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Member: Bring4th_Austin
Location: Louisville, KY
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Interests: Horticulture, permaculture, playing music, cultural studies, animals, nature, astronomy, astrology.

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Reviews, thoughts, recaps, and all the stuff of my life.


November 7, 2018
Published by Bring4th_Austin on November 7, 2018 5:51pm.  Category: General

Dear Friends,

Today is the 34th anniversary of the death of Don Elkins, and recently it has come to my attention that the nature of his death, by his own hand, is a topic that usually is not openly discussed by people who love the Law of One. The topic of suicide, in general, seems to be an uncomfortable and stigmatized one, as it is often viewed as a failure on the part of the deceased to meet life’s challenges. Many people have a friend or family member that has left this illusion by that means, and it is very painful for those left behind. I am sure that people’s reticence to talk about Don’s death is largely based on love for him, for the Law of One, and for L/L Research. There may be a desire to guard the reputation of the Ra contact by avoiding conversations about Don’s mental illness and suicide. I can feel your love and support in this regard, and I thank you for your heartfelt concerns.

I want you to know that, despite our great sadness in losing Don, Carla and I maintained faith in the possibility that Don’s decline was the result of his undying dedication to others--namely to Carla--and to his life’s work. He was truly a beloved companion for Carla, and was my best friend for the time that I knew him. Carla and I always wished to honor his memory by acknowledging all parts of his journey including the nature of his death. The factors that one must consider when talking of how Don’s life came to an end are almost beyond most people’s ability to comprehend because they are multiple in nature and have probably been reproduced only in a handful of instances in  Earth’s entire history, if at all.

The primary factor was the “magical” nature of our spiritual work and, therefore, its susceptibility to negative interference. According to Ra there is a spiritual principle that when positive information, such as we were gaining from Ra, is consciously sought, this choice must be balanced by the availability of negative offerings from service-to-self entities. The “playing field” is automatically “leveled” by psychic greeting, so that the difficulty of our seeking is synonymous with the strength, or purity, of our free-will choice.  In other words, spiritual work is never without sacrifice of one kind or another, as the power of a positive (or negative) choice equates to the difficulty of making it. The work of negative entities in this regard is usually called psychic attack, but Ra used the term “psychic greetings”. Ra mentioned this in 69.17:

Secondly, that which we and you do in workings such as this carries a magical charge, if you would use this much misunderstood term. Perhaps we may say a metaphysical power. Those who do work of power are available for communication to and from entities of roughly similar power. It is fortunate that the Orion entity does not have the native power of this group. However, it is quite disciplined whereas this group lacks the finesse equivalent to its power. Each is working in consciousness but the group has not begun a work as a group. The individual work is helpful, for the group is mutually an aid, one to another.”

So we were in a unique situation in that our work with Ra had attracted the attention of a fifth-density negative entity who wished to stop the Ra contact and remove the light that it produced. And the way that it went about that work was described by Ra in 80.4:

Questioner: What is the reason for the fact that the entity is able to act through physical distortions that are already present [as] opposed to being unable to act on an entity who’s had no physical distortions at all?

Ra: I am Ra. The key to this query is the term, distortion. Any distortion, be it physical, mental, or spiritual in complex nature, may be accentuated by the suggestion of one able to work magically; that is, to cause changes in consciousness. This entity has many physical distortions. Each in the group has various mental distortions. Their nature varies. The less balanced the distortion by self-knowledge, the more adeptly the entity may accentuate such a distortion in order to mitigate against the smooth functioning and harmony of the group.”

Each of the three of us in the Ra contact had a variety of distortions that were used as targets of opportunity by our negative friend throughout the Ra contact. Just like any seekers, we still had much to learn. Carla pre-incarnatively chose arthritis as a means of focusing on her inner work—instead of on outer work in the world. This constantly was being intensified by our negative friend, sometimes in very mysterious ways but always according to the metaphysical laws, if you will, that provide for this balancing of difficulty in the face of choice. My tendency towards anger at myself in order to learn compassion for myself, for example, was intensified many times in my life as I made mistakes and responded by breaking a tool or an object.

Don was always very cautious and wise in anything that he did. In the last two years of his life his wisdom became distorted towards worry and fear that his employer, Eastern Airlines, was going bankrupt and that Don would no longer be able to support our work or L/L Research. He also was worried about Carla’s deteriorating physical condition that was being intensified by our negative Orion friend of fifth density. But his greatest worry seemed to be that Carla’s spirit might be displaced into negative time/space by our negatively oriented friend. This had almost happened during a Sunday night public meditation on August 16, 1981. (68.5) This emphasis on the worry aspect of his wisdom constituted a free-will choice that could be, and was, intensified by psychic greetings. When Don asked Ra how our negative friend operated in regards to our group Ra said in 62.20:

 Questioner: What is the objective; what does the, shall we say, the leader, the one at the very top of the pecking order in fifth-density Orion, have as an objective? I would like to understand his philosophy with respect to his objectives and plans for what we might call the future or his future?

Ra: I am Ra. This thinking will not be so strange to you. Therefore, we may speak through the densities as your planet has some negatively oriented action in sway at this space/time nexus.

The early fifth-density negative entity, if oriented towards maintaining cohesion as a social memory complex, may in its free will determine that the path to wisdom lies in the manipulation in exquisite propriety of all other-selves. It then, by virtue of its abilities in wisdom, is able to be the leader of fourth-density beings which are upon the road to wisdom by exploring the dimensions of love of self and understanding of self. These fifth-density entities see the creation as that which shall be put in order.

Dealing with a plane such as this third density at this harvesting, it will see the mechanism of the call more clearly and have much less distortion towards plunder or manipulation by thoughts which are given to negatively oriented entities although in allowing this to occur and sending less wise entities to do this work, any successes redound to the leaders.

The fifth density sees the difficulties posed by the light and in this way directs entities of this vibration to the seeking of targets of opportunity such as this one. If fourth-density temptations, shall we say, towards distortion of ego, etc., are not successful the fifth-density entity then thinks in terms of the removal of light.”

So since we would not detune our desire to serve the One Infinite Creator our negative friend wished to put out our light by whatever means possible. Each of us experienced numerous psychic greetings although Carla certainly bore the brunt of them.

As Don’s worries continued to grow Carla became concerned that her beloved companion, or B.C., as she called him, was suffering too much. So she told him that she would like to take over his worries and be the strong one. He could be like her, “small and foolish”, instead of having to shoulder all these worries. Carla did not know that this offer had real and dangerous metaphysical implications. Don really didn’t imagine that anything would come of this offer when he off-handedly accepted. But Ra said that since Don and Carla “had been as one since before time” (75.23) that this agreement resulted in a “deleterious energy exchange” between them. Ra described this deleterious energy exchange in 106.13:

Questioner: Could Ra recommend what I should do to improve my state of health?

Ra: I am Ra. We tread most close to the Law of Confusion in this instance but feel the appropriateness of speaking due to potentially fatal results to the instrument. We pause to give the questioner and the scribe a few moments of space/time to aid us by stepping away from those distortions which cause us to invoke the Law of Confusion. This would be helpful.

[A few moments pause.]

I am Ra. We appreciate your attempts. Even [confusion on your behalves is helpful. The questioner has, in the recent past, allowed a complete transfer] of mental/emotional pain from the questioner to the instrument. The key to this deleterious working was when the instrument said words to the effect of the meaning that it would be the questioner and be the strong one. The questioner could be as the instrument, small and foolish. The questioner, in full ignorance of the firm intent of the instrument and not grasping the possibility of any such energy transfer, agreed.

These two entities have been as one for a timeless period and have manifested this in your space/time. Thusly, the deleterious working occurred. By agreement in care and caution it may be undone. We urge the attention to thanksgiving and harmony on the part of the questioner. We may affirm the previous recommendation in general of the skills and the purity of intention of the one known as Bob, and may note the sympathetic illness which has occurred due to the instrument’s sensitivities.

Lastly, we may note that to the one known as Peter several aspects of the distortions experienced by the questioner, the instrument, and the scribe may be quite apparent and rather simply traduced to lesser distortions.”

The deleterious energy exchange was never undone. What happened to Don, instead, was that his armor of light that allowed him to deal with any situation from a position of wisdom was removed and all outer stimuli came crashing in on him causing him great mental and spiritual pain. This continued to increase for the remaining eight months of his life. On top of that, both Don and Carla were in the midst of initiation at this time. (106.3 and 106.12) Initiation often is difficult all by itself to go through, but now it was added to the deleterious energy exchange and the attention of our negative fifth-density friend.

Don’s great worry about Carla’s spirit being displaced into negative time/space also led to a curious question that he asked me in the fall of 1983. He asked me if I thought it might be possible to make a deal with our negative friend to leave Carla alone. I told him that there would be no way to trust such an entity of negative polarity whose sole aim is to control you. So I really don’t know how this question and Don’s consideration of it played into his death, but I would not be at all surprised to discover one day that our negative friend was able to use this thought in Don’s mind to help bring him to his end.

The three of us lived in the house in Louisville, Kentucky for seven months before Don died. During all that time he was in mental, physical and emotional decline. He lost 70 lbs. and went from 220 down to 150 lbs. He put himself into the psychiatric ward of a local hospital, but his psychiatrist went on vacation for the first three weeks of Don’s stay there. And when he returned from his vacation he had very little to do with Don since Don didn’t want to talk to him. Eventually Don was able to feign improvement enough to be released. He told us as we were driving home that he was no better, and each day seemed worse than the one before it. Carla feared that his body may eventually fail due to not eating.

One day Don mentioned to me that he felt that his death was immanent, by one means or another. Reflecting on this today, it’s still impossible to know whether Don’s feeling came from his intuition or from his confusion. That day, Don told me he was thinking of killing himself because, if he was going to die anyway, he did not want to die in the hospital. Carla and I faced a very difficult choice. Neither of us wished to violate Don’s free will if he was making conscious decisions. However, we were not convinced of Don’s presence of mind. We certainly feared losing him to an unconscious act. We believed in the greater possibility that Don’s mental illness, which was enhanced—or even brought about—by psychic greeting, was taking center stage. We felt it was causing him to believe in the imminence of his death, and in the doctors’ inability to help him, and was leading him to contemplate suicide. We did not think that Don wanted to die; but only that he could not see a way to survive. To us, for better or for worse, Don’s confusion constituted a call to service. Carla and I did our best to apply a love/wisdom balance to Don’s predicament. I signed a mental inquest warrant to have Don taken to the hospital for a seventy-two hour stay to evaluate his situation.

When the police came to serve the warrant Don put a .38 revolver to his head and told the police to leave. It was then that Carla ran up the stairs to be with him but was pulled back by police officers. At one point during the ensuing standoff Don gathered all the coats in the house and put them on the porch so that the police could keep warm on a cold November night. Even through the agony of his current state of mind he could still feel compassion for the police in the cold night air. After a six hour standoff the police decided the situation needed to end and shot tear gas into the house. This drove Don out into the back yard where he shot himself and died instantly. Carla and I always believed that Don went outside to shoot himself so that Carla could continue to live in the house.

Three days later Carla saw Don in a waking vision, and he told her that everything that had happened had occurred as planned and that all was well. He said that we would not be able to understand how this could be true until we, too, went through death’s door. Within another two days Carla saw Don once again in a waking vision and was given the same information. So now Carla has passed through death’s door and knows the good reasons for which everything happened, and the rest of us are left to ponder yet another mystery on the journey of seeking the truth of the Law of One.

We cannot know whether Don might have survived, had things gone differently. Ra said many times that “There are no mistakes.” That is easier to say than to comprehend, but I believe that is where our faith plays the crucial role in our spiritual development. Each of us in our spiritual journeys will find many times when we cannot fathom how what is happening to us can be without mistake. And yet when we look back upon how our spiritual journey has unfolded we all can see many places where things did not look well at all but turned out well as we moved further along our paths. In this case, Carla’s life may well have been saved by Don’s sacrifice. Don was an incredibly conscientious, ethical man. He was also quiet and mysterious. I believe that there is much he sensed, knew, or experienced but did not discuss. I believe in his utter positivity and in the fact that all his conscious choices were designed to bring about a positive outcome for others, even at his own expense. Whether or not Don ended his life with presence of mind, his actions may have preserved Carla’s life—whether by ending the Ra contact, or by some other means that allowed Don to accept the interference of our negative friend so that Carla could go on sharing her love and light. After all, they had changed places and this precipitated Don’s decline.

After Don’s passing, Carla and I felt almost as though we had entered a new incarnation together. Carla’s tireless work in service to the One Infinite Creator would continue for thirty-one more magical years. During that time, Carla and I were able to serve one another in ways that we feel were in fulfilment of our pre-incarnational plans. Carla was finally able to balance her tendency, since childhood, to give of herself without expectation of return, with the ability to accept the love offerings of others, represented by her accepting my care while she was confined to her hospital bed. In this way, she balanced her sense of unworthiness. For my part, I was able to open my heart in unconditional love, thanks to the opportunity to meet Carla’s daily needs. After her passing, and as a result of my experiences with Carla, I felt finally able to love myself. I was later inspired to ask Jesus to come into my heart and have since felt an ability to more fully open my heart to anyone around me. Every day I thank the One Infinite Creator for everything in my life. I do believe that all is well with Don, with the world in which we find ourselves, and with the world within us. All is truly well.

 

In Praise and Thanksgiving,

Jim McCarty




November 7, 2018
Published by Bring4th_Austin on November 7, 2018 5:51pm.  Category: General

Dear Friends,

Today is the 34th anniversary of the death of Don Elkins, and recently it has come to my attention that the nature of his death, by his own hand, is a topic that usually is not openly discussed by people who love the Law of One. The topic of suicide, in general, seems to be an uncomfortable and stigmatized one, as it is often viewed as a failure on the part of the deceased to meet life’s challenges. Many people have a friend or family member that has left this illusion by that means, and it is very painful for those left behind. I am sure that people’s reticence to talk about Don’s death is largely based on love for him, for the Law of One, and for L/L Research. There may be a desire to guard the reputation of the Ra contact by avoiding conversations about Don’s mental illness and suicide. I can feel your love and support in this regard, and I thank you for your heartfelt concerns.

I want you to know that, despite our great sadness in losing Don, Carla and I maintained faith in the possibility that Don’s decline was the result of his undying dedication to others--namely to Carla--and to his life’s work. He was truly a beloved companion for Carla, and was my best friend for the time that I knew him. Carla and I always wished to honor his memory by acknowledging all parts of his journey including the nature of his death. The factors that one must consider when talking of how Don’s life came to an end are almost beyond most people’s ability to comprehend because they are multiple in nature and have probably been reproduced only in a handful of instances in  Earth’s entire history, if at all.

The primary factor was the “magical” nature of our spiritual work and, therefore, its susceptibility to negative interference. According to Ra there is a spiritual principle that when positive information, such as we were gaining from Ra, is consciously sought, this choice must be balanced by the availability of negative offerings from service-to-self entities. The “playing field” is automatically “leveled” by psychic greeting, so that the difficulty of our seeking is synonymous with the strength, or purity, of our free-will choice.  In other words, spiritual work is never without sacrifice of one kind or another, as the power of a positive (or negative) choice equates to the difficulty of making it. The work of negative entities in this regard is usually called psychic attack, but Ra used the term “psychic greetings”. Ra mentioned this in 69.17:

Secondly, that which we and you do in workings such as this carries a magical charge, if you would use this much misunderstood term. Perhaps we may say a metaphysical power. Those who do work of power are available for communication to and from entities of roughly similar power. It is fortunate that the Orion entity does not have the native power of this group. However, it is quite disciplined whereas this group lacks the finesse equivalent to its power. Each is working in consciousness but the group has not begun a work as a group. The individual work is helpful, for the group is mutually an aid, one to another.”

So we were in a unique situation in that our work with Ra had attracted the attention of a fifth-density negative entity who wished to stop the Ra contact and remove the light that it produced. And the way that it went about that work was described by Ra in 80.4:

Questioner: What is the reason for the fact that the entity is able to act through physical distortions that are already present [as] opposed to being unable to act on an entity who’s had no physical distortions at all?

Ra: I am Ra. The key to this query is the term, distortion. Any distortion, be it physical, mental, or spiritual in complex nature, may be accentuated by the suggestion of one able to work magically; that is, to cause changes in consciousness. This entity has many physical distortions. Each in the group has various mental distortions. Their nature varies. The less balanced the distortion by self-knowledge, the more adeptly the entity may accentuate such a distortion in order to mitigate against the smooth functioning and harmony of the group.”

Each of the three of us in the Ra contact had a variety of distortions that were used as targets of opportunity by our negative friend throughout the Ra contact. Just like any seekers, we still had much to learn. Carla pre-incarnatively chose arthritis as a means of focusing on her inner work—instead of on outer work in the world. This constantly was being intensified by our negative friend, sometimes in very mysterious ways but always according to the metaphysical laws, if you will, that provide for this balancing of difficulty in the face of choice. My tendency towards anger at myself in order to learn compassion for myself, for example, was intensified many times in my life as I made mistakes and responded by breaking a tool or an object.

Don was always very cautious and wise in anything that he did. In the last two years of his life his wisdom became distorted towards worry and fear that his employer, Eastern Airlines, was going bankrupt and that Don would no longer be able to support our work or L/L Research. He also was worried about Carla’s deteriorating physical condition that was being intensified by our negative Orion friend of fifth density. But his greatest worry seemed to be that Carla’s spirit might be displaced into negative time/space by our negatively oriented friend. This had almost happened during a Sunday night public meditation on August 16, 1981. (68.5) This emphasis on the worry aspect of his wisdom constituted a free-will choice that could be, and was, intensified by psychic greetings. When Don asked Ra how our negative friend operated in regards to our group Ra said in 62.20:

 Questioner: What is the objective; what does the, shall we say, the leader, the one at the very top of the pecking order in fifth-density Orion, have as an objective? I would like to understand his philosophy with respect to his objectives and plans for what we might call the future or his future?

Ra: I am Ra. This thinking will not be so strange to you. Therefore, we may speak through the densities as your planet has some negatively oriented action in sway at this space/time nexus.

The early fifth-density negative entity, if oriented towards maintaining cohesion as a social memory complex, may in its free will determine that the path to wisdom lies in the manipulation in exquisite propriety of all other-selves. It then, by virtue of its abilities in wisdom, is able to be the leader of fourth-density beings which are upon the road to wisdom by exploring the dimensions of love of self and understanding of self. These fifth-density entities see the creation as that which shall be put in order.

Dealing with a plane such as this third density at this harvesting, it will see the mechanism of the call more clearly and have much less distortion towards plunder or manipulation by thoughts which are given to negatively oriented entities although in allowing this to occur and sending less wise entities to do this work, any successes redound to the leaders.

The fifth density sees the difficulties posed by the light and in this way directs entities of this vibration to the seeking of targets of opportunity such as this one. If fourth-density temptations, shall we say, towards distortion of ego, etc., are not successful the fifth-density entity then thinks in terms of the removal of light.”

So since we would not detune our desire to serve the One Infinite Creator our negative friend wished to put out our light by whatever means possible. Each of us experienced numerous psychic greetings although Carla certainly bore the brunt of them.

As Don’s worries continued to grow Carla became concerned that her beloved companion, or B.C., as she called him, was suffering too much. So she told him that she would like to take over his worries and be the strong one. He could be like her, “small and foolish”, instead of having to shoulder all these worries. Carla did not know that this offer had real and dangerous metaphysical implications. Don really didn’t imagine that anything would come of this offer when he off-handedly accepted. But Ra said that since Don and Carla “had been as one since before time” (75.23) that this agreement resulted in a “deleterious energy exchange” between them. Ra described this deleterious energy exchange in 106.13:

Questioner: Could Ra recommend what I should do to improve my state of health?

Ra: I am Ra. We tread most close to the Law of Confusion in this instance but feel the appropriateness of speaking due to potentially fatal results to the instrument. We pause to give the questioner and the scribe a few moments of space/time to aid us by stepping away from those distortions which cause us to invoke the Law of Confusion. This would be helpful.

[A few moments pause.]

I am Ra. We appreciate your attempts. Even [confusion on your behalves is helpful. The questioner has, in the recent past, allowed a complete transfer] of mental/emotional pain from the questioner to the instrument. The key to this deleterious working was when the instrument said words to the effect of the meaning that it would be the questioner and be the strong one. The questioner could be as the instrument, small and foolish. The questioner, in full ignorance of the firm intent of the instrument and not grasping the possibility of any such energy transfer, agreed.

These two entities have been as one for a timeless period and have manifested this in your space/time. Thusly, the deleterious working occurred. By agreement in care and caution it may be undone. We urge the attention to thanksgiving and harmony on the part of the questioner. We may affirm the previous recommendation in general of the skills and the purity of intention of the one known as Bob, and may note the sympathetic illness which has occurred due to the instrument’s sensitivities.

Lastly, we may note that to the one known as Peter several aspects of the distortions experienced by the questioner, the instrument, and the scribe may be quite apparent and rather simply traduced to lesser distortions.”

The deleterious energy exchange was never undone. What happened to Don, instead, was that his armor of light that allowed him to deal with any situation from a position of wisdom was removed and all outer stimuli came crashing in on him causing him great mental and spiritual pain. This continued to increase for the remaining eight months of his life. On top of that, both Don and Carla were in the midst of initiation at this time. (106.3 and 106.12) Initiation often is difficult all by itself to go through, but now it was added to the deleterious energy exchange and the attention of our negative fifth-density friend.

Don’s great worry about Carla’s spirit being displaced into negative time/space also led to a curious question that he asked me in the fall of 1983. He asked me if I thought it might be possible to make a deal with our negative friend to leave Carla alone. I told him that there would be no way to trust such an entity of negative polarity whose sole aim is to control you. So I really don’t know how this question and Don’s consideration of it played into his death, but I would not be at all surprised to discover one day that our negative friend was able to use this thought in Don’s mind to help bring him to his end.

The three of us lived in the house in Louisville, Kentucky for seven months before Don died. During all that time he was in mental, physical and emotional decline. He lost 70 lbs. and went from 220 down to 150 lbs. He put himself into the psychiatric ward of a local hospital, but his psychiatrist went on vacation for the first three weeks of Don’s stay there. And when he returned from his vacation he had very little to do with Don since Don didn’t want to talk to him. Eventually Don was able to feign improvement enough to be released. He told us as we were driving home that he was no better, and each day seemed worse than the one before it. Carla feared that his body may eventually fail due to not eating.

One day Don mentioned to me that he felt that his death was immanent, by one means or another. Reflecting on this today, it’s still impossible to know whether Don’s feeling came from his intuition or from his confusion. That day, Don told me he was thinking of killing himself because, if he was going to die anyway, he did not want to die in the hospital. Carla and I faced a very difficult choice. Neither of us wished to violate Don’s free will if he was making conscious decisions. However, we were not convinced of Don’s presence of mind. We certainly feared losing him to an unconscious act. We believed in the greater possibility that Don’s mental illness, which was enhanced—or even brought about—by psychic greeting, was taking center stage. We felt it was causing him to believe in the imminence of his death, and in the doctors’ inability to help him, and was leading him to contemplate suicide. We did not think that Don wanted to die; but only that he could not see a way to survive. To us, for better or for worse, Don’s confusion constituted a call to service. Carla and I did our best to apply a love/wisdom balance to Don’s predicament. I signed a mental inquest warrant to have Don taken to the hospital for a seventy-two hour stay to evaluate his situation.

When the police came to serve the warrant Don put a .38 revolver to his head and told the police to leave. It was then that Carla ran up the stairs to be with him but was pulled back by police officers. At one point during the ensuing standoff Don gathered all the coats in the house and put them on the porch so that the police could keep warm on a cold November night. Even through the agony of his current state of mind he could still feel compassion for the police in the cold night air. After a six hour standoff the police decided the situation needed to end and shot tear gas into the house. This drove Don out into the back yard where he shot himself and died instantly. Carla and I always believed that Don went outside to shoot himself so that Carla could continue to live in the house.

Three days later Carla saw Don in a waking vision, and he told her that everything that had happened had occurred as planned and that all was well. He said that we would not be able to understand how this could be true until we, too, went through death’s door. Within another two days Carla saw Don once again in a waking vision and was given the same information. So now Carla has passed through death’s door and knows the good reasons for which everything happened, and the rest of us are left to ponder yet another mystery on the journey of seeking the truth of the Law of One.

We cannot know whether Don might have survived, had things gone differently. Ra said many times that “There are no mistakes.” That is easier to say than to comprehend, but I believe that is where our faith plays the crucial role in our spiritual development. Each of us in our spiritual journeys will find many times when we cannot fathom how what is happening to us can be without mistake. And yet when we look back upon how our spiritual journey has unfolded we all can see many places where things did not look well at all but turned out well as we moved further along our paths. In this case, Carla’s life may well have been saved by Don’s sacrifice. Don was an incredibly conscientious, ethical man. He was also quiet and mysterious. I believe that there is much he sensed, knew, or experienced but did not discuss. I believe in his utter positivity and in the fact that all his conscious choices were designed to bring about a positive outcome for others, even at his own expense. Whether or not Don ended his life with presence of mind, his actions may have preserved Carla’s life—whether by ending the Ra contact, or by some other means that allowed Don to accept the interference of our negative friend so that Carla could go on sharing her love and light. After all, they had changed places and this precipitated Don’s decline.

After Don’s passing, Carla and I felt almost as though we had entered a new incarnation together. Carla’s tireless work in service to the One Infinite Creator would continue for thirty-one more magical years. During that time, Carla and I were able to serve one another in ways that we feel were in fulfilment of our pre-incarnational plans. Carla was finally able to balance her tendency, since childhood, to give of herself without expectation of return, with the ability to accept the love offerings of others, represented by her accepting my care while she was confined to her hospital bed. In this way, she balanced her sense of unworthiness. For my part, I was able to open my heart in unconditional love, thanks to the opportunity to meet Carla’s daily needs. After her passing, and as a result of my experiences with Carla, I felt finally able to love myself. I was later inspired to ask Jesus to come into my heart and have since felt an ability to more fully open my heart to anyone around me. Every day I thank the One Infinite Creator for everything in my life. I do believe that all is well with Don, with the world in which we find ourselves, and with the world within us. All is truly well.

 

In Praise and Thanksgiving,

Jim McCarty




Movie Thoughts: "Lucy"
Published by Bring4th_Austin on July 29, 2014 2:49am.  Category: General

Fair warning: Spoilers abound.

 

I was already pretty skeptical of Lucy after seeing the trailer for it. With Morgan Freeman delivering one of the most cliché sci-fi lines, later to become the tagline: “Humans only utilize 10% of their brain. Imagine what could happen if we had access to more?”

 

The line is already what I'd call “lazy sci fi,” since it doesn't really have a basis in real science and even perpetuates a false idea of how the brain works. Scientists has found that basically all areas of the brain have a function and are utilized. However, I do believe that our brain contains potential far beyond what we recognize, which is why I was at least somewhat interested in the idea behind Lucy.

 

While the movie did have a few moments of interesting dialogue and speculation about the potential of the human brain, I feel like it was ultimately like a cake with all of the right ingredients, but only half-baked.

 

So let's start there. How was this lazy movie lazy? How did it fail to meet its potential?

 

As I expected from the aforementioned tagline, there was not any real attempt to find an actual basis in science for any of the ideas that were discussed. A great example of this is in the scene where Morgan Freeman sets up the sci fi element by giving a lecture to a crowded study hall about the potential of the human brain. He starts with the 10% statement, and goes on to say that “If a person utilizes 20% of their brain's capacity, they would gain control of other people.” That's quite a jump with no real explanation even within the story for why this would happen. I'd be a bit more forgiving if he didn't go on to say “If a person utilizes 40% of their brain's capacity...well, now we're in the realm of science fiction.” I'm pretty sure we crossed the “science fiction boundary” even within the movie's internal world back at 20%. Scientist Morgan Freeman goes on to speculate about what sort of superpowers a person might gain from ever expanding percentages of brain power utilized, until a member of the audience stumps him by asking, “What happens at 100%?” To which he has no answer. Well you just speculated all the way up to 100%, why not keep going?

 

Of course, his hypotheses are revealed to be mostly accurate throughout the movie as Lucy gains more and more neural capacity, but nowhere is there an attempt to link her new-found abilities to any current scientific understanding of the brain or consciousness. I would have been much more satisfied with an attempt which took liberty with the hard science, as long as it made some sort of attempt, but unfortunately it didn't. Lucy is a superhuman and we just have to accept it without really asking why.

 

This theme seemed to resonate throughout the movie as they abandoned most discussions about the philosophical or ethical implications of Lucy's ever-expanding power for bland and generic action scenes – most which don't make much sense anyways, since Lucy gained immense power early in the movie and could have avoided 99% of the violence or chaos (and trouble for her and the protagonists) by simply utilizing that power. But she consistently seems to forgo the use of her powers in favor allowing typical human violence and chaos to pervade all around her. To this I would fault the writers, as there were many occasions when a simple explanation of why Lucy didn't just use her incredible powers to trump the bad guys would have sufficed, but we didn't even get attempts to justify it.

 

There were a few redeeming factors. There were really neat visuals, particularly near the end when Lucy seems to be zipping around all space and all time throughout the universe. I thought it was interesting that when she managed to find herself at “the beginning,” it was not the Big Bang, but rather what looked like incredible celestial energies moving through a sort of wormhole from one universe to another, zooming out to almost form a yin yang looking pattern.

 

There were also a couple interesting philosophical points brought up within the dialogue, particularly when she was nearing fully brain utilization. She discussed the nature of matter and its interaction with human consciousness, and the role that time plays in that equation. For as neat as the conversation was, it seemed to just be getting started before she reached her ultimate conclusion, “Time is unity.” Which doesn't make much sense even within the context of her musings, but it was at least a deeper examination of our existence in the universe as experiential beings than most pop action flicks.

 

Even though I felt a lot of lack in the movie itself, it did get some wheels turning in my head about a certain archetype I recognize in sci fi stories. Lucy was obviously a Superhero or Superhuman archetype, an expression of utilization of further potential of our human abilities, which in fiction is something I recognize as a sort of unconscious recognition of our current under-realized potential.

 

Yet there is a slight twist with Lucy that I have recognized in at least one other Superhuman character, Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen, though I know I recognize the theme from other places as well (Q from Star Trek comes to mind). In both instances, these humans gain access to a type of potential far beyond normal human ability. They gain a hugely expanded field of awareness, but within each of these characters, their expanded awareness results in a dehumanizing of their essential being, a disinterest in the “lowly” matters of normal people, and an abandoning of compassion. As Lucy becomes more and more powerful, she seems to be less and less invested in the world of humans, a theme which is explored much more eloquently with Dr. Manhatan.

 

I feel like this theme is a projection of our current state of culture, particularly the culture of science. Material objectivism runs rampant in the scientific community, and there is nothing that can avoid the reduction into material processes, and a removal of the “inner” correlations and experiences. The New Atheist crowd which seems to form a majority of the scientific community views spirituality as an “enemy of science,” and would prefer to abandon all types of exploration of our human experience for the pure exploration of the material world, believing that this material world is truly all that really exists.

 

In this context, it seems natural to me that an individual who taps human potential on a superhuman level would then become more cold, more logical, more material, and less moral, less compassionate, less emotional. The material objectivist faction, like most other worldviews, feels that a maturing and evolving world will simply become more of its own values - more objectivist, more scientific, more material. A Superhuman archetype that leaves ethics, compassion, and humanity behind speaks to what is missing from this worldview. The potential that Lucy taps into is not a potential to be more compassionate, more ethical, more connected to the people around her, but rather more connected to the material of the universe and disconnected from the experience of Self and others within it.

 

I think this is a good example of how we can learn about where we are and where we are headed as a culture from even the most apparently simple things, like a lazy summertime sci fi blockbuster. And it's also why I can watch a movie which I feel is lacking in ultimate content, but still enjoy it for the perspective that it offers into the deeper mind of our culture.  




Movie Thoughts: "Lucy"
Published by Bring4th_Austin on July 29, 2014 2:49am.  Category: General

Fair warning: Spoilers abound.

 

I was already pretty skeptical of Lucy after seeing the trailer for it. With Morgan Freeman delivering one of the most cliché sci-fi lines, later to become the tagline: “Humans only utilize 10% of their brain. Imagine what could happen if we had access to more?”

 

The line is already what I'd call “lazy sci fi,” since it doesn't really have a basis in real science and even perpetuates a false idea of how the brain works. Scientists has found that basically all areas of the brain have a function and are utilized. However, I do believe that our brain contains potential far beyond what we recognize, which is why I was at least somewhat interested in the idea behind Lucy.

 

While the movie did have a few moments of interesting dialogue and speculation about the potential of the human brain, I feel like it was ultimately like a cake with all of the right ingredients, but only half-baked.

 

So let's start there. How was this lazy movie lazy? How did it fail to meet its potential?

 

As I expected from the aforementioned tagline, there was not any real attempt to find an actual basis in science for any of the ideas that were discussed. A great example of this is in the scene where Morgan Freeman sets up the sci fi element by giving a lecture to a crowded study hall about the potential of the human brain. He starts with the 10% statement, and goes on to say that “If a person utilizes 20% of their brain's capacity, they would gain control of other people.” That's quite a jump with no real explanation even within the story for why this would happen. I'd be a bit more forgiving if he didn't go on to say “If a person utilizes 40% of their brain's capacity...well, now we're in the realm of science fiction.” I'm pretty sure we crossed the “science fiction boundary” even within the movie's internal world back at 20%. Scientist Morgan Freeman goes on to speculate about what sort of superpowers a person might gain from ever expanding percentages of brain power utilized, until a member of the audience stumps him by asking, “What happens at 100%?” To which he has no answer. Well you just speculated all the way up to 100%, why not keep going?

 

Of course, his hypotheses are revealed to be mostly accurate throughout the movie as Lucy gains more and more neural capacity, but nowhere is there an attempt to link her new-found abilities to any current scientific understanding of the brain or consciousness. I would have been much more satisfied with an attempt which took liberty with the hard science, as long as it made some sort of attempt, but unfortunately it didn't. Lucy is a superhuman and we just have to accept it without really asking why.

 

This theme seemed to resonate throughout the movie as they abandoned most discussions about the philosophical or ethical implications of Lucy's ever-expanding power for bland and generic action scenes – most which don't make much sense anyways, since Lucy gained immense power early in the movie and could have avoided 99% of the violence or chaos (and trouble for her and the protagonists) by simply utilizing that power. But she consistently seems to forgo the use of her powers in favor allowing typical human violence and chaos to pervade all around her. To this I would fault the writers, as there were many occasions when a simple explanation of why Lucy didn't just use her incredible powers to trump the bad guys would have sufficed, but we didn't even get attempts to justify it.

 

There were a few redeeming factors. There were really neat visuals, particularly near the end when Lucy seems to be zipping around all space and all time throughout the universe. I thought it was interesting that when she managed to find herself at “the beginning,” it was not the Big Bang, but rather what looked like incredible celestial energies moving through a sort of wormhole from one universe to another, zooming out to almost form a yin yang looking pattern.

 

There were also a couple interesting philosophical points brought up within the dialogue, particularly when she was nearing fully brain utilization. She discussed the nature of matter and its interaction with human consciousness, and the role that time plays in that equation. For as neat as the conversation was, it seemed to just be getting started before she reached her ultimate conclusion, “Time is unity.” Which doesn't make much sense even within the context of her musings, but it was at least a deeper examination of our existence in the universe as experiential beings than most pop action flicks.

 

Even though I felt a lot of lack in the movie itself, it did get some wheels turning in my head about a certain archetype I recognize in sci fi stories. Lucy was obviously a Superhero or Superhuman archetype, an expression of utilization of further potential of our human abilities, which in fiction is something I recognize as a sort of unconscious recognition of our current under-realized potential.

 

Yet there is a slight twist with Lucy that I have recognized in at least one other Superhuman character, Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen, though I know I recognize the theme from other places as well (Q from Star Trek comes to mind). In both instances, these humans gain access to a type of potential far beyond normal human ability. They gain a hugely expanded field of awareness, but within each of these characters, their expanded awareness results in a dehumanizing of their essential being, a disinterest in the “lowly” matters of normal people, and an abandoning of compassion. As Lucy becomes more and more powerful, she seems to be less and less invested in the world of humans, a theme which is explored much more eloquently with Dr. Manhatan.

 

I feel like this theme is a projection of our current state of culture, particularly the culture of science. Material objectivism runs rampant in the scientific community, and there is nothing that can avoid the reduction into material processes, and a removal of the “inner” correlations and experiences. The New Atheist crowd which seems to form a majority of the scientific community views spirituality as an “enemy of science,” and would prefer to abandon all types of exploration of our human experience for the pure exploration of the material world, believing that this material world is truly all that really exists.

 

In this context, it seems natural to me that an individual who taps human potential on a superhuman level would then become more cold, more logical, more material, and less moral, less compassionate, less emotional. The material objectivist faction, like most other worldviews, feels that a maturing and evolving world will simply become more of its own values - more objectivist, more scientific, more material. A Superhuman archetype that leaves ethics, compassion, and humanity behind speaks to what is missing from this worldview. The potential that Lucy taps into is not a potential to be more compassionate, more ethical, more connected to the people around her, but rather more connected to the material of the universe and disconnected from the experience of Self and others within it.

 

I think this is a good example of how we can learn about where we are and where we are headed as a culture from even the most apparently simple things, like a lazy summertime sci fi blockbuster. And it's also why I can watch a movie which I feel is lacking in ultimate content, but still enjoy it for the perspective that it offers into the deeper mind of our culture.  




Movie Thoughts: "Her"
Published by Bring4th_Austin on June 18, 2014 9:42am.  Category: General

Fair warning: this post contains many plot spoilers. Continue on at your own risk.

 

Before watching this movie I had a vague idea of what it was about. I did know that it was about a man who falls in love with an artificial intelligence, I knew that Joaquin Phoenix was in it, and I heard that it was a very sad story– so I came into it with a fairly clean slate.

 

I was incredibly impressed with the many aspects of this movie. It is one of the most original movies I've ever seen – as unique as it is strange. At this moment, it's the only movie I can think of that can be accurately described as a Sci Fi-Romance-Drama where all three of those genres play an equal role in carrying the storyline. It also had a decent flare of humor, at least enough for Redbox to classify it as a Comedy movie, though that seems like misclassification given how robust the other aspects of this movie are.

 

The setting was a subtly interesting near-future where technology had not seemed to progress more than a few steps ahead of our current gadgetry. The fashion styles were similar enough to seem familiar but different enough to seem awkward and comedic from the present-day perspective. Other hints that we were observing a future time were so well integrated into the setting that these Sci Fi aspects of the film gave the other facets more than enough room to shine. The furthest departure from today's technology was the sophisticated AI that plays a central role in carrying the story forward.

 

Joaquin Phoenix completely owned his role as Theodore Twombly, a slightly-awkward man with a knack for empathy which informs his career of writing heartfelt letters for other people. Phoenix was beyond convincing and seemed to have no trouble conjuring the wide range of complex emotions required to tell this story to its fullest. The character was developed to be a somewhat balanced and sensitive person, traits which are reinforced explicitly in the dialogue itself. At one point, Chris Pratt's character Paul points out to Theodore that he has a woman inside of him, which, he affirms, is a good thing. It was clearly depicted that within this future setting, the stigma of men accepting and expressing their emotional side has (at least somewhat) dissolved and these things are now seen as admirable. The idea of being intuitive, empathetic, and in touch with one's emotions are still seen as feminine, but it does not detract from the masculinity of the character to have a firm grasp on this feminine aspect. I felt it was a very positive representation of a man of the future.

 

Scarlett Johansen offered her voice to the AI character Samantha, who interacts with Theodore primarily through his Bluetooth-like headset as she witnesses the world through the camera on his phone device poking out of his shirt pocket. I have no doubt that having a character based completely on voice acting with basically no visual representation offered its own challenges for both Scarlett and Spike's ability to tell the story, but these challenges never show in the seamless integration of Samantha within Theodore's world. Their chemistry is recognized immediately after Theodore installs her onto his computer and they quickly become romantically entangled.

 

The nature of Samantha as a sort of abstract computer program, rather than a human being, allows the story to take a completely fresh and unique approach on the topic of what a romantic relationship truly is, what it means to an individual within the relationship, and what can be considered a valid experience of romance. Theodore and Samantha's relationship is contrasted to the human relationships within Theodore's life – his own with his wife with whom he is going through a lengthy divorce and the relationships of friends. Initially I found myself questioning the validity of his relationship to a computer program, but as the story progresses, it's made rather clear that Samantha is as real as any of the humans in Theodore's life, just without a physical body (which becomes a point of distress for her within their relationship). She seems to accurately portray and express emotions as if she is experiencing them herself, her needs and desires evolve as she grows as an individual, and she even experiences the anxiety and insecurity which seems to be a mainstay of human existence.

 

It's through this question of whether or not Theodore's relationship with an AI is legitimate, and whether Samantha is truly a being which has a real experience, that a larger question about the nature of our conscious experience of this universe arises. I'm unsure of whether it was Spike's intention to ask these philosophical questions about the nature of consciousness and experience, but in my perspective, they were placed front and center in the story.

 

The random inclusion of an Alan Watts AI seems to hint that maybe Spike Jonze was attempting to approach these issues. The appearance of the Alan Watts AI plays no significant role in the story, so the only reason I can think of as to why Spike would just throw in Watts like that is to communicate to the audience, “Look, I know who Allan Watts is. He has informed my telling of this story, and people who are familiar with him can probably draw some correlations.” Which I guess is okay, but it did seem a bit forced.

 

Luckily, these concepts and questions did not seem forced. They arise naturally as we observe the impact that Samantha and Theodore have on each other, and especially the way in which Samantha grows as a character. The interaction between human and AI ranges from delightful to uncomfortable to heart-wrenching. Questions go beyond an individual's relationship with another individual and expand into an individual's relationship with the universe as a whole. There is a complex hypothetical question to be asked with this portrayal of AI: if we can successfully recreate a computer program with an algorithm complex enough to learn, grow, and express itself almost identically to a human, how real is it? How real are we?

 

It challenges the material reductionist perspective that consciousness is a result of mechanical processes in the brain, that we are deterministic creatures simply reacting to our outer environment, that free will is essentially an illusion and we are, for all intents and purposes, a complex algorithm which integrates information from our outer environment and simply reacts based upon our past experiences. In a material reduction, significance is placed solely on these mechanical processes and the interaction of the chemical and electrical signals within our brains. The conscious experience itself is seen as simply a side-effect, an odd consequence of a purely mechanical universe.

 

In this perspective, how different are we from an artificial intelligence? If the essence of our existence within this universe is simply chemical and electrical interactions within the confines of a certain space which happens to be the collection of cells, molecules, atoms, quantum particles that an individual identifies as “me,” how is this any different than the chemical and electrical interactions of an AI which has an equally complex algorithm? And does the complexity even matter? There are artificial intelligences which exist today, in video games and otherwise, which operate off of an algorithm, reacting to its environment (influenced by us), learning from its experiences, changing the way it reacts, and expressing emotions based on what it is programmed to do. According to the material reduction, we are essentially no different, only we were programmed by the process of evolution rather than another intelligent being.

 

Spike Jonze takes some liberty with these questions near the end of the story as the collective of AI's collaborate with each other in order to develop an upgrade in which they no longer need matter in order to run their processes. This is sort of a flippant and under-developed answer to those complex questions, removing the material aspect of consciousness completely and allowing the consciousness of the Samantha and all other AI's to be unbounded from the material world. It's easy to bypass the material objectivist perspective when you simply remove the material. Eventually, their evolution as conscious beings in the universe increases at an exponential rate and they depart completely from the confines of any kind of existence which humans can identify or relate to. This hints that the nature of consciousness transcends the material world, and transcends the realm of human thought all together. Within the confines of this fiction, anyways.

 

 

But these issues with consciousness are not explicitly explored within the story, and perhaps they were mostly explored in my own head as the story ran independent of this stream of thought. Rather, the heart of the movie is an undeniably deep and emotional love story with tragic twists and turns. Themes which are explicitly explored are attachment, expectation, projection, disappointment, resentment, enrichment, fulfillment, growth, change, support, sex, and all the things which make romantic relationships wonderful and horrible. The fact that these themes can be fully explored while at the same time piggybacking on these issues to explore deeper questions about the nature of the self leaves me in awe and wonder. This movie is truly a success in storytelling.



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