The 17th Gene Key
Opinion -> Far-sightedness -> Omniscience
As my core wound, this one’s a tough one for me. The twin shadows here are opinion and judgment. I often find myself getting judgmental about other’s judgments. Or opinionated about others’ opinions. And then I get self-judgmental about my own judgment. Because I have this opinion that I shouldn’t be opinionated. And I think that’s kind of what the Core Wound is like… it’s a snake chasing its own tail, the Ouroboros.
Because, as Richard says, it’s not about being empty of all opinions and judgments and ideas and beliefs. It’s just about non-attachment. It’s the nature of the mind to investigate and work with concepts. But when we get wrapped up in our opinions and identify with them, feel the need to defend our ideas and attack the ideas of others, then we’ve lost sight of the essential. And that’s really all it is. We’ve become short-sighted, we’re more focused on being right than being happy. We’ve become identified with the mind rather than simply using it as an impersonal tool to navigate life.
Opinions, to me, are really the death of progress. They’re such a burden! When you really believe you know something, in a way, you’ve killed it. You’ve reached a dead end, your mind isn’t open anymore, the world is the way it is and you’re not really open to seeing it change. And we all suffer from this to some degree, however subtle. We’ve been conditioned to look at life this way, as a fixed package that doesn’t really change in any meaningful way from the time you’re born to the moment you die. And so many people are just waiting for others to catch up to their perception, and realize that they’ve been right all along. I know this has been true for me. And to some degree, it still is. But I don’t feel that this is the end of the line. Life has surprised me and will continue to do so, I’m sure of it!
So there’s a little prayer that I think is useful. A prayer for an open mind. Lord, God, Universe, Mother, whatever, show me what I’m missing. Reveal to me my blind spots. I open myself to seeing things in a new way. I open myself to facing my own fears.
Because that’s what it’s really all about, when you really investigate. A fear of not-knowing. Or even a fear of knowing! Sometimes we don’t admit our own insights to ourselves, because it means other people could challenge us, could get offended and angry! God forbid 😉 But the mind is such a powerful tool, and it’s up to us to learn to use it in a way that will make the world a better place. To sharpen the mind into the Zen sword it can be, dismantling falsity and illusion wherever it is found, but guided by the heart of compassion. I think that’s the illustrious goal of the 17th and 18th gene keys.
I’ve found that when you look at life through the mind, the future always appears, in some way, a burden. There’s the 1st gene key and its shadow of entropy, this sense that in the long run everything is doomed. That old age, should you be lucky enough to suffer it, is a descent into decrepitude and dementia. You spend your whole life slaving away to take care of all your responsibilities, only to find that there is no freedom at the end of the line, only the tides of the great Ocean that pull you under and devour you forever.
Wow! What a bleak picture!
And what I found is that through the 17th shadow, not even Paradise is very appealing! After all, wouldn’t an eternity of anything get unbearably boring? Eating porridge with silver spoons and listening to angels harp on the same boring harmonies forever? No dissonance, no sex drugs and rock n’ roll? Nothing to rebel against, no drama to keep things lively? And presumably we have to suffer this eternity with our relatives, with Mom eternally bringing up embarassing incidents from when we were kids and Dad still letting us know we could have accomplished more. I mean, wouldn’t you run out of things to talk about? So many people seem obsessed with the notion of their personal identity living forever, but is it really what we want? Aren’t our personal identities rather limited?
The 17th gift is far-sightedness, so it’s really about looking far. It’s about recognizing patterns, so it’s about fractals. It’s about metaphors. It’s a really incredible gift, this ability to see how the same patterns are playing out in what appear to be wildly diverse avenues of life. Really they are all governed by the same principles. And one of these principles is that we influence our lives through our beliefs and attitude, whether these are conscious or subconscious. We live in the realm of our own perception, and that perception can change. Sometimes arduously, with a long process of de-conditioning, and sometimes suddenly, in an unexpected illumination. This is the process of evolution. It proceeds gradually, until a point where a great shift is catalyzed. Like the slow movement of tectonic plates suddenly resulting in an earthquake or volcanic eruption. The 17th gift sees the Tao, the flow of life that moves beneath the myriad manifestations.
That’s what the Gene Keys and the I Ching are all about. That’s why the I Ching is called the book of changes, it’s not a static structure but a universal pattern that life breathes into, dances through, and brings to life in a billion trillion similar and yet perfectly unique forms. And when you see that, really truly see it, in all its glorious beauty and mystery, can you really go on believing that life is a game of chance where everyone inevitably loses? Isn’t there a bit more going on behind the scenes?
As I’ve experienced the gift of the 17th key, it begins as a feeling, a sense of harmony and being at one with the flow of life as it goes through the challenges of growth and into the bliss of blossoming, and this feeling wraps itself in the garment of forms, geometries that illustrate harmony, balance, crystalline integrity. When Buckminster Fuller, one of the great geniuses of the 17th gene key, contemplated the mysteries of life, he concluded that there had to be an opposite and complementary force to entropy, and he called it syntropy. This inexplicable tendency of life to create patterns of greater and greater complexity, which nonetheless operate according to the principles of simplicity and least effort. Syntropy is the crystallization of life, its self-organizing intelligence. Unlike entropy, syntropy is much more difficult to quantify and analyze. It just seems to come out of nowhere.
Syntropy operates on the principle of synthesis, which is a process whereby two or more things come together to create something altogether new, which encompasses the previous elements but also goes beyond them. It’s why the essence of being human is a poetry, and not the wild chaos of being a billion buzzing atoms, each with its own momentum and characteristics. And it’s why the essence of a culture is something at once intangible and yet distinct, and not just the wild chaos of a million people each with their own agenda and story. It is both! Entropy and syntropy are both true, they balance one another and create this dynamic story of evolution that we are all a part of.
So the 17th gift, which is far-sightedness, opens up a dimension of life that is not perfectly logical or quantifiable. This is the domain of heart science, of knowing first and thinking afterwards. We know there is this mysterious harmony operating behind the scenes, because we have felt it at work in our own lives! This is what happens when we drop our opinions and look at life as children once more, we notice the mysterious presence of an underlying harmony. A dynamic harmony that challenges us and rewards us, comforts us and surprises us. A harmony that encompasses shadows and gifts both. A harmony that we help to create by trusting it. And yet even if we don’t trust it, it’s still there. It remains, hidden in plain sight, waiting for the day that we open our hearts and just surrender to it.
When I think of growing older, I think of the great crystallization of wisdom. I think of all the challenges of my life, like the chisel hitting the marble slab, carving out a blessedly unique individual, appreciative of the light and dark both. I think of being able to share not just my experiences, but what they’ve taught me. I think of coming into deeper and deeper communion with my own essence, the way a wine reveals its own uniqueness as it ages. I think of surrendering and dying into the flow of life, so that my personal identity becomes more and more soft and loving as the underlying reality shines through… that I am life! I am the mystery, ever-changing, ever-dying, ever-reborn. And everything in this realm of experience, however pleasant or unpleasant, is just that, the infinite manifestation of life which we all are.
And I pray that humanity will follow me. That the chaos and turmoil and doom we face are only a passing childish folly, born from our confusion of who and what we are. And as we relax, learn to trust, learn to love, we will all gain that wisdom of age, of knowing we are home in the world, that we are the world. The at times gradual and at times sudden dissolution of separateness.
I think of the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. To me, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the Tree of Duality. Eating its fruit brings us into the illusion of separateness. And with this come shame, fear of rejection, guilt, repression, denial. And this is the world we live in. It is the world of debt and entropy. Our leaders, spiritual and political, go on preaching separate-ness. And our economic systems go on preaching debt and poverty. But the time will come when we re-discover the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the Tree of Light, of Unity and Love and Prosperity. When we eat from the Tree of Life we recognize that all life is precious and sacred. We recognize that we are kin to all life. We recognize that we are here to serve life and serve unity. Everything else is just the veil of opinion. When humanity as a whole discovers the Tree of Life, our leaders will preach peace and understanding. Our economic systems will ensure that everyone has enough, and a little more! We will see that freedom and happiness are not just our rights, they are our true nature! They are the essence of who and what we are.
And of course, both Trees are here already. We never really left the Garden. As Christ says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” It is right here, right now, waiting for us to recognize that we are already home. This, I think, is the true meaning of Omniscience. It is nothing more or less than the ability to see that you are already Home.