It was exactly a year ago that my friend Justin Ratowsky invited me to donate to his charity water campaign. I felt it was important to give because it is such a small privilege I have taken for granted. Not having access to clean or even cold water is hard for me to imagine, much less entire communities that are deprived of basic resources. But the reality is there are people elsewhere in the world where clean water is a blessing. I am inspired to help change that.

Warning** This post is potentially offensive, but I honestly do not mean any offense by it. I am simply calling it as I see it. You may agree or disagree, but this is what I see. All I ask is that you read the article in its entirety before judging its contents. :) Thanks (AJ)

What is the purpose of life? This is a question that has fueled the imaginations of man since our creation. Man needs a purpose, man needs a meaning. All things have a proper place and balance, don't they? So what is our purpose here on Earth? Why do we experience pain, suffering and injustice? Why were we chosen to be humans as opposed to being river rats? Why are there separations between class, race and culture?

To answer these questions with honesty requires detachment. You see, being involved and participating within "The Circle" construes the truth by the filter of our own opinions. Our perception plays tricks on us. This is because we are conditioned to view the world by our narrow cultural upbringing's perception of the world. Our limited perceptions can only describe in detail the things that it "knows" and usually it omits everything that contradicts it. This explains why there are so many fundamentalists who argue against science. They place belief in a book, whether it be the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah. To them the books have all of the answers. They have gotten along fine so far, so there is no reason to contradict it, right? 

It is by the innocent ignorance of of not understanding the outside world that they shutdown logic and argue against scientific facts, but this is okay. People can open up and come out of the cave as soon as they see fit. You can choose to stay in the dark, or you can choose to see outside. Everyone has the choice and we make this choice minute by minute.

In order to truthfully answer these questions and come out of the cave we must temporarily disengage from the circle. We must step through the gap into the world of heightened understanding, clarity, and truth. The deeper one is within the circle (cave), the harder it is to see outside, mainly because you are not allowed the freedom to question in your own mind, you may think even doing so is a sin. You definitely do not want to offend the feelings of God, do you? Of course not. But it's okay. It's the quest for truth that eventually leads you to the arms of the loving and all forgiving God. So let go of the hateful perceptions of God, especially if you sense it is holding you back from the truth. True spirituality is openness and liberty. True spirituality is freedom. The false spirituality is restriction, because it is something else that is trying to control you. More than likely the controlling version of spirituality does not allow room for spirituality at all. It's a trap. It's the muck that keeps you stuck in the cave.

You are in the cave with no windows, so there is no possible way to see outside. The only way to see is by shaking your feet loose of the mucky floor and stepping forward to find the cave's entrance, and then be brave enough to leave the safety of your little cavern. 

When you are a child your understanding of the world is based on your parent's understanding. You inherit the culture, habits, language, and mentality of your parents, relatives, and surrounding culture. The cave is a symbol for the security of the womb. When you are born you leave the womb of your mother. You then by birth become an individual. However, many adults are still metaphorically in the womb of their mothers, because they have never ventured off to discover themselves so they are still dependent. Maybe quite literally - financially, emotionally, and housing wise etc.

As we mature and evolve spiritually we will begin to drop the limiting beliefs of our families. You may disagree with your culture's views, and often times this is a risky thing to do. So many people are afraid to contradict the opinions of their peers because there are serious risks involved. These risks aren't only limited to ridicule, being disowned, being rejected, but not too long ago our life may have even depended on it. As we move further away from the tribal ego (womb) we become more and more free. At first your head may barely poke through the gap. Then you may catch just a glimpse of the outside world. It may be refreshing or (depending on your personal level of courage) it may be quite terrifying. Because you may not know how to explain all of the things that you begin to see outside. They will be totally foreign and they may be scary. 

But relax, time is on our side, with the forward flow of time comes the expansion of consciousness, enhanced by the advancement of communication technology. Technology has greatly benefited the consciousness of humanity. The lightning fast communication of the internet allows any one person in the world to see how life is outside of our own circle. The invention of television, radio, computers, and smart phones has allowed people of all generations to experience multifaceted aspects of other cultures; it has brought the voices and religions of the world onto a platform to teach, learn, and grow our understanding of each other together. It also serves as a gauging mechanism to help us discover if what we believe is logically relevant to the outside world around us, or if it is just an opinion that needs to be released in order to move on and better explain the world.

Currently we are still in the very beginning of this massive consciousness explosion. The internet is still an infant in the scope of human history. Humanity as a whole is still an infant. Recorded history has only been around since the invention of written language, and everything behind that is well... Prehistory. We as a species probably existed, but we were focused on survival and possessed little technology to aid our efforts. Technology is the aiding tool of expansion. It is like momentum. The more technology a people possesses, the more the people will learn, the more people are set free, and not to mention the faster it all comes together.

So what is the purpose of life? As I mentioned, before we can answer this, we must temporarily resign from the circle. The Circle, (also known as the minister of beliefs,) this is the position of the "God" of your mind. The Circle is your current paradigm. Our own perception dictates what is up, down, left, right, holy, righteous, blasphemous and wrong. Our religious, cultural, and moral beliefs and values, must be temporarily disengaged to perceive the universal truth that is the totality of the world. Surely we cannot know it all right now can we? Of course not. So we must admit there is always something more to learned here and now. It would be a little foolish to assume that we know it all. It may be more comfortable to stay where we are, however, comfort does not help us gather wisdom. Consider this: is it or is it not true that almost every culture in the world believes that they are living the right way; that only they know the one true God; that only they have the right religions, holy men, and the best best culture? Most of them do. But why? It may have to do with the fact that they have been taught this from a very early age and charismatic leaders have reinforced this belief. Their parents have told them so, their friends told them so, the rest of their family told them, and everyone else within their "circle" has affirmed it into their social reality. So they believe it must be so. 

Here is an example that most of us can probably relate to: all people in order to be "saved" must submit themselves to God and repent from their sins. But typically speaking who is the judge of whether one has properly submitted themselves? The governing religious body. They require public christenings, baptisms, and formal forgiveness at the alter. Yes, the person may truly feel forgiven and it may really help them, but does this mean that that is the only way? Of course not. It could be done in private and would probably be more effective to boot! All of the authority is not needed. As a matter of a fact it is actually limiting and counter productive, however,  the religious governing body has a vested interest in your compliance. Just like how the governmental controlling systems of the corporate world and even state and national governments like to control people in every possible way that they can.

The religious, spiritual, and cultural leaders who are typically male egos require power and control over others in order to feel special. They feed off of this. The people trustingly "give" them the power to dictate acceptable behavior, especially if it is backed up by a written scripture and has been accepted into tradition. They also unknowingly give them the power of punishment.

Regardless of the religion, people feel security in written word. Especially written word that was supposedly inspired by "God." However, under this assumption it is considered blasphemous to openly question the authority and even the credibility of the authors. I will offer an example that hopefully will not be so delicate to the general Christian population. Joseph Smith was supposedly a new version of one of those divinely inspired authors. He claimed that God told him in a vision that he was to translate the golden plates that he discovered into a book. The book is now known today simply as the "Book of Mormon." But Mormons do not have the liberty or even the authority to question, "where the hell did the plates go?" Let me see some proof. Every child raised within this circle is required to accept the teachings on faith, and if he or she questions it, they are labeled as deviant and are required to repent for their sins. Now, depending on the Circle they may even be willing to physically punish the curious child into obedience. It is very sad, really it is. Because in truth, questioning is not a true sin. Questioning is the best thing a child could do in order to learn. It is only a sin in relation to the Mormon religious control structure that does not particularly enjoy contradiction. Sins are basically statements/questions that are directed towards the insecurity of the collective ego (Circle, Cave, etc). Meaning, "sins" are typically ideas that contradict the authority or the laws presented by a religious governing body, regardless that there are basically zero facts to back up the Book of Mormon's authenticity. So the only information one has available while within the Circle of the Mormon faith is their false truth and disinformation. 

One popular argument that I had in defense of my old Circle was that there are literally 14 million people within this culture. This has to act as evidence that "God must have really told this to Joesph, right? The 14 million Mormon people are definitely not evil people, and they are really nice and maintain healthy relationships. So it must be true? Right?" It is this philosophy that makes the religions of the world able to continue to survive, because people "assume" well, 2 billion people can't be wrong. I say of course they are wrong! We are all equally wrong and yet at the same time we are all equally right. Humans create religion, therefore all religion can not be 100% true. There can be parts that are correct, but it is not the 100% whole truth. It can't be by its very nature, which is that it is a creation of humanity. Humans have limited resources, so how can you take anything that is based on human resources as the whole truth? You can't. Well you can, but it doesn't make it true.

Most people never have the luxury to question the authority of their governing body. It is the danger of blind faith that creates cult followings like the ones that have lead to mass suicide and abductions. Why do they exist in the first place? Many times they start off on target. But somewhere down the line it becomes corrupted. Maybe because the male leader is selfish and ashamed to admit that he is sexually empowered by his position, and well to be honest, he loves the women that flock to him just to be graced by his presence. Sex and religion are intimately connected. Scientists agree rape is not about sex, it is about power and control. Religion is the same thing but masked for your supposed benefit. It is totally perverted. It is the heroine of power that fuels the male ego into creating an exalted position and perception of himself. It is this that perpetuates the madness! Not to mention people believe them and teach their children that the Saint is a Holy man who should be respected.

Many large organized religions are not too far behind this extreme depiction of cult-like behavior. It is true that all organized religions are cults or they were at one point in time. The word "cult" is derived from the word "culture." But the tipping point lies in what is considered "socially acceptable." Most extreme cults prefer seclusion. That is why they flee to far away lands such as Jonestown. Jonestown was the location of the mass suicide grave in Guyana. Or, cults will flee out west to Utah like the Mormon's did back in the 1800's, and probably even more familiar, to America where the cult of Protestantism began to thrive. It wasn't long ago that Protestants were considered a cult by the authority of the Catholic Church. The term protestant is derived from the word protest. They protested in disagreement of the Catholic Church, and eventually they had to go on the run, to a land where they could be free. A land where they could practice their beliefs without the interference of a governing spiritual body and they could live life the way they thought they were supposed to. So they were not bad people. They were just like you and I. They were in search for spiritual freedom. From there, decades went on and smaller cults formed from within Protestantism. Consider this: the first protestants came to North America sometime in the 1500's. Now 500 and some odd years later, there are literally hundreds of denominations within Christianity. Christians would not hardly call them cults, because Christianity is too close to home to declare it a nasty word like cult. So they chose to call them denominations. But no one can agree what is up, what is down down, what is right right, and what is wrong. That is why there are hundreds of versions of Christianity today, because no one can agree on how a Christian is actually supposed to act. The religion is a by product of control: do this, eat that. But Jesus simply taught, "Be good to people." Religion can always be simplified. But in the process of trying to create their own path, they make it complicated. They are all interpretations based on the varying understandings and experiences of people from different locations and cultures. People are different, however, I believe above and beyond this, men want control, so they break away to start their own families. Men like to rule things. It's in our genetic programming.

The truth is, we are still a very primitive species, we are still a tribal minded society. It is no coincidence that one of the leading countries in technological advancement did not offer government sanctions and equal rights for women until the 1960's, or that African American people were literally enslaved as a worker species for hundreds of years. It was the African American's conversion to Christianity that began to give way and give the "black man" rights. They were assimilated into the circle of the white man's culture, and once they were within the circle there became heated animosity and divergence of opinions. The conflict continued to grow in intensity until a civil war was destined to break loose. Once the men and women of Africa assimilated and accepted the beliefs of the white man's religion, there were suddenly Christians enslaving other Christians. Regardless of color, white Christian people were enslaving black Christian people and to them, something clicked. Aha! They probably thought "this is unacceptable in the eyes of God!" So the war served as a release of tension and a grounds for renewal. It was a cataclysm that began to solve and make right the injustices of holding a people in bondage. It was a glorious win for the freedom of the black man and for humanity at the sacrifice of human life.

However, not long prior to the war when the black man was still considered a "tribal heathen", the white man thought at the time it was acceptable "in the eyes of God" to control the blacks, to use them, rape them, beat them, and to dispose of them ever how they wished. This was because their religious document was full of slavery. Slavery was okay in God's eyes (God back then was the male ego.) The black man was considered a lesser species much like the Native Americans and other "pagans". But in reality, it was the arrogance of the white man's own ego that was playing the role of God. The white Christians believed that they were the children of God. This belief was so strong and inspiring to the benefit of the white man, that the idea of "manifest destiny" was used as a social empowering tool to conquer the entire scope of the land mass, from coast to coast.

But again, this is okay, this is a good thing relative for us as a species and society today, it benefits us with bountiful resources and it unites the people of America together. So I am not saying anything should have changed. It is what it is. However, It is a nasty mark on the history of humanity, and yet it was a spiritual lesson that we had to overcome. Lesson learned. Equal rights for all people from now on out, okay?

I do not intend to single out Christianity and its derivatives alone.  The reason I use Christianity so much as an example is because this is the belief system that I came from, so it is the one that I am most familiar with. So what is my purpose in this? What am I doing? First off, I am helping assist the world in disempowering their own ego, their minister of control and separation. Word by word I am assisting the expansion of consciousness by speaking the truth that others are afraid to face. Just consider, it is nothing personal against Christianity. It is not only a Christian thing, it is a human thing. It is a male domination sort of thing. It is the control trip of the human mind. But using Christianity is also an effective way to communicate the destructive side of the human ego (elitism) to a mass audience. You see elitism is very dark, and it runs rampant in the religious institutions of the world. The religious organizations are some of the darkest places in the world because they radiate falseness and superiority, and all under the guise of truth. Not all but many religious followers support the idea that they are holy and special and everyone else is weak, sinful, and dark. When in reality it is the complete opposite. When you are at what you think is your holiest moment you are actually at your darkest, because you are thinking that you are better and more holy than others. That is the true fallen angle of the Bible.

Now, I am not saying that church's are evil, and neither are the people, but the Church is the primary source of control and power over society, regardless of race, religion, or nation. Religions rule the world secondary to the government, because governments use religion to manipulate the people in order to push their buttons and strike their emotions. This is why in my opinion, the honorable Mr. Barack Obama would not flat out say "Hey guys, yes I am actually a Muslim." This is because he knew that it would have been social suicide to his campaign. America was hardly ready for an African American president, let alone also a Muslim one. I do not care what religion he is affiliated with, but I am thankful for the acceptance of diversity it has encouraged.

Now let's change gears a little bit and focus on the destructive side of religious ego again. Let me tell you a quick heart-touching sad story about my grandmother. She is a sweet generous Christian woman who always has a warm meal cooked and loves to have people over for dinner. She is very traditional and quite hard on herself. She is moderately wealthy and is prized on her faithful Christian values. She loves being a Christian and she finds real meaning there. She attends church faithfully.: every weekend, every Wednesday, and nearly all of her spare time is spent at church, reading the Bible, or spending time amongst her congregation. One day recently she attended a church that she was unfamiliar with. She sat down among several women she did not know, hoping to get to know them and make some new friends. As soon as she sat down, one of the woman spoke up and said in a very fake, praise be with us type voice, "I feel as if an evil spirit just sat down with us. Let us pray in order to banish it from us." The women began to pray in Jesus's name that God would expel the evil spirit from the group. For obvious reasons, this was interpreted by my grandmother as a direct social attack directed to her, and it definitely made her feel very bad. It was a snooty and very rude, but it was disguised as a "holy" better than thou statement directed right at my grandmother. This is what I mean about the dark side of humanity. Judgment and the feelings of superiority. Superiority only serves one person, and that is the person who finds pleasure in feeling superior. No one else. 

This is the reason people are fleeing from churches in wild droves. It is not that they do not believe in God, a higher power, or are losing their moral values as some would like us to believe. It is because the younger generations are no longer able to be controlled by the manipulative ideology of the congregation. The religions are losing power and control over the young people because young people are becoming smarter and more aware, not to mention more self-aware. Self-empowerment and self-awareness is detrimental to religious control groups. They don't want powerful people. They want weak people. So the best way to defend yourself is to decide that you are powerful and capable of coming to God on your own without anyone's permission. That's a liberating thought. 

Now here is the key factor: every religion that has a paid organized hierarchy, pays for a building, and requires membership to exist will almost always have an ulterior motive to what is truly in the best interest of the world. They are prone to lose focus on what is really helping by the pressure of supporting their expensive operations. The innocent but slightly naive congregation members are often subtly extorted in order to generate the higher revenues to support the church and its activities. Members of the congregation are then subjugated to the financial demands of running the business, which is exactly what it is, regardless of their tax exemption ID. The more money required for operations, then the more opportunities for corruption. It is the same concept at a smaller scale when the protestants fled from in the Catholic regime in the 17th century. Wash rinse repeat. It's the cycle of the human ego all over again.

I want to make clear that this is not to say that the churches are not doing good things in the world, or that they are all evil people. They are not and they are doing some very good things, but more often than not the good deeds are colored in favor of the benefit of the beliefs of the circle. For example: the campaigns against homosexuality. This is a good thing in their eyes, because they already believe "homosexuality is an abomination" and therefore they are doomed to hell. They believe homosexual people need God's intervention and healing. Because in their opinion gays are broken expressions of people and somehow lesser than them because "God said so." They often totally disregard any ounce of compassion and understanding and jump straight to judging and condemning. But remember - their perspective of "God" is the manifestation of the male ego, written into law by various Jews throughout history and compiled by the Catholic Church into a manuscript that suited their agenda.

It is the coloring of good deeds that leads to extremest religious groups such as the infamous "God hates fags" Westboro Baptist Church. They are so blinded by the ignorance of their culture's that they think the 80 of them are the only "holy" people on the entire planet, and every other person alive except them is destined to hell. It is sad that something like this is still possible and even promoted in what we call "modern society," yet as I said, we are infants in our understanding. The media loves controversy, and Westboro probably gets paid thousands of dollars to do interviews and etc. How else could they afford to fly an entire family at a moments notice across the country? Westboro Baptist Church is the perfect example of living within the circle. They manipulate the truth and spoon-feed lies to their members and prohibit them from having a complete and rational thought. They encourage fear, doom, hate, and ignorance. Their poor children are taught to hate people that they know absolutely nothing about; they protest and disrupt when people are at their weakest moments (such as the death of a military service member), they perpetuate anger, hatred, and the animosity which is felt all over the globe. It's enough to make everyone very upset just thinking about it, but that is the nature of living within the circle. To do so is limiting yourself with the idea of the social reality that was taught to you. I do not believe in a social reality. I don't think it matters if you ask for forgiveness from the Pope, Jesus, or even Buddah for that matter. All that matters is you seek forgiveness for any injustices you may have inflicted on others and yourself. Ultimately, if you want forgiveness you have to forgive yourself. You are the one that has to carry your sins like a cross. So let it go. Let it go.

Okay. Now that you have an understanding of what it means to live within the circle, we can finally answer "What is the Purpose of life?"

To be direct, the purpose of life is to escape whatever circle you are currently living in. To liberate yourself from all oppression and to dissolve the barriers placed before you. It is our responsibility because our children's future depends on our decisions - we are all responsible for how the world becomes. We are to be conscious and come together to dissolve the cultural, religious, and philosophical barriers between us. We are to make an effort to climb to higher plateaus of consciousness and understanding. We are to become visionaries that see reality for what it truly is. We are to make adjustments in order to correct the wrongs of our ancestors. Our purpose is to liberate the world from ignorance and to teach others that they have the ability to see. To lead them out of the cave, and help them become brave. To face the world, to stand up against the religious control structures, and to look everyone in the eye and say: "I love you, but you no longer have control over me, because I am free."

Thank you. (AJ)

PictureArt by Alex Grey
What has happened since 2012? Did the world end? Did the rapture happen? Was there a spiritual awakening? No. Nothing grand happened directly, but several things have happened indirectly. We are moving towards an era of equality and acceptance. Much like the civil rights movement but on a wider scale. It is no longer only about blacks or women. Now we are moving towards correcting the wrongs of prohibition. Specifically Marijuana and the rights of homosexuals.  From a finite perspective these things are wrong and should be prohibited, but from an evolutionary perspective it is the ideas and opinions being enforced on a minority of people. 

The prohibition of homosexuality has been based on religious opinions of a Christian perspective. The same for the prohibition of consciousness altering plants, chemicals, and "drugs." What do they all have in common? They are opinions of certain religious faiths that are being enforced on people that exist outside of the circle. By circle I mean they exist outside the dogma of that belief system but the rules are still enforced upon them. 

That is the nature of "law" the law exists to protect the people and the state/country. The law makers decide what is best for the people. The people elect officials that make the best judgement. This was effective when the Americas were first being constructed, but however now we have moved to a global America. Freedom of speech and religion is a 1st amendment right. Applying religious rules on people that exist outside of the system is a flawed system for modern society. That is why the group wave is changing it, slowly, but it's changing. This is a good thing. It is a bad thing for the ego of the collective mind of law makers. But the laws are destined to change. It is like a balloon filing up. It can only hold so much before it pops. 

The system is not wrong and neither are the people. It is just out dated. And the only constant guaranteed in life is change. People change, ideas change, and consequently the world changes. From a fundamentalist opinion one would say this is bad. We are all bent for hell, but I challenge you to question that opinion. Liberating people is better than restriction. Restriction maintains a warped opinion of reality. Think on this. It's your opinion that matters to you. My opinion has no weight on your life and well being. Your opinion is all that matters to you.

Bright blessings

A.J. Christoph