More Tom Campbell

Despite the fact that Thomas Campbell totally resonates with me and makes perfect sense in every respect with his words via book or youtube videos, there are those skeptics that just won’t even really hear what he is saying. I think it’s because of preconceived ideas or beliefs acquired during their time spent in their present avatar (ego). He freely shares his information and always concedes that his theory is incomplete and that it is HIS theory, and we should each develop our own intuitive TOE (theory of everything). Concerning the nature of reality, Tom came into my life at just the right time. All the digging through comparative religions, mystery teachings, Gnosticism, Buddhism, anti-mainstream literalistic dogmatic religions, mythicism and all the things I’ve researched the past couple decades seem to be summed (or included) up in Tom’s TOE, with the perfect blend of the much needed scientific and mystic knowledge to derive a solid big TOE . There’s over 230 youtube videos and he posts a new one about every week. His book My Big TOE can be read for free at google books. He is not doing this for money. He has many times said that having an OBE is not that important, so he’s not promising to teach you how to do it. He just says it’s possible for anyone with the proper intent to do so, as well as perform remote healing and remote viewing. But putting that aside and just absorbing his Big TOE is quite amazing. He obviously will have his enemies and debunkers. To me they are the ones that are closed minded and not giving him a fair hearing. They listen to one video and shut him down when their arguments against him are truthfully answered in another lecture. If one were to listen to many of his videos, one would realize he’s not a charlatan with a hidden agaenda. He has other scientists listening and agreeing with him. I hope you get to know him, he is making a difference. The following is from a forum I was reading where a woman asks Tom a question. (Tom never gives a short answer):

Question to Tom: “…..what in your opinion, could your work contribute to the future of Physics”

A very good and reasonable question trying to figure out: “where’s the beef”….. indeed “is there any beef?”

You know, it is difficult to assess the value of your own work objectively. To be valid, verification and general acceptance needs to come from others. To me, it seems perfectly clear though the concepts are very challenging to most who hear them for the first time – other technical people, including physicists who approach my work with open minds generally find that it is logically solid and answers fundamental questions otherwise unanswerable. I live my talk about open-minded skepticism — The skeptical part will feel satisfied and successful – standing on perfectly solid ground — only after physics (science in general) absorbs, embraces and accepts the core ideas in My Big TOE – that’s real validation. But such a major change in attitude and perspective will not come easily or quickly – it will require physicists to rethink their notions of reality from the ground up – to cast aside the beliefs with which they now paint themselves into a corner that does not contain the answer. Trying to change the mind of committed believers has historically been a very difficult thing to do – whether in metaphysics or physics. Cultural beliefs run much deeper than the intellect.

However, the good news is, physics does seem to be moving in that direction – digital physics is a concept that is growing more acceptable by the mainstream. The research describing mind-matter entanglement at prestigious universities like Princeton and Temple (backward causality, modifying random event generators, the placebo effect, anticipatory empathetic reactions, etc.) represent rock solid objective science with immaculate protocol. The fundamental failure of physics in almost 100 years to make any serious progress toward finding a TOE that unites the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics under one more-general set of principles is shouting that the fundamental assumptions of physics are incomplete. The solution to all that is both fundamental and unfathomable is at hand: My Big TOE theory, with just two unremarkable assumptions provides the critical missing ingredient in digital physics (what and where is Dr. Fredkin’s “other”), explains the mind-matter experiments with clear logical science, and unites relativity and quantum mechanics, showing them to be an approximation, a special case of a larger, more general and more complete theory. Just as the “flat earth” assumption was found to be valid for short distances, and Newtonian physics was found to be a special case approximation valid for a limited set of Macro conditions (slow speeds and medium to large sizes).

Once physics sees the logic of it and can outgrow the limiting beliefs that now constrain the traditional solution set such that it does not contain the correct answer, the effect upon our understanding and culture will be as big, if not bigger, than the round earth, Newtonian physics, and relativity and quantum mechanics all put together. (and I think it will one day happen because it is a better theory under the criteria science traditionally uses to determine the worth of a theory). An age of discovery and change will open up the minds and affect the personal lives of hundreds of millions of individuals over a decade – this is science that affects people personally – it is about the point and purpose of their existence – life and death. Science by itself would not have that large of an affect. However, My Big TOE not only delivers a breakthrough in physics but more importantly delivers an even larger breakthrough in philosophy, metaphysics, and theology. It would be hard to overestimate its potential impact on the people of this planet – scientists, philosophers, and theologians all solving their long standing intractable issues of understanding with the same set of overarching principles.

One minor example to make this point seem more real: Most who are seriously committed to religion and who attend my workshops or read the MBT trilogy, tell me that they equate the larger consciousness system with God. It’s a perfect fit for those with a broader perspective of their religion. In their minds MBT derives God – i.e., an understanding of God that explains who, what, why, and how God is – and defines their personal relationship to God with logic and science replacing belief, creed, and dogma. Can you imagine theology where open-minded skepticism replaces belief as the fundamental requirement? I have people telling me they keep MBT and their bibles together on their nightstand?! And that is just theology (the most belief laden and intractable of the four) – the other three: physics, philosophy, and metaphysics are affected no less. If this attitude were to become a widespread concept (MBT does explain theology very nicely – and the fact that it also explains physics very nicely provides vast credibility) what kind of an effect would it have on the world – that is but one potential, one simple example that could contribute to a tsunami of changing attitudes toward the nature of our reality. Do you see the potential and why I said that “It would be hard to overestimate its potential impact on the people of this planet – scientists, philosophers, and theologians all solving their long standing intractable issues of understanding with the same set of overarching principles.” The changes in physics alone would be revolutionary and that would be the smaller part.

This theory is falsifiable. There are literally dozens of experiment that can be done to verify the predicted results. This is real science, not just another wild improvable theory that sounds good if you don’t think about it too hard.

When any of this might happen, I have no idea – perhaps not in my lifetime – it all depends on how the ball bounces – who picks it up and how the knowledge spreads. Who knows, the scientists might not lead this massive cultural change (cultural, scientific, spiritual, growth spurt), instead they may be dragged along by it because they are so committed to their beliefs. Science is the de-facto religion of the West (what most people believe in as being the fundamental source of truth) and science, like religion, has a vested interest in maintaining their belief systems. However, the truth is not fragile – science will eventually, sooner or later, accept it.

I hope this is what you are looking for. In short, here is the potential impact of MBT: this theory could turn physics on its head, produce a broader, more powerful, and more generally correct scientific method (the old one becoming a special case approximation), and advance the level of understanding and productivity of science greatly. It could unify physics, metaphysics, philosophy and theology, solving most all of the outstanding fundamental problems, and all derivable from the same overarching elegantly simple principles based on two easily acceptable assumptions. And that would be the least of it. And because I know that logic, truth and science are what they are, and MBT is what it is, I think one day, when the time is right and people are ready to let go of fear and belief for a better, more productive understanding of reality and existence, all this change will happen because the truth is not fragile – eventually it will become known. Today we are on the cusp of that happening – perhaps even in our lifetime.

Tom Campbell

(here is a partial review of My Big TOE):

Scientific Basis

Tom points out that all systems of cosmology posit a mystical beginning. Even our current physics asks us to accept that the Big Bang was uncaused or that what caused it is unknown and unknowable. He uses concepts from modern physics, analogies from information theory and computing to build his Big TOE (Theory of Everything).

As a scientist, he is at pains to say that his TOE (MBT) is a model, not a fixed set of beliefs. He pretty much despises beliefs, whether materialist or religious, because they put bounds on our experience; they tend to turn into dogma and become a prison for the mind. If something happens that does not fit our beliefs, we tend to reject it, often without enquiry. This is no way to make philosophical or evolutionary progress. (Sometimes you can tell from the tone that Tom has had to suffer ridicule from materialists.) So Tom insists that we should not take his model on trust, which is by necessity a work in progress; the last thing he wants is to make a scientological-style religion out of it. Always, we should “taste the pudding”, test it and see how it measures up to our own understanding; and then develop our own version of the model.

Take meditation for example: he recommends that we should try this for two 20 minute (TM mantra) sessions a day for 3 months, whether we wish to attempt OBEs or not. If after that time, we do not notice a difference in ourselves (‘objectively’ tested by other people’s reactions to us, changed opinion of us, and our own improved ability to focus), then we should vary the technique or move on.

Metaphors

When MBT uses analogies from the world we know, these are to be understood as metaphors. Metaphors are, however, peculiarly and particularly relevant to MBT, because Reality is understood to be fractal in Nature. A fractal is a modern mathematical way of saying “As above, So Below”. The same laws and processes manifest in similar ways at different levels of reality.

Ordinarily, we are trapped in the ‘little picture’. Our Physical Matter Reality is one of many similar ‘subsets’ within a ‘superset’ Non-Physical Matter reality. The NPMR superset cannot possibly be understood in terms of one of its PMR subsets. This would be like the two-dimensional beings of E.A. Abbott’s Flatland trying to comprehend the idea of our three-dimensional world.

However, an insightful metaphor can actually help us to transcend the boundaries between realities and so get a glimpse of the ‘Big Picture’. Poets, of course, have always understood this idea.

Occasionally, MBT also mentions the term “hologram”, but this is not developed, presumably because we can’t easily find holograms in nature. It is easier to find fractal patterns and we can readily invoke fractal metaphors.

Read entire review of My Big TOE here: https://sites.google.com/site/iscatusben/review-of-my-big-t

Lots more videos here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tom+campbell

Pearls Before Swine?

pig_roast  EATING  PORK 

Many religious people are admonished not to eat pork because it is so written in the Bible.

Well consider Gods true concern.

IS IT WHAT YOU EAT?

OR IS IT WHAT YOU THINK?

The pig is a symbol of the lower mind because it loves to roll in the mud.

Not eating pork is a symbol of not consuming the lower flesh which is the carnal mind of emotions and feelings.

 God is saying you are to seek the higher mind in meditation and not consume the lower, which is the pig.

 

So when you are meditating and separating from thought, you are abstaining from pork.

  Matthew 15:11 1. It is not that which goes into the mouth that defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, that defiles a man.

by Bill Donahue – www.truemeanings.com

 

You can make all the excuses you want and continue to roll in the mud of your literalist beliefs, but that my friend is consuming the flesh of swine.

 

Tom Campbell’s Big T.O.E.

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I have went through many phases in my life asking the burning questions about the nature of reality. I have always been asking myself “why are we here,” “what is our purpose”, “what happens after we die”, etc. To me it seems perfectly normal to ask these important questions, yet for the most part people have been programmed to avoid the big questions, or somehow bury or block it out of their minds. It’s considered boring to the masses (sometimes the M is silent in the word masses, so be careful – lol). I suppose this is quite unfortunate for mankind’s sake. Really, isn’t it the most important thing to be thinking about as we stand in awe and wonder what it’s all about? Having began my journey by studying Transcendental Meditation and Hinduism (thanks to my hero George Harrison), experimenting with LSD (thanks to my heroes The Beatles), and winding up with dipping my toe in Christianity, Gnosticism, Comparative Religion, Mythology, Buddhism, Astrotheology, Physics, Science, and a host of other teachings, I’ve concluded that when the Church forced Science to split off into it’s own branch because of persecution – that Science has since left out of it’s studies anything to do with the invisible. (The truth is that the existence of matter has yet to be proven, so the invisible is fundamental to understanding reality). Until the two branches can blend we will never understand the nature of reality. I think Tom Campbell has done this. I have also learned of many other “mainstream” scientists speaking out about Consciousness being the absolute center of our existence. It’s being accepted behind closed doors that “matter” is a product of Consciousness, but science as it is now is a religion with it’s own set of dogmas, and I really think ANY ‘belief system’ closes the mind to our ability to understand, learn and know the Truth. We are now in the Newtonian (Materialism), Reductionist, and Darwinian phase in our collective evolution. We have locked ourselves in a box of wrong information while we hold the very key to getting out, yet we refuse to use it. We have become comfortable in our box of misunderstanding, which obviously stops our growth process and limits our ability to learn.

When Tom Campbell used the analogy of a video game to describe our reality everything became a little clearer to me. This reality is a virtual one, our ‘bodies’ are our avatars, but we are not our bodies, we are Consciousness and consciousness is digital information that is trying to evolve through us. This Consciousness is the only thing that exists and the rest can be called an illusion, as the Buddha said 5,000 years ago. Or  a virtual reality in modern speak. I think ancient manuscripts (religion) are trying to say the same thing but it was meant for an audience of a different time. I prefer modern English and modern analogies now, a kind of scientific mysticism. Nothing is more ignorant than mistaking religious writings as history, it was merely early quantum physics language. Nothing to kill each other over, just different ways to say the same thing.

To describe Tom’s Big TOE (theory of everything) would only do him and his own description an injustice. He has hundreds of hours of youtube videos and a book called My Big TOE (which you can read for free on Google Books) and he himself explains his concepts quite well. I found him by accident a couple years ago and listen to him pretty much every night. The thing is though, if you start with a video where he assumes you are familiar with his work, you will probably stop listening and forget about him. I think I began listening to him with his Faith, Religion, and God in the Big Picture interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_bDgox6iqM and loved the Tom Campbell and Bruce Lipton: Two Scientists “See the Same World” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjDQzCq6FdM (I’m a big fan of Bruce Lipton as well). But I recommend Tom’s Calgary videos for beginners, and perhaps The Edge Brothers interviews, especially for the younger or computer literate crowd. His Munroe Institute speech is excellent, but the number of free youtube videos is staggering. He freely admits his TOE is incomplete and invites others to add to it. He asks that we remain open minded and skeptical while admitting there are certain things we just can’t know. I’m cool with not knowing everything. He asks that no one “believe” him and that we understand that words are symbolic and metaphoric and that we derive our own intuitive Big TOE. I really hope by presenting him to you it will enrich your life as much as it has mine.

The following is “about the author” taken from his website http://www.my-big-toe.com:

Tom Campbell began researching altered states of consciousness with Bob Monroe (Journeys Out Of The Body, Far Journeys, and The Ultimate Journey) at Monroe Laboratories in the early 1970s where he and a few others were instrumental in getting Monroe’s laboratory for the study of consciousness up and running. These early drug-free consciousness pioneers helped design experiments, developed the technology for creating specific altered states, and were the main subjects of study (guinea pigs) all at the same time. Campbell has been experimenting with, and exploring the subjective and objective mind ever since. For the past thirty years, Campbell has been focused on scientifically exploring the properties, boundaries, and abilities of consciousness.

        During that same time period, he has excelled as a working scientist, a professional physicist dedicated to pushing back the frontiers of cutting edge technology, large-system simulation, technology development and integration, and complex system vulnerability and risk analysis. Presently, and for the past 20 years, he has been at the heart of developing US missile defense systems.
        Tom is the “TC (physicist)” described in Bob Monroe’s second book Far Journeys and has been a serious explorer of the frontiers of reality, mind, consciousness, and psychic phenomena since the early 1970s. My Big TOE is a model of existence and reality that is based directly on Campbell’s scientific research and first hand experience. It represents the results and conclusions of thirty years of careful scientific exploration of the boundaries and contents of reality from both the physical and metaphysical viewpoints. The author has made every effort to approach his explorations without bias or preconceived notions. There is no belief system, dogma, creed, or unusual assumptions at the root of My Big TOE.
        By demanding high quality repeatable, empirical, evidential data to separate what’s real (exists independently and externally) from what’s imaginary or illusory; Campbell has scientifically derived this general model of reality

Is Religion Inherently Authoritarian?

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Adam Lee, AlterNet

Compared to secular reasoning, the religious establishment has been slow to act when it comes to moral progress.

Human history is a story of gradual moral enlightenment. Over the ages, we’ve become less violent, less xenophobic, more tolerant, more committed to the ideals of democracy and equality under the law. Of course, moral progress is painfully slow, with many holdouts and local reversals, and we have a very long way left to go. But it’s hard to deny that the world we live in today is less prejudiced and more peaceful than the world 500 years ago, or even just 100.

Religion is a noteworthy exception to this trend of progress. Secular moral reasoning, founded on considerations of fairness and human good, allows for continual self-questioning and improvement as less-privileged groups speak out to demand justice and call our attention to evils that we’d been overlooking. In sharp contrast to this, the immutable doctrines of religion are supposed to be elevated above skepticism. Even if we know more or see farther than the clerics who once came up with them, many religious authorities tell us we should submit our wills and believe without questioning.

The result is that, in most cases, moral progress has left the churches behind. Like the tide going out and leaving once-submerged rocks high and dry on the shore, the archaic doctrines of conservative religion are increasingly isolated and exposed as the immoral and vicious absurdities they are. This has led to more conflict and dissension within the ranks, as believers who grew up in the modern era see the contradictions between what they’re taught and know to be right, and inevitably come into conflict with religious authorities who are determined to enforce the old rules at any cost.

A case in point is the Mormon church’s excommunication of Kate Kelly, a lawyer and human-rights activist who founded a movement called Ordain Women. Kelly’s crime was calling for the all-male priesthood of the Mormon church to be opened to people of all genders, and doing so loudly and publicly enough to embarrass the church leaders. (Although the LDS church calls it a “priesthood,” it’s not a clerical or ministerial position; it’s a rite of initiation, like a Jewish bar mitzvah or a Catholic confirmation.)

Kelly wasn’t a firebrand atheist. She considers herself a faithful Mormon; she was married in the Salt Lake City Temple and went on an overseas mission trip as Mormonism requires. Yet she refused several orders to take her website down and stop speaking out, and just before her excommunication, she was defiant:

“I am not an apostate, unless every single person who has questions to ask out loud is an apostate,” Ms. Kelly said in a telephone interview on Sunday , just before her disciplinary council met.

While she may have meant this comment as a reductio ad absurdum, I think it hits closer to the truth than she realizes. Almost every religion, throughout the ages, has looked unfavorably on people who have inconvenient questions and who insist on asking them out loud. What Kelly has yet to grasp is that religion is a fundamentally conservative force (unlike, say, science, where those who overturn conventional wisdom are rewarded). To claim that the tenets of some existing religion are wrong is to implicitly claim that you understand the will of God better than the authorities of that religion. Naturally, the people who’ve gained status and power within the existing strictures of the church will always look with extreme disfavor on this.

It’s for this reason that religion is not only fundamentally conservative, but anti-democratic. Aside from a few rare exceptions, religion claims that God’s will is delivered through special revelation: it was given to certain people, at certain times and places, and not others. If that were true—if there were people in possession of special, important truths that no one else could ever discover—then it  would be the case that those people would be uniquely qualified to tell the rest of us how to live.

But that expectation bumps up against the modern world, where divine-right monarchy is a discredited theory and democracy is a nearly universal idea (so much so that even rulers of autocratic states often feel the need to hold sham elections). The clash between these principles is most visible in the religious people who believe their leaders have a specially privileged understanding of God, but who also apparently believe the doctrines of their church should be put to a vote. The lay Mormons petitioning on Kate Kelly’s behalf are an excellent example:

More than a thousand Mormons sent letters of support for Ms. Kelly to the bishop and two of his counselors considering her case in Oakton, Va. Hundreds turned out for a vigil in Salt Lake City while the hearing was underway, and smaller groups of supporters gathered at 50 sites in 17 countries, according to Ordain Women.

Mormonism isn’t the only authoritarian religion whose members incorrectly believe they’re participating in a democracy rather than an oligarchy. Roman Catholicism has the same affliction: for example, when Pope Francis was being selected, the author Anne Rice and others asked Catholics to tell the Vatican what they wanted to see in a new pope, as if such feedback would be welcomed or even acknowledged.

The sharp divide between lay Catholics and hierarchy is perhaps best illustrated by the issue of women as priests. As recently as 2013, 70% of Catholics believe women should be allowed to be ordained even though Pope John Paul II announced that the exclusion of women from the Catholic priesthood was an infallible article of dogma and could never be changed. Kindly, progressive Pope Francis has said the same, stating that the “church has spoken and says no… that door is closed” with regard to women’s ordination.

It happens in Judaism as well, even though that religion has no single central authority. In Israel, Jewish women fought for years for the right to pray at the Western Wall, braving routine threats, abuse and harassment by ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews who believe the holy site should only be open to men. Finally, the reformers won a ruling in Israel’s courts, opening up a designated prayer section at the wall for women. The ultra-Orthodox responded by ordering their own wives and daughters to show up en masse and pack the women’s section, so that the women who actually want to pray there and who fought for the right to do so couldn’t get in.

Granted, there are some cases where churches have joined the modern world without being forced to. For example, the Presbyterian church now allows its ministers to perform same-sex weddings, joining some other mainline Protestant denominations that have already taken this step. But this is the exception that proves the rule, since most of the tolerant and progressive mainline churches are in the midst of a demographic plummet. (The more conservative and evangelical denominations are also shrinking, just not quite as quickly.)

And on the rare occasions that churches recognize their past errors, they steadfastly refuse to draw any general lessons from the fact. Earlier this year, the Mormon church formally repudiated the racism of its past rules which barred black men from the priesthood until 1978. This would be a laudable step, except that the church is determined to learn absolutely nothing from it. In its ongoing fight against women in the priesthood, not to mention its fervent and continued opposition to same-sex marriage, it is falling into the same mistake all over again, refusing to recognize that its leadership is fallible, and that any rule treating human beings unequally is morally wrong. This will no doubt be viewed as another stain on the Mormon church’s record, just as its history of racism now is.

Ethically speaking, there’s no doubt that reformers like Kate Kelly and the Women of the Wall have their hearts in the right place, but it’s legitimate to question their strategy. As the ex-nun Mary Johnson has said, at some point you have to ask yourself where your energies are best spent.

Is it worth the effort trying to change religion from within, beating your head against the metaphorical brick wall of a church that’s run by an oligarchy of old conservative men who choose their own successors and who are determined never to change anything? Or does it make more sense to leave that frozen and fossilized cathedral, to renounce religion and step out into the wild garden of the wider world, where anyone can speak their mind and no one can cite the will of God as a trump card?

About the Author

Adam Lee is a writer and atheist activist living in New York City. Follow him on Twitter, or subscribe to his blog, Daylight Atheism.

 

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5 Reasons to Suspect Jesus Never Existed

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Question EVERYTHING!” ~ George Carlin

Valerie Tarico, AlterNet

A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against whether Jesus lived.

Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.” In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.

At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized.

For over 200 years, a wide ranging array of theologians and historians—most of them Christian—analyzed ancient texts, both those that made it into the Bible and those that didn’t, in attempts to excavate the man behind the myth. Several current or recent bestsellers take this approach, distilling the scholarship for a popular audience. Familiar titles include Zealot by Reza Aslan and How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman

But other scholars believe that the gospel stories are actually “historicized mythology.” In this view, those ancient mythic templates are themselves the kernel. They got filled in with names, places and other real world details as early sects of Jesus worship attempted to understand and defend the devotional traditions they had received.

The notion that Jesus never existed is a minority position. Of course it is! says David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at AllFor centuries all serious scholars of Christianity were Christians themselves, and modern secular scholars lean heavily on the groundwork that they laid in collecting, preserving, and analyzing ancient texts. Even today most secular scholars come out of a religious background, and many operate by default under historical presumptions of their former faith.

Fitzgerald is an atheist speaker and writer, popular with secular students and community groups. The internet phenom, Zeitgeist the Movie introduced millions to some of the mythic roots of Christianity. But Zeitgeist and similar works contain known errors and oversimplifications that undermine their credibility. Fitzgerald seeks to correct that by giving young people interesting, accessible information that is grounded in accountable scholarship.

More academic arguments in support of the Jesus Myth theory can be found in the writings of Richard Carrier and Robert Price. Carrier, who has a Ph.D. in ancient history uses the tools of his trade to show, among other things, how Christianity might have gotten off the ground without a miracle. Price, by contrast, writes from the perspective of a theologian whose biblical scholarship ultimately formed the basis for his skepticism. It is interesting to note that some of the harshest debunkers of fringe Jesus myth theories like those from Zeitgeist or Joseph Atwill (who tries to argue that the Romans invented Jesus) are from serious Mythicists like Fitzgerald, Carrier and Price.

The arguments on both sides of this question—mythologized history or historicized mythology—fill volumes, and if anything the debate seems to be heating up rather than resolving. A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against Jesus’ historicity. Since many people, both Christian and not, find it surprising that this debate even exists—that credible scholars might think Jesus never existed—here are some of the key points that keep the doubts alive:

1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef.

In the words of Bart Ehrman:

“What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. As odd as it may seem, there is no mention of Jesus at all by any of his pagan contemporaries. There are no birth records, no trial transcripts, no death certificates; there are no expressions of interest, no heated slanders, no passing references – nothing. In fact, if we broaden our field of concern to the years after his death – even if we include the entire first century of the Common Era – there is not so much as a solitary reference to Jesus in any non-Christian, non-Jewish source of any kind. I should stress that we do have a large number of documents from the time – the writings of poets, philosophers, historians, scientists, and government officials, for example, not to mention the large collection of surviving inscriptions on stone and private letters and legal documents on papyrus. In none of this vast array of surviving writings is Jesus’ name ever so much as mentioned.” (How Jesus Became God pp. 56-57)

2. The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts.

Paul seems unaware of any virgin birth, for example. No wise men, no star in the east, no miracles. Historians have long puzzled over the “Silence of Paul” on the most basic biographical facts and teachings of Jesus. Paul fails to cite Jesus’ authority precisely when it would make his case. What’s more, he never calls the twelve apostles Jesus’ disciples; in fact, he never says Jesus HAD disciples –or a ministry, or did miracles, or gave teachings. He virtually refuses to disclose any other biographical detail, and the few cryptic hints he offers aren’t just vague, but contradict the gospels. The leaders of the early Christian movement in Jerusalem like Peter and James are supposedly Jesus’ own followers and family; but Paul dismisses them as nobodies and repeatedly opposes them for not being true Christians!

Liberal theologian Marcus Borg suggests that people read the books of the New Testament in chronological order to see how early Christianity unfolded. “Placing the Gospels after Paul makes it clear that as written documents they are not the source of early Christianity but its product. The Gospel — the good news — of and about Jesus existed before the Gospels. They are the products of early Christian communities several decades after Jesus’ historical life and tell us how those communities saw his significance in their historical context.”

3. Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts.

We now know that the four gospels were assigned the names of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, not written by them. To make matter sketchier, the name designations happened sometime in second century, around 100 years or more after Christianity supposedly began. For a variety of reasons, the practice of pseudonymous writing was common at the time and many contemporary documents are “signed” by famous figures. The same is true of the New Testament epistles except for a handful of letters from Paul (6 out of 13) which are broadly thought to be genuine.  But even the gospel stories don’t actually say, “I was there.” Rather, they claim the existence of other witnesses, a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has heard the phrase, my aunt knew someone who . . . .

4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.

If you think you know the Jesus story pretty well, I suggest that you pause at this point to test yourself with the 20 question quiz at ExChristian.net.

The gospel of Mark is thought to be the earliest existing “life of Jesus,” and linguistic analysis suggests that Luke and Matthew both simply reworked Mark and added their own corrections and new material. But they contradict each other and, to an even greater degree contradict the much later gospel of John, because they were written with different objectives for different audiences. The incompatible Easter stories offer one example of how much the stories disagree.

5. Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons.

They include a cynic philosopher, charismatic Hasid, liberal Pharisee, conservative rabbi, Zealot revolutionary, nonviolent pacifist to borrow from a much longer list assembled by Price. In his words (pp. 15-16), “The historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been a messianic king, or a progressive Pharisee, or a Galilean shaman, or a magus, or a Hellenistic sage.  But he cannot very well have been all of them at the same time.” John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar grumbles that “the stunning diversity is an academic embarrassment.”

For David Fitzgerald, these issues and more lead to a conclusion that he finds inescapable:

Jesus appears to be an effect, not a cause, of Christianity. Paul and the rest of the first generation of Christians searched the Septuagint translation of Hebrew scriptures to create a Mystery Faith for the Jews, complete with pagan rituals like a Lord’s Supper, Gnostic terms in his letters, and a personal savior god to rival those in their neighbors’ longstanding Egyptian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman traditions.

In a soon-to-be-released follow up to Nailed, entitled Jesus: Mything in ActionFitzgerald argues that the many competing versions proposed by secular scholars are just as problematic as any “Jesus of Faith:” Even if one accepts that there was a real Jesus of Nazareth, the question has little practical meaning: Regardless of whether or not a first century rabbi called Yeshua ben Yosef lived, the “historical Jesus” figures so patiently excavated and re-assembled by secular scholars are themselves fictions.

We may never know for certain what put Christian history in motion. Only time (or perhaps time travel) will tell.

About the Author

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.

The Seven Pillars of the Matrix

Seven-Pillars-non-esoteric
“No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Contemporary baptized, corporatized and sanitized man rarely has the occasion to question his identity, and when he does a typical response might be, “I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran.”

His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to. Few if any of these were ever negotiated- they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.

But is free the right adjective for him, or would modern domesticated simian be more apt? He has been told what to do, believe, think and feel since he can remember. A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the most profitable livestock imaginable. They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes and rarely get out of line. When domesticated man does break one of the rules there are armies, jailers, psychiatrists and bureaucrats prepared to kill, incarcerate, drug or hound the transgressor into submission.

One of the most fascinating aspects of domesticated man’s predicament is that he never looks at the cattle, sheep and pigs who wind up on his plate and make the very simple deduction that he is just a talking version of them, corralled and shepherded through his entire life. How is this accomplished? Only animals that live in hierarchical groups can be dominated by man. The trick is to fool the animal into believing that the leader of the pack or herd is the person who is domesticating them. Once this is accomplished the animal is under full control of its homo sapien master. The domesticated man is no different, originally organized in groups with a clear hierarchy and maximum size of 150- it was easy to replace the leader of these smaller groups with one overarching figure such as God, King, President, CEO etc.

The methodology for creating this exceptionally loyal and obedient modern breed, homo domesticus, can be described as having seven pillars from which an immense matrix captures the talking simians and their conscious minds and hooks them into a complex mesh from which few ever escape. The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately branded as mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can’t accept the ‘complexity of modern life’, i.e. conspiracy nuts.

DELUSION DWELLERS, Laurie Lipton, 2010

Plato described this brilliantly in his Allegory of the Cave, where people only see man made shadows of objects, institutions, Gods and ideas:

“–Behold! human beings living in an underground cave…here they have been from their childhood…necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance…the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets… and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall…”

It began with the word, which forever changed the ability of men to manipulate each other. Before language, every sensation was directly felt through the senses without the filter of words. But somewhere around 50,000 years ago language began to replace reality and the first pieces of code were put in place for the creation of the Matrix. As soon as the words began to flow the world was split, and from that fracturing was born man’s angst and slavery. The words separated us from who we really were, creating the first screen onto which the images from Plato’s cave were cast. Gurdjieff said it well, “Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself.”

It’s no accident that in Hesiod’s ages of man the Golden Age knew no agriculture, which appeared in the Silver age, and by the time we reach the Bronze age the dominant theme is toil and strife. The two key elements to the enslavement of man were clearly language and agriculture. In the hunter gatherer society, taking out the boss was no more complicated than landing a well placed fastball to the head. Only since the advent of farming was the possibility of creating full time enforcers and propagandists made possible, and hence enslavement inevitable.

The search for enlightenment rarely if ever bears fruits in those temples of words, our schools and universities. Almost all traditions point to isolation and silence as the only paths to awakening; they are the true antidotes to modern slavery. As Aristotle wrote, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

So from the institution from which we are mercilessly bombarded with words and enslaved to time, we begin our descent through the seven layers of the Matrix.

1981004006Education

There are things we are born able to do like eating, laughing and crying and others we pick up without much of an effort such as walking, speaking and fighting, but without strict institutional education there is no way that we can ever become a functioning member of the Matrix. We must be indoctrinated, sent to Matrix boot camp, which of course is school. How else could you take a hunter and turn him into a corporate slave, submissive to clocks, countless bosses, monotony and uniformity?

Children naturally know who they are, they have no existential angst, but schools immediately begin driving home the point of schedules, rules, lists and grades which inevitably lead the students to the concept of who they aren’t. We drill the little ones until they learn to count money, tell time, measure progress, stand in line, keep silent and endure submission. They learn they aren’t free and they are separated from everyone else and the world itself by a myriad of divides, names and languages.

It can’t be stressed enough how much education is simply inculcating people with the clock and the idea of a forced identity. What child when she first goes to school isn’t taken back to hear herself referred to by her full name?

It’s not as if language itself isn’t sufficiently abstract- nothing must be left without a category. Suzy can’t just be Suzy- she is a citizen of a country and a state, a member of a religion and a product of a civilization, many of which have flags, mascots, armies, uniforms, currencies and languages. Once all the mascots, tag lines and corporate creeds are learned, then history can begin to be taught. The great epic myths invented and conveniently woven into the archetypes which have come down through the ages cement this matrix into the child’s mind.

Even the language that she speaks without effort must be deconstructed for her. An apple will never again be just an apple- it will become a noun, a subject, or an object. Nothing will be left untouched, all must be ripped apart and explained back to the child in Matrixese.

We are taught almost nothing useful during the twelve or so years that we are institutionalized and conditioned for slavery- not how to cook, farm, hunt, build, gather, laugh or play. We are only taught how to live by a clock and conform to institutionalized behaviors that make for solid careers as slaveocrats.

ObamaGovernment

In the countries that claim to be democratic the concept of a government created to serve the people is often espoused. Government, and the laws they create and enforce are institutionalized social control for the benefit of those who have seized power. This has always been the case and always will be. In the pre-democratic era it was much clearer to recognize who had power, but the genius of massive democratic states are the layers upon layers of corporatocracy and special interests which so brilliantly conceal the identify of those who really manage the massive apparatus of control.

The functions of the state are so well esconded in dogmatic versions of history taught in schools that almost no one questions why we need anything beyond the bare essentials of government to maintain order in the post-industrial age. The history classes never point the finger at the governments themselves as the propagators and instigators of war, genocide, starvation and corruption. In Hollywood’s version of history, the one most people absorb, ‘good’ governments are always portrayed as fighting ‘bad’ ones. We have yet to see a film where all the people on both sides simply disengage from their governments and ignore the calls to violence.

The state apparatus is based on law, which is a contract between the people and an organism created to administer common necessities- an exchange of sovereignty between the people and the state. This sounds reasonable, but when one looks at the mass slaughters of the 20th century, almost without exception, the perpetrators are the states themselves.

The loss of human freedom is the only birthright offered to the citizens of the modern nation. There is never a choice. It is spun as a freedom and a privilege when it is in fact indentured servitude to the state apparatus and the corporatocracy that controls it.

patriotism-flag-respect-devotionPatriotism

Patriotism is pure abstraction, a completely artificial mechanism of social control. People are taught to value their compatriots above and beyond those of their own ethnic background, race or religion. The organic bonds are to be shed in favor of the great corporate state. From infancy children are indoctrinated like Pavlov’s dogs to worship the paraphernalia of the state and see it as a mystical demigod.

What is a country? Using the United States as example, what actually is this entity? Is it the USPS, the FDA, or the CIA? Does loving one’s country mean one should love the IRS and the NSA? Should we feel differently about someone if they are from Vancouver instead of Seattle? Loving a state is the same as loving a corporation, except with the corporations there is still no stigma attached to not showing overt sentimental devotion to their brands and fortunately, at least for the moment, we are not obligated at birth to pay them for a lifetime of services, most of which we neither need nor want.

Flags, the Hollywood version of history and presidential worship are drilled into us to maintain the illusion of the ‘other’ and force the ‘foreigner/terrorist/extremist’ to wear the stigma of our projections. The archaic tribal energy that united small bands and helped them to fend off wild beasts and hungry hoards has been converted into a magic wand for the masters of the matrix. Flags are waved, and we respond like hungry Labradors jumping at a juicy prime rib swinging before our noses. Sentimental statist propaganda is simply the mouthguard used to soften the jolt of our collective electroshock therapy.

PopeReligion

As powerful as the patriotic sects are, there has always been a need for something higher. Religion comes from the Latin ‘re-ligare’ and it means to reconnect. But reconnect to what? The question before all religions is, what have we been disconnected from? The indoctrination and alienation of becoming a card carrying slave has a cost; the level of abstraction and the disconnect from any semblance of humanity converts people into nihilistic robots. No amount of patriotic fervor can replace having a soul. The flags and history lessons can only give a momentary reprieve to the emptiness of the Matrix and that’s why the priests are needed.

The original spiritual connection man had with the universe began to dissolve into duality with the onset of language, and by the time cities and standing armies arrived he was in need of a reconnection, and thus we get our faith based religions. Faith in the religious experiences of sages, or as William James put it, faith in someone else’s ability to connect. Of course the liturgies of our mainstream religions offer some solace and connection, but in general they simply provide the glue for the Matrix. A brief perusal of the news will clearly show that their ‘God’ seems most comfortable amidst the killing fields.

If we focus on the Abrahamic religions, we have a god much like the state, one who needs to be loved. He is also jealous of the other supposedly non-existent gods and is as sociopathic as the governments who adore him. He wipes out his enemies with floods and angels of death just as the governments who pander to him annihilate us with cultural revolutions, atom bombs, television and napalm. Their anthem is, “Love your country, it’s flag, its history, and the God who created it all”- an ethos force fed to each new generation.

The Most Fanatic Supporters In The WorldCircus

The sad thing about circus is that it’s generally not even entertaining. The slaves are told it’s time for some fun and they move in hordes to fill stadiums, clubs, cinemas or simply to stare into their electrical devices believing that they are are being entertained by vulgar propaganda.

As long as homo domesticus goes into the appropriate corral, jumps when she is told to and agrees wholeheartedly that she is having fun, than she is a good slave worthy of her two days off a week and fifteen days vacation at the designated farm where she is milked of any excess gold she might have accumulated during the year. Once she is too old to work and put to pasture, holes are strategically placed in her vicinity so she and her husband can spend their last few dollars trying to get a small white ball into them.

On a daily basis, after the caffeinated maximum effort has been squeezed out of her, she is placed in front of a screen, given the Matrix approved beverage (alcohol), and re-indoctrinated for several hours before starting the whole cycle over again. God forbid anyone ever took a hallucinogen and had an original thought. We are, thankfully, protected from any substances that might actually wake us up and are encouraged stick to the booze. The matrix loves coffee in the morning, alcohol in the evening and never an authentic thought in between.

On a more primal level we are entranced with the contours of the perfect body and dream of ‘perfect love’, where our days will be filled with soft caresses, sweet words and Hollywood drama. This is maybe the most sublime of the Matrix’s snares, as Venus’s charms can be so convincing one willingly abandons all for her devious promise. Romantic love is dangled like bait, selling us down the path of sentimentally coated lies and mindless consumerism.

MoneyMoney

Money is their most brilliant accomplishment. Billions of people spend most of their waking lives either acquiring it or spending it without ever understanding what it actually is. In this hologram of a world, the only thing one can do without money is breath. For almost every other human activity they want currency, from eating and drinking to clothing oneself and finding a partner. Religion came from innate spirituality and patriotism from the tribe, but money they invented themselves- the most fantastic and effective of all their tools of domestication.

They have convinced the slaves that money actually has some intrinsic value, since at some point in the past it actually did. Once they were finally able to disconnect money completely from anything other than their computers, they finally took complete control, locked the last gate and electrified all the fences. They ingeniously print it up out of the nothing and loan it with interest in order for 18-year-olds to spend four years drinking and memorizing propaganda as they begin a financial indebtedness that will most likely never end.

By the time the typical American is thirty the debt is mounted so high that they abandon any hope of ever being free of it and embrace their mortgages, credit cards, student loans and car loans as gifts from a sugar daddy. What they rarely asks themselves is why they must work to make money while banks can simply create it with a few key strokes. If they printed out notes on their HP’s and loaned them with interest to their neighbors, they would wind up in a penitentiary, but not our friends on Wall Street- they do just that and wind up pulling the strings in the White House. The genius of the money scam is how obvious it is. When people are told that banks create money out of nothing and are paid interest for it the good folks are left incredulous. “It can’t be that simple!” And therein lies the rub- no one wants to believe that they have been enslaved so easily .

watch tvCulture

“Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology.”
Terence McKenna

As Terence loved to say, “Culture is not your friend.” It exists as a buffer to authentic experience. As they created larger and larger communities, they replaced the direct spiritual experience of the shaman with priestly religion. Drum beats and sweat were exchanged for digitized, corporatized noise. Local tales got replaced by Hollywood blockbusters, critical thinking with academic dogma.

If money is the shackles of the matrix, culture is its operating system. Filtered, centralized, incredibly manipulative, it glues all their myths together into one massive narrative of social control from which only the bravest of souls ever try to escape. It’s relatively simple to see the manipulation when one looks at patriotism, religion or money. But when taken as a whole, our culture seems as natural and timeless as the air we breathe, so intertwined with our self conception it is often hard to see where we individually finish and our culture begins.

download (1)Escaping the Grip of Control

Some might ask why this all-pervasive network of control isn’t talked about or discussed by our ‘great minds’. Pre-Socratic scholar Peter Kingsley explains it well:

“Everything becomes clear once we accept the fact that scholarship as a whole is not concerned with finding, or even looking for, the truth. That’s just a decorative appearance. It’s simply concerned with protecting us from truths that might endanger our security; and it does so by perpetuating our collective illusions on a much deeper level than individual scholars are aware of.”

Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn’t a fish. To leave the ‘water’, or Plato’s cave takes courage and the knowledge that there is something beyond the web of control. Over 2,300 hundred years ago Plato described the process of leaving the Matrix in the Allegory of the Cave as a slow, excruciating process akin to walking out onto a sunny beach after spending years in a basement watching Kabuki.

How can this awakening be explained? How do you describe the feeling of swimming in the ocean at dusk to someone who as never even seen water? You can’t, but what you can do is crack open a window for them and if enough windows are opened, the illusion begins to lose its luster.

About the Author

Robert Bonomo is a blogger, novelist and esotericist. Download his latest novel, Your Love Incomplete, for free here.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

 

Belief Systems and the Power Of Authority

Chess-King

Today I would like to return to your awareness an aspect of the Human condition that adheres to the abstract nature of belief. Beliefs come in many shapes and sizes and yet all share something in common— they’re elusive and intangible.

Although we cannot “touch” a belief, it certainly has a way of touching us. Our belief modifies the way we think, how we act and feel. I take my tinfoil hat off to those who invented this system of social order so many moons ago. What a concept indeed. Imagine sitting around a stone-age conference table discussing this idea. I surely would have laughed it off. “You mean you can get people to accept something as truth even if it’s not real? C’mon man. I tell you what’s real— something called fire! Now that’s something you can believe in!”

Oh my, how I would have missed the boat. Not only did the concept grow legs, it sprouted wings. Turns out everyone wants to believe in something. For one thing it’s kind of fun. What would Christmas be like without Santa Clause? For another it makes us feel special somehow. But how does one find truth in a belief? The answer is really quite simple. We pretend.

In the following paragraphs I’ll take a somewhat playful (if not cynical) look at some of the hermetically-sealed belief systems that dominate in our lives. There’s a circuitous path one must navigate that divides our place of knowing from a world of make-believe. This trail can get a little precarious and downright slippery at times. So let’s saddle up our loyal mustangs and see where they take us. These majestic creatures are sure-footed, certain and most graceful in their stride. More than that, I sense they may know something we have forgotten.

Born to Run

This I can tell you about the mustang— they were born to run and we were born to ride. Where the trail ends, a new one begins and the sights and sounds are something to behold. The rider learns the way of the horse and the horse the way of the rider. It’s a relationship of balance and harmony. There’s a transfer of energy from one entity to another as our thoughts begin to roam free with wild abandon and the mustang gently restrains in courtesy of the saddle. On this journey, it’s not where you go— but where it takes you.

We are freedom-loving beings. You, me and the people we never meet or see because they live an ocean away. At the deepest level we are all free spirits. To this end we are not unlike the mustang. But I sense there’s a trifle few who would suggest we’re not deserving of this freedom. I believe they gain very much from the belief structures we submit to. And so we are encouraged to believe in those ideas and concepts that place cuffs on our hands and feet. We unlock our mind and hand another the key. Not because we’re foolish, but because we are trusting.

One may believe it is warm outside or that the words of another are true. But belief takes a giant leap forward when invested in an outside ideology or institution. These beliefs must be taught and learned. Can you see how someone might be stirred remotely by the belief system they follow? It’s here where we find the chasm between the spiritual and the believers. The spiritual mind seeks truth and spends many, many lonely nights pondering and wondering. It’s not enough for a lesson to be taught and handed to them— it must be felt at the very core of their being.

External influences are everywhere. We’ve all been conditioned into “believing” that we’re just a tiny speck in the macrocosm. Okay, to them I say— try removing that “speck” and see what happens. You’ll find it leaves a hole in this macrocosm, a tear in the ethereal fabric of all that is and will ever be. The tear would surely be the center of attention for all to notice. There is nothing insignificant about that.

And we must “believe” freedom is not free, they say. That’s not what the mustang tells me. And we must “believe” in a fabricated religion or face consternation or eternal damnation. We must “believe” in our teachers and the concepts of higher education. Most of all, the belief-makers want us to believe in all things outside ourselves. That’s the true societal doctrine. We must believe that without our loyal adherence to those synthetic constructs that mold us, we are very small and insignificant. Indeed, join the Army and be part of something bigger than yourself— or so they will tell you. But I will tell you again and again— there is nothing “bigger” than the beautiful, singular you.

The Concept of Religion

The late rock legend John Lennon perhaps said it best. In his song aptly titled, “God” he states “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” Exactly what was meant by this verse is of course a matter of interpretation. But referring to God as a “concept” is what I find particularly intriguing. Lennon goes on to mention many ideologies and icons he doesn’t “believe” in. Even The Beatles made the list. Near the end of the track he writes, “I just believe in me… and that reality.” These are profoundly insightful words from someone who clearly understood the illusions that blind and bind us. When we believe in something outside ourselves we subordinate to the authority of that belief. Somebody is in control of that belief system and it’s not you.

“So you see I have come to doubt all that I once held as true.” These are the powerful words of Paul Simon from “Kathy’s Song.” Simon goes on to say “I stand alone without beliefs— the only truth I know is you.” The songwriters of yesterday came to our poetic and philosophical rescue. Music was perhaps the last conduit for elevating the masses into a higher consciousness. We’ve since moved on to a different sound and a different message. It would seem the philosophy belongs to a bygone era of the children of World War II and the veterans of Vietnam. The music I hear today is often brooding and complex or unmercifully adolescent. It too provides a snapshot of where we are today, but offers little antidote or resolution. The new sound seems to concede to the idea that we’re already screwed. They might be right.

In the most fundamental sense, as long as we believe in an external authority then we knowingly or unknowingly yield to those who govern it. This gives power to an entity outside of you. As in the case of a religious structure, we find not only individual power but the collective power of millions. Why does this concern me? Do we trust the wisdom of those who command this power and influence? We know there is an ongoing concern about religious improprieties. Collusion with nefarious governments, horrendous inquisitions, child rape and murder and a whole host of other unspeakable atrocities should offer one some pause and reservation. Personally, I will have nothing to do with institutions that serve as agents for Divine intervention. If there is a devil— in such a house you would find him. My thoughts belong to me. I’ve not been assigned my way of thinking.

Education and Government

Institutionalized education teaches us how to be compliant. Do not think for a moment that there is any real purpose beyond this. I once had a grade school teacher candidly admit, “You’re all empty minds needing to be filled.” Yes there is rudimentary instruction that loosely qualifies as teaching. But the real goal is to indoctrinate and enforce submission and turn the populace into working bees. There are many gifted children who ultimately fall out of this system because they have issues with compliance. I have nothing but disdain for modern education. Those who ultimately earn an advanced degree will be well-seasoned and attuned to the conformity and compliance of this institution. These are the same people who are ultimately chosen to effect major policy changes in society.

To what extent should we believe? Devices such as propaganda have long been used by government to influence the masses. People “believe” in what they’re told because they have submitted to this external authority. This power is so persuasive it can encourage people to enlist in the armed services. They are told they’re the defenders of “freedom” and yet they must give up much of their own freedom in order to serve in this capacity.

Dynamics of Belief

What I believe may not be what you believe and I am okay with that. In fact, I’m grateful for it. We are entitled to believe in what we want, but we should understand that beliefs are not the same as truth. Beliefs are malleable and can change over time. Truth is universal and will withstand the ages. The problem seems to be that many hold belief in the same light as truth. How did this happen?

Once surrendered to an external belief system, we’re honor-bound to serve it. In the simplest sense, that means if you call yourself a Mormon, then you must also say goodbye to coffee. That would surely spell my demise as I drink the stuff as if my life depended on it. So be it. My belief permits it. I abstain from meat— the Mormon does not. I would advise this ideology to not lecture me on matters of morality. If perhaps they are open to true enlightenment, I would suggest they close their book and open their mind. If they do, they will see how their structure is not unlike the others. Like all faiths, they preach peace and love as they march their children to war. There is such hypocrisy and deceit behind the velvet pulpits of shame.

Spirituality is also a belief system albeit a personal one. This means you’re the authority of it. You are not relinquishing your power to another. It does not suggest your belief is the right one or the only one. It does however suggest that you have found a belief that serves your needs—and that’s powerful indeed. You live with an inner-knowing and an inner-peace. You can separate yourself from the spectacle that surrounds you. From this vantage, all the rumblings of the world play out on stage. You may feel like one of the actors at times, but the spiritually aware are more attuned as observers. They may feel captivated and moved by the story, but they know it’s just a show.

Final Thought

My reality did not come pre-wrapped in a package with a pretty bow on it. I was not captured by a flowering sermon or summoned by a Bible-pumping preacher pimping fear. I fought long and hard for the truth and the philosophy I live by. I had to first unlearn what had been sewn into my young psyche at such an impressionable age. Not an easy task by any measure. I had to forgive and forget the Catholic teachings and extricate myself from the labyrinth that held me. I had feelings of guilt which were not unlike the pain of divorce. I learned to let go.

I believe in you and I believe in me. Much beyond that is a real reach in my world. What we call belief is merely a presumption, opinion or an understanding. On the other hand, the word “truth” suggests a state of knowing, a resonance in harmony at the very core of who and what we are. And yet we use these words freely and interchangeably.

Ah, alas, I see we’re back. There were a couple of slippery parts there— but your mustang held on and stayed true to course. When the rider bonds with their horse, there’s a synergy that benefits both. You really had nothing to fear as the path withered and narrowed into a new trail of your own making.

The moon is high now, the sage silvery and sweet, but the shadow from a Saguaro conjures the image of a wounded man. And I think to myself, if only he could see the light on the other side. If only.

-Until next time

About the Author

There is a certain obscurity that follows Julian Wash. After all, any writer that starts off with “Dear Humans” might be a little hard to nail down. We sense he’s benevolent, a little crazy and we think rather enjoyable to read. Email: jwash@rattlereport.com

**This article was originally published at The Rattle Report.**

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.