I see spirits.
But don’t worry, I’m not alone.
So do you.
Of course I don’t mean mythological, paranormal, metaphysical, ethereal spirits, (although I don’t rule them out, either.) I mean something much more real and pragmatic.
I’m talking about the spirits which all those other kinds of woo-woo “spirit” are more or less just attempts to portray.
So what kind of spirit do I see? Intentions and motivations — the essence of what spurs or draws us in the directions we take in conceiving and achieving the goals we set for ourselves. These spirits are real.
I see real spirits and you do too.
Here’s one of the best graphic depictions of spirits I’ve ever seen, from Donnie Darko (2001).
When you understand the intentions and motivations involved in what people do, you understand their spirits. Not a presumed immaterial spirit or essence — which no one has ever shown to exist — but in this way: If they had any such immaterial spirit or essence and you understood it, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that understanding and the one you get by understanding their intentions and motivations. For any realistic, practical purpose, they are the same.
Intentions and motivations are what make us tick. And you and I see them all the time.
What we often fail to do is believe what we see and judge accordingly. Instead, we let falsified “evidence” and other people’s overbearing opinions derail us. That’s a symptom of our authoritarian culture. That doesn’t happen where regarding everyone as a peer and their judgment as valuable is the norm.
Physical facts are fairly easy to manipulate, distort and stage. Information about those facts is extremely easy to falsify. As a result, in perversely dishonest cultures like ours, bullshit abounds. But spirits are impossible to fake. They shine through all the bullshit, revealing the truth about what’s really going on. And it doesn’t take long nor is it difficult to verify what they show us, because people always end up proving what they are really after despite their lies and bullshit. It’s just not often that they’ll own up to it, far less be up front about it.
This verified perception of what’s going on spiritually — at the level of intentions and motivations — is wisdom.
In authoritarian cultures, transparency is a vulnerability, a liability.
Don’t tell all you know.
Play your cards close to your chest.
Keep it under your hat.
Bite your tongue.
Better to be silent and thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
In other words, better to deceive, to hide behind illusion, distortion, disguises and lies.
But here’s the secret that liars cannot violate: Their lies serve their true thoughts and intentions. When you get a line on their spirits, even their lies show you where they’re really going. Stephen Stills understood this when he wrote, in a song that has become something of an anthem to me,
Open up, my friend, and learn to hear,
For even lying,
Well, it has nothing you should fear.
— “We Are Not Helpless”, Stephen Stills, Atlantic Records, 1970
It’s easy to verify, too. Just suggest that you accurately read the intentions and motivations of people who are bullshitting, obfuscating, avidly trying to hide behind fictions they swear are real, and then watch their reactions. It drives them nuts. They’ll tell you that you’re wrong, you don’t know that, you can’t know that, you have no right to say that, you’re lying, etc. — even though you didn’t claim to know. You only said you think your read is accurate. You don’t even need to refer to them specifically — just allude to the intentions and motivations of people who do similar things in pursuit of similar goals, and they’ll take the bait, don that profile like a jumpsuit, and start defending against your “slanderous personal attacks.”
Thanks to their paranoia, they simply can’t detach themselves enough to recognize that merely raising a question whether a hypothetical possibility might apply to them is not the same as claiming that it does in fact apply to them. If it truly wasn’t appropriate, they’d just point out your mistake, not get alarmed and irate at the threat it poses to their now clearly fragile egos. People trying to bullshit you act like you should have known that any such suggestion is so wildly far from possible and true that merely hinting at it is offensive by definition, and sincerely raising the possibility amounts to a transgression — as if we should hold the integrity of their intentions and motivations as unquestionable. This just exposes their narcissism.
Unquestionability is the crux of totalitarianism, tyranny, and cultism. Achieving and imposing unquestionability is the primary goal of all authority.
And beneath all their protests and verbosity, you can sense them wondering how the hell you ever figured them out. Just tell them what Mom used to tell me when I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how she knew I was lying: “A little birdie told me.”
The truth is, you see them. You see their spirit, so you know where their body inevitably will go.
This of course, is not a so-called “objective” approach, but not because it defies reason or lacks verifiable evidence. It’s actually quite objective. It simply reverses the order in which you deliberate, pays attention to evidence that most people seem blind to, and isn’t afraid of making mistakes. It’s the approach that genuine prophets employ.
Yes, I believe that everyone can prophesy like this — not in some mumbo-jumbo, “supernatural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), angels-and-devils way. Paul the Apostle agreed: “For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged…” (1 Corinthians 14:31) I don’t think he meant anything in the least esoteric. Everyone sees spirits all the time and has an instinctive grasp on what people’s intentions and motivations are. Anyone who doesn’t, doesn’t get far in anything much. We just need to be honest, confident and methodical to become competent at it, and abandon this beggarly fear of being wrong.
“Objectivity” requires near-indisputable evidence before allowing conclusions to be drawn. You can’t “objectively” say that Donnie Darko’s dad will get something from the fridge until you see him ask if anyone else wants something, get up, go into the kitchen, and open the fridge. Until he opens that door, a significant probability remains that he might not actually do it. Once he does, you can be sure. But if you could see his spirit like an “intention bubble”, you’d know what is going to happen well before behavior tells you it has happened. You’d also know ahead of time if he changed his mind somewhere along the way. This is how we all do the dance of life together. This is how sports teams and armies and disaster relief efforts and hundreds of millions of vehicle drivers on congested highways and streets operate as successfully as they do, making real-time decisions in anticipation of the actions of others they read by intentional and motivational cues. It’s not rocket science, nor is it magic.
Intentions and motivations affect us well before we act on them, prompting us to give off telltale clues of their own. It’s what body language, intonation, cadence, muscle tension and microexpressions are all about. So in that sense, the way of prophets is every bit as objective as today’s so-called “objectivity”. The difference isn’t that the prophet’s way is subjective, but that prophets pay attention to spirits while everyone else is watching overt behaviors. Prophets look at evidence that shows what a person wants to do instead of evidence that shows in hindsight what they must have wanted to do. There’s a big difference.
Pay attention to the intentional and motivational evidence people give you, and you can predict their actions that result. By the time the near-indisputable, after-the-fact, behavioral evidence gets clear, objectivity will be scratching its head wondering how the hell you knew.
This is true for people in groups, too. Although much is said about herd behavior and “sheeple”, and though events and group dynamics can temporarily derail or overcome people’s baseline intentional, motivational spirits — unless events are so spectacular or traumatic that they reset them or group dynamics persist long enough to recondition them, imposing a durable, overriding, alternate spirit — their abiding intentions and motivations will resume as soon as they can. This is why authoritarian rule is so difficult and costly to maintain and always eventually fails.
Even hostage situations like abusive relationships, cults, or totalitarian regimes, though they seemed successful for a while, prove to be escapable, and former hostages can recover from their horrors and normalize again. Oppressed, battered, and entombed in authoritarian fictions, machinations, institutions and systems, our native spirits defiantly bide their time in hidden resistance, even unknown to our own subjugated consciousnesses, waiting for the concrete to crack ever so slightly, just enough to wriggle through and reach the light and air, even if as no more than a lonely blade of grass. Once that happens it’s just a matter of time before we — true children of Mother Nature restored to our own, to the genuine and indomitable imprint of a psychic archetype developed from eons of evolutionary wisdom genetically wired into us — demolish the plastic, petty folderol of “civilization” like jungle disintegrating a ruin.
The sweet thing about the prophet’s approach is: You already know how to see spirits. You learned to do it when you were a child. You had no alternative. Before you were capable of understanding adult speech and grasping adult concepts and deciphering adult agendas, you became a miniature master at reading adult intentions and motivations — to the point that you could sometimes rule the roost without them even realizing you were pulling the strings.
It’s time we reawoke that mastery.
Be skeptical about what goes on in the name of “objectivity”. Much of it is nothing more than slander to demean and degrade you into doubting your innate perspicacity and wisdom.
Authoritarians have carried out a veritable crusade against wisdom for thousands of years, and the reason is simple. As long as we believe what we see spiritually — as long as we believe our read on intentions and motivations — they don’t have an ice cube’s hope in hell of pretending superiority, claiming supremacy, and imposing authority on us.
If you can see that authorities intend to put us into dread by incredible shows of intimidating power, you can realize that they do it because they dread us. And that means they see us as enemies, not friends, even if they approach us as our benefactors. If you understand that they’re motivated to lord it over us, flaunt their contingent power which they derive from us, and keep us under the delusion that we’re weak precisely because they fear our power and what we could do to them should they lose control, your sight is clear and you can start exploring your power. It’s far greater than any power they know — beyond anything they can conceive, actually, because it’s a power of love, not fear; a power of true intention and motivation, not false, disguised, and manipulative. They use all their false power to repress our true power and convince us that we have no power, because they know intuitively that our power would undo them were it given freedom.
When you see their spirits, you will realize how demented, diseased and pathetic their intentions and motivations are. Their monstrous behavior does not prove them to be monsters, but wafts and wisps that use violence as a pretense of substance to cast mythical, monstrous shadows. Those closest to them know how false and decrepit they are, as we eventually see for ourselves when the truth about them eventually leaks out or when their cronies betray them.
Bona fide monsters have their own power. These pitiful rejects have only the power we give them by taking their charades seriously, giving them credence.
Stop giving them your power. It’s easy. You give it away in the form of credibility, by regard, recognition, respect and approval.
Withhold them instead.
When you see through their lies and realize how grossly false and meticulously fabricated their lies are, you’ll see that nothing about their enterprise is credible. Then it’s easy to withhold credence and the attention and respect that come with it. Their intentions and motivations — their spirits — are twisted beyond belief. Let them know they are not credible. Disregard their pretended authority. Scoff at their fictions of superiority. Deny their bullshit supremacism. Don’t just disbelieve them — let them know clearly and emphatically that you do not believe them.
Then stop listening to them.
It’s far easier than you think. You don’t need to oppose or resist them. You don’t need to argue with them or fight them. It’s not a negative and violent matter, but a positive and incontestable one. You don’t need to prove them wrong, but simply make sure they know you don’t believe they’re right and you do not believe in them.
Insisting on the truth is far more powerful than resisting and disproving lies.
Simply insist on treating every other person as a peer, no more and no less, no better and no worse. That’s all it takes, because it’s the truth. While authoritarians can’t abide it, genuine, honest people love it.
Peerness is the rod that separates honest sheep from crooked goats. Peerness is the oxygen that gives life to the living and corrodes the tin men that the false and fearful prop up as diversionary proxies. Peerness is death to authority, and authoritarians fear it like Ebola, because it axes and strangles their pretensions, exposing their true intentions and motivations to clear air and light where these nyctophilic zombies and vampires swear they’ll surely die — unless you elevate them and shield them with umbrellas of admiration and approval.
Don’t refuse to elevate them — just insist on dealing with them as the human beings they actually are without the fictions of supremacy that they’re terrified you’ll discover they aren’t worthy of. They know they’re posers. All you need to do is agree with the truth of their peerness, the truth they’re desperately trying to escape, instead of condoning their escapism.
Truth is a powerful ally, because it works from inside its enemies, not just from without. The more clearly you see their spirits, the less sway their manipulations will have, because they can only manipulate externalities which not only pale in the light of intentions and motivations but give them away.
Believe the truth that you see for yourself, not the fictions you’re told by those who want you to see what they tell you.
Trust your own wisdom and stop denigrating it in deference to deplorable liars who see you as the enemy.
Real wisdom, at the very least, is to know that no one has a monopoly on wisdom, and what’s even more, nobody is completely devoid of it.
(Yeah, that kind of puts the kibosh on bullshit gurus and masters and their sycophants & acolytes — aka groupies — doesn’t it? How do you know a guru or master is bullshit? Simple: If they must needs have groupies, and especially if they pretend that none of their “disciples” will “ascend” higher than they are. And what’s this inane obsession with ascension and elevation about, anyway? Not everyone wants to rise to the heights and rule the world — just psychopaths.)
Real wisdom begins when we see we’re all peers, all unique, all of inestimable value, all indispensable — even pitiful authoritarians hiding in their shams — and in light of all that, to see that all are desirable and beautiful, with inalienable dignity that wasn’t granted by others nor even by God, but that is integral to their mere being, integral to all being.
Short of that you neither appreciate nor truly love humanity.
But if you see that, you have grasped the truth and begun to be wise.
If so, hang on. It’s gonna be quite the ride.