Introduction

The world is a fucked-up place these days. We all see it. We all experience the unease, apprehension, uncertainty and pain. Something just isn't right. People don't know how to treat one another, anymore. They've forgotten how to relate, how to commiserate, how to communicate . . . how to Love.

Every day we walk out of our safe little haven into a circuslike drama of confusion and madness, where the faces that meet our searching eyes are all masked in doubt, clouded by suspicion and twisted by fear and self-centered acquisitiveness. Even when we make an effort to connect, or look fleetingly for a sign of recognition, we are met with stony silence or genuine anger. Nobody WANTS to have their nice safe little mental bubble disturbed by your intrusion, no matter HOW well-meaning. Leave me alone. This is the only place I can feel safe. Haven't you heard? The world is a fucked-up place these days.

How did it get this way? And is there any way to break free of this self-perpetuating spiral that is swirling our society pell-mell into emotional, spiritual and perhaps even actual, physical oblivion?

I don't claim to have the answers. But I do think that I HAVE at least found a method -- a technique or a path that might just possibly lead us out of the darkness and back into . . . . well . . . perhaps not the full light of "World Peace and Happiness," but at least towards some future that is LESS dark and LESS dangerous. Throughout history, the great teachers have repeated the same mantra over and over -- sometimes to eager listeners, sometimes to hostile crowds, and sometimes to those who simply could not care less. The message they gave us was always the same:

"The answers lie WITHIN."
"The spirit dwelleth within the heart of man."
"The light shines here in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it."
"You are the Truth."
"Tat Tvam Asi." "Thou art that,"

"The man of Spirit* is the king of his life. He cultivates his deep roots down in the Origin, down in the Wellspring. His knowledge is enfolded in Spirit* and he grows great, great, opens a great heart, builds a refuge for the world. Without forethought he leaves his front gate majestically. Without a plan he goes his way, and all things follow him. He rides above the waves of life, sees in the darkness, hears without sound. In darkness he can see light, and he revels in the music of silence."

* The traditional translation of this term, in the source I'm quoting, is "Tao". But it is the same in all traditions, all languages, and all human endeavours. Whether you want to call it Tao... or Being... or Self... or Atman... or Christ... or God... or Love, this inner reservoir of truth and understanding is a part of our most basic human identity. For millennia, people have found answers here. Some have delved so deeply into the depths that they have brought back messages that literally changed and reshaped the world; others have simply looked into the reflecting pool of spirit and found peace of mind, consolation and a healing sip of relief from their daily and worldly problems.

As I have already noted, I do not have all the answers. I can not draw the water out in a bucket of words, or pour it into a philosophical cup for you to drink from. But I DO know where the pool is located. I have managed to take a sip or two, myself, and I know that it contains what we all need: the water that relieves all our worldly thirsts. That precious water is within me, within you, and within everyone who shares this planet with us. We simply need to remind ourselves of what it is... where it is... and how to begin drawing it out.

The title I chose for this group explains its purpose and its methods. "Reverse Engineering" is a term used to describe the process of learning how something works, and the basic logical or scientific principles that underlie it. When someone discovers a machine built by someone with superior technology, they can teach themselves how to use that technology by examining the machine or system itself, taking it apart, investigating its various components and workings, and trying to understand how they do what they do. Even if you have no idea what you are looking at, or what purpose it has, you can subject it to the process of Reverse Engineering, and eventually come to understand every detail -- you can master the technology underlying the machine, and even make one of your own.

Our modern, high-tech, self-important and self-centered world has lost touch with something important -- something that humans have recognized as "true" and "real" since their consciousnesses invented the words and concepts of Truth and Reality. Nowadays, you can find plenty of people who are willing to argue against the very existence of anything so elusive and immaterial as "The Human Soul." Yet if we return to original sources, and remind ourselves what the word "Soul" is actually supposed to mean, the definition makes such arguments seem silly.

The English word "Soul" derives from an originally Germanic root, but the meaning (and the philosophical underpinnings) derive from Latin, Greek and Hebrew. The original concept is actually simple and straightforward. Both Greek and Hebrew philosophers took a careful look at the thing called "man" and noted that it incorporated two clear, distinct (though attached) components, which they called the "body" and the "soul". The body is made up of matter, and it interacts with other matter. The "soul" is the part of a person which is NOT made of matter. It is hard to define exactly what it IS made of (though the likes of Socrates and Plato, Siddhartha and Lao Tsu, Mohammad and Jesus spent a lot of time trying to address this question). Nevertheless, we all know it exists. We know this is because "KNOWing" is something that only a Soul can do. The body, being made of inert matter, cannot "know" anything. Therefore there must be something other than the body . . . something which has the capacity to "know."

Nowadays, of course, our modern parlance has generally substituted the word "mind" for the word "Soul" ... and for the most part, we as a species have stopped trying to understand it. After all, it seems to work just fine, and I can usually rely on it to get me through the day, and why should I bother wondering about it any more deeply than that. After all, there are bills to pay and the boss just gave me a new project that is driving me crazy and my daughter has to go to the dentist but my wife says she cant take time off, so now I have to drive all over the place and god the traffic sucks, and I haven't had lunch yet and I'm really hungry, and why do things always pile up at the same time so I never have a moment to rest and golly ... I wonder what is on Netflix tonight.

It seems to me that this detachment from our inner world -- our "Loss of Soul", so to speak -- is one of the main reasons why things ARE so f*ed up. We no longer spend any time thinking about, examining, and trying to develop that critical, fundamental thing that our entire WORLD depends upon. Of course the world is f*ed up! The world no longer has a Soul!

Well, the good news is that we have NOT lost our Soul. If we had, we wouldn't even be here. It contains everything we think, everything we feel, and everything that we call ourselves. The problem, it would appear, is that we've left it neglected and untended for so long that it is in poor repair, and is malfunctioning in a countless number of ways. We dont take the time to tend and maintain it . . . in fact . . . many of us have completely FORGOTTEN HOW IT WORKS.

The purpose of this group -- Reverse Engineering the Human Soul -- is to do exactly that. If we have any hope of repairing the hopelessly muddled state of our lives, our world, and our planet, we need to re-learn the technology that underlies it, and rediscover the rules for proper care and maintenance. Fortunately, every person reading this sentence has full ownership of, and direct access to one human Soul. Every one of us is capable of contributing to the overall effort. Everyone has insights to offer and lessons to share. We all have a complete, working model, which is just waiting to be examined, explored, tested and tweaked, in the Group effort to find some answers to the human predicament, and start rebuilding the society and the planet that we all share.

Will you join me in this effort? The basic themes and concepts that this website intends to explore are introduced and explained in the the pages that follow. If you are interested in these topics, and want to take part in a more detailed discussion and exploration of the human Soul, please read the following chapters and feel free to post your impressions, or discuss your own experiences in the comments sections at the bottom of each one. Your contributions to this website are greatly appreciated.