How to Survive the Empire

Pic: therightclick (cc)

Pic: therightclick (cc)

It takes very little today to get many of us into froth over global injustice, the rape of the earth, the bombing of children, the mistreatment of captives; the list goes on and on.  It is as if we are in some kind of violent squeeze, penance for past sins, or just wicked men behaving wickedly.  Regardless of whom or what is behind the endless cavalcade of charred carcasses, those of us who look on in horror feel a sense of grief; inability to change as if we were in the middle of a living, breathing night terror from which we cannot awake.  But how do we fight this beast of a million heads that mines our hearts for the last drop of fear and anxiety it can draw until we collapse, punctured and poisoned by its necrotizing fangs?

If ever there was a growing sense that we are still under the rule of a malevolent empire, that time is now.

Phillip K. Dick wrote a manic and brilliant exegesis; his very own cosmology.  And whether we choose to look at it as total insanity, or a divine inspiration, there are a few points that struck me deeply as I read them:

41. The Empire is the institution, the codification, of derangement; it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one.

 42. To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox: whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.

 These two points beg the question, ‘How do we fight something that through fighting will turn us into the very thing we oppose?’  This the riddle of every peace activist out there, how to stand against something so vile as to never lash out and fight fire with fire.  How can we Obi Wan Kenobi-ify ourselves to become unstoppable against this empire?

It would seem that we mustn’t approach this beast on it’s own terms, but must change the way we see the world and therefore become transfigured into something that the beast cannot reach.   But we cannot do this until we understand the nature of the reality in which we live and therefore look for the hacks and loopholes that will allow us to not be vandalized as others might be:

48. ON OUR NATURE. It is proper to say: we appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, although we have correctly recorded and stored thousands of years of experiental information, and each of us possesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms, there is a malfunction — a failure – of memory retrieval . There lies the trouble in our particular subcircuit. ‘Salvation’ through gnosis — more properly anamnesis (the loss of amnesia) — although it has individual significance for each of us — a quantum leap in perception, identity, cognition, understanding, world- and self-experience, including immortality — it has greater and further importance for the system as a whole, inasmuch as these memories are data needed by it and valuable to it, to its overall functioning.

 So if we are (in theory) indeed part of a simulated reality, then we must consider what it all really means.  Are the bad guys in your video game coming to murder you in your sleep?  When you die in the video game, does it trouble you in your ‘real life’?

We can call this reality many things:  A holograph  (Stanislav Grof), a video game (Tom Campbell, The Edge Bros), A ride (Bill Hicks), Maya or Doxa (Eastern and Greek thought respectively), but no matter how we see it, there seems to be a consensus that it isn’t really REAL; we are here doing something for some purpose (which is up for discussion what that is) and yet our hearts and minds tell us it’s not everything that there is to experience.  Our psychedelic experiences show us something different, our spiritual leaders tell us something different and yet we cling so hard to this illusion that we can’t sleep at night.

What to do, what to do?

Realize to the core of your being that this life is yours; you can do amazing things.  You can do impossible things, you can change the world, but it all begins with yourself.  Of course many of you know this and will scoff that I might be preaching to the choir (Disinfonauts are known to be really clever!), but I know that if I might need this frequent reminder, than many others might as well.

My dear readers, all the craziness you see and hear takes your breath away and breaks your heart, but it is all a strange necessity. It’s like the the squeeze of birth pains, a constriction and a purge.  I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but as long as good people like us are here to bring light to the dark, we are still the winners. In fact, we win, no matter what; whether battered and bruised or somehow unscathed. We win. Love wins, truth wins. Freedom wins. Remember your own power and use it to change our reality.



Gabriel Roberts

Gabriel D. Roberts is a theological scholar, researcher and public speaker that specializes in discussions about the nature of perception and belief. After 27 years of passionate searching and study, Gabriel stepped away from his long held Christian faith into a more expansive and fluid worldview.The details and reasons are catalogued in his book, Born Again To Rebirth.Like many others who have had an earnest thirst for the answers to the big questions of life, Gabriel was not satisfied to settle for not knowing more.His latest book, The Quest For Gnosis explores the roots of belief, the power of the ecstatic state in one’s spiritual life and the means by which a deeply satisfying spiritual life may be achieved outside of the bonds of dogma.Within The Quest For Gnosis, Gabriel interviews 20 of the brightest minds in this field of study, including Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, Graham Hancock, Daniele Bolelli, Peter J. Carroll, Hamilton Morris, Dr. Aaron Cheak, David Metcalfe, Dr. Rick Strassman and many more.

Gabriel writes for VICE Magazine, and and is the author of three books. He is continuing his research at the University of Washington in his hometown of Tacoma, WA.

9 Comments on "How to Survive the Empire"

  1. trashborg | Jul 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm |


  2. Thank you, I needed that. Sometimes I forget what I sense deep inside and start taking this stuff seriously.

  3. doodahman | Jul 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm |


  4. Thank you:) Just the little reminder I needed right now.

  5. Excellent piece Gabriel. Thank you for posting.

  6. Brazil, when stars were entertaining June,

    We stood beneath an amber moon

    And softly murmured someday soon…

    We kissed and clung together

    Then – tomorrow was another day

    The morning found us miles away

    With still a million things to say.

    And now when twilight dims the skies above

    Recalling thrills of our love there’s one thing

    I’m certain of… Return, I will, to old Brazil.

  7. ManwithnoCountry | Jul 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

    Excellent post. A few thoughts:

    If you, Mr. Gabriel Roberts, were a bad or even decent, the first paragraph would have been pedantically funny, but you’re aren’t, so it was powerful.

    “If you follow all the little rules, you can break some of the big ones.”
    -George Orwell, in 1984 (I made it present tense), introducing Julia
    Speaking of which…

    1984 is not a prophecy, but a warning…

    1984 is has come, but there is always 1985 (Paraphrased because I’m lazy and you get the idea)
    -Walter Cronkite, in the preface to the 1984 edition

  8. Rhoid Rager | Jul 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm |

    Great zen writing.

  9. Dan Muench | Jul 10, 2013 at 1:41 am |

    In this grand eternal rainy sunday afternoon, you popped in the video game. You put a name in. And the game is so damn good, you can’t tell! It’s real life to you.

    As it was meant to be.

    Here’s the secret: playing in ‘god mode’ is the most boring way to play, and we’re escaping the eternal boredom, correct? PLAY! “Nothing is real, all is permitted!”

    The very obstacles – the very resistance to your efforts – the illusion of incompleteness – is all there is, and when we master the game, what do we do?

    We start another. A new game, a new name, and new challenges. “Perfection”, “Heaven”, “Nirvana” – these can be as hellish as anything you will encounter here, if you only experience it long enough!

    You. Chose. To. Play. Do you want to see credits and the final sequence? Or, just, Game Over?

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