Archive | March 2015

The Matrix: Life Imitates Art

Did you know that there is a real surveillance project administered by the US Department of Homeland Security called “Matrix”? It’s an acronym for “Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange“. I first read about it in an article in Wired News entitled “Matrix Plan Fuels Privacy Fears“.

O how cute! Or should I say, what chutzpah! I bet the producers of the movie by that name never thought that they were actually providing a masterplan and blueprint for such a system.

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The Horror and the Wonder

“In times of peace”, wrote Nietzsche, “a warrior goes to war against himself.” What Nietzsche means by that is somewhat fleshed out by another of Nietzsche’s aphorisms. “It’s not the courage of one’s convictions that counts, but the courage to attack one’s convictions that counts.” This is the true spirit of what is called both “crusade” and “jihad” and what Carlos Castaneda’s teacher, don Juan, referred to as the art and mood of the warrior. One should not confuse the stupid, imbecilities of history and human nature that are usually associated with those words with their actual spiritual meaning and content. It means, self-overcoming.

Long before the more secular and mundane popes perverted its meaning, St. Anastasius had already interpreted “crusade” properly as “taking the cross into one’s heart”, bearing in mind that the cross is a mandala, the image of a holon. Similarly, what we might call the “spiritual” significance of Sharia (or equivalently “the way of the cross”) has nothing to do with the legalistic formulas and frameworks (in fact, chains) that it became. The word “sharia” is a marvelous metaphor. It refers to “a path that leads through the desert to water”, and that corresponds to what Castaneda’s teacher, don Juan, called “a path with heart”. It is also equivalent to what Nietzsche called his “formula for happiness” — “a straight line… and a goal.”

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Many Worlds, Many Selves

It is the carefully considered opinion of many physicists that there exist any number of “probable worlds” and also “probable selves” living in those probable worlds, each following its own time thread. This “Many Worlds Theory” might even be said to be traceable back to the martyred Dominican monk and philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600), a quite remarkable figure for his time (who paid the price for being a “mutant”). But, it is not just idle speculation that leads so many physicists to adhere to the Many Worlds Theory. The very mathematics of the quantum order require it.

Moreover, it is the experience of many so-called “mystics”, (including my own experience), that the Many Worlds, Many Selves Theory is true. This is the topic I want to explore in The Chrysalis today as it pertains to the conflict between The Mechanical Philosophy and the Holistic Philosophy.

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The Medieval Mind

One of the things I should like to do in future is a more detailed comparison of the medieval consciousness structure with the modern consciousness structure. That is to say, what we might call the “mytho-religious” consciousness (or “pre-modern”) with the “mental-rational” (logico-mathematical or “secular”) consciousness. I’m sure this would be most revealing of why it makes sense to speak of “species of consciousness” or different modes of perception.

Probably all of us at some time or another have come upon some work of medieval art, literature, philosophy, music, or architecture and have been completely bemused by it. “What on earth were they thinking?” That’s a fair question. For the things that interest the mytho-religious consciousness and attract its care and attention are certainly not the same things that interest the mental-rational consciousness and attract its care and attention.

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The Body Machine

The chief characteristics of The Mechanical Philosophy (sometimes called the Newtonian-Cartesian philosophy) that has pretty much held sway over the Modern Mind are a) perspectivism, b) analysis, and c) excessive quantification. These characteristics are summarised in the term “materialism”; that is to say, a belief in the ontological primacy of “matter” or the physical. By “excessive quantification” we mean the tendency to believe that if something can’t be expressed by number, then it doesn’t really exist. Only what has weight, number, and measure is certain and can be truly said to have validity.

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The Mechanical Philosophy and the Modern Era

Just to revisit and review a few key concepts this morning….

We tend to use the terms “Modern Era” and “Western Civilisation” interchangeably. By “Modern Era” I mean everything falling within the time horizon of the last 500 years. This era corresponds to the development of the rational ego (individualism) or the mental-rational structure of consciousness (or the logico-mathematical consciousness structure). In speaking, people tend to use “modern” and “western” as practically synonymous; or, “modernisation” and “westernisation”.

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Home Again, Home Again

Hello dear readers. I apologise for the long absence from the blog, but I was in hospital for some time with kidney failure and have only recently been discharged to return home. So that “shudder of death” of which I wrote last fall in the blog wasn’t just fantasy. I have had one foot in death and the other in life.

But then, so do we all.

I won’t annoy you with the usual details of how I seemed to slide into kidney disease. There is, as yet, no conclusive diagnosis. Fortunately, at this time I’ve no need of dreadful dialysis. But I am scheduled for a couple of surgeries again in the near future.

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