MEANS BEFORE ENDS
Contrary to the opinion expressed by Jean-Paul Sartre in an interview with Michel Contat shortly before his death, people are not equal, nor have they ever been. We live in a world where the differences between men are considerable, where the inequalities which exist are of such a radical nature as to be beyond rational comprehension or, at any rate, far greater than we may care to believe. It isn't simply inequality of wealth or environment or profession or social position or sex or religion that presents itself to our comprehension but, most especially, inequality of spirit, inequality of what we essentially are in ourselves. For that is largely determined by the extent to which our intellect or spirit has been cultivated and that, in turn, is linked to, though not necessarily dependent on, our psychological make-up. Men and women are not equal, for essence and appearance are contrary attributes, and that which predominantly appertains to the one sex must inevitably be suspect, if not anathema, to the other. Thus as the spirit is superior to the flesh, men and women are unequal and must forever remain so while recognizably feminine and masculine distinctions obtain. (A woman will normally, by her very sensuous nature, attach more importance to appearance than to essence, and thus remain spiritually inferior to men.)
But just as some women are physically superior to others and accordingly more beautiful, so some men are spiritually superior to other men and therefore more intelligent. To imagine that all men are equal because each of them possesses two legs, two arms, a penis, etc., is frankly ridiculous, and one wonders how a clever man like Sartre came to such a grossly reductionist conclusion. The facts of human diversity would not appear to confirm him in it, since they show the contrary. But we have now got to a stage of evolution where the inequalities which exist between men are no longer matters to be taken for granted but, rather, grounds for serious concern. Why is this?
Largely, one suspects, because of the development of technology, which has revolutionized our way of life beyond anything dreamed of in the past. We are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, in all its ramifications, to facilitate social progress, and the more technology succeeds in doing this, the more sophisticated and self-regulating it becomes, the less need there will be for that rigid social hierarchy between men which has brought us to our current pass and is slowly goading us beyond it towards a more equalitarian future. For in the past it was necessary for men to be segregated into widely different classes in order to make survival possible. It was necessary to have overlords and underlings, higher and lower men, in order to tackle the manifold problems of survival, not least of all in the economic and industrial spheres. The gross inequalities of rank and ability were but reflections of the exigencies of material survival, reflections, above all, of the natural world which, stemming largely from a diabolic creative-force, encouraged the growth of diversity and, hence, inequality. A civilization at a lower and more natural stage of evolution can only be diversified, the scene of gross inequalities. However, as civilization advances, so measures are taken to curb the Devil's influence, so to speak, which accordingly becomes weaker. The city expands and nature is pushed back, thinned out and curtailed. Instead of being its helpless victim, men increasingly aspire to becoming its master and conqueror. They aspire, in other words, to God. But they cannot attain to their goal without a great deal of effort, and we can be certain, to judge by the world around us, that they haven't attained to it yet!
At this juncture in time civilization, as we in the West commonly understand it, isn't particularly advanced but still, to all intents and purposes, relatively primitive. Admittedly, we have come a long way from the caveman. But we are still to some extent victims of diabolic influence, and consequently remain divided between ourselves into numerous occupations and differing abilities. We may have technology, but we haven't yet developed it to its full, and thus are confined to the various degrees of inequality which circumstances have imposed upon us. To some extent, it is still necessary to have overlords and underlings, and it will doubtless remain so for some time to-come. Only when technology has taken over the bulk of our work can we really begin to phase-out the differences between man and man which make for the hideous inequalities of the world as we know it today. For once technology relieves us of the burden of individual occupations and divisive interests, financial or otherwise, we shall have no need of inequalities, but be largely beyond the Devil's influence. That age must surely soon arrive!
However, at this juncture in time men are not equal. There are higher and lower men, the former constituting a minority and the latter a majority. In part, this is a consequence of heredity, as of the environment in which one was raised, one's education, one's subsequent environments, the nature of one's profession or occupation, the people one has come into contact with, the experiences one has had at various times. Yet it is also, in part, an individual matter, dependent on one's temperament and physique - each of which determines one's lifestyle and conditions one's philosophy of life. We have heard much from writers like Aldous Huxley about the Sheldonian classification of the human being into three basic physiological types, viz. the fat, the medium-built, and the thin, which, translated into Sheldon's terminology, are described as endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic respectively. There exists a correlation, it is contended, between one's physique and one's temperament, so that, strictly speaking, the former cannot be considered in total isolation from the latter. Willy-nilly, we are to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the individual, what our bodies permit or oblige us to be. We needn't be surprised, therefore, if a fat person (endomorph) has different tendencies and interests in life from a thin person (ectomorph), as conditioned by his build. And a medium-built person (mesomorph) is likely to be different again, as befitting his comparatively muscular build. Therefore the gut person, the nervous person, and the muscular person are not always guaranteed of seeing eye-to-eye with one another, which is one of the reasons why the world is currently what it is - a struggle between the dark and the light, the diabolic and the divine.... Not that I wish to give the impression that fat, or gut, people are necessarily diabolical in relation to thin, or nervous, ones! But they are different, and the physical root of this difference is a significant factor in enabling us to assess life's inequalities. It is unlikely that, with more flesh than is compatible with spiritual strivings, one will turn into a saint. But neither is one guaranteed of turning contemplative or studious if one's muscular physique induces one to prefer athletic activities. On the contrary, one remains a slave of one's build, which is also partly related to individual intelligence.
Evolution, I firmly believe, is a journey from a Diabolic Alpha to a Divine Omega, from the stars, in all their infernal heat, to the future spiritual culmination of the Universe - call it the Omega Absolute or the Holy Spirit or simply God - in all its blissful calm. We haven't yet attained to that spiritual culmination, by any means! But at least we are still struggling in its general direction, a direction that leads up through urban civilization and technology towards the transcendental Beyond, which is the heavenly goal of evolution. I would say that we are now about three-quarters of the way along this long journey, no longer balanced between nature and civilization, as before, but biased on the side of the latter. This, at any rate, would probably apply to the majority of us, who are distinctly urban-dwellers.
Thus we have entered a phase of evolution when it is more reasonable for the great majority of mankind to look forwards, as it were, to the creation of the Omega Absolute than backwards to the existence of the Alpha Absolute; when it is more reasonable, in short, to put one's shoulder to the task of furthering God in the Universe than to spend time worshipping or blessing and/or cursing (in the 'elemental' fashion of John Cowper Powys) the First Cause, which, being diabolic and disjunctive, appertains to the stars. The Creator most certainly does exist, though not as a divine reality but, from an omega-oriented standpoint (which is necessarily transvaluated), as a diabolic one - the very Devil itself!
Now to worship the Devil isn't a particularly honourable or enlightened thing to do, even if divine terminology would suggest the contrary. For worship always presupposes an existing deity, and when one understands that - pedantic distinctions between one type of alpha star and another notwithstanding - it isn't really God but the Devil that exists in the Universe, not really a Supreme Being so much as the Primal Almighty, then it may be that one will be less inclined to worship the Devil and more inclined to get down to the much more important task of actually creating God. For, ultimately, that is our destiny and privilege as human beings. We must understand that true divinity could only issue from the climax of evolution, not be the force or power responsible for the creation of the Universe. To mistake the Primal Almighty for the Supreme Being, cosmic strength for spiritual truth, is simply to fall into the trap of mistaking the most powerful existing force in the Universe, i.e. stellar energy, for the highest possible condition the Universe, through man and man-equivalent life forms possibly existing elsewhere, is capable of engendering. It is tantamount to considering a muscular, athletic, sensual man superior to a nervous, intellectually-inclined spiritual man - in short, to regarding a Mr World-type figure as a superior creature per se to a brainy person, be he a student, artist, philosopher, or whatever. Now, obviously, while this will generally be the opinion of the muscular man, who probably dislikes intellectuals anyway, it is unlikely to convince an intellectual, who knows or should know himself, if he isn't a complete fool or a self-deceiving hypocrite, to be superior to less spiritually-evolved men. One cannot serve two masters at once. Either one cultivates the body, the muscles, or one cultivates the mind, the spirit. Those who cultivate the former, whether through choice or force-of-circumstances, are, ipso facto, lesser men than those who cultivate the latter. They are lesser largely because, evolution being a journey from the Devil to God, from alpha to omega, they stand closer in essence to the Devil than to God, closer, in other words, to the great cosmic ruler of the world. The intellectually-biased men are greater, by contrast, because they effectively aspire towards the Divine Omega by cultivating spirit, flying in the face of strength on the wings of truth. To imagine that all men are equal is the height of superficiality! Unfortunately, men are anything but equal, even though, as a given type of man, one has one's equals. One also has one's inferiors and, depending on one's type and capabilities within the range of that type, one's superiors. This has long been the case and will doubtless continue to be so for some time to come, regardless of the opinions of materialist intellectuals!
The lowest men, therefore, are those who, in their activities and fundamental nature, stand closer to the Devil than to God. The highest men, by contrast, are those who aspire most regularly and earnestly towards God. The former are tail-enders in the human journey to salvation in the transcendental Beyond, the latter its leaders and pioneers. And in-between we shall find the majority of men, a majority which is probably more-or-less balanced between the Devil and God in worldly compromise or, at best, acquiring a bias on the side of God, becoming slightly more partial to spiritual progress and thus less given to Christianity, which is essentially dualistic.
Christianity upholds the tradition of Creator worship; I reject it. Christianity asserts that God exists; I contend that, ultimately, He or, rather, it doesn't yet exist. Christianity assumes an afterlife Beyond, following death; I reject this posthumous Beyond in favour of a millennial and/or transcendental Beyond at the climax of evolution. Christianity maintains that Christ was the Son of God; I say that Christ was a son of the Diabolic Alpha, as, to varying extents, we are all, insofar as we were brought into this world largely through the sun's sustaining power and can do no better, if honourable men, than aspire towards the Divine Omega in response to a Christian 'rebirth' or, in Nietzschean parlance, 'revaluation'. Christianity presupposes a Last Judgement; I reject this dualistic position in favour of an evolutionary transcendentalism which presupposes the salvation of all men at the climax to evolution. Christianity upholds the resurrection of the Dead on the Last Day; I ask - How can the cremated be resurrected? Christianity treats the world as though it were the centre of the Universe; I contend that it is but one of possibly thousands if not millions of life-sustaining planets throughout the Universe on which, at some time or other, Christ-equivalent figures have lived and died. Christianity speaks of yesterday; I speak of tomorrow. Today we are in transition!
'God is dead' said Nietzsche, and by that he meant, knowingly or unknowingly, the Creator. However, the Creator is by no means dead but continues to burn-on in space, and does so, moreover, in the guise of the myriad stars of the Galaxy, as indeed, through due extrapolation, of the Universe in general. Our sun is but one of the innumerable creative and sustaining forces at work in the Universe, a tiny component, as it were, of its overall Creator and Sustainer. It isn't so much the Creator itself as a part of the Creator, not so much the Devil as a part of the Devil. For the Devil is necessarily manifold and diverse, as befits the frictional nature of evil. The Devil is naturally given to separateness, and consequently its offspring, in the guise of planets and nature, reflect this separateness, this attribute of cosmic evil. But a revolt against this condition begins once the process of civilized evolution gets properly under way in the face of nature. For up through man comes the urge to unity, to togetherness, and the further man evolves the more this drive towards unity is manifested in him and the more unity one accordingly finds in the world. Man is partly a child of the diabolic creative force, but, unlike fish, insects, birds, and animals, he is capable, through reason, of fighting against this primal force and thus of furthering the cause of God in the world. In other words, he is capable of pitting his civilization against nature and of rising above it in order to become divine. For man isn't content with the world but wishes to attain to God, to create the Supreme Being. He knows that he isn't supreme, since whatever is supreme wouldn't be tied to nature, like him, and thus a victim of the separate. God would be the Ultimate Unity, the Ultimate Oneness, in complete contrast to the Devil. The highest being, which we variously term God, the Holy Spirit, the Omega Point (de Chardin), the Final One, etc., would constitute the maximum joining of which life is capable. Beyond it nothing further could emerge. It would constitute eternity, the overcoming of time, the fulfilment of becoming.
What form, if any, this supreme level of Being would take we cannot of course be certain. But we can hazard a guess that it would be quite bright, possibly brighter, in a centripetal sort of way, than the brightest star currently in existence. And it would be composed, we may suppose, of all the superconscious mind of which the spiritual universe was capable. It would not be an affair of the world, or planet, but of the transcendental Beyond, literally of an appointed area in space beyond the world, and thus beyond the influence of suns, storms, rains, winds, droughts, etc. And being a part of it, being in it, would be more blissful than anything we can conceive of, since appertaining to the ultimate life. Man having reached his goal in transcendent bliss, completely freed from the rule of nature. No longer man but God. For man is something that should be overcome, as the prophetic Nietzsche so bravely put it, and only in God is this ultimately possible.
But we have a long way to go before our final overcoming, as the current state of the world around us should adequately demonstrate. We are not yet denizens of the most advanced civilization, even if denizens of a higher civilization than any previous one. In some respects the world is still quite primitive, still tied to the Diabolic in all-too-many contexts. (For instance, it is still possible for an intelligent man to be tortured by the loud and frequent barking of malicious dogs, i.e. four-legged beasts, in some nearby back-garden, and to such an extent that he may occasionally wonder whether he isn't really living in primeval times, so ubiquitous is the beastly!) But progress demands that the world becomes not only less tied to the Diabolic, in all its natural manifestations, but free from the Diabolic, with the passing of time, and this it must surely do as civilization continues to develop in an increasingly artificial direction. God is the most artificial or, rather, supernatural reality conceivable. To attain to that reality we must do everything in our power to further the growth of the artificial element in life at the expense of the natural, even if this does mean that, eventually, we come to replace the natural body with an artificial one, and thus cease to eat, drink, smoke, walk, sleep, urinate, defecate, copulate, etc., as would seem necessary to the cultivation of both an extensive and intensive spirituality. For as long as we remain victims of the body, we shall be tied to nature to an extent which makes a truly higher spirituality impossible - a fact, alas, which many people interested in spiritual advancement tend, for one reason or another, to overlook.
Clearly, meditation is not enough! The direct cultivation of spirit through meditation is of course a good thing, but I very much doubt that any man would get to the transcendental Beyond simply through meditating. Somehow the body's needs would still have to be attended to, and such attention would inevitably detract from one's spiritual potential. Again, it is a question of not being able to serve two masters at once or, rather, of being unable to serve one master exclusively. Yet how can one hope to attain to the transcendental Beyond when one is obliged to pay certain dues to the Devil as well? It is surely impossible, and I strongly incline to doubt whether any man has yet succeeded in doing so. In fact, I resolutely contend that no man has yet attained to the transcendental Beyond. For no man has undergone extensive artificial transmutation and, consequently, no man has been in a position to cultivate spirit to any radical extent, least of all to an extent presaging transcendence! Only through the most advanced civilization could one hope to achieve ultimate salvation. But such a civilization isn't in sight at present. We are still victims of the body, intermittent sensualists.
Meditation without technology is ultimately a lost cause. It can never amount to anything more than a temporary reprieve from the world of active pursuits, a kind of pleasurable experience to be indulged in intermittently, as one's circumstances permit. By itself it will not lead to the transcendental Beyond, nor, contrary to what traditionalists of various persuasions incline to believe, does one come into direct contact with God while practising it. If one doesn't relapse into a trance-like state of subconscious sensuality - closer in effect to the alpha than to our projected omega - one simply experiences one's spirit more clearly and perhaps to a greater extent than might otherwise be the case. But such spirit shouldn't be mistaken for God. At best, it is potentially God, something that, if cultivated more thoroughly and exclusively in the course of time, may lead to God by actually becoming transcendent. But it could not do so while there was a body, and hence flesh, in the way. And to imagine that one can become pure spirit with a body in the way is simply to imagine the impossible!
Clearly spirit, which can be located in the superconscious mind, and pure spirit, which will be located in space following transcendence, are two different things, not capable of mutual reconciliation. The former exists here and now in each individual psyche, the latter has yet to be brought about. The former is shackled to the world, the latter will be absolutely independent of it. No small distinction! But the one can lead to the other, and that is why the direct cultivation of spirit is so important, always bearing in mind, however, that spirit can only be cultivated extensively with the assistance of technology. For it is technology that will make progress in spiritual development truly possible - a technology which will eventually reduce the sensual impediments of such progress to the brain and, in all probability, to just the new brain - the ground, as it were, of the superconscious. This ultimate technology will possibly make approximation to the spiritual oneness of the transcendental Beyond so close that it will consist of a corporate or communal artificial support-and-sustain system for numerous brains - a single 'body' with many 'heads', so to speak.
However, all this is of course largely speculative and consequently not something about which we need unduly trouble our heads. Yet it should suffice to throw considerable doubt on our current complacency in natural spirituality, and indicate that such complacency is but a stage on the road to something higher and more realistic. It isn't for the meditating minds of tomorrow to be theistic, like so many contemporary ones, but to be resolutely atheistic, resolutely committed to the task of creating the Supreme Being, rather than to acknowledging, no matter how indirectly, the Primal Almighty.
But it isn't something that can happen overnight. For, at present, even natural meditation is the province of only a comparatively small minority of people, hardly of the masses, who, for the most part, simply aren't interested in it. Not only are they not interested in it, but they are insufficiently spiritually evolved for it. After all, men are not equal, and what is meat to the Few is likely to become poison to the Many. Obviously, we must evolve to a stage where meditation is acceptable and possible for the Many, thus giving rise to a concerted effort to attain to the transcendental Beyond.
It is no good adopting an attitude of spiritual elitism, like the somewhat un-American character Propter in Aldous Huxley's After Many a Summer. For that will not result in the salvation of mankind, nor even in the salvation of the elitist individual, who, in any case, will lack the technological know-how and advanced artificiality to achieve a definitive transcendence. The advancement of technology must affect the broad masses and so make a much more equalitarian form of society possible, thereby enabling men to rid themselves of the gross inequalities which stem from an earlier stage of evolution. With increased automation in industrial and commercial contexts, more leisure time will be available to the masses and, together with generally improved living-standards, this will result in their gradual advancement to a point where formerly elitist interests, whether spiritual, cultural, or intellectual, will become the province of all, not just of a small minority.
Yet increased leisure time will not, by itself, be enough to make all men equal. Some men will still be born with the rudiments of a muscular, or mesomorphic, physique and thus be disposed, in adult life, to the development of athletic tendencies. Some will be born with the rudiments of a thin, or ectomorphic, physique and thus develop into intellectuals. And some will be born with the rudiments of a fat, or endomophic, physique and thereby develop into sensualists. Of course, such physiological distinctions do not invariably lead to dissimilar predilections on the above-mentioned basis. There are overlappings of activity between even the most extreme physiological types, the most disparate of men. But, broadly speaking, these distinctions hold true and should be recognized as contributory factors to human inequality. Clearly, if we are to progress to a less unequal state, steps will have to be taken to phase-out the physiological differences between people, and thus prevent the body from conditioning the mind.
A more advanced civilization would therefore carry the development of technology a stage further than a means to the provision of extra leisure time, by making it the basis of a revolution with regard to the human individual personally. No longer would he be at the mercy of nature's whim, with a body fatter or thinner than other men. On the contrary, he would be directly transmuted by civilization itself into a uniform mould which would make for far greater social cohesion. The natural body would be superseded, as already intimated, by an artificial one which should result in the mind becoming more standardized along truly transcendental lines. Then a real social equality between effectively superhuman individuals would be in the making, and this would permit of a greater and more widespread commitment to meditation. With artificial methods of reproduction to safeguard its survival, society would exist in such a way that not nature but the artificial predominated, and to such a considerable extent that the long-term transformation of man into the Divine Omega would be virtually guaranteed. Freed from the oppressive dominion of the flesh, spirit would expand as never before and eventually, following years of sustained spiritual commitment, the potential components of the Supreme Being would proceed to emancipate themselves from the brain and soar heavenwards towards their unified goal in ineffable bliss. The converging universe to the Omega Point, about which Teilhard de Chardin speaks in his remarkable book Activation of Energy, would achieve its fulfilment in the spiritual unity of the transcendental Beyond, where only equality would prevail, an absolute rather than a relative equality which, as the consummation of evolution, would be eternal.
Such is the idealistic goal towards which we are slowly heading, willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly. There are two possible modes of approach to this goal, depending on one's personal bent or social coercion. One can put ends before means and thus concentrate on meditation now, or, more sensibly, one can put means before ends and thereby concentrate on technology and the progress of civilization. The former mode implies a tendency on the part of the Few to act for the Few in defiance of the Many, and is thus elitist. The latter mode, on the other hand, implies a tendency on the part of the Few to act for the Many in defiance of elitism, and is thus egalitarian. The one may prove personally rewarding in the short term but is futile in the long term, since it cannot lead to the goal by itself. The other may prove less personally rewarding in the short term but is justified in the long term, since it leads to the type of society which makes the goal possible. Those who put ends before means will inevitably end in failure. Those, however, who put means before ends will eventually triumph in success.
But man is not just a political animal. He is political insofar as he has a body and religious insofar as he has a mind. We cannot live by bread alone and, ultimately, socialism isn't enough. It may suffice for a while but, sooner or later, socialism must extend into religion. It isn't a religion by itself of course, and mistaken are those who imagine the contrary! It doesn't concern itself with God, or the cultivation of spirit, but appertains to the here and now, the world, the welfare of the masses. It is primarily politics and economics, and consequently it relates to the body. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the transcendental Beyond. It is a strictly temporal affair. This is its strength in the short term. For there are ages in which it is expedient to grant more attention to the body than to the spirit, and this age is evidently one of them. We cannot hope to cultivate spirit extensively unless, up to a basic point, the needs of the body have been properly taken care of in the meantime, and this is what socialism strives to do, both as regards society and the individuals of which it is composed.
Yet an age which concentrates on the body, on the improvement of the social lot of the masses, is necessarily second-rate, and must remain so. The immediate short-term future will probably be even more second-rate than the present, but that is a price we shall have to pay. The putting of means before ends is the important thing, not whether life is made better or worse in the short term by so doing. But once the material and technological foundations have been properly laid, then we shall be in a position to build the first-rate civilization which will emerge out of them and lead us to our ultimate salvation in spiritual bliss. Then we shall be in a position to cultivate spirit more extensively, and so dedicate ourselves to the attainment of transcendence. There will be a long period of sustained commitment to meditation, a period of the greatest spiritual striving mankind has ever known - the fruit of a truly first-rate civilization. As Henry Miller so admirably put it in Sunday After the War: "The new civilization, which may take centuries or a few thousand years to usher in, will not be 'another' civilization - it will be the open stretch of realization which all the past civilizations have pointed to."
Yes, it will indeed! But not without a considerable amount of groundwork first, without the laying of firm socialist foundations. That is why I am fundamentally socialistic, and that is why my philosophy, much as it may stretch beyond socialism, isn't so much a threat to socialism as its justification and fulfilment. We must put political means before religious ends, or perish. There is no alternative. That is the way of evolution!