Unity Consciousness: Reflections on the Nature of Human Duality and Synthesis

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the school of Transcendental Meditation

The school of Transcendental Meditation (TM), founded by the renowned mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who, incidentally, is probably best known for being a mentor to the likes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, David Lynch and others), identifies seven basic levels of consciousness, as revealed to the adept in the meditation practice, in the Vedic tradition.

The first three levels are waking, deep sleep and dreaming (REM) – universally experienced by pretty much everyone. The four others are less widely known or appreciated. They may be described as follows:

Transcendental consciousness – which may be described as the pure silence of the deeper levels of the mind, beyond the superficial mental chatter that crowds waking consciousness. This state of mind is best experienced in a deep meditative state.

Cosmic consciousness is achieved when one becomes deeply immersed in the transcendental state, over time and a habitual meditative practice, to the extent that one is able to see through the illusory superficialities of the material world and appreciate one’s true self as eternal consciousness.

Beyond all these levels is “God consciousness,” in which one’s heart opens up to such a degree that one finds joy in the simplest of things and one is enamored by the beauty of creation.

Finally, at the pinnacle of the spiritual journey, achieved through a consistent meditative practice and internal reflection, is the experience of “Unity consciousness” – the rarest state of being that the adept can achieve – a state characterized by the ability to see through and past any form of duality or separateness and to perceive all of creation, all of reality, as an integral, unified whole – all aspects of a single state of being – an universal oneness. In this state of consciousness, there is only the “universal self” – there is no ego and no concept of “the other.”

Unity Consciousness – being at one with the universe

The idea of “unity consciousness” – a state of being more colloquially described as “being at one with the universe” – is hard to appreciate, for all the platitudes and clichés that tend to trivialize the nuance and subtlety associated with its deeper levels of meaning. It is a state of consciousness that we can all appreciate to some degree, because the human mind naturally tends to move in that direction. And yet, it is a state of consciousness from which the human mind is far removed, given that the human condition, such as it is, is fundamentally characterized by duality – one might even say, of alienation or separation from the self and others.

Insofar as we are slaves to the ego and to the superficial trappings of the illusory reality that we find ourselves in – insofar as we feel ourselves to be defined by labels constructed out of ego, ignorance and a limited comprehension of reality – labels based on religious, ethnic, cultural or geographic identity, for example – we remain divided from others and separated from our true selves. For at the core of the idea of “unity consciousness” is the notion that every individual – everything in nature, in fact – is a fractalline fragment in the vast mosaic of reality, or analogous to the crest of a wave in the vast, infinite, universal oceanic field of conscious energy that permeates everything and constitutes the fabric of reality itself – variously referred to as the “unified field,” the “zero point energy field,” or “God.”

Everything in nature is a fractalline fragment in the vast mosaic of reality

These may be difficult metaphysical concepts for the average layperson to wrap their head around, but, perhaps, it is possible to gain some appreciation for what “unity consciousness” really means when we gain a better understanding of what “duality,” its opposite, really means – notably, the duality that characterizes the human condition.

If I may be excused for contradicting myself somewhat by bringing up the subject of television in a blog about “out-of-the-box ideas” – in which I have previously explicitly equated TV with the so-called “idiot box” – I must note that the original Star Trek TV show is one of the few instances of really high quality, intelligent programming on TV – a show that took dramatic television to levels rarely achieved before or since. In some of its best episodes, the show addressed issues that few others have in the domain of popular culture, in ways that remain vivid and accessible to this day, more than half a century later.

A scene from the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

One of my absolute favorite Star Trek episodes, entitled Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, deals with two warring aliens encountered by the crew of the starship USS Enterprise. What makes these aliens remarkable is their distinctive physiognomy – they look almost identical, their faces literally being half black and half white – a line of division going down the center of their faces, seeming to separate the left and right cerebral hemispheres while signifying the yin/yang duality of their consciousnesses. And even as their individual consciousnesses are seemingly internally divided by this line of separation, so also are these two-faced beings perpetually at war with each other – perpetually at each others’ throats in a never-ceasing conflict that has continued unabated for over fifty thousand years of tribal warfare.

The aliens’ mutual animosity is completely bewildering to the crew of the Enterprise – especially when considering their distinctive appearance, which makes them seem to be identical twins – at least at first glance. Puzzled by one alien’s derision of the other as the member of “an inferior breed,” Captain Kirk wonders out loud how either of them could possibly consider the other to be any different from themselves. The alien bristles at this suggestion and interjects, “Are you blind?” The alien then points out that each of them is actually the mirror image of the other – not the identical twin. One of them is black on the left side and white on the right, while the other is white on the left side and black on the right.

A scene from the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

This seemingly minor detail completely escapes cursory observation from a third-party vantage point, but has become an all-important point of differentiation to the warring aliens themselves – to such a degree that they are irreconcilable, generational, mortal enemies. Kirk, Spock and the others recoil at this realization – the expression of disbelief on Kirk’s face clearly suggests exasperation at the seeming absurdity and triviality of this point of contention.

Rarely have I seen a work of art, on television or elsewhere, that more profoundly captures the essentially dualistic and conflict-oriented nature of the human condition than this episode of a 1960s retro sci-fi TV show! Is this how alien visitors to our own planet possibly see us, especially when they come to recognize the underlying causes of conflict and dissension among human beings, which must be absurdly trivial and insignificant from their point of view?

That duality and division are fundamental to the human condition is evident in any study of history. The earliest literary and historical records recount sagas of internecine tribal warfare between rival factions. The Biblical story of Cain and Abel is one of the foundational myths of western civilization, recounting the tale of a fraternal rivalry turned deadly. Archaic societies as well as more recent tribal societies are frequently characterized by clan warfare. In American folklore and history, there is the Hatfield-McCoy feud of the post-Civil war era and the gang warfare between the Northside and Southside gangs of Prohibition-era Chicago. Around the world and through history, we continue to see this recurrent motif of warring factional dualities – from the Protestants and Catholics of Ireland, to the Shi’ites and Sunnis of the Islamic world, to the Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, to the Palestinians and Jews of the middle east.

A scene from the Franco Zeffirelli’s screen production of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet

One of the all-time greatest poets and playwrights of the western world – William Shakespeare – captured this condition of human duality – of humanity in a perpetual state of conflict with itself – most profoundly and movingly in one of his best known and most popular literary works, the play Romeo and Juliet. In the play’s depiction of the warring Montague and Capulet families of Renaissance-era Verona, Italy, the bard makes the profound observation that love is the antithesis of this condition of entrenched war and hatred that, historically, has characterized the human condition. Tragically, in Shakespeare’s drama, young love is no match for the deadly pressures of the ancient feuds that have ripped apart human society since time immemorial, and Shakespeare’s celebrated star-crossed lovers pay the ultimate price for their innocent dream of a unifying love.

Celebrated French philosopher René Girard

The renowned French philosopher and academic, René Girard, described this condition in human nature as mimetic rivalry. He observed that “mimesis” or imitation is one of the key, central characteristics of human nature:

All conflict, competition and rivalry therefore originate in mimetic desire (mimetic rivalry), which eventually reaches destructive stages of conflict both between individuals and social groups that requires them to blame someone or something in order to diffuse conflict through the scapegoat mechanism.

Wikipedia entry on René Girard

Girard’s key observation, in his earlier philosophical works, is that the deadliest of rivalries and enmities invariably arise between individuals or groups not so much because of their differences but, rather, in spite of their similarities. The deadliest of enemies tend to be identical to one another for the most part – but the relatively minor differences invariably become magnified into a point of major contention and even deadly conflict. This profound observation by the philosophical genius fits in only too well with everything we know about history and the human condition – duality and conflict are central to the human experience and have been since time immemorial.

When we realize this, it becomes evident that the idea of a “unity consciousness” based on Christ-like charitable love (or agape) and mutual empathy and compassion might represent a massive leap

forward in human evolution – as, in fact, suggested in the mysterious text entitled The Law of One, which was supposedly “channelled” from extra-terrestrial authorship, between 1981 and 1984, by a team of independent researchers – Carla Rueckert, Don Elkins and Jim McCarty.

It would seem that the idea of transcending personal ego through the practice of charitable love and forgiveness, aided by a sound meditation practice, is not merely the crux of a positive, healthy lifestyle, nor is it just a feature of 1960s hippy culture, of which John Lennon and the Maharishi were an indelible part. In fact, it may be the key to the next stage in human evolution – to rising to a higher “density” of consciousness – from the current level of “dualistic consciousness” to the higher level of “unity consciousness” – a state of being where there is no ego and no concept of “the other” and one which is, presumably, characterized by both hemispheres of the human brain working together in harmony with one another.

It must be noted, however, that esoteric ideas like these are invariably subject to distortion, misinterpretation and trivialization. Even as duality and conflict have characterized the human condition since the beginnings of recorded history (at least), so also have human beings sought to achieve peace, harmony, order and unity in society through any number of methods – political, religious, cultural, philosophical and educational all describing attempts to “civilize” human beings into living in peace and harmony with one another, to some degree at least. Some of these efforts have been more successful than others – the foundation of the United States of America being a relatively recent, relatively successful political endeavor, while the foundation of the European Union has, thus far at least, been less successful by comparison.

Legendary rock musician John Lennon

All that said, I am personally of the opinion that “unification,” in the mode of achieving an “unity consciousness” – and as expressed in John Lennon’s classic rock music ballad Imagine – must ultimately happen organically and spontaneously, from the heart. The fall of the Berlin Wall is one such event of human unification in recent history, in which divisions were surmounted through a spontaneous, organic, heartfelt movement of popular consciousness. Attempts to forcefully unify dissenting populations through the exercise of political dictates, military might or even rational debate and discourse are invariably doomed to failure. If the heart is not in it, any attempt at unification will, at best, likely be a tentative truce or cease-fire and, at worst, a potentially devastating, bloody failure.

Even so, despite a history of thousands of years of bloody conflict behind us, there remains, all the same, the promise of “Ascension” – of somehow rising above the petty, egocentric, illusory differences that divide us and finding true common ground and truly coming together as a species, from the heart, and ascending to a higher level of being together – achieving “unity consciousness” and a new way of living in harmony with each other and nature.

A Meditation on the Worship of Gold

Biblical prophet Daniel stands in defiance before the golden statue of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar while the Babylonians bow in worship (see Daniel, Chapter 3)

Since the beginning of recorded history, mankind has worshipped the metallic commodity known, colloquially, as “gold.” All other religions fade in comparison with the worship of gold. We create idols out of gold – most famously, the golden calf created by the Israelites who dissented with Moses following their exodus from Egypt, and who were severely chastised for their act of rebellion (see Exodus, Chapter 32). We construct elaborate mythologies based on gold – sometimes involving gold-mining extra-terrestrials, as seen in the creation myths of the Sumerians and Babylonians. We base entire economies and monetary standards on gold. We characterize our standards of excellence, metaphorically, as “gold standards” and we lavish our icons of extreme wealth with golden trappings.

Rebellious Israelites worhip the golden calf after the Exodus from Egypt

When Columbus landed in the New World, it is said (anecdotally), that the first priority that obsessed him was to scour the land for gold. The Spanish conquistadors in South America were predominantly motivated by the hunt for Inca gold. The mass migration of more than 300,00 fortune-seekers to California in the mid-nineteenth century was instigated by the gold rush.

Golden statuettes representing the ancient Sun-Bull cult

And yet, gold has no intrinsic value, per se, other than its bright, shiny color and its relative scarcity, and the fact that its value remains relatively stable over time. In the vein of an Einsteinian “thought experiment,” however, let us consider what might happen if the value of gold suddenly crashed.

The idea that the value of gold might, one day, suddenly collapse is not entirely fictional or fantastical. In relative proximity to the earth’s orbit, there are asteroids floating about in space containing more than enough gold and silver ore in them to permanently crash the value of precious metals on earth. Even as we speak, there are startup companies around the world that are making serious plans to explore deep space, beyond the orbit of the moon, and one of the primary ambitions and motivating factors of these space-faring enterprises, launched by Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and others, is to harness and mine these floating gold and silver mines.

Main nave of the Church of the Society of Jesus (La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), a Jesuit church in Quito, Ecuador.

But have we seriously considered what such an enterprise, were it successful, would do to human society on earth? What would the collapse in the value of gold mean to centuries, even millenia, of religion, mythology and iconography, all constructed around the value of gold?

Author and scientific visionary Peter Diamandis, in his seminal book Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think, relates, in the first chapter, the fascinating history of another element – the metal aluminum.

He recounts the story of the initial discovery of the remarkable element, described as “a new metal, very light, shiny, almost as bright as silver” (Diamandis, Peter H., and Steven Kotler.  Abundance: the Future Is Better than You Think. Simon & Schuster, 2015., p.3). The metal was, apparently, extracted from clay, using a secret process, by an enterprising goldsmith, during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (contemporary to the life of Jesus Christ).

However, the goldsmith was rewarded for his pains by being beheaded by the ruthless monarch. Diamandis notes:

This shiny new metal was aluminum, and that beheading marked its loss to the world for nearly two millennia. It next reappeared during the early 1800s but was still rare enough to be considered the most valuable metal in the world. Napoléon III himself threw a banquet for the King of Siam where the honored guests were given aluminum utensils, while the others had to make do with gold.

(Ibid., p.3)
The capstone of the Washington Monument, in Washington, D.C. is made of aluminum, once considered to be rarer and more precious than gold!

As recently as the early 19th century, therefore, aluminum was considered to be more precious, even, than gold! Diamandis continues:

While bauxite is 52 percent aluminum, separating out the pure metal ore was a complex and difficult task. … In 1854 Henri Sainte-Claire Deville created the first commercial process for extraction, driving down the price by 90 percent. Yet the metal was still costly and in short supply.

It was the creation of a new breakthrough technology known as electrolysis, discovered independently and almost simultaneously in 1886 by American chemist Charles Martin Hall and Frenchman Paul Héroult, that changed everything. The Hall-Héroult process, as it is now known, uses electricity to liberate aluminum from bauxite. Suddenly everyone on the planet had access to ridiculous amounts of cheap, light, pliable metal.

(Ibid., pp.3-4)

For Diamandis, there is a generic lesson to be learned from the story of aluminum:

History’s littered with tales of once-rare resources made plentiful by innovation. The reason is pretty straightforward: scarcity is often contextual. … Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism. It can make the once scarce into the now abundant.

(Ibid., p.4)

Aluminum products are now widely used as kitchen utensils, cooking foil, etc.

From the perspective of the thesis of this meditation, however, the story of aluminum represents a cautionary tale – the parable of a once-precious metal, regarded not so long ago as even more valuable than gold, but which is now “cheap, ubiquitous, and used with a throwaway mind-set” (Ibid., p.3) thanks to a series of technological innovations in the latter half of the nineteenth century!

Can we, nevertheless, even begin to fathom how disruptive it would be to human society if the value of gold suddenly crashed, as a result of technological developments, such as those described above? The difference between aluminum and gold is stark – while aluminum may once have been more valuable than gold, gold has had a deep iconic status in human culture for millennia – going back to the beginnings of recorded history, in fact – a status that aluminum simply never had. Thus, a collapse in the value of gold, or even silver, would not simply be hugely economically disruptive, it would be socially, culturally, and even religiously disruptive to a level that is currently beyond our ability to grasp! The truth is that, when all is said and done, let’s face it – the worship of gold is the real religious principle that underlies and drives human society, not so much the worship of any deity!

The Tragedy of Scientific Materialism

Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. (NASA, ESA/Hubble)

“Modern Science” may claim to be a methodology — a toolkit, as it were, to enable and empower one to separate truth from fiction — but, in actual fact, Scientific Materialism is a belief system rooted in an ideology — no different, in essence, from any other belief system. In this century, Scientific Materialism is the establishment dogma and is responsible for the marginalization and even persecution of competing theories, ideas and belief systems.

When establishment voices speak about the importance and relevance of “Science,” they are not talking about the agnostic scientific method, per se. They are, in fact, referring to the dogma of Scientific Materialism — a dogma that worships at the altar of the big pharmaceutical industry (aka Big Pharma), that denounces alternative medicine and alternative science as heretical, that venerates Darwinism and the doctrine of Climate Change (previously known as “Global Warming”) as its sacred texts, and that heralds the coming of its new messiah — Artificial Intelligence (or AI)!

The tragedy of this misguided dogma is that it is, in fact, a belief system rooted in blind faith, rather than a thought system rooted in critical, rational analysis (as it claims to be), and that dismisses sound evidence that may, in any way, contradict or undermine its core suppositions — namely that human existence is a purely mechanistic phenomenon, that the human organism is an organic machine that evolved purely circumstantially, and that consciousness is purely a product of random electrical activity in the brain. Thus, the high priests of this establishment dogma of scientific materialism feel justified in ridiculing and marginalizing alternative science, alternative medicine and any ideas, propositions, claims or theories that may call their core belief system into question. In so doing, not only do they contradict the very scientific methodology that they claim to uphold (namely, the one that claims to be based on observational evidence and rational analysis), but they are in the process of making themselves irrelevant and obsolete through the process of denial and self-deception.

In actual fact, the cutting-edge claims of the very science that they claim to evangelize and venerate so deeply — the claims of Quantum Mechanics, for example — completely undermine the core suppositions of the materialistic worldview — namely, that the universe can definitely be known as a coherent, solid, material certainty, that human existence is mechanistic and purely organic in its form, and that consciousness is purely a product of the brain’s electrical activity, with no connection to anything beyond or outside itself. The course of scientific research has, ironically, completely undercut and undermined its own core foundation — the scientific materialism that originally arose from Newtonian physics. The cutting-edge physics of Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and beyond, appears to have more in connection with the pantheistic spirituality and mysticism of ancient times than with more recent Newtonian physics!

Unfortunately, the political establishment of the early 21st Century is still run by people educated in the Newtonian model of reality and have their consciousness immersed in that defunct mode of thinking. It will probably take a generational shift before scientific materialism will finally be dismissed for the obsolete dogma that it, in fact is, and the mainstream world embraces the cutting edge claims of Quantum Mechanics and, with it, the ancient claims of mystical practices and spiritual texts from the remote past that resonate with these new ideas.

Monsters in the Shadows

I recently had the most bizarre and unnerving dream. I dreamt that I was deep-sea diving, and that I was surrounded by inky blackness in the shadowy depths of the ocean. It was completely silent and dark everywhere I turned. Then, I abruptly turned on a flashlight and swung the beam of light around me. The beam of light revealed that I was surrounded by monstrous creatures hidden in the shadowy depths of the ocean – some with gargantuan humanoid-looking features, others, resembling whales or great sharks – all completely silent, immobile, observing, and completely concealed by the inky depths of the ocean.

This was one of the most unnerving dreams I have ever had. I suffered from a panic/anxiety attack that morning, after I woke up. At first, I was unable to determine the cause of the attack, but I was eventually able to pinpoint this nightmare as the underlying cause.

I was at a loss, initially, about how to interpret this dream. Given the almost impersonal, archetypal elements of this dream, I took it to be a “mythical dream” – a term used by Joseph Campbell in a lecture about Jungian dream analysis. But if this was, indeed, a “mythical dream,” then I had no idea what it must represent.

Then, as I was reflecting on the content of this unsettling dream, I recalled what I had recently heard and read about the pervasive cultural phenomenon known, colloquially, as “social media.” It occurred to me that social media was either being used by or was a front for massive corporate and government surveillance operations – that, according to some commentators, social media corporate giants like Facebook, Twitter, etc., are, in fact, fronts for government agencies like the CIA, NSA and others, and are designed to con the public into revealing intimate personal details about themselves for data collection and surveillance purposes – ostensibly to facilitate targeted advertising features on social media platforms but, possibly, associated with more nefarious hidden agendas.

While I don’t deny that intelligence agencies like the CIA, NSA, MI-6, etc., play an important role in policing the world we live in, so as to ensure a safe environment for all, especially for the most vulnerable among us, it is also true that these intelligence agencies have been linked, through rogue operatives, if not systemically, with some extremely ugly, nefarious activities including drug-trafficking, gun-running, sexual blackmail, child abduction and abuse, human-trafficking, mind control, etc. In fact, in recent news, with the arrest of the supposed “pedophile billionaire” Jeffrey Epstein, evidence has emerged of a likely connection with intelligence agencies like MI-6 and Mossad – that, in fact, Epstein was a Mossad operative, possibly working in conjunction with MI-6, on a sophisticated operation to entrap and blackmail politicians, dignitaries and other power brokers over intimate and revealing evidence of illicit and criminal activity, often highly depraved in nature, which was, apparently, secretly recorded at one of Epstein’s numerous facilities.

If these are the kinds of people behind, or lurking in the shadows of, such social media platforms or, should I say, “operations,” as Facebook, Twitter, etc., then we have reason to be deeply concerned and suspicious. I am not one to advocate panic or paranoia, but it behooves us to be aware of the potential risks involved with engaging in social media – the waters may be far from safe – indeed, who knows who or what may be lurking in its shadowy depths, silently observing us?

Social Media Lynch Mobs: A Critical Analysis

Understanding the Phenomenon of Social Media Mob Outrage in terms of Jungian Shadow Projection and Girardian Mimetic Crises.

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21st Century social media – Twitter, Facebook, and the like – have essentially brought Wild West-style lynch mobs and rough justice into the Cyber Age subverting, in effect, centuries of human social development into the modern civilized society of law and high ideals. On social media, these days, it is quite common to find situations where a random person somewhere makes a slightly off-color or inappropriate remark, which is immediately pounced upon by a horde of self-righteous social justice warrior-types and turned into a globally trending topic on Twitter or Facebook, in an attempt not only to publicly shame or humiliate the person in question but, indeed, to call for their personal destruction in the most vicious ways imaginable.

Author and journalist Jon Ronson describes the phenomenon in his book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Picador, 2016), in which he recounts several anecdotes involving random, ordinary people whose lives and reputations were overturned and ruined by mobs of self-righteous SJWs, piling on comment upon comment on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, in denunciation of what was, typically, a relatively minor, insignificant offense, but which, through reiteration and distortion, was blown out of all proportion into an apparently serious crime. These crazed, vindictive SJW mobs seemed to be convinced, nevertheless, that by venting their wrath on random innocents, they were somehow righting the wrongs of civilized society.

The truth is that their actions represent anything but civilized society. This kind of lynch-mob rough justice, characteristic of a more barbarous age, such as those of the Wild West or the deep South during the Jim Crow era, really only plays into peoples’ basest instincts – namely, a craving for sensationalism, internet celebrity and instant gratification. It is, ultimately, mean-spirited and self-serving – having little to do with actual justice or truth and everything to do with primal, animalistic drives and urges.

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There are a number of academic models that can help one come to a better understanding of such behavioral phenomena. One motif is to be found in the Analytical Psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. Jung describes the concept of the “shadow” which, he suggests, represents the dark side of the human personality and the repository of one’s suppressed urges and anxieties, hidden from the waking, conscious mind. In his work, Jung points out that “the shadow, being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else” (Wikipedia entry on Shadow (psychology)):

Projection is one of the commonest psychic phenomena…. Everything that is unconscious in ourselves we discover in our neighbor, and we treat him accordingly. (Carl Jung, Archaic Man)

Thus, the phenomenon of “shadow projection”, as described in Jungian Psychology, is not merely hypocrisy, which is a conscious act. Rather, it is the unconscious projection onto others of one’s own deep-seated personal insecurities and sources of guilt and shame. This suggests that the biggest accusers in the social media landscape secretly harbor a personal guilt or shame associated with the very subject of their accusations.

It must be noted, however, that this is not to suggest that all conscientious whistle-blowers are, in fact, acting out of Jungian shadow-projection. In general, nevertheless, this tendency certainly does seem to apply in typical lynch mob-type scenarios, in which the loudest accusers tend to be the most secretly guilt-ridden of the very crimes of which they accuse others. Thus, very frequently, the loudest voices accusing others of racism, antisemitism or prejudice are themselves the most personally flawed in exactly the ways they accuse others of being.

Another academic model that can help us come to grips with the 21st century phenomenon of social media lynch mobs is the concept of “mimesis,” as described, in his works, by philosopher Re Girard. Mimesis, which Girard describes as the unconscious urge to imitate the desires and anxieties of one’s peers and rivals, is seen by him to be a critical governing factor in social behaviors of various kinds. This human tendency is clearly visible in social media trends, fashion crazes, stock market cycles, and so forth. Girard notes that a “mimetic crisis” happens in a society when, as a result of some calamity, people begin to emulate the anxieties of their peers in relation to the perceived cause of the said calamity. Thus, when blame is cast on an individual or group, for some perceived or actual misdeed, the tendency for blame quickly spreads among vast populations as a mimetic “contagion,” resulting in a scenario similar to modern social media shamings or, in the past, to lynch mobs or witch-hunts (as in Salem, Mass. or during the McCarthy trials, both of which represent classic Girardian scenarios of mimetic contagion and crisis). This results, inevitably, in the gang-stalking and scapegoating of random individuals, which often lead to their unjustified ostracizing, public humiliation and even, at times, to violence and blood-letting, all in a whirlwind of self-righteous mob indignation.

lynch+mob

The worst part of this phenomenon, as it manifests itself in the social media landscape, is not so much that it is to be found in the human psyche. These aspects of human behavior have long been known and discussed by philosophers and psychologists. Rather, it appears that such behavior is being actively perpetuated and even encouraged and abetted by social media corporations. Instead of policing their platforms to protect the rights of individuals and the average user, it appears that social media companies are really primarily interested in protecting the wealthy, powerful and well-connected. They would, in fact, go so far as to censor any valid criticism of corruption in high places or depravity among the elite. Rather, like the mainstream media in general, they are frequently seen to be quick to jump on the bandwagon of social media mimetic trends in order to exploit them for private enrichment, often at the expense of the random individual. They do little or nothing to police mimetic crises involving, for example, the social-media lynching of random citizens for relatively minor, innocuous offenses, or the scapegoating of minorities, etc.

This suggests to me that there is an active agenda at work behind corporations in the social media space – corporations like Twitter, Facebook, Google/YouTube, Apple, Microsoft, etc. There appears to be an agenda cynically to manipulate the public in such a way as to encourage and exploit the scapegoating of random innocents for relatively minor offenses, which are often sensationally blown way out of proportion in terms of their severity or importance. Simultaneously, these corporations actively protect wealthy and well-connected “elites” from any criticism, frequently helping to cover up very real, significant crimes and misdeeds. This is often achieved through mismanaged policing of their platforms and practices like censorship, shadow-banning and the stifling of legitimate discourse, to say nothing of the theft of personal identity and information from social media users.

Whether this is all part of an elaborate, pre-conceived agenda to cover up corporate and elite criminality or just the natural offshoot of corporate PR coupled with pressure from advertisers, remains to be seen. What is unquestionable, though, is the basic corporate greed at work in the exploitation of social trends. The bottom line is that social media corporations have fallen far short of expectations when it comes to enabling or empowering the masses and serving as a means of self-expression or a voice for justice. Rather, they are proving to be part of the systemic repression of the masses and are acting as enablers of some of the very basest of human instincts – for instance, the desires for mob justice, for media sensationalism, and the deep-seated, innate human drives towards cruelty, vindictiveness and violence. Mainstream social media corporations, thus, have a great deal to answer for!

Beyond Religion: Metaphor and Message

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Religion appears to be getting to be increasingly relevant to the world we live in — by the day. The news is filled with stories in which religion and religious identity seem to play a crucial role — from stories about religiously motivated violence to those about end-time scenarios. While religion is a vital part of the human experience, the fact that it continues to become increasingly significant in modern, 21st century life, is surely cause for concern and speculation.

My understanding of religion is that it is, essentially, a metaphorical overlay on top of a spiritual experience of some sort. There are two fundamental layers or dimensions to religion — the metaphor and the message. The one — metaphor — is the linguistic or symbolic expression of the other — the message — which is the underlying spiritual experience conveyed by the religion. As I see it, regardless of the linguistic, symbolic or ritualistic trappings of a religion, it is the underlying spiritual dynamics that are really important in any religious tradition. In that respect, every religion is a different language used to describe similar human experiences and spiritual themes.

Cruelty, for example, is cruelty in any religion. Similarly, grace and compassion are the same regardless of the religious or cultural context. The same may be said about corruption, manipulation, deception, etc., which are universal human traits, attributes or experiences. They may be conveyed differently in different religious settings, but the core human experiences remain consistent across all platforms.

Every culture or religion has its share of unseemly institutions and depraved practices. Customs like polygamy, pedophilia, human sacrifice, cannibalism, the marginalization of minorities, the scapegoating of innocents, etc., are, in my estimation, inherently despicable regardless of their religious or cultural context, which may be diverse and wide-ranging. Some specific examples include the ongoing pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church, the historical practice of polygamy in Islam and Mormonism, the underground practice of human sacrifice in Satanism, and the (now illegal) practice of caste discrimination in Hinduism. From a sane, rational perspective, I think, we may be justified in condemning such depravities, regardless of their religious significance, and calling for, or even legislating, religious reform. By the same token, every religious or cultural tradition has its share of inherently positive, spiritually uplifting practices and messages — such as prayer, meditation, choral and instrumental music, chanting, service to humanity, charitable institutions, the arts, etc. From a sane, rational perspective, these are inherently praiseworthy, regardless of the religious or cultural trappings one may find them in.

A terrorist is a terrorist in any religion; an autocrat is an autocrat in any religion. Similarly, basic human decency is what it is in any religion. A saint or a visionary is who they are in any religion.

If religion may be described as a metaphorical/symbolic/linguistic overlay that describes certain fundamental truths about the human condition and spiritual experience, then, I would argue, religious fundamentalism is the result of placing inordinate emphasis on the metaphor, to the exclusion of the message. It arises when the linguistic constructions and symbolism of the religion override the underlying spiritual dynamics and human truths. Fundamentalism happens when the metaphor/symbols/language of religion become supremely relevant while the true meaning of those symbols becomes less important, or even unimportant. This is how you can have a situation where a religion preaching a message of peace, love and compassion can, at the same time, promote acts of hatred, violence, terror, and discrimination — all in the name of that same religion. Thus, in my humble estimation, when religious metaphor overrides the underlying message and spiritual dynamics — that is what ultimately creates divisiveness and violence in society along cultural, ethnic, and other sociological grounds.

I think that the important thing for religious people to keep in mind is to place greater emphasis on the underlying meaning and message of their religious tradition, and not so much on its metaphorical overlay or superficial trappings. I think it is the spiritual dynamics underlying any religious tradition that are of vital significance — for example, messages of grace, compassion, redemption and human upliftment. The language and metaphor, rites and ceremonies, costumes and pageantry, may be splendid to behold, but are, ultimately, far less important. From a sane, rational perspective, that is how one can, I think, get to the truth and restore the integrity of any religious experience or practice.

The Key of David: Michael Tyrell and the Music of Healing

In 2015, Grammy award winning musician Michael S. Tyrell published The Sound of Healing: Unveiling the Phenomena of Wholetones to accompany his Wholetones music project. The original project contains more than 150 minutes of music – 7 music tracks recorded over 7 music frequencies – the six Solfeggio frequencies and, additionally, 444 Hz. – the supposed “key of David.”

In his book, Tyrell describes an encounter with Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz while he was undergoing alternative medical treatment for a health problem. Tyrell mentions:

After meeting Leonard, I felt that my theories of sound and light and spontaneous healing with music might be far more than just theories. (Tyrrell, Michael S., The Sound of Healing: Unveiling the Phenomena of Wholetones, Barton Publishing, 2015, p.41)

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Dr. Horowitz, as mentioned in my prior blog post, is the author of The Book of 528, in which he makes the case for the Solfeggio frequencies – especially the 528 Hz. frequency – as having remarkable – even supernatural – healing properties, as they are profoundly organically resonant and connected with the molecular structure of water.

In his book, The Sound of Healing, Tyrell provides a musician’s perspective on the significance of the Solfeggio frequencies, drawing upon his considerable knowledge of music history and practice.

Tyrell describes the history of Solfege, or “sight singing”, which, he notes, he was introduced to while he was training to become a Madrigal singer. He notes that:

The early Christians and disciples of Jesus continued to sing the psalms of the Old Testament. These psalms by King David became the inspiration of the Gregorian chants or Solfege (sight singing). (Ibid., p.61)

Tyrell then describes how, in AD 590, Pope Gregory officially made several modifications to the original music of the Roman Catholic church:

Historians reported that the Pope reduced the multiple original intervals of the scale to just 7, then modified the ancient music accordingly. He compiled the altered chants in two books, Antiphonarium and Gradual Romanum…. (Ibid., p.63)

The upshot of these changes was that:

By the year 1050 AD, the Church admitted to losing 152 of the original Solfeggios sung by the early Church prior to Pope Gregory. Along with those Solfeggios, 6 intervals or frequencies inspired by ancient Hebraic songs were also missing, seemingly forever. (Ibid., p.64)

Tyrell then suggests that these missing frequencies were, in fact, identified by Dr. Joseph Puleo and Dr. Leonard Horowitz, as recounted in their book, Healing Codes for the Biological Apocalypse. These are the very frequencies that, in addition to the 444 Hz. “Key of David”, form the basis of Tyrell’s Wholetones healing frequency music project, which he clearly acknowledges and documents in his book.

Tyrell describes taking a trip to Israel with a friend, and stopping at a coffee shop on Ben Yehuda street in Tel Aviv. Upon a chance encounter with a piano player, coincidentally named David, Tyrell was gifted with “manuscript copies of several of David’s psalms” (Ibid., p.80) which contained his musical transcriptions of the ancient musical texts. Upon examining the transcriptions, Tyrell “noticed that [David, the piano player] had adapted these manuscripts to play in modern keys, based on the A440 tuning. At the time, it seemed logical.” (Ibid., p.81)

After returning home, Tyrell tried playing these adaptations of the Biblical psalms on his guitar. However, he notes, “[t]hough they were beautiful, I felt that something was missing.” (Ibid., p. 81) Tyrell also mentions that for him, music has a supernatural quality to it: “I had always known that music held a key to far more than entertainment.” (Ibid., p.81)

Tyrell also mentions his association with a music band named “The Key of David” and describes his reflections on the number 222, especially with regard to Biblical numeric interpretation. “It reminded me of the scripture, Isaiah 22:22, which is where the band The Key of David got their name,” (Ibid., p.82), he explains. The verse in question reads, “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David.…” (Isaiah, 22:22)

Tyrell mentions that King David famously played the lyre or kinnor – a musical instrument that never left his side and was a critical part of the practice of worship of the nation of Israel. Tyrell notes that David constructed his lyre out of cedar wood from Lebanon, which was sturdier than other wood, resistant to insects and natural decay, while being beautifully fragrant.

As Tyrell reflected on these varying themes, he was struck by an epiphany – a sudden realization about what it all meant:

I always imagined David tuned his kinnor [i.e. lyre] with some derivative of the note “A,” which in Western tuning today would be 440 Hz…. I also knew that David tuned higher than many of his contemporaries. Suddenly, I remembered page 222 in my Bible, as well as Isaiah 22:22. I asked myself, “What if I double them to 444? Could the tuning be 444?”

Then the bomb dropped! Could it be more than a note … maybe a key, THE key of David? There was only one way to find out!

I grabbed my guitar and tuned it to 444 (“A”) and there it was: 4 of the 6 solfeggio tones were right under my fingers! (Ibid., p.94)

Tyrell goes on to say that this realization was like solving a musical puzzle as all the pieces began to fall into place:

Suddenly, it all made sense. Because David was not satisfied with the kinnors that were available to him, he built his own. He chose cedar from Lebanon because it was a stronger, warmer sounding wood…. Its strength holds up under the higher tensile strength of the 10 strings tuned to 444 Hz. (Ibid., p.95)

All the questions in Tyrell’s mind began to be answered by this understanding. “I began to understand why the ‘Sound of Heaven’ was so elusive and impossible for musicians to capture,” he continues. “Not only have we been playing music in the wrong key, but also we often do it with impure motives.” (Ibid., p.95) Tyrell continues with a powerful affirmation of the spiritual and supernatural dimension of correctly tuned music:

When someone plays music with true spiritual motives and properly directs it to God in worship of HIM alone, God responds and heaven invades earth. (Ibid., p.96)

Tyrell proceeds to discuss the history of music tuning in the western world. He mentions that early instrumental music tuning did not follow any consistent guidelines – there were no reliable standards in place. While King David apparently tuned his lyre to A=444Hz, his contemporaries did not necessarily abide by that system of tuning. However, Tyrell points out, “[t]uning would eventually become stringent due to polyphony and larger symphonic works.” (Ibid., p.97)

Tyrell observes that from the 17th through the 19th centuries, music tuned to A=432Hz was widespread – a practice that is common even today. “By 1850,” Tyrell notes, “instruments were redesigned to play at pitches from 420 Hz (A) to 460 Hz (A). Some played even higher in the cultured theaters of Venice. A full swing tuning war thus began in Europe!” (Ibid., p.98)

Citing the Schiller Institute at length, Tyrell observes that the current practice of A=440Hz music turning was never widespread or taken seriously until the 1930’s, when it was adopted by Nazi Germany and promoted by Hitler’s propaganda minister, the infamous Joseph Goebbels:

The first effort to institutionalize A=440, in fact, was a conference organized by Joseph Goebbels in 1939, who had standardized A=440 as the official German pitch.… The congress did in fact occur in London, a very short time before the war, in May-June 1939. No French composer was invited. The decision to raise the pitch was thus taken without consulting French musicians, and against their will. The Anglo-Nazi agreement, given the outbreak of war, did not last, so that still A=440 did not stick as a standard pitch.

A second congress in London of the International Standardizing Organization met in October 1953, to again attempt to impose A=440 internationally. This conference passed such a resolution; again no Continental musicians who opposed the rise in pitch were invited, and the resolution was widely ignored….

As recently as 1971, the European Community passed a recommendation calling for the still non-existent international pitch standard. The action was reported in “The Pitch Game,” Time magazine, Aug. 9, 1971. The article states that A=440, “this supposedly international standard, is widely ignored.” Lower tuning is common, including in Moscow, Time reported.… (Ibid., pp.99-101)

Tyrell then makes an emphatic, unequivocal statement on his opinion regarding A=440Hz frequency music tuning, which is currently widely accepted as “standard western tuning” and is used by most mainstream media organizations in their practices of sound calibration:

The 440 Hz frequency is a dissonant, unrested, and chaotic tuning that creates agitation in the human body. (Ibid., p. 101)

Tyrell quotes the abstract of an article by Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz that summarizes his position with regard to the insidious and damaging nature of the A=440Hz music tuning standard:

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“This article details events in musical history that are central to understanding and treating modern psychopathology, social aggression, political corruption, genetic dysfunction, and cross-cultural degeneration of traditional values risking life on earth.

This history concerns A=440 Hz “standard tuning,” and the Rockefeller Foundation’s military commercialization of music.

The monopolization of the music industry features this imposed frequency that is “herding” populations into greater aggression, psychosocial agitation, and emotional distress presdisposing people to physical illness and financial impositions profiting the agents, agencies, and companies engaged in the monopoly.

Alternatively, the most natural, instinctively attractive, A=444 Hz (C5=528 Hz) frequency … has been suppressed … [and] musically censored.

Thus, a musical revolution is needed to advance world health and peace, and has already begun with musicians retuning their instruments to perform optimally, impact audiences beneficially, and restore integrity to the performing arts and sciences.

Music makers are thus urged to communicate and debate these facts, condemn the militarization of music that has been secretly administered, and retune instruments and voices to frequencies most sustaining and healing.” (Ibid., pp.102-3)

Tyrell proceeds to point out that Joseph Goebbels was a deeply depraved and monstrous member of Hitler’s Nazi party, whose “goal was to ‘Nazify’ the art and culture of Germany.” (Ibid., p.105) Tyrell states that “Goebbels used radio and propaganda films to win over supporters … [and] was also responsible for creating a cult of personality for Hitler.” (Ibid., p.105) Tyrell then poses the naturally occurring question:

Is it a coincidence that a Nazi, anti-Semitic, outright hater of the Jews [sic.] would push for a tuning (A=440 Hz) that facilitates social unrest, agitation, and friction? (Ibid., p.106)

Again, to clarify his point, Tyrell poses the question:

Why would Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister and right hand man to Adolph Hitler, master of mind-control, manipulation, and unspeakable evil be so concerned with the international standardizing of musical pitch? (Ibid., p.106)

Tyrell then provides the response to his own question:

My answer is control, manipulation, and power. (Ibid., p.106)

Tyrell makes the case, in his book, for the power of music properly tuned to the correct Solfeggio frequencies to provide healing and even mystical and supernatural experiences. His claims and affirmations in this regard are informed both by personal experience with the power of frequency tuning and music healing as well as the ideas and literature of Dr. Leonard Horowitz and others who have addressed this subject in their publications.

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Clearly, the thought that the monolithic modern media machine operates on music frequencies that were standardized, initially, under the auspices of a Nazi war criminal – in fact, one of the most depraved and heinous characters ever to walk on the face of the earth – is deeply disturbing, to say the least. Is it a far cry to suggest that a slight modification to the pitch of live and recorded music, especially when exponentially amplified and transmitted by modern music and communications technology, could have a dramatic effect on our quality of life?

“‘Does tuning really make a difference?’” Tyrell inquires in his book. He replies, “My answer would be, ‘Only if you are interested in spontaneous healing, changing the world, and touching the heart of God.’” (Ibid., p.97)

Tyrell notes that:

Intonation is simply the accuracy of pitch…. When the cells of the body are in tune with each other, the body functions flawlessly and resonates with life. When the body is in a state of disease, it is out of tune with itself and in need of cellular intonation. (Ibid., p.107)

He summarizes his position with the statement:

“Life is too short to live out of tune.” (Ibid., p.107)

While it is hard to provide definitive, concrete evidence to support claims of miraculous healing brought about by frequency music, it is undeniable, in my mind, at least, that certain sound frequencies, and music tuned to those frequencies, have a palpable effect on one’s mind and body. I can attest to having listened to music tracks that almost magically remove stress from one’s system, even as other music tracks I have been exposed to have the power to inexplicably generate a sense of unease, perturbation and even deep-seated dread.

That music generates a powerful emotional response is undeniable in my mind. That this emotional power of music can extend, under the right circumstances, to produce miraculous healing is a remarkable idea and certainly worth considering, debating and putting into practice.