Lady in the Water brings the best of New Age

Lady in the Water is one of my favorite M. Night Shyamalan movies. Adapted from a bedtime story he created for his children, the movie flopped in American theaters, and Michael Bamberger subsequently argued in his book, The Man Who Heard Voices, that Shyamalan gambled his career on a fairy tale and lost.

Despite this, Lady in the Water is a very rewarding film and was unfairly panned by the film community. The story has a great deal of spirituality and philosophy to it. I’ll avoid repeating the story at length here, as you can read it on the IMDb website (or watch it for the first time perhaps), but it begins with a tale of how, in the distant past, the human race was inspired by beings that served as moral guardians and muses to humankind.

Shyamalan’s movies are often billed incorrectly and suffer upon release as a result. The Village was marketed as a scary movie, but was not strictly a horror flick. The Village is also worth watching, but audiences did not get what was promised by the previews, and it was underwhelming for the film community in general. The same could be said with The Happening, but I quite enjoyed the movie: it was a fairly original concept for a horror film. And despite the criticism of some that The Happening offered a ridiculous concept of plant vs human warfare, the concept of plant pheromone defenses and the evolution of toxins are well-established ones in biology. It is, in fact, not such a ridiculous concept for a horror film, which also contained a message about humankind’s relationship to the planet. However, the end of The Happening does come off as a little preachy, and audiences felt bludgeoned over the head with the moral of the tale.

Lady in the Water also takes on notions of human civilization, and harkens back to Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael that humans have somehow lost a vital part of themselves through civilization and its ideology of progress. Krishnamurti once observed, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” M. Night Shyamalan evokes this same sentiment with Lady in the Water. The themes contained in the film seem unappreciated by both audiences and critics alike. This is typical for films that question the core of what we consider to be the merits of our civilization and of modern technology. The re-make of The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves is another solid film that was largely unsuccessful because of its strong overtones of criticism for the so-called vaulted successes of technological progress and modern Capitalist globalism.

Aside from these points, there is also a clear line of spirituality in the film, which is the real purpose of this article. In the film, no one destined to help the Narfs actually knows who they are or what they are meant to do, yet they must discover these things for themselves. This falls into line with concepts of new-age spirituality that the meaning of life is realized through creating our identity and by having meaningful relationships with others. A self-chosen goal is no less meaningful than an assigned one. Life may not actually have any inherent meaning, but that does not detract from the fact that even if we assign some meaning to our lives, our choice is meaningful in itself.

As the current Dalai Lama suggested, the greatest purpose of life is to “try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.” It has also been said that “the Earth says much to those who listen.” Isn’t that what Shyamalan is suggesting with this story? That the universe has wisdom if one simply pays attention? Couldn’t it be said that our great philosophers and thinkers promoted a meaningful system of truth through pondering the meanings of the observable cosmos?

Lady in the Water carries a message that doesn’t often resonate in American society: that for all of our success, we are still remarkably unadvanced as a civilization. The fact that the world population increases even as 40,000 humans starve to death every day is a symptom of a people who have not fully realized the value of life yet. That we ignore the value of life among non-human species is another sign of our miserable values. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer once said, “Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” That humans spend so much capital to constantly prepare for war due to geo-political differences is also a symptom of a dysfunctional civilization. Hadn’t Socrates been correct when he claimed that he was a citizen of the world, and not just of Athens?

Carl Sagan also saw the truth in this statement. He implored humankind with his famous declaration about the rarity of life in the cosmos and that the insignificance of the “little blue dot” of Earth calls on humans to step back from the precipice of destruction and realize that all life ought to be valued, if only by virtue of its rarity in the universe.

Shyamalan has created a beautiful allegory in this film: a writer of great wisdom who would knowingly sacrifice his own life for the betterment of mankind. A world in which each person has a special role that they have to discover for themselves, and through it, they can fulfill an important role for society. Isn’t this the same as believing that every person has a talent to offer the world and that they will find their greatest joy in employing it to the betterment of mankind? Isn’t it a greater thing to leave the Earth better than how you found it and not to quantify your worth as merely the numerical quantity of how much money you earned? Is it not better to give yourself freely in your relationships and be a valuable friend, parent, sibling, or lover, and to make a difference in the lives you touch?

The greatest thing one can do with his life is to create something that will outlast it. Whether this is raising children or creating something that will live on after death does not devalue the significance of the contribution. You are here because of the collected toil of your ancestors in an unbroken line back to the origin of life on this planet. You may see signs of obvious effort from your parents and grandparents to provide you with opportunities for success and happiness greater than what they had. If you cannot see such effort in your upbringing, perhaps you can break the cycle and offer such love to your own children.

Bruce Lee once said, “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” It is a truly unfortunate soul who finds himself without any talent to enrich his life and the world. I’d like to believe that we all have something we’re good at; it would be a great thing if we created a society where people could develop talents that enrich the world rather than merely accept it and its machinations of dull work without any meaningful sense of contribution. All great writers, poets, and thinkers have toiled in deprivation as they explored great ideas and created works of art while trying to “make a living.”

Art has much to offer humankind; humans are innate storytellers. We have always had our stories; self-expression provides a meaningful outlet for human values which can enrich our awareness for the gift of being alive. Life may not be perfect for anyone, but it is not to be wasted. Each of our births was an unlikely event. Had only one of your ancestors died from warfare, disease, or drudgery before they had a chance at having children, your existence would never have been, and the world would not have missed you.

Be grateful for your chance at life. We may not all receive the same comforts and privileges. Most of us do not have a trust fund and cannot go to Ivy League schools like Harvard or Yale, yet we can still attempt to live a life of meaning, and contribute positively to the happiness of others. To make the world better for others ought to be a common value for everyone. That we have a society that equates success to gross salary of fiat money is one of the greatest sicknesses of our society. Though it is understandable that our parents want us to be financially secure, the greatest accomplishments are made by those who risked their own comfort by daring to pursue their dreams and aspirations over the comforts of material success.

© David Metcalf

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Generating a Core Values List

I recently bought some books on journaling looking for ideas on things to write about in my electronic journal. Journaling is something I do when I have a spare moment between full time grad school and a weekend job. It was also once a useful trick when I worked as a substitute teacher because when a day was slow with nothing to do, I could write a journal entry in class and the students would assume that I was writing a report for the teacher (mostly this worked for days when all the classes were watching videos for the day, or had individual assignments to work on quietly).

A recommendation from Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner is to generate a “core values list” and narrow it down as much as possible. This is good advice, and I decided to share it with my blog. If you already journal, or you’re looking to start, I think a good topic to begin with would be to create a list of core values that you hope to practice to the best of your abilities. It doesn’t mean that you will always succeed, but it does create a sense of what’s important to you and helps you identify who it is that you want to be in life.

I will provide a list of some of my core values because I had fun doing this.

Tao of the Sage

  1. Accept every person as they are: travelers on their own journey.
  2. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, no exceptions.
  3. Have gratitude for all that you have, and for all the people who have supported you and been your friend.
  4. Accept your mortality as a fact of life, and live each day with no presumed promise of the next.
  5. Forgive those who wrong you or speak ill of you, for your sake if not for theirs.
  6. Accept uncertainty and doubt as a basic component of all beliefs, but to seek to understand the world, other people, and your own beliefs as best as you can.
  7. Accept that there may be a pantheistic, Einsteinian God, while having awareness that there might not be any higher intelligence to the universe, and live life with this realization in mind.
  8. Know that everyone, even yourself, is capable of great heroism and horrific cruelty in every moment of his or her existence, and all other actions in the continuum between the two.

Most Importantly:

Nemo mortalum omnibus horis sabit.  “No mortal is wise at all times.”

Put simply: always do your best; expect to fail, but never surrender.

When you complete your list, narrow it down to your best items (my original list had 16 items), and print them out in order to post them somewhere in your home.  I recently purchased an 8″ by 11″ frame so that I could post mine in my apartment.
This is the final printout.  It's already framed but already I need to re-print because I'm tweaking the phrasing.  You'll spot some slight differences between the list in the blog versus this pic.  That's because I believe very much in precision of language (except not in the sense of the term used in "The Giver).

This is the final printout. It’s already framed but already I need to re-print because I’m tweaking the phrasing. You’ll spot some slight differences between the list in the blog versus this pic. That’s because I believe very much in precision of language (except not in the sense of the term used in “The Giver).

This is where my Core Values list is currently displayed.  Pictured here is my guitar and a picture of my father, circa 1973.

This is where my Core Values list is currently displayed. Pictured here is my guitar and a picture of my father, circa 1973.

© David Metcalf

The Rite: Propaganda at its Finest

The Rite is another movie in a long series of the everything ever conceived by the Catholic Church is absolutely true genre that would have us clutching religion for salvation. I have to admit, it is a very effective piece of propaganda. The words Based on True Events usher in the movie where we find that after nearly completing seminary school, the young Michael Kovak has apparently lost his faith. Excelling in psychology, he views religion as a false answer to people’s qualms about death.

Clever to use a skeptic to be the protagonist, as Kovak will learn through the tutelage of Father Lucas Trevant (played by Anthony Hopkins) that Satan is, in fact, very real and counts on our ignorance or lack of belief in Him as being his strongest power for deceiving wayward souls. Kovak is seemingly rational as he disputes the evidence of demonic possession in Rome as a first-hand witness to Father Trevant’s “client roster”.

If you actually believed that this movie was a literal transcription of true events, then you would probably be scared shitless that you might be possessed in your sleep tonight. If you somehow suspect that Hollywood has resorted to a little artistic flourish in dramatizing these events (replete with movie make-up effects and all), then you’ll doubt the accuracy of the movie entirely—as I do.

But I’m not going to approach this problem from a purely atheistic perspective, mostly because I’m a pantheist. But let’s grant monotheism for a moment. So there’s God: loving, all-powerful, all knowing. . . If Christian’s grant this, then the idea of Satan falls flat. Why would an all powerful God allow Satan to exist throughout time to tempt weak souls? Why would a loving God allow souls to be tormented for all time in Hell? Why should we suppose that an omnipotent God would allow his anti-thetical opponent to battle him for all ages for the claim of human (or alien) souls?

The answer is, he wouldn’t. A loving God could not refuse entrance to any dead person wanting to be in Heaven, if it meant that person would go straight to Hell. It’s simply not possible to be the perfect manifestation of love and then condemn people through their unworthiness to unimaginable, unendurable, and unending suffering in some plane of existence. Maybe a sadistic God of the Hebrew Bible would allow this to happen. But the God of Christ would not allow such thing, should he be loving as so many followers of Christ insist he is.

Then there is the all powerful problem. If God is all powerful, then why should he even allow Lucifer to persist in tempting souls? Why not just destroy him? God’s all powerful, but he won’t smote the most crucial enemy of his whole plan? He’ll just let this Fallen Angel doom many of God’s flock to unending torment and suffering?

These are just inconsistencies of the Christian notion of God which allow for Satan. It simply doesn’t make sense. Let’s employ the great Ockham’s Razor here. Let’s do it as a theist or agnostic even. . .

Is it more likely that a loving, all-powerful God wants humans to go to Heaven but has decided not to use his power or immense love to save humanity from the grips of Satan? Or is it more likely that Satan is one of the most effective recruiting tools in the employ of the Christian churches in scaring people into believing in God and whatever the church tells you to believe?

*Side note, God is all-powerful and omniscient, but he’s no good with money. Can do anything he wants but doesn’t know what to do with a dollar bill. That’s why you have to give so much to your churches (tax free income for them, of course).

And, yes, I stole that joke from the great George Carlin.

Yes, Satan is a powerful recruiting tool when you are a child being compulsed into going to church to hear sermons of a fire-and-brimstone Hell ruled by Satan and the suffering souls of people who made the wrong choice with their Free Will.

Never mind that Free Will is a farce if there is only one decision you can make that God will accept. What choice is there in living 80 years as you like if you suffer eternity in Hell because God gave only a couple right answers and a billion wrong ones to the multiple-choice question of what to do with your life?

No, I don’t believe in Satan, and have far different notions about God(far removed from the one that Christians are so adamant that they believe in). Pantheism is both a difficult and simple concept all at once. Does it allow for some singularity-type consciousness in the Universe? Maybe. Does it transcend the Universe or is it imbued into it? Hard to say. I’m not going to use this entry to outline Pantheism here. I just want to outline that I don’t take the “evidence” that The Rite displays as evidence for Satan. More likely, it just shows how a lot of people (both possessed and ordained) are seeing and believing things that they want to believe.

I’ll end with a short, nonsensical story that I heard a Christian tell me once as justification of the most cliché version of Heaven you could ever conceive. He had read a book about a boy who was dead for 3 minutes and was resuscitated. Since his close family were apparently die-hard Christians, they interrogated the boy about what he saw while he was dead. Let’s say that this boy is about 5.

This Christian man felt that the boy’s answers proved beyond all doubt that when you die, you float up to the clouds and see the Pearly-White gates version of Heaven. He was asked, who sits to the right of God? “Jesus” the boy answers. Who sits to the left of God? “Gabriel”, says the boy. Now, queries the Christian man to me, “How does a boy of 5 know about Gabriel?”

Hmm, if I had to guess, I’d say it was his parents or church? No, that’s too simple. The boy had to get this knowledge from an actual, after-life experience. More “evidence” for you to consider from the nearly empty collection of Christian evidences.

© David Metcalf

Eckhart Tolle’s Gray Beard Fallacy

I’m listening to Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now on audiobook. First reaction: what crap. Most of it is just dribble. That’s not to say I don’t agree with a lot of what he is saying, but I think his focus on the rejection of the ego and the self is pure hogwash. He argues that we should abandon our reasoning mind because it is making us unwell. Admittedly, I haven’t finished the book yet. But I have read some poignant criticism of this book on Amazon, and I think many of those critics were on to something.

If you’ve not seen Tolle speak, you should know that he delivers all of his enlightened ideals in a dead-pan voice that we should presume is the result of his spiritual enlightenment. Others claim that he has merely repackaged Buddhism, a point which I see some truth to.

My primary reason for suspecting that Tolle is employing the gray beard fallacy, that is, to surround a bold lie with many truths, is that the mind is an inseparable part of us. It doesn’t need to be rejected. That is not to say that people don’t use the mind in ways which are destructive. Worry and doubt are symptoms of a troubled mind, and achieve no useful end. Some people’s minds are a wasteland: either deluded by cultural and religious dogmas, or beset with psychological compulsions and unhealthy thoughts of self-judgment. He has already refuted Descartes fundamental principle of I think therefore I am as completely the opposite of actual truth. He is clearly not much of a philosopher, though I myself am only a dabbler.

Human reason clearly has merit. Buddha, Krishna, or anyone else has clearly used the mind’s power to arrive at great wisdom. To condemn our logical selves as the source of all our problems is an easy fix for Tolle.

I, however, believe that we are at our core a being of three entities: body, mind, and (perhaps a fundamental force / a spirit perhaps, or maybe something else). I’m not a traditional theist though. I don’t look to religion for truth, but rather as an obstacle to it. I would suspect any theist who didn’t go through a period of serious atheism. To never have wavering belief in this jealous Old Testament God who appears to exhibit symptoms of raging alcoholism is a sign of obedience to dogmatic religion. I completely reject any notion of this kind of God. I’m a pantheist, and I will describe why I think it has merit in another post.

I’m only making a side-point here, because I want to say to atheists reading this that I respect your materialist view that we are merely a mind and a body. That’s fine with me. You need not believe in a force or spirit that animates your consciousness. I readily admit that there is no empirical evidence to support this “force” argument. I will get to that idea in another post.

So, in summary of my reaction to Tolle, I will say again, what horse-shit. He drones on about divorcing yourself from your thinking mind. I think it entirely depends on the kinds of thoughts you have. If your mind is a toxic wasteland of negative emotions and self-judgments, then you may take heart in Tolle’s spiritual ideas. He’s cribbing from a lot of sources to craft his argument, with few ideas of his own, but if you take comfort in his insistence that your thinking mind is the problem, then go for it.

I’m not trashing the idea of meditation, mind you. I agree with Blaise Pascal who observed that, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a room alone.” I think we do have to clear our mind of the mundane, day-to-day thoughts that keep us from seeing the bigger picture. We need to think about how precious our life is and what we want to do with it. What will give us happiness on our death-bed at a life well-lived. These things are important. If owning nice things is important to you now, you should question whether those objects will provide you comfort when you see the end coming. I think a strong argument can be made that it’s our human relationships that matter most. Also a dash of a sense of meaningful contribution to humanity. A life well lived in my mind is one that can claim it made the world a better place to be.

It’s clear that most people think merely of material success as their current measuring-stick in determining their accomplishments. But, as the cliché goes, you can’t take it with you. Having children is an easy path to making a difference in someone’s life, since you will have that very special relationship with your life partner and your children. You are a guide for them to deal with the troubles of life such they are. This is not the only path to making a difference, but it’s surely an easy one to initiate. Let’s be honest, too many people rush into starting a family despite the fact that they are awful and irresponsible people, and view their children as possessions as opposed to independent living and thinking beings.

This is sad. It is unfortunate that children, as some of the most powerless members of our society, have to endure so much emotional and physical abuse that they are powerless to stop. I wish there was some way to stop such emotionally violent people from having children, but I know that’s dictatorial. But you can’t really say that the Dutch man who fathered 2 generations of children from his down-syndrome daughter who he kept locked in his basement should’ve ever been allowed to have a single child.

Ok, in purely my fashion, I am digressing and digressing further from those digressions. Let me return to the point of Pascal.

Meditation is a useful exercise, but we all may have different methods that will work best for us. I find that meditation to certain songs and music is best for me. I use songs to set the mood for thoughts that will either inspire me or create emotional states that are peaceful and relaxing. I use internal phrases that trigger certain emotions of oneness with all that is. It’s hard not to sound egocentric in saying this, but I do find that I can attain these blissful states by using certain phrases in my mind to achieve certain neurochemical cock-tails that create a sense of inner peace in me.

You can achieve the same high as you could from any drug once you get the hang of meditation. It does not need assistance from music if that’s not your thing. Here is a good tip which I found useful:

Remembering something from your past creates a direct link to that moment in time in your brain. The emotions you felt during significant events will be recreated in your mind through intense recollection of those events. In fact, your chemical brain doesn’t know the difference between experiencing the event and merely remembering it. Each emotion is a collection of neurotransmitters in various quantities. Those include dopamine, serotonin, gabapentin , norepinephrine, and countless others.

*Offhand, I believe the Pituitary Gland produces these agents. I may be wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments section if I am.

So, here is the point. An easy way to produce joy and relaxing states is to intensely focus in some way on the most positive and joyous moments from your past. As the saying goes, we remember moments, not days. Use your best life experiences as a tool for releasing chemical cock-tails in your brain that made you feel joy in those moments.

This has similar implications for those who dwell on all the negative traumas of their past. In short, don’t do it. You must put that sort of past behind you. It does you no good to wallow in that stuff. As much as the good events, they helped shape who you are today. Accept them for what they are as a part of who you are. As long as you learned something from these experiences, they are not wholly negative. But you must forgive the people who caused these traumas. Not for their sake, but for yours.

Your resentments will hollow you out, and stop you from living fully in the present. The present moment is infinite, it is really all there is. Spend time thinking about it. Hold your body in amazement, as the Baz Luhrmann song goes, “Your body is the greatest instrument you own.” It is entirely yours and it is up to you to decide what to do with it. Will you contribute to the joy of others? Or will you add to their suffering? Will you fight for truth and more equity in society, or will you promote your own success in ways that deprive others of theirs? I think contributing in positive ways will give you more satisfaction as you near your death than selfishness, but that’s just me. Maybe J.P. Morgan got the deluxe suite in the pantheon of Hell, and it’s not so bad. Maybe he even has air-conditioning. . .

I’m joking of course, I don’t believe in Hell. And my view of what’s beyond is mixed with admitted uncertainty because such knowledge is unknowable to we mortals. I will also address my thoughts on that point in a different post. Blog posts must necessarily be short, as the Internet reader is lazier than a book reader.

I will sum up with the importance of reflecting over your life on a nearly daily basis. I can’t recall exactly this next quote, but it’s basically that “in the seat of the human soul it is perpetually 2 AM”. That means that in your inner-core, there is unavoidable uncertainty and doubt about life and its meaning. Though Christians can’t admit it, they do doubt whether Saint Peter will greet them at the Pearly Gates. They suspect in their heart of hearts that maybe nothing happens when they die, and they merely cease to exist. Accept oblivion as a distinct possibility, and live your life accordingly. As Bob Marley said, “If you know what life is worth, you will live your’s on Earth.”

© David Metcalf

The Promise of the Multiverse

I’m simply fascinated by the concept of a multiverse. While hotly contested, there is some emerging science to support the idea of parallel universes. Watch the video for an explanation of the multiverse, and follow the Mangled Universe link for a PowerPoint with some dense information about the current mathematical model for the Mangled Universe theory.

The video explains the idea of a 10 dimensional universe in layman’s terms, while the PowerPoint gets into a mathematically dense model for the theory behind the multiverse.

I will discuss why the concept of the multiverse is very uplifting, both for the individual and for humanity writ large.

If you accept the current models of quantum physics that speculate a possible multiverse, this is cause for much hope. The idea of parallel universes is that all possibilities are manifested in infinite expressions of different universes. So there would be infinite copies of our universe, with our Earth, each with a different time path. There would also be different universes with different physical laws, many of which may make life in those universes impossible.

To add some credibility to preempt how unlikely this sounds, consider that Richard Dawkins, a prominent atheist, tentatively supports this view as a response to the “fine-tuning” argument theists use to justify their belief that God created the universe in such a way as to allow life to exist. The worst that Dawkins can say about the concept of the multiverse is that it is “incredibly wasteful”, meaning that it is a kind of messy explanation for the coincidental, relative friendliness of our universe to life.

In theoretical physics, the argument for the multiverse is somewhat strong, though it is still mere speculation. It ties into the concept of String Theory, but I would be unable to explain the latter because it’s a very challenging concept as well as controversial. There is some view that we may find evidence for the multiverse from the Hadron Super-collider. One possible outcome of the undertaking might be to *kind of* ricochet some miniscule amount of energy from our universe into a parallel one.

OK, so I had to set up this a little bit to discuss what I’m really driving at. If you accept that there may be infinite parallel worlds with their own unique time-line, this means that your personal future is uncertain and malleable to your will. Life could be viewed as a kind of holographic video-game, where all possibilities are contained. You can do anything that you want, to bring about any result (given that it is within the realm of the possible). No, you can’t flap your arms and fly to Germany for your spring break. But, yes, you can aspire to reach for your dreams and achieve them.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean there won’t be pain, hard work, or sacrifice. But if it’s possible, it means that there is some expression of the universe in which you accomplish your goals. It doesn’t mean you will find yourself in that universe, unless you’re willing to walk the path that will lead you there.

I find this to be a cause for hope. Because just as the multiverse opens the door for you to set out to achieve your grandest aspirations and discoveries of who you are and what you decide your life’s purpose is, it also means that the direction of our human culture is malleable and expressed in all its forms.

Maybe another Earth developed the reasoned search for truth through science and philosophy in a much more direct path than our own. Maybe this Earth commissioned Michelangelo to sculpt stunning portrayals of the big bang and other scientific concepts. Maybe Socrates had sparked a revolution that spread beyond the borders of Ancient Greece and convinced the world to view themselves as “citizens of the world and not of [Athens] (as Socrates had felt)”. Maybe in that Earth, a mosaic of our galaxy overlooks the hall of the Sistine Chapel, itself a model for reason and truth in the world, instead of theocratic dogma. In other words, maybe the great minds of our past were set to the task of inspiring wonder in the cosmos instead of religious doctrine.

These alternate histories are closed to us, for we did endure the Dark Ages (which weren’t truly dark, there was some innovation after all). But the future is still open to all possibilities. If we have the courage as individuals and as a global society, maybe we can meet the challenges of the next 100 years successfully and create a better world for future generations.

This would take some honest evaluations of the value of our current economic model, which justifies giving 80% of the world’s resources to 20% of its people. Maybe we would have to rework some of our cultural mythologies which place us above the other life-forms we share our planet with. Maybe we would have to be honest about our negligence in creating truly equitable societies, with access to good public education for all, good health-care for all, and a basic right to life’s necessities. These things are all possible.

If you accept the multiverse idea, then these things will happen, but in accordance with their relative probabilities, which means these outcomes are highly unlikely. It’s as Morpheus says in The Matrix, “there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Technology won’t save the day unless we have the cultural revolution which David Icke called for. It needs to be peaceful, with the world’s elite volunteering to join for the collective interest. A forced Soviet style revolution will fail every time because a small group of revolutionary elites will eventually have to despotically seize power and push for change. Hannah Arendt once said that, “The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.”

What we need to do to make this happen is promote the consciousness raising which Richard Dawkins talks about in The God Delusion. This will be quite a challenge when a majority of Mississippi Republicans think that inter-racial marriage should be banned and the Church of Fred Phelps thinks that everyone outside his congregation is damned and going to their version of a fire-and-brimstone Hell. The Westboro Baptist Church’s website: http://www.godhatesfags.com/index.html contains songs like “God Hates the World” and “God Hates the Jews”.

The challenges are nearly insurmountable. But if those in a position to do so have the courage to act then maybe it is just barely within the realm of possibility. But it takes the courage of conviction for truth and justice to be ready to be martyred by those who fear change. There is so much hate in the world, so much fear of there not being enough, that the status quo won’t go down without a fight. Look at what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. and others to see what the world does to its prophets and true leaders.

I will close with one of my favorite quotes of all time from Martin Luther King Jr:

Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’
Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’
But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’
And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular,
but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

© David Metcalf