white crows rising – ZapOracle.com https://zaporacle.com Home of Jonathan Zap's Image Oracle Wed, 02 Sep 2020 11:45:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://zaporacle.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-zaplogo31-32x32.jpg white crows rising – 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
Avatar and the Singularity Archetype https://zaporacle.com/avatar-and-the-singularity-archetype/ https://zaporacle.com/avatar-and-the-singularity-archetype/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2020 10:12:05 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=454 ©2010 by Jonathan Zap Edited by Austin Iredale What is the Singularity Archetype? Some of the most significant layers of meaning in Avatar are not to be found in the articles available on the web that discuss its underlying mythology, at least from what I’ve read. Avatar is charged with emergent archetypal messages from the …

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©2010 by Jonathan Zap Edited by Austin Iredale

What is the Singularity Archetype?

Some of the most significant layers of meaning in Avatar are not to be found in the articles available on the web that discuss its underlying mythology, at least from what I’ve read. Avatar is charged with emergent archetypal messages from the collective unconscious that relate to an evolutionary event horizon which I’ve discussed in my writings on “the Singularity Archetype.” The Singularity Archetype, a term I coined many years ago, is a primordial image of an evolutionary event horizon that seems to be an implicit potentiality glowing in the collective unconscious of our species. I first wrote about the Singularity Archetype (though I didn’t use the term at the time) in an undergraduate philosophy honors paper I wrote in 1978 when I was twenty-years-old and which is available on line: Archetypes of a New Evolution. I discovered that there was an emergent archetype that contained crucial information about our future evolution and that manifested itself in dreams, fantasies and religious visions forming a core element in a largely unrecognized contemporary mythology. The most potent expression of this mythology continues to be in science-fiction novels and films.  (See my book Crossing the Event Horizon—the Singularity Archetype and Human Metamorphosis for my most thorough treatment of the subject.)

Before we can discuss Avatar we need a working understanding of the Singularity Archetype.

An Example of the Singularity Archetype

To get a feeling for the Singularity Archetype it is necessary to study some of the specific manifestations of it. T I’ll provide a very basic one here which comes from one of Jung’s most brilliant colleagues, Marie Louise Von Franz, from a chapter she authored in Jung’s classic introductory work, Man and his Symbols. Von Franz describes two dreams reported to her by someone she describes as “…a simple woman who was brought up in Protestant surroundings…” In both dreams a supernatural event of great significance is being viewed. But in one dream the dreamer is viewing the event from below, standing on the earth, in the other dream she views the same event from above.

(The dreamer’s painting, from Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung.)

In the earthbound dream, the dreamer is standing with a guide looking down at Jerusalem. The wing of Satan descends and darkens the city. The uncanny wing of the devil occurring in the Middle East immediately brings to mind Antichrist and Armageddon.

But in her other dream, the dreamer is witnessing the same event from the heavens. From this vantage the dark wing of Satan appears as the white, wafting cloak of God. A white spiral appears as a symbol of evolution.

Von Franz describes,

“…the spectator is high up, somewhere in heaven, and sees in front of her a terrific split between the rocks. The movement in the cloak of God is an attempt to reach Christ, the figure on the right, but it does not quite succeed. In the [earthbound] painting, the same thing is seen from below—from a human angle. Looking at it from a higher angle, what is moving and spreading is a part of God; above that rises the spiral as a symbol of possible further development. But seen from the basis of our human reality, this same thing in the air is the dark, uncanny wing of the devil.”

Implications of the Singularity Archetype

In these two dreams we see one of the classic aspects of the Singularity Archetype—what to the earth-bound ego seems apocalyptic, from a cosmic viewpoint is revealed to be a transcendent evolutionary event. Again, to get a feeling for this archetype requires contact with several examples which you can find in the documents linked above. In Looking Toward the Event Horizon I summarized some of the implications of the Singularity Archetype as follows:

“As we move toward the event horizon, the physics of the dreamtime more potently interpenetrates the physics of the waking life. Synchronicity becomes more the rule than the exception, and the way we have become accustomed to experiencing space and time is drastically altered. Matter is respiritualized and transforms more readily to accord with psychic intentions. The new species are changelings and reality transformers freed from many of the mortal and corporeal limitations that bound the older species.”

“The relationship between individuality, ego, and collectivity is fundamentally transformed, and we see many variations of “homo gestalt”—new versions of the species where group telepathies enhance the synergy and symbiosis of individuals. More visual and telepathic modalities of communication are involved in this fundamental shift. Members of the new species are typically androgynous and many aspects of gender stereotyping become archaic.”

“To catalyze such fundamental metamorphosis may require planet-wide shocks that punctuate the equilibrium of the species and threaten the entire human genome. The shocks may need to be of apocalyptic intensity to overcome the inherent conservatism of species homeostasis and to potentiate a will toward metamorphosis. As we move toward the event horizon there is an exponential intensification of novelty as new and unexpected forms are created, latent capacities become manifest, and emergent aspects are revealed. The human ego as defender of the old equilibrium may approach many of these transformations with fear, loathing and violence. Patriarchal power structures, including religious fundamentalism and the military-industrial complex, may perceive the metamorphosis as a zero-sum game competition of species, with genocide or extinction as the binary options.”

“Because the eschaton of the species and the individual event horizon of death have great parallel resonance, those who are driven by the fear and denial of death will greet the metamorphosis with the same maladaptive strategies that have characterized their approach to life in general. Xenophobic violence, will to power, and territoriality may be exacerbated. As novelty intensifies, we should expect to see the outer edges of both dark and light intensify.”

“Because of the parallelism between individual death and eschaton of the species, the typically human confusion of inner and outer will cause many prophesiers to anticipate various end dates conveniently scheduled to occur within their lifetimes. This tendency to displace fear of individual death onto a relatively close end date only intensifies the binding to linear time and represents a last effort of the ego to control a transcendent metamorphosis.”

“ The Singularity Archetype is essentially a low resolution map of an evolutionary event horizon. From my point of view, the future contains formed and unformed elements, and the lack of specificities and exact timelines (though many will attempt to attach these) allows greater room for free will and novel outcomes. Each of us is hurtling toward an event horizon, and whether the nearest event horizon is personal death or species-wide eschaton, it is crucial to view both as emergences rather than as emergencies. A threshold of absolute metamorphosis is guaranteed in either case, and therefore the way one lives one’s life requires ultimate values that retain meaning when seen against the backdrop of eternity.”

The Will Toward the Glorified Body

An aspect of the Singularity Archetype that is especially relevant to Avatar is what I call “the will toward the glorified body.” My essay, The Glorified Body—Metamorphosis of the Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution, explores this aspect of the Singularity Archetype. Here are some passages particularly relevant to this discussion of Avatar :

“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.”

Glad Day by William Blake

“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. ..”

“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 materialistic 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 bulletproof. 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.”

“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 his 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.”

“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. (I’m intentionally using the word “urge” here to blur the distinction between instinct and drive as I think this primary urge partakes of both biological and psychological forces.) 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 phenomena 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 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.”

The Will Toward the Glorified Body in Avatar

The will toward the Glorified Body is right at the center of Avatar. James Cameron seems to be aware of this. When Larry King asked him why he picked the name “Avatar,” Cameron responded: “I don’t know. Y’know when I wrote it in 95’ it just popped into my head that here you’ve got people projecting their consciousness into a fleshly body, a biological body, and that’s what the Sanskrit word means, the taking of flesh, the incarnation of a divine being in the case of the Hindu religion. And although our characters aren’t divine beings, obviously, the idea is that it’s actually a fleshly incarnation.

As Avatar opens, our point of view is that of a Glorified Body, the flying dream body of the protagonist, Jake Sully, a young Marine who is a paraplegic. His character is perfectly designed to represent the will toward the Glorified Body. He is an athletic, vital young man with great physical courage and a warrior essence but whose body is half paralyzed.

The next hauntingly numinous scene in the movie is when Jake first catches a glimpse of his avatar. I pointed out in my essay, “The Glorified Body…”, written in 1996, that “avatar,” a term which had then just been adopted in the computer gaming world, came from Hindu mythology and meant a spirit form descended into the flesh. From the point of view of my essay, a human being is an avatar, a spirit bound to one body for the entire waking portion of an incarnation. We also have an intense will to break free of the one body/one psyche rule that dominates the waking mortal life. The movie Avatar, thanks to both content and the technological enhancements of its form, provides a powerful depiction of what it would be like to break the one body/one psyche rule. Jake cannot restrain his unbridled euphoria when he is able to enter his avatar, a far more powerful and glorified body than he had even before his paralysis. His new body is bioluminescent, idealized, more androgynous and suited to a world where gravity is less limiting than on the earth. In actuality it is a virtual body that is a hybridization of the actor’s body moving through space and time and a CGI avatar.

As I point out in the Glorified Body…, we all get to break the one body/one psyche rule during the dreamtime when we are able to merge our awareness with a variety of dream bodies. Avatar begins with the liberated feeling of Jake flying in his dream body. The process of merging with the avatars of the movie is very much like dreaming. Jake lies down in a coffin-like capsule, and analogous to falling asleep and dreaming, his connection to his waking body is submerged and he bonds to a different, enhanced body that lives in Pandora, a place analogous to the dreamtime. The dreamtime is a place of boundary dissolution. Everyone who has seriously studied the dreamtime, including both Freud and Jung, has noticed how telepathic it is compared to the waking time. Many of the reports of mutual dreaming illustrate this dramatically. Similarly, the bioluminescent world of Pandora is a massively telepathic network. I’ll return to the concept of telepathic networks later in this essay.

The process of merging with the avatar, where you enter this technological sarcophagus, also has many parallels to near-death experience. Jake dies to his waking life, passes through a tunnel of light and finds himself in a glorified body. Jake’s life takes on a diurnal/nocturnal sort of cycling that undergoes a figure/ground reversal. The waking life of his paraplegic body recedes with the ghetto life of corporeal limitations, bureaucratic tensions, and intrusions from imperialistic patriarchy. His eros and enthusiasm for life become far more identified with his avatar/Pandoran life. He wants to more fully escape the inferior corporeal/waking life into the Glorified Body/dreamtime/afterlife.

Paradoxically, Cathy Lynn Pagano wrote an article entitled “Avatar: The Archetypal Message Is ‘Get Back In Your Body!’” Pagano points out, quite insightfully,

“The freedom and joy of the body moving, leaping, daring is a major component of this story, just as Pandora’s beauty compliments the body’s freedom. The corporate people live in metal boxes, without beauty or free movement; the walking which was such a big part of the game of golf is reduced to putting in the office.”

The paradox she does not recognize is that Jake gets back into ‘the body,’ or more correctly he becomes more vitally embodied by breaking free of the limitations of his damaged human body and merging with his avatar.

Subcreating Imaginal Worlds

“It’s my world, you all are just living in it.” —James Cameron (referring to Pandora), on The Larry King Show

While from the top layer of Avatar’s mythology, Pandora is an exotic, extraterrestrial world, on both a more literal and deeper layer Pandora is actually the world of the empowered human imagination. Pandora is an imaginal world created by James Cameron. Movies, as I’ve pointed out before, are essentially a dream delivery technology. Cameron, who unlike most of us can command a thousand technicians and a quarter billion dollar budget, is able to make his dream, his imaginal world, into a collective dream. His world is, of course, more an extrapolation of human psychology than anything extraterrestrial. For example, since like Cameron I am a baby boomer, I notice a common cultural influence that very likely inspired the bioluminescent world of Pandora. An early psychedelic experience for many baby boomers, including myself, was the backroom of various hippie shops where black lights illuminated black-light posters and created a little phosphorescent world reminiscent of the look of nocturnal Pandora. The  experience of the movie, therefore, represents to me not so much extraterrestrial travel as intrapsychic imaginal travel, which has more to do with the dreamtime, the future of virtual reality, and a human evolutionary event horizon we are hurtling toward. By my second viewing of the movie, much of the novelty was gone, and I found that what I really wanted was a 3D IMAX immersive visit to another exotic world, which would be much more exciting than a revisit to Pandora.

Apparently there are quite a number of people, mostly young men, who are complaining on internet forums of depression because they can’t live on Pandora, which seems so real to them while they are watching the film in 3D. For example, CNN, in an article entitled “Audiences experience ‘Avatar’ blues” reports:

“A user named Mike wrote on the fan Web site ‘Naviblue’ that he contemplated suicide after seeing the movie.”

“ ‘Ever since I went to see Avatar I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it,’ Mike posted. ‘I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and that everything is the same as in Avatar .’”

The ‘Naviblue’ phenomenon is understandable because so many in our culture are magically disempowered. They want to live in someone else’s dream because it doesn’t occur to them that they are dreamers and potential subcreators who can create their own worlds. They have been conditioned to be passive consumers of the imaginal plane, not empowered creators on the imaginal plane.

As I have discussed in “White Crows Rising…” on the other side of the evolutionary event horizon, what is envisioned is that the physics of the dreamtime will be the default, rather than the physics of the waking time, and we will have the ability to subcreate our own worlds without access to a thousand technicians and a quarter billion dollars. I have also pointed out that unlike Terence McKenna and Ram Das, whom I have talked to a bit on the subject, I do not expect this evolutionary breakthrough to be a cure for human evils. When novelty increases, the outer edge of light and dark both intensify, and I expect that there will be gifted black magicians making potent diabolical use of these enhanced abilities. I think the name “Pandora” suggests this with its connection to Pandora’s Box . In the original myth Pandora opened a jar, but a mistranslation has rendered it forever into a box. Now the word “Pandora” has been remythologized again and will forever be associated with the world of the Na’vi. Avatar represents an opening of Pandora’s Box in the sense that it is a breakthrough in the technological magic of the movies, and now that the technology has been irretrievably loosed into the world, we can be sure that it will not always be used to deliver collective dreams as benign as Avatar.

Liminality and the Special Role of Hybrids in Evolution

The luminescent jellyfish-like envoys of Eywah, the divine intelligence of Pandora, recognize Jake as a key evolutionary catalyst. In many ways, to the practical intelligence of both human and Pandoran characters, he is the most unlikely of choices. He is severely handicapped in both the human and Pandoran realms, is not particularly bright and is woefully ignorant of Pandoran culture as well as foolish about human politics. What he does have, however, that makes him the ideal choice, is an enthusiastic beginner’s mind. As the Pandoran shaman points out, “It’s hard to fill a cup that is already full.” His lack of knowledge, of course, is also ideal cinematically as we learn things for the first time as he does. Jake is a liminal figure, a person caught between and betwixt, who is not fully accepted in either realm, a hybrid of human and Pandoran, and it is so often that which is liminal and hybrid which is the most alchemically charged and capable of metamorphosis.

Another aspect of Jake that makes him an evolutionary catalyst is that he is a twin. His call to adventure comes because of the murder of his twin, who was trained to merge with a Na’vi avatar. Twins are very significant mythologically, but also from an evolutionary point of view. As I’ve noted in my book on the Singularity Archetype, a new type of consciousness also means a new type of communication, and the new means of communication can easily be what creates the new type of consciousness. The last quantum evolutionary jump had to do with our ability to think and communicate in words. The breakthrough into a more sophisticated form of communication is very likely to happen (both in the past and the future) between identical twins. Identical twins sometimes invent their own languages. (Sometimes called idioglossia or cryptophasia or less technically as “twin talk” or “twin speech.”) Identical twins are a maximal case of rapport that can exist between individuals, and with lessened barriers of difference and miscommunication they seem like the most fertile ground for crossing the communication gap between individuals in novel ways. In another 2009 CGI film, 9 , a masterpiece that, unlike Avatar , did not get the credit it deserved, we see a brilliant manifestation of the twin aspect of the Singularity Archetype. Amongst a group of prototype rag doll-like creatures there are a pair of twins. While the other prototypes have lens-like eyes that take in visual information, the twins have eyes that transmit information as light between them. They are also able to project moving images to others. A visually-oriented telepathy is one of the most classic aspects of the Singularity Archetype. I discuss this at length in my four hour free audio program,  Logos Beheld.  Also amazing is that 9 ends with some of the creatures in luminous spirit bodies merging with a moving spiral of light in the sky, another classic element of many of the permutations of the singularity archetype (see the Von Franz dream study above).

The mysterious Norway Sprial which appeared on December 9, 2009

Jake, because of the murder of his human twin, is invited to merge with a new twin, his avatar, which has been grown to genetically match his murdered twin. When this twinned being (Jake in his avatar) travels to Pandora he finds himself in a logos beheld kind of world where most or all of the life is bioluminescent, transmitting information about itself through the projection of light. It is also a world that has much in common with another key aspect of the Singularity Archetype—the telepathic network. All of Pandora seems to be a telepathic network. The human world of the movie, even though it is set in the future, is as ego-fractured as ever, with human psyches encapsulated by their own short-sighted egocentric perspectives. Like the human characters of the imagined future in Avatar  we have reached an evolutionary cul-de-sac with the ego. Given the lethality of our present level of technology, we may no longer be able to survive the egocentric perspective. Unlike the Na’vi, the egocentric human is usually unaware, except in an abstracted way, of the living matrix of which he is a part. Encapsulated by technological exoskeletons—SUVs, gadget filled homes, etc.—he may have no direct sense of how his lifestyle is impacting the rest of the living matrix. The problem of the insulated ego is already a very familiar theme, and the ego is all too easy to villainize, but the prejudice against the ego so often found in New Age and Eastern circles fails to notice that the ego served many powerful evolutionary purposes. In White Crows Rising… I wrote:

“In tribal cultures the ego seems less developed than in modern individuals living in industrialized societies. Tribal societies seem to have less individual boundaries and more group consciousness. Earlier human beings may have had less ego, but also less individuality and differentiation. A fundamental aspect or function of the ego is the creation of isolation. An individual perceives him or herself as a separate identity apart from others and the world. This perception creates a degree of isolation and within this insulating bubble an explosion of novelty occurs. A highly complex, unique, differentiated, often pathologized personality develops. Egocentric isolation, like the irritating grain of sand in an oyster, causes the development of a fantastic structure as complex buffering layers are accreted around the irritant and the beautiful pearl of individuality is created.”

One of the great purposes of the ego was to encapsulate consciousness and create a firewall between psyches, greatly reducing the networked telepathy that I believe is more the norm in nature. We see what looks like networked telepathy, for example, in the amazing synchrony of schools of fish. The Secret Life of Plants, and some subsequent studies, seem to show that the vegetable kingdom is not only sentient, but aware of human thoughts and changes to living tissue (while remote from any sensory information). Tribal cultures do seem to be more aware and tapped into the networked intelligence of nature. The Na’vi, in general, seem in most ways to resemble an idealized version of a terrestrial indigenous tribe, and that constitutes a subtle danger in the mythological resonance of the film. The danger is that the film encourages what Ken Wilber calls the “pre/trans” fallacy. In Dynamic Paradoxicalism I described the pre/trans fallacy this way:

“Essentially, the pre/trans fallacy notices a common tendency to confuse pre-rational states with trans-rational states, since both are non-rational. The “reductivist” version of this is the tendency of “scientism,” which reduces all transrational mystical states to prerational infantilism, and dismisses authentic spiritual experience as “superstitious nonsense.” Freud clearly fell for this half of the fallacy, especially in The Future of an Illusion. The “elevationist” version of the fallacy, ubiquitous in the New Age, is to elevate prerational states to the transcendent and to demonize rationality. From this side of the fallacy, babies are thought to be Buddhas, and anything tribal or aboriginal is romanticized and inflated as infinitely superior to anything modern or rational. Promiscuity is seen as a daring rebellion from antiquated taboos, even though it is usually in high conformity to what peers are doing. They recognize as conventional the older sexual morays of the past, but fail to recognize that their rebellion is part of a vast conventionalism of the present, and that this new conventionalism is actually based on a still more primitive level of development than the old conventionalism. Regressing to pre-rational hedonism, indulging every impulse and irrational notion is seen as enlightened, post-conventional and transcendent. This is the state of the typically goofy New Age person who never heard an urban legend or bit of mystical-sounding nonsense without adopting it wholesale. This type of person is fiercely anti-intellectual and anti-rational, so it is impossible to talk them down from their absurdities, even the attempt to do so casts you, in their minds, as this clueless rationalist stuck in their ego. They believe they have transcended rationality, while forgetting that to transcend something you first have to achieve it!”

The glorification of the Na’vi, especially since they appear not only exotic and tribal but are also occurring in a futuristic sci-fi film, is dangerous because it will encourage some people to believe that the answer to our present troubles would be a return to life as warriors in an indigenous rainforest tribe. The Singularity Archetype, however, indicates that the answer has more to do with hybridization—of East and West, of aboriginal with high tech, of past and future. Jake, who appears amongst the Na’vi as a hybrid, is a better personification of the evolutionary message than the Na’vi themselves. Unfortunately, Jake’s character is disappointingly ordinary, he has a good heart and physical courage, but little else to recommend him as the evolutionary catalyst he becomes in the film. From a marketing and story point of view, however, Jake’s ordinariness makes him easier for young males to identify with. Also, in many traditional hero cycles the hero is a naïve young male who has to be initiated into a new world, and Jake fits very well into that tradition. In most of the more inspired versions of stories related to the Singularity Archetype, however, ( Dune, Akira, many others) the evolutionary catalyst tends to be a young mutant with extraordinary parapsychological abilities.

Another way that Avatar seems to lean toward the preconventional rather than the transconventional is that a kind of hard-wired interspecies bond with various animals is emphasized over the intraspecies, nonlocal telepathic bond that we find in more inspired story versions of the Singularity Archetype. There seems to be a pantheistic networking with nature, but it is imagined in a very primitive, materialist way where the Na’vi have tails that seems to be the organic equivalent of Ethernet cables. Schools of fish, however, don’t need to connect via nerve bundles to synchronize, so the networking model in the movie seems to have a bias toward the concrete, hard-wired connection. The imagined version of nature is actually more primitive than the already existing version of nature we find here on earth. The Na’vi seemed to be imagined in the image of a pre-Wi-Fi computer network rather than in a transcendent version of nature.

In more sophisticated and inspired versions of the Singularity Archetype, the transcendence of ego-encapsulation is not imagined in such a materialist pre-conventional way. In White Crows Rising… I wrote:

“Collective consciousness turns up frequently in expressions of the Singularity Archetype and merits some examination. In Theodore Sturgeon’s science-fiction novel published in 1953, More than Human , a group of mutants, who each have distinctly different strengths and weaknesses, form a collective consciousness while retaining some individuality and become, in many ways, a single entity where each mutant serves in a specialized role, as if they were organs of a single body. Sturgeon coined the term ” homo gestalt ” to describe this new entity. Similarly, more recent abduction testimony has emphasized the “grays” as having a hive-like collectivity, and this is experienced as another threatening aspect of their alien otherness.”

“There are a number of possible reasons for this collective consciousness motif appearing in so many permutations of this archetype. One is that it may be a fairly literal indicator of evolutionary change. If the ego ceases to dominate the human psyche, then perhaps the boundaries that it creates around the individual will dissipate and we will become more collectively aware. The shells of the oysters dissolve and the pearls lie together.”

The homo gestalt aspect of the Singularity Archetype reflects an evolutionary possibility. Encapsulated psyches become telepathically connected, but without a loss of individuality. For example, in the world of Dune , there is a sisterhood of highly conscious warriors known as the “Bene Gesserit.” To become a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother one must survive a perilous rite called “The Water of Life.” In this initiatory rite one imbibes a potent psychotropic, mutagenic poison. If the initiate survives and becomes a Reverend Mother she will retain her individuality, but will also be aware of the memories and all the psyches of all other Reverend Mothers, living or dead, who have similarly survived this rite. The Reverend Mothers don’t need cables or funny tails to be part of this network. Parapsychological researchers such as Russell Targ (the laser physicist who cofounded the U.S. Government’s remote viewing program) have long recognized that telepathy and many other parapsychological phenomena occur because our psyches exist in a nonlocal field. In other words, no signal needs to be sent anywhere because psyches do not need to be causally related. Early Soviet parapsychologists called telepathy “mental radio” because they imagined the psyche in the image of the current machine, the radio, and had a causal signal model. But the findings of many well-conducted experiments have shown that the telepathic effect is not lessened by distance (as any energetic signaling would be), nor is it diminished when the subject is in a Faraday Cage (which blocks all electromagnetic signals). More evolved visions of homo gestalt are based on the emergence of encapsulated individuality into a nonlocal telepathic network.

In the final battle at the end of the film, the military/industrial/patriarchal complex is personified by Colonel Quaritch, who is encapsulated in an exoskeleton. Jake is in his avatar, but ultimately is saved because of the telepathic bond with his Na’vi lover. Ultimately Jake survives by transcending the technological connection to his avatar—done via something that looks like a cross between an MRI machine and a particle accelerator—and through an organic network permanently merges with his avatar.

Although I’ve been critical of what seem like failures of imagination in Avatar, I’d like to close with an appreciation of its immense significance for the collective. Elsewhere, I’ve speculated that technology would provide a potent catalyst for our evolution into the imaginal realm when there was enough distributed computer power to provide real-time mapping of human facial expressions onto CGI avatars. In other words, at our present level of technology, people from various parts of the world can interact in a networked computer game like World of Warcraft through their individualized digital avatars. The richness of this virtual social experience, however, is greatly lessened because the avatars are not capable of the complex visual communication enabled by the microsecond-by-microsecond changes of human facial expression. When we reach the point that your webcam can record your facial expressions and map them onto your real-time avatar, we will begin to approach the complexity of face-to-face social contacts in the virtual world. Avatar takes a crucial half step toward that because it advances the ability to give pre-rendered CGI avatars the complexity of the human form. In the making of Avatar, each actor had a miniature camera with LED lights on a little boom in front of their face capturing minute changes of facial expression. The Na’vi avatars, especially since they were 3D, were a very significant advance from earlier live action into CGI films like Beowulf . With the well-handled bonding of Jake with his avatar, and the powerfully immersive medium of 3D IMAX, we had the best so far collective experience of what it would be like to merge with a different body in a different world. Avatar represents a huge cultural milestone though necessarily it is a mere phosphorescent shadow of what awaits us at the event horizon.

Out of respect for the accomplishment of Avatar I’ll close with the testimonial blog I wrote the week it came out,

“I have a time-sensitive recommendation that everyone prioritize seeing the 3D IMAX version of Avatar. This was a life-changing experience for me and the three friends that were with me yesterday. This is a time-sensitive priority because once this film leaves the big screen you’ll be able to see it at home, but not in the venue that gives it overwhelming power—3D IMAX. This opportunity represents the most potent attempt in human history to (without psychotropics) give you the sensory impact of experiencing another world. Although Avatar represents a key, watershed event in the history of cinema, it may be many years before someone else is able to get a budget this size (approximately 300 million) and a thousand skilled people from several special effects studios to pull something like this off again. The 3D IMAX experience is so immersive that it creates a real participation mystique with another brilliantly realized world. Forget the trailers and any reviews. The trailers didn’t impress me at all, quite the opposite, because they are flat low-res representations of something not meant to be perceived that way.

Avatar is the most impressive sensory experience yet created of what it would be like to break out of the oppressive, monotonous one psyche/one body rule that currently dominates life here on the Babylon Matrix. Notice that I’ve been careful to add the word “sensory” to my descriptions. The Ring trilogy and the Dune books are far more powerful evocations of the fully realized cultures of other worlds, but they are not sensory except in your ability to convert words into sensations. No question, but the 3D IMAX format is giving you the most sensory information about a world that is currently possible, and this film advances the leading edge of that possibility very dramatically. Don’t miss this opportunity, because there is nothing even currently in the works, as far as I know, that is going to equal it.”

 

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Incendiary Person in the Desert Carnival Realm https://zaporacle.com/incendiary-person-in-the-desert-carnival-realm/ https://zaporacle.com/incendiary-person-in-the-desert-carnival-realm/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2011 04:40:45 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=70 f you are not particularly interested in Burning Man don't be turned away, because the topics covered go far beyond this one event and include:

Transforming our Thanatos Self
Radical Self Reliance
Magic Ritual and Self Importance
Approaching a Mutant Nexus
Rapidly Shifting and Parabolic Zeitgeists
The Eros of the Present Era---how our Sexuality is Shaped by the Pendulum of Enantiadromia
Examples of Mind Parasites and Vampires
The Evolutionary Event Horizon
A Logos Beheld
Alex Grey on the American Dream and the Eye of God
Virtual Reality
Awakening from the Default Reality

The post Incendiary Person in the Desert Carnival Realm appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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copyright 2008, 2012 by Jonathan Zap

Edited by Austin Iredale

became aware of myself within my dream and found that I was in some sort of desert carnival realm. I stood alone in a vast expanse of chalky dust, some of it powdery, but most of it caked and cracking beneath my feet. In the distance were scattered jewelries of electric light, and as I turned around I saw that they extended in all directions. The scattering of neon jewelry was punctuated by occasional fireballs which rose like jack o’ lanterns, living for a fiery heartbeat before they disappeared into the high desert night. Beyond the lights and fireballs, the chalky expanse was ringed by desolate mountains.

As I stood there, I felt waves of a haunting emotional lucidity pass through me, a sense of my whole life summed up within the peculiar alchemical mixture of blessings and wounds of an entire mutant incarnation, and these feelings seemed to radiate outward into the desert carnival realm, searching for something elusive, like a fugitive and forbidden desire.

As if conjured by my feelings, a large neon-lit sailing ship blasting techno music came careening toward me, spewing an explosive wake of dust. It passed within feet of me, and I saw that it was filled with harlequin-costumed party-goers, cocktail glasses in their hands, their gazes transfixed by carnival thought forms. They were benignly oblivious to my presence, and it felt as if the ship were a conjuration of my haunted feelings, the missed party of adolescence now become visible in the desert night, propelled by blasts of techno into the darkness as it receded from view.

The ship was followed by dusty gusts of desert wind. The elements felt so physical, and I began to realize that maybe I wasn’t merely lucid within my own personal dream. Perhaps I was caught in some collective dream, a bardo playing itself out in a lower astral plane. Perhaps this was a realm where spirits, newly separated from their bodies, indulged unfinished appetites together, a last anything-goes party wherein they could gradually burn out the last vestiges of mortal desires in a realm of nocturnal entertainments and swollen dream objects. When bardo-goers tired of clinging to this final desert carnival, they would be released, their spirits liberated for the further travels that awaited them.

My reverie was interrupted by a man speeding by me, riding a wake of dust. The man, who seemed as oblivious of me as the party-goers, sat on the back of what appeared to be a giant, bio-luminescent snail, a racing snail apparently, which moved several knots faster than the sailing ship and receded still more quickly into the darkness.

With a feeling of dream inevitability, I realized I needed to go toward the carnival lights, toward the other dreamers, into the heart of this harlequin realm. But as I began walking, I felt the desert powder sucking at my feet and resisting my movement. I knelt down to retie my shoes, so as to get a better grip on this strange surface. Shoes and laces were caked in chalk as if they had spent years in hard service as blackboard erasers. This was a desert not of sand, but of a dust or slightly coarse powder like an industrial grade of talcum powder, or a vast and ancient deposit of plasterboard dust.

Perhaps ancient astronauts, exploiting entire solar systems for natural resources, had colonized this planet with an army of robots that mined for gypsum and built a plasterboard factory extending for thousands of square kilometers. Very likely a competing tribe of ancient astronauts had vaporized this factory with a particle beam weapon emanating from an orbiting Death Star, and the particle beam devastation had left only this vast deposit of environmentally toxic particleboard dust, which had been fossilizing in the desert for ensuing millennia. In endless cycles, the ancient plasterboard dust would get repulverized by wicked desert winds, and whipped up into swirling dust storms, only to resettle as chalky sediment, caking and cracking under the blazing desert sun as it waited with mineral stoicism for the wind to begin the cycle all over again.

The desert carnival realm had a strange familiarity and inevitability, like a half-remembered dream world you know you have experienced many times before. There was a certain darkness, but also a sense of playfulness and improbable possibilities. I closed my eyes and thought back, back to the time before the desert carnival realm, and to the strange process that had brought me here from a very different region of the Babylon Matrix.

I knew that my companions and I had emigrated to the high desert carnival in a 32’ vessel that was a sort of desert schooner or land yacht, an “RV” or “Reconnaissance Vessel,” I believe it was called. The Reconnaissance Vessel left from a long-term home base—Planet Boulder—and as I focused on Planet Boulder I felt a file floating upward from the darkness of forgetfulness, an artifact of zeros and ones created in the pre-carnival era….

Journal From the Pre-Carnival Era, Planet Boulder, 22 August, 2008

When about to travel, or about to makes some abrupt change, it is hard for me to believe the reality of it until it happens. It is a theoretical portal, and presently, August 22nd, Friday, 2008, I am so completely in Boulder, or at least my body is so completely in Boulder, that the theoretical future reality of Burning Man seems merely theoretical.

This evening, however, I came to realize a mythological element I would like to add to the Burning Man timeline for myself. My personal mythos of the Burning Man, or Incendiary Person (I assume that burning persons can have more than one gender) came in the form of an email from a brilliant young friend, Noah, who wrote:

“It’s felt almost like all of my bad habits belong to someone else who is sick and dying, and that the thing I identify with is waiting for that sick and dying person to keel over entirely so that I can steal the body and the name and use them to significantly better ends.”

In the reply email to Noah, I wrote:
“It’s almost as if we have a Thanatotic self that is very busily reaching for all the death in life it can get. Its aims seem horrifyingly different than the aims of the other part of us that is waiting for the dead part to die already.

Although it sounds like shadow denial (and maybe it is, have to make some discernments), I choose to make the Incendiary Person the death energy part of myself, the part that wants to be comfortably numb through surrendering to addictions. I choose to go out to the desert to learn how to shift my inner fires to burn with a greener fire, to sacrifice smoldering stagnant tissues into the desert night and scalding sun. As they are expunged, I will experience them turning into bitter alkali dust, which will blow away into the wind. I also intend to allow myself to be visible in the desert to worthy mutants with whom I need to link up for purposes of mutual growth.”

Travel Journal, Somewhere in Wyoming, 24 August, 2008

The trip didn’t start to seem real until we were cruising through an overcast Wyoming. Eric (a requested pseudonym), an electrical engineer who had done more to pull the trip together than the rest of us combined, was piloting the Reconnaissance Vessel. Eric, who earlier in the day had meticulously supervised the packing of the RV with NASA-like check lists, and was continually giving us highly technical pointers about the RV, as well as cautionary injunctions and warnings on a variety of subjects—legal, technical, health-related—suddenly realized that an important item had been omitted from his packing lists—tickets. Four $300 tickets were sitting under his bed in a drawer that also contained various embarrassing items from his porno collection.

Houston, we have a problem.

Trips often don’t seem fully real until the first disaster happens. We were just outside Laramie, Wyoming and turning the 32’ $4 a gallon gas-guzzling Reconnaissance Vessel back toward Boulder did not feel like an option. Charlie, who seemed to be a person of unrelentingly optimistic temperament—at least at this phase of the trip—was sure he had read on the Burning Man website that lost tickets were easily replaceable by going to the office where they could look up the number and reissue the tickets. Eric was skeptical about that, but Charlie cheerfully and repeatedly insisted he had just read that on the official website—lost tickets were not a problem.

Eric, now in full Apollo 13 mode, began brainstorming various Remote Ticket Capture Plans, or RTCPs, the most probable of which involved an emergency cell phone transmission to a neighbor who had a key to his house which could be passed off to a woman Eric barely knew, but whose Burning Man trajectory would intersect with Planet Boulder. Eric would have to suck up the embarrassment of having this woman do the remote ticket capture, or RTC, from his under-the-bed porno drawer.

Accessing internet from my cell phone, I got to the official Burning Man website and read the following:

“We cannot be responsible for tickets lost in your possession and cannot issue replacement tickets.”

 

Journal Entry Laramie, Wyoming 8:35pm 24 August 2008, T Minus 145 Hours 25 Minutes to Man Burn

Reconnaissance Vessel and crew now several hours into standby mode as we await ticket capture return trajectory rendezvous.

The crew seems agitated, frustrated, restless, but to me, the whole ticket speed bump seems like a portent of a great trip, because my most memorable journeys always seem to involve threshold guardians, often in the form of epic breakdowns.

 

While in standby mode, I was part of an away team that got to check out a bit of Laramie, a real cowboy town. I enjoy getting temporarily stuck in obscure places, places I wouldn’t usually choose to go to, but once there find myself fascinated with the suchness of place and the dramatic differences in zeitgeist. There were surreal contrasts with Planet Boulder. (In case you’re wondering, I’m not the first to call Boulder, “Planet Boulder.” Boulder is its own world in many ways, and a few years ago it even had an independent newspaper called “Planet Boulder.”) Laramie was, in many ways, the perfect anti-matter planetary twin of Boulder. For example, the per capita rate of Slim Jim consumption in Laramie was almost exactly equivalent to the per capita rate of Soy Chai Maté consumption in Boulder. While the average Laramite was fantasizing about new tractor tires and hot cowgirl pussy, the average Boulderite was fantasizing about upgrading their Prius with Wi-Fi and getting into the yoga pants of the raw foods chef they just met at their Buddhist meditation retreat.

Journal Entry Laramie, Wyoming 8:45pm 24 August 2008, T Minus 145 Hours 15 Minutes to Man Burn

Looks like Eric may have found a Remote Ticket Capture Plan that just might work. Working the cell relentlessly, he was able to find a Boulderite who, for two hundred dollars plus gas, was willing to drive to Laramie with the tickets in his Subaru shuttlecraft. The plan is that after a successful return ticket trajectory rendezvous or RTTR, we’re going to pilot the Reconnaissance Vessel straight through to Burning Man.

At the moment, however, we’re still in standby mode, biting our fingernails in the crowded confines of the Reconnaissance Vessel. I’m an extreme introvert, and I can feel the social claustrophobia intensify, as if I were a member of a German U-boat crew, waiting three hundred meters under the frozen Atlantic, hoping the depth charges don’t reach us while Hans and Dieter, huddled next to me, are releasing a rank miasma of bratwurst flatulence and reptilian fantasies about Marlene Dietrich. In addition to the social claustrophobia, from the earliest age I have always been extremely allergic to noisy eaters (how I loathe them), and one of my companions could make eating applesauce sound like a pack of starving mules chewing through inner tubes filled with broken glass.

Journal Entry Laramie, Wyoming 8:55pm 24 August 2008, T Minus 145 Hours 5 Minutes to Man Burn

Into this uneasy, and mostly silent, tension of standby mode, Eric reveals that the guy we’re depending on for the RTTR, the hired pilot of the Subaru shuttlecraft, is named “Boo.” I remark that it feels like we are waiting for “Boodot.” This horrible pun actually gets a laugh, a sure sign of a demoralized and uneasy crew.

Journal Entry Winamucca, Nevada 11:15am 25 August 2008, T Minus 130 Hours 45 Minutes to Man Burn

We did manage to drive all night and I got more rest, or at least lying down, then I’ve had in many hectic days. A couple of intense dreams. Eric bought us breakfast, but Winamucca, like most places in this country, had food I would ordinarily only handle in a HAZMAT suit. I felt weighed down and undermined even after getting the healthiest choice on the menu. The whole crew reeked of dead chicken embryos and fried grease.

The breakfast reminded me of the return trajectory to planet Boulder from the National Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming earlier in the summer. We had stopped at a Flying J truck stop. I agreed to eat at the Flying J restaurant because it had a salad bar. The most nutritious items in the salad bar turned out to be iceberg lettuce and canned peaches in heavy syrup. Most other “salad” items contained both mayonnaise and meat. I ordered a baked potato.

“You want that loaded, right?”

The waitress intoned the question in such a way that “Yes,” or “Hell Yes!” seemed the only appropriate answers, as only an America-hating moron would want an unloaded baked potato. Out of curiosity I asked, “What does loaded mean?”

“Butter, sour cream, jack-shredded cheddar cheese, and bacon,” replied the waitress.

Anyway, walking out into the glare of late-morning Winamucca, some of the experienced Burners in my crew gave me some more warnings about the conditions I would face out on the “Playa.” Apparently, Playa is a Spanish word for a desert made of ancient plasterboard dust. The warnings seemed unduly dire. Some of the old Burners made it sound like wicked dust storms would scour the flesh right off my bones and if I didn’t constantly drink water I would turn into some kind of desiccated mummy-like husk that would get blown across the desert like a tumbleweed. I had trouble taking their warnings too seriously because I knew that most of them were out of shape and would never have survived past Burns if the conditions were really so challenging. Back in the day, I had been a wilderness guide and had even personally led two ten-day backpacking trips into remote desert canyons where there were no trails, let alone thousands of RVs. From my narcissistic self-perspective, I was an indigenous Fremen, a warrior people who inhabit Dune, desert planet, also known as Arrakis, where a man’s wealth is measured in the literjons of water he owns. As a Fremen I knew that if the merciless desert spilled my life’s blood, then my water belonged to the tribe, and a portable desert sill would be used to extract it from my corpse, the resulting water wealth bestowed on my desert-thin widow. So to me these cautionary old Burners seemed like a bunch of water-fat off-worlders. How tough could this “playa” be, considering that even the name consisted mostly of the word “play.” And in Spanish, doesn’t “playa” also mean “playpen,”as in: “Ponga el bebe en la playa.”?

I noticed that Owl, who was from the same avenue in the Bronx that I was, and who knew a thing or two about living in a genuinely hazardous environment, was mocking aloud what I had only been mocking in my mind, the excessively dire water drill we were getting from Eric. Owl had been to the last year’s Burn and said he didn’t drink half the water he had been told to bring. I was again told about the philosophy of “Radical Self-Reliance,” a phrase that had been pounded into my head from every Burning Man web page. For example the preparation page is emblazoned with:

“RADICAL SELF RELIANCE

Your survival depends on your reading and following these lists:”

But now, with a fellow Bronxite going in, I couldn’t resist that school yard tendency to tag team someone who was already getting it.

“But Eric,” I intoned with tastefully muted sarcasm, “didn’t you say that I can buy all the bags of ice I want there?”

“Yes, they will have several ice distribution centers.”

“OK, because from what I understand, in the hot desert—and by a fairly easy to master, low-tech process—ice can easily be converted into water.”

Anyway, as I walked through the eighteen aisle, florescent lit cornucopia of the Winamuca supermarket, I thought about this philosophy of Radical Self-Reliance, and realized that in the coming week the only thing that would stand between me and the empty desert would be the trail mix I had brought from Boulder and the large plastic jugs of supermarket water I was piling into my cart. At least that’s all that would stand between me and the desert besides Center Camp, where they sell coffee, chai, lemonade and ice, and the 15,000 RVs filled with people offering free drinks and food. If this was Radical Self-Reliance, what would just regular self-reliance look like? Living off the land in a Las Vegas Casino with only a wallet full of gold credit cards to stand between you and the elements?

Since I’ve never been shy about beating a point to death—let me step out of journal mode for a minute to give you an example of what full strength self-reliance looks like. The day after I wrote the above, about a week into the post-Burning Man era, I was invited to spend the night at the mountain hermitage of a Hindu holy man, Swami Paramanada.

Imagine a Yoda who wore only orange, but with no Jedi powers (at least that I was shown), and instead of growing up on Dagobah, he grew up as Jew in the Bronx and went to my alma mater, the Bronx High School of Science, followed by Harvard. If you substitute “yogi” for “Yoda” in the previous sentence, then the description becomes completely literal.

Never one to infringe on Lucas Film copyrighted material, this sixty-six year old Yoda-like mystic calls himself, “Swami P” a Bronx-like concision of his full name that allows him to feel at home with folks like “Jonny O.” and “Joey B.” Swami P speaks not of “radical self-reliance” or other grandiose phrases as he mixes homegrown vegetables into Yoda-like stews. His cabin is at 10,300 feet, he grows and forages a lot of his food, procures his own fire wood, and when he’s snowed in for several months he has no ability to communicate with the outside world, can’t even plant a holographic distress message into a smuggled droid. The first several years of his quarter century of being a winter hermit was spent with no cabin; he lived in a cave at 12,000 feet. OK, I hope I’ve beaten the point to death now. That’s what self-reliance looks like, not a week at an expensive art carnival surrounded by a flotilla of RVs.

 

Journal Entry The Road to Black Rock City 6:30 pm 25 August, 2008 T Minus 123 Hours 30 Minutes to Man Burn—Silent Snow, Secret Snow

Finally we got to the last road, the road that would lead us into Black Rock City. From within the Reconnaissance Vessel, it seemed like we were heading into a mist, detail washing out and everything becoming white. Dust, like smoke, began to billow in from the seals around the vessel’s cabin door. Soon we were in whiteout conditions, all the cars and vessels had stopped and the final approach road had become an elongated parking lot. Stepping out of the vessel I saw and felt that I was already in a festival, people were out of their vehicles enjoying the spectacle. Many were begoggled and wore dust masks. I had on my free dream interpretation sign and a young woman approached me to work on her dreams. The dust came in waves, and suddenly I realized that a fantasy I had long had was being fulfilled.

 

There were always things I liked about snow visually, and particularly I liked the dream-like quality of whiteouts. But I never saw why that visual appeal had to always be teamed with the obnoxious aspects of snow—its coldness and wetness, and not to mention it’s tendency in cities to get really dirty, sooty and disgusting. City snow seemed eager to bear visual witness to where every dog peed and did other canine business, and obviously took some secret delight in becoming an open mausoleum for every form of urban detritus, highlighting in white every cigarette butt and anxiously chewed gum wad. And if you had to step on such an open mausoleum, city snow was only too glad to sponge into your shoes an ice-water distillation of all these putrefying artifacts. If one could only tap into the source code of the Babylon Matrix, it would probably be a relatively easy fix to reset snow so that it would be hot and dry. And now it was happening, a beautiful whiteout, but hot, dry, and powdery clean: a blizzard of the high desert. The whiteout was filled with interesting people, creatively costumed, coming into view, and the caressing warmth of the powdery wind seemed to have an almost erotic quality.

When the air temperature gets close to body temperature then the boundary of mortal skin separating us from externality is no longer this tense envelope it has to become when it is freezing out. When inner and outer temperatures converge, and this gentle dust blows against you, it feels like you are being coaxed out of your mortal envelope of dermal constriction. The whiteout softens all details, tastefully mutes the excess surface texture and visual noise, and there you are in the hot, dry snow with other Burners, enjoying the milky spectacle.

The people seemed fun and individualized, harlequin-attired, but not raucous, not like loud, drunken, party-goers, but intelligent, educated folks any one of which would be ready on day one to be a more thoughtful president than Sarah Palin.

The whiteout went on and on like a silent, secret snow, as if this section of highway had been detached from the Babylon Matrix and was now floating in an afterlife, dust-to-dust, lost highway sort of limbo.

Burning Man radio told us that, “The city is effectively shut down.” Old Burners, some of them with eight or nine Burns notched in their belts, told us that while not the most severe dust storm they had ever experienced, this was by far the longest, and it seemed, like the lost tickets, a threshold guardian testing our resolve to enter the forbidden city.

The whiteout faded to black and became clear desert night, and we reboarded the Reconnaissance Vessel and crossed the threshold, heading into the heart of the high desert carnival…

 

Sharing the Couch with the Incendiary Person

I’m going to step out of narrative mode for now, but will come back to it later. Now that I am back on Planet Boulder, in an orbit remote from Black Rock City in both time and space, I want to analyze the experience, put the Incendiary Person on the psychoanalytical couch, probe it from many angles, but not from some presumptuous stance like a grey alien with proctological tendencies, but from a place of more intimate analysis where I will join the Incendiary Person on the couch and probe myself as well, see how my own mutant psychology interfaced with the collective mutant psychology of the high desert carnival realm.

 

Magical Ritual and Self-Importance

I had come to the Incendiary Person in the High Desert Carnival Realm with a magical agenda. If you recall my email to Noah, I intended to ritualize the experience by associating the Incendiary Person with aspects of myself that I wanted to transform. Particularly, I intended to do this by associating “the man” with aspects of myself I linked to Thanatos, the death drive, so that the burning of the man would be a ritual paralleled to my intention to transcend some of those aspects.

This would be a magical act, and before I continue I should make it clearer what I mean by that. First, my definition of magic comes from Aleister Crowley: “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Every intentional act is, therefore, a magickal act (see Magick with Tears for more on principles of magic). Also, my strong preference with magical ritual is toward the self-invented kind, not the kind inherited from tradition. When you create your own ritual it can be more intentional, and while traditional rituals may have a deep resonance with the past, they also tend to be done quite mechanically and without very much original and individual intention.

In the days leading up to Burning Man, and while there, it became clearer what aspects of myself I wanted to transform through this ritual. One aspect had to do with a particular type of self-importance I felt ready to sacrifice. The many-layered process of my working on my narcissism/self-importance has been going on for decades and may continue for many more years, or at least until I become head of a world government federation, after which I may just be too busy.

Meanwhile, the work continues. In the most recent phase I’ve become more aware of the metabolism of narcissism, and specifically what happens when my narcissism isn’t merely a subtle overlay, but turns into a process of actually playing out grandiose fantasies in my mind. When that happens, my energy body becomes inflamed and burns with an orangey-red fire, a fire that is synergistic with the inflamed hyper-caloric fire of high-glycemic carbs, coffee and alcohol. What shifted was an increased mindfulness of the metabolic aspect of this, and a new awareness of what a massive energy drain it is. In the first few days of Burning Man, this awareness increased, and even the American Dream theme of Burning Man coalesced with the awareness, as it all seemed part of an inflamed patriarchal ego. It came to seem natural and inevitable that this inflamed, inflated energetically wasteful self would be associated with the Burning Man. The association became alive and vivid in mind. I could see the Incendiary Person within that needed to be sacrificed. The Inner Incendiary Person burned with wasteful fires that undermined its structural integrity. These wasteful fires intensified to gasoline-rubbish blazes when I was inflamed by grandiosity and/or inferior nourishment. Projecting the Inner Incendiary Person onto the Outer Incendiary Person wasn’t too difficult, especially since it was a neon-lit towering monolith in the center of a high desert esplanade.

When narcissistic fantasies did come up, I found myself quickly repulsed by them and aware of their unacceptable cost. For example, I was biking down an avenue in Black Rock City, cool visual details and intriguing artwork everywhere, when a narcissistic fantasy began to play out for a couple of minutes. I stopped myself and realized that during the blocks I had traveled while the fantasy played out, I hadn’t noticed any artwork. I had been captivated by the inferior reality tunnel of my narcissistic fantasy, which deprived me of awareness of much more interesting content in the outer world.

I discovered that the High Desert Carnival Realm was an ideal zone for magical ritual. Burning Man should not be viewed as merely an art festival, but as a magic festival. Much of the artwork was created to work as transformative ritual, and to be at Burning Man is to be in an intense field of mutant intentions and sacred objects. Like Rainbow Gatherings, Burning Man is a zone of heightened magic and synchronicity, and I found these elements coming into play with my own magical intention.

In the world of my own magical symbology, the countersymbol to the wasteful fires of narcissism and hyper-caloric metabolism has for many years been “green fire.” This was a major reason why I wanted to get to Burning Man in 2007 when the theme was “The Green Man.” I spent one afternoon and evening at Entheon Village, where I heard some excellent talks. By this time my personal Burning Man ritual had not only gelled in my mind, I had also recommended to many of the people I did readings for that they do their own version of it, associating the Burning Man with whatever was obsolescent in their lives, so that the Burn would represent a sacrifice of those aspects of stagnation. Daniel Pinchback, in his talk, mentioned the intensification of synchronicity and intention at Burning Man, and as an example he told an anecdote about a friend who decided to manifest figs and closed her eyes. When she opened them there was someone there with a basket of figs they were giving away. The next talk I attended was by Allison and Alex Grey, and while Alex was doing a slide show, I had this fantasy of being able to present him with a laser pointer which he badly needed, as every time he had to point to a visual symbol being projected he’d have to stand up, shadow a major part of the projection with his body and point with his hand and arm. Directly after this talk I went to Center Camp to do more readings and was given a high-quality green laser pointer. I had a fig-like manifestation myself, though it was too late to help Alex’s slide show. As soon as I started playing with the green laser, it’s magical symbology and a new ritual appeared in my mind. This object was the perfect counter-symbol to the Burning Man. In contrast to the wasteful orange-red fire of narcissism/hyper caloric metabolism, the green laser was this tight, absolutely focused and energetically efficient beam of green fire. I discovered a ritual that has stayed with me ever since the green laser manifested. Whenever I find myself being overtaken by a narcissistic fantasy, I feel the wasteful orangey-red fire, and then in my imagination, or in the 3D realm when I have the laser at hand, I see the focused green beam and feel my life energy focus in parallel, inflamed ego becoming heart-centered alertness. So Burning Man seemed to invite and synchronisitically amplify my magical intentions. When the night of the Burn came, I noticed that as we waited for the Man to burn, many people were targeting its monolithic form with green lasers.

 

Post-Burnum Depression

Sometime during 2007, when I was setting my sights on making it to “The Green Man” Burning Man, I watched a couple of excellent documentaries about Burning Man. An unexpected theme emerged, one that the documentarians probably weren’t aware of, at least when they began filming. I noticed how many Burners seemed really depressed or even despairing when they returned to the default reality. To my intuition, these people seemed to be mutants that were steeped in that pervasive sense of exile, the sense of being in a fallen world that is monotonous, dull, mechanically resistant and oppressive so much of the time. Burning Man was the chance to rebel from this, and to do so in the company of some other brilliant creative mutants who would make their own heroic efforts to manifest a phantasmagoria into the 3D world and bring it to the high desert. For one week, or about two percent of the year, that deep sense of exile and oppression would be lessened, but one of the costs would be the intensified sense of exile and oppression when returning to the default reality, what I call the Babylon Matrix.

I’ve experienced that intensified sense of exile acutely after returning from a number of Rainbow Gatherings where I had intense communion with spiritual allies, felt a sense of community, and was able to publicly play some of my essence role, walking around with my free dream interpretation sign and finding and being found by fellow mutants. When I would return to what Rainbows call “Babylon,” especially certain years when I was living and working in particularly alienating circumstances, I felt that extreme let down, and an intensification of the suffering of exile.

Burning Man is not some isolated phenomenon, but is rather a mutant nexus with connections to almost everything else going on in this realm. Jung felt that most dreams were compensatory, that they compensated for a defect in the waking attitude. Burning Man can be seen as a compensatory dream, concentrating many of the elements deficient in the default reality. The default reality of interchangeable strip malls, etc. is oppressively bland visually, and lacking in highly individual, imaginative mutation, and Burning Man compensates for that, like the white yang dot in the black yin of the yin-yang symbol. The default reality is very alienating to mutants, community tends to be lacking, and the scattered mutants get diluted into a population of mostly mass man. Burning Man reverses a lot of that, but for a limited time only.

The day after the Man burned, many looked exhausted.

 

I have a few suggestions for Post-Burnum Depression, or PBD. First, many people suffering from PBD have never even been to Burning Man. Mutant suffering in relation to the default reality has been going on for a while—read a Kafka novel. Second, the PBD may, in some cases, serve a valuable purpose; it may help to potentiate a will to change the default reality in valuable ways, may catalyze efforts to find more sustainable mutant communities and hermetic circles, and may further intensify the will to press the art pedal to the metal as rebellion from the default reality. Ideally, when one has an extraordinary experience of some kind—travel, a great romance, an hallucinogenic trip, wilderness sojourn—it needs to be integrated into the more regular life. If this work is not done, then the extraordinary experience becomes an Oz-back-to-Kansas, negative contrast generator. I didn’t feel any PBD because I was looking forward to my continuing relationship to the creative muse, and I knew I didn’t need to import mutant attributes from a giant festival to keep up my connection with them. I have high quality relationships with quite a number of fellow mutants, but many of them are scattered in other parts of the world. The post-Rainbow depression I have felt has to do with the loss of physical, 3D community with a mutant tribe, and having far fewer opportunities to be able to play out my essence publicly. At this phase, I can sublimate some of that loss by focusing on my creative work, which, thanks to electronic media—especially the internet and radio interviews—has an ability to reach other mutants.

Ask Not what the Mutant Nexus can do for You…

The degree of post-nexus depression (PND) you experience has much to do with how you approach a mutant nexus like Burning Man or Rainbow. There are several classic mistakes to avoid if possible. One is to go to such a nexus on the prowl for that one special magical mutant Hottie. This can make someone a selfish, even predatory member of the temporary community. There is a high probability of discouragement when you don’t find the magical Hottie, and even if you did, the exclusionary focus overburdens any relationship and diminishes the value to be experienced in relating to many human types of various ages, genders and appearances. (see STOP THE HOTTIE !) The Hottie quest is one of the main variations of going to a mutant nexus focused on what you want out of it. To paraphrase John Kennedy, “Ask not what the mutant nexus can do for you, ask what you can do for the mutant nexus.” I’ve watched a number of people go to a mutant nexus as hedonistic tourists on Hottie quests, and they usually come away very dissatisfied. The most satisfied people are usually those who plug in, who volunteer, offer services, make contributions, and bond to some particular community within the larger mutant nexus. I have also heard from several Burners that when many of their Burning Man friends get together they tend to talk mostly about Burning Man. This also sounds regrettable as it indicates a dependence on this particular mutant nexus. This suggests a kind of groupie path where one is dependent on importing mutant novelty from the outside, becoming a Burnhead or a Deadhead or a Trekkie, etc., and losing connection to other sources of novelty while focusing with religious fervor on one particular mutant nexus.

Now I feel like I’ve been on the psychoanalytic couch with the incendiary person enough for now, and I’m realizing that probing the mind of an incendiary person can quickly lead to burn out. I’m feeling drawn back into narrative mode and want to talk about the last day of Burning Man, a day that still has a haunted feeling about it.

 

Fade to Black—the Last Night of Burning Man

It was the night after the fiery orgasm of the man burning. It had burned itself up and exploded into an eye-popping show of pyrotechnic wizardry and fireworks that lit the high desert night with colors that were molten, electric, orgasmic. The last night was a glowing cauldron of brightly colored, sparkly mutant energies. But there was also a soggy aspect to that glowing alchemical cauldron. The soggy aspect was created by the intense admixture of frenzied party energy. If there was a bronze cauldron inscribed with alchemical runes that glowed with green fire, there was also a large Styrofoam punch bowl of eight dollar a half gallon vodka, 7-UP and Hawaiian Punch. There was nothing different or particularly mutant about the frenzied party energy element. Yes, it was another of the golden oldies of the Babylon Matrix phonograph, that never before tried combo of blasting music and intoxication in a socially dense environment.

For better or worse the frenzied party had come and gone, and by the last night there was something of a hungover, post-coital depression sort of feeling in the air. This was such an interesting experience for me, the chance to witness such a dramatic and rapid shift in zeitgeist. Ordinarily, it is difficult to feel real time shifts in the zeitgeist because it doesn’t shift much day to day unless there is a macro shock like a 9/11. Usually it is a subtle and insidious ether pervading everything, you’re swimming in it, and objectifying the zeitgeist can be like a fish trying to objectify water. Usually you notice zeitgeist shift when you have the experience of decades, and can say to yourself, “Wow, the Sixties were so different from the Eighties.” But if you are in a world whose incarnation lasts one week out of the year, a world whose core symbol is a giant incendiary person, and whose core symbol has been burnt to the ground the previous night, then you are in a world where you can taste, smell and touch the shift in zeitgeist as it happens.

The shifted mood was as palpable as a strong wind. I could feel it flowing around me so vividly because my inner zeitgeist was in such a contrasting state. I had gone to sleep at my usual time before midnight, after a long and fulfilling day that included hours of doing free I Ching readings and dream interpretation for people, intense encounters with fellow mutants at Entheon Village, exchanging novel ideas and feeling that glow of mutual recognition, and so forth. In general, I felt ecstatic.

The author doing an I Ching Reading at Center camp

Doing a reading on a day of many dust storms. The dust storms actually helped by reducing the temperature and I managed a lifelong record of 13 hours straight of readings and dream interpretations.

I had finally made it to Burning Man, and it was more than I expected. I had been welcomed into the cauldron by some of the more intense mutants present, and I was excited about getting back to Boulder and being able to write about my experiences. I was particularly excited to write about the cutting edge work I was doing on my self-importance, work that I knew would one day get me recognition as a leading pioneer in the field of self-importance research. My inner ecology was glowing and upbeat, but the strong wind I could feel on my skin was dark and down, down, down beat. That down beat wind had strong notes of abandonment fear, the forlorn and empty feelings of the remaining mutants and quasi-mutants who saw the High Desert Carnival Realm returning to dust before their eyes. The harlequin-colored rug was being pulled out from under their playa-blistered feet, and soon there would nothing but cracked plasterboard dust standing between them and the insidious tractor beams of the Borg Cube Ship you-will-be-assimilated mass of the default reality.

I had gotten up fairly early in the morning and gone to Center Camp to drink a soy chai—I am from Boulder after all—and set up to do dream interpretation and I Ching. As with other days, there was a line of people waiting, and my attention was almost entirely engaged with the interpretations and readings. I’m an extreme introvert, and turning so much of my attention and inner space to one person after another is intense, humbling in some ways, enhancing of self-importance in others. It’s also fairly exhausting, but in a healthy sort of way, like the exhaustion following a slightly over-strenuous work out. I felt fulfilled by the opportunity for service and the chance to encounter new mutants and offer them something that most found valuable. It was with such a fulfilled sense of exhaustion that I left Center Camp after a many hours marathon.

I walked through the clock-like radial structure of the camp and discovered that most of it was no longer there. Imagine going into a movie theater in Manhattan and watching an intense double feature. You enter in the morning, and when you leave it is very late in the afternoon. As you walk out into the city you are shocked to find that while you were in the movies, three quarters of all the buildings, infrastructure and people have vanished into dust.

The mass exit had mostly already happened with the daylight, which was now fading, yet there was still a faint, lingering sense of the exodus and dissolution, and it was now the era of the straggler, the zeitgeist of those left behind. There was a brownish miasma of after-party letdown hanging heavily in the air.

I headed back to my camp, traveling on my battered mountain bike, as the setting sun began to fade to black. Traveling back to camp at sunset had become a daily ritual. Burning Man/day and Burning Man/night were two very different zones, and each required a different set of tools. I needed to drop off my I Ching books, add layers and lights, swap out the tinted desert goggles for clear ones, and so forth. I also felt a distinct need to reconnect with my traveling companions. I had a very different Burning Man agenda than they did; I saw them here and there, but I mostly ventured on my own. Most of them slept in the Reconnaissance Vessel, while my tent was staked in the morning shade of the RV.

The vessel glowed with electric lights that were yellowed by low battery power. I knocked on the door and found Eric, Charlie and Luke; Rob joined us a few minutes later. Charlie, a biochemist with long blonde hair and an Alabaman accent, the other first-timer, had a litany of complaints about Burning Man. It seemed like he was pacing in the vessel when he delivered these complaints, but actually he was up doing practical things, opening a cabinet here, doing something with something over here, something else with another thing over there. He spoke while he moved around the RV doing these things,

“I just feel I saw a lot of dark stuff out there. There’s something about Burning Man that seems dark.”

His southern drawl was exclamatory and the vowel-laden middles of certain words seem to weirdly elongate so that “dark” became “dhaark.”

“How do you mean?” I asked, curious about his perceptions.

“It just seems dhaark. The costumes people woore. Some of the aart woork I saaw out theere.” I struggled unsuccessfully to see it through his eyes, but it didn’t quite compute for me. I had spent so much time, so many years in places that seemed so much darker, and Charlie’s remarks seemed to come from left field.

“Don’t you think Burrrneemange is dhaark, Jahnahthinn?” I thought for a few moments.

“I guess it doesn’t seem particularly dark to me because the costuming and mutant artwork and so forth makes me think of the club scene of the early 1980s in New York City, my East Village years, and that zone reeked of glamorous death energy, and what I see here seems much lighter and safer.”

No one responded to my last comment, and maybe Rob came in at that point; attention was diverted to other things and the darkness of Burning Man topic faded to black. I don’t recall all the transitions, but is seemed like Charlie’s remarks opened a general theme, and the dirty laundry of the Incendiary Person began to come out, piece by piece.

“I was very disappointed in the costumes and artwork this year,” Eric said.

I tried to tune out the heavy telepathic overlay (that he was very disappointed that the magical mutant Hottie of the high desert had eluded him yet again) and focused on the explicit content.

“Really?” I said. “Someone at Center Camp told me that this year’s temple couldn’t compare to the David Best temples of the last several years. I guess David Best is a tough act to follow, no matter what you do people are going to say, ‘It’s not the best.’ But I hadn’t heard that artwork in general was down.”

“Oh yeah,” said Eric, “There weren’t as many creative costumes, and compared to other years the temple kind of sucked.” As he spoke, Eric tiredly but methodically cracked glow sticks and strung the newly phosphorescent tubes into necklaces. The glow stick necklace assembly was done with the enthusiasm of an old pensioner very slowly tying his shoes.

“I have to agree with that,” Rob said in a tone of objective assessment. “Artwork other years was way more amazing. Even the Burning Man seemed pretty weak, him standing on a tower with a bunch of flags, other years he would be on something much more amazing like a pyramid.”

I was starting to catch a bit of the contagious disappointment.

“Hmm, looks like I’m finally catching up with Burning Man after it already peaked.”

“Well, at least you got here before it totally fell apart and sucked,” Rob said in an encouraging tone.

“I wonder if other of the core art mutants like David Best just got burned out? Maybe they’d been doing it for several years and it was getting hard to top what they’d done before. Not to mention the challenged economy and high gas prices and so forth.”

“Something like that,” Rob assented.

Later, in the back room of the RV, I remarked to Rob in one-on-one conversation that I was noticing a general tone of disappointment and depression.

“Oh, I’ve been feeling that for almost the whole week,” Rob said.

I hadn’t noticed his depression. I hadn’t been paying that much attention to the crew. Rob’s comment, like Eric’s, had a huge telepathic overlay, heavy baggage hanging off of every word, and now I saw that Rob, who for so many years had gone to Rainbow and Burning Man on the Hottie quest, and almost always ended by hooking up with someone, had struck out. He had a somewhat ambiguous relationship with a girlfriend back in Boulder, and that had made the Hottie quest that much more ambiguous and dubious. And then the heaviest of the baggage opened in my mind; He felt disappointed about Burning Man, but that was just the particular case of a general disappointment with incarnation. Burning Man was supposed to exemplify everything supposedly exciting about his lifestyle as a mostly single guy with enough disposable income able to buy himself self-tuning guitars, fly to Thailand a couple of times a year, and attend many festivals. Although there had been remarkable growth in his musical creativity in the last year—something that we all had noticed and commented on—overall there wasn’t enough meaning in his life. He was getting deeper into his forties, and the whole party-going-hedonistic-traveler-into-psychedelic-realms-in-search-of-hotties lifestyle was getting old, what was the novelty of Burning Man for me, was the wet cardboard dud of been there, done that for Rob.

Rob was personifying the danger we discussed earlier of approaching a mutant nexus expecting it to fill up all the empty spaces in your life. But the Incendiary Person seemed to have a changeling-like ability to reflect the intentions you brought to the desert. If John Kennedy were in the Reconnaissance Vessel he would have reminded Rob: “Ask not what the Incendiary Person can do for you, ask what you can do for the Incendiary Person.”

After I finished sermonizing to Rob about the need for meaning, we moved back to the main cabin of the Reconnaissance Vessel. Burning Man radio was playing on a loudspeaker above our heads as we listened for word on when the temple was going to burn. A breaking news alert came on that was like a dark note sounding in the air, like one of the resonating gongs at the beginning of ACDC’s “Hell’s Bells.”

“A massive hurricane is heading toward New Orleans. Mayor Ray Nagin called it ‘the storm of the century’ and two million people have been evacuated.”

“Was that a real announcement or were they replaying something from the Katrina Burning Man?” I asked.

“No, that’s going on right now, it’s called Hurricane Gustav.” replied Eric.

The news felt like a kick in the stomach. A couple of years before Katrina, I had spent some long months in New Orleans and in nearby areas. It was more than enough time to catch its unique zeitgeist, a haunting place that seemed to stand perilously close to the edge between matrix and dreamtime, just as it stood perilously close to the edge between land and sea. It had barely survived a nearly fatal beating, and was about to get another one by a hurricane named Gustav. The name sounded unbelievably dark. If “Hurricane Katrina” sounded like you were going to get fucked up by a Prussian Princess with mutant weather-control abilities, Hurricane Gustav sounded like you were going to get bludgeoned to death by a bratwurst-fattened Nazi prison guard.

The ominous hurricane news was coming mostly from a ceiling-mounted speaker just above where I was standing in the Reconnaissance Vessel. The grim voice was like a dark cloud or Sword of Damocles hanging just above my head. As I focused on the voice, another shock came; it was starting to rain. In a few short moments, it sounded as though the Reconnaissance Vessel was being assaulted with a barrage of ping-pong balls. Apparently an aspect of playa physics no one had told me about was that playa dust could make raindrops into wet cement bubbles. These unexpected oddities were now slapping against the fiberglass hull of our craft. It felt like we were colliding with a plague of desiccated, hollow locusts, the percussion of thousands of brittle insect hulls. Wasn’t this what shields were for? I was suddenly painfully aware of how primitive, fragile and shoddy was this land-bound, dinosaur residue-burning Reconnaissance Vessel. The cement bubble assault came right after the ominous announcement, and my mind struggled to connect the two events. Gustav couldn’t have reached Nevada yet, I reasoned, but could this be part of some vast Gustav weather system?

“This is really weird,” I said, suddenly thinking aloud. “I feel like there’s some kind of strange sympathetic magic going on between New Orleans and Burning Man. Just think about it—New Orleans with its once-a-year Mardi Gras and its intoxicated, costumed festival rituals—it’s like the Nineteenth Century version of Burning Man.”

Eric gave me one of his grim Apollo-13 looks, as if he were the captain of a dying Lunar Module, oxygen down to thirty-five percent, and I was wasting breath reminiscing about Mardi Gras.

“You realize that if we get even a tenth of an inch of rain the entire playa will turn into an ocean of cement, not a single vehicle will be able to move, and they’ll have to call in the National Guard?”

I was in a suggestible enough state that Eric’s statement immediately conjured an enveloping vision. In it, I was opening the door of the Reconnaissance Vessel the next morning, the sky overcast in nuclear winter grey, and all around the vessel the harlequin colors of Burning Man were completely coated with wet cement. It looked like the day after the asteroid hit sixty five million years ago, a slag-covered wasteland punctuated by the hulks of dinosaurs frozen in place and coated with volcanic ash. Out in the vast wet cement wastes of the playa were the cement-covered shells of giant snails, and other swollen dream objects, now become humongous fossils petrifying permanently as topographical variations in the playa. High above, black military helicopters circled like hungry pterodactyls searching for carrion. It was a wet cement theme park fossilizing into a mausoleum, a cementary if you will, of almost geological proportions.

I had to snap myself out of the vision and remind myself that Eric was a serial exaggerator of hazards. On the other hand, I was a first time Burner, what the hell did I know? Until a few minutes earlier, I didn’t even know that it could rain wet cement ping-pong balls. I had also been breathing the vapors of another kind of Volcano®, one of less than geological proportions, fabricated in Germany, that was increasing my suggestibility.

“I think New Orleans and Burning Man will share a common fate, either they will both be spared or they will both be whacked,” I said, lapsing into a Volcano®-catalyzed oracular voice.

Moments later, the ping-pong balls stopped like someone had thrown a switch, and minutes after that we were opening the main hatch of the Reconnaissance Vessel, ready to go EVA—one small step for a man, one giant leap for Burning Mankind. I expected to step into a heavy cement goop but found that it was the familiar lunar dust. I was in a hot, powdery night world without a trace of wet cement to be found anywhere.

The crew had been thoroughly vulcanized and was a somewhat disorganized away team, all of us necklaced with phosphorescent glow sticks. Some of us had bikes and others didn’t, part of the disorganization of the away team. Those of us with bikes had to walk our bicycles, and it was no longer clear if we had enough time to make it to the temple before it burned.

We didn’t. There was a pulsing orange glow way up ahead.

“Dhaam it, we missed the tempule bhurn,” said Charlie. Another disappointment merged with the desolate zeitgeist now returning to the foreground of my awareness. There was no techno to be heard anywhere and soon a hot dust storm kicked up, and with it came whiteout. We were in abrasive fog and there were no details anymore, just the blur of colored lights here and there around us. Rob seemed to have an uncanny sense of direction and navigated us in the colored fog. Every so often we encountered other dust-bedraggled Burners who also seemed enveloped by the dark zeitgeist. While everyone had been an excited harlequin partygoer the night before, now everyone became a fugitive in the dust.

Finally we made it to the half-burned Temple, ten minutes or so before it collapsed. This was the center of camp, the hot spot, and yet it seemed eerily empty. While the burning of the Man had been a raucous, News Year Eve Saturnalian overthrow of the patriarchy, the burning of the Temple (which always happens the night after the man burns) was a solemn and funereal rite, Burning Man’s funeral for itself, the immolation of its sacred structure. All the music had been turned off, throbbing subwoofers that had not known a moment’s rest since the start of Burning Man now stilled, and the relative silence was shocking, as my whole nervous system had acclimated itself to the thousand points of techno in the desert night, the 360 degree kaleidoscope of 24/7 sound. Unfortunately, it was not a magical silence either, as we were annoyed by the sound of loud diesel generators in some of the sailing ships that had come to observe the burn. It was a background sound of mundane default reality, a fleet of idling garbage trucks waiting to leave for the Monday morning pick up.

And yet there was something solemn and darkly awe-inspiring about the burning Temple. As I stared at the glowing ruin, I saw that it was becoming more ancient and organic as it burned and the fire devoured the geometric regularity of the structure, leaving asymmetric arrays of molten orange stalactites and stalagmites. And then it all collapsed, and the forlorn crowd quickly turned away, and as we joined the exodus and returned to where we had stowed our bikes nearby, we found that Charlie’s bicycle had been stolen, his perception of the darkness of Burning Man synchronized into an unwelcome manifestation.

And with the reoccurrence of the manifestation principle (I had gained a green laser, Charlie had lost a bike), it is time to pause the narrative once more, to journey within, and once again on the psychoanalytic couch with the Incendiary Person.

Parabolic Zeitgeists

On my last night of the high desert carnival, as I pedaled my bike down a long avenue of dust to get back to my camp, I noticed that there were little zones of exception within the post-Burnum zeitgeist. The exception zones were generated by the people who were loading their vehicles or otherwise preparing for immediate departure. These little zones of exception offset the prevailing zeitgeist, highlighted it in sharp relief. The departers had a distinctly different metabolism and mood, were more yang or fiery, and had a different flow rate through time, as they were in sped-up action mode, and were living out a distinctly different timeline. The departing Burners lived out a timeline of immediate and intense transition, while most of those left behind were living out a timeline related to the lingering shadow of the burnt man.

Those left behind, therefore, had a much more complete experience, and were able to witness a crucial stage in the brief lifecycle of the incendiary person. Similarly, the exodus days of a Rainbow Gathering have been chances for me to integrate some of the shadow material that might get neglected during an intense dose of Rainbow or, for that matter, a week-long binge of harlequin colors in the high desert. Rainbow and Burning Man are both cases of where an intense realm comes into being to live for a short while, and at certain phases of its life cycle its zeitgeist can shift at a rate in which hours may equal decades. Both have a parabolic structure with a fiery orgasm at the peak of the parabola. For the National Rainbow Gathering, it is July 4th; for the Incendiary Person, it is the night of the burn. After the orgasm both decline quickly. But the post-coital descent of the parabola is also a very interesting time—a liminal space, a boundary land, a time to see interesting things flickering in the shadows.

And since we have arrived at liminal space and flickering shadows, and have also been talking about orgasmic parabolas that decline quickly, perhaps this is as good a time as any to lie even more intimately on the psychoanalytic couch with the Incendiary Person and probe his incendiary eros.

The Eros of an Incendiary Person

Evaluating eros has always been a notoriously tricky and unreliable enterprise, and even a world-class self-importance expert like myself could easily be subject to projection and distorted views. Years before I even approached the Incendiary Person, I had a dim view of his eros. Investigating Burning Man from afar, I heard all sorts of stories about Jiffy Lube camps, and various promiscuous antics promoted as though they were daring and avant-garde. This foolish attitude is one that I’ve already written about, and it’s easier for me to quote myself than writing about it yet again. In “Born under a Blood Red Moon,” I wrote:

“Sexuality, and eros in general, has undergone a patriarchal enantiodromia or pendulum swing. Not too long ago in Western culture, and continuing to this day in many subcultures, sexuality was highly repressed and was supposed to occur only in marriage and for the purpose of reproduction. This form of patriarchal sexuality then flipped over, especially in the 1960s, and the new norm became promiscuity. As the lyrics of the classic 1970 song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young put it: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you with.” What both sides of this extreme oscillation have in common is the patriarchal destruction of eros. “Eros” is being used here to refer to a person’s capacity for deep communion or even oceanic merger with another. Eros does not necessarily have to involve physical intimacy and it is quite common for sexual transactions to involve no eros at all. Pornographic sex on the level of the genitalia, sex as a metaphor for power, and many other popular versions of sex may be entirely unerotic.

The more recent patriarchal norm for sexuality, the anything goes approach, is in some ways even more male-dominated than the older version that emphasized repression. Male sexuality has biological underpinnings predisposing it toward promiscuity. The reproductive advantage for males is to deposit their sperm in as many places as possible, but for females it is to have a single stable partnership that will help during pregnancy, nursing and bringing up a child (though some feminist writers dispute that). Before AIDS, certain sectors of the male gay community, witnessed some of the more extreme forms of impersonal promiscuity in gay bathhouses, etc. With no females around to moderate sexual behavior, they defaulted to the male biological tendency toward promiscuity.

Very much like the enantiodromia of menstruation, sexuality was once seen as powerful, dark, dangerous, and in need of taboo and intense restriction. In the degraded patriarchal counterview, it is no more significant than a mutual back rub. An absurd by-product of this counterview was one of the most oxymoronic phrases invented, “casual sex.”

But sex isn’t casual on the microbiological plane—it could start a life or end a life. As above, so below. It isn’t casual on higher planes either.  When you have sex with someone you are merging your essence with them, energetic fields are colliding, and neither person will ever be quite the same again. But to the modern patriarchal materialist, sex was described—especially pre-AIDS—as no different than any other form of cardio exercise like running or bouncing on a trampoline. (See George Leonard’s excellent book The End of Sex: Erotic Love after the Sexual Revolution). The publication of Alex Gray’s book Sacred Mirrors, was a huge cultural milestone, because a vision was revealed of sex and eros as a profoundly transformative experience of energetic merger, as well as of anatomical penetration.

Ken Wilber, and others who are influenced by the “Spiral Dynamics” model of human evolution, talk about the “pre/trans” fallacy. People seek to rebel from the conventional by regressing to the preconventional, while falsely believing that they have transcended the conventional. People rebel from the earlier form of conventional sexuality (uptight, fundamentalist repression) by embracing the new norm (promiscuity), and yet they convince themselves they are being daring and avant-garde and so forth, when they are actually just conforming to an enantiodromia that is reverting to the preconventional—a primitive and unerotic form of sexuality.

The new patriarchal norm for sexuality, exploitive promiscuity, is particularly toxic for women, as it is, like the body type they are expected to emulate, based on adolescent masculinity. Romantic relationships are generally expected to involve sexual exchange very early in their development, and this, I believe, is a major reason why they tend to fail so quickly. However compatible two people might be, by engaging such an ultimate state of intimacy, when there is no foundation of emotional intimacy nor recognition of the complexity of the other person, when one is still dealing mostly with projections and counter-projections, the result is mostly a short-circuiting of the gradual development of an intimate relationship. Beginning a relationship with ultimate intimacy can often create an inherently unstable structure, bound to topple, especially as idealizing projections revert to disillusionments. However, I don’t want to fall into the patriarchal tendency of one-size-fits-all pronouncements on sexuality, because if there is anything that should be obvious about sexuality and eros it is the fantastic individual variability of every part of it, so there should never be a standardized template set out for everyone to follow in every circumstance.”

What I also find absurd are people who justify promiscuity as virtuous with the claim that they are helping to “overcome inhibitions.” Typically they speak as if they were rebelling from Victorian England rather than the present sex-saturated era. Worse, they conflate inhibition with repression and foolishly presume that it is necessarily negative. But many neurological functions are inhibitory; inhibition is essential to survival and efficient functioning. Ask someone with Tourette’s Syndrome what it’s like to have a deficit of inhibitory function. Losing inhibitions is usually disempowering, a loss of free will. Most of us could benefit from greater powers of inhibition in a number of areas in our lives. As Goethe says, “A master first reveals himself by his ability to hold back.”

On the other hand, given how much I heard about the promiscuity of the Incendiary Person, I was pleased to find that it wasn’t as in-your-face as I had anticipated. An ad invited me to “The largest circle jerk on the planet” But I never saw anything like that happen. There was lots of nudity, and lots of people dressed up and undressed so as to look as polymorphously perverse as possible, but even then things were not always what they seemed. Again and again I would meet someone, often someone who approached me for a dream interpretation or I Ching reading, who looked like a cross between a gutter punk, a transvestite hooker, a time bandit, and a down-on-her-luck Las Vegas showgirl. Based on this presentation I expected a chaotic, incoherent person caught up in a frenzy of promiscuous antics, but when we began talking I often discovered instead an intelligent, sedate, soberly thoughtful person who, on further acquaintance, turned out to be hitting on me to buy a timeshare.

In general, Burners are not quite the wild, harlequin, raucous crowd they might seem at first glance. For instance, if you consider many of the art projects at Burning Man, the technical know-how to pull off all the pyrotechnics, the fire balls erupting above crowds of people, the towering structures full of flammable liquids and electricity, and all these combustible and explosive elements happening together with relatively few injuries or mishaps, you realize that they are the product of highly disciplined, and sometimes almost heroic efforts. Also, I doubt there is another event on the planet where so much free alcohol is being provided at so many different places. Living in the University district of Boulder, I’m used to the crowds of loud, drunken, stupid, obnoxious people euphemistically referred to as “college students.” At Burning Man, given the abundance of intoxicants, I saw relatively few people who had lost control of themselves. There was a distinctly adult quality to the partying, and most, often in contrast to their costuming, conducted themselves in a dignified, respectful manner.

Although the name is unsubtle, the advertised activity was not observable from the outside.

There were a limited number of kids at Burning Man, but except for pervasive nudity it seemed that efforts has been made to keep overtly sexual behavior contained in camps that were very clearly identified, such as the unsubtly named “Fuck Club.” Still, this was obviously not a place to take your Mormon grandchildren as an alternative to Disney World. The timing of Burning Man, the first week of September, is also very inconvenient for young people in school, or families with school age kids, which is a shame because there is so much amazing visual novelty to inspire young imaginations. If the Incendiary Person ever asked my advice, I would be in favor of accommodating the young rather than those who need, like proselytizing Christians, to be showing off their sweaty, jiggling wares in every public space they can. I’m all for people doing whatever consensual things they want in privacy, but I’ve seen quite enough sexual attention vampires strutting their stuff as if they were being original, when anyone with sense ought to realize that there is no flavor of sexual kinkiness, unless it requires batteries, that wasn’t already a golden oldie in the days of ancient Egypt.

If it’s politically correct these days to object to secondhand smoke, why isn’t it allowed to object to the bioenergetic hazard of someone who wants to exude creepy sexual energy in as many public places as possible? This is a rhetorical question, of course, because I also realize that it’s a slippery slope between allowing such objection and forcing everybody to wear a burqa, and whipping people with a cat o’ nine tails to cleanse them of their sins, and all that.

Maybe I’m just jealous. Part of me may envy those with more access to the Hotties of the high desert. Perhaps I’m indulging sour grapes and there is something much more cutting-edge about the combo of blasting music, intoxication and promiscuity that I’m not getting, and that might be just what is needed to overthrow the New World Order and stop global-warming and so forth. Or maybe it’s just fun and I’m being a spoil sport. One historian of early America defined Puritanism as, “The desperate fear that someone, somewhere might be having a good time.”

I want to do justice to the complexity of the subject, and so I should also admit that in the incendiary zeitgeist was also a feeling that some Burners, somewhere, were involved in genuinely creative, gender-bending mutant eros. I don’t want to rule out that possibility, and don’t want to fail to appreciate the possible implications of Bonobo chimps, famous for their low rates of violence and polymorphous promiscuity.

Most of the polymorphous promiscuity of the Incendiary Person was, at least during my tour of duty in the High Desert Carnival Realm, anecdotal. Of course, there’s a self-selection factor at work: I chose not to enter Fuck Club, Jiffy Lube camp, etc. But here’s an example of anecdotal polymorphous promiscuity as narrated by Rob and recorded by me with a little digital recorder I always have by my side:

“My friends are walking around trying to meet girls, and they’re doing everything they can, and they have this whip cream. So they’re going around saying, ‘How about if we spray this whip cream on you and lick it off you?’ But they are only having mixed success with this. So this attractive woman walks up, and my friends ask her about if I put this whip cream on you and lick it off and the woman says,

‘You’ll lick it off anywhere?’ And he says,

‘Yeah, anywhere.’ And she says,

‘Anywhere?’ And he says,

‘Anywhere.’ And she says,

‘And you won’t let me down?’ And he says,

‘I won’t let you down.’

So she pulls it down and, of course, there’s a couple of inch cock there, and she puts the whip cream on it.”

“So did he lick it off?” I inquired.

“Apparently he did,” said Rob.

The moral of the story: Be careful what promises you make, because a gentleman always keeps his word.

This was about as risqué as it got for me, an anecdote removed two times. I did get invitations to go to the Poly Camp where my friend Mark was spending almost all his time. After Burning Man, Mark seemed to be genuinely feeling fulfilled, unlike most of the crew of my Reconnaissance Vessel. Mark felt that he had bonded to the Poly Camp community, and I heard a good report from Michael, a highly intelligent writer I met at Entheon Village, who spoke glowingly of a talk he attended at Poly camp that was both an extremely thoughtful and well-moderated discussion of proper boundaries and codes of respect for the polyandrous. Mark told me that people at Poly Camp were very alert to predatory types who were very obvious to the discerning eyes of the veteran polys. One time when walking by Poly Camp I saw two people, alone in their exposed geodesic intimacy arena, really going at it. I didn’t notice any discerning polyandrous lifeguards on duty, but from a distance it certainly looked consensual.

However, some stuff I saw left a rather sour Jiffy Lube sort of taste in my mouth. But although it was distasteful, none of it was shocking, and all of it was pretty tame compared to the early Eighties club scene in Lower Manhattan I had lived through. The ratio of exhibitionists to those capable of being shocked was so disproportionate that Burning Man exhibitionists who lived for shocking people were basically left as hungry for crumbs as desert church mice. I’m reminded of an Onion article (http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28771) with the headline “Marilyn Manson Now going Door to Door trying to Shock People.” Here are a few excerpts:

OVERLAND PARK, KS–Stung by flagging album sales and Eminem’s supplanting him as Middle America’s worst nightmare, shock rocker Marilyn Manson has embarked on a door-to-door tour of suburbia in a desperate, last-ditch effort to shock and offend average Americans.

“When we first laid eyes on Overland Park, with its neat little frame houses, immaculately landscaped lawns, and SUVs in the driveways, we couldn’t wait to swoop down on it like the Black Death,” said Manson, born Brian Warner in Canton, OH. “We were like, ‘Welcome to our nightmare, you bloated, pustulant pigs.'”

“Look at me, suburban dung,” Manson told Wesley. “Does this shock you?”

When Wesley replied no, he said Manson became “petulant.” Recalled Wesley: “He started stamping his feet and shaking his fists, saying, ‘What do you mean no? Aren’t your uptight, puritanical sensibilities offended? Don’t you want to censor me so you don’t have to confront the ugly truth I represent?’ So I say, ‘Well, not particularly.’ Then, after a long pause, he says, ‘Well, screw you, jerk!’ and walks off sulking.”

That evening, Linda Schmidt was preparing to drive her daughter Alyssa to a Girl Scouts meeting when she found Manson standing on her porch draped in sheep entrails.

“I knew who he was, but I was kind of busy and didn’t really have time to chat,” Schmidt said. “He just kept standing there staring at me, expecting me to react in some way.”

On Tuesday, they arrived in the tiny Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Farms, where stockbroker Glenn Binford answered his doorbell to find Manson hanging upside-down on a wooden cross as Ramirez performed fellatio on him.

“I just stood there thinking, now there’s a boy who tries way too hard,” Binford said. “I mean, come on: Homoerotic sacrilege went out in the late ’90s.”

 

Of Yoga Vampires and other Annoying Parasites

In any sort of big festival where there’s a bubbling cauldron of human energy, you are going to find a variety of low grade vampires trying to suck at the excess energy as much as they can. One obnoxious variety is the attention vampire—someone who will take advantage of the loosened rules of social conduct to demand or solicit attention they don’t deserve. If given attention, they inflate like a swollen leach, and only get greedier for still more attention. Since they depend on getting their excitement from the outside, they are energetically bottomless pits that can never be filled up. They are like the hungry ghosts or “pretas” described by the Buddhists, creatures with insatiable appetites, but tiny mouths that don’t allow them to ever find satiety. (See my brief article: Energy Sappers and for a more thorough discussion of hungry ghosts and the general subject see: Mind Parasites, Energy Parasites and Vampires)

So that it doesn’t seem like I’m picking on the Incendiary Person, like I’m trying to tear him a new fire portal or something like that, I’ll give a couple of examples from Rainbow. Any observant person could give examples from any sort of social setting, a big festival, however, can attract a feeding frenzy.

I was sitting at Tea Time, a tea kitchen at the 2008 National Rainbow Gathering, drinking tea and wrapped up in high quality soulful conversation with a couple of friends, Jack and Noah. A mustachioed guy I never saw before got on the tea line, and his energy was instantly a jarring disruption of the whole kitchen from the moment he got to the counter. In a really loud rabble-rousing sort of voice he asked, “Hey, what time is it?” In unison, the crew of Tea Time, without even looking up from what they were doing, responded with the expected: “Tea time!” The guy had the attention vampire’s classic self-satisfied, dirty, smug and insidious grin, that head-in-the-honey-jar look. He acted as if he were the life of the party, the one able to get all the little hippie people dancing to his beck and call—and wasn’t that what they were all there for anyway? Having just elicited this chorus of free energy he tried the classic rabble rouser’s call and response technique again: “Hey, what time is it?” Now only one person, who was involved in doing something, answered automatically with a flat, disinterested “Tea time.” Other members of the Tea Time crew were now just staring at the vampire with astringent looks that gave nothing. They had all registered him as an annoying parasite, and I felt a surge of pride and admiration of their group and individual intelligence, awareness and intuition. These were higher order Rainbows, the kind who are more interested in doing free service at a kitchen as compared to the Drainbows that come to party and suck up any free anything they possibly can.

The attention vampire tried the call and response technique, “Hey what time is it?” two or three more times, and not a single person responded. He sucked all the energy he could with that method and now switched tactics. Tea Time had three insulated vats of tea that were clearly labeled with signs that also listed all the herbal ingredients. Most people just humbly asked for a variety of tea, thanked the server and moved on. But the vampire began pestering the server, a particularly attractive young woman, asking nonsensical questions about all the teas. Then, in his loud and insinuating voice, he asked the server for samples of each tea, as if the server were only too delighted to pleasure him in any way she possibly could, as if he were a billionaire at a private wine-tasting party set up just for him. “Now could I try a sample of the—what did you call that tea again?”

I’m from the Bronx, confrontation is my element, and I would have loved to confront this obnoxious parasite about what he was doing, but I was a guest in someone else’s kitchen. Now if he had done this at the kitchen I was part of, Tea in the Woods, I would have felt free, but it wasn’t my call, the crew of Tea Time had the right and responsibility to control boundaries in their kitchen, and they were choosing the high ground of tolerance. Finally, the Drainbow, having sucked whatever he could out of Tea Time moved on to a new target. Meanwhile, another vampire had shown up, a yoga vampire.

The yoga vampire was a middle-aged guy with a tanning store tan and shorty-short denim shorts carefully cut to show off to maximum advantage his shaved tanning store legs that had the muscularity of a middle-aged dance instructor’s legs. He began asking only the most attractive young women there if they wanted to do partner yoga with him until he found one that acquiesced. He had some sort of European accent, which he seemed to be reveling in as if not only were he some sort of yoga god, but one with a European accent as well. He began stretching the young woman across his back, etc. as if she were an exquisite fashion accessory he was modeling, and all the while he was striking these absurdly narcissistic poses as if he were the lead model at a photo shoot for Obsession Perfume for Women by Calvin Klein. He was so much more than just another European partner yoga master, he was a genuine artiste as well, the Mikhial Baryshinakov of partner yoga.

I wanted to go up to him and ask if he would like to have a mirror installed on the ceiling so he could see himself better. I was much more annoyed than my two companions by the yoga vampire because I’m so much more a narcissistic personality type myself and therefore more sensitive to, and irritated by, narcissism in others. This is what Jung would call “shadow projection,” except that in the classical Jungian sense the projection has to be unconscious. Nowadays when I find myself intensely irritated by another narcissist I try to use the energy of the irritation to increase my vigilance about my own narcissism; yet another example of my cutting-edge work as a leading pioneer in self-importance research.

Now that I’ve given a couple of examples of parasites at Rainbow, I can discuss parasites I observed sucking greedily at the Incendiary Person. And so that it doesn’t seem like I’m trying to feed on the parasite topic, I would like to point out a larger purpose—I believe that we need to more clearly name and recognize various forms of parasitism at work in the human sphere, and in many cases to call them out, to confront them.

Pasty Dan

The mildest and most borderline case I observed was an obese guy in his fifties who called himself, “Pasty Dan.” Pasty Dan might not have deserved mention except for the fact that when I did readings and dream interpretation at Center Camp, he was often set up near me, so I had to observe his routine for many, many hours. Pasty Dan, whose t-shirts advertised that he had been playing out his very specialized role at Burning Man since 2002, lived to put pasties on women’s nipples. If Janet Jackson ever needed to do another costume malfunction, Pasty Dan would have been only too glad to put a self-adhesive pasty on her nipple.

There were pasty stickers with various patterns neatly organized in a sectioned box, and a special spray of something that was supposed to help them stick on. A certain fondling of each woman’s breasts was, of course, a very significant part of the pasty application protocol that Pasty Dan had developed over the years. This went on for hours a day, every day.

Pasty Dan, although quite irritating to observe, was only barely in the objectionable parasite category because what he was doing was so obvious, up front and, if not necessarily erotically consensual, was based on an obvious implied contract of consent between the pastier and the pastee. It would be hard to imagine a woman naïve enough not to know what Dan was getting from his side of the contract, though many of them may not have realized in advance how touchy-feely the pasty application protocol was going to be. Pasty Dan had a disarmingly pathetic quality. He seemed like he was probably a pretty lonely guy who lived for the one week a year in which he would get to have these very brief, sticky encounters with women’s breasts.

I tried to channel my irritation with his presence into greater vigilance about my own narcissistic motives in doing readings and dream interpretation, and to remind myself of the often-slippery differences between the selfless and the selfish act.

Picture Frame Sam

Another annoying, borderline case was Picture Frame Sam, a mustachioed guy in his fifties who wore those pajama-like, colored workout pants and no shirt, exposing a hairy gut of which he seemed inordinately proud. I named him “Picture Frame Sam” and have no idea what he calls himself. His modus operandi involved circling around Center Camp carrying a big gold picture frame and asking attractive young women if they would like to be part of his art project. If they agreed, he would hand someone his camera and pose the young woman and himself, with his self-satisfied smug, insidious, mustachioed grin, behind the picture frame while their picture was taken. To be fair, it was too noisy in Center Camp for me to hear his rap and catch all the details. Maybe what he was doing was actually to help Darfur or free Tibet, but to me it seemed like his “art project” was going to be a big masturbatory trophy wall, and that he was using these women, like the yoga vampire, as fashion accessory sex objects to adorn his ego self-image. More so than Pasty Dan, I had the sense that most of the young women did not realize what they were really consenting to when they agreed to participate in the “art project.”

Face Mask

The next parasite definitely crossed the line and I did confront him. He was a guy hiding behind a face mask of desert military camouflage and dark goggles. Face Mask moved around in some sort of stylized manner as if he were a very, very poorly trained Ninja, and would get into people’s space and try to enact some sort of ritual with them. I became aware of Face Mask while I was doing a reading for a young guy, and found him ninjaing his way up to the young guy and putting his (Face Mask’s) drink, which had a large plastic straw projecting from it, into the young guy’s hands. Face Mask then put his own mouth to the straw and began sucking from the drink still being held by the young guy. When this happened, I thought of the guy I had photographed earlier in the day whose t-shirt read: “Friends don’t let Friends Drink Friends.” To me this little ritual seemed an obvious gesture of surrogate vampirism, not to mention that it was a rude and nonconsensual intrusion on a reading in progress, so I immediately intervened.

“Your ritual seems pretty dark. You need to think a little bit more about the implications of what you are doing, because it’s perfectly obvious to others,” I said, my eyes trying to bore holes through his goggles.

Face Mask immediately ninjaed back with his drink. He stood in the middle of Center Camp foot traffic uncertainly for quite a few minutes, looking like a discombobulated ninja, his head jerking this way and that, as people streamed by him. I imagined that he was upset that he had backed off so quickly, and was now formulating some sort of counterattack. Suddenly he knelt down into the space of a seated woman, who was three back in line waiting to get a reading from me, and tried to intrude a ritual on her. The woman, who had witnessed the earlier confrontation, and who had a tough, Australian accent and intense blue eyes, immediately dissed Face Mask hard and with perfect, dismissive self-confidence, like a person with an 18” Crocodile Dundee bowie knife being pestered by a 17” paper-mâché crocodile. It was too noisy for me to catch her exact words, but it was something like, “Get away from me you annoying creep.” Face Mask immediately ninjaed away and disappeared into the woodwork, never to be seen by me again.

“Breaking Open the Skull with the Crushing Grip of Angst-Ridden Replicant Fingers.”

Once again, the presence of petty demons and annoying parasites should not be taken as a criticism of the Incendiary Person. In the Babylon Matrix, wherever there is a bubbling cauldron of life, there will be parasites trying to suck the life out of as many bubbles as they can. We certainly don’t want to neglect what’s going on with the parasites because they are a key element in so many of the layers of the ecosystem in which we find ourselves. On the other hand, to become preoccupied and obsessed with the parasitic aspect is often another way of succumbing to the parasitic. Take, for example, the frenzied 9/11 Truth person, who must proselytize the truth of 9/11 from every coffee shop in the nation. I am not objecting to the content of what they have to say; often they present very convincing information and, if correct, their message is extremely important. I am also not objecting to any cutting edge 9/11 Truth researchers really breaking new ground because, an obsessive focus is justified in the case of someone pushing the envelope. But if you’re just yet another 9/11 Truth preacher, and your main way of relating to others is through your 9/11 Truth ministry, whether they are receptive to it or not, then that starts to look like you are lunch for some sort of parasitic memes and want to spread the contagion.

Again, I don’t want to obsess about the parasites attached to the Incendiary Person. As Jung said, “The larger the man, the larger the shadow.” Given the size of the Incendiary Person, it is only to be expected that there would be an outsized shadow as well. Jung also said, “The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.” And the Incendiary Person emits a very bright light, and the subtle corona of that light is an evolutionary radiance. Ignoring the radiant aspect would be like ignoring a three-thousand-pound tie-dyed elephant alone with you in a seedy motel room. Such an elephant cannot be ignored, and neither can we ignore that an Incendiary Person is, by definition, a radiant person. It’s true that an Incendiary Person is unstable, and has only a limited lifespan, but that only seems to intensify his radiance.

TIGER, tiger, burning bright

In the high deserts of the night

Just as Eldon Tyrell tells Roy Batty, a Replicant who is rebelling from his genetically programmed lifespan in the movie Blade Runner, “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly Roy.”

Similarly, when you live synchronously within the high desert lifecycle of an Incendiary Person, then both you and the Incendiary Person may burn so very, very brightly for a time. As Roy Batty puts it, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate . . .”

And like the self-aware Burner, Roy Batty, a self-aware Replicant, has the honesty to admit that:

“I’ve done questionable things.”

And also like the Burner, Roy Batty ends the scene by crushing Eldon Tyrell’s skull and gouging in his eyes with his powerful Replicant fingers, just as the Burner will sacrifice the Incendiary Person in a blazing pyrotechnic frenzy that will reduce the Incendiary Person to smoldering ashes and rubble blowing across the desert.

Eldon Tyrell, far more than Daniel Pinchbeck, knows what it’s really like to “break open the skull” and discover that what you have created has taken on a rebellious will of its own, just like my Incendiary Person narrative, which keeps growing and mutating and is now drifting back toward the shadow, when I said I wanted to focus on the light.

Unlike Roy Batty, I have not watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. But I have seen other, equally amazing things. I have seen giant bioluminescent snails race across the desert night. I have seen a fetus glowing within a cubed space made of the green silicon of printed circuits. I have seen desert-blasted Imperial Walkers impaled on rebar and painted in fading Rastafarian colors. Memories of Burning Man glitter like c-beams within my shaven head, which has so far evaded the crushing grip of angst-ridden Replicant fingers.

“The Default Reality is the Nightmare from which the Incendiary Person is trying to Awaken.”

Burning Man continues to glitter in my mind because it was such a brilliantly realized dreamscape. As I have discussed extensively elsewhere (see Crossing the Event Horizon—The Singularity Archetype and Human Metamorphosis), our species seems to be hurtling toward an event horizon where the physics of the dreamtime and the physics of waking life merge. An aspect of this is a kind of visual telepathy, the Logos Beheld, where instead of making little mouth noises at each other to communicate, we are able to create shared dreamscapes, alternate realities and timelines as our memes of communication. The Incendiary Person is a hybrid creature with a foot in the waking life and a foot in the dreamtime. During its brief life span, it presents you with a phantasmagoria of portals into individual imaginations, but the portals are laboriously realized out of petrochemicals, sheet metal, plywood, and so forth. The Incendiary Person is a living manifestation of Terence McKenna’s evolutionary advice to the species: “Push the art pedal to the metal.” Unfortunately, we are still at an evolutionary phase where pushing the art pedal also involves pushing a lot of petrochemicals and toxic exhaust. Overall I think it is worth it, because the Incendiary Person is a crucial hybrid, but the trend is toward the etherialization of the art pedal.

While we temporarily incarnate during the waking time in this heavy, gravity-bound world of ours, the Incendiary Person plays a key role that is almost like the white yang dot in the black yin of the Yin-Yang symbol. It is the zone on the planet that comes closest to being a Logos Beheld— a place where our psychic intentions become realized as communal dreamscapes. Places like Disney World and Las Vegas at night are three-dimensionalized dreamscapes, but notice that like television they are a monologue created by commercial designers, and you are merely a passive observer. The Incendiary Person is more like the internet, every observer is also a participant and mutates the Incendiary Corpus to some extent. As in a communal telepathic dreamscape, those with the most focused psychic intentions create the most mutation. A David Best creates an entire, fully realized temple that becomes a crucial organ in the body of the Incendiary Person. Another person contributes themselves, their costuming, their presence, and that personal contribution will range from awesome to awful, from mutagenic catalyst to just one more of those.

The Incendiary Person is a white dot, a white crow, an alchemical cauldron that comes to life and boils with harlequin-colored fire for one week a year. The one mutant I talked to in the whole city-sized high desert carnival who seemed to really understand this was Alex Grey. Every art project I saw at Burning Man that related to the American Dream (the official 2008 theme) portrayed only the dark side of the American dream.

Alex, in his talk and slide show at Entheon Village, revealed the white dot in the shadow of the American Dream. Alex focused on the Eye of God, the radiant eye on the pyramid symbol woven right into the most potent magical artifacts of the American Dreamscape—money.

(For more on Money as magical artifact see Green Energy Vortex—Money as Far from Equilibrium Dissipative Structure and the Secret of Turning the Green Energy Blues into a Mountain of Gold Doubloons)

What potent paradox that the very symbol associated with the dread of New World Order, its Sith-like black magicians and archparasite puppet mastery manipulations, should also be the perfect, diamond bullet-like archetypal symbol of the Logos Beheld. The Eye of God symbol appears on our money like white dots included in a realm so often darkened by materialism. The dark shadow of the symbol’s context in the American Dream also makes it a complete yin-yang in itself, the dark heart of the dark force, and the triumph of the light concentrated into one point.

As Terence pointed out, Philo Judeas, a Jewish philosopher who was a contemporary of Christ, said, essentially, that we would be at the Omega Point, or evolutionary event horizon, when the logos—the voice of God—-was beheld instead of heard. Alex had stepped forward to show the light force implicit in the American Dream, a dream that is so contagious because it is also the dream of an entire metastasizing and metamorphizing species. For all the dark materialism of the American Dream, the human dream, there is also an often hidden will toward the light.

After his talk I told Alex that I noticed that every project that related to the theme of the American Dream reflected the dark side.

My own hastily assembled art project reflects the dark side as well. (The burned toy soldiers may be a little hard to make out in the image)

I then added something like, “America is, for people on the left, the main zone where it is politically correct to project the shadow—and it’s not like it doesn’t have a hook for that shadow—but it is also the place where the pioneering work on photography, motion picture technology, videography and CGI took place, not to mention your visionary work. It is also the place where Burning Man occurs. Jung thought most dreams were compensatory, and your talk was like the perfect compensatory dream within the larger Burning Man dream, like the white yang dot in the black yin, because you revealed the hidden light implicit in the American Dream.”

Later I realized that I should have mentioned to Allyson Grey that her talk related to the compensation function also. When I had last seen Alex and Allyson, the night of the last Winter Solstice at COSM in New York, they had seemed younger and more radiant than the previous time I had seen them which was the Winter Solstice of the year before. Allyson’s talk seemed to explain the change I had observed. As a way to focus their intentions on raising funds to build what would essentially be a temple of the Logos Beheld, they had resolved that for a year they would abstain from all drugs and eat a vegan, raw foods diet. This fast, as Allyson related, was quite an adjustment as for most of their adult lives they had been daily pot smokers. Within the dark mass of hedonistic overindulgence at the desert carnival, her talk was also a white dot, a testimony about the power that can sometimes be found in abstinence.

On the day of exodus from the Incendiary Person, something happened which helped to frame the whole experience as a white dot within a dark mass. The faithful reader of this narrative will recall that the journey to the Incendiary Person involved threshold guardians and shocks. There was the discovery that we had left without most of the crew’s tickets, the stranding of the Reconnaissance Vessel in Laramie as we lost precious hours that also led to our being trapped for hours in the longest of dust storms outside of Black Rock City. On the way back, the dark shock happened to some of our friends traveling in another vehicle. We were not very long into our return trajectory to Planet Boulder when I got a call on my cell, and heard Rebecca’s very distressed voice,

“We just had a roll-over accident, all three of us are banged up pretty bad, vehicle totaled. Can you pick us up?”

Within an hour the Reconnaissance Vessel was pulling into a desolate junkyard at the edge of the desert. Stepping out of the vessel, I was pretty shocked by what I saw: Rebecca, Michael and Sarah all had open lacerations and blood-stained clothing, and the Toyota 4-Runner was a crumpled wreck, shards of safety glass sparkling under the hot desert sun. They all looked traumatized except for Michael, who was an EMT and a wilderness guide as well as the totaled vehicle’s owner (though not the driver, Sarah had dozed off at the wheel). He was smiling as if he had just gotten through an unexpected wilderness adventure. They were all limping and in pain, and there were a number of cuts that would require a few stitches. They had sent away the ambulance because Sarah had no health insurance and they all preferred to get treated back in Boulder.

Their injuries were right at the edge of where you would have to insist that they go to the emergency room. But Michael was an EMT and he felt sure that it was OK for them to travel with their injuries. We loaded their most important stuff into the Reconnaissance Vessel and gave them first aid as we drove. Rebecca, who had PTSD from earlier events in her life, went through some crying jags. It would also turn out that she had several cracked ribs. She threw a thank you party for the rescue crew of the Reconnaissance Vessel three weeks later and still looked traumatized, and had been suffering insomnia since the event, which she attributed to the continuing pain of the cracked ribs.

The funereal mood of the last night and then this rude confrontation with the asleep-at-the-wheel, gravity-bound, rough-edged parameters of the Babylon Matrix, shattered the white dot of the Incendiary Person’s high desert dreamscape. We had been to a mutant nexus, but it was one that we journeyed to in a primitive fossil fuel-burning vessel. The radiant corpus of the Incendiary Person was wrought out of perilous mortal tissues and we were still subject to all the limiting parameters of the mortal/corporeal version 1.0 body

But there are other dreamscapes, other mutant nexuses that are displaced from some of those limitations. When you meet up with fellow mutants in a virtual environment, like those provided by World of Warcraft or Second Life, the experience is generated with a finer physical substrate—photons, electrons, zeros and ones. Sure, there are a lot of computers involved, and those computers are manifestations wrought of petrochemical plastics and toxic metals, but the hardware to dreamscape ratio is vastly improved in a virtual world than in a high desert carnival world. In both worlds, people are costumed and visually mutated, but in the virtual world you can be far more of a changeling, choosing avatars that match your intentions without having to succumb to the stubborn parameters of mortal/corporeal version 1.0 bodies.

At this phase of the rapidly evolving technology, the VR experience is still too limited to fully draw me in, but I can envision a time when that will change. A few months ago I had seen the CGI-intensive movie Beowulf, which employed the latest version of converting human actors into CGI avatars. A huge flaw in present VR environments is that the social communication is greatly impoverished by the mechanicalness of the Avatars. A human face has more muscles than the face of any other animal, and it performs its own Logos Beheld every nano second, conveying a wealth of information through its ever-changing expressions. A few weeks after seeing Beowulf, it occurred to me that the next event horizon with VR might be when there was enough distributed computer power that with a little webcam on your monitor the software could map your facial expressions in real time onto your avatar, so now when you encountered other Avatars in the VR realm it would have something closer to the psychological depth of 3D encounters.

On the other hand, while we are still incarnated in the Babylon Matrix, our spirits sheathed in mortal/corporeal version 1.0 bodies, and our psyches so heavily invested in our social mammal lifestyle, then we are still going to want to be able to encounter fellow mutants in such embodied forms. So for now we need both types of dreamscapes—3D mutant nexuses like Rainbow and Burning Man, among others, but also the virtual worlds that are evolving much more rapidly.

Several times when I was at Center Camp, I saw a young woman who was creatively costumed and who also had a very severely burn-scarred face. Her scarred and reconstructed face, which would have stood out glaringly in a conventional setting, here seemed to almost disappear in a world of masked and costumed and visually mutated people. You could tell that she was having a great time and seemed to feel liberated by the setting. In a virtual world, however, her M/C V 1.0 body would be no limitation at all, and she would be free to take on any form, and be any gender that she cared to.

The Incendiary Person is a person who seeks to be a changeling, a person who can morph and mutate in accordance with psychic intention. If magic is, as Crowley tells us, “The science and art of creating change in conformity to will,” then we can see that the M/C V 1.0 body is both a nexus of magic and the constraining force of anti-magic. Every time we intentionally move a finger we have performed a magical act, and yet there are so many frustrating ways in which we cannot get our M/C V 1.0 bodies to conform to our will. We can pierce these bodies, tattoo them, painfully modify them slightly by undergoing the surgeon’s knife, laboriously alter them through lifting heavy weights and so forth, but even these slight modifications take heroic efforts performed in a context of intense mechanical resistance. But even our most heroic labors cannot get our bodies to conform past certain parameters: we cannot fly, none of us can run a one minute mile, none of us can shift our gender at will, or dramatically change our height or age. However, in a virtual world we can shift all those parameters with mere mouse clicks. The plasticity of the virtual world is profoundly liberating and allows us to escape for a time our mundane identities. A New Yorker cartoon shows two dogs sitting in front of a computer monitor. One dog is saying to the other, “The great thing about the internet is that no one knows that you’re a dog.”

The Incendiary Person is in the desert, a place of vision and a place of struggle, and he struggles, often successfully and against great mechanical resistance, to bring the dreamtime and the waking time together. Like a rainbow, it emblemizes the realm of the divine making a covenant with the world of the mundane. But eventually what is now a struggle and tenuous covenant will become the new default reality. At the end of a discussion of the future of virtual reality an interviewer asked Terrence,

“So in the future we’ll all be living in the movies?” Terrence replied,

“No, in the future we will all be movies.”

Burning Man represents a chance to be a movie in the 3D realm. It is a collaborative movie, but you have great latitude to mutate the role you play in the movie, and even to create your own scene inside of the larger movie. One of the most potent reasons for post-Burnum Depression is that this collaborative movie you were part of, a movie that functioned like a corpus callosum connecting the waking and dreaming hemispheres, has burned down, and now you must return to the mundane world, the default reality with its visual blandness and alienation. Instead of being movies and living out our individual mutant dreams, we are compelled to live the collective dream of the Babylon Matrix. As James Joyce said through his character Stephen Dedalus, “History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” For the Incendiary Person, the default reality is the nightmare from which s/he is trying to awaken. Out in the high desert, s/he does awaken partly, but in a way that is unsustainable and is soon burnt out. And yet a certain promise, a fragile rainbow covenant still lingers in the Burner’s imagination.

>Epilogue:

A poem I wrote at Burning Man 2012
Harlequin, Harlequin Burning Bright

Harlequin, Harlequin Burning Bright,
Following techno currents in the night.

Did you ever find your heart’s desire?
Or did it burn up with the Man,
Atop a 50,000 person pyre?

You who were blasted by dust and sun—
What strange currents drove you through
the pyrotechnic haze?
Was it merely the same old same old same old golden oldie craze?

Was it merely sex, drugs and rock n’ roll?
Faux fur and steampunk goggles adorning the same old troll?

Or was it an urge toward new provisions?
An urge to see the desert night enchanted with nocturnal visions?

What was it about the desert carnival invitation that made me feel I must?
What was it that I saw shimmering and sparkling in the dust?

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White Crows Rising – The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution https://zaporacle.com/white-crows-rising-the-singularity-archetype-and-the-event-horizon-of-human-evolution/ Wed, 02 Feb 2011 12:42:26 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=3603 Evolutionary SpiralWhite Crows Rising—- The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution (Originally Chapter V of The Capsule of Intentionality) © 1996, 2009 by Jonathan Zap Edited by Austin Iredale Through a Glass Darkly When we talk about the future we attempt to look, through a glass darkly, at a landscape that is unknown …

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White Crows Rising—-

The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution

(Originally Chapter V of The Capsule of Intentionality)

© 1996, 2009 by Jonathan Zap

Edited by Austin Iredale

Through a Glass Darkly

When we talk about the future we attempt to look, through a glass darkly, at a landscape that is unknown and unformed. Prophecy is a notoriously tricky and unreliable enterprise. Many people who have sought to look through that dark glass have seen images that were distorted reflections of themselves—of their hopes, fears and expectations. If there is a universal theme in the visions of prophets it is the prediction that extremely dramatic events will occur within their own lifetimes. The authors of the book of Revelations, for example, described events that they believed were going to happen in their time, the First Century AD, a fact rarely mentioned by born-again doomsayers. It is quite possible for someone to have a genuine revelation and then be completely mistaken about the time frame, or fall into the trap of being literal and concrete about the typically metaphorical vision they have seen.

Certain predictions about the future require little vision beyond the ordinary sort. A concise summary of what ordinary vision should tell us about the future is: “We’re in trouble, and we’re due for radical changes.” The fact that we’re in trouble seems almost too obvious to mention. Overpopulation rises exponentially while ecosystems spiral downward. More and more children are trying to suck greedily at the breasts of a mother who has cancer and grows weaker daily. And to this likely terminal situation you can add any of your own favorite force vectors of potential disaster: plague, nuclear or biological terrorism, global economic collapse, pandemics, toxification of the environment, climate change, natural or unnatural disasters, insane mass movements and despotic governments.

The metabolism of the species, and therefore the metabolism of events on this planet, has heated up to feverish intensity. An evolutionary process is rapidly approaching critical mass. Just consider how much change has occurred since 1908. A safe prediction is that we are not heading into a quiescent plateau.

So what is on the horizon if not a plateau? How can we contemplate the future development of our own species in a planetary situation that boils over with an infinite array of variables? And how can we possibly transcend the inherent subjectivity of being fully vested members of the species we’re trying to predict?

Analogical Analysis

When the human mind is confronted with the task of analyzing an almost impossibly complex phenomenon, like the fate of the species, one way it can assist itself is by creating an analog, an analogy to some simpler phenomenon that is of a size more workable for our type of intelligence. This type of analogical analysis can often work surprisingly well because there seems to be an aspect of the universe that is very much like a hologram or a fractal—a small part, the microcosm, seems to recapitulate the essential pattern of the larger part, the macrocosm. To apply analogical analysis to the human species let’s consider the analog of a single human individual.

A single human individual is still a phenomenon at the very boundary of human comprehension. Since we are social primates, our brains have adapted and struggled heroically to understand individuals of our own species more than any other phenomenon. We are marvelously equipped to understand each other and yet each individual personifies all the deepest mysteries that defy understanding. Also, the variables affecting the future of an individual are a magnitude of infinity perhaps greater than those affecting the future of the species because the future of the species is itself an included variable in the life of an individual. So although an individual of our species is certainly a sufficiently complex microcosm, and a phenomenon that obviously parallels the larger phenomenon of the species, he is, unfortunately, an almost equally intimidating phenomenon to attempt to analyze or predict. But pursuing this analogy as a thought experiment may lead us along a convoluted path to some place interesting.


John, a Thought Experiment in Prophecy

To make our thought experiment more concrete let’s give our human individual a specific identity.

I propose that our human sample be named John Doe, and that he be a seventeen-year-old male living right now in a suburb of Los Angeles, California. Of course you may be wondering why I didn’t pick Olga Pietrowski, age fifty-six, mother of three grown children, and a clerical worker at the People’s Agricultural College in Northern Ukraine, or Lee Chung, age thirty two, an unmarried Taiwanese poultry butcher suffering from a rare kidney ailment, or any of a number of other possible human samples.

I picked an adolescent, first of all, because I feel that adolescence is the time of life in Western culture that most closely resembles the present developmental stage of the species. It is a time of intense energy and change when identity is unsure, life is unstable, and it feels like almost anything might happen. I picked a male adolescent because our species is in an immature masculine phase of acting out, often destructively, testing the limits, enamored of speed, aggression and power. Like perpetual adolescents we are obsessed with looks and sex. And like John’s life in a suburb of Los Angeles, we are aware of so many critical problems all around us, while below there are tremors in the San Andreas fault.

To continue our thought experiment let’s fill in some of the gaps in John’s case history. John’s parents are wealthy, but his father, a high-powered advertising executive, a workaholic John rarely sees, is also a big spender and heavily in debt. John’s mother has malignant breast cancer and is currently undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which has left her in a state of exhaustion and despair. And although John goes about his life at a frenetic pace, driving along at high speeds in his red V-8 Firebird, using his charismatic looks and charm to pick up a series of girls for sexual encounters that he later boasts about to his friends, he is not without feeling and is deeply disturbed by his mother’s condition. But what can he do? His mother is under the care of the most highly paid experts and they say her condition is “under control.” As much as possible, John tries not to think of his withering mother hooked up to all those machines and tubes at the hospital.

His feelings tend to alternate between acute undifferentiated rage and a crushingly dark despair. When in the rage state he is capable of violent outbursts. John has studied martial arts, and when another teenage male calls him an insulting name in the parking lot outside of Dark Frenzy, an LA dance club, John beats him senseless. While still in the adrenaline rush of this conquest John feels exultant about his victory, but later that night the other boy’s bloodied face appears in a nightmare and John’s victorious feelings turn to anxiety and regret. When in the despair state John can barely get out of bed. He misses school, steals Valium from the medicine cabinet and watches television, utterly bored and lethargic.

But John’s life is not wholly filled with darkness. He has a great facility with computers and a fascination with virtual reality. And although it might not be readily apparent, John is still capable of love. When John hangs out with his friends they typically insult each other in joking putdown contests, but there are also hidden moments of compassion and empathy between John and a couple of his closest friends. John also shares a bond of absolutely unconditional love with his dog, Clyde, a three-year-old pit bull.

Recently, however, John’s mother has taken a turn for the worse and John, in dark sympathetic response, has begun to act out more self-destructively. His drug use is getting more compulsive and sometimes, after doing a couple lines of crystal meth to heighten his reflexes, he tours the express way at night, driving the Firebird with thrilling speed. Hidden under the driver seat is the nine millimeter automatic he bought on the street with most of his birthday money.

Our thought experiment is to predict where John is heading. The conventional prediction would be that John is headed toward relative or absolute self-destruction. But some people survive self-destructive phases of their lives and are even positively transformed by them. The case history simply doesn’t provide enough information to make a prediction that is anything other than broad conjecture. John, like his species, is obviously in a crisis stage and some sort of disaster seems very likely. But even if we knew for certain that John was going to have a serious car wreck we still have a prediction problem. John might be killed in the car wreck; death cannot be excluded as a possibility for John anymore than extinction can be excluded as a possibility for the species. But human lives often take strange, unexpected twists and turns. There are quite a number of possibilities for John that may seem a bit farfetched, but for which there is plenty of human precedent.

Suppose, for example, that John only nearly dies in the car wreck and that while he lies trapped in the wrecked Firebird he has a classic near-death experience. From a disembodied distance he views his mangled body and the wreck of his car. (If this description of an NDE seems like New Age confabulation then you need to do your homework on NDEs. NDEs, including comprehensive life reviews and verifiable remote viewings, have happened when people had no measurable electrical activity in their brains.) He travels through darkness toward a light. A being approaches John from whom he feels unconditional love. John is guided through a complete life review and as he re-experiences encounters with others he is aware of what they are feeling and how they are being impacted by his actions and energy. Much of what he learns is devastating and he sees how arrogant and often cruel he has been in his life, but he also sees how he was influenced to be that way and has a new compassion and understanding for his own flawed nature. He is given a choice of going toward the light or returning to life on earth. EMS technicians resuscitate his body and John emerges from his NDE with the recognition that life is more meaningful and valuable than he ever imagined.

Such a scenario, however unlikely, cannot be excluded as a possibility. There are countless real-life case histories of NDEs creating lasting spiritual transformations in people who had hitherto led dissolute lives. The point is that knowing John is self-destructive and that he is heading toward a very serious car wreck is not enough information to predict his future. We can say with certainty that, like his species, John is in serious trouble and due for radical changes. John and his species are speeding toward a critical nexus, but what will emerge on the other side of this event horizon remains to be seen.

Of course, what is lacking in this analogy is the whole range of middle possibilities, that gradient of gray tones. Suppose John survives the wreck only to become more bitter and negative. Or perhaps he survives the wreck and it moves him toward the functional maturity of an adult, but without much of a spiritual transformation. This may seem counterintuitive, but I think the middle range possibilities are less likely than the extremes. I believe that some individuals, and some species, are so highly charged that when they hit the bifurcation point they are most likely to emerge greatly transformed (higher or lower).

To continue our thought experiment, let’s consider what type of additional information would improve our chances of predicting where John is going. For example, if we could extend the theoretical limits of medical technology so that we could continuously monitor every aspect of John’s physiological condition that could be turned into a number—not just pulse and blood pressure, but also the most minute fluctuations of blood sugar, liver enzymes, neurotransmitters, etc. We would now have megabytes of hard, objective information about John pouring in every second.

Access to objective, physical information of this sort would probably be a delight to a neurological materialist, one of those folks currently crowding our universities and citadels of science who believes that human consciousness is an illusion and that we are essentially a byproduct of neurochemistry suffering from delusions of grandeur. With this new source of information about John, the neurological materialists would be able to show endless correlations between fluctuations of John’s neural peptides and his affective states. But would they be able to tell us where this carbon-based automaton, John, is headed? When Einstein was asked whether we would eventually be able to understand the universe exclusively in terms of numbers, his reply was yes, but it would be like trying to understand a Beethoven symphony in terms of variations in air pressure. Now imagine trying to use variations in air pressure to predict a symphony that has never been heard before, one that composes itself moment by moment and is altered by being observed.

To extend the analogy once more to the species let’s suppose we had instantaneous access to every number in every database on the planet. Suppose we sat in the basement of the Pentagon surrounded by a thousand Cray mainframes with quadrillions of gigabits of statistics on global population, meteorological data, economic trends, market research data, etc. pouring in by the nanosecond. At a moment’s notice we could determine copper sulfate consumption in Eastern Romania in 1959 accurate to six decimal places, or the number of males between the ages of 33 and 38 with peptic ulcers who purchased a major brand of dandruff shampoo with a Visa card last Wednesday. How much would this help us predict where the species was going?

Let’s return to John for a minute. If detailed, objective information about John’s body doesn’t tell us where he’s going, what information could we add to John’s case history that would focus our intuition and allow us to speculate intelligently about his future? Is there a source of subjective but global information that would reflect what is happening on the deepest level of John’s soul? The source I’d like to recommend for consideration is John’s dreams. For three or so hours a day John’s psyche generates its own universe, a parallel dimension where the deepest aspects of his being are given form.

So let’s consider one of John’s dreams. John finds himself standing in the clearing of a forest. The sky is turning very dark. Underground tremors occur and escalate to where the earth seems to be shaking itself to pieces. There is fire and lightening and it seems to be the end of the world. Then everything calms down. The sky clears and now a large white eagle comes spiraling down from above. In its talons it holds a golden egg with a glowing aura. Carefully, it deposits this egg in a nest at the top of a great tree.

This dream suggests that John’s current self-destructive crisis, as represented by the darkening sky and earthquake, might be a rite of passage from which John may emerge spiritually transformed—the eagle bearing a glowing, golden egg. John’s self-destructiveness now seems a necessary part of an evolutionary process, and we can speculate that he will bring his life to the brink of destruction but will emerge spiritually transformed. Of course, this is still only a speculation, but it has a certain intuitive confidence.

Dreams of the Collective

The dream attributed to John was an actual dream reported to me by a young man about John’s age. In his case, the dream may have had a meaning more collective than personal. And this brings us back full circle to our species for which John’s case was intended as analog. If a dream was the most useful source of information for speculating about John’s future, what source of information would have the analogous function for a species? The answer Carl Jung provided was that myths are to the collective what dreams are to the individual. A myth, therefore, is a kind of collective dream.

The work of Jung and his followers demonstrates convincingly the existence of a collective unconscious. From this collective layer of the unconscious emerge the great, primordial images Jung referred to as the “archetypes.”Across cultures and periods we find endless variations of these archetypes. The archetypes may appear as dreams or visions, especially in the fertile psyches of artists, poets, mystics, writers, shamans and prophets. Through such individuals the archetypes become myths and diffuse throughout a culture.

The dreams of an individual in crisis will tend to be dynamic, highly charged, and revealing of the deepest essence of the inner process. Similarly, the mythology of a culture in crisis will be intense and revealing of forces shaping collective destiny beneath the world of surfaces and appearances. Furthermore, the realms of dream and mythology will typically parallel or overlap. For example, while Jung worked as an analyst during the era of the Weimar Republic he found that Wotan, in Germanic mythology a god of war and mayhem, was occurring frequently in the dreams of his educated, highly civilized German patients. Jung was very disturbed by this phenomenon, which he called “Wotanism.” Based on the emergence of this archetype Jung was able to correctly predict the future shape of irrational forces brewing in the German psyche. Meanwhile, many people in various governments who had access to all sorts of statistics, experts and specialists, were found napping, their sleepy heads buried in the sand at the shore of the collective unconscious when the Nazi tidal wave seemed to swell out of nowhere. And surfing at the very top of this tidal wave was a pale, homely looking fellow who began his career as an unemployed artist making daily trips to the occult bookstore. Steeping himself in black magic, young Adolph gained malevolent access to the collective unconscious, adapted an astrological symbol, the Swastika, as the symbol of his world domination cult, and the rest, as they say, is history…

Down the Rabbit Hole

Before we descend, however briefly, through the rabbit hole to encounter the Singularity Archetype, I would like to suggest an invaluable piece of equipment to bring along. Besides all the critical faculties that you bring to bear on this or any other document you read, an encounter with an archetype also requires a deeply intuitive truth sense. As you approach an archetype you will feel a resonance within, a sense of uncanny familiarity and recognition. The Hero with a Thousand Faces is the memorable title of Joseph Campbell’s classic book on the hero archetype. Campbell was being numerically modest because every archetype has billions or trillions of faces. These myriad faces are the individual permutations or manifestations of the archetype, like facets allowing you to look into the prismatic depths of a jewel that can dazzle and overwhelm.

During our brief journey we will have time to look through only a few faces/facets of the Singularity Archetype. Hopefully these few vantages will allow the reader to triangulate the essence of an ever-shifting vision. At most, a fundamentalist looks through a single facet of an archetype and concretizes a single face he has been conditioned to see there. The Jungian approach, however, is to realize that each facet involves its own prismatic distortions of the archetype, like a series of cubist paintings of a single subject. Unlike the fundamentalist, the Jungian doesn’t attach to the idiosyncratic reflections of particular versions, but attempts to see the essence that unites the myriad manifestations of the archetype.

As I mentioned before, “John’s dream” was an actual dream reported to me by an intelligent young man a few years ago. I believe that this dream is an example of what I call the “Singularity Archetype.” This archetype is a resonance, flowing backward through time, of an approaching Singularity in or at the end of human history. This Singularity will be a critical point where transformation, in ways impossible to fully anticipate, will greatly shift human consciousness and therefore the nature of “reality.” From an ordinary, grounded human perspective this Singularity may be perceived as apocalyptic extinction.

As with all archetypes, visions of this approaching Singularity occur in a variety of permutations. When an archetype emerges from the collective unconscious it is colored by the cultural conditioning, personal unconscious and unique individuality of the psyche perceiving it. Attached to what I will hereafter refer to as the“Singularity Archetype” is a constellation of archetypal elements, a developing mythology of a new step in human evolution. These elements reflect changes occurring as we approach the Singularity. The Singularity Archetype is found in the prophecies of great religions and tribal cultures, and many who feel it approaching see it through the particular lens of their religious or cultural tradition. An evangelical Christian, for example, may speak of Armageddon and the Rapture.

While most perceive the Singularity through religious prophecy, it is also possible to view it from a nondenominational vantage. We can do this by looking at a variety of traditions and observing their parallelisms. A recapitulation of the prophecies of various religions and traditions, however, is a tricky business, and well outside the scope of this book. Capsulated summaries would do injustice to the rich complexity of these traditions and would necessarily have to gloss over interpretive controversies and varying points of view. You may already have some familiarity with some of these traditions, and if not, there are countless sources you can investigate.

It may be more helpful to view this Singularity through the eyes of modern individuals. We have already considered “John’s dream” In this dream, apocalyptic events—earthquake and the darkening of the sky—transform into the descent of a divine form—an eagle bearing a glowing, golden egg. There is an obvious suggestion here that destruction will become cosmic rebirth. Alongside this example, let’s consider a couple of dreams recorded by one of Jung’s most brilliant colleagues, Marie Louise Von Franz, in Jung’s classic introductory work: Man and his Symbols.

Two Dreams

Von Franz describes two dreams reported to her by someone she describes as “…a simple woman who was brought up in Protestant surroundings…” In both dreams a supernatural event of great significance is viewed. But in one dream the dreamer views the event from below, standing on the earth, in the other dream she views the same event from above.

 

(The dreamer’s paintings, from Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung.)

In the earthbound dream, the dreamer stands with a guide, looking down at Jerusalem. The wing of Satan descends and darkens the city. The occurrence in the Middle East of this uncanny wing of the devil immediately brings to mind Antichrist and Armageddon.

But in her other dream, the dreamer witnesses the same event from the heavens. From this vantage the dark wing of Satan appears as the white, wafting cloak of God. This white spiral appears as a symbol of evolution. Von Franz describes,

“…the spectator is high up, somewhere in heaven, and sees in front of her a terrific split between the rocks. The movement in the cloak of God is an attempt to reach Christ, the figure on the right, but it does not quite succeed. In the second painting, the same thing is seen from below—from a human angle. Looking at it from a higher angle, what is moving and spreading is a part of God; above that rises the spiral as a symbol of possible further development. But seen from the basis of our human reality, this same thing in the air is the dark, uncanny wing of the devil.

In the dreamer’s life these two pictures became real in a way that does not concern us here, but it is obvious that they may also contain a collective meaning that reaches beyond the personal. They may prophesy the descent of a divine darkness upon the Christian hemisphere, a darkness that points, however, toward the possibility of further evolution. Since the axis of the spiral does not move upward but into the background of the picture, the further evolution will lead neither to greater spiritual height nor down into the realm of matter, but to another dimension…”

Childhood’s End

We will now switch facets and view a third manifestation of the Singularity Archetype through a very different psyche and medium. The very different psyche belongs to Arthur C. Clarke, who was originally an astrophysicist and later became famous as a science-fiction writer. Perhaps Clarke is best known for the novel and Stanley Kubrik film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 is one of the most brilliant versions of this archetype, but we are going to consider an earlier example of Clarke’s work, the classic science-fiction novel, Childhood’s End. A science-fiction novel is a consciously created fantasy, and a very different medium than a dream, but it is also an especially fertile and open imaginal realm where the collective unconscious can communicate with modern persons, and a new mythology, however unrecognized, can collectively express itself.

Childhood’s End begins with the appearance of UFOs in the heavens all over the earth. Beings from within these craft break through all communications and announce that they are “the Overlords” and have come to establish peace on earth. This sounds like ominous news, but the Overlords do establish peace on earth and, excepting military aggression, do not curtail any human freedoms. Another curious aspect of the Overlords is that they announce that they will not reveal their physical form to humanity for two generations—fifty years. People speculate that they must be hideous and look like giant insects or slime mold or some other grotesque and horrifying form.

The fifty years pass peacefully for the human species. The Overlords come to be accepted and everyone eagerly awaits the day when the Overlords will descend to earth and reveal themselves. When the long anticipated day arrives the great spacecraft descend. With some ceremony, the Overlords emerge and to the uneasy surprise of the human species they look exactly like gigantic devils with horns, tails and great ebony wings.

This decidedly mythological element is fascinatingly incongruous with the setting of technological materialism stereotypical of the science-fiction genre. What is the meaning of a specter from the Christian and pagan past reemerging in the world of the future? Clarke gradually reveals that the Overlords’ alarming physiognomy is simply the result of their physical adaptation to the environmental conditions of their planet. The Overlords are actually perfectly benevolent and are far more rational and intelligent than humans.

The Overlords are servants of the“Overmind,” a cosmic intelligence permeating the universe that is Clarke’s naturalistic God concept. The Overmind employs the Overlords as midwives. When the Overmind senses that an intelligent species is about to make the evolutionary jump into higher consciousness it sends the Overlords to their planet to supervise the process. This evolutionary process is apparently volatile and unstable, and if not properly supervised could result in disastrous consequences whose effects would reach far beyond the particular world on which the process occurs. The fact that the Overlords have the appearance of a deep ancestral archetype of evil is described by Clarke as, “…a race memory of a future event.” The human race has a premonitory fear of the Overlords because it senses that their arrival signifies the end of the genome, the obsolescence of the species in its old form. From the earthbound perspective of the conservative old form, this evolutionary birth is apocalyptic and evil.

The Overlords, though infinitely superior to humans in every perceivable attribute, are themselves barren and unable to manifest the evolutionary birth process that it is their perpetual task to oversee. On earth, in addition to keeping human beings from destroying each other, the Overlords have a secret task, to search for an extraordinary individual who will be the first human being to exhibit these evolutionary changes. This individual is referred to as “Subject Zero” and the concept seems close to a naturalistic version of searching for the Messiah.

As part of this search, an Overlord named Rasheverak pays a visit to an American man who has one of the largest privately owned collections of books on parapsychology and the occult. Rasheverak is interested in this library because he is looking for any examples of extraordinary functioning that might indicate the emergence of Subject Zero. Like any intelligent, skeptical reader of such material, Rasheverak finds that it is often difficult to sift the truth from the abundant nonsense.

During Rasheverak’s visit, the library owner has several houseguests who are apparently drawn by the celebrity name-dropping opportunity of meeting an Overlord. The guests, like the owner, seem to be narcissistic individuals with a gullible appetite for occult and parapsychological entertainments. In many ways they seem a prophetic anticipation of stereotyped New Agers.

Rasheverak, who has the forbearance of a visiting anthropologist, maintains an observer’s stance as he witnesses many examples of human foolishness and gullibility. At one point he observes these New-Age types conducting a séance with a Ouija board. Unexpectedly, something of great interest occurs. When they ask the Ouija board the traditional question, “Who are you?” its response is highly suggestive of the collective unconscious: “IAMALL.” The Ouija participants next ask, “What are the coordinates of the Overlord’s sun?” This information had always been denied the human species and Rasheverak takes sudden interest when the Ouija planchette spells out the correct coordinates. Rasheverak is forced to conclude that one of these thoroughly mediocre-seeming individuals must be Subject Zero.

Rasheverak investigates and discovers that one member of the Ouija séance, a young woman, is pregnant. Subject Zero turns out to be her unborn child. When Subject Zero is born he exhibits numerous special powers. His Messiah-like status is short-lived, however, because all the children born after him also have similar powers. The children quickly evolve and become more powerful, and their psyches merge to form a collective consciousness. The children materialize themselves on one continent and join hands forming a giant moving spiral. Older, pre-Subject Zero human beings are not destroyed, but having given birth to their successors they become literally sterile and are utterly demoralized by their irrelevance and inevitable extinction.

The children quickly evolve and become more powerful, and their psyches merge to form a collective consciousness. The children materialize themselves on one continent and join hands forming a giant moving configuration the Overlords call “The Long Dance.” Older, pre-Subject Zero human beings are not destroyed, but having given birth to their successors they become literally sterile and are utterly demoralized by their irrelevance and inevitable extinction.

When the children manifest their ultimate evolution and are able to merge energetically with the Overmind, they appear to the last human being left alive as an aurora borealis, a spiral of light in the sky also described as a glittering network of lights.

Childhood’s End
uncannily parallels the three dreams we have considered. In the young man’s dream, darkness and earthquake transform into a spiraling white eagle bearing a golden egg. Similarly, the dark wing of Satan descends in the dream of a simple Christian woman, only to be later revealed as the cloak of God. And all three manifestations envision a white spiral of light in the sky as the interdimensional, evolutionary portal of the species. A central, emergent theme is that what seems apocalyptic from the earthbound ego point of view is revealed from a cosmic point of view to be a transcendent evolutionary metamorphosis.

I have recorded and studied numerous other examples of this Singularity Archetype and found the essential pattern repeated with all sorts of interesting variations. To avoid doubling the length of this chapter I’m going to have to omit most of them, but I’m confident that if you keep your eyes open you’ll find many examples for yourself. The world of contemporary culture is intensely mythological; it is only a question of recognizing it. Tune into the right frequencies and you will notice that archetypal information about this approaching Singularity permeates our environment as ubiquitously as radio and television waves. If you remember that the same tools of symbolic analysis employed in dream interpretation may be employed in understanding all sorts of cultural manifestations, you will find yourself provided with endless messages about the approaching event horizon.

UFOs—Harbingers of the Singularity?

Jung on “Flying Saucers”

Like Childhood’s End, many of the messages of an approaching Singularity involve UFOs. Jung, shortly before his death, wrote a book about UFOs entitled, Flying Saucers, a Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky. Jung believed that the relative spiritual vacuum and lack of a ruling myth characteristic of the twentieth century created a great tension in the collective unconscious, an uneasy tabula rasa on which almost anything might appear. Human beings have always looked toward the heavens for signs of God or other transcendent beings monitoring and altering human affairs. Jung was struck by the typically circular appearance of whatever was seen in the sky. To Jung this suggested the mandala, an archetypal circular pattern that represented God, self and wholeness. Jung pointed out that the Sanskrit definition of God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Jung gave to the UFO field a much-needed examination from the point of view of depth psychology. He did not presume that UFOs were immaterial, and noted that they often seemed to reflect radar waves, but he wondered if they might not be physical exteriorizations of the collective unconscious. Like other archetypal manifestations, UFOs have the ability to appear in dreams and to haunt or inspire the imagination.

Holes in the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis?

Since I wrote this section I have seen some slightly more substantial evidence

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favoring the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but I include it anyway because there are so many people who assume that UFOs must mean extraterrestrials in metal spacecraft. In dealing with anomalous phenomenon and other areas of investigation that are at or beyond the boundaries of human comprehension I recommend an avoidance of premature closure. Many people readily adopt some pet theory and then corral evidence and thinking to support it. I feel that it is wiser to learn to endure ambiguity, keep the mind open to multiple possibilities and delay the reaching of ultimate conclusions.

That was essentially the philosophy of the Skeptics, Greek philosophers who believed that their observational powers would be improved by avoidance of conclusions. Ironically, people like Michael Shermer and others in the “skeptical community” practice the exact opposite of this philosophy because they are full of conclusions. They are true believers in a variety of negatives (UFOs aren’t real, parapsychology is nonsense, etc.) and are therefore more properly called debunkers. (I confronted MS about this during a conference call in 2010 and he didn’t have much of a response. He had just spoken about what motivates people to believe untrue things and I questioned him about whether he had turned the analytical eye on himself. For example, now that his is the leading figure of the “skeptical” community, his income, ego identity and social status would all seem to be dependent on his maintaining his debunking stance. What immunizes him from the subjectivity of highly motivated thinking and observation? I found his answers to be evasive and superficial.)

When we investigate anomalous phenomena we need to always be wary about the human tendency to project expectations and needs onto the unknown that are generated by our own psyches. In a technological, materialistic era where the human ego seems to rule, fewer and fewer people have faith that there is a God watching over the human species who is ready to intervene miraculously. Speculations about UFOs, such as that they are the spacecraft of superior beings here to prevent us from destroying each other through nuclear war, etc. create a secular equivalent of an absent Godhead. UFOs, as mysterious signs in the heavens, serve as extraordinary projection screens for people’s needs, fears and archetypal visions. Since they are themselves singularities of a sort, they very naturally become associated with the Singularity Archetype.

This is not to imply, however, that they are purely psychological phantoms or that they do not have a relation to the approaching Singularity that is more than imaginal. Those who have taken an intelligent look at this phenomenon have recognized that underneath the hoaxes and manipulated stories, something of significance is occurring, but its ultimate nature may be beyond the present boundaries of human comprehension. Be forewarned, however, if you want to do research in this field. A great deal of the material available is highly unreliable. Many UFO buffs are gullible true believers, people utterly possessed by their need to believe a particular UFO mythology. Many others consciously perpetuate fraud and illusion.

One of the most insightful people to investigate this subject is the French astronomer, Jacque Valle. Valle, in his book Messengers of Deception, and elsewhere, has shown that exploring UFO lore means entering a trickster world, a carnival of warped mirrors where mental illness, fraud and government manipulation have layered illusion on top of illusion. Much of the warped thinking and conscious manipulation, including government manipulation, has the apparent aim of enforcing the extraterrestrial hypothesis as the ruling UFO creed. Most of the general public who take any interest at all in UFOs is convinced that they must be extraterrestrials.

Although no one can disprove the extraterrestrial hypothesis, the conventional version of it, that they are aliens in nuts and bolts metal space craft here to do scientific research or genetic manipulation, is filled with obvious holes. As Valle points out there have been hundreds of thousands of sightings. If you assume that the supposed aliens are making efforts not to be detected, then presumably there must be millions of actual visitations. What program of scientific research or genetic manipulation could possibly require this much work? They must be dreadfully incompetent scientists to still be at it so often after all this time. Also, the idea that they are here in spacecraft, at least in a conventional sense, is inconsistent with the fact that UFOs are frequently reported to change shape or merge with one another. And wouldn’t such an advanced technology that wanted to avoid detection have some sort of stealth capability? Would they really streak across the sky lit up like Christmas ornaments? The idea that they are technology wielding imperialists, or well-meaning missionaries, may be a case of our recreating the unknown in our image.

Reality Transformers

The truth about UFOs is likely far more interesting and significant than some of the threadbare, conventional alien scenarios. Valle quotes a scientist who describes UFOs as “reality transformers.” Reality transformers may well be the best and most accurate descriptive phrase that can be applied to UFOs at our present level of understanding. UFOs are apparently able to appear in a great variety of different forms to different people and, like an archetype, the variations seem to have much to do with the belief system and cultural conditioning of the perceiving psyche. Valle compares observing the UFO phenomenon to looking at a screen in a movie theater. You look at the screen and all sorts of fantastical images pass before your eyes. But to really understand what’s going on you need to look over your shoulder back at the projector, the source of all the endlessly varying images.

UFOs seem more akin to projectors, capable of projecting all sorts of thoughts and images into the human psyche. The human mind, especially in our materialistic culture, is prone to take what it sees very literally. In the UFO world you can see an obvious inverse relationship between intelligence and how literal and specific a person’s alleged knowledge of UFOs is. On one side of the spectrum, the most conscious observers acknowledge that UFOs are unknowns about which we can make some general speculations. And on the other side are those who know the names of everyone on the Pleiadian high council and who are channeling the most detailed information about superior beings who apparently live on worlds remarkably similar to those of grade B science-fiction movies from the 1950s.

Valle and others make a convincing case that the source of the UFO phenomenon is not new, that it has been involved with human culture throughout human history. Many of the miraculous experiences and visitations recorded from the past may well have been the same phenomenon viewed through psyches conditioned by differing sets of cultural values. We live in an age where magic takes the form of technology and where we launch crude metal spacecraft into the heavens. Unimaginative psyches will tend to view UFOs as an advanced extrapolation of present technology and human motivation. The manifestations of the phenomenon are probably not, however, reducible to the psychological expectations of the witnesses. The phenomenon seems to have an ability to actively, consciously form its own manifestations. Rather than merely reflecting cultural values it may actually be adapting and manipulating them. Think again of the analogy of the movie projector. Movies both reflect and manipulate cultural values.

There is evidence that UFO phenomena, like dreams, are intelligently formed, and are both profoundly aware of the psyches to whom they communicate and capable of exerting powerful influence on them. Like dreams, the phenomenon is real and capable of leaving physical traces and effects. Dreaming is associated with profound energetic changes in the brain easily observed on an EEG. The supposedly solid world of the waking life, as we now know from physics, is actually composed of patterned energy and is comparable to a holographic projection. Dreams are also patterned energy, and in many ways it is merely cultural prejudice to view them as “less real” than the waking reality.

“They do not play by the rules of reality but of dream; they are not bound by the careful laws of physics, but by the wild ones of the imagination.” —-close encounter experiencer, Whitley Strieber, writing in The Communion Letters.

UFOs seem to obey the physics of dreams far more than classical Newtonian physics, which we expect solid, metal spacecraft to obey. The physics of dreams, where consciousness and reality are inextricable and the universe is infinitely plastic and mutable, is closer to the universe revealed by quantum mechanics, although both defy our conventional understanding of reality. As J.B.S. Haldane put it, “Reality is not only stranger than you think, it’s stranger than you can think.”

UFOs are powerful reminders of that inconceivable strangeness. It might be very comforting to our innate conservatism and limited imagination to view them as high-speed metal containers bearing “aliens” who stand upright and have two arms, legs and eyes, and familiar human motivations such as curiosity and conquest. But reality is not necessarily as limited as the imaginations of UFO buffs. The evidence seems more supportive of UFOs traveling interdimensionally rather than through long distances of space. They may be just as able to travel through inner psychic space as outer space. Far more likely than their being metal spacecraft, they may be organisms in a more energetic state than we are, or the projections of a consciousness of some sort.

(I am no longer as dismissive of the extraterrestrial hypothesis as I was in 1996 when I wrote the section above. There seems to be substantial evidence for both the reality transformer aspect and more tangible, physical aspects)

Strange Parallels—UFOs, Near Death Experiences, and Psychotropics

Dr. Kenneth Ring, a scientist who has devoted most of his career to formal research on Near Death Experiences, has shown that there are striking similarities between NDEs and UFO experiences. Many of the stages, and lasting effects of NDEs and abduction experiences have strong correspondences. For example, in both types of experience people often report seeing a vision of the earth being destroyed and emerge from the episode with a new and lasting commitment to environmental work. William Buhlman, who has studied thousands of Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), has pointed out how much they resemble, and might be confused with, abductions. Terence McKenna, a visionary genius with much to say about many of the topics discussed in this chapter, has shown connections between UFO experience and the experience of psychotropic hallucinogens. Terence refers to the effects of certain hallucinogens as “UFO experiences on demand.” Although McKenna does have a tendency to overgeneralize from his particular experience, he does demonstrate convincingly that chemically altered mind states are valid access channels to the source of UFO phenomenon. People in deep states of meditation, or in traumatic situations of various sorts, often report nonordinary perceptions of reality that are radical departures from the prevailing societal view and yet are often highly consistent with each other. Therefore, rather than viewing the UFO as a peculiar anomaly occurring in an otherwise stable and homogenous reality, perhaps we should view them as yet another exception that shows us that our perception of reality is woefully lacking in general.

The so-called postmodern approach to UFOs is to study what effect they are having on us rather than what they are. There is a certain validity to this approach because the nature of UFOs may be beyond human comprehension at this point. Nevertheless, I think there is value in our continued speculations about what they might be, keeping in mind that speculation may be an imaginative exercise while we struggle to understand something that is “…stranger than we can think.” In that spirit, I’d like to offer my own wild speculation about a possible “what” in relation to UFOs. Before I do, I want to be absolutely clear that this is pure speculation without a shred of evidence. I would consider it more a catalyst for further imaginative speculation than a finished hypothesis.


Vision of a Multiply Incarnate Organism

My speculation arose from a vision I had of a roughly circular organism. The organism was composed of a series of highly differentiated connected organs. Each of these organs was actually a separate incarnation or lifetime of this organism viewed outside of linear time. An analogy would be to viewing a human being outside of linear time. Rather than seeing a snapshot of a person at a particular age in a particular frozen moment of time we might see the full lifecycle—a fertilized egg connected to a fetus connected to an infant, a child, an adolescent, a middle aged person, an aged person, a corpse. Yet this picture of the human lifecycle would still only represent that portion known to us, the interval between birth and death. We don’t know that the human lifecycle is completely contained between a single birth and death and there is much reason to think that it isn’t.

The circular, manifold incarnate organism I saw presented itself to my mind as the full lifecycle of a being for whom human incarnation was one phase or organ. Outside of linear time all the incarnations or organs were perceived as connected and in a state of simultaneous interdependence and influence with all the other organs and incarnations. Human incarnation was an organ far closer to the “head” rather than the “tail” of this Ouroboros–like organism. In other words, human incarnation was a more conscious, differentiated organ of the body in much the same way that the brain is a more conscious, differentiated organ than the liver. Another analogy would be to the brain itself where we see a living manifestation of the principle, “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” More evolved structures, like the neocortex, are built on top of more primitive structures such as the hypothalamus. But in this manifold incarnate organism human beings were not the most advanced organ or incarnation. Ahead of us were the beings behind the UFOs. And this “alien” incarnation or organ is the most conscious and most aware of all the organs or incarnations.
Evolutionary Design Limitations

Since we’re indulging the bizarre, let’s go off on a tangent for a paragraph or so. Michael Murphy, in his seminal book on human evolution,The Future of the Body, discusses the work of certain theorists in evolutionary biology. These theorists claim that some species have fundamental design limitations or flaws that will not allow them to ever evolve the degree of intelligence human beings have. Marsupial brains, for example, lack the corpus callosum, the dense bundle of nerve cells that connect the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. This neurological limitation means that the marsupial brain can never have the relatively excellent communication between hemispheres that the human brain usually enjoys. But, these theorists continue, the human brain may also have a fundamental design flaw limiting our further evolution or even survival. The structure of our brain is a kind of retrofit where a mammalian brain is superimposed on a reptile brain and the neocortex is retrofitted onto the mammalian brain. The neocortex, said to be the center of our self-reflective consciousness and ego, believes itself to be the head honcho, but unfortunately it has very poor communication with some of the earlier structures that control appetites and aggression and so forth. Anyone who goes on a diet discovers that the neocortex and its creation—the cognitive ego with all its powers—are not necessarily a match for the reptilian brain and its relentless will to defend body weight. Similarly, our sexuality seems largely beyond ego control, and for all our civilization and wisdom our ability to restrain territorial aggression has not prevented world wars and the possibility of our making ourselves extinct through technologically amplified territorial aggression. Poor communication between higher and lower brain structures may be a fundamental design flaw in the human species that may result in our eventual extinction.


One White Crow

On the other hand, I take the theories of many evolutionary theorists, especially if they are neurological materialists, with many grains of salt. In fact, there’s an obvious flaw in the aforementioned theory. As William James once said, “One white crow is all that is needed to disprove the notion that all crows are black.” If we have even a single human being—Jesus, Buddha, whomever—who has overcome the problem of poor communication between brain structures, or whose consciousness transcends appetites and aggression, then there is the possibility that the species can also transcend this limitation. But, if the fatalistic conclusion of the theory is flawed, the problem it describes bears an interesting analogy to my speculation about manifold incarnate being.

In the way that I perceived the manifold incarnate organism, all the organs/incarnations are interdependent. Therefore, the health and fate of the “alien” incarnation is also dependent on the status of the human incarnation. I’ll further speculate that the human incarnation is the adolescent phase of development, a crucial juncture on which the fate of the entire organism depends. The alien part of the organism recognizes that although there is interdependence, there is poor communication between organs or incarnations. It is capable of communication and is seeking to contact us through inner and outer space to make us aware of things crucial to our fate and that of the larger organism.

The “aliens” in this model may actually be dead people. A part of the lifecycle of the human being about which we have much uncertainty is the post-death phase. As Terence McKenna has pointed out, if we wanted to look for an ecology of souls, an intelligent species that seems to be very interested in our evolution, by the principle of logic known as Ockham’s Razor we seek the simplest hypothesis that accounts for all the facts. Our species is a source of intelligent souls that we know for certain exists and is interested in its own evolution. Perhaps the “aliens” are merely us in an after-death phase of incarnation. When Terence showed pictures of grey aliens to tribal shamans in the Amazon they replied, “Oh, the ancestors.” People who have abduction experiences frequently report seeing deceased relatives in the company of the grey aliens.
UFOs—Evolutionary Messages

UFOs seem to bear many messages related to our further evolution. In recent decades, the UFO beings that contactees experience frequently have a stereotyped appearance that UFO buffs used to call “the Delta type humanoid” and that is now more commonly known as “the Greys.” What is perceived is an androgynous being with huge almond-shaped eyes, a somewhat ethereal, willowy body and a small, almost vestigial mouth. The beings typically communicate without spoken words. This characteristic appearance may be a message anticipating an evolutionary future where we have transcended ordinary language and gender limits, and our body is moving from matter toward a more ethereal, energetic state. As mentioned before, people who have UFO abduction experiences are frequently shown images of the earth’s destruction by manmade causes and are influenced by these visions toward a much greater awareness of our interdependence with the planet. Many will devote themselves to environmental causes after these deeply affecting experiences. Another typical theme of abduction experiences involves genetic manipulation, and particularly the cross-fertilization and hybridization of human and alien species. This is often presented as a symbiotic evolutionary step or of actually having greater benefit for the supposedly superior alien species. These experiments could be interpreted as metaphorical communication of our need to evolve and to merge with this other consciousness. Whatever the source of UFOs, they do seem to be bearing a message that we are at a critical nexus and need to evolve. But once again, they remain, perhaps appropriately, in a realm of imaginative speculation. Their nature may not be understood until we have evolved further.

(Twelve years since writing that, I am now more impressed with the physical evidence of the Greys, and would not emphasize them as evolutionary metaphors so much as I did above. Some of the physical evidence seems more impressive now than it did then when I was more influenced by Valle, McKenna, and Jung on the subject. For example, abduction researchers have found that areas where abductees claim to have been touched by Greys will fluoresce under UV light, and Dr. Roger Lier has removed implants from people that laboratory tests have found to be composed of anomalous materials. Dr. David Jacobs, a Temple University professor of history, also seems a very credible researcher who has investigated thousands of abduction cases. Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist, also strikes me as highly credible with vast knowledge of the field. While I haven’t personally vetted any of this research, I have been impressed in recent years by how well grounded some of the best researchers seem to be.

Further Speculations on Human Evolution

Our need to evolve may express itself in ways that seem paradoxical and disturbing. For example, there is much reason to believe that this evolutionary rebirth may become possible only as we push the species toward the brink of extinction. If you’ll continue to indulge me, I’d like to offer some further speculations about human evolution.

The Last Great Evolutionary Jump

The last great quantum jump in evolution on this planet was the development of the human capacity to think in words. Some linguists believe that human language originated at one time and one place. Noam Chomsky and others have pointed out that all human languages are essentially the same on the level of deep syntax.

One way of imagining an evolutionary jump is to consider the possibility of an individual mutation that is capable of superior functioning. Most mutations, of course, are disadvantageous and bred out, but occasionally, even random mutagenic forces can generate something superior. This model wouldn’t work very well for the evolution of language, however, which is a collective phenomenon. A single mutation capable of language wouldn’t have anyone to develop language with. Therefore, one can speculate that the structures in the brain that allowed the capacity for language developed gradually, and that for a long period of time some latent capacity for language existed in a great many individuals without it being manifest. One possibility is that some tribe or grouping of early humans was experiencing acute stress. There are numerous possible scenarios in which the tenuous survival of the tribe could be threatened enough to make extinction and complete loss of the genome possible. With this ultimate pressure acting as a catalyst, the long latent capacity for language becomes manifest as a new survival adaptation. The superior consciousness and communication allowed by this adaptation allows the tribe to survive. Perhaps the advantages incurred by this adaptation allow these humans to overtake competing hominid species or other human tribes that lack this development. This scenario may have an analogous relationship to the present situation of our species.

Organisms and Change

Putting aside our species in particular for a moment, let’s consider in general the nature of organisms and change. Organisms are extremely complex patterns or structures, living processes rather than fixed objects. The coherence of these extremely complex processes is constantly being threatened by various insults—attacks by other species, weather and climate change, cosmic rays, environmental toxins, etc.—that can degrade the coherence of the entire pattern/organism. Enough degradation of this coherence and the process may completely destabilize as in disease and especially in death, where there is the most radical apparent loss of coherence and complexity. Organisms, therefore, are conservative in nature, striving to maintain their inner coherence. Biologists refer to this drive toward maintaining inner coherence as“homeostasis.” Similarly, a species seeks to ensure the survival and reproduction of its genome—a coherent genetic pattern changing relatively little between generations.

Human individuals are obviously also organisms. If we change our frame and look at the human species, or at the human psyche, we are still viewing an organismic phenomenon, an extremely complex living process. Both Freud and Jung agreed that the human psyche is essentially conservative. The psyche has its own homeostasis, a powerful drive to maintain its coherence and particular identity. Generally, it strives mightily to maintain that coherence and resist change. An organism will defend homeostasis even if that homeostasis is unsuccessful in some ways. A neurotic psyche, for example, will maintain its coherence, including pathological aspects that produce much suffering and that could be changed. Better the devil I know than the devil I don’t know. Addicts remain in their addictions. People stay in their comfort zones even if they are suffocating in them. The human psyche is a complex and vulnerable structure living in an acutely stressful environment. Most people maintain their feelings of sanity and manufacture a socially acceptable identity by strained, tenuous repression of the irrational. All sorts of powerful, unconscious forces that don’t fit into the model of themselves society has trained them to create must be repressed. They may feel about change what a sentient house of cards might feel about gusts of wind.

The collective psyche of a society or culture can be even more resistant to change. And when such conservative psyches, individually or collectively, sense the approach of a singularity that will thoroughly punctuate their equilibrium, they perceive it as apocalyptic. And their perception may not be far off, as powerful change may require apocalyptic shocks. An analogy to such a threatening level of change can be drawn to tribal rites of initiation. Many tribal cultures take an adolescent and put him or her through life-threatening experiences. They blow down the whole house of cards so that a new structure can be formed. For example, one tribal practice is to give someone what’s called an ordeal poison. Initiates are given a poison that will make them feel horribly ill. At first they will be certain they are dying, then they will suffer so intensely they will beg to die, and then they will completely recover. A physiological apocalypse is created and then it disappears and a transformed psyche emerges. Perhaps the human species, sensing its adolescent crisis and need of initiation, is creating its own global ordeal poison by toxification of the environment.

Terence McKenna and the Attractor Point

Terence McKenna (1946-2000) has written a number of fascinating books that make similar speculations about evolution. The parallels to the conclusions I’ve reached through different means are so numerous that I can only conclude that we are either experiencing exactly the same form of mental illness or are perceiving the same truths. McKenna, for example, refers to what I call the Singularity as either “the end of history” or as“the strange attractor.” McKenna adopted the term“strange attractor” from chaos mathematics. Astrange attractor is apparently an event in the future that is able to bend and warp causality toward it. Although from the point of view of linear time it is an event that has not yet occurred, its influence is pervasive.

I can’t pretend to have much understanding of chaos mathematics, but an analogy occurs to me that what the strange attractor is for the life of the species, death is for the individual. Death is a strange attractor in the life of every individual. While we live, death is obviously a future event that has not occurred but which is inevitable. Our mortality, the fact that we move inexorably toward that attractor, shapes and influences every aspect of our lives. Also, although it is definite that we must pass into that attractor, the moment it will occur and the manner of our passing are not necessarily determined. The inevitability of the attractor is beyond our free will and individuality, but the time and manner of it are often influenced by our choices and personality. I can’t choose whether or not I will die, but the way I care for my body, the life choices I make, the risks I choose, the option of suicide, all demonstrate that the attractor may not be fully determined outside of my will. Like entering a singularity in space, we also don’t know for sure what will happen when we pass the event horizon of death. Spiritual teachings from many cultures and periods, NDEs, etc. suggest that death is a doorway. Where we go when we pass through that doorway may be influenced by choices we make in life. Neurological materialists and other pessimistic types view death as a dead end, as one put it to me, “It’s just lights out and that’s it.” From the untranscendent vantage of the ego, the strange attractor of death is viewed as an apocalyptic extinction. Similarly, our species is heading toward a strange attractor. Many view it as extinction—unredeemed apocalypse. But others view it as a doorway. Where we go when we pass through that doorway may be greatly influenced by the choices that we make now.

One of the reasons that prophecy has been so unreliable relates to the perpetual confusion in the human psyche between the inner world and the outer world. The confusion is only to be expected given that there is often a blurred boundary between inner and outer. Inner and outer converge through synchronicity and through many causative mechanisms such as self-fulfilling prophecies. The most classic confusion of inner and outer is interpersonal projection. We project some disowned part of ourselves on to another or others. For example, a man may project the disowned feminine aspect of his soul onto a beautiful woman he sees walking down the street. He looks at her and feels this sense of eternal recurrence—she was meant for me, I’ve known her from other lifetimes. In a sense, the perception is correct, this aspect of his soul is meant for him, and it has been with him from time immemorial. The incorrect part, and it can be disastrously incorrect, is the confusion of the inner and outer, the acting out interpersonally of what is intrapsychic. Most interpersonal violence, as well as genocide and other forms of collective violence, occur in a state of shadow projection, where disowned and dreaded parts of oneself, or of the collective, are projected onto a despised other or another race, etc.

Anything with a strong emotional charge in the psyche, and especially if the charge is strong and uncomfortable, will be projected outside. One of the strongest charges in most psyches is anxiety about death. A classic projection is for a person to feel his own mortal vulnerability, the imminence of his own death that may come at any time, and to attribute that feeling to the world. I can feel it, this is all temporary, this world is going to end; I am living in the end times! Again, the perception is correct except for the confusion of inner and outer. Every mortal is always living in end times, death is always imminent and even if any of the many possible causes of premature death are avoided, the years left are still only a one or two digit figure. The uncomfortable feeling of perilous temporal fragility must go somewhere and an end of world prophecy is like a lightning rod for this intensely uncomfortable inner charge.

Like a fractal or a hologram, the life cycle of the individual to some extent recapitulates the life cycle of the species. An individual has a certain limited life span before they cross the event horizon of death, and a species also has a limited life span before it becomes extinct. I’ve heard that the average life span of a species is 100,000 years. Because of the parallelism, it is easy for someone to confuse the imminence of personal death with collective eschaton. This confusion is also well motivated as it seems to displace much of the individual anxiety about death, which is usually faced alone, onto a “we’re all in it together”general event that has strong elements of high drama and excitement associated with it. Instead of a feeling of powerlessness about the inevitability of one’s own death, the prophet feels empowered by his sense that he has been privileged with secret knowledge withheld from the common person. Also, the ego is very concerned about its place in the social hierarchy and is appalled by the idea that it could cease to exist while others continue to live. If everyone checks out at once, however, then death involves no such social humiliation. Even better, if there is some sort of Rapture, where the ego is part of an elect that becomes immortal while others of the sort the ego doesn’t like are annihilated or left behind to deal with the Antichrist and Armageddon, then personal anxiety about death gets channeled into an all-satisfying scenario. For these powerful psychological reasons, prophecies of the end of the world usually seem to be conveniently scheduled to occur before the end of the prophet’s expected lifespan, allowing the eschaton to upstage anxiety about personal death.

Many years after I formed this hypothesis I heard of an episode that gave it anecdotal support. In the 1960s there was a well-known woman psychic (but not Jean Dixon) who had a nationally syndicated newspaper column. She had a vision that a gigantic earthquake would destroy most of California on a particular date and reported this in her column. In copycat fashion, other psychics began to predict a quake on the same day. This woman was sincere in her prediction, and at great expense she relocated her family from the Bay Area to Nevada. On the predicted date there was no earthquake, but the woman died of some rare disease.

Approaching the Singularity

To engage another speculative area, let’s consider what may happen as our species approaches the evolutionary event horizon. Our present world may be viewed as being in a rather tense position between realms of matter and of spirit. Much in our world can be explained by Newtonian physics and a very mundane, mechanical model of reality. But those of us not actively trying to repress the atypical notice that there are many white crows in our world. Anomalous events occur that can’t quite be explained by coincidence or cause and effect. Yes, the fields of parapsychology and esoteric studies may contain a certain amount of nonsense and unproven assertions, but if we have even a single authentic instance of one individual exhibiting telekinesis, communicating telepathically, reaching another person through their dreams, etc.—just one example in all of human history—then the door to extraordinary functioning and consciousness is thrown wide open for the whole species. And many of us can point toward a number of such events in our lives. A miraculous evolutionary capacity in human beings, that is mostly latent now, has been manifesting episodically for a long, long time.

As we approach the Singularity, the completely inextricable, interdependent phenomenon of human consciousness and our experience of reality will mutate. Much of the change will be impossible to anticipate, but some broad areas are available for speculation. We can be pretty confident, for example, that the human ego will be considerably altered. Certainly, there are spiritually advanced persons in history or among us right now who have transcended the limits of ego identification. What is possible for them is possible for the species. But before we consider the alteration of the ego, let’s consider its evolutionary significance. (This will, once again, be unannotated speculation, so view as skeptically as you like.)

Although most evolutionary theorists will resist what I’m about to say vehemently, many people have noticed that there is some force in nature that seems to generate greater levels of complexity and consciousness. The creation of the ego has obviously had some unpleasant consequences, but it was also an evolutionary development that allowed for a tremendous increase in complexity and consciousness.
The Future of the Ego—an Evolutionary Perspective

In tribal cultures the ego seems less developed than in modern individuals living in industrialized societies. Tribal societies seem to have less individual boundaries and more group consciousness. Earlier human beings may have had less ego, but also less individuality and differentiation. A fundamental aspect or function of the ego is the creation of isolation. An individual perceives him or herself as a separate identity apart from others and the world. This perception creates a degree of isolation and within this insulating bubble an explosion of novelty occurs. A highly complex, unique, differentiated, often pathologized personality develops. Egocentric isolation, like the irritating grain of sand in an oyster, causes the development of a fantastic structure as complex buffering layers are accreted around the irritant and the beautiful pearl of individuality is created.

The ego is a complex structure and difficult or impossible to define. There is an inevitable imprecision when we use the term, as different people understand very different things by the term “ego.” From some vantage points the ego serves crucial functions in the human psyche. The ego has been called “the self-organizing principle of the organism” and necessary self-reference may not be possible without it. From other angles we see that the ego is often the carrier of will to power and destructive intentions. For all the novelty the human ego helped to create, and the invaluable role it plays in the human psyche, it has also become a very heavy albatross hanging around the neck of the species. It may now, in its present form at least, have exceeded its evolutionary purpose and be a species of psychic structure due for extinction. But the ego, like all organs, clings to life, and can act with a will of its own. Certainly the ego has a virulent will to power, and it is no more willing to quietly withdraw than Napoleon at his prime would be willing to accept life in a retirement home. The dark aspect of the ego, which is what I will sometimes be referring to when I use the loose term “ego,” sees itself as God, as apart from the rest of the universe. It is driven by a will to power, a will to bring external objects, animate and inanimate, under its control. This pathologized version of the ego doesn’t see itself as part of a living matrix, but rather looks out at an abstracted chessboard consisting of real estate, technology and livestock waiting to be owned and exploited.

The power-oriented view of the ego is based on the illusion of separateness. Love may be considered the awareness that everything is connected. Let’s consider two sentences that will illustrate this difference:

“We made love.”

“I fucked Jane.”

In the first example, subject and object are merged; there is an awareness of Eros, connection and mutuality. In the second example we have an unerotic world of separated subject and object. The ego is the royal “I” enjoying conquests over beings that are merely objects to be dominated and controlled. Currently, we are suffering a highly contagious plague of this noxious type of ego that uses sex as a metaphor for power and views mother earth as real estate.

For quite some time the ego has strutted triumphantly across our world consuming and poisoning its mother, the earth. Like many psychic forces, the ego is able to completely possess certain individuals. Of some of these, as it’s done in the past, it will create Antichrists who will seek to prevent this evolutionary birth and will do whatever possible to destroy consciousness, love and life. If they sterilize the mother, then she cannot give birth to creatures that might take their place. The ego wants to be the only one sucking on the breast and would much rather see the mother dead than have her give birth to a more favored, usurping child. Very likely Antichrists—human puppets of the ego—and the herds of unconscious, fearful people eager to follow them, will create a good part of the dark events that will bring us to the edge of extinction. Like Napoleon or Hitler, the ego can be expected to win many costly battles before it gives up the ghost.

The Village of the Damned—the Singularity Seen through the Eyes of the Ego

Still image from the movie, Village of the Damned

I have some personal history with the film,Village of the Damned, and the novel Childhood’s End that may be worth noting here. When I readChildhood’s End at the age of thirteen or fourteen I was shocked. It seemed as if someone had taken what I thought were my most creative and unusual ideas, which I had planned to turn into science-fiction stories myself, and stolen them right out of my head! I might have suspected Arthur C. Clarke of telepathic theft but for the fact that the novel was published four years before I was born. Knowing nothing at the time of Jung or the concept of a collective unconscious, I didn’t know what to make of this overlapping of inner and outer worlds.

There are certain events or occurrences that have what Jung referred to as “numinosity.” Numinmeans spirit, and that which a particular psyche perceives as numinous glows with a mysterious, uncanny significance. Reading Childhood’s End was a numinous event for me, and another powerfully numinous event was watching Village of the Damned on television. I was somewhere between twelve and fourteen years old and saw the 1960 black-and-white British version, which was an adaptation of the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I had seen many, many science fiction and horror films by that age, but none affected me the way that this one did. It seemed to stir my deepest and most private obsessions and felt almost like a religious revelation.

By the time I was nineteen, and a senior in college, I set out to understand these numinous visions and was quickly led to a very personal encounter with Jung. A few years ago I described that encounter as follows:

“My first encounter with Jung was intense and had the uncanny stamp of what Jung called ‘synchronicity’ all over it. I was nineteen years old and attempting to investigate certain anomalies. I had had experiences of a parapsychological nature, and found myself fascinated by disturbing fantasies and strange visions, which lit up in my imagination with recurrent intensity, but also appeared, inexplicably, outside of my psyche in sci-fi books and movies. This appearance of artifacts of the inside world materializing outwardly, another example of synchronicity, was especially strange as some of the material pre-dated my incarnation. Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, for example, had been written two years before I was born. Even more disturbing was the British 1960 sci-fi movie, Village of the Damned, which was based on the novel, The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, published the year I was born. How could fantasies and visions that I thought weirdly peculiar to my imagination turn up in stories that were older than I was?

Unlikely help offered itself to me during the course of my studies. I was in my last year of college and the Chairman of the Philosophy Department, though I was an English major, had become my benefactor and opened doors for me in a highly conservative academic environment, allowing me to pursue interdisciplinary research projects into obscure, shadowy areas. But it was actually my mom who suggested that I read what a Carl Jung had to say about the ‘archetypes and the collective unconscious.’

And so I came to stand before the many elegant black volumes of the Princeton Bollingen edition of Jung’s collected works. But what could this Swiss psychologist, the son of a minister, who reached manhood in the nineteenth century, say of any use to a nineteen-year-old Jewish kid from the Bronx who found himself obsessed with sci-fi fantasies like The Midwich Cuckoos, in which a UFO-related incident somehow resulted in large-eyed, androgynous children with psychic powers and a group mind? I scanned the index volume for a minute or so and came across a late work, Flying Saucers, A Modern Myth of things Seen in the Sky. That was a bit of a shock, as UFOs were a major part of the fantasies and my esoteric research. I went right to volume ten, Civilization in Transition, where flying saucers were considered. This subject seemed to haunt Jung near the end of his life, and he couldn’t let go of it. At the end of the book there was an afterward, followed by an epilogue, followed by a supplement.

As I glanced through the supplement my jaw dropped open in amazement. Jung had devoted this lengthy supplement to analyzing mythological layers of meaning in John Wyndham’sThe Midwich Cuckoos! It seemed as if this dead Swiss guy had stepped out of the bookcase and holographically manifested himself to look over my shoulder at the same sci-fi story that obsessed me. Even more amazing, I saw that we had some parallel ideas about what it might mean.”

From the moment of that first encounter, Jung, like a wizard bearing a torch, became my guide as I followed numinous visions of evolutionary metamorphosis down the rabbit hole and discovered what I now call “the Singularity Archetype.”

The Midwich Cuckoos repeats many of the bizarre particular elements that occur inChildhood’s End. They both open with the appearance of disc-shaped UFOs over the planet. In Childhood’s End the Overlords immediately open communication, but in The Midwich Cuckoos the UFOs shut down human consciousness. In a circular area with a very precise perimeter beneath each UFO, all higher animals, including humans, suddenly lapse into sleep. After twenty-four hours, everyone who wasn’t at the wheel of a car, holding a hot iron or otherwise in an unfortunate situation for nodding off, wakes up as if nothing happened. Everyone who didn’t have an accident seems unchanged until some days pass and the village doctor, Zellaby, discovers that every woman of child bearing age, including young virgins and old maids, has become pregnant. Again, we are seeing an evolutionary change from the point of view of the ego. It sees itself in the helpless, unconscious“little death” of dreamless sleep. And while it is in this helpless, mortal state it is raped and inseminated by a hostile alien life form.

In the novel, the character who personifies the ego is the physician Zellaby. He is the man of science and reason trying to control this irrational, miraculous event. He sets out, like the Overlords, to be midwife to this evolutionary birth. Interestingly, the name “Midwich” sounds much like “midwife” but with the emphasis of “witch” modifying the second syllable. In this mutation of the word midwife we see the ego’s xenophobic, witch-hunting view of the evolutionary birth. Rather than being a selfless midwife, it would rather burn the witches, the new children who possess the dangerous magic and represent change.

Besides his role as midwife, Zellaby has some other commonalties with the Overlords. He is obviously more intelligent and technologically sophisticated than the average human, and he is, like the Overlords, barren. Zellaby and his wife have never been able to conceive a child. So, at first, the Zellabys greet their pregnancy with the enthusiasm of Abraham and Sarah receiving a miraculous blessing from God.

With inhuman speed the pregnancies come to term and all the women give birth to exceptionally large and healthy babies. But the prodigal infants seem to be racially different and unique; they have large golden eyes and platinum blonde hair. The infants grow and develop, physically and mentally, with unnatural speed. It becomes apparent that they have extraordinary powers. For example, after one mother accidentally pricks her daughter with a safety pin she is found compulsively stabbing herself with the pin. Apparently, the superior alien will of the child mind pressured her into this self-violence.

Homogestalt

Zellaby also discovers that the children, like the new children in Childhood’s End, have a collective consciousness. Collective consciousness turns up frequently in expressions of the Singularity Archetype and merits some examination. In Theodore Sturgeon’s science-fiction novel, More than Human, a group of mutants, who each have distinctly different strengths and weaknesses, form a collective consciousness while retaining some individuality and become, in many ways, a single entity where each mutant serves in a specialized role, as if they were organs of a single body. Sturgeon coined the term “homogestalt” to describe this new entity. Similarly, more recent abduction testimony has emphasized the “greys” as having a hive-like collectivity, and this is experienced as another threatening aspect of their alien otherness.

There are a number of possible reasons for this collective consciousness motif appearing in so many permutations of this archetype. One is that it may be a fairly literal indicator of evolutionary change. If the ego ceases to dominate the human psyche, then perhaps the boundaries that it creates around the individual will dissipate and we will become more collectively aware. The shells of the oysters dissolve and the pearls lie together. From the ego’s point of view this would be a catastrophic loss of personal identity. This is also a typical ego view of that other attractor, death. From this pessimistic ego view, humans travel from dust to dust, and are simply returned to the undifferentiated source from which they are thought to emerge.

Enantiodromia

But if this were all that the evolutionary step amounted to it would be regressive and not evolutionary. Instead of expanding the immense novelty of individual identity, it would be contracting it a homogenous mass with a great decrease in complexity. Certainly there are many cycles in nature that reverse themselves, that oscillate between extremes. Jung called this process of returning to the opposite, “enantiodromia,” a term he borrowed from Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher. The ego fears, somewhat reasonably, that the evolutionary process will be enantiodromia, nature just pressing the reset button and erasing all the individual differentiation it sacrificed so much to create. But the Singularity Archetype tells us that the pendulum of enantiodromia, viewed from the right perspective, is an evolutionary spiral.

The evolutionary step may not be a loss of individuality, but rather an expansion of individual consciousness into collective awareness. This was true of the homogestalt being in More than Human. Another example occurs in Frank Herbert’s Dunebooks, where we see one of the most sophisticated developments of the Singularity Archetype and a number of forms of homogestalt consciousness. In the world of Dune, the Bene Gesserit are a highly conscious sisterhood that have been trying to assist human evolution for thousands of years. To reach the inner circle of the Bene Gesserit and achieve the most exalted rank within the sisterhood, Reverend Mother, an initiate must take an ultra powerful psychotropic known as “the water of life.” If the initiate survives ingestion of this substance, she becomes a Reverend Mother. A Reverend mother retains individual consciousness but also has access to the psyches of all Reverend Mothers who have come before. Individual consciousness evolves to become both individual and collective.

Another possible causation of the collective consciousness motif in these stories is that it is an expression of the boundary dissolution that occurred when the writer’s imagination contacted the collective unconsciousness. This possibility is not mutually exclusive of the aforementioned one, and it is quite likely that both may be present and working in parallel with each other. A recurring motif in these visions, inextricably related to the collective consciousness, involves a new means of communication transcending speech. Conventionally, we think of telepathy as projecting a voice into someone’s head. But conventional telepathy wouldn’t be much of an improvement over speaking aloud, or calling someone on the telephone. More sophisticated visions of this new means of communication allow for a direct transmission of the self, and this becomes the medium through which individual and collective consciousness can merge.

In The Midwhich Cuckoos, unlikeChidlhood’s End, there is an interesting limitation of communication and collective consciousness among the new children. Zellaby notices that what one child learns or knows is instantly available to all the other children who are of the same gender, but the communication does not cross gender lines. Here we see what is probably another manifestation of an ego fear about the evolutionary change. That the children have a collective awareness is threatening enough, but for collective awareness to transcend gender boundaries is intolerable to contemplate even in an alien species.
Androgyny

Androgyny, at least a significant lessening of gender differentiation, if not its disappearance, surfaces again and again as an element of the evolutionary change. A good example is the “greys.” In addition to oversized eyes, telepathic ability and collective consciousness, they are also notably androgynous in appearance. Gender differentiation has not necessarily disappeared, however, as many who report contact with these creatures will say that they were able to sense gender in them even if they couldn’t visually discern gender characteristics. There are also numerous cases of contactees who claim to have had sex with these creatures. In the Dune Books, the collective consciousness of a Reverend Mother is limited to other female Reverend Mothers. But the whole point of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood’s thousand-year-long plan of genetic manipulation is to create a messianic being they call the Kwitzaz Haderach, a male Reverend Mother whose consciousness will transcend the gender limits that constrain them. Themes and images of androgyny are deeply entwined in many manifestations of the Singularity Archetype. Androgyny is feared by the ego both for its connection to evolutionary change and because it is a state of dissolved boundaries.

Pseudospeciation

From the ego’s point of view, these new children represent a hostile, alien, competing life form. Nature has played a trick, like the cuckoo bird leaving its young in another bird’s nest. It is acknowledged that the children are superior, however, and since they are racially distinct they must be racially superior. In the black-and-white classic 1960 film version the children look distinctly Aryan, as if they were cloned by Nazi scientists. Here we may have a case of shadow projection. The Nazis projected their shadow onto the Jews and claimed there was a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, while the Nazis actively pursued world domination themselves. Here we have a British psyche creating imperialistic aliens determined to dominate a lesser species.

The fear that a new intelligent species will be bent on our destruction goes beyond the ego. Michael Murphy, in The Future of the Body,discusses a speculation about racism postulated by evolutionary biologists. These biologists use the term pseudospeciation to refer to the human tendency to view other racial groups as though they were a competing species. This pseudospeciation may have biological roots, as it’s possible that Homo sapiens achieved evolutionary dominance by killing off other competing hominid species. In The Midwhich Cuckoos the children, although perfectly human in appearance and gestated in human mothers, are supposed to be a completely different species. In Childhood’s End, the new children are an evolutionary development of the human species. The new children ofChildhood’s End would also have to be considered a new species, since a species is defined as a grouping of organisms that can mate and bear live young. Once the new children are born the old humans become sterile, and the soon-to-be extinct Homo sapiens species is demoted the status of living fossils. But at least in Childhood’s End the new children are acknowledged as descendants and not as completely other or alien. The older humans accept evolution and allow themselves to be supplanted.

In the world of the The Midwich Cuckoos, however, this evolutionary change is fought tooth and claw. Besides Midwich, there are other circular areas on the planet that have spawned alien children. But these other places are not as civilized as Britain and they treat their children more harshly. In the Irkutsk region near the borders of Outer Mongolia, for example, both the children and their mothers, who are presumed to have slept with devils, are killed. Another colony occurs in a Russian town. At first the Russians decide to cultivate what seem like a flock of potential geniuses, but when the children’s uncanny powers start to manifest they use a nuclear projectile and wipe out the whole town where the children are growing.

Zellaby personifies an idealized face of the ego with all its civilized veneer. He’s interested in the children for the sake of science and so forth, but ultimately he decides that his group of children must die too. His method of genocide is extremely interesting. He enters their classroom with a briefcase full of dynamite and then he visualizes a brick wall in his mind when the children try to probe his psyche. He shuts out communication by conjuring a wall in his mind. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect symbol of repression! The ego feels it can only protect itself by putting up a psychic wall between itself and the collective awareness of the children.

Village of the Damned, Childhood’s Endand Jung

Jung died in 1961 when the UFO myth was just getting started, and it would be interesting to know what he would have thought of the development of this mythology to include abduction experiences and all sorts of other elaborations. (Again, by referring to UFO lore as a mythology, I do not mean to imply that its source is purely imagination and that there aren’t real phenomena at its center.) In 1995, The Midwich Cuckoos/ Village of the Damned UFO story continued its evolution.
Village of the Damned—a New Variation

In the Spring of 1995, horror director John Carpenter released a remake of Village of the Damned. The new version was reasonably faithful to the original, but with some interesting variations. Since the new version occurs in the Nineties instead of the Fifties, the pregnant mothers face a decision on whether or not to bring their pregnancies to term. Simultaneously, they all have an archetypal dream, and apparently as a result of it they decide to keep the babies. When the new children are born, they all look human except for one. There is one female infant that looks completely alien and it is immediately removed from the mother. It is either stillborn or destroyed. As the infants become children it is observed that they always walk in male/female pairs, and that the pairs are constant as if the children were divided into a series of married couples. There is one boy, however, who walks at the end of the line alone, and appears to be the only one without a mate. This boy, whose name is David, is also unique in being empathic while the other children are impersonal and ruthless.

At one point in the story Zellaby finds David wandering alone in a cemetery. Asked what he is doing, the boy replies, “Looking for the baby. The one who was born with us. The one who died.”Zellaby is astonished, because the children were never told about the baby. David reveals that the dead infant was meant to be his mate. Here we have an interesting variation on the human/alien hybrid theme. This pairing is more polarized than the others, as this boy’s intended mate was much closer to being an alien. Also this boy is much more human than the other new children as he exhibits an acute empathy for others. This empathy is heightened by the pain and suffering he feels as the one left behind without a mate. Ultimately, when the other children are destroyed, his life is spared and he is rescued by his mother. His survival makes him seem a kind of messianic Subject Zero, gifted in both psychic powers and empathy, and we are left with the hopeful feeling that evolution may somehow continue through him. This new variation is an improvement over the original ending where the ego, personified by Zellaby, destroys the children and itself with them.

A Troubling Synchronicity

But the new film version adds a strange unintentional piece to the story. To understand this additional piece will require a working understanding of a principle that Jung referred to as “synchronicity.” Many of you are no doubt already familiar with the term, if you aren’t, a brief explanation follows, but I would also recommend reading Jung’s Synchronicity: The Acausal Connecting Principle. Synchronicities also have an evolutionary significance that will be discussed later in the chapter.

Jung defined synchronicity as an “acausal connecting principle.” In other words, synchronicity describes relationships that are not mediated by cause and effect, but instead by parallel, acausal relationships. Jung was searching for a way to account for those uncanny, completely improbable “coincidences” (assumption of randomness) where something from the inner life and something from the outer world would “synch up.” Jung developed this concept of synchronicity after some discussions with Albert Einstein and later he worked closely with Nobel Prize winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli. At the time, Jung’s theory of synchronicity was speculative, but we now know from the findings of quantum mechanics that parallel, acausal relationships do exist in the physical world.

A classic illustration of synchronicity that Jung relates concerns a female patient of his whose progress in analysis was blocked by her excessive rationalism. One day this woman came to her session very excited. She had just had a “big” dream that involved Jung. In the denouement of her dream Jung had appeared and handed her a golden scarab, an object that she recognized as an Egyptian symbol of immortality. As she was relating the dream, Jung noticed a tapping sound coming from the window of his consulting room. He opened the window and a golden, scaraboid beetle, not native to the area of Switzerland where his consulting room was, flew into the room. Jung caught the insect in his hand and when the woman related the moment in the dream where Jung gave her a golden scarab he opened his hand and presented her with a living, golden, scaraboid beetle. This intense Synchronicity punctured her superficial rationalism and she was able to progress with her analysis. Jung could find no causal agency that would explain why this insect would go against its natural instincts and demand admittance to a darkened room.

A personal example of synchronicity involves a day some years ago when I was reading Jung’s book, Synchronicity, the Acausal Connecting Principle. At the time I was living in the East Village area of Manhattan and was reading the book in the public library. In the passage I was reading, Jung recounted a series of synchronistic events that began with dreaming about a fish. He awoke from the dream and the first book he opened had a picture of a fish. Then there was a fish for lunch, and later he saw a dead fish on the sidewalk, etc. I remember being greatly underwhelmed by this anecdote. A fish is such a common thing, I thought. If you were looking for it of course it would seem to be everywhere. I gathered up my stuff, exited the library, and walked the two blocks to my apartment building. I unlocked the outer door of my building and walked up the four flights of stairs to my apartment. Someone had drawn a picture of a fish in white chalk on the door!

Most people reading this can no doubt provide personal examples of such striking synchronicities that are hard to dismiss as meaningless coincidence. They seem to become more frequent when one is exploring the psyche or involved in some creative enterprise, especially if it has a deep collective significance.

Synchronicities reveal that the inner microcosm of the psyche and the outer macrocosm of the external world have parallelisms. Inner and outer are not as separate as we have been brought up to believe. Synchronicities show us that there is a connecting principle. It also seems that highly charged psychic contents are more likely to be paralleled by synchronicities. It should not be surprising, therefore, that highly charged collective visions of the Singularity Archetype may also have accompanying synchronicities. In the two film versions of Village of the Damned we see particularly interesting synchronicities involved with the casting of the character Dr. Zellaby (renamed Dr. Alan Chaffee in 1995), whom I’ve suggested is a personification of the ego.

In the original film Zellaby is played by George Sanders who portrays the character as an urbane, dignified, sensitive and compassionate man. The ego is given the most sympathetic face possible and the audience is led to identify with Dr. Zellaby as a courageous, intelligent hero facing alien evil. Sanders pulls this off magnificently, but it is interesting to note that he himself was an almost archetypal personification of the dark side of the ego. Apparently he was egoistic and sadistic to a degree remarkable even for a film star gone bad. In 1960, the same year Village of the Damnedwas released, he published his autobiography entitled: Memoirs of a Professional Cad.

Encarta dictionary defines cad: “Ungentlemanly man: a man who does not behave as a gentleman should, especially toward a woman (dated).”

A biography was written about Sanders posthumously. It was entitled, A Perfectly Awful Man. In 1972 he committed suicide and left behind a suicide note in which he listed boredom as the main reason for his suicide. Sanders was obviously role cast as a personification of the darker side of the ego, but a much more striking synchronicity involved the casting of Christopher Reeve as Dr. Chaffee in the remake.

I feel some uncomfortable hesitation in pointing out this synchronicity because I don’t want to trifle with the personal tragedy of a real human being. But there seems to be such a striking message occurring here that I feel needs to be given a voice. Christopher Reeve was an archetypally appropriate casting choice to represent the idealized face of the ego presented by the character Dr. Chaffee. He was, of course, the actor chosen to play Superman, and I hardly need to point out the relationship of Superman and an ego ideal. Reeve was highly intelligent, tall, graced with an Olympian physique, patrician good looks and aristocratic bearing. Village of the Damned opened on April 28, 1995. Twenty-nine days later, on May 27, 1995, Reeve suffered his tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic.

Many people were shocked at the irony of someone who portrayed Superman becoming a quadriplegic. This particular type of injury seems a far more powerful reminder of human mortality and frailty than someone actually dying, which in our culture is usually an off-stage, abstracted event. In fact, an early death for a movie or rock star usually results in their being romanticized and idealized. But for the ego, quadriplegia is one of the most frightening mortal scenarios, involving the fears of loss of control, loss of sexual functioning and completely dependent helplessness. That quadraplegia happened to a man who was identified in the popular culture as Superman was striking enough irony in itself, but for Reeve to also be playing in the movie theaters as Dr. Chaffee when the accident occurred seems like more than a coincidence.

Again, it may seem irresponsible and lacking in compassion to symbolically interpret someone’s personal tragedy. But it really seems as though the collective were being sent a message—a profoundly disturbing message—of how the mighty ego is fallen. The ego strives mightily to be superman and to perfect the body and have control, fame and wealth. Rarely does someone like Christopher Reeve actually manage to achieve all those things. But fate can reverse all ego achievement in an instant. And to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, the medium of this disturbing message is a message in itself. A terrible accident occurs with an acausal link to collective mythology. The archetypal realm reveals that it has shocking power in the “real” world. It was for exactly this reason that Jung was alarmed when his German patients started to dream about Wotan, a Germanic god of war and mayhem. (Some claim him as Nordic; he is also called Odin.) Jung knew that what emerges in dreams emerges in the world. What emerges in films, which often manifest as technologically amplified collective dreams, also has a tendency to emerge into the “real” world. And the ego, for all its pretensions and efforts to deny mortality, may be fearfully aware that there is strange handwriting on the wall, and that its worst fears may well come true.

What is particularly disturbing in the case of Christopher Reeves is that, as Dr. Chaffee he is the character who ultimately destroys the children. Throughout the film, however, it is the children who bring punishment on those who harm them or whom they perceive as a threat. For example, the children force the woman scientist in charge of their colony to show them the preserved body of the infant girl that died. They observe a “T” shaped autopsy incision on the infant’s body. Later in the film they telekinetically pressure this scientist to make a T-shaped incision on her own body. The children seem to be exacting an eye for an eye version of karmic justice. The only character in the film on whom they are not able to exact this kind of justice is Dr. Chaffee. The synchronistic real life accident makes it appear as if their power were able to reach beyond the realm of the film fantasy and into the external world.

An interesting approach to this disturbing synchronicity begins with considering how perceptual bias alters external reality. The effect of the observer on what is observed is most obvious in the case of one human psyche perceiving another. If an egoistic psyche perceives a particular child to be bad and dangerous, the child is likely to act that way. Village of the Damned, and its ego point of view personified by Zellaby/Chaffee, perceives the evolutionary change as bad. They view the new human consciousness as a threat, a competing species bent on the domination and destruction of the older form. They are treated in kind by the children but ultimately succeed in destroying them. Their paranoid, fearful point of view constellates a paranoid world of fear, power and domination. The triumph of the ego over the new children in the film is bizarrely, disturbingly contradicted by the real life synchronicity of the actors who portray Zellaby/Chaffee. Sanders, in the same year the original Village of the Damned opened, celebrated his dark egoism with the publication of his autobiography: Memoirs of a Professional Cad.Later, like so many human victims in the film, he takes his own life. Reeves, best known for his portrayal of Superman, within days of the opening of the new version competes in an equestrian event, loses control of his horse and falls to the ground a quadriplegic.

One way of interpreting this message is as a threatening warning to the ego. If you perceive this evolutionary change from your accustomed vantage of imperialistic dominator, be ready for a fall. Other visions of the Singularity Archetype in the popular culture view it more sympathetically. For example, Powder, another 1995 film, is about a male adolescent mutant. Powder’s mother was not impregnated by a UFO, but in an equally cosmic birth scenario she is struck by lightning while pregnant. Lightning is a cosmic phenomenon that connects higher and lower when they become too polarized. The mother dies, but her unborn son lives and is transformed by this heavenly intervention. Powder lives, but at the cost of the older form. He is born in an incubator, and we meet him as a male adolescent lacking the care of a mother. Powder is kept hidden in the basement by his grandparents. He is an albino and weird things happen when he is around electrical energy. Powder has powers similar to those of the children in Village of the Damned, including genius-level intelligence and telepathic abilities. Ordinary people in the town shun, scapegoat and persecute him mercilessly. But Powder, like David, is uniquely gifted as an empath. Like David, he is solitary and unable to find a mate. In this film the evolutionary development personified by this mutant adolescent male is viewed as threatening to unconscious, egoistic people, but in fact, the feared mutant turns out to be especially gifted with love and free of the dark limitations of the ego. Those who come from the egoistic, xenophobic point of view project their shadow onto the new form. In the film, there is a policeman who has a particular, instinctive animosity toward Powder. In one scene we see him leading a group of sadistic boys, who also persecute Powder, on a deer hunt. The deer hunting behavior reveals that this male tribe believes it has a natural right to dominate and destroy less powerful life forms. And this is why they fear and want to destroy Powder. They see Powder in their own image and unconsciously assume that because he is superior that he must want to destroy them.

During the course of the hunt, a policeman shoots a deer. Powder is horrified and tries to put his hands on the dying animal to comfort or heal it. At that moment Powder personifies the wounded healer and he empathically feels the helpless agony of the dying animal. While he is in this empathic state he grabs the arm of the policeman and causes him to feel what the deer is feeling. Powder later explains that he did this because he knew the policeman wasn’t conscious of what he was doing and the suffering he was creating. The policeman has a complete spiritual change after this experience, gets rid of his entire gun collection, and ceases to be an aggressor. If we accept the policeman/hunter as the personification of the world of the ego—the patriarchal realm of governmental control and dominator mentality—we see that the new form has the ability to transform the ego by forcing empathic awareness into it.
Dream of a Transforming but still Dangerous Ego

If we personify the collective ego for a moment, we can say that he has been sent powerful messages and is more than intelligent enough to be aware of his predicament. But even the dark side of the ego is capable of learning and evolving. He’s already tried the Antichrist scenario during World War II with Hitler and the Nazis. He may have learned that completely unleashing his rage and will to power may be inherently self-defeating. Perhaps the ego is no longer quite sure that it wants to kill the mother, the living planet that has spawned him. The ego is highly intelligent and may be struggling to read the disturbing handwriting on the wall.

These comments on the growth potential of the ego would not have originally been included but for a dream that I had the night before I was to complete this section on the ego. Although this dream could be read as an unflattering depiction of the state of my own power complex, the timing of the dream, occurring just before I was to wake up and write about the role of the ego in evolution, inclines me to believe that the dream has a collective meaning.

In the dream I am present only as a witness or disembodied point of view. A group of people is standing before an enormously complex, futuristic control panel that has the curved amphitheater shape of the keyboard of a great pipe organ. Information in the form of rapidly moving green LED numbers is pouring out of the control panel. The control panel has been made to be esthetically pleasing and to have a “natural” look of polished wood and green transparent panels. But part of the numerical display on the right hand side is erratic and there is obviously a malfunction. The control panel is apparently a new prototype. A man in military garb who is sitting at the control panel is in a state of acute panic. He is afraid because at the center of the small group of white-coated scientists viewing the malfunction of the control panel is Darth Vader. But Darth Vader does not look like he does in the Star Wars films. To my surprise, I see that Vader’s appearance is altered. He is wearing an abbreviated version of his famous black outfit and no breath mask or helmet. His head is exposed and he has the mustachioed, elegant, intelligent face of an elderly Vincent Price. To be more exact, this is the face of Vincent Price shortly before his death when he appeared in Tim Burton’s film Edward Scissorhands. In the dream, Darth Vader seems uncannily intelligent and patient. He has a visible aura of power that shrouds his head like a hood, but he also seems frail and elderly.

The scene shifts and we see Darth Vader walking on a dirt road below a wall of natural rock, a side of a small canyon or cliff. He is elegantly, aristocratically dressed in an immaculate white suit. He seems extremely intelligent, dignified and in control, but as before there is the undisguised frailty of age. A bodyguard, a brutal young man wearing a light colored suit stands with his hand on his gun. The gun, in a very phallic manner, is bulging from his trouser pocket and he stands ready, even anxious to use it at the first sign of trouble. Vader strolls with perfect composure paying no attention to the bodyguard who, to him, is merely a background detail. Vader is staring curiously at the wall of rock. There are Egyptian hieroglyphs drawn on the wall in colored chalk. It is known that the designs were drawn very recently by adolescents. The dream ends with him looking curiously at the hieroglyphs.

Darth Vader, as the Star Wars character, is an almost archetypal personification of the demoniac aspect of the ego and the highly related concept of the patriarchal. When we experience him in Star Wars: A New Hope, the first film, he appears to be completely motivated by the will to power. He hides his humanity behind a mask, his costume clothes him in technology, and the shape of his helmet has an obvious Nazi aesthetic. He is man trying to become machine. But Vader is also the most complex of the Star Wars characters, and he undergoes the most transformation.

In The Empire Strikes Back we see a fascinating glimpse of Vader’s humanity. He is apparently in his private apartment, which is a very small bombproof cubicle with an utterly functional interior of control panels and metal surfaces. This interior is Vader’s cocoon, a small lightproof, airtight container, a little high-tech thermos insulating him from anything alive. Then, for a moment, we are shown a single glimpse of the back of his unhelmeted head, which reveals that there is vulnerable, scarred human tissue under the costume. He is a human being, and not merely an archetype of evil.

As the trilogy of films continues, especially as we near the end of The Return of the Jedi, it becomes apparent that Vader, whose psyche originally seemed to be electrified by a pure will to power, is now torn between power and love for his son, Luke Skywalker. In the dramatic duel scene inThe Empire Strikes Back, Vader, in an effort to seduce Luke into an alliance, makes the statement,“Join me, and together we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.” The patriarchal will to power, with its pretense of rationalism, is obvious in the phrase, ” . . . bring order to the galaxy.” But there is also for the first time a suggestion that Vader might be weary of war and does not favor destruction as an end in itself. He is intelligent enough to want to ” . . . end this destructive conflict . . .” Vader, like the ego, may be aware that he is in a conflict with another powerful principle that he cannot fully dominate, and he may be growing weary of the struggle. And then there is the opposing love principle in his statement, the emphasis on “joining” and being “together.”

By the end of The Return of the Jedi, Vader’s transformation is complete and he has sided decisively with love and surrendered power. He accepts his mortality and in his dying scene asks his son to remove his breath mask so that they can have a moment of human contact. Vader/the ego gives up the power principle, acknowledges love and immediately thereafter perishes. Unfortunately, Vader doesn’t end there and at the very end of the film we see a reborn Vader in a scintillating astral body, hanging out with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Apparently he’s achieved instantaneous forgiveness for committing genocide on numerous planets and can now spend eternity dancing with the Ewoks, or whatever. If World War II were refashioned in this way we’d have Adolph Hitler and Anne Frank skipping down the yellow brick road together.

Darth Vader’s transformation in the Star Wars films represents one possible developmental track for the ego. From a place of utterly unfeeling will to power he grows weary, discovers love, surrenders and dies. There are numerous actual cases in which particular human egos have traveled this exact developmental path. Let’s consider a hypothetical case history of a man in his fifties who is a ruthless, hard-driving workaholic businessman. Ambition was more important to this businessman than his family, and his marriage ended in divorce and estrangement from his children. But now he is in the hospital dying of cancer. His only son comes to visit him, and seeing his dying father hooked up to tubes and machines, he feels a sudden empathy for this brutal man that he never experienced before. The father, in return, feels an overwhelming love for his son who will live after he is gone. He surrenders his ego, accepts mortality, and dies.

The ego, in some collective sense, may also be aware that it is aging and has cancer, just as Vincent Price obviously was during the filming ofEdward Scissorhands. As an association occurring in my dream, I remember finding Vincent Price’s poignant role in the film made more poignant by my having read that he was ailing with cancer when he played the role, and that it was his last film. His character in the film also dies in a poignant way, and Tim Burton, who had a great personal affection for Vincent Price, cast him aware that he was dying.

The imagery of the dream suggests that the ego is interested in rehabilitating its image. But one gets the feeling that these public relations efforts to reveal a kinder, gentler ego should be viewed with a certain suspicion and wariness. For example, the “natural” green and wood-toned control panel may be viewed as an attempt at subterfuge or misdirection. It is shaped like the keyboard of a giant “pipe organ,” so it also represents a phallic will to control. It is a cosmetic softening of what is either the control panel of a Death Star or some Luciferian control panel for the earth. The ego is closely allied with what Jung called the “persona”—the outward, socialized mask we present to the world. The ego wears an immaculate white suit in the second part of the dream, as might befit the British Viceroy of India at the height of Imperialism. The suit, with its aristocratic all-whiteness, carries an association of racial superiority. The immaculate whiteness is also a striking contrast to the natural setting of the dirt road and canyon or cliff wall of raw rock. The ego obviously still feels superior and apart from messy nature, which must be put under control. And for all the ego’s veneer of civilization, and dignified bearing, nearby is the brutal, phallic bodyguard, his hand hoping to draw the gun. The panic of the soldier at the control panel was no doubt a realistic response to a Vader who still holds an iron fist beneath his white linen gloves.

From one point of view, we could say that the devil hath the power to assume a somewhat more pleasing shape. The ego, no doubt, has cards up its sleeve. Perhaps it is allowing itself to appear mortal and vulnerable so that we let down our guard. Possibly there is a laboratory on the Death Star where scientists work round the clock building a cyborg body for the ego. It plans to transform itself into a cyborg and achieve technological immortality and everlasting freedom from the living, dying organic world. The ego is a resilient structure and it has a genius for creating illusion and deception. One would have to be a really gifted paranoiac to invent motives and subterfuges darker and more devious then those of the power-oriented ego.

Although these suspicions are more than warranted, my inclination is to view the dream as a message about the ego’s transforming duality. Its Luciferian aspect is still clearly present. Call me paranoid, but there’s something about a guy named Darth Vader standing before a world control panel that I can’t fully trust. On the other hand, the ego is not in control of the dream, and there is a feeling that the elderly Vincent Price aspect of him is also real. I think that the ego is in a schizoid place right now, and is not sure where he stands. The efforts at power, control and deception are still there, but he is also aware that the control panel is malfunctioning, that its body is aged and there is strange adolescent handwriting on the walls. But before we consider the ego’s possibly transformed awareness of mortality, let’s consider the relationship of its Luciferian aspect to nature.
The Ego and Nature

Just as Lucifer, according to the Bible, was once the brightest angel before the fall, the ego was once nature’s brightest, most favored prodigy. Lucifer, according to the Bible, was created by God, even though he sets himself apart from God and plays an adversarial role. Similarly, the ego was created by nature, even though it sets itself apart from nature and plays an adversarial role. Is God really separate from Lucifer, his own creation? Is nature really separate from the human ego, its creation?

Nature created an interventional, adversarial species that extrudes technology and environmental toxins. If the human species and its ego are mistakes, then we might as well blame nature. The ego is a child of nature as much as a daisy or a virus. To understand the ego, we must discredit the view that it is unnatural. It is actually the ego itself that wants to view itself as unnatural. Like Lucifer, it’s trying hard to forget where it came from and where it’s going back to.

Many people, coming from the ego, use the term “natural” in a way that is filled with deception. I’m not sure that anything is outside of nature. Is the Empire State Building less natural than a beehive, or are they both structures created by earth organisms out of patterned energy? Most people call “natural” that which they prefer. For example, homosexuality, even though it occurs in thousands of species and all human societies will be judged by some people as “unnatural.” Those same people will view manmade social institutions, like the particular form of marriage approved of by their culture, as “natural.” And, of course, it is claimed that God endorses these ego preferences. The God such people worship is really a man in a white suit who has their identical prejudices.

“Natural” carries an unconscious association with a Rousseau-like, sentimentalized view of kindly, gentle mother nature. For example, many food products boast that they have “all natural ingredients.” But a soup made of cobra venom, scorpion tails and bubonic plague could make the identical claim. Polio virus is natural, the vaccine is manmade. The ego is natural, if anything is, and the tendency to view the ego as bad because it is distinctively human is in itself an ego-based illusion.

The ego, in its Darth Vader personification in the dream, may be slightly reforming its relationship to nature. Although it stands before the control panel with white-coated scientists and later strolls in a suit of sterile whiteness, it has made, at least, some aesthetic concessions to nature. The “natural” look of the control panel is in striking contrast to the synthetic high-tech look of Vader’s world in the films. Perhaps the natural-look control panel, which may be a world control panel, reflects a dawning concern the ego has for controlling the environment in a way that doesn’t destroy it. Similarly, many of the corporate, ego and power based entities that contributed to the toxification of the environment are beginning to realize that destruction of the biosphere will eventually be bad for business and the bottom line.

A much more significant concession to nature is Vader’s willingness to expose his frail, aging face. In the dream, this felt like a profound concession to mortality. Vader also shows some interest in stepping out of his cocoon and into the outside world of nature. He walks on a dirt road and looks at a natural rock face. He is seen struggling to understand evolving human nature as expressed by the colored hieroglyphic chalk drawings of the adolescents.

The ego’s personification is dual. He is both Darth Vader, who is in himself dual, and Vincent Price. From the deception point of view we could suspect the ego of wanting to gain sympathy. Vincent Price was always the camp icon of horror films. His flamboyant portrayal of characters who were supposed to be sinister and ominous always seemed arch and humorously entertaining. Almost no one takes Vincent Price seriously as a personification of evil in the way people do take seriously Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lechter, for example. We might, therefore, suspect the ego of wanting to make light of any fears of it as boogey man.

But I am more inclined to view this Vincent Price aspect of the ego as revelatory, rather than deceptive. Although the ego borrows the physiognomy of Price’s face, he doesn’t show a trace of his humor, and there’s nothing campy about his appearance or manner. The face seems more a revelation of true form rather than a borrowed disguise.

Let’s also consider the role that Vincent Price played in Edward Scissorhands, which I believe to be a central and intended association of the dream. Vincent Price, in Edward Scissorhands, is some sort of eccentric genius, a fairy tale mad scientist who seems as much an alchemist as a technological inventor. Like the actor portraying him, he is at the end of his career and near death. And his final invention is also his only son.

Again, we have a strange duality. From one point of view, Price would seem to be a reincarnation of Dr. Frankenstein, the ego as technological Prometheus seeking to rival and surpass nature’s progenerative power. Like Dr. Frankenstein he is creating birth completely without the feminine, as he is the father of a son with no mother.

But unlike Dr. Frankenstein, Price seems very loving and kindly. Perhaps he has created Edward aware that his own demise is approaching and loves Edward as much as any father loves his only son. Edward, like Frankenstein (remember his gentle affection for the little girl), is an unexpectedly feminine creature despite this all-masculine birth. He is portrayed by Johnny Depp as androgynous, sensitive, gentle and caring. Price’s meddling with nature has brought something of great value into the world. One is reminded of the belief of the great alchemist Paracelsus that man is here to finish God’s work, to finish nature.

The first words we hear Edward speak, however, are, “I’m not finished.” He is referring to his mutant, metallic hands that would apparently have been replaced by normal looking hands but for the untimely demise of Price before his creation could be finished. These technological hands, which look frightening, are capable of astonishing utility and creativity. But they also make it hard for Edward to do some of the ordinary tasks of daily life like dressing and eating and he frequently, inadvertently, wounds himself.

If the ego is, in a sense, the father, Edward himself is a hybrid. His “unfinished” technological hands give him creative power over nature as when he sculpts hedges into amazing creatures. The creative gardener is an almost archetypal personification of man augmenting nature. But Edward, unlike the ego, seeks love, not power, and his too powerful, technological hands make this hard for him. Edward is a variation on Subject Zero, an adolescent mutant unsure of his identity. The technological proficiency that is an ingrained part of his being is much like that of a modern adolescent who has grown up in a world of television, cars and computers; he is innately adept at using these tools and would feel like an amputee without them. But at the same time there is an awareness that these powerful gifts can be harmful, that they can cause self-inflicted wounds and make love difficult. The ego, in his Vincent Price aspect, is reminding us that he is the father of Subject Zero, the adolescent mutant, and that he cannot be separated from the fate of the next evolutionary step.

Here again we have a strange paradoxical duality. It is true that new life builds on prior forms and the present ego-based psyche will have strong familial connections with whatever succeeds it. The patriarchal ego may have a certain paternal claim. But we also have the ego usurping the power of nature, and claiming the feminine role in creation. The ego, as the story of Frankenstein reminds us, is not to be trusted in the role of creator. The feminine cannot be left out of creation, but the ego prefers an exclusively masculine world. Dr. Frankenstein and Frankenstein, Price and Edward, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker—each is a father with his only son and mothers are conspicuously absent. Powder’s mother dies in the cosmic event that creates his transformation. Presumably Vader had a female consort, but, at least in the first cycle of films, we never hear of her and her children apparently don’t know her. Vader has a daughter, Princess Leah, but he shows little interest in joining with her.

The ego in the dream is surrounded by male scientists, soldiers and bodyguards. His demeanor and presence personifies what Jung referred to as the solar phallic or higher masculine power identified with mind and will. But nearby is the chthonic or lower phallic power of the bodyguard with his relation to power-oriented sex on the level of the genitalia, brutal violence and domination. We see higher and lower phallic principles combined in a typical dream image/word pun in the control panel, which is shaped like a great organ. The ego is as male as ever and it wants to usurp the feminine role in creation. Perhaps that’s another meaning of the green and wood-toned control panel.

In the waking life we certainly see the ego standing before control panels altering nature. White coated or suited ego personifications introduce genetically altered microorganisms, plants and animals into our world. Once we foraged in the forest, then we learned to use our hands to make gardens and farms, but now ego-driven multinational corporations mediate with nature for us and grow genetically altered crops in chemical fertilizers, which are sprayed with pesticides, irradiated, and sold in microwaveable plastic at the supermarket. We’ve allowed the ego to be in charge of nature and progeneration and can’t be sure where that process will end. Given the opportunity to fulfill its ambitions, perhaps the ego will create artificial intelligence that will propagate itself in a virtual world that will beChildhood’s End. Is it possible for the ego to create an alternative or parallel evolutionary track to that of the human species? Consider how much computers have evolved in the last fifty years compared to fifty years of human evolution. The ego might seek to avoid mortality by using artificial life to replace or mutate organic evolution. For your next life time, why be reborn by messy, inefficient mother nature when you can be rebooted by Microsoft Turbo-Genesis Incarnation version 7.1?

Perhaps the ego has a cybernetic card up its sleeve. In the dream, however, the Vader/Price character seems to be feeling its age and acknowledging its mortality. Similarly, heads of multinational corporations and governments read the statistical projections and know they must content themselves with managing the end of the world. In the dream the ego sees that there is handwriting on the wall. The hieroglyphic handwriting is colorful and adolescent. Since the markings are made with chalk they are recent and temporally fragile, but they also resonate with the ancient world and appear Egyptian. Its hieroglyphic expression suggests the archetypes and the collective unconscious. In the Jungian literature there is a famous example of the timeless memory of the collective unconscious in the dream of a modern girl that manifests motifs of ancient Egyptian mythology unknown to her waking self. Terence McKenna’s most seminal book is called The Archaic Revival, and he discusses the revival, especially popular with adolescents, of the archaic practices of body piercing, drum circles, paganism, magic, herbal healing and the use of natural hallucinogens. Aspects of the ancient world are returning through the young and the ego isn’t sure what to make of them, but it may be intelligent enough to sense that they are harbingers of change beyond its control. The spatial occurrence of the hieroglyphs in the dream is also significant. They are far over the head of the ego and several body lengths out of reach.

The dream tells us that the ego is still powerful, still dangerous, yet also a paradoxical, complex entity with conflicting motives and self-ambivalence. It may be nearing the end of its life, but it will not be without a role in the creation of what’s to come.
Other Changes as we Approach the Singularity

Heightened Recognition of Synchronicity

Our discussion of the transforming ego was part of a larger speculative discussion about what changes might be anticipated as we get closer to the event horizon. All of these areas of change overlap each other as any changes in one core aspect of the psyche affect every other, and every change in the psyche also means change in the outer world we live in. From the broadest perspective the change may be viewed as the merging of the inner psychic sphere and the outer external world, a converging of the realms of spirit and matter. These realms are already far more connected than most realize and pulling back the veil of illusion would be an enormous shift in itself. The ordinary perspective of a modern person is that the inner psychic world and the outer world are separate realms. Synchronicities, if they are not dismissed out of hand as meaningless coincidences, are viewed as anomalies, rare and exceptional cases of the distinction between inner and outer breaking down. My intuition tells me that recognition of the overlap between inner and outer will increase synergistically with what will appear to be the increasing interaction and merger of the two. We can expect a great intensification of apparent synchronicities, particularly for people who are tuned in to the evolutionary process. As we get very close to the Singularity we may find that synchronicities become the rule, rather than the exception. Perhaps everything is already a synchronicity and what we call synchronicities are those episodic moments of being able to recognize this principle. A different “physics” of reality may come into being. A shift in awareness of the physics of reality is in itself a shift in the physics of reality.

The Psyche in a Synchronistic Environment

We already spend time daily in a realm where the physics of reality appears to be very different and where synchronicity is the ruling principle. In our dreams we enter a realm that is more energetic and plastic. Let’s leave aside for a moment the possibility that other human psyches or various entities may engage, transform or create our dreams. If we consider dreams to be environments paralleling the psychological process, then everything that occurs in a dream is a synchronicity. Everything occurring in our dreaming environment parallels psychic content. The fluctuations of the dream environment not only parallel the dynamism of inner process, they are inner process—psyche and universe are one. Matter in dreams is spiritualized and can come into being, disappear or mutate in perfect synchronicity with psychic need. Time is no longer linear and the categories of past, present and future, as we have been conditioned to view them, no longer apply. Meaning and communication do not necessarily require words, and intentions can be expressed visually in an infinite vocabulary of images. T.S. Elliot created a term “objective correlative” to refer to objects in literary text that are there to parallel a particular emotion. A wilted rose in a poem may be the objective correlative of a disappointment in love, for example. In dreams, every object, person, or landscape is an objective correlative, so the psyche finds itself in an environment where everything is appropriate and related to inner meaning.

Some would say that this state of perfectly meaningful correspondence between psyche and environment is as true of the waking life as it is of dreams. We’ve been conditioned by a culturally transmitted irrational belief that inner and outer are separated in some consistent way. But the findings of quantum mechanics disprove the validity of such a separation. And if we don’t want to put our faith in quantum mechanics, we have the evidence of synchronicities in our waking life. Remember it only takes one white crow, one valid case of synchronicity in all of human history for the boundary wall between inner and outer to start looking like a thin film of Swiss cheese projected onto a movie screen. It is not always apparent how the bizarre content of a dream parallels or is the direct expression of our psyche. Our individual psyche is a mystery even to us. It should not surprise us, therefore, that we have trouble recognizing the universe of the waking life as a parallelism or expression of psyche. The universe of the waking life is probably paralleling and expressing a great aggregate of individual psyches, human and nonhuman. When we recognize a moment of the universe clearly mirroring our psyche in a way that we can understand we declare that moment a synchronicity. But it is possible that other moments are simply unrecognized synchronicities. We have to be careful about presumptions, conscious and unconscious, attached to our perceptions of synchronicities.

Some perceive synchronicities as coming from the outside. Such people believe God or the universe chooses at a particular moment to be more interactive with their psyche and delivers a miracle, blessing or sign. Others perceive the synchronicity as generated by their psyche and see it as evidence of themselves as magicians or Gods of their own universe. These two perceptions are the two faces of the coin of causation. One sees causality heading from a divine cosmic realm into the psyche, the other sees causality generated by the psyche and heading out to transform the outer world. But synchronicity, at least as conceived by Jung, is called “The Acausal Connecting Principle.”In the Jungian paradigm synchronicities are acausal parallelisms. But the only synchronicities we can talk about are the ones we can recognize. Perhaps the principle of acausal parallelism is always at work and it is our recognition of it that is merely episodic. Perhaps psyche and universe only seem to be more interactive when our ability to recognize inner and outer parallelism awakens. If so, our collective awakening to the perception of that parallelism would be a profound evolutionary shift. Such a profound shift in consciousness would be paralleled by a transformation of language and communication—the foundational “software” of our awareness.

Logos Beheld Instead of Heard

Terence McKenna has come to very similar conclusions about how things may change as we approach what he refers to as “the strange attractor.” He offers some especially important speculations about how communication may transform. McKenna refers to an ancient Jewish philosopher, Philo Judeus, who was a contemporary of Christ. Judeus believed that man would achieve metamorphosis when the Logos (the voice of God, truth or higher self) would no longer be heard as words but would be beheld. McKenna suggests that instead of hearing a person’s linguistic intentionality as words we would behold it visually. This is already the case in dreams. Fantasy extrapolations of the future of virtual reality often include this capability, and technological evolution tends to parallel psychic evolution.

There are also “white crow” instances where this type of communication may have actualized already. McKenna describes cases of language manifesting visually under the influence of powerful psychotropic substances. One example involved people under the influence of the tribal hallucinogen ayahuasca. Anthropologists once called ayahuasca “telepethine” because of persistent reports that it produced telepathic states. Reportedly, individuals in a group ayahuasca experience can sing nonverbal songs that will be experienced by the entire group consensually as changing colored forms. Musical intentionality occurs as both sound and imagery, and afterwards different individuals in the group will describe the visual symphony using the same adjectives of color and shape.

As we approach the Singularity, we may better be able to recognize our world as a consensual dream, a synchronistic environment. If our present world is already a synchronistic environment it may be the appropriate environment of psyches that are often blind, asleep, lacking in creative vitality and possibly in need of suffering as a developmental catalyst. Our toxification of the biosphere (fundamentally a psychological product) could certainly be viewed in that way. That may account for some of the heavy resistance and abrasiveness we experience in our world. It’s also possible to consider that we live in a “fallen” state where realms of matter and spirit only imperfectly and episodically parallel in a loving way. The realm of matter may need to be awakened and made more mutable and appropriately interactive by more vital, awakened psyches. We also, I believe, need an awakening to parasitic forces that benefit from our fallen state.

Shocks, Disasters and Chaotic Events

Looking toward the event horizon, the last and possibly most certain area of expectation we will consider is that there will be incredible shocks and very likely disastrous, chaotic events threatening the survival of the species. It seems in some ways irresponsible to join those making such dark forecasts, given the self-fulfilling nature of prophecy. It is also true that the future is unformed and that each of us every moment is a variable changing the composition of the species as it boils in the crucible of evolution. The nature of what we are drawing near is the unexpected, and all predictions are suspect and may be violated. Drastic climate change seems imminent, but there may be unknown wildcard variables that may introduce other changes of equal or greater magnitude. Certainly all predictive utterances, if only because they are made of words, will flatten and distort the mysterium tremendum of actuality.

Having said all this, it still remains the most obvious of all predictions to assert that we are headed toward some serious shocks and calamities. People who probably disagree with me on every other point will likely agree with this. But the information encoded again and again in the Singularity Archetype is that these devastating shocks, viewed from an angle of sufficient detachment and elevation, are necessary rites of initiation for an immature species desperately in need of growth. McKenna uses the analogy of an alien viewing a human mother giving birth. Everything about the process screams medical emergency. There is agony, weeping, blood, rending of tissue. To the uninitiated the process must appear a calamity. And in actuality the birth process is both risky and uncertain. It needs to be handled with love and care. But more often than not, even with imperfect care, the miracle succeeds and new life is brought into the world.

Note added on 11/28/05:

There are other areas of transformation I anticipate, though I did not originally write about them here. I discuss them at length in the DVDLooking Toward the Event Horizon. The list can always be expanded because to change one core attribute of an individual or species is to change all the others. For example, a change in a person’s spirituality is likely to mean changes in their eros or sexuality (and vice-versa). This will also likely be accompanied by changes in their relations to money, eating, time, power, ego and so forth. Some key areas of change I have written about elsewhere follow.

As we approach the event horizon I believe that we will become more aware of parasitic beings which have been coevolving with us for a long time and that are major, largely unrecognized players in individual and collective human psychology. Our relationship with them will mutate and metamorphose as we approach the singularity. For more on this coevolution see Mind Parasites, Energy Parasites and Vampires.

Our relationship to body is undergoing great transformation and change and I expect that process to dramatically intensify. See The Glorified Body—Metamorphosis of the Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution. Interwoven with our transformed relation to body will be transformations of our relations to gender, romance and the archetypal qualities of masculine and feminine—see Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom—-Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring.

Other cultures forecast a cycle of changes on a time scale that maps onto our present situation. This relates also to a transformed relationship to time. See The Mutant versus the Machine—the End of the Iron Age and the Galactic Alignment of 2012, A Splinter in your Mind , Clocktime Metastasizes toward 2012
and A Gnostic dream of 2012.

I’ve done a lot more work recently on visual communication as an emergent evolutionary theme and this work has been incorporated in a four-hour mp3, Logos Beheld, which is available at zaporacle.com. This theme relates strongly to the homogestalt idea and a new relationship between individual and collective consciousness and group telepathy.

The Problem of Evil and Suffering

The idea of necessary initiatory shock is not meant, however, to be a sufficient explanation of the problems of evil and suffering. The work of people who’ve really struggled with this problem, and who’ve been trained in ethics and philosophical discourse, is not replaced by some simple statement. And the infinite paradox of evil is not to be resolved in words. People sometimes, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, have a glib tendency to think they can explain evil away with clichés like, “God only gives you the burdens you need to bear.” But the recent memory of the Holocaust and other irredeemably evil events make such easy dismissals too disrespectful to utter even if they contain a large measure of truth. Perhaps if we said, “Often it seems that you are given burdens that you need to bear,” we would have a more acceptable principle. The tendency for the human mind to try to overreach itself when attempting to comprehend and communicate the incomprehensible should be taken like many, many grains of salt with the following statement: Much that we consider evil seems to be a developmental necessity for human beings.
Subcreation and the Developmental Need for Evil

A way to discover the developmental need of perceived evil is to set about the task of writing an interesting story. A person creating a story, like a dreamer, is required to generate a universe. J.R.R. Tolkien, referring to the particular genre of fantasy writing, called this process “subcreation.”The story maker, particularly the fantasy story maker, is a subcreator, a being who in relation to the world of his story is in direct analogy with God in relationship to the universe. Like the universe, a story is a world made of patterned energy. The story is a microcosmic universe that has many parallel operating principles in common with the macrocosmic universe. So it is very interesting to note that when you set about the task of writing an interesting story you are almost immediately obliged to create evil. A story that lacks elements of adversity is stillborn, sterile, synthetic, dead in the water like a plastic smile button floating on an endless sea of artificial rose bouquet air freshener. If you love and empathize with your characters then you may feel obliged to provide adversity for them that is beyond their present powers to deal with. Only by growing and becoming more conscious can they survive the trial.

What would Tolkien’s subcreated world of Middle Earth be like without Sauron, Saruman, Ringwraiths and orcs? Hobbits going on dates with other hobbits? We touched on this in the section on organisms and change. Organisms seek to maintain homeostasis, the equilibrium that they have dialed in. For the body, this is healthy, as it would be medically perilous if your blood pressure, heart rate or other bodily parameters fluctuated wildly and unpredictably. What is healthy for the body, which doesn’t evolve so much, is not so healthy for the psyche, which is either evolving or regressing. An even keel, a psychological and spiritual homeostasis is stagnation. This bifurcation of a the complex and dynamic process of the human psyche is captured by a Dylan lyric, “He who’s not busy being born is busy dying.” Since we tend to default into a conservative homeostasis, a stagnant cocoon or comfort zone, we need periodic shocks to stir things up. We need“punctuated equilibrium.” But to the conservative ego these disruptive shocks are likely to be judged as unfortunate and evil.

But it should also be pointed out that it is possible to write a story in which characters struggle with adversity that ultimately is too great for them. The British novelist Thomas Hardy, for example, has a particular empathy for characters in this situation. Life itself also generates a great many such human stories. Perhaps these stories are far more common in actuality than the more exceptional stories of the conscious hero. It may, therefore, be reasonable to consider the possibility that the human species faces adversity that may be too much for it to overcome.

If adversity is a developmental necessity, so too are love and a sufficiently strong, vital psyche. These elements occur in endless permutations in individual human lives. Quite often it appears that the combination is one of too much adversity, too little love and insufficient strength. Those who have faith in reincarnation may claim that a crushing lifetime may be a developmental step in a manifold incarnate being. But from where I’m standing it seems disrespectful to the suffering and predicament of so many human lives to attempt explaining them away.
Conclusion: Facing the Singularity

Turning a Message into Action

It’s been said that the final step in a dream interpretation process is to decide how to take the truth learned in a dream and turn it into definite life changes and specific actions. If we take the dreams and visions of the approaching Singularity as a collective dream bearing an important message for us, how do we act on it? The first step is to develop our consciousness, to become more aware and sensitive to what is happening in and around us during this volatile growth spurt. Pay attention to your dreams and use oracular technologies like the I Ching (“the Book of Changes”) to tune into an ever more fluctuating and mutating reality. A related step is to seek to live as a Warrior, humble and alert, strong and centered within, focused and effective without. We each need a worthy, conscious mission statement and the will to fulfill it. And those of us who understand what is happening need to fulfill self-designed and initiated quests to assist the evolutionary process.
Designing your Quest

Inner development certainly promotes the development of the species, but an exclusively self-referential quest may not be a sufficient response for a soul incarnating in a world with so much trouble and suffering. There are infinite possibilities available for your quest, but you might begin by considering three broad, overlapping areas of concern.


Helping the Planet

The first is helping your mother, the planet earth. For years I’d been pretty lethargic about doing environmental work because it seemed like such a losing battle. In addition, my interpretation of the Singularity Archetype led me to believe that ecological destruction of the planet was an inevitable part of this process, as the human species needs to be confronted with extinction to wake up. This may well turn out to be true, but it does not at all excuse our being passive bystanders to the needless destruction of life. Each of us has a primary, inescapable responsibility to the planet that has given us life. Whether we asked for it or not, we are all members of the species that has toxified the environment. All of us have used products and consumables that have contributed to the toxification process. Therefore, we all have a large karmic debt to pay in the form of service to the planet. I’ve tended to fluctuate from appalled apathy to appalled activism. There is no one we can defer responsibility to for environmental work. We can’t ask dolphins, aliens, God or other people to take our place. This is our mess, we made it, each of us has added to it, and we must all work on cleaning it up.


Helping Fellow Humans

The next area of concern is our fellow human beings. We need to help, heal, love, and teach everyone we possibly can. There are so many lost souls out there. Reach out especially to those who are capable of growing and becoming more conscious, because they will be able to reach out to others. Communicate to others what is happening on this planet and help to give form to what they already know and sense.
Re-envisioning Reality

The third area of concern involves the creation of new visions. Vision creates reality and we need to massively re-envision our current reality. As we approach the Singularity the interactivity and interdependence of vision and external reality will exponentiate. Visions are the seeds being planted in the fertile, chaotic, alchemical field of destabilizing reality. We need to plant seeds that will grow, seeds that have a germ of love and imaginative brilliance that can flower in the world to come.

The sickness of our present world is the direct result of a sickness in our vision. We need to break out of the self-fulfilling hopeless visions of the world. 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 reprogramming the simulation computer. That’s exactly what we need to do. We need to reprogram the simulation computer. We need to assert ourselves as reality transformers—that’s what the human species has always been about. Reject the no-win scenario and create new visions.

Dreams, films and fantasy fiction are of essential significance. Don’t let deepening practical problems distract you from the centrality of vision. Visioning is not a leisure time activity; it is the core of what’s happening. Remembering, interpreting, and experimenting with your dreams are crucial tasks. Lucid dreaming, becoming aware that you are dreaming within a dream, has a particular evolutionary significance as it bridges the realms of waking and dreaming life. Great works of subcreative fantasy fiction like Tolkien’s Ring Trilogy and Frank Herbert’s Dune books are of great value because they allow us to enter highly differentiated alternative realities. Subcreation, being able to create your own alternative realities, may be the key ability needed as we approach, enter and emerge from the Singularity.
Taking Responsibility for a Precarious Experiment

There is reason to face the approaching Singularity with a certain optimism, but there is also reason to respect the power of darkness and the precariousness of many living processes. A very wise rabbi once told me that it is written in the Talmud that before God created the earth that he created numerous other worlds as experiments. Each of these previous worlds turned out badly in some way and was destroyed. Perhaps, this rabbi suggested, our world too is just one more experiment and perhaps it will also be destroyed. But even so, he continued, our actions still have an eternal significance.

Viewing our situation as a precarious experiment whose future is largely unformed may be the vantage necessary for us to take sufficient conscious responsibility for our actions. Each one of us is a decisive variable in the equation. So as you enter and travel through the strange wilderness of a new millennium, consider the possibility of striving to be a Warrior. In The Way of the Warrior I defined a Warrior with a capital “W” as, “…someone who strives to live alertly, intelligently, attuned to the moment in order to serve life affirming transpersonal values.” From a Warrior’s stance, it doesn’t matter that much whether the event horizon we are hurtling toward is personal death or the eschaton of the species, our moment by moment duty remains the same—to act with integrity, compassion and precision, the stance I call “existential impeccability.”

Consider embarking on a quest to bring love and understanding to the difficult evolutionary process you’ve incarnated in. Expect the unexpected and follow the path with heart.

Epilogue—-Genevieve’s Dreams about the Singularity Archetype

An hour or so after I finished my extensive 2009 revision of this document I received two dreams sent to me via email from a friend, Genevieve, a woman in her mid-twenties, a successful software engineer. These dreams seem to me like an epilogue sent by the collective conscious, an update on the Singularity Archetype.

Genevieve has had a long-term interest in the paranormal, exposure to writings about Mayan prophecy, and has also read a number of my writings. From one point of view, she could be viewed as a hopelessly contaminated dreamer of the Singularity Archetype because she has so much waking life influence from related material. There are a few reasons why I don’t think this disqualifies Genevieve. One is that if we disqualify her, then we would also be disqualifying ourselves. Any reader who has read this far has heard about the Singularity Archetype and would similarly have to disqualify any related dreams that they might have. Also, from the contamination point of view, every dreamer is disqualified, because everyone has been exposed to and influenced by at least one form of apocalyptisism. The dominant forms of apocalyptic influence are: the grim ecological point of view, religious fundamentalism, the dystopian science-fiction view and New Age prophecy. Unless you’ve grown up off planet, the likelihood is that you have been influenced, in one way or another, by all of the above.

Another reason for including Genevieve’s dreams is that waking consciousness is usually not in control of the dreamtime. Dreams often confound waking consciousness. Jung believed that dreams had a compensatory function—they compensated for defects in the waking attitude. Whatever you needed to be more aware of in the waking life will make an appearance in a dream.

Also, dream interpretation is always highly subjective. One human psyche is interpreting the artifact of another human psyche, or of its own psyche, and that’s as subjective as it gets. Subjectivity is the baseline for all dream interpretation. I agree with Jeremy Taylor’s idea of “projective dream work,” which begins with the premise that all dream interpretation is projection. In projective dream work, every interpretation begins with the acknowledgement, “If this were my dream. . .” The interpreter will often narrate parts of the dream in the first person as a further acknowledgment that what they are interpreting is their own experience of the dream.

Subjective material is too valuable to exclude from consideration. If we acknowledge the subjectivity of our point of view, and attempt to discern things as rigorously as we can, we may gain priceless insights by looking into the subjective. Acknowledging the subjective is not the same as being a relativist, it does not mean that every point view is merely the conditioned product of shifting cultural context. Looking into subjective material means that we could very well be fooled, deceived and deluded, but it does not exclude the possibility that we may also discern crucial truths. And many of those crucial truths are never going to be accessible to the person who thinks they can exclude subjectivity from their worldview. They will also not be available to the person who is not discerning in their relation to subjective material. If you are credulous, literalist, absolutist, or just plain sloppy in your approach to subjective material, it is very likely to swallow you whole. My assumption is that you, the reader, are skeptical, and that you are examining my speculative thoughts, and everyone’s speculative thoughts, from your inner truth sense and discerning point of view.

Finally, I’m including Genevieve’s dreams because they arrived at a time that seemed synchronistic, about an hour or so after I thought I had finished my revision of this document. It was as if a force outside of me were insisting on an epilogue.

RAY OF LIGHT (Genevieve’s title for the dream) January 5, 2009

“So first of all, I woke up at 3:23 this morning, no idea what awoke me, but I was having a boring dream about trying to match items from an Avon catalog that I had picked out the night before…

I could not fall back asleep for some time… but finally did, then had this crazy dream:

I was in my bedroom where I grew up… I think in the dream, my boyfriend was with me… but I looked out the window, it was nighttime, and I saw all this crazy shit going on in the sky. Looked like a meteor shower – orange lights streaking all over the place… I kept watching and then could see what looked like Saturn maybe? All huge…

Then I noticed that there were these Asian-looking people sitting outside my window. They didn’t seem to notice me, but some of the women were naked and had lots of tattoos covering their bodies. They looked tired. We ducked down, not really wanting them to see us.

I remember walking around the house trying to figure out what time it was, but all the clocks said different things. I think my boyfriend said it was 12—and I thought he meant 12 noon and that I was late for work. Still it was dark out and I couldn’t figure out what time it really was.

Then at some point after that, I looked out the window again, and there was this giant ray of light that shone directly on me. It was an immense amount of energy—and when I tried to talk, I couldn’t speak—I just made a sort of gagging sound. All of this dream seemed very real. I just sort of sat there, with my eyes closed, and absorbed the energy from the ray. My whole body felt tingly and energized—it was a really amazing feeling. It was like I knew it was updating my genetics, activating things in me. I just breathed deep and tried to relax—but could not speak.

After the ray released me, I found myself in a coffee shop with a bunch of people. It still seemed like nighttime. I started talking to the people and they told me about an experience they had just had that was totally like mine! They had also experienced the big ray of light and not being able to speak, etc.”

RAY OF LIGHT, INTERPRETED

“So first of all, I woke up at 3:23 this morning, no idea what awoke me, but I was having a boring dream about trying to match items from an Avon catalog that I had picked out the night before…”

Genevieve gives us the exact hour and minute that she wakes up. Three o’clock in the morning is traditionally considered the “witching hour.” The number 23 has many mystical associations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/23_Enigma). These mystical associations inspired a major Hollywood film, The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey, which was released in 2007. At this mystical time in the waking life, Genevieve wakes up from a dream that reflects and amplifies the mundane world where one gets immersed in everything an Avon catalog would represent—materialism, consumerism, the cosmetic approach that emphasizes the persona and the world of surfaces and appearances. It is as if, through the law of opposites, the mundane is needed to potentiate a revelation of the divine.

“I could not fall back asleep for some time… but finally did, then had this crazy dream:

I was in my bedroom where I grew up… I think in the dream, my boyfriend was with me… but I looked out the window, it was nighttime, and I saw all this crazy shit going on in the sky. Looked like a meteor shower— orange lights streaking all over the place… I kept watching and then could see what looked like Saturn maybe? All huge…”

Genevieve is in familiar circumstances but then she sees and experiences some anomalous events:

“Then I noticed that there were these Asian looking people sitting outside my window. They didn’t seem to notice me, but some of the women were naked and had lots of tattoos covering their bodies. They looked tired.”

I emailed Genevieve a question about this: “The tribal people are naked and tattooed—did they seem tribal or more like tattooed modern persons who were undressed? Did their tiredness seem to be from exertions, as if they were weary from a long hike, or was the tiredness more from temperament, like they were sluggish, low energy people. What’s your sense of the tiredness?”

Genevieve’s response: “They were more like tattooed modern persons who were undressed. Their tiredness seemed more from temperament, like they were low energy people, but possibly also from a long life of hard work that had worn them out.”
“We ducked down, not really wanting them to see us.”

Question emailed to Genevieve: “What were you anxious about happening if they saw you? Was it just out of an instinctive urge toward privacy or did you think they might be dangerous or solicit you as beggars or what?”

Genevieve’s response: “I think it was somewhat out of an instinctive urge toward privacy, but also because I thought they might be dangerous—and being directly outside my bedroom window, looking at us, I was sort of freaked out.”

“I remember walking around the house trying to figure out what time it was, but all the clocks said different things . . . I think my boyfriend said it was 12—and I thought he meant 12 noon and that I was late for work. Still it was dark out and I couldn’t figure out what time it really was.”

Linear time has been irrealized, but there is still the pull of the mundane and anxiety about being late for work. Time depends on perspective and her boyfriend apparently thinks it’s midnight, and Genevieve thinks it’s noon.

“Then at some point after that, I looked out the window again, and there was this giant ray of light that shone directly on me. It was an immense amount of energy—and when I tried to talk, I couldn’t speak—I just made a sort of gagging sound. All of this dream seemed very real. I just sort of sat there, with my eyes closed, and absorbed the energy from the ray. My whole body felt tingly and energized—it was a really amazing feeling. It was like I knew it was updating my genetics, activating things in me. I just breathed deep and tried to relax—but could not speak.”

The emphasis on not being able to speak is very interesting. We have already discussed nonverbal communication and a visual telepathy as key aspects of the Singularity Archetype. Although, the new means of communication is not clearly realized here, we do find that the old means of communication is shut down. Genevieve discovers that she is mute while her genetics are being updated by a ray of light. Apparently the evolutionary upgrade makes speech unnecessary.

“After the ray released me, I found myself in a coffee shop with a bunch of people. It still seemed like nighttime. I started talking to the people and they told me about an experience they had just had that was totally like mine! They had also experienced the big ray of light and not being able to speak, etc.”

That the other people had the parallel experience, even if Genevieve wasn’t aware of them while it was happening, suggests a communal telepathy as well as a global evolutionary metamorphosis.

Message from the Stars (Genevieve’s title) February 18, 2009

“Had another one of these dreams again last night. They are always very vivid, very intense, very colorful.

I was in what was supposedly my house and several of my friends were there, but in another room. It was nighttime, and dark enough out that I could see the stars well just by looking out my big picture window in the back of the house. I must have been looking at just the right moment, because suddenly, from the middle of the sky, the light started to get brighter, and then like a laser, a beam of light shot out of space and towards my right.

It seemed like it was very close, and that it had hit the ground. The sky was very lit up from this in amazing colors. I ran through the house to the front of the house, yelling to my friends what I had just seen. When I looked outside, it was striking right in front of my house, leaving a huge and deep gash in the front yard.

While the beam was striking right there, in front of my eyes, there were all sorts of visual messages I was receiving.

They depicted what felt like a warning. There were images of a cartoon devilish character, and what felt like destruction, but at the very end an image of a seedling, or of grass regrowing.

I felt like it was telling me that I need to meditate, that my very survival depends on it. I felt as if I didn’t take heed of this warning, I would not survive. I vowed to meditate more.

After the blast had concluded, we were looking at some art pieces that were on my wall. Apparently I had photographed them with a camera phone before the blast, and we could now compare them to what they looked like now. They were both reddish (like natural clay red) and made of something like a clay material. The first one had been a depiction of Jesus, or something like that, not the typical Jesus picture though, but more of a tribal depiction. The clay was now blemished as if from extreme heat, and bubbly on the surface.

There was another clay piece which depicted a Mayan god, and had before been in a somewhat peaceful pose. It was now taking a more active stance. A feather in its hand had transformed into a knife, ready to strike.

The atmosphere felt intense, and as I looked out to the sky again there were brilliant nebula clouds of colors forming, flashing and fading. All sorts of activity and it was brilliant. I noticed in the room where I was, were only some of my younger friends. Throughout the house there were two other rooms with older, and yet older groups of people. I tried to urge the younger of the two groups to come and see what was going on in the sky.
After sometime, maybe it was the next day, because it seemed light outside again, I went out to the front to examine the damage that had occurred to the yard. The yard was right up against a street, and the gash was the entire length of my house. It was only in front of my house—as if the message had been directed solely at me, however it was mostly parallel to the street. There was no grass, it was just like hardened dirt and there were all these mysterious shapes carved out of it. Each of the shapes seemed to be one of the parts of the messages I had felt I received.”

Message from the Stars, Interpreted
“While the beam was striking right there, in front of my eyes, there were all sorts of visual messages I was receiving.”

Now it becomes explicit that the beam of light includes visual telepathy. The beam is literally the “Logos Beheld” and, in particular, the Logos Beheld is the Singularity Archetype. (Listen to my MP3 entitled “Logos Beheld” for much more on this topic.)

“They depicted what felt like a warning. There were images of a cartoon devilish character, and what felt like destruction, but at the very end an image of a seedling, or of grass regrowing.”

Here we have a very concise description of the Singularity Archetype in a single sentence. We see the wing of Satan again, the devil, but it is cartoonish. The message seems to be that the singularity may seem sinister, but only from the childish ego-bound perspective. Still, there are warnings of a great destruction, but with the strong implication that this is necessary for rebirth.

“I felt like it was telling me that I need to meditate, that my very survival depends on it. I felt as if I didn’t take heed of this warning, I would not survive. I vowed to meditate more.”

In many apocalyptic visions and projections there are cataclysmic events in which a great many human souls are unsheathed from their bodies. For example, the extra-Biblical evangelical expectation of the Rapture involves an apocalypse where only the Christian elect are relieved of their imperiled mortal bodies and whisked away to heaven. A technological materialist like Ray Kurzweil may imagine an ecological apocalypse where only those who have been lucky enough to have their consciousness downloaded into a quantum computer survive. Essentially, the archetypal expectation is that only those able to transcend the corporeal body survive, and they do so because they have perfected their spirit body (or their “information body” if you are a salvation-via-technology singularity theorist). There is a very long tradition, in many spiritual disciplines, that only those who have learned to transcend their egos, especially through the practice of meditation, are sufficiently prepared to cross the event horizon of personal death, and we’ve already discussed that personal death parallels collective eschaton. Also, meditation is a practice highly related to the Logos Beheld idea that the evolutionary transformation will involve a sudden transition from verbal communication to visual telepathy because meditation is all about quieting the internal chatter, the psyche’s tendency to default into word-based thinking.

“After the blast had concluded, we were looking at some art pieces that were on my wall. Apparently I had photographed them with a camera phone before the blast, and we could now compare them to what they looked like now. They were both reddish (like natural clay red) and made of something like a clay material. The first one had been a depiction of Jesus, or something like that, not the typical Jesus picture though, but more of a tribal depiction. The clay was now blemished as if from extreme heat, and bubbly on the surface.”

Questions emailed to Genevieve: “Can you say more about the Jesus art piece? Did it look tribal before or only after? What does it mean that he looked tribal? Did he look more Semitic than the conventional Nordic Jesus? How was he dressed and exactly what did he look like? How did you feel about the changes to the art piece? Did it feel like it was partly ruined or that it had been altered in an interesting way or what?”

Genevieve’s response: “Well, it didn’t really look anything like Jesus at all. I guess I just knew in the dream that that was what it was. It was a grayish or reddish clay material, all one color, and it was textured. It always looked tribal—both before and after—and by tribal I mean that it looked like an Indian—a guy in a headband with very Mayan—like features. After the comet/star landed, the heat from it made the clay bubble, so the texture was no longer as smooth. I didn’t feel like it was ruined; I was just intrigued at what had happened to it, and the transformation felt somewhat symbolic—because there wasn’t any other heat damage anywhere else in the house that I recall.”

This mutated representation of Jesus is emblematic of the strange intermingling of prophetic traditions happening today. It seems to be a product of multicultural hybridization and it is messianic, but not necessarily in the way that any one tradition might anticipate. Also, unlike a static tradition, the emblem mutates with the cosmic trigger event. A possible implication is that this is a time where one static mythology no longer serves, but where there is a spontaneous eruption of mutating, hybridized mythologies. Genevieve, like so many today, is a cultural and ethnic hybrid, half Jewish/ half Catholic, and with no particular commitment to either of these Abrahamic faiths. She seems, like many open-minded seekers of this era, to be looking for insight from whatever fields—science, spirituality, paranormal studies—and from whatever cultures—Abrahamic, tribal, Mayan—that have relevance in an unprecedented time. These once very disparate elements hybridize, bubbling together in an alchemical cauldron. The signs of heating, especially since they are not observed elsewhere, indicate the imperative need for our prophetic traditions to be reheated and hybridized, to be returned to the kiln of the unconscious and reformed.

“There was another clay piece which depicted a Mayan god, and had before been in a somewhat peaceful pose. It was now taking a more active stance. A feather in its hand had transformed into a knife, ready to strike.”

Question emailed to Genevieve: “What feeling did you get from the change in the Mayan clay piece? Did it seem threatening and ominous or just different?”

Genevieve’s response: “It didn’t seem threatening, just different, perhaps a bit ominous.”

Mayan prophecy in particular seems activated and ready to be fulfilled.

“Throughout the house there were two other rooms with older, and yet older groups of people. I tried to urge the younger of the two to come and see what was going on in the sky.”

Question emailed to Genevieve: “What was the age range of each group? What did these people seem like? Did the two groups seem different besides their age?”

Genevieve’s response: “The age range of the ‘older’ group was probably mid 40s – 60s and the group of even older people was probably 65-80. They seemed like fairly normal people, although I recall some of them (in the ‘older’ group) seemed a little overweight. The older they were, the slower they seemed to be and respond. Like I said I was trying to urge the groups to come look at the sky, and the older they were the more reluctant they were to come. Those were the only apparent differences between the groups—that the younger group seemed less ‘stuck’.”

The ages of the two groups may be both metaphorical and have something interesting to say about actual generations. Age may be a somewhat metaphorical representation of “stuckness” and of being hardened into obsolescent patterns of adaptation. Nonmetaphorically, it is certainly a general psychological truth that aging typically makes neurotic symptoms more rigid and sharply defined. People do tend to get more stuck in their ways as they age, not in every case, but as a general trend. But what is also interesting are the specific age ranges given for the two groups. A group that as of 2009 is in their mid 40s to 60s precisely defines the Baby Boomer Generation (usually thought of as those born 1945-1964). (Boomers, as a generation, were famously open to the cosmic, the unusual, the psychedelic, and the culturally exotic. There was a huge generation gap that existed between the boomers and the two preceding generations. Those who are 65-80 as of 2009 are called the “Silent Generation” and are thought to be a particularly conservative generation. They were too young to fight in World War Two and too old for the most part to participate in the revolutionary events of the Sixties. With the recent defeat of John McCain the Silent Generation became the first generation in U.S. history not to be represented by a president. It is interesting that in Genevieve’s dream they seem the most reluctant to be involved in revolutionary change. (For more on generational differences go to http://www.fourthturning.com/ )

“After sometime, maybe it was the next day, because it seemed light outside again, I went out to the front to examine the damage that had occurred to the yard. The yard was right up against a street, and the gash was the entire length of my house. It was only in front of my house – as if the message had been directed solely at me, however it was mostly parallel to the street. There was no grass, it was just like hardened dirt and there were all these mysterious shapes carved out of it. Each of the shapes seemed to be one of the parts of the messages I had felt I received.”

There could be an instructive message here about the nature of archetypal and prophetic visions. It feels like the message is directed solely to her, but it also runs parallels to the street. Running parallel to the street suggests that the message is relevant to the neighbors and therefore the collective in general. Archetypal/prophetic visions feel particularly directed toward the individual psyche that experiences them, and yet they also parallel the collective psyche. The implication is that Genevieve’s dreams may contain meanings that parallel the evolutionary predicament of our species.


Endnotes:

See Thoughts on Jung.

See A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler for more on the hierarchy of psychic functions.

To read the paper that resulted a few months later from this encounter, Archetypes of a New Evolution ( 1978), go to:http://zaporacle.com/textpattern/article/102/archetypes-of-a-new-evolution.

For more on this theme, see on A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler (the mini online version) and Tolkien and the Developmental Need for Evil.

The post White Crows Rising – The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Classic Pitfalls and Blind Spots of Esoteric Research https://zaporacle.com/carnival-2012-a-psychological-study-of-the-2012-phenomenon-and-the-22-classic-pitfalls-and-blind-spots-of-esoteric-research/ https://zaporacle.com/carnival-2012-a-psychological-study-of-the-2012-phenomenon-and-the-22-classic-pitfalls-and-blind-spots-of-esoteric-research/#comments Tue, 21 Dec 2010 03:48:32 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=1427 The cycle end-date of the Mayan Long Count calendar, an authentic artifact of an ancient Mesoamerican culture worthy of serious investigation, became the focus of contemporary psychopathology and cultural projection in a way that is fascinating as its own artifact worthy of serious investigation.

The post Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Classic Pitfalls and Blind Spots of Esoteric Research appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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© 2010, Jonathan Zap edited by Austin Iredale

Halloween costume 2011 Pearl Street Mall Halloween in Boulder—Note the costume shows the ubiquitous Aztec Calendar Round which people think is an image of the Mayan calendar.

The cycle end-date of the Mayan Long Count calendar, an authentic artifact of an ancient Mesoamerican culture worthy of serious investigation, has also become the focus of contemporary psychopathology and cultural projection in a way that is fascinating as its own artifact worthy of serious investigation. At the time of this writing (December 2010), 2012 seems to glitter in the popular imagination like a giant disco ball, a spherical mosaic of mirrors reflecting myriad fears and hopes. Some mirrored tiles throw back images of fire and ice, earthquake, tsunami, pole reversals, solar flares and other splintered images of global calamity.  Others shimmer with ethereal pastel hues and reflect images of rapture, transcendence and bliss.

Ever more obscured within the disco ball is the core, the ancient artifact, the cycle ending of the Long Count calendar, and its archetypal meaning. In the course of this essay, we will look briefly at the core, but mostly I will point the reader toward the best sources for encountering it in rigorous depth. I am much more interested in the reflections from the mirrored tiles, the contemporary phenomena of 2012, and what it says about the collective psyche.

Of course the reader must ask him or herself the same question that I must ask myself: Who am I to examine the projections of my contemporaries when I am just another person who  projects his own images into the world? There is no degree, credential or qualification that closes that question. To proceed with any legitimacy, I must acknowledge my own bias and be vigilant in separating my own projections from those of the collective. The results will be imperfect, and I’ll assume that the reader is taking my words with a grain of salt, as they certainly should, since one person trying to analyze the projections of other people is a maximal case of subjectivity.

Having said that, I can at least state that I am more qualified to write about the reflections from the mirrored tiles than I am to make any contribution toward the study of the core—the artifact of the ancient Mayan culture. I don’t have any qualification to add anything to Mesoamerican archeology, but  I have been writing about contemporary mythology from a mostly Jungian perspective for over thirty years.

Another disclaimer:  My understanding of the core is biased toward the work of John Major Jenkins who is both a close friend and colleague. His key books, Maya Cosmogenisis 2012, Galactic Alignment and  The 2012 Story, as well as our many dialogues and lengthy correspondence over the years, our travel to Mayaland, provide me with most of my perspective on the subject. Where there are disputes between John and other serious Mayanists I do not have the skill set to judge the merits of the arguments and counter-arguments.  I have, sometimes at least,  been able to observe which party is following basic rules of fairness, evidence and consistency in their arguments, but I do not claim that even those observations are unbiased.

On the other hand, the reader should not assume that I agree with John on every point. In some of the areas where John’s work explores some of the same terrain I cover with my work on the Singularity Archetype, there are some fundamental differences. The most important of these differences is that for John, the Doctrine of World Ages, an essential part of what Aldous Huxley called the Perennial Philosophy, a set of core beliefs found in many cultures including the Maya, is a foundational truth. Essentially, the Doctrine Of World Ages finds human evolution to be cyclical, with great cycles of progression and regression of human consciousness and technological development.  For me, the Doctrine Of World Ages is an open question, and while I am impressed by some of the work of Michael Cremo, an independent archaeologist who documents evidence to support the Doctrine of World Ages, I am also impressed with those who document a more linear model of human evolution, the proponents of the spiral dynamics evolutionary model such as Ken Wilber, and the model put forth by Teillhard de Chardin in his seminal book, The Phenomenon of Man. Also, although John has written about Ken Wilber’s pre/trans fallacy (I’ll define that fallacy and have more to say about it later) in The 2012 Story, I feel that some of the comparisons John makes in his writings between ancient indigenous cultures (on which he heaps praise) and Western culture (on which he heaps scorn) are on the wrong side of the pre/trans fallacy.

I’ve never read in depth any author with whom I find myself in 100% agreement so it’s not surprising that I find differences with aspects of John’s point of view.  Overall, however, I feel that John has the most comprehensive and penetrating view of all angles of the 2012 topic, and has made more essential discoveries about it than any other investigator.  An excellent, concise survey of 2012 subculture can be found in the  facetiously titled New York Times Magazine article, “Final Days.” The author of the article points out that, “As much as Jenkins has made a place for himself in the 2012 discussion through his independent research on the Maya and precession,  he has made an even greater impact by applying academic rigor to the theories of his contemporaries and exposing, in his books and on an extensive Web site, their inconsistencies with established Mayanist scholarship. Jenkins was the first to reveal a major flaw in the synchronization between  Argüelles’s Dreamspell and the Maya day count…”  The article contrasts John’s rigorous approach to the fevered imagination that so many others bring to the subject.

Before we proceed  in our discussion of 2012, we need to briefly define the core, that which is authentically Mayan about 2012, before we examine all the notions that revolve around the core.  The core of 2012 is like the nucleus of an atom, it contains most of the mass, but it is minuscule in volume compared to the shell or cloud of electrons that surround it in uncollapsed probability waves.

December 21, 2012 is the cycle-ending date of the 13-Baktun period of the Mayan Long Count calendar date: 13.0.0.0.0 ( 4 Ahau 3 Kankin).  A cycle-ending date does not mean that the Mayan calendar ends!  Like all calendars, the Long Count calendar is perpetual. December 31, 1999 was a cycle-ending date in our calendar, but our calendar managed to survive. If you hear someone talk about what will happen when “the Mayan calendar ends” you are hearing someone who hasn’t done even the basic homework on the Maya and is about to offer his fantasy projection. The surviving information on the Long Count calendar is extremely fragmentary, and no one has ever found anything specific that the Maya said about what to expect on that date, though we do know what they thought about cycle endings in general.  So if you ever hear anybody say something like “According to Mayan prophecy…” followed by anything specific, you are hearing a fantasy projection. The Maya viewed cycle endings as a time of rebirth, not of doomsday, so if you hear anybody attributing doomsday to 2012, you can be sure that  he is under the spell of Christian apocalypticism and his fantasy projections have zero connection to the ancient Maya.

The most crucial thing that John discovered is that the Maya apparently intended this date to roughly correspond with a rare, optical, galactic alignment: “…the alignment of the December solstice sun with the dark rift in the Milky Way” (The 2012 Story, 140) .

(Note: parenthetical notations hereafter that refer to The 2012 Story will have only a page number. I encourage everyone to read The 2012 Story for the most complete and engaging treatment of the topic to date).

Please note John’s exact definition of the galactic alignment, because there are many other types of galactic alignment with which this one is endlessly confused. John also adds the disclaimer:  “In identifying the galactic alignment as the key to why the Maya placed their cycle-ending date on December 21, 2012, I am not implying that the galactic alignment is a scientifically provable causative agent of change” (143). Also, the galaxy and the dark rift have fuzzy edges, so there is no exact center or exact moment when we align with it.  John has always acknowledged that with careful disclaimers:

“In order to emphasize the fact that no precise year can really be identified, and that an alignment zone is the best way to think about the galactic alignment, I took the width of the sun (1/2 degree), noted that this equalled 36 years of precessional motion, and suggested a 36-year alignment window between 1980 and 2016 (1998 ± 18 years)” (146).

One reason why the Maya are a target for so many fantasy projections is another great misconception, their “mysterious disappearance.” The Maya never disappeared, they have continuously inhabited the same area of Mesoamerica, and are presently there in larger numbers than when they were at the height of their civilization. They gradually abandoned some of their larger cities which fell into ruin, and that has been mythologized into a mysterious disappearance.

What the Maya did provide, and what has much archetypal depth, is their version of the Doctrine of World Ages. The surviving record we have of this is found in The Popul Vuh, a document recorded by Quiche Maya elders in the 1550s.  Essentially, it tells us that humanity cycles through a sequence of World Ages and at the end of each cycle there is transformation and renewal. The related inscriptions depict period-ending rites involving sacrifice and transformation. At a minimum, the transformation would involve a relinquishment of some illusions and a movement from ego toward the Self (as Jung defined it). The ego transformation idea comes from Mayan prophecy related to the mythological character Seven Macaw from their Hero Twin Myth.

Since we are in a time of accelerated transformation, a case could be made that perhaps the Maya got the cycle-end timing right.  If we go with that assumption we can make all kinds of interesting speculations about the nature of the transformation and renewal, but these should be clearly labeled what they are: speculations.

What many people like to do, however, is take their speculative imaginings and make them appear substantial by stamping them with the cool icon “Mayan.”  Most of this material has as much to with anything Mayan as the guy in the coffee shop wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt has anything to do with Cuban Marxism. To be fair, Biblical prophecy authors and other ancient prophecy-makers had a common practice of back-dating prophecies and attributing them to an ancient person or source to give them that respectable patina of antiquity.

To illustrate how this works, we might as well start with José Argüelles,  the self-proclaimed voice of the Seventh Century Mayan king, Pakal. Certainly José is the king of 2012 misinformation, and if he really is the voice of Pakal we can only assume that although this Mayan king knew very little about the Mayan calendar,  he was remarkably  prescient about New Age hype of the present era.

José is probably best known for the “Harmonic Convergence” of August 16-17, 1987.  José’s source for this date was Tony Shearer’s 1971 book, Lord of the Dawn, Quetzalcoatl: Plumed Serpent of Mexico. John notes that on page 184 of this book, “…we read that, according to Shearer’sreconstruction of the ancient calendar prophecy, the modern nightmare of hellish materialism will end on August 16, 1987. No other details are presented in the book on how this date was derived” (83).

Shearer worked solely with the ubiquitous 52-year calendar round, an image that is often marketed as an artifact of the Mayan calendar, and can be found reproduced on T-shirts, posters, rings, pendants and so forth. The Calendar Round, however, isn’t Mayan; it’s Aztec and is not related to the Mayan Long Count calendar or 2012. Once something is turned into a marketing icon, however, it really doesn’t matter where it comes from, it can be attached to anything.  For example, Land of Lakes margarine:

Is there a culturally authentic connection between a native American woman and hydrogenated margarine? There doesn’t need to be if things look cool next to each other. The Aztec calendar round looks cooler than any single Mayan calendar artifact, but otherwise the Mayan brand is hotter, so, no-brainer, just team them up. Similarly, José took a date that Tony Shearer got in some unknown way from the Aztec calendar, merged it with the Mayan 2012 date and heralded it as milestone in the 25 year countdown to 2012.

Although the “nightmare of hellish materialism” did not appear to end on the Harmonic Convergence, disconfirmation has never inhibited the business of prophecy.  In 1991,  José’s Dreamspell group began promoting the “next Harmonic Convergence,” scheduled for July 26, 1992 (103). This date also was irrelevant to anything significant in the Mayan Long Count calendar, but I do see a very logical connection between the timing of both Harmonic Convergences—they both fall perfectly midsummer before school vacations are over and are therefore perfect dates for summer festivals.

José’s next most famous contribution to Maya misinformation was his Dreamspell kit, a kind of board game or teaching tool that included a game board and a dial for calculating your “galactic signature.” (85) The kit was printed in China and was in frequent use in New Age circles throughout the Nineties and early post-millennium years. The supposedly Mayan day count promoted by José in both his book The Mayan Factor, and in Dreamspell, was completely out of synch with the authentic Mayan day count still in use to the present day. The Dreamspell system also fails to adjust for leap years which means it does not even have internal consistency (104).  Deceptively, the early Dreamspell literature labeled it as the “Maya calendar” (107). In the many encounters I’ve had over the years with Dreamspell practitioners, not one of them had any awareness that they were following a system completely out of synch with the authentic Mayan calendar. When I would try to inform them of this fact, some people were receptive, while others reacted with incredulity, anger and haughty contempt.

In late 1995 John posted “The Key to the Dreamspell Agenda” on his website, a document that rigorously elaborated the many flaws and deceptions of the Dreamspell system and José’s purported “Maya Calendar.” In response to the public challenge, “The spin doctors stepped in pretty quickly, of course, and the Dreamspell count was soon identified as the preferable ‘Wizard Count’ or ‘Galactic Count’” (108). In later writings, José makes the distinction between his Wizard Count and the Maya calendar as if he had never said otherwise, and without the slightest acknowledgment of the earlier deception or egregious error. (107).  Many Dreamspell followers never noticed the new qualifiers, and remain in ignorance that the calendar they are following is not Mayan.

In a long email dialogue with John from a few years ago, I narrated an actual confrontation I had with an irate Dreamspell fundamentalist at a large gathering.  Here are some excerpts from our exchange:

(read the full exchange: http://zaporacle.com/wp/categories/collectiveunconcious/on-dreamspell)

From: Jonathan Zap
To: John Major Jenkins
Subject: Dreamspell at the Gathering
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003

Hey John,

. . . By the way, I forgot to tell you about my encounters with Dreamspell at the gathering. All of the Dreamspell practitioners I ran into were very receptive when I told them that it was an interesting oracular system but shouldn’t be presented as “Mayan” since it is more an artifact of José than of the Maya or their calendar that is still being kept to this day. I directed them to your website and told them about the online book available there . On one occasion though, I ran into a Dreamspell honcho who was trying to make a big impression at the gathering. He got rather irate and said that Dreamspell is based on an authentic “wizard count” that José was initiated into by “Mayan Elders.” and that José has an “obsidian staff.” ( Unless I’ve seen somebody back down a Balrog with their staff that doesn’t seem like much of a credential, and I’m always suspicious when I hear talk of “Elders.” A Hopi Elder may often turn out to be someone of vaguely Native American ancestry in his fifties.)

Anyway, in an arrogant tone he said, “We already had John Major talked to by sister so-and-so at the Prophecy Conference in Flagstaff[?]. At the end of the talk John Major admitted that, ‘he was only a man.’” I told him that I thought that was an appropriately humble admission as compared to José—who thinks that he is more than a man, who claims to be the reincarnation of a Seventh Century Mayan King. The crowd standing around laughed with my closing comment. Is there any validity to this “wizard count”?? —Jonathan
From: “John Major Jenkins”
To: “jonathan zap”
Subject: RE: Dreamspell at the Gathering
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003

Jonathan,
I don’t remember the term “wizard count,” but a letter Argüelles wrote in 1989 reports that he got his count from an artist in central Mexico in the 1970s (not Tony Shearer and not “Mayan Elders”).  People hear what they want to hear. I certainly may have said something to the effect that I’m not enlightened, or am only a man, which I would have intended to put into relief  Argüelles’s pompous posturings, but I don’t recall being instructed in the wisdom of  Argüelles’ ways and then bowing in deference to the revealed High One as the person seems to have implied. There was a woman at the Portland conference who wanted to find some shared space of reconciliation, which of course I’m always open to, and she came from a Dreamspell background. In fact I rewrote my controversial Key to the Dreamspell Agenda essay at her request. …My documentation on the Dreamspell camp, which includes correspondence, essays, etc, now runs thousands of pages. Very little of it is posted on my website; most of it is on my Tzolkin 2 CD-Rom book (see link at http://Alignment2012.com ).
John
From: Jonathan Zap

To: John Major Jenkins
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 6:27 PM

John,

Sounds like you hit on the actual conversation. This person was hyper arrogant, like a key disciple defending God from heathen heresies. After he said you were “talked to” I told him that you were obviously not convinced because I had talked to you only a week before. Dreamspell seems to have become a New Age fundamentalism and you can’t get through to the true believers… —-Jonathan

From: John Major Jenkins
To: Jonathan Zap
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003

Dear Jonathan,

Yes, it’s a Catch-22. And the Dreamspell virus is pretty pervasive in that it’s invaded the culture at large—many people first hear-tell of the Mayan calendar through the Argüelles material, or someone telling them about it, and as a result I have to deal with layers of falsity and illusion. As a conference speaker it’s quite daunting and as 2012 approaches, I only see deeper levels of popularized distortion around the 2012 theme. I’ve learned to discern and accept much of this as creative exegesis on the end-time archetype and other metaphysical themes, which is fine, but the unique thing about the Argüelles camp is the presumption of revealed truth and the cultic adulation of Arg himself —it is, as you say, a kind of uncompromising fundamentalism.

Every victory I’ve made in defending the authentic tradition, such as simply promoting the fact that it still exists, has been accepted and incorporated into Dreamspell dogma as if it was always there, and in some cases as if Argüelles himself always said as much. For example, now Argüelles is very careful to distinguish his Dreamspell count from the traditional “Quiché Maya” day-count, a proviso you never would have found in his literature prior to my much-criticized “Key to the Dreamspell Agenda” essay of late-1995. His is a carefully presented public relations exercise that obscures the source of that clarification—which is telling of his narcissistic attitude. He makes it seem like he’s always made that distinction, when in fact he pompously touted his system as “the” Maya calendar and asserted (wrongly) throughout the early 1990s that no authentic tradition survived today… In the end, it’s not a question of impugning the man (or reincarnated Mayan king or whatever he is), but of simply making a sober examination of the efficacy of his system. Shouldn’t every new philosophical system or model be tested? John

From: Jonathan Zap

To: John Major Jenkins
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2003

Almost like the flak of aluminum fragments dropped by fighter planes to confuse enemy radar, fragments of Dreamspell, like ribbons of rainbow-hued Mylar from discarded candy wrappers, pervade the collective radar… Also what I’ve noticed about Dreamspell, what makes it so virulently contagious, is that everyone gets a self-description from it that is so fantastically complimentary, so glowing with cosmic superlatives (everyone seems to be something like a purple-cosmic-world-bridger-silver-wizard…) that it is like super-sticky fly paper for the narcissistic personality type, the personality type of our age…

From: John Major Jenkins

To: Jonathan Zap

Sent: Friday, July 25, 2003

In a 1989 letter to an astrologer who asked Jóse  about his source for his day-count, Jóse  responded that he derived it from the work of a Mexican artist working in the 1970s… And yes, the info comes direct from a letter Arg wrote to an astrologer friend of mine who had discreetly and persistently queried Arg on the source of his day-count. I have a copy of the original letter. So the “wizard count” interpretation is just another in a long series of apocrapfull spins.

John

Although I’ve focused in on José as the most high-profile offender, there are many others. Carl Calleman is another person who projects his own quirky system onto the Mayan calendar. Traveling in British Columbia in the early post-millennium years, I found many Dreamspell followers and one older man who had based his whole life around Calleman with cultic devotion. His eyes glowed with beatific inner knowing whenever he talked about Calleman and his predictions.

To really get the full survey of who is saying what in the 2012 subculture I refer you, once again, to The 2012 Story. But  there is one other person whose strange contribution to the 2012 phenomenon I cannot omit, a larger-than-life figure who was my first introduction to the topic, the person through whom I met John, the visionary genius beckoning me and everyone to become the Magellans of dark continents of interior space,  the great raconteur of hyperdimensional self-transforming machine elves, the one, the only, the late, great Terence McKenna. And if my intro reveals a bias in his favor, as you will soon discover, I will not be letting him off the hook for some of his unreliable trespasses into the 2012 phenomenon.

John and I have co-written a lengthy, but still unfinished, narrative of how we met through Terence:

A Mutant Convergence— How John Major Jenkins, Jonathan Zap and Terence McKenna met during a Weekend of High Strangeness in 1996

An excerpt from the above will be included as it is highly relevant to our discussion, and reveals key psychological pitfalls that have had a huge impact on 2012 and other areas of esoteric research. But first we need to know a couple of things about Terence’s connection to the 2012 story. I will provide a modest outline, for a better introduction to Terence and a thorough treatment of his contribution to 2012, I refer you, once again, to  The 2012 Story. Essentially, in Colombia in 1971, under the extreme influence of psilocybin mushrooms, Terence heard a voice that posed a life-changing challenge: “What is the meaning of the King Wen sequence of the hexagrams of the I Ching?” The King Wen Sequence is an ordering of the 64 hexagrams that is traditionally dated back to the 12th Century, BC.  It is not at all obvious why the hexagrams are in this order, and eventually Terence came up with a fractal pattern that could be graphed. Terence came to believe that this fractal pattern was a revelation of how seasons of time (from the epic to the minuscule) fluctuated between two great variables he called “novelty” and “habit.” Ultimately, this theory became a software program called Time Wave Zero that purported to show, on any time scale, when things would tend to stay about the way they were and when there was likely to be transformation, and the creation of new forms and a greater density of interconnectedness. When Terence mapped out this fractal graph to show the present era, he found that there was a descent into infinite novelty on December 21, 2012.

Or that’s how he would usually tell the story. But he did, at one point at least, admit that his original calculation was November 17, 2012. It was when he later heard about the Maya end-date that he re-calibrated and found  this date worked even better.

Here ends the modest outline, a vast oversimplification of Terence, but it should provide you with enough context to understand the following excerpt from “Mutant Nexus”:

Sometime in the Spring of 1994 (I think) a synchronicity occurred that caused me to take Terence’s time theories more seriously. I had just met Terence for the first time in lower Manhattan, and was reading a newly reprinted edition of True Hallucinations—the book he wrote with his brother Dennis about their adventures in the Amazon in the early Seventies. I was reading the book in the office of my chiropractor and my concentration was being disrupted by some annoyingly super-loud social small talkers (what I sometimes call “squawkers ).  I told the receptionist that I was going out to my car, parked just outside the front door of the office, to read in seclusion, and asked if she could open the door to let me know when it was my turn.

Reading in my car, I had just gotten to Terence’s first encounter with the 2012 date, which also (while I was reading) was my first encounter with the cycle-end date of the Long Count calendar. Terence and Dennis were in the Amazon, and somehow the revelation of this date was related to an eclipse. I was absorbed in what I was reading, but the surface of the book seemed to be growing dim. I looked through the windshield of my car and saw that the sky had gotten unbelievably dark as if the mother of all thunderstorms had suddenly swept in.  At that point, my chiropractor came out to get me and he told me that I was witnessing a major eclipse!  Then my chiropractor told me that he was glad I had asked someone to come and get me because he had forgotten about the eclipse and this was going to be the most complete one until 2012!  That information turned out to be wrong, but it was absolutely amazing that he told me that given what I had just read.  This was the strange and shocking manner in which I first encountered the 2012 end-date.

But there is a trickster aspect to synchronicities and revelations from the unconscious, and as Terence was speaking before an auditorium [in Boulder in May of 1996], and attempting to show that the first three months of 1996 really had been a zone of heightened novelty, I began to notice that lots of sloppy fudge factors had crept into his thinking on this particular subject, and that his definition of novelty, and how he located it in time, was being shifted here and there to be more convenient to the predictions of Time Wave 2000.  For example, the beginning of the first Gulf War was supposed to be a zone of novelty, but before the war (in a taped workshop at Omega Institute I had listened to) Terence pointed out how it paralleled the birth of Mohammed, so that it looked pretty bad for our side. But now that Desert Storm had come and gone, he pointed to it as a zone of heightened novelty and said the novelty was about increased density of interconnectedness, cooperation and communication, this whole complex coalition working together, etc. Sometimes he located novelty at the birth of some historic person, at other times he conveniently located the novelty to correspond with when some historic person, later in their adult life, or even after their death, began to have an effect on the collective.  After his talk there was a chance for some Q&A, and I thought it would be too undiplomatic to ask about the Gulf War inconsistency,  or the inconsistent Time Wave version of the Great Man theory of history, so I asked a different question, one that I thought might get him thinking about his fudge factors,

“Terence, you seem to be justifying the novelty of this three month period based on comet Hale-Bopp, new discoveries in nano-technology, and various events reported on in the media and apparent to the collective. But what if the novelty were something that began in a completely latent form during this time—-perhaps a certain number of babies were born during this three month period who have a far higher degree of endogenous DMT in their brain chemistry than has ever occurred before, but the novelty-generating  difference in their consciousness won’t be apparent till much later?”

Terence acknowledged the point graciously, though I can no longer recall his exact wording.

[The next day at a workshop in Gold Hill, Colorado]

There were only about forty people attending the workshop, and I had a chance to show the infinite respect I had for Terence as a visionary genius in the way that I am mostly likely to express love and respect—–which is to engage the beloved person in aggressive Socratic Dialogue. I felt that Terence’s work on so many subjects was incredibly valuable, but that Time Wave 2000 as a predictive tool was his area of unproductive obsession, the bête noir that haunted and distracted him. On the other hand, I agreed with him on the underlying concepts. I thought his insight into the I Ching as a map of the fluctuations of habit and novelty through time was amazing, but I found his ways of proving the predictive value of Time Wave 2000 to be something less than amazing.  During the morning Q&A I tried, straining my limited capacity for diplomatic restraint, to get him to confront the fudge factors in his thinking about novelty and how he located it in time. Terence responded with gracious open-mindedness and just before a break made more of an admission than I had even hoped for and said,

“You’re right, novelty is a slippery concept.”

(End of excerpt from “Mutant Nexus…”)

The synchronistic way that I encountered the 2012 date during an eclipse outside of my chiropractor’s office, is a natural segue into my analysis of the psychological forces that distort the 2012 subculture, as well as many other esoteric subcultures.  I find these obscuring forces to be so classic and  ubiquitous that I’m going to define them as a numbered list, beginning with:

1. Esoteric researchers vastly underestimate the trickster aspect of the unconscious and synchronicity.

A long time ago I coined this same principle in a more Biblical-sounding way to be sure I remembered it (since I’ve fallen prey to it plenty of times myself):

2. Wherever you cast your obsessive attention, there shall you find weird patterning.

I wrote about these first two principles recently in a document very relevant to the present discussion:

Reality Testing is Politically Incorrect

Here is an excerpt:

Wherever you cast your obsessive attention you are bound to find weird patterns that are hard to explain as coincidence and that will tempt you to explain them in ways that confirm your obsession.  For example, it’s a bit of a weird pattern that the terrorist attack in Spain apparently occurred 911 days after 9/11.  Does that mean the choice of this date to come up with that number was intentional?  If you are a 9/11 Truth Movement True Believer then the answer is a resounding Yes! because all weird patterning and synchronicity is interpreted in that direction. But I’ve got some politically incorrect news for true believers everywhere:  Weird patterning and synchronicities are to be found everywhere you cast your obsessive attention!

Here’s an example of weird, synchronistic patterning—-I just saw a magazine ad put out by a tire company. The ad tells you how to know if you have enough tread left or need to replace your tires. The test is you take a penny, put it between the treads and see if Lincoln’s head is covered. It turns out that Lincoln’s head is exactly one sixteenth of an inch from the outer edge of the penny. OK, but here’s the spooky part that probably proves that Illuminati operating through the Federal Reserve control every aspect of this country: Lincoln just so happens to have been our sixteenth president!  Does this mean that Illumanati,  secretly controlling the tire industry and the U.S. Mint set up that parallelism for some nefarious purpose?  I think it means that weird coincidental or synchronistic patterning occurs everywhere, and will light up wherever you cast your obsessive attention.

As great a visionary genius as Terence was, I think he was fooled by principles 1 & 2 on the 2012 topic. His fractal timewave descended into infinite novelty so close to December 21st, 2012 there had to be a connection.  Similarly, I was astounded by the multi-layered synchronicity that occurred during my first encounter with the 2012 date outside of my chiropractor’s office, but I also sensed the joke, sensed the trickster aspect toying with me. Just to underline this even more let’s turn this into a third principle:

3. Synchronicities do not necessarily mean that you are on the right track with esoteric research.

Synchronicities are endlessly fascinating, but be careful how you interpret them.  It is easy to read too much into them.

Somewhere, right now, there are a couple of high school students who have been reading Aleistier Crowley,  playing Led Zeppelin records backwards,  and doing bong hits with their fingers nervously touching the planchette of a Ouija Board. They are experiencing mind-blowing synchronicities and all sorts of uncanny occurrences, but this does not mean they are on the right track with their esoteric studies!

4. The unconscious includes active, sometimes sinister, intelligences that are aware of your attention and have their own agenda.

As Nietzsche put it: “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Exploring the unconscious is a treacherous enterprise. Jung said the only way to do it was with a strong moral stance. You don’t go deep-sea diving without the right equipment, and a moral compass is indispensable equipment for exploring the unconscious.

5. Esoteric studies are perilous without a strong moral compass.

You need a strong ethical stance to explore the unconscious without being consumed by it! If you are exploring the unconscious because it’s trippy, or because it inflates your sense of self-importance you are likely to remain lost in the unconscious. According to Terence, when shamans go into the realm of the ancestors to heal somebody they go in there, do what they have to do as quickly as possible, and get out as quickly as they can so as to minimize the danger.

6.  Work with trustworthy mentors/spiritual allies who will give you rigorous reality-testing and Socratic dialogue. Avoid sycophants, disciples, and true believers!

If you’re going to do deep-sea diving you want some highly experienced, reliable people in the boat on the surface who are watching your oxygen lines and who can help pull you out of the abyss. When I began writing on esoteric subjects as a nineteen-year-old undergraduate in the late Seventies, I had mentors and spiritual allies. After a couple of years, I realized that wasn’t enough and also began a rigorous six-year Jungian analysis.  I have always worked with mentors and spiritual allies who have strong reality testing and no hesitation to tell me if they think I’m on the wrong track or getting too full of myself.  If you seduce people,  or have people attaching themselves to you, who give you uncritical adulation for your discoveries, then it is like you have added heavy lead weights to your diving suit. Very likely you will never make it back to the surface and the clear daylight.  And this brings us to one of the most classic pitfalls of esoteric research:

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 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.

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 me 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 reign 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. There is, however, one red flag that presents such a serious warning that you need to stop right in your tracks and confront the dark force before you take another action:

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 

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!

Buddhist and Hindu gurus who came to the U.S. in the Sixties were particularly notorious for such abuses, though, of course Catholic priests are in a class by themselves, or should be. Chogyam Trungpa, a spiritual genius who founded Naropa here in Boulder, is a very notable example of this syndrome and his case ties in directly with  Argüelles as we will see later.  I discussed the problem with Trungpa and his “crazy wisdom” approach in my 2007 essay: Dynamic Paradoxicalism—the Anti-Ism Ism http://zaporacle.com/dynamic-paradoxicalism Here’s an excerpt:

In acknowledging a place for darkness and irrationality, the dynamic paradoxicalist must be very wary. This acknowledgment can all too easily slide into the indulgence of sophisticated rationalization, where one excuses foolishness by acknowledging that darkness has its place alongside light. This is no small pitfall. This type of rationalization excuses the sadistic and/or hedonistic antics of abusive gurus, for example, by claiming that they are “crazy wisdom teachers.” Dynamic paradoxicalism is a philosophy best suited for those who are grounded in a strong, Warrior stance.

(See:  http://zaporacle.com/category/warrior-stance/)

The dynamic paradoxicalist must take full responsibility for discerning where he needs to be in relationship to the paradox.  If you find yourself leaning toward the dark, lunar, irrational side of a paradox, be very wary about your motives, and see if this is what the totality of you really needs to do. There should be a heavy burden of proof on the decision to abdicate rationality and discipline.

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.”

( See: http://www.shambhala.org/teachings/view.php?id=131)

Huh? Another explanation is that the Buddhist 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.

Trungpa’s most famous dysfunctional moment occurred when he drunkenly plowed a sports car into a joke shop in Dumfries, Scotland, an accident that left him partially paralyzed. Trungpa seemed almost proud of that occurrence, a great cosmic joke, but what he should have gotten from this episode is a respect for the trickster aspect of the unconscious. The trickster aspect of the unconscious is what so many mystics and metaphysical explorers always seem to miss!

In The 2012 Story, John reminded me of something I had either never known or had completely forgotten—that there was a very strong link between Trungpa and Argüelles. Once I thought about it I remembered that shortly after I arrived in Boulder in 1995 I met a very charismatic man whose first name was Bill, and who was a close personal friend of Trungpa and Argüelles.  We mostly talked about Trungpa, whose warrior writings I had studied, and Bill told me some of the back story about what he was like up close. I often wondered whether Bill’s alcoholism—he was quickly drinking himself to death—was encouraged by Trungpa’s fatal alcoholism. Noting my connection to the I Ching, at one point Bill said I reminded him of his friend Argüelles,  a comparison I obviously don’t relish.

For all these reasons I was fascinated to read the following in The 2012 Story:

In the 1970s Argüelles lived in Boulder, Colorado, and he was involved in the founding of Naropa College in 1974. He was a devoted student of Trungpa Rinpoche, who was known for a spiritual teaching style called Crazy Wisdom. This school of thought, and its leader, became famous for techniques that disrupted the rational mind. The methods were unorthodox and, in retrospect, highly questionable. Some of its ‘graduates’ have claimed that it left them in states of severe confusion. 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] 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”  (112-3).

John adds: “Argüelles, in his biography, discussed the extreme, yet often endearing nature of Trungpa’s character, and remembers that he benefited from learning presence of mind by practicing dharma art projects, with Trungpa’s guidance, in the late 1970s. In my opinion,  a devaluing of facts and rational assessment might have been instilled in Argüelles at this time and Argüelles’s own predilection for creative process and model-making took precedence. The irrational teachings of the Crazy Wisdom school may in some way underlie the unorthodox presentation of Dreamspell, which is, as I discussed, irrational and internally inconsistent.” (113)

One of the major fallacies Argüelles and many others like him fall prey to is the pre/trans fallacy I mentioned earlier. This fallacy was observed and incisively described by Ken Wilber. Essentially, the pre/trans fallacy notices a common tendency to confuse pre-rational states with trans-rational states, since both are non-rational. The “reductivist” version of this is the tendency of “scientism,” which  reduces all transrational mystical states to prerational infantilism, and dismisses authentic spiritual experience as “superstitious nonsense.” Freud clearly fell for this half of the fallacy, especially in The Future of an Illusion. The “elevationist” version of the fallacy, ubiquitous in the New Age, is to elevate prerational states to the transcendent and to demonize rationality. From this side of the fallacy, babies are thought to be Buddhas, and anything tribal or aboriginal is romanticized and inflated as infinitely superior to anything modern or rational. Promiscuity is seen as a daring rebellion from antiquated taboos, even though it is usually in high conformity to what peers are doing. There will be a recognition of the  conventionality of the older sexual morays of the past, but a failure to recognize that the rebellion into promiscuity is part of a vast conventionalism of the present, and that this new conventionalism is actually based on a still more primitive level of development than the old conventionalism. Regressing to pre-rational hedonism, indulging every impulse and irrational notion is seen as enlightened, post-conventional and transcendent. This is the state of the typically goofy New Age person who never heard an urban legend or bit of mystical-sounding nonsense without adopting it wholesale. This type of person is fiercely anti-intellectual and anti-rational, so it is impossible to talk them down from their absurdities. Even the attempt to do so casts you, in their minds, as this clueless rationalist stuck in his ego. They believe they have transcended rationality, while forgetting that to transcend something you first have to achieve it!

—One reader wanted to know why I said in this principle that “tolerating in another’ also meant you had crossed over to the dark side.  Good question. A toxic guru may personify the active side of the dark force, but someone who accepts the rule of such types is part of the passive aspect of the dark force. While not as bad as the perpetrator of darkness, the willing victim of darkness is a key participant in the system of darkness. I emphasize willing,  because some who grew up in a toxic system, or who has been potently brainwashed, may not have the free will to resist.  There is also the principle: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”  Some have suggested that the era of the abusive guru might be coming to an end because of the internet. Anyone can get online 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. 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 (strange as it sounds) and such willing victims have also crossed over.

10. Beware, beware the pre/trans fallacy! (see above)

11. Once you abandon rigorous reality testing and rational discernment, you end up deceiving yourself and others.

Once you abdicate rationality and discernment  in favor of supposedly intuitive free-flowing imagination,  you have contracted a virulent and progressive disease. The person who has stepped into this lunar anything-goes mode has taken up permanent residence at the bottom of the ocean buffeted by this force and that, deceiving himself and manipulating and deceiving others.

It seems hard to believe now that Argüelles was once a Princeton art history professor.  If you listen to him now, for example his April 1 (yes, some Gregorian calendar irony,  April Fools day) 2009 interview on Coast-to-Coast AM with George Noory, it’s hard not to notice that he’s just become a total buffoon.

Upon hearing his interview, I wrote the following blog:

I finally summoned my will to listen to George Noory’s interview with  Jóse Argüelles on April 1st and it was both torturous and unintentionally hilarious on Jose’s part.  Jóse  mentioned the significance of all sorts of dates, including that one of his books was released on Good Friday, but didn’t care to notice that his big interview was happening on April Fool’s day.  Any grounded person listening to this interview would have to recognize the cosmic appropriateness of this date, or that, at least on this occasion,  Jóse was a fool.

Some of my quotes may be off by a word or two as a perfectly accurate transcription didn’t seem warranted.

George introduced the interview by quoting Daniel Pinchbeck:

“I suspect that Jóse  Arguelles will come to be honored as one of the most important thinkers in human history.”

Jóse appeared with Stephanie South, an apparent groupie, who lives with him in Australia and who was introduced as his “biographer.” She said she had met Jóse several times in her dreams before meeting him on the 3D plane. The “biography” is entitled 2012, Biography of a Time Traveler. Early on George asked, “Are you a time traveler or is that just a broad scope of what you do?” Jóse  responds, “I am a time traveler.” Stephanie chimed in, “Jóse  is indeed a time traveler.” Considering that Jóse believes himself the reincarnation of a Seventh Century Mayan King, a claim that Stephanie supports on the first page of her biography (you can read the first few pages on Amazon), perhaps this isn’t a surprising claim.

Jóse  talked about “the 90% of the brain we don’t use.” I’ve been debunking that since the early 80s but now it’s been debunked everywhere as a medical urban legend—we use one hundred percent of our brains. See http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html Perhaps Jóse was using the royal we?

Jóse said he was deeply affected by Hoagland’s face on Mars when he first saw it in 1983 and said that he immediately realized, “I know that, I remember that,  I was there, I know where that came from.” He added that he was weeping with the power of this revelation and began “spiraling through time” and “unnecessary levels of knowledge began falling away.”

Jóse said the Harmonic Convergence of 1987 definitely worked, and the first evidence he offered was that just two months later the stock market had a big crash.

To my amazement,  Jóse went on at length about “the big 2007 N.Y. Times article” (apparently “Final Days,” the 2007 article I referenced earlier that specifically credits John for debunking Jóse) as though it was a huge vindication of his work.  He said the article represented a “big acknowlegement by the collective unconscious that 2012 was on.”

Stephanie was asked what we should expect as we got close to 2012, and she replied that, “There will be a big transference of karma from Mars and Maladek.” She added, “There will be a clearing of karma from all the world’s systems, God willing.”

When asked what were the most important things we can do to prepare, the first thing she recommended was ” a series of colonic irrigations.” Jóse chimed in his support and pointed out that David Icke wrote about the cosmic insights he had after such a series. I could imagine that colonic irrigations would be very powerful for either of these most important thinkers as they might cause the momentary release of their heads from colonic eclipse.

In the last hour Jóse offered the intriguing theory that overpopulation was the result of technology speeding us up. This might explain why the high-tech Third World produces so many babies, and the low-tech First World countries have zero or less than zero population growth.

If a face on Mars’ time-traveling spiral hasn’t caused you to shed unnecessary levels of knowledge, you may find John’s work on 2012 to be a bit more credible…. Of course some of you may be offended and will think I am being needlessly sarcastic and polarizing. I do not believe that reality testing and critical thinking are examples of unnecessary knowledge that we need to shed to make progress on the evolutionary spiral. Sometimes a fool really is fool and that needs to be pointed out.

(End of blog from 2009.)

Similarly, there are a number of high-profile esoteric researchers, some of whom I know personally, who once had incisive insights. But sometime in middle age their thinking shockingly deteriorated after spending too much time in an atmosphere of credulous anything-goes New Age fantasy projection. When I hear them speak now I cringe with embarrassment for them.

This type of decline relates to how some once talented, sincere people gradually become full-blown charlatans:

12. Once you get addicted to the excitement, attention, adulation, and income from esoteric work (and many other forms of work, sport and creative activity) you are in danger of crossing every ethical line to keep the goodies coming.

I’ve written about this in my essay: “The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse” http://zaporacle.com/the-path-of-the-numinous-living-and-working-with-the-creative-muse/ Once an esoteric researcher, a writer, etc builds an ego identity, and possibly an income and social/sexual status from whatever they are doing, they feel entitled to play that role forever. Consider the case, for example, of a writer complaining of “writer’s block.” Is that an actual pathological condition?  Yes, but not in the way the writer thinks. It means his ego identity, and perhaps budget, has formed a dependence on the continuous flow of the creative muse and he feel wronged somehow when the creative flow turns off.  Was “writer” stamped on his birth certificate?  The creative muse is more likely to turn off if you presume upon it.

If you’ve built up an identity, and an income, as a prophecy expert or New Age seer or whatever, then you want to keep that going.  So when the 2012 bandwagon rolls into town, and you can see that it’s a really hot, sparkly bandwagon, suddenly all these people who know even less about Mesoamerican archaeology than I do, are suddenly on board as 2012 experts, and are pumping out 2012 product and hyping it every chance they get.

For example, for the last fifteen years I have watched while John’s rigorous work on Mayan cosmology and galactic alignment has been co-opted and misappropriated by every snake oil salesman and his brother who stole it from some other charlatan who found it on some sketchy website somewhere and they are often genuinely ignorant that it originated with John.

Some people and organizations putting out 2012 product never even had an original core of sincerity that got corrupted, but are just crass opportunists from the get-go. Sex, money, power and celebrity are highly attractive addictive substances that are often in short supply.  Some people, and some corporate entities will lie, steal, manipulate and even murder to get the goodies. Wherever there is a concentration of any of these goodies,  you will find that a disproportionate number of psychopaths, and what I call “situational psychopaths,” will be attracted like moths to a flame.  I discuss this phenomenon extensively in my essay “Foxes and Reptiles—Psychopathy and the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008-9.”

http://zaporacle.com/foxes-and-reptiles-psychopathy-and-the-financial-meltdown-of-2008-9.

An example of crass, opportunistic corporate exploitation of 2012 and what I would call apocalypse porn are some of the sensational, deceptive cable television “documentaries” on 2012, Nostradamus, etc.  I recently tried to watch one of these on the History Channel and found them endlessly exploiting  the little trick of taking nonsensical assertions and posing them as provocative questions of the, “Could the Maya have been taught pyramid building by extraterrestrials?” Within a ten minute period there were dozens of these Could? questions and an almost complete absence of declarative sentences.

13. Where opportunities for money, celebrity sex and power concentrate there shall you find psychopaths and situational psychopaths.

Wall Street and other centers of high finance, high-profile media venues, organized religions and cults are places of particular concentration. As L. Ron Hubbard is so often quoted: “If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion.” Making your own religion, however, is a lot of work, so many charlatans will settle for a book, board game, documentary or whatever.  A cult is just a recently minted religion with an income that is smaller  but concentrated into fewer hands.

14. A key warning sign that you or someone else is moving toward cultic manipulation is the adoption of special names, titles and past-life identities.

We all know that one of the quickest ways to become a movie star is to be the son, daughter, brother or sister of a movie star. If you don’t have such an opportunity, perhaps you can remember that you were once an occult star like Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, a Mayan King, or whatever.

I get very wary when I hear someone has put “Master,” “Grandfather” or “Elder” in front of his name. This has much bearing on the 2012 topic because we are hearing about “Mayan Elders” and their prophecies about 2012.  When some New Age people hear “Hopi Elder” or “Mayan Elder,” they imagine some gnarled figure stepping out of the mists of time imbued with the wisdom of the eons. For someone like me, a middle-aged, secular Jewish white guy from the Bronx, to dare to hold an “Elder” to reasonable standards of evidence, etc. is presumptuous, offensive and sacrilegious.  If we look into it we might find that the “Hopi Elder” is a middle-aged guy about my age who is one 1/16th native American and thinks young New Age women are really hot. The Jews have been around for thousands of years, probably longer than even the ancient Maya, so doesn’t that make me a Jewish Elder? But, wait, “Jew” has been an unpopular brand for several millennia, so maybe I’ll  rebrand myself as “Cabalistic Elder Jonathan Zap.” I once skimmed a trade paperback book on the Cabala, and if anyone challenges my cabalistic knowledge I can call him anti-Semitic and say he is disrespecting my ancestral lineage.  Anyway, this is how the game is often played.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t  sincere, humble indigenous elders out there, but it often turns out that these personable folks are ignorant of their own heritage and have picked up most of their notions from recent New Age material.

For many years I have heard New Age people talking in hushed tones about “Hopi Elder Prophecies.” I need to do some research to confirm this, but I’ve heard that Hopi Elders asked (and were granted) permission to speak to the United Nations General Assembly in the Eighties to share their prophecy that a great cataclysm was coming later in the Eighties. I’ll have to look into that, but something I witnessed myself is the huge build up to Hopi Elders speaking on Coast-to-Coast AM with Art Bell on June 16, 1998.  Someone has posted a transcript here: http://www.oneprayer.org/hopi_elders_art_bell_talk.html

I’m going to include some excerpts because this interview has some close parallels to some of this elder fallacy going on with the Maya.

(GF1=Grandfather 1, GF2=Grandfather 2 – younger, translated for GF1, GM =Grandmother, GW=Robert Ghost Wolf AB = Art Bell.)

AB: We are being honored with the presence of two Hopi Elders, Grandfather 1 who is speaking Hopi and Grandfather 2 who is translating for us. They’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area. In the Black Hills of South Dakota, we have Robert Ghost Wolf and we are discussing the details?..specific details?..of Hopi prophecy,

With regard to what may be changing, Earth changes, is the time now very short?

GF2: [Asks, then translates.] It is time for the end times here, that was prophesied and through the dreams that were given to us also. Through those dreams, we are learning that we are getting very close to the end times.

AB: Might we ask how old Grandfather 1 is? His age?

GF2: [Asks?] Seventy-five. 75 years old.

AB: 75 years old. And, how old are the prophecies that we are talking about now?

GF2: [Asks?] He doesn’t know exactly what the age of these teachings are. He says they were given to them before Christ. It is mainly by word of mouth that it has been handed down.

GF2: [Asks?] Through the Elder’s teachings and wishes. The Elders wanted to let this become public at a time when we were close to the end times. So, he had decided to take this upon himself to let go of these things, in hopes that there would be a number of people that would understand and realize what is going on and start praying. We ARE very close to it and we are, right now, going through hard times. He wants to set some people aside?..their lives?..so that some lives may be spared.

Actually, there are a few that he thinks are important things that will be coming up pretty shortly. There’s one thing for sure that we are going to come upon is that World War III is….it will take place….and starvation is definitely a part of this thing, where we will hit starvation.

AB: When does Grandfather think the very serious parts of the prophecies, another world war and mass starvation……when will these begin to manifest? How far away from these are we?

[Grandfathers One and Two talk back and forth in the Hopi Tongue.]

G2: Well, it’s been said that there is no exact time and date for these things…events…to take place, but the year 2000 is a …I would say…that is a close approximation of the time that all of this will start to take place.

T: [Asks?] From these teachings that were given to him, he has understood that the solar axis itself, of the Sun, is going to change. The places that normally have cold weather will have hot weather. You know, the weather itself is going to get even worse. The temperatures are going to rise even higher, and that will burn up the crops and dry up the Earth, so nothing will be able to grow. It is true that the Sun itself is being affected by this also.

AB: In farmer’s fields around the world, in many, many places in the world…as a matter of fact even tonight, for the first time ever in the state of Virginia, there is a very complex crop circle. These are strange formations in farmer’s crops. Does Grandfather know anything about what these may be, and why they happen?

GF2: [Asks?] He has heard about these. He has seen pictures of the crop circles that have been out there. These are, in his own mind, teachings also, and they’re telling us what is becoming of our time and where it is leading us. He has had a chance to look at a few of them, and he does understand what they’re trying to put through?…the message in the circle itself. It is telling us that we are very close to it…

AB: Do you also believe, as we have heard from Grandfather One, that Hopi Prophecy is now telling us that the end times are very, very near?

GM: Yes, uh huh. Yes, that is true.

AB: Alright. Would you ask Grandfather to give us some few things that we should all watch and look for to happen in the next say…18 months…or year and a half.

[Grandfathers One and Two confer.]

G2: Okay, he says that these earthquakes are imminent but there is no real date as to when these will take place. That big earthquake that was supposed to hit California had been altered, in a way, by the Tibetans who had heard about that and they did a lot of prayers there and they helped in altering the intensity of the earthquake that took place in California. That is, you know, something that we should look for is a large earthquake that would take place. It’s going to be real big. It’s going to be devastating.

Many New Age people I ran into during this period were just awed by these Hopi Elders. It never seemed to occur to them the Hopi Elder’s brains were no bigger than their brains.  For them, indigenous=above reproach, voice of nature, channeler of the cosmos. The other thing to notice in the transcript is that alongside the claims of extreme antiquity (“before Chirst”) for their prophecies, there are also sprinkled New Age memes—crop circles, Tibetans meditating away Californian earthquakes, and throughout it all, the extreme influence of Christian apocalypitcism.

When some New Age people hear “indigenous Elder,” they imagine someone who grinds maize with a stone and  steps out of a cave every few hundred years to announce prophecies. In reality, many of the indigenous people who step forth as spokespersons for their heritage are also steeped in Christianity.  For example, in 1996 I worked as a volunteer on a Navajo (Diné) reservation near Big Mountain, Arizona. The father of the family I stayed with, and helped with agricultural work, was a real, working Navajo medicine man. He and his family  told me many stories about Skinwalkers, rituals, healings  and so forth.  I witnessed Navajo arriving in battered pick-up trucks from long distances  to visit with him for his services.

In addition to many Navajo artifacts, the medicine man’s house was also filled with all sorts of American Christian kitsch of the sort you find lingering in  thrift stores—sun-faded bad color reproductions of a blue-eyed Nordic Jesus at the Last Supper laminated onto wood-grained particle board, etc. Although many fundamentalists, particularly Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, have this extreme exclusionary religious identification, much of the world does not, and will gladly adopt elements from whatever sorts of religion they come in contact with. When  some New Age people encounter the words of an indigenous Elder, it may not occur to them that what  they are hearing is often a pastiche of New Age memes,  Western popularized notions of what their cultural heritage was supposed to be, and Christian undercurrents.

In The 2012 Story, John describes some of his painful confrontations with the elder fallacy. John quotes an interview with a Maya teacher Carlos Barrios, who speaks scornfully of “…‘anthropologists’ and ‘other people’ who write ‘about prophecy in the name of the Maya’” (180).  Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

“Anthropologists visit the temple sites,” Mr. Barrios says, “and read the steles and inscriptions and make up stories about the Maya, but they do not read the signs correctly. It’s just their imagination…”

Carlos obviously has contempt for anthropologists and people like John who read the signs but are not indigenous Maya. After this description of how outsiders misread the signs Carlos pontificates on what real Mayan Day Keepers know about 2012 and proceeds to relate (without citing) John’s theory of galactic alignment in terms that appeared to be directly paraphrased from his books and web pages!  Barrios, without crediting John, adopted his galactic alignment scenario in a book he published in 2004. Adding insult to injury, Barrios wrote, “Many outside people writing about the Mayan calendar sensationalize this date, but they do not know. The ones who know are the indigenous elders who are entrusted with keeping the tradition.” (182-3)

Scholar Robert Sitler who investigated the 2012 phenomenon also ran into the elder fallacy: “Upon interviewing modern Maya spokespeople, such as Don Alejandro, he found that whenever they said anything about 2012, it could be traced to modern authors such as Jóse Argüelles.” (214)

Once again, it is not the indigenous that I am singling out for criticism, but the blind spot some people have for special titles. I also don’t like automatic reverence for Bishops, Imams, Ayatollahs, Rinpoches, etc. I’d throw in a Jewish term, but the Jewish religion doesn’t have much of a hierarchy, if it did, I’d be annoyed with whatever terms it came up with. People should be evaluated, on their individual merits, and a few syllables in front of someone’s name only says to me that person carries around a claim of special status which immediately makes me wary.

While we’re on the subject of blind spots, there is a whole list of those I’d like to run through that have particular relevance to esoteric research and 2012.  A year or so ago I read a few books on the subject of blind spots, which are the cause of many unfortunate and even tragic outcomes. One of the most classic is called “loss aversion” and may explain why Terence remained so committed to his Time Wave theory despite some disconfirmations and successful challenges to its mathematical integrity. My general descriptions of blind spots are excerpted from a card I wrote for my online oracle (the “Zap Oracle”) entitled “Blindspots.”

Here is the entry on loss aversion:

Captain Jacob Van Zanten was one of the most accomplished and experienced pilots in the world with a spotless record. He was the head of KLM’s safety program. Nevertheless, during a day of acute frustrations, he made the impulsive decision to take off in a foggy, unfamiliar airport without tower clearance and plowed into another jet resulting in the death of 584 people. Captain Van Zanten was motivated by one of the most classic blind spots known as “loss aversion.” Many studies show that people are far more motivated by preventing losses than they are by achieving comparable gains. It is loss aversion that keeps someone at the casino table trying to recoup losses until his life savings is gone. Captain Van Zanten had an excellent on-time record that was being undermined by a series of mishaps that day, and he couldn’t stand the thought of the loss of his good record. His co-pilot, who warned him that he did not have tower clearance to take off, went along with the impulsive decision because of another classic blind spot — the tendency to override your own better judgment out of deference to a person of authority.    (end of card excerpt)

Both John and I last saw Terence alive early in 1999 at the Whole Life Expo in Denver.  I remember Terence speaking with a somewhat weary Captain Ahab-like determination about his Time Wave theory.  One sentence stuck in my mind as haunting, and it still resonates as such today. Terence said (approximately), “I’ve spent thirty years working on this theory and if it turns out to be wrong I’ll spend the next thirty years working on why I was so obsessed with it.” Unfortunately, Terence did not have a next thirty years. In a few weeks he had his first seizure and a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer.

Terence had staked so much of his time, reputation, sense of special destiny, etc. on his theory that he felt he couldn’t walk away from it even when there were disconfirmations and people like me pointing out flaws in his thinking. Unlike many lesser minds, Terence did not spurn such challenges, he welcomed them. He would often tell people that they should be suspicious if a truth was so holy you were supposed to avert your eyes and accept it without question. Terence encouraged people to prod, probe and test every purported truth. “The truth can take it.” he would add.

Although Terence welcomed challenges to his theories, most are not so welcoming. Someone who has built a reputation and identity for himself as a Dreamspell astrologer, for example, cannot so easily admit he was deceived or  hoaxed and walk away. When someone is invested in a belief system that gets challenged, more likely than not they will hunker down, fight back, and even increase their investment of time, money, and vehement commitment.

15. To progress with esoteric research you must be willing to walk away from pet theories and cherished assumptions.

Your commitment needs to be the truth, not to any particular hypothesized version of it. I can never be sure of my willingness to give up favorite theories, and I question myself about it frequently. This brings us to our next blind spot:

Need for Closure — Studies show that creative people are better able to live with ambiguity, but many cannot bear it. To overcome ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty people reach premature closure on important decisions, convincing themselves they have reached the correct verdict. Time and/or social pressure increase this tendency. People who surrender to fundamentalisms and absolutisms are often trying to permanently immunize themselves from the threat of ambiguity.

The need for closure is a deadly temptation in esoteric research. Esoteric research often involves the study of ambiguous phenomena that cannot be reproduced on demand. Out of the hundreds or thousands of books the ancient Maya wrote, only four remain and what’s left related to the Long Count calendar is particularly fragmentary. (76, 81)  One has to look back through the mists of time at the fragmentary evidence  left by an exotically different culture. Some areas of irreducible ambiguity may never be closed.  Part of the temptation is that  closure often brings status. People are magnetically attracted to people who have definite conclusions and are completely sure of themselves.  As Bill Clinton pointed out, “Strong and wrong beats weak and right.”

In ufology, for example, I have found that the most intelligent and diligent researchers (such as Jacque Valle) are the ones least likely to give you fixed conclusions. It is the ignorant and the charlatans who rattle off the names of everyone on the Pleidian high council,  and have ready answers for everything.

16.  Avoid closure until you really know. Your powers of observation and thinking increase with your ability to tolerate ambiguity.

Next blind spot:

Wishful Thinking — The formation of beliefs and the making of decisions according to what is pleasing to imagine rather than through evidence or reasoned consideration.

The New Age is rife with this. 2012 is anything you want it to be—a sudden end to materialism plus infinite abundance, plus world peace, plus time travel, plus…

17.  Be aware and very wary about what you want to believe and hold such beliefs to even higher standards of evidence and critical challenge.

Halo Effect — The first traits we recognize in others influence our interpretations and perceptions of later ones because of our expectations. For example, good-looking people are judged as having better personalities and skills than those of average appearance. Celebrity endorsements improve sales of products that the celebrity knows nothing about.

2012 is a virtual festival of halo-effect abuse. People take their own quirky notions and rebrand them as Mayan, indigenous, ancient and so forth. If the spokesman of a 2012 theory is charismatic and/or is genuinely an expert in some area, this doesn’t entitle him to a general authority that can be abused  to promote a notion about 2012 on which he is not an expert, etc.

18. Know the halos you are influenced by and compensate for their influence.

One of the best-looking groups of people in the world are pharmaceutical sales reps. Big Pharma has them in both genders to appeal to doctors of whatever gender preference. If someone is attractive, realize that the halo effect may give that person outsized influence. Evaluate people and ideas on a case-by-case basis and independent of attached halos (Elder, Rinpoche, etc.).  Be very wary of researchers who insist on attaching halos to their stuff: “My deep inside sources tell me…”  “Elder so-and-so initiated me in the following mystery teaching.” Other classic esoteric halos include unsubstantiated claims of extreme antiquity and exotic cultural origins for their material,  etc.

The above blind spots are classic ones recognized by mainstream psychology.  Here are a couple I’ve come up with that are relevant to 2012:

The Amazing Success Formula Fallacy — The belief in hyped-up one-size-fits-all success formulas. Dieters, multi-level marketing folks, and power of positive thinking/ you-create-your-own-reality absolutists are especially prone to this delusion — The Secret, many self-help books, surefire methods to get rich quick, etc. When asked the secret of his success as a composer, Philip Glass responded: “My secret — I get up early in the morning and work all day long.” Even that isn’t a success formula, because Philip happens to be a genius who works all day long.

There are many versions of 2012 as magical success formula: Just wait till 2012 and all injustices will be righted or you will be swept away in a New Age Rapture. Conversely, if you’ve got a pole-shift doomsday scenario, then worries about the mortgage, cleaning up your diet, etc. get brushed aside because by 2012 none of that will matter.

19. Be extremely wary of esoteric products and persons who have an answer and success formula for everything. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Real Life Up Ahead Fallacy — This isn’t your real life right now, you’re working toward your real life up ahead when you find your soul mate, perfect weight, career, dream house, etc. If nothing else, aging painfully exposes this fallacy. The antidote:  “existential impeccability,”—focusing in on the nowever as the time that really matters.

After 2012 the real life will start, right now I’m just in the lead up phase, this is all preparatory, 2012 is when things will really climax. We will discuss this blind spot in more depth later when we discuss how countdown dates bind you to linear time and suck vitality out of the present. Other esoteric researchers play similar games. For example, for decades certain ufologists have hyped that “disclosure is just around the corner,” and their inside sources confirm that the “disclosure year” is constantly upon us. David Wilcox is notorious for this with adamant insistence that his inside sources in both the government and the “Iluminati” confirm that Obama will soon hold an news conference with extraterrestrials standing beside him.

20.  Avoid any esoteric product or person that depends on some big drama event up ahead. Authentic esoteric material should deepen your awareness and appreciation of the present.

Global dismissal of out group member—This person doesn’t have scholarly/scientific credentials, there’s something New Agey about them, they’re just a clueless rationalist stuck in the old ways so anything they say is invalid and can be dismissed in advance.

There are reliable and unreliable types amongst credentialed scholars, skeptics, New Age types, independent researchers, indigenous folk and every other human group that has ever existed.

21. Evaluate people individually and be careful about dismissing entire groups.  Do not put a halo around certain groups or globally dismiss others.

I know I do a lot of negative stereotyping of New Agers, but on an individual basis I have found many who are sincere, open-minded and have valuable knowledge and insights.

The last  blind spot will also be a segue into our next major section on the “gatekeepers of 2012.”

The Objectivity Bias and Skeptic Fallacy  —You or someone else appropriates the mantle of objectivity without any evidence that he is not prone to the subjective factors that influence all people. The self-proclaimed objectivist will then, from a position of assumed superiority,  critique the subjectivity of others. The most comically absurd personification of this type is

Ayn Rand and some of her disciples. (See the superbly researched Rand biography: Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller)

22.  Be wary of yourself or anyone who claims “objectivity.”  Claims of objectivity generally involve  enormous blind spots about irreducible areas of subjectivity.

Most of us do this to some extent, but some people are real abusers. Nobody owns objectivity, but many think they do.  There is an irreducible amount of subjectivity involved in almost everything esoteric, and psychological subjects usually involve multiple layers of subjectivity.  When someone makes claims of being “objective” or a “skeptic,” it usually means they have put a halo around themselves as supremely rational observers immune to the subjectivities that riddle others. Some scientists and academics fall for this fallacy, and so far every spokesperson for the so-called skeptic community that I have encountered falls prey to this.

This leads us to the skeptic fallacy. The skeptics were originally a school of Greek philosophers who believed in tolerating ambiguity without resorting to premature closure.  They felt that their observational powers were increased if they withheld from conclusions. Notice that the self-proclaimed professional skeptics are the exact opposite of that. They are debunkers—true believers in a negative. They are priests of scientism rather than science. They have a-priori assumptions that paraspsychological phenomena, UFOs, etc. do not exist, and without questioning their own motivations they set about to discredit any people or research that runs counter to their  scientismic assumptions. Dr. Raymond Mood, who is an M.D. and has PhDs in both philosophy and psychology, has pointed out the ignorance and faulty logic of skeptics who say things like, “I’m a skeptic about NDEs, I think they’re just the result of an oxygen-starved brain.” In other words: “I’m a true believer in a reductive, easily disproven explanation of NDEs.”

I recently confronted professional skeptic Michael Shermer with this fallacy. He had just spoken about what motivates people to believe irrational things. I pointed out that he is certainly not a skeptic and that he never mentions or seems to examine his own subjective motivations—- that he has built a whole ego identity and substantial income around being a professional skeptic, and it would disrupt his whole life, identity and income if he were to admit that here is valid paranormal research, etc. His answer was a personable confection of glib evasions. Other people are subject to irrational beliefs, but as a professional skeptic he’s immune to that sort of thing. His scientismic assumption of himself as objective observer is an old-fashioned attitude that has been an obscuring force in science, esoteric research and many other fields for some time:

“The main concern is that the claims of a few scientists are fiercely disputed by most of their peers, not on the basis of research, but a priori not even with rational arguments, but with emotional motives. Emotional motives with their aftermath of ridicule, contempt, and insinuation, based solely on an unphilisophical attachment to a closed system.  It seems barely credible!” Dutch author and Psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden said that in 1894.

The 2012 Story documents many cases of the above fallacies perpetrated by the “gatekeepers of 2012”—academics, archeologists, epigraphers, astronomers and skeptics who arrogate to themselves the role of final arbiter on what the Maya intended about 2012.  For example, although many academic gatekeepers adamantly insisted for years that there was not a single Mayan inscription about 2012, in April of 2006 a translation was released by the University of Texas of a Mayan inscription on Tortuguero Monument 6 about 2012. While it looked to many as if it were a new discovery, in actuality Mayan epigraphers had been keeping it to themselves because they feared “creating a monster.”

This is typical gatekeeper behavior. The public can’t handle the truth, and if it is inconvenient to our stated positions we can just keep it under wraps. John points out that, “Another well-known scholar elsewhere likened the 2012 people who actively interject their observations and comments on the academic e-mail forums to ‘a pit of vipers.’” (218-9)

Although there is plenty of poor quality doomsday 2012 product out there, not everything produced by independent researchers is apocalypse pornography.  Many of the 2012 gatekeepers do not take the trouble to make that distinction, and will globally ridicule all nonacademic 2012 material as doomsday pseudoscience. Ironically, the first published connection of 2012 with apocalypse came from an academic!  John quotes an excerpt  from Maya scholar Michael Coe’s 1966 book The Maya:

“There is a suggestion that each of these [time periods] measured thirteen Baktuns, or something less than 5,200 years, and that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the thirteenth.”

John adds,

“The use of Christian terminology to describe Maya eschatology is quite surprising. ‘Our present universe’ he continues, is ‘to be annihilated…when the great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion.’ This is the kind of language that Maya scholars today find so offensive, and rightly so.  As I’ve been saying for two decades, the Maya Creation Myth itself does not espouse an idea of a final cataclysmic end to the universe. In a cyclic time philosophy, it’s all about transformations and renewal.” (229-30)

In May of 2004, John posted to his site an acrimonious exchange he had with an astronomer:

http://alignment2012.com/tonkins-error.html

John asked if I would read it and give some feedback on what was going on. I responded by email and John included a large excerpt from one of my two emails in The 2012 Story (232-3).  The full exchange is linked above so you can judge for yourself whether my comments are warranted. Here is the complete text of the relevant part of the emails:

That was a classic (if emotionally toxic to engage in) dialogue with a debunker priest of the scientism religion. You’ll find the identical attitude at Psycop and the Skeptical Inquirer.  As I’m sure you realize, a debunker is not a skeptic, but a true believer in a negative. Scientism is their religion, and they have a brittle, neurotic power complex that feeds off of this identification. They are the aristocrats of truth wearing a purple mantle and carry the imprimatur of science (in their neurotic imagination). Those who are representatives of the vast truths and areas of perception that their brittle and hollow neurotic persona cannot bear to engage are the subject of such comic shadow projection that, like a Medieval Monarch who cannot bear even the thought that a commoner should gaze at them or directly address them, the very thought of an actual dialogue with a member of this group makes them squirm with nauseated distaste. You have violated this man’s core psychic intentionality by daring to engage in a rational discourse with him (as they see rationality as their sovereign territory that those not part of their priesthood can’t dare to trespass on). You have forgotten what your role is supposed to be in their mind: Passive Straw Man. The esoteric person is supposed to make a series of absurd points, be a cliché or stereotype with no rational ability to engage challenges, and they are supposed to be the monarchs of objectivity, authoritatively casting down idols and buffoons for the general public. With the comical and unwarranted disdain with which he addresses you as “a” John Major Jenkins and “your kind”—a phrase so often applied by racists to blacks and Jews—this guy completely reveals the intense irrationalism and psychological projection that are at the core of his point of view. This type of debunker is more brittle and irritable than even many fundamentalist religionists because even their worldview has more depth than that of debunking scientism. Psychologically, someone of this type is a humpty-dumpty teetering on top of a slippery wall above an abyss. Their own unconscious is so aware of the vast hollowness of their affectation of objectivity that they live in a toxic world of irritated disdain of most of reality, projecting their own intense irrationalism on most everyone else, and even their power complex takes on a nerdy, introverted and impotent form—instead of being real scientists, actually taking bold strides into the unknown, all they can do is take pot shots at the straw men of their own imagination.

Another aspect of your exchange with the debunker is its obvious connection to the documentary and to the 2012 phenomenon in general. The 2012 field, in the collective psyche, is heating up and attracting irrationalisms. A classic aspect of this debunker is that he wants to be a bottom feeder. He wants to find the most inferior version of esoteric material to suit his purpose of having a straw man to knock down and thereby inflate his shaky ego identity. This is a parallel theme related to the TechTV interview you wisely backed away from. Lots of people want to either deify the esoteric person into a cult figure (as in some of José’s disciples) or conversely put clown make-up on them as they lead them to the gallows. This is true of celebrity in general—kick em’ while they’re up, kick em’ while they’re down. We love to deify celebrities and we also love to see them deflated and shamed by scandals or other crashes.

A giant deception is being set up (in unconscious cooperation) by two groups: The unground cheerleaders of 2012 and the debunkers. There is the potential to create a Y2K fiasco for esoteric research by setting up 2012 for inflated expectations which (because inflated expectations are almost impossible to realize) can be a great triumph for the debunkers. Your position on the subject is, therefore, anathema to both camps, which despite their differences of style are two sides of the same coin, two versions of the ego playing a masturbatory game with itself.     (End of email)

Although,  I’ve focused here on gatekeeper abuse, I am not at all trying to dismiss the crucial, invaluable contributions to the 2012 topic made by scholars and astronomers. John makes his appreciation of their work very clear throughout his books and websites.  For example, he writes:

“I realize that I can be critical of scholars and New Agers in equal measure, but in this section I want to make it clear that I have been inspired and informed  by Maya scholars past and present…

“Scholars whose perspectives I disagree with and critique are also the same scholars who have provided insights and breakthroughs” (240).

Finally, I realize I have spent a large part of this essay angrily casting down idols and haven’t said quite enough about what the whole phenomenon means for the collective psyche besides all the individual blind spots and fallacies that go into lighting up the glittering disco ball. Momentarily I will discuss the psychology of apocalyptic prophecy, but the largest perspective I have on the meaning of the 2012 phenomenon relates to my work on the Singularity Archetype and I will save a quick introduction to that for last.

The following brief passage from an introductory work on the Singularity Archetype entitled White Crows Rising will explore one of the major reasons why prophecy is so unreliable and why apocalyptic doomsday material is perennially popular:

One of the reasons that prophecy has been so unreliable relates to the perpetual confusion in the human psyche between the inner world and the outer world. The confusion is only to be expected given that there is often a blurred boundary between inner and outer. Inner and outer converge through synchronicity and through many causative mechanisms such as self-fulfilling prophecies. The most classic confusion of inner and outer is interpersonal projection. We project some disowned part of ourselves on to another or others. For example, a man may project the disowned feminine aspect of his soul onto a beautiful woman he sees walking down the street.  He looks at her and feels this sense of eternal recurrence—she was meant for me, I’ve known her from other lifetimes. In a sense, the perception is correct, this aspect of his soul is meant for him, and it has been with him from time immemorial.  The incorrect part, and it can be disastrously incorrect, is the confusion of the inner and outer, the acting out interpersonally of what is intrapsychic. Most interpersonal violence, as well as genocide and other forms of collective violence, occur in a state of shadow projection, where disowned and dreaded parts of oneself, or of the collective, are projected onto a despised other or another race, etc.

Anything with a strong emotional charge in the psyche, and especially if the charge is strong and uncomfortable, will be projected outside. One of the strongest charges in most psyches is anxiety about death. A classic projection is for a person to feel their own mortal vulnerability, the imminence of their own death that may come at any time, and to attribute that feeling to the world. I can feel it, this is all temporary, this world is going to end; I am living in the end times! Again, the perception is correct except for the confusion of inner and outer. Every mortal is always living in end times, death is always imminent and even if any of the many possible causes of premature death are avoided, the years left are still only a one or two digit figure. The uncomfortable feeling of perilous temporal fragility must go somewhere and an end of world prophecy is like a lightning rod for this intensely uncomfortable inner charge.

Like a fractal or a hologram, the life cycle of the individual to some extent recapitulates the life cycle of the species. An individual has a certain limited life span before they cross the event horizon of death, and a species also has a limited life span before it becomes extinct. I’ve heard that the average life span of a species is a 100,000 years. Because of the parallelism, it is easy for someone to confuse the imminence of personal death with collective eschaton. This confusion is also well motivated as it seems to displace much of the individual anxiety about death, which is usually faced alone, onto a “we’re all in it together” general event that has strong elements of high drama and excitement associated with it. Instead of a feeling of powerlessness about the inevitability of one’s own death, the prophet feels empowered by his sense that he has been privileged with secret knowledge withheld from the common person. Also, the ego is very concerned about its place in the social hierarchy and is appalled by the idea that it could cease to exist while others continue to live. If everyone checks out at once, however, then death involves no such social humiliation. Even better, if there is some sort of Rapture, where the ego is part of an elect that becomes immortal while others of the sort the ego doesn’t like are annihilated or left behind to deal with the Antichrist and Armageddon, then personal anxiety about death gets channeled into an all-satisfying scenario. For these powerful psychological reasons, prophecies of the end of the world usually seem to be conveniently scheduled to occur before the end of the prophet’s expected lifespan, allowing the eschaton to upstage anxiety about personal death.

2012’s popularity as projection screen for apocalyptic expectations is enabled by the convenience of its chronological nearness. Few people have heard that Sir Isaac Newton spent the last few decades of his life trying to decode Revelations and finally came up with an end-date of 2060.  Why don’t we hear more about this?  It’s not a sexy date yet because it’s too far away.  Nobody wants to wait half a century.  I’ll offer a prophecy of  my own:  Some time around 2050 we’ll start seeing books and movies coming up with titles like “The Newton Code.”

Many years after I formed this hypothesis I heard of an episode that gave it anecdotal support. In the 1960s there was a well-known woman psychic (but not Jean Dixon) who had a nationally syndicated newspaper column. She had a vision that a gigantic earthquake would destroy most of California on a particular date and reported this in her column. In copycat fashion, other psychics began to predict a quake on the same day. This woman was sincere in her prediction, and at great expense she relocated her family from the Bay Area to Nevada. On the predicted date there was no earthquake, but the woman died of some rare disease. (I have one published reference to this story, but have not been able to establish the psychic’s name or many other details, if anyone has any leads please send to jonathanzap@hotmail.com)  (end of White Crow excerpt)

If I have been pretty tough on false prophets and those who are always trying to get us to countdown to some exciting or terrifying date, one of the reasons is that the countdown lifestyle causes tremendous psychological and spiritual damage to people.  A few years ago I wrote a page and a half article on this entitled “Clocktime Metastasizes Toward 2012” :

“Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time. And not only time but temporalities, not only temporal things but temporal affections; not only temporal affections but the very taint and smell of  time”.  —Meister Eckart . (c. 1260–c. 1328)

Eagerly awaiting 2012 feels like hurrying toward tranquility. We are beset with time sickness, and the reset of that orientation is not to be found in time, but beyond time.

In his book, The Perennial Philosophy, Aldous Huxley points out that the religions and political philosophies that are framed in linear time are the ones that cause violence and generate suffering. The progressive may seek radical means to create a future world where conditions are more ideal. The reactionary may take repressive measures to turn the clock back to some imaginary earlier time, when “traditional” values reigned. Both seek to find their salvation in time, in the temporal world, and both will employ temporal means to get there, usually claiming that the ends justify their dubious means.

The more we identify with our mortal, aging bodies, the more we descend into clock-time, as our bodies are bound to clock-time in so many obvious ways. Conversely, our spirits are timeless, and therefore our psyches, which might be said to occupy a middle plane, have an inherently amphibious nature. Huxley describes the duality of our psyches as being able to live in both clock-time and eternity.

I’m trying to ground this distinction, and find a way to integrate it into my awareness while living in this clock-time driven realm. I’m not much of a meditator, and can’t recall any definitive experience of release from the temporal into the eternal. If I were to adopt an ambitious program of meditation to achieve that goal, I would, of course, be binding myself once more to a linear time track. I can’t travel toward eternity; as John Major Jenkins suggests,  attuning to eternity is more comparable to breathing in or out than traveling toward a destination.

The method I’ve found to be the grounding, integrating conduit for withdrawing from clock-time can be expressed in a two word phrase I coined some years ago: existential impeccability.  Existential impeccability means being impeccable right now, not striving to achieve some distant aim or goal. but simply to be impeccable for its own sake. When I seek to transform myself using the temporal, it always seems to back fire, just as when intelligence agencies seek to control the temporal they encounter blowback.

From the stance of existential impeccability, we are path-oriented, not goal-oriented. We stay centered in an axis mundi of empowerment and actualization by focusing on impeccability in our relationship with ourselves in the now. With this focus, we are always at the center of our circle of influence and inner independence. With our focus on existential impeccability, we are also as effective and harmonious as possible with all outer relationships.

The forms of violence done by temporally bound imperialist governments and evangelical religions each have their analog in our personalities. If I focus on capturing the Hottie, I descend into the nightmare of history, in this case the personal history nightmare of the adolescent soap opera. I live out of the moment in anticipation of the phone ringing, etc. This is the insight shared by an 80-year-old woman who said that she had now learned that striving to be loved was less fulfilling than to be love. When I get ambitious about anything: capturing the Hottie, becoming a celebrity, or writing a book, I step out into the flatland clock-time world; I find myself rushing toward a Precious in search of a wholeness that, had I but slowed down and turned inward, I would have found within.

I trick myself with clock-time when I accept galling privations now to achieve a goal, or when I indulge now and imagine that tomorrow I will turn over a new leaf. Reaching for a stimulant like coffee can be a way of binding metabolically to clock-time—I sacrifice existential impeccability to get something that speeds me up now and slows me down later. This is the classic pattern of temporal means. There is always the archetype of the Devil’s bargain: buy now, pay later; and you always pay more later than what you got now. But really you don’t just pay later, you pay the instant you make the decision, even before you act on it, because you have damaged your inner relationship to yourself and tied another binding knot to Maya or the linear time bound matrix. Tie enough of those knots and, as Jung put it, “the life giving rhythm of the aeons becomes the dread ticking of the clock”.

Finally, the Singularity Archetype, the largest perspective I can offer for the 2012 phenomenon. My upcoming book will be the most thorough treatment of the subject, and will also include a study of some of the 2012 material in a section on what happens when the Singularity Archetype pathologizes. I will conclude with some links to writings on the Singularity Archetype for any readers who want to investigate it before the book comes out. Here is my attempt at a one-page summary of a vast subject:

What is the Singularity Archetype?

The Singularity Archetype is a primordial image of human evolutionary metamorphosis that emerges from the collective unconscious. The Singularity Archetype builds on archetypes of death and rebirth and adds information about the evolutionary potential of both species and individual.

A Composite Picture of how the Archetype Presents

A rupture of plane event occurs, usually threatening the survival of the individual and/or species. The event is a shock that disrupts the equilibrium of body/physical world and also individual/collective psyche.  It is an ontological shock that will be viewed as the worst thing possible by individual/ collective ego.

There is another rupture of plane, which may actually be the same rupture as above, but seen from a cosmic rather than a personal view.  The shock is revealed to be a transcendent evolutionary event. The revelation of the transcendent aspect will often involve spiral motifs and unusual lights. Consciousness and communication metamorphose and with them core aspects—ego, individuality, connection to linear time, corporeality, gender identification, social order, etc.—- fundamentally transform.  There is a vision or actualization of  release from some or all limits of corporeal incarnation and the emergence of “glorified bodies” that have enhanced powers and various degrees of etherialization. More visual and telepathic modes of consciousness and communication emerge and this is part of a transformation of individuality into “Homo gestalt”—a new species where individual psyches are networked telepathically.

The SA may occur as a dream, vision or fantasy about eschaton—an end point of the species. The SA may also be experienced and even actualized to various degrees by an individual through transcendent and/or anomalous experiences such as NDEs, UFO/abduction/close encounter experiences, kundalini and psychotropic episodes.

As with encounters with all archetypes, individuals and groups will attach idiosyncratic material to it such as particular end dates and scenarios.  But the SA cannot be located in linear time and is not reducible to a premonition of particular outcomes or predetermined futures.  It could, however, be viewed as a “strange attractor,” a not fully formed pattern associated with the future that is affecting individual and species in past and present. Another way of defining the  SA (in its collective form) is as a resonance, flowing backward through time, of an approaching Singularity at the end of human history.

Here are three links to documents (in ascending order of length) on the Singularity Archetype:

Looking Toward the Event Horizon—The Singularity Archetype and the Metamorphosis of the Species

(This article was published in Australian Magazine New Dawn on December 1st, 2008, and is reproduced with their permission.)

Avatar and the Singularity Archetype

White Crows Rising—the Singluarity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution

The post Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Classic Pitfalls and Blind Spots of Esoteric Research appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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Looking Toward the Event Horizon The Singularity Archetype and the Metamorphosis of the Species https://zaporacle.com/looking-toward-the-event-horizon-the-singularity-archetype-and-the-metamorphosis-of-the-species-the-singularity-archetype/ https://zaporacle.com/looking-toward-the-event-horizon-the-singularity-archetype-and-the-metamorphosis-of-the-species-the-singularity-archetype/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2009 05:00:35 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=411 Spiral Dream Photo© Jonathan Zap Edited by Austin Iredale (This article was published in Australian Magazine New Dawn on December 1st, 2008, and is reproduced here with their permission. In this version I have corrected a couple of factual errors in my recounting of the novel Childhood’s End This article is merely an introduction, if you prefer …

The post Looking Toward the Event Horizon The Singularity Archetype and the Metamorphosis of the Species appeared first on ZapOracle.com.

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© Jonathan Zap

Edited by Austin Iredale

(This article was published in Australian Magazine New Dawn on December 1st, 2008, and is reproduced here with their permission. In this version I have corrected a couple of factual errors in my recounting of the novel Childhood’s End This article is merely an introduction, if you prefer to go directly to my most thorough online treatment of the subject: White Crows Rising—- The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution. My upcoming book will cover many new discoveries about the Singularity Archetype.)

Through a Glass Darkly

When we talk about the future we attempt to look, through a glass darkly, at a landscape that is unknown and unformed. Prophecy is a notoriously tricky and unreliable enterprise. Many people who have sought to look through that dark glass have seen images that were distorted reflections of themselves—of their hopes, fears and expectations. If there is a universal theme in the visions of prophets it is the prediction that extremely dramatic events will occur within their own lifetimes. The authors of the book of Revelations, for example, described events that they believed were going to happen in their time, the First Century AD, a fact rarely mentioned by born-again doomsayers. It is quite possible for someone to have a genuine revelation and then be completely mistaken about the time frame, or fall into the trap of being literal and concrete about the typically metaphorical vision they have seen.

How can we contemplate the future development of our own species in a planetary situation that boils over with an infinite array of variables? And how can we possibly transcend the inherent subjectivity of being fully vested members of the species for whom we are trying to predict?

The Prime Mover

One approach to the inherent unreliability of prophecy is to ignore as many subjective factors as possible, crunch a lot of numbers and analyze trends in a quasi-mathematical style. But the prime factor driving almost every trend being analyzed is the collective psyche. Warfare, environmental destruction, economic fluctuations and technological developments are mostly psychological products. Rather than trying to analyze trends, we need to look into the source of trends, the prime mover of the human experience, the collective psyche.

The collective psyche is an aggregation of individual psyches and, therefore, the individual psyche may recapitulate the collective psyche just as a small part of a fractal or a hologram recapitulates the whole. If we wanted a source of prophetic information about an individual psyche, if we wanted to look deeper than symptoms and behavioral fluctuations, and wanted to delve beneath the surface and into the source code of the individual matrix of personality, where would we look? The source of information I would choose would be dreams, the deepest and most unfiltered artifacts of the individual psyche. And, as Jung demonstrated, what the dream is for the individual, the myth is for the collective. A myth, therefore, is a kind of collective dream.

Collective Dreams

The work of Jung and his followers demonstrates convincingly the existence of a collective unconscious. From this collective layer of the unconscious emerge the great, primordial images Jung referred to as the “archetypes.” Across cultures and periods we find endless variations of these archetypes. The archetypes may appear as dreams or visions, especially in the fertile psyches of artists, poets, mystics, writers, shamans and prophets. Through such individuals the archetypes become myths and diffuse throughout a culture.

The dreams of an individual in crisis will tend to be dynamic, highly charged, and revealing of the deepest essence of the inner process. Similarly, the mythology of a culture in crisis will be intense and revealing of forces shaping collective destiny beneath the world of surfaces and appearances. Furthermore, the realms of dream and mythology will typically parallel or overlap. For example, Jung, working as an analyst during the era of the Weimar Republic, found that Wotan (in Germanic mythology, a god associated with war and mayhem) was occurring frequently in the dreams of his educated, highly civilized German patients. Jung was very disturbed by this phenomenon, which he called “Wotanism.” Based on the emergence of this archetype, Jung was able to correctly predict the future shape of irrational forces brewing in the German psyche. Through interpreting dreams, Jung was able to forecast with some accuracy the emergence of the virulent psychic contagion that took the form of Nazism and Hitler.

An Encounter with Jung

As a child my psyche was magnetized by emergent archetypal visions from the collective psyche that would appear in my own imagination, and also in many artifacts of popular culture such as science-fiction novels and films. By the time I was nineteen, and a senior in college, I set out to understand these numinous visions and was quickly led to a very personal encounter with Jung.

A few years ago I described that encounter as follows:

“My first encounter with Jung was intense and had the uncanny stamp of what Jung called ‘ synchronicity ’ all over it. I was nineteen years old and attempting to investigate certain anomalies. I had had experiences of a parapsychological nature, and found myself fascinated by disturbing fantasies and strange visions, which lit up in my imagination with recurrent intensity, but also appeared, inexplicably, outside of my psyche in sci-fi books and movies. This appearance of artifacts of the inside world materializing outwardly, another example of synchronicity, was especially strange as some of the material pre-dated my incarnation. Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, for example, had been written two years before I was born. Even more disturbing was the British 1960 sci-fi movie, Village of the Damned, which was based on the novel, The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, written five years before I was born. How could fantasies and visions that I thought weirdly peculiar to my imagination turn up in stories that were older than I was?

Still image from the movie, Village of the Damned

Unlikely help offered itself to me during the course of my studies. I was in my last year of college and the Chairman of the Philosophy Department, though I was an English major, had become my benefactor and opened doors for me in a highly conservative academic environment, allowing me to pursue interdisciplinary research projects into obscure, shadowy areas. But it was actually my mom who suggested that I read what a Carl Jung had to say about the ‘archetypes and the collective unconscious.’

And so I came to stand before the many elegant black volumes of the Princeton Bollingen edition of Jung’s collected works. But what could this Swiss psychiatrist, the son of a minister, who reached manhood in the nineteenth century, say of any use to a nineteen year old Jewish kid from the Bronx who found himself obsessed with sci-fi fantasies like The Midwich Cuckoos, in which a UFO-related incident somehow resulted in large-eyed, androgynous children with psychic powers and a group mind? I scanned the index volume for a minute or so and came across a late work, Flying Saucers, A Modern Myth of things Seen in the Sky . That was a bit of a shock, as UFOs were a major part of the fantasies and my esoteric research. I went right to volume ten, Civilization in Transition, where flying saucers were considered. This subject seemed to haunt Jung near the end of his life, and he couldn’t let go of it. At the end of the book there was an afterward, followed by an epilogue, followed by a supplement.

As I glanced through the supplement my jaw dropped open in amazement. Jung had devoted this supplement to analyzing mythological layers of meaning in John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos! It seemed as if this dead Swiss guy had stepped out of the bookcase and had holographically manifested himself to look over my shoulder at the same sci-fi story that obsessed me. Even more amazing, I saw that we had some parallel ideas about what it might mean.”

From the moment of that first encounter, Jung, like a wizard bearing a torch, became my guide as I followed numinous visions of evolutionary metamorphosis down the rabbit hole and discovered what I now call “the Singularity Archetype.”1 Essentially, the Singularity Archetype is a primordial image of an evolutionary event horizon.

1 To read the paper that resulted a few months later from this encounter, Archetypes of a New Evolution ( 1978)

Down the Rabbit Hole

Before we descend, however briefly, through the rabbit hole to encounter the Singularity Archetype, I would like to suggest an invaluable piece of equipment to bring along. Besides all the critical faculties that you bring to bear on this or any other article you read, an encounter with an archetype also requires a deeply intuitive truth sense. As you approach an archetype you will feel a resonance within, a sense of uncanny familiarity and recognition. The Hero with a Thousand Faces is the memorable title of Joseph Campbell’s classic book on the hero archetype. Campbell was being numerically modest because every archetype has billions or trillions of faces. These myriad faces are the individual permutations or manifestations of the archetype, like facets allowing you to look into the prismatic depths of a jewel that can dazzle and overwhelm.

During our brief journey we will

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have time to look through only three faces/facets of the Singularity Archetype. Hopefully these three vantages will allow the reader to triangulate the essence of an ever-shifting vision. At most, a fundamentalist looks through a single facet of an archetype and concretizes a single face he has been conditioned to see there. The Jungian approach, however, is to realize that each facet involves its own prismatic distortions of the archetype, like a series of cubistic paintings of a single subject. Unlike the fundamentalist, the Jungian doesn’t attach to the idiosyncratic reflections of particular versions, but attempts to see the essence that unites the myriad manifestations of the archetype.

Three Manifestations

Our first manifestation of the Singularity Archetype comes in the form of a dream reported to me by an intelligent young man a few years ago. The dreamer finds himself standing in the clearing of a forest. The sky is turning very dark. Underground tremors occur and escalate to where the earth seems to be shaking itself to pieces. There is fire and lightening and it seems to be the end of the world. Then everything calms down. The sky clears and then a large white eagle comes spiraling down from above. In its talons it holds a golden egg with a glowing aura. Carefully, it deposits this egg in a nest at the top of a great tree.

The second manifestation of the archetype is brought to us by one of Jung’s most brilliant colleagues—Marie Louise Von Franz.

Von Franz describes two dreams reported to her by someone she describes as “…a simple woman who was brought up in Protestant surroundings…” In both dreams a supernatural event of great significance is being viewed. But in one dream the dreamer is viewing the event from below, standing on the earth, in the other dream she views the same event from above.

(The dreamer’s painting, from Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung.)
In the earthbound dream, the dreamer is standing with a guide looking down at Jerusalem. The wing of Satan descends and darkens the city. The uncanny wing of the devil occurring in the Middle East immediately brings to mind Antichrist and Armageddon.


But in her other dream, the dreamer is witnessing the same event from the heavens. From this vantage the dark wing of Satan appears as the white, wafting cloak of God. A white spiral appears as a symbol of evolution. Von Franz describes,

...the spectator is high up, somewhere in heaven, and sees in front of her a terrific split between the rocks. The movement in the cloak of God is an attempt to reach Christ, the figure on the right, but it does not quite succeed. In the second painting, the same thing is seen from below—from a human angle. Looking at it from a higher angle, what is moving and spreading is a part of God; above that rises the spiral as a symbol of possible further development. But seen from the basis of our human reality, this same thing in the air is the dark, uncanny wing of the devil.

In the dreamer’s life these two pictures became real in a way that does not concern us here, but it is obvious that they may also contain a collective meaning that reaches beyond the personal. They may prophesy the descent of a divine darkness upon the Christian hemisphere, a darkness that points, however, toward the possibility of further evolution. Since the axis of the spiral does not move upward but into the background of the picture, the further evolution will lead neither to greater spiritual height nor down into the realm of matter, but to another dimension…

Childhood’s End

Now we shall switch facets and view the third manifestation of the Singularity Archetype through a very different psyche and medium. The very different psyche belongs to Arthur C. Clarke, who was originally an astrophysicist and later became famous as a science-fiction writer. Perhaps Clarke is best known for the novel and Stanley Kubrik film, 2001. 2001 is one of the most brilliant versions of this archetype, but we are going to consider an earlier example of Clarke’s work, the classic science-fiction novel, Childhood’s End . A science-fiction novel is a consciously created fantasy, and a very different medium than a dream, but it is also an especially fertile and open imaginal realm where the collective unconscious can communicate with modern persons and a new mythology, however unrecognized, can collectively express itself.

Childhood’s End begins with the appearance of UFOs in the heavens all over the earth. Beings from within these craft break through all communications and announce that they are ” the Overlords ” and have come to establish peace on earth. This sounds like ominous news, but the Overlords do establish peace on earth and, excepting military aggression, do not curtail any human freedoms. Another curious aspect of the Overlords is that they announce that they will not reveal their physical form to us for two generations—fifty years. People speculate that they must be hideous and look like giant insects or slime mold or some other grotesque and horrifying form.

The fifty years pass peacefully for the human species, and the Overlords come to be accepted and everyone eagerly awaits the day when the Overlords will descend to earth and reveal themselves. When the long anticipated day arrives the great spacecraft descend. With some ceremony, the Overlords emerge and to the uneasy surprise of the human species they look exactly like gigantic devils with horns, tails and great ebony wings.

This decidedly mythological element is fascinatingly incongruous with the setting of technological materialism stereotypical of the science-fiction genre. What is the meaning of a specter from the Christian and pagan past reemerging in the world of the future? Clarke gradually reveals that the Overlords’ alarming physiognomy is simply the result of their physical adaptation to the environmental conditions of their planet. The Overlords are actually perfectly benevolent and are far more rational and intelligent than humans.

The Overlords are servants of the “Overmind,” a cosmic intelligence permeating the universe that is Clarke’s naturalistic God concept. The Overmind employs the Overlords as midwives. When the Overmind senses that an intelligent species is about to make the evolutionary jump into higher consciousness it sends the Overlords to their planet to supervise the process. This evolutionary process is apparently volatile and unstable, and if not properly supervised could result in disastrous consequences whose effects would reach far beyond the particular world on which the process occurs. The fact that the Overlords have the appearance of a deep ancestral archetype of evil is described by Clarke as, “…a race memory of a future event.” The human race has a premonitory fear of the Overlords because it senses that their arrival signifies the end of the genome, the obsolescence of the species in its old form. From the earthbound perspective of the

conservative old form, this evolutionary birth is apocalyptic and evil.

The Overlords, though infinitely superior to humans in every perceivable attribute, are themselves barren and unable to manifest the evolutionary birth process that it is their perpetual task to oversee. On earth, in addition to keeping human beings from destroying each other, the Overlords have a secret task, to search for an extraordinary individual who will be the first human being to exhibit these evolutionary changes. This individual is referred to as “Subject Zero” and the concept seems close to a naturalistic version of searching for the Messiah.

As part of this search, an Overlord named Rasheverak pays a visit to an American man who has one of the largest privately owned collections of books on parapsychology and the occult. Rasheverak is interested in this library because he is looking for any examples of extraordinary functioning that might indicate the emergence of Subject Zero. Like any intelligent, skeptical reader of such material, Rasheverak finds that it is often difficult to sift the truth from the abundant nonsense.

During Rasheverak’s visit, the library owner invites several guests who he wants to impress with his connection to an Overlord, a kind of extraterrestrial celebrity.

Rasheverak, who has the forbearance of a visiting anthropologist, maintains an observer’s stance as he witnesses the guests conducting a séance with a Ouija board. When they ask the Ouija board the traditional question, “Who are you?” its response is highly suggestive of the collective unconscious: “IAMALL.” The Ouija participants next ask, “What are the coordinates of the Overlord’s sun?” This information had always been denied the human species and Rasheverak takes sudden interest when the Ouija planchette spells out the correct coordinates. Rasheverak is forced to conclude that one of these thoroughly mediocre-seeming individuals must be Subject Zero.

Rasheverak investigates and discovers that one member of the Ouija séance, a young woman, is pregnant. Subject Zero turns out to be her unborn child. By a certain age Subject Zero begins to exhibit numerous parapsychological abilities. His special status is short lived, however, because all the children born after him also begin to exhibit similar powers. The children quickly evolve and become more powerful, and their psyches merge to form a collective consciousness. The children materialize themselves on one continent and join hands forming a giant moving configuration the Overlords call “The Long Dance.” Older, pre-Subject Zero human beings are not destroyed, but having given birth to their successors they become literally sterile and are utterly demoralized by their irrelevance and inevitable extinction.

When the children manifest their ultimate evolution and are able to merge energetically with the Overmind, they appear to the last human being left alive as an aurora borealis, a spiral of light in the sky also described as a glittering network of lights.

Childhood’s End uncannily parallels the three dreams we have considered. In the young man’s dream, darkness and earthquake transform into a spiraling white eagle bearing a golden egg. Similarly, the dark wing of Satan descends in the dream of a simple Christian woman, only to be later revealed as the cloak of God. And all three manifestations envision spirals of light in the sky as related to an interdimensional, evolutionary portal of the species. A central, emergent theme is that what seems apocalyptic from the earthbound, ego point of view is revealed from a cosmic point of view to be a transcendent evolutionary metamorphosis.

We’ll conclude with a brief, highly compressed survey of some of the other themes, related aspects and implications of the Singularity Archetype.

Looking Toward the Event Horizon

Many manifestations of the Singularity Archetype involve the revelation of other dominant species. The other species may be enhanced, mutant versions of the human species with paranormal abilities, extraterrestrial species, artificially intelligent machines and/or interdimensional/time-traveling species. UFOs, reports of “visitors” and abductions are also deeply involved in many of these manifestations. The themes of genetic hybridization with alien species, genetic engineering, spontaneous mutation and cyber-enhanced humans surround the archetype. There may also be revelations of other species that have interpenetrated the destiny of the human species from its origins, and some of these may prove to be parasitic manipulators while others are benefactors and guardians.

As we move toward the event horizon, the physics of the dreamtime more potently interpenetrates the physics of the waking life. Synchronicity becomes more the rule than the exception, and the way we have become accustomed to experiencing space and time is drastically altered. Matter is respiritualized and transforms more readily to accord with psychic intentions. The new species are changelings and reality transformers freed from many of the mortal and corporeal limitations that bound the older species.

The relationship between individuality, ego, and collectivity is fundamentally transformed, and we see many variations of “Homo gestalt”—new versions of the species where group telepathies enhance the synergy and symbiosis of individuals. More visual and telepathic modalities of communication are involved in this fundamental shift. Members of the new species are typically androgynous and many aspects of gender stereotyping become archaic

To catalyze such fundamental metamorphosis may require planet-wide shocks that punctuate the equilibrium of the species and threaten the entire human genome. The shocks may need to be of apocalyptic intensity to overcome the inherent conservatism of species homeostasis and to potentiate a will toward metamorphosis. As we move toward the event horizon there is an exponential intensification of novelty as new and unexpected forms are created, latent capacities become manifest, and emergent aspects are revealed. The human ego as defender of the old equilibrium may approach many of these transformations with fear, loathing and violence. Patriarchal power structures, including religious fundamentalism and the military-industrial complex, may perceive the metamorphosis as a zero-sum game competition of species, with genocide or extinction as the binary options.

Because the eschaton of the species and the individual event horizon of death have great parallel resonance, those who are driven by the fear and denial of death will greet the metamorphosis with the same maladaptive strategies that have characterized their approach to life in general. Xenophobic violence, will to power, and territoriality may be exacerbated. As novelty intensifies, we should expect to see the outer edges of both dark and light intensify.

Because of the parallelism between individual death and eschaton of the species, the typically human confusion of inner and outer will cause many prophesiers to anticipate various end dates conveniently scheduled to occur within their lifetimes. This tendency to displace fear of individual death onto a relatively close end date only intensifies the binding to linear time and represents a last effort of the ego to control a transcendent metamorphosis.

The Singularity Archetype is essentially a low resolution map of an evolutionary event horizon. From my point of view the future contains formed and unformed elements, and the lack of specificities and exact timelines (though many will attempt to attach these) allow greater room for free will and novel outcomes. Each of us is hurtling toward an event horizon, and whether the nearest event horizon is personal death or species-wide eschaton, it is crucial to view both as emergences rather than as emergencies. A threshold of absolute metamorphosis is guaranteed in either case, and therefore the way one lives one’s life requires ultimate values that retain meaning when seen against the backdrop of eternity.

For more detail:

Archetypes of a New Evolution

My first exploration of the topic, written in 1978 as a philosophy honors paper.

White Crows Rising—- The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution <<<My most thorough online treatment

I’m working on a book on the Singularity Archetype which contains a number of new discoveries unfortunately not covered in anything I have posted on line.

My two DVDs with John Major Jenkins— Dialogues on Prophecy and the End of Time and Looking Toward the Event Horizon are four hours of discussion of the same material. They are now available for free as streaming video, just click on the links. Unfortunately some of the audio and video are a couple of seconds out of phase, we’ll get that fixed eventually.

A follow up is Avatar and the Singularity Archetype,


2 From a chapter Von Franz authored in Jung’s classic introductory work: Man and his Symbols

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THE CAPSULE OF INTENTIONALITY https://zaporacle.com/the-capsule-of-intentionality/ https://zaporacle.com/the-capsule-of-intentionality/#respond Mon, 09 Nov 2009 18:05:13 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/wp/?p=305 THE CAPSULE OF INTENTIONALITY A Warrior’s Tool and Field Guide for Journeying into the Strange Wilderness of a New Millennium text and photos © 1996, 2004, 2011 by Jonathan Zap Note: Due to formatting loss when transferring over parts of this document over, many book and movie titles that should be italicized are not. 1. …

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THE CAPSULE OF INTENTIONALITY
A Warrior’s Tool and Field Guide for Journeying
into the Strange Wilderness of a New Millennium

text and photos © 1996, 2004, 2011 by Jonathan Zap

Note: Due to formatting loss when transferring over parts of this document over, many book and movie titles that should be italicized are not.

1. Introduction: Application for Human Incarnation
Application for Human Incarnation. A Special Message from the Author. Who the Capsule of Intentionality is for. The Secret of Life.

Chapter 2. “Get Real”—Facing the Darkness and Challenge of the Human Condition
Dazed and Confused. The Industrial Crucifixion. Take the Pain. Don’t let go of the Rope. An Authentic and Viable Way to Face Human Suffering.

Chapter 3. The Capsule of Intentionality—A Core Ritual System with Two Levels
The Capsule of Intentionality as a Physical Object. Level One—The Mission Statement. Living With The Capsule of Intentionality. Level Two—Daily Mission Parameters

Chapter 4. The Way of the Warrior—An Authentic Life Stance with Heart
What is a Warrior? Don Juan’s Philosophy of Being a Warrior. The Shambala Warrior Teachings. The Cocoon. Fear. Emotions —The Mindfulness Approach. Other Techniques for Dealing with Pain. The Value of “Broken Heartedness.” Basic Goodness. Living in the Moment. Vigilance, Skillful Intelligence, and Discriminating Awareness.Warrior Aphorisms. The Modern Warrior: A Manifesto.

Chapter 5. Through a Glass Darkly
White Crows Rising—Evolution, Jung, UFOs, Near Death Experiences, Virtual Reality, and the Approaching Singularity at the End of Human History

6. Conclusion: Facing the Singularity
Turning a Message into Action. Designing your Quest. Helping the Planet. Helping Fellow Human. Re-envisioning Reality. Taking Responsibility for a Precarious Experiment.

I Introduction
Application for Human Incarnation. A Special Message from the Author.Who the Capsule of Intentionality is for and the Secret of Life

© 1996, 2004 by Jonathan Zap

I

APPLICATION FOR HUMAN INCARNATION

Wanted! A few strong souls willing to incarnate and successfully pursue a quest on a world of extreme peril and hardship. Go for human incarnation now and be all that you can be! Remember, it’s not just a life time, it’s an adventure!

Sounds great! What do I have to do?

The first step is to accept the three conditions.

No problem. What are they?

1. You must accept a fragile, organic body vulnerable to projectile weapons, sharp objects, radiation, numerous microorganisms, toxins, diseases, and innumerable other hazards. This body will, under even the best of circumstances, deteriorate inevitably with age.

2. You must accept complete amnesia of everything that you’ve learned before this incarnation and be born in a completely helpless, dependent condition under the control of a society of irrational primates who will saturate you with every sort of pernicious illusion possible.

3. You must accept devastating emotional pain, loss, abandonment, betrayal, depression, madness, evil, nuclear and biological warfare, genocide, taxation, frustration,poverty, rejection,torture, crucifixions of various sorts, and other sorrows and trials which can’t be anticipated at this time.

Please initial here that you have read and understood these conditions:

X________________________

Sounds OK, but suppose I find I don’t like human incarnation, will it just go on forever?

Absolutely not! If you do run into any difficulties they will be temporary only. In fact, we offer the following ironclad lifetime guarantee:

Guarantee:

Human incarnation is for a limited time only! Better than 99% of incarnates are completely released from the human condition in one hundred years or less, and you are absolutely guaranteed that everything is temporary only!

Sounds easy, but how do I know my soul will survive the experience intact?

You don’t for sure, but lots of human incarnates say that it will, and not knowing for sure will definitely add to the drama of an exciting incarnation!

I can hardly wait, but when in human history will I incarnate? I don’t want to get stuck in some Stone Age.

Don’t worry, if you apply right now we have a limited number of incarnations available during a high tech era with air conditioning, artificial lighting and processed food available almost everywhere. In fact, if you act right now we can incarnate you during the most chaotic, rapidly mutating terminal period in the history of the human species!

That settles it, I’m going! What do I have to do?

Just send legally notarized release forms and proof of full medical coverage in triplicate. An application fee that includes the complete surrender of your soul will be negotiated later.

SPECIAL BONUS IF YOU ACT BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT:

Accept human incarnation before midnight tonight and we will provide you free of charge (please include $24.95 plus tax to cover profit and handling) with the Capsule of Intentionality and a helpful field guide that will greatly assist you in your human incarnation!

Thanks Gents for the limited time opportunity to experience human incarnation! I fully accept all the conditions and would like to incarnate ASAP!

Your Signature: X__________________________

——————————————————————————–

A Special Message to Fellow Human Incarnates from the Author

If you are reading these words right now then you must have already signed the application for human incarnation. Don’t be surprised if you can’t remember, because amnesia is one of the first conditions. It’s also possible that you are suffering from repressed memory syndrome as many people find human incarnation traumatic.

A number of fellow human incarnates who have contacted me recently are finding that this incarnation is causing them inconvenience and difficulties that they feel they weren’t sufficiently prepared for, and as a result they are forming a support group. A smaller group of incarnates I’ve run into recently have decided to accept responsibility for agreeing to human incarnation, even if they don’t remember it, and have decided to take all the difficulties they are discovering as a challenge. It is for this second group that I have created the Capsule of Intentionality and Field Guide. If you’re a member of this second group you probably already know that you have incarnated during a time of evolutionary transformation and that there is a quest of incredible difficulty which you must fulfill. Please take the Capsule of Intentionality and Field Guide with you on your journey. I hope and believe that they will serve you well.

—Jonathan Zap

——————————————————————————–

WHO THE CAPSULE OF INTENTIONALTY
IS FOR AND THE SECRET OF LIFE

The Capsule of Intentionality and the field guide are designed for someone striving to live a worthy life during a rapidly evolving period in human history. They will provide you with: the secret of life on the next page, a questworthy tool for your life journey, and a field guide for human incarnation, facing life as a warrior and journeying into a very strange future. One premise of this field guide is that human incarnation is usually a very difficult enterprise, often requiring the humble and alert stance of the warrior. Another premise is that this particular time in human history especially needs the warrior spirit because it is a critical time, an accelerating vortex of transformation heading toward what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called “the Omega Point,” a singularity in human evolution involving unimaginably radical shifts in human consciousness and the nature of reality.

But before we address the particular needs and problems of this unusual time let’s consider that which is essential to human life in any era including the present. The secret of human life is that for this incredibly difficult incarnation to be worth it you need two key elements. These two elements are the secret to just about all the happiness and meaning possible in a human life. The two elements may be expressed in different words but they are recognized cross culturally and across history by the most varied traditions, religions and sources of wisdom. You can find them in the words of the ancient prophet of your choice, in the spiritual awakening of someone who has had a near death experience, and you can also find them deep in your own heart.

The first element is learning. You are here to learn and become more aware. Instead of saying learning you could call it growing, evolving, becoming more conscious, achieving wholeness or individuation. Choose whatever words you find most suitable. This element is such a deep human longing that people can be persuaded to join the army to “Be all that you can be.” Learning is such a basic drive that it takes years and years of sadistic compulsory education to bring down your desire to learn enough for society to get some use out of you.

The second element is love. Giving love and helping others is crucial, more crucial than receiving love or help. You’ll notice that I referred to helping “others” and not “people.” Others is a larger set that includes people as well as any of a number of other sorts of beings from animals to the sentient entity of your choice.

Loving and learning are the two sides of the secret of life coin. Often they will overlap as showing someone love and helping them be more aware are often the same thing. Beyond a certain point you can’t have one without the other.

Obviously, the secret of life isn’t much of a secret. You’ve probably always known what the secret was. Pretending we don’t know what the secret is can sometimes be easier than manifesting the will to take actions to fulfill these two great and ever present purposes. Focusing will and using awareness, wisdom, intuition and compassion to fulfill the secret of our incarnation, which we already know, is what it’s all about. If this is what you are trying to do, then The Capsule of Intentionality and the information in the Field Guide can be of some help.

II “Get Real”—–Facing the Darkness and Challenge of the Human Condition Dazed and Confused. The Industrial Crucifixion. Take the Pain.Don’t let go of the Rope. An Authentic and Viable way to Face Human Suffering

“Get Real”—–Facing the Darkness and Challenge of the Human Condition

“Get Real” is a popular expression amongst the young in our culture. (Or it was when I first wrote this in 1995.) How could anything not be “real” so that youth would have to form a popular expression against that which is not real? This phrase comes from the same place of suffering in the human soul that Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the Rye expressed in his anguish at the “phoniness” of the world. Deep in the human soul a cry of “Get Real” is going forth today, resonating ubiquitously in the atmosphere of our world like an all channel SOS. I have found that this is a cry that erupts with a special vehemence among the young.

Perhaps I should also explain that I have been a place to hear this cry because for fourteen years I have worked with troubled adolescents as an English teacher and counselor in a South Bronx high school and at an alternative school on Long Island. The struggling young persons I have worked with over the years have taught me many valuable lessons about how a civilization in transition lives out its crisis in individual lives. They have also provided me with an intense crucible for testing what sorts of spiritual equipment can actually help an individual struggling to evolve during the present era. Above all they have grounded my perceptions of a transforming species and forced any advice I could offer to “Get Real” and recognize the darkness and complexity of actual lives.

“Get Real” is a cry with many levels of meaning. It is a cry of protest and spiritual nausea at the masks people wear, the commercially designed false personalities that parade before us while we starve for contact with authentic people. “Get Real” has a close brother in the youth expression, “Get a Life.” Both articulate the rage felt at experiencing plastic, hollow, unfelt, meaningless lives. The deep fear in a young person of the shallowness of their own reality and life will cause them to cry out against the unreal other, often a close contemporary, who is the mirror of their own empty darkness. When someone uses one of these phrases as a put down they are unconsciously crying out, “Please God let me be more real, more alive. I am dying in the wasteland. I starve for an authentic life.” The nausea and irritation we feel in the presence of phony people living fake lives is the powerful resonance of this fear for ourselves. And this fear is utterly realistic and grounded in the actuality of our culture. Ours is a culture that penetrates us unceasingly with great industrial engines of mind control in the form of mass media, especially advertising, bombarding us night and day with seductive, insistent demands that we be inauthentic, that we live in a manic, compulsive world of surfaces, appearances, mind-warping illusions and consumer goods. We’re programmed to expect happiness by fulfilling industrial aims of product consumption. And when we feel the dying agony of our soul in this toxic environment, we are told to kill the pain by spending more on pills, possessions, diets and sexual objects.

Above all we hear the cry “Get Real” coming forth from a deep core of suffering, the suffering of our collective hysterical denial of the darkness and pain of the human condition. Paradoxically, the denial of suffering and darkness causes suffering and darkness to become virulent and over powering. The denial of darkness has an analogy, which I do not make lightly, with the AIDS retrovirus. AIDS attacks the immune system leaving one unable to resist the dark power of other microorganisms and ailments. The denial of darkness destroys the spiritual immune system, leaving a person utterly vulnerable and helpless before the suffering inherent to human existence.

Where can we see this denial of the darkness? We see it in the smiling, unblemished faces of euphoric actors in television commercials whose lives have been transformed by a new purchase. We see it in the beatific smile of the New Age guru who wants to share the secrets of eternal bliss with anyone who has a major credit card. We see it in the glowing smiles of factory made people who tell us that our lives can be transformed by lotteries, diets, self help books and other industrial versions of miracles and blessings. We see it in the shattered despair of the discarded homeless, elderly, and dying members of the human family who have fallen off the industrial road to happiness. And we see it beneath the plastic smiles of those who strive for “success”, the well adapted workers who have been successfully molded by advertising to keep the wheels and tread mills spinning stimulated by caffeine, sugar, nicotine and the will to obtain the overlapping promised realms of fantasy sexual objects and consumer goods.

We alienate and torture the young, not to mention the rest of us, with the hysterical denial of the darker aspects of life. Who can be surprised at the destructive rebelliousness formed in response?

To be authentic, to heal any wounds, we must accept the reality of suffering and darkness. It mocks the reality of peoples’ actual felt experience of life to deny the suffering involved in being a human being. To a person struggling with an authentic life advertising images and the unreal expectations pushed in weight loss, self help and New Age programs of self transformation are as artificial and toxic as being sprayed in the face with Rose Bouquet room deodorizer. This book will not turn your life into the perpetual volley ball game on the California beach with the golden boys and girls we see in the magazine ad for mentholated cigarettes. It cannot rid your life of all suffering or promise that you will lose ten pounds the first week. hope that it can, however, reveal some unseen forces at work in our world and suggest ways to adapt and grow with them. I hope that it can show a strong and authentic way to live with the problem of human suffering and be more alive and effective. But before any of these positives can be attempted I feel that we have to look deeper into the darkness.

DAZED AND CONFUSED

“Dazed and Confused ” is the name of a Led Zeppelin song and recent movie that captured the zeitgeist of teenagers in a Texas high school in the Seventies. Sometimes there are new words or phrases that capture something of the deepest essence of a particular zeitgeist or spirit of the times. I’ve already mentioned “Get real.” “Get a life.” Let’s add “Dazed and Confused”, and credit Led Zeppelin and film director, Richard Linklater for their insight. “Dazed and Confused” describes a state that nearly everyone in the unstable, rapidly shifting, complexity of our world bound to feel. Change and complexity accelerate so rapidly that even the source of the change and complexity, the most intelligent and adaptable of primates, cannot help but to feel disoriented. If we look about us we see that many people live in a permanent state of being Dazed and Confused, passively adrift in lives that are muddled, cut off from deeper meaning, and that require compulsive sexual experiences, substance abuse and consumer goods to remain in the words of the Pink Floyd song, “Comfortably Numb.”

If you are self reflective enough to read these words than you have seen the confused emptiness in countless faces. But seeing darkness in the eyes of others is a poor substitute for seeing our own darkness. Many painful lessons have taught me that the detachment of the observer does not make one exempt from the dark undertow of the collective. Still, observation is the first step.

THE INDUSTRIAL CRUCIFIXION

Our society is extremely effective at manufacturing personal suffering This suffering often takes the form of a hungry, restless discontent with our possessions, bodies, relationships and life situations. Suffering in the form of acute envy is manufactured by a bombardment of and misinformation about people—-models, actors, and a diverse pantheon of celebrities who actually have, or are made to seem to have, lives more glowing and favored than ours. This manufactured suffering and envy creates a hunger to see that celebrities—-as objects of envy and fascination——also suffer. And since any hunger can be used to make a profit, we have products devoted to servicing this appetite. For the price of a bottle of beer you can have a copy of People magazine and enjoy the suffering of all sorts of celebrities including athletes, rock stars, models and movie stars. This is the pleasure offered to us in such magazines, tabloids and various television shows —– generous, heaping portions of steaming sadism. Whenever we feel jealous and dissatisfied with our lives we can pull out the glossy photos of Nicole Simpson and remember that the home coming queen who got the famous foot ball star also died in a pool of blood. Or we can gawk at Superman become a quadriplegic. These fallen celebrities are the Christs of our age, dying for our sins, suffering publicly that we can both love and gloat over them.

We’ve been conditioned to think of celebrity as an ultimate state to strive for, an industrial Nirvana that combines buying power, sexual fantasy and the narcissistic orgasm of global attention. But the striving for celebrity seems to be based on an amazing denial of its darker aspects. Every newspaper and television broadcast tells us incessantly that celebrity means exposure to soul destroying temptations, pressures, addictions and public scandals. Like Jim Morrison, we all want to play Dionysus, even though all the legends inform us that we can play that role for only a season and then we are devoured. Do you really want to be a celebrity? Like Christ, you must be prepared for suffering as well as glory. If you want fame, be forewarned. If you covet public attention and want the collective to celebrate you as a “Star” (the industrial version of being a Messiah), don’t forget that it has a voracious appetite for crucifixions. The more they love you the more fascination they will have with your destruction. So if you want to be famous, make sure you get some shots done first and be sure that you’ll look good wearing a crown of thorns.

The stars and us share a common crucifixion trying to keep our bodies in the industrialized version of the divine image. The star knows better than any of us that those who rise with their looks tend to fade with them just as quickly. This is the narcissistic crucifixion. Even objects in our society must suffer this fate. The automobile is certainly the Messiah of consumer goods, the thing , after sex objects, that is sought above all others. The automobile begins life glossy and with all the magazines and television channels trumpeting its glory. We see it posed with a beautiful boy or girl against the sunrise in Monument Valley beckoning us to paradise. But the very next year the sun rises behind a new model, a new divine image, and the gleaming Messiah we purchased becomes the fallen object, the “used” product which has lost the divine spark of corporate profit and has the status of a prostitute who has outlived her charms. It’s no wonder that we love our cars because we suffer their fates. In one of the darker passages of The Bible, Ecclesisastes:3:19, we are told,

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all [is] vanity. “

Obviously this is not the stuff of New Age or Madison Ave. optimism. And yet this humbling reminder might actually represent an improvement over our culture where, “What befalls the appliance, befalls the man.” We also tend to outlive the glossy brand newness of youth. If a woman lives to be ninety how many of those years will she be the desired “New Model” and how many will she be considered “Used Goods?” It’s a rather discouraging ratio even for those particularly blessed with the best looks. This is an industrial crucifixion. A mind warping culture feeds narcissistic obsession with physical beauty and forever torments us with how our possessions, our cars and our bodies fail to compare with the new models in the ads.

Do you see that advertising is the most brilliant , potent and ruthless technology of suffering ever created? Advertisers are the great black magicians of our time, controlling us through our sexuality, fear and hunger for transformation. How many young women have starved themselves to death on the cross of trying to achieve the industrial divine image, the streamlined, high definition, android-like, androgynous youth? We have been brainwashed into believing that only by perfecting our looks can we enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Choose this well worn, blood-stained path if you want the impossible quest that leads you ever deeper into despair, suffering and madness. And if you do ever succeed in perfecting your body, keep the cyanide pills close at hand because commercially correct physical beauty is a rare and unstable phenomenon that no one can sustain for long. Many people clutching dollars in nervous hands crowd into the beauty factory where powerful industrial engines extract their money and extrude them as hamburger meat.

Mind warping machinery works day and night to focus our sexuality, hearts and minds on industrial aims. Industrial strength illusions have been created to keep us on the quest of seeking possessions and looks. Illusory images must bombard us constantly so that we “Go for it.” We must keep going for “it” even though “it” always seems further and further away and we suffer pain, humiliation and inner poverty. “Do it.” “Go for it.” Keep moving, keep up the pace and above all don’t look at the souring tissue inside, keep your eyes on the video screen and swallow some pills, this car, this diet may really be the one. Just keep moving. Quicken the pace, take caffeine and sugar to keep your spirits up, buy a lottery ticket and a dream, work long hours, keep smiling for the customers and the cameras, above all keep spending, buy now and pay later, keep it moving , and one day you’ll be a “success.” A “success” is the industrial version of the Saint or blessed person—the one who can buy many things. And what shining grail actually awaits us in the horizon of this quest? New brands of adult diapers and air conditioned buses to Atlantic City.

The path of the Warrior is based on inner truth and not surface appearance. It transcends looks. That’s why we would be very surprised to find Gandhi or Mother Theresa selling us hair care products on an infomercial. Industrial reproductions of Christ show us a movie star handsome guy with excellent muscle definition and no body hair. But where are the original photos? If the crucifixion happened today Christ certainly would have to be slim, androgynous and well toned to get any media attention. Journalists would crowd around and want to know, “Who was your personal trainer? Did you really know Madonna? Who does your loin cloths? Do you ever have to struggle with your weight? “

Yes, we can buy whole magazines that celebrate, even sponsorthe suffering and humiliation of celebrities. But to make sure that this sadistic fulfillment does not make us too complacent, the very same magazines will tempt us toward the cross. Every other page will be a glossy ad that promises you eternal youth, beauty and sexual popularity if only you are wise enough to buy certain toiletries or other such objects of great transformational power. Those are the pages that fulfill our masochistic hunger and make us feel the bitter agony of not being as beautiful and happy as the boys and girls from Advertising Land. These are the ads that drive us to look for the Philosopher’s Stone in the form of consumer goods, some of them quite seductive, like sleek new sports cars that seem ready to accelerate us beyond suffering into a world of high performance luxury. The ads all tell us that our looks and our lives suck royally compared to the folks in Advertising Land with their blonde hair flowing beside the glossy 32 valve convertible as the sun sets over the ocean while we are waiting under the florescent lights in the dentist’s office reading a magazine.

And ours is the culture that tells us that we don’t have to suffer! Feverishly, the commercial designers work to manufacture, market and export suffering while telling us that we should expect to be happy all the time, an expectation that is in itself a potent infection of suffering.

Take the Pain

Suffering is a universal human problem. We may have bodily problems, others who treat us poorly, or any of a number of other causes of human misery. We are often the major source of our own suffering through neurotic complexes, addictions, compulsions and so on. Unlike the blissful smiling faces in New Age catalogues or TV commercials, we cannot always be as eternally happy as the bikini girl playing volley ball on the beach in the magazine ad. Sure, there may be Taoist masters living in the mountains somewhere who are beyond all sorrow, but meanwhile, back on Ranch Earth, most of us pay our dues to the gods of depression, anxiety and so on.

The time we live in has vast underground reservoirs of despair and anxiety. Even with constant doses of escapism and self medication it’s hard not to feel this darkness when it permeates the global atmosphere. And then there is always our personal share of darkness.

Don’t deny your personal share of darkness and pain. Try to remember pain is one of the essential feelings of being alive. Birth is a painful process and life and dying involve their share of pain too. The self hypnosis tape from the New Age book store won’t cure you of that. An authentic quest always involves suffering. Don’t be surprised or feel picked on when you discover that there are long, dark threads of suffering woven into your life that can’t be pulled out without destroying the whole design. Character is formed by consciously dealing with the darkness in loving and life affirming ways.

We must have respect for other people’s suffering and not trivialize it with aphorisms and justifications designed to make us feel better. Particularly offensive are statements like, “God only gives you the burdens you need to bear.” That one is often repeated in twelve step groups and has a nice ring to it. I accept for myself that all burdens are valueable learning experiences. I also recommend that stance to anyone with sufficent inner resources. But I wouldn’t want to have to be the one to explain it to a child with AIDS. I’ll accept for myself that whatever pain I experience is part of my development. But if a whole continent is undergoing famine I don’t want to glibly explain that away by asserting it is their karma, or that God is giving them the burden they need to bear. Similarly, Nietzche said, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Some truth to that but it can be pushed too far and long before he died Nietzche went insane from the effects of syphillis.

“Suicide is painless, and it brings on many changes.” the MASH theme song tells us. But if you don’t want the path of suicide you must learn to take the pain. If you can’t, then you are already on the path of different forms of suicide. I need to belabor this point because we’ve been brainwashed in our culture to think that TV commercial happiness is our birthright. Your actual birthright is both darker and more brilliant. Your actual birthright is to be authentically alive feeling the joy, hope and wonder of being a human being, but also the darkness, suffering and despair. You are a being of far more dimensions than the flat smiling stick figures in Advertising Land. The authentically struggling person is a more magnificent being with a more interesting life than the woman on TV who is beaming with happiness at the new improvements in Lemon Pledge.

Compromising with the notion that we must accept suffering is a major cultural aim of American society. We are sold endless means to putting ourselves into anesthetized trances. We are already assumed to be in such a trance that advertisers can amuse themselves with Satanic jokes on us. We see beautiful bodies in sexual posses selling a perfume called “Obsession.” This is the truth spoken when the devil knows we are completely under control. What’s next, a brand of clothes for teenaged girls called “Anorexia.”? We have little doubt or perception of irony when we’re sold that pills will “kill” the pain. Recurrent headaches? Don’t try to understand the cause or ease the stress, “Bang it back!” with Excedrin.

Despite all human technological progress human pain seems to be a very elusive pest to wipe out. East or West we find people experience pain, and I’m hardly the first to suggest that is often an ally. Pain can be the great awakener, the great teacher. Lose your pain and you may be very disappointed with the results.

DON’T LET GO OF THE ROPE—- AN AUTHENTIC AND VIABLE WAY TO FACE SUFFERING

In the Sixties a zeitgeist phrase and activity was to go out and “Look for the meaning of life.” A wiser and more thoughtful person pointed out, however, that people out “Looking for the meaning of life.” had the question reversed. Meaning in life is not a question that we can ask of life, it is an answer that we have to supply to fill the existential void. We might almost say that life asks, “What is the meaning of your life?” I believe this question is asked to us heart beat by heart beat. Our being and actions define the answer. If our answers are worthy enough, life may conspire with us to set us on a worthy quest. If we don’t have answers, but only the conditioned reflexes programmed into us by commercial designers, then life steers us toward the dark, downward flow of the “Dazed and Confused, Comfortably Numb, Get a Life” folks. It’s as if a black hole has entered our collective psychic space and weaker souls are being pulled into an immensely powerful gravity which is continually increased as more selves are absorbed into the mass. Don’t let go of the rope. The only way to resist the powerful, dark gravity is to hold tight to our life line—-the worthy core of meaning in our life. Level one of the Capsule of Intentionality is designed to recognize and strengthen this life line.

It may be true that the gravity of conformity, passivity and mediocrity has been a power in all human epochs. But it has never been as dangerous or avoidable as it is today. It is more dangerous than ever before because human history has never before been such a boiling chaos ready to bifurcate in unimaginable ways. (We will try to imagine some ways later in the Guide.) But the lack of meaning has also never been more avoidable. With the challenges the world faces today, and the information and possibilities open to us, discovering a Sacred Quest may only require that we look out the window or open a newspaper. If we consider the two great purposes of life discussed earlier, we should realize that this is the richest time in human history. The information readily available to us if we want to learn and evolve grows geometrically. And the availability of opportunities to help others is more than present, it surrounds us, beckoning desperately from every corner of our minds, from a billion video images and from our real time, flesh and blood experience of the world. The problem that haunts us is not where can I find a worthy cause, but Which one? How many can I handle? Any one with the capacity to help others, and that includes all functioning persons who have any empathy at all and the will to act on it, can’t help but to be overwhelmed by the profusion of needy souls and worthy causes. This is a golden age for anyone serious about the second purpose of life, helping others. And for anyone interested in the first purpose—– learning, evolving, becoming more aware—- this is a diamond and platinum age, the age of the bewildering overabundance of treasure, an embarrassment of riches.

I walk across the street to the bookstore and can buy what were once the most guarded esoteric secrets like the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and it won’t cost me more than a couple of boxes of breakfast cereal. Esoteric traditions that once guarded their secrets, revealing them only to tested initiates, have spilled them out into the information market, and many have done so because they realize that the spiral of human history is so desperate that it’s best to put their knowledge out there with the hope that someone, somewhere can make some use of it. “Western” knowledge is even more available. Any internet enabled computer is a portal into more information than I could tap in thousands of lifetimes. You know this familiar song and dance, and it’s easy to mock it as a nerd’s paradise, but how many of us are sufficiently grateful for these opportunities that no other humans have ever had? Who among us can say that they can’t find the information, experiences or creative endeavors that allow pursuit of the first purpose? You would have to be in a 1984 style Orwellian Dungeon that combined solitary confinement with a technology, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that cut you off from your mind, to be truly without the opportunity to learn.

Of course there is another side to this case which, as a former school teacher, I know only too well. Most people don’t nourish themselves with the available knowledge and culture and instead accept confinement to an Orwellian Dungeon and a life lived in front of the telescreen. Have you ever seen someone walk into a supermarket stocked with an amazing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and walk out with a cart load of poison as if they were determined to be the first person on their block to develop both heart disease and cancer? Having so much esoteric knowledge and information available means nothing if someone is not inwardly ready to receive it. There is a lot more information out there than knowlege or knowing perceivers. Outward opportunity presumes a self that has the intentionality to take advantage of it. Those lacking the ability or will to be their own teachers are like trees growing in plastic pots. The soil around the pot might be the most fertile, nutrient rich soil possible, but if the roots do not grow into that soil it might as well not be there.

But those who do have a will to learn can find nourishment in the most toxic environments. There are all sorts of real life examples of people in the worst kind of prisoner of war or concentration camps that were still able to learn. Consider Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychologist who developed a psychology called “Logotherapy” out of the suffering of his internment in a concentration camp. Logotherapy recognizes man’s search for meaning as one of his core needs. It is certainly true that many people are not strong enough to learn in environments as stressful and toxic as prisons and concentration camps. The experience overwhelms their capacity to adapt and they become passive and regress. But our world, the world of someone with enough discretionary income and free time to be reading this, is a world, however stressful and toxic, that does not overwhelm our bodily needs or crush the spirit as aggressively as the concentration camp or war trauma. Certainly some are crushed by our world, but many others build their own Orwellian dungeons, numbing their minds through various means and living in an underground space of shadowy illusions.

Sure, there are a lot of Orwellian dungeon potatoes flicking through channels of mind-warping drivel while the ecosystem burns up around them. But there are also those who, in this richly chaotic period of history, thrive upon the challenge to their adaptability that this time offers. Such people find that no time has presented more opportunities for resourcefulness, creativity, awareness and noble purpose. To enter the field of chaos with worthy purpose and the willingness to take action means being a Warrior. Being a Warrior does not mean being giddily happy all the time like the folks on TV. As a Warrior you might well look about you at this moment with some realistic fear and alarm. A skilled mountain climber would feel these things approaching a steep summit with a storm moving in. But the Warrior welcomes the challenge and strives to adapt and thrive in the chaotic flux of accelerating life. The Warrior chooses to let go of paralyzed fear or numbed out denial of vast forces of nature beyond ego control. The Warrior learns to act despite the fear. This guide is not a survival manual because we are interested in more that just surviving. Survival detached from meaning in not one of the two great reasons to be alive. And as Don Juan says, “There are no survivors on this earth.” Life on this plane of incarnation has always been a temporary opportunity to fulfill the two great purposes.

Your Capsule of Intentionality cannot magically brighten every mood, but what it can do is remind you to act on a stable core of meaning as you watch your feelings coming and going in their usual cycles. Learn to act to carry out your missions despite the feelings. I’ve learned mountain climbing despite a fairly intense fear of heights. What I discovered was that I could act despite my fear. Feel your moods, your happiness, grief, fear or whatever, but focus your will on doing the actions you need to do. Level Two of the Capsule of Intentionality works on that focus, and the chapter on the way of the Warrior develops an authentic, effective stance in relation to the darkness and rich chaos of the world.

The way of the Warrior is , among other things, an authentic response to the inescapable human problem of suffering. I have field tested this approach in the darkest moments of my own life and found it viable. Let’s openly discredit the pain killers that the suffering makers sell us and take our pain. The world desperately needs Warriors who can take the pain and stay true to their quests. Let’s acknowledge our pain and grief and get on with life.

(For more on dealing with, thriving with the pain of human incarnation see
A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler)

III. The Capsule of Intentionality—A Core Ritual System with Two Levels

The Capsule of Intentionality as a Physical Object.
Level One–The Mission Statement.
Living With The Capsule of Intentionality.
Level Two—-Daily Mission Parameters

The Capsule of Intentionality as a Physical Object

The Capsule of Intentionality is an object both functional and symbolic. On the functional level it is a water proof cylindrical capsule or container of some sort. You can find these in various places. A small version can be found in many pet stores in the name tag section—-little screw together barrels or cylinders. Some hardware stores have slightly larger key chain versions. A larger one can often be made by taking the batteries and other loose parts out of a disfunctional waterproof flashlight. The capsule gives you a few cubic centimeters of portable, secure sacred space. This sacred space is to be filled by you with your most sacred essence—-your quest, or the meaning you are living for. The meaning or quest is completely up to you, and therefore this is a nondenominational ritual system. The Capsule of Intentionality will work for you if you are Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Taoist, or unaffiliated.

There are two levels of participation in the system. Level one will take zero seconds per day to perform. Level two builds on level one and will take five minutes or less per day.

Level One—-The Mission Statement

Level One participation in the Capsule of Intentionality ritual system requires that you compose a Mission Statement. Mission Statement is capitalized because it will consist of the most important words in your life. The Mission Statement is a twenty-five word or less statement of your deepest intentions—-the purposes, goals, meanings you are living for.

Writing twenty-five words or less does not take long, but composing these words is worth all the time and soul-searching that it takes to come up with them. If you can’t formulate a Mission Statement, then your life is adrift. I can’t imagine waking up in the morning, and certainly can’t see walking out the front door to do anything without an implicit Mission Statement. The fact that you may never have written down a Mission Statement, of course, doesn’t mean you lack one. Your Mission Statement may well be implicit in your thoughts and actions. But it is a major step toward clarity, focus and effective action to clarify your Mission Statement, writing it on paper so that it becomes a concrete object that you carry with you always. (If you prefer not to deal with a metal capsule, another option is to take yor mission document and have it laminated at a copy shop. You could them carry it in a wallet, a back pack or other bag that is usually with you, hang it up somewhere in your living space where you can see it all the time, or all of the above.)

In the beginning was the word…

Our world is composed of language. If you are sitting in any sort of a room and look about you you will see that most of what you are seeing is congealed language. The furniture, clothing, appliances and other human artifacts almost all began as language symbols—words, numbers, perhaps two dimensional schematics or design drawings. Someone used language to fulfill their intention to make these objects real. Your body is composed of language. The DNA molecule you are based on is a complex structure of molecular coded information that uses protein syntax to fulfill an intention to bring the complex organic forms we consist of into being. Your mind is a language processor. Its word/thought making continues almost non stop. Breathing is an important function under both voluntary and involuntary control. Most of us, however, can go twelve seconds without breathing if we choose to. At the end of this sentence I’d like to challenge you to go twelve seconds without thinking in words….

START

12 SECONDS

STOP

Were you able to? Thinking in words is as much a reflex as breathing. In most traditions of magic words or language are considered the key to changing reality. To know the name of a person or thing is to have power over them or it.

When you have created your Mission Statement you will have an object of power. In writing down your Mission Statement you create an object which is both symbolic and concrete that expresses your deepest intentionality. Your Mission Statement is like the DNA molecule of your soul, a living, informational structure that creates form and life. It is a truly sacred thing and it belongs close to you in sacred space. The Capsule of Intentionality is your portable sacred space. It is waterproof and impervious to the elements. If your body can survive it, your capsule certainly will. It is your lifeline of purpose and meaning in the chaos and uncertainties of the world. Of course you could simply memorize your Mission Statement and carry it around with you that way. Memorizing your Mission Statement would be a helpful exercise. But I also think it is important that it become an external, tangible, concrete object. Your Mission is not just internal. Your Mission must involve bringing some internal intention out into the world. The ritual of taking your internal Mission Statement, writing it out and turning it into a concrete object is a true ritual of power. It is a step both symbolic and concrete toward realizing your dreams. And it is a major step, a step that logically comes before other steps. If you want to create a chair or a computer or a house you will probably start with a piece of paper on which this goal will be expressed in language or symbolic elements of some sort. If this is the logical step in building something as simple and easy to manifest as a chair, what is required to build something as complex and difficult as a meaningful life? A life formed without a Mission Statement is likely to work as well as a computer assembled intuitively, with no prior design.

Creating Your Mission Statement

A wise man once advised me to consider everything I did in the light of whether or not I would remember it well on my death bed. Being aware of our mortality is certainly one way to cut through the trivial and superficial noise of life and discover what is most important. What will make you feel fulfilled when the day inevitably comes to let go of everything on this plane?

Will you feel you’re a winner because you died with more toys than someone else? Consider the two great purposes discussed earlier. My feeling is that a worthy Mission Statement should be congruent with these two great purposes. The design of your Mission Statement is completely up to you and what I say are merely suggestions. Use them if they are helpful, discard them if they aren’t.

A way of structuring your Mission Statement you might consider is the inverted pyramid. Reporters phoning in a breaking story use the inverted pyramid to get the most important information out first—–the who, what, where, why and when—-in case they are cut off. Newspapers articles are usually written with an inverted pyramid structure so that you can learn the basic facts, often in the first sentence, and can read further if you want more details. To incorporate this inverted pyramid structure in your Mission Statement you would start with the deep, universal principles in your life and work toward the more specific and particular. I believe that the two great purposes of life are worth considering for the top of your inverted pyramid. You can incorporate the two great purposes in just two words. For example, All you could choose a word like Grow, Learn or Evolve and combine it with the word Love. Grow /Love, Learn/ Love, and Evolve/ Love work both as pairs of separate words and also connected as positive commandments: Grow Love. Learn Love. Evolve Love. Again, you may find a more poetic way of expressing this. I’m just trying to provide an example. If you are religious you could draw a Cross, Star of David or other appropriate symbol at the top of your Mission Statement. Perhaps there is some other symbol that represents something essential to your quest.

Once the top (base) of the inverted pyramid has been created you can now move toward the more particular. For example, love can become Nurture my Family or Love __________ filling in the name of your most significant other(s). Notice that if you begin with the unmodified word love, and then go on to specify particular persons, you are not disavowing the universal intention of love. You are not saying, “Only nurture my family and not anyone else’s.” You are rather making the universal principle of love specific and personal. As we will discuss further when we consider level two, moving from universal principles to specifics is the path of action and fulfillment.

Examples of more specific derivatives from the Learn/Grow/Evolve principle would be such things as reading books, practicing meditation, remembering and studying your dreams, working on your body through an exercise program or a mind/body discipline such as dance, yoga or martial arts. Any of these could be expressed in one word. For example:

EVOLVE LOVE

Love my Family and Friends.

Tai Chi

Dreams

Reading

Notice that the four items listed under “Evolve Love” are worthy enough aims that they fulfill aspects of both Evolve and Love. Learning balance and wholeness through Tai Chi or by understanding your dreams creates personal evolution and also allows someone to be better able to love. “Love my Family and Friends” must necessarily be an experience of continuous learning and evolution. Reading may promote personal evolution obviously, but could also be connected to love. Knowledge increases our capacity to understand the world and others, and that may allow our loving actions to be more appropriate and effective. Reading particular books or documents may help one to have a worthy career that helps the world and provides financial sustenance for yourself and/or family. As we move down toward the apex of the pyramid we write goals that tend to be more specific and/or temporally limited. For example, someone who has a life aim of writing, and a specific aim of finishing their present novel would write,

Writing

Finish Novel

As we move further down the pyramid we may also want to include aims that are not necessarily ends in themselves but essential means to something above them in the pyramid. For example, if you have a job that is not fulfilling in itself, but that is essential for you to pay your way through college, or to feed your family, you might put this down at the bottom since it is an essential means. Means such as keeping your house and finances in order might be listed in this area. If you are a recovering addict of some sort you could put down something like, “No Alcohol.” But don’t put down “No Cigarettes” if you are still smoking and only have a future intention of doing something about it.

Keep in mind that this category of means is more specific, but not necessarily less important, than any other. If you are a recovering alcoholic, not drinking may be the most essential part of your Mission Statement to allow growth and love of yourself and others. The job that is a means to an end may provide money which is sometimes useful for personal growth and/or caring for others. Such a job may not be very fulfilling, but it probably provides some useful service or product. If it doesn’t, find one that does. Being a stocker at the supermarket may not be very fulfilling, but people do need to buy food and there must be stockers. Performing this humble task can be considered an act of love, as much a contribution to the community as anything. If you strive to do such a job with the most perfect efficiency you may find that it promotes personal growth by developing your discipline, concentration, mindfulness and humility. But you would also do well to strive to find the most creative and fulfilling livelihood you possibly can.

Spend as much time as necessary to create the most incisive, concise and inclusive Mission Statement you can. When you are satisfied that you have come up with a Mission Statement that clearly states your deepest intentions in life then commit it to writing on a small piece of paper sized to fit your capsule. Roll the paper into a cylindrical scroll and put it in your Capsule of Intentionality. Now your Capsule of Intentionality is a functional, individual symbol of your quest. Keep it close. As Gandalf told Frodo in the Fellowship of the Ring movie, “Keep it secret, keep it safe.”

Living With The Capsule of Intentionality

Your Capsule of Intentionality should be with you all the time. It is designed to be what I call a “quest object.” It is both symbolically and functionally essential to your quest. A religious symbol worn on a chain is a symbolic object that may also have an ornamental jewelry aspect. The Capsule of Intentionality is different. It includes the symbolic and (if you wish) ornamental aspects, but it is more. Your Mission Statement could include a Cross or Star of David or other symbol essential to your life. But your Mission Statement itself is more than symbolic. It is representative of your intentionality, but it is also the literal, functional, language coded core of your life. And since that Mission Statement is a sacred, vulnerable physical object, your Capsule of Intentionality has an essential physical functionality in maintaining protected sacred space for this sacred object.

The Capsule of Intentionality should be made to be “questworthy.” A questworthy object should be rugged and durable enough that you could take it into the wilderness or into any environment in which a human being could survive. A questworthy object should be constructed so that it will not wear out in a life time. If you wear your Capsule of Intentionality on a chain it will keep your deepest intentions close to your heart. In stressful situations, or if you feel yourself wavering from your intentions, you can feel the capsule and the chain. They are your life line.

If you decide to wear your Capsule of Intentionality on a key chain consider that your keys are also objects that are both functional and symbolic. They give access to some of your most valuable resources as your car, your home and the people within. Even without the Capsule of Intentionality attached to your keys it is always a practical mindfulness discipline, and necessary security measure, to know where your keys are. Keys are sometimes essential survival equipment. In this world we need to create secure boundaries and should only give our keys to people we love or at least trust. Losing your keys, or not being mindful of them, may mean that someone can invade the sacred space of your home. The practical and security aspect of being mindful of your keys takes on an added symbolic dimension when you attach your Capsule of Intentionality. Now your keys not only give access to sacred space but also contain a few cubic centimeters worth of portable sacred space. We all know that there is always a man near the President of the United States that carries the “foot ball”—– a briefcase that contains the secret codes for launching thermonuclear weapons that could likely end the world as we know it. Think of your Capsule of Intentionality as containing the Secret Code for keeping your world alive. Be vigilant in protecting the capsule and the principles contained within it. On the practical level I recommend that you have the sort of key chain where you can easily detach car keys or any other key that you might have to give to someone else so that you never have to surrender your Capsule of Intentionality. Also, I recommend that you apply a little adhesive—-glue sticks are great for this—- to the threads of your capsule (assuming it is the type that screws together) so it won’t unscrew inadvertently.

Your Capsule of Intentionality represents your striving to stay true to certain principles and aims, and to maintain continuity of will through time as the chaotic storms rage inside of you and in the world about you. This does not mean that your Mission Statement needs to be unchanging. In level two of this ritual system you will be taking out and copying over your Mission Statement every day. At any time you can modify or radically change your Mission Statement. But you should never do this for superficial reasons or without careful thought and reflection. Before you change your Mission Statement you need to go into your deepest self to be sure about what you are doing. Take your Mission Statement out and copy it over once a day before sleep or upon awakening if you wish. As an absolute minimum, I would take out the Mission Statement and reexamine it, and how well you are living by it, every birthday.

LEVEL TWO ——Lifeline Mission Parameters

Level two involves a daily ritual that builds on level one. Every evening or every morning take out your Mission Statement and write it out on another piece of paper. Then on the back of this paper write down specific goals, tasks, actions that are congruent with the goals of your Mission Statement. You can call this side of the page Lifeline Misson Parameters. For example, visit with a friend, go to work, write in your journal, exercise, buy groceries, are all examples of specific activities. You’ll know at the end of the day whether you wrote in your journal or bought groceries or not. I would avoid generalities like “work harder” or “try to relax.” This is a place to write down specific goals rather than self admonitions. This list is different than a to do list. First, you must make sure that every important part of your Mission Statement has a corresponding action on the Lifeline Mission Parameters side. If you have long-term goals then make sure you have a corresponding activity listed on the Lifeline Mission Parameters side of the paper. If you have long-term goals it is important to take some action on them every day, even if it is only ten minutes worth. (Though two hours would be preferable.) If it seems silly to write down something as inevitable as “go to work,” do it anyway, because the immense energy involved deserves recognition on the paper and you deserve the recognition of a major item to check at the end of the day. If there are items on the paper that you might forget, record them elsewhere so you can keep them in mind. Each one of these activities should be a “Lifeline Mission Objective” meaning something that helps to further or sustain your life. Buying groceries or picking up an application may not be very glamorous, but they are absolutely authentic parts of your quest. In fact, whether or not you carry out these actions will be the real test of your intentionality. Remember, intentionality is revealed by actions, not wishes.

What is a Warrior? Don Juan’s Philosophy of Being a Warrior. The Shambala Warrior Teachings. The Cocoon. Fear. Emotions —-The Mindfulness Approach. Other Techniques for Dealing with Pain. The Value of “Broken Heartedness.”Basic Goodness. Living in the Moment. Vigilance, Skillful Intelligence and Discriminating Awareness.Warrior Aphorisms. The Modern Warrior: A Manifesto.

Warrior of the Light camp

The Way of the Warrior: An Authentic Life Stance with Heart

© 1996, 2009 by Jonathan Zap Edited by Austin Iredale

WHAT IS A WARRIOR?

Why is being a Warrior important, and what is meant by being a Warrior anyway?

Language is so often a barrier to understanding. The word, ” Warrior ,” for example, presents many problems. Sometimes the best available word has a shadow, a dark area of connotations that may be alien or even contradictory to what we are trying to convey. If we want to convey the possibility of a more effective focus in our lives, the word “discipline” comes to mind. But “discipline” can also mean to punish, and our Puritan heritage gives the word an unwanted sadistic resonance. In Sanskrit the nearest word to discipline is “tapas,” which has a range of meanings such as the use of austerities to generate and conserve transformational inner heat. There’s no sadistic or punitive connotation to “tapas,” but it is not a word readily available to most people. “Warrior” is a word that is readily available, but, like the word “discipline,” it carries much unwanted baggage. The word “war” is in “Warrior,” and the connotations of aggression and violence are obvious. But “Warrior” is also a word that in certain circles has been undergoing major redefinition and rediscovery. Essentially, the archetype of the Warrior is being salvaged from millennia of patriarchal associations. The best definition I have been able to come up with for “Warrior” that reflects its archetypal meaning is as follows: A Warrior is someone who strives to live alertly, intelligently, attuned to the moment in order to serve life affirming transpersonal values.

Warrior with a capital “W” is one who efficiently serves life affirming transpersonal aims. A warrior with a lower case “w” could be a mercenary, one who serves selfish aims, or one who serves transpersonal but anti-life aims — a Nazi SS officer, for example. Someone could have rippling muscles, be a potent martial artist, highly efficient, focused and determined and yet only be a warrior. Someone else could be confined to a wheel chair and yet be an exemplary Warrior.

DON JUAN’S PHILOSOPHY OF BEING A WARRIOR

My first contact with the unexpected positive significance of “Warrior” was in the writings of hoaxer and trickster-genius Carlos Casteneda. Casteneda writes in The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge about his supposed apprenticeship with a Yaqi Indian sorcerer. During this apprenticeship Don Juan tells and shows Carlos what being a Warrior means through powerfully evocative words and deeds. Being a Warrior is a total life stance, a way of facing the unspeakable difficulty of a human incarnation with grace and skill.

Don Juan uses the word “impeccable” to describe the behavior of the Warrior. The Warrior makes decisions, and he acts strategically and efficiently to carry them out. Many of the statements Don Juan makes about the Warrior are aphoristic and beautiful. Here are a few examples, some of them slightly paraphrased:

No one is born a Warrior; one must elect to become one.

The ordinary man views everything as either a blessing or a curse. The Warrior takes everything as a challenge.

Life for a Warrior is an exercise in strategy.

There are always cubic centimeters of chance that power makes available to the Warrior. The Warrior’s art is to be perennially fluid in order to pluck them.

A Warrior does not allow himself to become obsessed and does not abandon himself to anything.

To be a Warrior means to be humble and alert.

A Warrior must be fluid and shift harmoniously with the world around him.

One needs the mood of a Warrior for every single act. Otherwise one becomes distorted and ugly. There is no power in a life that lacks this mood.

The Warrior performs even the most trivial of his tasks impeccably to store power.

A Warrior should strive to meet any conceivable situation, the expected and the unexpected, with equal efficiency. To be perfect under perfect circumstances is to be a paper Warrior.

The Warrior starts off with the certainty that his spirit is off balance. Then by living in full control and awareness, but without hurry or compulsion, he does his ultimate best to gain his balance .

A Warrior is never under siege. To be under siege implies that one has personal possessions that could be blockaded. A Warrior has nothing in the world except his impeccability, and impeccability cannot be threatened.

Impeccability can exist only in the present.

Impeccability is always available

Being a Warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the last moments of our lives.

Don Juan’s spin on being a Warrior is powerfully existential. Don Juan continually emphasizes the value of being aware of your own death. He encourages Carlos to experience death physically and directly as a shadowy presence standing on his left. Death is described as a powerful ally that has the particular virtue of absolute honesty. In an interview with Sam Keen, Castaneda remarks,

“Don Juan’s approach has a strange twist because it comes from the tradition in sorcery that death is a physical presence that can be felt and seen. One of the glosses in sorcery is: death stands to your left. Death is an impartial judge who will speak truth to you and give you accurate advice. After all, death is in no hurry. He will get you tomorrow or next week or in fifty years. It makes no difference to him. The moment you remember you must eventually die, you are cut right down to size.”

Awareness of our mortality makes us more alive in the moment. It is also cuts through the trivial and superficial. As I have mentioned in previous writings, a wise man once advised me, “Only do things that you will remember well on your death bed.” Absolute honesty is a core characteristic of the Warrior, and the denial of death, the illusory belief that we can put things off, is the cardinal self-deception that keeps us from becoming Warriors. As Don Juan says, “Our greatest enemy is that we never believe what is happening to us,” and, “There are no survivors on this planet.”

There is a strong relationship between being a Warrior and practicing mindfulness meditation, through which one becomes alertly attuned to the present moment. Only by being in the Now can you effectively engage the world. The path of the Warrior makes you a more alive, aware and engaged presence in the world. In the same interview with Sam Keen, Castaneda comments,

“It has been this element of engagement in the world that has kept me following the path which Don Juan showed me. There is no need to transcend the world. Everything we need to know is right in front of us, if we pay attention. If you enter a state of nonordinary reality, as you do when you use psychotropic plants, it is only to draw from it what you need in order to see the miraculous character of ordinary reality. For me the way to live—the path with heart—is not introspection or mystical transcendence but presence in the world. This world is the Warrior’s hunting ground.”

THE SHAMBALA WARRIOR TEACHINGS

Some of the best commentaries on the way of the Warrior are to be found in the Shambala Warrior teachings of Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa. Trungpa was born in Eastern Tibet, the son of peasants. At a very early age he was recognized as a tulku , or incarnate lama. Trungpa began work on the Shambala teachings during his years in Tibet, where he was the supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries where he received, at the age of eighteen, the degree of Khyenpo (comparable to a doctorate in theology, philosophy, and psychology). As he was fleeing from the Communist Chinese over the Himalayas in 1959, Rinpoche wrote a spiritual account of the history of Shambhala, which unfortunately was lost on the journey. Rinpoche fled to India where he was appointed by the Dalai Lama to serve as spiritual advisor to the Young Lamas’ Home School. In 1963 he traveled to England, where he attended Oxford University as a Spaulding Fellow, studying Western philosophy, religion, art and language. Rinpoche began teaching the Sacred Path of the Warrior in 1976 in the American South West. In Boulder, Colorado, Rinpoche founded the Naropa Institute and a Shambala Warriorship training program.

The Shambala teachings are founded on the premise that there is basic human wisdom that can help to solve the world’s problems. This wisdom does not belong to any one culture or religion, nor does it come only from the West or the East. Rather, it is a tradition of human Warriorship that has existed in many cultures at many times throughout history.

What follows is my way of understanding the Shambala teachings. I would encourage you to read the Shambala material first hand. I would also encourage you to read Jeremy Hayward’s book, Sacred World—A Guide to Shambala Warriorship in Daily Life . Hayward studied with Trungpa for years and was asked by him to write a book from a student’s point of view. My summary of the Shambala teachings is not so much an objective summary but more like variations on a theme inspired by Shambala. The Shambala teachings should not be held responsible for any of my excesses of language or tangential anecdotes as I attempt to relate them. I will quote many passages from the books directly so that you can experience their message and lucidity first hand.

THE COCOON

Trungpa refers to the little world of self-limiting habits into which we retreat from the world as “the cocoon.” One of the first steps to becoming a Warrior is recognizing this all too familiar cocoon in which we seal ourselves off from the world. We build a cocoon of self-deception because we ultimately don’t accept ourselves or the world in which we live. We shroud our radiance in a membrane of forgetfulness to buffer ourselves from the vivid, sometimes harsh intensity of the world. The cocoon has a strong relationship to what Jung called “the shadow,” a dark area of the personality thought to be inferior that we would much rather not look at. The cocoon is the claustrophobic, neurotic place we go to retreat from the intensity of life.

The cocoon is as real and familiar as yesterday’s dirty dishes sitting in the sink. We have to be wary about abstractions in talking about the cocoon because abstracting this shadowy place can be another form of hiding in the cocoon. What does a cocoon look like? Every cocoon is as unique as the psyche it encapsulates. To get a more concrete feeling of this concept, let’s take a caricatured look at “Bob’s cocoon.” Bob is a stereotypical cocooned American male. Although a cocoon is an inner psychic space we’ll represent it metaphorically as a physical place.

Bob’s cocoon is a cramped, stuffy room. The room is cluttered, sloppy and lit with electric lights. The windows haven’t been opened in years and are covered with heavy, opaque, dusty curtains. All sorts of mirrors of different sizes and shapes are screwed into the walls. Bob paces around in his underwear nervously examining himself first in one mirror and then in another. The glass in each of these mirrors is subtly warped. One mirror makes Bob look big and fat, another makes him look like a little nothing, in another he looks dangerous and powerful, in another he looks like a square-jawed movie star, in another he looks puffy and out of shape. Looking at all these varying reflections makes Bob anxious and restless. On the television in the background a seductive woman is extolling the delights of a Carnival Cruise to nowhere, and we see flickering images of tables weighted down with rich food and people dancing in a disco. She begins to croon, “If your friends could see you now!”

Bob sits down on the couch, lights up a Marlboro and flips through the pages of the Sharper Image catalogue. His eyes settle on a piece of expensive, high-tech exercise equipment that seems for a moment like it might be just what he needs to turn his life around, but then he thinks about the cost and his overdue credit card bills. This reminds Bob of his ex girlfriend who still owes him money. Bob calls her on the phone and gets her voicemail. He leaves a somewhat nasty, sarcastic message. He hangs up the phone, opens a can of Budweiser and inserts a well-worn porno disc into the DVD player and . . . well, you can fill in the rest.

Certainly there are people who don’t live in a cocoon. But most of us sometimes regress into a personal, little ghetto of narcissistic self-reflections, egoistic wants and self-pity. Sometimes the world seems too much for us, and self-acceptance too difficult. At other times, perhaps during certain moments of peak or optimal experience, we feel what it is like to be more fully alive. At those times it may be wise to pause for a moment and look back with compassion at the cocoon behind us.

What causes us to retreat into that cocoon sometimes? Fear is the answer that comes most readily to mind. But fear, in itself, is not able to make us do anything. Rather it is a timid way of relating to fear that is the real problem. We can work with fear. It is the attitude that wants to deny fear, that wants to be comfortably numb, that causes us to pull away, to disengage from life and hang out in our cocoon.

FEAR

The Warrior’s way is to acknowledge fear, accept it, even make friends with it. Fearlessness is the willingness to face fear. When fear arises, try greeting it with acceptance, like an old friend, and then go about your business. Someone came up with a clever redefinition of fear as “the energy to do your best.” Another well-known, valid principle is, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” When I got involved in mountain climbing I found that my intense fear of heights did not go away. But what I did find is that I could reach for the next handhold, I could continue to climb, to take actions, while I felt intense fear. Fear became one more natural element like the wind, the cold, or the density of the rock. The change I experienced in relationship to fear is fairly typical, and it may be worthwhile to further develop this personal example to see how fear can become an ally.

My first experience with mountain climbing was during an Outward Bound course in the Cascade Mountains of Northern Washington. I was placed near the front of a line of a dozen or so people as we climbed a particular mountain. While we climbed, I was so busy looking for the next handhold or foothold that I didn’t have time to fully experience my fear of heights. But then we got to the summit, which was unusually small and sloped on both sides like the roof of a large dog house. Sitting on top of it was completely safe, but when you looked on either side there was a drop of thousands of feet. My fear of heights seems to work visually, it doesn’t matter how much real danger there is, but rather how much distance I can see between where I am and what lies below me. There came then a very long waiting period caused by some technical problems, and the rest of the group made it to the summit one by one with agonizing slowness. While I waited, there was nothing for me to do but sit, that huge drop off all around me, feeling the most intense fear and vertigo. Adrenaline raced through my blood and I felt my heart pounding. The energy of the fear was intensely physical and felt like electricity running through my inner thighs and into the center of my stomach. I felt the sun beating down, the gusts of cold wind and the rough surface of the rock on my exposed skin. It was a remote area of the Cascades and there was no sign of anything manmade, not even a trail, in the green valley below. The sky was clear and empty, undisturbed by aircraft or vapor trails. I looked at the rust colored lichen growing on the slope I sat on and suddenly felt the rock that was supporting me, that was keeping me from falling, was the living tissue of an organism, the earth, that was sustaining my life, heartbeat by heartbeat.

The intensity of my fear had awakened my senses, physical and spiritual, and I felt the tenuous living connection I had with the earth. Fear helped to pull back the veil, helped me to experience death as an ally sitting close by. It stripped away my comfortable cocoon and allowed me to be more alive and aware. It allowed me to feel the world, the earth, in a more immediate and powerful way than I had ever experienced.

So fear is not the problem. Fear can be a powerful ally, a great and wise teacher, if it is accepted and embraced. Fear is an intense energy that can help us to awaken to the full brilliance of reality.

SUMMONING WARRIOR ENERGY

“Being on line with Warrior energy creates a point of concentration and focus beyond physical fatigue and emotional mood swings. Correctly accessing the Warrior brings energy and clarity.” —Shambala Warrior Teachngs

In the Shambhala tradition, invoking this heightened state of energy, or “Chi,” is referred to as “raising windhorse.” By using your will to take actions when laziness, fatigue or temptation tries to slow you down, you create this type of energy. In the classic Yoga Aphorisms of Pantajali , it is written that, “Energy is like a muscle, it grows stronger through being used.”

THE VALUE OF “BROKEN HEARTEDNESS”

One aspect of the Shambala teachings that I especially admire is the acknowledgment of the pain and suffering of the human condition. It will profoundly change how you deal with reality, but it will not pretend to eliminate inherent suffering. With long-sustained work, your relationship to suffering can change significantly. For myself, I have found that the mindfulness approach to emotions and thoughts as well as accepting and flowing with life based on the principles of the I Ching have greatly reduced my experience of depression and anxiety. That’s been a great reprieve, but new challenges could bring those forces back into my life at any time. If and when that happens, I expect to be learning new lessons and a new level of wakefulness. Trungpa goes even further than that acknowledgement and states that there is a particular type of emotional pain, a soulful broken heartedness, that is characteristic, even prerequisite, to being a Warrior. This is a refreshing change from the New Age catalogue where every sort of practitioner, whether they are doing hypnotherapy, reflexology or past life regression, has been photographed with the identical beatific, blissed-out smile.

The denial of the shadow, the dark aspect of human existence, greatly promotes suffering. Also, a willingness to engage the pain and darkness within is an essential ability on the path of self-development and truth seeking. Consider the poem “The Wayfarer,” by Stephen Crane.
The Wayfarer

The Wayfarer,

Perceiving the pathway to truth,

Was struck with astonishment.

It was thickly grown with weeds.

“Ha”, he said,

“I see that none has passed here

In a long time.”

Later he saw that each weed

was a singular knife.

“Well,” he mumbled at last,

“Doubtless there are other roads.”

—Stephen Crane

The way of the Warrior has never been a way to escape suffering or become comfortably numb. Rather, it is a way to actively engage suffering, to accept it from a strong and centered stance that allows you to continue to take appropriate actions while feeling pain. As Don Juan says, “A Warrior cannot avoid pain and grief, but only the indulging in it. A Warrior acknowledges his pain, but does not indulge it.”

Sadness is not a sign of being screwed up or in need of medication. If you look at the world and the human condition, it should be obvious that sadness is one of the most appropriate emotions. The Buddhists say, “All being is sorrow.” Jeremy Hayward, in Sacred World: The Shambala Way to Gentleness, Bravery and Power, writes,

“Pointing to the place of sadness in the Warrior’s path or any spiritual path was one of the most profound teachings of the Dorje Dradul (Chogyam Trungpa). So much spiritual teaching and systems of therapy nowadays are oriented toward finding contentment, joy, love, wisdom, and all the other wonderful things. Sometimes they seem like another version of the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. People who feel genuine sadness are told that they are sick. Psychologists list sadness as one of the symptoms of clinical depression, and the latest wave of self-help books label depression—and by implication sadness—as one of the most common diseases of our time. Perhaps people feel genuinely sad that their lives feel so empty, that the society they were born into is such a mess, and that they and others are suffering so much. People feel this kind of sadness for others, often without being aware of it . . .”

Trungpa and Hayward make a case that sadness is not merely inevitable, but it is actually a desirable state for a Warrior. Sadness can be an authentic state in which a Warrior is in touch with his or her own feelings and feels empathy for others. Sadness can be a strangely fulfilling awareness of the depth of the human heart and the poignant mystery of human existence. Hayward writes,

“An open heart realizes that the human heart is sad when it is genuine. Early American blues and Spanish flamenco—songs of love and separation of any time and place—reveal a sadness that is less an expression of depression or misery than of the depth of the human heart. In the best of these songs there is always something timeless and beyond the personal drama. It rings true to us, and we feel glad. The root of the word sad is the Latin satis, which is also the root of the word satisfied. So sadness is related to being completely full, completely satisfied

Trungpa, in Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, describes sadness as a state of heightened awareness characteristic of someone who is fully alive:

“You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world you feel tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn’t come from being mistreated. You don’t feel sad because someone has insulted you or because you feel impoverished. Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. Your experience is raw and tender and so personal.”

“In order to be a good Warrior, one has to feel this sad and tender heart. If a person does not feel alone and sad, he cannot be a Warrior at all.”

“Arrogant Warriorship does not work. It does nothing to benefit others. So the discipline of renunciation also involves cultivating further gentleness, so that you remain very soft and open and allow tenderness to come into your heart. The Warrior who has accomplished true renunciation is completely naked and raw, without even skin or tissue. He has renounced putting on a new suit of armor or growing a thick skin, so his bone and marrow are exposed to the world. He had no room and no desire to manipulate situations. He is able to be, quite fearlessly, what he is.”

“Although the Warrior’s life is dedicated to helping others, he realizes that he will never be able to completely share his experience with others. The fullness of his experience is his own, and he must live with his own truth. Yet he is more and more in love with the world. That combination of love affair and loneliness is what enables the Warrior to constantly reach out to help others. By renouncing his private world, the Warrior discovers a greater universe and a fuller and fuller broken heart. This is not something to feel bad about: it is a cause for rejoicing. It is entering the Warrior’s world.”

“Experiencing the upliftedness of the world is a joyous situation, but it also brings sadness. It is like falling in love. When you are in love, being with your lover is both delightful and very painful. You feel both joy and sorrow. That is not a problem; in fact, it is wonderful. It is the ideal human emotion. The Warrior who experiences windhorse feels the joy and sorrow of love in everything he does. He feels hot and cold, sweet and sour, simultaneously. Whether things go well or things go badly, whether there is success or failure, he feels sad and delighted at once.”

BASIC GOODNESS

The preceding discussion of the need to accept fear, painful emotions and being brokenhearted should not give a false impression that being a Warrior means increasing the pain and unhappiness we already feel. The way of the Warrior is far more likely to eventually create a more positive feeling about self and life. An aspect of the Shambala teachings that seems unique to me in writings on the way of the Warrior, and related to a more positive feeling about life, is an emphasis on what Trungpa calls “basic goodness.” Trungpa writes,

“If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups and downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings.”

( Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior )

Recognition of basic goodness in ourselves and the world is a wonderful antidote to the entrenched pessimism, cynicism and low self-esteem that plague so many today. Denial of the shadow in our culture creates a paradoxical focus on everything that is wrong with us, everything in ourselves and our lives that falls short of a commercial ideal. Images of perfect bodies bombard us from magazine ads, movies and television. When we look in the mirror, therefore, we tend to view our bodily reality with negative judgments about how imperfect it seems compared to the airbrushed magazine images. We may perceive our bodies as basically bad and impose punishing diets or regimens to try to make them more like the idealized images. Similarly, we look at our lives and see all the ways they seem empty or lacking. We may also look into a harshly psychoanalytical mirror and see all the dark aspects of our personality and relationships.

Recognition of basic goodness reverses this morbid focus. To recognize basic goodness in your body, for example, consider the fact that you have a beating heart keeping you alive moment by moment. Even while you sleep your heart works to keep you alive. If you have eyes, consider what a gift they are, and what fantastic variety of forms and colors they allow you to perceive. Recognize that your psyche has sufficient intelligence to read these words and comprehend their meaning and that you are capable of understanding and creating complex language structures that allow you to communicate with others. Appreciate that you came into this world in a helpless, dependent condition, and that other human beings fed you, sheltered you and gave you a chance at life.

We may see how much speed and aggression there is among human beings, but consider the abundance of cooperation. People may crowd a sidewalk or cars may crowd a freeway, and most of the time people are working vigilantly to avoid injuring anyone else. Go through a day and notice all the moments in which people work cooperatively with you, acknowledge you, and show some form of simple manners. When you eat food consider how much work has gone into the creation of it so that you could be nourished. Consider the basic goodness of the fact that you probably have sufficient food and water to sustain your life. Feel the warmth of the sun, the fresh feeling of your skin after a shower, the wonderful reprieve of sleep, the solace of talking to a friend and having other human beings to relate to. Trungpa writes,

“The goal of Warriorship is to express basic goodness in its most complete, fresh, and brilliant form. This is possible when you realize that you do not possess basic goodness but that you are the basic goodness itself. Therefore, training yourself to be a Warrior is learning to rest in basic goodness, to rest in a complete state of simplicity.” ( Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior )

In other words, basic goodness does not derive from continually doing good deeds, but just from our being itself. We are a part of the universe, as everything else is, and our very existence itself is a function of the creativity of the cosmos.

Basic goodness can also be expressed as “basic trust.” Hayward writes,

“Feeling and opening your genuine heart of sadness is the key to letting go of your preconceptions and your interpretations of the world. By letting go, you leave your familiar and snug world behind, at least for a moment, and relax into the sacred and strange space of the real world. To do this, you need to have basic trust. Basic trust is not trusting in something but simply trusting. It is very much like breathing. You do not consciously hold on to your breath or trust in your breath, yet breathing is your very nature. When you breathe out, you trust that the next breath will come in—you don’t think about it, or wonder about it, you trust. When you take a step, you trust that the earth will support you. When you eat, you trust that your stomach will digest the food. This is basic trust.

“…trust not only the basic functions of breathing, eating, and walking, but the sacredness of your whole world. Such trust grows as you step over the threshold of fear again and again and discover that the world beyond your fear is supporting you.

“Your basic trust relaxes you and lets you be. It is simple, unremarkable, ordinary experience, but at the same time it is very powerful; it has a quality of fulfillment. Like the vast, profound, blue sky that is free from clouds yet accommodates everything, from the small white fluffy clouds of a summer’s afternoon to the violent cumulus of a thunderstorm, you let yourself be with whatever you are feeling.

“But trust can be even more basic. Even when your body is not working according to your idea of health, you can still trust your fundamental wellbeing. Usually we don’t experience this level of trust except in life-threatening situations, but it is a basic state of mind that is always there for us.

“The strange but real world is trustworthy because it is always present and, so long as we are genuine, it always responds to us. As long as we do not interpret that response in terms of success or failure, it always gives us a way to go forward. Instead of working so hard to get everything in your life just right, you can profoundly trust and let go. When you learn to let go further, you can let the intelligence of basic goodness determine the course of your life, as it does in any case. It brings great joy and relief to be able to let go in this way.” ( Sacred World: The Shambala Way to Gentleness, Bravery and Power )

Here is how Trungpa describes basic trust:

“The sense of trust is that, when you apply your inquisitiveness, when you look into a situation, you know that you will get a definite response. If you take steps to accomplish something, that action will have a result. When you shoot your arrow, either it will hit the target or it will miss. Trust is knowing that there will be a message . . .

“When you trust in those messages, the reflections of the phenomenal world, the world begins to seem like a bank, or reservoir, of richness. You feel that you are living in a rich world, one that never runs out of messages. A problem arises only if you try to manipulate a situation to your advantage or ignore it. Then you are violating your relationship of trust with the phenomenal world, so then the reservoir might dry up. But usually you will get a message first. If you are being too arrogant, you will find yourself being pushed down by heaven, and if you are being too timid, you will find yourself raised up by earth.

“Ordinarily, trusting in your world means that you expect to be taken care of or to be saved. You think that the world will give you what you want—or at least what you expect. But as a Warrior, you are willing to take a chance; you are willing to expose yourself to the phenomenal world, and you trust that it will give you a message, either of success or failure.”

( Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior )

LIVING IN THE MOMENT

An essential application of the principles of basic goodness and basic trust is being in the now and accepting and working with your situation as it is. Generally, this means respect for, and complete presence in, the everyday, mundane world. As Ram Dass said, “Be here now.” Trungpa advises that we apply the principles of Warriorship by being fully present and mindful in our ordinary domestic life. By bringing order and healthfulness to our own household we create a healthy foundation from which we can bring healthfulness to the world. Trungpa writes,

“The way to experience nowness is to realize that this very moment, this very point in your life, is always the occasion. So the consideration of where you are and what you are, on the spot, is very important. That is one reason that your domestic everyday life is so important. You should regard your home as sacred, as a golden opportunity to experience nowness. Appreciating sacredness begins very simply by taking an interest in all the details of life. Interest is simply applying awareness to what goes on in your everyday life—awareness while you’re cooking, awareness while you’re driving, even awareness while you’re arguing. Such awareness can help to free you from speed, chaos, neurosis, and resentment of all kinds.

“It may seem that washing dishes and cooking dinner are completely mundane activities, but if you apply awareness in any situation, then you are training your whole being so that you will be able to open yourself further, rather than narrowing your existence.

“You may feel that you have a good vision for society but that your life is filled with hassles—money problems, problems relating to your spouse or caring for your children—and that those two things, visions and ordinary life, are opposing one another. But vision and practicality can be joined together in newness.

“The most practical and immediate way to begin sharing with others and working for their benefit is to work with your own domestic situation and to expand from there.”

( Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior )

(Note: In some of the following quotes, Trungpa uses the term drala . Hayward defines dralas as “patterns of living energy and wisdom in the world that you can connect with when you open your mind and heart.”)

“Your physical environment . . . may be as small and limited as a one-room apartment or as large as a mansion or a hotel. How you organize and care for that space is very important. If it is chaotic and messy, then no drala will enter into that environment . . For the Warrior, invoking external drala is creating harmony in your environment in order to encourage awareness and attention to detail. In that way, your physical environment promotes your discipline of Warriorship.

“The attitude of sacredness towards your environment will bring drala. You may live in a dirt hut with no floor and only one window, but if you regard that space as sacred, if you care for it with your heart and mind, then it will be a palace.

“If you want to solve the world’s problems, you have to put your own household, your own individual life, in order first. That is somewhat of a paradox. People have a genuine desire to go beyond their individual, cramped lives to benefit the world, but if you do not start at home, then you have no hope of helping the world. So the first step in learning how to rule is learning to rule your household, your immediate world. There is no doubt that, if you do so, then the next step will come naturally. If you fail to do so, then your contribution to this world will be further chaos.”

( Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior )

VIGILANCE, SKILLFUL INTELLIGENCE AND DISCRIMINATING AWARENESS

Whether in the most ordinary, mundane circumstances or a catastrophic emergency the Warrior strives to maintain vigilance, skillful intelligence and discriminating awareness. It is the Warrior’s duty to remain, as Don Juan put it, “humble and alert.” In a world so filled with suffering and in need of help, anyone capable of conscious, effective actions has continual responsibility. Although it is worthwhile to be relaxed in the sense of “letting go”—a state in which one is fluid and adaptable without unnecessary bodily tension or psychic rigidity and clinging—it is not good to be relaxed in the sense of a slouchy, careless attitude. There is a need to maintain conscious disciplines and to be prepared for anything.

One thing to be prepared for is that certain people may experience this type of vigilance as a subtle threat, or as a disturbing contrast to the slackness that they find comfortable. Such people prefer the path of the partygoer and believe that life is meant to be a mellow, pleasurable experience you can passively float through. Such people are likely to suggest that you “take it easy” and “go with the flow.” The Warrior’s focus on impeccability and presence in the moment may cause them to be unpopular company for those who want only to hang out and kill time.

A Warrior is always vigilant and in a way is never “off duty.” Don Juan and Trungpa both describe being a Warrior as a continual journey in which one must earn Warriorship moment by moment.

(Note: In some of the following quotes Trungpa refers to “the setting sun world.” This term describes the modern “wasteland” world—the toxic environment in which so many modern lives occur.)

Here’s how Trungpa describes Warrior vigilance:

“The important point to realize is that you are never off duty. You can never just relax, because the whole world needs help.

“The Warrior never neglects his discipline or forgets it. His awareness and sensitivity are constantly extended. Even if a situation is very demanding or difficult, the Warrior never gives up. He always conducts himself well, with gentleness and warmth, to begin with, and he always maintains his loyalty to sentient beings who are trapped in the setting-sun world. The Warrior’s duty is to generate warmth and compassion for others. He does this with complete absence of laziness. His discipline and dedication are unwavering.

“The Warrior is constantly reminded that he has to be on the spot, on the dot, because he is choosing to live in a world that does not give him the setting sun’s concept of rest.

“Warriorship is a continual journey. To be a Warrior is to learn to be genuine in every moment of your life.”

( Shambala: Sacred Path of the Warrior )

WARRIOR APHORISMS

Finally, I’d like to conclude our discussion of the way of the Warrior with a small collection of what I consider Warrior aphorisms. They are in no particular order, some are written by me and some are written by others, but they all express aspects of being a Warrior. Some of the “aphorisms” are actually paragraphs, but have an aphoristic ability to stand on their own. Following the collection of aphorisms, I’ve included “A Modern Warrior’s Manifesto,” a set of principles created by writer, professor and fifth degree Akido black belt George Leonard.

“If not now, when? If not me, who?” —Jewish saying

“Grace under pressure.” —Hemingway’s definition of heroism

“To serve, to strive and not to yield.”

—Outward Bound Motto from the poem “Ulysses” by Tennyson

“The Chinese language contains much wisdom in its symbols. The two-part character “wel-ji” is equivalent to our word for crisis. One character means danger and the other opportunity. We in the western world focus only upon the danger. Yet the Chinese know the word means opportunity as well. We can open many doors and enrich our lives simply by ceasing to focus only on our fears and by looking more at the creative possibilities for action and change that can arise from a state of fear, anxiety. Outward Bound proposes that we recondition our reflexes to find energy and enthusiasm in the stirrings of fear and stress.”

—From the Outward Bound Philosophy

“But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in the days to come. For I also am a steward.” —Gandalf, from The Ring Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Man’s great passion isn’t sex, power or money—it’s laziness.” —C.G. Jung
The Litany Against Fear

I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.
—from the Dune books by Frank Herbert

“Yesterday is ashes. Tomorrow is wood. Only today, the fire burns brightly.” —Native American saying

“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.” —C. G. Jung

“There is no harm in falling down. The only harm is in not picking yourself up again.” —Chinese saying

“Act on what the world is presenting to you in the moment rather than what you think of the world.”—Jordan Scott

The following is a collection of aphorisms and paragraphs I’ve created for myself. Some were written in journals or at odd moments when an insight occurred to me.

“When the Warrior finds that a certain pattern of behavior or thinking never seems to produce the desired results, he will try something else.”

The following defines the stance I call “existential impeccability:”

“The immature attitude toward transformation is to see impeccability as a sacrifice to gain a reward. It degrades the present into a sacrifice for an imaginary “transformed” magical future. The immature approach turns all efforts into their opposite, light into dark. True impeccability is existential; it is done for its own sake, not in the expectation of anything. Only such a stance has the detachment from result to achieve the fluidity and adaptability to mean a lasting value. This type of impeccability is not ‘for’ transformation. It is in itself the revolutionary transformation you seek. Transformation occurs when you strive to give up the expectant attitude and replace it with a lasting effort to seek impeccability as an end in itself.”

—from a journal entry I wrote in the Eighties

“The Warrior must be aware that the psyche is conservative in nature, preferring old, self-destructive, neurotic patterns to the unknown. The Warrior must have the insight and determination to break those patterns, particularly those created by early childhood situations.”

“Don’t crack under pressure.”—Ad slogan for Tag Heuer Sport watches. I would rephrase it: “Don’t crack under pressure, but if possible, release the pressure.”

“Impeccability, like being in touch with the body, brings a feeling of connection with the world: being in the moment, being connected to the world, connected to the body that’s in the world.”

“Professionalism is the modern way of saying Warrior-like. Usually it is applied to skillful work in a particular profession, but its meaning can be extended to indicate a general impeccability.

“The professional acts impeccably under great stress.”

“Focus on your physical actions in your physical realm. Physically, do the work.”

“Make a decision for the moment and act on it.”

“Leaving the moment is self-deception. Being in the moment is self-love.”

“Insight may be irrelevant and recursive when will is the issue.”

“Pain is part of the beauty of the now. Pain, when experienced in long moments of time, is like a fire burning in the soul. It burns and consumes the oxygen of self-love with terrifying speed threatening to turn us into cold ashes. But then the cycle turns and the pain becomes sadness and one is capable of deeper reflection. By accepting the pain and sadness that you feel in the moment, you enter the moment with your heart and become fully authentic and alive. Accepting this pain is an act of moral courage. Our darker thoughts and feelings, and the realities they may correspond to, are not easy to accept as what’s so. But when we do accept what’s so and continue to act mindfully we become a Warrior. This is the true test and making of a Warrior, how you chose to handle the problem of being when the setting sun of the West burns you with its radioactive rays and your spirit is nauseous and oppressed by flickering shadows. How well do you act toward others while you may happen to be mutating and decomposing at the same time? The Warrior must act impeccably under all circumstances, inner or outer. The Warrior must maintain balance while dark inner chaos whirls about like winds howling in radioactive ruins after the end of the world.”

(end of warrior quotes I authored)

Deng Ming-Dao is a contemporary Taoist sage who has keen insights into Taoism and the Warrior stance. The following quotes are excerpted from two of his highly recommended books — 365 Tao and Everyday Tao :

“The action must be complete. It must burn clean; it cannot leave any bad ramifications or lingering traces. An act that leaves destruction, resentment, or untidiness in its wake is a poor one.”

“When unpredictable things happen, those who follow Tao are skilled at improvisation. If circumstances deny them, they change immediately.”

“In the midst of great difficulty, a tiny opportunity will open, if only by chance. You must be sharp enough to discern it, quick enough to catch it, and determined enough to do something with it.”

“Make every move count.
Pick your target and hit it.
Perfect concentration means
Effortless flowing.”

“Each day your life grows a day shorter. Make every move count. All that matters is accomplishing what you envision with the greatest dispatch.”

“Make your stand today. On this spot. On this day. Make your actions count; do not falter in your determination to fulfill your destiny. Don’t follow the destiny outlined in some mystical book: Create your own.”
“When one senses that one has come to the limits of the time and situation, one should conserve one’s energy. Often, this will be in preparation for a challenge to the limits, or a changing over to a new set of constraints.”
“If one is a hermit, one can be quiescent. If one is in the world, one must be aggressive.”

“To be aggressive . . . is to have the prowess and cunning of the wolf. A wolf is shrewd. It does not blindly go into a situation. It scouts things out. It has a sense of itself and its surroundings that is nearly supernatural. Trackers have a hard time trapping it. Prey have a difficult time eluding it.”

“When things go badly, those who follow Tao seek the causes and correct them. If the problem cannot be corrected, they shift the entire frame of reference so that the relative importance of the problem is diminished or eliminated . . .”

“When you act, act completely. Follow through. Do everything that has to be done. Be like the fire that burns completely clean: only from that pure stage can you then take the next step.”

“Not to have feeling is inhuman.
To be carried away by feeling is foolish.
Not to have desire is death.
To be a slave to desire is to be lost.”

“Whether our lives are magnificent or wretched depends upon our ordering daily details. We must organize the details into a composition that pleases us. Only then will we have meaning in our lives.”

“You could tell the secret of life ten times over, and it would still be safe. After all, the secret is only known when people make it real in their own lives, not when they simply hear it.”

“Indecision and procrastination are corrosive habits. Those who wait for every little thing to be perfect before they embark on a project or who dislike the compromise of a partial solution are among the least happy. Ideal circumstances are seldom given to anyone for an undertaking. Instead there is uncertainty in every situation. The wise are those who can wrest great advantage from circumstances opaque to everyone else.”

“Every day passes whether you participate or not. If you are not careful, years will go by and you will only have regrets. If you cannot solve a problem all at once, at least make a stab at it. Reduce your problems into smaller, more manageable packages, and you can make measurable progress toward achievement. If you wait for everything to be perfect according to your preconceived plans, then you may well wait forever. If you go out and work with the current of life, you may find that success comes from building upon small things.”

The following three quotes come from Back to Beginnings, Reflections on the Tao by Huanchu Daoren, translated by Thomas Cleary. They were written around 1600 by a retired Chinese Scholar, Hong Yingming, whose Taoist name, Huanchu Daoren, means “A Wayfarer Back to Beginnings.”

“When you are constantly hearing offensive words and always have some irritating matter in mind, only then do you have a whetstone for character development. If you hear only what pleases you, and deal only with what thrills you, then you are burying your life in deadly poison.”

“If the mind is illumined, there is clear blue sky in a dark
room. If the thoughts are muddled, there are malevolent ghosts in broad daylight.”

“When thoughts arise, as soon as you sense them heading on the road of desire, bring them right back onto the road of reason. Once they arise, notice them, once you notice them, you can change them. This is the key to turning calamity into fortune, rising from death and returning to life.”

And a few miscellaneous quotes:

“Forget the flight plan, from this moment on we are improvising the mission.” From the movie Apollo 13

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing

because he could only do a little.” —Edmund Burke

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.

All life is an experiment.” —Emerson (1842)

Modern Warrior: A Manifesto
by George Leonard

  1. The Modern Warrior is not one who goes to war or kills people, but rather one who is dedicated to the creation of a more vivid peace.
  2. The Modern Warrior honors the traditional Warrior virtues: loyalty, integrity, dignity, courtesy, courage, prudence and benevolence.
  3. The Modern Warrior pursues self-mastery through will, patience, and diligent practice.
  4. 4. The Modern Warrior works to perfect himself or herself not so much as a means to achieving some external goal as for its own sake.
  5. The Modern Warrior is willing to take calculated risks to realize his or her potential and further the general good.
  6. The Modern Warrior is fully accountable for his or her actions.
  7. The Modern Warrior seeks the inner freedom that comes from the study of esthetics, culture, and the wisdom of the ages.
  8. The Modern Warrior respects and values the human individual and the entire web of life on this planet. To serve others is of the highest good. To freely give and accept nourishment from life is the Warrior’s challenge.
  9. The Modern Warrior reveres the spiritual realm that lies beyond appetites and appearances.
  10. The Modern Warrior cherishes life and thus conducts his or her affairs in such a manner as to be prepared at every moment for death. In this light, he or she is able to view all complaints, regrets, and moods of melancholy as indulgences.
  11. The Modern Warrior aims to achieve control and act with abandon.
  12. The Modern Warrior realizes that being a Warrior doesn’t mean winning or even succeeding. It does mean putting your life on the line. It means risking and failing and risking again, as long as you live.

For more on the path of the warrior, go the warrior category on this site.

Evolutionary Spiral

Chapter V

White Crows Rising—-

The Singularity Archetype and the Event Horizon of Human Evolution

© 1996, 2009 by Jonathan Zap

Edited by Austin Iredale

Through a Glass Darkly

When we talk about the future we attempt to look, through a glass darkly, at a landscape that is unknown and unformed. Prophecy is a notoriously tricky and unreliable enterprise. Many people who have sought to look through that dark glass have seen images that were distorted reflections of themselves—of their hopes, fears and expectations. If there is a universal theme in the visions of prophets it is the prediction that extremely dramatic events will occur within their own lifetimes. The authors of the book of Revelations, for example, described events that they believed were going to happen in their time, the First Century AD, a fact rarely mentioned by born-again doomsayers. It is quite possible for someone to have a genuine revelation and then be completely mistaken about the time frame, or fall into the trap of being literal and concrete about the typically metaphorical vision they have seen.

Certain predictions about the future require little vision beyond the ordinary sort. A concise summary of what ordinary vision should tell us about the future is: “We’re in trouble, and we’re due for radical changes.” The fact that we’re in trouble seems almost too obvious to mention. Overpopulation rises exponentially while ecosystems spiral downward. More and more children are trying to suck greedily at the breasts of a mother who has cancer and grows weaker daily. And to this likely terminal situation you can add any of your own favorite force vectors of potential disaster: plague, nuclear or biological terrorism, global economic collapse, pandemics, toxification of the environment, climate change, natural or unnatural disasters, insane mass movements and despotic governments.

The metabolism of the species, and therefore the metabolism of events on this planet, has heated up to feverish intensity. An evolutionary process is rapidly approaching critical mass. Just consider how much change has occurred since 1908. A safe prediction is that we are not heading into a quiescent plateau.

So what is on the horizon if not a plateau? How can we contemplate the future development of our own species in a planetary situation that boils over with an infinite array of variables? And how can we possibly transcend the inherent subjectivity of being fully vested members of the species we’re trying to predict?

Analogical Analysis

When the human mind is confronted with the task of analyzing an almost impossibly complex phenomenon, like the fate of the species, one way it can assist itself is by creating an analog, an analogy to some simpler phenomenon that is of a size more workable for our type of intelligence. This type of analogical analysis can often work surprisingly well because there seems to be an aspect of the universe that is very much like a hologram or a fractal—a small part, the microcosm, seems to recapitulate the essential pattern of the larger part, the macrocosm. To apply analogical analysis to the human species let’s consider the analog of a single human individual.

A single human individual is still a phenomenon at the very boundary of human comprehension. Since we are social primates, our brains have adapted and struggled heroically to understand individuals of our own species more than any other phenomenon. We are marvelously equipped to understand each other and yet each individual personifies all the deepest mysteries that defy understanding. Also, the variables affecting the future of an individual are a magnitude of infinity perhaps greater than those affecting the future of the species because the future of the species is itself an included variable in the life of an individual. So although an individual of our species is certainly a sufficiently complex microcosm, and a phenomenon that obviously parallels the larger phenomenon of the species, he is, unfortunately, an almost equally intimidating phenomenon to attempt to analyze or predict. But pursuing this analogy as a thought experiment may lead us along a convoluted path to some place interesting.
John, a Thought Experiment in Prophecy

To make our thought experiment more concrete let’s give our human individual a specific identity.

I propose that our human sample be named John Doe, and that he be a seventeen-year-old male living right now in a suburb of Los Angeles, California. Of course you may be wondering why I didn’t pick Olga Pietrowski, age fifty-six, mother of three grown children, and a clerical worker at the People’s Agricultural College in Northern Ukraine, or Lee Chung, age thirty two, an unmarried Taiwanese poultry butcher suffering from a rare kidney ailment, or any of a number of other possible human samples.

I picked an adolescent, first of all, because I feel that adolescence is the time of life in Western culture that most closely resembles the present developmental stage of the species. It is a time of intense energy and change when identity is unsure, life is unstable, and it feels like almost anything might happen. I picked a male adolescent because our species is in an immature masculine phase of acting out, often destructively, testing the limits, enamored of speed, aggression and power. Like perpetual adolescents we are obsessed with looks and sex. And like John’s life in a suburb of Los Angeles, we are aware of so many critical problems all around us, while below there are tremors in the San Andreas fault.

To continue our thought experiment let’s fill in some of the gaps in John’s case history. John’s parents are wealthy, but his father, a high-powered advertising executive, a workaholic John rarely sees, is also a big spender and heavily in debt. John’s mother has malignant breast cancer and is currently undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which has left her in a state of exhaustion and despair. And although John goes about his life at a frenetic pace, driving along at high speeds in his red V-8 Firebird, using his charismatic looks and charm to pick up a series of girls for sexual encounters that he later boasts about to his friends, he is not without feeling and is deeply disturbed by his mother’s condition. But what can he do? His mother is under the care of the most highly paid experts and they say her condition is “under control.” As much as possible, John tries not to think of his withering mother hooked up to all those machines and tubes at the hospital.

His feelings tend to alternate between acute undifferentiated rage and a crushingly dark despair. When in the rage state he is capable of violent outbursts. John has studied martial arts, and when another teenage male calls him an insulting name in the parking lot outside of Dark Frenzy, an LA dance club, John beats him senseless. While still in the adrenaline rush of this conquest John feels exultant about his victory, but later that night the other boy’s bloodied face appears in a nightmare and John’s victorious feelings turn to anxiety and regret. When in the despair state John can barely get out of bed. He misses school, steals Valium from the medicine cabinet and watches television, utterly bored and lethargic.

But John’s life is not wholly filled with darkness. He has a great facility with computers and a fascination with virtual reality. And although it might not be readily apparent, John is still capable of love. When John hangs out with his friends they typically insult each other in joking putdown contests, but there are also hidden moments of compassion and empathy between John and a couple of his closest friends. John also shares a bond of absolutely unconditional love with his dog, Clyde, a three-year-old pit bull.

Recently, however, John’s mother has taken a turn for the worse and John, in dark sympathetic response, has begun to act out more self-destructively. His drug use is getting more compulsive and sometimes, after doing a couple lines of crystal meth to heighten his reflexes, he tours the express way at night, driving the Firebird with thrilling speed. Hidden under the driver seat is the nine millimeter automatic he bought on the street with most of his birthday money.

Our thought experiment is to predict where John is heading. The conventional prediction would be that John is headed toward relative or absolute self-destruction. But some people survive self-destructive phases of their lives and are even positively transformed by them. The case history simply doesn’t provide enough information to make a prediction that is anything other than broad conjecture. John, like his species, is obviously in a crisis stage and some sort of disaster seems very likely. But even if we knew for certain that John was going to have a serious car wreck we still have a prediction problem. John might be killed in the car wreck; death cannot be excluded as a possibility for John anymore than extinction can be excluded as a possibility for the species. But human lives often take strange, unexpected twists and turns. There are quite a number of possibilities for John that may seem a bit farfetched, but for which there is plenty of human precedent.

Suppose, for example, that John only nearly dies in the car wreck and that while he lies trapped in the wrecked Firebird he has a classic near-death experience. From a disembodied distance he views his mangled body and the wreck of his car. (If this description of an NDE seems like New Age confabulation then you need to do your homework on NDEs. NDEs, including comprehensive life reviews and verifiable remote viewings, have happened when people had no measurable electrical activity in their brains.) He travels through darkness toward a light. A being approaches John from whom he feels unconditional love. John is guided through a complete life review and as he re-experiences encounters with others he is aware of what they are feeling and how they are being impacted by his actions and energy. Much of what he learns is devastating and he sees how arrogant and often cruel he has been in his life, but he also sees how he was influenced to be that way and has a new compassion and understanding for his own flawed nature. He is given a choice of going toward the light or returning to life on earth. EMS technicians resuscitate his body and John emerges from his NDE with the recognition that life is more meaningful and valuable than he ever imagined.

Such a scenario, however unlikely, cannot be excluded as a possibility. There are countless real-life case histories of NDEs creating lasting spiritual transformations in people who had hitherto led dissolute lives. The point is that knowing John is self-destructive and that he is heading toward a very serious car wreck is not enough information to predict his future. We can say with certainty that, like his species, John is in serious trouble and due for radical changes. John and his species are speeding toward a critical nexus, but what will emerge on the other side of this event horizon remains to be seen.

Of course, what is lacking in this analogy is the whole range of middle possibilities, that gradient of gray tones. Suppose John survives the wreck only to become more bitter and negative. Or perhaps he survives the wreck and it moves him toward the functional maturity of an adult, but without much of a spiritual transformation. This may seem counterintuitive, but I think the middle range possibilities are less likely than the extremes. I believe that some individuals, and some species, are so highly charged that when they hit the bifurcation point they are most likely to emerge greatly transformed (higher or lower).

To continue our thought experiment, let’s consider what type of additional information would improve our chances of predicting where John is going. For example, if we could extend the theoretical limits of medical technology so that we could continuously monitor every aspect of John’s physiological condition that could be turned into a number—not just pulse and blood pressure, but also the most minute fluctuations of blood sugar, liver enzymes, neurotransmitters, etc. We would now have megabytes of hard, objective information about John pouring in every second.

Access to objective, physical information of this sort would probably be a delight to a neurological materialist, one of those folks currently crowding our universities and citadels of science who believes that human consciousness is an illusion and that we are essentially a byproduct of neurochemistry suffering from delusions of grandeur. With this new source of information about John, the neurological materialists would be able to show endless correlations between fluctuations of John’s neural peptides and his affective states. But would they be able to tell us where this carbon-based automaton, John, is headed? When Einstein was asked whether we would eventually be able to understand the universe exclusively in terms of numbers, his reply was yes, but it would be like trying to understand a Beethoven symphony in terms of variations in air pressure. Now imagine trying to use variations in air pressure to predict a symphony that has never been heard before, one that composes itself moment by moment and is altered by being observed.

To extend the analogy once more to the species let’s suppose we had instantaneous access to every number in every database on the planet. Suppose we sat in the basement of the Pentagon surrounded by a thousand Cray mainframes with quadrillions of gigabits of statistics on global population, meteorological data, economic trends, market research data, etc. pouring in by the nanosecond. At a moment’s notice we could determine copper sulfate consumption in Eastern Romania in 1959 accurate to six decimal places, or the number of males between the ages of 33 and 38 with peptic ulcers who purchased a major brand of dandruff shampoo with a Visa card last Wednesday. How much would this help us predict where the species was going?

Let’s return to John for a minute. If detailed, objective information about John’s body doesn’t tell us where he’s going, what information could we add to John’s case history that would focus our intuition and allow us to speculate intelligently about his future? Is there a source of subjective but global information that would reflect what is happening on the deepest level of John’s soul? The source I’d like to recommend for consideration is John’s dreams. For three or so hours a day John’s psyche generates its own universe, a parallel dimension where the deepest aspects of his being are given form.

So let’s consider one of John’s dreams. John finds himself standing in the clearing of a forest. The sky is turning very dark. Underground tremors occur and escalate to where the earth seems to be shaking itself to pieces. There is fire and lightening and it seems to be the end of the world. Then everything calms down. The sky clears and now a large white eagle comes spiraling down from above. In its talons it holds a golden egg with a glowing aura. Carefully, it deposits this egg in a nest at the top of a great tree.

This dream suggests that John’s current self-destructive crisis, as represented by the darkening sky and earthquake, might be a rite of passage from which John may emerge spiritually transformed—the eagle bearing a glowing, golden egg. John’s self-destructiveness now seems a necessary part of an evolutionary process, and we can speculate that he will bring his life to the brink of destruction but will emerge spiritually transformed. Of course, this is still only a speculation, but it has a certain intuitive confidence.

Dreams of the Collective

The dream attributed to John was an actual dream reported to me by a young man about John’s age. In his case, the dream may have had a meaning more collective than personal. And this brings us back full circle to our species for which John’s case was intended as analog. If a dream was the most useful source of information for speculating about John’s future, what source of information would have the analogous function for a species? The answer Carl Jung provided was that myths are to the collective what dreams are to the individual. A myth, therefore, is a kind of collective dream.

The work of Jung and his followers demonstrates convincingly the existence of a collective unconscious. From this collective layer of the unconscious emerge the great, primordial images Jung referred to as the “archetypes.”Across cultures and periods we find endless variations of these archetypes. The archetypes may appear as dreams or visions, especially in the fertile psyches of artists, poets, mystics, writers, shamans and prophets. Through such individuals the archetypes become myths and diffuse throughout a culture.

The dreams of an individual in crisis will tend to be dynamic, highly charged, and revealing of the deepest essence of the inner process. Similarly, the mythology of a culture in crisis will be intense and revealing of forces shaping collective destiny beneath the world of surfaces and appearances. Furthermore, the realms of dream and mythology will typically parallel or overlap. For example, while Jung worked as an analyst during the era of the Weimar Republic he found that Wotan, in Germanic mythology a god of war and mayhem, was occurring frequently in the dreams of his educated, highly civilized German patients. Jung was very disturbed by this phenomenon, which he called “Wotanism.” Based on the emergence of this archetype Jung was able to correctly predict the future shape of irrational forces brewing in the German psyche. Meanwhile, many people in various governments who had access to all sorts of statistics, experts and specialists, were found napping, their sleepy heads buried in the sand at the shore of the collective unconscious when the Nazi tidal wave seemed to swell out of nowhere. And surfing at the very top of this tidal wave was a pale, homely looking fellow who began his career as an unemployed artist making daily trips to the occult bookstore. Steeping himself in black magic, young Adolph gained malevolent access to the collective unconscious, adapted an astrological symbol, the Swastika, as the symbol of his world domination cult, and the rest, as they say, is history…

Down the Rabbit Hole

Before we descend, however briefly, through the rabbit hole to encounter the Singularity Archetype, I would like to suggest an invaluable piece of equipment to bring along. Besides all the critical faculties that you bring to bear on this or any other document you read, an encounter with an archetype also requires a deeply intuitive truth sense. As you approach an archetype you will feel a resonance within, a sense of uncanny familiarity and recognition. The Hero with a Thousand Facesis the memorable title of Joseph Campbell’s classic book on the hero archetype. Campbell was being numerically modest because every archetype has billions or trillions of faces. These myriad faces are the individual permutations or manifestations of the archetype, like facets allowing you to look into the prismatic depths of a jewel that can dazzle and overwhelm.

During our brief journey we will have time to look through only a few faces/facets of the Singularity Archetype. Hopefully these few vantages will allow the reader to triangulate the essence of an ever-shifting vision. At most, a fundamentalist looks through a single facet of an archetype and concretizes a single face he has been conditioned to see there. The Jungian approach, however, is to realize that each facet involves its own prismatic distortions of the archetype, like a series of cubist paintings of a single subject. Unlike the fundamentalist, the Jungian doesn’t attach to the idiosyncratic reflections of particular versions, but attempts to see the essence that unites the myriad manifestations of the archetype.

As I mentioned before, “John’s dream” was an actual dream reported to me by an intelligent young man a few years ago. I believe that this dream is an example of what I call the “Singularity Archetype.” This archetype is a resonance, flowing backward through time, of an approaching Singularity in or at the end of human history. This Singularity will be a critical point where transformation, in ways impossible to fully anticipate, will greatly shift human consciousness and therefore the nature of “reality.” From an ordinary, grounded human perspective this Singularity may be perceived as apocalyptic extinction.

As with all archetypes, visions of this approaching Singularity occur in a variety of permutations. When an archetype emerges from the collective unconscious it is colored by the cultural conditioning, personal unconscious and unique individuality of the psyche perceiving it. Attached to what I will hereafter refer to as the”Singularity Archetype” is a constellation of archetypal elements, a developing mythology of a new step in human evolution. These elements reflect changes occurring as we approach the Singularity. The Singularity Archetype is found in the prophecies of great religions and tribal cultures, and many who feel it approaching see it through the particular lens of their religious or cultural tradition. An evangelical Christian, for example, may speak of Armageddon and the Rapture.

While most perceive the Singularity through religious prophecy, it is also possible to view it from a nondenominational vantage. We can do this by looking at a variety of traditions and observing their parallelisms. A recapitulation of the prophecies of various religions and traditions, however, is a tricky business, and well outside the scope of this book. Capsulated summaries would do injustice to the rich complexity of these traditions and would necessarily have to gloss over interpretive controversies and varying points of view. You may already have some familiarity with some of these traditions, and if not, there are countless sources you can investigate.

It may be more helpful to view this Singularity through the eyes of modern individuals. We have already considered “John’s dream” In this dream, apocalyptic events—earthquake and the darkening of the sky—transform into the descent of a divine form—an eagle bearing a glowing, golden egg. There is an obvious suggestion here that destruction will become cosmic rebirth. Alongside this example, let’s consider a couple of dreams recorded by one of Jung’s most brilliant colleagues, Marie Louise Von Franz, in Jung’s classic introductory work: Man and his Symbols.
Two Dreams

Von Franz describes two dreams reported to her by someone she describes as “…a simple woman who was brought up in Protestant surroundings…” In both dreams a supernatural event of great significance is viewed. But in one dream the dreamer views the event from below, standing on the earth, in the other dream she views the same event from above.(The dreamer’s paintings, from Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung.)

In the earthbound dream, the dreamer stands with a guide, looking down at Jerusalem. The wing of Satan descends and darkens the city. The occurrence in the Middle East of this uncanny wing of the devil immediately brings to mind Antichrist and Armageddon.

But in her other dream, the dreamer witnesses the same event from the heavens. From this vantage the dark wing of Satan appears as the white, wafting cloak of God. This white spiral appears as a symbol of evolution. Von Franz describes,

“…the spectator is high up, somewhere in heaven, and sees in front of her a terrific split between the rocks. The movement in the cloak of God is an attempt to reach Christ, the figure on the right, but it does not quite succeed. In the second painting, the same thing is seen from below—from a human angle. Looking at it from a higher angle, what is moving and spreading is a part of God; above that rises the spiral as a symbol of possible further development. But seen from the basis of our human reality, this same thing in the air is the dark, uncanny wing of the devil.

In the dreamer’s life these two pictures became real in a way that does not concern us here, but it is obvious that they may also contain a collective meaning that reaches beyond the personal. They may prophesy the descent of a divine darkness upon the Christian hemisphere, a darkness that points, however, toward the possibility of further evolution. Since the axis of the spiral does not move upward but into the background of the picture, the further evolution will lead neither to greater spiritual height nor down into the realm of matter, but to another dimension…”

Childhood’s End

We will now switch facets and view a third manifestation of the Singularity Archetype through a very different psyche and medium. The very different psyche belongs to Arthur C. Clarke, who was originally an astrophysicist and later became famous as a science-fiction writer. Perhaps Clarke is best known for the novel and Stanley Kubrik film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 is one of the most brilliant versions of this archetype, but we are going to consider an earlier example of Clarke’s work, the classic science-fiction novel, Childhood’s End. A science-fiction novel is a consciously created fantasy, and a very different medium than a dream, but it is also an especially fertile and open imaginal realm where the collective unconscious can communicate with modern persons, and a new mythology, however unrecognized, can collectively express itself.

Childhood’s End begins with the appearance of UFOs in the heavens all over the earth. Beings from within these craft break through all communications and announce that they are “the Overlords” and have come to establish peace on earth. This sounds like ominous news, but the Overlords do establish peace on earth and, excepting military aggression, do not curtail any human freedoms. Another curious aspect of the Overlords is that they announce that they will not reveal their physical form to humanity for two generations—fifty years. People speculate that they must be hideous and look like giant insects or slime mold or some other grotesque and horrifying form.

The fifty years pass peacefully for the human species. The Overlords come to be accepted and everyone eagerly awaits the day when the Overlords will descend to earth and reveal themselves. When the long anticipated day arrives the great spacecraft descend. With some ceremony, the Overlords emerge and to the uneasy surprise of the human species they look exactly like gigantic devils with horns, tails and great ebony wings.

This decidedly mythological element is fascinatingly incongruous with the setting of technological materialism stereotypical of the science-fiction genre. What is the meaning of a specter from the Christian and pagan past reemerging in the world of the future? Clarke gradually reveals that the Overlords’ alarming physiognomy is simply the result of their physical adaptation to the environmental conditions of their planet. The Overlords are actually perfectly benevolent and are far more rational and intelligent than humans.

The Overlords are servants of the”Overmind,” a cosmic intelligence permeating the universe that is Clarke’s naturalistic God concept. The Overmind employs the Overlords as midwives. When the Overmind senses that an intelligent species is about to make the evolutionary jump into higher consciousness it sends the Overlords to their planet to supervise the process. This evolutionary process is apparently volatile and unstable, and if not properly supervised could result in disastrous consequences whose effects would reach far beyond the particular world on which the process occurs. The fact that the Overlords have the appearance of a deep ancestral archetype of evil is described by Clarke as, “…a race memory of a future event.” The human race has a premonitory fear of the Overlords because it senses that their arrival signifies the end of the genome, the obsolescence of the species in its old form. From the earthbound perspective of the conservative old form, this evolutionary birth is apocalyptic and evil.

The Overlords, though infinitely superior to humans in every perceivable attribute, are themselves barren and unable to manifest the evolutionary birth process that it is their perpetual task to oversee. On earth, in addition to keeping human beings from destroying each other, the Overlords have a secret task, to search for an extraordinary individual who will be the first human being to exhibit these evolutionary changes. This individual is referred to as “Subject Zero” and the concept seems close to a naturalistic version of searching for the Messiah.

As part of this search, an Overlord named Rasheverak pays a visit to an American man who has one of the largest privately owned collections of books on parapsychology and the occult. Rasheverak is interested in this library because he is looking for any examples of extraordinary functioning that might indicate the emergence of Subject Zero. Like any intelligent, skeptical reader of such material, Rasheverak finds that it is often difficult to sift the truth from the abundant nonsense.

During Rasheverak’s visit, the library owner has several houseguests who are apparently drawn by the celebrity name-dropping opportunity of meeting an Overlord. The guests, like the owner, seem to be narcissistic individuals with a gullible appetite for occult and parapsychological entertainments. In many ways they seem a prophetic anticipation of stereotyped New Agers.

Rasheverak, who has the forbearance of a visiting anthropologist, maintains an observer’s stance as he witnesses many examples of human foolishness and gullibility. At one point he observes these New-Age types conducting a séance with a Ouija board. Unexpectedly, something of great interest occurs. When they ask the Ouija board the traditional question, “Who are you?” its response is highly suggestive of the collective unconscious: “IAMALL.” The Ouija participants next ask, “What are the coordinates of the Overlord’s sun?” This information had always been denied the human species and Rasheverak takes sudden interest when the Ouija planchette spells out the correct coordinates. Rasheverak is forced to conclude that one of these thoroughly mediocre-seeming individuals must be Subject Zero.

Rasheverak investigates and discovers that one member of the Ouija séance, a young woman, is pregnant. Subject Zero turns out to be her unborn child. When Subject Zero is born he exhibits numerous special powers. His Messiah-like status is short-lived, however, because all the children born after him also have similar powers. The children quickly evolve and become more powerful, and their psyches merge to form a collective consciousness. The children materialize themselves on one continent and join hands forming a giant moving spiral. Older, pre-Subject Zero human beings are not destroyed, but having given birth to their successors they become literally sterile and are utterly demoralized by their irrelevance and inevitable extinction.

When the children manifest their ultimate evolution and are able to merge energetically with the Overmind, they appear to the last human being left alive as an aurora borealis, a white spiral of light in the sky.

Childhood’s End uncannily parallels the three dreams we have considered. In the young man’s dream, darkness and earthquake transform into a spiraling white eagle bearing a golden egg. Similarly, the dark wing of Satan descends in the dream of a simple Christian woman, only to be later revealed as the cloak of God. And all three manifestations envision a white spiral of light in the sky as the interdimensional, evolutionary portal of the species. A central, emergent theme is that what seems apocalyptic from the earthbound ego point of view is revealed from a cosmic point of view to be a transcendent evolutionary metamorphosis.

I have recorded and studied numerous other examples of this Singularity Archetype and found the essential pattern repeated with all sorts of interesting variations. To avoid doubling the length of this chapter I’m going to have to omit most of them, but I’m confident that if you keep your eyes open you’ll find many examples for yourself. The world of contemporary culture is intensely mythological; it is only a question of recognizing it. Tune into the right frequencies and you will notice that archetypal information about this approaching Singularity permeates our environment as ubiquitously as radio and television waves. If you remember that the same tools of symbolic analysis employed in dream interpretation may be employed in understanding all sorts of cultural manifestations, you will find yourself provided with endless messages about the approaching event horizon.

UFOs—Harbingers of the Singularity?

Jung on “Flying Saucers”

Like Childhood’s End, many of the messages of an approaching Singularity involve UFOs. Jung, shortly before his death, wrote a book about UFOs entitled, Flying Saucers, a Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky. Jung believed that the relative spiritual vacuum and lack of a ruling myth characteristic of the twentieth century created a great tension in the collective unconscious, an uneasy tabula rasa on which almost anything might appear. Human beings have always looked toward the heavens for signs of God or other transcendent beings monitoring and altering human affairs. Jung was struck by the typically circular appearance of whatever was seen in the sky. To Jung this suggested the mandala, an archetypal circular pattern that represented God, self and wholeness. Jung pointed out that the Sanskrit definition of God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Jung gave to the UFO field a much-needed examination from the point of view of depth psychology. He did not presume that UFOs were immaterial, and noted that they often seemed to reflect radar waves, but he wondered if they might not be physical exteriorizations of the collective unconscious. Like other archetypal manifestations, UFOs have the ability to appear in dreams and to haunt or inspire the imagination.

Holes in the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis?

Since I wrote this section I have seen substantial evidence favoring the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but I include it anyway because there are so many people who assume that UFOs must mean extraterrestrials in metal spacecraft. In dealing with anomalous phenomenon and other areas of investigation that are at or beyond the boundaries of human comprehension I recommend an avoidance of premature closure. Many people readily adopt some pet theory and then corral evidence and thinking to support it. I feel that it is wiser to learn to endure ambiguity, keep the mind open to multiple possibilities and delay the reaching of ultimate conclusions.

When we investigate anomalous phenomena we need to always be wary about the human tendency to project expectations and needs onto the unknown that are generated by our own psyches. In a technological, materialistic era where the human ego seems to rule, fewer and fewer people have faith that there is a God watching over the human species who is ready to intervene miraculously. Speculations about UFOs, such as that they are the spacecraft of superior beings here to prevent us from destroying each other through nuclear war, etc. create a secular equivalent of an absent Godhead. UFOs, as mysterious signs in the heavens, serve as extraordinary projection screens for people’s needs, fears and archetypal visions. Since they are themselves singularities of a sort, they very naturally become associated with the Singularity Archetype.

This is not to imply, however, that they are purely psychological phantoms or that they do not have a relation to the approaching Singularity that is more than imaginal. Those who have taken an intelligent look at this phenomenon have recognized that underneath the hoaxes and manipulated stories, something of significance is occurring, but its ultimate nature may be beyond the present boundaries of human comprehension. Be forewarned, however, if you want to do research in this field. A great deal of the material available is highly unreliable. Many UFO buffs are gullible true believers, people utterly possessed by their need to believe a particular UFO mythology. Many others consciously perpetuate fraud and illusion.

One of the most insightful people to investigate this subject is the French astronomer, Jacque Valle. Valle, in his book Messengers of Deception, and elsewhere, has shown that exploring UFO lore means entering a trickster world, a carnival of warped mirrors where mental illness, fraud and government manipulation have layered illusion on top of illusion. Much of the warped thinking and conscious manipulation, including government manipulation, has the apparent aim of enforcing the extraterrestrial hypothesis as the ruling UFO creed. Most of the general public who take any interest at all in UFOs is convinced that they must be extraterrestrials.

Although no one can disprove the extraterrestrial hypothesis, the conventional version of it, that they are aliens in nuts and bolts metal space craft here to do scientific research or genetic manipulation, is filled with obvious holes. As Valle points out there have been hundreds of thousands of sightings. If you assume that the supposed aliens are making efforts not to be detected, then presumably there must be millions of actual visitations. What program of scientific research or genetic manipulation could possibly require this much work? They must be dreadfully incompetent scientists to still be at it so often after all this time. Also, the idea that they are here in spacecraft, at least in a conventional sense, is inconsistent with the fact that UFOs are frequently reported to change shape or merge with one another. And wouldn’t such an advanced technology that wanted to avoid detection have some sort of stealth capability? Would they really streak across the sky lit up like Christmas ornaments? The idea that they are technology wielding imperialists, or well-meaning missionaries, may be a case of our recreating the unknown in our image.

Reality Transformers

The truth about UFOs is likely far more interesting and significant than some of the threadbare, conventional alien scenarios. Valle quotes a scientist who describes UFOs as “reality transformers.” Reality transformers may well be the best and most accurate descriptive phrase that can be applied to UFOs at our present level of understanding. UFOs are apparently able to appear in a great variety of different forms to different people and, like an archetype, the variations seem to have much to do with the belief system and cultural conditioning of the perceiving psyche. Valle compares observing the UFO phenomenon to looking at a screen in a movie theater. You look at the screen and all sorts of fantastical images pass before your eyes. But to really understand what’s going on you need to look over your shoulder back at the projector, the source of all the endlessly varying images.

UFOs seem more akin to projectors, capable of projecting all sorts of thoughts and images into the human psyche. The human mind, especially in our materialistic culture, is prone to take what it sees very literally. In the UFO world you can see an obvious inverse relationship between intelligence and how literal and specific a person’s alleged knowledge of UFOs is. On one side of the spectrum, the most conscious observers acknowledge that UFOs are unknowns about which we can make some general speculations. And on the other side are those who know the names of everyone on the Pleiadian high council and who are channeling the most detailed information about superior beings who apparently live on worlds remarkably similar to those of grade B science-fiction movies from the 1950s.

Valle and others make a convincing case that the source of the UFO phenomenon is not new, that it has been involved with human culture throughout human history. Many of the miraculous experiences and visitations recorded from the past may well have been the same phenomenon viewed through psyches conditioned by differing sets of cultural values. We live in an age where magic takes the form of technology and where we launch crude metal spacecraft into the heavens. Unimaginative psyches will tend to view UFOs as an advanced extrapolation of present technology and human motivation. The manifestations of the phenomenon are probably not, however, reducible to the psychological expectations of the witnesses. The phenomenon seems to have an ability to actively, consciously form its own manifestations. Rather than merely reflecting cultural values it may actually be adapting and manipulating them. Think again of the analogy of the movie projector. Movies both reflect and manipulate cultural values.

There is evidence that UFO phenomena, like dreams, are intelligently formed, and are both profoundly aware of the psyches to whom they communicate and capable of exerting powerful influence on them. Like dreams, the phenomenon is real and capable of leaving physical traces and effects. Dreaming is associated with profound energetic changes in the brain easily observed on an EEG. The supposedly solid world of the waking life, as we now know from physics, is actually composed of patterned energy and is comparable to a holographic projection. Dreams are also patterned energy, and in many ways it is merely cultural prejudice to view them as “less real” than the waking reality.

UFOs seem to obey the physics of dreams far more than the old fashioned Newtonian physics, which we expect solid, metal spacecraft to obey. The physics of dreams, where consciousness and reality are inextricable and the universe is infinitely plastic and mutable, is far closer to the universe revealed by quantum mechanics, although both defy our conventional understanding of reality. As J.B.S. Haldane put it, “Reality is not only stranger than you think, it’s stranger than you can think.”

UFOs are powerful reminders of that inconceivable strangeness. It might be very comforting to our innate conservatism and limited imagination to view them as high-speed metal containers bearing “aliens” who stand upright and have two arms, legs and eyes, and familiar human motivations such as curiosity and conquest. But reality is not necessarily as limited as the imaginations of UFO buffs. The evidence seems more supportive of UFOs traveling interdimensionally rather than through long distances of space. They may be just as able to travel through inner psychic space as outer space. Far more likely than their being metal spacecraft, they may be organisms in a more energetic state than we are, or the projections of a consciousness of some sort.

(I am no longer as dismissive of the extraterrestrial hypothesis as I was in 1996 when I wrote the section above. There seems to be substantial evidence for both the reality transformer aspect and more tangible, physical aspects)

Strange Parallels—UFOs, Near Death Experiences, and Psychotropics

Dr. Kenneth Ring, a scientist who has devoted most of his career to formal research on Near Death Experiences, has shown that there are striking similarities between NDEs and UFO experiences. Many of the stages, and lasting effects of NDEs and abduction experiences have strong correspondences. For example, in both types of experience people often report seeing a vision of the earth being destroyed and emerge from the episode with a new and lasting commitment to environmental work. William Buhlman, who has studied thousands of Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), has pointed out how much they resemble, and might be confused with, abductions. Terence McKenna, a visionary genius with much to say about many of the topics discussed in this chapter, has shown connections between UFO experience and the experience of psychotropic hallucinogens. Terence refers to the effects of certain hallucinogens as “UFO experiences on demand.” Although McKenna does have a tendency to overgeneralize from his particular experience, he does demonstrate convincingly that chemically altered mind states are valid access channels to the source of UFO phenomenon. People in deep states of meditation, or in traumatic situations of various sorts, often report nonordinary perceptions of reality that are radical departures from the prevailing societal view and yet are often highly consistent with each other. Therefore, rather than viewing the UFO as a peculiar anomaly occurring in an otherwise stable and homogenous reality, perhaps we should view them as yet another exception that shows us that our perception of reality is woefully lacking in general.

The so-called postmodern approach to UFOs is to study what effect they are having on us rather than what they are. There is a certain validity to this approach because the nature of UFOs may be beyond human comprehension at this point. Nevertheless, I think there is value in our continued speculations about what they might be, keeping in mind that speculation may be an imaginative exercise while we struggle to understand something that is “…stranger than we can think.” In that spirit, I’d like to offer my own wild speculation about a possible “what” in relation to UFOs. Before I do, I want to be absolutely clear that this is pure speculation without a shred of evidence. I would consider it more a catalyst for further imaginative speculation than a finished hypothesis.
Vision of a Multiply Incarnate Organism

My speculation arose from a vision I had of a roughly circular organism. The organism was composed of a series of highly differentiated connected organs. Each of these organs was actually a separate incarnation or lifetime of this organism viewed outside of linear time. An analogy would be to viewing a human being outside of linear time. Rather than seeing a snapshot of a person at a particular age in a particular frozen moment of time we might see the full lifecycle—a fertilized egg connected to a fetus connected to an infant, a child, an adolescent, a middle aged person, an aged person, a corpse. Yet this picture of the human lifecycle would still only represent that portion known to us, the interval between birth and death. We don’t know that the human lifecycle is completely contained between a single birth and death and there is much reason to think that it isn’t.

The circular, manifold incarnate organism I saw presented itself to my mind as the full lifecycle of a being for whom human incarnation was one phase or organ. Outside of linear time all the incarnations or organs were perceived as connected and in a state of simultaneous interdependence and influence with all the other organs and incarnations. Human incarnation was an organ far closer to the “head” rather than the “tail” of this Ouroboros–like organism. In other words, human incarnation was a more conscious, differentiated organ of the body in much the same way that the brain is a more conscious, differentiated organ than the liver. Another analogy would be to the brain itself where we see a living manifestation of the principle, “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” More evolved structures, like the neocortex, are built on top of more primitive structures such as the hypothalamus. But in this manifold incarnate organism human beings were not the most advanced organ or incarnation. Ahead of us were the beings behind the UFOs. And this “alien” incarnation or organ is the most conscious and most aware of all the organs or incarnations.
Evolutionary Design Limitations

Since we’re indulging the bizarre, let’s go off on a tangent for a paragraph or so. Michael Murphy, in his seminal book on human evolution,The Future of the Body, discusses the work of certain theorists in evolutionary biology. These theorists claim that some species have fundamental design limitations or flaws that will not allow them to ever evolve the degree of intelligence human beings have. Marsupial brains, for example, lack the corpus callosum, the dense bundle of nerve cells that connect the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. This neurological limitation means that the marsupial brain can never have the relatively excellent communication between hemispheres that the human brain usually enjoys. But, these theorists continue, the human brain may also have a fundamental design flaw limiting our further evolution or even survival. The structure of our brain is a kind of retrofit where a mammalian brain is superimposed on a reptile brain and the neocortex is retrofitted onto the mammalian brain. The neocortex, said to be the center of our self-reflective consciousness and ego, believes itself to be the head honcho, but unfortunately it has very poor communication with some of the earlier structures that control appetites and aggression and so forth. Anyone who goes on a diet discovers that the neocortex and its creation—the cognitive ego with all its powers—are not necessarily a match for the reptilian brain and its relentless will to defend body weight. Similarly, our sexuality seems largely beyond ego control, and for all our civilization and wisdom our ability to restrain territorial aggression has not prevented world wars and the possibility of our making ourselves extinct through technologically amplified territorial aggression. Poor communication between higher and lower brain structures may be a fundamental design flaw in the human species that may result in our eventual extinction.
One White Crow

On the other hand, I take the theories of many evolutionary theorists, especially if they are neurological materialists, with many grains of salt. In fact, there’s an obvious flaw in the aforementioned theory. As William James once said, “One white crow is all that is needed to disprove the notion that all crows are black.” If we have even a single human being—Jesus, Buddha, whomever—who has overcome the problem of poor communication between brain structures, or whose consciousness transcends appetites and aggression, then there is the possibility that the species can also transcend this limitation. But, if the fatalistic conclusion of the theory is flawed, the problem it describes bears an interesting analogy to my speculation about manifold incarnate being.

In the way that I perceived the manifold incarnate organism, all the organs/incarnations are interdependent. Therefore, the health and fate of the “alien” incarnation is also dependent on the status of the human incarnation. I’ll further speculate that the human incarnation is the adolescent phase of development, a crucial juncture on which the fate of the entire organism depends. The alien part of the organism recognizes that although there is interdependence, there is poor communication between organs or incarnations. It is capable of communication and is seeking to contact us through inner and outer space to make us aware of things crucial to our fate and that of the larger organism.

The “aliens” in this model may actually be dead people. A part of the lifecycle of the human being about which we have much uncertainty is the post-death phase. As Terence McKenna has pointed out, if we wanted to look for an ecology of souls, an intelligent species that seems to be very interested in our evolution, by the principle of logic known as Ockham’s Razor we seek the simplest hypothesis that accounts for all the facts. Our species is a source of intelligent souls that we know for certain exists and is interested in its own evolution. Perhaps the “aliens” are merely us in an after-death phase of incarnation. When Terence showed pictures of grey aliens to tribal shamans in the Amazon they replied, “Oh, the ancestors.” People who have abduction experiences frequently report seeing deceased relatives in the company of the grey aliens.
UFOs—Evolutionary Messages

UFOs seem to bear many messages related to our further evolution. In recent decades, the UFO beings that contactees experience frequently have a stereotyped appearance that UFO buffs used to call “the Delta type humanoid” and that is now more commonly known as “the Greys.” What is perceived is an androgynous being with huge almond-shaped eyes, a somewhat ethereal, willowy body and a small, almost vestigial mouth. The beings typically communicate without spoken words. This characteristic appearance may be a message anticipating an evolutionary future where we have transcended ordinary language and gender limits, and our body is moving from matter toward a more ethereal, energetic state. As mentioned before, people who have UFO abduction experiences are frequently shown images of the earth’s destruction by manmade causes and are influenced by these visions toward a much greater awareness of our interdependence with the planet. Many will devote themselves to environmental causes after these deeply affecting experiences. Another typical theme of abduction experiences involves genetic manipulation, and particularly the cross-fertilization and hybridization of human and alien species. This is often presented as a symbiotic evolutionary step or of actually having greater benefit for the supposedly superior alien species. These experiments could be interpreted as metaphorical communication of our need to evolve and to merge with this other consciousness. Whatever the source of UFOs, they do seem to be bearing a message that we are at a critical nexus and need to evolve. But once again, they remain, perhaps appropriately, in a realm of imaginative speculation. Their nature may not be understood until we have evolved further.

(Twelve years since writing that, I am now more impressed with the physical evidence of the Greys, and would not emphasize them as evolutionary metaphors so much as I did above. Some of the physical evidence seems more impressive now than it did then when I was more influenced by Valle, McKenna, and Jung on the subject. For example, abduction researchers have found that areas where abductees claim to have been touched by Greys will fluoresce under UV light, and Dr. Roger Lier has removed implants from people that laboratory tests have found to be composed of anomalous materials. Dr. David Jacobs, a Temple University professor of history, also seems a very credible researcher who has investigated thousands of abduction cases. Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist, also strikes me as highly credible with vast knowledge of the field. While I haven’t personally vetted any of this research, I have been impressed in recent years by how well grounded some of the best researchers seem to be.

Further Speculations on Human Evolution

Our need to evolve may express itself in ways that seem paradoxical and disturbing. For example, there is much reason to believe that this evolutionary rebirth may become possible only as we push the species toward the brink of extinction. If you’ll continue to indulge me, I’d like to offer some further speculations about human evolution.

The Last Great Evolutionary Jump

The last great quantum jump in evolution on this planet was the development of the human capacity to think in words. Some linguists believe that human language originated at one time and one place. Noam Chomsky and others have pointed out that all human languages are essentially the same on the level of deep syntax.

One way of imagining an evolutionary jump is to consider the possibility of an individual mutation that is capable of superior functioning. Most mutations, of course, are disadvantageous and bred out, but occasionally, even random mutagenic forces can generate something superior. This model wouldn’t work very well for the evolution of language, however, which is a collective phenomenon. A single mutation capable of language wouldn’t have anyone to develop language with. Therefore, one can speculate that the structures in the brain that allowed the capacity for language developed gradually, and that for a long period of time some latent capacity for language existed in a great many individuals without it being manifest. One possibility is that some tribe or grouping of early humans was experiencing acute stress. There are numerous possible scenarios in which the tenuous survival of the tribe could be threatened enough to make extinction and complete loss of the genome possible. With this ultimate pressure acting as a catalyst, the long latent capacity for language becomes manifest as a new survival adaptation. The superior consciousness and communication allowed by this adaptation allows the tribe to survive. Perhaps the advantages incurred by this adaptation allow these humans to overtake competing hominid species or other human tribes that lack this development. This scenario may have an analogous relationship to the present situation of our species.
Organisms and Change

Putting aside our species in particular for a moment, let’s consider in general the nature of organisms and change. Organisms are extremely complex patterns or structures, living processes rather than fixed objects. The coherence of these extremely complex processes is constantly being threatened by various insults—attacks by other species, weather and climate change, cosmic rays, environmental toxins, etc.—that can degrade the coherence of the entire pattern/organism. Enough degradation of this coherence and the process may completely destabilize as in disease and especially in death, where there is the most radical apparent loss of coherence and complexity. Organisms, therefore, are conservative in nature, striving to maintain their inner coherence. Biologists refer to this drive toward maintaining inner coherence as”homeostasis.” Similarly, a species seeks to ensure the survival and reproduction of its genome—a coherent genetic pattern changing relatively little between generations.

Human individuals are obviously also organisms. If we change our frame and look at the human species, or at the human psyche, we are still viewing an organismic phenomenon, an extremely complex living process. Both Freud and Jung agreed that the human psyche is essentially conservative. The psyche has its own homeostasis, a powerful drive to maintain its coherence and particular identity. Generally, it strives mightily to maintain that coherence and resist change. An organism will defend homeostasis even if that homeostasis is unsuccessful in some ways. A neurotic psyche, for example, will maintain its coherence, including pathological aspects that produce much suffering and that could be changed. Better the devil I know than the devil I don’t know. Addicts remain in their addictions. People stay in their comfort zones even if they are suffocating in them. The human psyche is a complex and vulnerable structure living in an acutely stressful environment. Most people maintain their feelings of sanity and manufacture a socially acceptable identity by strained, tenuous repression of the irrational. All sorts of powerful, unconscious forces that don’t fit into the model of themselves society has trained them to create must be repressed. They may feel about change what a sentient house of cards might feel about gusts of wind.

The collective psyche of a society or culture can be even more resistant to change. And when such conservative psyches, individually or collectively, sense the approach of a singularity that will thoroughly punctuate their equilibrium, they perceive it as apocalyptic. And their perception may not be far off, as powerful change may require apocalyptic shocks. An analogy to such a threatening level of change can be drawn to tribal rites of initiation. Many tribal cultures take an adolescent and put him or her through life-threatening experiences. They blow down the whole house of cards so that a new structure can be formed. For example, one tribal practice is to give someone what’s called an ordeal poison. Initiates are given a poison that will make them feel horribly ill. At first they will be certain they are dying, then they will suffer so intensely they will beg to die, and then they will completely recover. A physiological apocalypse is created and then it disappears and a transformed psyche emerges. Perhaps the human species, sensing its adolescent crisis and need of initiation, is creating its own global ordeal poison by toxification of the environment.

Terence McKenna and the Attractor Point

Terence McKenna (1946-2000) has written a number of fascinating books that make similar speculations about evolution. The parallels to the conclusions I’ve reached through different means are so numerous that I can only conclude that we are either experiencing exactly the same form of mental illness or are perceiving the same truths. McKenna, for example, refers to what I call the Singularity as either “the end of history” or as”the strange attractor.” McKenna adopted the term”strange attractor” from chaos mathematics. Astrange attractor is apparently an event in the future that is able to bend and warp causality toward it. Although from the point of view of linear time it is an event that has not yet occurred, its influence is pervasive.

I can’t pretend to have much understanding of chaos mathematics, but an analogy occurs to me that what the strange attractor is for the life of the species, death is for the individual. Death is a strange attractor in the life of every individual. While we live, death is obviously a future event that has not occurred but which is inevitable. Our mortality, the fact that we move inexorably toward that attractor, shapes and influences every aspect of our lives. Also, although it is definite that we must pass into that attractor, the moment it will occur and the manner of our passing are not necessarily determined. The inevitability of the attractor is beyond our free will and individuality, but the time and manner of it are often influenced by our choices and personality. I can’t choose whether or not I will die, but the way I care for my body, the life choices I make, the risks I choose, the option of suicide, all demonstrate that the attractor may not be fully determined outside of my will. Like entering a singularity in space, we also don’t know for sure what will happen when we pass the event horizon of death. Spiritual teachings from many cultures and periods, NDEs, etc. suggest that death is a doorway. Where we go when we pass through that doorway may be influenced by choices we make in life. Neurological materialists and other pessimistic types view death as a dead end, as one put it to me, “It’s just lights out and that’s it.” From the untranscendent vantage of the ego, the strange attractor of death is viewed as an apocalyptic extinction. Similarly, our species is heading toward a strange attractor. Many view it as extinction—unredeemed apocalypse. But others view it as a doorway. Where we go when we pass through that doorway may be greatly influenced by the choices that we make now.

One of the reasons that prophecy has been so unreliable relates to the perpetual confusion in the human psyche between the inner world and the outer world. The confusion is only to be expected given that there is often a blurred boundary between inner and outer. Inner and outer converge through synchronicity and through many causative mechanisms such as self-fulfilling prophecies. The most classic confusion of inner and outer is interpersonal projection. We project some disowned part of ourselves on to another or others. For example, a man may project the disowned feminine aspect of his soul onto a beautiful woman he sees walking down the street. He looks at her and feels this sense of eternal recurrence—she was meant for me, I’ve known her from other lifetimes. In a sense, the perception is correct, this aspect of his soul is meant for him, and it has been with him from time immemorial. The incorrect part, and it can be disastrously incorrect, is the confusion of the inner and outer, the acting out interpersonally of what is intrapsychic. Most interpersonal violence, as well as genocide and other forms of collective violence, occur in a state of shadow projection, where disowned and dreaded parts of oneself, or of the collective, are projected onto a despised other or another race, etc.

Anything with a strong emotional charge in the psyche, and especially if the charge is strong and uncomfortable, will be projected outside. One of the strongest charges in most psyches is anxiety about death. A classic projection is for a person to feel their own mortal vulnerability, the imminence of their own death that may come at any time, and to attribute that feeling to the world. I can feel it, this is all temporary, this world is going to end; I am living in the end times! Again, the perception is correct except for the confusion of inner and outer. Every mortal is always living in end times, death is always imminent and even if any of the many possible causes of premature death are avoided, the years left are still only a one or two digit figure. The uncomfortable feeling of perilous temporal fragility must go somewhere and an end of world prophecy is like a lightning rod for this intensely uncomfortable inner charge.

Like a fractal or a hologram, the life cycle of the individual to some extent recapitulates the life cycle of the species. An individual has a certain limited life span before they cross the event horizon of death, and a species also has a limited life span before it becomes extinct. I’ve heard that the average life span of a species is 100,000 years. Because of the parallelism, it is easy for someone to confuse the imminence of personal death with collective eschaton. This confusion is also well motivated as it seems to displace much of the individual anxiety about death, which is usually faced alone, onto a “we’re all in it together”general event that has strong elements of high drama and excitement associated with it. Instead of a feeling of powerlessness about the inevitability of one’s own death, the prophet feels empowered by his sense that he has been privileged with secret knowledge withheld from the common person. Also, the ego is very concerned about its place in the social hierarchy and is appalled by the idea that it could cease to exist while others continue to live. If everyone checks out at once, however, then death involves no such social humiliation. Even better, if there is some sort of Rapture, where the ego is part of an elect that becomes immortal while others of the sort the ego doesn’t like are annihilated or left behind to deal with the Antichrist and Armageddon, then personal anxiety about death gets channeled into an all-satisfying scenario. For these powerful psychological reasons, prophecies of the end of the world usually seem to be conveniently scheduled to occur before the end of the prophet’s expected lifespan, allowing the eschaton to upstage anxiety about personal death.

Many years after I formed this hypothesis I heard of an episode that gave it anecdotal support. In the 1960s there was a well-known woman psychic (but not Jean Dixon) who had a nationally syndicated newspaper column. She had a vision that a gigantic earthquake would destroy most of California on a particular date and reported this in her column. In copycat fashion, other psychics began to predict a quake on the same day. This woman was sincere in her prediction, and at great expense she relocated her family from the Bay Area to Nevada. On the predicted date there was no earthquake, but the woman died of some rare disease.

Approaching the Singularity

To engage another speculative area, let’s consider what may happen as our species approaches the evolutionary event horizon. Our present world may be viewed as being in a rather tense position between realms of matter and of spirit. Much in our world can be explained by Newtonian physics and a very mundane, mechanical model of reality. But those of us not actively trying to repress the atypical notice that there are many white crows in our world. Anomalous events occur that can’t quite be explained by coincidence or cause and effect. Yes, the fields of parapsychology and esoteric studies may contain a certain amount of nonsense and unproven assertions, but if we have even a single authentic instance of one individual exhibiting telekinesis, communicating telepathically, reaching another person through their dreams, etc.—just one example in all of human history—then the door to extraordinary functioning and consciousness is thrown wide open for the whole species. And many of us can point toward a number of such events in our lives. A miraculous evolutionary capacity in human beings, that is mostly latent now, has been manifesting episodically for a long, long time.

As we approach the Singularity, the completely inextricable, interdependent phenomenon of human consciousness and our experience of reality will mutate. Much of the change will be impossible to anticipate, but some broad areas are available for speculation. We can be pretty confident, for example, that the human ego will be considerably altered. Certainly, there are spiritually advanced persons in history or among us right now who have transcended the limits of ego identification. What is possible for them is possible for the species. But before we consider the alteration of the ego, let’s consider its evolutionary significance. (This will, once again, be unannotated speculation, so view as skeptically as you like.)

Although most evolutionary theorists will resist what I’m about to say vehemently, many people have noticed that there is some force in nature that seems to generate greater levels of complexity and consciousness. The creation of the ego has obviously had some unpleasant consequences, but it was also an evolutionary development that allowed for a tremendous increase in complexity and consciousness.
The Future of the Ego—an Evolutionary Perspective

In tribal cultures the ego seems less developed than in modern individuals living in industrialized societies. Tribal societies seem to have less individual boundaries and more group consciousness. Earlier human beings may have had less ego, but also less individuality and differentiation. A fundamental aspect or function of the ego is the creation of isolation. An individual perceives him or herself as a separate identity apart from others and the world. This perception creates a degree of isolation and within this insulating bubble an explosion of novelty occurs. A highly complex, unique, differentiated, often pathologized personality develops. Egocentric isolation, like the irritating grain of sand in an oyster, causes the development of a fantastic structure as complex buffering layers are accreted around the irritant and the beautiful pearl of individuality is created.

The ego is a complex structure and difficult or impossible to define. There is an inevitable imprecision when we use the term, as different people understand very different things by the term “ego.” From some vantage points the ego serves crucial functions in the human psyche. The ego has been called “the self-organizing principle of the organism” and necessary self-reference may not be possible without it. From other angles we see that the ego is often the carrier of will to power and destructive intentions. For all the novelty the human ego helped to create, and the invaluable role it plays in the human psyche, it has also become a very heavy albatross hanging around the neck of the species. It may now, in its present form at least, have exceeded its evolutionary purpose and be a species of psychic structure due for extinction. But the ego, like all organs, clings to life, and can act with a will of its own. Certainly the ego has a virulent will to power, and it is no more willing to quietly withdraw than Napoleon at his prime would be willing to accept life in a retirement home. The dark aspect of the ego, which is what I will sometimes be referring to when I use the loose term “ego,” sees itself as God, as apart from the rest of the universe. It is driven by a will to power, a will to bring external objects, animate and inanimate, under its control. This pathologized version of the ego doesn’t see itself as part of a living matrix, but rather looks out at an abstracted chessboard consisting of real estate, technology and livestock waiting to be owned and exploited.

The power-oriented view of the ego is based on the illusion of separateness. Love may be considered the awareness that everything is connected. Let’s consider two sentences that will illustrate this difference:

“We made love.”

“I fucked Jane.”

In the first example, subject and object are merged; there is an awareness of Eros, connection and mutuality. In the second example we have an unerotic world of separated subject and object. The ego is the royal “I” enjoying conquests over beings that are merely objects to be dominated and controlled. Currently, we are suffering a highly contagious plague of this noxious type of ego that uses sex as a metaphor for power and views mother earth as real estate.

For quite some time the ego has strutted triumphantly across our world consuming and poisoning its mother, the earth. Like many psychic forces, the ego is able to completely possess certain individuals. Of some of these, as it’s done in the past, it will create Antichrists who will seek to prevent this evolutionary birth and will do whatever possible to destroy consciousness, love and life. If they sterilize the mother, then she cannot give birth to creatures that might take their place. The ego wants to be the only one sucking on the breast and would much rather see the mother dead than have her give birth to a more favored, usurping child. Very likely Antichrists—human puppets of the ego—and the herds of unconscious, fearful people eager to follow them, will create a good part of the dark events that will bring us to the edge of extinction. Like Napoleon or Hitler, the ego can be expected to win many costly battles before it gives up the ghost.

The Village of the Damned—the Singularity Seen through the Eyes of the Ego

Still image from the movie, Village of the Damned

I have some personal history with the film,Village of the Damned, and the novel Childhood’s End that may be worth noting here. When I readChildhood’s End at the age of thirteen or fourteen I was shocked. It seemed as if someone had taken what I thought were my most creative and unusual ideas, which I had planned to turn into science-fiction stories myself, and stolen them right out of my head! I might have suspected Arthur C. Clarke of telepathic theft but for the fact that the novel was published four years before I was born. Knowing nothing at the time of Jung or the concept of a collective unconscious, I didn’t know what to make of this overlapping of inner and outer worlds.

There are certain events or occurrences that have what Jung referred to as “numinosity.” Numinmeans spirit, and that which a particular psyche perceives as numinous glows with a mysterious, uncanny significance. Reading Childhood’s End was a numinous event for me, and another powerfully numinous event was watching Village of the Damned on television. I was somewhere between twelve and fourteen years old and saw the 1960 black-and-white British version, which was an adaptation of the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I had seen many, many science fiction and horror films by that age, but none affected me the way that this one did. It seemed to stir my deepest and most private obsessions and felt almost like a religious revelation.

By the time I was nineteen, and a senior in college, I set out to understand these numinous visions and was quickly led to a very personal encounter with Jung. A few years ago I described that encounter as follows:

“My first encounter with Jung was intense and had the uncanny stamp of what Jung called ‘synchronicity’ all over it. I was nineteen years old and attempting to investigate certain anomalies. I had had experiences of a parapsychological nature, and found myself fascinated by disturbing fantasies and strange visions, which lit up in my imagination with recurrent intensity, but also appeared, inexplicably, outside of my psyche in sci-fi books and movies. This appearance of artifacts of the inside world materializing outwardly, another example of synchronicity, was especially strange as some of the material pre-dated my incarnation. Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, for example, had been written two years before I was born. Even more disturbing was the British 1960 sci-fi movie, Village of the Damned, which was based on the novel, The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, published the year I was born. How could fantasies and visions that I thought weirdly peculiar to my imagination turn up in stories that were older than I was?

Unlikely help offered itself to me during the course of my studies. I was in my last year of college and the Chairman of the Philosophy Department, though I was an English major, had become my benefactor and opened doors for me in a highly conservative academic environment, allowing me to pursue interdisciplinary research projects into obscure, shadowy areas. But it was actually my mom who suggested that I read what a Carl Jung had to say about the ‘archetypes and the collective unconscious.’

And so I came to stand before the many elegant black volumes of the Princeton Bollingen edition of Jung’s collected works. But what could this Swiss psychologist, the son of a minister, who reached manhood in the nineteenth century, say of any use to a nineteen-year-old Jewish kid from the Bronx who found himself obsessed with sci-fi fantasies like The Midwich Cuckoos, in which a UFO-related incident somehow resulted in large-eyed, androgynous children with psychic powers and a group mind? I scanned the index volume for a minute or so and came across a late work, Flying Saucers, A Modern Myth of things Seen in the Sky. That was a bit of a shock, as UFOs were a major part of the fantasies and my esoteric research. I went right to volume ten, Civilization in Transition, where flying saucers were considered. This subject seemed to haunt Jung near the end of his life, and he couldn’t let go of it. At the end of the book there was an afterward, followed by an epilogue, followed by a supplement.

As I glanced through the supplement my jaw dropped open in amazement. Jung had devoted this lengthy supplement to analyzing mythological layers of meaning in John Wyndham’sThe Midwich Cuckoos! It seemed as if this dead Swiss guy had stepped out of the bookcase and holographically manifested himself to look over my shoulder at the same sci-fi story that obsessed me. Even more amazing, I saw that we had some parallel ideas about what it might mean.”

From the moment of that first encounter, Jung, like a wizard bearing a torch, became my guide as I followed numinous visions of evolutionary metamorphosis down the rabbit hole and discovered what I now call “the Singularity Archetype.”

The Midwich Cuckoos repeats many of the bizarre particular elements that occur inChildhood’s End. They both open with the appearance of disc-shaped UFOs over the planet. In Childhood’s End the Overlords immediately open communication, but in The Midwich Cuckoos the UFOs shut down human consciousness. In a circular area with a very precise perimeter beneath each UFO, all higher animals, including humans, suddenly lapse into sleep. After twenty-four hours, everyone who wasn’t at the wheel of a car, holding a hot iron or otherwise in an unfortunate situation for nodding off, wakes up as if nothing happened. Everyone who didn’t have an accident seems unchanged until some days pass and the village doctor, Zellaby, discovers that every woman of child bearing age, including young virgins and old maids, has become pregnant. Again, we are seeing an evolutionary change from the point of view of the ego. It sees itself in the helpless, unconscious”little death” of dreamless sleep. And while it is in this helpless, mortal state it is raped and inseminated by a hostile alien life form.

In the novel, the character who personifies the ego is the physician Zellaby. He is the man of science and reason trying to control this irrational, miraculous event. He sets out, like the Overlords, to be midwife to this evolutionary birth. Interestingly, the name “Midwich” sounds much like “midwife” but with the emphasis of “witch” modifying the second syllable. In this mutation of the word midwife we see the ego’s xenophobic, witch-hunting view of the evolutionary birth. Rather than being a selfless midwife, it would rather burn the witches, the new children who possess the dangerous magic and represent change.

Besides his role as midwife, Zellaby has some other commonalties with the Overlords. He is obviously more intelligent and technologically sophisticated than the average human, and he is, like the Overlords, barren. Zellaby and his wife have never been able to conceive a child. So, at first, the Zellabys greet their pregnancy with the enthusiasm of Abraham and Sarah receiving a miraculous blessing from God.

With inhuman speed the pregnancies come to term and all the women give birth to exceptionally large and healthy babies. But the prodigal infants seem to be racially different and unique; they have large golden eyes and platinum blonde hair. The infants grow and develop, physically and mentally, with unnatural speed. It becomes apparent that they have extraordinary powers. For example, after one mother accidentally pricks her daughter with a safety pin she is found compulsively stabbing herself with the pin. Apparently, the superior alien will of the child mind pressured her into this self-violence.

Homogestalt

Zellaby also discovers that the children, like the new children in Childhood’s End, have a collective consciousness. Collective consciousness turns up frequently in expressions of the Singularity Archetype and merits some examination. In Theodore Sturgeon’s science-fiction novel, More than Human, a group of mutants, who each have distinctly different strengths and weaknesses, form a collective consciousness while retaining some individuality and become, in many ways, a single entity where each mutant serves in a specialized role, as if they were organs of a single body. Sturgeon coined the term “homogestalt” to describe this new entity. Similarly, more recent abduction testimony has emphasized the “greys” as having a hive-like collectivity, and this is experienced as another threatening aspect of their alien otherness.

There are a number of possible reasons for this collective consciousness motif appearing in so many permutations of this archetype. One is that it may be a fairly literal indicator of evolutionary change. If the ego ceases to dominate the human psyche, then perhaps the boundaries that it creates around the individual will dissipate and we will become more collectively aware. The shells of the oysters dissolve and the pearls lie together. From the ego’s point of view this would be a catastrophic loss of personal identity. This is also a typical ego view of that other attractor, death. From this pessimistic ego view, humans travel from dust to dust, and are simply returned to the undifferentiated source from which they are thought to emerge.

Enantiodromia

But if this were all that the evolutionary step amounted to it would be regressive and not evolutionary. Instead of expanding the immense novelty of individual identity, it would be contracting it a homogenous mass with a great decrease in complexity. Certainly there are many cycles in nature that reverse themselves, that oscillate between extremes. Jung called this process of returning to the opposite, “enantiodromia,” a term he borrowed from Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher. The ego fears, somewhat reasonably, that the evolutionary process will be enantiodromia, nature just pressing the reset button and erasing all the individual differentiation it sacrificed so much to create. But the Singularity Archetype tells us that the pendulum of enantiodromia, viewed from the right perspective, is an evolutionary spiral.

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