Returning to Eden by Daniel Pouzzner


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Occult Edenism

New Age is a mishmosh of esoteric religious claptrap, centered on the restoration of the conditions of Eden. It has an Edenic spiritual capital in Moray Scotland, at Findhorn, complete with “now-legendary 40-pound cabbages”. The new age is often called the “Age of Aquarius”, an astrological construct associated with the alignment of the constellation Aquarius with the horizon at dawn on the spring equinox (this occurs in the year 2100). It has a solipsistic epistemology like that of Kant, and is probably an inevitable eventuality of Enlightenment idealism (for example, the views and writings of Gotthold Lessing anticipate it). However, it extends this to harmonize with Buddhism, as articulated in e.g. the Dhammapada: “Mind precedes its objects. They are mind-governed and mind-made.”.

The history of New Age is essentially the history of the importing of Eastern religion into the West, and its adaptation thereto. Astrology is, of course, almost universally present in ancient religion. For example, the Magi (Zoroastrian) pilgrims to the infant Jesus of scripture were following astrological auspices (Jupiter in Taurus, etc.). New Age rejuvenates the astrological tradition, imbued with pseudoscientific language as ever. More consequentially, New Age incorporates the reincarnation/recurrence/transmigration doctrines of the ancient Egyptian and Indic religions. A list of western proponents of reincarnation is, likewise, a list of contributors to the establishment of New Age as a religious movement, however haplessly, and includes several key figures of the Enlightenment:

Pythagoras (Greek philosopher and mathematician, c.582-c.500 BC)
Socrates (Greek philosopher, 469-399 BC)
Plato (Greek philosopher, 427-347 BC)
Plotinus (Greek philosopher, founder of Neoplatonism, 204-270)
Giordano Bruno (Italian philosopher, 1548-1600)
François Voltaire (French philosopher, 1694-1778)
Benjamin Franklin (US statesman, philosopher and inventor, 1706-1790)
Gotthold Lessing (German philosopher and dramatist, 1729-1781)
John Adams (Second president of the United States, 1735-1826)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German poet and dramatist, 1749-1832)
August Wilhelm von Schlegel (German poet, critic and translator, 1767-1845)
William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (US philosopher and writer, 1803-1882)
Robert Browning (English poet, 1812-1889)
Richard Wagner (German composer, 1813-1883)
Henry David Thoreau (US social critic, writer and philosopher, 1817-1862)
Walt Whitman (US poet, 1819-1892)
Thomas Huxley (English biologist and writer, 1825-1895)
Leo Tolstoy (Russian novelist and social critic, 1828-1910)
Samuel Clemens, “Mark Twain” (US writer, 1835-1910)
Gustav Mahler (German composer, 1860-1911)
Rudolf Steiner (Austrian philosopher, 1861-1925)
David Lloyd George (British Prime Minister, 1863-1945)
Henry Ford (US automobile pioneer, 1863-1947)
Rudyard Kipling (English writer, 1865-1936)
W. Somerset Maugham (English writer, 1874-1965)
Carl Jung (Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist, 1875-1961)
Sir Hugh Dowding (British Air Marshal during the Battle of Britain, 1882-1970)
George S. Patton (US general, 1885-1945)
Robert Graves (English poet, 1895-1985)
Erik Erikson (US psychoanalyst, 1902-1994)
(this list compiled by Jayadvaita Swami here)

Buddha, in Lantau, Hong Kong. Photo from www.swastika-info.com
Buddhism, founded by Siddhārtha Gautama (ca. 563-483 BCE), is an occultification of Hinduism achieved through syncretion with Jainism (detailed later in this chapter). Hinduism is one of the Indo-European family of religions (other examples, as noted in the Overview and the Progenitors chapter, are the ancient Persian, Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic, Baltic, and Slavic mythologies). Buddhism is known traditionally as “The Aryan Way” or “The Aryan Truth”, after the noble, non-Dravidian (Europoid) Indian clan to which Gautama belonged. The ideological kinship of Buddhism with socialism probably paved the way for the Asian socialist regimes of the twentieth century. It certainly paved the way for the progressive penetration of Western culture by Buddhism in the same timeframe.

The ardent radical socialist H. G. Wells wrote sympathetically of Siddhārtha Gautama in his A Short History of the World (1922):

The Life of Gautama Buddha

BUT now we must go back three centuries in our story to tell of a great teacher who came near to revolutionizing the religious thought and feeling of all Asia. This was Gautama Buddha, who taught his disciples at Benares in India about the same time that Isaiah was prophesying among the Jews in Babylon and Heraclitus was carrying on his speculative enquiries into the nature of things at Ephesus. All these men were in the world at the same time, in the sixth century B.C.—unaware of one another.

The sixth century B.C. was indeed one of the most remarkable in all history. Everywhere—for as we shall tell it was also the case in China—men's minds were displaying a new boldness. Everywhere they were waking up out of the traditions of kingships and priests and blood sacrifices and asking the most penetrating questions. It is as if the race had reached a stage of adolescence—after a childhood of twenty thousand years.

The early history of India is still very obscure. Somewhen perhaps about 2000 B.C., an Aryan-speaking people came down from the north-west into India either in one invasion or in a series of invasions; and was able to spread its language and traditions over most of north India. Its peculiar variety of Aryan speech was the Sanskrit. They found a brunette people with a more elaborate civilization and less vigour of will, in possession of the country of the Indus and Ganges. But they do not seem to have mingled with their predecessors as freely as did the Greeks and Persians. They remained aloof. When the past of India becomes dimly visible to the historian, Indian society is already stratified into several layers, with a variable number of sub-divisions, which do not eat together nor intermarry nor associate freely. And throughout history this stratification into castes continues. This makes the Indian population something different from the simple, freely inter-breeding European or Mongolian communities. It is really a community of communities.

Siddhattha Gautama was the son of an aristocratic family which ruled a small district on the Himalayan slopes. He was married at nineteen to a beautiful cousin. He hunted and played and went about in his sunny world of gardens and groves and irrigated rice-fields. And it was amidst this life that a great discontent fell upon him. It was the unhappiness of a fine brain that seeks employment. He felt that the existence he was leading was not the reality of life, but a holiday—a holiday that had gone on too long.

The sense of disease and mortality, the insecurity and the unsatisfactoriness of all happiness, descended upon the mind of Gautama. While he was in this mood he met one of those wandering ascetics who already existed in great numbers in India. These men lived under severe rules, spending much time in meditation and in religious discussion. They were supposed to be seeking some deeper reality in life, and a passionate desire to do likewise took possession of Gautama.

He was meditating upon this project, says the story, when the news was brought to him that his wife had been delivered of his first-born son. "This is another tie to break," said Gautama.

He returned to the village amidst the rejoicings of his fellow clansmen. There was a great feast and a Nautch dance to celebrate the birth of his new tie, and in the night Gautama awoke in a great agony of spirit, "like a man who is told that his house is on fire." He resolved to leave his happy aimless life forthwith. He went softly to the threshold of his wife's chamber, and saw her by the light of a little oil lamp, sleeping sweetly, surrounded by flowers, with his infant son in her arms. He felt a great craving to take up the child in one first and last embrace before he departed, but the fear of waking his wife prevented him, and at last he turned away and went out into the bright Indian moonshine and mounted his horse and rode off into the world.

Very far he rode that night, and in the morning he stopped outside the lands of his clan, and dismounted beside a sandy river. There he cut off his flowing locks with his sword, removed all his ornaments and sent them and his horse and sword back to his house. Going on he presently met a ragged man and exchanged clothes with him, and so having divested himself of all worldly entanglements he was free to pursue his search after wisdom. He made his way southward to a resort of hermits and teachers in a hilly spur of the Vindhya Mountains. There lived a number of wise men in a warren of caves, going into the town for their simple supplies and imparting their knowledge by word of mouth to such as cared to come to them. Gautama became versed in all the metaphysics of his age. But his acute intelligence was dissatisfied with the solutions offered him.

The Indian mind has always been disposed to believe that power and knowledge may be obtained by extreme asceticism, by fasting, sleeplessness, and self-torment, and these ideas Gautama now put to the test. He betook himself with five disciple companions to the jungle and there he gave himself up to fasting and terrible penances. His fame spread, "like the sound of a great bell hung in the canopy of the skies." But it brought him no sense of truth achieved. One day he was walking up and down, trying to think in spite of his enfeebled state. Suddenly he fell unconscious. When he recovered, the preposterousness of these semi-magical ways to wisdom was plain to him.

He horrified his companions by demanding ordinary food and refusing to continue his mortifications. He had realized that whatever truth a man may reach is reached best by a nourished brain in a healthy body. Such a conception was absolutely foreign to the ideas of the land and age. His disciples deserted him, and went off in a melancholy state to Benares. Gautama wandered alone.

When the mind grapples with a great and intricate problem, it makes its advances step by step, with but little realization of the gains it has made, until suddenly, with an effect of abrupt illumination, it realizes its victory. So it happened to Gautama. He had seated himself under a great tree by the side of a river to eat, when this sense of clear version came to him. It seemed to him that he saw life plain. He is said to have sat all day and all night in profound thought, and then he rose up to impart his vision to the world.

He went on to Benares and there he sought out and won back his lost disciples to his new teaching. In the King's Deer Park at Benares they built themselves huts and set up a sort of school to which came many who were seeking after wisdom.

The starting point of his teaching was his own question as a fortunate young man, "Why am I not completely happy?" It was an introspective question. It was a question very different in quality from the frank and self-forgetful externalized curiosity with which Thales and Heraclitus were attacking the problems of the universe, or the equally self-forgetful burthen of moral obligation that the culminating prophets were imposing upon the Hebrew mind. The Indian teacher did not forget self, he concentrated upon self and sought to destroy it. All suffering, he taught, was due to the greedy desires of the individual. Until man has conquered his personal cravings his life is trouble and his end sorrow. There were three principal forms that the craving for life took and they were all evil. The first was the desire of the appetites, greed and all forms of sensuousness, the second was the desire for a personal and egotistic immortality, the third was the craving for personal success, worldliness, avarice and the like. All these forms of desire had to be overcome to escape from the distresses and chagrins of life. When they were overcome, when self had vanished altogether, then serenity of soul, Nirvana, the highest good was attained.

This was the gist of his teaching, a very subtle and metaphysical teaching indeed, not nearly so easy to understand as the Greek injunction to see and know fearlessly and rightly and the Hebrew command to fear God and accomplish righteousness. It was a teaching much beyond the understanding of even Gautama's immediate disciples, and it is no wonder that so soon as his personal influence was withdrawn it became corrupted and coarsened. There was a widespread belief in India at that time that at long intervals Wisdom came to earth and was incarnate in some chosen person who was known as the Buddha. Gautama's disciples declared that he was a Buddha, the latest of the Buddhas, though there is no evidence that he himself ever accepted the title. Before he was well dead, a cycle of fantastic legends began to be woven about him. The human heart was always preferred a wonder story to a moral effort, and Gautama Buddha became very wonderful.

Yet there remained a substantial gain in the world. If Nirvana was too high and subtle for most men's imaginations, if the myth-making impulse in the race was too strong for the simple facts of Gautama's life, they could at least grasp something of the intention of what Gautama called the Eight-fold way, the Aryan or Noble Path in life. In this there was an insistence upon mental uprightness, upon right aims and speech, right conduct and honest livelihood. There was a quickening of the conscience and an appeal to generous and self-forgetful ends.

To facilitate familiarization with the specific precepts of Buddhism, here is a representative selection of excerpts from the Dhammapada anthology (translated by John Richards). Each line starts with the number of the verse(s) with which it originates.

1 Mind precedes its objects. They are mind-governed and mind-made.

21 Attention leads to immortality. Carelessness leads to death.

23 Those who meditate with perseverance, constantly working hard at it, are the wise who experience Nirvana, the ultimate freedom from chains.

39 With his mind free from the inflow of thoughts and from restlessness, by abandoning both good and evil, an alert man knows no fear.

40 Seeing your body as no better than an earthen pot, make war on Mara [the demon who tempts with impurity] with the sword of wisdom, and setting up your mind as a fortress, defend what you have won, remaining free from attachment.

60 Long is the night for the sleepless. Long is the road for the weary. Long is samsara [the cycle of reincarnation] for the foolish, who have not recognised the true teaching.

62 “I've got children”, “I've got wealth.” This is the way a fool brings suffering on himself.

83 The good renounce everything. The pure don't babble about sensual desires. Whether touched by pleasure or pain, the wise show no change of temper.

84 If a man does not seek children, wealth or power either for himself or for someone else, if he does not seek his own advantage by unprincipled means, he is a virtuous man, a wise man and a righteous man.

93 He whose inflowing thoughts are dried up, who is unattached to food, whose dwelling place is an empty and imageless release — the way of such a person is hard to follow, like the path of birds through the sky.

94 When a man's senses have come to peace, like a horse's well broken by the trainer, when he is rid of conceit and without inflowing thoughts — even devas [gods] envy such a well set man.

97 He has no need for faith who knows the uncreated, who has cut off rebirth, who has destroyed any opportunity for good or evil, and cast away all desire. He is indeed the ultimate man.

98 Whether in the village or the forest, whether on high ground or low, wherever the enlightened live, that is a delightful spot.

99 Delightful for them are the forests where men find no delight. The desire-free find delight there, for they seek no sensual joys.

124 There is no evil for the non-doer.

133 Don't speak harshly to anyone.

134 If you don't disturb yourself, like a broken gong does not vibrate, then you have achieved nirvana.

141 Neither naked asceticism, matted hair, dirt, fasting, sleeping on the ground, dust and mud, nor prolonged sitting on one's heels can purify a man who is not free of doubts.

153-4 I have passed in ignorance through a cycle of many rebirths, seeking the builder of the house. Continuous rebirth is a painful thing. But now, housebuilder, I have found you out. You will not build me a house again. All your rafters are broken, your ridge-pole shattered. My mind is free from active thought, and has made an end of craving.

170 Look on the world as a bubble, look on it as a mirage. The King of Death never finds him who views the world like that.

171 Come, look at the world as a gilded royal carriage, in which fools get bogged down, while men of understanding have no attachment to it.

175 Men with powers travel through space, but the wise step right out of the world, by conquering Mara and his host.

185 Not to speak harshly and not to harm others, self restraint in accordance with the rules of the Order, moderation in food, a secluded dwelling, and the cultivation of the higher levels of consciousness — this is the teaching of the Buddhas [the awakened/enlightened ones].

195-6 When a man venerates those worthy of veneration, be they Buddhas or their disciples, who have transcended all obstacles and passed beyond sorrow and tears — venerating such as these, whose passions are extinguished and for whom there is no further source for fear, no one can calculate how great his merit is.

200 Happy indeed are we live who have nothing of our own. We shall feed on joy, just like the radiant devas.

202 There is no happiness greater than peace.

203 Hunger is the supreme disease. Mental activity is the supreme suffering. When one has grasped this as it really is, nirvana is the supreme happiness.

206 By not meeting fools one can be happy all the time.

210 Never have anything to do with likes and dislikes. The absence of what one likes is painful, as is the presence of what one dislikes.

211 Therefore don't take a liking to anything. To lose what one likes is hard, but there are no bonds for those who have no likes and dislikes.

212 From preference arises sorrow, from preference arises fear, but he who is freed from preference has no sorrow and certainly no fear.

213 From affection arises sorrow, from affection arises fear, but he who is freed from affection has no sorrow and certainly no fear.

214 From pleasure arises sorrow, from pleasure arises fear, but he who is freed from pleasure has no sorrow and certainly no fear.

248 So understand this, my man — Unrestrained men are evil. Don't let greed and wrong doing subject you to lasting suffering.

270 One is not noble if one harms other living creatures. It is by non violence to all forms of life that one is called noble.

277 All processes are impermanent. When one sees this with understanding, then one is disillusioned with the things of suffering. This is the Path of Purification.

278 All processes are painful. When one sees this with understanding, then one is disillusioned with the things of suffering. This is the Path of Purification.

279 All processes are out of my control. When one sees this with understanding, then one is disillusioned with the things of suffering. This is the Path of Purification.

284 So long as the least desire of a man for women has not been eradicated, he is fettered in mind, like a sucking calf to its mother.

285 Pluck out your desire, like one does an autumn lotus with one's hand. Devote yourself to the path of peace, the nirvana proclaimed by the Blessed One.

349-51 When a man is stimulated by his own thoughts, full of desire and dwelling on what is attractive, his craving increases even more. He is making the fetter even stronger. But he who takes pleasure in stilling his thoughts, practising the contemplation of what is repulsive, and remaining recollected, now he will make an end of craving, he will snap the bonds of Mara. His aim is accomplished, he is without fear, rid of craving and without stain. He has removed the arrows of changing existence. This is his last body.

352 Rid of craving and without clinging, an expert in the study of texts, and understanding the right sequence of the words, he may indeed be called “In his last body”, “Great in wisdom” and a “Great man”.

353 All-conquering and all-knowing am I. Amidst all states of mind, unaffected am I. By abandoning everything, I am liberated by the cessation of desire. Having achieved Realisation by myself, who should I point to as my teacher?

356 Weeds are the blight of fields. Desire is the blight of mankind. Consequently offerings to those free from desire are of great fruit.

361 Restraint of the body is good. So is restraint of speech. Restraint of mind is good, and so is restraint in everything. The bhikkhu [monk] who is restrained in everything, is freed from all suffering.

362 Restrained of hand, restrained of foot, restrained of speech and restrained in his highest faculty, with his joy turned inwards, his mind still, alone and contented — that is what they call a bhikkhu.

371 Meditate, bhikkhu, don't be careless, don't let your mind take pleasure in the senses. Don't have to swallow the iron ball for being careless. Don't have to cry out, “This is terrible” as you burn.

372 There is no meditation without wisdom, and there is no wisdom without meditation. When a man has both meditation and wisdom, he is indeed close to nirvana.

390 Nothing is better in a brahmin [priestly nobleman] than this — that he restrains his mind from pleasurable things. Suffering disappears for him to the same extent that he gets rid of thoughts of harming anyone.

395 The man who wears robes made from rags off the dust heap, who is gaunt, with his sinews standing out all over his body, alone meditating in the forest — that is what I call a brahmin.

408 He who utters only gentle, instructive and truthful speech, criticising no-one — that is what I call a brahmin.

410 He who has no desires in this world or the next, without longings, freed! — that is what I call a brahmin.

423 He who has known his former lives and can see heaven and hell themselves, while he has attained the extinction of rebirth, a seer, master of transcendent knowledge, and master of all masteries — that is what I call a brahmin.

Despite separate actual origins, socialism and Buddhism have the appearance of being cut from the same cloth. They share the same motif combining purity, regression, contraction, sterility, bliss, painlessness, and death. Both urge people to oppose their own nature. Both contain within them striking contradictions. In fact, they contain the same contradictions. In Buddhism, one is urged to cut off “any opportunity for good or evil”, while simultaneously urged to be “expert in the right and wrong road” (Dhammapada verse 403). Buddha is Sanskrit for “awakened one”, signifying vigilant adherence to doctrine. Equivalently, in Edenism/socialism, one is commanded to refrain from judgement, while one is simultaneously commanded to condemn and expel ideas and people that offend against the commandments. In Buddhism, one is urged to renounce the search for pleasure, under the promise that this renunciation will lead to eternal delight (nirvana, Sanskrit for “extinguishment”). In socialism, laborers are promised eternal economic security (eventually, communism), if only they abandon efforts at economic achievement and join the socialist cause. Both of these are tailored to appeal to those who despair, and both of them are structured and practiced in such a way that they breed despair. Another important commonality is the deprecation of violence. Neither Edenism nor Buddhism differentiates harm inflicted in defense of life or otherwise in pursuit of justice, from harm inflicted gratuitously. Both of them ostensibly forbid all harm, with Buddhism redundantly forbidding speech that is harsh or critical. Yet both of them urge people to do terrible harm to themselves, promising them rewards for doing so. In almost perfectly parallel lines, socialism and Buddhism pursue the same end, the former (particularly Marxism) emphasizing the material, the latter emphasizing the mental and spiritual.

Though independence is not often associated with socialism, Rousseau himself decried personal interdependence, associating it with the alienation of humanity from its idyllic roots, even while advocating an arrangement of dependence on and subordination to the collective. Similarly, Buddhism preaches self-discipline and self-sufficiency as the path to idyllic delight. Verses 165-166 of the Dhammapada assert that “Purity and impurity are personal matters. No one can purify someone else. One should not neglect one's own welfare for that of someone else, however great. When one has understood what one's own welfare really consists of, one should apply oneself to that welfare.” This ostensibly deviates slightly from Rousseau, and a great deal from Owen, in that it does not imagine the systematic perfecting of people by institutions charged with the task. But in practice, this is simply pragmatic, because it obviates to some degree the need for active reinforcement and enforcement of ideological edicts, and dilutes the economic instability that is fostered by socialistic systems. In the final analysis, the Buddhist emphasis on solitude and perfectability is quite compatible with Rousseau's view of human origins and conditions and what to do about them. Both of them, the Buddhists and the Edenists, are pursuing a common aim, the elimination of conflict. Consider verse 305 of the Dhammapada (as translated by Harischandra Kaviratna): “Sitting alone, sleeping alone, living alone, and being diligent, subduing the self by means of the Self, let a man find delight in the ending of the forest (of desires).” There can hardly be a more cogent recipe for the elimination of conflict — or, indeed, for the ending of civilization, the institution blamed by Rousseau and his ilk for all social ills. A particularly interesting consideration is the relationship of Bentham's philosophy to Buddhism. The Buddhist emphasis on solitude finds kinship in Bentham's radical view that the essence of a man inheres exclusively in his isolated nature. But more interesting is that Buddhism promises liberation from the hedonic tyranny of Bentham (itself a fiction, as noted above).

Socialism holds that perspicacious effort is a sin, and that indolence is an entitlement. While Buddhism deprecates indolence and urges perspicacious effort, the practical result is identical, because the only effort Buddhism urges is that directed toward the separation of the self from worldly, material concerns. That is, Buddhism urges that one strive to avoid directing any effort toward any practical end. It is, thus, simply an alternative phrasing, a more structured and disciplined form, of the socialists' deprecation of productive labor. And indeed, the Dhammapada urges the reader to seek immortality not by acting to create lasting works (effort it condemns as futile or sinful), but by renouncing the physical in expectation of eternal reward. Buddhism and socialism are thus syncretically symbiotic.

As detailed below, occult socialism consistently promises freedom of a perfected sort. Buddhism supplies much of the structure that led to this occult premise. The central premise of Buddhism is that mental discipline whereby the mind is utterly emptied in perfect obedience to the instructions of the Buddhas, leads to complete and delightful liberation from the bonds of mortal, physical life. This premise is, at once, rather transparently silly, and a truistic self-fulfilling prophecy (the mind is completely emptied only by death, and death severs all bonds). The Buddhist view of worldly life — that it is inherently punitive and wretched — is shared by Gnosticism, discussed below. The Buddhistic discipline built around this premise is very well-suited to preparing people to passively accept the atrocities of radical socialism, either as observers or as victims.

In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva is a holy person, bent on enlightenment, who vows to forgo final liberation from samsara until everyone else in society has already achieved nirvana. Since nirvana can only be reached through death, this hallowed figure of Buddhism believes himself to have a vital interest in the death of all humanity. But even more outrageous is the intrinsic hypocrisy of the institution: the bodhisattva excuses himself from the existential horror of nirvana, while hurrying others into it, all the while commanding the admiration of his present and future victims!

The Stoic concepts of passion and apatheia, which contributed directly to Gnosticism, are analogous to the Buddhist conceptions of suffering (e.g., verse 361 above) and non-attachment (e.g., verses 170-171 above). Thus, Buddhism and Gnosticism inherently lend themselves to syncretion.

Judaism and Christianity echo the Gnostic and Zoroastrian worldview, particularly the redemptive power of suffering and the association of the material world with evil. In Ecclesiastes (ca. 250BCE), 7:1-4, we read “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Truly, this is Gnostic in its gloom.

More parallels are in Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians (ca. 58CE), 4:3-4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” By analogy (and probably by ancestry), the “god of this world” is Anghra Mainyu, Zoroastrian demon of chaos and destruction, called Satan in the New Testament. Christ is Zarathošt, bearer of the light of Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian god of truth and order. Calling Anghra Mainyu the “god of this world” evidences Gnostic dualism, derived chiefly from Zoroastrianism by way of Plato and the Stoics. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (58CE) also recapitulates the dualism, while mentioning suffering explicitly: “[8:1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [8:13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [8:18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” As mentioned at greater length under Biblical Chapter and Verse above, the Gospels themselves exhort people to renounce and disperse their material wealth, warning that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

This of course is only the barest of introductions to Christian exhortation to suffering and renunciation of the physical. As broached above in the excerpts from Romans, the centerpiece of Christianity is the doctrine of eternal idyllic afterlife as reward for obedience to the Gospels (centrally, of course, acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth as God's redeeming form on earth) amid smut of the material world, and this is actually an exhortation to and exaltation of death. Due to these doctrines, Christianity lends itself readily to syncretion with Buddhism and Gnosticism. But, unique among surviving world religions, Christian symbolic ritual features sacrificial murder and cannibalism as a central method of spiritual redemption. This contributes a separate and important doctrine to New Age.

There is a pattern to all this syncretion. Originally, about 4000 BCE, Indo-European language and religion were unified in one place as one nation. The exact location and racial makeup of this nation is not known, and theories vary widely (the best suggesting a Caucasoid population in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea), but scholarly analysis has revealed the form of its language and religion. From 4000 to 2000 BCE, this nation divided into many nations, each retaining the linguistic and religious foundation, while gradually evolving in separate directions. The surviving examples of these nations are the Norse/Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, Roman/Italic, Hellenic/Greek, Celtic, Persian, and Indic/Hindi. Each of these has its own ancient mythology and language, each distinct yet each clearly derived from the mythology and language of the unified nation of ca. 4000 BCE. Two of these, the eastern representatives, are living cultures not only linguistically, but religiously. They are, of course, the Persian and Indic branches. Persian pantheistic mythology gave way to the quasi-occultic monotheism of Zaratošt around 600 BCE, which was rapidly assimilated by the Hebrews, yielding messianic Judaism, culminating in the advent and rise of Christianity and the resurgent occultism articulated in Kabbalah. Indic pantheistic mythology — Hinduism — thrives in its own right in the modern era, with Shaivism its most conservative form. It also survives superficially in the quasi-occultic doctrine of Buddhism, founded by Siddhārtha Gautama under the pronounced influence of Jainism, the quasi-occultic, quasi-atheistic doctrine of Mahavira (599-527 BCE).

Buddhism came to Tibet in the first millenium CE, and Tibetan Buddhism came to Cambridge Massachusetts in the twentieth century, brought there by psychedelic patron saint Timothy Leary, Berkeley and (by then) Harvard professor of psychology. Leary wrote an interpretive loose translation of the Tibetan book of the dead, calling it The Psychedelic Experience. The book of the dead (formally the Bardo Thodol, “Liberation through Hearing in the Intermediate State”) describes a transcendental experience whereby a soul moves from death to rebirth. Its fantastical imagery and detached atmosphere led Leary to adapt it as a bible for hallucinogenic tripping (chiefly via LSD).

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New Age syncretizes nearly every major extant or historical belief system that features the doctrines of “eternal recurrence” and ascetic dualism. In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, the eternal recurrence doctrine is called samsara. In Jainism, the spiritual is called jiva and the material is called ajiva. The Wikipedia entry explains:

Any contact whatsoever of the jiva with the ajiva causes the former to suffer. Thus the Jains believed that existence in this world inevitably means suffering. Neither social reform nor the reform of individuals themselves can ever stop suffering. In every human being, a jiva is trapped, and the jiva suffers because of its contact with ajiva. The only way to escape from suffering is for the jiva to completely escape from the human condition, from human existence.

Karma and transmigration keep the jiva trapped in ajiva. Achieving release from the human condition is difficult. The Jains believe that the jiva continues to suffer during all its lives or reincarnations, which are of an indefinite number. They believe that every action that a person performs, be it good or evil, opens up channels of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell), through which an invisible substance, karma, filters in and adheres to the jiva within, weighing it down and determining the conditions of the next reincarnation.

The consequence of evil actions is a heavy karma, which weighs the jiva down, forcing it to enter its new life at a lower level in the scale of existence. The consequence of good deeds, on the other hand, is a light karma, which allows the jiva to rise in its next life to a higher level in the scale of existence, where there is less suffering to be endured. However, good deeds alone can never lead to release.

The way to moksha (release or liberation) is withdrawal from the world. Karma is the cause-and-effect mechanism by virtue of which all actions have inescapable consequences. Karma operates to keep the jiva chained in an unending series of lifetimes in which the jiva suffers to a greater or lesser extent. Thus the way of escape must involve an escape from karma, the destruction of all karma and the avoidance of new karma.

Then, at death, with no karma to weigh it down, the jiva will float free of all ajiva, free of the human condition, free of all future embodiments. It will rise to the top of the universe to a place or state called Siddhashila, where the jiva, identical with all other pure jivas, will experience its own true nature in eternal stillness, isolation and noninvolvement. It will be totally free. The way to burn up old karma is to withdraw from all involvement in the world as much as possible, and close the channel of the senses and the mind to prevent karmic matter from entering and adhering to the jiva.

There is evidence that the religion of the Indus Valley civilization (2800-1800 BCE) was akin to Jainism, likely a direct ancestor of Jainism, and that the civilization was culturally and linguistically Dravidian. In any case, Indo-European incursions from the north displaced Dravidian civilization southward, emplacing Vedic civilization (and the Hindu strain of Indo-European religion) in the north.

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Old Kingdom pyramids at Giza. Photo from wwp.greenwichmeantime.com
Due to a fadish popularity, some fundamentals of ancient Egyptian religion are widely known. Excepting the reign of Akhenaten, ancient Egypt was polytheistic, with a very concrete belief in and concern with life after death. Astrology, numerology, occultic geometry, magic rituals and spells, charms and amulets, and occultic animal and chimerical forms, were all fixtures. All of these are, of course, also fixtures of New Age. It is not widely appreciated, but the pronouncement “Amen”, common to Judaic and Christian tradition, derives from “Amun”, a key Egyptian deity.

By the time of Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great, New Kingdom, 1302-1213 BCE), Egyptian religion incorporated an afterlife mythology strikingly similar to that of Zaratošt and the Christians that followed many centuries later. In the Book of the Dead of 1240 BCE, many details of this mythology are recorded. The righteous distinguish themselves by honoring the gods and obeying their edicts, and are rewarded with blissful heavenly abode in the sky with Osiris, where they enjoy “cakes and ale” and “all the forms of existence which it may please the deceased to take” (as translator Wallis Budge summarizes) for eternity. The wicked distinguish themselves by disrespecting the gods and flouting their edicts, and are condemned to eternal torment. Upon death, the deceased is interrogated and shepherded by various underworld gods, and must undergo an ordeal in which he is judged and his eternal lot determined. In Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life (1900), Budge elucidates this mythology.

But alongside this afterlife mythology, and probably preceding it, is the doctrine of eternal recurrence, which holds that everything repeats infinitely. This doctrine is closely related to reincarnation, in that one can deduce from it that each individual person will recur, indeed an infinite number of times. It is actually an occultic instance of the pigeonhole principle: given a universe of infinite duration, but finite variety of transient conditions, eventually nothing will happen (no condition will become the case) that has not already happened. (The simplistic conception of the ancients does not reflect the modern scientific conclusion that the universe is eternally expanding and progressing toward entropy, or else is of finite duration.) Greek-Armenian occultist Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1872-1949) was an adherrent of the eternal recurrence doctrine, and through his influence it reaches the New Age community.

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A century and a half before Plato hellenized Zoroastrianism, Pythagoras of Samos (ca. 582-496 BCE) hellenized Egyptian religion and Jainism (with, probably, a hint of Zoroastrianism), coincidentally at the same time Siddhārtha Gautama syncretized Jainism with Hinduism. Pythagoras is, of course, famed for his theorem relating the lengths of the sides of a right angle triangle, and he is considered the first mathematician. But he was an occultic mathematician, and because the Pythagorean cult was rigidly hermetic, the life and times of Pythagoras are uncommonly murky for a man so widely reputed. Apollonius Theocritos explains his doctrine, as it emerged from obscure antiquity:

The secrecy of the Society and over twenty-five centuries that separate us from his time make it difficult to establish Pythagorean thought with absolute certainty. We can, however, state with confidence that the main beliefs that Pythagoras held were:

• That reality is, at its deepest level, mathematical in nature. Divinity and order is revealed through the study of numbers and harmonious relationships.

• That the soul is an eternal, self-moving number which passes from body to body through metempsychosis, or transmigration.

• That after spiritual purification the soul will dispense with reincarnation and eventually unite with the Divine.

Theocritos furthermore describes tales of Pythagoras travelling to his father's homeland of Phoenicia, where he was tutored by Chaldeans and by “Pherekydes the Syrian”. From there he continued to Egypt, where eventually he was accepted into the priesthood at Thebes. Here he was necessarily introduced to the doctrines of eternal recurrence and sacred vegetarianism. A few years later, in 525 BCE, the Persian king Cambyses II (hapless and tyrannical successor to Cyrus the Great) conquered Egypt, and Pythagoras was seized and exiled to Babylon. In Babylon, he is specifically reputed to have conversed with Magi. Nominally, “Magi” refers to Persian priests, philosophers, and magicians, but in practice it refers to any such people from east of Babylon — most importantly, from India. Thus, it is quite likely that the doctrine Pythagoras went on to preach resulted from initial indoctrination in Thebes followed by conversation with ardent Jainists visiting Babylon, a cultural and trading center of wide renown. To have discovered that Jainists from far in the east preached some of the same strange doctrines as the Egyptians, over 2000 miles distant and of obviously different tongue and attire, would have truly been a eureka moment for an ancient seeker of patterns and knowledge, as Pythagoras surely was.

Damian Gordon further describes the doctrine of Pythagoras (but see also O'Connor and Robertson's minibio):

Men and women in the society were treated equally -an unusual thing at the time- and all property was held in common. His school practised secrecy and communalism making it hard to distinguish between the work of Pythagoras and that of his followers. Certainly his school made outstanding contributions to mathematics, and it is possible to be fairly certain about some of Pythagoras's mathematical contributions. First we should be clear in what sense Pythagoras and the mathematikoi were studying mathematics. They were not acting as a mathematics research group does in a modern university or other institution. There were no 'open problems' for them to solve, and they were not in any sense interested in trying to formulate or solve mathematical problems.

Pythagoras noticed that vibrating strings produce harmonious tones when the ratios of the lengths of the strings are whole numbers, and that these ratios could be extended to other instruments. In fact Pythagoras made remarkable contributions to the mathematical theory of music. He was a fine musician, playing the lyre, and he used music as a means to help those who were ill. Pythagoras studied properties of numbers which would be familiar to mathematicians today, such as even and odd numbers, triangular numbers, perfect numbers etc.

Pythagoras believed in the transmigration of souls and considered the eating of flesh as an abominable thing, saying that the souls of all living creatures pass after death into other living creatures. And as for himself, he used to declare that he remembered having been in Trojan times Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, who was slain by Menelaus.

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Taoism, reputedly founded by “Lǐ Ěr” (honorific name “Lao Zi”) in the fourth century BCE, contributes a Chinese vein to the New Age ethos. We know it was founded before 300 BCE, because a physical copy of its canon Tao Te Ching survives, dating to that era. It is very similar to Buddhism, indeed indistinguishable from it, in key respects, though it is perhaps only a coincidence that it was founded shortly after Buddhism was. Taoism is sufficiently useful to the occultists that Aleister Crowley (about whom, much more below) published his own translation of the Tao Te Ching.

A selection of excerpts from the Tao Te Ching, as translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English, tends to reveal the Taoist ethic as quite depraved:

[Book of Dao, chapters 1-39:]

2: [...] the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking. / The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, / Creating, yet not. / Working, yet not taking credit. / Work is done, then forgotten. / Therefore it lasts forever.

3: Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. / Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. / Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart. // The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. // If men lack knowledge and desire, then clever people will not try to interfere. // If nothing is done, then all will be well.

7: [...] The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead. / He is detached, thus at one with all. / Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.

8: The highest good is like water. / Water give life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. / It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao. [...]

12: [...] Racing and hunting madden the mind. / Precious things lead one astray. // Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees. / He lets go of that and chooses this.

13: Accept disgrace willingly. / Accept misfortune as the human condition. // What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"? / Accept being unimportant. / Do not be concerned with loss or gain. / This is called "accepting disgrace willingly." // What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"? / Misfortune comes from having a body. / Without a body, how could there be misfortune? // Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things. / Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

14: Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form. / Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound. / Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible. / These three are indefinable; / Therefore they are joined in one. // [...] // Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.

19: Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom, / And it will be a hundred times better for everyone. // Give up kindness, renounce morality, / And men will rediscover filial piety and love. // Give up ingenuity, renounce profit, / And bandits and thieves will disappear. // [...]

25: [...] "Tao is great; / Heaven is great; / Earth is great; / The king is also great." / These are the four great powers of the universe, / And the king is one of them. // [...]

26: The heavy is the root of the light. / The still is the master of unrest. // Therefore the sage, traveling all day, / Does not lose sight of his baggage. / Though there are beautiful things to be seen, / He remains unattached and calm. // [...]

29: [...] // The universe is sacred. / You cannot improve it. / If you try to change it, you will ruin it. / If you try to hold it, you will lose it. // [...]

31: Good weapons are instruments of fear; / all creatures hate them. / Therefore followers of Tao never use them. // [...]

38: A truly good man is not aware of his goodness, / And is therefore good. / A foolish man tries to be good, / And is therefore not good. // A truly good man does nothing, / Yet leaves nothing undone. / A foolish man is always doing, / Yet much remains to be done. // [...]

[end of Book of Dao, beginning of Book of De]

41: [...] The bright path seems dim; / Going forward seems like retreat; / The easy way seems hard; / The highest Virtue seems empty; / Great purity seems sullied; / A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate; / The strength of Virtue seems frail; / Real Virtue seems unreal [...]

42: [...] // Men hate to be "orphaned," "widowed," or "worthless," / But this is how kings and lords describe themselves. // For one gains by losing / And loses by gaining.  // [...]

44: [...] / He who is attached to things will suffer much. / He who saves will suffer heavy loss. / A contented man is never disappointed. / He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble. / He will stay forever safe.

46: [...] / There is no greater sin than desire, / No greater curse than discontent, / No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself.  / [...]

47: Without going outside, you may know the whole world. / Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven. / The farther you go, the less you know. / Thus the sage knows without traveling; / He sees without looking; / He works without doing.

48: In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired. / In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped. / Less and less is done / Until non-action is achieved. / When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. // The world is ruled by letting things take their course. / It cannot be ruled by interfering.

49: The sage has no mind of his own. / [...] / He behaves like a little child.

55: He who is filled with Virtue is like a newborn child. / Wasps and serpents will not sting him; / Wild beasts will not pounce upon him; / He will not be attacked by birds of prey. / His bones are soft, his muscles weak, / But his grip is firm. / He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole. / His manhood is strong. / He screams all day without becoming hoarse. / This is perfect harmony. / Knowing harmony is constancy. / Knowing constancy is enlightenment. // It is not wise to rush about. / Controlling the breath causes strain. / If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows. / This is not the way of Tao. / Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.

56: Those who know do not talk. / Those who talk do not know. / Keep your mouth closed. / Guard your senses. / Temper your sharpness. / Simplify your problems. / Mask your brightness. / Be at one with the dust of the Earth. / This is primal union. // He who has achieved this state / Is unconcerned with friends and enemies, / With good and harm, with honor and disgrace. / This therefore is the highest state of man.

57: [...] / Become master of the universe without striving. / [...] / The more ingenious and clever men are, / The more strange things happen.  / [...] / Therefore the sage says: / I take no action and people are reformed. / I enjoy peace and people become honest. / I do nothing and people become rich. / I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

61: A great country is like low land. / It is the meeting ground of the universe, / The mother of the universe. / The female overcomes the male with stillness, / Lying low in stillness.  // Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country, / It will conquer the smaller country. / And if a small country submits to a great country, / It can conquer the great country. / Therefore those who would conquer must yield, / And those who conquer do so because they yield. // A great nation needs more people; / A small country needs to serve. / Each gets what it wants. / It is fitting for a great nation to yield.

63: [...] / The sage does not attempt anything very big, / And thus achieved greatness.  // [...]

64: [...] // He who acts defeats his own purpose; / He who grasps loses. / The sage does not act, and so is not defeated. / He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.  // People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. / [...]

66: [...] // Because he [“the sage”] does not compete, / He does not meet competition.

70: My words are easy to understand and easy to perform, / Yet no man under heaven knows them or practices them. / [...]

74: [...] // There is always an official executioner. / If you try to take his place, / It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. / If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

76: [...] // The hard and strong will fall. / The soft and weak will overcome.

77: [...] / The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much and give to those who do not have enough. / [...]

78: [...] / The truth often sounds paradoxical.

81: Truthful words are not beautiful. / Beautiful words are not truthful. / Good men do not argue. / Those who argue are not good. / Those who know are not learned. / The learned do not know. / The sage never tries to store things up. / The more he does for others, the more he has. / The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance. / The Tao of heaven is pointed but does no harm. / The Tao of the sage is work without effort.

[end of Tao Te Ching]

A modern pop culture parallel to the “Tao” is the “Force” of George Lucas's Star Wars epic chronicle. A crucial characteristic of this “Tao” is that it (doctrinally) cannot be articulated with words. There are, of course, things that exist but which no person has ever articulated, and indeed modern mathematicians (Cantor, Gödel, etc.) have proven that there are some things that exist that cannot be articulated with words. However, it is rank foolishness to make such things a cause or guide for practice. Recognizing the existence of that which is not understood, is a very different matter from acting without understanding. While Taoism nominally preaches non-action, of course a person either acts or quickly dies. Thus, in effect, Taoism preaches action without understanding, and this, in effect, turns the Taoist into an unconscious puppet of those in power. Taoism's explicit promotion of subservience, yielding, and unargumentativeness, reinforce this effect. All systems like Taoism — Buddhism, for example — are similarly constructed to make people into puppets of the powerful, as long as those in power play by the corrupt rules of these games.

Taoism also features the famous dialecticalism of “yin” and “yang”. This doctrine serves to underscore the militant rejection of conscious comprehension that is Taoism's core doctrine. Like Hegel's doctrine of dialectics, Taoist dialecticalism holds that all thoughts and all things contain their opposites inherently, each conjuring the other into existence and maintaining the existence of its opposite. The universe is not, of course, composed of wholly natural opposites, as any genuine scientist can attest. But Taoism goes even beyond Hegel, by identifying (often arbitrarily) a great many attributes associated either with “yin” or with “yang”. Thomas Knierim summarizes:

YangYin

Yang is the strong, male, creative, giving force, which is associated with heaven. The heaven above us is always in motion and brings about change. Yang is associated with the following ideas and things:

  

Yin is the quiet, female, intuitive, receiving force, which is associated with earth. The earth is the source of life, it provides us with what we need to survive. Yin is associated with the following ideas and things:

 
- Day, Light  - Night, Dark
- Sunshine, Fire, Heat  - Rain, Water, Cold
- Summer, Spring  - Winter, Autumn
- Even Numbers  - Odd Numbers
- The Sun  - The Moon
- South, East  - North, West
- Left, Up  - Right, Down
- Intellect  - Intuition
- Active, Dynamic  - Passive, Static
- Expansion, Increasing  - Contraction, Decreasing
- Innovative, Reformative  - Conservative, Traditional
- Mountain  - Valley
- Desert  - River
- Straight Line  - Curve
- Hard  - Soft
- Dissolving  - Solidifying
- Physical (Observable) World  - Psychological (Astral) World
- Tiger  - Dragon
- Bladder, Intestines, Skin  - Kidneys, Heart, Liver, Lungs
 

In Chinese philosophy, the rhythm of life, which pulsates through the universe, is the action of complementary principles, Yin and Yang. The T'ai-chi T'u diagram (left) illustrates this principle. The symmetrical disposition of the dark Yin and the light Yang suggests cyclical changes.

  

When Yin reached its climax, it recedes in favor of Yang, then after Yang reached its climax it recedes in favor of Yin. This is the eternal cycle. The dots inside the white and black halves indicate that within each is the seed of the other. Yin cannot exist without Yang and vice versa.

The ideal state of things in the physical universe, as well as in the world of humans is a state of harmony represented by the balance of Yin and Yang in body and mind.

With Taoism it becomes transparently obvious that all of these politico-economico-religious schemers are simply trying to trick people into abandoning their lives. Their reasons for doing so surely vary, but that is their common end. Religions are deeply similar because humans are similar (all the same species) and each religion serves the same role whatever society it arises in — to further the purposes of established interests, sometimes for good, often for ill, but always with hypocrisy.

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Kabbalah is a set of occultic doctrines derived loosely from the Judaic canon, differing with it fundamentally on some questions (notably, the doctrine of eternal recurrence). It was, for the most part, invented in the period from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, though its development began early in the messianic (Christian) era. Kabbalah centers on a depiction of God as a mystical infinity, called ayn sof (literally, “without limit”, and sometimes transliterated ein sof). Kabbalah is in part a syncretic occultification of Plato's doctrine — Isaac the Blind (1160-1235) promoted the concept of mahshavah (divine thought) as an emanation of ayn sof, derived from Plato's “Form of the Good” (which itself comes from the Zoroastrian conception of god as Ahura Mazda).

In the Kabbalah of Isaac Luria (1534-1572), tikkun olam (i.e. spiritual repair of the world) is needed because the defiance of God by Adam and Eve tore asunder the perfect divine harmony of Eden (Luria calls this “the Breaking of the Vessels”). Tikkun olam is the occultic repair process, whereby the conditions of Eden are restored. Spiritualist Joseph Naft explains further: “The basic principle of Kabbalah is that the seeker pursues spiritual practice to transform his or her being and rise through the levels of worlds, to bring his or her own will back to the Divine will, while opening a way for the higher energies to flow down to this world, and thereby advancing the great process of tikkun olam.” Obviously, Kabbalah is a major source, perhaps the source, of explicit Edenism in New Age. And because of its illumination motifs, Kabbalah readily lends itself to syncretion with Buddhism, and with Gnosticism by dint of its Zoroastrian and Platonic roots. But the compatibility is much deeper. Kabbalah promotes a discipline of self-denial (self-defeat) and purification that is plainly Buddhistic, and quite akin to Gnosticism. Naft explains it thus: “As we are, the Divine spark lies hidden beneath our layers of egoistic self-centeredness. That spark is our conscience, through which the promptings of the Divine Will flow toward us. By pursuing spiritual inner work to strengthen our soul and purify our heart, we grow more able to bear that spark without shattering, more willing to act on what we know to be right, less willing to act in harmful or grasping ways, and more able to notice the quiet presence of conscience beneath the din of our chattering minds and reactive emotions.”

Lurianic Kabbalah also features reincarnation, and thus is all the more compatible with Buddhist and Pythagorean doctrine. In Shaar HaGilgulim (“ The Gates of Reincarnation”), Luria “explains how various Biblical personalities lived, died, and were reborn as different individuals. It links reincarnation to the concept of rectification (tikun) on both the personal and world levels.” (quotation from judaism.com, linked earlier in paragraph)

Sanford L. Drob explains the Kabbalist conception of god:

Ein-Sof, the Infinite God, has no static, definable form. Instead, the Kabbalists conceive God, the world and humanity as evolving together through, and thus embodying, a number of distinct stages and aspects, with later stages opposing, but at the same time encompassing, earlier ones. The Kabbalist's God is both perfectly simple and infinitely complex, nothing and everything, hidden and revealed, reality and illusion, creator of man and created by man,. As Ein-Sof evolves it is progressively revealed as "nothing whatsoever" (Ayin), the totality of being, the Infinite Will (Ratzon) , Thought and Wisdom, the embodiment of all value and significance (the Sefirot), the wedding of male and female, and ultimately the union of all contradictions. Ein-Sof is both the totality of this dialectic and each of the points along the way. Ein-Sof must be constantly redefined, as by its very nature, it is in a constant process of self-creation and redefinition. This self-creation is actually embodied and perfected in the creativity of humanity, who through practical, ethical, intellectual and spiritual activities, strives to redeem and perfect a chaotic, contradictory and imperfect world.

[...]

As explained in Symbols of the Kabbalah, Chapter Two, Ein-sof provides a rational/spiritual answer to the questions "Why is there anything at all?" and "What is the meaning of human life?" Ein-sof begets a world so that He, as the source of all meaning and value, can come to know Himself, and in order for His values, which in Him exist only in the abstract, can become fully actualized in humanity. Ein-sof is both the fullness of being and absolute nothingness, but is not complete in its essence until He is made real through the spiritualizing and redemptive activity of mankind. Ein-sof is mirrored in the heart and soul of man, but, more importantly, He is actualized in man's deeds.

This is unmistakeably similar to Hegel's conception of the “World Spirit”, a similarity not lost on Drob:

Hegel, who was extremely disdainful of Judaism in his early theological writings, presents a mature philosophy, which can be understood as an attempt to rationally explicate the basic metaphors of the Lurianic Kabbalah. However, the extent of the impact of the Kabbalah on Hegel is difficult to determine. Hegel discusses the Kabbalah briefly in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy and Religion, and uses the Hebrew term Adam Kadmon to refer to the "archetype of humanity." At at one point refers to the hypostasis of divine wisdom as "Chokma". He also makes passing reference to the doctrine of the Sefirot, where in a discussion of the Gnostic doctrine of God, he states that nothing of the deity's essence can be imparted "except through the medium of the sephiroth". However, while Hegel is clearly familiar with Gnosticism, there is little else to suggest direct knowledge of the Kabbalah. Instead, Kabbalistic ideas seem to have reached him indirectly. For example, Hegel's predecessor and early maestro, Friedrich Schelling was himself of a mystical bent and was influenced by the Christian Kabbalah, the Swabian pietists, and such thinkers as Jacob Boehme, each of whom had transmitted Kabbalistic insights into the Christian intellectual world.

For Hegel, the origin, substance, purpose and direction of the universe is the realization of an infinite knowledge, consciousness, or mind. Like the Kabbalist's, Hegel held that the world's beginning, substance and end is to be found in an infinite, all inclusive, Absolute being. This Absolute, which is analogous to the Kabbalist's Ein-sof, is conceived of by Hegel as the Absolute Reason or Idea, a notion that is itself present in many Kabbalistic works, including the Zohar, where Ein-Sof is at times described as the "supernal thought."

Like Ein-sof, Hegel's Absolute is compelled to contract or alienate itself in the concrete particulars of a created world. This "self-alienation of the Absolute Spirit" is a direct parallel to the Kabbalist's Tzimtzum, the concealment and contraction of Ein-Sof. According to Hegel, this negation or alienation is a logically necessary event, for the Idea, any idea, must necessarily fulfill itself by becoming particular and concrete. The concepts of "horse" or "kindness", for example, are empty and abstract without actual horses and real acts of kindness. Thus, as for the Kabbalist's Ein-sof, Hegel's Absolute only becomes itself by negating itself, and alienating itself in a world. This world, however, both according to Luria and Hegel, is in other respects an illusion, for while it appears to have an existence independent of the "All", it is in reality simply an aspect, indeed a concealed aspect, of the Absolute itself.

For Hegel, as for the Kabbalists, the Absolute negates itself in order to enter into a finite, natural realm, but begins the return to itself through the formation, within nature, of the World Spirit, which is embodied in man. Like the Kabbalist's Primordial Man (Adam Kadmon), Hegel's World Spirit creates, and, is, in effect, composed of the sum total of ideas and values which define mankind. Indeed, for Hegel, mankind's progress in history, philosophy, religion, ethics and the arts, marks the development of the Absolute in history, much as the Kabbalist's Sefirot, their shattering and restoration mark the development of Ein-sof in the world. Hegel, like the Kabbalists, holds, in effect, that God's sojourn into a finite, alien realm, and his manifestation in the spirit of humankind is a logically necessary aspect of God's very being and perfection.

Hegel's dialectic provides a philosophical parallel to the Lurianic Breaking of the Vessels. According to Hegel, man's original values, ideas, and institutions, are insufficient to contain the full breadth of the Absolute, and these structures, values and ideas break down or fall apart, and must be reorganized into ever widening schemas which transcend and yet incorporate the original broken ideas. Thus, for example, in the realm of logic, "being" and "nothingness" dialectically break down in favor of "becoming", and in the realm of politics "abstract rights" and "morality" break down in favor of a "social ethic". Further, in the "broken" state, which Hegel refers to as the "Understanding", the oppositions of this world (e.g. between good and evil, truth and error, being and non-being, etc.) are rent apart and their mutual interdependence goes completely unrecognized. Luria's dynamic of Sefirot (original idea), Shevirah (shattering of that idea) and Tikkun (restoration of the original idea on a higher level) can be readily understood as a symbolic representation of the very dialectical reasoning which is later given conceptual form in Hegel.

For Hegel, the dialectic proceeds through all forms of thought, life and historical expression, expanding itself into greater and deeper possibilities and antinomies, even into realms which are regarded as negative and evil. It is only through the process of "speculative reason", most perfectly manifest in the philosophy of Hegel itself, that the Absolute Idea, having alienated itself into a realm of Nature, can now, through the vehicle of mankind, return to itself and, having traversed nature and history, perfect itself in the union of Logic, Nature and Spirit. In "Speculative Reason" the oppositions which had been broken apart by the Understanding are rejoined and are seen to be mutually dependent conceptions. This, of course, is Hegel's equivalent to the Kabbalist's Tikkun. The Absolute which, of necessity, was exiled and alienated has now been redeemed and fulfilled.

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Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
By describing religious dogma as “occult”, “esoteric”, “secret”, or “Hermetic”, New Age leaders make their followers feel invested, and make them think of the world as divided into blessed insiders and cursed outsiders, so that by implication, they must be scrupulously observant and obedient, in order to remain among the insiders. The insider-outsider worldview of occult socialism is apparent even in the pop culture of the Harry Potter series by the formerly dole-dependent J. K. Rowling. Here, the insiders lead charmed and vivid storybook lives of magic and idle mischief — fulfilling their desires and caprices without effort, by words and gestures alone — or learning to do so. The unmagical outsiders are called “muggles” and are depicted as gray, hapless, brutish ignoramuses, hardly human and hardly real.

Occult doctrine is of course not in any sense truly secret — just vague, profusely redundant, and relentlessly manipulative. In fact, scholarly outsiders tend to understand the doctrine better than insiders, who tend to be — not to put too fine a point on it — raging fruit loops. New Age is intensely syncretic. It derives from biblical Christianity, from Hinduism and Buddhism, from Zoroastrianism, from the Jewish occultism of Kabbalah, from Gnosticism, from the theosophy of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey (derived chiefly from Kabbalah, the Indic doctrines, and Gnosticism), from the occultism of Edgar Cayce and Aleister Crowley, and from a variety of other fringy superstitions. Kabbalah is itself a conduit for Babylonian and Zoroastrian religion, and Gnosticism is an occultic pagan/Judaic/Christian sect, that asserted that physical reality is irredeemably evil or meaningless, and that all true meaning, wisdom, and virtue exists entirely in a non-physical spiritual plane. Gnosticism is also an occultification of the philosophies of the Greek intellectuals Plato and the Stoics. Blavatsky (1831-1891), with her “Theosophic Society”, is considered the mother of New Age (New Age is historically and doctrinally matriarchal). Bailey (1880-1949, née Alice LaTrobe Bateman), left Blavatsky's group and founded her own “Arcane School”, wherein the term “New Age” itself originated. In 1922, Bailey founded the “Lucifer Publishing Company” to publish her and Blavatsky's writings. It continues to this day under the name “Lucis Trust”, and is a UN-accredited NGO (in “consultative status” with the UN Economic and Social Council), and an officially acknowledged financial contributor to the UN.

Magical thinking is the central doctrine of New Age: adherents believe that ritualistic thoughts and behaviors — incantations, gestures, and meditation (the New Age version of prayer), particularly when orchestrated in unison or coordination by masses of people — can transform physical reality arbitrarily. In New Age, “cooperation” is jargon used to describe participation in these coordinated rituals, and the term “individual“ is jargon used to describe those who refuse to cooperate. Those who refuse to cooperate are eventually to be expelled from society. This ideological core makes the cargo cultism of New Age insuperable, and makes New Age a natural match for Edenism in general and socialism in particular.

In “A Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism”, Rabbi Dovid Sears describes this magical thinking as formulated in Kabbalah:

The Kabbalists explain that through the collective performance of the Torah's laws by the Jewish people, the human form below becomes spiritually aligned with its source in the “human form” above, i.e., the Ten Sefiros of Tikkun. The meaning of this alignment is that the Sefiros now become conduits for the revelation of God's Oneness. Thus, the “miniature world” of the individual becomes suffused with Godliness; and since everything depends upon man, all creation is transmuted from substance to Essence - to Godliness. That is, all aspects of reality are facets of the “cosmic diamond” through which the Infinite Light now can shine forth. This spiritual transformation not only depends upon our words and deeds, but our thoughts; thus, Kabbalistic works are replete with mystical meditations related to the performance of religious precepts.

The word “magic” derives (by way of Greek and Latin) from the old Persian term maguš, the word for the Zoroastrian and pre-Zoroastrian Persian priests and sorcerers (the familiar latin plural of the word is magi, they of manger pilgrimage fame in Matthew 2:1).

Some New Age adherents explicitly describe the new age as a return to paradisiacal Eden — as do Michael F. O'Keeffe and Aurelia Louise Jones, for example. Joel Kramer, in Yoga Journal 1980-Jan, wrote “In the mid-Sixties, many people believed that we were on the verge of an exciting and glorious new age in human evolution. The popular song, ‘Aquarius,’ captured the spirit, proclaiming that we would soon enjoy the fruits of ‘harmony and understanding... sympathy and peace ... mystic crystal revelations and the mind's true liberation.’ Many of us naively expected the human race to smoothly and quickly cultivate the earth into a new Eden.” In a poem titled “Age of Aquarius”, a New Age adherent named Cecil Hickman wrote in 2005-Feb: “A future to dream, we live in peace and love. / Glorious time for all of Earths humankind, / Eden reborn as promised from our Lord above. [...] United as a planet, love will live, prejudice cease. [...]”

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Scientology is part of the New Age universe but, as an example of occult anarcho-libertarianism rather than of occult socialism, it is something of an outlier. In common with Ayn Rand's “Objectivism” (discussed briefly below), Scientology promises adherents that they will be freed from the moral compunctions of normal society, essentially giving them license to behave sociopathically, but cryptically requires adherents to obey the edicts of the institution. Thus they become hedonic zombies, so to speak.

Scientology was invented by pulp science fiction writer Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986). Hubbard may have been schizophrenic, was probably a sociopath, and certainly behaved like a schizophrenic sociopath.
Aleister Crowley
The root of Hubbard's occultism is his 1945 association with the Pasadena lodge of the pseudo-Masonic Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). OTO was the creature of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), mentioned above as one of the founders of New Age. Crowley called his doctrine “Occult Sciences”. It is drawn chiefly from the Indic doctrines, Zoroastrianism, ancient Egyptian religion, and from his childhood indoctrination with the Judo-Christian Bible. Hubbard once described Crowley as “my very good friend”, but Crowley described Hubbard as a “lout”. Crowley's mother nicknamed him “The Beast 666” because of his unruly nature as a youth, and this nickname stuck (and was taken rather literally by him as an adult). In any case, Crowley's beliefs were inspired particularly by his 1898-1900 membership in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn of Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (preaching a grab bag of typical occult junk, including Kabbalah), and he went on to preach “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. He is notorious for the ritualistic drug-soaked orgies he put on, that he believed would tap magical powers. Wikipedia details some of his views and exploits: “1902 saw him writing the essay Berashith (the first word of Genesis), in which he gave meditation (or restraint of the mind to a single object) as the means of attaining his goal. The essay describes ceremonial magic as a means of training the will, and of constantly directing one's thoughts to a given object through ritual. [...] Crowley died penniless and addicted to heroin in a Hastings boarding house on December 1, 1947.”

Hubbard befriended Jack Parsons, head of the Pasadena lodge, and the two of them continued Crowley's ritual orgies. Hubbard then absconded with Parsons's girlfriend and money, and went on to found Scientology, inspired by Crowley's doctrine, and by the belief that founding a religion is a good way to amass a fortune. By the time of his death, Hubbard's fortune reportedly stood at over half a billion dollars.

Hubbard was a specialist in cargo cult science. He promised believers perfect health, by erasing “engrams” (in utero psychic traumas) until the person became “Clear”. This was the “Dianetics” incarnation of Hubbard's nonsense, which he soon replaced with the “Scientology” incarnation. He claimed this latter was a cure not just for physical infirmities and maladies, but for criminality, insanity, and addiction.
L. Ron Hubbard, photo from Wikipedia
(He was in fact a lifelong con artist, head case, and chain smoker.) Hubbard's “Time Track” promises immortality through remembered reincarnation, a principle he probably derived directly from Crowley's “Magical Memory”. Hubbard adapted Gnosticism to his purposes, citing its canon to support his theory of reincarnation (e.g., in an article titled “The Surprising Christian Tradition of Reincarnation”, citing the Gnostic Pistis Sophia). In fact the total conceptual architecture of Scientology is congruent with Gnosticism and its premise that the non-physical is supreme. Hubbard advertised himself as the sole authentic intermediary between the supreme Gnostic (non-physical) reality and the mundane physical world. Hubbard also adopted Crowley's concept of an “astral body” whereby a person can voyage around the universe at will leaving his body behind. This occult principle later came to be called “remote viewing”.

In fact Hubbard combined Gnosticism and the idealist doctrine of Kant to argue that matter, energy, space, and time (“MEST”, in Scientology jargon) are illusions the soul voluntarily agrees to, which thereafter trap it. The trap is escaped only by abandoning the physical body (death) — when Hubbard died in 1986, the Church announced that he had left this MEST to continue his research. Hubbard codified psychomanipulative rituals that he promised would lead to “total freedom”, and here Hubbard came full circle, translating Crowley's “Do what thou wilt”, with its roots in Eden, into Scientology. The Gnostic conception of the non-physical soul is vital here, because the promised freedom includes freedom from the laws of physics. But, just as Crowley's subjects were rendered servile, Scientologists are too — the promise of freedom is utterly bogus, as bogus as the communists' promises of a workers' paradise. An intractably ardent Scientologist would be led to suicide, in order to become free of the MEST.

Hubbard initiated the practice of using intellectual property law to aggressively frustrate exposure of his doctrine, so that Scientology truly is, in a sense, secret. (Though he may have been inspired by S.L. MacGregor Mathers's copyright suit against Aleister Crowley, claiming rights to an occult rite, as it were.) This is particularly important with a doctrine as goofy as his, where the mark must be sufficiently invested before learning the secrets lest he simply laugh and reject it common sensically. And invest they do, thousands of people paying thousands of dollars each, to gain step-by-step access to Scientology's goofy secrets. It all brings you to Xenu: Scientologists believe their bodies are infested with the malignant spiritual corpses of trillions of aliens that 75 million years ago were brought to Earth aboard spacefaring DC-8 airliners then murdered with nuclear bombs around volcanos in a depopulation scheme wrought by the galactic emperor Xenu. Scientologist William Bramley seeks to spread this nonsense surreptitiously with his book The Gods of Eden (Dahlin Family Press, 1989). The central thesis of the book is that warfare and discord among men is caused by extraterrestrial alien tampering. Once the reader has stifled his laughter, consider that these purported aliens are tantamount to Eden's snake. Confusing matters further, Hubbard himself claimed (in his Hymn of Asia) to be Maitreya (he spelled it “Mettaya”), a title that is explained below.

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The “Objectivist” cult of Russian immigrant Alyssa Zinovievna Rosenbaum (“Ayn Rand”), advertised by her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, is another occultic institutionalization of libertarianism. It is now headed by Canadian immigrant Leonard Peikoff. Like Scientology, it is an outlier in the New Age landscape, even while clearly belonging to it. Also like Scientology, it is predominantly an American phenomenon, and is headquartered in greater Los Angeles. Objectivism owes much of its form, particularly its epistemology and power structure, to Plato and his antecedents.
Ayn Rand at HUAC hearings, 1947
photo by Leonard Mccombe,
CC Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Fire as a symbol of mental energy is a feature (using cigarettes as the fixture). Objectivism is transparently totalitarian — exhaustively and implacably judgemental, to an Orwellian degree — and its closest relative in the non-occultic landscape of Edenism is fascism. The Objectivist community is advertised as a paradise of idyllic “reason”; the price of admission is conspicuous obedience, and the price of disobedience is exilecherem, shunning, of the sort institutionalized in pre-Renaissance Judaism. Its foremost canon text, Atlas Shrugged, depicts a secluded and hidden idyllic utopia (“Galt's Gulch”) to which the committed and scrupulously righteous elected few are delivered. Objectivism ostensibly exalts the individual and his liberation and independence, but as practiced, it is as collectivistic as the Spartans were, and in some of the same ways. Objectivism ostensibly holds that the individual gains knowledge and understanding through personal independent rational discipline, but in practice it is an authoritarian hierarchy in which all truth is received (except by the personality at the apex). Accordingly, she claimed that humans are blank slates at birth, both cognitively and emotionally, as indeed was orthodoxy in Soviet Russia. Objectivism's central process is dogmatic adherence to and enforcement of Ayn Rand's revelation of “reason“ (obviously, a jargon term as used by Objectivists). Objectivism is occultic because all of these underlying realities, derived largely from the doctrines of Plato, are unarticulated and denied even while being vigorously implemented and enforced. In “The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult” (1972), Murray Rothbard summarizes: “in the name of individuality, reason, and liberty, the Rand cult in effect preached something totally different. The Rand cult was concerned not with every man's individuality, but only with Rand's individuality, not with everyone's right reason but only with Rand's reason. The only individuality that flowered to the extent of blotting out all others, was Ayn Rand's herself; everyone else was to become a cipher subject to Rand's mind and will.”

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In The Rays and the Initiations (published posthumously in 1960), Alice Bailey outlines the New Age rationale for expulsion of old ideas and institutions, and those who adhere to them. She singles out the French Kings, significant because socialism was first institutionalized in the French Revolution roughly following the blueprint of Rousseau. She singles out the Jews and Israel for vituperation, attributing to them the “supreme evil” of “separativeness”.
Alice Bailey

[...] The entrance for what might be regarded as cosmic evil was first opened in the decadent days of the Roman Empire (which was one reason why the Christ chose to manifest in those days), was opened wider under the corrupt regime of the Kings of France and, in our own day, has been opened still wider by evil men in every land.

Remember that the evil to which I refer here is not necessarily the foul and vile things about which people speak with bated breath. These are largely curable and the processes of incarnation eventually purify them. The true nature of cosmic evil finds its major expression in wrong thinking, false values and the supreme evil of materialistic selfishness and the sense of isolated separativeness. These (to speak again in symbols) are the weights which keep the door of evil open and which precipitated upon the world the horrors of war, with all its attendant disasters.

The realization of what was happening did more temporarily to unify the world and heal the cleavages among nations than any other thing. The nations of the world allied themselves with the Forces of Light to a very large extent, and little by little, cosmic evil was forced back and the door which "conceals the place of endless death and hides the countenances of the Lords of wicked pride and hateful lust" was partially closed, but not entirely shut; its final closing and sealing is not yet accomplished.

There are certain areas of evil in the world today through which these forces of darkness can reach humanity. What they are and where they are I do not intend to say. I would point out, however, that Palestine should no longer be called the Holy Land; its sacred places are only the passing relics of three dead and gone religions. The spirit has gone out of the old faiths and the true spiritual light is transferring itself into a new form which will manifest on earth eventually as the new world religion. To this form all that is true and right and good in the old forms will contribute, for the forces of right will withdraw that good, and incorporate it in the new form. Judaism is old, obsolete and separative and has no true message for the spiritually-minded which cannot be better given by the newer faiths; the Moslem faith has served its purpose and all true Moslems await the coming of the Imam Mahdi who will lead them to light and to spiritual victory; the Christian faith also has served its purpose; its Founder seeks to bring a new Gospel and a new message that will enlighten all men everywhere. Therefore, Jerusalem stands for nothing of importance today, except for that which has passed away and should pass away. The "Holy Land" is no longer holy, but is desecrated by selfish interests, and by a basically separative and conquering nation.

Earlier, on p.716, Bailey says “Since its [‘Shamballa’ divine will's] impact during the past few years, human thinking has been more concerned with the production of unity and the attainment of synthesis in all human relations than ever before, and one result of this energy has been the forming of the United Nations.” Thus Bailey saw the United Nations as a divinely inspired beacon of the New Age.

Barbara Marx Hubbard
Barbara Marx Hubbard (1929-) is a current leader in the New Age community. By her account, an encounter with techno-Edenist Buckminster Fuller spurred her to begin her active foray into New Age. (She is no relation to L. Ron Hubbard.) She is heiress to the fortune of toy tycoon Louis Marx, whose firm was in 1950 the world's largest toy manufacturer. Louis Marx's foolish philosophy was that there are no new toys, only “old toys with a new twist”. And so it goes with his daughter. In The Book of Co-Creation (1980) and The Apple of Eden's Eye, Hubbard revisits Bailey's theme of condemning old ideas and their adherents, adding the new twist of explicit genocide to purge intractable individuals. In an infamous passage in The Book of Co-Creation (p.59 in the original 1980 edition), she explains:

Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is electing to transcend . . . One-fourth is resistant to election. They are unattracted by life ever-evolving . . . . Now, as we approach the quantum shift from creature-human to co-creative human . . . the destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body . . . . Fortunately you, dearly beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God's selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death.

Hubbard has been active in politics for years. In The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium, Hubbard describes a 1952 visit with her father to one of his personal friends — a freshly elected President Eisenhower in the Oval Office (Eisenhower didn't occupy the office until 1953-Jan-20, so she remembers the year wrong). She asked Eisenhower her recurrent question, “What is the purpose of our power?”, and was appalled that his answer was simply “I don't know.” (Hubbard is obsessed with social power.) As an activist, her political involvement has been with the left wing of the Democratic party. In a 2002-Nov interview in The Spirit of Ma'at magazine, Hubbard said of Dennis Kucinich, “He's fabulous. He is the head of the Democratic Progressive Caucus. He believes in the spirit of America and the wholeness of our people.” Later in the interview, Hubbard in fact spells out many of the principles and dynamics that deeply underly the Edenic cargo cult. She says “Sometimes I wake up with a sense of deep depression where I feel so much gravity and sorrow for the pain of the whole world that I can hardly move.” Then she articulates the myth of the noble savage, in orthodox Rousseauian terms: “Well, we know that for hundreds of thousands of years we humans lived in egalitarian tribes. There was no mass violence. They weren't totally gentle, but there was no sign of war or weapons. There were the wonderful goddess cultures like those of Crete, where there were no signs of weapons whatsoever. Then agricultural surplus was achieved. And with surplus came masters and slaves and armies and, ultimately, mass destruction.” (This is mostly bunk.) Later she reveals a fanatical strain of cargo cultism: “I feel that we can achieve, in critical mass, a consciousness shift that will accelerate the positive within our lifetime. It doesn't take everyone to change a world. For example, the Transcendental Meditation people say that the square root of one percent doing TM can shift the field of consciousness of a whole city. Other people have been looking at the phenomenon of mass resonance.”

Hubbard is a neo-Lamarckian eugenicalist, as she sets out in detail in Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential (1998). She introduces the book with this passage:

Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential is an early effort to respond to the immense challenge and opportunity of our age. It sets forth a vision of the vast transformational enterprise of the next millenium, and it seeks to discover the design of evolution inherent in all nature with which we can consciously cooperate to guide our actions. It is a design of how a planet makes it transition from its high-technology, polluting, and overpopulating phase to a system that fulfills its collective potential. It reveals a spirit-motivated plan of action based on the patterns of evolutionary success and suggests how we can ease the transition by identifying key ideas, processes, people, and activities now fulfilling elements of this design.

Conscious Evolution carries us beyond the human potential movement toward the social potential movement and describes a new social architecture to enhance and connect social innovations now evolving our world. Conscious Evolution identifies, out of the breakdowns in modern society, systemic breakthroughs demonstrating that we are in the midst of a positive quantum change — a metamorphosis of humanity.

In the above-mentioned 2002 interview, she explains, “I believe we were genetically selected early on for our ability to cooperate instead of destroy each other. So my theory here is that as the species now seems to be hitting the possibility of mass destruction, we're going to reactivate some of our genetic coding and begin to cooperate in more egalitarian ways. [...] where I live [southern California] we have created a Conscious Evolution Community that gathers together. We have a council and educational programs, and we're creating a small city/state environment where there is democracy to some degree. Everyone has to participate.” This is a novel take, in which the expected genetic mutation is atavistic, and in which the mechanism whereby the mutation is caused is communitarian (Rousseauian democracy).

Hubbard's “Foundation for Conscious Evolution” in Santa Barbara was financed, at least in part, by billionaire Laurance S. Rockefeller (1910-2004), until his death one of the two living “Fortunate Five” sons of John D. Rockefeller Jr. LSR was introduced above as a seminal environmentalist. Junior, for his part, was a major underwriter of the development of eugenics in the lead-up to World War Two, as already mentioned above.

George Felos, the attorney who masterminded the legal campaign to euthanize Terri Schiavo/Schindler (culminating in March 2005), is a prominent adherent of Hubbard's doctrine. He published a book describing his adaptation of it to his purposes, Litigation as Spiritual Practice (Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2002). Writing in National Review (“Odd Felos”, 2005-Mar-30), Eric Pfeiffer explains: “Felos describes his spiritual beliefs as syncretistic religion, mixing elements of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Native American ceremonial practices. In Litigation as Spiritual Practice's introduction, he declares, ‘evolution of consciousness is our ultimate salvation.’”

Rupert Sheldrake
The foremost proponent of New Age neo-Lamarckism is Rupert Sheldrake, with his “morphogenetic field” theory. Sheldrake was also funded in part by Laurance Rockefeller. His pseudoscience is a radical, paranormal flavor of monism:

The Hypothesis of Formative Causation states that the forms of self-organizing systems are shaped by morphic fields. Morphic fields organize atoms, molecules, crystals, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, societies, ecosystems, planetary systems, solar systems, galaxies. In other words, they organize systems at all levels of complexity, and are the basis for the wholeness that we observe in nature, which is more than the sum of the parts. For a more formal definition of morphic fields, see the Glossary.

According to the Hypothesis of Formative Causation, morphic fields also contain an inherent memory given by the process of morphic resonance, whereby each kind of thing has a collective memory. For example, crystals of a given kind are influenced by all past crystals of that kind, date palms by past date palms, giraffes by past giraffes, etc. In the human realm this is similar to Jung's theory of the collective unconscious. For morphic resonance see Glossary.

In the realm of developmental biology the morphic fields that shape the growing organisms are called morphogenetic fields; in social organization they can be called social fields; and the organization of mental activity they can be called mental fields. But all these kinds of fields are particular kinds of morphic fields, and all are shaped and stabilized by morphic resonance. For a fuller description of the Hypothesis of Formative Causation see my books A New Science of Life, which is quite brief and somewhat technical, or my book The Presence of the Past, which is longer, but less technical, and more complete.

Like Hubbard, Sheldrake is an ardent proponent of paranormal critical mass phenomena.

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Benjamin Creme
Most New Age adherents believe there is a single, grand unified deity with total power and perfect wisdom, akin to the patriarch of Eden, though they seldom show any trace of awareness of the conceptual lineage. They call this deity “Maitreya”, after Maitreya Buddha — the future Buddha, i.e. the Buddhist messiah. The New Age Maitreya unifies all mythological messianic figures, including those of the three main Abrahamic faiths, the avatar of Vishnu (Hindu messiah), Saoshyant in Zoroastrianism, etc. Enter Share International, and Benjamin Creme, the noodle behind it. In a 2001 interview, Creme described his vision (translated from the German, which is itself probably translated from English): “Co-operation replaces competition. Nations will no longer fight each other, but co-operate for the well-being of all. In addition we must free ourselves from the chains of market forces and commercialization, which call Maitreya a force of the devil, because they are denying its actual significance to the living.” Obviously, Creme's racket is simply authoritarian socialism dressed up with a heap of occultic jibberish.

Share International's introduction to Maitreya makes it explicitly clear that they are globalist socialists. In fact, the second paragraph in the below excerpt is simply a regurgitation of Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (until 2004, Share International was an accredited NGO at the UN).

At this time of great political, economic and social crisis Maitreya will inspire humanity to see itself as one family, and create a civilization based on sharing, economic and social justice, and global cooperation.

He will launch a call to action to save the millions of people who starve to death every year in a world of plenty. Among Maitreya's recommendations will be a shift in social priorities so that adequate food, housing, clothing, education, and medical care become universal rights.

Here is an excerpt from Share International's explanation of Transmission Meditation, a central feature of their ideology (and patent cargo cult science):

Transmission Meditation is a group service activity which 'steps down' the great spiritual energies that continually stream into our planet. During transmission, the Masters of Wisdom direct these energies from the spiritual planes through the energy centers (chakras) of the group members in a highly scientific manner. This process, which makes the energies more useful to humanity and the other kingdoms in nature, is similar to that of electrical transformers, which step down the power between generators and household outlets.

Based on their wise understanding of our world, the Masters re-direct these stepped-down energies to wherever they are most needed at that moment in time. In response to these energies, for example, nations that have been enemies for centuries may now find they can talk together around a table and peacefully work out solutions.

Transmission Meditation is safe, scientific, non-denominational, and extremely potent. It will not interfere with any other religious or spiritual practice. In fact it will enhance your personal meditation and any other service activities in which you may be engaged. Many people find they can experience and demonstrate love more easily. Others report that their mind is more stimulated and creative. Some people receive healing, spontaneously, during the transmissions.

There are more than 600 Transmission groups in 40 countries worldwide meeting on a regular basis. [...]

In other introductory material, they explain:

In recent years, information about Maitreya's emergence has come primarily from Benjamin Creme, a British artist and author who has been speaking and writing about this event since 1974. According to Creme, Maitreya descended in July 1977 from his ancient retreat in the Himalayas and took up residence in the Indian-Pakistani community of London. He has been living and working there, seemingly as an ordinary man, his true status known to relatively few. [...]

Wikipedia explains: “Maitreya will make himself known to the world if enough people request this. This will be accomplished through Transmission Meditation.” A cargo cult indeed.

Creme claims to be channeling “Tibetan Masters”. In a compilation of his purported channellings, he fills out this picture with a bevy of Edenic cargo cult promises. Under “Death” he promises eternal life through remembered reincarnation. Under “Health” he promises “use of the Technology [of Light]” will let people “undergo treatment within hours for even the most serious conditions”. Under “Time”, he again promises immortality, saying “When humanity is One, in fact and in truth, Time will disappear.”. And under “United Nations”, he promise simply that “The United Nations will become the most powerful political force in the world. It will be the agency through which all major international problems will be resolved.”.

The Tibetan Masters of Creme are the same ones that National Socialist occult ideology speaks of, and which prompted the German expeditions to the Himalayas during the rule of Hitler. National Socialist occult figures encouraged the premise that Hitler was Maitreya, and Hitler for his part kept a copy of Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine by his bedside. The National Socialist occultists chose the swastika as their emblem because it is a symbol of strength (literally, “swastika” is Sanskrit for “well-being”) in Indic religious symbology — often adorning the chests of Siva and Buddha in ancient and modern renderings. IndiaProfile.com explains “It is regarded as the symbol of esoteric Buddhism and the mark of a perfectly evolved being whose soul (or spirit) has entered Nirvana or liberation from the world of matter. [...] The Third Reich was first of all an ‘occult’ order, its underlying motive being the achievement of human perfection through the destruction of the old decadent order; to create a new dimension in human potentiality; an evolutionary process.” Obviously, German National Socialist religion is simply New Age, complete with the genocidal trimmings.


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Returning to Eden
Table of Contents
1. Preface and Overview
2. Ancient Roots
3. Biblical Chapter and Verse
4. The Eden Motif
5. Cargo Cultism
6. Herding People, Culling the Herd
7. Egalitarianism
8. Keeping Eden Green
9. Progenitors of Edenism
10. Occult Edenism