The following chapter was initially removed due to my feeling that it fell prey to the very fanciful model-making which the rest of this work has been intent on invalidating and getting free from. I have reincorporated it now as I think there is meritorious material mixed in with the poetic musings, and leave it to the reader to sort out wheat from chaff.
“[Dissociation] is not a passive, benign process whereby different parts of the mind become disconnected and ‘drift apart.’ Instead, dissociation appears to involve a good deal of aggression—apparently it involves an active attack by one part of the psyche on other parts. It is as though the normally integrative tendencies in the psyche must be interrupted by force. Splitting is a violent affair—like the splitting of an atom.”
—Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma
Does Strieber really believe that belief in aliens will make them real? Does Bainbridge really believe that belief in a possible future will create that future? Do the futurologists really believe in space industrialization, or are they only pretending to believe to convince others to believe? How can we map the area of overlap between the imagined and the real if the one is constantly bringing about the other? As humans struggle to become disembodied “mind at large” and enter into the daimonic realms, is it more than a metaphor to ask if the “aliens” or inorganic beings are trying to become embodied in our world?
Not surprisingly, perhaps, this outré science-fantasy scenario has its equivalent in the considerably more sordid and mundane literature of psychological trauma. Dissociating from the body gives rise to a fragment-self in which awareness hides. Since the whole psyche cannot really “live” without the body—but only exist as a kind of ghostly entity—it is constantly seeking reintegration of that fragmented portion of consciousness in order to “land” in the body. Meanwhile, that fragment, by taking control of the body, becomes the mind-self that governs and directs consciousness, and gets busy doing all it can to stay out of the body, to get as far from it as possible in order to retain its independent existence and avoid re-experiencing the original trauma.
While there can be little doubt how maladaptive these archetypal defenses are in later life, what is less recognized is “the miraculous nature of these defenses—their life-saving sophistication or their archetypal nature and meaning” (The Inner World of Trauma, p. 2).
The antonym of diabolic is “symbolic,” from sym-ballein, meaning “to throw together.” We know that both processes—throwing apart and throwing together—are essential to psychological life and that in their apparently antagonistic activities we have a pair of opposites which, when optimally balanced, characterize the homeostatic processes of the psyche’s self-regulation. Without “throwing apart” we would have no differentiation, and without “throwing together,” there would be no synthetic integration into larger wholes. These regulatory processes are especially active at the transitional interface between the psyche and the outer reality—precisely the threshold at which defense is necessary. We might imagine this self-regulatory activity, then, as the psyche’s self-care system, analogous to the body’s immune system (Kalsched, p. 17).
In both mythology and history there are numerous equivalents for the diabolic/symbolic process of materialization and dematerialization. The most obvious one would be the religious model of creation—the emergence of a world of finite forms from the formless infinite potential of “the Godhead” (“Let there be light”). Then there is the scientific one, the Big Bang. Somewhere in between these two apparent polarities, there are countless quasi-scientific creation myths, or quasi-religious esoteric systems, from Gnosticism’s Demiurge to the Theosophists, from Steiner’s Ahriman and Lucifer to Philip K. Dick’s techno-cosmology and the various ET-taxonomies of Anunakin, Nephilim, and the Nommo (and warring twins) of the Dogon tribe, supposedly related to Sirius A and B. Philip K. Dick’s split in the Godhead is a more elaborate and sophisticated (sci-fi) retelling of the myth of Lucifer, the fallen angel who defied God and was cast out of Heaven to forge his own creation. The common theme is a loss of wholeness due to fragmentation, which sounds like a collective retelling of the primary experience of every human being, splitting off from the mother—first from the womb and then from her psyche—and taking the first, tentative steps towards individuation.
This central organizing agency in the collective psyche is what Jung calls the archetype of the Self, both light and dark. It is characterized by extraordinary numinosity, and an encounter with it can involve either salvation or dismemberment, depending on which side of the Self’s numinosity is experienced by the ego. . . . Until the ego develops, the unified Self cannot actualize—but once constellated, it becomes the “ground” of the ego and its “guide” in the rhythmic unfolding of the individual’s inborn personality potential (Kalsched, p. 18)
Whether we are directed away from the wholeness of the mother (primal oneness) and towards a new, independent wholeness, or back towards the lost Eden, determines whether we experience “the self’s numinosity” as light or dark, soul-transforming or soul-destroying—as Eros or as Thanatos. The psychopath (from Norman Bates to Jimmy Savile) is the mother-bonded male who can only express the “transcendental” urge to wholeness by destroying everything that threatens to bring about separation from the mother (i.e., the internally-generated image of the mother). This would include anything that awakens the life force—i.e., the authentic Self—which is the ultimate threat to that infantile bond. The “spiritual psychopath” is attempting a kind of inverse individuation, projecting outward the images of his (or her) own trauma and, in lieu of integration, slaying them, sometimes literally (sometimes even consuming them), more often sexually controlling them in a misguided attempt at “consummation.”
While mythological, spiritual, and religious (and sci-fi) imagery can be used to deepen our understanding of the psychological journey of human existence, in the end, such imagery takes on a life of its own and creates a virtual reality of symbols in place of things. The only viable corrective to this is to apply psychology to the myths which we have become lost in, to “diabolically” bust them wide open, accessing the vital energy of the psyche that has been trapped inside the images.
“We must never forget that the world is, in the first place, a subjective phenomenon. The impressions we receive from these accidental happenings are also our own doing. It is not true that the impressions are forced on us unconditionally; our own predisposition conditions the impression.”
—Greg Mogenson, A Most Accursed Religion
One obvious area in which the inner world of trauma is reflected by the outer world of pathological action is that of the Moon. The Moon is a traditional symbol of the Mother, and the whole male-driven obsession with conquering space ostensibly began with the attempt to reach the Moon. The public enactment of doing so (whether or not it represented a reality—there is plenty of persuasive speculation that the filmed event was staged) entailed a penile rocket ship thrusting upward into space. “Man” was using his “tool” to gain access to the lunar surface—the mother’s body (infinite space can also be seen to represent the mother). The indication, as with the serial predator, is that the male libido has become shackled to an infantile, unconscious “traumatogenic agenda” of securing the territory of the mother’s body for its own safety and power (the ostensible reason for the Moon mission being a space race against the Russians). What was driving the US space program, in other words (even if it was a hoax), was an unconscious desire to heal the split in the collective psyche caused by a traumatic separation from, and an unhealthy (because compensatory) bond with, the mother.
In The Secret School, when Strieber discusses his apparent memories of Atlantis which he accessed as a child, he gives special emphasis to how the ancient civilization came to an end due to an asteroid strike. Elsewhere he mentions how the Moon was formed out of material broken off from the Earth. This is known as the “giant impact hypothesis.”
Of all four hypotheses that strive to explain the Moon’s origin, it is the Giant Impact that has received the widest acceptance. In this hypothesis, the Moon is believed to have been originally a part of the Earth’s crust, whacked out by a collision between the Earth and another body bearing the size of Mars. Since the whacked-out piece may have certainly come from the outer layer of the Earth (the crust), then this explains the lack of iron in the Moon. Furthermore, computer simulations also show how this theory is also consistent with angular momentum measurements.
Whether or not this theory is ever proven correct, the metaphor it provides is precise enough. The Moon, as a split off fragment of the Earth, signifies the child’s projected image of the mother’s body, and the corresponding complex within his own psyche. The desire to reach the Moon is the mistaken desire to bond with the projected image (the lifeless husk), underneath which is a more authentic desire to reenact the original trauma, bring about a healing crisis, and reintegrate the split off portion of the psyche (bringing Moon rocks back to Earth).
Additionally, this hypothesis of how the Moon was created symbolizes the way in which the “false self” was created, as a seemingly autonomous off-shoot of the body and total psyche. One theory of the beginnings of civilization (most well-known via Julian Jaynes’ book, The Origins of Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind) relates it to the formation of the ego due to a mass catastrophe, or series of catastrophes, that affected the species more or less exactly as a local trauma affects the individual child: by causing a split in consciousness and confining awareness to a narrower mode of perception, that of the rational mind. In astrology, the Moon represents, among other things, the reflected self (being the reflected light of the Sun, which signifies the total psyche). Whether or not these ancient cosmic events are literally true (and leaving out the empirical validity of astrological symbols, or any kind of symbolism), the metaphorical meanings are clear.
In Transformation, Strieber describes a vivid dream of twin catastrophes. The first is of a nuclear meltdown which he later identified, from footage on TV, to have been an accurate vision of Chernobyl. The second part of his dream concerned the Moon:
It was a peaceful, moonlit night. For a moment I thought that everything was all right. Then there was a flash, followed by a huge crash and the swish of a falling tree. I looked up at the sky and saw gigantic boulders sailing in perfect silence off the edge of the moon. A realization came over me: The moon is exploding. Then I thought. Oh, this is the end of the world. (p. 50-51).
If the Moon represents the broken fragments of the psyche that have splintered off, through traumatic impact, and collected together to form a “guardian” self, then the explosion of the Moon and the falling of the fragments back to earth would entail the reintegration of our disowned psychic matter (complexes) into the body, through a reenactment of original trauma. In some UFO-lore (and in Gurdjieff’s teachings), the Moon is said to be inhabited by etheric (daimonic) beings that watch over us (the guardian) and feed upon our astral energies. This indicates the possibility that our disowned psychic fragments may not only become ordered into some sort of complex-structure, but also animated or possessed by non-physical intelligence that uses this semi-material basis (lunar base) to control and exploit us.
All of this is meant as a speculative analysis of metaphorical data. I am not qualified to talk about facts here, only perceptions, interpretations, and systems of belief. Yet where coherence can be found within metaphors, the realities being indirectly described can perhaps be somewhat deduced. The danger with using seemingly “objective” facts as metaphors to describe psychological facts (and to reveal possible energetic truths) is that the metaphors quickly become “real” for us, which is to say, unreal. Taking a metaphor for truth is like taking the light of the Moon for sunlight. The mind gets hold of powerful imagery and flattens it out into a literal kind of truth that it was never meant to be. It jumps to conclusions, makes interpretations, accepts interpretation as truth, and ceases to observe the original phenomena being metaphor-ized.
As mentioned previously, one of the first times I remember hearing an adult talk about UFOs was when I was around fourteen or fifteen. It was a friend of the family, an ex-convict called Doug. Doug was someone I enjoyed talking to; he was unlike the rest of my family and their friends because he was a working class Cockney. Doug told me that UFOs were real and that they had started appearing in the skies after the first atom bomb was exploded. I can’t say how much I believed him, but I certainly didn’t disregard what he told me. It seemed coherent. I doubt I would have considered that it might be real as a metaphor rather than as a fact; but then, metaphors often work best when we don’t analyze them.
In one of the very few meaningful correspondences I ever managed to have with Whitley Strieber, he suggested that his story “The Open Doors” might answer at least some of my questions about the many contradictions in his work. While I was working on this chapter, I listened to Strieber’s audio reading of the story. Ostensibly, it is an account of von Neumann’s final hours as he dies of liver cancer. He is kept isolated from the world because of the terrible secret he keeps, and the danger that he might reveal it in his delirium. Early on, Strieber’s von Neumann mentions that the visitors began appearing in our world after Truman dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Strieber suggests in his tale that the use of Plutonium and the splitting of the atom stirred the creatures from their underworld sleep. (He also compares the use of cobalt as a weapon to the “cobalts,” the blue beings he encountered in 1985.) Once again we have trauma, micro and macro: the splitting of the atom, the very building block of matter, and the releasing of the “soul” energy (life force) contained inside; and of course, the decimation of thousands of Japanese people in a seemingly senseless act of premeditated violence. In a piece of prose of possibly extreme toxicity (if untrue), the Master of the Key even claims that the two nuclear explosions destroyed eternal souls.
Splitting matter is a reenactment of the original trauma, “the Big Bang,” and the creation of life by splitting off material form from the formless, infinite realm of spirit. Birth is trauma, death is trauma; everything in-between—i.e., life—is bookended by trauma. Trauma is the alpha and the omega of creation. In a footnote to Lucid View, I collected various sources together into a brief overview of the esoteric significance of the atom bomb:
The initial test of the Bomb was codenamed Trinity, revealing the religious implications of the operation. James Shelby Downard (in Call to Chaos) sees the historical event as “a bust-up of the Sacred Marriage (hieros gamos to the Greeks) of twin cosmic reality principles that formed primordial matter, a divorce that liberates primordial energy.” David Stillings writes: “The Bomb is Alpha and Omega. It is, as Winston Churchill remarked, ‘the second coming in wrath.’. . . i.e., the return of Christ to judge the world, as told in Revelations, [indicating] a return of Jahweh as well” (p. 185n).
For the disembodied ego, Judgment Day is the “moment of truth” in which the mighty ego is compelled to look upon its works, and despair. Integration—the return to wholeness—can only come about by a full re-cognition of the events, inner and outer, that caused original wholeness to be lost. This entails seeing our own complicity with the psychic forces that have invaded us (those put in us by the agents of abuse) and turned us against ourselves. It means recognizing that we have become like our tormentors in order to be safe from our tormentors. The tragic result of this is that we have become our own tormentors, caught in a potentially endless sequence of unconscious traumatic reenactments.
“[M]ythology is where the psyche ‘was’ before psychology made it an object of scientific investigation.”
— Donald Kalsched (paraphrasing Carl Jung), The Inner World of Trauma
If the splitting of the atom was a reenactment of trauma that loosed “demons” from the human psyche, there ought to be some sign that integration was (potentially at least) at hand. As far back as 1959 (Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky, pg. 78), C.G. Jung wrote about such an integration, which he described as “the perfect unfolding of unity . . . a realization of wholeness, as already suggested by the appearance of the Ufos.”
If the round shining objects that appear in the sky be regarded as visions, we can hardly avoid interpreting them as archetypal images . . . . They are impressive manifestations of totality whose simple, round form portrays the archetype of the self (p. 21). . . . The plurality of UFOs then, is a projection of a number of psychic images of wholeness which appear in the sky because on the one hand they represent archetypes charged with energy and on the other hand are not recognized as psychic factors. . . . The projected image then appears as an ostensibly physical fact independent of the individual psyche and its nature. In other words, the rounded wholeness of the mandala becomes a spaceship controlled by an intelligent being (p. 29).
Jung began by regarding UFOs as exclusively “psychic” phenomena, as projections of an unintegrated internal process outward, onto the “screen” of the world. Eventually, he had to acknowledge that, since some of these “visions” showed up on radar, they might be physically as well as psychically real. There are many gradations between the two extremes, however, including the idea that such psychic “mandalas” might be in the process of moving from immateriality to materiality, with our own co-operation. This brings us back to Strieber and his “von Neumann” hypothesis.
In Solving the Communion Enigma (p. 2), Strieber complains about being “absurdly . . . labeled as an advocate of alien contact.” Elsewhere:
Had I known what I know now, I would never have allowed [Communion] to have been published with a cover that telegraphed the idea that it was about alien contact. My life is not about alien contact. It is about contact with a greater humanity (p. 201).
Yet despite his insistences, he devotes almost a hundred pages (from chapters 5 to 11, including Part Two, “The Extreme Strangeness of the Evidence”) to discussing UFO phenomena in the context of a “hypothetical model” of an extraterrestrial species interacting with our planet. Admittedly, he is only using it as a framing device; he never states that he believes the visitors are extraterrestrial (he actually states the opposite several times, elsewhere in the book). But why choose a hypothesis that can only reinforce the idea of alien contact in readers’ minds, and then complain about being associated with such an idea?
In “Pain,” Strieber describes the aliens as “native to Earth.” Taking this as an invitation for an active imagination exercise, I’d like to look at the idea and present an alternate hypothesis/metaphor to Strieber’s tired old extraterrestrial one, in the hope it will prove psychologically more fruitful. But first, a personal aside.
Whatever evidence I’ve presented in this book, and however much it has revolutionized my own view of Strieber and his alleged “true encounters,” I still suspect (based on my own experiences) that some sort of nonhuman intelligence might somehow be involved in all of this. I even think Strieber may have had encounters with it, and that some of his stories might reflect a genuine interaction with a mysterious presence on this planet that no one, including Strieber, has begun to comprehend. The reason I think this is that I have had my own experiences of whatever this is. And while I am questioning my own memories as much as—or even more than—I am questioning Strieber’s, I am not yet ready to write them off entirely. When I first read Strieber, it wasn’t just wonder, excitement, and the pleasant tingle of terror in the face of the truly fantastic that I felt. I felt love. I felt an acute sense of familiarity with the beings he described. I even saw my own features clearly in the Ted Jacobs painting on the cover of Communion. I am an alien at heart. Whatever else is behind my desire to excavate the Strieber site and see what’s buried there, my primary incentive has been a deep, if uneasy, affinity for both him and his experiences.
I may be as confused about this as Strieber, but there is something there, some presence which I have had dealings with my whole life; while one part of me lives in dread of it, another, larger part is longing to re-encounter it. But there’s a major difference: I have never thought of these beings as coming from elsewhere, or as separate from the Earth.
The following hypothesis has something in common with Mac Tonnies’ crypto-terrestrials. It’s a hypothesis which I will assemble, not in order to create a new interpretation of alien phenomena, but with which to better illustrate the central argument of this work. Let’s say there is another, humanoid species native to this planet, one perhaps as old as the Earth itself, but almost certainly older than human beings. We are related to this species in roughly the same way that Neanderthal man is related to homo sapiens. These beings may not be physical in the same way that we are; they may not exist as individuals quite as we do; but they are as much a part of the natural world as we are, and once upon a time humans co-existed with them. Residues of this time have come down to us in the form of faery lore.
Like everything else on the planet, these beings are a natural part of the Earth’s bio-system. In the days prior to civilization as we know it, prior to agriculture, humans were nomadic and participated in a kind of group body, much as birds and insects and other creatures do today. We were in precise harmony with the Earth and didn’t experience ourselves as separate from it (Garden of Eden). Then something happened, some kind of global trauma, an asteroid strike or some other natural disaster. The disruption this caused was so great that there was a fracturing of the collective human psyche and a dispersing of the separate parts into chaos (Tower of Babel). This allowed for the installation/creation of the ego self. Humans began to experience themselves as separate mind-bodies; they formed tight cliques to protect themselves from hostile “others.” Agriculture and settlements followed, in an inexorable process that led to our current culture. As humans began to proliferate on the planet and to establish their own individual order of business separate from, even hostile to, the other species, the other race of humanoids were seen more and more as a threat, and treated accordingly. They withdrew into the depths of the forests and jungles and, over time, became known as magical, “demonic” creatures. Eventually, they became the stuff of legend. By that time, they had been forced to literally go underground in order to evade the relentless encroachment of civilization. They had become “crypto-terrestrials.”
This hypothesis might be literally true, but I present it rather as a working alternative to the “ET” hypothesis (or even the parallel dimension/time traveler ones), and as a metaphor for a psychological process. As Kalsched notes,
for psychology to remain deep, it must keep one “eye,” so to speak, on the life of man’s spirit, and the vicissitudes of the spirit (including its dark manifestations) are nowhere so well documented as in the great symbol-systems of religion, mythology, and folklore. In this way, psychology and religion share, as it were, a common concern with the dynamics of human interiority (p. 6).
In the metaphorical narrative I have outlined, the Earth stands in for the Body. Human beings represent the fragment of consciousness we call mind, but which is closer to what we might call the false self, the defense system of the constructed identity, the ego. (There may be another, unseen element—perhaps one that arrived with the catastrophic asteroid, but I’d rather not go into that.) The crypto-terrestrials (crypto means secret, hidden) represent the unconscious aspects of the psyche. In the current context at least, they might be seen as the soul—the indwelling consciousness—of the earth. The rift between humans and these “others” (the word Strieber used for them in Majestic, unfortunately he abandoned the term after that) occurred in the body of the earth, a precise match for the split that occurs in the human psychosomatic system (soul-body continuum) as a result of trauma. The increasing intervention of these others in human affairs, albeit under the cloak of a weird sort of flamboyant secrecy—not counting whatever is being simulated by human agencies with their own agendas—is representative of the attempt of the psyche to bring about a reenactment of the original trauma and cause a healing crisis by which the fragmented mind can be reintegrated into the body, and a full awakening or embodiment occur.
If they are native to the earth, then the relationship which these others have to humans is very different to what has so far been imagined. For one thing, it would have nothing at all to do with transcending the body, or journeying into space. Perhaps, as The Key implies, they are preventing us from leaving the earth—because that’s the very worst thing that could happen, for all parties. The healing crisis they are attempting to facilitate is not about reaching up and out to the heavens, but downward and inward towards the suppressed and forgotten aspects of the body, to our own natures.
Our current world coincides with humanity’s shift from a collective, holistic (animistic) consciousness, a living connectivity to its environment, to the “black iron prison” of isolate ego identity. Humanity currently has dissociative identity disorder, and is unaware of its secret lives and the hidden aspects of its total being. The crypto-terrestrials are being forced, by the ever-encroaching presence of human society, to “invade” our world and make themselves known to us, not because they want to but because they have nowhere left to hide. In the same way, the unconscious aspects of the psyche are eventually forced to push past the line of defense of the ego, to be integrated into awareness.
The crypto-terrestrials are doing this by re-traumatizing us, that is, by reenacting the original trauma that caused the split to begin with, bringing about a healing crisis for both us and them. They are indeed coming into this world through “the corridor of our minds,” even as we, in turn, are entering into their subtler realms by accessing the hidden aspects of our bodies. The hybrid program propagated by researchers (or bellwethers, to borrow a term from Charles Fort) such as Budd Hopkins or the thoroughly discredited Jacobs is at best a gross misinterpretation of this integration process, whereby two aspects of a total psyche are brought together once more into a unified whole. This reintegration occurs not through a merging or a splicing, as in the hybrid scenario, but through simple recognition of one another’s existence and the resulting dialogue. Just so, the self and the other (or even man and woman) can only know themselves through the conscious “opposition” of a face to face encounter, a conjugation.
Personal awareness is transformed through an experience of interpersonal awareness. This leads naturally, with neither muss nor fuss, to transpersonal awareness. There is no space to conquer; only spaces to inhabit.
“This is part of us. We are part of it. It’s not an alien invasion at all. It is part of the human experience and when we are looking at the so-called aliens, we are looking at an aspect of the human experience also.”
—Whitley Strieber, in 2012
While perhaps not as revealing as “Pain,” “The Open Doors” probably gives a more riveting and intimate picture of the internal workings of Strieber’s psyche than anything else I have read or heard from him. Unlike “Pain,” there’s no way to read the story as a veiled account of Strieber’s own experiences. At the same time, he goes so deep into von Neumann’s dementia, expressing it with such intensity and vigor, that it’s hard not to imagine that Strieber is exorcising some of his own personal demons.
Von Neumann’s dying horror is seated in his knowledge of a race of beings from another dimension or reality. These beings are attempting to enter into our world and consume it with their presence. Von Neumann views these beings with unbridled horror and loathing. He attributes them with the omnipotent malevolence of Lovecraft’s “Old Ones,” and the story takes a Lovecraftian relish in the malignity of insanity. Whether or not von Neumann was a Catholic, like Strieber, the story gives his madness a distinctly religious flavor. The beings, von Neumann says, have discovered the secrets that God had kept from himself. They have developed the technology to destroy creation itself. (There are many parallels with material in The Key—an odd fact since “The Open Doors” was written before Strieber supposedly met “the Master.”)
The beings exist in another layer of reality, so in our world they are literally unreal—unless we allow ourselves to know about them. (The secret trauma of the body which the mind keeps from itself.) Von Neumann perceives this alter-presence as wholly destructive, as something that can even destroy God—i.e., the Demiurge, the false authority of the ego. This force is “worse than Satan and better than God.” It is a secret so terrible it will overturn the very order of existence. (This is a close match with what I experienced in my fever nightmares as a child: something that overthrew existence.) Von Neumann is carrying the secret, and because of that, reality is reacting to him as to a virus that must be neutralized. The internalized secret is devouring him in the form of liver cancer. Von Neumann perceives himself as a threat to God, as the enemy of the divine.
“The Open Doors” is a tale of total self-rejection, self-negation, and self-annihilation. The secret of the visitors is the traumatic secret which the mind will not allow itself to see because to do so would mean the end of the mind. It is the secret which the mind keeps locked inside the body, thereby keeping the psyche fractured and locked out of the body, disembodied, floating in emptiness, a prisoner in infinity. Since nature abhors a vacuum, the inner world of trauma (the inner space of the body) where the soul is meant to reside has been occupied by demons (“Legion”), the splintered fragments of the traumatized psyche, complexes animated by daimonic, non-human (or pre-human) intelligence. The body becomes a battleground where a legion of disowned parts, fragments of a once divine totality, wage war over occupied terrain. It is a secret war, kept tightly under wraps by a traumatogenic agency of official denial.
“If the evil are evil enough then all the souls will be delivered up, even the elect. God himself is invaded.” Von Neumann asks himself, “What if the uttering of [the sin] is itself a sin?” Strieber expressed a similar concern when, regressed under hypnosis to the basement of the Vatican in 1968, he murmured, “This is so secret . . . you would hurt yourself so much, if you knew. . .”
“The Open Doors” is the crazed dream narrative of a deluded, trauma-fractured psyche (von Neumann’s, I mean, but maybe Strieber’s too) projecting its lack of wholeness onto the torn screen of existence. The “beings”—disowned aspects of the totality—which it fears will overthrow existence are the natural constituents of the body. It is the body itself which the delusional mind has made unreal. In response, the body is trying to regain access to the life-force which the mind has closed off for itself, sealing it inside the forgetting chamber of “the world.” There is a massive incentive for the compartmentalized, ego-awareness to stay secure in that forgetting chamber, to project whatever transcendental marvels it can conjure up using that hijacked life force, to keep it distracted by a convincing simulation of wholeness. Yet such is the tragi-comedy of existence that these same unconscious fantasies will eventually force the ego to see its own fraudulence. At best, they can only postpone the full-on encounter with reality. Kalsched writes:
for the person carrying around a dissociated trauma experience, integration or “wholeness” is initially experienced as the worst thing imaginable. These patients do not experience an increase of power or enhanced functioning when the repressed affect or traumatogenic experience first emerges into consciousness. . . . For the neurotic, the return of dissociated shadow-material creates anxiety, but this material can be recognized and integrated, leading to an inner coniunctio oppositorum [conjunction of opposites] and greater wholeness of the personality. This is because the neurotic has a place within his psyche for repressed material. It is different with the victim of early trauma. For these patients, disowned material is not psychically represented but has been banished to the body or relegated to discreet psychical fragments between which amnesia barriers have been erected. It must never be allowed to return to consciousness. A coniunctio oppositorum is the most terrifying thing of all, and the dissociation necessary to insure the patient against this catastrophe, is a deeper, archetypal split in the psyche (p. 26, 34).
As the body awakens, the mind’s projected phantoms that make up its dream world begin to vanish. In those final moments, the dream turns to nightmare. The last phantom to disappear, as the body reintegrates its lost constituents and reenters waking reality, is the dream of a “mind-self”: the dreamer himself.
Strieber’s son once said to him: “Reality is God’s dream. What happens if God wakes up?”
What happens if God wakes up? Infinity—the continuity of the Body—overturns the world of the mind, taking no prisoners.
 The Key mentions this event also, in a different context: “Harry Truman made the decision to drop the atom bomb even though he knew the Japanese were ready to surrender. The notion that he did it to save American lives was a fiction. He knew very well that you would never have to invade. But he chose to kill and derange souls, anyway, in order to frighten Stalin. He killed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to save Western Europe. The price was this: innocent eternal beings were destroyed in the atomic fire for geo-political reasons” (p. 137).