Levels Of Perception
Dr. Heiner is a scientist who never goes out of his way to admire flowers much less beautiful women. His garden is the lab filled with flasks and test tubes. To him people are homo-sapiens with a tortuous evolution behind them, while society is simply a collection of humans living under a perpetual truce. But when one day he fell in love with the woman who cleaned his lab, she was no longer homo-sapiens or homo-habilis to him, but simply a sweetheart (probably homo amoroso) without whom he could not live.
What happened? I think the poor Dr. Heiner must have stepped down to a lower level of perception, where instinct plays a major part. However, there is an evolutionary advantage in the fact that the doctor bowed to his instinct. Isn’t it written in his genes? For if humankind were, in dealing with the fair sex, to use the upper level of perception all the time, in this case high level reasoning, then human species would have perished a long time ago, unable to reproduce and ‘fill the earth’.
Finally, Dr. Heiner’s higher level of perception (a legacy of life spent in deep scientific research) stood as an obstacle in his ill-fated love affair and the romance had therefore to come to an abrupt end with the same swiftness with which it appeared in the first place.
On the other side of the world, Zeru joined the armed struggle for the libration of Eritrea in the 1970s. Steeped in Marxist philosophy and burning with the highly charged anti-colonial sentiments of the time, he saw Eritrea as a country abandoned and betrayed, and thus made his mind to free it and its people from the misery and degradation into which it had fallen.
Zeru was one of those incorruptible souls who had already burned the dross of egoism, opportunism, prejudice and sectarianism that tainted the Revolution from its early days. He was, as it were, a progressive fighter who saw things objectively as far as the policies and political programs of the country were concerned. What was good for the people, he thought, was good enough for him. He was simply using his analytical mind to solve the problem of his country and his people.
But then one day he found himself in the leadership, with those who owned and steered the Revolution. All of a sudden, his thoughts began to make a sharp turn; there was after all a power to be grabbed. He saw things subjectively. He became confrontational, adamant, and unable to see reason. He became fanatical and threatened those who thought differently. Finally he led a committee that liquidated ‘dangerous elements’ within the Revolution.
Zeru would brook no opposition from anyone, even from himself. He was to become one of those terror groups that are leading the country to its doom at present.
Dr. Heiner and Zeru have one thing in common. They both stepped down from a higher level of perception to a lower one just so they could ingratiate their common human instincts. While the doctor hurt no more than a cleaning woman who must have later found her type somehow and somewhere, Zeru helped to make the lives of millions a nightmare.
Now let’s for the sake of simplicity imagine six levels of perception going down from top to bottom: 1. Revelation or inspiration 2. Scientific reasoning and logic 3. Common sense 4. Instinctive and subjective reasoning 5. Inactivated or passive reasoning 6. Inverted reasoning.
The first level, which is revelation or inspiration, includes deep meditation and metaphysical speculations. In this state, reason simply fades away together with objectivity and finds itself in a metaphysical world where thoughts are manufactured from nothing. This is mostly the domain of seers, philosophers and prophets. However, scientists can sometimes be included in this category inasmuch as they, at certain moments, do ‘commune’ with the ‘infinite’ and see the shape of things to come in the form of unfinished theories and formulas.
This doesn’t mean, however, that scientists get their theories and discoveries directly through inspiration but such illuminations may help them to see links in the complicated chains of laws, relationships and patterns. Hence, that their success is 99% perspiration (deep scientific research) and 1% inspiration should never be disregarded. Even the holiest of saints wouldn’t arrive at any kind of scientific discovery simply by praying, meditating or communing with the infinite.
The second level which is that of scientific reasoning and logic doesn’t need clarification here, for it is the basis for all scientific discoveries and inventions. Columbus used it to discover America. Newton relied on it to formulate his gravitational theories. Socrates applied it to confound his detractors. And Zeru must have felt its persuasive force as he expounded his social and philosophical beliefs before his fall.
The third one, which is common sense, applies to all people with a sound mind and well-balanced emotional disposition. These are the people whose judgment is respected by all and who are swayed neither by the promise of a reward or the threat of a punishment to express their ideas or reject what is irrational and unprofitable. Such had been our freedom fighters before they fell into the PFDJ’s trap.
The fourth level, that of instinctive and emotive reasoning or reaction, applies mostly to those who are blind followers of any religion, cult or any ideology for that matter. These people think with their ‘hearts’, and reason with their ‘bile.’ The fire of fanaticism burns in their veins. They go around with their waist strapped with real or spiritual bombs to kill and brainwash innocent and unguarded souls. Such are to-days religious fanatics and born-agains. Such was to be Zeru’s fate after losing his bearing in the Revolution.
People in the claws of subjective reasoning (which comes under the fourth level) tend to rely on personal experience or illusion to do their work of instilling fear and helplessness into the people they want to bring to their fold. Moslem fanatics might have in the past used the sword to convert people, but Christians used a weapon more terrible than the sword or the strapped up bomb: a final and befitting reward of blazing hell and eternal damnation for those who refuse to bow to their illusion, preceded by a collective guilt based on a strange and uncalled for accusation that ‘God’ has died for you and because of you! The former might have killed the body only, but the latter simply destroyed and are still destroying free and searching souls.
I remember the time I was in Asmara during the Derg period when ‘communist’ cadres took the law into their own hands and went around indoctrinating the masses. I couldn’t see at that time any difference between the born-again firebrands who went around asking people if they had been saved and those thugs who wanted to have their own version of Marxism shoved down our throats for the ‘wellbeing’ of the state.
The fifth level, in which the reasoning power has been incapacitated and destroyed, is the domain of those who have relegated the function of thinking to the higher authority, to the master. Most Eritrean youngsters in military camps belong to this type. When they think and reflect, they are prompted by the power that rules over their bodies and souls. They are, as it were, zombies who have long forgotten how to think for themselves and how to manage their own lives.
The sixth and last level is reached when the victim begins to think upside down and inside out. It is the world of Alice, a world beyond the mirror. It is a carbon copy of our world and a rearranged cloning of our existence. In this dimension, you see the sun rising in the west and rivers rushing up mountains slopes and antelopes chasing away lions. In this dimension you see Lenin as a seal fur dealer in Siberia and Thomas Jefferson writing his Communist Manifesto in Virginia, etc.
When recently I watched on Eri-Tv some young zealot in the Sawa military camp singing to his audience (surrounded by fattened and bejeweled Eritrean matrons from Europe and America) to the effect that he had never seen a more fortunate generation than the one he was addressing at the time, I couldn’t believe my ears. It must be the end of the world, I said to myself.
But in one way he was right. If it hadn’t been for Sawa how could thousands of ‘lucky’ Eritrean youths cross to the neighboring country and then get transferred to America and Europe to finally be able to send the 2% alms to the government? If it hadn’t been for Sawa, who would have been ‘lucky’ enough to cross inhospitable deserts and murderous seas to participate in the PFDJ’s ubiquitous guailas (forced dancing) and indoctrination meetings? Surely, what the poor guy said was not very far from the truth, although a cruel truth. The only thing the poor guy should have done after the show was to proceed to America and sing the same song over and over again to those who made it there.
Another and similar victim of the sixth perception was also there in Sawa some years ago. He came up with similar provocation which he presented in a song called yigermena’lo which can be rendered: we are really unable to believe how the world is treating us. This song, however, should have been given to its rightful owner to perform. And in this case the person in question would be none else than the world community. It is the world community which is perplexed by what is going on in Eritrea and not vice-versa. But the helpless singer, conditioned as he was to see things upside down and inside out, did simply what he was trained to do, and should therefore be forgiven, for he didn’t know what he was doing.
Look what they are doing to our youths! They have already sent thousands to their early graves for a war they started themselves (they admitted it by paying more war reparation money to the ‘belligerent’ country)! I thought that such bizarre phenomena took place only in quantum worlds or black holes in outer space. I think the PFDJ must have come from distant stars!!
It should, however, be clear from the outset that the first level, which includes revelation and inspiration, is not the sole domain of religion as some people would have us believe. The diverse philosophies that have directed mankind’s thinking and upgraded its consciousness are all the result of deep meditation and inspiration. If therefore religion bases its truths on revelation or inspiration (the first level) it is because religion is after all nothing but universal divine philosophy whose followers, more often than not, tend to slip from the first level of perception down to the fourth and fifth, thereby degrading and tainting what was once noble and pure.
Since I started writing in Awate, I have received some emails that encouraged me to go on with my contributions, while others brimming as they were with hate, defamation and all kinds of insults that only fanatics take pleasure in, would rather have me remain quiet and passive. By fanatics I mean all those who are categorized under the fourth and fifth levels of perception.
It still remains a puzzle for me that the majority of our youngsters are losing their orientation and perspective and still know nothing about it. You find them either bewitched by the massive propaganda campaign launched by the Eri-tv or else they are members of some cults that fill their tender minds with all kinds of illusion and hallucination. Some have a very exclusive spiritual belief and are so strongly prejudiced against other Faiths that do not support their views, that if they had the power they would have willingly started the Crusades all over again. What’s going on? Even some of those I respected as educated and mature people seem to have left the rational world for good trying to solve the world’s social and spiritual problems with their narrow, sectarian and exclusive world outlook. I think they need to be saved!
Most of the youngsters I met in Shimelba and Mai Aini refugee camps are lost souls for a different reason. They have been had by the PFDJ. Aren’t they in need of salvation too, a salvation that comes by believing in your own self, in your mental and spiritual capacities, in your own worth as a human being created noble and free, a salvation that comes only by shunning all kinds of sub-religious, ideological and sectarian teachings that fill the mind with hallucination and delusion?
Indeed, most of our youngsters are but a cruel and gruesome souvenir bequeathed to us by the unscrupulous, repressive and tyrannical regime in Eritrea, a country that is leaving behind so many destroyed in body and spirit that it may take only drastic and even sometimes heretical approach to salvage what is humanly possible and revitalize the rest.
That’s why I am writing now, and will continue to write in the future, in this vein, persuaded as I am that a strange and outlandish disease calls for a peculiar and weird medicine.
Ours is a strange disease with no equivalent in the world except North Korea.
The PFDJ has at last succeeded to change Eritrea from a country into a case. Let’s hope it is not a terminal case!