Revelation is ‘data’ from outside the sphere of human knowledge and understanding. Much of human history has been directed by the revelations of those that claim to have had a VPN with god or some higher realms. It is tempting as humans, with our limited view of an immense cosmos in which we find ourselves, to believe that there is a greater knowledge outside of ourselves, as individuals or in the collective. Perhaps there is- we’ll leave that argument for a later time- for the problem here lays with the conduits of those so–called revelations. These prophets of the ineffable knowledge -Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed et al, hand us mere mortals, lost as we are in the big bad universe, our compass, meaning, our raison de etre ; Nicely but often contrarily packaged ideologies by which to lead our lives. It’s almost irresistible then to believe, and to hope, that there are those that have that direct access at whose feet we can sit. And therefore, for want of true knowledge, cultures throughout our relatively short human history have relied on soothsayers, mystics, shamans, priests, wizards and visionaries.
Enter one Serge Benhayon; hardly in the league of the long established and therefore debatable religious luminaries; yet the subject of our musings. Here we find one such self professed conduit to truth. Not anointed by tradition, signs or circumstance ; instead awakened, he claims, while in the very mortal act of defecating. Unlike some his forebears, the so-called wisdom lacks finesse, but has all the contradictory hallmarks of revelations before it. It begs belief in the supernatural, denies the world, then asks us to betray what is before our eyes and to believe what is not; and to rely on pseudo-science while denying the hard fought for scientific method as manipulative.
His revelations are in fact mostly repackaged new age mumbo-jumbo, half-cooked ideas gleaned from dark corners of the internet, ideas flavoured by discredited fringe authors and new age mystics. They are convenient too, often in response to criticism leveled at him, or due to his followers behaving in a way he finds unsatisfactory.
The man himself has a highly questionable background. His self penned biography is colourful and fanciful enough to hint that not all is as it seems, which with some rudimentary investigation turns out to be the case. At least he is consistent with those of his milieu. One is reminded of this pertinent description of L Ron Hubbard by his Judge Paul G. Breckenridge who presided over an unsuccessful 1984 defamation suite of his biographer, Gerry Armstrong:
The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile. At the same time it appears that he is charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, controlling, manipulating and inspiring his adherents. He has been referred to during the trial as a “genius,” a “revered person,” a man who was “viewed by his followers in awe.” Obviously, he is and has been a very complex person and that complexity is further reflected in his alter ego, the Church of Scientology.
Cults are notorious for losing defamation actions. One wonders why.
Serge, alleged member of the hierarchy, a recent invention of the new age movement, insists that some ancient wisdom drives a ‘Plan’ that he serves and he bangs his students on their collective heads with day and night. I am fond of the irony that he claims a lineage with Leonardo da Vinci as it gives me a juxtaposition on which to nail the very real argument that Serge’s second rate revelations are an attempt to take people back to the dark ages that Leo was at the vanguard of extinguishing.
Of course there is no ancient wisdom, just as there is no hierarchy. Before the enlightenment, there was theism, superstition, starvation and stupidity foisted on very short and bitter lives. Post enlightenment, a few humans have had the courage to put their hand up and say it was all a load of bollocks. And here we are today, jetting first class around the world, exploring the boundaries of the universe, plumbing the fabric of reality and atomic particles, living twice as long, curing diseases and having infuriatingly comfortable lives. Wisdom has in fact been hard won by courageous few and on the shoulders of others. Not by revelations of mystics and madmen pulling veritable rabbits out of hats; or in Serge’s case, mystics, madman and charlatans pulling enlightenment out of his backside.
Sapere aude- Dare to be wise.
And so to the question of what is enlightenment.
In his famous paper, Kant proposed that enlightenment is the having the courage to use one’s own intellect and reason without guidance from another. He argued, quite rightly, that we humans are intellectually lazy and allow the precepts, ideas, dogma’s and views of others, be it family, society, religions or institutions to shape our worldview and guide us blindly into an intellectual and spiritual abyss.
Humans on the whole are sleepers. We live in a twilight world of unexamined ideas, second hand information, misinterpretations, and misshapen views- but the desire for meaning is strong within us all.
Without the faculty of reason, sharpened, utilised and fearless-we have no choice but to let others guide us to it rather than discovering our own.
However, most, if not all, of the Unimed students have in common the germane seed of desire for meaning which they confuse with truth; driven by dimly recognising that what they understand about themselves is opaque, and what the world presents them is as confused as their perceptions of it. Truth, they think, shimmers promisingly on the horizon much like an oasis in the desert.
Serge, and other cult’s and their leaders, exploit this desire by presenting them with a ready-made “truth”. Serge’s is particularly devious, not because he calls his ‘revelations’ TRUTH (one-unified truth- an alarming misnomer if ever there was one)- No, that is common with cults, religions and dogmas; but because he deceives his followers into BELIEVING that they haven’t simply adopted a new dogma over their preexisting beliefs. They are left thinking they possess and unadulterated truth which the rest of us poor souls are deceived into not seeing by outside agencies or because of unhealed psychological trauma’s- which ever is most convenient in discrediting those that fail to come to heel. He then asks them to drink from the well of his ‘knowledge- his revelations’, by materializing an oasis before them. More insidiously, he robs them of their ability to direct themselves and realize full potential in their very real short lives, by tricking them into repressing their intellects and emotions so they will become slaves to his feeble ‘philosophies’.
While the desire for truth may be there, what the ‘students’ lack is the learned and practiced ability to examine the source of the information, find alternatives, reason what is presented and the courage to make a decision on their own therefore discovering their own meaning- because of themselves and by themselves. It’s a long, dry walk in the desert.
It may be a solitary and hard road, but for those that decide to take it, there are many other souls to be found at its inevitable destination, in a true and open minded communion of self realised meaning circled by an ardent desire to remain open to possibility. That is how we go forward. Not by casting a look over our shoulder at the dark past and imagining a wisdom that doesn’t exist, and especially not by accepting the revelations of faulty vessels and subjugating ourselves to their insipid visions.
If there is a god, then I am sure he blessed us with intellect, reason and will for that very purpose. Not to follow the ‘revelations’ of others; be it religion, a movement, friends, society at large, or an insignificant man whose only legacy is embitterment of those he disaffects.
Instead those rare people who have the courage to trust their own reason, will impress the universe which blessed them with their consciousness allowing them to be able to look back at themselves and cast aside their fear of mortality, and awaken to the possibilities and meaning that reason can help discover. It’s evidence all about us.
Here’s where you start. You admit you know nothing. And you acknowledge ignorance does not recognise wisdom, and that revelation is the dream of those that want to remain ignorant.
Serge is a font of modern day ignorance. An ordinary intellect infused with an extraordinary ego, preying on those souls who lack the courage, or even the knowledge that they can, think for themselves. Drink from his well with caution; while it tastes cool and refreshing, the faux-ambrosia soon leaves a bitter and lingering taste that is in fact a poison that robs you of your awareness, your intellect, your life and your self-determination.
It is, in reality, a path to temporal damnation. And Serge is a demon in disguise.