Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
David Christopher LaneDavid Christopher Lane, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Mt. San Antonio College Lecturer in Religious Studies, California State University, Long Beach Author of Exposing Cults: When the Skeptical Mind Confronts the Mystical (New York and London: Garland Publishers, 1994) and The Radhasoami Tradition: A Critical History of Guru Succession (New York and London: Garland Publishers, 1992).




The Next Level is Psychic

David Christopher Lane


Diary Entry: October 2000

Our brains are being electrically exposed to the public arena. We are being hijacked and don't even know it.

I had an unusual thought today. I rarely ever write anything down when I am driving, but as I was listening to my current book on tape (sidebar: books on tape are wondrously enjoyable) A Biography of Carl Jung, it struck me that Ken Wilber is right about the next stage in our conscious evolution. Wilber has postulated that we have undergone a series of holonic adaptations—from magical to mythic to rational--in our history. The next stage according to Wilber will be the "psychic" level. Ironically, what Wilber envisioned (a network of logical understanding that supervenes mere logic or rationality.... a sort of meta-thinking) is already obvious via the Internet and the Web. But it was Wilber's use of the word "psychic" that aroused my attention today. Usually when we say someone is psychic we think he can "read" our mind. The psychic has access to hitherto private information.

What struck me so forcefully today (after having my individual username held hostage and my email files hacked into) was how so much of our private life is turning public. What was hidden is now being exposed (by hacking, by hidden digital cameras, by innumerable information data banks, etc.). This morning I read that Microsoft's secret coding system had been sabotaged by a very sophisticated "worm" hacking system. Essentially these intelligent worms invade host environments and release "hidden" or encrypted programs that are invaluable to the company or person.

What is happening to our civilization? We are being wormed. What was internal is moving external. Everybody is turning psychic, but not in the paranormal sense of that term. The world is turning psychic in the following sense: We, as a people, are now getting access to the most arcane, secret corridors of companies, of religions, of organizations . . . of individuals. The individual's private psychic space is being outed. And, in this defined sense, we are all becoming psychic since we are getting access to that which was hitherto hidden. And, I must confess, it is a frightening transformation.

I don't think we are even aware of its devastating consequences. I don't think we are even aware of how intrusive such a development will be in the long run. Even in the short run, it is completely disorienting. And that very term [disorienting] is revelatory. Our "oriental" space (what we may term our internal, private closet) is being dissed. Our brains are being electrically exposed to the public arena. We are being hijacked and don't even know it. We as being are getting uploaded through a quick succession of digital confessions.

Our sins will be confessed not to the local priest, not to the local psychologist, not to our intimate friends, but to the audience. And that audience is ubiquitous. Why am I pontificating on this notion now? Because for the very first time in my life I realize that I no longer have any truly "private" space. The image is the reality. Why? Because the reality wants to be on T.V. It wants to be watched. Or, more precisely, the network wants you. And in so doing creates a unique entertainment event. Everyone on T.V. all the time. Everyone online available for downloading. Look at what happened to President Clinton. Every nook and cranny of his life got microscoped. And for what? The macro vision. . . The President as Daily Soap Opera Star. And we, I guarantee you, are Next. Everyone of us. Clinton's examined life will be, unquestionably, our examined life. And we are not psychologically ready for any of it.

Why? Because humans were evolved to have secrets, to have privacy, to have hidden chambers. Our triune brain is not a transparency but a surviving confusion. We are not even aware of our own secrets (enter Freud, enter Jung, enter Adler, enter hypnosis, enter dreams). But the world (as networked) will certainly have them in abundance. Not only Clinton's, or Carter's (remember his "lust" for other women), or Nixon's, but ours. You will be the T.V. You will be the Show.

And there is a guaranteed audience of one, if not millions. Are we psychologically ready to be mentally raped? I don't think so. The next hero is merely that person who keeps his psychic space private even under the tyranny of the herd mentality. Such a hero will hide in the most obvious of places. . . His Image. People will think that they know him better than anyone else because his honesty will reveal every last detail of his inner life..... And, yet, it was precisely in the arrangement of those images that he/she kept his privacy.

The Zen Koan of Privacy:

Be absolutely public. Only then, will you be left alone.

--Neuralsurfer's Diary Entry for October 2000

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