I have not read a book that has engaged me so fully in a long time. Chris Hedges cares about the less fortunate and he has actively pursued a more egalitarian society wherever he has reported from. He has worked for some mighty institutions and has been committed to what is authentic of himself and of his employers and his government. He has helped to illuminate how our institutions, politicians, reporters, religions and civilians have gone astray.
Chris Hedges is an intellectual bomb thrower. The kinds of insights he provides into the troubled state of our democracy cannot be found anywhere else. Like many of our most important thinkers, he has been relegated to the margins because of ideas deemed too radicalor truefor public consumption.
Hedges here speaks up about the most pressing issues currently facing our nation. If we are to combat the intellectual and moral decay that have come to grip American life, we must listen to Chris Hedges and the urgent message he brings in this book.
Im not sure what he is trying to say here. I include this so that I can occasionally revisit it to see if I am able to intuitively realize something from it.
“Now the death of God combined with the perfection of the image has brought us to a whole new state of expectation. We are the image. We are the viewer and the viewed. There is no other distracting presence. And that image has all the Godly powers. It kills at will. Kills effortlessly. Kills beautifully. It dispenses morality. Judges endlessly. The electronic image is man as God and the ritual involved leads us not to a mysterious Holy Trinity but back to ourselves. In the absence of a clear understanding that we are now the only source, these images cannot help but return to the expression of magic and fear proper to idolatrous societies. This in turn facilitates the use of the electronic image as propaganda by whoever can control some part of it. —JOHN RALSTON SAUL, Voltaire’s Bastards1
Robert Anton Wilson writes, “What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves . . . whether you are living in a Christian reality-tunnel, a Charles Mansonoid reality-tunnel, an Immortalist reality-tunnel, a vegetarian reality-tunnel, a Rationalist reality-tunnel . . . Everybody has the only true true religion.”
From Persinger and Lafreniere: “We, as a species, exist in a world in which exist a myriad of data points. Upon these matrices of points we superimpose a structure and the world makes sense to us. The pattern of the structure originates within our biological and sociological properties.”
The attachment that we have to those structures that are our reality tunnels contributes to confusing these tunnels with reality itself, and, worse yet, with “all” of reality. Yes they help us to adapt and survive but when we believe in them too rigidly, rather than understanding them to be tools and models, it can cause us to experience life as frustrating. Our innate sense of understanding of life reality becomes deluded and as well problems in our modern world arise from the fact that these reality-tunnels are no longer isolated from each other. We constantly collide with persons living in wildly different tunnel-realities.The average person has a deluge of contradictory and conflicting reality-tunnels impinging on him or her, with little experience or training in either cultural or neurological relativism.
Meditation has been a helpful vehicle enabling a more contemplative, reflective examination of reality and self identity. Inevitably we have all been influenced by our socialization, education and biological conditioning at the expense of not attending to more innate and authentic instincts. A more flexible-deep attention beyond our rigidly held conditioned processes to a more fundamental essence of mind is more natural and practical way. Beyond the boundaries, perceptions and limitations that are inherent in our conditioning, awareness; attending to life in this way helps to question and dissolve our more rigid structuring.
Ultimately transcendence implies a letting go of what I once superficially believed myself to be. There seems to be a metaphysics already embedded within that is not so accessible through analysis, abstraction and intellectual processes. I refer to transcendence here more as an emerging from a fog to a more clear awareness and/or realization of that metaphysics enabled through discovery via a more direct experience of self through observing, listening and intuiting.
Caught up in our usual activities, reacting to the fearful propaganda that our extreme politicians and leaders dangle in front of us, having forgotten our true nature, we may seem to be elsewhere, but we are in fact never truly apart from it. This radical truth, of our “true nature,”is not something to merely believe in but “to live” and to fully embody and it may be that it is the collective response that leads us to challenge these leaders . But as individuals we must let go of habitual and regressive reactions that insulate individuals from knowing self and one another. Awareness and contemplation of fear and vulnerability are essential in waking us to this deeper truth but impulsive and habitual reacting from a place of fear leads us away from knowing deeper truths of ourselves.
So these days I spend more of my time doing what I need to do to orient myself more deeply within, looking to open to something of essence, which is no easy task considering that I have, so early in life, been intensely trained to be closed to these things. This focus within has been fuelled, to a large degree by a desire for truth and the realization that my thinking about things, has never been what I thought it was.
A challenge has been to ultimately face what has been perceived to be unbearable, that my thinking has distracted me from, that has been diverted to the sub conscious. In bringing awareness to what I have so readily diverted from, avoided, ignored, and denied my direct experience I am better oriented to what us true if my experience. In learning to be more attentive to what is, I learn to be with what is unpleasant, understanding the relevance of attending to what is real, despite my habitual urges and emotions that are averse to that.
I discover wholeness in that opening and with that an expanded awareness and living of life that emanates from the heart in a shower of energy charging my life experience, feeling and emoting more than I have known. There is a more enduring joy in suddenly rediscovering a lost compassion for myself and for others who struggle with the same life search and attempt to move beyond cultural limitation. The realization and wonder of my humanity and my unique place in it is difficult to express. It is a rather divine revelation to encounter this intimate self and life that comes with an awareness that joy and suffering are not as opposite as I learned to believe they were and that the perception of separation that we have come to know in our dualistic world in general is a delusion.
The Cynics, satirists and “mystics” (circuit V-VIII types) have told us over and over that “reason is a whore,” i.e., that the semantic circuit is notoriously vulnerable to manipulation by the older, more primitive circuits. However much the Rationalist may resent this, it is always true in the short run —that is, to use one of the Rationalist’s favorite words, it is always pragmatically true. Whoever can scare people enough (produce bio-survival anxiety) can sell them quickly on any verbal map that seems to give them relief, i.e., cure the anxiety. By frightening people with Hell and then offering them Salvation, the most ignorant or crooked individuals can “sell” a whole system of thought that cannot bear two minutes of rational analysis. And any domesticated primate alpha male, however cruel or crooked, can rally the primate tribe behind him by howling that a rival alpha male is about to lead his gang in an attack on this habitat. These two mammalian reflexes are known, respectively, as Religion and Patriotism. They work for domesticated primates, as for the wild primates, because they are Evolutionary Relative Successes. Robert Anton Wilson from Prometheus Rising
It is my sense that many global politicians today combine religion with their nationalistic sentiments to promote a regressive world view. It seems to be a step backwards to times when world war was fuelled by this kind of thinking and related efforts at boundary making. Ultimately as a conscious species we are coming to realize however slowly that separating humans into categories of race and/or any other such category is in the end an arbitrary endeavour. Never the less there exists a global reaction from those who experience a sense of vulnerability in this opening to deeper truths and deviant individuals opportunistically address these emotions in impractical and regressive ways that do nothing but encourage greater fear, illusion and reactivity. Gord
There is so much authority that comes out of the existing primary mystical experience that it can be threatening to existing hierarchal structures. – Rolland Griffiths this book can be an opening. Iris read it and said that it has had more of an impact than any other book that she is read in a long time. A really excellent read. For someone who experimented with psychedelics in my teens I was too young to realize and take advantage of the benefits. This book explores and reflects better than any that I have read about the consciousness raising possibilities of psychedelics. While they don’t represent a magic fix they can be part of a door opening and new and more comprehensive and holistic perceiving, envisioning and creativity. Pollan explores this with great expertise. At this late age of Sixty five I have the urge to indulge in some shrooms. Its never too late.