Death and the Magus

Dreams of Ascension

Why do nearly all the leaders of stable non-materialistic human cultures believe in supernatural beings and make some form of ascension or levitation the confirmation that a human being has reached perfection? In the machine age the apex of human achievement is sending a machine up from the Earth’s surface. The brain is often seen by scientists, even neuroscientists, as a kind of computer hard drive which receives, records and recalls information, can calculate and orders the functions of the body/machine. However self-reflection, dreaming and creating other realities is important to people who respond to their imagination in creative ways like shamans in particular but also prophets, seers, artists, musicians, poets and writers.


William Blake’s view of scientists like Newton is that they are soul-destroying, sub-human monsters obsessed with measuring. Darwin’s mechanistic explanation of the development of the huge variety of living forms was immediately parodied by Samuel Butler in a series of articles that appeared in the Christchurch Press a hundred and fifty years ago. The “Book of the Machines” is only one of the targets of his penetrating wit which include religion, child rearing, illness, death and vegetarianism which now form part of “Erewhon”. Even earlier, in 1726. Jonathan Swift foresaw the arrogant and inhuman stupidity of science as a belief system which he lampooned as the flying island of Laputa in “Gulliver’s Travels”. We need to study these wonderfully accurate predictions very carefully at the present time.