Monday, 18 July 2016

The Powerlessness of Now

By Antraeus Voltage, 2006

[Note: This essay was originally a chapter in one of my political books]

'Eidolon - The Poppy Garden' by Marcin Owczarek, 2009 (homage to western culture war machines)

Identification with the External World

The Ramala Source ends a chapter on ‘Education for the New Age’ with the following message: “If I could leave you with one final thought it would be that the greatest service that you can do to Humanity, the greatest service that you can do to your world, to your Planet, to your Creator, is to educate yourself.” (Ramala, p.112).

The purpose of education is surely to help students to understand things for themselves, to explore and express their own individual potential rather than settling for a list of authorities on each subject. Current systems rarely if ever encourage people to consider that they themselves are quite capable of creative input and contributing original ideas or modes of thought. The ‘educated elite,’ with their institutionally-recognised degrees and PhDs, would doubtless argue that you cannot be an authority on a subject until you have read and memorised everything that the ‘authorities’ in the field have written. By then, however, you are probably way past having any ideas of your own.

This is how a Patriarchal System survives. It promotes or enforces dependency on the ‘powers that be.’ Individuals then secure power in society by identifying with established traditions - or the slanted or corrupted form that is asserted as being the established or superior truth since the masculine principle does not concern itself with the past but only with the identity that is most powerful and compelling now. Patriarchy, in particular, relies upon tension and division for its existence. Its orientation is ego-identification. It is a culture of egoism, of finite, but physical, external self-awareness. Identifying with the physical ego and acting on its immediate demands, perhaps fuelled by reaction to circumstances or competition with others, is not living in the Now. It is finding an excuse to do rather than be and to identify subjectively with what we do rather than express what we are (which can also, paradoxically, then be described as ‘you are what you do’!). Living in the here and now is not the same as living for the moment with reckless abandon. The former is the way to life and freedom whereas the latter leads to trouble and even an early grave.

Really being present in the Now requires letting go of external scenarios and projections of mind and, in that stillness, knowing the deeper presence of the eternal Self to some degree. One observes the mind, being its source: ”So once you recognise the root of unconsciousness as identification with the mind, which of course includes the emotions, you step out of it. You become present. When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is not dysfunctional. It is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are. It then becomes the egoic mind and takes over your whole life...The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant. Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be...the Now is the only point that can take you beyond the limited confines of the mind. It is your only point of access into the timeless and formless realm of Being.” (Tolle, p.40-41).

The ego is a superficial state of identity which takes whatever is immediately apparent externally for reality. One might as well be a ghost, unconscious and dead, if one accepts that the physical now is one’s reality. One becomes fodder for social disorder and contributes nothing of one’s true Being. “As long as the egoic mind is running your life,” explains Exkhart Tolle, “you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled. Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.” (ibid, p.37).

When we identify with the body and with emotional and subconscious patterns, we think we are in the now but we are actually caught up in the past or the future. We are obscuring the purity of the present moment with hopes, fears and expectations. When we are fully conscious and realise, as Tolle says, that thinking is only a small portion of consciousness, we are afforded an objective relationship with life, time, consciousness and the world. We can act objectively as our true Selves. We are no longer obscuring our essential Being with finite identity or habitual subconscious patterns of thought and behaviour. The egoic mind, says Tolle, “is a deep-seated sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole...people will often enter into a compulsive pursuit of ego-gratification and things to identify with in order to fill this hole they feel within.” (ibid, p.37). He points out that, “The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it” (ibid, p.26), and asks, “Why does the mind habitually deny or resist the Now? Because it cannot function and remain in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening. Time and mind are in fact inseparable.” (ibid, p.27).

Our thoughts have power over us, says Eckhart Tolle, because we energise them by identifying with the mind. The ‘powerlessness of now’ is, of course, our escape from the Now. We lose ourselves in the illusion of time when, if we were simply aware, we would realise that there is a powerful presence within us that is a source of love, happiness, confidence and peace. We “feel,” as Tolle puts it, “a subtle emanation of joy arising from deep within: the joy of Being.” (ibid, p.16). When we are fully present in the Now, we centre ourselves in “that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking, free of the burden of the personality.” (ibid, p.42). “To stay present in everyday life,” Tolle counsels, “it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river.” (ibid, p.78). He defines being ‘rooted within yourself’ as meaning “to inhabit your body fully. To always have some of your attention in the inner energy field of your body. To feel the body from within, so to speak. Body awareness keeps you present. It anchors you in the Now.” (ibid, p.78).

The Education of Fear

Mainstream education, more than ever, has us believe that commercial interests are of the greatest importance in society. In a more enlightened age, however, spiritual study is recognised as having the most importance. Contemplating the conditions in which we find ourselves may inspire positive intent and create improvement through non-action. Civil War or anarchic activism are not the answer. Greater awareness is.

I am still mourning the demise of SIS (The School For Independent Study), the college I attended. This special little branch of experimental study enjoyed a degree of independence from the orthodox system. It accommodated unconventional individuals who have a passion for a particular subject or area of study. The college had been founded in the free-thinking Seventies and, like many other things, had been tolerated during the Conservative ‘Thatcher years’ in England because it was relatively harmless. Political and economic changes in the UK, however, led to a tightening up of the system. The book was closed on ideas that encourage individuality, love, originality and diversity and develop a dimension of mental and material freedom, particularly for young people. Like a lost continent that is gradually being forgotten just as Atlantis was. That was the subject I proposed for my final year (Atlantology) and it was rejected because, by then, orthodox colleges had stripped it down to conventional standards of diversity.

The cause of the current commercial and vocational emphasis of education is quite clearly rooted in fear. That is just the way the System likes it. Welcome to the Machine! Entire generations of arch-Capitalists are cashing in on this new wave of oppression, which is so sophisticated that people do not know they are being conditioned to live and work to prescribed formulae. They have a vested interest in maintaining restriction and ignorance in society, turning the education system into a production line of unsuspecting youngsters that will develop materialistic values, not so much for their own benefit, but for those hoarders who stand to gain from their identification with the System.

The ‘Yuppies’ who heralded the birth of a new aristocracy (I suppose I am exaggerating; I mean the new members of the middle classes generally) do not covet education in order to preserve power for their own as their predecessors did. They dilute it because they were never part of the privileged elite who were encouraged to express their full potential as individual identities. Confidence and self-esteem are our natural birthright but they have been discouraged in the masses. This is so that the privileged few could remain in control and keep power and wealth to themselves. We are moving in the right direction if more individuals are finding their feet in terms of self-confidence. However, this is still largely dependent on external affairs. The previous aristocracy derived power from its class identity for distinction from the common masses. The new elite - the nouveau  riche, who can also purchase a title if they so desire - rely on the materialist mindset to sustain people’s interest and attention and keep the System alive.

The ban on fox hunting, the blood sport of the rich, and the scrapping of peerage by birthright to disqualify would-be political forces from entering parliament simply because they represent the ruling class of the aristocracy, certainly seems like a step in the right direction. But they are not the only people from whom we need the power supply to be disconnected. Rather than simply doing away with the old order, we need people to create a new one, a progressive model that serves all people individually. Alas, the roots are too deep to pull up. Consequently, the same old fear and exploitation trap remains even when the roots are cut. We make the best of it by accepting the System as it is and conforming to it at the expense of our dignity and self-confidence.

People here in England are generally patient and responsible (humbled and oppressed too) and try not to take things too seriously. We drink too much to compensate. We should expect the best from life and I do not mean simply in terms of protective material benefits! I mean that we should express our full potential as individual identities, centre ourselves in our own conscious will and feel our inner joy and love and share it with others. There is so much to explore and understand in life and we deserve better than to be shuttled along on the System’s production line like cogs on the Wheel of Vocation. As some guy explained to his colleague at the table next to mine the other day in a bar, ‘If you have to go into work and do the same old shit, it’s boring!’

The Status of Elitism

They are not snobby, our new oppressors; they have simply identified with the Capitalist system completely and expect everyone else to. [This was written a year or two before I learned about the Global Elite behind the personalities we see representing the System in the media] They have little sympathy for anyone who cannot breathe in such a stifling and artificial environment. This is a form of Yuppy socialism! [aka Neoliberalism] Society has shifted to the right and, instead of shifting back towards the left, it has decided that we should all be Yuppies together, plastic pawns in the game of political chess.

Bland advertising, soap operas, reality TV, lifestyle programmes like house makeovers, property shows, police and hospital sitcoms, crime expositions, game shows for cash prizes and more bad news? We love it, please give us some more! This game of chess is not like scrabble in which one can either spell or not; that is, having inherited the Norman codes of etiquette and language or not. Everyone has to play whether they have money and power or not.

The kings, queens, bishops and knights of this world never question their superior positions in the material scheme of things because they think that we all have equal opportunities. They feel justified in enjoying their privileges. Whereas the former aristos lived in denial of my existence, the new ones condemn me equally, telling me that it is my fault I am unable to get on in the world. Competition can be worse than domination! ‘I win you lose, therefore you are doomed to suffer while I enjoy my winnings, slurp’ instead of ‘I exist and you don’t, oink’ - you are either in or out - which can actually add the advantage of freedom to a position of poverty. No one bothers about you or hassles you whereas, nowadays, the opportunists want everybody to join in the fun and games which are designed for their amusement. Whereas, before, I was able to survive outside the system, now I struggle to live on the edge of it, or half-in and half-out. One is either in or out, enriched or kept in a state of poverty by the system, or else out on the streets.

Abundance is good; sharing is also good and keeps energy and wealth in circulation for the good of the whole. If one receives yet does not give, one remains unfulfilled and seeks to receive more and more, believing that this will bring fulfilment. It is in giving, however, that we appreciate what we have, enjoy what we receive, and make purposeful use of the supply for the good of ourselves and the world.

That’s another fine loony bin you’ve admitted me to Stanley!

We are being fattened up and fed to the lions, my friends! And, while we eat, we are told that we, too, are lions, that we are to share in the material benefits of Capitalism, that no one suffers so it may thrive, and that world poverty is due to the actions of the past not those of the present ‘powers that be’ who are doing all they can to bring peace to the world! And, yet, perhaps, in some way they are. Perhaps it is this very dreaming, this ridiculous escapism, that is cushioning us from the horrors of other parts of the world and which soothe those troubles to some extent. Perhaps we needed a stronger dream to get off on, to counter our own morbid cynicism and distrust of life and other people. Or, maybe we swallowed the drugs prescribed for us by pharmaceutical companies. Maybe we went with the dreams fed into our minds by the dream corporations. Maybe we simply did not know the truth and were scared of finding that our whole lives have been a lie and that we fallen ‘hook, line and sinker’ for a belief system that would not look out of place in a lunatic asylum! ‘If you don’t buy things you’re ill,’ says Jeffrey (Brad Pitt) in the surreal sci-fi fantasy Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995). If you do not follow the rules and identify with the consumer society, you are nuts.

There are many who would say that the opposite is true. “Carl Jung,” reports Tolle, “tells in one of his books of a conversation he had with a Native American chief who pointed out to him that in his perception most white people have tense faces, staring eyes, and a cruel demeanour. He said: ‘They are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad.’” (Tolle, p.62-63). Yet, as the psychiatrist (Billy Crystal) in Analyse This (Harold Ramis, 1999) says, “I’m redefining weird on an hourly basis.” He later concludes that nothing is weird and that there is no harm in many of the human expressions that patriarchal society considers off limits. A far cry from the days of the Puritans, who considered rituals like making Christmas pudding (pagan method combined with Christian symbolism) a ‘lewd’ custom. According to Metro, they even banned it. (Metro, 16 December 2005, p.3).

When you disagree with the powers that be, of course, you become a threat and subject to the projections of the violent that you are dangerous, or the insane that you are out of your mind. It is important that you be seen to be angry, aggressive, irrational, or unstable so they persecute you until you crack or flare up, all the while overlooking their own abominable behaviour. Again, such people cannot afford to be conscious. For Phaedrus, writes Pirsig, “The hardest thing to deal with was the righteousness of the sane. When you’re in agreement with the sane they’re a great comfort and protection, but when you disagree with them it’s another matter. Then they’re dangerous. Then they’ll do anything. The sinister thing that struck the most fear in him was what they’d do in the name of kindness...He saw that the sane always know they are good because their culture tells them so. Anyone who tells them otherwise is sick, paranoid, and needs further treatment. To avoid that accusation Phaedrus had had to be very careful of what he said when he was in the hospital. He told the sane what they wanted to hear and kept his real thoughts to himself.” (Pirsig, p.372-373).

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chief Bromden thanks McMurphy for the Juicy Fruit after being silent - playing dumb - all the time he has been in the nut-house. McMurphy asks the ‘half-breed Indian,’ who is usually seen hiding cagily behind his mop, if he is just waiting for the moment to strike out at his captives. “’You are bigger and tougher than I am. You can do it.’ ‘Me? Are you kidding? Criminy, look at you: you stand a head taller’n any man on the ward. There ain’t a man here you couldn’t turn every way but loose, and that’s a fact!’ ‘No. I’m way too little. I used to be big, but not no more. You’re twice the size of me.’ ‘Hoo boy, you are crazy, aren’t you?...I swear you’re the biggest Indian I ever saw.’” (Kesey, p.205). The chief warns McMurphy that ‘they got to bust him’ now because they can see that he is big: “’They don’t bust you that way; they work on you ways you can’t fight! They put things in! They install things. They start as quick as they see you’re gonna be big and go working and installing their filthy machinery when you’re little, and keep on and on till you’re fixed!...I’m not saying they kill. They didn’t kill him. They did something else.’” (ibid, p.207).

The Power of Integrity

The System requires willing victims. In Britain’s imperial past, war was an opportunity for the rich to grow richer while the poor were sent off to fight and heavy taxation meant that they had little choice in the matter if they wanted to work to support their families for another month, or another year, before they were finally killed in action. The System is again tightening the reins on the people but, with the death of the British Empire, it is unable to forcibly recruit men into the army. The world no longer tolerates imperial expansion, or not that of a tiny but audacious island off the coast of Europe, even if it did once have an empowering quality and represented the Druids’ power-base in a former age. Just when we were beginning to celebrate freedom of expression for all, the exploration of individual potential in all classes of society, opportunism has struck again. And, it’s not looking good.

Now, we are subjected to bland ideas and the oppressive weight of mediocrity. Talent shows, for example, now exist for those who are naturally untalented to try and mimic artists who enjoyed popularity in a creative phase of our national history, an energy and imagination that has faded and which fewer people are now able to tap into. If you cannot sing, don’t go on the television and sing because they might just buy it and yet more dross will be churned out of the media. Guard your integrity, however much is offered in terms of ‘fame and fortune.’ Originality is coming out in the wash and being drained away. This country is now a platform for anyone to grow by gaining experience. It no longer recognises quality or class and can no longer tell the difference between inspiration and slushy baby food. People appear to be expressing their potential in all but the direction where their potential actually lies; in other words, the absence of it. The ‘lager lout’ who expresses national pride and follows his adopted football team around like a little brat holding his mother’s hand is unable, or unwilling, to see what a ‘big girl’s blouse’ he really is!

Those who do not develop strong individual identities turn their attention towards the infant terrible, the subconscious, and take an interest in its compelling momentum of subjective instincts as if the child is the adult and the adult is the child. We live in a world where the kids control the parents, and where the parents are children themselves. The subconscious spits its food out and throws it on the floor. It screams when it feels the slightest discomfort and throws tantrums when it does not get its own way. It scatters its toys all around the house and never cleans up after itself, unable to take responsibility for itself or its actions and relies upon others to look after it, to entertain it, to change its nappies and comfort it. It charms us with its innocence and feeling of wholeness, engaging our emotions.

Through the child, we are concerned with our immediate needs and we feel insecure because we know very little about ourselves and the world and have yet to stand on our own two feet, express our potential, develop our will and self-confidence. This is what the physical ego is: an identity that is based upon subconscious responses to the temporal world of matter and relates to the world through the tempestuous and volatile wind and rain of this conditioning. Life is reduced to a series of habits. The ego’s personality derives emotional energy from reflecting patterns of life experience into which collective thought energy has been invested (just like an orthodox religion).

The next stage of the production line, then, is indoctrination via emotional engagement. The subconscious naturally seems to be more concerned with others than self-awareness which is why people so readily project onto others whilst denying their own weaknesses. The soul, as a drop of consciousness, a blank slate, is more familiar with oneness and seems naturally inclined to belong to a group consciousness like an animal’s soul. It responds to others’ needs and emotional expression. It reflects their patterns of behaviour and responses to life situations and relationships like a mirror, receiving impressions and sharing its own reactions.

Supply feeds demand. The soap opera, which feeds us with impressions from other peoples’ lives, in the form of dramatic scenarios with a basis of day-to-day ‘normality,’ engages the emotions, as do sentimental films. Sports competitions and violent thrillers feed the physical ego’s desire for action and for winning in physical activities. One switches off from one’s own reality and neither learns about one’s true Self nor enriches one’s consciousness. The unconscious mind dominates the conscious identity because energy is invested into the illusory outer circle of the wheel of life and consciousness while little input is given to increasing one’s awareness of the eternal Self at the hub. Ideally, the latter should be increased and the former decreased until one realises that one is really a spirit experiencing various phenomena in the temporal world of matter. One can then observe all that occurs and all that one does with the body with a balanced perspective. In other words, we need to give as much attention to our spiritual nature - our positive power, joy and love - as we can (but without being fanatical).

In his book The Philosophy of Magic, Arthur Versluis refers to an analogical text instructing the alchemist to kill and skin a serpent, and then grind the skin to a powder which, when held in one’s hand, will make one invisible. Versluis translates the passage accordingly: “‘the snake’ is a reference to the mercurial ego, which must be killed and skinned - that is, its illusory nature exposed, after which it is ground to a powder (its habit energy broken down). It then must be held in the hand - that is, the power released must infuse daily life and be controlled.” (Versluis, p.94). This, incidentally, was the first esoteric book I ever read. It ‘blew my mind,’ as they say!

Society versus Individual

Actually, society is the parent and the individual is the child. Society does not want us to grow up and there are two ways to prevent it. The way of the East, at least in its patriarchal form, is to control people with discipline and not tolerate individual expression or development so that everyone conforms to conventional standards of thought and behaviour, even dress. The structure of society is so encoded into people’s minds from a young age that consciousness in most countries in the East is more collective-oriented. The vast majority of people abide by the rules and respect the customs practised by their parents, peers and ancestors. One thinks of others before oneself and, even if one thinks of oneself, one cannot act freely for long because such behaviour is out of synch with the whole and people are not likely to be sympathetic. Each person represents the threat of punishment whether through fear or respect for this inhibiting but mature and responsible manner of living. The wisdom developed in ages past underlies all changes and disruption in society’s political structure, however radical. It is preserved through tradition and this provides people with opportunities for spiritual practice.

This emphasis on society is stifling to individual expression outside of conventional paths while, in the West, much energy is wasted on individualistic desires. People are divided because consciousness and culture are fragmented. Most opportunities here appear to result from ignorance! But, that is precisely what enables people to express their power individually. The individual can compete and make his or her own way through life whether it leads to enlightenment or ruin, which is often at the expense of others too. He has only to be indifferent to the flavours of consumerism, get used to or even acquire a taste for them.

This reminds me of an interview I once had with the multi-millionaire director of an insurance company. He told me that, after a stint as a builder when he left school, he ruthlessly sold insurance to thousands of gullible people who did not need it. He reckoned that I would be more likely to take interest in their problems and trying to help them. I disagreed because I could feel my own personal power surfacing in response. I then admitted defeat and smiled, explaining that I had spent most of my time exploring the meaning of life, which I also found most rewarding. I implied that, if he had any sense, he would do exactly that once he retired. It just depends on how much of an ego-trip he was on since he must surely have invested much of his identity into being the man with the money, power and material success.

The way of the West is to spoil individuals so that they become dependent on society for sweets and toys. Thus, as long as they do as they are told and please the parents by going to school and doing their sums, that is, doing a job that keeps the Capitalists happy, one’s efforts (and stress) are rewarded. They can afford to buy cars, furniture, holidays, handbags, gadgets, as much football and sitcom viewing as they can consume, evenings in smoky, noisy bars where they cannot hear anyone talk but where they can wear their trendy new shoes, and all of this for their children too, and mortgages and credit card bills, that keep their will and mind locked into a course programmed for all by the System. Human souls are like helpless satellites orbiting a planet, a physical ego, rather than planets orbiting the one Sun which is the true Self.

In this way, the individual enjoys a degree of freedom and yet is kept in a puerile condition of ignorance. He or she is therefore unable, or disinclined, to make good use of free time. It is customary to use that time to wind down, to recover from the tension of living a lie that pulls us away from our true Self. People sink into their subconscious minds as much as possible because all their energy has been invested into sustaining the identity of a company or nation. We live in this vicious circle from the moment we wake to the moment we retire at night, never managing to break the cycle by recognising our individual power as eternal Beings, as God, affirming our positive will and expressing it creatively. Most people are not even aware that this is the case and would be killing themselves with laughter if they were reading this! I can think of worse ways to go!

Ironically, one cannot afford to turn away from the Grand Illusion that drives us to Distraction and consider alternatives. It not only seems futile because it is too late to change one’s life now but it also reminds one just how discontent with one’s lot one really is. That would take some getting used to, facing the reality, and yet one might find a sense of liberation through the truth...after some years of anguish, developing inner strength and struggling to establish a new path, however. The individual feels like a shuttle that has left the mother ship and is not only attacked by it but also forced into tactical manoeuvres to avoid pesky Klingon warships that relish easy prey!

Roast Outlaw

All of this guarantees that the cattle will continue grazing in the field and, when the time comes that the government needs their vote, they can be easily manipulated and led to the slaughterhouse on a rope. It requires a passion for truth and courage to examine oneself and one’s life to venture beyond that fence. One can just imagine the cow edging its way towards the side of the field very slowly, pausing to graze and ‘act natural,’ chomping and crapping and flicking its tail. It is not the farmer it fears so much as the herd. There is always someone to ‘grass’ us up or attack us if we are not grazing with the others! ‘Moooo,’ translated: ‘just seeing what the grass tastes like over here - ew, splutter - I’m not sure about that, needs more fertiliser and gnat’s piss.’ Then, as if by magic, and with a bit of luck, ‘Geromino!’ The cow makes it through the gap in the boundary fence it has had its eye on for so long and legs it into the woods. If only living in truth and freedom were that easy. The poor cow needs to fend for itself in the wilds. It may not be able to find any decent shelter or enough food to eat. It could even be stuck in a small copse for life because it is surrounded by farming land and, if caught, it will be recognised by its brand and sent back to its owner.

What we gradually need to establish is a new civilisation comprising individuals who are expressing their full potential, cattle that have left the herd and are strong enough to live alone. The identity must become complete so that it overflows with the joy and love of the Self, like a Sun. Thus, the limitations of both dependency and independence are overcome. The masculine power within opens to shine in relation to the feminine world without. Harmony prevails because neither is sacrificed for the other. Most who resist being dependent on society for their identity appear to gather ‘on the rebound,’ forming or joining a new little herd. Many a revolutionary, so-called anarchic or alternative group, has been no more than a clique that does not recognise true individuality and finds it threatening to the outward appearances and beliefs it is attached to. When, finally, the individual orientation that is prevalent in the West - and spreading further afield - naturally opens up to the wisdom that has been retained to a degree in the East, or the individual opens to realise the spiritual wholeness within him or her-self, society can blossom and a Golden Age can dawn.

I am neither for celebrating the gifts of the chosen few nor celebrating the equality of talentless mediocrity in the masses. It feels like I was once admiring the beauty being expressed by certain flowers of identity as they matured without realising that the soil was ridden with weeds with their own aggressive agenda for world domination! Now the garden is overrun with them and nothing that is truly original and inspiring can grow until someone takes a garden fork and turns it over. We appear to live in a culture of imitation with ageing pop stars even copying their younger selves when they thrived during more creative times.

Is bullshitting people the only way to survive independently in this kind of culture? Are ignorance and corruption the only means to power in a world where people have only ever really been able to amass wealth through the spoils of war and exploitative industry. Someone always seems to have to be sacrificed for others to live. The ritual sacrifices of ancient times were nothing compared to the number of people who are sacrificed in the modern world that the few can enjoy comfort and explore life’s potential. Now, perhaps apart from oil, it is not soldiers who steal for a country but corporate employees using trade and communication to make money. Would it not be preferable to educate and empower people with universal truth? Oh, do beg my pardon, we haven’t reached that stage yet. We are still stuck on Christianity and science, or is it Christian Science? I do get confused with it all. 

Self-esteem and Self-control

Self-esteem is a basic right of each individual on the planet and, until this has been encouraged the world over, we will have one foot stuck in the swamp of the Dark Ages. First, we must clear up all the self-defeatism, narrow-mindedness and conditioned expectations. People’s confidence must be built up so that they believe in themselves. They are then more likely to act objectively rather than out of fear, to be true to themselves rather than reacting blindly (subconsciously) to circumstances. Education is a starting point: individuals ought to use and exercise their mental faculties at least as much as they do their physical bodies. Humanity must work towards the ideal of applying will over emotion, of self-control and taking responsibility for power, both individually and collectively. Too many people dread having power and wealth for the very reason that they have not yet done sufficient work on developing self-control.

What is the motivation for this self-control? Not the greed and ambition that so often motivates the middle and upper classes and often pushes them over the edge. The pressures of trying to impress one’s peers with grandiose ambition, exploitative opportunism and unbridled power are the result of a fire coveted by those born to rule and expected to maintain power by contributing to the empire individually. This is preferable to doing nothing and not exploring one’s potential. On a higher, more refined level, however, as one shines individually, without identifying with an external class or cult, the flame of the Self rises to increase the creative power of the collective universe. It is not confined even to this world.

The Communist Party’s identity gives it power over its predecessors and becomes the will of the people, who have only to know that the revolution was a success and that the inequalities of the past have been abandoned victoriously. Since people are fed on lies and information is sparse, however, only a handful of people truly benefit from that power. There are no special educational facilities to breed a ruling class even. Clearly, knowledge is power and the empowerment of the individual must begin with education lest we spawn entire generations of thugs. Empowering the uneducated is asking for trouble. It is awareness we should be promoting now as we set sail for the Age of Air.

Is it healthy to give a fortune to an uneducated rogue like the hellraiser Michael Carroll who won a £9.7 million fortune on the National Lottery at the age of 19 while wearing an electronic tag? During his days as a dustman, he had only his mouth and body to annoy people with. Now he is a wealthy thug who is terrorising a neighbourhood with loud noise, all-night banger-racing sessions and a ‘fuck you’ attitude. Snobs can be yobs, too, of course, and junkies like the seventh Marquess of Bristol, who squandered the £7 million family fortune on heroine and cocaine. They are able to look around at their cultural role models, however, and, at least at some point, see the importance of self-discipline and develop a sense of responsibility to prevent themselves and others from degradation. The most influential people around Carroll were drug dealers. There were no positive influences around him to show him how he could use his money wisely.

People in Britain lack a positive, creative and constructive focus because they are so used to narrowing their self-esteem and expectations. They swing blindly from obeying those in authority in the work place and conforming to approved rituals for getting excited and having a good time. It is rarely their own idea of positive action. Their motivation is still dependent on external sources.

When people dream of winning the lottery, they usually seem to think of all the holidays, fast cars, houses, wild parties and orgies they will be able to enjoy. Such a waste when you think what wonders could be created whether directly or indirectly improving life on this planet for everyone. Apparently, Carroll has blown £7 million on sex and drugs and the like for himself and his mates although some money was given to family members soon after his win in November 2002. He says, after his wife left him, taking their daughter with her to Belfast, he felt miserable and there were drug dealers around him saying, ‘Try some, try some.’ They got him hooked on crack cocaine to rob him of his fortune. The high would only last for 20 seconds and it was followed by such an awful low that he would soon be back on the phone telling the dealer to come back with more drugs. He has now kicked the habit but, apart from owning four properties in Norfolk which are worth about £1.5 million, he has just £500,000 left in the bank. One wonders if he is learning to be more humble and down-to-earth and if his new relationship with a Little Chef waitress has caused him to kick the habit of hurling Big Macs at strangers in the street. (Regrettably, this information was taken from The Sun, 1 September 2005, p.12-13).

Surely, it is time to learn from the mistakes of the past and realise that simply handing power over to people who will abuse it is what keeps our world in such a state of instability and imbalance. Dictators, in particular, are the last people we want to empower, or ‘prop up.’ The world is still dominated by those who do not think. In some nations, people are freer to think that in others. They just do not have power...yet. We cannot all hope to have equal power but we can expect to have equal awareness. Then, it does not matter whose flame rises higher than others’ since our collective awareness enables us to see the fire for what it is: the fire of Being, the Source of each individual. Conscious awareness is the solution to conflict and imbalance. The fire then moves freely and fully to fill the space and people’s minds are elevated to a higher frequency of self-awareness, beyond the purely physical. Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow, as the title of George Clinton’s 1970 song goes.


As the Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 AD) said: “Only the educated are free.” One might add that those who manage to stay intelligent despite their formal education are also free. Epictetus was born a Phrygian slave in that part of Turkey.
He started out as a slave in boyhood and became a freedman, albeit hampered by lameness and ill health. So, his words are those of a former slave/prole...

“True education, he believed, consists in recognising that there is only one thing that belongs to an individual fully - his will, or purpose. God, acting as a good king and father, has given each being a will that cannot be compelled or thwarted by anything external. Men are not responsible for the ideas that present themselves to their consciousness, though they are wholly responsible for the way in which they use them. ‘Two maxims,’ Epictetus said, ‘we must ever bear in mind - that apart from the will there is nothing good or bad, and that we must not try to anticipate or to direct events, but merely to accept them with intelligence.’ Man must, that is, believe there is a God whose thought directs the universe.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 CD-ROM.

Yet, in our schools and colleges we are not taught to know and apply our will. We have not made it that far. We are treated like dogs who fight over scraps of meat which are the leftovers from the System’s table. The teacher is given his or hers separately but still not being set free to hunt for his or her own prey. Thus, again, we become dependent on the System and, when the authorities give the order to attack, we obey. We are slaves and trained pets. We are confined to small spaces where we can be easily controlled. We are trapped in cages of dogma instead of flying or roaming freely as universal beings each with our own unique potential for expressing the one Creative Power, the Conscious Presence, that is ‘God.’ Such is the powerlessness of now. Osho explains it thus:

“The education that has prevailed in the past is very insufficient, incomplete, superficial. It only creates people who can earn their livelihood but it does not give any insight into living itself. It is not only incomplete, it is harmful too – because it is based on competition.
Any type of competition is violent deep down, and creates people who are unloving. Their whole effort is to be the achievers: of name, of fame, of all kinds of ambitions – obviously they have to struggle and be in conflict for them. That destroys their joys and that destroys their friendliness. It seems everybody is fighting against the whole world.
Education up to now has been goal-oriented: what you are learning is not important; what is important is the examination that will come a year or two years later. It makes the future important – more important than the present. It sacrifices the present for the future. And that becomes your very style of life; you are always sacrificing the moment for something which is not present. It creates a tremendous emptiness in life.”
(Osho, p.65).

Most of Osho’s money is riding on science and universities, which he believes to be our only hope if we are to avoid being destroyed by politicians. Perhaps that is one of the reasons the American government poisoned him (which came first, the chicken or the egg?). He says we have to choose meditation, not death. Personally, however, I do not see more college professors than politicians meditating, although I do not doubt that they are probably more objective providing, as Osho himself stresses, they do not rely on the religion establishment, as politicians often do: “They are in a deep conspiracy together; they support each other.” (ibid, p.40). I suggest that we re-educate the educators. Not in the style of the Cultural Revolution ‘struggle sessions’ though obviously! Osho, however, observes that,

“Politicians have brought this great challenge to the whole of humanity. In a way we should be thankful to these fools. They have dragged the whole of humanity to the point where humanity has to decide, ‘Now either we can live, or these politicians can remain in power – both are not possible’...
                So I say that now the universities have to become more bold, courageous, united, and they have to gather all the intelligentsia around them – which is not difficult, because all over the world I have seen that every kind of intelligent person is against these political fools. But he cannot do anything alone. What can he do? And he does not see that there is any alternative...
                Why shouldn’t a university like Oxford – which is prestigious, old enough, respected around the world – start calling these conventions? Why shouldn’t Oxford become the centre of a new power, the power of the intelligentsia?” 
                (ibid, p.39).

In fact, since Osho’s mission is to inspire people to meditate, he does advocate its practice in the universities that are to run the world! They will, he says, have their own institutes for meditation:

                “There is no need for any complexity; universities, the intelligentsia, tend to make things complex. A simple method of just watching your breath is enough, but every day for one hour you have to go to the institute. You just sit quietly and witness your mind-process, while keeping your attention on the breath. Nothing needs to be done. Just be a witness, an observer, a watcher, looking at the traffic of the mind – thoughts passing by, desires, memories, dreams, fantasies. Simply stand aloof, cool, with no condemnation, no evaluations. Once you get the knack of it, it is the most simple thing in the world.
                So about meditation – a few essential things to be remembered. The first is a relaxed state – no fight, no control, no concentration. The second is watchfulness – witness whatever is going on inside of you. And the third is, don’t have any judgement or evaluation about it. Just be a watcher.
                As you practice witnessing, you will notice that the clouds of thoughts and emotions will slowly start to disperse and the vast blue sky of your inner being will appear – you will have a taste of going beyond the body-mind-heart complex. Once you have experienced this state you have tasted meditation; and meditation is peace, meditation is joy – meditation is fulfilment.”
                (ibid, p.35-36).

It is in this clear sky that we discover the sun as it illumines our minds with its Light. Our awareness is a clean slate upon which to educate ourselves by allowing the Self to express itself from deep within our consciousness, as our teacher. “Meditation,” adds Osho, “will make you a new being, a new man, a new consciousness which knows no fear, no seriousness, no greed, no hate – nothing of those dark emotions and sentiments which are ugly, sick, nauseating; meditation knows only that which uplifts you, which goes on uplifting you. Then nobody can reprogram you, nobody in the whole world...Any imbecile, if he just sits for one hour every day, doing nothing, for four years, is bound to find what Buddha or Lao Tzu have found, what I have found. It is not a question of intelligence, talent, genius. It is only a question of patience.” (ibid, p.37). Indeed, perhaps we ought both to greet the present our present challenges and meet the future with patience. Buddha himself told us that ‘patience is the best form of prayer.’


Kesey, Ken One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (London: Picador, 1962)
Osho The Greatest Challenge: The Golden Future (New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 1997)
Pirsig, Robert. M., Lila. An Enquiry Into Morals (London, UK: Black Swan Books, 1991)
Ramala, The Wisdom of Ramala (Saffron Walden, UK: The C.W. Daniel Company Limited, 1986)
Tolle, Eckhart The Power of Now (London, UK: Hodder and Stoughton 1999)
Versluis, Arthur, The Philosophy of Magic (Boston, MASS, US: Arkana Paperbacks, 1986)

What Does the Future Hold?

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