The Beast. We all know it. We're surrounded by it. Mass culture; consumerism; materialism; the endless quest for wealth, goods, and celebrity; a continuous scroll of names and events. The Princess Diana saga, gangsta rap, Beavis and Butt-head, violence in the movies and TV, thinking machines and mechanized humans, exaggerated nationalism, sports rage, the domination of art by commerce.
Should we jump headlong into popular culture or retreat from it into meditation?
There is another way.
Sevak Gulbekian offers a middle approach where we can hold our own ground in the midst of it all. In a manner both practical and inspiring, he shows how to take your spiritual focus right into the belly of popular culture, to really get within its skin and work within the Beast itself and comprehend it. All of it has meaning for us, even the seemingly destructive and evil aspects. All of it can be interpreted in terms of deep, underlying currents and trends in human evolution and spirituality. And it can be changed, from within, by us.
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Our modern-day mass culture is in the grip of The Beast, characterised by materialism, consumerism and celebrity worship. What it needs, says esoteric book publisher Sevak Gulbekian, is an injection of spirituality; the science of materialism needs to be replaced by the science of spirit.
Acknowledging that we do live in a physical world, Gulbekian proposes a way that we can healthily and constructively engage modern culture from a spiritual perspective and maintain our sanity and balance in the process. The basic premise is that as human beings our task is to tread the spiritual path in a material world. In order to do this, we need to develop heightened capacities of perception so we can have clear insight into the machinations of the material world. This requires, as any true spiritual path does, self-discipline, study and meditation. It also involves learning to appreciate the fine line between truth and illusion and to understand thought as a spiritual force.
Gulbekian's perspective is especially informed by Manichaeism, with its insights into evil and how to transform it, as well as the spiritual philosophies of Rudolf Steiner. It's also informed by his lifelong study of popular culture, and here he presents case studies that highlight how materialistic culture is ripping away at the deeper currents of human soul and spirituality. He looks at the influence of gangsta rap, where music corporations and the rappers themselves are motivated by money, not social conscience; the spiritual leadership of Prince Charles, which has been so trivialised by the mass media; and the latterday confusion of David Icke, whose interest in shapeshifting reptilian aliens is a descent into materialism on another scale. Gulbekian offers a middle path where we can evolve via our commitment to transforming society from within.