There was a time, and still is, maybe, when what we call the insanity defense was a state of transcendence and religious ecstasy. Like when some divine influence takes over your physical form while you casually observe as if from afar. A crime of passion is one way to achieve this singular state of mind.
“Yes, Your Honor, while that was my hostility acted out by my physical form, I maintain my innocence of having personally participated in any of the resulting actions. My body was in God’s hands. Yes, I wound the spring, but God let it go.” Insane at the time of the crime? Not responsible for your actions? Who was? What got into you?
Maybe something like this type of insanity occurs more often then just when we do something way over the top, like axe murdering our neighbors. This same phenomenon could be at work in subtler ways. Little tiny moments of insanity that lead to more benign behavior like habits and compulsions –all the things you decided to do but not because you thought about it. It’s as if something inside you is constantly making decisions about how to live your life that occur faster than you can think about them and before you have the opportunity to. We traditionally describe these impulsive and often life-shaping choices as being made by our so-called unconscious and therefore inaccessible mind. Which doesn't miss the point. It is inaccessible as something to be conscious of because it's faster than consciousness and will always occur before it. The gut level reaction is already over by the time it’s processed and reassembled into consciousness. Which is far too late for the ego to check or over-rule our impulsive actions. Impulses or moments of insanity we’re not responsible for occur in second stage mental organizations which need just a few milliseconds to assemble. The conscious mind is a product of third stage mental organizations, which take much longer to assemble. Which just isn’t soon enough to always have the decisive role in all the choices we make about how to respond to what's happening to us. The unconscious mind’s contribution to what we are and what we do is seen only as an aftermath to the conscious mind. Only consciousness can ask, “did I do that?”.
Even if our actions weren’t consciously supervised, that doesn’t mean we didn’t experience them. When the activity of our unconscious mind is our HLO, that second stage organization is what we are and what we experience. Identity “steps out” of third stage consciousness and into our organic mentality. Suddenly, the greater ramifications of our actions are no longer considered. Decisions dissolve into impulses. The organic self is in charge and will look at things its way and make choices for itself. The veneer of civilization is gone because we are not using the mentality that can create it. Some have described this state as never having felt more alive or more human. Of course, this describes things like water-skiing more than axe-murder. Strong emotions like exhilaration or anger can feel so overwhelming that we “can’t think straight”. Consciousness isn’t overwhelmed, we just stopped doing it. Every culture in history has had to deal with this limitation of our senses or wits. The whole broad spectrum of non-conscious states has been of great fascination to type B societies, from whom there has been a reoccurring suspicion that these were moments that revealed an inner self of some kind. One that was honest and nobler at its best and selfish or cowardly at its worst. And one that, ironically, was never there when they got to thinking about it. The bulk of human literature seems preoccupied with this idea. People show their true selves when they are impulsive. Only the experience of combat can reveal cowardice or heroic courage. Only in the flash of a quick crises is the true self revealed. Only consciousness can ask, “Who was that?”.
In the case of the insanity defense, this unconscious state that revealed the noble inner self was missing something. There was no second stage experience. The experiencer wasn’t there and had no involvement in the creation of that self and hence was not in control. If that wasn’t you, then where were you? Did you cease to exist? Why are you asking now? If you’re not insane anymore, by what means did you recover yourself?
We observe insane rampages in other people as someone who has lost control, but what’s going on on their end? Imagine if this were your rampage and to anyone around, you have lost control. Imagine you’re experiencing a serious eruption of pent-up emotions, and you’re in public. And these particular feelings now erupting bring on so much fear of any social manifestation that you want to jump out your skin. The jumper being the conscious ego-self refusing to have any part in expressing embarrassment or humiliation. It can’t face itself as what its self/other border is telling it it is. Usually, in a state like this, the conscious mind is starved of available cortex activity. So far, this could describe fainting or sleepwalking or some kind of loss of consciousness. But in this example, conscious mental activity maintains enough integrity to remain our HLO. Really hardcore egos can maintain their conscious experience even if an immediate lack of available brain activity has cut it off from the chain of command. This is a peculiar state. The conscious mind is disarmed and disconnected from actions and expressions it can only observe after they happen and struggling to keep from losing itself in the storm of second stage activity. When frustrated emotions finally erupt, it’s like a jail break, like breaking out of yourself, which it is, of course. Maintaining order and discipline was the ego-self’s original purpose, so it finds itself like a jailer running for cover as the place goes riot. Your brain is too busy with disconnected sub-routines that have no overall supervisor to regulate whatever urge or emotion arises. Perception becomes tunnel vision as less sense information is processed for consciousness. Yet somehow it remains the more attractive experience to identity (or less unattractive). Identity is penned in a strictly ordered conscious mind that hovers over the disorder that reigns in the unconscious. The experience can be dream-like and discontinuous; you’re observing yourself from a distance, watching a stream of gut reactions and emotions happen faster than thinking with no chance to choose anything that your body does. Wait a minute, conscious experience is always that way to some degree. What makes this experience so different, so removed, is that only the conscious part of perception is experienced without the second stage component that anchors the spatial image in your conscious mind. Free of any fixed perspective, any vantage point can be experienced. Identity is sitting in a tiny third stage raft adrift on a sea of turbulent brain activity.
So what’s still there when you’ve checked out? What’s left is the original organization of our minds; the physical emotional being with its heart on its sleeve, a limited ability to talk, and no sense of time. With identity and hence experience isolated to the conscious mind, what goes raging into the world is you as your original organic organization in its default setting, leave to God mode, W W J D … Whatever contribution you the experiencer would have offered is not present. Fate releases all the tension and frustration you’ve accumulated without you at the spigot; no finesse, just full blast. You’re welcome to try this explanation on the judge.
This makes for a sort of third stage out of body experience. Consciousness is quite out of body already, but here it is separated from much or even all sensory input. Wouldn’t this describe daydreaming or contemplation, only without the violence? Being lost in thought is a voluntary act for us and not at all like being trapped in our conscious minds. But what if that was the only way a state of deep contemplation could be achieved? That kind of inner pondering is a specific third stage mental organization that ancient societies went to great lengths to achieve. For us moderns, it’s a real job to imagine what life would be like without it. Imagine not being able to ask.
That’s because for us moderns, consciousness is self-restoring. We have been so drilled in expecting the continuance of our ego-selves (your homework will be due on Friday), that once enough processing space is available, it will resume. Now, imagine if waking up to this conscious state that we so readily recover didn’t just happen by itself. Imagine if, instead of like a submerged bubble rising inevitably toward the surface, it was more like taking a trip in a hot air balloon. Long ago, consciousness was an ascension; a departure from the solid ground of the unconscious mind. Where it went is unlike the day to day mental presence we moderns think of as being with it or all there. Our ancestor’s third stage experiences were isolated and idiosyncratic, and re-assembled from only a selection of their total sensory input. We do this too, but this is how it all started. Once experienced, it became desirable to recreate these states by repeating and structuring the original circumstances. They became third stage ascent rituals. Sometimes it would be a dance or chant that used rhythm to stretch our mentality into longer frame rates that reached from beat to beat. Or a particular food or potion or place or all the above would be employed to induce through association or physical reaction. These were unique and intense experiences ranging from ecstasy to a frightening or inspiring reaction to a fever or toxin. The goal was to reduce or minimize the usual onslaught of sense input that went into creating mental experience so the mind could do more with less. Often this meant some sort of induced stupor or trance that could be described as losing consciousness. It’s not lost, just changed, or, as we used to say, ascended. The mind generates a sustained third stage configuration of enough complexity to become experienced, and identity “ascends” to it. This kind of third stage experience can take a lot of wildly elaborate forms. The conscious ego-self is just one kind of third stage configuration. But once society develops enough structure, it’s the one were stuck with. Once the ego arrives, it becomes much more difficult to generate the wilder configurations. But not impossible.
The phrase “getting in touch with your higher self” takes on a different meaning at different times in the evolution of a culture. There is a crossover point, after a culture evolves from a type A into a type B mass-mind, where ritual practice does an about turn. Many parts of religious experience are now used as a counter-agent for too much conscious experience. Continuous vesting of identity in the ego can cut us off from our feelings because emotions don’t occur in the third stage, only the second. The ego based identity tries to reconnect to the original self using the same rituals and procedures that were used to create it. Either through activity or intoxication, the goal was to incapacitate our brain’s ability to generate full-blown wide-awake consciousness. This would spread beyond religion into a general pursuit of escapism. For some, it would mean gearing down the whole mental operation to first and second stage organizations only, which is hard to call an ascension. For others, it would mean experiencing a broader range of third stage organizations none of which would be the standard issue-off the shelf version of consciousness.
The motive force behind all this ascending is a kind of built-in desire that permeates all of creation. The aspiration for ascension is our most basic connection to creation. So far, I seem to have belittled it by describing it as just a better salvo of neurons firing. I will remedy this later, but I wish to make a connection between things spiritual and physical by starting with examples of ascension in its simplest, more down-to-earth form.
One reacts to sitting on a tack before knowing about it. The tack is experienced by the first stage mind as it happens, and then again by the second stage mind a minute instant after it happens, and then again as a third stage organization by the conscious mind a noticeable time later. Really. Try it.
Then, touch a hot stove. At that instant, you are organized as a fleshy animal reacting with muscular contractions in an effort to protect the physical creature that must survive. Once this priority is satisfied, the animal self will once again be available to sublimation by the greater organizations that we call being a human being. That moment of recovery, that return of your wits, is and has been for thousand of years, an ascension experience.
Instead of burning yourself or just taking my word for it, there is a slower version. Turn on the hot water and hold your hand under it. As the water gets hotter and your hand gets hotter, notice how consciousness goes first, and eventually even mental awareness vanishes as the most basic brain functions take over and say enough. Then, after your hand has pulled itself from the water, experience your identity as it follows your HLO, and notice how the animal ascends to the mind, then the mind ascends to consciousness.
I know I’ve gone through this stage stuff before, but here I want to suggest how the principle of ascension and its aspiration are rooted in our evolutionary past. I’ve already posited the absurd notion that consciousness, there’s that damn word again, was once a rare and sought after ascent experience. But before that, there must have been a moment, maybe a half-million years ago, when the first of us created an organization of brain activity that could be experienced. Ritual practices display an aspiration to recreate and develop the experience. This ascension from second to third stage thinking might seem like a singular and quirky development in the evolution of life, or no part of it at all, but the principle of ascension seems to have precedents in nature. Even though, as I describe it, we ascended outside of physical reality, and have mentioned stuff about inevitable destruction. I‘m not suggesting that the process is unnatural or not part of some creator’s design. After all, there was a moment in the development of life on earth when some creature somewhere had evolved a sophisticated enough nervous system that its central processor became an experience in and of itself. Before that, there was a moment in the earth’s past when the first animal organisms became opportunities for independent experience and began to lead their own lives. And before that, there was a moment when the earth formed and became a sub-system whose own independent dynamics would follow a course that would create the opportunities for what we so possessively call life. Working backwards, each of these is, was, an ascension experience created from processes that seem to have aspired to that result.
What would ascension be other than a broader or greater (or something) experience than before? Wouldn’t that be the moment when you knew you had ascended? Isn’t a greater life what we think of as ascension? Wasn’t the Big Bang (or whatever) a new opportunity for experience for Jove, or Jehovah (or whoever)? Creation was the original ascension experience (that we know of) as the creator’s identity rose to a new level of organization. A more recent and local ascension triggered the first (maybe) appearance of civilization on earth. And that would be when we simultaneously created our ego-selves and the conscious world we thought we were living in, which led to two simultaneous ascensions; the conscious self and the mass-mind. Each was a new opportunity for experience.
I’m going to have to broaden my use of the word ascension. It’s not too satisfying an explanation for the intense aspiration for the sort of experience for which it is the only word. None of this presentation of the different organizations of ourselves (the stages stuff) is meant to suggest any hierarchy at all, spiritual or otherwise. It does however best describe the principle intended in this chapter’s title because this is how ascension works for our physical forms. For us experiencers, it is one of the deterministic parts of our lives, like having only two hands. Where we have personal discretion is in how our self/other boundary is designed, and to what extant we choose to have a role in designing it. For our organic selves, our self/other boundary defines our interaction with creation and we can choose its shape, or experience what shape is chosen for us. Usually, we settle on a collaboration. We chose not to experience much of our first stage physical bodies which, logically, makes them part of the outside world that we are experiencing. We watch our hair grow from a mental perspective. Our organic second stage minds can create complex organizations that sublimate our first stage physical selves into self/other configurations that dig deep into creation. Sometimes creation can do this for us from the other side. Either way, these are experiences of our organic selves in God’s creation. Including experiences of, dare I call it, the organic spiritual world. I doubt if God thinks of it as the spiritual world. Until civilization came along, we didn’t either.
To the ego-self, spiritual means those parts of creation that are beyond the reach of conscious perception. Before civilization and the ego-self, those parts were a steady part of our diet of experiencing creation. Organic spirituality involves second stage organizations that co-create complex and elaborate self/other boundaries. Sense perception becomes mentally organized in new ways using the same outside information as ever. But life with a third stage mentality or worse an ego-self can compromise our ability to experience these organizations. Organic spirituality cannot be consciously experienced. We can build a mental recreation from our recollection like a detective using bits of the aftermath to piece a scenario together using memories that weren’t stored in any way familiar to the conscious mind. Linearity has to be added. Consistency with established facts and beliefs has to be imposed. The end result is a spiritual experience that can only be described as if it happened in the world we think is there which may require considerable adjustment and economizing. Those consciously reconstructed memories may be mistaken for the original experience, which might alter or entirely change its nature.
This is not to suggest that the conscious mind is altogether incapable of spiritual experience, for it’s not as if the conscious ego-self doesn’t have a spiritual life of its own. In principle, third stage spirituality works just like the real thing. The conscious mind takes charge in the same way, by sublimating both our physical selves and our organic mentality, but no tricky or complex sublimation of the body is necessary. The physical self only needs to be relaxed enough to generate a stable third stage mental organization of any kind, for it can only dig deep into the arti-physical world and not the real one. There we create an ego-self and an ego-other; that which the ego-self is within. Here again is a border that can be designed by you, or for you by the mass-mind (the conscious outside world). Again, this usually a collaboration. There is just as much opportunity for complexity here in the arti-physical world. Including experiences of… wait for it… the arti-spiritual world (I can pause for laughter). Each realm present endless possibilities for ascension or descention. For the ancient hunter-gatherer, having an understanding could be a meaningful ascension. For the post-modern, TV-fed suburboid ego-self, meaningful ascension could likely be found in a first or second stage emotional experience, like body piercing or paintball. Meaningful meaning satisfying to our innate aspirations for ascension.
So, while one does ascend to mentality and ascend to consciousness, like in the tack example, this is because each stage is an inherently higher level of complexity. Each is created from a greater organization of the previous stage. Where the real adventure begins is being personally in on creating the self/other border of whatever stage of organization you assume. That, and only that, is how we can experience free will. Otherwise, we will experience an identity that has been wholly designed and determined by the organizations it exists within. In this form, we are experiencing the personality of that which is organizing us. Identity has been sublimated to other. If I seem to be right back to hypnotism and trance states again., I am. What this means is, if you think you can run your life on autopilot or something, you can’t.
This sort of two worlds theory isn’t original, even the old physical/spiritual model is splitting our existence in half. Most paradigms start with this intrinsic assumption of two categories of existence; one that is physically here, and one that isn’t. When it comes to God and things spiritual, it is usually assumed they exist strictly in the non-physical half. A better model would put God on the other side with the universe it created. The second world is the one we are conscious of. God does not exist there. There’s nobody home but us.
Our ability to create third stage mental organizations made civilization possible, but the process inevitably produces conscious people who can no longer live in it and civilization falls. Many would argue that this destruction is caused by vanity and greed- both properties of the ego which exists only in our third stage mentality. Which makes the ego the crux of the problem, doesn't it? It has usually been seen that way by previous civilizations just before they collapse. A common feature of cultures on their way down is hedonism. Common to all its various forms is an obsession with pursuing ritualized experiences intended to incapacitate the operation of consciousness. Things like sex, pain, dancing, meditation, or just beer. This is in order to silence the many conundrums of the conscious mind, like guilt, indecision and physical taboos. Or, just letting go and allowing outside organizations to create your self/other border- sublimating identity to the conscious world and experiencing whatever it offers you. The alternatives become disillusionment or denial. What are we denying? What are we disillusioned about? Our aspiration for a greater experience. The ego and conscious world of third stage mental organizations no longer offer one. For those post-golden age generations, this becomes the struggle to organize a whole new mind; a fourth configuration of internal mental activity.
This time, identity takes an ascension beyond consciousness to a greater mental organization that has cognition of both the activity of consciousness, and that part of our selves that we can never be conscious of. For us moderns, and many of our ancestors, an increasing amount of our experience is as a greater organization of the second and third stages; a fourth configuration of brain activity of which the other two are a part. A pinnacle from which identity can perceive consciousness in operation and the ego-self as an errand boy, and from where the organic self can be seen and felt. Fourth stage mental organizations are cognitive, not conscious, and a greater organization of the other three stages that assumes identity- confiscating it from the ego. This is not some future thing, but a regular development throughout our history including right now. Cognitive mental organizations arrive as the same mysterious visitor as consciousness once was.
Experiences of fourth stage organizations of mind begin to come and go, folded in with the ebb and flow of the others. Sustained experience of fourth stage activity can be self-destructive because there's nowhere in our conscious world that says “put this experience here”. Just as with consciousness, the early process is dominated by the charismatic who manage to take full possession of their fourth stage identity. When identity is vested in a cognitive mental organization, it finds itself with a new aspiration- to live in a fourth stage world. Sorting this out becomes the crux of a new religious aspiration.
A second wave of religious ambitions arrives to usher in the new egalitarian type C mass-mind and the new self required to live in it. Modern examples would be Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, all of which focus on the ascension of the individual self and not on the maintenance of God. These weren’t new religions, they were adjustment religions. They were building on and reorienting a socio-religious conceptual structure (mass-mind) that was already there into something new that transcended the existing social structure and frightened the Leisure Class. Which is why there are so few examples of them around. Because they had to organize in a conscious world, they had to start out like a regular religion which was still personified by a single person. Only this one was not just an anointed one, but a messiah- the promised deliverer from evil (the old mass-mind). At least, that’s how they get started. Once the central players have passed on, any new conceptual structure they left behind becomes absorbed into the old mass-mind. Often painfully, but eventually, the old conscious world becomes where your Christian, Buddhist or Muslim aspirations get to aspire in. How do they go wrong? What happens to what they started with?
In the case of Christianity, I am suggesting that when Christ said you must be born again, he meant a third time (the ego is the second). To once again become a new organization as a way out of the sadistic, self-destructive type C run amok mass mind that was the Roman world at that time. To be conscious of this world was to be a loser in it. At the end of the Roman world, there was not enough organization of anything to maintain a large uniformly conscious population of losers. Rome could not be the greater organization of its members anymore. To be a Roman didn’t mean piss to anyone. Tradition had become procedure. Civility had become farce. It staggered toward the disaster of no longer being able to defend or feed its population, who started to look elsewhere for a world they’d rather live in.
Christ described a world where your self was greater than in any world anyone had described before. To imagine yourself living in it requires you being a greater self. As identity rises to a greater level of organization, you become something the Roman’s could never own. Something that the Great Roman Mind could not perceive or accept without bringing on its own destruction. Having one’s own relationship with God without any intermediating conscious system required one’s own self not needing that conscious system to exist. If Christ’s goal was to inspire fourth stage ascension for everyone, his initial impact was marginalized in a few generations by all those marvelous words that were cranked out afterward. Those texts became the New Testament, and then the new organizing system. I think if Christianity was intended to be so wordy, Jesus might have written something himself. Long before the words started to spread, Christianity expanded like a Gnostic tradition, with sects and initiations. This was ascension via contact buzz- an induced trance state with a sense of identity that everyone, even the elite, found irresistible. It was the state of mind of the people involved that spread through the roman mass-mind like a contagion. It could not have taken much to outbid Rome for the souls of those who lived in it. Then the words came, or rather, the principle players had passed on and there was nothing else but their writings left to be anointed. Every speck of every page they wrote became uniformly sacred. No longer a trance experience induced by the speaker of the words, here was ascension through information and explanation, forgetting the bit about “may He show his countenance upon you and give you his peace”. Their engaging narratives and compelling arguments led many to believe that ascension was something only the conscious mind could do. For most common folk, Christianity was still a Gnostic process that sought ascension through trances. The words themselves, and not what they meant, became the spell. Even the artifacts they were written on became objects of spiritual induction. But the more scholarly conscious elite opted for plan B: Any ascending other than the moment of conversion is reserved for the afterlife. Perhaps realizing that the ego-self is incapable of ascension, the authors, especially Paul, describe a world where ascension is a posthumous award for a life of conscious containment.
At first, Rome treated this like any other potential rival until it realized what wonderful citizens and subjects they could be and how it was too late to do anything else about it. So Rome made a deal with the new church and became Holy, and so managed to keep it status as Top Dog Mass-Mind. But much of its former fundamentals were no longer created by anyone. All the holy texts became the new fundamentals and a handful of writers became the original architects of a new third stage arti-physical world. This time, that world had to included some compromises. This new mass-mind had to concede to everyone a greater sense of self in order to be what everyone would think this new self was a part of, and not the sort of organically spiritual folk we descended from. This conscious system was much more diligent about its own survival. Education and administration were left entirely in the hands of the church, which gave it presumptive authority and the first word about The Way Things Are. We were instructed to consciously lead our spiritual lives in the arti-spiritual world, which the church has contained and marginalized into a sort of second-tier level of the arti-physical world where it’s conveniently out of the way.
Christendom became the new home for what little was left of the mind of the Roman Empire. Little was left of the life it made possible and many were reduced to squalor. Most had to resort to the primitive subsistence-level systems of their ancestors. Meanwhile, what was left of the body of Rome, its royal leisure class, found itself twisting in the wind. Only a Type B style god-king could whip up a world where The Way Things Are included their continued maintenance as the leisure class. This led to a long violent struggle between blood and cloth that made things even worse for everybody. And made everyone vulnerable to more violence from up and coming nations.
Western civilization was in a mess of biblical proportions, but for most Christian folk, it didn’t matter if there was a Pope, King, or Pope-King. Christianity went beyond the reach of any conscious system because it had become the focus of Christian’s ascent aspirations. The fourth stage aspirations of Christ were contained at the core of a third stage funhouse of dogma, which is where the Pope-King comes in. Great Leader and his friends rebuilt the arti-physical world using as a blueprint, all those wonderful words and narratives of the new Bible. The new church-state was built from Jewish and Greek culture and conformed to everything it needed to be in order to encapsulate the early Christian teachings along with any remaining pagan habits that couldn’t be rooted out, like Christmas. The mass-mind evolved into the world that would be ascended in. But it could only promise an amusement park ride that ascended in an endless circle.
The aspiration of Christ, or Buddha, or whoever is not something the conscious mind can do. That’s even part of the bible’s story- the man that was driven out of the Garden of Eden is not the man that can return. To the faithful, the aspiration to return became inseparable from the conscious structure that surrounds it, which makes the only access to ascension through the church door. The door is bolted, and there’s a sign that says No Ascending until You’re Dead and only if you cooperate . Which means a lifestyle of constant conscious supervision which requires constant third stage mentalities which we’ve all admitted is not the way out, or up, or back, or whichever. Whose interests could this serve? Who comes out ahead? Is the church protecting you from it or protecting it from you? After all, the church is a third stage mass mind, just like republicanism or basketball, and it will seek its own survival -which isn’t served if the parishioners ascend beyond the conscious world which is beyond its reach.
Such threats to the church’s structure were contained by a new idea. The Hebrew concept of Judgment Day met up with a newer idea of everyone living a perfect life with Jesus in the here after. –But not until after Judgment Day (or rapture). This presents an alternative path of ascension besides dying. The living would get this reward if everyone everywhere would just be good enough. But this was just the new version of the old classical notion of the world somehow being complete or finished when everyone everywhere was part of the same unchallenged mass-mind. Usually, by force or extermination. In the Christian mind, this had progressed into a need to spread the gospel until everyone has had a choice of joining or abstaining, and God will take care of the unpleasantness later. But usually we’d beat Him to it.
Many cultures had their flirt with the fourth stage ascension. Just as often, the ship goes down anyway, and with it goes its infrastructure, its standard of living, and any hope of any complex mental organizations. This is the struggle for the ego to loosen its grip on identity and for the conscious world to be seen as a narrow recreation of the outside world melded with a vast internal creation of concepts and expectations. That implies being somewhere other than the conscious world in order to be able to see it. Cognition of consciousness is a building block of fourth stage mental organizations. Nature seems to be pushing us, like them, in this direction. To end the whole cut off from God era and emerge from a dream world. The tough part is that each of us recognizes that everything in our conscious minds including where we think we are and what we think we are is our own creation and responsibility, and separate from the physical world and our physical selves that live there. How symbolic it is to hold the crucifixion in such high regard. Christ as the fourth stage aspiration of man nailed down to earth, and preserved like jam. Meant to be tasted someday, but not today. The promised ascension of the gospel comes at the cost of accepting all paradigms, including the gospels and that cross, are our own artificial creations. Maybe it’s time to let him down.