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A Disturbance in The Force

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.

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Ulro and the Sea of Symbolic Forms

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”.

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Reality Control

“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”.

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