I’d rather have climate-denying corporatists in power than climate-affirming progressives who deny the spiritual dimension of nature.
Yah, I know… this sounds controversial. But only if we don’t authentically and worthily undertake the thinking around what the FUCK we are doing here. Because if its just about climate worship, then we are doomed.
What do I mean by climate worship? I mean that you believe that climate is the issue of our epochal moment (the next ten years) and you think if we just count carbon and go electric and become climate resilient… then we’ll be saved.
If that is the case, then you have missed the entire point of this civilizational narrative.
Of course, we should all be pursuing every behavioral change that will draw us into closer alignment with the ecosystem (and I do, both with my own 1:1 footprint and substantial investment in, and board chairmanship of, a climate change startup which helps cities accelerate their shift to climate resiliency).
But we are being confronted with an existential threat that demands a transpersonal solution.
The point of climate is defeated by putting all of your focus on voting out Donald Trump or voting in your favorite climate-loving politician because it totally, and purposefully, distracts you from the actual work that we are being asked, by our planet, to undertake.
If that hasn’t completely put you into a wringer of programmed triggers, let’s get into it:
Ralph Emerson – the American poet, philosopher, and ecologist – expressed the radical concept that:
“the worshippers of nature are the destroyers of Nature.”
What, you may ask, is the difference between big ’N’ature and small ’n’ature. For Emerson, nature means the biosphere, and Nature (or Spirit) means the All – the physiosphere, the biosphere, and the noosphere and their domains.
Quoting Ken Wilber:
“[Emerson] maintains that nature immersion and nature worship prevent the realization of Nature, or the Spirit within and beyond, which transcends all. And so he arrives at the very true conclusion: nature worshippers are the destroyers of Nature, the destroyers of Spirit; they would, he says, never look within long enough to find the true beyond… they would never look within for Nature, they only stare without at nature, and thus, as he puts it, their minds are imbruted, they remain a selfish savage – geocentric, egocentric.”
Think of what Joaquin Phoenix said in his powerful Oscar acceptance speech:
“I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of, is an egocentric worldview. The belief that we are the center of the universe.”
What better, and more pithy, a summation of Emerson’s take could be possible, especially at an event as superficial and meaningless – is there any better example of re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, to get a better view of the distracting screen – as the Oscars?
But the point I want to make is that: in this moment we are being called on to make a larger cognitive and behavioral leap than to cool the atmosphere. People keep talking about the planet being endangered.
Fucking wake up, the planet is not endangered.
And that is because we have now become so estranged from the purpose of being here, on Earth, that the ecosystem is cancelling us. Removing us from the surface of this supernatural plane because we have become entranced with the external (and only fractional of the whole) reality to such an extent that we cannot bear to stop all our manic activity, silence the noise, to gaze inward and outward with the senses of an equanimous witness … and to gather the message that is coming from this world:
It is time to awaken to the cosmic consciousness.
Let me be very clear.
What is the purpose of being here? Again:
It is to awaken to, and become the expression of, cosmic consciousness.
Now some people think that means sending rovers to Mars. Others think its about establishing contact with extra-terrestrials. Still others think it is about doing heavy psychedelics and blasting out of this material plane.
All may be true.
But let’s state very simply what this consciousness is: it is the understanding that there are dimensions of experience beyond the third dimension which we perceive with our senses. And not only that, but these dimensions are where the generators and engines of the 3D reality are located. And that if we want to actually change our (eco-suicidal) paradigm, then we need to understand the parts of ourselves, and our world, which have direct access to these dimensions and begin to architect the new future from there.
The cosmic consciousness says: go within and beyond.
Not beyond and Beyond.
Within. And Beyond.
That is the next frontier for global change.
Did you ever see Interstellar? Ever see Inception? The transit to these dimensions and the seeding of new reality paradigms are the core messages of these films.
But even if you watch those, or read Alan Watts, or meditate daily, the reality is that most people will grasp the truth, but not viscerally feel and integrate it into their daily lives.
Because even though the most cosmic and salvational messaging is ringing imaginal phones all around us, we are incapable of grasping and receiving it through our wound-driven, mania-ridden, genetically-scarred body bags.
Because, it must be said:
We are desperately wounded, traumatized beings.
The experience of evolving on this planet for the entirely of our conscious history has been partly horrifying. Terrible things have happened. We have been hunted and eaten by lions. We have been drowned by angry, remorseless seas. Died from exposure. From hunger. From skin-eating disease.
We have watched our children be murdered. And raped. And we have raped and murdered the children of others.
And we carry the scars of those stories as genetically-programmed determiners of our everyday, modern lives.
But those stories are not the whole truth. Rather, they are that truth which the conscious ego and its master, the autonomic nervous system – which is delivered in each new human with factory settings locked on Sympathetic Response (stressed, ego-centered, fearful) – has determined as the impetus to create the climate-catastrophic society.
And so the trauma at the deepest part of us… which may be driving all of our most self-destructive impulses and patterns… is the belief that we do not belong in this world.
That we are strangers in a strange and dangerous land, instead of children who live in a supernatural garden.
Because that is the other part of the story, which is not horrifying but entirely magical and deeply optimistic, and which has been as much a part of our civilizational history as the earth-as-dangerous-frontier narrative that was first championed by the harbingers of the sky god religions that placed ‘heaven’ beyond the supernatural plane of the earth, and made access dependent on the requisite of suffering and the judgment of some alien, non-biologically inseminated creature who was placed here to die for us and then ascend with his body to ‘heaven’.
[Which story sounds more outrageous?]
I’m not going to go too deep into the impact that 2000 years of monotheistic programming – and its bastard child in deep ecological denialism, the Scientific Revolution – has had on the human consciousness. It barely needs to be said that the Earth-as-supernatural-plane narrative is threatening to the sky-god narrative at a foundational level. Which is why they killed the ‘pagans’ and waged unholy war on any deviant system which dared to present the case for a parallel or complementary cosmic world view.
Namely, that we belong, here. And we should undertake the practice of actively living as if we believe that.
Because, as Alan Watts wrote, “we are not born into this world, we are born out of it“.
And, more critically, that the Earth is a spiritual plane that has the potential not only to heal our deepest wounds, but also to materialize a threshold which, if we are courageous enough to cross, worthily (as the late poet John O’Donahue urged), will deliver us to a new territory, one where the world and our being are inextricably interconnected.
That everything that happens here is for us. For our evolutionary path. For our awakening to the true nature of reality and its cosmic dimension. Which happens through… the soul.
Now this word ‘soul’ gives a lot of people headaches. It repels them.
And I get it.
Because at its core, the soul speaks to the existence of a deeper part of ourselves – one that is beyond spacetime. A place that cannot be touched by the coarseness of this world and a facet of ourselves which has never been wounded.
Given that, it is an idea – forget an actual existential locus – that the ‘modern’ human has abandoned and denied because it does not mirror the (painful, alienating) experience of existence on the material plane.
An existence which has been full of scarring pain and heart-wrenching loss, at the hands of the world… of reality… of nature.
That is why the story of humankind over the past 2000 years – in which we labor under the hallucination that we are distinct from, and threatened by, the universe. So that that we can only rely on our selves to survive and master the material plane. Because there is no salvational force, neither within, nor without, our human body to transport us beyond the suffering of this dangerous realm.
Except, in our modern construct, the short-lived satisfactions of the market, which as we know, is the primary driver for climate change.
Which brings us back to the beginning.
This idea that all we need to do is count carbon and become climate resilient and we’ll be saved.
Which yah, we do… but that is not the point. It’s a half measure and a cop out. That’s why I’d rather have climate denying corporatists running the planet than a climate affirming progressive who denies (or is unable to affirm) the spiritual dimension of nature. Which is the only way we are going to move into the next phase of our evolution.
The worshippers of nature are the destroyers of Nature.
Do you get that now? How dangerous it is if we keep playing this game of inches that ultimately only distracts us from the true transmutational power of our cosmic consciousness and its imaginal realm?
But for most people, they can only imagine “working with what they got”.
Corralled and herded into the stockade of lesser evils by a class of political agents who have zero comprehension of or belief in the earth as anything other than a place to do our business. One in which we have arrived at the best system – even though it is a system that has failed to produce, or even attempt to produce, the societal outcome it was designed to: that being some level of representation of the will and benefit of the broader public – with the net outcome being that the most creative minds and (r)evolutionary warriors of our society, instead of focusing their energy on creating a new system, continue to ‘do the best with what we are given’.
Do we actually need a full system collapse before people of creative minds and warrior courage start actually envisioning something beyond … this?
For a long time I fought that notion, mostly because its not the white people in LA or NYC or London or Berlin who are going to get fucked. Its the non-white, non-mobile, agrarian and urban-serf classes who will be de-territorialized and cast adrift .
But more and more… part of me is like… bring it the fuck on so my people, the people who can actually alter the course of our human narrative, wake up out of their somnambulistic trances and change the way they live their lives and who and what they work for… and accelerate the (r)evolution.
Because life either happens to you, or you happen to it.
And in this category of evolutionary change, we definitely do not want that shit to happen to us.
The ‘left’ and the ‘right’ are being stalked and herded by masterful forces.
Frightened into choosing between a lesser-evil (false) dichotomy by those who govern on behalf of the hidden elite.
Alan Watts saw the answer to this societal manipulation – as he did for so many of our modern socio-political entrapments – rooted in the most ancient of iconographies.
It is by far one of Watts’ most subversive. Just take in the first sentence.
Obviously no society can tolerate within its own borders the existence of a way of liberation, a way of seeing through its institutions without feeling that such a way constitutes a threat to law and order.
I mean really take it in.
And then read the whole brilliant thing:
Obviously no society can tolerate within its own borders the existence of a way of liberation, a way of seeing through its institutions without feeling that such a way constitutes a threat to law and order.
Anybody who sees through the institutions of society and sees them for, as it were: created fictions in the same way as a novel or a work of art is a creative fiction.
Anybody who sees that, of course, could be regarded by the society is a potential menace.
In other words, you may put it in another way: one of the basic things which all social rules of convention conceal is what I would call the fundamental fellowship between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. As in the Chinese symbolism of the positive and the negative, the yang and the yin.
You know, you’ve seen that symbol of them together like two interlocked fishes.
Well, the great game – I mean the whole pretense of most societies – is that these two fishes are involved in a battle. As the ‘up’ fish and the ‘down’ fish, the ‘good’ fish and the ‘bad’ fish.
And they’re out for killing.
And the white fish, one of these days, is going to slay the black fish.
But when you see into it clearly, you realize that the white fish and the black fish go together. They’re twins, they’re really not fighting each other, they’re dancing with each other.
That, you see though, is a difficult thing to realize in a set of rules in which ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are the basic and formally opposed terms. When it is explicit in a set of rules that ‘yes’ and ‘no’, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, are the fundamental principles, it is implicit but not explicit that there is this fundamental bondage or fellowship between the two.
But the theory is, you see, that if people find that out, they won’t play the game anymore.
I mean supposing a certain social group finds out that its enemy group which is supposed to fight is really symbiotic to them. That is to say the enemy group fosters the survival of the group by pruning its population.
Would never do to admit that.
Would never never do to admit – just as George Orwell pointed out in his fantasy of the future 1984 – that a dictatorial government has to have an enemy. And if there isn’t one, it has to invent one. And by this means …by having something to fight, you see… having something to compete against… the energy of society, to go on doing its job…
Is stirred up.
And what the Buddha or bodhisattva type of person fundamentally is, is one who has seen through that, who doesn’t have to be stirred up by hatred and fear and competition to go on with the game of life.
Does that resonate?
If it does, would it be possible to stave off the shrieking voices all around demanding you to consider the stakes and the necessity to choose and do what’s right, to consider:
What voting and candidates and parties actually mean
When they are facilitated by the order itself.
And, maybe, even further:
If you authentically want to be part of changing this country and this world in a way that fundamentally transforms the machinations of social control and creates the opportunity to birth something entirely new and evolutionary…
Then, to question in a non-reactionary way: whether your place belongs within or without that superstructure.
And if without, then what that would actually look like.
And who you would be in that new paradigm.
Child prodigy, rebel icon, zen guru, Alan Watts was the philosopher king of the 60s counter-culture. At the age of seventeen, he experienced a mystical state which revealed the unity of spiritual and material worlds. And so began one of the most storied interior quests of the twentieth century.
During Watts’ lifetime his particular brand of wisdom pierced the conformist, Cold War society to appeal to the youth being drafted into a system they’d long stopped believing in. Besides leaving an indelible mark on the leaders of the sixties social movements, his council was solicited by corporations and the Pentagon. In this sense, Alan Watts was the ultimate cultural double-agent: a mystical trickster, courted by the same institutional elites who were fighting to sustain a societal paradigm that Watts was encouraging his young devotees to reject and transcend.
His enduring message asks us to see reality in a different way; to understand ourselves as components of a cosmic Self; the implications of which are different for every person whose life he has touched. Unfazed by his own shadow, and the one cast by the social order, he introduced a kind of commentary that was both ancient and ultra modern, and delivered it with an authenticity prized in today’s millennial culture.
I spent a lot of time with Watts’ writing and recordings recently and transcribed many of them into my journals. Watts was without question, for me, one of the greatest mystical teachers of the 20th century. Here’s one of my favorite Watt’s riffs from a talk in the 60s:
To control the world is not really what we want to do.
So if all explanations have as their function enabling us to control things, then maybe an explanation isn’t what we wanted. And furthermore, we can very simply see, what makes things complicated is explaining them. When somebody explains to you how a flower works… everybody stands fascinated. “How complicated that is. How clever God must have been to create that flower… to have all the complexity going.”
It isn’t complicated at all.
It’s only complicated when you start thinking about it. Because the vehicle of words is a very clumsy one. And when you try to talk about the processes of nature, what is complicated is not the processes of nature, but trying to put them into words.
That’s as complicated as trying to drink up the ocean with a fork. It takes forever.
So this intense complexity that we see in everything is created by our attempt to analyze it all. And so what we do, when we analyze, we use our eyes and ears as scalpels. And we dissect everything. And we have to put a label on every piece we chop off. And so we scalpelize and we get it right down to atoms…
There is no end to the minuteness that you can unveil through physical investigation. For the simple reason that the investigation itself is what is chopping things into tiny little pieces. And the sharper you can sharpen your knife, the finer you can cut it. And the knife of the intellect is very sharp indeed. And with the sophisticated instruments that we can now make, there’s probably no limit to it.
But in a way, all that is vain knowledge. In a way. Because you see… what it does is it gives the illusion that you’ve solved your problems. When have controlled certain things and you have solved certain problems. Practical problems. You say “fine, more of that please. Let’s go on solving problems.” And you create a world of people as we are today who are far more comfortable than the ones who lived in the 19th century.
But the problem is that we keep running into this thing that all constant stimulations of consciousness become unconscious. And when we take it as a matter of course to have certain comforts, then we switch the level on which we worry. When we solve a whole set of problems, people find new ones to worry about. And after a while you begin to get that haven’t we been here before feeling. Because we don’t realize we’re chasing our own tails, by a constant recurring process of not knowing who we are.
That is hide and seek.
That is the nature of what the Hindus call manvantara and the pralaya. The period of the manvatnara when the worlds are manifested and the period of the pralaya when the worlds are withdrawn from manifestation. In and out, in and out.
Ever more came out through the same door as in I went.
And the thing is to get to the point where you can see that you are doing that in every moment of your existence, with every tiny little atom of your body. You, now at this minute, you see, are the whole system. Of inning and outing.
In other words, you often think perhaps… maybe a long long time ahead I shall reach the point where I wake up from manifestation and overcome the world illusion and discover that I am the Supreme Reality behind all this diversification. My friends, there is no diversification. In other words, what you call diversification is your game. In the same way as you chop the thing and say it is made of pieces. Because you forget that you cut it.