(The following passage is excerpted from Chapter 1 of The Grand Illusion)
In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. Eric Hoffer
Kuhn states in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that the actualization of a scientific paradigm is achieved by increasing the extent of the match between its facts and its predictions, and by further articulation of the paradigm itself: “mop-up work.” Kuhn’s candor is enlightening, as he explains that such work occupies most scientists right through their careers; it is “normal science,” an enterprise attempting to force-fit nature into the preformed conceptual boxes supplied by the already existing paradigm (the Big Bang theory comes to mind). New sorts of phenomena are not sought, and those phenomena that won’t be squeezed into pre-existing boxes tend to not even be seen at all. Scientists generally don’t seek to invent new theories, and they don’t always tolerate the theories of other scientists.[i]
Psychologically speaking, it makes sense that scientists imprinted by the culturally dominant paradigm they are born into will expend most of their energy attempting to understand it better and elaborate on it. Practically speaking, this has to be done because of the chasms that exist between science’s theoretical understandings of the cosmos (from the Greek Kosmos, meaning “ordered whole”) and what the cosmos actually has to offer—and every answer yields another ten questions. The average scientist is busy enough trying to test and validate aspects of the preformed paradigmatic box he or she has inherited without having to worry about various anomalies that challenge the basic parameters, theoretical underpinnings, or first principles of that box. Hence, anomalous data, such as that which we will deliberately focus on in this book, is typically unfavorable to those scientists imprinted by a theory or model of the universe that posits that such phenomena should not even exist. The presumption seemingly made by many scientists—like the child who naïvely sees his parents as being god-like in their knowledge and authority—is obviously that the paradigm must be right and that there’s no point actually checking, or else why would it be the dominant paradigm? This, of course, creates unscientific institutionalized blind spots that do not harmonize with people whose conscious experience is not congruent with what the popular theory says they should or shouldn’t be experiencing. If the facts of your waking experience are not encapsulated by the theory, and your experiences are being shared by millions of other people, then perhaps the theory needs some revision.
Importantly, Kuhn also stated that a paradigm defines what constitutes a valid scientific problem. Any pursuits venturing away from the confines of the paradigm therefore define themselves as being “unscientific” (and therefore the findings must be untrue) by default, and—to conventional thinking—this is where most of the information contained in this book lies: the scientific wilderness or no man’s land. This briefly outlined “scientific” approach, needless to say, can institutionalize myopic and dogmatic gate-keeping activities that prevent novel research from occurring (or being published), ironically in the name of science if not the form, leading to a stagnation in the advancement of science to the extent that such activities succeed and prevail. However, history shows that such circumstances break down in the end, in line with the ultimate law of the world of form and relativity: the only constant is change.
The individuals who catalyze such breakdowns and revolutions of thought and encourage them to unfold towards what will ultimately be a state of greater order and understanding (whether they facilitate this consciously or otherwise) are what Rudhyar called civilizers (and what historian Arthur Toynbee referred to as creative minorities). These (relatively) independent and forward-thinking minds possess a differing vision from the majority of culturally conditioned minds, aptly designated as culture minds. For clarity, culture is defined by anthropologists as a collection of learned survival strategies passed on to our young through teaching and modeling.[ii] The culture mind, which is essentially a reflection of the collective or group mind, is the one that imprints on and inherits a pre-existing paradigm, refines it, champions it, and, maybe above all, defends it against “attack” from unfamiliar and unexpected data—supposedly for the benefit of humankind, but in truth simply as a coping mechanism, perhaps a perversion of a biological survival drive. Such was the role of those who decried the invention of the light bulb, the radio, the telescope, and almost every other novel and important invention through our history.
Joseph C. Pearce refers to culture as “the collective embodiment of our survival ideation,” and “a circular stalemate,”[iii] and in this sense our narrow cultural tendencies are holding us back from transcending ourselves. The civilizer mind, on the other hand, is the lonely soul or minority of souls brave or silly enough to bring forth such unexpected and “ridiculous” creations as light bulbs, radios, quantum mechanics, or parapsychology, and pose the uncomfortable questions stemming from them that the culture mind’s paradigm had failed to anticipate.
What if this new phenomenon is real? What if the universe doesn’t work the precise way our paradigms led us to believe? What if more is possible? The civilizer will pursue a new line of inquiry in spite of its being politically incorrect or taboo, if he or she perceives that such a pursuit could benefit mankind in the long run. This will of course be done to the chagrin of the tribally oriented culture mind who perceives, however dimly, such investigation as a threat to his status and identity—his models of self and the universe. Eventually, when the civilizer has succeeded in gaining acceptance for his new concept or invention and it has become familiar and even commonplace, a new breed of culture mind will grow up taking this once dangerous heresy for granted as self-evident and obvious.
Thus, the genius civilizer and Hermeticist Isaac Newton’s profound scientific output led to the formulation of new and unforeseen paradigms which would ultimately be inherited by culture mind minions who would dogmatically insist that those materialistic and reductionistic paradigms essentially described the Universe as it was and must necessarily be, refusing to acknowledge the validity of legitimate information that did not conform to the expectations induced by those (incomplete) paradigms. New data or refinements were permissible only insofar as they did not challenge the fundamental precepts of the Newtonian outlook, and thus the religion of Funda-Materialism (Fundamentalist Materialism) was born (which is ironic, since, as Newton matured he moved from a mechanistic view to an essentially “magical” one, being deeply involved in alchemical research, as well as being a Freemason and student of Biblical prophesy[iv]).
The culture mind is typically bent on maintaining the status quo at any cost, for it lacks imagination and vision enough to see a potentially better way of operating, and more importantly, its identity is intimately tied to said status quo, so challenging the latter threatens the former by default. It might reluctantly agree to consider making some small changes, however, if a “credible” and familiar cultural authority figure can induce it into perceiving some kind of self-benefit for such an action. As Joseph Chilton Pearce observes, “Culture is the fundamental deviancy of intellect from intelligence, and because of its massively unnatural and arbitrary, and illogical nature, it requires an equally massive energy to sustain it.”[v]
Inspection reveals that for the most part—within the context of paranormal research—that energy is the emotion known as fear, and it is usually repressed/subliminal, lurking in the background, tacitly guiding our processes of logic (and sabotaging our capacity to learn). Culture, as Pearce points out, feeds the ancient survival modes of our brain and keeps us locked into them.[vi] This means that information challenging the culture mind’s paradigm and sense of self evokes a fight-or-flight biological sort of response—about the lowest level of intelligence available to us. Having only those two ways of responding to “threatening” data is profoundly limiting to intelligence. It leaves one with only the option of perpetually debunking (“fighting”) information through a pseudo-intellectual veneer, or simply fleeing from the most challenging facts altogether. More intelligent responses could be forthcoming if our sense of self was not based on such flimsy ground and so easily “undermined”—expanded on, in truth—by the “unexplainable.”
Self-interest is a strong motive for the biospherically oriented culture mind, while the civilizer’s motive is typically something more transpersonal, something vaster and more far-reaching. The civilizer seeks to drag the possible future into the manifest present. In Rudhyar’s estimation, the steps to preparing for the role as a civilizer include “having a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the forms and institutions that the culture has built…and the development of a mind able to relentlessly question the intellectual and/or moral validity of the essential premises (paradigms) constituting the framework of the collective mentality of a society having already passed its maturity.”[vii]
Gautama the Buddha, Pythagoras, Newton, Bacon, Tesla and many researchers, mystics, and occultists who will be mentioned in the following pages have been cast in the mould of the civilizer mind, pioneers and trailblazers that they are (or were). The consciousness of these individuals no longer imbues the familiar cultural beliefs, assumptions, values, behavioral patterns, and concepts, with the importance and/or meaning they have for the average human being/culture mind. In some cases, Rudhyar observed, these people have actually “transferred the center of their consciousness and therefore their sense of identity from the biopsychic level to a spiritual-mental level.”[viii] This is exactly what we seek to facilitate here.
What the creative minds are able to communicate to others in their culture “becomes a mutating ideologic seed that, sooner or later, will germinate and affect other minds.”[ix] Thus, culture is the carrier wave, as Rudhyar termed it, of civilization. The process of civilization cannot occur without cultures and culture minds to evolve and transform, to “civilize.” “Culture forms. Civilization transforms.”[x]
The process of transformation implies a sort of crisis (from a Greek root, meaning “to decide”), and it is indeed a crisis/decision point that humanity currently finds itself at. This is especially so for our dominant scientific paradigms, placed under siege and laid waste by inconvenient facts that have been swept under the proverbial rug for so long now that the rug looks as if it’s hiding a jittery woolly mammoth. This hulking mass now appears ready to topple over into collective awareness with an almighty crash. Our cherished materialistic-reductionist paradigms of life and consciousness are crumbling under the weight of their own obfuscations and omissions. Such is the saturation of inconvenient facts that perceptive scientists such as Radin can legitimately state that we are indeed making the step from Phase 1 of outright institutional denial to Phase 2 of reluctant acceptance and further, more mainstream investigation. This very fact signifies a philosophical crisis occurring in the hallowed halls of science, as the growing realization dawns on more and more minds that our dominant politically correct scientifically induced (and scientistically preserved) metaphysical assumptions about our existence are simply unable to cope with the questions being asked of them.
New paradigms are in the making—culture is being civilized (transformed) in a way that few generations on this Earth have ever had the opportunity to witness. With the capability to “nuke” or simply pollute and contaminate ourselves out of existence, there has probably not been a better time in our recorded history to embrace the dynamic of civilization and choose to consciously transform ourselves and our cultures (and by that I don’t mean throwing in with a totalitarian World Government agenda run by psychopathic unelected financial oligarchs). The creations of civilizer minds, as opposed to culture minds, induce sociocultural transformation rather than fulfilment, or what we might often refer to as the preservation of the status quo. Such humans are transpersonal beings, according to Rudhyar. “Space, life, God, act through them, even if they are not aware of this fact.”[xi] The civilization process pertains to the activity of “spirit” as spirit acts through the mind. While spirit creates, culture merely reproduces.[xii] Finally, Rudhyar tells us: “The way of transformation is what occultists call ‘The Path.’ The real civilizer is the man of relationship. He relates the as-yet-unknown to the known, the greater to the lesser.”[xiii]
This book, as the reader has no doubt gathered by now, is the kind of dangerous and subversive text that can potentially play a civilizing or transformative role—as long as one’s mind is receptive, curious, and open. The time is ripe for such outlandish material to be circulated en masse, because perhaps never in our known history have the masses of mankind been so beaten down, worn out, and disillusioned with the status quo (just look at the “Occupy” movement!). More to the point is the fact that never before have we known the collective mind to be undertaking the kind of mass awakening that now appears to be happening and gathering pace, even as I type these words.
What makes this book dangerous to the conditioned culture mind is the author’s refusal to allow his perceptions to be utterly dictated and shaped by his own culture’s customs, taboos, and metaphysical assumptions. This book challenges dogma, culturally ingrained assumptions, and beliefs, rather than arbitrarily selecting one particular “culturized” viewpoint (say, materialism, Freudianism, or Christian fundamentalism) and espousing it at the expense of all other viewpoints merely out of fear or pride. Culture seizes the new ideas civilization creates and erects them into systems and truths endowed with permanent value, leading to tradition and also dogmatism. The civilizer “plays with” ideas and his mind “sees,” while the culture-man’s mind cogitates and endlessly argues pros and cons.[xiv] The purpose of this book is not to merely argue pros and cons, but to expand one’s vision: to civilize/transform.
It is interesting to note that one cannot spell culture without cult. What is a cult best at? Rigidly and fiercely maintaining its own cognitive status quo, its ontology, in spite of any and all evidence to the contrary—indefinitely. Extreme data filtration and streamlining. Model fanaticism courtesy of what I dub “paradigmatic fanatics.” No cult member ever really realizes the depths of stupidity he or she, as a believer, sinks to until they leave the cult, dis-identify with its models of reality and the world, and stand on the outside looking in. We want to transcend the culture mind. A change in perspective (data reception and meaning creation) is a powerful thing.
The product of any profound and positive change in perspective is transformation/civilization.
At this point in our history, can we aim for anything less?
What readers are saying:
Brendan is the Chomsky of the Spiritual movement.
Alistair Larmour, medical intuitive
The whole book was amazing and I am insisting that all of the trainers who teach my model read it as well as putting it on the Must Read list for my classes and telling them about it verbally. It is important. Thank you for this masterpiece. The world needs it.
I believe that your writing is even more important than your admirers realize because it can help to awaken the influential leaders who already know that we must begin immediately to build a new paradigm. That cannot happen without a revised understanding about the true nature of consciousness. I know of no one who is grappling with the problem at your level. I will be sharing your writing with others.
[T]his is a really good piece of work, my friend! Good research, well thought out, impeccably reported, a real contribution to the field…Rock on!
Dave Yurth, scientist, inventor, author
A masterpiece…The Grand Illusion is mind-blowing.
Sol Luckman, author of Potentiate Your DNA
[i] See Kuhn.
[ii] Pearce, The Biology of Transcendence, 2.
[iii] Ibid., 3.
[iv] See my article The Newton You Never Knew (www.globalfreedommovement.org).
[v] Pearce, 125.
[vi] Ibid., 171.
[vii] Rudhyar, 107.
[viii] Ibid., 34.
[ix] Ibid., 44.
[x] Ibid., 26.
[xi] Ibid., 66–7.
[xii] Ibid., 180.
[xiii] Ibid., 129.
[xiv] Ibid., 194.
(Complete references are in The Grand Illusion)