Planet Waves for July 2000



"Well" by Maria Henzler & Eric Francis

The Art of Rebellion
Exponentially Increasing Randomness

Planet Waves | by Eric Francis
for July 2000 | © Planet Waves Digital Media, all rights reserved

Kimberly, British Columbia

Traveling, reading email and talking to friends and clients for the past month, I've heard a lot of stories about this being a particularly volatile moment in the personal histories of many people. The theme of movement has been a big one, such as relocation from long-held residences and long-occupied regions, shifts in careers, changes in what seemed to be very stable long-term relationships, and stuck energy starting to flow.

This can often come with a sense of chaos; the old order, literally, the organizational structure, cannot handle the new changes, and so there's a feeling of things falling apart.

I've also heard of a few interesting near-death experiences, the theme of ancestral contact or 'getting to the roots' has been showing up, and interest in UFOs and ETs has been a little higher than I usually notice [this was written before the latest raft of Water on Mars stories started coming out, but they seem typical of the way consciousness is moving at the moment.] Many people around me are reporting what they describe as multi-dimensional experiences, synchronicities and radical shifts in awareness. In all, people seem to be in noticeably enhanced states of blended depression, chaos, shock, motion, emotion or euphoria. Essentially, all the pots are cooking a little hotter than normal, which makes sense, given that the planets are bouncing around the cosmic pool table a lot faster, better and more creatively than normal.

Let's take a moment and thank the forces of evolution -- ourselves and one another, for openers -- for the fact that none of us needs to be put in a psychiatric hospital for having or talking about such experiences. Not so long ago, even the most casual reference to one of these things could have landed someone on a locked ward, or gotten them branded a nut case at work. But the intellectual chaos of our times, plus the prevailing state of prosperity and many efforts directed at spiritual growth [read: awareness] in recent decades, have allowed us to expand our ideas about nature, forced us to embrace larger notions of what is possible, and are facilitating a state of tolerance for so-called alternative viewpoints -- and sometimes even acceptance.

Even many people who don't get it, I imagine, know for the most part that they don't get it. And that, too, is progress.

As these years progress, the pace of change in our culture is only going to increase. I have mentioned before an idea delineated by Terence McKenna, that of "exponentially increasing randomness," which my friend Mikio explained in an email to me last summer: "The gist being the collective information we need to process in this age of our world has reached critical mass, and is currently bankrupting the legacy machinery we call the cerebral cortex. Therefore, 'Joe Shmoe' [that's us], in order to reinvent some order of sane functionality, is going to have to adopt a non-linear means of reality assimilation previously needed only by mystics, oracles and madmen."

Plain Jane: Our brains and the linear methods in which we have been hard-wired to think by our parents, school teachers, bosses and the stock market, can't handle the pace of change, the flow of information and experience we are currently subjected to. Hence, we need expanded means of assimilating reality in order to survive in the current spacetime. By "survive," I don't just mean eat, but whether one feels sane enough to get out of bed has a lot to do with whether there's enough cash in one's pocket to get dinner.

If we cling to our old ways of thinking, we will threaten our ability survive as individuals; we're already fully aware that on the species level, things are a little shaky. The real question, on an individual level, is whether we care, whether we can connect to the larger, collective picture; which means, asking whether our old ways of thinking can allow us to care and connect to the larger picture. For the most part, when we hear about imminent global problems, we shut down, remove ourselves from the scene, or go into denial. For sure, that's the old way of handling things.

In psychological and emotional terms, when we stick to old methods of thought in a new era or new flow of information, we will respond to this kind of amping-up of reality with a sense of being overwhelmed, and then paralyzed. Or we can retreat into familiar patterns, like buying $244 worth of makeup or polishing the car three times a week. Or, we can go negative, freak out and give people a really hard time instead of going with the flow.

Or, we can surrender into what feels like a rush of madness, but is really a new order of reality subsuming the old.

Astrologically, that is, described in a language of time that utilizes the planetary cycles to convey the quality of time, what we are experiencing is the culmination of several years of highly out-of-the ordinary planetary activity, on top of a really wild century. Could the soon-to-end 20th century, with its technologies, population expansion, holocausts, world wars, discoveries of hundreds of planets around our sun, black holes, relativity, quantum and chaos theory, plus explosions in arts, culture and religion, possibly be a normal century astrologically?

No astrologer can give the bottom line on the exact relationship between the events of the worlds (planetary cycles), world events, human affairs and individual experience, but there are some excellent theories. It is an exceedingly important question, because the fact that astrology means anything at all has implications for the whole way humanity organizes thought, history, psychology and religion, and how we get through the day: that is, how we organize reality. In essence, the fact of astrology affirms that there is a direct correspondence between "the heavens" (God, Goddess, the Gods, the void, the planets, the cycles, the galaxy, the unknown, the rita, the nagual or however you consider the idea) and our direct experiences on the planet.

For astrology not to exist as an abstraction or something to which we play the victim, we need to look directly at it. Yes, it seems complicated and like there is way too much to know, but that's a great metaphor for standing in the face of the unknown; for directly initiating a relationship to the mysteries. Astrology teaches us to think in larger cycles of time rather than being trapped in "linear time." It's a little like the difference between becoming a drummer, and tapping a pencil on the table. Yet you don't need to be an accomplished drummer to find yourself becoming aware of rhythm, and that, in turn, having an uplifting effect on your life.

In practicing astrology, we embrace an overwhelming amount of data with our minds, we try to approach it rationally, then we're shot to a level of informed intuition. It is an excellent exercise in handling exponentially increasing randomness.

In viewing the cycles, we also become aware of the grandeur of real time rather than the false time we try to live with. Real time has more options than false linear time. So in contemplating our own astrology, we might assign the cycle of Jupiter to our career and watch that one work; we might assign the path of Saturn to our relationships and watch that one work; we might assign the path of Venus to our love of art and music, and watch that work. These cycles progress at the own rate. They cross over, there are conjunctions, there are meeting places, and many different things can work together. We are the living result, and the coalescence point, of many different cycles, influences and factors; why not consider ourselves that way?

It is far more interesting than saying, "Gee, in five years, I'll be married with three kids and making $125,006 a year as a middle manager," or, "In 2003, I'll have my degree." That is linear thinking. It is useless, especially for prediction. Try it for a couple of decades and see what I mean.

There are a number of methods of learning nonlinear reality; astrology is just one, but it's a convenient one. Studying Tarot, in my experience, counts for studying astrology, but it's a really great idea to mix in at least a little astrology -- for example, a working knowledge of the seasons, the lunar cycles and eclipses, of which there are three in July, by the way, including solar eclipses on July 1 and 31. If nothing else, we can be sure that when August 1st rolls around, most of us will be leading substantially different lives.


Photo courtesy of APOD

Another really efficient place to devote our energies if we want to stay sane in the face of exponentially increasing randomness is learning about sex and relationships. I know, we think we know it all, but it's plainly obvious that people are basically too terrified of one another to trust one another enough to experience fulfilling intimacy, as a general state of affairs.

There is a fine little book published in times much like the ones in which we're living, called The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment. It begins, "We are equal beings and the universe is our relationships with one another." Read that ditty a few times and try it with the emphasis on different words and see if you can catch it. Write it on the wall -- it won't fail you.

We live in very, very outdated ideas about relationships. They are painful; they are a prison, indeed, the very prison in which we live. And the more the pace of change picks up, the more we will feel this. The more we grow, the more beautiful we become. The more beautiful we become, the more people we will attract. There are some new words to describe slightly more innovative ways of doing relationships, like "polyamory" and "Tantra," and these seem radical to many people because they involve surrendering the familiar, seemingly safe structure of possessive, (allegedly) exclusive, one-on-one relationships.

In fact, we cannot own one another, and in fact, very few relationships are exclusive. So possessiveness is an exercise in pure futility. Even if people have sex with only one partner, all kinds of desires, needs, wishes, feelings dreams and ideas are flying all around among us and within us. Yet it is exceedingly rare that we can share our real feelings and ideas with the people with whom we are in one-on-one, allegedly exclusive relationships. That is because if we did, we would probably not be in those relationships. So more than being prisons of "exclusivity" (this reminds me of a country club), they are very often prisons of lies and concealments designed to protect "stability." But such arrangements are neither exclusive nor stable, and it's a good idea to keep that in mind.

We cannot suffer this forever, and why wait till our last week on the planet to get clear with people? The truth of who we are always comes out. It does so not out of any metaphysical predestination, but rather because we want it to. We cannot live happily in deceits, especially ones about who we are and how we feel. Learning to tell the truth will come with a great sense of relief and, I would hazard a promise to you, a loosening up of the choke-hold that the fear of death has on us. Let me say that another way, please: if we tell the truth about who we are to our loved ones, we'll be less freaked out about death, and therefore, be able to enjoy life a lot more.

Then there is sex. I tend to write the same thing about sex over and over again, and plan to for a while, but I'll try to say it differently this time. The fastest, most fun, and most direct way out of the prison of linear time and old ideas about who we are is orgasm. While we are studying all kinds of groovy, fascinating metaphysical phenomena like UFOs and synchronicity, while we are experimenting with every known entheogenic substance, mushroom, vine and designer drug, let's consider orgasm. Orgasm is this mysterious experience which works on the physical, psychological, emotional and psychic levels, bringing them all together. It also cancels out the personality, cancels out shame, cancels out fear, erases time, and rises us to the level of pure, conscious being. Is this not what we really seek in all our efforts aimed at enlightenment?

Orgasm is a solitary experience, most of the time, for most people. It's nice to have someone around, but in that real moment of surrender, we just let go into ourselves and that is that. So if you want to learn about yourself, learn about orgasm, from repeated, conscious experience, and also from sharing your experiences, and from listening.

I suggest that you learn to orgasm, I mean really orgasm, alone, the most trusted space there is. It is easier and less distracting. If you have difficulty, that the experience is worth growing toward.

From there, having learned something about how you relate to yourself, you can try it with someone else. I strongly suggest that all people, and especially lovers, masturbate together. This enhances a state of individual awareness, equality and respect for sexual autonomy in a nonthreatening way that will make your relationship a lot more sane and interesting.

With this I will leave you for this month. The planets, as I say, are moving fast. Through the frist half of July Mercury is retrograde, there are two eclipses of the sun and one of the moon, and by many other factors the time waves and information impulses are increasing picking up. So pay attention, ask for help when you need it, speak your heart and mind and please be good to you.++

Art of Rebellion Part One

Art of Rebellion Part Two

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