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.
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.
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)