Sunday, May 17, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Dreamtime Dweller, A Treatise on Laying Down and Leaning Forward



Preamble

From the nineteen nineties, through the twenty-aughts, and into the twenty-teens, I traveled the world, I briefed officials of allied governments and executives of major corporations. I shared what I saw as I looked into the future: I was one of those few who warned of the ways in which cybercrime and information warfare would be used to undermine elections, I was one of those few who warned that the Climate Crisis was the greatest global and national security threat of all, and that it threatened civilization itself, I was one of those few who warned that Russian organized crime, rising from the elements of the former KGB, posed a greater danger to the West than Al Qaeda or any other Islamic terrorist group, and yes, I was one of those who warned that we must prepare better for the inevitability of a major pandemic in the years ahead, I saw it all, I prophesied it all, and over the years, before walking away in 2016, I realized that my warnings were not going to thwart any of it. And now that all of it has indeed befallen us, and all at once, well, there are no words to articulate how it feels ...  

Introduction

In January, February and early March of 2020, I was driving for Uber, I was the Ubermensch, I had been driving for over a year, and I was actually ramping up, increasing my hours, I had a plan for the rest of this year, I loved driving for Uber, in some ways, it was my favorite job ever. Yes, even though I had traveled the world, and had been a global services passenger and a million-mile flyer on United, even though I had been quoted extensively in mainstream press, even though I had appeared numerous times on CNN and the BBC, even though had testified in historic U.S. Senate hearings on cyber security, even though I spent the last seven years of that life working as a “Distinguished Fellow” for a major university from my office inside of NASA AMES Research Park, in a very real way, driving for Uber had become my favorite work experience … 

But then the spread of Covid-19 intensified. Mayor Breed declared a state of emergency. Governor Newsome declared a state of emergency. The populace was urged to shelter in place. On 3/12/20, the day after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, I just knew I had to stop driving … 

Most of us fall into one of four categories:

The essential workers, those of us who have to keep working outside of our homes, regardless of the threat, including those who worked for very little pay, in markets, in the fields, meat packers, truck drivers, those who are keeping the food distribution system from collapsing, and at the other end of the spectrum, those professionals who have sworn an oath to run toward the danger, instead of away from it, our police officers and fire fighters, our first responders, our nurses, doctors and hospital workers …

Those whose work allows them to continue work while sheltered in place.

Those who have lost their income but nevertheless remain sheltered in place.

And yes, those who live in denial, refusing to modify their behavior, telling themselves that this is a “hoax,” and obsessing over conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, micro-chips, 5G, “forced vaccinations,” etcI am in that third category, i.e., those who have lost their income but must remain sheltered in place. Still, I count myself among the fortunate, and pray for all of us, even those in deep denial …

Our current circumstances are grave. And although I am very optimistic about our future, it is vital to start here. Our current circumstances are grave.

  
Pandemic Dreamtime

On 3/14/29, just after I stopped driving and started to shelter in place, there were 58 reported U.S. Covid-19 deaths. Two months later, on 5/14/20, there were 85,886 Over 85,000 dead AND over 36 million jobless in LESS THAN THREE MONTHS. CDC now projects at least 100,000 deaths nationally by 6/1/20. 

It didn't have to be this way.

Laying down and leaning forward, simultaneously, this is what we are called to.

Two dominant images from the Dreamtime paintings of the Australian Aborigines call to me in the liminal space of the pandemic timeline, this laying down, this pass over, this alternate spiraling through the three times. 

One of the image is the Rainbow Serpent, the primordial energy which birthed the world from the cosmic egg at Uluru, this Rainbow Serpent is always coiling, creating, destroying, a creating that is destroying, a destroying that is creating. 

The Rainbow Serpent coils within each of us. It is as accessible as your next in-drawn breath. It strikes in the space between thoughts. It is your life force itself.

The other image is that of Pleiades. Yes, the Seven Sisters, the Matrika, the Mothers of the Wyrd. They are an omnipresent, omnipotent source. They radiate clarity and hope. And they are shining over us. But you will only feel their light if you open yourself to the night sky. Don’t look for them. Listen for them. Breath into them. They are watching, and their blessing pours on us ceaselessly.


It is vital to respect the COVD-19 pandemic. It is not a “hoax.” The science of its origins is real. The science of how to mitigate its dangers is real.

Pandemics change the world. Pandemics alter the course of history. And in this instance, hopefully, it will end “history” and hasten HERSTORY, i.e. the Great Shift.
  • Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it. -- Arundhati Roy, Financial Times (4/3/20): 
This talk is about BOTH laying down while this plague passes over, AND leaning forward to reassert the rule of law and save the Republic.


How I Live

As I laid down in Dreamtime, in the course of my contemplation, four books that I had intended to write at different times in my life presented themselves. These books will not be written, their purpose has been eclipsed, and subsumed, but they asked me to include them in this treatise, sort of like cave paintings in this Dreamtime talk, dormant seeds that were dialed in to blossom here, in this moment, time-release capsules, for this pandemic portal …

The first of the four is simply a raw notebook I kept for myself, exhaustive, technical, I called it How I Live, it was a project with which I kept the thread of my sanity in the Death Planet years, the premise was to distill, and condense, everything essential that I had studied in my time with my Yoda, and in my own studies in the years after his death, the premise was what if I did not have access to my shelf of the most hallowed texts, the ones from Kashmir and Tibet, what if all I had was my own notes, what would I need to include …

It started with the Four Great Samaya, which I had extracted from the Nang Jang:
  • Non-Existence
  • Oneness
  • Uniform Pervasiveness
  • Spontaneous Presence
Here is an excerpt of what I wrote about the Four Great Samaya in Wyrds:

The Four Great Samayas aren't something you adopt, or something that is designated for a certain realm of existence or a certain dimension or a certain strata of consciousness or something. The Four Great Samayas cover everything and everyone everywhere.
And it says to understand non-existence, the truth of the great samaya of non-existence, you have to relentlessly inquire into the nature of the self and the world. Sound familiar? And that if you -- and the way to inquire relentlessly into the nature of the self and the world, the place to start is the root of the idea of I. It's Ramana Maharshi's teaching, but in a Tibetan text. And then -- so they kind of unfold into each other. So if you say, "Who am I?" and you realize that as resilient and ever-present, and as tenaciously assumed as that premise of “I” is, you really can't place it anywhere.
Once you get beyond that false premise -- then you can open up to the idea that it's all a oneness. Everything exists, but it does not exist as separate from anything else. It's non-existence in the sense of non-existence as separate from anything else. And then if you can open up to that, you can open up to how everything and everyone, everywhere really are all oneness. Although everyone and everything everywhere are unique, it is still all and only oneness.
And then if one's opened up to that oneness, then one can see how the truth of non-existence and oneness is uniformly pervasive. If everything is non-existent, i.e., not separate and everything is the oneness, then it's uniformly pervasive. There's nowhere where it cannot be.
And then if you have opened up to the idea -- it's not even an idea. It can't be an idea … If you open to the drift, if you will, of non-existence, oneness, and uniform pervasiveness, then it also becomes clear that it must be spontaneously present, always and everywhere, in everything and everyone, for all time – it is spontaneously present, not past, not present, not future. Spontaneously present. Not a cause or an effect. Not a beginning or an end. Spontaneously present, uniformly pervasive, oneness that has no separate existence within it, and yet, each reflection of itself is utterly unique ... (Richard Power, Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality, 2017)

The Four Great Samaya are omnipresent, but I feel compelled to share them anew with you in the context of our present circumstances. 


The Other Side of the Razor's Edge

The second book seed, time-release capsule, that belongs in this dreamtime talk is my intended sequel to Somerset Maugham’s 1944 novel The Razor’s Edge, it’s a story of the  Lost Generation. The protagonist Larry Darrell launches on a spiritual quest after his experiences as a pilot in WWI leave him a stranger in a strange land upon his return "home." So he travels to India and encounters a true master of Jnani yoga. Although not named in the book, it was Sri Ramana Maharshi. Maugham had sat in satsang with Ramana on his own travels in India. Ramana Maharshi was, of course, very important in inner journey of my Yoda, as well as my own. (And coincidently, there’s another curious resonance, in the 1946 Hollywood film, Larry Darrell was portrayed by Tyrone Power, yes, my father’s cousin.) Anyway, in the story, Larry returns from India a changed man, an awakened being, a mystic. He is not who he was before. And, of course, he can’t save his circle of friends from themselves. No one can "save" anyone else. So he leaves for America, to disappear into the crowd, to lead the life of a common worker, in obscurity, and anonymity … The premise of my sequel was that Darrell becomes a taxi cab driver in New York City …To live as an undercover bodhisattva. I wrote a short story which I included in Between Shadow and Night, but did not include in Wyrds, my compilation of the Primal Reality series)  ... Anyway, I had always assumed that I too would drive a taxi cab someday, it turned out that I would drive for Uber in the end …

Why did I choose the role of cab driver for Darrell in my proposed sequel?

It seems to me the perfect accommodation for the cultivation of Bodhisattvaship. And what are the elements of Bodhisattvaship, beyond the prerequisite of unconditional love for all life? What are the true Bodhisattvic functions?
  • Abiding Presence
  • Bearing Witness
  • Holding Up A Mirror
  • Delivering Oracular Messages
  • Experiential Insight
That’s not Buddhist canon. It’s just my own synthesis. Hopefully it will be useful to you. It is nothing more or less than what we can offer each other as friends, the deeper we go into our inner life, the deeper we go into our practices.



True Romance of Arthur

The third never to be written book that finds its mooring in this talk from within the pandemic dreamtime is what I called “The True Romance of Arthur.”

Of course, there have been hundreds of versions of the Arthurian legend over many centuries, in numerous European languages, and thousands more exploring the myth from historical, psychological, mystical and occult perspectives.

I will only mention four, the most important to me:
  • T.H. White’s charming Once and Future King (in which Merlin lives life backwards)
  • The Mabinogion, the original source material, a 12th to 13th century collection of Welsh tales, from which the later romances develop
  • And above all, two versions written by 20th Century women, Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogyand above all others, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Mists of Avalon.”
In my “True Romance of Arthur,” I wanted to pick up with Zimmer Bradley left off, and in the process, I wanted to leverage some of the raw richness of the Mabinogian, I would have told the same story, but from deeper into the Celtic, deeper into Pagan, deeper into the Wild … A few fragments of this work remain. But time, circumstance, life lessons, karma, overtook the project … And I didn’t yet understand in fullness what I was reaching for …

Arthurian legend is not simply steeped in the Magic of the Deep Feminine, it is predicated upon it, framed upon it, built upon its foundations: 
  • Lady of the Lake, who gives Excalibur to Arthur and to whom it is returned by one of Arthur’s knights after his final battle. The Lake is Psyche, the Lady of the Lake is Intuition and Excalibur is Discernment.
  • Avalon. The blessed hidden island of the sorceresses. Where Lancelot was raised. Where Arthur was taken to die in peace.
  • San Graal. Its magic pre-existed the blood of Christ, it is the Shakti Yantra
  • Morgan Le Fey. Vilified, defamed, demonized throughout the white male patriarchal retellings of the legend, truly a sorceress, a powerful woman of the Shadow, perhaps the most important, most powerful character of all.
  • The Magic Sow and Ceridwen’s Cauldron. The primal origins of the Graal myth, and so much more
Drifting in Dreamtime, looking back, I realize now that inspiration to write the “True Romance of Arthur” was my psyche reaching forward, groping forward, on a quest for the head waters of the Deep Feminine … Now, of course, three decades later, and on the other side of a long healing journey, I have written at length, in both “Wyrds” and “Dragon,” about the Ascendancy of the Feminine as a spiritual and existential imperative, about Ardhanari as the Avatar of the 21st Century and about what I called the “dazzling permutations of gender.”

And then after the publication of these two books, I advanced the theme further in my talk “Dragon Bone Broth,” by addressing what I call “The Problem with Men,” and offering a short list of radical remedies …

We are process of an evolutionary leap which will subsume patriarchy, matriarchy and all of the gender identity and expression buckets. We are moving forward into a new reality, in which, each individual comes from the whole of their psyche-soma, i.e., with both energy signatures of their essence fully integrated and activated, yes, the yin and the yang, and the yang within the yin, and the yin within the yang. In this new reality, there will be no more “men” and “women” as defined in patriarchal times, there will simply be human beings, and therefore, no more “sons” and “daughters,” only children. And then each individual will look into the mirror of their own beings, in the frame of their life experience, and discover for themselves who and what they are, and so there will no more buckets, and each person’s “gender” will be as unique as their fingerprints, AND ALL, whatever what their unique gender fingerprint, will be living, moving, and choosing, from their WHOLE psyche-soma, with both its energies intact, the yin and the yang, and the yin within the yang, and the yang within the yin, all of it healthy, activated, fully integrated. What it means to be human will no longer be predicated on a separateness from half of one’s own nature …  But this evolutionary leap only advances through the great portal of the Deep Feminine. The patriarchy must be smashed. Women must rise to power in all realms of human endeavor: government, science, business, culture, religion, all of it. Hence, I say that the Ascendancy of the Feminine is a spiritual and existential imperative, it is essential to both our inner growth and to our very survival.



Fire and Ice

The fourth unwritten book I want to share with you in the context of this talk was called "Fire and Ice." The title of my would-be dystopia alluded to a delusional pseudo-scientific theory, a kind of alternate cosmogony, promoted by Nazi SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. The premise of my would-be dystopia was that Germany and Japan had defeated the Allies and America was under occupation. World War II was a struggle against evil, against authoritarianism, fascism, sociopathy as a philosophy of governance. So what would civilization, or what passed for it, look like if the Nazis and their Axis Allies had triumphed? 

The inspiration for "Fire and Ice" came to me in the late 1960s, as I read "Morning of the Magicians" by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier. Wikipedia aptly described this cult classic as "a collection of 'raw material for speculation of the most outlandish order,' covering topics like cryptohistory, ufology, occultism in Nazism, alchemy and spiritual philosophy." I drew maps. I made lists of what would change and how. I pondered the nature of the resistance that would arise. I didn't get beyond a book outlines and some notes. But the idea stayed with me over the years, as an occasional exercise in creative imagination. I didn't know to much later in life that the great Phillip K. Dick had actually had the same inspiration some years before me, he titled his work "The Man in the High Castle." 

Oh, the dark goddess' hand moves upon the waters of the collective psyche.

Lo and behold, on 1/15/15, a year before the rise of Trump, Amazon Prime debuted a powerful TV version of "Man in the High Castle."
  • In the parallel universe, Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan have divided the United States into the Greater Nazi Reich in the east, with New York City as its regional capital, and the Japanese Pacific States to the west, with San Francisco as the capital. These territories are separated by a neutral zone that encompasses the Rocky Mountains. The series starts in 1962 and follows characters whose destinies intertwine when they come into contact with newsreels and home movies that show Germany and Japan losing the war. The title of the series refers to the mysterious figure believed to have created the footage. (Wikipedia)
Two years later, on 4/26/17, Hulu debuted a powerful TV version of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid’s Tale.
  • In a world where fertility rates have collapsed as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution, the totalitarian, theonomic government of Gilead establishes rule in the former United States in the aftermath of a civil war. Society is organized by power-hungry leaders along with a new, militarized, hierarchical regime of fanaticism and newly created social classes, in which women are brutally subjugated. By law, women in Gilead are forced to work in very limited roles, including some as natal slaves, and they are not allowed to own property, handle money, or read. (Wikipedia)
Both series provide a tour de force exposition of the fascist mentality, what fuels it, how it takes shape, what leads people to lose their souls in it. Both series have run for multiple seasons. Both are excellent for pandemic shelter-in-place binge watching. They are primers on the nature of "evil" and how to resist it.

Like the film versions of the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter tales, like Peter Jackson's film versions of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, like nine episodes of the Star Wars saga, these two dystopian epics, Man in the High Castle and Handmaid's Tale, arrived just in time, produced and launched just in time, to enlighten, exhort and empower the resistance.

“Live” spelled backwards is “Evil.” And that says it all. “Evil” is ANTI-WOMAN, ANTI-NATURE, ANTI-SCIENCE, ANTI-LIFE. "Live” spelled backwards is “Evil.” Blowback in reaction to the Great Shift already underway. Backlash for the Great Shift already underway. Misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-semitism. Hatred, demonization, objectification of the "Other" ... 

I don’t use the word "Evil" cavalierly. I don’t use it as a moral judgment. I don't use it to dehumanize or demonize our adversaries. But I don't shy away from it either. I use it to signify the diagnosis of a spiritual disease, a psychological disease. 

We are fighting a disease in the body politic, just a surely as we are fighting Covid-19. We seek to contain the disease, i.e., limit its spread. And if possible, we seek to mitigate the suffering of those who have succumb to it. But most important, yes, we seek to metaphorically vaccinate the populace against it (particularly the children). No good at all to pretend mental illness isn't mental illness. No good at all to pretend that there are no sides to choose. No good at all to pretend that there is no baseline of sanity to insist upon.

We are waging spiritual war, a psychological war, a political war, against sociopathy as a philosophy of governance. Corporations are not people, and money is not speech. The madness of Citizens United and related court decisions made it possible for Trump to debase the White House, and for Mitch McConnell to debase the Senate. The money pouring into the coffers of the Republican Party turned it into a Zombie Cult, controlled by Death-Eater Overlords. That's how we got here over these last two decades.  Just as a crack addict deteriorates rapidly, the Zombie Cult and its Death-Eater Overlords soon found themselves bending over for Trump and his master Putin. Just as some crack addicts have sold their children for another fix, just so some men, yes, mostly white men, have sold their country to stay high on power and greed for another term.   



"Last Battle on Earth"

A powerful multi-dimensional resistance has fought the abomination of Trump since that grim day he was sworn into office in January 2017. I say "multi-dimensional" because it isn't just an ideological resistance, a partisan resistance, although as I always say "partisan" is a beautiful word, not a pejorative word at all, it comes from WWII, the resistance fighters battling the Nazi occupation in France, Yugoslavia, etc., self-identified as "partisan." It's a beautiful word. Anyway, the resistance to Trump has not just been a partisan one, there is also an institutional resistance among non-partisan, non-ideological career professionals in the Intelligence community, in the DoJ, in the State Department, etc., patriots who honor the rule of law and take their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic" quite seriously. (Trump, of course, is represents "enemies" both "foreign and domestic.") There is also a third resistance to Trump among those on the Right who did not drink the Kool-Aid, i.e., the Never Trumpers, embodied, e.g., in The Lincoln Project. All three dimensions of this resistance are vital to saving the republic.

The arc of the narrative from 2017 to 2020 flows through the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Putin's interference in the 2016 election and the degree to which the Trump campaign coordinated with Putin's black ops, and then on into the Blue Tsunami that returned control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats, and then on into the Impeachment of Trump for his "high crimes and misdemeanors" re: the Ukraine and Biden, and then on into the early months of the 2020 presidential campaign, and then on into this Covid-19 pandemic and the lethal negligence of the Trump administration's "response." 

All along the arc of this narrative, my friends have been asking me for my view on how it was going? Invariably, I would say, "It's going very well, and so, we are all in grave danger." Now, with Trump's cratering in almost all polling for weeks, and almost ninety thousand deaths, and almost forty million jobs lost, and the electoral system itself in jeopardy, maybe you can see what I meant. "It's going very well, and so, we are all in grave danger."

What is required of us in these dire circumstances is a united front, not an ideological united front, no, a united front for sanity and decency, one which allows for all three dimensions of resistance to move forward together and produce a second consecutive blue tsunami, which will not only hold the House of Representatives, but either take the White House and/or the Senate. This united front is actually coalescing. On the Left, Sen. Bernie Sanders has said that it would be “irresponsible” not to get behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. And re: the #NeverBiden movement, Noam Chomsky himself has said “You can debate a lot of things, but not arithmetic. Failure to vote for Biden in this election in a swing state amounts to voting for Trump.” On the Right, outspoken conservatives like David Frum, Tom Nichols and Joe Walsh had all declared they would even have voted for Bernie Sanders against Trump, so they will certainly vote for and enthusiastically champion the centrist Biden in November.

This is where we are here and now.

How many times over the last two or three decades have you been told that this is "the most important election of your lifetime"? Well, you know, each time it was the truth. Because this has really been just one long struggle against the Neo-Confederacy. The conflict started in 1968, when Nixon introduced the "Southern Strategy," and has raged on ever since, with the stakes getting higher, and more desperate, with each election. This election, the 2020 election, isn't simply "the most important election of your lifetime," it could be THE LAST ELECTION of your lifetime.

Yes, we must lean forward together, left, right and center, in a vast united front for sanity and decency, but let's be real, it will be the Women, the African-Americans, and especially the African-American Women who will be the vanguard of this vast united front.

Pull yourselves together, brothers and sisters.

Approach this next 171 days as if it were your "Last Battle on Earth." 

Don Juan, the Yaqui man of knowledge explains:

  • “Focus your attention on the link between you and your death, without remorse or sadness or worrying. Focus your attention on the fact that you don’t have time and let your acts flow accordingly. Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth. Only under these conditions will your acts have their rightful power. Otherwise, they will be, for as long as you live, the acts of a timid man.” – Carlos Castaneda, Journey To Ixtlan (1972)
  • “The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior's last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing that his intent is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.” ― Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality: Teachings of Don Juan (1971)
Laying down to let the pandemic pass over us, leaving us untouched, while simultaneously leaning forward into the gauntlet of the 2020 election, to save the republic. Survive the pandemic and vote in the November election.

This is our charge. This is our mission. To survive, and to vote. 

In conclusion, I want to remind you once again of what Lando Calrission said to Poe in "Rise of Skywalker," at the moment of the Resistance's deepest despair, when all is seemingly lost in the final battle against the Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious' seemingly invisible forces: "There are more of us." 

That's what I want you to remember, "There are more of us." 

This is the Power of NOTHING. It is moving among us. This is the Force.

It is flowing through you.