Manifest Light: a Mystic Symbol Devours the Earth

September 13, 2013

The way light operates as a mystic symbol is as a representative of the ultimate victory of endless life over death. But this immortality of the soul is not necessarily meant to be won in this mortal body, which is rather a vehicle for the miracle of self-aware life – the universe becoming conscious of itself, as it has been called, although I doubt this is the only form that great mysterious insight enjoys.

I can’t say with any conviction that my soul will survive the death of this body, or that my spirit is eternal, or that I will return to some greater abode in the stars once my sojourn upon this planet is over.

But I can report extraordinary experiences that call to mind the sensation of having been alive in some other form before I was manifest in this body, a feeling that is accompanied by a lack of the fear of death, a sort of equanimity about the extinguishing of this particular flame. This is not the same as not loving or respecting life and it does not mean I don’t want to live long and prosper. It means I do not and never have feared what happens when I do die and this is not because I have any kind of faith. Religious speculation means little to me. I sense other worlds and have felt conversant with them from time to time. They are not necessarily at a distance from this one – sometimes they definitely emerge from within it – and do not deny the magnificence of the world we live in. If anything, sensing other realms has always heightened the extent to which I appreciate this majestic, beautiful, rare planet and the incredible array of life upon it. And such senses have never put me at odds with living my life fully in this body; once again, if anything, they have made me more consciously aware of the incredible fortune of being human.

What such senses (which I would be tempted to define under the general banner of animism) do mean is that this body is not the be all and end all of life as I can possibly know it. That there is intelligence beyond the human and that we can be aware of it, that it may include something we return to once we are quit of this mortal coil, that we are not limited to what we experience as this self in this body or this life. And if these senses are a matter of biological evolution fitting me out with no fear of death so that I can fulfil the goal of my DNA better then that is OK too. Because I sense that I am supposed to live unfettered by limits transcribed by a limited field of reason, one that is designed to constrain the possibilities of life within the ambit it sets due to its loyalty to the rigours of the scientific method.

I am a man of science. I love it. The idea that we can witness events, make deductions from repeated patterns, have results add up to successful hypotheses, have interpretations of these results changed according to new findings, have faith in what we come to know of the world – these humble possibilities make me happy that I was not born into a fundamentalist sect or totalitarian state, where the truth is set and facts and figures tend to be coloured to fit. Screw that. I love the liberty of the human mind. But that doesn’t mean we need to be limited by the same rules of engagement as work for our epistemological endeavours; and it doesn’t mean I have to salute the flag of entrepreneurial free market corporate greed and the enforced colonization of liberal democracies that both want to muscle such love of freedom under their selfish banners either.

So ‘yes’ to science, ‘no’ to the way it is turned into a mad scramble for profits, since the industrial revolution, by the machine that profits from thinking that we humans are better than the rest of the earth, that we can live as if we could milk the cream and honey without paying the rent, as if the old dualism of mind over matter released us from the deal we made when we entered these bodies (even if it was only from the DNA code that merged from the matrix of our parents’ codes that … evolved from the cosmic soup and dinosaur sludge as amoebas that became more complex and decided to experiment with breathing air and growing legs and running out from under the treeline at the edge of the savannah … ).

‘No’ to living beyond our means but also ‘no’ to the corporate, political and banking scum telling us we need to restrain ourselves while they shake golden hands in the club after the IMF press release. And ‘no’ to the crappy dream they continue to sell us of a city filled with light that will make us all happier while we kill the earth to fund this feast. Now let’s get down to business.

Light defeats darkness as life survives death; that is the ancient mystic equation I’m critiquing here. Not because I dismiss it – as I have made abundantly clear by now – but because it has been and is being counterfeited as a materialistic sham that fills in the gap between the fear of death and the disenchanted mindset that it accompanies. We need a myth that stands to reason; a story that ties all we know about life together with the kind of attitude that it deserves; an ecocentric human conception of self filled with light from within, unfearing of death, liberated from the commodity fetish, which honors all life and the fortune of the human opportunity within that web, spiritually generous and as deep as the soul, unfathomable, mysterious, rich without materialism but embodied as physical beings, not denying old age and death but not driven by fear of them to buying into the cheapened utopian dreaming of industrial modernity: that we could live in eternal youth and endless abundance in cities lit by fossil fuels and never pay the price.

Next post: the alternative utopian dreaming of the ecocentric human animal.



  1. “Light defeats darkness as life survives death; that is the ancient mystic equation…”


    • Thanks Steve. It is a beautiful, hopeful equation, which i think we could do well to reconsider; in the sense that, if modern humanity became more attuned to the depths of the soul, and at home there, perhaps we would ‘need’ less commodities, less ‘manifest light,’ less fossil fuel spectacle. Because nature loves darkness as much as it loves light … and our soul loves nature.

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