And how hard is it? If you think of it in terms of the biblical myth of Satan, or the casting down of a literary Lucifer, you are lost in “metaphysics,” which is imaginary narrative of a drama taking place in the Never-Never Land of a supernatural “Other World” along with or without dragons and unicorns. If, instead, you think of it as metaphoric to, or allegorical of our real, human condition, you are not far off. Our “fallen condition” is awful, but we actually know nothing else.
Within the social culture in which our personalities develop, suddenly blooming around age three or four we find ourselves as “persons” increasingly aware of self and others, possessing, and largely possessed by, language. Human speech brings with it the web of words which liberates, empowers and entraps or disables our minds about equally.
Consider the Oneness of all things we “knew-without-awareness” before we were born, and that same, unknowable unity we enter upon death. After we are born physically and get born mentally as individual people, we “fall” from inchoate nothingness into conscious lives mediated by language. Language and its wordiness divides our sensible existence up, and breaks it down into manageable divisions, particular units of sound associated with meanings that we can organize into sentences, just as cold type letters can be organized into lines of print. Word-meanings involve general ideas or concepts.
The conceptual structures and classifications in our heads enable us, as the philosopher Immanuel Kant indicated (and as adjusted by the “General Semantics” writers) to construct a nearly reliable model world that has much in common with everyone else’s models, though the consensus is never quite perfect. Sometimes we are wildly at odds. Each person sees a different model, though trustful of living in the same world “out there,” a world which according to Kant (and much Epistemology) we can never contact or sense directly, because that “out there” is mediated by sensation and filtered by our perceptual order of concepts “in here” which divides and classifies it into categories and speakable units. In effect, we sense our ideas of sensed objects, not the objects. Our perception “negotiates” whatever data comes though sensation into ideation.
We fall, then, twice, first at birth from biological precursors (the objective nothingness of the not-yet) into “particular embodiment,” and second, from “mental nowhere-ness” into “awakened here-&-now-ness.” From there we grow empowered with familial love or cut to shreds maybe forever by inconsiderate parenting and/or religious severities.
Religion too often becomes the instrument of extreme verbalism. Enforcement of rote doctrine and belief supported only by presumed authority such as ancient scripture and its time-invested aura of superstitions (invested without digestion) endlessly repeated, puts the young into mental strait-jackets from which they seldom mature enough to escape into the mental and emotional freedom of current, state-of-the-art outlook.
Thus we see rampant, fanatical fundamentalism among the least fundamentally mental, and emotionally responsible people among us in American society. These people, fanatically certain about who they are, what they want, and what everyone else needs, are the very ones who know least about those things and are least equipped to meet the nation’s needs.
A worst-case scenario: Suppose there is a “secret plot” by the most powerful?
Let’s say there are elite circles high in our society that know about extra-terrestrial visits by galactic aliens with whom relations are established and information has been exchanged, even perhaps including treaties. Much of our information would have come from back-engineering alien technology from ships and devices wrecked on earth or otherwise given to us to support our advancement into their unimaginable universe, with, of course, suitable profit to some big corporations. They keep their knowledge from the public.
Suppose further, that these powerfully high “insiders” have minds as half-baked and twisted as many in the tea party or the Koch brothers themselves and our poor, old, rich
media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, who has, like the Koch family, vast reason to be content but always itches for more! George Bush himself has been speaking to, and encouraging people in the ultra-right’s religious bubble-full of nut cases! They include millennialists who await The Second Coming as The Great Rapture off our planet, of all The Faithful.
Suppose, again, that the cabal of demented upper-crust folks has a treaty with an alien entity to come in ships and carry off all the willing members of that bunch to live on a compatible planet far across the galaxy. Would those of us Left Behind suffer the dregs of loss and decline, or would we, impeded no longer by craziness in halls of legislation, be able to construct a heavenly democracy with a good way to live productively through good work and with decent, mutual discipline on an enjoyable but properly respected earth? Shantih!
May we escape the “bewitching” enchantments into an only benevolently enchanted world, since our minds work only by magic. May peace then well up within us with clear insight and understanding toward all. What a glorious surprise it would be, to awaken to that.