It is quite remarkable how some contemporary myths like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings have seized hold of the collective imagination. For many people, these are the New Gospel. I have known people, for example, who read Lord of the Rings religiously every year. And they do, in many respects, speak to archetypal themes of myth and magic that lie just below the surface of the ego-consciousness and which do have a degree of psychic validity.
Both Lord of the Rings and Star Wars draw upon ancient legends and stories for their own themes, including the Grail legends. For some people, these contemporary myths have even become their new “Master Narrative” — providing the framework for interpreting their experience and organising their perceptions, and sometimes in quite pernicious and unhealthy ways.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the German websites following social, political, and cultural developments there. (I have a particular interest in Germany because I studied there.) One of the great advantages of knowing another language is that you come to see how spatial and temporal relations — reality in other words — are configured differently. These configurations (or “Gestalts“) are what Owen Barfield calls “the collective representations”, or what we would call “images”, social or mental representations or symbolic forms. These symbolic forms or collective representations are governed by a grammar, which specifies who they are to relate to one another. A grammar imposes coherence on the symbolic forms or collective representations. This sea of symbolic forms in which we live is sometimes referred to as “the social imaginary” or “the social construction of reality”. Rudolf Steiner refers to these collective representations or symbolic forms as “mental pictures”.
“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” — George Orwell, “1984”.
“Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” — Samuel Huntington
These two statements are related, of course, in terms of what we might call “Reality Control”. What underlies both formulas, though, is a metaphysical principle: “perception is reality”. I really want to emphasise and highlight this, because it lies at the root of almost everything today that seems absurd, surreal, dream-like, or chaotic, especially the apparent breakdown of discernment between the subjective and objective aspects of existence, and, consequently, fact and fiction, fantasy and reality, or the representations (images) and that which is represented. This lack of discernment, which we are calling “chaos”, attests to the disintegration of the ego-consciousness or what Jean Gebser describes as “the breakdown of the mental-rational” (or “perspectival”) consciousness structure, also known as “the Modern Mind”.
I’ve been absent from The Chrysalis for some time. What time I’ve had lately has been spent glued to the German news websites, as I follow political and social developments there (and also found, to my chagrin, that I have unlearned much of my German — or else the German language has changed). There has been, once again, an ominous upsurge of nativism and tribalism in that country as there has been in other jurisdictions, representing a serious challenge to principles of universality.
Still, I have also been pursuing this question of the post-modern “the Dream Society”, as previously discussed in the pages of The Chrysalis, and which, by happy coincidence, has been the ongoing theme, too, of the “subjectivity of nations” on the Aurobindo website. In fact, one posting on “the rise of the subjective age” and the role of Germany in that was published there even as I was immersed in the news from Deutsche Welle.
So, today I want to discuss such matters of nativism or retribalisation, their connection to “the Dream Society”, and altogether in the context of Jean Gebser’s “irruption” and the correlative breakdown of the mental-rational (or perspectival) consciousness structure, as well as Aurobindo’s musings on the “subjectivity of nations”
‘Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.’ — Samuel Huntington
The hegemonic power of the 21st century will be the one that wins control of the Global Brain. Combined with Samuel Huntington’s formula for the exercise of power, and justified by the metaphysics of “perception is reality”, you begin, perhaps, to see the problem I also see in Rolf Jensen’s plans for “The Dream Society”, and for what Algis Mikunas describes as “technocratic shamanism”.
This is one of the scenarios in which the prospective emergence of “integral consciousness” may be abortive. Others, of course, may be climate catastrophe or a global nuclear war, in which case all questions about the hegemonic power become rather moot. Death would be the hegemon.
I may have hit a wall of incomprehension — or perhaps even incredulity — in my previous posts and commentaries on the meaning of “The Dream Society”, and how the logic of this Dream Society is now playing out in all the strange and surreal events of the present, inclusive of the Trump phenomenon. So, I’ll redouble my efforts here to try to clarify what I mean in saying that the “market”, as now presently imagined, has become the manifest domain of the Jungian “collective unconscious”, and that this “Dream Society” can’t even be comprehended except in those terms. If, in the past, the so-called “real economy” trafficked in “real estate”, we might say that the market of the Dream Society trafficks in “irreal estate”. And if some indigenous cultures sometimes speak of “the White Man’s Dreaming”, then that dreaming is what is now made explicit and manifest in The Dream Society.
The phrase “collapse of reality” is a very strange and startling one. I’ve been coming across it more frequently lately and, as mentioned, there seems to have been a progression in a very short period of time from “post-rational” to “post-truth” to this “collapse of reality”. But just what does it all mean?
It’s not as though I might be driving along a highway in my Jeep and my reality breaks down rather than my Jeep. Perhaps if I were to have a psychotic episode that might be the case. I might truly believe I’m driving along a highway when, in fact, I’m barrelling through some farmer’s wheat field. Here, normal distinction between the subjective and objective breaks down and dream and reality exchange places. And we may say that something akin to this is mirrored in the phrase “collapse of reality”. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that something akin to an epidemic collective psychosis has occurred.