The Fifth Position

In the Shamanic Christian Zen scheme, the Philosopher archetype is in the fifth position. It is preceded by the Mystic, Shaman, Warrior and Monk/Nun archetypes. The sixth position is held by the King/Queen archetype.

The antithesis of the Philosopher is the Muppet, which represents delusional thinking. The problem with Muppetry is that logic only works in a logical world. You cannot counter illogicality with logic. Thus the saying, “you can’t argue with a sick mind, so don’t try”. The same applies when you argue with your own “sick mind”. Both Freud and Jung understood this very well.

Sometimes is is culture itself which creates sick minds. Sometimes it is a subculture, as happens in the formation of cults. Joost Meerloo calls the systematic attack on people’s capacity for rational thought “menticide”, whether applied to one person in an abusive relationship, or to millions. In The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing, Meerloo argues that the ground for totalitarianism, for example, is laid by engineering a confused and submissive population through various propaganda techniques, including carefully orchestrated waves of fear.

Once common sense has been sufficiently weakened, the would-be totalitarians can move in to establish some semblance of longed-for order amidst the chaos. And they can play fast and loose with the truth, moulding reality to suit their own agenda.

“Menticide” is also common among thinkers who have lost touch with reality for other reasons than cynical political control. Too much exposure to radical skepticism, moral and epistemic relativism, postmodern deconstruction and critical theory in a population can lead to a type of menticide, especially when combined with mind-bending drugs. Whatever the thinking, whatever the theories, however, once minds are severed from their roots in the body and reality, delusional thinking and mass psychosis become real and present dangers.

When it comes to thought control, menticide and brain washing, the trick is to circumvent the ground and foundations of thinking. In other words, you must erase the first four positions by encouraging dissociation from reality, sense, body and feelings. Someone firmly established as a Mystic, Shaman, Warrior and Monk-Nun, is immune to mental manipulation and cognitive distortion.

I cannot speak truth as a Philosopher aligned with reality unless I am grounded in mysticism, shamanism, body and feelings. And you cannot hear the truth I speak unless you too are so grounded. And vice versa. True speech, true understanding, true dialogos, is only possible when both parties are in the fifth position. Otherwise we are in Muppet Land clutching at the flotsam and jetsam of the shipwreck Reason … which is why I am no longer talking about anything (unless we are in the fifth position).

However, I would go even further than this and say that this grounding in the Mystic, Shaman, Warrior and Monk/Nun archetypes (or in dhyana, kundalini, karma and bhakti yoga) crucially depends on the last of these, that is, the “grace of devotion”. Bhakti yoga is about the higher feelings and religious devotion. I would say that this is the natural emotional response to the lived experience of “remembering God”.

I identified six ways to remember God in the recent blog post of that name. They are: prayer, scripture, ritual, art, mantras and entheogens. All these are forms of bhakti yoga and belong to the fourth position, that of the Monk/Nun (with the understanding that “entheogens” here refers to the numinous-aesthetic-devotional element of the experience).

So I would make the stronger and obviously more contentious claim that, not only do we need to be grounded in mysticism, shamanism, body and feelings in order to think straight, but that our minds our ultimately unreliable unless and until we “remember God”. Jnana yoga requires bhakti yoga.