My doctoral program grew out of my dreams, visions, along with some encounters with a series of anomalies that shook my understanding of reality. I became attracted to literature, art, and first hand accounts of individuals who claimed similar experiences, usually under the loose umbrella term, “spiritual emergency”. Many such people struggled, as I did, with describing a certain kind of phenomenon that confronts the spirit/matter split—that category of experience that dominates our current culture. This phenomenon confronts our current paradigm in the sense that the reality of the encounter is incontestable, but describing it with available language within the current paradigm reproduces the very split the phenomenon seeks to overcome.
I included in my doctoral program a discussion of the UFO phenomenon which represents this anomaly very well. This work became a chapter in my book, Hearing Voices:
Here is a short excerpt:
The UFO phenomenon has swept the world, found its way into popular media and initiated serious research in the fields of science and psychology. One of the central aspects of the phenomenon concerns leaving the ordinary body, having odd encounters that often involve bending the laws of physics, as we know them, and then returning to the body, sometimes with total loss of memory which is ‘retrieved’ later on… I suspect that these people are having spontaneous expansions in consciousness… This expanded form of consciousness does maintain a sensual bodily quality, though not reducible to the ordinary senses or body. UFO reports are consistent with this fact… I have been quite impressed by the fact that they resist all attempts to re-interpret their encounter as a subjective fantasy. They insist on the concrete reality of what happened, even when they can bring no evidence forward from the realm we would normally understand as the concrete world (alien artefacts, photos etc.). The only ‘evidence’ is often memory. (Ch. VII)
Abductees are having experiences of a new kind of matter, that of their own bodies and that of “aliens”. In the same book I describe different examples of these anomalies occurring in my life. I have refined my understanding of this phenomenon through post-doctoral research (my latest essay being Visceral Dreams and story-writing, while at the same time I searched for a genre of literature that will not only describe it but most importantly, assist in its manifestation into actuality. This artistic effort has the enormous consequence of participation in a cosmological process that is breaking down the fiction/fact split—another version of the fundamental spirit/matter split. One outstanding example of this kind of writing is Jung’s Red Book—and yet few others seemed to have noticed this literary feature of the book, and followed its world-destroying/creating consequences, even though Jung went through that process. Most secondary literature interprets the “breakdown” as his psychological crisis, and not as what it really is: the breakdown of our current world of appearances as experienced through the psyche of one man, Jung.
Other writers, artists, are working with the articulation of the same threshold experiences. I have written extensively about their work, along sharing with my experiences of the same reality. In this post I want to draw your attention to a book I have read several times now: Charles Williams’ Many Dimensions. Williams writes from within the current fiction/fact split as an author. For example, there is no hint that any of his fictional adventures have anything to do with the way his own life unfolded (c/f with Jung’s Red Book). But his fictional description of a new kind of matter entering our modern world and its weird effects on the people who encounter it rings true. In other words he is telling a story such that those who encounter a new kind of matter, as I have, will say “yes, that is how it is; that story is beginning to hint at what I know to be true!”