[Part 2]
You Create Your Own Orthodoxy:
The New [Age] Orthodoxy's
Formative Metaphysical Hypothesi
Examined and Applied

by Jordan S. Gruber

[ See Part 1]

c -- The Ethics of
Reality Creation & Co-Creation

Reality creation is one thing; reality co-creation is quite another. I may, according to the RCH, be one hundred percent responsible for creating my own reality, including my current body, but we are all co-responsible for co-creating the entire physical earth plane as we find it. The co-creation of reality is untold orders of magnitude more complex than is the creation of individual reality.

It is not hard to imagine the complexity that would characterize the inter-penetrating layers of "reality creating agreements" between human (and possibly non-human) actors that would seemingly be necessary to allow for both the easy maintenance of most aspects of physical reality on planet earth while also allowing for the flexibility to alter a wide variety of physical, geological, cultural, social, economic, and other situations when necessary.

In short, if the RCH is valid, co-creation must be going on; nonetheless, it hardly seems worthwhile at this point to explore it in detail. [29*] The creation of individual reality is mind-boggling enough; better to first work with and ultimately embrace that difficult-enough concept, and then, as our understanding expands, apply our energies to more complex co-creative undertakings.

As for the ethics of individual reality creation, the deep child mind, it was said before, administers the reality creation power, and will not do anything to harm another individual. A "circuit-breaker" effect is thus built in, and very definite limits of what sort of "miracles" are possible are established.

Whether the mode of contacting the deep child mind is ritual, exploration and change of unconscious thoughts and beliefs, affirmations, or even a "conscious orchestration of thoughts through higher awareness," the deep child mind will only do what it feels is ethically correct. In fact, the deep child mind has virtually total veto power over our normal conscious desires, and because it has a "mind" of its own, it can sometimes create entirely different realities than the ones the ego was attempting to create.

Classically, "ethics" was defined as the study of how to live the good life; perhaps, then, the ethics of reality creation can be redefined as the study of how to effectively create individual reality by aligning oneself with what is allowable according to the deep child mind. Put another way, a new orthodoxy may embody a complicated set of ethical precepts which, based on experience, make possible a much more rapid and more thorough access to the reality creation power administered by the deep child mind.

The ethics of reality co-creation would be infinitely more complex, involving countless agreements, interactions, feedback loops, etc., among many, many individuals.

An alternative view, however, holds that in accord with ongoing spiritual evolution, the co-creation of reality actually becomes less and less complex and troublesome. According to one interpretation of the Essenes' beliefs, every two thousand years a wave of messianic energy passes through and transforms our planet. While the message of the last great messianic epoch was "all men and women are your brothers and sisters; love one another," the message of the new messianic wave is "you and I are not only brothers and sisters, we are One."[30]

Thus, perhaps the "You" that does the creating in "You create your own reality" is not just our normal conscious ego, but can be expanded to include all the humans on this planet, or perhaps can even be expanded to include the entire biofilm which constitutes the living planet Gaia. Reality co-creation, in this way, might not be so very difficult after all.

There is another sense in which "ethics" is implicated by the RCH. If there are no accidents (since I, as well as everyone else, and possibly all other sentient and even non-sentient creatures, are creating their own realities and co-creating mass reality), then how should our legal and cultural notions of responsibility, crime, accident, etc., change? Premature answers to this question have given rise to a great deal of the antagonism to the RCH; this issue will be discussed in some detail in Section III below.


d -- Testing the RCH Hypothesis

Before turning to some general criticisms of the RCH, the reader is asked to reconsider and then take the perspective of the epistemological guerrilla, and to remember that at this point the RCH is, above all else, a hypothesis. It is meant to be tested, played with, and evaluated on the basis of experience, not summarily dismissed based on thought or emotion alone.

Rational thought is against the RCH because the RCH seems to take us out of a logical, rational, explicable world of understood physical-level causation and gives us in its place a world of, as for now, scientifically inexplicable, magical, hocus-pocus. Once again (here following Wilber's pre/trans fallacy), thought thinks that anything that is different from it must be inferior to it, and by and large it is unwilling even to give a fair test to the likes of the RCH.

Emotion is not much better; as will be shown shortly, many people are completely infuriated at the suggestion that, for example, babies-in-Biafra have created their own starvation, or that a cancer victim is "choosing" to manifest their disease. Once such an evaluation is made, the game is lost, for raw human emotion and disgust, even more so than imperious scientistic thought, can simply not be reasoned with.

A recent book sensibly points out that the best way to approach the RCH is to emphasize its positive side (that we are far, far more powerful than we generally like to admit), and to de-emphasize its negative side (that it is possible to misuse the RCH as a focus for applying guilt and fault to oneself or others). [31] The book also suggests reframing the RCH in terms of the following, more gentle, maxim: "you create, promote, or allow everything that happens to you in your life." It then suggests that we:

"apply these . . . concepts to small things in your life you don't like. Start small, now. Don't immediately go for the greatest tragedies. That's one of the best ways of dismissing a new idea without having to fully explore it: apply it to the most challenging situation you can think of and see if the concept holds up. It probably won't. It's as though we were newly introduced to math and suddenly given a problem in trigonometry: 'Here. See if your math can solve this.' Eventually it can, but right now we're at nine minus six equals three. So start with, maybe, the pictures on the wall you don't like." [32]

But even if this gentler approach is an effort to address the babies-in-Biafra consideration, the RCH faces many other criticisms, some of which will be addressed.


III - Responses to
Some General Criticisms of
the Reality Creation Hypothesis


When a new dogma is being considered there will, inevitably, be many criticisms of the doctrine in question, both from those generally in favor of the new orthodoxy who are just quibbling over a particular doctrine's exact formulation, and from those who are dead-set against all aspects of the new orthodoxy. Such criticisms are to be welcomed. For a new orthodoxy to really work, for it to truly have transformative power, its constituent elements must be able to stand up to the strongest criticisms. Thus, there is a time for gentle experimentation with the RCH -- when one is first exposed to it and is testing the hypothesis in one's own life - and there is a time for serious criticism and defense.


a -- Ten Brief Criticisms
and Responses

Of the many criticisms of the RCH, ten have been picked for this subsection.
Each criticism is briefly set out and responded to, in just one paragraph, to illustrate the types of issues that will eventually need to be explored in much greater detail.

While some of the responses are admittedly too glib and reflect the author's prejudices, their purpose is more to give a flavor for what needs to be discussed than it is to give a thorough refutation or a balanced presentation. Note also that because there is so much overlap between the RCH and the New Age, criticisms and defenses of one will often be applicable to the other, and vice-versa. The relationship between the RCH and the New Age will be explored more fully in Section IV below.

(1) Criticism: The RCH is based on pseudoscientific explanations and a quest for experiences that seem to confirm them. [33]

Response: The RCH is a hypothesis, and that hypothesis can be tested independently of any of its currently offered explanations. Not only is there nothing wrong with seeking experiences to confirm it, that is exactly how it should be tested.

(2) Criticism: The RCH is totally narcissistic.

Response: The ethical necessity of working with the completely anti-narcissistic deep child mind fully invalidates this charge.

(3) Criticism: The RCH is driven by the need for instantaneous transformation. [34]

Response: While working with the mechanism of reality creation, under the auspices of the deep child mind, may lead to powerful, often miraculous seeming, results, there is often a great deal of painstaking preparatory work that must precede these results. Moreover, what's wrong with instantaneous transformation if you can create it?

(4) Criticism: The New Age and the RCH ignore the dark side of human existence; it is neither possible nor desirable to want to create only joyful, positive, abundance-oriented results in life.

Response: To embrace the RCH is to admit that you are responsible for creating the dark aspects of your own life and that, on the deepest level, you are co-creating with everyone else the dark elements of life on this planet. In fact, some of the better New Age teachers hold that until you admit that "evil" is a part of your own reality creation, you will never become "enlightened."

(5) Criticism: There is simply no scientific proof for the RCH, and it is wholly unrealistic.

Response: Max Planck, the great physicist, once said that "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

(6) Criticism: The RCH represents a type of hubris, and a sick desire to control things, an unwillingness to trust God.

Response: In this situation, going with the flow means trusting that the recent prominence of the RCH is not an accident, that somehow God, the Universe, the Divine Source, or whatever you choose to call it, wants us to begin to embrace our own vaster powers.

(7) Criticism: Accidents do happen, all the time. It is crazy, hurtful, unfeeling, and immature to impute responsibility in the case of accidents.

Response: We are faced with a paradox: accidents certainly do happen, but in a synchronistic universe there are certainly no accidents. This issue will be further considered in the discussion of Ken Wilber's criticism in the next section.

(8) Criticism: Advocates of the RCH and other New Age principles are too gullible, and are not being cautious and skeptical enough. One author writes that "if the capacity for wonderment is not to lead to a fool's paradise, or worse . . . we need to remind ourselves and each other that such openness also has its pitfalls." [35]

Response: What's wrong with a fool's paradise? In many traditions the fool is highly valued because of his willingness to try new things without wondering about what people think. If openness and gullibility is what it takes for people to sincerely test the RCH, then that's fine. As was pointed out in Section I above, Paul Feyerabend has explained that sometimes it is absolutely necessary to play the fool when major paradigm shifts are themselves at stake.

(9) Criticism: The New Age and the RCH are totally unrealistic in their suggestion that planetary abundance is possible, and this suggestion is especially unthinking and hurtful given the real limits to growth forced on us by the ongoing environmental crisis.

Response: Abundance is possible even without reality creation: just look at the works of R. Buckminster Fuller. By combining our existing wealth (in the form of accumulated scientific knowledge), our native human inventiveness, and reality creation, we just might produce Fuller's world of five billion billionaires.

(10) Criticism: It is simply crazy to say that we make ourselves sick; this is unrealistic, guilt-inducing, and dangerous.

Response: This is an important issue that will be addressed within the context of Ken Wilber's critique of the RCH in part III of this essay.

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Notes Continued

29. Seth, however, has made an interesting attempt to describe some of the complexities of reality co-creation in Jane Roberts' The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981).

30. See Danaan Parry, The Essene Book of Days (Cooperstown, N.Y.: Sunstone Publications, 1987), Monday, January 4, 1988.

31. Peter McWilliams and John-Roger, You Can't Afford The Luxury Of A Negative Thought (Los Angeles: Prelude Press, 1988), p. 417.

32. Id. at 419-21.

33. See Susan Blackmore, "Out of the Body?", in Not Necessarily the New Age (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1988), p. 166.

34. See Jay Rosen, "Optimism and Dread: T.V. and the New Age," in Not Necessarily the New Age (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1988), p. 271.

35. Maureen O'Hara, "Science, Pseudoscience, and Mythmongering," in Not Necessarily The New Age (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1988) p. 147.

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