During my recent series of posts on Whitley Strieber’s book The Key, I said that I would write one final post outlining what I feel are some problematical aspects of the text, including things that, according to my own experience, are wrong or limited. I have explored intuitive realms of consciousness for a couple of decades, including undergoing intensive ‘training’ in this area, and developed a high degree of clairvoyant capacity. I’m not going to try to explain or justify that here – you can read about it in my book Discover Your Soul Template (out in December 2011) if you are interested. If you are in a hurry you can now find my self-published version of the book on Amazon.com, under the title Sage of Synchronicity.
There are also a few more interesting truthful statements from The Key that I will also discuss in this blog post. So I will divide this final discussion of the book into two parts, “pros” and “cons”. Again, I have placed a sub-heading above each discussion point for ease of reading, as you may not want to read all of this post.
I prefer a gentle and open-minded approach to life’s big questions, so feel free to add your own insights in the comments section below, or state where you think I am incorrect.
Re-cap and overview of The Key
In The Key Whitley Strieber recounts a slightly bizarre tale of how a stranger burst into his hotel room at 2.30 in the morning, and proceeded to recount the meaning of life the universe and everything. After initially trying to get rid of him, Strieber eventually suspects that the man – whom he comes to call The Master of the Key – is actually relating some profound spiritual knowledge. Later Strieber wrote about the encounter and the Master’s knowledge claims in The Key.
The lesson of darkness
The Master says that humanity is in chains, but it is the chains which can teach us freedom:
Love your enemy, for he is your best friend. Without the darkness, you would never know the glory of the firmament… You should bless your jailors, because without them you could never find your freedom. When you, as a species, remember why you have been imprisoned, and you face what you did, you will be free. (no page no.: 50% of the way through Kindle edition)
There’s a lot of truth to this. As I have previously written, the idea of being in chains is an archetypal human motif. In a sense we are all slaves to the limited amount of our innate intelligence that we express and the dark consciousness fields that so many of us are trapped in (despite the fact that most are unaware of their intelligence potential, nor aware of the consciousness fields in which they are entangled).
Learning to love our fear, including the fear of pain and darkness is a key to freedom. To love darkness does not mean to wallow in it or worship it, but merely to accept it for what it is; to hold it close such that we do not need to run and hide from it. It is when we shine the light of awareness upon the darkness that it loses its power over us. Then darkness becomes light. When we try to run and escape from darkness, it overwhelms us.
Intelligence versus consciousness
One distinction that the Master makes is one I have long noted in my own books and writings. He says that while human beings can construct intelligent machines, we are a long way from creating conscious machines.
Intelligence is the manipulator of knowledge, while consciousness knows itself. (56% of the way through Kindle edition)
This observation - relatively simple to any layperson - is the fundamental error that lies behind the transhuman movement – the idea that humans are going to upload their minds onto computers and achieve immortality. (Despite the silliness of this, it would make for an interesting story. Maybe the next of my short stories will deal with this!)
The other major error of the transhumanists is their failure to understand the complex nature of consciousness, and that it is not merely a flat property generated by the physical brain. The non-localised nature of consciousness (extending beyond the brain and into other dimensions) and the existence of the etheric body need to be taken into account. Fascinatingly, the Master touches upon this as he explains how an intelligent machine might be made:
By duplicating the attachments between the elemental and energetic bodies that occur in nature in a purpose-designed machine, a controllable conscious machine can be devised. A living soul attached to a machine will be conscious… (57% of the way through Kindle edition)
This implies a dualist system - mind and brain/machine as separate things - but that in itself is no reason to dismiss it. My experience leads me to conclude that consciousness and the brain are indeed two different phenomena, though intricately interrelated in human life on this planet. It is certainly possible that they may both be an expression of a fundamental underlying construct, but that is purely an intellectualism on my behalf – I have no direct perception of it.
The Master of the Key also says that we need to amplify human intelligence a hundredfold, and that intelligent machines will help in this respect. Fascinatingly, the single event which really launched my own exploration of the frontiers of human intelligence and consciousness occurred about nineteen years ago, when a female spirit guide with long brown hair appeared in my room during light sleep, and passed some important messages to me. She told me that I was using precisely three per cent of my innate intelligence. Since then I have seen that this retardation of our potential intelligence is pervasive right across the human race. I have always maintained that a significant development of Integrated Intelligence can help address this deficit in our innate intelligence. However, the Master indicates that artificial intelligence can also be a powerful boost to intelligence. I have no argument with that, merely to suggest that in order to utilise that machine intelligence appropriately, our spiritual nature must be more fully expressed. As the Master states, we are currently “soul blind”.
Consumerism and death
One other timely warning from the Master is that the consumer society is destructive:
After the suffering you are about to endure, mankind will never again lust after material wealth. You are about to suffocate in your own garbage. (51% of the way through Kindle edition)
Terrible as the metaphor is, this is not an earth shattering conclusion to draw, and I have to concur with the essence of it. It truly amazes me that even as the evidence for the horrendous pollution of oceans, land and air mounts, we are still investing energy into turning the planet into a giant consumer machine. In Asia, almost every nation seems to be following the same insane path to destruction: China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia… Those that follow the path and register high GDP levels are “rewarded” by the economic system. The rest of the world envies their “growth”. Investors from abroad rush in to make a “killing”. Yet these countries are the winners in a loser’s game (as are we all). The irony is that the whole system is rotten. Hyper materialistic futures are what I call “Money and Machines Futures” (as opposed to Deep Futures), and they are “impoverished” futures in the full sense of the word. The filth that is currently being pumped into the rivers, oceans and air in Asia is beyond imagining.
The Master links all this to our having a “death wish”.
People give up on themselves. They do it down deep inside, in places that the elemental mind, that is contained in the brain, cannot access… They do this when they see themselves committing the same errors they have returned to correct. When they give up on ascension, they devote themselves to the ‘acquisition” of material. But what does this really mean – that they can be near coveted objects while they are in the physical? The obsession with material is a symptom of despair. (60%)
The death wish is a genuine component of many a mind. I have found it within my own shadow. Freud was right (and despite the fact that he is out of fashion in mainstream cognitive science, I have seen that Freud was right about many, many things, despite his getting the big picture wrong). The Master may well be correct that the current most common expression of human culture is guiding us towards doom, and that deep down we already know it.
The Master says that sin is “denial of the right to thrive.” Personally, I think this is an excellent working definition of what drives much of human evil. That denial is a function of the desire for power and control over others and nature. But it’s a chicken and egg situation. What came first, the power and control complex, or the rejection of Spirit? My answer is that this problematique represents a dynamic feedback loop, constantly reinforcing itself.
Now, let’s take a look at just a few problematic aspects of The Key.
Meditate or disintegrate!
The Master tells Strieber that if a person does not establish a close relationship with the radiant body via meditation or some mindful process, the soul disintegrates and is lost. Personally, I do not feel that this is entirely correct. Firstly, I have had many instances of intuitive communication with relatives of mine who have passed on, including some who I can only describe as “extremely unconscious” – alcoholics, wife bashers, those who committed suicide, the mentally ill and so on (thanks God for the tests!). As one extreme example, my maternal grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and barely had a spiritual molecule in her body. Yet I have directly perceived her psyche on numerous times since she died. If anybody was going to “disintegrate”, it would be her! To be honest, sometimes I wish she would disintegrate, as her psychic projections are very difficult to deal with! What I have seen of her leads me to believe that she may be undergoing some healing in whatever space she finds herself in. Thus it seems to be that we can continue to explore and grow even after death, in the space between lives.
However, it is true that if a person’s psyche becomes extremely scattered, they effectively lose control of their minds. They become insane. Healing is then required. Meditation and mindfulness could be extremely beneficial for such people, but it is also true that some degree of medication may be required to get them to the point where they can assume responsibility for their minds. Once a person reaches a certain point of insanity (disintegration), it is very, very difficult for them to come back. I know this from personal experience with relatives. Thus it is better to be mindful before “losing it”, rather than after!
The dead cannot influence the living
The Master states that the dead cannot influence the living, saying: “They have not the knowledge or wisdom to make themselves heard.” (23%). This is definitely not correct in my experience. The dead continue to influence the energy fields of the living, especially those whom they have had strong relationships with while they were alive. For example, my father’s energy still influences me from time to time, as I have not processed all the emotional issues that I developed with him over the years while he was living; and he has certainly not dealt with all his own baggage! Minds tend to become psychically entangled with those whom they have emotional connections to. For example, if part of you is (consciously or unconsciously) angry at your late mother for her failure to adequately love you, chances are you will retain strong psychic links to her after her death. In some cases such psychic links can be quite destructive, if these issues between the living and dead are intense.
Compassion is giving to others
The Master says that compassion is;
Finding what others need the most and giving it to them…In a (compassionate) world, it is everybody’s duty and delight to find what every other they come into contact with needs most from them, and give it to them.
I think that there is a profound truth in this, and selfishness and narcissism have become real problems, right across the world. Nonetheless, there is the potential for the Master’s definition of compassion to be used in a self-limiting way. Many people do not know what their spirit needs, and simply giving them something they think they want may be assisting them in a self-stultifying behavior. One must exercise discretion, and not simply submit to the will of others’ demands.
The other factor here is that the act of spiritual empowerment is “selfish” in a certain sense of the word. Seekers has to be vigilant in the refusal to submit to the control and power that others attempt to exercise over them. Many others will not understand the journey you take, so saying “no” to them is crucial.
Escaping the earth
There is a recurring theme in The Key that “escaping” the earth is crucial to the survival of our species. For example, the Master says:
Your enemy does not want it to end. They fear you too much. When you see UFOs, you see prison guards. They also act within your society to confuse you about your own past, and to prevent progress in areas such as propulsion, which might enable you to spread into the Heavens. This is all done to prevent you from escaping. (49%)
Perhaps this is true. Yet my own understanding is that enlightenment – “Heaven” if you like – is already here on Earth, right now. We just have to allow Heaven to descend by seeing through the delusions of the mind, and its constant attempts to escape the present moment by moving attention to a non-existent future or a (distorted) remembered past. One of the prime delusions of the mind is that it can escape. The truth is there is no escape. There is no better “up there and beyond.” Again, this is one of the aspects of the text that I feel have been somewhat distorted by Whitley Strieber’s personal issues. And it is an absolutely crucial one. Enlightenment happens here and now, or it never happens.
Despite imperfections, The Key has more than enough stimulation, and more than enough useful information to make it a very worthwhile read for many spiritual seekers. It does not offer any simple solutions, nor offer a definitive roadmap forward. Does this reflect the Master’s lack of desire to spoon feed us? Or Whitley Strieber’s imperfect rendering of his message? I shall leave that for the reader to determine.
Let me just end this post with a quote from the book which sums up for me why this book is well worth reading and contemplating. Strieber writes:
The Master of the Key offers clarity where there is now confusion, and if one is open to his message and the new ideas it contains, unexpected vistas of discovery present themselves, as one is led toward the promise of new knowledge, where questions beckon that are as yet scarcely imagined among us.
I am not sure that the Master’s message is always clear, but he certainly does invite one to open up to new vistas of knowledge, while pointing the reader in directions that are, in my humble opinion, well worth exploring. Finally, one statement of the Master‘s is well worth meditating upon.
You human beings are right on the edge of becoming a conscious species. That is why we are here. We’re midwives to your birth.
The Master of the Key says that the fate of humanity will be decided in the next 100 years. There will be, he says, sudden and massive catastrophic changes. If that is correct, it is all the more reason why all of us need to pay careful attention to the voice of Spirit within and beyond us.