Mythology seen in relation to Star Wars
So the lively force of his mind
Has broken down all barriers,
And he has passed far beyond,
The fiery walls of the world,
And in mind and spirit
Has traversed the boundless universe.
LUCRETIUS, De rerum natura
The WingMakers´ story is a New Age space mythology inspired by Star Wars. In this pop culture file I will describe the philosophy of Star Wars seen in relation to this concept of “space mythology.” I will show how the WingMakers´ story completely unintended comes to support the Sith code and not the Jedi code, as it believes.
The importance of a rather long clarification of what I will call The Mythology of the Force is in that way relevant when we come to the philosophical justification of the Jedi code.
The file has therefore developed into a kind of booklet (not for the intellectual lazy), which is consisting of two parts:
1. The WingMakers´ space mythology seen in relation to the space mythology of Star Wars.
2. The WingMakers´ code seen in relation to the Jedi code.
1. The WingMakers´ space mythology seen in relation to the space mythology of Star Wars.
I was fourteen years old when I saw the first Star Wars movie. After that I dreamt of sitting in the cockpit of the space freighter the Millennium Falcon, with Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the rebellion, the smuggler Han Solo, his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca and the protocol droid C-3PO. Able to make the jump to hyperspace.
I compared the feeling with Karen Blixen´s when she in 1913 travelled to Africa. She was at that time lonely and proud as a descendant of great rulers or great dreamers. It was her youthful longings and dreams she travelled into. Out of Africa is about Blixen´s rebellion against the mediocrity of the common life, and how she seeks the original images, which she refers to as the ancient; the ancient, both in the wild nature, with its animals and natives, but also in the aristocracy of for example her beloved Denys Finch Hatton - not in the content of aristocracy, but in its form, as an image of originality, nobility, possibilities, freedom and adventure (see my article The Philosophy of Karen Blixen).
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....".
My journey was into the world of dreams. Instead of becoming a story teller I became a Dream Yoga pilgrim. I campaign against the work ethic and promote liberty, autonomy and responsibility; in reality: the fine art of doing nothing. In this I take an anarchic approach to the everyday barriers that come between us and our dreams. I think it is time for rebellion against the work ethic. If we shall save our democracy and welfare society it is absolutely necessary, that we in relation to democracy-parasitic ideologies become philosophical rebels like Socrates, Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Krishnamurti – a kind of spiritual anarchists.
So, today I´m in for spiritual anarchism, civil disobedience, and the right to be an idler.
I saw Blixen´s aristocracy there in the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon. Blixen´s concept of aristocracy is therefore linked with her concept of the original images, the ancient, and is both directed towards certain people, who she refers to as great travellers, adventurers and dreamers, as well as the wild nature and its native people.
The ancient, which is our mythology.
Many of the fans of Star Wars are fascinated by the way that creator George Lucas used ideas from mythologist Joseph Campbell to structure his epic saga. Examinations of Star Wars in the context of Campbell´s The Hero with a Thousand Faces are a staple of PBS discussions of popular culture. I still recall reading Bill Moyers´s The Power of Myth, a series of six interviews with Campbell in 1988 filmed at Lucas´s Skywalker Ranch. There´s no doubt the enduring popularity of Star Wars has much to do with its mythic dimensions.
Few words are as fraught with misunderstanding as myth. While, for most people, myth means something like “falsehood” or an old tale about a bunch of gods no one believes in anymore, it´s in fact something more complex. You might say that we don´t make up myths; myths make us up. Therefore it is important to discriminate between myth and confabulation.
The drive to find personal meaning or significance in impersonal or insignificant coincidences (Subjective validation) may be related to the powerful “natural” drive to create stories, narratives that string together bits and pieces of information into a tale. Of course truth matters most of the time, but many of our narratives satisfy us regardless of their accuracy. This tendency to connect things and create plausible narratives out of partially fictious items is called Confabulation.
A confabulation is a fantasy that has unconsciously replaced events in memory. A confabulation may be based partly on fact or be a complete construction of the imagination. The term is often used to describe the “memories” of mentally ill persons, memories of alien abduction, and false memories induced by careless therapists or interviewers (see my article Regression psychotherapies).
Confabulation is an unconscious process of creating a narrative that is believed to be true by the narrator but is demonstrably false.
So, in our time with the spreading of subjectivism and relativism - and therefore Magical thinking - we are seeing how Confabulation somehow gets a justification. There is in fact - as I claim in my article The Matrix Conspiracy - a New World Order emerging: the world of Alternative History, Alternative Physics, Alternative Medicine and, ultimately, Alternative Reality.
Communal reinforcement is a social phenomenon in which a concept or idea is repeatedly asserted in a community, regardless of whether sufficient evidence has been presented to support it. Over time, the concept or idea is reinforced to become a strong belief in many people´s minds, and may be regarded by the members of the community as fact.
Often, the concept or idea may be further reinforced by publications in the mass media, books, or other means of communication. There is no doubt about that The Matrix Conspiracy (which is a strong advocate for the use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy) will be made propaganda for through mass media phenomena such as Transmedia Storytelling, Alternate Reality Games (for example The Blair Witch Project), Viral Marketing/Internet Hoaxes and Collaborative Fiction.
Many Matrix Sophists are tempted by the fascination of fictional works such as The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, to create such a story, and then present it as more or less true. This is for example seen on the Matrix Conspiracy propaganda site Gaia.com (see the Matrix Dictionary entry on Gaia.com).
The phrase “millions of people can´t all be wrong” is indicative of the common tendency to accept a communally reinforced idea without question, which often aid in the widespread acceptance of urban legends, myths in the sense of falsehood, and rumours. The communal reinforcement in this is generated by the Force of American anti-intellectualism (see my Matrix Dictionary entry Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science).
The new New Age product called the WingMakers Project is an attempt to create a new mythology. It functions as a website. And it is rich in inspiration from Joseph Campbell. In the introduction on the website you can hear how it admits that it is a story, but that this story also is more or less true (see the Matrix Dictionary entry on Doublethink):
“Although the WingMakers material is presented as a mythological story designed
to stir our imaginations, stories of this genre are not necessarily pure fantasy, but
often contain elements of truth, and this is also the case with WingMakers. Recall
George Lucas’ many hours of conversation with Joseph Campbell, probably the greatest student and scholar of mythology in the past one hundred years, as he conceived the Star Wars epic. In his tale, Lucas brings the forces of good and evil into clear focus, but underlying these two exterior forces is the power of the Force. The power of the Force is the bedrock of the mythological world of Star Wars, it being the essential underlying foundation connecting all life. The WingMakers mythos takes the Force concept one step further, making it more specific by placing the presence of the Force within us as—the Force of the Sovereign Integral.
“So the success of mythical tales, both ancient and modern, lies in their ability to touch our hearts, our feelings, and our deep intuitive sense of connection to one another and to the universe. It’s all about how they make us feel through the information they provide. The WingMakers materials follow this tradition. Hence, the entire WingMakers’ presentation, with its array of artistic expressions, is designed to trigger the primal memories of our spiritual origin and nature—long lost and forgotten—as we have journeyed through the worlds of space and time. The material challenges us to feel and think deeply about who we are as a species, where we came from, where we are going, and why we are here.”
The website has been changed many times, and I think for no other reason than to avoid the critique of being a hoax. It is actually a shame, because to me the whole message is now extremely obscure. Original, the WingMakers´ story was presented on one webite as one story. The original story was very fascinating. The original concept was one novel (The Ancient Arrow Project) as well as five interviews with the so-called Dr. Jamisson Neruda, which are an extension of The Ancient Arrow Project novel. The story goes:
We are told that two students, who in 1996 were hiking in the desert in the northern New Mexico, near an ancient archaeological site, called Chaco Canyon, found a mystical metallic artifact from space. A classified UFO department in the American security service NSA was assigned to investigate the discovery. This department is called the Advanced Contact Intelligence Organization (ACIO).
The place for the discovery was called The Ancient Arrow site, and the assignment for ACIO was called The Ancient Arrow Project.
The artifact, which becomes known among ACIO operatives as the Compass, led them to a large, spiral cave system of 23 + 1 chambers, which was created in the year 826 by beings from a distant galaxy. These beings call themselves WingMakers. WingMakers are time travelers from 750 years in the future, and have therefore traveled back in time to the year 826 in order to place time capsules here. They are shortly said future models of ourselves, who travel in time, in order to correct genetic and historical ”flaws”. We see here, that the WingMakers Story is based on the theory of time travel, which claims that history is flexible and is subject to change (Plastic Time).
In each chamber there was a wall painting and a technological artifact from space. In the last chamber the artifact was an optical disc presumably holding the information about the site´s creators and their purpose. After considerable effort to access the optical disc, the ACIO team, led by Jamisson Neruda, finally succeeds, and determines the creators of the site as the WingMakers. Over 8000 pages of philosophy, poetry, music, genetics, sub-dimensional equations, and cosmology are contained within the disc. This cave system is the first of seven so-called time capsules, spread around the world. The last of six are yet to be discovered.
The optical disc was leaked one year after the discovery, and a part of the contents has thereafter ended up on wingmakers.com. The webmaster Mark Hempel says, that he is just passing on, what he is told by a contact person (Sarah de Rosnay).
In 2001, though, Hempel was contacted by a new person, James, who claims, that it is him who is the mastermind behind. Sarah de Rosnay is only his assistent. So, James is the creator of the WingMakers material. He is claimed to be a specialist from the WingMakers, and an expert in “transposing Tributary Zones to three dimensional space/time worlds in the form of encoded sensory data streams.” In other words, he is a kind of what Hindu religion calls an Avatar. In Western terminology he would be known as a Messiah.
James also suddenly began to answer the email inquiries of interested individuals through the site´s webmaster, Mark Hempel, who acts as liaison (in 2001). James – it is told - was born as a human with very human parents. If you examined his DNA at birth you would find very little difference from your own. He is said to be a multidimensional being who lives simultaneously in a spectrum of realities. He says himself: “My dominant reality is different than yours. Because of this difference, I am able to process this human reality at a different frequency rate, which enables me to perceive behind and beyond the three-dimensional ´surface´ of this reality.”
James furthermore states: “As a result of this ability, I am able to translate art, music, poetry, philosophy, and scientific insights that are from my dominant reality into yours. In so doing, I have translated sensory data that will catalyze future discoveries that will redefine the human soul. I am a teacher of encoded sensory data streams and was trained, at my request, to embody as the human translator of the galactic Tributary zones, making them intelligible to the human race of the 21st century.”
At that time the website contained this fascinating introduction, a half book (The Ancient Arrow Project Novel) about how the chambers was discovered, and Sarah de Rosnay´s five long interviews with the person, who leaked the optical disc (Dr. Jamisson Neruda), wherefore it was necessary for him to flee from the ACIO.
The interviews can be read in extension of the book. They tell an even more fantastic story about how ACIO for a long time had been in contact with beings from other planets. They exchange knowledge and co-operate about the development of new technology, which makes possible clairvoyance, materializations, time travel and much more. Examples are Light Encoded Reality Matrix (LERN), Memory Restructure Program (MRP), Remote viewing Technology (RV), Personal Mole Tracking Devices (PMs), and of course Blank Slate Tecknology (BST), which is about interactive time travel, which purpose is to deflect the prophesied Animus from Earth. Here we see the inspiration from the Montauk Project.
So, there are also hostile beings (Animus), who want to take over Earth because of its great biological variation. They namely want to reproduce themselves by means of our genes.
But WingMakers is the most sophisticated race, it is said. They are the central race in the universe, and the first race, which was created by God. They have genetically created us humans, and they guard us. The also help us to develop ourselves, and around year 2080 a great deal of mankind will have realized The Soul or The self.
The WingMakers also have a spiritual teaching, which consists of four philosophical texts, and James´ responses to questions.
Moreover the website contained the 24 wall paintings, 48 poems and extract of pieces of music. It is all divided in relation to the 24 chambers in this time capsule, and the meaning is that they shall have a transcendent effect and in this way be a portal to ”other” dimensions of reality. The seven time capsules are also called DNA triggers. Altogether genetics was a central concept on the website.
The website was incredibly extensive, worked through, and beautiful done. It was a mythology, which wanted something – a fantastic synthesis of science fiction, ufology, parapsychology, theosophy and conspiracy theory.
Since the original wingmakers.com in 1998, affiliated websites have been developed at lyricus.org, eventtemples.com, sovereignintegral.org, and a number of books, all of which are copyright Mark Hempel of WingMakers LLC.
If I as a newcomer had visited the website today, it would have passed unnoticed. It is now extremely difficult to find heads or tails in it. On the first page it for example doesn´t explain who the WingMakers actually are. This makes the introduction such as “The written works of the WingMakers…”, “The Philosophy of the WikingMakers…”, etc. obscure. Because instead it says that it is a “multidimentional storyteller” James Mahu, who has created the whole of the content. Anyway, if you do some research you´ll find that the story still is exactly the same. Because in the “recommended navigation” it is adviced to begin with the first novel.
So, it is tempting to use The WingMakers´ space mythology in order to present my own space mythology, which also is inspired by Joseph Campbell, and which furthermore can be seen in relation with the philosophy of Star Wars – and show the difference. Intimately connected with that, I will question if The WingMakers´ story actually is following the Jedi code, or if it, of course unintended, actually is following the Sith code, and in that way is promoting a message in direct opposition to that of Star Wars, which of course is supporting the Jedi code. In that connection I will also challenge you, my dear reader, to make an inquiry into yourself, and see which of the codes you yourself is supporting. Because it is quite tricky.
You can find my full critique of The WingMakers´ story in my article Time Travel and the Fascism of the WingMakers Project. Here I also have uploaded free PDF Versions of the original introduction, as well as the first book The Ancient Arrow Project and the interviews with Dr. Jamisson Neruda, which are an extension of The Ancient Arrow Project novel. Though my critique might seem harsh, I have uploaded this material simply because I think the story is too good to be lost. Already now it is for example very difficult to find the original introduction, which in a very simple way show what the philosophy is (perhaps this is the reason why it now has been the removed?). And I also fear that the website´s development into something obscure also will be its own death. That would be a shame. If it should have success, it should go back to the original concept, function as a hoax (in the same style as the Blair Witch Project), and then take the critique. I have actually made my alter ego Lucifer Morningstar (who is more like a hoax of exposure) continue the original story, by letting Dr. Jamisson Neruda live as a refugee in his palazzo in Venice (among other characters who wrongly are believed to be fictitious). Hereby the original story can continue from there, and the website and James Mahu could be thought to have been taken over by the ACIO. James Mahu could in that sense function for ACIO in the same way as China´s creation of the new Dalai Lama. Well, let´s see…
Let me give a short introduction to the critique:
The WingMakers´ story is not directly an example of Confabulation, since the creators of the website hardly believe their story to be true, but it will certainly create confabulation in others. It´s a fantastic synthesis of science fiction, mythology, ufology, parapsychology, alternative history, and conspiracy theory, which suggest the existence of a central race in the Universe who were the first creation of the First Source (God). Hereafter follows a plagiarism of Theosophical thinking. The concept of the WingMakers is just another word for the theosophical concept of the Great White Brotherhood. All in all: the only thing that actually distinguishes the websites´ writings from other theosophical inspired New Age directions, is the invented terminology. What was “spirit” now becomes “Source Intelligence”, “The Soul” is now called “Sovereign Integral”, God becomes “First source”, The “Masters of Wisdom” get superseded by an even higher order of galactic super beings, the Lyricus Teaching Order, and so on. This is fully in line with a lot of other New Age systems: you take Theosophy, and changes some words and names, whereafter you can present your own system. But therefore it also exposes the same totalitarian and fascistic tendencies as Theosophy (see my article The Fascism of Theosophy and my Matrix Dictionary entry The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism).
James himself says that the WingMakers´ content “is disconnecting people from the established fabric of the New Age and acquainting them to new energies that are present within themselves, not the New Age.”
This is actually a typical trait of New Agers: to claim they are unique free thinkers without any connection with New Age. James is namely discussing the Urantia Book, extraterrestrials, 2012, the Shining Ones, DNA activation, Jesus, who he says is a member of the Lyricus Teaching Order, metaphysics, Remote Viewing, chakras, the Christ, the Galactic Federation, the Eternal Watcher, Zeti Reticuli, teachers of light, ascended masters and so on and so forth; all of which are standard New Age subject matter. He promotes ideas such as all existence derives from one source of divine energy, and that everything is universally connected. He talks about energy fields and personal transformation by means of guided imagery and meditation that will ultimately help bring about global transformation. He promotes positive thinking (which the WingMakers website also has (had?) a link to, explained as a metaphysics link), and quantum mysticism including the subjectivistic notion that thought creates reality. He discusses multidimensional reality, Multiverse and multidimensional beings. The Matrix is introduced as a “Hologram of Deception”, “supported” by the Simulation theory. He claims to be a reincarnation of famous historical figures. All the WingMakers´ associated music would only ever be classed as New Age Music.
The only thing that distinguishes James´ writing from New Ageism is, as mentioned, the invented terminology.
New Age is permeated with references to vibrations and energy, advices to avoid the negative (you can tell good people by their eyes), stop doubting, follow your intuitions and premonitions, flow with coincidences, believe in the purposiveness of everything, join thousands of others on the quest, turn into your feelings and evolve to a higher plane. Follow your intuitions and dreams as you go through your spiritual evolution. Fact or fiction, it doesn´t matter. Truth is what you make it. Life´s too short and too complicated to deal with reality. Make your own reality.
This New Age subjectivism and relativism encourage people to believe that reality is whatever you want it to be. The line between fact and fiction gets blurry and obscured. Subjectivism shuts down people´s critical faculties, making them suggestible for any Ideology. It involves making people quit thinking critically in order to open them up to thinking Magical about that Subjective validation and Communal reinforcement lead to bliss. Hypnosis is in New Age directly used as a means for inducing in people certain worldviews (see my article Hypnosis, hypnotherapy and the art of self-deception).
The subjectivism in the WingMakers´ story can be seen in the question about whether the WingMakers´ material is fact or fiction. As mentioned: the material keeps on suggesting that it is true, though it tries to avoid critique. The message of The WingMakers is: there is a spiritual hierarchy (the WingMakers as the superior spiritual essence of humanity) which James Mahu, a real existing channeler, are channeling, and who therefore is the creator of the whole content of the website. The website is making a great number out of making James Mahu a totally anonymous person, and how positive this is, while the fact is that it is a trick that makes, for example Mark Hempel - the website´s webmaster, and the person who answers peoples´ mails - completely free of responsibility for answering critique.
Besides that the argument of anonymity is making the concept of James Mahu a bigger postulate, and therefore excuse, there is the problem of believing what channelers are saying. So, though saying the WingMakers is a fictional story, there at the same time is a postulated a channeler, James Mahu, who is channeling the WingMakers; that is: this is postulated to be true. And a whole teaching is attached to this, complete with special meditation techniques, which in this way are combining fiction (the books) and fact.
The original introduction to the project for example says as follows: “It is fact wrapped in fiction otherwise known as myth.” All in all we see how subjectivism is used as an attempt to get the line between fact and fiction blurry and obscured. It is also an attempt to avoid critique (= Doublethink – again: see my article Doublethink). So, rather than being a myth, it´s an alternative history, or rather it is a piece of Pseudohistory. It´s is something we have made up.
But Star Wars is also just a story we have made up, right? Yes but it doesn´t claim to be true like the WingMakers story do. That´s central. The WingMakers´ story refers to factual things, combining the fiction with a real existing teacher, who claims to be a channeler from the WingMakers, which are the central figures in the fictional books. It can´t be called anything else than a piece of pseudohistory.
Pseudohistory is purported history such as Afrocentrism, creationism, holocaust revisionism and the catastrophism of Immanuel Velikovsky. Pseudohistory should be distinguished from the ancient texts it is based on. The sagas, legends, myths and histories, which have been passed on orally or in written documents by ancient peoples are sometimes called pseudohistory. Some of it is pseudohistory, some of it is flawed history and some of isn´ t history at all.
Pseudohistory should also be distinguished from historical fiction and fantasy. Anyone who cites a work of historical fiction as if it were a historical text is a practicing pseudohistorian. There are also writers of historical fiction who intentionally falsify and invent ancient history. A technique to do this is to claim to find an ancient document and publishing it in order to express one´ s own ideas. An example is The Celestine Prophecy.
A variation on this theme is to claim that one is channeling a book from some ancient being, e.g, The Urantia Book and Bringers of the Dawn. The WingMakers Project belongs in this category. James acknowledge what he sees as the significance of the Urantia Book:
“Within this galaxy, the cosmology presented in the Urantia Book is considered one of the two best depictions of the structure of the Grand Universe. (The book referred to in the Ancient Arrow Project, Liminal Cosmology, is considered the other). It so happens that the WingMakers´ material is not based on this depiction, but rather is based on the reality of the physical Grand Universe, which happens to coincide with the view held by the Urantia Book.”
What is the Urantia Book? The Urantia Book (published 1955) is supposedly written by super-beings from heaven and deals with eugenics and “racial purity”. It is a kind of science-fictional bible (a bible of eugenics), a work of plagiarism peppered with ideas taken from the Seventh-Day Adventism and elsewhere.
Besides plagiarizing Theosophy, parts of The WingMakers´ material are, despite what James is saying, direct plagiarism of the Urantia Book, which itself is a plagiarism. The “art” of plagiarism seems to be a central part of the intellectual laziness within New Age.
Also A Course in Miracles should be mentioned. A Course in Miracles is the name of a book, allegedly dictated by Jesus to Helen Schucman (1909-1981), a research psychologist. The book explains what Jesus really had in mind when he came to save the world. The popularity of Schucman´s book gives testament to the attractiveness of New Thought´s revisionist biography of Jesus as wanting more love and forgiveness (positivity), and less suffering and sacrifice (negativity). In looking at the suffering in the world the Course says that this world cannot be created by a God. Heaven awaits us all and there is no hell; that is: the prompting to deny and ignore suffering and negativity. So, the Christian terminology employed in the book is thoroughly redefined to resemble New Thought teachings. Thereby it also contains all the problems of the positive psychology of New Thought; that is: it fails to understand the meaning of suffering (see my articles The New Thought movement and the law of attraction and Suffering as an Entrance to the Source).
When coming to the truth of a mythology, then the question of the truth isn´t lying in the tale, but precisely in the underlying mythology. It is therefore wrong to suggest that the overlying tale is true.
Myths are ancient stories, typically set “long ago” (in illo tempore – Latin for “in that time”), that provide answers to perennial questions: where did we come from? Why are we here? How should we live? These questions don´t lend themselves to easy answers. We should distinguish between myth in general and specific individual myths, each of which has a very particular focus. Scholars have wrestled with the notion of myth in general for centuries, but have yet to agree upon a single satisfactory definition.
Myth comes from the Greek mythos, which can be translated as “story,” but with the implication that it might have divine origins (that´s the manipulating trick made by the WingMakers story), in contrast with logos, which defined everyday discourse.
Generally, New Age is anti-logos and pro-mythos. Several early philosophers – such as Xenophanes and Plato – were highly critical of myth for its fantastic features, turning to logos as the way to truth. This is also the case with me, though the complexity of myth is extremely important to understand, because it is mythical landscapes one travels into when starting a spiritual practices. And on this journey logos is an important travel companion. You might call logos your pilgrim´s staff, or, in the context of Star Wars, your Jedi lightsaber. The Sith lightsaber would in this analogy be mythos). (see my article The Difference between Philosophical Education and Ideological Education).
Furthering the trend of reliance on reason, Aristotle narrowed down myth to its purely literary dimension, defining it simply as “plot.” Despite Aristotle´s critical attitude, he´s correct that myth denotes a story or narrative of a particular sort – mysterious in origin, demanding attention, yet concealing a deeper meaning than first meets the eye. In this sense, myth is like poetry, painting, or music. Myth in general defies a neat summary and points to the divine – as what defies rational understanding – suggests that myth contains multiple meanings. In fact, specific myths often have various versions, depending on the context.
While comparative studies of myth focusing on origins and “true” meanings began in earnest during the nineteenth century, the rise of the social sciences – anthropology and sociology – in the twentieth century deepened our understanding of how myth functions. Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) was an anthropologist whose fieldwork in Melanesia convinced him that myth isn´t merely a story carrying symbolic meaning but is, in fact, a “living reality”:
Studied alive, myth, as we shall see, is not symbolic, but a distinct expression of its subject matter…Myth fulfils in primitive culture an indispensable function: it expresses, enhances, and codifies belief; it safeguards and enforces morality; it vouches for the efficiency of ritual and contains practical rules for the guidance of man. Myth is thus a vital ingredient of human civilization; it is not an idle tale, but a hard-worked active force; it is not an intellectual explanation or an artistic imagery, but a pragmatic charter of primitive faith and moral wisdom.
Despite the now-controversial claim that myth is located in “primitive” cultures, what Malinowski says is basically sound: myth isn´t trivial, it´s foundational to society, and its force shouldn´t be confined to any specific story. Myth is a human universal because it establishes parameters for living in a meaningful world; it defines reality as we know it. Beyond this, myth isn´t irrational, since it often includes empirical observations and even certain “scientific truths.” However, myth also affords little room for critical questioning or dissent. We could say that myth is ideology – or a comprehensive body of ideas and beliefs, conscious or unconscious, that guides an individual in story guise. This aspect is the reason why New Age and the WingMakers´ story directly advocate the use of self-made “myths.” But here we shall remember that myth in its origins not is made by us.
As human universals, myths are stories pointing to a people´s highest values and most sacred beliefs; for example, the great scriptures of the world´s religions can be studied as mythic material. As a vital cultural force, myth is fundamental to how we understand ourselves and reality. Myth is all encompassing, defining a worldview, yet different societies will have different myths based upon their different environments and histories. Since there are many myths around the globe, encountering a new culture often leads to a clash of mythic worldviews. Despite this, some argue that beneath such surface differences lies a universally mythic core.
Campbell remains one of the most famous mythologists, but he was by no means the first. Unlike earlier students of myth, Campbell was not interested in myth´s ultimate origins, nor was he interested in denouncing myths as simplistic explanations of the world now surpassed by modern science. Rather, Campbell investigated myth as a source of timeless human truths still relevant for contemporary life. He drew on a variety of approaches to myth, especially psychoanalysis and the work of Carl Jung.
Campbell compounded that there´s a single “monomyth,” sometimes dubbed the “Hero´s Journey,” underlying all the world´s mythologies. In its full form, this journey entails seventeen stages, but here´s a summary:
The basic monomyth informs us that the mythological hero, setting out from an everyday home, is lured or carried away or proceeds to the threshold of adventure. He defeats a shadowy presence that guards the gateway, enters a dark passageway or even death, meets many unfamiliar forces, some of which give him threatening “tests,” some of which offer magical aid. At the climax of the quest he undergoes a supreme ordeal and gains his reward: sacred marriage or sexual union with the goddess of the world, reconciliation with the father, his own divinization, or a mighty gift to bring back to the world. He then undertakes the final form of return, in which, transformed, he reenters the place from which he set out.
Campbell thought that this heroic quest provided the fundamental mythic structure of all cultures, and there are numerous examples in the world´s mythologies: Hercules, the Buddha, Moses, even Jesus. More importantly, according to Campbell, the Hero´s Journey traces the psychological and spiritual path to which each individual is called.
Campbell´s theory is compelling and testifies to his amazing ability to synthesize findings from various fields. His monomyth allows us to see patterns in, and make connection between, different tales across widely divergent cultures. Moreover, by highlightning what he considered universal human truths, Campbell´s ideas continue to resonate with a wide audience hungering for common ground in an increasingly fragmented society. Ironically, Campbell´s scheme has achieved an almost mythic status of its own. Small wonder, then, that Campbell´s monomyth would appeal to young filmmaker George Lucas.
Campbell´s influence on Star Wars seems obvious, but the details are difficult to determine, partly because Lucas himself gives different accounts of it. The standard story is that Lucas had written two drafts of Star Wars when in 1975 he discovered The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a book he´d read years before in college. Campbell´s Hero´s Journey provided a perfect focus for Lucas´s sprawling epic. In a later interview though, Lucas said that soon after completing American Graffiti in 1973, while immersed in other projects,
It came to me that there really was no modern use of mythology…so that´s when I started doing more strenuous research on fairy tales, folklore and mythology, and I started reading Joe´s books. Before that I hadn´t read any of Joe´s books…It was very eerie because in reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces I began to realize that my first draft of Star Wars was following classical motifs.
Despite this, it may be that other pop culture sources, such as John Ford´s The Searchers, the films of Akira Kurosawa, and the obscure French comic series Valerian and Laureline provided more commonplace inspirations for Lucas, and that he concocted the story of Campbell´s influence later on.
Yet Star Wars includes nearly every stage of the Hero´s Journey. Luke Skywalker, a simple farm boy on the planet Tatooine (Campbell´s “the ordinary world”), seeks out the enigmatic hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi (“meeting the mentor”), who introduces him to the mystical wisdom of the Force. With Obi-Wan´s guidance, Luke then leaves home on a quest to save Princess Leia (“answering the call to adventure”). Along the way, he´s helped by the androids C-3PO and R2-D2 (“meeting companions”), encounters shady characters and danger at a cantina in Mos Eisely (“crossing the threshold”), only narrowly escaping from stormtroopers into space. On the way, he begins his Jedi training (“undergoing trials”), frees the Princess (“encountering the goddess”), and escapes with the plans to the Death Star (“the magical elixir/ultimate boon” that will save the people). Luke then joins the Rebels in the assault on the Death Star, during which Darth Vader pursues him (“Dark Father,” his nemesis with whom he´ll eventually reconcile) as he´s seeking to make the kill-shot (“magic flight/pursuit”). After destroying the Death Star, Luke reunites with his friends at the rebel base, where he receives a medal for his heroism (“crossing the return threshold,” “master of two worlds,” and “freedom to live”).
It´d be difficult to conclude that Star Wars was not tailor-made to Campbell´s specifications – a perfect example of the Hero´s Journey, something Campbell himself notes in The Power of Myth.
In my article The Hero´s Journey you can read the full account of how I integrate Campbell´s monomyth in my own teaching as an art of pilgrimage, but beneath I will try to show this, and hereafter see Star Wars in this light.
The difference between The WingMakers´ space mythology, and my own space mythology, can be seen in the concept of the Matrix. The Matrix refers to the movie The Matrix, which is beginning to achieve more and more influence within New Age (see my pop culture file on The Matrix).
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis. It depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called "the Matrix", created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer Neo learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the "dream world."
This film is also central in my own concept of The Matrix Conspiracy. So, what´s the precise difference between my concept of the Matrix Conspiracy and New Agers´ concept of the Matrix?
New Agers believe that the Matrix is a living organism, or simply reality itself. But one should remember that they are advocates of subjectivism and relativism, or otherwise said: they are philosophical idealists. In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind.
This is the reason why they can believe that the whole of reality, including the physical reality, is a mental construct. And from that it is also easy to infer to the idea that we could live in a computer simulation. You can see this idea discussed in this article in Scientific American, by Clara Moskowitz, April 7, 2016: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? A popular argument for the simulation hypothesis came from University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrum in 2003 (whom the WingMakers´ story refers to as a “proof”), when he suggested that members of an advanced civilization with enormous computing power might decide to run simulations of their ancestors. They would probably have the ability to run many, many such simulations, to the point where the vast majority of minds would actually be artificial ones within such simulations, rather than the original ancestral minds. So simple statistics suggest it is much more likely that we are among the simulated minds (see the Matrix Dictionary entries on Simulation Theory and Stephen Hawking).
But the proposal of idealism is also the reason why they think you can´t get out of the Matrix (that is: from illusion to reality), since the Matrix is reality itself: a mental construct, or a computer simulation. What you can do – and that´s their proposed secret [sic] – is to realize that you can (re)programme this reality completely alone with the power of mind/thought, and according to your own wishes and desires. The illusion is here that you have lived according to what others have programmed you to believe. The latter is the only idea I share with them. Because I think that that it is them who are programming us to think as they think. Just like Agent Smith in the movie.
My concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is that the Matrix is an ideology. And I´m not supporting idealism, but realism. The paradox of New Age´s misunderstanding of quantum physics (which they see as central support for subjectivism and idealism) is that quantum physics actually proves the invalidity of both materialism and idealism. I have shown how in my article Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Niels Bohr. Here I´m presenting a realism based on dualism, though not an ontological dualism, but an epistemological, or gnoseological dualism, which is necessary when we are talking of the ordinary mind, the subject. When we are talking about the enlightened consciousness I support a so-called metaphysical naturalism (I will return to that).
It´s puzzling that they don´t seem to have grasped the meaning of the film, only Morpheus´s introducing claim that the Matrix is everywhere, in the bones, around us, etc. They speak Agent Smith´s speak, and not the rebels. They speak about finding ways of getting on in this Matrix, rather than being interested in finding ways of discovering the truth; or rather: what they see as the truth is that they can control the Matrix entirely through the mind. Thus for example the New Thought leader Mike Dooley´s new course Playing the Matrix: and Getting What You Really Want – a Couse on Living Deliberately and Creating Consciously. It is a detailed program designed to walk you through the entire process of reality creation, from thought to manifestation. That´s also the message of the WingMakers´story.
To teach people this, is the main job of the Matrix Sophists. But this is in opposition to the message of the movie the Matrix, which is, that we should create a rebellion, and try to get entirely out of the illusion. In that way you can say that the new Sophists are the “machines”, or the rulers of the Matrix, which keep people as slaves. Elon Musk is obviously one of them. Here is a video where he preaches The Matrix Conspiracy´s propaganda:
Simulated reality is the hypothesis that reality could be simulated — for example by computer simulation — to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality; participants are never in doubt about the nature of what they experience. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from "true" reality. There has been much debate over this topic, ranging from philosophical discourse to practical applications in computing.
My idea about getting out of the Matrix has to do with the trancendental, or metaphysical aspect of consciousness: the wholeness, or maybe, the spacious aspect of consciousness. I call this metaphysical naturalism.
It says: human beings have two aspects: an energy aspect and a consciousness aspect.
Seen from the energy aspect lawfulness rules: your body is subject to the physical laws of nature, your psychic system is subject to the lawfulness of the energy fields and of the energy transformations (also quantum laws). This is the area of mythology: the personal, collective and universal images of time.
Seen from the consciousness aspect, then a human being seems to be akin to the wholeness, to be transcendent in relation to these laws (also quantum laws). The universal images might be some kind of interspace between the energy aspect and the consciousness aspect.
The ordinary mind is a condensed energy-formation, but as energy, it is able to project itself to any place within the wholeness, simply because consciousness is akin to the wholeness. It has a character of spaciousness.
Naturalism stands for any view, which considers nature, or the natural, as the most common basis for explanations and evaluations. A naturalistic view of human nature is this conception: Man is a piece of nature.
Naturalistic views can be traced back to the oldest Greek philosophy, but all newer forms of naturalism are characterized by modern natural sciences. Naturalism therefore very often advocates the conception, that all phenomena in the world can be studied through natural science. However it is important to be aware, that naturalism in itself isn´t a scientific point of view, but a philosophical point of view. No single branch of science gives anything else than a limited perspective on Man or reality. If you are claiming anything else, you end in reductionism; that is: where you reduce Man and reality to only being a result of a single influence. You accentuate one influence at the same time as you understate all others, and therewith you get a problem with creating unity and coherence in your theory. Both Man and reality are all too complex to be written down to one influence.
The view of nature, which is characterizing naturalism today, is characterized by three things:
1) Nature is understood as something, which goes off regularly. This regularity can be formulated mathematical, and is what we understand as the laws of nature. Through insight in the laws of nature Man can learn to make use of nature to his own advantage.
2) This regularity is not an expression of any, to Man, understandable reason. That will say: there are no purposes or intentions with how the ways of nature function. They are only controlled by causal regularity of a mechanical kind. This materialistic ontology claims, that the only thing which has real existence, is mass entities in motion. The whole of nature can fully be explained from the knowledge of these mechanical principles. All explanations use the cause and effect relation. They are causal. Teleological explanations - that is: explanations from purposes - are rejected.
3) Nature is understood and explained from itself. In other words: nature contains in itself its causes. It develops itself by force of immanent powers. It produces itself, is a natura naturans. Naturalism doesn´t set the scene for religious explanations.
Meanwhile there also is a so-called communicative view of nature, which claims that nature is of value in itself, that there is a beauty and richness in nature, which is of non-causal and non-mechanical kind, and that Man as a natural being has a community with this nature. For example, the Danish philosopher K.E. Løgstrup is not naturalist in the way the word was used in the above-mentioned. Through the whole of his life he had an energetic controversy with all positivism and empirical naturalism. His main objection is, that these reduce reality for important dimensions. The sovereign and spontaneous life-expressions are given with ”life itself”. You can say, that they belong to our nature, if you thereby understand it as a metaphysical nature. This you can also call naturalism, but it is in that case important to emphasize, that it is a metaphysical naturalism.
Mogens Pahuus has in his book Karen Blixen´s philosophy of life argued, that Blixen, when she speaks about God, is using the word in a quite other meaning than the traditional. According to him she uses it completely synonymous with nature, or rather, the creative powers in nature. In any eventuality it seems, like she thinks of the human nature as being related to the rest of nature. The human nature is a unity of spirit, instinct, sensation, body and feelings, something which you can´t control and master by standing outside it, but which is connected to life-feeling, spontaneity and self-forgetfulness, when you are one with it. Reason, you can say, is lying in an adaption to the realities, both in oneself and the surroundings. That is actually pure Taoism, or Zen. It is the direct opposite view of the idealistic claim, that you can control everything via your thoughts.
In his book The Light of Nature the Danish philologist of Middle Ages, Axel Haaning, is portraying a line of philosophers of nature from the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, who advocate a communicative view of nature, and who try to illustrate both religion, as well as science of nature, in a more large-scale perspective, but who have been standing in the shadow of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as the breakthrough of modern sciences. It is names such as Roger Bacon, Albert the Great, Jean de Rupescissa, Marsilio Ficino, Paracelsus, Gerhard Mandrel, Giordano Bruno.
Finally shall be mentioned that Buddhism, which in some areas can sound very materialistic and naturalistic, also talk about a metaphysical naturalism. It is speaking about the Buddha-nature as the final goal of Man. The Buddha-nature is the original and innermost nature of the mind, which always is completely untouched by change and death.
Now, let´s try to explain mythology in the light of metaphysical naturalism. Language is most condensed in the spoken, communicated language: words, sentences, opinions, conversation. This is the subject-field, which primarily is characterized by personal images, but which accordingly originates from collective and universal images. This is what we normally refer to as the subject, or the mind. And this is also where the idealists of New Age and Self-help belong. In fact they are ending in solipsism. Solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. This is the position they end in when speaking about the enlightened consciousness. The enlightened consciousness is to them one and the same as metaphysical solipsism: the complete subjectivism. Metaphysical naturalism must in connection with metaphysical solipsism be said to be the direct opposite: the complete objectivism.
The most famous of Buddha´s teachings are the Deer Park Sermon which was revealed to five former Sramana companions of him in a park near modern Benares, India. Here he talked on the existential conditions, growing conditions and growth levels of Man, and, like a doctor, he made the diagnosis: ”The nature of the illness and its cause”, after which he gave guidance in how it can be healed and the medicine hereto. Shortly said ”the illness” is suffering, and the suffering´s cause is, that Man clings to impermanent and temporal things. The many desires, that can't be fulfilled, give suffering and sorrow. The medicine consists in teaching Man how to rise over the changeable world with all its desires and transient joys. In Buddha´s teaching there is in that way spoken about The Four Holy Truths: 1) Suffering. 2) The suffering´s cause. 3) Suffering can be brought to an end, and this happens through 4) The Path, namely The Eightfold Path, where correct meditation, or correct self-communing, is the last step on the path to full enlightenment, which you also could term: full objectivism. The subject, or the ego, has stepped aside, or opened itself like a flower to the sun. This is the source of reason.
The Buddhist philosophy of impermanence could sound a bit like Nietzsche´s subjectivism (idealism) and nihilism, and a part of it does, but the fact that the consciousness can raise above it shows an absolutism and objectivism, which by the way is the core in all spiritual traditions. Spirituality has therefore not anything to do with the subjectivism and relativism which New Age and the self-industry, deeply inspired by Nietzsche, teach. On the contrary. Within Buddhism the concept of illusion (Maya) has to do with the impermanence of nature, as well as thought distortions. It hasn´t anything to do with reality as a mental construct.
As an early step in my own theory of consciousness I use the concept of epistemological dualism, which has to do with the ordinary mind, the subject as mentioned above, but in order to avoid the obvious problems with idealism, epistemological dualism advocates realism, or rather, an indirect realism.
Epistemological dualism is a philosophical concept also known as representative realism, indirect realism, and the veil of perception
The question of direct or naïve realism, as opposed to indirect or representational realism, arises in the philosophy of perception and of mind out of the debate over the nature of conscious experience; the epistemological question of whether the world we see around us is the real world itself or merely an internal perceptual copy of that world generated by neural processes in our brain (or as I claim, by thought distortions and the impermanence of everything).
Naïve realism is known as direct realism when developed to counter indirect or representative realism, also known as epistemological dualism, the philosophical position that our conscious experience is not of the real world itself but of an internal representation, a miniature virtual-reality replica of the world. So, it accepts that we somehow have a virtual-reality replica of the world, but this virtual-replica of the world is not the world itself, or reality itself, as idealism claims. The world itself, the reality itself, exist independently of the subject, the virtual-reality replica. And here comes my idea of the Matrix Conspiracy as an ideology, which completely accepts the use of thought distortions to program us with such a virtual-reality replica of the world.
Idealism doesn´t accept any idea of getting out of this virtual reality, since it is reality itself, but that we instead can manipulate it, change it according to our subject, mind or thoughts (the “our thoughts create reality” idea). My version of epistemological dualism, in combination with metaphysical naturalism, claims that our virtual-replica of the world is created by thought distortions. Therefore it is our spiritual job to begin to investigate, restructure and change these thought distortions. This is connected with an investigating of our shadow-side.
When all this is clarified we can communicate in an unambiguous way, as well as reach into a nondual experience of the wholeness; that is: where we have gone beyond all ideas and images, where we can make our jump to hyperspace.
We can reach the enlightened consciousness, which both is the nature of the mind, and the nature of everything else. It is simply nature in itself. Since it is akin to the wholeness it is inexpressible (neither matter, nor mind, neither subject, nor object), because it can´t be put in opposition to anything. Furthermore it has a character of complete openness and being one with life itself. Therefore it also has to do with the now, and with space. It is spaciousness. It is the form which can contain content. Or rather, it is neither form or content, but emptiness (Sûnyatâ), like the emptiness in a cup that makes it possible for it to contain water.
In my pop culture file on The Lord of the Rings I say, that if you would like to meet Tom Bombadil, then the best is to go out into the forest and stand completely immoveable and quiet, just like in meditation. Then he is coming from the Old World.
If you are completely existential present in the Now, you will receive information through the universal images – you will be made transparent in wisdom. The Ego (and herewith the subject, the ordinary mind) has stepped aside. You will have contact with the world of forms, as Plato formulated it.
All realization is, according to Plato, in the end due to a recollection of the eternal forms, which are lying as foundation for the accidental phenomena, because we before birth had a direct view of these forms. But this doesn´t mean a return to the past (at least not in how I see Plato).
The universal images (the world of forms, the world of realization) work (in my interpretation) in synchronism with the Now, therefore they are an expression of reality. Plato´s recollection of the eternal forms could in this interpretation simply be about returning to the Now. That is certainly how Karen Blixen´s metaphysical naturalism formulated it. She depicted precisely the universal images as the ancient, the original.
Contrary to this the personal and collective images work in sequences in past and future, and therefore they are an expression of illusion or unreality: what Plato called the world of experience, or phenomena, the world of shadows, of reflections, and of imaginations.
But it doesn't mean, that the known (or the past) is deleted, but that there is introduced a completely new dimension where you are the known present in passive listening, where the known (the subject, the mind) so to speak is made transparent in being and openness. That is: complete objectivism and realism.
You can also say, that where the known before was characterized by personal and collective images, which worked in sequences in past and future, then the known now is characterized by universal images, which work in synchronism with the Now. It was this Karen Blixen was describing as the ancient, the original, and which she always was seeking as authenticity, autonomy, possibility, freedom and adventure. It is a return to the Now, the timeless eternity. As Rabindranath Tagore said: ”The light is young, the eternal ancient light; the shadows are a brief moment´s matter, they are born aged.”
Seen in that light my own space mythology is a living movement in language. Language in the object-field is like the atmosphere, which refines and thinner itself outwards: atmosphere – stratosphere – ionossphere; weightless floating in space – full outlook to the blue globe and the stars. The structure of language is the images in time; both the personal, collective and the universal images. The collective and universal images are lying in the object-field almost as a vast refined organic unity. It is therefore language must be seen as an aspect of Man as a natural being. The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss had a point in claiming that culture must be restored in nature.
Your thoughts are words and images, which work in this stream. It is Heraklit´s River, it is the River of Time.
As the Indian philosophy claims, then this stream not only contains your personal history, it also contains a collective and universal history – together a history, which consists of images. These images are form-formations of energy, creative up-tensions, a kind of matter, though on a highly abstract plane. These images exist in other words in the actual movement of the matter, and therefore not only in your mental activity, but also outside you in nature. So, your thinking rises from an endless deep of images, which flow in the actual movement of nature. In Tibetan Buddhism this is called “relatively valid dreams.”
We can observe how the thinking divides everything. It separates large from small, outside from inside, up from down. The inner reality is divided in feelings and emotions, thoughts, sensations and intuitions. And the individual feelings are divided in hate against love, lust against pain. The outer reality is divided in the observer and the observed, the listener and the sound, the speaker and the spoken. In order to be able to function at all, the thinking differentiates the world in two: subject and object. The thinking (and therefore the ordinary mind) is dual. This we must realize.
In close coherence with these aspects of thinking exists language. The thinking functions in language. And language is not only words and sentences. Language is music, mathematics, myths, archetypes, symbols, signs, etc. Language and thinking carry each other. And the collective history is so to speak lying in nature in the form of projected energy. The universal history though, is not projected energy, but is lying beyond Man, it is the actual foundation for the creation of the universe, it is the great vision, God´s plan you could say, the dreaming tracks and songlines in the artwork of the universe and of Man. It works in synchronism with the Now, and therefore with life itself, and not projected in past and future.
And here I will make my addition to Campbell´s monomyth. Campbell´s theory is exceedingly conservative and founded on a deep nostalgia: for him, the cure for modern problems is found by returning to earlier notions of spirituality and moral virtue. In promoting a “living mythology,” Campbell harkens back to a lost “golden age” from which we have fallen, but to which we can return with effort and guidance of a “sage.” This might have to do with the inspiration from Jung. It is a reductionism, a psychologism. And herewith there is the danger of ending in idealism, and the same psychologizing, emotionalizing and therapeutizing ideology of our society, which New Age and Self-help stand for.
I will supply this with my own metaphysical naturalism, and with this a philosophical principle, namely to examine, whether the karmic talk and experiences of the experts and clients remove their energy-investments in the actual reality. If focus is displaced backwards, then the collective time has taken over and spiritual seen there therefore happens an escape. Such an escape is seen both in Freud, Jung, Rank, Grof, Janov, rebirthing, regression. None of these people and theories can therefore be said to work spiritual. And if they use the karma idea in that way, it is no longer a spiritual help, it is a collective displacement of the focus backwards in time and therewith out of reality and into the unreality of the collective time.
The Pythagoreans were primarily mathematicians and astronomers. Their discovery of the mathematical relations of music made them assume, that the tones were the audible expression of the structure of the whole of the universe. They meant they had found consistency between for instance the movement of the planets and the individual tones, between the mutual location of the heavenly bodies and the intervals between the strings of the lyre. From this they concluded, that the movements of the planets in space had to bring forth tones, ”the music of the spheres”.
Since music in that way is an expression of divine or cosmic powers, it is also able to form the human soul in compliance with the divine relations of numbers. A thought, which came to characterize both Plato, Aristotle, Aristoxenes and Plotinus.
The Christian mystic Hildegard Von Bingen wrote a series of songs in the Gregorian tradition; songs, which she received in divine visions, because she in that degree was able to be completely existentially present in the Now. And a similarly philosophy of music you also find in Indian and Buddhist philosophy.
Energy – and consciousness – has an immanent tendency to depict themselves (and now we come to the concept of the Force). Energy moves, projects itself from latency to reality. Consciousness tends to separate and divide phenomena in order to analyze them, understand them. Energy projects itself in images and symbols. Consciousness divides images, symbols and phenomena in order to understand them. It is this, which happens when the thinking sucks energy and life out of the present, and transforms past and future into reality, and reality into emptiness. These two basic tendencies: the fall of the energy out in projection, and the fall of consciousness out in division - are what meditation seeks to avoid. Meditation seeks to give energy and life back to presence and reality. Let us try to go deeper into it.
The source of awareness, the actual place where consciousness is coming from, could be imagined as a film projector in a cinema (where we in this case are watching Star Wars). The film and its unfolded action could be an analogy to the object-field, both the outer events and phenomena of reality, and the inner reality (emotional reactions, sensations, thoughts, etc.).
The Ego, the feeling of identity, is deposited around the source of awareness. In the cinema you can look at the screen, and lose yourself in identification with the action. And you can turn around, and look into the lightsource of the projector. In the mind the projector is hidden in the Ego, hidden in the thinking, hidden in the awareness. In order to discover and break the identification with the samsarical producer of the mind, the subject must discover the hidden source in the awareness or in the innermost of consciousness. It happens by neutralizing the Ego´s, or the thinking´s, functions. This happens through meditation.
The Ego´s functions constitute what you could call the ordinary mind, the subject. You can talk about four such, lower, functions of the ordinary mind:
1. Evaluation (accept/denial, yes/no)
4. Language (words, images)
The source of awareness, the naked consciousness, is hidden because it has melted together with these four functions. They have become a kind of veils, or layers.
Meditation is in all simplicity about separating and dismantling the consciousness´ automatical identification with these functions. Then you can talk about four higher functions of the consciousness, which are becoming activated through meditation:
1. Neutral observation
2. Passive listening presence (defocus)
3. Non-activity (non-action)
4. Non-language (wordless)
The whole proces is like a flower opening itself.
The thinking is constituted by words and images. Words again consist of two elements, partly of a meaning-element, or meaning-symbol, partly of a sound. Whether the word is spoken, thought or only affected in a suspicion, it will always sound or mean something.
The image-side of the thought-process will also be seen to consist of two elements, partly – as all other images by the way – of a colour (eventually only the colour-nuance black/white) and partly of a structure.
The thinking´s words and images are therefore composite by four fundamental elements: sound and colour, symbol and structure.
You can then say, that all this is a manifestation of the past, the self-image and the world-image. It means that the subject-field and the object-field are equivalent with the ordinary thinking in words and images. Only for the thinking is the inner and outer world. By changing the thinking the world also changes. The space is around, and it is an objective outer occurrence. In that way it looks. And in that way they have believed it was; Aristotle and Newton agreed in this.
First with Leibniz, Kant and Einstein started a revolution in the conception of space. Einstein stated, that time and space are ways in which we think, and not relations we live in. Kant suggested, that space and time were forms of experience, not outer objective relations in themselves, but fundamental common human structures. Leibniz claimed that space and time is the order of things and not things, whereby he expressed, that space and time is human made conceptions, not objective facts.
But be careful now! This doesn´t mean, that the ordinary inner and outer reality not are reel. The reality, both the subjective and the objective, is reel. But as mentioned it is the absence, which creates images, this, that you are yourself absent in your thinking, shut inside, or shut away from, in a disproportion between the observer and the observed, filled with reflections, displacement and darkness. Shortly said: space and time.
In The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Joseph Campbell says in Chapter 1 Cosmology and the Mythic Imagination:
It was a startling experience for me, as it must have been for many others watching the television broadcast of the Apollo spaceflight immediately before that of Armstrong´s landing on the moon, when Ground Control in Houston asked, “Who´s navigating now?” and the answer that came back was, “Newton!”
I was reminded of Immanuel Kant´s discussion of space in his Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, where he asks: “How is it that in this space, here, we can make judgments that we know with apodictic certainty will be valid in that space, there?”
The little module was beyond the moon. That was a part of space that no one had ever before visited. Yet the scientists in Houston knew exactly how much energy to eject from those jets, when turned in just what direction, to bring the module down from outer space to within a mile of a battleship waiting for it in Pacific Ocean.
Kant´s reply to the question was that the laws of space are known to the mind because they are of the mind. They are of a knowledge that is within us from birth. A knowledge a priori, which is only brought to recollection by apparently external circumstance. During the following flight, when Armstrong´s booted foot came down to leave its imprint on the surface of the moon, no one knew how deeply it might sink into lunar dust. That was to be knowledge a posteriori, knowledge from experience, knowledge after the event. But how to bring the module down, and how to get it up there, had been known from the beginning. Moreover, those later spacecraft that are now cruising far beyond the moon, in what is known as outer space! It is known exactly how to maneuver them, to bring messages back, to turn them around, even to correct their faults.
In other words, it then occurred to me that outer space is within inasmuch as the laws of space are within us; outer and inner space are the same.
There is a beautiful saying of Novalis: “The seat of the soul is there, where the outer and the inner worlds meet.” That is the wonderland of myth. From the outer world the senses carry images to the mind, which do not become myth, however, until there transformed by fusion with according insights, awakened as imagination from the inner world of the body. The Buddhists speak of Buddha Realms. These are planes and orders of consciousness that can be brought to mind through meditations on appropriate mythologized forms [I don´t advice you to do that]. Plato tells of universal ideas, the memory of which is lost at birth but through philosophy may be recalled [that´s my advised practice]. These correspond to Bastian´s “elementary ideas” and Jung´s “archetypes of the collective unconscious.” In India, as noticed by Ananda K. Coomarasway, works of art representing indifferent objects, local personages and scenes, such as fill the walls and rooms of most of our museums, have been characterized as desi (“local, popular, provincial”) or as nâgara (“fashionable, worldly”) and are regarded as esthetically insignificant; whereas those representing deities or revered ancestors, such as might appear in temples or on domestic shrines, are perceived as tokens of an inward, spiritual “way” or “path,” termed mârga, which is a word derived from the vocabulary of the hunt, denoting tracks or trail of an animal, by following which the hunter comes to his quarry. Similarly, the images of deities, which are not local forms of “elementary ideas,” are footprint left, as it were, by local passages of the “Universal Self” (âtman), through contemplating which the worshiper attains “Self-rapture” (âtmânananda). A passage from Plotinus may be quoted to this point: “Not all who perceive with eyes the sensible products of art are affected alike by the same object, but if they know it for the outward portrayal of an archetype subsisting in intuition, their hearts are shaken and they recapture memory of that Original.”
If the clarity of the mind through philosophy and meditation increases you are becoming yourself present, and the thinking can be made transparent, whereby it begins to unfold its components: sound-colour and symbol-structure. In this structured clarity the mind meets the world in a new way, both the inner and the outer, even though inner, on this step, apparently still is clearly divided from outer. The wholeness has, from its deep, dreamless sleep, begun to dream.
Instead of, that you via the senses, only meet a world of houses, humans, trees and things – or of feelings, thoughts, lust and pain - then you in this presence furthermore can see a world-image of auric colours, archetypal symbols and yantric, or other, energetical structures. Moreover you can in this presence hear sounds, not sound-images communicated through the hearing sense, but the presence itself hears directly: un-mediated sounds. Your mind is now in an astral state.
If you are absent in the thinking you meet a world divided in inner and outer, and constituted by closed things, substances, structures. The Ego has, as we all know, not directly insight in, and access to, the inner of things, or the inner of other humans. Here an epistemological dualism is necessary in order to reach clarity over thought distortions. If you however are present in passive seeing and listening, you can, in your thereby gained clarity - in the astral state of mind - furthermore see and hear a world of vibrant, soundfilled energyfields, which shimmer in symbols and colours. This world-image is open. Such a presence has to a certain extent directly insight in that, which to the thinking´s absence, is closed and inaccessible.
The clearness from the dissolved and evaporated thoughts and contents will widen the mind out towards the borders, where behind the collective common human structures are found: the images in time. These common deep thoughts of mankind, can the mind, by force of its increased clarity – the astral state - see as visions: primordial images, religious images and structures, symbols, wisdom-figures, figures from fairy tales, higher worlds, other dimensions. In short: the astral worlds.
The astral state of mind is also implicating a so-called astral body, or a dream body, which is able to leave the physical body while it is sleeping. It is called astral travel, or astral projecting, because it is a kind of projection of the mind, which goes out over the borders of the five senses, though these also seem to follow. With this astral body you can travel elsewhere, both on earth, to other planets, into the astral worlds, into the kingdom of death, and into countless heavens and hells. It is like entering the fairy tale of Peter Pan (which in my view is directly inspired by the philosophy of astral travel – it is so to speak filled with “astral dust”). You could also compare it to the term “jump to hyperspace” as long as this is kept as a “space mythology” like Star Wars, and not to a quantum mystical science fiction idea.
In my view it would be possible to make an interstellar journey through the use of astral spaceships, which could bring astral bodies, that are not so trained in astral travel, to other planets (not alive physical bodies. I´m not talking about dematerialization and rematerialization). Here they could take over a physical body prepared for this, and live awake in it for a time period, while their own physical body is lying sleeping on Earth. Just like we have seen it the movie Avatar (see my pop culture file on Avatar). And if the UFO phenomenon on Earth is real, I would guess that we are talking about such astral spaceships. The reason why astral projection is a real possibility is precisely because of the spacious character of consciousness.
As mentioned in the start: the importance in the above rather long clarification of my concept of The Mythology of the Force is relevant when we come to the philosophical justification of the Jedi code.
2. The WingMakers´ code seen in relation to the Jedi code.
No philosopher is more tightly linked with wisdom than Plato. Indeed, when we think of philosophy as meaning “the love of wisdom” (philo means “love of,” and Sophia is usually translated as “wisdom”), where wisdom is the virtue associated with rationality, moderation, and moral goodness, we are in fact using a definition developed by Plato. Like most philosophers of the ancient world, Plato distinguished knowledge (or gnosis in Greek) from wisdom. Knowledge is the straightforward matter of experienced information about the world: once Han Solo gets close enough to a mysterious, large object in space and registers the effect of a tractor beam, he knows that the Death Star is no moon. However, wisdom is a subtler thing: on board the Millennium Falcon, Obi-Wan doesn´t know what the thing is either, but he´s wise enough to exhort Han to turn the Falcon around before they´re seized by a tractor beam. Plato quotes his master Socrates in the Apology as saying that “the wisest of you…is he who has realized…that in respect of wisdom he is really worthless.” This ideal of wisdom rests on the virtue of humility: in the face of a universe of immense possibilities, the wisdom of a mortal creature is worth little or nothing. This is why Plato would have approved of Dexter Jettster´s gentle scolding of Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones: it was unwise to think that the knowledge contained in the Jedi Archives could ever be totally comprehensive. Unlike Jedi archivist Jocasta Nu, who somewhat proudly proclaims, “If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist,” a truly wise Jedi would know she could not know all there is to know!
Before Plato, Sophia had very different meanings. Friedrich Nietzsche tells us that Sophia, in its original sense, meant something like discerning taste. So the original lovers of Sophia were people who had cultivated a nuanced appreciation for the finer things, perhaps like the suave scoundrel Lando Calrissian, who – despite his Bespin mining installation being infested by Imperial forces ready to abduct his friends – can´t help but pause and admire Leia´s beauty! During the time of Socrates and Plato, the word Sophia had evolved to carry a grittier connontation, close to something like practical “know-how.” In this second sense, the canny and resourceful Han solo, not Yoda, would be the wisest philosopher.
It should by now be clear to the reader who have followed my writings, that the main villains of The Matrix Conspiracy are the Sophists (today reborn as New Agers and Self-helpers), while the main hero is Socrates, the archetypal philosopher. The philosophical rivals of Plato and Socrates, the Sophists, were teachers of rhetoric and masters of persuasion, adept at swaying the masses. Sophists rejected the idea that there were universal standards for things like Justice, Truth, and Beauty, arguing instead that these ideals vary greatly, depending on one´s point of view. One of these Sophists, Thrasymachus, was an intimidating thinker who would´ve been admired by the Sith. His arguments with Socrates and Plato also gives us a clear sense of why Plato would find Plagueis paradoxical. Where Plato believed that there´s no way to understand justice apart from wisdom, Thrasymachus argued that there was no way to understand justice apart from power. Where Socrates and his philosophical friends struggle to find an all-encompassing definition of justice, Thrasymachus cuts through their debate by asserting forcefully that “the just is nothing else than the advantage of the stronger.”
This is precisely the worldview of the Sith, for whom talk of right without might is a childish fairytale and the wise man who thinks he can somehow transcend the vagaries of power is a fool.
We see the Sith follow Thrasymachus´s teaching during the siege of Naboo in The Phantom Menace when Darth Sidious orders Nute Gunray to commence the Trade Federation´s invasion. Expressing more concern for his own wrinkled hide than any actual ethical principles, Gunray timidly asks Sidious. “Is that legal?” Sidious hisses that the law is just a tool waiting to be used by anyone wise enough to see that there is no justice beyond power, and that enough power can make anything just. In Revenge of the Sith, when Palpatine is revealed to be Sidious and is confronted by Mace Windu, who tells him, “The Senate will decide your fate,” Sidious exclaims, “I am the Senate!” Sidious learned his philosophy of life from his master, Darth Plagueis, who long before the invasion of Naboo taught him that the Sith will triumph over the Jedi because “[t]he Sith are not placid stars but singularities. Rather than burn with a muted purpose, we warp space and time to twist the galaxy to our own design.”
Isn´t this precisely the worldview of New Age? Remember the teachings of Playing the Matrix, The Power of the Thought, You can Create Reality as You Want To!, and Follow Your Desires and You´ll Get What You Want!
It becomes more and more obvious, that the WingMakers in reality is one and the same as the order of Sith Lords.
Plato opposed this cynical view that might makes right. He knew that Athens had transformed, from an admired city-state that had bravely turned back the massive invading forces of the Persian Empire at the battles of Salamis and Platea, into yet another despised empire that was shattered by the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War. This occurred because the Athenians were swayed to the “Dark side” teachings of the Sophists, convincing themselves that the powerful doing as they will is not injustice, but rather “a necessary law of their nature [that] they rule wherever they can.” Plato argued that this idea ultimately destroys whomever follows it, whether an individual or an entire city-state. Instead of a notion of justice as “might makes right,” Plato sought a definition of justice that doesn´t rest merely on power, but ultimately on wisdom.
And now I will challenge you, the reader, to make a self-challenge: Do you like the Sith Code more than you like the Jedi Code? Would you be able to be seduced to the Dark side? Now, imagine that a Jedi could come dressed in Sith clothing, and a Sith could come dressed in Jedi clothes. Precisely like the Matrix Sophists who come dressed in the clothes of philosophers and scientists. Indeed, many of the Sith Lords have been former Jedis; just take Darth Vader. Or imagine that you don´t have the whole Star Wars code in the back of your mind when you read the following.
Plato would of course have admired the Code of the Jedi that brought millenia of peace and prosperity to the Galactic Republic after the Battle of Ruusan:
There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
There is no death; there is the force.
Consider now the Sith Code as taught by Darth Bane:
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The force shall free me.
Where the Jedi seek peace through mindfulness and control of their feelings, the Sith hope to use passion, power, and strength for the ultimate goal of freedom. As Plagueis explains the difference, “Remember why the Sith are more powerful than the Jedi, Sidious: because we are not afraid to feel.”
This is precisely the message of New Age and the Self-help industry – and, in fact, in popular culture as such. Just try to imagine going into a public forum advocating the Jedi Code: There is no emotion; there is no passion. You would be the subject of a shit storm. It is fashionable to be an advocate of feelings. Our society is going through a systematic psychologizing, emotionalizing and therapeutizing change. Indeed, being afraid to feel is considered unhealthy, and not being afraid to feel is considered healthy. Moreover, the importance of feelings is in the management theory and its belonging self-help industry combined with the desire after becoming a winner, a success, to stand on the top of the mountain. Just take New Thought and the law of attraction idea, where spirituality is all about attracting money, power, sex and glory.
Ok, I would guess that the main part of my readers is all into this, and therefore the Sith Code. But some might object and say, yes, I´m all into feelings, but also wisdom, mindfulness and peace and so on. I will return to this when I will present the Sith Lord Plagueis the Wise, because that´s also his goal.
First of all: The Sith want to be free from convention, morality, government, law, and ultimately even the limits of the Force itself. This sort of freedom is what philosophers refer to as negative freedom because it is freedom from control, a freedom that says, “Don´t limit me!” But Plato teaches that no wise person should ever walk this path, as it is ultimately self-destructive. The truly wise see that this sort of freedom is not liberation: it is its own cage.
Plato asks us to imagine that our soul has three parts: the rational, the spirited, and the appetitive. When we are in balance, reason rules over the two other parts of the soul. Such a balanced person has the virtue of justice because they function the way they should: every part of the soul performs its proper function. Just as the eye is meant to see and the hand is meant to grasp, reason is meant to lead and everything else is meant to follow. A wise person is one whose reason rules their soul and is practiced at making good judgments. We should be suspicious of the freedom that the Sith long for, Plato argues, because “there exists in every one of us…a terrible, fierce and lawless brood of desires, which it seems are revealed in our sleep, and sex. In short, the ethically good person is the wise person for Plato. Once he truly knows the good, he always at least tries to do good. This leads to a startling conclusion: for the wise person, conscious acts of evil are impossible.
Moving from the small canvas of the individual to the larger canvas of the state, Plato says that the just state is one guided by the truth that “each one man must perform one social service in the state for which his nature was best adapted.” In the case of a person´s soul, the rational part of the soul enlists the help of the spirit, or willpower, in controlling and subduing the passions. This allows us to live good and ethical lives – genuinely free lives – where our reason guides us through “a life of significance, of conscience,” the kind of life that Sidious knows Anakin seeks to live. Similarly, a just state is one in which the naturally wise rule while everyone else fulfils his or her individual function.
When we succumb to the notion that freedom means indulging our appetites or spirit as the Sith do, then our corrupted soul becomes our own inescapable prison (the corrupted soul corresponds with what I call the Pain-body – see my article The Emotional Painbody and Why Psychotherapy Can´t Heall It).
The freedom sought by the Sith should be its own worst punishment for Plato. The Sith, by hoping to use appetite and spirit as means to freedom, are in fact forging their own bonds of slavery. Their quest for unlimited power leads inevitable to their spirit and appetite having power over them. And yet, this does not happen to Plagueis. And with Plagueis comes the next challenge, my dear reader.
To be sure, Plato´s theory is plausible, given many tales of the Sith and others seduced to the Dark Side. The Dark Jedi Maw, for example, was a Boltrunian Jedi who gave into his selfish inclinations and became a grotesque and deformed vessel of pure, seething hatred. Most famously, Anakin Skywalker, despite his exceptional connection to the Force, was never able to fully control his fear – first for his dear mother Shmi, who was tortured and killed by Tusken Raiders, and later for his beloved Padmé, using it to lure him to the Dark Side. The result was that Anakin suffered the last two decades of his existence as a twisted monster: a single, living, burning wound of passion encased within a dark prison of wires and armor plates.
However, the wisest of all Sith avoided these fates. Plagueis is undeniable evil from the point of view of Plato and the Jedi. He sacrifices others in service of his ambition to visit vengeance on the Jedi and conquer the galaxy for the Sith. He does not hesitate to put his will, rather than his reason, in charge of his Muunian soul. He does not seek peace by subduing his spirit and appetite: he fans them like the flames of a forge in which he crafts his ambitions. However, none of the other qualities that Plato associates with evil apply to him. He is capable of great violence and brutality, but yet is fully able to restrain himself when the time is right. He is a calm and careful scientist (just like numerous New Agers) – even if a morally repugnant one – who experiments on living creatures in order to learn as much as he can about the Force. His plot to take over the Munn financial empire of Damask Holdings unfolds over decades, just as his plan to murder his own master, Darth Tenebrous, took a human´s lifetime to come to fruition. Indeed, his connection to the Force is so great that many believe it was his manipulation of the Force that created Anakin, the Chosen One. Instead of descending into the madness and corruption that Plato and the Jedi foresaw for anyone who deviates from their path, Plagueis held his own steady course for decades toward the most ambitious vision of all. He did not merely want to crush the Jedi and bring the galaxy to heel: as he told his droid One One-Four Dee, his goal was nothing less than “to extend my life indefinitely. To conquer death.” This wise Sith Lord was a platonic paradox: a restrained, patient, and rational being who used violence, passion, and lies in his quest for power.
More disturbing to Plato than the mere existence of an evil yet wise being would be the fact that Darth Plagueis mostly shares Plato´s vision. In the Republic, Plato describes a just city-state as an analogy for the ethical soul. In both cases, the rational element works with the spirited element, and together they
Will preside over the appetitive part which is the mass of the soul in each of us and the most insatiate by nature of wealth. They will keep watch upon it, lest, by being filled and infected with the so-called pleasures associated with the body and so waxing big and strong, it may not keep to its own work but may undertake to enslave and rule over the classes which it is not fitting that it should, and so overturn the entire life of all.
Plato´s concern that reason rule over spirit and appetite is precisely Plagueis´s motivation for destroying the Jedi and conquering the universe on behalf of the Sith. He hopes to call forth
A scouring storm that would lay waste to everything antiquated and corrupt, and pave the way for a new [world] order in which the Sith would be returned to their rightful place as the stewards of the galaxy, and before whom all the diverse species would bow, not only in obedience and fear, but in gratitude for having been drawn back from the brink.
Plato and Plagueis agree that the average ignorant citizen is too foolish to accept his own inability to govern himself, and so wise rulers must rely on deception in order to protect the masses from themselves. Plato calls this opportune falsehood “the noble lie.” Similarly, the Sith use deception to trick the Republic into giving the Sith the power they need in order to finally protect the lesser beings from their own craven instincts, and bring peace and order to the galaxy. Finally, Plato argues that members of the proper city should practice selective breeding, matching wise with wise, strong with strong, in order to produce the best rulers and guardians for the city. Likewise, Darth Plagueis the Wise was the fruit of selective breeding (the WingMakers Story also advocate selective breeding, or the art of “spiritual” Eugenics): his master Darth Tenebrous paired Plagueis´s Force-sensitive father Caar Damask with a Force-sensitive female Muun in order to maximize the chances that their offspring would be worthy of Sith training. Plagueis himself carried on his eugenic legacy in using the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life.
[Note to Plato´s concept of The Republic. According to The Republic, if you read it closer, then you'll know that Plato believes all forms of governments are tyrannical. He is in principle an anarchist, though he used this word negative in the sense that all government is negative; that is: would lead to anarchy. So, the whole argument should be seen in the light of, that The Republic is an analogy used in a dialogue between Socrates and the Sophists. Plato only describes a just city-state as an analogy for the ethical soul. But his analogy is unfortunate, because if something can be misused it will be misused. The analogy has in the history of philosophy been subject for enormous studies, and Plato has been attributed all kinds of negative stamps such as an advocate of totalitarism. Bu this can only be based on a complete neglect of the important role of Socrates. Moreover: on a complete neglect of the fact, that Plato only is talking about the ethical soul].
So what are we to make of this? Perhaps Plagueis is not really evil: it might be that the sentients of the galaxy are so prone to disorder and self-destruction – just look at the dysfunctional Galactic Senate in The Phantom Menace – that only the Sith´s dreadful medicine is strong enough to cure the malady of ignorance. If true, then the Jedi are merely prolonging a terminal illness by defending the Galactic Republic. On the other hand, perhaps Plagueis is not really wise: it might be that, no matter how patient, a creature driven by such self-centered ambition and so void of ethical principles is at best lucky and would never be suited to rule the galaxy fairly, as Plato envisions the rulers of his republic doing. Perhaps Plagueis´s own spirit and appetite would have devoured him in time if his apprentice hadn´t consumed him first in a storm of Sith lightning while he slept.
But perhaps Plato was simply wrong about wisdom, freedom, and justice, and we´d make better sense of Plagueis´s contradictions and paradoxical nature by looking at him through the lense of a philosopher who, like Plagueis, scoffed at the Jedi-like ideals propounded by Plato.
As mentioned: by now my readers would know, that the main villains of The Matrix Conspiracy are the Sophists (today reborn as New Agers and Self-helpers), while the main hero is Socrates, the archetypal philosopher. But with the Sophists, you will also know that I have a dark Sophist king, the worst villain in the Matrix Conspiracy at all, The Moriarty, or Sauron, of the Matrix Conspiracy:
[Can you hear the Jaws theme song?: duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun... duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn…].
Friedrich Nietzsche can help us understand why Plagueis rejected of wisdom, justice, and freedom advocated by Plato without succumbing to the beast of his own spirit and appetite. Nietzsche looked on Plato with the same revulsion and contempt that the Sith demonstrated as the watched the Jedi slowly lose their connection to the Force and to life itself; the Sith scorned them for failing to understand the nature of freedom and the meaning of life.
So, my dear reader, consider now the Code of the Anti-Christ taught by Nietzsche:
What is good?
All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself,
What is evil?
Whatever springs from weakness.
What is happiness?
The feeling that power increases – that resistance is overcome.
One of the strongest affinities between Nietzsche and the Sith is that he challenges a supposedly benevolent philosophy that has duped everyone into thinking that its notion of value is the only notion of value. Just as the Sith hoped to pierce the Jedi´s pretentions to selflessness, benevolence, and justice, Nietzsche aimed to expose the rotten truth about Socrates, Plato, and even Jesus of Nazareth. Nietzsche feared that the philosophers of these men had weakened civilization and made it decadent. They were perspectives that did not encourage vitality or bravery, but servility and obedience. They were slave moralities that preached “the wretched alone are the good; the poor, impotent, lowly alone are the good…and you, the powerful and noble[,] are on the contrary evil.” Instead, Nietzsche called on the rare, brave few to recover true morality, the ancient master morality that rejoiced in life, power, and vitality. Where the slave calls “good” those values that are useful for him, the master calls “good” those things that are in and of him and even his enemies if they are noble! The goddness of the noble is marked by “indifference to and contempt for security, body, life, comfort, their hair-raising cheerfulness of victory and cruelty.”
Nietzsche hoped we might replace the decadent morality with the moralities of ancient warrior castes, and the Sith also sought to walk away from the Jedi path that placidly pleads for assistance of the Force (humbly wishing, “May the Force be with you”). Instead, the Sith would boldly stride the galaxy-spanning hyperspace lanes of the Rakata who built the galaxy´s first great empire – the fabled Infinite Empire – by bending the Force to their will and, with it, countless star systems (so, they believed that the laws of the Force was the Law of Attraction). Whereas the Jedi often lives with all the variety and excitement of Tatooine´s Great Dune Sea, the Sith often seem to really enjoy life! What possible better image of “hair-raising cheerfulness and profound joy in all destruction” could there be than Darth Sidious cackling as he hurls gigantic senatorial pods at Yoda during their climatic battle in Revenge of the Sith?
The Jedi, like Plato, sought peaceful lives by restraining their spirit and appetite and by resisting the temptations to use their power needlessly. Nietzsche laments this error, and even more he regrets that Plato´s seductive charm led so many to follow his errant creed. Instead, it sounds like he is speaking words of encouragement to the Sith when he asks,
[D]o you want a name for this world? A solution for all its riddles? A light for you, too, you best concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men? – This world is the will to power – and nothing else besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power – and nothing besides!
Plagueis makes exactly the same point as he instructs Sidious on the essential difference between the Jedi and the Sith. He explains that the Sith follow the paths blazed by the first Force-users [remember that the WingMakers are the first creation of the First Source], the Rakata, who
didn´t pronounce judgment on their works. They moved planets, organized star systems, conjured dark side devices like the Star Forge as they saw fit. If millions died in the process, so be it. The lives of most beings are of small consequence. The Jedi have failed to understand this. They are too busy saving lives and striving to keep the powers of the Force in balance that they have lost sight of the fact that sentient life is meant to evolve, not simply languish in contended stasis.
Where the Jedi and Plato taught that peace is our highest purpose in life, Nietzsche and the Sith counter that the peace they seek is natural only in the grave, and that life does not seek peace, but power. The Sith crave power to be free of any and all limits, even the ultimate limit of death.
In his allegorical masterpiece, Thus Spoke Zarahustra, Nietzsche included a chapter entitled “On the Despisers of the Body,” in which the hero Zarahustra takes to task the decrepit philosophy that places spirit above the body. We could easily imagine him chiding Yoda for teaching Luke to despise his own body by teaching that “luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” Rejecting the age-old ideas that the “crude” body corrupts the “luminous” soul and that the wise person, conversely, is the one whose soul conquers their body, Zarahustra teaches, “There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom. And who knows why your body needs precisely your best wisdom?” The living body is the source of true wisdom, and more than anything it seeks power to live! Nietzsche believes that the brave person doesn´t need the fairy tale about the eternal soul: once they accept the truth about the will to power, they will live for the sake of life – real life – and not fear the pain required to live a life of great significance.
The Jedi observe the death of the body calmly – perhaps a little too calmly – just as Socrates shows an eerie calm at dying needlessly for a crime he did not commit. Yoda tries to keep Anakin within his Jedi flock by teaching him, after his premonition of Padmé’s death, “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.” The Jedi, like Plato and his master Socrates, seem to almost welcome the eternal peace of being free of the body. The Sith, on the other hand, cherish the body and seek ways to preserve it, strengthen it, even enable it to transcend death altogether. While some, like the Jedi, would call this power “unnatural,” the Sith, along with Nietzsche, would smile and ask in return, What could possible be more natural than wanting to live? What is more natural, for young Anakin to serenely accept the death of his mother or to satisfy his visceral urge for vengeance? What is more natural, for Anakin to sit idly by as his love faces death alone or do anything within his power to keep her alive? The Sith and Nietzsche argue that the Jedi and Plato have it exactly backwards: the natural philosophy is the philosophy that cherishes life and the unnatural one is the one that slips calmly into death. As Nietzsche puts it, “All naturalism in morality, that is all healthy morality, is dominated by an instinct of life.” Plagueis was then the most moral and natural of all, for he focused, without apology, on the instinct of life by seeking to unlock the secret of an eternal existence.
Yoda would be Plato´s philosopher-of-choice from the Star Wars universe, as Yoda completely agrees with his view that the soul is the true source of wisdom, and that loving wisdom leads one to look beyond bodily life. Nietzsche would undeniable pick Plagueis and cheer him on in his quest for life everlasting in the physical realm. Let him be called evil, Nietzsche might say, for great men are always called evil by those who envy them. When the Jedi condemn the Sith for being evil, it is like when lambs complain, “These birds of prey are evil; and whoever is least like a bird of prey…would he not be good?” The Sith, for their part, feel no need to call the Jedi names or bleat about their faults. Instead, like the birds of prey, they “might view it a little ironically and say: “we don´t dislike them at all, these good little lambs; we even love them: there is nothing more tasty than a tender lamb.” Let the Sith be despised and reviled and misunderstood in the darkness, for “[h]e shall be the greatest human being beyond good and evil, the master of his virtues, he that is overrich in will. Precisely this should be called greatness.
Nietzsche offers a liberating wisdom in a verse withy of preservation within the rarest of Sith holocrons:
The overcoming of morality, in a certain sense even the self-overcoming of morality – let this be the name for that long secret work which has been saved up for the finest and most honest, also the most malicious, consciences of today, as living touchstones of the soul.
Not long before his wise and long life would come to an end at the hands of his apprentice Sidious, Darth Plagueis personally visited his vengeance on Ars Veruna – the corrupt and shameful ex-king of Naboo – for daring to assault his hidden lair on Sojourn. Having recently commanded a control over the Force that no known being had ever achieved, Plagueis killed his one-time ally by simply instructing his mdi-chlorians to “return to their source.” Veruna gasped an insult at Plagueis, saying he was no better than the dreaded Anzati brain-eaters. Plagueis replies, not by defending his actions in terms of conventional morality, byt by asking, “What does better than mean to those of us who have passed beyond notions of good and evil?”
Plato and the Jedi give us a formula for how to be wise, and therefore good. Nietzsche and the Sith do not see themselves as opposing them. They do not stand for evil that foils their good: they represent the hope that the truly great soul might live beyond good and evil.
Ok, my dear reader, are you at least a little bit seduced into the dark side now?
The energetical structures of The Force are subtle, extremely powerful, and in themselves neither good or evil. To a high degree it depends of the participants and their philosophical integration, their realization work and ethical practice, what kind of use there is made of these powers and functions. It is in this “beyond light and dark” vacuum of The Force the many misunderstandings happen. It is here the ego has its fundamental test. And it is here it goes all wrong for the Sith.
One can therefore not blame observers, partially that the phenomena of The Force are misjudged, partially that the use of it easily awake suspicions. For surely is it namely, that such energy-phenomena often enough have become used in lesser beneficial situations. The Force (which in itself is “beyond light and dark”) can in other words only be used either demonical (the dark side of the force) or spiritual (the light side of the force). I have investigated this in depth in my book Lucifer Morningstar – a Philosophical Love Story.
If you are advocating subjectivism and relativism like The WingMakers and New Age do, or even nihilism, like Nietzsche, you will end up in especially two thought distortions: Self-refuting arguments and Reductio ad absurdum, where the first leads to the latter.
Self-refuting arguments are for example seen in relativism which considers all views as relative, and therefore equally good. Relativism is logical fallacious because it of course considers itself as being true. But it can precisely, in accordance with its own built-in relativism, not itself be regarded as truer than for example absolutism. For that reason it is followed by a long line of self-contradictions.
The self-contradiction is that relativism makes an exception of its own position: the very assertion of relativism is itself nonrelativistic.
That leads to Reductio ad absurdum which refers to positions that would have absurd consequences if true. If you for example preach relativism and believe that everything is relative and for that reason equal true, you have thereby accepted that nazism, fascism, dictatorship, popular murder, terror and violence, are as equally great blessings for mankind as democracy, negotiation and dialogue. Then you have no basis in order to criticize, because you haven´t got any rational frame to start from. You can´t criticize anyone for argumentation bungling, or to replace arguments with machine guns, because this presupposes, that there is a rational foundation in your arguments.
These two thought distortions show why relativism can be used to justify just about anything. And precisely Nietzsche was the favourite philosopher of both Mussolini and Hitler. No surprise there!
But if the Force neither is good or evil, isn´t there then a source of it all, a source of the Good, the True and the Beautiful? Yes, and that is the wholeness.
Let´s remember: Human beings have two aspects: an energy aspect and a consciousness aspect. Seen from the energy aspect lawfulness rules: your body is subject to the physical laws of nature, your psychic system is subject to the lawfulness of the energy fields and of the energy transformations (also quantum laws). This is the area of The Mythology of the Force. It is the area of impermanence and thought distortions. Therefore you must discriminate between The Mythology of the Force and its source. And it is here philosophy comes into the picture.
Philosophy (or critical thinking) is about spotting thought distortions created by dualistic unbalance in the Force, both in yourself and in others.
So central in philosophy is the discrimination between subject and object, dream and reality - and what is lie or illusion, and reality. And discrimination is also a central virtue in true spirituality. The Dominican mystics call this steps discriminatio, the ability to discriminate between how the Force is used temporal or religious. And despite that magical thinking actually can create something magical, then in true spirituality it is still something temporal, or relatively (black magic/occultism), which will create negative karma if practised. The Orientals call it viveka, discrimination, the ability to use your will on that part of the energy, you can steer yourself, and steer it towards exercises, prayer, mantras, meditation, as Socrates and the Jedi do, instead of towards career, worldliness, self-unfolding, as for example Nietzsche and the Sith do.
Seen from the consciousness aspect, then a human being seems to be akin to the wholeness, to be transcendent in relation to these laws (also quantum laws). This is the source, the Good, the True and the Beautiful. And only when you have worked with discrimination, with philosophy, like Socrates and the Jedi do, you can reach the Source.
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