Sleep is not the mystery as it is the normal state of nature. The real mystery is awakening
The end of a world never is and never can be anything but the end of an illusion. ~ Rene Guenon
The world ended in 2012, right on schedule, or at least one illusion ended and was replaced by another. The agents of “progress” and “evolution”, who claim to be the most intelligent and morally superior beings in the history of the world, have announced it is their world now. In truth, who is there to oppose or refute them?
So ending an illusion is not necessarily the same as waking up, but more likely the replacement of one illusion with a more sophisticated one. This is especially true of intelligent or educated people—meant in the conventional sense—because the complex intellectual schemes they adopt to maintain their illusions can be threatened by new facts or ideas. Hence, the scheme must expand, or else their illusion is shattered.
The obvious question may be, “why is there illusion in the first place?” More specifically, if the modern world is the result of a group illusion, then why is it so strongly maintained? This presumes that the modern world is abhorrent to all, when that is hardly true. It is nearly universally desired, in one form or another. There is an attachment to the world that is not easily broken. I recall watching a science show on the “Mystery of Sleep”. However, sleep is not the mystery, since it is the normal state of nature. The real mystery is awakening and that is what science cannot explain. We esoterists, moreover, understand that there are many degrees of awakening and that they are not easily achieved. They are certainly not natural.
To understand the hold of sleep, we will draw upon some ideas of Rene Guenon and Julius Evola. Recall what the latter said in the Individual and the Becoming of the World of three broad stages in the processes of awakening:
- The person is passive in the face of spiritual forces and is unconscious of their effect.
- The person begins to question things, turning to various scientific, religious, or philosophical systems.
- The person awakens to his conscious self.
The greatest majority of people live predominantly at the first stage. Their energy is consumed in their daily tasks of caring for their and their family’s needs, working, playing, loving, socializing, and so on. Although there are a significant number of people who fail in these tasks to a greater or lesser extent, or societies in a state of turmoil in which such tasks are nearly impossible, most people do fairly well. Some even “break the bank”, as it were, achieving huge levels of worldly success in life. The latter groups have an emotional and material stake in the world as it is. To end an illusion is to end the world they have adapted themselves to; hence, “waking up” is understood as a threat to their well-being and any attempts to challenge their worldview are strongly resisted.
In The Spiritist Fallacy, Rene Guenon analyzes the experiences of séances and alleged communication with the dead. Although he does not deny the phenomena themselves, his understanding of them is completely different from those of the spiritualists. He points out that such “communications” are clearer in groups that have been together often. He claims:
The real source of these ‘communications’ is to be found in the ‘subconscious’ of the medium and of the others present … we see the actualization of a kind of ‘composite image’ to which each one contributes certain traits, a fusion being effected between the productions of the subconscious minds of diverse individuals. Of course we do not exclude the possibility of action by extraneous influences, but generally these influences must be consonant with the tendencies of the groups where they are manifested. In fact, it is necessary that they be attracted by certain affinities.
Since what Guenon describes here has nothing to do with actual communications with the dead, the same principle can be applied on a larger scale. That is, the collective activity of the subconscious minds of groups of people, who have certain affinities with each other, can then produce an effect that is powerful and seems to have its origination outside of them. Clearly, it would be quite difficult to convince them that their experience is nothing more than a group delusion.
Yet, it accounts for why certain groups within a larger society have such common opinions. Whenever a new socio-political issue comes up, these people adopt the same viewpoint almost on cue. This has always amazed me. At a minimum, it points out that such opinions have been adopted with virtually no deliberate forethought.
Guenon points out another interesting fact. Different groups of spiritualists seldom agree as they come up with different, and often contradictory, experiences and interpretations. Were the phenomena truly objective, we wouldn’t expect to see that happening. Hence, in society at large, we see different segments of the population adopting various schemata of opinions. These follow a spectrum from close agreement with variations on a theme to total opposition. So there arise various political programs, and subgroups within a larger group, different religious theories, and so on, based on personal or social affinities and unconscious group thinking. Advertisers and those who study the psychology of crowds are aware of these groups, even if they do not understand them fully. Some become adept at manipulating them by inserting new influences. Guenon calls these “wandering influences”, although this encompasses a far wider range of influences, including those of a supernatural, and even demonic, character.
There is much more to explore regarding the wandering influences. There are also the spiritual influences associated with various ethnicities. More interesting are the delusions of scientific and religious systems, especially since they claim to offer a way out of delusions. These topics will be part of future discussions.