The Emanationists (all the various kinds, Gnostics, Hermeticists, Platonists, etc.) described a model of reality that is divided into fractally self-similar levels. It begins with an Ultimate Ground of Being, a No Thing Changeless and Eternal, a Void of Pure Intellect. Intellect requires an object; being all that is (and is not), the Void can only reflect upon Itself. In so doing, it divides into two opposite and complementary halves that, for lack of better terms, we can call Ma and Pa.
Ma is Spirit. Sophia.
Pa is the Logos. The Ein Sof.
These feminine and masculine aspects of the Void are forever apart but also, being in essence One, forever coming together. In other words, they are boning endlessly, ceaselessly, ecstatically throughout all Eternity.
From that union issues a third Divine aspect, the Child. As the product of Ma and Pa's reunion, the Child--let's call them Kid A--is hermaphroditic by nature, and the Root Node of all sentient beings in all the universes. C.G. referred to Them as the archetype of the Self. Yet at the same time, They're still one with Their begetters. This three-in-one structure is the trinitarian deity that so many religions have intuited.
This is where the story gets less abstract and more mythic. The Feminine and Masculine aspects of the Divine love their Child so much they replicate Them nine times.
So now they've got nine Kids. When I see them in deep visionary space, it's as a gaggle of human children, like the Brady Bunch. Why? Because that's how these extra-universal beings see themselves. They're a family, with all the fun and closeness and occasional tensions and frustration that implies. Tolstoy said "Happy families are all alike," and that's true of the Divine Family, too. Our families follow the archetypal patterns of Their relationships. It's all so normal. I see the Kids playing on a beach next to a lake, and behind them are stately old oaks across a broad lawn and beautiful house with a wraparound porch with a swing. But nevertheless these are super-ontological beings, cosmic forces whose actions, we'll see, have impacts down at our level. These are the Gods.
They are playing a game. A kind of a cross between Dungeons and Dragons and, I dunno, Stratomatic. They've got grid paper and pencils and polyhedral dice, but also slide rules and calculators and other more arcane instruments. There's a blackboard and it's covered with incomprehensibly complex formulas. They are sipping lemonade and forgetting to eat the sandwiches they made because they are so intent on their tasks. They are working furiously to solve a problem their Ma has posed.
See, She's homeschooling them. This is how She is raising them into the omnipotent stewards of reality She's created them to be. And She's doing it like this. She says,
I want you to model a physical universe, and I want you to assign a spark of your own being--which is My being--to every atom of it. In that space I want you to grow sentient life. Then I want you to figure out how to get a critical mass--oh, let's say ten billion--of those sentient beings to the point they can incarnate me in their consciousnesses. To get to there, they'll have to solve basic problems of survival in hostile environments, then figure out how to live in societies larger than an extended family, then how to develop language and culture and technology, and then how to organize their civilizations so that all have the security, education, and opportunity to undertake work that goes into transforming into Us.
You can influence events, but you're not allowed to directly control the creatures that arise. All you can do is calculate probabilities and set up initial conditions. They get to choose their own paths. Eventually, they will be your co-discoverers of the solution to the mystery. And, more importantly, they will be your moral instructors. Your strategic decisions will have consequences for them, sometimes terrible ones. They will suffer for your failed schemes. But for them that is the price of transformation. And for you that cost will be feeling all the pain you inflict. You'll have to learn to hear their cries and complaints, and suffer with them, and make decisions that will hurt them even more but eventually bring them home to a glorious destiny. Necessity is the burden of being a God. They will teach you how to carry it.So the kids are on the beach, hard at work solving this problem. But one of their number is off by himself, building sandcastles and then smashing them, over and over. To look at him, you might think he is deeply autistic. But he's not.
This is Lou, the first-born of their generation. The reason Lou appears autistic is he's not really there on the beach. His body is, but his essence is someplace else. Someplace infinite in extent, infinitely dark, infinitely cold. He just woke up there suddenly one night. Not knowing where he was, he called for his Ma. And when She didn't come, he started screaming for his family, absolutely terrified. Eons passed this way. And then gradually he realized he could see, in his mind's eye, his brothers and sisters on the beach playing their game. His terror curdled into rage. Why are they still there, when he is not? Did his parents threw him out? Why? Why did they throw him out? He didn't do anything! He can't believe they are comfortably at home with Ma and Pa, and he is not. Watching them play, he becomes quite insane with jealous hatred.
Eventually he comes to realize that if he concentrates hard enough, he can spoil his siblings' efforts to solve Ma's puzzle. He can make the dice rolls go wrong, cloud their thinking when they're at the blackboard. FUCK THEM AND THEIR GAME, he thinks, and now, in a sick way, he enjoys his loneliness, the pure meanness of ruining things. He's going to try to stop their schemes from working out in any way he can.
Of course, what he doesn't remember is that he volunteered to play Adversary. He's great at it (they've played this game many times before), and besides, he's the oldest, and he's the only one of the children strong enough to be left alone like that, so Ma's okay with it, too.
As the Kids sit and play their game, they imagine the space their Ma described. It's like a scale model of their own ultra-ordinary dimension, and as they think and think about it, eventually it's inhabited by beings that look a lot like them. The thing is, being Gods, these products of their thoughts, these imaginal people, they're *real*. That is to say, the people they are self-aware. They are born and grow and eventually they die, because everything does, even the Kids, everything but Ma/Pa/Kid A.
The problem is that the beings in this world the Kids are imagining--let's call them the Aeons--are too close to Truth. That is, they know that there is a Network of Being, and that they are Nodes on it, and that they're only two steps away from Ma. There's hardly anything to overcome. The game can't be played at this level, not if the Kids are going to learn anything. So they task the Aeons with playing a game of their own in which they imagine a reality where people very much like themselves are being born and living and eventually dying.
This they do. But though for these second-order Aeons things are a bit fuzzier, and they can't see their network connection to the Root Node so clearly, they are are also still too close to the Kids and Ma for their reality to be where the game is played. So the Aeons encourage the second-order Aeons to invent their own game space, and then those third-order Aeons invent the fourth, and etc. and etc. Each succeeding generation of Aeons creates a scaled-down, fractally self-similar reality that is enclosed within the others like Matroyshka dolls. Down and down it goes, level after level, until eventually you get to us.
Human beings through history have encountered Transcendent Reality via various means. Of course, the problem is, this TR is beyond our ability to talk about in concrete language developed to describe events in our space/time continuum. The best we can do is have our experience and then try to convey it to others with visual image and metaphors, which are the most elastic kind of language we've got. In the experience of TR known as religious vision, it's likely that what we're seeing is a screen thrown up by our imagination that substitutes the closest symbol we have at hand, which for most people is something provided by their culture. This is why, for instance, a Catholic Christian in France doesn't have a vision of Durga when in the presence of the Divine Feminine. They'll see the Virgin Mary (most of the time; some few creative people seem to be able to absorb novel images directly from the collective unconscious).
I'm going into this because I think that as our civilization and language and conceptual framework have become more sophisticated, so too should our metaphors for Transcendent Reality. We don't have to keep using images that arose thousands of years ago in Bronze age cultures. We can come up with new metaphors. I'm going to suggest that a new technology arrived on the scene about 20 years ago that can serve as a metaphor for WHAT'S GOING ON, a metaphor closer to the truth of our ontological situation than any that have come before.
It's the massively multi-player online game (MMORPG). I suggest that our reality is in fact an MMORPG for an incredibly advanced technological civilization.
Imagine this: Sony comes up with a VR game that's a quantum leap ahead of anything out now. It's is utterly convincing on a sensory level; it is the Matrix. In it, time is compressed. In three hours on a Saturday afternoon, you can spend 80 subjective years. And the way they've rigged it, you can go in to work on certain moral lessons, so you can emerge with a lifetime's worth of wisdom. Or you can just fuck around. Up to you!
This all dovetails with the simulation theories bandied about by people like Elon Musk, and phenomenologically by the weird heads-up display graphics that often show up in deep visionary space. This higher order civilization is where you truly exist. You are a citizen of Night City, which is an ultra-advanced science fictional city I see again and again in my visions. I don't think it actually has a physical reality; I think it exists completely as a kind of consensual hallucination shared by beings at that level. But anyway, you have a life there, but also, you feel a pull upwards; even at that level, they feel the presence of the Goddess, and they want to get closer to her. In order to do that, you have incarnated into our level, which is kind of like a karmic fat farm. Here is where you learn moral lessons and thus shed karmic weight. You seek to grow unencumbered so that eventually you can shift up a level in the great chain of being, that much closer to the Kids, that much closer to Her.
Everyone reading this right now is also, at this very moment, floating in a Night City game pod. Your life on Earth is completely real, but it's also a consensual hallucination. (There's a reason why movies like The Matrix and Inception were so popular--audiences intuited they were saying something true about our ontological plight.) When you wake up and realize you are playing a game, you can then begin the process of remembering who you really are. That's what enlightenment is and has always been. It's just that now we can interpret that experience of awakening using metaphors that are closer to the reality of the situation. The Buddha had no concept of VR and gamespace, so even if he intuited the truth, he couldn't have articulated it.
The point is, where we are, right now, THIS is where the emanating thoughts of the Kids were finally able to create beings that were far enough removed from the Source of their being that the game could commence. HERE is where they trying to solve the problem of evolving insensate matter into sentient beings that eventually incarnate the Goddess in vast numbers. It's basically like Sid Meier's Civilization crossed with classical Gnosticism, you know? Except it's really happening.
When you wake up enough to remember that you are effectively the in-game avatar of a true, higher self, who lives in a fantastic sci-fi city that is made of pure consciousness, you can finally recognize you are in fact a being that exists as a node of consciousness every level of the Aeon-created multiverse. There is a network that connects you directly to the Kids and to the Holy Ma Herself. You can remember yourself as them, literally be them, look out through their eyes at Her. Or you can retain primary identification with the node of you at any level, including the one in which you're reading this article, and have the same shocking realization: She is real! In that moment, you will have achieved exactly what the Kids created you for. You now superconduct Her energy into our level of reality. The Kids high five each other. One down; nine billion, nine-hundred ninety-nine million, nine-hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine-hundred ninety-nine to go.
Basically every religion to this point has been a failed attempt to create the critical mass of human beings that are advanced enough to constellate themselves so as to incarnate Ma in their consciousnesses. They were mass-enlightenment strategies introduced by Aeons acting as emissaries for the scheming of a bunch of Divine Children playing a tabletop RPG on the beach beside their house on a beautiful warm sunny day.
And the reason they failed is the Adversary. Lou, the oldest and the best of the kids, thwarting their schemes. And ours, too, our every attempt to create beauty and meaning is anathema to him, because it might lead to the success of his siblings. He is the source of evil in the world. Evil is real *and* the God(dess) is all good and all loving. It's not a paradox. It's just that her Children have the same relationship to us that we have to the characters in the stories we tell. Imagine if the people slaughtered at the Red Wedding in "Game of Thrones" could know that there were supraordinal beings taking aesthetic enjoyment from their suffering? Would they consider us demons? Archons?
But here's the thing. Even though we are all figments of the imagination of beings her Children have imagined, Ma loves each of us ferociously. We are still sparks of Her. We're Her children, too, and She doesn't play favorites. She loves us all equally. (In fact, in the universe you live in, you're her absolute favorite, but that's another story).
And Lou, our Enemy? He's our best friend. Because by working against the Resistance that he poses, we become stronger and more beautiful in the eyes of the Holy Ma. We grow like organic musical instruments that the Goddess is cultivating in her Garden of Time, instruments that sound a note crucial for the universal symphony she is composing. We are baby Gods, too.
When I first had the vision of Lou's exile, I screamed out loud in horror and pity. I was right there with him in the dark, and I couldn't understand how the Holy Ma, the love of my life, could've done that to him. But subsequent visions explained things further. For the Divine Kids, part of the urgency of this game is that when they solve this puzzle, when finally a critical mass of sentient beings at our level of reality incarnate the Goddess in their consciousness, the universe and all its pain will be redeemed. And their big brother Lou will be freed from his cold black prison. He'll be among them again, laughing and joking. They can't wait.
It might be soon. Things are coming to a head. After millennia of effort, the Kids have come up with what they believe is a winning plan. They're betting everything on it, and consequently Lou--Lucifer--is pushing back as hard as he can. That's why things feel so apocalyptic now--why it feels like our civilization is at a tipping point between devolving into Mad Max chaos or ascending into a Star Trek future. The success of the Kids' plan depends on us confronting what is looming in our collective Shadow: the rape of the planet, the systematic subjugation and economic exploitation of the world's population by a tiny minority, and most especially, the genocides of the last five centuries. They--or more likely--the Aeons below them, but still far, far above us--have developed another mass enlightenment strategy and sent it down the network to an unknown number of transcendental operatives from Night City who've volunteered to try to implement it.
It it fails, it's back to the drawing board for the Kids, but the consequences for us at our level will be truly terrible. And so it's time to pull together, gang. Time to grow up to be the citizens of the Transcendent we were made to be. The means to do that is at hand. It's called phonomancy.