The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:1.
What to do about our divided situation is perhaps the most difficult question of all to answer. A major reason is that it is almost impossible to develop a good, spiritual and balanced life, which includes a deep sense of awareness and of fulfillment, without real interaction with our fellow men and women and with children. Our current ideology has poisoned these relationships by making it dangerous to help others outside of our immediate family and by even criminalizing certain hitherto healthy and good activities within the family.
So even as we begin to try to be better persons, we are already handicapped, like a ballerina whose beauty and grace offend so much in the contrast she creates with those less beautiful and graceful that she is forced to wear a leg brace.
A potentially powerful group is all those who, while not shamed and shunned, keep their opinions to themselves and refrain from any overt activity that could bring the censors down on their heads. The way for them to do much good and to live their lives in a more worthwhile way is to speak up, no matter how unpopular their opinions may be. The safest way to do this is not to defend what the majority believes to be indefensible but to expose the deceits and injustices of the rulers and so-called moral guardians.
We can perhaps learn from the experiences of active retirement groups whose members are reaching out to each other to prevent isolation and loneliness. False ideologies of victimhood have generated distrust between women and men and between children and adults and damaged neighbourliness and volunteering. One result is vulnerable individuals living in fear of crime. We need to reach out to each other in trust without fear of the scapegoats we have labelled as monsters and live again in the kind of community our parents enjoyed and those still flourishing in other parts of the world.
But is there any real hope that we can achieve this and live a better life, free from the oppressive rules of the absolutists who govern us? There is a movement worldwide, being spurred on, as this is written, by economic and financial meltdown, towards small communities and self-sufficiency and while this is general and not centrally powered by a reaction against moral absolutism, it contains a significant element of reaction against over-regulation and excessive government control and intervention. Hopefully, the small shunned minority which has been forced to awaken to the hypocrisy of the moral dogmas may begin to influence the larger group of dissenters, so that our new more self-sufficient communities may learn to moderate their moral ideologies and embrace realism, ambiguity and our natural drives.
This might bring about the transformation of consciousness resulting in the generation of the power needed to ignite the whole consciousness of the world. David Bohm said that it is the responsibility of each human person to contribute towards the building of this consciousness of mankind, the ultimate fulfilment of the still displaced individual through the completion of cosmic noogenesis.
As we will see from a coming section, titled 'Lights, camera, action!', there is a powerful generative process available to us for achieving this.
Meanwhile, in our apparently lost state, how much more meaningful it would be if every one of our worthwhile longings were seen to be part of an effort by the cosmic process, grasping itself through each of us into higher and higher levels of consciousness. The 'holy' Presence within cosmic energy, which may have existed since the foundation of the cosmos and is present in the cyclical process of the universe, may indeed embrace all of us who care enough to share in it and help it to evolve.
But how can we really know if we matter?
Is there any point in believing in a divine force animating us from an assumed interiority, or from wherever, if we can see no results from our own efforts, or few if any, that could be considered worthwhile? We may be as writers with neither publisher nor reader or actors with neither stage nor audience. Furthermore, is not trying to avoid vanity and self-hood and trying to do worthwhile work at the same time an oxymoron? Above all, it would seem that the true proof of any link with a 'consciousness, deep down' would be in an earthly harvest produced from the grace we have received, if only in the form of some evidence that our efforts have changed the lives of others for the better.
One way we can know if we matter is if, despite no apparent manifestations of the usefulness of our efforts, we still feel in tune with the mysterious or the divine. Most of us are in tune with the mysterious we know as music. It is interesting that there were no global means of sharing music during the first two world wars. Only sheet music was available during the first and radio was in its infancy in the second. The concept of huge shared concerts or music festivals did not yet have the technology to sustain it. Today every concert has a global potential for sharing.
And if we still feel that we need something more than simply being moved.
The interchange is just that - it is two way. It, the cosmic consciousness, or 'holy intelligence', or God, is receiving feedback from us, becoming progressively personalized, emanating higher levels of consciousness into humankind and, who knows, into other beings in the universe.
And it appears that we are not just within a feedback loop with the creative process, but its very experiments, dealing through our free will with contradictions and ambiguities and, above all, doing perhaps what the Divine or creation itself most wants us to do - using our imagination. Perhaps it is through that imagination that even the universe is being shaped.
A single great idea
We may have a single great idea, held in common within our shared unconscious and also linked from our unconscious with the interiority, linked with creation itself. Were we to consciously realize this idea and begin to openly share it, we might change the course of humankind. Teilhard de Chardin would surely approve of such logic. It would be a morphic step, an idea/activity which facilitates its own growth.
So what might that single great idea be? I will suggest one and if I am wrong I believe that it will not matter much as the idea appears to be a good one anyway, even if it is just one small step, or just one of many.
It is that we begin to equate absolutism with evil and open-mindedness with good. That is, all black and white labelling, all extreme positions, all one-sided dogma, doctrines, ideologies, and their supporting legislation, are evil. There need be no reason for argument or detailed research about what constitutes absolutism as the very acceptance that it is evil will open up minds to its identification. One simple test is whether the stance being questioned, be it related to a conviction or a law, or both, criminalizes or prohibits an expression of truth or beauty, above all beauty. One example that immediately springs to mind is the beauty of children and the suppressed erotic beauty of the 'legally under aged'. If the suppression of expressions of beauty is evil then so are the doctrines and legislation supporting that suppression.
Another variation is that absolutism rejects ambiguity, whereas ambiguity accepts contradictions and conflicts, which David Bohm saw as leading to new possibilities. The open-minded individual accepts ambiguity almost as a virtue. When a court prosecutor demands a yes or no reply to a question, a wise person being questioned may want to answer with 'both' or 'neither', because ambiguity recognizes grey between the black and white.
There may be a striking difference between the attitude of the absolutist and that of the open-minded to the matter of how much we know. The former may believe that through science and ideology we know almost everything and very little is still left to be discovered. The atheist can be as extreme as the fanatical religious believer in this. The open-minded individual on the other hand believes that not only is there a huge amount that we do not yet know, but that there is an even vaster amount that we will never know, at least while in our living human state on this planet.
Absolutism is not simply a state of closed mind but a facilitator for the emergence of fascism. Individuals with minds filled with black and white absolutism can be both led into and drift into fascism, often unaware that the process is underway.
This drift can be aided by a ready acceptance of a dominant narrative, which sits easily with an absolutist mindset. Such as that there is one state worth going to war for and another demanding war against, or one religion to die for while there are others that are false. Mindsets in which there are special cases, crimen exceptum, for which normal justice must be suspended and special draconian measures employed. Certain social lepers for whom no decent person should have sympathy.
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
- Pastor Niemoller
It may not be an over-statement to say that absolutism as expressed through the closed mind is at the root of the violence and injustice which plague humankind.
If open-mindedness is good, then freedom of imagination is paramount. Instead of conflict and contradiction resulting in repression, they can lead to new possibilities. The acceptance of this idea could allow our human imagination to soar.
Teilhard said, "Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation." The number of similarly-inclined individuals seeking meaning who visit this site is reflected on shortly, but we might consider the experiences of two of our great 20th century thinkers who were on the same journey.
This editor republished two of Lancelot Law Whyte's greatest books and also published his private diaries, having been the first researcher to read them and his other private papers in Boston University in 2001. From both the diaries and communications with the writer Theodore Rosak, who visited Whyte in hospital just before he died, I learned that be became almost despairing at seeming to be so close to the elusive and ultimately unattainable grand unified theory. The similarity with fellow physicist, David Bohm, whom he knew, was striking.
On the afternoon of October 27, 1992, David Bohm was at Birkbeck College, the University of London, putting the finishing touches on a book that would sum up his lifelong struggle to create an alternative quantum theory. At six-fifteen he telephoned his wife, Saral, to let her know he was about to leave. "You know, it's tantalizing," he said. "I feel I'm on the edge of something." An hour later, just as his taxi pulled up outside his home, Bohm suffered a massive heart attack and died. You can read more about David Bohm here.
Note the word - tantalizing.
Whyte also uses the expression 'haunting' when referring to the great idea that so many of us appear to be so close to but not yet able to fully grasp. As already noted, one of the Beat generation poets, under the influence of drugs, described it as seeing the connectedness of the universe. I prefer to think of it as actually briefly experiencing that connectedness, although the conditions required for achieving this blessed state are not to be recommended as they may require it to be a near death experience. Hopefully what Teilhard, Bohm and Whyte are suggesting is that if enough of us try to reach into the interiority and into each others consciousness or the group unconscious we may achieve this without the need for personal death or that we may be evolving towards that state.
Unfortunately, we also need to be vigilant and watch out for the warning signals of fascism.
Responses and development
The Editor wrote this to BC in the UK as part of a response to a message of goodwill: "I have become convinced, at least in my own case, that the true if not only way to unity is in the kind of destruction of vanity and even the self brought about either by heroic sainthood (only I've never met one but have read a couple) or being cast into that crucible of displacement and emerging transformed."
BC replied: "I wholeheartedly agree and I couldn't have put it better. I suspect that I may never have truly discovered this had I not had my previous life shattered by our 21st century moral fascists. Before that, I was merely a well-intentioned, relatively comfortable and utterly deluded liberal.
"But now that I have discovered it, life can never be the same again. It's helped me appreciate that one's own literal death is nothing to fear - merely the cessation of one consciousness in a miraculously regenerating ocean of human creativity. I just hope that my personal contribution in this world might have inspired a few others to 'keep fidelity with the truth', as Alain Badiou might put it - a truth which individual lives simply serve, rather than dominate or steer (that's the path to the Central Committee, to social purges and the Gulag). If I end my days as a servant of truth, the truth that the New Testament and Karl Marx attempted to symbolize (the truth that we should stand shoulder to shoulder with the dispossessed and the wretched, not the high and mighty), I can meet my maker, or my personal oblivion, in peace.
"Sadly, human creativity comes with human depravity - our 'fall' from nature into the semantic universe guarantees this: it's a fall upwards as well as a fall downwards. If the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, the price of sanity and true fellowship is endless anti-fascism."
Editor replies: "Through your own writings you have already influenced the development of this web site, so your personal contribution as a servant of truth is already inspiring others. The beauty of this is that it is exactly as Bohm said the grand system works."
Another example follows.
The group unconscious at work
Some describe the interaction between us and the interior and between each of us on the planet as the workings of the group unconscious. The Editor appears to have an example of this through this web site.
Editor: "Our server supplies helpful daily statistics, so that I can see what search expressions entered into the search engines bring people to this site. One day recently I was struck by this one. Someone had entered the words 'creative intelligence responds to opposition and contradiction with new proposals' and this brought the searcher to this site. Now here is the astonishing thing. Seeing the expression used thus, I was greatly taken with it, instantly aware of how full of meaning it was. When I looked at the site, there it was, entered by me only a week or so before, a quote from David Bohm. I had quoted it approvingly, but it took a stranger somewhere out there on our planet to enter it to startle me into recognizing its fuller implications.
"It encompasses failure, injustice, evil, pain and, above all, ambiguity."
So the above suggested to me the possibility of at least a few separate individuals becoming linked in a significant manner in their exploration of their relationship with the interiority, influencing each other in the process, either actively or by simply searching for a concept. Further influenced by this and acting once again as editor, I went back into the daily statistics and looked for the most common search phrase used which brought people to the site. The result was overwhelmingly clear. Around three quarters of all those coming to the web site via search engines were using variations of 'what is going on'.
Not all arrive at the web site by search engine as there are links from other sites and some come via bookmark, but the actual number arriving by search engine, having searched for 'what is going on', was around 150 per month. So each year at least 1,800 individuals on this planet are using a search engine to look for an explanation for what is going on. If one assumes that only a quarter of the rest of the people who seek out the site are also genuinely interested in what is going on, then around 4,000 each year are exploring this great question.
These are not absolutists who already believe they know what s going on. These are good people searching for meaning.
Teilhard de Chardin believed that it required a lot less to change the universe.