‘Peace…comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the centre of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka [the Great Spirit] and that this centre is really everywhere, it is within each of us’
Time began when my heart started beating. The beat of my heart keeps time, the rhythm of life; when it stops so does the world. Life begins as oceanic dream – immersed in salt water, one with the mother, one with God. The dream intensifies, the waters part: light and first breath…separation…the birth of the world is the loss of unity. From womb to larger womb, from dream to brighter dream, from the aqueous to the terrestrial…. life come ashore, carrying the ocean within.
The universe cannot exist independent of life; for there to be an object there must be a subject: to be is to be perceived. The universe cannot exist independent from the experience of it – its existence is a representation, a representation which exists for me and through me, a representation which is the objectification of the will within me, the same will that moves the universe entire. This will is one and yet it manifests itself as infinite plurality and diversity, just as the light of the projector is one and yet it reveals an unlimited multiplicity of phenomena.
This subtle realisation has been at the heart of philosophy since the beginning. It was Plato who first elucidates this with his theory of the forms. For Plato what most take to be real – the world around us – is actually only a ‘shadow’ of a higher reality, a projection (the allegory of the cave), and philosophy is that discipline which allows us to perceive this higher reality. Soon after Aristotle argues that the world of appearances – so ephemeral to Plato – are actually the only reality we can know. From here the centuries old argument between materialism and idealism begins.
Most simply materialism is science and idealism is philosophy. Science assumes the external world to be objectively real; philosophy knows that it is not. Descartes marks the beginning of modern philosophy – his cogito ergo sum, ‘I think therefore I am’, puts the ontological status of the world in question relative to oneself, ie I am sure that I exist, but that is all I can be sure of. After Descartes, Bishop Berkeley leaves us with the maxim esse est percipi: ‘to be is to be perceived’ and, similarly, Hume shows us that there is nothing in the mind that wasn’t first in the senses. Then Kant, woken from his ‘dogmatic slumbers’ by Hume, goes further in recognising that Hume is not entirely correct – the senses provide the data from which reality is constructed, but time and space are not phenomenal, ie we don’t perceive them, and yet they exist. Time and space are the ordering principles of perception: the forms or archetypes are individualised and pluralised by time and space. Kant shows that which exists independent of perception, which he calls the ‘thing-in-itself’, bringing us back to the Platonic conception of the originating forms.
Plato’s philosophy relegates phenomenal reality relative to the ‘higher’ reality of the forms which are apprehended via reason. Aristotle, conversely, holds that we contain our own telos or archetypal ‘blueprint’ within us (entelechy). If we combine the two points of view we get a more complete picture: The forms are not sensible, rather they are what informs the sensible world and are apprehended with the aid of philosophical reasoning. However these forms exist within living beings, rather than in an abstract dimension. It is through the sensible world that we apprehend the archetype: the phenomenal world is the signature and gateway of the spiritual realm. In order to see through the phenomena to their informing archetype we must be disinterested – we must be observing purely objectively, ie without reference to the will. This mode of perception is that by which the beauty of the world becomes apparent, sometimes overwhelmingly. The sensible world becomes translucent to its informing dimension, imbuing everything with a greater clarity, radiance and depth, drawing one into a state of contemplative wonder. We see that the sensible world is actually suprasensible: Earth and Heaven coincide: the world is alive through spirit. The therapeutic value of psychedelics is that they induce this state of pure objectivity in the subject; it is, to put it simply, the grounding of individual consciousness, a reset. All cognitive-perceptual filters are removed: the world is seen anew, as it actually is, and not only seen but felt: psychedelics are an erotic sacrament: feelings heighten as self-consciousness dissolves. When we want to express the appearance of great joy in another we say they are ‘beside themselves’ for they have been ‘taken out of themselves’, which is the literal meaning of ‘ecstasy’.
We have grown up knowing heaven as the better place we go to after we die. The privileging of a putative afterlife over our earthly existence is bound up with the privileging of the abstract over the sensuous, the conceptual over the aesthetic, for our Christian idea of heaven evolves from the Platonic theory of the forms. It represents the assumption that it is the intellect – that which produces self-consciousness – that is the kernel of our being, our immortal identity. Consequently the actual phenomenal world is regarded as something secondary or derived, subordinate in essence to the (Platonic) ideas that created it. This holds true also for medieval scholasticism and the sciences that grew from it. Science seeks to subordinate the phenomenal world to the ‘laws of nature’, – ie it is the laws of nature which produce nature. Before Darwin it was generally assumed that the ‘laws of nature’ and the ‘mind of god’ were equivalent. After Darwin, God begins to become superfluous to his own creation: the universe becomes more and more automatic in its operation, driven by a blind process of natural selection. In the end we are left solely with a mechanical universe ruled by chance and accident, for ‘God is dead’ and the natural world is deprived of its subjectivity, being merely the result of something else, namely the laws of nature. This then is our Kafkan lot: a world where the abstract is real and the real is illusory; a world in which the law is more real than the flower. Nature de-souled; living beings reduced to automata. Vivisection could not exist if this were not the case.
The above is related to show how our religion has never really changed for two thousand years; it has always been a religion of the book and the danger with such a religion is that the ‘word’ tends to usurp the throne, becoming more ‘real’ than reality itself (hence dogma and ideology). The pagan world is pagan because it recognises the ‘living book’ that is the world as ultimate authority. Writing represents in static form the dynamic representation that is the world; the word abstracts and fixes whereas reality flows into being continually. The religion of the book tends to obfuscate the living book from which it is abstracted and will lead to insanity if it does not recognise the primacy of that ‘living book’ which is its touchstone and guide (which is the raison d’etre of the poetic – that use of the word which is most faithful to its origins). In want of this recognition, reality and our socially mediated experience of it will become increasingly decoupled, leading to a state of confusion, hysteria and chaos.
When the entire world goes mad, the madman alone is sane. This is why the fool is trump (evidently the cosmocrator has a sense of humour). The fool is alone, except for his faithful and playful dog. The dog, symbol of loyalty and trust, guides/energises the fool. The fool does not think about where he is going because he doesn’t have to – wherever he is, there is paradise (indicated by the light blue earth beneath him). The fool is unnumbered – he stands outside of the architectural schema of the major arcana. He is the perfect intelligence of nature, the Tao…this is why he is moving, for the Tao is movement, change, process, ‘the way’. The fool represents the dynamic aspect of creation which precedes, ontologically, any knowledge of it. We could say that the fool sacrifices his perfect freedom to become the world: he is ‘dismembered’ into the 21 major arcana which comprise the journey of the individual soul from ignorance to knowledge; from forgetfulness to a re-membering of who we are. The sacrifice of the fool not only creates the world, it creates the possibility for the fool to be born into it. In other words, it is the fool within which guides us on our journey towards wholeness, culminating in the birth of the fool in the field of space and time.
Forty years prior to Darwin’s Origin of the Species, Arthur Schopenhauer publishes the first volume of his magnum opus – The World as Will and Representation – at the tender age of 29. In it he elucidates Plato’s theory of forms to a new level of clarity. For Schopenhauer the world is will and the representation of this will. Plato’s forms are not the source but the intermediary between will and representation: the forms or Platonic ‘ideas’ represent the divine will as the phenomenal world. The will and its representation as world are both essentially divine in that phenomenal reality is the objectification of the divine will in time and space. Because the phenomenal world is the mirror of the will, all efforts to change the world miss the point: we can only change one thing – how the will within us expresses itself. It is for this reason that knowledge is paramount, for only a correct knowledge of reality allows us to short circuit the automatic (genetically and socially conditioned) functioning of the will. Indeed, via knowledge, we can even go so far as to deny the will altogether, and this was the discovery of that Eastern luminary Gautama Buddha. This resignatory or pessimistic philosophy is one solution to the tyranny of desire – for desire can never be satisfied for long: like hope it springs eternal.
But is the world merely to be escaped?
The Bhagavad Gita introduces a different conception into the eastern religious mind. Written a century or two after the passing of Gautama Buddha, this revolutionary text suggests that the world and its inevitable conflicts are not to be avoided but embraced. For no matter what the time and place it is a privilege to be alive, to be an actor in the divine drama. What matters is that the individual consecrates his actions; all that he undertakes is done not egoistically but as an offering to God, to that divinity which he makes manifest in the world through this consecration. Ours is not to wish things were different, or to ascetically withdraw from the human drama, rather it is to act with honour in whatever situation we find ourselves. In this conception the grandeur and nobility of life is affirmed. Life is always worth living – even when one must kill or be killed.
In the West the pessimistic bent is connected to the idea of original sin – the doctrine that we are somehow guilty by virtue of being born. The idea of original sin has nearly always been held in connexion with the sexual act which gives rise to human life – the sin of our origin. This idea has poisoned the Western psyche for centuries, leading to the repression of women in particular. The doctrine of original sin has impeded the full enjoyment of life within ‘Abrahamic’ cultures for centuries but its persistence means that there is something in it that we need to become conscious of. There is a truth hidden beneath the puritanical devaluing of eros and in order to heal – to reconnect eros with logos – we must understand what this truth is.
Sin, for the Gnostics, was never a moral question, sin was intellectual error and this conception of sin is thoroughly Greek too. To sin is to be in error, to be without true knowledge, to be under an illusion. We are born into this world with no memory; we do not know where we come from. If we have come from ‘somewhere’ else our memories of it have been erased or at least occluded. One thing is clear and beyond dispute – we are separate: there is me and there is everyone and everything else. Every being in time and space conforms to the this principle of individuation: all creatures are unique and uniqueness is separateness.
This then is the true meaning of original sin. By virtue of being born into the world we forget that we are actually and always one with God. It is in this way that the sexual act becomes conflated with the notion of sin for it is the sex act which produces a new individual and therefore world. We forget that the world in which we have our singular existence is essentially our own creation (maya), obscuring our identity within it, leading us into errors based on this misunderstanding. If we understood that we are also the whole cosmos and every being in it as well as experiencing it from an individual centre, then we would know that we cannot devalue others without devaluing ourselves. Indeed this fact holds whether we are conscious of it or not: the pangs of conscience redirect us towards this truth we have forgotten by virtue of being born. In the experience of conscience we actually feel the hurt we inflict on another. How could this be so if this other were not also me in some fundamental way?
Original sin (error) is the result of being born into the world as an individual, psychically separate from the rest of creation. Original sin is not an indelible and unavoidable moral stain, rather it is a necessary forgetting of who we really are, for it is this which is indispensable to free choice: existence is a love story and love cannot be forced. We must choose to come back into the cosmic fold: obedience counts for nought, only desire. To choose to do something because one knows they will get a reward means that the choice signifies nothing, hence the necessity of our amnesia. We must choose without knowing where that choice will lead, choose in accordance with our innermost desire, even when this leads to difficulties. A virtuous act is unaccompanied by thoughts of recompense.
Desire is the divine will within which, if followed faithfully, leads us to the door of the beloved. This is the the meaning of the ‘saviour saved’ (salvator salvandus): man sacrifices his individuality (ie egoic POV) so that he may re-unite with God, just as God sacrifices himself as ‘all’ to create us as singular individuals. Evolution/involution. God and man superimposed: the re-sacralisation of the world. We are prodigal sons and daughters all and to come home is to see with new eyes. When the ‘scales have fallen’ we see the kingdom of God spread out before us. When we remember where we come from we have already returned. This anamnesis is the apatokatastasis: the restoration of paradise.
We are candles, each of us unique and yet our flames are one, indivisible in essence, sparks from the divine fire. To talk of the beginning of the universe, a big bang, is true only as poetic metaphor: the universe is the fruit of sexual love: the passion of the lovers is also the longing of the child to exist. We are born from love and death is the price of this love, but death is also to dissolve oneself in a blissful merging that sexual love is the foretaste of (le petit mort). We are born from love and to love we return: the universe is beginning and ending continually.
All phenomena in space and time conform to the principle of relativity: there is no fixed point from which we can get an objective measure; the only constant is the speed of light. Because of this constant we have been able to say, with some confidence, that the universe is expanding and, moreover, that this expansion is accelerating. This would seem to point to an absolute beginning to the universe…ie if we ‘rewind’ the universe the universe will contract, until it finally becomes a point, the singularity, ‘the big bang’. But the universe is not just expanding, it is expanding at an accelerating rate. This means that when we ‘rewind’ the universe it contracts at a continually decelerating rate. The universe can be ‘rewound’ forever.
[In case the above is still unclear walk towards the nearest wall, in fact walk half-way to it. Then halve the distance between you and the wall again. And half it again…. even if you continued in such manner for an infinite amount of time you would never reach the wall.]
The speed of light is that speed at which no time would pass – if you were riding a beam of light there would be only an eternal now. Phenomenal reality subsists on this eternal now – it exists entirely within it – for everything is happening at the speed of light, for everything is, ultimately, light. Matter is energy and energy moves at the speed of light. We are dual beings: as part of the phenomenal world we are subject to birth and death: for all that is born must die – the phenomenal world is ceaseless transfiguration. But I am also the unchanging awareness of this changing world and my changing mind – I am the light by which all exists. Note that this awareness is not intellectual or reflective in any way, it is simply the ‘space’ in which everything happens. Just as the tree must be aware to move towards light and water, even though it is unconscious. Indeed this ‘awareness’ is simply the other side of the will, for the will is dynamic, it is movement: away from or towards. But away from or towards what? The will may be blind but it must be aware in order to move towards or away anything. It must be able to discern, and discernment presupposes awareness. Even though the tree has no real nervous system, it can sense and direct itself accordingly– all living things do, even microbes. What this means is that the will and the world, in so much as we can know, exist always together – ie there is no world without will, for the world is a product of the organism which in turn is a product of the will; and there is no will without world, for the will would have nothing to sense, nothing to move towards or away from – it would be impotent, unable to translate itself into act, and an impotent will is a contradiction.
When we die and the world vanishes, the will we most intimately are remains, for it is not born so it cannot die. Now this will, together with the archetypal forms, produces the world, which means that the world is already implicit in the will and the forms. What it’s like to experience the will and the forms from the ‘other side’ is something we can experience only at death, but the most common trope associated with near death experiences is the ‘tunnel of light’, which draws us toward itself. The will is naturally drawn towards the light, just as it is also naturally drawn towards the light in the green life of the world. After death the world may not exist, but the light that produced it remains. This light is the awareness in which all exists, both before and after death. It is undifferentiated reality – the primordial mode of being. Castaneda describes the relation between undifferentiated reality and the world through the terms nagual and tonal. The tonal is everything that has a name, it is the world-as-representation, it is everything that is born and dies. It exists like a floating island, supported and surrounded by the nagual – undifferentiated primordial being. The will is that which connects the world to that in which the world exists, the tonal to the nagual. It is the ‘active side of infinity’ (Castaneda)…expressing itself in time and space so as to know itself.
The will is the fire at the heart of creation which produces the light by which all exists. This light is awareness itself – an undifferentiated field from which perception constructs a world. It is according to Ibn Arabi (the Islamic philosopher of the 13th C), the Creative Imagination: ‘that which projects the latent forms (archetypes) onto the illusory screen of otherness’ (Eliade). And it is the energy of love which draws together that which was divided into self and other – re-establishing the original unity in the world. The creator divides himself into creator and creation, will and world, subject and object, in order to be ‘enriched by the experience of the consciousness of Self (ibid).’ The ‘marriage’ of creator and creation (will and world) establishes the primordial unity on Earth and makes it possible for the individual to ‘objectively realise his interior images (ibid)’. This statement is what it appears to be: the logic of sacred magic and miracle. Sai Baba regularly manifested vibuti (consecrated ash) and various other objects out of thin air. He explained that the only difference between himself and others was that he was ‘on fire’. This fire is love.
Awareness can be empty of content, as in deep meditation, but the world can only exist in awareness, ie through the light. It is this awareness that is the spiritual presence ‘behind’ the world of phenomena, that in which the world has its existence.
“Religious doctrines..about the relationship of the spiritual and material worlds necessarily deal with the transcendence and immanence of the Absolute.. the “interplay” of these two “dimensions” varies from religion to religion but both are always present. Whatever accent a particular spiritual economy might place on these aspects of the Real, the underlying principle is always the same. It might best be summed up by an old Rabbinic dictum: “The universe is not the dwelling place of God; God is the dwelling place of the universe.“ In the light of such formulations we can also dispense with the sharp dualistic separation of the two worlds: the world of phenomena is held together by a numinous spiritual presence. Indeed, without it the world of “matter” would vanish instantly and completely. Eternity is ever-present within (so to speak) the phenomenal world.”
“The Firmament Sheweth His Handiwork”; Reawakening a Religious Sense of the Order of Nature
The world is the reflection of the will: all beings in the world are at once will and representation of this will, subject and immediate object for this subject, (ie the body). Through this body we create our world, which in turn includes our body: the body is part of the world and that which produces the world – it is the bridge between the will-in-itself and the world-as-representation. The world has no independent existence – it is willed into existence, quite literally. But any act presupposes a world in which the act occurs. The will can only know itself through the world, which it projects and then lives within, so as to know itself. The universe is projected through me: I live within it and it lives within me as the will which animates me and thus produces a world via my nervous system. Thus is the nature of reality: mutual implication: nested loops: a mobius strip: stairs and contradictory stairs.
We are playing an infinitely regressed, massive multi-player role playing game called Earthling, the aim of which seems open-ended, much like Minecraft. However, more seasoned players come to know that the real goal is always the same – namely one must ‘complete the quest’. This quest is that which was related at the start of our Faustian culture – the quest for the grail. Parsifal, the ‘innocent fool’, is the hero of said quest, indicating the correct manner in which to approach the adventure (worldliness counts for little compared to an ingenuous mind and faithful heart). Courage is required of course, and the willingness to go ‘into the woods at their thickest part’….ie tread a path that is solely yours…and one must be chaste, naturally,…but ultimately it is sympathy which reveals the grail, that is the key to understanding and therefore healing, or as Rimbaud calls it, ‘divine charity’, which is the same thing. It is the grail which heals the land and the king which are one, and what is the grail? It is a feminine symbol, the ace of cups, that which receives and holds the blood of Christ. It is our capacity for feeling, that which evaluates the motives that intellect presents. This then is our firm foundation – it is our feelings that tell us what matters most, and it is this knowledge which is the basis of right, ie healthy, action: let your heart unravel and it will be path on which to travel. Our feelings lead us back to the reality of our embodiment: that which we value most highly leads naturally to an expression of this through the body. The grail symbolises the erotic genius of incarnate life, that which grounds the logos or spirit in the flesh. The wine of the mass symbolises the grail, for wine heightens feelings – it lifts our spirit to the point of laughter and dance and love. When the spirit is enlivened, so is the body. ‘Exuberance is beauty’ (Blake): beauty is the glow of vitality.
We are where the holy marriage takes place: between the body and the mind, through the heart that makes them one. The activated heart is the philosopher’s stone, that which transmutes base metal into gold, or the temporal into the eternal. It is to see the world as it actually is – infinite and holy. It is to realise that life is embedded in eternity.
Life imbues matter with a capacity to grow, organise, evolve into ever more complex arrangements. Life is not only objectified will, as this is true of all phenomena: life takes possession of matter from within.
Life is the macrocosmic process microcosmised: the will which objectifies itself as body is wed to this body. The universe is likewise the microcosm macrocosmised – the macanthropos. .
Life is the ‘decentralisation of the centre’: the centre of the universe resides in every living being: God is an infinite sphere whose circumference is nowhere and centre is everywhere.
Life is the presence of God in the field of space and time; a God who is one and many simultaneously.
The mystery of life is the mystery of God.
According to the Book of Genesis, the Earth was initially formless, there were only ‘the waters’ which God proceeded to divide into the heavens and the Earth by means of the firmament. The waters are the feminine moiety of the divine syzygy, essential to the creation of life and the world which is its mirror. God is the light which ‘inseminates’ the waters. God and Sophia create the universe together: the universe is created through ‘the waters’, through life, through us.
“And God said, let is make man in our image… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 [my emphasis]
The universe cannot exist before life exists, this is a logical impossibility. The universe is an object of perception and as such necessarily implies a subject. To speculate on the nature of the universe prior to life is nonsensical but commonplace: the veil of Maya is not easily rent. In reality, the beginning of a life is the beginning of a universe and there is no other origin apart from this.
Living matter has an interior dimension which we call ‘will’ which is the source of its active being; inorganic matter, conversely, is subject to the will, it is passive. At the inorganic level it is the elementary forces which express the divine will: gravity and electromagnetism and inertia. Gravity is the expression of the underlying one-ness of extended reality; electromagnetism is the expression of the infinite within the finite; inertia is the expression of the unchanging in the ever-changing world. In contrast, living beings are impelled primarily by the will-to-live, an irrepressible urge to continuance and reproduction which is, in effect, to serve the species above all else. Representations reveal their origins analogically – it is the nature of the phenomena which reveals the nature of what they represent.
The elementary forces contend with each other for the ‘possession’ of matter (we should note here that there is no such thing as ‘raw’ matter – matter only exists as a form of some type. As physics has shown, matter itself is an illusion). The will is a constant striving, a tension between what is and what will be. This ‘strife’ is what Heraclitus refers to as the logos, ‘father of all things’… the transcendental unity that realises itself ever more fully in time and space through duality. The primary expression of this duality is the tension between the inorganic and the organic, between that which is entropic and that which is negentropic, between that which homogenises and that which is total heterogeneity. Gravity draws everything down back into the decomposing darkness of the earth; evolution is the increasing emancipation of life from gravity. This is why humour elevates the soul: levity and gravity: cradle and grave. It is no accident that the joker/fool is the trump card: humour detaches us, giving us a God’s eye view….an enlightening glimpse of the divine comedy. It is this detachment that has become total in those laughing sages: the Zen and Taoist ‘fools’, and also in figures like Henry Miller, Diogenes and Tom Bombadil. The fool represents total fluidity because he is a faithful servant of that other fluidity: desire, eros. Desire is the expression of the divine will within us. Its nature is fluid (‘caprice thy name is woman!’) and its nature is perfect. It is the only absolute authority that exists in creation.
A ladder only works because the rungs resist our weight. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction and it is the tension between these opposing forces which provides the stability and energy for further progress. This principle is what Castaneda called tensegrity (portmanteau of tension and integrity); it is also what Nietzsche meant when he said that the more tautly stretched the bow, the further the arrow can fly. Evolution requires opposing forces and the greater the evolutionary moment the greater the tension between these forces. For example, control must keep intensifying until such a point that the tension (between control and man’s essentially free nature) is sufficient to propel mankind beyond his current spiritually impoverished condition….it is this tension, this need that is behind every real work of art, every expansion of human consciousness. The artist does what he does because he has to, for artists are simply those of us with the most sensitive antennae – they feel the tension moreso than the rest and would get sick if they didn’t translate this tension into something else. They are the first arrows to fly, tracing paths from which future generations will take their bearings.
This will or striving or desire, in order to realise itself within the field of space and time, must reckon with other desires, with the exigencies that the whole world, inorganic and organic, thrusts upon it. The individual must choose a path of action and the scope of this choice is proportional to the consciousness of the life-form in question, which is to say the complexity of its nervous system. Life is essentially unpredictable and becomes more so in proportion to its complexity, which is why in higher animals the intellect becomes more important, and instinct less so, increasing the chance of error. In man, that creature who has essentially unlimited choice, the intellect must continually process multiple possibilities and motives, extrapolating and analysing, before presenting the results to the will for its evaluation. Life is unceasing struggle against that entropy which demands its toll eventually be paid in full, but only by the individual – life itself is immortal: life sacrifices itself individually so that it may evolve as a whole more rapidly.
Nature is eminently unconcerned with the individual; her concern is the continuation of the species, – the archetype or Platonic form. However, the species can only manifest itself through individuals: the individual represents the species in time and space. The individual therefore is the bridge between Nature and the species: she must go through the individual to achieve her ends, for there is no other avenue available to her. The individual desires their own continuance and well-being above all and thinks little of the species as a whole, but this ‘selfishness’ is used by Nature for her own ends, just as Adam Smith found that individuals serving primarily their own desires serves as the basis of an optimal economic system, namely capitalism. Of course this is true only to a point; if there are no checks on individual greed then this statement loses its truth value. In Adam Smith’s day (mid-18thC) the church still functioned as a check on individual greed, limiting the polarisation of wealth. Today it does not, which is why we have billionaires.
‘Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has destroyed intellect’
We could say that altruism is the relative dominance of the species in the individual, in that the individual puts the general good above that of solely his own, or thinks more of the general good than his own, or more simply still, he sees that the general good is his highest good also. In other words true altruism and true selfishness are exactly the same thing. It is for this reason that morality teaches itself…it is the natural result of understanding…of an understanding of how the world operates. This is also why we have the hermetic formula: faith plus reason = gnosis, ie the goal of religion is spiritual knowledge, not the implantation of a moral code. To know that the order of the universe is ultimately a moral one is to realise that all moralising is unnecessary. There is nothing to ‘correct’ but our own distorted view.
The separation of religion from science spelled the end of religion-as-inquiry; this task science would now take up alone but in good faith. Our religion had already begun to grow stale by the time science begins to grow from her. Science represents the evolution of our religion, a ‘third testament’, in that it takes up study of that other deity, the one our religion had a very mixed relationship with – Nature.
Christianity, to exist at all, had to overthrow the prevailing pagan mindset which was initially extremely hostile to it. The virtues of the classical world and that of Christianity are chalk and cheese. Aristotle never mentions love or compassion as primary virtues; it is arete – demonstrated excellence – that is the symbol of virtue. Success, honour, prestige – these mean zero to the Christians – they act as if they were above such concerns: the world has no hold on them. To the Romans, Christianity is anathema at first – it seems a religion of weakness rather than strength, but very soon the opposite is shown to be true. The sacrifice of the martyrs represents the triumph of Christianity, for it conquers death itself through them. When death loses its sting how can an empire maintain its control? Rome must re-brand itself under the banner of Christianity to survive, which represents a compromise for both sides: the words of Jesus and the apostles will now travel the world, but they will do so in service of empire. Judaism is recruited in the form of the old testament (Torah) to balance the revolutionary new. In time Christianity will become a religion of forbearance rather than one of revolutionary change; the kingdom that was promised is still in the works.
Despite the neutering of Jesus and his message which has been done in order to prevent too glaring a contradiction coming to light, there is enough truth in his words and those of the apostles to affect us still. The new testament contains a new spirit and this spirit has saturated most of the world. It is above all the spirit of forgiveness, symbolised by Jesus’ words on the cross which poetically echo the Gnostic formula, ‘all sin is error’. Forgiveness cuts the Gordian knot of fate: the future can come to be only when we let go of the past.
Much has been written about Rome, especially its decline and fall. Rome was the greatest empire the world had ever seen but its highest achievement ends up being the fostering and broadcasting of Christian values, which are diametrically opposed to the values of empire. The irony is instructive – Nature achieves her ends through us, not with us; unwittingly we serve her. This being the case we could apply this same ‘ironic’ tendency of Nature’s to our present time. For instance, we are living the greatest technological explosion in history; the world is now integrated as one entity through globalisation, which has been motivated, more than anything, by greed. Our dreaming most commonly extrapolates our technological capabilities as far as we can imagine – ever more immersive virtual reality, cyborgs and settling other planets. But what if this is all misdirection? What if Nature is achieving her ends through us once more, in order to produce something diametrically opposed to the dreams of global empire and hi-tech wizardry. What if the purpose of globalisation was ultimately to connect the world into one, such that ‘an idea whose time has come’ can go ‘viral’. In short, our magical technology and communications systems might ultimately serve to broadcast the wisdom of the first peoples around the world – those who lived in harmony with the land for millennia. Just as empire produced the Christianisation of the world, globalisation may be Nature’s method of bringing a global, ecological consciousness into being. The legacy of Rome was Christ; the legacy of globalisation will be Gaia.
We could say that Christ – the man and the myth – represents a new human archetype, one that becomes the model from which the Christian civilisation will take its cue – Jesus Christ becomes the standard by which virtue will now be measured and ‘virtue’ is another word for ‘conformation to the will of the species’.
In the insect world, there is already no significant difference between the individual will and the will of the species, for instinct is dominant here and instinct is the ‘voice’ of the species in the individual. The insect world is marked by endless examples of self-sacrifice in order that the whole may survive and prosper. We could call this phenomenon the ‘hive mind’.
Royalty, and the connection of royalty to divine authority, echoes the logic of the insect world. The queen is waited on by her courtiers just as the queen bee attended by her drones. The queen sacrifices her freedom in order to become the focal point of the hive, the keystone which gives the whole social structure its integrity and purpose. The queen in the insect world represents the higher authority of the species in the world of individuals: she is the portal through which eternity enters time. A human queen does not give birth to her citizens, she is biologically identical with them. In the human world there can only be an analogous relation. The king or queen is that focal point for a people in the same way as for the insect world, in that the king or queen is the authority of eternity in time and space. The queen bee has divine right due to the fact she is literally the source of continuity for the hive; for royalty this divine right is based on them being the source of continuity in a cultural sense – tradition and moral order. For this reason they must be an exemplar: they must be worthy of the position, which means being aware of the gravest of responsibilities, namely to bear the weight of the species as an individual. Of course this logic is borne out more in myth than in reality, but it is myth that matters most, for myth is myth by virtue of it being eternally true.
Concurrent with the dissolution of effective monarchy, we see the rise of purely temporal authority: the rise of politics. Where the king or queen unified temporal and eternal authority in their person, politics is exclusively concerned with the temporal; it leaves questions of a metaphysical hue to religious authority.
Religious authority and political authority are poetry and prose, which is to say they are of a different order or degree. Religious authority is primary in that it confers on the person their dignity, whereas political authority is concerned primarily with their utility. Poetry is the language of the true legislators of the world and poetry is always religious in spirit, particularly when it is rebellious. Poetry is the absolute authority of subjectivity; true religion likewise. Therefore there is an irremediable incompatibility twixt politics and religion, for every true religion is an argument against politics (as Christianity most definitely is). A true religion is that which helps the individual realise their own spiritual autonomy. If we are guided from within by our own subjectivity then we all have a direct connection to spirit which, if cultivated, is far more effective than any external guidance. The ‘cultivated’ person sees that all institutional authority is unnecessary, including that of the church.
A true religion would obviate the need for institutional authority, which is why the church has always been divided against itself. The church is really much like the argument for communism: ie the people can look after themselves, but only after we have taught them how to….a lesson that ends only when the institution does. Nevertheless religion remains the only effective bulwark against political power we have. The church may be prey to corruption like all institutions, but it is the faith of individuals within the church that keeps the church alive, even when its outwards forms are dead. Christ has been ‘sleeping’ within the church for centuries, and it is the ‘second coming’, the ‘Parousia’, that will spell its end and its beginning. In short, the church will become one through Christ, for he is the raison d’etre of all Christian religions. The church will eventually become what it originally was – the ministry of the poor. It will find its salvation where Jesus found his: in the midst of the lowly and sick and cast out. When the church makes its wealth available to those that need it most, Christ will live again.
Our religion was never apolitical – the Roman empire simply became the holy Roman empire. The interests of the Catholic church have always been more worldly than spiritual. The more religion is involved in politics, the more its authority is undermined by its dabbling in the mundane. Religious authority becomes merely ethical, forfeiting its numinous quality which alone distinguishes it from (and elevates it above) secular authority. The forms remain but the spirit that animated them has departed. The tabernacle is empty.
When God ‘dies’ the world loses its meaning, but as the old saying goes: ‘God has need of us, as we have need of him’. It is we who resurrect God via blood transfusion: which is to say artistic creation. Humanity requires myths to live by and humanity is also the source of myth. Myth corresponds to eternal truth, which is to say, the will and the archetypal forms. The king or queen represents the species in their individual person; the artist is possessed by the species which speaks through him in his work – the prophet being the highest degree of this ‘possession’. This possession is what we poetically attribute to the muse, she who symbolises beauty and the eternal truth this represents. For it is through beauty that the world comes into being: it is beauty that compels an individual towards that other with whom he will make a new world. Beauty is stronger than money and power, it can destroy cities (Troy) or it can build them (Paris); it can overpower any powerful man, driving the most reasonable to madness, murder and suicide. Indeed the demonic aspect of beauty – that which Henry describes as ‘that feline beauty which has America by the balls’ – is Nature’s antidote for the general dis-honouring of beauty we call civilisation. Whether it be the natural world which we mutilate and cover with architectural obscenity, or the commodification of the female form in pornography and prostitution, we are dishonouring sacred beauty and ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’. This is why the sexes are falling apart – they must do so to come together in good faith once more.
Beauty cannot be possessed, only honoured. If beauty is not honoured, the individual will be possessed by the daimon of beauty until he corrects his vision. This correction is brought about, as is usually the case, by suffering: the object of his passion becomes a torment to him. If he can’t have her, life has no meaning for him. Eventually he will be completely drained: the will relaxes its grip and he can begin to see that he was hypnotised, out of his wits. For this beauty that overpowers him is the same that he fails to honour in the world-at-large. If beauty is not honoured, then beauty will be used as a means to this end, ie man will be shown that beauty is stronger than he is – he will be overpowered and broken by her. And then, free of his hypnosis, he becomes capable of understanding why he had to go through such an ordeal, which is simply to become a man worthy of ‘her’ – one who protects and serves beauty.
The infantilism of our civilisation is directly connected to our romantic fixation. The puer aeternus – the perennial youth – is simply the refusal to grow up (Peter Pan syndrome). Youth becomes the highest, most desirable thing – to look younger than you actually are becomes an obsession. This is Beauty exercising her demonic aspect once more – possessing the person, imprisoning them in a hall of mirrors. We exist only in the gaze of others, which is to objectify oneself, resulting in that characteristic vacuity that attends the world of celebrity in particular.
Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion (Unamuno). Falling in love is like falling under a spell, nothing matters except the object of one’s affection, the significance of which is like the sun itself, ie they are the centre of our universe. But this is an abrogation of responsibility and an imposition upon said other, who in being objectified suffers a mutilation at the hands of her admirer, leading to resentment. This then is the end goal of romantic love – disillusion; or as Henry says – the artist conquers the romantic in themselves.
To see that romantic love is a demon which possesses us is to forgive those who are possessed by it, for they do not know why they do what they do. As long as we seek to possess another, to possess beauty, we will be possessed in turn. This is how the world reflects the will. Only when we realise that it is our charge to protect and honour beauty (and the highest truth this represents) will we see through the illusion of romantic love….and upon this rests the possibility of the ‘real thing’, which in other words is to be married (which has nothing to do with legal contracts). ‘Marriage’ is when each is connected to the other through God, through a mutual avowal to serve not each other, but that which we represent and embody. Marriage is a mutual consecration and only this can produce a relationship that endures and deepens, for to endure it must deepen.
All we need to do now
is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we need to see
is that I don’t belong to you and you don’t belong to me.
George Michael, Freedom.
Beauty dishonoured becomes a curse, which is why the world is going through a nightmare. This is why the artist is the cure: he honours beauty above all and in so doing restores the rightful order. For the experience of beauty, at its highest degree, becomes rapture, and rapture is that experience where time becomes pure duration – the indefinite extension of the present moment. It is to become absorbed in perception. Indeed this phenomenon is so powerful that it can lead to sickness or death, for it draws us (ie that which we most essentially and intimately are, the will) out and towards it, endangering the unity of will and body. St Francis died, ecstatically, from the beauty of Nature – he could not restrain himself, such was its magnetic power. Beauty is the most revealing experience we can have of the will-in-itself: it is the experience of eternity in time and space.
The artist is driven by the needs of the species which he feels to a near intolerable degree in his person. His presence is always a thorn in the side of the status quo, for he is not subject to the same rules as everyone else: he recognises his own desire as supreme authority. Naturally this state of affairs undermines the authority of the state, which is why the artist is often a tragic figure – the immune system of the status quo is often brought to bear upon him. The artist reminds us that secular authority, ultimately, is unnecessary. The artist is a devotee of the highest authority – that which moves the world. He is morally superior to any ethical code, any secular authority.
We may bemoan the futility of life as many a great mind has done. These pessimistic souls do the world great service with their brutal honesty. Optimism tends to prevent honest examination of the situation and therefore its improvement. We would all like to believe that this is the ‘best of all possible worlds’ but, as Voltaire showed in Candide, this is simply disingenuous. The discrepancy between ourselves and the world, between what we consider most noble and right, and its conspicuous lack in the world….how is this to be explained? If the world is the mirror of ourselves, then why do we find it lacking? Logically the problem must lie in the individual, ie the fault is not in the world, but in us….in how we perceive the world.
And so we come back to knowledge, that which corrects and enlarges perception. Yes we are the problem, for the problem cannot lie anywhere else, but the nature of this problem is such that we can refrain from persecuting each other’s moral failings, in that it is the result of being deliberately misled. ‘Everything we are taught is false’ (Rimbaud) because all our ‘knowledge’ is predicated on the materialist fallacy, even though physics has conclusively disproved this assumption. Starting from this point, all knowledge will be tinted with error and will therefore not alter the perception of the individual. Only when we begin from firm foundations can we gain true knowledge, which is that which enlarges our understanding of the world and ourselves, for the truth is the truth because it has an effect. This firm foundation is to know that we are the source of the universe – we project it and maintain it in its being and when we die it vanishes along with the brain that produced it. The macrocosm and microcosm are the same: in other words by interrogating ourselves we reveal the nature of the whole cosmos. There is only one fundamental subject of study therefore: oneself: gnothi se auton: ‘know thyself’.
Evolution is driven by the divine will, by an innate desire seeking an ever more full expression of itself, of its own essential nature. Therefore to understand evolution we must look to its highest expressions, those forms of life which are the most full expression of its essential nature. Man is therefore the key to evolution. In man we can approach the phenomena of evolution from within and when we do we discover that the fulcrum, the point of traction, is desire and its refinement. It is this ‘refinement’ that is the higher purpose of the intellect.
‘The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell.
For the Cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life; and when he does the whole creation will be consumed and appear infinite and holy, whereas now it appears finite and corrupt.
This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.
But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged; this I shall do by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid.
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks in his cavern.’
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell [my emphasis]
All begins from the inner dimension, the ‘world-behind-the-world’, the incessant will. And this will which is to us a blind and fluid impulse, what is it in itself? We cannot directly know, for knowledge requires a brain and the world it produces. All we can know is that the key to the eternal realm lies in the symbol, that which connects the temporal and eternal. Archetypes are symbols – they do not have a simple meaning – they express different ‘sides’ of themselves dependent on the situation or context. We see the symbol as it is expressed in the world but, like the moon, we never see its ‘dark side’, that which is embedded in eternity. And yet every expression of the archetype bears the stamp of its eternal origin…the expression of the archetype is always analogous to the archetype itself. In terms of the will-in-itself the prime symbol is the tree, for the vegetable life of the planet has no intellect, no nervous system, no consciousness. It is pure will, striving for light in one direction and moisture in the other. But to strive towards light and water the plant must be capable of detecting light and water. Even though the tree is without consciousness, it ‘knows’ where to go. It is life itself, the pure will moving where it must. The example of the tree and the green life it represents, shows that intellect or consciousness is simply reflection (hence why the intellect is symbolised by the moon) – it is something added to the will in service of it. Intellect develops so that the increasing number of paths available to an organism may be ‘weighed and measured’. In other words intellect evolves in tandem with the complexity of the nervous system of the animal and the scope of its choice, which are the same thing. In the tree, all reflection is absent; the tree doesn’t know ‘why’ it grows as it does, it just does. There are no choices to be made, for the life of the tree is itself that which strives towards light and water automatically – that is its nature. Therefore the tree symbolically represents the will-in-itself with its dual-directive: light and moisture, or logos and eros. The tree represents the dynamic unification of Heaven and Earth: to grow towards the light whilst becoming ever more firmly rooted in the soil. This is why Schiller famously says: ‘What a tree is unconsciously, be consciously – that’s it!’
The world-as-representation is an inner longing made manifest in space and time. It is a shared dreaming therefore which holds a world together, which binds a human world together, which harnesses this longing into coherent, collective expression. Without this shared dreaming more and more external measures become necessary –laws, ethics, ‘expert’ guidance – and as these external measures accumulate they obfuscate, more and more, the innate and perfect will which we are, that which ‘knows’ better than words could ever say. And so we produce even more laws to compensate for this natural deficiency, compounding the problem, leading to confusion and contradiction and an ever growing need for simplification which is, in practice, to ground everything on the individual. For this will which we are is one, but it expresses itself uniquely in each of us: no one can guide us better than ourselves. The true teacher simply cultivates a deeper faith in one’s own compass.
Viz medicatrix naturae
Nature is her own physician and, as we have seen, there is nothing that is unnatural upon the Earth, within the super-organism Gaia. We are autonomous beings – we are free to choose and because our actions are not predetermined Gaia can only respond to them. This is why horrors are commonplace but also why they don’t overwhelm the world completely. We are free to transgress her law, as we prove every day, but her justice is inexorable. We cannot escape the ‘law of life’ which underpins our existence, we can ignore it but the more we do the sicker we become (and the nature of the sickness will reveal the cure). The law of life is non-negotiable: until we respect and care for all life – human, animal, plant, fungi, microbe – we will suffer all the more, for this is the only means of healing nature has at her disposal. As Henry Miller says: “suffering is not only profoundly inherent in man …it is the sole cause of the awakening of conscious thought” – suffering wakes us from our somnambulism.
Gaia has plenary power; all is happening with the collaboration and direction of Gaia, she is the planetary muse: sacred desire. Nature is the epitome of aesthetic perfection – the sublime order of chaos. The ‘living book’ is there to remind us that the truth we seek is all around us, all we need to do is remove our prejudicial lenses. When we do we see that ‘weeds’ don’t exist: each green life is a miracle. These feral outcrops can elicit a depth of feeling that a manicured lawn simply cannot. A single tiny green life sprouting through the cracks in the pavement is a poem when we observe without judgement.
We are the truth we seek. We cannot grasp it because we are it, we can only participate in it and when we do we verify God through the creative act. Every creation is a co-creation, a strange ‘dialogue’ with oneself, with the source within. How often does a writer look back at his work and think, ‘Did I write that?’… ‘Not I but the Father within’, is Henry Miller’s reply. This is the mysterious space from which the words flow forth and when they are a flowing it’s dictation time. It was to ‘HER’ that Henry dedicated his work; the Celtic poets always addressed their poetry to the Goddess – words of adoration and fealty. She is the sublime source of desire and the artist is he who is loyal to his desire above all, who revels in it and reveals it shamelessly, who in ‘recording truth truthfully’ (Emerson) does justice to her and himself. When we create we are one with God: all true art is a recapitulation of the primal drama – of the one that becomes two in order to give birth to the world. The artist is he or she who marries the two back into one through the crucible of their own being, through their work and life which are inseparable.
Eros is ‘blind’– desire wells up from the depths. By turning the light of consciousness upon our desire we reveal it as a liberating force – our wild self. Beneath the (rapidly perishing) veneer of western civilisation, there is raw life, always and everywhere the same. We are animals; domesticated animals, but animals nonetheless. The domestication of man is another term for industrial civilisation, the birth of which is also the birth of madness as disease, as Foucault so eloquently demonstrated. Madness-as-disease is also the demonisation of the fool, a spiritual inversion which can only lead to the degradation of society over time. When we lose connection with our wild selves we lose connection with life and this leads to spiritual sickness, what we refer to today as ‘psychological disorders’.
We have within us the wisdom of the wild animal – the untapped depths of instinct. Domesticated man is imprisoned by his own mind, his own faulty vision. These ‘mind forg’d manacles’ (Blake) are our own creation – they exist only because we believe in them. Henry stopped believing in them and woke up to find himself alone. He turned his consciousness away from the world – ‘walking out through the in door’ – to become a universe to himself. And what is clear is that Henry Miller, one man, is more interesting than the entire world, than the whole of society and all its gilded dross. The world of mercantile man is a bore, a grind, a con, a charade – it ain’t worth the effort pal, then and now. You are worth more than the whole stinking mess and the only thing making you miserable is that deep down you know this and you aren’t acting on it. One must take the leap of faith to find one’s faith: say ‘no’ to the world on its terms and become a world to oneself. When you realise that you have exactly nothing to lose, you gain everything…this is the kernel of what Henry is saying.
Together we form the mind of Gaia and this mind is waking up as we wake up, as we re-member who we are. For evolution is a circle not linear: for there to be the possibility of evolution there must first be involution. That is to say God must be ‘involved’ in the world for life to evolve towards Godhood within it. This idea is connected with the the Orphic mystery religion. Orpheus is the dismembered God (and not the only one, eg Osiris) whose parts are scattered across the world, and it is up to us to ‘re-member’ him, to make him (and ourselves) whole – to integrate what has been separated.
This ‘dispersed’ God could also be equated with the microbiome which is ubiquitous, immortal and invisible…ie it satisfies the logical definition of God. The microbiome is like the ‘Borg’ from Star Trek – there are no true individuals (asexual reproduction), rather they are a collective being that is dispersed across the universe. On Earth the microbiome connects all life: all that lives is alive because of the microbiome which supports it. In space the microbiome is dormant because it is completely desiccated: no liquid water = no active life. God requires water to live in time and space.
Mitochondria, the power stations of cells, are semi-autonomous organelles with their own DNA and are thought to have once been simple bacteria that were ‘ingested’ by other bacteria, giving rise to the eukaryotic cell which is the basic building block of all higher life. Cellular life shows a tight homology across kingdoms: all life is created with the same ‘cellular lego’ and all these ‘constructions’ are animated through their integration within the microbial matrix. Life is a polymorphous, protoplasmic intelligence…all that lives is kin, is of the whole, is holy.
Mychorrizal fungi connect forests into an ‘enveloped’ whole. Microscopic mycelial threads penetrate the root cells of trees and plants, connecting them, allowing them to share metabolic products, to distribute them where they are required. The mature forest is an ‘over-organism’ that responds to the needs of all its denizens for they are all ‘it’ – all parts of its ‘body’. It is a collective which has become self-aware as a collective. After a threshold of integration or complexity is reached there is an emergence: a new level of awareness is born.
If we use the forest as our model and our root metaphor (pardon the pun), we can hypothesise that in human collectives their exists a similar potential for integration such that the consciousness of the group-as-a-whole would be naturally expressed through each individual, and given a unique slant by each individual. This form of organisation would have such resilience and capacity for ingenuity that one could imagine it enduring for centuries, millennia…and that is the life the aboriginal peoples of Australia lived for tens of thousands of years, enduring through global catastrophes that annihilated cultures all over the world. Viewed in this context the present time is an extreme and extremely temporary aberration. I suspect that the industrial explosion was necessary, evolutionarily speaking, in order to integrate the whole of humanity, to connect them into one hybrid monoculture, to facilitate the spread of humans, animals, plants, microbes and ideas across the globe. This integration is necessary to facilitate the emergence of a global or Gaian consciousness, for not only is the world integrated in real-time, we have a real-time emergency on our hands to go with it. The threat isn’t climate change or viruses, it is quite simply an unsustainable way of life, a way of life which is taking too much from the natural world and giving back too little. Obviously such a state of affairs has a finite time span….as we are now discovering.
Emergence/emergency: births are messy affairs but in the end something wonderful happens – a new life enters the world. In our case this new life is a new culture, that human super-organism so thoroughly treated by Spengler. The Faustian culture of the West has run its course and a new world-experience beckons, for that is what culture is, it conditions reality such that all in said culture belong to it, are at home in it, and know each other through it. It is for this reason we have been made more and more homeless, and likewise why reality has become surreal to the degree that we don’t know what’s real and what’s not anymore. Isn’t this ‘unanchoring’ exactly what we need so that we may find new shores? A radically different reality lies in readiness, awaiting our readiness, dreaming itself into being through us….because the future is inside us, as Thom Yorke says.
We have been focusssed on the infinities of space so much that we have neglected exploring the last true terra incognita – we ourselves. We are the last ‘continent’ to discover, that outer infinity we grope towards with our fancy technology is actually created inside us and projected outwards. The universe is actually inside our heads and yet empirical reality does exist (‘matter is a lie that is true’) and conforms to the law of causality. We can manipulate phenomenal reality by way of the law of causality but we can also manipulate reality in toto when we change the manner of our perception. Knowledge is that which shapes our perception. All true knowledge is also an enlargement of reality itself – we see in a way we did not before, a way we did not even suspect existed until we gained said knowledge.
Where knowledge expands, ideology and dogma diminish. Knowledge is always knowledge in relation to oneself, ideology and dogma dismiss the individual from the process of verification. ‘Knowledge’ becomes the sole province of the relevant experts whose pronouncements are not for the likes of us to question. In order to maintain a system of control, the population must be consistently fed a credible narrative that nevertheless is not completely true, otherwise it would empower the individual. The official narrative displaces reality: the simulation cannibalises the real.
Humanity is made impotent by an elaborate project of disinformation which begins in earnest at school. This ‘project’ is the immune system of the status quo. Like all organic phenomena the status quo is characterised chiefly by the will-to-live: it has no choice in the matter. The status quo can endure only if the individual is kept in the dark, so to speak. All that matters to the ‘hive mind’ is that it continue to exist and it can only justify this by declaring itself morally superior to the individual. Now this is actually true in the case of the insect world, but in terms of humanity it represents a violation of our intrinsic nature: for we are not infallibly guided by instinct like the insect world: we are responsible for our actions. In other words to obey an authority outside oneself, an authority which in essence is not compatible with that authority within, is to commit a crime against oneself and nature, which are inextricably one. Indeed we could even go so far as to say that this ‘disobedience to self’ is our true ‘original sin’, in that this is the original error from which all others stem. This is the reason why the materialist fallacy is still promulgated as fact, for only reductive materialism eliminates subjectivity and its absolute authority: the status quo must reduce humans to organic machines if it is to convince them of the need for social engineering.
The mind of God and the body of Nature are two expressions of the same energy in different domains – Heaven and Earth. Heaven is, as JC said, within: the kingdom of God is within you; and also: ‘the kingdom of God is spread out before you’. Both are true: what is spread out before you and what is within you are the same reality viewed relatively or absolutely. In an absolute sense the kingdom is within for the universe truly resides in us…it is constructed in our heads and we project this construction as the phenomenal world. The phenomenal world is relatively true in that it is entirely relative to us as individuals – to how we perceive it. The kingdom within is not relative but absolute, it is the projector, the light itself. The projections are innumerable but the light is one. We can work with the projections or we can work with the projector, which is to say the imagination. Both rely on knowledge, the former by understanding the law of causality, the latter by understanding the law of growth.
It is the psychic or subtle level of reality which is continually informing the phenomenal world. The phenomenal world is a field of interaction, comprehensible to great practical degree via the law of causality. This is the domain of science: an understanding of the laws and principles underlying the interaction of phenomena are what has enabled us to create our high tech. world. But all that we have produced has been produced first in the mind, in the imagination. It is our knowledge of the law of causality which has enabled us to apply these ideas which grew first from dreams, but the dreams themselves…these do not relate to the law of causality, but to the law of growth.
‘For nothing stands outside of nature, not even the human mind. Nature is always the same, and its virtue and power of acting are everywhere one and the same, i.e., the laws and rules of nature, according to which all things happen, and change from one form to another, are always and everywhere the same.’
The law of growth pertains directly to the will, whereas the law of causality pertains directly to the intellect and only indirectly to the will. Dreams are decoded intuitively whereas causality is deduced rationally. It is the faculty of intuition which is directly connected to the law of growth – intuition is that which apprehends the future within the duration of the present moment. In other words intuition is our connection to becoming, to the actual dynamic fundament of phenomenal existence – the ceaseless irruption of eternity into time. Where the intellect sees what is – ie what has already become – and the relations therein, intuition feels where things have come from and therefore where they are going, ie it ‘sees’ the whole trajectory, where the intellect sees only one point upon this trajectory. Intuition apprehends the process of growth, whereas intellect sees only its successive forms.
Art has been described as life’s dream interpretation. Art is an experience by which we can make sense of our own life by imaginatively participating in the lives of others. Art enriches the creative soil, facilitating growth. A plant’s health and productivity are dependent on the soil in which it lives, likewise human growth is dependent on the ‘psychic soil’, the culture in which we find ourselves and from which we feed ourselves. This is what is meant by growth in relation to the human being: the capacity to become more than one is, to integrate the disparate, disjointed elements of the world within oneself, to ‘reject nothing’, to see the world as a mirror in which we interrogate not it but ourselves, such that we do not see the world as it is but as we are. It is from this realisation that the possibility of objective perception rests, ie perception untrammelled by the impulsive will. And it is this mode of perception which is necessary to the production and appreciation of art. The more we feed ourselves from the well of genius the more we understand that our whole culture is a meta-organism, a 1000 year old over-being by virtue of whom we have our identity. To recapitulate the life of this over-being is to remember ourselves as everyman, is to see the trajectory of our culture, its fixed course and logical development. It is to see the law of growth at work behind the theatre of history.
For over two hundred years man has tried in vain to assert his dignity in the face of an industrial economy to which he has become increasingly expendable. All we have discovered is that we are powerless – no one has been able to stop the machine, indeed it has only grown in scope and power, dominating all aspects of life. And then, overnight as it were, everything grinds to a halt.
Gaia can only guide and respond. The global shutdown is a very human creation, but why have we shut the whole world down for the flu? Is it an overreaction or is it justified? Is there something else going on here – an agenda? Perhaps there is, but even though she does not intervene in human affairs directly, Gaia is the power behind all thrones. The shutdown has already been good for the biosphere and it has revealed to all of us, more emphatically than ever before, that all the people of the world are now in the same boat – the ship of fools.
History is largely the story of men who tried to rule the world. Of course no one has ever quite managed to pull the trick off in full because the conqueror’s grip is inversely proportional to the size of his empire. Today the tyranny of distance has been largely defeated; today real-time global co-ordination is not only possible but normal. Now that technology has at last made the ultimate power trip possible, how could we be surprised if we should find the same old story at play today? What would be surprising would be to find out that there were no conspiracies to rule the world.
In the organic world the will expresses itself primarily in terms of persistence and reproduction. Because nature is cruel, ie concerned with the species over the individual, the will-to-power becomes primary. To survive and reproduce one must overcome others – predators, rivals, disease….‘Nature red in tooth and claw’, so to speak. Of course Nature is also a grand collaborative symphony but, nevertheless, the individual organism is at the mercy of chance and as such naturally seeks to increase the odds in its favour if it can. In humans this usually takes the form of acquiring wealth and the security this affords. Who wouldn’t like more money?
But the will-to-power is not exhausted, or let’s say not satisfied, with money and the status this affords, which is why millionaires want to be billionaires and billionaires want to be emperors. Power is ultimately the power to do (pouvoir); money facilitates doing things, but there is a big difference between paying to have things done and doing them oneself. The acquisition of wealth for wealth’s sake is compensatory for a lack of creative power. The more creative power a person has, the less interested in money they will be, for money is simply a means, whereas creation is an end. Very rarely do we find the conjunction of great wealth and creative power, but, as Elon Musk illustrates, it does occur when necessary, ie when the creative will of the individual requires it. If the will-to-power is not sublimated in the will-to-create it either becomes monstrous or frustrated, in which case it turns on itself in a will-to-destruction. Whether it’s an insatiable appetite or an appetite for destruction, the net result is the pretty much the same.
[Interesting is the report that Elon Musk plans to sell most of his ‘stuff’ to further facilitate the realisation of his space exploration dreams. The sublimation of the desire for wealth in the will-to-create is fittingly illustrated here.]
The mind of God is hidden from us: we act from desire and we cannot control what we desire – that is the province of Gaia, this is how she directs human affairs. Fear prevents us from acting upon desire and this is the immune system of the status quo, which is also natural and necessary. One cannot escape the reality of choice, nor the necessity of opposing forces in realising change. The further the fear is ramped up the more likely an enantiodromia – a reversal – becomes: excess yin produces yang. This is why totalitarian regimes don’t last long: the more we try and control people the more we encourage rebellion: the more total the control, the more total will be the rebellion. Life is intrinsically free and life always wins in the end, no matter what sacrifices she is forced to make (‘nature is not grieved’). We are evolving past hierarchical organisation, beyond the world of masters and slaves, beyond arbitrary authority and blind obedience. We are living the senility of a defunct mindset: the Faustian dream of control. We are shifting from the vertical to the horizontal, from ‘series’ to ‘parallel’, from pyramid scheme to commonwealth, from the chain-of-command to the intelligent network. Natural selection: the future is already decided and it belongs to those who trust their own nature.
No matter what laws we may impose on one another, they are ephemeral, meaningless, superfluous in comparison to the law of the land. This law can be stated thus: it is impossible to do one thing – all actions repercuss in the ‘organism’ of reality. Therefore an implicit ethic is revealed – what you do to Nature you do to yourself; what you do to yourself you do to Nature.
Hubris is our sin and as always it is born of error: we can no more imperil the Earth than we can control her. We live in her not on her. The world is a giant womb and the air is a rarified amniotic fluid. Every death is a birth, every birth a death: birth is the death of God and death is the birth of God. What falls to us is the task of dying before we die, so that we may give birth to God in the field of space and time; we must ‘die’ to society in order to be ‘born’ to the Earth. Gaia justifies all human authority and there is no justification apart from this. If an authority does not respect and care for the life of the Earth it must become a tyranny in order to remain an authority.
The initiatory rituals of indigenous cultures mark and facilitate the transition from childhood to manhood or womanhood. They generally take the form of ritual death and rebirth. They mark the transition from passivity to activity, an endowment of responsibility and the knowledge that is essential to the fulfilment of this responsibility. The initiate is sacralised, he is now an actor in the divine drama, no longer a spectator. Without this transitional rite we are left to work the meaning of our lives out for ourselves, with precious little in the way of guidance. The result is that most abandon the project, usually under pressure from family and friends who abjure them to get real and get a job. ‘Having a job’ is another form of passivity; work is activity, creative activity…regardless of whether you get paid.
Initiation pivots on the absorption of the collectivity within oneself: the tribe, the animals and vegetation, the cosmos itself. It is in this way that the child becomes a man, which is to say, someone who realises that they are responsible for the well-being of all, not just themselves. The initiated man is he who understands that the one and the many cannot be separated, that the well-being of himself, his family and tribe are dependent on being in harmony with the whole of nature-as-spirit. It is to realise that the world is most essentially a moral order and that it is the task of humanity to maintain themselves in accord with this order. This talent is embodied most completely in the shaman.
‘Mental Telepathy “Not New to Aborigines”, says Professor
SYDNEY, Sunday. — Telepathic communication between individuals, just claimed by London University scientists to have been proved possible, has been attributed to Australian aborigines for years.
“Aboriginal ‘clever men’ produce evidence which, for want of any other explanation, seems to back their claim. A ‘clever man’ projects his thoughts to some person he wishes to see and the person is eventually drawn to the ‘clever man’ whose whereabouts he need not, necessarily know.”
‘Clever men’ claim they can know what is happening at a distance by sending their spirit across or receiving thoughts.” These aborigines go through rigorous mental discipline. Their uncluttered way of life is most suitable for telepathy,” Professor Elkin said.”We are too busy catching trains and reading books to be able to clear our minds to concentrate as successfully as they do.
Article from The NT Army News, December 11 1944
The shaman or ‘clever’ man makes conscious use of those forces that operate unconsciously in nature. He is attentive, quiet, still…therefore he is able to register and utilise the subtle order which lies beneath all phenomena and which reveals the connexions between them by way of analogy. This is also a definition of Permaculture, the ‘new science of life’ which is also an ‘archaic revival’. Permaculture is as psychological as it is ecological because it is based on the interconnectedness of all life and the subjective experience of this life. Permaculture is a dialogue twixt ones own subjectivity and the polymorphous subjectivity of the natural world, undertaken for the improvement of both. In other words, Permaculture is an alchemical science.
Nature may be interested solely in the species, but individuals care for individuals. One man working with Time can create a forest. We have not really begun to tap our creative potential in relation to the natural world, so used are we to thinking of ourselves as a scourge upon the land. Man is a God in relation to the rest of the life of the Earth, such are our creative and destructive powers…and as Henry says, if we don’t create, we sure as hell will destroy.
The individual psyche is the ground of being, an immanent and transcendental presence, that which as body is always changing and that which as observer remains the same. We never stop being ourselves throughout all life’s changes: our character is fixed. In other words we are essentially immortal, but this immortality does not reside in self-consciousness, for this is a result of the brain. In other words our personal identity – and with it the world – vanish at death, but what remains unaltered is that which produced and sustained this identity and world – the will itself: here is the indestructible kernel of our being. Hence the saying: ‘God is more myself than I am’.
As sleep is for man, so death is for mankind: we take off one phenomenal form at death and the will we most intimately are is then drawn to another with which it proceeds to clothe itself anew. The intellect, being dependent on the brain, vanishes at death and with it memory, severing the consciousness of continuity. It would become tiresome to be always the same person…the possibilities of every incarnation are eventually exhausted.
It is the conjoining of the two elements of the self – the immanent and transcendent – that is the alchemical marriage, that represents the divine syzygy in microcosm, uniting Heaven and Earth. This quickens life: the current flows bright and clean, and this is also the cure for schizophrenia, a disease which afflicts all in greater or lesser degree. Schizophrenia, like all disease, reveals its cure by way of its symptoms: our heads are ‘split’: the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ are not getting through to each other and their constant arguing is driving us crazy. We oscillate wildly and will continue to do so until we find some common ground. This common ground is literally the ground, the living Earth and the bodies we are that are inseparable from it. We are united through our bodies, separated by the mind. The (healthy) mind is the servant of the body, but we have been living it the other way round for so long that we have lost touch with reality. We are only going to stop torturing life into our expectations of it when we realise that we are the life we are torturing.
Disease is the body’s healing process; it is how the body gets the mind’s attention when the mind hasn’t been paying attention. Disease forces the mind back to the reality of its embodiment because this is where guidance comes from, this is where we have contact with the desire, with instinct, with God. All that the mind has achieved has been achieved with the direction and agency of the body – it is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of all we do that is worth doing. This body that is, at once, will and the representation of this will, that is a mystery that we live within, that is coextensive with my self, that is inseparable from all other bodies, human and non-human, that is a node in the network of life – that organic matrix in which every being is an ecology of other life-forms and one life form integrated within a larger ecology. Life is a nested phenomenon, completely: we are integral to the living cosmos and the living cosmos is implicit in every being: the circle of life. This body we are contains the whole universe – the past, present and future, it ‘knows’ everything. This is how we regain our faith: one cannot believe in God until one believes in themselves, in the absolute authority of the will – that which shapes and animates the body which is its immediate expression and field of being.
‘For it [the will] is not, like the intellect a function of the body, but the body is its function; therefore, ordine rerum, it is prior to that body, as it is the metaphysical substratum of that body, the in-itself of that body’s phenomenal appearance. For the duration of life it communicates its indefatigability to the heart, that primum mobile of the organism, which has therefore become its symbol and synonym.’
Arthur Schopenhauer, World as Will and Representation, Vol 2.
The wisdom of the heart is primary; intellectual knowledge secondary. The more ‘educated’ a person, the more this relationship is reversed. Institutional education, being predicated on the materialist fallacy, will not only privilege the head over the heart, it leads to the denial of the heart’s evaluative function altogether – appropriating this function to the intellect alone. The intellect is that faculty which is matched to its object, which is the inanimate world (the intellect cannot comprehend becoming, which is the essential nature of life). Therefore, for the intellect alone, life can only be an epiphenomenon of inorganic matter: life is produced by something dead.
‘Educated’ people have things the wrong way round: they lead with the head and the brain feels nothing, and where sympathy is absent cruelty follows. The ‘educated’ person will believe that the mind is the boss, and the body its vassal, and of course they will apply this rule to all not just themselves. In this way they fall into solipsism: they are unable to afford others the same value they ascribe to themselves for they are locked within their own head, seeing the world through sterile concepts, blind to the miracle of existence. They believe their ‘education’ has lifted them above the intellectual level of the masses such that they have the right to dictate to them. It is in this way that petty tyrants are made, but although being subject to the whims of megalomaniacs is somewhat annoying, the ‘lowly’ still have the possibility of realising their liberation. The petty tyrant has none because he thinks he is already free.
One’s own subjectivity is the highest authority for oneself. Henry Miller believed in himself and his dream of becoming a writer with such tenacity that his dream was eventually realised. Later he realised that the whole writing thing was secondary – it was where becoming a writer took him, how it changed him. What Henry realised was that ‘realisation’ was the real trip and that Nature hides the real goal behind other things, any number of things, whatever your fancy: What’s important is to go all the way. It doesn’t matter how you get ‘there’, the reward is the same: to see your whole life was perfectly designed to get you to this place – this place of realisation, of understanding, of acceptance, of peace…for peace can only come into the world through the individual and his realisation of it.
No greater authority exists than that the cosmos collaborates with you to realise your dreams. No king has more power than this, for Providence cannot be thought of in degrees. Such a man as this cannot be bent against his will, nor will he try to bend another to his. Engaged directly with the source through the life within, he keeps his own counsel: he is sovereign unto himself.
“Failure to recognize one’s own absolute significance is equivalent to a denial of human worth; this is a basic error and the origin of all unbelief. If one is so faint-hearted that he is powerless even to believe in himself, how can he believe in anything else? The basic falsehood and evil of egoism lie not in this absolute self-consciousness and self-evaluation of the subject, but in the fact that, ascribing to himself in all justice an absolute significance, he unjustly refuses to others this same significance. Recognizing himself as a centre of life (which as a matter of fact he is), he relegates others to the circumference of his own being and leaves them only an external and relative value.”
― Vladimir Solovyov, The Meaning of Love