Life As Awakening


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     In this essay we'll examine how the ordinary mental state of most humans is literally a form of dreaming while asleep. We'll discover precisely what this involves, how humans arrive at this state, and--most important--how we can escape from this delusory dream state and ascend to a higher mode of consciousness. By "ordinary consciousness," we mean the usual state of awareness, including the associated mental and emotional elements.

     If we ask the average person why he believes his ordinary consciousness is veridical, he'll say that it puts him in touch with reality in a way that "works" for him. "My usual way of thinking enables me to deal with objects, persons, and events in a manner that leads to successful outcomes. Since it 'works' for me why would I even consider the silly idea that I'm living in an illusory world or a dream state? I'm free from any such absurd restriction."


"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


     The difificulty is that the ordinary person isn't able--or willing--to acknowledge when his habitual consciousness (the dream state) leads him astray; when his view of the world causes him to mistake a dictatorial police state for a democracy, a mindless tyrant for a "fearless leader," and a pre-emptive, unjustified war for a struggle against terrorism and for the spreading of democracy.

     The dream state of ordinary life is, of course, different from dreaming during regular sleep. This special state of dreaming sleep is an extraordinarily difficult condition to become aware of--or acknowledge. People in this dream world take it to be reality; they don't believe they're asleep--in fact they'll argue strenuously with anyone who says they're asleep and dreaming. This unusual dream world becomes a mass delusion when enough people accept the illusory domain as real. The demonic cabal presently creating this dream world can define reality for the sleepwalkers.

Wake up! Snap out of it! Something's going on and you need to wake up! You've fallen into a trance or something, and you need to rouse yourself. You think you're awake but you're not - and as you've been sleeping, all kinds of hideous things have been happening.

I know that you think you're awake; your eyes are open, and you've been performing various motor functions and skills - after all, you are reading this. But you're still not really awake! You've been going through these actions as if you're in a trance, or under a spell or something, and you're not really awake; you're not really aware. It's very hard to explain the state you're in, but if you'd just snap out of it, you'd see what I'm talking about.

Let me put it another way. Things aren't really as you think they are. The thoughts you think aren't really your thoughts. You think them because somebody else wants you to think them. And the same applies to your actions. You do what ever it is you do because you've been programmed to do it. You don't realize it, but you've been programmed to think, act, and feel only within certain prescribed parameters. The bottom line, straight and simple, is: you are not really who you think you are - you think you are someone other than your own True Self.

You've been sold a complete bill of goods, right down to the very basics. What you believe, what you think is right or wrong, good or bad, what you should and shouldn't do, even who and what you think you are. But it's all a dream, an illusion, the result of the indoctrination and programming you've been subjected to. But underneath all this, the real YOU still exists.

You came into this life with a plan and a purpose. And you have an awesome power at your command. It lays silently inside, waiting. . . But you need to wake up and remember. Remember who you really are. Remember what you came here to do. And remember the awesome power. It is of great consequence that you do. I do realize that this must sound pretty crazy to you. But let me assure you; it is the truth. I wish there was something I could say or do that could instantly snap you out of it, but it doesn't work that way.

Waking up is a process. Plato described it clearly in The Republic, (Book VII; The Cave) And even though that was over two thousand years ago, he wasn't the first. The Vedas, the oldest written records of mankind, are road maps left behind by awakened ones. They tell of the various techniques and methods they used to wake up from this somnambulistic, dream-like state that we human beings live in.

Imagine that! The very first entry in the journal of mankind is a call to awaken. It tells us that we human beings are not who we think we are; it calls upon us to awaken from this sleep-like state, and remember that we are so very much more than we think we are. And it describes the power. And ever since, artists, saints, and poets, throughout all the ages, have endeavored to call our attention to this higher and truer state of existence. 1


The Ordinary Dreaming State

     Because our habitual state of dreaming sleep is so difficult to recognize and acknowledge, we'll need to examine this condition in detail and in as much depth as possible. The most insightful analysis of this state was carried out by Plato in a number of his dialogues. When we study Plato's dialogues mindfully we discover they possess an advanced technology enabling a prepared person to achieve a higher state of waking consciousness. We'll concentrate on Plato's Theaetetus and Commonwealth, because they refer directly to the ordinary state of dreaming sleep, reveal the nature of this condition, and provide the means of rising above such a state of delusion.

     In the Theaetetus, Socrates asks: "How can you determine whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?"

Theaetetus: "Indeed, Socrates, I do not know how to prove the one any more than the other, for in both cases the facts precisely correspond; and there is no difficulty in supposing that during all this discussion we have been talking to one another in a dream; and when in a dream we seem to be narrating dreams, the resemblance of the two states is quite astonishing."

Socrates: "You see, then, that a doubt about the reality of sense is easily raised, since there may even be a doubt whether we are awake or in a dream. And as our time is equally divided between sleeping and waking, in either sphere of existence the soul contends that the thoughts which are present to our minds at the time are true; and during one half of our lives we affirm the truth of the one, and, during the other half, of the other; and are equally confident of both."

      The feeling of certainty we have about our experience--whether awake or asleep--is the same. It's naive for us to assume that our mere feeling of confidence is enough to assure the veracity of our experience.

How We Are Put To Sleep

     Many people wonder why Plato insisted in the Commonwealth that educational and artistic material used with young people should be strictly supervised. This wonderment arises from our naive assumption that our American public educational system is free from control by ideological dogma. In fact, the opposite is true: American public educational institutions are entirely dominated by a system of misinformation and anti-intellectualism which has been imposed by the cabal which took control of education in the first decades of the twentieth century. The result has been just what they planned for: large masses of American citizens who are certifiably illiterate and lack any ability to think for themselves, thus allowing a criminal gang to take political and economic control of our nation.

     Plato insisted that educational and artistic material be supervised because young people learn from role models and become the kinds of people they read about and see in their everyday life.

"Since our students, the future leaders of the nation, imitate from their earliest childhood we should choose appropriate models for them to emulate, namely people who are courageous, self-controlled, virtuous, and free. We shouldn't encourage them to embody or imitate what is illiberal or shameful behavior because imitation gives rise to desire for that kind of reality. Imitation, continued from an early age, turns into habits and dispositions--of body, speech and mind." Commonwealth III (395 c-d)

     Instead of adopting Plato's teachings, Americans have allowed a depraved junta to seize control of the four most powerful brainwashing technologies in modern history: education, television, popular music, and movies. Through the insidious use of these instruments, American young people are programmed to value greed, egomania, money, power, fame, and cleverness in unscrupulousness, and are conditioned to crave and embody violence, ignorance, and anarchy.

"The average person in the US watches about four hours of television each day. Over the course of a year, we see roughly twenty five thousand commercials, many of them produced by the world's highest-paid cognitive psychologists. And these heavily produced advertisements are not merely for products, but for a lifestyle based on a consumer mind-set. What they're doing, day in and day out, twenty-five thousand times a year, is hypnotizing us into seeing ourselves as consumers who want to be entertained rather than as citizens who want to be informed and engaged. We need to take back the airwaves as a sphere of mature conversation and dialogue about our common future." 2

"Experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman reveal that, when a person watches television, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is the seat of logical thought. Here, information is broken down into its component parts and critically analyzed. The right brain, however, treats incoming data uncritically, processing information in wholes, leading to emotional, rather than logical, responses. The shift from left to right brain activity also causes the release of endorphins, the body's own natural opiates--thus, it is possible to become physically addicted to watching television, a hypothesis borne out by numerous studies which have shown that very few people are able to kick the television habit.

Peter Russell, "Dehypnosis - Breaking the Trance"

     One of Plato's ideas we must take seriously is that we're not born with a fully formed psyche or soul, but through nurture and education develop into a specific kind of person. We begin with a capacity to develop and enhance our own psyche or soul through the kinds of experiences we encounter or orchestrate. We ingest cultural messages from our parents, teachers, and authority figures and these archetypes shape our psyches. Since our souls are constituted by the cultural messages we encounter, we must carefully supervise the kinds of concepts and exemplars we experience.

     To comprehend the dream state of ordinary life we have to understand the distinct nature of the immature mind and how this mind is formed and controlled. In speaking of the undeveloped mind, Socrates says:

"The immature are incapable of judging what is the underlying meaning of an allegory (hyponoia) and what is not and the beliefs they absorb at that age are hard to erase and apt to become unalterable. For these reasons, then, we should take the utmost care to insure that the stories and myths that depict virtue are the best ones for them to hear." Commonwealth II (378d)

     Plato uses the Greek word hyponoia, 3 which refers to the hidden meaning of a myth, the meaning and understanding coming from below. "Hypo" means "under," and "noia" is thought or mind. So hyponoia is literally "hidden, deeper, or underlying thought or meaning to which an allegory refers." This word has the same stem as that used to refer to hypnosis: a process in which a person is able to affect you in a strange way by somehow coming in under the radar of your own critical thinking, placing your ordinary consciousness in a state of suspension.

      Plato is saying that an immature person cannot recognize that a myth or allegory is something that has a hidden, deeper, or underlying meaning and effect. The immature person is unable to recognize what that deeper meaning or effect is, what the story or myth or allegory is about, what it's doing. This peculiar lack of orientation and inability to distinguish meanings and detect effects is constitutive of the immature and infantile mind. In the cognizance of an undeveloped mind, myths or allegories float free of their deeper symbology and inducement, they float free even of the recognition that they have deeper significance and control.

      The mature, awakened mind possesses an exceptional capability of self-awareness, the "witness" aspect that allows it to stand apart and observe, ascertaining what is going on from a higher position of attentiveness. It is this extra-dimensional capability of awareness which Plato's dialogues enable us to develop, as they teach us to reflect on all aspects of our experience, not "falling asleep" in the immediacy of our sensations and thoughts.


Psychological and Intellectual Immaturity

     To explain what immaturity means, Plato introduces us to a specific psychic type in the opening passage of Book I of the Commonwealth: the elderly person who's never achieved intellectual or psychological maturity. Cephalus, an older man, acknowledges that the stories and myths he experienced in his early years now haunt him, causing him to fear the retribution for sins which the myths have caused him to believe will occur after death. Cephalus, like millions of people in the modern world, never matured emotionally and mentally: fantasies frighten him because he cannot tell the difference between myth and reality. He never understood what those early brainwashing fables did to him and didn't work to overcome their negative effect.

     Socrates explains that the impressions immature psyches take into their minds and emotions have a tendency to become fixed beliefs and habits, difficult to eradicate or change. A mature psyche has the capacity to distinguish truth from mere fantasy and appearance, propaganda from truth, to recognize stories as stories--and develop out of infantile illusions. Immaturity is the state of being asleep but presuming that you're awake; it is the inability to tell that you're NOT awake. Maturity is the capacity to distinguish true waking from vivid dream experiences. It's this discriminating capacity that goes to sleep when you go to sleep intellectually and emotionally. It's precisely because we can't tell that we're NOT awake that dream-experience has such power over us.

The American Condition

"The essential problem is that Americans have been lying to themselves for so many years now that they are completely incapable of telling the difference between the rather frightening truth and their mythological view of America. The roots of the problem go back to the 1930's, but the real problems began right after the Second World War, when the American government came under the control of the group of thugs who still run the country. There has been a carefully planned program of complete domination of all sources of information through total media control, the creation of the 'think tank' system to manufacture policy, the establishment of entrepreneurial right wing religion as a method of political control, the use of political contributions to buy politicians, and, if all else fails, simple violence. It is now a country where anyone who could do good is marginalized or assassinated, and changes in government are at least as likely to occur by coup d'etat than by the operation of democracy. There is no longer even the necessity to hide the fact that the country is run entirely for the benefit of certain large pools of capital. The essential lies that Americans tell themselves, which mainly have to do with class structure and, even at this late date, race, infect every major political issue in the country - crime and the incarceration industry, health care, the 'war on drugs', education, immigration including the racist response to 9-11, the environment, poverty and the extraordinary creation of what is really a new caste system consisting of a permanent underclass (something that has happened, unnoticed, only in the last few years), and even American foreign policy. Each year since around the time of Sinclair's broadcast [Gordon Sinclair's famous broadcast from radio station CFRB in Toronto in 1973] the situation has gotten worse, but lately the rate of deterioration appears to be increasing rapidly. Things have gotten so bad that the government is now fronted by a retarded (and I use that word in a technical sense) clown, who everyone treats as if he were a real President (the worst lie to yourself is when you have to pretend that the obvious idiot who leads you is entitled to do so). The lies are so deeply ingrained into American thought that the vast majority of the population apparently is incapable of seeing that there is anything wrong, meaning that there is no possibility of change." 4

     In Book V (476c) of the Commonwealth, Plato explains that the incapacity of the immature mind to distinguish truth from fancy is essentially what it means to be in a dream state. While dreaming we take the dream-image of a person to be a real person. We take something similar to be the very thing to which it appears similar. His exposition explains how we can distinguish between the true waking state and the dream state.

"What about someone who believes in beautiful things, but doesn't believe in Beauty itself and isn't able to follow anyone who could lead him to the knowledge of this Form? Don't you think his life is a dream rather than a wakened state? Isn't this dreaming: whether asleep or awake, to mistake resemblance for identity, to liken dissimilar things, to identify the expression of the Form as the Form itself, to think that a likeness is not a likeness but rather the thing itself that it is like? . . .

"But take the case of the other, who recognizes the existence of Beauty and is able to distinguish the Form from the objects which participate in the Form, neither putting the objects in the place of the Form nor the Form in the place of the objects--is he a dreamer, or is he awake?

"He is wide awake.

"And may we not say that the mind of the one who knows has knowledge, and that the mind of the other, who opines only, has opinion?

"Certainly."


     So, to become mature we must learn how to:

  • Distinguish resemblance from identity--for example, to distinguish between true democracy and the fake democracy that we now suffer under and hear the cabal puppets lie about bringing to Iraq

  • Avoid equating dissimilar things--for example, advancing in age is not equivalent to maturing

  • Understand forms

  • Abstain from identifying the manifestation of the Form as the Form itself: abstain from identifying our present Constitution (a plutocratic document) with the Ideal of a Commonwealth (a government of the people for the people)

  • Realize that a likeness is a likeness and not the thing itself that it is like: realize that an illiterate, demented president is not a genuine American President

     Maturity or awakedness is the capacity to stand apart from the immediacy of our experience and observe sensations and thoughts as they occur, reflecting on them, evaluating them, and thoughtfully choosing what our response will be. Plato assists us in attaining this kind of intellectual, emotional, and social maturity through his dialogues--but also through myths and fables as well.

"Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child-mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after-years relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth - often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you can not get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable."

Hypatia (370-415 CE), a Perennialist teacher and head of the Neo-Platonist school in Alexandria, murdered on the orders of "Christian" Bishop Cyril (who was later canonized by the Church)


The Transformative Use of Myths

     Plato is not suggesting that developing minds not be given myths, allegories, and fables from which to learn. He himself uses myth to teach and transform his readers. As with all elements in the terrestrial world, the use that is made of myths and allegories is the key. Hyponoia--myths with deeper meanings deposited under the literal surface--have a noetic character: the reader or listener has to think his way across a semantic bridge, beyond which lies a realm of transcendent knowledge. Plato's myths and dialogues--which are stories--are highly advanced devices through which we are enabled to ascend to a higher consciousness.

     Plato's use of dialectic and myth is so extraordinary that we have to work assiduously to grasp their deeper meaning and effect. The transformative elements of Plato's wizardry appear within the narrative of his dialogues, so it's easy to overlook them if we're not attuned to their characteristics and effects. We can learn a great deal by exploring Plato's strange myth which he develops in Book III of the Commonwealth (414c +). He refers to this myth as a "useful fiction" (not a lie 5) and says it is similar to old Phoenician tales about humankind's origin which people were encouraged to believe.

     The "useful fiction" or myth is to be told to all the people, informing them that their early life was a dream, that the education and training which they received was initiation into an illusory dream world. In reality, they will be told, during all that time they were actually being formed and nurtured in the womb of the earth. When they were fully formed, the earth, their mother, caused them to ascend to a higher realm. So, the earth and their country being their mother and their teacher, they are responsible for defending her against attack, and her citizens are all to be regarded as a part of their earth family.

     Plato's "useful fiction" also involves telling the people that God has framed them differently. Some have the power of command, and in the composition of these he has mingled gold, wherefore they are to receive the greatest honour. Others he has made of silver, to be auxilaries. Others again who are to be husbandmen and craftsmen he has composed of brass and iron. And God proclaims as a first principle to all the people that their primary duty is to preserve the human species.

     This myth fits into Plato's discussion of how the best kinds of humans can be produced through education and training--one of the major themes of the Commonwealth. Part of the educational process consists in observing students to see how their experiences affect them: who they know, what they read, and how they act. Do they, for example, swallow nonsense which is handed them and allow their beliefs to be formed by falsehoods?

     We must first recognize that Plato is presenting a myth about a myth: a story about how a story might be told to the people. Why would Plato possibly tell such a fable to the populace? What effect would Plato be trying to produce in the people to whom this myth was told? Why is he telling the story to his dialectical fellow-participants?

     Part of the people's evaluation will be to see how they react to this story. Far from wanting the people to believe such a "useful fiction," Plato is encouraging a questioning attitude in them concerning how they were raised and what effect all the cultural "received truths" (principles, axioms, laws, customs, structures) had on them. He is showing that their culture's "useful fictions" have shaped all their beliefs, habits, values, tastes, desires, self-estimation, and countless other elements. "Who am I?" Plato wants them to ask; "How was I formed by my culture?" "What response have I made to the cultural myths which shaped me?"

     Plato is encouraging them to question all their cultural values. "Why are there these class distinctions?" "For what purpose did my culture shape me in this particular way?" "How can I improve and transform myself, now that I have awakened to how I was structured by my culture?"

"What is so deceptive about the state of mind of the members of a society is the 'consensual validation' of their concepts. It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing whatsoever on reason or mental health. Just as there is a 'folie a deux' there is a 'folie a millions.' The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make them virtuous, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make them sane."

Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom

     The myth is meant to awaken people to question what has happened to them, what is currently happening to them, and what intelligent response they can make to their cultural engendering. It shows how easily public myths can, in some instances, completely structure the personality and social constraints of a culture. They are encouraged to become aware that they were earlier in an unrecognized state of sleep, were caused to ascend to a higher plane of awareness, but must now investigate and study their current state of consciousness to detect aspects of sleep or immaturity now present.

      Maturity or awakedness is the constant, unending endeavor of discovering aspects of immaturity or sleep in yourself and rising above those to a higher awareness. One of the essential ways of telling if you're asleep is if you're regularly discovering traits and behaviors in yourself of which you were previously unaware, negative elements that controlled you without your being cognizant of them. For example, you may discover that you previously had fooled yourself into believing that you wanted to understand what is going on in the world, and you realize you hadn't really wanted to at all--as evidenced by your mindlessly accepting the cabal's propaganda.

     Plato is using this unusual myth to explain the evolution of human experience. We're born as infants with very little self-awareness, living almost entirely in our immediate sensations and desires.

"The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears." 6

     As we grow older, we enter what is called "adult life" and embrace the cultural myth that we've wakened to a new form of conscious awareness. But part of what Plato's myth is telling us is that credulously swallowing this "adult life" myth involves merely "waking up" from one level of dream-life to enter another one. We are like someone in a dream who dreams that he wakes up. Thus although he considers himself awake, in reality he's still in a dream. As "adults," we're encouraged to believe that we're fully mature, that we now know what life is all about and have a total awareness of reality. The cultural myth of adulthood conditions us to believe that we've been initiated into the realm of civilized life and are heir to all the "received truths" which make us "enlightened" and "awakened."

      Plato's "useful fiction" helps us realize that most cultural myths are for the purpose of "putting us to sleep," making us believe we're mature and awake when we're not, making us assume we understand reality fully when we don't. Plato's myth helps us make the comprehensive distinction between appearance and reality, myth and truth, cultural conditioning and true maturity. It makes us aware that most of life is mere appearance, a dream meant to keep us asleep and ignorant. Thus this "useful fiction" is psychologically and metaphysically revolutionary. It sows seeds of critical awareness and healthy skepticism at a "mythic level," making us wary of both the myths we've experienced and any future myths we might encounter. We seek to understand what it is to be truly awake and fully in touch with reality. And as we attain awakedness and genuine maturity, we enter an entirely new world.

"The breakdown of the infantile adjustment in which providential powers ministered to every wish compels us either to flee from reality or to understand it. And by understanding it we create new objects of desire. For when we know a good deal about a thing, know how it originated, how it is likely to behave, what it is made of, and what is its place amidst other things, we are dealing with something quite different from the simple object naively apprehended.

"The understanding creates a new environment. The more subtle and discriminating, the more informed and sympathetic the understanding is, the more complex and yet ordered do the things about us become . . .   A world which is ordinarily unseen has become visible through the understanding."

Walter Lippmann. A Preface to Morals

     As Plato's myths make clear, we are the victims of a cultural trance. Whereas in hypnotism, we're aware that someone is trying to influence us, with our cultural conditioning the situation is the opposite.

  • "Our consensus trance is not voluntary; it begins at birth without our conscious agreement.

  • "All authority is surrendered to the parents, family members and other caretakers, who initially are regarded as omniscient and omnipotent.

  • "Induction is not limited to short sessions; it involves years of repeated reinforcement.

  • "Clinical therapists would consider it highly unethical to use force, but our cultural hypnotists often do -- a slap on the wrist, or severe reprimand for misbehaving. Or perhaps more subtle, but equally powerful, emotional pressures -- 'I will only love you if you think and behave as I tell you.'

  • "Finally, and most significantly, the conditioning is intended to be permanent. It may come from the very best of intentions, but it is, nevertheless, meant to have a lasting effect on our personalities and the way we evaluate the world.

  • "This is why awakening from our cultural trance entails far more than a simple snapping of the fingers. There is a lifetime’s worth of extremely powerful induction to be overcome.

  • "We would seem to be firmly stuck with our conditioning. Indeed, for most of the time we are. Yet there are occasions when we do wake up, and see things in a different light. In those moments we are given a glimpse of what is possible." 7


Awakening From Relativism

     Developing this higher level of awareness and discernment requires not only a positive expansion of our understanding and capabilities but ridding ourselves of negative elements. For example, we can only gain increased powers of discernment if we're unreservedly honest about ourselves and constantly seek to discover personality features that hold us back. We learn to recognize when we're rationalizing, equivocating, lying, projecting, or acting defensively.

     Plato explains--and effects--escape from sleep in Socrates' discussion with Theaetetus and Theodorus in the dialogue Theaetutus. Cultural "sleep" in Plato's day as in ours is created by people becoming literally possessed by the Protagorean/Thrasymachan ideology:

  • There is no objective truth; each individual is the determiner of truth and value for himself

  • Whatever a society thinks useful, and establishes as the truth, really is the truth so long as the established order continues in power

  • Justice is the interest of those in power: they decree what is legal or just

         Plato's discussion of relativism 8 is of immediate relevance because it has currently become the reigning ideology of American society. According to this creed, there is no way to determine the truth; truth is merely what a person happens to believe or what is imposed on society by the dominant powers; justice is the interest of those in power. Truth, under the rule of the current demonic cabal, is whatever they say is true. If they say there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we must invade Iraq to make us safe from terrorists, then by golly, that's the truth. If that proves not to be born out by inspection, so what. The truth is what they say is the truth. Dubya's allowing the NSA to spy on Americans is legal--because he says it's legal.

         We can best get a sense of the fantasy-based non-thinking of the Bush cult from an article by Ron Suskind in the New York Times:

    "In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

    "The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

         It's interesting that Plato's refutation of relativism now has a modern application, because Protagorean relativism has seized the mind of many Americans:

    • Since whatever a man thinks at the time is the truth for him, then no person can assess another person's judgment and see if it is right or wrong, so intelligent investigation of the truth becomes nonsense

    • Every person is equal in wisdom to every other person: that's why we have so many uninformed idiots paraded in front of television cameras as though their complete ignorance is an indication of their grasp of the truth

    • All arguments can be is forceful or entertaining, never true--(what pretends to be "argument" on TV is most often downright boring and the expression of uninformed beliefs)


         Plato anticipated another contemporary falsehood: truth as determined by public opinion poll.
    "Socrates: 'And how about Protagoras himself? If neither he nor the multitude thought, as indeed they do not think, that man is the measure of all things, must it not follow that the truth of which Protagoras wrote would be true to no one? But if you suppose that he himself thought this, and that the multitude does not agree with him, you must begin by allowing that in whatever proportion the many are more than one, in that proportion his truth is more untrue than true.'

    "Theodorus: 'That would follow if the truth is supposed to vary with individual opinion.'

    "Socrates: 'And the best of the joke is, that he acknowledges the truth of their opinion who believe his own opinion to be false; for he admits that the opinions of all men are true.'

    "Theodorus: 'Certainly.'

    "Socrates: 'And does he not allow that his own opinion is false, if he admits that the opinion of those who think him false is true?'

    "Theodorus: 'Of course.'" (170e-171a)

         Socrates points out the absurdity of saying that truth is determined by personal feeling. If this were true, he says, then truth would be determined by public opinion polls. An idea believed in by only a few--as in the case of Protagoras' view of "man is the measure of all things" would be false in reference to numbers.

          Socrates makes it clear that truth is not determined by personal feeling, popular appeal or majority vote: it is an independent reality which must be discovered through objective investigation.


    "An opinion on a point of conduct, not supported by reasons, can only count as one person's preference; and if the reasons, when given, are a mere appeal to a similar preference felt by other people, it is still only many people's liking instead of one. To an ordinary man, however, his own preference, thus supported, is not only a perfectly satisfactory reason, but the only one he generally has for any of his notions of morality, taste, or propriety, which are not expressly written in his religious creed."

    John Stuart Mill. On Liberty

         The cultural sleep state many Americans have allowed themselves to fall into involves the belief that truth is whatever their "leaders" tell them and right behavior is however their "leaders" act. It's okay for "leaders" to "out" a CIA agent if they don't happen to like what her husband says about their lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It's legal to allow elections to be fixed in Florida and Ohio and elsewhere because Bush and his supporters said it was legal.

         The absolutely fatal danger of this kind of non-thinking inculcated by a culturally-induced dream state is beyond measure. The very life and death of Americans is now being determined by such a cultural sleep state:

    • Unthinking people are signing up for the cabal's unlawful wars and dying by the thousands

    • American workers in the millions are losing their jobs and falling into poverty and homelessness

    • Constitutional freedoms are being destroyed wholesale before our eyes.
          If you think all this talk about Americans being asleep is philosophical nonsense, the stark reality of this dream state is made dramatically evident when we see almost no Americans rising up to protect their lives and their country. In this current totalitarian mind-set, the cultural myth that truth is a personal whim allows unscrupulous leaders to dictate "truths" which will inevitably lead to our destruction.

         "How is it possible that the strongest of all instincts, that for survival, seems to have ceased to motivate us? One of the most obvious explanations is that the leaders undertake many actions that make it possible for them to pretend they are doing something effective to avoid a catastrophe: endless conferences, resolutions, disarmament talks, all give the impression that the problems are recognized and something is being done to resolve them. Yet nothing of real importance happens; but both the leaders and the led anesthetize their consciences and their wish for survival by giving the appearance of knowing the road and marching in the right direction.

         "While in our private life nobody except a mad person would remain passive in view of a threat to our total existence, those who are in charge of public affairs do practically nothing, and those who have entrusted their fate to them let them continue to do nothing."

    Erich Fromm, To Have or To Be?


    Plato To the Rescue

         What Plato's dialogues provide us--especially in such critical times as these we're living in--is a clear vision of what life is all about and a reassuring sense of the ultimate victory of transcendent, timeless truths. In the Theaetetus, Socrates finds two persons--Theodorus and Theaetetus--who have allowed themselves to be almost completely possessed by Protagorean relativism. This is similar to the situation in which we now find ourselves, when we encounter millions of Americans who have allowed themselves to be culturally brainwashed into a mindless relativism: whatever leaders say is the truth is the truth.

         But even in persons who have allowed themselves to be enslaved by destructive ideologies (think "compassionate conservatism") there are still deep, foundational soul-elements through which to assist them to regain a truth-affirming self-empowerment.

    • Humans recognize both wisdom and ignorance as characteristics of different people and seek the wise as their teachers.

    • Humans are aware that there are great differences in the ability of specific persons to understand what is reality or truth.

    • In relation to health and science, persons acknowledge that not all people possess knowledge of what is best--only some possess that knowledge; some people are superior to others in terms of knowledge.

    • Humans recognize that a person who cannot give a reason for a thing, has no knowledge of that thing, that only when someone can provide a rational explanation does he possess genuine knowledge.

    • Humans recognize that knowledge is correct judgment accompanied by knowledge of the difference between one object and other objects.
         "We compel [the members of the jury] to hear both sides before casting their vote. We compel them to hear those two sides according to some rational rule of evidence and advocacy; and then, having taken these precautions, we take the further precaution of having the evidence summarized by an expert in the shape of the judge, who shows its relation to the law. Only then have we some hope that their decision may be broadly a sound one."

    Norman Angell, The Public Mind

         From their own knowledge of mathematics, Theodorus and Theaetetus understand that there are experts in the area of ethics or morality as in all other fields. They're aware that truths--such as mathematical truths--are not determined by subjective whim and that a person can't merely make something true by saying it is. From their understanding of mathematics, they recognize that they are not knowledgeable in certain other areas, for example, in the field of determining what is true justice. They recognize that there are experts, such as Socrates, in the area of virtue, justice, and wisdom.

         From their insight into geometry and other mathematical sciences, Theodorus and Theaetetus understand that one must have the humility of "knowing that one does not know" which makes a person ready to learn. They recognize that such psychological capacities constitute a kind of moral prerequisite in one's character, different from competence or expertise in a particular subject matter such as geometry. They agree with Socrates that morality is as stable and real a dimension of human knowledge as mathematics.

         Socrates finds it possible, with such intelligent persons as Theodorus and Theaetetus, to clear up the smoke and mirrors of cultural relativism--the mind-state of being asleep instead of aware. From their knowledge of mathematics they know that there are principles that exist outside the terrestrial realm--Forms which are expressed only imperfectly through mundane entities such as the image of a triangle drawn on a sheet of paper. They realize that when they see geometric images with their eyes, they are also--more importantly--seeing noetic Forms with their higher intellect. They know that geometric truths are not private understandings (whims or declarations) subject to public controversy, but universal conceptions valid for all. By extension, they are able to comprehend that there are similar universal and unchanging structures--such as justice--in the field of morality.

         What Socrates is able to effect, through dialectic, is the ascent of Theodorus and Theaetetus from the subterranean cave of myth-thinking and relativism to an awareness of their Higher Self which recognizes excellence in humans and the transcendental existence of Forms which are manifested in mundane entities.

         Socrates is in part a "physician of the soul." A soul made unhealthy (unjust, ignorant, presumptuous) by cultural myths does not see clearly--is asleep in a dream world. So the imposed dis-ease of somnambulism--cultural sleep--must be cured because "seeing" transcendent realities requires turning one's whole soul toward the good, the Higher Forms. Only the healthy, psychically awake person is able to discern supersensible realities such as Beauty, Justice, Goodness, and Wisdom. Only an awakened person can see through the muck of everyday affairs to the divinely guided evolution of humankind.

    "Real ability is to respect relative truth without damaging oneself by refusing to realize that it will be superseded. When you observe that today's controversies often reveal not relevance but the clash of the untaught with the wrongly taught, and when you can endure this knowledge without cynicism, as a lover of humankind, greater compensations will be open to you than a sense of your own importance or satisfaction in thinking about the unreliability of others."

    Idries Shah, A Perfumed Scorpion

         Plato is telling us that although we've awakened to a certain level of conscious experience, we must now develop the capacity to recognize life as a higher form of allegory. Waking up to conscious adult social life has involved merely entering a dream at another level where we're unable to distinguish between physical objects and the Forms which they manifest.

         We must now move on to the next level where we acquire the ability to recognize terrestrial objects, events, and persons as higher allegories (hyponoia) pointing to deeper, hidden meanings. Earthly entities--such as beautiful people--are in fact manifestations of the Form Beauty.

         Only if we make a concerted effort to examine our lives for elements which impede our development and keep us asleep, can we attain a higher state of awareness and awakedness to who we really are and the ability to understand life in higher terms:

    • The physical world is itself a divulgence of the higher world of Forms.

    • The Divine has the power to take all human actions and use them to assist us in our evolution.

    • Who we are--at the highest level--is conduits of spiritual purposes which transcend any single person, group of persons, or any specific time period.

    • The Divine manifests through everyone and everything.

    • Each person receives exactly the experiences from which they can best learn what they need for their personal evolution--and at the same time for the evolution of all humankind.

    • The Divine creates a world which provides precisely coordinated learning experiences transcendentally matched to our current needs and capabilities.

    Nasrudin on phone: "Hello, psychiatric ward, my wife needs some psychiatric help."

    Nurse on phone: "What's the problem?"

    Nasrudin: "Well, she thinks she's not a manifestation of the Divine, but just a physical being."

    Nurse: "Okay, we'll be right there to get you, uh, her."


    Understanding Current Events From a Higher Perspective

         What is the wise response to the collapse of our everyday world? We certainly don't want to bury our heads in the sands of indifference or ignorance, like so many who are now acting like mental ostriches. We can't escape into a fantasy realm, pretending that the ordinary world doesn't exist. At the same time we don't want to become so mentally brutalized by the daily horrors of the ordinary world that we allow their negative energy to create fear and hatred in us.

    "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

    Shakespeare

         We must recognize that the present political-economic-religious-social reality is merely a temporary scene in a vast drama being played out on Reality's eternal stage, that humankind's experience within history is being used to bring about its spiritual evolution.

         If the current mindless rulers delude themselves into believing that they control human life and human destiny, we're able to see through this chimera. We don't have to be taken in by their distortion of Reality. We can retain our own humanness, our ability to understand and our capacity to care for one another even in the face of the prevailing dog-eat-dog ideology.

         We see, for example, that the cabal junta wasn't interested in saving the lives of service personnel in Iraq; they had the technology to destroy 90% of the roadside bombs, but didn't take this technology to Iraq. These inhuman creatures didn't send humvee armor or body armor to soldiers in Iraq. They simply don't care if Americans--in Iraq or in the United States--live or die.

         We see the true purpose of their militaristic imperialism when we read--almost every day--that they have let out a new no-bid contract to Haliburton or one of the other corrupt corporations that support them. While programs assisting the workers--such as Social Security--are being attacked, the capitalist cabal is spending $300 million per day on milirary expenses in Afghanistan!


    "The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. We are at length restored to consciousness by awakening in a real universe, the universe created by the One Mind as opposed to that perversion of it which has been created by our egocentric selves. We then see the visible world as the expression of the immanental life of God, the Divine in manifestation. In relating ourselves to it we live in that Presence subjectively in the depths of our mystical being. And in the properly integrated personality the two processes have become one."

    Lawrence Hyde, The Nameless Faith, (1950)

         Beyond seeing through the cabal's propaganda haze that attempts to keep people ignorant and asleep, what are the higher purposes which Transcendental Power is realizing through this present world-anarchy? In what way is this seemingly totally negative power structure being used to further human evolution?

    • The depraved outragousness--the enormity--the total disregard for human life--shown by the cabal's actions are being used to awaken Americans to the fact that their very lives are at stake. Many people have allowed themselves to fall into so deep a somnambulism that only the most astounding events have a chance of awakening them.

    • The more extreme the tyranny, the more direct the lessons to be learned. 9/11 has brought to the awareness of Americans that they will be murdered if they don't do something realistic in response--on their own, not by their leaders.

    • An inhuman militaristic imperialism--with wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and next in Iran--is teaching Americans that no one should die for the rulers' egomaniacal purposes, that perpetual war for ruler profits is no safeguard of American lives but--on the contrary--the senseless slaughter of Americans instead.

    • The clearly negative character of George W. Bush and now Barack Obama is making clear to Americans that the presidency--and the entire structure of federal government--has been seized by a criminal gang. Dubya so totally lacks the intellectual and moral capabilities to lead effectively that it becomes abundantly clear that a cabal is in power--not the figurehead trotted out to show to the people. And Obama is now so clearly the con-man, that we know he is the cabal's puppet.

    • The utter criminality of the cabal is becoming so clear for all to see, that Americans are awakening to the need to replace the rulers with decent, just leaders and institute new political and economic structures that will establish a government of the people for the people.

    • The murder of Americans--in war and through economic repression--is providing the lesson that the American public--in large numbers--has become intellectually, morally, and vitally (life-or-death) disfunctional to the point of becoming suicidal. The present outrages are making it clear that Americans are so out of touch with reality that they will allow others to lead them to their own destruction.

    • The total seizure of all political and economic power by this demonic cabal is finally awakening Americans to the necessity of organizing themselves to create a more perfect union, that the course of human events has come to the point that it is now necessary for the American people "to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with" their rulers and "to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them."

           To enact once again what our Declaration of Independence calls for: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."


    "The dreamer is not awake, he who is awake dreams not; for these things are the opposites of each other.

    "He who thus understands, discerning the real from the unreal, ascertaining reality by his own awakened vision, knowing his own Self as partless awakening, freed from these things reaches peace in the Higher Self."

    Shankara, The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom









    Specific initiatives for Americans who awaken from their culturally-induced sleep state:


    Notes

    1 Simon Hunt, Spiritual-endeavors.org

    2 Duane Elgin, "On Simplicity and Humanity's Future," IONS, Noetic Sciences Review, December 2002

    3 The word "allegory" (allegoría) was used in ancient Greece, but it was a late (Alexandrian) coinage. An earlier word used in the same context was hyponoia, which had the connotations of "deep meaning" or "underlying sense." Augustine observes in his De doctrina (2.7-8) that "when something is searched for with difficulty it is, as a result, more delightfully discovered."

    4 http://www.xymphora.blogspot.com

    5 Plato's concept of a "useful fiction" was deliberately misinterpreted by such non-thinkers as Leo Strauss and Karl Popper as a policy of lying to the people to keep them under control. Shadia Drury, professor of political theory at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, quite correctly argues that the use of deception and manipulation in current US policy flow directly from the doctrines of the political philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973): The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (1988) and Leo Strauss and the American Right (1997). As we saw in an earlier essay, Strauss and Popper were put into positions of influence by the demonic cabal.

    6 Erich Fromm. The Art of Loving

    7 Peter Russell, "Dehypnosis - Breaking the Trance"

    8 Relativism is the view that the truth, meaning, and value of human ideals, principles, beliefs, and behaviors have no absolute reference. Relativists claim that humans understand and evaluate ideals, principles, beliefs, and behaviors only in terms of their personal, historical, or cultural conditioning.