Trent University: Jedi Academy

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Here at Trent we are all aware of the oppressions that pervade our society. Whether it be violence against trans women, the oppression members of our Aboriginal peoples experience, or the poverty caused by neoliberalism and global capitalism – – all these forms of oppression are hidden. The keyword here is “hidden”. Where there is a cloak of ignorance elsewhere in the world, there is a brilliant light of knowledge and self-awareness on Trent campus.

However given the focus on genocide and oppression in our studies, in a state of existential angst – – and it happens to all of us at least once – – we collectively exclaim and cry out in agony, “Where is the love?”

Lemme take you way back to September 2003. During Introductory Seminar Week when I was in first year, my politics professor shared with all his students Black Eyed Peas’ music video for their sensational pop song, “Where Is The Love?” In the context of democracy, capitalism, social movements, and globalization at the time the answer to that question was elusive. The question was a big mystery to me then. That didn’t matter though because I was inspired even though Black Eyed Peas’ main point is that there is something wrong with the world. Something very uncomfortably, disturbingly wrong. Where is the love? Love is apparently also one of those elusive things that doesn’t exist.

Or does it?

Is love really as marginalized as Black Eyed Peas would lead you to believe?

What I have come to realize, after having read Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung in the years since I graduated, is that what is true for the invisible nature of the oppressions we study over and over is also true about something completely unheard of at Trent: the ‘occult’ presence of the Creator who lives within us. All the great religions hold some variation of this archetype at the core of their teachings. In his research, Joseph Campbell encountered the same central fundamental idea embedded in each world religion, just presented in a thousand different ways. Whether the subject be what the philosophers of ancient Greece called pneuma, what Abrahamic religions call the holy spirit, what Eastern mystics call prana or qi, what Obi wan Kenobi in Star Wars calls “the force”, or what the Western Mystery Tradition calls divine providence, all these notions involve an invisible substance which binds the universe together. The myths, legends, and folktales of the Inuit people use the word silla to refer to ‘breath’ or ‘spirit’ to which they believe is the primary substance that is ubiquitous and animates all of mother nature’s creatures. Where is the love? My friend, it’s all around you. You breathe it in and out from cradle to grave. Love literally and metaphorically flows through you. Love is who you are. However many of us forget this basic, obvious truth – – a truth that mystics of world religions regard as self-evident. Caught in a forgetful state of amnesia, most of us in the secular world are today seemingly unaware that we share in the same wonderful exchange of friendship and godly heritage of equality and liberty.

There is nothing wrong with the world. Change – – on a grand scale or in small, humble baby steps – – is completely unnecessary because the world is perfect exactly the way it is.

An invisible force of Love works behind the scenes out of sight, guiding each of us as individuals to higher and higher forms of self-expression. We are all beautiful, shimmering beings of Radiant Light in association with the One Infinite Creator. As wonderful as it is to marvel in amazement and awe (realizing that we are compassionate physical and spiritual beings made up of the same stuff as the cosmos) it’s equally true that suffering (like the morbidities of clandestine neoimperialism) is as much a fundamental part of the human condition. Human nature is the best example of an antagonism. Human nature is as divinely beautiful as it is agonizingly tragic. Living among the middle class in a first world country, it’s your role to choose how much of each of these two human qualities you express. I respect your choice either way. Choose with wisdom. Close your eyes, be self-reliant, reach inwards and go within.

It would be foolish for me to claim to have found an ultimate elixir to end all the slave morality and necropolitics that consumed the awareness cultivated by my peers and I in upper year social science courses. Although I would have appreciated a gentle reminder of the incandescent Diamond Spark that lives within each of us by an alumnus earlier on when I was doing my undergrad at Trent. A swift kick in the pants in first year in the direction of esoterica and mysticism would have been a tremendously helpful service.

Trent University is just a cough, a hiccup, a sneeze away from being the Jedi Academy.

Welcome to Trent and may the metaphor be with you.