Being Human by Martin W. Ball
Originally published in 2009 ‘Being human – An Entheological Guide to God, Evolution and the Fractal Energetic Nature of Reality’ is an attempt at explaining and guiding one through the fundamentals of reality. The author, Martin W. Ball, describes the text as being a treatise for the ‘radical non-dualism of the entheological paradigm.’
Ball’s underlying foundation, on the surface at least, is taken from the mathematical sciences. The two principle points being that firstly, the single substance of the universe is ‘energy’ and secondly that this energy is organized in fractals. God, he posits, is then essentially the total energetic being.
Unlike traditional pantheism however, which some of the more mystic scientists ebb toward, Ball takes a more panentheistic conception. That is to say, God is not simply a totality but a self-aware being. Being ‘self-aware’ and in a constant state of flux, God is, according to Ball, also equal to evolution, the Now or, more succinctly, self-actualization. The universe then, is the actualization of God into physical being, which it must be noted, is only one degree of the infinite potentiality of energy.
There is one latent contradiction that I struggled with: “First and foremost, God is a being. God is not an abstract principle, a philosophical necessity, or a featureless, contentless consciousness that is fundamentally empty.” If God is a being, then this is clearly a philosophical supposition – even if it is scientifically grounded. Ball later goes onto say that the psychedelic experience is categorically not ontological. But if confronting the cosmic, fractal, energetic Self, in a state of dissolved ego, is not ontological, I’m not sure what is.
Science, according to Ball, is not complete: “[It] must be understood as providing absolutely no insight into why life or consciousness exists. At best, science can only describe the physical mechanisms through which the energies of consciousness and life appear to express themselves in biological beings.” Self-actualization, of God, is outside the limits of science and represents the ‘purpose’. This is the dogma of Ball’s metaphysics.
The Self is an important axiom in psychedelic literature because the very act of taking a psychedelic is self-referential. The literature is born out of the psychedelic experience in that it then posits the Self as a relationship between the individual and the drug. The various methods of constructing the relationships consequentially define/limit the identity of Self within the text. And, in this case, it is a three-way relationship between God, I and the psychedelic.
For Ball, it is the ‘ego’ that ultimately defines these relationships. He believes the ego must be overcome in order for the “illusion” or duality of I/other, which the ego predisposes us toward, to be dispelled. The ego then, is a biological necessity (though illusion) that stops one from realizing that one is One. The ego is “a self-referential and self validating energetic construct within consciousness.” And the problem of overcoming the illusion is solved experientially i.e. through the use of entheogenic substance.
One of the intrinsic components of this text is in creating dividing lines between its own position and others. For example, it posits itself away from philosophy and religion, saying that these are essentially story-telling fantasies, wherein unnecessary agents belie truth. Ball goes to great lengths to show that this is not a culturally relativistic text but how successful he is doing this is questionable.
Ball defines energy as being physiological; this is the key point in how his theory tries to develop in a cultural vacuum. He draws the line between Eastern mystical conceptions of energy, which he describes as “subtle” and the physiological meaning that he deems to be foundational in his system. On the entheogenic journey, for example, one ultimately enters the heart, which is an electromagnetic hot point in the body.
The end result “once you have cleared away all your resistance and fully taken ownership and responsibility for your energy” is to “perform fractal energetic yoga.” Though Ball does concede (at the time of writing) that “I am currently the only person that I know of who can do this.” In other words the metaphysical goal in entheogenic practice is the responsible self-actualization of your energies; though the yogic practice itself is not discussed in the book.
The invisible landscape generation of late psychedelia might well find the text slightly archaic, with terms like “ego-loss” and “game playing”, not to mention his disregard for the landscape which he describes as being just talking to oneself. For legacy, Ball seems to owe a lot to the Leary school of thought, in that he places a lot of faith in physiological circuitry and psychological theories. ‘Being Human’ also follows Leary’s great tradition for producing guides for the psychedelic experience; although this attempts to ground it in much wider metaphysics.