[N.B: This post overlapped with Crow's.]
peartreed wrote:So all the sympathy and empathy and identification in the cosmos is not reason enough to endorse Whitley Strieber as a reliable reporter of reality, let alone a seer. We need to subject him to the same scrutiny as any shaman in a tribe that turns to the wise to guide it onwards to Glory.
Not sure what the second part of your last sentence means, but otherwise I'm in accord all the way. And isn't that what this thread's for, to subject Whitley to scrutiny, as only a bunch of rigorous intuitives can?
Spiro C. Thiery wrote:There is too much despair amidst old Whit's attempts to illuminate, and anyone else's attempt to get to the bottom of that risks not getting to the bottom of anything except one's own despair.
So what is more worth getting to the bottom of? As long as it's there, constantly trying to keep our heads above water while it pulls at us from beneath is only going to tire us out in the end. "Not out the darkness but through
Doesn't a full spectrum of human experience include laughter and
despair - which would make the former a much needed antidote for the latter? That's my limited experience: the deeper the despair I plummet into, the deeper the belly laughs once I make it out the other side (which so far, thankfully, I have). Wallowing in despair is a very different thing, of course, and from what I've heard of him, Whitley isn't doing much belly laughing. A good, maybe the best, measure of a teacher/teaching's value is how much humor there is in it, and unlike Castaneda, Strieber does fall short here. At the same time, one of the lines in The Key
is "Find laughter, find freedom" (or if you prefer the original version, "...find God.") But The Key
is also the source of a couple of those icky, despair-inducing ideas which LilyPat cites, and they didn't leave my psyche entirely unruffled either. (LilyP, whatever you do, don't read 2012
!) So The Key
, and probably all Strieber's material, does contain apparent misinformation: but how many books are there that don't?
Hammer of Los wrote:I wonder exactly what sort of premature illumination/initiation you think Strieber has undergone.
To suggest that he is a man liberated in any way from personal prejudice and preference is clearly contradicted by his words and behavior. In other words, I think he is as unilluminated as they come. He seems mired in profound ignorance.
Imprecise use of language on my part - most (or all) of us don't know even what "illumination" means, much less the premature kind. What I meant was, if Strieber had an externally triggered "gnosis
"-experience (with aliens cum operatives in place of entheogens), and if his ego wasn't sufficiently prepared, then the long-term effect would be deranging. In the face of a massive influx of the unknown, the ego either surrenders and lets itself be re-formed, or it shores up its crumbling walls and does all it can to reinforce them from future shocks to the system. One way to do that would be by clinging to "personal prejudice and preference" and miring itself safely back in ignorance
- even while retaining the memory of the "illumination" experience (and the knowledge it gave), which it can then use to fortify its sense of self-importance, invulnerability, and righteousness. In a way, Strieber's rants and hissy fits are to his credit, because at least he isn't trying to assume an external guise of holier-than-thou wisdom: he acts like a child and lets all his neuroses show, even if he doesn't realize he's doing it.
Hammer of Los wrote:ps Personally, I find Aeolas Kephas a more interesting subject than Whitley Strieber.
LilyPatToo wrote: ... the beautiful, profoundly loving light spoken of by NDEers was actually a trap set by entities intent upon enslaving the soul (inside of machinery of some kind, I think he said) for eternity. Horrible images, even for an agnostic like my current front self. ... I tried to remind myself that this was a gifted horror writer who drew upon some extremely dark personal material. And that perhaps it was good for him to externalize all that toxic stuff. But by the time he banned me I was beginning to see that absorbing that kind of despair on a daily basis was an awful thing to do to myselves
But wasn't that a useful process overall, for you to test your own sense of what is real?
Was it Blake who said whatever can be imagined is an image of truth?* Think of poor Whitley: if he believes these things to be literally true, then that's precisely what he has to contend with, day to day, and what he has to look forward to when he dies.
So yes, writing it out is definitely a way to exorcise it, if done properly. The problem is when - unlike, say, Edgar Allan Poe or Dostoyevsky, who also externalized some pretty grisly psychic demons through writing - Strieber presents his psychic dark matter as fact
, not fiction; and even when it's fiction (2012, The Grays
), Strieber has us believe that he is putting the "real dirt" in there because it's easier to get away with in a fictionalized form. So instead of exorcising his demons, Whitley might be possessing his readers with them
, the ones who lack the boundaries and/or discernment (and I reluctantly include myself in this category) to take everything he writes with a large pinch of salt -as all
fiction, even if it is "true" (since it's still only Whitley
's experience, his
(He touches on this idea, but never full confronts it, in 2012
and elsewhere, when he suggests that the "aliens" need our belief to enter our reality, through the channels of our minds. The logical follow-on from this idea is that Strieber, by spreading belief, is setting his readers up for "abduction"/possession. Is it any wonder the guy's conflicted?)
Whitley's a Catholic, so he believes not only in God but in a God that damns souls to eternal hellfire.
Naturally, as a highly creative thinker, he's going to find "scientific" back-up for his medieval beliefs, and naturally he unconsciously needs to persuade others that all this is real
, because then he won't feel so horribly lonely in his terror and despair. That's definitely not what a shaman's supposed
to be doing, however, in fact it's roughly the opposite: instead of taking on the community's shadow-sickness, and absorbing into himself, he's using the community (UC) to absorb his shadow-sickness and get relief. If he is doing it, I'm sure he doesn't know it, which means that any of us (not just writers, artists, etc, but all of us, whenever we interact with other people and try to make them see things our way, which happens every day here at RI) are likely doing the same, if only to a much lesser degree.
Sobering thought huh. So then we'd all
make good case studies.
And yeah, this is all really
in the spirit of confessional.
I may as well beat y'all to the punch with the "Aeolus case study"! *"Everything to be imagined is an image of truth."
It is a lot easier to fool people than show them how they have been fooled.