Tuesday, 28 January 2020

The modern 'initiate': seeing through virtual-reality to real-reality

Some Esotericists are heavily focused on processes of initiation, and becoming an initiate; which involves the adept seeing-through the illusory nature of 'normal life' to discern the supernatural reality beneath.

In modern terms, this corresponds to seeing-through the illusory surface of Godless, meaningless, pointless materialism assumed by all our public discourse, all of mainstream social interactions; and discovering the hidden but real world of divine creation and purpose, of living and conscious Beings, and our personal involvement in destiny.

One common observation is that throughout history initiation became more and more difficult, and the initiation rituals and processes more extreme and prolonged; fewer and fewer people were able to 'pierce the veil'. Eventually, in modern times (the past few hundred years, increasing recently), initiation procedures, rituals, formal practices etc. pretty much ceased to work altogether.

Nonetheless, the problem of illusory, fake 'normality' remains, and has indeed become much worse with mass and social media; and the vast scale of systematic lying and manipulation to which populations are subjected in the modern developed nations: far beyond anything attainable previously.

On top of which; the modern rejection of divinity means that many people have suppressed or lost the capacity to know the difference between fake and real, to the point of inversion. 

So... we find ourselves in the position of needing initiation more than ever, but without any 'method' of achieving it, and no reliable and trustworthy institution or person to assist us. We each therefore must 'quarry-out' our own initiation; by thinking upon the subject, making individual efforts; by trial-and-error.

And furthermore, such is the resistance of our modern natures; that initiation is often two-steps forward then two-steps back again; since we cannot hold-onto psychological change.

Initiation is more like a glimpse than an achievement. We have the memory of initiation insights, there are some lasting effects from initiation - but we do not become 'an initiate'. We are neither lastingly nor comprehensively transformed in our understanding of reality.

This fits the general nature of modern life, which is highly 'experimental'; mostly about experiencing and learning. And, after we have experienced and learned something about the living, conscious, divine world behind the veil - we should expect to return to (pretty much) where we were before. And we are then intended to go on, and have more (and different) experiences, and to learn more and different things.

In sum; initiation experiences are available to everybody, in multiple forms, on an everyday basis - and our job is to develop a basic (metaphysical) understanding that will recognise these experiences when they happen; and will acknowledge their significance - because only by recognition and acknowledgement can we then learn what the experiences have to teach.


William Wildblood said...

That's the best description of initiation and what it means I've read. So often people imagine the initiate is transformed into some higher state of consciousness, never to return to where he was before. But it's not like that at all. It's a gradual deepening of vision with no sudden dramatic experience that takes you to a higher place from which you never descend. Those who teach that kind of awakening are false initiates of which the last century or so saw plenty.

Francis Berger said...

I agree with William's assessment of this post. The kind of 'initiation' you describe here is one that people need to make in order to realign themselves with reality.

On a side note, it struck me that most people in the West have engaged in an inverted form of the initiation you have outlined here - that is, a luring away from the real to the fake, which is then, in turn, regarded as real.

It appears easier to hang on to the psychological change once one has undergone this inverted initiation. Nevertheless, I would argue glimpses of 'real' reality still linger in the inverted initiate; but without the proper metaphysical assumptions, these glimpses often do little to inspire steps in the right direction.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Thanks! I must admit I generally find talk of intitiation/ initiates very off-putting and unconvincing (given how the self-styled initiates behave!); but I thought I would see if I could make a more realistic use of the terms.

@Frank "a luring away from the real to the fake" - Yes, I tried to do this myself, in 2002. I was still an atheist; and I decided I was sick of fighting against the flow of things, and that I would instead try to make the best (be the happiest) with whatever were the dominant trends in society. I can distinctly recall a moment of release and relief when I 'gave up'. But I couldn't follow-through consistently, and the attempt to do so, eventually (after about 5 years) provoked the crisis that led to conversion.

William Wildblood said...

Frank makes an excellent point. There is a kind of inverse initiation going on now. It's to do with swallowing all the leftist nostrums without question. It reminds me of Mark Studdock in That Hideous Strength who, as far as I can remember, was sent into a room with paintings all strangely askew and eventually had to spit on an image of Christ or something like that to prove his 'freedom'. He couldn't do that and was saved. The process now is slightly subtler but it's a similar thing.

jana gatien said...

This post and its comments caused me to consider the nature of spiritual inversion and its parallels with autoimmune and auto-erotic (I.e. homosexuality) "disorders" (wherein things are truly out of their natural order and inverted in on themselves). Indeed, the modern conception of spiritual advancement & moral superiority is merely the inversion of all natural, metaphysical & supernatural orders/principle truths. This inversion leads to a self-catabolizing destruction of a person's body and psyche. I have even heard credible cases that AIDS is the physiological state begotten by auto-erotic disorders and not a virus at all (another subject altogether...).

The other thing that came to mind was that, being in a time where self-initiation is the only real option left, which demands personal atunement, some creativity, spontaneity and presence--enough of these not to lean on any system or guru--we are called to truly individuate a path to divinity and substantiate our relationship with God, independent of systems/institutions. Could this be the final task in man's spiritual maturity? Could this be the greatest environment (godless inversion) in which such a task could be undertaken? I think we tend to be resistant to this sometimes because it would mean that nearly everyone we've ever met will not be doing this and thus would likely disappear, like an extra in Grand Theft Auto when you turn off the game. Only the conscious players of the game would have their consciousness anchored outside the game.