The Foreign Installation, or Depersonalisation

Every once in a while, I come across some insightful remark on what I have been calling “the foreign installation”, somewhat after Carlos Castaneda’s usage. The “foreign installation” is the alien presence in the mind, an imposter, an invader and occupier who is mistaken for being even the very sense of oneself, and who is referred to in Buddhist literature as the demon “Mara”, Architect and Lord of Illusions and Delusions. Freud similarly referred to the foreign installation as “the superego”, the authority figure in the mind, the inner tyrant and despot, the inner repressor and Censor.

The most recent description of the foreign installation (and it’s quite a good one) comes from Derrick Jensen’s and George Draffan’s book Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control. I like to cite these observations from time to time to give readers more insight into the foreign installation and its tricksyness. In some ways, it makes sense equally to say that the foreign installation is the mind itself, or is the cause for the sense of self-estrangement, alienation, and those things which make for depersonalisation.

Here is Derrick Jensen’s description, which opens the book:

“When I was a child, I was taught – as a fundamentalist Christian – that while the devil could not read my mind, he watched everything I did, scanning for the slightest shift of my body or expression that would reveal my thoughts. He did this, I was told, because he wanted to know me. And he wanted to know me not because he loved me – as God did, who watched me also and who knew in addition what went on in my head and in my heart – but because he wanted to tempt and even control me.

My response as a child was to attempt to control myself, to let neither my face nor body, nor especially my actions, reveal my thoughts. I’d fool him! But I knew even at age five that this was a waste of time. I knew – though of course I could not have used this language – that if the devil, or for that matter anyone, could assemble a large enough body of data about my external habits, he could in time effectively read my mind. I knew also that the capacity to read my mind, whether by God, man, or devil, would lead necessarily to the capacity to control me: surveillance controls, and absolute surveillance controls absolutely.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that by attempting to control myself I was effectively surrendering my freedom. I was allowing my fear – of the devil, and in retrospect even more so of God – to determine by actions, my expressions, my thoughts, and most damning of all, what I did not think.”

The foreign installation begins with the internalisation of the social and parental authority figure, and in George Orwell’s terms, this was equally called “Big Brother”.  It is in those terms that we find mentioned, in much of the wisdom tradition, that the first obstacle to be overcome is the parental authority in the mind, for the parental authority is the agent of socialisation and the first source of the “infection” of depersonalisation, as it were.

This is also acknowledged in the book of the Christians, for although the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament commands “honour thy father and thy mother”, the law of Jesus and the New Testament states it differently (beginning Matthew 10:34)

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;…”

This is quite revolutionary, of course (which is why the New Testament is called “new”), and must have been considered seditious language in his time. This passage makes sense only for the one reason that Jesus is the teacher of total freedom, as he reveals in John 8:31 – 36, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” and “if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed”.

Likewise, Rumi’s poem “Craftsmanship and Emptiness” speaks to the parental authority figure in the mind in similar terms,

The mother and father are your attachment
to beliefs and bloodties
and desires and comforting habits.
Don’t listen to them!
They seem to protect
but they imprison.

They are your worst enemies.
They make you afraid
of living in emptiness.

Some day you’ll weep tears of delight in that court,
remembering your mistaken parents!

And so we find in Castaneda, too, that don Juan has his apprentices imagine they are crushing the images of their parents between their thumb and forefinger, not because of any especial cruelty towards one’s parents, but of the “imprisoning” authority that the parental image has in the mind which, correspondingly, always puts you in the position of being the permanent child with immature, childlike dependencies.

This is the reasoning.  You must overcome the “foreign installation” in the mind in order to overcome this permanent sense of childhood dependency. And the social authority that is transmitted down from generation to generation, which is called “breeding”, is transmitted through the parental image.  So, we could call the foreign installation “the Potentate” also, as well as the “Censor”. And this is what William Blake was equally referring to as “the mind-forg’d manacles” in his poem “London“,

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear
That the line of transmission of the “mind-forg’d manacles” is through the parental and generational succession seems to be the conclusion of the last verse of Blake’s poem,
But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear 
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
So, the “foreign installation” is the parental authority figure or voice of authority in the mind, which is also called “superego” (and called by Blake “the Selfhood”) and which is, in some ways, what is called “mind” itself.
So, one must equally become one’s own “Inquisitor” as it were — inquiring, like the Buddha, whether one’s own beliefs and assumptions are really one’s own, or were merely instilled and placed there by someone else. And the Buddha took this line of inquiry to such an extent that he finally encountered “Mara” — called “the Architect” — who is the foreign installation and the source of the mind-forg’d manacles. And in that way, he finally achieved what Rumi calls “emptiness”, but which is called in Castaneda’s books “infinity” or “total freedom”.
And in William Blake’s terms, this is called “cleansing the doors of perception”.
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30 responses to “The Foreign Installation, or Depersonalisation”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Always seems to be something that occurs to me post-post that I should have added….

    Let me put it this way… just as parents must let go of their children, so children must let go of their parents. This is the other part of the dialectic that is seldom reflected upon.

    This phrase “letting go” that one encounters so very often in guided meditation ultimately aims at this foreign installation. “Letting go” ultimately means, too, achieving emptiness. It’s all very logical, even by contemporary standards of logic. For what is even the notion of original mind as “tabula rasa” except Rumi’s “emptiness”, or the Buddha’s “empty mirror”?

    Essence is emptiness.
    Everything else accidental.

    Emptiness brings peace to your loving.
    Everything else, disease.

    In this world of trickery emptiness
    is what your soul wants. — Rumi

  2. Scott Preston says :

    French philosopher Michel Foucault described the implications of ‘Panopticism’ in his 1975 work Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. These remarks follow from Jeremy Bentham’s proposal for a “Panopticon” prison (and ultimately social) architecture from which Orwell took his notion of universal surveillance for his book 1984 and the all-seeing eye of Big Brother. Ironically, Bentham proposed this panopticon architecture first for prisons, later for education, schools, factories, “work-houses”, etc.

    “Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers. To achieve this, it is at once too much and too little that the prisoner should be constantly observed by an inspector: too little, for what matters is that he knows himself to be observed; too much, because he has no need in fact of being so. In view of this, Bentham laid down the principle that power should be visible and unverifiable. Visible: the inmate will constantly have before his eyes the tall outline of the central tower from which he is spied upon. Unverifiable: the inmate must never know whether he is being looked at at any one moment; but he must be sure that he may always be so. In order to make the presence or absence of the inspector unverifiable, so that the prisoners, in their cells, cannot even see a shadow, Bentham envisaged not only venetian blinds on the windows of the central observation hall, but, on the inside, partitions that intersected the hall at right angles and, in order to pass from one quarter to the other, not doors but zig-zag openings; for the slightest noise, a gleam of light, a brightness in a half-opened door would betray the presence of the guardian. The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen.”

    pp. 195-228 of Discipline & Punish

  3. alexjay says :

    ” The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen.”

    Pretty much summarises the “full spectrum” surveillance grid currently deployed in the most mature “democratic” countries. Talk about a total perversion!!! Whereas, once upon a time (in my lifetime), the citizen watched the government (thanks largely to a yet not totally compromised fourth estate), now the mantra is: only government has the right to privacy. To read and watch the numerous morons that defend this abomination under the pretext of a manufactured and bogus “war on terror” without an universal public outcry makes me physically sick.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes, it is quite cunning how democracy’s “night watchmen” of the “free press” have themselves become the watched. It reflects, nonetheless (as I wrote earlier) that “State” and “Nation” no longer coincide, and correspond more to that caricature of the extremes of “Ego” and “It” that Rosenstock described in his essay “Farewell to Descartes”, and this parallels equally that situation of contemporary consciousness that Seth also describes — a dangerous situation in which the ego consciousness has lost awareness of its roots, which situation is reflected in contemporary reality, including the State – Nation (or subject versus object, ego or it) divide or dualism. In this we see Seth’s remark about “you create the reality you know”. The social order is also a faithful reflection of these psycho-dynamics. The State is the ego run amok.

      But that was already implied in Hegel’s philosophy, who saw the State as the embodiment of “Reason”, that is, as something corresponding to the ego consciousness or Gebser’s “mental-rational structure”. In Hegel, the State is the very subjectivity of the Nation, and the Nation corresponds to the body as in “body politic”. This is why Blake on occasion describes societies as taking the form of a single man, one of the forms of “Adam”, who is (in don Juan’s terms) the “human mold” or human archetype.

      In broader terms, the “revolt of the masses” is the revolt of the body consciousness against the tyranny or repressiveness of this ego consciousness, which is embodied in “the State”. For the subject object dichotomy becomes mirrored in the State-Nation dichotomy as mind and body dualism.

      This situation will not change until there is a change in the structure of the ego consciousness. As Seth says, it must become familiar with its roots or, failing that, perish.

      • Scott Preston says :

        By the way, there’s also a great passage in Rosenstock-Huessy’s essay “In Defense of the Grammatical Method” that speaks to the dichotomisation of reality into extremes of Ego and It, or Subject and Object, Mind and Body (consequently, now, State and Nation) that arises as a consequence of the error of metaphysical dualism (Cartesianism)

        “..the abstractions of the eighteenth century enlightenment still lingered on sufficiently to veil the struggle for existence that is implied in every word we speak. The body was delegated to the struggle for food and shelter; the ‘mind,’ however, with the optimism of the age of reason, was contemplating the truth of the matter.”

        Very well put, and speaks equally to the problem of a deracinated ego consciousness that Seth identifies as a critical and perilous problem of the current human condition.

        This brings to mind, again, Blake’s objection to the enlightenment as well, as he put it in “the Voice of the Devil” in his Marriage of Heaven and Hell

        All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.

        1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
        2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
        3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

        But the following Contraries to these are True

        1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age
        2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
        3 Energy is Eternal Delight,

        Reason as “the bound or outward circumference of Energy” refers to the ego consciousness (a term not available to Blake in his time), and this is equally the wayward “falcon” of Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, “circling and circling in the widening gyre” — leading to dis-integration by centrifugal force. It no longer hears or takes its bearings from the voice of the “Falconer”, which is the image of Seth’s “roots”. Equally, the falcon may be thought of as the Prodigal Son, and therefore also a symbol of the ego consciousness which has become wayward, ie, no longer connected to its source, as David Bowie’s “Major Tom” also. And this is the state called “alienation” or self-estrangement (but also, depersonalisation).

        Very critical time we are in, in terms of the state of human consciousness.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Might add to the above remarks, that to Blake, if human beings were to understand the “voice of the Devil” as he put it above, the human condition would change radically, and the race would outrun the danger that it now faces. In effect Blake’s main complaint against the blinkered consciousness of the “age of reason” is the same as Rosenstock’s, and the rectification of that problem also similarly expressed,

          “The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell.
          For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed and appear infinite and holy whereas it now appears finite & corrupt.
          This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.
          But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged; this I shall do, by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid.
          If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
          For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narow chinks of his cavern.”

          The ego consciousness that becomes divorced from its roots can only end in one state — narcissism, which the ancients called “idolatry”. And so we have the extreme “culture of narcissism” as it exists today.

          • Scott Preston says :

            Maybe I should just post of blog on this topic rather than keep adding to the comment thread, but I’ll add this too…

            In his book Thinking and Destiny, Harold Waldwin Percival describes the “fall of man” as the result of a failure to balance consciousness between the “feeling-and-desire mind” and the “body consciousness”. The latter, in fact, means the ego consciousness, not the “body” in Blake’s or Rosenstock’s terms. The mind of “feeling-and-desire” corresponds to what Blake means by “the sensual”, not the senses per se which, in Seth’s terms, are “lovely liars”. By “sensual enjoyment” Blake is referring to the “Energies”, which are in the realm of feeling-and-desire or what is called “intuitive” or which is called by Seth “Framework 2”.

            This is,in turn, the basis for Ortega y Gassett’s “Revolt of the Masses” — the fear of which is, in fact, the justification for universal surveillance by the State as embodied “rationality”. For it is not the “masses” per se that instigate revolt, but these repressed “energies” of the repressed feeling-and-desire mind or what is presently called (revealingly) “the unconscious”. It is, in effect, the body that is in revolt against the tyranny of the ego consciousness which, in our time, takes the form of “the mental-rational” now become “deficient” in Gebser’s terms.

            Now, this is important because Seth speaks to this very problem (as does Rosenstock-Huessy) of the “Energies” in “irruption” (Gebser’s term for this), and this “irruption” is the revolutionary. An “enlightened” ego consciousness is necessary to shape these Energies into “cultural patterns”, as Seth puts it, otherwise the consequence of not doing so is massive destruction or, as he puts it “rebirth of superstitions”, terror, and so on as has usually accompanied such “irruptions” in the past.

            This is the reason for Rosenstock’s “cross of reality” and his “grammatical method” — it is an attempt to provide a model or template for the “irruption” of these energies and form them into cultural patterns. Rosenstock called this approach one of “concordance” of the discordant or “synchronisation of anatagonistic distemporaries”.. The cross of reality, as a mandala form, provides the model for organising the energies into cultural patterns, so fulfilling Seth’s requirements.

            It should be noted that “the revolt of the masses” anticipated by Ortega y Gassett is also anticipated in that sense by Seth, Blake, and by Rosenstock, too. After his great study of the history of revolutions in his book Out of Revolution: Autobiography of Western Man he concluded there would yet be a fifth major revolution that would integrate or bring to a consummation all the earlier ones, and this, he foresaw, would be based on the principle of “health” — the holistic or integral. This is also Gebser’s expectation.

            So despite the “conventional wisdom” that revolutions have their roots in the economic problem (poverty, etc), this is error. They are “irruptions” of the Blakean “energies” — the revolts of the suppressed mind of feeling-and-desire or what is called “the passions”, and for that reason they are very, very explosive and often seemingly irrational in manifestation. They don’t have their roots in the economic problem, but in the spiritual problem — the constant effort to redress the imbalance that exists between the mind of feeling-and-desire and the ego consciousness. And even when these revolutions are “victorious”, they actually fail more often than they succeed and fail to fulfill their expectations and goals. Yet, they do nonetheless result in some adjustment of the problem.

  4. Abdulmonem says :

    Those who have woken up from sleep are in constant search for inspired sources to help them understand the reality, to burn the veil of ambiguity and to enter the field of clarity through cleansing the door of perception. It is a sincere personal preparation before tapping the inspired source. All sources are available, godly and non-godly. In chapter 91 of the Quran that deals with the different phenomena of creations, there is a verse that deal with the human self that reads as follow, and we have designed the self, imbued with both forces of vice and virtue and given the human, the faculty of either siding with the vicious aspect of the self or with the virtuous aspect, happy are those that side with the high and losers are those who side with the low. Worship is structured in the structure of the human and the choice of the idol is left to him, that is why we find different idols in the world, some go for one god, some for several, some go for cows ,other for money and etc. Our search is to find the point of repose and to end this state of restlessness.

    • Scott Preston says :

      …and we have designed the self, imbued with both forces of vice and virtue and given the human, the faculty of either siding with the vicious aspect of the self or with the virtuous aspect, happy are those that side with the high and losers are those who side with the low.

      That does sound like what we have been referring to here as “the Shadow” as “siding with the low”. It also reminds me of Nietzsche’s formula for nihilism — once again, “All higher values devalue themselves”, or… the high are made low.

      We must make a distinction between an idol and a symbol, however. A symbol is, ideally, transparent and translucent. The light of the divine shines through it and it is known as a symbol. When the light does not shine through the symbol, it becomes opaque and dark. And when opaqueness and darkness covers over the eyes, the symbol then becomes an idol. But when an idol becomes transparent and translucent, it ceases to be an idol and becomes a symbol, and then is known and perceived as a symbol.

      Take Blake’s “eternity in the hour” as an example. When an hour is just an hour of clock time, it is like an idol and time becomes an idol — opaque and dark. But when an hour is perceived as a doorway for eternity, an hour becomes a symbol.

      Idols are symbols which have forgotten they are symbols, for they have no light or life of their own. Just as the ego-nature has no life or light of its own. And the ego-nature, too, can become an idol even as “the self-image”, for when the ego nature comes to identify with the self-image, then this is what we call “narcissism”. And one of the symptoms of severe narcissism is feeling lifeless — feelings of being merely a machine, an automaton, or a computer, or a “cog in the machine”.

      But when the ego-nature becomes transparent, it also becomes translucent. Then the light shines through it, and it is no longer opaque, dark, or obscured, living in a fog and in the Cloud of Unknowing. And this is the meaning of Jesus’ saying “why hide your light under a bushel basket?” The bushel basket is the ego-nature or “Selfhood”.

      And so, there is the true “jihad” (as Bukhari stated) and the true “crusade” (as Anastasius stated) and the true “warrior’s path” as Castaneda’s don Juan stated — the path of self-overcoming, which is simply “letting go” so that the ego-nature may become transparent, and know its roots and its source lie beyond the circumference of the ego-nature and the opaqueness of the self-image.

      So be it.

      • Abdulmonem says :

        These concepts do not turn in their opposite automatically, but through the presence or absence of the human attention and intention. It is what we observe give shape to the observed. This shows how important the observer role is in the process of grasping and shaping his world and his or her self. Thank you for an excellent explanation for the ascending. journey

  5. Abdulmonem says :

    Being an addressee we need to understand the message, but alas we refused to be an addressee, and therefore denied the message and thus the problem started.

  6. LittleBigMan says :

    “Now, this is important because Seth speaks to this very problem (as does Rosenstock-Huessy) of the “Energies” in “irruption” (Gebser’s term for this), and this “irruption” is the revolutionary. An “enlightened” ego consciousness is necessary to shape these Energies into “cultural patterns”, as Seth puts it, otherwise the consequence of not doing so is massive destruction or, as he puts it “rebirth of superstitions”, terror, and so on as has usually accompanied such “irruptions” in the past.

    “This is the reason for Rosenstock’s “cross of reality” and his “grammatical method” — it is an attempt to provide a model or template for the “irruption” of these energies and form them into cultural patterns. Rosenstock called this approach one of “concordance” of the discordant or “synchronisation of anatagonistic distemporaries”.. The cross of reality, as a mandala form, provides the model for organising the energies into cultural patterns, so fulfilling Seth’s requirements.”

    Yes, but the fundamental problem here is that the “enlightened ego consciousness” is very rare and even rarest amongst the power elite. And if we are to re-examine and discard much of what our parents spoon-fed us as a child, then what hope do we have at making alliances with others in creating this revolutionary irruption?

    So, here is my hypothesis……and to be perfectly honest, it is not all a theory or hypothesis, since I have felt its arrival and intention many years ago…..

    I do believe in this fifth irruption.

    But to me, the real impetus for this irruption is the Mother Earth and the environment. As you have pointed out on The Dark Age Blog and here on The Chrysalis many times, our species has been on the wrong (deficient) path for some time now. But this point has not been lost on Mother Nature, and she first sent her troops with the Greenhouse Effect. And the reinforcements have been arriving ever since and non-stop. (I speak in these terms because that’s how I view emotions and feelings as well – as troops of some kind ebbing and flowing from within our greater consciousness. To me these are real entities).

    When our species finally one day emerges from underneath the hoofs of Mother Nature, it will be a much humbler species and its ego-consciousness will finally have gained the ability to connect with its roots – The Earth – in a way like never before.

    Similar to a mother protecting and saving her offspring from danger and destruction, through salvation in the hands of her Mother Nature our ego-consciousness will learn to bond with its roots in a way that it will make it impossible for the species to ever again use its technology to exploit and abuse its resources. There and then will begin the age of cooperation between mankind and a lifestyle that entails living in harmony and respect toward the nurturing Mother Nature.

    Yet again, since our collective consciousness is behind creating the camouflage of reality, then, the irruption has already begun at a subconscious level. Those with an existence in Framework 2 must be ecstatic as they watch all the fireworks from the immense energy flux that is causing all the havoc across the continents at the present time.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The Earth in crisis is part of the ecodynamics of this irruption and its turbulence. As Seth once put it, “storms to the stormy”, and this is connected with what Gebser calls “chaotic emotion”. I quote from his Ever-Present Origin, from the first chapter entitled “Fundamental Considerations” which I posted a link to earlier, ( http://www.jean-gebser-gesellschaft.ch/Dokumente/Considerations.pdf )

      “We shall therefore begin with the evidence and not with idealistic constructions; in the face of present-day weapons of annihilation, such constructions have less chance of survival than ever before. But as we shall see, weapons and nuclear fission are not the only realities to be dealt with; spiritual reality in its intensified form is also becoming effectual and real. This new spiritual reality is without question our only security that the threat of material destruction can be averted. Its realization alone seems able to guarantee man‘s continuing existence in the face of the powers of technology, rationality, and chaotic emotion. If our consciousness, that is, the individual person‘s awareness, vigilance, and clarity of vision, cannot master the new reality and make possible its realization, then the prophets of doom will have been correct. Other alternatives are an illusion; consequently, great demands are placed on us, and each one of us have been given a grave responsibility, not merely to survey but to actually traverse the path opening before us. ”

      Gebser’s linkage of “technology, rationality, and chaotic emotion” — this troika now pushing this civilisation towards its endgame — has deeper significance than I can reasonably address here, but they are connected. As the turbulence of the civilisation of the late modern era is entangled with this “chaotic emotion”, so the problem of climate change arises also from this turbulence in a chain of consequence — of the chain of consequence which is called “the karmic law” of action and reaction. “Storms to the stormy” or, “you create the reality you know”. Likewise, Rosenstock addressed this odd coincidence of rationalism and chaotic emotion in one and the same mind in his essay “Farewell to Descartes”, as the consequence of metaphysical dualism.

      What is metaphysical dualism, really? Well, besides the “mind-body” or subject object dichotomy, it was the death of the Satyr. No coincidence that the Greeks announced “the great god Pan is dead” with the rise of Greek rationalism (later resurrected as “Renaissance”). The satyr is the coincidentia oppositorum of the natural and supernatural — the miracle of the speaking animal. Pan’s name means “All” because he is this coincidentia oppositorum. So, we are less “naked ape” than satyr.

      Nietzsche, as disciple of Dionysus, was the satyr Silenus, tutor of Dionysus. William Blake was the satyr Pan.

      But what happened to Pan? Know that he became Descartes “evil genius” and the demon of Laplace — disembodied mind. Split apart into mind and body. And this “evil genius” was the very thing the intellect, which despised the body, wanted to become,

      The satyr as disintegrate being, not longer a unity, is what Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde is.

      The “naked ape” view is as much error and exaggeration as the “evil genius” ideal, for one leads to Mr. Hyde, and the other to Dr. Jekyll. And so the creature “man” remains schizoid.

      And this is where the problem of Earth in upheaval ultimately has its roots.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “But as we shall see, weapons and nuclear fission are not the only realities to be dealt with; spiritual reality in its intensified form is also becoming effectual and real.” – Jean Gebser

        Amen! I am routing for this with all my desire. And I believe the intensification of this spiritual reality is already at work through the unignorable environmental upheavals we have been witnessing.

        Just this morning, there was a major debate on the bay area public radio, KQED, about the environmental impacts of “fracking” for Natural Gas. As usual, there were some “nay-sayers” from the oil industry on the program, too, denying the increase in the number of earthquakes and groundwater pollution due to fracking activity. The oil industry experts and a governmental agency are conducting monitoring of fracking activity to assess the impact. Great! As if we don’t already know what their reports are going to conclude: “All is well in the Western front!”

    • Scott Preston says :

      Apropos your comment here, LittleBigMan, this article by Michael Klare appeared in this morning’s Guardian

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/climate-change-protest-global-green-revolution

      Klare’s observations are consistent with Rosenstock’s (and with Gebser’s) forecasts. Way back in 1938 in his book Out of Revoution: Autobiography of Western Man, Rosenstock, after surveying the history of the modern revolutions (Lutheran, English Civil War, French Revolution, Russian Revolution) clearly showed an interconnected pattern, and that the “ecodynamics” of these revolutions (a word which was quite novel then) also pointed to an incipient “fifth” revolution that Rosenstock anticipated would be based on the principle “health” (which is actually the meaning of the word “integral”). So Klare has perhaps tapped into the ecodynamic unfolding of what Rosenstock (and Gebser) anticipated.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        A very timely article.

        “A “green revolution” is unlikely to arise from a highly structured political campaign with clearly identified leaders. In all likelihood, it will erupt spontaneously, after a cascade of climate-change induced disasters provokes an outpouring of public fury. Once ignited, however, it will undoubtedly ratchet up the pressure for governments to seek broad-ranging, systemic transformations of their energy and climate policies.” – The
        Guardian

        Very similar to the fiasco surrounding the George Bush administration after hurricane Katrina.

        “Faced with such rebellions, recalcitrant governments will respond with some combination of accommodation to popular demands and harsh repression.” – The Guardian

        Unfortunately for the governments, the security apparatus will not be able to detain and jail the environment 🙂

        “Americans are not, for the most part, passive people.” – The Guardian

        I have to disagree with this a bit, since I think Americans were not passive at one time, but they have become passive at the present time. In fact, I think this is one of the most dangerous trends in the psyche of the American public. This America isn’t the America of the 60s and the 70s. I do hope that I am mistaken in this, though.

        Thank you for linking to the Guardian article.

        • Scott Preston says :

          A few years ago, I had a dream of the Green Man, and you have reminded me of it.

          In the dream, I am traveling down a road beside a long lake. As we travel down this road, we pass through ancient ages and eras — ancient forests, then the ages of the dinosaurs and reptiles, and so on. Finally we turn a corner at the end of the lake and arrive at a town. (The exact corner at the end of the lake is what is shown in the photo in my “About” page). I look out from the town down the length of the lake and see that all the ages and eras and epochs that I passed through are still there, still in their own “space” or time, yet mysteriously all existing at once within their own time boundaries along the side of the lake.

          Suddenly, behind me, I hear a a terrifying sound and rumbling, and looking behind me I see a gigantic form rising from the hills, who I thought was the hills until it was aroused and rose. He is ancient, green with foliage and roots dangling from this body. Gigantic clumps of old earth and soil fall away from his body as he lifts himself up. The people in the town now flee in panic in every direction. I turn to flee also, but suddenly the earth opens up before me — a huge hole — and I look down into the hole and see miles below another earth, a different earth, even as the terrifying form of the giant Green Man continues to descend on the town, obviously in a rage and a mood to destroy. I experience vertigo at the prospect of falling down through that hole. I am trapped between the Green Man and that hole. I can neither flee nor retreat, neither go forwards nor backwards. Feeling hopeless, I wake up.

          Even in my waking state afterwards, however, I lived in horror of the Green Man, and for weeks afterwards he was there even in my waking state, for I would come across a book on “the Green Man”, and then a movie called “the Green Man”, or some other reference to the Green Man. It was as if he himself was still pointing himself out to me, putting these things in my path, saying: “Here, read this. Here, note this. And if you aren’t horrified by it, you aren’t horrified enough”. It was uncanny and eery, and for a while I felt as if the boundaries between my dreaming and objective reality had dissolved completely, and I could not tell the one from the other. And it still happens on occasion.

          That is what some call a “power dream” — an ominous dream that crosses the boundaries between sleeping and waking and which transforms the perception of the ordinary, everyday human world, which is the “human town” of my dream.

          So, you are right in a sense — the Green Man will eventually become impatient and angry with the human “town”. And then there will be hell to pay.

          • LittleBigMan says :

            Remarkably, Scott, I had never seen or clicked on the “About” page 🙂

            That is a very nice picture of you. And the background is stunning and inspiring to the nth degree 🙂 It’s so nice meeting you 🙂

            A power dream, indeed. Thank you for sharing that vision. As I understand it, the less pronounced the boundary between the ego consciousness and the greater consciousness, the more an individual is likely to have clairvoyant dreams of this nature. It is a gift.

            A word about nature as I understand it…..

            When I was a kid – even before I was a teenager – every summer my mother used to take me and my brother to the village where her parents lived and where there were farms, mountains, and breathtaking night skies. As soon as I would get to the village, I couldn’t wait until I went out to the fields. But my mother always worried that something might happen to me if I went out to the fields “by myself.” So, she would send for my older cousins who lived in the village and were quite familiar with the fields and the mountains to come and take me to the fields.

            What I never told my parents is that even if I went out to the fields on my own, I was never alone in those fields. Those fields and all that nature were filled with chatter, communication, and life. In those fields, I felt more surrounded by lively invisible entities than walking on the streets of the capital city. In fact, by comparison, it was the city streets that were lonely places. There in those fields, strangely, I felt more recognized than the metropolis where I went to school. It was a place brimming with love and attention.

            Fast forward to the present, and I still feel the same way. Nature is a shrine. A sacred and a divine place. It is filled with meaning and patience and personality. And don Juan gave us plenty of evidence for that, too.

            So, it seems to me that the Green Man in your dreams is the visiting spirit of the Nature that surrounds you in the same way that Mescalito was the visiting spirit of the Peyote plant that visited Castaneda in his dreams.

            Our Mother Earth is a sentient species of sorts. I have absolutely zero doubt about that. The more members of our species come to realize this truth that we are at the mercy of this giant gentle sentient being, the happier and freer our own lives will be.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Well, here’s the kicker. I had dreamed that place — that lake and the curve in the road at the top of the photo, even before I ended up residing there. I had never been there before. Had never seen it. For me, that’s the significance of the photo. Not only that I ended up living at the place in my dream of the Green Man, but that this photo was taken at the place was pure “accident”.

              In some sense, the times are jumbled and out of sequence. It’s as if my “future” self communicated to my “past” self the vision of the landscape where it would be living — in this landscape. Because I had no reason to dream this landscape. It wasn’t until I moved here, a decade or so later, that I suddenly recognised this place as the setting of my dream of the Green Man. You can’t imagine the surprise.

              For days after the dream of the Green Man, I saw tokens of the Green Man everywhere. “The Haunting” you might call it. This was very unusual, because I had never even heard of the Green Man as a universal figure in myth and legend until then.

              It’s fair to say, I think, that the Dark Age Blog and the Chrysalis grew out of that dream — as a response.

              By the way, I did, in a sense, “meet” the Green Man at this spot in the photo. Not far away from where this photo was taken (about 2 km across from me at the same elevation where I’m sitting) there is a modest house, nestled among woods, remotely situated up the side of the valley with a beautiful long view down the lake. You wouldn’t even notice it up there unless you were looking in that direction. But whenever I saw it, I always felt there was something eerily familiar about it.

              I had often wondered who lived up there until one day I met the man who owned it. At the time I met him, I didn’t realise he was that owner. He invited me to visit him and gave me directions how to get there. But it wasn’t until I actually got to his place that I realised, looking down the lake, that it was the exact location of the human town in my dream. I was truly spooked by that. He was, as it turned out, a well-known naturalist, birder, and author of a couple of books on nature! And by this time, I was more bemused by that than shocked. I had exhausted my fund of shock and surprise.

              Then, two or three years ago, I encountered the Muslim Green Man — Al-Khidr. http://khidr.org/. (The illustration on the website is, by the way, a beautiful example of unperspectival spacelessness that emphasises values or intensities over ratios and geometries, the former typical of the mythological or mythical, the latter of the mental-rational or perspectival consciousness).

              The mental-rational consciousness has “de-fanged” or de-natured, as it were, the numinous potency of the Green Man as he existed even amongst the earlier Europeans (pre-modern). He survives in the culture only in a residual and trivialised form — in Robin Hood and in the “Jolly Green Giant.” In fact, I’ld like to see a commercial in which the Jolly Green Giant gets REALLY pissed off rather than ho-ho-hoing like Santa Claus. That’s the way of the mental-rational, however — to de-nature through trivialisation. But the blowback effect is, that it becomes pathetic, petty, small-souled and superficial itself — a petty-minded, small-souled culture that knows no depths and merely lives on and upon the mere surfaces of things.

            • Scott Preston says :

              The Muslim Green Man, by the way, retains all the potencies of the pre-modern European version of the Green Man (one image of which I use as my “avatar” of course), although it’s likely that al-Khidr was once a god (or djinn or “genius”) in his own right and became an angel, messenger, or wali (friend) of Allah later.

              You only have to compare the potency of Al-Khidr with the residual form the Green Man has retained in our trivialised, commercialised culture — as The Jolly Green Giant. This “de-potentisation” of the numinous is typical of the mental-rational consciousness. Yet, in comparing this figure with al-Khidr, one sees in effect how Nietzsche’s “nihilism” works — how “all higher values devalue themselves” or are devalued and made empty through commercialisation. Even the gods, it seems, can be bought off and co-opted, and made into servants of Mammon.

  7. LittleBigMan says :

    This is a remarkable precognitive dream, and it has gotten me to think of a hypothesis……..

    You see, what strikes me the most is how emotionally charged your dream of The Green Man was. You say:

    “Even in my waking state afterwards, however, I lived in horror of the Green Man….”

    In fact, the male figure that has been visiting me regularly in my dreams since I was 5 years old uses emotions to make his appearances in my dreams memorable. Mostly, he uses “fear” to make me remember the dreams. Only when I was 5, which was the first time and the only occasion he appeared to me when I was awake, he did not use “fear” to make his appearance memorable. But he didn’t need to, since he created a physical effect which almost got me into a big trouble with my mother who was furious at the sight of the open window in my bedroom.

    It is precisely for the reason that these dreams are emotionally charged that we remember them and the most minute details about them forever.

    So, my hypothesis is that when dreams are emotionally charged, then we have to take them seriously and take a good look at them with the eye of our mind and try to discover their true meaning. On the other hand, dreams that are visions of events alone without any emotion accompanying them can be considered as useless.

    In other words, I suggest that in the world of dreams:

    emotions = meaningfulness

    • Scott Preston says :

      The act of perception clothes the percept in familiar attributes. The impression of the Green Man as “power” imparts to this impression of potency the aspect of “gigantic” or as having approximate human features. The inscrutability and ungraspability of the infinite imparts the attribute “darkness”. It’s the work of the imagination to impart form or “concretion” of the energies or what some call “the spiritual”. The act of perception “concretes” the form — constructs it, as it were.

      This accounts for why there are so many different visions or interpretations of “the afterlife” — the “happy hunting grounds”, the Christian Heaven or Hell, the Muslim Paradise, the Hindus have another, the Buddhists yet another. The Greeks had their Hades. The Mesopotamians their bleak “underworld” where the souls of men lived as screetching bats in darkness eating dust forever.

      The rational mind, looking at all these different religious views of the afterlife, concludes that this inconsistency proves that religion deals with fictions, fables, and fantasies only. But that’s a false conclusion. The principle that “you create the reality you know” extends to the afterlife as well. Imagination is at work there, equally. And it is even good to have some framework notion ahead of time. The Tibetan Buddhists instruct and guide the dead into “Bardo” telling them what to expect, and this provides the consciousness a familiar framework. The Pythagorean mystery cult instructed the dead on how to navigate Hades. Someone might have a vision of the afterlife as sitting tranquilly on a pristine beach beside a vast ocean, and that is what he will find. It is the role of the imagination to give concrete form to psychic states or energies, and clothe these in familiar symbols. If a man, on the other hand, feels guilt, fear, terror, etc — he encounters those energies, too, in some concrete form, for they are his psychic reality. Or maybe your idea of “heaven” is sitting in the pines beside a beautiful little lake nestled in the woods, and that is where you will find yourself (and also be found). But watch out for the bears. Or maybe it will be like Major Tom floating in his tin can high above the world if that is the mode-mood-myth of your personal existence. Some may find themselves inside their favourite video game, fighting wars and battles, etc.

      There are some constructive uses for the technology of “virtual reality” that have not yet been explored or realised.

  8. alexjay says :

    “… how “all higher values devalue themselves” or are devalued and made empty through commercialisation. Even the gods, it seems, can be bought off and co-opted, and made into servants of Mammon.”

    As the iconic figure of the Jolly fat man attests to throught the usurpation of Christmas by Cocal Cola (indeed, Christianity itself adopted many astrotheological symbols – the winter solstice as the rebirth of the sun (son) – thanks largely to the Venererable Bede).

    “It’s fair to say, I think, that the Dark Age Blog and the Chrysalis grew out of that dream [the “Green Man} — as a response.”

    ??? … And hear I was under the impression that a certain dream involving a “Fish” was the calalyst that spurred you on to originate TDAB!

    • alexjay says :

      Sorry for the typos … in a bit of a rush – ouch!

    • Scott Preston says :

      Catalyst perhaps, but not cause. The dream of the fish occurred well after the dream of the Green Man, and maybe it sealed the resolve. In a way, the two dreams are related. While the dream of the Green Man conveys the mood of urgency (emergency), the dream of the fish conveys the idea and mood of “emergence”. Hence, the subtext of The Chrysalis — “in the emergency of the day is…. emergence”. So, perhaps the two dreams are related as cause and catalyst, and maybe the dream of the Green Man required the dream of the fish as complement or completion.

      For those who aren’t following this: alex is referring to one of the earliest posts in the former Dark Age Blog, which I began about a decade ago (I’ve been blogging a long time!). “The Dream of the Fish” was one of the earliest posts and was about a dream.

      In this dream, I was a fish. I possessed the form and the consciousness of a fish (the awareness of a fish is very simple). In the dream the fish took a lure cast by fisherman. I remember taking this lure and feeling less pain than pressure in the mouth of the fish. As fish, I began to be drawn towards the surface of the water and struggled against the force that was pulling me. When I broke the surface of the water, I saw the figure of the fisherman standing in his small boat looking at me. And in that moment when I, as fish, was looking at the fisherman, and the fisherman was looking at me, I was simultaneously the fish and the fisherman. There were no separate identities. My consciousness was in both forms simultaneously, as fish and fisherman.

      The effect was so startling that I woke up immediately, and sitting on the side of the bed I pondered how my awareness could be in two “places” at the same time. Then I realised it had actually been in three places or forms simultaneously, for there had also been the witness or watcher of the dream, which was the “me” of every day life — the awareness called “Scott Preston” that had experienced the “startle”. And when I realised this, I also then realised there was yet a fourth “participant” in the dream that I had overlooked (and that we typically all overlook) and that is the dreamer — the architect and creator of the dream, who might be called the Jungian “Self” or the “transpersonal” or “soul”, although none of these are really adequate. I, the ego-nature called “Scott Preston,” understood myself to be a mere portion of this greater awareness which my mind could barely grasp. In fact, it could not “grasp” it at all. It was the real awareness that in-formed all other modes and was all these other forms — fish, fisherman, and the witness called “Scott Preston”. They were all just portions or “performances” of that greater incomprehensible awareness, and the ego-nature called “Scott Preston” was on the same level as the fish or fisherman — we were all equally the dreamed.

      Some will, at this point perhaps, recall the famous saying of the Taoist Chuang Tzu, who, upon awakening from a dream, could not say whether “he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was a man”. It seems even here, the great Taoist omitted to say a few things.

      Words are quite inadequate to encompass the reality of this “oversoul” (I will use Ralph Waldo Emerson’s term, and you can read his essay “The Oversoul” at http://www.emersoncentral.com/oversoul.htm ). It is infinity itself. It cannot be defined. It cannot be conceptualised. It cannot be “grasped” or perceived directly. Even this pronoun “it” is misleading, but must be put to use because the oversoul is neither “he” nor “she”. But one can also say the exact opposite and still be closer to the truth — it is also “it”, “he and she” and “we” all together. All I can try to do here is provide “impressions”.

      The oversoul does, nonetheless, conform to a few names I’ve come across in the observations of others: “darkness is His pavilion” I read recently in a poem, or Castaneda’s “the dark sea of awareness”. The oversoul is impenetrably “dark” because it is so vast and yet so close that it is impenetrable, and only because awareness cannot be aware of itself directly, otherwise it would have to become an object to itself, is it “dark”. It is the absolute. And because the ego-nature is a (very small) portion of this awareness, the ego-nature cannot perceive it either. And therefore it is said “he is closer to us than we are to ourselves”. It is what we are, and yet vastly more than what we are. In that sense we not only live in infinity already, we are, as human beings, a portion, an expression, a “performance” of that infinity. It has also been called “Emptiness”, “Void”, “Abyss”, “Great Nothingness” because to the ego-nature, this is the impression infinity makes. It is formless, yet the source of all form. The ego-nature is like a cell of its body, or like a speck of sand on its great shore. And yet it is aware of every cell and every speck of sand as being itself. And this is why Blake speaks of “eternity in the hour” and “the universe in a grain of sand”.

      But because awareness cannot know itself directly (that leads to infinite regress) it is perceived as “dark”, being neither deep nor shallow, or equally can be said to be both profound or merely apparent. It can only know itself through its constant creations or “projections”, as in a mirror. It is therefore also called “Source” or “Origin” and nothing is which has not arisen from its Imagination. Yet it itself does not “arise” and is called, therefore by Buddhists, “the unoriginated” or “unconditioned” while everything else — all form — is called originated and conditioned (relative). Seth calls it “All That Is”, and some will call it “Creator” or “God”, too. It comes to know itself and what it is through its “creatures”. Light is a creature, salt is a creature. Your own “consciousness” is a creature, and yet the awareness that is within this consciousness is it itself — the “You of you”.

      Therefore, it is the transparency of the ego-consciousness that is the issue of “self-realisation” or enlightenment, when you know this “You of you” as this awareness, this infinity, itself. Therefore it is said “why hide your light under a bushel basket”? for presently the ego-nature is opaque, and does not permit the awareness within the consciousness to become translucent or transparent. This opaqueness is called “the Selfhood”, but the “I am” within the selfhood is the awareness that informs and drives the ego-consciousness, and from which the ego-consciousness derives its sense of “self” and of existence.

      But, as Rumi says, “the being of the world is not in the world” and “Being is not what it seems nor non-Being”. That which is infinite awareness and therefore formlessness cannot “be” in the same sense as beings — or forms.

      The One-That-Is-All is like the eye that sees but cannot see itself. Therefore, it projects itself into the forms or “phenomena” in order to try to perceive itself as through a mirror. The world — all worlds — are mirrors. Space and time are but images of their source as its own infinity and eternity. So, when the Buddhist speaks of the “empty mirror” or that “nothing has self-nature”, it has the same meaning as speaking of the “creaturehood” of all things. They are all images in a mirror, and yet are not separate from the source from which they arise, which is infinity and eternity. And since infinity and eternity cannot be conceptualised or grasped by the finite ego-consciousness (for to de-fine would be to negate) they are not perceived by the senses.

      Yet, everything that is bears the stamp of its origins in eternity-infinity. There are no “separate” beings.

      • Scott Preston says :

        …and Jove nods to Jove from behind each of us — Emerson

        Emerson’s essay “The Oversoul” is, by the way, the truth. It is almost perfect.

        Abdulmonem, in one of his comments, remarked from the Qu’ran: “I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known” as God’s reason for creating the world(s) and humans.

        But what this means is, to speak in familiar or prosaic terms, is that what is called “God” or “Allah” or by a thousand other names (“Jove”, the “One”, or “All That Is”, the “Creator” etc) desires to come to know itself through its “creatures”, which is the only way it can come to know itself. Not even a God can bear the frustration of the infinite regress of trying to turn himself into a pure object of his own awareness. The eye that sees cannot see itself except via reflection and through its projections, which are “creatures”. The sun knows its own light only through its reflection in the moon, to put it metaphorically.

        In that sense, what is called “God” learns as man learns. If it were not so, there would be no such thing as “change”. The true form of worship is learning, and the fruit of learning is creativity. Life is learning, and were it not so, consciousness would be a useless burden.

        So, however crooked, perverse, or zig-zag man’s paths may be, they do follow a purpose nonetheless, however dimly perceived or understood this may be. As was said by Blake “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise” — or, failing that, extinct perhaps.

        • LittleBigMan says :

          “The eye that sees cannot see itself except via reflection and through its projections, which are “creatures”. The sun knows its own light only through its reflection in the moon, to put it metaphorically.

          “In that sense, what is called “God” learns as man learns. If it were not so, there would be no such thing as “change”. The true form of worship is learning, and the fruit of learning is creativity. Life is learning, and were it not so, consciousness would be a useless burden.”

          Profoundly meaningful. Where there is sentience there is learning; where there is learning there is ALL THAT IS.

  9. alexjay says :

    “But because awareness cannot know itself directly (that leads to infinite regress) it is perceived as “dark”, being neither deep nor shallow, or equally can be said to be both profound or merely apparent. It can only know itself through its constant creations or “projections”, as in a mirror. It is therefore also called “Source” or “Origin” and nothing is which has not arisen from its Imagination. Yet it itself does not “arise” and is called, therefore by Buddhists, “the unoriginated” or “unconditioned” while everything else — all form — is called originated and conditioned (relative). Seth calls it “All That Is”, and some will call it “Creator” or “God”, too. It comes to know itself and what it is through its “creatures”. Light is a creature, salt is a creature. Your own “consciousness” is a creature, and yet the awareness that is within this consciousness is it itself — the “You of you”.”

    Profound indeed! (one of the most poignant paragraphs you’ve ever written)

    Yet, hardly “apparent”. Otherwise, the 1% devil’s offspring couldn’t have sold their delusinal hellish “reality” to the “Yous of You”.

    Atman is Brahman …

  10. abdulmonem says :

    And I have created in order I learn who is truthful and who is a liar and this is repeated in the Quran in different scenes.

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