I'd like to discuss two contrasting points, which we've often treated as mutually exclusive alternatives, but which have some notable implications when we consider both together. 1) The presence of transcendental (mystical, paranormal, spiritual, or extradimensional) realms. An abundance of evidence and experience indicates the existence of such beings and phenomena. 2) The absence of transcendental realms. The elusiveness of these beings and phenomena is a key fact to acknowledge. The Veil of separation between the other worlds and ours seems to be very conscientiously maintained.
In the absence of the transcendental, life on earth has its heavenly aspects, but it’s also been replete with pain, suffering, hardship, struggle, and despair. Understanding and contacting the transcendental have been enormous interests and challenges - frequently controversial, sometimes seemingly all-consuming.
As difficult as it is being separated from the transcendental, we can say that this separation imparts definite purpose to our lives. We encounter millions of missions to accomplish - problems to solve, tasks requiring care, effort, focus, etc. - that would presumably present very little challenge if there were no Veil. In other words, transcendental beings could presumably accomplish these missions, solve these problems, carry out these tasks, quickly and easily. Even the subtlest or most spiritual forms of development - accepting existence and non-existence, interacting with others and the self authentically and compassionately, experiencing and reflecting the unity in everything, etc. - even such lessons as these could conceivably be taught in the context of a far less ambiguous relationship with the transcendental realms. In fact, this bereft earthly setting sometimes seems like one of the most chaotic, least suitable environments possible for the growth and flourishing of conscious beings. We can bitterly resent being unnecessarily placed in such difficult situations, but such bitterness seems to produce a less elegant, less optimal existence. While we’re here in this world, attending to constructive activity (from the spiritual to the physical) produces positive consequences - immediate and personal, cosmic and long-term. Seems like a sensible use of our time.
The transcendental realms have been so absent that it’s easy to see how so much credence has been given to the idea that they probably don't exist, or, at least, don't interact with us in interesting or intentional ways. We’ve suspected that entertaining the transcendental amounts to unrealistic wishful thinking. And in fact, it is a comforting position to entertain! And comforting doesn’t necessarily mean wrong! My honest assessment (and that of many others) is that a solid preponderance of the evidence points toward the reality of these other realms and toward the possibility of experiencing closer contact with them.
Many worthwhile avenues of spiritual exploration and discovery (in addition to life and death themselves!) seem to present themselves. We can study, practice, and refine techniques for manifesting paranormal phenomena and cultivating paranormal capacities. We can facilitate psychedelic experimentation. Maybe we can eventually develop spiritual machines.
If we take care not to hastily deny or reject the transcendental, let’s not hastily deny its absence, either. In order to connect more fruitfully with the true nature of mystical realms, it seems important to acknowledge their mysteriousness, acknowledge that there’s no clear, single, exclusive, spiritual authority. We’re tasked with using our best judgment to interpret the complexity of what’s going on and with co-creatively developing approaches and solutions to issues big and small.
And indeed there are some big issues for us to approach and solve. Examining the nature of our situation, we can see the value of some very epic changes. To wit, there’s a competitive character to much of our lives, and to many of the systems by which we organize the world. We set ourselves, and parts of ourselves, against each other, on the premise that this helps preserve fitter, more well-adapted behaviors, that without organizing ourselves by means of competitive game structures, the parts of the whole won’t cooperate harmoniously or optimally.
Longstanding habits naturally bias us against epic changes. It can be hard to seriously entertain the possibility that things that have been a certain way for thousands of years may change in one’s lifetime. But there’s a growing affinity for prospects of freeing ourselves from inner conflicts and from outer conflicts including competitive economics and power politics. We accumulate information and acumen and capabilities over time; occasionally we reach inflection points; occasionally we experience rapidly cascading realizations, openings, novelties. We’re clearly already in an era of many big, unprecedented changes. There’s reason to think that we have the wherewithal and the resources to carry out a monumental positive transformation and create a true golden age. It’s not inevitable, but it’s possible, and it’s well worth aiming for.
Every day that we continue serving and perpetuating competitive game structures as central organizational components, we inflict more unnecessary pain and hardship on ourselves and each other. There’s outright violence, disease, destitution, and other disasters. And we forgo many diverse opportunities to learn and grow and serve, as we focus our energies into relatively narrow areas where proficiency correlates with competitive advantage.
We’ve built our capabilities to such a degree that we’re on the brink of magnificent new experiences/phenomena like worldwide peace and prosperity, space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension - if we make the required profound changes. If we don’t, there are real risks of our unprecedented capabilities being put to use in increasingly destructive ways.
How can we help bring about this paradigm shift?