Consider This...

[Part 1]

You Create Your Own Orthodoxy:
The New [Age] Orthodoxy's
Formative Metaphysical Hypothesis
Examined and Applied

by Jordan Gruber


I - Introduction:
The Need To Create A New Orthodoxy

Throughout history philospohers have written impassioned defenses of various traditional religious orthodoxies. For some current spiritual thinkers these older systems remain adequate; but for others, there is an inescapable need to forge a new religious orthodoxy, to hammer out the core of a new spiritual system on the twin anvils of an emerging metaphysical understanding and a sweeping political transformation.

This essay will focus on one particular aspect of that emerging metaphysical understanding. Specifically, it will assess and then argue in favor of the controversial and much disparaged "you create your own reality" hypothesis (the "reality creation hypothesis," or "RCH"), and then apply that hypothesis to the formulation of a new orthodoxy.

In one sentence, the RCH posits that we individually and collectively have the power to, respectively, create and co-create both our subjective, psychological realities and our objective, physical realities, through some as yet not fully understood mechanism that may be as simple as "energy follows thought," or that may be quite complex, involving communication with aspects of the individual and collective psyche that are not usually even conceived of by most human beings.

Before addressing the RCH, the political component of orthodoxy creation should be briefly considered. It is important to recognize that the establishment of orthodox religious doctrine always results, at least in part, from the intersection of spiritual insight and political motivation. The political (as well as the historical, cultural, economic, and ecological) forces in play right now are vastly different, and seemingly much more complex, than were such forces, for example, during the first millennium A.D., when the interaction between politics and spirituality could be readily discerned in the events surrounding the Catholic Church's seven orthodoxy-formulating ecumenical councils. Perhaps the greatest difference in the political component between then and now will be changes in both the quantity and quality of the actors who will be co-creating [1*] the new orthodoxy.

Thus, while the ability to define orthodox dogma may have once belonged to prominent officials from the existing religious and state power structures, an optimistic view holds that a new orthodoxy can now be co-created by a relatively large number of individuals who will approximate what Marilyn Ferguson once described as a "leaderless but powerful network."[2]

Such individuals will not, as a rule, come from the top echelons of the existing power hierarchies (although some, of course, will). Relatively unburdened by their lack of power, status, and privilege, and perhaps suffused with some of the best elements of a feminized, Gaia-centered spirituality, they may have the capacity to embrace certain marvelous life-promoting notions related to, and just as controversial as, the RCH.

Stepping away now from the political component of orthodoxy creation, three additional points need to be made before turning to the RCH itself.

First, because the RCH has so often been ridiculed and summarily dismissed, it may be difficult to take seriously. The skeptical reader should consider adopting the attitude of the "epistemological guerrilla," at least for the duration of this article.

This term comes from the philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, who, in expanding upon Thomas Kuhn's seminal work on paradigm shifts in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,[3] persuasively demonstrated the advantage of occasionally adopting what at first may seem to be to be a radical, even anti-intuitive, point of view in order to break out of the epistemological iron cage which we seem to inevitably find ourselves locked into.[4] While it is almost impossible to evaluate a new truth by any standard other than the standard of the old truth, which will, by definition, be opposed to the new truth, we must try to do so anyway.

The second point before directly addressing the RCH concerns the importance of establishing a new orthodoxy. Why should it matter how many people believe in or agree to a new fundamental formulation of religious and spiritual truth? Why care about the exact formulation of new dogma? There are three reasons.

First, orthodoxy works and serves a purpose. Once a more timely, more comprehensive, and, most importantly, more relevant distillation and formulation of spiritual truth or what Jean Houston has called a "new natural theology" [4.1] is reached, [5*] that body of dogma will have the ability to transform people, to communicate previously hidden truths, and to open the gateway to the realm of the sacred and the holy.

Because orthodoxy has great value and is very effective, the second reason to care about a new orthodoxy's exact formulation comes into play: although there is no accepted scientific explanation for this, the more people that believe in an idea or a set of ideas, the more powerful and communicable that idea seemingly becomes. The word "communicable" in the above sentence is not an accident; the proto-science of "memetics" attempts to draw parallels between the spread of organismic viruses and the spread of "memes" ("living" units of information) among human populations. [5.1*]

Cogent attacks against naive and bad-faith use of science are common in the anti-New Age literature, [6*] and by no means is a claim being made here that there is an existing "scientific" explanation for the phenomenon being described; indeed, it is possible that none of the typical "New Age science" explanations -- the 100th monkey theory, the holographic theory, morphogenetic field resonance, etc. -- are valid. Nonetheless, there is something startling about an idea which "catches on fire," and if some type of threshold or "critical mass" effect actually occurs, then we should be prepared for and take account of that possibility.

The third reason to care about the exact formulation of a new orthodoxy's principal dogmas has to do specifically with the RCH. Whether or not there is a threshold level effect with regard to the overall formulation of a new orthodoxy, a misunderstanding or misapplication of just one of the central elements of that new orthodoxy, that is, the RCH, can cause grave harm. As will be discussed later, Ken Wilber indicts the RCH for its production of "Neotronic" or New Age guilt, not to mention its role in causing harm on the physical level (e.g., those who don't take proper, physical-level, steps in medical situations). But the RCH is already "out there"; it is already affecting and impacting peoples' minds and lives. As it seems to either describe or point to a verifiable metaphysical principle not readily known by our grandparents, it is unlikely that it will simply go away.

It thus behooves us to grapple with the RCH, to make sure it is being understood and applied in its most beneficial fashion, to hold the RCH and its application up to the light of truth and inter-subjective hermeneutic scientific verification. [7*] Just as we would be foolish to ignore the positive benefits that can come from correctly understanding, communicating, and applying the RCH, we would be foolish to ignore the possible harm that has already come from, and that can continue to come from, letting it run wild.

In short, it is better to pin down the RCH in the process of forging a new orthodoxy than it is to let it continue to be used in a simplistic and often hurtful manner. Thus, it is incumbent on us to use our energy, will, and intelligence to frame the dogmas of a new orthodoxy as precisely and as beneficially as is possible.

Finally, what relationship exists between the RCH, a new orthodoxy encompassing the RCH as well as other principles and hypotheses, and what has been labeled the "New Age"? A discussion of this question is reserved for Section V below, following Section II's general statement of the RCH, Section III's general defense of the hypothesis, and Section IV's specific response to two strong criticisms of the RCH, one by Ken Wilber, and one by Ted Schultz.

 
II - A General Statement & Explanation
Of The Reality Creation Hypothesis
 

a -- Three Formulations of the RCH

There are three major ways to understand the RCH: as a spiritual teaching metaphor, as a psychological truth, or as a literal, physical, principle. Each successive way includes all aspects of, yet transcends, its predecessor.

As a spiritual teaching metaphor, an individual simply assumes that on some level they are indeed creating their own (psychological and physical) reality, and that everything that "happens" to them and everything that they experience can be used as "feedback from the universe," as information about their energetic relationship with a constantly reflective, responsive, and benign or even beneficent universe.

Since the first step here has been to assume the hypothesis's psychological and physical validity, the real test of this form of the hypothesis relates to psychological and spiritual growth: if I assume that I create my own reality, will I act in more responsible and understanding ways? Will I be more motivated and creative? Will I change those things in my life I already want to change? [8*]

As a psychological truth, the RCH is understood to mean that although we do not create or affect external reality in some "magical," scientifically inexplicable way, we most certainly do create our internal, psychological, representations of that external reality, as well as all of our thoughts, feelings, etc. Thus, in concert with our many unconscious beliefs, programs, and imprints, and along with our genetic and biological hard-wiring, we are completely responsible for creating, or are at least the physical mechanisms for producing, everything that we experience. In effect, we create, or at least produce, our internal realities, which may, after all, be the only realities we can ever know.

Somewhat reductionistic (reality is our experience of the pattern of neuronal firings within our brains), and uncomfortably close to the intellectual morass known as philosophical idealism, this view nonetheless allows for the spiritual and psychological validity of the experience of reality creation without offending the known laws of physics and causation. In short, it allows the RCH to be tested without worrying about how-on-earth (or wherever) our "insides" interact, affect, and even effect the external physical world.

Finally, the RCH can be understood in its most demanding sense: as a literal, physical principle. Not only can we use the RCH as a spiritual teaching tool, not only does it accurately state that we are responsible for or at least produce our internal psychic life, but we also play a central role in the actual physical manifestation of the material reality that we find before us. Because this is the most controversial statement of the RCH, and because it encompasses the other two formulations, this is the version that will be examined and defended herein. Unless it is stated otherwise, all subsequent references to the RCH in this article will be to the third, physical-reality-creating, formulation.

 

b -- Explanations For the Mechanism Of Reality Creation

"You do not realize that you create your larger environment and the physical world as you know it by propelling your thoughts and emotions into matter -- a breakthrough into three-dimensional life. The inner self, therefore, individually and en masse, sends it psychic energy out, forming tentacles that coalesce into form." -- Seth [9]

Reality creation is not a new concept; it is quite similar to certain Hindu notions that can be found, for example, in Pantanjali, and the ancient Buddhists identified at least six ways in which reality creation occurs (although, of course, they did not use our present terms). More recently, in concert with the relatively sudden prominence of the RCH, a number of different types of explanations as to the actual mechanism of reality creation have been offered.

The most innocent explanations simply state, with great confidence and brevity, that thought creates reality. We are told (in certain New Age seminars) that "energy follows thought," that "thought is everything," that "thoughts persisted in produce states of consciousness which, persisted in, produce physical realities," and that "the future is affected by what we imagine because the future is effected by what we imagine."

These explanations, however, are just too simplistic to advance the dogma-formulation ball. While they may be accurate as far as they go, they just don't go that far, and we need more detailed and exact explanations to serve as the primary material from which a new dogma can be forged.

Thus, five relatively sophisticated explanations will be considered: (1) the "new physics" model; (2) the pranic solution; (3) the Shirley MacLaine vibrational refrain; (4) the Seth explanation; and (5) the deep child mind explanation. The last two of these are the most useful, and the very last will be the basis for the discussion of the ethics of reality creation and co-creation in the next sub-section. Needless to say, other explanations exist, and elements from any explanation can be combined and recombined in countless ways. These explanations are offered not to decide which, if any is most valid or makes the most sense, but to illustrate by example the kind of presentation of multiple viewpoints that is a necessary first step in formulating the new orthodoxy.


(1) The "new physics" model -- This reality creation explanation, derived from certain advances in 20th century physics (and to some degree chemistry and neurology), is quite fascinating and thought-provoking, but it frequently ends up sounding silly, or worse, irrelevant. The connection between physics and mysticism, as Wilber has masterfully shown, [10] is not nearly as straightforward as one might think upon first reading such spectacularly successful books as The Tao of Physics [11] or The Dancing Wu Li Masters, [12] or such thrilling books as Itzhak Bentov's Stalking The Wild Pendulum [13] or John Curtis Gowan's Operations of Increasing Order. [14*]

Nonetheless, logically consistent, if not scientifically meaningful or provable, explanations for the mechanism of reality creation have been put forth in these aforementioned books and others -- the works of John Lilly, Timothy Leary, and Robert Anton Wilson immediately come to mind -- based on such concepts as the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, Bell's theorem, quantum theory, holography, relativity, the multiple universes hypothesis, the Schroedenger's cat thought experiment, etc. And in the 90's, of course, the hot theory was "chaos theory," with all of its manifold interpretations and applications.

Generally, these explanations focus on and presuppose an interaction between human consciousness (awareness, intention, and will) and physical matter at the quantum level. But it is precisely this focus on the quantum level which renders this set of explanations fairly useless.

Human beings, except in certain extraordinarily rare and unusual states of consciousness, do not have conscious access to the quantum level. We may be told that by focusing our will in a certain way we can affect the exchange of sub-atomic particles and thus effect changes in physical or psychological reality, but nothing is really added to what we know by telling us that at some invisible level which we will probably never experience there are some fantastically complicated things going on which we have the power to alter.

Perhaps this last criticism can also be validly offered against the other four reality creation explanations to be considered below. It seems likely, however, that any attempt to stretch conventional scientific understandings and metaphors into a successful explanation of reality creation is doomed to failure simply because what we are searching for is, almost by definition, a trans-logical explanation, one that takes us past science as we know it and into the realm of the "miraculous" and the "extraordinary." (Of course, Saint Augustine's famous dictum should be kept in mind here: "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.")


(2) The pranic solution -- This explanation, which has part of its origins in the spiritualist, theosophical, and occult movements of the last century and a half, [15*] explains the power to create reality in terms of a basic, underlying energy which permeates all things:

"The power to bring about the necessary transformation of both individuals and society comes from 'universal energy,' according to New Age thinking. Members . . . assume the existence of a basic energy that is different from the more recognized forms of energy (heat, light, electromagnetism, gravity, etc.), which undergirds and permeates all of existence. This energy goes by many names - prana, mana, odic force, orgone energy, holy spirit, the ch'i, mind, the healing force. It is the force believed to cause psychic healing to occur . . . it is the underlying reality of the universe encountered in mystical states of consciousness.[16]

Thus, according to this explanation, manipulation of this basic undergirding energy gives one the ability to affect and effect physical reality.

On the one hand, this is superior to the "new physics" explanation, since the ability to access and work with this energy is, it would seem, more commonplace (witness, for example, psychic healing) and more believable than the ability to shrink oneself down to and have an effect on the level of quantum consciousness. But, like the "new physics" explanation, this one suffers from an inability to fully articulate the mechanism which allows for the harnessing of the reality creation power. Although certain talented psychics, healers, mystics, etc., seem to function at this level, it is still unclear exactly how they have gained access to and at least partial control over this invisible realm of energy.

 

(3) The Shirley MacLaine Vibrational Refrain -- Shirley MacLaine has, for better or worse, taken an incredible amount of grief for having had the chutzpah to air her beliefs and thought systems in public. The anti-New Age literature may like to attack Marilyn Ferguson, or anyone who claims to be a channeler of a disincarnate entity, but it simply loves to attack this Oscar winning performer.

While her writings may be aimed at a "pop" market, and while she may charge a hefty fee for her seminars, her books nevertheless contain some very clear summations of current New Age thought. In her book, Going Within, MacLaine offers both a vibrational/consciousness explanation of, and a more philosophical background for, the RCH. As to the former, she tells us that:

"According to science, the physical dimension becomes real only through the consciousness of our intentions. Reality is then actually an intention that becomes an illusion of consciousness. . . . Each of us is a living, walking electric field of energy. Our field of energy organizes the molecular structure that we perceive, both within and without, as physical reality. . . . It is now possible to monitor and correlate how a change of consciousness affects physical reality. An individual capable of this is manipulating his or her physical reality by manipulating his own electromagnetic fields of energy. And he does that by consciously orchestrating his patterns of thought. The resulting manifestation of the thought patterns alters the physical reality. Thus, we begin to see how it is possible to create one's own physical reality with the use of thought and higher consciousness awareness." [17]

To a certain degree this explanation overlaps Seth's explanation, and therefore the discussion below of Seth will serve to also comment on Ms. MacLaine's contribution. However, certain eye-catching weaknesses in MacLaine's explanation do bear individual comment. First, she probably over-relies on, and oversimplifies, the notion of "electromagnetic vibrations" and the relationship of these vibrations to reality creation.

Second, there is no excuse for starting a sentence with "according to science" when, in fact, not only is there a complete lack of agreement among scientists as to these matters, but many (perhaps most) scientists believe that this entire subject is nonsense.

Third, as will be explained below, MacLaine's reference to the "conscious orchestration" of thoughts as the key to reality creation vastly understates the difficulties involved, and only partially identifies the relevant mechanism.

But MacLaine gives us more than an attempted explanation -- she gives us a background philosophical explanation as well:

"This understanding brings us to the most controversial concept of the New Age philosophy: the belief that God lies within, and therefore we are each part of God. Since there is no separateness, we are each Godlike, and God is in each of us. We experience God and God experiences through us. We are literally made up of God energy, therefore we can create whatever we want in life because we are each co-creating with the energy of God - the energy that makes the universe itself." [18]

Ken Wilber disagrees with this position, and writes that such a view "mistakes the correct notion, 'Godhead creates all,' for the narcissistic notion 'Since I am one with God, I create all.' That's very wrong. That position makes two profound mistakes. . . . Namely: one, that God is an intervening parent for the universe, instead of its impartial reality or suchness; and, two, that your ego is one with that parental god, and therefore can intervene and order the universe around." [19]

Wilber may be right that the "little I" of ordinary consciousness neither possesses nor can direct the reality creation power, but MacLaine makes a valid point too: if we are truly connected with, and in at least some sense are an integral aspect of, the divine source, then there must be some sort of channel, some set of steps, that will create a link between our "little I's" and the reality creation power.

Put another way, MacLaine is reaffirming the ancient notion that "God" wields the reality creation power with respect to physical matter, and that as creations of "God" ourselves we too possess that power, or at least have access to it if certain conditions are met. Wilber seems to disagree, stating that while "Godhead" does create all, it is ridiculous to ascribe the reality creation power to some anthropomorphic, interventionist, parental God-figure. But even if an anthropomorphic God is, at this point, a ridiculous notion, why should that negate the possibility (or desirability) of certain human beings establishing access to the reality creation power inherent in the Godhead?


(4) Seth's Explanation -- In the early 1970's, at a time when very few "channelers" were on the scene, the late Jane Roberts, with the help of her husband Robert F. Butts, began a series of trance-dictated books, with the true author supposedly being a disincarnate "entity" named Seth. There is, of course, a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of "channeled entities"; what matters here, however, is not whether Seth was an ontologically valid and independently existing entity, a part of Jane Roberts' "higher self," or merely a fragment of her ordinary personality. Instead, what matters is the quality and consistency of the material that she and Seth produced.

The dozen or so books in the Seth corpus have proven extremely thought-provoking and influential. As almost anyone who has actually read through all of Seth's single most important book, The Nature of Personal Reality, [20] can attest to, reading a Seth book can often be, in and of itself, a transformative experience. Moreover, Seth's influence is undeniable, as a great deal of New Age belief is based either directly or indirectly on his ideas and formulations.

The RCH is perhaps the keynote to Seth's system, and he did not mince words with respect to it: "The fact is that each of you create your own physical reality; and en masse, you create both the glories and the terrors that exist within your earthly experience. Until you realize that you are the creators, you will refuse to accept this responsibility." [21]

Consciousness, for Seth, is "a spontaneous exercise in creativity. You are learning now, in a three-dimensional context, the ways in which your emotional and psychic existence can create varieties of physical form. You manipulate within the psychic environment, and these manipulations are then automatically impressed upon the physical mold." [22] The actual physical mechanism is explained along these lines:

"Each of you acts as transformers, unconsciously, automatically transforming highly sophisticated electromagnetic units into physical objects. You are in the middle of a 'matter-concentrated system,' surrounded, so to speak, by weaker areas in which what you would call 'pseudomatter' persists. Each thought and emotion spontaneously exists as a simple or complex electromagnetic unit -- unperceived, incidentally, as yet by your scientists. The intensity determines both the strength and the permanency of the physical image into which the thought or emotion will be materialized. [23]

As for the body, Seth states that "quite literally, the 'inner self' forms the body by magically transforming thoughts and emotions into physical counterparts. You grow the body. Its condition perfectly mirrors your subjective state at any given time. Using atoms and molecules, you build your body forming basic elements into a form that you call your own." [24]

We are, in short, constantly and easily creating our realities: "Now, it is easy to see that you translate feelings into words or bodily expressions and gestures, but not quite as easy to realize that you form your physical body as effortlessly and unselfconsciously as you translate feelings into symbols that become words." [25]

Seth's contribution is three-fold. First, a comprehensive, self-consistent, system has been set forth which boldly states and affirms the reality-creation principle and attempts to begin to offer a "scientific" explanation for it.

Second, through innumerable examples, descriptions, exercises, etc., a constant attempt is made through all of Seth's books to actually get readers to examine their own unconscious thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc., in order to test the RCH and apply it to expanding and transforming their lives.

Third, by giving us detailed "scientific" passages (Seth assures us that "thoughts and emotions are formed into physical matter by very definite methods and through laws quite valid, though they be presently unknown" [26]) involving such notions as "matter assemblage points" [The notion of assemblage points strikes a resonance to some of the reality creation notions thrown out in the later Carlos Casteneda books), "coordination points," "electromagnetic energy units," etc., a mechanism for reality creation is laid out that may, at some point, be scientifically testable.

There are, however, problems with Seth's contribution. First, at times the material is quite dense, murky, and repetitive. Matters are not helped much by the "trance psychic" promotional materials and the odd pictures attached to some of Jane Roberts' books. And second, assuming that Seth really is a wise, highly evolved, disincarnate entity, it is entirely probable that an explanation from such a vantage point would only take us so far, and that certain very human notions and concerns are therefore missing from Seth's descriptions.

 

(5) The deep child mind explanation --- This explanation, derived originally from the works of Joseph Chilton Pierce [27] and subsequently formulated by the modern esotericist William Carl Eichman, [28*] focuses not so much on the physics of the mechanism of reality creation, but rather, on access to that mechanism. It is assumed that while the true reality creation power actually resides in the divine Self or God, there is a part of each of us -- our deep child mind -- that has the ability to administer this power. Thus, while it is true that "you" create your reality, it is not any "you" that can ordinarily be identified as part of your conscious self.

Instead, it is that first "mind," perhaps existing from a few hours before birth to about six weeks after birth, which agrees to go along with consensual reality and which has the ability to access the reality creation power. There is, then, a very deeply placed child or infant mind, a primitive animal mind, which is completely separated from our ego and which controls the "primal force," the reality creating power. This idea can be found in systems as widely varying as Kabbalah, Huna, the Christian doctrine of body-soul-spirit, alchemy, and kundalini based systems.

It is important to emphasize that, according to this explanation, the popular interpretation of the RCH is fallacious because any "you" that you can ordinarily identify does not create your reality, that is, there is a completely mistaken identification of the "you" that controls the reality creation.

An understanding of the nature of the deep child mind also shows why such notions as MacLaine's "conscious orchestration of your thoughts" are, at best, irrelevant. The deep child mind doesn't understand words, and it barely understands images. It understands physical things: ritual, touching, music, walking in circles, the tone of voice, extremely subtle vibrations of sound and even color felt by the skin, etc. The deep child mind can be communicated with, but by ritual and action, not by thinking and words.

Three additional points should be noted about the deep child mind. First, although it is named the "deep child" mind, and although efforts to contact it or communicate with it involve a departure from the way our conscious minds normally function, this does not necessarily constitute a regression (a la Ken Wilber's pre/trans fallacy [28.1*]; instead, it is a moving forward to contact a very deep part of ourselves which we last had access to and contact with as very young infants.

Second, while it may be true that our thoughts and emotions color the reality that we perceive, the actual creation and maintenance of reality is done by our individual and collective deep child minds and has very little to do with what we ordinarily think of as emotions or thoughts.

Third, because, in effect, we all have the same deep child mind, that mind is absolutely convinced that it is one with everyone and everything else, and it therefore cannot and will not do anything that it thinks will harm another being, which leads us directly into a short discussion of the ethics of reality creation.


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Notes

1. For the remainder of this article the phrase "create your own reality" should be taken as automatically including the notion that we are also "co-creating" our collective reality in concert with others. This is a very complex issue and will, to some extent, be dealt with later in this article; the point here is that the criticism "yeah, but obviously my ego alone is not in charge of creating the entire universe" should be recognized as being true in one sense, yet trivial in another.

2. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980), p. 23.

3. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970).

4. Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (London: Redwood Burn Limited Trowbridge & Esher, 1979).

5. While it may be true in a certain sense that there is nothing spiritually new under the sun (or, some would claim, after the Son), it is also may be true that spiritual, religious, and metaphysical understanding evolves over time, and that new times and circumstances call for new, more appropriate and understandable, formulations of spiritual truth. While Newton's laws are still completely valid within their own sphere, Einstein's are simply more comprehensive, including yet transcending Newton. It is said of New Age "channeled" entities that just because they're dead, doesn't mean that they're wise; similarly, just because an orthodoxy is ancient doesn't mean it is still the vessel of transformative power.

5.1. Some of the best, and certainly some of the most intriguing -- if not frightening -- material on memes can be found in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's The Evolving Self -- A Psychology For The Third Millennium (HarperCollins, 1993), Chapter 5, entitled "Memes vs. Genes."

6. See Ken Wilber 's "Physics, Mysticism, and the New Holographic Paradigm," in The Holographic Paradigm and other paradoxes (Shambhala, 1982) for a general debunking of the connection between science and mysticism.

7. See Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye: The Quest for the New Paradigm (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983), for a description of the process by which non-physical truths can be empirically validated by intersubjective hermeneutical verification.

8. As will be explained in detail later in Section IV of this article, this is quite similar to how Ken Wilber says the RCH can be used, at least in the context of disease: "You always can use your disease as a metaphor for the things about your life you wanted to change anyway, or should change anyway. The disease, in that case, can be a real spur to take creative action in your life, to change or improve things such as . . . your diet, your exercise program, your mental attitude and outlook, your spiritual relationships and practices. Diseases don't have to have a mental or spiritual cause to spur mental or spiritual action, action that would be a good idea anyway, whether or not you were sick."

9. Seth Speaks, p. 46.

10. Again, see Ken Wilber's "Physics, Mysticism, and the New Holographic Paradigm," in The Holographic Paradigm and other paradoxes (Shambhala, 1982) for a clear discussion of the connection (or lack thereof) between science and mysticism.

11. SeeThe Tao of Physics by Fritof Capra.

12. SeeThe Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav.

13. Stalking the Wild Pendulum -- On the Machanics Of Consciousness by Itzhak (E.P. Dutton, 1977).

14. Operations of Increasing Order by J.C. Gowan. This is a very rare and very, very, wonderful self-published book. Along with Bucke' Cosmic Consciousness and Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy, Gowan's book was probably the most influential work I read as a late teenager.

15. For an excellent recounting of the spiritual and occult antecedents of certain aspects of New Age thought, see J. Gordon Melton's "A History Of The New Age Movement" in Not Necessary the New Age.

16. J. Gordon Melton, "A History of the New Age Movement," in Not Necessarily the New Age, ed. Robert Basil (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988), p. 46.

17. MacLaine, Going Within, p. 102, 104.

18. MacLaine, p. 102.

19. Ken Wilber, "Do We Make Ourselves Sick? -- A conversation with Ken Wilber," September/October 1988 New Age Journal,
p. 51.

20. Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1987).

21. Id.

22. Id.

23. Id.

24. Id.

25. Id.

26. Id.

27. See Joseph Chilton Pierce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality (New York: Julian, 1971), and Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Split Minds and Meta-Realities (New York: Julian, 1974).

28. The ideas in this sub-section are taken almost entirely from conversations held with the modern esotericist William Carl Eichman in State College, Pennsylvania, in the early Spring of 1990.

28.1 Ken Wilber's essay, "The Pre/Trans Fallacy," found in Eye To Eye: The Quest For A New Paradigm, is one of his most brilliant works, and should be read by everyone. It should be noted, though, that some of Wilber's more cogent critics (including the essayist and author of the soon-to-be-published, TechGnosis, Erik Davis) have taken him to task for not *really* being able to explain how it is that one determines what, exactly, falls on the "pre" side of things and what, exactly, falls on the "trans" side of things.


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