One of the most challenging theological statements I have made in this blog and my new book Proving God concerning the Scriptural theme (in both Old and New Testaments) of humankind being “asleep” is that modern society lives in a trance. The post-modern world believes it is at the cutting edge of evolutionary intelligence and consciousness and, therefore, finds it offensive when told that Jesus came into the world to de-hypnotize us!
To be in a trance is to be vulnerable to illusion and fantasies. Hypnotic states represent both a disconnection from reality and the intensification of this detached state of mind.
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg claimed that all references in the Holy Word concerning “sleep” referred to a disconnection from God and God’s truth. Because the Lord God is the ultimate reality, when humankind separates itself from God it becomes highly vulnerable to the suggestibility of false assumptions that favor egoism, self-regard and allow us to ignore our God-given responsibilities.
Evidence for a hypnotic spell affecting most of humanity is the finger-pointing and blaming others for our own various misdeeds. One has to be profoundly disconnected from his or her own reality in order to blame others for one’s own goof-ups.
This is why, when the Lord was in the world, He said that we were to notice the “log in our own eye,” to “clean the inside of the cup,” and “not throw the first stone unless we were without sin.” Introspection and self-examination reconnects the lower or habitual mind with the higher rational mind—and snaps us out of our trance and illusory states.
What is not taken into account is that the human organism adapts itself over time to the cognitive dysfunction of our everyday life and manifests itself as a chronic problem in our mental wiring until it becomes fully automatic (second nature). Swedenborg states that the Bible refers to this low state of the human mind as the “Valley of Vision” (Isaiah 22:1,5). Going to church and listening to sermons does not offset this malady of the habitual mind.
It takes a conscious meltdown! Such a meltdown occurs when, from self-examination, we observe something unflattering in ourselves and consciously begin to resist it (spiritual temptation). Over time this inner conflict changes the organic orientation of the human brain and mind to properly receive God’s heavenly influences.
This meltdown is necessary for spiritual birth, which generates, taps into, and reconnects us to the higher rational and spiritual minds. Theologically speaking, this meltdown is synonymous with repentance, reformation and regeneration.
To think of the human predicament as something other than hypnosis is to underestimate the “terror of the situation.”