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   Five Visionary Thinkers   – Henry Chester Gellis

by Henry Chester Gellis: There are many writers, authors and lecturers that have written books and are well known,

Henry Gellis-awaken but most are not that well known to the public. I have included below original thinkers that I have personally met and attempted to work with in film. They include people in different fields, including a doctor, an astronaut, a philosopher and a guru.

Original thinkers can take you out of your preset ideas of what is true and what is not true. Many times, these thoughts challenge our long-standing beliefs. Whether we accept or reject these thoughts, its a tonic for the mind to question.

In my quest to use the talents of original thinkers in film, I had been corresponding with R.D. Laing, a British Psychiatrist who resided in England and was of Scottish descent. I had just read a book he had written by the name of Politics of Experience. It blew my mind. This man was a brilliant iconoclast who turned the normal view of reality around 180 degrees. He was highly critical of the way mental illness was treated in psychiatric hospitals. He said that rather than cure patients, doctors wanted to keep them quiet. He felt that people who were going through psychotic episodes were, in many cases, put in untenable situations they couldnt deal with, and that is what drove them to these extreme states. If the psychiatrist was able to understand the symbolism behind the madness, they could perhaps get to the root cause of the problem.

Laing also spoke of the role of society and the conflicting rules of the family structure. He felt that family members would give contradictory messages to individuals, leaving them in a double bind. In some situations, this can be devastating, causing the person to have a psychic breakdown as the only way to cope. The double bind is a situation in which you are damned if you do and damned if you dont. The individual receives two or more conflicting messages from a family member or from a romantic partner. No matter how they respond, it is a losing situation. The double bind prevents the person from getting out of the situation or resolving it.

In the 50s, anthropologist Gregory Bateson and associates came up with the double bind as a theory on the causes of schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The double bind is often used to manipulate, coerce or control the behavior of another person. The double bind can be communicated verbally or non-verbally. When one is trapped in a double bind, especially if its been a long-term abuse, that person may exhibit symptoms of mental illness due to the unresolved conflicts.

An example of a double bind is from a Gregory Bateson paper “Towards a theory of Schizophrenia.” A young man was visited by his mother after having an acute schizophrenic attack. He put his arms around her, glad to see her, and she showed a stiffened reaction, so he withdrew his affection. Dont you love me anymore”? She spoke. He then blushed and she said dear you must not be so easily embarrassed and afraid of your feelings.” Following her departure, he assaulted a hospital aide. Another example is a mother spanking her child and at the same time saying,I love you very much.”

The following quotes from Laing are examples of his thinking:

“The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconsciousness, of being out of ones mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and become absurd and thus to be normal.”

“Normal men have killed perhaps 100s of millions of their fellow, normal men in the last 50 years”. What we call normal is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from. the structure of being.”

Joseph Campbell was another person I spoke to. He was a professor who was an expert on comparative mythology and the common links underlying all world religions. In his most famous book The Hero with a thousand faces, he developed the theory of the Monomyth which sees all narratives of myth as part of a single pattern that connects them all throughout history no matter what the culture.

I had spoken to him by phone about theHeros Journey” and was finally going to meet him.

As Campbell so aptly said,A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of super natural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

This was the perfect person to consult on theHeros Journey” because the story follows the classic mythological hero on the initiation, the journey and the return. The classic journey of the hero throughout history transcends culture, race, ethnicity and religion.

Joe came over to my place in Belair and we discussed Hero and other subjects for a few hours. We talked about whether he had any film projects in the works. He had one he was interested in that was unpublished, and agreed to take a shot at writing a treatment. We spoke on and off for months.

Months later, Joe was at the Beverly Hills Hotel and he handed me a copy of what he had written, to be read on the premises. He was not excited about it and he had some challenges writing it. When I finished reading it, I told him it was not cinematic enough and that it needed more work. After that meeting, I never saw Joe again, although I spoke to him every so often.

A decade or so later, Campbell was interviewed by Bill Moyers in a 6 part series for PBS. The program was widely seen and exposed mythology to a larger audience. George Lucas who read most of Campbells books was a great admirer and considered Campbell a mentor. The philosophy of myth played a great part in Lucas’ understanding and directing of Star Wars.

Edgar Mitchell was the 6th astronaut to land on the moon. We had a lot of UFOs, aliens and space flight in Hero Journey” so I got the idea to go and visit astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who with Alan B Shepard and Stuart A Rosa, spent a record 33 hours on the moon in their first flight and brought home almost a 100 lbs of Lunar samples.

On his way back to earth, Mitchell had an enlightened samadhi experience. He also did ESP experiments with a group of friends on earth. These results were published in the 1971 Journal of Parapsychology. Mitchell was a visionary thinker who upset many people by what he said. Mitchel went on public record that he was remotely healed of kidney cancer by a healer over a 7-month period. He was also 90% sure that many of the thousands of sightings of UFOs were real and from other planets. He knew many people that had information on the existence of aliens, exchanges of information with our government and recovery of crashed alien aircraft. He also stated that the Roswell incident was the real thing. At that time the government publicly stated an alien aircraft had crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. The next day they immediately retracted the statement saying it was a weather balloon.

The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a nonprofit parapsychological research Institute set up by Mitchell which still exists today. They do research on psychokinesis, alternative healing, meditation, consciousness after bodily death, and all spiritual and metaphysical areas that broaden human awareness on these subjects.

I met with Alan Watts, an Englishman with a deep resonant voice who was most articulate and had a great sense of humor. He was an interpreter of eastern philosophies to a western audience. He popularized Buddhist, Taoist, Zen and Hindu philosophies in an understandable and non-esoteric way, through books, lectures, TV and radio. He was most prolific and wrote over 25 books, many of them best-selling. He also left thousands of hours of recordings via public television and radio. There are still a handful of radio stations that play audio sessions of Alan Watts on a weekly basis.

I met with him about a book he was writing called The Trickster Guru. He suggested I involve the actor, James Coburn. We met a number of times and were excited about the project. Unfortunately, Watts passed away a few months later and that was the end of the project.

He would say things like,Integrate the spiritual and material by following your own way” or I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” Or The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Watts had a great sense of humor and was a person who lived life to its fullest in a joyful and productive way. He once called himself ‘’A philosopher entertainer” and entertaining and inspiring he was.

Ram Dass

I had seen Baba Ram Dass at the sculpture gallery in New York just after he returned from India. He totally looked the part with a white Indian dhoti and long beard. He shared his experiences of being in India, of being with his guru, as well as the philosophy behind the teachings. Ram Dass, the former Dr. Richard Alpert, was a psychologist at Harvard, along with Timothy Leary. They both popularized LSD and were eventually kicked out of Harvard. Ram Dass wrote Be Here Now which sold over 2 million copies and was one of my favorite books. He, also published many other books that sold well.

One of my most profound experiences was a 2-week retreat of silence with Ram Dass. The class had about a dozen people, six men and six women. I had done yoga and meditation but not for 45 minutes to an hour.

We meditated with our backs against the wall, did yoga, chanting a mantra, breathing exercises, walking meditation, looking at a candle flame and others.

When you do some of these exercises for a lengthy period of time, it changes your consciousness to another level where you can become one with the universe for a period of time. After two weeks I was beyond my usual way of thinking and in a relaxed and blissful state. I also had many psychic experiences. This state was the highest I had ever been but as I went back to NYC it all eventually faded.

Marianne Williamson is woman of many interests and talents. She is involved in a myriad of charities and is an advocate of working together for peace. She also ran for U.S President. When she read A Course in Miracles, a book on metaphysics, it finally helped her get out of hell and find inner peace.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You playing small doesnt serve the world. Theres nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. Its not just in some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As were liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

There are many techniques to have clarity and peace of mind, but you have to do it or it fades.

Source: AWAKEN



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