The past few years have been a series of unprecedented astonishments. Throughout my academic education as a philosopher I had little connection to the sacred. The closest I got were moments of awe in encountering the majesty of nature, bouts of the divine madness of erotic love, and the glories of high art that at times use the five senses to take you beyond them.
But to paraphrase Tyson, everybody has an argument against the divine until they get punched into outer space by a mystical experience either through meditative techniques or heroic doses of entheogens. Once you have seen beyond the veil, you cannot forget, because what you just went through was literally the opposite of forgetfulness, it was an instance of recollection, what Plato calls anamnesis, a recovery of wisdom that felt more real than anything you could have experienced with your five senses. For a few precious moments, though during the experience it felt like you were looking at the world from the perspective of the eternal (sub specie aeternitatis), the veil of appearance was lifted, the cave of darkness exited, and the sun of consciousness realized. Gradually, the obscure and at times fantastical descriptions of mystics the world over started making more sense, for the lived experience of a true mystery revealed arguments to be mere shadows on the walls of ignorance.
Once you experience the transcendental and return from the sacred to the profane, you become an amphibian according to Plotinus, living two lives4, one here, and one there, and you look for what connects the one to the other, till they become one and the same (that’s when samsara becomes nirvana if you want to use a Buddhist terminology). But in that tension, neither you nor the world remains the same. You finally understand what it means to be in the world but not of this world. If you are so called, you gradually become a psychopomp, guiding others from the one plane to another, or a hierophant, revealing the sacred to those willing, ready, and capable of receiving and integrating it.
It is this transformation of consciousness, this initiation to the mysteries of the cosmos with our whole being, that brings about the total overcoming of nihilism and the transvaluation of values that Nietzsche was looking for.
I stress with our whole being because it is more common for our civilizations, when they don’t fully traumatize humans into unconscious servile automatons seeking thrills, distractions or numbness, to produce people with a hypertrophy in only a single part of their being. Brilliant experts in one domain but lost dullards of life in general. In contrast, when your whole being is involved in a process of evolution and transcendence, the scope of your identity changes and the circle of your concern widens.
It is the opposite of narcissism: The self is not inflated to become the world, othering and devaluing anything that is not similar to it, an exercise in futility, solipsism, and hubris, but deflated to let it in, and change one from within.
In such a process, it is not your sense of entitlement that grows but your feeling of compassion & care for all entities in which your new identity now recognizes a universal kinship while being able to revel in each unique expression of that identity.
Like realizing we all are made of and can play with the same individual musical notes, yet are still able to marvel and be moved by the individual combinations that make up wonderful and diverse melodies, so that every musician from every genre can appreciate one another and champion the glory of music and actively support and defend the preconditions that make it possible, while ascribing more or less value to different beings becoming as absurd as claiming the white keys are more important than the black keys in the piano.
The challenges we face are a direct consequence of our collective level of consciousness and development that then becomes instantiated in our institutions, businesses, governments, technologies, and laws. If we are to secure universal flourishing, and prevent our own material extinction and future generations from incarnating on a beautiful planet, we need to orchestrate awakenings at scale while respecting where everyone is in their own individual journey. In short, the only thing worth scaling is enlightenment. But in contrast to the Age of Enlightenment between the 17th and the 18th centuries, the Enlightenment of the 21st has to be based on the acknowledgment of the sacred5, the recognition of our multidimensionality & interconnectedness, and the obligations we have to one another & the planet we’re part of.
That means, the acknowledgment and integration of occult truths (magic is real6, reincarnation occurs7, and parts of ourselves survive physical death8), the acknowledgment, healing, and regeneration of personal, collective, and environmental9 traumas, and the reclaiming of the many rites and rituals for personal and collective mystical ecstasy and integration, found in modern movements and indigenous world traditions.
The technologies we have will hasten our destruction if we don’t heal and develop the souls that guide them. Once souls are healed and supported in their trajectory of evolution, the technologies we have will be put to good use and amplify our flourishing rather than accelerate our extinction.
This is the challenge of our generation. It is not to reclaim some conceited greatness acquired by conquest and maintained by injustice, but to remember who we are, so we can become all we can be. To learn what love is, how to give it and receive it, how to be it, accepting its grace and working its wonders, and embodying its expression towards one another and the world at large.
We live in a cosmic game of unfathomable beauty and complexity. It is more beautiful when everyone knows how to jam, so let us help one another to learn how to play and dance in its splendor.
Our work is not done, till no one has to work, yet everything is working better than ever, until Burning Man becomes Tending Man and can happen regeneratively all year everywhere for everyone rather than once a year for some in the desert. Till Gaia becomes our temple, and Ascension becomes our Burn.
- In reference to a phrase in Max Weber’s famous lectures.
- In reference to Keats’s famous line in his poem Lamia.
- In reference to Nietzsche’s pronouncement.
- That’s literally what the word amphibian means in ancient Greek.
- Which is not the same as supporting organized religions who have mostly lost their way and have become instruments of social control rather than transcendental liberation.
- Check Dr. Dean Radin’s, Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe.
- See the documentaries The Boy Who Lived Before, Children’s Past Lives, and Episode 6 of Surviving Death.
- The way we currently live generates avoidable trauma and needs to be redesigned in regenerative fashion on all levels.