This is  a difficult topic to write about – not so much in that it’s controversial or just plain bizarre – which it may be, but it’s difficult to explain it in a way so that it doesn’t sound quite as odd as most people would probably think it sounds – ok, well I’m not making much sense anyways, so here goes.

 First of all, for any of this to make any kind of sense you have to have a good background in Occultism (esp. Hermeticism), Philosophy (esp. Objectivism), Cosmology (esp. Extra-Solar Planetary Systems), and Tech-Forecasting. Key authors in these fields would be:

  • Occult:Aleister Crowley, Helena Blavatsky, Israel Regardie 
  • Philosophy: Ayn Rand, Leanard Piekoff, Aristotle
  • Cosmology: Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, NASA
  • Futurecasting: Ray Kurzweil

Anyways, Objectivism really nailed morality, reasoning, and reality, but kind of missed the boat on psychology, ritualism, and spirituality.  Occultism nails spirituality, ritual, and with some help from Joseph Campbell can nail psychology as well (esp. why ritual is important to humans).  I think Ray Kurzweil has nailed technology forecasting, but he completely misses the boat on Cosmology (in thinking there aren’t any other intelligent life forms in the universe).  And science generally has reality and cosmology correct, but can’t seem to figure out morality and spirituality.

What really got me on this topic was reading an old occult book/pamphlet called the Kybalion. And a lot of things started coming together. The first thing I noticed was the stress on the importance of DOING things, not just thinking about them.  This is also strongly stressed by Ayn Rand and Alister Crowley… interesting that I hadn’t made that connection before, or if I had, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to it until it was also stressed in this book.

The next connection I made was between Crowley and Campbell who both conceded that the mystical experience may only happen “in the mind” (ie, like a day-dream or other highly subjective experience), but just because it happens only within one person’s head doesn’t make it any less “real” or less valuable to that person as a mystical experience.  Basically they both believe that objective meaning can be found in such subjective experiences, and that they shouldn’t be “poo-poo’d” away with rationalizations. They are “real,” even if they only occur in the sub-conscious and such experiences can be used to find out more information about yourself than you’re willing to deal with on the conscious level – psychology plays a large role here…

Then I got to thinking about Kurzweil’s predictions which basically are along the lines that humanity will merge with technology, but instead of becoming like the Borg, we’ll be more like gods – basically immortal and extraordinarily smart, etc. Only becoming mortal by choice, or when the universe finally collapses on itself – which, consequently agrees with what the Hermeticists say, and that is that all of the “gods of men” ARE mortal, because they will die along with the universe when it finally dies/burns out.

Which brought me to cosmology, because we’re finding that some of these extra-solar planets have been around for a very, VERY long time – the oldest one so far is aged ~13 Billion years, that’s more than 8 BILLION years older than our planet, so if humans are less than a hundred years away from “immortality” and other “god-like” attributes, as Kurzweil predicts, just think how far beyond us a race would be that has had several billion years of a head-start on us.  Keeping us “in the dark” about their existence, or anyone else’s existence for that matter, would be like a child’s game of peek-a-boo.  (Kurzweil doesn’t think such advanced beings would keep information away from us, but what if this world is simply a “play-ground” for those races, or a place for their AI’s to experience some kind of immersive “organic life.” For whatever reason, it would be stunningly simple for such beings to keep information of the outside universe from getting to Earth.)

So then that brings us to the question of god.  And of course Rand’s answer is the best here – we have no knowledge of god, so we ignore that question until something comes along to warrant further investigation.  Even with the possibility of other “god-like” races out there and that this planet is just a some kind of vacation or diversion – the question is still moot, for it doesn’t really give us anything useful or practical to contemplate if we can’t prove it’s true. Even if it does make for an interesting thought experiment.

Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to get at here with this article is that I’m beginning to see an interesting potential here for a convergence between Science, Philosophy, Spirituality, and our future.  A convergence fully based upon two pillars – that of Reason on one hand, and Psychology on the other.  Our future looks so bright, I’m gonna hafta wear shades.

Some interesting books for referance:

  • Philosophy: Just about anything and everything by Ayn Rand but especially Intro to Objectivist Epistemology and Atlas Shrugged;  Objectivism by Leonard Piekoff. And in the areas of logic I’d recommend: The Demonhaunted World by Carl Sagan, and The Art of Reasoning by David Kelly.  
  • Occultism: Magick Without Tears by Aleister Crowley, which is probably the best book out there on the subject; The Middle Pillar by Israel Regardie (This new edition has me suspicious because it’s noted as being 274 pages, whereas my copy is only 150 pages, Hmmm); Do What Thou Wilt; A Life of Aleister Crowleya biography by Lawrence Sutin (really this only covers Crowley’s “mundane” life and not his religo-mystical persona); and finally the tiny book that started this whole article,  The Kybalion by “Three Initiates.” I’m guessing that this was meant to be a layman’s introduction to the Kabbalah, regardless of that it’s an interesting read.  I never did like the “new-age” use of the word “vibration” though, which gets overused in this book as well.  In terms of physics/chemistry, it’s technically correct but I think most people would resonate with the word “energy” better than “vibration,” or maybe it’s just me.  I recently saw a very interesting episode of NOVA on this vibrating/energy topic, which again may be why this all came together so synergistically: “Absolute Zero.” Almost makes me want to go re-read Carl Jung’s writings on Synchronicity. Which brings me to my next topic: 
  •  Psychology: And especially the psychology of why people believe and do things that are ridiculous in the face of reason. The best series of books on this topic of comparative mythology (religion) is Joseph Campbell’s “The Masks of God” series of four books; Primitive Mythology, Oriental Mythology, Occidental Mythology, and Creative Mythology.  The nice thing about Campbell’s work is that he gives some some compelling psychological reasons for why humans have believed in such bizarre notions that are the “meat and potatoes” of all religions.
  •  Cosmology and basically the whole “Big Picture.” Carls Sagan’s “Cosmos” is still one of the best introductions to this topic as well as Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time.”
  • Foresight/Prognostication: One of the more optomistic outlooks out there is being championed by Ray Kurzweil in “The Age of Spiritual Machines” and “The Singularity is Near.” Kurzweil’s hope is for a human-spiritual merger with technology. It’s really quite fascinating.

Edit: Jan. 27, 2008; I added “References” text/links and checked for cogency as I initially wrote this very late at night, lol.