A SELFISH MAN
Copyright © 1983-2010 John O'Loughlin
1. A Selfish Man
2. Sex in the Head
3. Visual Experiences
4. Class Distinctions
5. Worlds within Worlds
6. Spiritual Leaders
7. Two Kinds of Strength
8. Between Two Extremes
10. Revolutionary Revelations
11. Polar Attractions
12. Understanding Bureaucracy
13. A Thinker at Large
14. Relative Distinctions
15. Doing It Alone
16. Twelve Thinkers
A SELFISH MAN
I am a selfish man and proud of it! People are apt to say to me: "You ought to think more of others sometimes, Jonathan. Happiness comes from being of help to others." Old Mrs Murphy is the person most inclined to take this line with me, and she treats it as the height of wisdom! Apparently, she has been of service to others all her life and, not altogether surprisingly, is keen to let people like me know of the fact. I used, in my then-relative ignorance of moral issues, to be half-impressed, wondering whether such wisdom oughtn't to play a greater role in my life, too. But now I would turn a deaf ear to her admonitions and not feel particularly ashamed of myself for being selfish. I would react no less negatively to any similar admonition received, in letter form, from my aunt, who has also specialized in a life of service to others, and tends, on occasion, to offer me what she considers to be 'good advice'. I am free to accept or reject it. I would now choose to reject it, having given the matter, in my capacity of self-styled philosopher, some considerable thought!
Of course, I'm not completely selfish. No man is, unfortunately! But I do regard myself as being predominantly selfish, which is no mean achievement in this world, even these days. There are still, alas, quite a number of relatively selfless people around, and some of them rub-up against one on occasion, threatening one's spiritual integrity and perhaps even detracting from it, if only on a temporary basis. Nevertheless I remain quite proud of my record to-date, which is the consequence, in no small measure, of a principled stance in relation to selfishness. People like my aunt and Mrs Murphy would not understand this, because they tend to pride themselves on quite opposite behaviour than myself. Should I attempt to explain it to them? No, I think not! They are too old and, besides, I would only succeed in hurting their feelings.... Not that such a prospect greatly worries me. But one has to consider oneself as well, and thus avoid, if possible, giving others an opportunity to tarnish one's peace of mind. If it came to the crunch, I would probably turn the other cheek - assuming they hadn't made that too difficult. Unfortunately, Mrs Murphy has a lethal faculty for obliging her opponents to come to grips with her. It is almost as if she were a masochist!
But turning the other cheek is a policy I often adopt with my neighbours when they are making rather a lot of noise. I could respond, as I used to do several years ago, by making some noise myself, giving them a taste of their own medicine, so to speak. But I prefer not to engage in noise combat with them because it distracts me from my reading or writing or thinking or contemplating, as the case may be, and disturbs my peace of mind even more than their respective noises. I prefer, when possible, to plug-up with wax earplugs and carry-on with whatever I happen to be doing at the time. Naturally, I may get sore ears in the process. I may even go deaf eventually. But I always put the intellect, and thus by implication my peace of mind, above the senses these days. I would take that risk. As also the risk of being taken for a fool by my neighbours because I don't fight back but prefer to remain silent and endure what, from their point of view, must seem like unreasonably putting-up with noise. I am quite resigned to such a risk because I know it would be ill-founded on their part, a reflection, so to speak, of their own limitations as dualists, which is to say, as semi-pagans for whom the doctrine of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' remains valid even in this late-Christian or, as some would say, early-transcendental age. Christ, of course, taught 'turning the other cheek'. Someone else, of Old Testament provenance, preferred to teach the former doctrine. Christians have never been entirely clear as to which teachings to adopt, because the Bible is comprised of both Old and New Testaments. Along with Christ's moderately transcendental teachings we find the mundane, quasi-pagan teachings of the ancient Hebrews - of people like Moses and King David. No wonder Christians have been so ambivalent over which teachings to adopt! As dualists they have acted now one way, now another, depending on their mood and/or the gravity of the violence being directed against them. They are indisposed to maintaining a peaceful, and therefore heavenly, state-of-mind all the time. That would require a post-dualistic mentality in an unequivocally transcendental age. They are prepared to plunge into violence and, by implication, a hellish state-of-mind when circumstances would seem to necessitate.
Thus if I were more of a dualistic Christian, or let us rather say less of a post-dualistic transcendentalist, I wouldn't hesitate, on occasion, to plunge into vengeful activity against my neighbours by repaying them in kind with as much noise as I considered appropriate to the circumstances. But precisely because I'm a predominantly selfish man of transcendental bias, I prefer, like Christ, to 'turn the other cheek' and carry on, as best I can, with my intellectual commitments ... which are, after all, what I'm really interested in and consider to be of paramount importance. I wouldn't want to play records too often - as would surely be the case if I made a habit of responding to my neighbours' noises by repaying them in kind - because, frankly, music only appeals to me in small doses and when I wish to hear it, being, so far as I'm concerned, a lesser commitment than philosophy or literature or contemplating salvation in any ultimate sense. My selfishness compels me to steer as determined an intellectual course through life as possible, and, on the whole, I nobly succeed in sticking to my bent. Not everyone, however, would understand my reasons for doing so, least of all those who are less partial to a heavenly bias in their adherence to dualistic, and thus partly hellish, criteria. A people accustomed to a dualistic tradition will be more disposed to behaving in a relative manner. A people acquainted, on the other hand, with some form of transcendentalism will be in a better position to understand Christ's advice about turning the other cheek. They won't be far off the mark if someone like Gandhi should come along and advise them to offer but passive resistance to oppression. Resistance of any kind is of course less than heavenly, but passive resistance is a good deal better than the active variety! It, too, pertains to the post-dualistic.
All this may seem a long way from selfishness but, in reality, it is a manifestation of the selfish, as signified by intellectual or, preferably, spiritual preoccupations. I'm not thinking about sensual selfishness, which is an entirely different matter - as I hope to demonstrate in a moment. In fact, to make absolutely certain that no-one misunderstands me, I am going to distinguish not only between spiritual selfishness and its sensual counterpart, but also between spiritual selflessness and its sensual counterpart ... in the unequivocally diabolic. By which I mean the stars.
This isn't something that either my aunt or Mrs Murphy would care to hear, so I shall confine myself to paper for the benefit of posterity or, maybe if I'm fortunate enough, some intelligent, not to say sympathetic, readership in the years ahead. I am going to begin by defining the diabolic principle as 'doing for others', a necessarily selfless and (certainly in the case of stars) unconscious principle - one not apparent, in other words, to the doer as such. Our sun, for instance, isn't conscious of the fact that it sustains a solar system, let alone a planet on which human and other life forms are to be found. And yet, considered objectively from the vantage-point of a human mind taking account of the fact that without the sun there would be no solar system, it does in fact sustain one and makes life on earth possible, to boot. The sun doesn't exist for itself but for others, namely planets and life forms, and it is precisely in this 'doing for others' that its existence becomes justified and that it is intelligible to us as a sun. So must it be with the millions of other stars in the Galaxy, as indeed the billions of stars in the Universe as a whole, and this regardless of whether the stars in question be major or minor, central governing stars or peripheral revolving ones, like our sun. When a star is deprived of a raison d'être, in the context of any particular galaxy, it becomes a shooting star, an outsider and loner, as we would say of the human equivalents to such stars, who have come apart from society, which is the microcosmic reflection of the galactic macrocosm while nature predominates over the supernatural, as it will do for a considerable period of earthly time. Fortunately shooting stars, like tramps and outsiders, are the exception to the rule! Most stars continue, in spite of themselves, to exist for others, to burn and transmit energy throughout vast areas of space. Our sun has been doing so for billions of years. It shows no signs of abandoning its natural inclinations at present. So much, then, for the diabolic principle!
Now let us turn our attention to the divine principle, the principle antithetical to 'doing for others' which is 'being for self' - the most selfish and self-conscious principle conceivable. It exists only for itself in the most complete self-absorption of transcendent spirit. This will be the case whether such transcendent spirit is one of many spiritual globes converging, in space, towards ultimate unity or whether it is the definitive spiritual globe itself - at the climax, so to speak, of supernatural evolution. Wherever transcendence has occurred, on whichever level, the principle of 'being for self' will prevail, and to such an extent that the ensuing spiritual globe won't be conscious of anything else, least of all planets or stars, because the ultimate introversion. A star, by contrast, isn't conscious of anything inside itself, because the ultimate extroversion. Yet such extroversion is beneath consciousness and therefore devoid of reference to the external.
Here, then, are the two extremes of evolution, beginning naturally in the 'doing for others' of the stars and culminating supernaturally in the 'being for self' of transcendent spirit. Human life falls somewhere in-between, and the degree to which either tendency prevails will to some extent depend on one's sex and also to some extent on the phase of evolution existing at any particular time. The lower the phase ... the more will 'doing for others' predominate. Conversely, the higher the phase ... the more will 'being for self' predominate. The former will be predominantly sensual, the latter, by contrast, predominantly spiritual. At neither extreme, however, will there be an approximation to the absolute, whether diabolic or divine, because man is but a stage of evolution combining both alpha and omega in himself, a stage which stems, on the one hand, from the pre-human life forms and which aspires, on the other hand, towards post-human life forms (as loosely defined in terms of brain- and new-brain collectivizations), each of which will be more extreme than himself - the former directly stemming from the Diabolic Alpha, the latter directly aspiring towards the Divine Omega. The totality of stages would run something like this: major stars, minor stars, planets, plants, animals, men (in pre-atomic, atomic, and post-atomic phases), supermen, superbeings, planetary spiritual globes, galactic spiritual globes, universal spiritual globe. Everything from minor stars up to men (including atomic-phase men) stems from the Diabolic Alpha in natural evolution. Everything from men (including atomic-phase men) up to galactic spiritual globes aspires towards the Divine Omega in supernatural evolution. Prior to this evolutionary divide, 'doing for others' predominates. Subsequent to it, 'being for self' plays an increasingly important role.
Let us look a little more closely at the human stage and add to those antithetical tendencies already mentioned what could be called the compromise tendencies of ... 'being for others' and 'doing for self', each of which also plays a significant role in life. What is the distinction, you may wonder, between 'doing for others' and 'being for others'? For there is one, and quite important it is too, even though both tendencies appertain to the sensual as opposed to the spiritual realm. Women like Mrs Murphy are especially good at 'doing for others', as when they prepare a man's dinner or feed a tiny-tot his soup or take care of the washing-up or help a man into his coat. Such women are or were - if I am to insist on the increasingly post-atomic nature of the age, and thus pay passing tribute to feminist sensibility - more disposed to 'doing for others' than to 'being for self', a fact which needn't surprise us, since for long centuries women were more natural than men and thus stemmed from the Diabolic Alpha, in both appearance and behaviour, to a greater extent than men - ugly, intellectual, spiritually-striving creatures that they generally are. Isn't this still partly the case today? I shan't apologize to 'libbers' because I am, after all, a philosopher and must therefore speak honestly, not in terms of what Schopenhauer would have called 'theological expedience'. The philosopher doesn't expect to be read by the millions in any case, as I think I intimated a little while ago. His is the voice of truth, and truth isn't something that everyone can appreciate, least of all at a point in time which is overly enamoured of strength and beauty! I certainly wouldn't expect either my aunt or Mrs Murphy to appreciate it, particularly in view of the fact that it may reflect less than flatteringly upon them! This world is, after all, a battleground, and often enough its battles take place between the sexes and the generations.
To return to my main thesis: most women have long been more disposed to 'doing for others' than to 'being for self', partly because men have insisted on their behaving in a certain way, partly because they have chosen to behave in that way as a consequence of natural inclination - the extents to which either influence may have predominated depending on the age and degree of civilization. There is no simple way of regarding this problem, not, at any rate, from a philosophical standpoint. Even a majority of men were more inclined, at one time, to 'do for others' than to 'be for self', and they haven't ceased, in the main, to be capable of the former - as, for example, when making love to a woman. For making love to a woman is largely to 'do for others', i.e. to copulate for propagative purposes and/or the woman's greater pleasure, with a lesser personal pleasure for the male as a reasonable incentive. Such was traditionally the case and, to a certain extent, such is still the case today; though the pleasure principle has come, with the progress of humanity towards post-atomic criteria, to dwarf the propagative commitment.
From the woman's viewpoint, however, the other side of the sensual coin (of 'doing for others') is 'being for others', and this has applicability not only as regards the man, who undoubtedly takes pleasure in his relatively selfless activity, but also as regards any offspring that may result, sooner or later, from the sexual act. Naturally the woman may take considerable pleasure in the experience; but she is still largely 'being for others', just as people, regardless of sex, tend to be when they sleep - the subconscious or, more correctly, unconscious being 'the other' or 'another' in relation to the self, the dreaming process being a natural activity which this 'other' needs and which takes over from the conscious mind and subordinates that mind, via the subconscious, to its interests. We don't dream in the sense that 'we' applies to the conscious mind, but are passive spectators, through the subconscious, of the dream process, which obeys its own laws in defiance of or disregard for conscious preference. Hence we can no more will ourselves not to dream a nightmare than we can will ourselves only to dream highly pleasurable dreams. The will, as the upper or superconscious part of the conscious mind, is temporarily neutralized by sleep, while the imagination, or unconscious mind, becomes free to dream. In sleep, imagination has full rein to wander where it may, untrammelled by the will. This is why it occasionally wanders into regions that we'd rather it didn't, though, if we're not particularly deep sleepers, we may be able to bring the will to our rescue in the nick of time and wake ourselves up before the nightmare's grisly consequences become fully apparent! No doubt, many nightmares are aborted in this fashion, not endured all the way to the climax of imaginative terror. Our ancestors, having been more under unconscious influence than ourselves, would have fared worse than us in this respect. Women probably fare worse than men even nowadays. Children fare worse again.
So much, then, for doers and, by implication, the neutralization of the will in 'being for others'! One is, in this context, a passive receiver of another's doing to one's self, who is 'the other' from the activist's point of view. The doer, i.e. the unconscious, needs to do for 'the other', i.e. the conscious-become-subconscious. The latter has no alternative but to surrender to the former's activity. This principle applies no less to other sensual contexts, including sex. Though in the realm of conscious behaviour it becomes subject to modification as a result of systematic evolutionary progress, as I hope to have already emphasized. A Mrs Murphy may biologically need to prepare a man's, say Mr Murphy's, dinner more consciously than a liberated woman, who, if truly modern, may deny experiencing any biological need to prepare one at all.
We have now got to the point where we can take a look at the parallel distinction between 'being for self' and 'doing for self', both of which tendencies apply to the spiritual realm and constitute alternative approaches to selfishness. Because I defined the other parallel tendencies as sensual and stemming from the Diabolic Alpha, I am going to define these ones as spiritual and aspiring towards the Divine Omega - the former directly, the latter indirectly. A man who is 'being for self' may well be a keen reader of books or listener to music or contemplator of paintings or viewer of television or devotee of transcendental meditation. Whatever context he indulges his penchant for 'being' in, he will indulge it solely for his self, not for anyone else. He will be feeding his spirit and thereby aspiring, no matter how crudely, towards the ultimate beingful context of transcendent spirit, which is the goal of evolutionary striving. A man, or for that matter a liberated woman (what I tend to call a quasi-superman), who is 'being for self' is selfish in the highest sense throughout the period of his commitment to this spiritual self-indulgence. He is living in the most moral context, regardless of which particular form of being, it is possible for a person to live in. Certainly he is living in a morally superior context, at such times, to those indulging in either the 'doing-for-others' or the 'being-for-others' contexts of mainly sensual commitment. He is also, though to a lesser extent, living in a morally superior context to the man who is 'doing for self' and therefore only indirectly aspiring towards the Divine Omega.
Who is this man? I, myself, am one such when I put pen to paper, as at present, and convey my thoughts to a permanent form. Am I writing for anyone else? No, not specifically. I am writing for my own benefit, because this is what I want to do in order to pass the time in a relatively agreeable fashion and see how much truth I can get out of my self. If I enjoy doing this work, because I realize there is a good deal of hitherto unrecorded truth in what I'm writing, then it is a successful activity for me, a suitably selfish mode of doing. I don't have to ask anyone else for an opinion of the work since, being the closest person to it, I am its best judge. Such is the case for other selfish writers, not to mention painters, musicians, composers, photographers, film-makers, sculptors, and the like. Selfish artists are the highest kind of doers, the only kind who are ever going to produce great philosophy or art or music, as the case may be. Of course, they live in a world where it's necessary to pay certain bills, feed the stomach, purchase new clothes, etc., and, realizing this, they will offer examples of their work to publishers or dealers or whatever for commercial dissemination. But they don't act on the 'doing for others' principle of the lesser artist, who firstly considers what other people may want to read or view or listen to and then, like an obedient slave, sets about producing it as a matter of course. On the contrary, these higher creators, who are too moral to care for selfless attitudes, are only satisfied if they have pleased their selves (not to be confounded with themselves, which I interpret in a largely phenomenal way), and thus produced something which they can consider of creative worth on its own account rather than in relation to what others may happen to prefer, irrespective of its moral or cultural value. Whereas the lesser creator is content to cater for what he regards as a need that the public may have for a particular type of creation, the greater creator ignores the public in deference to his self and, as a by-product of his behaviour, may - and indeed sometimes does - establish a new taste in the public, or certain sections of it, for his particular brand of work.
Thus whereas the slave creator directly kow-tows to tradition in what is felt to be a popular demand, the free creator may indirectly create a new taste in the public for work that he produces to please his self. He corresponds to a divinity, self-contained and oblivious of the world around him - a perfection towards which certain more intelligent sections of the public may draw if they have any desire to better their minds, but towards whom he remains largely indifferent. The slave creator, by contrast, corresponds to the Diabolic Alpha, imposing himself upon the world around him and obliging the masses, or a significant percentage of common humanity, to swallow his creations whether or not they asked for them and, more usually, whether or not they like them. There is in this selfless creator a tyrant who invariably tyrannizes over the public, like a petty star. He 'does for others', but in all 'doing for others' there is a tyranny which 'the others' are obliged to endure, presuming, however, that they aren't wise or strong enough to turn their back on it and gravitate, through their own volition, to higher, self-contained things. The slave creator enslaves those who fall victim to his tyranny within traditional moulds. The free creator allows those who approach him of their own volition to perceive a higher way, a superior mode of being, to anything previously created. And he does this without conscious determination but, rather, as a by-product of his selfishness. They come to him, but he has not forced them! He is oblivious of their approach. He doesn't wish to concern himself with others. Neither, it goes without saying, would a globe of transcendent spirit.
But just as one globe of transcendent spirit will converge towards another such globe, in accordance with the divine principle of mutual attraction, and thereupon expand into a larger globe compounded of the two, so the higher strata of humanity will converge towards the work of the free creator and, through ingesting it, become akin to him in their spiritual beliefs, so that his truth may be said to have expanded into other minds and accordingly established a greater degree of spiritual unanimity and awareness in the world of men than had existed hitherto ... prior to his doing. What happens on earth in this respect is but a crude foreshadowing of what will happen, in a far more refined context, in the future transcendental Beyond.
Just as 'doing for others' and 'being for others' complement each other as two sides of the same sensual coin, so 'being for self' and 'doing for self' are likewise complementary as two sides of the same spiritual coin. The work of the man who 'does for self' may become the focus of attention for the man 'being for self'. I write a book which someone else may choose to read. A free artist will create a painting or light work which someone else may contemplate. A free musician composes music to which someone else may listen. We contemplate paintings not simply for the fun of it but in order to plunge into 'being' and thereby approximate, no matter how crudely, to Heaven. Art, like literature and music, provides us with regular opportunities to 'be for self'. With base or low-quality art, on the other hand, we are obliged, in contemplating it, to 'be for the other', the doer, who 'did for others' in a spiritually selfless way. That's to say, he was not thinking of his spirit, his higher self, when he created the work, but of what would appeal to others - usually to a majority of others - in a quasi-sensual way.
This is really the chief distinction between selflessness and selfishness. The self is psyche and one can deny it either directly, by indulging in sensuality, or indirectly, by using it to cater for base ends, as when a writer thinks predominantly of the public and what can be expected to appeal to it. This indirect form of selflessness is doubtless less ignoble than the directly sensual variety but still far from noble, because the self is being used (or, more correctly, misused) to cater to vulgar, sensational ends. It is the selflessness of the half-educated, semi-civilized person who 'does for others' on relatively high terms but can never bring himself to 'do for self', and thus develop rather than hinder his spiritual growth. His is a negative attitude to self - the attitude, fundamentally, of the materialist. If he can secretly despise those who directly deny their self, like cooks or dustmen or chambermaids, he is nevertheless obliged to feel inferior before a free creator, whose work may last for centuries because it is literally fine rather than crude. What flows with the self is fine; what goes against it - crude. Crude art denies the self in order to serve the senses. Fine art, by contrast, affirms the self in the interests of spiritual development. It is perfectly selfish.
But the selflessness of a person cooking dinner leaves the self altogether out of account and is therefore the 'doing-for-others' selflessness of sensual commitment. The selfishness, on the other hand, of a person reading some book directly affirms the self and consequently stands in an antithetical relationship to selfless doing as 'being for self'. The 'being for others' of the diner, who eats for his body, and the 'doing for self' of the free writer, who writes for his self, also form an antithesis, though on an intermediary basis. One could never eat for one's self, because food is sensual and cannot directly appeal to the psyche. Thus, although the process of eating may suggest doing, to eat is to 'be for others' or, more correctly, to be for 'the other' - namely, the body in general. It is a conscious equivalent of sleep, the being for dreams. We eat to sustain the body. We sleep to dream. Our self becomes, at such times, the passive spectator of the actions our body requires for physical health. It is subordinate to 'the other'. This is the context of indirect selflessness.
I, however, am a man who likes to be directly and indirectly selfish as much as possible, to 'be for self' and to 'do for self'. I dislike eating and sleeping, and very seldom do anything that could be described as directly selfless, such as preparing a meal for someone. Other people prepare meals for me and get paid for doing so! Occasionally I visit old Mrs Murphy, who prepares me a meal for free - out of a need to act for others. She would find life terribly boring were there no-one around for whom to cook. She cannot understand, when I inform her of my customary behaviour, how I can spend so much time on my own, either bent over a book or scribbling ideas onto a notepad. There is, besides a generation barrier, a sex barrier between us, and, like most people who live without bothering to acknowledge or recognize such a barrier, she projects her mind onto me as a matter of course, advising me to become more like her and to 'do for others' more often. But I am a selfish man and proud of it! I battle against the world and its chief supporters in the interests of my self, the development of my spiritual potential, and have succeeded, to-date, in developing it to a point way beyond Mrs Murphy's philistine comprehension. Naturally, she regards most of what I believe as nonsense. But, there again, how could it be otherwise? Her self is nowhere near on the same level as mine. She has never systematically cultivated it to any appreciable extent, so we speak a different mental language - I the language of self, she the language of 'the other'. Her self exists, for the most part, in the service of the body; mine, by contrast, in the service of itself. We shall never see eye-to-eye!
But that doesn't really bother me. Why should it? I am, after all, a selfish man, so I don't go out of my way to justify or explain myself to others. I exist primarily for my self, and certain others will find in me an indirect guide to existing more for their selves as time goes by. One day everyone, or at any rate everyone capable of it, will be systematically existing for their self in a context directly aspiring towards the Divine Omega. And even that day will be but a staging-post, as it were, on the road to something higher again - namely, a post-human age of millennial selfishness!
SEX IN THE HEAD
"Jillian Ryan prides herself on being liberated, but she isn't really so," Gary Giles stated for the benefit of the dark-complexioned man seated in front of the steering wheel, as the bright green Citroën in which they, and their respective girlfriends were travelling, turned a wide bend and headed along a busy stretch of city road. "She insists on being made love to in a conventional manner, without my having recourse to certain ... post-atomic practices - the most obvious, if least distinguished of which, would entail some discomfiture in her rear."
Gerry Flynn chuckled politely as he briefly referred his attention to the driving-mirror in order to witness the embarrassment on the reflected face of the young woman in question, who, induced by the context of friendship to adopt a good-humoured response to her lover's unflattering allegation, surreptitiously laid into the latter's ribs with a hostile forefinger. "Is there any truth in that?" he wanted to know.
"None whatsoever!" Jillian had no hesitation in replying. "For I can't understand how being liberated should entail allowing some depraved man to pervert one!"
"That's only because you're an incorrigible bourgeois," Gary opined with a modicum of good humour, "and tend to mistake your partial liberation for a truly radical break with tradition, when, in actual fact, you insist on being treated like a woman."
"Don't listen to him!" she protested.
The young man in the driving seat chuckled good-naturedly but offered no comment, largely because traffic congestion was obliging him to keep most of his concentration on the road. But his girlfriend, a blue-eyed blonde in her mid-twenties, opined that unconventional sexual relationships were feasible, provided they didn't unduly impinge upon or entirely supplant the conventional variety! If a man wished to extend his lust into lesser channels from time to time, that was all right with her, provided he condomned up and was still interested in conventional inclinations on a fairly regular, if intermittent, basis.
"Unlike my subversive lover," Jillian declared, referring to the faintly-amused passenger beside her, "who prefers to impose unconventional inclinations upon one as often as possible."
"Not as far as I'm concerned!" Jillian defiantly retorted. "I'm as liberated as I want to be."
"Yeah, in other words only moderately liberated," her boyfriend observed, as the car turned down a narrow street and was brought to a halt by some negative traffic-lights.
"Of course, being liberated
sense isn't just something which applies to women," Gerry Flynn
remarked. "Getting free of nature
or natural inclinations is a struggle for men as well as women, though
latter perhaps find the going tougher or choose not to recognize it. Most people, even in this relatively advanced
age, are more often than not accomplices of nature rather than its transvaluated enemies.
Though that wouldn't apply to your brother,
The blue-eyed blonde next to the driver conceded, with a brief nod, the relative truth of this statement and, largely for the benefit of their back-seat passengers, said: "Steve is a deeply religious man who never has sex with anyone, but exclusively indulges himself in pornography and sexual fantasies! He is one of the few people for whom sex is predominantly in the head - a radical intellectual."
Jillian pulled a wry face and cried: "I find it difficult to understand how anyone could be satisfied with that!"
"I'm not surprised,"
"After all, you're not exactly a deeply religious person yourself."
"Oh, enough of your sarcasm!" she protested, her wry face suddenly veering towards the grotesque. "You'll be telling me, next, that a liberated woman should be sexless."
the contrary, I know full-well how impossible that would be for a woman
beautiful and substantial as you,"
Gerry chuckled aloud as he
drove away from
the traffic lights and steered his car down an even narrower street
he was only too aware of the fact that Jillian Ryan was by no means
but, if not exactly ugly, then simply attractive in a petty-bourgeois
way. And he knew, too, that Gary Giles
prided himself on steering clear of genuinely beautiful women, of whom
he had a
spiritual distrust. He would never have
taken a fancy, for instance, to Petra, who was quite beautiful, and
spite of her being the sister of someone she regarded, rightly or
deeply religious. There was indeed a
commitment, in more than one sense, to post-atomic sexuality by the
short-haired man on the back seat.
Jillian was a suitably plain intellectual who could be depended
sooner or later, to live-up to
"By the way, what do you
the campaign currently being waged by some female students at the
obtain the right for women to receive SA's
than BA's in the event of examination success?"
"You mean Spinster of Arts degrees instead of Bachelor of Arts degrees for women?" Jillian endeavoured to establish, preparatory to a confirmatory nod from her fellow-female, an ironical chuckle from the driver, and a contemptuous grunt from her boyfriend. "What's so objectionable about that?" she demanded of the latter.
"It's absurdly ridiculous!" came his denigratory response. "We live, don't forget, in an age when women are increasingly being regarded as though they were male and accordingly treated as men's equals to the extent that, as effective supermen, they can't be discriminated against simply as women. A Spinster of Arts degree for someone who was effectively a superman would constitute a flagrant concession to atomic dualism by discriminating between the sexes! Now that they live largely in a man's world and behave increasingly like men, with intent to study academic subjects, they must be regarded as men and duly accorded Bachelor of Arts or, for that matter, Master of Arts degrees, in loyalty to the developing post-atomic nature of the times."
"So you don't approve of the
campaign currently being waged at the university,"
"Indeed not!" he confirmed. "Those involved in it are simply reactionary ignoramuses who'll never succeed in getting their way - at any rate, not if sense is to prevail!"
"Yes, I guess I'll have to agree with you," said Jillian by way of affirming her allegiance to post-atomic criteria. Gary's views, she knew from experience, were usually correct, since founded on a solid base of logical argument. Even what he had said, the day before, about proletarian males generally preferring short zipper-jackets to overcoats or macks because they responded to supermasculine criteria under the artificial influence of urban conditioning, testified to a profound insight into sartorial distinctions based on class differences. To the extent that an overcoat or a mackintosh established a kind of skirt around the legs, it was a feminine mode of clothing, since this skirt-like impression connoted, as in a dress, with the female sex organ, considered as a tubular depth. Not so the short-length zipper jacket which, in tightly clinging to the waist, allowed the phallic connotation of a man's trousers or, more usually these days, jeans ... to assert itself in unashamedly masculine terms. Clearly, a class that lived closer to nature, in suburban or rural environments, would be more disposed to endorse the feminine overcoat than the masculine zipper-jacket in winter! Gary thought so anyway, and who could say he was wrong? He might be accused of over-intellectualizing by some people, but they were more likely to be the kind of people whose intellectual powers were mediocre, in any case, and who rarely if ever exercised their intellects at all. He had learnt, over the years, not to allow himself to become too impressed by such people! He swam in a deeper, more metaphysical depth.
"Well, I think we're going to be in time for the start after all," Gerry Flynn observed with a sigh of relief, as he braked the Citroën to a halt a few yards down the road from the Climax Cinema. It was now and the film they were intending to watch was due to roll in five minutes. Only a short queue of people was still standing outside, mute devotees waiting to make a sacrificial offering to appease their gods. So it looked as though everyone would get into the cinema in the nick of time.
A man in a navy-blue zipper
cast them a
glance from his position near the front of the queue, before averting
attention with embarrassed swiftness. Then he moved inside the foyer to pay his
entrance fee and disappeared from view.
But nothing had been wasted on Gerry, who now burst into a
characteristically ironic chuckle.
"I always thought we'd bump into your brother at one of these
places sooner or later," he declared, for
"Ah well, that's sex in the head for you!" sighed his girlfriend as she pushed her way onto the pavement. "Steve has evidently come along to have an affair with one of his spiritual partners."
too!" Jillian opined while climbing out beside the others, only
blush darkly when she noticed
Television is all things to all people, and to Matthew Duggan, who was more interested in reading than in viewing, it suggested a mode of external dreaming which, like the internal mode, obeyed its own laws in autocratic defiance of the dreamer. Sometimes television was pleasant, sometimes tolerable, at other times ghastly - just like dreams. Matthew hated dreams, particularly the ghastly ones, and he wasn't all that keen on television either. Nevertheless, he was capable of watching it, from time to time, and would occasionally express an opinion as to its moral worth or propaganda value to those of his friends who had invited him over for the evening, and in whose house or flat was to be found a television, to which they were almost certain to succumb at some point in the conversation.
As the guest of regular film-goers, one evening, he was kind enough to opine that, in spite of his not having visited a cinema for several years, cinema was morally superior to television, if only to the extent that one sat as a component of an audience and thereby approximated more closely to the collectivized spiritual condition of Heaven in the future Beyond. Television, by contrast, was mostly an individual affair, like dreams, and could thus be said to stem, in a manner of speaking, from the Diabolic Alpha.
"Yes, I suppose there may be some truth in that claim," Dick Kelly murmured, smiling faintly, "though I must confess to never having considered the moral implications of such media before, being a person who sees in cinema an opportunity of keeping up-to-date with the latest films, preferably, of course, the best ones." He smiled afresh, this time quite openly, and added: "But I dare say you'd put a different interpretation on 'the best' than myself."
Duggan blushed and gently nodded in confirmation of that possibility.
"Incidentally, what films did you see at the cinema in the past?" asked Karen Gill, who was sitting next to her fiancé in front of the television.
"Oh, not very many," Duggan
evasively replied, having forgotten most of them by now anyway. Unfortunately, personal circumstances had
prevented him from going to the cinema ever since he was a relatively
suburban youth, though he had never been a particularly regular
then. His main interest had always
centred on books, especially philosophical, literary, and historical
he considered this fact a consequence of intellectual sophistication. There was something inherently superior, as
far as he was concerned, about reading to viewing.
The latter involved appearances and primarily
appealed to the eyes, whereas the former appealed, in its concern with
essences, to the intellect, and simply harnessed the eyes to this
service. Its chief disadvantage resided in
that, ordinarily, one read as an individual in private rather than as a
a group in public. Only teachers,
schoolchildren, lecturers, and priests regularly had the privilege of
reading, an activity which could be morally associated with communal
not that Matthew Duggan went in for much praying these days, whether
or individually! However, he managed to
recall, for Karen's benefit, that Steppenwolf,
"What makes you say that?" a faintly amused Dick Kelly asked.
"Oh, an acknowledgement of the tendency, I suppose, for educational and/or propaganda controls to be tightened-up and systematically enforced with every fresh advance in human evolution," Duggan calmly replied. "The 20th century is really a transitional age in between bourgeois humanism and proletarian transcendentalism, a kind of compromise age of bourgeois/proletarian transcendental humanism or humanistic transcendentalism - at any rate, certainly in the West."
"Perhaps you're right," Dick Kelly conceded. "Right, I mean, about television. Speaking personally, I'd have nothing to lose from the introduction of a law which made the ownership or renting of a television compulsory; though that is no guarantee that it would be watched, is it?"
Duggan shrugged his shoulders as if to say 'maybe one day things will be different in that respect', then said: "Most people in possession of a television would be inclined to use it, even if not throughout the greater part of each evening, every day."
"Yes, that must be so," Karen agreed in loyalty to female common sense. "One would have to be insane to have a television and not make use of it, particularly in view of the licence fee! We use ours virtually every evening, and this in spite of the fact that we always go to the cinema at the weekend. We're visual crazy."
"Which is better, I suppose, than being audio crazy and thus dependent on the radio or stereo for hours on-end," Duggan remarked, drawing on his painful experience of years of exposure to music-crazy neighbours. "Though some films are quite noisy, I'll concede." As he knew full-well from the almost equally painful experience of years of exposure to television-crazy neighbours. "Nevertheless, films constitute an improvement on theatre to the extent that their actors aren't tangible presences on a stage but ... intangible absences on a screen," he resumed thoughtfully. "One might define cinema as spiritualized theatre, and the same would of course apply to television when used as a medium for conveying films of one kind or another. Being more heterogeneous than cinema, however, television could also be defined as spiritualized opera at those times when operatic performances were being transmitted. It could even be defined as spiritualized sport when transmitting some football or cricket or other sports competition. It's certainly much more multifaceted than cinema, which has taken over, in my opinion, from the theatre. It signifies a kind of convergence to omega on the level of audio-visual activity, since a multi-purpose medium."
Dick Kelly smiled in gratification for the privilege of being the recipient of so much apparently esoteric, albeit highly speculative, information, and said: "'Omega' presumably being the goal of evolution in transcendent spirit?"
"That's right," Duggan confirmed, not without a shade of embarrassment for having been obliged to assert his well-known authority in matters evolutionary! "Omega will be the ultimate manifestation of the supra-atomic, the ultimate transcendence, once all separate transcendences from whichever parts of the Universe have merged into one another in their convergence towards total unity. It will be the ultimate absolute, in complete contrast to the primal absolute ... of the millions of governing or central stars in the Universe - approximately one to each galaxy."
"Gosh, how complex!" Karen exclaimed, succumbing to a rosy blush. "I'm always lost when people start transcending Christian terminology."
"My humble apologies," Duggan rejoined. "But Christian terminology would be inadequate for defining such subtleties, because it's based on a sort of microcosmic/galactic partiality which favours a distinction between the Creator and the Holy Spirit, not, as would be objectively nearer the mark, between the plurality of the Alpha Absolutes, i.e. Creators, and the future unity of the Omega Absolute, i.e. the Holy Spirit. The latter is approximately appropriate, but the former simply lays stress on one Creator, a fact which hardly does justice to the millions of other Creators, one to each galaxy, which are polytheistically and therefore pluralistically outside the bounds of alpha monotheism and its Judaic origins.... Not that theology admits of a connection between the figurative and the literal, or between the central star of any particular galaxy and the deity - namely the Creator, Jehovah, or whatever - which I believe to have been extrapolated from it as a psychological content of the unconscious mind. Religion, in that old theological sense, and science, as applying to the Cosmos, can't be fully reconciled, unlike religion and science in the futuristic transcendental sense, when artificial means will be found to support and sustain human brains in the interests of their spiritual evolution towards transcendence. For the Christian mind, however, the Creator is no mere abstraction and unconscious content but a real, live entity out there in space, even if his Creator, namely the Father, is not quite commensurate with Jehovah, the Judaic Creator, but, rather, pertains to a less extreme alpha which probably stands to Jehovah as television to cinema."
Karen Gill conceded to the relative truth of this statement and inquired whether, in that case, not believing in God, meaning Jehovah and/or the Father, was tantamount to not believing in the existence of stars?
"By no means," Duggan straightaway replied. "For one outgrows the Creator as one's psyche evolves away from the unconscious, in which such theological abstractions exist, and further into the superconscious - the realm of true spirit. Whether or not one believes in the existence of the Creator will depend on the psychological constitution of one's psyche, and is therefore an individual matter. I, for one, don't believe in Him, but that doesn't mean to say that I refuse to recognize the existence of the stars in our galaxy. The literal roots of evolution, from which our planet and all of its life forms have sprung, most certainly exist. But that doesn't imply that the Creator need also exist, least of all in space, since figurative abstractions, whether Judaic and primal or Christian and worldly, apply to the unconscious mind and will only exist in that mind - assuming one's psyche is still largely dominated by the unconscious and one is accordingly prepared to recognize such abstractions. Mine isn't, which is why I don't believe in the Creator. Consequently, for me, He doesn't exist."
"All very profound," Dick Kelly opined, taking care not to omit a timely smile. "Simple souls like Karen and me would never be able to work that kind of thing out for ourselves. Nor do we always respond to such enlightenment in the most positive way, partly because we often fail to grasp it. What you said earlier, concerning the spiritualized nature of cinema and television, certainly made sense to me, however, and has thrown new light on my relationship to those media and assessment of them in terms of how they fit into an overall evolutionary development in the arts. Clearly, if television is a kind of multi-purpose medium and cinema a step beyond theatre, then neither could be assumed to lead to anything else."
Matthew Duggan pondered a moment, anxious not to allow himself to be rushed into a superficial response, and then said: "Yes, that may be so; though video, being a more evolved development, combines the theatrical exclusivity of cinema with the privacy of television, thereby enabling the film-enthusiast to purchase and/or rent whichever video recordings he may fancy and replay them as often as he likes. Thus, in the case of film videos, the exclusivity of cinema is brought into the home, albeit at a greater cost, if purchased new, than would be that of viewing films in public. Whether or not video will supplant cinema in the future, as Christianity supplanted Judaism, it is arguably more related to television than to cinema and will doubtless co-exist with the former, as Son to Father, for some time to come - albeit more as an individual medium predominantly stemming from theatre than as a collectivistic medium for the convergence of disparate arts and activities, from politics to sport."
It seemed that Dick Kelly was satisfied by this argument, for he smiled and ventured no verbal comment. His girlfriend, however, was wondering where that potent mind-expanding drug LSD would fit it, since she had gleaned from one of Duggan's previous visits that synthetic hallucinogens like LSD had a part to play in the future, and wondered whether it didn't stem from cinema or television as a kind of internal mode of visual or, rather, visionary experience germane to a higher stage of evolution? She put this conjecture to Duggan, who appeared to have overlooked the relationship between LSD and other forms of visual media in his conversation this evening.
"In point of fact, LSD trips stem from a different visual tradition," he confidently affirmed, "the tradition, namely, of fine art. Not as an alternative kind of fine art however, since fine art is ever a man-made thing, but as the successor to such art conceived in its highest guise - namely, as holography. The trip, which of course is what recourse to LSD implies, is really the antithesis of the dream, or internal visionary experience of the unconscious. In contrast, LSD activates the superconscious or, rather, puts the unconscious to sleep, and this results in the highest kind of internal visionary experience which, unlike the lowest kind, i.e. dreams, will be static and seemingly translucent. As dreams precede art, so trips will succeed it, being the main spiritual preoccupation of the first of the two life forms in the post-human millennium, namely the supermen, whose brains will be artificially supported and sustained in collectivized contexts - the overall situation being antithetical, in evolutionary terms, to that which preceded the human in the collectivized lifestyles of apes in trees. So trips, while having more in common with holograms than with films or television programmes, will exist on an altogether superior plane than fine art, and as the antithetical equivalent of sleep dreams. When we abandon the conscious for the subconscious ... we dream. Conversely, when we abandon the unconscious for the superconscious ... we trip. We abandon the former with the aid of sleep. In the transcendental future, we shall abandon the latter with the aid of LSD, or some such hallucinogenic stimulus. Evolution proceeds from the natural to the supernatural via the artificial."
"And presumably does so via the artificial media of cinema and television," Dick Kelly remarked, to show that he was still following the discussion, "in which, by watching films, it's almost as though one were dreaming awake."
This time is was Duggan's turn to smile, since that was precisely what television, not to mention cinema, suggested to him, as already noted. "To be sure," he rejoined, "and we might just as readily contend that, in contemplating holograms, it will be almost as though we were tripping asleep, by which is meant tripping externally. Just as films suggest external dreaming, so will holograms suggest external tripping." And, with that said, he relapsed into the satisfied silence of one who has spoken his fill, while Dick Kelly and Karen Gill both smilingly turned towards their television and resigned themselves to a period of external dreaming - I mean, viewing!
"What, sir, do you think of the proletariat?" a man with a drooping moustache suddenly asked me, as I was on the point of extricating myself from the rowdy crowd that had gathered around a speaker's soapbox in the vicinity of the park bench on which I had been languidly surveying the passers-by, prior to this political intrusion.
I halted, paralysed in my steps, as if by some magnetic constraint emanating from the questioner's person, and diffidently confessed: "Not much, I'm afraid."
"Ah, so you're a bourgeois, are you?" the man responded, jumping to negative conclusions.
"Depends how you define a bourgeois," I evasively replied, distrusting his deprecatory tone-of-voice.
"An exploiter of the working man," someone remarked to the left of the moustache-wearing person - a woman, as it turned out, who appeared to be connected with him in some way.
"Oh well, in that case I'm no bourgeois," I declared. "Simply an intellectual, though one of predominantly middle-class descent."
The man looked baffled, and it seemed that his drooping moustache twitched slightly, as if galvanized by some minor electric shock. "Aren't the middle class and the bourgeoisie one and the same thing?" he fairly snorted, spoiling for an intellectual fight.
"In one sense 'yes' and in another sense 'no'," I ambivalently answered, to the polite amusement of the woman.
"In what sense 'no'?" she then asked.
"Well, by being some kind of professional who helps rather than exploits the proletariat - like, for example, a teacher or a doctor."
The man fiercely shook his head. "They all exploit the proletariat under a capitalist system!" he averred. "It's only in a socialist system that such professional exploiters can become helpers and thus not middle-class predators but ... intellectual workers."
"Yes, intellectual proletarians!" the woman insisted, thereby reinforcing her companion's argument.
I hesitated a moment before responding, then did so with: "That still doesn't preclude a class distinction from existing between manual and intellectual workers. There'll continue to be a relative distinction between the one and the other category, as between plumbers and doctors."
The man looked displeased, but said: "That's still preferable to any absolute distinction, as between exploiters and exploited, bourgeoisie and proletariat!"
"I agree," I smilingly conceded. "But you can't entirely get rid of class distinctions between people, even if, in the relative context, you're enabled to spell class with a small 'c', so to speak. Such distinctions inhere to the human stages of evolution, the ultimate one not excepted."
"So we can never live in a truly classless society," the woman deduced on a faintly suspicious note.
"Not on the human level," I confidently confirmed.
The man frowned and, half-clenching his teeth, asked: "Then when?"
"Only in the superbeing millennium," I replied. "In other words, at that point in time when post-human life will be elevated to the absolute status of new-brain collectivizations, each of which will constitute a superbeing, the antithesis of a tree."
"Fantastic!" exclaimed the man, whose woman appeared to be on the verge of echoing him when I cut in with:-
"So it may at first seem, but that's only because we're at quite an evolutionary remove from that classless, or completely uniform, society, and can't be expected to properly relate to it at present - at least not in a majority of cases. However, I can to some extent relate to it because, in my capacity of self-taught philosopher, I was the one who originally thought it up."
"Good God!" the man exclaimed. "But how will this classless society survive?"
"Through an artificial support-and-sustain system," I told him, feeling slightly embarrassed by the intellectual distance between us. "It will keep the new-brain collectivizations alive while they hypermeditate towards transcendence."
"And how long will that take?" the woman tentatively asked, not bothering to seek a clarification of 'transcendence', nor even, to my greater surprise, of 'hypermeditate'.
"It could take a long time," I replied. "And that is a good enough reason why the superbeing society should be classless, independent of human supervision and therefore not obliging technicians to hang around longer than absolutely necessary. The support-and-sustain systems would have adequate safeguards built-in to them in any case, being connected to computers which, whilst an integral component of a superbeing entity, would serve as artificial overseers or guardians."
The man raised bushy brows in patent disbelief and cried: "All this speculation about some post-human future is completely beyond me! I thought we were discussing man a moment ago."
I didn't immediately respond to this statement because the thought had occurred to me, in conjunction with my mention of the superbeing millennium, that perhaps each centre in which a superbeing was housed would be equipped with an automatic hose system that could squirt masses of foam at it from a variety of angles, once transcendence had occurred and the centre was threatened with destruction from the ensuing proton-proton reactions of disintegrating brain matter. Not that the destruction of a meditation centre mattered that much - at least not in regard to itself. The point was to prevent flames from spreading from one centre to another and thereby possibly engulfing superbeings which hadn't yet overcome their own atomic integrity, as it were, because still hypermeditating towards transcendence.
However, with the moustache-wearing man evidently awaiting a response to his statement, I cut short my esoteric speculations on that subject and remarked: "Men can never transcend class in any absolute sense, not even in an absolutist system such as exists in socialist states, where they are divisible into the relative class distinctions of ... workers, professionals, and leaders, not to mention soldiers and police. We are speaking here of a distinction between lower class, middle class, and upper class, at least as regards the first three categories, a distinction which also prevails in the West, though on an absolute basis, bearing in mind that Western society, being more deeply capitalist, is divisible between exploiters and exploited. Thus the paradox of the situation is that whereas in an absolutist society class distinctions are relative, in a relativistic society, on the other hand, they're absolute. Yet not entirely so! For a relativistic society may give rise to a distinction between bourgeoisie and middle class, using the latter term in a relative sense."
The man looked completely puzzled at this point, and then glared at me through heavily bespectacled eyes. "But I thought we'd established the fact that the middle class and the bourgeoisie are really one and the same thing!" he protested, half-turning towards his companion for confirmation. "As professionals, they exploit the proletariat under a capitalist system."
I shook my head. "Doctors, dentists, teachers, etc., who are state employed, function as middle-class professionals, or intellectual proletarians, as they'd say in a socialist state, and thereby form a relative class distinction with the manual or non-professional proletariat, in contrast to self-employed professionals, who constitute an absolute class distinction vis-à-vis the proletariat, and may accordingly be defined as bourgeois."
"Yes, bourgeois exploiters!" the man asserted in a gruff tone-of-voice.
I smiled reservedly. "Not that many proletarians can afford to be exploited by independent professional gentlemen," I rejoined, "since the fees the latter charge are such as could only be met, as a rule, by fellow-bourgeois exploiters, whether managers, directors, owners, or whatever."
The man looked decidedly piqued by this contention, leaving his companion to ask me whether, as a self-professed intellectual, I wasn't also an exploiter.
"No," I replied. "For the simple reason that a writer, which is what I effectively am, functions vis-à-vis his publisher as an intellectual worker the product of whose labour can be sold at a profit. Thus, as a middle-class or professional person, it's possible to be exploited by a bourgeois, or someone who makes a profit out of other people's work in his own, not to mention his employees', financial interests. A similar thing can happen in socialist states, though in that context the publisher becomes a middle-class person forming a relative class distinction with his authors rather than an absolute class distinction between exploiters and exploited, and simply because the profits he makes are channelled back into the state, which, theoretically at least, is synonymous with the proletariat."
"The only thing you forgot to mention," the woman remarked, "is that in a relative state, on the other hand, even the author is a kind of exploiter, because he functions independently of the state in a largely self-employed context. He may not make a profit from his works, the way a publisher does, but he can become fairly wealthy from them all the same, and thus exist in a quasi-capitalist capacity as a kind of independent businessman!"
"Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one's point of view, Michael Jones has never been published," I laconically confessed. "So I can't vouch for the truth of your contention."
The woman showed signs of surprise at this juncture and verbally held her tongue. However, the man, while softening a little in his attitude towards me, pressed me to explain why, in returning to where our discussion had begun, I didn't think much of the proletariat. "After all, if you're not an exploiter yourself, but an unpublished writer," he went on, "what-on-earth can you have against them?"
"Frankly, the proletariat are all things to all people," I averred, after a reflective pause, "and to a writer like me they're more often than not a noisy intrusion into my thoughts! But that, I dare say, is rather beside-the-point, and shouldn't be regarded in anything but a comparatively trivial light. Before you stopped me, I was about to take myself off to a quieter area of the park in order to think my largely philosophical thoughts in peace. This proletarian crowd that had suddenly sprung-up, like weeds, around the speaker's soapbox was distracting me from my reflections and, consequently, when you asked me what I thought of the proletariat, I replied in a manner owing something to the fact of my having been distracted by it. That was a personal response existing on the trivial, everyday plane. You caught me off duty, as it were, from my ideological rectitude, which tragically affirms the proletariat as the class of tomorrow, the only class capable, by dint of its urban existence, of evolving towards a post-human life form. These proletarians, paradoxically enough, are gathered together in a park, which is civilized nature existing in the city."
The moustache-wearing man gripped the arm of his companion and muttered: "I can understand some things about his definition of the proletariat but, frankly, there are certain other things which are completely bizarre to me and, for that very reason, well-nigh impossible to understand! Nevertheless, I'll concede that the fellow isn't quite the rogue I first took him for! There's more to him than meets the eye!"
"Aye, that's true enough!" the woman laughed, and, together, they turned away to listen to the ravings of the soapbox orator instead.
WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS
They had all come along to hear Richard Boyle discourse on peace, and were sitting or standing about in groups and pairs in the philosopher's crowded living-room. Boyle, tall and elegant, faced directly onto his guests, his voice clear above the combination of muffled traffic noise and faint murmurings, not to mention occasional fidgetings, which formed a background, as it were, to his discourse - the one outside, the other inside the room.
Standing on the edge of this room between the jambs of its single door, now ajar, Samantha Carey and Stuart Roach surveyed the scene before them, the former with a degree of amusement, the latter in deadly seriousness, as was his habit where gatherings of this nature were concerned. And yet, despite the presence a few yards in front of him of Brendan O'Day, his one-time rival for Samantha's affections, Stuart felt curiously detached from it all, as if he were really on the edge of things in more senses than one! No doubt, Samantha was partly responsible for this, since she exerted quite an attraction on him with her hair tied-up free of her nape and a pleasant scent emanating from behind her tiny ears. Besides, she was wearing a very attractive dress, the most salient features of which included a plunging neckline and clinging bodyline, with a rising slit at the back. Such a combination was bound to produce a deleterious effect on one's concentration, or so Stuart thought as he cast a furtive glance over his girlfriend in order both to confirm this impression and seek a justification for it at the same time. Tentatively, he placed the hand nearest to Samantha on the curve of her rump and ever so gently ran it over the silken surface of the dress in question. Although, to all appearances, his attention had now reverted to Boyle's commanding figure in front of the window, he was able to note, out of the corner of his right eye, that Samantha's facial expression had undergone a faint transformation seemingly relative to his behaviour, and now harboured the gentlest of gratified smiles. Clearly, she wasn't entirely absorbed in Boyle's discourse either! So that made two of them. Nevertheless, as though by contextual association, the situation was beginning to present itself in a philosophical light to Stuart, who was by no means impartial to independent speculation, and he began to investigate it while continuing to gently caress Samantha's silk-covered rump.
Here she was, standing close to him in the doorway of this crowded living-room, with no-one behind her. She was dressed in unequivocally feminine attire, even down to her dark stockings and glossy high heels. He, by contrast, was in a dark cord suit, perfectly masculine. As far as appearances went, there existed an absolute or, at any rate, near-absolute sexual distinction between them. He looked a man and she a woman. Unconsciously he had responded to this fact by placing a hand on her rump and allowing himself a modicum of sexual indulgence. She had apparently responded to this behaviour in a way appropriate to her appearance, not forbiddingly (though the intellectual gathering of which they were ostensibly a part might well have justified a negative response!), but in tacit gratification, one could almost say encouragingly, whether because the act itself had been responsible or because she was growing bored with Boyle's discourse ... she alone could say. An impartial observer would have noted a woman's positive response to a man's caress and, if not philosophically inclined, might have left it at that. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary, even in the aforementioned circumstances.
Stuart Roach, however, was philosophically inclined, and now that he was attempting to put himself in the position of an impartial observer he realized that even this at-first-sight relatively trivial act was imbued with profound significance, implied certain value-judgements each partner took for granted. Like, for example, that a man was entitled to treat a woman as a sexual object when she appeared to be such and, in consequence, responded in an appropriately positive way to his sexual advances. By dressing in a dress, in an absolutely dissimilar fashion from himself, a woman was exposing herself to being treated as a woman, treated, in other words, not as an equal ... but as a creature to caress - in short, a sexual object. A man would not, as a rule, caress another man in such or indeed any fashion, but simply regard the other as an equal. What reason, however, had he to regard a person who unequivocally affirmed a sexual absolutism as an equal, and thus provided him with a pretext, even a duty, to treat her unequally, or as a member of the opposite sex? Clearly, none! And for that reason he was justified in behaving towards her in a sexist manner, in response to the sartorial distinctions which existed between them. This was why, despite his knowledge of the fact that Samantha generally tended to regard herself in a liberated light, Stuart hadn't hesitated to treat her unequally a little while ago, and, indeed, to persist in doing so even when his thoughts and attention had turned elsewhere. Clearly, while Samantha liked to be regarded as an equal, she had no desire to be so regarded all the time, on an absolutist basis, but was prepared to relapse into more traditionally feminine postures and appearances as mood or circumstances dictated. There were certain times and contexts in which she still wanted Stuart to treat her unequally, as a woman, and to behave towards her in an appropriately masculine fashion. One could even gauge such times and contexts from the way she dressed - an unequivocally feminine attire, such as she was wearing this evening, making it more difficult for a man to treat her as an equal than would a comparatively masculine attire, like a pair of jeans or slacks with tee-shirt or sweatshirt, such as she wore at certain other times.
Whether Samantha was consistently methodical about all this, however, had to be a debatable point. For Stuart had no firm reason, from experience, to believe that she was. Tonight, for instance, could hardly be described as a suitable occasion to emphasize an absolute sexual distinction in matters of appearance! After all, they were at an intellectual gathering, and by no stretch of the imagination could that be described as a pretext for encouraging sexist behaviour! Yet, in dressing as she did, Samantha had undermined her right to be treated as an equal and would have been at a distinct disadvantage in arguing against or defending herself from sexist infringements on her person. That was one of the reasons why, despite the social incongruity of the context, Stuart had felt so little inhibition in offering her, albeit furtively, some sensual attention. Perhaps, from her point of view, that was one of the main reasons why she had responded positively, being unable to condemn an act which she herself had indirectly encouraged by dressing so sexily. Just as one should not bite the hand that feeds one, so one should not turn away the hand one has tacitly attracted. Else one will be acting ... irrationally.
Yes, the situation provided ample food for thought, and although Boyle was still discoursing vigorously and, to all appearances, convincingly ... to the assembled guests at this informal symposium, Stuart had enough work cut out for himself endeavouring to digest it, not to want to turn more than a peripheral or perfunctory ear on the discourse in question. He was coming to the startling conclusion that a woman who wanted to be treated as an equal, or effectively as a superman, would do well to do everything in her power to appear equal and thereby minimize the risk of being treated unequally, as a woman, which (risk) could only be the greater the more unequivocally feminine she appeared. Otherwise there would be an element of hypocrisy, not to say unreasonableness, in any complaint she might level against certain men for treating her less as a relative equal than as an absolute 'other', in the event of sexist discrimination.
On the other hand, a woman who wanted to invite such discrimination couldn't be regarded as superhumanly liberated, but was behaving, when dressed sexily, in a traditional feminine manner - the absolute 'other' of sexual relations. Here, it seemed, lay the chief distinction between a woman bound to her basic femininity and one who was relatively liberated. For whereas the former played a seductive role on independent feminine terms, and could therefore be described as a sexual predator, the latter, dressing in a masculine fashion, behaved passively towards men and accordingly left it up to them to make such sexual advances as they thought fit. In functioning as a liberated woman she did not seek to enslave men but left them free to establish and enter into sexual relations with her, if they so desired. Her social relationship to men was intellectual rather than sexual, as befitting the unisexual context in which liberated women and free men usually lived. Only where there was a blatantly heterosexual antagonism between the sexes would a woman consciously strive to draw sexual attention to herself, in conformity with her status as an absolute 'other', or sexual opponent. Such an antagonism, it needs to be emphasized, was relevant to but a limited period of evolutionary time. A truly post-atomic age would never countenance sexual discrimination!
For Stuart Roach, however, there could be no question but that his girlfriend was dressed very much as a woman this evening, and as he stole a glance at her from his position to her left he wondered anew why she should have chosen to assert a heterosexual distinction between them on such an occasion, in complete defiance of her ordinarily liberated habits. He noted a faint smile on her lips and thought, at first, that it owed something to his sly attentions, both visual and tactile. But after another glance he realized, with dismay, that this wasn't so, since her eyes, far from being fixed on Boyle (as had at first appeared to be the case) were fixed on someone or something closer to her in front of where the philosopher still stood.
Adjusting his own vision accordingly, Stuart discovered the face of Brendan O'Day, his former rival, half-turned towards her with an equally faint but evidently meaningful smile on his lips. And, suddenly, it dawned on him why Samantha had adopted such a blatantly seductive appearance this evening, and, no less significantly, why she was now smiling! He felt the blood rush to his head as the fact of Samantha's betrayal burst into his consciousness. She had not been interested in or indeed conscious of where his hand was, but only in Brendan O'Day! That was why she had smiled and was still smiling. Automatically, he withdrew it from her rump and ceased to speculate. Boyle's discourse was, in any case, drawing to a logical if predictable conclusion. He would soon be free to leave.
'At one time,' he said, turning to face us (the better, I dare say, to instil his knowledge into our heads), 'peace was the exception and war the rule. Nowadays, however, it's the other way round, and so the role of the army as a war-making institution has declined in proportion that the role of the police as a peace-keeping one has developed. In point of fact, the police are to the modern world what armies were to the ancient one - a reflection of the times. It's theoretically preferable to live in a police state than in an army state, though no state is, as yet, completely absolute in that respect. We live with a kind of army/police compromise, though while the army is trained to make war ... it occasionally finds itself having to assist the police in keeping the peace. Nevertheless, a day will come, I can assure you, when there'll be no armies!'
Yes, I respect that opinion, as do most of my fellow cadets at the Police Training Centre. We like to think of ourselves as a cut above the army, a truly contemporary body of men with a steady and, hopefully, peaceful future ahead of us, once we get out of here. Superintendent O'Brien encourages us in this belief. He has never been anything but a cop and sees no reason why any of us should ever be anything else either, least of all a soldier, which to him would amount to a cop-out! For to him soldiers are a dying breed, likened, in his imagination, to wolves. We, by contrast, he likens to sheepdogs, whose business it is to keep the flock, or masses, in order. We take our orders from the shepherds, or leaders of the flock. Leaders in the best sense of the word, who are themselves to a significant extent dependent on the Word, the Way, as proclaimed by the philosopher-kings, as they used to be called, though perhaps philosopher-commissars would now be a more appropriate terminology in view of the post-atomic nature of the age?
Smiling to himself on reading this paradoxical entry in his late-brother's journal, the politician Shane Brady reflected that O'Brien's metaphors for human society were fairly apposite, if a shade over-simplified and even arrogant. The fact that in an absolute society, such as the one he lived in, the 'shepherds' were derived from the 'flock' ... meant that they formed a relative distinction vis-à-vis those whom they led, not to mention those who kept the peace in the interests of law and order. The 'sheepdogs', as O'Brien called them, had come to supplant the 'wolves' in the course of time; though one could quibble with that metaphor as regards its applicability to the army, if one so desired. For armies tended, more often than not, to make war on other armies than to attack civilian populations, after the fashion of a wolf attacking a flock of sheep! At least that used to be the case prior to the twentieth century.
Still, there was a world of difference between soldiers and police. The heyday of armies had long since passed, because the emphasis in the modern world was on keeping the peace internally, within any given country, rather than on making war externally, vis-à-vis other countries - evolution having progressed from the apparent to the essential in the course of its spiritual striving towards a maximum internal goal. Modern armies tended to be kept in reserve, pending hostilities from without, more often than they were actually used in fighting a war. Theirs was an indirect mode of keeping the peace, involving preparation for war. They were not police, but at times they could almost be taken for police, as O'Brien had hinted in his straightforward way. Certainly they were no longer the out-and-out warmongers of earlier times! Their continual presence in the world could be described as a necessary evil, whereas the police were essentially a force for good, concerned with keeping the peace. There was a difference of quality between the two vocations, a greater degree of prestige accruing to the peace-keeping body than to the - potentially if not literally - war-making one. Virtually anyone could become a soldier, particularly in times of war; but not everyone could become a policeman!
Yet the modern army should not be belittled on that or other accounts, since it was perfectly capable of adapting to a variety of tasks and employments. Compared with ancient war-like armies, it was only nominally an army, which was just as well, even in countries that professed a greater respect for soldiering, like those with expansionist interests of one sort or another. Even their armies were relatively cautious and had long been such. Perhaps that was because they no longer had much work to do? Certainly the army in Shane Brady's country had done a fair amount of peace-keeping work in recent years, and now existed on a stand-by and relatively peaceful basis.
"Had enough of your reading?" Gavin Howe asked, having noticed that his colleague had the expression of a man lost in thought when he glanced-up from his own reading-matter, which, after more than an hour, was now becoming somewhat tiresome to him.
"Ah, so you perceive my self-absorption!" Brady responded with surprising alacrity. "I had gravitated from reading to thinking, as is my customary habit. Would you recommend such a tendency?"
Howe smiled guardedly, as if to justify his position, and replied: "No, not as a rule."
Brady's face accommodated itself to a look of surprise mixed with self-doubt. "But why ever not?" he wanted to know.
"I would define it as a relapse from passive intellectuality into active intellectuality, from a relatively passive use of the will to its absolutely active use," Howe declared.
"Oh, come now!" Brady protested, in what appeared to be a mildly face-saving exercise. "Such distinctions are trivial. In point of fact, you'd probably be more correct to distinguish between a relatively active use of the will and an absolutely active use of it. After all, reading does require an exertion of the will, both in terms of following the words and simultaneously making some sense out of them. Awareness is being applied to something other than itself, i.e. to words on a printed page, which are akin to external thoughts. In reading, we absorb other people's thoughts through the medium of print, which is mind objectivized, as it were."
Gavin Howe chuckled softly and commented that, if one were a writer oneself, one could end-up reading one's own thoughts fairly regularly - a comment which Brady was obliged to swallow with a reluctant admission of its truth, whilst also admitting that it wasn't very often that he found himself reading any of his own objectivized thoughts, not being a writer. "Nevertheless, you'll have to agree with me that reading signifies a morally superior use of the will than thinking," Howe in due course retorted.
"Perhaps it does," Brady reluctantly conceded. "Though from what I gather from certain knowledgeable sources, hardly the most morally superior use of it!"
"I'm not so sure," Howe confessed, shrugging faintly. "You see, will is awareness, or spirit, directed to some objective outside itself, like thinking or reading. When, however, awareness isn't directed beyond its spiritual confines but exists for itself, as in meditation, then will is transcended, because awareness reflecting upon itself corresponds to an absolute use of the spirit. When spirit is used in conjunction with soul it becomes will, which signifies its relative use. Now if meditation is morally superior to reading, it isn't because it signifies a less relative use of the spirit but, on the contrary, because it transcends relativity ... in the absolute. There is no will in meditation, and so one can't talk, as you approximately did, of a morally more superior use of the will than in reading - as implying meditation. As far as I'm aware, reading is morally the most superior use of the will, since it involves more passivity or, as you seemed to imply, less activity than thinking. Thought leads, on the highest levels, to writing, which, when read, brings us a step closer to meditation. We think in order to write, we write in order to read, and we read in order to meditate - even if only indirectly."
Brady smiled in admiration of this philosophical conundrum and admitted that, though confusing on the surface, there was probably some truth in it underneath, so to speak, in its metaphysical depths. "An approximation, in essence, to Schopenhauer's metaphysics," he averred. "Though that good philosopher would probably have had more respect for thought-for-thought's sake than you."
Gavin Howe half-agreed, via an affirmative grunt, with the probability of that assertion and remarked: "To my mind, thinking unconnected with any purpose outside itself, like writing, is a kind of madness, particularly when taken to extremes. After all, there's only a difference of degree between a person who habitually thinks to himself and one who habitually talks to himself, the former being a more introverted version of the latter - one might almost say a better class of madman. The only reason we recognize the self-talker as mad and overlook the self-thinker, is that the one is more conspicuous, because audible, than the other. The one advertises his madness to all-and-sundry, whereas the other keeps it to himself. Though neither of them realizes he's mad, which, of course, is usually the way of things with lunatics."
"How enlightening!" Brady exclaimed, intrigued by the prospect that the world harboured numerous secretive madmen. "I'd never considered private thought in that light before." He chuckled faintly, before adding: "Perhaps that explains why you interrupted my, er, brown study earlier, fearing for my sanity?"
Gavin Howe refrained from directly answering Brady's suggestion, but contented himself by saying that some books gave rise to fruitful reflections which, providing they didn't get out-of-hand, were nothing to worry about, particularly if destined to lead to fruitful writing in due course.
"As, no doubt, did some of Schopenhauer's reflections," Brady commented.
"Especially those paradoxically treating of denial of the will in the interests of spiritual quiescence," Howe confirmed.
"Which the intelligent reader would doubtless have been impressed by," Brady rejoined, chuckling anew.
"Perhaps even to the point of giving-up reading in the interests of meditation," Howe concluded. For, thereafter, both men gave-up thinking aloud and reverted or, rather, gravitated to reading their respective books.
* * *
The Leader slowly paced backwards and forwards behind his desk, as was his habit when reflecting on imparted information and, with a sudden tensing of his brow, which others might have called a frown, he said: "A pity Howe is becoming what you say he is - a kind of absolute spiritual teacher. I'd always thought of him as an able politician, which, frankly, he still is in my eyes; though if, in future, he decides to become something else, I should have nothing against the fact."
Shane Brady fidgeted ostentatiously in his chair, since he was of the opinion that Howe ought already to have quit politics and gone on to something else. Yet he kept silent.
"The emphasis in politics, as in science, is always on changing the world or, at least, one's own bit of it for the better," the Leader continued, tensing anew, "and so it must be for us. Of course, there are people who abjure the politically active approach to life in loyalty to a religiously passive approach to it, who turn their back on the world in the interests of spiritual advancement. Such people are usually deluded, since they imagine that the spiritual approach is alone right and that, if they keep at it long enough, it will eventually take them to Heaven. Unfortunately that isn't the case, and anyone who realizes as much is unlikely to remain an absolute upholder of the spiritual approach for long! Rather, he'll come, in some fashion, to understand the importance of the active approach accompanying the passive one, not as an absolute alternative, contrary to what some people still think, but as a means to a higher end, a subsidiary approach to bringing into effect our eventual salvation in spiritual absolutism. In short, the political approach must be harnessed to the religious one, in order to create a new synthesis in which technology serves the spirit in the interests of transcendence."
Shane Brady nodded his aching head and smiled the smile of a man who only half-understood what the Leader was getting at. The latter, however, had no intentions of letting-up, but went on:-
"Was it not Marx who wrote: 'Hitherto philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it'? Well, change it we shall, though not for the mere sake of change but - and this is the crux of the matter - in order to make salvation possible. Of course, the act of changing the world devolves upon politicians and scientists rather than philosophers, since philosophy can only draw attention to what changes need to be made and why. The philosopher necessarily interprets the world and draws what conclusions he can from it, and then the politicians and scientists come along and actually affect change. Some philosophers, like Marx, appeal more to those materialistic changers than others; some, like Schopenhauer, primarily appeal to the idealistic changers - the priests and artists; and some, like Hegel, strive to establish a balance between the two categories in an attempt to reconcile them, appealing now to the one, now to the other. I, myself, wrote in the vein of a synthesizing philosopher, which is why I adopted a political stance not wholly materialist but embracing a concern for the spiritual life, primarily in terms of transcendentalism and the correlative building and staffing of meditation centres. If we are politicians, we're politicians with a difference; men who are opposed to purely materialist values and seek to further the spiritual life through our actions, working indirectly, via politics, for a higher religion. It is we who safeguard the spirit! Indeed, we're so concerned with the spiritual life that an impartial observer would be justified, I think, in regarding us as priests in disguise, transcendentalists who take the responsibility of government upon ourselves not only in the interests of spiritual progress, but from a grave concern, more particularly, that it should ever get into wholly materialist hands whose money-grubbing instincts would thwart spiritual development and deny the validity of a transcendental approach to the world."
Shane Brady nodded understandingly and admitted to himself that, although Howe had probably veered a little too radically towards spiritual quietism, his was only an extreme manifestation of what, essentially, they were all concerned with and, as transcendentalists, sought to uphold - namely religious progress.
"Yes, we should regard ourselves primarily as transcendentalists," the Leader continued apace, as was his custom when addressing subordinates, "and so consider our political duties as of secondary importance. Before that atomic dichotomy between politicians and priests, or state and church, arose, religious matters were largely in the hands of politicians who, as in ancient Greece, served in the temple on a part-time basis, a subsidiary obligation to their principal responsibilities as political rulers. Religion, at that time, was predominantly materialist. Well, now that we've evolved beyond the church/state dichotomy, we find ourselves in the converse situation ... of being spiritual leaders who take political responsibility upon ourselves without, however, regarding politics as our principal concern, but solely in order to keep power out of the hands of materialists, who, as already said, would impede further spiritual progress. We are spiritual leaders with a subsidiary obligation to politics."
Shane Brady raised sceptical brows slightly, since he was becoming a trifle confused by the apparent discrepancy that still existed between theory and practice in his country.
Divining as much, the Leader went on: "Admittedly, we're still in early days and therefore can't claim to have taken our spiritual leadership to the point where politics, and hence the state, ceases to exist. We often see ourselves as politicians, and, to be sure, some amongst us are more genuinely political than others."
Here Brady smiled in gratified recognition of the fact, even though there was an undercurrent of derision in the Leader's voice and he ought really to have known better.
"But eventually we, or our future successors, will treat our religious obligations to the people more seriously," continued the Leader, "we shall go down to them more often in our capacity as meditation leaders, until we get to the stage where politics is only a very part-time concern of ours in relation to spiritual leadership. As yet, the people meditate in public for no longer than an hour on Sunday mornings, and so we don't have to exert ourselves in a spiritual capacity to them very often or for very long. But a time will come, comrade, when they'll be meditating for a number of hours every day, and then we, or our future successors, will be obliged to set them a spiritual example by being on-hand for much longer periods of time. At that more fortunate juncture in time, politics will indeed be a very subsidiary concern of ours, as 'the church' takes over from 'the state' to such an extent ... as to presage the complete eclipse of the latter in the absolute spirituality of the post-human millennium, when only religious concerns will prevail as, first, the collectivized brains of the Supermen and, then, the collectivized new-brains of the Superbeings bring life on earth closer to transcendence, and thus to the attainment of pure spirit to the post-millennial Beyond. In the meantime, however, government will remain firmly in the hands of spiritual leaders, like me, and so a continuity of religious progress will be guaranteed. It is we who stand firm against undue materialism and have the means to ensure the dissemination of spiritual truth when the time comes for the world at large to embrace civilization on the highest post-human level - namely, that of transcendentalism. And we are not alone in this matter."
Shane Brady nodded affirmative agreement and emitted the sigh of a man who was both relieved of doubts by the Leader's confidence and anxious not to detain him any longer than was strictly necessary.
Perceiving this, the latter concluded: "As for Howe, I shall have a personal word with him and decide whether he should perhaps modify his spiritual commitment to suit our short-term requirements or, if that cannot be done, take a different post in the administration - possibly as Commissar for Spiritual Development, or Commissar for the Arts." So saying, he extended his hand and bid Brady a friendly good-day.
As usual, the Commissar for Internal Security departed the Leader's presence reassured that things were under control and gradually working out for the better. He, too, was a member of this spiritually-biased administration and had a right to uphold religious progress in the face of materialist concerns. Indeed, it was an integral part of his job to ensure that no-one threatened the spiritual integrity of a country which, as a socially transcendent one, signified a transition, as it were, between 'state' and 'church', or politics and religion - the former socialist, the latter transcendentalist. Except for a few cases, the leaders in the current administration were indeed spiritual men, priests in disguise, as the Leader had called them, who were intent upon furthering the evolution of 'the church' at the expense of traditional concepts of the state, so that the state's gradual withering depended, as much as anything, on their volition, since not connected with a dualistic antagonism between political and religious leaders.
Back in his office, Brady turned to his late-brother's journal, which he was still reading, and opened it where he had left off. Smiling, he read: Another day O'Brien said to us, 'What you have to realize is that you're a force for good in this world and have a duty to uphold the integrity of the police. You're not there to make war on the people but to keep the peace, and thus to serve the cause of evolutionary progress towards the post-human millennium, when, in all probability, you'll cease to exist, having fulfilled your destiny as peace-keepers within the human context. Your origins were in atomic society, with the growth of a dualistic distinction between proton equivalents and bound-neutron equivalents, which is to say, between army and police. But you came into your own in the post-atomic context of the police state, and increasingly function as free-neutron equivalents within such a context. Your loyalty, as protectors of the peace, is to the leaders who, as transcendentalists, function as free-electron equivalents in the people's interests. You may not wear black uniforms, but the navy-blue uniform you do wear symbolizes both your good intentions and honour as policemen. It contrasts sharply with the bright-red tunics formerly worn by certain armies prior to the day when proton equivalents became quasi-electron equivalents and increasingly took on a role in society subsidiary to your own. One day, as I've already said, such protons-in-disguise will cease to exist, as society arrives at a completely absolute orientation favouring free-neutron equivalents alone. Which country is destined, I wonder, to become the first absolute police state?'
Still smiling, Brady closed the journal and put it away in the right-hand draw of his desk. Probably it would be safer if they all became absolute police states in conjunction, he mused. Assuming 'state' was really the appropriate term?
TWO KINDS OF STRENGTH
Clive Murtagh had the education of Geoffrey Kearns in mind when he eventually broke the silence between them by remarking: "The reason the Church has traditionally protected and supported the weak against the strong is that they are at least potentially, if not literally, in line for the 'Kingdom of Heaven', since more disposed, in consequence of their comparative physical weakness, to truth and spiritual striving than the strong."
Kearns smiled deferentially on the reception of this conjectural information and then admitted that it made good sense to him, since, so he went on to explain, the weak were passively rather than actively evil - weakness being a kind of aborted or tenuous strength.
Murtagh nodded sagaciously, mindful of his acquaintance's predilection for ironic paradox. "Weakness isn't, admittedly, a quality directed towards transcendence," he averred, "but, rather, a quantity that stems less directly from the Diabolic Alpha, constituting, in consequence, an indirect approach to the Divine Omega."
Kearns considered the metaphor of a sculptor chiselling some quality from a quantity of marble, before asking: "Could physical strength be attributed to the Diabolic Alpha, then?"
"I doubt it," Murtagh replied in a tone of voice more confident than his choice of words suggested, "because the diabolical absolutism of the subatomic is beneath matter, since existing on the purely soulful level of proton-proton reactions. Rather, the Diabolic Alpha signifies a soulful, sensual strength that we identify with gravitational force. But this soulful mind of the subatomic can cool, in the case of small stars, into planets, hardening into crust as the flame recedes towards the core, becoming molten. And with the emergence of matter we have the basis from which physical strength in minerals, plants, animals, and men can grow, strength itself being either qualitatively active, as with human beings, or quantitatively passive, as with rocks and certain types of mineral formation. A strong man can lift a great weight, but the material lifted can also be strong, in the sense of difficult or impossible to break. Perhaps 'hard' would be a better definition."
Kearns nodded respectful confirmation, then said: "Whereas 'powerful' would be a definition better suited to the active sense of strength, since it's generally in that sense that we refer to strong people, not simply in terms of their actually being physically strong. The weak, on the other hand, don't act powerfully, but are usually acted upon. And on that account they're doubtless more suited to a contemplative, passive approach to life, such as the Church recognizes as indicative of a divine orientation, and which it to some extent encourages."
Murtagh agreed in principle with most of Kearns' statement, but chose to embellish on it by saying: "Of course, the terms 'strong' and 'weak' are subject to modification in the course of time and may imply different attributes in consequence. The distinction between the strong and the weak at an early stage of human evolution, up to and including medieval times, was physical, whereas these days it's usually intellectual, as when we speak of the clever and the stupid, the latter term generally implying intellectual weakness. A man may be physically strong but mentally weak or, conversely, mentally strong but physically weak, and, as a rule, the two attributes don't fit together, since the one only thrives at the expense of the other. Most clever men, whom we recognize as geniuses, have been physically weak, whereas most strong men, whom we recognize as tyrants, have been mentally stupid. Not absolutely stupid of course, but nevertheless relatively so by comparison with men of intellectual genius."
"Clearly, one can't treat the intellectually strong and the physically weak as synonymous," Murtagh averred in a meditative tone-of-voice. "For while the Church has traditionally supported and influenced the physically weak, it has failed to attract the intellectually strong, who, particularly in recent centuries, have remained outside it as enemies from above rather than, as with the physically strong, from below. Even the intellectually weak, who are more often than not quite physically strong, haven't been attracted by it."
An image of the average proletarian, muscular and coarse-grained, entered Kearns' imagination, and he had to agree with Murtagh that, from a traditionally pre-intellectual point-of-view, the physically weak had been and still were the Church's main concern, given the fact that it was a relative institution in-between absolute extremes. Murtagh, however, was no Nietzsche - intellectually strong but physically weak - to deride the Church for supporting the weak. He despised the physically strong and regarded the physically weak as closer to the Divine Omega, if in an indirect kind of way. The closest of all, in his estimation, were the intellectually weak, or those who, under a different system, would be encouraged to directly aspire towards transcendence from a post-intellectual bias in transcendental meditation. Regardless of their physical constitution, they would be closer to the Divine Omega during the process of cultivating awareness for its own sake than were those who habitually used awareness for some purpose extraneous to itself, like thinking or writing or reading, and who corresponded, in consequence, to the intellectually strong. As the physically strong had to some extent made the physically weak what they were, so the intellectually strong would likewise make the intellectually weak what they were destined to become - transcenders of the will through spiritual self-absorption. Probably the intellectually strong would no more meditate on a regular basis than their ancestral counterparts, the physically strong, had regularly attended church. There was always a distinction between leaders of one sort or another and led, that is to say, between the governing and the governed. Such a distinction would not cease to exist until the superbeing millennium, when there would be neither leaders nor led but only Superbeings hypermeditating towards transcendence; new-brain collectivizations artificially supported and sustained in the ultimate classless society on earth.
But Murtagh, in his identification with the intellectually strong, had no respect for anarchists or those who, through ignorance, confounded socialism with all power to the people on a literal basis ... in deference to a kind of Marxist purism. Such opponents of socialist leaderships were more often than not deluded as to the nature of the coming millennium, which they erroneously conceived in humanistic terms, failing to perceive that no human society can become truly classless, moneyless, stateless, etc., but must be led and, if necessary, goaded along towards a society that could become such - namely, a post-human one and, more specifically, the most extreme post-human one at that, not strictly post-human so much as post-superhuman, which would only arise with the second, or superbeingful, phase of the millennium in question.
Ah, the intellectually weak! There could be no question of the intellectually strong allowing power to get into their hands! The people ruled in a socialist society all right, but only through their elected leaders, using that term in its most profound sense. The Marxist purists, however, seemed to think that the proletariat should literally govern themselves without recourse to bureaucratic interference or surveillance, without the need, in other words, for machinery of state. Fortunately, theirs wasn't the voice of authority in socialist affairs but existed, more often than not, as a kind of ideological impotence in Western states where, compliments of bourgeois connivance, it was free to criticize socialist regimes from an anarchic point-of-view.
No, Murtagh had no respect for people's anarchists, except, he once said, when their anarchy was directed against the bourgeois state, where it constituted a kind of indirect path to socialism through rebellion rather than revolution. The true people's leaders, however, were socialist revolutionaries, the intellectually strong who sought power in the name of the people, and this whether in a so-called communist context - in reality Bolshevik 'Red Fascism' - or in a democratic socialist one, depending on the historical/ideological circumstances. These revolutionaries weren't imposed on the people from above, as in bourgeois or aristocratic states, but either directly stemmed from the people, as proletarians, or indirectly stemmed from them, as intellectuals who nevertheless had their interests at heart.
Such leaders, Murtagh had no doubt, were entitled to serve the people as they, with their superior moral and intellectual qualities, determined, and to continue serving them irrespective of whether certain wayward elements among their numbers thought that the people should literally serve themselves, not least of all by getting rid of all leaders! Paradoxically, it would be the leaders who were destined to get rid of themselves, though not before proletarian civilization had got properly under way and transcendental values begun to assume increasing importance. Then the political/artistic leadership would wither, while the religious/technological leadership proceeded to blossom, so that, eventually, with the dawn of the Superman, only the latter would remain, to direct the progress of superhuman life towards that point in millennial time when, following the removal of the old brain from individual supermen, life was upgraded to the superbeing level and the remaining leadership, or technicians, could safely depart the scene, leaving the collectivized new-brains to hypermeditate, in the most free earthly context, towards transcendence. In the meantime, all power to the intellectually strong!
BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES
Three men were arguing over the value of their respective professions, and they were a philosopher, a novelist, and a poet. They existed within the confines of a relative, or atomic, civilization, where each profession was permitted and respected, though none so much as the novelist's. The relative civilization in question was a bourgeois/proletarian one, and although the heyday of novelistic relativity between philosophy and poetry had passed, the novelist's calling was still the most respected of the three, since a novel, even when biased towards poetry, was still relative and thus more relevant to such a civilization than either a work of philosophy or a collection of poems could ever be.
The novelist, a distinctly petty-bourgeois type, was getting the better of the philosopher and the poet, both of whom he despised, though for diametrically opposite reasons. To his way of thinking, the philosopher was essentially an aristocratic anachronism who pertained, in ancestral origin, to an absolute civilization, while the poet, by contrast, was essentially a proletarian anachronism pertaining to - as harbinger of - a transcendental as opposed to a pagan civilization, in which post-atomic rather than pre-atomic values would prevail.
Yes, from the novelist's standpoint there was something decidedly aristocratic about the philosopher and proletarian about the poet, something, in both cases, that connoted with an absolutism inimical to relativity. He was a novelist who leant more towards poetry than aimed to strike a balance between philosophy and poetry - a typically petty-bourgeois novelist. He despised, on principle, his creative predecessors, who, as bourgeois novelists, had aimed for and as often as not struck just such a balance and were accordingly the most relative of novelists. He found there was too much philosophy in such a balance for his liking. Yet even they, he claimed, were less despicable than their predecessors, the grand-bourgeois novelists, whose works leant towards philosophy and were accordingly antithetical in constitution to his own.
No, the grand-bourgeois types were decidedly too close to the aristocracy for his liking! They were virtually philosophers, he was apt to claim in a less than generous mood, whose relativity was rather too proton-biased for petty-bourgeois sensibilities to abide. And sometimes, as he recently found out, they weren't seventeenth- or eighteenth-century figures but ... virtual contemporaries - grand-bourgeois authors living in the twentieth century, compliments of petty-bourgeois relativity! Ah, was there not a kind of grand-bourgeois/bourgeois/petty-bourgeois distinction between, for example, the novels of Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, and Lawrence Durrell? Did one not encounter the entire gamut of novelistic evolution in the respective novels of these three twentieth-century masters? Wasn't it true that whereas Huxley's most representative novels leant down, as it were, towards philosophy and Durrell's most representative novels leant up towards poetry, the most representative novels of Anthony Burgess aimed at and usually struck a balance between the two absolutes in a quintessentially bourgeois relativity?
To be sure, Burgess may, from our novelist's viewpoint, be preferable to Huxley, but he was still one of those novelists whom our hero was obliged to despise for his balanced prose between sub- and supra-atomic extremes. Durrell was the closest to our novelist's poetic predilection, and consequently the one whom he was obliged to regard as an equal, if only on technical grounds. At least Durrell was a petty-bourgeois novelist!
Of course, philosophers and poets had long existed within the respective confines of evolving relative civilization. Philosophers had even existed long before the first of those confines made its appearance in the world, as in ancient Greece, and in such numbers that it was a job to keep track of them all, let alone count them, particularly if one was a man of our novelist's poetic predilection! Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were merely the tip of the pagan iceberg, names with whom everyone who had undergone any schooling were pretty familiar, irrespective of whether or not they had ever studied philosophy. The truest and, some would say, greatest philosophers, however, were the pre-Socratic Greeks, those who could genuinely lay claim to an absolutism the equal of the Stoic aristocrats. Later, as Greek civilization evolved into grand-bourgeois relativity, playwrights arose to dilute the philosophical absolutism of the Greeks and displace philosophy from its throne, a task made easier by certain contemporary philosophers whose decadence is too well-known to warrant comment here.
These late philosophers and early playwrights weren't averse to sharing the limelight with each other, though they jostled for honours in the Greek Pantheon. For anyone who thinks that Homer, the so-called earliest Greek poet, was really a part of this civilization, particularly in its absolute manifestation, our novelistic hero would have scant sympathy! To his way of thinking, Homer was neither a Greek nor a poet, but a Cretan chronicler of early-Greek history! But that, I suppose, is sadly beside the point. The Greeks, like the Romans, specialized in philosophy, but, unlike their Roman counterparts, they excelled in it. By the time the Romans entered their decadence, philosophy held a place of honour only among the most jaded of aristocrats, the bourgeois populace preferring theatre and that new relativity, the novel, which of course the Christians were to develop and bring to perfection, if by 'perfection' is meant striking a balance between philosophy and poetry - a contention, however, which our novelist wouldn't regard as warranting lasting respect!
Neither, for that matter, does the philosopher, who, breaking out of his shell of stoical reserve, lets it be known that philosophy, too, was developed, if not perfected, by the Christians, both in terms of the Church Fathers and, later, the secular philosophers of the Enlightenment. Indeed, a study of history revealed that each and every civilization, regardless of its geographical confines, required a philosopher of substance behind it in order to formulate the philosophy by which it would eventually live. What Augustine had been to the aristocratic pagan/Catholic civilization of the early-Middle Ages, Aquinas was to the grand-bourgeois Catholic civilization of the Middle Ages-proper. And what Luther had been to the bourgeois Protestant civilization of the late-Middle Ages, Schopenhauer was to the petty-bourgeois Neo-Oriental civilization of the Industrial Age. Needless to say, any future proletarian civilization - if we exempt Marx from such an honour for want of religious credibility - would likewise require its philosophical harbinger to establish the philosophy by which it would live. No civilization sprang from a void but, on the contrary, from the Word, which determined its growth.
So saying, the philosopher relapsed into silence; for he knew that there was no arguing against the justification for a final philosopher, who would usher in a transcendental civilization. That would be a truly absolute classical civilization, beyond the relative classicism of petty-bourgeois Neo-Orientalism and antithetical to the absolute romanticism of aristocratic paganism. The pendulum of religious evolution had swung, when viewed in an absolutist way, from the romantic to the classic via romantic/classic Christian relativities. Catholicism was the end of religious romanticism, Protestantism the beginning of its classicism. But in the relativity of Christian civilization, they existed cheek-by-jowl, as it were, in an uneasy symbiosis at times degenerating into open conflict.
And the same might be said of the grand-bourgeois philosophically-biased novelist and the petty-bourgeois poetically-biased one, not to mention the bourgeois novelist in between, who were each subject to the tensions inherent in a relative civilization, and who reserved their chief critical barbs, when intellectual violence was in the air, for their relativistic opponents rather than for the absolute extremes of philosopher and poet, whom they tended to regard as outsiders.
Nevertheless the poet, who now ventured to speak, insisted that the life-span of relative writing was drawing to a close and assured the novelist that the sands of novelistic time were running out, never to return. The future belonged to himself and his kind, he averred, though they would undergo a transformation from the individual plane of poets to the collective plane of poetic theosophists, and thus exist at a transcendent remove from their creative ancestors. Naturally, philosophy would cease to be written, since, technically speaking, it connoted with the aristocratic, proton side of things and therefore couldn't be tolerated in a post-atomic society, which, of necessity, would pertain to the most classical civilization in transcendent passivity. Only poetic theosophists would exist, and their work would be of an appropriately free-electron order, elevated beyond proton constraint in the absolute freedom of meaningless words, of grammar-free abstractions. That, maintained the poet, was what civilized proletarian writing would be all about and, needless to say, no petty-bourgeois novelist could be relevant to such a civilization. The poetic novel would end with the death of petty-bourgeois civilization, that is to say, with its murder from without. The birth of absolute poetic writing would follow at the appropriate hour, born of an internal proletariat whose destiny was to further proletarian civilization in the wake of what the external proletariats of the world ... in, for example, the film industry ... had destroyed.
All this didn't, of course, sound very pleasant to the poetic novelist's relative ears, though he had to admit that the poet, for all his absolutism, was hardly a direct threat to himself, which was probably just as well, else they might have come to physical strife. Together with the philosopher, the poet was simply an outsider in this relative civilization - more of an outsider, in fact, than poets and philosophers generally were. They couldn't be regarded as enemies, no! Though they could hardly be classified as friends, either. They pertained to a different order, the one beneath, the other above the confines of relative civilization. Only he, the novelist, was truly contemporary, if, in a sense, less so than the filmic barbarians on the proletarian side of bourgeois/proletarian civilization.
One day Miranda turned to me at table and, referring to a recent essay of mine, said: "You seem to have the next civilization in mind more than anything else these days, Jim. You must be its leading authority!"
I smiled defensively, though not without an undertone of pride, and confessed to the probable truth of that assumption.
Miranda shot me one of her characteristically ironic smiles and, while pouring me some more tea, remarked that, as I saw it, life in the transcendental civilization struck her as being a good deal better than it had been in any previous civilization - indeed, so good as to be virtually heavenly. "For instance, there won't be any noisy dogs barking and well-nigh driving one mad in the process, since, as you say, they'll have been removed."
I nodded confirmation and said: "Yes, dogs may be acceptable within the confines of a relative civilization, such as exists in the contemporary West, but they'd be totally unacceptable in an absolute civilization that happened to be transcendental. Those animals would have to be removed during the interim phase of evolution between the end of the old civilization and the start of the new one, so that, by the time transcendentalism got properly under way, everything that smacked of allegiance to the pagan, diabolic roots of life would have been extirpated, whether one includes under that rubric the toleration of dogs, the teaching of Latin, the perpetuation of absolute class distinctions, the worship of the Father (not to mention His only begotten Son), marriage, sexual discrimination, or anything else equally applicable to the relative past."
Miranda smiled wanly while listening to my enumerations, then said: "An absolute society could not tolerate beasts who weren't strictly essential to human survival.... Hmm, not being a dog-lover myself, I kind of approve of such a measure. Dogs are such low creatures!"
"So low," I confirmed without hesitation, "that they can only utter a monosyllabic grunt or bark or growl or whine, assuming 'monosyllabic' is the correct word! No, a transcendental man won't be partial to creatures that, when not barking or messing the pavement, spend most of their time dozing or sleeping. The mere sight of that would be objectionable to him, as it now is to me, since I already live, at least theoretically, on the transcendent plane."
Miranda wasn't one to quibble with that, though I could tell there was something else on her mind which might have amounted to a quibble, if pressed into the open. "Another thing that intrigued me about your essay was its reference to women, particularly skirt-wearing ones."
"Ah yes," I responded, breaking into a wan smile of my own. "I doubt that women will be encouraged to wear skirts in the next civilization, since that would connote with the vagina and thereby denote bourgeois sexism. A post-atomic society would be elevated above heterosexual distinctions, and so women, or rather their superhuman successors (as we should call the truly liberated proletarian women of the future), would always dress in trousers or, more specifically, some kind of synthetic pants."
Miranda raised incredulous eyebrows. "Always?" she quibbled.
"Yes, just as men, or rather pseudo-men, always used to wear skirt-like clothing in the truly pre-atomic age of, for example, the ancient Greeks and Romans," I averred. "That was a unisexual feminine absolutism which contrasts, if only in imagination at present, with the unisexual masculine absolutism of the future post-atomic age. During the atomic age, however, trousers made their first appearance in society, stressing, in contrast to skirts, the phallic aspect of life. Thus men came into their own, albeit as bound-electron equivalents, to maintain a separate identity from women, who continued to wear skirts or dresses, being proton equivalents in the heterosexual duality of atomic society. Even these days, at the tail-end of relative civilization, women are entitled to wear unequivocally feminine attire if they so choose; though the threat of an absolute age is seemingly never far away, in consequence of which many of them also wear trousers, at least intermittently, in accordance with their evolving status towards Supermen."
Miranda blushed at this point. For, as usual, she was wearing a pair of tight-fitting denims which asserted a superhuman status in confirmation of what I had just said. Living in a petty-bourgeois world, however, she was less than partial to the permanent use of such jeans. She had her skirts all right, and they were reserved for special occasions. Most of them were short and, mindful of this fact, I now ventured the theory that the length of a skirt or dress varied with the degree of relativity pertaining to each phase of relative civilization, as well, of course, as with the class integrity of individual women in any given phase of it.
"Please explain yourself in greater detail," Miranda requested of me, avid, as ever, for concrete knowledge.
"Well, let's just say that, generally speaking, a long skirt or dress will be most relevant to the grand-bourgeois phase of such a civilization, a medium-length skirt or dress most relevant to its bourgeois phase, and, finally, a miniskirt or minidress most relevant to its petty-bourgeois phase," I responded. "Thus as evolution proceeds towards a phallic absolutism the vaginal symbolism of the skirt and/or dress is reduced, so that the feminine contracts as the masculine expands."
"How expands?" Miranda not unreasonably wanted to know.
"In terms of the number of people wearing trousers as opposed to skirts or dresses, most modern women wearing trousers at least some of the time and thereby confirming the expansion of the masculine element in life," I confidently replied. "Of course, the individual's class, not to mention age, will condition her choice of clothing, which is why, even in this bourgeois/proletarian age, many women wear either medium-length or long skirts and dresses in accordance with their bourgeois or grand-bourgeois status, whereas it's usually proletarian women, by contrast, who wear trousers - either literally or, more usually, in the sense of jeans or slacks. Petty-bourgeois women, as already suggested, are more disposed to miniskirts and/or minidresses, though they occasionally settle for medium-length feminine attire and trousers as well."
Miranda smiled confirmation of this perception and reminded me, by drawing attention to what she was currently wearing, that jeans were her first choice. "So we have this relativity in terms of evolving skirt-lengths as well as with distinctions between skirts and trousers, the latter mostly for men, in between the two extremes of very long skirts and trousers only, do we?" she concluded, after a short but evidently reflective pause.
"That's broadly how I see it," I confirmed. "Though the first extreme, which is essentially pagan, calls rather for the designation of robes or togas, as pertaining to an aristocratic age. Thus from robes to long skirts and/or dresses, and from that grand-bourgeois stage of evolution to the medium-length feminine attire of the bourgeois stage, which in turn led to the miniskirt/minidress stage of the petty-bourgeoisie in the late-twentieth century - the stage still officially prevailing in the greater part of the Western world."
"A stage that will presumably be superseded by the exclusive absolutism of trouser-wearing humanity with the future advent of proletarian civilization?" Miranda conjectured.
"Absolutely," I somewhat ironically assured her. "It will be illegal for anyone to wear a skirt or a dress, even of short length, in the transcendental future, since such a tendency would imply relativity in deference to heterosexual criteria, and no relativity could possibly be tolerated in an absolute age. Quite simply, women will no longer exist, having been effectively superseded by female supermen who, in the interests of social uniformity and post-sexist freedom, will dress like their masculine counterparts. Even phrases like 'sexual discrimination' will cease to apply, because there'll be no women to discriminate against, such phrases being relative to bourgeois/proletarian civilization - like, for example, the term 'liberated woman'."
Miranda looked slightly puzzled. "You mean, a liberated woman is only relevant to petty-bourgeois relativity, in which a degree of sexism still prevails?" she ventured to suggest.
"Absolutely!" I replied. "The term 'liberated woman' is itself petty bourgeois, being on approximately the same level as the miniskirt. There'll be no such liberated women in the transcendental civilization, only female supermen, who'll have evolved out of the proletariat."
"Thus feminism only has applicability to the bourgeois West," Miranda deduced.
I nodded confirmation and then remarked: "Feminism, as Westerners currently understand it, would be as irrelevant to a transcendental society as ... petty-bourgeois abstract art or acoustic atonal music. It pertains, in the main, to petty-bourgeois women who, in a late relative age, desire more sexual/social freedoms than their gender were previously accustomed to, and who consider themselves liberated when such freedoms are granted. Yet they don't consider themselves female supermen, since that would pertain to an absolute age and then only to proletarians - the class from which such people are destined to spring."
Miranda looked quite relieved by now, as though a doubt or muddle had been cleared up. "Ah, so now I understand how irrelevant skirts would be to female supermen!" she averred. "Just as trousers had been irrelevant to pseudo-men in the age before they evolved into genuine men and acquired, on the electron side of an atomic integrity, the right to wear them. Tell me, would these female supermen of the future be encouraged to wear make-up or long hair and nails?"
I emphatically shook my head and replied: "Out of the question! They would have to look like men, genuine men, as well as dress like them. They would be quasi-electron equivalents, the lesser equals of free-electron equivalents. And, of course, they would never become wives, as relative women tend to do. After all, I haven't married you, since that would be contrary to my post-atomic principles and undermine your status, in my eyes, as a female superman."
"Ah, but officially I suppose I'm really a liberated female," Miranda countered, "because we don't as yet exist within the absolute confines of a transcendental civilization."
"Even so, a liberated female doesn't have to become a wife," I retorted, blushing slightly in spite of my apparent cool. "Though, alas, most of them eventually do! But you aren't really a petty bourgeois, so you can't be a liberated female. Just someone who's potentially a female superman."
She smiled indulgently and admitted to the probable truth of that statement.
* * *
I find it difficult not to like Jim, even when he says things that puzzle me or does things to me that seem odd at the time but which, on reflection, appear logical and just. He has a special aptitude, these days, for thrusting a vibrator into my crack, which he claims saves him unnecessary coital effort and thus makes life easier for us. It's as if the vibrator has become a substitute for the real thing. At least, that seems to be the case at present, though he's not averse to a little physical effort concerning one or two other channels of communication!
"What are you thinking about?" Jim asks, as well he might under the circumstances. He is half-smiling, like he suspects some kind of foul-play.
"You!" I candidly confess, to his evident relief, since his half-smile blossoms into an overt display of positive emotion, such as he only occasionally indulges in with me, and then usually in bed. Smiling he despises, regarding the habit as bourgeois. He never smiles in public.
"And what have I done?" Jim asks innocently.
"What haven't you done?" I retort, trying to keep a straight face.
"Perhaps I don't want to do it today," Jim replies in typically oblique fashion. And I have to chuckle, which is also something he never does.
"You're not always absolutist," I remark, trying not to sound critical.
Jim blushes faintly and says: "The next civilization is still ahead of us, though I doubt that such absolutism as you're alluding to would be strictly necessary, nor could it be consistently enforced."
"Maybe that's just as well," I smilingly remark, "else mankind might die out."
Jim emphatically shakes his head. "They'll have devised artificial means of safeguarding mankind's survival, involving, amongst other things, artificial insemination from sperm banks. Children won't be born to couples, as in bourgeois civilization, but will be brought into the world on an impersonal basis and raised in a no-less impersonal, collective way. There won't be any couples, but only people - female supermen and male supermen - who'll be free to select partners on a temporary basis, as their sexual preferences dictate. Probably sex will mostly become an individual, personal affair in any case, so that partners, in the traditional marital sense, won't be required - people taking care of their respective sexual needs with the aid of either computerized models or plastic inflatables/vibrators, depending on their gender."
I open my mouth in astonishment. "You mean that female supermen will find sexual satisfaction through vibrators, like the one you've just thrust into me?"
Jim smiles defensively and replies: "Yes. Whereas the male supermen will find such satisfaction or relief as they may desire in the contemplation and/or perusal and possible utilization, with or without a sex doll, of pornographic erotica, using the term in a general rather than a particular way. Sex, in other words, will become artificial and transcendent, as to a certain extent it already is these days in the bourgeois/proletarian West, where a limited degree of transcendentalism prevails and one is accordingly free, though under no obligation, to purchase such pornography - more usually in magazine and video formats - or sex aids as one may desire."
I nod my head as if in confirmation, though more out of impulse than anything else, and remark: "Whereas it would presumably be obligatory, in an absolute civilization, to indulge in artificial or personal sex."
"Yes, since the relativity which accrues to bourgeois/proletarian civilization would have been transcended, making it morally untenable to perpetuate dualistic and naturalistic sex. Consequently there would be no couples, because a post-atomic society would be elevated above an atomic integrity. So those who continued to indulge in atomic sex might well find themselves exposed to the risk of prosecution, not to mention official contempt."
"So it's unlikely that people would swap partners on a heterosexual basis, as frequently happens in the contemporary West," I find myself saying.
"Highly unlikely," Jim confirms in deadly earnestness. "What happens these days would seem to be a step towards the complete severance of dualistic ties, a kind of loosening of them in pseudo-atomic promiscuity. With the dawn of a post-atomic civilization, however, no such promiscuity could be countenanced. For it might lead to a female superman becoming pregnant naturally, through heterosexual intercourse, and that would be morally unacceptable in a transcendental society, where pregnancies would have to be achieved artificially, compliments of artificial insemination."
"So female and male supermen would not have heterosexual sex together," I respond, drawing the inevitable conclusions.
"No, definitely not!" Jim assures me. "That would be atomic and could lead to grave consequences. In this respect, modern contraception may be seen as a petty-bourgeois stratagem designed to get the better of nature without transcending heterosexual ties. Where, however, there were no such ties there would be scant need for or justification of contraception, since birth control would be regulated from an artificial standpoint, as pertaining to sperm banks and the artificial insemination of female supermen according to requirement and suitability, following the dictates of careful planning. No-one would think of having heterosexual relations with anyone else; for female supermen couldn't be treated as women, not even as liberated ones, which would be a reversion to petty-bourgeois criteria. Even homosexual relations would be frowned upon - there being too much flesh involved for a transcendental civilization to countenance."
I give vent to a slight feeling of relief and say: "So in the actual transcendental civilization, only artificial sex would be morally acceptable, the idea of establishing or maintaining sexual ties with anyone being taboo, since relative."
Jim nods in confirmation, then qualifies my remarks by adding: "Of course, people of genuinely homosexual inclination ought to be allowed access to homosexual pornography, assuming there'll continue to be a distinction between the genuinely homosexual and the unisexual; though most pornography will probably continue to be unisexual, as involving the services of female supermen whose rumps are fairly prominent or, at any rate, prominently displayed. Probably the majority of such supermen will be more disposed, in any case, to the use of a vibrator than pornography ..."
"Not to mention certain other types of stimuli," I interpolate, more as a suggestion than a qualification.
"And yet there may come a time," Jim continues, still deeply engrossed in speculation, "when even pornography and plastic inflatables/vibrators will be frowned upon and prohibited."
"On what grounds?" I ask, becoming puzzled.
"Primarily on the grounds that they cause sexual pleasure, a fact which, whilst acceptable in a relative civilization, may become less than credible in an absolute one, where pleasure, together with other manifestations of sexual indulgence like love and happiness, would be effectively taboo, since connected with the soul rather than the spirit. In a civilization dedicated first and foremost - one might almost say exclusively - to awareness, anything that serves the senses wouldn't find much official support. So your vibrator might well be disapproved of at that juncture in time - possibly a mature phase in the evolution of post-atomic civilization."
I smile defensively, slightly censorious of Jim's long-range style of puritanism, and say: "If that's the case, then man may well end-up not indulging in any form of sex at all."
"That's quite possible," Jim says, "since he is destined to be
superseded by a life form, namely the post-human superman, dedicated to spiritual concerns, and would have to evolve towards that largely artificial being in the course of time."
I nod my head in apparent agreement, then remark: "So the path of evolution, in sexual matters, would seem to lead from pagan pre-dualistic orgies to Christian dualistic marriage, and from there to transcendental post-dualistic artifice."
"Which could alternatively be defined, in relative terms, as a progression from feminine to masculine via androgynous sexuality," Jim avers solemnly. "The feminine stage of sexuality focusing on the vagina and implying vaginal-biased oral sex, or cunnilingus; the androgynous stage dividing the focus of attention between vagina and penis; and, finally, the masculine stage focusing attention on the penis and implying phallic-biased oral sex, or fellatio ... this being the liberated woman's approach to masculinity, which complements, it seems to me, the anal approach to masculinity - a difference between the spiritualistic and the materialistic, as pertaining to alternative aspects of petty-bourgeois relativity. So one must distinguish between vaginal oral sex on the grand-bourgeois level, vaginal/phallic oral sex on the bourgeois level, and phallic oral sex on the petty-bourgeois level - each phase of relative evolution betokening a progression from the feminine to the masculine, though this last phase falls short of the artificial sexuality of ... computer-generated erotica and plastic inflatables/vibrators, which is, after all, the goal of sexual evolution."
I smile anew, baffled and wonderstruck by Jim's extraordinary powers of logical acumen. "Thus after the cock-sucking/pornographic relativity of petty-bourgeois civilization, we must expect a progression to pornographic absolutism via an interim period of unisexual absolutism, or something of the kind," I conclude.
To my great surprise Jim laughs briefly and, removing the vibrator from between my numb legs, exclaims: "Oh Miranda, you're such a darling muddlehead that I shall just have to go barbarian in you for a few minutes in order to cure you of your petty-bourgeois cock-sucking tendencies and impress upon you, once and for all, that proletarian women are not to behave like liberated females, or to consider themselves as such!"
"But I'm a female superman!" I protest, trying to sound serious.
"Then I shall have to step down from my theoretical perch and damn-well treat you like one," Jim says. "Which should give you cause to smile." And, sure enough, he sticks to his word, switching on the vibrator and thrusting it deep inside me.
"Of course, not being a practising Christian, I don't regard the Second Coming literally in terms of Christ's return," Brian Dillon informs us in a slightly condescending tone-of-voice, as the train wound on through the lush green countryside. "The man who corresponds to a Second Coming will bear a different name from Christ and thus approximate more to the Jewish concept of a True World Messiah, in other words a messiah whose teachings can and, eventually, will be adopted by every country on earth, not just those which currently pertain to the Christian West. The literal return of Christ, assuming it were possible, would not mean a great deal to those who had been conditioned to Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, or Judaic religious traditions. Rather, the Second Coming corresponds to a new Christ-like figure who, as well as serving the West, will ultimately serve the whole world by being both distinct from and superior to Christ in the scope and depth of his teachings. False messiahs, of which there have been hundreds if not thousands, may well call themselves the Christ and, in doing so, render themselves ridiculous not only to those who have no religious affiliation with Christianity but, not altogether surprisingly, to many so-called Christians too who, deep down, aren't really expecting the literal return of Christ, and for the simple reason that they're Christian in name only, having long abandoned most of the theological claims and beliefs of the Christian faith, sometimes within the context of the Church, often beyond it ... in some form of Neo-Orientalism, as implying yoga."
Both of us smile at this point, and I venture the opinion that the man who corresponded to a Second Coming would have no taste for the belief that he was literally Christ, being, in many respects, anti-Christian.
"Yes, Jason, and the irony of it all," Dillon continues, "is that such a man would be determined to replace the Church and remove its chief upholders from the society he had come to establish, deeming them an obstacle to evolutionary progress! So while Christians may theoretically be awaiting Christ's return, mindful that, when he returns, the wheat will be divided from the chaff in a kind of Last Judgement, the man destined to fulfil the role of True World Messiah would be obliged to mark some of them out as chaff impeding further evolutionary progress through their insistence on a literal interpretation of Christian belief! He would have come not to save hard-line Christians, with their Biblical fundamentalism, but to set proletarians, who are generally outside the doctrinal confines of the Church, on the road to salvation. Paradoxically, hard-line Christians, though they may speak of a Second Coming, would be among the first to oppose the teachings of a True World Messiah, which would both threaten and supersede the atomic integrity of their civilization, with its priests and churches. The only Messiah they could reasonably endorse would be the one who died on the Cross and who could be expected, on his returning, to save them for being what they were. How, I don't exactly know. But, then, I'm not a hard-line Christian in the strict sense of that word, but a predominantly rational person who isn't deceived by theological beliefs!"
"You're a typical modern barbarian," opines Sheila with another smile on her lips, "for whom the True World Messiah would have genuine respect - the last thing he'd have for all those hypocritical bourgeoisie with their belief in a literal return of Christ! One of the most depressing aspects of life in the West is that the fools and intellectually weak are, in all too many contexts, protected from the wise and intellectually strong, so that the latter are obliged to bow before the feelings and beliefs of the former, or keep their thoughts to themselves!"
"In accordance with the democratic principles of an open society, a civilization rooted in the Diabolic Alpha," Dillon rejoins, his tone of voice betraying more than a hint of hard-edged emotion. "One might say that the provinces dictate to the city in such an open society."
I nod my head in agreement and remark that in a closed society that was open to meaningful religious change in the direction of the Divine Omega, by contrast, it would be the city that dictates policy, with a consequence that fools and laggards would be given a rough ride - assuming they weren't done away with altogether.
"O for the dictatorship of the intelligent!" Sheila exclaims, as if to herself. "What an agreeable change it would be ... living in a society where anachronistic fools and stupid people in general, with their mediocre views and opinions, were obliged to bow before the will of the intelligent for a change!"
Brian Dillon chuckles
briefly, his head
tilted to one side, and says: "And where those who cannot be reformed
improved upon are banished from that society in a true spirit of
damnation, all kinds of imbecile riffraff who would have flourished in
alpha-stemming open-society context. Of
course, the True World Messiah would not make war on those who were
Christian but, in actuality, less than genuine believers in
Christianity. He would not intern or do
away with the great
majority of people - often proletarian - who regularly attend church in
Catholic country as
I nod full approval of this information and add, largely for Dillon's benefit, that while the supersession of churches would be a major objective of the revolution, it would be necessary to utilize them or, rather, their upholders during the attainment to and consolidation of power, else transcendentalism could end-up fighting a losing battle with the tradition.
"That's quite so!" Dillon responds. "For sooner or later, Jason, we'll win sufficient grass-roots support from clergy and laity alike to carry us to power. There can be no alternative for our country than the way we've mapped out. That way is harnessed to the teachings of the True World Messiah, who cannot fail us, being an integral part of historical necessity."
"He cannot fail us, for he has the Truth," Sheila remarks as an afterthought.
I smile and remain silent, since we have arrived at our destination now and it is accordingly time for us to alight from the compartment, leaving Dillon to continue on his solitary way. It was a long but interesting journey, having the conversation of such a radical, if at times hot-headed, man at our disposal. Who knows, but perhaps we shall meet again, if not in this life then probably in the next one?
As a writer, Kevin Danby could be described as an idealist rather than a realist, and thus as one who depends on imagination more than observation - in short, as a spiritualist, so to speak, rather than a materialist. One of his favourite authors is Tolkien, the creator of that masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. One of his main literary aversions, however, is Zola, that bulwark of literary realism. The realists he despises as paralleling a socialist approach to the world; the idealists, by contrast, he admires, as paralleling a transcendental approach to it. He likes to think of himself as a transcendentalist, a man for whom the expansion of the spiritual element in life is more important than the contraction of the material element there, relatively important as that is. He claims that progressive proletarian literature is divisible between a 'red' and a 'white' approach to the world, that one can tell whether an author is a materialist or a spiritualist, so to speak, by the nature and content of his work. We are back to a familiar distinction between the mundane and the transcendent, the emotional and the spiritual.
Not surprisingly, Danby will tell you that imaginative literature is inherently superior to its observational counterpart on the same class plane. You cannot treat the apparent and the essential approaches to literature as equal. Huxley and Koestler, though arguably petty-bourgeois authors, don't write on the same level. The one is more concerned with the inner world, the other with the outer one. Their temperaments are virtually antithetical. Schopenhauer distinguished between inner and outer when he wrote The World as Will and Representation. Danby will tell you that 'Will' corresponds to imagination and 'Representation' to observation. The imaginative author can free himself, through his work, from the representational. The observant author, no matter how engrossed in his work, remains its slave. The former aspires towards the Divine Omega, whereas the latter, dependent on representation, stems from the Diabolic Alpha. He may be orange rather than red, but he falls a long way short of white!
Kevin Danby, with his interest in politics, will tell you that a red absolutism is impossible and therefore could never arise. A world entirely given to the materialist approach to literature could never arise, because a material/spiritual dichotomy runs through the world in response to evolutionary relativity - at least this has been the case since man outgrew pagan absolutism and attained to a dualistic, and therefore partly transcendental, integrity ... with the development of religions like Christianity. Yet, in evolving away from one absolutism towards another, man will certainly arrive at a point in time when the spiritual approach to literature entirely supersedes the materialist approach, as a white, or transcendental, civilization is established throughout the world in conformity with evolutionary requirement, and man pursues an exclusively essential course towards the post-human millennium. Such an idealistic literature, appertaining to proletarian civilization, will be a good deal different from and superior to the representationally imaginative literature of masters like Tolkien and Huxley. It will be completely abstract, denying appearances in a wholly transcendent context - imagination free to wander where it may in the most radical literary essence. Man will be weaned of proton constraints in this free-electron literature of spiritual absolutism. Words would no longer be chained, like so many slaves, to appearances. They would be free to dissolve into meaningless essence. Danby is already experimenting with such abstract literature at present, in anticipation, one might say, of the coming transcendental civilization. Such literature, he claims, will complement the most serialized atonal electronic music and the most classically abstract holography.
Is he right, I wonder? Knowing Danby as I do, I would say that he's partly right or, at any rate, that what he says may hold true for a time. Certainly, visual education and/or entertainment, such as one acquires from computers, will continue to appeal to most people, since computers are to a limited extent the evolutionary successors to books. Read books? Middle-class intellectuals will probably continue to do so, but the majority of people will prefer, I feel confident, the more spiritually-relaxing medium of computers. Books are destined to die out, though not, apparently, before they've attained to a maximum essence!
* * *
the makings of a perfect female superman,"
"How flattering!" exclaimed Nicola Clarke, the impetus of which exclamation induced a slight shift of position in her own, not uncomfortable chair. "Though there aren't many liberated females in late twentieth-century Ireland, bearing in mind that our country isn't strictly an integral part of bourgeois/proletarian civilization, as applying, in the main, to America and Western Europe. Most women who aren't bourgeois tend to be potentially supermen."
Nicola laughed gently before responding with: "You mean, even shallow vaginal symbolism will be out of the question with female supermen?"
"Indeed I do,"
"Something which they're already becoming these days," Nicola suggested, as if to console her overly philosophic companion.
"Yes, though I still
encounter a great
many skirt-wearers on the street,"
Nicola couldn't resist the
impulse to laugh
anew, especially as she herself possessed one or two long dresses and
which, however, she had sometime ago given-up wearing, though they had
regular choice during her youth, when moral ignorance made the wearing
number of blatantly sexist things rather blissful. Youth,
"Well, at least you can't despise me on that account," Nicola at length rejoined, her amusement having made no conciliatory impression on the occupant of the other armchair. "I'm usually to be found in jeans - namely cords and denims. Though occasionally I have my feminine relapses and wear a short skirt, such as I know you personally take some pleasure in, despite your theoretical pretensions. After all, I'm only potentially a female superman. Just as you, in this transitional period of evolutionary time, are only potentially a male superman and therefore don't automatically object to my skirt-wearing tendencies."
Edmond Martin blushed faintly, more out of a need to quell the amusement mounting in his soul than as a betrayal of embarrassment. "What I would automatically object to," he asseverated, "is the sight of your miniskirted legs bereft of nylon stockings! I don't mind being confronted by the graceful outlines of your legs, providing the flesh is covered. And preferably in a dark colour, like the pairs of blue and black stockings you habitually wear. Anything else would strike my potentially transcendental psyche as unacceptably pagan."
This time it was Nicola's turn to blush, and not from suppressed amusement either! "Whilst I may have paraded bare legs from time to time in my youth," she confessed, "I would no more think of doing so these days, than of going about in a long skirt. As you well know!"
"Indeed I do," Edmond Martin admitted, his own blush having subsided. "Though it's pleasantly reassuring to be reminded of the fact." He took a short reflective pause, then continued: "Of course, like skirts, stockings will become obsolete in the future, since they pertain to a relative age and are what, in common parlance, one might describe as 'the best of a bad job', largely because they cover the flesh without actually hiding its contours, like a pair of trousers would tend to do."
"Trousers don't hide the contours of a female's rump," Nicola briskly retorted.
"Thank goodness for that!" Edmond Martin declared. "For if they did, you'd never get women to wear them."
* * *
As a philosopher Edmond Martin stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries, mainly because he writes from a broadly proletarian rather than a narrowly petty-bourgeois point of view. None of his works has been published in the West to-date, which is only to be expected, since what he writes has little or no applicability to Western society as it's currently constituted. This isn’t to say it would be welcomed with open arms in the former Soviet East at this point in time, either! There is too much transcendentalism in his work for that to happen. Socialists, he assures me, will be converted to transcendentalism in due course, once circumstances permit the supersession of Marxism and the world tends towards a white absolutism from a social base. One apparently can't expect any such thing to happen for some time yet, however.
Getting back to the West, which Edmond Martin characterizes as a bourgeois/proletarian civilization, the fact is, he tells me, that artists fare much better than philosophers as a rule, and for a very good reason: namely that the emphasis in an extreme relative civilization will be on entertainment rather than information, enlightenment, or instruction. In other words, being entertained is the norm for a civilization such as this, particularly when it is drawing towards a climax and actually existing in its ultimate spiritual manifestation. Entertainment, which he sees as the chief business of petty-bourgeois artists, accords with the beingful essence of this stage of relative civilization - instruction and/or enlightenment, by contrast, affirming a doingful ethic which, whilst of some applicability to the West, could become dangerously irrelevant to the spiritual integrity of such a civilization, and for the simple reason that, in any extreme guise, it would counsel or encourage revolutionary change where none was desired. Such counsel, he maintains, can only be applicable to a state historically destined for revolution, that is to say, to one that isn't strictly an integral part of bourgeois/proletarian civilization and is therefore entitled to its philosopher, whose instruction should fall, like seed, on fallow ground, to bring forth the fruit of revolutionary change.
So one must distinguish, he informs us, between the educator and the entertainer, and understand that while the former will be something of a pariah in an extreme relative civilization, such as currently exists in the West, the latter will be honoured as the creator of a literary 'promised land' germane to the ideological integrity of the civilization in question. Only a few philosophers can be tolerated in such a civilization and, needless to say, they will have to be bourgeois or petty-bourgeois types, whose work falls well-short of advocating revolutionary change. Their status as philosophers, however, will fall somewhat short of the leading artists.
Of course, writing on a proletarian level, Edmond Martin isn't strictly a philosopher but, so he tells me, a philosophical theosophist, a status which apparently signifies a convergence to omega on the level of philosophically-biased literature - pure philosophy, according to him, being a thing of the past, modern philosophic writing having to accommodate itself to the poetic bias of the age and transcend philosophy from a literary base. The contemporary petty-bourgeois variety will do so relatively, which is to say, in terms of being divisible between an essayistic purism and a novelistic relativity in which philosophical theorizing will predominate, constituting the very raison d'être, as it were, of their existence. The futuristic proletarian variety will, in accordance with post-atomic criteria, transcend philosophy absolutely, which is to say, from the homogeneous context of philosophical theosophy - the resultant volume transcending both the absolute context of pure philosophy and the relative context of novelistic literature. Hence Edmond Martin can be described as neither a philosopher nor a novelist but only as a philosophical theosophist, the root educator/enlightener appertaining to the inception and subsequent development of an absolute civilization. There isn't likely, he tells me, to be another such educator/enlightener after him, but only - and here I have to smile - poetical theosophists, or people, like me, whose business it will be to entertain the proletariat on the supreme level of a transcendent poetic absolutism.
Is he right about this, I wonder? Certainly I have no wish to argue with the claim put forward for himself, since it is unlikely that proletarian society will require another philosophical theosophist after his definitive truth! But as regards poetic transcendentalists, I'm not so sure, bearing in mind that, as Edmond Martin conceives of it, transcendentalism would entail the poetic treatment of both short prose and novelettes (alternatively regarded, within this context, as medium prose) in volumes destined to culminate with or intimate of absolute poetry. Now surely that would constitute a concession to petty-bourgeois relativity, whereas, if the forthcoming age is to be truly absolutist on proletarian terms, no such concession ought to exist? Rather, volumes of free-electron poetry would be compiled by poets either working together or being published together in anthologies, the resultant publication constituting a transcendent poetry. Maybe I am wrong about this, overlooking the moral significance of transcending traditional terminology in a literature which reflects a convergence to omega, as it were, on poetical terms? Yet somehow, my artist's instinct tells me, as Edmond Martin's philosophical one never could, that this isn't necessarily so.
* * *
"I very much doubt that women-become-supermen will be directly dependent on men-become-supermen for getting pregnant in the next civilization," Kevin Danby opined as, in the comfort of his bedroom, he put an arm round his girlfriend's slender waist and drew her closer to himself, the resulting upright postures at the foot of his bed suggesting the possibility that, at any moment, the pair of them might tip over backwards onto their backs.
"You mean that female supermen will have better things to do than involve themselves in a sexist relationship with their male counterparts," Yvonne Driscoll suggested, in a delicately ambivalent tone-of-voice.
"Putting it less generously than you, I would argue that they won't be permitted to involve themselves in sexist relationships with their male counterparts at all," said Kevin Danby, "since encouraged to maintain an absolute sexuality employing vibrators of one description or another instead. The male supermen will likewise be encouraged to do the same thing, though their sexual absolutism, when not availing itself of plastic inflatables, will be centred on unisexual erotica of one degree or another, involving female supermen in a variety of, for the most part, rump-biased postures. Probably such pornographic erotica won't make any great concessions to coital relativity but will be absolutist, that's to say, employing but one model in each photo."
Yvonne smiled faintly, her comprehension of the situation in no doubt, and asked: "But how, in such a sexually absolute civilization, where vibrators and/or plastic inflatables and rump-biased erotica were the norms, would women - I mean, female supermen - become pregnant?"
"Indirectly," Danby replied, his choice of word harnessed to the terminological bias of an earlier statement. "In other words, through artificial insemination, as involving a suitable syringe and quantity of sperm extracted from a sperm bank, its quality or vintage, so to speak, readily ascertainable and regulated by the state, or whatever. In all probability, there would be two kinds of sperm bank - one for the leaders and another for the led, each of which would stock a range of sperm from donors approximating to the same I.Q. levels. Professional female supermen would be entitled to quantities from the first kind, their non-professional counterparts to quantities from the second."
"And how would each category of female superman obtain access to any given quantity of sperm?" Yvonne inquired of him, not unreasonably in the circumstances.
"I dare say by submitting a form, obtainable from the relevant propagation authorities, to the effect that they desired a pregnancy, and giving information about themselves and their donor preferences," he obligingly replied. "It could transpire that this will become strictly regulated by the authorities in the course of time, thereby making at least one pregnancy compulsory for every female superman and ensuring, in the process, that the number and dates of artificial inseminations were recorded in the interests of social control. Too many female supermen becoming pregnant simultaneously could lead to social chaos, and not only in terms of a lack of hospital beds, either! With vital professional/industrial roles for them to fulfil, one couldn't very well leave the artificial insemination of such supermen completely to chance. Certainly the state would have to serve the people in this matter, as in so many other matters, and thus ensure the continued rational functioning of proletarian civilization. I dare say there would be a maximum of two pregnancies for each female superman, in order to minimize her natural/sensual obligations and enable her to continue in an everyday artificial role during the greater part of her adult life. After all, children would require collective upbringing in specially-run nurseries, though again a distinction would have to be upheld between nurseries and/or schools for the offspring of professional people, and nurseries and/or schools for the offspring of the masses in general."
Yvonne nodded her understanding of the subtle logic behind this contention and remarked: "Though whereas in a relative civilization there exists an absolute distinction between each type of school, in an absolute civilization, on the contrary, there would exist only a relative distinction, as between two different types of school - one for the education of a future transcendental leadership, and the other for the general improvement of the proletariat."
"Yes, and all the latter type of schools would approximate to what, in an extreme relative civilization, is termed a mixed comprehensive," he averred. "Only, one wouldn't speak of mixed schools in an absolute, non-sexist civilization. Possibly, by then, Christian names would have been superseded by transcendental names, assuming 'names' is really the word. For it seems unlikely that Christian names, not to mention surnames, would be respected in a transcendental civilization. Probably names will be completely different or, more likely, people simply be referred to by numbers."
Yvonne frowned slightly and said: "It seems that you're dissatisfied with anything which isn't completely impersonal!"
Kevin Danby gently nodded his head, chuckled briefly, and admitted: "To be sure, and that applies as much to effecting pregnancies as to transcending Christian names. A self-introduced artificial insemination, officially regulated by the powers-that-be, would guarantee both impersonality and the preservation of the absolute sexual integrity of a female superman in a transcendental age. Never again would those capable of becoming pregnant be directly dependent on natural means of acquiring sperm. That, you may be sure, will constitute a significant progression in human affairs!"
The fact that a bureaucracy is the antithetical equivalent to an aristocracy, within an absolute context, was something we hadn't realized until Owen Carmichael pointed it out to us the other day, while we were having lunch together in the local café. I had never even associated the two before, let alone begun to think seriously about the nature or status of bureaucracies. But Kathleen and I were left in no doubt about the fact that, according to Owen, an aristocratic elite and a bureaucratic elite were as different as it is possible for any two elites to be.
For instance, Owen explained to us, and to me, Seamus Deane, in particular, that whereas the masses existed for the sake of an aristocracy, a bureaucracy, by contrast, existed for the sake of the masses. More explicitly, the peasants were tyrannized over by an aristocracy, whereas the proletariat are served by a bureaucracy. And just as, in the age of aristocratic absolutism, the peasantry and the aristocracy were two entirely different classes, the former existing to serve the class interests of the latter, so, in the age of bureaucratic absolutism, the proletariat and the bureaucracy are two entirely different classes, the latter existing to serve the social interests of the former. Therefore a bureaucrat was, in any absolute state, the antithetical equivalent of a tyrannical aristocrat.
Another thing that neither of us had realized, but which Owen had the spiritual generosity to inform us about, was that a bureaucracy stood to the leader of an absolute state as the aristocracy had formerly stood to the ruling monarch, in consequence of which a further distinction therefore existed between the leader and his bureaucracy, as between the monarch and his nobility. So just as a bureaucracy was the antithetical equivalent of an aristocracy, the leader of an absolute state was antithetically equivalent to reigning monarchs. Now, as if that were not enough, we also learnt that the party, particularly in its cabinet or central-committee manifestation, was to the bureaucracy of an absolute state what royalty had formerly been to the nobility. Thus the old distinctions between monarch, royalty, and nobility were paralleled, in their latter-day manifestations, by the new distinctions between leader, party, and bureaucracy, all of which stood to the proletariat in a relation diametrically antithetical to how the old distinctions ... had stood to the peasantry.
So whether or not anarchists or Marxists approved of the fact, class divisions had to be upheld in a bureaucratic state no less than (they had been) in an aristocratic one. In each case, the basic division was between an elite and the masses, though the constitution of the elites, no less than that of the masses, was radically dissimilar. Aristocratic tyranny stemmed from the root cosmic influence of the Diabolic Alpha. Bureaucratic service aspired towards the climax of evolution in the Divine Omega. The one was basically phenomenally selfish, the other ... phenomenally selfless. A bureaucrat was an altogether morally superior type of man to an aristocrat!
Of course, Owen had no intention of leaving relative civilization completely out-of-account, and so drew our attention to the fact that, when such relativity combines tradition with progress, both aristocrats and bureaucrats can co-exist within the overall context of bourgeois hegemony, as in England in the late-twentieth century. Given the hegemony of the bourgeoisie, however, aristocrats don't exist on quite such tyrannous terms as did their absolute forebears, while, conversely, bureaucrats don't exist to serve the people as extensively or comprehensively as do their counterparts in contemporary absolute states, whether corporate or social democratic in constitution. The relative bureaucrat, though entitled to a degree of prestige which distinguishes him from the people, is reined-in, as it were, by his bourgeois masters from too radical a degree of service. Similarly, the relative aristocrat, though still entitled to a degree of prestige which distinguishes him from the people, is reined-in, by these same bourgeois masters, from too radical a degree of exploitation. Both classes are like puppets dangling on bourgeois strings. Only a revolution could possibly free the bureaucrat from relative constraint. Yet it would put an end to the aristocrat's existence altogether, not to mention that of his bourgeois master.
Owen reminded us, that lunch time, how aristocratic tyranny stemmed from nature. Just as the leaves on a tree existed for the sake of the tree, conceived as roots, trunk, and branches (an analogy with monarch, royalty, and nobility), by drawing sunlight and moisture into it, so the peasantry, that great mass of naturalistic humanity, had existed for the sake of the aristocracy, working to make them richer in natural wealth. Thus a pattern originally stemming from the diabolical galactic roots of evolution and extending into nature and beyond could be discerned in the ordering of feudal society around the interests of a tiny but extremely powerful minority - an aristocratic elite who had fought their way to the top.
At the opposite extreme to such a natural state-of-affairs, however, the socialist society which employs a bureaucracy to serve the proletariat, or artificial humanity of an urban environment, bespeaks an arrangement aspiring towards the Divine Omega which could theoretically be defined as initiating a pattern that will eventually arrive at the converse situation to trees, with their enslaved leaves, by the time evolution attains to the superbeing millennium, in which an artificial support-and-sustain system, reminiscent of the roots, trunk, and branches of a tree, will serve the collectivized new brains of the earth's highest life-form, namely a Superbeing, and thereby enable it to hypermeditate towards transcendence. Thus what the leaves were to a tree, the support-and-sustain system will be to a Superbeing, though the terms of service and raison d'être of the life form served would be diametrically antithetical.
True to comprehensive form, however, Owen reminded us that just as apes in trees came at a later date than the trees as such, so, conversely, would Supermen in artificial 'trees', or support-and-sustain systems, arise at an earlier date than the Superbeings, being the collectivized human brains of the superhuman millennium, an epoch in time in which a life form antithetically equivalent to apes would prevail, compliments of the technological expertise of the millennial successors to bureaucrats, and live not for transcendental meditation but hallucinogenic contemplation - a kind of romantic, because apparent (rather than essential) religiosity between the preceding classicism of meditation, as germane to the transcendental men of the ultimate human civilization, and the succeeding classicism, through hypermeditation, of the new-brain collectivizations of the superbeing millennium.
Unlike the Superbeings, however, the Supermen wouldn't exist in a totally classless society, but in one where an external supervisory class of millennial technocrats served the spiritual interests of the superhuman masses, while maintaining contact, through artificial channels of communication, with a class of spiritual leaders, or priest equivalents, whose duty it would be to liaise between the external and internal classes (of the millennial technocrats and supermen respectively), their own lifestyle, although partaking of superhuman form, demanding a separate integrity from each of the other classes. Only, apparently, after the millennial technocrats had upgraded life from the superhuman to the superbeingful stage at some later juncture in millennial time, would a truly classless society be established, as the new-brain collectivizations of each Superbeing hypermeditated towards transcendence in complete self-absorption, requiring neither external assistance from technocrats nor the mediation of spiritual leaders, both of which classes would effectively cease to exist.
So a definitively classless society, analogous to though distinct from Marxist communism, is still some way into the future, that much Owen assured us, as we sipped cold lemonade and did our best, despite the general hubbub throughout the café, to concentrate on what he was saying, not least of all about the religious predecessors, so to speak, of the spiritual leaders, whom he defined as meditation masters, and who would develop alongside the bureaucracy as a new spiritual aspect of service - leadership eventually passing, as a matter of evolutionary necessity, from materialist to spiritualist hands, while the transcendental civilization progressed towards the post-human millennium.
So just as there had been priests and aristocrats in the pagan and early-Christian civilizations, so there would be meditation masters and bureaucrats in the coming transcendental civilization, the former gradually superseding the latter as circumstances permitted, men of science of a certain stamp likewise gradually superseding artists, so that, by the time the post-human millennium was properly attained to, a new breed of priest equivalents, namely spiritual leaders, and a new breed of scientists, namely millennial technocrats, would have come to the fore, to replace the older, pre-millennial manifestations of each class; politics, in the hands of bureaucrats, having been completely superseded, art likewise, since hallucinogenic contemplation would prove more than a match for any form of artistic endeavour, being, in a sense, the ultimate manifestation of the aesthetic ... conceived in terms of an intimation, through apparent means, of the Divine Omega. However, the bureaucratic control would necessarily continue to exist, in some degree, up until the post-human millennium, since evolutionary progress on the human plane demands regulation from outside as well as example and instruction from inside, and therefore couldn't be left to artists and priest equivalents alone, even if they were an indispensable factor in the overall process. Bureaucrats, though subject to modification in the course of time, would continue to serve the proletariat throughout the duration of the transcendental civilization, just as, in the context of state socialism, they had served them on a purely or predominantly materialistic basis, with no concern for religious progress. That, Owen told us, had been an integral part of historical necessity, not something to be derided. And Kathleen and I, being bureaucrats, were prepared to believe him.
A THINKER AT LARGE
"You can't have the best of both worlds," Derek Reilly said, relapsing into an idiomatic truism. "I would describe myself as a spiritually courageous person, but I have to pay for such courage with an unusual degree of physical cowardice. So it is with most men of my stamp. What you gain on the spiritual roundabout, you must lose on the material swings!"
Very true! And, knowing Reilly, he doesn't regret having lost anything on the latter, never having spent much time on them anyway! His is an extreme constitution, and one very much in line with the bias of the times. One can't do better than to be spiritually courageous. Are not Mahler, Shostakovich, Martinu, Vaughan Williams, Honegger, and Prokofiev among his favourite composers?
* * *
"We shouldn't concern ourselves with bourgeois civilization," Pat O'Grady said, speaking to no-one in particular. "As transcendental revolutionaries we needn't admire anything bourgeois, least of all such works of art or philosophy or whatever as were produced in fin-de-siècle Vienna or Paris or London! We're proletarians who must think not only in terms of opposing such manifestations of bourgeois civilization as have invaded our island, but of developing and furthering proletarian civilization, as outlined in the works of our Leader and Teacher."
To be sure, O'Grady is the kind of man who would be useful to have around in the proscription office of a revolutionary state, mercilessly castigating alien class-influences, and consigning to the rubbish bin of history all those works of literature or philosophy or whatever that would be irrelevant to the proletariat and of no consequence to the bureaucracy. I can just imagine him saying: "Freud? Away with him! Huxley? To the Devil with him! Lawrence? Down with him! Wittgenstein? Out with him!" Soon our libraries and book shops would be purged of everything not essential to our transcendental integrity.
* * *
"A liberated female shouldn't be confounded with a barbarous female proletarian," Jennifer Hanlon said, amidst a flurry of surrounding laughter. "The former is essentially petty bourgeois, and so pertains to an extreme relative civilization, whereas the latter exists in absolute states or, alternatively, as a manifestation of the barbarous majority within the confines of bourgeois/proletarian civilization. Someone who's a barbarous proletarian, given wholly to external values, is unlikely to develop into a liberated female. On the contrary, she's potentially a female superman, the post-sexist designation for women in an absolute civilization, such as will one day arise from the ruins of its barbarous precursor. Only when the proletariat become truly civilized by adopting transcendentalism, or people's religion, will women effectively become female supermen ... in relation to male supermen, their masculine counterparts. And, unlike liberated women, female supermen will be liberated even from sex, as traditionally understood and practised in relative terms."
I have no doubt of that fact, since relativity of any description, including the homosexual, would be out-of-bounds in an absolute civilization, where people would indulge in personal sex, as involving some kind of absolute pornography or plastic inflatables/vibrators, depending on their basic sexual orientation and/or gender. Propagation would thereby become an artificial matter, subject to administrative control. Consequently there would be little or no sexual discrimination, since even female supermen must be treated like and regarded as men - unlike liberated females, who continue, despite their liberation from certain traditional constraints, to regard themselves as women. In sexual relations, they're particularly prone to fellatio. They may also be open, if cohabiting with a lower type of petty-bourgeois materialist, to periodic anal violation. It's doubtful that very many of them would be into male pornography. On the other hand, proletarian barbarians are more given, when not masturbating, to conventional heterosexual relations, though this may not exclude 'fringe' oral sex. Their civilized successors, in the transcendental civilization to-come, will almost certainly be more partial to vibrator stimulation.
* * *
"You can't fight a modern war with antiquated weapons!" Derek Reilly cried, turning upon O'Grady with schoolmaster-like resolve. "Bullets will become anachronistic before long, tanks and field-guns no less so. What we should concentrate on developing are powerful laser beams and/or guns, with a range and accuracy, not to mention impact effectiveness, outclassing all materialist weapons. To get the better of a reactionary enemy, now as before, it would be necessary to have a fighting force equipped with more sophisticated weapons and capable of using them to maximum effect, which is a question, after all, of technique."
So it is, though I would rather have a good army equipped with traditional weapons than a poor one equipped with revolutionary ones! However, Reilly has a point, and I would be the last to deny the potential value of laser weapons for defensive warfare. Ships, of course, are a shade time-worn, but planes, particularly jet fighters, shouldn't be underestimated, since, unlike tanks and artillery pieces, they suggest some degree of technological transcendentalism. I would certainly put more store by a corps of jet fighters equipped with air-to-ground missiles. Better still if they had laser beams to-hand. As for laser guns, I would ensure that the nation's revolutionary corps were given priority over the regular army in the supply of such weapons!
* * *
"When people say that transcendentalism is no different from yoga or Buddhism, they're talking nonsense," Pat O'Grady said, somewhat later that evening and to everyone within range. "There's no concern with petty-bourgeois happiness or yoga exercises with transcendentalism, which, by contrast, corresponds to an absolute stage of spiritual development in the cultivation of self-awareness, as pertaining to the future proletariat. Besides, transcendentalism implies knowledge of the limitations of meditation on the human plane to achieve total transcendence, and therefore couldn't lead to the kind of ascetic fanaticism so characteristic of oriental sages traditionally. People would be given an evolutionary perspective as to exactly where 'humanist' meditation fits in and by what it will be superseded, come the post-human millennium. They won't suffer from false expectations concerning their prospects of salvation through naturalistic means of cultivating spirit alone. They will learn that man is but a link in the evolutionary chain who must some day be 'overcome', to coin a Nietzschean term, once technological progress makes possible the establishment of his millennial successor, the Superman, who will in turn be superseded, and so on, until evolution attains to a climax in the Omega Absolute, the ultimate spiritual transcendence."
All very true! Transcendentalism isn't simply Buddhism or Hinduism in a new guise, but potentially a true world religion transcending all so-called world religions ... of a provincial cast. People will do regular stints of transcendental meditation (meditation which transcends feelings in its exclusive concern with self-awareness) in specially-designed meditation centres, where they will be supervised by meditation masters, the proletarian successors to petty-bourgeois gurus. They will also acquire an evolutionary perspective, as O'Grady wisely calls it, and thereby learn some facts about the nature of religious evolution and its future transformations, embracing post-human life forms. To keep them in ignorance about much of this would be to treat them as if they were irresponsible, dull-witted children.... Though it wouldn't be necessary or indeed possible to impart everything that was known or written about transcendentalism to them. For those who were especially keen to learn, there would, I am sure, be no shortage of relevant information available. For the rest, a basic grounding in transcendentalism should suffice. And I am confident that additional cultural ingredients, as it were, along the lines of some atonal electronic music, abstract poetry, and non-representational holography ... would prove appropriate, provided, however, that they were kept in subordination to the essential ingredient - namely, spiritual contemplation. Probably these cultural aspects of transcendentalism would be scaled-down and superseded, in the course of time, by a more puritanical approach to self-realization, as involving meditation alone.
* * *
"Naturally, a state moving towards proletarian civilization would have to take measures, sooner or later, to curb and possibly terminate human indulgence of animals, particularly pets like cats and dogs," Colin Dunphy said, in response to a remark made by Jennifer Hanlon about dog's noise in her neighbourhood. "While the pagan root remains intact, as it effectively does throughout the duration of bourgeois/proletarian civilization, it's of course natural and socially acceptable for people to indulge a love of animals. But a society that was evolving towards a transcendental framework could not encourage any such indulgence, because where there is, or will be, an exclusive orientation towards the Divine Omega ... conceived as transcendent spirit, there can be no sympathy for that which stems from the Diabolic Alpha in animality - the pagan root having been, or in the process of being, extirpated from human affairs, as transcendental man turns his back, so to speak, on 'the Creator' and aspires ever more ardently towards the attainment of an ultimate creation. So one would not encounter anyone walking a dog down the street in the transcendental civilization, since such a mode of behaviour, which betrays commitment to an animal, would be incompatible with transcendental ethics and morality."
I am sure he is right, though if anyone did have the nerve to be seen with a dog after such behaviour had been rendered morally unacceptable, he would run the risk of drawing police attention and of having to pay the penalty in consequence - possibly internment for corrective education. Certainly all 'unnecessary' animals, or those which weren't considered strictly essential to human survival, would be put under ban and duly removed, as evolutionary requirement dictated, and Dunphy may be right to suggest that such a radical policy ought to be carried through while the revolutionary state was evolving towards a transcendental civilization rather than actually in the civilized framework. After all, all forms of liquidation correspond to a mode of barbarous behaviour.... As to the animals concerned - dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rabbits, budgerigars, parrots, etc., it might be more expedient to ban them by degrees rather than all at once, beginning, say, with fierce or large dogs and proceeding to the less conspicuous pets in due course. Whether one could impose the same transcendental criteria on the rural areas as on the towns and cities ... must remain open to conjecture; though I, for one, would be prepared to allow country folk to hold-on to such pets as they may possess longer than their proletarian counterparts in the cities, if only on the understanding that, eventually, all such pets would have to be abandoned, especially with the elevation of greater numbers of country-dwellers to a proletarian status as villages were expanded into towns and towns into cities, due to a combination of local development and decentralized urban accretions designed to speed-up the urbanization, as it were, of villages and towns. A more enlightened generation, some decades hence, would probably think no worse of the liquidation of a dog or a cat than contemporary generations think of the elimination of troublesome insects, like flies or wasps.
* * *
"One thing that our revolutionary proletarian state will have to do, before long, is to ban horse-racing and greyhound-racing," Terry Shannon said, turning to Derek Reilly, who happened to have an ear conveniently cocked to the same wavelength. "Neither of those naturalistic sports, employing animals, could be encouraged in a society gravitating towards an exclusively transcendental framework, with no respect for the pagan roots of life. Artificial sports would, however, be another thing, and probably some form of motor-racing will survive and continue to exist for many decades hence.... Though even that, together with all types of competitive sport, would be subject to gradual curtailment and eventual proscription, as proletarian humanity evolved further along the road of co-operative transcendentalism, scorning all forms of competition, particularly when physical. However, as for horse- and greyhound-racing, we need not expect them to survive the relative epoch of bourgeois/proletarian civilization."
I wouldn't want to disagree with that assumption, since, like pets, these sporting animals could be described as 'unessential' to human survival and incompatible with a society exclusively orientated towards the Divine Omega. Personally, I take no interest in either horse- or greyhound-racing, and would no more be seen at a race meeting than in the company of a dog. The spectacle of so many beasts thundering round a racecourse has always struck me as infinitely boring, unworthy of the attention of anyone with claims to spiritual insight or intellectual originality! I would much rather watch a motor race, where the artificial predominates over the natural and proceedings consequently have the ring of modernity about them. Curiously, Shannon made no mention of athletics, which involves natural force no less than animal sports, and in which category I include boxing and wrestling. Should athletics survive a relative, bourgeois/proletarian epoch, I wonder? If I had any say in the matter, I would be no less inclined to put athletics under censorious scrutiny than animal races, deeming it incompatible with the artificial, co-operative criteria of a society moving towards or actually in a transcendental context.
* * *
"But what you don't seem to realize, Sean," Jennifer Hanlon said, responding to a remark I had just made, "is that most people can't listen to music unless it is humanized by some vocal ingredient of utilitarian import, usually romantic or sexual, which becomes the focal-point of attention. Purely instrumental music generally fails to arouse their interest, because it demands more aesthetic sophistication than most people, with their utilitarian integrities, possess, being, in essence, transcendental. They have to hear something they can relate to their everyday sexual lives, and nothing serves this need better than a love song."
"Nothing serves this limitation better, would be nearer the mark," I commented on a ruthlessly objective note. "Though with me it's just the opposite, since I can't relate to love songs but have to listen to instrumental music - the purer and more serious, the better! And I have to listen to it through headphones, which give one the impression that the music is taking place in one's head rather than coming at one from outside. Nowadays I despise stereo speakers, deeming them too 'apparent'. Indirect meditation through focus of awareness on aural stimuli cannot be better served than via headphones, and the aural stimuli cannot do better, in my opinion, than to be electronic and, preferably, atonal, albeit of an atonality serialized according to strictly classical principles."
I could tell that Jennifer was puzzled by this contention, though she did her best to appear impressed. What I hadn't told her, however, was that such music would only be created on a consistent and regular basis in the future, when the transcendental civilization got properly under way and all forms of acoustic tonal music, not to mention its atonal counterparts, had effectively been rendered obsolete.
There were two men and a woman in the room, one of the men, whom we shall call the first, older than the other, but the woman younger than he who shall be called the second. "The Christians may acknowledge Heaven," the first man said, "but they do so sideways on, as it were, and facing back towards Hell. Their sense of hierarchy is retrograde, stemming from the Alpha Absolute and assigning the most importance to that which is closest, on earth, to the Father - namely a monarch. Hence their sense of class hierarchy ... with proletarians at the bottom and aristocrats at the top. Being upper class corresponds to a closer approximation to the Alpha Absolute."
"This is particularly true of the British," said the second man, who was only a year younger than the first. "Even though the bourgeoisie are, to all practical purposes, in charge of society, the aristocracy are still regarded as socially superior. Which paradoxical fact accords with the bourgeois' almost boundless capacity for hypocrisy! To believe one thing in theory, but to do another in practice!"
The first man nodded spontaneous affirmation and remarked: "Precisely because, being British, they correspond, even in this predominantly post-atomic age, to the most atomic of societies - the epitome, as it were, of bourgeois civilization. Wherever and whenever life is relative, particularly when the relativity is moderate, hypocrisy will be the order of the day, an inevitable consequence, one might say, of its dualism. The only reason why life is paradoxical is that it owes this fact to the inherent relativity of human existence, a relativity never more conspicuously prominent than when human evolution attains to a bourgeois, Christian stage of balance between the two biased extremes, viz. the pagan and the transcendental, and does so, moreover, without its practitioners being in the least aware of the situation. They may be Christians, but they won't have a clue about what it would mean to be transcendental, not even envisaging any such eventuality. They take their dualism, their balance, for the norm, one might even say for granted, even going so far as to elevate it, in their bourgeois imaginations, to the status of an ideal - indeed, the ideal, sacrosanct for all time! 'The balance is correct, and anyone who attempts to defy it will be guilty of hubris, and may suffer the nemesis of divine retribution in consequence!' Thus reasons the bourgeois, that arch-hypocrite, ironist, and victim of worldly paradox."
The woman, who had hitherto kept silent, now said: "Whereas a post-dualistic society presumably knows better, and is accordingly dedicated to the higher ideal of aspiring towards the Divine Omega from a transcendental standpoint."
"That's right," the first man said. "And we may be sure that it will be the least hypocritical, ironical, and paradoxical of societies, because the most absolute. It will signify a complete transvaluation of values, even to the extent of designating what, in relative civilization, was woman as a female superman - the post-sexist lesser equal of male, or genuine, supermen. Thus there will be no feminine/masculine dichotomy; only a distinction between greater and lesser degrees of superhumanity. For that will accord with a sexual absolutism no less imperative, in a transcendental civilization, than all the other absolutes, including the political, religious, scientific, artistic, and social, as applying to proletarian humanity. One couldn't possibly tolerate absolute class distinctions in a transcendental age. Only the relative distinctions between leaders and led, bureaucrats and proletariat, would be applicable."
The second man nodded eager agreement, before saying: "The proletariat being, despite the questionable justification of that term these days, the class orientated towards the Divine Omega, the ultimate human class, antithetical, in every respect, to the peasantry. Peasants and proletarians are opposites, just like aristocrats and bureaucrats. The two extremes cannot mix."
"Certainly not in an absolute age," the first man rejoined, "though there have been attempts to mix them, to varying extents, wherever relativity has held sway, with, by and large, disastrous consequences! But a peasant cannot be transformed into a proletarian, any more than an aristocrat, in the strictly traditional sense of that term, can be transformed into a bureaucrat. They pertain to completely different environments, not to say epochs."
"Probably it would be mistaken to attempt to impose city criteria upon the rural areas," the woman opined, briefly casting deferential glances at both men. "One can't treat peasants as if they were proletarians in disguise. That which stems from the Diabolic Alpha cannot be expected to aspire towards the Divine Omega."
"True enough!" the second man agreed. "So peasants, or their nearest modern equivalents, should be utilized for what they're worth to the economy, and then left to get on with their work in the fields. Some of them will gravitate to the city, and some will be proletarianized in the course of time, as industry and urbanization increasingly encroach upon the country and suck farm labourers into a largely artificial lifestyle, transforming them, or their offspring, into proletarians. The rest, born farmhands and country-dwellers, must be left to their largely naturalistic lifestyles and utilized in the name of agricultural and dairy produce. Since agriculture is becoming increasingly mechanized, it should be possible to regard such country-dwellers as agricultural proletarians, this entailing a relative distinction between pseudo-proletarian country-dwellers and genuinely proletarian city-dwellers, or industrial workers."
The woman smiled smoothly. "Like the distinction between female supermen and male supermen," she remarked. "One evidently designed to overcome sexual discrimination!"
"To be sure," the first man said. "And designed, in this case, to gloss over the dichotomy between rural- and urban-dwellers, bringing both classes under a common designation, its being understood, in any case, that there exists a significant distinction between the modern mechanized farm-worker and the traditional peasant."
"Rather like the distinction that exists between the industrial worker and the traditional artisan," said the second man, eager to follow-up one parallel with another. "While to some extent the two may co-exist in a relative civilization, albeit towards the tail-end of it, there could be no possibility of their simultaneous existence in an absolute civilization, since artisans would have been entirely superseded by industrial proletarians, just as peasants would likewise have been entirely superseded by agricultural proletarians - the lesser brothers, as it were, of their urban-dwelling counterparts."
The first man smiled
and said: "Yes, artisans, no less than peasants, would be a thing of
past, which they're not, incidentally, wherever relativity prevails. And the same of course applies to
aristocrats, who continue to exist in such countries as
"Indeed, and whereas artisans and peasants alike served the interests of the aristocracy," the second man affirmed, "the bureaucracy is designed to serve the interests of both agricultural and industrial proletariats, this corresponding to a transvaluation of values whereby the roles of service are reversed ... from a majority serving an aristocratic minority to a minority serving a proletarian majority who, paradoxically, become the new favoured class."
"Particularly in their urban and industrial guise," the woman said, smiling, "since they evidently correspond to a greater degree of superhumanity vis-à-vis the agricultural proletariat."
The second man coughed ironically and said: "That may be so, but all proletarians have to be treated pretty much alike. Just as female supermen will be treated pretty much like their male counterparts. Certainly not as women, at any rate, since that would entail a concession to bourgeois relativity, and any such concession, equivalent to a sexist regression, would be incompatible with the absolute criteria of a transcendental civilization. And no less incompatible with the treatment of agricultural proletarians as if they were peasants."
"Here, here!" responded the first man, who had an ear for logical consistency. "It would be no less absurd of the bureaucracy to regard agricultural proletarians as peasants ... than for the industrial proletariat to regard bureaucrats as aristocrats, and thus as tyrants or rulers rather than servants. Bureaucrats are, in a sense, secular saints, who selflessly serve the people's material interests. They don't enter the proletarian 'promised land' of the spirit themselves, but remain outside it, dedicated to the betterment of the new favoured class."
The woman coughed gently, in response to this statement, and remarked: "Woe betide the new favoured class if they resist their betterment by rebelling against the bureaucrats! For the bureaucratic servants of today can no more permit reactionary or regressive tendencies among the proletariat ... than the aristocratic rulers of earlier times could permit revolutionary or progressive tendencies among the peasantry. That also corresponds to a transvaluation of values, does it not?"
"More like an antithetical equivalent," the first man said, before succumbing to a reflective silence which the second man made no attempt to disturb, since he was the one who least approved of intellectual noise.
DOING IT ALONE
"The instinctive mind and the rational mind don't evolve apace," he said, standing close beside her in the back garden they shared as fellow-tenants of a small suburban lodging house - he a self-styled philosopher, she a student of philosophy who had recently moved in. "The one is static because natural, while the other is evolutionary because intimating of the supernatural. I can despise fine weather with my rational mind, having reasoned over a period of time that cold, grey, wet weather is more conducive to a cultivation of the spiritual life than its converse ... in hot, bright, dry weather. And yet, I can still find myself thinking, with my instinctive mind, how pleasant it is when the weather is warm and dry. We speak - do we not? - of a 'fine day' when the weather is like that.... Which is, after all, a perfectly natural response and assessment. Yet, for that very reason, an obstacle to the spiritual life, which demands, on the contrary, the most artificial attitude to the world, and thus, in effect, a contempt for 'fine days'. Only when we cultivate the artificial to any significant extent do we have a springboard, as it were, from which to launch a significant aspiration towards the supernatural, which, to a limited extent, we carry within ourselves in the awareness mind of the superconscious."
"Whereas the instinctive life is largely connected with the feeling mind of the subconscious, is it?" she responded on a deductive note.
"To be sure," he confirmed. "And when our feelings are uppermost, it is this mind which conditions the formation of naturalistic thoughts, making us respond to warm weather in a positive way. How difficult, on the other hand, to endorse a Nietzschean 'transvaluation of all values' with regard to such weather, so that instead of responding to it with our instinctive minds, we impose our rational minds upon it and regard what would otherwise appear a 'fine day' as an obstacle to the spiritual life, because the sun corresponds to the Diabolic Alpha and is thus an incentive for sensual indulgence. Wherever the pagan, diabolical root is intact, as it must be prior to the inception of a transcendental civilization, people are entitled to give precedence to naturalistic criteria in their response to warm weather, and thus speak of a 'fine day', much as they speak, wherever bourgeois civilization obtains, of upper/middle/lower class distinctions based not on artificial but on naturalistic criteria, with the aristocracy at the top in consequence of their closer proximity to nature and effective identification with the galactic-world-order, that is to say, the infernal rule of stars over planets at the roots of cosmic reality."
"Is it likely, then, that people would be encouraged not to regard warm weather as making for a 'fine day' in the transcendental civilization?" she asked him, slightly puzzled.
"Very much so," he replied, nodding, "since such a civilization, free of the diabolical root, would reflect a complete transvaluation inimical to naturalistic criteria. Everything would be evaluated according to strictly artificial criteria, as applicable to an advanced civilization - in point of fact, the ultimate civilization. The rational mind would take precedence over the instinctive one to such an extent ... that the latter would all but be eclipsed by reason. Even if one did respond to warm weather in a positive way, one would be more inclined to keep that fact to oneself than share it with others in a public concession to diabolic criteria. Reason would caution public restraint in this, as in so many other matters impinging upon the spiritual life. Just as people progressed from making love, or having sex, in the open to confining it to their dwellings ... with the transformation from pagan to Christian values, so they would progress from openly referring to warm weather as 'fine' ... to keeping any such instinctive thoughts or responses to themselves."
"With the possibility of ostracism or prosecution for failing to do so, am I right in assuming?" she asked, smiling faintly.
"Yes, just as they risk prosecution, under bourgeois law, for making love in the open," he solemnly replied, slightly to her surprise. "While making love has not been outlawed, it has at least been discredited to the extent of only being permissible within private bounds."
"Then what of pornographic films?" she asked.
"A different matter," he assured her, "since the public viewing of a sex film has little to do with the public indulgence of sex. Indeed, it constitutes an antithetical equivalent to the pagan orgy, a transcendental mode of sexual indulgence whereby passive, as opposed to active, acquiescence in sex is the norm, an acquiescence of the head rather than the body, of the spirit rather than the soul - an awareness sex as opposed to a sensual sex, contemplated and not aggravated. Yet, much as this spiritual communion signifies a vast moral improvement on the pagan orgy, even the public enjoyment of pornographic films is slowly becoming less morally acceptable to the ongoing evolutionary dictates of the age, and is accordingly losing ground to the private enjoyment of pornographic films through video."
"Thus video-viewing signifies further moral progress to the extent that it presupposes the private rather than the public enjoyment of pornography?" she concluded in a touchingly ambivalent tone-of-voice.
"To be sure," he confidently confirmed. "And not least of all as regards violence and horror, which are likewise viewed rather than literally indulged-in by their video patrons, so that the acquiescence in violence and horror, no less than in sex, is sublimated, passive, and predominantly a matter of awareness rather than brute sensation; though a degree of the latter undoubtedly accrues to the voyeuristic experience, confirming the allegiance of bourgeois/proletarian civilization to the pagan, diabolical root. For such a civilization is not absolute but of an extreme relative constitution, a relativity favouring the transcendent, and hence the sublimated, as effected by these artificial media, the passive indulgence of which establishes an antithetical equivalent to the brute, pagan, literal indulgence of public sex, violence, horror, war, et cetera, as germane to naturalistic criteria. However, while bourgeois/proletarian civilization may not be absolutist on the highest level, it is biased in favour of such an absolutism, and the gradual expansion of sublimated evil into the private domain bespeaks, it seems to me, a furtherance of this bias."
"Though not a furtherance, seemingly, that's likely to lead to a total prohibition with regard to the viewing of violence, sex, et cetera, in public." she surmised.
"No, I don't think we can expect that degree of transcendentalism from bourgeois/proletarian civilization," he agreed. "Being relative, it won't completely outlaw the public viewing of sex and violence in sublimated evil. Such a day is only likely to arise with the development of an absolute civilization some decades hence, which doesn't mean to say that public viewing per se will be proscribed; for it may transpire that certain types of film, say of a religious or a scientific significance, will be considered appropriate for public viewing. Yet I dare say that if private video-viewing survives beyond the bourgeois/proletarian era, it will be the sole context within which the sublimated indulgence of sex, violence, horror, and the like will be tolerated."
"Is there any guarantee it will survive into an absolute age?" she asked, puzzled anew.
"No, but there'll be quite a number of people in possession of video recorders and recordings made at an earlier date who may choose not to part with them," he replied, smiling faintly. "Probably a new type of video, relevant to the absolute criteria of a transcendental age, will be manufactured to replace the more violent, sexist, and generally relative types of video. For as the transcendental civilization gets properly under way, all forms of relative sex will be frowned upon by the authorities, and this should extend to the pornographic as well as to the more conventional modes of sexuality. Many videos that were acceptable within the confines of bourgeois/proletarian civilization would prove irrelevant to an absolute one. Possibly they would be withdrawn from stock, and their sale or appreciation rendered untenable."
"Presumably while newer, more relevant ones, together with computerized erotica, would be acceptable as an aspect of absolute sexuality," she conjectured.
"I dare say so," he said. "In particular for male supermen to contemplate in private, while female supermen found equivalent satisfaction in vibrators of one type or another, which, for them, would establish an antithetical equivalent to natural copulation, as, incidentally, would the use of so-called 'sex dolls' by their genuinely masculine counterparts."
"You mean to say there would be no natural sexual activity?" she sceptically exclaimed.
"I do," he affirmed. "Since natural sex, besides invoking a concession to nature, would entail relativity, and that could hardly be compatible with an absolute age, irrespective of whether the relativity in question were heterosexual or homosexual. For I dare say that even homosexuals would be encouraged to progress, in the course of time, to unisexual pornography rather than remain victims of the flesh, since sexual sublimation would be the order of the day.... As regards propagation, that would be a matter for the State to regulate, as the introduction of artificial insemination on a compulsory basis would preclude the necessity for sexual relativity and enable female supermen to lead sex lives independently of male supermen, to their mutual moral benefit."
"Does this imply that women and men or, rather, female supermen and their male counterparts won't sleep together in the transcendental civilization?" she asked, somewhat nervously.
"It does indeed!" he replied. "For sleeping together would entail a concession to relativity, and expose the people concerned to the possibility of sexist deviation. Rather, every Superman, whether female or male, will have a single bed in a room of their own, where the indignity of sleep can be kept, as with sex, to oneself. This would be in complete contrast to the group or communal sleeping of pagans, and would signify a moral improvement on the à-deux sleeping of Christian or bourgeois dualists, as germane to relative civilization. In the interests of consistency where sensual obligations were concerned, people would probably cease to eat in public, i.e. in cafés or restaurants, but do such eating as was necessary in private, thereby keeping the degrading spectacle, from a transcendental standpoint, of sensual indulgence in this matter off the streets. Is it not a fact that many people now do most of their eating in private anyway, having first visited a food store or take-away restaurant?"
"Yes, so it would seem," she answered, blushing faintly. "And it's also a fact that many people now sleep alone and indulge in personal sex of one sort or another."
He smiled gently but made no comment, and she realized that their discussion had reached a climax beyond which he was unable or unwilling to proceed.
Carmen Daly (secretary)
I have been complimented for dressing in a miniskirt, which is considered to be the chastest of skirts by dint of the fact that it symbolizes shallow vaginal sexuality. I am regarded as a liberated woman, a type peculiar, apparently, to the petty bourgeoisie. But I have also been told that my sartorial status, in this respect, is merely 'the best of a bad job', since even a short skirt indicates femininity and thereby affirms a sexist distinction appropriate to an extreme phase of relative civilization. Although the choice of a short skirt is, from this point of view, preferable to a medium-length or a long one, it's not preferable to a pair of trousers or jeans, whether in denim, cord, or any other material. The woman who regularly wears pants is potentially, if not actually, a female superman - someone, apparently, who is the civilized proletarian equivalent of a liberated female, the successor, as it were, to this petty-bourgeois ideal.
That, by contrast, affirms a post-sexist integrity ... pertinent to an absolute civilization. But, unfortunately, I'm not a female superman, nor even potentially one, but a liberated female, partial to short skirts. I have been told that the flounced ones are preferable to the straight or tight varieties, since by tapering upwards, from the hem to the waist, they defy the earth's gravitational force and thereby suggest a freedom from and independence of diabolic constraint. However that may be, I've only recently taken the advice to wear the shortest possible miniskirts and/or dresses, so as to reduce any feminine symbolism still further. If I cannot bring myself to wear jeans all the time, then, so the lesson runs, I should at least wear the 'higher' type of petty-bourgeois mini, which apparently betokens an aspiration towards the proletariat.
According to this theory, skirts and/or dresses may be classified, in class-evolutionary terms, as follows: aristocratic ankle length; early grand-bourgeois lower calf-muscle length; late grand-bourgeois higher calf-muscle length; bourgeois knee length; early petty-bourgeois lower thigh length; and, finally, late petty-bourgeois higher thigh length. After which evolutionary period the feminine is completely superseded through the wearing, either by potential or actual female supermen, of trouser-like attire, though not necessarily of the same length as their male counterparts.
David Green (tailor)
I would never wear tails, not even if I were offered a sizeable financial incentive. To my mind, they signify too great a concession to the earth's gravitational force, the way they taper downwards to a point. There is something dualistic about tails which suggests a grand-bourgeois class integrity, particularly when compared with the single tail type of frock coat worn, as a rule, by aristocrats, with but a single pre-dualistic, quasi-pagan affirmation of the earth's gravity. If anything, this is morally worse than double tails, since more materialistic and lacking, in consequence, a 'triangular' space between each tail.
Yet I would no more wear tails than a top hat which, effectively tapering upwards from brim to crown, suggests an affirmation of the sun's gravitational force or, at the very least, a concession to it. So with tails and top hat a 'gentleman' betrays a simultaneous allegiance to both earthly and solar gravitational forces, the powerful competing attractions of the Diabolic Alpha, and does so, moreover, in ostentatious fashion. That is something I could never do; for my allegiance is towards the Divine Omega, which is why I make a point of wearing flared trousers, their upwards tapering defying the earth's gravity.
Unfortunately, I don't always wear head-gear, but when I do, as in winter time, it is a Russian-style bearskin hat that tapers downwards, thereby not merely ignoring the sun's gravity but affirming man's spiritual independence of it - like, I might add, my flared cords.
Thus I am quite the antithesis of a gravity-mongering 'tails-and-top-hat' man. There is a late petty-bourgeois/proletarian integrity about my clothing. And not only in terms of style but also in terms of colour, since I prefer to wear dark clothes - indeed, nothing less than black. I dress to affirm truth, not to look beautiful, and so wear the most essential or appearance-denying colour, appropriately transcendental. I have been complimented on my sartorial smartness and, to be sure, that accords with my affirmation of truth. Were I to dress scruffily, in dirty worn workman's clothes, I would regard my appearance as signifying an anti-beauty ugliness - a kind of negative or indirect affirmation of truth.
However, I prefer the positive and direct affirmation of it, as befitting my spiritual bent. But if it came to the crunch, I would rather dress scruffily than in beautiful fashion, like a dandy. I regard ugliness as the lesser of two evils.
Carlo Stropetti (writer)
I don't like people staring at me. I'm not a woman, to take especial pride in my looks. I only take pride, as a rule, in my intelligence, which I use in the service of my spiritual life, with particular reference to my literary interests. I don't strive to attract attention to my appearance, but am anxious, on the contrary, to deflect attention away from it. Was I less essential, less spiritual, I would welcome people staring at me. But, as it is, I do my best to ignore their attentions. My significance is on the inside, not the outside!
Yet not many people realize this, even though I rarely reciprocate their curiosity. Indeed, I don't even pay much attention to beautiful women whenever I encounter any, which, frankly, isn't very often in the predominantly proletarian environment I've grown accustomed to living in. I am too wrapped-up in my thoughts or in contemplation to be much concerned with female beauty! Besides, I would not want to humble myself before it, since I am a man, and one who realizes and daily affirms the superiority of the spiritual life in his concern with truth. Most women take beauty, and their own beauty in particular, for the highest ideal, the most important accomplishment, and accordingly entertain inflated ideas as to their own worth. I shouldn't want to confirm them in that opinion; for, as a man, I have a right to uphold the sovereignty of truth and to lead, in consequence, a more absolute existence. Not being a slave to feminine beauty, I am free to lead an independent life in the name of 'masculine' truth.
I never feel inferior to a woman. On the contrary, I cultivate my detachment from the world with a degree of pride, making sure, however, that such pride doesn't interfere with the development of my spiritual life. I am relatively free, but most women are enslaved to their own beauty, which, in my opinion, they pride themselves on overmuch! This is less true of the petty bourgeoisie than of the bourgeoisie or grand bourgeoisie. Less true again of the proletariat, whose women, for the most part, are neither beautiful nor attractive but if not ugly then ... certainly plain, in accordance with their barbarous status as potentially female supermen. There is no reason why they should ever be anything else. For beauty is not the means to truth!
Connor Cleary (dietician)
I firmly maintain that thinking solely in class terms is not enough. A proletarian civilization wouldn't, admittedly, have any class enemies in it, and neither would there be any tribalists. But proletarian homogeneity on the basis of occupation and/or environment would not, by itself, signify an ultimate sifting of man from reactionary or anachronistic dross. A transcendental civilization would not be true to itself unless it had been purged, in advance, of physical types incommensurable with its post-atomic spiritual integrity. I mean by this that there could be no toleration of endomorphic types, which is to say, of fat men.
Yes, I foresee the day when, like bourgeois oppressors and tribalists, overly fat people will be rounded-up and removed from mainstream society - their physical constitutions deemed incompatible with a society dedicated to an exclusively divine orientation. They would be regarded as pagan types, too fleshy to accord with the radically spiritual bent of a transcendental civilization. Their existence, while permissible within an open-society context, would be no-less impermissible within a closed-society context that was spiritual ... than the existence there of tribalists of one description or another. Anything that smacked of the pre-atomic would automatically be excluded from admittance to a post-atomic society. Many atomists would likewise be excluded, though mesomorphic types, whose muscular physical status places them in-between the fat and the thin, the sensual and the spiritual, would continue to find vocations in a transcendental civilization, as, for example, in the police, certain kinds of industry, agriculture, and (until it was disbanded and/or metamorphosed) the army - that magnet of muscular types.
And yet an absolutely spiritual age would be partial to the cultivation and protection of ectomorphic types, whose slender builds and intellectual predilections would accord with the highest manifestation of the human type, and be especially relevant to the ultimate stage of civilized evolution. As a thin man myself, I can speak with some authority on this matter, and I am confident that, as time progresses, every measure will be taken to ensure the optimum spiritual development of the ectomorph, who will be the human type, par excellence, from whom the Superman of the superhuman millennium will be created.
Katya Gregson (model)
I have always been slender and lightweight. Unlike other women, I have never had to go on a diet in order to slim. My appetite has never been large, in any case, but I haven't kept to a moderate intake of food and drink out of consideration for my weight and shape. Both these factors are very constant with me, which is just as well, I think! My slender body makes only the minimum of concessions to gravitational force, both upwards and downwards, since I am alike small-breasted and narrow-hipped, with but the slenderest of legs. At one time I used to regret this, but, these days, I realize that such an overall slenderness is a moral advantage and confers on one a social distinction, in the eyes of the more intelligent people, appropriate to an affirmation of evolutionary progress in spirituality.
What a contrast between my gravitational neutrality and the conspicuous commitment of most women's bodies to gravitational force! How some of them pride themselves on being shapely, on tapering-down from the hips to the ankles and tapering-up from the breasts to the head! I doubt that such shapeliness would find much encouragement in the final human civilization ... of transcendental man. No more, for that matter, than would the even more radical tapering, either side of the stomach bulge, of fat people, regardless of which sex. Conspicuous physical concessions to gravitational force would be taboo in a post-atomic age, of that I have no doubt! People would be admired for their slenderness, which would be accorded due recognition as the physical ideal. Instead of being regarded as skinny, as I often am by heavyweight boors, people of slender build would be held up as the golden mean for a transcendental civilization - a mean relevant to the proletariat. Efforts would doubtless be made not only to encourage slimming in the medium-built and medium-weight, i.e. in those of approximately mesomorphic constitution, but to orientate genetic engineering towards the breeding, through artificial insemination, of slender physiques, so that ectomorphs, or thin people, would vastly predominate - their physical constitution better suited to a transcendental cultivation of the spiritual life.
Barnaby Evans (manufacturer)
I think sex with a plastic inflatable, a so-called 'sex doll', morally preferable to sex with a woman, insofar as one is dealing with the artificial, indeed with what could be described as the antithetical equivalent of a prostitute, just as a combine harvester is the antithetical equivalent of a peasant wielding a scythe, and a tractor with mechanical hoes at the back antithetically equivalent to a peasant wielding a hoe. Thus from the natural to the artificial, from peasants engaged in manual work to agricultural proletarians manipulating mechanical tools via a farmer/farm-labourer compromise.
Just so, from prostitutes to 'sex dolls' via wives. The prostitute corresponds, one might argue, to the pre-atomic, the 'sex doll' to the post-atomic - a distinction between paganism and transcendentalism. Of course, prostitutes could not be tolerated in a post-atomic civilization, any more than wives. But I believe that 'sex dolls' would be, even if sex with such a doll involves a form of sexual relativity, as with the use (by women) of a vibrator, and is therefore less good than pornographic erotica, which, in appealing primarily to the head, i.e. to eyes and intellect, encourages a more passive relationship between individual and stimulus.
However, not everyone is on the same spiritual wavelength, nor capable of the same degree of sexual sublimation, so I believe that the male proletarian masses should be entitled to avail themselves of 'sex dolls' in addition or as an alternative to certain kinds of absolute pornography, if a more transcendental relationship to sex is beyond their powers. Probably, as the ultimate civilization developed and people became more spiritualized, 'sex dolls' would be phased-out, with pornographic sublimation becoming more widespread and all concessions to bodily sex accordingly minimized. Sex would then be predominantly an affair of the head, to the extent that it existed at all!
As for homosexuals, I don't see why they shouldn't have access, on the proletarian level, to male inflatables, assuming that such inflatables could be manufactured along suitably masculine lines. At least that would enable homosexuals to transcend the flesh, and thus draw a step nearer to pornographic sublimation.
Marcus Black (doctor)
I would have no hesitation in endorsing euthanasia for certain categories of the incurably ill, not only in order to put them out of their misery or pain, but to save other people the burden of looking after them, as well as to save the general public the inconvenience of having to witness their behaviour and/or condition. I refer, in particular, to cretins and imbeciles, to the severely autistic and radically malformed - in short, to those categories of spastic who are of no use to themselves or to anyone else.
A child who is unable to count or speak coherently, who will grow into an adult with the mentality of a young child - such a lamentably unfortunate individual, who besides being imbecile is malformed and unpleasant to behold, should be high on the list of those for whom euthanasia is the only merciful solution. An open society, with its respect for the pagan root, may keep such unfortunates alive on the grounds that they, no less than everyone else, are products of nature and, in some sense, offspring of 'the Creator'. But a closed society, with no such pagan allegiance, should have no qualms in disposing of these wretches in the name of intelligence, spiritual progress, and, not least of all, the wellbeing of the people who, for the most part, are of sound limb and mind ... or, at any rate, would be in a society run in their spiritual interests.
As to cripples, who may require constant attention, the question of introducing euthanasia should not arise if such physically restricted individuals are capable of leading a fairly normal intellectual or spiritual life, since it is more important to be sound in mind than in body, and anyone who can read or watch television or think for himself is not as badly off as may at first appear.
Since human evolution will probably lead, in the course of time, to human brains being artificially supported and sustained in collectivized contexts ... for purposes of synthetically-induced upward self-transcendence, the man who is obliged to spend most of his time in a wheelchair is, in some sense, closer to that eventuality than most of his sound-limbed fellows, and is accordingly entitled to if not more respect ... then certainly to some respect, particularly if he is intelligent and capable, in consequence, of leading a satisfyingly positive spiritual life - not the least aspect of which should be meditation. But the child or adult who is incapable of doing so could have no place in a society exclusively orientated towards the Divine Omega. Cripples may be respected and even admired, but spastics and cretins should not be! They, on the contrary, should take their place beside the incurably insane in the forefront of candidates for euthanasia.
James Steiner (radical politician)
Being essentially meritocratic in my class integrity, I would rather serve the people on dictatorial terms than serve them democratically, in other words as an ideological dictator than as a democratic president. I am no Khruschev or Brezhnev to go around in a suit and adopt the role of the proletarian equivalent of a bourgeois president. I favour the militant pose and would probably spend much of my time in some kind of military or quasi-military uniform, even though I would be anxious to distinguish myself from a military dictator, whose role I have no ambitions to usurp! My choice of clothing has long been dark, and I imagine that the uniform I wore would also be dark, with matching boots. I would wish my personal bodyguard to also dress in dark uniforms, and would encourage both the secret police and army to do likewise.
Being a people's transcendentalist, I would attach special significance to the police, both secret and conventional, since I believe the ideological bias of a regime dedicated to the cultivation of an internal proletariat is towards the security services, whereas in a state-socialist society, by contrast, it is towards the armed forces, who, in theory if not necessarily in practice, are regarded as the means to the international spread of a socialism rooted in dialectical materialism. Not that I would ignore or neglect the army, in either its conventional or revolutionary guises. Yet I regard the conventional army as a necessary evil that must be utilized in the service of historical progress and gradually curtailed, its life-span incapable of extending into an absolute civilization, but drawing to a close following the democratic overcoming of relative civilization, after which time evolutionary progress will demand the establishment of an absolute police state, which it would be the duty of people's transcendentalism to further and take a lead in encouraging.
However, I do not envisage a situation emerging whereby no armed force will exist to tackle counter-revolutionary or external aggression, particularly while the world is still exposed to the possibility of such aggression. Just as women would become female supermen in a post-atomic civilization while still remaining, at bottom, feminine, so the army would become an armed security service while likewise remaining fundamentally military; in other words, so the army would be transformed into an armed police service in order to supplement the unarmed police in the protection of law and order. For it seems to me that, strictly speaking, the police should be an unarmed body and must remain so in fidelity to their status as a peace-keeping organization, in contrast to the armed quasi-police, who may be regarded as a revolutionary metamorphosis of the army, serving to supplement the genuine police in a quasi-electron deference to post-atomic criteria.
Thus a revolutionary armed security service would complement the secret security service in a people's transcendental civilization, existing alongside the conventional police and eventually entirely superseding the conventional army, so that an absolute police state would be created which was composed of conventional, secret service, and armed quasi-police.
Timothy Lee-Jones (philosopher)
I'm an extremely quiet man by design and regard this fact as a mark of my spiritual maturity and cultural nobility. This doesn't prevent me, however, from being the victim of other people's noise and, often enough, the noise of animals and machines, such as dogs and cars, in addition. I have lived so long in a noisy environment that I suffer from cerebral and stomach inflammation in consequence, and am obliged to regularly resort to wax earplugs, if only to reduce the bodily tension that such noise engenders. Noise, I have absolutely no doubt, is my chief torment, and I dare say there are those who would understand me when I maintain that hearing is more often a curse than a blessing! Unfortunately, it cannot be switched on-and-off at will, so the best one can do is to stuff wax into the ears and persevere with any physical inconvenience that may arise, as some will do once the use of earplugs becomes habitual.
And yet, living in an urban environment, I have discovered the value of earplugs and could not conceive of life being possible, in this situation, without them. They're the other side, as it were, of modern life, a means whereby sensitive people may in some degree protect themselves against the base tyranny of noise.
Yet this is negative, and the problem should also be tackled positively, through measures designed to reduce environmental or other noise pollution as much as possible. For noise corresponds to the diabolic side of life, stems, as it were, from the raging of solar energy in the proton-proton reactions of stars. I wouldn't like to hear the sun from a few thousand miles distance - assuming, for the sake of argument, it were possible to get that close. Silence, on the other hand, corresponds to the divine, aspires, one might say, towards the electron-electron attractions of transcendent spirit in some future Beyond.
The relative world is ever torn between diabolic noise and divine silence, never completely silent. But the ultimate human civilization ... of the transcendentalists ... should approximate to the spiritual absolute in a predominantly silent context, an environmental situation where noise of any degree was the exception to the rule rather than - as often seems to be the case in relative civilization - the rule itself.
People will learn to be much quieter in that final civilization than they've ever been in any previous one. There will be no hammering, because hammers will have been placed under ban, their use entailing too great a concession to natural force. Buildings will be prefabricated and any repairs that may prove necessary will be accounted for in a relatively prefabricated way. There will be no shouting or singing or swearing on the streets, for that will be made an offence against the peace, subject to prosecution. There will be no dogs barking or cats wailing, for such animals are likely to be destroyed or at the very least removed from mainstream society as incompatible with a post-atomic civilization. There will be no blaring of record-players, radios, or analogous machines, because the appreciation of music will be confined to headphones, in accordance with absolutely essential criteria. Televisions and similar sound-transmitters will be manufactured with a volume ceiling much below the current one, and users will be required to keep the noise down to a minimum level and/or avail themselves of special headphones connecting with the machine.
There will be numerous other such improvements where noise pollution is concerned, and they will make life in the ultimate human civilization approximate more closely to Heaven, in this respect, than it has ever done before.
Geraldine Harris (social worker)
Youths and adults should not be obliged to share the same house. If a youth doesn't make as much natural noise as a child, he passively, and sometimes actively, acquiesces in artificial noise, not the least manifestation of which involves pop music of one kind or another. Besides having a greater tolerance than adults for noise, youths have more physical energy and are therefore inclined to violent and regular movement to a greater extent than adults. The evolution of man from the cradle to the grave is, in some sense, a progression from the diabolic to the divine on human terms, a progression beginning in maximum noise/energy and gradually evolving away from that into a capacity for silence and contemplation, whether intellectual or spiritual.
Thus human life approximates, at either extreme, to the absolutes, with a kind of balanced relativity coming in-between. Generally, females approximate more closely than males to the diabolic absolute, males more closely than females to the divine absolute, so that while female babies and children are both noisier and more energetic, as a rule, than their male counterparts, male adults, particularly when elderly, are quieter and more contemplative than their female counterparts. From an adult point of view, however, it should be feasible to contend that, if it doesn't come from animals or machines, most noise one hears throughout life comes from babies, children, and youths - noise being the audible manifestation of energy.
Consequently there ought to be some way of ensuring that adults aren't unduly victimized by it. Now one of the best ways would be to ensure that adults were not obliged to live with either children or youths, the two most conspicuous categories of offenders against adult values. For while certain measures could be taken to make life less noisy in the future, measures to change the basic energy-biased constitutions of children and youths would be difficult, if not impossible, to affect, in consequence of which the most that could be done, from an adult standpoint, would be to confine noise-loving creatures to a particular environment, such as nursery, school, college, etc., where they would have less effect on adults.
Thus I foresee a time when, as an aspect of this better social ordering, youths will be obliged to live in different houses or blocs than adults, where, if they cannot be quiet and contemplative, they can at least be themselves to themselves and not (as is all-too-frequently the case at present) to people with radically different values!
Ben Freeman (lawyer)
Of the fact that adults have in the past served what is not in their best interests, but antipathetic towards them, I've absolutely no doubt. They have been too often and long the victims of babies, children, and youths - in that order. Such is the way of things in a relative civilization.
In an absolute civilization, on the other hand, this would not be the case; for post-atomic criteria would ensure that proletarian men, become male supermen, and proletarian women, become female supermen, did not form matrimonial relationships in the name of children. Male supermen would be free of such relationships, while female supermen would not be dependent on their more masculine counterparts for babies, but be free to avail themselves of artificial insemination obtainable, through state regulation, from clinics with sperm-bank facilities. Neither would the babies, once conceived, be dependent on their producers, because their development would be entrusted to the State which, in the future equivalent of kindergartens, would employ qualified professionals to take over the task of nurturing them from traditional private means, like mothers, and thus leave the female supermen free to attend to their various professional or artificial duties, including the cultivation of spirit.
The upbringing of children would consequently take place independently of their producers, both donor and bearer, and wouldn't directly impinge upon the adult world. Female and male supermen would themselves live apart in separate units, each adult being entitled to a small flat of his own which he would not share with anyone, least of all for sexual purposes.
No superman, male or female, would be obliged to acknowledge 'his' children; for propagation would be largely if not entirely an impersonal affair, with no family strings attached. Babies, children, and even youths would be in the care of professionals, and never again would adults be obliged to serve what is not in their best, i.e. spiritual, interests. I look forward to this post-family epoch of human evolution, when children are not raised in parental love or strife but in state service, according to the highest impersonal ideals.
Joseph O'Farrell (teacher)
With my allegiance to transcendental metaphysics, to transcendentalism, conceived in both practical and theoretical terms, I'm not exposed, like a petty bourgeois, to occultism, not even to the highest kind of occultism ... in mediumism. There is none of the Yeatsian or Huxleyite concern with a 'spirit world' about me, since I know that, from our standpoint, no such world exists.
Even if pure spirit exists, which it could well do in the guise of individual spiritual transcendences (assuming there were other planets in the Universe more advanced than our own which had passed through a post-human stage of evolution and attained, via superbeing equivalents, to transcendence), it would not be accessible to mediums for purposes of communication with the living, and for the simple reason that, as an electron-electron attraction, pure spirit could not be contacted by the living, having nothing in common with them and having nothing to impart to them - thought being alien to an absolutely post-atomic mind; though not, of course, to a human mind, least of all to one that claims it can induce pure spirit to part with thoughts or, more ridiculous still, act as a link between the impure and the pure, and so translate the thoughtless into the thoughtful!
No, even given the fact that no-one from this planet has ever literally attained to transcendence (including Christ), since it presupposes new-brain collectivizations in the superbeing millennium, such pure spirit as might exist in the post-millennial Beyond would have no connection, ancestral or otherwise, with the earth. Like it or not, mediumism is but a petty-bourgeois manifestation of the occult, a manifestation not directly dependent on soul, like its more diabolical precursors, but on a false interpretation and projection of spirit, the least despicable kind of occultism, but nonetheless still far from admirable from an absolutist point-of-view!
Unlike a petty-bourgeois metaphysician, a metaphysician of the transcendental civilization won't be exposed to the occult, since no religious relativity will be possible on the absolute plane. I'm not now exposed to it, but anyone who practises relative metaphysics within the wider context of bourgeois/proletarian civilization is almost certain, sooner or later, to succumb to a complementary occultism, a situation which, unconsciously upheld, will be taken for granted, given the relative integrity of such a civilization.
Hence Huxley's relativity between metaphysics (in petty-bourgeois transcendentalism), as applying to yoga and/or oriental mysticism generally, and the occult (in petty-bourgeois mediumism), as applying to an interest in the 'spirit world' and the emotional or, rather, intellectual treatment of spirit, i.e. its identification with and manifestation in thought, as expressed through a medium's voice. This oscillation between the genuine and the pseudo is the relative norm.
By contrast, the transcendental civilization to-come will know only the truth (of transcendentalism), and that truth, as proclaimed by he who in his global universalism corresponds to a True World Messiah, will endure absolutely.