Archive for May, 2013

In the last several entries, I’ve been trying to solve the riddle of why the cycle of visions always follows an identical pattern, even though each individual vision is a unique expression of higher knowledge. The answer appears to lie in the demands of ordinary life, which put severe constraints on when we have access to higher knowledge and how far we are able to pursue it.

One effect of those constraints is that even though every vision starts off as a bridge between what is and what might be, its practical side gradually gains dominance over the mystical. Eventually, the vision becomes entirely pragmatic, no longer performs its original function, and can only be replaced.

Another is that this process is not continuous but proceeds in sudden bursts. These occur mainly during times of crisis, when entire societies briefly adopt a more flexible and intuitive style of functioning that greatly enhances their receptivity to higher knowledge.

The third, and most subtle, is that these periods of openness have two contradictory outcomes. They give many people the courage to give up on their failing institutions and turn for guidance to the most mature of the emerging visions. But at the same time, a relative few realize that popular acceptance of the vision is draining it of transcendence and start to pursue alternatives.

The recognition that a vision is beyond repair is not arrived at lightly or without emotional turmoil. But eventually it become undeniable — and that happened for the first time in a transition that began around 170,000 years ago.

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Back at the start of the human adventure, the sole function of the visions was to enable people to engage directly with the universe, with one another, and with their own inner nature. That kind of engagement had definite practical results. It could make a small group of hunter-gatherers more efficient, more mutually supportive, and more able to tap into their shamanistic powers. But it was never intended as a method of mundane problem-solving.

Mature visions, in contrast, are intensely focused on problem-solving. This gives them the ability to change the world, but only at the cost of falling out of touch with their intuitive and experiential side. They lose their nearly magical ability to synchronize human efforts, and their mystical origins are either forgotten or reduced to rote formulas.

The first mature vision came into being shortly after 200,000 years ago, when the human community was faced with a prolonged ice age that posed a threat to their very survival. As everything they had previously relied upon failed them, they lost faith in the old, instinctual ways. They turned instead to their one remaining ace in the hole — the transformation vision — and began using it as a guide to reshape the world around them.

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