History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Scifi sufis and Sirius aliens

November 11th, 2006 · No Comments

The previous post referenced the Seti issue connecting that spontaneously with an earthbound ‘esoteric’ (a word to be banished from my vocab) sector. But this question is actually …
an underground strain of sufism, where there is a tradition about Sirius, aliens, this having already reached book form in some other fashion (cf. The Sirius Mysteries, or something like that, from the seventies). It would be interesting if someone would clarify all that (it was actually mentioned by Gurdjieff, who promptly covered it up again with a glib ‘bury the dog deeper’).
So note:
NYRB has an article on Doris Lessing, which mentions her semi-scifi novels, no doubt under the influence of Idries Shah, a giveaway here. I have little to say about this (and I am most certainly not saying I believe anything whatever about any of this) since I find the nine times out of ten sufis simply issue disinformation. However, this question might help stranded ‘sufi fans’ caught on sufi fish hooks quietly free themselves and slip away to something more productive than standing in line to be eaten alive by sharks.
Anyway, if you read the past fifty years of pulp science fiction, plus dig into the lives of the authors, and dig a bit more you will discover somewhere in there a ‘sufi’ school. Lessing must have picked up some ‘leftovers’ in her work, which must obviously be based on some insider stuff from her contacts with the Shah gang.

Don’t confuse me with any of this. I have NOTHING whatever to do with sufis and am persona non grata anywhere they congregate. I say that to recommend people be wary of such shifty-eyed ‘mystics’ (haha, very funny, mystics! So was Adolf Hitler). Don’t base anything on these celebrity hangers on, who get special treatment. There is absolutely no sufi path. Never bite on the hook with this pack of thieves.

Meanwhile, did aliens from Sirius contact sufi sheiks? I really doubt it.

What happened? Her two volumes of autobiography aren’t much help, escorting her only up to The Golden Notebook in 1962. And instead of a third volume, she published a novel, The Sweetest Dream (2001), ostensibly picking up where the autobiographies left off but fictionalized so as to avoid “possible hurt to vulnerable people” —and possible libel suits. So she got to be cranky about Communists, feminists, journalists, shoplifters, progressive schools, conversion experiences, and grief therapy—but aside from the obligatory reference to yarrow stalks and the I Ching, the raptures of the deep went unmentioned.

For a while, encouraged by one of her biographers, some of us saw The Four-Gated City itself as a conversion experience, from the mystifications of Marx and a market economy to the mystagogies of R.D. Laing and mescaline. Time Bites makes it clear that we were wrong. After quitting the Communist Party and finishing The Golden Notebook, she needed to reupholster her own spacious mind. From William Butler Yeats, Saint John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich to Buddhism and the Bhagavad-Gita, she was looking for something “that mirrored certain conclusions and discoveries I had made for myself…. It could not possibly be, I decided, that I was the only person with these thoughts.” What she found, courtesy of Idries Shah, was the poets and sages of a 1,300-year-old current of Islamic thinking that sought, through otherworldliness, a strenuous spiritual calisthenics of pilgrimage, sleeplessness, fasting, and ecstatic dance, and a kick-the-can pedagogy of parables, aphorisms, fables, verses, and jokes, to see past mere appearances to the hidden reality and transcendent dimension of human life.

Meet the Iranian philosopher Suhrawardi, with his bouillabaisse of Persian, hermetic, and Greek ideas. And the Spanish mystic Ibn al-Arabi, with his Bezels of Wisdom and his vision of an incarnate Sophia, the divine Wisdom. And the jurist and theologian al-Ghazali, who first told the tale of the Seven Valleys the pilgrim soul must cross toward annihilation of the self. As well as poets like ‘Attar, who elaborated on this ineffable topography in his Parliament of Birds, and Rumi, who founded an Order of Whirling Dervishes, the Mawlawiyyah. From al-Muqaddasi’s Revelation of the Secrets of the Birds and Flowers and Saadi’s Rose Garden to The Exploits of the Incomparable Mullah Nasrudin, Sufi literature is associative, intuitive, witty, respectful, transparent, and transcendent, preaching harmony, immanence, and the interconnectedness of all forms of organic life. What it seemed to say to a Lessing who had given up radical hope is that nothing is permanent, but neither will anything ever really change.

After the passionate indignation and furious intelligence of the African stories, The Grass Is Singing (1950), and the first four “Children of Violence” novels, when Martha went through that wall out of politics and psychiatry into dancing atoms and blue lights, Lessing stopped playing by the old narrative rules. From the apocalyptic vision in The Four-Gated City of an ancient metropolis, a clairvoyant priesthood, and emancipating mutants, there would follow Charles Watkins’s tortured apprehension of himself in Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971) as a splinter of the consciousness of superior beings beamed down from Venus; the frantic efforts by the nameless narrator of The Memoirs of a Survivor (1974) to protect the girl-child Emily by hiding her in the patterned carpets and hanging gardens of a parallel universe; and the late-Seventies space-fiction series “Canopus in Argos,” in which earthlings were watched over and trifled with for millions of years by three separate intergalactic empires in five different evolutionary time zones.

In a preface to the first of these sci-fis, Shikasta: Re: Colonized Planet 5, Lessing suggested that “a single mind” wrote the Torah, the Apocrypha, the New Testament, and the Koran, as well as the liturgies of the Dogon (a tribe in Mali) and Popol Vuh (the sacred book of the Mayans). In a preface to the third, The Sirian Experiments, envious of physicists who got to play with black holes, white dwarves, and charmed quarks, she skyjacked a flying saucer: “As for UFOs,” she explained, “we may hardly disbelieve in what is so plentifully vouched for by so many sound, responsible, sensible people, scientific and secular.” It’s easy to see now that the do-good Canopeans were as much Sufi sages as they were golden Greeks.

Tags: Evolution · New Age

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