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Enlightenment Reason or Occult Conspiracy?
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Enlightenment Reason or Occult Conspiracy?

Source: commongroundmag.com

What holds our world together is not only the laws of physics, but language, myth and story. Our narratives create the framework in which our actions and our intentions have meaning, or at least some kind of order. It is very hard for us to live without any coherence at all. It may even be impossible, as our minds immediately begin to weave together some type of fable to support whatever it is we find ourselves doing.

Lately, I find myself switching back and forth between divergent models or myths of reality and seeking to integrate them. One of them is the story of progress and reason, the inheritance of the secular and scientific Enlightenment. The progressive believes that a flawed society can be improved by rational policy and political pressure. The world can be made better for more people, inequities reduced and healthcare guaranteed. Although he has been strategic in his pronouncements, Barack Obama seems the model of a progressive reformer, promoting the type of sensible policies that led to the New Deal and the Great Society.

The other mythic structure that entices me is occult and conspiratorial. According to this story, there is a hidden agenda beneath the façade of chaotic events. This agenda is orchestrated by “them,” that group of elite cabals and secret societies, an amalgam of Free Masons, Vatican priests, the descendents of the Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after World War Two, and so on. To approach this concealed dimension of world affairs, to separate accurate insights from disinformation, is extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible. The quest involves long reading lists of small-press and self-published tomes and many hours on YouTube, watching lectures presented by anxious men in drab conferences. From such unreliable sources, one learns that much alien technology has already been recovered and reverse-engineered, that a New World Order of total social control is being orchestrated, that the Ark of the Covenant is a torsion field generator perhaps hidden in the Pentagon, that shapeshifting reptilians are controlling everything, and other tidbits.

Personally, I don’t reject the possibility that there is an occult element in global affairs, a distorting factor that makes true understanding difficult to achieve. During my shamanic work, I encountered spiritual and demonic forces, appearing as visions and voices, but also causing effects that seemed to cross the barrier between the psychic and the physical. According to shamanic traditions, spirits operate across the entire field of our world. Rather than a fine-tuned conspiracy of elite cabals, the true story might be far more muddled, with various factions holding pieces of a puzzle, mired in outmoded rituals and incoherent beliefs, lacking shamanic skills. Many of those involved in these cabals may suffer from guilt and fear the consequences if their shadowy actions are revealed to the public.

Out on the esoteric edge of the cultural imagination, one finds an increasing convergence of thought-streams. The works of Steven Greer, David Wilcock and Richard Hoagland, as well as Nassim Haramein’s DVD set, Crossing the Event Horizon (available at theresonanceproject.org) all suggest that, beyond a certain threshold, technological advances may be linked not just to technical knowledge but to our level of consciousness, requiring higher awareness as well as purified intentions in order to function. As Haramein theorizes, the Ark of the Covenant might have been an actual device preserved from antediluvian civilizations, capable of generating extraordinary amounts of energy — enough to open a passage through the Red Sea — but requiring an initiate on the level of Moses to operate it without causing mayhem. Many of these thinkers offer intriguing scenarios in which alchemical or extraterrestrial possibilities could manifest in tangible forms.

Can someone pursue Enlightenment ideals while simultaneously exploring occult conspiracies? If we avoid becoming obsessive or dismissive, it seems possible to hold contrasting myths or models of reality in our minds at the same time. We can study the Mayan Calendar, extraterrestrials and Gnostic cosmology while fighting for social and environmental justice, campaigning for political reform and so on. Whether or not our corrupt system can be changed, we could learn a great deal by joining any valiant effort made in that direction.

For Enlightenment thinkers, the sun symbolized the clear light of reason they adored. The clear light of reason may stream from the sun, but, as the French philosopher Georges Bataille noted, if you turn your gaze upward to look at its source, you find yourself blinded. Those who stare at the sun for too long may go insane. The source of reason in itself produces unreason, blindness and madness. Reason appears to have an innate contradiction at its center. Reason, by itself, may not be enough to get us out of our planetary plight. If spiritual forces operate within our world, then meaningful social change requires, along with political reform, initiatory processes and shamanic practices that could, perhaps, open our minds to new myths of reality.

Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (Broadway Books, 2002) and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006). His features have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Wired and many other publications.

Article from: http://commongroundmag.com/2008/04/pinchbeck0804.html

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