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Premises of PHONOMANCER™

I'm working on a new book. By which I mean, I'm writing the book I need to write before I can actually write the book I'll publish, the one in which I figure out what exactly it is I want to say, so I can then figure out how to say it.

  • There is a Transcendent Reality that is the source and condition of the material universe in which we live.
  • This Transcendent Reality can be and has been directly experienced by human beings since time immemorial.
  • This is important because direct exposure to Transcendent Reality is such a mind-shatteringly wonderful experience that a strong case can be made it is the whole point of human existence.
  • Accounts of such experiences and methods for achieving them are the basis for animism, shamanism, yoga and its offshoot religions, the pantheistic religions, the monotheistic religions, New Age religions, psychonautic exploration, and modern belief in anomalous and paranormal events (UFOs, NDEs, etc.).
  • Each of these approaches to experiencing Transcendental Reality describe distinct types of experiences, and within each approach there is significant phenomenological variation
  • The fact that no one approach can adequately account for the variety of experiences made available by others indicates that none of them completely describes the nature of Transcendent Reality. In other words, no religion has a lock on the Truth™.
  • In an effort to improve our access to and consequent understanding of Transcendent Reality, it's incumbent on us to invent new exploratory techniques and new interpretive models that will allow us to integrate ever-larger data sets extracted from ongoing investigations.
  • Spirituality can be defined as one's individual experience of or relationship to Transcendent Reality. Religion can be defined as the ways individuals can collaborate to create collective experiences of Transcendent Reality more intense than can be realized working alone.
  • Collective experiences of Transcendent Reality are eudaemonic, i.e., they promote the well-being of a society.
    • They do this in three ways:
      • They stimulate and incentivize psychological growth among participants
      • They create communitas, a sense of belonging enjoyed by those who've undergone a transformative experience together
      • As participants describe their individual experiences to each other, the emergence of common themes can form the basis for a connecting narrative, or mythos, that explains who they are, where they've come from, and where they are going.
        • Myths can create a narrative framework that helps people find meaning in suffering and promotes hope in a better future.
        • Societies without myths break down over time.
  • In these times of unparalleled existential crises, we need religion (as defined above) now more than ever, to heal us, to energize us, to help us bond, to help us organize, to evolve a vision of a future worth fighting for, to provide a framework of meaning for our suffering.
  • However, traditions built on collective experiences of Transcendent Reality but which have lost their ability to deliver such experiences always devolve into institutions that enforce social control with psychological and physical violence. Growth, community, and meaning cannot be compelled.
  • When the old religions no longer work as originally intended, we need new, better religions.

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