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In the Belly of the Beast

Holding Your Own in Mass Culture

May 2008
More details
  • Publisher
    Clairview Books
  • Published
    12th May 2008
  • ISBN 9781571743053
  • Language English
  • Pages 288 pp.

The Beast. We all know it. We're surrounded by it. Mass culture; consumerism; materialism; the endless quest for wealth, goods, and celebrity; a continuous scroll of names and events. The Princess Diana saga, gangsta rap, Beavis and Butt-head, violence in the movies and TV, thinking machines and mechanized humans, exaggerated nationalism, sports rage, the domination of art by commerce. Should we jump headlong into popular culture or retreat from it into meditation? There is another way.

Sevak Gulbekian offers a middle approach where we can hold our own ground in the midst of it all. In a manner both practical and inspiring, he shows how to take your spiritual focus right into the belly of popular culture, to really get within its skin and work within the Beast itself and comprehend it. All of it has meaning for us, even the seemingly destructive and evil aspects. All of it can be interpreted in terms of deep, underlying currents and trends in human evolution and spirituality. And it can be changed, from within, by us.

“It is an exciting book to have written, and a brave one...not just a timely book, but also a welcome one, and the question that it raises—whether we should embrace modern culture as the spirit of the age or withdraw somehow from the world—is an absolutely vital one.... This is a worthwhile book on a fascinating and urgent subject.”

“Sevak Gulbekian gets to grips with many undesirable aspects of popular culture with understanding and zest ... He writes in a very approachable style, without jargon, yet including the essentials of Steiner ideas where applicable as a basis for approaching such phenomena. It is an admirable attempt to grasp the nettle of contemporary life.”
Anthroposophical Newssheet (UK)

“Gulbekian sees our culture’s defining sickness as 'matter-realism,' the notion that matter is all that matters. He offers this book as an antidote, focusing particularly on reviving the ancient insights of Manichaeism, which he says teaches that evil can only be overcome by attaining 'a true understanding of the nature of evil.' Gulbekian offers some intriguing guidelines for 'developing the self' and 'seeing the reality' that allow for 'spiritual and scientific research' into the true dynamics of our culture.”
Publisher’s Weekly 

“Gulbekian tells us what he has discovered and challenges us to look at the phenomena and try to understand their real significance for ourselves.... This is a timely book with a fresh perspective on contemporary culture—and a good read.”
News Network Anthroposophy

“Sevak Gulbekian illustrates in his book how mainstream cultural trends are symptoms of larger undercurrents in the spiritual world and so need to be understood rather than avoided. And so possessing this knowledge, we are free to walk a spiritual path without distraction.”
Psychic Reader

“An attempt, through both an anthroposophocentric attitude to the world and a devotional love for our time, to 'develop a healthy path for approaching modern culture from a spiritual perspective...' The author shows how a spiritually striving individual should not simply take media messages at face value but rather see them as symptoms of what happens at a deeper level in the history of modern society.”
New View

C O N T E N T S:

A Personal Note
Introduction: The Task

PART 1: Orientation: Clearing a Spiritual Path through the Morass

1. The Situation: Facing Up to the Problem
2. The Background: Understanding the Context
3. Finding a Solution: Preparing to Respond
4. Transforming Evil: Tackling the Problem
5. Developing the Self: Strengthening Within
6. Seeing the Reality: Heightening Perception
7. Saving the Future: Work in Progress

PART 2: Dispatches: Reality and Illusion in an Apocalyptic Culture

1. When Rap Was Hijacked by the Gangstas: The Dominance of Art by Commerce
2. The Lost Boys: The Panchen Lama of Tibet and Kaspar Hauser
3. Thinking Machines and Mechanized Humans: The Challenge of Technology
4. From Violent Reality to Sci-Fi Fantasy: Materialism at the Movies
5. The Cartoons Bite Back: Beavis and Butt-head and the Risks of Individuation
6. Between Nationalism and Federalism: Discovering the Meaning of Identity
7. The Priest, the Nun, and the Soccer Coach: Reading the Signs of the Times
8. Evil and Freedom: A Perspective on the Case of Mary Bell
9. In the Grip of Lizards: The Phenomenon of David Icke
10. The Tragedy of Charles and Diana: Death in Paris and Struggle for the Throne
11. Gods, Devils, and Human Beings: The Remarkable Story of Malcolm X
12. Race against Time: Humanity, Group Consciousness, and the Individual

PART 3: Signposts for the Weary Traveler

Introduction to Part 3
1. Crossing the Threshold of No Return: Waking to a Changing Consciousness
2. Brothers of the Shadows: A Perspective on Conspiracies
3. The Real Omen: The Incarnation of Evil
4. Closing Thoughts

About the Author

Sevak Gulbekian

Sevak Gulbekian was born in London in 1964. A publisher and writer, he is presently chief editor of Clairview Books, Temple Lodge Publishing, and Rudolf Steiner Press. His spiritual outlook is informed by the ancient heritage of his Armenian ancestry, the more modern esoteric research of Rudolf Steiner, as well as the many contemporary accounts of spiritual experience available today. Over the past decade he has sought to find ways of relating spirituality to present-day culture, a path he has elaborated through essays, talks, workshops, and, finally, in this volume. In his professional work he publishes books that challenge the "received wisdoms" of the media and the materialistic dogmas of the age. Sevak is also a qualified and registered homeopath. He lives in Sussex, England.