Shared Understanding

This article describes, in outline, my learning journey over the last 9 years. While this is a synthesis of my personal learning and living experiences, my expanded awareness and understanding suggest that these are reflections of universal law in action.

My learning experience is confirmed and reinforced by observations of others and a growing awareness that a shared understanding of our historic and current reality is gaining traction across the world. In Critical Thinking we described this phenomenon as resonance: See Section 5 in Reform Proposals in the Monetary System for Attaining Global Economic Stability. It is the ideas themselves that resonate, irrespective that some people express these in ways that reflect ideological bias or egocentric interpretation.

First observation: learning is integral to, and essential for, a satisfying life, as are strong personal relationships and those developed through collaborative research.

Collaborative research is the only way we can escape our current predicament: we are farmed as human cattle. See the final iteration of Critical Thinking’s analysis described in a two part video.

In that analysis, How We Live, we reveal how three foundational flaws in the current political economy are the means by which we are farmed: institutional hierarchy, theft of the commons and usury. However, these flaws can be easily eliminated or rendered impotent through a resonating, shared understanding of the world. Once such an understanding of reality takes root among enough people (it doesn’t require a “mass movement” but a distributed network of understanding), a new political economy, without these three flaws, will emerge to eclipse the current abusive and destructive system, rendering it obsolete. See 5.1 Network Effect in COVID-19: Plunder and Population Reduction – Structural Violence in 2020.

Second observation: Learning is not a competition.

In both Gulag Academia and CoCreative Learning, we explain how, over centuries and our lifetimes, we’ve been trained to compete. From the time we enter school, we are tested, graded and sorted in a way that determines our “use” or value to the political economy. We are kept ignorant of our true condition unless we decide to educate ourselves independently of public and private education systems.

My “awakening” had been underway, since I first came across information that rendered the official, “authorised” narrative of the demolition of three World Trade Centre buildings in New York and the massive explosion at the Pentagon in Washington, on 11th September 2001, implausible at best but in reality, impossible.

Subsequent exploration of:

  • the man-made global warming narrative;
  • the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis;
  • and the banking and monetary system;

suggested overwhelming forces at play. An overarching power instigated the attacks in September 2001, global warming hysteria and the global financial crisis. All three appeared to be related to the creation and control of money.

Having come to that conclusion, I decided that there was little I could do about it, particularly as, most people and “authority” remained wilfully oblivious to the numerous contradictions and the scale of misinformation contained in all three narratives. The “big lie” theory seemed to be holding fast – the bigger the lie, the more the majority are convinced of its veracity. Over our lifetimes, we’ve been subjected to so many lies and misdirections, that our perceptions rarely reflect reality. Our world views, in the main, are built on foundations of sand.

However, the extent of my ignorance didn’t begin to dawn on me until the start of Critical Thinking in January 2012. Critical Thinking came out of Occupy St Paul’s and Tent City University. From these came the establishment of the Free University following two meetings of about 30 people, including activists and many academics. Critical Thinking was one of the first “courses” launched under the Free University banner and it continued for a further 8 years. Occupy was a visible sign of resistance to the current political economy that lasted only a few months but many initiatives to which it gave birth, including Critical Thinking, survived and thrived.

Critical thinking, according to most people’s understanding, is based on rational, deductive logic.

A prerequisite for critical thinking is learning how to “unlearn”. To continue the analogy of our world views or understanding built on foundations of sand, we cannot hope to advance our understanding or learning by relying on what we already “know” because so much of that knowledge has no foundation is reality. In short, we have to abandon all our preconceptions and trained dialectics (binary propositions such as true/false, right/wrong, left/right etc.) and start our learning afresh. In other words, we have to assume that most of what we think we know is wrong because we lack context. This is explained more fully in Gulag Academia and CoCreative Learning, referenced above.

The real key to learning is co-creative research and analysis as described in CoCreative Learning. Self-organising, collaborative learning is important because the principles and process guide and accelerate our learning in optimal fashion, leading to a rapid expansion of understanding. This understanding provides context for every issue and event, i.e. the foundation for world views and perceptions that match reality. If more people arrive at the same or similar conclusions, we are on the road to a global, shared understanding.

In the second paragraph of this article, I refer to resonance which is not just a mechanical process; there is something deeper at play. I refer to this as universal consciousness and universal law. A recent article, Universal Law, attempts to unpack these terms in order to convey their importance in our daily lives.

Third observation: rational, deductive logic is not sufficient to understand our predicament

Limiting ourselves to rational, deductive logic blinds us to the much wider significance and context of universal consciousness. Our capacity for intuitive reasoning is woefully under-rated and we’ve been trained not to trust our intuition when dealing with serious topics such as political economy or challenging “authority”, albeit that we refer to political or market instincts. In truth, intuition is every bit as powerful as logic and, arguably, much more so because intuition can be turbocharged through awareness of universal consciousness.

Fourth observation: we can only tap into universal consciousness, if we are open to the idea of esoteric knowledge having value/power.

The following quotation is taken from a Critical Thinking Daily Pickings article written about 4 years ago: Full of our own opinions

…a tale is told of a University professor who visits Nan-in, a Japanese Zen master. The professor says he wants to learn about Zen, but is filled with his own knowledge and opinions. Nan-in pours tea into his cup and does not stop so that it begins to overflow.

“What are you doing? It is overfull. No more will go in!” yells the Professor. “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

After Critical Thinking’s final analysis was published in October 2019, I began to build on my then, only recent, preliminary exploration of esoteric knowledge as explained in this article, Higher truth.

I embraced the idea that the Tarot is a book of learning of limitless potential and, informed by related Hermetic and other teachings, have felt both the potential and reality of its power. However, this only confirmed the sense, which has grown ever stronger over recent years, that my life and my work is “guided”, by others certainly but more significantly by unseen forces, i.e. universal consciousness

Fifth observation: Life is full of competing imperatives that can only be reconciled through balance.

Life is a game but not in a frivolous sense. The game is multidimensional and complex. The fundamental rules are simple and explained in the recent article on Universal Law. In essence, do no harm and treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. However, as in all games, the rules tell us little of how to apply them in practice nor do they provide strategies for success in a political and economic structure which runs counter to the rules.

In game play, we learn from experience and our competence improves with practice – significantly, it is the games we lose that teach us most. Fortunately, we can refer to others’ experiences and wisdom over millennia in order to create our own strategies for success in this life. What follows is wisdom I’ve gleaned thus far from others, reinforced by experience.

Esoteric knowledge and specifically the Tarot teaches us about balance, referred to in Chinese philosophy as yin/yang – the balance between light and dark or full and empty. People often refer to good and evil but these terms often convey the impression of a war between them whereas they are two inevitable and complimentary facets of life. It is possibly more useful to think in terms of positive and negative outcomes because then we begin to see that each often lead to the other. Alan Watts relates the story of the Chinese farmer to illustrate that what can be perceived as good can lead to something bad. Similarly, something bad often gives rise to good.

In the West, society tends to think in terms of absolutes. We often talk of right and wrong but life is infinitely more nuanced and is full of ambiguities that need to be reconciled. Hierarchical institutions, such as the law, deal in binary propositions and absolute judgements; we are judged innocent or guilty, right or wrong but rarely is life so simple because there is a much wider context to everything.

We are also inclined, through conditioning, to believe in absolute safety – that somehow laws, rules and regulations will protect us from harm whereas, in reality, we’re being “protected” from having to make strategic and tactical judgements in the game of life by abdicating responsibility for ourselves and each other to a system controlled by those driven by self-interest. Rather than being protected, we’ve allowed ourselves to be domesticated as human cattle.

Sixth observation: life and learning have a rhythm

There is a natural a rhythm to life and learning – we are beings of frequency or vibration within an electric universe. However, we are trained to do things as quickly as possible. Educational tests and exams are timed while working life is full of deadlines and goals to be achieved within a given time span. When we let go of time, in the sense of trusting universal consciousness, we often find that the timing of actions or events flows more easily and the outcomes tend to be more satisfying and durable than when approached in haste. Learning too has a natural rhythm and works best when allowed to evolve at its own pace.

The game of life is full of apparent paradoxes. We need to accept these as fact and understand that absolutes do not govern real life. That we live in a dystopian system is clear but utopia or a perfect, risk-free existence is neither possible (in this dimension) nor desirable. We learn from adversity. However, by operating (as far as we are practically able within the current system) in accordance with universal law, we can seek balance in our own lives and for the benefit of others.

While this may sound simple, in application it is far more tricky. There are numerous impediments (structural incentives and penalties) to abiding by and applying universal law. Simply to live, we have to compromise within a structure that is diametrically opposed to universal law and which leaves limited scope to survive and operate without suffering and perpetuating its corrosive and abusive effects. For example, many involved in alternative media espouse anti-authoritarian credentials and challenge corporate models of media supported by advertising and big business. Nonetheless, they remain trapped within the competitive paradigm, irrespective that they may use alternative or independent reward systems, eg. crypto-currencies etc. Even if they rely only on donations and/or subscriptions, they are competing for clicks, hits and popularity and, as such, remain captive to the structure of the current, competitive political economy. Tricky huh?

Fortunately, this is where esoteric teaching begins to show us how to navigate this seemingly impossible route to a more satisfying life in accordance with universal law.

In essence, we are in a war between universal law and ego or self (selfishness); as long as we need recognition or reward from popularity, we are incentivised to compete. This puts us in direct conflict with our long term self-interest. However, these incentives are somewhat illusory and if, rather than competing, we adopt a more selfless approach to life, without fear, we find that somehow, we are “looked after”. By approaching learning and life with humility and generosity to others, we are rewarded both physically and intangibly in terms of mental, emotional and spiritual growth.

Amidst my exploration into esoteric knowledge, I delved into Linda Goodman’s Star Signs and one practical recommendation she makes seems to work for me. As for most people, having enough money to live has been a constant challenge but I’ve long had the sense that come what may, I will survive, irrespective that often the future may seem financially bleak. Linda suggests that once you’ve covered the basic costs of living, i.e. necessities, if you receive money, particularly unexpectedly, give half of it away. She describes this as a rule: that you will be rewarded many times over. I can only report that since I’ve become less “careful” with money, giving it to people living on the street etc., I’ve become even less concerned about financial security because something always seems to turn up when needed.

Similarly, humility in learning and life seems to pay bounteous dividends. In Critical Thinking we adopted the following motto:

Again, I can only report my own experience of Critical Thinking and beyond: my understanding has expanded beyond all my most optimistic expectations – it’s almost as if, by letting go of ego, a flood of positive benefits emerge. Humility is also related to fear; when we understand there is nothing to fear in the game of life, it is so much easier to let go of ego which has benefits well beyond learning. One’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being is greatly enhanced while relationships grow ever stronger.

In summary, the key seems to be to trust in universal consciousness and others but a caveat or word of caution is required. In the main, people are well intentioned but there are exceptions. Humility is all very well in general but if you’re in an abusive relationship or dealing with “authority”, humility is much less useful and is potentially damaging. Don’t confuse humility with weakness.

Get Stronger Boundaries – Your Moral Philosophy Will Protect You

In the Tarot’s major arcana (22 cards), the first and last cards are the Magician (le Bateleur) and the Fool (le Fou). We can aspire to be the Magician but once we claim to be the Magician, we become the Fool. Similarly, by assuming the role of the Fool who knows nothing, we can become the Magician – another paradox. My exploration of the Tarot has been helped by Oswald Wirth’s Tarot of the Magicians.

Update* – Ciaran, who edited the last four papers we published, sent me this today, 30th July 2020; the words of Seth relayed by Jane Roberts:

“Physical existence is sacred and good. There is nothing wrong with it. Atoms and molecules, they are holy. Your consciousness is holy and so is your little toe.
You can aspire. You must aspire for that is within you. But All That Is, is now within you. You do not have to traverse worlds, you do not have to meet hopeless little gods at doorways to let you know whether or not you can enter or follow through on tests as some psychics tell you. You do not have to take upon yourselves definite rituals. You have only to look within yourself for the source of exaltation, creativity and song.” – TECS4 ESP Class Session, July 6, 1971

Learning from esoteric knowledge is very much a personal journey and there is no HOWTO or manual but we can be guided by others. Mark Passio is not “everybody’s cup of tea” but some of his videos provide a good foundation on which to build. Santos Bonacci is another useful source of wisdom on esoteric knowledge. My advice to anyone interested in the esoteric is to read and learn from a wide variety of sources and follow the path that appeals the most. I chose the Tarot but in the context of many other sources. Manly P Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages is not a bad place to start.

What I’ve attempted to describe is my personal evolution from ignorance to a state of being open to learning – this is the first stage of learning and, in time, what I’ve learned to date may well be negated by what I learn in future. However, thus far, co-creative exploration and being open to ideas has served me well. I retain the tentative conviction that evolution of the self, through co-creative learning, is gaining momentum and will result in the evolution of global society from a competitive into a collaborative paradigm.

The practical means by which this can be achieved are described in our latest paper, COVID19: Plunder and Population Reduction – Structural Violence in 2020.