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The Truth Vibrations
A review by Mike Fuller.
Whatever the estimate of it by academic philosophers in their cloistered wisdom, it can hardly be doubted that the phenomenon known as “New Age Thought” represents to many people the most vital philosophy currently on offer. Of course, it’s also true that very few people, if any at all, understand with much precision what “New Age Thought” actually is. This need not prevent an obscure faith in it by its many aficionados, and a possibly justified feeling that it has more to do with “real philosophy” and “things that really matter” than its more academically respectable rivals: the anaemic waltzes of much analytic philosophy; the funeral marches of Marxism; and that curious mixture of esoteric serenade and bullshitter’s bop known as contemporary Continental deconstructivo-partstructured- post-pissed-off-modernism.
One of the interesting things about David Icke’s book The Truth Vibrations is that it does make a serious and pretty successful attempt to present the apparently eclectic sprawl of the New Age in terms of something approaching a logically coherent system. Icke makes a concerted effort to blend together elements which partly overlap with those of Romanticism as a historical movement and overlap even more with those of the “Hippy Era” of the 1960s. If you want an explanation of what in the world, or in the universe, such things as energy, vibrations, ecology, Green politics, holistic medicine, alternative therapy, feminism, flying saucers, earthquakes, ley lines, stone circles, corn circles, religion, magic, psychology, myth, and mysticism have to do with each other, then you could do a lot worse than take a look at Icke’s book .
The central buzzwords, which seem to function rather as undefined primitive concepts of the whole New Age system, are ‘energy’ and ‘vibrations’. On the everyday level, in New Age terminology, these two terms appear interchangeable, the statements “Wow, that guy’s giving off uncool energies”, “Hey, that dude’s got bad vibes” and “That bloke with the tattooes and the pit bull terrier seems a bit hostile” all being roughly synonymous.
On a more theoretical level, however, the two terms appear to be not so much interchangeable as essentially related. In an account that has something in common with the theories of Indian yoga and Chinese chi kung, something in common with Plotinus’s Theory of Emanations, and (perhaps) something in common with contemporary physics, the basic story seems to be as follows: everything in the universe is energy which is vibrating at different rates or levels. Further, energy which is vibrating at rates different from our own cannot be perceived, or at least perceived clearly by us. From this it follows that the visible universe is in fact merely a limited perspective, taken from our own rate of vibration, of the much vaster universe of all levels of vibration, resulting in a world rich in unseen existences, dimensions, planes, entities, and even parts of our own unseen selves (vibrating at a higher rate than our normal waking brain consciousness, and so hidden from us). Mediums, mystics, and sensitives, like David Icke, are people who are vibrating at a sufficiently high rate to be aware of dimensions hidden from most of us.
There (if you’ll excuse me while I come over all academic for a moment) we seem to have the basic ontology and epistemology of the system. If we now introduce elements of theology, theodicy, teleology, and eschatology into the picture, we get something still more rich and strange, which affords us a chance to see how all those other things, like ley lines, alternative therapies, feminism, corn circles, etc., fit coherently into the basic story of energy and vibrations.
The many levels of vibrating energy in the universe are not just quivering away haphazardly. They are being guided and ordered by God and his controllers in an evolutionary direction, from the less spiritual towards the more spiritual. In the case of human beings, especially, this involves lifetimes of learning and improvement through reincarnation and karma. In terms of vibrating energy, Icke seems to say, the higher the rate of vibration the more an entity’s energy is spiritualised, and the more subtle and occult its existence and understanding; the lower the rate of vibration, the denser the existence and understanding of the entity.
At this point in the account, I confess, there did seem to be some obscurity in Icke’s otherwise coherent explanation. For, if I understand him correctly, apart from the upward evolution of energy vibration, the question of balance is allimportant, energetically, ecologically, spiritually, psychologically and, presumably, vibrationally also. I failed to understand quite how the question of balance and the question of spiritual evolution were supposed to be interrelated. Blockages and imbalances to the earth’s energy system as well as the human energy system seem to be responsible, in Icke’s view, for most of our current ills. Does he mean that if either of these energy systems are put out of balance or blocked by human intervention or other means, then the appropriate spiritual evolution is thwarted or regressed? And so proper balance is the precondition of right evolution? I was not totally clear.
At all events, upsets, imbalances, and blockages by misguided humans as well as by invisible beings with “bad vibes” are, to put it bluntly, messing us up and messing up the planet (which, being intrinsically connected to the whole universe, puts the whole universe at risk and out of balance, hampering evolution). Many of the political, social, and natural phenomena of our age are either protests from these sick energy systems or attempts to heal those same sick systems. Thus Icke predicts (on the advice of his spirit-messengers) a series of natural disasters in the near future, which are both the protests of the sick planet, as well as its attempts to heal itself, however traumatically, guided by superior powers and energies. Corn circles are apparently part of this effect.
Holistic medicine and alternative therapy fit into this picture as being the appropriate methods for healing blockages in the microcosm, mankind. Such treatments affect the energy systems of the body and spirit through working on their energy channels, similar to the meridians of Chinese chi kung and the nadis of Indian yoga. The planet Earth too has its own body and spirit and its own channels of energy, the ley lines. Ancient stone circles represent special centres of energy, as where, for instance, ley lines intersect. They are akin to the Earth’s acupuncture points. This was all understood by the ancients, such as the Druids, and is supposedly a knowledge still preserved in the Chinese art of geomancy, Feng Shui. Blockages in the earth’s energy system may be healed, analogously to blockages in the human energy system, by healers giving out “good vibes” in various ways. David Icke is apparently such a healer. Indeed, nearly a whole chapter of his book consists of an account of how he and some companions wandered round England and Canada, clearing up “bad vibes” on the planet.
Extra-terrestrials and flying saucers are what you would probably expect them to be: superior intelligences from other parts (perhaps even other dimensions) of the universe with their appropriately sophisticated transport. They are mostly good guys, here to help unblock blockages and guide evolution, but there are a few meanies about as well. Some of these folk are apparently in Peru.
Feminism figures in the New Age system in several guises: the Earth Mother; the coming age of Aquarius; the righting of blockages of unbalanced maleness; and the replacing of the energy particles at the earth’s core by a new substance, which will alter the earth’s polarity from positive to negative in relation to a planet called Constabor in another solar system. This would enhance the Earth’s “female, receptive, spiritual aspects and it would have a similar effect on us also.” (Icke, p.129).
The great merit of Icke’s book, I have suggested, is its explanation of so many New Age elements in terms of a logically coherent system. That is no mean feat, and provides a definite service not only to New Age adherents themselves, but also to the many people interested in knowing more about it and making sense of it all.
So much for the book’s merits. What of its flaws? I want to suggest doubts over four main areas.
(a) The trouble with logically coherent systems of philosophy, which is what Icke presents us with, is that they are prone to the charge that they are merely “fanciful harmonies of concepts” which correspond to nothing in the real world. But if this is so, then Icke is in good company, since the same charge may be levelled at the whole history of metaphysics, from Plato to Marx. In the terms made famous by Karl Popper, all such philosophical systems are “ideologies”, incapable of scientific proof. But the demand that a theory should (or even can) be capable of scientific proof – the position known as “positivism” – has come under strong attack in some recent philosophy, especially in the work of philosophers of science like T.S.Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend. The positivist demand that any true theory should be capable of scientific proof is itself a questionbegging evaluation as to what constitutes ‘truth’ and ‘good evidence’. Science, Feyerabend has argued, is logically no different from any other ideology which stipulates its own criteria of ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’; it just happens to be the dominant ideology in our age and our culture, and so ‘enforces’ its values on us. This whole area, which essentially concerns the relationship between fact, theory and value, is still very much at the forefront of contemporary philosophical enquiry. Suffice to say that the charge that Icke’s theories are incapable of scientific proof in no way implies a decisive criticism of those theories; it does however imply a tangled thicket of philosophical problems about truth, value, fact, and theory.
(b) Another doubt – which probably owes something to my own prejudices – is that Icke’s coherent system allows in too many elements which, while all logically possible, nevertheless strike me as frankly a bit dippy. I find it hard to swallow extra-terrestrials, flying saucers, the “ancient civilization of Mu”, and the contention (revealed by spirit message) that the Earth’s core is changing to a substance called ‘berkelium’.
In similar vein, the spirit-prophecies received by Icke and his companions are not always as convincing as he seems to find them. He is so proud of the accuracy of the messages received from a spirit-being called Attarro concerning the Gulf War that he includes them in a special “Afterword” to his book. Here is a sample;-
“Then, on January 14th, two days before the war began, came this:
A blatant attack will precipitate the anger within the next 58 hours. The defence will have a difficult time as weapons have been well hidden and the secrecy of combat will come as a surprise. Jerusalem’s leader will play a large part and will come to the notice of the people before the end of the week.” (Icke, p.144)
Not bad, Attarro, not bad. But couldn’t most ordinary mortals have come up with similar rather vague predictions given their knowledge of the situation ?
(c) Another connected doubt concerns the way that the whole New Age mentality might seem prone to the dangers of slipping too easily into fantasy, and falling prey to various forms of charlatanry, conscious or unconscious, spiritual elitism and “energy snobbery”. Personally I have no problems with the claim that people’s thoughts and feelings (‘vibrations’, if you prefer) can affect other beings around them. But if a central part of perennial religious philosophy (which David Icke’s book essentially is) concerns humility, honesty, and self-effacement, the self-conscious “healing of bad vibes” via solemnly walking round stone circles and so forth might seem to run the risk of turning into an egotistical fantasy of selfimportance. The trouble with relying on “subjective inwardness” and “feeling the vibes” in trying to divine the truth is, as Kierkegaard had the honesty to remark concerning his own championing of such “inwardness”, that it is not easy to always distinguish “inner truth” from fantasy and delusion.
(d) My last doubt concerns what has always struck me as an incurably sentimental attitude towards Nature which seems to be an intrinsic part of New Age thinking, almost amounting to a dogma. Icke appears no different from the others in this respect. We are left with the definite impression that, apart from mankind’s ham-fisted intrusions, Nature is “lervly, peaceful, harmonious, and wunnerful.”
Whilst I by no means wish to deny that mankind has messed up the planet, I do want to protest at what seems the sheerest myopia concerning Nature’s true character. Where have these people been all their lives? Are they blind? Haven’t they realized yet that Nature as a whole ecological system sustains itself by its various parts destroying and devouring each other, often with appalling suffering? None of that is mankind’s doing. Do they think gazelles get off on being eaten by lions, or worse, escaping wounded to die a slow and painful death? Or, given the New Age view that something like conscious energy and feeling pertains to most entities, do they believe that trees enjoy being stifled and starved by parasitic creepers?
Surely any honest person must admit that Nature is not quite so “wunnerful” as the New Age suggests, and it seems a curious kind of spiritual blindness, a sort of human-centred callousness, that would have us believe it is.
What effect will “New Age Philosophy” have on mainstream academic philosophy? I predict it will have some. Figures like Feyerabend and Heidegger have arguably already half-opened the door to it. And a growing disillusionment with the sterility of much of the current analytic, poststructuralist, and postmodernist status quo might well lead to a tentative flirtation with New Age ideas.
I rather doubt we shall see many academic philosophers guiding their students round stone circles, or silently tuning into group energies in their classes. But it is possible that there may be a whole new species of careerist “New Age” academic, perhaps culled from the ranks of jaded postmodernists, who will run breathlessly around pontificating abstractly about the dangers of abstract pontification. After all, there are already a fair few Heidegger scholars who have carved lucrative careers from hustling around the conference circuit informing everyone that Heidegger’s central message is how we ought not to hustle around so much.
© Mike Fuller 1991
The Truth Vibrations by David Icke, published by Aquarian Press at £4.99 paperback.
Mike Fuller’s first book, Truth, Value and Justification has just been published by Avebury.