Thursday, 15 May 2014
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
--The United States Oath of Allegiance
Welcome once again to Amid Night Suns, citizen. It seems that the world around us is changing with ever-increasing rapidity. And yet, the more things change the more they stay the same. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the weak are oppressed and defiled – and corruption reigns supreme. In such a socio-political climate it is hard to remain idealistic, or to even fully appreciate the tenets of genuine idealism. For me idealism is seeing the best in ourselves individually and collectively; believing that we can indeed become more than we are – that we can grow and change for the better. The popular notions of democracy – fairness, justice, liberty and equality – are beautiful ideas that we of course all strive towards, but just how important are such notions in today’s society beyond empty buzzwords and tools of misdirection? I mean to say, does anyone really believe that our popular imagining of democracy is matched in any way by the corrupt war-mongering reality we see all around us?
Progress is a complex notion. On the one hand I admit that things are better for a huge number of people now than at any other time in human history. We are not all mercenaries and gunslingers with minimal lifespans. Women are valued more highly today than ever before, at least in certain contexts. Children seem to be treated with more genuine care and sensitivity – again, at least within certain contexts. Humanity seems to have dragged itself out of the brutal feudalism of the dark ages, at least here in the West. And yet paradoxically, despite all this, I believe things have never been darker than they are now. Corruption has never been greater, or at least it has never before had such a huge industrialized playground in which to prey. For me, Gnosticism has never been more relevant than it is today. This is admittedly a paradox, a contradiction. But unimaginable destruction and creation are both occurring right this very moment, all across the globe – war and terrorism, freedom and revolution abounds. For the United States of America this paradox of destruction and creation is particularly pertinent. I believe that behind the scenes there is a quiet war happening on American soil. Of course I cannot prove this in any way, but I believe that this is a spiritual, psychic war as well as a war between covert military-intelligence factions. Various players are vying for power as the political tectonic plates of the country threaten to shift. I don’t know what exactly will be the result of this secret war, nor do I have a sense of any time-frame attached to it. I only know that these words from Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address have never been more pertinent, or prophetic:
"…a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure."
I believe that while one can argue that the genesis of the USA has been massaged and whitewashed, made more palatable for a modern multicultural audience, there is still insight to be found within the American Dreamscape of our imaginations. It is a wholly psychic America; a frontier in which notions of truth, liberty and justice still stand – still resonating with imaginative power. This internal America is far more than a piece of Hollywood propaganda, in my opinion. It is the highest notions and ideals of its dreaming citizens, given intangible form. And I am not one to dismiss or belittle the power and veracity of dreams. Although I am technically British I have countless times walked the soil of this internal America, such is its allure.
But while I believe the America of the Inner Society is still an essentially noble and optimistic place I am not going to make a similar blanket statement about the America of the physical realm. There are many beautiful and sublime things about our imaginations, but so often they are not matched by their literal counterparts. Of course, America is just a symbol. I’m not really just talking about America, am I? I’m talking about the world, and the schism running through its heart that has divided our cognition – separated our intellect from our imaginations, the rich from the poor, the East from the West, and the ‘Evil’ from the ‘Good’. Something seems to be missing, doesn’t it? A connective tissue to heal this breach. A path of creative tension that enables us to perceive the occluded link between apparent oppositions. After all, corruption and oppression seems to work best when nuances are removed, when subtleties are ignored, and when dissenting voices are either silenced or drowned out by a distracting clamour. This schism isn’t uniquely American, it’s global. But because America was the most powerful and pervasive political force on Earth during the Twentieth century it became something of a metaphorical lens for the psychic maelstrom. America is itself, but it is also Rome and Babylon and Atlantis, and the entire world. This is very hard to explain in rational terms, but hopefully readers will intuit the flavour and poetry of what I’m trying to say, if not the literal sense of it. I am trying to speak the truth, in the best way I know how. As I stated in my previous post This Is Not A Test:
I believe that America, like the world at large, is to a great degree controlled by archonic forces that are attempting to send as many souls as possible tumbling into that void. Whether these forces are literal, symbolic or some blending of the two I cannot say. But we are living through dark times. We are seeing, among other things, an attempt to establish a modern medievalism in our world – a glittering new feudalism controlled and orchestrated by a theocratic/corporate elite, stretching from sea to shining sea. There will be no discernible middle-class in this intended future; just those who serve it and are therefore granted worth, and those who don’t and are therefore worthless. It might surprise you to know that there are forces political, social and spiritual that are aware of this archonic agenda and are doing everything within their power to resist it. There are dissenters, subversives, heroes and heroines everywhere, using all this darkness as cover. When I am feeling daunted or afraid I try to remind myself of this fact. The human spirit is ferocious and ultimately unassailable, when all is said and done. If all the scales fell from all the eyes and people saw things as they really were, I believe that after a requisite period of reorientation, processing and healing the human spirit would be reborn like a phoenix. I truly believe that.
To quote from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address a final time: "- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." So, our goal as citizens is to dissent, to resist tyranny, to educate and acquire gnosis. Because gnosis is knowledge, and knowledge is power. And trying to figure out how to apply such knowledge for the liberty and justice of all is the beginnings of true wisdom.
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Truth-telling matters to me. I mean it really matters. Not just as an empty buzzword or a kind of rock-star posturing. It is one of the things I hold most dearly. Not just my own ability to tell the truth, but anyone’s. I can imagine a time when truth counted for something; so much so that it was a kind of social and spiritual currency. Perhaps such a time never really existed, but I’d like to believe that it did – and that we can find our way there again, eventually. I admittedly have a very dark worldview because I have seen and experienced some pretty disturbing things in my thirty-five years in this realm, so take everything that I say with a grain of salt. But it seems to me that truth has become so utterly devalued, so facile and arbitrary that many of us no longer know what it really feels and tastes like; how it moves and how it communicates. I have always tried to create a working relationship with truth, both experientially and psychically. I have always tried to hone my intuition and the various gifts that for the longest time I tended to view as curses. This relationship has both helped and hindered me. Hindered in the sense that it occasionally grants me access to what I came to realize was hidden or secret knowledge – oftentimes knowledge that I was spiritually and emotionally unprepared to deal with. The truth often comes with a huge burden, a heavy responsibility. In short, it can be utterly crippling and exhausting.
But obviously in other contexts the truth has afforded me freedom, strength, wisdom and opportunities – and sometimes joy beyond measure, for which I am extremely grateful. I only mention all this to highlight the fact that like most incredibly powerful things truth is a double-edged sword. Truth can be a deadly weapon. It is incredibly destructive as well as creative, depending on the level or lack of dexterity with which it is handled. For me the people who try to speak the truth, or earnestly search for its many nuances to the betterment and emancipation of the human race – these people are unalloyed heroes plain and simple. They are the ones standing at the Edge of the World, often putting themselves in harm’s way in an attempt to stop too many others from plummeting off the edge and tumbling into the void. This is why in art I am always drawn to truth-tellers and subversives, be they the artists themselves or their characters and their works.
This is also why I am deeply fascinated by Gnosticism and Gnostic-inspired works of art. I feel that Gnosticism speaks to the obvious inequalities in wealth and power and opportunities existing all around us, as well as the rampant corruptions, perversions and systems of control that have sought to manipulate human consciousness for most of recorded history. In short, from my perspective, Gnosticism tackles reality as it truly is, not as we would wish it to be. It tackles the darkest and most disturbing questions concerning this experience we find ourselves in – it doesn’t attempt to ignore or massage away the shadows with a trick of the light. It doesn’t blithely assume that hideous cruelty and unimaginable suffering is somehow an ingrained or necessary aspect of our reality as sentient beings. It attempts to provide reasons, answers or interpretive strategies for why things are the way they are – and I find that commendable, even if in the end we are merely creating strange fictions whilst groping around half blind in the dark. And to me this commendable search for truth and meaning is paramount for human beings and the way we attempt to navigate through the maelstrom of existence. Our lives are incredibly complicated, at least within our own minds, but they are also often brutish and short. Most of human knowledge may indeed be a tapestry of interwoven fictions – but those tapestries are evidence of the brief flicker of fire that constitutes a human life, or a generation, or the accumulated flames of the consciousness of an entire race.
This is not a game. This is serious. This is a journey to answer the deepest questions concerning the nature of human identity and destiny. We use our fictions to cultivate lucidity and wisdom, even in the face of fear or terrible darkness. This is not a test. This is the real deal. This is life and death.