The devils that you know are better than those angels that you do not know! (Arab proverb).


In the essay which follows I am trying to extract and put reasonably together the juice of those essays posted on and innumerable notes blotted down in over three decades. The task is rendered uneasy by the ravages of age and some faulty neural connection within my bony shrine. Let me add that I am not a pundit but a pundit… if this needs explanation, it can be said that the correct translation of the word pundit is 'savant' while in the land of its origin the word often denotes a dunce with many books and little knowledge. At the same time I am an iconoclast, and as such a killer of God(s), destroyer of images, he who throws behind his shoulders any established religion and dogmas, an anti-institutionalism being revolting against the establishments… all the same, not a being out of this world, a human being as it were and, by birthright, since I was born on the Planet Earth I am a citizen of the world; that I have to pull out my passports each time I cross frontiers is simply obnoxious. Iconoclasts can also live and make-do without all the phantasmagorical hyper-paraphernalia clogging the minds of the majority of the inhabitants of a so-called civilized world, they are able to be blind to the glittering world outside and to be aware of the universe within the very core of their being.
Thus, this essay’s writer is an iconoclast: no religion, godless, no images, no dogmas, not really keen towards institutionalized establishments and with the laws to be observed in the context of the system, lest being obliterated by the superb minds pulling the bridles for our welfare! Being this type of iconoclast, if you go on reading, you will find a dehumanized being in all likelihood not in agreement with your religion, your images, your inner and outward ways of life… therefore you might just loose your time and go over to something more interesting: the unrestricted flow of blood and violence on your TV screen, or downloading a wonderful porno-show from the Internet to refresh your spirit, or the most bloody and thrilling computer game from your unlimited collection, or profitably investing your time in stupid chatting on Facebook, or going through the information manager on you cellular phone to check who has been unanswered to in the last 67 days or sink yourself into a wonderful dose of some psychoactive substance 31 which will bring you to a wonderful world of distorted reality, or simply immerse yourself into yourself trying to find out who your inner being is and what it should correspond to in a sane planet far away from this maltreated earth which feeds your existence.
We live an historical moment where, in one way or another, each one of us to a certain degree is an iconoclast and this would not in the least be problematic, were it not that gods, images, dogmas, creeds and institutions have been replaced with a mentality unfit to humanly-human progress. We are now confronting a mentality enslaved by technology and extreme blindness in having to have everything at every cost, uncaringly and egoistically sacrificing everything in the way, unconscious and unaware of being ourselves sacrificed by a handful of monsters.
You will probably notice that, that is where the contents is reasonable and acceptable to a majority, the pronoun 'we' is used in the text while elsewhere, while where perhaps I go too far and appear unreasonable I have to use the pronoun 'I' although for some queer psychological reason I like to be impersonal and do away with that mysterious 'I' of mine. Little can be added to this note but that the judgment of the value of this text, if any, rests with the reader.


The Iconoclast
Franco Dell'Oro - Maekelay Ketema Street 173-1 # 3 - Asmara - Eritrea - delloro @ gmail dot com

"At times of writing I never think what I have said before. My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at a given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The statement above is true for any serious researcher, albeit with a relevant remark which concerns the single word "truth" simply because the truest truth is never identical for any two human beings; hence we live in a world which hosts several billions truths and only a few of them are in some sort of harmony among themselves. Consequently it can be surmised that truth is all but static, it is an evolving process of the human mind which constantly digs graves for older truths. Since the inception of reason the path of truth has been a slippery path of stumbling stones in a dense fog within a mysterious obscurity along which we have gone a long way with appreciable results; besides and more often that not, artificial means have been employed in this timeless search: the immemorial use of psychoactive substances, severe austerities and feats of self mortification, extreme physical ordeals and, more recently, all sorts of neurological paraphernalia to try to find out what processes affect both the brain and the human mind. Most truths obtained in such ways are manipulative and misleading products of the human psyche even if great savants take them for granted and feed then to the masses through the incredible means of information which presently we have at our disposal.

Even so, we may envision “truth” from a different perspective because our allowance of time is set but we do not know our 'expiration date'; in other words, the insecurity of existence demands an explanation. We may abide by those truths dictated by divines, theologians, philosophers, politicians or any of the great mass of imbeciles which abound on the planet, make their truth our truth – that is, an act of faith – or we may go on this errand with our own strength and realize that Gandhi’s words apply to this last case but only insofar as it pertains to our truth. Truth as such is a strictly subjective product of our intellective faculties. What is evident, however, is that for a great majority the search for truth is more like a search for reassurance against that which lies beyond their 'expiration date' than to find out the ineffable reality which placed us in this dire situation.
“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect" (Jiddu Krishnamurti).
This statement is indeed reasonable, even so, is it true? We are searching, so to say, outdoor, what we have in the house; any path leads in the wrong direction for the simple reason that we are the embodiment of truth and there is nothing harder to find out than what lies at the core of our being and its purpose, if any. This (purpose) is the other great interrogative. We do not need an intercessor, a savior, a hoary being in the image of man dressed in white somewhere up there in the sky taking bad care of us or his vicar hoarding from the gullible immense treasures under a great dome, nor the uncountable number of genuine or shrewd brainwashing idiots feeding on the simpleton or fleeceable.

We take for granted that we have both a brain 1 and a mind, two entities with a manifest outcome in two diverse realms, one tangible and one impalpable but mutually dependent on each other by some sort of mystifying feedback. Regardless of the fact that we cannot see or touch it, we will never question the fact that we have a brain while concerning the mind conflicting views have always arisen and different perspectives involve every concerned seeker. It is important to realize a few things before giving a thought to what follows: that the universe in not a sort of chance happening but, so far as we can understand it, some sort of inexplicable intelligence must be behind its manifestation; 2 that as our brain becomes lifeless - that is, with death - that process that we call human mind becomes extinct; that as whole organisms, we are nothing but puppets of our brain; 3 that the world is exactly what our senses transmit to the brain together with the related, subjective, experience of time and space, because that is the physical reality which we live independently of the possible truth of its illusoriness. This is a great work of art painted by the brain on an immense canvas and these pictures, moreover, have a paramount feedback on the painter throughout his life; we may think of the psyche as the interpreter and mediator of this exchange and, as well, we have little choice but to imagine an extrinsic intelligence behind this inscrutable encoding/decoding/feedback process. This brain of ours propagates an electrical field 4 which, however weak, interacts with and is subject to the cosmic electrical field which means that there is some sort of handshake between an infinitesimal and an infinite sort of radiation and this handshake, or, more properly a mutual feedback, vanishes with the demise the brain. But insofar as this feedback lasts, we experience a mind - that human mind that will be switched off when the countless billions of cells of the brain will loose their electrical potential and consequently the radiant field will come to naught; the painter will be dismissed and its artwork will vanish. There and then there will be no soul, no spirit, no transmigration, no paradises nor hells but simply, besides a rotting mass of organic material, nothingness, utter extinction. Yet we know that no electric potential gets lost thence the infinitesimally small electrical field given off by the brain will be a perpetual contribution to the cosmic radiation (perhaps this is the only reliable fact which can explain those phenomena - call them occult or paranormal - which presently we are unable to understand). And what about those pictures painted in – or by – archaic brains beyond the record of time and why do they follow and haunt us to the present moment? 28 Here we might hypothesize that the universal electromagnetic field has somehow been enriched by our minuscule contribution, that what it empowers will constantly enrich it and that perhaps, incognizant, we have some access to this infinite storehouse of... 'consciousness'? Aye, as physical entities we get lost, back to the dust but whichever way it came about something adds itself to the universal receptacle, our demise only shuts off our active contribute to a mysterious cosmos yet this contribute is not lost, it becomes a tiny building block of the whole. The human mind, per se, is nothing but part and parcel of an incommensurably greater Mind, that cosmic mind which but for some universal constants and physical laws that we have discovered, cannot be fathomed and comprehended.

Getting back to earth, let us focus our mind on some of its processes, giving for granted that the subdivision of some of its aspects, namely: consciousness, subconscious, psyche and intellect - we do not really need to split it into more parts - are rational and tenable. Before proceeding, it is worth taking notice that the brain is just the interpreter of these processes; it it is that makes them manifest to us - that alerts the qui vive of our awareness. But its role hither, apart for the biochemical and electrical activity within the same is otherwise hard to delineate; while the chemo-physical activity going on within the brain obeys exact laws, so that we have became able to tamper with its functions in diverse ways, the obscure interrogative remains as to what empowers them. Nor can we dismiss the construct that we are nothing but puppets of our brain. 3

Consciousness clearly is the awareness of the moment that we live, the recollection of past events brought into perspective, the planning of the next moment. The subconscious, and not merely the qui vive awareness, is that which pushes us forward towards some action or goal, for example: I am fully aware that I am writing these lines but I cannot really understand who, in reality, is writing them since they come out of a hidden receptacle which is unreachable in a normal state of mind. Clearly that hidden receptacle contains, as a whole, the life experience of the individual (here we meet the psyche!) and acts on the same so as to obtain a given result; there cannot be any stasis, any un-fluctuating moment in this process unless unconsciousness takes over, that process where apparently only the vital organic functions continue to subsist. The threshold between unconsciousness and the subconscious is a most mysterious state, the point of rendezvous between the reptilian brain 29 and those structures of the same evolved at a later stage; perhaps here it is where a great part of our existence is contrived, for example, the emergence of those symbols which float into our subconscious and that seldom come to our attention or awareness. This symbolic world is both a universe unto itself and at the same time an actuating agent in the great concert of our life, hence let us give a closer look to these histrions playing their role within our being since they have a paramount effect on our lives.

" ... for the nonreligious men of the modern age, the cosmos has become opaque, inert, mute; it transmits no message, it holds no cipher." 5

According to a modern theory 6 concerning the bicamerality of the mind, to a certain extent our ancestors were all schizophrenics; they heard voices and had revelations and visions and all this supposedly was none other than one brain’s hemisphere talking to the other brain’s hemisphere which unable to differently interpret such visions and messages convinced itself, and as a result tried to convince others too, that it had access to a profusion of spiritual realms, communication with angels or devils, if not direct communication with the godhead.

In all epochs and in all cultures up to contemporary times, hallucinogen substances like hemp, peyote and several others have been widely used to reach certain states of mind "… the pre-eminently shamanic mushroom Agaricus muscarious (which is used as a means of intoxication before and during the séance) … the hymn to the divinity refer to ecstasy induced by intoxication by mushrooms …" 7 In the introduction to his "Greek Myths" 8 Robert Graves suggests that "a raw mushroom, amanita muscaria, which induces hallucinations, senseless rioting, prophetic sight, erotic energy and remarkable muscular strength ... perhaps others too, especially a small slender dung-mushroom named panaeolus papilionaceus, which induces harmless and most enjoyable hallucinations" were the source of the divine nectar, the Ambrosia of the Gods - the Sanskrit’s amrita - which confers upon man the boon of long or immortal life and which in no way is confined to Greek myths as we find a correspondence in other cultures worldwide.

This now introduces a sphere of doubt into the theory of the bicameral mind and we might as well say that our ancestors were not schizophrenics but simply drug addicts; however, if we travel deep into the mysteries of the Far East we can see that men could - and still can - given proper training, hallucinate at will without of necessity being schizophrenics or addicts and that the ambrosia of the gods, the amrita, is a most used symbol to explain the state of final deliverance from the torments of the physical world, that is, the attainment of the state of moksha, nirvana, samadhi, tharpa, fana or in terms more agreeable to our common usage, enlightenment or liberation.

While I am not utterly refusing nor completely accepting any of the two above mentioned theories not having any means of verification apart from a shrunk brain, I am positively sure that mental experiences of the type we are here concerned with, to a large extent, will not necessarily have to be related to pathological states of mind or to the ingestion of certain substances - symbols are indeed an archetypal part of our mental construct and they are undoubtedly dependent on our mental predisposition, that predisposition so well exemplified in the opening sentence of this chapter which clearly states that we have lost the means to get in touch with our higher self, with the mind's domain. We know that the tantric practices of visualizations of very complex mandalas or yantras 9 can create extreme experiences and at times very frightening ones: "Visualizing mental formations, either voluntarily or not, is a most mysterious process. What becomes of these creations? May it not be that like children born of our flesh, these children of the mind separate their lives from ours, escape our control, and play parts of their own? ..." 10 But visualizations need not be exclusively related to yogic practices, to the Trappist and mystics and they belong to every age, in every culture, in every religion, in mysticism as well as in sorcery and shamanism and in every part of the globe and more often than not they are related to and dependent on genuine religious devotion.

The mechanism that sets them in motion must be strictly tied with our emotional balance to the effect that as yet unspecified areas of the brain are activated, probably by specific biochemical changes or still unidentified neurotransmitters, which switch on (and here it is very interesting to note it: often at will) the monitor of our mind 11 so that we can have access to displays of a symbolical character which are very hard to analyze or to explain on a rational basis.


The symbols appearing to the percipient are encoded in such a way that usually he cannot explain them rationally due to a difficulty of linguistic expression; hitherto there exists no adequate interpreter that can properly translate the meaning of a symbol emerging from the obscure depths of the psyche into readily understandable language and possibly this is so because, concerning certain symbolic displays, presumably the related speech area of the brain is undeveloped or far removed from its monitor area and no adequate decoding means - or connection - is available between the diverse brain areas.

"I know - and here I am expressing what countless other people know - that the present time is the time of God’s disappearance and death". 12 We may assume that the fact that we have killed god is of the utmost importance insofar as symbolical experience is concerned; with this dreadful action we have, to use an analogy, cut off the supply line to that mechanism which in some unusual circumstances actuates the monitor of our mind, that mechanism which makes possible the conscious discernment of the subconscious.

Symbols need not be necessarily pictorial, at times they may be perceived as very clear voices or music - yet the meaning behind remains always baffling. But what is a symbol? Why do we get symbolic messages from our mind? Can it really be of any usefulness trying to get - possibly at will - in touch with the monitor of our mind and be branded as schizophrenics or addicts, or more simply as visionaries?

Let us answer the first question: first, by saying that most of what we know of peoples of old came historically to us through mythology in symbolical form, old truths and archetypal shadows still un-decoded; this, in all

Concerning the image above: 30

likelihood, because the ancients wished both to communicate certain truths only to the initiated and, perhaps, because they had few means of analogy in order to state certain indescribable truths in plain words. Secondly, the symbol itself is a means of psychical integration of the personality, integration taking place when a rational meaning can be given to the symbol so that it can be commonly accepted in a given culture; diversely the symbol may act as a mean for the disintegration of the personality, that is to say that the person under the influence of a symbol accepts it in a way uncongenial to the culture to which he belongs and then he finds himself at odds with his fellow beings or with his own self and therefore is considered as mentally sick; "The criteria for folk diagnosis and insanity are not clear-cut ... the general criteria for the diagnosis of insanity include essentially aggressiveness (whether directed toward oneself or others), instability, and nonconformity (as opposed to the passivity, stability, and changelessness of the constricted self)" 13 and treated as such or, in those cases where a taboo is emplaced on a symbol for the safeguard of communitarian or social interests the individual not respecting it may even be subjected to the most harsh punishments - and from our 'opaque, inert and mute state'5 perhaps we are somehow doing the same with our forefathers branding then as schizophrenics or addicts. But we ought to keep present that that is our inheritance! and at the same time we must also keep present that the unhappy ones, from the standpoint of the man who lives in symbolic and symbiotic communion with his higher self, are the veiled ones, those who live in a cosmos opaque, mute and inert "for a symbol speaks to the whole human being and not only to the intelligence ... it is through symbols that the world becomes transparent, is able to show the transcendent". 14

On a different level, symbols appear and act upon us through our oneiric life, symbols or images appearing in our dream states are supposedly the contents of the unconscious and the science of psychoanalysis draws broadly on the dream-state symbols to bring about the reintegration of the personality in certain types of psychosis or neurosis; however, faith and belief of the patient in these psychoanalytical practices are essential - indeed collaboration with the psychoanalyst - so much so that such symbols may be beneficial to the extent that the oneiric symbols are taken for granted to be what the psychoanalyst assumes them to be, which surely is not always the case as symbols are in most cases strictly related to our experience and as such strictly subjective, that is, the same symbol assumes different meanings in different percipients and per se the conditioning effect of the oneiric symbol can just be a by-product of being conditioned by a third person, the psychoanalyst. Even so, the simple fact that oneiric symbols are used for therapeutic purposes by third parties acting on the person under treatment will tell us that oneiric symbols are not at complete variance, even if diversely masked, from the mythical symbols which have been labeled and recognized as the common symbolic heritage of man, the collective unconscious even if the different garment, or mask, of a basic atavistic symbol may lead to differences and errors in its interpretation.

Symbols - though not strictly of the archetypal character or necessarily so - appearing in the oneiric life of the individual are employed in preventive medical diagnosis in several clinics in the Soviet Union and it seems quite reasonable to say, according to the accumulated evidence, that the kind, recurrence and psychic pattern of certain symbols or scenes appearing in the dream state antedate certain pathological conditions of the organism not yet evident or discernible on a physical or psychical analysis in the symptomatic plane. "We in this country have already saved many lives by using this method of dream interpretation. It can result in the diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses long before they would be diagnosed in any other manner ... such dream ‘early warning’ signals can occur as early as two weeks before a heart attack, up to a year or more before mental illness ... most ‘repeat dreams’ start a month or more before the patient begins to feel symptoms". 15 Diagnosis of incipient illness based on dream interpretations include illnesses such as malignant tumors (brain, spinal, lung, stomach or intestinal cancer); tuberculosis; ophthalmic problems; liver, kidney, heart, stomach and other numerous ailments including serious psychic disturbances; all this well in advance of the actual manifestation of the physical symptoms or related pathology.

Symbolic displays may manifest to us in different ways - visual, auditory, or even tactile – seldom olfactory - also in moments far removed from the dream state or the contemplative mood; they may manifest themselves without premonition and in instances far removed from any state which would better favor their manifestation and these symbols are still much more difficult to interpret and usually are labeled as hallucinations.

Interesting symbolic displays are also recorded from those mysterious experiences reported from the after-death state, that is, from individuals revived thanks to our astounding medical technology after their physical death had been apparent. What presumably happens in these cases, is that when the brain is completely relieved of its burden (the task of controlling all the physiological functions of its puppet) it finds itself in a state not very different from those states achieved in deep meditation exercises, a state of utter freedom where it can travel wide expanses until, if not revived before it starves off for lack of nutrients, it shuts down for good (often preceded by some short, and even violent, electrical spikes in the brain) and returns to the dust.

We read reports of people meeting relatives or friends welcoming them in the other world, people traveling through multicolored tunnels, people having dreadful experiences and other very interesting symbolic displays - but no reports of Saint Peter opening the gates of paradise for them or of the devil pushing them deep into hell fire or boiling oil with his piercing trident.

From the most archaic times we have evidence of symbols of a very definite pattern which act on the human mind, those symbols making up that which Dr. C. J. Jung labeled as 'the collective unconscious', "the outcome of countless generations of man and his forebears, in which life still moves" 16 and which are a common heritage as well as part and parcel of our psychic life. "The world of the archetypes of Jung is like a Platonic world of ideas, in that the archetypes are impersonal and do not participate in the historical Time of the individual life, but in the Time of the species - even of organic Life itself." 17 To quote just a few common (archetypical) symbols: the cave, the tunnel, the ladder, the lake, the dragon, the snake, the egg, appear in all cultures at all times. Symbols appear in the same garment and are described approximately with the same words in cultures well apart both physically and in time, hence, are we using our mind or is a greater Mind – that which has been referred above as the mind's domain - using us? Is the mind something that we are empowered to use the more, the more we use it? Evidence clearly suggests that this might be the case.

There ought to be no doubt that there is a common mental - or better, psychical - substratum which so far we have not yet been able to fathom, something that is encoded at the very root of our being and that appears to be an unconditional necessity for the psychical evolution of what we label as Homo Sapiens Sapiens and that is why I used the words "is a greater Mind using us?" We have discovered, with little reason for doubt, the existence of this common substratum which puts all men whatever their culture or ethnic group on the same level; how this common substratum is encoded into the human being and its mode of action are two questions which perhaps we will never completely solve thus forcing man to rely on the transcendental question, the "is a greater Mind using us?" The only difference is that this transcendental question is deep within the core of our being while a good lot of people are searching it - and its answer - in the world without, in worlds often utterly alien to the base and core of their real being and this happens, increasingly, also with what was above mentioned as all sorts of neurological paraphernalia.

While myths have always being a driving force for man, we have now reached a maturity that has empowered us to rely on our own symbolic emergence - and more often than not a symbol is the irrational pedestal supporting the rational - if we only take the trouble to bring it to the surface and confront it. The means for such a task are to be found everywhere in art, religion, literature and science - this is a truly great evolutionary feat but the state of the industrialized societies appears to be the greatest hindrance for this evolutionary step, "The high development of rational intelligence in Homo Sapiens has led to a serious and regrettable impoverishment of his powers of intuition, a lost treasure which we today must strive to recover" 18 as well as the greatest menace, a menace brought about by the very refusal to pursue and understand these symbolic manifestations of the human mind; the refusal of a humanistic evolution sacrificed in a frenetic pursue of materialism, sacrificed in the wild, egoistic pursuit of the utmost material well-being and commodities - the satisfaction of the ego to the exclusion of everything else. This means a refusal as well as a corruption of our symbolic life and its understanding, a refusal of spiritual evolution and as such a corruption of our discernment of the primordial and primal shaping forces within the temple of our being.

We are confronted also with some deeply ingrained psychological problems: the problem of giving meaning to our life, the problem of our real origin and the problem of our ultimate destiny, problems which from time immemorial find an outlet in assuming the existence of some sort of undefined but omnipotent being to which we ascribe the responsibility for our creation and as such to whom we owe love and obedience, a being which the most celebrated philosopher of the Islamic World, Avicenna (Ibn Sina), called "the Necessary Existent" 19 and I have a tendency to believe that deeply engraved within the temple of the human being there is a Root-Symbol around which the psyche revolves but which none the less it cannot grasp or understand - as of yet. This incapacity of the psyche for the understanding of this Root-Symbol and the psyche’s need for exteriorization is the basis of the primordial symbolism common to humanity, the symbolism of a higher being on whom we are dependent and that we commonly call God, Avicenna’s Necessary Existent. While presently not all of us are venturing so far as to state that this is the Cosmic Creator we may safely state that this is the god within, part and parcel of our life to the point that even the most ungodly of unbelievers cannot do without it even if he strives in one way or another to reject it.

"When we return to the Root we gain the meaning;
When we pursue external objects we loose the reason" 20

This Root-Symbol is the heritage of being human - in other words it is something which could not exist unless evolutionarily the brain be so developed as to be the basis for intellectual faculties such as reasoning power and analytical discernment and if the Root-Symbol is so hard to describe or to get in touch with so much so that even the profoundest mystic experience cannot rationally bring it to the surface, still more difficult for comprehension must be the seed from which the root originated. Incidentally it must not be casual that in every age and culture, in one form or another, a tree of life is met with, it being one of the profoundest symbols in the spiritual quest of man.

In the Hindu tradition, the tree of life is laden with fruits which contain the ambrosia of the gods, the amrita: "" ... and from the excreta which, thus being purified, fell into the Ocean, there at once rose a precious sandal tree, which was a wish granting tree. This tree stuck its roots in the nether world of the Serpent-Spirits, spread its foliage in the Asuralokas, and brought its fruits in the Deva-lokas. And the fruits were named Amrta (the essence of elixir and life)." 21

And, if by some sort of unexplainable miracle we were born in a deserted planet, a primordial Eden, we could not refrain from grabbing this fruit and eat it, thus falling in the realm of gnosis and that is the most important fall which befell man and which can be experienced as the search for the origins has been the major driving power in the quest of knowledge and as such the basis of the unfoldment of our mental and spiritual evolution: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Him to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wander and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness." 22

It is important to notice that to get once more in touch with our real self, to get the experience of the root, the complete self effacement is deemed to be necessary by all religious and mystic traditions; that only - self effacement - will allow us to again taste the amrita and give us the essence of the Root Symbol but not of the seed beyond: "Thus far and no farther." 23

The seed, speculatively, might belong to the Kingdom of Revelation, to the rare beings who in different epochs arise to proclaim the Laws of the Lord to humankind labeling themselves as Prophet, Son, or Messenger of God and proclaiming "A Revelation Whose Revealer will be He Who revealed Thee". 24 But we may leave this to theologists and metaphysical addicts!

Like all other forms of biological life we are subject to environmental constraints, that is, food, shelter and procreation but being freed from the four-paws constriction we have been empowered to alter the environment around us in extremely sophisticated and technological ways. The emergence of reason, along this long evolutionary path, has enabled us to evolve rich languages, to observe the cosmos, to discover some of its fundamental laws and to invent science; to study those deep processes taking place within our brain and the human mind but the truth is that we have no yardstick - no method of comparison - that can tell us that we are really evolved creatures or, within our method of comparison and our presumption, the culmination of creation. The plain truth at the present stage is that we are overtly noxious to the environment and apparently fostering our own extinction, hence something must be wrong with our presumed high intelligence and brilliant intellective powers. Presently we are playing with the delicate chemical balance of the brain's environment, pushing electrodes into brains, analyzing them with all sorts of technological equipment, dissecting them but we have little, if any, reliable answer to those questions faced above and, overall, to the main interrogatives: who - or what - are we? And why,? that is, what is the motive power behind life? And here we had no escape but to invent gods, an incredible number of creators and their entourage within mythological and historical times and most humans cannot do without their personal god without feeling lost, insecure, mentally dismembered. Mentally dismembered!

Here it is that we meet the plain truth: due to this paramount insecurity which has it roots in the mystery of life, all in all of our life, we are still unable to stand on our feet. But, as well, this is the great evolutionary force which pushes us along some mysterious goal which acts deep within ourselves. So, going back to the question 'what is the motive power behind life', behind these sensual perceptions which manifest it, we come to a standstill on the verge of that immense and obscure cliff which will decree its demise. We have little if any doubt that we are living our life but the plain truth is that we do not know “who is living it”. We cannot cross walls without pulling them down and that is what we did to uncountable gods in the history of religion; the earth is full of shattered temples, ruins and bones - human bones - which attest it and, but for their unending battle against each other for supremacy, religions are dwindling nor can it be otherwise because we have left behind a childish consciousness even if, unable to find a middle way, we have became monsters, behemoths who brought to naught the potency of the gods.
Perhaps, more temples will tumble, more ruins will appear, more heads will fall. Religion had its inception out of fear and ignorance. It was subsequently fed with incredible tales - that is, falsified - by shrewd minds which were rewarded with power and dominion at the expense of the ignorant and week minded. Would you - unless blind to what is most evident - deny that this is not still going on presently? No, you are not blind to this reality but the grip of the claws behind it is still too strong; the conubium between the good pastor and the politician cannot be infracted: bow to it or vanish!

The present writer is an iconoclast, a destroyer of idols, a killer of gods, free from the need of nonsensical human intercession for salvation, free from the need of liberation, terrified by the concept of an eternal beatitude at the right side of the Lord, not needing a 'nirvanic' end of suffering at the end of a karmic cycle and fully aware (sigh!) that that wonderful paradise where rivers with crystal-clear waters, with beautiful damsels with dark-black almond-shaped eyes, flow in the shadows of palm trees is not for me. However, it must be fully realized that this real - or pretended - utmost freedom can be a deadly trap. It does not come gratuitously, it is a life-long search but then, when you feel a certain sense of power - because freedom is power - it calls for watchfulness and, above all restraint. It turns into a battlefield where opposite tendencies, those uncountable tendencies which make us human beings, fight for supremacy. It acts deeply on that dark, bottomless well which is the human psyche and the human psyche is like a fragile toy that can be shattered or go awry without premonition. It is in the feeling of being your own god that we do get a sense of what 'paradise' and 'hell' can be and where they really are! Let me add that within this freedom we cannot untie the knots with our environment; the paradox is that this power makes us powerless or we must succumb. Not only we do not join the ranks of the classical Chinese Immortals but we get the full taste of our mortality, albeit with a different vision.

It goes without saying that to be an iconoclast does not mean, in the least, to throw behind your back those sane and good precepts that regulate an healthy relation with your social environment, your species and the time allotted to your existence. To be an iconoclast means to cleanse our mind from outdated and unsustainable fantasies; it means going beyond the necessity of mind-blocking divine laws, to depend on our own strength and not on nebulous and unattainable goals and that makes us divine. Our mind is an incredible powerhouse with unimaginable and unsuspected resources but for anyone, with almost no exception, it needs a cleansing and purifying job that that it might become transparent - transparent - to what is really divine: you yourself, if you can get to terms with that 'you'!

I will not enter the temple of my being in a “Nietzcherian” frenzy and with his character's remorse, 25 for me there are no gods to kill. The mystery remains and it cannot but be otherwise, ignorance is not overcame and so it must be because the ladder to knowledge knows no end, but the present pillar, the concept that “life is not our experience but we are an experience of Life”, right or wrong as it may appear is however reasonable. "The unreal never is: the Real never is not." 26 We cannot imagine what would happen if that great illusionist, time, were to stop on its way and this is where the “Thus far and no further” 23 which I quoted above, a statement which to a good (brainwashing) purpose is more or less overtly embedded in many religious systems, 27 takes hold. But time will stop, for each of us, inexorably. Last but not least, I do not take anything of that which I wrote afore for granted since I live in a phenomenal universe which we cannot interpret.

The greatest and shortest doctrine ever, came in a single word from the Buddha: "Doubt!"

The cosmos teems with life nor can we think otherwise because we are a construct of cosmic matter, inert matter enlivened by some mysterious process. The cosmos is life itself and this fact alone tells that while, yes, we have an individual life, this is nothing but an experience of the cosmos or, to state it otherwise: “life is not our experience but we are an experience of Life”. As well, this is in harmony with what we read above concerning “mind' and “Mind”.

This essay might very well belong to all that junk that we see out there and as such be useless trash. One of the prerequisites that is required when someone writes something is that it must satisfy his ego prior to making it public; although as yet, in this essay this has not been entirely achieved, it does have, however, a demanding purpose and that is why I feed it into the Internet. It is meant to have the reader – if he went so far as to read it to this point – ask himself a few critical questions.
~ Why do we still feed brainwashing leeches under ornate domes instead of trustworthy tutors?
~ Has our reckoning of time, after landing on the moon and being ready for greater steps, remained millennia behind so long as it pertains to the development of our intrinsic inner faculties and values?
~ Why, as soon as our children open their eyes do we commit that most heinous of all crimes – namely – brainwashing them with absurd tales and fantasies which will become the rotten pillars of their lives so hard to demolish?
~ Are we still unaware of the abominable effects of imprinting tender minds and feed them all sort of that foolishness which has been our heritage?
~ What right do we have, if any, to impose on our progeny a system of beliefs made up of dubious tenets and not leave them have their choice when they feel ripe for it?
~ Is that not what brought us to our present frame of mind, so much so that we might fully recognize it but nonetheless be unable to free ourselves from some sort of chaining mental slavery or inculcated foolishness, to be done away with?
~ Are we humans in the sense (superior intelligence - 'sapiens sapiens' - appalling anthropomorphic cretins still kissing printed images and carved stones) that we attach to the word?

Man lives of that which he perceives around himself: these are the shadows of existence. Albeit he was born to discover what is hidden within himself: that is the light of existence.

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1 – In the Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible by Robert Young, LL. D. (Eight Edition, thoroughly revised - United Society for Christian Literature – Lutterworth Press – London) the word “brain” does not appear, although the Biblical Jews had all the other organs: heart, stomach, liver, kidneys and even a mind! The earliest reference to the brain anywhere in human records dates back to the Seventeenth Century B.C. in columns II and IV of the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus. But it was not until thirteen centuries later that Hippocrates had this great intuition: "Some people say that the heart is an organ with which we think and that it feels pain and anxiety. But it is not so. Men ought to know that from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter and tears. Through it, in particular, we think, see, ear, and distinguish the ugly from the beautiful, the bad from the good, the pleasant from the unpleasant ... To consciousness the brain is messenger ... The brain is the interpreter of consciousness". (Wilder Penfield. The Mystery of the Mind. pp. 7/8. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press. 1978.) My discovery that, at least according to Young's “Concordance” there is no “brain” in the Bible is made present as a curiosity and here used as a paronomasia.
2- We may discount here those theories concerning the birth of our universe. For all that we know there might be universes as the stars we see in the sky, and a self-generating process like the big bang is tenable only for the fact that our universe is expanding but not necessarily true. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” Stephen Hawking: God Has No Role in Universe.
3 - All our sense organs and appendages are but tools for the brain's survival. There is, nor it can be otherwise, always a time-gap between the intent-to-action and the action. That is how we are puppets of the brain; the directives come from the subconscious before we realize it. To render the idea: all of us have had the experience of carrying out an action and while performing it realizing in full awareness, although too late as we are not given time to retrace it, that we did not really consciously intend to do it. The orchestrator is deep within; we read his musical score and abide by the symphony of life: this is our consciousness.
4 - "... the brain's electric field is not a by-product; it is a feedback loop." Scientific American Mind - November/December 210 - p. 10. It is strange that the scientific community realized such fact at such late date (clearly science needs experimental evidence, and this is the case here).
Ibid. "We knew that weak electrical fields could impact brain activity, but what no one had really tested before was whether electric fields produced by the brain itself could influence its own activity".
~ A personal note: We have been able to translate electricity into mechanical force, then into voice, afterwards as a carrier for both voice and images. In all these transformations there has always been a key component: a length of twisted wire, a coil; we also discovered that adding another component - a condenser - we could alter at will the frequency of oscillation of the generated electrical field so as to achieve desired results. The two components mentioned above, condensers and coils, have an equivalence in our brain, (if we reflect about the plethora of artifacts that we see around us we will discover that most mechanism are inspired by natural mechanisms) where the circuits between cells (condensers) and dendrites (coils) form resonant circuits besides driving the brain's biochemical processes. Hence, here and once more we just brought into the open - by that process that we call invention - what is inside ourselves. And the undisclosed mechanism which creates the interaction between brain and mind cannot but be in the interaction of some sort of electromagnetic field so as it is for the universe at large. All universal interactions - to our knowledge - depend on electromagnetism. By now we know far too well how to alter the functions of the brain with modulated (that is, with other superimposed signals) electromagnetic waves, both for good (the simplest example is music) or for bad (mind conditioning). Here is ample proof that by altering the functions of the brain we alter, as well, the response of the human mind. This, in itself, is the other face of the coin where on one side we can use psychoactive substances to act upon the chemistry of the brain while on the other side we have electrical fields which alter the oscillatory and hence chemo-electrical response of the same. That which we cannot get to terms with is what is the channel of communication, or the route of exchange between the brain and the human mind, if we give for granted that brain and mind are two different entities.
5- Mircea Eliade. The Sacred & the Profane - The Nature of Religion. p. 178. New York and London. A Harvest HBJ Book. 1959.
6 - Julian Jaynes. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston. Houghton Miffin Company paperback. 1982.
7 - Mircea Eliade. Shamanisn. P. 400-401. Bollingen Series LXXVI. Princeton University Press. 1974.
8 - Robert Graves. The Greek Myths. Aylesbry, Bucks. Penguin Books. 1983.
9 - The yantra is a complex pattern of intertwined - or interlaced – triangles; practically a mandala used as a representation of the chakras - psychical centers, or planes - in man. "Such is the power of the form-pattern which manifests the embodied deity, that it is called yantra. Yantra is an instrument, a machine, a store house of power. Rather it contains in itself a controlled form of the uncontrollable power of the deity." S. Sankaranarayanan. Sri Chakra. p. 9. Pondicherry. Dipti Publications. 1973. See also Sir John Woodroffe’s Tantraraja Tantra and Kama-Kala Vilasa. Madras. Ganesh & Co. Private Ltd. 1971.
10 - Alexandra David-Neel. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. p. 141. London. Golgi Books. 1971.
11 - See “ The Canvas of the Brain
12 - Carl G. Jung and M. L. von Franz, Joseph L. Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, Aniela Jaffe. Man and his Symbols. p. 254 - London. Aldus Books Limited.
13 - Orham M. Otzurk and Fuat A. Goskel, M. D. Magic, Faith and Healing. p. 349. Edited by Eri Kiev, M.D. London. Collier Macmillan Publishers. 1964.
14 - Mircea Eliade. op. cit. p. 129-130.
15 - Henry Gris and William Dick. The New Soviet Psychic Discoveries. pp. 312-313. N.Y. Warner Books. 1978.
16 - Mircea Eliade. Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. p. 181. London. Collins, the Fontana Library of Theology and Philosophy. 1974.
17 - P. W. Martin. Experiment in Depth - A Study of the Work of Jung, Eliot and Toynbee. p. 54. London. Routlege and Kegan Paul. 1967.
18 - Jacques Monod. Chance and Necessity. p. 35. Glasgow. Collins, Fontana Books. 1974.
19 - Parwiz Morewedge. The Metaphysica of Avicenna (Ibn Sina). London. Routlege & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1973.
20 - The Third Patriarch of Zen: "On Trust in the Heart"; quoted in "The Sailor, the Ship and the Sea" by D. E. Harding. The Middle Way - Journal of the Buddhist Society. November 1976. p. 120.
21 - See Sir John Woodroffe. Sakti and Sakta. Chapter XXVII "Matram Ruta" pp. 426-427. Madras. Ganesh and Co. Private Ltd. 1969.
22 - Albert Einstein in: I Believe. Nineteen personal Philosophies. p. 28. London. Unwin Books. George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1969.
23 - Baha’u’llah. The Hidden Words. # 77, Persian. London. Baha’i Publishing Trust. 1975.
24 - Baha’u’llah. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. p. 42. Wilmette. Baha’i Publishing Trust. 1971. ~ The phrase is attributed from Baha’u’llah to Husayn, the son of the Iman Ali; the Iman Ali was the cousin and the second person to believe in the revelation of the Prophet Mohamed as well as His successor.
25 - The Portable Nietzche. Selected and translated by Walter Kaufman. pp. 95-96, sic. New York. The Viking Press. 1964 - : "THE MADMAN" - Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly, "I seek God! I seek God!" As many of those who do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Why, did he get lost? said one. Did he loose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they yelled and laughed. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his glances.
Whither is God" he cried " I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from the sun? Wither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God’s decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves? What was holiest and most powerful of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood from us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must not we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever will be born after us - for the sake of this deed he will be part of a higher history than all history hitherto." (Italics mine.)
Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners, and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke and went out. "I come too early," he said then; "my time has not come yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering - it has not yet reached the ears of man. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen or heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves."
It has been related further that on the same day the madman entered diverse churches and there sang his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said to have replied each time, "What are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"
26 - The Bhagavad Gita - 2:16
27 - A doctrine or code of beliefs which is - just like the “Thus far and no further” 23 - sets a final, un-trespassable truth, the dogma to which the faithful adheres blindly and which has had such a heavy import in the history of religions.
28 - "… just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious. This unconscious psyche, common to all mankind, does not consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent dispositions towards certain identical reactions. Thus the fact of the collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity of brain-structure irrespective of all racial differences. This explains the analogy, sometimes even identity, between various myths-motifs, and symbols, and the possibility of human beings making themselves mutually understood. The various lines of psychical development start from one common stock whose roots reach back into all the strata of the past.”
C. G. Jung, in the commentary to “The Secret of the Golden Flower” by Richard Wilhelm - p. 87 – Routlege & Kegan Paul – 1969 – London.
29 - In this context the reptilian brain and the threshold with its more evolved structures is taken into consideration because we cannot control the emergence of some symbols (the collective unconscious) so much so as we cannot control those functions regulated by the autonomic nervous system which depends on the most ancient part of the brain, namely, the reptilian brain (limbic system).
30 - The two aliens - or brutes - the one above with a somewhat human figure in a sort of spacesuit hanging from his cheeks, under his chin, did not come out from a nightmare or an exercise of deep meditation; they are not archetypical symbols. I took a small section from the picture of a lava field in the Ertale volcano, reversed it horizontally and attached it to the first one; subsequently I did the same vertically and that is it. Whichever way you reverse it you get exactly the same visual effect. Only later I realized something else : that the picture in itself is a kind of double Rorschach image, those used by psychologists in the projection test (ink-blot test). But, more important, how it may happen that we are puppets of our brain 3 as I did not do that work with any particular purpose in mind since I was just relaxing in some lazy moments and, secondly, how the casual may transform itself into causality. We might call this destiny, the negation of free-will... leave this to the philosophers!
31 - Clearly, the experience with hallucinogens is by no means restricted to addicts; many great minds, those minds principally responsible for the American revival of the sixties resorted to it for research and scientific study, to cite just a few well known names: Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, John Lilly and many, many more. The point is, however, that whatever insights they might have gained from their personal experiences, the go through with psychoactive substances will present a deformed reality – an hallucinogenic reality - hence it cannot be taken as an example to move well poised on hard soil on a clear path even if their achieved states of transcendence, of super-consciousness, of unity with the infinite indeed had its own (mental) reality and undeniably brought a positive contribute to both science and society.

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Franco Dell'Oro Public domain