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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ritual, Dream and Ecstasy

In the film The Thirteenth Floor (by Josef Rusnak, 1999) a multi-level reality is presented: every lower universe is a presented as a sort of three-dimensional video game – that nevertheless possesses its own autonomy and therefore its own relative ‘intelligent’ reality – in which the people of a higher universe play and have created through the dominion of avatars. In the film the ‘first reality’ is also shown, the one that created the first simulation in which certain ‘people’ created a second simulation and so on. All the ‘people’ of each simulation – at every level – are ‘alive’, intelligent, sentient: they are perfectly programmed software. However, some of them begin to understand and rebel. One of them, the protagonist, who is living in an intermediate reality and plays with successive simulations, certainly does not think he is living in or is in turn a simulation impossessed from time to time by a player of a higher level. In a spectacular manner, a little like The Truman Show, he discovers the truth about his ‘world’ and his conditions and achieves the impossible feat: his ‘mind’ manages to scale the preceding levels to impossess the controller of the first reality.

He manages to ascend not from the level of reality he belongs to but by paradoxically going down into the lower simulations to then trigger a process of return by ‘launching’ himself not to the height of his own reality but into the preceding ones to arrive at the first, the true original one.

This movie, which is based on a science-fiction novel, is of great interest because it is one of the first that explicitly presents the model of virtual realities (… yes, Plato had already done it with his ‘myth of the cave’).

The film makes one think that our return towards true reality, which in fact we do not actually know, might not necessarily happen by aiming directly for it but could happen as the result of an ‘elastic’ effect achieved by launching into the depths of ourselves, perhaps into the depths of our own illusion and its under-programming. Consciously.

We exist in this Reality not to live in a state of perfection, to be divine and perform miracles but to be ‘humans’ and manoeuvre ourselves more or less convulsively, in this very contradictory, complex and at times difficult, if not bizarre, environment.

The investigation of the self, or if we prefer religion, spirituality, mysticism, magic, uses instruments that do not, in effect, aim at the higher destination but instead increase the illusion into which we have fallen. They create further under-programmes in which, having once recognized our status and re-awoken, we can re-qualify not only for the level we started out from but if we are ready to do so, for a higher reality.

The state of consciousness that allows each one of us to release ourselves from our present reality and throw ourselves into the depths - through abstinence or excess – to then produce the counter effect of becoming aware of a higher and perhaps more definitive consciousness, can be realized through ‘The three doors of magic’ or, ritual, dream and ecstasy.

The Kabbalistic tree illustrated on the opposite page, simplifies this mechanism.

We can investigate, fantasize and imagine ritual, dream and ecstasy, using the traditions and practices which are chiefly employed by each ‘door’, those which have worked leaving one particular aspect to take priority over others, or have been used to open others.

For example all the Western mystery traditions turn to ritual because it is a symbolic-archetypical psycho-drama suitable for activating certain states of consciousness and evoking symbolic correspondences: characters, energies and profound faculties in relation to transcendent planes upon which heroes, gods and hosts of angels can be projected, to satisfy or dominate.

Shamanism however exalts the dimensions of dream to explore the self and unknown faculties and realities, just as the use of psycho-active substances, or meditation, the stimulation of the Kundalini and more specifically, mysticism and Tantrism (much closer to each other than you might imagine) explore ecstasy as a door to higher worlds.