Can people really bend metal with their mind? I’ve seen it done at scholarly gatherings and at spoon bending parties on New York’s West Side. I’ve done it myself. In fact, there’s a serious literature on the subject.
Mind bending metal is just one example of the many mysteries of human capacity. Perhaps the most practical example is mind that heals, common in placebo effects, and in reports of healing miracles. Again, there’s a big literature. Phenomena of stigmata demonstrate the power of mind to reshape the body. Then you have the saints and yogis that levitate, making light of gravity. You have the inedia of saints and yogis, that is, folks who eat, drink, and eliminate nothing for prolonged periods of time. We have documented cases of bilocation. I could go on. Our mind bending powers show up in various ways and different contexts throughout history.
As for the example of mind bending metal: imagine holding a solid piece of metal in your hand. You say to it--“bend!” Now imagine the metal instantly bending, turning all soft and malleable. This happened once to me when I tried to mentally ‘bend’ a spoon. For a moment a part of physical reality dissolved at my command. It was weird to feel matter melt in my hand, hard metal turn into putty. I bent, twisted the spoon, and broke it in half. I use the broken handle in this artwork (see the right ear)
I tried to repeat the experiment but without success. I had just this one vivid experience of metal bending. Maybe there’s no need for seconds. One lesson should be enough. I saw and did the impossible; I can bend metal with thought. Done. But what am I supposed to do with this peculiar fact? I believe it’s meant to be understood as a symbol of a more general power of our mental life. Spoon bending—though a shocker in one sense—is also a fantastic trifle. What is not trifling are the implications.
I’ve had a spate of super-freaky encounters, some more than once and some just once. I don’t seem to have the power to produce these effects on demand. (Few if any do.) They just happen, and it’s unpredictable. Thank goodness! I’m not quite ready to be omniscient and omnipotent. If I can bend metal by sheer intention, why not cause people I don’t like to have heart attacks or use my powers to rob banks and ravish beautiful women? To keep our base nature at bay, nature hands out occasional, tantalizing doses of super powers, to tease and play with us—and to instruct and wake us up. And yes, sometimes the force seizes people, drives them crazy, turns them into rogues and tyrants, or inspires them to do something good and even great.
When I tote up all my weird experiences, I get an image of myself as a being totally unlike what I usually am. So what’s going on? I think the purpose of these experiences is to convince us they are real and possible, and to give us heightened images of possible futures. My impression is that signs and samples of our possible powers seem to be multiplying and growing in intensity.
I believe this is happening because the need to evolve as a species is becoming more urgent. We’re obviously a fairly stunted species on average. But the young everywhere are reacting to the looming threat of climate catastrophe. This is a story starting to take over the public consciousness. The world drama is evolving in such a way that we’re being forced to think about alternate ways of living of Earth. (Certain changes are inevitable: e.g., the end of meat-eating, of the fashion industries, of the hegemony of the rich, etc..)
Just think how lucky we are: our physically convulsing Earth is forcing us to rethink our values and our lifestyles.
It’s a question of death or transcendence, the subtitle of my book about end-times, The Final Choice. In a nutshell. The choice is not how to change the world. We’ve changed the world to the point of turning it into a hell on Earth. Nor is it about bending metal but transforming ourselves. Metal bending marvels are just hot metaphors prodding us to more meaningful creative advance. It’s we that need to be melted down, reconfigured and burnished anew.
Readers, thinkers, wanderers on the world wide web—what say you?