In Stephen Hawking’s recent Reuters article Why God Did Not Create the Universe, he asserts, “There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe.”
Hawking goes on to say the Big Bang was “an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.” He then added, “Santa Claus is not real and Angelina Jolie’s breasts are silicone.”
Damn you, Hawking!
The brilliant people of the world are uniting, form of Scientism. This rise of smartiness is a natural selection—I mean, reaction—to the religions of the world. Granted, these are totally muffing it lately…and by lately, I mean that in geological time. Muslim extremists are growing like ragweed and even the Pope has covered up a gazillion or so rapes. Honestly, the guy’s a frigging Bond villain. Check this pic out:
The Problem remains, each individual and each culture moves through Beck & Cowan’s color coded stages of consciousness. There’s no skipping steps. We are all tribal (red) at birth, but in most cultures one has the opportunity to move beyond this level, preferably while still playing in a sandbox somewhere. If some upward mobility does not occur, you end up a Nazi, Al-Qaeda, or working for The Weekly Standard (I’m kidding, of course, only some of them are Nazis). One could also hope that the next phase, fundamentalism (blue), would also be a brief stop on the way to bigger and better memes (let’s say on-or-around puberty). Speaking of adolescence, this is why the aspect of voting for certain Tea Party candidates at a critical juncture in our history scares the shit out of me…which reminds me of a great Stuart Davis rant:
“The first fucking thing conventional and preconventional stages of development do with democracy is vote in undemocratic, theocratic regimes. Nice. Hamas. Nice. President fucking ‘God is on my side’ Bush. Nice. What are we? Nine? Ten fucking years old? I am so, SO sick of this shit, and you should be too. These arrested adolescents are pissing all over the altar.”
This brings us to Hawking and the many entrepreneurial/scientific level folk of the modern world (orange). Currently, they’re denying any opening for spiritual thought, because they are understandably disgusted with this mythic version of religion.
This meme can be summed up with Bush’s I’m going to pray and then decide who to bomb approach to spirituality. The so-called authorities on the subject are, as Davis asserts, “pissing all over the altar.” As a direct result, all educated folks have renounced the whole Christ and caboodle.
In the last century, anything not involving gross matter is deemed irrelevant—this, despite such twentieth century breakthroughs as quantum mechanics, String Theory, Bell’s Theorem, and the Cookie Monster Paradox (He chews on the cookies, he loves the cookies, yet none seem to enter his gullet?).
To me, Bell’s Theorem proves the interconnectedness of all points throughout the Universe, but even the facts don’t seem to deter reductionists. And here I thought that was their thing? They continue to ignore the increasing connection between Vedic philosophies and physics, and the growing body of proof that a brain subjected to meditation operates more efficiently. And what happens when blood flows more freely in our frontal lobes and neural connectivity increases? A view of the universe unfolds in an eerily similar manner as it has throughout the ages. This perennial philosophy occurs again and again. It asserts there is a divine unity underlying all things—except, of course, Ghetto Shaman articles (the Universe isn’t perfect, after all).
So why would our greatest thinkers ignore the conclusion of the most sophisticated machine on Earth, the human brain? More importantly, what if those hyperintelligent, pandimensional beings mentioned in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy programmed their ‘meaning of life experiment’ into our very DNA? Sorry, it’s the pot talking.
We ignore the conclusions of countless contemplatives at our own peril. This perennial philosophy is a spiritual language, surfacing time and time again, interwoven throughout our archetypes, our myths, and our dreams—not to mention certain Jack Primus novels.
The Upanishadic/Coomaraswamy brand of this philosophy has permeated the heart of all major religions and contemplative philosophies. And not just Buddhism and Hinduism, it has surfaced in the Gnostics, the Cabbalists, and even the Sufis (aka, the thoughtful versions of today’s watered down versions). In other words, things were going just fine until some fundamental Preacher, Rabbi, or Imam started pissing all over the altar. Makes me want to curl up with some Kant or Nietzsche and give the whole thing a miss. In essence, this is what most scientists have done.
For some context on how the west was done, look no further than the field of psychology. We banished the intuitive, contemplative side of psychology at the turn of the century (right around the field’s inception). You see, two main schools of thought, structuralism and functionalism, were vying for dominance back in Wilhelm Wundt’s Wunderland (a man heralded as the father of psychology and a strong Prop 19 supporter). No one ever talks about the implications of this, but two perspectives entered and, to the detriment of the west, only one emerged.
E.B. Titchener’s structuralism maintained that the goal of the psychologist was to “analyze consciousness into its basic elements and investigate how these elements are related”, an approach focusing on a “systematic self-observation of one’s own consciousness (Weiten, 2004).”
So, of course, his movement was doomed to failure, much like the Z-Party movement and my Rally to Restore Other Important Things and Stuff. The subjective attempt at ‘mind looking at mind’ was a hard pill to swallow for even early psychologists, after all, positivism and empiricism were already the favored approach for a new field of soon to be, rat-poking Skinnerians (RPSs). William James pulled the field of psychology toward the more favored approach, functionalism, and Titchener was forced into prostitution (sorry, I was channeling the great historian, Glenn Beck, again).
In retrospect, this was an easy shift, because James’ functionalism studied things from a more stimulus-response paradigm (aka, endeavors clearly more rooted in the budding field of rat-poking). In many ways, Titchener’s approach of defining consciousness was ingenious, but he was ultimately assigned to the dust bin of history. Obviously, we should have continued to pursue both functionalism and structuralism, but c`est la valium.
The field of psychology has never looked back and, as a result, we remain forever separate from our own subjective experience. A recent poll labels 1 in 10 Americans as depressed. This doesn’t include people who frequent The Daily Discord (hint: it would much higher). It also doesn’t include psychotic, mood, or anxiety disorders—to say nothing of addictions. Not only have we ignored ourselves, we have banished our myths as well:
“Hence we find today, after some five hundred years of the systematic dismemberment of the mythological organ in our species, all the sad young men, for whom life is such a problem.”
Thousands of years ago, the folks over in early India chose not to ditch the Titch. First, to keep the rat pokers happy, they made profound scientific discoveries in the objective world around them, but then they shifted their efforts and their focus inward into their own consciousness. The result was the Upanishads (aka, after a highly sophisticated group of ancients passed Prop 19).
I remember in middle school being enthralled with the Sophists of ancient Greece. In particularly, Heraclitus impressed me. Is it a coincidence that, years later, Zeno’s would become my favorite bar? I drink not. Heraclitus asserted all of life is flux and change. Oh, and Zeno’s rotates its taps. Coincidence? I don’t drink so. Later, I discovered Heraclitus also believed in an underlying unity beneath the surface of all things. He was later barred from Zeno’s for pinching what he tried to philosophically argue was his own buttocks. No one was buying it.
“Spirit is motion; it is the invisible animator of motivation of growth and change. It is the urge to extend, encompass, transform, and become.” And, “Our society does not consciously cultivate or utilize the dreamlike state of awareness. We are unfamiliar with our deep neural system in which the image and form of our worlds are created and projected. We have been cut off from an entire aspect of our being.”
—Robert Lawlor (a huge Heraclitus fan and Prop 19 supporter)
In the modern west, consciousness went underground for a time. Our myths died and, to the chagrin of Carl Jung, our unconsciousness and our dreams died along with them. This perspective finally reemerged with the likes of Ken Wilber and his Integral Institute. Oh, and this guy’s huge! Here’s a picture from my local Barnes and Noble where Ken Wilber is placed right next to the Necronomicon in the flakiest corner of the New Age Zone.
So one of my heroes ends up next to a fictional grimoire, great. Wilber has synthesized hundreds of psychological theories into a meaningful, understandable perspective. On the other tentacle, Cthulhu has dragged many a poor soul into the nether realms to feed. I can see the correlation. Wilber asserts that meditation can only be subject to the scientific method if you partake in the grand experiment. He also recommends approaching non-believers thusly:
“The people who raise this objection are almost always people who don’t want to look through the instrument of meditation, just as Churchman refused to look through Galileo’s telescope and thus acknowledge the moons of Jupiter. Let them live with their refusal. But let us – to the best of our ability, and hopefully driven by the best of charity of compassion – try to convince them to look, just once, and see for themselves.”
Wilber wants everyone to start their own interior experiential experiment, through the art of meditation, to see how other insights are available in different/higher states of consciousness. His views echo the tenets of Buddhism, epitomized in Hesse’s Siddhartha, where it’s not the teaching themselves, but the practice that is the key to enlightenment.
“To nobody, O Illustrious One, can you communicate in words and teaching what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment. That is why I am going on my way—not to seek another and better doctrine, for I know there is none, but to leave all doctrines and all teachers and to reach my goal alone—or die (fuckers).”
I added the “fuckers” part, but it’s clearly implied. Oh, oh, but wait! In Cthulhu’s defense, his quote “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu” will make you pull off your own ears at the very sound of it (which is important too).
The Dalai Lama has asked the scientific community to bring scientific methods to bear on Buddhism itself. He’s willing to change the dharma, if necessary, to further adhere to the objective-side of reality. He understands the importance of the external as well as the internal aspects of our existence. Cthulhu, meanwhile, hates the Dalai Lama:
You go, girl. On many issues I would still side with the Dawkins, Hawking, Hitchens, and Carrot Tops of the world—especially when the choice is between them or more fundamental thought. They are still my heroes, albeit in one area, the external world. As for spiritual matters, they are quite misguided and actually detrimental for moving many along that dynamic consciousness spiral. They are ignoring developmental psychology, outright. Besides, Hawking himself discovered the mind numbingly delicate balancing act that exists in our Universe between galaxies forming or everything collapsing into a black hole. He said the chances of such a balance were one in 1059, which is like a trillionth of a gazillionth or some such. Really? That just happened?
Recently, Bill Maher told Bill O’Reilly anyone who believes in God is a “dunce.” Again, his anger stems from watching the consequences of fundamental thought still playing out in societies across the globe…or, it may be the fact I refuse to return his favorite bong. I’m sure it’s one of the two. You can’t ignore the spiral, or the development. Each level is an integral part in the realm of ever-unfolding spirit.
Meanwhile, on this ongoing crusade against religious thought, Christopher Hitchens is surely the Batman to Bill Maher’s Robin. In Hitchens’ Slate article on 9/8, he stated, “The taming and domestication of religion is one of the unceasing chores of civilization.”
I would like to change that to:
“Stressing meditation and contemplation is one of the unceasing chores of the enlightened.”
—Mick “not-enlightened-yet-but-still-attending-Ghetto-Shaman-workshops-regularly” Zano
Weiten, W. (2005). Psychology: Themes and Variations (6th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.