How I Learned Not to Care About Others’ Opinions of Me

During a conversation with a friend, I mentioned I didn’t want to let everyone know that I study astrology because, as I put it, “I’ve got enough for which I can be discriminated against.”

Let’s see… I’m gay and that makes me an aberration in the fabric of the Universe.

I’m vegan and that threatens people’s sense of their own morality (or suddenly somehow makes them worry about my health for no apparent reason… wonder why that is).

I’m non-Christian. I get to be called a “woolly-headed new-ager” full of “hippy-dippy” ideas. I’m a practitioner of pseudoscience and magic – that refers to astrology at the very least. I further collect crystals and encourage their being thought of as magic. I endorse Idealism as the only coherent ontological framework and thus unfairly get branded a Solipsist, thus also a narcissist. I believe alien abductions are encounters with fairies.

I appreciate anime, play videogames, and partake of other aspects of “otaku” culture. I speak mostly-fluent Star Trek. I know all 802 pokémon and what each of them can do. Let’s not forget about comic books and books in general — I am a huge nerd! “Geek” applies, too. I can talk about conceptual quantum physics almost as easily as I can idly discuss the weather.

I am softspoken and often quiet, which too often makes me appear very dangerous to suspicious-minded people and extremely rude to extroverts who insist I give them constant attention like a needy puppy.

I don’t follow pop culture very closely and simply can’t dance or sing, and tend not to listen to music as a matter of habit. This frequently makes me impossible to relate to. I’m skinny, my hairline is receding, my partner has just a few extra pounds… Gee, what else is there?

Oh, yeah. I am vegan and thus a terrorist, and an activist, thus narrow-minded. I’m a “Progressive” who despises the Democratic party almost half as much as the Republicans, thus I am a threat to the nuclear family, Democracy, and the very foundations of our society. Oh! And I am arguably just barely a Millennial! That’s a huge point of potential discrimination there. Millennials, we hear, were raised by good parents but turned out just terrible in spite of that.

Oh, it doesn’t end there. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal impulses are very much causes for discrimination. The stigmas attached there are huge. I basically can not be good friends with anyone who doesn’t share these or similar stigmas. It doesn’t happen.

Infrequent use of pot or other safe psychoactive substances causes strife even with my partner.

Oh, and let us also not overlook the Missouri speech patterns I’ve picked up from my coworkers. “Ain’t” these past few months has somehow begun to pop out of my mouth perfectly naturally and that gives educated, well-bred folks plenty of reason to look down upon me. My precise speech and larger-than-average vocabulary, on the other hand, can alienate me to many plain-speakin’ salt-of-the-earth types who don’t like to be around people who make them feel stupid just by talking. A lot of prejudice is attached to speech patterns. Imagine a “white dude” from the suburbs talking like an inner-city black man — even worse, like an inner-city black woman. How’s your judgment meter looking just thinking about that?

Perhaps this list could continue. I could expand upon any of these topics, but I think I’ve said my piece. You get it. I’m fortunate that being white and Midwestern polite overwhelms most of this. I clearly come from a rigid Christian background and despite the Flower of Life pendant I wear to ward off the proliferation of possibly hate-filled crosses around Missourian necks, I can appear perfectly “normal” so far as I can maneuver my way around exposing the bulk of my identity and give people the opportunity to project their version of “normal” upon me.

Namaste, fuckers.

This is how I’ve learned not to care about others’ opinions of me.


Sacred Geometry: The Flower of Life

The Flower of Life is a geometrical figure often referred to as an example of Sacred Geometry. What is called “Sacred Geometry” as we tend to encounter it is traced back to the ancient Greeks, in particular Pythagoras who asserted that the whole Universe was based on number. The idea was inspired by observations of the heavens as well as observations about harmonics in musical instruments. Plato carried these ideas forward, and it seems that the influence of Pythagoreanism is the primary difference between his ideas and those of his teacher Socrates. 

What we call the Platonic Solids are five three-dimensional geometrical figures in which every side and angle have the same value.

No other figure can be constructed in this way. We have here the tetrahedron, the hexahedron, the octahedron, the dodecahedron, and the icosahedron. Often included in considerations of the Platonic solids is the sphere, though it isn’t a Platonic solid itself. The significance of these six figures is the nod to some sort of perfection inherent within them. They seem to be excellent examples of Plato’s notions of the forms and world of ideas from which all things arise.

This is the Seed of Life from which the Flower of Life arises. It is often said to be symbolic of the act of Creation and the Christian story of Creation in the Book of Genesis is used to explain it. In the beginning was only God. We’ll say Spirit. Spirit is conceived of as a point, as a point has no dimension and so if there is nothing but the point it is at once everything and nothing and in a way wholly pure in its perfection. The point then expands in all directions equally. Exactly how far is a meaningless question. The result is a circle, hence the first day, and also the beginning separation necessary for anything to exist — there is now an inside and an outside, a thing of which there is something that isn’t that thing. This concept is well expressed in Taoism. The Yin must exist in order for there to be Yang — and vice versa. Also, not only is there an inside and an outside, there are only two “places” – the center point, and the circle about it, which can be regarded as an infinity of identical points. Hence, if anything is to happen, it will happen by way of the new infinity of points, the circle, and the most natural thing to do then is to expand just as far as before, to create another circle exactly like the first – the Vesica Piscis, the Second Day.

Notice the continuation of “perfection” here. Notice also the emergence of something new: the shape within the overlapping circles, which is itself not a circle. There are many special properties of this shape and much is to be said of it, but we’ll move on.

We move on to a third circle, on to the number three, and again new shapes emerge. Much more can be said of this, and the significance of the number three is nearly impossible to ignore.

And so on, the same thing occurs until we find ourselves with seven circles – six encircling the seventh or, rather, the first. Totally naturally, this figure emerges from nothing by processes maintaining the purity of perfection – the perfection of the circle.

Contemplating this, we are left with profound mystery. We are confronted with the brute facts of existence. That this process yields a figure so whole, that the last circle constructed in this process so completely syncs up with the rest of it, and that we are left with a hexagonal figure formed only of circles. Adding a circle to each intersection, such that we find ourselves with nineteen circles — that’s three sixes plus one — yields the Flower of Life, which gives us yet more figures. 

Something new always arises. If we continue, we can find within the expanded figure what is called the Fruit of Life.

And further, upon analysis:

A figure known as “Metatron’s cube.” Upon examination we can find the projection of the Platonic solids and other interesting properties.

Symmetry. Shape. Perfection.

Yet more, we form a fractal and we form a shape whose parts are so deeply interconnected they can hardly be seen separately. What we have here is a visually poetic expression of the principle of Unity, as well as a nod to the Hermetic principle, “As above, so below.”

The Flower of Life as a symbol is a statement that we are connected, that we are all one, and underlying reality, by its very nature, by the nature of the fundamentals of Creation, is deep order.

While the Flower of Life can be found in many of the world’s ancient traditions, it has primarily been taken up by what have been branded as “New Age” ideas, to include many modern paganisms. A certain Drunvalo Melchizedek is largely responsible for its popularization, and more recently by the youtube video series by Jordan Duchnycz called “Spirit Science.” By no means are they the source of sacred geometry, nor do I expect that either of them has as profound an understanding of it as they would like you to believe.

Unity. Perfection. “As above so below.”

Contained in this is the seed of astrology, when we apply it to real-world motions of the wandering stars — the planets. And a part of this suggests the notion that number is not just for counting but contains a subjective, affective component as well, that twoness isn’t merely 1+1, but something inexplicable and deeper than mere arithmetic. We have here the union of the subjective account of the world with the objective account.

By wearing my Flower of Life pendant, I am visually announcing a piece of my identity, a part of my belief system in much the same way a Christian would wear a cross. I am announcing my belief that All is One, that we are all connected, that there is a fractal order built in to the very nature of Reality. 

I am also suggesting, though not explicitly, a belief in astrology, crystals, chakras, subtle energies, psychic phenomena, magic, the power of meditation, the law of attraction, channeling, ufo’s, numerology, religious eclecticism, divination, the powers of intuition, shamanism, neo-paganism, pantheism, autotheism, the use of psychedelics…

The list continues. It marks me as “New Age,” though any educated person knows how diverse the New Age “movement” is and that I may not hold any given belief another “New Ager” might. The Flower of Life simultaneously identifies me with the wildly irrational varities, such as those that follow Drunvalo Melchizedek, and the über-rational varieties of Eisenstein, Kastrup, and Tarnas — and Sheldrake and Radin and so on and so forth. I embrace them both in wholly different ways.

Since people have recognized this symbol and asked me more frequently about my pendant, I’ve found a quick explanation: “This shows that all separation is illusion.” I quite like this answer.