Transparency is the Only Shield Against Disaster
The following is an essay that I assembled from my comments on Aeolus Kephas's "Owning the Apocalypse; the Up Side of Annihilation." Over the past year, a kind of odd marriage between accident and intent has taken place; any passing comments seem to arrange themselves into a predetermined pattern, as if some presence from the future were projecting a voice into my head. To a great extent, I am familiar with this voice, for it originates in one of the several alternate versions of myself, and yet the louder and more immediate it becomes the more alien it feels. In any case, it seems to know what it is doing. In the labyrinth that leads from Earth to the theatre beyond Time, it is possible that any wrong turn is correct.
--Swampjism wrote, "If 'galactic consciousness' was only possible upon the deaths of six billion people, I would take the six billion if given a choice. Screw your Enlightenment! . . . .But I don't even think all this is the case. Personally I feel that the 'shift' has already taken place, and in a way has always been there. The Buddha, saints, mystics, shamans of all times and cultures experienced full awareness within this world, the Spell, the Matrix. In Mahayana Buddhism it is affirmed that samsara is nirvana. The whole cycle of birth and rebirth, which is Maya the original Matrix, is the realm of enlightened awareness."
--You responded, "We are on the verge of something truly mind-blowing, and our resistance to the idea of mass death as something 'negative' just shows, to me, how unready we are, even conceptually, for the magnitude of what is coming, as a species and as individuals. I can say this: the loss of identity which (*I* believe) is our only possibility for survival now will be far more 'terrifying' (and undesirable) than any 'horrible' death by apocalypse could ever be. Those of us who begin to experience this 'shift' may well wish we'd been numbered with the lucky 'expendables.' Galactic consciousness is nothing anyone in their right mind would volunteer for, and those dumb enough to do so, soon regret it."
Is it possible that these viewpoints are not mutually exclusive?
To my way of thinking, the cosmos is already as "perfect" as it needs to be, although our perception of this larger context has been obscured from the dawn of recorded history, and perhaps longer. "Apocalypse" pertains to the rolling on and rolling off of stage sets, as embodied in, among other things, the 12 signs of the Zodiac. These "stage sets" activate the potentials that are encoded in the All. As they stomp and fret their hour upon the stage, the actors prove all but indifferent to the larger context they have come from, yet fear, always, on some level, that they are still the stuff of dreams.
Always, it is space itself that acts.
"A world" disappears; the theatre in which this destruction is carried out does not have to go anywhere, or to "evolve" beyond what is already within its reach. The future does not necessarily follow upon the past, nor is the past only mechanically active in the present. As one stage set disappears and another one appears, there is an interval, a pregnant pause, a dead zone, in which the vertical and horizontal axes get realigned; we may experience this as an earthquake or a tidal wave that shatters and then reconstitutes the whole of the inter-dimensional structure.
Many new things then become possible, but this may or may not result in the projection of destruction onto physical time/ space. A continent sinks. The sun burns out. A wave consumes Valhalla, bringing to an end the blood feast of the gods. The Venir and the Aesir, it must be said, are too drunk to be feeling any pain. Or, one actor has been momentarily transported from the theatre. The "pregnant pause" could just as easily result in the ecstasy of a shamanic flight, in the seeding of a more localized "omphalos," or in the birth of transpersonal memory. Our "world" has been replaced with an almost exact duplicate. One actor has returned, only slightly the worse for wear, from his "close encounter" with the vertical axis; having reestablished "contact" with what existed before History.
Time is the magician whose tricks educate the audience; a master of bi-location, he then gladly joins them in a long round of applause.
Our preoccupation with linear "evolution" shows our incomplete grasp of the time-cycle, which, while not a form of exact repetition, does not involve the "creation" of any "higher" state of consciousness. Our experience is, in some peculiar way, important. "How" and "why" will at some point be self-evident, but are now, perhaps, self-evident only to our Doubles. It is he/ she/ it, the Double, who provokes the fear that all too often we project onto the world. Oddly, it is always the next production at the theatre that especially concerns us. If we are haunted by the catastrophes at the end of the last ice age -- when the yogic technology of the Satya Yuga fell, not soon to be seen again -- then we somehow do not locate the source of our emotion in the past.
This could be due to the continual meddling of the Watchers, to whose fascist network the Double may belong. How many cows have been sacrificed to the development of their superpowers? Experiments in recombinant DNA did not begin in the 1970s. We must push the date back by more than 11,000 years, to the wasteland that followed the last deluge.
As they hovered above the flood-plain, having said "goodbye" to the bodies they once loved, trauma became the fuel that powered their glass houses. Objectively, they have celebrated the destruction of their cities. Cosmic; their pathos. They have through the millennia made a virtue of Necessity. All memory of their actions is forbidden. For, now as then, we suspect that they do more than "watch," even if we do not know what laws they have broken.
Our paranoia is, for the most part, justified, but its actual object is far stranger than we think, more intimate than one's heartbeat. More "immanent" than death, which it resembles. As violent as one's transubstantiation. In the end, perhaps courage is of more importance than any sharpening of our prophetic skills. "For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we still are just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying."--Rilke.
"'This could be due to the continual meddling of the Watchers; to whose fascist network the Double may belong.' -- This is a fascinating and baffling statement -- my understanding of the Double is a being who cannot be co-opted, since it is hooked into Infinity itself. The double can perhaps be enslaved (as in the pods of the Matrix), but that's another matter -- or is this what you mean by 'belong'? My own experiences of the Double lead me to the conclusion that it is still 'trapped' or distorted by unprocessed or unreleased aspects (karma?) of the personal self, but that in essence, as a Totality, the Double is a kind of tube or opening onto the Infinite-a veritable god-self."
We do not disagree about the Double. This is only a piece of myth making, and what I say here may be easily contradicted somewhere else.
What I am suggesting here is that the Double, in his aspect as the Shadow, may appear to be allied with the powers that "oppress" us -- although the ultimate goal of these "oppressive" actions is very much open to debate. The Double, of course, is in no way limited by this, or by any other, role. As a "double-agent," he is neither "here" nor "there," neither one of "us" nor one of "them," and delights in playing stupefyingly complex games with our Psyches.
In my non-dual system, there can be no ultimate "enemy"; the original omnipotence of the Soul cannot be stolen. It does not break easily, or perhaps at all, and there is no action that cannot also be interpreted as a gift.
I do not say this lightly. The implications of this power-sharing arrangement are enormous, even terrifying. Placing upon our moral sense many harsh and almost impossible demands, a radical expansion of perspective follows from our contact with the Double; we can only gasp at the leap that we have taken, and the distance that we have come.
I am puzzled by your description of my comment on the "apocalypse" as "lateral"; it is lateral only if it has not been clearly expressed and/ or understood. My point was that apocalyptic images are encoded in the structure of time/ space/ consciousness, and can be encountered, as well as understood, in a great variety of ways. A wholesale "die off" of the human race is one that most immediately comes to mind, but this view appeals, perhaps too mechanically, to our desire for Wagnerian drama, and depends as well upon a suspect concept of linear time.
That the "apocalypse" is "immanent," I do not doubt; but it is the meaning of the word "immanent" that I would like to call into question.
Let me phrase this in a different way: we must be militantly open in our descriptions of how the horizontal and the vertical axes intersect. Viewed from the perspective of the horizontal axis, the "apocalypse" is the eruption of repressed archetypal forces onto the stage-set of the objective world; it is the projection of the vertical axis onto History; the penetration of dead cultural forms by the violence of primordial energy.
Viewed from the perspective of the vertical axis, however, the "apocalypse" might best be understood as a reflexively triggered spectacle, a trial by fire at the boundary between worlds. It signifies, quite simply, that the explorer has successfully entered into the axis, taking the whole of both the personal and the collective Psyche with him, and is being powered by a sufficiently explosive degree of force. The person who has entered is not the same as the being who will exit.
As regards the "encoding" of "apocalyptic" images in the structure of time/ space/ consciousness; I had argued, in my previous post, for an open-ended interpretation of the "die off" of our species, and of all other such "objective correlatives" for our fears. We must guard against what Whitehead refers to as "the fallacy of misplaced concreteness"; one person's portent is another's souvenir.
Grof's "perinatal matrices" also speak to this simultaneous existence of a "beginning" and an "end." "Apocalyptic" images are encoded in the very process of our birth; any large-scale "expansion" of the psychonaut's consciousness can reactivate the trauma of this earlier "contraction"; the experience is overwhelming, and immediate, but when an already completed story is reenacted for a "subject," does the spectacle take place in the present, in the future, or in the past?
Biology both recapitulates and prefigures the larger process of "cosmogenesis."
We may feel that some world-shattering event is just around the corner. As always, it is "just about" to occur; this does not mean that the images and emotions generated are not, in fact, the circuitous projections of a "memory." Conversely, the fact that an already complete "apocalypse" might exist in its own dimension, like a bomb, does not mean that its explosive energy cannot spill over into ours; any more than the brain is incapable of exerting an influence on the hand.
That the world has already ended; of this we may be certain. But is it the end of "a world" or of "the world," and is the spectacle of the linear or the non-linear variety? It is reassuring that the prophets of world destruction have proven almost 100% wrong-and yet...One might justifiably wonder if our amnesia as to the length of recorded history is an issue.
A slow, staircase-shaped, sequence of disintegration -- what John Michael Greer describes as "catabolic collapse," of crises followed by periods of partial adaptation and recovery -- is probably the more common pattern for the decline of civilizations. At the same time, this does not mean that there have been no all-consuming catastrophes, in which thousands of years of development have been wiped out (relatively speaking) overnight. I believe that the world-wide network of megalithic sites is a testament to this reality.
These giant-works are cues, the hieroglyphs of Kundalini, which we, in our quest for eternal youth, have chosen to ignore; they point to how easily the evidence of past world destructions can be hidden, by our preconceptions, in plain sight. Each day the polar magnetism that protects Earth from the Sun decreases.
Brian: "Lateral thinking is about reasoning that is not immediately obvious and about ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic. Techniques that apply lateral thinking to problems are characterized by the shifting of thinking patterns, away from entrenched or predictable thinking to new or unexpected ideas."
Your injection of poetic fiction into the discussion-a more right-brain mode of expression-struck me as "lateral" because it went straight to the heart of the subject, rather than retaining the usual distance required for intellectual debate.
Thank you for explaining your use of the word "lateral"; it does seem to be a valuable concept. Here is another comment that I was working on before I read your response:
--Incidentally, the excerpt from "To Akasha/ Part 1; An Incantation for the End of History" was also not intended to be "lateral." It was presented as an illustration of movement along the "vertical axis" of which I spoke; where all oppositions -- such as "self" and "other," "male" and "female," "creation" and "destruction," "past" and "future" --are reconfigured by the violence of primordial energy.
Like you, I have for many years been haunted/ fascinated by the concept of the "apocalypse," as well as challenged by the sense of "immanence" that attends it.
During the period of 1990-1993, after receiving "shaktipat" from Anandi Ma, my body/ mind became the playground for the clash of resurgent archetypes. It was no longer possible to view the "apocalypse" as a concept, or as something that might unfold at some point in the future; it was instead the stuff of my everyday experience. The body became my inter-dimensional vehicle; and the breath its means of locomotion.
"To Akasha/ Part 1; An incantation for the End of History", and its companion book, "To Akasha/ Part 2", were begun in 1991, at the mid-point of this breakthrough, but, so complex were the literary and spiritual issues to resolve, that the final revisions on these books were not completed until last year. In these works, I almost always refer to myself in the third person; I do not use the word "I." This helped to correct any tendency towards omnipotence-an almost inescapable temptation when one is drunk on Kundalini.
To what extent should my visions be interpreted as predictions? Should "the mile-high wave," for example, be interpreted as a metaphor? On the other hand, the Arctic and Antarctic icecaps do seem to be melting, and sea levels may rise by as much as 60 feet in the lifetime of my daughter; glacial shearing may prompt the formation of catastrophic waves, leading to the submersion of many cities along coasts. All emotions must be examined, and even our most cherished concepts overturned. It is important to respect the ambiguity of the image.
It has been an age since the Tablets of Destiny were other than dead objects in our hands. The best translation of this "ur-text" was the first one to be lost, while the worst was the one that got handed down through time. There are versions, and more versions of the text, from all of which pieces have been randomly removed. We are the all too human beings upon whom tricks can be played. Always, there are projections-and pregnant ones-of which even the Double remains unaware.
By a kick now awakened from the dream of recorded History, I find that I have only as much knowledge as I need; no more and no less. From each according to his desire for omnipotence; to each, as he learns his lesson. Or so the revolutionary council would prefer us to believe. Time will tell. It is possible that Love will in the end make fools of us all, if Death does not do so first.
That some force has realigned the vertical and the horizontal axes; of that I have little doubt, but the preexistent Voice does not always guide my actions. It comes and goes, as it chooses.
There are many days, still, when I would echo Rilke's lament in "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids-Brigge," where he -- or rather his alter-ego -- wrote, "Have I said it before? I am learning to see. Yes, I am beginning. It is still going badly. But I intend to make the most of my time."
We must kill the gods, especially the real ones; as they have stolen the keys that were to open every heart. For better or for worse, we have no choice but to trust our vision, even knowing that it must always be imperfect; such "imperfection" is not due to any accident of perspective, but instead to the primal schism between worlds. The "inside" looks a bit different than the "outside." Yes, the "above" is a mirror, but it is not exactly the "same as" the "below."
The Square Circle is a work in progress.
--If we follow the explorations of a right-wing visionary like Serrano, one of the founders of "Esoteric Hitlerism," we could easily come to the conclusion that the Double was a Fascist. In my remarks about the Double at the end of my comment on the Apocalypse, however, I was not speaking about what the Double is, in and of himself, but rather about how he is refracted through the prism of our fears. To draw a comparison: in Hollywood movies, for example, whenever the supernatural puts in an appearance-as the music of Anton Webern screeches and plinks and plonks-we can be sure that some orgy of horrific violence is to come; we cannot escape from our metaphysics without immediately being punished. About such things our transfigured selves will laugh.
Below, you will find one of my comments on Gary Lachman's "Archangels of Our Darker Natures" (Reality Sandwich 11/25). In this essay, Lachman explores the connections between Mircea Eliade and the Fascist Right, and I remark on how his vision-as well as that of Evola, Serrano, Guenon, and other such impressive writers-was corrupted by a naïve and arrogant relationship to "The Shadow."
I would suggest that our interactions with "The Shadow" and "The Alien" should be similar, and must be based on a sense of unconditional openness, on a reckless joy; instead of on the projection of our fears. It is we who are predestined to be messengers, not they, who risk less than their all. An age ago, it is we who had volunteered to jump head-first into Death, but some trauma has obscured the confidence that should accompany this role.
The Road of Excess Leads to the Palace of Annihilation
Gary, you wrote:
"Mircea Eliade remarked that he became ‘politically aware' during his time in India" -- a matter-of-fact comment, but I find it significant that this awakening occurred India, perhaps the only culture whose traditions stretch, in forms that have been interrupted but never entirely broken, to a point beyond the origins of our time cycle. Recent research suggests that there are references in the "Rig Veda" -- geographic and climatological -- that seem to originate the period of 6,000-10,000 years B.C.
Among most of the thinkers you describe, there is a sense that the "modern world" is the slipshod handiwork of the Demiurge, and that access to some higher, as well as more ancient, world is an immediate possibility, in spite of our fixed position within the Kali Yuga. At the same time, it would appear that some trauma has occurred; it is necessary to blame someone, and it is only to be expected that the elite will take revenge. "Eliade remarked that ‘One day I heard an extremist talking and I had to admit he was right. I understood perfectly well that there had to be some violent protestors too.'"
But once violence in the service of "wholeness" is legitimated, there is no horror that cannot occur. It is only a few short steps to Savitri Devi's belief that Hitler was "the god-like Individual of our times; the Man against Time; the greatest European of all times." He was "Kalki", the 10th and final avatar of Vishnu, and his temporary defeat was due to his being "too magnanimous, too trusting, too good," to his having "in his psychological makeup, too much sun." Insufficiently merciless, he was prevented from bringing the full grandeur of his vision to fruition.-But he will not make the same mistake again.
Upon his return from a UFO base beneath Antarctica, Kalki "will act with unprecedented ruthlessness. Contrarily to Adolf Hitler, He will spare not a single one of the enemies of the divine Cause: not a single one of its outspoken opponents but also not a single one of the lukewarm, of the opportunists, of the ideologically heretical, of the racially bastardized, of the unhealthy, of the hesitating, of the all-too-human; not a single one of those who, in body or in character or mind, bear the stamp of the fallen Ages."
All of this might seem grotesque, but it follows logically from a certain type of loss; a once perfect world has been wrestled from one's grasp. However distorted, this longing perhaps refers to a real object.
Morphogenesis places its thumb upon the Scales; knowing that it is impossible to keep any crime a secret; that one race's god is another race's demon, i.e., that the Devas and the Asuras have, yet again, been scheduled to trade places; that all the toxins that are in the mud will hatch; that there is no real way to deactivate a superpower; and that no "good deed" will ever go unpunished.
We can read the "Ur-Text" in a multitude of languages. We can then translate our paraphrases into other, less coherent, languages; the wealth of which must provoke a "great war" between interpreters. At this point, it is impossible to even begin to tell the Story. Who is who, and what side was one on? Such a babbling of tongues is inter-dimensional in its scope. It is even possible that the war has never ended, and that the two worlds, even now, continue to throw insults. See, it is Arjuna who has wheeled his chariot onto the field at Kurukshetra, between the roaring of two armies; all of whom have or will soon pass into nonexistence.
The "Bhagavad Gita" was one of Himmler's favorite books, and he always took a copy with him on his travels. "These, your family, are already dead, and so press on in the fight." It seems unlikely that Vyassa, the incarnate form of Ganesh, had Buchenwald in mind when he first thought of these words. But one never knows. The elephant poet has again withdrawn into his cave, into the joy of his perfected memory; our own memories are perhaps no longer on this level. We are angry, and have vowed to follow the river of our frustration to its source.
The "world" that stirs such deep emotions may have left us. Still, we love her. If we cannot have her, then we will see that no one else does, either. Through our occult arts we have conjured an exact duplicate of her body!-It is missing only a small ocean's-worth of blood.
From beyond Time, an ultimatum echoes, waiting for its vehicles to hear.
In the face of the immanent energies that flow from this lost world, it no doubt seemed cowardly to Eliade to keep the contemplative and the pragmatic aspects of his being separate; thought and action must again be brought into relation, as the parts of one dynamic whole. To maintain one's ritual purity would be to avoid the responsibility that was the counterpart to one's memory. Life is hard. History is messy, and, like the making of sausages, it requires the spilling of much blood on the floor. To be willing to kill was a test of moral purpose. Evola and Serrano have also described this urgent and absolute need to act on what they "knew." If only one's "vision" could be so easily translated into fact. Of course, however great one's intelligence or encyclopedic one's knowledge of comparative mythology, without a moment by moment awareness of "The Shadow" one is little more than a puppet.
Such awareness is not natural; it involves a radical leap beyond duality, which is an achievement as individual as every person who attempts it, and one that must be renewed with every slight shift of focus. Without such a mercurial awareness, Jung himself, the originator of our modern understanding of this "concept", would no doubt have fallen prey to the resurgence of archetypal powers that gave birth to Fascism, and would also be listed among this group of suspect thinkers. His very ambivalence towards Fascism, in the early 1930s, was itself a sign of his enormous subtlety as a seer; his judgment upon events was not in any way mechanical, but came only at the end of a long process of self-discovery.
The problem is that "The Shadow" does not look like "The Shadow"; it looks like the external world. So long as one sees oneself as separate from the evil to be overcome, or one's slightly more articulate ignorance as somehow privileged by the Absolute, then there is no real hope for a life-changing confrontation with the Other.
For the past 20 or so years, I have also experienced a sense of worlds upon worlds breaking open; of the geometry behind History just about to be revealed; of a lost world being wrestled from my grasp, like an object upon waking from a dream; of some trauma that contaminates all attempts at perfect vision. I can certainly understand the need to test one's energies against events, or to find some external cause that would give form to one's depth of intuition. Space/ Time is an obstacle-to be removed; and any form of action must be better than no action at all. Except when it is not.
To the temptation to impregnate politics with myth, my attitude has been a prophylactic "Just say no." Simultaneously, I would caution: respect the urge if not the act; the urge to revolt against Space/ Time is not different than the one that fuels each creative breakthrough.
Blake, for example, would be an artist who gave positive expression to this same world-conquering impulse. Sealed within the althanor of his transformation, he did not depart from the realm of symbolic action; all contraries met within one energetic body.
The fire of Prometheus, yes; the arrogance of the Archons, no. Quite strangely, the same vision can prompt results that are diametrically opposed. Apocalyptic violence escorts the dream of the Satya Yuga. Ecstasy guides the magus through each twist and turn of the labyrinth, and then finally out through the exit-into farce.
If, as some proponents of the occult right contend, an experience of primordial wholeness can be gained through the act of Tantric intercourse -- whether with a partner, or through the opening of the microcosmic orbit, thus reintegrating the root and crown chakras and subverting the horizontal projection of duality -- then Eliade, Evola, Serrano, Guenon and their like, must, when all is said and done, be regarded as a group of premature ejaculators.
As the maxim says, "In my patience is my soul."
The lost world that imagines us does not need to be created; and we, who are not other than its shadow, must learn how to approach it through the prism of our fear, whose force-fields we must navigate. "The Shadow" that for millennia has haunted us, now a guide, will again demonstrate his/her ability to steer. A hair's breadth of a difference separates discovery from destruction. Hidden in plain sight, the future/ past, already, is as perfect as it needs to be, and our post-traumatic stress only serves to cloud the issue.
--In response to this comment, "Kelleil" asked:
"Simply please...How is the Shadow able to guide now, as in comparison to the past? What accounts for the PTSD? As we are in the Kali Yuga, how is such progress possible and is that accounting for a new paradigm, a fundamental shift in the fabric of our reality?"
--My answer was as follows:
The ghosts of Antarctica and the paradox of the guide
You wrote, "How is the Shadow able to guide now, as in comparison to the past?"
--After asking for simplicity, you have certainly posed a very complex question! Let's see. On the simplest level, I would say that the relationship between the shadow and the guide is a mystery, one that each day I continue to explore. Perhaps this is not informative.
On a somewhat more complex level, I would argue, based first and foremost on my own experience, that the shadow, the double, the inner teacher, and the preexistent guide are all aspects of one single presence; its energy is explosive, and it has the power to obliterate or to transform what it touches.
Contracted, it appears to be one's enemy; expanded, it appears to be one's friend. Quite strangely, it is neither of the above. If its agenda overlaps, in many ways and at certain times, with our own, it would nonetheless be a mistake, on this side of the experience of death, to jump to any conclusions about which side of the millennial war we are on. Luck overtakes us; but perhaps we are being set up for the kill.
On one level, each of us is irreducibly special; we have each come with a one of a kind gift. On a different level, we are all of us anonymous. We are many, like the dead, who must somehow learn to navigate by scent.
Like the alien doctors who invade our dreams, where, having beamed us out of one space but not quite to the next, with wide eyes they conduct their nonsensical dissections; so too, there is a shadow who conducts obscure experiments on our fears. He is the guardian of non-duality. Through the integration of his lower energies we gain access to his higher functions. Bit by bit, the shadow reveals his shared identity with the guide.
Ascending through the worlds, lightning flashes between the connections that join each part to the All. The web is infinite, and our vision correspondingly grows. At the same time, the key players in the drama can be counted on one hand.
Has the shadow become more user-friendly? No. Whether now, or 2,000 or 10,000 years ago, the shared identity of the shadow and the guide has always presented us with an ultimatum. "Abandon hope, all you who enter here." "Live free, and/ or die." True ecstasy necessitates the removal of one's skin. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge have never been two different trees.
Our guardians lie; it is the serpent who instructs us.
As always, we must begin by reintroducing the ego to the shadow-the most immediate one-which, however strong, is only as large as one's subconscious. Its contents are as unique as DNA. (Or so some think, and here we will leave out several steps in our exploration.)
But beyond the individual shadow there is also a collective shadow, upon which some trauma has prevented us from acting; it is this shadow that is only just coming into focus. Mad geniuses impregnate the technology of the One.
Fresh from the ocean, the ghosts of Antarctica grow dangerously real.
Image by kevindooley, courtesy of Creative Commons license.