The Scribe by Alan Lee.
This post is a part of the online book Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien.
This online book is the second in a series of my three literary spiritual mentors: Karen Blixen, J.R.R. Tolkien and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The book on Karen Blixen is an Ebook called Karen Blixen – The Devil´s Mistress. The blog post The Philosophy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is included in this book in chapter 5, Epistemology, part 3: The Peter Pan Project. The most important aspects of my Blixen book will also be included in this book, so that it can be read independently.
So, this online book has developed into a larger work. It is so to speak a concentrate of my entire work, written as a course in philosophy. It is an answer to the question What is your philosophy? It is therefore necessary for me to explain my personal background for writing this book. Through this I will present some concepts which will be central in explaining essential concepts in The Lord of the Rings.
The work on my three literary spiritual mentors could be said to follow Kierkegaard´s three stages on the way to becoming a true self: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. Each of these “stages on life’s way” represents competing views on life and as such potentially conflicts with one another. In my interpretation Karen Blixen belongs to the aesthetic stage. Tolkien and Saint-Exupéry belong to the ethical and religious stage, though this doesn´t mean that aesthetics not is a part of their work. It certainly is (Kierkegaard´s three stages will be investigated deeper in chapter 7, Aesthetics).
Karen Blixen is not for children. She is for adults. Tolkien represents a movement towards the child, and Saint-Exupéry is about rediscovering the child in us all; the last religious stage which in my view is the mystical experience. Both ethics and religiousness belong to the heart. In my view.
Therefore I see Tolkien´s philosophy as a movement towards the religious, or the mystical experience. To reach this requires spiritual practice. On my website I have characterized my teaching in a nutshell. It goes like this:
I have called my teaching Meditation as an Art of Life.
My teaching in a nutshell consists of two quotes, three aspects of spiritual practice, the Peter Pan Project, A Finger Pointing at the Moon, and the Luciferian Movement.
1) The two quotes:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Henry David Thoreau [read more in my Link to Idlers]
I have no view of my own. My critical arguments are simply reduction to absurdity of the views ignorance has created.
2) The three aspects of spiritual practice:
1) Critical thinking (spotting thought distortions created by dualistic unbalance, both in oneself and in others - See my book A Dictionary of Thought Distortions. This book is part one in what I call “A Spiritual Bath” in the development of boundaries and protections). I also call this aspect The Navigator, or the philosopher.
2) Investigating the shadow (ignorance, the unconscious, the painbody, the cause of suffering, your own dark side, the ego – see my articles The emotional painbody and why psychotherapy can´t heal it, and Suffering as an entrance to the source). This aspect I also call Learning to see with the Heart, or Heartmeditation (Tonglen).
3) The spiritual practice (going beyond all ideas and images – see my book Sûnyatâ Sutras. This book is part two in “a spiritual bath” in the development of boundaries and protections). This aspect I also call The Compass, or Hara Awareness.
4) The Peter Pan Project
5) A Finger Pointing at the Moon:
My teaching is supposed to help people develop their own teaching, to become a light for themselves, where they now happen to be in life. My teaching should therefore not be treated as an authority/conclusion, but only as “a finger pointing at the moon.” Don´t mistake the finger for the Moon.
6) The Luciferian Movement:
The Luciferian movement in my work can be summed up in the three aspects of spiritual practice:
1) Head: The presentation of the Navigator (the philosopher and critical thinking)
2) Heart: The presentation of Tonglen, ethical work with the shadow. Ethics means moral philosophy, and therefore again critical thinking, though supplied with heartmeditation.
3) Hara: The presentation of the Compass, the downward movement, the break with the top-heavy Indo-European symbolism of the ladder. Instead is introduced the symbolism of the embryo and the circle.
My concept of Lucifer Morningstar simply means a counter-theory and a reverse practice. This is inspired by Karen Blixen. In short: an alternative to the Matrix Conspiracy.
All of this will be clearified as we proceed.
The Philosophy of Tolkien is a book by the Catholic philosopher Peter J. Kreeft. From the start I knew that Tolkien was a devoted Catholic and directly has said that The Lord of the Rings is a Catholic book. I therefore found it necessary to read Kreeft´s book. I was amazed how I found my own intuitions about Catholicism, and my love for philosophy, written down in every second sentence. I therefore decided to let his book be a theological support for this online book. Kreeft namely knows more about theology than I do. And if Tolkien´s work indeed is a Catholic work, it would be unfair not to pay respect to that.
Kreeft says that philosophy and literature belong together. They can work like the two lenses of a pair of binoculars. Philosophy argues abstractly. Literature argues too – it persuades, it changes the reader – but concretely. Philosophy says truth, literature shows truth.
Human thought is both concrete (particular) and abstract (universal) at the same time. You could also say that the thought has an Inner Side and an Outer Side. All things have an Inner Side and an Outer Side. This way of description will be quite central in this book. It is connected to the three states which the Wholeness can be in: sleep, dream and awake. The Outer Side of things is the side most people experience. When you only see the Outer Side of things the wholeness is sleeping, or the things are sleeping. The Inner Side is the side of enchantment. When you see the Inner Side of things, then the Wholeness is dreaming, and therefore the things are dreaming. This is the source of enchantment. Eventually the Wholeness, and therefore the things, can be completely awake (the spiritual practice where you are going beyond all images and ideas).
We cannot think of abstract universals like “man” without imagining some concrete, particular example of a man.
Authors like Karen Blixen, Tolkien and Saint-Exupéry see the universals in man and life. They see the Inner Side of man and life. Whenever we think of an abstract universal, we have to use a particular concrete image. But the converse is also true: whenever we recognize a concrete particular as intelligible and meaningful, we use an abstract universal to classify it, to categorize it, to define it: we see or imagine the Bedouin as a man, not an ape.
When you look through binoculars, you look through both lenses at once. Because human thought is binocular, abstract philosophy and concrete literature naturally reinforce each other´s vision. Philosophy makes literature clear, literature makes philosophy real. Philosophy shows essences, literature shows existence. Philosophy shows meaning, literature shows life.
The universal, the Inner Side, belongs to the heart. It can only be seen with the heart. As Saint-Exupéry famously wrote in The Little Prince:
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
“What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that somewhere it hides a well...”
The necessity of philosophy in a spiritual practice refers to the necessity of the sword of discrimination, the ability not to be yourself carried away in feelings. That is the the first aspect of spiritual practice: critical thinking, or the creation of the Navigator. A central danger in spiritual practice is the confusion of heartfeelings and ordinary feelings. This has led to a war against intellectuals (especially philosophers) and scientists (see my article Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science). It has created a basic anti-rational Zeitgeist, a catastrophical turn, since it precisely hasn´t anything to do with Learning to see with the Heart, but with a myttery against The Navigator.
It is therefore a bit misleading to call heartfeelings feelings, because they rather have something to do with space, being and clarity. I will return to this in chapter 10, Ethics, part 4: Tonglen – Rediscovering Love.
The training of the heartfeelings is actual not about training the heartfeelings in themselves (because you don´t have them in your control), but about training the openness for them, and this is what the Heartmeditation is about. In this openness they come by themselves. And fundamental to this training is that the two other aspects of the spiritual practice also are trained: The Navigator (critical thinking/the philosopher) and The Compass (Hara Awareness).
In the confusion of heartfeelings and ordinary feelings you’re are open for the influence of the One Ring. Figuratively speaking you can talk about yourself as a warrior against the One Ring, which means a defender of philosophy. An exorcist.
In some religions, an exorcist is a person who is believed to be able to cast out the devil or other demons. A priest, a nun, a monk, a healer, a shaman or other specially prepared or instructed person can be an exorcist. An exorcist is a person who performs the ridding of demons or other supernatural beings who are alleged to have possessed a person, or (sometimes) a building or even an object. But also a whole movement can be possessed. In my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy this movement is called the 666 conspiracy; the conspiracy of the Antichrist; the conspiracy of anti-love and anti-existence. This conspiracy works deliberately to open up people for demonical influence (though the individuals don´t know this). This aspect is called The Conspiracy of the Third Eye, and it will be investigated in chapter 5, Epistemology, part 2: Sauron´s Eye.
My concept of Lucifer Morningstar is a central part of the exorcism of Antichrist. Themes involved in this is the Cross of Saint Peter, Archangel Michael, and Lucifer Morningstar as God´s adversary. A central exorcising tool is precisely philosophy (critical thinking). It is the necessity of a Navigator. To confront Matrix Sophists with critical thinking is like holding a cross up against a vampire. This isn´t just figuratively speaking. A lot of these Matrix Sophists can only be described as spiritual vampires, and I have no problem with exposing them by name, since I consider them as severe spiritual criminals.
But there are also other interesting aspects of Lucifer Morningstar. The use of the name Lucifer itself seems to scare servants of the Antichrist away. We shall investigate this peculiar aspect in depth in this book (especially in chapter 10, Ethics, part 3: The Ring and the Devil), just mention the Gargoyles of Notre Dame which precisely serve as protection against evil. Another odd phenomenon was when I had problems with New Age internet trolls, that tried to sabotage all my activities on the internet. I had to close down Facebook groups. I couldn´t have a visible email account. But since it of course was necessary for me to have a contact page, I made some changes. This way of contact is now my Facebook page called Lucifer Morningstar. Ever since all online harassment has stopped.
The explanation is the paradoxical game of the Devil. It is clear that the Antichrist never would come in the clothing of “recognizable” evil. On the contrary he would come in the clothing of the “recognizable” good. In this book this will especially be showed as the movement of positive thinking.
Kreeft writes his book on Tolkien simply as a course in philosophy, and uses the interplay between philosophy and literature to show what the heart is in Tolkien´s philosophy, and therewith of course also what is the heart of philosophy as such. In outlining the themes, or kinds of questions, or basic divisions of philosophy, he moves from the more abstract and theoretical questions (e.g., those of metaphysics and theology) to the more concrete and practical ones (e.g., those of personal ethics), even though this means beginning with the least interesting points to most readers. But these are the most philosophically important points; for ethics depends on metaphysics, and to see this logical dependence is itself one of the most important, and often forgotten lessons we need to learn today. According to Kreeft we can fully understand concrete and specific tactics in a war, or in a game like chess or football, only when we understand the abstract and general principles of strategy. We can understand the motions of the planets only after first learning the principles of geometry, and we can understand a philosopher´s ethics only after we understand his metaphysics, his worldview.
The Lord of the Rings is a Catholic book. This is Tolkien´s own words, therefore it would be a misunderstanding not to see it in that light. Kreeft is a Catholic thinker with much more insight in Catholic theology than I. Therfore I will let his book be a theological support for this book, which I will write as longer comments to this basic text. As mentioned in my profile: all my writings are a part of my own philosophical diary. They are created in a state of meditative writing, and function in order to review my teaching and refresh my practice. The style of this online book is therefore mainly informel. I will give my own argument, and the book is therefore completely nonacademic. I do therefore not in every instance attempt or purport to convey the intended meaning of Kreeft, nor Tolkien. Rather, I will highlight the philosophical significance of them, seen in relation to my own teaching Meditation as an Art of Life. As mentioned: the book is as much a summary of my own philosophy.
The book will also be a description of why I today say that I have Buddha in my head, Christ in my heart, and Nordic Shamanism in my spiritual stomach (Hara). This is a pure personal account, since it only is Zen Buddhism and Taoism that explicitly are teaching about the “spiritual stomach” and about spiritual development in the symbolism of “a Golden Embryo” instead of that of a ladder. But you can find it in all spiritual traditions.
Head, Heart and Hara are the three main spirit gates, meaning: the gates between the world´s Outer Side and Inner Side. Spirit Gates are structures associated with several chakras, mainly the first (root) and second (sacral), fourth (heart), sixth (third eye), and seventh (crown) chakras. In addition, there are spirit gates in the back of the skull, loosely associated with the sixth (third eye) chakra, and above our heads and below our feet.
The main spirit gates are the first and second chakras (root and sacral), fourth (heart) chakra, and the back of the head. It´s incredible important to work with these spirit gates first before working with the more advanced spirit gates, such as the spirit gates above the crown of the head.
The Sacral Spirit Gate is associated with the first and second chakra and is located between the kidneys. It is also associated with the sacrum, or tailbone itself. It is a large circular energy that goes all the way from the center of the sacrum to approximately just behind the belly button (where the kidneys typically are). The Heart Spirit Gate is located in the back of the heart, and the Head Spirit Gate is located where the back of the neck meets the base of the head, and is associated with the “back” of the third eye chakra. Each spirit gate can be shut and quite small or can be quite large. These spirit gates are present in everyone, even if they are not psychic or sensitive.
The minor spirit gates are located in the third eye (between the eyebrows), crown (direct center of the head going upward). Below the feet, at the crown (apex of the head) and above the head, and in the center of the palmar side of the hands and soles of the feet. The minor spirit gates are present in every one of us but are only activated, or engaged, in certain psychic individuals.
Spirit gates are how information of a spiritual nature comes through to us. In Chinese philosophy the three main spirit gates are referred to as lower Tan Tien (the same as Hara), middle Tan Tien and upper Tan Tien. The lower Tan Tien is also called the “medicine field” or “elixir field,” as it gathers and contains the healing power of Chi (if you observe the sculptures of Buddha he is sitting with his left hand resting in the lower Tan Tien). Other names for it are the “ocean of Chi,” the “sea of energy,” the “cauldron,” and the “navel center.” The use of the expressions “ocean” and “sea” refer to the wavelike quality of Chi. The expression “cauldron” refers to the function of the lower Tan Tien as the center of inner alchemy that transforms energy. This is the area a spiritual practitioner particular works with: Hara Awareness.
However, as noted, we actually have three Tan Tiens: the lower Tan Tien (in the abdomen the seat of awareness, meditation), the middle Tan Tien (the heart, the seat of consciousness, or soul), and the upper Tan Tien (behind the mid-eyebrow point, the seat of Shen, or spirit). All three Tan Tiens are used in Taoist inner alchemy. Because of their capacity to deal with a large amount of Chi, the Tan Tiens are used as a “laboratory” for inner alchemical work. Translated from Chinese, the word Tan means “elixir.” Tien means “field or place.” It is the place where all the energies of our body, the earth, the universe, and nature come together to form the “pearl,” the elixir of immortality, and the nourishment for our soul and spirit. It is “The Philosopher´s Stone.”
The training of these three spirit gates corresponds to my teaching in a nutshell: 1) critical thinking (the head): the Navigator, or philosopher 2) investigating the shadow (the heart): Learning to see with the Heart, or Heartmeditation (Tonglen) and 3) the spiritual practice (Hara): the Compass, or Hara Awareness.
Now, you might ask: “What has this to do with Tolkien?” Quite a lot, in my view, though Tolkien only knew this intuitively, when creating the concept of Sauron´s Eye. Sauron´s Eye is namely an exceptional literary depiction of an ego-inflated opening of the Third Eye.
Sauron: [speaking to Frodo] You cannot hide. I see you! There is no life in the void...only death.
Sauron´s Eye is precisely only an eye, there is no body, and therefore no heart (love) and no existence (Hara, or the lower Tan Tien, the essential Compass). The Sacral Spirit Gate (the Compass) and the Heart Spirit Gate, have been cut off. And that is precisely what the New Thought movement promotes. The body is an illusion. Existence is an illusion. Only thoughts exist. And the Navigator, the philosopher, has been replaced by the Matrix Sophist. This is quite a scary thought.
I have talked about The Conspiracy of the Third Eye, and a central problem associated with this is psychic awakening, and the worship of psychics (clairvoyants and channelers) as spiritual teachers. The problem is that especially this area of spiritual awakening is exposed for the danger of subjectivism, and therefore philosophical idealism, which is the main metaphysical theory of the Matrix Conspiracy.
Tolkien was a Catholic, and Saint-Exupéry was a Catholic, and their works both show what´s the heart in Roman Catholicism. Tolkien himself described Middle-earth as a “world of natural theology, containing a monotheistic but sub-creational mythology.” Writing to Fr Robert Murray, he maintained that The Lord of the Rings “is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imagery world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”
And this technique is precisely what shows the spirit in Catholicism, instead of the usual boring and dried out theology. This is also the reason why so many are getting surprised when getting this information, often people who otherwise are enemies of the Catholic Church. This could also be said about Saint-Exupéry´s master work The Little Prince.
But as I write in chapter 5, Epistemology, Part 2: Sauron´s Eye:
Today I consider my own experience of healing as a reverse form of Kundalini yoga: a downwards movement instead of an upwards movement. Said in relation to Indian religion: a Luciferian movement. This has to do with what I now have started to call an inflammatory kundalini awakening, because that is the most precise description of the kundalini awakening which I, like many other people in spiritual crises, has been caught up in. It works fine with the pop cultural anti-hero Ghost Rider, and his skull in flames. In this book I describe the movement like this: I have Buddha in my head, Christ in my heart, and Nordic Shamanism in my spiritual stomach (Hara). This doesn´t mean that Buddha and Christ have been cut off. On the contrary. But if you talk about heart and Hara as love and existence, then Nordic shamanism is my existence, meaning: the way I live and offer philosophical counseling today. But Buddha and Christ are a part of it, as my book also will show.
All in all: the series on my three literary spiritual mentors constitutes my work on a philosophy, which should be seen in the light of Buddhism, Catholicism and Nordic Shamanism. This philosophy is presented in relation to philosophical counseling in Rold Forest.
It would be wrong of me to present myself as a Buddhist, a Christian or a Shaman, since this would involve that I used a specific vocabulary and practice belonging to each of these. My whole work is based on extreme paranormal experiences (the awakening of kundalini), and the accompanying development of strategies to handle these experiences. No single religion would be able to cover that.
This work will, rather practical, be ended in My Magic Workshop where I share my meditative work on Icons. I´m continually working on difference versions of partly handmade Icons with six themes on wood from Rold Forest, and a Sûnyatâ Sutra written on the back. Each Icon is accompanied by an article, where I explain my interpretation of the six classical themes: The Virgin Mary and Child, Christ the Merciful, The Transfiguration, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, and Archangel Michael. Closely connected to this is my booklet The Philosophy of Hara Healing, which is a concrete exercise in “rediscovering the child within”.
Before I saw the necessity of finding my head (Buddha), heart (Christ) and Hara (Nordic shamanism) in spirituality I was deceived into the abuse of Eastern thought in New Age (this was before I wrote my books). Today I call this the Conspiracy of the Third Eye, a conspiracy promoting techniques of opening the third eye combined with the ideals of the Matrix conspiracy (see below). This gave me a top-down kundalini awakening. Today I know that top-down awakening (not necessarily kundalini awakening, it can also be top-down psychic awakening, top-down shamanic awakening, etc, etc.) is by far the most common spiritual awakening type around the world, that throws people out in spiritual crises, most often as ego-inflation but also as The Dark Night of the Soul. I will return to this conspiracy, but just tell that the similarities of the ideas behind the opening of the third eye and the following top-down awakening, and the concept of the Eye of Sauron, combined with the One Ring, is so strikingly that it is necessary for me to make the comparison.
My Kundalini awakening happened after five years of Hatha yoga practice, beginning in London in 1985, where my only meditative exercise was the relaxation-meditation described in my first book Meditation as an Art of Life – a basic reader. Here I was inspired by Krishnamurti who so to speak started my spiritual journey.
After the awakening I had some wonderful time with great experiences of bliss without realization. In a slow, ingeniously way, accompanied by a movement away from Krishnamurti into New Age books, this developed into a period of ego-inflation, which to my luck was too short in order to create some kind of grouping around me. I have often told that ego-inflation is the most dangerous manifestation of a spiritual crisis, because you lose any kind of self-reflection. It actually doesn´t matter what there might be happening of external things. Nothing will make you change your mind. Unless this balloon-like mind itself is getting punctured. To me this happened like some kind of nemesis. My ego-inflation changed into The Dark Night of the Soul, which should last about ten years, heavily filled with anxiety attacks.
To my luck I was, still inspired by Krishnamurti, able to avoid spiritual authorities, and I knew something was going wrong (if you today try to find out about the Kundalini phenomena you almost certainly will meet New Agers who will give distorted advices). But I was already familiar with the concept of Kundalini, and I began to read everything I could find about it. I stumbled upon a book by Karlfried Graf Durckheim called Hara: The Vital Centre of Man. I simply knew that the concept of Hara was the answer to my prayers.
I found other books on Hara, and how to practice it (in Zen and Taoism it is quite explicit described, but you can see it depicted in different kinds of spiritual art, for example the Buddha sculptures). I also stumbled over the concept of the Zen Sickness, which describes a Zen student with all the signs of a top-down awakening, who visits a master in the mountains, who cures him by making him rediscover Hara (read the story here).
The Kundalini was slowly turned around, so it streamed downwards instead of upwards. I realized that the most important for a beginner in a spiritual practice is the development of Hara, which is fundamental to all wisdom traditions and natural healing professions.
The second dramatic cycle began due to my lack of realization work (critical thinking, the Navigator, the philosopher). It should be remembered that no one can go through a spiritual practice without realizing the shadow, the ego and the painbody, as well as karmic structures (under one: the Dark Ancient Inertia). And the Kundalini obviously created some unconscious tensions in me, not extremely dramatically, but still in a degree that I slowly began to use alcohol to calm it down. My unconscious conflicts had three components:
1) The painbody and dark ancient powers (this is the special issue in my Ebook on Karen Blixen).
2) Problematic balance between sexual conflicts and spiritual longing (I have always been asexual, a fact that have caused a lot of conflicts, before I accepted it, and gave up any possibility for a sexual relationship with someone. The latter was made easier by the opportunity to go totally into the spiritual practice).
3) Problematic balance (contradiction) between living a temporal life and a spiritual life. This unbalance has to do with expectations and lack of comprehension from family. In my family there exists a rather peculiar family system which basically is steered by a cemented pride (arrogance) caused by a lack of self-esteem (I guess I have an ancestral line of highly sensitives, and a condemnation of this very same sensitivity). This again causes that family members both are creating superior roles for themselves, and are projecting inferior roles onto other family members, who themselves believe they are superior. Can you see the obvious conflicts here? This is an extremely difficult family system to disentangle from. The conflict corresponds to Blixen´s basic conflict between the morality of a mediocre Christianity, and the freedom of the artist, whom she sees as a symbol of the fundamental creative human nature. But this conflict has somehow also ceased due to my own work with cord cutting, dialogues with family, and an eventually accept of my weirdness.
I lived in Aalborg when the second cycle started (not surprisingly is was Aalborg which is my hometown, and very close to family). It was during this time I contacted a priest in the Catholic church in Aalborg, in order to convert from Protestantism to Catholicism. I was fed up with the protestant work ethic, and it´s obsession with work, which deeply influence politics despite the claim of separation of state and religion. This obsession is close to destroying people´s lives, and their possibility of finding their true calling in life. Though I agree with Luther and his reasons for breaking with the Catholic Church, I was surprised, in the Catholic Church, to rediscover a love for Jesus, who preached idleness. It was impossible for me to see how the Protestant competitive work ethic and the enormous following capitalistic greed after earning a lot of money in fact can be interpreted as being totally in harmony with the teachings of the unemployed carpenter Jesus.
But all religion corrupts when becoming an ideology. That´s why I won´t call myself neither a Buddhist, Christian or Shaman, because that would somehow psychological require that I used an exclusive language, or practiced in an exclusive way. The best way to describe myself is by using the title of philosopher, or, as I writ on my blog: A Philosophical Globetrotter, Life Artist and Idler.
Intuitively I felt at home in Catholicism though, partly due to it´s emphasy on philosophy (a central part of Western Philosophy are Catholics such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas). In the United States, priests must have a four-year university degree in philosophy plus an additional four to five years of graduate-level seminary formation in theology with a focus on Biblical research.
But partly also because Catholicism has a monastic tradition with an acceptance of mysticism. The Kundalini phenomenon was completely rejected in the protestant church, which has removed all mysticism, but to my surprise the Catholic priest I talked to was familiar with it. He referred me to the catholic author and spiritual director Philip St. Romain, who has written about Kundalini and Christianity. It might seem odd to see these two words together, but the truth is that many Christians have come to experience the transformative process called kundalini in Eastern spiritualities. They see inner light when they pray or meditate, experience energy movements in their body, pressure in parts of their brain, spontaneous breathing patterns, and many other phenomena associated with the kundalini process.
Some are involved in pentecostal groups, others practice contemplative disciplines, and still others are very ordinary in their spiritual practices. Of course, many Christians today have also pursued Eastern disciplines like Zen, TM and various forms of yoga.
A major question for Christians is whether the kundalini process is a work of the Holy Spirit, the devil, or some other force. It ought to be clear that if Kundalini is an universal part of the awakening human nature, it is a catastrophical mistake to reject it as only being a peculiar believe in Indian philosophy.
In his book The Kundalini Process – a Christian Perspective Philip Romain presents an understanding of the kundalini process that can help Christians recognize its signs and its place in the spiritual life. Following up on his earlier work, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality: A Pathway to Growth and Healing, he uses the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and more modern approaches to human nature to explain how kundalini is a natural process that is designed to integrate all levels of our human nature in deep union with God. He notes that this process is at work in all of us at a very low and gentle level, but that it can become intensified in certain conditions, presenting major challenges and blessings for those who experiences such activations.
In my booklet The Philosophy of Hara Healing, I have given my own version of Kundalini awakening, and I will return to it in this book.
For Christians, the legitimacy and value of a spiritual/religious belief or practice is usually discerned in the light of Scripture. This is something I see as a very dangerous form of ideological development. Yes, I see it as directly demonical inspired, as we shall see in this book, where I identify a side of Sauron´s One Ring with precisely ideology. Minimally, this ideology says that nothing must go against what Scripture teaches; ideally, it must be explicitly sanctioned in Scripture.
For heavens sake, the Scripture is written by humans in another time age, and with all the human failures! Such attitudes have often tempted me to leave the Christian Church all together. To my relief Philip Romain doesn´t share these attitudes. On page 97, he writes:
This is not a huge problem for Catholics like myself, however, as we have long adopted the attitude expressed by Paul in Rm. 14:19, “Let us adopt any custom that leads to peace and our mutual improvement.” There is also Jesus´ attitude, “whoever is not against us is for us” (Lk. 9:50). Thus have Catholics made use of teachings and practices from various cultures and philosophies in the service of the Gospel. Indeed, the teaching on the soul in this book is largely informed by St. Thomas Aquinas, who was deeply influenced by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle.
Furthermore: Philip Romain show that there actually are a few places in Scipture that hint of kundalini. One is Rom. 8:22, where Paul writes of the “whole creation groaning in one great act of giving birth.” This sugggets a dynamic of awakening that we humans, too, who are part of the creation, experience as well. For Paul, it is the gift of the Spirit that fulfills this longing and brings satisfaction, but the developmental impetus seems intrinsic to creation itself. This resonates with the understanding of the kundalini dynamic as an inner entelechy that “pushes” the creature from within unto its unfolding while the Spirit gently pulls and guides us.
There is also 1 Tim. 1:6, where Paul tells Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” The laying on hands – quite common in early Christianity – can be understood as a kind of Christian shaktipat which, in this case, apparently stirred things up in the young disciple, Timothy, when Paul prayed over him. This sounds like it could be an instance where kundalini activation and Holy Spirit blessing come together.
I have often explained that the two main reasons why religion and supporting exercises are a necessity is partly, that the ongoing self-confirmation of the ego and its negative automatic thoughts, is replaced by a spiritual remembrance, partly that the collective inertia is purificated and prepared, so that the Ego is made transparent along with that original sin and negative karma are transformed and transfigured in the contact with the Source (God, Christ, the enlightened consciousness, the saints, spirit helpers etc.) And these two processes mutually fertilize each other. This also emphasizes the above-mentioned art of discrimination, where you discriminate between which form of energy is your own, and which form of energy is not your own (family, ancestors, past lives, other people, culture, divinity). This has again to do with exploring, changing and restructuring thought distortions.
In Cor. 14, Paul expresses concern about the lack of order in the Church of Corinth. It seems that people there are really whooping it up in the Spirit. Paul calls for order and reason to prevail.
Then there is the strange reference by John the Baptist in Mt. 3:11 to Jesus baptizing in “the Holy Spirit and Fire.” It could be that “fire” is reinforcing the meaning of “Spirit,” as it is one of the symbols of the Spirit. But still Romain wonders, especially with Jesus´ saying in Mark 9:49 that “everyone will be salted with fire.” Biblical scholars puzzle over this, most noting that it probably refers to a purification process. That is certainly what kundalini activation accomplishes in us.
Romain hesitate to link kundalini with the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by the serpent, as there are so many mythological themes in play. But the bait held out by the devil – “when you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” – is suggestive of the higher spiritual consciousness that kundalini awakens. In punishment for this transgression of taking the fruit before its proper time, the couple are thrown out of the Garden, and the snake, too, is punished. Henceforth, it will crawl on its belly and eat dust, which is a fitting way to speak of fallen, inactive kundalini (for example the punishment for an ego-inflated top-down kundalini awakening, as I will return to). Granted that this is an interpretive stretch, but perhaps it highlights another angle of that multi-faceted story.
The story of the Tower of Babel story is another that resonates with the Fall. Here we find people cooperating to build a tower that will reach to the heavens. God, in response, mixes up their languages and scatters them across the earth. The story is a continuing account of how the human race became estranged from God and one another, but the sin, in this case, is the effort to force our way into heaven using our own efforts. People who, without reference to God, attempt to use ascetical methods to empower the higher chakras and awaken kundalini are doing something similar. Heaven is god´s realm, and we must be invited into it by god rather than trying to barge in on our own. As the stories of The Fall and Babel illustrate, we pay heavy consequences for doing so.
The story of the encounter between the Hebrew people and seraph (fiery) serpents in the desert is also worth mentioning. Some scholars understand these serpents to be literal reptiles whose bites were tormenting the people; others take them in a more metaphorical sense as interior burning from a spiritual purgation that was taking place on the desert journey. Most interestingly, the fiery serpents bite them because they are complaining against God and Moses, which would introduce negativity and blockages into their system. Moses is instructed to “make a fiery serpent of bronze and put it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten will live when he looks at it.” Moses did so, and people who´d been bitten were healed when they looked upon this symbol. We don´t know what that rod and serpent looked like, but it is strongly suggestive of a Caduceus (which had two snakes) or a Rod of Asclepius, both of which are ancient symbols of divine power.
What is most intriguing about the seraph serpent story and the serpent on the rod is that Jesus relates this to his own crucifixion: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” The language of lifting up the serpent certainly resonates with kundalini process, and it is even more curious that Jesus identifies himself in some manner with that bronze serpent. Even if biblical scholarship cannot affirm a kundalini meaning to these passages, one can still take away from them the point that on our own, we cannot deal with the power of kundalini once it is activated within us. We need Christ to set things right within and among us.
To this I must add that all Christian mystics and saints have talked about kundalini under other names, for example as “the work of The Holy Spirit”, and they have suffered all the usual Kundalini symptoms as anyone else on an intense spiritual path. It is a universal part of the human nature and the process of awakening.
Finally Catholicism also accepts that “there is more things in heaven and earth (i.e., in reality) than are dreamed of in your philosophies (i.e., in thought).” That was Shakespeare´s philosophy, as expressed by Hamlet to Horatio, who found it hard to believe in ghosts. This is the philosophy of the poet and of the happy man, for whom nature is a fullness, a moreness, and therefore wonderful. Kreeft claims that it is the philosophy of all pre-modern cultures.
But I was also surprised over how Catholicism share my views on New Age almost word for word. Many Christians view the New Age movement as merely self-indulgent silliness. Unfortunately, as Catholicism emphasizes, there's far more to the movement than astrology, crystals, weird workshops, and psychobabble. New Age spiritual leaders most often have a firmly entrenched, condescending anti-Christian worldview, and many of them harbor a special hatred for the Catholic Church (note that New Age is against religion as such).
Many expect an imminent, apocalyptic transformation that will lead humanity into the New Age. This is a clear ideology, both religious and political. By acts of men or by an act of "spirit," earth will be cleansed of those who refuse to evolve. Evolutionism is a central part of this ideology, and it therefore shares many features with materialism and atheist fundamentalism: on the whole with the ideology of modernity and postmodernity. In chapter 5, Epistemology, part 1: The Simulation Theory, I will demonstrate this shared feature.
In the New Age, there will be a world government (the New Age guru Ken Wilber is explicitly working toward a world government based on his own integral system). Traditional morality and traditional families will disappear. All traditional religions -- especially Christianity and Judaism -- are considered "separative" and "obsolete"; in the New Age, they too will vanish.
New age is an enormous movement in popular culture, and the number of its supporters are in my view far larger than all of the world religions together, though it is impossible to make any count of this, since it is not a religion but a public movement. Furthermore: most of the people sharing new age ideals, don´t see themselves as new agers. It is a significant part of New Agers to view themselves as “free thinkers” creating unique “paradigm shifts”, though repeating the same standard New Age ideas (see my article Six Common Traits of New That Distort Spirituality).
What we are witnessing with New Age is, as mentioned in the preface, an exploitative form of colonialism and one step in, first, the destruction of Indigenous cultures (New Age shamanism is the most visible example of this), and eventually all the original wisdom traditions. It is moving forward under the slogan that the original wisdom traditions are ways of old thinking which must be integrated into Western psychology and psychotherapy in order to be redefined and renewed; most often into the movement of New Thought, or “positive thinking.” I have termed this Zeitgeist The Mythology of Authenticity, a mythology which must be considered the central mythology in our modern world today. The Mythology of Authenticity will also be a central part of this book (especially chapter 6, Philosophy of History, part 2, The Mythology of Authenticity).
It was during my talk with the Catholic priest I got the idea of the importance of having a religion in a spiritual practice, and in the necessity of following the traditional spirituality within these. This could be any religion as long as it has a long tradition for spirituality (which means that its spirituality has been adjusted and corrected during many, many years of testing). So, I´m in no way trying to be a missionary. On the contrary. I´m trying to invite to awareness, to philosophy, to think for yourself, and become a light for yourself. I´m only telling about my own experiences.
My alcohol abuse ended with a liver disease, hospitalization, a near-death experience and the meeting with what in Tibetan Buddhism is called a Dream Master, in Catholicism a guardian angel, and in Shamanism a spirit helper. It happened in form of a visit in a lucid dream from an external source. The visual form was the Tibetan Dzogchen master and Dream Yoga teacher Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. He laid his hand on my head and gave me a blessing, which created a downwards visionary movement. It was like stepping into a painting of Marc Chagall. The experience maintained it´s love, kindness and warmth for several days after. And it was filled with information about my own spiritual practice.
Hereafter I moved to Rold Forest in order to go totally into the spiritual practice. I now consider the process to be stable. I will describe my experience of healing as a reverse form of Kundalini yoga: a downwards movement instead of an upwards movement. Said in relation to Indian religion: a Luciferian movement. This has to do with what I now began to call a top-down kundalini awakening, because that is the most precise description of the kundalini awakening which I, like many other people in spiritual crises, was caught up in. It works fine with the pop cultural anti-hero Ghost Rider, and his skull in flames.
When practicing yoga and meditation, Lucifer Morningstar, to me, besides the already mentioned, represents a Guardian of the Threshold. This has become a very important concept for me after my crises. In Rudolf Steiner's play The Guardian of the Threshold, first performed in 1912 and the third in a series of four "Mystery Dramas", the appearance of the Guardian is connected with Lucifer and Ahriman. Steiner explained that the meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold as presented in those dramas was to show that a person (man or woman) who had made the soul clairvoyant, must go back and forth across that threshold and know how to be rightly in the spiritual world on the far side (the Inner Side), as well as on this side in the physical world (the Outer Side). However, my inspiration for the concept is not Rudolf Steiner, but Karen Blixen.
I so to speak see Lucifer Morningstar as my dark alter ego. He is the mirror of you and me. He is illusion incarnate, and raises the question of whether the fake characters he play hide a deeper truth. As a guardian of the threshold he represents several hindrances on the spiritual path: nemesis, temptation, wrong guidance, true guidance, paradoxes…but on the whole, something all people on a spiritual path need to deal with: a test. But most important: my concept of lucifer Morningstar is about acknowledging that evil exists. In order to progress you must so to speak descend into evil, and deal with it. The most precise description of this is in my view the mythologist Joseph Campbell´s monomyth about the Hero´s Journey. In his book The Hero´s Journey the monomyth, or the hero´s journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.
Campbell's concept of monomyth (one myth) refers to the theory that sees all mythic narratives as variations of a single great story. The theory is based on the observation that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation.
The Guardian of the Threshold is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.
Campbell said: "With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the 'threshold guardian' at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. Such custodians bound the world in four directions — also up and down — standing for the limits of the hero's present sphere, or life horizon. Beyond them is darkness, the unknown and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant and beyond the protection of his society danger to the members of the tribe. The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored. The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades."
The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero's known world and self. By entering this stage, the person shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis. When First entering the stage the hero may encounter a minor danger or set back.
Campbell said: "The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would appear to have died. This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. Instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again. The disappearance corresponds to the passing of a worshipper into a temple—where he is to be quickened by the recollection of who and what he is, namely dust and ashes unless immortal. The temple interior, the belly of the whale, and the heavenly land beyond, above, and below the confines of the world, are one and the same. That is why the approaches and entrances to temples are flanked and defended by colossal gargoyles: dragons, lions, devil-slayers with drawn swords, resentful dwarfs, winged bulls. The devotee at the moment of entry into a temple undergoes a metamorphosis. Once inside he may be said to have died to time and returned to the World Womb, the World Navel, the Earthly Paradise. Allegorically, then, the passage into a temple and the hero-dive through the jaws of the whale are identical adventures, both denoting in picture language, the life-centering, life-renewing act."
The road of trials is a series of tests that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.
Campbell said: "Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals. The hero is covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before his entrance into this region. Or it may be that he here discovers for the first time that there is a benign power everywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage. The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed — again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land.
I can only attribute the solution to my own two dramatic kundalini cycles to an intervention from the source, symbolized with the meeting of another entrance on the spiritual path, a Dream Master, a guardian angel, or a spirit helper (an external source, not a product of my mind). Especially the solution to the ego-inflation and the alcohol abuse was something completely unsought and unintended. I guess that no one would want to end either in The Dark Night of the Soul, or with a liver disease. But still these events were necessary for my further spiritual development.
This thought is reinforced by the fact that I after the dramatic cycles is beginning to experience progressive karma, divine providence, or spirit help. A strange aspect of my spiritual crisis is also that I all my life have experienced this mysterious connection with Karen Blixen, which is puzzling me more and more the more progressive karma I´m experiencing.
So, if you should talk about my work as a continuance of Blixen, it would be, to use Kierkegaard´s words, to point beyond the aesthetic Earth-Moon kingdom in which she was the queen and borderline figure, towards the more ethical and religious stages. Therefore the continuance of my work will be as a pilgrim, where I will put my whole work into a philosophy as an art of life. It will be a movement from art of life to the spiritual dimension, a Luciferian inverted form of Kundalini yoga, from the head to the heart, and finally Hara. This is the same as “becoming like a child again.” (I have described this in my blog post A Shadow Odyssey).
All this doesn´t mean that I have left Buddhism, or Eastern thought, in favor of Catholicism. It is after all the Eastern thought that gave me the intellectual understanding of Kundalini. In this book I will therefore alternate between Eastern and Western descriptions. Both Buddha and Christ give meaning to me. But it is the abuse of Eastern Thought in New Age that I´m rebellion against. The reduction of religion to psychology, psychotherapy and coaching as we see it in what I call The Mythology of Authenticity, which is the mythology of the Matrix Conspiracy.
The Matrix conspiracy is a mix of postmodern intellectualism, management theory, self-help and New Age, which together constitute a global spreading ideology. This ideology is created by The Mythology of Authenticity – a mythology where everything is about becoming and not being. This mythology has two world images: humanistic psychology and constructivism. And these two world images again have two methods: psychotherapy and coaching.
The mythology is characterized by magical thinking (you can create yourself and the world as it fit you) – and is sought supported by subjectivism and relativism: the psedoscience of reductionism, especially psychologism and biologism. Quantum mysticism is also a central theory.
With this we see the emergence of a totalitarian New Age system with direct fascistic tendencies, and where Western Consumer Capitalism and Chinese Communism in all probability will melt together in a New World Order: the world of alternative history, alternative physics, alternative medicine and, ultimately, alternative reality.
The winners in this Brave New World are therefore not receiving their talents from being and reality, but from becoming masks and roles, from their ability to tell stories. It is a meritocracy of people wearing The Emperor´s New Clothes.
What does The Matrix mean? In modern discussions about the reliability of our cognition you often meet a variation of Descartes´ argument of the evil demon. The argument is: some day surgery will have reached so far, that you will be able to operate the brain out of a human being and keep it alive by putting it in a jar with some nutrient substratum. At that time computer research perhaps will have reached so far, that you will be able to connect a computer with such a brain and feed it with all possible data – that is: supply us with an experiential ”virtual reality”, so that we think that we have a body, that we have a life and walk around in the world believing, that we can perceive our surroundings, whilst we in reality only is a brain laying in a jar. It is this main thesis the movie The Matrix is based on. In The Matrix though, there is also an evil demon, or evil demons, namely the machines which keep the humans´ in tanks linked to black cable wires that stimulates the virtual reality of the Matrix. Doing this the machines can use the human bodies as batteries that supply the machines with energy. This leads of course to questions of evil scientists, Sophists, etc. Philosophy is the rebellion, the arguments against the brain-in-jar hypothesis. The rebels in the film can therefore be seen as philosophers.
The matrix conspiracy is a new symptom of the manifestation of the universal spiritual danger, namely the reduction of the universal to the particular, the wholeness to the part, objectivism to subjectivism, absolutism to relativism. Said with a short word: the danger of reductionism. It is philosophical in nature, and its manifestation is therefore best seen in the history of Western philosophy. Relativism has been, in its various disguises, been one of the most popular and most reviled philosophical doctrines of our time. Defenders see it as a harbinger of tolerance and the only ethical and epistemic stance worthy of the open-minded and tolerant. Detractors dismiss it for its alleged incoherence and uncritical intellectual permissiveness. Debates about relativism permeate the whole spectrum of philosophical sub-disciplines. From ethics to epistemology, science to religion, political theory to ontology, theories of meaning and even logic, philosophy has felt the need to respond to this heady and seemingly subversive idea. Discussions of relativism often also invoke considerations relevant to the very nature and methodology of philosophy and to the division between the so-called “analytic and continental” camps in philosophy. The subject has a long history of debate going back to Plato as seen in the discussion between Socrates and the Sophists. After centuries of successful trading, the local gods and festivals could no longer satisfy the religious needs of the ancient Athenians. Their spiritual hunger was exacerbated by the stress of city life, by the constant threat of destruction, and by the grim vision of totalitarian Sparta: the vision of Greeks living without light or grace or humour, as though the gods had withdrawn from their world.
Into the crowded space of Periclean Athens came the wandering teachers, selling their “wisdom” to the bewildered populace. Any charlatan could make a killing, if enough people believed in him. Men like Gorgias and Protagoras, who wandered from house to house demanding fees for their instruction, preyed on the gullibility of a people made anxious by war.
To the young Plato, who observed their antics with outrage, these “Sophists” were a threat to the very soul of Athens. One alone among them seemed worthy of attention, and that one, the great Socrates, whom Plato immortalised in his dialogues, was not a Sophist, but a true philosopher.
The philosopher, in Plato´s characterisation, awakens the spirit of inquiry. He helps his listeners to discover the truth, and it is they who bring forth, under his catalysing influence, the answer to life´s riddles. The philosopher is the midwife, and his duty is to help us to what we are – free and rational beings, who lack nothing that is required to understand our condition. The Sophist, by contrast, misleads us with cunning fallacies, takes advantage of our weakness, and offers himself as the solution to problems of which he himself is the cause.
There are many signs of the Sophists, but principal among these is that they are subjectivists and relativists. Their teachings are about how to get on in the world, and not about how to find the truth. Anything goes: not facts, but the best story wins. And the result is mumbo-jumbo, condescension and the taking of fees. The philosopher uses plain language, does not talk down to his audience, and never asks for payment. Such was Socrates, and in proposing him as an ideal, Plato defined the social status of the philosopher for centuries to come.
No one should doubt that sophistry is alive and well. My concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is permeated with it. We see it in the mix of postmodern intellectualism (constructivism), management culture, self-help and New Age – and in the two main methods of this mix: psychotherapy and coaching.
The Sophists are back with a vengeance, and are all the more to be feared, in that they come disguised as philosophers and scientists. For, in this time of helpless relativism and subjectivity, philosophy and science alone have stood against the tide, reminding us that those crucial distinctions on which life depends – between true and false, good and evil, right and wrong – are objective and binding. Philosophy and science have until now spoken with the accents of the academy and laboratory, and not with the voice of the fortune teller.
When Plato founded the first academy, and placed philosophy at the heart of it, he did so in order to protect the precious store of wisdom from the assaults of charlatans, to create a kind of temple to truth in the midst of falsehood, and to marginalise the Sophists who preyed on human confusion.
The Sophists were teachers of rhetoric, who against a fee, taught people how to persuade other people about their “truths”. Rhetoric, or sophistry, is the art of persuasion. Rather than giving reasons and presenting arguments to support conclusions, as Socrates did, then those who use sophistry are employing a battery of techniques, such as emphatic assertion, persuader words and emotive language, to convince the listener, or reader, that what they say or imply is true.
The Sophists taught their pupils how to win arguments by any means available; they were supposedly more interested in teaching ways of getting on in the world than ways of finding the truth, as Socrates did. Therefore any charlatan is welcome. And the use of thought distortions is seen as the best tool, when practising the mantra of the management culture: “It is not facts, but the best story, that wins!”
The Catholic Church, especially under John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, has identified relativism as one of the most significant problems for faith and morals today. According to the Church and to some theologians, relativism, as a denial of absolute truth, leads to moral license and a denial of the possibility of sin and of God.
Whether moral or epistemological, relativism constitutes a denial of the capacity of the human mind and reason to arrive at truth. Truth, according to Catholic theologians and philosophers (following Aristotle) consists of adequatio rei et intellectus, the correspondence of the mind and reality. Another way of putting it states that the mind has the same form as reality. This means when the form of the computer in front of someone (the type, color, shape, capacity, etc.) is also the form that is in their mind, then what they know is true because their mind corresponds to objective reality.
The denial of an absolute reference, of an axis mundi, denies God, who equates to Absolute Truth, according to these Christian theologians. They link relativism to secularism, an obstruction of religion in human life.
The same argument against relativism could be made by any religion, any spiritual practitioner, since relativism rules out the possibility for an absolute spiritual truth; or said shortly: it implicitly says that there dosn´t exist anything spiritual at all. When looking at new Agers, who claim to be the true spiritual seekers, the defense of relativism exposes an enormous self-contradiction since relativism implicitly denies spiritual truth. It therefore also exposes New Age as being more an ideology than a spiritual movement.
Reductionisms (and the implicated relativism and subjectivism) are philosophical, political, religious/occult theories, that seek legitimacy by claiming, that they are scientific theories, while the fact is, that they either not are testable/able to be falsified, or that they abuse the use of abductive reasoning.
And towards this might be added that there are two versions of reductionism. This is important since it seems that these two versions are in war with each other:
The first version for example claims that Man fully can be described and explained with the methods of natural science. This happens in various forms of Naturalism, Positivism and Behaviourism. It is clear that this first kind of reductionism (scientism and pseudoskepticism) are more accepted than the second openly anti-scientific version.
The second version claims, that psychology, sociology or history can give the total and superior understanding of, what a human being is. These viewpoints are described respectively as Psychologism, Sociologism and Historism. It is particular this version which openly claims to be a supporter of anti-science, and accuses the other part of being reductionistic, and demand so-called alternative sciences. This is what we see in the popular culture of New Age. This version is typically not being considered to be a reductionism.
The danger is the corruption of philosophy itself, a corruption of the search for truth, beauty and goodness. The transcendentals are the properties of being that correspond to three aspects of the human field of interest and are their ideals; science (truth), the arts (beauty) and religion (goodness). Philosophical disciplines that study them are logic, aesthetics and ethics.
The corruption in all this is what Tolkien saw in modernity. The central danger is the danger of relativism and subjectivism being mixed in with spirituality, and that anything goes. This is of course especially tragic when seen in relation to the questions Kreeft asks in his chapter on ethics: Is Evil real? How powerful is evil? How weak is evil? How does evil work? If evil actually is real, then evil in relativism has got a way of justifying itself. And that is precisely what we see. In my philosophical counseling practice I have had many former new agers who have ended in spiritual crises and they all say the same: “Perhaps one of the greatest victories the devil had in my life was to convince me that he doesn't exist.”
All in all: this online book will be build up as a just war between The Matrix Conspiracy and Middle-earth, reductionism versus wholeness, machine versus nature, power versus humility, and relativism versus absolutism.
Why can Tolkien´s “mythology” be described as universal? Because it embodies an attack on unchecked modernity in all its worst aspects, and presents a world of community, nature and spiritual values that successfully, albeit barely, struggles to survive such destruction. That world seems to be a different one, with strange people and places; yet at the same time, it is also recognizably ours. And because the processes of rampant modernization – economic, political, cultural – are now truly global, the potential appeal and relevance of Tolkien´s attack and alternative are also effectively universal. This is a social and historical development; there is nothing necessarily mystical about it.
The universality is especially seen in the One Ring, and its two demonical movements: the movement into the ego-structures (the will to power), and the movement out towards the many by means of ideology. The common spiritual sign of this is ego-inflation. The ego-inflation, the will to power and the connection with ideology, are exceptionally decribed in Thomas Mann´s novel Doctor Faustus. Mann partially builds his figure on Nietzsche, and the whole of the novel is on a collective plane about, what the Germans did under The Second World War, where demonical polarized energy spread from Hitler and the secret SS-rituals.This novel could easily be a description of how the One Ring is working.
Indeed, I think we can speak about a collective ego-inflated spiritual awakening within the enormous movement of New Age, which expresses itself in a variety of intellectual, identifical and euphorical ego-inflations (and the long wake of psychic wrecks who have ended up in The Dark Night of the Soul). I guess this is what New Agers are speaking about when they are talking about the “global spiritual awakening” which shall lead to the prophesized New Age: the Age of the Aquarius. Just try to google “how to open your third eye” and you´ll get 19.800.000 results (when I tried). Most of the techniques given are in my view examples of spiritual vampirism and directly criminal if there were any way of proving it.
Ego-inflation can be seen in relation to Sauron´s burning eye, which precisely describes what is going wrong. The Eye of Sauron was a symbol adopted by the Dark Lord during the Second Age and the Third Age. It was said that few could endure the eye's terrible gaze. The Eye was used on armor and banners of Mordor as a symbol of Sauron's quasi-omnipotence, and was adopted as something of an insignia by Sauron's forces in general.
The most scary about this development is that there seems to be a thought behind it. I have called this the 666 conspiracy. The 666 conspiracy is about Evil´s plot against mankind. Is the third Antichrist among us, and will our worship of him be a sign of Judgment Day? It is clear that the Antichrist must be about anti-love and anti-existence. The techniques of “how to open your third eye”, will, if you actually succeed, without question lead to a top-down, ego-inflated awakening. They will create a bottle-neck of energy in the throat, which will block the opening down towards the heart and hara; that is: it will block the possibility for love and existence.
Sauron´s burning Eye is an eye without body and heart, without existence and love.
The most significant example of this teaching is the New Thought movement. The New Thought movement is all about the positive side of top-down awakening, about success, ecstasy, power, sex, money. Love (which the movement deceivable talk about all the time) is blocked through the teaching of moral subjectivism (which is difficult to discriminate from nihilism) and existence is blocked through philosophical idealism, which teaches that existence is an illusion. The most direct satanic teaching is to be found in New Thought´s self-proclaimed “Third Testament” A Course in Miracles.
But Tolkien´s universality comes about in another way, too. For the very terms of his critique are mythic; after all, that is ultimately the most (and perhaps the even only) effective way to counter a worldview which is rigidly reductionist and scientistic. And there is literally nowhere in the world without some native tradition of a mythical way of relating to the world in which it is alive and saturared with spiritual meaning – enchanted, in a word. Those traditions may be deeply buried, but – like the gods they embody – they can be revived by recognition. Tolkien´s living mythicity thus touches older memories still which are effectively shared by all humanity. As such, it is a powerful stimulus to re-enchantment.
Paradoxically, its power is all the more universal, for being a precise portrait of a time and place that (in a literal sense) never was. Tolkien´s tale thus partakes of the fairy-tale´s quality of “Once upon a time” – never but always, nowhere but everywhere. As Sallust, the ancient Roman historian wrote in Of Gods and of the World: “These things never happened, but are always.”
To me Kreeft has a deeply satisfactory take on the same things I´m fighting against, especially the modernist aspect of the Matrix Conspiracy (and even worse: the postmodern aspect). When he talks about the greatness of The Lord of the Rings, he mentions that the literary establishment in England [the modernists and the postmodernists] was stunned, shocked, and scandalized by an event of millennial significance when a major bookstore chain innocently polled English-speaking readers, asking them to choose the greatest book of the twentieth century. By a wide margin The Lord of the Rings won. Three times the poll was broadcasted: to a worldwide readership, into cyberspace via Amazon.com, and even to “the greatest book of the millennium”. The same champion won each time.
As Kreeft explains it, the [modern and postmodern] critics retched and kvetched, wailed and flailed, gasped and grasped for explanations. One said that they had failed and wasted their work of, and I quote Kreeft, “ed-u-ca-tion”. Why bother teaching them to read if they´re going to read that?
Kreeft claims that the poll revealed one important thing about The Lord of the Rings: That it is a classic, that is, a book loved by human nature, wherever it is found. And they revealed one important thing about the critics: that humanity isn´t found in that arrogant oligarchy of utterly-out-of-touch elitists. And they revealed one important thing about our culture, the same thing revealed by many polls that ask questions about values and about philosophy: that our culture is not egalitarian at all, in fact, that it is perhaps the least egalitarian culture in the history of the world. Kreeft asks: “For in what other culture has the worldview and life view of the teachers differed so radically from that of the students?”
To this I might add that New Age is a movement in popular culture which has its own teachers. New Age would never look down at the Lord of the Rings. In fact: in New Age The Lord of the Rings is seen as a New Age book, as delivering the evangelistic tools to witches, pagans and New Agers around us. New Agers just forget that their own intellectualism originates in postmodernism and the long philosophical tradition for relativism. But this just shows one of the many paradoxes within the Matrix Conspiracy.
Every human soul craves “the good, the true and the beautiful” absolutely and without limit. And it is precisely about these three most fundamental values that the gap is the widest. Ordinary people still believe in a real morality, a real difference between good and evil; and in objective truth and the possibility of knowing it; and in the superiority of beauty over ugliness. But our educators, or “experts” feel towards these three traditional values the way people think medieval inquisitors felt towards witches. Our artists deliberately prefer ugliness to beauty, our moralists fear goodness more than evil, and our corrupted philosophers embrace various forms of postmodernism that reduce truth to ideology or power.
So it is no surprise that in a culture in which, as Kreeft puts it, “philosophers scorn wisdom, moralists scorn morality, preachers are the world´s greatest hypocrites, sociologists are the only people in the world who do not know what a good society is, psychologists have the most mixed-up psyches, professional artists are the only ones in the world who actually hate beauty, and liturgists are to religion what Dr. Van Helsing is to Dracula – it is no surprise that in this culture the literary critics are the last people to know a good book when they see one.”
Since this universal danger best is seen in the history of Western philosophy, I will follow Kreeft´s book, and his idea of writing it as a course in philosophy.
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