Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Intro.: Work in Progress

-for my wife

With love and enduring affection to our blithe spirit friend, a Magical Animal with one blue eye and one brown eye, who danced with us for a year and brought exquisite joy to the simple everyday pleasures of life during a difficult passage. Then, just as land was in sight, she disappeared into the night.

Author's Intro Personally, it is a simply a matter of knowledge & experience, sensing the world unfolding at the turn of the millennium, personally unfolding to physical aging as well, and finding the monk walking the same bank of the river as the physicist. Einstein first put it that both were cosmic explorations of similar dimension and that the religion of the future would be based on personal experience. We have nothing else, and as we age and pass through our lives, the world changes as our perception of the world changes. Like Schrödinger’s Cat, ("charming and bothersome," physicist Hisashi Nando, calls her) quiet and alone in her box, we are never sure if it will still be the same Cat when we visit it. And possibly it is with the Universe as it was with Nietzsche looking into the abyss: When we dream into the Universe the Universe is dreaming back at us.

Surely, Einstein is the Monkey God in this Universe as it opens to the new Creation. My view is that he was deity for five months in 1905, and thereafter, only an average commoner among the avante garde of Europe and America and with all its most predictable and dated opinions, social visions and prejudices. In later life, he even entered perhaps into what psychiatrists call Persona Madness – a delusion of omniscience and invincibility; a vision of himself as a kind of humanist deity among Sweeneys. As when he solicited Sigmund Freud in a letter to go with him to exploit their fame and form an international “intellectual elite” to influence the flow of human history, and to protect the world as he saw it from government and politics (Freud had the better sense). And again when he solicited Franklin D. Roosevelt to borrow from his cosmic observations and make with them an atom bomb. (“My biggest mistake,” he said later.)

But this is characteristic of Monkey Gods – worlds fall before them and new ones are born. They change the Creation, but have no control over the changes which will occur because of their speculation. Surely Einstein is our own Karma Dorjee, Rimpoche and itinerant ascetic enthroned in mid-air, under whose resting gaze mountains pitched and tossed, buildings shook and cracked, the sun fell like a thunderbolt and another sprang up in its place. Einstein considered himself to be such a disciple, like those from the heights of The Land of Snows.

Our age opened with a mushroom cloud – a phallic projection to the heavens as we’d not seen or
comprehended before, and from there we go forward. This image will mark the turning of our times, just as the waning age continued
onward with a singular vision of a hole in the earth opening up – the vulva of the Earth Mother – and a sacred spirit drawing forth and ascending whole into the world, penetrating for two millennia & rising out into time the journey and the vision of the Christ. The journey of the Christ out of the Cave brought the West into the world. Einstein's vision brings it to the East and into the Universe.

I’m so happy ‘cause today I found my friends their in my head . . . and I’m not scared now my candle’s in a daze ‘cause I found God.
- Kurt Cobain

Patterns of history in and of themselves are neither objective nor subjective, they simply exist like streams and mountains exist, and like the ancient and archaic ancestral streams of an individual’s life, they meet the person in the present. The stream of history carries the individual into the river with it making the autobiography at one with the river. And the generation joins history and the individual as well, an entity in itself, bringing the flow to an occasional torrent.

Those of us who were born at the end of the Second World War have seen a great transition as we were born into a Western nation, and now we live in an American world civilization that is neither East nor West, but part of both. The Dalai Lama is as popular a figure today as television bishop Fulton J. Sheen was in my father’s day. But until recently, higher education taught an approximation of how we see ourselves as exclusively Western. In lesser schools and even the great universities, a world literature course would consider Shakespeare, Moliere, Goethe and Dante. The world consisted of the English, the French, the German and the Italian. And most of the professors were themselves unfamiliar with the Mahabharata, the Upanishads or the Tao Te Ching. Likewise, English and American history would be taught thus; U.S. history, English history, Greek and Roman history. And the driving force that formed our world evolved from Newton’s vision sometimes misunderstood and Calvin’s doctrine of a determined universe. But that has changed rapidly to a more organic view influenced by our journey to the East and the East’s journey to us, as historian Arnold Toynbee said it would. It is a view more confluent with the other discoverer of calculus, Gottfried Leibniz, who saw in his discovery of calculus as similarities to the I Ching.

A hundred years back and even at war’s end, scientists were soldiers of Reason at war with what they saw as the “illogical” world of Christendom and the East. Those soldiers are still in the trenches, but at the highest levels, theoretical physicists, astronomers and chaos theorists compare their work to Tibetan Buddhism and the earliest Christian theologians. Even to the layman, new revelations of black holes and multiple universes bring to mind the dream visions of St. Anthony and the Cosmos vision paintings of Hildegarde von Bingen. These relationships were noticed early on by the greatest of physicists, Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli in particular, but until recently, conventional education has proselytized in opposition to them.

The new influences have changed the very fabric of our society. Today only the most provincial would criticize the Harry Potter books as “contemptible” as the social critics greeted J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings when it first appeared in print in 1954. To that crowd, still at the helm at most major universities, the runaway success of the Taoist karate opera, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in Chinese no less, with sub-titles, must have been more shocking than Sputnik.

In the 1950s there was little interest in myth, and in some quarters outright hostility, but since then Star Wars and Pokemon have introduced children to zen and the Tao. It was one thing to denounce these themes as “Orientalist” (a social condemnation) in the 1920s and 1930s and fascist in the 1950s, but something quite different nowadays. The road East can no longer be blocked. There will be a new understanding to a young generation. Perhaps Tolkien will also have a “butterfly effect” all his own and his time is yet waiting to meet him.

Now there is a broader outlook but today ideas are presented as diverse goods, benign and unconnected by theme or mythical relationships - the Tokugawa Period, kokopelli, Jane Austen, Islam - varied fish stalls in the marketplace of ideas. This journal is in opposition to way of learning. That view evolves from seeing (looking, watching) rather than being. It is like going to the mall and shopping for things to put in your head. It makes it impossible to find one’s place in the Creation. Nature does not live in boxes and life transcends academic discipline. Instead it is like a river changing course when least expected.

Six hundred years ago the Europeans sensed God as a Woman of the Earth and emphacized Her in devotion up until the 14th century. Rising to the Renaissance God was projected as a Man in the Sky, and as in this image of a robust Jesus by Michaelangelo's in the Sistene Chapel, the Earth Mother was intentionally cast aside (to better serve his "Warrior Pope" the artist noted in his journals). But history as it is generally taught to children and students fails in linking the present with the past properly and instead conjures an imagined past. We, the English-speaking people, did not emerge from the Romans. We adopted Romanism and adapted to it after conquest, just as the African slave adopted Christianity after two hundred years of submission in America. African-American scholars have become well aware that the history of the European Christian is not the history of the African who was taken to America in slavery, but the white still looks upon the Roman imperial overseer of northern Europe as if he were the natural ancestor. Robert Graves, who wrote a history of pagan England, is avoided and considered an anomaly.Perhaps historians don’t like to think that their ancestors were once pagans. Certainly the Power Principle finds its ancestor in Augustus Caesar and its adherents prefer the marble statue and bronze breast plate to the quiet hills and falling water of the Earth Mother, but it is a fanciful adaptation of the past to fortify the moment. Caesar and the Christian churches present half of the story of Europe. The Earth Mother is the other half. It is she that is responsible for the 6,000 years of world history that preceded Greek and Roman influence and it is she who gave the primary psychological impetus to the European into the 12th century. And she has been discarded.

This journal considers archetypal trends and public events and phenomena that have a psychological effect on history and that manifest change and cultural transformation as we enter the new century. U.F.O.s are psychological events but so are Elvis and computer games. But so are Nelson’s sea victory over Napoleon and Hemingway’s suicide. Indeed, all human endeavors and history are psychology events. All of these ideas and came to my mind between millennia, practically all at once in the last three months of the past millennia, and they were finished in sketches at 4 am in the lobby of the City Suites Hotel in Chicago, while my wife and kids were upstairs asleep in the first hours of the new millennia, Jan. 1, 2001, technically, the waking hours of the first day of the Age of Aquarius. My thought was that Chicago was the right place to be as well, although it was just by accident that we were there – se just brought the kids to the city for a Christmas break. Just as I finished my notes the clerk came rushing into the lobby in a fluster, pointing to the ceiling. Something had happened on one of the floors above – a sink or toilet blocked or a pipe broke and water came rushing down the walls and ceiling. I thought it appropriate for the opening moments of Aquarius.

The change in a day and the change in millennia are periods which Tibetan Buddhism calls “betweens.” The between is said by Tibetan monks to be a place that resembles death in all but the passing of the body out of history. Robert Thurman, describes the between in his translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The chant “Oum” represents the full life cycle; three united sounds representing the three phases of the life; childhood, adulthood and old age, followed by an absence of sound representing death. Separating each sound is a ‘between,” a space/time gap. The fourth “note”, the absence of sound, representing death, is also a “between.” The life force is generational and betweens are generational as well. The War Babies – people my age - are now ending their second “between.” The Sixties, starting with the death of JFK and finishing with Woodstock, (roughly starting at age 16 and ending at 21 for my group) was the first between, the gap – individual and generational -- or overlapping time between childhood and adulthood.

The gap between millennia is a between as well. As said earlier (The Purpose of This Journal, October last). From this point of view Death is a space/time place – a place like this place but not like this, and the space between living events like Platonic months (they cycles of the zodiac) is a Death and a Birth as well. That date of the ideas, conditions, dreams and thoughts discussed in this journal sparked from a long sequence of dreams and coincidences in the mid-1990s. The Land of the Dead is the between we have just experienced between millenia and it ran in my approximation from roughly 1994 to 2005. In the dream and vision of some Native American shamans from the Lakota region, this Death and Birth was marked by a sign – the birth of a White Buffalo. Miracle, the White Buffalo, was born in the very last days of the Age of Pisces on August 20, 1994 and died in the Age of Aquarius, on September 19, 2004. Miracle was born to a white farmer and lived out his life in Janesville, Wisconsin. Native American shamans see an Awakening in the arrival of the White Buffalo and claim that the living spirit which guides such things sent the animal intentionally to a white farmer.


" . . . in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength . . ."
- The Book of Common Prayer

"I have looked into the eye of this island and what I saw was beautiful."
- John Locke on Lost

Recently, this past week, one of my smaller children was instructed to think up and create a painting in school and he brought home a lovely picture of a giant eye descending from the sky and falling into the sea. It reflects a change in the world. Dreamers today dream of returning to earth. 50 years ago they dreamed of Eyes flying and rising into the Universe, and that is the psychic core of UFO dreams, visions and apparitions. (Photo courtesy of Carlo Cuman, Giuliano and Michele Edoni and Giampaolo Salvato.)
Here in the age of cyber faith there are on-line astral temples for Elvis worshipers and the Keanic Circle, whose supplicants see Keanu Reeves (Whoa!), the Chosen One of the popular Zen hit The Matrix, basked in “most excellent light.” C.G. Jung made the observation that Eyes in the Sky are characteristic visions of our shift forward in time. This is the one singular difference in the culture of Aquarius, represented in the zodiac by an air sign, and that of the earlier age. It is the shift in the plane of consciousness from the earth and sea, to the air. In Aquarius, we are all sky walkers, not just Luke, Lieutenant Ripley, Captain Kirk and the remarkable hybrid from one of the last Star Trek spin offs, Seven-of-Nine.

This is apparent with the advent of flight, space exploration and TV and radio broadcast in the past century. The first intrepid footsteps into the Age of Aquarius occurred in the 1890s thereabouts. They brought a perception of ourselves as flying in the air and sent us producing devises to fly.
The epochal journey of Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins (“three men in a boat” – see The Three Celestial Ones in this blog, January, 2006) to the moon in a mission named for the sun god Apollo would mark the great change in July, 1969, just as the Beatles were winding down and John Lennon had married Yoko Ono in his white suit at Gibraltar. Norman Mailer described the interior of the VAB [Vehicle Assembly Building] which built the space craft as “the antechamber of a new Creation.” He dubbed himself Aquarius for the telling of the tale of the flight to the moon in his book Of a Fire on the Moon. And in the spirit of the day, the LEM module, which was used as an escape devise and saved the lives of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert on the troubled flight of Apollo 13, was named Aquarius.

But comfort level with air and space-based consciousness did not come easily and perhaps the heroic achievements of the Apollo astronauts were necessary for it to be realized. The astronauts were travelers not only to the moon but to a new condition of human consciousness. Psychologically it was, as Armstrong said, “. . . one giant step forward for mankind.” Earthrise, seeing the earth rise above the lunar horizon from the moon, would change how we saw ourselves in the universe, wrote mythologist Joseph Campbell, much like Columbus’ journey materially dispelled mediaeval notions that the world was flat. The change would manifest itself in the culture -- the world culture -- at one very precise moment, and history can look back and look forward from that moment.

It was in the mid-1970s, and film critic Stanley Kauffman called it an epiphany, “an event in the history of faith.” It was Stephen Spielberg’s movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

This movie could be considered a psychological companion piece to Star Wars, where one floats freely in space as if in the interior of the mind. It clears the deck of the tenacious Star Trek state of mind, viewing outsiders in outer space with hostility and suspicion like an imperial conqueror going to other planets.

Close Encounters is distinctly different from Sci-fi movies of the 1950s, movies like War of the Worlds, in particular, in which great “eyes” suddenly appear in the cities and blast the cities away. The Fifties response of course was to blast the aliens away before they blasted you, transferring a hostile enemy from Nazi Germany to the U.S.S.R. to an ambiguous alien invasion in ten short years.

C.G. Jung was fascinated by U.F.O. sightings in the 1950s and as early as 1946 he began to collect data on people who had “visitations.” He wrote the monograph Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies in 1958 and it was translated from the German the following year and included in volume 10 of his Collected Works, Civilization in Transition, in 1964. The learned establishments viewed it with as much trepidation as they did little green men from outer space (air-wise projections of the Green Man there, for the Age of Aquarius – Osiris had a green face as well), but as always, the hippies and the art students got into it right away.

Jung wrote in his monograph, to the chagrin of the mainstream of American psychologists and behaviorists of the day (and today):

“As we know from ancient Egyptian history they (UFOs) are manifestations of psychic changes which always appear at the end of one Platonic month and at the beginning of another. Apparently they are changes in the constellation of psychic dominants, of the archetypes, or “gods” as they used to be called which bring about, or accompany, long-lasting transformation of the collective psyche. This transformation started in the historical era and left its traces first in the passing of the aeon of Taurus into that of Aries, and then of Aries into Pieces, whose beginning coincides with the rise of Christianity. We are now nearing that great change which may be expected when the springpoint enters Aquarius.”

The circular space ships are eyes, said Jung. It is the eye of God, the eye of Horus, the sky god, projecting down from the heavens.

Characteristically, when one would see or dream of a UFO, Jung reported, he or she would report a light so bright that it burned the viewer’s face. This represents a confrontation with the unconscious with great impact on a people who have been away from the unconscious for a very long historical period. (First day awake. This is the music of Pink Floyd as well.)

Jung reversed the flow. We shouldn’t fear these things, he said. We should welcome them. And when we do we will begin to engage the new consciousness.

I don’t know if Stephen Spielberg was listening, but I expect he was, as his breathtaking movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, followed just that prescription. Spielberg’s screenplay is based on the book The UFO Experience (1972) by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who portrays alien encounters as optimistic, benevolent and loving. The dreamers in the movie follow their visions and welcome the intruders fro Outer Space rather than blast them away.

This was followed by the Spielberg movie E.T., screenplay by Melissa Mathison - a well-known contributor to Tibetan Buddhist causes. E.T. is the story of the sweet-faced extra-terrestrial and it was accompanied by a famous poster featuring the Hand of God touching the little alien, like Michelangelo’s picture of God touching Adam’s hand in the Creation scene on the Sistine Chapel. (By the end of the century aliens are less than divine and we have become completely acclimated to critters from outer space. In the Spielberg blockbuster a few years back, Men in Black, they pass for ordinary citizens in New York City, although the guardians, the Men in Black, cast a wary eye upon them. The Men in Black in a folk tale of science fiction lore. Three Men in Black are said to accompany an Aquarian messiah, a space alien, much as the three Magi accompanied the Christ – see The Three Celestial Ones, January, 2006))

That would set the course. From then on out, Outer Space would be an element we would feel familiar in. Indeed, from then until the end of the century all epics would take place in the air or in space. The Star Wars sage presented a Taoist and Zen primer and would carry for 30 years. There are specific references throughout the series to Zen, Buddhism and Taoism. A “Quigon-ginn” for example, is a Taoist avatar. John Wayne, the 1950s man on horseback, would be the last of the earth-bound heroes.

No one understood the sci-fi alien encounter genre better than Chris Carter, creator of The X Files, whose agents, Scully and Mulder, are often between worlds, earth-bound and alien, and aliens are sometimes viewed as ourselves on another astral plane or ourselves evolved from DNA from an extra-terrestrial species. The X Files, which took some of its impetus from Harvard psychiatrist John E. Mack’s book, Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens, progressively moves the genre away from us against them, to a situation where we somehow share something with the aliens: I am he. (Like Santa and the Beatles, The X Files has a shadow production; Chris Carter’s darker Millennium, broadcast during the same period.)

David Duchovny, educated at Yale and Princeton, brought some learned credentials to the show, and in one episode to which he contributed script, there is a retelling of Dostoyevski’s chapter in The Brother’s Karamatsov, “The Grand Inquisitor.” In the X Files version – as in the sci-fi folk lore of the three Men in Black accompanying a new avatar - Christ comes back as an alien and is imprisoned, effectively making the jump to hyper space from the Piscean Age and one of its last, great Christian thinkers and novelists, Dostoyevsky, to the Age of Aquarius.

For the record, in the final episode of The X Files on May 19, 2002, in which Scully and Mulder are reunited, the Cigarette-Smoking Man reveals that the world will end on December 22, 2012. That is, the “alien invasion” -- which suggests the new consciousness taking precedence over the old -- will be completed on that day. In the final scene, Scully and Mulder realize they are seeking the same thing - he as a UFO investigator and she as a Roman Catholic. Mulder takes Scully’s cross in his hand that she has been wearing on her neck throughout the series. It is interesting that it is exactly that worn by John Lennon in his last pictures with the New York City basketball shirt. It is interesting because in the week in which the Age of Aquarius actually began – Dec. 31/Jan. 1, 2001, the X Files featured an episode written by Mulder with a messiah figure who directly suggests John Lennon.

The ultimate Aquarian episode and one of the best is The Blessing Way, in which Mulder is left for dead by the Cigarette Smoking Man, then taken to the Land of the Dead where he meets his father, and is raised again from the dead or near-dead and “born again.” He is guided through the Land of the Dead and brought back by a Native American shaman during the birth of the White Buffalo on a Wisconsin farm, a Native American sign of new Awakening and a harbinger of Aquarius.

The X Files’ final regular series episode with Scully and Mulder together is a virtual Nativity scene with alien visitors, complete with guiding star and the Lone Gunmen presented as the three Magi bearing gifts. The child Scully bears is ultimately given up for adoption to a family that lives under the flag of the White Buffalo.

The child is the Chosen One, the Aquarian, and the White Buffalo is the symbol of Aquarius. (Both Close Encounters and The X-Files have tag lines that suggest religious faith. The movie poster for Close Encounters reads, “We are not alone.” In The X-Files, there is a poster of a flying saucer in Agent Mulder’s office that reads, “I want to believe.”)

By the turn of the millennium, but even the tenacious Star Trek crew has turned the corner. One of the very last chapters, Andromeda, staring the dreamy, New Age Kevin Sorbo as Dylan – no authoritarian Captain Kirk, just Dylan – the ship’s commander, casts its crew as “keepers of the way,” a page right out of Lao Tsu and the Tao te Ching, although the commander still has a tendency to break heads.

The desire to conquer the universe is a phantom. The Star Trek series began coming “back to earth” in the 1986 feature Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, the self-paroding tale of the Enterprise crew coming back to earth in the 1980s to save the whales, one of the most engaging of the series, directed by Leonard Nimoy. After his retirement from the series William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the long-running series, wrote a book called Get a Life about Trekie cult followers. Trekies later became the subject of the hilarious spoof Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver, who played Captain Kirk’s dark cosmic sister, Lieutenant Ripley, in the Alien series. Trekies aside, Captian Kirk and Lieutenant Ripley are both Master Aquarians working their way through the murky ambiguity unknown of an unknown future. “To boldly go where no man has gone before”; that would be to the new millennium.

A few years back a movie in the original genre of War of the Worlds was made called Independence Day. It was a classic right-of-passage movie in which the whole world united in a manly way to blast an alien ship out of the sky that looked a little like a giant flea about the size of the Empire State Building. Presidential hopeful and World War II era veteran Bob Dole attended the opening with Reagan-era culture czar William Bennett (where was Agent Smith?) to publicly declare it “a great movie.” Which it was. But not the kind of thing you see that much of nowadays.

This year Spielberg has made a remake of War of the Worlds and in my opinion it is his best effort and his best movie ever. The Spielberg remake virtually returns the genre to its beginning, folding time back to 1954. It is shot with some dense-looking color process that looks like the movies Jean-Luc Goddard and Francois Truffaut made in the early Fifties with only the barest-of-bones film making equipment. The Extraverted and heroic engagement of the characters reaching out to the aliens in E.T. and Close Encounters is over. The film has more the anxious tempo of Jaws – crowds milling around and tension and chaos building on the streets. It is a father-and-son movie of generations moving in different directions. The movie confirms my observation that somewhere in the interior of the psyche, everyone in the world is either a Yankee fan or a Red Sox fan (see “The Center of the Earth,” October, last). In this movie the father wears a Yankees cap and the son wears a Red Sox cap. And the movie is a journey movie going from an (Extraverted) New York state of mind, with its fast energy and power principle, to an (Introverted) Boston state of mind – staid, provincial, and conservative. When we leave the action and passion of New York behind, we return to ourselves and first principles and begin to cultivate again our own garden. When father abandons his singular adventures (in the sky, in fact - he drives a derrick high above New York City, much like the aliens’ Tripods), he returns home to family.

We are a land-based species and cannot live in outer space. It should be the most obvious fact of human nature. By the beginning of the new century we have returned to earth (and to its quality of the Unconscious, Middle Earth). Spielberg's A/I (2001) is a high-tech retelling of the Old World Pinochio story (the myth/dream of an old man at a spiritual loss and carving his Savior/Messiah out of a tree, like the Prague Golem story of the 16th century Rabbi Loeb). In Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and The Matrix, there is no longer the belief that the alien is really out there, in space, and that we should go after him, but that space fiction and its inhabitants are representative of an inner condition, as it has been right along in the Star Wars series. And in the magnificent animated feature film, Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, (2002) we re-enter the natural world of earth, air, fire and water that we left behind when we said good bye to Abbess Hildegard in the 12th century. Perhaps like Haku, we will remember our name.

As all things looked to the sky in the 1950s, today all paths return to earth. Tolkien’s Rings series enters a state preceding the maedeval period, State of Heaven brings us Christian on Islam war is the 12th century, the best seller The DaVinci Code, contains riddles of a far earlier day and Harry Potter. The Deathless Child of Old England, returns us to where we came.

My experience with dreams and extraordinary dreams in the past few years tells the same story. One woman for example, dreamed of gold coins coming from the Pope while a contemporary suitor offered her only coins of chocolate covered with gold paper. Another had a similar dream with old gold marked by St. George’s Cross, again, in opposition to something new and trendy. And my astonishing dreamer friend – a woman from Australia - dreamed this on August 13, 2005:

I am outside the earth’s atmosphere, or in another realm.
I am sitting in a tree that is growing there.
It has leaves made of thin gold foil, and it looks
like a cherry tree. I don’t want to be there, the sun
shines all the time, there is never any night - it
feels surreal and I want to get home, or to earth,
I feel I should not be there. I try to climb down,
but every move I make takes me further up the tree,
not down. I decide that the only way to get down is
to jump - I think that this must be my destiny, and
if this is so, God will not let me die. Next to me
I find a piece of rope that is made of three ropes
twisted together. I pick it up and it is alive, and
purple and pulsating. I jump out of the tree, holding
this live, pulsating rope. I am falling into the
atmosphere and the wind is rushing past me, I am falling
like a skydiver without a parachute, freefalling. I look
up at the sky now and it is a beautiful combination of
pink, blue and purple, like a magnificent sunrise.
I also see that the rope that I am holding is attached
to the sky. I know eventually that it will pull me to
a stop if I keep hold of it. Every thing goes black
suddenly, but I am still aware, I am not dead, I rest
for a while. Then I see a light. It is as if I am
looking through a window into a light room from the
darkness. I see a dresser in the room, and I think
to myself 'this is my grandfathers dresser', I watch
the room for a while. Then suddenly my whole body
feels pressure, and there is pressure on the top
of my head. I am pushed past this pressure and
I suddenly see a baby being born, and I hear a
baby's cry and then I realise that the baby is me
and it is me that is crying and I am the baby -
I sense that I am a boy and my self awareness fades
and I become the baby and I am crying.

The dream here is a vision of Andromeda, Mother in the Sky, who holds the two fish dangling at the end of the rope. She visits us again. This is a cosmic dream of the new Creation – born female last time, this time a boy.

Our space journey did not begin with Flash Gorden or Captain Kirk. It began with Columbus. These are the sentiments of the most American of poets, Walt Whitman: “Lo, soul, seest thou not God’s purpose from the first?/ The earth to be spann’d, connected by network,/ The races, neighbors, to marry and be given in marriage,/The oceans to be cross’d, the distant brought near,/ The lands to be welded together.” The passage would be to the sun and the moon and all of the stars and to Siruis and Jupiter. Then: “After the seas are all cross’d (as they seem already cross’d)/ After the great captiains and engineers have accoomplish’d their work,/ After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,/ Finally shall come the poet worthy of that name;/ The true son of God shall come singing his songs.”

Note: The tv show Survivor and all of its knock offs are "returing to earth" stories as well. These are modern myths, like the UFO phenomena of the 1950s. Tv's epic drama Lost, in the same vein, presents new life on a new place. The place is Earth, but we are unfamiliar with it and its full nature. We are new residents on the Earth (see Quigley, my political blog). If, as C.G. Jung said in his essay, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, that the UFO phenomenon was a harbinger of times ahead, and in hindsight it appears to have been true, then the same is true of these new stories as they occur at the beginning of the millenium. They lead back to Earth. They are Creation Myths for the new millenium.

Particles and Waves: Cities and countries are binary and so is everything

This is essentially, an edited out section of the last episode on the Six Grandfathers and American history.

Current research shows that on the day of birth a baby boy will look at a mobile hanging above his bead. A baby girl will look at a face. The one is a techomatrix orientation and inate fascination with technicality (head), the other empathy (heart). Head and heart are biological divisions and they are binary yang and yin orientations in
the world. All societies divide between head and heart. Paris (above, Ile de la Cite and Left and Right Banks with Notre Dame's Rose Glass superimposed on the Ile de la Cite) gives a perfect example: the bankers and burgers live on the Right Bank of the river Seine (in red) and the artists, writers, hippies and mystics live on the Left Bank (in blue). The two halves are divided by a river connected by the Pont Neuf and held together by a perfect jewel: The Notre Dame Cathedral with its rose glass on the Ile de la Cite. Europe likewise divided between Roman (head) and Greek (heart) in Imperial, Christian and Cold War spheres, but unfortunately has no Ile de la Cite to unify and absorb its opposites today in a mandala.

A distinct binary relationship can be seen extending across Asia as well from India to Japan. Vedic (yin) Asia has its source in India but extends to areas that were once Vedic and are now Buddhist, like Thailand and its neighbors. The Vedic influence is palatable in Thailand and Laos. With Taoist (yang) Asia, China, Korea and Japan (Japanese zen owes itself to Taoism and is an extension to Taoism: See Suzuki’s Introduction to Zen), a binary relationship can be seen. The Vedic/yin regions feature yoga and graceful dancing, while the Taoist/yang regions express themselves in cerebral discussions (or non-discussion discussions as in Japanese Zen) marshal arts, stick fighting and in the farthest corner, Samurai swordsmanship, none of which are prominent in the Vedic areas. Tibet has influences of both; archetypal deities that resemble the Hindu pantheon, and the Taoism’s tai chi (yin/yang symbol) sits in the center of the Tibetan flag. Tibet, which calls the center of consciousness the Jewel Heart is in itself the Jewel Heart of the extended mandala of the East. The destruction of Tibet as a sacred center and its occupation by communist China will likely upset and destroy the ancient, balanced symmetries between China and India and those within the entire Asian continent.

The Asian regions developed these relationships over thousands of years, but the entire region will lose its internal yin/yang features as East and West adjoin in our times and a new global relationship develops a new Jewel Heart between East and West, founding a new benign mandala vortex around the Chicago/Toronto area thereabouts. This is a new world picture which has been moving to this one point since the beginning of civilization. It is the Aquarian mandala.

There is a well-known analysis in psychiatric lore about "Henry’s dreams" (picture here from Man and His Symbols, edited by C.G. Jung), which refers to a long series of archetypal dreams that brought a psychiatric patient of C.G. Jung associate Jolande Jacobi to face deep and irrational powers within himself. During analysis, Henry drew a picture with a blue field on the right with a Madonna-like woman standing in it and a red field on the left with a wolf-like black monster in it. The picture suggests that the forces within Henry are dangerously incompatible, but in the center of the picture is a mandala-like flower which links the opposite sides.

This personal dream of Henry's classically illustrates the situation described in the illustration above on the banks of the Seine in Paris, the left bank (artists and writers), the yin side, and the right side (bankers and business people), the yang side, united by the cathedral on the Ile de Cite. Further investigation reveals that this is the same pattern on the flag of France; a left field blue and a right field red, connected by a white field, meant to suggest the lilies of the field.

Many flags, particularly in mature countries, have this same balance; the blue sometimes green and the red sometimes orange, and with a flower or an icon of some type in the center holding them together. (The icon stashed up in the corner and with only one color suggests a transitional phase or a country out of balance.)

Many towns, cities and countries are thus divided, very often like New York into artsy (hippies, poets) “downtowns” and business-like “uptowns” (Madison Avenue). And the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. serves as a center-most mandala for North and South prior to the Civil War. And the Mississippi River divides the world today with Chicago at top and New Orleans at bottom uniting the U.S. east and west and all of the Eastern world and the Western world into one world. So far, like Europe, it has no mandala. But maybe it will one day. At center is the Lakes Region, which forms a water star - maybe a world mandala in the new center of the world will feature the Sea Serpent in the Great Lakes known to First People as the Manitou - the Primary Spirit of the Earth.)

Free as a Bird: John Lennon's Unfinished Journey

"Is it not written in your law . . . you are gods?" John 10:34

"The crosses are all full," said the lay brother.
"Then we must make another cross. If we do not make an end of him another will, for who can eat and sleep in peace while men like him are going about the world?" -
"The Crucifixion of the Outcast," Celtic tale retold by William Butler Yeats in Mythologies

"Zen demands intelligence and will-power, as do all the greater things which desire to become real." These are the words of C. G. Jung in the introduction to D.T. Suzuki’s An Introduction to Zen Buddhism. Jung’s words and observations would win him a place top row center, right next to Edgar Allen Poe, on the cover of Sgt. Peppers. In the 1950s Suzuki was always referred to as Dr. Suzuki – much as Richard Gere is referred to as only Richard today by Tibetan Buddhists. It is kind of an honorarium, a title. Dr. Suzuki was a solid forefather on the path East and one of the very first learned Masters to come from the East to the West.

In the 1950s he taught at Columbia University and was a celebrity in New York City, an exotic but common monk with a great smile and a pure vision of Zen. Personal experience is everything in Zen, said Dr. Suzuki. No ideas are intelligible to those who have no backing in experience. Mystification is far from being the object of Zen itself, but to those who have not touched the central fact of life Zen inevitable appears as mystifying. Penetrate through the conceptual superstructure and what is imagined to be a mystification will at once disappear, and at the same time there will be an enlightenment known as satori.

Dr. Suzuki talked straight: personal experience is everything in Zen. The purpose of life is love. I’m not sure if John Lennon read these words but perhaps his wife, Yoko Ono, did. She was a key figure in the avant garde art scene in New York City at the time and had been in New York for a long time, even as a student at Sarah Lawrence. She was well known as a conceptual artist before she met John Lennon, and lived and worked in the same realm as people like John Cage and Marcel Duchamp. These would be the first people in New York to listen to Dr. Suzuki.

The art students were always the first to catch on, and John Lennon and his friend Stu Sutcliffe were the art students who started The Beatles. They were like pilot fish for the rest of us who were born at the end of the war and it was quite a large school of fish. 40 million people. All our fathers had been warriors. We were all the same age and born within months of one another, conceived by men who had been a long time without women, directly on return from war in Asia and Europe.

For us it was a bristling, exciting respite between childhood and adulthood and we were interested in new things. There were no teachers around to deflect our learning, no priests to lead us astray. For the briefest period, all of the shields were down. Other voices would come shortly. Swami Yogananda, who wrote The Autobiography of a Yogi, would become very popular for awhile. John said he read about half of it, which I thought was pretty good, as I’d only managed about 80 pages. Later, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Tolstoy. But Suzuki’s message entered the river of our generation at the same time as John entered our river. At first much of the Zen around New York was dark, misunderstood in the West as nihilism, the shadow which withered the Western heart after 500 years of exploration and dominance. But John and Stu understood Dr. Suzuki’s Zen message that love is the purpose of life.

John is said to have started The Beatles to have something to do with Stu. When McCartney entered the group he drove them to become more serious and businesslike. But at first it was always John and Stu. Stu had the artist’s eye for style – naming the group The Beatles after seeing Lee Marvin and Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones. Lee Marvin’s motorcycle gang was called The Beetles. Stu always attracted the coolest people as well. And when they went to Berlin before the group was fully formed he attracted the beautiful photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who would become an anima figure – a muse – to the group and open them up in the mind in new ways and awaken new music and images.

An avante garde photographer in Germany, she and her friends, including Klaus Voorman, traveled in the seedy night scene in Berlin and met the group there, which was still going under the name of The Silver Beatles. She gave them the playful Beatles haircuts. Friendship would bind them. Stu married Astrid and Klaus later drew the cover picture for the Revolver album, and much later, after The Beatles had broken up, he played as a background musician on the Imagine album.

Personal experience would guide the fledgling poet as well, and like many ordinary men before him, Lennon became great when someone he loved died. He would remember them all. And he would remember Stu, who never returned to England with them.

I know I’ll always feel affection, for people and things that went before. I know I’ll always think about them.

But it was different with Stu.

In my life, I loved you more.

This requiem, this love song, is considered today to be one of the greatest songs ever written. It is the beginning of the artist’s journey for John Lennon.

The Sixties was a cacophony of a million sounds and smells and voices and music and colors and textures, but especially music. The electric guitar was like a key; an ancient iron ornamented key to a mediaeval dream door that would open to an age.

Every age, be it short or long, has a beginning, a middle and an end, like a person’s life, and this age was no exception. This age, someone pointed out, came with its own sound track. And it rose and fell rather quickly.

At the center was The Beatles and the Sixties rose and fell with the fate of the Beatles. And at dead center, the man in the center of the Beatles was John Lennon.

From beginning to end The Beatles was about John Lennon. He was not the most important innovator or instigator of the period, except perhaps in music, but the music would eventually become secondary to his life, as literature had become secondary to Tolstoy.

He was one of us, common and working class, but of course, more gifted. And the transformation he made, we made. Eventually he left The Beatles behind to complete the passage himself. He was the Man at the Center who made passage with us and for us and completed the journey on our behalf. And I don’t think we could have or would have completed passage without him.

The remaining Beatles say they were transformed by Bob Dylan like the rest of us were. John was as well. It shows in his pictures. It shows in his clothes and in music like Norwegian Wood, a folksy, spare song inspired by the folk scene, written when the Beatles would begin to rise to a higher artistic level. John, they say, wanted to conquer the world, which The Beatles did with ease. Then, when they heard Bob Dylan, they aspired to be artists.

Dylan opened the gate and performed the Rite of Entry to the age with his soulful cohort Joan Baez, and the age rose to the center when The Beatles reached their artistic apex. Then followed the rite of exit with Joni Mitchell and the howling animal cries of Neil Young, mourning the passing of the brief and sacred moment.

The Beatles, at the top of their creative arc -- that would be somewhere within the Sgt. Peppers area -- brought the defining moment to a generation. Some 30 years later, in January, 2001, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd contrasted the generation with George Bush, Jr., who last week threatened to cast the first veto of this presidency to overthrow Congress’s attempt to ban his policy of allowing the torture of military prisoners.

In his first month in office she wrote, “He said he never liked the Beatles after they got into that ‘kind of a weird psychedelic period.’” One either crossed the river or did not, and those who did not, struggled to create a counter-force. (Ten weeks into his presidency Dowd reported going hungry for a shred of modernity. “Bush II has reeled backward so fast, economically, environmentally, globally, culturally, it’s redolent of Dorothy clicking her way from the shimmering spires of Oz to a depressed black-and-white Kansas,” she lamented. “What’s next? Asbestos, DDT, bomb shelters, filterless cigarettes? Patti Page?”)

Not unlike George Bush, John Lennon was preoccupied with Jesus. You could see it early on with the trouble he got into when the Beatles were first big. Fans would crowd them and overwhelm them and once John said to a crowd of reporters, “We’re more popular than Jesus.” There was no arrogance to it, but subtle awareness. The Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Yet Bush and Lennon couldn’t be more far apart in their quests.

In The Tao of Jung, psychiatrist and Jung scholar David H. Rosen discusses C.G. Jung’s decent into the shadowy world of the collective unconscious, the world beyond the conscious ego. On the way into the “cave” of the unconscious stood a dwarf with a leathery skin, as if he were mummified, which Jung squeezed past. Rosen explains this in terms of Indian mythology: “Shiva steps on a dwarf that represents the ego when this deity does its creative dance of death and rebirth.”

Likewise with the Beatles. When they began their real creative work, they left behind the casings of their early ego identity, pictured as four mop-top wax dummies in early Beatles suits at what appears to be a burial on the cover of the Sgt. Peppers album, while the “new” Beatles appeared above like butterflies just left the cocoon in brightly colored satins and playful epaulets.

At the building vortex of their work, John went through a classic shaman’s arc, the same as the one described by Dante in The Divine Comedy; the same ascribed to Jesus by his followers thus, “. . .he descended into hell the third day . . . . he ascended into heaven.” (As E.C. Krupp writes that Santa Claus, an archaic remnant of a Norse shaman, enters the subtle realms of the archetypal shamanic journey by descending the chimney to the Underworld and flying through the Cosmic Heavens with magical reindeer.)

This is the classic pattern of the journey of the shaman described by anthropologists and it occurred with John as the Beatles rose to the top of their creative arc. IN this kind of psychological transformation, the man or woman who is about to enter into Unconscious falls, out of nowhere and against his or her will, into a funk. He falls into a torpor, a sickness of the mind and heart and feels a worthlessness to his life. He goes through a period of spiritual death and descends deep into the earth. Afterwards, he ascends and rises into heaven. Finally he emerges transfigured and enlightened god king, leaves the celestial place and comes out, usually down from a mountain, with a simple transforming idea for the tribe, a gift from the Land of the Dead.

Lennon went through such a transformation, falling into a psychological funk and getting fat and afraid at the peak of the Beatles initial popularity (“Help,” he sang. “I’m a loser, and I’m not what I appear to be.”) Then at the Revolver album, something new began to happen. Suddenly there is a sense of entering the river, an image which occurs in dreams at times of birth or death (“turn off your mind, relax and float downstream,”) and at times of psychological transformation. In Buddhism and Taoism, it is the sign of a new awakening.

He sang a second song on the same album about floating downstream in a transcendent, blissful sleep, while everyone thinks he is just lazy, (but “I don’t mind,” he sings, “I think they’re crazy”). Some say I’m Only Sleeping is aesthetically the best song he ever composed.

In terms of anthropology, this is the first orientation of an earth shaman finding his feet in the Underworld – the creative unconscious – the world under the earth, where he will take you down with him into the density of the earth, but this is the Subtle Realm of the earth, the Underworld, where “nothing is real” in Strawberry Fields.

And there he finds clarity and confidence, but in a new world, the world of the Unconscious where there is understanding of all you see with eyes closed, and the old world becomes a shell, a mere caricature of psychic life.

The shaman then ascends out of the earth and into the sky, like Jesus rising out of the tomb and entering heaven. John and the Beatles rise then to the very height of their work in Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. And here at their best work is the shaman’s archetypal journey to the heavens in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Like the Underworld of Strawberry Fields, the Astral Heavens also have otherworldly features, like newspaper taxies and magical rivers with tangerine trees and marmalade skies (like the tree “showered with reddish blossoms” blazed in light, a cosmic vision Jung had – a “vision of unearthly beauty” which oddly enough, took place in Liverpool, home of the Fab Four. Lennon’s dream vision in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds also echo’s Dante’s, looking upon the stars from above, in Paradise: “I saw light in the shape of a river/Flashing golden between two banks/Tinted in colors of marvelous spring./Out of the stream came living sparks/Which settled on the flowers on every side/Like rubies ringed with gold . . .”).

At the peak, John wrote a song called I am the Walrus in which he invoked the Upanishads, which along with The Autobiography of a Yogi was very popular back in those days. John wrote, “I am he,” about the swimming together of all of us at the peak of the Sixties, and “we are all together.” “I am the Eggman,” he sang, with his characteristic Liverpool humor, “. . . they are the Eggmen. I am the Walrus.”

Lennon’s favorite book was Alice in Wonderland and the Abbey Road album contained a snippet of Lewis Carroll's prose. He may have drawn on Lewis Carroll’s wise Walrus, who would fit right in on Sgt. Peppers, holding forth on cabbages and kings to a horde of oysters.

It is all comic and hidden, but it reflects an awareness he had about being a man at the center of a world in transformation. The words, “I am he,” are from the core of Eastern spirituality and are well known to its practitioners. Shimon Malin’s recent book Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective offers an explanation from science: He writes, “Erwin Schrödinger had the experience of finding the soul of the universe within himself, as his own ultimate identity. He expressed his finding as follows: Inconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you – and all other conscious beings as such – are all in all. Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is, in a certain sense, the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in the sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: Tat twam asi, this is you [or I am he or this is that]. Or, again, in such words as ‘I am in the east and in the west, I am above and below, I am this whole world’.”

Malin writes that Wolfgang Pauli, when asked if he believed in a personal God, responded with an answer that suggests a mandala: “May I rephrase your question? I myself should prefer the following formulation: Can you, or anyone else, reach the central order of things or events, whose existence seems beyond doubt, as directly as you can reach the soul of another human being? I am using the term “soul” quite deliberately so as not to be misunderstood. If you put your question like that, I would say yes.”

This expression reflects the sentiment of the Upanishads in which the Atman (the Eggman) or the individual soul, finds itself at one with another individual soul, then another, then the whole soul, the world soul, the God consciousness, the Brahmin (the Walrus). It is what Jesus had become after he had gone through the Transfiguration, referring to himself as at one with the God force, at One with the Father. This is the Brahma consciousness.

The Beatles were at their peak with Sergeant Peppers. There John would find fulfillment, anthropologically speaking. Then he would journey to the East, although Paul and Ringo were bored, and find the mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a father figure to him, but a Great Father, a spiritual father, not an earthly father.

The shaman’s work is essentially over by then, except to bring the gift idea to the community. The shaman has brought the tribe with him through the transformation of the Unconscious. It is up to us after that.

Yet some of the Beatles greatest work would come as they traveled down the back side of the mountain. The White Album is still a favorite to fans. One song, I’m So Tired, wonderfully reflects the rite of exit of the exhausted artist that comes at the end of the transformational passage, balancing the liberating I’m Only Sleeping, at the rite of entry.

It is characteristic of the dark side of the passage that the archetypes reverse themselves and show themselves not as they are in the holistic form of the inner life, but just the opposite, shattered in the outside world, reflecting that the center has been passed through and we have once again entered the flat consciousness of the everyday world. And in this instance, it was a hostile world at war in Vietnam and on the streets and campuses of the United States (“Happiness is a warm gun,” sang John)

“Can one live with a shattered glass?” the guru classically asks a Tibetan monk who has just found Enlightenment.

And here – classically - the Beatles reject their psychological god-king, the Maharishi, and even publicly denounce him. Here John sings, “My mother is of the sky.” Lucy is of the sky, his anima, his female counterpart whom he found in transcendent journey. Mother is of the earth. And the tricksters continue their playful treachery, fooling their audience and keeping them off guard with pranks like this one: “ . . . here’s another clue for you all. The Walrus was Paul.”

The Walrus, of course, was John.

Coming off the backside of the mountain – and on return form India - John sometimes believed he was carrying – channeling, we say – Jesus and said so to the Beatles. And he made occasional references, even paraphrasing the Gospel of Thomas “. . . the inside is out/the outside is in. . .” on the White Album.

The full text is, “Jesus said to them:/When you make the two one,/and make the inside like the outside,/and the outside like the inside,/and the upper side like the under side,/and (in such a way) that you make the man/(with) the woman a single one,/in order that the man is not man and the/woman is not woman; when you make eyes in place of an eye,/and a hand in place of a hand,/and a foot in place of a foot,/an image in place of an image;/then you will go into [the kingdom].” – from The Gospel of Thomas.

This preoccupation with Jesus appears again and again. “Christ, you know it ain’t easy,” he sang in one of his last songs, suggesting in The Ballad of John and Yoko that he, like Jesus, would be crucified.

Certainly Lennon made himself look like Jesus at the end of the Beatles. On their last album cover, Abbey Road, he is dressed all in white, like Jesus after the Transfiguration, with the Beatles trailing him across the road, like the Three Celestial Ones (see this blog in January, 2006 for the Three Celestial Ones), following in his wake. (And cultism would abound in the Beatle myth. The old Catholic myth about the three secrets revealed to the children at Fatima by the Blessed Mother took a pernicious turn into hippie lore in the late 1990s when the Pope revealed the third secret to be about a “man in white” who would be gunned down when he returned from the mountain top. The Pope, who had been wounded in an attack at the same time that Lennon was murdered, revealed the contents of the letter to the public because he said the prophecy had been fulfilled. John Paul II, who wore white garments at public ceremonies, claimed to be the man identified in the prophecy.)

Even later, at the very end of his life Jesus is suggested. All through the most creative period, the shaman’s journey from Sgt. Peppers to the end of Abbey Road, John wore a special flowered talisman around his neck. Afterwards, he stopped wearing it. But in New York, in one of the later pictures ever taken of him, a well-known photograph where he is wearing a t-shirt that says New York City across the front, there is a tiny cross hanging from his neck.

At the end of the Beatles period John continued in a prophet’s journey. Like Moses and the Bodhisattva, he returns from a celestial vision on top of the mountain with a simple transforming idea, as Moses did with the tablets.

It is the same idea that has occurred throughout the century but is new to our century here in the West. It is Emerson’s message and here it is again expressed ten years before the Beatles by C.G. Jung: “Our world has shrunk, and it is dawning on us that humanity is one, with one psyche. Humanity is a not inconsiderable virtue which should prompt Christians, for the sake of charity – the greatest of all virtues – to set a good example and acknowledge that though there is only one truth it speaks in many tongues, and that if we still cannot see this it is simply due to lack of understanding. No one is so godlike that he alone knows the true word.” As Woodstock guru Satchidananda put it, “One truth, many paths.”

It is the same idea that Leo Tolstoy, a Great Father figure to the non-violence movement of the Sixties, had brought to the world after his night of the dark soul when he went through a religious transformation.

Lennon, with his wife Yoko Ono, entered the peace movement when he left the Beatles, and like Tolstoy later in life, attempted to apply his natural gifts didactically to public purpose. He is said to have been reading Tolstoy’s late non-fiction work on religion and non-violence as many were in the late 1960s, and his final word, the simple transforming idea he brought down from the mountain is precisely the same thought as Tolstoy’s: Imagine there’s no country, it isn’t hard to do. . . Imagine all the people living life in peace.

Tolstoy claimed that there was one singular thought in Christ’s work and that was do not return violence with violence. On this he built the doctrine that would inspire Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the anti-war activists of the 1960s. Furthermore, in Patriotism and Government, Tolstoy wrote that patriotism was a practicable solution for nations early in their development, but it was time now to abandon national prejudices. Even Ghandi, who he corresponded with and who admired Tolstoy enormously, had failed in this, he said. The non-violent approach was the right approach, but, said Tolstoy, declaring the nation to be Hindu, “ruins everything.”

It was time for the removal of all barriers. No country, and no religion, too. This would be Lennon’s final impression on the people: Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you can, no hell below us, a brotherhood of man.

This is precisely Tolstoy’s religious conviction at the end of his life. He advocated abandoning identity with a particular prophet as one would abandon nationalism.

In one of his last writings on the subject Tolstoy clearly states his opinion: “Attributing a prophetic mission peculiar to certain beings such as Moses, Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, Baha’u’llah as well as several others is one of the major causes of division and hatred between men.”

John’s swan song, Imagine, reflects timeless Buddhist sentiment like that presented in What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula, which had gained popularity in the Sixties. And is likely an intentional reconstruction of Tolstoyan philosophy which was deeply influenced by Buddhism and Taoism. Intended or not, it completes the shaman’s journey and begins the transformation of the group.

Imagine also bears a relationship to The Gospel of Thomas. Elaine Pagel's book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, states that in Thomas’s account, Jesus challenges those who mistake the kingdom of God for an otherworldly place or a future event: Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, Look, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will get there before you . . .” In a word, Imagine there’s no heaven.

William Butler Yeats writes: “What portion in the world can the artist have/Who has awakened from the common dream/But dissipation and despair?” Such was the lot of John Lennon.

Late in life, broken and in pain, he wrote, “I was the Walrus, but now I’m John.”

One of his biographers writes that he was never happy again after the Sgt. Peppers period. The pictures show it. He never smiled again for the camera after he returned from India.