Monthly Archives: July 2010

Inception, the New Age, and the Celestine Prophecy

So, over the last few days I have really been wanting to talk about “Inception.” It is one of the best movies of the past decade and it is clearly deeply philosophical but discussing it with people who haven’t seen it isn’t just a spoiler it’s standing outside a double showing of “The Usual Suspects” and “The Sixth Sense” and telling every person walking in “Kevin Spacey is Keyser. Bruce Willis is dead.” So even though Inception would serve as a great metaphor to help describe New Age beliefs (even though I don’t think that was Nolan’s point) I can’t say anything about it, lest I spoil the movie. All I’m going to say is “It wobbled!”

So while I wait for everyone to see “Inception” I’ll just start a long string of blog on how other movies show New Age principles (probably followed by a series on conservative principles, but one thing at a time). So let us begin with possibly one of the most explicit New Age movies ever: The Celestine Prophecy.

So let me say at first that the movie and the book The Celestine Prophecy are simply not great literature. The dialogue is kind of stiff, the plot on the edge of overly coincidental and characters often lack some depth. However, it’s not meant to be great literature. The story, and by extension, are a parable meant to teach what are called the Nine Insights of the Celestine Prophecy. And like any parable, theme and message are the important part, characterization and plot are not the primary concern.

That being said, the Nine Insights of the Celestine Prophecy are the author James Renfield’s attempt to distill the New Age movement into it’s most basic and widely held principles. Now unlike most movies I will discuss in this series of blogs, the Celestine Prophecy does not require you to dig for its meaning. Often they will literally say “The Fourth Insight means” and then the next ten minutes of the movie illustrate the point.

So I’m just going to go over some of the basics you should know about the New Age as told through the Celestine Prophecy. The First Insight is that we are on the verge of a New Age in human development (yes the term New Age does actually have a meaning). We are on the cusp as a society of seeing the world not just as a series of random events, or even as a series actions and reactions based on pure Newtonian falling of dominoes, but rather existence as a place to learn and grow. Things do not happen because a butterfly flaps it’s wings, but because we need them to to push us to the next lesson. As we begin to see this we will begin to see that the universe is constantly giving us clues to how to see to learn. And when we open ourselves up we see these clues, and god do we see them. They because obvious and we are able to step back and see everything working, and when we step back we see everything working for us. Carl Jung called this synchronicity (and he came up with that term before he lost his mind, so don’t go pulling up Jung’s crazy/evil later career as proof against the possibility of synchronicity). It’s where you see everything in the universe pointing in one direction or another.

Every person you run into, everything you see, every idea and feeling that comes up is the universe trying to show you synchronicity. If for instance both you feel the sudden urge to reconnect with an old friend and they suddenly call, that’s something…your rational mind might try to say it’s just coincidence but it’s not it’s the universe trying to make everything work in tandem. If you both suddenly realize you are meant for each other on the same day and then try and call each other with this revelation at the exact same moment thus getting busy signals on each others phone and thus get a busy signal both ways–that’s not coincidence and don’t try to fool yourself that it is, it is the universe trying to shout the obvious to you. Now, sadly, humanity for the past few thousand years had listened to their ego and not their soul about these things, and thus they don’t see them as what they are. But as we accept them more and more, we’ll see them more and more until the point where you will be able to be guided by the signs that are all around you. Basic rule, the universe is too well ordered and has too much of a purpose to be random, thus there is no coincidence…only signs we don’t understand.

The Second Insight is that this synchronicity is not only on a personal level–It exist on the level of the whole world. And if nothing in the world is coincidental then everything in history has been part of a purpose leading us to some next stage in human existence. The New Age. What and When? I’m not exactly sure. But we can either go about our lives and not hinder this coming moment, or we act with determination and move this the planet forward intentionally.

As to the other Insights. I would highly recommend that the book and the movie are great places to start for anyone interested in the New Age. (Again I apologize, they are not great art, but they are good philosophy).

Coming Next Week: The M. Night Shymalan Oeuvre (minus those last two terrible movies).

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Filed under Inception, New Age, New Age Movies, The Celestine Prophecy

The idiocy and hypocrisy of the term "Responsible Republican"

One of my closest friends recently posted the following articleFacing extinction: The ‘responsible Republican'”and while I realize that I risk alienating one of the dearest friends in my life, I just have to respond to the preposterous bull of this article. Let me sum it up: Bob Inglis, a six term Republican Congressman, lost his primary to a Tea Party candidate. In a disgusting violation of the 11th Commandment (“Thou shalt not speak ill of your fellow Republican”…which Inglis clearly isn’t anymore) he decided to lash out against the entire Tea Party movement and was aided by the hack of a writer who posted this on Salon. Some highlights of their article:

largely because he challenged the extremism of the far right and refused to pander to the “birthers””

Okay, I’m not familiar with the actual details of the actual race in South Carolina, but I have to believe that “birthers” do not make up that much of a voting block. (I realize that I, as a person who is known for responding to every idiot move in history with the sage observation “People are stupid,” maybe should not have this kind of faith in the voting public, but goddamn there has got to be a limit to which human stupidity can go.)

“As a white Southerner, Inglis said he is also sadly convinced that racism is among the motives of the most fanatical Obama opponents.”

Racism? Really? Not the fact that Obama is raising the debt to un-repayable levels (and we haven’t had 2 years of this twit yet). That Obama is all show and no substance, all ego and no brains, all petty dictator without the power and no leader. Healthcare we didn’t want shoved down out throat. Bailouts of stupid and unethical business leaders at our expense. Socialist control of major industries. Soon to be massive tax increases coming in January. Handling of the gulf spill that makes Bush’s handling of Katrina looks competent and masterful. Race based decisions coming out of the Justice Department to not prosecute those who intimidate people at the polls. Prosecution of states who are trying to actually enforce federal law (which he refuses to do). Giving public civil trials to terrorists who are not entitled to them. Making relations with Islam a primary goal of NASA. And refusing to admit the obvious fact that Islamofacists are the big enemy right not….And all Inglis can come up with is racism is the reason people oppose Obama…I’m beginning to see why this man lost despite having a very competent campaign staff. (Are there racists in the Republican Party and the Tea Party? Yes. Just like I can easily point out racists in the Democratic Party, The NAACP, and almost every other group. Whenever you get a large group of people together you’re going to have outliers. But the central rhetoric of theTea Party is one of small government and low taxes and liberty, which has nothing to do with race one way or another.)

“According to the AP, he denounced the “death panel” myth popularized by Palin as an example of “the lowest form of political leadership. It’s not leadership. It’s demagoguery.” He is also appalled by the undue influence of figures such as Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News gang, especially Glenn Beck, whom he described as a “divisive fear-monger” at a town hall meeting earlier this year.”

Okay, now, as anybody who reads this blog will know I am no fan of Sarah Palin. She is a opportunistic unethical politician who will go with any belief she thinks will give her power and prestige. But I have yet to give my opinion of a few other people in that list. Glenn Beck: My problem with Glenn Beck is one of style. He is clearly aiming his message at the bulk of the American public that is grossly uneducated. His message: Get educated. Now I don’t watch him a lot because most of what I hear coming out of his mouth about the Founders or F.A. Hayek or what not, I found I was already pretty familiar with. As of yet I can’t think of any grossly incorrect thing he has said. Yes I have seen him point out connections between people in high places with a conspiratorial tone, but every time I then hit the Internet to verify those connections they pan out on legitimate sources. Whether that means there is a conspiracy…well given the incompetence of the Obama administration I have a hard time believing they’re also pulling off a conspiracy to take over America, I think it’s more, that like greedy people everywhere they overextend and try to get their hands in everything, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s incompetence …but Glenn’s suggestion isn’t beyond possible reason. The fact is that I have yet to run across a major factual error in any of Beck’s facts. I’m sure there are some; you can’t talk for an hour a day every day and not make a mistake (it’s called being human). But for every error you find in Beck’s statements I will find a greater amount, in number and degree, coming out of any liberal journalist you find (and I would also remind you that when I have watched Beck he is clear that he isn’t a journalist and would prefer if journalists looked into these things). I don’t like Beck because I am not in his targeted audience, that doesn’t mean he is wrong. As to Rush. Again, show me where he’s wrong.

But my favorite part of this, about what a “Responsible Republican” is, comes out of this idiot Inglis’ mouth itself.

“What it takes to lead is to say, ‘You know, that’s just not right.'”

Oh really. Where were you when Healthcare, a violation of our most basic rights to property was passed? I don’t recall a line drawn in the sand by Republicans saying that’s just not right. Or how about with the bail out. Both of them? Where were responsible Republicans then to say that extending the power of government to the economy was completely antithetical to the ideals of this country and ethics? How about on the extension of prescription drug costs, an extended entitlement of the welfare state? How about when for a brief moment Bush embraced a logical NeoCon stance, where were responsible Republicans to say ‘You’re right these guys need to be destroyed…but where’s your plan for after we’ve kicked their ass militarily?” How about, where these Responsible Republican screaming at every moment that Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae were going to destroy the economy because in Inglis’ words “that’s just not right.” Huh?

I’m not a big fan of the Tea Party because I’m afraid that it is based not on ideals but on the momentary hatred of having ones taxes increased. Not that’s it’s a bad thing to be angry over the highway robbery that is modern taxation, but my fear is that if you could just fool people that their tax bill wasn’t going to increase (even if it was going to in reality) the Tea Party would disband because, like most populist movements, they’re not based on real ideals. Which in turn makes them liable to be used by frauds like Palin. However, that doesn’t forgive the fact that they exist because of the absolute irresponsibility and idiocy of so-called “Responsible Republicans” who over the last decade have just rolled over as the federal and state budgets kept expanding, federal power kept expanding, and debt kept expanding. Really responsible on their part. If so-called “Responsible Republicans” dislike current trends in the Republican Party, maybe they should look in a mirror for the cause. Their responsibility has led to nothing but disaster for a while and the public is just desperate for an alternative, which these pillars of responsibility seem to not be offering.

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Filed under Health Care, Obama, Problems with the GOP, Tea Party

Pandemics and Karma

So the comments on the most recent blog were rather quick in coming, but really people you can post these comment on the comment board rather than emailing me personally.
Anyway, so this is a summary of my end of a discussion, half of it being about economics, sociology, and history–the other half on the spiritual implications of my statements.

Primarily this started over my comment that only a pandemic can quickly solve our economic problems. Now maybe it’s just the Malthus economist in me, but I have noticed a strange pattern in history. WWII followed by a major economic boom. Spanish Flu followed by the Roaring 20’s (and notice the economic boom started after the flu, not WWI). Civil War followed by the Industrial Revolution, and of course, the piece de resistance of my argument, Black Death followed by the Renaissance. Now one can easily argue that many factors went into all of these economic booms, but it seems that the massive drop in life seemed to be a catalyst for allowing those other factor to take full effect. Why is this? I’m not a trained economist but I figure some of the factors for this are I. these massive drops in life were not accompanied by massive destruction in the infrastructure (with WWI and WWII the economic boom primarily occurred first and foremost in countries not directly devastated by the fighting, the same with the post Civil War boom, where the biggest jumps were made in the North and West where the least damage was done) II. Under a true Malthusian prospect the death left a surplus of food production, but also of capital that could now be distributed through a much smaller populace, making it more likely for even the poorest person to own capital and have an opportunity to better themselves III. The human psyche’s desire to return to a mythic pre-destruction golden age coupled with human determination to make things happen (and the likelihood that government bureaucracy is usually one of the first things to be destabilized in such situations leaving less impediments to that determination).

Does that mean I want a pandemic to wipe out a lot of people? No, I would rather people start using their brains and pull ourselves out of this current economic crisis through intelligence, will, and common sense…but honestly that’s never happened in history and while I’m hopeful about humanity’s capacity for good, I’m not naive. Further the Malthus in me worries that if things aren’t fixed soon you will see more dire situations occur: like war and famine due to continued economic problems (again based on my study of history, when people feel they don’t have enough they soon become very open to taking it by force from others…which in turn destroys the infrastructure that allow for those goods to be actually provided). And given that war and famine tend to historically lead to that third horseman of pandemic…well if I have to choose between bad situations, could we just skip to the option that leaves infrastructure relatively safe and has a significantly shorter span of suffering (a bad flu will kill you in a week–war and famine on the other hand, as many a Holocaust survivor might be willing to testify to, will only make you wish it killed you in a week). I would love it if we could just evolve as a species and get our collective heads out of our collective you know what orifice–but I have yet to see proof of that, so yes I want the option with the less suffering involved.

At this point in my conversation with my friend, they claimed it was still terrible I could wish that kind of suffering on innocent people (Note this is where the spiritual discussion begins). I responded from my New Age perspective, with an understanding of Karma and intention, they had all in one way or another asked for it. This of course caused shock in my friend, but let me explain, because most people don’t understand how Karma works and why bad things actually do happen to good people.

There are three things that cause events to happen in our life: Intention, Karma, and Dharma (and while I am going to deal with them separately, they are probably best represented by a very tightly wound Venn Diagram).

1. Intention: From a New Age Perspective our thoughts create reality. What we focus on creates the reality around us (see “The Secret” and “A Course in Miracles”). When you do nothing about getting a dent on your brand new car, you worry about nothing else, until you bring that into your life, your car gets dented. When you focus on your career being nothing but one success after another, it is…why because this world is an illusion and only a reflection of our thoughts. Most people do not know how to consciously control these thoughts into series of desired outcome, which leaves their consistent subconscious beliefs to take over. These thought are often self-recriminating, self-loathing, and self-hating which most often manifests in the form of disease. Unhappy people don’t just have disease more often, but are often more accident prone, more disastrous and have more failures in life–they’re not unhappy because of this bad luck, they have bad fortune because that is how they see the world. Pain is life’s way of telling you’re not getting the message. Why do people’s cancer’s go into remission after they embrace life? Because the shock of the disease made them realize they were operating under a faulty belief system, change their beliefs, and the happier more productive belief manifested into a disease free body. So from the point of view of the Law of Intention, people often get sick because their negative and false beliefs created that in their life and they refused to correct their belief system–therefore they brought it on themselves.

2. The Law of Karma…which is really just a long-term view of the Law of Intention. If we believe we have done something good and should be rewarded for it, we manifest that into our lives–or Karma pays off. Now Karma often works at a subconscious level of intention, and the way most people think of it is as paying off for acts in a past life is correct. If we have done something in a past life that we have yet to forgive ourselves for, we will manifest a punishment of some kind in this life. However, Karma is a creation of our making, not God’s. God is a forgiving sort of fellow, and forgave you before you even did anything you thought might offend him, he’s really quite incapable of hating you. So Karma, in terms of punishment is only brought on us by ourselves…if you slaughter a million people in a past life, but in this life came to the realization that while it was terrible what is past is past and you have already been forgiven by God, and thus forgive yourself, there would be no Karmic punishment. Karmic punishment is only the universe’s way of trying to force you to a point where you can forgive yourself. So again, by failing to forgive themselves, if people died in a pandemic, it’s their own fault.

On a related note to both of these two points. Death in this case is not necessarily a bad thing. Often from a larger karmic perspective it take suffering and death to wake people up. People’s souls often feel they must pay some kind of “Karmic” debt for their past misdeed and can only move on until they have done so. Granted while this is a false belief, getting over their past misdeeds is still a step forward, just not as much of a step as fully forgiving themselves, but it is a step in the right direction. Further, many people sadly need a violent and often painful slap in the metaphysical face to realize how stupid their beliefs are. Someone I know thinks that people will only wake up if we have an all out WWIII between the forces of liberalism and conservatism before people realize that liberalism is, at its heart, evil–this is a foolish and reckless belief because even if you did have everyone who believed in liberty and free will stand up, draw a line in the sand and say “no more” the following battle would most likely only entrench the negative and hateful beliefs of liberalism into the souls of their opponents (fighting always makes you think you’re right, just having to suffer the effects of you beliefs leaves no one to blame but yourself). Granted we do need to stand up and kill some people (Al-Qaida, the Taliban, producers who green light reality TV) because these people are out to kill us, but liberals, while holding to a vile and hateful philosophy, aren’t directly out to kill us (yes their beliefs will result in suffering, but they need to learn that themselves).

3. The Law of Dharma: Dharma, roughly translated as purpose or meaning of our lives, holds that we come to Earth through each reincarnation with a purpose. Sometime we succeed, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes that purpose is quite pleasant. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite. Often many of the more advanced souls will come back into lives with great hardships, not because they need to suffer or their mind is focused on false beliefs, but to bring out the humanity in others. Think of it this way, the Holocaust while an unspeakable evil that we would all love to see never repeated, did bring out numerous acts of absolute goodness from those who helped the Jews. The fact that more than 20,000 are honored as Righteous Among the Nations for helping Jews during the Holocaust by the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem does show that the adage that the light of humanity burns brightest when things are darkest, is true. Sometimes, perhaps too often, the suffering of another is often the very thing needed to teach us something about the power of love and hope. The point being that just because someone seems to be suffering from the bitch that is karma, don’t necessarily assume that they deserve it as punishment and move on; they may be an opportunity for you to help and learn. And this may be another reason why there is economic and cultural boom after periods of high death…after seeing the suffering of others and striving to reduce that suffering bring out the best in us, the right way of thinking, which in turn manifests itself into a better world.

So any way you want to look at it, people’s suffering is always brought on themselves. From the perspective of you the observer you should always assume it is a chance for you to practice compassion, because either it’s because they are intentionally giving you the opportunity to help or because they are suffering from false beliefs which should at least inspire pity in you and a desire to help replace that with a better belief system…but you shouldn’t feel guilty that others are suffering and you’re not.

So that is certainly the long way around of describing why I feel a pandemic would solve most of our problems. But I would be more than happy to find that we as a species just grew up, gave up faulty beliefs, and recovered quickly because we have the potential in ourselves to find opportunity and prosperity in any situation.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Death, Karma, Law of Intention, New Age, The Secret

Random Thoughts

Work has been a little busy lately and so I haven’t had much time to just sit down collect my thoughts and write a whole blog…so rather than let some of these things go I’ll get them out now and maybe write a whole blog on them later.

First up: My sincerest apologies to the British. I am SO incredibly sorry that my country elected an asshole who repeatedly insults you. Be it DVD’s that don’t work in return for a very nice gift to us. iPods to the Queen. Repeatedly referring to BP (which is it’s official title) as “British Petroleum” (which hasn’t been it’s name for years). And then there is that little fact that he returned a bust of Winston Churchill to Britain…because apparently having the bust of one of the greatest statesmen of all time was just below a narcissist like “The One”. The fact is the idiot in the White House clearly hates Britain, and I would like to humbly beg your forgiveness. Give us another couple of years and he’ll be gone.

Second: The whole General McChrystal thing. Yes he had to go, it was appropriate and correct to fire his dumb ass. Why did he have to go? Because you can’t have a military commander saying such unprofessional things unless his name is George S. Patton. But unprofessional or not, why has no one asked the obvious question, are his comments about Obama, Biden, the head of NSC, or anyone in the administration true? My experience tell me that the more unprofessional a remark, the more often it is true. For instance you call your boss an idiot, it’s unprofessional…it also happens to be very true. (The professional thing to say, i.e. nothing, has nothing to do with truth). But yet no one, not even the Right seems to be asking this rather obvious question.

Also I found Gibbs’ press conference on this very illuminating. He said that the President was “angry” when he read the Rolling Stone article. “Angry.” Now even an incompetent press guy like Gibbs has to know he has to spin things. This means that if something is negative you take it two or three steps down. If he yells, he was “displeased.” If he screams, he was “upset.” If he starts throwing things and swearing he was “greatly displeased.” To graduate to “angry” Obama must have thrown a full blown hissy fit as only someone with a god-complex (remember I believe Caligula is the most apt leader in history to compare Barrack to) can throw when their delicate overblown image has been insulted.

Third: The Oil spill. Actually I’ve got nothing new that others haven’t said. But I would like to reiterate that clearly this man doesn’t have the first !@#$%^& clue as to how to be a manager, let alone a leader. But while we’re here, and again this is nothing new, but who is really to blame for this whole debacle. Well, clearly Bush and Obama for clearly having no safety enforcement. Clearly BP for having no standards.

But they’re only responsible for there being a leak. The magnitude of the leak is clearly the fault of environmentalists. If environmentalist had not thrown fits over close to shore drilling and forced the drilling far out into the gulf the leak would be at a depth that we could eerily reach it and plug it off, but no we couldn’t have that. You think BP wanted to drill that deep? Hell no. They’re clearly cheap bastards, and would have gladly drilled closer to the shore because it would have been cheaper. And don’t even get me started on environmentalist obstruction to plans to actually start cleaning the gulf. But no the typical short sighted do-gooding of environmentalist has once again led to disaster.

Fourth: Paul Krugman must me stopped. His latest statement that balancing the budget will bring about a new depression and that our only hope is to spend even more money isn’t just dumb, it’s not even insane and clueless…if this man has even a single functioning brain cell (which he might not) this is seriously bordering on treasonous. There is no other way to explain advocating for a policy that can only end in national, if not global, suicide. That, or someone really needs to make him watch the Robert Downey Jr. speech in “Tropic Thunder” about what you should never do, because Krugman has clearly reached that level.

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Filed under Environmentalism, Obama, Paul Krugman is an idiot, War on Terrorism