THE WAY OF EVOLUTION
Philosophical Essays and Maxims
Copyright © 1981-2010 John O'Loughlin
PART ONE: ESSAYS
1. The Essential Goal
2. Means before Ends
3. Post-Egocentric Art
4. Natural Sex and Artificial Sex
5. Confessions of an Atheist
6. The Literary Revolution
7. Music in an Age of Transition
8. Historical Analogies
9. The Way of Evolution
PART TWO: MAXIMS
10. Maxims 1-83
PART ONE: ESSAYS
THE ESSENTIAL GOAL
It has long been acknowledged by a number of the world's greatest thinkers, including both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, that men and women are not equal but, rather, that women are decidedly inferior to men - indeed, judged from a sensible standpoint, a second sex. It has also been acknowledged that the chief reasons for this inequality are that women are physically weaker and more timid than men, with a greater dependence upon nature in consequence of their greater physical proximity to it. They are less free in their behaviour and inclined to resist radical change from the standpoint of natural determinism. They are apt to be more emotional and therefore less stable, more sensual and therefore less spiritual, more intuitive and therefore less rational, more realistic and therefore less idealistic, more worldly and therefore less otherworldly, and so on.
In general, it is fair to say that much of this is largely true. For men and women are fundamentally different creatures, with separate functions in life, and cannot, by the very nature of their differences, both physical and psychological, be equal, i.e. exactly the same. Men are, on the whole, physically stronger than women, more intellectually-biased, more spiritually progressive, etc., and therefore not susceptible to being regarded as the exact equals of women, nor, on those counts, as their inferiors. On the contrary, they are essentially and morally superior to women and, if the greatest philosophers are believable, have long been so, though not perhaps with any distinct consciousness of the fact. But the modern world has tended to treat men and women as though they were equal and is increasingly doing so, offering women more job opportunities and social freedoms than ever before. Literally for the first time in the world's history, woman is being regarded as man's equal. Why is this?
The answer to such a question is not, I think, to be found in the assumption that, previously, men had been grossly mistaken in their assessment of women but, rather, that the world has recently become so male-biased that women are being treated as though they were men. Not in every context of course, but certainly in contexts which relate to professional, commercial, and industrial occupational affairs. Now the reason the world has recently become so male-biased is that urbanization and technology have developed to such an extent that we are neither as close to nor, on the whole, as much influenced by nature as were our pre-industrial and pre-urban ancestors. For nature, being subconsciously dominated, is essentially a feminine phenomenon, and the further away from it one evolves the less influence the feminine exerts on life and the more, by a corresponding degree, does the masculine come to predominate.
The big city, then, reflects an anti-natural environment, one might almost say to the point of constituting a lunarization of the world, and what is anti-natural or artificial is also, ipso facto, anti-feminine and anti-sensual. The consequences of this for women are a weakening of the traditional feminine roles of sexual and maternal commitment and the imposition, in their place, of a masculine role of professional responsibility. Woman is, to a certain extent, masculinized under the mounting influence of urban expansion and, consequently, she ceases to regard herself simply as a female, with traditional domestic responsibilities. Of course, these responsibilities are still there, but now they are obliged to make way for such responsibilities as modern life in the big city have thrust upon her and no longer, except in exceptional cases, completely dominate her life to the exclusion of other things. She won't, however, look upon this as a misfortune but, rather, as a consequence of liberation, the progress of women in the modern world.... To be confined, on the other hand, to traditional marital and maternal duties too exclusively would be a misfortune, comparatively speaking, and thus a mode of oppression which one is much better off without. Progress demands that women take a more active role in the world.
Yes, but it does so at the expense of the feminine ideal and at a high cost to women personally! For with the possible exception of the witch-hunts of the 16-17th centuries, there has never been an age when women were so greatly oppressed - certainly not within the annals of recorded time. By dint of its masculine bias the modern world directly makes war on the feminine element in life, and makes war so ruthlessly and successfully that the female does not lament the passing of her femininity, her sensuous appearance, but willingly joins in the war against it for the sake of progress or, more specifically, with a view to acquiring liberation from womanhood, which is to say, liberation from nature. So great is the influence of the modern world over her that she is obliged to regard the gradual eradication of the feminine element in life as a good thing, a positive blessing which will pave the way for greater social and professional opportunities in the future. Put bluntly, woman is obliged to turn against her own fundamental interests in the interests of men, and to do so, moreover, under the false though necessary assumption that she is thereby serving her own deepest interests, which are not now, however, feminine and domestic, as traditionally, but masculine and industrial, as required by the modern world. A sort of 'revaluation of values' is imposed upon her from without, which leads to a liberation from traditional values from within, and a reappraisal of the self in terms of essentially masculine criteria of progress. No longer is she content to remain 'just a woman', with all the maternal, sexual, and sensual obligations such a status implies, but is effectively determined to become a man, determined to commercialize and intellectualize herself to the extent she can. To be the passive, helpless victim of industrial and urban progress would be too humiliating. Better to ignore or, at any rate, undervalue the coercive element in modern life and act as though one were directly responsible for one's own transformation - in short, as though one had personally willed it. Such, at present, is the general attitude of women, consciously or unconsciously, towards the transformations imposed upon them by technological progress. Rebellion is simply out-of-the-question.
So, obviously, the more urban civilization masculinizes women, the more reasonable it becomes that they should be treated like men and granted equal opportunities, not be discriminated against as women. And equal opportunities should lead to equal rewards, both financial and social. If at present this isn't always the case, it must be because there is a discrepancy in the system or, alternatively, because women haven't yet emancipated themselves from traditional responsibilities to any great extent and thereby proved their worth in masculine terms. With the further development of liberation and, needless to say, urban civilization, it is to be hoped that a more consistent and widespread equality of opportunity will emerge, as evolutionary progress would seem to require. But, at present, the tendency of women to draw away from traditional responsibilities is still a comparatively new one, its origin largely confined to the twentieth century, which, in historical terms, is an extremely short period of time. Prior to then, the Industrial Revolution hadn't unduly affected them. For they were still, to a large extent, tied to the home, and to the kitchen in particular. Now, however, things are very different, and relatively few women retain the traditional female prerogative of domestic confinement - at least not on an exclusive basis. The great majority are encouraged by contemporary environmental and technological circumstances to take varying degrees of responsibility in the masculine world. They are powerless to resist. Willy-nilly, evolution continues, and it does so, at this juncture in time, at the expense of women.
Yet women aren't the only people to be affected by it. Men also experience the consequences of their technological progress and thereby change simultaneously with women. They don't remain static, and neither do they regress and become less masculine. On the contrary, they become even more masculine, even more spiritual and intellectual, and thus maintain a psychological distance, as it were, between women and themselves. If, on the other hand, men stood still while women continued to advance, a true equality between the sexes could be inferred. But this, of course, doesn't happen, and, consequently, men and women remain at different levels: the former more masculine than before and the latter less feminine. Practice dictates that the sexes be treated as equals, but theory demonstrates that there is now probably as much psychological difference between them as formerly - a difference, however, which is now largely a matter of masculine bias, founded upon the degree of one's masculinity, rather than a straight opposition between feminine and masculine elements, appearance and essence. Hence women are increasingly regarded, in effect, as 'lesser men', or 'men' who are less masculine than genuine men but, nevertheless, deserving of equal treatment on the basis of such masculinity as they do effectively possess. The external sartorial symbol of jeans, trousers, or slacks for the internal psychological revolution in women largely confirms this fact and facilitates progress among males in the identification of the masculine transformation of women. A jean-wearing female acquires the status of a 'lesser male', rather than simply a female in jeans. A female in jeans would have been a laughing-stock in any previous age. These days 'she' is a taken-for-granted reality. Almost all women, particularly those of the younger generation, wear some form of masculine, phallic-like clothing on a regular basis.
But there is a limit as to just how far the female can be masculinized. No matter how advanced the civilization, you cannot literally turn a woman into a man. A woman may wear jeans seven days a week, cut her hair short, eschew make-up, work in an office, read the classics in her spare time, follow football, drive around town in an expensive car, smoke and drink, etc., but, fundamentally, she will still remain a woman, with a vagina, an ample rump, protruding breasts, fleshy arms, and various other alluring female characteristics. No matter how much she endeavours to toe-the-masculine-line of objective spirituality, her fundamental appearance as woman will persist, and so too, in some measure, will the psychological bias which accompanies it as its logical corollary. She will never catch-up with man and actually become male. There will always be a psychological division between the sexes, a mental and physical distinction which precludes true equality. For men and women are ever different and therefore unequal creatures. Man is profound but woman superficial, which is equivalent to saying that man is essence but woman appearance. Not exclusively of course, neither in the one case nor the other, but fundamentally, one might even say essentially, as befitting the principal characteristics of each sex. For a woman who was more essence than appearance, more spirit than flesh, wouldn't really be female at all, at least not in any genuine sense. Neither, from the opposite standpoint, would a man really be male who was more appearance than essence. Even the most dandified of men is still a man, no matter how much he may, consciously or unconsciously, be in revolt against his sex through the placing of undue importance on appearances, just as the most studious of women remains fundamentally a woman for all her dedication to masculine essence. In such extreme instances there will, of necessity, be a degree of play-acting and insincerity involved. For it is ultimately as impossible for appearance to triumph over essence in man as for essence to triumph over appearance in woman. Rebellion against one's own sex is hardly sufficient to actually change it! Ultimately, it cannot be changed. For no matter how dandified he endeavours to become, an intelligent man will remain the master of his body in intellectual aloofness and spiritual endeavour. He will still, to a certain extent, be dictated to and conditioned by his essence. And no matter how studious she endeavours to become, an attractive woman will remain the slave of her body in self-conscious pride. She will still, to a certain extent, be dictated to and conditioned by her appearance. For as Wilde so succinctly put it in The Picture of Dorian Gray: 'Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals'.
As far as she is concerned, woman represents 'the triumph of matter over mind', of appearance over essence. She can never become the converse of this, for the converse, when we exclude the element of facetiousness from the above citation, is man. Yet she can triumph temporarily and intermittently over herself, as when she dedicates time to reading or writing or thinking. She can also triumph temporarily and intermittently over man, as when she induces him to have sex with her, either directly through conscious enticement, or indirectly through simply being attractive and available. But her triumph is necessarily limited to the realm of physical sensuality. It can never be complete, since by itself matter is incapable of vanquishing mind. Mind is the stronger and continues to evolve. Matter remains static, has no real power to change itself. The body of a beautiful woman of today would not differ in any marked degree from that of a beautiful woman of 5,000 years ago. The mind of an intelligent modern man, on the other hand, would contain very different thoughts and views from the mind of an intelligent man living 5,000 years ago. It would have considerably expanded in the meantime, embracing not simply a greater knowledge of the self, both psychologically and physiologically, but also a greater knowledge of the external world, as of the Universe in general. Essence moves ahead, appearance stays put. The essence in woman is obliged to follow-on behind the essence of man. The appearance in man pays due respect to the appearance of woman. Thus humanity both perpetuates itself and progresses at the same time.
Man makes use of and respects the appearance of woman. Yet because he is fundamentally essence he forges ahead, and so rebels against woman. Woman is static, but he is evolutionary. Woman is conservative, but he is liberal, if not radical. Woman is constancy, but he is change. Appearance may be beautiful, but it is aligned with the flesh, the sensual - in a word, nature. For essence is spirit, and whatever pertains to the spirit is against the Devil and for God. Thus in his profound self, which is spiritual, man is orientated towards the Divine, whereas in her superficial self, which is sensuous, woman stems from the world and even, to a lesser extent, the Devil. Woman is for the world but man is against it. Woman is the here-and-now, but man will be the transcendental Beyond. Evolution is fundamentally a reflection of this struggle by man towards God. It is a consequence of the will of separate essences to become unified essence in the transcendental Beyond. The will, in short, of the spiritual principle to triumph, utterly and completely, over the sensual one. For appearance wishes to remain separate, is indeed admired on an individual basis in the form of the unique beauty of a particular woman, whereas essence aspires towards unity. Essence must therefore triumph over appearance or fail to attain to its transcendental goal. Needless to say, it is unlikely to countenance failure! Ultimately, the goal is the only thing that matters!
And so it will struggle ahead, as at present, for the sake of its ultimate fulfilment in maximum spirit. Consequently civilization will continue to grow more male-biased the nearer it gets to the climax of evolution in spiritual transformation. The Omega Absolute, conceived as this climax of evolution, would be an entirely essential affair, beyond nature and time. It would be constituted of pure spirit and remain forever perfect and complete, the absolute of absolutes. Beyond it there would be nothing else. Beneath or, rather, behind it the Devil would gradually lose its remaining grip on the Universe and fade away, leaving the void to God. In other words, the stars would gradually collapse and disintegrate, taking their offspring, the planets and moons, along with them. Only perfection would remain, composed of universal essence. Appearance could never arise again!
If that is the outcome of evolution, then we needn't be surprised if, at some future date, women are effectively phased-out of society in the interests of men's commitment to the transcendental Beyond. For as women can never literally become men but must always, of necessity, remain rooted in and governed by appearance, it logically follows that the future development of a still greater spiritual bias in society must lead, sooner or later, to the removal of women for being insufficiently essential, and thus a threat or hindrance to spiritual progress. How this removal of the feminine element in life will come about, we cannot as yet be certain. Though it seems plausible to suggest that it won't come about overnight, so to speak, in the form of a mass purge on women or anything so gross, but will develop gradually - as, indeed, it appears to be doing at present. For the masculinization of the female which her partial emancipation from traditional responsibilities implies is but a stage on the road to her complete emancipation from such responsibilities, which, by making woman unnecessary, would signal her effective elimination.
Thus one might speak of a gradual phasing-out of the feminine element in life which, at this lower stage of evolution, takes the forms we see about us in the everyday world but which, at a more advanced future stage of it, could well entail the actual and total elimination of the feminine element, not merely the masculinization of woman. And this would come about, we may speculate, through scientific progress, which is to say, through the gradual introduction and perfection of more artificial methods of conception, such as are already incipient in the forms of artificial insemination and test-tube reproduction, and the consequent development of techniques which would effectively permit science to discriminate against the female and thereby make a highly-regulated supply of male life possible. Thus one is confronted by the prospect of a society which decreases the female element while simultaneously increasing that of the male. A society tending towards greater unification and therefore away from divisive dualities. A world in which, ultimately, only the masculine element would exist and, moreover, at its most sublime, which is to say, unified beyond the flesh to a maximum of essence.
Is all this cruel on the female? To a certain extent yes, but to a certain extent no. 'Yes', because, as I remarked earlier, the gradual masculinization of the female is inevitably oppressive, in varying degrees, towards the fundamentally feminine element in life, which is the exploitation of a sensuous appearance. Of course, one could argue that man has been at war with woman from virtually the beginnings of civilized time, to the extent that his essence, as spirit, tends away from the sensuous appearance of woman and is thus effectively opposed to it. But not until comparatively recent times has he actually developed civilization to a point where woman is being forced onto the defensive or even obliged to change sides. Prior to the twentieth century, women were generally in their maternal/sexual element as women, with domestic duties to attend to, and men were correspondingly closer to nature and hence to the feminine element in life, which, springing from the world, is a sensual rather than a spiritual reality. Men could not, at that time, have aspired so ardently towards God. Neither would women have sought job opportunities in the city, even if they had been offered any. Exceptions to the rule notwithstanding, the great majority of them would have been perfectly resigned to their domestic fate as mothers and housewives. However, with the twentieth century all that changed, and to such an extent that relatively few women would want to be just housewives these days. Urban civilization has spread so rapidly and developed so extensively that women are caught-up in it, whether or not they like the fact, and accordingly obliged to fall in line. Consequently the unprecedented growth of male power must prove oppressive to what remains in woman of her natural birthright. Victory in war can only be oppressive to the losing side. There is undoubtedly a degree of cruelty and degradation involved.
Yet to some extent what is happening in the modern world isn't cruel on the female but should serve, on the contrary, to deliver her from the oppressive burden of her own femininity. For the corollary of female masculinization is her emancipation from domestic servitude and the consequent advantage of greater sexual freedom, not only in the rather crude terms of promiscuity but also, and more importantly, with regard to abortion and contraception, thus freeing her from maternal enslavement. In the long run, greater sexual freedom can only be beneficial to society, since it points the way towards a total freedom from sex which a more advanced civilization would inherit. And it would inherit such a freedom because the feminine element in life had been successfully phased-out of existence, in accordance with the will and growing power of essence. For the further essence develops the less toleration will it have for appearance, which pertains, in particular, to the female but is also to be found in the male. In accordance with man's growing commitment to spirit, the human body will gradually be superseded, step by step, by a mechanical or artificial one; a non-sensuous body designed not only to support and sustain the brain, or the inner self, but to make possible a much more exclusive commitment to the cultivation of spirit, as required by evolutionary progress. Essence would wish to be freed from the obligations imposed upon it by the flesh to eat, drink, walk, sleep, urinate, defecate, copulate, etc., and would also know that its chances of attaining to the goal of evolution in heavenly salvation would be all the greater the less dependent it was on the flesh and, consequently, the less it was tied to the natural body.
But woman, being predominantly appearance, would not be capable of the same degree of commitment to essence and therefore wouldn't desire the artificial transmutation of the body quite so ardently, if at all. For if you remove appearance from woman you destroy her chief pride, leaving only a brain with, on account of its relatively smaller size, a lesser capacity for essence. Woman cannot, by her very nature, become man, and so a war against appearance is also, ipso facto, a war against her. Rather than forcing her to experience the humiliation of what it would mean to be deprived of appearance, society would be obliged to entirely transcend the feminine element, and thus dispose of woman. In ridding itself of its own lesser appearance (the male body), essence would accordingly also rid itself of the greater appearance of woman (the female body) and the lesser essence of woman (the female mind) in one grand sweep, thereby making possible a more exclusive commitment to the cultivation of spirit. Paradoxically, this would avoid the cruelty inherent in treating women too exclusively as though they were men, and thus obliging them to dedicate more time to essence than they were either capable of doing or would, in fact, really want to do. For men and women are not and have never been equal creatures, nor can they ever be made such! The industrial transformation which is currently responsible for the partial masculinization of the female is also responsible for the further masculinization of the male and must continue his progress, over the coming decades, towards his ultimate union with God. At some future date the male will have become so spiritualized, so much the recipient of expanded essence, that he will no longer be able to tolerate either the fundamental femininity-in-appearance or the lesser masculinity-in-essence of the female, and so be obliged to transcend her. When this date with destiny will come, we cannot of course be certain. But it is to be hoped that, in the meantime, evolutionary progress will continue as before, and that men will accordingly continue to treat women as though they were male.
MEANS BEFORE ENDS
Contrary to the opinion expressed by Jean-Paul Sartre in an interview with Michel Contat shortly before his death, people are not equal, nor have they ever been. We live in a world where the differences between men are considerable, where the inequalities which exist are of such a radical nature as to be beyond rational comprehension or, at any rate, far greater than we may care to believe. It isn't simply inequality of wealth or environment or profession or social position or sex or religion that presents itself to our comprehension but, most especially, inequality of spirit, inequality of what we essentially are in ourselves. For that is largely determined by the extent to which our intellect or spirit has been cultivated and that, in turn, is linked to, though not necessarily dependent on, our psychological make-up. Men and women are not equal, for essence and appearance are contrary attributes, and that which predominantly appertains to the one sex must inevitably be suspect, if not anathema, to the other. Thus as the spirit is superior to the flesh, men and women are unequal and must forever remain so while recognizably feminine and masculine distinctions obtain. (A woman will normally, by her very sensuous nature, attach more importance to appearance than to essence, and thus remain spiritually inferior to men.)
But just as some women are physically superior to others and accordingly more beautiful, so some men are spiritually superior to other men and therefore more intelligent. To imagine that all men are equal because each of them possesses two legs, two arms, a penis, etc., is frankly ridiculous, and one wonders how a clever man like Sartre came to such a grossly reductionist conclusion. The facts of human diversity would not appear to confirm him in it, since they show the contrary. But we have now got to a stage of evolution where the inequalities which exist between men are no longer matters to be taken for granted but, rather, grounds for serious concern. Why is this?
Largely, one suspects, because of the development of technology, which has revolutionized our way of life beyond anything dreamed of in the past. We are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, in all its ramifications, to facilitate social progress, and the more technology succeeds in doing this, the more sophisticated and self-regulating it becomes, the less need there will be for that rigid social hierarchy between men which has brought us to our current pass and is slowly goading us beyond it towards a more equalitarian future. For in the past it was necessary for men to be segregated into widely different classes in order to make survival possible. It was necessary to have overlords and underlings, higher and lower men, in order to tackle the manifold problems of survival, not least of all in the economic and industrial spheres. The gross inequalities of rank and ability were but reflections of the exigencies of material survival, reflections, above all, of the natural world which, stemming largely from a diabolic creative-force, encouraged the growth of diversity and, hence, inequality. A civilization at a lower and more natural stage of evolution can only be diversified, the scene of gross inequalities. However, as civilization advances, so measures are taken to curb the Devil's influence, so to speak, which accordingly becomes weaker. The city expands and nature is pushed back, thinned out and curtailed. Instead of being its helpless victim, men increasingly aspire to becoming its master and conqueror. They aspire, in other words, to God. But they cannot attain to their goal without a great deal of effort, and we can be certain, to judge by the world around us, that they haven't attained to it yet!
At this juncture in time civilization, as we in the West commonly understand it, isn't particularly advanced but still, to all intents and purposes, relatively primitive. Admittedly, we have come a long way from the caveman. But we are still to some extent victims of diabolic influence, and consequently remain divided between ourselves into numerous occupations and differing abilities. We may have technology, but we haven't yet developed it to its full, and thus are confined to the various degrees of inequality which circumstances have imposed upon us. To some extent, it is still necessary to have overlords and underlings, and it will doubtless remain so for some time to-come. Only when technology has taken over the bulk of our work can we really begin to phase-out the differences between man and man which make for the hideous inequalities of the world as we know it today. For once technology relieves us of the burden of individual occupations and divisive interests, financial or otherwise, we shall have no need of inequalities, but be largely beyond the Devil's influence. That age must surely soon arrive!
However, at this juncture in time men are not equal. There are higher and lower men, the former constituting a minority and the latter a majority. In part, this is a consequence of heredity, as of the environment in which one was raised, one's education, one's subsequent environments, the nature of one's profession or occupation, the people one has come into contact with, the experiences one has had at various times. Yet it is also, in part, an individual matter, dependent on one's temperament and physique - each of which determines one's lifestyle and conditions one's philosophy of life. We have heard much from writers like Aldous Huxley about the Sheldonian classification of the human being into three basic physiological types, viz. the fat, the medium-built, and the thin, which, translated into Sheldon's terminology, are described as endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic respectively. There exists a correlation, it is contended, between one's physique and one's temperament, so that, strictly speaking, the former cannot be considered in total isolation from the latter. Willy-nilly, we are to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the individual, what our bodies permit or oblige us to be. We needn't be surprised, therefore, if a fat person (endomorph) has different tendencies and interests in life from a thin person (ectomorph), as conditioned by his build. And a medium-built person (mesomorph) is likely to be different again, as befitting his comparatively muscular build. Therefore the gut person, the nervous person, and the muscular person are not always guaranteed of seeing eye-to-eye with one another, which is one of the reasons why the world is currently what it is - a struggle between the dark and the light, the diabolic and the divine.... Not that I wish to give the impression that fat, or gut, people are necessarily diabolical in relation to thin, or nervous, ones! But they are different, and the physical root of this difference is a significant factor in enabling us to assess life's inequalities. It is unlikely that, with more flesh than is compatible with spiritual strivings, one will turn into a saint. But neither is one guaranteed of turning contemplative or studious if one's muscular physique induces one to prefer athletic activities. On the contrary, one remains a slave of one's build, which is also partly related to individual intelligence.
Evolution, I firmly believe, is a journey from a Diabolic Alpha to a Divine Omega, from the stars, in all their infernal heat, to the future spiritual culmination of the Universe - call it the Omega Absolute or the Holy Spirit or simply God - in all its blissful calm. We haven't yet attained to that spiritual culmination, by any means! But at least we are still struggling in its general direction, a direction that leads up through urban civilization and technology towards the transcendental Beyond, which is the heavenly goal of evolution. I would say that we are now about three-quarters of the way along this long journey, no longer balanced between nature and civilization, as before, but biased on the side of the latter. This, at any rate, would probably apply to the majority of us, who are distinctly urban-dwellers.
Thus we have entered a phase of evolution when it is more reasonable for the great majority of mankind to look forwards, as it were, to the creation of the Omega Absolute than backwards to the existence of the Alpha Absolute; when it is more reasonable, in short, to put one's shoulder to the task of furthering God in the Universe than to spend time worshipping or blessing and/or cursing (in the 'elemental' fashion of John Cowper Powys) the First Cause, which, being diabolic and disjunctive, appertains to the stars. The Creator most certainly does exist, though not as a divine reality but, from an omega-oriented standpoint (which is necessarily transvaluated), as a diabolic one - the very Devil itself!
Now to worship the Devil isn't a particularly honourable or enlightened thing to do, even if divine terminology would suggest the contrary. For worship always presupposes an existing deity, and when one understands that - pedantic distinctions between one type of alpha star and another notwithstanding - it isn't really God but the Devil that exists in the Universe, not really a Supreme Being so much as the Primal Almighty, then it may be that one will be less inclined to worship the Devil and more inclined to get down to the much more important task of actually creating God. For, ultimately, that is our destiny and privilege as human beings. We must understand that true divinity could only issue from the climax of evolution, not be the force or power responsible for the creation of the Universe. To mistake the Primal Almighty for the Supreme Being, cosmic strength for spiritual truth, is simply to fall into the trap of mistaking the most powerful existing force in the Universe, i.e. stellar energy, for the highest possible condition the Universe, through man and man-equivalent life forms possibly existing elsewhere, is capable of engendering. It is tantamount to considering a muscular, athletic, sensual man superior to a nervous, intellectually-inclined spiritual man - in short, to regarding a Mr World-type figure as a superior creature per se to a brainy person, be he a student, artist, philosopher, or whatever. Now, obviously, while this will generally be the opinion of the muscular man, who probably dislikes intellectuals anyway, it is unlikely to convince an intellectual, who knows or should know himself, if he isn't a complete fool or a self-deceiving hypocrite, to be superior to less spiritually-evolved men. One cannot serve two masters at once. Either one cultivates the body, the muscles, or one cultivates the mind, the spirit. Those who cultivate the former, whether through choice or force-of-circumstances, are, ipso facto, lesser men than those who cultivate the latter. They are lesser largely because, evolution being a journey from the Devil to God, from alpha to omega, they stand closer in essence to the Devil than to God, closer, in other words, to the great cosmic ruler of the world. The intellectually-biased men are greater, by contrast, because they effectively aspire towards the Divine Omega by cultivating spirit, flying in the face of strength on the wings of truth. To imagine that all men are equal is the height of superficiality! Unfortunately, men are anything but equal, even though, as a given type of man, one has one's equals. One also has one's inferiors and, depending on one's type and capabilities within the range of that type, one's superiors. This has long been the case and will doubtless continue to be so for some time to come, regardless of the opinions of materialist intellectuals!
The lowest men, therefore, are those who, in their activities and fundamental nature, stand closer to the Devil than to God. The highest men, by contrast, are those who aspire most regularly and earnestly towards God. The former are tail-enders in the human journey to salvation in the transcendental Beyond, the latter its leaders and pioneers. And in-between we shall find the majority of men, a majority which is probably more-or-less balanced between the Devil and God in worldly compromise or, at best, acquiring a bias on the side of God, becoming slightly more partial to spiritual progress and thus less given to Christianity, which is essentially dualistic.
Christianity upholds the tradition of Creator worship; I reject it. Christianity asserts that God exists; I contend that, ultimately, He or, rather, it doesn't yet exist. Christianity assumes an afterlife Beyond following death; I reject this posthumous Beyond in favour of a millennial and/or transcendental Beyond at the climax of evolution. Christianity maintains that Christ was the Son of God; I say that Christ was a son of the Diabolic Alpha, as, to varying extents, we are all, insofar as we were brought into this world largely through the sun's sustaining power and can do no better, if honourable men, than aspire towards the Divine Omega in response to a Christian 'rebirth' or, in Nietzschean parlance, 'revaluation'. Christianity presupposes a Last Judgement; I reject this dualistic position in favour of an evolutionary transcendentalism which presupposes the salvation of all men at the climax to evolution. Christianity upholds the resurrection of the Dead on the Last Day; I ask - How can the cremated be resurrected? Christianity treats the world as though it were the centre of the Universe; I contend that it is but one of possibly thousands if not millions of life-sustaining planets throughout the Universe on which, at some time or other, Christ-equivalent figures have lived and died. Christianity speaks of yesterday; I speak of tomorrow. Today we are in transition!
'God is dead' said Nietzsche, and by that he meant, knowingly or unknowingly, the Creator. However, the Creator is by no means dead but continues to burn-on in space, and does so, moreover, in the guise of the myriad stars of the Galaxy, as indeed, through due extrapolation, of the Universe in general. Our sun is but one of the innumerable creative and sustaining forces at work in the Universe, a tiny component, as it were, of its overall Creator and Sustainer. It isn't so much the Creator itself as a part of the Creator, not so much the Devil as a part of the Devil. For the Devil is necessarily manifold and diverse, as befits the frictional nature of evil. The Devil is naturally given to separateness, and consequently its offspring, in the guise of planets and nature, reflect this separateness, this attribute of cosmic evil. But a revolt against this condition begins once the process of civilized evolution gets properly under way in the face of nature. For up through man comes the urge to unity, to togetherness, and the further man evolves the more this drive towards unity is manifested in him and the more unity one accordingly finds in the world. Man is partly a child of the diabolic creative force, but, unlike fish, insects, birds, and animals, he is capable, through reason, of fighting against this primal force and thus of furthering the cause of God in the world. In other words, he is capable of pitting his civilization against nature and of rising above it in order to become divine. For man isn't content with the world but wishes to attain to God, to create the Supreme Being. He knows that he isn't supreme, since whatever is supreme wouldn't be tied to nature, like him, and thus a victim of the separate. God would be the Ultimate Unity, the Ultimate Oneness, in complete contrast to the Devil. The highest being, which we variously term God, the Holy Spirit, the Omega Point (de Chardin), the Final One, etc., would constitute the maximum joining of which life is capable. Beyond it nothing further could emerge. It would constitute eternity, the overcoming of time, the fulfilment of becoming.
What form, if any, this supreme level of Being would take we cannot of course be certain. But we can hazard a guess that it would be quite bright, possibly brighter, in a centripetal sort of way, than the brightest star currently in existence. And it would be composed, we may suppose, of all the superconscious mind of which the spiritual universe was capable. It would not be an affair of the world, or planet, but of the transcendental Beyond, literally of an appointed area in space beyond the world, and thus beyond the influence of suns, storms, rains, winds, droughts, etc. And being a part of it, being in it, would be more blissful than anything we can conceive of, since appertaining to the ultimate life. Man having reached his goal in transcendent bliss, completely freed from the rule of nature. No longer man but God. For man is something that should be overcome, as the prophetic Nietzsche so bravely put it, and only in God is this ultimately possible.
But we have a long way to go before our final overcoming, as the current state of the world around us should adequately demonstrate. We are not yet denizens of the most advanced civilization, even if denizens of a higher civilization than any previous one. In some respects the world is still quite primitive, still tied to the Diabolic in all-too-many contexts. (For instance, it is still possible for an intelligent man to be tortured by the loud and frequent barking of malicious dogs, i.e. four-legged beasts, in some nearby back-garden, and to such an extent that he may occasionally wonder whether he isn't really living in primeval times, so ubiquitous is the beastly!) But progress demands that the world becomes not only less tied to the Diabolic, in all its natural manifestations, but free from the Diabolic, with the passing of time, and this it must surely do as civilization continues to develop in an increasingly artificial direction. God is the most artificial or, rather, supernatural reality conceivable. To attain to that reality we must do everything in our power to further the growth of the artificial element in life at the expense of the natural, even if this does mean that, eventually, we come to replace the natural body with an artificial one, and thus cease to eat, drink, smoke, walk, sleep, urinate, defecate, copulate, etc., as would seem necessary to the cultivation of both an extensive and intensive spirituality. For as long as we remain victims of the body, we shall be tied to nature to an extent which makes a truly higher spirituality impossible - a fact, alas, which many people interested in spiritual advancement tend, for one reason or another, to overlook.
Clearly, meditation is not enough! The direct cultivation of spirit through meditation is of course a good thing, but I very much doubt that any man would get to the transcendental Beyond simply through meditating. Somehow the body's needs would still have to be attended to, and such attention would inevitably detract from one's spiritual potential. Again, it is a question of not being able to serve two masters at once or, rather, of being unable to serve one master exclusively. Yet how can one hope to attain to the transcendental Beyond when one is obliged to pay certain dues to the Devil as well? It is surely impossible, and I strongly incline to doubt whether any man has yet succeeded in doing so. In fact, I resolutely contend that no man has yet attained to the transcendental Beyond. For no man has undergone extensive artificial transmutation and, consequently, no man has been in a position to cultivate spirit to any radical extent, least of all to an extent presaging transcendence! Only through the most advanced civilization could one hope to achieve ultimate salvation. But such a civilization isn't in sight at present. We are still victims of the body, intermittent sensualists.
Meditation without technology is ultimately a lost cause. It can never amount to anything more than a temporary reprieve from the world of active pursuits, a kind of pleasurable experience to be indulged in intermittently, as one's circumstances permit. By itself it will not lead to the transcendental Beyond, nor, contrary to what traditionalists of various persuasions incline to believe, does one come into direct contact with God while practising it. If one doesn't relapse into a trance-like state of subconscious sensuality - closer in effect to the alpha than to our projected omega - one simply experiences one's spirit more clearly and perhaps to a greater extent than might otherwise be the case. But such spirit shouldn't be mistaken for God. At best, it is potentially God, something that, if cultivated more thoroughly and exclusively in the course of time, may lead to God by actually becoming transcendent. But it could not do so while there was a body, and hence flesh, in the way. And to imagine that one can become pure spirit with a body in the way is simply to imagine the impossible!
Clearly spirit, which can be located in the superconscious mind, and pure spirit, which will be located in space following transcendence, are two different things, not capable of mutual reconciliation. The former exists here and now in each individual psyche, the latter has yet to be brought about. The former is shackled to the world, the latter will be absolutely independent of it. No small distinction! But the one can lead to the other, and that is why the direct cultivation of spirit is so important, always bearing in mind, however, that spirit can only be cultivated extensively with the assistance of technology. For it is technology that will make progress in spiritual development truly possible - a technology which will eventually reduce the sensual impediments of such progress to the brain and, in all probability, to just the new brain - the ground, as it were, of the superconscious. This ultimate technology will possibly make approximation to the spiritual oneness of the transcendental Beyond so close that it will consist of a corporate or communal artificial support-and-sustain system for numerous brains - a single 'body' with many 'heads', so to speak.
However, all this is of course largely speculative and consequently not something about which we need unduly trouble our heads. Yet it should suffice to throw considerable doubt on our current complacency in natural spirituality, and indicate that such complacency is but a stage on the road to something higher and more realistic. It isn't for the meditating minds of tomorrow to be theistic, like so many contemporary ones, but to be resolutely atheistic, resolutely committed to the task of creating the Supreme Being, rather than to acknowledging, no matter how indirectly, the Primal Almighty.
But it isn't something that can happen overnight. For, at present, even natural meditation is the province of only a comparatively small minority of people, hardly of the masses, who, for the most part, simply aren't interested in it. Not only are they not interested in it, but they are insufficiently spiritually evolved for it. After all, men are not equal, and what is meat to the Few is likely to become poison to the Many. Obviously, we must evolve to a stage where meditation is acceptable and possible for the Many, thus giving rise to a concerted effort to attain to the transcendental Beyond.
It is no good adopting an attitude of spiritual elitism, like the somewhat un-American character Propter in Aldous Huxley's After Many a Summer. For that will not result in the salvation of mankind, nor even in the salvation of the elitist individual, who, in any case, will lack the technological know-how and advanced artificiality to achieve a definitive transcendence. The advancement of technology must affect the broad masses and so make a much more equalitarian form of society possible, thereby enabling men to rid themselves of the gross inequalities which stem from an earlier stage of evolution. With increased automation in industrial and commercial contexts, more leisure time will be available to the masses and, together with generally improved living-standards, this will result in their gradual advancement to a point where formerly elitist interests, whether spiritual, cultural, or intellectual, will become the province of all, not just of a small minority.
Yet increased leisure time will not, by itself, be enough to make all men equal. Some men will still be born with the rudiments of a muscular, or mesomorphic, physique and thus be disposed, in adult life, to the development of athletic tendencies. Some will be born with the rudiments of a thin, or ectomorphic, physique and thus develop into intellectuals. And some will be born with the rudiments of a fat, or endomophic, physique and thereby develop into sensualists. Of course, such physiological distinctions do not invariably lead to dissimilar predilections on the above-mentioned basis. There are overlappings of activity between even the most extreme physiological types, the most disparate of men. But, broadly speaking, these distinctions hold true and should be recognized as contributory factors to human inequality. Clearly, if we are to progress to a less unequal state, steps will have to be taken to phase-out the physiological differences between people, and thus prevent the body from conditioning the mind.
A more advanced civilization would therefore carry the development of technology a stage further than a means to the provision of extra leisure time, by making it the basis of a revolution with regard to the human individual personally. No longer would he be at the mercy of nature's whim, with a body fatter or thinner than other men. On the contrary, he would be directly transmuted by civilization itself into a uniform mould which would make for far greater social cohesion. The natural body would be superseded, as already intimated, by an artificial one which should result in the mind becoming more standardized along truly transcendental lines. Then a real social equality between effectively superhuman individuals would be in the making, and this would permit of a greater and more widespread commitment to meditation. With artificial methods of reproduction to safeguard its survival, society would exist in such a way that not nature but the artificial predominated, and to such a considerable extent that the long-term transformation of man into the Divine Omega would be virtually guaranteed. Freed from the oppressive dominion of the flesh, spirit would expand as never before and eventually, following years of sustained spiritual commitment, the potential components of the Supreme Being would proceed to emancipate themselves from the brain and soar heavenwards towards their unified goal in ineffable bliss. The converging universe to the Omega Point, about which Teilhard de Chardin speaks in his remarkable book Activation of Energy, would achieve its fulfilment in the spiritual unity of the transcendental Beyond, where only equality would prevail, an absolute rather than a relative equality which, as the consummation of evolution, would be eternal.
Such is the idealistic goal towards which we are slowly heading, willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly. There are two possible modes of approach to this goal, depending on one's personal bent or social coercion. One can put ends before means and thus concentrate on meditation now, or, more sensibly, one can put means before ends and thereby concentrate on technology and the progress of civilization. The former mode implies a tendency on the part of the Few to act for the Few in defiance of the Many, and is thus elitist. The latter mode, on the other hand, implies a tendency on the part of the Few to act for the Many in defiance of elitism, and is thus egalitarian. The one may prove personally rewarding in the short term but is futile in the long term, since it cannot lead to the goal by itself. The other may prove less personally rewarding in the short term but is justified in the long term, since it leads to the type of society which makes the goal possible. Those who put ends before means will inevitably end in failure. Those, however, who put means before ends will eventually triumph in success.
But man is not just a political animal. He is political insofar as he has a body and religious insofar as he has a mind. We cannot live by bread alone and, ultimately, socialism isn't enough. It may suffice for a while but, sooner or later, socialism must extend into religion. It isn't a religion by itself of course, and mistaken are those who imagine the contrary! It doesn't concern itself with God, or the cultivation of spirit, but appertains to the here and now, the world, the welfare of the masses. It is primarily politics and economics, and consequently it relates to the body. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the transcendental Beyond. It is a strictly temporal affair. This is its strength in the short term. For there are ages in which it is expedient to grant more attention to the body than to the spirit, and this age is evidently one of them. We cannot hope to cultivate spirit extensively unless, up to a basic point, the needs of the body have been properly taken care of in the meantime, and this is what socialism strives to do, both as regards society and the individuals of which it is composed.
Yet an age which concentrates on the body, on the improvement of the social lot of the masses, is necessarily second-rate, and must remain so. The immediate short-term future will probably be even more second-rate than the present, but that is a price we shall have to pay. The putting of means before ends is the important thing, not whether life is made better or worse in the short term by so doing. But once the material and technological foundations have been properly laid, then we shall be in a position to build the first-rate civilization which will emerge out of them and lead us to our ultimate salvation in spiritual bliss. Then we shall be in a position to cultivate spirit more extensively, and so dedicate ourselves to the attainment of transcendence. There will be a long period of sustained commitment to meditation, a period of the greatest spiritual striving mankind has ever known - the fruit of a truly first-rate civilization. As Henry Miller so admirably put it in Sunday After the War: "The new civilization, which may take centuries or a few thousand years to usher in, will not be 'another' civilization - it will be the open stretch of realization which all the past civilizations have pointed to."
Yes, it will indeed! But not without a considerable amount of groundwork first, without the laying of firm socialist foundations. That is why I am fundamentally socialistic, and that is why my philosophy, much as it may stretch beyond socialism, isn't so much a threat to socialism as its justification and fulfilment. We must put political means before religious ends, or perish. There is no alternative. That is the way of evolution!
Roughly, artistic production falls into three historically chronological stages, which are the pre-egocentric, the egocentric, and the post-egocentric. These three stages correspond to our changing environments from country and town to city, and the effect of those changes upon the psyche or brain. As is well known, the brain is broadly divisible into two halves, viz. an old brain and a new brain, roughly corresponding to cerebellum and cerebrum. The old, or lower, brain is said to conform to emotional predilections and may be identified, in psychological terms, with the subconscious. The new, or higher, brain is held to conform, by contrast, to intellectual and spiritual predilections, and may likewise be identified with the superconscious. Between the one and the other resides the ego, or conscious mind, which is the consequence, so I contend, of a fusion between these two parts of the psyche - the sensual subconscious and the spiritual superconscious. Now this fusion-point of the psyche, which is called the ego, will reflect a greater or lesser bias on the side of one or other of its psychological components, I shall contend, depending on the stage of evolution at which a given society finds itself, as also on the relative sophistication of the individual himself. Thus for an individual whose society exists under the dominion of nature in close proximity to the natural world, we needn't be surprised if the ego should reflect more subconscious than superconscious influence, in accordance with the sensuous essence of nature, and so transpire to being relatively dark or evil. This would be the pre-egocentric stage, the artistic productions thereof corresponding to a predominantly dark and evil context, such as one finds in most pagan art and even in some early-Christian art. It is the body and the senses, rather than the mind and the spirit, which are being extolled at this stage of evolution, and consequently its art reflects a strong naturalistic bias.
However, with the development of civilization away from the natural world to a point where men live in towns or small cities, the egocentric stage-proper gets under way in which, being approximately balanced between natural and artificial environments, men come to reflect a dualistic mentality compounded of roughly equal degrees of subconscious and superconscious influence. This is the egocentric balance of Christian man, which results in the creation of a dualistic art, half related to the body and half to the mind. One might say that at this stage of evolution anthropomorphism prevails over animism, and consequently the figure of Christ is extolled. We have a good compromise here between senses and spirit.
Yet this compromise can only last while man is himself balanced between nature and civilization in the town, which is to say, until such time as the further development of civilization, and hence the artificial, leads to his living in a lopsided position on the side of civilization in the big city. For once this lopsidedness comes about, one is in the post-egocentric stage of evolution and one's psyche accordingly reflects a bias in which the superconscious mind predominates over the subconscious mind by increasing ratios the further evolution progresses. Initially, by perhaps two-thirds to one third; subsequently by three-quarters to one quarter, and so on, until the climax of evolution, when the total triumph of the superconscious is attained to and man ceases to be human but, instead, becomes divine. At present, however, we have quite a long way to evolve before that happens; for we are in transition from dualism to transcendentalism, from egocentricity to the post-egocentric, and are accordingly victims of our humanity, recipients of varying degrees of subconscious influence - some people(s) having a greater egocentric bias than others, other people(s) already living in a post-egocentric phase and reflecting this in their thought and art. Thus post-egocentric art, as practised in the West predominantly, testifies to a spiritual bias rather than to a dualistic compromise between senses and spirit, and is divisible, so I contend, into three basic types, upon each of which I shall now briefly expatiate.
The lowest type of post-egocentric art, often dubbed decadent or degenerate by so-called revolutionary political leaders, corresponds to a kind of slapdash attitude, a naive simplicity, a determination to avoid good taste and traditional technical facility, an abhorrence of 'great art'. On the Continent the Dada Movement was essentially post-egocentric in this fundamental way, as to a lesser extent were the Expressionists. Montage was also a useful medium in this regard, especially as employed by Kurt Switters, who specialized in constructing art or, rather, anti-art out of garbage, thus emphasizing his post-egocentric indifference to traditional egocentric criteria. More recently the American artist Robert Rauschenberg, an artistic descendant of the Dada/Switters tradition, has specialized in montage and collage, producing 'paintings' of an even more radically post-egocentric nature than his famous, or infamous, predecessors. Few contemporary works would appear, on the face of it, more slapdash and anti-art than his, and it is therefore difficult to conceive of much real progress being made in this highly popular sphere of modern art in the future, notwithstanding the well-documented contributions of pop artists like Andy Warhol and Jim Dine, who shamelessly parade their indifference to traditional criteria of artistic sophistication and aesthetic excellence. More recently again it has developed into punk art, upon which subject I do not feel qualified to enlarge. But it continues to be a significant part of contemporary art and has no shortage of practitioners. It is a legitimate mode of creation in the post-egocentric context, even if, as the lowest type of modern art, it cannot reasonably be expected to win everyone's respect.
But neither, for that matter, can the second type of post-egocentric art, which might broadly be classified under the heading Surrealism, and which primarily focuses on the subconscious. Indeed, this type of modern art can be divided into two categories, depending whether the artist's approach to life is introvert or extrovert, whether he focuses his attention upon the contents of the subconscious mind or upon the external equivalent of this in nature and the organic generally. For, as already noted, there exists a sensual link between the subconscious and nature - the former internal, the latter external. Thus for the Surrealists-proper, that is to say the explorers and delineators of the subconscious, it is the internal world of dreams that provides the basic material for their art, a material, however, which is transformed, in the process of painting, into personal interpretations of or variations on the original dream, according to the artist's psychological bias and technical facility. Most Surrealism, however, isn't as dream-orientated as it is generally claimed to be or might at first appear, but is blended with a seemingly arbitrary juxtaposition and distortion of familiar objects in the external world, in order to create an impression of novelty and strangeness - the artist's waking-life imagination taking over from his dream-life one and supplementing it with artfully-contrived images. This is more the case, for example, with Salvador Dali, who draws heavily on subconscious memory to furnish and shape his surreal world, than with, say, Paul Delvaux, who is an orthodox dream surrealist and generally succeeds in conveying a strong dream-like impression in his paintings. But no matter what the personal bias of any particular artist may happen to be, the typical surrealist painting will reflect an attention to subconscious influence of one kind or another and, like Abstract Expressionism, be more orientated towards the internal world than towards the external one. It is an art, par excellence, of the introvert. It looks back and down on the subconscious from the vantage-point of a consciousness lopsided on the side of the superconscious - that psychological function of the new brain.
Yet because no man is entirely introverted but also, even in extreme cases, partly given to extroversion, so does Surrealism often reflect an extroverted approach to reality which blends-in with and points towards the other category of this second type of post-egocentric art, a category which focuses more on the external world of nature than on the internal world of subconscious activity. Whether in the guise of Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, or Minimalism, this mode of post-egocentric creativity is largely dedicated to discrediting and distorting external reality either under the influence of feelings, as in Expressionism, or of reason, as in Cubism. If it is to be described as a degenerate art, it is only such in relation to traditional landscape painting and the near-literal depiction of external reality, not in relation to urban civilization, from which it directly stems. For in looking back and down on nature from a post-egocentric vantage-point, it distorts and discredits natural reality in the name of urban civilization. Where man was formerly a slave of nature, he now becomes its master and thus frees himself from its influence over him. The process of doing this is necessarily gradual; for one can't leap straight from nature to urban civilization in a single bound, but must gradually weaken the former's hold over one as one grows more acclimatized to the latter. And a good way of doing this is to paint natural phenomena in colours not literally associated with them, thereby reflecting a transitional phase, as it were, from natural enslavement to liberation from nature, and so paving the way for a complete break with the natural world in due course, a break that will manifest itself in the third and highest type of post-egocentric art - namely in what may be called abstract transcendentalism. For whereas nature signifies temporal reality and is accordingly finite, it is towards the ultimate reality of infinite Holy Spirit that such transcendental art points, thereby testifying to a superior stage of civilization. But the second, or extrovert, type of post-egocentric art, whilst it may not be the highest form of modern art, is nevertheless a significant aspect of cultural progress and has the beneficial effect of breaking down our traditional respect for and dependence on temporal reality, as especially manifested in nature. In looking back and down on such reality, modern man paints from the vantage-point of civilization, rather than as a slave of nature in more natural surroundings.
But I haven't quite completed my outline of post-egocentric art, so will now properly proceed to the third and highest type of avant-garde art which, instead of focusing on the subconscious or its external equivalent in nature, tends towards the superconscious in a transcendental one-sidedness. There is nothing degenerate about this ultimate type of post-egocentric art, which is largely if not exclusively abstract. Its leading painterly exponent in the twentieth century was undoubtedly Piet Mondrian, who must rank as one of the world's all-time great artists. He more than any other man of his generation dedicated himself to the furtherance of abstraction, though to a form of abstraction much superior in essence to that practised by the Abstract Expressionists, with their emphasis on strong emotions and the effects of the external world upon the self - meaning principally the soul. The Abstract Expressionists, by contrast, appertained to the second type of post-egocentric art, being the introverted equivalent of the Expressionists. Now where the Expressionists distorted and discredited external reality under influence of the feelings, the Abstract Expressionists allowed the influence of external reality to distort and discredit the feelings, thereby doing approximately the same thing on an internal level, and so encouraging a break with the subconscious - just as the Expressionists, Fauvists, etc., facilitated a break with nature. To view a Jackson Pollock is to step into a hell of subjective emotional writhings; to view a Mondrian is to acquire, by contrast, an intimation of Heaven. The Pollock discredits down, the Mondrian aspires up. The Pollock attests to the second type of post-egocentric approach, the Mondrian to the third. As a type of art, the former can only be inferior to the latter. But it is no-less valid from an historical point-of-view. It serves a purpose, and that purpose is to discredit the subconscious and thereupon indirectly encourage a greater respect for the superconscious. As already noted, it is aligned with Surrealism, though its treatment of the subconscious is more radical and indicates a later stage of evolution. It deals in emotions, not in the dream or memory contents of the subconscious. But the greatness of Mondrian's mature work is that it deals in something higher, namely the superconscious, and absolutely refuses to be distracted by anything else. Order, clarity, simplicity, proportion, beauty ... are of the essence here, and it is from Mondrian's pioneering example that later artists, including those in Op and Kinetics, have derived so much encouragement. Together with Ben Nicholson and Wassily Kandinsky, he paved the way for the subsequent development of transcendental art, the most recent flowering of which has been in the domain of light art, with its slender fluorescent tubing, laser beams, and holographic projections. How far this third type of post-egocentric art can develop, in the future, remains to be seen; but we can at least rest assured that artistic production has attained to an all-time high with the best examples of these transcendental works, and should remain relevant to humanity for some considerable time to-come.
NATURAL SEX AND ARTIFICIAL SEX
There are people, it has to be said, for whom pornography, or reproductive erotica, is less a physical perversion than a spiritual need. For it must be admitted that pornography can, under certain circumstances, enter into the realm of the spiritual, serving, in its sublimated sexual essence, to facilitate a break with natural sex and so pave the way for a greater dependence upon the artificial.
An egocentric man will not, admittedly, find such a prospect particularly encouraging; for the more natural one is the more must pornography of whatever type be regarded as a perversion - indeed, an evil. But for anyone who has gone beyond the egocentric stage of evolution, for anyone, in other words, who sees human evolution in terms of a gradual break with the natural and, at its climax, a total independence of nature, then pornography will be regarded in a very different light from that normally ascribed to it by the egocentric man. Instead of being regarded as an evil, it will be seen as a comparative good, a means of leading one from the body to the mind and thereby making possible the eventual transcendence of all sex, whether natural or artificial, at a higher stage of evolution - a stage when civilization will be geared to the attainment of the transcendental Beyond in spiritual transformation. Thus for the more sophisticated and spiritually-advanced man, pornography may signify the prevalence of a kind of transitional stage between literal sex and the transcendence of sex, a means of furthering the development of human evolution.
To such an egocentric man as
however, pornography could never be seen in that light.
As is well-known,
But sexual sublimation in
print is one
thing, sexual sublimation in photographic images quite another, and we
For the higher man, 'sex in the head' is less an indication of sexual perversion than of spiritual advancement, a proof, as it were, of the triumph of mind over body, of spirit over senses. He may not be wholly given to sublimation - how many men at this juncture in time actually are? - but at least he is prepared to treat a bias in favour of the sublimated with respect rather than contempt. It is something for the more evolved man to be proud of, this relative triumph over nature. It can only lead to still greater triumphs for humanity in due course, as evolution continues to advance in the general direction of greater artificiality. Even the ambitions and attainments of a Des Esseintes will be found wanting in true spiritual accomplishment as time progresses; for this protagonist of À Rebours was, after all, the brainchild of a fin-de-siècle imagination, reflecting a degree of bourgeois artificiality roughly compatible with the extent to which such artificiality can attain, that is to say, with the extent to which a given stage of cultural nobility, be it aristocratic, bourgeois, or even proletarian, can free itself from the natural and endorse a relative degree of spiritual sophistication.
One may recall that the hero of À Rebours acquired a passion for collecting rare plants. Now rare plants undoubtedly reflect a more sophisticated approach to life on the part of their collector than would the collecting of common ones. But the 'artificial' aspirations of that bourgeois aesthete could easily be transcended by a mind, reflecting a higher degree of spiritual sophistication, which either avoided collecting plants of any description, no matter how exotic their origin, or only specialized in collecting artificial ones - for instance, plastic flowers. Huysmans' or, rather, Des Esseintes' sophistication evidently didn't stretch that far, which, under the circumstances of his time and class, need not really surprise us. Yet a time must surely come when, following decades, if not centuries, of egalitarian progress, the artificiality of the proletariat will be so extensive as to make previous class attainments in transcending the natural dwindle to a comparative insignificance.
What, then, does all this indicate? Quite clearly that the highest nobility, which should arise from the proletariat, will entail the greatest degree of artificiality the world has ever known - an artificiality in which the natural body will be replaced by an artificial support for the brain, while the latter is exclusively dedicated to cultivating superconscious mind. And being so dedicated, a time will come when the highest humanity, composed of meditating minds, will free itself from the last remnants of the natural, namely the brain, and thereupon rise clear of its artificial support-and-sustain systems in order to attain to the transcendental Beyond in the ineffable bliss of Supreme Being. Humanity will then have reached its true destiny in eternal unity, a destiny which, in putting an end to man, will signify the establishment of God. For God is the most supernatural of all possibilities, the complete antithesis of the stars, which, in their flaming negativity, are the most subnatural. The stars signify the most agonized doing; the Holy Spirit will signify the most blissful being.
Between these two absolutes - the lesser diabolic absolute of the stars and the greater divine absolute of the Holy Spirit - man weaves his course, 'born under one law, to another bound', which is to say, born under the dominion of the natural world but struggling, through civilized progress, towards the attainment of the supernatural, the attainment, in a word, of God. The fact, however, that he still has such a long way to go before he attains to divine salvation is made perfectly clear by the existing state-of-affairs in the world, in which a great deal of the natural, as of nature, still prevails. For one thing, we still have our natural bodies, and, for another, we regularly encounter manifestations of the natural world in our towns and cities, not to mention far more abundantly outside them in the forms of grass, plants, trees, bushes, birds, animals, etc. We don't exactly panic at the idea of a summer holiday but, on the contrary, are usually eager to go somewhere bright and hot, not to say naturalistic. We are quite resigned to the prospect of relapsing into a quasi-pagan lifestyle for a few weeks every year.
But a time must surely come when, paradoxically, men will prefer winter to summer, will prefer grey skies to the sight of the sun, will prefer their part of the earth to be at its farthest possible remove from the sun, which is the most agonized doing, than at its closest to it, as in the summer. When such a time will come for certain, I cannot of course tell you; for it will depend on the speed with which evolution progresses over the next century or two. But I should be very surprised if it hadn't come by the end of that time, in accordance with the growing entrenchment of that ‘revaluation of values' which the twentieth century, in particular, would seem to have initiated. For as evolution advances, so the rate of its advancement quickens, and what may seem bizarre or implausible to us becomes credible to those who come immediately afterwards. Even the recent development of space stations and space shuttles, as initiated by the Americans and the Russians, is crudely indicative of a turning away from the earth, the beginnings of a crude approximation to the transcendental Beyond in the form of a materialistic acclimatization to and presence in space. Of course, the site, so to speak, of the transcendental Beyond would be much farther out into space than any contemporary space station, since it would be obligatory for transcendent spirit to get as far away from stars and their planets as possible. Yet that doesn't prevent one from divining the birth and growth of an otherworldly tendency in these artificial presences there. The future will doubtless witness their proliferation.
At present, alas, modern man is still the victim, to varying extents, of a transitional angst, a rootlessness between two worlds. This angst, about which, incidentally, so much has been written ... with numerous interpretations as to its basic cause, is essentially attributable to the transitional nature of the age from faith in and respect for nature to an isolation from and contempt of nature. It is a consequence of the fact that, for the great majority of people, the old order of society, with its dualistic traditions, no longer possesses any real relevance, while the new order, centred in a post-dualistic transcendentalism, has yet to be officially established. Caught between the natural past and the artificial future, modern man lacks that sense of stability and confidence which would automatically accompany a more settled age, and is consequently possessed by the angst of instability. He doesn't know to what extent he ought to consider the city beneficial to himself and, conversely, to what extent nature detrimental. And, quite often, this problem is reversed, so that it is the city which appears detrimental and nature beneficial, according to the individual's standing in relation to his environment. Clearly, there are sufficient grounds for a widespread generalized angst, a kind of Zeitgeist angst in this day and age. Never before has change, together with its consequences for good or bad, been so rapid and extensive. Man isn't quite sure, on the whole, whether he has things under control or whether he is the victim of his expanding technology.
Yet one would, indeed, be mistaken to suppose that there is only one angst and that it applies to everybody; for there are undoubtedly as many kinds of personal angst in existence as one might care or dare to name, not the least of which being the financial or economic angst, the class or social angst, the weather angst, the health angst, the nuclear angst, the nightmare angst, and, needless to say, the sexual angst, which, not surprisingly, is often associated with the relationship between the natural and the artificial forms of sexual indulgence, and the ratio of the one to the other. If one is sensuously biased, then the artificial is more likely to be regarded as a kind of perversion, to be avoided in the interests of mental and bodily health. One will shy away from pornography, even its mildest and most innocuous forms, as from a potent drug, fearing its corrupting influence upon one. If, on the other hand, one is spiritually biased, then pornography is more likely to be regarded as a blessing than a curse, insofar as it spiritualizes sex by facilitating the development of cerebral sublimation. One realizes that the further civilization develops, the greater will be the degree of artificiality inherent in it, and that this process of gradually overcoming human nature through artificial means should be regarded as a good.
However, even then there is a limit to the extent to which one can allow oneself to be artificial; for one is still a man and, having flesh to appease, one is therefore under some obligation to toe-the-natural-line. Obviously, it is necessary for each individual to safeguard his human integrity as best he can, if he isn't to suffer the detrimental consequences of being too artificial for his own good, like the sophisticated protagonist of Huysmans' À Rebours, who eventually suffered a nervous derangement. One is caught between the natural and the artificial in a complex and often nerve-racking way, a way guaranteed to provoke a certain amount of sexual anxiety. For whilst one must to some extent respect oneself as a sensual being, one is also under obligation, as a man, to aspire towards new spiritual horizons, to extend the domain of the artificial until it gains the upper-hand over the natural. One is, to repeat that oft-quoted line of Fulke Greville's, 'born under one law, to another bound'. And yet the law to which one is bound as a civilized being, the law of increased artificiality, must eventually triumph over the natural law, if one is to attain to the bliss of spiritual transcendence at the culmination-point of evolution. One mustn't allow oneself to take a fatalistic line, as though the human condition was eternally fixed and implied a stasis of warring tensions. On the contrary, one must encourage spiritual progress at whatever cost to the sensual; for in that lies the key to our ultimate salvation as a species. Willy-nilly, this sexual angst ... of being caught between two opposing tendencies ... must be overcome by and through a lopsided artificiality, if we are to fulfil our destiny as men. But that can only happen gradually, in accordance with our individual capacities and the extent to which technology has been developed at the time. We cannot allow ourselves to lose patience with the needs of the body, including the dietary. Yet neither should we fatalistically resign ourselves to them, as though they can never be overcome. The evolutionary struggle must go ahead and people become ever more artificial, achieving through reproductive erotica the sublimation of their sexual impulses.
CONFESSIONS OF AN ATHEIST
I do not believe in the existence of God. The reason ... is that I have come to realize that the traditional concepts of God are both inadequate and misguided. They either confound God with the Devil or mistake that tiny quota of spirit we each possesses for God. In the first case, the Father is taken for God and regarded as the Supreme Being! In the second case that which is potentially God is taken for God, so that God is considered immanent. But the fact of the matter is that God is neither diabolic nor immanent but divine, and has yet to be brought about. Yes, that is the blunt fact of the matter, and that is why I am an atheist. For I have come to realize that human evolution is essentially a journey to God, a journey away from the Devil. It is a journey, in other words, from the Diabolic Alpha to the Divine Omega, from the Creator to the Ultimate Creation, from the most agonized doing to the most blissful being.
The Devil exists, then? Yes, most certainly! The Devil exists as the most agonized doing ... in the form of the millions of stars which burn ferociously throughout the Cosmos. The Devil is manifested in the stars, and one might say of our star, the sun, that it is a component of the overall cosmic Devil, not the Devil itself, but a particular manifestation of the Diabolic. For the Diabolic is that which appertains to the Devil and this is not only the most agonized doing, but the greatest separateness, the most intense divergence as well. The Devil, clearly, is divided, and thus the very antithesis of God, Who is unity. The Devil is manifold, the Supreme Being one. Between the Devil and God man weaves his course, a victim of the former, an aspirant towards the latter. On his shoulders rests the responsibility of creating the Supreme Being, of bringing God to fruition in the Universe, and thus of establishing ultimate reality. For beyond the Supreme Being, as beyond a supreme level of being, there can be no further development, since evolution will have attained to its climax in Eternity. One by one the stars will disintegrate; the Devil, so to speak, will reach the end of its negative term and, in collapsing into nothingness, leave the Universe to its final perfection in God. All higher human endeavour tends towards the consummation of evolution; for only in that consummation will humanity have attained to its goal in the transcendental Beyond.
Yes, the transcendental
Beyond, not 'heaven
on earth' but an area in space towards which pure spirit will gravitate
climax of our evolution. Unfortunately
the earth is always too close to the sun, that component of the Devil,
to be in
a position to enable a truly heavenly context to develop.
The influence of the Diabolic, with its
raging negativity, is never very far away.
The logic of transcendence, however, is to get as far away from
and their planetary offspring as possible, in order not to be
their diabolical nature. Eventually,
they will die out, leaving the Universe to God.
But, before that happens, the Divine will need to find the best
area in space available to it. Supreme
Being will have plenty of room in which to be. And not only plenty of
but plenty of time - Eternity.
For being, by its very essence, is self-perpetuating; doing, by
contrast, self-destructive. Doing
expends itself in hate, being sustains itself on love.
The sun loses millions of tons of its mass
every second, expending its energy in the conversion of hydrogen into
through the so-called proton-proton reaction.
Supreme Being, on the other hand, would not
sustain itself on the bliss of transcendent spirit, but gradually
expand in the
process, so that it would eventually be far larger than the
stars currently in existence. The '
Christ taught that the '
I, however, do not worship the fundamental Behind, which is to say, the diabolical creative-and-sustaining force. Neither do I take much interest in Jesus Christ, who was basically a worshipper of the fundamental Behind, as his famous last words: 'Father, Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?' would seem to attest, his 'father' being effectively Jehovahesque in character. Christ stands between the Father and the Holy Ghost, between the Diabolic and the Divine. Let not-one be deceived into imagining that this trinity of gods is wholly blessed! Only the Holy Ghost, as transcendent spirit, would be truly blessed and therefore heavenly. As the creative and sustaining force, the Father is decidedly cursed, as befitting the agonized nature of Hell. For the Devil and Hell are, of course, roughly synonymous. The stars in all their raging fury, their infernal heat, are distinctly cursed, and so one should never apply the word blessed to the Father, under which term the stars are here subsumed. And as for Jesus Christ who, as man, comes in-between the two absolutes - the lesser absolute of existing evil and the greater absolute of pure good which has yet to be created - one is obliged to confess that he is neither cursed nor blessed but, like all men to whom dualistic criteria can be applied, a combination of both, as his dual role of banisher and redeemer at the Last Judgement sufficiently-well demonstrates. He is man, and therefore a combination of evil and good, flesh and spirit, illusion and truth, etc., etc. But he isn't late man, or man biased on the side of good, spirit, truth, etc., and neither is he early man, or man dominated by evil, flesh, illusion, etc. On the contrary, Christ is decidedly middle man, or man balanced, in accordance with the dictates of a midway point in evolution, between the two opposites in what amounts to a dualistic compromise. And like all middle men, like all men who live and die while human evolution is in this dualistic phase of its unfolding, which may be likened to Purgatory, he didn't know the literal nature of the twin extremes of Hell and Heaven, but could only approximate to a viewpoint compatible with his dualistic essence, to a viewpoint necessarily watered-down by dualistic compromise. Thus he spoke of the Father without understanding exactly what the Father was, and likewise spoke of the 'Kingdom of Heaven' as though it were solely within the self rather than beyond the self. He was man, but he served as God to the Christians, to those who elected to follow him. To this day true Christians are obliged to uphold Christ as their God; for evolution demands that such an anthropomorphic position be maintained while man is balanced between the flesh and the spirit in a dualistic compromise.
However, there comes a time when, thanks in large measure to man's changing environments, to his growing urban severance from nature, such a balance no longer obtains for a majority of people, and the religious sense appropriate to it consequently goes into decline. The modern age is such a time, and this is why Christ is no longer relevant. We are if not already in, then almost certainly on the threshold of a higher age, an age when post-dualistic criteria prevail over dualism, and so we should increasingly turn towards the cultivation of spirit through meditation, rather than continue to acknowledge or beseech Christ through prayer. The fact that this is already happening in the West is generally well-known. But it isn't yet happening officially, which is why the Church still exists. And what the Church stands for, i.e. the worship of Christ, is incompatible with the direct cultivation of spirit!
Regarded from an objective post-worldly standpoint, Christ is clearly not God. He is simply the God of Christians, a perfectly legitimate God for a given period of time, commensurate with purgatorial dualism, but destined to be superseded once that period has elapsed, as I believe it now has. This is another confession of the atheist who, as writer of this essay, wishes to see the Church removed. He cannot bring himself to worship Christ, still less the Father, which he equates with the Devil purely and simply. Rather, he looks forward to a time when every effort will be made to create the Supreme Being, when men, whilst acknowledging the existence of the Diabolic (though not assuredly through worship), will be dedicated to the furtherance of spirit in the world through the expansion of superconscious mind.
At present, however, such a fortunate time is still some way off; for we live in a transitional age from the dualistic to the transcendental, and therefore aren't in a position to cultivate spirit extensively. For the extensive cultivation of spirit demands that we be far more civilized than at present, which is to say, recipients of a much greater degree of artificiality than is currently the case. True, most of us live in the city and have effectively left nature behind. But we haven't, as yet, evolved to a point of replacing the natural body with an artificial one which would act as a support for and sustainer of the brain, and so enable us to indulge in a much more exclusive cultivation of spirit than would otherwise be possible. Unfortunately we are still victims of our stomachs, bowels, reproductive organs, senses, etc., and are consequently at the mercy of nature to an extent which renders an extensive and/or intensive cultivation of spirit all but impossible. We may have spiritual ambitions, be inclined to read regularly and spend some time in meditation every day. But when one is obliged to eat, drink, defecate, urinate, sleep, walk, etc., as human beings invariably are in greater or lesser degrees, then it stands to reason that those ambitions are either unlikely to be realized or, if partly realized, won't extend very far. It should be obvious, I mean, that one can't fully serve two masters at once, and that one's sensual obligations inevitably detract from such spiritual aspirations as one may be committed to, making it impossible to cultivate a transcendental potential.
Of course Asians, and Hindus in particular, have long been practitioners of yoga and, hence, more given to directly cultivating spirit than Europeans, whose Christian worship and acts of charity, etc., have traditionally had the upper-hand over contemplation and beingfulness. Yet, despite their spiritual superiority, the practitioners of yoga have failed to attain to the transcendental Beyond, and for the very simple reason that they haven't been the fortunate recipients of a technology which would make transcendence possible. In short, they haven't sacrificed the natural body to an artificial one. They have striven, on the contrary, to attain to salvation solely on the basis of their commitment to yoga, to meditation and its attendant relatively superficial physical sacrifices. Admittedly, they haven't worshipped nature, at least not as a rule. But, in turning towards the transcendental Beyond, they have quite often become the victims of nature through either starvation or disease, or a lethal combination of both. And where this misfortune has been avoided through a degree of compromise with nature, with the relatively good fortune, it may be, of having been born into a higher caste, they haven't greatly profited from the application of water enemas or clean towels down their throats, by attempts, in other words, to purify the body. For even after the most rigorous application of purificatory procedures, the body still remains an obstacle to spiritual transcendence simply by its continued existence as a sensual phenomenon. There is still too much flesh, too much subconscious influence to contend with, making the degree of one's spiritual cultivation comparatively limited in scope. Alas, even with the best will in the world, even with a thin half-starved body which has received thorough purificatory attention, one is still incapable of attaining to the transcendental Beyond! For let there be no doubt on this point; unless the natural body has been superseded by an artificial support-and-sustain apparatus for the brain, there isn't the slightest chance of one's being in a position whereby a truly transcendental potential can be cultivated. So long as one has natural, sensual needs to attend to, Heaven, alas, will remain no more than a pipe-dream, a faint possibility. To approximate to the transcendental Beyond is to live continuously and permanently in a context akin to it, where sensual indulgences are entirely excluded. It is also to live at the furthest possible environmental remove from nature, from the sensuous influence of the plant world, which is something that even the Buddha didn't do and, at that distant and more naturalistic epoch in time, wasn't really in a position to do, cities not having developed to any significantly artificial extent.
Clearly, then, meditation by itself isn't enough! We must bring, in the course of time, the maximum of technology to bear on it or, rather, on those who practise it, so that, in a very literal sense, the East can meet the West and both become fused into a single civilization. Of course, to some extent this is already happening, albeit on a comparatively rudimentary basis at present. Centuries will have to pass before humanity can be expected to attain to its collective goal in spiritual transcendence. Heaven is still a condition of the future, a sphere of being signifying the most artificial and supernatural existence conceivable. We are still relatively naturalistic.
But the Supreme Being is in our sights, so to speak, and now we should see more clearly than ever before the direction we must take in order to become it. We should be able to see through the religious illusions and limitations of the past, inevitable as they were for their time, and advance towards our goal with fresh determination. Under the supervision of socialism, technology will take us to a stage of evolution whereby meditation will become a truly viable means of attaining to the transcendental Beyond. But it won't be the only means; for, bearing in mind the progress of the artificial element in life commensurate with civilized evolution, the use of synthetic hallucinogens like LSD will doubtless play a part in facilitating upward self-transcendence and, accordingly, in opening the mind to higher visionary experience. How great a part the introduction of synthetic hallucinogens will play, in this respect, remains to be seen. But if such experiments as have already been made with LSD are anything to judge by, then it is more than probable that drugs of this type will play a highly significant role in the advancement of spiritual consciousness. For by their very artificial essence such synthetics result in upward self-transcendence, and may therefore be regarded as a good, whereas natural drugs, from tea and tobacco to opium and heroin, result in varying degrees of downward self-transcendence, and are comparatively evil. The present age has by no means escaped the evils of natural drugs, of which addiction is the chief, but it is at least to some extent discouraging their use. The future will doubtless discourage them far more thoroughly and efficiently, with a compensatory encouragement, however, of artificial drugs. How long it will be before mankind outgrows drugs altogether also remains to be seen. Yet I am disposed to the belief that the highest civilization will have developed beyond recourse to even the most artificial drugs, having advanced to a stage where the cultivation of spirit is so extensive as not to require any artificial stimulation. And this could well be because the old brain, in which reposes the subconscious part of the psyche, had 'gone the way' of the natural body and thereby left humanity free of its sensuous influence. Elevated to the status of new-brain collectivizations, humanity or, rather, its godlike successors would be in the most advantageous position to achieve ultimate transcendence, having acquired a gradual acclimatization to a consciousness predominantly composed of pure spirit. All that would thereafter remain to be done would be for these highly-charged spiritual minds to break away from the new brain and soar heavenwards to their ultimate destination in undifferentiated spirit. At that point in time evolution would have reached its zenith, the earth being left to the now-empty artificial supports which had sustained the highest civilization.
We, however, are a long way from that hypothetical civilization, since recipients of so much sensuality. For all our boasts of progress, we are relatively primitive and will doubtless remain so for some time to come. We haven't yet earned the right to an exclusive spirituality, but must work for technological and social progress in the world at large. Naturally, we can be proud of what we have achieved to-date. Yet we mustn't allow such achievements to make us complacent or distract us from the greater things which have still to be achieved. For the world is ever a place where improvements can be made, if we are to attain to our goal in spiritual perfection. The world is simply a stepping-stone to something higher, not a place to be worshipped in and for itself! Non-attachment to the world is now, as before, the key to salvation in the transcendental Beyond. But it should not be a non-attachment that leads to starvation or disease, to the triumph of the natural world over the spirit, which we cultivate at this juncture in time, as too many people have been traditionally exposed to doing in the East. We must come to accept that a true, higher non-attachment has to be earned through civilized progress, and that it is therefore in our best interests to attend to the affairs of the world which make for social progress, not to shirk them as though they constituted an impediment to salvation.
THE LITERARY REVOLUTION
Not so long ago Aldous Huxley was my literary guru, or spiritual guide. I read everything by him that I could lay my hands on, and read it, for the most part, with considerable pleasure. These days, however, I am no longer the respectful disciple but rather more the disrespectful rebel, a critic of my one-time mentor. Like Nietzsche, I have rebelled against my master and gone my own separate way, dismissing Huxley with the ease and willingness with which Nietzsche was to dismiss Schopenhauer. To some extent I am a twentieth-century Nietzsche, a kindred spirit of the author of The Anti-Christ, Beyond Good and Evil, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, just as, to some extent, Huxley was a twentieth-century Schopenhauer, a kindred spirit of the author of The World as Will and Representation, The Parerga and Paralipomena, and lesser works. There are, of course, certain differences. But, broadly speaking, it is possible for me to identify with Nietzsche, and not simply as a rebel against a former master but, more importantly, as the advocate of a short-term positivistic attitude to life which radically conflicts with the long-term spiritual views upheld by both Schopenhauer and Huxley. For they were largely negative in their advocacy of non-attachment to the world through a form of Buddhist renunciation. They were pessimistic in their attitudes to social progress as reflecting the welfare of the masses, the social collectivity, and were consequently inclined to stress the importance of personal salvation through individual effort. They distrusted political means of improving the world and, because they rebelled against the social collectivity, were obliged to uphold the individual in the face of large-scale communal effort. In sum, they were philosophically and politically conservative, if not reactionary.
Nietzsche, by contrast, was
which is why he has had a much greater influence on the twentieth
Schopenhauer. Like him, I too am
revolutionary, and to the extent, I hope, of having a greater influence
twenty-first century than Huxley will.
At present, Huxley is still regarded as an outstanding writer
thinker, probably the most outstanding writer and thinker in
As a novelist, Huxley was superior to the great majority of novelists of his time by preferring an approach to the genre which gave far more importance to theory than to practice, to speculation than to action, to truth than to illusion - in a phrase, to philosophy than to fiction. He disliked story-telling, which is of course the traditional or conventional approach to literature, and endeavoured, especially in his late novels, to grant as much space to philosophical discussion and speculation as possible. This, alone, is the mark of a higher type of literature, a type of which the twentieth century has witnessed the development, and which may be said to reflect the predominance of the superconscious over the subconscious, in accordance with its author's degree of spiritual sophistication. To some extent, the environmental shift, over the past hundred or so years, from the town to the city has contributed to this change in priorities from illusion to truth, fiction to fact, insofar as the modern sophisticated city-dweller no longer experiences the sensuous influence of nature to the same extent as his forebears, and consequently is in a position to cultivate more spirit. Being cut-off from nature to a greater extent than ever before, the modern intelligent city-dweller is less under the sway of subconscious dominion than would otherwise be the case, and therefore is more disposed towards the superconscious. In the case of writers, such a disposition leads to the traditional criteria of literature being superseded by criteria reflecting a superconscious bias, in which truth, or something approximating to it, will take the place of illusory fictions, and a new type of literature, broadly termed philosophical, duly arises.
Now this new literature will only arise, it goes without saying, from the most intelligent writers, those who are the recipients of a greater degree of superconscious influence than lesser men, and it will even be possible for such writers to continue writing in their predominantly philosophical style whether or not they spend all of their time in the city. Provided they don't spend too much time amid the subconsciously-dominated plant world of nature, they are unlikely to become any-the-less intelligent. For one can flit from one environment to another, one town or city to another, and still maintain this higher kind of writing - as, indeed, Aldous Huxley managed to do, despite a distaste for large cities. He was, however, too much of a bourgeois, and therefore too fond of suburban environments, to be wholly content with a metropolitan context, and mostly lived, in consequence, on the outskirts of cities. Had he been less bourgeois in this regard, he might have become an even greater writer. But his suburban integrity necessarily restricted his mode of thought to a level compatible with bourgeois ethics, and so prevented its development into the reaches of what might be termed higher proletarian writing. For it must be stressed that the highest writing, the greatest thought, can only emerge from a writer of superior intelligence who is resident in a large city, where the sensuous influence of nature is negligible and a truly transcendental mode of writing can accordingly develop. Those, on the contrary, who confine themselves to the provinces or to the country inevitably detract from their spiritual development and, to a greater or lesser extent, fall behind the times. They develop a complacency in nature and, frankly, such a complacency is incompatible with higher spirituality, with writings that reflect a severance from and contempt of nature!
As an example of this, I might cite a remark made by Colin Wilson in the first instalment of his autobiography, Voyage to a Beginning, in which he claimed to be the foremost genius of the age - indeed, one of only two geniuses then at work in the world (the other apparently being a relatively unknown friend of his, whose name eludes me). Now Mr Wilson claimed priority in respect to his pre-eminent genius on the grounds that he had gone beyond Existentialism and furthered the development of a philosophy with a positivistic rather than a nihilistic outlook. No doubt, there is a justification of sorts for such a claim. For, these days, anyone who doesn't go beyond Existentialism, in one way or another, has no business considering himself a serious writer and thinker, let alone a genius! In fact, he is unlikely to be published. However, what especially intrigues me here is that the author of this immodest autobiography doesn't find his confinement to a small cottage on the Cornish coast a hindrance to his genius, but, on the contrary, regards life in Cornwall as generally very acceptable, if not preferable to the city. Clearly, his genius isn't disturbed by the close proximity of temperate nature, but is able to live in harmony with it, in spite of its sensuous essence.
Now anyone who lives for any length of time in such a simple environment, as Mr Wilson has apparently done, isn't likely to develop the most anti-natural sentiments, to become a contemporary Baudelaire or Mondrian, and consequently his range of thought will be restricted, in its formation, by complacency towards the natural, whether inorganic or organic. The fact that Mr Wilson hasn't waged a verbal war against nature would seem to be borne-out by the content of his writings, in which no overtly, nor even covertly, transcendental attitude is to be found. He does, however, prefer writings of a philosophical order to mere story-telling, and this is something for which we can admire him. But whether he is the foremost genius of the age is, under the circumstances, a somewhat debatable issue, especially in light of certain more recent developments in contemporary thought which have led to a condemnation of the natural and to a reappraisal of the transcendent, with particular reference to what I have called the transcendental Beyond. That Mr Wilson may have had a justification of sorts for considering himself the foremost genius of the age some thirty or more years ago, we shall not question. But whether such a justification still holds true now is highly questionable, and had better be left for posterity to decide. No doubt, it ought not to be forgotten that he was evaluating himself in relation to his contemporaries, not in relation to either his predecessors or his successors. He wasn't, for example, comparing himself with Aldous Huxley.
But was Huxley a genius, then? There have been times when I was inclined to think so, bearing in mind the content and scope of his work, particularly his late work. Nowadays, however, I am not so sure. There is a tricky borderline between men of genius and the clever-clever, and sometimes it is possible to confound those on the one side of that borderline with those on the other side of it. The clever-clever may, at times, have the appearance of genius, but they are generally either too pedantic and pedagogic or, conversely, too flashy and superficial. Huxley undoubtedly had a fair amount of the former about himself, while Evelyn Waugh might serve as a useful illustration of the latter. Genius, on the other hand, doesn't labour over textbook citations or strive to impose a superficial cleverness upon one. It is somewhat unique in that its recipient is motivated by deeply personal or original thoughts which fight shy of textbook authorities. Besides possessing the necessary intellectual credentials of exalted thought, the genius is rather one who pursues his own vision over the heads of and beyond the reach of lesser men, and to such an extent that it often takes generations for the more progressive members of society to catch-up with him and to properly appreciate what he had to say. Rather than being hampered by textbooks or numerous citations, the genius remains in the grip of his particular thought, regardless of how radical it may be from a traditional viewpoint. He is something of an outsider and a rebel, a challenge to the literary establishment and a champion of a higher sense of freedom. He leads the intellectual or creative field by dint of his innate ability to transcend the narrow boundaries of the conscious self. He has 'intimations of immortality', in Wordsworth's oft-quoted phrase.
Now, given these criteria, there was doubtless something of the genius about Aldous Huxley, though not a very great deal, considering his dependence on and, like so many well-educated Englishmen, gentlemanly deference towards traditional authority. At best, he might be described as one of the clever-clever who occasionally attained to a level of genius - in short, as a minor genius. For it should not be forgotten that exalted thought was not always to be found in Huxley's writings, and that he was more often than not a pedant and expounder of other men's theories, including, as we have seen, those of the American psychologist, W.H. Sheldon. Moreover, he wasn't always particularly consistent with himself, and if consistency is a hallmark of genius, as I incline to believe, then his lack of it with regard to intellectual positions must inevitably tell against him. Nevertheless, what he did achieve in terms of intellectual clarity and earnestness is sufficient to distinguish him from the majority of his contemporaries, and to accord him an honourable place in the eyes of posterity. In a generation that produced no outstanding revolutionary genius, his status as a minor genius is certainly not without merit. It simply wasn't given to him to be another Nietzsche or Strindberg. And neither, seemingly, was it given to anyone else.
Yet it was given to D.H.
Lawrence to be an
outstanding traditional genius, and this fact we must readily
we are not to do the man a grave disservice.
For it has long been contended among reputable literary critics,
including Richard Aldington, that D.H.
the finest English novelist of his day, a contention which, strictly
traditional terms, isn't without some justification.
Compared with Huxley,
Now anyone who judges
writers solely by
traditional criteria must accord
Nor are Lawrence and Huxley
examples of this transitional dichotomy.
Of more recent writers connected with the English literary
might cite the difference between
But what applies to
However, before I deal with
that subject at
greater length, let me go on to point out some further examples of this
transitional dichotomy, as manifested in twentieth-century literature,
time German, and thereupon equate Thomas Mann with the traditional
and, conversely, Hermann Hesse with the
one. Mann wrote
with a view to telling a story, Hesse with
a view to
propounding his religious philosophy.
The former philosophizes in moderation, the latter makes of
their last novels, The Confessions of Felix Krull,
Trickster in Mann's case, and The Glass Bead Game in
Hesse's, there is that radical distinction
already noted with regard to, amongst others, Huxley and Lawrence. Of the two writers,
Which state-of-affairs applies no less amongst Americans than Europeans, so that we may accredit Henry Miller's work a special priority over that of, say, Ernest Hemingway, despite the latter's unquestionable abilities from the traditional point-of-view. Hemingway spins stories, and does so well enough to win world-wide recognition. Miller, by contrast, dedicates himself to telling the story of his life, and spices this up with speculations of a philosophical order. He eschews literary fictions in the interests of autobiography, which could be defined as subjective fact, and to this is added the subjective truth of philosophy - at any rate, of theoretical speculations and contentions about life in its entirety, both as experienced externally and, especially, as reflected upon internally. From this twofold approach to literature he scarcely ever deviates, so that his novels remain consistently revolutionary and, in the best sense of the word, contemporary. It would be a mistake, however, to describe him as a major genius. For, at best, he is only a minor one, and a minor one, at that, without even the compensatory factor of being clever-clever. Yet his consistently radical approach to the novel is sufficient to establish him as the most revolutionary American author of his generation, and to accord him an honourable place in the ranks of the international avant-garde. As a type he approximates more to the subjective approach to the world than to its opposite, and may thus be described as a transcendentalist. He is, in a way, a less sophisticated version of Aldous Huxley. His nearest contemporary equivalent in American writing is probably Norman Mailer, whose philosophical approach to literature may be contrasted with the story-telling approach of, say, Gore Vidal, an author who, on the whole, would appear to be aligned with the narrative tradition.
We see, therefore, that the twentieth century gave rise to a split between what in historical terms could be defined as the ancients and the moderns - in other words, between the tail-enders of the literary tradition and the pioneers of the literary revolution. Generally speaking, the former have been blessed with more genius in their own sphere of creativity than have the latter in theirs, nor need this surprise us. For as a tradition reaches its climax, it stands to reason that the finest writings in that context will occur at the end rather than at the beginning of its development, to round it off in an appropriately climatic fashion, in accordance with the dictates of literary evolution. Consequently, where the finest works of authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Lawrence Durrell, Albert Camus, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, and Gore Vidal are concerned, the literary tradition would seem to have reached its peak and is unlikely to surpass itself. The fruit of the past three centuries has attained to full ripeness in the great works of these men, on whose shoulders rested the responsibility of its fulfilment. The narrative tradition was brought to a fruitful end. Not altogether surprising, therefore, if its practitioners should generally be blessed with more genius than their revolutionary counterparts!
In terms of painting, one might cite the difference, in this regard, between, say, Salvador Dali and Piet Mondrian, the former having been blessed with a considerable degree of genius to bring an egocentric representational tradition to full maturity, the latter not requiring any great genius to execute his simplistic, post-egocentric paintings, which were destined to initiate a new development in art. Admittedly, to some extent Dali is also post-egocentric, insofar as his work, particularly when surreal, often reflects a looking back and down upon the subconscious from a higher psychic vantage-point. But the fact that he uses a highly-accomplished egocentric technique in the service of figurative painting renders his work more closely aligned with the tradition than that of virtually any other Surrealist of his or, indeed, any other generation. Paradoxically, however, one is obliged to contend that, despite his considerable representational genius, he ranks lower in the evolution of art than Mondrian, who should therefore be regarded as his artistic superior.
Returning to literature, we may infer that, in contrast to the tail-enders of a tradition, the pioneers of a new development are unlikely to be men of outstanding genius, but either men of no genius at all or only very minor genius, its being understood that only towards the climax of a tradition, especially an egocentric one, can great genius come to the fore, a level of genius commensurate with the perfecting and completing of that tradition. Thus we needn't be surprised that the post-egocentric writers have not, on the whole, been men of outstanding genius but, rather, highly-talented foundation layers for the subsequent erection of the higher, predominantly philosophical literature. Whether in the guises of Huxley, Koestler, Sartre, Hesse, Miller, or Mailer, they have initiated or furthered a break with the fictional tradition, and so paved the way for a much greater fidelity to fact and truth in literature. We must respect them as pioneers and leave it to other men, of greater genius, to complete the new tradition in due course, whether or not such a completion is likely to occur during the next hundred years.
I spoke a little while ago about appearance and essence in literature and, in expanding on that subject, must now draw the reader's attention to the fact that avant-garde writing in literature, as in art, is divisible into that which focuses primarily on means and, conversely, that which attends more closely to ends. The first of these two categories, whether in terms of politics or science, has found its leading practitioners in writers like Sartre, Koestler, and Mailer, who may broadly be described as Social Realists. The second category, essentially being concerned with religion and art, has found its leading practitioners in writers like Huxley, Hesse, and Miller, who may broadly be described as Transcendentalists. Those in the first category are aligned with appearance, and thus means. Those in the second category, by contrast, would seem to be aligned with essence, and thus ends. The first category adopts an extroverted approach to the world, the second category an introverted one. Both, as already remarked, are necessary and justified, but they aren't necessarily so at the same time. It could well be that, in the necessity of putting means before ends, those who adopt the objective approach are more relevant in the short term, whereas those whose approach is subjective appeal to long-term solutions, and are accordingly less relevant at present. The former would be equalitarian, the latter elitist. However, the former's art would not be the highest but, rather, a comparatively second-rate art which was simply of more applicability to the short-term goals of social evolution. The highest art could only issue from the Transcendentalists, who, by concentrating on essence, point the way towards Eternity. For, in the long run, spirit must take priority over matter.
Clearly, then, in an age
equalitarianism and is tending, willy-nilly, towards a more equal
Social Realists are the most relevant of avant-gardists. It may seem strange that Socialist Realism
should be equated with the avant-garde, but its approach to the world
contemporary, if from a completely different angle than
Transcendentalism. After all, there is
nothing more contemporary,
from a revolutionary standpoint, than the urban proletariat. In the West, with the general acceptance of
Transcendentalism by the Establishment these days, the Social Realists
only genuine revolutionaries, whether in art or in literature. The Establishment can accommodate the
long-term solutions of Transcendentalism because it doesn't feel
threatened by them in the short term. In
the former Soviet East, on the other hand, the Transcendentalists, as
traditionally manifesting in unofficial avant-garde art, have been
a revolutionary or subversive threat to the short-term interests of the
At the beginning of this essay I remarked that I was once a disciple of Aldous Huxley, but had subsequently grown beyond him. Seen in the light of the above contentions, my reasons for no longer regarding Huxley as my guru should be sufficiently clear. I do not wish to make the fatal mistake of putting ends before means and concentrating on essence when the world cries out for a short-term solution in appearance. Like Nietzsche, I have turned against essence-mongering in the interests of world betterment. I can no longer sympathize with the individualist, elitist attitude propounded by Huxley; for it is destined to failure, no matter how earnest its practitioner may happen to be. The attitude of de-centralist Ghandi-like self-sufficiency, as illustrated by the guru-like figure of Propter in After Many a Summer, is totally inadequate to meet the requirements of ultimate salvation. For such a salvation can only be brought about through the most rigorous adherence to urban civilization and the accompanying development of higher technology. Naturalistic means of cultivating spirit in close proximity to nature are invariably limited in scope, restricting the practitioner of such means to a spirituality hampered by the sensual and, above all, by the natural body itself. Unless we develop our technology, in centralized cohesion, to a point where it will enable us to gradually supplant the natural body with an artificial support-and-sustain system for the brain, including the brain-stem and central nervous system, we shall never attain to holy (pure) spirit in the transcendental Beyond. Unless we concentrate first on appearance and then on essence, making the transformation of the phenomenal a precondition of enhanced noumenal sensibility, we shall remain the sordid victims of a delusive philosophy.
The modern world and, indeed, the modern novel have need, above all, of a correct philosophical approach to the difficult problems which confront the age. We needn't dismiss the Transcendentalists out-of-hand, but we would be well-advised to give Social Realists more credit in the short term. Their political and scientific approaches to the world will serve as a foundation for and springboard to the highest culture. They will pave the way for the greatest genius!
MUSIC IN AN AGE OF TRANSITION
literature in the twentieth century, music has reflected a wide
approaches and styles, making for an eclecticism
virtually unprecedented in the entire history of its evolution. Never before have so many different types of
composer existed simultaneously or contemporaneously in the Western
provided the interested public with such a wealth of heterogeneous
from which to choose. One is confronted
by composers as far apart as Berkeley and Stockhausen, Martinu
and Schoenberg, Elgar and Varèse,
Walton and Cage. That in itself should
be sufficient to excite ambivalence, confusion, and scepticism in
head, were it not also for the fact that, in addition to the marked
between different types of so-called serious composer, one is
confronted by the
vast differences which accrue to the domain of jazz, both traditional
modern, and obliged to confess that much of what passes here, to the
philistine, for a form of light entertainment is in fact a
highly-sophisticated, progressive music which is entitled to be taken
and treated as a viable alternative to certain other types of serious
composition. But in addition to an
outpouring of heterogeneous Western music this century, one is
musical styles from all other parts of the world - from places as far
Yet we live in an age of transition between two distinct developments in the history of Western evolution, that is to say, between the Christian dualistic and the transcendental post-dualistic. According to Arnold J. Toynbee's historical classifications, the latter has been referred to as the post-modern and corresponds to an era dating from the last two decades of the nineteenth century, when the iconoclastic and prophetic Nietzsche gave voice to the assertion that 'God is dead', thereby proclaiming the end of the Christian era. In theory, such an assertion is doubtless justified, having long been common knowledge among the various intelligentsia of the Western world. In practice, however, we in the West are still officially living under the institutional influence of Christianity and cannot therefore speak of the transcendental, or post-modern, age as officially existing. There are, of course, many aspects of this most recent development in the history of human evolution which are patently manifest in the Western world, not least of all in the arts. But although that virtually goes without saying, the official acknowledgement of a transcendental age has yet to come about. Consequently we have a right to speak of an age of transition, whether this is taken to imply a gradual shift away from dualistic into post-dualistic criteria or, as a possible climax to this gradualism, the subsequent revolutionary overthrow of Western civilization, with particular reference to its Christian and democratic traditions. To speak of a post-modern age as already officially existing would be to overlook the glaring facts of contemporary Western life which point to the contrary!
Granted, then, that we are in transition from one development in the history of Western evolution to another, it becomes less surprising that there are so many different types of composer in existence, or that their compositions reflect a wide variety of styles. The age is not homogeneous but decidedly heterogeneous in its constitution, which is why such unprecedented variety currently exists. However, I am not saying this is a good thing; goodness isn't a word that can be applied here. Rather, it marks a stage of Western evolution, whether or not we approve of the fact.
A tradition in the arts reaches a climax whilst, simultaneously, a new development begins to get under way. Roughly, the twentieth century reflects the transition from acoustic classical music to electronic avant-garde music, from the modern, in Toynbee's terminology, to the post-modern, from the dualistic to the post-dualistic, from egocentricity, in subconscious/superconscious balance, to post-egocentricity, reflecting a superconscious bias. We are tending, all the while, towards a more artificial civilization, a civilization composed of a much greater degree of superconscious bias than is currently the case. The fact, however, of our being in transition means that much of what pertains to the subconscious, and hence to an egocentric viewpoint, still prevails and will doubtless continue to do so for some time to-come. We aren't exactly on the point of dispensing with the large modern orchestra and completely going over to electronics; though the rising costs of maintaining orchestras may well prove a contributory element in their eventual demise. Another element, however, will undoubtedly be our preference for artificial over naturalistic modes of sound reproduction - a preference which is already significantly evident among the general and higher proletariat who, as a rule, prefer electric to acoustic instrumentalists. On the other hand, the Western bourgeoisie and their middle-class or professional equivalents in totalitarian countries are the people primarily responsible for maintaining an interest in acoustic music, as evidenced by bourgeois adherence to the orchestra.
It has often been said that the People are closer to God. What, exactly, does this mean? Or, rather, how can it be interpreted in a truly contemporary sense? It can be interpreted, I believe, by reference to my Gnostic/Manichean Weltanshauung, in which evolution proceeds from A - Z, as it were, in accordance with an aspiration towards a supreme level of being, otherwise more conventionally regarded as the Supreme Being. Evolution begins in the Manifold, as manifested by the diabolic stars, and aspires, through man, towards the One, as will be manifested in the Holy Ghost. One might speak, echoing Teilhard de Chardin, that great Catholic theologian and man of science, of a convergence to the Omega Point, a convergence from the Devil to God. Provided one doesn't fall into the trap of his theology, but rejects all belief in an already-existing Omega Point composed, as it were, of the transcendent spirit of the Risen Christ, as derived from Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, one will be in a position to adopt a logical, long-term view concerning this convergence to omega, which is compatible with an aspiration towards the creation of supreme being, and therefore with a contemporary atheism. To treat the Resurrection of Christ at face-value, as a literal fact, on the other hand, would be to fall into an anthropomorphic stance relative to the Christian myth, rather than to take a stance compatible with a scientific transcendentalism, such as the age increasingly requires. When it is understood that evolution proceeds from A - Z, one won't ascribe supernatural significance to a simple carpenter who lived two-thousand years ago and had no access to an advanced technology - in other words, to a technology which, by supplanting the natural body with an artificial support-and-sustain system for the brain, would ultimately make transcendence possible. On the contrary, one will endorse the contemporary view that attainment to the transcendental Beyond is dependent on our will and ability to create it in due course, in accordance with civilized progress.
Thus the Supreme Being will be regarded as the furthermost development of which ascending life is capable, and therefore as the culmination of evolution in the distant future. For supreme beingfulness can only be the outcome of evolution, not its initiator! To conceive of the Supreme Being, or supreme level of being, having created the lowest of the low, the most agonized doing of the stars, is simply madness. Evolution doesn't begin at the end but works forwards, ever so slowly and painfully while the going is particularly tough, as it must be the more we live under nature's dominion. Our goal, however, is the supernatural, or that which lies above and beyond nature and is accordingly the most artificial of outcomes to life. It is in this sense of consummate artificiality that the 'super' of Nietzsche's superman should be understood, not in any muscular sense of brute strength. For musclemen are, by and large, a thing of the past - certainly so far as any serious claim to true superiority is concerned!
Given these aspects of my revolutionary philosophy, it should be apparent that when we say that the People are closer to God than, for example, the aristocracy or the bourgeoisie, we are implying a greater approximation on their part not only to Oneness, to the ultimate spiritual unity which the Supreme Being would signify, but also to a more artificial state-of-affairs which can be presumed to exist to a greater extent among them than among their historical class enemies and/or commercial exploiters. Traditionally, the view that the People are closer to God was of course associated with their comparative poverty in relation to the wealth and materialistic opulence of the ruling classes. As transcendent spirit, God is if not at the furthest possible remove from wealthy property-owning men, then certainly at a sufficiently far remove from them to grant credence to the theory that the poor are closer. To some extent, this theory still holds true; for even in this day and age the People aren't, generally speaking, wealthy property-owning individuals, but tenanted rent-payers. They may be materially better off, on the whole, than their less-fortunate predecessors, but they are still far from wealthy! However, progress does not require that the People become wealthy in due course; for that would simply lead to a spiritual regression on their part. On the contrary, it requires that they become ever more spiritual and therefore less under the influence of materialism and sensuality. This will doubtless eventually be put into effect through the assistance of technology. But, in the short term, it requires the assistance of socialism in order to ensure moderate means for all in equalitarianism, as opposed to the perpetuation or resurrection of extremities in elitism.
Returning to the contemporary light thrown by my philosophy on the relationship of the People to God, one can posit a closer approximation on their part to the projected Oneness of our hypothetical supreme level of being on the basis of the fact that they generally live in closer proximity to one another in bedsitters, flats, terraced houses, etc., rather than distant from one another in detached houses, country houses, mansions, etc., like the bourgeoisie and aristocracy generally do. This is far from saying, of course, that such a cramped arrangement isn't at times a form of hell on earth for most of those who are obliged to experience it; but simply to point out that the enforcement of such a cramped context of living gives rise to a closer approximation to the future Beyond (of ultimate spiritual unity) than does the prevalence, in middle-class suburbs, of detached housing, which necessarily reflects individualistic separateness. The People, then, are obliged to live closer to the envisaged climax of evolution than the bourgeoisie. Whether this gives rise to pleasure or pain is fundamentally irrelevant.
The other aspect of the People being closer to God has to do, as already intimated, with the artificial and its relationship to the supernatural. The average bourgeois lives, you will recall, in a suburban context of complacency in a partly natural environment. He isn't cut off from nature in an urban context, like the proletariat, but is free to cultivate his garden and take pleasure in the gardens belonging to his neighbours, as well, of course, as in the areas - sometimes quite extensive - of public land accessible to him. He wouldn't greatly relish the prospect of having to live in an area of the nearest big city where there was very little verdure, but is only content in the semi-rural/semi-urban setting which is suburbia. By contrast, the proletariat do not, in their bedsitters, flats, terraced houses, etc., have regular access to all that much land, but are confined to a largely artificial environment. This is another reason why they are closer to God than the bourgeoisie; for the Supreme Being would be the most artificial and supernatural of all existences, having nothing whatsoever to do with nature. Now the People are less under nature's sway. Consequently, they are more susceptible to the artificial, as fostered by the anti-natural essence of an urban environment, and so aspire, whether consciously or unconsciously, towards the Supreme Being, in accordance with evolutionary pressures. Of course, they aren't highly artificial at this juncture in time; for evolution still has a long way to go before it attains, through man, to a supernatural climax. But they are certainly in the requisite environmental context for the furtherance of evolutionary progress in due course. They portend a continuous development.
So what, you may wonder, does all this have to do with music, the subject with which we began our essay? The answer to this is frankly that it has a lot to do with music. For only by grasping the significance of urbanization in relation to the artificial ... can one begin to understand the revolutionary break with the past which the rise of electric music, of one type or another, signifies, and why it is therefore plausible for me to contend that electric music, or music dependent on electricity, signifies a superior development to acoustic music, and is, by dint of its greater artificiality, closer to God. Paradoxically, one is forced to admit that the leading jazz or rock guitarists' wailing electric sounds, so dear to the People, are a step nearer to God than the acoustic sounds so dear to the bourgeoisie, which necessarily reflect a more natural state-of-affairs. The electric sounds, by contrast, reflect a higher stage of civilization.
When one understands that nature stems from the diabolical solar roots of the Universe, one will hardly be surprised by the fact that the use of natural means won't make for a particularly close approximation to the Divine. On the contrary, one will see only too clearly that wood, ivory, sheep's gut, horsehair, etc., no matter how well-shaped or refined upon in the process of transformation, partly or entirely, into a musical instrument, inevitably preclude the achievement of a truly transcendental potential in sound, and thereby restrict music to the relatively humble level of a semi-artificial achievement. The instruments - violins, cellos, pianos, organs, etc. - may be beautifully made, but they won't be able to escape the influence of their materials, which stem from nature. Only through the development of synthetic materials, coupled to the assistance of electricity, can one hope to create music with a truly transcendental potential, a music which reflects the influence not of nature but of civilization in a more artificial mode, and is thus closer to the supremely transcendent climax of evolution in the supernatural. Only by replacing wood with such man-made materials as plastic, plexiglas, fibreglass, perspex, steel, etc., is one likely to achieve a significant musical aspiration towards the transcendental Beyond, an aspiration powered, so to speak, by the man-made miracle of electricity. The musicians who perform on synthetic instruments would stand at a higher level of evolution than those who don't, creating sounds which could only be described as more civilized, i.e. indicative of a greater degree of artificiality. Such musicians would be in the best possible instrumental position to create a spiritual rather than a sensual music, a transcendental rather than a mundane sound. And, of course, we have witnessed, with our music-prone ears, plenty of highly-talented musicians, including Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, Jean-Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Jan Hammer, and Carlos Santana, who have created such music, such a sound in recent decades, to the greater glory of the age. They have created this music not, as a rule, through naturalistic means, but through electric guitars, violins, and keyboards. Some musicians, including Herbie Hancock and Patrick Moraz, have even taken to putting their voice through a synthesizer and thereby transmuted it, rendering it less natural to the artificially-inclined ears of their musical admirers. Who is to say that this doesn't result in a more civilized order of singing than purely natural singing? Clearly, the use of artificial means must have some bearing on the quality or status of the sound being produced. It isn't simply a question of volume, but also of timbre, tone, resonance. And where volume and its relation to size is concerned, one might note that the convergence from the Manifold to the One, from the Devil to God, is aptly illustrated by the preference of electric musicians for small groups rather than large orchestral-type ensembles. If there is a reflection of diabolic influence on life about a large orchestra, then there is certainly something divine about the handful of musicians in a group whose concerted and finely-integrated electronic sound signifies a greater approximation to ultimate Oneness. The People, clearly, are closer to God!
Strictly speaking, there is no 'eternal recurrence' in history, nothing corresponding to a repetition of previous developments in identical terms. History continues to develop in response to evolutionary pressures; it doesn't remain static in a predetermined mould. Yet we can contend that, although history doesn't exactly repeat itself, a pattern nonetheless accrues to it which reflects the influence of previous tendencies, suggesting not so much a cyclic development as a continuation and expansion of cyclical tendencies in extended form. Analogies with past civilizations do of course present themselves. But they can never be anything more than approximations tentatively held in the name of order and clarity. We cannot treat them as manifestations or proofs of an 'eternal recurrence'. We must allow for the gradual unfolding of historical development in its changing guises, from the pre-dualistic to the post-dualistic via the dualistic, which is to say, from pagan to transcendental via Christian. To ascribe pre-dualistic criteria to dualistic civilization, for example, would be to overlook the reality of evolutionary change. Humanism will inevitably give rise to a different pattern of development, a development reflecting not pre-dualistic but dualistic influence.
Let us take a closer look at this point. It has been tempting for twentieth-century historical thinkers to adduce analogies between pagan civilization and their own Christian civilization in its expiring twilight, and thus to contend, for example, that Britain is the modern equivalent of ancient Greece and America, by contrast, the modern equivalent of ancient Rome. This analogy, suggesting a cyclical development, was put forward by Malcolm Muggeridge, no mean student of Spengler, who had earlier adduced a similar analogy suggesting not Britain but Germany as the new Rome, so to speak. Another similar analogy was drawn by Simone Weil which, whilst ascribing Grecian attributes to Britain, left one in no doubt that France had behaved in the manner of ancient Rome during the Napoleonic period.
Thus whilst all three
thinkers agreed on
the resemblance of
However, if analogies are
drawn between ancient and modern on the basis of successive
I would reverse the analogy relating
Generalizations are, of
suspect. But if analogies between the
ancient and the modern have to be drawn, then a generalization which
Greek characteristics to the French and Roman characteristics to the
would seem of more applicability than one taking the opposite
viewpoint, in the
manner of Simone Weil. After all,
If a classic/romantic
dichotomy can be
inferred from the respective attitudes and approaches to life of the
peoples, the British down-to-earth, sober, ruthlessly efficient; the
inspirational, optimistic, gallant, then the former certainly deserve
appellation 'classic', in contrast to the colourful romanticism of the
latter. They are classically prosaic
rather than romantically poetic, puritanical rather than licentious,
rather than extreme, materialistic rather than spiritualistic,
than introvert, and so on. Their puritanism finds its religious outlet in
their moderation in parliamentary democracy, their materialism in
science and industry,
and their extroversion in sport and ceremony.
In war they have shown greater determination, discipline, and
shrewdness than the French, acquiring a reputation for military success
second-to-none. Their regiments of
well-drilled, closely-packed infantry could be said to have resembled
legions in formation, and more than once proved capable of aspiring to
conquests. With relatively small armies
of superior tactical strength they were generally able to defeat the
less disciplined, forces of their adversaries, and so extend their
throughout the world. And wherever they
went they invariably built imposing monuments to their conquest,
imperial civilization to the defeated in a manner once more resembling
Thus if we are to adopt a
relating the growth and conservation of the British Empire to that of
one, we have no alternative but to regard the British as the modern
of the ancient Romans, their imperialism, however, being of a dualistic
than a pre-dualistic order. If they were
less ruthless, on the whole, than the Romans in dealing with subject
it was largely on account of the fact that they reflected Christian
being inheritors of a humanism undreamt of in pagan times.
But they were sufficiently ruthless, all the
same, to extend their empire far beyond the boundaries of the Roman
one, and to
hold it down with a firm hand! Very few
rebellions against them proved successful while they were at the height
their imperial power. Only with the
twentieth century did rebellion on the part of subject peoples lead to
significant results, and then largely because the British were
preoccupied with stronger external enemies, like
Yet the British weren't
and governors of subject peoples but colonists and explorers as well,
new nations were created which, like
However, between the
extremes of what one
might call colonial expansion and government through conquest, one
development which marks a combination of these in areas of the world,
black Africa, where a compromise was forced upon the British in
so much of an already-established civilization, as in India, but of
weight of numbers. The natives could not
be significantly disposed of, after the fashion that the Anglo-American
settlers in North America had disposed of the Red Indians or the
settlers in Australia of the aborigines, but had to be conquered and
transformed into workers of one kind or another, in accordance with the
environmental and social dictates of the situation.
The African regions annexed by the British
were not destined to be transformed into predominantly white countries,
Having slightly deviated
from my original
thesis, I must now return to it and draw some further conclusions
However, the transformation
of England into
Great Britain with the Unions of Scotland, Wales, and, finally, Ireland
latter of which established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
1801), marked the rise of the modern equivalent of ancient Rome and the
of its Greek counterpart, so that, by the end of the nineteenth
Britain was decidedly the stronger of the two nations, able to assert
over France to an extent it could never have dreamt of doing while
in the ascendancy as an imperial power.
The defeat of Napoleon at
Having applied our
historical analogy on a
more-or-less successive basis to
However, in the dualistic
world there could
be no undisputed master but, at its height, two great nations
each other for worldly spoils. Of the
two, the more dualistic one was destined to reap the biggest dividends,
it couldn't very well expect to reap them all.
The modern equivalent of ancient
To this day
But then there are contexts
in which it
would be inconceivable for the separate countries that constitute Great
to participate in sporting or other activities individually, when it is
categorically imperative for them to merge into a single nation, as at
Olympics or in professional tennis tournaments or world-contest boxing
or grand-prix races or chess competitions, where Great Britain is ever
on everybody's lips. To
Yet how symptomatic all this
is of British
success in the dualistic stage of evolution!
How significant of dualistic civilization! The
despite their status as
Having discussed Britain's
the leading dualistic power in the age of bourgeois imperialism, and
her to France, her chief rival, I trust the reader will now be in a
position to sympathize with my argument concerning the essentially
rather than successive nature of dualistic civilization, as represented
modern equivalents of ancient Rome and ancient Greece respectively. Analogies with the past can of course prove
treacherous; for, unlike authors, history never exactly repeats itself! Accordingly,
Similarly, the analogy put
Simone Weil, in which
Be that as it may, the analogy put forward by Simone Weil, on the strength of these historical 'aberrations' in the British and French temperaments, scarcely passes muster on a long-term scale, and so should be dispensed with on any but a provisional basis. The two or three decades which Britain dedicated to the cultivation of Grecian characteristics, giving special priority to the Ionic columns of Nash, should be seen in perspective to the much longer period when it remained resolutely itself - the modern equivalent of ancient Rome.
Thus when Spengler
In reality, however, the
inception of a new
THE WAY OF EVOLUTION
I have sometimes used the term 'God' in these essays, though more often than not with reference to the Holy Spirit than to either Jesus Christ or the Father. Nevertheless the use of such a term, when applied to the former, isn't something that I am particularly happy about! For no matter how convinced one is that the Holy Spirit would be an 'it' rather than a 'He', an association of 'He' with God still clings to the term and prejudices one's thought accordingly. In other words, the traditional usage of the term 'God' implies anthropomorphic associations which, in relation to the Holy Spirit, can only be irrelevant. Consequently we needn't be surprised if it has fallen into a certain disrepute with the more advanced minds of the age, who fight shy of anthropomorphic projections. Even Eastern spiritual adepts are apt to fall into an anthropomorphic trap when they refer to God, according various human attributes to 'Him'. But the fact of the matter is that the Supreme Being, the Holy Ghost, the Omega Point, or whatever else you choose to call that which will signal the climax of evolution through our transformation into pure spirit, is an absolute, and therefore beyond all anthropomorphism. The only suitable pronoun for this absolute would be 'it', not 'He'.
Accordingly the word 'God' should generally be avoided in future since, compliments of the tradition, one almost invariably links its usage to 'He'. Moreover, since the age is becoming ever more scientific, words associated with traditional concepts can only become increasingly suspect and inadequate, no matter how well-intentioned their employment. Instead of the theologically-oriented term 'God,' which carries more weight with regard to the Creator than ever it does with regard to an Ultimate Creation, the employment of terms like the omega absolute, transcendent spirit, supreme being, ultimate reality, etc., would presuppose a scientific bias commensurate with the age's demand for truth rather than illusion, fact rather than fiction. There could be no possibility of one's applying a 'he' to any of those!
Like the omega absolute, the alpha absolute is also an 'it', although of a very different order from what presupposes ultimate reality. The stars, which in their entirety appertain to the diabolic side of the Universe, a side emphasizing contraction and divergence rather than expansion and convergence, correspond to what traditional anthropomorphic theology designates as the Creator, the Father, or, depending on the context, the Devil. Again, in a post-egocentric age such terms can only become obsolete, since we require a scientifically objective terminology which avoids the anthropomorphic associations accruing to them. To assert that the alpha absolute is a 'she' would be no more objectively correct than 'he', if used to designate the omega absolute, because we are dealing with the non-human, which must necessarily be an 'it'. An absolute that is entirely sensuous, like the sun, is no closer to being human than one that, like the omega absolute, would be entirely spiritual. 'He' and 'she' only apply to human beings, and they do so because human beings aren't absolutes but relativities, combinations of sensuality and spirituality to a greater or lesser degree, depending on one's gender, intelligence, temperament, and physique. No woman is entirely sensual but, at any rate, traditionally more sensual than spiritual, and therefore 'she'. Likewise, no man is entirely spiritual but, as a rule, more spiritual than sensual, and therefore 'he'. These pronouns presuppose a compromise, a dualistic relativity, and they can only remain relevant until such time as this compromise is transcended at the culmination of evolution and man becomes superman, becomes, in effect, ultimate divinity, which is necessarily an 'it'.
A woman cannot, as a rule, become a man, and vice versa. A woman isn't a man in skirts, as certain shallow thinkers tend to imagine, but a different creature, one in which sensuality has the upper-hand over spirituality, no matter how intelligent or scholarly the individual woman may happen to be. Appearance over essence is the feminine mean, just as, conversely, essence over appearance is the masculine one. The mean can be tampered with, but it cannot be denied! Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a woman who is more spiritual than sensual. Such a person wouldn't be a woman at all, but effectively a man. Of course, a woman can go against her natural grain to some extent, she can even be obliged to go against it and thus 'bovaryize' or subvert herself to a point where she appears masculine. This situation is fairly widespread in the contemporary industrialized world, which is male-orientated and likely to become ever more so as evolution progresses towards an eventual climax in the omega absolute. But even the most 'bovaryized' woman will remain fundamentally feminine, with various sensual predilections and needs which somehow have to be met, no matter how fugitively or clandestinely. She won't be able to entirely overcome her basic femininity, which presupposes a sensual bias. And if she is pretty, she will be subject to the attentions of men and thus have her basic femininity in appearance thrust back upon her, making her conscious, at such times, of her physical beauty rather than of her spirit.
To a certain extent men enslave women in their sensuality simply by admiring their physical appearances, and so preclude the female from developing her spirit. Yet this isn't to say that men are entirely responsible for this sorry state-of-affairs. For the great majority of women are so made that an absorption in appearances is perfectly acceptable to them, though not, I need scarcely add, all of the time. After all, they are not absolutes but relativities, not 'its' but 'shes', and therefore remain partly spiritual. In general, however, their leading string is the apparent, and it is on the basis of appearances that, until such time as they cease being physically attractive, they stake their chief pride in life. With late adulthood, on the other hand, a gradual reversal sets-in, so that, as Carl Jung rightly contended, they become less feminine and correspondingly more masculine, more absorbed in spiritual affairs. But while they remain youthful and attractive, it is rather unlikely that the spirit will take precedence over the flesh! Their appearance will generally predominate.
When Shaw asserted that women are sexually positive, or active, and men sexually negative, or passive, he wasn't saying anything particularly foolish. Although a superficial analysis of their respective roles might lead one to question that assertion and conclude, instead, that because the man makes love to the woman he must be sexually active and she passive, I believe a deeper analysis will confirm one in it. Yes, men do behave positively during coitus, but that is only in response to the woman's beauty and sexual allurement, not completely independent of it. A man may superficially take the initiative during the sexual act, but such an initiative pales to insignificance compared with the overall initiative taken by women in terms of appearance and seduction prior to it. Sex for men is rather the exception to the rule. For women, however, it is the rule, about which their lives revolve as a matter of life-and-death. A woman can fail in life through not having succeeded sexually and fulfilled herself both as a lover and, more importantly, as a mother, irrespective of how professionally successful she has been. Not so a man! He will be a success in life if his professional work has won him respect inside his profession and admiration outside it, no matter how barren his sexual relations may happen to have been. A man doesn't come into the world primarily to be a lover and father but a professional success, with sexual relations as a subsidiary concern. In fact, with the very greatest men, men of genius, history teaches us that their sexual relations were either few-and-far between or virtually non-existent, as in the cases of Michelangelo, Beethoven, Delacroix, Tchaikovsky, Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Spengler, and Shaw. Admittedly, not all great men have been celibate. But a significant number of the very greatest have, and this fact needn't surprise us. For when a man is relatively free of female influence, it stands to reason that he will have more incentive to develop his spirit than would otherwise be the case, since not subject to regular sexual temptation at the hands of a wife or mistress. He will be beyond the reach of that spiritually-restraining influence which a woman who is in any degree physically attractive will inevitably exert, and thus be free to explore deeper into the spiritual, the artificial, the transcendental, as his genius develops. Now the less of a part physical sex plays in his life the more, by a compensatory token, will spiritual sex enter into it, making of his nocturnal fantasies or pornographic investigations a form of sexual sublimation.
Naturally, there are those who, not being particularly spiritually-advanced themselves, will contend that such sublimated sex is a type of perversion, and therefore hardly something to be countenanced by any right-thinking man. This is, needless to say, a relative viewpoint, without eternal credibility or justification. If life were a static affair, in which a given naturalistic mode of sexual behaviour was the only feasible option, then yes, the man disposed to sublimations of one kind or another would be a pervert. But since life is evolutionary, embracing the gradual expansion of the spiritual over the sensual until such time as the latter effectively ceases to apply, it should be apparent that the man disposed to sublimation is simply on a higher level of sexual evolution than the more naturalistic man - is, in effect, his sexual superior. For the latter, unbeknown to himself, is simply a victim of what might be called the 'non-evolutionary delusion' and, in his insistence that the former is essentially a pervert, is really advertising his spiritual backwardness and moral simplicity.
That D.H. Lawrence was such a man is (as we saw earlier) a well-documented fact, since he wrote against 'sex in the head' as a perversion. His attitude was fundamentally that of the man who believes there is a golden mean to correct living which shouldn't be transgressed in any way if one is to remain healthy and sane. It conformed to the 'non-evolutionary delusion' and was to have a temporary influence on Aldous Huxley, who expressed this philosophy in such books as Point Counter Point (where it takes the form of Rampionism, or the 'all-round' life according to Rampion) and Do What You Will (where a number of, according to Lawrence's criteria, 'great perverts', including Baudelaire and Pascal, are analysed from the viewpoint of the golden mean and, not altogether surprisingly, found wanting). In reality, however, it is Lawrence and Huxley who are found wanting in evolutionary perspective; for they show themselves incapable of grasping the moral significance of the spiritual lopsidedness of the great men under scrutiny. When, in Point Counter Point, Rampion shows Walter Bidlake, the Huxleyian protagonist of the novel, paintings in which there is an explicit criticism of Shaw and Wells (which takes the form of a depiction of their heads on a platter), for their intellectual lopsidedness, we can be under no doubt that bourgeois humanism is being advocated at the expense of proletarian transcendentalism, and that the progressive proclivities of Shaw and Wells, the two leading socialist authors in England of the time, have not been appreciated in their true light. One suspects that Huxley's readiness to criticize these authors via Rampion was founded as much on social snobbery as on the 'all-round' philosophy he partly inherited from Lawrence and partly grew into as a consequence of former spiritual disillusionments. Regardless of the book's literary merits, however, it can only detract from whatever claims Point Counter Point may make on the realm of progressive thought. We are merely given a record of bourgeois reaction to proletarian aspirations and idealism, the tail-end, as it were, of dualistic civilization confronted by the inception of post-dualistic criteria.
Oddly enough, the idea of the heads of Shaw and Wells depicted on a platter is curiously prophetic of the development of post-dualistic society towards a stage when the body will largely be overcome and men are accordingly elevated to the supernatural status of so many artificially-supported and/or sustained meditating brains. No doubt, Lawrence, in particular, would have found such a prospect extremely unattractive, had it ever occurred to him. Huxley would have been ambivalent, half in favour and half against, whilst our two 'proletarian' authors would probably have endorsed it as a matter of course. They were, after all, sufficiently progressive to know, in Nietzsche's memorable words, that man is 'something that should be overcome'. They weren't static or reactionary. And, of course, what applies to man applies no less to woman, who must also be 'overcome' if man is to attain to the culmination of evolution in transcendent bliss and thus become pure spirit. That, too, is the way of evolution. For the spiritual bias of men must inevitably lead to their overcoming women before, having overcome themselves, they enter the transcendental Beyond. At present, they haven't entirely overcome women by any means, but are certainly making it less attractive or necessary for women to assert their traditional roles and influences. The 'masculinization' of the female through urban and industrial expansion has resulted in more women adopting masculine criteria in life than ever before, and it can only lead to still greater feminine concessions, as evolution dictates.
There are, of course, women who are able to defend their own interests to a significant extent and continue life in the guise of lovers and mothers, as traditionally. They are in many respects the strongest and most feminine women, and one can respect them for their resistance to masculine pressures. There are also, however, women who would seem to have betrayed their sex and 'gone over' to the masculine cause, demanding greater sexual freedoms or professional opportunities, as the case may be. Beatrice Webb was a prominent example of the latter type of woman, which, in a sense, is rather surprising, since she was highly attractive. Yet she was also highly intelligent, and it often happens that highly intelligent women are among the first to desert their sex, as it were, and go over to the enemy camp. Why? Simply because intelligence cannot be satisfied with sensual gratification alone, but requires intellectual stimulation.
Now although I have a deep respect for people like Beatrice Webb, I cannot reconcile myself to the puritan attitude towards sex which she advocated, largely in consequence, one suspects, of a Victorian legacy. Sex, Beatrice felt, should be confined to propagation and indulged in only when necessary, not made an isolated pleasure. Sex as a kind of duty rather than sex-for-sex's sake. Sex in naturalis.... Not the most enlightened attitude when compared to that advocated by the promiscuous society in which, despite the horrors of sexually-transmitted disease, we apparently continue to live these days, is it? Yet that was how Beatrice reasoned, and, despite its puritanism, such reasoning isn't entirely devoid of merit. At least, it is likely to result in a more spiritual life for those who literally adhere to it, provided, however, that they don't have too many children and can refrain from sex for long stretches at a time! It is a rather Spartan attitude, possible for a minority of higher types, but hardly liable to win favour among the less-intellectualized masses. Its chief weakness resides in the fact that it leaves the natural intact, maintaining a respect for concrete sex which could only prove incompatible with the overcoming of sex through various forms of sexual sublimation. For, paradoxically, sex-for-sex's sake does signify a step in the eventual overcoming of sex and hence women, especially when promoted through the use of various types of contraception which, when successful, overcome the natural.
I have, you will recall, touched upon this matter in an earlier essay, so I won't enlarge upon it here. Suffice it to say that the development of sex-for-sex's sake is an integral part of evolutionary progress away from nature, and must eventually lead to the complete termination of sex. Even pornography, both photographic and literary, is an aspect of the gradual overcoming of women which should be encouraged by all right-thinking progressive males. A man reading about sex in a novel or magazine is indulging in a form of sexual sublimation which, temporarily at least, renders actual physical sex irrelevant. If he prefers reading about sex to actually indulging in it, the chances are that he exists on a more evolved level than the purely or predominantly natural man, who remains a victim of the sensual. In fact, he would be a more civilized man, since given to the artificial to a greater extent than to the natural.
This is really the essential crux of the matter, where nature and civilization are concerned, and no writer understood the difference between them better than Ortega y Gasset, who emphasized the artificial status of civilization in contrast to the natural world. He knew that civilization cost a great effort on the part of man, and that it could so easily be undone by reactionary or barbarous elements in society, if not rigorously protected. There are always those who wish to impede human progress towards the supernatural and drag humanity down closer to the Diabolic, and they aren't invariably uneducated or unintelligent people either, still less women! But civilization must go ahead, no matter what the Rousseaus, Whitmans, Thoreaus, Lawrences, Hardys, Powyses, or Gides of this world may have to say against it. For in the development of civilization towards ever more artificial and supernatural standards lies our raison d'être for living, the essential justification for our presence here. We have made considerable strides in recent centuries, but are still a long way from achieving our heavenly objective in the ultimate spirituality of the transcendental Beyond.
To take but one example and not a particularly superficial one either, we are all-too-frequently nature's victims where cricket matches are concerned. How many times, in the past, have cricket matches been disrupted by the weather - by bad light or rain! Players and spectators, commentators and radio listeners or television viewers are all-too-often the victims of nature's inclemencies. So what is to be done about it? Clearly, a time must come when cricket is no longer played because too competitive and physically orientated. That much is obvious. Such a time, however, is no-less obviously still some way into the future! But in the meantime, if civilization is to progress, steps should be taken to ensure that cricket, which is an aspect of civilization, ceases to be at the weather's mercy. Now one of the ways of doing this would be to erect Buckminster-Fuller type Geodesic domes over the cricket pitch in order to preclude interference from rain. Additionally, electric lighting could be installed at salient points in the dome in order to ensure that bad light won't adversely affect play. If footballers can play under floodlighting, there should be no reason why cricketers shouldn't manage to play under something similar when the need arises. That way continuity in the game would be guaranteed and no-one, least of all the players themselves, need ever be inconvenienced by the adverse intrusions of nature. When the weather is fine, on the other hand, the dome could be collapsed or rolled back, depending on its construction. There is no need for it to be in permanent use, at least not initially. For evolution generally proceeds by degrees, rather than in leaps and bounds. Too complete and sudden an imposition of artificial aid would amount to a revolution in the game which could prove detrimental to both players and spectators alike. Conversely, a revolution could prove beneficial to the game in the long term, if detrimental in the short. We haven't yet witnessed the wholesale adoption of artificial equipment, such as aluminium bats and plastic pads, or the introduction of synthetic pitches. No doubt, the future will render such innovations respectable. After all, they would signify a greater degree of artificiality and thus reflect a higher stage of evolution. Civilization cannot afford to remain static. It requires constant attention, if it isn't to stagnate or regress.
Yet what applies to cricket should also apply to other sports and outdoor contexts in general, which are all-too-frequently disrupted or ruined by bad weather. One feels that there is a real future for such Geodesic domes as Buckminster-Fuller, one of America's foremost architects, has designed - a future in which civilization gains the mastery over nature and continues to progress in transcendent isolation from it. Yet nature isn't only external to us but, as I have frequently pointed out, internal as well, which means that the enemy, so to speak, is also to be found within, in our very physical, sensual selves. The enemy is also the flesh, and until we overcome that, there is not the slightest prospect of us abandoning our humanity for the divine salvation of the transcendental Beyond.
Traditionally, the thought of overcoming the flesh has implied an abstinence from sex coupled to a frugal diet - in short, a kind of Christian asceticism. That is all very well but, unfortunately, it isn't nearly enough by itself to guarantee salvation. For salvation requires a much more thorough and complete overcoming of the flesh than that! It requires we become so biased on the side of the spirit that we have no use for the body. It requires we develop our technology to an extent whereby such a transformation becomes possible. It requires the development of a post-dualistic philosophy, a philosophy with no sympathy for any Rampion-like 'all-round' attitude to life, a philosophy which is decidedly Beyond-aspirant rather than man-centred, and which really does spell out the terms by which man ... should be overcome.
Such a philosophy does exist in the contemporary world and will doubtless continue to develop over the coming decades and centuries, as we increasingly embrace post-dualistic criteria. Already, in medical science, the removal of troublesome parts of the body, such as tonsils and appendix, is indicative of a trend towards the complete overcoming of the flesh, and is but a rung of the evolutionary ladder we must ascend if we are ultimately to attain to transcendent spirit. In time, more extensive removals of natural organs and insertions of artificial ones will occur, raising us above nature to a degree undreamt of by our dualistic ancestors. Such cyborg-oriented artificial transplantations will follow the trend of evolution towards the transcendent 'it', or Holy Spirit, which is our ultimate destiny. But we shall necessarily remain identifiable as 'he' or 'she' for some time to-come, despite our technological and spiritual progress. In the post-dualistic age, however, 'she' will give way, on superhuman terms, to 'he', and, eventually, 'he' to 'it'. For that is the way of evolution!
PART TWO: MAXIMS
1. Life is a process of evolution from the Diabolic Alpha to the Divine Omega, as from the Devil to God.
2. Nature is the enemy of civilization, but, like all enemies, it can be vanquished.
3. The stars are many, the Holy Spirit is one.
4. Women signify appearance over essence, men, by contrast, essence over appearance.
5. Art progresses from illusion to truth, from fiction to fact.
6. Human life embraces three principal class stages, viz. an aristocratic, a bourgeois, and a proletarian, and progresses from the first to the third, as from rural and suburban to urban environments.
7. The more we isolate ourselves from nature, the more civilized we become.
8. There are three stages of religious evolution, viz. a pagan, a Christian, and a transcendental, which roughly correspond to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
9. Political evolution also passes through three stages, viz. a royalist, a liberal pluralist, and a socialist.
10. The state can be the master of the People or their servant, depending on the stage of its evolution. In the one case it is royalist, in the other case socialist. There is also an in-between realm in which, under liberal pluralism, a compromise between rule and service prevails.
11. The post-Human(ist) Millennium, or highest civilization, should lead directly to the transcendental Beyond.
12. At bottom the Universe is, and always has been, evil. Only evolutionary civilization aspires towards goodness.
13. The stars signify the most agonized doing. The Holy Spirit will signify the most blissful being.
14. He who imagines that, by itself, Transcendental Meditation will suffice to ensure his future salvation ... is a misguided idealist.
15. The Supreme Being comes at the climax of evolution, not at the beginning!
16. Between two absolutes man weaves his course - a creation of the alpha absolute, a potential creator of the omega absolute.
17. The stars will eventually collapse and disintegrate. Supreme being, on the other hand, will last for ever.
18. Christianity, being a dualistic phenomenon, embraces both a diluted paganism and a diluted transcendentalism. Jesus Christ, the 'Three in One', is both body and spirit as well as will. But He is less will than the Father and less spirit than the Holy Ghost. Being good, He can save the body through love. But instinctual strength and spiritual truth are respectively anterior and posterior to Him.
19. From the pre-dualistic to the post-dualistic via the dualistic - that is the path of evolution.
20. Everyday consciousness is a product of the fusion-point between the subconscious and superconscious parts of the psyche.
21. One day the superconscious will triumph over the subconscious.
22. The natural world must inevitably lead to the supernatural one, to that which will come about when man abandons the former for the latter, and thus becomes superman - a creature of the Holy Ghost.
23. The stars are components of Hell. The Holy Spirit will alone be Heaven.
24. The pronoun 'He' in relation to God is only relevant during an anthropomorphic or egocentric stage of evolution. With the arrival of a post-egocentric age, however, we should refer to divinity as 'it'. For the Holy Spirit is beyond anthropomorphism.
25. Never forget that supreme being is in the making, not an already-existent fact!
26. Never confound spirit with Holy Spirit. The former is flesh-bound. The latter will be transcendent.
27. Spirit is only potentially divine, not divinity itself. Strictly speaking, there is no tat twam asi (thou art that).
28. The transcendental Beyond, composed of undifferentiated transcendent spirit, will be ultimate reality, beyond which evolution could not go, having attained to its culmination in perfect unity.
29. At death, the spirit simply expires. Death signifies the mortal overcoming of the spirit by the flesh.
30. We must get beyond the flesh if the spirit is to survive.
31. Technology should gradually replace the natural body with an artificial support/sustain system for the brain. Spirit will therefore be able to avoid the death that the natural body would otherwise have inflicted upon it. Its eternal potential, or potential for eternity, will thereby be fully realized.
32. We must become increasingly technological if we are eventually to attain to our goal in transcendent spirit.
33. As we overcome nature, so we become increasingly artificial. The attainment of the supernatural can only be effected through the maximum artificiality.
34. In the future, propagation will be artificially regulated.
35. In reflecting an urge towards sexual sublimation, the use of pornography is but a stage on the road to our complete liberation from the flesh.
36. Sex in the head is the logical evolutionary development beyond sex in the body.
37. Man eats and drinks, but he will cease to eat and drink once he becomes artificially transmuted.
38. Man defecates and urinates, but he will cease to defecate and urinate once he becomes artificially transmuted.
39. Man copulates and reproduces, but he will cease to copulate and reproduce once he becomes artificially transmuted.
40. Man sleeps and dreams, but he will cease to sleep and dream once he becomes artificially transmuted.
41. Man is thus a victim of the sensual, but he will cease to be a victim of the sensual once he becomes artificially transmuted.
42. The human world must tend towards unity on the material plane before it can hope to achieve unity on the spiritual one. It must put social means before transcendental ends.
43. Sensual love will give way to spiritual love - love, in the subconscious, for another individual, to love, in the superconscious, of the self.
44. The impersonal self, or spirit, will replace the personal self, or body.
45. Never confound socialism with religion. It is politics.
46. A socialist society is not a civilized society. It is a society on the road to civilization.
47. Civilization presupposes politics and religion harmonized with the existence of a compatible nobility. Thus pre-dualistic civilization embraces royalism and paganism harmonized with aristocratic nobility. Dualistic civilization embraces liberal pluralism and Christianity harmonized with bourgeois nobility. Post-dualistic civilization will embrace socialism and transcendentalism harmonized with proletarian nobility.
48. A class with a politics but no religion is a class in the process of evolving towards nobility, not a completed nobility. In contemporary terms, the proletariat are such a class.
49. When urban dwellers accept and participate in both socialism and transcendentalism, becoming socialistically transcendentalist, they will constitute a new nobility - the proletarian one.
50. An age of transition between one civilization and another is necessarily barbarous.
51. The new barbarism takes the form of a materialistic one-sidedness. Post-dualistic civilization will embrace a materialistic/spiritualistic compromise which will give way, in the post-Human Millennium, to a spiritualistic one-sidedness leading, ultimately, to the transcendental Beyond.
52. Have no fear, Christianity wasn't an aberration but an integral part of civilized evolution. They weren't madmen or fools who conceived of a Beyond. They simply conceived of it from an egocentric and therefore misguided viewpoint. We should know better!
53. The post-egocentric age is also post-dualistic. Hence an intolerance, wherever post-egocentric criteria obtain, of humanism. Man is something, in Nietzschean parlance, that should be overcome. What are you doing to overcome him?
54. Men aren't now equal, but one day they shall be.
55. A classless society will only truly exist when all men are engaged in the same pursuit - namely, the cultivation of spirit.
56. The further we progress, the more do we advocate and experience being over doing.
57. The stars, through their ferocious conversion of hydrogen into helium, are the maximum negative doing, and therefore the most evil of all phenomena. The Holy Spirit will be the maximum positive being, and therefore the most good.
58. Each succeeding nobility attains to a higher concept of being over doing, and so experiences greater being.
59. The more negative doing one indulges in, the closer one stands to the infernal creative-and-sustaining force. The more positive being, on the other hand, the closer one draws to the divine consummation of evolution.
60. Truth is a liberator; it frees one from illusion.
61. Space is infinite but the stars are finite. There can never be an end to the former, but there must certainly be a limit to (the number of) the latter.
62. Time is finite but eternity will be infinite. There is a limit set to the former, but there can be no end to the latter.
63. Space and time cannot be harmonized, any more than could the stars and eternity. Eventually time must give way to eternity and the stars to space. The Universe will culminate in infinity - without limits!
64. The omega absolute presupposes indefinite expansion - an expansion without limits and a lifespan without end.
65. The Universe isn't expanding with regard to the stars. Only spirit will continue to expand in the Universe, and most especially transcendent spirit. Stars, on the contrary, diverge.
66. By its very frictional nature, doing expends itself on reaction. Being, on the other hand, sustains and enlarges itself on attraction.
67. The omega absolute will never cease to expand in the infinity of endless space. For if it did, it would not be living or, rather, being.
68. A static omega absolute would be dwarfed by the infinity of space, rendering such infinity somewhat superfluous.
69. Only through the omega absolute's indefinite expansion would the infinity of space serve a logical purpose by ensuring its eternity.
70. The temporal contraction of the stars (solar devolution) should be seen as the converse of the eternal expansion of the Holy Spirit (spiritual evolution).
71. Thus while the Universe contracts materially, it expands spiritually through man and (presumably) man-equivalent life forms elsewhere.
72. Those that confound the Supreme Being with the Almighty, or truth with strength, are just as likely to confound the spiritual nature of the expanding Universe with galactic divergence.
73. An imperfect Universe will be brought to perfection via man in the perfected essence of transcendent spirit.
74. Whether a convergence of universal spirit to ultimate spiritual unity will be achieved simultaneously or gradually and successively, following the amalgamation of simultaneously-expanding globes of transcendent spirit, remains open to dispute.
75. It isn't, however, impossible that, given the immensity of the physical Universe, there will be a number of omega absolutes, or spiritual globes, simultaneously in existence, which will converge towards one another prior to the establishment of ultimate spiritual unity, or the definitive omega absolute.
76. But even this definitive omega absolute, the sum-product of all previous convergences of individual spiritual globes, would continue to expand in infinite space according to its essential nature in blissful being, until it was far greater than the greatest stars had ever been, and yet never static, never nearing a maximum scale.
77. For one cannot set dimensional limits to that which would be the highest existence the Universe had engendered or could ever engender.
78. Only the stars have limits, and they are not the highest but the most primal existences in the Universe - namely, the alpha absolutes.
79. In collapsing, the stars will leave the Universe to divine perfection; for it will then be the omega absolute.
80. But the Universe isn't divinely perfect at present, at any rate not, in particular, with regard to the stars! For they are simply infernal, and will continue to preclude the Universe from attaining, through man, to ultimate perfection as long as they exist.
81. Pantheism, through which God is identified with the Universe, is essentially unconscious diabolism, in which the Devil is taken for God, and Hell for Heaven.
82. But true divinity does not exist. We have a moral duty to create it, and so bring about the supreme beingfulness of the omega absolute.
83. We have our spirits and one day they will be transformed into Holy Spirit - pure and transcendent. For that is the way of evolution!