by Ervin Laszlo
What is consciousness? What about the mind? If the world is vibration, is also mind and consciousness a form of vibration? Or on the contrary, are all vibrations, the observed world, a manifestation of mind and human consciousness?
Although it is true that when all is said and done all we know is our consciousness, it is also true that we do not know our own consciousness, not to mention the consciousness of anyone else.
We do not know what consciousness really is or how it is related to the brain. Since our consciousness is the basis of our identity, we do not know who we really are. Are we a body that generates the stream of sensations we call consciousness, or are we a consciousness associated with a brain and body that displays it? Do we have consciousness, or are we consciousness? Human consciousness could be a kind of illusion, a set of sensations produced by the workings of our brain. But it could also be that our body is a vehicle, a transmitter of a consciousness that is the basic reality of the world. The world could be material, and mind could be an illusion. Or the world could be consciousness, and the materiality of the world could be the illusion.
Both of these possibilities have been explored in the history of philosophy, and today we are a step closer than before to understanding which of these theories of consciousness is true. There are important insights emerging at the expanding frontiers where physical science and consciousness research join.
On the basis of a growing series of observations and experiments to answer the question of “What is consciousness?”, a new consensus is emerging. It is that “my” consciousness is not just my consciousness, meaning the consciousness produced by my brain, any more than a program transmitted over the air would be a program produced by my TV set. Just like a program broadcast over the air continues to exist when my TV set is turned off, my human consciousness and conscious awareness continues to exist when my brain is turned off.
Consciousness is a real element in the real world. The body and brain do not produce consciousness; they display it. And it does not cease when life in the body does. Mind and consciousness is a reflection, a projection, a manifestation of the intelligence that “in-forms” the world.
Mystics and shamans have known that this is true for millennia, and artists and spiritual people know it to this day. Its rediscovery at the leading edge of the science of consciousness augurs a profound shift in our view of the world. It overcomes the answer the now outdated materialist science gives to the question regarding the nature of mind and consciousness: the answer according to which consciousness is an epiphenomenon, a product or by-product of the workings of the brain.
In that case, the brain would be like an electricity-generating turbine. The turbine is material, while the current it generates is not (or not strictly) material. In the same way, the brain could be material, even if the consciousness it generates proves to be something that is not quite material.
On first sight, this makes good sense. On a second look, however, the materialist concept of what is consciousness encounters major problems. First, a conceptual problem. How could a material brain give rise to a truly immaterial stream of sensations? How could anything that is material produce anything immaterial? In modern consciousness research and science this is known as the “hard problem.” It has no reasonable answer. As researchers point out, we do not have the slightest idea how “matter” could produce “mind.” One is a measurable entity with properties such as hardness, extension, force, and the like, and the other is an ineffable series of sensations with no definite location in space and an ephemeral presence in time.
Fortunately, the hard problem does not need to be solved: it is not a real problem. There is another possibility: mind is a real element in the real world and is not produced by the brain; it is manifested and displayed by the brain.
If mind is a real element in the real world only manifested rather than produced by the brain, it can also exist without the brain. There is evidence that mind does exist on occasion beyond the brain: surprisingly, states of consciousness and conscious awareness seem possible in the absence of a functioning brain. There are cases—the near-death experience (NDE) is the paradigm case—where mind and consciousness persists when brain function is impaired, or even halted.
Thousands of observations and experiments show that people whose brain stopped working but then regained normal functioning can experience human consciousness during the time they are without a functioning brain. This cannot be accounted for on the premises of the production theory of consciousness: if there is no working brain, there cannot be consciousness. Yet there are cases of consciousness appearing beyond the living and working brain, and some of these cases are not easy to dismiss as mere imagination.
A striking NDE was recounted by a young woman named Pamela. Hers has been just one among scores of NDEs that help to answer the question of what is consciousness; it is cited here to illustrate that such experiences exist, and can be documented.
Pamela died on May 29, 2010, at the age of fifty-three. But for hours she was effectively dead on the operating table nineteen years earlier. Her near demise was induced by a surgical team attempting to remove an aneurism in her brain stem.
Informed consent is defined as having the right to make informed choices while knowing the risks involved when offered medical treatment. Further, for informed consent to truly exist, whether it’s for a patient or a participating subject for medical research, individuals involved should not be coerced or criminalized for refusing the offered intervening medical treatment.
Informed consent was an established basic human right for our health freedom after a Doctors Trial in Nuremberg 1947. However, in recent times, there has been a disturbing growing trend where the medical ethical principle of informed consent has been violated.
There have been recent run-ins with parents refusing to have their children vaccinated, like the Michigan mom who received the threat of imprisonment. There has also been the threat of arrest: Take the case of a woman who was accosted by 2 law enforcement representatives at the school district of Claremont, California. She was interrogated by these law representatives (government goons) and threatened with arrest because her children weren’t vaccinated…
This incident was related to the unconscionable SB277 law Introduced last year in California, demanding mandatory vaccination, which, in effect, has abolished the right to informed consent, denying parents medical choice for their children. Bear this in mind. How many more cases of this medical fascism is there to come? Not just California, this is part of a nationwide agenda and it won’t just stop at mandatory vaccination, but will go much further with other prohibitions.
Medical intervention through vaccination carries with it an uncalculated, undetermined risk: The vaccine introduced into the body of a healthy individual could cause serious injury or even death — which is why vaccination must always be a choice. For that matter, the same should apply to any medical intervention involving risk. Let your conscience be your guide.
The mass vaccination agenda comprises a ‘one size fits all’ medical intervention programme. It erroneously assumes that all humans are equal; it doesn’t take into account that humans across the many cultures and societies have different genetic compositions, while also as individuals, humans have a unique microbiome and epigenetic makeup through diet, lifestyle and environmental influences.
All of these factors will make different humans react differently to vaccines. Consequentially, some will develop severe adverse reactions to vaccines (or to other pharmaceuticals) when treated.
Indeed, followers of the alternative media will know that there has been much documentation to seriously challenge the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Then there’s the growing evidence to show that we’re better off without vaccines.
However, in spite of all this, the powers that be pushing the mass vaccination agenda see it from the utilitarianism point of view. Utilitarianism decrees expendability: It is based on the idea that in a cause for the ‘greater good’ the minority are expendable. Hence the vaccine meme ‘the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.’
Well, try telling that to a mother who just lost her child through a vaccine. Or to parents whose child has been crippled after a vaccination and can’t get damage compensation because the vaccine manufacturer, the pharmaceutical company is not legally obligated to pay out…
Whether a vaccine damages one in ten thousand or 1 in ten million children or a single child, that makes authorities morally obligated to not make vaccinations compulsory for all.
Thus, utilitarianism — the awful pseudo-ethic for “justifying” mass vaccination as public health law and policy — needs to be banished. An empathy-based compassionate ethic should be applied instead: One that approaches public health law and policy that respects our right to autonomy, informed consent and health freedom.
BY MEL SCHWARTZ
Our sense of self is constructed early in life, sometimes through traumatic events and at other times more subtly. An aspect of quantum physics called wave collapse can illuminate how this construction occurs and, more importantly, how we can empower ourselves to live a life that is unburdened by our past and open to infinite possibility.
One day in my office, a client named Jill recalled the words her mother spoke to her when she was about eight years old: “When I learned I was pregnant with you, I told your father I didn’t want another baby.” Despite the fact that her mother was otherwise devoted and loving, Jill’s acutely personal takeaway was damning. She felt unwanted and therefore unlovable, then and ever since. She carried this core belief with her throughout her life, limiting her potential for infinite possibilities. Her own inner monologue was perpetually self-critical, confirming her belief that she wasn’t lovable. The snapshot Jill had taken of herself early in her life had become etched into her psyche as her embedded truth.
Jill’s belief affected her relations with her husband, children, and friends. Notwithstanding her husband Bob’s loving devotion to her, Jill questioned his loyalty and truthfulness in light of seeing herself as unlovable. Her belief about herself was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy: she was forcing Bob to withdraw his love as his frustration mounted. What Jill experienced is not uncommon, for what we believe to be true about ourselves—and others—contributes to our reality-making process and whether we experience a reality of infinite possibility or not. Prior to her mother’s remark, Jill’s identity could have evolved in limitless ways, but that range of possibility became narrowed by that one short sentence.
For virtually all of us whose beliefs have been ingrained with the mechanistic worldview, the world as seen through quantum physics appears to be suffused with a kind of non-rational strangeness. One of the fundamental aspects of the quantum worldview, for instance, is that elementary particles exhibit a somewhat “schizophrenic” nature. I use that word not in its complex clinical sense but in the conventional meaning of having a “split personality”—and every quantum entity indeed has the dual capacity to exist as either a wave or a particle.
Physicists refer to this tendency as wave-particle duality—a notion that rubs against our commonsense logic. Ordinarily, we believe that things either are or are not, that they are distinct in their nature. This either-or thinking can also be referred to as binary thinking, which leaves only two distinct paths open to us. Binary thinking, the opposite of infinite possibilities, is a major aspect of how we observe and construct reality. Yet this either-or reality apparently doesn’t apply in the quantum realm and is questionable in our everyday lives as well.
The quantum reality exists in what is known as a series of probability waves, with an infinite possibility of potential outcomes. This means that when the particle is not being observed, it exists as a waveform, which in quantum language represents a state of pure potential, known as superposition. This term proposes that as long as we do not know what the state of any object is, it actually exists in all possible states simultaneously, as long as we don’t look to check. In that sense, the wave represents pure possibility. The very act of observation reduces the wave (potential) to a fixed thing—a particle. This reduction is referred to as wave collapse.
All that may sound far removed from our day-to-day world of personal relationships, fears and anxieties, love and hate. Yet a similar thing occurs in our lives. When we have particular experiences and make certain observations of ourselves, or have them made of us—typically in childhood—we experience the psychological equivalent of a quantum wave collapse.
As newborns or infants, if not at conception and in utero, we resemble the infinite possibilities of the wave; our personality, not yet defined, is in a state of potential. Notwithstanding matters of genetics, environmental influences, or considerations of archetypal, astrological, or karmic influences (however we may feel about those concepts), our identity is not yet determined and fixed. But before long, we move from the potential of the wave to the “thingness” of the particle. The personal evolution of our personality gets stunted, and our growth becomes fitful. How does this happen?
Ordinarily, even a single yet significant experience is sufficient to collapse our personal wave of potential. Jill experienced a powerful wave collapse after her mother spoke one particular sentence to her. Sometimes all it takes is a hurtful statement or an embarrassing experience in our early years to reduce the potential of our personality to a narrow, restricted self-image. These events need not be traumatic; they may, in fact, be subtle. Yet in those moments, our potential fades. It’s as if we have taken a snapshot of ourselves, and we become frozen in time. I refer to these as confining wave collapses, in contrast to the defining wave collapses that usher in defining moments of infinite possibility. We are no longer the potential of the wave but the finiteness of the particle. And we carry this picture of ourselves with us through our lives, allowing it to burden and limit us. We lose the authorship of our life story.
Great talk that broadens our perspective about why it really means to allow everything to be as it is, loving what is, non-seperation and becoming the situation that you’re in. To Unite and merge with what is.
The talk is from Boulder Intensive, August 2010.
Adyashanti, author of Falling into Grace, True Meditation, and The End of Your World, is an American-born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence.
Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.” Based in California, Adyashanti lives with his wife, Mukti, Associate Teacher of Open Gate Sangha. He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.
“Adyashanti” means primordial peace.
Listening to music lifts our spirits. It truly is a Universal language, as well as a spiritual one. We can sense this intuitively without knowing the science behind it. We play our favorite song on our smart phones, and a smile ignites across our faces. But, even with its obvious sway over us, we may not realize that music is reorganizing our brains just like an adaptogenic herb, or a session of meditation.
Adaptogens are herbs that can reorganize cells in our body – they adapt to our greatest needs – be they stress reduction or the boosting of our immune system. It seems music can do the same thing.
Music was likely invented for human enjoyment in Paleolithic days, but the music of the Universe, what the Pythagoreans called the “music of the spheres” is likely as old as the Universe itself. NASA has even recorded the “song” of the Earth, and each planet is said to have its own musical vibration.
Similarly, the ancient Greek initiates understood the therapeutic benefits of music, which were likely gleaned from the Egyptians. Early Chinese, Tibetan, Hindu, Persians, and other cultures all knew scales which were meant to induce certain hypnagogic states – but we really have no idea how far back the use of music goes into human history. Even Neanderthals could sing or chant. Undoubtedly music has been an essential evolutionary tool – but how exactly is it rewiring your brain?
In recent research, scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI technology) to watch blood flow in the brain as people listened to their favorite tune.
They found that when subjects listened to songs from their preferred musical genres, they exhibited enhanced levels of brain connectivity. This brain state – called full-brain or whole brain processing – allows deeper creativity, happiness, and cognitive functioning.
The study reports that the biggest change inspired by music was noted in the resting-state network associated with internal peace, or “the introspective and adaptive mental activities in which humans spontaneously and deliberately engage in every day.”
This brain area allows us to day-dream, use right-brained creativity to solve left-brain-created problems, and to practice greater empathy and self-awareness.
Another study states that this brain area called the default mode network (DMN) is like “a toggle switch between outwardly focused mind states and the internal or subjective sense of self, this network appears to include mind-wandering experiences such as imagining the future, the discovering of new possibilities (hopes), and the affective significance of aspirations or dreams,” regardless of our listening preferences – from Beethoven to Mos Def, if its music we love, its rewiring our brains.
Penney Peirce is a gifted intuitive with countless profound teachings. Penney is not only an author of more than ten best-selling books, she is an international speaker and teacher, gifted intuitive, and a pioneer of the new age.
During this hour-long interview with her, I was blown away by some of the most powerful wisdom I’ve come across, delivered with absolute grace. Penney translates mind-blowing concepts with finesse and practicality so that we can apply her teachings to our everyday lives.
Penney share what it’s like to grow up highly intuitive, what the new reality will look like that we’re entering, and how to prepare yourself for the inspiring changes ahead.
This is an excellent watch if you are looking to learn practical tools to create powerful change.
A few of the many transcendent lessons from this interview:
What does this mean?
When experiences happen that upset our ego, an important first step to processing begins with not judging them as bad. In Penney’s words, “bad” circumstances are just data. They are reflecting to us specific parts of our inner reality that we don’t get to recognize when we’re in the mindset of judging.
For us to better understand ourselves, we want to be able to remove the label from the experience, accept the change, and focus on what each experience is telling us about ourselves. From here, we can open to a new paradigm by choosing what we want to create next. Penney shares a wonderful process for doing this step-by-step!
Penney just throws down wisdom bombs like this the entire interview.
What does this mean?
All potential realities exist in a super-position soup of possibility. Until our consciousness focuses on a desired outcome either consciously or subconsciously (in this case you are not necessarily aware), a reality cannot come to fruition. In Penney’s words, every possibility exists in your personal sphere, and it is through feeling what it is that you want and holding that very vibration, that you can step into your creation.
How does this work?
We fear what we can’t understand. It is only through bringing our awareness to the situations we fear that we gain the capacity to transmute the fear into peace. We must investigate our fears. We must question everything that makes us feel bad. When we can be accountable enough for our reality and our emotional state through investigation and introspection, we open ourselves to our light.
This entire interview is packed with wisdom, grace, and expansiveness.
You will learn Penney’s deep insights about what we have ahead as a collective, and how to move through your own ascension process more smoothly.
You will gain insight into how to open yourself to your own light. We are often afraid of our own light at a subconscious level. With Penney’s wisdom and some profound tools, you are empowered to facilitate the necessary steps to transcend this limiting paradigm.
God bless analogies…seriously. I mean, if it wasn’t that some themes in life are so analogous to every day objects or situations, some stuff would be so much harder to explain or get it in our heads. Well, truth be told, it is not that things are analogous per se, but it’s more like we have a magnificent pattern recognition engine between our ears. Anyway, I’m sure you get the gist of it.
I am always fascinated by how some of the best fitting analogies to how the human mind works can be found in the mainstream technology invented over the last hundred years. Like the radio tuner, the television and of course the personal computer. I used to think that creating such analogies, of something as complex and magnificent as the human mind to a personal computer or radio tuner, is a lame oversimplification but it isn’t. It’s a clever simplification and a fitting analogy to understand what would otherwise be a complicated and over-stretched concept.
An analogy I was pondering about lately is how our social conditioning and programming is very much akin to television channels or stations. There are different channels through which we are given information (or disinformation if you like), and through which we are conditioned or programmed to think, respond and behave in a certain way. Some people call this in a variety of other ways such as brainwashing, herd thinking and morality, collective trance, mass consumer consciousness, consensual reality, the hive mind, etc. There might be a common underlying theme to all of these concepts and I think it has to do with how we passively receive preset information through a given channel of communication – pretty much like watching T.V.
The television, as a 20th century invention and probably the commonest household commodity, has in itself been seen by many as a communication medium for propaganda or mass consumerism, mediated through commercial spots and subliminal (and not so subliminal) lifestyle suggestions or behaviour influence. We have come to form (quite rightly, I must add) the stereotypical image of a family sitting in front of a T.V screen and being entranced into a certain state of consciousness, easily suggestible and subconsciously influenced by whatever is the dominant theme – violence, romance, idols, etc.
Yet apart from being a literal form of social conditioning in itself, the T.V can serve as an analogy to the idea of being programmed and influenced by society at large. The most important aspect to this analogy is the idea of channels of communication. Simply put, just like T.V channels, there are certain channels of communication in our society through which we passively receive certain type of pre-selected information (whether with an agenda or otherwise) and get this information fixed in our subconscious…a.k.a social conditioning.
The other part of the analogy is the idea of tuning in and out of a channel (if like me you remember analogue T.V, way before digital cable, satellite or internet T.V). If you want to stick to digital, then you can say ‘switch to another channel’ or ‘change the channel’. Whatever the case, the idea is quite simple – you might have your favourite channel or channels – perhaps the movie or sports channel with a light dash of news once in a while. So these favourite channels are what you habitually (and let’s face it – unconsciously) tune into to get your quick fix, entertainment or ‘education’. You are also free to change channels, or best yet, switch of the tube and get out of the room.
Who does the conditioning? and who runs the program? Various agents, networks and groups. You can say no one in particular and many at the same time. Our lives are run through different tracks and channels all of which contribute to our beliefs, ideas, wants, fears and perceived needs. Here are some of the most common channels of social conditioning, old and new, that we face throughout life.
Many say that it all starts here, and it most certainly does. First off, the members of the nuclear family, mummy, daddy, and siblings, will form the closest bonds and will exert the major influence to your emotional development and personality. The first 5 years of our life, even before we get in to school, are the most formative one and anything imprinted there will stay there for the rest of our lives unless we do not reprogram our subconscious to change those deep beliefs embedded in our psyche during that period. Secondly, values and habits (whether good or bad) are transmitted by parents to child in a way that no other channel does. A lot of what you do and believe (unconsciously for the biggest part) started from the programming in this channel.
Of course this is the main program. Still obligatory in most countries and it is considered by pros and armchair sociologists alike as the main institution for shaping and controlling minds and ideas. Uniformity is another main concept associated with schooling, specifically the idea that schools ‘manufacture’ citizens who think more or less in the same way. This leads to one of the biggest resource deficit on a planetary scale – good thinking.
In school we were also subjected to peer pressure apart from exams, insufferable teachers and punishments in all forms and sizes. This is where we learned the school yard politics or in other words how to survive through it with the best of our resources whether that was wit, attractiveness or personality. It has a big impact on our formative years and is definitely responsible for at least some of our programming.
We mentioned the T.V already. Like school, this is a biggie. It has warped minds like nothing else during the last few decades. Imagine going to a hypnotist for 4 hours a day (not sure about average numbers of T.V viewing here) but instead of being helped out of a problem he or she is implanting crap in your subconscious mind. Nice.
This is the crack or heroine for millennials. The social Media, the big F or whichever platform your peers and cohorts hang most around. It’s seriously a drug for many and I personally know people who cannot imagine their life without it. I do understand its attraction points – we are social creatures and it can give people (whether authentically or falsely) a sense of belonging to a larger group. For many though it is about approval – you know how many likes you get when wearing that new dress or posing in front of your new motorbike. It’s a sand castle build upon the drives and illusions of mass consciousness.
Of course it’s not all bad crap. There are a lot of success stories with social media in particular. For one it has continued to democratise the web and shift the centre of power from the few to the many. Just like any technology however it tends to be a reflection of the collective consciousness as a race with its good and bad.
OK so we have been subjected to this mind manipulation all of our lives. Now what? What’s the use of flipping through the channels if they are all spewing the same garbage? Actually it’s not about flipping from one channel to the other but about flipping the channels on their head. It’s about reprogramming. It’s about detuning ourselves from these channels of information as consciously as we possibly can. This is already a big shift we can make in our lives. An enormous shift, really.
The sacred, the sublime, has always walked amongst the profane. The signs are everywhere, blended into the sidewalks, pulp fictions, and the kitsch trappings of the art world. For iconic sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, most of the sublime things of his world were disguised as trash that seamlessly slipped into the background of a dysfunctional world reality. The seeming trash of the everyday mundane clashed with incoming cosmic mutterings that have found their way into much of our popular culture.
Science fiction is always more important than science
In the US especially, a blend of anarchic cultural subversions were manifesting that played upon known semi-mystical memes. Enochian magic, Golden Dawn rituals, meta-computing of the mind, and a weird kind of chaos were springing up within treatises of popular culture. One of these was the text of the Principia Discordia that emerged in the nineteen-sixties as a ‘sacred text’ of Discordianism. Written by Malaclypse the Younger (Greg Hill) and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst (Kerry Thornley) it proclaimed “All hail Discordia!” in a mixture of goddess worship with the notion of order and disorder as balancing illusions. The fifth commandment of Principia Discordia states, ‘V – A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing What he Reads.’[i] In line with what today we would call a ‘post-truth’ position the Principia Discordia knew that ‘Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.’
Discordia came to influence the writings of maverick author-philosopher Robert Anton Wilson, who popularised it further in his books, especially in ‘The Illuminatus! Trilogy.’ These utterances were further echoed by the writer William S. Burroughs who, besides experimenting in cut-up narrative techniques, proclaimed a Discordian-esque ‘Nothing is absolutely true – Everything is permissible.’ And with this endless possibility came the rise of literate figures, or rather literary magicians, who were connected to systems of magic, such as the Golden Dawn. Popular culture began to open up and see combined forms of neoshamanism, eastern philosophy, quantum science, visionary art, and computer technology. This modern twist on magic was part of a wider trend in experimenting with new forms of stimulating and awakening consciousness. These paths were attempting to destabilize our conditioning patterns and our resultant consensus reality. They were all aimed at waking up the usually-slumbering human mind. As the seminal work Waking Up (1986) by Charles Tart showed, humanity was largely intoxicated with a ‘consensus trance’ that kept us from recognizing sigils of the sacred. In more recent years the metaphors and memes of being trapped within a waking dream, or of dreams within dreams, have been explored in such popular films as ‘The Truman Show’ (1998); the ‘Matrix Trilogy’ (1999-2003); and Inception (2010). Part of the myth we find ourselves popularising is the mythology that we are in some sort of constructed reality – a gnostic-inspired simulacrum of truth.
Gnostic ideas are now being presented and consumed in ever more popular forms of culture. There’s an odd wave of mystical-spiritual impulses now radiating through popular culture that encourages us to throw ourselves into new fantastic realms and mythological fictions. These are modern mash-ups of the counterculture now being packaged and presented as part of mainstream culture. And in recent years the most extraordinary success in this area has been the incredible, phenomenal rise of the modern superhero.
Superheroes & the Super-Self
It appears we are now in desperate need of our superheroes and mutants to save us from a form of tyrannical humankind. We seek a cultural expression for the human psyche; for our psychic currents and transmissions and sacred communication. Hence, our superheroes must live on! We have the X-Men walking amongst us, a mutant subspecies of humans. The natural order is evo-mythological – it is sacred, beyond human, and connects us with evolutionary currents. In the absence of our ancient myths we have ingested the sacred alchemical root and through pop-culture morphed this transformation into the new wave of superheroes – myth lives anew in spandex. Maybe it is a cliché because it’s true; we wish to find the personal superhero within each of us – the journey of the individual, unfolding within the great cosmic drama. This mythical journey has so far taken us from scientific rationalism and industrial modernity, and now we may finally be becoming more than we are; that is, more than human.
Our popular subcultures are gradually becoming the norm. It is not only a question of whether more people are interested or not, but rather that these ideas are more widely available now thanks to popular culture. The waking life and the dream are becoming part of the same movie plot, as in Richard Linklater’s film version of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly (2006). We are more and more waking up into our own movie – our very own Truman Show – where ideas are seeded directly into our environments in order to catalyze our awakening. Like many of the ancient wisdoms have foretold, we have been asleep in a distant land and now we are receiving messages and signals flashing like neon signs through our popular culture. This marks our juncture, our crisis point, between moving toward waking up or falling back into catastrophic and catatonic slumber.
Our ultra high-definition visual culture is acting like a portal for the otherworld to enter. The psychedelic experiences that were once fringe and condemned are being re-played out through modern fictions that blend Gnostic, mythological, and multidimensional themes. Transcendental states of consciousness, ratified by the far explorations of new science, are adding to the mix of a new 21st century mythology that as of yet remains unnamed. Perhaps we are emerging toward the birth of new sacred gods. These are the gods of mutations, of neurological and biological adaptations. And they are emerging first in our pop cultures as our superheroes and psychic mutants. In this initiation into a psychically enhanced future we will need more than ever to learn how to distinguish the demonic from the spiritual. Hence the current barrage of films, TV series, and fiction that shows angels vs. devils, humans vs. vampires, and the whole gamut of the good vs. the bad that has crawled from the forest floor to enter into the quest for the Holy Grail. In this way the gods will never be forgotten as they merge with a super-augmented mutant humanity in spandex. The real gods, as we knew all along and yet had temporarily forgotten, reside within our psyche – they are kept in mind. And yet they can only become real for us – to re-mind us – when dashing about on the stage and streets in front of our very eyes. We need the sacred to slap our faces in spandex gloves before we begin to blink a waking eye. That is, our sacred and supernatural fictions appear for us and require our engagement with them.
The latest revival in the superheroes genre is significant in how it takes the mutant meme further and projects it forward as a form of evolutionary mysticism. Our new heroes are displaying to us our latent capacities and powers that are yet to unfold. We are witness to the first wave of mutant evolutionary pioneers. The summit of human evolution is far in the distance, and yet its early stages are manifesting through the Marvel and DC Universes where god-like potentials await us. Through such characters as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and Doctor Strange, Marvel mesmerizes paranormal subliminals into popular cultural consciousness. And DC does the same with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Green Arrow. Then as gangs they come together as the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men (Marvel), or as the Justice League (DC). They are now our teachers, our guides, our mutant futures that are beyond human. The mutants have become practicing mystics.
We are seemingly living more and more in a mutational and metaphysical universe; and with the arrival of augmented reality our boundaries of interaction with the physical world around us will blur. We are already well on our way as our outer and inner spaces explode into new blistering supernova.
Outer Spaces – Inner Spaces
Humankind has always been a child of the stars. Our early civilizations mapped the heavens before they mapped the terrain under their feet. So it was no surprise then when the UFOs started to dart across our urban skies and come crashing down disguised as government weather balloons.[ii] Recent popular culture has nurtured a fascination with outer spaces and our galactic cousins from the Golden Age of science fiction of the nineteen thirties, forties, and fifties to the new wave of the sixties and seventies. The concerns of our outer space relations shifted from how to make contact with our space cousins to the entropic death of the universe. And then the environmental theme entered our outer spaces, as if a subliminal projection from our very own inner spaces. The growing number of alleged UFO abductees that emerged in the latter part of the twentieth century began to relay messages of extraterrestrial concern for our planetary well-being.
John. E Mack, an American professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in his later years became a leading authority on the spiritual or transformational effects of the alien abduction experience. Mack came to view the alien abduction phenomenon as acting as a catalyst to open human consciousness to the wider possibilities of connection with the universe. For more than a decade Mack rigorously studied the alien abduction phenomenon and interviewed hundreds of people (whom Mack referred to as ‘experiencers’).[iii] What initially started out as an exercise in studying mental illness soon turned into an in-depth inquiry into personal and spiritual transformation. Mack eventually came to see the alien abduction phenomenon as one of the most powerful agents for spiritual growth, personal transformation, and expanded awareness – in other words, as a trigger for a sacred experience. Despite the external anxiety produced by the experience, it was clear to both Mack and his set of experiencers that a profound communion was being established between humankind and other realities. Further, that this interaction was catalyzing a shift in human consciousness toward collapsing the old models of materialistic duality and opening up a connection not only ‘beyond the Earth’ but with other dimensional realities.