• the knowledge of the Individualized Presence of God which is known as the "Mighty I Am Presence," God in Action
  • the use of the Violet Consuming Flame of Divine Love
  • the Ascended Masters’ use of God’s Creative Name, "I AM"

Ballard’s I AM movement still exists today, although the Great White Brotherhood’s popularity has waned; there are a few practioners, but its cultural importance is largely in the past: an important First Amendment ruling about the rights of new religions; a passing mention in Curt Gentry’s The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California; wholesale cribbing for Robert Heinlein’s novella, "Lost Legacy". But the I AM movement is still out there, still publishing the truths revealed by its beloved ascended master, the legendary Comte Saint-Germain.

Guy Ballard went up Mount Shasta a seeker after wisdom; he came down possessing the knowledge imparted to him by those who had manifested "Luminous Essence of Divine Love." Ballard, who had long studied the Theosophical writings of Madame Blavatsky and her followers, adopted the pen name Godfre Ray King and wrote bestselling books about what the Ascended Masters atop Mount Shasta had told him; first in Los Angeles and then in Chicago, New Jersey, Santa Fe, Ballard and his wife Edna began spreading word of the three-fold truth:

  • the knowledge of the Individualized Presence of God which is known as the "Mighty I Am Presence," God in Action
  • the use of the Violet Consuming Flame of Divine Love
  • the Ascended Masters’ use of God’s Creative Name, "I AM"

Ballard’s I AM movement still exists today, although the Great White Brotherhood’s popularity has waned; there are a few practioners, but its cultural importance is largely in the past: an important First Amendment ruling about the rights of new religions; a passing mention in Curt Gentry’s The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California; wholesale cribbing for Robert Heinlein’s novella, "Lost Legacy". But the I AM movement is still out there, still publishing the truths revealed by its beloved ascended master, the legendary Comte Saint-Germain. Given that Saint-Germain was a dining companion of Louis XV, it may seem surprising that he was around to be dictating secrets of the universe to a mountain climber in California. (Comte Saint-Germain is not to be confused with the other Comte Saint-Germain, a French naval figure from a slightly later period.) But Saint-Germain let it be known — he never said outright — that he was far older than his apparent fifty-odd years, and a surprising number of people believed him. (Rumors spread that he had been travelling under the same name and with exactly the same appearance fifty years earlier; the claim that he had been a contemporary of Jesus’ did not, however, arise with him.) It is widely believe that Saint-Germain was the bastard son of some royal house; his ability to mingle with the highest strata of society, from Madame Pompadour to Horace Walpole, may well be as much attributed to his birth as to his extravagent spending (a reported master of alchemy, Saint-Germain’s shoe buckles were said to be covered with gems worth two hundred thousand francs), fluency with the violin, wit, and reported knowledge of the secret of eternal youth. If Saint-Germain’s occasional companion, Count Cagliostro, had been known to resort to robbery and ill-disguised frauds in between bouts of masonic conspiracy and royal scandal, no one ever said such a thing about Saint-Germain. Even if he wasn’t the wandering Jew, at least he was a charming guest to chat with over peacock and a glass of Burgundy.

Mystics of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the Theosophists, recognized Saint-Germain as an inspiration; if you accepted his dual claims of alchemical skill and great antiquity, you had someone whose mystical knowledge would have staggered Europe. And if he knew the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone, the tale of his mysterious life and widely doubted death might hold a key to eternal life. People have been speculating since the tales of Gilgamesh and Tithonus and probably longer. The grand work was never achieved, but the dream has never really gone away; at the height of the dot-com bubble, a loose group of libertarian utopianists, computer engineers, and crackpot visionaries who called themselves the Extropians began preparing themselves for infinite lifespans. If there was a Philosopher’s Stone to be found in smart drugs, cryonic brain storage, and essays like "Dynamic Optimism: Epistemological Psychology for Extropians", the Extropians were going to find it. And who would be around to laugh at their eternally uploaded consciousnesses in a few hundred years?

Their doctrine of "transhumanity" drew heavily on computer scientist and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge’s idea of the singularity, and had a certain air of Ayn Rand chatting up Buckminster Fuller while candyflipping in Bruce Sterling’s living room, but the late ‘90s were like that in some social circles. The shocking thing, however, is that at least one scientist, Aubrey de Grey — who founded the Methuselah Mouse competition, which will award cash prizes to scientists who discover new methods for breeding old mice — thinks that very soon the world will reach the point where new discoveries in the field of life extension will create a little singularity of their own: every year, people with access to cutting-edge technology will be able to extend their lives a year and a little more. First by baby steps, then by huge bounds, the world will discover what it was might have been like for Saint-Germain, only without the Masonic handshakes and tedious need for enlightenment. Imagining what this will be like is the province of people like Vinge and Sterling and Nathaniel Hawthorne, but beyond Saint-Germain, there are few good guides to how a real-world immortal might behave. Zsallia Marieko, who claims to be 3500 years old, has a view that’s less than reassuring:

As the centuries move past I cannot help but come to view your lives as fleeting things, mere vignettes scattered in and about the slow drama that is my life. You often seem random and disconnected, even dissonant in your utter lack of relation to the difficult truths and comforting lies that construct my life among you. Yet it is by my own free choice that I live amongst you. I am of no meager resource, it is well within my means to live in blissful isolation, to hold the mortal world at bay and sample it but sparingly, if at all. If the truth is to be told such isolation might be the precursor to a decision to seek an ending, but it is something I seek only on occasion these days.

It appears that difficult truths, comforting lies, and weblogs are a good way to pass the time. Start practicing. The future is now.