“The larger a society or confederacy, the greater the amalgamation of collusive factors - which is typical of every large organization - the more aggravated the moral and spiritual degeneration of the individual.”
                                -Carl Jung

“The absurd depends as much on man as it does on the world. For the moment it is all that links them together. It binds them one to the other as only hatred can weld two creatures together.” “The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”
                                -Albert Camus

    The following essay is the first of a series to discuss the new modern Enlightenment's promise and limitations.
    The essay is deliberately base in it's language to the point of seeming condescending, but this is my goal with this work, to reduce these philosophical postulations to their lowest common denominator  so as to facilitate common understanding of a hidden phenomenon.
    My decision to place these essays here has been made based on the excellent quality of scientificblogging.com and the apparent lack of discussion on the subject.

Best thoughts,
Brian Taylor.

The Black Sheep says, “No!”

    Human ability to interfere with our own ideas gives us the unique power to work against ourselves or defy what nature would likely do. It doesn’t seem logical when stated as such, nevertheless, to date, we are the only species we know to act in this way. Through my studies since 1995  I have come to understand why this has happened, how it works and what can be done to facilitate the necessary corrections. I am not alone in this feat, there are many books, films, classes etcetera that can help you find peace, understanding, knowledge, strength, God, whatever it might be that you find yourself lacking. This  is of a different sort of “self-help” type information, it doesn’t promise to give any warmth, hope or even strength. It is quite probable that some readers may even become upset with the understanding that can be achieved by the following chapters, for it is within you that you must find it.
    ...and you, my friend, are a mess!
    This is a primer that, in plain and efficient language, will provide you with nothing less than a new point of view. A place to come from that will, if you need it to, change the way you experience everything. A new standard by which you can measure truth or worth and thereby decide smartly, or not at all. After we’ve established the standard, we will use it to re-examine our realities. Other “procedural manuals” are composed by authors specializing in one discipline. Many of these fine lessons illumine my essays. The problem with many of these works is that there is still a leap of faith insisted upon us. Is a classical psychotherapist’s opinion any more valuable than a theoretical physicist’s if the topic is the human worth of globalisation with centralized governance? My goal is to produce a work that uses the lowest common denominators of complicated modern ideas to make some sense of the current state of human existence and prove it worthy, without asking you to believe anything. I don’t know if that’s possible, but as it turns out, I didn’t know these words would be seen by other eyes, yet here you are.  
    You are now, and will remain eternally, entitled to believe whatever nonsense you like. You’re going to do it anyway.  You can’t help it. It comes at you from all angles, twenty-four hours a day. Don’t bother trying to blame T.V. or other modern distractions for the consistent barrage of often questionable information.  It’s been this way for all of recorded history.
    This is right, this is wrong, this was bad, this will be good, you are this, I can’t be that...

    Only the delivery vehicles have changed. It is now systemic. It is automatically ingrained, as you are, after your birth, by practise and by influence, dragged unhappily away from purity and into reality. As are your children, as are your grandchildren, until someone, perhaps the black sheep, says “no.”
    Have you ever thought about why it is that “reality” must be taught? Furthermore, why is it that what we learn is so very often different from what we use? Who decided that the lessons we receive are better than the pure existence we are borne into? Have you ever wondered about the origin of the rules: how or why a particular, seemingly unconscious moral finds it’s way to be expressed through your personality?
    Do you have the courage to take a long look at ideas that go directly against what you’ve come to understand as truth? Can you summon the foresight to imagine that you are not, in fact, fully in charge of your thoughts, then contemplate what that means? These are not light questions and shouldn’t be thought of as such. They are extremely and equally powerful personal affronts. They are akin to the great questions of all time, “Why are we here?” “Is there a God?” “Is there a purpose?” The difference is that, as my life has taught me, there are tangible answers to be found within this new awareness. Not that I can find God for you, but everyone deserves the right to understand themselves and their environments. If I can lift the veil of other people’s ancient thoughts and opinions off your eyes, you can, perhaps for the first time in your life, make up your own mind.
    In a way, The Matrix, as depicted in the Wachoski brothers’ trilogy of films, is true. Not that humans are full grown embryonic batteries fulfilling some necessary mechanistic energy need, rather that humans go through the motions of life, barely contemplating the steps we take. We never mind at all why we take them. That is not to say we don’t plan things. We do, despite our plans not necessarily being  in our best interest. Yet even our plans are not our own, in most instances. Within this “Matrix,” there are forces that, by being aware, are able to have some form of control, or  more precisely, a usable understanding of the true nature of reality. (Awareness = Understanding = Empowerment) Unfortunately, I’ve not yet figured out how to warp time or space like Neo and Agent Smith, (see next book.) I can tell you that most modern humans are in a near constant state of trance and you can use nifty “Jedi mind tricks” in your daily lives.
    The popularity of the ideas expressed in the Matrix films, the paranoia epitomised at the Y2K non-phenomena and the events of September 11th, 2001 are physical manifestations of forced paradigm shift. All of these ideas are also different ways of exposing the lack of control we have over our own existences. In the Matrix films, every human, thinking he or she is alive, is actually a computer program with all the events of a life predetermined. At midnight January 1st, 2000, no planes fell out of the sky, no bank machines started spewing money due to the roll-over of “old” computer clocks. Almost nothing out of the ordinary happened. Yet, it was all we could talk about, millions of dollars were spent preparing for it, and millions of dollars were made selling the fear. In Manhattan, on September 11th, 2001 a lot of minds were changed all over the world on a good number of ideas. Since that fateful day, minds continue to change and be changed to such a marked degree that it may someday be hailed as the largest contributor to the new enlightenment.
    Yes, we are at the beginning of a new enlightenment. Exciting, isn’t it?
    The place where your decisions are made is built from concepts that have been exposed to you. Some things you will have decided upon but for the most part, you know things because somebody wanted you to. Accepting this as fact is a good and necessary start. However, it is as liberating as it is frightening to take the next step and ask, “Is it right?” This is where the argument begins and ends. For you will fight forever with the  demon and angel on your respective shoulders trying to separate ideas or ideals with the confusion that clouds your mind from years of indoctrination. Herein lies an unfortunate Human truth: Until there is a drastic change not only in what we think but also the way we think as well as the way we learn to think, the deciding over ideas/ideals will remain left to opinion, be it falsely developed, socially engineered or naturally exposed. It was this belief, through my discovery of self, what self entails and by my own curiosity that I  began to discover what I might come to believe if left to my own devices.
    Is that not our ultimate goal? To make up our own minds and trust the decision...
    In the nineties, in my hometown, we experienced an explosion of information. It might have occurred earlier for you, but for my family, 1995 was the year we got the internet and doubled our cable t.v. channels. There seemed to be a myriad of distractions on t.v., a channel for everything and a simple name for each: The Food Channel, The History Channel, The Speed Channel, etc. In 1995, online, there didn’t seem to be much more than websites catering to the novelty of the internet itself. The internet was another new idea to absorb, and I along with everyone else was making it up as I went. Through this new, steady stream of information I began to unconsciously expose myself to alternative concepts. Then I began, out of interest, to seek them out. I didn’t have to look very hard or long to find a plethora of viewpoints evolving from without and within, which is in and of itself an important lesson. The hardest mind to change is your own, not because you’re right or wrong, but because you’re proud and vain. This leads to the conclusion that the most logically open minded approach to that which must be left to opinion for lack of empirical fact, is one where NO decision need be made.  My philosophy dares to leave the question open ended until any or all evidence has been presented. It states, in the absence of convincement, that  “It’s okay to not know,” and unlike the humanist movement, it refuses no claims - be they spiritual leanings or supernatural curiosities. The ultimate viewpoint is that where assignment in unnecessary and when this viewpoint is widely assimilated, replacing the varied yet somehow narrow viewpoints of modern societies, anything will be possible.
    I call it Assignee’s Prerogative. AP simply means you’re aware that you give your opinions their weight. (Awareness of AP has been dubbed “Authentic Self” and I’m happy with this term as well I just prefer Assignee’s Prerogative as it reminds the Authentic Self of how and why it exists.)
    The inciting incident that set me on the path to this conclusion came in the form of documentaries I watched in 1995. The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel seemed to me to be at a loss for programming, and would often repeat the same shows, or at least the same subjects. Through these shows with titles like, “The Riddle of the Sphinx” and “The Quest for the Lost Civilization” I came to learn of Graham Hancock, Robert Bauvall, Dr. Robert Schoch and John Anthony West. These men, some actual scientists, some investigative authors, were studying subjects that had interested me for years, but they were looking at things with “new eyes” and came to conclusions that I found fascinating. Briefly, these men, each in their specialty, had come together with some seemingly unrelated observations that came to a consistent conclusion. Namely, that our ideas about ancient time-lines are most likely dangerously out of kilter, at least in terms of the amazing monuments of our planet. John Anthony West noticed one day, while looking at photographs of the stone enclosure that surrounds all but the front face of the Sphinx, that the wall had an undulating profile of wear indicative of weathering by water. As the story goes, he took his photograph, covered the head of the Sphinx and showed it to some Geologists asking, “What type of weathering is seen here?” Without fail the Geologists would claim, “This is perfect example of rock wear due to heavy rains.” Mr. West would then peel off the post-it note covering the head of the Sphinx and the Geologists would say, “Oh,” and that was about all. No one wanted to play ball with his theory until he found an open minded Geologists named Robert Schoch. They went to the Giza Plateau and did extensive studies of the Sphinx and it’s enclosure. They found what they considered irrefutable evidence, and to this day, the only rebuttal has come in the form of disbelief, a seeking for more physical evidence beyond that of geology, rather than a denial of the Science Dr. Schoch was presenting.  Geologists, for the most part would defer, no matter how intrigued, to the Archeologists who only wanted a piece of pottery from the same time frame. The inner workings of the how, when and why of the Sphinx weather wearing pattern came through the teamwork of imagination, astronomy and climatology by Robert Bauvall and Graham Hancock. They started to poke around with the obvious question, “So when were there torrential rains (or any form of consistent rain) on the Giza Plateau?” The answer found in climatology models was that of around ten thousand BC to twelve thousand BC. The argument of these for men then became that if the Sphinx enclosure suffered such noticeable weathering it must have been constructed well before the rainy period. Therefore, the Egyptologists who claim the Sphinx was built around four thousand B.C. must be incorrect, and in all likely-hood that would be the time that the stone creature was remodelled or repaired.
    Now, I freely admit, that at this time, and for no short period afterwards, I was downright gullible. To be honest, I, like my fourteen year old son admitted to me recently, like knowing secrets, even if they’re not true. I have come to be a much better scrutineer since those days, but only very recently. I was of the opinion that if these Scientists, even if being persecuted by fellow Scientists, were underdogs and should be rooted for, believed and trusted. So I did. I became excited at the knowledge I could absorb. I began watching the excellent program NOVA on PBS. I began studying physics, cosmology, psychology, philosophy. I made myself familiar with ancient cultures, ancient practices. I began to wonder about the stranger things in life, God, Aliens, Atlantis, existence itself....
     I began to seek out knowledge of these subjects through empirical science wherever possible. For instance, Physicist Stephen Hawking proved in a very brief paper that some things can escape the gravitational pull of black holes. This discovery, like the weathering of the Sphinx enclosure are two examples of ideas we used to have and are unable to have anymore. We were wrong.  If we were wrong about the age of the Sphinx and about the inescapability of black holes, what else are we wrong about?  I didn’t know it at the time, but the decision not to decide was staring me in the face. Is it not better to just let information in and not bother to judge whether it is true? Truth of the easily proven is most often self-apparent and each of us will decide what leaps of faith we are prepared to take. (Assignee’s Prerogative.) More and more as Science progresses the list of things we take on faith is getting shorter and the list of empirical facts grows. As much time as I spent studying Hawking, Sagan or any of the classic Science papers  I also read Castaneda, Von Daniken and the more fringe theories, because who am I to argue that these are ridiculous fantasies? Let’s not also forget that fiction, through what a contemporary of mine calls Synchro-mysticism, can also teach you a lot about reality, Huxley, Orwell, Camus.
    I happen to believe that a God in my Universe makes sense. I don’t know if any interpretation of who or what God is that has yet or will ever be expounded  is correct. I only have the argument that there can be no effect without cause. What caused God is not a concern for me, as where my God resides is also where I allow logic to break down. As I believe in the duality of the Universe, (something that is empirically provable,) there must be a degree of opposition. If there is opposition then, literally, anything is possible. Perhaps we will get into this later, but for now, understand that whether or not I believe in God shouldn’t be part of your decision to listen to me or not. Besides, I haven’t always believed in God. As a teenager, perhaps because I was a teenager, like so many others filled with angst and disillusionment, I spent many years as an existentialist atheist of sorts. Perhaps someday some new information or theory will change my mind again, or even confirm my current indulgence.
    To reiterate, and hopefully encapsulate, time is going to change you as it does all things. It does so  by changing your opinion about things and as change is the only thing that remains constant, you must keep an open mind. The ultimate open mind is achievable and is not an unreasonable place to be; proving what can be and only deciding on the unprovable when we have to. Strive to always consider things from your own, original viewpoint. At first it sounds so simple, but as you will learn, it takes remarkable effort to sweep out the cobwebs of our old ways of thinking. We must first purge any old misconceptions and formulations. We must also gain an understanding of what many will find to be a variety of unrelated subjects from psychology to cosmology, philosophy to physics. We need to have a shared vocabulary of concepts that are already in our toolkit or we won’t be able to get any work done. I’ve done the work, I didn’t know it was going to culminate in an instruction manual for the human mind. I realise the awesome arrogance of these statements but remember that none of these ideas are original. I’ve just assembled a workable collection of concepts to a conclusion that, while productive and logical, is clearly not yet the norm of society. I believe it should be.
    In the following essay we will discuss the mechanics of Paradigm and hopefully some concrete will begin setting. I hope that you'll be able to keep an open mind until then and remember that it's not only ideas and reactions that are not your own, it's everything, including language. Often, you’re surprised to find what a word actually means when you ignore what you’ve always thought it meant. For instance the word, “Conspiracy” (taken from the french, it literally means “to breath together”) was in no way attached to it’s modern negative connoation in the fourteenth century until it became married to the concept of “Assassination” in the twentieth. Originally conspiracy was understood as just “to plan or plot, together.” You could conspire to have your family survive the winter after a failed crop. As you can see, it fits well, but the assignation of the negative concept overwrites our past understanding and produces a new opinion of the word. Soon thereafter,  we will have taught our children about conspiracy, they won’t even be aware that it was once clear of any negative OR positive attachments. Such is the difference between Assignee’s Prerogative and our current reality.
    And so it begins...