For a long time through history, people were fully conscious, fully at home with language and theatre and ritual and magic. But they were cradled, or embedded, in an almost continuous dialogue with the rest of reality, experienced as a seamless consciousness which they called the Great Spirit or the Ancestors or simply God. The Western cultural and linguistic heritage has been largely a building of defences against this Other and a replacement of it with the politically expressed mass ego of humanity.
So when we go into the wilderness and take psychedelic plants and perform ancient paradigmatic rituals; if we are successful in dissolving the conditioning and the expectations of modernity and materialism, we discover that this mystery is still there, still alive, still capable of dialoguing with us. And it's absolutely confounding to people. They react to it with ecstasy or fear, or tales of religious conversion or alien abduction. It entirely depends upon how it hits you. In this case, one man's revelation is another man's nightmare. But, I believe, the thing that lies behind all of this is a living, intelligent, natural mind of some sort that is simply an extension of the biosphere, of Gaia.
- Terence McKenna
Contrary to our prevailing paradigms, which assume that indigenous peoples throughout the world wish to participate in our economy, many Indians do not see us as the survivors in a Darwinian scenario. They see themselves as eventual survivors, while we represent a people who has badly misunderstood the way things are on the earth. They do not wish to join the technological experiment. They do not wish to engage in the industrial mode of production. They do not want a piece of the action. They see our way as a striving for death. They want to be left out of the process. If we are going over the brink, they do not wish to join us.
Throughout the world, whether they live in deserts or jungle or the far north, or in the United States, millions of native people share the perception that they are resisting a single, multi-armed enemy: a society whose basic assumptions, whose way of mind, and whose manner of political and economic organization permit it to ravage the planet without discomfort, and to drive natives off their ancestral lands. That this juggernaut will eventually consume itself is not doubted by these people. They meet and discuss it. They attempt to strategize about it. Their goal is to stay out of its way and survive it.
- Jerry Mander, In The Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations
“You know there’s something wrong with the world, you don’t know what it is, but it’s there like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is the Matrix. The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes, to blind you to the truth. The truth that you are a slave, born like everyone else into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch, a prison for your mind.”
“This is your last chance. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
- Morpheus speaks of the Matrix to Neo
Morpheus was wrong – the world is not an external virtual reality program that runs in our heads. But he was right when he said we were born into a prison for our mind.
Our culture has a particular view of the world that is driven into us as we grow up – it is conditioning similar to a program. It is a view of the world that has been pulled over our eyes because almost everyone we have ever met believes in it as reality. But it is not reality – it is a severe distortion of reality and that makes us unhappy. We are taught that if we see something that contradicts this reality, then we are insane. The consensus reality in all our minds seems to almost create a forcefield that keeps all our minds locked on the cultural program. It is very hard for anyone to see clearly outside this prison for our mind.
To escape this conditioning, we must toy with wonderland, with what seems insane.
- Auctor Situs
"The notion of following your passion is a cheap instinct and a good instinct and it's worth indulging. Your passion is your source of power. In order to have power, you have to live a life of passion. You have to live a really full life. You need to follow those paths, no matter where they lead...in defiance of all things conventional, perhaps. And of course it is at a price. It's going to cost. You have to know that going in. But the price you pay, in my opinion, is not worth the time of day to think about. It is so important not to knee-pad around the world. You should never bow down to anything but those you love and respect. Ever. For anything."
- Doug Peacock
Thomas Berry, in "The Dream of the Earth" has said that most of us suffer from a kind of autism when it comes to communicating with anything other than our own kind. The Holy Wind has been stilled within our lives, and we live in a cultural atmosphere that does not confirm the mutuality of creation. Even when we recognise our kinship and intimacy with other forms of existence, we remain mute before them. Their language has been forgotten. We are enclosed in a psychocultural cocoon; the outer world no longer flows into our being. Those voices remain unheard, and we are unable to speak in response. The winds of communication with creation are dying. Yet earth and language meet and metabolise in the zones of dream and visions, in story, poetry, song, and prayer, and in direct communication with untamed beings. These zones comprise the boundary lands where cultural constraints and social habits are overridden, where tribal folk, shamans, and children, the mad and inspired, are caught in the holy wind of creation.
- From The Way of Language, Chapter 5 of Joan Halifax's book The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting with the Body of the Earth