Cabals are groups based on secrets. They’re usually small. More may make merrier, but more does not make for better secret keeping. Controlling ideas of the big brother variety or protective notions of the political or superhero variety fuel some real-life as well as fictional cabals. Radical ideas like the Dead Poet’s Society or esoteric interpretations of existing thought such as mystical Judaism fuel others. Thus cabals are often formed by people who find themselves in positions of power but are concerned others may misinterpret their ideals. But they may also be formed by ordinary folk who fear or worry for the destructive or transformative power of their cabal’s ideals. The powerless and fearless simply conglomerate and rebel, for better or worse.
But keeping secrets is slippery ethical territory. At least when interpreted from the outside. Obfuscation presents a sort of ethical hurricane where the weather in the eye – that is, the internal conviction of the cabal-ers – is necessarily fine. Anyone who encounters the cabal’s lies, cover-ups, protection, and the like has to wrestle more or less knowingly with the mysterious turmoil in its wake.
Perhaps even more interesting than the ethics of cabals (if that’s possible) is the metaphysics of obfuscation. On the most basic level, how can we expect to define a standard for reality or (worse) attribute causative powers to observation knowing that some information is hidden on purpose? Or more subtly, there’s the question of the nature of the reality of what is possible. Cabals are self-appointed protectors of the possible. How can they harness it in this way if the possible does not have a metaphysical status? Primitivism grants such a status.
Cabal-ers always believe themselves to be cabal-ing for good reason. If it’s a selfless one at least to some degree, the ethical scales could easily tip in their favor. The metaphysically real possibilities they protect are safe within their confines.
But what about when a cabal comes under pressure to un-cabal, to reveal. Like a dormant seed exposed to moisture and heat, the possible moves beyond the confines of its protective husk to interact with the rest of its surroundings. Does the plant that results enhance the surrounding ecosystem, or disrupt it harmfully? Of course it depends. Real or not, ethical or not, sometimes a cabal is a good thing.
First a bit of practical business to share, then on to the missing clothes metaphor. I did not mention in my last post – it was still stinging a bit – but I have been asked to not return to the Chenpo Terma for the time being. So I won’t, or rather, can’t. I know its location on a map and have been there, but traveling to the Himalayan plateau is not a trivial matter to be attempted alone and the locals will have been warned not to help me.
I have asked Chonyi to appeal again to the Sangha-dhatu council of elders to change their minds, but I know the difficulties I face gaining their trust again. The earthquake, and my tendency to push them to go public, have led to understandable resentment, trepidation, and the like.
Add to that the fact that the relic was in my possession when it was confiscated and me being a fugitive from the international relic police (yes Interpol)… neither has bought me points with the council.
What the relic police would do if they caught me remains a bit of a mystery, but I do not want to find out. That is what the bad guys are betting on too. Plus they know I would not keep my mouth shut about my suspicions, which would probably get me charged with slander (and what I’m writing here, if I weren’t using pseudonyms, would be called libel). Whatever to build some kind of case against me. How far Bernie Ghes would go to keep the relic from me (and any positive attention from the relic or my brother) is hard to imagine, but he is not one to do dirty-work himself. The real question is, How far would do-gooders and career criminals hired by a self-important academician go to keep the relic out of my hands?
So why do I care if I ever hold or view these terma again? Why not move on? Obviously they have cultural value, but UNESCO should be able to advocate for that if provided enough information.
So here’s the thing. I have experienced first hand the power of these terma. Not raw physical power like a sword, but gnostic power. Under their influence I saw with a clarity rarely achieved, even when I find myself by the remotest stream on the clearest day. Such assertions cannot be quantified, much less believed, given modern fascination with all things testable. I realize I may just be being sentimental too because I had insightful moments with them in mind (something my brother never seemed willing to admit about his own experiences with the relic). I do not know for sure which interpretation is accurate, but I know I want to have the chance to find out what my experience means. And others should have the chance to experience it.
One such insightful moment happened as follows. The day after a friend and I literally cracked open the relic to reveal its three puzzle-like layers, I sat turning it over again and again in my hands, linking and unlinking the pieces in their various combinations. What I saw was this: when a holistic truth or unified physical reality is manifest through three interconnected continua, meta-theories tend to form around subsets of two continua with the third being neutralized, or made a null set, in order to analyze the other two in relation to each other. At the time I was thinking specifically of physics theories, but the wider relevance is also apparent to me.
So by way of example, let’s take Newtonian physics, special relativity, and quantum mechanics – three physics meta-theories. Assume three continua are at work, let’s call them MODE, VEHICLE, and PARTICLE, and ascribe one continua as missing from each meta-theory’s symbolism. For the sake of (a non-coincidental) argument, say Newtonian physics is missing MODE, special relativity is missing VEHICLE, and quantum mechanics is missing PARTICLE. If we make a single diagram in which each of the three continua are represented not only by an interrelated symbol but by color coding, then vary the background color so that it corresponds for a time to each continuum’s color, you get an animation like the one above. A visual representation of how the same underlying reality looks different but connects back to the whole if we define the continua as interrelated (one symbol) but distinct (variable color). I chose the carvings on the relic to create my representation.
Overlapping meta-theories is a non-controversial observation. When interpreted this way it can be seen as evidence that interrelated and likely hidden continua are at work behind reality (and I don’t mean hidden dimensions! you don’t want to get me started on that!). Important conceptual hurdle to get over, but just the beginning of what would end up being an intellectual obstacle course. Clearly, the correct complement of continua have to be identified and defined in an interrelated way. Not a small task given that each continua falls into the hidden/missing/background role naturally when relying on known types of analysis.
It should not be surprising at all that modern science cannot get its meta-theories to mesh together. Each is based on an assumption where one essential continuum is demoted to the role of backdrop. Symbolic languages are adopted for the resulting meta-theories and, most importantly, links to the temporarily nullified continua are lost.
Each meta-theory is like a stage production, with its own characters, story and backdrop. That is the science we have come to know and love, and now, after the fact, we expect to be able to build holistic models of it? Call it the Ghost of Reductionism, or Human Longing for Predictability, or the commercial value of Paradigms-R-Us. Consumers and the majority of professionals in science and culture long ago severed their ties with reality and associated holistic truths when they accepted the model of interpreting the scenes and stories played out in each human field of investigation as more than what they are: non-real parallel universes of thought.
We are a society of clothes-less emperors. All missing the clothes of reality, with no one to challenge us. I am here to advocate for the advantages to donning colorful, real accouterments once again.
Since there is stripping going on, try to relish the thought of taking away the backdrops and removing the symbolic languages from existing theories, if just for a moment. What we are left with is not only the potential connectedness of meta-theories but, with all these hidden continua to uncover, a likely critical role for nothingness itself. Maybe we are getting somewhere after all.