joining-together:New Human Adults who have just made it to the back of the movie theater will usually display some common personality traits. First, they begin to understand there are possibilities that were inconceivable to them as a Human Child. Even their freedom to walk around is a new sensation that takes some getting used to. Being up and out of their seats has given them new hope and new energy. They don’t necessarily understand what’s happening, but it excites them to find out, to exercise this freedom and explore these possibilities. Secondly, anger might come to the surface for all the time they spent sitting in their chairs as a Human Child – anger and resentment toward those who had put and kept them there. It doesn’t matter that the shackles were never locked; there can still be the feeling of having been a victim of external forces, for it’s way too soon for a new Human Adult to take full responsibility for their condition as a Human Child. Next might come defiance, a determination never to go back to their seat. They could if they wanted; it’s not too late. But like the freed prisoner in Plato’s Cave, it’s seems unimaginable for a new Human Adult to consider voluntarily returning to their shackles, chained to their seats, seeing nothing again except the movies playing out in front of them. “I’ll be damned if I’m going back there,” although some eventually do. And fourthly, they make a decision to change things. What they decide to change – themselves, or what’s “out there” – can depend on a lot of factors; but their defeatist attitude of “can’t change things” as a Human Child becomes an overwhelming obsession of “must change things” as a Human Adult. The movies that make up their life are still playing all around them, the 3D pictures enveloping them, immersing them, coming at them from all angles; and they still view these movies as the only “reality” there is, like the shadows on the cave wall. They also have virtually the same emotional reactions they’ve always had to the movies, which reinforces their need to re-write the scripts. As a new Human Adult, you most likely experienced at least one or two of these feelings, if not all of them. A fairly good example of this was the Hippie Movement. The Vietnam War playing out on the movie screen was the catalyst that led a lot of Human Children to stand up and shout “No!” As they walked to the back of the theater (they called it “dropping out”), they soon discovered there were other possibilities of how to live and began experimenting with their new-found freedom. There was anger about the war and the people in charge who were making the movies. There was a defiance to no longer be part of that movie; and there was a decision to make things change. “We Can Make It Better, We Can Change the World Now, We Can Save the Children, We Can Make It Happen,” sang Chicago in 1972.1 As far as I can tell, the Vietnam War/Hippie Movement of the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s provided the incentive for more new Human Adults than any other event in recent history. Young people by the thousands stood up in their chairs and started walking out.
JOINING TOGETHER:The Movement died fairly quickly; but a lot of people woke up swearing never again to return to their seats, and it left a huge legacy in the back of the movie theater. The Hippie Movement is also a good example of another common trait of a new Human Adult – the longing to be part of a group. In many cases, it’s more than a longing; it’s a necessity. After all, you’ve spent your entire life surrounded by other Human Children and took comfort in being part of the group. In all the strangeness and newness of the back of the theater, you now seek solace and support as a Human Adult; you search for others wanting to change the same things you do; you start looking around for a new group to join. Fortunately the back of the movie theater is full of groups consisting of Human Adults who have found others of like mind and banded together for a common cause. Perhaps you might wander around for a little while first, standing on the edge of various gatherings, listening, seeing if you agree with what’s being said by the leader, looking for just the right one. But very soon, you join one of them. You must. You feel too alone and you need camaraderie, other people around you who will let you know you’re not crazy to have left your seat, new friends who will help you change things. * * The year I stayed in college after reading There is a River, I passed the time playing golf, playing bridge, and going to frat parties. In other words, I spent a year roaming around the back of the theater, just trying to escape the movies somehow. Shortly after my twentieth birthday I joined my first group and participated in the creation of a musical extravaganza to become known as Up With People.2 The idea was to change the world through music and an ideology called Moral Re-Armament.3 Moral Re-Armament was based on a certain level of self-responsibility, believing the movies – the world, life, reality – could change if everyone would adhere to a strict moral code of absolute love, absolute purity, absolute honesty, and absolute unselfishness. It was our duty to live that way ourselves, and then go out and get everyone else to live that way as well. We decided to present our cause through a highly entertaining and professional musical, couching our morality in clever and catchy song lyrics such as “Freedom Isn’t Free” and “What Color Is God’s Skin?”4 For almost two years I gave it all I had, 24/7/365; and I had a hell of a lot of fun and did things and saw places and had experiences that were way over the top. I still have many friends from those days, and some of the lyrics and music Up With People created were very powerful. “Coming Home,” “Where the Roads Come Together,” and “Moon Rider”5 will probably always move me to tears of joy and appreciation for this time of my life and this group. It was so much fun that I was able to overlook the glaring inconsistencies and errors in groupthink.6 For example, in 1966 I was the only one who was against the war out of hundreds directly involved in the program, even in the light of “absolute love.” But as was inevitable in those days, I was drafted and offered an all-expenses-paid, one-year-long tour of beautiful downtown Vietnam as an Army medic in 1969 – which means I missed Woodstock. I also missed out on the drug scene. In fact, I was in uniform for the major part of the Hippie Movement, which would have been a very interesting group to join had I been able.
Basically, I had three choices when I was drafted, considering my opposition to the war. One, I could flee the country and go to Canada or Sweden, remaining as a Human Adult and joining the group of other young men doing the same. But I was afraid I might never be able to return to the U.S.A., a country I loved and did not want to leave forever. My second choice was to go to jail as a war resister, again remaining as a Human Adult and joining a group of other young men also choosing incarceration to being a soldier. But I was afraid in this case I would lose the support of my girlfriend and my mother and other friends who simply could not or would not understand. This choice also generated many very big questions about how this jail time could affect my future. So in the end, and based on my fears, I voluntarily gave up being a Human Adult, left Up With People, went back to my seat in the theater, became a Human Child once more, and spent the next three years immersed in a war movie. The minute I was honorably discharged, I bolted out of my seat again and ran to the back of the movie theater. Lying on my bunk in Vietnam I had made a decision not to return to Up With People when I got out of the Army, but to get elected President of the United States instead. As President, I figured I could really make some changes; so I joined a political group, starting my career by getting elected to the Arizona state senate at the age of twenty- eight. However, one term as a senator was all I needed to realize that not only did this group have no chance of changing anything, but that government the way it is practiced today is actually the cause of most of the problems in the first place and the thing that requires changing the most. I ran for re-election anyway, not knowing what else to do; but I made sure I lost with some conscious decisions that could have no other outcome, like dropping my affiliation with any major party and running as an Independent, not campaigning, and taking a woman who was not my wife to the Grand Canyon in full public view. I nearly won despite it all; but late on election night, as it became clear I would lose, my friends started to file out of the hotel room where we were watching the returns, expressing their condolences and even crying for my loss. I tried hard to look disappointed, but inside I was relieved and happy as I could be. That’s when I realized there was something wrong with me I should probably address before continuing to try to change the world. I had just thrown away a brilliant political career as the new “darling” of the Arizona Republican Party, and yet I was utterly thrilled with the outcome. That, to me, was completely illogical and inexplicable. So I started looking for an explanation, searching the back of the theater for a group who could help me understand, and ended up joining one of the most controversial and radical groups I could find: the Church of Scientology. It didn’t take long to make my way to the top, as an OT6 and a Commodore’s Staff Aide to L. Ron Hubbard. I will talk more about this experience in a different context a little later. For now, all I want to say is that my stint with the Church lasted less than two years. * * This can be quite common among Human Adults, to go from one group to another, staying only a limited time. In the last forty years, since the Hippie Movement and the resulting large influx of new Human Adults, more and more groups have sprung up with a wide variety of different approaches and techniques for changing things; so when one
JOINING TOGETHER:group turns out to be unsatisfactory for some reason, another one is always there waiting for you. Today the back of the theater is overflowing with them, and I want to take a closer look at some of these groups and their characteristics. In general we can say the basic difference between a Human Child and a Human Adult is the demand for change, coupled with a self-determined action on the part of the Human Adult. Human Children might complain about the movies and their predicament, but they will never do anything about it, paralyzed instead by fear. Therefore, for a group to last any length of time in the back of the theater, they must cater to and satisfy the Human Adult’s need to be part of a group and their obsession to change things. So they all promise certain very specific things to their followers… 1. They claim they can teach a Human Adult how to change the content of the movies they are watching – how to change their life, their reality – OR 2. They claim they can teach a Human Adult how to change their emotional reactions to the movies they are watching, even if they can’t change the movies themselves – AND 3. They claim their followers will be happier, more prosperous, more loving, more peaceful, more wise, more powerful, more of everything “good” if they follow the group’s instructions. It’s not possible to talk about all of the individual groups – there are far too many of them – but there is some value in looking at a few of the general categories you have to choose from. First, there are the “Activists.” These are the groups whose intent is to change the movies themselves by actually doing something: animal activists, environmental activists, political activists, social activists, black activists, human rights activists, consumer activists, women’s activists, peace activists, intentional communities, Save the Whales, Save the Children, Save the Planet, and so on. For example, over the last fifty years there have been more than eighty anti-nuclear groups operating in the United States alone.7 Then there is a category I will call “altered states of consciousness.” In this group you can find meditation, hypnotherapy, breathing techniques, yoga, prayer, the 12-Step programs, all kinds of prescription and illegal drugs, biofeedback, stress management, laughter therapy, tantric sex, and more. The goal of all these groups is to change the way you view your movies – your life, your reality – by changing your awareness, or in some cases, by escaping the movies entirely through greater unconsciousness. The third major category is the New Age, which includes a whole slew of yogis, shamans, swamis, and gurus, along with meditation, Abraham, The Secret, the “Law of Attraction,” A Course in Miracles, HeartMath, dolphin-assisted therapy, light and color therapy, Reiki, Emotional Freedom Technique, Electromagnetic Field Balancing (EMF), magnetic field therapy, Thought Field Therapy, Psych-K, channeling, Native American teachings, and the list goes on seemingly forever. These groups attempt to give you some sort of control over your life by offering techniques, ceremonies, and rituals designed to produce an alternative reality, if used correctly – to change your perception about your reality. And then there are the “Eternal Bliss Seekers,” which can also be called the “Heart- Centered Approach,” touting meditation, positive thinking, compassion, salvation, love, happiness, abundance, prosperity, goodness, beauty, mindfulness, inner tranquility, peace on earth and good will toward men. The basic idea of these groups is that “negativity is
bad computer programming”8 that can be removed through “a powerful journey of the heart in which we come to understand the role each of us plays in creating the life – and the world – we long to live in, the one perfectly designed to help us live in happiness, fulfillment, and bliss.”9 (You’ll notice that “meditation” appears in each of the last three groups. It’s the technique of choice for many Human Adults – ancient, but very popular these days – and offered as part of the agenda of a number of different groups with different goals – like a cure-all.) * * To be clear and complete, I also need to mention some groups you won’t find in the back of the theater. For example, you won’t find groups representing the world’s major religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism (which comprise about three-quarters of the world’s population). Instead, they are part of the movies playing out on the screen. While these religions might pay lip service to greater happiness in the “here and now,” their underlying and ultimate message is that their followers should not expect any real improvement in their lives – any real change in their reality – while alive, but focus on adhering to various rules and regulations of beliefs and behaviors with the hope of being rewarded later – most typically after they die. This kind of message is perfect for the Human Children sitting glued to their chairs, but not at all acceptable to a Human Adult who wants change NOW! That doesn’t mean there are no Human Adults involved in these major religions. There are, some. Often they are kind and loving and compassionate and well-intentioned, and have chosen to go back into the seated portion of the theater to minister to the Human Children. What you more commonly find in the back of the theater are splinter groups of these religions – much smaller clusters of Human Adults who claim to have found new ways to lessen the pain and suffering of life in the moment while clinging to the basic tenets of their faith, such as Zen Buddhists, Baha’i, Advaita Vedanta, Christian Scientists, to name just a few. There is also a very long list10 of other splinter groups, commonly called “cults” (depending on who’s doing the calling), that attract those Human Adults who have given up on conventional religion but still need some kind of organized system of morality. Scientology and Moral Re-Armament, my personal choices in the past, fall into this category. The same thing holds true for politics. In the United States, major parties such as the Republicans and Democrats are in the movies you watch. But in the back of the theater you’ll find the Libertarians, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Tea Party, America’s Independent Party, and so on, that afford a Human Adult the opportunity to join a political group as their method of trying to change things, despite the odds, and knowing full well they are up against a well-entrenched two-party system whose real goal is not to change anything (which is why they are preferred and maintained by the votes of the Human Children). Conventional medicine is also part of the 3D movies, since its main focus is on suppressing symptoms pharmacologically rather than changing the cause of any disease. However, in the back of the theater you’ll find over one-hundred alternative therapy groups such as acupuncture, Alexander technique, AK, aroma therapy, ayurveda, Bach
JOINING TOGETHER:flower remedies, body work, chelation therapy, Chinese medicine, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, crystal healing, and that’s just through the “C’s” in the alphabet.11 Heterosexuality, marriage, and the nuclear family are part of the movies as well, and these haven’t changed at all in human history. But in the back are groups practicing homosexuality, swinging, polygamy, polyamory, free love, BDSM, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and celibacy, for example. Basically, if you turn on the TV any day of the week and watch the soap operas, you’ll see what’s in the movies keeping the Human Children entertained and pacified: conventional religions, conventional politics, conventional medicine, and conventional sexuality. What you won’t see in the soaps are the groups available to Human Adults in the back of the theater – with the exception of some mocking and fleeting reference in a movie or two to make sure the Human Children don’t believe any of the promising rumors that might find their way around the theater. I don’t mean to imply you can’t be a Human Adult if you are a monogamous Republican who still goes to church and sees a doctor. Conventional religion, conventional politics, conventional medicine, and conventional sexuality are the four cornerstones of the movies – the life, the reality – all Human Children and Adults are immersed in every moment of every day, no matter where they are standing or sitting in the movie theater. The “conventional” is all they have ever known, never really questioned, and therefore find them hard to leave. This is especially true of new Human Adults who need to belong to a group and have not yet found sufficient replacements in the back of the theater. What I am saying is that this will change over time. As a Human Adult becomes more comfortable in its new surroundings and finds new groups to join, conventional religion, conventional politics, and conventional medicine will be replaced by groups in the back of the theater, while conventional sexuality hangs on for dear life. * * Obviously, there are many, many more groups for Human Adults to join than I have mentioned – literally hundreds, probably over a thousand of them now, some of which do not fall into one of my main categories, either. For example, there are more than two dozen “UFO religions” listed in the Wikipedia12 that can be found in the back of the theater. So this was not meant to be a complete list of groups or categories, but intended to give a cursory idea of the kinds of opportunities available to a new Human Adult; and I don’t know any new Human Adult who has not joined at least one of these groups within a short time of leaving their chair. After Scientology, I joined the Chiropractic group, who quite clearly state their goal is to change the world by correcting vertebral subluxation, one person at a time; and I stayed connected with this group for more than twenty years. The fun part is that you can join more than one group at a time if both groups will permit it. While part of the Chiropractic group, I also later belonged to Loving More, Applied Metapsychology, the Royal-Priest channeling group, Al-Anon, and the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis. While not actually joining officially, I also “audited” groups connected with the “Seth” books, with Walsch’s Conversations with God and Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles, with A Course in Miracles, Urantia, meditation, numerology, astrology, Tai Chi,
JOINING TOGETHER:Focusing, and Rosicrucianism. I attended numerous self-help seminars and workshops, tried The Secret, listened to Abraham, watched What the Bleep!? – Down the Rabbit Hole, and read everything I could from Peter Marshall, John Bradshaw, Sai Baba, Ayn Rand, J. Krishnamurti, U.G. Krishnamurti, Deepak Chopra, Eckart Tolle, Mahatma Gandhi, and others. Then in 1993 I joined one of the most radical and promising groups I ever encountered in the back of the movie theater. It was an intentional community called ZEGG that had a ten-year history before I joined, now located about an hour outside of Berlin, Germany. I was attracted to this group by their Twelve Theses for a Non-Violent Society13, written by Dieter Duhm, and their practice of free love. ZEGG no longer promotes the writings of Dr. Duhm, nor do they practice free love any more. The majority of people I knew there during the 1990’s have since moved on to create another intentional community called Tamera in southern Portugal, which I’ll talk about at a later time. But for more than a decade I thought this group was really going to change things and I was excited to be part of it. Which group(s) did you join?