What's With All the Vampires, Wizards and Zombies All of a Sudden?

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sexy female vampire in True BloodWhere the hell did all the zombies come from all of a sudden? And the vampires? And the wizards and werewolves and fairies and the generally undead and unreal? They used to be relegated to the shameful corners of the bookstores. In the video stores their covers were obscure, sun-faded and dusty. Dorky stuff. Consumed by few. Something to grow out of. A sign of arrested development.

Now they're everywhere. They haven't taken over the mainstream, but they've staked significant turf. True Blood. Harry Potter. The Walking Dead. Twilight. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Zombieland. 28 Days Later. World War Z. The Lord of the Rings movies. Shaun of the Dead. Resident Evil. Zombies and Pride and Prejudice. I Am Legend. Game of Thrones.

the walking dead poster

I'm probably the four and a half billionth person to put forward a theory as to why this might be, but here it is. We're evolving as a people. Greater numbers of consumers of realistic, literary prize winning, smarty-pants fiction are regularly putting on the "I Love Fantasy" hat, and doing so without irony or condescension. And this is an indication that we're slowly, gingerly climbing the ladder of development.

 

Allow me to extrapolate.

 

Individuals go through defined, sequential stages of development, which have been extensively mapped by developmental psychologists such as Carol Gilligan, Lawrence Kohlberg, Clare Graves and Abraham Maslow. We're born at square one and develop psychologically and morally, moving from a primitive understanding of how the world works ("I control the world!") to a more advanced understanding ("God controls the world!") to more advanced still ("the laws of physics control the world") to an even more nuanced take on things ("everyone is equal, all points of view are valid"). This last stage is called Postmodern. And what comes after that? The Post-postmodern stage, also known as the Integral Stage. People at this stage of consciousness look back on the entire sequence, and see that it is good, that all stages are necessary, stage-appropriate and they all build on each other. The earlier stages are not to be despised. Each has valuable stuff to offer.

 

Let me quickly stick labels on those stages, to help make the rest of this article easier to follow.

 

"I control the world!" - the Magic Stage.

"God controls the world!" - the Mythic/Membership Stage

"The laws of physics control the world" - the Rational Stage

"Everyone is equal, all points of view are valid" - the Postmodern Stage

"I see this entire developmental sequence, and each stage is necessary, stage-appropriate and has valuable stuff to offer." - the Post-postmodern or Integral Stage

 

night of the living dead posterSo let's quickly revisit how vampires and zombies and werewolves and wizards used to be enjoyed. By the socially marginalized. The socially dysfunctional. By people who were only into those kinds of movies, books and TV shows, and didn't have lives, sexual experience, or social skills of any kind. Whether this was actually the case with the majority of genre fans is up for debate - certainly some were and some weren't. But I'm saying that that was the general perception. Which influenced how people viewed those kinds of movies and literature. Namely, it kept them in the artistic ghetto. Most of the time. This impression lingers with the ubiquity of the term "geek," usually self-applied, with sheepish pride and shame and defiance.

 

There was the occasional exception that found mainstream popularity. Interview with a Vampire. The ben kenobi uses his mojo on the stormtroopersLord of the Rings books. The Star Wars trilogy (wizards aplenty there, by a different name). But Star Wars didn't open the floodgates for a popular embrace of science fiction - or to properly name its genre: space fantasy, or space opera. And it wasn't until Harry Potter that fantasy novels sold in mass numbers and got referenced in popular culture comparable to The Lord of the Rings. Most vampire movies were obscure, low budget and low quality. Francis Ford Coppola's stab at big movie popularity with Bram Stoker's Dracula died with a painful stake in its critical and box office chest. Legendarily popular fantasy writers were utterly unknown to the vast majority of general readers and to people who don't read regularly.

 

Why?

 

Let's take a quick look back at those stages of development. Right near the beginning is the Magic Stage: "I control the world!" Kids believe that if you step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back. I believed I could change traffic lights by concentrating on them. A friend of mine believed she could make her family's car start (as her father turned the key in the ignition repeatedly)(her will would make the engine finally catch). This is an early stage, completely normal to go through. You believe your ego can bend the laws of physics to your will. In his book One Taste, Integral philosopher Ken Wilber likens this stage to the characters frequently seen in Saturday morning cartoons. Warner Brothers characters have sticks of TNT go off in their hand and recover pretty much immediately. The laws of physics don't interfere with them, or superman heat visionrather, they're as rubbery and stretchable as the characters themselves. Superman flies simply by wanting to. He doesn't leap off the ground and propel himself in a given direction. He just levitates, moving any direction he wants, as fast as he wants. He doesn't lose his breath while flying at high speeds - he doesn't breathe anyway - or feel cold when he goes into the Arctic or into space. He does what he wants. He can set things on fire or see through women's clothes just by looking at them. He doesn't need to eat - although he can (does he excrete?). He doesn't age, after having reached adulthood. To someone at the Magic Stage, this is how things are. Or at least how they should be. When you really absorb the fact that this consistently fails to work, you tend to progress to the next stage.

 

This same negotiable relationship with the laws of physics appears in our breakthrough pop culture examples. Luke Skywalker wills his light sabre to leap into his hand, and it does. Gandalf doesn't age, nor does Elrond. With a flick of his wand, Dumbledore makes things come into existence out of vampire having sexnothing, and he takes immaterial things like memories, and stores them in a physical object. Zombies defy the body's post-mortem decay and keep on walking, grunting and trying to eat flesh until someone staves in their brain. Vampires turn into actual size bats, defying the impossibility of such a radical change in mass. They suck blood for sustenance, but they don't excrete. They speak but they don't breathe. They fuck but they don't reproduce. Do they ejaculate? I haven't delved deeply enough into the genre to know the answer to that. But if they do, what's coming out? Where does it come from? Does it matter? Of course not. People don't get into vampire stories because of their rock solid plausibility.

 

ApolloVampires, wizards, zombies and werewolves emerged in the Magic Stage of consciousness. Equivalent supernatural characters can be found in mythology worldwide. And the blurry line between the stages becomes evident if we look at this closely - quite often mythological figures have their super-abilities because they're gods, or they have the favour of gods (gods are Mythic/Membership stage beings). These creatures don't actually exist, and never could, but try telling a little kid that. They haven't reached the Rational Stage ("the laws of physics rule the world"), or even the Mythic/Membership Stage ("God controls the world!"). They believe without verifiable evidence. Cultures where most people express this stage of development - even into adulthood - genuinely believe in the existence of these creatures.

 

A facet of the stages of development is that people at each stage hate and distrust people at the other stages. Mythic/Membership people ("God controls the world!") don't like people believing in vampires and wizards. Only God is powerful, only Jesus and various prophets and saints could bend the laws of physics, and only because God was doing it for them. People at the Rational Stage don't like people at the new answers bookthe Magic or Mythic/Membership stages, because there's no evidence for wizards or zombies, the very notion of their existence is ridiculous, and a woman conceiving through the intervention of a ghost is just nonsense, as is a man parting the Red Sea or a person returning to life after having been dead for three days. The enmity is mutual, as Mythic/Membership people resent the dominance of rational thought, denying evolution because it contradicts their holy book. People expressing the Postmodern stage ("everyone is equal, all points of view are valid") betray their own stated beliefs by insisting that even though everyone is equal, racism is bad, sexism is bad (so these two points of view aren't equal or allowed to be valid), and you're not allowed to be a fundamentalist Christian, since that's an oppressive force with a history of dominating and subjugating other cultures. Science doesn't get off the hook either; it's only one way of looking at the world, and that doesn't mean it's right, say the Postmodernists. And once again, the enmity is mutual: Mythic/Membership people and Rational people hate Postmodernists for trying to level the playing field and not acknowledging the supremacy of God or Science.

 

Now consider this: The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Interview with a Vampire - these were surprise hits. Same with the original novel Dracula. And Frankenstein. They were works of inspiration, not calculated commercialism. Frankenstein was Lord of the Rings booksinspired by a dream. The Lord of the Rings novels were a decade-long labour of love by a gifted amateur. They hit on something in the human spirit, and people responded, in big numbers. But why didn't the mass audience stay on board for all of the genre stuff that tried to follow in these hits' footsteps? Because there was a jarring disconnection between the the sensibilities of people in our culture, which consists of an uneasy mix of Mythic/Membership (fundamentalist religious people), Rational (scientific materialists) and Postmodern (most university educated people, most intellectuals and most artists) sensibilities, all of which just ain't at ease with Magic stage stories (people and creatures who defy the laws of physics at will) most of the time.

 

Until now.

 

True Blood and Game of Thrones aren't relegated to some greasy Science Fiction and Fantasy channel. They're on HBO, and mainstays of that critically lauded channel's roster, sitting comfortably amidst the ranks of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Rome, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood and The Wire. And the cast isn't taken from the ranks of inexperienced actors you've never heard of who can't act that well Game of Thronesbut are willing to show their tits. True Blood's lead, Anna Paquin, is an Oscar winner. Each of the three Lord of the Rings movies was the top box office performer of its year, and The Return of the King won the Oscar for Best Picture - a first for a fantasy movie. The Harry Potter films have become the highest grossing movie series in history. The Harry Potter books, along with the Twilight books, have sold so phenomenally well as to be widely referenced in popular culture to the point that you don't have to have read them to know what they're about. Zombie movies, once the definition of low-budget genre stuff playing to cult audiences and no one else, now attract actors like Woody Harrelson (Oscar nominee for The People Vs. Larry Flynt), directors like Danny Boyle (Oscar winner for Slumdog Millionaire), and The Walking Dead boasted Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) as creator and first season show-runner.

 

Why? What's going on with this?

 

Let's just jump back (quickly) to those levels of development. What comes after Postmodern? Post-postmodern. In this stage, the entire developmental sequence is recognized, understood, accepted and every level is celebrated. The other stages are not to be despised, says the person expressing Post-Harry Potterpostmodern consciousness, they're to be valued for what they have to offer.

 

And what does the Magic Stage have to offer? Fun. And lots of it. It's absolutely thrilling to allow yourself to believe that a person could fly just by wanting to. Same with the possibility of never aging. And shooting magic beams of pure energy out of the tips of your fingers or your wand, without draining whatever source that energy is feeding off of.

 

An adult who dominantly expresses the Magic Stage can't function in the present day Western world. The taxman won't be warded off by a spell. The landlord can't be cursed away. Magic words and the evil eye won't keep you safe from the eventual repercussions of your consistently lousy job performance, or fix the leaky sink.

 

TwilightBut the Magic Stage is harmless and totally enlivening when taken in moderate doses. And that's what seems to be happening with all of these vampires and wizards and zombies and werewolves in popular culture. People aren't regressing en masse. Nor are they reading Harry Potter saying "Oh come on! That just wouldn't work! It defies the laws of physics!" Adults who read Harry Potter let themselves take a vacation into a time and mentality where the laws of physics are fluid and bendy. Because it's fun. Because it gives you a taste of what it was like to be a kid, when you genuinely believed you might acquire the powers of a superhero or a witch. The fact that the Harry Potter books and the Twilight books were written for young readers emphasizes this.

 

So that's my theory. This recent proliferation of fantastical fiction peacefully coexists with The Wire, The Kite Runner, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Da Vinci Code, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, Bridesmaids, The Help, The Office and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as well as with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, TED talks, Tina Fey, the books of Malcolm Gladwell, The Colbert Report, Sarah Silverman, Ricky Gervais, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Maher, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Dan Savage, and the daily missives of Seth Godin. And this demonstrates that a great many people are able to live in the world, keep jobs, pay rent/mortgages, vote, renovate, educate children, occupy, buy local, organic produce, and now and then, swing into a realm populated by sexy vampires, marauding zombies and teenagers wielding wands. And there's no conflict between these seemingly incompatible worlds. There's no need to choose camps.

 

And does that mean our culture's centre of gravity is at a Post-postmodern level?

 

Dwight SchruteWell, first let me introduce this: there are multiple intelligences. A person can be really good at playing the clarinet and really bad at cooking. Someone can be incredibly astute with grafting different breeds of apple trees, and have no interpersonal skills at all. A brilliant scientist might have the morals of a rabid rat. In the world of Integral Philosophy this is referred to as lines of development. Levels and lines. You can be high in one line, medium in another and low in yet another. We're all developed to different degrees in different areas of life. Which is perfectly natural. A person who considers themselves at the highest level in every line is either a bodhisattva, or severely deluded about themselves, a la Dwight Schrute. The latter is far more likely.

 

I'm an arts guy. I pay attention to what's happening in the world of culture and entertainment, and what these trends reveal about us. I certainly don't feel qualified to put any sort of pin on the map of where we stand, as a culture, politically. Or morally. Or spiritually. Or interpersonally. Or cognitively. But if we're generally at a Post-postmodern level on any of those lines on any kind of widespread basis, I'd be surprised. If someone were to speculate that we are, I'd be very interested in reading their argument.

 

So if we are tip-toeing toward a Post-postmodern level of understanding in the appreciation of arts and entertainment, this could signify a first poke in that direction for us altogether. And since art does well up from some deep, mysterious spring, that could be the manifestation of something bigger we could all become, nudging us forward, as art has sought to do many times in the past, opening doors, letting light fall where it never has, encouraging us to see things in a way we never have before.

 

And you know what? All of this love and acceptance of fantastical fiction could just be a trend that'll disappear in a few years the way gross-out comedies did. I offer this theory with no certitude at all. This is just a possibility that occurred to me when I thought about how many of my friends are nuts about True Blood and Game of Thrones but aren't into that kind of thing otherwise. Same with Harry Potter. And The Walking Dead. And superheroes they're part of this pattern too. Mainstream Thor and Captain America in The Avengersbookstores sell graphic novels. They didn't twenty years ago. Comic book movies are bigger than ever now too. Batman and Iron Man are the two biggest box office draws - both heroes bound by the laws of physics, with no powers but their fists, feet, and the gadgets they've invented through their prowess with science and industry. And Spiderman got his powers from a genetically engineered spider. But the science that transferred the spider's abilities to Peter Parker's body is bogus, and may as well be magic. Same with Tony Stark's arc-reactor. And Iron Man is a principal character in The Avengers, whose villain is Loki - the Norse god of mischief, who can teleport at will and withstand a beating from The Hulk with only a few minor scrapes and bruises. One of the Avengers is his brother Thor, god of thunder. And as of this writing, the film's bounded to number three on the highest grossib movies ever list. And it's popular with pimply teenagers, office workers, artists, the night club crowd, and its cast and other creative personnel boast an astounding twelve Oscar winners and nominees.

 

And no one's leaving the theatre believing they'll stumble upon a magic hammer or invent a self-generating mini reactor that'll power a bad-ass iron fighting suit. It's just a great way to have fun for a while. It's a little bit of magic spice to liven up the curry of our lives.

 

 

Edited by Chris Dierkes

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7 comments

  • Comment Link Jeremy Johnson Thursday, 14 June 2012 23:00 posted by Jeremy Johnson

    Hi TJ! Great article. There are some core nuggets in here that I'd like to riff on with you.

    Here's the first,

    "But the Magic Stage is harmless and totally enlivening when taken in moderate doses. And that's what seems to be happening with all of these vampires and wizards and zombies and werewolves in popular culture. People aren't regressing en masse. Nor are they reading Harry Potter saying "Oh come on! That just wouldn't work! It defies the laws of physics!" Adults who read Harry Potter let themselves take a vacation into a time and mentality where the laws of physics are fluid and bendy. Because it's fun. Because it gives you a taste of what it was like to be a kid, when you genuinely believed you might acquire the powers of a superhero or a witch. The fact that the Harry Potter books and the Twilight books were written for young readers emphasizes this."

    I tend to agree with you that we are *not* regressing in any way. The return of myth and magic, explicitly at least, in our culture is a good sign that these forms of world-relating are being healthily re-integrated. We aren't abandoning science. Actually, if anything, I believe we are seeing the parallels between science and magic. Consider the scene in Thor when Thor himself suggests that science and magic are not discordant. Magic is merely science we do not understand yet – paralleling Arthur C. Clarke's statement that "any sufficiently advanced technology appears as magic." (paraphrasing there, not sure the exact quote).

    Then there's the idea, al a Gebser and others, that the magic structure of consciousness is parallel in many ways to the rational structure (not the mental), in the emphasis on using spells, or some form of mastery over principles of nature, to affect a change in the physical environment. Gebser uses this description negatively, saying that in the deficient, Rational era, we are mirroring the deficient stage of the Magic era: the un-balanced and un-checked use of technology for manipulation and mass-control of environment, like black magic. This is not a far fly from how Tolkien imagined Mordor and the destruction of the forests. However, the fact that we are seeing the connection *positively* today may be a sign we are hinting at a shift, once again, in consciousness.

    "Let's just jump back (quickly) to those levels of development. What comes after Postmodern? Post-postmodern. In this stage, the entire developmental sequence is recognized, understood, accepted and every level is celebrated. The other stages are not to be despised, says the person expressing Post-postmodern consciousness, they're to be valued for what they have to offer."

    I like this understanding of cultural evolution, and even come from it (to some regard) in the sense of seeing it all developmentally. But I haven't studied up on it. I agree that the magic stage offers "fun." It also animates the world, re-paints the universe with, well, meaning. Sacredness. Vividness. Animation. The forces behind life are not dead or mechanistic. They are living intelligences of their own. Magic brings us back to that. A necessarily deficient part of the Rational structure of consciousness is that it dis-enchants the world. It breaks down the world into its constituent parts and fragments, or raises its own mechanisms up. It dispels (as I mentioned in the article), which is a form of magic itself, in that it generates a world that is non-magical. This has some devastating effects on the human psyche, I believe, and may result in forms of alienation and dread towards the adult world of work and machination (we are mere cogs in the machine). Magic throws a wrench in such a machine. It's compelling that some of the most influential films are magical. Steven Speilberg has a long history with that. His movies took the audience, as well as the protagonist, outside of the mundane world by a sudden visitation, or compulsion, into the Magical or Imaginal Realm, breaking forth into the suburban life. Whether done via Scifi (Like E.T.) or through magic (Hook in the 1990's), Speilberg effectively re-enchants the mundane world.

    I think this is more of why magic is "fun." It re-sacralizes the cosmos in an animistic way. It brings meaning and imagination back into our de-sacralized cosmology.

    As a side note on magic/science: it's pretty cool that the origins of science, as some argue, have their roots in alchemy and Hermeticism, both very magical arts, based on the principles of understanding Nature's laws and using them to effect a change in the physical society. Hermes is part of this old myth in Egypt where he was thought to have created a magical city, guarded by animated statues that allowed no evil-doers to enter, and magical spells that prevented the city-dwellers from doing any harm to each other. Magic can reverse the flow of rivers. It can bring a new order into the world. In many ways, the unconscious of scientific and rational culture is a form of magic. The parallels are striking!

    Great article, once again! I think you really covered a lot here. Looking forward to the subsequent discussion!

    -Jer

  • Comment Link TJ Dawe Saturday, 16 June 2012 00:12 posted by TJ Dawe

    Jeremy - that’s an excellent connection to bring up, the parallel between the Magic and Rational stages, and it’s new to me, and makes sense. A point I briefly make in the article is that the science presented in comic books is basically magic. There are sometimes nominal scientific explanations as to why Reed Richards can stretch his body to football field lengths, why Spiderman can climb a wall, why the Hulk is impervious to physical harm, or how any of Tony Stark’s story solving technological flourishes function, but none of them would work in the world we live in. They really are the equivalent of a wizard casting a spell that allows him to stretch his body, climb a wall, withstand an explosion, etc, but it’s couched as science. And to the fan, these (unscientific) explanations are enough. And Iron Man is no less of a hero than Thor. Batman is widely considered the greatest hero of all.

    Also, the co-development of magic and rational consciousness got me thinking how people who call themselves geeks and nerds (terms which I think are unnecessary and problematic)(but that’s beside the point)(and who’s gonna listen to me on that anyway) are quite often into a) fantastical fiction (comics, science fiction and fantasy novels and movies and video games, and role playing games) and b) technology. If you want your computer repaired, call the Geek Squad. If you want a Daredevil graphic novel (and live in Orlando, Florida), go to the Geek Easy. And these interests coexist quite peacefully. The disparity is rarely, if ever, brought up.

    That’s an great point about the Magic stage bringing the animation back into the world. It’s no wonder Spielberg’s movies, and Lucas’s, The Matrix Trilogy, and the Lord of the Rings movies have done so well. With our modernist foundation, we thirst for the magical animation that some part of us knows is there, but which has been denied and repressed. I’m sure we’ll continue to see this in popular culture.

    It’s interesting to me that blockbuster movies so often incorporate these elements these days, whereas in the 80s, so often action and adventure movies lived entirely on the rational plane. Schwarzennegger, Stallone, Seagal, Van Damme, Norris et al. employed muscles, guns, knives, helicopters, planes, cars - not amulets, spells, superpowers, chi, or yet-to-exit technology that may as well be magic. There are still movies like this - the Bourne trilogy, the recent Bond films - which are excellent, and popular - but they co-exist with Thor, Spiderman, Iron Man, the Matrix. And this disparity is rarely, if ever, noticed. The same audience is just as ready to be thrilled by Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt using martial arts, tactical brilliance and technology to solve the problem as they are to watch Thor swing his lighting attracting hammer, or Neo slow time down to dodge bullets.

  • Comment Link Scott Erker Friday, 19 October 2012 17:31 posted by Scott Erker

    I totally disagree this has nothing to do with our acceptance and being developed along some psuedo-frazierian cultural stage - this is has to do with the real lived life of individuals and how they see themselves in society and in the world - it is a projects of the fears of the unconscious that somehow although technology seems wonderful, powerful, even inevitable that it is still somehow dehumanizing us, separating us from one another and this is one of our basic needs that is being unmet - also the rising social and economic inequality in society and between societies tears away at the social contract and social bonds that ties us all together and when these ties are neglected or ignored as the rich and powerful seem to be doing in our own times - it calls into question all the rules and manners that ask us to discipline and repress the more animalistic needs we once had for the good of society and ourselves

  • Comment Link Trevor Malkinson Tuesday, 30 October 2012 19:23 posted by Trevor Malkinson

    Scott, just wanted to say that I resonated with your comment here and wanted to let you know that I wrote a post you might be interested in, seems to cover some of the same territory you're pointing to. It was written during the same theme week that TJ wrote this one:

    http://beamsandstruts.com/bits-a-pieces/item/974-sucking-you-dry-notes-on-vampire-capitalism

    Also just a heads up that you probably won't hear from TJ on this one for awhile. He's on hiatus at the moment touring a new play (Postsecret) in the US, and also, we're still waiting for the Joomla people to update the email notification software for the 2.5 version we've upgraded to, so TJ won't know at all about this comment. So I wanted to check in and let you know that, and say thanks for adding your voice here at the site. And like I said, you might resonate with the article I linked to. cheers, Trevor.

  • Comment Link TJ Dawe Monday, 12 November 2012 20:34 posted by TJ Dawe

    Scott, there are many possible symbolic meanings in zombie and vampire stories - here's one another reader suggested: http://www.beamsandstruts.com/bits-a-pieces/item/971-vamps-and-zombs and here are six more, gathered from around the web: http://www.beamsandstruts.com/bits-a-pieces/item/955-zombies

    It's hard, if not impossible to say definitively why a work of art speaks to a given person, much less to a large number of people, and I offer my interpretation here with no sense of it being a final statement.

    But my focus in this article isn't so much on what these figures mean, as much as the delivery method. A bigger chunk of the North American movie/TV/book consuming public than ever before seems ready to accept fantastical creatures in their stories. (This assertion itself is up for dispute) Why? The anxieties of the population in the 70s, 80s and 90s didn't find themselves transformed into this seemingly retrogressive stuff. And there are more lauded participants in these genres than ever before. Why? Why now?

    Could be a trend, as I mention. Might disappear, and in the next decade or two we'll see something else. Could be here to stay. But it'll take a much longer view from the future to say with any exactitude why this happened now, and what it means. Which is why I put forward the theory of this article so gingerly.

    Any further thoughts and interpretations are welcome. And by way - who is Frazier?

  • Comment Link Don Fletcher Wednesday, 30 January 2013 01:49 posted by Don Fletcher

    TJ, I'm not so sure about relegating the Magical Stage to immaturity alone. I understand the childhood fantasy bit, but what about actual paranormal powers (if indeed they exist). Might the Magical also manifest in a line of development ? [Integral Ecology p.281] I've had a couple of verified Telepathic experiences, and author Jeffrey Kripal gives many examples in his book "Authors of the Impossible. If one's mind created an experience of talking to Apollo in a magic ritual, why is a creation of our mind "not real". And, maybe "the Universe", "God", whatever used our imagination to communicate with us? I've not come to any conclusions on the matter myself, maybe it is all wishful thinking. But, the existence of the world at all seems impossible, and a lot crazier than Daimons. However, technology is bad enough as it is. Can you imagine a Red level person with a real Wizards wand? Anyhow, great article. I share your enjoyment of comics etc..

  • Comment Link TJ Dawe Thursday, 31 January 2013 02:35 posted by TJ Dawe

    Don - great points. Rupert Sheldrake has been doing scientific research on telepathy for years, something I wrote a brief bit about elsewhere: http://www.beamsandstruts.com/bits-a-pieces/item/1026-telepathy?highlight=YToyOntpOjA7czo5OiJzaGVsZHJha2UiO2k6MTtzOjExOiJzaGVsZHJha2UncyI7fQ==

    It's possible that telepathy will be backed up by hard numbers and peer reviewed research at a certain point, and will simply be considered a branch of biology.

    A great deal of what we consider science today would have seemed sorcery or superstition to people a few hundred years ago. That statement will certainly be made again a few hundred years from now (if we don't self-destruct).

    And there will be other elements that will remain manifestations of the imagination, and nothing more. But they still have value. The imagination is a wonderfully enlivening thing.

    And I've been performing a one man show about my experiences doing ayahuasca, and if I've ever had a magical experience, that would be it. There is hard scientific research being done on it, and perhaps they'll be able to explain its various effects, but maybe not. On the retreat in which I did it, I chose to go along with the shamans' explanation that the plant has a spiritual consciousness, which is aware of you, and chooses to give you a specific experience based on what you need, right now. And each person has a different experience every time they do it. Is there anything to that? I don't know. But the transformative effects of that ceremony are still playing out in my life, so it would be foolish of me to dismiss those shamans' beliefs as childishness.

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