Can you feel it? If your eyes are open you’ve no doubt felt it for some time. It’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. It’s right in everyone’s faces. It’s been the title of countless lectures, seminars, books, essays, albums and gatherings. It’s the primary focus of the global consciousness at the present, so much so that corporations and politicians are trying to figure out how they can tap into it, co-opt it and exploit it with slogans centered around the brands of “hope” and “change.”
Every aspect of our existence is currently in the process of metamorphosis. Every aspect of our culture is feeling the shift away from the old norms, which have proven largely obsolete at this juncture. Every aspect of our collective and individual psyche is enduring multiple transformations as we transition out of the three-dimensional prison of a five-sense world dominated by fear and scarcity into the fifth dimensional conscious co-creation that is our destiny and birthright as a free humanity on the sovereign jewel of the Milky Way galaxy that is this planet Earth.
The rubbish of our old norms are falling away but we haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater either. Combining the useful aspects of formerly opposing viewpoints into new methods and ideologies, and our audacity to do so, are largely what characterize the global revolution currently under way. Though it may be difficult to see sometimes, everybody is embracing it, even if we’re not all changing the same aspects about ourselves that others are at the same time. Everyone is either flowing with it or getting swept away by the wave. And as the tsunami of change ripples over the planet, the power structures of yesteryear are responding with desperate intimidation motivated by a fear they seek to impose on the world to remain the gatekeepers of it. But the world is growing rapidly immune to their fear, just as we are growing more immune to advertising, dogmatism, nationalism or politics.
Revolution abounds in the apocalypse that is the great unveiling of truth from an age of deception, confusion and lies. Whether we call it the emanation of the truth vibrations rattling apart the cages of the old structures, the liberation of sentient consciousness, or simply Revolution, its swirling all around us, and is becoming impossible to ignore. Whether it be the Yes Men’s newest prank, Reverend Billy’s latest stunt with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, the Zapatista’s commitment to stand against fascist takeover, Greece’s indomitable defiance of World Bank austerity, or the countless actions of more than two million activist organizations pushing for global, ecological sustainability, social justice, and peaceful revolution, more and more we can see that the greatest human movement in recorded history is not some hypothetical somewhere out there on the foggy horizon of the future, but an occurrence taking place every day right now. Those not yet consciously participating in it may soon begin to understand that they’ve been involved in it all along, regardless of their present trajectory, level of awareness or place within the puzzle.
Through research and participation, we cultivate our individual selves, we harness our individual courage, and most importantly, we inevitably discover that the true roots of the Revolution lie in the human heart, in the kingdom that is within. By realizing that the responsibility falls upon our own shoulders, we transform passive habits of compliance into active adventures of the unknown. By overcoming our deepest inner fears, we instantaneously change the appearance of the external world around us. By alleviating internal insecurities, we put an end to external destruction. By healing spiritual and mental stigmas, we become agents of positive change, capable of helping others through their own healing processes. By facing our fears, we go utterly beyond error. In doing so we discover one of the greatest schisms splitting our collective consciousness apart – one of the central players to war and poverty on this planet – the thorny splinter imposed on the world that distinguishes the physical world as completely separate from our unseen inner experiences. By thinking of our conscious experience of the world as separate from the world itself, we have unwittingly divorced morality from action, and lowered ourselves from autonomous spiritual beings to the status of cogs in a clockwork machine. This scientific worldview, however popular, hat has manifested in what Graham Hancock refers to as the “War on Consciousness” and is largely responsible for a collective feeling of helplessness in the people that has been beaten into us all; the false narrative that we are powerless to alter our destiny; a learned helplessness that the architects of the corporate systems have counted on to keep their subservient populations docile, thus preventing the kind of systemic revolution that would benefit the world and all her inhabitants.
Divorcing the physical world from inner experiences likely seemed a harmless and rather necessary idea when it happened. Humanity’s consciousness and overall capabilities were defined by a very different world, and thus a very different world view. But today we take for granted the idea that the external experience now dominated by Scientific materialism and the internal experience of Spiritual traditions are diametrically opposed to each other when they certainly don’t have to be. Ever since René Descartes created Dualism in the 17th Century there has existed an understanding that spirit and science are mutually exclusive disciplines, period. Spiritual traditions marched forward with an authority to espouse all of the unseen phenomena integral to the consciousness inhabiting our human world, while science was given license to claim authority over the entirety of the known, physical universe. Over the decades and centuries, these two seemingly opposite understandings grew into sharp adversity with each other. Since both have passively and sometimes aggressively struggled to gain dominance over the other, the war between them has only grown fiercer over time.
Dualism was not a solution, but a delaying of the inevitable. It’s like the brain couldn’t figure out how to allow the left hemisphere to coexist with the right, so it decided to sever all the connections between them. An organism divided against itself cannot stand. Science and spirituality are not opposites any more than Republicans and Democrats are opposites. Spirit and science are merely the clouded North and South nodes of a magnet that is as much a singular entity as the Earth’s North and South poles are. The Earth’s poles are not opposites of each other competing for dominance but rather two integral components of a larger system drawing the whole together. Science and spirit comprise two very different but essential components of the human experience; science asks, “How?” and spirit asks, “Why?” Neither question is more important that the other, though that doesn’t prevent fundamentalists on both sides from sneering from their imaginary altars of superiority. The illusion of perceiving one as superior to the other is an infantile mentality that institutions can benefit from provided they get enough people to buy into it, and their wars can rage on literally forever as long the people’s minds remain closed to new possibilities.
Reconciliation is the primary ingredient for peace. Whether in friendship, in marriage, in business or foreign policy, nobody wins until everyone is satisfied. So if we’re willing to embrace this question as mature adult human beings, perhaps we can address both questions as they pertain to this fight for domination: why and how did science and spirit draw a line in the sand between each other that over the centuries has eroded into the massive gulf that we today think of as normal?
OURS IS THE ONE TRUE WAY
Dogmatic fanaticism is the method of cloaking a framework as the ultimate means of perception by denouncing all other relevant understandings with an intolerance that refuses to allow for change or evolution. If we can learn anything by looking back at the heresy trials, inquisition and crusades, we see that western Religious dogma dramatically eroded the natural tolerance of humans into tribal rivalries. When political corruption eventually rotted the Catholic institution, Martin Luther’s secession paved the way for countless independents. The varieties of spiritual traditions, once a magnificent mirror, shattered into a million competitive sects, most of which claimed to be the “one true way,” eventually denouncing any other sect as unholy, thus spurring brutal terrorism and endless wars. More powerful and insecure institutions pitted themselves against any thought, idea, person or organization that they perceived as a potential threat to their dominance. Such was the case with the Vatican’s treatment of visionary scientists and mystics. New discoveries and revolutionary innovations intended to further enlighten humanity were interpreted as a challenge to political power, and were thus castigated as blasphemous heresy resulting in the ridicule and persecution of beautiful individuals who could see beyond the self-imposed bureaucratic limits of the institutions’ high priesthood.
Over time, as it eventually became obvious that the observations and musings of Galileo and others like him were simply fundamental, the pendulum eventually swung hard in the other direction, in-turn giving way to a subjugation and prejudice of an identical, but much more insidious nature. But now this new subjugation is on the side of Scientific Materialism, which has transformed the method of free inquiry engendered in the original intentions laid down by the scientific method into a dogmatic religion that denounces mysticism, telepathy, premonition, intuition, telekinesis, and even consciousness as nothing but delusional or wishful thinking.
Modern Science has for decades functioned on the assumption that reality is that which can be interpreted by the five senses of human beings. That is to say, that if it can’t be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or felt, science has an overwhelming tendency to dismiss it, or categorize it at best as “Supernatural,” and at worst with insulting pejoratives that pertain to belief, faith, and an assumed ignorance. Even working within the limited five sense realm, its as if scientists assume that their sensory input is somehow of superior function, even when compared against people with better eyesight, more sensitive hearing, and most troubling of all, mystics who know things that simply can’t be explained by science’s limited perimeters.
But more troubling still is the fact that science tends to dismiss anything outside of the limited instruments of the five senses, despite the fact that within the five senses themselves, human beings interpret an extremely limited amount of the total information encapsulated within the total frequency range, and this doesn’t even include frequencies that our bodes are not equipped to interpret, which are constantly at work in the greater reality outside of our limited perception.
“Beyond the limited realm of the senses, the shallow pool of the known, is a great untamable ocean, and we don’t have a fucking clue what goes on in there. What we receive through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch is all we know. We have tools that can enhance that information, we have theories for things that we suspect lie beyond that information, filtered through an apparatus limited once more to those senses. Those senses are limited; the light range we detect is within a narrow spectrum, between infrared light and ultraviolet light; other species see light that we can’t see. In the auditory realm, we hear but a fraction of the sound vibrations; we don’t hear high-pitched frequencies, like dog whistles, and we don’t hear low frequencies like whale song. The world is awash with colors unseen and abuzz with unheard frequencies. Undetected and disregarded. The wise have always known that these inaccessible realms, these dimensions that cannot be breached by our beautifully blunt senses, hold the very codes to our existence, the invisible, electromagnetic foundations upon which our gross reality clumsily rests. Expressible only through symbol and story, as it can never be known by the innocent mind. The stories are formulas, poems, tools for reflection through which we may access the realm behind the thinking mind, the consciousness beyond knowing and known, the awareness that is not connected to the haphazard data of biography. The awareness that is not prickled and tugged by capricious emotion. The awareness that is aware that it is aware. In meditation I access it; in yoga I feel it; on drugs it hit me like a hammer—at sixteen, staring into a bathroom mirror on LSD, contrary to instruction (“Don’t look in the mirror, Russ, it’ll fuck your head up.” Mental note: “Look in mirror.”). I saw that my face wasn’t my face at all but a face that I lived behind and was welded to by a billion nerves. I looked into my eyes and saw that there was something looking back at me that was not me, not what I’d taken to be me. The unrefined ocean beyond the shallow pool was cascading through the mirror back at me. Nature looking at nature. Not me, little ol’ Russ, tossed about on turbulent seas; these distinctions were engineered. On acid, these realizations are absolute. The disobedient brain is whipped into its basket like a yapping hound cowed by Cesar Millan.”
~Russell Brand, Revolution (37, 38)
It seems that what prevents materialists who ascribe to the dogmatic belief structures of Science, is a preexisting superiority complex within themselves, which in turn attracts them to materialism as a means to express their disregard for everyone else. They’re attracted toward the dogmatism of the Scientific religion as a means to condescend to those they regard as inferior who will not be able to argue with their complicated terminology and specialized vernacular. In doing so, such individuals are prone to forget that the “Big Bang” is nothing more than another human delusion, because while it seems to refute Creationism, it’s really no different because neither scenario can be tested or proven. Terrence McKenna once proclaimed Science’s all-encompassing stance is “Give us one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest.” The “one free miracle” of course signifies the spontaneous appearance of all the matter, energy, phenomena and consciousness in a single instant from nothing – an instant born within infinite nothingness. It cannot be proven, but to merely question its validity is to be accused of committing blasphemy against capital “S” Science, after which you can anticipate ad hominem attacks against your character, alongside accusations of believing that a man in a white beard must have created the universe.
I’m not saying a humanoid man with a white beard standing in a sea of clouds surrounded by trumpeting angels was responsible for creating our universe, because that is equally absurd as the “Big Bang” theory. Its worth noting that this image of God that materialists ridicule so extensively is not the image worshiped by believers either. The white beard scenario is an image that is just as ridiculous to mystics and serious spiritual practitioners as it is to scientific materialists. “Believers” don’t believe in the “white beard” image of God either, because it is ridiculous. Alas, die-hard materialists are rarely willing to open their minds up wide enough or for long enough to listen to statements of nuance on the subject of spirituality. For them, if you proclaim to be spiritual, then you’re automatically swept into the “white beard” category in their mind and filed next to all of the other demographics they believe they are superior to.
For the same reason they likely won’t see any distinction between spirituality or religion, though the difference seems as obvious as it is enormous; one is a dogmatic institution with a middle-man, the other is direct communion. But that only adds fuel to their fire, for their next statement is likely to be something along the lines of, “direct communion with what? The man with the white beard?” Following Richard Dawkins’ lead, they simply shut down when presented with anything that challenges the cult of the five-senses, and this includes phenomena and case studies that have little to do with religion; the evidence that dogs can tell when their owners are coming home, that memories are not stored within the physical brain, or that telepathic phenomena such as the sensation of being stared at are universal to human experience, which are just three examples of unseen or psychic phenomena that materialists commonly dismiss and ridicule by proxy of which there is a mountain of evidence to support their credibility.
In exactly the same way, materialist skeptics relentlessly belittle the concept of prayer or mantra. They proclaim condescendingly that they “don’t believe in prayer.” Ironic that this assertion itself falls into – not away from – the subject of belief. On the outset, why wouldn’t Science be willing to at least acknowledge even the surface-level of what prayer is doing within the physical realm – that repetitions of prayers are linguistic codes that attune consciousness – that specific series of words organized into tested mantras create cymatic vibrations that intimate neurological procedures?
“My belief is that we do not currently operate on a frequency of consciousness that is capable of interpreting the information required to understand the great mystery. I believe that the mechanical model for understanding nature is a metaphor that science has got stuck on : this prevailing idea that humans are machines, biological robots with computer-like brains. This belief will, to the advanced species that we are evolving into, seem as absurd as the flat-earth theories that we scoff at now… The time we live in now is similar, because the mechanistic, reductive dogma of “Scientism” – the belief that everything in the world can be explained using the scientific method – is about to be similarly overthrown. There are just too many questions unanswered and unanswerable. Consciousness, the consciousness that is now experiencing these words, has no explanation in science. Scientists believe that matter has no consciousness and that consciousness comes from matter, that 70 percent of the universe is made from dark matter, although they don’t know what that is, what it does, or anything. Just that it’s there. Science requires faith, the way religion does. Science requires acceptance of metaphor, just the way religion does.”
~Russell Brand, Revolution (48, 49)
But The biggest scientific delusion of all is that science already has all of the answers. As Rupert Sheldrake puts it:
“For more than two hundred years, materialists have promised that science will eventually explain everything in terms of physics and chemistry. Science will prove that living organisms are complex machines, minds are nothing but brain activity and nature is purposeless. Believers are sustained by the faith that scientific discoveries will justify their beliefs. The philosopher of science Karl Popper called this stance “promissory materialism” because it depends on issuing promissory notes for discoveries not yet made.”
Sheldrake, Science Set Free (9)
But the absolutist dogma only exists on the surface level of the scientific world, as Rupert Sheldrake beautifully illustrated in a talk last year:
“The world of professional science is full of people who’ve had psychic experiences, who have religious beliefs and spiritual practices, who go to alternative practitioners and so forth. They’re not all scientific fundamentalists and true believing materialists. Many scientists are actually not paid materialists. They go along with it in public because not to do so would damage their career. It’s a bit like Communism in Russia under Brezhnev. How many people actually believed in the theories of Communism? In public many of them gave lip services to them. When party leaders gave speeches, tens of thousands of people were clapping in unison in huge halls of the people. But did that mean they really believed it? No. When Communism collapsed, how many were ‘true believers’ in Communism? A few, but it certainly wasn’t a majority. That’s true of science today.”
Neither science nor spirituality are to blame for the dogmatic and often tyrannical structures which resulted in their name, but of individual fanatics who, motivated by their own human insecurities and shortcomings, came to view their own respective framework as the only means by which everything could be explained and thereby gain dominance over their brothers. A true scientist, like a true guru, does not claim to know everything, nor do they assert that their worldview is the one and only path to enlightenment – that is the modus operandi of a fanatic.
“When people get all worked up about which religion is superior, that is not religion; that is individualistic, materialistic, territorial ideology asserted through the language of religion.
As Joseph Campbell says, “All religions are true, in that the metaphor is true,” and all religions
have a bit in them where it says: “Don’t kill other people.”
All that fire-and-brimstone, blood-and-thunder, jihadi, Crusades stuff is expedient
materialism. The point of religion is to remind us that we are a temporary expression of a subtler and connected electromagnetic realm unknowable on our narrow bandwidth of consciousness.”
~Russell Brand, Revolution (253)
For what is the essence of science but a method for spiritual consciousness to gain a greater understanding of the physical universe it exists within and the inhabited flesh it finds itself animating? On the other hand, what is the essence of spirituality but an acknowledgement of one’s ultimate being and connection to the greater universe by virtue of internal wisdom as gained through experiencing the physical realm and the stories spun within it? Throughout history, scientific breakthroughs came about as a result of individual humans who were struck by some sort of conscious notion within themselves, and due to that intuitive force they created studies to help prove (or disprove) that notion thus shaping what our innate understandings are. On the other side of the spectrum, spiritual breakthroughs have enabled the emergence of concepts such as truth, justice, compassion and empathy to reach into the physical world as more than mere human ideas.
Throughout the last century the two have begun to merge more and more into harmony with one another. Science gave birth to LSD, which in turn enabled Steve Jobs and his research team to discover the computer mouse; LSD allowed Francis Crick to discover the Double Helix of DNA; LSD empowered Kary Mullis to discover the PCR technique allowing for the amplification of specific DNA sequences; LSD made it possible for John C. Lilly to map the pain and pleasure pathways in the brain. A spiritual experience, created by science, yielding additional scientific breakthroughs. As the years went on, quantum theory experiments (which have become incredibly controversial due to the fact that they challenge the established dogmatic norms of the de facto religion of the scientific belief system) have given rise to the global consciousness project and a slew of other research endeavours which continuously reaffirm the familiar wisdom of the traditions of the Far East. Although the ancient cultures of the Far East seem to have never attained the rigorously exact physical knowledge of the modern West, they grasped, in principle, many things which are only now beginning to occur to us. But such traditions are all-too-often automatically lumped into the category of “religion” and thus also dismissed, despite science’s rather obvious corroboration of their ancient wisdom.
In Psychotherapy East & West, Alan Watts articulates the subtleties of this problem brilliantly, especially in how it pertains to our misinterpretation of long-standing Eastern traditions as either philosophies or religions when they are in fact neither:
“If we look deeply into such ways of life as Buddhism and Taoism, Vedanta and Yoga, we do not find either philosophy or religion as these are understood in the West. We find something more nearly resembling psychotherapy. This may seem surprising, for we think of the latter as a form of science, somewhat practical and materialistic in attitude, and of the former as extremely esoteric religions concerned with regions of the spirit almost entirely out of this world.
“The main resemblance between these Eastern ways of life and Western psychotherapy is in the concern of both with bringing about changes of consciousness, changes in our ways of feeling our own existence and our relation to human society and the natural world. The psychotherapist has, for the most part, been interested in changing the consciousness of peculiarly disturbed individuals. The disciplines of Buddhism and Taoism are, however, concerned with changing the consciousness of normal, socially adjusted people. But it is increasingly apparent to psychotherapists that the normal state of consciousness in our culture is both the context and the breeding ground of mental disease. A complex of societies of vast material wealth bent on mutual destruction is anything but a condition of social health”
As Krishnamurti articulated so precisely, “It is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
“Psychology and psychiatry are in a state of great theoretical confusion…the psychotherapist carries on his work with an almost wholly unexamined “philosophical unconscious.” He tends to be ignorant, by reason of his highly specialized training, not only of the contemporary philosophy of science, but also of the hidden metaphysical premises which underlie all the main forms of psychological theory…to make use of it he must overcome the habitual notion that he has nothing to learn from “prescientific” disciplines, for in the case of psychotherapy this may be a matter of the pot calling the kettle black.
“The multitudinous differences between individuals and their social contexts lead to as many ways of seeking relief from these conflicts. Some seek it in the psychoses and neuroses which lead to psychiatric treatment, but for the most part release is sought in the socially permissible orgies of mass entertainment, religious fanaticism, chronic sexual titillation, alcoholism, war – the whole sad list of tedious and barbarous escapes. Naturally then it is being said that the need for psychotherapy goes far beyond that of those who are clinically psychotic or neurotic, and for many years now increasing number of people have been receiving psychotherapy who would formerly have sought counsel from a minister of religion or a sympathetic friend…there is still no clear evidence that psychotherapy is anything more than a hit-or-miss placebo, and, save in the case of psychotic symptoms that can be controlled by certain drugs, there is no sure way of distinguishing its “cures” from spontaneous remission. And some of its techniques, including lobotomy and shock treatment, are nothing but measures of sheer desperation…there is a growing realization that, to make any progress, psychiatry must ally itself more closely with neurology and biology on one side and with sociology and anthropology on the other.
“In place of the inarticulate cohesion of mere stuff we find the articulate cohesion of inseparably interconnected patterns. The effect of this upon the study of human behavior is that it becomes impossible to separate psychological patterns from patterns that are sociological, biological, or ecological. Departments of knowledge based upon what now appear to be crude and primitive divisions of nature begin to coalesce into such awkwardly named hybrids as neuropsychiatry, sociobiology, biophysics and geopolitics. At a certain depth of specialization the divisions of scientific knowledge begin to run together because they are far enough advanced to see that the world itself runs together, however clear cut its parts may have seemed to be.”
Despite the obvious crossover that exists between disciplines within science, left-brained fetishism of western materialism by and large continues to dismiss the interconnectedness that exists at larger scales, relying instead on the neurosis of “coincidence theory” to explain away perspicuous similarities between seemingly unrelated phenomena within the illusion of separation. Hence, scientific materialism refuses to acknowledge that it could possibly have anything in common with any spiritual tradition, and wholly rejects the notion that its dogma is in any way comparable with that of despotic religious institutions, and does so with extreme prejudice.
A parallel can be seen in the psychological concept of confirmation bias – our tendency to notice and assign significance to observations that confirm our beliefs, while filtering out or rationalizing away observations that do not fit with our prior beliefs and expectations.
The term “reality tunnel” coined by Timothy Leary and later popularized by Robert Anton Wilson refers to the concept that with a subconscious set of filters formed from their beliefs and experiences, everyone interprets this same world differently, hence “Truth is in the eye of the beholder.” This is not necessarily meant to imply that there is no objective truth; just that our access to it is mediated through our senses, experience, conditioning, prior beliefs, and other non-objective factors. The individual world each person occupies is said to be their reality tunnel. The term can also apply to groups of people united by beliefs, which include but are not limited to the “Fundamentalist-Christian reality tunnel” as well as the “Scientific-Materialist reality tunnel.
Reality tunnels are usually transparent to their inhabitants because most of us take our belief systems to be in reconciliation with “the one true reality.” The true believers of the scientific dogma believe arrogantly that theirs is the only “correct view” and any perception that challenges or runs counter to this view is laughable. They are unable to see how such a contemptuous mentality is identical to the intolerance of religious fanaticism because their disdain for religious institutions is so great that cognitive dissonance overwhelms their fragile circuitry. As such, they consistently refuse to so much as examine the validity of such observations.
But true believers of such a cavalier calibre are few and far between, and though many within the scientific community are still frightened to admit it aloud, a middle way is rapidly emerging among them. This middle way is called Anatheism, and it is connected to but very distinct from Atheism.
Atheism, while bemoaned by believers, was an absolutely essential phase, for it has distilled all of the unnecessary superstitions, harmful bigotry, and silly dogmatism from the religious world. Scientific materialism has proven its usefulness as a purifying movement that’s done a lot to purge a lot of rubbish from religion in it’s attempts to become dominant over religion. The baby boom generation took this purification a step further and began the process of rooting out the last vestiges of the church’s dictatorial elements which had become complacent to justice, corrupt with power and spoiled rotten with money – a process which still today is not yet complete. But now that popular spirituality has undergone this decontamination process, there is a movement to reconnect to the divine, and that is known as Anatheism.
Anatheism has a lot in common with the Gay Rights Movement in that scientists who acknowledge unseen phenomena as valid remain in the closet, afraid to come out because of the very real threat of being ridiculed and in turn having greater trouble getting published, obtaining promotions, achieving tenure, or even keeping their jobs.
In many ways, today’s orthodox scientific priesthood is no different than the dictatorial clergy it sought to escape from. Whereas during the church’s reign, religious authorities were granted the exclusive right of reading the biblical texts while everyone else merely listened to a the middle-man’s interpretations, today’s scientific papers are published in the discriminative dialect of academese, ordained by budgetary favouritism and peer reviews often managed through political nepotism.
What is more, materialism’s obsession with purging unseen phenomena as delusion has led to unhealthy extremes. Materialists today have chosen to place their faith in systems of belief that create uncommonly harmful outcomes. This is perhaps why David Foster Wallace proclaimed that there is no such thing as atheism in his 2005 Kenyon commencement:
“…there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.”
Anatheism is the essence of the revolution currently under way on this planet. A spiritual connection makes us stronger, gives us longer lives, makes us happier, gives us purpose, and reconnects us to powers that throughout the last century have been dismissed but for rare cases of extraordinary ability which are labelled as either “Superhuman” or “Supernatural.” There is nothing special about psychic phenomena because all humans already have the tools necessary to explore them – the hardware of our relatively advanced human bodies. A rejection of dogma may allow for the removal of the obstacles currently obstructing human potential – a potential which is thwarted by materialism today just as it was by religious institutions of yesteryear. Revolution is really about the flowering of human potential to discover how free, capable and powerful we are, thereby liberating ourselves from the self-imposed shackles of dictatorial societies and tyrannical governments that have arisen as a natural consequence of our own internalized victimization and exploited insecurities.
Our individual reality tunnels tend to prevent us from realizing our full potential, and are by their very nature always limiting. Arthur Schopenhauer, who used the term “field of vision”, stated it this way:
“Every man takes the limits of his field of vision for the limits of the world.”
And Martin Heidegger put it thus:
“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.”
And Anais Nin:
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Jacques Lacan likewise made a distinction between the Real and the Symbolic, arguing that the Real is the imminent unified reality which is mediated through symbols that allow it to be parsed into intelligible and differentiated segments. The Symbolic, which is primarily subconscious, is further abstracted into the Imaginary, i.e. our individual beliefs and understandings of reality. This is easy enough to see in our application of language as a system of symbols that we commonly confuse for the things they are describing, but is even more pronounced vis-á-vis our mistaken conflation between money and wealth.
People go to the supermarket, and they get a whole cartload of goodies and they drive it through, then the clerk fixes up the counter and this long tape comes out, and he’ll say ‘$30, please,’ and everybody feels depressed, because they give away $30 worth of paper, but they’ve got a cartload of goodies. They don’t think about that. They think they’ve just lost $30. But you’ve got the real wealth in the cart. All you’ve parted with is the paper. Because the paper in our system becomes more valuable than the wealth. It represents power, potentiality, whereas the wealth, you think, “Oh well, that’s just necessary; you’ve got to eat.” That’s to be really mixed up.
~Alan Watts, from The Nature of Consciousness (1960)
Robert Anton Wilson concludes:
“Everybody abstracts a different reality. When you come through a room you abstract the reality you’re prepared to abstract and you pick up the signals that interest you and your brain records them and organizes them…We all have our own reality tunnel and in our reality tunnel we pick out some things and ignore others. We’ve got ten-billion cells in our brain receiving hundreds and hundreds of millions of signals all the time. We just pick out the ones that fit into the established grooves in our brain that fit the reality tunnel that’s been laid down by past experiences. We all have our own belief system and the signals that fit our belief system get in, the signals that don’t fit our belief system get ignored, if they keep coming back we go to a psychiatrist to get cured and make them go away, and if we incorporate them we edit them to make them conform to our preconceived beliefs. We don’t know what is or what isn’t. All we know is what we tuned in or didn’t tune in. You only know what you’ve tuned in. If you haven’t tuned it in, it’s not necessarily non-existent, it’s just that you haven’t tuned it in.”
In this way, the real shortcoming of scientific materialism is the institutionalized clinging to the belief that there absolutely must be one and only one objective reality “out there” that we can all agree upon, and those who fail to recognize this singular reality are either not educated enough to assimilate it into their experience or are simply deluded.
For Wilson, a fully functioning human ought to be able to be aware of his or her reality tunnel, and able to keep it flexible enough to accommodate, and to some degree empathize with, different reality tunnels, different “game rules,” different cultures and different religions. This view, if properly understood, can decrease the chance that we will confuse our map of the world with the actual world – a philosophy expressed in many Eastern schools of thought.
Therefore, Science and Spirit are not opposites any more than astronomy and astrology are opposites; they are two hemispheres of the same discipline – one hemisphere asks “How?” while the other asks “Why?” Neither question is more viable than the other, and both are integral to the human experience. To deny one in favour over the other is to limit the full potential of what is possible to interpret, understand and convey.
The West has a tendency to dismiss ancient and prescientific traditions as nothing more than “poor, primitive people trying to make sense of a world they did not have the proper tools or world-view to comprehend.” This has been the typical mentality of archaeologists and anthropologists who have studied ancient sites such as the Mayan ruins of Mesoamerica. They’ve scratched their heads and wondered why these “primitive” civilizations would ever concern themselves with calculus or the movement of distant celestial bodies. But it seems perfectly obvious to a more intuitive investigator that the ancients were extracting meaning from the relationships between the bodies and projecting future circumstances based on the mathematical predictability of their movements. These cultures understood that knowing what the planets are doing physically via astronomy is only half of the equation, and is little more than trivial data without its partner in astrology. Sceptics may scoff and roll their eyes, but these concepts too can be understood and proven scientifically – which is the intended purpose of the scientific method.
“Astrology is one of the most ancient sciences, held in high esteem of old, by the wise and great. Formerly no prince would make war or peace, nor any general fight a battle, in short no important affair was undertaken without first consulting an astrologer.”
~Benjamin Franklin, 1751
Take for example the celestial body that has the most perceivable impact on human kind – Mercury. Mercury’s cycles have measurable impacts on human kind, and with its relatively rapid revolution around the sun of approximately 88 Earth days, these data sets are relatively easy to chronicle for anyone conducting a survey or experiment. Because of Mercury’s short year relative to that of Earth’s, the planet turns Retrograde three times per year on average. This means that from our perspective, Mercury appears to move backwards in the night sky for three weeks at at time, three times per year. “Appears” is the key word here because no planet actually moves backwards in their orbits around the Sun – they don’t even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Due to the fact that the planets relate to each other on elliptical orbits, retrograde is a phenomena that occurs with all of them from time to time. But Mercury retrogrades are the most frequent, and in many respects are the most qualitatively noticeable.
While many of the more subtle aspects of planetary relationships and energies are easy to dismiss, this one is not, because among its effects we can observe a surprising disruption of our mechanical and electrical technologies. Common symptoms of Mercury retrogrades include unusual problems with phones, computers, networks, appliances, gadgets, cars etc. But on a more subtle level, trends illustrate that human communications break down, couples are more likely to fight or break up, miscommunications between acquaintances and business partners abound, close friends engage in arguments, individuals find themselves having trouble coming up with the “right words,” etc.
The reason all of this is happening is scientifically measurable, for the simple fact that Mercury is an extremely dense ball of iron rotating with close proximity to the largest and most dense body in our solar system, namely our sun. When a space shuttle rotates around the earth, instruments react to one part of the planet differently than the other due to the toroidal shape of the Earth’s electromagnetic field. The same principles apply to the electromagnetic field of the sun and Mercury, which no doubt interact with each other thus creating specific patterns that ripple out into the rest of the solar system.
And while it might be easier to digest the notion of Mercury disrupting electronics than the idea that Mercury could be affecting the human organism with a similar disruption pattern, remember that neurological pathways and physical movement are caused by electrical impulses within the body, and that human bodies too have their own electromagnetic fields.
Since we have structured our present civilization with a profoundly indolent dependence on electrically operated technologies, the effects of Mercury retrograde periods are difficult to deny because they bring about disruptions in this electrical grid. The more the grid dominates every facet of our modern societies, the more noticeable the Mercury Retrograde cycles will be and the easier it will become to conduct large-scale scientific experiments based on these observations; observations that are worth billions if not trillions of dollars to any business, corporation or government that could benefit from knowing when disruptions in their communications and technologies will occur and for how long they can anticipate such disruptions.
Though difficult to deny these effects may be, materialists predictably go out of their way to do so. It is not incredible that many people observe the temporary changes that our relationship relative to Mercury causes; what is incredible is that well-educated skeptics refuse to acknowledge that a giant ball of iron rotating around a massive star could possibly be capable of emitting complex patterns of electromagnetic energy waves capable of interacting with sensitive instruments on Earth that haven’t yet been studied in a comprehensive way by the scientific community. These energetic relationships are measurable, but science has to actually open its mind to be able to genuinely inquire about and study these phenomena before they can ever be measured and a large-scale study conducted. I’m not saying such endeavors have not been made, simply that their reach is nowhere near where it could be for such a provocative and interesting subject because institutions of mass influence refuse to acknowledge this phenomena as real because it challenges the preconceived beliefs of the Scientific religion.
But the scientific materialists aren’t the only ones guilty of dogma on the subject of analyzing the subjective effects of celestial bodies. Within the field of astrology are astrologers who have become so enraptured in their chosen discipline that they’re capable of seeing little else. If an astrologer begins to believe that everything can be explained by the movement of and relationship between celestial bodies, they too can become intolerant of other frameworks and thus dogmatic in their approach.
The more powerful any given perception or framework proves to be, the more likely its practitioners are to enter into the Wizard Prison of dogmatic absolutes and claim that their particular viewpoint is superior over all others as the one and only answer in the quest for truth.
In discussing the motivation behind the book I Don’t Believe In Atheists, Chris Hedges expounded upon the dangers of dogmatism:
In May of 2007 I went to L.A. to debate Sam Harris, and then two days later I went to San Francisco to debate Christopher Hitchens. Up until that point, I hadn’t paid much attention to the work of the New Atheists. After reading what they had written and walking away from these debates, I was appalled at how what they had done for the secular left was to embrace the same kind of bigotry and chauvinism and intolerance that marks the radical Christian right. I found that in many ways they were little more than secular fundamentalists.
I was stunned at how the very chauvinism, bigotry and intolerance that they condemn in the Christian right, they embrace under the guise of atheism. They also create a kind of binary world view of us-and-them. They embrace the use of force. They’re supporters of preemptive war. Their political agenda coalesces completely with the radical Christian right. What they’ve done is form a belief system – a leap of faith – that says that we are moving forward as a species towards some kind of a human utopia, that society can be made perfectible once we eradicate religion. They’ve externalized evil into religion itself, something the Christian right does when they externalize evil into secular humanism. The ideological framework for this is no different from the Christian right.
They are as culturally, historically and linguistically illiterate as the radical Christian right. If you read what they write and say about Muslims, it could be lifted from the most rabid sermon by a Christian fundamentalist. They condiment them as irrational religious hordes who have to be either converted to “our way of thinking,” (because of course they engage in that kind of chauvinism and self-exaltation that “our way is the civilized way, the only way, there are no other ways to be, other ways to think”), and if they won’t be converted then they have to be annihilated. I mean Sam Harris in The End of Faith asks us to consider a nuclear first strike on the Arab world. I mean this kind of stuff is terrifying.This is the worldview of the New Atheists. Hitchens is one of the great propagandists for the war in Iraq, as is Harris, but I think all of them engage in what I would call the “Cult of Science.” They say that evolutionary biology can be used as a model towards the evolution of human moral behavior, collectively; that we can advance; that time is linear. There is nothing in human history or human nature that supports that idea, and there’s nothing in Darwin. In Darwin’s Origin of Species, he never posited that human beings evolve morally. In fact, Darwin wrote, I think correctly, that we’re captive to irrational forces and to our animal natures. And so what they’ve done is make a leap – a leap of faith, really – that is just as egregious and just as self-delusional as the leap of faith made by Christian fundamentalists.
I came here and debated Charles McVety, and I’ve debated other fundamentalists in the US. When I got up on the stage with Harris and Hitchens, it was as if I was debating a Christian fundamentalist. Because what does a Christian fundamentalist do? They’re bullies. And they say I grew up in the Church, I went to seminary, but I’m not a Christian, I’m a force for godless secular humanism. This is the attack of the fundamentalists, and was the attack of McVety at the University of Toronto.
What happens when I get up on the stage with [New Atheists]? They say I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god, I don’t believe in heaven and hell, I don’t believe in miracles, I don’t believe in the virgin birth, any of that kind of stuff, but I become a repository for superstition, ignorance, all of the things I don’t believe.
It does not matter what I say. What they’ve done is embody religion as the impediment towards human progress, and once it’s removed, we can all move forward. I would argue that the problem is not religion. The problem is human nature. The problem is the human heart. And of course religious institutions and religious figures throughout history have cheered on more blood baths than many figures. But that’s a problem that is endemic within us.
I think that religious institutions, as the theologian Paul Tillich said, like all human institutions, are inherently demonic. They’re about power. They’re about self-perpetuation. We have to separate that from the religious impulse. Religion is not something that can be studied like science. Religion is not a noun, it’s a verb. It’s a way of being. It’s a way of looking at the world. And religion like art, I think, struggles to capture those non-rational forces that are real and powerful in our life. Forces like beauty, grief, alienation, suffering, mortality. You can’t measure that with science. And I think art, like religion at its best, seeks to preserve and honor this tradition, of the non-rational, that is also part of our lives.
How, for instance, do you quantify love? I mean Freud wrote about this. Every time Freud tried to write about love he wrote about sex, and he finally [admitted that he couldn’t.]
I lived twenty years overseas as a foreign correspondent. I’m well aware that there is nothing intrinsically moral about being a believer or a non-believer. That many people of great moral courage and probity have arisen in all cultures and all traditions to fight the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed, who don’t find meaning in religious ritual, religious language – I get that. I covered the war in the former Yugoslavia. And the Serbian Orthodox church – like the catholic church in Croatia, like many of the mosques in Bosnia – enthusiastically signed on for the ethnic cleansing.
What I think both of these movements have in common, is that what they appeal to is a kind of self-exaltation. A kind of, “We have moral superiority.” As an atheist, “We look down on the less-fortunate, less-educated, less-enlightened.” Well the Christian right does the same thing. When you divide people into moral planes, that becomes very dangerous. When you believe that evil is external, and not something that we must all struggle with inside of ourselves, then it’s a short step towards eradicating whole groups of human beings, because they’re no longer human, but they’re abstractions of the evil that you want to get rid of.
Hedges’ central point, while directed toward secular fundamentalists, is as true of them as it is of all who express dogmatic views of intolerance. CJ Werleman has observed that evangelical atheists display a cultish commitment to science, a childishly simplistic view of religion, a severely bigoted stance toward Islam, and a slavish faith in what they take to be the beneficent U.S. secular state. Stephen LeDrew takes this observation to its logical conclusion, asserting that today’s atheism is “only manifestly a critique of religion” while its somewhat veiled but veritable aim is “the universalization of the ideology of scientism and the establishment of its cultural authority.” Ultimately, it is about power.
Ultimately we find that the only constant is change. As such, frameworks, understandings and perceptions are constantly evolving. The Scientific Community has continuously updated their estimates based on the latest research conducted by the most contemporary minds with the most cutting-edge, up-to-date tools available. So who is to say that the field of science is today as advanced and complete as it can possibly be – that it cannot be updated to accommodate Anatheism? Just as our tenancies of dogmatic fundamentalism – either to religion or materialism – must be kept in check, so must it be with all absolutist thinking; either that time is linear or that it is absolutely not linear. The same kind of superiority complex can easily lead one to believe in the myth of progress as it an lead another to believe that everything that can be invented already has been. Our understanding of the universe is continuously being updated, but placing too much emphasis on our respective frameworks prevents us from experiencing fresh perspectives. In turn we are liable to rely only on autopilot behavior, as though we already know everything there is to know. One would think that a firm belief in the myth of progress would provide insight into how clueless we are now, based on how clueless we have always been. And somehow, despite the apparent self-awareness that linear thinking might provide, the tendency to think of ourselves as infallible persists. Throughout history science has inched away from older and cruder methods of inquiry to where it is now, but we’re deluding ourselves if we think that because blood-letting and eugenics and the static universe theory are behind us and widely considered taboo, that today’s scientific understanding is the panacea.
The roots of chemistry for example, seem to many to be embedded in alchemy, which was misconstrued as the quest for turning base metals into gold. This understanding of alchemy, however, is a misconception. True alchemists were never concerned with physical gold as was commonly believed, but the art of personal transformation from ignorant suffering toward enlightened liberation and bliss.
“Just as gold is the most perfect of metals because it cannot be corrupted, perfection in a human being means freedom from pain, suffering, doubt and fear. The secret is not in how you look, but in how deep you are willing to look.”
This takes us full circle to the concept that the Revolution is not something that happens “out there” but a spark that can only be generated within. This also emphasizes that the goal of anatheism, in this case, is to transform the dogmatic scientific morals from their current state of intolerance, arrogance and relative ignorance, into a state of free inquiry to catapult a new era of open-minded exploration, which seems to be the genuine intention behind what the scientific method is supposed to be all about.
At the core of all of this is the fundamental understanding that we are all dogmatic and ignorant to various degrees – most humans are! Our arguments and our wars are derived from an inability to recognize that truth is amorphous; that we can learn something useful from everyone and anyone; that our perception of reality is different from reality itself; that any given perception or framework, no matter how useful, is not exclusive in its validity. Ultimately peace will be the by-product of a collective recognition that all viewpoints are correct; that everyone has valid input to share; that dogmatizing any one viewpoint hinders valid information from ever getting past the filters of preconceived beliefs; that all dogma obstructs free inquiry and expression; that narcissistic megalomania, however unconscious or habitual it may be, blinds the beholder from reality. The Final Revolution is therefore the process of deprogramming the dogmas that have allowed hatred and violence to flourish all around us, threatening to extinguish everything we know and love. As Carl Sagan once pronounced, “An organism at war with itself is doomed.”
“Once the fiction of one ‘reality’ dies as a concept, and the operational fact of ‘realities’ (plural) becomes generally recognized, we might all discover that human beings can actually live together without constantly making war over who has the ‘real reality’.”
~Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger; Volume 2
The Final Revolution is well under way. It cannot be stopped. We can choose to flow with this ride or be swept away by the torrent, but clinging onto the old world as it was is no longer an option. There is no aspect of our world or of ourselves that will be unchanged by this remarkable period of our history, proving more and more that this is truly the most exciting time that any of us could have possibly hoped to be alive.
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