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Authors: Joseph Chilton Pearce

The Crack in the Cosmic Egg

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THE CRACK IN THE COSMIC EGG
"THE CRACK IN THE COSMIC EGG
is the Phoenix rising from the ashes."
-- Alan Watts
"The book itself is impossible to pin down and analyze; it allows only
for being experienced and absorbed through the skin of eyes and intuition
. . . If you are game for some creative, inventive thinking, this book
can provide the spark for many upsetting controversies.
-- The Critic
"A uniquely challenging brain-cracker, one that offers a constant
interplay among the ideas of Blake, Bruner, Jesus, Laing, Polyani,
Teilhard, Tillich, and Castaneda."
-- Publishers Weekly
"The most disturbing and stimulating book I have read in many years."
-- Parapsychology Review
Selected by Psychology Today Book Club
THE CRACK IN THE COSMIC EGG
Challenging Constructs of Mind & Reality
Joseph Chilton Pearce
© 1971
ISBN 0-671-44388-7
First Pocket Books Printing January, 1973
To the memory of my wife
Patricia Ann
mother of five
There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
-- WALT WHITMAN
contents
introduction xi
1. circles and lines 1
2. valves and solvents 19
3. blueprints and viewpoints 49
4. questions and answers 63
5. mirror to mirror 84
6. fire-burn 104
7. behold and become 116
8. mythos and logos 141
9. don Juan and Jesus 162
10. vision and reflection 190
references and notes 199
bibliography 213
introduction
Almost a decade has passed since I first experienced the crack in my own
cosmic egg, and made tentative attempts to translate it into communicable
form. A certain urgency underlay my efforts, for I felt frustrated by a
lack of both technique and background, and outpaced by a growing social
outrage and general collapse of cultural logic.
In spite of the radical, fundamental, and shattering effect of the crack
personally, it simply would not translate into the common domain. My
concern was social, and I hoped for some charismatic formula for altering
the broad stream leading to destruction. But the crack remained, and
still remains, a fragile, lonely way of nonstatistical balance in a
rough statistical world.
I searched for that explosive translation that would magically halt
the grinding forces of war, ease our ideological hatreds, and abate our
wholesale battenings on our brothers' blood. I longed to find some clever
cosmic sign, signalling abroad the way for mass exodus from a Naked Ape
despair, and leading to that ecstasy of being fully human. I have ended,
at best, with the hope that I might be heard by two or three suffering
our common concern, recognizing the dilemma of logical demise, and willing
to gather together to explore the crack as a mutual way down and out.
When logic bankrupts it empties the coffers of possibility. And now, as
Orwell's
1984
shapes its fantasy about us, our need for alternatives
is acute -- but alternatives are absent from the scene.
Here in this crack alternatives
abound
-- but only for that lone
reader, driven, perhaps, to hate a world of instant death, shifting enemy
symbols, perpetually stimulated fears and hatreds, economic servitude,
psychological enslavement, and general absence of joy; a world where
alternatives polarize into equally abhorrent either-ors; a world of
logic that at its best has conceived the antiballistic missile -- that
combatting of direct death with an equally-sure death once removed;
a world where leaders tend to become that very thing they behold and
declare most intolerable; where Pentagons and CIA's, assuming the role of
problem-solvers; tend to bring about the very events which make necessary,
verify the assumptions of, and justify the existence and techniques of,
Pentagons and CIA's; where the only known underground railway is run by
an opposition leading back into the common circles of despair.
My generation boasts its accomplishments, and wonders that our young might
spurn the splendors offered. Yet there are those who read the price tag,
and find the cost of psyche, life, and hope to be too high. And so I
write for that reader who cannot stand where he is and has no place to
go. I write of an alternative that is a kind of excluded middle in this
logical impasse.
There is a third alternative in this world of exclusive either-ors, but
the way out is a way
beyond
, not a rehashing of ruined ingredients. The
delusion of problem-solving is the first false hope that must be
abandoned, for problem-solving tends to be circular. The techniques
used to solve a problem determine the nature of the solutions with
which we must then live. Problem-solving is like patching holes in a
rotten boat; for each patch applied, two more leaks spring up. There are
times when a way out is needed that is not available to logical patching
techniques. There are times when we need a way beyond rotten hulks, a way
not for restructuring a new boat or even a serviceable life jacket, but
rather some submariner's way through a sea of confusion to new terrain.
I can only approach the crack obliquely, using ordinary language that
includes those unknown but highly charged "trigger-words" we all carry,
words that block hearing, words having overtones drowning out the
fundamental intended. Further, my alternative suffers the old dilemma of
"don't go near the water until you can swim." For I must question archaic
assumptions that not only underlie science and religion equally, but
which go to the very roots of our culture and are accepted unconsciously.
To question such concepts is to question the very ground on which we
sitand. So I can only plunge the reader in immediately,. asking him
for a bit of faith and water-treading through these first pages, until,
hopefully, more tangible grounds for understanding form.
Mind over matter is a misleading notion, and not the issue here. I have,
however, traced the
relation
of mind and reality, as complementary
poles of a continuum, and have found, for instance, that a spontaneous
healing in a terminal patient occurs in the same way that a discovery
forms in science, an illumination in religion, or that change of concept
which turns the student into the mature physicist.
When the Hindu walks through a pit of white-hot charcoal, or the scientist
experiences his
Eureka!
that opens new levels of reality, each uses
the same reality-shaping function of mind. This book traces the pattern
of development underlying this function, paying particular attention
to the formation of answers to passionate questions, or the filling of
empty categories proposed by creative imagination. The empty category
proposed by a scientist, for instance, brings about its own fulfillment
in the same way, and for the same reasons, that a popular disease is
entertained, promoted by publicity, feared by all, and watched for in the
contemporary form of physician-priest and patient-supplicant, until it
fulfills itself on a statistically predictable and self-verifying basis.
While my book explores this mirroring of thinking and experience, I avoid
philosophical arguments, such as the "reality" of the world. What I have
explored, in this personal search, is the way we experience a world,
and, more importantly, the way this relation influences that world
so experienced.
Our reality is influenced by our notions
about
reality, regardless of
the nature of those notions. No notion can arise in isolation from, or
stand outside, the current fabric of all our notions. My book has been
shaped within the context of cultural beliefs in which I find myself,
so I must consider some of the many current influences, even though
these conflict and my aim is to go beyond them.
Peter McKellar writes that: "Dislike of the models that have become the
symbols of an opposing school of thought may partially or completely seal
off the work of one thinker from another, until some third thinker notices
that they are both saying something worthy of impartial attention."
My attention is hardly impartial, but I think I can sketch a third-man
theme by drawing the similarities between apparently unrelated fields. I
hope to show that many recent developments, though insulated one from
the other, are lines pointing toward the same functional "crack in the
cosmic egg."
Our cosmic egg is the sum total of our notions of what the world is,
notions which define what reality can be for us. The crack, then, is a
mode of thinking through which imagination can escape the mundane shell
and create a new cosmic egg. The crack is that "twilight between the
worlds" found by the young anthropologist, Carlos Castaneda, in his study
of the Yaqui Indian sorcerer, don Juan, and his "Way of Knowledge." The
crack is found as well in that "narrow gate" of Jesus' Way of Truth. The
crack is an open end, going beyond the broad, statistical way of the
world.
Readers will think of many pros and cons which I should have acknowledged,
but to keep my work within bounds I have selectively chosen my supporting
material, and selectively ignored arguments not fitting my purpose.
The implications of the crack have expanded exponentially, and I have
had to limit those past notions and current studies which point up the
growing awareness of an unbroken continuum between mind and reality. I
have used these sources in the hope of both clarifying and verifying
my translation, but I must state clearly that I cannot claim
their
sanction for
my
efforts, though I do not think I have used others
against their own purposes or too reductively.
The last portion of my book is theological in intent, though hardly
calculated to win applause from the pulpit. Readers looking for divine
absolutes, closed systems of security, or neat formulas and directives,
may find these last chapters inconclusive. The crack contains an enormous,
indeed romanfic, optimism, however, by which I hope to counter our
current passion for nihilistic self-doubt.
An awareness of the creative force of mind is springing up increasingly,
after a gestation of nearly two millennia. If the dark forces of the
Pentagon or the technician mentality do not destroy us in their death
throes of naive realism, the childhood of Man could well draw to a close
within our own time. Then it may be that we shall "seize the tiller of the
world," as Teilhard de Chardin dreamed. This seizure can only take place
as a "crack in the egg," whatever shape the egg might have by then. The
reality-shaping function operates automatically in spite of us, but this
breath of life that structures all things is also the deepest level of our
very minds, and available to any of us, even now. The technique for making
this function consciously available will be clarified, hopefully, in
the following pages -- for that reader with perseverance and an open mind.
J.C.P.
Williamstown, Massachusetts
June 1970
THE CRACK IN THE COSMIC EGG
1
circles and lines
There is a relationship between what we
think
is out there in the
world and what we experience as being out there. There is a way in which
the energy of thought and the energy of matter modify each other and
interrelate. A kind of rough mirroring takes place between our mind and
our reality.
We cannot stand outside this mirroring process and examine it, though,
for we
are
the process, to an unknowable extent. Any technique we
might use to look objectively at our reality becomes a part of the event
in question. We are an indeterminatety large part of the function that
shapes the reality from which we do our looking. Our looking enters as
one of the determinants in the reality event that we see.
This mirroring between mind and reality can be analyzed, and more actively
directed, if we can suspend some of our ordinary assumptions. For
instance, the
procedure
of mirroring must be considered the only
fixed element, while the
products
of the procedure must be considered
relative. William Blake claimed that perception was the universal,
the perceived object was the particular.
What
is discovered by man is
never the "universal" or cosmic "truth." Rather, the
process
by which
the mind brings about a "discovery" is itself the "universal."
Jerome Bruner, of Harvard's Center for Cognitive Studies, doubts
that there is a world available for "direct touch." We are not in a
subjective trap of our own making, either. Rather, we
represent
the
world to ourselves and
respond
to our representations. There is, I
would add, a subtle and random way in which "the world" responds to our
representations too. Naive realism and naive idealism must be equally
dismissed if we are to grasp the mirroring function of mind and reality
toward which Bruner points.
The reader is referred to the author's
BOOK: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
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