Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jacques Vallee and Dimensions Again!

This article was meant to go in the previous article-sorry it took me so long to get it posted here. This quote is from Jacques Vallee's Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact: "Equally fascinating to the student of close-encounter cases are the scenes in which animals are carried to the hovering disk. In one case, a god is seen holding a horned animal under each arm-a scene certainly reminiscent of many a claim of animal kidnapping by UFO occupants. Three of the cylinder seals (Here Vallee is referring to a kind of protective amulet worn by the ancient Phoenicians) show approximately the same thing: a disk above some elaborate ground structure, a human in adoration, and someone bringing a horned animal toward the center of the scene. The beings themselves fall into the following categories: 1. Human beings that Assyriologists call worshippers, priests, kings, etc. Sometimes they are wearing winged garments. 2. The gods. They are shown either emerging from the disk and wearing, in some cases, elaborate headdresses or walking outside the disk, as in one amulet where an entity seems to be wearing its hair in three long tresses on either side of the head. 3. The scorpion-men, who have large phallic attributes in one figure but in another case would more properly be called scorpion women. They are only seen supporting the disk. It would be interesting to find out where the word scorpion comes from in connection with these figures.

The scorpion-men are consistently about two-thirds the size of men, who in turn are smaller than gods. (Professor Douglas Price-Williams of UCLA points out that in the Gilgamesh epic the scorpion creatures were the guardians fo the mountain of the sun. The scorpion-man in the Babylonian Enuma Elish was a monster created by chaos at the beginning of the world. Price-Williams adds: "These creatures would thus be tellurian beings, 'chthonic' as Jung would have said." 4. Various monsters, such as a horned creature or a sphinx. Why should the observation of a flying disk be represented in the context of an obviously magical ceremony that does not appear to have any traditional characteristic of Phoenician religion.?" A bit later in Dimensions Vallee talks of this: case (think of #3): "A letter from a British woman begins: At the lecture by Jacques Vallee at the London A.A. [Architects Association] on the 12th of December I was surprised by one of the slides of a Phoenician seal showing a winged sphere held up by two creatures which he described as "Scorpion-men." Perhaps I have seen such a man myself.

The letter writer continues: "It was the summer of 1968, about 4:00 P.M. She was driving from London to a place near Stratford to visit friends for the weekend. She had a companion in the car with her. Just outside Oxford they both saw a shining disk in the sky. They slowed and then stopped to watch it as it darted and dodged. Another car stopped to watch it too. Eventually it sank behind the trees. They resumed their trip, but the really striking events took place after the disk disappeared: During the drive between Burford and Stratford I had some startling, and to me, novel insights into what I can only describe as the Nature of Reality. They were connected in some way to this shining disk, and have had a profound effect on me, causing what is commonly known as personality change. I won't try to explain what those insights were since almost all the religions of the world have tried to do this and have failed. (In that afternoon I changed from an agnostic to a gnostic, if that means anything at all.). However, these insights hit me like bolts from the blue, as though from outside, one after the other. I've never had a similar experience since. The letter continues with a description of what the woman saw that evening after supper, a description that seems to be straight out of a John Fowles novel: the guests were in the sitting room, which had open French windows leading out onto the lawn, and the woman went over to the window to get a breath of fresh air. The weather, she wrote, was "very hot and close."

The woman's letter continues: "The light from the room shone in an arc of about ten feet around the window. In that area I saw, as soon as I came to the window, a strange figure. My perception of it was heightened by the state of frozen panic it induced in me. It was for me without any doubt, a demon, or devil because of my western oriented interpretation (I imagine) of the vision or creature or animal or man, or whatever it was I saw. Like the "Scorpion-man," as well as Pan, it had dog or goat like legs. It was covered in silky, downy fur, dark, and glinting in the light. It was unmistakably humanoid, and to my mind malevolent. It crouched, and stared, unblinkingly, at me with light, grape-green eyes that slanted upwards and had no pupils. The eyes shone and were by far the most frightening thing about it. It was, I think retrospectively, trying to communicate with me, but my panic interfered with any message I might have received. If it had stood to its full height it would have been about four to five feet tall. It had pointed ears and a long muzzle. It gave the impression of emaciation; its hands and fingers were as thin as sticks.

Continuing with the same woman's letter to Jacques Vallee-I am trying to break this up a bit to make it easier to read: "Eventually, convinced that I was hallucinating, I went and sat down for a while, until the panic had subsided. Then I went to see if it was still there. It was, except that it had moved further into the shadows on the edge of the arc of light. I made sure I kept away from that door for the rest of the evening, and left next day. I told no one. That it may have been connected with the shining disk I only realized after I saw that slide." I was somewhat leery of putting this in the other article-as it seems to be of such different subject matter-of course it wound up being separate anyway. But the woman's saying that she changed from an "agnostic to a gnostic" really struck me. I forgot a link that shows a theory or some thinking about what I hope the UFO phenomenon to really be about. I hope to be back with that shortly. Thanks again for all of your kind, thoughtful and intelligent comments!The first image is a picture of a cylinder seal. The image below the first is a picture called The Seance by artist Rosaleen Norton-I would like to do an article or two about her in the future. This link HERE should go to a video of Terrence McKenna talking about the UFO phenomenon that Christopher Knowles had posted at his excellent and fascinating Secret Sun blog. McKenna and his work and life have always interested me greatly and if I can ever get any energy back I would like to also do an article or two about him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

William Blake: On Another's Sorrow

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can he who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief & care,
Hear the woes the infants bear,

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast;
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infants tear;

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give his joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh
And thy maker is not by;
Think not thou canst weep tear
And thy maker is not near.

O! he gives to us his joy
That our grief he may destroy;
Till our grief is fled & gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Prophets and Possession: Carl Jung and Gnosticism

He looked at his own Soul

with a Telescope. What seemed

all irregular, he saw and

shewed to be beautiful

Constellations; and he added

to the consciousness hidden

worlds within worlds.

Coleridge, Notebooks -from the Introduction page to Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections
"In such dream wanderings one frequently encounters an old man who is accompanied by a young girl, and examples of such couples are to be found in many mythic tales. Thus, according to Gnostic tradition, Simon Magus went about with a young girl whom he had picked up in a brothel. Her name was Helen, and she was regarded as the reincarnation of the Trojan Helen. Klingsor and Kundry, Lao-Tzu and the dancing girl, likewise belong in this category.

I have mentioned that there was a third figure in my fantasy besides Elijah and Salome: the large black snake. In myths the snake is a frequent counterpart of the hero. There are numerous accounts of their affinity. For example, the hero has eyes like a snake, or after his death he is changed into a snake and revered as such, or the snake is his mother, etc. In my fantasy, therefore, the prescence of the snake is an indication of a hero-myth. Salome is an anima figure. She is blind because she does not see the meaning of things. Elijah is the figure of the wise old prophet and represents the factor of intelligence and knowledge; Salome, the erotic element. One might say that the two figures are personifications of Logos and Eros. But such a definition would be excessively intellectual. It is more meaningful to let the figures be what they were for me at the time-namely, events and experiences.

Soon after this fantasy another figure arose out of the unconscious. He developed out ot the Elijah figure. I called him Philemon. Philemon was a pagan and brought with him an Egypto-Hellenistic atmosphere with a Gnostic coloration. His figure first appeared to me in the following dream.

There was a blue sky like the sea, covered not by clouds but by flat brown clods of earth. It looked as if the clods were breaking apart and the blue water of the sea were becoming visible between them. But the water was the blue sky. Suddenly there appeared from the right a winged being sailing across the sky. I saw it was an old man with the horns of a bull. He held a bunch of four keys, one of which he clutched as if he were about to open a lock. He had the wings of a kingfisher with its characteristic colors.

Since I did not understand this dream image, I painted it in order to impress it upon my memory. During the days when I was occupied with the painting, I found in my garden, by the lake shore, a dead kingfisher! I was thunderstruck, for kingfishers are quite rare in the vicinity of Zurich and I have never since found a dead one. The body was recently dead-at the most, two or three days-and showed no external injuries.

Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, "If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you made these people, or that you were responsible for them." It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche. Through him the distinction was clarified between myself and the object of my thought. He confronted me in an objective manner, and I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend, things which may even be directed against me.

Psychologically, Philemon represented superior insight. He was a mysterious figure to me. At times he seemed to me quite real, as if he were a living personality. I went walking up and down the garden with him, and to me he was what Indians call a guru.

Whenever the outlines of a new personification appeared, I felt it almost as a personal defeat. It meant: "Here is something else you didn't know!" Fear crept over me that the succession of such figures might be endless, that I might lose myself in bottomless abysses of ignorance. My ego felt devalued-although the successes I had been having in worldly affairs might have reassured me. In my darkness (horridas nostrae mentis purga tenebras-"cleanse the horrible darknesses of our mind"-the Aurora Consurgens says I could have wished for nothing better than a real, live guru, someone possessing superior knowledge and ability, who would have disentangled for me the involuntary creations of my imagination. This task was undertaken by the figure of Philemon, whom in this respect I had willy-nilly to recognize as my psychagogue. And the fact was that he conveyed to me many an illuminating idea."

Later, Philemon became revitalized by the emergence of yet another figure, whom I called Ka. In ancient Egypt the "king's ka" was his earthly form, the embodied soul. In my fantasy the Ka-soul came from below, out of the earth as if out of a deep shaft. I did a painting of him, showing him in his earth-bound form, as a herm with base of stone and upper part of bronze. High up in the painting appears a kingfisher's wing, and between it and the head of Ka floats a round glowing nebula. Ka's expression has something demonic about it-one might also say, Mephistophelean. In one hand he holds something like a colored pagoda, or a reliquary, and in the other a stylus with which he is working on the reliquary. He is saying, "I am he who buries the gods in gold and gems."

Philemon had a lame foot, but was a winged spirit, whereas ka represented a kind of earth demon. Philemon was a spiritual aspect, or "meaning." Ka, on the other hand, was a spirit like the Anthroparion of Greek alchemy-with which at the time I was still unfamiliar. Ka was he who made everything real, but who also obscured the halcyon spirit, Meaning, or replaced it by beauty, the "eternal reflection.

In time I was able to integrate both figures through the study of alchemy." OK-lets go from Carl Jung back to Philip K. Dick again. I will call him PKD as I did in the last set of posts. PKD's massive intake of drugs no doubt influenced his thinking-and in many ways maybe not for the best. But he was able to almost alchemically transform some of these experiences into his most remarkable writing. PKD's experience of 20 February 1974, when a dental visit and a follow-up medication delivery by a woman wearing a Christian fish symbol-the vesica pisces was the initial experience that seemed to launch him into an incredible mulitverse of time travel, intergalactic and hyperdimensional information being beamed into his mind and a host of other experiences and ideas the led to the novels Radio Free Albemuth, VALIS, The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. PKD believed for awhile that he was living simultaneously in 1970s California and the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. The information he was receiving from somewhere or something seemed to come into his mind through pink light beams. It was PKD's VALIS or Vast Active Living Intelligence System that led him to believe that the timeframe from 70 AD (when the Romans sacked the temple in Jerusalem under Emperor Vespasian) to 1974 was a mass hallucination. This hallucination was a kind of tear in the space-time continuum fabricated by the spiritual forces of darkness. The information from VALIS in the form of pink light beams and the fall of President Richard M. Nixon in that same year -1974 was a signal to PKD that this phony, hallucinatory era of history had finally come to an end and that "real time" or history had begun again.

PKD's Exegesis once again shows the influences of Gnosticism: WE ARE IN THE BLACK IRON PRISON

1) Ignorance (Occlusion) keeps us unaware of this and hence unresisting prisoners.

2) But the Savior (Valis) is here, discorporate; he restores our memory and gives us knowledge of our true situation (1) and nature (4).

3) Our real nature-forgotten but not lost-is that of being fallen or captured bits of the Godhead, whom the Savior restores to the Godhead. His nature-the Saviors-and ours is identical; we are him and he is us.

4) He breaks the power which this world of determinism and suffering has over us.

5) The Creator of this world is irrational and wars against the Savior who camoflages himself and his prescence here. He is an invader.

6) Thus it is a secret that he is here, nor do we recognize the irrationality of this world and its frauds: that it lies to us.

7) We must balk against this world (more specifically against its irrationality) in order to align ourselves with the Savior.

8) It is us and the Savior vs. this irrational world.

9) To a degree, this world is irreal, counterfeit, esp. time.

In these statements is basically a short summary of the Gnostic worldview from millenia ago. The world is a trap, made by the irrational "Creator of this world" to imprison us, the "fallen bits" of the true Godhead. The Savior, who could also be thought of as Christ or VALIS has launched a divine invasion of this defective "irreal" world to help us break free. PKD considered whether the information transmissions were coming from the past, the future, a scientific lab on earth, an alien spacecraft, or his own brain. Here is what PKD decided about the information beamed into his head, written in his Exegesis shortly before his death: "The beam of pink light fired at my head is , I have always believed deep down underneath, not God, but technology, and technology from the future at that." Some authors such as Adam Gorightly and other conspiracy researchers have wondered whether VALIS could have been a telepathic event and perhaps even mind control experimentation. PKD himself had considered this.

One night a month after his first experiences of February 1974 he began to hallucinate "perfectly formed modern abstract paintings" which he later claimed were the works of Picasso, Kandinsky and Klee. A popular 1970 book, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, caused PKD to write to a Soviet ESP lab to ask if they were beaming images from the famous Hermitage collection in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). PKD didn't get a reply to this. However, a few years later he found out that the CIA had intercepted not only this letter but others as well. PKD also received information from a female voice he called Aphrodite or the AI (artificial intelligence) Voice. At times he believed this voice to be his anima and other times he thought perhaps it was his dead twin sister. PKD had dreamed that a Russian woman was sending him a letter that would kill him. Some days after this he asked his wife Tessa to open a letter for him. This letter just had a book review with certain words underlined and a return address of a room in a New York hotel. PKD refused to view the letter and asked Tessa to send it to the FBI.

Around this time PKD and Tessa heard the radio in their bedroom emitting songs like "You're No Good" and "You're So Vain" and this would continue to happen even after the radio was unplugged! Tessa had also talked of breaking into the empty house next door and finding strange electronic equipment set up there. In the 1950s PKD would have made a superb UFO contactee and in years afterwards a wonderful abductee. During a trip to Vancouver in 1972 PKD suffered from a two week memory loss. Years after this event he told Tessa that he had been kidnapped by "Mafia-types." These events bore some striking similarities to the reports of the Men-in-Black or MIBs. They had driven PKD around in a black limousine questioning him. PKD had another vision where he encountered 3 grey alien/cyborg creatures who were wrapped up in glass bubbles and surrounded by advanced computer technology that was controlled by Soviet scientists! PKD communicates his views of the universe and reality most lucidly in a 1978 essay entitled "Cosmogony and Cosmology." In this work he talks some about Jacob Boehme, who used a similar term-the Urgrund, or "primoridial ground." Here is a quote from the essay where he cites Jacob Boehme: "This Urgrund has "created" our reality as a sort of mirror image of its maker, so that the maker can obtain an objective standpoint to comprehend itself." PKD calls this "image" or "artifact" and equates it with the Gnostic demiurge. However, "the artifact is unaware that it is an artifact; it is oblivious to the existence of the Urgrund...and imagines itself to be God, the only real God."

There was more to this-but I suppose I will just start another post. I was about to go to Jacques Vallee's Dimensions believe it or not, but I think I may have air conditioner problems-not 100 percent sure yet-but will know for sure by the time I do a virus scan on the puter, and if I am it probably is not a good thing to be running the puter if it is going to get to 90 degrees in here! So I may be offline a few days unless I am somewhere I can access another puter as AC repair charges an arm and a leg for weekend and holiday calls-and this is Memorial Day weekend in the US until Tuesday. Hopefully I am wrong;-) and if I am I will be back tomorrow or later today. I would like to change these images around and add new -or something-so I will just leave images like they are for now. There are two recently added articles/posts below this one. I will try to check this for errors real quick -kind of read it as a rough draft for now until I can get back 100 percent to check through it. Best as always to anyone stopping by-and thanks so much for your thoughtful and intelligent comments! PS-real quick -all of the Carl Jung information is from his book Memories, Dreams Reflections from pages 183 to 185.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boris Pasternak : Night

The night proceeds and dwindling
Prepare's the day's rebirth.
An airman is ascending
Above the sleeping earth.

And almost disappearing
In cloud, a tiny spark,
He now is like a cross-stitch,
A midget laundry-mark.

Beneath him are strange cities,
And heavy traffic-lanes,
And night-clubs, barracks, stokers,
And railways, stations, trains.

The shadow of his wing-span
Falls heavy on the cloud.
Celestial bodies wander
Around him in a crowd.

And there, with frightful listing
Through emptiness, away
Through unknown solar systems
Revolves the Milky Way.

In limitless expanses
Are headlands burning bright.
In basements and in cellars
The stokers work all night.

And underneath a rooftop
In Paris, maybe Mars
Or Venus sees a notice
About a recent farce.

And maybe in an attic
And under ancient slates
A man sits wakeful, working,
He thinks and broods and waits;

He looks upon the planet,
As if the heavenly spheres
Were part of his entrusted
Nocturnal private cares.

Fight off your sleep: be wakeful,
Work on, keep up your pace,
Keep vigil like the pilot,
Like all the stars in space.

Work on, work on, creator-
To sleep would be a crime-
Eternity's own hostage,
And prisoner of Time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Prophets and Possession: PKD & Gnosticism-Part Two

What is really meant by the term gnosis? Gnosis is usually translated from Greek as "knowledge." However, the "knowledge" that the Gnostics sought and still do is not of the quantifiable, scientific kind; it is not even rational knowledge or the insights gained from the build-up of knowledge over many years. The Greek language makes clear the difference between knowledge of the type 2+2=4 and knowledge gained through direct experience. Direct experience would best describe gnosis. Elaine Pagels, in her wonderful book, The Gnostic Gospels tells us that in the sense the Gnostics used the word that perhaps it would be best translated as "insight." Gnosis has a way of connecting the "stars in their heaven"-the divine reality and mystery with a very grounded, earthy self-knowledge. Not only does Gnosticism seem to share many ideas with neo-Platonism and some of the early Greek thinkers, it also has some fascinating parallels with Eastern schools of thought, especially Mahayana Buddhism, which may have been influenced by Gnostic ideas. In 225 AD, an enemy of Gnostic thought, a Christian named Hippolytus took note of some similarities of Gnosticism and the Eastern religions in his refutation of the "heresies": " They say that God is light, not like the light one sees, nor like the sun nor fire, but to them God is discourse, not that which finds expression in articulate sounds, but that of knowledge [gnosis] through which the secret mysteries of nature are perceived by the wise."

A non-Christian school of Gnosis was also to be found in the pagan philosophy of Hermeticism. The exact origins of the Gnostic "movement" may never be known, but a fascinating scripture-The Gospel of Thomas was found in the priceless scrolls uncovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945. The Gnostics were definitely one of the lost offshoots of Christianity. A very hopeful and striking declaration is made at the very beginning of The Gospel of Thomas-"Whoever finds the meaning of these sayings will not taste death." The Gospel of Thomas is one of the most interesting of the scriptures unearthed at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. This gospel is very short and only fills twelve pages in one standard edition. However, the brevity of Thomas belies its importance and it has received more attention than any other Gnostic scripture. Many of the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas are like the ones in the New Testament. The words attributed to Jesus in Thomas are fairly abstruse: "Be passers-by" (Thomas, 42.). "I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am watching it until it blazes." (Thomas, 10.). "When you see one not born of woman, fall upon your faces and prostrate yourself before that one: it is that one who is your father." (Thomas 15.). It almost seems as if some of the sayings and teachings in Thomas are not meant to be taken literally in such a way that contemplating them causes the mind to look more deeply inward.

Perhaps the inward nature of the gospels that are considered Gnostic are part of the reason mainstream Christianity renounced Gnosticism. Inner spiritual work and illumination is very difficult and aslo illusive-no guarantees or set timeframe. So much easier is it to preach fire and brimstone, sin and atonement to placate the judgment of a angry and vengeful god. This style of anticipating and appeasing the wrath of an angry god is exactly the stance adopted to pagan antiquity in relation to their own deities. In fact, the angry, wrathful, vengeful God of the Old Testament is not always easy to reconcile with the infinitely loving God of Jesus' teachings. One philosopher eho was around centuries before Christianity seems to have had a profound effect on Gnosticism. His name was Plato and he lived in the fourth century BC. He founded an institution of higher learning called the Academy in Athens. Plato's influence on Western philosophy can't be stated enough. Some maintain that all Western philosophy is a footnote to Plato. Plato describes reality in an esoteric fashion. But this does not mean that his thoughts are difficult to grasp. Esoteric derives from the Greek word esotero, which means "further in." Two meanings of this word can be thought of in regards to Plato.

He felt some of his teachings could only be passed onto his more advanced pupils who were "further in" his circle of students. Another-and I think important meaning can be taken from his use of the word. This would mean that his teachings are about inner experience-"further in" towards the Truth the mind can envision in its more sublime moments. Modern philosophers and thinkers tend to look at the vast inner "soul life" of the mind as purely subjective and therefore unreal. Esoteric philosophy says that not only is the "soul life" of the mind as purely subjective and therefore unreal. Esoteric philosophy says that not only is the "soul life" of the mind real, but that the dimensions the mind encounters have their own objective reality and can be described. Plato basically turned conventional thinking of his day completely around. The world that is comprehended by the human senses is the one that is unreal. The solid objects of mundane reality are merely copies or imitations of ideal "archetypes" that he called "forms"-non-concrete images that exist in the realm of thought. It is the "forms" alone that are real Plato believed, because they are eternal and unchanging-unlike the constant state of flux "our" world is ceaselessly undergoing. Timaeus-a late dialogue is the most important of Plato's works in regard to Gnosticism. Timaeus expounds on quite a few ideas. This is the work that introduces the lost continent of Atlantis (Plato said that records of Atlantis were preserved in Egypt). The dialogue then gives an esoteric view of the creation of the universe.

Here is a beautiful Gnostic statement that leans towards a definition and some conclusions about the experience of gnosis:
What makes us free is the gnosis
of who we were
of what we have become
of where we were
of wherein we have been cast
of whereto we are hastening
of what we aree being freed
of what birth really is
of what rebirth really is. (Excerpta de Theodoto)
I think Gnosticism has some of the most interesting religious and philosophical concepts when looked in a certain light. One of these ideas/concepts is the idea of the archons-a concept I read about almost twenty years ago when I read my first copy of Gnosis magazine. More on the archons later. Getting back to the previous Gnostic statement, Excerpta de Theodoto-it would be thought that one who intuitively apprehends the correct answers to these questions has attained liberating gnosis.

These questions and their answers are central to Gnostic doctrine and to the very heart of both gnosis and Gnosticism. Whereas many religions, especially those of the Judeo-Christian traditions accuse the transgressions of the first human couple, Adam and Eve, for not only the fallen state of the human race-but of all creation. The evil present in our world is a consequence of this fall. Gnosticism has quite a unique take on this. The Gnostics tell us that the insanity and evil in our world are there because our world and the universe was created by an insane, crazy or evil (perhaps a combination of all three or two depending on which Gnostic sect one refers to) god called the Demiurge. Gnostics and Buddhists have often been thought of as pessimists and haters of our material reality. The Gnostics would certainly agree that life on the earth plane is filled with suffering and misery. Looking at the situation from on high it would seem that all forms of life on earth (except for the plant and mineral kingdoms) sustain their existence by consuming other forms of life. This whole cycle of course perpetuates pain, fear, death and of course great emotional sadness where higher life forms are concerned. In fact, the "higher" up the ladder and more complex a species is-the greater its ability to feel these negative emotions. However, for the Gnostics (and Buddhists) there are paths that lead to liberation from this suffering and delusion.

Readers may be familiar with Plato's famous allegory of the cave. This allegory holds that prisoners being held in the cave (being unable to see anything outside of it) mistakenly believe that the shadows on the wall of the cave represent "true" reality. Of course, the light that produces the shadows is the only true reality. This is where an important analogy with Gnosticism comes in. Out created world, along with a large segment of the human mind is seen as evil by the Gnostics primarily because it puts all of a human being's focus on the physcial plane of existence-away from the "true" eternal light of the divine. And the constantly changing nature of the human mind tends to put its focus on itself and trivial things-going from one thought to another in a matter of seconds or less. By the dual distraction of the material world and the tumultuous, constantly changing focus of the mind, the inner, eternal self or soul is consigned to oblivion. However, it is only the inner self or spirit (Greek pneuma=spirit) that has a link to the ultimate, divine reality. The Gnostics lived in a time where Jews, Christians-and even the pagan Hermeticists believed in one god only-monotheism. The God they ascribed to was a supreme builder and architect. Not only did this God create the universe-this God also gave it laws, started time, and propagated it. The Gnostic view of God was more profound and complex than the God of these other traditions.

Similar to the interpretation of the Kabbalists and other esoteric traditions, Gnostics conceived of the universe being an emanation of the Divine opposed to a creation. Going back to the fascinating ideas of physicist David Bohm mentioned previously in this blog about the implicate and explicate orders, with the implicate being the more fundamental level of reality and the explicate the "seen" level of existence, Gnostics imagined a transcendent God who isn't involved with anything of such gross materiality as "building" a universe. The Gnostics believed in a primordial, unmanifest (think implicate order of reality). Perhaps saying this God "existed" in an unmanifest (implicate) level of reality is wrong as this God would embody and actually be this transcendent level of existence. From the implicate, unmanifest level or order of reality the Divine Being emanates forthe in a ray of creation that goes out from it creating at first more subtle forms and modes of being to coarser states of existence.

Like many esoteric systems the Gnostics put our fallen world at a far remove from the Divine source. They also believed that the architect of our human, three dimensional reality believed itself to be the ultimate level of existence. The Gnostics called this architect the Demiurge from the Greek demiurgos (half-maker), because it only made the physical forms but not the inner divine spark of the world. The Demiurge also had helpers and future overseers of this world who they called the archons, using the Greek word for ruler. Most if not all Gnostics equated the God of the Old Testament with the Demiurge. Depending on the offshoot or sect of Gnostics they thought of the Demiurge as evil, insane or stupid-or as stated before a combination of two or three of these. The Gnostics did not think of humans as primarily beings of this demiurgic level of creation. The important thing to keep in mind with this statement is they knew humans had a physical shell (obviously) and a psychic component also and that both the physical and psychic parts perished at death. The Gnostics also thought that each human being had a spiritual component that was eternal and was a part of the divine essence, sometimes called the "divine spark." Gnosticism is one of many religious and philosophical traditions that recognize the dual nature of the human soul, so it is also called a dualistic religion.

In a 1981 entry in his Exegesis (a very large journal he kept to keep up with theories and insights of his 2-3-74 experiences), PKD wrote an honest assessment of his abilities as a writer: "I am a fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist; my novel & storytelling ability is employed as a means to formulate my perception. The core of my writing is not art but truth. Thus what I tell is the truth, yet I can do nothing to alleviate it, either by deed or explanation. Yet this seems somehow to help a certain kind of sensitive troubled person, for whom I speak. I think I understand the common ingredients in those whom my writing helps: they cannot or will not blunt their own imitations about the irrational, mysterious nature of reality, &, for them, my corpus is one long ratiocination regarding this inexplicable reality, an integration and presentation, analysis and response & personal history."

Here are the Ten Major Principles of Gnostic Revelation, from PKD's Exegesis. 1) The creator of this world is demented. 2) The world is not as it appears, in order to hide the evil in it, a delusive veil obscuring it and the deranged deity. 3) There is another, better realm of God, and all our efforts are to be directed toward a)returning there b) bringing it here. 4) Our actual lives stretch back thousands of years back, and we can be made to remember our origin in the stars. 5) Each of us has a divine counterpart unfallen who can reach down to us. This other personality is the authentic self; the one we have now is asleep and minor. We are in fact asleep, and in the hands of a dangerous magician disguised as a good god, the deranged creator deity. The bleakness, the evil and pain in the world, the fact that it is a deterministic prison controlled by the demented creator causes us willingly to split with the reality principle early in life, and so to speak willingly fall asleep in delusion. 6) You can pass from the delusional prison world into the peaceful kingdom if the True God placed you under His grace. 7) Christ gave, rather than received revelation, he taught his followers how to enter the kingdom, while still alive. Where other mystery religions bring about amnesis: knowledge of it at the "other time" in the "other realm," not here. He causes it to come here, and is the living agency of the Sole Good God (i.e. the Logos). 8) Probably the real, secret Christian Church still exists, long underground, with its members absorbed into it. Through participation in it they probably have vast, seemingly magical powers. 9) The division into "two times" (good and evil) and "two realms" (good and evil) will abruptly end with victory for the good time here, as the presently invisible kingdom separates and becomes visible. We cannot know the date. 10) During this time period we are on the sifting bridge being judged according to which power we give allegiance to, the deranged creator demiurge of this world-or the One Good God and his kingdom, whom we know through Christ.

It suits the archons just fine that human beings are unaware of the divine spark within them. Being the lesser cosmic rulers, archons want anything that keeps people attached to earthly things-not only material things-but people can also be enslaved by mental ideas and concepts; such as a political philosophy, and of course people can be enslaved emotionally to other people and events in their lives! Another fascinating esoteric and philosphical practitioner and theorist that seemed to borrow a lot from Gnosticism is George Gurdjieff and I would like to talk about his ideals later in the series along with getting back to PKD and other teachers and teachings. I thought this article would be important as far as background information to upcoming articles including more PKD hopefully soon! PS-not really sure where I am going with this series next-it may be more Gnosticism or something different-I definitely would like to come back to PKD, Gnosticism and others at some point hopefully soon-either way I hope people enjoyed information about this fascinating man. Thanks again for all of your thoughtful, intelligent and interesting comments! Here are some links where you can also learn a lot-from Michael's Gosporn blog- HERE and Nina's Musings and Observations blog- HERE

I enjoyed both Michael's and Nina's articles enormously and if anyone else has done anything they feel would fit into this series by all means let me know-I am more than happy to link info up here and would appreciate it actually-as sometimes I am not sure if I am drifting too much and making things unclear. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Prophets and Possession: PKD & Gnosticism

The amazing man known to us as Philip K. Dick was a great science fiction writer who also wrote about many different subjects about his own life. Philip Kindred Dick was born on 16 December, 1928 and died on 2 March 1982 at the age of 53. Philip K. Dick-why don't we call him PKD for this series was haunted by the lifelong trauma of his twin sister who passed away six weeks after they were born. Jane Charlotte Dick was the name of the twin sister. They were born to Dorothy Kindred Dick and Joseph Edgar Dick in Chicago. The twins were born prematurely and PKD blamed both of his parents for her loss and this intensified when they divorced when he was five years old. The theme of the "lost twin"or "phantom twin" and "twin-poled dilemmas" came out in many different ways in his work.

Besides science fiction PKD also wrote essays and many short stories. He had 36 books published in his lifetime and 121 short stories. PKD explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in his work. Other ideas he also explored were monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments and altered states of consciousness. In his later works PKD focussed on his interest in metaphysics and theology. PKD often drew on his own real life experiences and explored drug use, paranoia and schizophrenia and transcendental experiences in such novels as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS. The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction and won the Hugo award for the best science fiction novel of 1963. It portrayed life in the United States after it had lost to the Axis powers in World War II and the eastern half of the US was governed by Nazi Germany and the western half Imperial Japan. Flow My Tears the Policeman Said was about a celebrity who awakened in a parallel universe where no one knew who he was. This book won the John W. Campbell memorial award for the best science fiction novel of 1975. "I want to want to write about people I love and put them into a fictional world spun out of my mind, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards." "In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real." Although PKD spent most of his career as a writer in near poverty-nine of his stories have been adapted into popular movies since his death including Blade Runner (One of my all time favorite movies) the book version was called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, and Minority Report. In 2005 Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English language novels published since 1923. In 2007 PKD became the first science fiction writer to be included in the Library of Americas series.

I always thought it incredibly sad and yet somehow so ironic because of the nature of the subjects he wrote about that PKD didn't live to see Ridley Scott's Blade Runner completed. PKD died a little over three months before the movie was released in June of 1982. PKD's untimely death denied him the chance to have a taste of material wealth that would have been a great change from what he was used to-I do not believe he was at all a "thing" oriented person-but an "ideas" person-still though, what a change it would have been for a man who had been near homelessness many times. Besides a measure of material wealth I also wonder what he would have thought of the success of the movie-and other movies that were made out of his books in relation to the fact that he got people to think about some very deep topics. The nature of reality is one topic that also comes out in much of his work. I find PKD the man, his ideas and his life even more interesting than his books. He spent a great deal of his life battling mental instability, depression, paranoia, failed relationships and drug abuse. In the 1970s his California home became a crash pad for petty thieves and drug addicts-basically-lost people. This is probably because he was able to identify so well with being lost in the world. PKD married five times and had three children. Also in the 1970s his home was broken into. In a fascinating spiral of thoughts he first thought that perhaps it was a government job. This was during the Nixon years when paranoia was at an all time high. PKD was a very open, free and in many ways politically liberal man (although politics hardly defined him) who had grown up in Berkeley, California and although usually very poor in material things he was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off of his back if you were in need. He was certainly no stranger to drug use and he wondered if perhaps he had made it onto Tricky Dick's "enemies list." Then after a while he began to feel that he had burglarized his own home!

He thought that the reason he didn't remember robbing his own home was due to a blackout while on narcotics or the onset of mental illness. This incident in his life led to him writing the book, A Scanner Darkly. The title is a reference to a passage in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13, which states: "For we know in part, and we prophecy in part. But who that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I beame a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I was known." The books protagonist is required to view clips from his life on a "scanner", a holographic recorder projects. In Chapter 13 of the book, the protagonist muses that he has seen life with a scanner, but came no closer to properly perceiving his life than Saint Paul with his primitive mirror or glass. True understanding he suggests will only come when death is defeated. Many of his friends also thought he was the unhappiest man they had ever met. By far-the most interesting experiences in his relatively short life were yet to come.

In the early months of 1974 PKD experienced hallucinations, dreams, synchronicities and gnostic visions that he collectively thought of as 2-3-74 or shorthand for February/March 1974. PKD would spend the rest of his life attempting to understand the meaning of these events in a thousand page handwritten manuscript he came to call the Exegesis. Even when his fictional output slowed down he continued to work on his Exegesis every night-analyzing, sorting and interpreting through 2-3-74, as well as his published novels and short stories. Besides its function as mystical exegesis it also served as a daily diary along with self-analysis and a dream journal. Very seldom in the history of literature is their such an open window into the mind of a writer penetrating his deepest spirit and psychological space. PKD came to believe that an alien intelligence that could quite possibly be god was communicating with him through an interface called the Vast Active Living Intelligence System (VALIS). This system took the form of a ship in outer space delivering highly concentrated doses of information to him through beams of pink light. He described it as an "invasion" of his consciousness that also "by a transcendentally rational mind" he also claimed to believe that co-existing within himself was a "plasmate." PKD believed that his "plasmate" was an early Christian who though very much alive in the first century was simultaneously interpenetrated into PKD's body and mind space. Like many of the protagonists from his own novels, PKD believed in the possibility that he was hallucinating his current life and was really living in another place and time.

In this case the Roman empire-this is the origin of the rather haunting phrase frequently found later in his writing-"The Empire Never Ended." He also experienced a series of voices that gave him information telling him things he couldn't possibly know otherwise, including a just-in-time lifesaving medical diagnosis of his newborn son whose life was saved by an emergency hernia operation. PKD was well aware of how insane this all sounded and wrote many different theories about what was happening to him in his Exegesis and why he came to believe in the veracity of his spiritual experiences. One "proof " of his sanity was his claim that crazy people don't doubt their own sanity. Those who knew him at the time living in a modest apartment in Santa Ana, California considered him an eccentric, disheveled, intense, personally unhygienic, gentle, arrogant, emotionally hairtriggered and religiously bizarre.-BUT quite possibly the most brilliant person they knew-and certainly not a delusional schizophrenic. Despite his numerous psychological problems his friends considered him to be quite sane. Four astonishing novels came out of the whole experience. Radio Free Albemuth was his first attempt to deal with VALIS through fiction. In this tale-of which two of the characters are Nicholas Brady and Ferris Fremont-there is yet a third -PKD himself! In an attempt to defeat Fremont-who is a thinly disguised Richard Nixon (would have made a perfect 43 later!) Brady and Dick embed messages in popular songs in order to oppose Fremont's plans to impose a police state. The novel is a great counter-cultural response to Watergate filled with mystical interpretations of rock music, shizphrenic delusions and alien technology. Radio Free Albemuth was PKD's most daring work and the most autobiographical.

VALIS published in 1981 was a complete re-working of his 2-3-74 experience. The protagonist who now undergoes Gnostic illumination is the paranoid schizophrenic twin of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick and is named "Horselover Fat" Philip being Greek for horselover and dick being German for thick or fat. VALIS is more solemn and serious than the previous works mentioned and includes many of the most important events of his spiritual life and is very autobiographical in nature. Here are some quotes by PKD about his actual VALIS experience: "March 18, 1974: It, from inside me, looked out and saw the world did not compute, that I-and it-had been lied to. It denied the reality, and power, and authenticity of the world, saying, 'This cannot exist, it cannot exist.' " "March 20, 1974: It seized me entirely, lifting me from the limitations of the space-time matrix; it mastered me as, at the same time, I knew that the world around me was cardboard, a fake. Through its power of perception I saw what really existed, and through its power of no-doubt decision, I acted to free myself. It took on in battle, as a champion of all human spirits in thrall, every evil, every Iron Imprisoning thing."

Here is a direct quote from the book VALIS where PKD links his dead twin to Sophia, the sister/bride of God who experiences exile in the material world: "The changing information which we experience as world is an unfolding narrative. It tells about the death of a woman. This woman, who died long ago, was one of the primordial twins. She was half of the divine syzgy. The purpose of the narrative is the recollection of her and her death. The Mind does not wish to forget her. Thus the ratiocination of the Brain consists of a permanent record of her existence, and, if read, would be understood that way. All the information processed by the Brain-experienced by us as the arrangement and rearranging fo physical objects-is an attempt at this preservation of her, stones and rocks and sticks and amoebae are traces of her.

Now-what does all of this have to do with Gnosticism? I hope to give just a little insight today and then follow up-hopefully very soon with some more on Gnostic thought and other things also. I am not quite sure how this "series" will go quite yet-its kind of experimental-yet I think extremely important. Some of the ideas in this series have actually been kicking around in my little skull for quite awhile. I have often wondered at the apparent-and very real insanity of the world around us. Here I am not talking about the "fun" crazy stuff-but the horrific stuff in our world. I often thought of the leaders of this planet-both seen and unseen -and wondered-"Aren't some of these men and women afraid of a possible afterlife and its consequences at all? It seems to me like if I were one of these people who is on a pacemaker no less-I would sure as hell be trying to make peace with my maker if you know what I mean (guess who I am thinking of:-)! Then in 2004 I started looking at the superb and thought-provoking work Jeff Wells has done at his blog (along with many wonderful people at the Rigorous Intuition forum)-and I began to think-"Oh I get it -well kind of anyway-why some of these despicable dealers of death in this world might not be so scared of consequences upon their departure from this earth.

Then a matter of nights ago-even though I have had Jeff's book, Rigorous Intuition: What You Don't Know Can't Hurt Them since December-I gave the book yet another read through-probably my third -and after this reading during a wide awake insomniac night-I felt I had an experience of gnosis (roughly-knowing, knowledge). I think Jeff is one of the few people out there who "get it" in what is a very small club of women and men who are concerned with the direction the world is heading and most importantly WHY-it is heading in the wrong direction. I wish in American high school civics class they would cut all books out of the curriculum and have two or three as required reading-one is Howard Zinn's -"A People's History of the United States" and another is Jeff's Rigorous Intuition-and maybe I can think of one or two more about the way our "republic" really works-a "representative democracy" my hairy derriere-please scuse the French. Well once again I am tired and rambling-let me give you all a quote out of Jeff's wonderful book (ps -think non human intelligences when reading this-it is kind of where I am going with my new "series"-Donald Schrum is a man who had a bizarre encounter in 1964 with non-human "beings" and also Carl Higdon who had a bizarre encounter in 1974)from pages 299 to 300: "A wild tale, and like all such tales, impossible to verify. Yet his [Higdon's] bullet was in his pocket where he placed it, folded like a glove. And to ask But was it real? is likely to miss the point. Fungus the Bogeyman returned to a home and family after a good night's scare. To what, and to whom, do these entities return? Does the yellow man in the black uniform ever say "Honey, I'm home!" Are there factories assembling the bizarre and ungainly robots of Schrum's and many others accounts? Why is there so little standardization of craft, and why are there so many different kinds of entities? Religion and occult lore have more to say in this regard than exopolitics, because the things are manifesting themselves for us. Higdon might not have been terrorized, but he was drained, left a blubbering mess, like so many who encounter the Other, The Otherworld, too, has those who play good cop/bad cop. So long as they feed."

I thought this quote of Jeff's fit perfectly with where I am going with the Gnosticism link and thoughts of good and bad "possessions" and contact with non-human intelligences. I hope this made some sense and will try to give some links-I wanted to call it a rough draft until I could check up on a few things. Thanks again for all of your wonderful and thoughtful comments! Carl Higdon Case Donald Schrum Case

PS-puter is doing the online/offline tango-I meant to say the Gnosticism part will be in the next article -I meant to have it in this one -but ran out of time-I also hope to get caught up with all the updated blogs tomorrow also! Peace and best to anyone stopping by!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe: A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep-while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

I thought this poem captured the surreal essence of the series I am trying-keyword trying- here to work on. I may just start posting some of the thoughts in smaller bits than I had intended because I can start "Xing" things I want to double check off my list. Peace and be well anyone stopping by!