Embracing Confusion's Alchemy — Rejecting the Seduction of Pseudo-Understanding
25 Apr 2009
When we force rationality onto highly strange experiences, we lose the opportunity for the dissonance of our confusion to challenge our master paradigms and free us to greater possibility.
HIGH STRANGENESS, a book by High Strangeness, a book by Laura Knight-Jadczyk, paints a dire future for humankind as literal "food" for a reptilian alien race that has bred us for this gastronomic purpose, in much the same way as humans breed cattle for food. In this calamitous time of transition, centred around the year 2012, according to Knight-Jadczyk we will come to realize this terrible truth, and up to 94% of the human race will be "recycled" to make way for a new race.
Now contrast this scenario with Drunvalo Melchizedek's Serpent of Light in which he describes this time in history as one predicted and facilitated by indigenous people worldwide in which humankind will awaken to the unifying ways of the heart as the spiritual energy centre of the Earth (the serpent of light) completes its relocation from the Himalayas in Tibet to the Andes Mountains in Chile. We will come to the full realization that the whole universe loves and supports us, including all the alien races that are here to help us.
These two perspectives — Knight-Jadczyk's restaurant-Earth for hungry aliens and Melchizedek's university-Earth heart-studies graduation — could not be more contrasting. And yet they represent two very prevalent New Age viewpoints of the impending destiny of humankind. In fact, most of the material produced in the New Age movement today tends to fall in one or other of these categories. Authors I have recently read with a bleak outlook similar in feel to Knight-Jadczyk's include: Chris Everard (more a film maker), David Icke, Jim Keith, Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, Michael Tsarion and Val Valerian. I am sure the reader can think of quite a few more. And authors I have recently read who are putting out a more inspiring vision of our future include: Jose Arguelles, Gregg Braden, William Gammill, Ramtha, Steven Greer, Scott Mandelker and Ken Page. Again, I am sure you have your own much longer list of inspiring authors who are describing the blossoming of humanities spirit in a universe that is benignly supportive.
And of course there are also some authors putting out a mixture of the two, but their vision tends to be curdled, for the two scenarios are pretty much mutually exclusive especially in relation to 2012 and other impending dates of destiny. One way around this contradiction is to predict that spiritual people will graduate whereas the non-spiritual masses will be eaten and/or go on to a parallel world to continue to create their unenlightened reality.
When dealing with belief system regarding future prophecy, there is really no way to test them objectively without waiting to see what actually happens, but we do see that the negative ones tend to be conspiratorial whereas the positive ones tend to be spiritual. And the negative ones are put out by individuals you might label as conspiratorially-focused whereas the positive ones are put out by what you might label as spiritually-focused. Of course, statements like these might actually be tautological as our associations with "conspiracy" tend to be quite negative whereas our associations with "spiritual" tend to be quite positive. (There is no reason why those who conspire — breathe — together should be doing so only for their own good, although history would show that with humans this is generally not the case — conspiracy is invariably used to gain power and advantage for a select few.)
It is also important, at this stage, to state that the term "conspiracist" is not used here as a dismissal. As Knight-Jadczyk points out, referring to the position of historian Richard Dolan, "… from a historical point of view, the only reality is that of conspiracy… Secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world… those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the status quo." Those who dismiss conspiracy on grounds that they are merely the products of a paranoid imagination are doubtless living in Cloud Cuckoo Land, although it has to be said that many of those who spend their lives delving into conspiracy do have a tendency to become decidedly paranoid and unbalanced (perhaps understandably). And the bleakness of the conspiratorial outlook does not necessarily reflect the motivation: most conspiracists seem to be motivated by as sense of service to humanity. So I am not using the term conspiracy pejoratively but purely descriptively.
This contrast between conspiracists and spiritual individuals in the New Age/New Consciousness movement is strongly evident, probably because the movement itself is so broad in definition that it includes both conspiracy and spirituality. Hardly surprisingly, our vision of the future and of our place in relation to the universe is dependent upon our natural psychology, and in the New Age arena there are many different types of consciousness at play. If we assume that they are all describing a single "reality", we can be increasingly forced into a schizophrenic world-view, oscillating between a vision of hope and a vision of despair.
That is not necessarily a pathological thing because we all hold several, seemingly contradictory paradigms, usually arranged in hierarchies (although with mental illness these paradigms are less structured and arranged). The main Master Paradigm in Western society today is the four-dimensional space-time one (which I will call 4d-st), and in front of this backdrop we play "dependent" paradigms (or dramas) such as the science paradigm or the religious paradigm, which rely on the master paradigm for context (or the stage). These hierarchies of consistent paradigms constitute a world-view that gives meaning to all aspects of our lives, and they can often appear contradictory at first glance. For example, a Christian biologist might go to church each Sunday, believing a man who lived 2000 years ago died for her sins, whilst the following Monday morning she is in her lab researching the human genome using a mechanistic paradigm of the living process. Whilst they do seem contradictory paradigms, it should be remembered that they have far more in common than they have that separates them.
Paradigms are like icebergs: 1/8th is the paradigm's content which is on easy display to the conscious mind, whereas 7/8ths are the paradigm's more subtle context in which it places the content. Believing in a God who incarnated into a human body so that he could be murdered to die for all Mankind's sins may seem irrational to many, but it has a certain logic to it, whether you agree with it or not, and it is played on the same 4d-st stage as scientific research. It is a bit like two different plays using the same theater and props — both adhere to the basic principles of space and time. Because we are so focused on the plays themselves and the characters acting in them, we tend not to notice the fundamental similarities in the productions.
But there are times when the theater itself changes — when the 4d-st master paradigm is insufficient to map our experience — such as when we experience usual states of consciousness involved with dreaming, alcohol, drugs, relaxation and spontaneous paranormal experiences (such as alien abduction, spiritual awakening and psychic phenomena), to name a few. Knight-Jadczyk borrows the term high strangeness from UFO researcher Dr. J. Allen Hynek, to describe experiences of something that just does not fit with everyday consciousness.
When we experience high strangeness, we tend to deal with it in one (or more) of the following three ways:
- We try to convince ourselves and others that nothing unusual happened and that our experience was an illusion or a trick of the imagination. This is the path of denial which maintains our master paradigm.
- We attempt to interpret these experiences through our normal paradigms. In other words, we force rationality. This is the path of pseudo-understanding which also maintains our master paradigm.
- We accept that something very unusual happened to us and that it has no place in our current world-view. Our experience encourages greater consciousness of the distinction between reality and our reality maps. This is the path of gnosis or awakening, and it challenges our master paradigm.
Most scientists and academics tend to deal with strangeness the first way, by trying to deny it out of existence. After all, their professional lives and personal status are built upon maintaining consistency in their world-view, and they are not going to get funding for new research if they are seen to buck the paradigms of their pay-masters.
Most fringe scientists, conspiracists, independent researchers and religious/spiritual individuals, on the other hand, tend to use the second method of dealing with unusual experiences. They force rationality into the situation, squeezing the experience into their existing paradigms, sometimes with absurd results. (In a way, this is also a form of denial.)
The third method of dealing with strangeness is relatively rare, deployed only by those who are truly open-minded, non-egocentric individuals that include a small percentage of those that are spiritually focused (usually in a non-dogmatic, inner connection way), or those who have had deep involvement with very dissimilar cultures and/or have explored altered states of consciousness. (That is why Westerners involved with native cultures often have a better appreciation for the limitations master paradigms, although that does not automatically imply that native cultures themselves have that appreciation — only a few of them do. The lesson is in the contrast, not in the detail.)
What is interesting about Knight-Jadczyk's book, High Strangeness, is that she starts of outlining the third path to dealing with unusual experiences (in a marvelously eloquent and erudite way), but then, halfway through the book, she suddenly reverts to the second path, answering all the questions she raised by referring them to the Cassiopaeans, entities that came through in her channeling group.
[Channeling, for those who don't know, is a type of spiritual/psychic possession in which the channeler gives control of his or her voice or writing arm or sometimes the whole body to a non-bodied entity or entities which then can relay information that the person doing the channeling would not have had by themselves. Some of the most inspiring material in the New Age/New Consciousness movement is channeled material… and unfortunately some of the most inane.]
So despite bravely embracing the unknown in the first part of her book, Knight-Jadczyk then starts forcing rationality onto the situation. This often happens when someone is pushing for answers, rather than allowing the questions themselves to work their subtle alchemy, away from the distraction of answers. Humans tend to feel psychologically uncomfortable not-knowing something (especially those more academically inclined as Knight-Jadczyk is), and so there is a strong tendency to pull the rabbit of pseudo-understanding out of the hat, releasing the tension of ignorance with a self-satisfied sigh.
But the self that is satisfied is actually the ego, satisfied that it has held on to the master paradigm. This is because it is the master paradigm (invariably the 4d-st paradigm) that defines the ego because it give provision for separation. Challenge this master paradigm, and you challenge the ego, which is why the third option above with regard to our response to strangeness is not a path well traveled. (The other two preserve who we think we are, but the third can seriously undermine that illusion.)
As I have said, this is actually very common in the New Age/New Consciousness movement (as it is, of course in many other walks of life): rationality is forced, and many teachers and writers walk around with smug satisfaction that they know the rap — they have the inside information. And they take great pleasure to wax lyrical in their lectures, workshops, videos, CDs and books on why the ETs are really abducting people, what will happen on Winter Solstice 2012, exactly how the energies in this world are changing, how consciousness is changing, and so on. And they bolster these Master paradigm interpretations by claiming that they were "channeled", that they were given to them by some higher being or beings, that they are proved scientifically by the theory of quantum mechanics, and/or that they themselves are special in some way and therefore we should trust them in providing us with answers to such challenging issues.
Of course, when something strange happens the first reaction for all of us is confusion. The trick is to let the confusion work its magic as long as possible before we jump to denial, masking and/or rationalisation. It is that dissonance that changes us — that really blows out the cobwebs — if we are courageous enough to sit with it. But most of us are so uncomfortable with this level of psychic dissonance that we pretty rapidly move to either denial of the incident or rationalisation. The voice we hear, for example, might become the voice of Jesus strengthening our Christian faith, or the nightly visitation might become a UFO abduction for the purposes of an ET breeding program. Either way, we have lost the magic, blown the opportunity to go deeper because we have allowed our Master paradigm to take over again. (Both Jesus' and the ETs' plans take place on a space-time backdrop, with us and them as separate entities within this matrix — so it is just a conventional paradigm with different characters.)
Often, we will also have mask memories that aid our denial of high strangeness: although I have directly experienced high strangeness many times in my life without too much interpretation, one such experience hides behind the visual mask of the board game Snakes & Ladders, a strong feeling of nausea, and a loud buzzing, and I never quite get behind that mask… or maybe it is more accurate to say that my rational mind — my ego — cannot get behind it because what is behind it may be beyond space-time and therefore outside of any possible awareness by the rational mind. A lot of UFO abduction experiences are themselves masked memories for something of high strangeness experienced, but something that may have absolutely nothing to do with "aliens" in the usual sense of the term. And sometimes we strip those masks in hypnosis only to find another mask that is more acceptable in the fabricating conspiracy of hypnotist and client, allowing both to maintain their ego-supporting Master Paradigm rather than the state of confusion or "no story".
And that is what it comes down to: the stories we tell ourselves about the strange goings on we experience in life. We tell ourselves stories because it comforts us to know that there is a time sequence of events and places; that there is a logical causal sequence to everything that we can understand; that we are separate entities interacting on the backdrop of space and time. These are all comforts… and one day, we have to give them all up. Every last one. We have to let go of control… which is basically what our stories allow us to do.
Spirituality, science, psychology, sociology and religion all tell us stories about who we are and our place in the world — they define and fuel our egos. And the inspiration for all these reality maps was invariably highly strange events — flashes of insight, visitations, voices, dreams, hunches — events outside normal space time that we as a species then weave into a space-time explanation or story. And we weave and weave, not realizing that we were weaving ourselves into a tighter and tighter corner, so that in the end we cannot breathe because we have fallen for the illusion that we understand so much. But eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge comes at a great price: if you eat it you are then barred from the Tree of Life because you have turned the direct living experience into a story… into concepts.
And the thing about conceptualisation, why it flourishes in our society, is that it allows people to be controlled. If you tell someone their place in the world — no matter what story you are using — you can control their behaviour from within their own heads. That is why direct experience of the Mystery of life is discouraged in every sector of society. Everything is interpreted ad infinitum before the dissonance of not-knowing can do any damage. Do you think Christianity would have lasted as long as it has if had had not been conceptualised? Like all religions, sciences and other belief systems, it is a brainwashing tool to control populations, and that is why the leaders in our societies chose to allow these types of institution to flourish. And this is also why the Christian church is notoriously wary of miracles… until of course they have stop happening and can be 'officially' and safely interpreted historically. Then these miracles become good recruiting tools!
We are living in a time when we are growing hungry for the direct divine experience… for direct experience of the Mystery. People are more interested in feeling alive than looking for the meaning of life. And what stands between them and aliveness is over-conceptualization — the story of I. This is why so many in society are drinking alcohol and taking drugs, pushing past who and what they think they are, and who and what society defines them to be. You don't necessarily need to take drugs to do it… but you do need to have the courage to experience reality naked… without a story. And blessed indeed are those who allow themselves to experience high strangeness and then allow the ensuing confusion to work its magic, changing the soul in ways far beyond what we can conceptually describe.
Of course, when we know a story is just a story, we can enjoy it for what it is, without taking it too seriously. I for one prefer Drunvalo Melchizedek's university-Earth heart-studies graduation over Knight-Jadczyk's restaurant-Earth for hungry aliens because the latter just feels too heavy for me. But in the end I know that neither scenario represents the multi-dimensionality of what is 'really' happening — or perhaps you could say that both represent only a tiny fraction of what is 'really' happening. And although nobody can say what is happening because it it too deep to be conceptualized, we can experience it directly if we want to. And to do that we need only ride the waves of strangeness with awareness, without forcing rationality by weaving explanations and stories.