Message to Russell: Stumbling Across the Invisible College

I was moved by your note to Whitley, but I don’t think he will get it. I tried to tell him something similar over dinner in Atlanta in December of ‘95. He heard me, but he didn’t grok it. He was in the process of writing his latest book — the name of which escapes me at the moment but it came out this winter °© and was more interested in interpreting his own internal visions, of which I, or at least my StarGate cap, seemed to be a part, than listening to any grand unified theories. Oh well.
In many ways, Russ, you are one lucky dog. (I mean that in all senses including Gurdjieffian.) At an age when you are still young enough to enjoy it, you have stumbled on The Invisible College. You are supported in an atmosphere of synchronicity so rich as to make one wonder if it wasn’t intelligently designed. The boys out in Cosmic Coincidence Control worked overtime on this one.
Consider: You are the fulcrum point of a powerful perturbation in the reality field. For the last few years you have had the opportunity to hang with some of the planet’s finest thinkers, including Dan and Jay. Dan, for his all interpersonal flaws, has seen something important and is trying to both communicate the vision and express its novelty and significance. What you have learned from him will ultimately be the foundation of a whole new way of viewing reality. I know this because I came to that same foundation by another more roundabout way.
I was 21, desperately in love with the ghost that seemed to be possessing my best friend’s wife, when this old lady who lived in a house built between the cypress trees back in the Santee Swamp gave me a little bottle of dark green, vile smelling stuff and told me what to do with it. I did it, with amazing results.
It was my initiation into the world of the plant allies, in Castenada terms. Much later, I learned that fear is the initiation process. The Lurker at the Threshold is the sorting out process which determines who has the necessary focus to proceed. As you said, fear is absolute annihilation, of the self. In the depths of Hellhole Swamp, (no shit, that’s its real name!) I faced the “Primal Terror” and it annihilated every little self I had left. What remained, all that was shareable as Dan would say, was love. But oh my sweet jesus what a Love.
Swimming in the depths of the astral eco-sphere, I learned the lesson of entropy. Things decay and die only in closed systems. The Law of Conservation of matter/energy works in an open system, and an open system is never complete. It is always in the process of becoming, and therefore a mystery. Closed systems are thanotropic, that is tending toward death, while open systems are erotropic, or tending toward life or eros. The cosmos is the grandest open system which one can ever hope to contemplate. The Egyptians personified this erotropic openness as Nuit, the star goddess; later the Greeks would see her as the Kore Kosmica, or the Virgin of the World; the Tarot shows her as a woman dancing with a veil superimposed on the galaxy in Atu 21, The World.
Fear, in all its forms, is the expression of the oppressive restrictions of entropy. Just as love is the expression of erotropic centropy, or negentropy. Once you have glimpsed the Beloved Cosmos, you can not help falling in love with every single manifestation of that Beloved. In this state of mind, you even love your fears, love the darkness of entropy, because without a sense of the possibility of loss you might take the presence of the Beloved for granted.
Dan’s gnosis was that the expression of love, the touch of the beloved, defines, in mathematical and geometrical terms, the nature of the unifying principle of the cosmos. That is, if you express love or compassion you attain a degree of resonant coherence with the centropic intelligence of the Cosmos. This is one of the big secrets guarded by all secret societies and communities of initiates. Even Tantric Buddhism, the clearest system describing this awareness, requires a thorough grounding in the Sutras, the intellectual structure of the system, before beginning Tantric practices. The reason is that it is very hard, without lots of training, to see love in its open system sense. To the Buddhist, jealousy is one of the five aggregates from which evil arises. Personal, sexual love is all too prone to jealousy.
My own understanding of this foundational principle came in the depths of that dark night out in the swamp. After terror and strangeness had reduced me to a quivering lump of psychic protoplasm, I found that only the pure love of another’s well being was capable of reforming the widely disbursed fragments of my being. I was not in love with my friend’s wife, but I was in love with the spirit of a young girl who died in 1849 and deserved her rest and reincarnation. This motive, this intent, allowed me to re-form, to re-member, who I was and then complete my mission. The Gris-Gris Lady had asked us: “Which one love her most?” She knew what was going to happen when she gave me that bottle; she knew love was the key. Back in that tiny shack in the middle of Hellhole Swamp, South Carolina, I encountered a true initiate. Someone who knew.
I’ve met many initiates since, some you would recognize and alot I almost didn’t. Masters appear at all levels of life. The Sufis sweep the temples in Egypt and the wisest man I ever knew was a sign painter. I remain open to the possibility that every bum on the street just might be Elijah in disguise.
Which brings us back to the Invisible College and those fascinating perturbations in the reality field. Let’s just suppose, for the sake of argument, that the entropic intelligence wants to destroy and die as much as the centropic intelligence wants to live and create. But here’s the rub: without some mediating agency, they merely cancel each other out. Every creation followed by every destruction equals a zero sum gain. No structures more advanced than a hydrogen atom can exist under these conditions.
Now, since we have many, about a hundred, elemental substances beyond hydrogen, then centropy, love, must be winning out over entropy, fear/death. Some third force appears to be preserving the creative promise of continuity. The ancient Hindus, those wise old nomads turned philosopher kings, saw the problem as the balance between Bramha, the creator, and Shiva, the destroyer. They resolved it in the mythological form of Vishnu, the preserver.
In Nepal, Vishnu is called the thousand armed benefactor and is considered by the Nepalese Buddhists as an aspect of the Bodhisatva of Compassion. The Hindus return the favor and see the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu. Krishna is also counted as one of Vishnu’s incarnations. In these terms, “Vishnu” is a description of that compassionate intelligence labeled enlightenment. This allows us to think of that third force, balancing love and death, as cosmically resonant self-awareness.
Now, let’s suppose that all three of these forces are capable of engaging “agents,” that is entities who actively promote the tendency of each force. There could be thanotropic “beings” who work for increased isolation and entropy, as well as erotropics who are frantically creative. And, for want of a better word, ecotropics concerned with building structures of resonant continuity.
This triad of forces, and their agents, are present at all levels of reality. If fear becomes the basis of our belief system, as in Christianity, paranoid politics, fascism, etc., then we have aligned ourselves with the thanotropics; however if love is the basis of our beliefs, we are aligned with the erotropics. Ecotropics develop out of a belief in the need for balance and the continuity of love. Perhaps it is easier to think of them as materialist, spiritualist and transcendentalist.
At the moment, as time collapses, history unravels and novelty approaches infinity, each of us is forced to make a series of choices. Out of these choices, our reality either converges or disburses. Choosing fear models, and we will all be faced with our fears, produces isolation, helplessness and emotional inertia. This is quite obvious, even without “intervention.” The crisis comes when we discover that choosing love is not enough. Blind optimism butting heads with equally blind pessimism produces no resolution to the problem. We can’t love our way out of this one, because love — basic erotropism — holds only the promise of creating new life, not the salvation of the old.
Once again, the fear-mongers and the bliss ninnies cancel each other out. Some third force is needed to preserve the promise of creative continuity. This force must transcend the categories of fear and love, birth and death, and so on. In its transcendent quality, this force attains a kind of emotional escape velocity, allowing us to become, consciously, participants in the nature of that promise. In the Buddhist tradition of the Greater Vehicle, this is called the vow of Bodhisatva-hood. A Bodhisatva is one who renounces the final enlightenment until all sentient beings can attain it together. This vow forces one to become a promise-keeper, one who maintains that spark of unlimited awareness spinning in between heart beats.
The community of such beings through out time creates something called the Buddha-field. Every act of grace, charity, love, kindness, intelligence and compassion enriches this field domain. This energy can then be drawn upon to heal the rift between thanatos and eros; salvation occurs at the moment when love and death are seen not as adversaries, but components in a pattern that is not only larger than we imagine, but vaster than we can imagine.
And so we return, after another lap on the moebius strip, to the Invisible College, the Greys and those irritating flashback-like perturbations of the reality field. Let’s take them one at a time and see how they connect. What I call the Invisible College are the unseen bodhisatvas, those people working for a greater synthesis but not announcing their spiritual stature. You, Brother Russ, are in the process of becoming the leverage point, the fulcrum, by which the College is moved into action. As you apply your innocence and intensity to resolving these primal issues, you evoke responses. One of those responses is the Greys.
The Greys don’t induce fear, they are not thanotropic. The fear comes as part of the initiation process itself. If we fear the Greys, or worship the Shining Ones, we fail the test. Both of these forms are self-programming holograms generated by our DNA in order to present us with just these sorts of evolutionary choices. It is the lessons themselves, and our reactions to it, that are important, not the mechanism by which they are presented. Your flashbacks are moments of higher order, ecotropic, consciousness attempting to reframe the nature of “Russ” according to your new radical intuition into the nature of reality.
As such, they should be welcomed. The problems arise because, unfortunately, you are undergoing this experience solo. Our culture is fragmented that everybody else feels isolated as well. The Invisible College has remained invisible because of this isolation. Your questioning has the power to pull all these different components, Dan and Whitley and Terrence and Paul Devereux, into a common point of reference. From this maybe, just maybe, we might be able to derive an ecotropic consensus before it’s too late. That’s my hope anyway.
Well, I hope this rambling missive has been helpful, or at least entertaining. Keep up the good work and stay in touch. The best is yet to come.
Light in Extension, Dr. Strange
(written to Russell on May 31, 1997)