Esoteric Online

‘Time is Dissolving’: The Priory of Sion and the Divine Feminine.

            Recently, a representative of the Priory of Sion declared that ‘time is dissolving’. In this article, I will explain what the Priory of Sion means by this. I will explain that this declaration is not a metaphysical claim about time itself. Rather, it is a claim about how we experience time. In short: how we experience time is an illusion that we have projected into experience and this illusion is now dissolving. This unnoticed illusion is the reason for our great success as a species. But it is also the source of our deep misunderstanding of life and of our alienation from what we might call the ‘Divine’. Meanwhile, however, this illusory experience of time is slowly being corrected by subtle socio-cultural practices. These corrective practices reverse the cognitive habits that alienate us from the ‘Divine Feminine’. With this gradual shift or ‘transubstantiation’ of consciousness, time as we currently experience it will dissolve and a new experience of enduring interconnectedness with existence will arise. We are on the cusp of a radical shift in human consciousness -- ‘Time is Dissolving’.

            Our normal experience of time is in terms of a ‘now’. Each ‘now’, as it slides into the past, seems to slide into oblivion, from the reality of ‘now’ into the irreality of the past. Each ‘now’ thereby seems irremediably separate from every past ‘now’ and every future ‘now’. In his underappreciated masterpiece, Time and Free Will, the French philosopher, Henri Bergson, describes how this ‘instantaneous’ experience of time is derived from our experience of space.[2]

We project time into space, we express duration in terms of extensity, and succession thus takes the form of a continuous line or a chain, the parts of which touch without penetrating one another. (TF 101)

 

Consider how we experience space: Space is a homogeneous medium in which discrete, extended objects are found, each separate and external from every other object. Whether or not this is a true experience of space, at some point we began to experience time as if it were also a homogeneous medium like space. Note that Bergson is not just saying that we misunderstand time in terms of space. The real problem is that we mistakenly experience time in terms of space. We experience time as if it were an empty medium containing events, thoughts, and/or feelings, all separated from each other by the oblivion of passing time. As a result, each instant, each event, each thought, and each feeling is mistakenly conceived as if they were detached, like objects, from every other. Each instant and the psychical elements that they would contain are experienced as if they were separate -- as if they were “parts external to one another” (TF 109).[3]

            Tragically, we thereby end up living our lives in accordance with the two defining characteristics of objects in space -- externality and separation. Everything is perceived as external to, and separate from, the instantaneous ‘here and now’ of our own existence. Instead of understanding our thoughts, emotions, and experiences as entwining and interpenetrating each other, we come to experience our thoughts and feelings analytically in terms of separate elements acting causally, one upon the next, in a long succession of discrete ‘here and nows’. As Bergson says,

In place of a heterogeneous duration whose moments permeate one another, we thus get a homogeneous time whose moments are strung on a spatial line … we get a self which can be artificially reconstructed, and simple psychic states which can be added to and taken from one another just like the letters of the alphabet in forming words. (TF 237)

 

Note well this analogy to the separate, discrete, linear experience of letters and words by way of which we gain understanding. This spatial separation has become the paradigmatic mode of experiencing the self and the world around us. Our image of thought and our experience of ourselves as rational agents confronting and manipulating a world of objects, are misconceptions based upon this paradigm of linear, spatial separation. Our illusory experience of time as ‘here and now’ has infiltrated inner experience and fragmented our sense of self-identity. I am ‘here’, ‘now’, separate from the external world. Separate even from my own past and my own body. The logic of the ‘here and now’ has driven us to conceive of ourselves as whatever is left over after all externality has been eliminated. Thus, we come to the ultimate expression of alienation: monadic conception of the soul of modern religion.

            In place of time experienced as discrete instants, Bergson describes time as ‘duration’:

Duration properly so called has no moments which are identical or external to one another, [duration is] essentially heterogeneous, continuous, and with no analogy to number. (TF 120)

 

If we were to dissolve the instantaneity of time, we would find that living experiences would not be separate and external from each other and from the world. We would no longer experience ourselves as a succession of isolatable psychical objects -- ‘thoughts’, ‘feelings’ -- that line up contiguously from one moment to the next.[4] Rather, they would entwine and merge as a multiplicity of enduring qualitative affects. As a result, the experience of a discrete ‘self’, separate from one’s body, separate from one’s emotions, separate from one’s past, and separate from one’s culture and community, would break down. Instead, our self-identity would be a duration of natural, familial, emotional, communal, and cultural processes that would relate to us, not causally --  that is, not as separate causal streams impacting upon us externally like objects in space -- but constitutively, as we activate awareness of our place in the holistic rhythm of existence. To release ourselves from the ‘here and now’ -- to dissolve time -- would enable us to understand and experience living existence, not as successive moments forever separate from each other, but as a holistic entwining of lives, communities, traditions, and natural processes.

            This is a difficult but extremely important conceptual point. When we reflect upon ourselves -- who we are and how we experience life and the world -- we are drawn to what seems to be this one indubitable feature of existence: I exist in this instant now, separate from whatever objects and people that surround me, and separate from my past and future. Conceived in this way, we are forever faced with the perennial philosophical problem of how these discrete ‘nows’ are drawn together to create a coherent and stable sense of self. It would seem that we must synthesize these discrete moments in order to conclude, ‘this is the same me’, or ‘this is the same love that I felt yesterday’. Thus, we have a whole tradition of philosophy following on from Immanuel Kant purporting to explain how discrete ‘sensations’, ‘intuitions’, ‘abshattungen’, etc. are synthesized to give us conscious experience. However, this synthesis of moments presumes the very error that Bergson describes, it presumes that these moments are separate and external, like objects in space.[5] If we instead found that this separation of experience into instantaneous ‘here and nows’ were an illusion, then we would see that the perennial problem of the unity of experience is actually a non-issue. No explanation is necessary. We are all already fully immersed in an enduring experience of feeling, thought, and self. Only when we abstract away from this enduring experience and conceive of our experience in terms of an instantaneous ‘now’ does it seem necessary to explain how these separate ‘nows’ are combined to form experience.

            The illusory nature of separation and externality applies, not just to inner experience, but to outer experience as well. This, too, is a conceptual challenge because the division of inner from outer, subject from object, self from world, seems to be the most fundamental of divisions. Nevertheless, this apparent alienation of self from world also leads to irresolvable conceptual difficulties. Consider: Is our body inner or outer? That is, is our body internal or external to our fundamental sense of self? The error of spatial externality has led humanity to posit an immaterial ‘soul’ separate from body, separate from everything, but always present ‘here and now’. But doesn’t this contradict a deep sense of body as self? Moreover, what of our past? Is our past inner or outer? Self or non-self? These problems have been grappled with in various ways within our current paradigm of self-understanding. But again, these problems only arise because of the divisive externality that the instantaneous, spatial conception of time and self demands. Once we deny this temporal self-separation, we see that the divisions between self and others and between self and world begin to dissolve. Rather like the ‘extended mind’ hypothesis that conceives of the mind as extending beyond the brain to include the tools that it uses to navigate the world, we are actually ‘extended selves’, not eternally separate and alienated from each other and from our bodies but as holistically entwined communities of extended selves.

            This holistic conception of existence might look familiar to that of Buddhists and certain varieties of New Age Spiritualists. However, the holistic connectedness proclaimed by modern day mystics, psychics, and spiritualists is of a different nature than that recognized by the Priory of Sion. The reason for this is that most of these self-help movements cling to a monadic, external conception of our interrelatedness: Beneath their commitment to ‘oneness’ and ‘connectedness’, there remains the idea of distinct souls or selves. This conception is quite comforting. It allows us to reject whatever aspects of our scientific or materialist conception of existence we dislike while clinging to our own sense of self. Unfortunately, this egoistic core must also be rejected -- not, of course, in the normal course of our daily life, but as a metaphysical postulate.[6] We are not discreet, separate, monadic individuals (or ‘souls’ or ‘energies’ or ‘selves’) who happen to be connected after that fact in some way, like objects in space connected by some invisible energy. Rather, we are inherently, first and foremost, an entwinement of natural, cultural, and communal forces that happens to have achieved an illusory sense of ego or self-hood, and thereby, an illusory sense of disconnection. All talk of ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ betray this fundamental misconception.

            Here I borrow from the Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh to illustrate this point and its difficulties:

Imagine the ocean with its multitude of waves. The waves are all different; some are big, some are small, some are more beautiful than others … Visualize yourself as a wave on the surface of the ocean. Watch as you are being created -- you rise to the surface, you stay a little while, and then you return to the ocean. You know that at some point you are going to end, but if you know how to touch the ground of your being -- water -- all your fears will vanish. You will see that as a wave, you share the life of the water with every other wave. This is the nature of our interbeing.[7]

 

Although this imagery, too, is spatial, it can help release us from that pervasive libertarian delusion that conceives of the world as revolving about a persisting, punctual self. We are waves, forming and dissipating from out of the living ocean, merely aspects of this larger whole from which we receive energy and life and back into which we will dissipate. When we return to the ocean, we do not return as discrete, self-identical waves just waiting to return to the surface. We do not retain any sense of wave-individuality. Rather, our energy returns to the ocean and is enfolded into its larger existence. We return to the ‘divine’ ground of our being without retaining any monadic self-identity. To dissolve time is to dissolve our sense of self-identity, separation, and externality.

            This dissolution of time as isolated instants and the reintegration of self and world is the long-term socio-cultural project of the Priory of Sion. The ‘alchemical’ ‘transubstantiation’ of consciousness and a return to the Divine Feminine is a return to an immediate experience of life as the holistic, interconnected entwining of lives, communities, traditions, and natural processes. But how is this possible? To answer that, we must understand how we lost contact with the ‘Divine’ in the first place; we must turn to the work of Leonard Shlain and his book, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess.[8]

            In this book, Shlain explains how the human brain has evolved so that each hemisphere specializes in what he generalizes as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ functions.[9] The ‘masculine’ left-brain specializes in linear thinking. This part of the brain is what, evolutionarily speaking, enabled man to become a prolific hunter -- a killer. Not only does this half of the brain specialize in arithmetical, logical, sequential, linear, analytical, abstract, deterministic thinking, but emotionally, it is the part of the brain that enables humans to become cold, detached, and ruthless. Early humans, thanks to their left-brain abilities, were able to size up their prey, judge the strength required to kill, anticipate escape routes, and then coldly and dispassionately assert their will. All of this calculation was achieved as a series of abstract, serial events in time that imaginatively separated the hunter from his immediate reality. Meanwhile, the right half of the brain specializes in recognizing patterns in compound images. Instead of analyzing experiences by breaking them down into abstract components occurring in discrete moments in time and space, the right-brain recognizes patterns and forms all at once. The right-brain experience is holistic, simultaneous, realistic (rather than abstract), and synthetic (rather than analytic). It is the part of the brain that enables humans to empathize and to nurture. Prototypical examples of a right-brain skills are facial recognition and musical appreciation. When we abstract ourselves from a situation and analyze it by breaking it down into isolated spatio-temporal elements, we are using our left-brain. When we cognize a situation all at once as a whole, we are using our right-brain. When we detach ourselves from a situation and from others in order to make ‘objective’ calculations (by separating ourselves as ‘subjects’ from the ‘objects’ in the world), we use our left-brain. When we immerse ourselves immediately into the rhythm and significance of a lived situation, we use our right brain.

            The left-brain approach to the world was crucial for the survival of the human species that lacked physical advantages in the evolutionary struggle. Early man needed to see the world instantaneously in terms of its deterministic, instrumental possibilities and this way of knowing the world -- this left-brain, masculine epistemology -- permeated and shaped human existence. Analytic, cold-blooded calculation became, not just one skill among others, but the preeminent human mode of life. By necessity, humans detached themselves from the natural rhythms of nature in order to exert their will upon their environment. Whether beholding prey, analyzing a set of facts, reflecting upon ourselves and our place in the universe, or merely going about our business, human experience took on this form of spatialized abstraction and separation -- separation of subject from object, subject from subject, subject from community, and finally, subject from self. We came to understand our world in terms of isolated ‘causes’, effects’, and ‘instants’ in time, and then to understand ourselves in terms of monadic ‘souls’ or ‘selves’ or ‘egos’. We thereby lost a sense of the ‘Divine’ -- a sense of the enduring entwinement of living existence.

            Shlain describes how, with the shift from nomadic hunting to an agrarian society, the right hemisphere in humans began to assume a more important role. Raising animals and tending crops required the nurturing skills of the right hemisphere and, as a result, the dominance of those cold-blooded left-brain proclivities waned. It was at this point in history that Goddess worship became widespread as a symbol of our harmonious relationship with the earth. The Divine Feminine represented a return to a true experience of life that had been obscured by our masculine epistemology of abstraction, analysis, and separation. Nevertheless, these Goddess worshipping, right-brain cultures were eventually eclipsed by the rise of the masculine, left-brain world which we inhabit today. What precipitated this change in the fortunes of Goddess worship? Written language. Written language operates on a serial, one-letter- and one-word-after-another basis and this separated linearity is the specialty of the left-brain. The invention and dissemination of the alphabet and writing transformed and re-configured the brain. Written language reactivated and reinforced all of those abstract, cold-blooded left-brain proclivities that first enabled humans to separate themselves from their natural habitat. Written language -- ‘the word’ -- returned humanity to a masculine epistemology of discrete, self-contained monads forever separated in time and space.[10] As a result, Goddess worship was displaced and suppressed by the patriarchal monotheisms of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- their ‘God’ being the ultimate expression of a self-contained, disconnected monad.

            The important point for our purposes is that long before the brief rise and fall of Goddess worship, evolutionary pressures had created a left-brain epistemology that continues to shape thought and experience using its categories of abstraction and separation. Not only our concepts -- our logic, our rationality, our categorizing -- but even our percepts -- our fundamental, pre-reflective experience of perception and of living -- are informed and structured by that original evolutionary need to think abstractly, detachedly, and cold-bloodedly about a world from which we separate ourselves. Today, almost all of our experiences of reality have been hijacked by these left-brain, masculine proclivities. The result is that our everyday experience is ordered sequentially and abstractly with our own self at the center, isolated in a little bubble of time that we experience as ‘here and now’. Any experience that is not shaped by this masculine epistemology is dismissed as delusion, mental illness, or as a flight of new-age, spiritualist fancy.

            However, it is possible to free humanity from this illusion by again activating right-brain functions and developing new habits of holistic, ‘feminine’ perception. If stimulated during the developmental phase of childhood and then reinforced culturally, left brain illusions can be displaced by holistic, right brain experiences. It is possible to release ourselves from the illusions of separation and return to the holistic reality of the ‘Divine’. This is the long-term goal of the Priory of Sion. True, it is not plausible to attribute to the historical Priory of Sion this level of neuro-biological knowledge and sophistication. But they were aware of the loss of the Divine Feminine; and they were aware of the possibility of gnosis and of a higher consciousness that would return us to the Feminine principles of life. This knowledge was expressed variously in terms of ‘alchemical transubstantiation’, Goddess worship, and through heretical art and symbolism, but the intention has always been the same: to preserve knowledge of, and to prepare our return to, the Divine Feminine. Up until now, the Priory could do little more than act as a counterweight to the mindset brought on by religious dogma and superstition.[11] However, the Priory of Sion now understands that what is preventing our return to the Divine Feminine is our own brain. Their goal is to foster a technological and cultural environment that activates right-brain functions at the expense of our default left-brain proclivities.

            The most effective means for achieving this ‘transubstantion’ on a large scale are twofold: The widespread adoption of meditative practices and the dissemination of entertainment devices with moving imagery. Here’s why:

The electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave patterns of someone reading a book are very different from those of the same person watching television. So fundamentally different, in fact, that there is little deviation in those patterns even when the content of the book or television program is varied. … Watching television and meditating generate the identical slow alpha and theta waves. These EEG patterns denote a passive, receptive, and contemplative state of mind. Reading a book, in contrast, generates beta waves; the kind that appear whenever a person is concentrating on a task…. Task-oriented beta waves activate the hunter/killer side of the brain as alpha and theta waves emanate more from the gatherer/nurturer side. (Shlain 1999, 408)

 

This activation and habituation of right-brain proclivities by way of an enculturation of video technology is well on its way:

Comprehending television required an entirely different hemispheric strategy than that used in reading. Viewers called forth their pattern-recognition skills to decipher the screen’s low-definition mosaic mesh. … As people watched more and more television, the supremacy of the left hemisphere dimmed as the right’s use increased. (Shlain 1999, 408)

 

To achieve its goal of a return to the Divine Feminine, the Priory of Sion uses whatever political and monetary capital that it has to invest in and promote practices and technologies that stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain. In this respect, the approach of the Priory of Sion is simple but and easily overlooked. Regardless of politics, religion, and the short-term interests of various governments, the Priory supports the spread of these practices and technologies. This helps to explain the incredible spread of moving image technology despite the inability to achieve much progress in any other developmental goal. Not many people have freedom or honest governments, but these same people have televisions, video games, and computers. It does not matter what these people watch, only that they watch:

As television sets [and computers] continue to proliferate around the world, they are redirecting the course of human evolution. … While most social commentators wring their hands over the dismal nature of much of television programming’s content, they fail to accord the process of perceiving television’s information its due as a factor reconfiguring society in a positive way. (Shlain 1999, 409)[12]

 

This ‘redirection of the course of human evolution’ is the alchemical secret that has been guarded by the Priory of Sion throughout the ages and is what is meant when the Priory speaks of a ‘transubstantiation of consciousness’. By subtly changing the way we experience reality, it is possible to return to reality, not as an isolated 'self' confronting a world exterior to it, but as enfolded and entwined within the Divine Feminine.

            And so, the Priory of Sion continues to remain in the background, quietly guiding modern cultural and technological progress.[13] As the work of the Priory progresses, there will be a subtle shift from a left-brain, masculine experience of time (as space) to a right-brain, feminine experience of time (as entwinement and duration). This conceptual possibility is already becoming reality. Slowly but surely, time is dissolving.

 

[2] Bergson, Henri. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960.

[3] We get into the habit of setting up the same distinction between the successive moments of our conscious life … into parts external to one another. (TF 109)

[4] Again, Bergson:

Deep introspection … leads us to grasp our inner states as living things, constantly becoming, as states not amenable to measure, which permeate one another and of which the succession in duration has nothing in common with juxtaposition in homogeneous space. (TF 231)

[5] On what basis would these separate moments of experience synthesized as one experience instead of a multiplicity of sensations?Bergson famously states the problem in this way:

“For we should seek in vain for two ideas which have not some point of resemblance, or which do not touch each other somewhere. To take similarity first: however profound are the differences which separate two images, we shall always find, if we go back high enough, a common genus to which they belong, and consequently a resemblance which may serve as a connecting link between them. … This is as much as to say that between any two ideas chosen at random there is always a resemblance, and always, even, contiguity; so that when we discover a relation of contiguity or of resemblance between two successive ideas, we have in no way explained why the one evokes the other. What we really need to discover is how a choice is effected among an infinite number of recollections which all resemble in some way the present perception, and why only one of them – this rather than that – emerges into the light of consciousness.” Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory, trans. N.M. Paul and W.S. Palmer (New York: Humanities Press, 1978), 178-79.

[6] Buddhism is beset by contradiction on this very point. True, the Buddha taught that there is no self. Yet, the whole notion of reincarnation seems to imply some sort of monadic self that persists beyond death.

[7] Thich Nhat Hanh Under the Rose Apple Tree (Parallax Press: 2002), p 26.

[8] Shlain, Leonard. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word and Image. New York: Viking, 1998.

[9] It is not important to the thesis of this article how closely these general proclivities map on to brain lateralization or whether these general specializations ought to be labeled as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ proclivities. What is important is that there are two general modes in which we process the world, one of which has us locked into what I am calling a ‘masculine epistemology’ of spatialized, sequential abstraction and the other of which I am calling the ‘Divine Feminine’.

[10] Linearity, sequence, abstraction, and analysis are the mental processes used in alphabet spelling. They are also the processes that undergird the left hemisphere’s most representative functions -- language, logic, causality, and math computation. The left is the hemisphere principally responsible for the hunting-and-killing human survival strategy. Literacy preferentially reinforces the left’s dominance over the right hemisphere, home of the gathering-and-nurturing human survival strategy. The values of the right hemisphere have suffered for millennia because literacy held cultures that learned spelling ‘spellbound’. (Shlain 1999, 428)

[11] Robert Howells Inside the Priory of Sion (Watkins Publishing, 2011)

[12] “Television, more powerful than Asherah, Astarte, or Athena, has doomed all fundamentalist movements, and their extremism is the rearguard action of an army in retreat.” (Shlain 1999, 424)

            As for meditation, there is a convergence of method between the Priory of Sion and modern meditative practitioners such as Buddhists and yoga instructors. As explained above however, these merchants of self-help are ultimately undermining their own commitment to the ‘self’ that needs help. As the contemplative state of mind achieved in meditation and in video entertainment eventually re-installs right-brain functions to dominance, that ‘self’ that they are keen to help will itself dissolve. I suspect that the meditative, spiritual, and neo-Buddhist groups that are sweeping Western culture have been infiltrated and funded by the Priory of Sion. However, this is not because the Priory supports the metaphysical assumptions that underpin these movements, or the feel-good fluff that accompanies these practices. Rather, they support them solely for the meditative, right-brain practices that they are disseminating.

[13] According to Gus Stiver, the Priory of Sion disguises its members as delusional, self-important wannabes, and disguises its missives as satire or as foolish wishful thinking. It is thus able to hide in plain sight. (Stiver, Gus. The Truth Behind the Ben Hammott Confession Hoax. Createspace, 2013.)

Views: 35

Comment

You need to be a Seeker of Esoteric Online to add comments!

Join Esoteric Online

© 2019   Created by The Community.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service