steel with a rippled structure that undulates so that the sphere at times becomes amoeboid—a moving free form of liquid metal that is coming toward you, enveloping you. On the inside, the liquid metal is huge, it seems to have as much space as a universe and you feel yourself falling through it. Your fall accelerates to the speed of light, and then the speed of thought, and then it suddenly decelerates and you find yourself tumbling in slow motion toward what looks like a very old mansion with narrow diamond pane windows glowing faintly with the flicker of amber candlelight.

You are in the room and it smells of burning animal fat candles, of old paper and ink, and the old man, an Invisible living in the 16th Century, is sitting before you at his desk, his eyes dilating with astonishment as you come into view.

He puts the quill feather filled with ink back in its stand and stares at you as if at an apparition of unknown intention. From his perspective, you are an apparition of unknown intention, but he masters his astonishment. This is not just any old man, but a highly experienced alchemical adept who has seen many uncanny things and studied secret arts and sciences for many decades before you ever appeared in your slightly tattered outfit.

Words form in your mind and you speak them aloud and, as you do, you sense the strangeness of your accent to this English speaking man of another era.

“Sir, I am here for only a very brief time and must tell you something, tell you something about the nature of who you are and how your world works that you and all the other initiates and adepts of your time have missed.”

Through his eyes, you can feel the man’s mind racing to interpret your words, adjusting to your strange accent to decipher the content. You sense that his is a brilliant mind, rigorously trained in the unraveling of mysteries.

“Sir, do you know that there are far away lands, lands across the ocean that have not been fully explored and that have animals and plants that have not yet been named or studied?”

“Yes, I am aware of this. It is an inevitability.”

“What you don’t know yet, is that there are animals and plants that are not far away, but all around you right now, and yet you don’t see them or hear them.”

“Are they some sort of spirits?”

“No, they are all too solid, and as real and physical as pigs and sheep…Let us look beneath your writing table and I will show some to you.”

You get down on your hands and knees to the handmade, intricately patterned, Persian rug and allow your hands to pass over its velvety texture.

“There are animals living in the threads of this carpet as if it were a forest. Come, I will show them to you.”

The old man kneels down to see.

You pull out the iPhone, which has enhanced capabilities and a magnifier app. A beacon of white LED light is projected from the back of the iPhone, spotlighting a small, circular area of the carpeting. You move two fingers apart on the glass screen to zoom in and reveal hideous crab-like animals with tiny heads and huge mandibles crawling between the threads of the carpet.

dust mites

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He is more shocked by the images revealed than by the iPhone that he assumes to be some sort of miniaturized camera obscura, an ingenious machine of magnifying lenses and prisms.

“What foul beasts of hell are these?”

“‘They are called ‘dust mites.'” The name, “dust mites,” sounds eerie, even to you, as you sense it revolving in the man’s mind. “They are not beasts of hell, but very ordinary animals which you could find in almost any carpet. They are a type of very small insect.”

“What do they feed on?”

“They are eating particles of your dead skin.”

You can sense that the answer seems logical to him, and realize that you are forming a telepathic bond with the man, and that he is becoming aware of it as well. You both shift from kneeling on the carpet to sitting on it across from each other.

“You see, there are two great domains of physical life—the macrobiological and the microbiological.” You sense his knowledge of Greek and Latin aiding him in decoding the novel terms you are employing.

“And these creatures, the dust mites–” he gestures toward the carpet “–are microbiolgical?”

“No sir, dust mites are at the small end of the macrobiological kingdom, but would be inconceivably large compared to the microbiological realm. Each of these dust mites is composed of billions of microbiologicals called cells.” You sense that there is content preloaded on the iPhone, a video illustrating the microbiolgical world, and you hold up the device, displaying the screen in landscape mode. “Through this glass you will see moving images of the microbiological realm.” You touch the screen to play the video and quickly you narrate some of the familiar basics of the microbiological world. “Like the marcrobiological, there are predators, parasites, and symbionts.” Some of the creatures, you tell him, are helpful and others—images of viruses and spirochetes pass by—can be deadly and are the hidden causes of so many diseases and plagues.

“And these creatures are swimming about in the water that we drink?” You see that he has made an assumption about the liquid medium in which they appear to float.

“Yes, but they are also in food and in the very air you breathe. And, don’t be alarmed, but they are in you right now. They are in everybody. And yet, this is not the strangest thing I have to tell you. These creatures are not merely without; they are within, but not merely as guests or invaders. You, and I, and all the plants and animals we see, are made up of these creatures, these cells I have shown you.” You launch another video that zooms in on an illustration of a human form with revealed anatomy. It zooms in to reveal cellular structure. “Your body is composed of about 60 trillion of these cells.” The video displays the number: 60,000,000,000,000. “You are they, or your body, at least, is they, a cooperative colony of a vast number of these cells, these microbiological creatures, and each of these creatures has an internal structure as complex as a small city.”

The man’s eyes are dilated with shock, but you sense that he is getting it, that he is a man capable of sudden gnosis, a man who has plumbed great depths of inner knowing that have prepared him for the profound shock of your revelations. Telepathically, you sense the assent of this man’s inner truth sense, and can feel him filling in the gaps in his understanding of the natural world.

You stand up, and the man does too. You feel a growing sense of vertigo and realize you have only seconds left in this space/time displacement. You have just time enough to reach into your pocket and throw the Mylar bag of Skittles on his table, concrete evidence of the strange encounter, before everything destabilizes. And then profound vertigo, and it feels like you are falling backwards off a high diving board and falling in slow motion into a whirlpool of some sort—a spiraling vortex— spinning you into a discontinuity of time and awareness.

You reemerge into the dark and dusty room where you are hovering again, still costumed in the hoodie, jeans and high-top sneakers, and the Invisible, the one who sent you on this displacement, is there waiting for you, a swirling of blue smoke at the edge of your peripheral vision.

The communication is all visual telepathy now, a logos beheld. You see THE INVISIBLES Omnibus before you, a huge volume with a pink hand grenade on the cover. The book is opening and the pages are flipping by at great speed—visualized thought forms exploding in your mind. It is a download, a sort of training manual in story form—images and words flashing through your eyes and into your psyche. The content swirls inside of you, stirring deep fears and hopes.

The words and images seem to coalesce into a nexus of meanings. With some telepathic assistance from the Invisible, the vortex of words and images begins to act like a high-speed centrifuge spinning out content that was hidden between lines and behind images. The content takes the form of more definite thought forms, thought forms that have a radioactive afterglow. The thought forms emerge in a rapid staccato as pulses of words and images mixed. The words are easier to hold onto:

There is a third domain of life–

Energy based organisms–

Recognized by all cultures except the fundamentalist materialists–

They are called “spirits” and many other names–

Their forms are even more various than that of carbon-based life since their substrate is subtler and more plastic–

Similar energetic transactions as macro and microbiologicals–

Symbiosis, predation and parasitism

PARASITISM

Potent energy parasites feeding off Homo sapiens—

Harvesting the energies of darker emotions and sexual chi–

Called by many names by various cultures—incubi, succubae, pretas, hungry ghosts–

The Gnostics called the most potent of these parasites the Archons–

Archons, the masters of deception–

As spiders weave webs, Archons weave matricies–

Archons have infiltrated the whole matrix of history–

Their spells are woven like threads of spider silk–

Woven into the bloody pageant of history–

Woven to keep us bound into conflict with each other–

Woven to keep us in a state of sweet fermentation–

Sweet ethers of suffering and dark passions–

Sweet ethers that feed them and fuel them–

Sweet ethers to harvest from us forever and ever and ever–

They are the harvesters—

Hiding above us on the food chain—

Their enemies are the Invisibles–

The ones who have awakened to the secret harvest–

The ones who glow as seed crystals awakening the host–

The ones who threaten the harvest–

The harvesters need us energetically—

Just as we need the energy of plants–

Or of animals who have eaten plants–

Plants have a catalytic enzyme, chlorophyll–

They are transducers of solar energy—

They can feed directly on the energy of the sun—

They can step down the solar energy into sugars and carbohydrates on which we can feed and fuel our existence–

We learned to eat the plants and the animals that arise form a food chain that begins with the sun feeding plants–

We learned to become hunters and gatherers and then harvesters—

As harvesters we came to believe we were above everything–

We lost sight of the harvesters above us–

We converted fats, proteins and carbs into subtler energies that fueled thoughts, emotions and sexual energies.

We also stepped down raw chi or prana that the hidden harvesters could not digest directly–

The energy of pure prana or chi was toxic to them, could burn them the way the sun could burn us if we got too close–

The harvesters need us to ferment energy from the source, to step it down into the redder, baser energy that has the right octane for them–

The Invisibles are like animals waking up on the way to the slaughterhouse–

Animals that want to disrupt their food chain–

The Invisibles are animals that have taken forbidden medicines, medicines that have allowed them to see forbidden things–

The Invisibles have noticed the words and image spells whispering at the edges of their minds–

The spells of the harvesters who want us sleepy and suffering, or crazed with hatred, jealousy, addiction, greed, and bloodlust—

The Invisibles see through to the hidden harvesting—

The Invisibles need you to join them—

They need you to help awaken other potential Invisibles to the secret harvest—

The vortex begins to slow, the centrifuging of meanings contained in THE INVISIBLES is spinning out what look like jig saw puzzle pieces, word and image pages from THE INVISIBLES.

The images and framed shapes of the panes dissolve as they come toward you until there are only words floating in thought space and then these words become zeros and ones and fall into the device that is before you right now, a machine with a labyrinthine core of silicon. The zeros and ones are racing through the labyrinth and they are being rendered as pixels—pixels that form words, words which cascade below as a series of 97 quotes from THE INVISIBLES. And just as the thought forms fall into zeros and ones and are reconstituted as pixelated words, you have stopped hovering in the darkened room and are returned from all displacements and are looking at the pixelated screen of a device…

Three things you can do with these 97 quotes.

You can read through them and let them affect you. But be forewarned, some of these thought forms are potent spells spoken or telepathically transmitted by Archons or by the meat puppets that they possess.

The voices of the Archons have a whispering, hissing sound—sometimes you may hear them as the sound of ancient animal skin parchment being torn into slivers by cold and spindly fingers; sometimes you may hear them as a wailing, rising and falling sound, like the sirens of ambulances racing through the night toward highway carnage or bodies riddled with bullets bleeding out on city streets; sometimes you may hear them as the insinuating whispers of unauthorized surgeons who wear leather face masks; sometimes you may hear them as voices that are childish and horrific, the whispering of the toys that rattle in the attic.

The voices of the archons weave dark spells, but they are dark spells revealed and frozen for observation, like mosquitos caught in amber.

These are the voices whispering from the shadowy edges of history, weaving bloody pageants to be harvested and devoured.

Comprehending these spells can help to immunize you from their fell power.

These are the spells that can become magnified into matrices when you are in a state of inner chaos.

When you dream and when you take potent hallucinogens, your boundaries become dissolved and part of you shows up in the world of the energetic organisms. Sometimes the Archons will attack you during these times with fell word and image spells. (see Shred to Black—Salvia Blue Moon Apocalypse, Andrew’s Ayahuasca Experience—An Encounter with the Singularity Archetype).

If you are strong enough, you will see that these attacks are also moments of seeing spells revealed, and even if it is only in retrospect, comprehending the spells can help to depotentiate their fell power.

Other of the quotes are spoken or telepathic messages from the Invisibles and they may be like lifelines, showing you ways through deceptive matrices, ways revealed by other mutants who are willing to be your allies.

These quotes have also been turned into an online oracle by my friend Nicholas Suski: http://www.suskitech.org/invisibles/

The following instructions were written before Nicholas made the online oracle and are another way to do it that is more old school:

The second way you may make use of these thought forms, the 97 quotes from THE INVISIBLES, is to physicalize them by printing a hard copy.

When you have them rendered into pages, cut the quotes apart from each other so that each is a separate piece of paper.

Collect the pieces and put them in a bag or bowl or other suitable vessel.

Some of the pieces of paper are dark spells; others are pearls.

Now you can ask the oracle certain questions such as:

What principle of the Invisibles is the important one for me to realize and employ at this phase of my life?

Without looking you let your fingers choose a piece of paper.

If your prefer not to deal with slivers of paper you can take a ten-sided dice (the kind of dice made for role playing games) and do two tosses. The ten sided dice tossed twice can produce any number from zero to ninety-nine so if you get a zero, a ninety-eight, or a ninety-nine, consider whether you already know the answer to your question. If not, toss again.

Often it will be a dark spell and you must read it, these spells are like the dragons guarding the pearls. You keep going until you get a pearl. You have before you now a dragon and pearl oracle made out of THE INVISIBLES.

Third, once you have encountered all the dragons and pearls from either or both of the two activities outlined above, read THE INVISIBLES Omnibus and see how each quote, each puzzle piece fits in until you have assembled the entire image.

If you have the will to follow these steps you are almost certainly an Invisible. What kind of Invisible you are depends on what you do, and have already been doing, with what THE INVISIBLES reveals.

III. 97 Quotes from THE INVISIBLES

(I did my best to guess at appropriate line breaks.)

1

♦♦♦

Our world is sick, boy, very sick. A virus got in a long time ago and we’ve got so used to its effects, we’ve forgotten what it was like before we became ill.

…Cities have their own way of talking to you; catch sight of the reflection of a neon sign and it’ll spell out a magic word that summons strange dreams.

Have you even seen the word ‘Ixat’ glowing in the night? That’s one of the holy names.

2

♦♦♦

 Human cultures were originally homeostatic, they existed in a self-sustaining equilibrium, with no notions of time and progress, like we’ve got.

Then the city-virus got in. No one’s really sure where it came from or who brought it to us, but like all viral organisms, its one directive is to use up all available resources in producing copies of itself.

    

3

♦♦♦

     Two things we will make you,

smooth between the legs, smooth

between the ears, and what we

take from you, will feed the

kings of the earth.

4

♦♦♦

Stick with me, boy, I’ll show you how to stay alive in this hard and hungry world.

5

♦♦♦

And this here’s what we’ve come for; the blue mold grows here. Smoked it brings visions and opens doors to other Londons…

6

♦♦♦

…city’s full of magic, neither bad nor good, just there to be used by the people who know. Cities live and breathe magic.

7

♦♦♦

Two Londons there are; There’s the one you can see all around you and there’s the other city under the skin of this.

8

♦♦♦

Cities aren’t what you think, see. If you make it past the first ordeal, I’ll tell you what cities really are and what they want.

9

♦♦♦

People look at us and see the poor and the mad, but they’re looking at us through the bar of their cages.

There’s a palace in your head, boy.

Learn to live in it always.

10

♦♦♦

You don’t think this world is any less real than the one you left, do you?

Everything that ever happened to you is real, even your dreams. Them, most of all.

11

♦♦♦

This wars’s been going on for a long, long time, behind the world you know. Sometimes people hear distant rumblings or glimpse bomb-light reflected in faraway windows.

On one side there’s the invisibles on the other…

Well, it’s not my job to tell you. You’ll find out soon.

You think you’re an outlaw but you just do what they want you to do; cause trouble for a little while, screw some tart, raise more robots, and on and on and on.

12

♦♦♦

Your head’s like mine, like all our heads, big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there.

13

♦♦♦

Sorcerers have to be warriors, Dane. We don’t lie in our beds, waiting for good old death to come sidling up in his cap and bells when we least expect it.

No, we go a-knocking on the bugger’s door and when we opens it, all surprised and sleepy-headed, we leap past him and out.

14

♦♦♦

You joined a long time ago, but if you don’t want to come with us now, if you don’t want to find out more about what this is all about, you’re free to go your own way.

15

♦♦♦

 You’d be looking for a purely random sigil, a pattern made by birds or the reflection of clouds in a shop window.

You’ll know when you see it….

16

♦♦♦

A cannon fires only once but words detonate across centuries.

One day men and women will be equal and free from tyranny, free of God and fear, and we will have helped to hasten that day with our words.

17

♦♦♦

The utopia I speak of lies in the imagination. It is not built, it grows. It grows in the hearts of men who love freedom. Our words must draw the maps of this new world, so that others may find their way there.

18

♦♦♦

Ganesh is an old pal of mine. The god who breaks down obstacles. I always like to make a dedication to him at the start of any big venture and nine’s his number so we’re here at nine o’clock…

19

♦♦♦

Our agents have been watching you for a couple of years, checking you out. You’re young, fit, smart, and you’ve spent most of your life rebelling against control and you’ve got a mean psychic talent worth developing.

20

♦♦♦

It’s better to keep a sense of humor about this stuff. Some people totally lose it in the field.

We got agents out there who don’t even remember they’re invisibles. We’re talking ultra-paranoid.

These people are operating on the edge of reality, Jack. Cover stories inside cover stories, like Chinese boxes.

21

♦♦♦

     The way this works, Jack, is that we fold psychic constructs of ourselves through from one point on the supersphere to another.

22

♦♦♦

     We call them Ciphermen, humans who have been modified by high frequency subliminal transmissions. The signals suppress individual thought and encourage hive mind loyalty.

23

♦♦♦

 But what a case of jewels is here unlatched! Unknown landscape of soft rubies…I’ve imagined the human body, the female body, subject to every outrage…but this…to see this…here…real…

24

♦♦♦

Poets have a right to vanity and pride; they steal the power of creation from the gods.

They remake the world with words and in the image of their dreams.

25

♦♦♦

Where is the love, beauty, and truth we seek but in our mind? The golden country, forever new? The home of all hearts, untouched by time and pain?

26

♦♦♦

Molten imagination, the bricks and mortar of the universe, endlessly morphing, infinitely pliable.

Liquid looking glass.

The door to everywhere.

27

♦♦♦

   And Mictlantecuhtli, the dead landlord in the place of weeping, the place of the unfleshed.

28

♦♦♦

You’ve strayed far from home, little Orlando.

Little unfinished one.

You don’t belong here. In the world of the fourth sun.

29

♦♦♦

   …See, it’s like there’s this attractor at the end of time, like a sort of singularity, a black hole, and it’s pulling us all towards it, so things are getting faster.

30

♦♦♦

  Outside, fleets of good UFOs and bad UFOs clash in slow motion.

 

Normally, it’s advisable not to do anything that might attract the attention of a parasitical bad UFO, but right now my belly’s rumbling.

 

I have to use my ojas radiation to attract a good UFO. I need nourishment now.

 

It descends, lets down an umbilical and I drink its blood fuel. Like the placenta in the womb, the original Christ who dies that we all can live, it sacrifices itself to feed me.

31

♦♦♦

Ultradimensional Moorish/Arabian spaces and motifs, patterns in constant kaleidoscope motion. The souls of dead crackheads imprisoned in vampire seedpods. Endlessly drowning in their own sweet sprit nectars.

 

Poisons and acids bubble in pools…heat flashes and the stink of burning ants under glass…formic acid…egg chambers…faceted eyes.

 

He’s coming. I can feel him. I can feel the wind of the billion shadows he casts.

32

♦♦♦

They were given to me!

I am preparing a feast for my family. For all the little ones who burrow and sting and when we are done, the rind and pulp of these souls will undergo metamorphosis…

33

♦♦♦

The key is a prism, the prism is a key. I’m not sure which. They taught me how to angle it properly. There are five distinct hand movements

34

♦♦♦

It’s very beautiful at first, to watch the glass surface begin to shimmer and pulse like a beaded veil, like rain falling.

35

♦♦♦

Maybe it’s like a whirlpool, and the closer we get to the apocalypse or the eschaton or whatever you want to call it, the more things happen in a shorter time.

36

♦♦♦

Hilde will have to become a girl, it’s the only way to pass on our teachings.

37

♦♦♦

  That is why they say a true initiation never ends, how can it end when it takes place outside of time? The moment of your initiation is a ripple in the bubble of time.

38

♦♦♦

Dying?

Of course you’re dying.

This is the land of the dead, after all.

39

♦♦♦

 Just as the interpenetration of a spherical form into a two-dimensional plane is seen as a circle of varying diameters—

so too does the interpenetration of /(            )/ into your three-dimensional continuum appear as a lens  form capable of altering its shape.

This is a magic stone. Do you understand? It is made from  /(              )/

We are going to put it in your head and activate your /(Third Eye Ajna Chakara)/

40

♦♦♦

     That’s shite. This

isn’t a fucking spaceship

You’re

Not real Aliens.

This is just

like a

 Film

Except it’s

in 3-D.

41

♦♦♦

Jenny orgasms as she dies. Airbursts of blood like liquid fireworks. Slow motion plasma, neutrophils, lymphocytes, several hundred million red cells, rich in hemoglobin, shimmering in the sunlight.

Type O —common as muck.

42

♦♦♦

  One of the Archons walks nearby. He’s coming from the direction that can’t be pointed to. He’s ready to intersect.

For God’s sake! You’re not bringing one of them through!

I wasn’t told about this! I’m not prepared for the interface! …I…

Bow down slave.

 

Adore the king of all-tears.

43

♦♦♦

That is why we are devouring our environment. Man, like the caterpillar or the maggot, is a creature in its larval stage.

We consume to fuel our imminent metamorphosis.

44

♦♦♦

How you must loathe yourself, so eager to struggle against any thing but your own inadequacy. The truth is, you long to be like us but because you cannot fit into society, you dream of overthrowing it.

What is this infantile urge to destroy that which others have labored to build?

45

♦♦♦

When you were young you spent hours writing with you left hand, didn’t you? You were trying unconsciously to break the alphabet spell our teachers placed upon you.

46

♦♦♦

   Entitiespresences….I hear the drumbeats of assassin gods…they’ve come to teach me…it’s horrible…the things they’re showing me….How to destroy….souls?

47

♦♦♦

The world-that-was facets–honeycombed by her compound eyes– she scuttles through a jeweled maze of appalling colors. Vast perfumes and grotesque emotions–optic lenses morph to accommodate changes in the light stained glass vision—migraine agony on overdrive–everything seems sickening, artificial.

Her remade palate clickers and whines–

The hymns of her order self-replicate through the building making it resonate like a hive.

And at her side the King-of-all-Tears—god of the endless iron room—manifesting in earth-plane matter—the warning siren of his voice rising and falling—activating the fourteen chakras and hyper-chakras in his spinal lattice—each lamenting outcry carefully modulated to programme his nanofactories with dynamic mobile blueprints of a more welcoming environment.

They swarm and breed, infecting the simplistic atomic structure of the local reality grid.

Contagion takes, contagion spreads, contagion rages along precise parameters.

The world sickens and begins to change.

48

♦♦♦

The story is told of a woman who finds herself in a glorious garden—orchard of unsurpassed beauty and luxury.

Each perfect day is spent indulging in pleasure. Godlike, she wants for nothing.

And then, on one more glorious evening, she ventures to the crystal lake of sweet ambrosia which nourishes her and, as she dips in to drink, her eyes are opened to the hideous truth behind the illusion of existence.

And she realizes that she is a monstrous, parasitical insect.

The heavenly garden is simply the skin of her unsuspecting host, the lake of heaven no more than the bloodstream upon which she battens and feeds.

49

♦♦♦

 The touch of the king comes from all directions simultaneously. He is outside and inside and somewhere else.

Suddenly she can’t remember the name of her husband or the sound of the voices of her daughters.

All she can remember is the time when she was twelve and she let the man in the swing park touch her. He gave her ten shillings and she bought chocolate and was sick.

50

♦♦♦

And Mary Brown, who won ten pounds in the National Lottery, who watches Oprah most afternoons, wakes into nightmare, recognizing her own immortal soul in that last screaming second before the royal eggs hatch inside it, before she hatches with them, newborn, and begins to tear hungrily at the glowing essence of all she was.

51

♦♦♦

I remember I was dead calm. I reached into that bag Tom had left me and there was a little tin filled with fag ends he must have saved up from ashtrays and gutters.

I crumpled them into ash and drew a circle around me.

Then something just clicked. It wasn’t in my head, it was like a door opened in my heart and I knew what to do. I’d always known.

52

♦♦♦

 It’s weird because they don’t really look scary. They’re aliens and all that, but when you see them it’s more like special effects…

Every shitty thing you’ve ever done, every horrible, sick thought you’ve ever had, they turn it back on you until you can’t think of anything else.

They can read you like a book and pull out whatever page it takes to make you feel like you’re sick or useless or guilty. They can break your heart and shit on your soul.

And they can remind you why you deserve it.

53

♦♦♦

   You couldn’t love your mum or your dad. Not really. You couldn’t love your mates or you’d just be a poof. The only person you were really allowed to love was your girlfriend.

54

♦♦♦

And the lie was what the alien got hold of and started twisting around in my head.

They always fall back on the monsters and the shitty special effects stuff when they’re up against the wall.

Somewhere, somehow I knew I had him beat.

55

♦♦♦

There is a war on but it’s …we’re like ants on a battlefield. We haven’t the heads to understand even a fraction of what’s going on all around us.

56

♦♦♦

There was this sound started up, like a million people humming or something. A circle of minds…an infinite circumference…And I was humming too, joining in.

57

♦♦♦

Towering behind him, one of nine corrupt Buddhas—obese and senile, his brain rotted like a tooth by the sweet, unending bliss of false enlightenment, the Buddha masturbates like a monkey in a cage.

Lacerating voices of the scalpel choir. Worm-eaten leatherbound Bible spirits. Maimed women in white Marilyn Monroe dresses, with false eyelashes stitched along bare, bleeding forearms.

58

♦♦♦

 Mandibles gnash language down to the root-raw nerves of sound—a six-word sequence she learned as a novice in the steel cells of the outer church—six words engineered to resonate with human cell structures producing massive tissue breakdown—pure sonic cancer.

59

♦♦♦

Cum out of the sir-kull .

You will not pass except to cum with uz to the House of Tears…

Cum out of the sir-kull.

60

♦♦♦

The King observes—five dimensional lenses flow and interlock—mold-forms analyze the conceptual space around the boy’s word sculptures and identify a positive intent.

Elsewhere, the king’s nun is already compromised—probability fronts are becoming disagreeable—the King examines the facts, decides, and rotates the supersphere to access a new point of entry—he selects a stress window and moves in to attack his enemies in their future.

61

♦♦♦

 I tore his aura away. He won’t survive long without it. Every etheric parasite from here to the abominable plateau of Leng should be sniffing him out by now.

62

♦♦♦

   A predator which has disguised itself as the entire universe. It’s all around us, breathing, waiting, hiding in everything.

63

♦♦♦

 It means… I don’t know. It means, basically, that some movies are clearly being made by Invisibles and they contain messages for other invisibles.

Invisibles talking to one another in their own secret language.

The movies are signals. They let us know that others are out there…

64

♦♦♦

Vision narrows. Monotonous insect humming begins. Things are stripped of all meaning, all significance, all association but that which is determined by Control.

65

♦♦♦

To fight the empire is to be infected by its derangement.

Whoever defeats part of the empire becomes the empire; it proliferates like a virus…thereby it becomes its enemies.

66

♦♦♦

The only way to do that is to jump “up” from the surface of timespace and see all of history and all our tomorrows as the single object I believe it is.

67

♦♦♦

   I think my great-grandfather’s origami is from the future. I think I will send it back to him from a time to come so that it will pass down through my family to inspire my efforts.

68

♦♦♦

You in your chaotic state, may experience our efforts in value-laden terms; feelings of degradation, shame and humiliation are common.

“Individuality” is the name  you give your sickness.

Your deviation from correct functioning.

Understand this: We have come to free you from chaos and uncertainty. And “individuality.”

69

♦♦♦

You are already in us.

We have always existed in you.

In your fevers,

In your sick longings,

In your cruelties and

In your despair.

On the flat surfaces of all the feelings you categorize using these value terms.

The gate leads from what seems to what is.

Come home to the machine.

70

♦♦♦

 The crucified god-image has been replaced by the new aeon’s dominant religious motif—a CHILD fucking about with the building blocks of reality itself, restlessly destroying to create.

71

♦♦♦

She attacked my mind. I retaliated by shedding part of my structure into her. I inserted a self-cloning incubus. It’s growing in a dark and fertile part of her unconscious mind.

72

♦♦♦

   More self-awareness. And soon now, it’s going to wake up. The entire universe is going to open its eyes and blink. And we’ll be here to see it happen.

73

♦♦♦

(repeat)

You are already in us.

We have always existed in you.

In your fevers,

In your sick longings,

In your cruelties and despair.

74

♦♦♦

Only in your world are tortures eternal.

I am from the solid world where things pass. I have been a boy, a girl, a whore, a sorcerer…

The darkness in people doesn’t frighten me.

When you shut your eyes, afraid to see yourself as you truly are…

That is when you see only darkness…

75

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The story dissolves in my head like sugar in coffee. It hangs in suspension, not quite complete.

I’m almost scared to finish.

I’m scared if I write myself in, I’ll never get out. They’ll find me trapped here in my own words.

How many people have to tell a true story before it becomes true?

76

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 …Stanislav Grof calls it “Basic Perinatal Matrix III.” It’s visions of death camps, biological filth, demonic types of sexuality, inhuman technology.

We abused one another, we experienced psychotic, morbid states of shame, disgust, greed, fear and power.

77

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What I know is this: unusual information and insights seem to download into the brain…

A kind of ego annihilation is followed by euphoric reintegration and a sense of extended understanding.

78

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Conditions within time are ferocious; our suits begin to disintegrate after the first twenty years…

79

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I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking and what I’ve come to is this:

Amid all the bangs and the drama and the grand passions, it’s kindness and just ordinary goodness that stands out in the end.

80

♦♦♦

 I can see the Ericksonian commands emerging through your sentence structure.

All of your neurolinquistics technics are visible to me as emergent structures.

81

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We are the Midwich Cuckoos. We are the Stepford wives. We are the forgotten.

82

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Kalli giving birth to skeletons—a picture of spacetime seen through the eyes of the fearful—time turning through itself in endless self-generating iterations—

–endless horror all at once—Belsen Columbine Cambodia—the torture cells and the cancer in Terrence McKenna’s head—death all at once triumphant——blood-red ogres of Kali—

—Kali is the terrible mother of the negative universe—

—where milk is venom and shit is

gold and death is life—deranged

reversed entities fill the spaces

between things and concepts—

83

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Screaming, as little ones do when they are made aware of what they truly are.

84

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I saw the bloodstained, tiled and hopeless wall at the end of history; the infinite deathcamp of tomorrow.

And I saw I had a choice.

Where fear is all there is, there is no fear.

85

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The “aeon”? You still think this is about thelemic “magic”?

Beyond this there are no aeons, there is no evolutionary process.

There is only the machine, forever and everywhere.

86

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 I want him castrated, lobotomized and working for US, as a cipherman in the drone-tanks.

Chop-chop.

87

♦♦♦

Here in the interference, the machine has partially conquered the future but it never quite succeeds. This is a source of endless frustration to the smooth functioning of the machine.

88

♦♦♦

 And here begins the infinite novelty, self-knowledge, eternal freedom…And ultimate dispersion of the archons of chaos.

We are walking behind the walls of time and the world you know at right angles to it, so that you may see yourself and it.

I’ve been here before.

You’re here still. Prepare yourself.

Initiation never ends.

All it takes is the correct angle and you’ll see what you have always been.

“Ego” scaffolding necessary to your development must now be husked before it constricts your growth.

Fear of death is only the signpost that ego has reached its limit: you are not even born yet.

This is how a human process looks to us—the body, decades long, billion-eyed and billion-limbed, the worm-cast that you leave in time, This is your complete body, not its section.

89

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I grew up with the Gnostic Straight Edgers–anti-sex, anti-death, we imagined ourselves to be perfect simulations. Super-heros on a corrupt digital planet conjured in the mainframes of epic, monstrous A.I.s. The universe a program inside a Manichaean murder machine. Tormented by individuality, cursed by 2000 years of ego. The end of history.

Before the memeplex, before the super context.

90

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Do you feel as though time’s speeding up, darling?

 I mean ACTUALLY getting faster.

and your initiation is about to begin.

91

♦♦♦

That’s them: the bits between everything, come to life and showing themselves.

Scare the shite out of you for a little bit if you’re not ready for it.

92

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Don’t believe nothing you hear. Trust what you know. Remember it’s all just a mirror we made to see ourselves in.

 And when the archons come and it all turns inside out with scary miracles. It’s only all the things you left outside when you were building your little house called “me,” ey?

93

♦♦♦

P.S. I have written this essay as a suicide note because your “education” system is retarded and rooted in an 18th century production ethic and by the time you find this and award me zero out of infinity, I will be dead.

94

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There’s no difference between fate and free will. Here I am; put here, come here, no difference, same thing.

Nothing ends that isn’t something else starting.

So which side are you on?

Do you know yet?

95

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Excerpt from a Fax sent on 10/26/93 to supplement the Invisibles proposal:

One of the things we should be trying to bring out is the idea of the The Invisbles as a group to which anyone might belong. Involve the reader in the whole process by making him/her realize that she/to can join/has already joined the ranks of The Invisibles. Part of what I want to achieve with this title in the long-term involves actually changing the consciousness of the readers by presenting them with various techniques and concepts which will undoubtedly alter their way of looking at the world, in that sense, THE INVISIBLES isn’t a comic about something but is the thing itself and every reader is a potential Invisible. If the Invisibles are Shamanic Terrorists, the comic itself is an act of shamanic terrorism.

96

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Excerpt from Grant Morrison’s “Invisible Ink” essay for THE INVISIBLEs Vol. 1, #16 in which he encouraged readers to do a sex magic ritual involving a sigil they would create to revive sagging sales numbers for THE INVISIBLES which threatened its viability:

The idea is that the original desire, reduced to abstraction, can be more easily implanted into the subconscious mind, there to do its work. When creating sigils it’s best to start with very specific desires that have at least some likelihood of success. Performing magic has a lot to do with the arrangement of apparent coincidences and providing pathways along which desires can travel or, to put it in more basic terms, there’s little point in sigilizing for a lottery win if you don’t also buy a lottery ticket.   

97

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 Excerpt from Grant Morrison’s final “Invisible Ink” essay, from THE INVISIBLES Vol 3, #1:

THE INVISIBLES is a spell. It’s not just a comic book. It tells the future. Things happen around it and to the people who absorb it. I’m not lying to you. I present a slice of human experience in this form. I started out writing a story and slowly, over a few years, the world I live in became almost exactly like the story.

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https://zaporacle.com/are-you-an-invisible/feed/ 6 Are You an Invisible? | ZapOracle.com Are You an Invisible? ---Manichean Mutant Metamorphosis, A Chaos Magic Artifact Brought Out of a Reading of THE INVISIBLES by Grant Morrison © 2013 Jonathan Zap (Note: All italicized quotes are from THE INVISIBLES unless otherwise indicated.) A sometimes surreal exploration of Grant Morrison’s graph archetype,energy parasites,Featured,hungry ghost,mind parasites,top,invisibles zap007 invisiblesreaching hand zap008 invisible magnifier zap002 zap004 zap011 zap006 zap009 dust mites dust-mite-image-for-article 13283
On the Disillusioning Revelations about Terence Mckenna https://zaporacle.com/on-the-disillusioning-revelations-about-terence-mckenna/ https://zaporacle.com/on-the-disillusioning-revelations-about-terence-mckenna/#comments Thu, 02 Aug 2012 19:28:53 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=11477 Listen to Dr. Bruce Damer take a deep dive into the mind of Terrence McKenna and reveal sides of his character that were a profound shock to his fans: Podcast 316: A Deep Dive into the Mind of Terence McKenna http://www.matrixmasters.net/salon/?p=595 An article (and associated podcasts) published in Reality Sandwich entitled A Deep Dive into the …

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Listen to Dr. Bruce Damer take a deep dive into the mind of Terrence McKenna and reveal sides of his character that were a profound shock to his fans: Podcast 316: A Deep Dive into the Mind of Terence McKenna http://www.matrixmasters.net/salon/?p=595

An article (and associated podcasts) published in Reality Sandwich entitled A Deep Dive into the Mind of Terence McKenna included some shocking revelations about Terence that come from his brother, Dennis. After a dark mushroom trip in the 80s Terence never took mushrooms again, and only rarely and reluctantly did any psychedelic stronger than weed. Meanwhile, in public he was encouraging others to take “the heroic dose” etc.

I  added the following comment to the article:

Mckenna’s Shadow

Submitted by Jonathan Zap on Wed, 07/11/2012 – 07:44.

I’m still processing the revelations about Terence which so far have increased my sense of the complexity of the man and increased my fascination with his enigmatic character. Jung once said, “The larger the man, the larger the shadow.” and no doubt 6’6″ Jung, who had an often brutal personality, hoped the aphoristic principle would be applied to him. I can imagine Terence, who always revered Marshall McLuhan, rationalizing that the “messenger was the message” and therefore that he was justified in making his public persona an edited performance art that combined authentic and inauthentic elements. Although my love and fascination with Terence is increased by the revelation, I don’t feel a need to gloss over it in a hagiographical blur of idealization either.

Shadow material, in my experience, is often the most revelatory. To mine the depth of meaning offered by this revelation, however, we need to step through the thousand petaled chrysanthemum, brush aside the self-transforming machine elves and their Faberge egg like creations for a moment and take an unflinching look at the shadow side.

First, it seems so appropriate that 2012, which so far has not been apocalyptic in either the conventional sense or in the revelatory sense that the etymology of the word “apocalypse” implies, would at least give us a somewhat dark revelation about the “man of 2012.” The timing is perfect and works with the sense of Terence’s life as performance art with a new act being revealed twelve years after he leaves the stage. When your life is performance art, and you really are inspired as Terence certainly was, you should expect that the performance will be beyond your control. Since Terence was such a great bard whose eloquence and story telling ability shimmered with alchemical brilliance, it is warranted to view the arc of his public life as a story structure with a key denouement delayed till 2012.

To appreciate the depth of the denouement, however, we first need to look at it in an unflattering light. Imagine this analogy—a celebrity is the official spokesperson for a neuropharmaceutical, say an antidepressant, and for years he extols its virtues and talks every chance he gets about how it changed his life. Prospective customers are urged to take it in heroic doses. Human evolution may depend on it. The endorser, however, fails to mention that a dozen years ago, the last time he took it, it sent him into a bout of suicidal despair. Since most of us don’t like big pharma and its celebrity spokespersons we wouldn’t hesitate to call such a person a liar and a hypocrite. If the spokesperson then died of a prozac-shaped brain tumor we might even call it poetic justice.  (according to the article, Terence’s fatal brain tumor was mushroom-shaped).

Although I’ve praised Terence, and continue to, as a visionary genius in a number of writings, I’ve also pointed out a flaw in his approach to esoteric research in those same writings. I pointed out some of the flaws in his reality testing to Terence’s face on a few occasions and he responded to my challenges graciously and in a way that showed his large character and capacity for self-criticism. Terence, like so many, underestimated the trickster side of the unconscious. Even though he described the trickster nature of the self-transforming machine elves, he didn’t quite realize that the voice of a mushroom goddess speaking in his head should be taken with as many grains of salt as the voice of God the Father speaking in the head of George W. Bush. This is why Timewave 2000 became his obsessive Bête noire. In the last public talk I ever saw him give, in Denver, about a year before he passed, Terrence said that if Timewave turned out to be wrong he would spend the next twenty years of his life trying to figure out why. As it turned out, he didn’t have those twenty years, but we do, and we need to integrate this other side of his character into everything he represents.

If you underestimate the trickster side of the unconscious you get tricked and especially you fall into the principle I coined years ago: “Wherever you cast your obsessive attention, there shall you find weird patterning.” Conspiracy types are especially prone to falling prey to this effect, which is rife in every area of esoteric research. Also, if you gain access to the energetic contents of the collective unconscious you are likely to have ego inflation, and will feel filled with a sense of special destiny, a sense of messianic purpose and a feverish desire to proselytize. Typically, you will find that the gods and mystical forces seem to endorse your sexual agenda. Terence’s final mushroom experience, however, was humbling and disenchanting and perhaps that helped him to avoid some of those excesses.

If you underestimate the trickster side of the unconscious, if you think every synchronicity is a divine revelation, then you become tricked and ultimately you become a trickster. The archetype you didn’t understand and integrate functions in you as an autonomous complex and you trick yourself and others.

For more on the many trickster pitfalls and blind spots of esoteric research see:  Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Pitfalls and Blindspots of Esoteric Research An account of a trickster laden encounter with Terence in 1996 A Mutant Convergence—How John Major Jenkins, Jonathan Zap and Terence McKenna Met During a Weekend of High Strangeness in 1996 Also everyone should read my friend George Hansen’s seminal work on the subject, The Trickster and the Paranormal

Bruce Damer, the co-author of the article responded:

re: McKenna’s Shadow

Submitted by bdamer on Tue, 07/31/2012 – 00:57.
Jonathan, thank you so much for your cogent explanation of the trickster side of the unconscious and your excellent term “weird patterning” which should be a required part of any seeker’s lexicon. I am following up on some of your resources which I am very pleased you have shared here. Lorenzo and I hoped that all of these years of research and the large effort of putting together the Esalen workshop would be rewarded by intelligent discourse and we were not disappointed!
Peter Meyer added an objection:

Claim concerning Terence is unconfirmed

Submitted by Peter Meyer on Sat, 07/21/2012 – 20:35.

Jonathan begins by saying, “I’m still processing the revelations about Terence …” I doubt that ‘revelations’ is a correct description.

It should be noted that the claim that Terence never did mushrooms after a bad trip in 1988 or 1989 is based on anunauthorized public reading by Bruce Damer of an extract from an early version of an unfinished and unpublishedbook by Dennis McKenna, and the claimant is not identified, so we cannot make an estimate of reliability.

This claim has been used by some to attempt to discredit Terence, and Jonathan does him no service by assuming that it is true without waiting for the final version in Dennis’s forthcoming book.

In any case, whether or not Terence did mushrooms much in the 1990s is irrelevant to the value of what he had to say to us. Terence is mainly regarded as a psychedelic advocate, which is why some people may be disappointed that his use of psychedelics (in the latter part of his life) was less than they had supposed, but his real value to us was as a trenchant critic of a (modern Western) civilization which has become insane and thereby diabolical (and which thus does not deserve our support) and (as I said in my earlier message) as a genuine prophet speaking to us by means of something like divine illumination, and pointing us toward a level of truth which psychedelics can enable some of us to know for ourselves by direct experience. For this he will long be remembered.

Bruce responded:

Reading authorized by Dennis McKenna

Submitted by bdamer on Tue, 07/31/2012 – 00:23.
Just to clarify on behalf of Lorenzo Hagerty and myself. The reading of excerpts from a draft of Dennis McKenna’s upcoming book “Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss” at Esalen on June 16th was authorized by Dennis. Dennis provided the excerpts from which we selected the ones that where read. At a meeting with McKenna family members approximately a week and a half after the first Esalen program was podcast (July 2nd) concerns were voiced to Dennis over the contents of the book draft. Dennis felt that all draft materials needed to be reviewed jointly by the family so it behooved us to remove the entire podcast. We are working on an edit to the podcast that will remove the draft readings and leave 80% of the podcast intact. The revised podcast will still stand on its own and provide valuable insight into the mind of Terence McKenna without compromising Dennis’ book efforts. We hope to bring that to you soon. For more background on this see the announcement and subsequent dialogue at the Psychedelic Salon podcast page:http://www.matrixmasters.net/salon/?p=595 as well as a large comment stream on the Psychedelic Salon page on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/psychedelicsalon/Thanks and we will be back in touch soon! (the end of Bruce’s comment)

Yesterday, someone sent me a link to a youtube video that seems like Terence’s response to the predicament. Here are the new comments I just added to the RS article:

Terence Responds to his Predicament Someone just sent me this youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ih4Fg6P730 of Terence talking with Ram Dass in Prague. There are a few minutes at the end that are so eerie, because they are so synchronistically relevant to this exact moment of Terence’s career. It almost felt like Terence and Ram Dass (as psychologist and spirit guide) were doing a therapy session in the afterlife. During the dialogue, Terence seems a bit vulnerable. A trick of the lighting also seems to parallel their positions. Ram Dass seems adept at being in the spotlight and Terence appears to be shadowed.
At 35:55 Ram says, “My mantra is the Ghandi line: ‘My life is my message.’
At 36:10 Terence says, “I think I’m at a little lower level because I’m very aware that I have to struggle to say that my life is my message. I would almost rather say my message is my message please don’t look at my life because I’m a fallible human being and I’m constantly—-“
Ram Dass (interrupting) “But you see how that weakens you, doesn’t it? You see how that quality means that the message doesn’t come from the root, the center. There is a way in which it waffles—“
Terence: “True”
Ram Dass: “Once I saw the possibility of that I said, ‘Why waffle, what is worth holding on to that is worth waffling about?'”
Terence: “Well I once said to Leo Zeff…’Leo, you’re finished, you’re completed, you’re baked. Me, I’m half baked. And I hope the rest of my life will finish the baking.”
A few seconds later Terence raises his glass and says, “Here’s to Mercurius!”
And perhaps this is Terence assigning his own epitaph. He shall remain a mercurial figure whose life waffled in relationship to message. And perhaps he was taken from us too soon, before the baking was finished.
Terence’s prophetic statements are not over, however, at 39:28, the last half minute of the exchange he says,
“I think you are a prophet to be. I think we all are.”
Then he adds, “As Bilbo Baggins once said, ‘The greatest adventure still lies ahead.’ I believe that. I’ll believe that when they lower my box.”
There is a moment of farewell in which Ram Dass confesses, “I was afraid of you, up until now, now I’m delighted.”
Terence responds with the very last line of the exchange,
“No, no, don’t be afraid of me. The people who are afraid of me, don’t know me, or they know me better than you ever will!”
On 9/19/13 had an email exchange with Dr. Damer about Terence and I made the following comment:
Even the greatest of minds is as vulnerable to the basic addictions as Joe Sixpack and I think Terence got hooked on one of the more insidious of white powder drug analogues:
narcissism/cash for celebrity. As a narcissistic personality type myself (the personality type of the age) I can see myself reaching for any number of potent mixtures of cash and celebrity with the thoughtful reticence of a starving subway rat finding a two-day-old extra cheese pizza lying beside the third rail. 
 
 As I’m sure you know, there have been a whole series of scandals about autobiographical authors (A Million Little Pieces http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Million_Little_Pieces) and gonzo style journalists (see the movie, Shattered Glass) fabricating what were sold as true accounts. Terence’s dissimulations were less egregious comparatively, but still very much in need of outing. He may have felt like Ram Das who told the story in his book on aging of how, in the midst of a meditation on what profound aging would be like, had his stroke, but omitted to mention that he had also taken LSD. Ram felt that fact would only give ammo to those who demonize psychedelics, and that’s a reasonable motive, but neither he nor Terrence seemed to acknowledge sufficiently that many of these substances are capable of demonizing themselves without the help of any patriarchal threshold guardians. Terence also misled people by over generalizing based on the particularities of his own best experiences—“You will pass through a thousand leaf chrysanthemum and then see the bejeweled self-dribbling basketballs”, etc.  In one talk, however, I heard him correct for this and say, “You should listen to everything I say through the following filters…”   One of these filters was that his descriptions were merely what he experienced, etc. If only he had offered those filters with every talk. 

 

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ZIJ—Dealing with Zones of Inner Jeopardy https://zaporacle.com/zij-dealing-with-zones-of-inner-jeopardy/ https://zaporacle.com/zij-dealing-with-zones-of-inner-jeopardy/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2011 17:04:21 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=9043 Zones of inner jeopardy (ZIJ) are those familiar times when we are inwardly stressed, our thoughts and emotions are agitated, and we may be enveloped by dark moods. The causes of ZIJ are various, and usually there are multiple causes such as metabolic disequilibria, social/sexual issues, financial hardship, disturbances in the force and so forth."ZIJ" is used in this essay to refer to both zones of inner jeopardy and a way of dealing with them.

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text and top photo copyright Jonathan Zap, 2011

Edited by Austin Iredale

photo: Manhattan store front window with reflections

Zones of inner jeopardy (ZIJ) are those familiar times when we are inwardly stressed, our thoughts and emotions are agitated, and we may be enveloped by dark moods. The causes of ZIJ are various, and usually there are multiple causes such as metabolic disequilibria, social/sexual issues, financial hardship, disturbances in the force and so forth.

A Note on ZIJ Terminology

“ZIJ” is used in this essay to refer to both zones of inner jeopardy and a way of dealing with them. ZIJ can be singular (the way of dealing, or one particular zone of jeopardy) or plural (zones of inner jeopardy).

Of course we could talk about ZIJ using psychiatric jargon, but many of these clinical labels amount to little more than what my former writing mentor, E.L. Doctorow, called “the industrialized form of storytelling.” Industrialized labels for inner states also seem to be invitations to those over-friendly, multi-national pharmaceutical companies to help us out with lifelong prescriptions to neuropharmaceuticals. Pill pushers like to talk with highly confident vagueness about “chemical imbalances in the brain” requiring chemical solutions. But at the time of this writing there are exactly zero tests for these supposed chemical imbalances in the brain. (Documentation to back up this statement is widely available. Here’s a good summary article from The Guardian:Brainwashed—Mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, right? Wrong, says Craig Newnes) So when you hear “chemical imbalance in the brain” you are getting a bit of industrialized mythology that has a scientific ring to it, but which actually has no more scientific validity than saying there are gremlins in your head. Of course our bodies and brains are fluctuating systems, but “chemical imbalance in the brain” is an industrial spell designed to disassociate you from your inner state. Instead of a soul, you have an unbalanced tank of chemicals in your head, and should therefore defer to the chemistry pros to set it right.

If you are one of those crazy, backward people like me who prefer not to be treated as an imbalanced tank of chemicals, then ZIJ is an alternative approach. While “chemical imbalance in the brain” is based on no tests, ZIJ is based on a test with an extremely high level of validity—your self-appraisal of the degree of turbulence in your inner state. There are no formulas (chemical or otherwise) with ZIJ, only suggested formulations I’ve employed which you are free to use, modify or reject. It is assumed that ZIJ practitioners are their own alchemists overseeing the unique inner cauldron of their psyches.

A great life skill that ZIJ encourages is the ability to recognize and adapt to your zones of inner jeopardy. When I recognize my degree of inner jeopardy I prefer to think in terms of weather rather than the simpler and uglier analogue of the chemical tank. Weather is always fluctuating. Some days are sunny, others are cloudy and turbulent. And sometimes there are storms, even hurricanes. Long-term weather (climate) is your general disposition. While short-term weather can shift dramatically on a daily basis, disposition usually shifts gradually like climate change. For example, studies show that after about age 50 many people undergo a change of inner climate toward greater positivity and feelings of satisfaction with life. Eighteen to fifty seems to be a climate of jeopardy in many lives in which ZIJ are intensified. The forties seem to be the high suicide decade, but if you make it to fifty, inner climate usually becomes more sunny.

The way of ZIJ can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, and both simple and complex versions can be potently effective in different ways. The simple version of ZIJ can be as minimalist as a zero-to-ten scale on which you evaluate your current state of inner jeopardy. With the simple version we put causes to the side, and can also put to the side any additional techniques to deal with ZIJ. All you do is check in with yourself when you sense a mood shift and give a 0-10 on your state of inner jeopardy where 0 is a neutral, content state and 10 is suicidal despair. Calibrate the scale any way you want to. For example, instead of numbers you can have a color spectrum. Instead of the coldness of a numerical scale you can wear an imaginal mood ring that turns from yellow to orange to red when inner jeopardy intensifies. Turning your ZIJ metric into an exquisite imaginal object, as we’ll discuss soon, can be a powerful way to employ it.

If you adopt the simple method, you could stop reading now and create profoundly life-changing results. This very moment you can make a decision to carry a ZIJ scale, perhaps in the form of an exquisite imaginal device, with you for the rest of your life. Think of the ZIJ device as a survival tool in much the same way that a compass or a cell phone can be a survival tool. Every time you pull out your device and objectify your degree of inner jeopardy, you have added a dimension of meta-cognition, a profound layer of self-awareness that can exist as a buffer between you and the ZIJ. Such a change relates to the most essential difference between us and lower animals—self-awareness. A person who is aware of their zones of inner jeopardy is at a higher level of evolution than the person who is unconscious of them.

When we aren’t sufficiently self-aware of zones of inner jeopardy we focus on outer causes, and falsely attribute our inner turbulence as entirely caused by these external events or factors. We work them into storylines—I’m feeling this way because of money stress, for example—and conveniently we forget that a few hours ago, when our financial situation was identical, we did not have these feelings or they were only vaguely in the background.. When we are in a zone of inner jeopardy, it feels acute, and we forget that it is actually a very common occurrence. Falling for the illusion that it is a time of “special” stress we may feel entitled to self-medicate with food, spending, substances, or generating interpersonal dramas to divert the inner jeopardy to outward causes and effects.

It is quite common for people to relate to zones of inner jeopardy by unconsciously allowing themselves to be enveloped by them. We’ll call this “ZIJ envelopment.” During envelopment, we are unconscious of the ZIJ as a thing-in-itself, but allow it to become our implicit context. ZIJ-dominated content becomes the frame of experience, and the unconscious person sees only what is within the frame. Dominated by the ZIJ, the unconscious person becomes like a puppet acting on the stage of the ZIJ. Very likely this will be the tired sort of puppet that has bags under its eyes and seems anxious, perhaps depressed. You can smell cheap whiskey on its hot, dusty little puffs of puppet breath.

When I talk of the “unconscious person” who becomes a ZIJ-enveloped puppet, I refer to myself and almost everybody else. Consciousness can sometimes flow, but is often a moment-by-moment achievement; it is all too easy to default back into unconsciousness. Invisible strings pull us, and we may become animated by drunken puppeteers that have us striking out at others and ourselves. ZIJ envelopment tempts us toward self-medication and a dark array of addictions, tormented relationships, and diminished timelines.

Some will say that I am spreading a degrading stereotype of the diminished puppet lifestyle (or DPL) that comes with ZIJ envelopment. While we should have compassion for those who live with long-term DPL, we should also recognize that DPL is a construct, a construct that is often overdetermined by social and intrapsychic factors, but that like any construct can be taken apart. Some, however, are so accustomed to DPL than they mistake it for life itself.

By keeping a ZIJ device with you, you ensure that you are not completely enveloped. As an imaginary grandparent, informed about these concepts, might say, “A ZIJ device evaluation a day keeps the DPL away.” The ability to measure the ZIJ gives you an unenveloped witness, a witness that can be like a star shining during a dark night of the soul. So if all you do is employ this simple version of ZIJ, then you have acquired a spiritual/survival tool of inestimable value.

Alethiometer replica by Curious Goods The Alethiometer is an oracular measurement device featured in the Philip Pullman Trilogy His Dark Materials

Before we close out this section on the simple version, let’s talk about creating an imaginal ZIJ device. Creating imaginal objects in general can be a powerfully developmental practice at the cutting edge of human evolution. (see Pushing the Envelope—Boundary Expansion into Novelty in Personal and Evolutionary Contexts) Creating an imaginal ZIJ device adds additional layers of value. Having a ZIJ device helps to create a better grounded relationship to the imaginal. To the average, passively imaginative person, the imaginal is a flickering, unstable environment where images flash by with music video rapidity. Any sustained view in the imaginal is characterized by the migraine-cam style of shaky, handheld camera work spliced with ADD-friendly editing. But a polished-with-use, well-realized imaginal object creates a still point within the imaginal and allows clarity and stability to emerge from the fluctuation. If your ZIJ device produces a numerical display, then you have involved both hemispheres. You have a visually aesthetic way of relating to number and measurement. The continuity of the imaginal object correlates with the continuity of your witness, your ZIJ self-awareness.

One ZIJ pocket watch looks like a very finely made late 19th Century gold pocket watch with an engraved lid. A button on the side releases the spring lock and the lid snaps open. As with all ZIJ watches, the crystal is made of anti-reflective coated synthetic sapphire so that it is impervious to scratching and abrasion. Under the crystal of this pocket watch there is an opalescent cloud of colors. When jeopardy is elevated, the opalescent flashes of color tend to be red, orange or yellow. When jeopardy is low, the colors are cooler— blue and green. If you hold the watch at the right angle you see a number (0-10) superimposed on the opalescent cloud. This ZIJ pocket watch is an excellent design, but with its amorphous cloud of colors is a bit too mystical for me.

I prefer an analog display, and the ZIJ pocket watch I use has a multi-textured machine-turned dial of lustrous white gold alloy. The dial and the blued-steel hands are strongly influenced by the Swiss watch company Breguet (do a Google image search for “Breguet” or go to the Breguet site ).

I particularly like the Breuget Royale Marine watch which costs about $14,000. in stainless steel and about $50,000 in white gold. Expensive, but compared to my ZIJ pocket watch it’s a shoddy bit of ghetto bling. For example, the case, bezel and chain of my ZIJ has been precisely machined from alloys made from the hearts of dying stars. In addition to hi-tech ceramic ball bearings, many parts of the eighty-eight jewel movement are made of light weight Mithril to compensate for the super-density of the star core alloys. An oval cabochon dome of clear sapphire at the six o’clock position refracts opalescent colors in much the same way as the relatively crude first pocket watch. The point is you have an infinite budget available for your ZIJ device so I wouldn’t stint on anything.

Also, what works best for me with my ZIJ device is if the hand, instead of moving 360 degrees is calibrated to move no more than 180 degrees. It moves clockwise toward the right (starting at 9 o’clock, then 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, etc.) as ZIJ intensifies (maxing out at the three o’clock position), and counterclockwise as ZIJ diminishes toward zero (the 9 o’clock position).

I could say more about my ZIJ pocket watch, but some design elements and functions must remain classified. As I’ve learned from hard experience, it’s unwise to fully disclose imaginal technology to the general public. As one imaginal technologist from back in the day sagely put it: “Keep it secret, keep it safe.”

The more complex version of ZIJ adds two additional dimensions to the ZIJ practice. The first of these, ZIJ Technology—involves experimentation and application of various methods for dealing with ZIJ. The second, ZIJ Etiology, is the study of the various causes of ZIJ. Volumes can, and have already, been written about both of these. A famous example is Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy published in 1621. The full title is: The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptoms, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up. From the title we can see that it addresses both causes and technologies (“cures”).

I’ve made my own contributions to this extensive literature and will provide some links at the end of this essay. Investigation of causes and techniques is invaluable work. I went through a six-year Jungian analysis when I was in my twenties and that work has been ongoing. Having done all that, I’m a bit more inclined toward the simple version of ZIJ at the moment. For me, what’s producing the most benefit currently is the use of my ZIJ pocket watch plus a simple strategy. Once my ZIJ level goes above a certain point, I know that my judgment has become all too fallible. At that point there are three major ways I can respond. One is to go into simple ZIJ-hunker-down-adaptation-mode. I know that I am not in a reliable state to do global evaluations of my life, to make significant decisions, or to engage in emotionally charged discussions with others. Instead, this is often a time to stay focused on necessary work and enriching experiences. For example, if the ZIJ index is high, I will do just as good a job cleaning my space or doing the laundry as when it is low. If intuitively I sense that the ZIJ is laden with unexplored psychological content, then I can open a journal and start probing into my feelings and associations. I can do oracle readings, consult with spiritual allies, etc. If I feel that the ZIJ is not so laden with new psychological content, but is more of a problem in itself, then I can experiment with various symptomatic techniques for dealing with it. (see “Dealing with Afflictive Thoughts and Feelings” in A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler.)

Also, I know that I am vulnerable to the most classic form of ZIJ self-medication: comfort eating. Therefore I’ve added an additional function to my ZIJ pocket watch that I recommend to others. The same zero-to -ten scale can also display the degree to which I am actually hungry. Some have called actual hunger “stomach hunger” and contrast it to “mouth hunger” which is often emotional hunger and/or an addictive desire to spike blood sugar. So before eating I can pull out my ZIJ pocket watch and press the button on the left side of the case that switches it to hunger metrics. 0 would be starving and 10 would be over-stuffed. 4.5 is where true hunger begins. That point on the scale is defined by one of Michael Pollan’s food rules: “If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not really hungry.” 4.5 is the apple-hungry point on the scale (roughly a quarter after eleven if the dial were a clock face). If I find that my scale is at 8.7 (nearly stuffed) and I want to eat, it’s probably a good time to switch the watch back to ZIJ mode and see what sort of reading I get. Higher ZIJ scores are closely correlated with higher emotional or mouth hunger for many of us. In hunger metric mode I prefer twelve o’clock to be the neutral position which is marked “5” on the dial. 4.5, apple hungry, is slightly to the left and 0 (the 9 o’clock position) would be starving. As satiety increases, the hand moves clockwise so that three o’clock is 10 on the scale, overstuffed. Recently, I changed my ZIJ device to display hunger as a colored light glowing beneath a magnifying lens set into the dial at the 6 o’clock position. Red is stuffed, orange and yellow are more moderate zones of satiety. Hunger begins with blue which phases into green with apple hunger. I check in often with the ZIJ device, especially if I’m thinking about eating, to see what color is glowing. If I’m not in the blue-green zone then I probably shouldn’t eat. I illustrate how my ZIJ device works as an example, not as any kind of formula or rule. The more creative and individual your device is, the more powerful it will be.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: “The price of freedom from ZIJ envelopment is eternal vigilance

with ZIJ monitoring.”

ZIJ Supplementals

ZIJ began as a brief Facebook posting on zones of inner jeopardy. A number of posters had very interesting things to say in an ensuing forum.

Becca: Seems there’s a lot of this going on right now, individually and collectively. So you’ve nailed the current energetic weather system succinctly.

Jonathan: Thanks, what’s helped recently related to coping is increased labeling of the zone. I recognize that certain times of the day—mid-afternoon at work, for example–are more likely to involve zones of inner jeopardy—and I remind myself to avoid immature coping actions—comfort food eating, etc. —and that this would also be a disastrous time to enter into provocative communication with relationships.

Becca: Would you say that these turbulent zones are zones of the pain body/ wounded inner child?

Jonathan: Zones of inner jeopardy are also not times to evaluate one’s life situation, to make major decisions, to impulsively buy things, etc. You hunker down, and either keep performing practical duties, or journal and investigate what’s going on inside, but should otherwise be reticent and conservative about outer actions. And yes, these zones are often related to pain body/ wounded inner child.

Becca: So really these chapters of delving into the wounding points, are hugely cathartic and transformational…because nothing can be shifted unless it is triggered…it has to be active to be able to be worked with. Soul juice, though painful. The more powerful the Work, the deeper the chasm and the harder it is to relate to the “outside” world whilst such “inner” work takes place.

Jonathan: For example, mid-afternoon tends to be an energy slump for me. I get up very early, pre-dawn, and do my caffeine for the day so as to amp up writing sessions. Mid-afternoon at work, after a few hours of mundane tasks and distractions, I may find that my focus is slumping a bit, my inner child feels oppressed by mundanity and obligatory work, and therefore I enter a zone of inner jeopardy. I want a mood-boosting something special, and/or have pessimistic thoughts about my life. Is this an increase in “soul juice” or a predictable daily funk?

On some occasions, the zone of inner jeopardy is a time of inner material erupting and that would be propitious for inner work. At other times the ZIJ is better understood as a typical funk and it would be too disruptive, and not necessarily inwardly productive, to make it into an inner encounter session. Sometimes, probing deeply into a zone of inner jeopardy would be another version of falling for the ZIJ’s desire for drama. Worse yet, of course, would be to allow the ZIJ to become an interpersonal drama. If that is your default way of dealing with ZIJ then you become a drama queen, a person whose every mood fluctuation must be turned into a public spectacle that must draw others into its vortex.

Becca: Yep, depends on the funk really!

Jonathan: A subtle discernment is necessary—-is this a typical funk, or is it a funk that has a lot of interesting psychological content and one is in a place where it would be appropriate to investigate? Usually, my unconscious is more likely to introduce the interesting content when I am in a situation where I can process it—-say awakening from a dream, but not at work where I will be interrupted and have pressing responsibilities.

It is crucial to recognize that states of inner jeopardy are ordinary states and to be practical and impeccable in relation to them. Part of the slippery vortex of ZIJ is that it insists that it is special and dramatic and wants us to intensify its vortex of jeopardy by getting us to act on the specialness.

Matthew: Im terrible at this

Jonathan: I think most of us are–that’s why I’m writing about it.

Also, I find that more practical than trying to do inner weather modification is to prepare on a daily basis for many types of weather. For example, I live in Boulder which is a high desert with unstable mountain weather. I might get on my bike when it is hot, and the sun is blazing, but twenty minutes later there could be a terrific thunderstorm and then twenty minutes after that it can be hot and sunny again. So I try to remember to bring gear with me suited to different weather. If we expect squalls, expect periodic zones of inner jeopardy, we learn to prepare for them: —OK, here’s another ZIJ. Time to remember not to make major decisions, not to make a major, unplanned purchase, not to initiate a relationship drama, not to deviate from my healthy diet and so forth. By preparing and undramatizing the zone, the squalls run out of kinetic energy and harmlessly blow off.

Thomas: I agree with you 100% – I used to be horrible with this, after some training, I can agree that it is very much like a weather system. Getting hints at where your body/brain want to take you and change it. Much easier to veer away from an “angry” storm than to try to go from being in the middle of an angry storm back to a stable mind.

Geoffrey: Inner turbulence when finding out navigation systems no longer work.

Emee: Mental and Spiritual Tornadoes. Look them in the eye. See them for what they are. Recognize their importance, then journal them. (they love the recognition) Then…..go outside and garden.

Jonathan: Essentially, this is bringing mindfulness to mood. A great way to do this is to become an interested and expert inner investigative meteorologist. Instead of trying to evade, escape or alter moods—map the shifting weather patterns in real time.

When I used to teach in the inner city, the South Bronx, I noticed that there were some kids, mostly African-American and Puerto Rican, whose ancestry was from warm climates, and who absolutely hated winter. Because they despised cold weather some of them (who had money to buy very expensive sneakers, etc.) would not buy a good winter coat because it was like buying equipment for a sport they didn’t like.. This, of course, only made them more miserable in cold weather.

We don’t like zones of inner jeopardy so therefore we don’t invest in what would help us cope with them. Instead of cringing from moods and zones of inner jeopardy, greet them with fascinated curiosity. When the next zone of inner jeopardy arises, think of yourself as a storm chaser who is getting to observe a hurricane from a close, but reasonably safe, vantage point. Be intrigued by it. Ah ha, here is a live specimen right now, let’s see how this works. Take notes, e.g. “Zone started 11am, feeling stress, inner agitation, want coffee, upset about….” and so forth. Note when the ZIJ is waxing and when it is waning. Like any storm it lasts for a time—it peaks, then it trails off and so forth—so pay attention to all that and as minutely as possible—what does the ZIJ want to get you to do?

Eva: This is so full of self acceptance, it’s lovely. i think people don’t get that…if they don’t love themselves and their lives, they can’t love anyone else…and being able to accept that you have moods and storms and all…well you just might be able to love someone else, as well, with theirs.

Jonathan: You’re right, what is most likely to cause a zone of inner jeopardy is self-disapproval. Next most likely is situational disapproval (where you disapprove of the situation you are in) which almost always contains hidden layers of self-disapproval. This is another subject I’ve been writing about recently See: (Confessions of a Self-Aware Starship.) Meanwhile, the most useful practice I have found is to make conscious approval statements. For example: “I approve of myself being here at work.” Because I am often ambivalent about being at work, I disapprove of the situation, and subtly disapprove of myself for not being in a better situation. By making the above statement I am recognizing that, for today at least, I approve of myself being at work. Being at work today is the path of impeccability (as compared to suddenly quitting my job or not showing which would be unimpeccable), and therefore I approve of the work situation and of myself for being there today. The statement also recognizes that this is a volitional state and makes what might seem obligatory into an empowered, intentional act. Self-approval statements seem to decrease the likelihood of zones of inner jeopardy which are usually disapproval-based.

Frank: Great post Jonathan, I think when you talk about these fluctuations of the inner weather system, it’s a reference to our inner emotional states. These zones of inner jeopardy sound like the stirrings of our negative feelings when encountering a specific situation. The word emotion comes from Latin, exmovere, meaning, to move out. Perhaps a good way do deal with our emotions is to feel them deeply, find a way to express them and move them out of our system. I’ve also found it futile to rationalize or explain away my feelings. Practically, to stabilize the turbulence associated with emotions such as anxiety, fear, or general stress, for me, an intimate communion with mother Earth reestablishes an immediate sense of inner calm and peace. A simple walk in nature or sitting on the floor and breathing in the earth energy through the bottom of the spine or my feet usually does the trick. For emotional anger and rage, a good physical workout with lots of sweating, or unleashing a prolonged growl originating from the belly, quickly subsides my need to want to throw a tantrum. These are of course quick fixes to otherwise deeper unconscious issues that might require deeper inner work.

Jonathan: Thanks Frank, I agree that allowing yourself to deeply feel the emotion, and allow it to move (but not allowing it to move you into ill-considered actions/speech!) is crucial. Possibly you are a feeling type and this may be a natural center for you. If you are not a feeling type, as I am not, then feelings are often undifferentiated, and they may be experienced as proto-emotions such as rage, fear or anxiety. When feelings are differentiated into emotions, they may be more musical and able to be moved through than say free-floating anxiety. Definitely, nature and exercise can be game changers. Cardio workouts are enormously mood elevating for me, and the only price is that there are withdrawal symptoms if I don’t exercise. If I don’t exercise then I am more prone to anxiety because I don’t have the brain chemistry created by exercise, plus I feel guilty for neglecting it. So the approach I’m taking here does not presume that there is nothing we can do to change inner jeopardy, often we can by:

1.Facing deep issues and taking action

2. Diet and exercise

3. Meditation and inner exercises

4. Earning and expressing inner-approval.

But often these methods are not practical to apply at a given moment. So another tool to add to the toolbox is the ability to function while in a state of inner jeopardy without falling apart.

A doctor I heard interviewed recently, who was speaking out against psychiatric meds which cause cognitive impairments, said it’s not good to be impaired because “It’s difficult to be a human being.” If you’re impaired, it’s hard to pull that off. We forget sometimes that just being a functional human can be a bit of a high-wire act. From another metaphor, being human means being in the pilot seat of a very touch-and-go-situation.

A Note About ZIJ and Time Urgency

One key aspect of ZIJ vicissitudes I notice is a correlation with time urgency. Time urgency, also sometimes called “hurry sickness,” is a sense of time as adversary where you always feel that you are behind and can’t quite catch up with life. Here’s a link to a good summary article: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/always-in-a-rush-maybe-its-time-urgency/ Time urgency usually means a disconnect from the feminine. We are caught up in the hectic pace of the industrialized world and feel a panicked sense of not getting to where we need. Often where we need to be is off the conveyor belts and treadmills of hectic, industrial time. We are caught in a paradox, trying to hurry through time to get to a restorative place, a more feminine dimension, but the more we hurry toward it the further it recedes.

Ironically, many will feel that the way to deal with time urgency is to speed up— if they hurry maybe they will catch up with the carrots dangling in the future, and once they get the carrots they will feel fulfilled. Fulfillment, however, cannot be outsourced to the future. That’s the problem with time management, it only teaches you how to be effectively speeding through time. It teaches you to juggle more balls and the reward for that is usually to be given still more balls to juggle. Stephan Rechtshaffen’s Timeshifting is an alternative approach I highly recommend.

A ZIJ reducing stance I’ve found for when time seems to press is reducible to a single phrase: “rolling through open avenues of impeccability.” In this stance, I stop judging what I’m not doing if I am doing something impeccable. What can elevate ZIJ is that by doing anything I can seem to be neglecting other things. If I’m writing then I’m not exercising and usually not earning money. If I’m exercising I’m not writing and not earning money. If I’m earning money I’m usually not writing or exercising and so forth. Focusing on what I’m not doing creates toxic time urgency. Instead, you approve of yourself whenever you are in a zone of value. If you are soulfully relating to others, walking in nature —it emphatically does not have to be productivity time—so long as you are in a value zone (a zone where something of human value is happening) you’re OK. Your stance is fluid (rolling) and you enjoy the value zones that are available and don’t worry so much about those that aren’t. If I’m alone in my room and on a roll with writing then I don’t worry that I’m not socializing. If I’m having worthy social interaction I don’t worry that I’m not writing. ZIJ means that you feel like Hamlet: “This time is out of joint.” Instead roll with the time toward whatever avenues are open that have value.

ZIJ and Social Urgency

Highly related to time urgency is social urgency. Social urgency is a function of our being social mammals and our innate desire to be accepted into, approved by, and to rise in the hierarchy of a social matrix. Sexual urgency is a subset of social urgency.

Social urgency and ZIJ tend to correlate for many reasons. One way of thinking about social urgency is to see it in terms of center of gravity. The more social urgency I experience, the more my center of gravity is not in myself, but in other people. The more my center of gravity is outside myself, the more unstable it is, and therefore I’m in a zone of jeopardy. Achieving inner independence, androgynous wholeness and not giving over your power to the social matrix is a vast subject I’ve written about elsewhere (Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom—Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring), but for now I think it’s better to think about it generically and use the analogue of center of gravity.

Earlier, I mentioned that I added a stomach hunger measure mode to my ZIJ device. Recently I’ve added a third function which I call “social tilt.” There is a saying in graphology (the study of handwriting) that my writing points the way from me to you. People whose handwriting leans to the right are thought to be extraverted, and those whose handwriting leans to the left are thought to be withdrawn from others. When my ZIJ device is in social tilt mode, the hand points straight up in neutral (the twelve o’clock position) and leans toward the right (one o’clock, two o’clock, etc.) with greater social urgency. It leans toward the left (eleven o’clock, ten o’clock) when I want to withdraw from others.

ZIJ is more likely to happen when alone than when in company. According to research, almost all psychopathologies are more likely to occur when people are alone. When alone, people are more likely to cut themselves, display eating disorder symptoms, have suicidal thoughts, etc. If I am alone, for example, and am anxiously speculating on whether I have won so-and-so’s approval, then I can see that the hand on my ZIJ device is tilted to the right and perhaps trembling a bit. It is showing that social urgency is elevated and this will often mean that ZIJ is elevated.

Notice that social urgency is not necessary for soulful relationships. The touchstone for relationships, according to the I Ching, is a principle called “coming to meet halfway.” (See “Meeting Halfway —the Touchstone for Relationship” in A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler.) If social urgency is elevated, however, I am likely to meet the other or others more than halfway which undermines relations. Meeting more than halfway I want to do too much, am too eager to please, give unsolicited advice, or keep talking about myself and forgetting to listen, etc. Social urgency is often what sabotages relationships. So if you are in a ZIJ, check your social urgency— get a social tilt reading from your ZIJ device. If it’s elevated—tilting to the right, try to come back to center. See if you can redirect your focus from anxiously gaming your position in the social matrix to being engaged with what is happening in the moment. What’s happening in the moment could be a solitary activity or it could be an encounter with another person or persons. If you are in a social context then seek to regain your center by meeting halfway.

ZIJ and Body & IC Scans

Often ZIJ correlates with certain bodily states. If ZIJ is elevated, do a quick body scan. Maybe you need more sleep. Maybe your brain is frazzled and you need 20 minutes of silent meditation with eyes closed. Maybe you are dehydrated or your blood sugar is low. Perhaps you are tired, overworked and need R&R. And while you are in inner scanning mode, check in with your inner child and see how happy or unhappy he or she happens to be. Yeah, I know it’s become a New Age cliche to talk about “inner child.” But the inner child is an archetype and as much of a reality as the rings inside a tree. Again, a vast subject, but here’s a quick introduction:Inner Child Looking at You. Perhaps you’ve been in grim workaholic mode and your inner child feels neglected and oppressed. If this is the case, comfort him or her, talk to this key sub-personality as you would to an outer child and find a way for them to get some fun and nurture out of the busy day.

ZIJ Approval

It is crucial to recognize and accept (approve) when you are in a Zone of Inner Jeopardy. The usual, and dangerous mistake, is to disapprove of yourself for being in a ZIJ. This creates a destructive feedback loop, an especially vicious circle. The more you disapprove of the zone, the darker and more chaotic it becomes. Recognizing yourself In a ZIJ, you remember to be especially compassionate with yourself. Try an affirmation:

“I approve of myself for keeping it together while in a Zone of Inner Jeopardy.”

See if you can locate any layers of disapproval that are related to the ZIJ. Make affirmative counter-spells to countermand those disapprovals:

“Regardless of what (insert name of disapprover) thinks of me, I approve of myself.” “Regardless of what I see in the mirror, I approve of my body.” and so forth.

If you find that your mind is issuing disapproval spells you need to immediately take action. In “Dealing with Afflictive Thoughts and Feelings” in A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler I give examples of simple techniques that can stop tape loops of negative thinking.

Conclusion

Finally, let’s accept that we live in a ZIJ inducing matrix. I have found that the research about 18-50 as the toughest time of life is true. Since graduating from my forties, I’ve found that negativity has been waning and positivity waxing. But even with improved climate there are still storms and overcast days. With the ZIJ way we don’t freak out because of difficult weather. I believe the Swedes have a saying: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Be prepared for ZIJ, and adapt accordingly.

I would love to hear what you’ve noticed about ZIJ and any techniques you’ve found that work for you. I expect that this document will continue to grow and would be glad to add some of your thoughts and observations to it. Send to jonathanzap@hotmail.com and put “ZIJ” in the subject heading.

I have numerous writings directly related to the way of dealing with ZIJ. These could all be considered additional chapters of a book on the way of ZIJ. You could read one every time you find yourself in a ZIJ and are able to get online:

Dealing with Psychic Entropy

Rebelling from the Pain Body Matrix

Don’t Let a Thorn in your Side become a Splinter in your Mind

Living with Dark Feelings

Light through the Veil of Darkness

Awakening from Depression

In the Realm of Deadly Delusions

Finding your way through the Fog

Dealing with Crescendo of Awfulness Situations

Soul Imprisoned

Working in Hell

Addiction/Obsession

Rebirth from the Dark Night of the Soul

Dealing with Melt-Downs

Rebelling from Victim Mentality and Self-Pity

Antidote to Worry

Mutant Emerging from Eclipse

Turn that Frown Upside Down!

Anxious Sojourner

Inner Adversary

IUI—Incarnating Under the Influence in a Polywater World

Confessions of a Self-Aware Starship

Beware the Hungry Whirlpools

A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler

The post ZIJ—Dealing with Zones of Inner Jeopardy appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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https://zaporacle.com/zij-dealing-with-zones-of-inner-jeopardy/feed/ 3 Dealing with Zones of Inner Jeopardy text and top photo copyright Jonathan Zap, 2011 Edited by Austin Iredale photo: Manhattan store front window with reflections https://youtu.be/oKn4fbc6zUs Zones of inner jeopardy (ZIJ) are those familiar times when we are inwardly stressed, our thoughts and emotions are agitated, and we may be envel Featured alethiometer-watchface watchbandreplacement.info breguet_image.2213968 BREGUET Marine Royale 5847 05 9043