(Above reminds me of those Indonesian shadow figures in the film The Year of Living Dangerously. Little more than shadows against a screen.)
Author and spiritual explorer Paul Levy’s view on the current crisis is a rare one. Paul’s view is that our current devastating pandemic offers a rare opportunity for us to gain insight into our human psychology. In effect, it offers one of those rare situations in time when everyone’s attention is gripped by the fear of a common enemy. That rare time when there is a collective focus of attention towards one common enemy in our times of dueling political symbols. The dynamics are interesting to anyone who considers them today: the entire culture has been focused on different enemies: either a liberal, Democrat or a conservative, Republican. For the first time since 9/11, a common enemy has been presented to America. Interestingly (and importantly) this enemy is not in a particular country (though some might argue this) but rather in a mutant act of nature. The world is not challenged by the various militaries of the world. But rather by something created by nature, not something from humanity and culture. But from nature.
This particular enemy has confronted humanity a number of times in the past. And always, humanity did not come out very well. Perhaps this was one of the greatest movers of changes in common paradigms for viewing the world by those who endured these great pandemics and epidemics? Perhaps these great attacks on culture from nature through history have had a great impact on changing individuals and cultures perspectives on life? Perhaps this has hardly been recognized in our history as well as ideas of Paul Levy. I wonder if anyone has ever studied changes in the perspectives of individuals and cultures after great pandemics and diseases of history?
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A question always in my mind during the virus crisis is how much of the virus is real and how much a creation of media. Before our age of slavery to media it would have been that the virus was indeed real. There was no media to help create the image of the virus. It is this image that the media constantly creates like patches to a grand image of the current virus. We see pictures of its medical representations. Yet the media adds its own images each day to this picture so that like the real virus, this picture or symbol of the virus keeps evolving and changing. Some days it seems invincinable with reports it stays on surfaces for up to seventeen days. And then on other days, the optimistic findings of some early testing of virus remedies.
The Virus Compared To Other Epidemics in History
Coronavirus Is Now A Dot (3/24/20) on the Bottom Row
Paul Levy argues that during this special “window of time,” there is a different collective psychology in humanity, a different view of the individual in his/her relation to the world and everyday life. These are major psychological disrupters to that constant dream that humanity is in, argues Levy. As disrupters of the dream, culture is offered a rare opportunity to find itself in a new, awakened state of existence, rather than the sleep state it is in for the vast majority of time.
The changed collective psychology of culture is not all that difficult to analyze in large terms. A nation divided in as great a manner since the Civil War is faced, for the first time since 9/11, by a common enemy. Not an enemy from the other political party but rather to everyone. Only this kind of invisible, microscopic enemy can emanate from nature.
Fear is always the “elephant in the room” in our current culture and when its in the room there’s little space for anything else.
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The below two articles from Paul Levy (as his webiste notes, Paul offers “A radical synthesis of the realms of quantum physics, alchemy, shamanism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, mystical Christianity, and the works of C.G. Jung and Philip K. Dick”) suggests our current situation with the Coronavirus offers a rare opportunity to move to a new level of insight for individuals and culture. A chance for a new vision and realignment for humanity. A collective global fear does not come around all that often and we need to learn from the psychological insights it attempts to offer us rather than run away from it all in cubby holes of social isolation.
Whether this will happen will be answered in the next few years. More than likely, the virus will “inspire” a number of Hollywood films and novels and some concerts by famous musicians to raise money for those who suffered most from the virus. Will this be all? Will we emerge a little different than who we were before? with a new perspective and insight about ourselves and out world?
(Thanks to my son Chris for putting me in contact to the work of Paul Levy)
Paul Levy / Contrarian View of the Crisis
The contagion of collective fear offers a unique opportunity for psychic growth
Born in 1956, Paul Levy grew up in Yonkers, New York. In the mid-seventies he went to college at what was then called the State University of New York at Binghamton (now called Binghamton University), receiving degrees in both economics and studio art. While an undergraduate at Binghamton, he was hired by Princeton University to do research in economics. When he graduated college, he stopped his studies in economics and pursued his career in art, moving out to the Bay Area, where he was both making, and teaching art.
In 1981, due to an intense personal trauma, he had a life-changing spiritual awakening in which he began to recognize the dreamlike nature of reality. During the first year of his spiritual emergence, Paul was hospitalized a number of times, and was told he was having a severe psychotic break from reality. Much to his surprise, he was (mis)diagnosed as having a chemical imbalance and was informed that he had what was then called manic-depression (now called bi-polar disorder), and that he would have to live with his illness for the rest of his life and would need to take medication till his dying breath.
Little did the doctors realize, however, that he was taking part in a mystical awakening/shamanic initiation process, which at times mimicked psychosis but in actuality was a spiritual experience of a far different order, completely off the map of the psychiatric system. Fortunately, he was able to extricate himself from the medical and psychiatric establishment so that he could continue his process of self-discovery. Thankfully, as Paul freed himself from the shackles of psychiatry, he found his spiritual teachers, who instead of seeing Paul as crazy, recognized that he was beginning to spiritually awaken.
An artist, after the trauma of his shamanic break-down/break-through, he became a certified art teacher. Due to his interest in the work of C. G. Jung, by the end of the decade he became the manager of the C. G. Jung Foundation Book Service in New York, as well as the advertising manager for the Jungian journal Quadrant. In 1993, after many years of struggling to contain and integrate his non-ordinary experiences, Paul started to openly share his insights about the dreamlike nature of reality. He began giving talks and facilitating groups based on how life is a shared waking dream that we are all co-creating and co-dreaming together. He is the founder of the Awakening in the Dream Community in Portland, Oregon.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul is a wounded healer in private practice, helping others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. His work has gone through three phases: because of his intense interest in dreams (both night dreams and the dreamlike nature of reality), he was first known as “the dream guy.” After writing DispellingWetiko, he became associated with the idea of wetiko. After the publication of The Quantum Revelation, he is now seen as connected with quantum physics. All three aspects – dreams, wetiko and quantum physics are interconnected and complementary facets of a deeper reality into which he is continually deepening his investigation.
He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis (2006), Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (2013), Awakened by Darkness: When Evil Becomes Your Father (2015) andThe Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality (2018). A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over 30 years, he has intimately studied with some of the greatest spiritual masters of Tibet and Burma. He was the coordinator of the Portland chapter of the PadmaSambhava Buddhist Center for over twenty years.