"Living, I despise what melancholy fate
has brought us wretches in these evil years.
Long before my birth, time smiled and may again,
for once there was, and yet will be, more joyful days.
But in this middle age, time's dregs sweep around us,
and we bend beneath a heavy load of vice.
Genius, virtue, glory now have gone,
leaving chance and sloth to rule.
Shameful vision this! We must awake or die."
Petrarch (1304-1374 C.E.), Epistolae Metricae
During only three eras
has humankind developed both the physical realm and spiritual realm simultaneously:|
- Greek Enlightenment: 500 to 300 B.C.E.
- European Renaissance: twelfth through sixteenth centuries, C.E.
- Western Enlightenment: eighteenth century, C.E.
Even during these three eras of cultural enlightenment, only a small percentage of the human population was involved.
Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, humankind has focused primary attention on developing the physical world:
through capitalism, industrialism, and advanced technology. As a result, "the world is crippled now because of its withered
The development of social awareness involves the recognition of:
Modern mankind's plight is doubly tragic: we are socially and spiritually blind and we're not even aware of our blindness.
A wise prophet once said (to paraphrase): "What shall it benefit a man if he gains all the wealth in the world and lose his soul as he becomes possessed by egomania, greed, banality, and ignorance?" In other words, you can be ludicrously wealthy and still be stupid enough to destroy yourself.
What shall it benefit twenty-first century American plutocrats if they gain all the money in the world and lose their country as it becomes a hell-hole of obscene wealth for the upper class, wage slavery for the middle class, homelessness and grinding poverty for the lower class, and banality and ignorance for everyone? For the self-satisfied plutocrats enthralled by wealth and greed, the question becomes: If you're so wealthy, why aren't you wise?
| "Know that our world and everything we see in its compass and everything we can touch constitute only one half of the cosmos. The world we do not see is equal to ours in weight and measure, in nature and properties. From this it follows that there exists another half of man in which this invisible world operates. If we know of the two worlds, we realize that both halves are needed to constitute the whole man; for they are like two men united in one body."|
Developing Social Intelligence
Given humankind's dual nature--terrestrial and transcendent--only those persons who develop both their social and their spiritual awareness are complete and mature.
To develop socially involves:
- Seeing through the current social myths and diversions
- Understanding the necessity of life-long self-education
- Recognizing the necessity of social action, including discerning what the social situation requires and creating a program to realize social reform
- Developing genuine feelings of compassion and regard for one’s fellow human beings
Developing in this way, one achieves what I have called "social intelligence," which includes the whole range of mankind’s relationships with other humans and with the world in general. Social intelligence is much broader than political awareness or psychological savvy or enlightened activism. It includes discernment of all social conditioning, from ritual to religion, from MTV to metaphysics, from jet-set to down-sizing, from anti-terrorist legislation curtailing our freedom to the Orwellian crippling of our language and our minds.
Thus, in speaking of social intelligence, we are referring to the whole range of human thought and action. It includes an examination of the mythologies of contemporary science and a review of the work of investigators who are pushing us beyond the current Newtonian-Einsteinian ideologies to new ways of viewing reality.
A major element in social intelligence is the ability to see through the social myths dominant at any particular time in history. In any given era, only a few people are able to achieve the necessary understanding of their social conditioning to pierce through the delusions, myths, and fantasies peddled by the people controlling social ideology and behavior. This aspect of social intelligence has been described by Paulo Freire in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed as critical consciousness, and it requires extraordinary ability to recognize oneself as being a member of an oppressed class and seeing our oppression as a situation which we can transform through informed action.
Freire worked to help third-world people overcome illiteracy. Today, his insights can be applied to two different kinds of illiteracy:
- Those who cannot grasp the sense of letters or symbols
- Those who can "read" (in the grammar school sense) but who cannot read: understand the meaning of the words they see
- There are those today, for example, who "read" about such things as wars to remove weapons of mass destruction, war against terrorism, worker layoffs, and American corporations relocating their manufacturing plants in China or Indonesia, but who do not understand the meaning of what they "read."
- Another kind of modern-day "illiteracy" occurs as people "read" or "hear" the "news" in newspapers or on TV, and allow themselves to be taken in by the propaganda that such "news" involves.
Overcoming Social and Spiritual Blindness
To develop both social and spiritual awareness requires that we see through illusions and recognize our blindness. It is interesting that the development of spiritual discernment requires the prior development of social awareness. All genuine spiritual savants--such as Socrates, Plato, Jesus, Rumi, Shakespeare, and others--displayed both social and spiritual wisdom.
Awareness--whether social or spiritual--involves (among many other things)--seeing through illusions.
Unless you can develop a piercing discernment which allows you to see through the myths and delusions that politicians, religionists, advertisers, peer groups, and others use to manipulate you, then you don't stand a chance of developing social awareness or higher, spiritual discernment.
Most people have no real interest in developing either social or spiritual awareness. In earlier, more easy-going times, people could choose whether to develop social awareness or not--it was not a big issue. But today, in light of the murderous policies of the demonic cabal controlling our country, you either become socially aware or you join the mindless masses who are marching off the face of the earth. We are in precisely the situation that Petrarch describes: we must awake or die.
It does no good to merely "study" the destruction of people worldwide; we must DO something. We must see that the demonic cabal that controlled Bush II and placed the con-man Obama in the US presidency is exposed in every way possible. We must begin to take back our country.
You encounter people every day who not only are ignorant of what is going on in the world but also are
ignorant of their ignorance. They assume they know what is going on. They think that the beliefs which have been put into
them by the cabal's media propaganda machine--most TV, conservative radio, most newspapers, and most religious and educational "authority figures"--are actually their own personal beliefs.
We find it hard to understand how these people can remain oblivious to their blindness--even in the face of their own destruction: through war, unemployment, terrorist attacks, and physical and mental degradation.
In truth, each of us has our own illusions to peel away; none of us is at the point of development such that we should in any way act condescendingly to others. One of the most effective ways to avoid overcoming our blindness and lack of awareness is to luxuriate in feeling superior while examining the blindness, prejudice, and ignorance of others.
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
Our ignorance of our ignorance: for example, someone who isn't aware that another person is deluding him
- Our ignorance: for example, someone who doesn't know that the U.S. government lied about the sinking of the Lusitania as the excuse for America's entry into World War I just as Bush II lied about weapons of mass destruction as his excuse to begin his Iraq war for oil and reconstruction contracts for his backers
- Our embracing of ignorance: for example, even when confronted with our lack of knowledge about an important issue or event, we deliberately avoid informing ourselves about this factor
- Our unwillingness to acknowledge that we are conditioned by others: for example, conditioned by our religious beliefs,
our family, our "authority figures"
- Our false feeling of security in relying on others to tell us what to think and how to act: for example, the feeling of relief that we don't have to inform ourselves about what is going on in the world
- Our use of stereotypes: for example, lumping all Arab people into the stereotype of "terrorist"
In developing spiritual awareness, we encounter the necessity of acknowledging precisely the same kinds of blindness, conditioning, and false security. An additional factor in working toward spiritual awareness involves the study of our conditioning by "intellect" or "reason" so that we always run back to the old way of "seeing" instead of trying to develop a new way of spiritual discernment. "Intellect" and "reason" are modes of stunted development (like touch and hearing to the blind) which must be overcome through will and effort.
Insights From Studies of Newly Sighted Persons
We learn to overcome blindness--both social and spiritual--by studying others as well as ourselves. One of the most fruitful areas of study concerns persons born blind who gain their sight through surgery. The reactions of such persons is amazingly instructive as to how humans in general keep themselves from "seeing."
In his Dioptrics (1637), René Descartes (1596 - 1650) discussed how a blind man builds up a perceptual world by tapping objects round him with a walking stick. As with so many things, Descartes was entirely wrong in asserting that blind people have spatial awareness.
In 1728 Cheselden presented the celebrated case of a boy of thirteen who gained his sight after removal of the lenses rendered opaque by cataract from birth, but this was not the first
successful operation of its kind: the earliest reported dates from 1020 C.E. of a thirty-year-old man operated upon in Arabia.
In his book: Raum-und Gestaltauffassung bei
operierten Blindgeborenen (1932), M. von Senden reported on a number of cases in which surgery was able to restore sight. A translation of this work was arranged by Miss Sylvia Schweppe and undertaken by Mr. Peter Heath, entitled: Space and Sight (Methuen, 1960).
The psychologist D. O. Hebb, in his book The Organisation
of Behavior (1949) cites the von Senden collection of cases and uses them to create a theory of the development of perception. He regarded the von Senden cases as providing powerful evidence for the slow development of perception in infancy. "We are not used", he writes, "to thinking of a single perception as slowly and painfully learned, . . . but it has already been seen, in the discussion of the congenitally blind after operation, that it actually is".
Some investigators in this field find Hebb's inference highly questionable. It is not certain that what applies to perception after recovery of vision in the adult applies in essentially the same way to its normal growth in infancy.
All the operable cases of blindness cited deal with near-blindness, for the retina must be functional if surgery is to succeed. Near-blindness is of two kinds: cataract of the lenses and opacity
of the corneas. The former was treated from early times by slitting
the eye ball and removing the lens. Treatment of corneal opacity is recent and involves highly skilled grafting of a donated cornea. All the earlier cases are therefore cases of cataract, while some of the more recent - including the ones described by von Senden--were rendered blind, or nearly blind, by opacity of the corneas.
In his book Space and Sight: the Perception of Space and Shape in the Congenitally Blind Before and After Operation, M. von Senden makes it clear that surgery is only a part of the entire experience.
Here are some of the astounding reactions persons had to the recovery of sight through surgery:
Newly sighted persons revert to touch: "There is not a single case to be found in which the newly sighted patient, as soon as he showed any interest at all in his new sense, did not immediately try to take hold of all the visual objects presented, in order to recognize them by the method he trusted."
- Newly sighted persons feel sight as a burden:
- Newly sighted persons use touch in place of sight: "The result is normally that the continued reliance on the familiar use of touch, which initially lasts for some time, owing to the need for orientation, or merely out of habit, then easily becomes a deliberate policy of barring-out the visual world, whether from satiation with visual impressions, despondency, indolence, or dread of later obligations. This occurs even when the visual experiences already present are by now objectively and subjectively quite sufficient to guarantee the certainty of visual orientation . . ."
- Sight is more a matter of education than physiological capacity: "It would be an error to suppose that a patient whose sight has been restored to him by surgical intervention can thereafter see the external world. The eyes have certainly obtained the power to see, but the employment of this power, which as a whole constitutes the act of seeing, still has to be acquired from the very beginning. The operation itself has no more value than that of preparing the eyes to see; education is the most important factor. The occipital lobes can only register and preserve the visual impressions after a process of learning and after methodically administered practice. To give back his sight to a congenitally blind patient is more the work of an educationist than that of a surgeon."
| "There is none so blind as they that WILL not see."|
As von Senden's book illustrates, persons who have gained their sight through surgery show a remarkable unwillingness to "see." For most of us, it would seem that a person who was given her sight would be immediately eager to learn how to use this new capability. But the old habits of blindness are powerful influences.
- Newly sighted persons often feel depressed:
- Newly sighted persons lose their former serenity:
- To the newly sighted person, the world may seem to be too much:
- The world for the newly sighted can seem like a confusing chaos:
- Newly sighted persons must be encouraged to use their will to learn to see: "For it appears without doubt, from a whole
series of cases, that the will to see, and courage and cheerfulness in the attempt, have a very strong effect upon the rapid
development and improvement of the physiological adjuncts of vision. It is important, therefore, even when the power of
vision is relatively weak, to enhance the will to see, and not to give up the trials prematurely, in view of this poor
visual capacity and the despondency of the patient which is eventually liable to result. For if the visual organ is not
used, there is no possibility of improving the power to see."
- The refusal to use sight may put the newly sighted person in danger:
- Sight requires active participation:
- Sight must be actively pursued:
- Newly sighted persons resort to stereotypes:
- Some newly sighted persons learn to use and enjoy this capacity:
- Sight requires the use of imagination:
- Newly gained sight brings a person into an entirely new world:
In the same way, ordinary sighted people who are given the opportunity to "see" the world often refuse to look at what is really happening. They prefer their "blindness:" being told what to think and do by others. It does no good to show these people what the truth is; they simply do not want to see it. The old habits of prejudice and subjection to "authority figures" is much too comfortable.
The Necessity of Effective Early Education
If we're to achieve social and spiritual awareness, it's necessary to educate people early in life in the ways of discernment. Experiments with newborn kittens--whose eyes remain shut for some time--have established that the mechanism for sight is activated at exactly the same time as the kittens' eyes open. Experiments in the 1970s found that if you blindfold a kitten during the two or three days when it first opens its eyes, the animal will be blind for life. During this brief but critical period, the experience of sight actually shapes the inter-neuronal connections in the brain that make sight possible. The kittens' brain contains all the neuronal connections necessary for sight, yet actual experience of seeing is necessary for the connections to become active.
Not only is sight activated by actual experience in seeing, the brain appears to be programmed by early experience as to what kind of reality we actually perceive. Joseph Hubel and David Weisel placed three batches of newborn kittens in carefully controlled environments as they were opening their eyes. The first environment was a white box painted with horizontal black stripes; the second was a white box painted with vertical black stripes; the third box was simply left all white. After exposure to these three environments during the critical time when sight develops, the kittens' brains conformed to the different environments from then on. The kittens raised in a world with horizontal stripes could not correctly see anything vertical--they ran into chair legs, for example. Any object with verticality had little or no reality for those kittens. The batch of kittens from the vertical-stripe box had exactly the opposite problem, the inability to perceive horizontal objects. The kittens from the all-white surroundings had a larger disorientation and were unable to respond to any objects correctly.
These exceptionally significant experiments show how important it is to provide an education for human children that prepares them to "see" the entire world of their experience. If children are programmed--through defective education--to ignore certain aspects of reality or to see only certain "acceptable" aspects, then they become blind to life-threatening elements that a totalitarian government--such as we're now suffering under--perpetrates on an ignorant populace. The deliberate destruction of American education by the demonic cabal has produced people who literally cannot see the criminal, murderous behavior of the Obama regime.
Developing Spiritual Awareness
In relation to the development of spiritual acuity, we suffer from malformations of obsession with the intellectual side of our being and a fascination with the physical world.
As the studies of people gaining sight through surgery reveal, it is terribly difficult--at times almost impossible--to develop "sight" once we have begun life with "blindness." The bigot says to us, "what do you mean, I don't see what's going on in the world? My authority figure certainly wouldn't lie to me about what's happening. I don't need any help in seeing what's real, thank you very much." And spiritually blind persons feel that their intellect tells them what's real and that the physical world is the only reality. "So there's no need to even consider that there might be a spiritual world, because if there were such a thing, my reasoning powers would have shown it to me."
When we attempt to develop spiritual discernment, the same kinds of difficulties face us as in our attempt to develop social awareness. In this case, our "blindness" is our obsession with familiar ways: "intellect," "reason," and an exclusive focus on the material world. It would seem that we ought to be eager to develop spiritual insight, but we find that the old, accustomed ways have a strong hold on us.
"In trying to act directly on the highest - call it organ -possessed by man, his eternal spirit, we are constantly interfered with by the more developed, the more easily developed side of him which clamors, insists on translating every instinct into its own language and limiting it to its own experience and comprehension; insists we shall go no farther than the facile ready-made symbols its world education sanctions. We have to ignore it as much as possible, keeping it quiet by systematically baffling its efforts at restriction. Meanwhile, under this anaesthetic we work directly, stimulating the enduring part, trying to develop it. It should be the dominating part of man." |
Stewart Edward White, The Betty Book
The struggle for spiritual "sight" requires a concerted effort on our part to transcend our
obsession with the sense-world, to escape its bondage. We have to renounce our fascination with the physical world and
be "re-born" to a higher level of consciousness. This requires that we shift our center of interest from the natural to
the spiritual plane. The thoroughness with which we do this, will be the amount of spiritual life we enjoy. The initial
break with the ordinary world, the refusal to spend our life communing with our own fantasies, is essential if we are to
gain the freedom of the spiritual world.