Discernment does not entail esoteric knowledge, but rather the gift of seeing reality as it really is. Nothing is more rare, or more truly revolutionary, than an accurate description of reality.1A delusional system?
The delusional system is a game being played on us by the Powers That Be. That game is nowhere more trenchantly exposed than in the surrealistic images of Revelation 12-13.° // Of first significance is the fact that the insights in these chapters are given as revelations. John sees what for others is invisible (13:1, 2, 11); what has previously been unseen "appears" to him (12:1, 3).2The one who sees
The seer [see-er] does not, however, simply read off the spirituality of the empire or an institution from its observed behavior. The situation is more complex. The demonic spirit of the outer structure has already been internalized by the seer [see-er], along with everyone else. That is how the empire wins compliance. The seer's [see-er's] gift is not to be immune to invasion by the empire's spirituality, but to be able to discern that internalized spirituality, name it, and externalize it. This drives the demonic out of concealment. What was hidden is now revealed. The seer [see-er] is enabled to hear her or his own voice chanting the slogans of the Powers, is shown that they are a lie, and is empowered to expel them. The seer [see-er] locates the source of the chanting outside, and is set free from it.4Do we see any parallel? Any déjà vu?
The Roman Empire had brought peace to a fratricidal world. It presided over a period of unparalleled prosperity (for the prosperous). Its might was so legendary that a single emissary could prompt surrender. But this facade of magnificence was bought at a horrible price. The revelation that comes to John strips off the mask of benevolence and reveals, beneath it, the true spirit of Rome. ... He sees, instead, a grotesque and monstrous deformity bent on supplanting God (Revelation 13), or a harlot seated on Rome's seven hills, inviting promiscuous intercourse with the client-kings she has intoxicated with the aphrodisiac of power (17:1-18).5When nations, peoples, animals pretend to be blind
It is a signal achievement to have discerned Rome's monstrous spirit, though certain Cynic philosophers may have done as much. What gives John's vision added depth is its awareness that the Domination System transcends its current embodiments. No regnant Power is ever identical with the Domination System. There are too many survivals of partnership, too many outbreaks of human decency, too many compassionate, fair-minded people and strong women and equitable laws and humane officials, to achieve pure domination. But beyond each regime (symbolized in Revelation by the Beasts from land and sea) stands the ancient System of Domination, whose spirit is Satan (symbolized by the Dragon).6
A rise or fall in hierarchical position [pecking order position] can radically rearrange the way we see the world.7What are we pretending not to see?
Now and then, [when my friendly, playful German Shepherd dog and I are out walking, we encounter] a mastiff or Great Dane, a hulking giant that makes my well-built pooch look like a fuzzy midget. When one of these really big dogs appears, a strange thing happens to my pet’s enthusiasm: it disappears. Faced with a creature he knows will beat him soundly, my shepherd plays a perceptual game. He trots along staring resolutely ahead, feigning obliviousness to the massive monster in the distance. // Ethologist Frans de Waal has noted the same behavior in chimpanzees. ... [W]hen strength and swiftness [of dominant males] fade , the aging leaders ... [l]ike my dog, ... pretend they do not see. A rival may swagger toward the reigning monarch determined to assert his claims. ... He [the rival] makes terrifying noises by pounding on any resonant object in sight. He swings huge branches intimidatingly through the air. But the weakened elder deals with this pecking order challenge in a strange way. He turns his head and pretends to be utterly absorbed in examining a banana peel. For a time, the aging leader who refuses to see his rivals retains his top position. His old system of alliances props him up. ... [But] eventually, the older statesman will be forced to yield his position, and the young turk will become the new head chimp.8
Like the chimp who hopes he can cling to his preeminence by ignoring a rival [or some glaring truth], we toy with our equivalent to a banana peel. While events of grisly horror grind down humans by the millions, we simply turn away.9Seeing our way through
But how can we affirm victory in the midst of repeated defeats? // Because there are people who are now beginning to see and act free of the Domination System [the pecking order reality]. No matter how terrible the sufferings of those detained and tortured in nonviolent demonstrations in South Africa or South Korea or Burma, the reign of God has already begun! This is no pious fiction. The power of God is already made manifest, because people formerly craven and terrified are ready to be fired from jobs, bludgeoned, jailed, or killed for the sake of a fairer system. The authority of Christ is already establishing itself, because victims are not only affirming their own humanity, but doing so in a way that affirms the humanity of their oppressors. The salvation of God is a present reality, because the very struggle for liberation would not have been possible had the powerless not discovered within themselves resources laid up by God in their creation: to be nonviolent yet powerful, loving yet immovable, joyous yet prepared to die.10Are we prepared to be seers—ones who see things as they really are? to hear the witnesses? to acknowledge that a bestial spirit has taken power in secret combinations? that our “facade of magnificence [has been] bought at a horrible price”? Or will we refuse to see? refuse unless leaders countenance our seeing? PLEASE, let us not wait for permission to see.
Let us be see-ers and doers NOW.
[A] seer [see-er] can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them [the see-ers] shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them [the see-ers], and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known. Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.11And seeing the spirits of domination and blindness that now reign, what better admonition to repeat than this one:
6 That we may not only publish to all the world, but present them to the heads of government in all their dark and hellish hue, as the last effort which is enjoined on us by our Heavenly Father, before we can fully and completely claim that promise which shall call him forth from his hiding place; and also that the whole nation may be left without excuse before he can send forth the power of his mighty arm.Has this imperative duty ever been done: THEN or NOW?
7 It is an imperative duty that we owe to God, to angels, with whom we shall be brought to stand, and also to ourselves, to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care, under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny, and oppression, supported and urged on and upheld by the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity.
8 It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell.
9 Therefore it is an imperative duty that we owe, not only to our own wives and children, but to the widows and fatherless, whose husbands and fathers have been murdered under its iron hand;
10 Which dark and blackening deeds are enough to make hell itself shudder, and to stand aghast and pale, and the hands of the very devil to tremble and palsy.
11 And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—
12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.12
1. Walter Wink. Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Kindle Locations 1316-1317). Kindle Edition. (Bold emphasis added)
2. Ibid. (Kindle Locations 1314-1316).
3. Seer = the one who sees: the see-er
4. Walter Wink. Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Kindle Locations 1318-1322). Kindle Edition. (Bold emphasis added.)
5. Ibid. (Kindle Locations 1324-1330). (Bold emphasis added.)
6. Ibid. (Kindle Locations 1330-1333).
7. Bloom, Howard. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (p. 291). Grove Atlantic. Kindle Edition.
8. Ibid. (p. 291-292).
9. Ibid. (p. 298). (Bold emphasis added.) Peruse this blog and its companion Déjà Vu ~ Times to review the hundreds of things we seem to continually turn away from like child abuse and trafficking, CIA drugs and weapons running, treasons, PWOCs in power, etc., etc., etc.
10. Walter Wink. Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Kindle Locations 4575-4581). Kindle Edition.
11. Book of Mormon | Mosiah 8:17-18 Consider also:
New Testament | Hebrews 8:10-11 ~ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 123:6-15 (Bold emphasis added.)