Key quotes from Part I of More Than Allegory

Photo by Bernardo Kastrup, hereby released into the public domain.

To give you a taste of the messages in Part I of my newly released book More Than Allegory, I've collected below some key passages lifted right out of the book. I hope you find these insightful and enjoyable!

Never before in history has a civilization been so desperately devoid of context and perspective. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where should we go? What’s the point of it all? We feel lost because we are unable to take seriously the maps that could give us directions. We can no longer take myths seriously because, after all, they are only myths. (p. 14) 
Our mind needs a code to translate consensus images into thoughts and feelings. Without it, there would be no bridge or commerce between outer and inner realms. … The translation code takes the form of a mental narrative we tell ourselves; a story that implies particular correspondences between outer images and inner feelings and ideas. The translation code is thus a myth. (p. 17) 
A deprived myth is not the same as an absence of myth. A deprived myth is one that favors narrow and lame interpretations of consensus reality, [making] life in the world seem futile and claustrophobic. But it is a myth nonetheless, because it entails an interpretation. Today, we don’t live in a mythless society. Our condition is much more tragic: we live in a society dominated by increasingly deprived myths. (pp. 19-20) 
A religious myth … is a story capable of lifting the experience of being from the confines of time, space, randomness and blind automatism. … In a life informed by a religious myth, nothing is ‘just so.’ Everything has a reason for being and a purpose to fulfill. Everything belongs in a bigger and timeless context. (pp. 23-24) 
Religious myths are much disregarded and belittled today. … Perhaps as a desperate, instinctive effort to compensate for this unnatural state of affairs, scientific myth-making is on the rise, as the latest multiverse cosmologies illustrate. But that’s a lame form of mythologizing: science’s blind devotion to the gods of chance and automatism condemns its myths to hollowness. (pp. 24-25) 
Science, as the exclusive domain of men in the nineteenth century, incorporated in its very fabric the adolescent male’s need to look tough. … The result is that contemporary science cannot acknowledge even the possibility of meaning and purpose … for real men and tough chicks face bleak facts. This isn’t skepticism but cynicism: an arbitrary commitment to the impossibility of something. (p. 26) 
Both cynicism and fundamentalism blind us to the full breadth and depth of religious myths. Consequently, we’ve lost our ability to experience the comprehensive way in which transcendence can envelop our entire existence. We now desperately lack context, perspective and purpose. (p. 27) 
The world as the mental activity of a deity that becomes lucid within its own imagination certainly isn’t a view you would expect to arise by mere coincidence all over the world. ... Somehow, peoples separated by half the circumference of the globe and thousands of years have, through their religious myths, arrived at specific, refined, surprisingly similar cosmologies. (p. 33) 
Religious myths are powerless if they aren’t seen as true. But unlike traditional cultures, we subject our mythical intuitions to the scrutiny of reason. Therefore, if our lives are to be colored by religious myths again, it is imperative that we rationally understand how and why they can be true. (p. 34) 
Underlying our contemporary attitude toward religious myths is the hidden but far-reaching assumption that all relevant truths about reality can be directly captured by the intellect in the form of language constructs. In other words, we take it for granted that, if something is true, then it can be said. … Yet, there is no reason to believe that language is sufficient to capture all relevant truths. (pp. 38-40) 
The depth, breadth and flexibility of the ancient obfuscated mind may represent a huge and untapped potential in every human being; a resource anchored much closer to the primordial truths of nature … than the later-evolved intellect. … Could we ease our modern anxieties and rediscover the meaning of life by tapping into this ancient umbilical-chord that keeps us connected to the ground of existence? (pp. 43-44) 
The evocative power and remarkable sophistication of so many traditional religious myths can only be attributed to their origin in the obfuscated mind, which intuits aspects of reality unreachable by the intellect. These myths weren’t thought through deliberately, but sensed. (pp. 44-45) 
To restore meaning to our lives, we must develop a close relationship with the transcendent truths symbolically unveiled by the obfuscated mind in the form of religious myths. … Establishing communication between the self-reflective intellect and our obfuscated mythical cognition can help us ease our modern anxieties. (p. 45) 
Many religious myths reflect a culture’s intuitive apprehension of transcendent aspects of reality. They aren’t merely roundabout ways to refer to something literal, but the most direct and accurate utterance of transcendent truths. A religious myth is symbolic—never literal— because it emerges from the obfuscated mind. (p. 46)

Available now in paperback and e-book formats.

The symbolic religious myths produced by the obfuscated mind aren’t merely roundabout ways to refer to something literal, but the only pointers we have to a form of salvation. They aren’t less precise and redundant alternatives to literal explanations, but the only fair way to capture and communicate the transcendent aspects of reality. (p. 46) 
I thus propose that, if a religious myth resonates deeply with your inner intuitions and survives a reasonably critical assessment of its depth, then you should emotionally—though not intellectually—take it onboard as if it were literally true. … There is no better description of transcendent truths than the religious myth that resonates with your heart. (pp. 46-47) 
Because an intellectual inaccuracy is unavoidable whether we emotionally take the symbolism of religious myths literally or dismiss them, the lesser inaccuracy is the logical way to go. Transcendent truths cannot be grasped directly and explicitly, so rejecting religious myths for the sake of a non-existing literal alternative is simply irrational. (pp. 48-49) 
You will need your intellect to grant itself rational permission to step out of the way and make space for your wiser obfuscated mind to co-direct your relationship with reality. My attempt so far in this book has been to help you grant yourself this permission, allowing religious myths to color your emotional life without excessive intellectual judgment. (p. 49) 
Plausibility is key for the images used in any religious myth. And plausibility changes with the zeitgeist and the views of a culture. For the Uitoto, the idea of trees growing out of divine saliva is entirely plausible. For our culture, obviously it isn’t. Plausibility is important because it allows the intellect to relax in the possibility of truth. (p. 49) 
We need modern formulations of religious myths; formulations that use plausible contemporary images, more amenable to intellectual tolerance. … We need new images, new representations consistent with our contemporary knowledge and intellectual ethos. This is what I will attempt to achieve in Part III of this book. (p. 50) 
It is conceivable that the comparative study of religion … could help us recognize true religious myths by identifying the symbolic patterns typical of genuine intuitive insight. … However, as long as academia—plagued as it is by the deprived myth of materialism—insists on rejecting even the possibility of transcendence, the burden will remain on each of us individually. (p. 54) 
Consensus reality may be a form of symbolic language attempting to point at something else. This ‘something else’ may be trying to reach out to us by appealing to our interpretative capacities. It may be posing the question: ‘Here is consensus reality, the best representation of myself that I can produce. Can you figure out what it really means?’ … We may be nature’s best shot at coming up with the answer. (p. 59) 
Much of what we refer to as ‘the human condition’ is itself a deprived myth that, if abandoned, opens space for a spontaneous reconciliation with timelessness and boundlessness. In this particular sense, the traditions of myth and no-myth ultimately lead to the same destination through different roads. (p. 65) 
Both Advaita Vedanta (no-myth) and Christianity (myth) help ease suffering by enabling one to drop one’s futile struggle against reality. Advaita does this by dis-identification with the ego. Christianity, by surrender to a higher power. Indeed, this parallel goes beyond Advaita and Christianity alone. (p. 68) 
[The] uniquely human capacity [for self-reflection] seems intimately tied to our tendency to think of ourselves as discrete entities. … At the very moment that we become able to ‘stand outside’ our own thoughts and emotions, we also become able to ‘stand outside’ the rest of nature. … Whatever evolutionary pressure pushed [humanity] towards self-reflection also rendered it vulnerable to the myth of separateness. (p. 70) 
A potential pitfall of the no-myth traditions [such as Advaita] is the temptation to throw away the baby with the bath water: to reject, along with the myth of separateness, the value of self-reflection for interpreting the phenomenal world, simply because they seem to come together. (p. 70) 
Because we cannot derive meaning from the outer realm without interpreting it, by rejecting interpretative effort the no-myth traditions [such as Advaita] may also mislead us towards the conclusion that consensus reality is meaningless. (p. 70) 
The transcendent truth may only be able to express itself through the illusions it generates. ... If consensus reality is indeed an illusion, why does the illusion look and feel like this, instead of something else? What does this—in all its details and nuances—say about the fundamental nature of whatever is generating the illusion? (p. 71) 
A potential pitfall of the no-myth traditions [such as Advaita] is the failure to see that not only may illusions carry symbolic truth, they may embody the only possible expression of transcendence. Those who fail to realize this close their eyes to the clues that nature so laboriously makes available to us. (p. 72) 
The true value of self-reflection is not in answering, but in asking. … By progressively refining the way the riddle is posed—that is, the way the questions are asked—the intellect can nudge and guide the obfuscated mind toward increasingly more insightful answers. … The limitation of the obfuscated mind is that, because it lacks self-reflection, it simply doesn’t occur to it to ask the questions. (p. 74) 
Since answers to the ultimate questions of life and reality are always intrinsically transcendent, the only way to reduce their obfuscation is to frame them in the form of a religious myth. … Our myth-making capacity may be our key role in the dance of existence. (p. 76) 
Each time I went to a church and watched the faithful in prayer, I caught myself wondering how the Christian myth could have such a strong hold in the souls of so many otherwise rational people. … To simply dismiss the whole thing by labeling it ‘delusion’ would be—or so I felt—a lazy and unsatisfying way out. It would represent a puerile refusal to acknowledge an undeniable and rather remarkable psychosocial fact. (p. 79) 
My gaze got caught by the large crucifix above the golden shrine of the Three Kings. There was the figure of a man, nailed to a cross, in a dramatic depiction of great human sacrifice. At once something flipped inside me, like a sudden shift of perspective: I had gotten it. …That sudden epiphany confirmed the validity of the Christian myth to me and, simultaneously, shredded it to pieces. (pp. 79-80) 
I could only characterize this experience as serendipitous grace. Other than to say that the religious myth—by pointing—somehow helps create the conditions for the experience, I don’t know how or why it actually happens. I only know that it happens. [And when it does], the religious myth dissolves itself like clouds dissolve as they surrender their rain. (p. 81) 
A religious myth can create the conditions for a direct experience of a transcendent reality. If and when the experience actually happens, the myth dissolves itself. But once the experience is over, the religious myth remains an important link—a reminder—between ordinary life and transcendence. (p. 82) 
The very existence of religious myths reflects humankind’s archetypal quest for liberation. Yet, because of the elusive nature of truth, the successful truth-seeker needs to negotiate his or her way through a vast tangle of subtlety, nuance, self-deception and paradox. (p. 84)

Comments

  1. Nice idea to summarise key ideas in the book like this, Bernardo. I confess that until I read MTA, I didn't grok how enlightened scientists like Rupert Sheldrake could be Christians.

    I've been reading Sebastian Faulks "A Possible Life", and one of the characters living after WW2 in a time of rationing and restriction, compounded by his own undiagnosed PTSD, sees his life passing by the Church calendar - Advent, Septuagesima, Trinity... Quote: "The decade was like a tundra, to be crossed with collar turned up, eyes averted, pushing on and adding up the days till it was over. Twenty fourth Sunday after Trinity; twenty fifth Sunday after Trinity..."

    It's as if material poverty after the War, plus the unresolved horrors of War, infected the Church with spiritual poverty, and this helped to make England the overly secular (materialistic) nation it is today.

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    1. Sheldrake - ditto. Personally I'm too damn stubborn and sceptical to follow any religious path. But anyone who finds religion via philosophy and radical science has my respect :)

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  2. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's Noösphere? :) from the Internet to the Innernet......

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  3. It does surely seem that we need a story to unite all stories, or perhaps even end all stories -- should that even be possible. Nevertheless, we and we alone must conceive it. During my seeking, I gravitated toward an eclectic mix of stories, including the Tao Te Ching, the allegories of Tibetan Buddhism, the poetry of the Rigveda and the Sufis, or the likes of the aboriginal dreamtime fables, all quite valid within their own ethos, and still no doubt timelessly relevant in essence. However, none of them in and of themselves ultimately satisfied, because, as Bernardo points out, I wasn't intrinsically immersed in their ethos. But they did eventually point me toward an intuitive voice -- like my own unique tale of the 'Other' which Bernardo evokes so imaginatively in Part 3 of his book -- speaking an 'inner' story that inevitably compelled me to listen deeply ... better late than never, as is said. So perhaps there is a need for some incipient post-materialism mythos for our largely secular culture to resonate with, and to tell our children, that will serve that same function, but unique to our time and place, our global village, our version of now, not burdened with dogmatic fundamentalist baggage and dirty laundry, or reliant upon the belief, worship and/or return of some past messiah, or the nostalgic revival of some archaic paradigm, or the aliens landing, or some superficial love-is-all-you-need magical thinking; a mythos that can somehow weave together the mosaic of our rich cultural diversity, dispel the myth of separation, and once and for all show us that we are all integral, fractal, holistic expressions of Consciousness experiencing none other than itself.

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    1. Like Ben (my turn to pay you both a compliment) you write so evocatively and intelligently on these matters :) Surely you've got a book in you too?

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  4. 'The gods of chance and automatism' leaps out from the top of the list. Of course when you question the former with the atheist/humanist/scientific materialist camp (I think we're safe to generalise) they retort: 'But it's not chance!'. A fundamental misunderstanding of evolution etc etc. If there was nothing before and then something appeared - with no intervening designer - I'd say that was chance, however much you might like to sophisticate the subsequent process. As for AI automation etc - save us from technological determinist, Transhumanist hubris is all I can say..

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  5. @Steve ... I take it then that we shouldn't be expecting the next Saviour to be an android? :) Speaking of saviours, I've been reminded lately that the great religious myths that have dominated modern culture for so long did have some enlightened man-god, messiah, or prophet of god, at their core to sell the story, so to speak, and give it credibility, authority and the power to enthrall. Had Jesus just been Joe Schmo the local carpenter not born of a virgin would anyone have cared what he had to say? And so I wonder if whatever mythos we conjure up in our current culture will have the power to displace the prevalent deprived myths if they're just being generated by Hollywood, e.g. Star Wars, as opposed to coming from some enlightened entity. But for some reason I'm having a difficult time imagining the eventuality of a modern messiah, or Buddha-like figure on the horizon -- unless perchance it may be the aliens landing. It certainly seems like it would have to be something utterly shocking to shock us out our predominant, problematic paradigm. But then perhaps the new mythos will be that the new Buddha will be the sangha ... the new Christ will be the birth of an indivisible planetary consciousness, something like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin foresaw. In other words, we must be our own Saviours.

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  6. Ha ha :) For my pithy thoughts on androids and AI check #robotthinker on Twitter: 'I'm an intelligently designed robot. Yet humans tell me they developed by chance.' Please, no more messiahs.. If there's one thing that will surely define the post-materialist/post-religious age it will be a democratisation (as well as merging) of belief systems. Have you seen the Zeitgeist documentary series (it's on Netflix). Unlike Bernardo I'm no expert on religion/mythology so I can't judge but the premise - that Christianity is an amalgam (in almost every detail) of other religions is certainly intriguing.

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  7. "Please, no more messiahs ... etc" ~ Steve

    Exactement mon ami! Metaphysicians heal thyselves, I say! Haven't watched the Netflix suggestion. Most mainstream stuff I find a bit suspect, but I'll give it a chance.

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  8. Zeitgeist isn't really mainstream - like a lot of documentary stuff on Netflix strangely enough! I guess they'll put anything up if they think there's an audience.. Conspiracy theorists love it of course (it extends to 9/11, the banking system etc etc.). It would be interesting to get your take on it.

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  9. AI? Such as in the "Terminator" films; or "Colossus: The Forbin Project"? You just can't afford to mix it with those misanthropic machines...

    As for aliens landing, well, there's the Martians in "War of the Worlds" or those telepathic planet-wreckers in "Independence Day"... ahh! saved by the Vulcans in "Star Trek: First Contact" (but only after the Borg have taken over the world in an alternate timeline). Any Vulcans out there? Any warp drives on the horizon?

    Of course we could choose for a messiah a prophet of the (as yet unshot) film by Steve Turnbull, "Anima Mundi", with Natalie Portman as a high priestess of the new planetary cult of the goddess Gaia. The tricky bit in this religion, though (as Natalie would tell us), is that words and prayers don't cut it; everyone has to act as if they really believe in her and do all the right rites, or she becomes rather wrathful...come to think of it, she already is pretty wrathful..."Believe in me!" she says. "Or else!".

    We're not going to be pushed around like that, thank-you very much, so let's go to Mars or Titan...oh wait, "The Martian" had to rely on spuds grown in his own poo and Titan was so desolate, it didn't even appear in "Oblivion".. .so a few new movie scripts might be required, please...

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    1. How did you know I'd been in touch with Mme Portman? ;) Trouble with apocalyptic/AI movies (the excellent 'Her' apart recently) is they tend to get rather bloated and weighed down by their own portentous pretensions don't they? Gravitas in other words. 'Gravity' for example. Great music and effects. Epic ideas. Shame it all got sucked down a lavatorial black hole of its own making. 'The Fountain' - that was another one wasn't it? Cosmic turkey. Main problem with both? Lack of a good story. Now.. (fires up blank document) where's my copy of Hero With a Thousand Faces ..

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  10. @ Steve ... well, upon further investigation, I now recall that I did try to watch Zeitgeist on youtube once (as mentioned, yesterday is often very foggy), and got perhaps halfway through it before losing interest -- not being much into the idea that some exclusive megalomaniacal club is running the world. But it does point to some remarkable synchronistic proliferation of certain archetypal symbols and themes mirrored in the world 'out there' that surely can't be accounted for by happenstance. Curiously, the opening few seconds reminds me of the DMT induced vortex tunnel of geometric, or flower-of-Lifelike patterns that one's consciousness passes through before breaking through the event horizon of our world and into the utterly bizarre realm apparently parallel to it. Another interesting synchronicity, I suppose.

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  11. Generally I'm not a conspiracy theorist type - too easy to flick the 'scepticism switch' to 'off' and buy in.. However, based on the apparent evidence, if you told me JFK was assassinated by 'dark forces' and Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy I wouldn't have much trouble believing you. Likewise that 9/11 was a cover-up etc etc. I didn't get much further than the first part of Zeitgeist myself. But I was genuinely intrigued by the patterns presented - common dates, symbols etc - in the first section on religion. Next step of course (when I can find the time) is to read up. But I need to finish the book and the epic, Anima Mundi, film script first ;)

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  12. For sure, I've had my doubts too about the official party line, when it comes to plausible explanations of some mass events. I suppose I trust that, like so much of the long-buried, obfuscated dark-side of our nature, all the cover-ups, both personal and collective, will eventually be exposed in the light of Consciousness.

    By the way, I appreciate your appreciation of my writing. While it's just a belief, I believe that I'm far too undisciplined to come up with an actual book. To be a serious writer, it really does have to be treated as a kind of dedicated daily routine. I can manage these brief blurbs, and the occasional poem when deeply enough moved, but for the most part I'd much rather be gardening, or beachcombing, or listening to the birdsong while walking in the woods nearby, or trying to decipher the script that some butterfly is writing upon the air, than writing my own for hours on end. :)

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    1. Credit where credit's due dude! :) I know exactly what you mean about discipline - the hardest part as I'm sure Bernardo would concur. You also raise a very interesting point/dilemma about 'being' rather than 'doing' (Fromm) - beautifully captured by your butterfly image. 'What is the life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?' (Clare) I've always been a very driven person - on some big mission or another to change the world. Hence the film, book and countless other 'projects'. Yet my intuitive inner voice tells me I need to ease up, take my foot off the gas. Enjoy life more whilst I can - (still in my early 50s and reasonably healthy). Ironically what I'd love to do most is help people to reconnect with nature (and themselves in the process). That's very much at the heart of the ecotourism business I'm setting up here in the south of France. Back to projects.. Ah that elusive 'balance'.. ;)

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    2. correction: 'What is 'this' life..'

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    3. I truly wish you well in whichever endeavours you may opt to focus on ... I've visited the south of France on a couple of occasions, half a lifetime ago, and I'd love to get back there someday. I can see how you might be more enamoured of the back-to-nature dream than sitting in front of an electron screen all the day long. Speaking of which, I think I've doing enough of that today as well ... the deck chair beckons ... Salut et à bientôt

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  13. Yes, butterflies do write scripts in the air, don't they? Very nice image, Dana. Or conduct the birdsong. I used to love beachcombing too, but I live inland now. The gardening script took me 7 hours today - it's that time of year. Trouble is, to coin a phrase, "You can't be a gardener and not kill slugs". I've been out the last 2 nights with a torch; otherwise my beans and sweetcorn would be no more. Gaia frowns at me, I guess I'll never make the grade with Her.

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    1. Oh yes! Butterflies conducting birdsong ... There's a poem waining to be born ... Get to it man!

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    2. Waining to be born?! That's an interesting metaphor ;-)

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    3. OK, I'll wain on it. Meanwhile, here's a sonnet to recite while you're in your deckchair (though your birds may differ from ours):

      A Summer Song

      It’s June. We’re drowsing in our garden chairs.
      Which bird will entertain us with his tune?
      Too early for the thrush; his urgent prayers
      Will overwhelm the lazy afternoon.
      A robin trilled at dawn, but wistfully;
      It's much too fine a day for his black notes.
      Let’s leave his melancholy minor key
      Till Autumn comes and frosts force on our coats.
      The blackbird’s not too sad or serious
      And often seems to practice just for fun;
      His voice is always rich and sonorous,
      As warm and easy as the summer sun.
      On cue, his fruity phrases come on strong;
      And while he's singing, nothing can go wrong.

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    4. Very nice ... Sweet refrain for deckchair-sitting by, while the summery afternoon wanes away. Hereabouts, the cardinals tend to play the lead in the songbird's impromptu musical, while the robins try in vain to upstage them, with plenty of sparrows and chickadees singing backup. Now and then, an oriole waiting in the wings makes a surprise appearance and chimes in. Just to keep this relevant, birds of course play a prominent role in many myths, as messengers of deities, as tricksters and oracles, as mediators between humans and the supernatural realms. In some indigenous creation stories they are the ones who lay the cosmic egg. But they can also be the harbingers of death. While driving with my wife to visit her father in the hospital, who was dying cancer, a snowy owl, a rare sight in those climes, swooped down and flew along side the car for quite a while, as if insistent on our spotting it. Inexplicably, I turned to my wife and said, I think your dad just passed away. And sure enough he had. Another of those strange synchronistic events that makes one wonder what is really going on!


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    5. That's a good snowy owl synchronicity. Ted Hughes was a great admirer of crows - he thought they embodied elemental forces.

      Round here it's blackbirds, sparrows, goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, wrens, robins, song thrush, crows, jackdaws and soaring buzzards ("buzzards gotta eat" - Clint Eastwood).

      Hearing about your exotic birds gives me the idea for a story: someone wakes up in a wood, and as he comes to awareness, he realizes he's been transported to a foreign country because he hears birds he's never heard before...Steve- will you be organizing wildlife trails? You could end up in a bat cave, where the Ancients went to commune with the underworld gods...

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    6. Well, exotic is relative of course. Having visited the rainforests of Central America, the birds there seem to be trying to out-do each other in some colourful plumage contest. And it is truly a bit disorientating to first wake up there in the morning, not so much to song, but to a startling array of screams and screeches. In terms of singing ability, our songbirds seem second to none. The rooks, crows and ravens are indeed wonderfully artful, if not so tuneful or winsome. Easy to see why they are the mythical tricksters and often associated with the occult, and no strangers to synchronistic happenings, as so brilliantly depicted in Poe's great poem.

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  14. Bernardo, where you go beyond Patrick Harpur (I too am a great fan of his) in suggesting that rather than two ways of seeing -the literal and the allegorical- there is a third category - transcendent truth, this is a fine insight. A bit later (P.47) you say you are advocating "a deliberate, lucid split or dissociation between your emotional and intellectual attitudes", - I wonder if you use the word "lucid" in contrast to Harpur's "liminal", a twilight frame of mind, when irrational, hidden truths make themselves known? - the idea being that after a revelation or epiphany, the soul may become confident enough to express itself openly, even in the bright light of day. I feel that Harpur, though, was referring more to the old folk religions which were banished and pushed underground (obfuscated) by Christianity (fairy lore, etc). So they have not dared to show themselves lucidly by day.

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  15. If one reads Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, one comes to the conclusion that he predicted the Internet as a globe clothing itself with a brain. We are in the midst of this evolution. So much information these days on the Internet :). So what one is doing is gathering as much information as one can and that what speaks to oneself will take hold. One will not have to give up anything you has gathered in ones life. Teilhard also speaks of a personal consciousness that will survive. One just proceeds with ones own natural evolution in ones own natural way.....
    http://www.wired.com/1995/06/teilhard/

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    1. You may be onto the new mythos ... Not Christ resurrected on Earth, but resurrected as Earth's collective mind ... Shall we say the Noo-Christ ;-)

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    2. the Noo-Christ consciousness :) I like that!

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    3. One is using the language in keeping with Teilhard de Chardin's spiritual tradition, of course, but any other tradition or ethos can simply substitute their own lexicon -- e.g. the Noo-Buddha. It even works for the secularists, as they can just go with the cyber-lingo used in the wired.com article. :)

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    4. I guess that that is eventually where the Internet will lead us and giving each One the freedom of living :) After all live and let live in my life has been the best advice I ever received......

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  16. I guess it has always been the purpose of any religion or philosophy for that matter, that a person discovers that what truly matters in ones inner life. Therefore for me: from the Internet to the Innernet. Still so much to discover :)

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  17. I want to comment on this quote:


    A religious myth can create the conditions for a direct experience of a transcendent reality. If and when the experience actually happens, the myth dissolves itself. But once the experience is over, the religious myth remains an important link—a reminder—between ordinary life and transcendence. (p. 82)

    Symbols are part and parcel of religious myths and by their very nature, are never adequately explained or developed through the written or spoken word. The ecstatic or transcendent experience that on enters through the Door or Gate of symbols and myths are mysteries--both to the experiencer and certainly to those who read written descriptions of what was experienced. The written description are the menu but the ecstasy is the Feast (I think this is Watts' metaphor). I have had an ecstatic experience, it is interesting to me that the power that moved through me WAS a river, and this was in 1999, way before I read any Bernardo's works (before he wrote any) and I think before he had his experiences in the Dome as portrayed in the book. I can give some sentences and Im not sure that they will communicate anything at all of the magnitude and or numenousity of the experience. All at once a powerful river moved past me of such strength that I imagined just a rivulet came by and touched me. I experienced all emotions simultaneously---joy, terror, utter excitement, etc...whether it lasted 30 seconds or 30 minutes I had and have no way of knowing---at the end, I wiped the tears from my face. All vestiges of any intellectual doubt about the existence of one God, the ground of being, Universal Mind whatever you want to call it---were gone. God is a living force---that I knew t thatmoment. I walked outside into a cold clear night and looked up into a sky packed with stars. I have never known the state of calmness before or since.

    What triggered it is worth mentioning. I was heavy into reading all I could get get my hands on on Taoism and from the best book Ive found "The Wisdom of Laotse" by Lin Yutang, I was reading some of the imaginary conversation between Lao Tan and Confucius. I will quote what I read, "Confucius saw Lao Tan and on his return kept quiet for three days.
    "Master, when you saw Lao Tan, what kind of advice did you give him?" asked his disciples.
    "Give him advice?" replied Confucius. " For the first time I saw a dragon. When the dragon's spirit converges you see its form, and when it disperses it gives off a radiance of beauty, riding upon the clouds and feeding upon the yin and yang. When I saw him I was aghast and could not close my mouth."

    At that moment I was gone, the river took me. I still cannot read that selection, that myth, without feeling remnants of the experience.

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    1. This is your transcendent truth to be cherished forever :) I had mine when I was 34. It gave me the direction in my life in such a creative way that I now at my 70th am so grateful for such fulfilling experiences and they still continue.....

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    2. Yes, cherished forever...I had always been a student of religions and even studying religion formally in undergraduate. Although Christian, I took the message of Vedanta into myself, Brahman equals Atman, the all encompassing Godhead, the Ultimate reality is the same as the spark of divinity within each of us, self perceived as Self. Shortly after my ecstasy the Bahai Faith found me, or we found each other, and that is what I adopted, but my views are more syncretist and I am a follower of wu wei, not forcing things.

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    3. I was one of the first in my country (the Netherlands) to start practicing Hatha Yoga. It was the certified one, dating back to the teachings of Patanjali. I stood very open for this kind of concentrated body movements. Next to the 'asanas' my female teacher gave us the text with all the sutras of Patanjali to read. I was hooked and after a very enlightening experience I started to read anything that was available about the history of Christianity (from the crusades to Teilhard de Chardin). I had experienced a love so all encompassing and unconditional that I had to go through a few painful experiences thereafter before I could believe this message was really meant for me. Found the same text about such a love back in Teilhard's writings. I was just an ordinary housewife, married, with two little kids, feeling lonely in a village where we had to move to for the work of my husband. Anyway, the world wide web was not there yet for the average user but I got interested in computers and creative software (3D virtual reality) became a member of a 3D club in the U.K. and have been dabbling with 3D software ever since. I have a google page and a youtube channel in which I shared all my experiences. Met many like-minded souls on the Internet who even inspired me to be creative poetically also. Am happy to have been involved with the noosphere from the moment it became available :)

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    4. Curious how many poets there are hanging around Bernardo's cyber-place. :)

      "I had experienced a love so all encompassing and unconditional that I had to go through a few painful experiences thereafter before I could believe this message was really meant for me"

      I can empathize with this ... It's as if such painful experiences serve to validate and reinforce one's realization, showing us that it cannot be negated, and will withstand any test of pain.

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    5. Thanks for the empathy :)
      Looking back the learning school becomes evident. In the fourth stage of life (so lucky to have reached this stage...) I can only say as a grandma of five grandkids, 2 boys and 3 girls, that they truly embody my dreams for human evolution. To become immortal through these five is my reward. They are a great blend of me and my husbandś ancestors. I guess immortality is evident in the evolution of my offspring :)

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    6. When I saw tonight how my eldest grandson (13) and his sister (8) used technology in a most intuitive way: trying to throw a ball into a basket, at the same time making a video of it on their tablet, I laughed my heart out lol. They both managed to throw the ball in from several viewpoints and with different attitudes, practicing and practicing. My grandson was very clever in putting the video images one behind the other, so it seems they were successful with every throw. LOL, at this age they know already how to be successful and keep their bodies in form at the same time. To me it was an example of natural wholeness and I hope they will be enabled to keep hold of such creativity for a long long time to come......

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  18. Very good. Watch "Symbols of an Alien Sky (Full Documentary)" on YouTube
    https://youtu.be/t7EAlTcZFwY

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    1. The 'symbols' in this documentary aren't what I mean by symbols at all, just speculative planetary configurations in the sky that people allegedly saw physically. Never mind the extraordinary unlikelihood of what the documentary says, even if it were correct the documentary means something totally else by the word 'symbol' than I mean above. In my book, symbols are images emerging from deep in the psyche (not stuff seen in the sky), which point to transcendent truths. They couldn't be more different than what this documentary suggests, even antithetical.

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    2. Bernardo, just my simple point of view: If I look up in the night sky and watch all the stars in the milky way, I create a vision for myself. This vision lingers on in my memory and may later be stored in my subconsciousness on an imaginary 'shelve'. In a later stage of my life I receive an inner psychic revelation of a Big Bang and am able to deeply blend the original image in my subconsciousness with the image I received from the inner experience. In my experience I have transcended this experience as an inner truth now.
      What I want to say is that it does not matter whether it is outside (experienced with five senses) or inside (experienced in a psychic wasy). I am whole and in my wholeness I transcend my experiences ........

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    3. 'psychic wasy' must read 'psychic way', sorry for the typo

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    4. Certainly, in my experience, outer events can appear to synchronistically mirror inner events, in a way that suggests some kind of symbolic association. For example, the relatively rare appearance of a snowy owl at the time of death of my wife's father that coincided with my intuitive gut-feeling that he had passed away in that moment. As I can in no way explain this association using scientific epistemology, it is taken on faith that there is some psychic connection. As such, the only validation or explanation I can find is the prevalence of birds in archaic mythologies as being divine messengers (why birds, I don't know), as if that myth is somehow stored deep in our psyche, as a symbol waiting to be triggered in an apropos moment, and then mysteriously projecting or attracting the mirrored event. I can't really know, but if the owl had not appeared, I'm not sure that a passing cloud, or a lightening flash, or a shooting star could have served the same function. But perhaps such celestial events can be like 'messengers' too. Mind you, sightings such as snowy owls, albeit rare, are not aberrant deviations from the norm as speculated upon in the youtube video posted above. It's not like the owl landed on the hood of the car and began urgently pecking on the windshield -- somewhat like the raven in Poe's famous poem. But even if those unusual ancient celestial events did occur, it would still, according to the above hypothesis, be stored in our psyche as some mythos waiting to be synchronistically mirrored as outer reflections of our inner psychic events, again and again in our human experience. However I'm not sure that the case for this connection is made in the video. Seems to me that the stories of ancient mythological gods could be accounted for by regular celestial occurrences, like the constellations. And yet, for some, apparently ufo's make inexplicable appearances, perhaps also as reflections, as messengers sent from deep within our psyches. Curiously, of all the strange synchronicities I've experienced, they have never involved a ufo. Who knows why? Perhaps I'll have to wait for the eschaton. ;-)

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    5. intuitive gut feelings are very important to me and they often create the experience I subconsciously already knew would happen. Like you mention the one of the owl hereabove. To me it is something inherent in human existence and creative artists benefit from it as it is called inspiration.

      From Graham Hancocks investigations (many videos on YouTube) I have understood that after the discovery of a very ancient archeological site called Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, around 11.500 years old, that it might be possible that there has been an ancient civilisation experiencing exactly that what the above-mentioned video is about. I have watched it, still busy watching the second part. Many memories arise in me, while watching, of people of India and Egypt with whom I have been involved on the Internet in creative projects about exactly quite a few of those symbols who now have become in a much clearer daylight to me. So who knows what we will discover more. For me, it is my experience that I am always led to exactly that information that helps me further...

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    6. Bernardo, planets once being in different positions would account for the similarity of many myths and symbols across different cultures. OTOH, If planets have remained in stable orbits, the similarity might be due to everyone having a degree of access to the same obfuscated aspects of consciousness (the "collective unconscious"). Either way, similar myths/symbols across cultures would be based on shared experience, and I'm not entirely sure we couldn't apply the same sense of the word "symbol" in both cases.

      Your phrase "extraordinary unlikelihood" troubles me. To me, current cosmology relies too heavily on gravity, overlooking the possible effect of enormously more powerful electrical forces. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_%28physics%29) acknowledges that most of the matter in the universe is in a plasma state, i.e. ionised and able to form filaments, beams and double layers. Moreover, electrostatic interaction follows an inverse square law, analogous to gravity, and electrical fields propagate at light speed, just as does gravity (according to relativity theory) -- though electrons, of course, flow much more slowly in electrical currents.

      That the universe is comprised of about 73% dark energy and 23% dark matter (dwarfing the 4% "ordinary" matter we can actually detect) seems, if anything, more absurd than planets at one time being closer to earth. Whatever is the case, dark matter and energy could be placeholders for electrical forces generated in plasmas (charged aggregations of matter, as in stars/ interstellar regions). Rather than a mysterious form of gravity holding rotating galaxies together, couldn't electrical forces be involved? And instead of "antigravitic" dark energy accounting for expansion of the universe -- if expansion is real -- why not electrical forces generated by electric fields, which can be repulsive as well as attractive, unlike "ordinary" gravity?

      Should you be basing your comment to at least some degree on your acceptance of modern cosmology, how come you think that materialism is entirely baloney? I wonder if you'd agree with me that science in general is a kind of mythos: one that, when it's based on empiricism, models reality very well. But it strives for consistency across different disciplines, and often generates inconsistencies: e.g. between quantum mechanics and general relativity. Nevertheless, it lives with the inconsistency while at the same time often censoring, ignoring or ridiculing fresh approaches.

      Electric Universe theory doesn't agree with current cosmological views, and EU people are more open to "spiritual" dimensions of reality: after all, Rupert Sheldrake was a speaker at the EU 2013 conference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0waMBY3qEA4). I suspect that EU theory, whilst still partially embedded in the materialistic paradigm, is using a better mythos to more accurately model an aspect of Truth. Its speculations about planetary wanderings aren't *that* outlandish, I don't think...ctd

      Michael Larkin

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    7. Modern cosmology, ironically, tends towards pseudo-spirituality in the form of hardly comprehensible mumbo-jumbo. It talks about things that can haven't been observed, but inferred from theory: the big bang, inflation, dark matter and energy, black holes, etc. Empirical observations are frequently applied to subsequent theory rather than giving rise to it: the CMB, for example, is now "well explained as radiation left over from an early stage in the development of the universe, and its discovery is considered a landmark test of the Big Bang model of the universe" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background). In areas where modern theoretical physics arises directly out of empirical observations, it has led to successful technologies such as those involved in microwave ovens and jet aircraft, etc. Cosmologists tend to bask in the reflected glory whilst reversing the precedence of empiricism over theory.

      I put this down to the decline of religious and religiously-based moral values. What lies behind these, however, has not declined in the least and is surfacing as a kind of irrational political correctness, and intolerant strangulation of free thought and speech. I'm not accusing you of that, Bernardo: far from it. However, I do think you could be a little more open-minded about scientific views that conflict with your own.

      Unlike me, you probably have a much better grasp of the mathematics of proposed exotica such as dark matter and black holes. I'm not saying that the maths is necessarily incorrect, more that it's being incorrectly applied and has been elevated to the status of describing near certain fact. It's a source of constant amazement to me how scientists can do that, yet be so dismissive of things like EU theory -- not to mention the primacy of consciousness.

      Michael Larkin

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  19. The phenomenon of Man and the desire to be Human (Teilhard) creates the human experience. We discovered that our brain is a neural network. We now see the Universe as a neural network. We even created the Internet as a global neural network. We are the Universe, both inside and outside. We constantly recreate all that is. All that is is self designed through our experiences.
    We believe in a kind of immortality through our offspring (at least I do), through the genes we inherit. Now we are creating another kind of immortality through the Internet: a global consciousness containing every human experience up till now. We create a Cosmic Consciousness through our imagination which will become the next neural network once we are able to visit the stars. We will always be able to constantly recreate all that is in amazingly creative and new ways. Always :) So once one of us has experienced something new, it will become a collective memory in due time (and very quickly now through the Internet). We are a species that goes and investigates everything and keep that which suits our needs, both personally and collectively.

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  20. Hi this is Simm. For example, if a footballer scores a goal, it is a causal event. Bernardo's existence and actions are no accidents but causal events. The covers of his books form a pattern that resonates with the four ancient elements. The fifth cover (?) seems to display a mandala, the Jungian quaternity.

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  21. Bernardo Kastrup, thank you for all the material I'm discovering here, and especially thank you for generously sharing your dark night experience.
    Your above quote from pages 48/49 awoke my interest. I daresay there is a literal alternative to religious myths. When you perform the experiments found and developed by Douglas Harding and his friends, you will literally SEE that You Are Nothing full of Everything, that All flows out of You and falls back into You, that You are the still center of the ever-changing world, and that your own person is only a mask put on for the loving sake of Your beloved brothers and sisters who are You for real. Thanks for listening!

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