Friday, June 29, 2012

The Wisdom of Mystery

German Surrealist dragooned by British hippies, circa 1968

At this point in my life there is no doubt in my mind that human beings are "not alone." I'm not talking about extraterrestrials, mind you, though I believe that logic dictates that the Milky Way galaxy-- and the countless billion other galaxies out there in the Universe-- is teeming with intelligent life.

I'm talking about entities that over the past millennia have been perceived as-- or presented themselves, depending on your point of view-- as gods, spirits, demons, angels, fairies, Djinn, aliens, ghosts, poltergeists and so on and so forth.

I believe that these entities somehow exist outside the normal boundaries of space/time and are usually perceived according to the state of mind of the percipient. In other words, if your head is filled with snakes, you're going to perceive these entities as demonic. If you're a "fluffy bunny" type, you'll perceive them as angels or space brothers. It's kind of like an acid trip in that regard.

I also believe that these entities are part of a greater hierarchy which reflects the greater cosmos. I think this greater hierarchy communicates with human beings through the manipulation of symbol and time, a process more commonly known as Synchronicity. This hierarchy is both an objective and subjective reality, in that it exists within and without the human imagination.

I believe that most people are usually oblivious to these entities and this hierarchy. With certain exceptions, I believe that these entities can only be perceived through a rather dramatic alteration of consciousness, some kind of break in the normal, everyday patterns of living.

And it's a good thing, too. Because we are just way too fucked up to be plugged into that kind of power on a regular basis.

Now, these are all givens in my worldview. They're not issues I feel the need to debate even though I realize a lot of people violently (though not passionately) disagree with these beliefs. I don't care if they do. I do care about finding people who share these beliefs and then disseminating them to the agnostic or curious. I think the best way to do that is to be a level-headed individual who doesn't run around making outrageous claims just to draw attention to themselves.

I also think it's important to ask questions and to learn to distinguish speculation from document. Speculation is a powerful tool. It's vastly under-rated in this day and age, where fundamentalism and the need for certainty rules supreme. Maybe a lot of people might think the first few paragraphs in this piece here break my rules, and cross the speculative line. That's OK. That's their privilege.

I've been studying all of this stuff long enough where I'm confident enough to make those kind of assumptions. What the exact nature or origin of these entities I'm talking about is totally beyond me. I'm only interested in their activities, in the effect they have on the rest of us.

I'm interested in how cultures wither away and die when they cut themselves off from this other world, the way atheist and secular societies simply stop reproducing, or reproducing at a rate sufficient to avoid extinction. It's happened throughout history and it's happening now. The numbers don't lie; a reductionist materialist society is a dying society.

History is filled with the names of dead nations and dead peoples, which is why the atheists and the secularists are so desperate to keep us from studying history (other than their politically correct mythology version thereof).

I also have a pretty good idea that contact with this other realm is actively discouraged to disempower us, to keep us weak and confused and separated. In other words, there's a reason that all of the NGOs and foundations funnel so much money into the skeptic and atheist movements, as well as into their media amen corners.

Hell, I'll go one better and say that a lot of what passes for religion in this country is hardly better than atheism itself. Especially considering most of it is partisan politics in clerical drag.

But the point I'm trying to make is that whereas other writers and other researchers want to grab a theory and own it, I don't. I like mystery. I like speculation. I like to ask questions and juggle possibilities. Take UFOs; I can listen to an Andrew Collins talk about plasma and bubble dimensions and then listen to Richard Dolan talk about nuts and bolts aliens and reverse engineering.

I can listen to a Nick Redfern claim that Bigfoot is an interdimensional entity and then listen to Lloyd Pye claim he's a crafty protohominid who stays aways from human beings. I can read a John Keel claim the ancient astronauts were noncorporeal Ultraterrestrials or read somebody argue they were flesh and blood ET's. Then I can start to mix and match. Recently I've been toying with the idea of the ancient gods being human beings possessed by plasma beings. Why not?

I'm not exactly sure how or why all of it works but I know it does. By it I don't necessarily mean UFOs or Psi or Synchronicity or Alchemy or the Tarot or what have you, and I don't not mean them either. All of these things are symbol systems of a kind, graphic interfaces of an ineffable human consciousness with an ineffable cosmic consciousness. They're signs, not the road, if that makes any sense.

One of the original inspirations behind The Secret Sun was my noticing that art and culture and society becomes more creative, dynamic and exciting when forbidden topics like UFOs and Alchemy and psychedelia and ancient mythology rear their heads.

Why exactly is a mystery to me, but it's something I noticed first in the postpunk era, traced back to the hippies then to the Surrealists then to the Spiritualists and the Rosicrucians and the Renaissance and the High Middle Ages. The pattern is remarkably consistent.

It's as if Mystery- capital M-- is what really kickstarts the human imagination. The greater the mystery-- the more unanswerable the question-- the greater the impulse to evolve and achieve. And it all begins with a question- Why?

Never be afraid to ask why. It's the only thing that will save us from oblivion.


  1. Thanks Chris, you said it well. I agree. I know there is other, but specifically of what type I an uncertain. The good news is that even down here my clients when open are more open to these ideas than you would think. Maybe that is our world shift that is coming. Keep up your great work.I like it. Dale

  2. There are any number of stimulating ideas here to play around with. One thing you say that's struck me before is that believing in some form of higher reality does seem to be inseparable from creativity -- and that's the case whether or not those beliefs are actually "true."

    Rationalists never seem to notice, but science has made the greatest strides during times of strong occult belief, like the late 19th century, and has languished during the times of greatest rationalism, like the early 18th century or the late 20th.

    Some years ago, I heard a program on NPR about how the Maori were making a comeback from the blows dealt them by colonialism and European diseases, and it included an assertion that present-day Maori feel that believing in spirits provides a better adaptation to a world of computers and technology than believing in a single, remote sky-daddy father god.

    I've thought about that a lot since then, and it can be taken in a number of ways. For starters, even on the simplest level, it's clear that the sky-daddy people aren't handling the 21st century all that well.

    But beyond that is the question of whether the Maori (or the Moroccans with their djinns, or the Icelanders with their elves) are right (or at least quasi-right, which is as close as you can get in these matters) -- and the rest of us were forcibly shifted over to the sky-daddy religions 2000 years ago for reasons of elite control.

    But once you start to question these things, the whole world cracks open, and you may find yourself questioning everything. If occultism alone is dangerous territory, the combination of occultism and politics is absolutely incendiary.

  3. This is one of the reasons I'm so glad I found The Secret Sun. I've always been allergic to the overblown sense of certainty that most people have-- whether they believe in traditional religions or alternative explanations.
    In a world where so much is a mystery, the only healthy approach is to research and speculate and doubt continuously.
    Funny how our sick society prizes certainty above all, thus being blind to informations that don't fit any preconceived models.
    This is why I always liked the Oriental mindset: it's rarely "this OR that"-- usually it's "this AND that". For instance, I think there are both flesh and bone aliens, AND also 'ethereal' entities that appear to some as aliens.
    A quote from a book written in 1890: "Has not the whole attitude of the Far-Eastern mind with regard to the supernatural been aptly described as one of "politeness towards possibilities?" ["Things Japanese", Basil Hall Chamberlain] ...I would love to live in a society more polite towards possibilities.

  4. 'They're signs, not the road, if that makes any sense.'

    aka, 'The map is not the territory.'

    Ineffable experience is akin to understanding an object by studying its shadow. There's some... thing... there but we are left to infer what it is by the movement and effects upon us and the environment. Our understanding and the meaning we attach to it grow, however imperfectly, with time; however, that understand is never complete. Therein lies mystery.

  5. "...the greater the impulse to evolve and achieve."

    ooh me gusta y yo quiero

  6. Great piece and just what I needed right now.
    I do believe there is a 'core phenomenen' from which these experiences people have stem and I could not agree with your ideas more. Some time ago I had an anomolous experience whilst at my yoga class and, although I had heard people say that they believed there was one phenomena behind all this, I could not 'feel' it. After my experience I certainly could.
    Life is a rich metaphor with pointers all over the place. If only we know how to see.

  7. Thanks for a great piece of writing that I really needed to read right now.
    I too believe that there is a core phenomena, a greater reality behind the anomolous stories and accounts we hear. Language is powerful and life is a metaphor if you know where to look.
    I had an unusual and unexpected experience whilst in a yoga class that brought me to the conclusion that these experiences are all part of the same thing, the bigger picture, which I think we are beginning to see more and more. It is my 'gut' feeling that the bigger picture is related as much to our creative consciousness as it is to this core phenomena which we presently cannot fully understand or describe.
    I'm going back to read again.

  8. "Hell, I'll go one better and say that a lot of what passes for religion in this country is hardly better than atheism itself."

    It was Jung who said something about how religion can be a defense against a religious experience.

    Speaking of Jung, have you read Aion? I think you would really like it.

  9. Great stuff as always Chris. Maybe the best thing we can do, here at the dawn of what could be a very bleak age of materialist orthodoxy, is to keep reminding atheist ideologues of the mysteries, and poking holes in their theology via art.

    By the way, I don't know if you saw this, but I thought it was a fantastic tribute to the King of Mystery:

  10. Sherlock Holmes enjoyed the mystery as well, but he did eventually get around to solving it.

    In the end, speculation can go on forever in this field, and it is terrifically fun to study it.

    However, do you or should you take the step into experimentation? Should you follow the methods laid out by people from Aliester Crowley to, recently, Andrew Collins and attempt to test belief against actual contact with these entities and/or whatever is behind them?

  11. It was hot last night and I wasn't sleeping well and I had a not-quite-nightmare.

    I dreamed I was working at my computer and I looked over to my right, through the doors to the living room, and there was a strange man sitting on the couch -- though I couldn't seem to see him clearly. I tried to ask him, "Who are you?" but I couldn't articulate properly and it came out as a strangled "Ooo aaa ooh?"

    And I must have said it out loud, because just then my husband woke me up, saying anxiously, "Are you all right?"

    "I just had a spooky dream," I said.

    But it's got me thinking about the question "Who are you?" -- which is the same question the caterpillar asked Alice and is also one of the fundamental mysteries. The deepest mystery, however, is that it seems to be not a question that we pose to whatever entities may be out there so much as a question that they pose to us. And like Alice, the most fruitful answer we can give may be "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present."

  12. Chris,

    What little I have studied of religion and such makes clear that our media, that is, those methods we employ to gather and exchange information, are hopelessly limited. It seems a design flaw of reality - or, perhaps, its intent? Shades of the Gnostic prison in that, I suppose. I cannot say, and in doing so prove my point.

    These phenomena, I suspect, are difficult to understand because they are from the Other World, as the Celts once called it. I suppose today we would say they are inter-dimensional travelers, or perhaps they exist in more than our four dimensions of time and space, giving us an incomplete and therefore confusing view. Grant Morrison, in _The Invisibles_, spoke of dimensional collision, and how the imposition of one universe upon another would seem as a small, black dot before (in his story) they merged or nullified one another. Are we seeing that limitation of expression in these lights in the sky? I don't think it is that drastic. But I do suppose we are seeing a small part of a larger whole as it enters our realm.

    In one of the Gospels Christ says rather cryptically, "In my father's house are many mansions." Was this an attempt to relate the multi-dimensional nature of existence to an unscientific audience? A hint that he had traveled from, or at the least was aware of, this Other World? Religious minds might shout "Duh!" at this one, but I mean to imply that one need not wait for death's supposed one-way trip to perceive and perhaps even explore this.

    Why the same cycle of failure, again and again? Why allow humanity to repeatedly generate reductionist materialist societies that die horribly? Kinda puts a doubt on the theory that they are somehow guiding us, unless they are the cosmic version of Lucy, getting her rocks off by puling the football away from Charlie Brown.

  13. Fucking brilliant. One of your best posts ever.

    Chris, part of your destiny is to write a book titled "The Wisdom of Mystery". That is your beat, your domain.

    You're on fire. Don't ever stop.


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  15. Moses - I don't see it as a cycle of failure but as a spiral, with each turn of the spiral taking us a little higher.

    It also strikes me that there have been four great leaps in the availability of knowledge -- including everything from routine information to the lower reaches of true wisdom.

    The first involved the beginnings of true language -- that is, language beyond the "me Tarzan, you Jane" level, metaphorical and poetic ways of speaking that made it possible to speak of higher things and transmit wisdom.

    The second started with the invention of the alphabet, which enabled ordinary folks to learn to read and write and not just a specially trained (and coopted) priesthood. That set off the great philosophical and religion explosion that began in the 6th century BC, during which many things that had formerly been secret were revealed for the first time.

    The third was triggered by the invention of the printing press in the 1400's, which put an end to the era during which books were chained to shelves and even the Bible was off limits to the laity. Printing is credited with leading directly to the Italian Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, the Puritan Revolution in the 1600s and the American and French Revolutions in the 1700's, the birth of modern science and the birth of democracy.

    And the fourth has only just begun with the birth of the Internet -- and we cannot yet see to what it will lead or what it will reveal.

    Even if these four explosions of knowledge have only facilitated a broader dissemination of what had previously been reserved for a few, they are of crucial importance. But if we speculate further that knowledge is also being fed to us from outside, it would appear that it has been transmitted by way of these same four channels -- losing itself in the chit-chat in order to disguise its true origins, as is standard in such matters.

  16. UFOs are nothing if not first and foremost promoters of instability.

    That's why they are so hated by the Status Quo.

    They are the Joker's discoidal brothers: agents of Chaos.

    And as such, they've been infusing the underground currents of society with enough power to instill a paradigm change. Such changes come not from the top-down, as the elites would like us to believe, but from the bottom-up --a grassroots contact, as Whitley Strieber put it.

    The thing we should ask is: Is that a good thing?

  17. Hey Chris,

    Fantastic post. I like what you had to say about feeling comfortable with your assumptions and not bothering to waste time arguing things you've already accepted as most likely.

    Because, as far as I'm concerned, truly creative types will be willing to go there on their own; at least as cool, fun things to think about. And 'skeptics' won't wanna ever go there anyway, so why should you act like they do? Like any fundamentalist, these kinds of anti-mystery skeptics are just looking to reinforce their systems; economic, social, psychological, etc. An anti-mystery skeptic is far more insidious than a skeptic who's lost in a knee-jerk reaction against what they perceive to be the hubris of religion.

    But to deny the mysterious, magical or spiritual is really only a few short steps from complete moral and psychological disintegration. Why? Because the idea of a cold, dead universe will eventually breed pathology...and that pathology will eventually breed decay in various forms.

    Skeptics might talk shit and say that morality and philosophy can still comfortably exist within the 'truth' of a cold, dead universe - but that's patently absurd. Just turn on the News. If you unconsciously worship death... you end up with the Planet Earth on the opening cusp of the 21st century.

    But if you truly understand life and its implications then a mystical aspect to human experience is painfully obvious. Things get fuzzy and blurry sometimes.

    So, I think you're absolutely correct, Chris, when you say that an atheistic population is a population in decline.

    The real unspoken question isn't "Only the physical is real and I'm actually gonna die one day. I know exactly what comes in the end. How can I possibly cope with that fact?"

    Not at all.

    The real unspoken question is, "I'm living in a fuzzy, mystical, artistic universe and I'm actually gonna die one day. I have no idea what comes after. How can I possibly cope with that fact?"

    That's why we better start reminding ourselves that Art is sacred - and I include benevolent personal forms of religion in this - because art is the only thing that even comes close to taking that question seriously.


  18. Excellent, excellent post. You're exactly right--being open to the mystery is more important than having a theory that explains everything to the nth degree (as if such a theory were possible, anyway). That's something that hyper-rationalists (one of which I used to be, and thank God got out of being!) will never understand.

  19. Cory,

    Certainly there is truth in your spiral view. But, are these spirals themselves repeated? Are they the rhythmic pulse in a larger song, one that ends and repeats like a stuck record, over and over? Do we have to rediscover these things (or things like them, media s flexible and serves the data) every time the the needle jumps? And are these Others merely listening to the record, or do they occasionally pick up and drop the needle? (Watch out for the dust!) Perhaps they are survivors of the last cycle, as Graham Hancock supposes, or perhaps they pressed the record, so to speak, in the first place. I guess we won't know for certain until they call time at this pub and bring the lights up.

  20. Long time reader never commenter, but just read a Rumormill post that I'd like to share and a quote.




    Keep up the great work, it's always appreciated.


  21. Moses - The universe itself is evolutionary. Even the physical universe evolves to a degree physicists haven't yet fully taken account of. The natural world clearly evolves. So why would you think for one moment that the spiritual realm doesn't also evolve to ever-greater levels of complexity and coordination?

    There's a remark I've seen attributed to Gurdjieff, that in our evolution as individuals we never cease to be fools -- but we become fools at a higher level. The recognition of your own folly may be just the flip-side of the recognition of mystery, or at least an essential prerequisite. But the fact that we humans are prone to thinking we know more than we actually know is very different from thinking we never learn anything.

  22. Great stuff as always. I'm reminded of the lyrics to a song, "there is more to this world than we see with our eyes, there is more to this world than we touch with our hands". Very simple sentiments but so very true. Even science will attest to that. It seems that these days, even religion has become closed to possibility.

    On a side not, I recently bought an album by a band called Citizen Cain, called "Skies Darken" (they are a Scottish band). The lyrics focus on nothing less than Gnosticism, and there is a long manifesto of sorts in the booklet that talks about ancient aliens, the Mayan calender, skepticisms failings, the earth's magnetic field, planetary and universal alignments, and a few other secret sun topics. The one thing not mentioned, oddly enough, is synchronicity. The bands previous albums lead up to this one, lyrically, and are very apocalyptic in tone. Anyway, just an interesting synch for me I thought I'd mention.

  23. This reminds me of a quote from John Lennon:

    I believe in everything until it is disproved? So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it is in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?


  24. Chris when my son reached that age where he started showing signs of wanting to play with electricity sockets (ie when he started attending university [just kidding]) I did the Old Testament God thing and told him since I didn't know how else to get through to him I was go'n'o whallop him several times on the hand to underline how dangerous it was and after mutual hugging and weeping that was that.

    Three years later my daughter reached the same stage and I don't know whether it was I was slightly more sophisticated or she was a totally different critter but I explained to her there was something which might be called an electricity snake living in the socket which if it bit her would kill her meaning we'd never get to see each other again but although I'd miss her dreadfully I was leaving the decision whether to continue playing with sockets up to her [she's now sixteen and towers over me].

    The point of these anecdotes being like you I think the point of any 'narrative' whether the Old Testament or some strange UFO tableau on Highway 666 (or yours today) is the effect it has of slamming on the brakes on our general momentum giving us the momentary chance to reappraise our situation and maybe do things differently.

    The problem is of course we're absolute demons for concepts so instead of picking them up and dropping them according to their usefulness in the way we would with washing-up or gardening gloves we do the equivalent of putting on oven mitts and insisting they must be used with EVERYTHING.

    This I suggest's what the Old Testament injunction Thou shalt not worship false gods or graven images's really going on about (in the technical language of the day) much as today the injubction might well go Thou shalt not worship scientific concepts requiring endlessing repatching with still other concepts like dark matter and energy or Higgs Bosons which don't actually really explain anything anyway but merely dazzle and clog up the mind with their technical complexities while all the time creating yet more gaping holes which'll eventually require yet more filling with yet more complexifying concepts.

    This's why I suggest Jesus styled himself as merely the latest Moses and why so many 'religions''re based on endless successions of gods who're avatars of or/and sons and daughters of other gods each one arising according to the specific needs of the specific moment.

    This's also I suspect the reason why the 'hierarchy' of critters you 'believe' in (in the way a tuning fork 'believes' in resonations) keep transforming their interactions with us all the time deliberately planting huge gaping anomalies in our midst which don't allow our minds to rest one way or the other because the problem is we keep mistaking the narratives running through our minds FOR our minds instead of paying attention to the sheer naked awareness which enables those narratives to arise in the first place.

  25. If you haven't already, I recommend reading Lewis' cosmic series: 'Out of the Silent Planet', 'Perelandra', and 'That Hideous Strength.' They all fold nicely into the suspicions surrounding the Mystery you described here.

  26. So true! I've been saying this for years! We need to stay in contact with the "otherside" lest we lose what makes up human. A pox on atheism!

  27. Nice post and I believe that your comment,
    "I'm not exactly sure how or why all of it works but I know it does", is very relevant because we don't really need to know how or why but just to recognize that there is more to what appears to be a mundane existence.

  28. This 'break from the normal' is the key to all this. Only then is one able to open themselves up and perceive other possibilities, because the safety structure, the matrix, has been ripped away. At that point, our attention becomes focused on the undeniable yet elusive subtext permeating reality. It can be puzzling, and not easily provable to those mediating reality with a materialist program (like those who can see only a dot pattern and not the 3-D image contained within, simply because they are incapable of altering their visual perspective).
    Trying to understand and reconcile all this, allows for incredible potential, and a newfound source of power, generated by our speculations and theorizing.

  29. I arrived here on the bus that had no destination ha ha. Thanks for the post, the great mystery continues with infinite possibility.

    And thank you for all the great comments.