As is the human body, so is the cosmic body As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind. As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm. As is the atom, so is the universe. ~ The Upanishads
In Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave,” prisoners are chained inside a cave, able to look at only shadows cast on the wall by puppeteers standing in front of a fire behind them. For these prisoners, the shadows—not the real objects that cast those shadows—represent their entire reality.
It’s only when prisoners are released from the cave that they understand the true nature of reality—that what they called a “book” or a “man” were really just shadows of the real objects projected onto a wall.
Plato’s point is that even for us, outside the cave, we may not perceive reality accurately. For example, we may confuse the name or image of an object in our mind with the actual object itself.
Physicists, however, are starting to see that “shadows” like those experienced by Plato’s prisoners may be a much more accurate representation of reality than the philosopher realized, and could help tie together previously unconnected physics concepts like spacetime, gravity and quantum entanglement.
This realization stems from The Holographic Principle, a concept proposed in the 1990s by a group of theoretical physicists that included Gerardus ’t Hooft and Leonard Susskind. Their assertion was that all of the information contained within a region of space can be represented on the boundary of that region. So the contents of a three-dimensional space would be described on the two-dimensional boundary that forms the border of that space.
If this is difficult to imagine, picture a room whose walls are covered in mirrors. The complete information about the three-dimensional objects within the room is present in their two-dimensional reflections—“holograms” or “shadows”—in the mirrors. That means you can actually reconstruct those objects based upon their reflections.
The Holographic Principle also holds true for a five-dimensional spacetime, with its information represented in four dimensions on its own boundary. Seen this way, our world is a four-dimensional “shadow” on the wall of that five-dimensional “cave.” If you move away from the wall where our reality exists, you enter a fifth dimension.
Feel you might be depressed because you feel disorientated and struggle to locate meaning, purpose and fulfilment in your life? In this article John Schumaker explores a exponentially increasing psychological condition called demoralisation. Arising through exposure to the driving features of our modern consumer society. Individualism, materialism, hyper-competition, greed, over-complication, overwork, hurriedness and debt – all correlating negatively to psychological health and/or social wellbeing, demoralisation is virtually inevitable on some scale for any individual alive today.
Our descent into the Age of Depression seems unstoppable. Three decades ago, the average age for the first onset of depression was 30. Today it is 14. Researchers such as Stephen Izard at Duke University point out that the rate of depression in Western industrialized societies is doubling with each successive generational cohort. At this pace, over 50 per cent of our younger generation, aged 18-29, will succumb to it by middle age. Extrapolating one generation further, we arrive at the dire conclusion that virtually everyone will fall prey to depression.
By contrast to many traditional cultures that lack depression entirely, or even a word for it, Western consumer culture is certainly depression-prone. But depression is so much a part of our vocabulary that the word itself has come to describe mental states that should be understood differently. In fact, when people with a diagnosis of depression are examined more closely, the majority do not actually fit that diagnosis. In the largest study of its kind, Ramin Mojtabai of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health sampled over 5,600 cases and found that only 38 per cent of them met the criteria for depression.
Contributing to the confusion is the equally insidious epidemic of demoralization that also afflicts modern culture. Since it shares some symptoms with depression, demoralization tends to be mislabelled and treated as if it were depression. A major reason for the poor 28-per-cent success rate of anti-depressant drugs is that a high percentage of ‘depression’ cases are actually demoralization, a condition unresponsive to drugs.
In the past, our understanding of demoralization was limited to specific extreme situations, such as debilitating physical injury, terminal illness, prisoner-of-war camps, or anti-morale military tactics. But there is also a cultural variety that can express itself more subtly and develop behind the scenes of normal everyday life under pathological cultural conditions such as we have today. This culturally generated demoralization is nearly impossible to avoid for the modern ‘consumer’.
Rather than a depressive disorder, demoralization is a type of existential disorder associated with the breakdown of a person’s ‘cognitive map’. It is an overarching psycho-spiritual crisis in which victims feel generally disoriented and unable to locate meaning, purpose or sources of need fulfilment. The world loses its credibility, and former beliefs and convictions dissolve into doubt, uncertainty and loss of direction. Frustration, anger and bitterness are usual accompaniments, as well as an underlying sense of being part of a lost cause or losing battle. The label ‘existential depression’ is not appropriate since, unlike most forms of depression, demoralization is a realistic response to the circumstances impinging on the person’s life.
As it is absorbed, consumer culture imposes numerous influences that weaken personality structures, undermine coping and lay the groundwork for eventual demoralization. Its driving features – individualism, materialism, hyper-competition, greed, over-complication, overwork, hurriedness and debt – all correlate negatively with psychological health and/or social wellbeing. The level of intimacy, trust and true friendship in people’s lives has plummeted. Sources of wisdom, social and community support, spiritual comfort, intellectual growth and life education have dried up. Passivity and choice have displaced creativity and mastery. Resilience traits such as patience, restraint and fortitude have given way to short attention spans, over-indulgence and a masturbatory approach to life.
Research shows that, in contrast to earlier times, most people today are unable to identify any sort of philosophy of life or set of guiding principles. Without an existential compass, the commercialized mind gravitates toward a ‘philosophy of futility’, as Noam Chomsky calls it, in which people feel naked of power and significance beyond their conditioned role as pliant consumers. Lacking substance and depth, and adrift from others and themselves, the thin and fragile consumer self is easily fragmented and dispirited.
By their design, the central organizing principles and practices of consumer culture perpetuate an ‘existential vacuum’ that is a precursor to demoralization. This inner void is often experienced as chronic and inescapable boredom, which is not surprising. Despite surface appearances to the contrary, the consumer age is deathly boring. Boredom is caused, not because an activity is inherently boring, but because it is not meaningful to the person. Since the life of the consumer revolves around the overkill of meaningless manufactured low-level material desires, it is quickly engulfed by boredom, as well as jadedness, ennui and discontent. This steadily graduates to ‘existential boredom’ wherein the person finds all of life uninteresting and unrewarding.
THE MORAL NET
Consumption itself is a flawed motivational platform for a society. Repeated consummation of desire, without moderating constraints, only serves to habituate people and diminish the future satisfaction potential of what is consumed. This develops gradually into ‘consumer anhedonia’, wherein consumption loses reward capacity and offers no more than distraction and ritualistic value. Consumerism and psychic deadness are inexorable bedfellows.
Individualistic models of mind have stymied our understanding of many disorders that are primarily of cultural origin. But recent years have seen a growing interest in the topic of cultural health and ill-health as they impact upon general wellbeing. At the same time, we are moving away from naïve behavioural models and returning to the obvious fact that the human being has a fundamental nature, as well as a distinct set of human needs, that must be addressed by a cultural blueprint.
In his groundbreaking book The Moral Order, anthropologist Raoul Naroll used the term ‘moral net’ to indicate the cultural infrastructure that is required for the mental wellbeing of its members. He used numerous examples to show that entire societies can become predisposed to an array of mental ills if their ‘moral net’ deteriorates beyond a certain point. To avoid this, a society’s moral net must be able to meet the key psycho-social-spiritual needs of its members, including a sense of identity and belonging, co-operative activities that weave people into a community, and shared rituals and beliefs that offer a convincing existential orientation.
Similarly, in The Sane Society, Erich Fromm cited ‘frame of orientation’ as one of our vital ‘existential needs’, but pointed out that today’s ‘marketing characters’ are shackled by a cultural programme that actively blocks fulfilment of this and other needs, including the needs for belonging, rootedness, identity, transcendence and intellectual stimulation. We are living under conditions of ‘cultural insanity’, a term referring to a pathological mismatch between the inculturation strategies of a culture and the intrapsychic needs of its followers. Being normal is no longer a healthy ambition.
“To succeed in your professional life isn’t that hard, but to succeed in your personal life is a lot harder. To really be a human is a lot harder. We forget about that.”
These are the words of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, director of the film Human, from which the clip below was taken. The gentleman in the clip is Jose Mujica. Dubbed ‘the world’s poorest president,’ he recently retired after a five year run as the president of Uruguay. In the 60’s and 70’s, he was a Tupamaros freedom fighter, and was subsequently detained and put in solitary confinement for 13 years. After holding several positions within the Uruguayan government, he eventually became the president of his country, serving from 2010 to 2015. Over the course of his life he has endured the unimaginable, and he offers us today some wisdom borne of his incredible experiences.
“I dedicated myself to the struggle for change, to improve life in my society. And now, I am the president.”
Below the video you will find 6 facts about life and the current human experience that will definitely have you questioning your role in this world.
Your Time Here Is Limited – What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?
“And tomorrow, like everyone, I’ll just be a can of worms, and disappear.”
As Gandalf the Grey from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings once said, “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Life is indeed short, and our time here is limited, so ask yourself, what do you want to do with the time that has been given to you?
Being born today probably means you’re going to spend most of your childhood in school, most of your adolescence in more school, and then most of your adulthood at work. Unfortunately, even after expending all this effort and sacrificing all this time, many of us can barely afford a roof over our heads and healthy food on the table. We are, for lack of a better term, ‘slaves to the system.’ What is truly depressing about this cycle is that it is entirely unnecessary. Nothing about our existence inherently require us to live in this way. And while we should of course be grateful for the opportunities we have in life and for being able to afford basic necessities — a luxury many people do not enjoy – we should nevertheless continue striving for more — more freedom, more choice, more autonomy.
Personally, I believe you can create your own life, or at least create joy in yourself regardless of your circumstances. I have been placed in multiple situations that I did not want to be in, but I chose to accept them and look at them as challenges and opportunities for growth. In the meantime, I still engaged myself in my passions as much as I could. While we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can always choose our attitude about them.
Do what ignites your soul as much as possible — this is my philosophy. If you don’t know what your passion is, start paying closer attention to the way things make you feel. When you find yourself excited about something, take note of it, and begin to think of ways to incorporate it into your daily life. There is always a step you can take, no matter how small you perceive it to be.
If you have an intention in your heart, whether it is to make the world a better place or to help other people, that intention alone can be the starting point of something great, provided you take the necessary action steps to get there.
So I ask you again, what ignites your heart? What would you like to spend your time doing? What would you like to work towards? Doing what you love makes you feel good, and we need more people on this planet who feel happy and fulfilled within themselves, radiating that positivity outwards.
I think the biggest takeaway from this is to be grateful for your life, and take full advantage of this precious gift while you can.
Changing The World Isn’t Easy
“I dedicated myself to the struggle for change . . . I had many setbacks, many injuries, some years in prison, Anyway… The routine for anyone setting out to change the world. Miraculously, I’m still here. And above alI, I love life.”
If you are on this site and reading this article, there’s a good chance you have within you the desire to change the world. I receive emails all the time from people who want to have a positive impact, but they just don’t seem to know where to begin. In many cases, they don’t feel like they are even capable of having any significant impact on the world.
This is one thing that I have struggled with and still do; I often feel like my actions do not matter. I’ve learned, however, that the change you effect in this world cannot be measured in dollars and cents or by Facebook likes and followers. It is not quantifiable in that way. Your impact is measured by how you treat others in your everyday life. If you can operate from a place of inner peace, if you can be kind to others, and if you can maintain a desire to help people, you will be well on your way to making significant planetary change.
It’s not an easy process. Your will is going to be tested and your buttons are going to be pushed. Most people who wish to spend their lives changing the world often experience hardships. These hardships will make you who you are, these hardships are lessons. There is more than one way to change the world, and if your heart is calling you to a specific area, you must not be afraid to follow it. You should, however, be aware that it will not be easy, but also that nothing worthwhile ever is. Following your heart means nourishing your soul.
You are not your shame, your fears, your addictions, your games, your guilt, the internalized remnants of negative messaging… You are not your resistance to your true path… You are not your self-doubt… You are not your self-distraction patterns… You are not your escape hatches… You are not your pessimism about a life of meaning and purpose… You are not here merely to survive and endure.
You are Sacred Purpose
No matter what others have mistakenly told you about who you are; no matter what mistakes you may have made in the past, you are here with a sacred purpose living at the core of your being. If that weren’t true, you never would have made it down the birth canal. You never would have overcome what you have already overcome in your life.
You are Sacred Purpose
Whatever your ways of distracting, postponing, delaying, armouring, avoiding, altering, feigning, artificializing, externalizing, superficializing your life… I encourage you to STOP IT NOW.
This really is no game, this is completely real, this sacred purpose that courses through your soul veins, crying out to be heard from below the surface of our avoidance. I cannot say this with enough assertiveness.
To the extent that you identify and honour your true path in this lifetime, you will know genuine satisfaction; real peace in your skin. You will be infused with vitality and a clarified focus, new pathways of possibility appear where before there were obstacles. You will know a peace that will buffer you against the madness of the world, a clarity of direction that will carry you from one satisfaction to another. Life will still have its challenges, but you will interface with them differently, coated in an authenticity of purpose that sees through the veils to what really matters.
To the extent that you avoid the quest for purpose, you will live a frustrated half-life; your avoidance manifests in all manner of illness, perpetual dissatisfaction, emotional problems, depression, addictive patterns–all reflections of your own alienation from the purposeful root of your being. You see, there really is no escape from reality, all there is, is postponement.
You should be more afraid of avoiding your path than walking it.
You are Sacred Purpose
It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you about who you are. There is so much of that. This is your journey. Even those with the best of intentions cannot know the path you are here to walk. The REAL journey is not one of adapting ourselves to someone else’s vision, but instead, shaping who we are with our own two hands. The unique clay we work with lives deep inside our soul bones, awaiting our own detection and expression.
You are the sculptor of your own reality–don’t hand your tools to anyone else.
Only you can know the path you are here to walk. It’s a personal decision, and it doesn’t have to be grandiose. Your purpose can be as simple as learning how to listen better or how to enjoy the moment without getting in your own way–wherever the growing is, wherever you find genuine peace with path, wherever you feel unmasked and genuinely real.
In the survivalist world that we are coming from, we define ourselves by what GOT US through the day, whatever masks got food on the table, whatever way of being endured this challenging life, but we are at the beginning of a new way; a way of being that is sourced from who we REALLY ARE. Not our egoic face, not our survivalist face, not the false face of our hidden power, but the REAL face, the real path, the no bullshit, no hype, no pretence expression of WHO you REALLY ARE and a life that fully and deeply expresses the magnificence that lives within you. Your sacred purpose may be covered in dust, it may be hidden from view, but it is still in there, sparkling with infinite possibility.
The most pertinent human drive is that of the will to power, as Nietzsche so eloquently lays out in his numerous works, but the question still remains as to what is truly the essence of power as well as how one might go about attaining it. In this segment we will explore the nature of power and thereby illuminate what it is to be a genuine spiritual savage, which whether we know it or not is what we all most deeply seek to be.
Let’s start with the nature of power, shall we?
Power is ultimately a profound sense of control, a deeply rooted quality of security, but the mistaken presumption here is that this sense of control must be directed outwardly. It need not be, in fact the need to control the outer world implies an absence of power inwardly. The true essence of power is predicated upon self-understanding, an intimate knowledge of one’s innermost workings. We go astray when we confuse this quality of power as such with “power over”, which is fundamentally a movement of insecurity.
The spiritual savage does not seek to attain power over people, places, and things, for he/she realizes that there is no need to pursue such false ends.
The Spiritual Savage does not attempt to manipulate the present moment, rather merely embodies the utter immediacy of what simply is. It is only from this quality of inner acceptance, which again is an integral aspect of true human power, that we may come to move most dynamically and effectively through the world. As it is within, so it goes without.
Power is attained through the acknowledging of that which is formless within oneself, which could perhaps be most aptly described as the condition of pure consciousness. When it is wholly understood that what we are in the very depths of our being is entirely unnameable, is not a “thing” as such, is not form-induced, then we invariably move towards the unveiling and manifesting of our innate existential power. As long as we remain tied to an egoic mode of perception, a form-identified notion of self, the intrinsic potential of our consciousness cannot possibly be met.
The Spiritual Savage lives beyond the reach of the egoic mind, outside the scope of selfhood. When we tap into that which we truly are in the very core of our being there then ceases to be a need to identify with this or that, and this proclivity to identify with a particular form is surely a co-factor of this illusory sense of power that is based in the containing “power over” the other. When we know ourselves we then know the other, and when the other is known we see rather clearly that having power over others is merely an intricate form of self-inhibition.
The leading philosophy of Western science has been monistic materialism. Various scientific disciplines have described the history of the universe as the history of developing matter and accept as real only what can be measured and weighed. Life, consciousness, and intelligence are seen as more or less accidental side-products of material processes. Physicists, biologists, and chemists recognize the existence of dimensions of reality that are not accessible to our senses, but only those that are physical in nature and can be revealed and explored with the use of various extensions of our senses, such as microscopes or telescopes, specially designed recording devices, and laboratory experiments.
In a universe understood this way, there is no place for spirituality of any kind. The existence of God, the idea that there are invisible dimensions of reality inhabited by nonmaterial beings, the possibility of survival of consciousness after death, and the concept of reincarnation and karma have been relegated to fairy tales and handbooks of psychiatry. From a psychiatric perspective, to take such things seriously means to be ignorant, unfamiliar with the discoveries of science, superstitious, and subject to primitive magical thinking. If the belief in God or Goddess occurs in intelligent persons, it is seen as an indication that they have not come to terms with the infantile images of their parents as omnipotent beings that they had created in their infancy and childhood. And direct experiences of spiritual realities are considered manifestations of serious mental diseases — psychoses.
The study of holotropic states has thrown new light on the problem of spirituality and religion. The key to this new understanding is the discovery that in these states it is possible to encounter a rich array of experiences which are very similar to those that inspired the great religions of the world — visions of God and various divine and demonic beings, encounters with discarnate entities, episodes of psychospiritual death and rebirth, visits to Heaven and Hell, past life experiences, and many others. Modern research has shown beyond any doubt that these experiences are not products of pathological processes afflicting the brain, but manifestations of archetypal material from the collective unconscious, and thus normal and essential constituents of the human psyche. Although these mythic elements are accessed intrapsychically in a process of experiential self-exploration and introspection, they are ontologically real and have objective existence. The matrices for them exist in deep recesses of the unconscious psyche of every human being.
In view of these observations, the fierce battle that religion and science had fought over the last few centuries appears ludicrous and completely unnecessary. Genuine science and authentic religion do not compete for the same territory; they represent two approaches to existence, which are complementary, not competitive. Science studies phenomena in the material world, the realm of the measurable and weighable, while spirituality and true religion draw their inspiration from experiential knowledge of the aspect of the world that Jungians refer to as “imaginal,” to distinguish it from imaginary products of individual fantasy or psychopathology. This imaginal world manifests in what I call “holotropic states of consciousness” — the altered states in which experiences surface that, as stated above, are very similar to those that inspired the great religions of the world.
Spirituality is a very important and natural dimension of the human psyche, and the spiritual quest is a legitimate and fully justified human endeavor. However, it is necessary to emphasize that this applies to genuine spirituality based on personal experience and does not provide support for ideologies and dogmas of organized religions. To prevent misunderstanding and confusion that in the past compromised many similar discussions, it is critical to make a clear distinction between spirituality and religion.
Spirituality is based on direct experiences of ordinarily invisible numinous dimensions of reality, which become available in holotropic states of consciousness. It does not require a special place or officially appointed persons mediating contact with the divine. The mystics do not need churches or temples. The context in which they experience the sacred dimensions of reality, including their own divinity, is provided by their bodies and nature. And instead of officiating priests, they need a supportive group of fellow seekers or the guidance of a teacher who is more advanced on the inner journey than they are themselves.
There’s no question — we live in a digital age. And though this statement rings true, we can also say that we are living in the age of our collective evolution.
We seem to be more inclined to search for truth and look deeper at matters within ourselves than ever before, while wishing to share each and every moment of life LIVE for others to review and rate. All in all, what I believe to be true is that we are dancing on a fine line of extremities where we are striving to balance both our digital and spiritual worlds.
With this said, while scrolling through my feed today I came across a video that really got me reflecting. Have we, as a society, become so dependent on our phones and technology that even infants must turn to the glowing screens to be soothed or numbed?
Of course we must take into consideration that it is most often than not the parent’s (or the one caring for and influencing the child) actions that truly mold a child’s behaviour, as well as the programming and understanding of the adult that cradles the philosophy, mannerisms, etc. that the child will inevitably be taught or inherit. Not to say there are not those who would rather embrace their child’s cries and soothe them in a different manner, but it is important to note that there are two very clear and distinct ways of going about this. We can either pacify with external modes, or choose to connect deeply.
Whether we are parents or not, I believe it is crucial, as habitants of this world, to really see the difference between these two examples. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way here, but this video offers a reflection point for us to consider and act upon shifting to a more connected species so that we may begin to heal and soothe our Selves naturally and effectively, as opposed applying to temporary bandages that stem from outer influence.