On a whim, I pulled up that dinky of dinky drawing programs, Paint, and doodled an image that has been at the center of my contemplatio lately. It took no time (because there is nothing much to do with Paint) and when I was done I chuckled to myself, “Well, that’s very 1995.”

1995. As soon as I said it, I felt the weight of spirit settle upon it; it isn’t even the first time I’ve gotten a nudge around that date this month. I started to do a little digging to see if I could find that message. It’s a busy time and seems absolutely pivotal to the decades between now and then. I’m going to ramble around that, mostly thanks to Wikipedia and a little supplementary Googling (this is very U.S. focused; in part because it is where I am and in part because this time has to do with the character of U.S. ascendancy).

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Unintended Consequences

In my last post, I proposed that a portion of what we might call spiritual technology is a good deal like other sorts of technology, i.e. it results from human experimentation rather than direct divine inspiration or straightforward exploration. From this perspective, spiritual traditions are a mish-mash of spiritual guidance, spiritual accident, and human cleverness.

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The Coil of Life

So it may just be that I read about August Kekule’s benzene dream at an impressionable age, or spent too much time scouring the late Merleau-Ponty about the ‘flesh of the world,’ or just watched too much Hemlock Grove (I know, hardly the high culture), but the longer I look at the Tree of Life, the less convinced I am that the tree is the best model for what it describes. And the super-fancy Western Esoteric versions of it that stack trees upon trees? It just feels a little too neat and medieval. Instead, the more I consider it, the more it seems like the best way to think about it is as a coil through which the spiritual ‘juice’ of the world is circulated.

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