REVIEW: Blackness & the Dreaming Soul by Theodore D. Hall, Ph.D.

“We are not separate, and when we know we are not separate, a new era will be born.”
–Cy Grant

“Blackness & the Dreaming Soul” is a masterful and compassionate assessment of the Western paradigm written by a man who has been burned in the fires of cultural deracination. It is one of the top cultural studies of this decade.

Author Cy Grant, born in Guyana the son of a distinguished Moravian minister, enlisted in the RAF in 1941 after it had lifted its ban on the recruited of “men of colour”. He was commissioned as an officer and flew as a navigator of a Lancaster bomber. After his bomber went down in flames (1943), he became a prisoner of the Nazis for two years.

After the war, Grant learned that although people of color were welcome to fight and die for the Mother Country, they were not welcome to seek a seat at the high table of the military establishment. No Othellos allowed! Subsequently, in the hope of doing something about racial discrimination through politics, Grant studied hard and became a barrister. But here again he found the door to opportunity barred. It began to dawn on the war hero that he was a prisoner still – the prisoner of a paradigm….

“Trapped as I am within a white culture, I believe that I write from that liminal space of ‘insider, perceived as perpetual outsider’, and I invite us all to look at what I believe to be wrong with the prevailing paradigm of the dominant world culture: the inherently catastrophic construct of Western materialistic dialectics.”

Evolution is not merely “descent with modification,” as the Darwinists maintain. Rather, it is, essentially, the process of increasing organismal intelligence. The proof of this assertion is set forth in the work of Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, author of the much-acclaimed Biology of Belief.

In his critique of Western culture, Grant makes the same point, in his own terms of course: “Above all, I believe that our personal experience of being of sound mind, to use (or extend) our minds to the full, is intrinsically linked to what we consider good for all mankind. Western culture has failed to bring that whole new body of possibilities into existence. It has failed to achieve a fair and just experience for human society. It has imposed its values and historiography on the rest of the world, leading to globalization, racism and the current ecological and spiritual crisis threatening our very survival.”

In short: The mark of “fitness” for survival, in the case of the individual or the society, is ever-expanding non-exclusionary intelligence. The “imperial consciousness” is, by definition, exclusionary. Thus it is that empires are relatively short-lived. Witness the slippage of the United States during the Bush administration from its exclusionary “super power” status.

In time, Cy Grantfound a field in which he could flourish – the arts. In the seventies, he was co-founder and chairman of DRUM, the first black arts centre in Britain; in the eighties, he was director of the pioneering CONCORD multicultural festivals.

“Any interpretation of multiculturalism is fraught with difficulties. I have pleaded on behalf of diversity, on behalf of globalisation of spirit above matter, that any concept of multiculturalism worth its salt can only be understood within a holographic, non-dual paradigm…. Each culture would maintain its own intrinsic value and at the same time be expected to contribute to the benefit of society as a whole in some way …”

During the same period, Grant acted, on stage and in film, sang the news in calypso on the BBC, wrote some very fine poetry and an important book on the alchemical evolution of the Trinidad steel-pan-Ring of Steel.

Personally, I find Grant’s portrayal of the arts world in Britain during the seventies and eighties interesting in a number of ways, worth a movie in fact. If the “spurious superiority” of the British was shaken up a bit during this period, some of the credit belongs to Grant.

In the nineties, Grant underwent yet another transformation. His golden years became truly golden. The mask of song & dance man fell away, and lo, there stood a someone reminiscent of the ancient Chinese master Lau Tzu. That is simply a poetic way of saying Grant became, at long last, frequency specific with the consciousness of Lau Tzu.

The path of the great masters leads ultimately to the understanding that “all are one,” or, as Grant puts it, “We are not separate.” Each of us is a variation on the One theme. And what is the One theme? Consider Grant’s paraphrase of the Tao Te Ching on this matter:

“Something mysteriously formed
Existing before heaven and earth
Silent and void, it stands alone
Unchanging … pervading all.
Is this the Mother of all things
I do not know its name
I shall call it Tao
For lack of a better word,
I call it great”

The conclusion of Blackness & the Dreaming Soul is devoted to discussion of the ideational seeds of the West’s (and world’s) renewal, i.e., the new physics, especially the holographic theory of universe.

Currently, this theory is being given a huge boost by the evolutionary theory of Dr. Lipton, who is frequently cited in Grant’s book. In private conversation, Lipton has said to me, “Everything is fractal!”. If the universe is indeed holographic, we would expect its structure (and evolutionary process) to be fractal. Such appears to be the case.

I have called Blackness a “masterwork.” It is just that, a work of a great master in the making. Read it, and learn, as I did.

Theodore D. Hall, Ph.D., author of “Over the Bones of the Dead: Evolutionary Science–Past, Present & Future.”

Posted in UK