History Repeats Itself. How Will It Play Out This Time?

The moment I heard that a well known tycoon was bidding for the presidency of The United States of America for some reason I thought of an incident I had read about in Gibbons’ History and Of The Decline and Fall Of The Roman Empire.

The story goes something like this. The top position in Rome was under negotiation after the Praetorian guard had turned on the despotic ruler they were meant to guard. A wealthy senator became convinced that he should put in a bid and became consul. The story didn’t end well for the senator. The Praetorian guard who’d accepted his money soon yielded to a war veteran toward whom they all felt the deepest respect. Within nine short weeks as ruler of the Roman world the senator was disposed of in a most unceremonious manner.

 

 

A Wake Up Call From Beyond The Grave

I had this thought yesterday.

Who really understands what is going on as far as life goes? I mean truly deeply knows and understands the profound truths about existence. Why do we have coded information in our genes? What is the principle that makes life want to continue propagating? What is the pact between plants and animals to nourish each other? How does symbiosis initiate? How can an organism evolve an eye? What are moods made out of? Why does the placebo effect work? And if our beliefs are so powerful why are some things bad for you even when you don’t know they are?

Of course many people simply don’t have time to think about these things. And the ones who do have time are likely disinclined to lend their thoughts to deeper musing.

As Henry David Thoreau said,

The millions are awake enough for physical labour; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life.

I can not say that it is necessarily good or bad to reflect on life and search for meaning. A case can be made for both perspectives.

On the one hand such reflections have undoubtedly led down what would seem to some a perfectly logical path ending in nihilism, a concept which some may find difficult to divorce from misery.

 

On the other hand enough contemplation may lead another person to drop all worry of past as well as future and drop into a serene state appreciating the value of each present moment.

a walk in the park

Seeing birds, animals, flowers, trees, mushrooms, insects, sunshine, clouds and people on my daily walk often presents me with a stark contrast between us humans and everything else. We humans have this immense capacity to understand so much about life. Yet we either don’t reach that place, or we choose to deliberately distract ourselves from facing life. Maybe life’s antithesis is what worries us.

I sometimes imagine what it would be like if an outside intelligence encountered planet earth. How confusing it would be for them to discover that a being with this much capacity has created hundreds of thousands of reasons to imprison each other. Absurd, yes. Easy to solve, no.

This evening I sat down to read a book which I have had the intention of cracking open for several years now. It is called SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT TRILOGY (1979 by Robert Anton Wilson). I read another book by the same author, THE ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY about 13 years ago and recalled that Robert Anton Wilson wrote with a wicked sense of humour and a ridiculously honest albeit unflattering view of human nature. In SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT he writes as though he was an outside intelligence looking at humans and their peculiar ways.

I was only a few pages into the book when I felt I wanted to share the book with the world. This concept is exactly what I would have hoped to express had I written about an outside intelligence observing the ways of our world. I am delighted that someone else had already expressed the idea I had had earlier.

This is the wake up call from R. A. Wilson.

How to Get Everything You Want

This may seem like a joke, but it really isn’t.

Now, don’t skip on ahead to see the punchline. I’ll get to it. And it’s no joke, though you may laugh a little when I tell you.

There is a way to get everything you want, and it’s actually kind of amusing. But like I tell people when I teach them how to perform a magic trick: “Please remember how impressed you are before you know how it’s done. Once you know the secret you will be disappointed that it was so simple. Remember what your feelings were like when you saw the trick and were astonished.”

Looking for ways to get what we want is what occupies much our time. The struggle is real. There doesn’t seem to be any real formula. We try and try again. Sometimes our efforts pay off, and when they don’t there’s usually something to learn from the experience. That’s what I like to tell myself. It’s good for morale. And often true. But learning from experience is the hard way to learn. If we can learn from someone else’s experience we’re likely to avoid some trouble or even pain. Specific advice is great when you can get it but we often have to settle for general advice. And general advice abounds. As with everything else this type of product will vary in quality.

One thing that many systems have in common is that they help you work on your attitude toward life. In the process you come across more than your fair share of quotes which some people find trite like Attitude determines your altitude and If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you cant  and all that jazz. While some people will run as fast as they can from any kind of “self help” program, others, like myself, will give these types of things a go.

Not to brag, because really it should be more embarrassing than anything else, to date I have listened to The Abundance Course and Financial Freedom by The Release Technique, the Sedona Method, the Silva Method, The Effort Free Life System, You Can Heal Your Life, Project Yourself, Natural Hypnosis, hypnosis tracks by Dr Adam Eason, Dr Lee Poulos, Steve G Jones, Paul McKenna, Brainwave Sync, and possibly more, but that’s all I can remember at the moment.

Those are just the audio courses I have managed to get my hands on, not to mention all the books that have crossed my path.  One thing I have learned. More than one thing actually, but yeah, one important thing I have learned which I may have learnt much earlier had I simply paid attention when watching The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe is that what we think we know is never everything there is to know.

When Aslan comes back to life, the children are shocked because after all according to the laws of The Deep Magic his life was forfeit. Aslan then explains:

It means that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.
―Aslan describing the Deeper Magic (The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, Chapter 15)

Yes. There’s always a deeper magic.

This is something I find exhilarating. To explore something and then to discover that there’s a more advanced edition. A Deeper Magic.

What I find fascinating is that the solutions I come across are often not “the latest thing” but are actually pretty old. And I’m not talking old as in “I came across this 100 year old book” as Rhonda Byrne says in The Secret. I am talking about 2 and a half millennia old. Very old.

Yes it was around 2500 years ago that several philosophers came up with some very interesting ways of getting everything you want.

Did you know that both Lao Tsu in China and Gautama Buddha in India came up with ways to get everything you want around the same era in history?

And here’s the secret.

You ready for it?

It’s this.

You learn to not want.

Then you’ll have everything you want.

Because you won’t want anything, therefore you have everything you want. Which may be nothing, or it may be lots of things.

Like I said, it sounds like a joke. But it actually isn’t. It does work. Now it gets a little tricky at this point because the truth is that you may end up getting the things you wanted before you started giving up your wants, or you may end up in a state that you would have thought is pretty crap before you gave up wanting all the things. But either way if you think about it, you’re better off. In your mind, anyway. The theory is that this state involves less suffering.

But can you have your cake and eat it too?

Maybe.

After all,

There’s always a deeper magic.