Update: this piece is apropos of my post last Friday, so take a look — it is an intriguing read and theory.
Former Bush Secretary of State, George Schultz recently offered that government officers must ask themselves the question, “What can I do to make the world better” and admitted to harboring some doubts that his Party’s current standard bearer has ever thought of that, but is rather occupied solely with himself and his own betterment. If an old conservative like Schultz is acknowledging that, it makes me wonder what has happened to our country. But, I don’t want to regale you with my political opinions — you know them already as I have made them no secret.
It does take us back, though, to the age old question about our purpose in life. What is it? Just make it through each day and then, 85 years in, expire? In many religious traditions that merely dooms us to repeat a life of struggle, over and over again. We go round and round on the Karmic wheel for eons. We are little more than animals, with about as much control over our fates, and virtually no hope of ever having any either.
Most religions also recognize a way to escape all this grief and it can be summed up nicely by a few terms, depending upon which tradition you choose. Know yourself, wake up, be aware, be actualized, become fully conscious. For my entire rational life, ever since I was very young, I have been trying to figure out how to do that, even though I could not at first express the concept in any of these terms.
I just knew instinctively that I wanted to be in control of myself in every way. To have self-mastery. It has been a struggle and I have studied as many paths to this state of full human incarnation as I have had time. It is probably the primary reason I became a behavioral therapist, a child psychologist. It all starts there and if we don’t get it right early, we will be fighting against a closed mind and ego for the remainder of our time in this body.
To me, what happiness boils down to is finding out what we need to do to open our minds, truly see ourselves, and make good things happen to us and others, and prevent bad things from happening (Bubba talks about this all the time). What that means to each of us will depend upon our culture and experience, but, as in many areas of existence, we know what good things are and what bad things are instinctively. We recognize them when we see them.
I am reading a very well written scholarly book on the Borgias. Apart from my love of that time period, and history, it has really brought home to me once more how many big mistakes have been made throughout history by people abusing themselves and one another in pursuit of all the wrong goals. By wrong I mean, material goals like sex, money and power. None of these things bring joy, contentment, inner harmony, completion and accomplishment. They are the wrong avenues to choose for any sense of our life mattering after we are gone, and certainly while we are here. How much easier it is to see human foibles with the crystalline perspective of 500 years!
In previous posts I have talked about all the easy to understand fables and metaphors for this issue, such as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the movie The Matrix, the concept of being sheeple.
Here’s another. I don’t remember where I first heard it. Maybe in India. It tells us to think about consciousness as the distance that we can see clearly around us. Picture being in a forest. On the forest floor, at the bottom of the trees, we are in semi-darkness and can only view a few feet in any direction. Our knowledge of the situation is limited. The farther up the tree we climb, the more the light penetrates and we can see farther, take in more information, understand more about the context in which we find ourselves. We can also start to see others in other trees, at varying points as they attempt to climb higher for a better position, vista and understanding. The closer to the top of the tree we get, the fewer people we see at equivalent points in those other trees. Finally, if we don’t fall or stop, we reach the top, only a few will be at the top and now those who have gotten there can see everything: the other treetops, the world, other people, and the forest floor with those still in darkness there, trying to understand but hampered by a lack of visibility. And, as a coda to this notion, we can only see our own level and below — not above. That’s one reason we find it hard to understand the point of view of those who have advanced beyond us on this parameter of consciousness.
Why do I even bring this up again? Well, frankly, I am trying my best to understand why people are acting in this inexplicable manner right now. I do truly want to figure it out because I just cannot fathom endorsing the conduct that we are witnessing and want to give those who do every benefit of doubt. It isn’t a matter of intelligence, even though it would be easy to settle on that explanation. Nope. In the end, it is a matter of being sound asleep, as Gurdjieff wisely observed 100 years ago.
Oscar Ichazo came up with a great system for understanding ourselves. It is based on some ancient principle, probably Sufi. It goes something like this. There is sanity and insanity, unconsciousness and consciousness. The level of sanity starts at -6144, that’s minus six thousand one hundred forty-four. The level below that is -12,288 or insanity. At roughly -6000 (we’ll round it off as Aricans do when talking among themselves, for simplicity sake) — we are totally asleep, i.e., unconscious, but technically sane. Life is basically about getting through the day. We are grappling at that level with our fears, which are legion. These fears are archaic, laid down millions of years ago and somewhat involuntary. In fact, at that level the sane but unconscious person is ruled, hemmed in by 6,144 fears. I think of it as a complex web of wires, a maze from which we see (if we even recognize it) no avenue of escape. There is almost no choice involved in daily living at minus-6000, because these fears dictate our every thought and action. When you are afraid, you will be desperate for someone to allay those fears even with obvious, outrageous lies. We are slaves for all intents and purposes when we are in a minus-6000 state. Sadly, that is where the majority of people spend most of our/their time. Some people never get any higher, ever.
The next level up from 6144 is -3072 (can you see where this is going?). This is the level of “rules”. When we are being “3000”, we are all about the rules. Right and wrong. Do this, not that. This is the level of anger. We are deeply unconscious in 3000, and hemmed in by those 3072 rules but a bit more awake than we are at 6000/fear. Some people are the epitome of 3000. They are the “should and shouldn’t” folks. Always telling others what to do, barking orders, legalistic, on a hair’s trigger when they perceive an infraction. Uptight, negative, pessimistic, feeling that they are misunderstood, -3000 is not a happy place to be.
Then, of course, there are those who are what Oscar referred to as -1536 and which Aricans casually refer to as being “1500” (‘fifteen hundred’). These are the people who are full of themselves, arrogant, know-it-alls, confident that they are superior. They are sound asleep — it’s minus 1500 after all, but of course you could never convince them of that. They are sure they are much better, smarter, savvier than you, and everyone else. There are fewer of them, there are legions of 3000 and 6000 people all around the 1500’s, so the world looks as if it agrees. Fewer people are at 1500. There are only 1536 laws governing the freedom to act of people at that level, but they are slaves to those laws nonetheless.
Naturally, I could fill us in on the rest of the levels of unconsciousness as we wake up in stages, all the way up to +24 which is considered enlightenment, being fully awake and in control of ones thoughts and actions, free, blissful. Joseph Campbell would certainly refer to it that way. These people are at the top of the tree. It doesn’t mean they are Pollyannas, it doesn’t mean life is smooth and easy for them. It merely means their inner happiness overcomes the outer obstacles or challenges or setbacks and they are permanently content. Of course, we also slide up and down the scale all the time, rarely, if ever, getting above zero. Still, we do tend to dwell on our base or home level most of the time, until we can progress and stay in a more awake state of consciousness. Sometimes we never get higher.
So, without going on into this theory (and I have found it to be a muscular, robust tool for understanding human behavior over the past few decades since I learned about it), I ask you, if for argument’s sake here you accept the premise of this theory, how many people do you think you know personally or have seen or heard with your own senses that are at +24? And how many do you think you know or have seen that are at -6000?
Exactly. That is the only way I keep from being plunged into despair about what is transpiring right now. What can I expect when a very 1500 asleep huckster is manipulating the 6000 fears of the masses and the cranky old misanthrope is haranguing the 3000 rules of the angry crowds he attracts? Anyone who is at the level one step higher than the rest, has this ability! Is it any wonder that we may be on the verge of a cunning 1500 shyster taking the helm because the vast majority of the population is simply afraid, and the ones who aren’t, are just angry?
This is one reason I like the only remaining person who at least, while certainly not fully awake by any means, spends most of the time at -768! Reason, analysis, explanation, patience, nuance, intellect, with a dose of true empathy. Many people just cannot see it, because they are stuck in the 360 degree web of unclarity below.
This is just our plight for the forseeable future because human evolution, indeed, all evolution progresses very slowly. Until the majority are at at least Zero and maybe +12 and +24, this is what we are in for. We had better just try our best to raise ourselves up that scale, climb that tree to freedom. We will have stepped off the wheel. And then we simply won’t care.
Images: Chez BeBe assets/San Diego and Pine Mountain