PART THREE: DIALOGUES
A CHANGING WORLD
DONALD: I have always been puzzled by the uncertainty that exists - and has long existed - in philosophical circles about the extent to which external reality is actually there, outside ourselves, and the extent to which our appreciation of it is conditioned by consciousness - in other words, about the extent to which objective reality is really objective and not partly a creation of our subjective minds.
MATTHEW: You have good reason to be puzzled about this matter, since it isn't one that permits of a straightforward, eternally unchangeable answer. Rather, one has to answer it provisionally by saying that the respective ingredients in the determination of objective/subjective reality will vary according to the evolutionary position of the psyche in any given age, so that no fixed ratio of objective to subjective is possible.
DONALD: You therefore agree that our awareness of the external world is partly conditioned by consciousness.
MATTHEW: Of course! Reality isn't just 'out there'. It is also in the mind, and consequently external reality depends, to a certain extent, on the applicability of this mind for its elucidation - as, indeed, philosophers have known for quite some time! And not only philosophers but also scientists, who, like Konrad Lorenz, would never dream of completely detaching external reality from the internal world.
DONALD: Yet the doubt apparently lies with the extent to which the one conditions or is conditioned by the other?
MATTHEW: Yes, and not altogether surprisingly since, as already remarked, the extent varies from age to age, as from individual to individual. Let me attempt to clarify this point by dividing the history of the human psyche into three distinct stages, viz. a pre-dualistic, a dualistic, and a post-dualistic. The psyche, it should be remembered, is divisible into a subconscious and a superconscious mind, with consciousness being the product of a fusion of these two minds in the ego, or in-between realm of the psyche. If you accept this proposition, we can continue.
DONALD: I think I can accept it.
MATTHEW: Good! Now the first, or pre-dualistic stage will be one in which the subconscious predominates over the superconscious in the ratio of approximately 3:1, since at that juncture in time man is dominated by nature and insufficiently civilized, in consequence, to lead an independent spiritual existence beyond it. The ego, or conscious mind, of pagan man will therefore be relatively dark, as befits the psychic ratio just described, and, accordingly, the ratio of the external objective world to the internal subjective one will also be in the region of 3:1, which is to say, his consciousness of the external world will be very little affected by internal subjective reality, since that reality will be insufficiently evolved to colour or condition it to any significant extent. Rather, the subconsciously-oriented objective psyche will cause him to invest nature with hidden and usually malevolent powers, including demons. But the external world will appear to him basically as it is - a materialistic world at no great remove from himself.
DONALD: Hence we get animism or pantheism at this primitive stage of evolution?
MATTHEW: Precisely! But the next, or dualistic, stage reflects a psyche more-or-less balanced between the subconscious and the superconscious, in which consciousness comes to reflect a kind of twilight state and, by dint of environmental progress away from nature, man is in a position to distinguish between the mundane world and a transcendent one separate from it, which he invests with supernatural and usually benevolent powers, including angels. Now because the ratio of subconscious to superconscious mind is approximately 2:2, it follows that the external objective world will be conditioned by the internal subjective one to a greater extent than formerly, so that man inclines to distinguish himself from nature (to the extent that he previously identified with it) and thereby ceases to fear it.
DONALD: Thus the demons or whatever that formerly infested nature are transformed into angels and other benevolent powers who belong to a separate transcendent realm, as determined by the growth of superconscious mind?
MATTHEW: Yes, though not entirely! For some malevolent powers are still associated with nature, in accordance with the dualistic criteria of this stage of partly subjective psychic evolution. But, fortunately, human progress in the face of nature eventually leads to a situation, such as we find today, in which the superconscious is getting the upper-hand over the subconscious and a psychic ratio emerges which is the converse of the pre-dualistic one. In this post-dualistic age, the ego of transcendental man is relatively light, reflecting three times as much superconscious as subconscious influence, and so the external world is accordingly coloured by the internal one to a greater extent than ever before, which makes for a complete reversal of pagan criteria in an assessment of nature and matter in terms of the transcendent rather than the mundane, the divine rather than the diabolic. Indeed, we cannot now speak of an external objective world and of an internal objective one, as formerly, but are obliged to reverse the qualities of these worlds in response to the superconsciously-biased subjective nature of the modern psyche. Hence it is the external world that becomes subjective and the internal one that is seen to represent the higher, truer reality of the spirit. What we see outside ourselves is conditioned by our transcendent psyche to a greater extent than ever before, becoming, in the course of time, but pale abstractions of palpable materiality, which are to be explained away in terms of mystical generalizations stemming from our internal subjectivity. For instead of being brute matter now, nature must conform to our spiritual bias and display a similarly-biased constitution. To make it do this or, at any rate, appear to do this ... we invent machines like the Bubble Chamber and ideas such as the quantum theory, which goad nature into conforming, seemingly, to our wishes. A people without a spiritual bias would never have got around to it. But we impose our bias on the external world as a matter of course, quite happy to deceive ourselves as to its actual nature. Thus from being a reality to which our ancestors applied idealistic theories involving demons and evil spirits, nature has become a repository for an idealism abstracted from the higher reality of our superconsciously-biased psyche. Where, formerly, we abstracted from materialistic objectivity, we now abstract from spiritualistic subjectivity, and accordingly bend nature to our desires. To speak of an objective internal world now would be an anachronism or, at best, a partial truth applying to that part of the psyche which conforms to the subconscious. Consequently there is no justification for our using the expression 'objective' vis-à-vis the internal world. For now it is the external, traditionally objective world which becomes subjective reality for us, and it does so because the subjective reality of the post-egocentric psyche stands to it in the ratio of approximately 3:1, making our interpretations of it correspondingly biased on the side of internal subjective reality, which is to say, on the side of mysticism ... with a spiritualistic integrity. It is as though, at some propitious future occasion, matter will dissolve altogether if only we stare at it long enough from our superconsciously-biased psyche. But, in reality, matter hasn't changed one iota since our distant ancestors encountered it under pressure of subconscious, objective domination and invested it with demonic powers. Only we have changed and so drawn away from it, in accordance with evolutionary progress.
DONALD: This is incredible! Are you really saying that the external world isn't literally what our foremost scientists would have us believe?
MATTHEW: Absolutely! And I am saying this in camera, to the chosen few who can be trusted to appreciate and respect the fact. Not for a moment would I wish things to be any different - don't think otherwise! But I am too much a man of truth to be wholly satisfied with the relative 'truths' of scientific idealism. I can now see why they should exist and am thus in a better position to uphold them. For it is no good imagining that a return can be made to scientific realism in the objective spirit of Newtonian man. The age necessarily belongs to Einstein and must continue to do so in the future, whatever the extremism of scientific subjectivity may happen to be and, needless to say, irrespective of any Marxist materialist opposition in the short term. For the psyche cannot now be expected to regress to a predominantly objective status, but must continue to grow ever more subjective as the superconscious is developed further.
DONALD: And thus we must oppose purely materialist interpretations of the external world which, though literal, are obsolescent from a transcendent standpoint?
MATTHEW: Indeed, and
which, if upheld, would constitute a grave obstacle to our spiritual
aspirations. But, of course, such
materialistic interpretations can only be upheld in a materialist state where,
under Marxist-Leninist influence, transcendentalism is supposed not to
exist. Hence in the former Soviet Union,
traditionally, it wasn't so much curved space ... as force and mass that
explained the workings of the Solar System from an orthodox, or Newtonian,
point-of-view. Perfectly correct, of
course, from an objective angle, but on a lower evolutionary plane than the
Einsteinian subjectivity which was to characterize Western science in the
twentieth century. Yet such subjectivity
is only relevant to a society that to some extent acknowledges transcendentalism,
not to one that outlaws it. In other
words, such subjectivity is relevant to civilization, which is politics plus
religion, not just politics! More
specifically, it is relevant to the transitional (dualistic/post-dualistic)
civilization which the leading Western countries, including
DONALD: But, presumably, we have seen the last of spiritualistic idealism, the religious idealism of our ancestors, who were under subconscious domination to an extent which made religious realism impossible.
MATTHEW: Yes, there can't be too many people left in the more-advanced parts of the world, these days, who believe everything recorded in the Bible, even though the Bible still officially prevails in the West. What might be defined as lower mysticism, in which objective interpretations of and abstractions from external reality apply, is increasingly being superseded by the higher, subjective mysticism which has conditioned the findings of modern science. Religious objectivity isn't particularly influential in intellectual circles these days, whether scientific or literary.
DONALD: So you don't subscribe to the Fall of Man, which is essentially a pagan concept?
MATTHEW: No, although I do respect the doctrine of Original Sin, which is a Christian one. The Fall of Man, however, could only apply to a pre-dualistic context, in which a guilt complex exists as a consequence of the development from animal to man which evolutionary progress imposed upon man in the face of nature. With the advent of man, the close identification with nature, peculiar to the animal world, is lost, and so the distinction he then feels between nature and himself is interpreted as a fall - it being remembered that, at such an early stage of psychic evolution, the subconscious predominates ... with its naturalistic affiliation. To have fallen out of nature's bosom is regarded as more of a curse than a blessing, since pagan man lacked an evolutionary sense corresponding to the transcendent and, in consequence, could only regard his fate in terms of his immediate circumstances. Only with the advent of dualism was it possible for man to look towards the transcendent for his (future) salvation, rather than simply to regret that he had fallen out of nature. And in an incipiently post-dualistic age it should be obvious that man is on the rise towards the supernatural and therefore towards his transformation, in due course, into the Superman, as a life form one stage closer than man to the ultimate Oneness of the heavenly Beyond.
DONALD: And what of Original Sin?
MATTHEW: That is destined to be left behind with the future transformation of man. Not that I adopt an orthodox attitude to it, as if one should avoid sexual contact altogether. For, after all, it is only through sexual contact, resulting in propagation, that mankind survives and thereby evolves towards Heaven. If now, as formerly, sex is essentially an evil or sensual phenomenon it is nevertheless a necessary evil which has to be endured for the sake, above all, of evolutionary continuity. Life abounds in such necessary evils, and while the odd individual here and there is entitled, in his capacity of saint, to rebel against them to the extent he can, the majority of people must bow to them in the interests of survival. These days, however, the justification for sainthood is more fragile than at any former time in the history of civilized man. For whereas the majority of Christian saints firmly believed they would be rewarded for their mundane hardships in a transcendent afterlife, living as we do, in a more-advanced age, we lack this incentive and can only take a more realistic, down-to-earth attitude to salvation in consequence. Like it or not, salvation will only come about with spiritual transcendence at some more fortunate future age, not happen following death. And knowing this, we would be extremely foolish to starve ourselves of sensual needs for the mere sake of starvation. The Christian saints were at least wise enough to starve themselves or, more correctly, eat only the most frugal meals ... for an ulterior purpose, which is something we oughtn't to forget! They may have been deluded to expect a posthumous salvation, but at least they acted in accordance with the logic of their times.
DONALD: Which is also, I believe, the official logic of the contemporary Christian West or, at any rate, of Christian officialdom in the West.
MATTHEW: Yes, up to a point. But, as I said before, it is only the unofficial logic which is truly contemporary and which, in infiltrating the decadent dualistic and transitional civilizations, has ennobled them with a transcendentally objective bias. We may be a long way, at present, from the official transcendental civilization of universal man, but we are certainly tending in its direction, whatever the upholders of religious objectivity may happen to think of the fact.
DONALD: Yes, I can only agree!
FRANCIS: Where modern writing is concerned, it would seem that the age is more spontaneous than ever before and therefore, in a sense, more careless than ever before. Would you agree?
GERALD: Yes, in a way I would. For spontaneity is pertinent to a comparatively advanced age, in which intellectual dynamism has come to signify the appropriate momentum. Where, formerly, it was the body that was especially active and the mind that remained relatively inert, nowadays it is the converse which increasingly applies, and this is compatible with evolutionary progress from the material to the spiritual realm, from the physical to the mental one. To deliberate overmuch on a script one was writing would be to acquiesce in a degree of mental inertia out-of-step with the essential intellectual dynamism of the age. As a truly contemporary writer, one should be hard-pressed to keep-up with one's thoughts and, consequently, if one writes before typing, one will be obliged to adopt a kind of shorthand in order to ensure the quickest possible conveyance of one's thought to paper. For it normally happens that one's best thoughts come to one 'on the wing', so to speak, and must be captured for letters before they disappear again.
FRANCIS: Yet, to return to the second part of my question, surely this results in a degree of carelessness unprecedented in literary history?
GERALD: In the aesthetic sense I suppose it does, since one won't have either the time or inclination to carefully arrange and, as it were, chisel one's sentences into harmonious shapes. But in another, dynamic sense one must remember that the contemporary literary mind is so much more highly charged than the traditional one ... that it is able to both muster and master thought more quickly and efficiently than ever before, and thus mould it into intelligible sentences with the minimum of hesitation. The struggle is mainly carried out before the words reach paper, so that only a minimum revision is required for the completed script. It is no use one's coming to the work with a lazy or disordered mind, as various writers did in the past. The test of one's credibility as a contemporary writer will rest with the fluency of one's style, and that is dependent upon the dynamic workings of the mind.
FRANCIS: Yet, even so, it cannot be denied that such writings as you endorse are less than perfect from a grammatical standpoint. I mean, there will be instances of split infinitives, prepositions ending sentences, conjunctions out of place, adverbs not close enough to the adjective or noun they are intended to define, subordinate phrases occurring in ungainly or even unlikely places, punctuation logically inconsistent, phrases less than wholly apposite, choice of words sometimes inappropriate, tenses not properly followed through, elision, and so on - through a whole host of academic failings.
GERALD: Yes, there will doubtless be lapses - sometimes frequent, sometimes occasional - from textbook criteria ... as expounded by pedants. But so what? Does that necessarily disqualify the contemporary writer from artistic or intellectual credibility, turning his work into an example of how not to write? No, I don't believe so, and for the simple reason that textbook criteria and serious literary endeavour are two entirely separate things, which rarely if ever overlap!
FRANCIS: Oh, but really...!
GERALD: I assure you this is no exaggeration, but a wholehearted confession of fidelity to contemporary literary requirements, irrespective of what the case may have been in the past. Of course, it is true that bourgeois and, to an even greater extent, aristocratic authors have taken great pains with their work in the past, not least as it bears on grammar. But such a fastidious attitude, by no means uncommon in the present century, is hardly justifiable as an eternal verity, to be scrupulously adhered to in the interests of professional dignity and integrity. On the contrary, we find that as writing progresses from class to class, so it becomes increasingly bolder in defying strict grammatical rules and establishing new criteria for itself in the face of tradition. Where, in less enlightened ages, writing was shackled by numerous grammatical fetters, it is now comparatively free of them and must become even more so in the future, if there is to be any further literary progress.
FRANCIS: But why must it become ever freer in this way? After all, grammatical rules exist to assist our understanding of writing, not to hinder it.
GERALD: Doubtless that is fundamentally true. But it should also be remembered that, if adhered too rigorously to, such rules can also serve to impede or obscure our understanding. No, the real reason behind the gradual emancipation of letters from grammatical fetters is that, by so freeing itself, writing can become a medium for the conveyance of essence over appearance, as it should be in any advanced stage of its evolution.
FRANCIS: How, pray, do you distinguish between essence and appearance?
GERALD: Very simply. Essence appertains to the thematic content of a work, appearance to the means used to convey it. The one is subject-matter, the other technique. Now the fact is that the ratio of the one to the other has been steadily changing ever since man first acquired the rudiments of civilization and put pen to paper. If you'll permit me to generalize, we shall discover that appearance predominates over essence in pre-dualistic writings; that appearance and essence are approximately in-balance during a dualistic age; and that now, as we enter a post-dualistic age, essence predominates over appearance, in accordance with the spiritual bias of the times. Thus less attention is given to technique in post-dualistic writings than was given to it at any previous time in the history of letters, and this is compatible with the fact that much more importance is attached to content, to what is being said rather than the way in which one says it. Content is the all-important factor, and because it is recognized as such in the best and most progressive writings of the age, less time is wasted on apparent factors than ever before. Indeed, a concern with appearances could only detract from the content, as well, no doubt, as impede the fast flow of thought so crucial to the intellectual dynamism of the times. To unduly deliberate over the choice and arrangement of words like an aristocrat or pseudo-aristocrat, such as Edgar Allan Poe, would constitute a gross anachronism in an age which is tending, willy-nilly, towards greater spiritual mobility. What Poe was to pseudo-aristocratic writings, Baudelaire was to bourgeois writings, and neither of them should be emulated now - certainly not by proletarian authors, at any rate!
FRANCIS: Would this development away from appearance, as applied to literature, also apply to poetry then, so that the absence of rhyme from modern poems is regarded as a mark of their evolutionary superiority over traditional, rhyming poems, rather than as a reflection of technical disintegration or prosy degeneration?
GERALD: Most assuredly! And never more so than when we are dealing with the free verse of the best proletarian poets. Not for nothing is Poe regarded as a jingle-jangle man. For to write verse in the manner of Poe now would be to fall way behind the foremost developments of the day, which are becoming ever more biased on the side of essence. Rhymes of whatever sort primarily appeal to the senses, to eyes and ears, rather than to the mind, and so, too, do such apparent devices as alliteration, assonance, regular metres, vowel placements, and stanza divisions - all of which have constituted an irreplaceable and, I regret to say, irreproachable aspect of pre-dualistic and even dualistic poetry. In the final analysis, however, appearance can only detract from or limit the applicability of essence, never enhance it! The rhyming poetry of the past can never be resurrected in any seriously progressive context, and in general one finds that only the most conservative poets of the twentieth century continued to write it, as did W.B. Yeats and Robert Graves, doubtless with some justification within the context of dualistic civilization. But such rhyming poetry can certainly be bettered, and it is and will continue to be the fate of petty-bourgeois and/or proletarian poets to do so. Compare Yeats' early poems with Allen Ginsberg's late ones, and you'll see what I mean! Yet poetry is only one branch of literature, and what applies there must also apply elsewhere, in response to evolutionary progress. Thus the spontaneous attitude of D.H. Lawrence to novel writing is, despite the reactionary or traditional nature of much of his thought, inherently superior to and somehow more contemporary than the deliberative, rather formal attitudes of novelists like James Joyce and Thomas Mann, whose large attention to technique could only detract, in the long-run, from the importance attached to content. With Joyce, words become important in themselves, as things to be looked at and listened to, juggled into amusing or teasing juxtapositions, riddles or puns. He retains a traditional poetic attitude to writing, so that his novels become - most especially in the case of Finnegans Wake - exercises in poetic prose. How different from D.H. Lawrence, who conveys the impression that words are all on the same level, with no hierarchic preferences, and need scarcely be looked at except as means of conveying thought! Truly, Lawrence's is the more progressive attitude, and although I despise much of his thought, I can't help but admire his spontaneous approach to writing, which gives maximum priority to essence.
FRANCIS: You would obviously admire the spontaneity of John Cowper Powys' writing, too. He must surely be among the most prolific novelists of the century.
GERALD: Yes, though once again I am obliged to admit that I despise his thought and would not wish to champion it! The age of nature-worship is long dead and unlikely ever to be resurrected in the future, as the world tends ever more radically away from nature in pursuit of the supernatural. Powys is, it seems to me, a kind of neo-pagan anachronism in the modern world, a remnant or rehash of the old world rather than a pioneer of a new one. If his literary facility is commendable, his philosophy, in my opinion, is considerably less so, and we need not expect it to be influential in building the next civilization. He is really one of those curious hybrids or chimeras which the twentieth century, as a transitional age, seemed prodigal in producing, whose class bias, while fundamentally bourgeois, isn't exempt from proletarian leanings, whether technical, as in Powys' case, or thematic, as in the case, for example, of Aldous Huxley. A wholly post-dualistic writer we haven't as yet seen, which isn't altogether surprising, since the West remains fundamentally bourgeois and, hence, dualistic. Even America, which represents the higher, transitional civilization between dualism and post-dualism, hasn't produced a full-blown transcendentalist, although it has fostered a number of transitional (bourgeois/proletarian) writers whose works are, on the whole, more progressive than those of their European contemporaries.
FRANCIS: I presume you are alluding to writers like Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac, whose novels are not only more transcendentalist than is to be found in the general pattern of European writings, but more technically spontaneous as well?
GERALD: Yes, especially is this true of Kerouac, whose quasi-mystical novels are among the most free and enlightened literature of the age. Kerouac went a step further than Miller in developing the American novel, and, no doubt, others have since gone a step further again, using a more spontaneous technique in the service of a more enlightened transcendentalism. But there are limits, as I said, to the development of such literature within the confines of a transitional civilization. For truly proletarian literature is only relevant to a post-dualistic civilization, and nowhere in the world does such a civilization currently exist.
FRANCIS: Not even in the former Soviet Union?
GERALD: No, since the Soviet Union was essentially a neo-barbarous post-dualistic state, not a civilized or partly religious one. The absence of an official post-dualistic religion, such as Transcendentalism, from the Soviet Union inevitably limited the scope of proletarian writings to political and social propaganda, precluding the development of an avant-garde technique in pursuance of spiritual ends. What one usually encounters in Soviet literature, as in the other Soviet arts, is a bourgeois technique, in which deliberation and appearance balance content, put to the service of proletarian propaganda - not the utilization of a truly proletarian, spontaneous technique in response to the intellectual dynamism of the times. Technically, Soviet art was very conservative, and this fact could only hinder the progress of proletarian literature which, as in the Soviet Union, necessarily remained confined within materialist limits. No, the highest proletarian literature, whether novelistic or otherwise, will only come from a post-dualistic civilization ... where technique and content can be developed along the most transcendental lines. If Ireland is destined to become such a civilization before any other country in the world, then it will be there that this literature will first arise ... in accordance with post-dualistic criteria.
FRANCIS: And what, exactly, will these criteria be?
GERALD: Adherence, above all, to the intellectual dynamism of the age, with the inevitable corollary of spontaneity in writing and the reduction of appearances to the barest minimum. The further development of truth as essence is expanded as much as possible. The organization of one's work into a collectivistic format, so that the traditional procedure of keeping the various literary genres separate is transcended in a divine-oriented literature that reflects an evolutionary convergence to the Omega Point, to cite Teilhard de Chardin. The use of computers, so that discs replace books as the medium through which this ultimate literature is read. An adherence, all along the line, to post-dualistic ideology, whether political or religious.... Thus the full-blown proletarian literature of the future will bring literature to its consummation, and so prepare the way for the post-literary epoch of the post-Human Millennium. It will eventually spread throughout the world, becoming universally accepted, as the ultimate civilization supersedes the neo-barbarism of socialist materialism in response to historical necessity.
FRANCIS: So what the Americans, with their transitional literature, are to the contemporary dualistic world, the Irish, in their subsequent development of post-dualistic civilization, will become to the neo-barbarous one - cultural leaders on the world stage.
GERALD: I see no reason why not, especially as I am an Irishman and the world's first truly post-dualistic writer, whose literature awaits its due recognition. Sooner or later my hour will come, and when it does you can rest assured that proletarian literature will be here to stay, never impeded, any more, by bourgeois realism or neo-barbarous materialism. Who knows, but if such writings are allowed to develop to the full, they may well transcend appearances altogether one day, as increased spontaneity pushes them towards the maximum freedom in total abstraction, thereby transforming literature once again. For once truth has been attained to, in meaningful sentences, there is nothing left for us to do ... other than begin to free ourselves from words by breaking-up meanings. Verbal concepts are all very well for man, but they won't be of much use to his superhuman successor, believe me!
FRANCIS: I almost do, although, to be honest, I'm not entirely convinced that such abstract writings would constitute the ultimate literature, since, without meaningful sentences, they would be a bore to read.
GERALD: You are speaking more from an egocentric than from a post-egocentric point-of-view. As it happens, there are three main approaches to art, of whichever kind, in the post-dualistic age. In the first approach one can be post-egocentric in the sense of free from self-aggrandizing penchants for aesthetic finesse and embellishment. One's work will accordingly be somewhat simplistic in construction and seemingly slapdash or careless in appearance. It will be a literature approximating more to D.H. Lawrence than to James Joyce, with a fairly high degree of spontaneity. In the second approach, however, one can create in the post-egocentric context of disrupting and discrediting the natural world, whether this is the external world of nature or the internal world of the subconscious. With the former one gets Expressionism in one degree or another. With the latter ... Surrealism in one degree or another. Perhaps where the development of a truly abstract literature is concerned, one would be a proponent of this anti-natural type of post-egocentric creativity, so that the meaninglessness of one's sentences was largely designed to discredit and disrupt the subconscious as a means of partly freeing man from its influence ... in the interests of superconscious development. But in the third approach, which I believe applies most especially to myself, one's commitment to post-egocentric writings would be with intent to explore and expand the superconscious, and for that it would be necessary to retain meaning, in well-ordered sentences, as one sought to elucidate spiritual progress. This is the highest type of post-egocentric creativity because wholly forward-looking, and a good example of it can be found in the mature novels of Aldous Huxley, which aspire to the status of religious literature on a transcendent plane. In painting, we find Mondrian generally signifying the same thing, and, in music, Michael Tippett has displayed a consistently transcendental bias. One can only suppose that, eventually, this third type of post-egocentric creativity will completely eclipse each of the others, as evolution tends ever more deeply into the superconscious.
FRANCIS: Thus a kind of creative hierarchy exists, on the post-egocentric level, which stretches from the simplistic and/or slapdash to the transcendental via the expressionist and/or surreal, and such an hierarchy might well be reflected in twentieth-century literature by the novels of D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and Aldous Huxley respectively; in twentieth-century painting by the canvases of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Piet Mondrian respectively; and in twentieth-century music by the works of John Cage, Karl-Heinze Stockhausen, and Michael Tippett respectively.
GERALD: In general, I think that would be approximately correct, even given all the creative changes which any one artist may undergo. But post-egocentric art, in whatever context, has yet to develop to the full, and when it does you can rest assured that the attainments of most of the leading artists of the twentieth century will appear comparatively moderate. Only the next civilization will be radically post-egocentric. In fact, so radically post-egocentric as to be wholly superconscious.
FRANCIS: That I can well believe!
THE EVOLUTION OF ART
PETER: Do you agree with Keats that 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever', or that 'Truth is beauty, beauty ... truth'?
GRAHAM: No, I don't! And neither do I agree with his near contemporary, Goethe, who said: 'The eternal feminine draws us up'.
PETER: Oh and why is that?
GRAHAM: Because the feminine aspect of life is merely a temporal affair and, except in the erotic sense that Goethe probably intended, only serves to draw us down towards the beastly rather than up ... towards the godly. When one makes love to a woman one is in the feminine world, which is inherently sensual, and consequently turning one's back on the world of spiritual striving. One's responsibilities there are feminine and, hence, negative, not masculine and positive. Baudelaire defines the situation well when he says: 'Love greatly resembles an application of torture or a surgical operation', and, later, when he goes on to record: 'There are in every man, always, two simultaneous allegiances, one to God, the other to Satan', and proceeds to define the latter as a 'delight in descent' involving, amongst other things, woman, he directly refutes the aforementioned maxim of Goethe - at least as it may apply to moral standards!
PETER: Which is, I suppose, only to be expected, since Baudelaire was an ascetic Catholic and not, like Goethe, a hedonistic Protestant. But, really, I asked you a question about Keats and still haven't received an enlightening answer.
GRAHAM: I told you that I didn't agree with Keats' lines, and my reasons for saying so are similar to my reasons for not agreeing with Goethe's oft-quoted line - namely that, like the feminine, beauty isn't eternal, and therefore is incapable of being 'a joy forever'. You see, beauty appertains to appearance, an attribute which is quantitative and, hence, temporal. Truth, on the other hand, appertains to essence, an attribute which is qualitative and, hence, eternal. To write: 'Truth is beauty, beauty truth', like Keats, is to write nonsense from any higher or objective point-of-view, seeing that essence and appearance are forever antithetical, and therefore incapable of being reconciled. The beauty of a beautiful woman is apparent, whereas the truth of a truthful man is essential, and never can the two attributes be harmonized, let alone become equal. For whereas the former leads down to sensuality the latter leads up to the spirit. Only a dualist could confound them and strive, no matter how self-deceptively, to reconcile the two in one equation. Yet as Baudelaire said somewhere else: 'The more a man cultivates the arts, the less he fornicates. A more and more apparent cleavage occurs between the spirit and the brute'.
PETER: Doubtless that is true within certain limits. But surely it also contains a contradiction, since the arts are more often apparent than essential, and thus more aligned with beauty than with truth?
GRAHAM: Traditionally, and on the lowest artistic levels, that may well be the case. But the highest art, especially during the last century or so, is primarily concerned with truth, not beauty. The criteria of artistic excellence have changed, in accordance with the dictates of evolutionary progress away from the natural, material world towards a supernatural, or spiritual, one. To be concerned overmuch with beauty, in this day and age, would hardly help to place one's work in the vanguard of artistic progress. Rather, one would be producing anachronisms, only fit for the most popular or old-fashioned appreciation.
PETER: But the fact nevertheless remains that art is largely apparent, if only because it stands outside the self and obliges one to contemplate it from a distance.
GRAHAM: Ah, if you are specifically alluding to the art of painting, then that is undoubtedly true! But, you see, modern art utilizes appearance in the service of essence to the extent that appearance can be so utilized. Of course, one is going to be at cross-purposes to some extent, and this is an unfortunate limitation of art as we currently understand the term. For no matter how much the artist may strive to convey truth as opposed to beauty in his work, appearance inevitably remains tied to the sensual, temporal, material world.
PETER: Then what is the point of the artist's working at cross-purposes with himself if the end-product is going to fall short of perfection, as defined in terms of the essential?
GRAHAM: The point is not to attain to perfection, as just defined, but to intimate of it, no matter how crudely, by utilizing apparent means. Improvements from the spiritual point-of-view on the physical constituents of art are always possible and continue to be made, whilst its content can likewise be improved upon through increased abstraction. Where painters were once dependent on heavy frames and thick canvases, not to mention stodgy oils, they now have access to much lighter frames - assuming frames are used at all - and thinner canvases on which less materialistic pigments, like acrylic, can be applied. On the content side of artistic improvements we find a progression from, say, the religiously pictorial paintings of Tintoretto and Rubens to the completely abstract paintings of Mondrian and Ben Nicholson via the bare interiors of Protestant churches, as revealed by de Witte and Saenredam. Thus, in the material context, we find that the materials used in modern paintings are, on the whole, less materialistic than those used in the paintings of earlier centuries, whilst, in the spiritual context, we find that the subject-matter of the best contemporary works is far less apparent than with paintings at any previous time, and therefore signifies a closer approximation to essence. An abstract painting may not constitute essence, or spirit, but it is at least a superior symbol of essence than could have been attained from a representational or pictorial work of religious objectivity, as produced in earlier centuries.
PETER: But surely art conceived in terms of abstract painting must inevitably reach a dead-end, if what you say is true, with a maximum approximation to essence beyond which it cannot evolve.
GRAHAM: Oh, indeed! And, to all appearances, this is what has happened. Or, more accurately, painting has attained to its consummation in the pure abstractions of masters like Mondrian, Kandinsky, Nicholson, Klein, et al., beyond which no reasonable progress is possible. What began with Turner and the Impressionists in the nineteenth century has attained to completion in the twentieth. Indeed, whenever I look at an Impressionist painting these days, whether by Monet, Sisley, or Pissarro, I am conscious of looking at crude abstract art, at the beginnings of a process of spiritual development that was furthered and brought to perfection in the twentieth century. The Impressionists thus become for me somewhat primitive, I might even say too materialistic and apparent for comfort. I prefer the superior developments of Mondrian, Nicholson, et al.
PETER: Then, assuming these developments have attained to a climax now, it would seem that art has got very little left to do and is essentially a thing of the past.
GRAHAM: When conceived solely in painterly terms I agree that that must undoubtedly be so. But to imagine that art ends with painting would be to underestimate its evolutionary capabilities, since moving from the canvas to the air or electric-light bulb is as inevitable a progression as was the one which led from the cave or wall to the canvas. Like biological evolution, which takes the form of successive transmutations of species, art also changes its constitution in the interests of both survival and aesthetic improvements, with the latter consideration dominating the former in this day and age. Thus light art, as reflected in fluorescent tubing and various types of light bulbs, becomes the successor to painting ... as a better means of approximating appearance to essence. An abstract arrangement of slender neon tubing provides a superior spectacle to abstract painting ... to the extent that it conforms to a less materialistic context, both as regards content and materials. The slender transparent plastic tubing is less materialistic than a canvas, with or without frame, and the light, created by electricity, is likewise less materialistic than the pigments utilized in the creation of paintings, which congeal into hard layers of paint capable of being touched. But you can't touch electric or neon light, since it is an impalpable medium diffused throughout the tubing by the process of molecular action on chemicals. In the case, for example, of fluorescent lighting, it is the electron bombardment of phosphor that produces the impalpable glow. Thus light art is far better suited for an approximation to essence than painting, and has accordingly superseded painting in this respect.
PETER: But isn't light art a kind of sculpture rather than successor to painting?
GRAHAM: Doubtless some of the more cumbersome light works, involving bulbs and tubes, can be regarded as a kind of modern sculpture. But I incline to regard most light works as a step beyond painting, rather than as a new manifestation of sculpture. And I do so because, fundamentally, sculpture is a tactile art and must remain so ... if it isn't to become transmuted into something else. Modern sculpture, as produced, for instance, by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Archipenco, Arp, Brancusi, and Viani, remains fundamentally tactile, and especially is this so with such outdoor works as are accessible to the public. A large bronze by Moore invites touch, not just visual curiosity, and should be gently touched, caressed, slapped, etc., in accordance with one's mood and the inherent property of mass as a tactile object. To treat sculpture as though it were only a more solid or materialistic type of painting ... is simply to misuse it, since its physical constitution as a three-dimensional object does not warrant purely optical consideration. The best paintings, on the other hand, signify an attempt, no matter how crudely, to approximate matter to the spiritual world, whereas sculpture, no matter how modern, can never really desert the palpable world of materialism. One reason why we are required not to touch paintings on display in a public gallery is that to do so would infringe upon the spiritual pretensions of art, emphasizing its alignment with the material world at the expense of purely optical appreciation. Paintings were never designed to be touched, and neither, it seems to me, can one be expected to touch light works, the bulbs or tubes or tubings of which would seriously burn one's fingers if one were foolish enough to try. Consequently I have no hesitation in regarding such works, or the great majority of them, as the logical successors to paintings ... rather than as alternative modes of modern sculpture, since they exist to be contemplated, not touched!
PETER: So, presumably, to contemplate sculpture instead of to touch it would be as absurd, in your view, as to touch paintings or light works instead of to contemplate them?
GRAHAM: I didn't say that, although I am in no doubt that, traditionally, sculpture should be touched as well as contemplated. If, however, we prefer to contemplate than to touch sculpture these days, that is simply a reflection of the spiritual bias of the age, which induces us to treat matter more spiritually, as it were, than our ancestors would have done, and so elevate sculpture to solely optical appreciation. Probably it would be bad form now for people to go about touching sculptures, particularly those housed in galleries, since the solidity experienced by their fingers would contradict the modern preference for spiritual or partly spiritual interpretations of matter, as upheld by contemporary science, and only serve to remind people that matter is still solid, after all. Doubtless they would be more willing to touch sculpture in Marxist-Leninist societies, which are materialist, than in quasi-transcendental ones, if you follow my drift.
PETER: Indeed, though whether they would be encouraged to do so is another matter! However, getting back to the subject of light art and assuming, for the sake of argument, that such art does indeed signify a step beyond painting rather than a new type of sculpture - how can it be improved upon if it is to intimate more closely of essence in the future, bearing in mind that it will always be tied to appearances no matter what happens?
GRAHAM: Well, what applies to painting applies no less to light art, so that the progressive reduction of its material side will constitute a mode of improvement, as, no doubt, will the progressive expansion of its spiritual, or abstract, side. Thus what is all the time happening on the macrocosmic plane of contracting suns and on the microcosmic plane of expanding spirit, is also happening in art, with regard to its changing constitution. The diabolic side of art is reduced in proportion that its divine side increases. Consequently, where light art is concerned, the next obvious evolutionary improvement will free light from the plastic tubing, or whatever its material envelope may happen to be, and place it in the air, in the sky, in space. So not only will light be free of the plastic tubing, it will simultaneously be free of the support wall or floor or stand on which the tubing rests. Now with this contraction of its material side will come an expansion of its spiritual side, as light is concentrated into purer and brighter globes, with the convergence towards one central point in space of the beams of numerous searchlights or equivalent powerful lighting apparatuses, like a convergence to Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point.
PETER: Thereby taking light art outdoors?
GRAHAM: Yes, although there will also be scope for indoor light shows of a progressively more transcendent order, which may involve the projection of kaleidoscopic colours onto walls or ceilings. But the most spectacular effects with light will be outdoors, and should come from laser beams projected into space as an approximation of appearance to the ultimate essence of pure spirit in the future transcendental Beyond. There have already been a number of laser-light works on display in the West, particularly America, and such works must surely constitute a superior stage of artistic evolution to works more closely tied to the material world. They were the highest religious art possible with light, since light is seen to be transcendent, detached from the mundane, and accordingly purer and more cohesive than would otherwise be the case. Were it not for the fact that the laser beams stem from a materialistic source on the ground, the illusion of transcendence would be complete. But even laser beams are dependent on materialism and therefore can only intimate of essence, not become it.
PETER: Presumably not only with regard to the light-producing mechanism, but with regard to the appearance of light in the sky as well?
GRAHAM: Yes, undoubtedly. For essence, conceived transcendently, would not be phenomenal but noumenal and therefore totally beyond appearances. The Spiritual Globes that should issue from Superbeings, at the transformation point from the post-Human Millennium to the transcendental Beyond, could not be detected as visible presences looming large. For the spiritual world is necessarily invisible to the senses, since antithetical to what is sensual. Traditionally, we have realized and acknowledged this fact by conceiving of ghosts as impalpable, scarcely perceptible entities that float aloft like transparent clouds. Our egocentric status in the past did of course lead to ghosts being anthropomorphized, or given human form, as though the spirit was patterned on the entire physical body and stemmed in bodily form from the body with death! This, of course, isn't the case. For, in reality, it is only the most noble organ of the body, namely the brain, that truly produces spirit, and then only in its higher, or new-brain, part, which, translated into psychological terminology, we call the superconscious. It is from this new brain/superconscious symbiosis that, with transcendence, spirit will emerge as the climax to the post-Human Millennium, and it won't have human shape for the simple reason that - apart from the aforementioned absence of divine spirit from the body in general - the human body will have long before been superseded by the artificial supports and sustains of the Supermen and Superbeings respectively.
PETER: Then, presumably, ghosts were figments of the imagination and little else?
GRAHAM: Yes, though inevitable figments, given the evolutionary limitations of the age of religious objectivity, with its notion of man being made in God's image and the consequent fact that spirit was believed capable of surviving death and returning to its Maker. But these beliefs would now be incapable of standing up to logical, rational opposition, which is why they should be discarded, like a dead husk. If at death the spirit dies it is because the body, being mortal, has killed it off, snuffed out something that would have been capable of lasting for ever if only it had been given more adequate or long-term support. For spirit remains dependent on matter so long as it is insufficiently cultivated to manage without it, which is to say, until transcendence is achieved as the fruit of so much spiritual striving ... carried out in collective and extensively artificial contexts. But whether, depending on the age into which one was born, one's spirit is destined for immortality or not, the fact nevertheless remains that, being essence, spirit is aligned with truth and isn't therefore capable of being detected, like beauty, on the plane of phenomenal appearance. Consequently all attempts to depict transcendent spirit, whether by paint, electric light, laser beams, or whatever, are intrinsically contrary to the truth of spirit as noumenal essence, and can only be misleading from a strictly subjective standpoint. Even the Hindu conception of God as the Clear Light of the Void is fundamentally inadequate, since it presupposes appearance and consequently induces one to visualize, in the mind's eye, some clear light shining in the 'heavens', like a purer kind of star, perceptible to sight. Yet that isn't what the Omega Absolute would be, nor even the Spiritual Globes that will precede the ultimate unification of pure spirit. One could never know the Omega Absolute in the sense of perceiving it. One could only conceptually experience essence as pure spirit, which would be the condition of Heaven. Light art, however, will always remain partly tied to Hell, no matter how sincerely it is used to intimate of Heaven. For one will always see it, just as one can see the hell specific to our world if one looks up at the sky on a clear day.... Contrary to traditional belief, there is not one hell but literally billions of hells scattered throughout the Universe, which correspond to individual stars. Our star is therefore but one of millions of petty hells which revolve around the great star at the centre of the Galaxy - part of the overall pluralism of the Diabolic Alpha. Given the limitations of the ancients as regards the true extent and nature of the Universe, it is possible that the Creator was abstracted from the sun rather than from the central star of the Galaxy, which, then as now, would have been too remote to be seen. However, this is a debatable point, since it is well known that primitive societies have responded differently to the concept of a 'Creator', doubtless by abstracting from different cosmic sources. Thus if some of them, like the Aztecs, referred religion directly to the sun, others, like the Jews, abstracted from a something assumed to be the sun's creator - quite possibly the central star of the Galaxy. Hence when the sun is regarded as Creator, we get polytheism. For the other stars that can be glimpsed in the Galaxy or outside it are likewise regarded as gods. But when the sun is considered as merely a part of nature, and not its sole creator, we get monotheism, and can surmise that the religious sense appertaining to the Creator will be abstracted from the central star of the Galaxy, since that would probably be the star responsible, directly or indirectly, for the creation of such minor stars as the sun, and need not be known to mankind to be placed in a creative role. The important thing to remember, however, is that when we refer to 'the Creator' we are primarily referring to a creator of this world and, by implication, everything naturally in it, not to the Creator of the Universe. For the latter would have been created from an explosion of gases giving rise to the star clusters we now refer to as galaxies. Yet such a Creator, or First Cause, would have no relevance to man, and could not be prayed to as something that was believed to exist in the Universe. Only the stars exist there, and if it was the case that ancient man, with his cosmic myopia, abstracted the Creator either from the nearest star or the unglimpsed central star of the Galaxy, then there is no reason for us to attempt to equate it with all the stars. After all, the Lord's Prayer, beginning 'Our Father ...' suggests a relative rather than an absolute frame-of-reference, doesn't it? There is no reason for us to doubt that there are other 'Fathers' in the Universe, or that other peoples or whatever on other planets haven't likewise prayed to their specific 'Father', during the period of evolutionary time in their historical destinies when such a prayer was deemed relevant. For the post-dualistic civilization of the future, however, no such alpha-oriented prayer could possibly be relevant, since people would be exclusively concentrating their religious attention on the cultivation of spirit in an omega orientation, not referring back to a cosmic creator for assistance or forgiveness. Religion at that fortunate epoch in time, beyond the tyranny of priests and all those who would uphold alpha in the face of ongoing omega, would be purely subjective, not abstracted from the materialistic objectivity of the external cosmos in objective illusion. And art, you can rest assured, would be superior to what it had ever been in the dualistic and transitional civilizations of the contemporary West.
PETER: Although, presumably, it would still remain tied to appearance, and thus be no more than a crude intimation of essence?
GRAHAM: Yes, and that would apply to holography no less than to laser art, since holograms, as three-dimensional reproductions of objects projected into surrounding space through the use of mirrors, would still be apparent, if the nearest thing to the ghost of an object. A telephone, for instance, can be projected into surrounding space in this way, positioned no more than a few feet above the ground.
PETER: I have actually seen this done, and felt very tempted to put my hand through the holographic 'phone, in order to verify that it really was an illusionary projection and not a factual reality. But as other people were verifying that fact, I was content merely to gaze at it, charmed and intrigued by its pale-green luminosity.
GRAHAM: You behaved wisely! For holograms, being a form of light art, are primarily there to be seen rather than karate-chopped. Of course, they are novelties within the context of dualistic civilization, and so they will remain. But the next, wholly post-dualistic civilization will develop them to unprecedented heights and take a special pride in them, a pride commensurate, one might say, with the extremes of scientific subjectivity, in which a wavicle theory of matter will probably come to replace the compromise particle/wavicle theory of twentieth-century physics, and art forms seemingly reflecting this new theory duly be accorded a place of honour. Doubtless a hologram through which one can put one's hand will be more suited to the spiritual bias of transcendental man than an impervious object! And the translucence and gem-like lustre of the hologram will provide him with an aesthetic foretaste, as it were, of the still higher art of the Superman, which won't be external but internal.
PETER: To what, exactly, are you alluding here?
GRAHAM: The internal visionary experience induced by LSD, or some such hallucinogenic stimulant, which will constitute the highest possible use of appearance put to essential ends. For whereas the hologram, no matter how translucent or bright, still remains tied to the external world, with hallucinogens like LSD, however, art is brought into the internal one, into the lower reaches of the superconscious, where it is closer than ever before to essence. Here, in the spiritual landscape opened up by LSD, the Superman will apperceive the translucence and gem-like lustre of the utterly passive, crystal-clear contents of his visionary superconscious, the spiritual contents of the transcendent psyche.
PETER: You mean, he will be apperceiving a kind of internal hologram, or series of internal holograms?
GRAHAM: That is probably not very far from the truth! Although, in his case, there will be no holographic apparatus. And consequently 'art' will attain to its apotheosis in the maximum approximation of appearance to essence ... achieved through the complete internalization of the former. Every Superman will become an artist, the witness of his own psychic creations.
PETER: Like watching an internal television show?
GRAHAM: In a sense, though television programmes are usually negative, or active, whereas the visionary contents of the superconscious are purely positive and, hence, passive, like a hologram. What holography is to LSD experience, television is to dreams, which are always active. Watching television is rather like dreaming externally, dreaming, one might say, objectively instead of subjectively. Looking at holograms, on the other hand, is rather like tripping externally, tripping objectively instead of subjectively. A confusing distinction perhaps, because the external objective ends with material reality, whereas the internal subjective really begins with the spiritual reality of the superconscious. Thus dreams, which appertain to the subconscious, are ever objective, while the visionary contents of the superconscious are subjective, in accordance with internal reality. Dreams, you see, are rather like the idealistic abstractions from the external material world of religious objectivity. They distort and reinterpret external reality. The visionary contents of the superconscious, however, strive to illuminate internal reality, which is purely spiritual and, at its highest levels, completely beyond appearances. Beauty still clings to visionary experience, but it is a beauty through which the light of truth shines as an intimation of things or, rather, essences to come. Eventually, with the advent of the second phase of millennial salvation, the light of truth will eclipse the illuminated beauty of LSD visions, as the Supermen are transformed into the Superbeings of spiritual communality, the true and ultimate earthly communes in which new-brain clusters, artificially supported and sustained, will meditate their collective way towards transcendence and, hence, the heavenly Beyond. What LSD was to the Supermen, intensified meditation will be to the Superbeings - a meditation in which not appearance but essence will prevail, as the full-blown superconscious experiences the undiluted truth of post-visionary spirit. Here life will be completely beyond art. For no longer will the mind be in need of guidance towards the essential through the exploitation of progressively refined-upon-appearance. It will be in the essential, and accordingly almost at the long-awaited goal of spiritual striving. Almost! For the earthly paradise of Superbeings will be superseded by the transcendent paradise of Spiritual Globes, and they, in turn, will expand into one another in the heavenly Beyond, to form the ultimate paradise of the Omega Absolute. It is a curious fact that truth, oneness, pure spirit, and transcendence will not only be the attributes of ultimate divinity, they will also be the attributes of Spiritual Globes on route, as it were, to the Omega Absolute. They will even be the attributes, to a lesser extent, of the Superbeings. They won't be unknown to the Supermen. And neither will they be completely alien to transcendental man, who will glimpse them but faintly through the barrier of his human psyche. That is why, as a Transcendentalist, I speak to you of these matters in the hope that you, too, will find a place for them in your psyche.
PETER: Those words aren't wasted on my ears, for I am not deaf to truth, like so many people. But perhaps I shall become blinder to beauty than formerly, and therefore disinclined to agree with John Keats that 'Truth is beauty, beauty truth, that is all ye know and all ye need to know'? There's no beauty in his words for me now, and neither is there much truth. Like you, I have become deaf to illusion. I see and hear only truth.
GRAHAM: That is better. But it will be even better when the time comes for minds like yours to experience truth, and so escape from the senses. Until such time, let us be content to improve and refine upon art - of whichever kind.
FROM THE ALPHA ABSOLUTE(S) TO THE OMEGA ABSOLUTE
ROBERT: Talking of religion, does the Creator really correspond to the Devil, and does Hell actually exist?
PAUL: Yes, I believe that the Creator and the Devil are fundamentally one and the same thing, since theological abstractions from the Galaxy. As to whether Hell exists, you might just as well ask me whether the Devil exists, and I would give you the same answer.
ROBERT: Is that supposed to be an answer?
PAUL: It is. And for this reason: what exist in the Universe, not just the Galaxy, are stars and planets, which correspond to objective reality as it bears on the external world. The stars are really there, we needn't doubt that fact, and they burn both continuously and fiercely. They are rather nasty phenomena, as anyone who has suffered sunstroke or otherwise burnt himself through the sun's power will tell you. Not something to which one would want to get too close!
ROBERT: I know all that. And it makes one think of Hell when you mention it!
PAUL: Ah, but Hell isn't the sun, nor even the central star of the Galaxy, but an abstraction from the sun, an idea in the subconscious which reflects the prevalence of religious objectivity, as appertaining to the pagan and Christian stages of human evolution. Hell only exists in the mind, and so, by a similar token, do 'the Devil' and 'the Creator', since they are all abstractions from the same cosmic source.
ROBERT: But surely the Devil, or Satan, has co-existed with the Creator, or Jehovah, in Biblical tradition, and thus led an independent life, so to speak? We read in the Old Testament of Jehovah as God and Satan as the Devil, who was kicked out of Heaven for what one would now call insubordination.
PAUL: Well, that might signify a distinction of place and power, but it doesn't necessarily prove that the Creator and the Devil are radically different. Rather, I see them as two manifestations of fundamentally the same thing, both of which were abstracted from similar cosmic phenomena. This thing would be the stellar roots, so to speak, of the Galaxy, which is comprised, we now know, of a central star - much the most powerful star - and millions of smaller stars, like the sun. They are basically of a similar constitution, though they differ in size and position in the Galaxy.
ROBERT: Are you therefore implying that the fall of Satan corresponds to the hypothetical stellar explosion that sent millions of small stars flying out from the large central one at the base of the Galaxy?
PAUL: In a way I suppose I am, since our sun was almost certainly created through extrapolation from some larger source and would have constituted a suitable objective reality from which to abstract the Devil. A mind that contends that God created the sun is referring, willy-nilly, to the far-away central star of the Galaxy out of which it probably arose.
ROBERT: Surely you mean fell?
PAUL: A fall would be the proper pagan interpretation to put on it, since no early Hebrew mind would have been aware of a transcendental goal to be attained to, and would consequently have felt the guilt that comes with a degree of human independence from nature in the face of nature's vast preponderance, both externally - as stars, planets, plants, animals, etc. - and internally - as subconscious mind. From our point of view, however, the emergence of small stars from the big one signifies an evolutionary progression that could be regarded, paradoxically, as a sort of rise. But if the Devil is an abstraction from the sun and the Creator an abstraction from the central star of the Galaxy, then we needn't be surprised by the co-existence, in Biblical writings, of these two manifestations of religious objectivity. Hell, conceived as a place where the Devil reigns, only began to develop as a theological entity with the advent of dualism and the consequent belief in a posthumous Heaven. Before men conceived of Heaven, they had little idea of Hell. It is among the ancient Greeks that we get the strongest belief in Hell prior to the Christians, though they termed it Hades and simply regarded it as the abode of the dead - a rather lacklustre place devoid of the kinds of excruciating tortures so essential to the medieval concept of Hell, and therefore more resembling the Christian purgatory. The Greeks were also polytheistic and thus inclined to abstract gods and goddesses from nature, including the sun, rather than to envisage a monotheistic creative power behind it. The Christians subsequently adopted the Hebrew bias for the centre, while tempering it with a modified extension of Hades and Olympus, which embraced the extremes of Hell and Heaven. But whether a particular deity was abstracted from one source or another, the fact nevertheless remains that neither the Devil nor the Creator correspond to external realities, but are simply idealistic abstractions relative to subconscious illusion.
ROBERT: So one wouldn't be strictly justified in contending that evolution proceeds from the Devil to God or from Hell to Heaven.
PAUL: No, because evolution proceeds from the stars to God, from the stars to Heaven, which is to say, from objective reality conceived externally, as matter, to subjective reality conceived internally, as spirit. Only the subjective psyche truly exists, for the objective psyche is necessarily illusory. And it is necessarily illusory because composed of abstractions from objective reality. Thus in the lower idealism of religious objectivity we get the Creator, the Devil, Hell, and so on, whereas in the higher idealism of scientific subjectivity ... we get curved space, the particle/wavicle theory of matter, multiple universes, and so on. The former was abstracted from cosmic reality, while the latter has been abstracted from the psychic reality of superconscious mind. The former must inevitably precede the latter, but will also be superseded by it. Thus we intellectuals don't believe in the Devil, Hell, the Creator, like our medieval ancestors, but we do believe in curved space, the particle/wavicle theory of matter, and multiple universes, and so we should, even though, from any objectively materialist point-of-view, such beliefs could only be regarded as erroneous and misguided! Just try thinking about curved space for a moment. Imagine space, which is a nothingness or void, as a curve!
ROBERT: I can't. Only certain material objects appear curved, since curvature is detectable on their surfaces, being a property of certain objects. But I can't imagine a void being curved.
PAUL: No, and neither can I, although every advanced and truly contemporary Western scientist will endorse Einstein's theory of curved space. Some of them can even purport to prove it, as did Faraday, who was clever enough to invent a machine which created the desired impression, thereby proving, once and for all, that space really was curved and the Universe finite. As to the particle/wavicle theory of matter, anyone can bang their hands against a strong piece of wood and feel the resistance of matter. But certain ingenious devices, like the Bubble Chamber, can prove that, on the subatomic level, matter isn't really what it appears to be on the surface, since composed of numerous particles which interpenetrate one another and also become, at other times and when viewed from a different psychic angle, so to speak, numerous wavicles. Mysterious now-you-see-me-now-you-don't alternations of particles and wavicles are brought to life by this magical device that would shame any traditional materialist. But no contemporary so-called physicist could possibly do justice to matter without it, and neither could he pursue scientific subjectivity so ardently was it not for the fact that our supermystical bias requires being flattered in this metaphysical way, not just recognized. The contemporary physicist becomes, in this context, a sort of scientific theologian, the modern equivalent of the religious theologians of the past. What he tells us is false by any objective materialist standards, but absolutely true to the age - an age in which information concerning the external world is abstracted from the spiritual reality of the superconscious, in conformity with transcendental criteria. Previously, however, it was the other way around, as information concerning the subconscious was abstracted from the material reality of the external world, and internal objectivity accordingly prevailed. Now that we have external subjectivity, however, we should be sincerely grateful for the fact, since it reflects a considerable degree of evolutionary progress!
ROBERT: Although this external subjectivity, as you call it, only prevails in the West, particularly in the United States, where a transcendental bias is permissible, if not always officially encouraged.
PAUL: Yes, the so-called communist world has traditionally remained tied to scientific objectivity, and thus to material reality. If at one time it officially outlawed religious objectivity, it failed to endorse religious subjectivity, and so couldn't encourage abstractions from the superconscious concerning the material world. It was essentially an external, superficial world that corresponded to a post-dualistic barbarism. Civilization on the highest, or qualitative, level requires a religion, but Marxist-Leninist countries didn't really have one, at least not in any morally progressive sense. However, don't blame them for that! They were part-and-parcel of historical necessity and couldn't possibly gravitate to civilization on the next level within the context of the world as it was until quite recently, which, as you know, was largely divided between the dualistic and transitional civilizations on the one hand, and the neo-barbarous post-dualistic powers on the other. To have had three stages of civilization, viz. a dualistic, a transitional, and a post-dualistic, existing simultaneously would have been illogical and therefore quite improbable from an historical point-of-view. Obviously the first two will have to be superseded before the third can truly become a reality, and socialism accordingly embraces transcendentalism. But it won't embrace transcendentalism overnight, so to speak, nor in all the revolutionary post-dualistic countries at once. Only in one country, initially, will socialism tend towards the establishment of post-dualistic civilization, as signified by Social Transcendentalism, and from there such a civilization will spread abroad to eventually embrace the entire world. Then we will certainly be on the road to global civilization. But not before transcendentalism has proved its worth and socialist powers have been persuaded to evolve, via Social Democracy, into post-dualistic civilization.
ROBERT: Which will be atheistic rather than theistic, like the dualistic and transitional civilizations of the contemporary West?
PAUL: Yes, because completely beyond religious objectivity, which upholds the idealism of the subconscious mind. For a post-dualistic psyche, with approximately three times as much superconscious as subconscious influence, the illusory contents of the subconscious fade into the mists of history ... as the mind tends further and further into the light of truth. So, obviously, they can't be upheld as formerly. The external world, with particular reference to the Galaxy, will still exist as before, so that the cosmic phenomena from which religious idealism was abstracted in the past are still there, and consequently still support and sustain the world. But the internal world will have changed so much that the Creator, the Devil, Hell, and other such theological abstractions will hold no place in our references to the external world and, accordingly, have ceased to exist for us. Evolution will be regarded as a progression from the stars to the Holy Spirit which, in more objective language, one might call the Omega Absolute. And the stars and planets will generally be regarded as though they functioned according to divine logic, with mystical rather than materialist criteria, in deference to the transcendental bias of scientific subjectivity. Strictly speaking, however, this could never be the case, since stars are ever infernal and therefore function on the fundamentally Newtonian basis of force and mass. But to a post-dualistic civilization, scientific objectivity would be as irrelevant as religious objectivity.
ROBERT: So considered from the traditional point-of-view, with regard to the infernal nature of the stars, you would have no difficulty in equating the Creator with a more powerful inferno than Satan, who was generally regarded as the Devil.
PAUL: If the Creator was abstracted from the biggest star of the Galaxy, then He would certainly be more powerful than anything abstracted from the sun. If the Creator created the Devil, whether by mistake or otherwise, then Satan could only be a minor inferno by comparison.
ROBERT: And do you think there was one Creator or many?
PAUL: There would have been many Creators throughout the Universe. For each galaxy has a governing or central star around which the millions of smaller stars revolve. To imagine that the Universe began with a Big Bang ... from one huge mass of gas which sent stars, or the rudiments thereof, flying out in every direction ... would, I think, be to overlook the fundamental nature of the Diabolic Alpha in utter separateness. If evolution is destined to culminate in the indivisible unity of transcendent spirit, then I don't see that one should ascribe a unity in indivisible sensuality to its beginnings! Rather, one should envisage numerous separate explosions of gas throughout the Universe which, issuing from what we now call the central star of each galaxy, sent suns flying out in every direction, to bring about the rudiments of individual galaxies. Possibly some of these suns were of a different internal constitution than others, they may even have come from other galactic explosions in which the gases were differently constituted, and thereby set up a kind of magnetic equilibrium in tension when they encountered their opposite numbers, so to speak, in the gradual formation of galaxies. But it was solely from and within the context of this galaxy, rather than from the totality of galaxies making up the Universe, that religious objectivity was subsequently abstracted.
ROBERT: Which means, I take it, that the ancients, whether Hebrew or otherwise, took the Galaxy for the Universe, since they lacked the scientific means by which to acquire a more comprehensive knowledge of the various galaxies, and accordingly imagined that the Universe was simply compounded of all the stars they could see, and that it revolved around the earth.
PAUL: Yes, so they abstracted from a fragment of the Universe under the mistaken assumption that they were in fact abstracting from the whole, and thereby arrived - at any rate, in the case of the Hebrews - at a monotheism only relative to this galaxy. In reality, there are or were literally millions of creators in the Universe, because millions of separate galaxies with their respective governing stars, and these creators each gave rise to millions of devils, because billions of separate stars in all the galaxies of the Universe taken together. This, however, is to extend religious objectivity farther afield, and it can have no applicability to the modern world! We speak of galaxies, not creators, and so we should. I am not now expecting you to resurrect the past and modify it by substituting creators for the Creator, devils for the Devil, hells for Hell, or the lot for galaxies! But, to get the record straight, I am quite sure that the traditional religious reference to the Creator, the Devil, etc., was, so to speak, cosmically provincial, relevant only to this galaxy, and that there were in fact millions of creators being worshipped throughout the Universe, with millions of devils being feared there - each alien 'people' acknowledging their own abstractions in whichever solar system they happened to exist.
ROBERT: So the old enigma as to whether there was only one First Cause of the Universe or numerous First Causes has been solved at last, if what you say is true?
PAUL: I believe so. And I believe that intelligent life forms in any particular galaxy would only acknowledge the First Cause relative to their specific galaxy, not to anyone else's, even though they would probably have abstracted the Devil from different sources, depending on which solar system, if any, they inhabited. Thus if certain of our ancestors on earth abstracted the Devil from the sun, there would be plenty of other suns in the Galaxy to serve a like-purpose for other human equivalents in different solar systems, and consequently they would all be referring to different devils. As to the fact that, in most traditional political arrangements, the king and nobles derive their justification from the workings of the Galaxy and may be thought of as corresponding, in their relationship with the general populace, to the relations of suns to planets, I have little doubt that the king corresponds, in his privilege of 'Divine Right', to the governing star of the Galaxy, and thus functions as the human equivalent on earth of the Creator. His nobles, being fundamentally of the same stuff as himself, correspond to the numerous smaller stars that revolve around the large central one, and therefore are aligned with devils, functioning as the human equivalent on earth of the devils of a particular galaxy. The populace, by contrast, correspond to the planets of each solar system and are therefore aligned with demons, functioning as the human equivalent on earth of the demons of a particular galaxy. This is a thoroughly diabolical system which prevails while man is under the dominion of nature, of the natural status quo, and has not yet begun to exclusively aspire towards the supernatural. Thus to some extent it prevails right up to the advent of post-dualistic civilization, when everything appertaining to the monarchic/aristocratic system of government would have ceased to exist. A constitutional monarchy, such as exists in dualistic Britain, is fundamentally a diabolic system that has been diluted by bourgeois democracy, whilst a republic, such as exists in transitional America, is a worldly system characterized by bourgeois/proletarian democracy. Only in a post-dualistic civilization will the undiluted truth of a divine-oriented system become possible, as men turn exclusively, in Transcendentalism, towards the cultivation of spirit, and thus cease to fear or worship or slave for the human equivalents on earth of the galactic order. At that fortunate time there will be no such equivalents, for they will have ceased to exist, having faded into the misty past, along with scientific and religious objectivity. Only the divine-oriented class of the proletariat will continue the progress of human evolution, and they will do so not as the human equivalent on earth of demons, like the peasant masses and, more especially, soldiery of the feudal and pre-feudal past, but as Transcendentalists - angelic aspirants towards the post-Human Millennium ... and beyond.
FROM THE APPARENT TO THE ESSENTIAL
MICHAEL: I know that, in this day and age, one sometimes encounters men with long hair and women with short hair, but in general it is the other way around, and this has often puzzled me. I mean, why should a woman's hair be longer than a man's?
LIAM: The obvious answer to your question is that women allow their hair to grow longer. But if you probe beneath the surface to the, as it were, moral or metaphysical implications of such a tendency, you will find, I think, that women wear their hair longer than men because they are more natural, as a rule - not, as might at first be supposed, because it necessarily makes them look prettier. Being closer to nature than men, it is natural for women that what grows naturally should be encouraged to grow rather than be cut short. Their acquiescence in the natural order of things is greater, on the whole, than a man's.
MICHAEL: An interesting theory, I must admit! Perhaps that explains why women generally grow their fingernails longer than men as well?
LIAM: Yes, I believe so, since fingernails are no less natural than hair. Having short hair and fingernails is the mark of a being who desires to keep nature down, so to speak, and prevent it from dominating him. The mark of a more civilized being - in short, of a man. Now for this reason a man, when he is truly civilized, tends to trim his beard or, better still, shave his face clean every day. A clean-shaven face is a more civilized-looking face than one with a beard or a moustache on it, even when the latter are regularly trimmed. What grows naturally, in this context, has been removed or, at any rate, curtailed in the interests of an artificial and, hence, civilized appearance.
MICHAEL: You embarrass me slightly, since I habitually sport a beard, albeit one that is regularly trimmed. Nevertheless I am sure you have a point, seeing as the majority of men tend, these days, to prefer a clean-shaven face to a bearded one, just as they also prefer short hair to long hair - at least on their own sex.
LIAM: Yes, the heyday of the hippy cult of long hair, beards, moustaches, bell-bottoms, and sandals has well and truly passed now, which is why long hair on men is seen much less frequently than was the case in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A majority of that generation have abandoned long hair for a more civilized appearance; they have returned to the ongoing masculine trend of evolution instead of being in rebellion against it, as youths almost invariably are.
MICHAEL: Are you implying that the hippy cult was reactionary?
LIAM: Yes, up to a point; though I am aware that there were progressive aspects to it, like rock music, psychedelic drugs, festivals, the desire for peace, and so on. But long hair on young men wasn't one of them, since connoting with a naturalistic and, hence, feminine predilection which could only be at loggerheads with the male-biased character of the age. Rather than showing a contempt for nature by cutting their hair short, these young men preferred, in this respect, to identify with it, and so adopt a lifestyle that was partly reactionary and, in effect, neo-pagan. It was almost as though they had decided to opt-out of the evolutionary pressures on their own sex in response to the fact that women were rebelling against their traditional role in society by wearing jeans, using contraceptives, travelling about the world more freely, taking jobs, studying for degrees, and generally expressing themselves in ways which their grandmother's generation wouldn't have understood, let alone attempted. The roles of the sexes seemed, at that point in time, to have been reversed or, at any rate, cross-fertilized. A man could wear a pair of lightweight sandals as shamelessly as a woman could wear a pair of monkey boots. The only thing one didn't see men doing, as a rule, was wearing skirts, which just goes to show that, despite their long hair, there were definite limits to the degree of reactionary neo-paganism they permitted themselves.
MICHAEL: Just as well, I think! However, now that most of the males of our generation have returned to the masculine fold as short-haired, shoe- or boot-wearing individuals, would it not seem that the females have carried on as before, preferring jeans to skirts a lot of the time?
LIAM: Yes, in quite a number of cases, and for the very sound reason that the overall trend of evolution is towards a supermasculine society in which women become progressively more 'masculinized', and thus effectively acquire the status of 'lesser men'. Of course, not all young women frequently wear jeans, but most of them do at least wear pants of one description or another, which is a step in the right direction. Yet a majority of them are still pretty feminine, as can be borne-out by the fact that, in addition to wearing skirts or dresses, they also wear their hair fairly long and allow their fingernails to grow longer than would be acceptable on a man. They may shave their armpits, but only a comparatively small minority of them are given to short hair, and these aren't necessarily the most sophisticated types either! As a rule, women prefer their hair to hang down, in confirmation of their basic adherence to nature and naturalistic criteria in general. And, by a similar token, they prefer to grow their fingernails.
MICHAEL: As also to paint them, which must surely indicate that they desire to bring a degree of civilization to bear on their natural appearance and thereby improve it.
LIAM: Undoubtedly. Although one should beware of assuming that a woman who regularly uses make-up of one kind or another is necessarily more civilized than those who don't. Generally speaking, this won't, I think, be the case. For there are also instances, perhaps subconscious, in which make-up is used not so much to enhance the natural ... as to draw attention to it, to become a kind of body art reminiscent of the art practised by primitives, both male and female, in the interests of a crude degree of civilization. After all, before man put art on walls or canvases, and thereby made it partly transcendental, he applied it to himself, and to some extent this is what many women still do, since insufficiently psychically-evolved to prefer the former to the latter. Even the appreciation of a great painter's work is if not beyond them then certainly less interesting to them than the application of make-up to their face. And so, at heart, they remain primitives, preferring the mundane to the transcendent. Admittedly, there are women who prefer to study or create works of fine art than to paint themselves, and therefore don't wear make-up, at least not conspicuously. But they are by no means a majority, as I think you would have to agree.
MICHAEL: Indeed! Although if what you say about not wearing make-up is true, then it follows that, as a rule, only the most sophisticated women will tend to avoid it, since they prefer to adopt a masculine attitude towards life in pursuance of certain intellectual or spiritual goals.
LIAM: Oh, absolutely! The paradox of the situation is that while make-up constitutes the application of civilization to nature, it only does such on a crude and relatively primitive level. For even the most tastefully made-up woman is still drawing attention to appearance instead of transcending it by concentrating on essence, i.e. on her spiritual or intellectual interests. Instead of behaving like a 'lesser man', for whom intellectual matters are of greater importance, her allegiance to nail varnish or lipstick emphasizes her status as a woman, or a creature for whom appearance, and hence beauty, is paramount. But the truly liberated, progressive woman eschews such make-up, since she is above the practice of body art and thus insists that she be respected for her cultural and intellectual abilities - to be regarded, in effect, as a 'lesser man'.
MICHAEL: A fascinating theory! And doubtless one that explains why it is normally the less-educated and least intellectual women who sport the brightest nails. Could the shift from appearance towards essence, in recent decades, be the chief reason why beauty in art has become so suspect?
LIAM: Oh undoubtedly! For beauty is ever aligned with appearance rather than with essence which, by contrast, is a matter of truth. Beauty is on the diabolic rather than the divine side of the evolutionary divide, as, I think, Baudelaire maintained, and could only be suspect in an age tending towards truth. By being non-representational, or abstract, modern art signifies, at its best, an emphasis on the essential rather than the apparent side of life, and is accordingly omega-orientated: the enigmatic or nondescript appearance it entails symbolizing the higher, internal world of truth instead of the lower, external world of illusion or beauty. At its worst, however, modern art isn't so much pro-transcendental as anti-natural, content merely to distort the external world of nature and thus deprive it of beauty, thereby assisting us to turn away from it. Much Expressionism is of this order, and although we may not derive a great deal of aesthetic pleasure from such art, we can't dismiss it as bogus or poor. On the contrary, it is highly significant, since aesthetic pleasure is precisely what we need to avoid if we are to acquire a greater respect for truth. And what applies to art applies no less to music, literature, and sculpture.
MICHAEL: I am sure you're right, though one's feelings, alas, can't always keep-up with the pace of one's thoughts! Nevertheless if beauty is a thing of the Devil, then it stands to reason that ugliness should be embraced as a means to enlightenment, ugliness being beauty distorted rather than the opposite of it, which is truth. The preponderance of ugliness in much modern art would seem to constitute a sort of Nietzschean 'transvaluation of values' so necessary and crucial to the age.
LIAM: Indeed, and not just in modern art but in various other aspects of modern life too, including the punk cult, which was more enlightened than it may at first have appeared. By displaying their contempt for beauty, punks at least demonstrated that they were on the road to salvation, if rather indirectly so.... Incidentally, whilst on the subject of transvaluations, you may be interested to learn that one of the most important transvaluations we need to make concerns the respective status of light and darkness, the former having traditionally been equated with spiritual enlightenment and, hence, good, while the latter was equated with spiritual ignorance and, hence, evil.
MICHAEL: Are you trying to tell me that light ought to be equated with evil instead of good?
LIAM: Yes, at any rate, when external; and for the simple reason that light stems from the sun, which is equivalent to the diabolic creative force behind life and not to its future divine consummation in transcendent spirit. External light is a matter of appearance, not essence, and is therefore an inadequate symbol for God, which, ultimately, could only be pure essence. The use of the word 'light' to define God, as in the oriental term Clear Light of the Void, betrays a diabolic orientation or, more specifically, the contradictory application of apparent terminology to an essential context. Strictly speaking, transcendent spirit could never be seen, since essence is at the furthest possible evolutionary remove from appearance. Therefore if, at the inception of evolution, the stars are perceptible as bright, one can only conclude that, at the climax to evolution, transcendent spirit would be if not dark then, at any rate, beyond sensuous perception - would, in fact, resemble a Black Hole, or dense void of spirit, from a sensuous point-of-view. Which is why I have recently come to equate Black Holes with Spiritual Globes, as I call manifestations of pure spirit en route, as it were, to the Omega Absolute at the spiritual culmination of evolution.
MICHAEL: You could well be right, although the current scientific theory tends to equate Black Holes with collapsed stars, as you probably know. But if a denser void, composed of compressed spirit, were to appear to a telescoped eye as a sort of black hole in space, then certainly the term Clear Light of the Void would be inadequate for defining or suggesting God?
LIAM: Yes, and consequently we ought perhaps to transvaluate these traditional values, so that spiritual enlightenment comes to be symbolized by respect for the darkness rather than for the light, the respect of a person given to the inner light of his spirit. I, for one, have no difficulty, these days, in regarding the night as a better time than the day, since we are then at a further remove from the diabolic sustaining force of the sun. And this being the case, we are enabled to cultivate spirit to a greater extent then than during the day, when the sun's sensuous influence is never very far away. Only with sleep do we slide into sensuality again, to experience, in dreaming, a sort of night sun. Curiously, however, what the night is to the day, winter is to summer, which is to say, a time of year when one's part of the earth is at a greater remove from the sun and, consequently, the conditions for cultivating spirit are much more propitious. One could describe summer as a pagan season and winter, by contrast, as a transcendental one, a season when nature is stripped of its beauty to an extent which makes the cultivation of essence, among human beings, more desirable than the contemplation of appearance. Winter is decidedly a masculine season, whereas summer is fundamentally feminine. Women are more in their element in summer, for they can exploit the heat to show off their bodies and thus entrap men in appearance. They also incline, as a rule, to bright colours - yellows, reds, pinks, whites, bright blues, etc. - rather than to dark ones, which tends to confirm what I have just said about spiritual enlightenment having to do with darkness instead of light, since bright sun-like colours are precisely what appeal to the majority of women.
MICHAEL: Perhaps that also explains why priests and nuns dress in black, since black could be said to approximate to the condition of transcendent spirit or, at any rate, to the renunciation of the flesh, whereas white is too close to sunlight?
LIAM: Yes, I think so and consequently I believe you will find that all those who are in any way intellectually or spiritually advanced tend to prefer dark clothes to bright ones - the latter, by contrast, appealing more to the spiritually superficial. I, for one, have always worn dark clothes, and I know of no intellectual of any standing who makes a habit of wearing bright ones, like an attractive young woman bent on making herself as phenomenally conspicuous as possible. Those, as a rule, who draw attention to appearances are the superficial, the extrovert - in a word, the heathen. Most people probably wouldn't want to accept this truth, but that is only because, in our ostensibly-enlightened but in reality morally ignorant age, they are more pagan than transcendental.
MICHAEL: One can only suppose that fact to be particularly true of the fair sex, who must constitute a majority of the 'most' in question.
LIAM: Indeed, and for reasons already touched upon, including the retention of long hair, long fingernails, and make-up. But this is a consequence of the fact that human life is caught between nature and an aspiration towards the supernatural, and has not yet evolved to a wholly omega-oriented civilization. Such a civilization - post-dualistic and, hence, transcendental - will only materialize in the future, following the collapse of the partly diabolic, alpha-stemming ones. Then the drive towards sexual equality will be much stronger than at present, since women won't be encouraged to emphasize appearance at the expense of essence, but will become more spiritual, in accordance with the requirements of a post-dualistic society.
MICHAEL: You mean, they will be expected to wear their hair short and to regularly clip their fingernails into the bargain?
LIAM: Quite probably. Although you mention but two aspects of what will doubtless be a large number of expectations, including, one can only suppose, the avoidance of make-up. Still, if women are to become more spiritualized, in the interests of sexual equality, then they can hardly expect to carry on as before, with specifically feminine allegiances to the natural order of things. The emphasis on appearance must be reduced with each step of evolutionary progress. For only by reducing appearance can essence be encouraged to expand. The world has not evolved at the expense of women, as certain deluded feminists like to believe, but in spite of them, which is to say, in opposition to them. Where women were formerly in their feminine/domestic element, as wives, mothers, courtesans, etc., they are now being forced out of it by the pressures of a male-oriented technological and urban society. It took men a long time to evolve to this stage of evolution, for nature had the better of them right up to the last century. And women, needless to say, were an integral part of nature - not, as feminist theologians prefer to believe, the victims of men! That the bitter truth of the matter should have been coated with the sugar of feminist theology ... is something I can quite understand. But there is a great deal of difference between theology and philosophy, as all students of Schopenhauer will know, and the philosopher's task, now as before, is to expound truth for the benefit of those capable of appreciating it, which is to say, for the benefit of those who aspire to rise towards the inner light. That, at any rate, is what I believe I have done, and whether or not you approve of the fact ... is a matter of complete indifference to me. I have simply done my duty.
PHILIP: What is there about meditation that makes it so important in your eyes? I mean, why should transcendental meditation become the religious norm of the future, as you assume it will?
SEAN: Precisely because it makes an approximation to the heavenly condition of the transcendental Beyond possible by emphasizing stillness, peace, freedom from worries, wellbeing, self-contentment, identification with an agreeable state-of-mind, and so on. Admittedly it will be a crude approximation, quite inferior to the actual condition of transcendent spirit, of which we mortals can have only a faint inkling. But even a crude approximation to that is better than nothing at all.
PHILIP: Presumably people would experience this approximation to the transcendental Beyond in communal contexts within the overall setting of a meditation centre?
SEAN: Yes, for solitary meditation is really a contradiction in terms. It is not to emphasize the solitary individual that one meditates, but to partake of the multitudinous collective. Being solitary is a limitation of our worldly phenomenality, whereas being part of a group in spiritual togetherness is to aspire towards the divine consummation of evolution in the maximum unity of undifferentiated spirit. Meditation should only be practised in the latter context.
PHILIP: Thus one would be indulging in a form of spiritual communality?
SEAN: Absolutely! However, the spiritual communality of the transcendental devotees in meditation centres would be merely a prelude to the ultimate spiritual communality, on earth, of the Superbeings in the second phase of millennial life. For this latter communality would involve what I like to call hypermeditation, or supercharged meditation made possible by the removal of the old brain from individual Supermen at the termination of the first phase of millennial life, and their consequent elevation to the intensely collectivized new-brain status of Superbeings.
PHILIP: How many new brains would constitute a Superbeing?
SEAN: A great many - possibly several thousand. For the object of placing so many new brains in close proximity to one another on a common artificial support would be to approximate more closely to the projected unity of transcendent spirit in the heavenly Beyond, and so bring the communality of meditating brains to the highest possible pitch on earth. The old saying that two brains or, rather, heads are better than one ... for solving a problem ... would certainly apply, if only slightly, to the creation of a large 'brain' out of thousands of individual brains whose capacity for meditation was enhanced in proportion to the number of brains or, more correctly, new brains interacting with one another to the level of what I have called hypermeditation - the direct means of attaining to transcendence.
PHILIP: Whew, this is beginning to surpass my powers of comprehension! What you are saying, I take it, is that only the interaction of so many new brains in an intensely collectivized context would generate the necessary spiritual potential for transcendence, and the consequent almost nuclear detachment of spirit from the new brain as such.
SEAN: Precisely! Without the interaction or mutual stimulation of the numerous new brains upon one another, there could be no ultimate salvation. For salvation requires not meditation but hypermeditation, such as only the Superbeings would be capable of experiencing. Each Superbeing, incidentally, would be the antithetical equivalent to a tree.
PHILIP: How do you mean?
SEAN: Well, a tree is a natural entity composed of a support, viz. trunk and branches, and innumerable leaves, which may or may not flower. The leaves are subconscious and therefore devoid of autonomy. They are components of the tree. One can't speak of leaves as though they were individual life forms subject to egocentric consciousness. The tree is a communal entity and functions in terms of a sort of sensual communality. The antithetical equivalent to a tree will also be a communal entity, composed, as I have said, of numerous new brains which will be artificially supported, through a trunk- and branch-like apparatus, and exist on a superconscious plane, likewise devoid of autonomy, in which spiritual communality prevails. What flowers are to the leaves of a tree, transcendence will be to the new brains of a Superbeing.
PHILIP: Fascinating! And these new brains presumably won't think of themselves as distinct or separate entities - anymore than would leaves on a tree?
SEAN: No, they will be no less above egocentric consciousness than leaves are beneath it. Only the Supermen of the first phase of millennial life would be capable of or, rather, disposed to self-identification. For the persistence of the old brain from earlier stages of evolution would entail a degree of egocentric consciousness - at least during those periods when the Supermen were relaxing or recovering from their LSD trips, or equivalent synthetically-induced visionary experiences.
PHILIP: And would these Supermen be collectivized, too?
SEAN: Of course, since evolutionary progress would be emphasizing collectivization on the preceding level of the transcendental civilization, and that could only be stepped up, as it were, within the first phase of the post-Human Millennium. Here, then, brains would be artificially supported on a common branch-like apparatus, but instead of being the antithetical equivalent to leaves on a tree, they would exist as an antithetical equivalent to apes on a tree, i.e. as so many individuals gathered together in a loosely communal context. As apes precede man in chronological time, so the Supermen will succeed him - each artificially-supported brain being a distinct Superman.
PHILIP: And why will they be injected, or whatever, with LSD?
SEAN: Because it makes for upward self-transcendence on the visionary plane, and before the psyche could be expected to live on a wholly post-visionary, or essential, plane ... it would doubtless have to pass through an intermediate stage of internal visionary experience, in which a limited degree of appearance would prevail. Such appearance, however, would be static, in accordance with the predominantly omega-oriented constitution of the lower regions of superconscious mind, not be active like dreams, which reflect, by contrast, the alpha-stemming constitution of the subconscious. Having a subconscious mind, because an old brain, the Superman would still sleep, like us, and so experience his own dream world. But during the day he would trip, i.e. experience artificially-induced visions, and thereby thoroughly familiarize himself with his superconscious. The leaders - priest equivalents of the post-Human Millennium - would be on-hand to tend him, injecting the requisite dosages of LSD into each Superman, presumably via an arrangement of plastic tubing responsible for conveying blood and nourishment to the brain. After all, it isn't enough that the Supermen should be artificially supported; they must also be artificially sustained, so that one is led to envisage a large mechanical pump, common to all brains, being used to convey blood and oxygen, via plastic tubing, to the individual Supermen. If apes and trees are naturally sustained, through sunlight, oxygen, rain, earth, and so on, then their antithetical equivalents ... could only be sustained artificially - in the aforementioned manner. It's as simple as that!
PHILIP: I wish I could believe you! However, now that I am more or less in the picture, what particularly puzzles me is the transformation from Supermen to Superbeings. I mean, when would the leaders know the time had arrived for them to remove the old brain from each Superman and create that more intensely collectivized entity which you have termed a Superbeing?
SEAN: One would have to be alive during the post-Human Millennium to know the answer to a question like that, since only the most complete understanding between the Supermen and their overseers would put the latter in a position to know when to set about creating the Superbeing. Obviously, no attempt would be made to transform Supermen before they were thoroughly acquainted with internal visionary experience and therefore sufficiently acclimatized to the superconscious to be capable of gravitating to post-visionary consciousness, following the surgical removal of the old brain. A premature transformation from the one post-human life form to the other would be foolhardy, assuming it were possible, which is by no means guaranteed, since the technological know-how of performing such a delicate operation would take time to develop, and preliminary experiments would doubtless have to be carried out long before the Supermen were considered ripe for transformation. Only when the leaders were technically capable of effecting the desired transformation from the one post-human life form to the other would they proceed with their task, since evolutionary progress requires a certain amount of initiative from the leadership at any given time, and cannot depend upon the wishes of the led alone. Doubtless those wishes have to be taken into account, but they must be supplemented, as it were, by the progressive ambitions of the leadership, if evolution is to continue. Yet what applies to the transformation from Supermen to Superbeings applies no less to the earlier (in relation to this) transformation from men to Supermen, which is also something that would have to await its proper time. We can have no certainty, at present, of when this earlier transformation will be brought about, though we need not expect it to happen for 2-3 centuries yet.
PHILIP: You mean, towards the culmination of the next and, presumably, final civilization?
SEAN: Yes, the universal civilization of transcendental man, in which meditation will be practised in suitably-designed meditation centres and the State continue to 'wither away', as religion gradually takes over from politics. By the time the People have grown accustomed to this civilization, and their leaders have developed the technology for supporting and sustaining brains artificially, the transformation to the post-Human Millennium will be possible, and therefore man's correlative upgrading into Superman. At present, we are still at quite an historical remove from that momentous turning-point, however.
PHILIP: So it would appear! For, in the West, one has the old dualistic, or Christian, civilization of countries like Britain and France, together with the more recent transitional, or Christian/transcendental, civilization of the United States. Whilst in the East one has ...
SEAN: What, under Soviet Communism, could formerly have been regarded as the barbarous opponent of those civilizations but which, with the development of Social Democracy, may well be something on the way to becoming the ultimate civilization.
PHILIP: Let us sincerely hope so!
A FUNDAMENTAL DICHOTOMY
MARTIN: Would you regard being reserved as a good or a bad thing?
DONAL: Why do you ask?
MARTIN: Well, I recently read of the British temperament being described by no less a writer than Anthony Burgess as frightfully eclarté but, nevertheless, preferable to the French one, which, as you know, is rather the opposite.
DONAL: Ah, I see! And presumably you don't know whether or not to agree?
MARTIN: No, I suppose not.
DONAL: Well, in my opinion, the French temperament is preferable to the British one, even though it has its nasty side. And I regard it as preferable because it reflects an uninhibited approach to life which indicates a divine rather than a diabolic orientation.
MARTIN: I'm not sure that I follow you.
DONAL: Doubtless because you are unaware that to be reserved is a star-like tendency in which one is shut off from other people in one's own little consciousness, in the assertion of one's individuality and separateness. The stars, corresponding to the diabolic roots of evolution, tend to diverge from one another ... rather than to converge towards one another, to contract rather than to expand. Well, a temperament described as eclarté does pretty much the same thing, since other people are not seen as presences to converge towards but, on the contrary, as something to avoid. One prefers to remain imprisoned within one's own identity, reserved in one's conduct and speech. The other person isn't someone to open up to but, more usually, someone to fear as a potential enemy or competitor.
MARTIN: Yes, but one can open up to people in a nasty way, abusing them with foul language, and I am sure the estimable writer I read had that in mind when he described the British temperament as being preferable to the French one.
DONAL: Maybe he did. But such unpleasant speech is simply the reverse side of opening up to others in a pleasant way, and needn't imply that an uninhibited attitude to people is necessarily bad. At least one is prepared to acknowledge others and to impose one's soul upon them, which is arguably better than to ignore them altogether, as if they didn't exist or were so many inferior creatures, scarcely human. One embraces others spiritually, drawing them into one's world, affirming the communion of human beings, the fact that, although possessing distinct bodies, they are in some sense linked together mentally and should share a common aspiration towards spiritual unity. Being reserved is to deny this, to prefer the separate to the unitary, the individual to the collective. Of course, there are times when it is expedient to be reserved, when an uninhibited attitude to others would be foolhardy or simply out-of-place. But I cannot agree with your author that a reserved temperament, such as the British are alleged to possess, is preferable to an unreserved one.
MARTIN: But why, as a rule, are the French so different from the British in this respect?
DONAL: Why indeed? I think you will find that it has something to do with the respective national constitutions of the two peoples, with the fact, I mean, that nations are normally divisible into those which are predominantly materialistic and those, conversely, which are predominantly spiritualistic. This is a fundamental dichotomy traceable, so I believe, to the basic antagonism at the root of the Galaxy between stars and planets, the one effectively feminine, the other masculine, and is the reason why some countries acquire a star-like materialistic tendency whilst others, by contrast, acquire a planet-like spiritualistic one. Evidently the Protestant British developed from the former, whereas their French counterparts, more given to Catholicism, developed from the latter. Hence the traditional antagonism between the two peoples, an antagonism which isn't entirely allayed even now, although it is certainly past its prime, so to speak, since we no longer live in a world dominated by dualism. The British and the French came to power as imperialist nations at the dualistic stage of evolution, albeit as late dualistic powers. They have since been superseded by the transitional powers ... in between dualism and post-dualism ... of, amongst others, Japan and the United States.
MARTIN: And presumably this same dichotomy between a predominantly materialistic and a predominantly spiritualistic orientation still applies on the transitional plane to which you allude.
DONAL: Yes, except that, as they are a little further up the evolutionary ladder, so to speak, the Japanese will be a shade less reserved than the British, while the Americans, by contrast, will be a shade more uninhibited than the French. The diabolic side of evolution contracts while the divine side of it expands.
MARTIN: I seem to recall that the only time a complete stranger ever started a conversation with me was in a small public garden off the Boulevard de Clichy in Paris, and that he happened to be an American.
DONAL: Well, that speaks for itself, doesn't it? An American is usually the best bet, these days, for an uninhibited attitude towards strangers, and where better to display it in Europe than Paris, capital of the civilization preceding the American one on the spiritualistic side of evolution. I trust you enjoyed the conversation?
MARTIN: To be sure, it was one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had, I who had grown all-too-accustomed to a reserved life in London.
DONAL: Considering you are an Irishman, that is a most unfortunate thing! For we are also on the spiritualistic side of evolution, though we haven't as yet blossomed into the fully-uninhibited attitude or approach to life we shall adopt, once the next civilization gets properly under way and we are enabled to take our rightful place beside China on the full-blown post-dualistic level of evolution.
MARTIN: How do you mean?
DONAL: Well, what America is to France, Ireland will subsequently become, in conjunction with several other countries, to America, as post-dualistic civilization takes over from where transitional civilization leaves off. As a spiritualistic people, we could only develop a more uninhibited attitude to life than the Americans currently possess, since evolutionary progress demands that spiritual expansion be stepped-up with each successive stage of civilized advancement. And, simultaneously with this, it demands that the materialistic contracts, so that the Chinese will be less reserved, on the whole, than the latter-day Japanese, albeit still essentially a reserved rather than an uninhibited people.
MARTIN: Thus there will be progress along both the positive and negative sides of evolution, as the former becomes more uninhibited and the latter less reserved.
DONAL: Precisely. And from Ireland, positivity will spread throughout the world ... to establish the ultimate human civilization, universal and transcendental. The planet-like countries are destined to completely triumph over the star-like ones as the world becomes exclusively omega-orientated. However, during the coming decades, the negative side of evolution will continue to exist, principally in the guise of China, though on a less reserved level, as I said, than is currently manifested among the Japanese. But the Irish will begin to acquire a more positive outlook, compatible with Ireland's destiny as the next spiritualistic nation in the evolution of the world. At present, they are still partly victims of the centuries-old influence of British imperialism on their country and therefore somewhat akin to convalescents recovering from a lengthy illness. But once the last traces of bourgeois imperialism disappear from their system, they will be in a better position to develop their considerable spiritual potential, and thus take over from America the expansion of positivity in an even more unreserved attitude towards one another. Why, in comparison with them, even the French might well appear reserved!
MARTIN: While the Chinese, as a less reserved people than their alleged national predecessors on the materialistic side of evolution, might well appear similar to the French, whose uninhibitedness you regard as less radical than the Americans'.
DONAL: Whether a lower stage of uninhibitedness could ever approximate to a higher stage of reservedness, or vice versa, is a moot point, though you may not be all that far from the truth in what you say! Anyway, you would soon notice the difference between the converse situation, which would contrast, say, Victorian Britain on a lower stage of reservedness with the future transcendental Ireland on a higher stage of uninhibitedness. However, that is merely intellectual speculation, unworthy of serious philosophical discussion! We should concern ourselves with the actual and potential, not the imaginary. And as long as we accept the fact that evolution progresses from Britain to China via Japan on the materialistic side, and from France to, amongst other countries, Ireland via America on the spiritualistic side, then I believe we shan't go far wrong - not, at any rate, as far as the progression from late dualism to early post-dualism is concerned.... Incidentally, the fact that Ireland is a small country materially is all the more reason why it should become a big one spiritually. By contrast, China is such a big country materially that it could only be a relatively small one spiritually, since the one factor tends to condition the other.
MARTIN: There would certainly be a materialistic contraction involved in the development of civilization from America to Ireland, although the contention that China signifies a materialistic expansion over Japan precludes your theory from being logically consistent. Nevertheless, irrespective of the countries concerned, there is probably something to be said for your underlining argument concerning the basic dichotomy between reserved and unreserved nations, whatever the respective size or shape of any given nation may happen to be, and I now incline to agree with you that the overall tendency of evolution is to contract the former and expand the latter, thereby gradually improving the moral constitution of the world. If the British, Japanese, and Chinese would be less than flattered by your contentions, you can at least take some consolation from the likelihood that the French, Americans, and Irish would find them progressively more flattering, in accordance with their respective levels of uninhibitedness. From now on I will know the truth about being eclarté, deeming it preferable to have a sociable rather than an unsociable, or reserved, national temperament.
DONAL: Had you not lived so long in England, you would have known the truth sooner. But, frankly, I can't blame you for your ignorance!
THE NEW SUBJECTIVITY
KEVIN: Feminists have a habit of saying that women are socially rather than biologically conditioned, that their traditional responsibilities were not so much biologically inevitable as forced upon them by men, and that men only progressed and prospered at the expense of women. This, at any rate, is how that estimable feminist Simone de Beauvoir speaks, and she does so with general feminist approval. Yet while she may be justified from a feminist standpoint to speak in such fashion, she is quite wrong from an objectively philosophical standpoint.
DAVID: Oh, in what way?
KEVIN: In the same way that a scientist would be wrong to speak of curved space as the causal explanation of the planets' rotation about the sun when, in reality, the Newtonian factors of force and mass are the only ones literally applicable to the conduct of planets and stars, particularly the latter, which correspond to the diabolic roots of evolution and behave in an appropriately forceful fashion. But the modern physicist doesn't explain the workings of the Cosmos in literal terms, but in terms corresponding to Western man's growing predilection for the superconscious, which reflects, in its omega orientation, his mystical bias. To speak literally of such workings, as did Newton, would show the Cosmos to be a less agreeable place than modern man evidently wishes to see it. Even if his transcendental bias, largely conditioned by countries like America and Germany, has a long way to go before it becomes radically transcendent, nevertheless a quasi-mystical interpretation of how the Cosmos works remains necessary. Largely through environmental progress from nature to the contemporary city Western man has acquired a higher consciousness and must project this consciousness onto the Cosmos, deeming the conduct of both stars and planets to proceed along gentler lines than would have been envisaged by Newton. His self-deception in this matter is essential to his spiritual self-esteem. For modern consciousness is not, as formerly, connected with appearance in the external environment, whether cosmic or worldly, but appertains to the internal realm of superconscious mind, and consequently science must take its cue from essence and so become subjective. This is especially true of transitional, or bourgeois/proletarian, countries like America and Germany. But the more traditional dualistic countries have also been affected by it, and thus dragged into the transcendental perspective.
DAVID: Although most countries of the communist or former-communist East have seemingly refused to countenance this subjectivity, and instead remained aligned with Newtonian objectivity.
KEVIN: Yes, to some extent they have, since transcendental criteria were officially taboo under Marxism-Leninism, although there could be nothing more communist, from a scientific point-of-view, than the curved space theory of the Universe, with its quasi-electron transcendentalism. However that may be, communist societies also remained partial to traditional and, hence, objectively correct valuations of women, which is why feminism was largely a dead letter with them.
DAVID: You mean women really are biologically conditioned, contrary to what Western feminists insist?
KEVIN: Of course! Although they were never wholly so, not even in the past, long before the Women's Liberation Movement was ever dreamed up. What curved space is to the modern physicist, social conditioning is to the feminist - a convenient illusion for masking the sad truth of biological conditioning, since such an illusion is flattering to the liberated woman's social vanity and enables her to have a better opinion of herself than would otherwise be the case, were she to regard herself literally, which is to say, as a creature striving to overcome biological hurdles.
DAVID: So although one would not be objectively correct to define women as victims of social conditioning, one is subjectively correct to do so, and for similar reasons as pertain to science.
KEVIN: Absolutely! The higher reality of the superconscious imposes a spiritual bias upon one's assessment of women which contradicts the external reality of the flesh. Rather than give the lower reality of the flesh its objective dues, one submits to the higher reality of the superconscious, projecting that reality onto women. Feminist subjectivity is no less necessary in a society with a transcendental bias than scientific subjectivity. You can't really have the one without the other.
DAVID: And yet, if people are able to see through the illusions of contemporary Western society, as you apparently can, surely those illusions will be less efficacious in achieving their desired ends?
KEVIN: It depends what those ends happen to be. Though if you are querying whether or not one ought to crack such illusions, then I can only say that, so long as there are philosophers in existence, illusions will be cracked, whatever their status or nature! However, not everyone is inclined to read philosophy and, by a similar token, not everyone is inclined to crack illusions, particularly when they are absolutely pertinent to the age or civilization. But a philosopher - who is, par excellence, a man of truth - will be morally entitled to do so, since only by cracking illusions is he enabled to extend the realm of truth. On the other hand, a theologian, using that term in a loosely Schopenhauerian sense, must uphold such illusions as are deemed suitable to the age. For he/she relates to the generality, and must accordingly put expedience above objectivity.
DAVID: Are you therefore implying that Simone de Beauvoir, for example, was essentially a theologian in this respect?
KEVIN: Yes, unlike Sartre, who was a philosopher. A feminist is always a theologian, as is a Marxist, who of course puts expedience above objectivity in his assessment of the proletariat. But whereas Marxist subjectivity is derived from the objectivity of the external world, with particular reference to the economic relations of the employer/employee classes, feminist subjectivity derives from the subjectivity of the internal world, or superconscious. The one speaks truthfully of the external world but untruthfully of the proletariat. The other speaks truthfully of the internal world but untruthfully of women. Both untruths, however, are equally necessary and inescapable. They may be despised by the philosopher, but they cannot be discarded as untenable.
DAVID: Although philosophers are apparently unnecessary in societies based on theological expedience?
KEVIN: Yes, because philosophers pertain to the pursuit of truth and are therefore essential to civilization, where religion is officially upheld. A barbarous state, on the other hand, can manage without them, since, as you correctly observed, it is expedience and not objectivity that matters there.
DAVID: Do you, as a philosopher, pertain to civilization then?
KEVIN: Most assuredly! Although within the context of both the dualistic and transitional civilizations of the contemporary West ... I am something of an outsider. Rather, I presage a future post-dualistic civilization which will, I believe, take root in countries that, like Eire, have achieved Social Democracy in one form or another, and spread abroad when the time is ripe. Thus I am currently a stateless philosopher who projects his work into the future and thereby hopes to contribute towards the creation of a post-dualistic civilization.
DAVID: They say all great philosophers are ahead of their time, so you must be in the tradition in that respect.
KEVIN: Yes, I guess so!
LONDON 1982 (Revised 1983-2012)