Fourfold Vision and Integral Consciousness

There are four questions I’ll want to be pursuing for the next little while in connection with my last few posts on Rolf Jensen’s The Dream Society.

First, just how far along has this Brave New World — or “theme park world” in Jensen’s terms — of the Dream Society come to being made effectually real? (You can read a view of that here, “Welcome to the Dream Society“).

Second, how does this Dream Society relate to Howard Bloom’s concept of The Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century? That is to say, how is Bloom’s “mass mind” (or hive mind) related to Jensen’s “retribalisation” (or re-collectivisation) theme and the Dream Society “market” as being, effectively, the Jungian “collective unconscious” (or “the Shadow”)? This re-collectivisation or re-tribalisation is already evident in events like authoritarian populism, nationalism, racism, fascism, “brand cults”, etc, and the disintegration of the individual.

Thirdly, what is the meaning of “Dream Society” and “Global Brain” in relation to William Blake’s “city of the imagination”, Golgonooza — the “spiritual fourfold” city?

And fourthly, is Dream Society and Global Brain truly the “final form of society” (in Jensen’s estimation), or merely the last dying, decadent or disintegrative phase — the chrysalis stage if you will — of late capitalist society and of what Philip Slater calls “Control Culture” — therefore,  something only preparatory for a metamorphosis towards “Integral Culture” or integral consciousness?

But to assess the real meaning of Dream Society or Global Brain in that sense, we need to also understand something of the meaning of Blake’s “fourfold vision” and of his “four Zoas”, who “reside in the Human Brain”, and how they might manifest also in this Global Brain/Dream Society.

Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newton’s sleep!

There is nothing essentially “mystical” about what Blake means by “fourfold vision”. It is pretty much the same as Jean Gebser’s “integral consciousness” as described in his Ever-Present Origin. If you have followed The Chrysalis for any length of time, we’ve also explored some characteristics of fourfold vision in relation to a quadrilateral or four-value logic, also as revealed in and through mandalas of all kinds, including Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” or the indigenous “Sacred Hoop” or Jung’s symbols of the integral “Self” and his “four psychological types”, and so on. Blake’s fourfold vision and his “four Zoas” is also reflected in Jean Gebser’s “four structures of consciousness” as civilisational types — the archaic, the magical, the mythical, and the mental-rational, (and the prospective fifth would be “the integral”, which is represented in Blake as the “Universal Humanity” or as his figure of the risen “Albion”).

So, we have to assess the potential and value (or lack thereof) of Global Brain and Dream Society for effecting such an integration (or “health”, which is what the word means originally), also bearing in mind the distinction between authentic and counterfeit wholes or integrations described, too, by Henri Bortoft. A counterfeit whole would be little more than a true dystopia and a new totalitarianism. This means, too, that we have to assess the value of Dream Society/Global Brain, or lack thereof, in terms, too, of Iain McGilchrist’s neurodynamics as revealed in his book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, about which more information can be found on Iain McGilchrist’s website. This is most especially the case because it’s not the “Master” that dreams. It’s the Emissary, or ego-consciousness, that dreams. That has certain implications for estimating the value of Jensen’s “Dream Society”, too.

One of the keys to interpreting the meaning of Blake’s fourfold vision is already found in his “manifesto”, of sorts, “There is NO Natural Religion“. And in many respects, Jensen’s market religion (for that is what it is), is the same “natural religion”.

If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things, & stand still unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again

The “same dull round”, of course, is a reference to what Blake has famously described as “the dark Satanic Mill”, which is the mind of “Urizen”, architect of the Ulro, or shadow world which Blake also refers to as “Generation” or “Corporeality” or also “Nature”. Urizen is the same as Buddha’s “Mara”, Lord of Illusion or “the Prince of Lies”. His contemporary archetype is represented in the figure of “the Architect” in the movie The Matrix. Jensen’s “Dream Society” also bears an uncanny resemblance to “the Matrix” in those terms.

Blake has alluded to some elements of his “fourfold vision” in the quote from “There is No Natural Religion”. This is described as the Poetic, the Prophetic, the Philosophic and the Experimental modes of “vision” or modes of perception, or modes of knowing. While they are also represented as the “four Zoas” of the “divided Humanity” who have their origins in “Imagination”, they also have an affinity with Gebser’s “structures of consciousness” as civilisational types as well, and with Jung’s four psychological functions of thinking, feeling, intuiting (or sometimes “willing”), or sensing. Altogether, the Poetic, the Prophetic, the Philosophic and the Experimental comprise the Arts & Sciences of his Golgonooza, “city of imagination” and the spiritual fourfold city, which also bears some resemblance to Augustine’s “City of God”.

Blake’s own illustration of the Zoas and of the integral structure of the human form is also the structure of Golgonooza. Here it is again,

William Blake — the Fourfold Vision or the quadrilateral

We’ve discussed this structure many times previously in The Chrysalis, especially as it pertains equally to Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s sociology of “grammatical method” and his “cross of reality” also, with its four fronts or directions — past, future, inner, outer (or trajective, prejective, subjective, objective orientations)

Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”

In other words, and in terms of Rosenstock-Huessy’s “speech philosophy” or grammatical method, Blake’s fourfold vision is also represented in grammar, and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” represents the same emergent consciousness as Blake’s fourfold vision or as the shape of Golgonooza. As Rosenstock-Huessy put it also (and he probably knew nothing of Blake) we can hardly utter a single sentence without invoking poetic, prophetic, political, or philosophic elements, which are either latent or explicit in terms of lyrics, epics, dramatics, or analytics; or optatives, narratives, imperatives, and indicatives. These factors which correspond to the four fronts of a society’s cross of reality are always more or less latent or manifest, implicit or explicit, in any articulate speech. In fact, articulation is integration and is the conjoining of these elements to generate a meaning.

We can illustrated something of what Blake means by fourfold vision and his Golgonooza as the spiritual fourfold city (and by implication, too, Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”) by taking one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell as an example

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees

What is “tree” in its completeness or wholeness can only be answered through fourfold vision. A physicalist or experimentalist only sees the “what” — the wood, the physical and objective elements that make for wood. A biologist would also see, in addition, those energetic or bio-chemical processes that sustain the life of the tree. A philosopher would interrogate the “why” of a tree (in fact Heidegger did just that) or what is meant by the concept or abstract noun “tree”, while a poet or the prophet might see the spiritual form or mode of manifestation of the tree, as symbolic form. All these possibilities of “tree” are either latent or manifest in the meaning of “tree” or in the nature of its being, and in the human being who regards the tree in one mode or another. A strict physicalist or materialist privileges indicatives only, and must suppress in himself and in his speech, too, any supposedly “non-objective” properties of the tree — the poetic, the philosophic, the prophetic moods must be subdued, suppressed, or compelled into latency. This is what Blake decries as “Single Vision & Newton’s sleep”. The full truth of the tree as a “treeing” can only be realised through fourfold vision as it is perceived through its poetic, prophetic, philosophic, and scientific aspects, or, put in a way consistent with Rosenstock-Huessy’s grammatical method — the lyrical, dramatical, epical and analytical (or “matter of factness”) aspects. These are also the elements that Gebser associates with “structures of consciousness” — the magical, the mythical, the mental-rational especially.

What this means is that the structure of Blake’s fourfold vision, and of his Golgonooza, as well as Gebser’s integral consciousness and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” are already latent, but as yet unrecognised, in the patterns of human speech we call “grammars”. And, in one respect, integral consciousness is simply availing ourselves of and to all these patterns or streams of speech.

This is also what it means “to speak from the centre of the voice”, as my indigenous friends call it, which is from the centre of the Sacred Hoop or “cross of reality”. To speak from the centre of the voice is integration as articulation, and belongs to fourfold vision.

The civilisations of the past were doomed when they lapsed into “Single Vision” in terms of their own overspecialised consciousness structure, or entered into what Gebser equally calls “deficient mode”. They hyper-exaggerated one mode of attention or knowing or one style of speech as “normal” at the expense of the others. When one or more fronts of Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” is neglected, too, that society enters into deficient mode of functioning. In fact, Yeats’ “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold” is true of any civilisation or consciousness structure that neglects any of its time and space fronts, which are equally the four directions of Blake’s spiritual fourfold city of Golgonooza.

The mental-rational civilisation of “Single Vision” has hyper-exaggerated the analytical and indicatival mode and style of speech as the exclusively true. And while Jensen’s “post-rational” Dream Society may merely look like a corrective to that hyper-exaggeration, it’s only an inversion of it.  It merely hyper-exaggerates in another direction, one that appears completely solpsistic and narcissistic.

(There is a peculiar similarity, too, between Blake’s vision of Golgonooza and Black Elk’s vision as recounted in the book Black Elk Speaks. It’s something I’ll have to take up and explore as well).

If you can appreciate the logic of Rosenstock-Huessy’s social philosophy of grammatical method and cross of reality, you can appreciate the logic of Blake’s fourfold vision and his Golgonooza as well. And from that vantage point we can assess the meaning of Dream Society and Global Brain too, and assess their sufficiency or deficiency in terms of integrality or for the prospects for an authentic “Integral Culture”.  Although Jensen’s Dream Society has an uncanny resemblance to Blake’s “city of imagination”, closer inspection reveals that it is a rather perverse and profane image of that — a kind of total virtual reality in which the mental-rational is overwhelmed and inundated by deficient forms of the mythical and magical — deficient because of their own exclusivity in denying the authenticity, too, of the objective and the reasoning faculty. Jensen’s “Dream Society” is the realised form, rather, of “irrational exuberance“, or of rationally and technocratically administered infantilism, and the work of what Blake called “fiends of Commerce”.

It’s not Golgonooza, the spiritual fourfold city of true art and science, nor Blake’s “New Jerusalem”.

Advertisements

53 responses to “Fourfold Vision and Integral Consciousness”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    The Dream Society promises to serve up for you nothing but sweet dreams (for a price of course). Maybe package and sell your own dreams back to you, is more the case. But in any event, those of you who dream know that dreams aren’t always sweet (which is something never brought up in Jensen’s book).

  2. mikemackd says :

    Looking around the net re this awake dreaming aspect, I came across an author I had not encountered before, Douglas Lockhart, via his online essay, The Lost Secret of Christianity, at: http://www.douglaslockhart.com/the-lost-secret-of-christianity

    He states there that “the lost heart of Christianity is not something to be believed, but something to be experienced”, and that the secret is that “full consciousness is experienced when we tease self-awareness and object-attention apart and allow them to occupy separate spaces [rather McGilchristian, that]… if awareness and attention are allowed to operate con-jointly, and at regular intervals, then an entirely new state of consciousness begins to emerge” …

    He continues, “We identify with ideas, objects and people to such an extent that we become wrapped around by them … but each excursion into identification has a price, and that price is amputation from the larger dimension of our own natures – the dimension of the truly human … We have fallen into a deep and busy sleep within which we dream constantly of being awake.”

    His point is that we are to “realise that what you have to search for first is not God … it is you that is lost, not God … lost to yourself as a living being” … “Real ‘doing’ requires real consciousness, and we’re stuck predominantly in an awake dream … You can only make real decisions when you yourself are real”

    So the state in which we can fall prey to the designs on us by Rolf Jensen and his ilk is that which has not discovered Lockhart’s Lost Secret of Christianity: “To experience the living present is to short-circuit one’s way out of awake-dream”.

    I would be interested to hear what others think concerning the relationship between this Jensen problematic and Lockhart’s insights, as I had recommended a similar process in my book to Lockhart’s, but in the secular context of addressing wicked problems.

    • mikemackd says :

      Lockhart credits a character by the name of Father Sylvan to many of his insights, a sort of Christian equivalent to Don Juan, with the Castenada being the author Jacob Needleman, in his book “Lost Christianity” (Element Books, 1990). He quotes Needleman’s closing paragraph of that book, which quote is also interesting to place alongside McGilchrist, in particular that remark by Scott above that “we have to assess the value of Dream Society/Global Brain, or lack thereof, in terms, too, of Iain McGilchrist’s neurodynamics … This is most especially the case because it’s not the “Master” that dreams. It’s the Emissary, or ego-consciousness, that dreams.” Needleman concluded:

      “The inner and outer world have been misunderstood, and this misunderstanding has had disastrous consequences both for Christianity and modern culture. The outer world is not the world of things ‘out there’ in space. The inner world is not the world of thoughts and emotions ‘inside’ the psyche. On the contrary, it is the world of ‘thoughts and emotions’ that is the outer world. Yet these same ‘thoughts and emotions’ have been given a name that was meant to designate what is highest and most inner in man: the soul.”

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        Lost secret?

        “The outer world is not the world of things ‘out there’ in space. The inner world is not the world of thoughts and emotions ‘inside’ the psyche. On the contrary, it is the world of ‘thoughts and emotions’ that is the outer world.” — Douglas Lockhart

        “The learned think that microcosm is concealed in the creation of man and macrocosm is the outer space that surrounds us. For enlightened beings it is just the opposite. The outer universe is microcosm and the macrocosm is hidden in human beings.” ~ Shams e Tabrizi

        (Put another way: “the kingdom of Heaven is within and among you” or “in your midst”.)

        “We identify with ideas, objects and people to such an extent that we become wrapped around by them … We have fallen into a deep and busy sleep within which we dream constantly of being awake.” — Douglas Lockhart

        If you’re not completely naked,
        wrap your beautiful robe of words
        around you,
        and sleep. ~ Rumi, Ode 314

        Most of the problems of the world stems from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence. ~ Shams Tabrizi

        “Wittgenstein came to see language as an organic construction in which the very human context of its creation and use was of central importance. In this way, his quote can be reinterpreted to mean there are aspects of experience that are real, but can’t be captured in language….” — Adam Frank, When Words Fail

        Resolution.

        For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
        From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
        Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
        Then I walked outside.

        The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
        Don’t go back to sleep.
        You must ask for what you really want.
        Don’t go back to sleep.

        People are going back and forth across the doorsill
        where the two worlds touch.
        The door is round and open.
        Don’t go back to sleep.

        — Rumi (Translation by Coleman Barks)

        • mikemackd says :

          Hi IW

          QUOTE
          The outer world is not the world of things ‘out there’ in space. The inner world is not the world of thoughts and emotions ‘inside’ the psyche. On the contrary, it is the world of ‘thoughts and emotions’ that is the outer world
          UNQUOTE

          I am glad you picked up on this. To me, it’s the most insightful part of the essay, but by no means the only one. For instance, I read his observation that “what you have to search for first is not God … it is you that is lost, not God … lost to yourself as a living being” in the context of the previous paragraph, where he noted that “The problem that arises for Christians in this [energy management] context is complex”, and goes on to warn:

          QUOTE
          Drawing the energy of attention away from the world and the body, the advocates of prayer and charismatic renewal systematically disconnect themselves from the world and become affectively charged. But it a charging fraught with danger, for out of it can come a ferocious certainty, the ‘belief’ that God is on their side and their side alone. Backed often by a literal interpretation of Scripture and an equally convinced peer group, such individuals are a danger to themselves and to everyone around them. They are, as Father Sylvan says, “explosive devices ready to be set off at random”
          UNQUOTE

          Since Father Sylvan’s words, we have seen a plethora of literal expressions of that in the form of suicide bombers (more about that later).

          He was saying such results are empowered by this secret being lost to Christianity at large, in a similar way that the words of Shams and Rumi are lost to Islam at large. Recall that Sufis are persecuted by Islamists o similarly ferocious certainty, because that certainty is correct about them in one respect: Sufis and others (or example, Salman Rushdie) are a threat to their ability to dominate, deceive and destroy others. That’s a species thing, but his focus there is on Christianity.

          While he doesn’t mention it, that aspect is introduced elsewhere in Needleman’s book (which, BTW, I haven’t read, so the above-demonstrated danger of quoting out of context applies here as well). There, Needleman refers to a quote by Keats on a quality termed “negative capability” – a tiny aside in the Western Canon, but what seems to me an expression of a fundamental insight of Taoism – wei wu wei. Keats’ insight has been picked up by different scholars, one of whom, Prof. Pedro Blas González, noted:
          :
          QUOTE
          “Negative capability is the opposite of the myopia that positivism demonstrates in negating the existence of a supreme being. By negative capability we should understand man’s capacity to allow ourselves to be dazzled by the ontological mystery of human existence … human existence is rooted in mystery, though, not shrouded in it” (https://sydneytrads.com/2018/06/18/pedro-blas-gonzalez/)
          UNQUOTE

          It has also been picked up in, of all places, corporate leadership studies. They point out that leaders need to have a positive decision-making capability, but also a negative capability, to be receptive, not shut up inside a cavern of ferocious certainty:

          QUOTE:
          By ‘negative capability’ Keats meant the lack of personal identity, of preconceived certainty, which he believed to mark all great poets. It was necessary, Keats believed, for the poet to be, above all, open to impressions, sensations or whatever, which means that the ‘camelion’ (chameleon) poet is forever changing his/her ideas (French, R., Simpson, P. and Harvey, C. 2016. Negative Capability A contribution to the understanding of creative leadership. http://www.eprints.uwe.ac.uk/14498/1/ISPSO_2008_Neg_Cap_FINAL-080616.DOC).
          UNQUOTE

          Moreover, they observe:

          QUOTE:
          Here too, one is not better than the other. Nor are they opposites: the opposite of one is incompetence, and of the other, dispersal. ‘Dispersal’ – into explanations, physical activity or emotions – is Needleman’ s term (1990: 167) for the way we behave when our negative capability is not adequate to the demands of a situation. Unable to hold the tensions and anxieties and to live with problems that may be intractable, accepting paradoxes and dilemmas for what they are – unable, that is, to gather or conserve our energies – we ‘disperse’ them. For example, we rush too quickly into action, or without adequate consideration we break problems down into apparently manageable ‘bits’ in an effort to make them seem manageable after all (ibid).
          UNQUOTE

          And further point out, as also does Lockhart, that “the experiences {negative capability] describes may in themselves be difficult and also lack the immediate appeal that attaches to the skills and competences of management and leadership” (ibid).

          So the awake dream, the deep and busy sleep, which Rolf Jensen’s Dream Society is a manifestation. is a form of cop-out, a distraction from reality’s main event, a running from our selves being nailed to the cross of reality. You can only make real decisions when you yourself are real, and that is why Lockhart asserts that “the crucified Christ is our own presence locked in matter”. Jesus, in modern parlance, “bit the bullet” that we all disperse today as its challenge is so demanding in its utter simplicity. We disperse into explanations, physical activity or emotions, as I am doing now. In his own inimitable and so often poetic way, Abdulmonem has been stressing that here for years.

          Jensen’s dream society is a carrot, and a stick is shame. For instance, males may be regressed, arrested, or fixated inside a puerile macho / Satanic state by social shame. As appeared on my Facebook page this morning, Brené Brown in a Ted talk says “Shame is a focus on self: “I am bad”; Guilt is a focus on behaviour: “I did something bad”. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders: Guilt is inversely correlated with those things”. https://www.facebook.com/TED/videos/10160673484905652/

          This shame is often infused into children by parents, but arguably more often and potently by peers: “go on, I dare you! Sissy! Girly-boy” and other such abuse. Rumi put it this way:

          What Jesus runs away from
          The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a slope
          as though a wild animal were chasing him.
          Someone following him asks, ‘Where are you going?
          No one is after you.’ Jesus keeps on,
          saying nothing, across two more fields. ‘Are you
          the one who says words over a dead person,
          so that he wakes up?’ I am. ‘Did you not make
          the clay birds fly?’ Yes. ‘Who then
          could possibly cause you to run like this?’
          Jesus slows his pace.

          I say the Great Name over the deaf and the blind,
          they are healed. Over a stony mountainside,
          and it tears its mantle down to the navel.
          Over non-existence, it comes into existence.
          But when I speak lovingly for hours, for days,
          with those who take human warmth
          and mock it, when I say the Name to them, nothing
          happens. They remain rock, or turn to sand,
          where no plants can grow. Other diseases are ways
          for mercy to enter, but this non-responding
          breeds violence and coldness toward God.
          I am fleeing from that.

          As little by little air steals water, so praise
          Is dried up and evaporates with foolish people
          who refuse to change. Like cold stone you sit on,
          a cynic steals body heat. He doesn’t feel
          the sun. Jesus wasn’t running from actual people.
          He was teaching in a new way.

          • mikemackd says :

            Oh. When I said “more about that later”, I meant that shame and the other side of that “false coin of our own dreams” (Graeber, David 2002. “Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value” Palgrave), posthumous glory, being employed by ferociously certain (and thereby convincing to the gullible) narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths and the like to manipulate the awake dreamers into becoming suicide bombers etc.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              He was saying such results are empowered by this secret being lost to Christianity at large, in a similar way that the words of Shams and Rumi are lost to Islam at large.

              My point is: it’s not “lost” and it’s never been lost. It just so happens to comprise the heart not only of Christianity, but of humanity itself. What it has been is buried and forgotten, but for a few brave souls from all walks of life keeping the flame alive and, of course, those curious enough to “walk outside”.

              Interesting that this should come up just now in the context of Christianity. We’ve discussed the fact that Christianity itself appears to be undergoing an “identity crisis” of its own and, of course, not just for the first time.

              Perhaps the emergence church movement lost its momentum precisely because so-called progressive Christians have increasingly made their political commitments the heart of their faith — instead of the other way around…. [A] similar dynamic is at work on the conservative side of Christianity. The temptation to ignore spirituality for politics seems to cut across all party lines.

              Yep.

              Perhaps for Christianity to truly embody its calling as Christ-in-the-world, the church at large (not just Catholic or Protestant, liberal or conservative, but the church as a whole) needs first to be anchored in its mystical life and from there discern how it engages with the world at large.

              [T]hat is why Lockhart asserts that “the crucified Christ is our own presence locked in matter”.

              Interesting term, that: “presence.”

            • mikemackd says :

              “the astrophysicists must reckon with the possibility that their outer world is only our inner world turned inside out” Lewis Mumford “My Works and Days”

            • Scott Preston says :

              “our inner world turned inside out” — perfectly descriptive of this.

          • Scott Preston says :

            The outer world is not the world of things ‘out there’ in space. The inner world is not the world of thoughts and emotions ‘inside’ the psyche. On the contrary, it is the world of ‘thoughts and emotions’ that is the outer world

            Yes, it’s also a very good way of describing the premiss of the Dream Society, which makes it quite amibiguous in some respects. I believe “truthiness” is the correct term here?

            There is something in the quote, too, of something Castaneda’s don Juan once told him: “reality is the feeling we have for it”.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I very much like Lockhart’s description of this. It sounds like a book worth reading.

      • mikemackd says :

        Oh, it’s not a book, Scott, although he has written several; it’s an essay of under 13,000 words.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Oh. OK, I’ll have to get around to reading that later. Right now I have to go and sit the farm and my ex’s three donkeys and her cats while she takes a short vacation for a couple of days. There’s no internet there.

          • Dwig says :

            Perhaps that farm has secrets to tell you, when you sleep and when you don’t…

            • Scott Preston says :

              It does. There’s a deep and steep coulee that runs through the farm. I call it the Dragon, because from the air it looks like a sleeping dragon. The farm house is perched on one edge of the Dragon. So, when I sleep at the farm, I’m sleeping with the Dragon. Some pretty strange things have happened in the Dragon. Nothing this time (although the dog was barking into the Dragon most of the night, probably just coyotes or deer wandering through). Awful place to go into in the early summer, though, because of the bugs and ticks.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Got around finally to reading through Lockhart’s profound essay, which would certainly be of interest to students of Jean Gebser’s work as well. I may very well write something up about it in relation to recent posts on “Dream Society”, perhaps even as being the antidote to the Dream Society

  3. Scott Preston says :

    Some themes from the Grail legend that recur in *Game of Thrones*: the Red Witch, Melissandre, very much recalls the witch Kundry from the Grail legend. The Night King, while corresponding to Darth Vader in the Star Wars tale, also bears resemblance to the sorcerer Klingsor in the Grail legend, or the Jungian “Shadow”.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    There are some profound similarities between the sorcerer Klingsor and Buddha’s demon “Mara”, Lord of Illusion. Klingsor sends the Flowermaidens to seduce Parsifal. Mara sends maidens to seduce Siddhartha away from enlightenment. Mara attacks Buddha with the illusion of spears and arrows. Klingsor hurls the Spear of Destiny at Parsifal. Mara casts a spell over Siddhartha to make him believe he’s already enlightened. Klingsor casts a spell over Parsifal to make him believe he’s already in paradise.

    There are similarities between these and Jensen’s Dream Society too.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The sorcerer Klingsor, the Buddhist demon Mara, Lord of Illusion, Blake’s “Urizen”, “the Architect” in “The Matrix” — all very similar figures, archetypal figures. Apparently, the ruling spirit of the Dream Society, too.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    The Dream Society will procure and provide “meaning” as a service/product for a consuming public hungry for meaning and meaningfulness. So, it will mine the world’s myths and legends and sacred stories for meanings or archetypes to market, reformulated as “brands”, and around such brands new consumer cults of meaning will congregate called “lifestyles” or “lifestyle brands”. This is apparently seen as the cure for contemporary social malaise or the modern malaise.

    Marketing meanings and meaningfulness is the new growth sector. This is what is being called ‘marketing 3.0’ or “spiritual marketing” or “holistic branding”, etc — the buying and selling of meanings.

    Of course, the question here is, what are the implications of this?

    • mikemackd says :

      The book by David Graeber that I mentioned above is available online at https://monoskop.org/images/3/36/Graeber_David_Toward_an_Anthropological_Theory_of_Value.pdf. On p. 257 it notes:

      QUOTE
      The appeal of market-based ideologies is not that difficult to understand.
      They draw on a picture of human nature and human motivation that lies
      deeply rooted in the religious tradition of the West, and that in our market-based
      society seems endlessly confirmed by everyday experience. It also has
      the advantage of presenting us with an extremely simple set of propositions.
      We are unique individuals who have unlimited desires; since there is no natural
      cutoff point at which anyone will have enough power, or money, or
      pleasure, or material possessions, and since resources are scarce, this means
      we will always be in at least tacit competition. What we call “society” is, if
      not pure obstruction, then a set of tools to facilitate the pursuit of happiness,
      to regulate the process, perhaps clean up after its mess.

      Market principles can then be balanced, as need be, by their opposite:
      family values, altruistic charity, selfless devotion to a faith or cause—all principles that are, as it were, brought into being as complements to the pure
      psychology of “rational, self-interested calculation.” These are as Mauss reminds us really just two sides of the same false coin. The key move, one
      might say, the most important ideological work in all this is done by extracting
      all the most fundamental questions of desire from society, so that it
      is possible to conceive of happiness largely as one’s relations with objects (or
      at best, people one treats like objects): the moment it is necessary to have
      Rousseau to remind us that in fact, there would be no point in killing everyone
      else to attain their wealth because then there would be no one to know
      we had it, we have already long since lost the ideological game. And it is of
      course exactly this extraction that allows promoters of the market to claim to be acting in the name of human freedom, as simply opening the way for
      individuals to make up their own minds about what they want from life
      without anyone noticing that most of the individuals in question spend the
      vast majority of their waking hours running around at someone else’s beck
      and call. It’s a pretty neat trick if you think about it.

      Much of the power of market theory stems from its very simplicity.
      UNQUOTE

      And I think that Needleman would add that the appeal of that simplicity is from our need for dispersal, the same need we embrace Jensen’s dream society to cuddle within: the dream society as the screen society; the walls of our caverns are screen walls; computer screens, television screens, car windscreens, smartphone screens … all brought to us by machines of loving grace (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Watched_Over_by_Machines_of_Loving_Grace_(TV_series)

  6. Scott Preston says :

    Much to reflect on here in relation to the market mysticism of Jensen’s Dream Society too.

  7. Scott Preston says :

    “Participation mystique” would be a useful term for describing life in The Dream Society — exactly what the “market” would want from its consumers.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Jung’s definition of “participation mystique”: “PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE is a term derived from Lévy-Bruhl. It denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity.”

  8. Scott Preston says :

    This is pretty funny…

  9. Scott Preston says :

    In this older article by Ron Suskind (Oct 2004) with its famous quote about “the reality-based community”, we see prefigured that kind of thinking that also leads to Trump. And although the question is never put in the article, it’s pretty clear that “faith” and “magic” are considered to be very much the same thing. And that raises a most interesting question: what IS the relationship between faith and magic?

    https://opensociet.org/2018/08/18/the-reality-based-community/

    • mikemackd says :

      >>> what IS the relationship between faith and magic?

      I consider the answer is best given pre-verbally, by a racing pigeon.

      Or, rather, stimulated by a racing pigeon in this story placed online by the inestimable Maria Popova, and a song I’ll post shortly

      https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/08/13/king-of-the-sky/

    • mikemackd says :

      Now, back to verbal. Firstly, they are not the reality-based community. The USA, and all other nation-states, are produce of social imaginations, which start as societal-scale figments (a figment being something that someone believes to be real but that exists only in their imagination) and are then manufactured via the megamachine from and identified with by those with insufficient power to meet the demands of their identity constructions: By their works we shall know them, in which case they appear intent upon the destruction of reality on this planet.

      Look, I am older that about three-quarters of the world’s nation states. They are part of the waking dream, that produces both beautiful dreams and the most appalling nightmares, such as Bush and his cronies have inflicted on the east from Syria to Pakistan, but a taste of what is to come to us all (Auden’s Shield of Achilles) as a direct result of the similar cabals’ climate change denialism and similar stupidities magnified via the megamachine.

      What was the “god”, as Blake’s “state of mind”, Bush’s foreign policy cabal evoked? Oh yes, Vulcan. And, via Vulcan, the gullibles’ Calibans took over their Prosperos, as warned about in Mumford’s essay I posted here long ago.

      Maybe Bush was channeling God; in which case, with the wisdom of hindsight, God must really want to destroy the USA.

      I don’t. I love the place and its people, and I hate to see it imploding, descending into the muck of the authoritarian rule of Kalibans.

      Based on the above, here is what I consider to be the difference between faith and magical thinking. The feelings those pigeon stories invoked in me are felt by most of us, including most of us from Syria to Pakistan. They are on the menu of those impulses in us all that wish to dominate, deceive and destroy, and the latter flip and curdle the former to their purposes. Malignant narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths et al. must find manipulating them to be vastly amusing, particularly when it gets us killing each other and lining their pockets at the same time.

      That difference is stated in the article I quoted from above by French et al: “It appears paradoxical, but positive capabilities provide the basis for mobilising negative capability.” That is what Jim Wallis was talking about at the end of that article:

      QUOTE
      “Faith can cut in so many ways,” he [Wallis] said. “If you’re penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it’s designed to certify our righteousness — that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There’s no reflection.
      “Where people often get lost is on this very point,” he said after a moment of thought. “Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not — not ever — to the thing we as humans so very much want.”
      And what is that?
      “Easy certainty.”
      UNQUOTE.

      Jesus reflected deeply in the Garden of Gethsemane and probably long before. Manifestly now, Bush’s refusal to bite the bullet of deeper reflection and opt for that easy certainty, and equally easily made ferocious certainty: that certainty of ignorance, has now immiserated millions thanks to its operating within Bush and his cabal, just as that same mental state has immiserated billions before. In any activity, novices such as Bush and Trump are less likely than experts to first try to understand problems. Rather, they simply attempt to plug numbers into formulas.* Then we objectify, dehumanise, kill and maim.

      Manipulation before deeper reflection is magical thinking and doing. Real faith is post-deeper reflection, emergent from the processes Lockhart describes and not available to us before then: “You can only make real decisions when you yourself are real”, and easy certainty, ferocious certainty, in any of us, including me, puts us on Kaliban’s menu.

      There is nothing to be gained by shaming Bush and his cabal; they made Ulro’s error, but so do I: it’s the error that Lewis Mumford called transferred reproach. As Jesus said, let’s leave it to God to pass judgement. Perhaps they will be forgiven because they knew not what they did, but it seems to me plausible that the Vulcans knew exactly what they were up to, and achieved their aims. But that may not be so; one must not believe everything that one thinks: that is another novice’s error. The difference between Bush and most of us is that he got to be a sorcerer’s apprentice, and we didn’t, but Bush and his cabal are us too, as are those they have so appallingly immiserated. In that regard, I leave the last words of this post to Mumford:

      “Modern Man is the victim of the very instruments he values most. Every gain in power, every mastery of natural forces, every scientific addition to knowledge, has proved potentially dangerous, because it has not been accompanied by equal gains in self-understanding and self-discipline.” Lewis Mumford, 1944.The Condition of Man, p. 393).

      * Branford, J.D. , Brown, A.L. and Cocking, R.R. et al. (Eds). (2000) How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School: Expanded Edition. Washington D.C. The National Academies Press, p. 41. Recovered from: https://www.nap.edu/download/9853

        • Scott Preston says :

          Manipulating the shadow projections of the masses is one of the most powerful tools of collective mind control used by the power elite.

          Which is precisely what concerns me about Jensen’s “Dream Society”.

          That’s a pretty good essay on the Shadow, and you can see from it why some people (Carolyn Baker comes to mind and her book Dark Gold) feel that the Shadow is very active today, and that is part of “Dream Society” logic as well. So, to that extent the Dream Society is already here, unrecognised for what it is.

          In Blake “Vala” (veil) is the Shadow of Jerusalem. The equivalent is Kali Ma — in Hindu mythology.

          So “our inner world turned inside out” in Mumford’s simple phrasing, has a very paradoxical aspect in that sense, too. And in the case of “The Dream Society” it’s also “be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it”.

          • Scott Preston says :

            Nietzsche may have been the first to actually use the term “Shadow” in the sense adopted by Jung and others, in a somewhat cryptic passage “noontide, time of the shortest shadow”. This is what underlies his insistence that we live “beyond good and evil”. Zarathustra’s totem or sigil is, appropriately, an eagle and a serpent.

            Rumi, though, references the shadow as well. “you need shadow and light-source both”, and I suspect, too, this is where Nietzsche got his idea for the great noontide as well.

            Shadow and Light Source Both

            How does a part of the world leave the world?
            How does wetness leave water? Dont’ try to
            put out fire by throwing on more fire! Don’t
            wash a wound with blood. No matter how fast
            you run, your shadow keeps up. Sometimes it’s
            in front! Only full overhead sun diminishes
            your shadow. But that shadow has been serving
            you. What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is
            your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.

            I could explain this, but it will break the
            glass cover on your heart, and there’s no
            fixing that. You must have shadow and light
            source both. Listen, and lay your head under
            the tree of awe. When from that tree feathers
            and wings sprout on you, be quieter than
            a dove. Don’t even open your mouth for even a coo.

        • mikemackd says :

          Wow. Talk about on message. Thanks, I.W.

          I see I referenced a book of Paul Levy’s in my Endnote system, but I haven’t bought it yet. Perhaps I should.

        • Scott Preston says :

          When morals triumph, very many evil things happen

          — Remy de Gourmont

          This also pertinent to Levy’s essay on the Shadow.

  10. mikemackd says :

    I have provided Maria Popova’s link first deliberately. Now, here is what I FEEL to be an even more powerful invocation of the state of mind wherein, I feel may dwell a – not the – relationship between faith and magic:

  11. Scott Preston says :

    I’m quite unable to shake the feeling that Jensen’s “Dream Society” is also Blake’s “madness of Urizen”, and the “madness of Urizen” is also “the collapse of reality”. I just don’t have a language to describe that as yet.

    • Scott Preston says :

      It also strikes me that this is the particularly acute problem of our times — first, to get people to appreciate that the Shadow is real, for without that, you can’t even make it to the next step — to take ownership of it. And if these two steps aren’t taken, then there’s no chance of the next step — the integration.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Actually come to think of it, you could even consider the Buddha’s “four noble truths” as these steps in recognising the Shadow as real (samsara), taking ownership of it, and integrating it, and the means of integrating it.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/beliefs/fournobletruths_1.shtml

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        get people to appreciate that the Shadow is real

        Well, the problem with that is….

        The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world that he didn’t exist.

        That whole “personification” thing, however, is but one step of a nearly forgotten practice.

        “The devil,” as Jung reminds us, “embodies the evil powers of the unconscious.” ~ Levy

        It might help to note that the world’s wisdom traditions do not claim that these “evil powers” are themselves “evil,” but as Levy notes, “unconscious” to us and, so, unconsciously projected. (And lest anyone bring it up, the confusion — very likely — revolves the “ambiguous” word: “presence.” We obviously don’t all understand that word precisely the same.)

        Someone has shared the Native American story of the two wolves here in the past, the ending of which is usually restructured in a positive light as “the one that survives is the one that you feed.” Yet, the original story suggests “feeding” them both in the same sense as the Buddhist practice of feeding one’s “personal demons” and, in so doing, turning them into (energetic) “allies”.

        Needless to say, this is essentially the same practice as that at work in the highly misunderstood practice of true alchemy.

  12. Scott Preston says :

    Neuromancy (or technocratic shamanism by another name), also part of the logic of “dream society”

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611808/the-neuropolitics-consultants-who-hack-voters-brains/

  13. Scott Preston says :

    If the “Global Brain” (Howard Bloom) is indeed our “new within” (which makes, reciprocally, our “within” now our “without”), then warfare becomes cyberwarfare, less for the control of territory as much as for control of this Global Brain/Dream Society, and especially if we surrender to the notion that “perception is reality”.

    The struggle for control of the Global Brain by competing power elites seems to be a clear tendency — the Cambridge Analytical and Strategic Communications Ltd. scandal, or the Russian cyberwar scandal, is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Doesn’t that presume that “the Global Brain” is purely, entirely “psychic”?

      I’d gather that’s what the “a-warring” (as opposed to the “a-waring”) are counting on.

  14. Scott Preston says :

    You could trace the history and development of the Global Brain from telegraphy, through radio to television to the system of satellites and to the consolidation of these in the global internet — the “nervous system” of the Global Brain. There’s been a pretty logical and steady development towards this.

  15. Scott Preston says :

    One of the puzzles of the quantum world is why quantum events don’t seem to occur at larger scale. But perhaps they do, and we just haven’t taken notice of them. Here’s a couple of strange videos, most taken from CCTV cameras, that seem to show such “quantum events” at scale. Some of them might be hoaxes, but I’m not so sure all of them are.

    • mikemackd says :

      >> Some of them might be hoaxes, but I’m not so sure all of them are.

      Science can never be certain, but in certain fields of inquiry it can get to such high probabilities that it would take an awful lot of evidence and rigorous interpretation to unseat the assumptions, or entirely different paradigms such as both relativity and quantum physics to dethrone single vision and Newton’s sleep. and no-one can claim such competencies, or possess the time and competencies, to refute all truth claims.

      I am currently overseas, and sometimes have the TV on when stuck in my hotel. I try to avoid the relentless lies and propaganda of most of the MSM these days, and found an apparently more congenial English speaking German channel called DW. This morning, they had a 12 minute program that related both to fake news and what can be done via virtual reality these days. The latter was in an arts context, but some of the techniques described there could just as well be engaged in propaganda or other power-seeking contexts. Seeing is not good enough for believing in reality, let alone on screens.

      https://www.dw.com/en/shift-living-in-the-digital-age/av-43795034

  16. Scott Preston says :

    “Perception is reality” means, we can no longer speak of “our world” with any degree of assurance that we mean the same thing by “our world” or “reality”. “Reality is up for grabs”, is how Lachman put it in a recent interview.

  17. Abdulmunem Othman says :

    In the presence of god, silence is the true entrance to the real language,
    True spiritual experience is the same across our humanity once the humans realize their origin. Brevity of regular language opens wide the door of silence where the meeting of the whole with the whole takes place where the prophetic role of the humans realize the actual contact with the origin of everything where silence is turned into words.

  18. Charles says :

    Mike wrote

    The USA, and all other nation-states, are produce of social imaginations, which start as societal-scale figments (a figment being something that someone believes to be real but that exists only in their imagination) and are then manufactured via the megamachine from and identified with by those with insufficient power to meet the demands of their identity constructions: By their works we shall know them, in which case they appear intent upon the destruction of reality on this planet.

    I agree about the general idea.
    It is a feeling that the “signs are everywhere.”    Signs – meaning that all the issues, crises, problems, (whatever one calls them), are visible, phenomenological, meaningful signs about our the present context and reality.   

    There seems to be a momentum to what this culture calls success,,heaven, happiness…I suggest that humans experience the lives in a esoteric realm and and exoteric realm. Why am I on planet earth at this present moment?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: