Until a few days ago, I had never heard of Yuval Noah Harari, allegedly one of the most popular and best-selling contemporary public intellectuals (or “celebrity gurus” if you prefer). Harari and his book Homo Deus came in for some criticism in Mark Vernon’s and Rupert Sheldrake’s podcast on “The Jordan Peterson Effect“. I guess I move in the wrong circles.
Harari is an historian who has a side gig as a fortune-teller and futurist, and not having heard of his book Homo Deus until recently, I decided to look up a few reviews, most of which found Harari’s book unpleasant reading (The Oxonian Review, The New York Times, and The Guardian as a selection). Harari’s thesis is that some human beings are on their way to godhood thanks to technology and the Megamachine.
I think not. I think Harari has confused what Algis Mikunas calls “technocratic shamanism” (magic, essentially) with the meaning of divinity and epiphany.
There is a tradition in the Bible, one that extends across the Old and New Testaments, that human beings are essentially gods in training, and it certainly has nothing to do with technology or cyborgism or what struts about today as “transhumanism”. From the Book of Genesis (“they shall be as gods…”) through the Psalms to the Book of John in the New Testament (“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?…”). It is also implied in Jesus commandment to his followers “be thou therefore perfect even as they Father in heaven”.
More recently, I have also read the same thing in one of the Seth books — that human beings are “gods in training”, and that this is also the meaning of Jean Gebser’s “diaphainon”.
If human beings are, indeed, gods in training, then evolution and history are not matters of chance — random and arbitrary — at all, but unfold according to a “pre-existing pattern”, as Blake, Gebser, and Rosenstock-Huessy hold. In that case, Harari’s more technocratic version of Homo Deus is a misunderstanding of that historical process — at best only Plato’s shadow on the cave wall or a part of Blake’s “Ulro”. Has Harari familiarised himself at all with Lewis Mumford’s thoughts on the Megamachine? Or, Jacques Ellul’s on The Technological System?
But what does it mean, really, to be “gods in training”? This is also very relevant to understanding Nietzsche’s overman, which has nothing whatsoever to do with contemporary technocratic “transhumanism”. And what is implied in the “knowledge of good and evil” that makes for godhood?
Seth and Gebser are very close in this respect, so I will rely on Seth’s explanation (it also has some resonance with Nietzsche’s views on this). What does it mean to be a “god”, or “goddess” for that matter. For Seth, it has to do with creativity. We are in the human form to learn how to responsibly handle power or energy in a creative way. Human creativity is the meaning of the human being “made in God’s image”, and it is also in such terms that the Buddha insisted that it was an incomparable privilege to be born into the human form, because the opportunities for learning — and for emancipation from ignorance — were so much greater.
For much of human history, though, that power with which human beings have been endowed has been used irresponsibly, and that means destructively, and that ability to use the powers of creation for destructive ends and purposes has been magnified many times through technology — the Megamachine, (or as we also see today, in the social media). The modern day Moloch. For Blake, this Moloch is the howling madness of his false god “Urizen”, who has fallen away into darkness from his “Eternal Form”. His Eternal Form is “Reason”, his fallen form is “Rationality”.
“I will not reason and compare. My business is to create”. So Blake, speaking as his “Zoa” named “Los”. Los is Imagination and the Eternal Prophet, and is the only one of the four Zoas to remember their mutual divine origin until the human form shattered on “the stems of vegetation” and fell into “Generation” (the meaning of the word “secular”, which basically means “time”. Urizen fell into Time because he over-identified with the physical senses).
There is a very interesting passage in the Book of Genesis that bears witness to this idea of human beings as gods in training, and I do not think it has been properly understood in its meaning, for it is a metaphor
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Here, God endows the human with the very same power of the creative Word with which the cosmos was called forth from the void. The Word that was in the beginning is also Adam’s. The very first act of specifically human creativity is naming. Speech, not tools or technology per se, is the very first instrument of human creativity. Speech is the initial means by which humanity is to be raised up to divinity. The abuse of speech does the opposite. It debases and degrades, as exemplified in Orwell’s 1984.
There is a certain irony in the fact that, originally, the word “technology” referred to grammar — the logos of the techne. The word “techne” means “art”, “skill” or “means”, while “logos” has many meanings, one of which is “reason” or “reasoning”. Originally, technology meant articulation, articulating, or “reasoning about the means for representing eternal, abiding truth” in speech. In time, this meaning of articulation was transferred to machinery or all forms of systematisation or technics, which was the work of instrumental rationality or of what Gebser calls “the mental-rational structure of consciousness”. Technology, which originally applied to the art and science of truth-speaking, became transferred to machinery, so that we could really speak of a “grammar of machinery” or a “grammar of technology”. The original template and blueprint for machinery was grammar, in the idea of “articulation” or “knitting together”.
Originally, then, the road to human divinity lay through speech — creative speech. And this still informs Rosenstock-Huessy’s social philosophy and “grammatical method” (as discussed in many past posts). This is actually also true of Nietzsche, whose ideals of the noble and ignoble are related to his “aesthetic” ideal, ie, creativity. This aesthetic ideal is also represented in what, for William Blake, was his chief principle of politics — “The Arts, and all things in common”.
That our essence is actually divine is the meaning of Jill Bolte-Taylor’s “stroke of insight” and of her experience of what she calls “The Life Force Power of the Universe” — not at all the “Clockwork Universe” or Megamachine of the Modern imagination. She knew herself as identical with that Life Force Power in all its epiphanies or manifestations, and that’s what we call “god consciousness”. Rumi knew it. Blake knew it. Jesus and Buddha knew it. Probably Heraclitus knew it and called it the Logos. Nietzsche knew it somewhat and called it the “Dionysian”.
Harari’s conception of Homo Deus is a technocratic distortion and a perversion, exactly what is called “spiritual materialism”, and there are dreadful consequences for human destiny in accepting this view, which Gebser also dreaded — the confusion of what is only “deficient” forms of magic with the authentically spiritually enlightened. This false conception of creativity will only lead to mass destruction, and the human experiment will fail, as it seems to be doing now.
It is said that when one arrives at the root and origin of speech, this is the same as enlightenment. The root and origin of speech is Gebser’s “ever-present origin” and not something that begins in antiquity or the remote past as a “beginning”. It is what people call the Here and Now of things. My indigenous friends call it “speaking from the centre of the voice”, which is the creative centre or vital centre, synonymous with “ever-present origin”. The more the ego-consciousness (Iain McGilchrist’s “Emissary”) becomes estranged or alienated from this vital centre, the more destructive it becomes likewise, which we call “nihilism”, and even to the point of self-annihilation. And this is the meaning of the Parable of the Prodigal Son and of Yeats’ ominous poem “The Second Coming“.
To “speak from the centre of the voice” is a very profound saying, and its related to another indigenous saying “strength is the feeling of comfort within”. Both pertain to the experience of the vital centre, which is also the ever-present origin. “God consciousness” isn’t about power and magic tricks. It’s about “time-freedom” and creativity. Everything else is pretty much narcissism, disease, and trickery or what is called “spiritual materialism”.
Which is pretty much what all our contemporary “celebrity gurus” preach and teach.
We are here to learn. We are here to learn to use energy creatively, because energy is all there is. And we are doing a very piss-poor job of it, too.
Being as much a stranger to them as a cattle herder from Chad is to me (and no offence intended to either), I did not watch the royal wedding. Later, a friend of mine recommend I watch the sermon of an American preacher there. I did, and I found it to be touching and inspiring. Many say he stole the show. It was about the power of love, and towards the end I was surprised to hear the preacher make reference to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, someone I was very interested in while still a Catholic schoolboy, but later dropped.
Mumford attacked Teilhard de Chardin’s philosophy from p. 314 to p. 320 of 1970 “The Pentagon of Power”. On p. 314, he introduces Teilhard’s “noosphere: a film of ‘mind’ that is now spreading around the earth, forming a distinct, increasingly unified layer of conscious cerebration. This process he calls the “unification, technification, growing rationalization of the human earth.” Mumford then adds, “In effect, this is an etherialized version of the megamachine.”, which, I add, is now manifested as the world wide web.
On p 315 Mumford mentioned that “Wiliam Blake may have saved him from this error”, the error being that “consciousness is measured by intelligence, and that the intelligence, in an increasingly abstract mathematical form, is the highest manifestation of mind”.
The good Bishop at the royal wedding had referred to Teilhard to ground the point of his whole sermon: which was about the power of love, something with which Mumford agreed in his writings. But of Teilhard’s emphasis on love, he observed on p. 318:
As a dedicated Christian and a passively obedient —if inwardly heretical — member of his monastic order, he introduces, almost as an afterthought, the concept of love as an aspect of all human association, and as life’s final crown. But what place has love in a noosphere from which the body and form of love has disappeared, or has been vaporized into messages? Teilhard de Chardin deceived himself. The noosphere, as he conceived it, has no place for love, any more than it has for the emergence of more fully individuated personalities, tied to cosmic processes yet transcending them, as Christian theology depicted Jesus Christ. For all that Chardin says about love, which is a property that unites man to his mammalian ancestors and would preserve him from relapsing into the cold-blooded world of the armored lizards and the flying reptiles, he himself denies the very source of love. For he sees personality as “a specifically corpuscular and ephemeral property; a prison from which we must try to escape.” From this ‘prison’ of the individual personality he voluntarily sought to transfer to a larger prison from which no escape would be possible: that of the totalitarian megamachine. Again his own words back up this grim conclusion.
“Monstrous as it is,” Chardin observes again in ‘The Phenomenon of Man,’ “is not modern totalitarianism really the distortion of something magnificent, and thus quite near to the truth? There can be no doubt of it: the great human machine” — this last term is Chardin’s own — “is designed to work and must work — by producing a super-abundance of mind.” And the purpose of that superabundance, it becomes plain, is to increase the scope and power of the planetary machine. Q.E.D.
On p. 320, Mumford concludes the chapter by saying “for these human nonentities even thought would be superfluous, and only ‘pleasure’ — that last abstract component of the power complex would be left. But unlike this ‘advanced’ group, Homer knew he was describing Hell. If such a non-life were to be the final goal of all man’s struggles, why should he spend so much effort to achieve it?”
It is precisely such a “vacuous irresponsible existence” (p. 319) that the podcast I linked in the previous string says is in store for China, but which I claim is already far more advanced, and far easier to implement, in the west. It is a race to see which comes first: its global full spectrum totalitarianism, or the current mass species extinctions including our own.
Correct me if I’m wrong, Scott, but from what you describe above it would seem Yuval Noah Harari is describing such an ‘advanced’ group as Mumford mentions as being “Homo Deus”: all powerful, all dominating, all deceiving, all destroying.
Here is the link to that podcast again. I am posting it again because I agree with their statement that “Their impact on the future could be huge:”
Coming soon, to a computer near you! Buy, buy, or bye, bye.
Our robot overlords.
Actually, what occurred to me in listening to the podcast was this process that is being called “tribalism” (or “retribalisation”) today, although this is in a much different technical context than in the past. “Big Brother” in Orwell’s 1984 bears a lot of resemblance to the tribal “genius” — the tutelary god of the tribe (or “totem”) which is, in effect, the image of the tribe’s collective consciousness or the “wego” (as David Loy calls it). A very good representation of this is an old movie called Zardoz, which I’ve mentioned a few times in the past.
I’ve never raised Chardin in the context of discussing Bloom’s “Global Brain”. I have a couple of Chardin’s books, but I haven’t read them yet (“Le Milieu Divin” and “The Phenomenon of Man”). That’s another project — relating Chardin, to Bloom, to Harari, and what this might mean in relation to Gebser and Blake or Rosenstock-Huessy. It’s something I’ll have to look into in relation to Harari’s thesis.
I think there may have been some rationalization mixed in with de Chardin’s explication of the noosphere (perhaps, to be fair, his concession to those who considered him a heretic) but my sense his perception of the universal Presence of Divine Love was genuine.
His self’s infinities began to emerge,
The hidden universes cried to him;
Eternities called to eternities
Sending their speechless message still remote.
Arisen from the marvel of the depths
And burning from the superconscious heights
And sweeping in great horizontal gyres
A million energies joined and were the One.
All flowed immeasurably to one sea:
All living forms became its atom homes.
A Panergy that harmonised all life
Held now existence in its vast control;
A portion of that majesty he was made.
At will he lived in the unoblivious Ray.
In that high realm where no untruth can come,
Where all are different and all is one,
In the Impersonal’s ocean without shore
The Person in the World-Spirit anchored rode;
It thrilled with the mighty marchings of World-Force,
Its acts were the comrades of God’s infinite peace.
An adjunct glory and a symbol self,
The body was delivered to the soul,–
An immortal point of power, a block of poise
In a cosmicity’s wide formless surge,
A conscious edge of the Transcendent’s might
Carving perfection from a bright world-stuff,
It figured in it a universe’s sense.
There consciousness was a close and single weft;
The far and near were one in spirit-space,
The moments there were pregnant with all time.
The superconscient’s screen was ripped by thought,
Idea rotated symphonies of sight,
Sight was a flame-throw from identity;
Life was a marvellous journey of the spirit,
Feeling a wave from the universal Bliss.
In the kingdom of the Spirit’s power and light,
As if one who arrived out of infinity’s womb
He came new-born, infant and limitless
And grew in the wisdom of the timeless Child;
He was a vast that soon became a Sun.
A great luminous silence whispered to his heart;
His knowledge an inview caught unfathomable,
An outview by no brief horizons cut:
He thought and felt in all, his gaze had power.
Excerpted from Savitri, Book 2, Canto 15
Yes, that’s it exactly. That’s what we would describe here as “god-consciousness” (Aurobindo’s “supramental” will do). What’s described there is also Jill Bolte-Taylor’s insight into what she called “Life Force Power of the Universe”, and we find it also described in Rumi’s poetry.
And it’s quite a far cry from Harari’s notion of Homo Deus. The Canto is an excellent way to compare them, and that Harari’s Homo Deus is only another name for Blake’s Urizen, architect of the “dark Satanic Mill”.
Just read the Guardian article, which speaks of the “new” cult of “Data-ism,” (“Data” is all, the Supreme, one might say).
The problem with this is that Data-ism is only a hyper-form of the quantitative obsession, Newton’s single-vision, Gebser’s deficient mental structure, Heidegger’s techne, which has ruled the modern West – and now the modern global society – for centuries.
Not terribly concerned – I consider the movement of world class scientists like Donald Hoffman and Christof Koch toward some version of idealism or (to my mind, much better) panpsychism (or ultimately, dual aspect monism or non dualism) to be the premier indicator that the modernist rationalist religion is either dead or dying rapidly.
All the rest – climate change, right wing populism (even in the pseudo-intellectual form of Jordan Peterson-ism) is just flickering embers of the dying of rationalism amidst the birth of something Real – or perhaps, the birth of the Real. (not really being “born” but coming to Awareness).
>> my sense his perception of the universal Presence of Divine Love was genuine
As best as I can recall (it was over 50 years ago that I read The Phenomenon of Man and other works and commentaries) that was my impression as well. But I read Mumford’s point as being not about the authenticity or otherwise of Teilhard as a spiritual seeker, as much as, so to say, warning of a conflation of the pen with the writer.
Like penfriends at the time I read The Phenomenon of Man, we here are using the megamachine as a pen and postage service with which to communicate meanings to one another. And obviously, I consider that worth my while. But we could walk past each other on the street with not a glimmer of recognition. Mumford’s point was that love is organic and spiritual, not mechanical. There are no machines of loving grace, and the medium is not the message (Mumford was also critical of McLuhan, even though McLuhan was an admirer of Mumford). The pen can be used by Shakespeare to write a sonnet, or a minion of the megamachine to sign a death warrant for a Shakespeare.
I don’t want to comment further on Harari because, as with Peterson, I haven’t given him a fair reading, and from what Scott wrote above I do not consider it would be worth my while. For now though, Harari’s use of the term “Homo Deus” sounds an open sesame to enact the Lucifer-to-Satan myth. Which myth, as William Irwin Thompson pointed out, may never have happened literally but always is happening spiritually.
There are snares and pitfalls in the real, but faith, including as expressed in our musings here, is dead without good works in the real: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” James 2:26). Which is what Pentecost was about.
PS Don, for a non-Christian I sure find myself talking a lot about Jesus! I guess that harks back to the comment I made to I.W. a few days back: when you lose the model or frame, you lose the ability to communicate through that model. And Jesus the doer by skilful means, meaning letting go and letting God (“why call me good? Only God is good”), not X the thinker or Y the machinist, is most urgent for us to enact here and now.
PPS I think Scott’s quicker on the uptake in certain fields than I am, but that’s OK; with devotion to a subject I can uptake deeply over time. But my embrace of that extract from Savitri is not immediate, as I note that there is no mention of either love or value in it.
It would be absurd to conclude from that that Aurobindo (who, BTW, Mumford referenced in The Conduct of Life) has nothing to say about either! Similarly, I do not conclude that Peterson and Harari are as shallow as they appear to me to be; my understanding of them is not them. My readings and awareness of Aurobindo stretch back decades, including through my years of visiting India, and my while respect is deep, my knowledge is not.
PPPS I have come to consider that there is a continuum from data to information to knowledge to understanding to wisdom to enactment of wisdom and compassion by skillful means then producing data towards information to knowledge to understanding to wisdom to enactment of wisdom and compassion by even more skilful means, and so on. That requires both of McGilchrist’s two hemispheres, and the body, and the spirit, integrated. and that requires Albion the doer, not just Albion the “Ta-da! Here I am!” as in Blake’s famous picture of him..
Not sure I followed all that but from what I could follow, it was beautifully written. I always get a sense of gentle graciousness from what you write, and appreciate it.
As far as Sri Aurobindo – I think I read Savitri for at least 37 years before I had even a clue as to what he was talking about. I mostly just enjoyed the music.
Regarding love, for what it’s worth (the music of the last paragraph is really the main thing)
“The mind of knowledge and the will of action are not all; there is within you a heart whose demand is for delight. Here too in the heart’s power and illumination, in its demand for delight, for the soul’s satisfaction your nature must be turned, transformed and lifted to one conscious ecstasy with the Divine. The knowledge of the impersonal self brings its own Ananda; there is a joy of impersonality, a singleness of joy of the pure spirit. But an integral knowledge brings a greater triple delight. It opens the gates of the Transcendent’s bliss; it releases into the limitless delight of a universal impersonality; it discovers the rapture of all this multitudinous manifestation: for there is a joy of the Eternal in Nature. This Ananda in the Jiva, a portion here of the Divine, takes the form of an ecstasy founded in the Godhead who is his source, in his supreme self, in the Master of his existence. An entire God-love and adoration extends to a love of the world and all its forms and powers and creatures; in all the Divine is seen, is found, is adored, is served or is felt in oneness. Add to knowledge and works this crown of the eternal triune delight; admit this love, learn this worship; make it one spirit with works and knowledge. That is the apex of the perfect perfection.
“This Yoga of love will give you a highest potential force for spiritual largeness and unity and freedom. But it must be a love which is one with God-knowledge. There is a devotion which seeks God in suffering for consolation and succour and deliverance; there is a devotion which seeks him for his gifts, for divine aid and protection and as a fountain of the satisfac- tion of desire; there is a devotion that, still ignorant, turns to him for light and knowledge. And so long as one is limited to these forms, there may persist even in their highest and noblest Godward turn a working of the three gunas. But when the God- lover is also the God-knower, the lover becomes one self with the Beloved; for he is the chosen of the Most High and the elect of the Spirit. Develop in yourself this God-engrossed love; the heart spiritualised and lifted beyond the limitations of its lower nature will reveal to you most intimately the secrets of God’s immeasurable being, bring into you the whole touch and influx and glory of his divine Power and open to you the mysteries of an eternal rapture. It is perfect love that is the key to a perfect knowledge.
“This integral God-love demands too an integral work for the sake of the Divine in yourself and in all creatures. The or- dinary man does works in obedience to some desire sinful or virtuous, some vital impulse low or high, some mental choice common or exalted or from some mixed mind and life motive. But the work done by you must be free and desireless; work done without desire creates no reaction and imposes no bondage. Done in a perfect equality and an unmoved calm and peace, but without any divine passion, it is at first the fine yoke of a spiritual obligation, kartavyam ̇ karma, then the uplifting of a divine sacrifice; at its highest it can be the expression of a calm and glad acquiescence in active oneness. The oneness in love will do much more: it will replace the first impassive calm by a strong and deep rapture, not the petty ardour of egoistic desire but the ocean of an infinite Ananda. It will bring the moving sense and the pure and divine passion of the presence of the Beloved into your works; there will be an insistent joy of labour for God in yourself and for God in all beings. Love is the crown of works and the crown of knowledge.
“This love that is knowledge, this love that can be the deep heart of your action, will be your most effective force for an utter consecration and complete perfection. An integral union of the individual’s being with the Divine Being is the condition of a perfect spiritual life. Turn then altogether towards the Divine; make one with him by knowledge, love and works all your nature. Turn utterly towards him and give up ungrudgingly into his hands your mind and your heart and your will, all your consciousness and even your very senses and body. Let your consciousness be sovereignly moulded by him into a flawless mould of his divine consciousness. Let your heart become a lucid or flaming heart of the Divine. Let your will be an impec- cable action of his will. Let your very sense and body be the rapturous sensation and body of the Divine. Adore and sacrifice to him with all you are; remember him in every thought and feeling, every impulsion and act. Persevere until all these things are wholly his and he has taken up even in most common and outward things as in the inmost sacred chamber of your spirit his constant transmuting presence.
Woe. I grokked that one straight up, Don; both the music and the meaning.
Another typo. I meant “Wow”, not “woe”; I keep forgetting to re-read my posts before, rather than after, posting them. For example, it’s no wonder you weren’t sure you followed a 51-word sentence with zero punctuation!
Sorry. I’ll try again:
“I have come to consider that there is a spiral, starting from data, then organising that data into information, and absorbing that information as knowledge. In time, that may contribute to understanding, and ultimately to wisdom and enactment of that wisdom as co-evolving with compassion. That wisdom enables expression of compassion by skillful means.
The results then produce new data towards new information to new knowledge towards deeper understanding towards deeper wisdom, resulting in enactment of wisdom and compassion by even more skilful means.
I see it as being like the PDCA cycle of conventional management theory (Plan, Do, Check, and Ac)t, but pre-and-post Albion and recognising that, in Varela’s phrase, “every act of knowing creates a world”. Finally, I’m saying that much such knowledge can only come from doing.”
I hope that’s clearer.
And thanks for your kind comment about my communication, Don, and likewise. I wonder if Mumford considered such atmospherics that writing communicates quite enough in the quotes I posted recently? Probably not there, but yes generally, as he was a copious correspondent as well as a prolific writer of articles and books.
One must be careful, though, as writing is produce, and can be spontaneous, or manufactured to deceive (as Scott has been emphasising). For example, I much admire W. Somerset Maugham’s writing style, which often produced atmospherics of genial companionability, as if confiding in an old and trusted friend. Yet reports of his contemporaries were that he was anything but genial and companionable. But I am projecting my mental artefacts about Somerset Maugham, just like that little girl.projected onto her physical artefact of the Barbie doll, and so shall desist..
Don, I had forgotten you were a psychologist when I wrote my Maugham warn; so it smacks of teaching you to suck eggs. To use a word from that podcast I recommended, I guess it was supererogatory.
wow, I had to look that one up (superogah something:>)))
as far as being a “psychologist” meaning anything, I consider myself to have achieved something by maintaining a sufficient level of mindfulness (intense, two-hemisphere/right hemisphere dominant mindfulness) over 9 years or so of grad school as to have come out still realizing that modern psychology knows perhaps less than nothing about the psyche.
Not that I believe in psych testing (which I do for a living, by the way:>)) but there was a great study about 25 years ago, when I was just starting my doctoral program.
They followed 1000 students at several branches of the California School of Professional Psychology, and tested them initially – then after graduation – for levels of empathy.
About 90% scored DRAMATICALLY lower in all areas of empathy AFTER getting their doctorate.
If I have any empathic capacity left after grad school, I owe to those strenuous efforts during school not to believe anything I heard without sifting it through Gebserian, McGilchristian/Aurobindoian/Whiteheadian/Rumi-an/etc etc magic (I don’t mean Gebserian magic, just plain Hasidic beauty and wonder).
And one more on love – so far nobody has objected to these long posts (perhaps this might be a nice counterweight to Peterson??:>))
I just got this notification on FB. “NAMAH” is a journal on healing from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram:
Consciousness and health
Love in healing
To love truly is no easy thing is but it is indeed necessary if one wants to reach an exemplary level of health. Certainly, this is the author’s experience. It is by ‘working’ inside, that he finds the barriers to true love magically dissolve. This article is an exploration into the truth and healing influence of love.
Love is something other than a feeling. I look upon it as the supreme vibration. At its source, it is absolute and transcendent. It “does not depend upon the objects — it depends only on itself or only on the Divine; for it is a self-existent power of the Divine (1).”
It comes in many gradations. Love’s dazzling splendour lights up man’s emotional nature but as soon as it touches the earth atmosphere, its quality becomes more deformed. At its lowest ranges, love can sometimes become so blurred and twisted that its unique essence is almost lost.
But love is what we are in our truth. Man’s truth is divine and one aspect of his divinity is love. Our core being is unalloyed and free from all ill-health so, by tapping into this source of love inside, we open a gateway to sustained and transforming well-being. The key to releasing the healing power of love is surely to dissolve everything that stands in its way. Once that is done we are stripped down to our pure essence, which is love. It is no easy process but every movement towards this goal will help. We learn from medical science how our mental and emotional states affect the workings of even our nervous and immune systems*. It is not just a matter of flushing out toxins but love pours new life and prāna into every cell of our body.
The influence of love can be observed at its myriad levels. Even those that pass through romantic love will vouch for its revitalising power. At such times, I found my energy receive a considerable lift. I felt so much lighter and found I could easily sail through life’s complications. But this kind of love is rarely sustained. Its content is distorted and mixed. It casts so many shadows and readily separates into opposing polarities. Indeed, much of the time, the emotion might later slump to sorrow, indifference or even hate. Rarely is man able or willing to place his whole being behind the force of love as it is usually no more than an emanation from his vital nature. More than anything, it is this element which masks the true identity of love. It takes a very sincere heart to understand the nature of love and how many of us are able to truly benefit from its immense influence? With this vital deformation, any love simply cannot endure and gets exhausted as soon as Nature’s purpose is served. “Therefore love can last or satisfy only if it bases itself on the soul and spirit, if it has its roots there. But that means living no longer in the vital but in the soul and spirit (2).”
So to become more whole, our love needs to be more refined. I have not found this transition easy because the way I used to look at love had almost become a habit. It’s like I was always anticipating the vital to serve its heady brew of passion and excitement. I didn’t see love always as a steady flame because a part of me was still conditioned to sharp contrasts. Without the downslide I might have felt that I would never enjoy the pleasure of ascent. Without this sense of passion, love sometimes seemed empty and void. Anything else sometimes appears dull and uninteresting. It is a transition that I have far from completed.
But the vital element in love should not be strangled but uplifted and offered. The vital has an important role to play in love; it animates and gives the vibration an ardour and force. It’s just that our love should be integrated. Merely observing my inner movements fulfils this process best for me. When I do this, I am a mere spectator. What I watch I simultaneously offer and the Consciousness-Force makes the change. The arena is always the body: I find it the best transmitter of my inner movements. Slowly, as I scan it, the searchlight removes the knots and tangles which keep love buried inside. Moreover, the work is done in an atmosphere of love. I am never alone in this process. Ugly stains may present themselves before my eyes; there may be unpleasant sensations but one by one they are replaced by the truth and love. As love descends, a new substance is carried in its wake. I say the word ‘substance’ for what is quite a dynamic peace. The peace I often experience is concrete, and energising. In many aspects it is quite material. Indeed, I believe that it is always seeking to manifest on the material plane. It gives new power to my muscles and limbs. It frees me of pain. It aligns the body around my truth. It clears and galvanises the vital and opens every channel to fully receive the divine Force.
This, for me, is the essence of Integral Health: the whole being is addressed and I always discover that the means of coordination is the soul. It comes forward whenever I truly connect to this work. I guess that each person is different, but it is usually the heart that first connects with it. The psychic being** emerges whenever I sincerely invoke the help of the Mother. It is always waiting for the invitation to step forward. It is the key to all true knowledge.
However, I find that if I focus too much within the heart it does not really support the process of healing. Indeed it stifles andnarrows the vibration and makes it small. It is a vibration that always seeks to expand. The peace and love found there should be allowed to spread over the whole body. Indeed it can radiate outwards and be allowed to spread outside the body. It can become universal. The second movement then is always to expand the consciousness.
Love should come from the whole of our being, not just segments. If the vital is starved, I find myself pass through dismal grey periods. It goes on strike. At other times it may revolt. So a sense of balance is always necessary. If one can discover this ‘harmoniser’ that lies deeper within the heart, life becomes so much easier! But, speaking from experience, it is no short journey to realise the ultimate treasure inside. Much patience is required. Its revelation requires a steady persistence. But I find that nothing brings the psychic being forward more than devotion. From the first flickerings of our love the essence gradually transmutes, becoming deeper and more universal. Love begets a greater love.
The psychic being lies at the core of all true love and there is nothing it resonates to more than a sincere adoration. When I fix it on the Mother a huge joy wells up there. And when it moves to the front it always carries this singular vibration. From experience, these glints of love come spasmodically at first and accumulate over time and practice. They arrive initially in glimpses and unexpected experiences. As one grows in consciousness, this love inevitably refines but it is rarely a linear process.
I find that there are times when love wells up spontaneously in the being. When that happens, I try to remember to channel it in the truest possible way. A choice is always there. This vibration needs to be pointed upwards and not down to abet and fuel our cravings and desires. It is a beautiful opportunity. I need to be watchful and stay awake because the emotion can often conceal a hidden trapdoor into the depths of my nature.
Love and impersonality
One challenge I have found was to understand and embrace the impersonal aspect of love. Love belongs to the Divine only; it stands above all objects. True love requires no return:
“One has the complete plenitude of joy and realisation the moment one experiences true love and one doesn’t at all need any kind of response. One love, that’s all. And one has the plenitude of the satisfaction of love. There is no need at all of any reciprocity (3).”
But when love finds itself compressed onto the usual human scale, what one holds in one’s heart tends to get much more turbid. It becomes beset with duality. It may be full of caveats and conditions. It is a tendency in man that can increase with age as the mind comes more to the fore. During our lives, we also build up a network of attachments. They are almost the antonym of love but how often they are mistaken for it. These associations only bind us down to externalities. Tied to surface concerns, man becomes prone to every conceivable mental disturbance.
Our upbringing often lies at the root of this problem. When I was very young, I had felt
unable to look beyond my immediate vicinity. Love requires freedom, but as a child I had felt hemmed in from every quarter; there were few reference points beyond. I had felt a constant pressure that strove to funnel and narrow the vastness that existed inside. I don’t believe my experience was particularly unique. Instead of being pinned down by and dictated by social constructs, a child can always be encouraged to look beyond the immediate milieu. He or she can be inspired to access richer sources above and beyond. Love has to be elevated above its social and familial context to realise its truest footing.
The paradox is that through this impersonal love is found the Divine Person, the summit of all adoration. Set this truth against the idea of a vengeful Divine, the judge that is propagated by some religions. It is not surprising that many people spend so much of their lives consumed with guilt. In my experience, there is no worse feeling than to be cut off from the heart and probably the greatest barrier to love is fear itself. This kind of denial can have damaging repercussions to our well-being and health.
Love is not exclusive. It is not something reserved between two individuals. As a vibration, it can spread as widely as possible if one allows it to radiate through our daily lives. True love is disinterested, free from the taint of ego. But it does not always need to lend itself to ostentatious gestures of help. Sometimes these movements might disguise a perverse self-interest. One just needs to operate from one’s truth. Love has a unique atmosphere which will carry an immense, though not necessarily obvious, benefit to all those around. We are accustomed to seeing love as something given and received. But really it is something always present albeit veiled by the obscurity of our nature. When this interchange takes place both sides will benefit but even this connection can be looked upon as a distortion of Love’s absolute Force. Our love gets demeaned into preferences and consequently loses its innate power. Some people have something of this truer presence and light up everyone and everything they come into contact with. Certain places also hold this atmosphere and one feels uplifted as soon as one steps inside this unique force. I believe that this kind of atmosphere can be cultivated in man too.
I believe that we can all help to spread this special vibration. Love can embrace a love for the earth. Goodness knows, our planet seems to be crying out for it! While it is being raped and desecrated by man, our loving prayers and actions are needed now more than ever. The escalation of man’s pillaging has reached such a head everywhere that only an intervention of the Divine Grace seems able to reverse the spiral of abuse. Like the ancient rrssis of yore, we need to call down the Lord. It is consciousness that will save this world not just billions in relief aid.
Love works on a more diminutive level too. When one enters a room where people are assembled, one can invoke this vibration through all those present. One might do this through affirmation. After all, love is made complete by finding its expression. Just to say the Mother’s name with consciousness will always have a magical effect. The surroundings become charged with love and fused with harmony; the atmosphere in the room tangibly lifts. If the motive behind the words is truly disinterested the effect can be marvellous.
Love and Ānanda
One beautiful aspect of love is what we receive when it is sincerely given. However, if we hanker for a return, we’re probably in for a long wait. That is probably why I have found its treasures coming unexpectedly, initially at least. It is Ānanda which is the counterpart of love: we give love and receive Ānanda. But love is no trade; so the giving and receiving has to arise from the utmost spontaneity. This connection is entirely logical because Ānanda is the secret ingredient of all existence; everything contains the essential Delight. Without it, there would be no support. I look upon Ananda as the fruit of Love. It is born out of the love of the Divine for His manifestation.
The summit of Integral Health is to attain a body of bliss and the only means is through perfecting our love. If love becomes our abiding consciousness, just imagine the effect on our body! Every time our consciousness radiates on it, whatever its state, the effect will be magical. This is the work of transformation. What could be more perfect than to realise this bliss throughout the cells? This is the goal set before us: to return to what we are in essence in every facet of our being.
But sometimes this bliss seems very far away. The world is now going through an enormous shift. It’s as if everything is being churned around in a huge cauldron. There are chaotic forces at play in the world at present. These forces can also play havoc in the individual. I have a feeling that their activity has got even more intense since the turn of the year. Old paradigms are beginning to crumble before our eyes. The old habits and patterns no longer seem to work. A huge battle is going on both inside and out. But perhaps this turmoil is paving the way for something more splendid and great. A new way has to emerge.
In the context of all this, I find the habits and patterns of the past throttle the heart. If I get lost in their tangles, they give love no room to breathe. It happens quite covertly. Our nature is comprised with many old grooves and these seem to be the source of all our habitual patterns. A reaction is triggered and without realising it, my heart might freeze and all radiance will be lost. It is not easy to recognise these patterns rising to the surface. I believe that is why it is so important to stay aligned. This requires vigilance, a disinterested eye on all inner movements. This is a time to keep our balance and make best use of whatever our nature offers. As for me, it is imperative I align myself through the heart because that is what my nature requires. If I align to love I stand in my truth. It is only this force which sustains me. It is the source of my well-being. When I live in the head I become fragmented and lose my sense of wholeness. I get lost in its quizzical detours; I get consumed in doubt. Perhaps that is another reason why the Mother once said that the heart has wings.
I am convinced that this power has the capacity to overcome every obstacle. The implications for man’s mental and physical health are enormous. Love is such a simple vibration and perhaps that’s where much of its power comes from. I don’t believe that we can choose to love; love manifests only when the instrumental nature is fit and ready. But even the smallest detail can set this huge force into motion. Even a simple smile can trigger this process. Every time we identify with something that we love, we access a part of us that is truly divine. The extended experience of yoga is all about this. It is a matter of re-discovering our innate divinity:
“One can love divinely only by becoming divine in nature; there is no other way (4).”
1. Sri Aurobindo. Birth Centenary Library, Volume 23. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1970, p. 772.
2. Ibid., pp. 761-2
3. The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 5. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2003, p. 237.
4. Sri Aurobindo. SABCL, Volume 23. p. 763.
*For instance from psycho-neuroimmunology
**The evolving soul; the psychic individuality.
James Anderson is a member of SAIIIHR and coordinating editor of NAMAH.
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If “God is love”, then being in love is to be god-like. To be in perfect love is to be God. Perfect love is unconditional love, and this is Jesus’ meaning in saying “be thou therefore perfect, even as thy Father in heaven…”. Nothing to do with moralism or the 10 commandments.
If it is also true that “love conquereth all”, then love is also a warrior. And in that sense, ironically, you must ask then what Nietzsche’s “will to power” might mean as a general operative principle in the cosmos. Nietzsche’s “will to power” and “God is love” may not be the contradictions that many people seem to think they are.
Personally, the thing I find most problematic about peterson (well, one of the things, anyway) is his biological determinism.
Gender roles are biologically determined, he tells us, and therefore can’t be changed.
I have, over many years, as psychologists – and scientists in general – how you do an experiment to determine something cannot be done.
There were all those scientists who patiently explained to George Stephenson why his steam engine simply could not work – it was scientifically impossible. His immortal response, after his first demonstration – “Your problem is solved by its moving.”
Then there were all those physiologists back in the late 1940s who had solid evidence, backed by over a century of physiology – that no human being could run the mile faster than 4 minutes. Then of course Roger Bannister performed a George Stephenson on them – “your problem is solved by my running”
I grew up having lucid dreams, so I was quite surprised by the vehemence with which psychologists insisted it was simply impossible to be aware while dreaming. My favorite was the philosopher, Norman Malcolm, who was convinced he had the perfect logical refutation – “a ‘dream'” – he “reasoned,” was an experience you had while you were asleep, and thus, unconscious. Therefore, by perfectly logical reasoning, it is impossible to be conscious while dreaming.
Stephen LaBerge was sitting in a dream lab in 1981, and noticed that a dream subject had unusual eye movements. When the subject woke up, LaBerge asked, “What were you just dreaming about?”
“I was playing tennis.”
So LaBerge realized that eye movements might be able to be consciously carried out in the lucid dream state. He arranged to have the subject carry out specific eye movements, which could not have been random. He presented the next year the Association for the Study of Dreams, and at least to their credit, everyone gave in and accepted lucid dreams as a reality (I don’t know about the logical positivist Norman Malcolm – my assumption is he was as hard headed as Peterson and unwilling to admit he could have been wrong)
And let’s take a peak at parapsychology – it has been proven beyond any possible shadow of a doubt that humans and animals are capable of telepathy, remote viewing, precognition and psychokinesis/
This not only completely refutes Peterson (consciousness can alter Y and X chromosomes) but it also provides the most solid evidence for consciousness affecting evolution – if psychokinesis is true (and it is) then obviously the consciousness of animals can affect the DNA.
And if panpsychism is the case (as more and more mainstream scientists are coming to accept, no matter how grudgingly) then obviously what we call “laws of nature” are simply the outcome of the activity of consciousness inherent in all matter.
A truly integral consciousness can see/feel/know this immediately – literally, without mediation, without having to analyze, calculate, cogitate, etc.
Ultimately, what Peterson’s popularity comes down to, is, as the analytic, dualistic separative consciousness comes apart, people still attached to Manicheanism are terrified, and Peterson justifies their fears. It’s as simple as that.
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear just one psychologist provide even the remotest justification for saying, “Oh, well, we’ve been disproven on just about everything we claimed couldn’t be done, but that (psi, mind body interaction, near death experiences, rebirth memories, gender transformation, etc etc etc ) well, I just KNOW THAT can’t be done!!!
Infinite Warrior – I mentioned in an earlier comment that the whole idea of “political correctness” as a widespread issue that affected people in a real way, is a lie concocted quite deliberately by right wing think tanks.
This article provides more evidence for this than I previously was aware of. Every time people repeat the idea that political correctness is a problem, they are encouraging the subliminal forces that are seeking to prolong the current deficient state of the rational consciousness. I really think it’s that urgent. https://www.viewpointmag.com/2018/01/23/postmodernism-not-take-place-jordan-petersons-12-rules-life/
I think I’ll allow Scott to have (nearly) the final word on this one:
Just as a lot of people, no doubt, have an interest in purposefully confusing the issue of “ultra-rightism” with conservatism, among all other present day confusions.
As we know, however, these are primarily “subconscious” confusions, which is why I prefer the term ‘compelled speech’ to ‘political correctness’ for our purposes here. “Compelled speech” covers a lot more territory than the realm of formal politics.
Do we want to grow up and break out of this prison of humanity’s own making or not?
This one requires more time to absorb and consider. That is, it’s information to me, with knowledge and the rest of that spiral potentially ahead with further engagement. But! Snares and pitfalls, don’t you know.
PS re that PPPS: When I said “that requires” above, I didn’t mean that we have to wait around until we become Albions before doing anything: I mean that we become Albions through that doing; hence my quoting of Molina’s poem, asking “what if, in the very question, the answer lay hid?” To which I respond, “what if, in the very doing, the Kingdom of God lay hid?”
That seems to me the meaning of the “ye are gods” phrase in the Bible; compassionate action towards aliens, widows and orphans, loving your enemies, etc. But one doesn’t need the Bible for that: one learns by doing.
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS. “One learns by doing”
Snares and pitfalls, don’t you know.
Today on Facebook, a Klaus Barbie Doll!
A cute and Interesting take on the level of development of those who “only follow orders” of the megamachine, as determined to be no defence, correctly, in the Nuremberg trials, and legitimised, incorrectly, today. “It wasn’t me who killed her; it was the gun!” “I didn’t sign the death warrant, it was the pen!” “Sure, I fired the drone / set of the terrorist bomb / whatever, but the megamachine made me do it!” “I did it for my social imaginary!” And so on.
Curious. The dad handled that well, I think.
Interesting. I have a 65 year old in-law living in a group home (bipolar, borderline, receiving disability compensation for purely psychological reasons, no physical disability) who reasons a good deal of the time much like this young girl.
If we knew how many people driving, voting, managing businesses, etc, reason at least some of the time like this little girl, we might go off to the Himalayas and never return:>)))
>> If we knew how many people driving, voting, managing businesses, etc, reason at least some of the time like this little girl, we might go off to the Himalayas and never return:>)))
Well, I know of one: me. A little boy of that age is still inside me, and it’s a not so cute me when it takes over adult me or me’s; for example, it’s how we murder for memes.
Coincidentally, as I’m writing this there is a program on that same radio station, called The Minefield. It’s about restraint; not the sort of virtue that the phrase “Homo Deus” would seem to encourage.
Oh. I just went to the link to post it here, and it shows a boy of about that girl’s age eyeing off some candy:
So do I. Putting it on YouTube though? Maybe not so much.
Don’t know if you caught my response to IW this morning, re: the Jordan Peterson Effect in Homo Deus — but as I mentioned, I wrote Mark Vernon about his podcast on the subject, citing my own uneasiness with Peterson’s “obscurities”, and he sent me a link to a Toronto Star article written by a former colleague of Peterson’s. It’s quite revealing
I suspected psychic inflation, which is rather ironic given Peterson’s profession as a clinical psychologist. This article suggests that — the manic preacher. Gebser also warned about psychic inflation in connection with his “irruption”.
But, as I suspected, Peterson isn’t the warrior against “the New Normal” that he thinks he is. He’s part of it.
And I still suspect that neither he nor Pinker (et al) are consciously aware that they are, in large part, reinforcing the binary status quo.
I rather appreciated Ian Mackenzie’s comments on this subject today. After all, it is not “public intellectuals” such as they who are actually setting policy so much as acting as megaphones of the binary consciousness we’ve all inherited simply by virtue of having been born into civilization founded upon it.
One more thing (which may be of particular interest to don, considering his location): People need to learn a little something about Billy Graham before using him as an example of the Christian Nationalist movement in the US or, indeed, anything remotely like it.
In the sixties, the elder Graham gave a stern (as was his way) warning to the Evangelical community at large during one of his Crusades (and I’d give anything to come up with a video of that sermon) to be wary of politicians who say they represent “Christian interests.” (He also spoke up for MLK during the civil rights movement. )
Now, Graham’s son obviously didn’t get that message and the elder Graham himself not only made mistakes here and there, but confused the biblical injunction to “spread the good news” to all the tribes of Israel with “all modern nations”, no doubt because “all the tribes of Israel” is translated as “all nations” in many editions of the Bible.
While I can’t say I agreed with Mr. Graham’s theology, he was not — by any stretch of the imagination — anything like the Televangelists of today.
This is why, don, when you mentioned that Montreat was “overly Billy Grahamish” during our conversation about your presencing practices, I said, “Actually, it’s overly Franklin Grahamish” and “not all Evangelicals are created equal.” ; )
Thanks Mike. And Thanks, IW, yes, I’m aware Franklin and Billy are/were quite different – though “not being anything like the Televangelists of today” may not be enough to balance the elder Graham’s rank subservience to Nixonian ways.
By the way, here is a fan of Jordan Peterson who showed up in a rather unusual place, a process philosopher’s site (teaches at California Institute of Integral Studies.
His characterization of Peterson as a “trickster” (in the Jungian sense) reminds me of people who kept insisting that Trump was some kind of genius Trickster. Funny, I haven’t heard any of them say that for over a year. I wonder how long it will take this particular Jungian therapist to look a bit deeper.
He walked a fine line: socially-engaged Christianity (much like Hanh’s “socially-engaged Buddhism”) with the pitfall of personal political endorsement constantly yawning beneath him. I think he came down on the “right and left” side of that line, so to speak, remarkably consistently (especially given the “Jewish-Communist Conspiracy Against These Here United States” outrageousness going on then and now). So, he has my respect. But, far more importantly: speak of him with due respect, and those familiar with him and his family will respect you and, perhaps, anything you might need to say, rather than shutting down immediately.
Franklin, otoh, is a businessman through and through. Not to belittle his work with Samaritan’s Purse, which has been especially of import in addressing that history of extreme poverty in Appalachia, but — even there — Franklin’s own objectives are very explicit.
You’re probably familiar with Operation Christmas Child? I remember thinking at one time that was an awesome idea…until I learned that every one of those lovingly, carefully-prepared shoe boxes is opened so that an Evangelical tract can be slipped into it. <_< One has to ask: How much is Franklin committed to aiding his Islamic neighbors, with whom his father worked side by side for years, and how much is he committed to converting them — not only to Christianity, but perhaps even to Christian Imperialist ways?
That would be a “no-brainer,” as they say. And with him in charge, I suspect the BGEA may become a political force to be reckoned with…if it isn’t already.
But, so much for the local-to-global dimension. Thanks for the link to that podcast. Still working through it myself.
speaking of Jordan Peterson (who seems ubiquitous these days), I found this essay to be most insightful; from someone who has known him personally for a long time.
Hi David. Yes. Read it. We’ve discussed it in some comments here as well.
I’m not sure, as yet, whether Peterson’s ubiquity should be taken as a welcome thing or an unwelcome thing. Unwelcome because it seems to affirm certain groups in their groupthink biases, welcome because it forces his critics to examine their own or to better articulate their objections. So, yes, there is a “Peterson Paradox” in that sense.
I find myself in the latter camp, mostly. I find something rather “trojan horsey” about Peterson — a sense that he’s not really being on the up-and-up or very forthright about his motivations, and perhaps that’s why Falcon (see don’s comment below) rather too flatteringly compares him to Trickster. But I don’t think Falcon really understands the Trickster type (it’s been said of Trump too).
But what Falcon didn’t mention about Trickster, is that his slyness and tricksyness often blow up in his own face — “hoist on his own petard” as Shakespeare said of the type. And that seems to be Peterson’s fate to bear.
Might add that encounters with Trickster can also be fatal.
Scott, I’d be particularly interested to see if Warren Falcon’s view of Peterson https://footnotes2plato.com/2018/05/25/the-jordan-peterson-moment-seeking-dialogue-on-the-left/?replytocom=33512#respond – it probably will still be the last comment on this particular page) shifts anything for you.
It didn’t for me – I thought Warren was projecting quite a bit onto Peterson myself, but I don’t know.
Well, there’s a sort of irony in it (sorry to be so long to get back at you about this comment). I’m not really sure whether the quote from Roth is for the benefit of Peterson or of Peterson’s critics. There’s irony in that.