A Holistic Approach To Personal Growth
Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual
July – August 2009
People are very proud of our three-dimensionality. We laugh about the possible experiences of Flatlanders. Accordingly, some people believe that sculpture is superior to painting , like others believe that the monumental is superior to the miniature. Yet, the truth might be that… one-dimensional is superior to two dimensional and that two-dimensional is better than three-dimensional …
The brain, in its thoughts, feelings and imaginations is two dimensional and it has its reality, it is creating. But the brain wanted to see, to see itself. It wanted more definition, more texture, layers. And then it started projecting, attracting matter to give body to its intentions.
People can imagine that before the Big Bang, before dimensions began, nothing was happening and that one- dimensional now would mean something boring, eventless. Yet there can be 13 dimensions inside a point. This is easy to accept for a scientist. That is why they postulate the need for 11 dimensions in the super string theories. These dimensions are ‘enfolded’ as they say. They really are inside.
Only that people do not know anymore that they have an inside… We don’t even know how to conceive of it.
People live so much outside, in relationships, in movies, in sports, in their jobs, that they are not even aware there is a physical inside to their skin unless they have some pain or illness.
And when you do not know your body you cannot see and feel it as a vehicle. A vehicle made to interact with the third dimensional world. And any scientist can tell you that it is in the brain that we reconstruct and give three-dimensionality to what our eyes see and our senses convey to it.
But the brain craves excitement, novelty. It is not content with dreaming. It does not really believe its thoughts are real. It believes they go with the wind. Yet, if it would start being less rigid and constringent, reality would also begin to flow and be perceived as energy, as the energy it really is.
Quantum Physics tells us that the atoms can behave both as wave and as particle. They are in their natural state flowing as a wave, but when we observe them , they ‘collapse’ as particles. To be configured according to our private devotions, to be shared with our co-believers in this collective hallucination called objective reality.
Harder for people to accept is that we are programs. Not exactly like those of the computers but not very different either. It only takes some time for you to observe yourself and have the humility to recognize it.
I have done that cursory investigation and I have seen how binary I am; a complex but binary program. We are binary because we live in a world of duality. We are ‘inside’ a world of subject-object, framed by time and space, a world where our achievements will always betray our expectations and desires.
We are binary programs also because it could be said that people’s personalities in the end really can be divided in those who see the cup half full or half empty; or people who trust and believe in themselves and the universe and those who don’t; or people who give and those who take. That is how we are programmed. How our brains are wired. How genetics and culture have given us certain lenses to see and react to the world. The baby comes free from bias but soon space and time start creating distortions in its fragile perceptive vehicle.
As a personal note I have to admit that all my life I paid importance to my dreams and to so-called coincidences. This gave me leverage into understanding the connections between inner and outer life, the openness to the possibility that they might be one, that after all there is only one life. Not a dreaming one, a sexual one, a working one, a traveling other, another one that paints or writes.
In the end you are your experience. Whatever happens to you is you, is the story you are narrating, to yourself and to others. They are your characters, they are your audience.
Perhaps in the beginning our creations and projections were simple. But due to the brain’s craving for more and more, because the more it has the more the ego believes in its reality, we inflated our reality with an ever expanding array of emotions , feelings ,objects and possessions.
And with the advent of the screen we can have –virtually- whatever we can think of. Funny that nobody that I know has mentioned that the TV and computer screens are exactly a screen where we can project ourselves. Where we can see ourselves without the effort of self-analysis or the boredom of a physical mirror. Thus men can feel themselves as sport heroes and women and teenagers can vicariously live the emotions of soap operas.
There are now many young men in Taiwan (as well as South Korea and Japan, for this is the advancing area) that live completely inside the virtual world and shun the company of physical girls. This is not a fad , it is a growing trend .Obviously, each society has its peculiarities, but for several reasons that are not necessary to explain now , America seems to be the next candidate for pursuing this dream. The dream that you can live without a physical body. That you can cross the mirror. That is why some years ago some teenagers committed suicide after their character was killed in the game of Dragons and Dungeons.
When in my role of concept-hunter- always trying to discover the umbrella concepts that include many other words and things – I say to people, for instance, that dimensions and generations are the same they get surprised. But then I give an example: when you buy a new computer, a third generation computer, you know that it comes with many new windows, vistas and portals into new spaces; that it flows at higher speeds of connectivity and comprehensiveness; you know that you and the computer have passed into a more evolved dimension, and, certainly, when images will become holographic you will have no more doubts about that.
But this text is just to introduce certain ideas. Hidden behind it waits the proposition that one-dimension resulted in all this we see and that to one-dimension we will have to return if we want to mend all this chaos which we have created.
PLAY, HIGH SOCIETY AND AMERICA
July – August 2009
Today I was struck by a statement made by Johan Huizinga in his 1938 book Homo Ludens: talking about Japanese culture he said “ The extraordinary seriousness and profound gravity of the Japanese ideal of life are masked by the elegant fiction that everything is but a play”…” By convention, the higher classes are simply playing in whatever they do”. And he gives the example: “I got to know that your father died” is said literally “I got to know that your father was playing death”.
Indeed, that happens because in any part of the world the opposite of playing has been having to work for a living. For someone who is not obligated to work, everything is play, for playing is the absence of time, where nothing is irreversible and everything is starting again all the time.
The problem with high society all over the world is to take things seriously, even life itself.
As is known, high society values are the opposite of those of the middle classes, in the sense that they value lightness, fluidity, time flexibility, space generosity and abundance of options. Quantity in either direction is not an issue. And if it is, it is not taken seriously, namely because aristocrats have an inherent belief in order, harmony, entitlement and providence.
The problem with higher classes and their abundance of time and space is boredom. Everything is “Déjà vu”.
It is thus the terrain where the search for unusual people is both highly needed and desirable as well as threatening and forbidden, because those unusual people by their extreme volatility and risky approach to play, threaten the core beliefs and standards of that world, namely the idea that higher really means superior or different. By showing for instance that decadence or creativeness are just human or that what is really important such as real love, artistic affinity or spiritual yearnings go beyond social structures and are what really bonds people.
Even though certain issues remain, like bad taste, bad manners, bad odors in cooking, lack of fair play, and vulgar or regional accents, by the very existence of which the higher classes feel instinctively offended, even those characteristics can become cause for play, derision and fun, for in the end life is seen as a play, where all type of ingredients and characters have to coexist.
On a personal note I can add that having been born in a palacete (a small palace with 60 rooms or areas), I was privileged to observe the social games and rituals which people play when they go from one drawing room to another in a succession of degrees of intimacy with the hosts. I remember my mother receiving different people in four different rooms according to their social status.
The funniest incidents in which I participated as a child were exactly about play: I was told that when I was about four I was walking around the ladies at an afternoon party in the fireplace room, saying nastily to some of them: “You are silly and your ass is dirty…” This was in Portuguese, my mother tongue. But my mother would dismiss it by saying: “Don’t listen to what he says. He is speaking German”. The ladies very well heard what I had said but they pretended to believe my mother.
In fact I had had a German lady as a sort of a nanny or preceptor who came to take care of me when I was born. She was the baroness Marga von Unger. Her family had lost all their properties in East Prussia in 1944 and she had lost her house in the Berlin bombardments of 1945, so she came to Portugal as a refugee. Her son was the cultural attaché at the German Embassy in Lisbon, but her daughter in law did not like having her living with them, so my mother, out of compassion, hired her even though she was already in her mid seventies. She taught me German, sang to me the Brahms lullaby and I still remember her voice and the softness of her skin. I never recovered from her (for me) sudden departure for an international ladies home when I was about two and a half; even though I continued to visit her.
The other incident, I believe I was a little older, albeit without a very clear sense of money. A group of ladies had come for an afternoon game of canasta and mahjong (in which my mother was very proficient) and they used money to play. While they made a recess and went to the dining room for high tea I came to the room where they had been playing and opened their purses, put all their monies together and then distributed it equally by all of them. Imagine their surprise when they came back and they could not understand what had happened and did not know how to start talking about the subject…
At the time, I like any other child did not have a very clear idea of the difference between play and seriousness or work. So it seemed to me quite plausible and just that they would all start with the same amount of money to play. I did not do it as a trick or to annoy them. If the money was to play anyway why would it be a serious thing? I don’t know how they ever sorted out the issue…
Play also manifests in higher classes all over the world by the use of excessive adjectives to describe things, people or situations. Sometimes these words already exist and are only inflated, while sometimes new fad words are created which eventually percolate or not to the lower ranks. Besides that, the art of the understatement has been refined to great levels, in which only people of that same class understand what they really mean when they are speaking with each other.
For example, when Hillary Clinton gave a recent(June 2009?) talk at the CFR, she said that” the council tells us what to do”. Even though she was somewhat saying the truth (because governmental departments cannot give the time and the money which researchers need to thoroughly think ahead),what she really was meaning, in a cozy higher class lingo, was that she was grateful for being accepted by them, even though she did not have any credentials of her own in international history and foreign policy except her recent new job.
These issues of play are important because deep down in ourselves we all like to play. I for instance play with my Magical Gardens, a sort of miniature scenes which I create in order to both relax and synthesize that moment of my life into a clear mirror and intention. I can play by myself, with other children or even with adults in very revealing moves of deep self expression.
People do not have much time anymore to pray, to meditate or even to think. Yet, games remain universal and there are hundreds of game types, from physical sports to video games, cards, puzzles and crosswords.
I am inventing a game, which for instance could be called the game of life or the great game. To describe it in this more limited context would be self-damaging and would lead nowhere excepting possible plagiarism. But I would like to touch on its essence:
That the best way to learn is by playing, if possible with as many senses as possible involved. And that you learn more and get more excited and motivated if your own identity and interests are directly at stake.
But all that will remain for another context, within or without this site….
This text was just intended to be light and to introduce certain issues…
MY WORLDVIEW IS BASED ON THREE TENETS:
EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
EVERYTHING IS INTERCHANGEABLE
EVERYTHING IS PERFECT
ONE EXPLANATION: EVERYTHING IS PERFECT BECAUSE GOD IS PERFECT AND GOD IS EVERYTHING.
WE SEE MANY “IMPERFECT” THINGS, BUT ALL HAVE AN EXPLANATION, A REASON, AND A CORRESPONDENCE. THEY HAPPEN IN SPACE AND TIME AND
THEY ARE THEREFORE RELATIVE TO THIS DIMENSION IN WHICH THE VISIBLE AND THE TANGIBLE ARE A PROJECTION OF AN INNER ESSENCE, AND IN WHICH EVERYTHING IS IN A PROCESS.
SO, THERE IS A HIDDEN HARMONY IN THIS UNIVERSE.
THERE IS COHERENCE. THERE IS ORDER. EVERY ATOM IS NEXT TO THE ONE IT SHOULD BE. NO GRAIN OF SAND IS LOST; NO BLACK HOLE IS LAWLESS.
LAW AND ORDER DO NOT MEAN COMPLETE PREDICTABILITY: SINGULARITY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE.
IN THAT HARMONY AND ORDER EVERYTHING IS RELATED AND EVERYTHING IS ONE.
HENCE YOU AND I ARE ONE. YOU AND I ARE GOD .FOR THERE IS NOTHING ELSE.
A SECOND EXPLANATION: EVERYTHING IS INTERCHANGEABLE ACCORDING TO LAWS WHICH NEITHER SCIENCE NOR THE HUMAN SPIRIT HAS YET FOUND.
THE ESSENCE OF EVERYTHING —-VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE (LIKE EMOTIONS OR THOUGHTS) —- IS THE SAME.
THERE IS NOT AN ABSOLUTE BARRIER BETWEEN THE SPIRIT AND MATTER, BETWEEN THE OBSERVER AND THE OBSERVED, BETWEEN SPACE AND TIME. YOUR BODY IS YOUR SPIRIT.
YOU CAN SAY THAT ENVY CANNOT BE INTERCHANGED WITH A BIT OF SKIN.
I WOULD FIRST REPEAT TO YOU JOUBERT’S MAXIM: AN IDEA IS AS REAL A THING AS A CANNONBALL.
THEN I WOULD EXPLAIN THAT A THOUGHT IS TWO-DIMENSIONAL; IT IS AN ELECTRO-CHEMICAL SPARK FLOWING IN TIME. WHILE THE ATOMS IN THE SKIN OSCILLATE BETWEEN BEHAVING AS A DEFINED PARTICLE AND AS A NON-LOCAL WAVE FLOWING SOMEWHERE AND EVERYWHERE IN TIME AND SPACE.
DO YOU SEE THE CONNECTION OR DO WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE ANDROMEDA INTERFACE CLEARING HOUSE? IT MIGHT TAKE MANY STEPS AND AGENCIES BUT IN THE END AND IN ONENESS THERE IS NOT SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 2D THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS AND 3D MATERIALIZATION.
A POINT GAVE ORIGIN TO ALL THIS. A POINT STILL CONTAINS IT ALL.
A FINAL EXPLANATION:
WE KNOW NOTHING OR VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE NATURE OF REALITY AND OF THE UNIVERSE.
THE LOCAL, LIMITED LAWS WE LABORIOUSLY FOUND AND WHICH KEEP CHANGING WITH EVERY TURN OF SCIENCE ARE CERTAINLY PART OF A WIDER CONTEXT WHICH SCIENCE WILL BE FINDING, SAY IN THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS.
SOONER OR LATER AN MMM THEORY WILL BE FOUND ENCOMPASSING ALL THE FACTS OF LIFE INCLUDING BELIEFS, CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION, AND INCLUDING ALL THE DATA AND PHENOMENA THAT SCIENCE FORGETS OR REJECTS.
QUANTUM PHYSICS AND ASTROPHYSICS HAVE SHOWN THAT SINGULARITIES AND QUANTUM JUMPS ARE POSSIBLE AND DO OCCUR.
IF MAN IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN ONE AND THE OTHER SCALE, WHY WOULD EVERYTHING NOT BE POSSIBLE HERE?
PRESENT HUMANKIND IS NEITHER AN APE NOR THE APEX OF EVOLUTION. THE EVOLUTION IN TECHNOLOGY AND IN THE SCIENCES IN GENERAL IS CALLING FORTH AND IS ALLOWING A CORRESPONDING EVOLUTION IN CONSCIOUSNESS.
THE HUGE UNUSED PARTS OF THE BRAIN AS WELL AS THE SECRET POTENTIAL OF THE SO CALLED JUNK DNA MIGHT JUST BE WAITING TO DO SOME FIREWORKS!
INVOLUTION AND EVOLUTION
July – August 2009
One of the things that happen when concepts from one branch of knowledge are used and adopted by other fields is that misunderstandings arise which later become very difficult to clarify and correct.
Evolution and Involution are two such concepts. Their meaning varies according to whether they are studied from a materialistic science perspective or from the different perspectives of the various spiritual branches of the knowledge and wisdom tree.
For instance: As it is postulated both by the material sciences and by sociology, the idea that humankind has been evolving continuously since its beginnings till nowadays, is believed by people as a matter of fact. Yet such an approach ignores several issues that seem to contradict it.
The first issue is the well known and somewhat recorded stage of an original paradise and of earlier civilizations like Lemuria and Atlantis. From both that original paradise and from those civilizations there would have been falls, from which humankind did not yet recover.
The second issue is: from which perspective, with which yardsticks do you ascertain evolution? Also, how do you deal with these issues if materialistic science is totally averse to the idea of involution, even though scientists are aware of degeneration, entropy and decay?
Spiritual knowledge in its various forms states that involution preceded evolution, that there were spirits before there were bodies. People nowadays- in their understandable desire to please both lords- pretend to believe in religious teachings, namely about the Fall, yet piously believing everything science tells them about evolution. And truly these aren’t reconcilable…
What if we were to postulate a different beginning for time and space?
Suppose that before the so called Big Bang – which anyways science recognizes may never be validated- suppose that there was just one point, a sort of superstring that started to unravel, to unfold as short waves that progressively became longer and denser?
That more and more space and slower and slower time started creating this entire visible universe? A universe which is more and more expansionary and inflationary?
What if we would call this the shadow universe in relation to a real but invisible one? What if the idea now would be to conjoin them? That is, to gather and collect all these projections into their source?
So, this second issue of reappraising the concepts of evolution and involution can raise at least two questions:
If we were spirits, gods, who in their(our) fall or self sacrifice, have created more and more dense realms in order to fulfill some goal or mission, would this type of involution not indicate that there would be sometime a possible turnaround, an evolution towards the original state of oneness?
Could it be that evolution is not linear? That sometimes history bifurcates and a civilization takes a less desirable path? As could have been the case when Greece chose science over poetry and the individual over the universal? As when the nascent Christian Church embraced and became the State? Could it be that since the 1940’s humanity ceased to evolve and started to involve?
Those ideas could start to make sense if we define evolution as the progressive awakening of the spirit and involution (in our present historical case) as the progressive and excessive ascendant of the mind over the spirit and the intelligent heart.
Could it be that an “evolution” towards bionic bodies, gene modification both in humans, animals and food crops and the gradual replacement of the joys of creativity and human natural interaction by the enticements of the virtual world is really an “involution”?
These are issues that cannot be avoided much longer. Humanity is at a crossroads. Let those who have an open mind and a good-willing heart listen to their inner feelings and promptings. Help is always available to those of us who dare to be humble.
June – August 2009
Obama is disappointing himself. It is not a question of him having substance or not. He does have the most important substance which is that of the heart. The problem is not even vision. It is that he seems to be helpless to get the right help and direction. Without that he cannot muster the courage to take the very bold measures required to start taking the world out of the present quagmire.
It is true that he inherited an impossible situation and that both wars and the economy are of the entire responsibility of his predecessor and will remain so. What he seems not to be aware of is:
1. He is the president of the world. He can act as such. None of the other world actors can compete with him. All are still waiting for an act of leadership. That act, contrary to what he believes, cannot come from a consensus of world leaders. Interests are too divergent; those leaders are completely soaked in the past. And could we, for instance redefine lack of leadership as the Western democratic counterpart of corruption in the Third World?
2. But any leader needs a base of support to launch new policies. Where would he go and get it? Once again, in the world, before it erodes like the domestic one. And domestically too he has to forge a new alliance. Of people really committed to change, which are willing to listen if things are presented to them in simple, clear terms.
3. “It’s the paradigm; stupid…it’s about culture…” It is very difficult for a human being to accept that his whole model of society, so patiently and with so few changes evolved since the cave man does not work. At least does not work anymore in a society that became global. Yet that recognition is unavoidable, for problems are not only global but transdisciplinary.
It is the same problem with the economy, politics, health, religion, science, nature, race, education and even with art. A wrong point of perspective leads us to wrong priorities in all areas.
4. It is not easy to explain to any audience what the problem is. Audiences have been told half lies for centuries, have been given placebos for ages. The problem is that throughout the centuries we have made what now can be perceived as the wrong choices. We chose a materialistic paradigm over a spiritual one. The Christs and the Buddhas came and went and we remained impervious to their message. Now Quantum Physics has come and governments don’t translate it to their people, while religious leaders continue to miss the point. Yet the message is basically the same: everything is one, everything is connected and everything is interdependent.
5. There are many other things that both spirituality and science have found that would take a book to expound. Besides, several books already exist on the subject. Only that scientists, religious leaders and governments are united in not wanting to read them. They are all too comfortable with the status quo, the division of spheres of influence and revenue. They really are united by their fear of the unknown. A very human and unacknowledged feeling that permeates both individuals and societies and prevents true innovation in all walks of life.
6. But…you can say…in a democratic society people have the rights to choose their beliefs freely and nothing can be imposed by the governments; in a democracy people have equal access to education; we can all illustrate ourselves with the latest theories and we all have access to the internet and to the Wikipedia; we can form or vote for any political parties and leaders we prefer.
7. To that it can be said that a democracy that is not also an economic democracy is not truly democratic. For we continue to have the haves and the haves not. Also, so called democracies have many acknowledged defects and weaknesses besides the persistence and the surprising widening of inequalities. That would also take another essay to make clear to all. But it can be said that the real political choices of the ordinary citizen are very limited; that the political and civic education is almost nonexistent; that political leaders are so pressed by the time of their mandates that they are incapable of taking long term decisions and hence have become pure managers of the status quo; that vested and not so vested interests and lobbies are so pervasive that leaders, consciously or unconsciously, have to bow to them. All this happens in a country which has become divided, simplified and polarized between two new and caricature classes: the investors and the consumers, the modern version of the rich and the poor.
8. A note of unexpected humor: investors and consumers are a dancing pair, in and out of synch at a time, but in the end complementary: investors have more money than things they can buy; consumers always want more things than their money can buy. The perfect financial vehicle which the wizards of the Street did not yet invent would be a hybrid: it would give serenity and peace of mind in an iron-clad Madoff scheme to the investors; while creating a perpetual and self sustaining system of return, exchange and refund to be given to the consumer’s appetite…
9. But, seriously speaking, what could be the choices, the choices from that unknown? They require real courage as well as charisma, both qualities with which Obama is abundant. And, for instance, what is really charisma? The capacity to keep others in the present. That is, to drag them out of their past, and not let them meander in future alternatives that will be a linear continuation of that past. Charisma is the future made now. Charisma is the embodiment in one person of the latent yearnings and unexpressed needs of a people. That is something that both Mussolini and Hitler knew, but that democratic politicians have been incapable of personifying without falling into populism.
10. The choices would be to tell the truth to the world population. To really use the enormous power of some sort of fireside chats through television to explain very clearly what are the issues and challenges facing humankind. To clearly and pragmatically assume that this is a crisis of civilization and that as such it should be welcomed. In order to take a clear departure from the past. A past that can only lead civilization to its doom. But can Obama muster the courage to address the world? Does his own past, his national, racial and religious prejudices impede him to take such a bold step? Can he overcome his deep-seated need to please everybody? To cater to all constituencies? Can he forget about reelection and do what needs to be done? Can he understand that those who don’t want to think or to open their hearts or to make choices will have to pay for the consequences?
11. Nobody manifests on the streets for the rights of the Spirit, nobody protests against the apparent theft of Time, which in reality hides its almost total control over our lives. That is because democracy is a passive system; it restrains certain abuses but it does not foster true search for societal innovation, it does not like to be questioned, nor does it look for an integral approach to life. Yet it is the spirit that is knocking at our door. Yet it is God who wants to return to human society. A God who is not owned by any religion or race. A God that deserves a last chance. A final chance to help redirect Humankind’s course.
12. Yes… but along which lines? … Nobody in the West wants a theocracy anymore, nobody wants communism…Yet, do people really know what theocracy means? Do people really know what communism means? Are the examples of today’s Iran and of the former Soviet Union a remote example of such systems? Or are they mankind’s deviations and distortions of a dimly perceived ideal? Could it be that the best system would be a amalgamation of those three ideals?
13. The economical, the social, the political and the religious are not really separate. They have common roots and share many components. What is missing is a novel approach which aligns them. A magnet that aligns them toward the same goal that motivates those areas of human pursuit: the attainment of happiness, as the philosophers would say. The attainment of a simple and agreeable life for all; where the excitement, the discovery and the fulfillment are pursued inside. This would be very far away from the present consumeristic and debt ridden society model that the rule of Economism has imposed on us.
14. Much more could be said about a new model of economy that would be fair to all, yet not utopical. We intend to dedicate to that subject another separate text. The practice of barter has existed since time immemorial. The idea that people should do what they like and know how to do best is not new. But that requires that the economy shifts from production and consumption to satisfaction and fulfillment. That the economy and the society become geared towards the individual and the family instead of the State and the corporations. It will require that money will be used just as a means of exchange for a real good or service, and even as a pure means of reference and not as an instrument of control or status. For we are just stewards of this Earth.
15. After writing the above a few days ago, I just finished reading an article in Rolling Stone magazine (20th August 2009), entitled “Obama so far”. It says something very similar: “Will he take bold action or compromise too easily?” In it, the three political observers insist that his approach to get some Republican votes has only weakened the final bills approved while the number of Republicans voting for them was extremely small. Everywhere in the article and the magazine there is a call for those who elected him on the premise of change to get activated again and press him vocally for real reform and for him to take the system to its edge. Yes, certainly…but that goes against the very veins along which democracy has evolved in America, in which people’s participation in the political process is only encouraged and allowed during the electoral period. Furthermore if he were to call on his support bases that could risk polarization (even while his opponents openly mobilize against his policies…). It could even put him at risk. And we do not have to be very imaginative or knowledgeable to guess the many, many vested and not so vested interests that are only waiting for him to make a big mistake to try and make the situation revert to something akin to the previous regime.
16. To finalize I would dare say that everything in the life of a man, irrespective of his station, lies in his moral consciousness, in his trust in himself and in God. To be a community organizer is a great achievement and indicator, but there comes a moment, in which you realize that if what you get is not enough, then it is the same as getting nothing; it will not take you anywhere. Also, if the money is to be used to bailout the banks which created the present mess, and who show no clear signs of wanting to mend their ways, then there is a moral hazard in protecting recklessness and greed. Above all, mainly if you are a gambler by nature , someone who is not averse to taking risks, there eventually comes a pressing moment in which you have to chose between compromise and compassion, between the preservation of a status quo that favors a small elite and the creation of a more just and more spirit imbued society. That Great Society can then become the world.
17. Ironically, it could be that the most drastic initial step which could be taken, the freezing of the banking system, indeed of the whole international monetary system, is perhaps what some governments and institutions secretly desire. It could be a good beginning at restoring some sanity, honesty and fairness. A new starting from point zero. But it should clearly be part of a life oriented program and not a first step towards an artificially created and imposed virtual society, ruled through biologically embedded microchips. Time is running out and the world economy is definitively out of control. Though the economy is resilient and is resisting the plunge, unemployment will be getting unacceptable soon, while derivatives remain explosive and anything can trigger a debacle. We know how great wars start with small and unexpected detonator pretexts. Let us hope that this time the pretext to save the economy is not a war in the Middle East.
AUTISM: SYMBOL AND DISEASE
July – August 2009
If I wanted I could consider myself mildly autistic. I have certain symptoms of distance and lack of empathy with human adults. I could probably be considered more autistic than most of mankind, people who I deem to be more extraverted and emotionally expressive, more social and gregarious, more geared towards action and physical activity, more adapted to a reality based on sex, family, work and religion than me.
Indeed, as some years ago my mother told me:” Before you were three you had already somewhat closed, you were not very interested anymore in other children or people; you were only interested in animals or toys”.
I could also consider myself somewhat paranoid. I see signs and meanings everywhere, auspicious or foreboding. I believe I am special (like all no.4s of The Enneagram). I also believe I am superior, even though I know that the more inferior you feel for some reason or another, the more you compensate by delusions of grandeur. But it is still difficult for someone who was born in a sort of palace, with very high ceilings and where space and time did not count; someone who can- both through his mother and father- trace his ancestry to Charlemagne, through Edward III; to forget those ridiculous human distinctions. Yet, some of my siblings couldn’t care less about that type of thing. Perhaps those brothers and sisters who do not need to compensate for what I call an’ identity deficit’. Eventually it will be fathomed that until the feeling of separation ends, even the ‘frogs feel superior to the cows’…
As I see it, paranoia is an excessive defensive mechanism against imaginary threats. These threats in the end come from the repressed, unacknowledged and undigested parts of us.
All my life I have been having colds and allergies. That has been my main health problem. When I lived in Paris from 1985 to 1989 I calculated that more than half of my yearly days I was sick with those nose symptoms or groggy with the side effects of the antihistaminics which I took to counter those desperating symptoms. That was one of the main reasons why I then decided to quit diplomatic life after a very successful 17 years career. Obviously with that newly conquered freedom my allergies and colds decreased but they did not disappear. And I noticed that in certain periods of my life allergies would increase, the cause of which could not be exclusively attributed to climate, flora, physical environment and temperature.
Concerning signs and signals I later understood that we are the ones, who give meaning to them, for they have completely different meanings to different people. They are like symbols. For instance, the swastika always meant life and movement for many human cultures throughout the ages, but then it was misinterpreted as domination, arrogance, superiority, destruction and death. So we can see life and death in the same symbol.
I also did a practical investigation on the process of individual paranoias. Several times I saw through their illusory nature and have laughed them away. But, as the Nobel Prize for economics John Nash, who struggled to recover from paranoid schizophrenia said, his newly found ‘stability limited his creative thinking’, that is the imagination. So, adaptation to normal social life seems to require a certain hold on imagination (except if you are an artist or a writer) while paranoia is an excess of imagination.
When I left diplomatic life my competitive nature did not disappear, nor did my search for power and perfectionism. Only much later I understood their roots. When I assumed myself to be an artist, in the late Eighties, I naturally wanted recognition, and I wanted a source of revenue. Fortunately or unfortunately I had invented a new type of art, The Magical Gardens, miniature worlds inside glass cases which, as the Director of the National Art Museum of Osaka told me in 1996, would not have been recognized as art ten years before.
It was thus very difficult for me to get recognition; besides I had no art study credentials. So I got a travel grant from the Portuguese-American Foundation to come (or to go) to the United States to see whether some art gallery would become interested in showing my work. When I arrived to L.A., I got a terrible cold from using for a long time the open air and somewhat windy pool of the hotel. In order to be externally presentable to the art gallerists I took repeated doses of some anti-cold medicine which had Ibuprofen in it. From that, I believe, I developed a condition in the digestive system, never fully understood which later prevented me from personally attending the opening of an exhibition of mine in Seoul. It was something never properly diagnosed but akin to an ulcer, or irritated bowel syndrome. I now believe that I might have some mild form of Celiac disease, which means that I am somewhat allergic to gluten, and hence should not frequently eat most cereals in any form.
When I told a doctor friend:” The allergy to life is the mother of all allergies”, he was surprised and said: “I will have to think about that…I will consider it…” Yet, to say it plainly, I believe that all allergies are a mild form of autism. But that would be too unsettling to say to a scientist or to a doctor, because in their specialized frame of mind and work they lack a weltanschauung to see things in perspective and with humor; they lack the distance to perceive the forest because of their love for entomology.
I cannot say that I am or have been claustrophobic. Yet whenever I would be inside a vault, like in the closed metal door room where my parents would safe keep the jewelry and the silver, I felt slightly uneasy, as if someone could come and lock me there. Could it be that claustrophobia, or unease with the surrounding space is another symptom that could be related to the autistic cluster? Autism is ‘closing’ and claustrophobia is ‘feeling closed’…could it be that claustrophobia is related to a mild form of autism, perhaps peculiar to people who did not find their breathing space in life? This would also relate to the fact that respiratory symptoms, asthmas and allergies are strongly found in teenagers, that is, people still struggling to find their breathing space…
Why do I mention all these symptoms, feelings and syndromes?
Because by observing my life and those of other people I came to the conclusion that each human being is not only unique and even special, but that each of us is an integral, whole being. I also concluded that there are no (separate, clear-cut, well defined) diseases but sick people, who evolve and emanate their very particular way of being. And, further to that, I came to see something that a purely materialistic scientist or doctor will never be able to see: that not only diseases are psychosomatic but that the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual are one whole; an energetic matrix, in which any disturbance in one field or pathway will affect all others.
That is why doctors routinelyobserve, but scientists cannot explain that in one patient illnesses and symptoms seem to migrate from one area to another, from one system to another, from depression to constipation. People nurture their emotional distortions and then don’t want the body to pay for the consequences. This, not to talk about the hypochondriacs, who really develop the symptoms they want and about the people for which their disease and sufferings finally give them some sort of identity.
Unfortunately, most doctors do not study quantum physics, and if they do, they very seldom relate that microcosm of the atoms to the intermediate level of the cells, or they then say that the laws ruling one field do not rule the other. Yet, if scientists found that the same laws rule and the same phenomena happen, in both astrophysics and the atomic physics why not try and see a bridge between them?
But the truth is that when science replaced religion, the newly acquired power came with its drawbacks. Such as the caste system, the infallibility, the dogmas, the fear of exposure and ridicule, the vested interests and even the providing of false data which 20% of scientists admit to do. But, above all, the main drawback is the incapacity to accept evidence that disturbs the current paradigm. For instance, even though the WHO recognized acupuncture as valid medicine decades ago, most doctors and scientists remain like the politicians: ‘acupuncture and homeopathy are the ‘axis of evil’.
If I talk about politics and politicians I touch another taboo in the scientific world, for scientists prefer to be apolitical, they naively trust whoever has power and gives them funds. Yet, if they could agree with the view which the more politically seasoned Europeans have of Reagan and Bush as primary and brainless people, they could perhaps see that what that type of dualistic politicians tend to do is to project outwards their own inner nemesis, their intransigence, their limited, simplistic and parochial worldview; in reality, their allergy and fear of intelligence and consciousness.
Perhaps, if they were to ponder all these issues, perhaps then, those scientists- who recognize that in their own private lives they are no wiser than the common citizen- perhaps they would start taking their religion( those who do have it) out of the walls of their churches and Sundays only services. They would also be more cautious in the assumptions they make about the nature of reality and more humble in the pronouncements they make about the implications of their empirical findings. For what we see if we study the history of science is that ideas, theories and dogmas have happily and fortunately been changing all the time. Sometimes that happens with a lot of acrimony, sometimes very conveniently, discreetly and as a matter of fact in order to avoid any embarrassment to the system.
But, returning to the question of atoms and cells – and everybody knows that a cell really appears to be a universe once you lift it out of a XIXth century two-dimensional perspective – we can imagine that a spiritualist or a natural philosopher (those holistic precursors of nowadays scientists), would probably ask this:
”which is the most fundamental level, the most basic? Why not investigate the possibility that what is one-dimensional or two- dimensional defines what is three-dimensional? Why not study the possibility that the qualities of the more simple and general are as a rule present in the apparently more complex?”
But who can teach holography to those who do not want to believe in it? Who is open to understand that fractals might happen both in space and in time? Who knows about non-locality, uncertainty and entanglement? Who is willing to risk reputation and funding and even persecution to embrace a wider view?
In the 1970’s Susan Sonntag suggested that cancer was the symbol and the metaphor for our society. This might still apply today. But cancer normally happens after a certain age, yet autism and allergies happen with children. I would thus say that these ‘new’ diseases are not a terminal degeneration but an early and vehement protest.
I am not against scientific innovation, on the contrary. Neither do I deny the very useful role played by doctors. I even believe that doctors, with all the knowledge that they have about the human body could raise themselves to another level and become true healers, even of the soul.
Great Nobel prizes were people who were interested in different fields and who sometimes dared to defy the Establishment. Some like Linus Pauling or Richard Feynman were also sort of philosophers. They could somewhat be seen as an attempt to be modern versions of the Renaissance ideal of the ‘homo universalis’, the person who sees behind categories and phenomena. But nowadays our society and above all our economy dictate that specialization should be prized and rewarded. And those who rule are only too happy with that trend because the more you separate the best you control. “Divide and rule”.
Yet, if you really want to understand autism and why it is on the rise as an ‘allergy’ to modern civilization, if you want to understand why allergies in general have increased tremendously in the last decades, you will have to take an integral approach, encompassing both physical health, psychology, sociology, economics, environmental science, politics and spirituality.
The piece-meal approach has failed; specialists are useful but synthesizers are essential. People who have studied several disciplines and have mastered one or two are the ones who can see the connections, the patterns in different fields of human activity. They are the ones who have their right-brain activated and balanced with the left. They are the ones who can bring it all together in a novel way of seeing human life. Let us bring them forth into this world!
I WAS IN 1789 AND 1917.
I WAS HERE IN 1910…
…THIS IS JUST ANOTHER REVOLUTION…
This thought, reflection or vision happened as an autobiographical experience when the author was Secretary to the Foreign Minister of Portugal and saw from the center, in one moment, the Portuguese Empire fall. It happened in 1974, in the same palace where in 1910 the Portuguese monarchy had fallen.
HOW MANY TIMES WAS I WITH THE WINDS IN BERLIN?
NOT TAKING SIDES, JUST WATCHING IT FALL?
THEY BOTH HAD ASKED FOR CARNAGE
I LET IT BEFALL
I WAS WITH THE BARBARIANS AND THE CIVILIZED
WITH BRUTE FORCE AND REFINE
I FLOWED IN HEROES AND CONTORTED IN COWARDS
I JUMPED FROM BATTLE TO BATTLE
NEVER LOSING THE THREAD OF IT ALL
I HAVE NOW COME AT THE END
WHERE EMPIRES PERISH AND HUMANS DIE
I AM COSMIC FIRE.
I BURN AND MAKE IT ALL FALL
WHAT IS ROTTEN CANNOT LAST.
I HAVE UNLEASHED TIME
I WAS COLD WAR AND HOT PURSUIT
VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE WARS
AT THE END OF THE DAY I IMPOSED TRUCE AND TERMS
WHEN THEY AWOKE I MADE THE SUN BURN
AT THE PITCH OF BATTLES I WAS STILL
DANCING AMIDST IT ALL
WHEN GALAXIES COLLIDE AND SUPERNOVAS EXPLODE
I MAKE MYSELF SMALL, A COMET AMONG STARS
I DART AT ATOMS, MAKE THEM SPLIT. BECOME SMALLER AND SMALLER… UNTIL ANOTHER UNIVERSE IS BORN
I DID NOT MAKE THIS UNIVERSE. NOT EVEN IN A SLEEPLESS OR DRUNKEN NIGHT
NEITHER DID PROMETEUS FROM ME THE FIRE STEAL
WHAT THE COSMIC MOTHER WANTED I ALLOWED
WHAT HER SONS CREATED I BLESSED.
NEVER RESENTING ANYTHING
FORGIVING IT ALL
I WAS THERE WHEN CONSTANTINOPLE FELL
AND I WAS WITH SALADIN WHEN HE CONQUERED JERUSALEM
I HAVE BURNT CITIES AND EMPIRES
I BRING CYCLES TO AN END
FROM WITHIN, FROM THEIR CENTER
I WATCH THEM FALL
I GIVE THEM WILL, LET IT FLOURISH
BUT THEN WITHDRAW IT
AND SURRENDER COMES
I AM WITH HEROES AND SAINTS
WITH KINGS AND KNIGHTS
BUT IT IS AT THE STILL POINT OF DEATH
THAT I MAKE THEM ALL COME
The World Crisis of Facts
November 2008 – May 2009
Facts, unlike poetry, are not universal. They are trivia, distractions, lies colored and framed by statistics. Facts, like feces, are the by-products, the visible outburst of subterranean long-term universal processes that flow in a more subtle and real dimension.
Facts, proofs, evidences, like the thoughts and the emotions which they materialize, are but crude attempts to unveil meaning through transient and subjective signs. Yet meaning is a holistic insight, closer to being the sea or even a cloud rather than to being a building.
Facts are stations on a road that only leads to more facts. Even facts that conjoin in clusters in order to get more credibility are always under the threat of new facts. Trying to build theories and systems on the basis of facts is like a child trying to learn and to control the nature of reality by assembling small pieces of wood. Another angle is perceived and the whole edifice collapses.
The methods of (predominantly Anglo-Saxon) science have lead to the present inflation of facts, data, products and financial vehicles. Once you try to get identity through external knowledge, once you try to understand and explain the world in order to control it and exploit a soul-less Nature, once you identify with what you do and have, you need more and more facts to buttress your theories. You have to call the myths and the invisible a lie. You make the material your lord and facts are always there to prove it.
Facts prove and build unreal systems. People who believe in facts in the end will cease to believe in themselves. They will fall prey to the creators of “faits accomplis”, the irrefutable, irreversible and imposed facts. They will worship their own images, the photos that others took of them. They will eat the crumbs of the celebrities and believe in the predictions of advertising, eternally surfing the net of statistical limitation and control.
Facts are the evidence of a culture’s slavery to Time, of a culture addicted to breaking news and television trash that replace people’s creativity and vital participation in democracy. Facts tend to repeat themselves, to echo, to fractalize; you always detect the same type of crimes or diseases, the same cover-ups, the same superficial conclusions, the same replacement by newer facts. All facts point to lack, none to abundance.
Touch an economic or social fact – you will see a hidden bubble rising. Wait until the bubble busts – another fact will erupt. As the generations do not have memory and the old are not heard, the country managers just maintain the “status quo” under the pretense of change and evolution.
The high priests of facts, the pundits of Economism, in their ignorance of the whole, try to manage the flow by adding color and spin, which they call “regulation of the financial agents” or “balancing the sheets” referring to the great unknown in the vaults.
The derivatives of their actions, the facts or symbols of their greed, their lack of historical perspective and competence were an abuse of the future and are a huge wandering cloud of anti matter (between 640 and 800 trillion dollars) inevitably bound to collide with the universal lack they created on this planet.
But the “balancing of the sheets” of the Yin and Yang also goes on other levels: the assets of the banks are inflated by the bankers to get more bonuses, while the statistics of the unemployed are deflated and minimized to defuse social unrest and prevent riots.
And if one wants to go further in the “balancing” you see savers in the East and consumers in the West. The savers finance the consumers. The Communist Party subsidizes the hedonist individualists. The prosperity they refuse their people is a remote sequence of the results of the nineteenth century Western policy of imposing to the last Chinese Emperors the free import of opium to the Chinese people. A policydevised by the British to wisely dispose of the Yellow Peril. Thus history repeats and compensates itself.
Facts, trends and patterns weave their enticing meanings in the tapestries and intricate lattices of the energetic matrix of space and time.
What unites East and West? The materialist god. The tyranny of facts. The addiction to power and greed. The fear of the unknown.
The world cries and babies die. The animals are impatient and threaten rebellion. Anything goes and the world is for grabs.
Who rises to the occasion?
Nov 2008 – Feb 2009
In the Chinese language the word “crisis” translates both as danger and as opportunity. This is clearly the situation the world is facing today.
Americans have the feeling that America is the world and never has that been closer to becoming true.
After eight years of political tension, the world is now focused on a different crisis. After tension there is now a very high worldwide expectation for Obama’s presidency. For the first time in several countries the election campaign was followed daily by national televisions. People understood what was at stake. On one side more of the same, delivered by an old man, who confessed knowing nothing about economics, and on the other side, change and a hope of fairness for all.
Appropriately, the President of Brazil said this in early in February :“The world cannot elect anymore presidents that do not listen to social movements, that do not listen to the people”. And the reach of Obama’s star could also be felt in January in France when the workers striking chanted “Yes we can” down the streets of Paris. Another puzzling effect is that the word O-ba-ma in the Persian language of Iran means “he is with us.”
The challenge that is facing Obama seems to be an economical one, hence his actions to remedy the situation. However with time it is probably going to become a social crisis, which will become a political crisis worldwide and, in the end will reveal itself as a crisis of the model of society we created for this planet, that is, a change of paradigm in civilization. It is obviously too early to address that core point. Policies will have to fail and frustration increase.
The huge cloud of “derivatives,” some $500 trillion, moving in the ethers between Dubai and Tokyo and having very little relation to real assets, cannot be assuaged by a few billion dollars handouts to banks. There was too much greed and lack of competence and foresight to be erased with such short term goodwill.
The crisis is systemic and the solution cannot be found within the system. Part of the crisis of the system is the increasing worldwide disillusion with politicians, economists, managers, and bankers.
Americans have had the tendency to see their leaders in messianic terms. Even though it is premature to say that with certainty, Obama seems to be destined to be the messianic figure by excellence. He is now the rallying point for the aspirations of people of all classes in all continents. He could become “the imam,” the spiritual and political leader.
Even though his arrival to the White House could almost be seen as the opposite. For we finally have a human in that position, a person like us. A being who is compassionate, loving and yet efficient, dedicated to take action to solve problems. A non ideological man who is not just a technocrat, a pragmatic manager. For he is imbued with a vision. He has a dream.
Speaking with a spiritual European astrologer recently about Obama she told me the following:
1. He does not have personal planets in the chart, meaning that he does not come to project his ego but comes in service, guided by a mission. He projects himself in the group, the government, the people, and the nation. He comes for group action.
2. The present polarity with the past is so strong that the situation is irreversible. Americans, which are not used to having to think, are going to have the alternative to think and decide consciously.
3. His project is very luminous; he is a light in the world, a man of good will, transparent.
4. But it is going to be very difficult; he may be a transitional government. Why?
5. Because he has Pluto in Capricorn in the Eight house, of karma and memory. Could it be the weight and memory of the previous regime? He seems to be tied by that. A counterweight. But, fortunately, that Pluto does not have bad aspects. It is rather a stuck energy, dark, heavy, difficult to move.
With time and the worsening of the situation, Obama will start realizing that material solutions cannot solve a crisis that is fundamentally spiritual, that there are too many causes, actors, factors, and vectors involved to be addressed by one-dimensional policies. To be able to comprehend both the multifarious nature of the crisis and the simplicity of its solution, he will have to open himself to guidance. He will have to realize that his intelligence, dedication, honesty and hard work, will not suffice. He will have to find a higher form of inner surrender. He will have to refine his relation with God.
Even though he likes action and problem solving and he is naturally at ease in teamwork, he needs a higher container, to know that he is not alone. He is clearly a person who listens. But more than listening to the people and to his advisers, he needs to open to new revelations. In this time of crisis, they will probably come from uncommon and unexpected sources.
As always in universal human history and as Euripides, a Greek playwright wrote twenty-five centuries ago, “ the expected does not come and for the unexpected a god opens the door.”
As the perfect conciliation between science and religion cannot be found, that door will have to be something never seen before or perhaps something very simple and age-old perfect.